Stream of Unconsciousness

what happens when i’m tired and hungry.

I’m not saying this to worry you or make you think there’s something wrong with me. I’m just not hungry at all lately. I forget to eat all of the time, and when I do eat, I’m almost instantly full. I just don’t want any food right now. It’s making me tired, and I realize that I probably should go and pop a bag of popcorn or something just to have a little food in me, but the thought of the smell of popcorn is making my stomach twist.

I’m very glad that Thursday morning I’m getting on a plane and going to Las Vegas. I’m going with my mother. I’m returning her gift of taking me on my 21st birthday. This time it’s for her birthday. I’m also meeting up with the MBTV people, so it’s a convention, it’s frolic, it’s a spa treatment, and it’s time with my mommy.

I can’t seem to just take a vacation. It always becomes an event.

One of the things I’m looking forward to on my trip to Eric’s college reunion thing is the total lack of responsibility or obligation I’m going to have. The only people I’m going to know there are Chris and Eric, and they will surely be busy catching up with all of their friends. I think I’ll take a book, maybe my computer, and just sit in the quiet, write a little, read a lot, get some sun, eat some seafood, and chill. I don’t think this trip will be chillin’, but I know one part of it that most certainly will be.

I’m going to the spa.

I’ve been to Vegas five times. The past four times I’ve gone to the spa. It’s a wonderful place full of serenity and body oil and I always leave there feeling completely renewed. It’s nice and quiet and warm. Usually I don’t know anyone in there, so I can just walk around naked or whatever. This time I’ll be meeting some co-workers for the first time, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a bit freaked about meeting someone for the first time completely naked. Usually it works the other way around.

But back to the spa. No talking about stress. Talk about the spa.

There are individual showers with scents. They call them “essences,” but that makes me giggle. Each shower has a different scent, and the shampoo, conditioner and body wash all match. My favorite is “essence of sandalwood.” I once waited thirty minutes for the shower just to have that particular one. They have all sorts of little things that make you feel special. There are razors, mouthwash, fruit, juice, water, magazines, big fluffy robes, tiny clean sandals, warm big towels, cold washcloths to take into the sauna with you, giant whirlpools and not-very-intrusive music, and a steam room that I love so much I almost fell asleep in there once.

They scrub you with this salt gel stuff and when you wash it off you feel like a giant baby. Then they massage you for an hour. Then you get an hour facial, which includes a head massage and a face massage. I don’t even want to move afterwards. I get back into the water and drink cold water and chill. I don’t talk. I don’t even really think after a certain point. I’m always trying to not fall asleep during the massage so that I don’t miss any of it. It’s wonderful. It’s my favorite thing in Vegas.

That and the Big Shot at the Stratosphere. That I love. That’s a great ride.

Most people go to Vegas completely excited about a chance to gamble. I’m excited about locking myself in a giant bathroom for five hours with naked women while other women touch my naked body. Wait a minute, I guess other people probably get excited about that when they go to Vegas, too. But there’s no sex in the champagne room.

This year is taking a toll on my head. On my body. I’m ready for it to be over. I’m ready for the move to be over. I’m ready to feel just a little bit settled again. Right now I feel like I’m just working and working and working and I’m never going to finish all of the things I have to do. October is quickly coming up, and I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to do all of this. The cats have already been booked on a flight to LA. My cats are arriving in November. They are booked to LA. They are further along on this move than I am, and they don’t even know what a California is.

I’m a bad napper, I’ve mentioned that before. But I’m eager to learn. I’d like to know how to do it.

Oh, I’m tired. Yeah. I’m tired. My recap is due tonight and I leave on Thursday morning (my flight is at six. How not exciting is that?) and I leave Vegas at six in the morning as well. I can’t seem to get nice, quiet relaxing flights. Always too early or too long or too many layovers.

I fell asleep in the Dallas airport when I was flying back from Los Angeles last time. I woke up to find my legs were completely spread apart and propped on my luggage. I was drooling. There was a small child staring. I got up and found a different gate to hide. How mortifying.

Like, here’s what’s happening now. I’ll just be sitting here, and I’ll go and put on a Weezer song or something, and then I’ll end up just staring into space for like, thirty seconds. I think maybe I should just go home and sleep for a little while. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

I miss so many of my friends. Over the past year, so many of them now live very far away. I find it terribly frustrating that I simply cannot call them up and make plans to go hang out tonight. Some of them, I don’t even know how to get in touch with right now. That’s awful.

Oh, wah. I’m whiny. Ignore this.

