Plato believed that we lived in a world of
images, three-dimensional shadows of the true one. What we see with our eyes is nothing more than a cheap imitation of its true state.
example, the chair we see before our eyes is nothing more than a shabby image of the true chair that exists. We carry on everyday with
flawed perceptions of the true ideal form.
Life After College:
Year 3 - In Transit
[Monday, January 30, 2006]
The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair.
One of my favorite Bradbury short stories.
He called her Stanley, she called him Ollie. That was the beginning, that was the end, of what we will call the Laurel and Hardy love affair. She was 25, he was 32 when they met at one of those cocktail parties where everyone wonders what they are doing there. But no one goes home, so everyone drinks too much and lies about how grand it all was. They were, in fact, ricocheting through a forest of people, but finding no shade trees. Their paths locked in the exact center of the fruitless mob. They dodged left and right a few times, then laughed and he, on impulse, seized his tie and twiddled it at her. Instantly, smiling, she lifted her hand to pull the top of her hair into a frowsy tassel, blinking and looking as if she had been struck on the head. "Stan!" he cried, in recognition. "Ollie!" she exclaimed. "Where have you been?" "Why don't you do something to help me?" he exclaimed, making wide, fat gestures. They grabbed each other's arms, laughing. "I..." she said, and her face brightened even more. "I know the exact place not two miles from here, where Laurel and Hardy, in 1932, carried that piano crate up and down 131 steps." "Well," he cried, "let's get out of here!" His car door slammed, his car engine roared. Los Angeles raced by in late-afternoon sunlight. He braked where she told him to park. "I can't believe it," he murmured. "Are those the steps?" "All 131 of them." She climbed out of the car. "Come on, Ollie." "Very well, Stan," he said. They gazed up along the steep incline of concrete steps. Her voice was wonderfully quiet. "Go on up," she said. "Go on. Go." He started up the steps, counting, and with each half-whispered count, his voice took on an extra decibel of joy. By the time he reached 57 he was lost in time. "Hold it!" he heard her call, far away, "right there!" He held still and turned. She had a camera in her hands. When he saw it, his right hand flew instinctively to his tie to flutter it on the evening air. "Now, me!" she shouted, and raced up to hand him the camera. And he marched down and looked up and there she was, doing the thin shrug and the puzzled and hopeless face of Stan. He clicked the shutter, wanting to stay there forever. She came slowly down the steps and peered into his face. "Why," she said, "you're crying." He looked at her eyes which were almost as wet as his. "Another fine mess you've got us in," he said. "Oh, Ollie," she said. "Oh, Stan," he said. He kissed her, gently. And then he said: "Are we going to know each other forever?" "Forever," she said.
From that twilight hour on the piano stairs their days were long, and full of that amazing laughter that paces the beginning and run-along rush of any great love affair. They only stopped laughing long enough to kiss and only stopped kissing long enough to laugh. They went to see new films and old films, but mainly Stan and Ollie. They memorized all the best scenes and shouted them back and forth as they drove around midnight Los Angeles. She let her soul flow over into him like a tipped fountain, and he received it and gave it back and was glad. And during that year they went up and down those long piano steps at least once a month and had champagne picnics halfway up, and discovered an incredible thing. "I think it's our mouths," he said. "Until I met you, I never knew I had a mouth. Yours is the most amazing in the world, and it makes me feel as if mine were amazing, too. Were you ever really kissed before I kissed you?" "Never!" "Nor was I. To have lived this long and not known mouths." "Dear mouth," she said, "shut up and kiss." But then at the end of the first year they discovered an even more incredible thing. He worked at an advertising agency and was nailed in one place. She was employed at a travel agency and would soon be working abroad. Both were astonished they had never considered this before. They sat and looked at each other one night and she said, faintly: "Good-bye." "What?" he asked. "I can see Good-bye coming." He looked at her face and it was not sad like Stan in the films, but just sad like herself. "Stan," he said, "you'll never leave me." But it was a question, not a declaration, and suddenly she moved, and he blinked at her and said, "What are you doing there?" "Nut," she said, "I'm kneeling and asking you for your hand. Marry me, Ollie. Come away with me to France. I'll support you while you write the great American novel." "But..." he said. "You've got your portable typewriter, a ream of paper, and me. Say it, Ollie, will you come?" "And watch us go to hell in a year and bury us forever?" "Are you that afraid, Ollie? Don't you believe in me or you or anything? God, why are men such cowards? "Listen. This is my one and only offer, Ollie. I've never proposed before, I won't ever propose again, it's hard on my knees. Well?" "Have we had this conversation before?" he said. "A dozen times in the last year, but you never listened, you were hopeless." "No, in love and helpless." "You've got one minute to make up your mind. Sixty seconds." She was staring at her wristwatch. "Get up off the floor," he said, embarrassed. "If I do, it's out the door and gone," she said. "Stan," he groaned. "Thirty," she read her watch. "Twenty. I've got one knee off the floor. Ten. I'm beginning to get the other knee up. Five. One." And she was on her feet. "Now," she said, "I'm heading for the door. We are very special, wondrous people, Ollie, and I don't think our like will ever come again in the world. But I must go. And now," she reached out. "My hand is on the door and..." "And," he said, quietly. "I'm crying," she said. He started to get up but she shook her head. "No, don't. If you touch me I'll cave in. I'm going. But once a year I'll show up at our flight of steps, no piano, same hour, same time as that night when we first went there, and if you're there to meet me I'll kidnap you, or you me." "Stan," he said. "My God," she mourned. "What?" "This door is heavy. I can't move it." She wept. "There. It's moving. There." She wept more. "I'm gone." The door shut.
