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Saturday, June 23, 2007

just desserts

Originally uploaded by kristalynn.
many years ago i went to new york with a girlfriend. i remember, as we were packing up, she found three rolls of film under the bed. "oh, HERE'S my film... i thought you had taken it."

i was affronted. "you thought i stole your film?"

"well, you're studying photography and all. but you didn't - look." she held up three rolls of black and white film. "let's go eat."

but i couldn't shake the fact that for a period of time, who knows how long, she had lived with the thought that i had stolen from her. those hours or days of distrust existed. and i couldn't believe that the universe would wipe clean her feelings once she found the film she had misplaced.

on this recent road trip, my travel partner (different one) and i embarked on what she refers to as the "death march". but when a local pulls out a guitar, sings to us at breakfast, and then suggests we visit some natural hot springs, i look at it like it's something i can't pass up.

"there are two hot springs. the one that's further down the road is a shorter, but more challenging hike. it's worth it. it’s beautiful – the water’s around 98 degrees…" he looked forlorn and his guitar fell off to the side. "shit, i wish i could go with you guys."

he was high.

our hike did not start off well. within the first 7 minutes, my hiking partner got stuck on a log. i walked back to see if i could help.

"i'm afraid of heights." tears were welling in her eyes. "i gotta do this on my own." she waved me off with her hand that held her gucci bag. a hermés scarf that reminded her of her fiancé was perma-attached to its handle.

“give me your bag,” i was trying to speak in a pleasant tone. “give me the bag and get yourself off that log.”

“no. the bag has sentimental value. you KNOW it reminds me of PHIL.”

“give. it. to. me.”

"go!" the tears were in full flow and beads of sweat had formed on her forehead.

i turned and walked away. i understood that she had to tackle her fears on her own. but i also understood that she may return to the car.

about five minutes later i sat by the river's edge to see if she would come. i had crossed two guys who were leaving the hot springs. they informed me that it was “only a few minutes further”.

not long after she showed up, walking stick in hand.

"good!" i exclaimed. i was happy to see her. i told her that, due to the path ending, i wasn’t 100% sure where to go.

"maybe we need to cross the river? there's a path over there."

there was a path, but it was not the right thing to do. we managed to turn a 15-minute hike into a 2-hour "white water struggle". i won't get into too much detail, but i will mention that there was a moment when we had to empty our bags (gucci and otherwise) to take a personal inventory of what food might sustain us through the night (2 mints, 4 crackers, and less than 500ml of water). the river was also re-traversed, we held onto logs so that the current didn't take us away. we clambered over snowbanks, portions of pants were lost, one head was knocked on mossy rock, and there was a minor urination in one’s pants (or portion thereof).

later that evening, once settled into our log cabin with our bottles of champagne and vodka, my travel partner confessed to me that there was a moment where i annoyed her, when she quite possibly could have hated me: as i "floated oh-so-easily" along the path. she mocked me, called me “nature-girl” and whatnot.

i knew the damage was done. once someone becomes incensed by you, or thinks you’ve stolen from them, the constitution of that relationship is changed.

i looked over at her gucci bag. it was covered in mud.

her feelings were warranted.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

silent partner

3 muses
Originally uploaded by kristalynn.
my boyfriend recently got a new job at a fancy restaurant. every time we go anywhere, for a walk, out to dinner, people ask a multitude of questions about it. i'm subjected to sit quietly through another 25-minute discussion group on the fancy new greek downtown restaurant. due to the fact that i work on a contractual basis, i get a new job every couple of months. no one ever seems to ask about that, and i think i've landed some pretty interesting clients over the past decade: exxon mobil, glaxosmithkline (or whoever they've recently merged with), IBM, de beers....

"write about something controversial," my sister counseled when i was griping about the dearth of comments on my blog. "that’ll get comments. my friend wrote about breastfeeding and got a million comments."

"yeah, but that's a babyblog," i sighed. "comments run amuk in babyblogs."