My co-workers are officially writing me off as “the strange one.” At any moment they could walk by my office and hear Radiohead, Britney Spears, The Kids of Widney High, or Steve Perry. Sometimes you’ll hear about “gangsta ass niggas” or “fuck the police” or a “teenage dirtbag.” No one bothers me anymore. Just quiet waves and head nods as I walk by. Then they giggle and whisper to each other like when Rizzo walks by Patty Simcox before she sings “There are Worse Things I Could Do.”

Like that. Where is that coming from in my head? Rizzo and Patty. I need some sleep. Or a sandwich. My fingers are having a harder time typing as quickly. I’m making more mistakes.

I get down my to-do list, and I always reach a point where I get to these two things I have been putting off for at least three weeks. I’m now just refusing to do them on some sort of principle, and I know I’ll feel better if I just go ahead and do them. I don’t know why I just let them sit there. Is it comforting to have more to do? That can’t be it. I’m just procrastinating on them. I don’t really know why.

Okay.

I just went and made my boss laugh for fifteen minutes, which is what I’m really good for when i’m tired. She says she understands why I stay up too late to write. i’m funnier when I have no sense of self-censorship. When I just say things and write or say whatever comes out of my head like “i never got that ozarka bottle you sent on my fifth birthday” or whatever. that’s not a good example.

I was just saying that.

This is like one of those Stephen King short stories where the writer slowly eats himself as he’s dying on an island. Except it’s a short blonde girl slowly wasting away in an office while pearl jam’s ‘black” makes her remember high school boyfriends that loved her and she left to go to college. i’m sorry, casey. you were the sweetest boy who ever stole marbles for me. i still remember you stomach fondly.

mm. what else is floating around my head here? there’s me thinking about the spice girls, wondering if they’re still making music, and they just aren’t releasing in america, or if they just broke up and did solo things or what happened to them. i’m thinking about how to pack up all of my things, what i shouldn’t take with me, what’s just me hanging onto things i don’t need. i cleaned out my closet, but it’s still am ess.

i miss my grover puppet from when i was a kid.

i have marker on my fingers.

I once knew a girl that would huff scotch guard in class. in the sixth grade. she was hardcore, yo. i wonder what happened to those girls, the ones who didn’t talk to me the ones who pushed past me, the ones who never saw me but I studied because I wondered how they got there, how did they decide one day that heavy black eyeliner was the way to go, who knew how to fray a denim jacket, who knew how to french kiss when i hadn’t even held a hand yet. i studied them because they knew how to make someone look at you. they knew how to draw attention. they didn’t always want the attention, but they got it. they got it in droves. i studied the boys that looked at the pure girls. the pure girls only looked pure, but actually wanted to lose as much innocence as they could on a wednesday afternoon between the bus ride and curfew. they were the ones that looked good smoking cigarettes, and actually said they hate homework. was i the freak for liking homework? i couldn’t tell anyone that on summer vacations i used to make homework assignments for myself and my mother would buy me college textbooks like Biology and English and I’d read every page and teach myself mitosis and molecular structures because i thought the more you knew the sexier you were. how misled i was. how none of that helped that first terrible year of high school when you have no idea who you are or who these people are and they don’t know who the fuck you are and you’re in a small town that has known each other for years and you’re just on the outside looking in.

you always end up getting invited to sit somewhere at lunch the first day. you sit down and quickly realize that you were asked to sit with the other outsiders. and you hear your mother in your head to be nice and make friends with these kids because they’re just as lonely and sad as you are and they really want friends and they’re probably nice, but you really really want to be popular this time, you’ve never been popular and you’re starting over for the tenth time in another school and you thought maybe this time you’d get it right, but instead you’re sitting with kids who never have plans on the weekend, and know all of the television line-ups from friday to sunday. they ask you if you need help with your algebra. you watch the popular kids from your hot lunch plate and you realize that you have two choices: you can suddenly get all cool and tell these losers that you’ll smell them later and storm over to the new table, declare a place and say that you’re just lucky you got out without a pocket protector tattoo, or you can sit there, like your mother would want you to, and be a good kid, be a nice girl, and meet these kids and stay just distant enough that you don’t really like them. it’s easier to not make friends. you’re going to be leaving soon, anyway. you always do. don’t get attached. just keep that feeling like you’re going to be sick. it never goes away that first week of the new school. you just sit there and wonder if anyone will know it’s your birthday. you watch the birthday girl with the balloons and realize you won’t have that because you haven’t had these friends for years. they’ve all got history. you’ll be the one without valentines again. no one will ask if you’re going to the dances. you will only be talked to when you forgot to put on one of your socks, or if you accidentally make the chair fart when you lean over to get your pencil. you’ll be called on all the time by the teachers because the teachers love you since you’re just a mini-me and you’ll get good grades again, but you’ll always walk home alone. you miss every school you ever went to, even when you hated being at some of those schools so much you’d cry every single night, knowing that when you wake up, it’s time to go to that place again.

