Monday I can pick up the check for two years of back pay that NYU owes me. Fuck Disneyland, guess where I'm going.

Go on...

Message in a Bottle
Last night was one of those nights. One of those nights that a constant intake of alcohol is necessary to keep me from completely melting down into tears. Which is not to say that the bottle of white wine that I drank kept me from crying. No. It just kept me from those overwhelming wracking sobs that spike my blood pressure, bring on migraines, and leave me with large puffy bags under my eyes for two days.

Of course, I didn't get the work done I was supposed to, but I wouldn't have even if I had the bottle of wine. Either was I was going to wake up this morning exhausted and underprepared. It was just a question of how upset I was going to get. I muted the upset a little. Hey at least I tried. And I did it without ending up at a bar on a school night OR having to call in sick.

It does mean that tonight I have to somehow in my exhaustion: finish 4 position papers
grade 25 lit. exams
calculate midterm grades for 59 students
prep for all three classes

And I don't even get to go away for vacation. Over spring break, I'll be working so much it won't seem like much of a vacation. I can only hope that I get stellar student evals, but right now I feel like I'm constantly unprepared and these students aren't learning a damn thing.

This Post May Be Recorded for Quality Assurance Purposes
The Big Bad thinks I'm slipping. Most of my posts have been links with little commentary. Only occasionally do you get the window into my continuous misery. Well of course it is. Because I've been trying to lead a normal life. I go to work. I come home from work. I go to the gym. I make myself dinner. I go to bed. For variation I take down the trash. I go get coffee. Once every two weeks, I go to a bar. I go see a movie. Even the Doberman doesn't come over anymore. He's been here once in two weeks. I don't go out drinking on Tuesday nights and end up kissing some guy on the West Side at five o' clock in the morning and still make it to my eleven o'clock class prepared. I don't kiss guys at all anymore. I don't even bother to feign interest. I just stay home and prepare Dante for eleven hours or Shakespeare or some other dead man who can't leave because his words are carefully tucked away on my bookshelf. They're my bitches now. But such exploits hardly make for good posts.

It makes for an even worse life.

Do you readers understand what I have to go through to write these posts? Not just the adventures? Not just the negotiations with my friends about what to write about and what not to write about and what's fair and what's not and dealing with the potential fall out should there be a miscalculation. That's just part of the equation. As Dante made clear in the Inferno, to write a story is to relive it. Only worse because you know what is going to happen and you have to put yourself back in that place. You have to recreate the situation in detail and at length. You have to reconstruct your hell and then put yourself there. And one needs strength to do these things, and above all hope. And I have neither. Which is why I stay home with my cat. And why my posts have dwindled to links. And why I am sitting here in tears going to have a glass of wine so I can settle my nerves well enough to read student papers. The leopard, the lion, and the panther guard my path and no guide appears to help me finally find redemption.

Each of us live in the remains of destroyed worlds. How many lives have you gone through? How many incarnations? You come into the contact of those lost lives almost every day. Old hobbies dropped, but the accountrements still stored in the closet in the hopes that with a seance your interest in fly fishing or tarot cards might be revived. Those mugs in the cupboard, who gave them to you? Were some of them presents from friends and family who aren't dead, but are still absent from your life now as if one passed into the great beyond? Knickknacks? Jewelry? How about stories?

My mother's new boyfriend wants me to put the past behind me. Forget that my father was raised by Holocaust survivors. Forget being raised by someone so paranoid that our house was just stained wood in the middle of the forest, and we couldn't even have pizza delivers for fear the pizza delivery boy was "casing our house." Forget all the years spent in wheelchairs and on crutches. All the doctors visits. The tests. The casts. The surgeries. Flying to Philadelphia Children's Hospital. The foul tasting Gantrisine I took every day. The scolatron. The leg braces. The back brace. The emergency hospitalizations. Being so depressed that I had to leave public school. Trying to figure out how to explain to my friends at private school that my father was committed. Just put it behind you, he says. He's Italian.

