My Daily Day

Saturday, December 25, 2004

On Saturday, December 25, 2004
it felt like any other day. He was home at his parents' house in Merrill. By himself, in his bedroom, he listened to old CDs and looked at photographs from high school and the summers after. The photographs helped him remember when he was 18 and everything was life and death. He had secondary memories, equally intense, of looking at these pictures when he was 20 and knew he would never be 18 again. This time, he didn't feel much. And now he saw that these moments in question - an afternoon in a barn with his first love, an August sunset chased with close friends, a Lake Superior sunburn - that he had betrayed these moments, not by forgetting them, but by inflating them. Yes, they were good times, and yes, their experience was beautiful, and yes, the memories were replayed often in the years immediately afterward to much emotional fanfare. But we can't go through life looking over our shoulder. And we can no longer afford the luxury of believing that our formative adolescent experiences were unique. Because yours were real too. You have your old photographs. And similar memories, of equal significance. And we're the only ones here.

Some things were lost as I grew older, and these weren't (as previously thought) friendships or memories, but rather the spontaneity and joy that produced them. I want my sense of opportunity back. I want a light heart. I want some new pictures.

On Friday, December 24, 2004
he attended mass with his parents. He wore black pants and a brown shirt. He experimented with alternative singing styles during the hymns. He sang "Away in a Manger" with a Tom Waits like growl, and sang "Joy to the World" in falsetto. He wasn't stoned.

On Thursday, December 23, 2004
he thought, knowing another person is a bit like believing in God. No matter how well you understand another person, no matter how well you feel you can predict them, they are still another person, different from you, capable of unexpected wrath or benevolence. Their otherness is a mystery, fearful and awesome, which can only be penetrated by faith.

On Wednesday, December 22, 2004
he dreamt of a woman in a dress made of light. He could see her heart through her skin. She said, "Your desire to know another person must be stronger than your desire to be known."

On Monday, December 20, 2004
the girl standing ahead of him in the check out line at Barnes and Noble purchased two books: "The Good Girl's Guide to BAD Sex" and "Hot Sex Now." This girl couldn't have been older than 19 or 20.

On Friday, December 17, 2004
at 4:30 in the morning, he found the pickle in the Christmas tree.

On Thursday, December 16, 2004
forgot to call his parents to with them happy birthday.

On Tuesday, December 14, 2004
he read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen:

The human species was given dominion over the earth and took the opportunity to exterminate other species and warm the atmosphere and generally run things in its own image, but it paid this price for its privileges: that the finite and specific animal body of this species contained a brain capable of conceiving the infinite and wishing to be infinite itself.

There came a time, however, when death ceased to be the enforcer of finitude and began to look, instead, like the last opportunity for radical transformation, the only plausible portal to the infinite.

But to be seen as the finite carcass in a sea of blood and bone chips and gray matter - to inflict that version of himself on other people - was a violation of privacy so profound that it seemed it would outlive him.

He was also afraid that it might hurt.

On Monday, December 13, 2004
he and several of the Kissers saw the Pixies live, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.

On Saturday, December 11, 2004
he celebrated Joe's birthday. The four of them, Joe, Ken, Pete, and Jackie, sang kareokee drank hideous Polynesian cocktails and then sang kareokee.

Peter: "What A Wonderful World"
Jackie: "Coca-Cobana"
Ken: "Rapture"
Joe: "Bust-a-move"

On Friday, December 10, 2004

while walking along a beach he came across a message in a bottle. The message was written by the year 1215. It read: "Pete, if you want to understand history, you must be a historian. This isn't computer solitaire. This is the world and everything that happened. So understanding will require some time and effort. You can't just one book on the Magna Carta and call yourself an expert. The challenge for a general reader like yourself is to find comprehensive, introductory texts that don't presuppose much knowledge. "

Pete glanced up from the message and saw Rajeehd, from New Dehli, and that he wanted to study the American Revolutionary War, and who was this Thomas Jefferson he heard so much about?

On Wednesday, December 08, 2004

the disappearance of America was scattershot. It proceeded unevenly, without pattern. Most of the people disappeared at once. Many vanished entirely. Some left piles of clothing, wallets and keys still in the pocket. Shoes and jackets. Highways were the most successful survivors of the erasure. Tall buildings vanished more easily than small ones. All that remained of some cities was the flat grid of streets wound around empty pits that had been basements and parking garages the day before. Some cities were simply emptied of people and became ghost towns, intact but vacant.

On Tuesday, December 07, 2004
he sneezed. A fortune cookies came out his mouth. He opened it. The message read, "In the end, the kids will raise themselves."

On Monday, December 06, 2004
at Walgreen's, he watched a woman read Cosmopolitan. Your body will not tell me who you are, he thought.

On Wednesday, December 01, 2004

he dreamt that Buddy Holly survived the plane crashed with a deformed limb.