That phrase “sick as a dog” sounds so weird. And I say that even as I used that to describe my state to a friend last week. You see, I am now on Day 5 of The Worst Cold Ever (aka The Worst Cold I’ve Had in 5 Years). Thursday brought a bit of a cough and Friday morning I woke up completely under siege. I’m not exaggerating when I say I spent my entire weekend (including Friday) sleeping and hanging out on my couch. Monday I went into work against my better judgment and decided to go home at lunch with my boss’s blessing, because as he put it, “no offense, but you look like crap.” Today I took the day off to go to the doctor since even when I’ve had colds recently I’ve never been so incapacitated. My doctor thinks it’s just a nasty viral infection. I mean, that’s also what I was told when I had mono in college but it wasn’t showing up in the tests at the time, but I also wasn’t worried about going to work daily. Anyway. I’ve spent so much time isolated and watching TV I’m starting to lose it a bit. I’m hoping to be more of a real person by the end of the week. Luckily I have a cat who likes to remind me I can’t even keep up with her — but I would also be even more incredibly bored without anyone to entertain me.
“I don’t have any plans to leave Portland, at least for a little bit. I love the weather here and the laid back pace of life. I grew up on the East Coast, where everybody is rushing to fight one another to be the best. Only when I left there did I find your ambition has very little to do with your work ethic. You can still sit down and get everything done in the day without having a panic attack.“ — Roger Hobbs
“I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive.” – Charlie
On Sunday evening, I finally watched the film adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I meant to go see it while it was in theaters, and as much as I enjoy seeing movies by myself, I always found a way to talk myself out of spending $12. The reviews I had read were all extremely positive, along with many “I was sobbing in the theater” comments. I already know I’m overly empathetic, and maybe I let loose more since I was home alone, but that movie rocked me. Unlike writing about Take This Waltz, which I felt compelled to write about immediately, my thoughts on this movie needed time to fully form. I liked this movie so much I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch it again for a long time unless I’m ready for another emotional undoing.
Last year when I heard about the movie development I pulled out my copy of the book and reread it. It held up really well, I felt, and I had even forgotten about the big twist ending. Not that the twist is as important as the journey. I don’t have a troubled past the way Charlie did, but I lived my life feeling a lot like him, even through college. Charlie feels way too deeply, can’t stop observing people and tries to do what is best for everyone to ensure his spot remains stable. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t what he actually wanted — he just didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Finding a place to belong is always hard, and when you think you’ve found something good you try not to screw it up.
It’s not uncommon for authors to be involved in movie adaptations, but somehow Stephen Chbosky got it so right. Maybe it helped that he wrote the screenplay and directed, but translating a book that exists so deeply inside someone’s head to the screen had to have been challenging. The flow works though, with the right moments being shown or told through letter voiceovers. The book is set in the 90s, and so is the movie, and yet the fact that they’re exchanging mix tapes and using huge cordless home phones doesn’t detract the story. I feel that if anyone else had been heading this project, they would have been tempted to make it modern, which would have been extremely disappointing.
The most beautiful, heartbreaking moments in the film are the most quiet. Sam making a milkshake while Charlie offhandedly talks about his best friend killing himself without leaving a note; the blackout of Charlie punching out the jocks after they were destroying Patrick; the cutting shots of Charlie slowly losing control. The whispering between characters are real whispers that only reveal as much as you should hear, and more that you can infer. And the movie ends with the voiceover of Charlie’s last letter, as he embraces a single moment that signifies moving forward and choosing to participate and to be present.
The quote above was the part of his letter that resonated with me the most. I think most of the time in life we’re all trying to have that feeling more than we have doubt or sadness. Or maybe that’s just me. The moments that make you feel alive, and loved, and part of something, are what keep you going and keep you motivated through all the ups and downs.
OK, so the last few days this thought keeps popping into my head: “holy crap, I haven’t blogged in forever.” But that hasn’t led to any revelations. I still don’t know what to write about. I’ve been working on my pipe dream project for 2013, writing something “for” the NYT’s Modern Love column. I know it’s silly to think I have the perspective or the chops to submit something worthy, but I’m pretty much moved by every single one I read so I figured it was an ambitious goal to strive toward. It’s also very rough, off-the-blog type writing.
In other news, I’ve been watching some Ted Talks and just discovered 30 Rock. I know, for shame. I’m not sure where I dropped the ball on that either. I think the first time I tried to get into it was bad timing in my life. I just started watching a few days ago, so you know, I’m at about season 4 right now. And I went out and bought Bossypants. Diving headlong into the new obsession. It’s possible that I’ve been a huge grump lately. Maybe it’s in part because my apartment is now unpredictable noise hell hole and I’m overly anxious. It might also be that I’m in planning mode, which causes equal parts excitement and anxiety. Mostly anxiety. It’s never good to come to a full conclusion far before necessary and without the ability to move forward. VAGUE BLOGGING! I hate when people do it. But that’s what you get, people who I don’t know reading my blog.
Rambling is brief, and I’m out…
Oh Monday, you started out so hopeful and bright. I was smiling on my drive home, enjoying that it was staying light out later. It seemed like it would be a great week.
DUN DUN DUN
Tuesday. A typical work day. I stopped on my way home to finally use the auto car wash for my horrifically dirty car. Apparently in the winter people wait in lines on the weekend to do this? I was laughing to myself about how spooky it felt in the enclosed space with water pouring over my car after dark. I was also jamming out to Bring It On, so it wasn’t that bad.
