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Notes on the palpitations of the heart, the turbulence of the brain...

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Wednesday, July 13th, 2005
10:26 pm - Other things afoot.....

check it now. check it often. or i'll peel off your face and eat it.

[p.s. coming soon to outpsyde.com - the facepeeling page!]

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Thursday, September 23rd, 2004
9:33 am - dear diary....
Like ships in the night we passed, over and over again. We always had 'it', I suspected, but we never officially made any real emotions overt, foregoing the gravity of the explicitly propelled "I want you"'s and "let's be together"'s for the erratic and stirring physical romp. I would have called her on her arrogance, and she, mine. Ahhh, what could have been, right? This is not where I race to the reception and bang on something loudly to proclaim that I'm the one for her....I'm probably not. This is where I grin and bear it, and write everything down, every confusing, droning charge, and hope to meet some hot bridesmaids at the wedding.

This, in fact, was in my infernal in-box this morning:

Well, well, well... What to make of the response? Few words, but packing a lot of information and emotion...

In the essance of getting everything out on the table, I have always liked you Beau, often more than a friend, but the cards were just never in place for us to make a go at it. School, work, other relationships...

Mike is clearly the one for me. Being with him, and now getting ready to marry him has been the easiest decision of my life. I can only now say this, and I still have tons more learning to do, but I believe in "the one". Never settle. Have a vision of perfection, work on yourself and wait. You are too smart, too funny, too attractive and too gifted to settle, Beau. Really. And I am glad you felt more for me as well in the past, but now we are on to the next phase of our lives and friendship.

Care to join me?

So I suppose the question remains. Could I have really been with someone who misspells 'essence'?
Ahh, for Tracy I might have made an exception.

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Friday, September 10th, 2004
12:00 pm - Two Million Talking's Slurred, by Harper Lee
And here, in what seems like the divine crux of all existence, but will, in the Grand Scape and Scope of Things, almost assuredly amount to little more than a wet and rather unremarkable cosmic burp, a period rife with growth and conflict and experimentation and progress and fly-eating robots and Paris Hilton, here is where I decide - definitively and for the ages - that wearing a super hero cape all the time will indeed get me fired, but it will also get me famous.

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Thursday, September 9th, 2004
1:20 pm - to whom it made concern
I'm tired. How is it that I'm 23 and tired? I am, after all, the young, the strong, the peerless thrumming protoplasmic tremor of the universe. I am out flexing my youth for all the nations of the world to see, changing the planet, dismantling flaking, corrugated chunks of totalitarian establishments piece by jagged piece. I am everywhere, ensnaring the hearts of millions, who look on and say 'Look at him. He is uncanny. He is a testament. I will smile more and pat babies on the head and send 1,200 doves aloft because that is how much I am inspired right now. I am adrift, hurling my revelrie at overpopulated bus stops and sexually charged subway crowds, and the divine, beaming faces - they cannot be counted. I am breathing virility and life into these wastelands. I am ascending.

Except I'm not, am I? I'm in front of a computer, worrying about my aching neck. [This is not normal. It is worse than yesterday. I have torn/strained/destroyed/laughably mutilated some very important tendon/ligament/nerve bundle/spinal-muscle-thing and I will need painful, costly surgery. The surgery will fail, except in causing me spectacular agony and making things worse, where it will excel.] And I'm thinking about how to go about flexing my youth in ways which will inspire people, which will engender 'ooh's and 'ahh's and the removal of blouses and panties from delicate torsos and legs. And I'm thinking about how I can do this before the youth I feel growing fainter day by flourescently-lit day has evaporated.

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Wednesday, September 8th, 2004
12:09 pm - city of loverly broth
Yeah, so Veronica's suing me. "Wrongful termination." I mean, what in the holy hidden hell is this?!

I'm sorry, Veronica, I didn't realize that competence was no longer a requisite for gainful employment. I mean, it's real cool that you have legs up to your throat, but those legs and that throat cost me the Walton account. The Walton account!!

