Color Me Bad.

So some of you may know or have read of my newfound superstition regarding my chosen colors of nail polish. I'm now over two months completely off black, and after experimenting with every color in the rainbow (save purple, I hate purple), I think I may be that much closer to picking a favorite.

Let's recap, shall we?

Pink. Hot Pink.
I love hot pink. Walls, roses, and of course, nail polish. The one I have is shockingly bright yet dark--more like hot raspberry. It's Awesome. I put this one on within a week or so of kicking Chase out of my apartment, and since then this color has stood for my independence, for pounding concrete, for being single. For flirting and fun and for daydreaming of pretty boys and girls. It hasn't yet let me down.

Lime Green.
It had just started to warm up in the city, I was just starting back at Gallery, and I was thinking often of the boy who I went out with a couple of times and realized I wouldn't be able to handle for a while. This was when lime green came into my life and made me see that I had some serious work to do. Lime green is for lists, calendars, schedules, and for putting yourself ahead of any [potential] partner.

Kelly Green.
I was starting to feel much better by the end of March. I had started gaining some weight and had had enough weeks of my heavy and hectic schedule under my belt to know how to handle it. I bought this color to wear at a small dinner party I threw at my apartment. Attendees? San Franciscan's Bianca and Sally, Miamian Rob, neighbor/coworker/partner-in-crime Amber, and Keil who I had not seen in six weeks. This color...wow. Really, this one is one of my faves. For reconnecting, for maintaining, for old and new times and for unrestrained laughter. I wore this to Philly and PA as well, so maybe it's also for new tattoos.

Yellow is for nothing but to sort my shit. I put on this color and went through all my paperwork, paid all my bills, changed several numbers in my phone to Do NOT Answer, Never in a Million Years, and No, Miranda, No. Yellow left me surrounded with nothing in the inboxes but pure, guiltless pleasure.

This one got purchased along with razors, bikini wax, face masks and moisturizers, eybrow gel, and nail polish remover. This color was part of a pre-planning-to-be-naked ubergroom that was seriously one of my all time faves. A good ubergroom is restorative, you know? In fact, I may do that tonight. Turquoise, as I mentioned on Facebook that day, is for "perfect sunny weather, lazy shifts, bacchanalia, and the company of handsome men," and garnered me the compliment: "hot pedicure." 

Ahh, orange. I picked this one up in my hometown, put it on, and then wrote an Open Letter to my favorite ex. He was in my bed the morning that I bought it, and I needed something...palate cleansing. It didn't exactly work. I was in his bed by Monday night, and in his car on Tuesday morning, and at the airport shortly after. Let's call orange...nostalgic. In a calculated way. Orange is for goodbyes and long lost loves and old best friends and unbroken promises.

Dark Red.
I needed to think. To figure out what I was capable of. Dark red did that, it made me realize exactly what I wanted. Maybe it made things too clear. I put this on and I gambled. And then I lost. Dark red is for when you need the balls to take a risk.

Grey isn't exactly black, and yet it's not exactly not black, and maybe that's why I put it on before my Pink Weekend Bender and proceeded to lose my fucking mind. But, in my defense, I planned on going a little nuts last weekend, but I didn't plan on making the exact same mistake I made with black toes. Oh well. Grey is for...new beginnings that can't start any way but with a bang.

But now?

Now it's summer! It's officially summer and most days are beautiful. I am struck by the sky everyday, I leave the house without a jacket and dance until dawn. I am single and free...

...and I am Red.
I am bright candy-apple red. I am gingham dress on the Boston Bridge red. I am bright capital letter M on my wall red. I'm ready to start over red, I'm Salt Water Sandals red, I'm fruit of knowledge red, I'm Wheedle on the Needle red, I'm 99 balloons red and I'm genius waitress Ellen Cherry-Charles' hair red. Red is for summer! It's classic and perfect and shiny, and I can't wait to see it's returns.

Until then.


I'm just a girl, standing in front of a microwave, waiting for my Hot Pocket to be done.

