Monday, October 31, 2005

The private life of my hair

My hair is a Halloween costume. Not my Halloween costume…but A’s, who is tripping around campus sporting a long wavy red wig with bangs, asking “Who am I?” Most of the time, she doesn’t get the question out before one of my coworkers is laughing hysterically. A. is short and I’m tall. A. has a cute button nose and I don’t. But apparently that isn’t making the question harder to answer.

I’m used to being upstaged by my hair. My hair seems to have its own sense of identity, its own social life. Remember the “Are you a Wiccan?,” inquiry. I’m asked this often enough for it to fall outside the parameters of the completely random. This question, I’m convinced, is addressed solely to my hair. I answer, “no” but my hair, apparently, ( or my Hair Apparent) is vigorously nodding “Yes. Why yes, I am!” I know this because after I answer the question, people tend to go on as if I hadn’t spoken. Uh-huh!

Further, my hair is more outgoing than I am. In the aisle of the supermarket one day, a woman came up behind me and picked up a healthy chunk of it, smiled serenely and said, “lovely.” (A. tells me this is how people feel about touching the bellies of pregnant women). Now this is a nice enough thing, I suppose. Except that I rarely fondle strangers or their bits and am unused to having them fondle me or my bits. In supermarkets or other public places. So, once again, I have to assume that my hair was up there, waving it’s L’Oreal – coated cuticles in a come-hither sort of way, like a small dog, wagging “pet me.”

Occasionally it makes enemies. In my first post, I talked about a man I met on a dating site who seemed interesting at first. But who, to my utter shock, suddenly revealed that he’d made some terribly insulting assumptions about me. “I knew you were the cry-me-a-river type.” he wrote, “It was the picture with the hair.”

Come to think of it, it’s pissed more than one stranger off.

For instance, at Sears, when I was shopping for a vacuum cleaner. A sales associate with tight lips, little slitty eyes and a bad perm informs me in a snooty voice, when I ask for a vacuum I can pick up with one hand, that I am asking for a carpet sweeper, not a vacuum. Carpet sweepers don’t vacuum, they surface clean. Okay. I’m agreeable. “I’d like a carpet sweeper. I live alone. I have no pets. I don’t need a BIG vacuum.” She regards me as if lice are about to swarm off my person, stares straight into my eyes and concludes her argument with, “You have long hair.” She says it like you might say, “You have rabies.”

If it keeps this up, (I’m warning you up there), there WILL be a hat.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Sleep is a worn blanket. Wakefulness pokes through it like elbows and knees if I so much as roll over in bed.

5:44 am: the fat gurgle of steady rain running through the eaves, splashing on the roof and pavement.

It’s dark and quiet except for the rain and the hurry-up sound of wheels on wet pavement. I stand in the balcony doorway, cigarette in hand, wearing an old navy robe, oversize fuzzy slippers with gorilla faces at the toes, my hair in chewed-looking pigtails. I look out into the dark. Without my glasses, the streetlights glow like Van Gogh stars.

Back when I couldn’t get up without disturbing a concerned husband and having him follow me downstairs, rubbing sleep out of his eyes, I used to think about keeping any hours I wanted.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah. I’m fine. Go back to bed.”
“Bad dream?”
“No. Just can’t sleep.”

A chronic insomniac for over ten years, I’ve found that since I’m free to go to bed anytime I please, I thrive on odd rhythms. Last year, I began to go to bed at 8:30 and 9:00 o’clock at night. I’d sleep through until 4:00 or 5:00. But if I missed that early start, if I stayed up until even 10:30, I could barely sleep at all. My body seemed to be working in sync with the light. On weekends, I stay up later, wake just as early and then catch up an hour or so in the afternoon – sleeping in shifts. If I didn’t work, I’d likely shift-sleep all the time.

Odd, the things you find out about yourself when you live alone, without that mirror of other, not shaping yourself around anyone else’s habits and routines. Being married to someone more introverted than I was, I balanced by becoming more extroverted. Since divorcing, my own introversion has taken on mildly autistic overtones and returned me to a state I remember from childhood.

I am six or seven, sketch pad balanced on my lap. I have been drawing with crayons for hours. My mother says, “Go outside and play. It’s a nice day.” I am reading and don’t hear my mother calling, “Turn the light out and go to sleep.” The dog and I are roaming an abandoned golf course, down in a ravine where apple and peach trees grow along the river. My childhood dreams are filled with those hills and skies, heavy with magic.

