The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Who am I?

I'm a little scared now.

I think I'm getting over my grandfather's death a little too quickly. I've cried, I've mourned, and I've accepted, and it's only been 5 days. I didn't cry when I saw him at the visitation tonight. I didn't cry because it didn't look like him at all; he was too pale, waxy, old, dead looking. That helped remind me that the thing in the casket wasn't him. I know that the dead thing in a box isn't my grandpa, it's just one of his old tools that he used when he was here. Now he's someplace better.

I've sort of been forced to move on rather quickly, because so much life has been happening. My cousin Ben graduated Monday night, I graduated last night and went to project graduation. I look to the future and I know what life will be like without him. I remember how much he means to me and how he's molded my life. Somehow, though, I've gotten to the acceptance part before he's even in the ground, and that's starting to make me nervous.

In a way I'm a little relieved. Like most people, my biggest fear my whole life has been that one of my parents or grandparents would die. When my father told me that my grandpa was dead, I was living a moment I had dreaded my whole life. To have experienced that moment and see life go on has been a relief to me, but I'm still nervous.

My mom says that we're all still in shock. That makes me nervous.

I can't say it enough. I'm nervous.

I've been much more depressed than this for much longer periods of time over stuff of much less significance.

And that really makes me nervous.

I thought I was just accepting it all too quickly, and dealing with my loss my own way...

...but now I'm really getting scared.

Who knows what I'm going to find out about myself before this is all over with? Maybe that's what scares me the most.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


How much can change in one day? I mean *really*? Can you seriously wake up one day as a relatively happy high school student, whose biggest concern is going to see her crush play his guitar at a rock show that night, and end the next day so much older that you half expect lines to appear on your face? It all falls down.

Friday was my last day of high school. I went to first block and made copies for Mrs. Satzinger. I went to Choir and signed yearbooks, listened to "The Choir Song" as performed by an exceedingly cute trio of teenaged singers/musicians. During third block my class went to eat at Hinode, and I enjoyed some fellowship with my senior peers over sushi and hibachi. Fourth block I sat around as usual.

And then it was done. My last day. No Rydell High singing "we go together.."; no papers flying all over the place, no screams or shouts, not even any horn honking. Just casually walking to the car, backing out of the space, and leaving.

Later I came back to go to the book fair in the gym with Hannah and buy $20 worth of discount books. We went back to my house and ordered pizza, watched a bit of Legally Blonde, and then headed out to Billiards for the show.

It was an awesome show. A lot of people from school were there, so it was almost like a small senior class party, and everyone was getting along really well and being friendly. Sure, a few of them were trashed, but they were trashed in a lovable way. The band was good, there was a good pit, a good atmosphere. I talked to a few people whom I've wanted to get to know all year. It really made me wish that we'd done this sooner, so that we could all get together and have a good time like this throughout our last year together. But alas, it was a last stand. I decided that the next day I needed to learn Portuguese.

Through a somewhat crazy chain of events, I ended up in the possession of one of the band member's guitar, amp, pedals, cords, etc. They were stored at my house for him to pick up the next day, and he would have to call me to find out where they were.

The next morning I went to work. I sat in a shack for about 7 hours collecting money. During that time I decided to sit outside for a little while and "get a bit of a tan". Around 1:00 I started getting a sunburn, but didn't realize it. I also didn't realize that it was around this time that my grandfather was being crushed underneath a tractor wheel 80 miles away.

When a co-worker told me I could go, I started walking towards the office, until he called me back. My dad had pulled up in his white suburban and was walking toward me with a severe look on his face. Before he opened his mouth I knew he was going to tell me someone was dead. I'd been expecting it for weeks now, sitting on pins and needles to find out who it would be. I didn't, however, expect it to be my Grandpa Don. I thought it would be one of his parents, since they were older and their health wasn't as good. He said, "Grandpa Don was run over by a tractor and killed." I asked him to repeat himself. When he did, I just sort of nodded and said okay, then started walking to my car, parked around back. My dad offered me a ride, but I walked all the way around, stonefaced, and got in my car, like usual. I pulled out and headed for home. The whole way home I kept repeating a select few phrases to myself, including "He's not dead yet," meaning that I didn't have to cry yet, because he was still alive. He wouldn't really be dead until I got to my grandma's house and he wasn't there and everyone was crying. Also, "that's a stupid way to die".

I didn't shed a tear until four hours later, when I could be alone in his garden. I wanted to be strong for my mom and grandma, and give them my support. The hardest part was when my cousin Drew finally arrived. He had been on Reserve Duty in another part of the state, and was driven back by his sergeant. When he came, in his camo and combat boots, he collapsed on his fiancee, mother and father. I think his whole life for the past four years has been driven towards making Grandpa proud. That's one of the main reasons he joined the army.

Before I got to my grandma's house, I conducted my business affairs in a steady, polite tone. I told my voice teacher that I wouldn't be able to make it to the recital tomorrow. I called the guitar player's house and informed his mother that he wouldn't be able to pick up his things after all. When I told them my grandfather had been killed, I said it like it was the simplest of things. "Oh, the plane got stuck in Chicago, so I'm afraid your package won't arrive until next week."