Amber and I have been cracking up over Marla, the OK Cupid Psycho, for weeks now. If you haven't done yourself the favor, head over to Other Nick the Writer's site and check it out.

The replies Marla gets seem ridiculous, but dudes: have you ever made an OK Cupid account? I have one, and I am telling you, there are some fucking weirdos out there. 

Today I checked my email to find that I had received a particularly funny message, so I texted Amber about it from Silent Haunted Penthouse.

M: "HAHAHA here's a message I just got on OKC: "Helo sweaty Dinner. Yes See, this is why I don't delete mine. This shit is fucking priceless."

A: "Wow! That's SO hopeless. Poor dude."

Poor dude, indeed. But I thought I might take the time to relate some of the funnier messages I have ever received on OKC. They are copied and pasted in their entireties without any changes to spelling or punctuation. Keep in mind these were all completely unsolicited, and were intended, I guess, to spark my interest enough to reply. Which I didn't. To any of them. Enjoy.

"I five you very interesting are you spiritual"
Seriously? This is literally a question you answer on your profile. And no. I'm obviously not.

"is everyone bisexual these days?"
Yes. Everyone is bisexual. Including the Pope, The President, and Charlton Heston. C'mon, dude.

"you seems very interesting and fun. id like to chat with you if your also interested. so you have traveled and moved alto. where are you from?"
I generally like to chat with people who have a better command of English.

"sexy as hell!"

"hi youuuuuuuu"

"aaah pajama pants. im really hoping this painting career takes off so they can officially be my work clothes"
I love my PJ's as much as the next creative who's chosen poison requires solitude, but it's not really a selling point. I usually lead with something like, "I have two jobs" not like, "I wish I never had to get out of bed." Full disclosure, I'm typing this while wearing a Juicy Couture tracksuit. You got me.

"U r very beautiful I like ur profile. If u like mine? Message me back"

"Nothing sexier than a girl with knee-high sox on and nothing else!"

Oh, the one I texted Amber about a few days ago?
"Great pics! Pretty feet!"

One was so fucking stupid I couldn't help but reply:
"Do you find me sick or sexy?"
"Neither. You found me."
"Do I know you??"

And he never will.


p.s.--I have tried over and over to put more comprehensive stories together of my drunken Pink Weekend, but it's just not translating well into print. Will I tell them? I'd be happy to. In person. Over pink champagne. --M

6.26 edit:

"You live in a railroad? like a train car?"


Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but let's fuck in the back of this pedi-cab in the middle of Times Square, maybe?

Three hundred.

That's how much I set aside for an old-fashioned San Francisco style weekend bender. I'm about two thirds of the way through it, so I guess I'm coming in right on budget.

But can you really put a price on no-holds-barred debauchery?

Well, yes. I guess.

$20--This is how much an all you can drink wrist band cost me after work on Friday night. At a bar that sports a mechanical bull. Not that I really remember, but I think I got seven or eight whiskey sodas in the two hour window allotted.

$2--This is how much I tipped the hot pedi-cab driver when he offered me a free ride through midtown to my train stop. It is laughable to me now that I thought I would actually just go home, at midnight, in perfect Cindarella-esque fashion.

$0--This is how much I spent bar hopping the rest of the night. I never do this, and I'm mildly ashamed at myself for letting it happen, but I actually let someone else pay for everything. Although I'm not entirely sure how many bars we went to I think it was at least four, and I have a vague recollection of eating Turkish street food. I think it was good.

$7--This is how much my fast-food breakfast cost me when I finally rolled back into my neighborhood at seven or eight in the morning.

$12--This is how much a pint of Strongbow's and a glass of white wine for Sally costs at Iona in Williamsburg. You can multiply that by three. I think.

$20--This is how much two shots of Fernet, two ginger backs, and two Budweisers costs at Good Co., also in Williamsburg. Fernet! Can you believe it? As former Lower Haighters, Sally and I were ecstatic that they actually had it.

$60--This is how much it costs to treat Noah and myself to beers, chocolate, more beers, bananas, and more and more beers. Actually, you can prolly round that up to about $80. It has just occurred to me that I still have that chocolate. Hold on, let me go get that.

