September 28, 2012

Gwen - Passing through Paris

Often, when Americans think of Paris they imagine a Hemingway flavored, Woody Allen directed figment that is loosely set in the twenties with highlights and overtones taken straight from pop culture and Disney. The interesting thing is that somehow, regardless of the reality of what lies before them, many American tourists come away from their trips with the impression that their delusion is true.

Something about Gwen’s personality afforded her her own view of Paris. Tall dirty gray Haussmann buildings with their decaying splendor hobnobbing with faceless gray post war buildings. Clusters of feral young men with predatory eyes. Pairs of painstakingly dressed women, rail thin and tiny. The smell of expensive perfumes and human waste.
Perhaps at heart not that different from any other big city, but with a French touch.

 People told her she was crazy when she announced she was breaking up with her fiancĂ©e, and just shook their heads when she decided to try and sell her house and go traveling. And yet, somehow here she is in Paris flipping burgers and steak-frites in a brasserie. Watching people take the top bun off of their burgers and eat the rest with a knife and fork, then clean their plates with the top bun, or worse yet leave it in their dishes. 
Yeah, some Parisians really do that.

She had come to France hoping to find a new life, hoping for food that would inspire her, but after several months she was coming to the conclusion that the French food scene wasn’t for her. While good French food undeniably exists, it seemed to her to be an elitist thing rife with snobbery. “Good food should be about good taste, not how much money you have.”

Over all, Gwen was disappointed. Paris was a place for people with money. The main way of spending time there seemed to be related with either the spending, or the acquisition of money… But her tastes were, if not simple, frugal. She spent what free time she had walking around Paris looking for a spark, something to set her soul alight. Her expenses were limited to food, the tiny room she was renting, and an occasional used book from Shakespeare and co. on the rive gauche. In a sense it was an ideal, but not hers. Her plan was to leave as soon as she had enough money put away for a ticket.

This wasn't the place she was looking for.

September 6, 2012

Gwen - Zucchini bread zeitgeist

This is my kitchen. It isn't spectacular and it doesn’t have all the latest gadgets or designer furniture. It is neither pretty nor fashionable, but it is functional and it is mine. 
It’s my space in which he is sitting and talking at me, yet again, further illustrating the completely one-dimensional relationship he maintains with the world instead of interacting with it fully. I’m there peeling my zucchinis and I know that he doesn’t realize that it is over.
I don’t need drama. I don’t need an argument. I don’t need to lay blame.
I just need to be alone in my kitchen again.

Well, that could have gone better... but then again, it could have gone worse.
"They" say all kinds of stupid things, for instance, they say that going down is the best part of roller coasters... but let’s face it, two years of free-falling downhill isn't fun, it's just tiring. I like the parts where you ramp up, where you can enjoy the view, and savor the moment.
But then, I’m not really into roller coasters… so, what am I talking about?

It’s not like he was bad guy. I wouldn’t have stayed with him as long as I did if he had been.
Although it felt like hours, “the talk” only lasted thirty minutes… Not so bad, nothing got broken, though he did throw a framed picture at me –missed by me by a mile- which I caught before it smashed against the wall. He got a bit carried away. He said some things that may have been true and some that I know were not. He said I was cold, and while it’s true that that whole scene left me cold, I’m pretty sure he meant to say frigid, and he meant for it to hurt me. But the truth is, although we may have connected at one point in time, eventually, when I looked at him all I saw was dust in the air. Little flying particles you can’t normally see that are brought to life by light. Pretty enough, in their own way, but ultimately immaterial. I’m not sure when I discovered that there wasn’t anything left behind it.

Maybe later I’ll think back fondly to the good times. But I wonder if maybe they’ve all been so diluted that they have ceased to exist for all practical purposes. Either way, although I may be kidding myself, I don’t think it matters.

For now, I’m happy to reclaim my space...
and I’m going to bake some Zucchini bread.

September 2, 2012

Found in my inbox one morning

Hello my friend, thank you for taking the time to read this important message. The situation is grave indeed and I’m not sure how to best express it so that you can understand it. I’ll try by starting sometime after the beginning…

Long, long ago, when I was a mere child, I was told that 209 years from now a giant colony ship would leave Earth for Mars carrying terraforming technology and a crew of colonists that were to be the last hope of survival for your -our, I suppose,- flawed race…

Something happened. Perhaps navigation calculations had been made in metric for hardware calibrated to antiquated imperial measurements… I wasn’t told the specifics, only that it was human error. Regardless, the ship lost its mind and took a wrong turn at about five past moon o’clock.
Wrong turn at about 5 past moon o'clock

This catastrophe caused the ship’s soundness to fail piecemeal, killing thousands on-board. Only a handful of colonists survived the initial failures, and discord swiftly wended her way into their hearts. They argued violently as to what the next course of action should be. The majority entered escape vehicles and deserted the ship. I cannot say where their path took them, no doubt to oblivion, as it eventually does for us all- even me…

However, one of the ship’s physicians (my father) and an engineer (my mother) decided to see the ship through. By some cosmic accident, the ship’s wrong turn had sent it hurtling into the past… I do not know by what means my parents navigated the ship back to earth, or when they discovered that they had been flung into the past… I do know that then, they too deserted the ship in an escape vessel as it flew by Earth on a course headed for the sun.

I was born 6 months later in the year of their lord 1081… My parents gave me the best education they could in order to prepare me for the challenges I was to face throughout my life, and they also armed me with a book wherein they had scribed as much foreknowledge as they could recollect. Their idea was that my descendants and I would prevent humanity from committing the terrible mistakes and grave errors in this, its second chance - at least from my parents’ perspective. 
 However, my father soon discovered that our journey through time had rendered us all incapable of procreating… Apparently I had been conceived before our arrival. Their conclusion was to initiate carefully selected individuals into our secret and to form a cabal that would shape history, but that went quickly awry and their disciples killed them in their sleep when I was 13.  It was the year 1094… I fled, taking with me our book of secrets. The disciples went on to form the basis of many of the secret organizations that covertly control the Earth’s governments.

My parent’s geas was upon me and I decided to fulfill their dream as best as I could. I spent the next year inveigling myself into the court of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I. And in short, I played a key role in the first crusades… sometimes with Seljuk Turks, sometimes with the Christians… as need dictated.

Sometime late in the year 1111, I was at the siege of Tyre under the banner of Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin. It was there that I was contacted by a very old man going by the name of Alhazred. He claimed to be over 400 years old, and certainly looked it. He gave me an original copy of a book called Al Azif with a Greek translation by Theodorus Philetas… Why the man gave it to me, I do not know, he would only say that he had been ordered to do so. He left without a trace after completing his task. Within that book lay secrets that could shatter mortal minds, but somehow I retained a marginal grasp on my sanity and found the secret to eternal life…
Al Azif
What I suffered to achieve this I will not say lest someone else should attempt it and unleash the dark beings with whom one must contract… Let us just say that death became a past concern for me, and though I can no longer die, pain has since become my constant companion.

I have led my cursed existence through history striving to thwart the power hungry machinations of the disciples, thwarting the vile prophecies from Alhazred’s book, and trying to cure the ills listed in my parents’ book… I have failed many a time and things were made worse than before, but I have also known a handful of modest successes; however, we still seem to be headed towards a future where my parents’ ship departs… This brings me to you, my friend.

Your donation triggered a chain of events that help move things in the right direction. What donation, you ask? Oh that’s right, that hasn’t happened yet. Please donate 20$ to the following paypal account (redacted), for the good of mankind.

Thank you for helping me to save planet Earth.
Yours gratefully,