Monday, July 03, 2006

The Old Grey Mare, She Ain't What She Used to Be


She ain't grey, quite, but she sure is old; pushing mid to late thirties, blind in one eye, deaf in both ears. Dixie takes a good hour to finish chewing her watered-down grain, and every time I come home I fear bad news of our little pony who pulled neighborhood kids in the pony wagon from house to house on Halloween, her mane and tail dyed bright pink. Amanda and I both learned to walk, trot, and canter on her. When we would win at a local horse show, the deep-drawled announcer would proclaim, "First place goes to Amanda, riding Dixie The Fat Pony!" That was her show name.

There was bad news about Blossom this time; one of our oldest Sicillian donkeys finally died, and I didn't even notice until my sister came home and asked where she was, over dinner. I wonder if my parents still felt bad giving us that news.

But Dixie's still as spry as ever. This afternoon she got loose and sprinted a little down the driveway before returning obediently to her pen, where she knows she'll be fed and brushed. My mom plays NPR around the clock in the barn, so our horses are very worldly.

Anyway, I should back up.

"Soggy" is the adjective that seems appropos in describing the summer so far, although apart from the constant dampness and frequent deluges in Boston, it's unfolding to be a pretty nice one. Things have been good. Well, apart from a brief trip to the ER a few weeks ago, due to a kidney infection and a spiked fever...


...which has cleared up now, thank god. The next weekend found me in New York, galavanting and puddle-dodging on the rooftops of Greenwich Village, where my aunt Karen lives...






...and being complete photo whores with Meg after The Threepenny Opera, for which she scored front-row tickets at the very last performance of the run. You may recognize these faces:

Ana Gasteyer from SNL...


The alluring Alan Cumming from, well, everything, in addition to his own recent cologne ads...


Nellie McKay, who's a NYC pop singer I've only recently been introduced to thanks to Paste Magazine. She made a great Polly Peachum in the show...


And though you may not know Wallace Shawn, who did the translation, by name, you'll certainly recognize his face from "The Princess Bride". Turns out he's a brilliant academic, and a very nice man. It's hard not to envision him saying, "incon-theivable!"


Upon returning to Boston, Meg came up via Fung Wah and visited for a few days. I took a day off from work to enjoy the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum finally, as well as the regulation North End jaunt, where we stopped in to see my photos, and the Garment District, for thrift shopping. We had a lovely dinner with Melissa, Matt, Meg, myself, and Milton, a guy she befriended on the bus who had just moved to Boston on a whim from Puerto Rico, and who was a great addition to our little party. Matt almost couldn't find us because I witheld telling him I'd cut and dyed my hair that day...


...or had I just gotten excited in the wig section of the Garment District?

And then the trip to NC, the long-awaited trip home. This is where life feels really saturated, and where I fully let go and breathe. Here's what it looks like.


Other highlights included cooking out with the family...



A trip to the annual Eno River Music Festival, a good ol' hippie Durham event...





Teaching Matt to back-dive off the dock (he was fearless)...





And of course, the requisite morning trip to Waffle House where, typically, the waitresses need translators for out-of-town visitors. "Haw-y'ant-chaygs?" for example means, "How do you want your eggs?"



So now that Matt's gone back to Boston, I've taken a long, drunken nap, the kind where you can't wake yourself up from your dreams even though you know you're sleeping. I've stared out the windows from the air conditioning and thought a lot. I watched some old videos of me as a kid, from a year and a half singing songs and carrying around baby dolls, to painfully 12, reading my winning essay at the D.A.R.E. graduation in a quiet, Southern accent that sounds like a stranger's. It's crazy to think that I'm the same person.
I've been loafing around in my room, poring over my stuff, lying on my bed and reading things I've read a million times. I've pulled out a couple old journals, but there are still several I can't bring myself to read, not because I haven't moved on, entirely, but when I come back here I find that person again and still relate to her. Slights may have been small, in retrospect, but they were still slights. Betrayal was still betrayal. Besides, some of the ghosts in those pages, and all over the place here, are still very real.

In the movie "Lost In Translation", which I didn't especially like, Scarlett Johannson talks about how all girls want to be photographers for a while, and how they lie around and take pictures of their feet. I'm sort of still doing this. Being at home is a good time to examine, if somewhat idly, what you're doing with your time, and how purposeful coming to do it was. Is forgiveness in order? Or a stern examination and subsequent affirmation to get on it, stop whining and do, become that person your younger self wanted you to be? I get paralyzed by the fear that the latter is true. Either the confidence is missing, or the energy is. Much safer to lie around and take pictures of yourself looking as pensive and moody as you feel, and let the world outside keep revolving faster and faster until it feels like falling headlong into yourself.

4 comments:

dudek said...

Your writing and thoughts are as beautiful as your photos.

I can't wait for you to get back beautiful.

- Matt

Fred said...

I love how subjective your photos are. They're really autobiographical in an uncalculated sort of way, which i think is something that a lot of photographers try to do but fuck it up because they're trying. While I'm here trying to take technically solid shots that could be done by anyone you're taking Jessie-soul-slices and turning them into photos. Oh, and how fuckin' cool that you met the guy from The Princess Bride, and that Dixie is still going? Ooo and I really like the shot from the roof in the Village where you can see all the water tanks and the one through the window with the fire escape and leaves. It's hard to take NYC shots that are both representative and not cliche but I reckon those 2 do it.

brad said...

i want green things again. specifically, the ones in your pictures. also, we should all get to kiss matt on the cheek.

Alessandro said...

Heya sweetie, sorry for bein a stranger, but i aint dead so thats good news. (bagged myself a B.A. degree aswell, not bad news there either :)
the things are three -
1. fuvking loved the picture with the donkey's (seemingly dead and rigamortis instilled) legs in the air - hilarious!

2. The wig is something i think you need to investigate, get ya hair cut and dyed in that way -
DO IT!
its moving towards an Uma Thurman look and the picture was ace even thou you were pouting like Paris Hilton herself!

3.....i forget... maybe it was how cute the picture of you in the waffle house, coffee cup pressed to ya face, was - but thats a stab in the dark!

Oh well,
big fat prude english kisses y'our way.
:p