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Archive for July, 2010

Chalkey and I are apartment hunting. We’re hoping/planning to move to Boston in the fall, and this means spending a lot of time on Craiglist, HotPad, and the phone – not to mention the street, both through Google Maps and physically. Location-wise, I live about 45 minutes outside the city right now, so I can actually go and look at places.

It also means I can actually PICTURE where we might be living. Now, I love Chalkey, but he does tend to email me suggestions located in, say, Springfield. Or Worcester. And there ARE jobs all over Massachusetts, but I want to be within spitting distance of Boston – preferably on the subway system, but I’d do commuter rail as well (I think Chalkey wants to be within spitting distance of SOME GIRL ;DDD). All the jobs I’m applying for are in and around Boston, and I have a lot of friends there. There are some Wooster grads – both Chalkey and I just graduated – and a big student community, and music, and art… Boston’s just a good place. I think we can both be happy there.

…and I must admit that the opportunity to be close to Jim, who’s going to be living in Norwood, is a major draw for me.

The most frustrating part of this whole search is what the ads don’t include. I require certain knowledge! Here’s what I would, ideally, like to know:

  • Where is it? What street? Is it close to public transportation?
  • How many rooms is it?
  • How much does it cost per month?
  • Is it furnished?
  • Is heat included? How about water? Or electricity?
  • Are pets allowed? What kind of pets?
  • Is there a finder’s fee?
  • Who owns the building? Does the owner/landlord live there too?
  • What’s the move-in date? Is it flexible?
  • What is the neighborhood like? The other tenants?

HOWEVER.

The only thing I really, REALLY get angry about not knowing right up front, every time, is this: are utilities included in the rent?

I have no idea why this is left out so often, and not specified either way! It drives me up the wall. Like, flailing. I am forever asking Chalkey, on the phone and through email, “Why does it never say anything about utilities? Isn’t this supposed to be important?”

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE.

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I have a huge problem with this.

Contra dancing is an enormously powerful experience for me – because I mostly follow (by which I mean dance the girl’s part), I spend a lot of time being extremely in tune with my partner and following all his or her cues very precisely. In a lot of ways it’s a giving-up of control, something that I hate to do in my everyday life but is also a relief. Dance is a form of meditation for me as well, and expression of joy, and flirtation, and exercise, and a way of courting — I show-off-danced for Jim very early on, although I didn’t realize I was doing it. (Seriously though. I danced blindfolded. It should have been a major tipoff for both of us.)

And because I am at heart a poet – and more on this later, I suspect – I frequently try to write about what it’s like to dance. I’ve succeeded only once admirably, in a short story/vignette called “Surrender”, although I repeatedly try. Something about dancing expresses itself in cliches – I think maybe because there is power in cliches, because everyone says them for a reason, because they are what run through our collective consciousness, because on some level we know they are real and true and powerful. When I say that dancers move like flames, I know both that it’s terribly cliched and terribly accurate. We flicker and twist and our bodies are on fire with it. But to write it that way sounds stupid, and I constantly wrestle with it, because I both want to sound unique and to get across what it’s like.

I danced tonight beneath a thunderstorm that shook the walls of the meeting hall we use for contra, where lightening was lighting up the sky. It was one of the single most powerful experiences I’ve had dancing, and I wanted/needed to write it down. I wanted to tie the thunder and the dancing, and it was hellishly hard – my first go at it contained the phrase “sky shot through with lightening”. When I sent it to Jim, as I often do when I’m futzing around with lines, she pointed out that line as cliched, I tried changing to “struck through”, he said no and suggested running the idea of thread through the poem instead — Jim too is a poet, and much, much better at images than I am. I’m more narrative. I thought she was mad, but tried her suggestion (“strung through”) and discovered to my delight and dismay that it worked rather well.

I think I will keep her — if for no other reason than that because of him, I seem to have found a way to write about dancing.

We dance like thunder

under skies strung through

with lightening, wet-wool-heavy

with water, rain beading

our necks — heatflash flickering,

breathing in the wind, threading through

each other, needle-sharp.

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My boyfriend calls me Bones.

I call her Jim.

(…and frequently I find I must inform her that I am not certain pertinent things, and am in fact something very specific. Her tag here is dammit jim; mine, when I talking about myself, is is dr. bones.)

(And yes. All the tags do start with D.)

He calls me Bones after – who else – Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, who he has a special spot in his heart for. I call him Jim for James Tiberius Kirk. This all started when I mentioned a family tendency towards drinking gin&tonics and mint juleps (but only on Derby Day), and he began yelping about how I was totally Bones. I was a combination of delighted and utterly horrified – one of the many hilarious text messages I recieved on this theme reads:

I MEAN YES I LIKE GIVING YOU NECKRUBS

BUT JESUS CHRIST

YOUR SHOULDERS FEEL LIKE PART OF THE SHIP, BONES

TAKE A DAY OFF

The only recourse I had was to give in and call her Jim.

