this is going to be a long entry, but your name is probably in it, so you could save yourself the time and do a quick [cntrl + f] for yourself if you want.
today i walked down to the mall in d.c. (which, for you n00bs, is the strip of all the national monuments and free museums -- well, most of them, at least), where i decided to go to the national archives (declaration of independence what UP!? bill of rights in da HOUSE!! constitution holla BACK! you get the idea). i am very used to this "go to national museums in washington, d.c. alone" thing, as i did it two years ago during the journalism convention when i was (yes!) alone in washington, d.c. but i tend to get really introspective about the united states and then about humanity and then about the grand swells and realms of time. i do this thing where i look at a hand-written document and i try to picture the way the ink looked when it was wet; then i try to picture the pen; then i try to picture the hand of the person writing with the pen; pan out pan out pan out until you get to the milky way (i think). i thought about how desperate we are to remain unforgotten; to cling to our legacies; etc. i looked for the outlines around eyes in old photographs. i tried to prod around the parts of the stories that weren't being told.
so i was in that mood when i stepped out of the national gallery and headed back -- but first i happened upon one of those huge bicycles that you can put like six people on and everyone has to pedal and one guy steers. and the steering guy was maybe 25, and everyone else on the huge bicycle was probably 11. and then i was struck, very suddenly, with the reality that i was closer in age to the 25-year-old driver of the big bicycle -- who was convincingly egging these kids on by intentionally veering the bike this way and that and making amusing animal noises here and there -- than i was to the kids who shrieking in genuine delight. you'd think this would be obvious, but it wasn't: it was one of those annoying "growing up moments" where all you want to do is crawl in bed with comfort foods and wrap your arms around your mother while watching strawberry shortcake reruns.
i started thinking about the ben folds song "still fighting it," and i realized i hadn't heard it in a while. was it on my ipod shuffle? probably not. i certainly hadn't heard it during my 4-hour bus ride to d.c. last night. i thought about washington, d.c.: i place where i grew up. i wondered if i had ever seen the declaration of independence before today, and it made me sad that i couldn't remember. i turned on my ipod to drown out the overwhelming homesick childhood-sick feeling that was overcoming me and OF COURSE "still fighting it" eerily came on, just like that. during the first chorus i kind of lost it. that knot in my stomach just unwound and this flood of emotion i'd been holding back since i got to new york sort of came pouring out. i know that's dumb and i shouldn't fess up to it via livejournal, but it's necessary for me to add that as part of the build up. i started thinking (again) about growing up, and about how stupid i felt for being on the east coast, and how much i wanted to be home and with my family.
i felt like i was in the second grade. and then i thought about sitting on the deck swing with bonnie calhoun in the third grade, and we both had american girl magazine and i told her that our friendship was a thick rope that would never break. she smiled at me and she had orange gunk all over her teeth and i wondered if i should tell her. and then later that very day we got in a fight about something and she ended up on the floor of my bedroom, staring moodily and the carpet, eventually telling me that she was looking for shapes of the alphabet letters between the knots in the carpeting -- something i'd do later with the branches of winter trees.
i was suddenly overcome with a desperate need to never forget any of that -- or of any of my life. it is very selfish. i just don't want to forget anything about anything i've ever felt in my entire life. i don't know why i don't want to. there are definitely aspects of my life that are worth forgetting. but i don't want to forget any of it. at least now. until they invent some kind of way to teleport through time and revisit those moments in life that stay buried in pockets of the human memory, i don't want to forget. this is not just selfish: it's cliche. and it's one of those times that my mother would simply tell me to drink a shot of brandy and watch bill moyers with her. but my mom isn't here. in fact, i called her cell about forty times this afternoon (if this was a movie, which i was momentarily convinced it was when the ben folds song came on, my mom would have answered on my final try -- perhaps WHILE i was leaving the teary, scattered message on her machine. but it turns out this is not a movie and my mother, perpetually leaving her cell phone on silent, never did answer, and probably won't call me back until a very inopportune time this evening, and i won't call HER back until my bus ride back to new york, and then maybe i'll talk in a hushed tone to her for fifteen minutes about going to the archives and seeing the swallows in the trees outside the national gallery, trying not to disturb the sleeping chinese man next to me).
here are some things i thought about on my multi-mile walk home that i decided i did not want to forget.
