Communication Breakdown

Had I known that Arcata was the Bermuda Triangle of phone service, perhaps I would not have been so nonchalant about embarking on a long-distance relationship. I thought, "People make this work all the time." But "people," have reliable ways of communicating, and we, at the moment, do not. It's only been 1 week, but now that all the oxytocin seems to have drained from my body, I'm already learning a lot about the hideous, murky depths of my own co-dependence. LAN line? Carrier pigeon? Watching bootlegs of Pippin on youtube and eating icecream for dinner and just keeping my mind off of it? I may have a hard row to ho.


Medicine Object and Other Practical Uses for Sleeping Bags

I left the sleeping bag from my childhood in NY when I visited Cassie there in 2007, and she dragged it with her to the Graham Ave apartment where it stays (though she didn't). During my visit in early June, David confirmed that it's still there. He didn't offer it to me, and I didn't ask for it back. I took this as a mutual understanding about the absurd superstition surrounding it-- that it's supposed to be there, somehow-- like I left it in 2007 so that he could sleep in it in 2009 and I could ask about it in 2012, and that perhaps its full power has not yet been revealed to us. Any disturbance of its sacred placement might drastically alter 2014. Or maybe they use the sleeping bag sometimes. Or maybe I just didn't want to take it on the plane. Or maybe I've read one too many novels about Beverly Hills art dealers flying up to Canada to become the unwitting apprentice of an elderly shaman. But because he didn't offer, because I didn't ask, because I'm hell bent on observing some quasi religious "feeling" I have, and most importantly, because I have a camping trip coming up, James and I went to Big 5 to get a new sleeping bag. Its brown and lined with navy blue and white plaid flannel and that's all I have to say about it, so far.


Brain Withering on The Vine at Summer Job

That period of unemployment was all too brief. I write to you from the trenches at my latest temp station, where I have very little to do and almost zero human contact. Some of my tasks, such as unstapling stacks of surveys for two straight weeks alone in a room, might just as easily be performed by a student worker, prisoners in deep isolation, or a jar of mayonnaise hooked up to a keyboard. This has been good practice for when James leaves for Humboldt State at the end of the month-- I've already learned how horrible it feels to be alone, so it should be a smooth transition from alone 8 hours a day to alone 24 hours a day. I've jumped headfirst into all my lonely-time activities, with positive results. Constantly streaming NPR at work just to hear human voices has made me aware of current events for possibly the first time. I now have time to catch up with long lost friends via g-chat and facebook-- so great to finally be back in touch with the weird girl from high school and the guy who refused to dance with me at the 8th grade cotillion! Best of all, since my tasks require no brain power, I can use all that otherwise unstimulated gray matter to dream up situations that are more appealing. Meanwhile, my pleasant phone demeanor and uncanny tolerance for customer service are atrophying from disuse. Can't wait to be on to the next. Now accepting: advice.


Ever Shifting Tides

If you've been following this blog, you'll notice a pattern of unemployment beginning in May and ending in September for the last 3 years or so. This summer is no different. I recently had to leave the only job I've ever loved, but such is the nature of the UC Davis Temp Pool, with its ever shifting tides. Initially, temping seemed ideal because I've hated every job that came before this one, and I thought "Cool, I'll only be there a finite amount of time." I had not counted on liking the job, and did not, in fact, know it was possible. Also, I had planned to follow my boyfriend to his next destination of choice-- another easy-to-follow life pattern if you'd been following the blog. I am going to stay. Or, at least, I am not going to "go with." I am going to spend this time apart "focusing on me." I'm already nauseated from the terror.


Seeing Attle

At a recent family gathering, my uncle Ron asked me what I'd been up to lately. "Well, I went to Seattle," I replied.
My grandpa chimed in, "How is Attle? You said you went to see him." Like Papa, many of you (ok, just one of you) are (is) clamoring for the details surrounding my trip to see Attle. As the dutiful blogger I am, I shall oblige.

It should be mentioned that the entire reason for this trip to the Pacific Northwest involved the 2+ years of gentle prodding from Amanda. Click on her name for a more accurate view of Seattle life, including pictures. When my tax return landed in my bank account with a happy jingle jangle I thought it was high time to pay my friend of 16 years a visit in her adopted city.

It should also be mentioned that night before my flight, I cut off all of James' luxurious curls like a wicked Delilah, then left, softly, while he slept, for the airport.

