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February 21st, 2000 at 01:02 AM

This is Living. I'm drinkin' red wine.


Nothing particularly out of the ordinary happened today, but it all felt great.  Joshua and I went to Wal-Mart, a horrible place full of ugly people, to buy some coolant and oil for our old Ford vehicles. Wal-Mart is a big place full of inexpensive products and ugly people. We bought our things and got the hell out of there. I saw two shoppers as hairy as Coco the cat-loving gorilla. In the parking lot I showed Joshua just how easily I could break into my own car. He was impressed. So was the old lady who thought we were stealing someone's vehicle. Joshua corrected her, laughing. We left, and spent some time back home taking care of our ridiculous 8-cylinder gas suckers. I read from my Coupland book. Andrew called, and he seemed, as Josh described, "happy and upbeat".

Yesterday we went to Safeway and stocked up on groceries Big Time.
Let's talk about cooking. I need to set the scene for something more important.

On Saturday night we stuffed and roasted a chicken. It was yummy. It's hard to mess up a chicken, actually. All you do is stick it in a hot oven and try to keep the skin moist. And today, while Joshua surfed the web, I whipped up a salad, some ranch-style baked beans, peppers and onions in sauce, and some garlic bread. We popped open a couple of Coronas. I cooked the steaks on Joshua's George Foreman grilling machine--a thoroughly useful kitchen appliance. The thing works, and it's great. The meal turned out well, if I do say so myself.

I really enjoy cooking, and I'm moderately good at it. I'm not sure how this happened, exactly. Watching my mom, perhaps. Tasting delicious food, the aromas of five o'clock kitchens, wanting to please the taste buds of someone I care about, the delayed gratification of making sure a dish is just right before munching that satisfying munch of food you prepared yourself. Cooking is not abstract. It doesn't exist "in theory". It's therapeutic for my head: the preparation and consumption of a meal is tangible and physical and real, and I can feel it and eat it and love it and feel satisfied afterward. It's a great way to ground abstract headwanderings after a long day of imagining and thought and Movement. Cooking is creative, challenging, task oriented, and produces something the body needs.

we ate, and drank our beer. joshua enjoyed it and i was glad. 
          that makes me feel good.
i frequently do things because I think joshua will enjoy them. so we sat there, and the post meal lingering began. for a moment i felt like we were lost in 1975: the steak and beans, the dark brown Formica of our table and cabinet veneer, four bottles of untimestamped beer, glancing at the boxes over joshua's left shoulder
                               plates decorated with two reddish brown rings
                               the glare on the ochre oven in our ghetto apartment

And observations like these become fuel for conversation. We have had so many conversations while sitting while walking while lying awake, our eyes wide, our minds racing in parallel. I have little tolerance for half-assed friendships. no one should. i want to be inside your head, i dont want to chit chat about what you did today. i want to feel you, i want you to show me you limitations. 

i set those standards of friendship because of joshua. we've known each other since we were very little, but really it started almost 8 years ago, on March 14th, 1992. that was a long

time ago. we have a giant database of vocabulary, of models, of memories, of prior talk, of theories, of friends, of experience, of private jokes, of listening to albums, of priceless moments, of pain, of silly episodes. songs of intense sadness. invented philosophy. wrapping arms around tears we are
                    no longer the same person. we used to be nearly identical, but
people go
different ways, and we both recognize that. but i
             forget how wonderful it is to have
someone so close and 
     so sensitive that has known my 
     heart for so long.  and we sat there, sipping
our beer, talking about the past, talking
                                 about how much he hates phoenix,
how hard it can
be, the way a reminder of mortality can put it all
in perspective, the perils of keeping the Big Picture in mind, direction
              the loneliness he felt while visiting Greece, my plans, 

  my need for full friendships, our summers, our cars

fear, small things, silly putty, our own friends, people we haven't seen in so long.
                       don't romanticize this. it was a conversation, a close-hearted discussion,
as real and as satisfying as our dinner.

I move. I like moving and learning and taking and discovering and moving on. 
But these things I've been doing--this is my life: I work a mostly uninteresting job, and I use my website as a creative outlet. I cook food. I walk, and I talk to a truly wonderful close personal friend who knows so much about me. We work on our cars. We prepare food and eat it. 

I don't need to focus on the next step, the place i'm going next, because this
          is it. Everyday, real people live and work and eat and talk.

       in two weeks, i fly to the caribbean for a vacation with my family.
       one week later, Kariann, an intelligent and fun and beautiful girl who
       i dont even know that well but care about so much, will come to me
       and we will drive east together.

my life has been easy. everything has come to me. i've never been lonely. i've barely
                   suffered. Years from now, I'll read this and think
                   my words sounded young, energetic, 
                   far behind. Not naive, but large, unafraid, optimistic in a way that will

                   have become less important
by then.

but this is real, and i did it, and i'm doing it. its not going to waste, either. 
       hehe me, knowing past AND future...