Rome tried that once. In front of the Forum, there's this huge white frothy thing. An atrocity that the Italians call "the wedding cake" or the typewriter. It was meant to signal to Italians not to look at Rome's past, but it's future. But the Italians think of it as an embarassment and point it out with scorn to tourists. But how can you put the past behind you when it's on every street corner, it's the dust on your shoes, it's the particles in the air that you breathe? Try and dig a subway line, and you have to do it through the tomb of Augustus. Walk one block and there's the Tower where Nero supposedly played the lute while Rome burned. Enter an out of the way church and find a shrine built to house one of the ropes that bound Christ to the cross. The ruins of an ancient colosseum ( not THE Colosseum) are turned into apartment buildings. Castel Sant'Angelo was first Hadrian's tomb, then a fortress, now a museum. How can we put the past behind us when it's all around us? When it's too much with us?

Everything is related to everything else. That is how all roads lead to Rome. That is how all roads lead to every town. Vegas. Detroit. Peekskill. Each one is the belly button of the universe to someone. All texts, if examined properly which may involve half a bottle of Jack Daniels and a sideways look, have connections to other texts. My students think I'm crazy because I can connect St Augustine to Fight Club or the Inferno to Lost, but it's there. And it's not just texts. Not only can you play six degrees of Kevin Bacon with other actors, but historical figures and famous books. Or really anyone or anything given a developed enough knowledge base and an abstract enough consciousness. Since all things are connected if viewed properly, it is completely understandable that seeing Jake Gyllenhal's legs make me think of His legs, that unnamable one, which makes me think of him standing in his boxers. Although, honestly, I can't really remember his face anymore, or the boxers. So I guess it just reminds me of the idea of his legs. The mildness of this winter reminds me of the harshness of last winter which reminds me of walking with him in the snow past the christmas trees stand in front of the church. I could smell the fresh pine across the street. Watching the fourth of the July at the beginning of the movie Zodiac makes me remember last Fourth of July, when I forsook my friends, not that they minded, to walk to his apartment in the balmy heat. Ignoring the fireworks going on in the park. He came out to meet me on the street. He wasn't in a good mood. I can't remember why. But I remember the burning smell in the air. And wishing, perhaps, that I had taken another route so I could see the fireworks. And thinking that only a fool would walk all this way on a summer night, on the fourth of July, to see some guy that she had to hide her feelings from.

If my father were alive today, and in a way he is as his voice still rings in my head, and I keep all those memories of him with me. How change always fell from his pockets every time he sat down or got up. How he smoked Kool cigarettes. His sad attempts at dancing.
Or how when my first boyfriend, my very first love, broke up with me and I told my father over the phone, he asked me if I would do it all again knowing what I know now. And I said "I don't know" and he said "Good." And I never asked why that was a good thing. And he never told me so I have no idea. And I remember the last night I saw him alive, and how I promised to call him, but I never did. And I know he called me, but I just let the phone ring because I didn't have the strength to pick up the phone and deal with his craziness again. Or that I drove by his house the day before he died. I was in CT and never told him, drove by the house, and thought of turning in the drive way just to say hi, but well I'll do it tomorrow. Which I wouldn't have. Because I couldn't handle another scene. Because I didn't want to see him.

If he were alive today, he would tell me that I am living proof of what the Jews believe. That sin is its own punishment and good its own reward. Could I think of a more fitting punishment for actually deigning to date some goy from NJ than to suffer this heartbreak? That I the scholar live amongst the trinkets of an age forgotten by all but myself. Not even a golden age at that. Could I envision a more horrifying punishment than not to be able to remember him clearly, but still long for him? To miss even being miserable over the fact that he didn't love me. To miss being sad over the phone calls that never came, the emails he didn't send. Because the truth is he was disappointing from the very beginning and every moment from that first one and yet I even miss the disappointment of him. That I had to talk him into it from the first moment. That he never thought himself lucky that I would take him to bed or want to him call. I was an unwanted nuisance even though as I was drowning I was trying to save him.

And I think even Dante would agree with me on this, I can't think of a worse punishment. And Lord knows, I've tried.

    This page is powered by 
Blogger. Isn't yours?