the time in alex's basement after we went to value village and he bought the white jumpsuit and i bought the multi-colored men's trousers that i ended up cutting into a mini-skirt that, after my experience following one wear, turned out to be just a little too mini. his bed had one of those old woman-white throw blankets -- the heavy kind with tassles that make a nice whooshing sound if you get good air beneath them. he had teenage mutant ninja turtles under his bed. his mother still had all the christmas things out. i told him i loved him.
the time ben and i went to custer park in the summer, and he had a green slurpee and i was wearing the purple wrap skirt my grandmother bought me in the eighth grade when i was going through my skirt phase (also, by the way, my "very fat" stage). we went on the swings and i got the swing that was closer to the tree branches, so i could touch my toes to them and ben could not. then we sat in the shade and i took photographs and when i stood up to throw my cup away ben told me my ass looked nice in that skirt.
when i was in the sixth grade and joe sackett had a video camera because he wanted to be a director, and since i was his best friend at the time i always got to be the star in his movies. this one was a documentary and i always pretended i didn't know he was filming and i tried to do things that were very dramatic. i think that's what people on "the real world" must feel like all the time.
when we went to chauna cox's house to get the kitten. my mother wanted a girl kitten, but we ended up just getting the one we could catch because they were all running a muck in chauna's farm. we liked the kitten's brown fur, and alexis wanted hot chocolate, and it turned out the kitten WAS a girl after all and my mom did an embarrassing little leap because she was SO HAPPY.
the first time i hung out with laura and she told a story to me about her old friends from home who liked to say "mip" instead of "soup" and how laura felt that was annoying and i thought about how i would have thought that was cool in high school but not i thought it was annoying so i figured i had probably grown up a great deal. i felt embarrassed about the purse i was carrying because instead of having a purse laura had a tote bag and i thought purses were probably out of fashion because laura seemed to me to be the height of fashion. we saw "me and you and everyone we know" at fox tower and really awful man sat next to us and we hated him but we loved that we hated him and we talked loudly and i wanted to kiss laura on the lips more than anything in the entire world.
when eli and i sat on the top of the hill at wilson high school convinced that it was the gravest injustice of all injustices that he should ever have to go home at all. we watched the sunset. i remember, too, the time we went down to the bottom of that hill and i hadn't eaten in a week and eli could lift me up and twirl me around and i thought it was the most wonderful thing i'd felt in my whole life and i told him no one had done that since i was three, because i thought that's what the girl in the movie would say after that moment, and that's because she probably would.
the time ariana rampy and i sat by the walla walla creek and watched the water move under our feet and each ate an entire box of popsicles. the big, calorie-infused ones with the whole chunks of fruit inside.
the night i want to have hated with ian, when we went back to his home town in vancouver and met his uncle the blacksmith. that was the day i was really just a backdrop. ian revisited everything in his past that he didn't want to forget and i just watched the way he'd let go for a few moments and watch the life he left behind. the streets were full of dogwood trees and i loved driving my car in those days. i learned ian was afraid of geese and was secretly disappointed.
sitting with my sister by the coast trying to collect all the dandelions that we could see, thinking that it was some gift from god that there was a kind of flower we'd be allowed to pick no matter where it was growing, thus going against all the rules we'd ever learned in our lives about picking flowers. later at the beach digging shin-deep by the tide for sand crabs to put in buckets. our hearts broke the next day when all the dandelions and all the sandcrabs were dead.
in fifth grade (when i felt superior to all the other fifth graders because i had been in a four/five split the year before and they had not), when we all had to bring in baby pictures of ourselves and then we had to guess whose baby pictures belonged to whom and devon johnstone and i were the only ones in the class who got every single one. and i thought it was unfair that we had to SPLIT the giant mr. goodbar that was the prize, but that the boy who got second got a WHOLE baby ruth all to himself. i kept the wrapper. it's still in my diary.
in seventh grade, jasmine mckenzie bought me a stuffed snoopy dog holding a little heart-shaped whitman sampler. i still have that, too. i thought i'd be able to cash in someday on it because i never opened the chocolate. now i'm pretty sure i just have a rotten box of chocolate.
when kate mead and i walked the east bank esplanade, taking turns asking each other big, scary questions (and little ones too). on her birthday, after we'd drifted apart, ben stevens and i brought her a pie we bought at the grand central bakery and a fresh bouquet of flowers. her aunt's house was always so clean but it always smelled like cigarettes. i liked that a lot.
