30 July 2005

dr tonk to a ah

or...North Dakota. Where I currently am. And have minimal phone coverage...My mother just told me that "Billy Roach doesn't like [her] anymore"...but hotel room internet! Postings tomorrow!

26 July 2005

colorado does mean "color red"

Note: This whole post is an excuse to bring up this news site: Watching America. Bad design, really interesting content. All articles from international news sources translated into English, the huge drawback of this being that the site managers primarily rely on computer translations which are sporadically checked by human beings. Highlights include a touchy article from Russia about NASA's hubris, a piece from Canada about the country's victory over the U.S. in the category of "Dumbest Government of the Year," and the unbelievable: that an ancestor of our dear president, named the Rev. George Bush, wrote a biography critical of the Prophet Mohammed in the 19th century. This from Egypt, which has reluctantly allowed its reprinting.


I'm not sure when I began to experience this nagging feeling about Colorado. Maybe around about the time I realized that I'd been driving around with the title of my car in my glove compartment for the past three years, which was recently, though it took me an additional couple of months to actually put it someplace safe. I have a growing sense of obligation to pay attention to the social and political culture of the state in which I was born. The ladyfriend has a pretty stellar, almost masochistically obsessed, reputation for keeping up with events in the big O of the northwest, from misogynist serial killers and abductions of local blond girls to The Willamette Week and voter-initiated ballot measures. Last Christmas, as we drove over the Cascades to visit her sister and her new nephew, I witnessed a conversation between the ladyfriend and her pa about how Colorado was the testing ground for some of the most vengeful anti-environment, anti-preservation legislation that the U.S. has seen. They explained that Oregon eventually became the target for similar legislation, perpetrated on behalf of logging companies.

I really felt compelled to recognize that my political consciousness belongs to my post-College era, and that any exposure to politics I received from my family were the odd invitations to ritzy fund-raising dinners (mostly unattended), those thrown for local candidates who were either pro-business or pro-development. Post-college my politics have been queerer, more theoretical, way less practical in terms of useful facts, publications, or people. But during college I met people like the ladyfriend and Brook-trout whose investments in their local political situations began in toddlerhood (flag-waving age).

Colorado was a weird-ass state to grow up in. Part farm, part resort, the state has earned a reputation as a stomping ground for tree-huggers and gun-toting isolationists, WASP-lite small business owners and Cali-Texan imports.

Then there's the fact that the following organizations have sprouted, blossomed, and spread through Colorado like evil, smelly, stinging vines over the past five years: Focus on the Family (which, should you desire to contact it, requires no street address on the envelope, only "Colorado Springs, CO"), the Promise Keepers (the organization for men started by Coach McCartney of CU Buffalo infamy, who proudly notes in his second autobiography that he "had built the program on the Rock of Christ"), and the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys (keeping the link between Jesus and slaughterhouses alive). All are nationally known (syndicated) but maintain their roots in Colorado. Not to change the metaphor, but Colorado Springs alone hums with an impressive network of Christian culture machines.

We English majors are always vacillating between the mechanical and the organic metaphor. Both seem to suit these groups. There's something so organic about their comprehensiveness. You could spend your entire life trying to get a grip on all the little micromanagements necessary to achieve the status of ideal heterosexual, middle-class Christian. And yet, there's something so mechanistic about the writing, something so canned and reproduced. Many sites feature similar articles by the same writers. The delightfully named Michael Fey contributes broadly to numerous online Christian publications, focusing primarily (of course) on the reparable nature of homosexuality.

In other words, Colorado totally rules, and I just can't wait to stumble, drunk, poor, and addicted to Nicorette, back to the old homestead there. Perhaps later on there will be a post about how super Colorado is, but not now.

No, not with Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado of the 6th District (of Littleton and Columbine fame) representing our interests, mostly wacko immigration policy. I discovered I have a connection to this person, tenuous and conflict-based, besides our status as U.S. citizens. In this utterly bombastic letter, in which he exemplifies conservative victimhood while simultaneously begging for loot for his "war chest," he names an "ultra-liberal activist" (read "rich and bored lukewarm liberal") I once babysat for. Pat Stryker is actually a billionaire whose money comes from tiny, surgical parts invented by her grandfather and whose house is across the reservoir from my parents'. She butted heads with Tancredo when she helped preserve bilingual education in Colorado. All of the men in my hometown couldn't give a rat's ass about her (in this pointed "I wouldn't even marry her for her money" kind of way) until she gave 20 million to Colorado State University, most of it going to the football team.

