Mid-May my laptop’s A/C adapter expires and I can’t seem to replace it locally for under $150 say what? yeah, and I get sick of looking—the Mom and Pop shrugging and the superslick Big Box Boys shoving into my hands product I can’t afford then blocking the rack so I can’t put it back while threatening the death of my laptop if I get a replacement off the internet. Hong Kong vows to send me one in 5-14 business days. It takes three and a half weeks. What does this mean? It means I can’t adapt. I can’t turn one energy into another kind of energy to spark force ease give birth to creativity, to convenience, to wholesale distractioneering. Oh dear. Oh my.
I camp out on campus to do my schoolwork and social digital upkeep, damning and disturbed by my dependency not only on the ether, but the ability to process words with a computer. Where’s my cut paste backspace built-in thesaurus with a blank sheet of paper and pen? …In my head, where they’ve always been, but I find it hard to think—to compose, to emote—without hypertextuality. I barely remember how it used to be, and I like how it is, writing with technology, “word processing,” one of those loverlies, the more I think about it, the more my smile hurts.
It’s unnerving. I’m an editor when I’m writing when I should be just writing, for personal works and academia alike. But the thoughts explode with the ra-tat-tat-tat-typing, and it’s not that pens are too slow—they’re too stupid to imagine what could possibly happen 10,000 words from now. They’re too archaic to remember, to find replace erase, what happened 10,000 words before. Here I sit with tatters and a splitting-open head—culled letters and paragraphs I’ve emailed to myself, scratches on scratch and bound-book journaling. I struggle to reconcile thoughts that are mostly the same thoughts, mostly redundancy. I figure out and forget the same things over and over and over under the cover of perpetual wonder, surprise surprise and joy, isn’t life mysterious and magical? when often it just makes me tired. Not life. Reliving it.
My basement suite sublet includes yard responsibilities, which I don’t mind—no, I do mind, I give it mind, I muddy my pants and let the earth chew up my fingernails, pulling weeds and trimming grass in the backyard and along the shed. I squeal every time I see the glittering black beetles, and the chlorophyll puts me in a coma. The woman in the unit above piles on praise, gold stars for the days the sun kisses the top of my head bent over the garden beds. She instructs me in the care of rhododendrons. After the blossoms bang, they wilt and rot. She shows me how to snap them off so the rest can thrive unhindered and how to prune the rickety branches without leaves. Crack strip snap. The whole wastes energy trying to revive, keep alive the dead parts never coming back. New flowers another year, sure, but these? Snap snap. Dead energy. Let those parts go. So the rest can grow.
For a moment she looks aware of her new age hippie dippery, and tries to mitigate with a leftfield line about bears and nature. In nature bears probably come along and knock them off, or something.
Yeah maybe sometimes, minorly, every millionth. Or dead parted life looks like what it is. Figures it out itself, or not. Drops the rotted to the earth and feeds off itself.
My walking slows down and I walk for hours to nowhere. Water’s rim adventuring, parks and alleys and steep grade stepping, and I can’t go back the way I came crashing, even as I cover and recover the same ground. In Jericho the crows surround. I’ve long felt an affinity; is this my chance, my proof? to talk up the caws and deliver awe to reason. I edge from tree to tree and they follow me in numbers growing, soon swooping at my head and screaming until I race a wide arc around and out the park, rushing free with all my skin and feeling extra marvelous. Running turns into dancing sometimes. It’s just you and the outside around you, crushing in hard.
Speaking of. I’ve managed to mangle myself on the dance floor several times the past few weeks, the neglected cast aside fast becoming imperative, play, the surest way to breathe properly, step steeping inside the grown old become wise, a slip-sly speaker caress into careening. I surrender to the trephining. The soul-strip-searching. Roiling the atmosphere, throwing off rays, I make music better. It reacts to me.
But back to my feet. As a kid I would pro/con me-powered transportation. My bike would get me far, fast, but not over that fence. With blades I could fly, run up and down steps, but I fell behind in the gravel pits of broken up lots. With the feet I was born on top of, yeah, it could be slow going. An hour, a day, to get to the plot. But I could zip across a train rail and jump over buildings, squeeze through a wormhole without a lock or lost time.
So I put on my feet and walk. I don’t discover anything not already existing but I do find the not always there—the low-tide Point Grey foreshore of English Bay, hardly a secret but still a sneak. Wet, vibrant slime climbs the cliffs to the condos overlooking but unable to impose, to know much of anything of what happens on the ridge of rocks below: The purple shards of mussels and the bulging weird rockweed, the doggies off their leashes pawing the evidence of campfire stay awhiles, lots to see here. Sailboats and kayaks in the bay. The skyline calling but I choose the sand. A great blue heron breaks the horizon, and a bald eagle hunches like a monster in its cottonwood castle, scattering lesser wings with a twist of its neck, the fierce dare in its eye.