Damn, this chocolate is amazing.

$0--This is how much it costs to make coffee for Noah and I this morning to thank him for filling the hole in my bed and rubbing my back and telling me it's going to be okay.

I wonder how that can be true when I still have another night of this.


p.s.--Yes. I really did do that. If you have never been, know that Times Square is easily ten times as bright as it seems in movies and that it is nearly impossible to notice the sun rising when you are in the middle of it.

[Late night edit: I tried and failed to finish my bender. Had to call it quits after writing this post. I retired to my bed for Indian food, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, and lots and lots of water. But it's cool, we had a good run, didn't we? And I believe him now. Tomorrow I will leave gallery and go into studio, and Noah will be there with a "Hey, buddy" and a smile, and I'll tell him, yes. Yes with a hard period at the end. I'm gonna be okay.]


Girl on Girl: Post All Nighter Text Messaging.

M: I just found this on my mirror and now I want to die.

A: Oh no! :((((((

M: I hate myself for this, I feel like a tool. If I wasn't so fucking hungover I'd work on a project to get my mind off it, LOL.

A: Why do you feel like a tool?

M: Because I'm all vagina-y and sad.

A: :(((((

M: And this guy on OKC said I had pretty feet. Eeeeewwww.

A: Hahahahahaha return of the foot fetish boys.

M: That sounds like a book, LOL.

A: The scariest RL Stine-esque novel you will ever read *shudders*

A: We talk like boys, all we need are beers and farting contests and BOOM, masculinity secured.

M: HAHAHA. Tru dat.

M: Except that I'm just a girl, standing in front of a microwave, waiting for this hot pocket to be done.

A: lollllll

M: This shit is hilarious. I'm posting it.



The Talk Part 2: "Goodbye, love."

I just deleted about a thousand words, and I'm better off for it.

I did it because it's actually pretty simple for me.

I can't let you fuck me while you actively try to replace me.

And I wish I could.


The Talk Part 1: An Open Letter to the Boy Who Has Never Received an Open Letter.

This isn't how I had planned things.

Had you asked me in January how I thought things would shake down, my current life would have been my last possible guess. Of course, you didn't know me back then.

That, I think, is the weirdest part; you didn't know me back then, and it wasn't even that long ago, and when I'm around you I forget how I felt over the winter and I feel like spring started the moment I laid eyes on you. I say that like I am seeing that night in my minds eye and noting how my life has changed with you in it, and that isn't inaccurate, but it's not really the whole truth either. What I really mean is that it was right then--you stepping up to me at the bar, the exchange of names, when we took a table--that I knew that you would change all of my plans.

And those plans! I planned on holding on to my sure-thing backburner in my hometown while parading a string of pretty boys and girls through my bed here in Brooklyn. I planned on doing that for quite a long period of time. I planned on ignoring all the butterflies you created in my stomach when I so much as thought of you and I definitely never saw myself laying nude in your bed in your tiny room and confessing to you that I love you.

Note that it is only the confession I didn't plan for.

I knew. I've known it was going to happen for a while, and honestly I've hated waiting for it every day because I just wanted to get it over with. I know what it feels like because I've been there before--that day when the realization hits you like a shock wave and makes your breath and words catch in your throat--and it's so fucking painful knowing that this could potentially go very poorly and, well, be so very fucking public.

I've hid this for a few weeks now, not just from you but from everyone and I hate myself for it. I told you I lied to you because I had, and maybe you think it not so bad of an offense but I am ashamed of myself for this. I'm ashamed because maybe I thought I had something to prove and losing you for this reason wouldn't accomplish that and confessions of this sort can be incredibly divisive. Now it's out there, and I know it's wrong but I want to snatch it back and I can't. I couldn't stand keeping it a secret, and I can't stand everyone knowing, and now I fear that I wont be able to handle everyone watching me unravel this.

But you. I like you just the way you are, so how could I possibly fault you for the choices you make?

I'm ready for this to feel however it will feel in the end.

So please. For me. Make your choices honestly.



