This is what happened on my beautiful weekend. It's too much. I still haven't come back to earth.
I went to a very sobering talk on Iraq today. I remember the Gulf War, but not well, and mostly just remember that I got in the town paper when a soldier came to my elementary school and I listened "with rapt attention" according to the photo caption. I just want to let go of my past, and move on, and not dwell on the silly thrill I got out of being in the local paper and think instead about what is happening now. Our speaker was a veteran, and a human rights activist. The talk today was a depressing talk, although the speaker was animated and quite good. I knew things were bad, but it's upsetting to listen to conservative numbers of the casualties in Iraq since 1990. He was very measured and reasonable, and I appreciated that, but he showed us footage five minutes of dying infants in Iraq at the end of the talk, without warning. I had to shut my eyes. It's a scary time to be an American.
My German history class does nothing but scare me silly. We keep talking about the moment where discourse becomes suddenly radicalized, and I just find it all upsetting.
Halfway through the Iraq talk, a squirrel raced out of the lecture hall. It had been hiding under the podium for most of the talk. We all cracked up laughing from the sheer startle, and laughed with relief as much as anything. It's exhausting to be so worried and afraid. My next door neighbor said (tongue in cheek) "That squirrel was there for a reason."
I often ask my nextdoor neighbor if she thinks I'm crazy. There are many things I would like to be, and none of them is crazy.
"I think your boyfriend doesn't like me very much," I said over my salad. He always seems unhappy when I'm around. I don't think he actively dislikes me, I think he just doesn't care for me. I probably shouldn't care much, but I was curious.
Over her coffee, my friend said "Oh, he likes you, he's just scared by you."
"Scared?" I looked somewhat horrified.
"You scare all of us! You're just, you know, too..."
My nextdoor neighbor chimed in: "You are definitely too... well, it's hard to put into words."
They laughed, and made some sound effects.
I asked for an example, and as we put away our trays they said that The Degausser Incident was a good example. One day I picked it up at the library and beamed as I held it to my head, and the friends shrieked. They still think it was a little bit crazy (I didn't turn it on! Or at least don't think I did.) I laughed when they said this, and said "Degausser, that's what it's called?"
"The point isn't that it's called a degausser, it's that you had this huge crazy smile, and held it to your head! It was definitely 'too'." Too what?
My nextdoor neighbor said "It's the way you hug - there's nothing wrong with you hugging, you just always do it with a running start and just envelope us. You're very effusive. It's not really an awful thing, it's just too... Well, it's not like you're a lot of bad things, you're just a lot, too much good things. You're like a rich dessert." I remembered the pain of eating a dessert in Turkey, it felt like eating solid, unusually sweet honey, so sweet it honestly hurt my mouth. I wasn't sure if I liked the idea of being "a rich dessert", but I was laughing anyway. She laughed and said I could put that in a personal ad. I said that I'd put it in "the box," and when they looked horrified confessed that the box is really just a notebook.
before / after
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