I just don't have the time to deal with this; the conference with the Swedes got bumped up to next Wednesday, and now I have to submit her employment records...

Can somebody just bump this girl over a railing somewhere? I mean, please....

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Friday, September 3rd, 2004
10:55 am - Oh yeah? How's that working for you?
Enough with Life in a Centrifuge. I'm still churning out the occasional wisp of genius in the privacy of my own marble ballroom, but the sharing stops. Now.

I had to fire my secretary this morning. Veronica, I said, Veronica goddammit I needed that grouping of important papers on my desk by eight. Sure she cried and pleaded, and I felt bad. Not for her, but because I've recently started taking my tea with honey drawn from the glistening combs of Peruvian Killer Honeybees and it's wreaking havoc on my lower intestine. So Veronica, I said I said, Veronica, you can cross those legs and bat those sublime eyelashes all you want, but this time I mean it. That grouping of important papers, nay, that malignant sprawling mass of memos and notes and briefings needed to land on my desk my polished dustless mahogany slab by eight so that it could land on Mr. Hirohito's King-Shit slab by tomorrow. And there is no grouping on my desk, Veronica, there is no unformed papyrus jungle en masse on my slab, which means that there will be none on Mr. Hirofuckinghito's slab, either. [My lower intestine makes a groaning, pleading noise. It is protesting.] So, Veronica, I said, Veronica if I keep you on despite your inability to shuffle papers around the globe I will quite swimmingly lose my facade my appearance my affectation of the Duke of this court. I will no longer be the High-and-Mighty King Fuck of this Hill. I will be crucified by your incompetence and a crown of post-its will be placed upon my hanging, sallow, head. So you're through. Get out. And stop blinking like that.

She was a good kid.

Okay, journal-patrons, you verbal transients, you. Let's open up, shall we? Black Soul Confession Time.

What's the meanest thing you've ever done? We're talking spite, here. Manipulative, reckless, vengeful, conniving, backhanded. And for the sake of creativity, that winged autist floating through the clouds, I want to know the one purely evil thing that you expended the most energy on, just for the purpose of being mean?

Okay class - hit me! Show and tell starts now.....

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Thursday, August 19th, 2004
9:31 am - Life in a freakin' Centrifuge: Part X
cycle seven - like you wouldn't believe

The glasses rattled off the counter. Our drunken bodies, [passion incarnate] knocked the cosmos loose as we rocked. It was frightening in its truth it was stirring in its scape. [It was sinful and wrong.] But, as many a red-handed glutton for punishment - like myself - is heard to say, the best things are.

And now what do we do?

What do we do?

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2004
10:19 am - Life in a Centrifuge: Part IX
cycle six

All you want to do is move large swaying subway crowds to tears. You want to move people to anything, really: love, anger, confusion, delirium, bliss.

Love would be nice. It would be nice to make someone cry with happiness again.

But that's just a bit out of reach right now, considering that you lack the right person. You almost scream out loud on the walk home, and sure it's straight out of a movie, but that's not why. You almost scream out loud because for a fleeting moment, that's exactly how you feel.

So you call and wish Rachel a happy birthday, but she's too preoccupied with herself. You call Andy, with her tiny heart and all its incandescent frissions and tell her how lovely she looked and imply that in a perfect world - or a well-written film - you could love her. But it's never as easy to embrace the world and its denizens, the broken and fucked of the infinite, as they make it seem in the theater. There were moments, a glittering handful of them, that - had the screen of your existence faded to black - would have left an audience in a parallel dimension bereft of speech. But life continues after these moments, and you or the Fates have spoiled almost all of them, leaving very few intact.

You hang up with Andy, and play Elliot Smith on your stereo as loud as you can. You sing along to 'Bottle Up and Explode' from the fire escape at the top of your lungs. You dance around the living room alone. After you've done this for about fifteen minutes, you fall on your bed alone, exhausted and panting. You fall asleep alone, and you sleep well, because in the phone calls and the revealing and the music and the dancing you have moved your neighbors to anger over the cacophony, you have moved the late-night hustlers and wanderers of 3rd Street to confusion over the fractured vocal eruption that so resembled it's own title, and you have moved yourself to a sleepy delirium. Because of you, people felt something, if only temporarily.

