Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Summer 2005 Roundup

with the labor day holiday marking the unofficial end of summer, i felt compelled to offer a recap of what's sure to go down as one of the most impactful summers i've ever had. last summer was largely characterized by inactivity; i was quite high after finishing grad school and spent my days in freelancer purgatory. my greatest objective then was to rest, so i rested. and i was very good at it.

in contrast, the summer before that was quite the ass-kicker. i began it with a six-week radio internship in London and then hopped on the eurail for a 15-city european tour that lasted three weeks. quite simply, that was awesome -- i'm sure there's a more creative way to convey that, but "awesome" will have to work. that summer was also meaningful in that it spawned this here bloggy, whose original purpose was to fulfill a class requirement. that summer was time and money well spent and i would repeat it in a heartbeat.

this summer was also full of activity, though i doubt i'd repeat it. first off, i generally hate LA summers because they are way too fucking hot. my pasty genes prefer moonshine to sunbeams, and my wardrobe sense loves to accessorize outfits with hats, scarves and cool jackets. this is why fall is my favorite season. there are only so many ways one can dress up a tank top. i will confess, however, that this summer hasn't been too extreme in terms of heat.

this summer's extremes have been more emotionally based. one could assume that mixing euphoric highs with ungodly lows would have a canceling effect, returning the feeler to a happy baseline. but i don't think i had a single neutral moment. elation has been followed by despondency followed by joy followed by melancholy. clarity and confusion have comingled. it's been downright bipolar.

it started out terrific enough with a trip to new york over memorial day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. it was great to see my east coast peeps, but that trip was hardly a vacation and it also had some tense moments. then came my birthday and subsequent party at the end of june -- probably the summer's apex when i felt most rock star.

then love came to town, causing a head-on collision with my car. a hit and run that left me with whiplash. i'm still quite concussed (and embroiled). death came, too, and left its imprint in a way i had never before known. the sting of angela's suicide still grips me daily. it's made me reexamine old paradigms; i've had to throw out the useless ones. they haven't been replaced, nor shall they be. not everything passes, i've come to realize. i'll stay lost in the nuance for quite some time.

the day of angela's funeral i was on my cell phone with my doctor. between the burial and memorial, i sat on the curb in front of a stranger's house in some neighborhood up in the hills where i was getting faulty reception and no shade. the sun was baking me in my black garb. it had been a week since the biopsy; the results would be in. "doctor, i hope you have good news for me because i've spent my friday at a funeral," i said to her.

"it's not cancer," she said.

oh, those three little words -- far better than "i love you" or "you're a winner" or "you lost weight!" it's. not. cancer. i exhale. i'm trembling. my cervix had been under suspicion after a preliminary test found abnormal cells. but it's not cancer, but it could be eventually. i'll need to monitor it. still, my heart leaps, then descends again as i walk into the memorial to find photographs of my dead friend. these extremes, sometimes within the same hour. moments that make you want to escape your own skin.

that same night, i join my family to celebrate my parents' 36th anniversary with a dinner cruise through marina del rey. i try to enjoy the evening, spending most of it engrossed by my 4-year-old nephew, who brushes my cheek gently when he wants my attention. between courses i head to the ship's deck for a moment to myself. fittingly, a full moon hangs overhead. i feel it mocking me after such a day. it rises big and yellow over the horizon like the eye of g-d. i can't help but stare. i find an empty deck chair and allow the breeze to lap at me as i sit there, like a piece of wood. my nephew appears beside me and climbs into my lap, collapsing his body against my chest. i wrap my arms around him and kiss the top of his head. the ship keeps trudging through the marina as we sit quietly, the gentle waves breaking underneath us. it was the day's perfect moment.


yes, this summer is going down in the record books. love, death, disease, and a sprinkling of tarot and mysticism. my heart softening and hardening. brevity, gravity, entropy. my will strengthening and breaking. it's been too much at times and i don't have the hindsight i need to sum up the lessons i've learned. not yet anyway.

nowadays, however, i'm just peachy. my long labor day weekend was largely spent hibernating. i slept in and managed to catch lunch and a massage with my mom on saturday. i finished up a couple books and became better acquainted with my nifty new computer. i settled on a 14-inch G4 iBook, whose specs were almost identical to that of apple's overpriced Powerbooks. i wish my ivory iBook had the sexy aluminum casing, yes, but it has a gig of ram and it's way fast.

i, however, am going to be way slow. my objective for the remainder of the year is to reduce stress. i've already bought some cute scarves for fall and i have the most terrific mustard jacket i bought while i was in new york. i've been aching to wear it. i've quit smoking and have begun taking a (cancer-fighting) B vitamin complex daily. i have a stack of books i plan to read, CDs i plan to hear and recipes i want to try. i'm going to plan a few trips out of town and hit the gym more. i never thought i'd look so forward to the mundane, but stabilizing will serve me well right now. and serving myself is about all i want to do.

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