"In the beginning, there was a thing..."

"...and then one thing led to another."
--Tom Robbins

A list, I believe, is in order. It is the only thing I think I can manage to put together right now.

1. Ever since I got off the plane, I have been feeling like shit. I should have gone to Miami.

2. Seriously, though. My whole body hurts, all the time, every day. My joints are creaking and aching, I'm having a hard time getting through my shifts everyday. There are so many pills in my bag. I wish that they were chewable.

3.  In the morning, when I first wake up, there are a few moments when I'm still so still and maybe still a little asleep and I can't yet feel what my body is feeling and I forget that I was ever in pain. It's my kidneys that I feel first and I remember that they are swollen, and then I'll turn over a bit and every muscle I have starts chiming in their complaints like dominos, from tip to tail. Those first few seconds of the day; those are my favorite.

4.  Okay, in all seriousness, It should be hot here by now. I know, I know. You hate the heat, the humidity, right? Everyone does except me. When it's pushing a hundred degrees out my whole body unlocks itself and I finally feel normal. 

5. And finally, quit looking at me fucking cock-eyed when I tell you that my cousin is sick. Stop giving me that "Oh, it's just your cousin," look when I tell you that I am worried and upset. You have lots of cousins, huge families. Your families don't beat each other or hate gay people or hate their youngest daughters. Your families tell you you can do it when you feel like you can't, they pick you up from the hospital after your surgeries, they come visit you where you live. Your families have Dads that you spent last Sunday with, who, when you were young, taught you how to read and tie your shoes and toss a ball. Your families have huge houses in the forest that you can always go home to no matter how bad you fuck up or get fucked up and they support you in every little thing you do. I can count on one hand how many people I have like this and I have fingers left over. So please, I am happy for you, and sometimes I am even insanely jealous, but don't discount what I have because it doesn't look like what you're used to. Please. I'm too fragile right now.



The Purge Part 10: These Things. These Things That Define Us.

This is a post about purging the physical "things" in our lives that we have no use for.

In PA a few Sundays ago, Keil asked me what my favorite places are.

"You mean like...places. On a map? Like cities? Or like places, like..."
"Yeah, like places."

This conversation is obviously not translating well into print, but let's all just keep with us the understanding that I somehow, from this, garnered what he meant.

"In my hometown, there's a coffee shop on a corner, a couple blocks from the high school I went to. It's two stories, and has floor to ceiling factory windows on two sides. Upstairs, by the far wall directly across the stairwell, there is a particular table. The second one from the left. I've always done my best work there. Seated at that table."

That was just the first one. I thought about it a bit and returned a few more. The art section at Powell's Books, Portland, Oregon. The beach at Salt Creek outside of Port Angeles, Washington. A very early morning stroll through Chinatown, San Francisco, California. The drive from Key Biscayne to Key West, Florida. A bar in Venice that served me my first Imperial Pint. Fucking Molotov's on Haight for crissakes. The Duck. Whiskey Thieves. The Abbey in Miami. Eating snails on Espanola Way. Boston Commons. The big ass Montana sky. The continental divide. The Milky Way sprawled high above Carson City, Nevada.

These are the things that I love collecting.

The things that I hate collecting? The piles of useless shit that sits around my apartment, a lot of which isn't even mine.

It's hard to be me sometimes. It's hard to be me a lot of the time. Most weekdays I work about eleven hours, on a good day only 9 or 10. Then Saturdays usually find me trying to swing another six or eight hours just for good measure. Sometimes Sundays I'll do the same. Do I need to work so much? Financially, I mean? No. I don't. But it's that fear--that latent fear that something will happen and I'll need a few hundred or a few thousand dollars--that keeps me rising in the morning, punching the clock, crying on the train on my way home because my whole body hurts so, so bad. The fear is somewhat rational, bad things happen and they've happened to me before, and I'm way too fragile to be caught off guard. And so I hoard money, feel guilty when I spend it, and refuse to pay more than five or six dollars for a bottle of champagne.