Anyway, I'd heard about this "Watching America" site on NPR, and low and behold, when first I opened it, there was Tom Tancredo, who I honestly had no idea about before. A Moroccan newspaper had reported on the response of the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) to a conversation Tom had had with a talk radio host in Florida.

Tancredo made the comments in a conversation with talk-radio host Pat Campbell at WFLA in Orlando, Florida. They were discussing an article on the conservative Internet site WorldNetDaily that said Islamic terrorists have brought nuclear devices across the Mexican border, preparing for an attack on the interior United States. Cambell asked Tancredo how the country should respond if terrorists were to strike several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.

Tancredo: Well, what if you said something like - if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites.

Cambell: You're talking about bombing Mecca.

Tancredo: Yeah... I mean, I don't know, I'm just throwing out there some ideas because it seems to me...at that point in time you would be talking about taking the most draconian measures you could possibly imagine and because other than that all you could do is once again tighten up internally. (Image courtesy of Tancredo's imagination and the delightful discussion boards of the Free Republic.)

JUST THROWING OUT SOME IDEAS??? I keep looking at Tom's picture, willing his existence to be a violent farse. Tom Tancredo: Crusader Against the Alien Hordes. A charade of Coloradoan proportions. Searching for other responses to Tancredo's comments yielded the sublimely bogus looking "Northeast Intelligence Network," which had this glowing response and the link to the audio of Tancredo's threats. He shows his light touch when he refers to the bombing of Mecca as "Draconian." Gee, sir. Draco was supposed to be "impartial." Spanking you with a sportsman's knife live on national television while forcing you to eat uncooked tofu might be considered Draconian. What you're talking about is the destruction of a culture, not the poking out of an eye. There were a few conservative blogs that were inspired by Tancredo to talk about the "liberal censorship" of brilliant ideas such as his. Mainly, I feel a little obsessed with the fact that there is zero national news coverage of this bozo's comments, but this small Moroccan paper has got its eye on him.

But this, this was the kicker. Someone's decided Tancredo is the 9th most likely Republican candidate for the 2008 race. Just ahead of the wackolicious Rick Santorum and just behind every right winger's exotic (Black and a woman?) fantasy, your favorite and mine, helmet head Condi. Colorado yesterday, the U.S today, and tomorrow, dear friends, the WORLD.

To be continued...

22 July 2005

help a monster

It's sort of like that Christian health insurance, you know the kind where you and your chilblains or your construction accident or your kidney failure are listed in a newsletter, and then people pray for you. Oh, and they're supposed to send a check as well.

Except this kind is for a creature. And it seems less sketchy. Less bureaucracy. I don't think this chick is going to buy herself a mansion with your donation.

21 July 2005

I'm broken by all this jolie-laid

Does someone have N.S. Köenings' email address? Is she still working on her condiments project? Will you send her this link?

*sensational* *new* *citations*

Dear all—please notice that citations can now be viewed on their own little page, reachable by the link beneath my picture. It was too difficult to edit and update and archive the citations as they existed in their previously footnoted form. These citations will reference the theoretical and political turnpike of my brain. Hopefully they won't be entirely unrelated to the frothy narratives chronicling the banality sublime of my daily existence which are more likely to appear here. And perhaps, perhaps, perhaps (to quote from that fantasic Doris Day song) we'll witness, together, the convergence of my modestly idiosyncratic quotidian bumbler-self and my violent and abstract political personality. And the "of the day" part will be more truthful. In fact, there are two today, from Francine Prose and Roland Barthes by way of the tragic and too-young-to-be-deceased Craig Owens, whose book Beyond Recognition is sharp and accessible theory for anyone interested in subjectivity, representation, gender, and queerness.

P.S. The pictures are often links for related articles and information. Or simply the ipso facto context for the image itself. In this case, I found the "Bally Citation" pin ball machine on this crazy index of original adverts for vintage and contemporary toys and games. The page takes a while to load but names alone ("Crash N Score!" and "Border Beauty") make poking around worth it. It could be valhalla for that emo-band name you've been looking for.

20 July 2005

a parable, a myth, a poisoning?

I only wish it were Friday, so that my story would have added resonance for Mrs. Pants.