All this way. All this way to come back to where I started.

Friday, October 28, 2005

12th House Moon

It’s a gathering of ghosts.
My place.
Light all the candles you want.
They aren’t leaving.

The vast Missouri sky,
hot rain, a windblown gaggle of tired women
waiting outside the prison
for the exact minute
visiting hours start.

I see
a pair of brown hands
strong and elegant,
dark eyes brilliant
with perception.

All this is
here to stay.

“Momma, you tried to show me
how to be a man but
with all due respect
that’s like me
trying to show you
how to be a woman.”

He never thought about
not having
a father until the police
asked for a name
and laughed at him
when he didn’t know.

Just another poor ……

And as a child
ate church charity
dinners or dug in restaurant bins
when it was bad
and learned to drive
by stealing cars.

Relative to relative,
like used clothes…
he came from the country
to the city
and learned what it took to survive.
Age seven? Eight?
And nobody to talk to.
Nobody to talk to.

Morality is the privilege
of the fed,
the loved.

The world gives up nothin’.
Nothin’ you can’t steal.

I can’t convey these things
or how they haunt and wound.
They congeal in my throat.
They freeze my fingers on the keys.
It makes me so damn angry.
So damn sad.

This is singular and true -
loving anyone once
means loving them
It means
they gather
at the 12th House Moon
at my place.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


The Scorpio thinks that I should write about something that would help people.

My mind goes to all the injustices I would banish if I were Queen – a justice system that isn’t just, world hunger, poverty, racism, intolerance, low-rise jeans and lurid floral patterns in drapes, woman who scream at little children and yank their little arms. But no. That’s not what he had in mind.

“Sex,” he says, having pondered it for a moment. “You should write about sex.”

I should not be surprised at this suggestion. Sex is the Scorpio’s favorite activity. I believe he may think it is the cure for everything that ails us, excluding death. Good sex, at least. I’m inclined, at times, (usually when I’m with him), to agree.

“Well,” I admit, “it would interest me to write about the taboos against seeing yourself as a sexual person as you get older.”
“Right,” he says, pouncing on the remark as if I’ve proved his point, “Why is it that when your sexual attitudes finally mature, suddenly you think you’re not supposed to have sex anymore?”

It’s a damn good question, isn’t it? And while I grinned at the initial suggestion that this would be a “helping” thing, I’m beginning to think again.

I remember, and there is still a sting to it, my (twenty-something) friend, Mark, telling me he’d remarked to a female friend that women around forty had a kind of juiciness about them. “Yeah,” she answered, “like fruit, right before it rots.” Now doesn’t that just make you feel like putting on your red dress and getting on the dance floor? Right.

Whether I have the nerve to pursue it here is another matter. I’ve thought about skulking off to set up an anonymous blog. And an anonymous email to go with it. And having my phone number unlisted. And dying my hair another color. And changing my name to something Dutch sounding.

I consider just talking about it, generally. We don’t have to get into the explicit, do we? Coward, coward, coward. We are rational people here. Just a discussion. Then I remember the comment of an editor friend who had just read my piece on the gentrification of cities and subsequent displacement of the poor. She said, “You are obviously very sincere here. We just aren’t sure about what. You stink at polemic.”

She wasn’t being mean, just truthful. I do stink at polemic.

What I stink less at is writing about experience – mine and what I know of other people’s. What I positively excel at is painting a huge bull’s eye on my forehead and then wondering why so many people are shooting at me. The other thing I excel at (see any entry in the blog to prove this) is wandering off.

If I talk about sex, then I have to talk about relationship. If I talk about relationship, I have to talk about the differences between men and women and how they think. I have to talk about societal attitudes and the media and then I’d end up on the subject of religion. Before you know it, I’d be running around with a forehead full of arrows and my email crashing under the load of hate mail. (We've come full-circle to the stink-at-polemic thing.)

So. For now, I’ll just have sex, thanks.

Meanwhile, perhaps I can consider it a contribution to a small group of humanity that I am not causing my friends further undue embarrassment on my behalf.

At least not yet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bloggin' Blues

I am not checking again. I am not logging in, not calling up this blog, not looking to see if anyone has stopped by.