Love, and the tears that define it, will come in time, perhaps.

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Monday, August 9th, 2004
10:26 am - Life in a Centrifuge: Part VIII
cycle five: a new perspective

You have a headache. The fluorescent lighting isn't helping, and for some reason that section of peeling terra cotta paint over there makes you feel incredibly sad.

You're drinking coffee, and it's okay, but you suspect it would be going down easier with a shot of Jameson's in it.

Sally is bustling back and forth between Trevor's office and the supply room. What in the hell is she doing? She's wearing a pleasant conservative-looking skirt that is maybe two inches too short to actually be conservative. She had a complete breakdown two years ago when her boyfriend dumped her for a Filipino waitress, and the only reason you know this is because she told you the entire tale in excruciating, weepy detail one night about a month ago. You watch her compulsively pressed and polished figure whirl around the office and think about how she mistook your silent indifference for attentiveness, and how two pitchers of Sangria later she had tried kissing you against the door of your car but tripped and smacked her head against the driver-side mirror. It could have been endearing, but it wasn't. It was pitiful, and she knew it, and that's probably why she said nothing the entire way home, and has thrown you nary a glance during work hours since.

So she had a breakdown, and she probably told her story to Trevor - (you have no doubt it was replete with the same inserted sobs and restrained hostility) - except instead of driving her home when she got drunk, Trevor probably fucked her. She was shooting to get used, and Trevor can't pass a nickel on the ground without bounding on it, let alone a piece of ass, so everything worked out. Except now she thinks that she's convinced that she thinks she's in love, and Trevor, as he will explain to her, 'has enough drama with his stock portfolio.' Yes. He actually says these words aloud, because you overhear them. And when he does, you are positive that somewhere beyond human comprehension, the Gods are sickened by own their designs.

You have a new email. Your coffee is cold, but you finish it off anyway. This isn't real. You're not here, because you just can't be. You're not wearing this stained tie. Gregory isn't firing his pointed finger at you like a gun as he walks past your office. None of this is happening because people don't smack their heads off of car mirrors, and hike their skirts up under mahogany desks, and cry and laugh and operate like soulless automatons under fluorescent lighting.

This is obviously television. This is someone else's dream. This is fiction.

God, Mondays just make you want to harm yourself.

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Thursday, August 5th, 2004
10:36 am - Life in a Centrifuge: Part VII
weary interstitial

It stormed last night. Every searing fork emblazoned colorless, gliding flash-bulb squares on my field of vision, and the thunder...well, it's amazing how heavy silence can become just after a storm. It came and swept through so swiftly, but left almost reluctantly, the rain petering out in a peppery drawl.

It stormed last night, and the lightning and thunder struck with such intention that I wondered if Rachel had angered the Lord when she told me I took on the role of Jesus in her dreams early yesterday.

"You were the philosophical carpenter type. Not sure what it all means." Rachel and I had tried dating several months ago, only to find it burst into a remarkable emotional pyrotechnics show one night at a local bar. The whole ordeal involved gratuitous and creative profanity, a thrown pint glass, and, unbelievably, a dismembered beanie baby. We found, after the cooling off period, that we were able to laugh about the whole thing. Now we met for coffee once a week or so, and made out when we were both, as we had playfully labeled it, 'hored and borny.'

"Well what did I do? Wander through your dreamscape blessing people and fixing crooked door moldings?"

"I don't remember." She sipped her latte. "But if you're taking on the persona of Our Lord and Savior in my subconscious, therapy is almost assuredly in my immediate future."

"Maybe you're just still in love with me."


"Semantics. Most people can't tell the difference anyway."

"In either case, I'm afraid not."

