It hurts to be the most emotionally liberal person you know.

I've liberal ideas when it comes to physical touch. It is merely a way for two people to show levels of affection, be it a hug, a kiss, snuggling, or even sex. They are just different levels of passion. No romance tied to it, only that the latter are more found in romantic relationships due to the inherent intimacy of such a thing.

But no one near me feels like this. This is foreign to them, frightening. They try to understand, but it is not who they are. They cannot. They want to help but do not know what they can do to assist.

I am forced to do one of two things. I can either:

  • Forgo my beliefs, changing them so that the pain goes away, OR
  • Live life as a series of increasingly awkward moments

This is not a pleasant way to lead one's life. One shouldn't have to be forced to chose between two terrible things, especially when it comes to one's self.

What brought all this one was that this weekend, I was in Chicago. It was the first time I'd been there, and I went there with a group from my college. It was a great experience, but the great things are clearly not what brought this on.

A close friend of mine, Candice, was there as well. We spent most of the trip together. And constantly, permenantly, I longed to just cozily put my arm around her as we walked. But I knew that was impossible. She has a boyfriend, a close one, and I knew that she would find what I did bizarre. So instead, I quietly walk along, scared to do, scared to even mention what I wish to do. And it began to grate on me.

Saturday night, I tell her. I get to talking, and I get to saying that every single time we've walked alongside each other, I wanted to hold her. I couldn't read how she responded. It was so vague, distant. That caused me a lot of pain, not knowing how she felt about what I'd said. I quickly dropped the subject, but the pain still held. Just a series of awkward events.

I wonder if I can blame society for all this. Society does indeed discourage such intimacy between people who aren't "intimate," but I still find it unduly foolish and prudish. People should be allowed to be close.

I wonder if the reason I want such things is because I'm terrified that people don't care about me. That they don't want me to succeed. A foolish thing to think about, knowing the opposite to be true, but the lack of a physical aspect makes their words seem a little hollow, whether they are or not. I want to know that my existence is valued. I want to be told that my body is okay, wanted, even in some small way. I've never had that.

I wonder if I sound like I'm whining, like I'm offending people. I never want to offend people, it's what keeps me from doing many things. Most are things I shouldn't do anyway. It's not a bad reflex. But it has disadvantages.

All things do.

Tyler Evans
, Grade 4, Miss Bell's Class, Shady Grove Elementary
Vichizzle McNizzle, Pimp Daddy


Vichizzle: Well it's dat time o' year again, muthafuckas. It's time to get scary, time to get thuh best treats fo yo best tricks, knowhaddi'msayin? It's Holla-fuckin-ween! Dis the only time o' year I can make lotsa Benjaminzz fo my scariest hos! People rully gettin into da holidaze spirit, I guess, goin out to get a real fright with they fuck, ya dig? Kinda the same reason I s'pose dat they go out to them fuckin haunted houseses and rent they scary movies. Dis one reason I like Halloween. My bitches also like to wear they cat and witch costumes when they out gettin treats for they tricks! And goddamn don't some o' them look fine in they holiday getup! Almose wanna fuck 'em myself! And the treats I got fo 'em, we talkin mo than juss money, y'all. It amazin how much fine quality weed and crack people willin to give up fo coupla hours of Holla-pussy! Matter of fact, some of 'em juss go out in one big pussy costume! Yeah, dawg, they fuckin have those now, furreal! Sho they stand out a lil, big ol' pussy on the street corner, but the fuzz (no pun intended) don't bust 'em, figure they juss out to a Halloweenie party! Lemme just sums up by sayin that evury October 31st, bidness be good fo Vichizz!

But I guess my love fo Halloween be goin back to when I wuz juss a lil' pimp. Sho I like candy, but I guess what I'm about to 'splain says dat maybe I was always destin to be a pimp! See, I always know how to work the ladies, even back when I was 'bout 11, 12. Always had it in me. After many years of juss goin 'round the neighborhood juss gettin' some candy (and an occasional few rocks of crack - dat right, hey, I live in the ghetto, y'know?) I figure I need sumthin mo. So I convinced a coupla the finest hos from eighth and ninth grade (I was in seventh at the time) to come 'round with me. Lemme juss say, when some o' the dudes at thuh doe acks for a trick, I had dem bitches give 'em a trick, knowhaddi'msayin?! Some 'o the time we gets door slams, but uthas, well, they give me my first pimpin jobs! See, dat one reason this holiday so special to me, cuz dat Halloween in 1987 mark the first time I wuz a bone-a-fied pimp daddy!

Tyler: Halloween used to be one of my favoritest times of the year. I love trick-or-treating and dressing up in costumes like Dracula or Frankenstein. Oh and the candy, I love candy! My favorite candies are the little candy bars, like the little Twix, Snickers, or Kit Kats. Mmmm. I never liked those gross candy corns or those yucky candies that look like big squishy peanuts. I hate those. I would always get Bobby Miller to trade with me, take those crappy candies and give me some good stuff, like pixie sticks or Twizzlers. But my dad last year all of a sudden decided that I shouldn't be trick-or-treating anymore.

