Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter L

“L” represents the ongoing love affair I have with the written word. L is the perfect letter. L truly is the embodiment of life’s dichotomy. During the day, in block print, L is stiff and unyielding in its angularity. But at night, in cursive script, L can be loose and loopy and sometimes languid. The letter L has birthed some of the greatest words in our language like “love” and “lust” and “life” and “lips” and “licking lollipops.” It has given us ladies and labials, lamebrains and lushes, laughter and lardasses. It’s given us lewdness, lexicons, and lesbians. And, some might say most importantly, it’s given us liberty, libations, and libidos. But, it has also brought us liars and lightning. And without L, we wouldn’t have limbs, linguistics, literature, lineage, or light. And we wouldn’t have lingerie! My god, can you imagine? Who would want to live in a world without lingerie? I’d give up limbs just to save lingerie. I could even do without litigation, locusts, and lobotomies, but lingerie? Never! Without lingerie, women would be stuck with just boring old underwear. And that would be lame for all of us. If we didn’t have the letter L, we could never lounge or lie down or get loaded and there’d be no lovemaking or lubricants. And, if that were the case, we would be feeling terribly lovelorn, low, and limp, but we wouldn’t even have those words to express what it was that we were experiencing. I mean, really, can you imagine a world without lunch? Or lyrics? Or librarians? Or LSD? And there’d be no land. We’d be constantly swimming! That would suck. I would get tired.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter K

“K” is my girlfriend. K is my girlfriend now. We met in San Diego six years ago. And by “met” I mean I only remember meeting her for the first time six years ago. Actually, we had apparently met several times through a mutual friend over the course of years before that and she said I was dismissive each time. She said I acted like, “Who the hell is this blonde hanging out with me and my drinking buddies? She doesn’t belong here.” I guess I was quite the snobby drunk then. I don’t recall meeting her any of those times and one of them includes spending a whole day together at a Padres game. She said I was pretty preoccupied with the girl I was dating at the time. When we finally did “meet for the first time” six years ago, I had been sober a year and was hanging out with my friends. It turns out that our mutual friend had been trying to fix us up all those previous times and she had given up on me ever getting with K. Instead, she was now trying to hook K up with some other single guy she knew. I took notice then. I saw this idiot embarrassing himself trying to impress K and I could see that K was not impressed. And I remember thinking, “Who is that? She is super cute. I need to introduce myself to her.” So I cockblocked the idiot and introduced myself for what I thought was the first time. “Hi, I’m Greg.” “I know, we’ve met several times.” “We have?” We’ve been together ever since. A year ago, we moved to Portland and are now trying to have kids. People are always asking me, “Shouldn’t you marry her first?” I can never seem to get the order of things straight. But fortunately K finds humor in everything. Including me and the story of our “first” meeting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Between “Doing” Is Fantastic Dullness

What is this obsession with “doing?” Why must we always be “doing?” “What are you doing?” What have you been doing?” It’s as if our lives are invalidated if we are not in the act of doing something. I watch as regular, everyday folks engage in a game of soccer. And they attack it with such vigor and intent. I am envious. They seem to be doing something. Even if the final score ends up being zero to zero, they can still congratulate each other for sharing three hours together running themselves ragged back and forth the length of a soccer field, kicking and heading and yelling at each other. I wander over to the lone swing set and swing myself back and forth and higher and higher. I long for those times when I was more enthusiastic. I recall times when simply swinging on a swing brought such joy. I remember attaining the highest possible heights and then throwing myself from the swing just to see how far I could launch myself. I consider doing that now, but I don’t think it would end well. It seems that if I’m going to suffer a bone fracture, I should be “doing” something more than just swinging on a swing set. I should be downhill skiing or throwing fists in a cage or playing football. Except, oh yeah, I suck at doing all of those things. I’ve never skied in my life, I’ve never been in a fight, and the two years I played football in high school as a freshman and sophomore, I couldn’t tell my ass from my elbow. I know that because my football coach told me so every day he saw me play. Now, if I could draw a salary from staring at breasts all day, that is what I’d rather be doing. If there’s a way to make money “doing” that, please let me know.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dear God

It’s time I resume. I am feeling on the cusp of everything and nothing. I walk the streets of my neighborhood and am struck by the fact that one street can feel happy and welcome, and then just one street over can feel scary and distraught. I weave my way up and down parallel streets; one is cheery, while the next is distressed, back and forth like some kind of necessary, balanced rhythm. The up and the down. The evil and the good. On one of the pleasant streets, I notice a poem tacked up in front of a well-tended garden. At the top it says “poem of the week.” This week’s selection is called “The Two-Headed Calf” by Laura Gilpin. I read it and feel compelled to know a person such as this who lives at a dead end street and takes the care to share a poem each week to no one, to anyone, and to everyone. Instead, I make my way back down the same street and make eye contact with a dog lounging on his stoop. He lifts his head to let me know that he sees me. I smile back to let him know that I know that he knows. I make my way across the street and towards the river’s edge. A shirtless man is digging through a dumpster and pulling out recyclables. I wonder how much he earns from each haul, where he lives, and how he spends his money. Booze? Women? Shelter? I make my way down the dock and walk out the length of the pier. The way it extends over the river, I feel like I’m walking on water. On the horizon, the blue sky bleeds red. As I make my way back, I notice an empty can on the pier. I scoop it up and walk it over to the shirtless man. “You collecting cans?” “Yep.” As he takes it from me he says, “Thanks.” I reply, “Thank you.”