"Ooh. Denial. Perhaps that therapy isn't a bad idea after all..."

"I'm comfortable with letting my deep-seated issues lay unconfronted and dormant, until a time when I am provoked into an irrational fury by something small like bad cell phone reception or misplaced lip gloss or-"

"-Or a mutilated stuffed elephant."

"That wasn't small. Peanut did nothing wrong."

We both looked out the window at the well-dressed scrums of people bustling here and there, weaving against and through each other in a symphonic metropolitan ballet.

"So if considering yourself God is delusions of grandeur," I started, "what do you call considering me God?"

Rachel assessed me briefly, looking me up and down.


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Monday, August 2nd, 2004
12:39 pm - Life in a Centrifuge: Part VI
cycle four

Danny, the crying girl, put me in a quandary. I opened the door to the dorm room she shared with Megan, (whose lithe little gymnast body and hypnotic tongue-piercing had been swept from my mind like scentless dust bunnies by this huddled little girl's tears) and she was sitting cross-legged on the bed, sobbing into her hands.

She was pixie-ish, with a small frame - a genetic tromp d'oeil that left one with the impression she could be lifted off the ground with a sturdy fingertip. Long blond hair, now frazzled, touched the small of her back, and through the redness and exhaustion on her features, I could tell she was beautiful in an unassuming, organic kind of way.

I stood in the doorway for a minute, unsure if I should introduce myself or leave. Finally, without a word, without a song, I walked slowly over to her and sat at her feet cross-legged, mimicking her own posture. I suppose looking back on it, I sat on the floor instead of the bed because by lowering myself before her, I was making the subconscious statement that I was harmless, a friend - though she was in no state to feel fear, or concern, or anything but sadness, really. Sadness, heavy and dull.

I held her hand until she calmed down, and when she did, I said, "I'm Beau. I'm a friend of Megan's. You're Danny, right?" She nodded, wiping a tear from her face, which was already returning to it's natural shade and shape. "What's wrong?"

She coughed gently, and then she told me.

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Friday, July 30th, 2004
12:03 pm - Life in a Centrifuge: Part V
cycle three

I'll get back to the crying girl in time, but right now is for clarity. I'll vigorously shake my head until she's gone.

My bedroom overlooks the courtyard of a drug rehabilitation clinic. At any given moment I can peer out of my fourth floor window down upon scrums of people. They tremble, pace, laugh, do jumping jacks, high five each other, smoke cigarettes, hug, and sometimes cry. At first the proximity of it all made me nervous; I'd have daydreams at work in which a lone junkie uses his superhuman-crack strength to bound onto my sill or clamber up the walls of my building to steal my Simpsons DVD's and various gourmet cooking oils to sell for heroin. But now I barely ever notice.

There's nothing quite like watching two strung-out rehab patients get into a fistfight, also. Twin whirling dervishes of gnashing teeth and bloody knuckles. It was, as Cotter would say, "dynamite, man. T N fuckin' T."

And this is how I feel sometimes, as though I am a walking, talking courtyard for these transients, bellowing 'woe-is-me' in pentatonic harmonies. Like my brain and my eyes and my fingers are in constant flux - (which they, in fact, are) - sometimes pacing, sometimes trembling. And sometimes my head just feels like a big ol' fistfight.

I'll get there. I'll tell you about who died, and who vanished. About who hates me, and who doesn't. And about who this is for.

But first, the crying girl...

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Wednesday, July 28th, 2004
4:21 pm - Life in a Centrifuge: Part IV
cycle two

We all endured Cotter the Marine, (as we had started calling him) and often his idiosyncrasies could bring us to laughter, but it was always bittersweet because we knew he would never know us, and we could never know him. The biggest gesture of faith in another person is to open yourself up to be read, to say "Here I am! This is me, in all my flawed and irrational glory, and I want you to know who I am!" Had I been able to do this for Cotter, I would have told him one or all of the following things:

1) When I lie I fidget with the contents of my pockets. I believe I inherited this tell from my father, who did the same thing - leaving me to wonder if I was as cluelessly obvious as he seemed to me.
2) I have a crippling fear of both rejection and ladybugs. I can explain neither.
3) The Brooke Situation. (That we were 'just friends', but only after drinking tequila and having sex.)
4) When I was eight, a boy named Chester Frieze who was two grades above me made a comment about how his parents were still together while mine got divorced and I beat his face against the ground until it was bloody and raw. Two friends pulled me off, and because he was terrified and embarrassed he never told anyone what really happened. Neither did I.
5) Bach's 'Air on the G String' makes me cry and I don't know why.