The flight passed without incident, and armed with a couple of detailed emails vis a vis smartphone from Amanda and my familiar leather weekend bag, I attempted to get myself to her apartment. She told me to take a cab, so of course instead I took light rail (which was pleasant) to downtown (which was not). Toothless people in wet fecal sweatpants lurched down the avenue; I guess all downtowns are the same. Wanting to end a conversation swiftly heading south with some kind of armed bus stop guard, I hopped on a bus that said "Queen Anne" but was, evidently, not the Queen Anne bus I wanted exactly because I had to get out and walk up some hills. "I told you to take cab," said Amanda. It was ok, because the bus was clean and and it seemed to run on the honor system, or at least the bus driver didn't make me pay because I didn't have exact change, and the hills were dotted with charming homes and greenery and coffee houses and through the parting clouds I could see the whole Sound and the Space Needle that Frasier lives in. It was like everything I liked about San Francisco with nothing that I didn't... so I guess like a big wet Berkeley.

Amanda took me on the grand tour, driving me through every neighborhood of note. She took me to places that she knew would appeal to me-- weekend antique markets, shops filled hand-made shoes and Portuguese leather doo-dads and little tucked away restaurants with walls of reclaimed driftwood, drinks last in vogue in the 1920s, and small plates of morsels so exquisite, so earthy, and so local, we didn't even know what they were. We had our waitress select menu items that fit within the parameters of both of our diets-- one vegetarian and one gluten free-- white girls on holiday!-- and admired the bearded gentlemen as they wafted by like peacocks in their lumberjack attire. "Ah" we mused, "ain't life grand?" Well, maybe we mused that. Maybe we were drunk and just spent 100 dollars. Later, as I strolled through the heavily forested University of Washington campus, having a pleasant Santa Cruz deja vu with the rain beading off of my borrowed REI jacket, I thought, "Maybe I can just get used to being wet all the time." Maybe.


Guest Bloggers

Many people who are better at the ol' internet game than I am will sometimes have a guest blogger, or will guest blog on a similarly popular friend's site. Are they friends IRL or just on the internet? Does it matter? Well I don't think my relative obscurity should force me to miss out on the fun of flaunting my friendships, both real and fake. Consider this an open call to anyone who wants to guest blog here at The Wichita Lineman. Of course, I have some deep seated control issues that ordinarily I wouldn't even acknowledge, and so you may choose from the topics I've generated:

-my boyfriend "diagnosed" me with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

Great! I anticipate your submissions.


Losin it

I think I've lost access to some of my "inner tools." For instance, what's become of my intuition, that inner voice that cuts through all the fat and rises bell-like above the din to provide clear guidance? Lately, I hear so many voices that they drown out whatever pathetic squeak is left of my intuition. I am unable to move forward with any impulses or ideas, because I've come to mistrust my own motives.
Previously, I have found that reflecting on my dreams was a useful tool in illuminating the basic hopes and fears I'd hide from myself in waking life. After awhile, I felt interpreting a dream was easy, and the symbolism nakedly obvious. But now my dreams have taken a strange and indecipherable turn. On a Sunday night I dreamt in grave detail of a man I'd never seen and on the following Wednesday, to my astonishment, he walked into the clinic where I work. I quietly, discreetly flipped out. Another night, I dreamt only one name over and over: Pena Branca. After doing the best I could with some truly horrific Alta Vista Babel Fish translations of Portuguese websites, I deduced that he was a Brazilian indian chief at the time of early Portuguese settlement, and possibly also a spiritual figure. The name could mean white sorrow, white rock, or white feather but means absolutely nothing to me. I don't understand why my subconscious now points me towards foreign wikipedia submissions and previously unknown UC Davis employees, but I'm finding this new mode less personally useful than the old days of bland-but-meaningful symbolism. Where's a good old gut feeling when I need it?

2/3/12 edit:
Of course, I could have just been thinking about this tumblr all night long, which, given the content, might make it an even more spiritual experience. or just a sign that the rampant internet use really is rotting my brain


Little Things

How many books have I read in hopes of learning, once and for all, how to find the zen in my everyday routine? Too many. How many times have I written or said aloud that it's "the little things in life I most enjoy."? Lies! Although, it would be worth my while to appreciate the everyday more, as "everyday" stretches dully before me like a road trip through Kansas. These days I might say, "I'm doing things that my coworkers like to do so that we can talk about it later, at work," or "I tried a new recipe and this one doesn't have yogurt," or "I started drinking a non caffeinated beverage that convincingly mimics the caffeinated beverage it is designed to replace." These conversation starters (enders?) are accurate reflections of the dullness that has spread through my life like a malignancy. My life has been boring for so long, I would think I might be used to it by now. Even when I look back on times that I considered to be exciting, like my freshman year at college, a good percentage of the so-called excitement came from pre-planned "antics" at the dining hall and getting to run errands without my mom. Things aren't actually bad. The trick is to recognize that boring can be good, and recognize it before I take a wrecking ball to all of my hard-won comforts in a misguided effort to pepper my life with "excitement." I know my own patterns well enough to know that after enough time has gone by, I'll look back on this time with bittersweet longing-- this time when I lamented my boredom. I'll think it was a time of simple pleasures--and isn't it the little things in life I most enjoy?