Among other things, this lifestyle leaves me swilling pretty bad sparkling, but it's not so bad. My bed makes even the cheapest champagnes that much better, and the now twice weekly dinners of strawberries and pink champagne consumed in recline while I paint my toes have become my favorite parts of my week. It's better than laying awake and watching my muscles, particularly those in my legs, twitch uncontrollably until two or three in the morning.

I'm just so tired. I'm tired all the time but especially this week, and my apartment is so messy that I fell asleep last night and dreamed that I was cleaning it and woke up disappointed that my floor wasn't mopped. And all of this stuff! Look at all this shit--I have no idea how I sold almost everything I owned when I left Seattle and yet somehow ended up with more stuff than I've ever had shy of two years later.

So it's finally going.

There are boxes and bags of notebooks and garbage and old scratched CD's and albums that had lived under my bed until I finally dragged them out last week, threw it all into trash bags, and tossed it away. There are all my old clothes that sit around in too-big piles of too-big stuff, and those too got bagged up and let go. You know I have an entire PA system? That sits on a shelf unused? That space is now being used by all my sewing and painting paraphernalia, and the equipment will be leaving me as soon as someone can pick it up.

And then there's my bed. My outrageously comfortable pillowtop bed set in it's bright red frame--I love my bed. and when I'm so tired that I can barely manage to throw away my ex's garbage I curl up in my soft sheets in my soft bed and drink soft pink champagne and paint my toenails pink and for a few minutes everything seems okay. But my bed is not okay; it's not okay for building new relationships in or even for hosting hoards of various trolling pretty boys and girls. NO! For these pursuits, we must have a new one, one without history, and a bigger one at that so that everything I love will fit squarely inside of it all at once.

Hmm. Is that all? No, actually. There are some more things I just can't wait to get rid of.

The thousands of emails in my inbox[es]. A few inches of my hair. My glasses. My phone for fucks sake, because I hate it. I want to purge all the shit that made old me and get all new shit for all new me.

Not that I need new things to define me, I don't. Those types of definitions don't lie in my stuff, but rather in the things that I do, the promises that I keep, and the places I frequent.

In my hometown, where I just was recently, there is a coffee shop. It sits on a corner and has two stories of factory windows on two sides. And they're tearing it down next year.

Two Sundays ago I was there and I held my little coffee and I climbed the stairs in the rear and looked out through those huge factory windows into the face of Downtown Seattle. As aggravating as my hometown can be, that place made me! It's what keeps me from throwing glass bottles in the trash and makes me wait at the crosswalk for the light to change and is why I put tartar sauce on my french fries. But can't I be shaped by an active hand too?

Where will I work best when they tear down the Melrose Building?

I want to collect new places and cultivate new traditions. I don't want to fear the things I used to and I want to travel lighter. I want to be more emotionally responsible even to those who are seemingly fleeting, because as it was recently pointed out to me, boy toys are people too

I'm finally getting into see the rhematologist in a couple of weeks, and I'm ready. The last few things that have been holding me back will be long gone. With everything sufficiently purged that needs purging, I can focus on my treatments and make an earnest attempt to get well.

Then you will find me; there in my giant, new bed in my too big apartment surrounded by my laptop and champagne and oh-so-many colors of nail polish and a pretty, witty boy, and probably his laptop, too.

And you will find me happy.




It's the rumors. The rumors I remember.

In 5th grade, it was Ross Morgan-Linial, wasn't it? He was the one accused, I believe, of breaking into government files from the back of Mrs. Tegenfeldt's class with a 28K dial-up running Prodigy.

When Beth Steinke came to our school, still then named Samantha Costantini, everyone said that she was named Samantha but went by Beth because she was in the witness protection program. I heard at least five different stories as to why she supposedly required government protection, but my favorite was the one about her family being involved in the Maffia.

They said Travis Duty tried to kill himself after Miranda Lyons died in a car crash over Christmas break in 4th grade.

How did we even believe that Leslie Azoze was pregnant with twins, or triplets was it?