Okay. I am. But not for another three hours.

Theoretically, I could be talking to thousands of people. In reality, I might just as well discuss my thoughts with the water in my toilet bowl or my plants. Is this important?

A writer likes to communicate. In order to communicate, ideally, there should be a communicator and a communicatee. (I know that's not a word. Please God, don't let the only comment for weeks be a correction of my vocabulary.)

On the other hand (and there's always another hand if you're me), a *Buddhist warrior training slogan floats to mind: "Don't expect applause." That drifts along in my grey matter and bumps into a vaguely remembered Maslow Inventory test result...something about having a high level of self-actualization. Which means being who you want to be without undue fuss over living up to the expectations of society. More or less.

You might also expect that a serious schizophrenic would score high in that too, but nonetheless, these thoughts cheer me. I ask myself why I'm writing this blog - and I answer myself (because the water in the toilet bowl and my plants are notoriously uncommunicative), because I can't not write. (Please God, don't let the only comment be a correction of a double negative.)

Because I can't not write. Because I love to write. Because the small, everyday stuff seems miraculous to me. Because I want to wave to the world, send them a raspberry, blow them a kiss, raise my middle finger and wave it around. I want to congratulate all of us, including myself, for being here. Just for being here, which is an act of supreme bravery.


(*see: The Places That Scare You, Pema Chodron, Shambhala Boston & London 2001.)

Monday, October 24, 2005


Thunderous sky. Crows conducting a loud argument from various perches on Granville Street. I’m huddled in the entrance to Barrington Mall, gloomily smoking a cigarette.

Three tourists at 11 o’clock, a man, two women. It’s starting to pour and they’re struggling into fold-up, yellow rain capes with big pictures of Mickey Mouse emblazoned on the back. The women have ancient apple doll faces. The younger apple doll is bullying a cape over the older apple doll, who is in a wheelchair, sitting limp as a sock.

“You never do anything for yourself. We have to do everything.”
Great. An apple doll with a voice like Tugboat Annie and half the sensitivity.

A fat man in a uniform appears at the door. “Can you put that out? No smoking near the doorway. Policy.”

I put that out and go up to the school lunch counter to buy food.

The guy at the counter asks, “Are you a Wiccan?” I look at him stupidly.
“Well, if there’s a female god and a male god, who made them?”
“Excellent question,” I reply, “but I’m just buying a tuna fish sandwich.”

It’s Monday. On Monday I can’t remember who made God.

Rosa is gone.

Feb. 4, 1913 - October 24, 2005

December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger. She was tired and tired of injustice.

By December 5th, her act of protest and subsequent arrest sparked the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. It lasted 381 days and by the end, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation on transportation was unconsitutional.

One weary woman with the courage of her convictions changed the world.

Namaste, Rosa. We bow to your spirit.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Other windows

It’s a fine Friday night just after sunset. Summer. I’m leaning against the wall of a building at the corner of Spring Garden Road and South Street, dressed to the nines in my best turquoise finery. I’ve just come from the wedding of a friend, where I stayed through receiving lines, dinner and just long enough to watch the bride and groom have their first dance.

As usual, I’ve left earlier than most of the guests. I can only manage to stay in public persona for so long and then I begin to feel as though I’m wearing a huge, suffocating mask. Introvert overload sets in and I say my goodbyes, squeeze out the last charming smile I've got - and flee.

Now I’m leaning against this brick wall feeling exhausted, relieved and lonely. On Spring Garden Road, most of the city parades by – there’s hardly a square inch of pavement empty of people. I don’t know what to do next. Where to go. Lost in my own life again.

A small miracle is about to happen.

A few feet away, a busker plays guitar and sings. He could be forty, fifty, sixty. He’s bone-lean and wiry. His clean, cheap clothes speak of jobs where only the boss sits at a desk. Life has etched sadness deeply into the lines of his face but his voice is breath-taking. I can’t place the country singer he sounds like, but he’s pitch and note perfect and if I closed my eyes, his song could be coming out of a radio from my childhood.

My father and mother grew up on the prairies, on a radio-diet of country and gospel music. They had fine voices and loved to sing. My father would be upstairs, hammering at something, finishing work on the house they'd built together, and my mother would be downstairs doing work of her own - he’d start to sing and before long, she’d join in with the harmony. By the time I was ten, I had rolled my eyes in protest to the lyrics of just about every tune Hank Williams every wrote.

