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Like A Man

This morning I ate my toast standing up like a man and I felt strong, decisive, powerful and indescribably lonely.

Smell

Last night I was walking the dogs and I passed by a house and the smell of meatloaf was so strong and so good and took me so instantly to my school cafeteria that I felt like lying down on their doorstep and sucking my thumb. Do you ever feel like that?

What is it about smells and memory? It’s one of those amazing, specific, and oddly physical things, like an orgasm or a sneeze or laughter. There’s a cue and then…boom. Although unlike the other things, it can’t be faked. You can try to summon a smell,and sometimes you can imagine a hint of it, but it’s not the same. On the other hand, sometimes you smell something distinct and it makes you feel a certain way even though you can’t explain why. You don’t remember what it’s connected to, or maybe you don’t remember right away, because it’s so random.

image

I saw this photo yesterday and it reminded me so much of the road across from my grandparents house that my cousins and brother and I walked down every night, that I smelled the pine and the dusty road and the watermelon jolly rancher in my brother’s mouth.                           

What This Does To Me

Sshhhh, no talking.

The Way That Girls Are Strong

I’m not sure if the professor was nervous around us because we all knew he was sleeping with our friend, his student, or if that’s the way he was all the time. I’d always assumed it was the latter. He was nervous in that neurotic-self-deprecating-comedian sort of way, self-conscious, defensive. But I never imagined it was because he knew we could get him into trouble. I just thought he was weak. We were intimidating in the way that a group of girls are, long hair and soft scarves around our necks, faces flush from cold, thighs under our pants; we walked into the class like a gang. I always brought my dog with me, even though I wasn’t supposed to, even though the first time he said “Dogs are not…I mean…you can’t….” It wasn’t like I stared him down and said “The dog’s stayin’, punk.” It was more like “It’s okay, Dr. C., she’s really sweet. She’ll be fine.” And he gave in, helpless.

It was strange and then not strange that E ended up sleeping with him. She was gay and serious and brilliant. He was messy and boyish and funny without meaning to be. I think E was curious about him and he liked that she was curious. It was odd, but it never seemed wrong. During class, he leaned back on the desk reading Greek erotic poetry with lines like “I will sodomize you and face fuck you”, his legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle . We nodded off or doodled while he and E debated the way that Catullus and his contemporaries believed they could do anything sexually and remain respectable. They argued about various interpretations of different poems and we all, every one of us, believed that she knew more than he did.

The Shimmy Sham

There’s a thing that happens when you have a memory, one that is usually trivial, but still clear, that drops into your head repeatedly and makes you feel a particular way. The memory of how you felt at the time is most likely comparable to how you are presently feeling about something else altogether, although you probably don’t realize this at first. When you examine this memory and the accompanying feelings (usually negative), you realize that there is another way of looking at it, one that is not negative, and this in turn offers a solution to your current condition: i.e.- the shimmy sham.

File Under: Odd Titles And Interesting Observations About People

George Bush Gets Angry In The Middle of A Sentence

The Shirt Worn By The Man Who Killed Bin Ladin Goes On Display

Wake Up With A Phone Call From A Stranger

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Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, Danielle Evans:  When people don’t hide things, it means they don’t care enough to be afraid of losing you.

Savages, Don Winslow:  If you let people believe that you are weak, sooner or later you’re going to have to kill them.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Mrs. Barbour was from a society family with an old Dutch name, so cool and blonde and monotone that sometimes she seemed partially drained of blood. She was a masterpiece of composure; nothing ever ruffled her or made her upset, and though she was not beautiful her calmness had the magnetic pull of beauty—a stillness so powerful that the molecules realigned themselves around her when she came into a room…

File Under: Sudden Realization, Awesome Sideburns

humansofnewyork:

