Thursday, February 19, 2009


When I'm anxious or troubled, I have vivid nightmares and remember them. Otherwise, I don't usually remember my dreams. Two nights ago, there was a car crash with a mangled bloody corpse sprawled in the front seat -- a lot of my nightmares are about the aftermath of car wrecks (I don't have recurring dreams so much as recurring settings or types of events in which the details change from dream to dream) -- and a weird trio of blond children wearing angular plaid suits and old-fashioned haircuts who were terrifying for some reason.

Last night I dreamed that J and I encountered a tiger and her cubs on a hiking trail. J ran right by her, but she blocked my path. I managed to intimidate her and keep her from attacking me. J took one of the cubs home. He was holding it in his arms, and it was beautiful and vivid with pale blue eyes. I kept telling him that he had to take it back to its mother, but he ignored me.

I don't enjoy being stressed out, and I wouldn't exactly say that I enjoy having nightmares, but there's something about them I like. They're maybe instructive, at the very least diverting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I think I need to get a car. Maybe not immediately, but before too long. I've been so resistant to the idea, because I hate driving, I don't want the expense and trouble of a car, and I'm opposed to car culture in general. But I live in a city with crappy public transit, limited sidewalks and poor pedestrian access to many areas, not enough bike lanes (which aren't safe anyway because they're so often used for turn lanes or parking). Am I just making myself miserable to prove a point? Is this one of those cases where I should just give in and live in the real world even if it doesn't line up with my values?

I love Austin and want to stay here. Maybe I have to accept Austin on its own terms instead of expecting it to be something it's not and consequently resenting it.

Having a car would eliminate so many little day-to-day frustrations, like having to rely on others to shop for me, or my apprehension about almost every invitation or social activity because I don't like feeling stranded and dependent on someone to drive me home. Being without a car makes it difficult for me to contemplate getting a job, it makes me reluctant to pursue a date with anyone, it makes what should be the simplest tasks feel like walking through a foot of mud. A car would also relieve some of the anxiety I feel about the heat here, because I wouldn't be out in it as much and I wouldn't be soaked with sweat every time I arrived somewhere. (Anxiety must seem like a strong word, but that's what it is. Today when I was walking to the bus in the humid 80-degree weather, my heart started racing and I thought I might cry because the air felt like summer coming and I thought, "I have to get my life together before the heat comes because once it does I'm going to be incapacitated for 5 months.")

I think the strain effects me more than I have admitted.

Now, the actual getting of a car is another story since I have no money. But I feel a small sense of relief having realized that I want one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Guess I Could Always Lead the Nation's Toughest Warriors.

I was thinking on my way home from school today that tonight I should make a list of things I might want to do in the fall, since I no longer have plans. Just to sort of get my thoughts together. In the mail when I got home was a flier from the Marine Corp. that says, "When you started college, you planned to change your world." And then you open the thing and inside it says, "You still can." Hm.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Heard on the Street.

Pretty frequently there will be a club or sorority or some such group doing a blood drive on campus. They bring in those big bright buses, line them up, and get a couple perky girls to nab people as they walk by: "Would you like to save 5 lives today?" The first time this happened, I didn't know what it was and I said, "Sure? How do I do that?" "Your blood donation can save 5 lives!" I muttered something like, "Not today," and kept walking. But now I always say, "You don't want my blood" -- blood banks don't accept blood from men who have sex with men -- and the perky girl's smile freezes and her eyes go all quizzical and she'll say, "Okay."

There's an area on campus, on the main mall, called the "free speech area" (the name cracks me up, as if speech is not free anywhere else), where organizations like the Palestinian Students Organization or Campus Democrats set up tables and hand out literature as kids move between classes. There's a group called Face AIDS which raises money for and awareness of AIDS in Africa. I don't want to disparage their hard work and dedication because AIDS is a big problem in Africa for sure, but it strikes me as bizarre that, when rates of new HIV infections among college-age kids are spiking and most college kids seem to have no clue what the fuss is, the only student organization dedicated to AIDS is focused on Africa. Anyway, when you walk by they say, "Would you like to help fight AIDS today?" I've taken to saying, "I fight AIDS every day." (Meaning that every sexually active homosexual man, no matter his antibody status, lives with the spectre of HIV.) Same falling smile and quizzical eyes.

I wonder what stories these kids are weaving in their brains about me.