When he finishes his song, I ask, “Do you know Your Cheatin’ Heart?” He looks straight into my eyes and begins to sing. I edge a little closer along my wall and keep time with my foot. Under my breath, I start to sing with him. “When tears come down like fallin' rain/ You’ll walk the floor, and call my name. You'll cry and cry/ the whole night through/ your cheating heart will tell on you….”

His eyes stay locked on mine, never wavering, and suddenly I’m singing right out loud. I forget the crowds, forget myself, forget to be lonely and self-conscious. There’s just the two of us there on Spring Garden Road singing that old Hank Williams tune to each other.

When we get to the end, it seems so paltry and inadequate to say “thank you” and put money in his guitar case. But that’s what I do.

And I whisper, “that one was for you, Dad.”

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ministry of Fear: T-shirt division

I line up at the postal outlet with my parcel. The Man in Baton Rouge has a collection of T-shirts from family reunions in various states and places he’s visited but he has nothing from Canada. I’m going to rectify that with a tasteful navy T-shirt, sporting the word, “Halifax” and displaying – what was it now? – the provincial crest? Or a tall ship? – one of those. The shirt is stuffed into a padded envelope that I’ve pilfered from our recycles at work and neatly labeled with his address.

The woman at the counter hands me a customs declaration form and reads what I write on it: “T-shirt.”
“Is it new or used?” she asks.
“Is it new or used?”
“New.” What the hell is this? Do I get a discount if it’s used? Will it fly there on a WWII surplus plane?
“You’d better make sure you mark that on the label,” she tells me.
“What? Why?”
“Because,” she advises me, with a perfectly serious, straight face, “if it’s used you need a decontamination certificate.”

Now, really. It was bad enough when I couldn’t send maple candy or hard candy in the shape of a corny lighthouse to my American friends. It stinks enough that I can never, ever surprise anyone with a gift because of the stupid customs sticker. It’s crappy enough that the fee for mailing any small parcel item to the U.S. seems to start at $10.00 with delivery “guaranteed in 10 to 14 days.”

But this?

Who does this? I mean who do I see to get a decontamination certificate for a used T-shirt? Are they like Notary Publics? Do laboratories have divisions of T-shirt decontamination? Are they in the yellow pages? Does the decontamination process leave an odor? Will my friends’ allergies react to what they use? Is there some child out there thinking to himself, When I grow up, I’m going to decontaminate used clothes! You watch me!

I have, in recent times, traveled back and forth across the border. Don’t tell anyone this, okay? But I carry with me (shhhh) used clothes. And the odd time used clothes that need to be laundered.

One of these days, you’ll never hear from me again. And you can nod and say, It was the underwear. They found the underwear.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Not all eyes are created equal.

He would rarely look into my eyes, even though, day after day, we sat together on the same bus talking about what mattered most to us.

We’d start with the usual preliminaries about weather or day to day life but by the end of the ride, I’d find myself saying things like, “You know, I have no story anymore.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know how you say ‘I’m a teacher, or a writer, or a ditch-digger or a mother or a husband, I’m left-wing or right-wing, or I’m from this community or that?’ That’s your story. Who you are. I don’t have a story now. “
“And how do you feel about that? Do you feel free?” I think a minute.
“Yeah. In a way. And lost too.” He nods and flashes a smile that accelerates my heart rate.

The first time I saw him, he looked directly into my eyes, grinned and nodded. I had the odd sensation of having been recognized by an old friend, although I'd never seen him before.

For six months afterwards, I looked for him every day and then sat somewhere else, pretending to read, sneaking glances when I thought he wouldn’t notice. One day, I gathered my courage, stumbled around in his vicinity for a minute clutching the overhead rail and then said, “I guess I could sit with you.” He made room and I sat.

He said that by the time I did that, he’d nearly given up on me.

Now we are lovers as well as friends.

“Why wouldn’t you look directly at me before?,” I ask him, “I was always trying to catch your eye when we talked, and you would look away.”
“It would have been aggressive,” he says. I see. Yes. He’s male and muscular and big. He’s also Black. By experience of race, an emotionally astute temperament and his line of work, he knows all about signals.

