catchin' up with depeche mode (written 12/13/2003)

actually, no. i’m not listening to it. but i am thinking of catchin’ up, since i’ve largely been silent for the last week or so.

but i have been writing. on BART, a lot. i’ll post some fragments of what’s come up later. but first, i’ll post what i wrote today, while sitting on the train at 2:20 this afternoon, heading into the city to look at an apartment, and then later, riding back to work in walnut creek:

the people who ride the train from concord to the city in the middle of gray, rainy days scare me. they’re so… white. they’re so… suburban. living my life in the bay area, it’s easy to forget that these people, in their j. crew sweaters and rosy cheeks, exist. currently, there’s a guy sitting just over my shoulder saying he doesn’t understand feminism. “women are actually in the majority, so why should they need our sympathy?” he says it, just like that. he’s got that salesman sleaziness about him: a too-easy smile, a neat, republican haircut. there’s oil in his voice. if he’s not a salesman, he must be a lawyer.

(no offense to the lawyers i know, but you guys went to law school. i’m sure you know what i mean.)

i’ve been thinking about law school a lot lately. while my roommates and i were crafting a letter to the landlord about this place, i realized i was pretty good at it. i’d already done a bit of research into california housing code and the legal remedies for tenants whose landlords refuse to perform repairs. so much of it comes down to logic, which can, at times, be my strong suit. at the same time, something about it all scares me. that day in particular, i was pretty stressed out, about work, my meeting the next day, my apartment, and my family, not to mention my feature that night at the berkeley slam, from which i’d just returned when we wrote the letter. on top of all that, i was tipsy at the time. i could see myself being so cutthroat about it all, so mercenary–not that i didn’t have good reason (and still don’t) to be pretty pissed off about my bathroom flooding, constantly–but still, i’m not sure i like myself in “legal” mode. which would be my mode all the time if i went to law school and became an attorney. uncompromising, tactical-minded, and combative.

maybe i’m already all those things. if i were a man, i bet no one would mind, including me. but i’m a woman, and we’re not supposed to be law enforcers, but peacemakers. we’re supposed to be placating and soft and easily manipulated. we’re supposed to bend like willows.

i’m not those things. i have sharp edges.

i am hard, unforgiving, strongly-principled, and often self-righteous. i’m too stiff to bend, but i’m brittle and break often, far more often than i’d like. my hands blindly reach for the pieces, and i pull myself together, somehow, over and over again. as i get older, the chips are more obvious, the cracks more apparent. i imagine that light passes through me like pine needles, or stained glass. i try to find the beauty in that prism, but it’s getting harder as the days go by.

like me.

—-

… i just signed a lease on a tiny studio apartment in the mission. i think i’m in shock. the space is pretty small, but it’s clean and freshly painted. three blocks from BART, two blocks from dolores park, one block from daphne, and across the street from the elbo room. the landlord is a strange guy with a thing for writers, but he’s friendly…. i don’t know if i trust him, but i’m quickly coming to the following conclusion: fuck trust. give me a JD.

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