I am both sad and grateful that I have no accompanying picture.

Climbing up the stairs of the subway today (Q-line, 7 ave.), I made the turn toward the drugstore and stopped to dig out my sunglasses. But before I could shield my eyes from the heat lamp that's currently using our damp smog to turn Brooklyn into a hot house, I really stopped and looked at the street. There was a pile of something, shimmering (I can't see much without my glasses) near the bus stop sign and in front of a store called "Li'l Miss Muffin and Her Stuff'n" which has the most demonic looking puppet-child mixing a bowl on its sign. Eventually, I began to see the pile was, in fact, edible. Indeed, taking the two steps which make a huge difference in terms of my vision, the amorphous shimmering pile became a collapsed heap of donuts, some whole, some mangled, and of an assorted variety, the most obvious seeming to be the frosted chocolate sort. They were encircled by a damp moon of what I presumed to be oily donut sweat. I was charmed by the generosity, or the bad luck, that led whoever it was to leave or drop such a bounty in the open street, easy and delightful prey to bird and bug. And lo, a yard away from this steaming mound of sugared carbohydrates, there were five pigeons lined up on the curb, looking in my direction.

At this point, I started to laugh. One of the short explosive ones that make people's heads turn. The pigeons were not moving. Not even daring the customary uneasy rocking from one foot to the other. They were as still as I have ever seen pigeons. Their necks all extended and their heads unswiveling. I laughed again. They looked liked plastic models of themselves. Were they so full as to be immovable? Had they so glutted themselves on the feast of donuts that they were dumb with satisfaction? The pigeons did not approach the donuts. They even seemed to keep their eyes aimed away from the donuts, all five of them with such similarity and adamance that I couldn't believe they hadn't garnered more attention from other people climbing up the stairs or sitting in chairs, all baking in the heat.

But no one wants to stand still in this weather; no, all focus and intent drives us toward the next air conditioned compartment we walkers imagine. One can almost hear a countdown of the blocks in every ragged step.

Then, in the midst of my own swooning, one pigeon went down. First it staggered from the curb into the gutter. Then it sat down and let its neck roll to the Flatbush side. I can only imagine that it was minor weight of its head that tugged its body over, down onto the pavement, its eyes still open and glistening. But, dear reader, I believed this pigeon to be dead.

None of the other pigeons moved. Not that it would be reasonable for them to dash to their fallen comrade's aid like little avian EMTs, but still I was hoping for a gesture of some concern, some registration of regret. I hoped for this because I was shocked.

Suddenly, the greasy puddle in which the donuts sat looked suspicious. I thought I smelled gasoline. I thought I smelled something chemical enough to be poison, as if poison had a smell, like the "grape-scented irritant" pellets they laid out on the shores of City Park Lake in Fort Fun with the hope they'd irritate the Canadian geese all of the way back to Canada. It didn't work. The geese just ate the grass out from under the pellets. But pigeons, pigeons I can imagine being desperate enough to fall for anything edible.

Having waited some time, hoping that the prone pigeon would pop up, having survived its (surely) donut-induced apoplexy, I turned, getting weepy now, toward the drug store. By the time I felt the rush of cold air from the opened door, I'd become convinced of the dastardliness of humanity and tearily mournful of the bad taste of birds. Just one more reason why my heartless consumption of mammals and birds is too hypocritical, forgive the rhyme, for words.

19 July 2005

grandmother's prophecies

A wise old owl sat on an oak
The more he sat the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard
Why can't you be like that wise old bird?

Yes my friend your greatest fault is that you talk too much. Learn to keep a secret. However your other golden qualities make up for your talkativeness. Your anxiety to help others, and your consideration of other people's wishes has earned you many friends.

A friend will urge you to take a trip. Don't do it. Your best interest lies in remaining at home. I'm depending on your good sense to lead you on the right path.

Drop another Coin in slot and I will tell more.

14 July 2005

happily occupied

For the past month, I've had the distinct pleasure of spending my days (really half-days) getting paid for a great deal of pleasure. First, copyediting, which many of you know is one of the delights, neither rare nor conventional, that I hold on par with things like full body massages and cotton candy, possibly even the election of a liberal president. Second, discussing girls and sex with my writer friend in this thinly veiled, pseudo-academic fashion which allows me and her to entertain, some might even say stroke, our dual notions of ourselves as nerdy brains and hottt chicks. And third, I get to hang out with old Blue Eyes, my writer friend's babe, here pictured somewhat begrudgingly modeling the winter hat sent to him this summer by his Californian grandparents.

