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Brent
Bettina
Liz
Kerry
Isaac
Johnny

Monday, Jan. 19, 2004 - 4:23 p.m.

Sunday

I used to be able to eat anything. Sometimes I still like to pretend I can. Witness the details of my consumption last night:
At home:
An apple
A kiwi
Half a chicken breast, sautťed, with piccata-ish sauce
Four gingerbread muffins
Three glasses of merlot
At a party:
Two pork ribs, smoked by Lís brother
Numerous bits of cauliflower
Celery
Ranch dressing
Tortilla chips
Pickled okra
Two red ales
A glass of scotch
A Michelob Ultra (gaaah)

Today I feel all gooey and turbulent inside. I am self-medicating with water and bananas.

Monday

I catch Lís low-level panic about time on the weekends. I want to do things but do them quickly, to go hiking and then make lunch and then go furniture shopping. He moves slowly in the mornings, spends hours looking at furniture, then is frustrated as the sun sets and the day slips away. And the whole time I feel frantic, wanting to get home to my cat, to walk to the library. I want to drive to Charleston for the morning and then clean my apartment. But I go at his deliberate pace and feel the same disappointment he seems to feel. Itís been a three-day weekend. I got tons of things done. I spent three hours re-wiring the most beautiful 1950ís metal lamp I bought at a yard sale a few months ago Ė itís ten feet long and leans all the way across my living room, curving gracefully, with what looks like a hooded colander on top. I cleaned and filed and mopped and vacuumed, cooked, walked, read, saw a show, went to a party, and talked to my family and friends, but I still feel kind of worthless. I know itís not Lís fault, that our difference in pace isnít that big, but I feel stressed out hanging out with him during the day on the weekend.

Last night I realized Something Big which is probably related. Iíve been feeling shy around L for no reason I could discover, part of feeling generally reclusive. I was sorting out loud through ideas about this, and as soon as I hit on the right one, I knew: itís self-protection. I plan to leave here, though I wonít know until PhD programs get back to me where Iíll go, and clamming up inside myself is a sure way to ensure an easier transition away. Thatís why I feel suddenly awkward with L, and why I donít feel like cementing any other bonds any further, why Iím shying away from side projects. I donít know whether knowing what the problem is will make it go away, but itís a start. So this is how I start my real first week of school. Tomorrow the Writing Center opens and I teach my third day of classes. The Writing Center will be empty this first week or so, but I will still have to be there. Iím excited to feel busy; so many years of being in school makes me feel empty and guilty when I have no work to do. Still, Iím sick of USC, just as I get sick of anywhere I work for more than a year.

Moroseness aside, itís a beautiful day. L bought a table and chairs, and to pick them up I got to drive the pickup owned by the record store my friend manages. Just the simple feeling of driving a stick shift on the highway, downshifting as I pulled onto the exit ramp, improved my mood greatly. Things will be okay.

Iíve just received an email from Brent telling me to quit whining so much lately. Too late, buddy.

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