When violence broke out in Sudan last December, Michael was shot twice in the leg while he was walking home from school. Michael is a member of the Nuer tribe, and his shooting was a hate crime committed against him by members of the Dinka tribe. I sat down to talk with him at the Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC) Center, in the presence of Cathy, the center’s director. Before we even broached the subject of the shooting, Cathy spoke with Michael for several minutes. In a particularly beautiful moment, Cathy had Michael list all the members of the Dinka tribe who had helped in his recovery. Eventually, Cathy asked Michael if he wanted to talk about the shooting. He shook his head ‘no.’ Not wanting to push the issue, I quickly changed the topic. I pulled out my iPhone, and began to show Michael pictures of Susie The Dog. He took the phone from me, and spent several minutes scrolling through all my photos. Later that night, after I returned to the hotel, I found an unexpected new picture on my phone.(Juba, South Sudan)

So beautiful… Everyone has a story to tell.

humansofnewyork:

When violence broke out in Sudan last December, Michael was shot twice in the leg while he was walking home from school. Michael is a member of the Nuer tribe, and his shooting was a hate crime committed against him by members of the Dinka tribe. I sat down to talk with him at the Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC) Center, in the presence of Cathy, the center’s director. Before we even broached the subject of the shooting, Cathy spoke with Michael for several minutes. In a particularly beautiful moment, Cathy had Michael list all the members of the Dinka tribe who had helped in his recovery. Eventually, Cathy asked Michael if he wanted to talk about the shooting. He shook his head ‘no.’ Not wanting to push the issue, I quickly changed the topic. I pulled out my iPhone, and began to show Michael pictures of Susie The Dog. He took the phone from me, and spent several minutes scrolling through all my photos. Later that night, after I returned to the hotel, I found an unexpected new picture on my phone.

(Juba, South Sudan)

So beautiful… Everyone has a story to tell.

How We Do

"Well," I said as we drove by a guy standing in his front yard, "That’s how he does it.” It seemed we passed him in slow motion, wheels slow rolling, heads slow turning. He just stood there with his robe wide open, nothing on underneath but a stretched out pair of jockeys and a big belly.

"He hates himself," said Dar, eyes shifting back to the mirror while she applied mascara.

He gave the old balls a quick scratch, then put his hands in the pockets of his robe and bent his head back in a sleepy yawn.

"He does not give a crap,” Harry noted, slightly impressed. 

The dog that the man was waiting for did the back-kick shuffle, and then trotted up the walk. Robe-guy turned and followed, head down, hands still in pockets. In my imagination he turned and we made eye contact: I gave him the thumbs up, he nodded, gave me a salute-de-doo.

"Maybe it’s the ‘hates himself/doesn’t give a crap combo’," I said out loud to myself, wondering if superiority always trumps dignity, or if it’s just that he thinks, like most civilians over age 45, that no one will notice.

Annual Visit

For the past 4 or 5 years on September 1st, usually after 9 at night, my dentist calls me to wish me a happy birthday. I say “my dentist” like he’s someone I see with regularity, but the truth is I only ever visited him once or twice, and both times involved blood and crying and a pair of pliers. Still, he calls. He never says, “Don’t forget to come visit soon! We still have 16 more root canals to do” even though he could. He says something like “Good evening, Ms. Lewis, this is Dr. Desai.  I hope you are having a  lovely day. I’m calling because I wanted to wish you a happy birthday, and hope that you have a beautiful year with good health and good fortune”. The message is made even better by his Indian accent, and I listen to it a few times because it’s so melodic and sweet and sincere, and then I hit delete and don’t think about him until next year.

Oh, Dr. Desai! Thank you for your greetings and well wishings, thank you for always calling at the end of the day when I am feeling most emotional and needy and appreciative. Thank you for not holding it against me that I do not maintain good oral hygiene. These messages mean a lot to me. I hope you have many new clients this year who need root canals and gum surgery, and happily and lovingly pay their bills on time. I hope that when you hang up the phone that you walk into a room where all your friends and family cheer for you, pat you on the back and tell you what a kind thoughtful person you are.