I tried to keep it a secret that Julie Shapiro repeated the 4th grade. Actually, that one is definitely true, and I'm not confident that it was ever a rumor, but I can tell you that I saw her side-boob through the sleeve of her muscle sweatshirt one day in Mr. Hathaway's class.

We were so used to being right, to knowing all the answers, that the real and the rumored tended to blur together. You know? Like if Yuko Inoue tutored you in long division one day, offered you an octopus tentacle the next (I was six, and, memory serving, was the only one who ate it and liked it), and then on the third day told you she had heard that a classmate of yours had a terminal disease (he didn't, and no, it wasn't AIDS), you'd tend to believe her. I mean, she was right about the division and the octopus, right?

We were so competitive, too. You have no idea. It was, admittedly, Meg van Huygen who cheated one day on our Math-a-Minute, a timed worksheet that started our math lesson everyday in first grade. She filled it out before start was called making it seem as if she effectively did 10 multiplication problems in somewhere around 25 seconds. Are any of us even capable of that now? I wish I could get my hands on some of those, those math worksheets from Mrs. Tisdale's class, just to see. Just to see how hard it would be now, how smart we were then. You see, we were child geniuses. And as we just found out, that genius was arguably not overrated.

It was about a year ago when Isaac Frost found me on Facebook. It seemed so inane at the time; just one of those long lost friends that finds you on the internet, I tagged in Meg just for fun, thought the three of us would triangulate an internet laugh or two from our perches in the Northwest, Northeast, and Mexico. It was funny. And then Isaac thought a few more people would think it was funny. Then it seemed like only a few minutes had passed and there were a couple hundred of us chiming in, reconnecting, sharing our memories verging from the scant to the elaborate. We went to Elementary School together, and now for one night we are in one room, and lord do we remember.

The time Crystal Sison slapped her boyfriend in the hallway in 6th--or was it 7th grade? And we thought slapping was some sort of fad that we all must ascribe to.

The four units we had about the Renaissance to the loss of learning any American history.

When Willie Braden finally kissed Natalie Moore.

Francis Yoshida's propensity for wearing shorts. Everyday. Even in the snow. Severely short shorts at that, and the nickname he garnered from this activity from Mrs. Jackson: "Short Shorts". The nickname Willie Braden got from Mrs. Jackson: "Short Shorts' Friend".

Koosh balls.





That time Lauren Kehl cracked her head open on the playground.

The Mt. St. Helens trip, and for a select few of us, the 12 passenger van that we rode in there and back.

There are the proprietary memories like everyone's individual last memory of Ventnor before he jumped off a bridge on Easter Sunday in the 11th grade, and there were shared memories like when everyone got snowed in at school in 5th grade right before Christmas break and slept in the cafeteria and the gym on the floor. We similarly all remember where we were when Kurt Cobain died.

The teachers we remember too, and we, in our old age, call them like football players and remove the prefix of their last name. Alsdorf. Raymer. Daniels. We group each other by teachers, we still remember who we had class with. We remember our cliques: The Best Friends Club, The Sleepover Friends, and of course those indivisible groups of boys that obviously didn't name themselves.

And now? We apparently fall right back into those cliques or never left them. Crystal and Young. Willie, who is actually Will now, Francis who now goes by Frank, and Gary. Meg and Jono. Well, back then it was actually Meg, Jono, and I.

But I love us! I can't believe how much I love us now; we have kids and write plays and are doctors both medical and professional, and we are still so rip fucking smart that it's crazy. All of us. Even those of us that make cat videos and write about vaginas. Edwin Dizon, always known for having a head for maths, obviously went into finance. I say obviously because that's what one might assume that he'd be doing now, but he's not. He's an accountant for a dairy, which means seemingly nothing until you realize how big the dairy industry is in Washington State (it's huge, as is Edwin's company). But that's so us--it makes perfect sense to me because we've all been there at least once--when you are forced to realize that your ethics are forcing your giant brain to make choices that your bank account hates. Look, I'm not 100% sure, but I can say fairly confidently that no one ever told us this would happen.