He says that it's evil and running around in scary costumes and asking for candy is like devil worship. I cried and cried when he said I couldn't trick-or-treat anymore. My mom got mad at him, too. He told her to shut up, that he was the ruler of the house and we should follow his rules. He said he never did like me trick-or-treating but just let me so I wouldn't whine about it, but Pastor Jeff from church gave a sermon last year when Halloween was on a Sunday about how evil the holiday was, how it was a Pagan holiday and good Christians shouldn't follow it.

I am so sad that my dad doesn't let me go out on Halloween anymore. I don't know why he's still listening to something Pastor Jeff said because last March he was put in jail for messing around with Patti Stevenson (she's was in 9th grade at the time)! He doesn't sound like a good Christian to me. When I asked my dad why he still listens to Jeff he told me that it wasn't Jeff's fault, that Patti dressed like a little slut and pretended to be older. The jury at Jeff's trial didn't think so, though.

Vichizzle: Awwww, yeah, things are lookin up! I think I got a new employee, muthafuckas! This rully hot lookin' white girl come to my doe trick-or-treatin' dressed in this slutty little devilgirl costume and I say "Daammmmnnn, girl, you look fine!" She gets all giggly and smiles and next thing I know I'm invitin' her in and she cole drinkin some beer with me and my homies, says her name's Patti, and you know what? When we get to talkin' 'bout my bidness, she says she might be inturested! I hits the fuckin jack-POT hur! See, Halloween continues to be good fo the Vichizz! Peace out.

Tyler: Someday when I grow up and get married and have kids, I'm going to let them trick-or-treat on Halloween. Maybe I should just make sure they ask God for forgiveness afterwards or something.

11/24/04 == 12/20/04 == 12/21/04 == 12/30/04 == 01/31/05 == 02/10/05 == 02/14/05 == 05/18/05 == 07/25/05 == 09/01/05 == 10/24/05 == 12/22/05 == 07/20/06 == 10/31/06 == 02/07/07 == 07/13/07 == 12/18/07 == 9/17/08

They can't put the pipes underground here. There's permafrost. Ice and rock harder than concrete. Sewage, water, and fuel lines, trace patterns on volcanic Ross Island like the London Underground, above ground. Big pipes. If you had to climb over them, you'd need ropes. So there are bridges everywhere. No matter where you want to go, if it's from one place to another, you have to climb a staircase to use the pedestrian bridges go over huge insulated pipes.

Most of the bridges are metal. There's one bridge of wood. That one is an ad hoc art gallery.

People have nailed trinkets to the railings. Beads. Amulets. A wooden sundial is mounted to the top of the bridge.

People have taken battery powered routers and carved words into the stairs. These words climbing from Crary Lab to building 155 --

Walking across
A poem
Two strangers
Speak each other's

And these descending the other side

Climbing a
Bridge of words
Two lovers parted
From one Another

This haiku on the railing next to the walkway crossing the pipes --

Strangers turn to friends
The bonds we make strong and fast
I sink into bliss

My friend Bill Fox wrote the words on the stairs. Jen Petrik wrote the haiku.

There's a mobile hanging from the bridge. It's made of old CDs. At about 7pm, when the sun turns to the right spot in the sky, the CDs collect the light and cast brilliant dancing reflections on the snowbank beside the pipes.

Lots of people cross the bridge without looking. Lots of people stop and read. From the wooden bridge you can watch McMurdoites climbing Ob Hill, or the clouds crashing into dormant Mt. Discovery, 25 miles away.

I'm pretty sure Antarctica is where we come to hurt. Microcosm of the vast indifference of space. Masochism of the adventurous sort. Hurts deep and conquering way marathon runners feel just before crossing the tape. Everything hurts here. Even the best times burn like the last five pushups. We talk ourselves into concepts of normality. We're not going to change anything, so we make it our baseline. Nothing hurts until it's worse. Nothing's better till it lets up a bit.

We're tiny sparks of heat on an ice planet. Votive candles from the feet of religious icons lit by grandmothers in remembrance. Offshoot from a welder's torch, bounce away and fade. We have to shield each other from the wind that will put us out.

From here it's hard to believe it's warm anywhere.

It's physical. Think lonely, become lonely, it hurts in the legs and back, like having to carry a heavy instrument uphill. Like having to run in full gear, clunky boots, head and neck wrapped in layers so the breath condenses on the back side of a scarf, balaclava misplaced slightly, forcing the eyebrows down, don't miss the flight. No matter how bad it gets it can always be worse. Imagine how these rocks feel, having been here since Erebus spit them out before there were continents.

It doesn't matter where in this universe we are.
None of these planets invite us to survive.

We have to shield each other.

McMurdo Station -- October 2005

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