These are the things that comprise me, these and a million other faint bits of emotional and transactional detritus. I'm not the guy who studies English, likes radiohead, and dresses in out-dated flannel shirts. I'm the guy who has a terrible jump shot because of a childhood wrist injury, the guy who has deep-seated abandonment issues, the guy who ate an entire envelope on a dare. These are my rafters and girders.

And so one day, Cotter and I walking back from the highly suspect Thai food truck perpetually parked on the corners of Dawson Street and Forbes Avenue, I asked about his family.

"Yeah. Well. You know, they're back in South Carolina."


"And what."

"Who are they? You have any brothers or sisters? What about your parents?"

"Oh. I have a little brother. Pete. Mom misses me. What else is there."

"What about your dad?"

Cotter's face hardened. I had struck upon something kinetically bad, and I knew it right away, like when you can tell by the feel of the room that the distant relative you just asked about had recently been killed in a decidedly gruesome manner - pecked to death by small, flightless birds or cremated by accident during a blast furnace tour.

"Yeah." [pause] "Dad was a rough guy."

All I knew about his father was that he had been a Navy SEAL and Cotter's upbringing had been a military one. This scant information left me with little to go on, but my mind's eye, in it's swift, pathological glory, conjured up curled stop-motion glimpses of taut, unforgiving bedsheets, dinnertime role calls, and dustless, unremarkable rooms devoid of ornamentation or color. Like morbid vacation slides, they hung askew in my brain.

Cotter looked at me. I mean, he looked me in the eye, something he usually reserved for the moments immediately prior to a headlock or a bludgeoning of some kind. "I don't really want to talk about it. Yeah." He was smiling still, (I only saw one face the entire time I knew Cotter, and it was this one. He had the same thin smile on his face when he told me about the girls he slept with that he had when he told me about the first time he watched someone die.) I had become somewhat accustomed to the smile, and I could usually see the anger or disappointment that lay just under the surface, hiding in his jawline and under his cheekbones. This was the first, and only, time I saw fear.

I'm not gonna say that I was right, or that it made sense, but for whatever reason I became outraged. He had never been open to me, or any of the people who would always refer to him haphazardly as a "friend," and I don't know why it was this particular night and subject that did it to me.

I said "You're fucking amazing," and told him that I still didn't have the slightest idea who he was, and that I was sick of trying to have logical conversations with him. I stormed off, unaware of where I was heading, blinded by self-righteousness. Past the student union, past the twin dorm towers, When I cleared slightly, I saw that I was underneath the entrance to Megan's dorm building. Megan was a girl I had been close with the previous year - close enough to know that she liked getting bitten, but not close enough to know what her tongue piercing was truly good for.

I called up to her room from the lobby, and was surprised to hear someone else answer. I knew she had a roommate, Danny, but I had never met her. The voice that buzzed me up cracked; She was in tears. At the time I was clueless as to why, but looking backward through retrospect's significantly more reliable pupils, I have a strong feeling that anyone could have stumbled onto this quaking, unraveled little girl. Anyone could have gotten buzzed up.

And witnessing what I was about to, anyone could have fallen for her.

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Tuesday, July 27th, 2004
1:59 pm - Life in a Centrifuge: Part III
cycle one

Cotter was sometimes infuriating. His inaptitude for interpersonal contact was almost endearing, and when he, a 230 pound carved juggernaut, came to me with flushed ears to ask how he should approach a girl in one of his classes, you could love him for his incapacities.