We aren't exactly Gen X and we're not Gen Y, we went through our adolescence with the Clinton Administration and Local Post-Grunge Power-Pop and we all got into our choice of schools and we thought it was never going to end. But it did, and there was a long, long war, and here we are now sipping beers and trading the few secrets we've learned as adults, hoping that maybe this year will be different; maybe we can command the attention we used to, shape the world as we see fit.

I want to tell them everything, I want them to know how beautiful the plains are in Wyoming. I want them to know what it's like to stand in the Sears Tower and feel like you're on the roof of the midwest. I want them to walk the streets of Manhattan with me and be unafraid, to ride the trains black in Europe and to know that this means you didn't pay. To hide from the conductors who will invariably try and deport you. I want them to know that Key Limes are yellow! They are! And when it's just that time they hang heavy from boughs of waxy leaves in the harsh light, and the air smells like salt and exhaust and I tell them no, don't ever rent a scooter in Key West. And I want all the time in the world for them to tell me how much it hurt when they had their children, and I want to meet their husbands and wives and cradle their faces in my hands. But we have this night, and so we try our best to dispel the rumors.

No, Willie didn't run off to Bellingham with Lauren Rogers, and that beret he was seen wearing was a costume.

No, Jono didn't actually come out until, what...Senior year? I was the one who came out Freshman year. But yes, he did make out with Ryan Mooney at a party the summer of 1998.

And yes, I applied for my scholarship to high school on somewhat of a fluke, and only because Meg was going to go there. I didn't think I'd actually win, and I definitely didn't think I'd go even though Meg didn't. But I went. I spent from 5 to 13 with these people, and left them on little more than a whim. And this was the very same school that I walked out of toward the end of my Junior year without even finishing the day, and the following fall found me in College.

I have told this to tons of friends over the years, that I started College when I was 16, and people find this unthinkable. I try and explain--it's not like I did it because it was good for me, this is how I rebelled. I did it because the utility of high school was exhausting and I didn't want to do it anymore. People think this is crazy, but it's not. In this room there are a bunch of us that did it, who skipped one or more years of high school, and few of us did it for the right reasons. Here, we are understood. Willie was one of us.

"I should have stayed. I should have stayed and finished my Senior year. I could have gone to any school. I mean, I had near perfect SAT's, near perfect grades. I was a varsity soccer player. I would have been set. Why didn't I listen to my parents? They're both Fulbright Scholars. They have PHD's. I don't know why I thought I knew better." Just to be clear, so you can better understand us, so you can better gauge the type of opportunities to which we thought we would be entitled, Willie studied at Oxford. As he was always rumored to be the class clown, and arguably was, I chose to first tell him something funny--how he was lucky because I went to art school, and he has no idea how dumb art students are. Then I tell him, in all seriousness, that he can do all of that now.

And we can. Few are as lucky as us, to be able to look at the world and see it as a series of choices. We are so good at so many things that we can choose between them, we can convince people of what we do and do not deserve. We can leave one career and begin another. We can go to grad school in our thirties. We can start our own businesses and be our own bosses. We can have kids. We can pack a duffel bag of gloves and scarves and stow it in the belly of a dirty bus in Virginia, and we can arrive at the Port Authority on 42nd street with a whole new life. I know we can do this because I have, and I tell him, that should he chose it, he can too. We all can.

I mean, look at us! We're just the same. We're older, yes. But look! There's Danielle and Ian, arriving together, just like you might have thought they'd do at a party in high school. And Frank, I swear to god, he's wearing shorts. They're longer these days, though. And then there is everyone who isn't there, and we, together, do the same thing we always did: we churn the rumor mill together for the first time in 15 years.

We hear that Lauren Rogers is traveling the world working on a post doctorate fellowship using Oslo as a home base. We are insanely jealous of this.

We argue over whether Isaac Frost was ever legally married and decide, without him, that he was and to whom.

We wish Fritz Schoughlin was there and have some scant conversation surrounding if he is, in fact, cool now (I argued, yes).