Blue Eyes and I roll around on the floor a lot. We do something called "belly time" in which I lift him up onto his hands so that his arms are extended and tuck his knees under so that his legs are at a 90° angle, a.k.a. crawling position. Then, I get into the position too, and he and I pretend we're thinking about moving and laugh at each other until one or the other falls down (usually Blue Eyes), then we laugh some more. This is serious business, training for possibility of the crawl, which, the doctor says, will never come. Blue Eyes doesn't need to crawl, he just rolls. His body is so big, he just rolls once and he's wherever he wants to be. He can stand for hours, which would also include intermittent dancing, but his arms are proportioned to his body like those of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. When I say Blue Eyes is big, I mean to say that at 9-months he dwarfs the smallish 2-year-old I also babysit for, Web Man, who now receives Blue Eyes' hand me downs. Needless to say, the hat probably won't even make it to the cooler end of fall.

Other pastimes: banging on our bodies with a repetitive urgency and seriousness that would test the soundness of any structure, boat or building, chair or beast. We also make noise with our mouths. In lieu of supplying the default system of signification he will later no doubt need, rather than spending my days pointing and saying BALL or HORSE or GREEN or BUFFY, when Blue Eyes says "Hup!" and "Mmmmssppbbfft..." and "Arr arr baaaah," I say "Hup! Mmmmssppbbfft...Arr arr baaaah." And I might throw in a little "Doooot," or possibly even a "Raaah," with the long "a," since Blue Eyes does more with throat sounds than nasal. I hope I'm not delaying his verbal development; every once in a while I mumble a reluctant EAR or TOE. But perhaps overall I compensate by sticking to a frequent regiment of "belly time" training.

And it occurs to me, and this revelation might be due in part to the totally sexual and yet appropriate nature of my work environment, that the only time all of us big people generally get to be expressive in a nonverbal way is during sex. And sometimes that doesn't even happen, due to domestic situation (thin walls/floors/doors), partner preference ("Shhhh! You're weird!"), or, simply, a fastidious habit of silence. Sure, we all weave distinctive nonverbal cues into our daily speech, the "bahs" and the "whas" and the "hmmms," but still they are snagged by context into meaning something. There is something so satisfying about babbling along with a contented, or even discontented, baby. I've caught myself so wrapped up replicating Blue Eyes' whine that I hardly notice that it does, in fact, have a meaning, or at least a call for action. "I'm hungry, I'm tired, There's shit in my diaper, This floor sucks, Who ordered the yoghurt? And where's the goddamned ball?" Of course, these are the meanings I immediately slap on his sounds like scented stickers. I'm pretty sure Blue Eyes doesn't value me as much for my interpretive skills as he does for the funny dance I can make his froggy do to an old Irving Berlin tune I learned from Leon Redbone (who, coincidentally, was the voice of the Warner Brother's frog).

Without my walking stick,
I'd go insane.
I can't look my best,
I feel undressed without my cane.

Must have my walking stick,
for it may rain.
When it pours,
I can't be outdoors
without my cane.

If I ever left my house
without my walking stick,
well—it would be something
I could never explain.

Oh, the thing that makes me click
on lover's lane
Would go for nought, if I were caught
without my cane.


10 July 2005

sandy hooks, sandy parts

There's no way to avoid talking, thinking, or document-ing the thrills, chills, and pretty/ nasty spills of the human body while at a nude beach. Exhibit A: Super adorable photo of the lady friend her youngest sister KT inauspiciously includes the hairy torso and groin of Gunnison Beach bather. The fortuitous positioning of a mere shred of Jenny's hair prevents these two ladies from being a frame for a nude portrait of a middle aged male. Somehow the gods of the digital camera were protecting his particular privates from reaching your all-seeing eyes.

Yes, naked people were everywhere, and this next one wasn't quite as lucky. Exhibit B: Ladyfriend as Petulant Toddler. This guy on the right under the umbrella was three feet from us all afternoon with the big D (and I'm not using the modifier big in any of its less literal, more colloquial senses) hanging out. Here we see but half, and that's only for you lucky cats who can work the zoom.