the time ben malbin and joe sackett and i went sailing in the sailboat by his aunt's boathouse. and later when we all had dinner there and i made a tofu scramble, and ben's aunt had all the spices i needed growing right on the back deck of the bout house and i thought that was SO COOL. she said there were sea otters out there who hopped from deck to deck in the morning. we picked blackberries when the sun rose, and they were bigger than the ones by my house (ben said that was because the dirty exhaust from cars never touched them), and we mashed them up into jam for scones we baked from scratch. we had trouble finding the flour. it was in the cabinet beneath the bookcase.
the afternoon last spring when i sat out by reid campus center with ian pilgrim. i tried not to stare at his fingers. i felt like i was talking too much.
the time when i drove out to brad's house (which was so far away from everything i knew, i felt), and he showed me how his mother had changed his bedroom since he had moved out, and i silently wished my mother wouldn't do that to my room when i moved out. he took me out to an abandoned farm house a short walk from his house. we crawled inside and it seemed like we should have told ghost stories or talked about bones or something, but instead we just discussed the greater reaches of calculus because that's all we knew how to talk about. that and internet phenomena.
when sarah binns used to draw the dresses with crayola skinny markers on sheets of printer paper and when she made her 100th dress she named it the sophia dress and i loved it the best of all (but sarah didn't like it much because she felt she could have done better). we went to her family's beach house that summer and pretended we were in the french revolution, which i wasn't very good at because it involved sarah speaking some of the french she knew and i didn't know any. i still don't know any. we watched "amadeus," which was too intense for me at age ten, and assembled a puzzle of some english king that was 500 pieces. sarah's family kept it together with puzz-glue. i thought that was AWESOME.
the time i met omsi john from the internet with his friends at moonstruck chocolate on 23rd street. omsi john was politically conservative and i liked that a lot for some reason. i thought he was very intelligent. then he moved.
freshman year of college i gave meghan carlson a coin purse shaped like a pair of lips and made of beads. later, she made a print for me in her print-making class all in dark pink ink because she said it looked like me and the picture was of a girl who was kissing and i hung it on my wall in my room in portland and it is still there.
i got dizzy talking about politics to katie on the phone and i realized i loved her. that kind of scared me.
nights when we'd spend the night at church. i looked forward to those so much. i remember once i got sick from something and mysterious taylor bixby stood outside the bathroom listening to me puke and when i came out he rubbed my shoulders. ben and scott and taylor and i always sat on this one couch and we got in trouble for being too exclusive with our couch. i often got in trouble because i insisted on talking about my menstrual cycle during joys and concerns. once we spent the night in the church on groundhog's day and i fell asleep looking at ben's nose and thinking about different vegetables it hypothetically resembled. i developed a huge crush on scott thompson because he was absurdly level-headed.
when i sat with sam martinez in the section lounge of jewett and worked on a puzzle that looked like christmas tree. another time i realized he intimidated me.
emily davis and i made pies the summer before college. once we made two in the kitchen of her house while the sun was shining, and we did a very nice job perfecting the crust. we talked about college. we played scrabble on the lawn and i won and i couldn't believe it because emily davis had always been the smartest person i knew. and she's still way, way up there. i got a tan on my back because i had on a halter top. emily's mom grew rhubarb in the back yard.
i remember going to david thornton's birthday party that summer, too: it was at hooter's. kendra made him a cake that was three stories high. i wished i had made such a cake. there was a hair in the pieces of chicken. i only had fries. awkwardly, david's cousin (or something) was working there that day.
we used to have swing club in the basement of the art building at wilson. i'd bring down my cd player (a huge investment in those days) and we'd all gather and eat cookies and usually avital would have these big white teeth and she'd be smiling and david and i would insist that we loop "just a gigalo" and we were always dancing partners (which was unfair to everyone, but i didn't complain, and that was because i made the decisions, and that was because i was president). i remember jesse harwin and pesha used to come but they'd only watch. once it was my birthday and pesha brought me a box that you'd push a button on and it would say things to you like "let me out of here!"
i want to remember the night mac and i went camping up on the hill by his house and i found the rock i wanted to live on for the rest of my life. and really all the times we spent up there, looking at deer, chasing his dogs... once i think we built a snowman beneath a waterfall.