"yeah," she shrugged. "they do."

so i was particularly at sea when i blogged about emerging relatively unscathed from an abusive relationship and the comments still revolved around my boyfriend (current, non-abusive).

several years ago i took a creative writing course. one student wrote about how she felt like a princess surrounded by a moat filled with alligators. the class went wild with commentary. i read my short story and they sat silent. i hated this class vehemently.

"does anyone have anything to say? anything?" prompted the teacher.

they still sat silent. i looked at them pleadingly. what did i spend this fucking three hundred dollars for?

after the teacher deliberately made us sit in silence for an uncomfortable 45 seconds, i dismissively shut my notebook.

"you can't quit," encouraged my boyfriend. "there's a reason you took the course. you'll get something out of it, i promise."

"i HATE it. HATE" i was livid. "they all sit there and say nothing."

my boyfriend thought for a moment. "hold on a second." he headed off into the closet and started digging through boxes. boxes that he never goes into. fuck. where would i have put them…?” he muttered.

ten minutes later he emerged, dusty and disheveled, but wide-eyed and holding some yellowed papers. they were type-written. they’d been run through a ditto machine.

"i took a creative writing course in university..."

"in the late 70s!?" i exclaimed.

"early 80s. and there was this guy in the class. i saved his stories."

"those are them?" i was astonished. my boyfriend, like me, saves nothing. "lemme see!" i grabbed for them.

"these are them!" even he was surprised, but he held them out of my reach. "there will be one waiting for you at breakfast tomorrow. and one the next day. and the third one the day after that."

i danced with excitement. "gimme gimme gimme..."

"i saved these stories, do you know why?"

"why did you save these stories, sir throw-out-a-lot?"

"because i knew this guy was a writer. after he read these stories, the class was silent. they were perfect."

i paused. “did he seem frustrated?"

"oh yeah. after long uncomfortable silences, the teacher would maybe advise him to switch one sentence with another, or something like that. there was really nothing to say."

i read the stories over the next three mornings. i continued to go to my writing class.

not too long after, i randomly met this author through a friend at a coffee shop. he's published three books and teaches at one of the universities. i sat there like an idiot and didn't say anything to him.

i swear the next time i see him, i’m telling him this story. i swear.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

bird on car grill

Bird on Car Grill - 4:04pm
Originally uploaded by Chris Seufert.
why you don't need to drive like a douche in a douchy SUV.

photo by chris seufert.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Originally uploaded by kristalynn.
"welcome to the airport express," announced the bus driver. "now sit back and enjoy 80's television."

it was the first time i had television on a bus. 80s indeed: back-to-back "knight rider" episodes. i hadn't remembered that they were so packed full of adventure. sadly, however, the only thing i could think of as i watched michael’s girlfriends get shot and roll down hills was the video david hasselhoff's daughter shot of him to try to get him to stop drinking.

years ago, the man i was dating returned home late and pulled the chicken i had cooked for dinner out of the fridge.

i sat at the table to keep him a bit of company while he ate. the boyfriend was drunk, which was nothing out of the ordinary. as i watched him, part of me left myself. in a quasi out-of-body experience, i watched him eat with his fingers, getting chicken fat all over his face and fingers. i focused on his greasy face as he spoke words to me, i looked back to the decimated chicken. he moved in slow motion; the colors were vivid, the grease in high contrast. i wasn't hearing a word he said. i watched myself and this man with fascination.

this chicken eating, i'm sure, must sound completely unappealing to the average sensible human being. but i was not sane at this point in time. being in my early 20s and stupidly in love, i had allowed myself to be grabbed by my shirt and thrown against a wall, i made up lies about black eyes and sprained wrists, and i waited up until 6am for him to come home, only to have to leave for work at 7.

but it was the chicken that made my love stop.

a few weeks later when he placed the keys on the counter and left for good, a scene would normally evoke much drama and pain, i clutched them so hard that it hurt. i knew he didn't have the wherewithal to have made copies.

i suppressed a smile and waited until his mom's car turned the corner. i called my best friend.

"emancipation... he's gone!" i really felt emancipated. i was screaming into the phone.

"really? we need to celebrate. come by for a drink."

i woke up the next morning with the same tattoo as sporty spice. it was temporary. came with a pack of bubble gum.