Most interesting to me was the fact that vaginas were sort of invisible. They were there, sure, uncovered and most often shaved, but the penises were sooo numerous. And then the men who carried the penises were really chatty. When I stopped to check out a beached horseshoe crab or jellyfish, there they were with their exposed nethers, solitary more than clustered, offering what apocryphal knowledge they had to offer on whatever subject was at hand. I kept waiting for one of them to tell me that the way to cure a jellyfish sting is to pee on it, then commence the demonstration. I got the feeling that I was in the presence of men who might be flashers, possibly arrested and subject to jail time, but instead we got to have a civilized conversation with his desire for me (more realistically anyone) to see his penis totally out in the open.

On the whole, I believe that the beach serves as an outlet for numerous different pathologies, and have decided it seems like a pretty good idea, given the half-hearted supervision of several very straight looking lifeguards and the air of fragility that seemed to hang about the place, no one making any quick moves, and everyone extremely conscious of maintaining solid space between the naked bodies. I would have taken my top off, except for the presence of teen KT, and she, I mean, we, handled our first mass exposure to aged penis remarkably well.

06 July 2005

smote the smittened

I receiveth a great number of brochures on the street. I've come to believe that everyone passing out "literature"—from the super duper suit sale dude in the sandwich boards to the juice bar special dudette in the banana costume to the Christian evangelist hocking salvation for the Asamblea de Iglesias Cristianas Bethesda, trembling in his T-shirt on the platform of the Delancey F-train stop to the well-scrubbed face of the woman professing her love for Supreme Master Ching Hai, this shot is my favorite, and advocating The Quan Yin Method of meditation as the surest way to God from the top of the stairs on Essex—all of them, really just want me to take the brochure so that they can go home.

Yes, I tuck them in my bag, later reading them too carefully, probably driving myself further and further toward the kind of midlife fundamentalist new age renaissance that a girl like me (godless, jobless, homo pervert that I am) was practically born to experience. I've never had the the structure of any type of religion, except maybe the Cult of Girlhood and The Invisible Shield of Whiteness, and I chose to be an English major, dragging myself through Dante, Milton, and Blake without a fucking clue about any of the biblical references, thematics or symbolism (I was the kind of chick who always wrote papers that were more like glowing previews from the marketing department—exhaustively praising the clever depiction of the lovers or the snake or the yawning gates of hell).

Speaking of the Cult of Girlhood, I've been studying up on "The Sin of Immorality," which offers a number of helpful tips. You know about how "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse" (2 Timothy 3:13), a clear argument for the swollen, recently dipilated hairlessness of the pure. I also learned that "some of the pleasures which are indulged in today are drink, drugs, and sex...'Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging'" (Proverbs 20:1). Here's some nice personification and a fine use of teen lingo from the Bible. Also, the pamphlet says, "men and women go to parties and dances to relax and enjoy themselves." Such frank recognition of our important and particular contemporary condition. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) says the Bible and this pamphlet, but what, I ask you, doesn't lead to death?

Of course, I read these things with a drumroll or a magician in mind—hoping for that great high-hat tingle in my nipples or the wonderful shazzamm of a bunny from the hat—waiting for that direct and personal address to moi, she who so assiduously practices her homosexual fornication. Usually the homo beat down is set up by a positive review of the spiritual and eternal benefits of marriage and followed by the threat of AIDS and a cursory condemnation of adultery which aim for withering worldliness: we're hip to your game, we've got your number, you're going to sacrifice that key deposit if you don't check out on time, etc.

But then I'm so goddamn literal. They're not talking about me, I think, they're talking about boys. All this he will resort...and his unrestrained passions...his work...Not to mention that God, "He said, 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination'" (Leviticus 18:22). What to make of this? Really sounds fine...maybe they're going the old reverse psychology route. Who's thou? Tell me no, sorry, you can't, it's bad—and whatever IT is glows with the ambrosial odor of sex. I'm a simple girl. I'm thinking of contacting the Gospel Tract and Bible Society, P.O Box 700, Moundridge (!!!), Kansas 67107 U.S.A. I'll tell them that if they really want to snag the ladies in their moral you know where, they should start with the pronouns. That's kid stuff. I could be their consultant!

03 July 2005

the second person offers promises

of a job. You see a friend at a barbeque, the kind with people you've met at least twice but whose names you can't remember. You knew your friend would be there because it's at her girlfriend's apartment, so you're not surprised. You've been here before. There is a large backyard covered entirely by a tree with flowers so pink and feathery you swear it's either not real or transplanted from some tropical location. The ladyfriend says there's one in her front yard back in Oregon, but she can't tell you what it is.