He didn't understand how a conversation worked, though. Cotter felt no obligation to continuity, in much the same way he would never see the need for inflection. (Several of us would end up pleading with him to experiment with pitch when we got tired of being unable to distinguish his questions from statements.) Sometimes he would respond in form, but when asking about his weekend we were just as likely to hear, "Yeah. You know. [pause] So I was in the desert about two years ago, right..." And these stories almost always ended with him either beating the pulp out of someone of trailing off altogether with no decipherable conclusion.

There was a night. One of the singular nights that stuck in my memory of college, most of which I can only recall fragments of like hazy blips on a vaseline covered radar screen. I had a final exam the next day for a class that I had attended only once or twice, and possessed no pre-disposition for. (Undoubtedly one of the few science or math classes inflicted on me during my enrollment.) I returned from a reluctant visit to the University library, a visit in which I opened my books and notes and then stared vacantly at chittering sorority girls for twenty minutes, only to depart feeling stupid and horny. Cotter was doing crunches in the hallway when I returned, expunging a dramatic grunt with every contraction. After months of subconscious practice, I had mastered affecting a look of defeatism, one which would announce as expertly as a bullhorn to every person and small bird and wastecan I crossed paths with that "The World is Against Me and You Could Never Understand." Cotter recognized this look and confronted me from his strained fetal position on the ground.

"What's the matter. 'Guh!' You look like you ate 'Guh!' something funny. 'Guh!' You didn't go to that Greek 'Guh! place, did you."

I sat down against my door and told Cotter about the class and the test and the decision I had made on the walk home, that to spend the night drinking, fail the test magnificently, and divert my subsequent energies away from school and onto becoming KITT, the talking car from 'Knight Rider.'

"Stand up." Cotter stopped his crunches and got up; still sitting down he towered a good four feet over.

"Why?" I asked, becoming suddenly nervous.

"Just stand up."

I did, and he grabbed me by the throat, pressing me against the wall between my room and Greg's, an engineering student who had gone home to Connecticut for the week - all his finals having been taken and soundly passed.

I was lifted slightly off the floor. Cotter pressed his thumb and forefinger into the soft underneath my jaw, rolling them in slow, tiny circles. The pain was immediate and spectacular. My air was chopped; I began choking and sputtering loudly.

"Stop. And listen." He was smiling - he was always smiling, actually, and though it had seemed unnerving before, now it was terrifying. I quieted down, pulling a vinegar breath roughly through clenched teeth.

"You can pass that test. Stop being a little bitch. Stop whining. You're practically excited to go in there and fail, and that makes me sick. You're smarter than this, man. So stop being a little bitch."

He let go, and I crumpled to the ground, gasping for air. "Now go get your notes out." It was staggering to me how casual he was being about all of this. He went into his room, only to return three breaths later with his reading glasses on. "Let's go!" My head was thrumming and I was still winded but I managed to get my bag and sit on my bed.

Cotter stayed up all night helping me study for that test. Quizzing me, drilling me, he branded a semester's worth of someone else's notes onto every one of my synapses. When I got tired, he put James Brown on the stereo. Day broke over the hills of Pittsburgh, slowly pissing sunlight into everyone's eyelids and cereal bowls. He had spent eight hours helping me to memorize stuff we both knew would be deleted from my mental hard drive by the following weekend. It was the most consecutive amount of time I would ever spend with Cotter, and by sunrise, with him rubbing his eyes and my brain practically buzzing within its stripped and nodding shell, I felt bonded to this awkward behemoth. I straightened my wrinkled shirt and gathered myself to leave for the exam.

"Alright, man. I'm goin' to bed." I looked at Cotter and he was exhausted. I placed my hand on his shoulder. "Look, man. What you did for me tonight was great. I can't thank you enough, even if you roughed me up a bit." I paused. "I'm really lucky to have a friend like you."