Everyone wonders what happened to Caleb Boots and I tell them that he lives in the Tri-Cities and has two kids, and yes, they are blonde. And everyone is silent while I relate this rumor, and I mean yeah. Am I positive that it's true? No. But it's true enough, and right now, that's what counts. Because we went to elementary school together, and this is what we do. This is the one arena where we don't have to be exactly correct, and we revel in that, like we always have.

It's hard sometimes, and we know it. It's hard to look at the whole world and know with such certainty when people make mistakes and know exactly how to correct it and know that there's little that we can actually do. There are burdens that come with being right, but when we're together all of that seems to fade away and in this room there are a handful of things that we can take for granted that we agree on: that humans and apes share a common ancestor, the difference between 'there' and 'their' and 'your' and 'you're', and that there are absolutely and unequivocally only eight planets. The corporality of Christ. That Al Gore won the 2000 election. That climate change is happening. We don't have to debate these things with each other because we are us, and we are home, and it is raining like always, and all of our shiny faces are all just the same.

But then again, rumor has it that I've been away, that I couldn't possibly be the judge of all of this.

And I can't really tell you if that rumor is true.



An Open Letter to the Boy for Whom I've Already Once Written an Open Letter.


I can't believe I'm in my hometown, and I can't believe I'm doing this again.

This time has been the longest time, hasn't it? Between our tet-a-tets I mean. It was maybe the week after labor day in 2008 the last time I donned all of my clothes and left your apartment in Georgetown. Okay, I stormed out of your apartment, and I remember saying "this isn't really worth my while if it isn't worth my while", then swinging a leg over the edge of your loft bed and very ungracefully lowering myself to the ground.

And do you remember that time I stormed out of your house in Columbia City? It must have been two or three in the morning, and I can't even remember my complaint that time but I'm sure it was something like it always is, and I threw all my shit in the back of my rental car and drove directly to Ben Harrison's house without blinking.

But it wasn't all just me getting pissed and running or crying or both--there were simple times too, like when we very first met when I was 24 or at 26 when we spent Labor Day weekend together. Even when things were complicated, you were always easy. Frustrating as all hell, but easy. And it's so weird, Wood. It's like everything that makes my life frenetic is silenced around you and as I've found out in the last couple of days, that is still true.

We're so old, Wood. Seriously, we weren't kids when we met and we're definitely not now, and everything I told you when I lectured you at breakfast the other day might just be the first time I've been right about where we should go from here.

But of course, I guess that's part of it too--that "we" are not a we, and we have known for a very long time that we simply aren't suited for that. Yet as easy as you are, this has always been particularly hard to remember.

But I remember now.

I will remember how your collarbone smells and the way your hair feels between my fingers, and I will, though you hate this, remember your eyes as green. I will remember all the times I had you on a few days lease and it was the last night you'd be in my bed or I in yours, and I will never, ever forget that I love you, and I guess that's why you got the lecture because I need you to be great, and I need us to be friends forever.

So please, to recap, find a nice girl. Find that girl that makes your life sit still for a few minutes while you admire her. Be attentive to her, seriously, and tell her everything you're thinking all the time. Make secrets with her, and don't tell them to your other friends. Give her an endearing nickname, and don't refer to her as "Woman", because she will hate it more than I do. And finally, call her your Girlfriend. No qualifiers, okay? Not "pink haired girlfriend" or "lesbian girlfriend" or even my now retired moniker: "San Francisco Girlfriend"-- just call her your Girlfriend. And tell her you love her everyday, to her face, and make both her and your Mother happy and give her a baby. You'd probably surprise yourself with your ability to be a good dad.

I want to tell you that you'll find this in Cali, but you wont. You love this place. If you leave you'll be back anyway, so you might as well find her here. She's here, Wood. I promise. But you wont find her on a barstool or on your Clubride or generally most anywhere that you frequent--so you're going to have to change, Wood. You need to do new things. But you knew that, you know that this can't work forever.

I believe you can do this. I will always help you if you need me to, so call me. Anytime, day or night. The thing I can't do anymore is stand in while you pretend that I'm her, because I'm definitely not. I never was.

But that's okay. Promise.


p.s.-- Get a real apartment.