Your friend spends a lot of time picking up half-dried specimens and proclaiming the flowers' pathetic beauty. They fall apart as soon as they're in your hands. This friend at the barbeque was someone you went to college with, the second person you met at your orientation, someone who you crushed out on as a first year, someone who sent you beautiful blank squares of translucent red paper in an envelope that appeared to be made of gold. You turned them over and over under your desk lamp and gave the envelope a good search, unsatisfied and titillated by the lack of words. This was before you knew she had a lot of money, and you were impressed and wondered where one found paper like that, or how one came to the idea of sending blank missives. Then you began to realize that this style or brand of flirting was a way of life which inspired devotees, countless crushes, and imitative followers for this friend. Money is good, or helpful for this way of life. Money becomes psychological sex/war paint in this game. After all, how difficult can it be to send out blank pieces of very nice paper or buy next-day plane tickets to Paris if you can afford it. After graduation, your friend works very hard in university publishing and ends up working on a master's, associate editing for the publishing arm of a sexy indie mag and a stodgy book review, both of which you read quite often.

This friend makes her way over to you and your ladyfriend mid way through the party. Way more attention is being paid to the tropical fruit drinks than the food. There ensues a brief, breathless, and hopelessly je ne sais quoi declaration from the friend about "summer," loving it, personifying it, then eulogizing it as though it were dead, not simply passing. Then you and the friend begin reminiscing in earnest. Talking to her, you remember the blank paper and the coy way she drops her chin to her chest and lets her eyelids fall half-closed. This friend always looks exhausted in a pleasant and indulgent way. When her eyes are on you, you can't help feeling indebted to her, as if she were the power station and you were the family of seven who'd left all of the lights on. A great deal of effort has gone into this moment of her smiling and listening—to you. Which is the same for everyone, and yet, this moment with you becomes most meaningful. This effect is also achieved through the position of her mouth, which is most often smiling and eerily still, but not phony, as she reveals her attractive and well-formed teeth. The smile is still there when her lips do close but they appear pressed together as though she must fight back the urge to tell you something intimate and earth-shattering.

You tell her about the stories you've been reading, much like the stories you've been writing, which have been shrinking, shrinking, and she says, glowing, leaning forward a little but not tooo much: "I love it. Please, keep writing those short short stories." You tilt your head, enamored briefly of the impetuousness of her tender statement or by the statement behind her tender impetuousness, and then right your head in order to knock the fact that she's not read a one of your stories back into the prominent position it deserves (that achy little spot between your eyes). And then she asks you if you do any copyediting. "Sure," you say, almost adding, who wouldn't? She offers you the possibility of a copyediting job at the aforementioned stodgy review. Part time. By the hour. On demand.

Allow yourself that certain unassuming connections exist between you and people and places which are suited by metaphors ranging from a hair to a highway. The degree of intimacy has nothing to do with the likelihood of "meaningful" contact or "useful" exchange. Your friend could get you a job. Or another friend could get you a job. (You have friends!?!) No, things happen as the result of guts and foolishness, class (the social kind), money, some bragging, drunkenness, maybe a little bit of luck, or a stickiness of mind that's fortuitous—which is just a fancy word for luck that's ripped off from the French.

You might have, shall we say, potential. Sparkly flakes or dim flowers. You tell your friend, who's beginning to look around for something urgent to remove her from her chair, that you are both lazy and inspired. She smiles back at you when she rises and you think there might be something useful at the bottom of that dumpster there, the one that appears tailor-made for its location. You see this possibility as a problem, a tiresome inconvenience, given the overwhelming contents of said dumpster.

Lacking the patience for exploration or the sense of adventure necessary to throw care for your ______ shirt to the wind, you are temporarily but decidedly unimpressive. You try another fruity drink. Mango and Rum, this time; Not Vodka. You sit back down, deserving of many adverbs lacking any action to be modified: slowly, coyly, loudly, sourly, poorly. The wind washes over and the strange tree drops its weird tropical flowers in your drink and you pull bits of them from your ladyfriend's hair. You kiss her cheek and roll her hand between yours. Then you hear your friend say to someone else, "Pennsylvania. I love it. Please, keep living in Pennsylvania."