Now, all that can’t be spoken we tell with our eyes and I realize that I don’t do that with anyone else - look into someone else’s eyes without fear or shyness. I feel too visible, too exposed.

“I never hid from you, “ I tell him.
“I know.”

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Not Nice Man - another tale of the neighborhood

One day, I’m in the liquor store, buying my usual brand of cheap red plonk when I spot a man holding a bouquet of burnt red Astromeria. He clutches them by the narrow end of the paper tube wrapping and holds them slightly away from himself – in the manner of a man who has just been handed his wife’s purse. He’s scanning the shelves impatiently.

It’s been a crappy day and I’ve been fighting the urge to throw myself a blow-out pity party. The sight of him hits some mushy Hallmark nerve and I blurt out, “What a nice man.”


Someone is a lucky woman. The flowers, wine…” He stares at me, expressionless, and moves to the next aisle. After a minute, he mutters something. I move a little closer so I can hear him.

“Pardon me?”

“I said – how do you know I’m not in deep trouble?” He looks into my eyes defiantly.

“You’re right, “ I admit after pondering this for a few seconds,” You bastard!

He beams at me.

“That’s better,” he says.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Spandex Cop - A Tale from the Neighborhood

I’m wearing a long baggy shirt, leggings and sandals. My hair is shoved into a ponytail. This is my standard outfit for cleaning binges. In the middle of cleaning, I make a run to the corner store and am hailed from the window of a second-floor apartment on the other side of the street. The traffic is roaring by, creating enough din that I can’t hear what the woman in the window is saying.

I put my hand to my ear and shake my head to show that I can’t make her out. She yells to me again and so I walk across the lawn and stand right next to the building.

“I’m sorry,” I holler, “I can’t hear you.” I figure if she’s taking the time to communicate something over and over, I can at least be courteous enough to listen. She leans out the window.

“You don’t look good in spandex,” she screams. I stare at her, stupefied. And then I recover.

“Thank you so much for the unsolicited fashion advice,” I reply. You poisonous little spider.

This is my neighborhood. I swear half the population has mistaken life for the Jerry Springer show.
But the worst thing is – when I get home, I check myself in the mirror.

I do so look good in Spandex, I tell myself.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dancing and the dance

8:46 am Saturday morning.

Bare feet. Blue robe. Ponytail at half-mast. Coffee in my favorite yellow mug. Traffic hush-shusses by – wheel sounds amplified by wet pavement. The forecast calls for days of this, alternating with rain. I’m at home with myself.

“You need some man to take you out dancing,” the man from Baton Rouge tells me. He’s called on Friday night and asked what my plans for the weekend are. I’m going to write, do the laundry, and work on a bracelet I’m making. “That’s what you did last weekend. You wouldn’t be writing if I was there,” he says.

“Yes I would.”

“No you wouldn’t.”

And there it is. He means well but this is the reason why I’m suspicious of dating. Or at least, the bones of the reason. I like to write. I like to make jewelry. I like sitting for hours looking at the sky. My idea of fun might or might not be dancing.

A Neptune in the first house baby, shape-shifting is second nature to me. I have morphed into more personas in my life than I care to count. Wanting to accommodate, or just too damn lazy to hold my ground, I become Ray Bradbury’s Martian from The Martian Chronicles. It happens gradually. I barely notice the things I start doing or stop doing. The subtle little ways in which I push one characteristic into the depths and pull another forward to buy acceptance or peace or praise.

This isn’t just about me. Most of us do it – to further a career, to keep a job, to hold a marriage together, to be accepted in a community.

I’m scared of doing it now. Terrified I might die without ever knowing who I really am. I’d rather take the flak that comes from saying no, from being no.

It helps to spend a lot of time alone, not being pushed or pulled.

I’ve grown comfortable with silence. The idea has sunk in that, as much as I love partnership, I’m unsuited to it as a full-time endeavor.

There are moments when it pays to be a thorn and not a rose. The Scorpio announces to me with a huge grin, “I really like liking you just the way you are.”
The inference is that I’m a pain in the ass. “You criticize me more than any woman I ever knew,” he tells me. He’s laughing, though. I’m laughing too. I pick on him to get a reaction, to try to make him lose his almighty cool – but mostly it’s a prickly kind of affection and gratitude that makes me take pokes at him. It’s that he’s impervious to my barbs and eccentricities. And he doesn’t mind that I’m impervious to his.