Cotter tilted his head upwards, toward the ceiling. "Yeah. You know." His arm moved erratically, reaching for the doorknob to his room. "I used that move on the boyfriend of this girl I fucked in Ohio. He charged as I was leaving her house in the morning, and I ended up throating him against her shed. It was dynamite, man. T N fuckin' T. You believe that."

It was walking to that test, (one of only a few I would end up acing in college) that I realized I would never be able to view Cotter as human. He was incapable of connecting with people. Interacting with Cotter was like chasing little filings around a desktop with the opposite end of a magnet. Sure he could laugh, and he could have fun. And he had human moments, frenetic emotional lightning-strikes like that night he helped me study. And he could relate to people in his own fashion, but it was more like curiosity than understanding. I knew he could never form attachments. And I suspected that while we might be able to love him for his incapacities, he would never be able to love us back.

Ultimately, it was my own curiosity as to how a person could grow into Cotter's alien, detached existence - to how a family could let it happen - that would drive me into Serendipity's slender arms, along with those of a crying girl who I would love the moment I met.

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Monday, July 26th, 2004
9:03 am - Life in a Centrifuge: Part II
"Beau. Who's that friend of yours. That girl you were at Bootlegger's with on Wednesday. Who is she."

And this was honestly how Cotter talked; he was the first person I've ever met who had never learned how to ask a question. It was as though some gritty Gulf War ambush had miraculously left him without a sense of inflection, the nerve damage localized entirely on the part of the lobe responsible for raising or lowering the pitch of the last word in a sentence.

"Who, Brooke? She's just a friend." In fact, Brooke and I had gone out after class two nights prior. A beer turned into beers, which turned into vodka tonics, which turned into Tequila Shots, which quickly became - as is known to occur with the goldenest of those atom-smashing alcohols - blacking out. We ended up at her place, and judging by the clues that met us in the morning - various tilts of the lackluster shore-house watercolors in her hallway and the jagged tritons next to the bed, surely once a very nice glass lamp - we must have writhed our way against every surface from the front door to the bed. The path of destruction was palpable, it must have been a lusty maelstrom of cinematic proportions. The goodbye was hurried and moderately awkward: a heartfelt hug, a kiss on the lips, a soft look of reflected embarassment that became a smile. Exactly what you expect from tequila, really.

Brooke was just a friend, but we hadn't spoken since that morning, so whether she knew this fact or not wasn't quite determined. I knew I would probably be able to use Cotter's interest in her to save our friendship. If she went on a date with him and wasn't frightened off by his jarring social incompetence, she would almost undoubtedly fuck him, and then I could reassure her that it was okay and I was happy for them and I really just wanted to have her as a friend anyway. If she didn't like him and still felt some tequila-induced karmic connection to me, one which I just couldn't see myself reciprocating, well then I could tell her that it would be wrong to flaunt a relationship in front of Cotter when he was such a good friend of mine. Either way, I stood a good chance of preserving a comfortable relationship with a girl I had fucked, an accomplishment I had come to view as an urban legend but never actually experienced. Something to be told around campfires. The Hitchiker with the Hook for a Hand.

"A friend, huh. She had a great ass, didn't she. Man. Do you think she'd go out with me."

I knew every word he was saying. I understood them. But sometimes if I was looking at him, in his camoflauge pajama pants and stainted undershirts - I swear to Christ - all I heard was 'tell me again about the rabbits.'

"Yeah. Probably. Not sure how she feels about Marines, but..." I picked up my bags to leave for class. 'Revolution to Enlightenment' with an emotionless plank of a teacher. "I'll talk to her."

"Cool. Does she like to drink." Cotter crawled onto the floor and began doing rigorous push-ups.

I could taste the tequila all over again. This would be interesting.

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Friday, July 23rd, 2004
10:14 am - Life in a Centrifuge: Part I
I remember a day when I was about fourteen years old; I was riding to school on the bus and I spent the entire journey staring at this homely girl I did not know. She was exceptional in her plainness - just another Upper Merion biscuit years away from puberty and infidelity and substance abuse and the bomb threats and pedophilia that would scar our little suburban existence.