As I got home and parked my car, I saw a cable truck outside my apartment. There was a guy standing outside that I was ignoring (it’s the NYC in me still, I don’t make eye contact or spout random pleasantries) until he said, “I hope you’re not on that half of the building, there’s no power.” He pointed to the right side of the building. Yup, that was my side. Of course, it turns out the WHOLE BUILDING lost power because of an underground line that just burnt out because it was old. It wasn’t National Grid’s problem and it was already 6pm so I figured I’d be in the dark a while while my landlord hired an electrician for the next day.
First thing: I lit a few candles. This is not an exaggeration at all when I say that no less than 5 minutes later I smelled burning hair and realized my cat singed her tail on a candle. Seriously, this cat is lucky she’s indoors. Not very bright. I threw all my (newly purchased) perishables into my freezer and started texting friends. I met a few people at the bar, got a little drunk, and then came home to entertain my confused cat in the dark. That punk was not amused that I was handicapped by not having night vision. The smoke alarms were beeping their low battery beeps and I was lamenting getting ready in the dark the next morning.
Note: The building still had heat and water so the lack of electricity, while annoying, was not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Wednesday. I discovered candle wax on my bathroom floor. That happens when you wander your home with candles at night. I had no coffee but pulled together all my random perishables and food for lunch and snacks in my bag — I am trying to still be cheap and save money — and headed to work. Again, uneventful day. Except at the end where I try to explain my powerless situation to my boss, since I needed to work from home on Friday but wasn’t sure I would have power. Honestly, I get paid to write and I’d like to think I’m pretty coherent on here, but god help me trying to verbalize my thoughts and explain anything. HILARIOUS DISASTER. Aca-awkward.
I get home to a slew of electricians and continued darkness. Around 7pm the lights came back on. What else came back on? The CO2 / smoke detectors. Every minute brought loud beeps and a mean lady saying “LOW BATTERY.” I tried resetting and unplugging and couldn’t get mine to stop. I tried not to cry and freak out and just decided to take the whole thing apart. After that I began to wind down but after only a day and a half in the dark I had random things thrown about my place and an angry cat who was freed from cowering under my bed because of the scary beeping that wouldn’t stop.
Thursday. Power, it’s such a lovely thing. I was so glad to be able to make my own coffee again. I know, it was only one day, but I like my coffee my way. Cue halfway through my commute where I spill coffee on my face and sweater and coat. I thought I had gotten pretty good at driving and eating and whatever, but apparently not. Once I parked at work I luckily had tissues to wipe the extra coffee residue off my face. The work day was actually a more fun one, with misheard words turning into a conversation about boybands and getting to know my coworkers better in general. It’s too bad none of us live near each other but hopefully some warmer weather happy hours will happen. They’re cool people.
OK, so things have turned around. I got a new battery for my CO2 / smoke detector and it no longer beeps. I officially signed a new 6-month lease for my place. I’m awaiting a friend for dinner and I have some exciting stuff planned for the next week.
Really though, I can’t wait to sleep a ton and get back to normal. I do not like my world getting rocked so much. My apartment is my hidey hole and safe haven! And I am lucky that I get to work from home tomorrow so I can finally get my permit for the new parking rules (whoops…) and I can jam out at home while working on a project that can hurt my brain sometimes.
Well here we are — it’s 2013. I’m torn between the idea of doing a sweeping recap or a more specific one, but I’m also pretty hungover still so I can’t be too ambitious. Thinking about where my life was and the state of mind I was in a year ago is mostly laughable. I mean, I had a pretty terrible NYE for 2012, but the rest of the year itself turned out pretty well. In comparison, I rang in 2013 with friends and champagne at a bar and just had a ton of fun.
Side note: Unlike in previous years, I’ll spare you the long ridiculous recap of getting myself back to Albany after going to SoCal for Christmas. But for the record, it was a doozy. I just need to stop traveling in December.
I started 2012 by going through a breakup, moving into a new apartment by myself, and finding a whole new group of friends. I may not have written about it at the time, but I’ll always think it was serendipitous that I met Brigette when I did as it streamlined perfectly into making my year so much better than I could have imagined.
This year I reclaimed my independence by having fun, being more fearless, and chasing the things I wanted. I stumbled a lot too, falling into some craziness, causing problems for myself, and doubting what I was doing with my life. Given that this year is the first time in my life I’ve ever really “dated” like a normal twenty-something, I learned so much about myself. It’s been fun-slash-challenging and I still get frustrated (both with myself and others), but I continue to believe in trusting your instincts. Plus, ask anyone and they’ll tell you how hard it can be to date in smaller insular city like Albany. That’s why I feel so lucky to have great friends that put up with my bitching and give me hope.
I made trips downstate to see Mary in New Jersey, both to hang out acting silly at her house all weekend and to go into NYC to have even sillier adventures. I definitely need to visit her even more this year! The crazy Albany summer promises I heard lived up to my expectations, starting with day trip shenanigans at Barberville Falls. There was a lot of stoop action and pool lounging, fireworks (literal and not so much), and a continuation of my clumsiness.
I made an amazing new long distance friend (hi Trisha!) as well as staying in touch with another friend who left me for Boston. And, holy crap, my mom came to visit! I made another huge change by leaving my comfy job in Troy to take a new job in Bennington, VT, to advance my career. I spent the whole month of November writing about what I’m thankful for daily. It was a challenge but also re-sparked my desire to write more. I’m trying to write more off the blog to come up with more unique content and really stretch my skills.
My goals for the new year are mostly focused around being honest with myself and others about what I want and how I feel. Over time I’ve grown way too accustomed to bending to what everyone else wants in fear of stirring the pot, but that doesn’t make me happy. So I’m planning to continue to work hard at my new job, maintain my friendships, and keep my sanity in check while trying to date. I’m always happiest when there big changes on the table to look forward to and new challenges too.