That’s my kind of dancing.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

"We are what we think/All that we are arises with our thoughts" -Dhammapada

The Scorpio, having warmed to one of his favorite subjects, says, “Well, I have some questions to ask God, if there is one. Like: what do you have to say for yourself about the sick bastards you put on this earth…the child molesters, the murderers, the racists. What about Hitler?”

I stay neutral as he revs up. There is no such thing as a reasonable theological argument with this man. Religion either pisses him off – or he views its’ adherent's activities with amazed amusement. And The Scorpio has definite ideas about dealing with perceived injustice – occasionally in the Tony Soprano range.

He says, “I’m going to ask him or her about them. And then I’m going to say, ‘and if you don’t like the question, then push the button. No, no, I’ll push it myself.’ And then let’s see who’s down at the other end and whether he wants to try crossing the line I’m gonna draw in front of me.”

It’s his old way of dealing with what hurts, although I don't doubt he’d try to stand toe to toe with the devil.

The Scorpio doesn’t see everything in black and white – but some things push him past his limit. He’s attended nearly 60 funerals in a few short years. Some people have died of old age and illness, but some have been young, one died of AIDS, one childhood friend - a suicide…

I put my arms around him and lean my head on his chest. We’ve been talking about his friend’s son. The kid was in trouble…into the life…drugs and the bad stuff. But he died because he acted up at a party and wouldn’t leave. His murderers tortured him, threw him in a dumpster and tried to eliminate the evidence by burning his body. Nobody deserves to die like that. No parent should have to live with that image of their child's last moments for the rest of their life.

“I couldn’t even talk to my friend about his son's death,” he says. “I couldn’t talk to him because the advice I’d have given him would be wrong.”

And this is the crux of his anger. His profession and calling is pulling kids like that out of the fire. He's very good at it. Only there are too many fires burning out of control and he feels more alone every time he puts on that black suit for another funeral. Right or wrong, he’s wondering, if there’s a God, why isn’t there backup?

Another time, when the hurt is not biting so hard, maybe we'll talk about his grandchild and his eyes will clear, his smile will come back, and he’ll put away his quarrel with God. Who, after all, has done at least that much right.

Paper Dragons

9:30 am, Saturday

A half-full glass of water on the floor beside the bed.

On a tray on the dresser: three-quarters of a bottle of el Jimador tequila, a plate of lemon rinds, a shaker of salt, a bottle of red wine accompanied by a wine glass with a stain at the bottom.

Wax has dripped onto the night table and there are half-damp white face cloths strewn around the room. Last evenings’ clothing (mine) is heaped on the floor. And the sheets definitely need to be changed.

My hair looks like it’s been run through a tornado.

I take an Aspirin and brew a cup of coffee strong enough to remove rust from metal. I’m stretching out kinked muscles. I have a mild hangover. And I can't stop grinning.

You’d think, after nearly ten months, me and The Scorpio would have slowed down. Both of us are over 50. People, according to my understanding of conventional wisdom, are supposed to slow down, or develop other interests, or buy that little red sports car. I have no problem with those options - they just aren't mine. And if you don’t choose one of those options, you might be advised to keep it to yourself lest your behavior be deemed inappropriate or plain freakish.

The glorious and terrifying part of being over 50 is that, if you are brave enough, you get to decide what is appropriate for you. The clock is ticking. And the rest of your life is not the infinite span it seemed to be at 25.

Gloria Steinem said in an interview, for women over 50, there is no map.

It’s a scary process, making the map as you go, wandering in places where most of society has marked the words, “here there be dragons.” Frequently, I find myself in swamps and bogs, scared, lonely, and emotionally lost.

But sometimes I wake up to a pristeen blue sky, the clear, perfect air of a September day, surrounded by happy evidence of the night before, and I know for certain I wouldn’t want to be 30 again – or trade lives with anyone.

I will forget this, of course. Return to the hell of falling asleep to myself and the world, to the hell of ingratitude or the compulsion to follow scripts written by someone else for someone else. But right now, today is the first day of the rest of my life. That "the rest" could be as little as five minutes or ten years, makes it all the sweeter.