You know, I used to journal religiously. I mean, not on Oasis (I’m more active here lately than I have been in the past two years of my Oasis membership combined), but in an actual notebook made out of trees and blue ink with “Mead” in the corner. It was this tattered, helpless looking blue-covered thing where I wrote sentences stuffed with words that I thought made me articulate, but in reality probably just made me stuffy. Sentences like: “It only strengthened my conviction that Allie’s motivations will inevitably be revealed to be nefarious in nature” or, “The repulsive pedant they elected to be tonight’s orator kept spewing out loquacious strings of nonsense that blindly and rapturously praised the Institution.” With ridiculous sentences like that (trying to be Charles Dickens with an attitude), I was pretty pedantic myself, and I guess still am to a certain degree. It’s not that I need to sound any particular way anymore, it’s just that I’m in this life-long love affair with words. Even if it makes me sound ridiculous in writing, when all these beautiful, seductive words are draped out in front of me, I must have my way with them. I could try to deny my logophilia, but I know I’d just be a repeat offender and it’s so much wasted energy, kicking the unkickable addiction.
The other day I brought my iPod to the sugarbeet field to occupy my mind during the stage where we’re “cleaning the area” i.e. killing the superfluous sugarbeets outside the plots with our hoes. In the process of hacking wildly (for that’s the only way my inexperienced mind knows how to kill a beet) at the jugular – the taproot – of a redbeet, my iPod slipped out of my pocket and fell to the earth with a soft thud. I stared at it. Its shiny black body looked ridiculous against the rich brown-green of the natural ground, the ants hesitating and then deciding to crawl around it. I thought: Thoreau would leave it there. After making this observation, he would leave it there and feel good. But I’m not Thoreau and I love my Death Cab for Cutie. So I picked the thing up and put the plugs back in my ears, not hearing the birds or the wind slipping through the windbreak for the rest of the day, feeling fine despite it.
My mom is laid up with the dysentery. I periodically bring her water but never food. When I bring the latter, she croaks at me and shudders, which makes me shudder because I hate the thought of nausea. Typing it makes me want to clutch my stomach.
My dad, in contrast, is in fine form and arrived at the house to speak to me today with an argument already in his mouth. These days we argue endlessly about the same old issue: my firm decision to go see my girlfriend at the end of July. Yes, it’s costly. Yes, it’s only a short six day stay. But it’s my money, and it’s necessary, necessary, necessary. My life is miserable here in this stupid city and without the knowledge that I’ll see her in twenty days, I would be an altogether gloomy individual. I would remain immovable in my grimness, the angsty grandkid at reunions who peevishly answers “fine” to all inquiries regarding the state of my life or offers a terse “nothing” when asked what’s new. I have not retained my independence from this girl, and I’m aware that it’s dangerous to store all my happiness in her, but it’s also involuntary. Vulnerable as I am, she does the same, so we’re walking a mutual tightrope toward each other.
My guitar, of course, is a romantic and understands all of this. When I touch it, it tells it all right back to me, only more beautifully and with more feeling.
Sometimes it sounds like it loves that girl more than I do.