The sound of school busses still makes your stomach drop. The smell of a pencil. The sound of kids on a playground. All things that remind you that you once hated every second of them. That moment when you’d stop watching everyone else play boys chase girls, and you stopped talking to your imaginary boyfriend on the jungle gym and decided to go inside and read instead. That moment when there was someone else inside reading, and you started talking about Ramona Quimby and Beezus and you suggested books for each other and at the end of the day you find out she rides your bus and then you find out that she lives down the street and suddenly you have a new friend and your mom is proud of you and you spend the night at each other’s houses watching scary movies and eating too much and talking about movies and music and you’ve finally found someone who understands you. You’ve got someone to write notes to. Someone to giggle with at lunch. You learn new words and fashion from her. She’s always got the best hair. Maybe she’s got some friends and she lets you in and suddenly you are a part of a group. You’re not in the core of the group, but you’re a part of it, you belong. You’ve got friends and you like the school and suddenly you can’t remember ever hating it and then you go home one day and it’s time to move again.

You’re moving again and you have to pack up your room, your bedroom, all of your things, and you pack up memories of these new friends and throw them in the imaginary friend box, and you introduce them to your other old friends. They will all be very important when you can’t sleep that last night in that room, when it’s all boxed up and dark and you don’t know where you’re going and you don’t know anyone where you’re going and you don’t know what to expect. Their imaginary voices try and soothe you, tell you that you’ll find new friends. They echo your mother’s words. But you know it’s all about to happen again. You’re mad at yourself. You promised yourself you wouldn’t get attached to this place, and then you did. You went ahead and got attached, and now you have to go through all of that sad again. More sad again. Being new all over again. Maybe next time you’ll be popular. Maybe there people will think you’re pretty, or that you have the coolest clothes. Maybe they’ll appreciate how you made up dances to the entire “Purple Rain” album. Maybe they’ll have Cabbage Patch Dolls, or really like Chinese Jumprope and MTV. Maybe they’ll have a copy of The Breakfast Club, since you haven’t seen it yet. Maybe they’ll have horses. Your friend Becky loved horses. You miss Becky. She never writes anymore. Maybe they’ll have braces. You like braces. You’ve never had them. Maybe they will love you immediately and take you right in. Or maybe they will hate you and make you sit at the fat kid table again. Maybe they’ll have other boys pretend to like you and ask you out and wait until you say yes and then all start laughing in the cafeteria and even the lunch lady laughs because there’s no way that boy was really asking you out and she has a sad and lonely life and her entertainment is now watching young children be horrible to each other. Maybe you can pretend to be blind in the new school. Or deaf. Pretend you don’t understand English. Or you can be British. Or in a wheelchair. Some reason that they don’t have to talk to you, and even if they want to talk to you, you act all noble and say you can’t talk to them. You’re too busy, or too important, or too British.

Maybe the new school will burn down on your first day and you’ll never have to go there again and you can sit at home with your college textbooks and apply to Harvard and get in as the youngest kid ever in college and people will think you’re amazing and spectacular and find all of those stories you keep in your closet and they’ll publish them. They throw words at you like “genius” and “charming.” You don’t have to remember that time everyone got a thesaurus and had to write words they had never learned before on a paper plate that had your name on it. And since they didn’t know what they were saying, but you did, your heart broke when you got your paper plate back and it said, “precocious,” “arrogant,” “weird,” “twisted,” “curious,” “odd,” “abnormal,” “bizarre,” “freak,” “ordinary,” “pretentious,” and “egotistic.” You turn to the kid in front of you as he studies his plate and asks what “corpulent” means. You realize that maybe he’s better off not knowing. You hate everyone there and you hate the stupid teacher for giving such a dangerous assignment.

Or maybe they fill their slam books and forget to put your name in. Maybe you invite everyone to your birthday party and they all go to someone else’s. Maybe they forget to invite you to that someone else’s. Maybe you go a full week without anyone saying a word to you but one boy who said, “Is your hair on purpose?”

You’re going to start over and over and over. It’s always the same, but the faces are different. The names are different. The pain and the fear is the same.

you realize that you’ve just said a lot, and you’re going to go home.

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