I’m from the Midwest Coast with waves of grain; I understand tides but they’re not instilled, known in bones or at the front of my brain. If I’d come here when the moon was spewing, not sucking the water, burying the log perches and foot-purchase stepping stones, letting the barnacles breathe underwater, crash waves against retaining walls and eating up the seafare and wayfaring footprints weaving along the shore… I would never have returned. Just moved along. Nothing to see here.
And so. My lack of adaptation turns me into a mixed-blessing, lovehate machine, Canadian Lit fiend and follower of sunshot weather, seeker of water sounds, sandy-soled keen. Oh my god, who has emailed me since I last computer lab ratted out the shades of me enjoying no digerati arugh! the agony! LIES are the s’okays the internets are a waste! and I should happily instead through narrative seek the essence of the northern psyche. …And I have, I try. I read a book a day for a week: mostly tales of Chinatown and frontier BC, and Winnipeg I’ve grown a curious affinity for, though I’ve only visited once. The Red runs through us both. Messages unheard are Skyped into the sky, but I’ve been swept into the Interior Oh, Canada! oh my own inside soul. As opposed to the one on the outside? Oh ow ow, I suppose.
Given eBay and PayPal home address snafu times ESL and potential inattention, I wouldn’t be surprised if my new adapter showed up in Minneapolis accidentally instead. The waiting part is fine, it’s the uncertainty that digs. I wouldn’t mind being patient if I knew for sure it’s coming.
Despite the antsy irritation that sets in me, I do remember other things, to hear and ways of hearing, to see and the visioning. My last year in Minneapolis I lived without a live wire, and I slowed down then, too. Walked and biked leisurely, nothing was anywhere waiting for me, it was always already happening, right here now there before. Time felt different—restructured without the structure of compulsion and the promise of instant gratification, which has nothing to do with satisfaction, only the bliss-demand of immediacy, the now, Now, when instantaneous anything is anything but an authentic appreciation of reality. It’s not even an acknowledgment, and my incessant browsing cannot approach a pastime, pleasure, a worthwhile endeavor, unless distraction is a hobby and mindlessness is key to reconstructing constructions of identity. It challenges it rethink your shit but that doesn’t mean I hear it, I heed. Yes, I need downtime diversion vegetation like any information-addled twenty-first century digital girl (studying information science, no less). But when I question “Distraction from what?” I shudder. I don’t want a distraction from my distraction, I want a mission. Voice for the vision. Cease the black sails from passing in the night.
Apropos Dan writes about wanting to change the wanting to pass time by. Seldom but insistent. So well, so strong, I feel it too, and strange without the internet to conceal that I’m doing it anyway. Lay your head there, still. Stay. It comes with a panic, the impulse toward and realization of time not passing but me passing it up, putting it off, pushing it away—naps when I’m mere-remotely tired and taking the long way home, not to see new things but to delay, do away with time. Plugged in the hours were passed just as cold: careless, unnoticed, unconscious, and I crack. What do I want from me. Really. I thought I had this figured out, the resentment run dry. Another epiphany I’ll forget, backtrack then retread and feel awesome then like hell again, and again, what do I want. To be done? Figured out fully and finally, me it everything nailed shut, locked down.
Neither true or the truth yet it creeps and overcomes, and like a lost cause I’m founding finality trying to separate intellect from emotion while injecting logic into everything—which, incidentally, my intuition tells me ain’t right. “I want only to exist”—and my wanting it precludes me from attaining it. The idea versus the ideal with the laugh-track of perception whose definition? and holy shit, I’m trying too hard. A concentrated effort is too much effort. The crows attacked me and I wanted to believe it was because I’m special. For a few brief moments I stopped wanting it and was it—not special, not magical, in-tune or out of time passing it by, or scientifically realistically too close to a nest or otherwise threatening. I became belief. Broke free of boundary, perception stripped, dancing with a mind full lost completely. My soul fell out of my body. And the crows were coming to take it away.
“It’s all about timing” said for a lot—people and places, things, fortune and mis-. A feel-good and forget about it, move on—justification and rationalization for the holdups and the left-the-blocks before the gun shot, hesitation and what the hell are you doing, honestly, my precious fool perfect idiot pretension. Passing the timing. Prefer to not mind anything. High tide, keep walking. Just wait just watch someday somehow, something someone some thought some song will come along and snap all your dead parts off. Leave you naked and new.
I wouldn’t mind being patient if I knew for sure it’s coming I would mindless being patient glowing in the surefire. Sending energy to blackholes when I should eat the dead alive.
Nothing is settled, and nothing settles you.
I was unfortunately unable to finish this post before I began my Midwest Crashing—unfortunate because while the above’s not overripe, I’ve been flooded anew with the emo-stim of travel and complications of homing in on “home.” I spent a week in Minneapolis and am currently in Fargo until well I don’t know, until I feel like leaving. Late July at the latest. Perhaps another day will see those words through (/see through those words, ho ho ho).