He went back to the steps on October 4th every year for three years, but she wasn't there. And then he forgot for two years, but in the sixth year he remembered and went back in the late sunlight and walked up the stairs because he saw something halfway up, and it was a bottle of good champagne with a ribbon and a note on it, delivered by someone, and the note read: "Ollie, dear Ollie. Date remembered. But in Paris. Mouth's not the same, but happily married. Love. Stan." And after that, he simply did not go to visit the stairs. And that was the end, or almost the end, of the Laurel and Hardy love affair. There was, by amiable accident, a final meeting. Traveling through France 15 years later, he was walking on the Champs Elysées at twilight one afternoon with his wife and two daughters, when he saw this handsome woman coming the other way, escorted by a very sober-looking older man and a very handsome, dark-haired boy of 12, obviously her son. As they passed, the same smile lit both their faces in the same instant. He twiddled his necktie at her. She tousled her hair at him. They did not stop. They kept going. But he heard her call back: "Another fine mess you've got us in!" And then she added the old, the familiar name by which he had gone in the years of their love. And she was gone and his daughters and wife looked at him and one daughter said, "Did that lady call you Ollie?" "What lady?" he said. "Dad," said the other daughter, leaning in to peer at his face. "You're crying." "No." "Yes, you are. Isn't he, Mom?" "Your papa," said his wife, "as you well know, cries over telephone books." "No," he said. "just 131 steps and a piano. Remind me to show you girls, someday." They walked on and he turned and looked back. The woman turned at that very moment. Maybe he saw her mouth pantomime the words, So long, Ollie. Maybe he didn't. He felt his own mouth move, in silence: So long, Stan. And they walked in opposite directions along the Champs Elysées in the late light of an October sun.
Posted by ink |
[Tuesday, January 24, 2006]
Boys are dirty.
[exchange in the library] Ink: "Are those the same earplugs I gave you last semester?" Blue: "Yeah." "...They're filthy." "Have you seen Lee's? They have mold growing on them." "Why doesn't he throw them away?!?!" *shrug* "...I'll get you guys new ones."
Posted by ink |
[Sunday, January 01, 2006]
Ink + Bathroom sink = one big mess.
I think I might've broken my nose. It's swollen, but not discolored, it's a little harder to breathe - but only in the stuffy-sinuses sense. It looks like I was genetically cursed with a fat nose. Does it still count as broken if there's no obvious bruising? Underneath my fat nose, you'll find a small cut in that little furrow between your nose and your upper lip. It's scabbed over by now, giving me a wonderful resemblance to Adolf Hitler. Below that, you'll find a big upper lip. It looks like I got a really bad botox job. On the inside of my upper lip (the part that lies against my teeth and gums) is a huge purple bruise, shaped like my front teeth. This part is swollen and dips down visibly, making me look like a turtle. But with a Hitler moustache.
There are bloodstains on my Dooney and Bourke purse, and also on my blazer. And I puked out the window of the cab on my way home, which I haven't done since I was nineteen. The funny thing is - I'm not even sure what happened. I only had one glass of wine and one cranberry vodka. Definitely not enough for the fireworks of food that came out of my mouth. I suppose it could've been worse. I could've knocked my front teeth out. As it is, they feel a bit sore, and I'm being careful with them. No ribs. I'm most concerned about my nose. I look like my own sister. Very similar in appearance, but with a larger nose. What if it never regains its original size? And it's fat forever? I'm never complaining about my nose ever again.
I tripped over Motorcycle, who was lying on the floor of the bathroom, and smashed my face into the sink. All he remembers is me landing on him and blood everywhere. This was before he was carried out of the bathroom by his friend. His female friend did sit down beside me and tell me that she wants me to know that Motorcycle really likes me a lot, and that he feels personally responsible for what happened. All I did was continue holding the tissue to my bloody nose and feel around my mouth with my tongue to make sure all my teeth were still in place. Surprisingly - no hangover this morning. Just some groaning when I saw myself in the mirror. I'm having dinner with my parents tomorrow night. They're going to totally flip out.
big change, the choices we make
in life, gut instincts, on-the-whim
hairpin turns, the search for truth, the desire to be happy, the journey to finding out what
makes us happy.
being young and clueless, hoping
that we're not blindly leading ourselves to our own demise with every
tentative step we take, the pitfalls of dating, the trials
and travails of being a young woman in the post-feminist era.