I stared at her for the entire ride, and by the end of it I had decided that I loved her. It was a transitory love, lasting scarcely longer than the dozen reluctant steps from the bus to the school doors, but in that exercise I realized that I could love anyone - absolutely anyone - if I stared at them long enough.

I practiced this for several days, on increasingly unattractive and physically awkward girls. I sat and watched the social dregs of junior high with the razor focus of a sharpshooter, keeping an imperfect mental catalog of the ones I had already fallen in love with.

As with most things at that age, the newness began subsiding and my attentions fell back upon actual, genuine palpitations of the heart, most of which were engendered in me by the dashingly cheerful and beautiful Jennifer Tedeschi, a girl who was in nearly every way the opposite of the spotted gargoyles and leaky, asymmetrical ballerinas that had been the targets of my pre-pubescent anthropological curiosity. Though my ability to 'stare out the lovely' in people still exists, its current manifestation is barbed, rusted over with years of unmet expectations and cynicism and quarter-life angst. The small fluttery frissions that Jennifer gave me almost every day from grades three through twelve were infinitely more powerful than the ones I extracted from the inner-beauty school dropouts of Upper Merion, and even though I was young and didn't know the meaning of the word, I sensed how contrived it all was.

Ultimately, Jennifer never realized that she was meant for me and me and only me, and I resigned myself to a life of seeking a lovely that didn't need to be stared out. A through and through who would give me childlike frissions and absurd neurotic lovesickness and dizzying emotional turbulence to rival that which, ostensibly, only seems to occur in junior high.

And then, of course, when I found her in college I managed quite efficiently to fuck the entire thing up.

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Wednesday, July 14th, 2004
4:02 pm - fast track bric-a-brac
Sitting at a new job. Living in a new place. I spent most of last night wrapped in Rebecca's lithe but surpringly strong legs. (She's a gymnast, you know...)

Things could scarcely be better, and as soon as I familiarize myself with the immediacy of my new neighborhood I'll be unstoppable.

I've been so focused on the new gig and getting the apartment up and running that I haven't yet had a chance to explore.

two nights ago found me in a quandary. I stood in the Mulberry Market with a basket in front of me. In one hand I had a box of cereal. In the other I had a six-pack of Rogue Honey Cream Ale. I looked back and forth between the two for some time, before ultimately reaching high, high up and placing the cereal from whence I had taken it. An older balding man who had been watching the entire ordeal began laughing. Looking at him with total seriousness, I said:

"Man, some days are six-packs days and some days are cereal days. Thinking about the day I just had, it's amazing it took me this long to decide."

current mood: productive

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Monday, May 31st, 2004
12:09 am - for the life of me i couldn't stop shaking
Yesterday at the shore with Herr's Cosden and Wong was absolutely delightful and so very much needed. The one downside, the one thing I would change if I possessed the power, would be that I didn't get sun-stroke and spend the majority of the one night we had in Stone Harbor shivering uncontrollably in our motel room.

The pain is spectacular right now, but it will pass - as does everything.

Reese, who has no sympathy because I neglected to use sunscreen in the right way, (I ingested it with a bloody mary and a tray of tacos) was very helpful at talking me into a state of calm. I guess it's that mothering instinct that does it. My first-degree-burned torso suddenly was the equivalent of a scraped knee and your sugary words were verbal neosporin, Reese. Thank you.

And yes, my entire belly, chest, back and shoulders is now a flamboyant, alarming shade of pink. I look ridiculous.

current mood: sensitive

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Tuesday, May 25th, 2004
10:57 am - normally I hate these things....
but this seemed like an easy way to share my secret with the world.

apeirophobe may actually be a spider-human hybrid


From Go-Quiz.com

current mood: calm

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Saturday, May 22nd, 2004
5:01 pm - on a train to london from reading....
I took the following picture.

current mood: blah

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