the first time i spent with grant. i want to remember that. i want to remember how shy i was and how intimidated and how i'd fast-forward through 90 percent of the tracks on my ipod because i didn't want him to think that i was lame enough to listen to the music i listened to, so i basically put all the tilly and the wall songs i had on there on repeat. we ate at the kalga cafe before i knew pad thai was his favorite food, and i ended up ordering the pad thai. we went to anna banannas and we colored a page of this old colonial images coloring book using tiny colored pencils i'd stolen from my sister.
years ago adina lepp and i went to stumptown. it was the first time i'd been there and she was wearing a pink ribbed tank top and the light was shining on her face in stripes. i ordered limonata.
the first time jessica and i went to anna banannas i ordered a limonata, too. we were going to see this play that was written by this man who was teaching us a play-writing course. the play was about a school shooting, and it was really awful. we hated it and we laughed out loud about it. kelly bartholomew was there, and that was the point in my life when i had grown terribly scared of kelly because she was just too cool for words.
jessica should have her own category, and in it would be the color red, butterflies, hiking trips, crying uncontrollably on the floor, eating pico de gallo tortilla chips and kids in the hall.
ben should have his own category and in it would be that back alley behind terwilleger, hundred and hundreds of movies (especially but not limited to "back to the future" and "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind"), return of the monster women metal lunch box, racko and a lot of rain on the roof of a geo prizm.
but no one can have their own category. we must keep moving forward.
i want to remember going to the shutterbug with jordan reynolds. i fell asleep on his shoulder while we were riding on the bus on the way home. i was afraid he'd never want to speak to me again. i didn't know how to tell him that.
the short-lived time i took ceramics, i remember shelby blessing rolling the most perfect clay ball and i wished mine could look like hers. mine was all oblong and cracked already and hers was so perfect i didn't know what to do with it. on a related note, i remember walking through the hall that connects olin to the art building and looking at the prints and thinking shelby's was the most beautiful and shortly contemplating what would happen if i took it. but i didn't.
in the freshman dorm one day erika and ginny stole all these oranges and they drew faces on them with sharpie markers and the names of people in the section and lined them up anonymously in the bathroom and everyone was really confused and excited about it for at least a week. they came clean at the end of the year. i remember that section closing. i wore the gauzy skirt.
hannah. and the days in the park that we walked and the day that i video-taped the huge goose lunging at us, when jenny had written the name of the book from the bible on her stomach -- the one that said that all bodies were beautiful. the day when all the white flowers were falling and we were both a little bit sad. jenny climbed on top of the metal canon and we took so many pictures and there was a lesbian couple was the smallest dog you'd ever seen...
a day freshman year when i was on my way to class and i was dancing to the pixies through ankeny field on my ipod and gordon hansen sent me an e-mail to say he danced to his ipod too.
in high school, vince levy and i stayed so late into the night once that i don't think anyone else was there. i was working on the esplanade (the 'zine i did with lindsay baltus) and i talked about transcendentalism and he said he wanted to start running more and then we started to write each other once every three days. every e-mail i sent to vince i'd title the subject with a line i'd pull from inside the e-mail, and then i wondered if he ever realized that. he dated meaghan nanson later, and we all went to the pusa concert, and i was secretly hoping to see eli there, but instead i met ian and keith and we went for coffee at coffee time which was so cool back then. vince put his arm around meaghan and i watched them jump up and down in unison. anna oxygen opened and i felt like i knew what it was like to be on acid.
then later i went to a party vince invited me to and grant was there and lindsay and i met josh thompson and he was already drunk when we met and he told me he was the man behind the camera. i sat by a huge truck tire and smoked an american spirit. grant and i lost a beer pong. grant drank for both of us.
there was the day i walked to the portland waldorf school wearing huge pink pants and my black sweater with the drum set on it to see eli after school. i met ruby and i'd painted the back of my glasses with ruby-red nail polish in honor of meeting her. really, i was scared because i knew eli was still in love with her (or at least that's what i thought at the time).
and i remember the time that i sat all by myself under all the covers and at the thin-sliced pizza i knew i shouldn't be eating and listened to weird al talking on vh1. and i remember more than that. i am full. i am empty. i am melodramatic. it's okay... we're still friends.
cole. oh. i need to get to cole. another day...