The nickname works on two levels for me – the obvious jaded-grumpy-charming-doctor level, and the I-collect-bones level. (I have a badger skull, horse teeth, an unidentifiable rodent skull, some mystery leg bones, a unknown vertebrae, a rabbit skin, a fox tail, an Australian possum tail, and some feathers.) (Jim thinks this is weird, but he totally collects them too.)

Jim is genderqueer, and I’m just plain queer. I consider her to be something between girlfriend and boyfriend; I use the former with my parents, and the latter with my friends. I switch pronouns regularly and call her my Gentleman; he calls me his Lady, although admittedly somewhat less often and perhaps without the capital letter. And yes, for those of you wondering, I’m a girl – and for those of you who are nosy, Jim is not a girl. Or a boy. Not precisely. Not right now.

…Jim’s just Jim. And I’m just Bones. Nice to meet you.

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Dognose Says

I have this problem with sending peculiar text messages to Jim while I’m at work. In that I do it a lot. I mean, I work alone most of the day, my boss regularly takes phone calls while on walks (as I do; I set up an interview while on a walk once). So it’s not like it’s a bad thing. I just – as mentioned in the previous post – get a little weird when I’ve been on my own all day.

So there are a number of messages in my Sent folder that contain a close-up picture of a dog’s nose and text that begins DOGNOSE SAYS.

(Jim, by the way, is my significant other, and will get an entry of hir own soon.)

The ones that are there now say the following:

DOGNOSE COMMANDS IT (golden retriever)

DOGNOSE SAYS GO TO THE DOCTOR (black lab)

DOGNOSE SAYS I AM RIGHT (maltese)

Dognose says Happy We Are Dorks Day (golden retriever, on Jim and I’s two-month anniversary)

Dognose is nuzzling meee. (greyhound, no picture)

There are a LOT of other dog pictures, including FAT DOG IS FAT, SO VERY FAT and TINY DOG IS TINY and THIN DOG DUG A HOLE.

So… essentially I take pictures of stranger’s dogs’ noses and send them to my partner. I really, really need to get my iPod earbuds fixed so that I have something to distract me.

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My main source of income during the summer is working as a petsitter. I work for a company that shall remain nameless, run by two gay men who did so well at it that they were able to quit their day jobs. They also got a horse, and horses are not cheap, so that suggests to me they have been extremely successful.

It’s generally a pretty good job. I usually have between 3 and 10 visits/walks a day, which can be rough but also means that I 1) get a lot of exercise, and 2) make a lot of money. My pay-per-visit is ten dollars for a regular walk, and 12 dollars for an off-leash run, which means that on a particularly rough day I can make upwards of a hundred bucks. It can severely cramp my social life, given that my day has the potential to  start at 6am and end at 9pm. However, I’m generally off by 6 or 7, which means I can do things at night, and I also have three-to-four hour periods off during the day – and I’ve been known to bring my friends along on walks once in a while.

It’s a weird job, though. It gives me a lot of time alone, and when I’m alone for long periods of time I start to mutter to myself. This should by all rights be good for my writing; one of the ways I used to compose stories and poems was out loud, at the barn — unfortunately I seem to have only one mode of thought during my dog walks. And it’s not poetic.

I call it “Where do greyhounds put their organs?”

It’s not that I only think about greyhounds (although I often do, because I walk four of them a day in two sets of two), but that’s the question I keep returning to. I just cannot figure it out. Where do they put their stomachs? Do they not have intestines? They seem to be all legs and fur and ribs. I mean look at this dog.

Variations on “where do greyhounds…” include things like “What possible reason is there to breed a maltese?” (I take care of five), “Are all Jack Russells missing the part of their brain that says ‘do not bite Grace’?” (two dogs), and “I wonder how many Labs it would take to knock me down?” (uncountable dogs, and the answer is ‘more than two’ but I do not know the exact number, please do not let me find out).

The problem isn’t so much the questions themselves. They are all valid questions (especially the last). It’s that I will ask myself the exact same question every time I see the pertinent dog, and go over the exact same answers, and come to the exact same conclusions, every. single. day. I do this when I’m working out a scene or plot or character or line of poetry, but at least I do it to some end. This is just sheer repetition. I need new questions, because I’ll be working this job for at least another month and a half.

Next time: Dognose says hello.

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How I Named It

Fred started to follow, but Nita caught him in cupped hands, holding him back for a moment. Fred! Did we do right? Even here she couldn’t keep the pain out of her question, the fear that she could have somehow have prevented his death. But Fred radiated a serene and wondering joy that took her breath and reassured her and filled her with wonder to match his, all at once.

Go find out, he said.

“So You Want to be a Wizard”, by Diane Duane.

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