He finally did come by for his things that night, after we got home. My mother was leaving again to stay at Grandma's for the night, and he came in, offering condolences. All I could think about or talk about was how terrible I felt that he had to come to our house at this time, because it must be so terribly awkward for him. I still feel that way, like a black hole of sad that dampens everyone's day and makes everyone feel awkward. I haven't told hardly anyone at school, even though I saw them all at graduation practice today. I don't want anyone fussing over me or feeling like they have to be careful around me, as though I'm a crying bomb that could go off at any moment. Maybe other people appreciate other people being sympathetic and careful about what they say on a "sensitive" subject, but it would make me feel like a leper, or like I had some terrible secret that mustn't be uttered. I don't want anyone talking about it, but I don't want them purposely steering away from subjects either. I just want everyone to act completely normal. I accepted long ago that I will be dealing with my pain alone for many years to come.

I am meant to be alone.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

My grandfather was killed yesterday.

He was run over by his tractor in a field of daisies.

I still can't believe it.

But I can't get the image out of my head.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

How does everyone like the new design? Oh, wait, you can't tell me because MY COMMENTS AREN'T WORKING. ::grrrrrrrr....::

Anyway. I have a big long story that is dramatic, heartwarming, and action-packed! I'll post it when there's an ending.

And when I'm not lazy.

And it's not 10:43pm.

Tomorrow is my last day of high school, ever. Ever.


Sunday, May 16, 2004

Obscure Relations

Tonight I went to the project graduation fundraiser dance. I only went to support project graduation, and didn't expect to have any fun at all. I started out by playing solitaire, then wrote in my journal for a bit. I expected to pay five dollars and be bored, but I didn't expect to pay five dollars and be auditorially assaulted to a degree that violated Amnesty International's standards of humanity. I expected rap music, but I didn't expect terrible, awful, horrible, unbelievably bad bottom-of-the-barrel rap music. I tried to ignore it, but when one of the rappers said "rizzeal" I had to look up, shake my head in disbelief, and pause for a moment to observe the death of common sensibility in society today.


The experience was not entirely wasted. After sitting at one of the tables by myself for about an hour, a couple of guys actually came up to talk to me. One of them was a guy who goes to my church, and I'm sure he felt obligated to have a bit of small talk with me and be nice. The other was a guy I've gone to school with since kindergarten, but haven't really spoken to in years. Since we started high school, he's grown to have a reputation as a partier and an arrogant jerk, but I've taken it with a grain of salt. I'm sure he exudes his fair share of arrogance, but there's more to the boy. He's a bloody brilliant artist, and somewhere in the past 13 years I've seen something in him that other people don't always see. I had therefore held out hope for him, and when he talked with me tonight he didn't disappoint. We talked for half an hour about High School, the popular people, the future, ideas, art, beauty, society, and generally about the stuff that was on our minds as graduating seniors. I learned that he's going out with a girl who was homeschooled, and is part of the same community as many of my good friends. It was a great conversation, and almost cathartic in a way; it gave me a little validation that, as shallow as this sounds, one of the 'popular guys' was taking time to have a real conversation with me, a self-proclaimed freak-and-geek. It was more than that, though. While we talked about beauty, he said "you're probably more beautiful than any of those girls out there (gesturing to the dance floor) because you're so down to earth, you're so real". I have to admit, it made me feel good to be acknowledged in that way by someone who I'd thought would never really see me for who I was. He gave me a few other compliments throughout our talk, mostly about how different I was from the girls in the party scene, and how cool it was that I wasn't shallow. We learned that we both try to do the same things in our creations--symbolically convey a personal idea to others. He does it with his art, and I with my writing. I think it was just a pleasant and new surprise to him that there are people out there concerned with ideas and change, and not just with beer and grinding.

It's odd how these things happen when you least expect them to. I was hoping that something like this would happen at Prom; that I would receive some kind of recognition or validation from someone in my class who I'd never imagined would give me a second look. When that didn't happen, I felt like I'd failed high school; not the classes, but the real mission. I felt like I'd failed to make an impact, to connect with anyone, or to support the community I was inexorably a part of. Talking with my classmate tonight let me know that I mattered in high school, as strange or shallow as that sounds, and I'm left with a rather pleasant aftertaste. Furthermore, he squelched my self-doubts about being a "Prom loser"--he said that he had the limo, the dinner, and everything, and he still hated it. That gave me a reminder that I desperately needed: we're all more similar than we are different, and half the time we're probably all thinking close to the same thing, especially when it comes to self-esteem.

I just watched an MTV news documentary on gay marriage, and I still don't know where I stand on the issue.

Today I read in last year's diary an ironic passage, concerning that-one-guy. To paraphrase, it basically speculated as to whether or not he would still care about me and want to be my friend if I changed into a different person. Michael always said he would love me no matter how I changed. I suppose that makes me the hypocrite here.

But I never stopped loving him.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

A Dream Within a Dream

I've been having really interesting random dreams, both waking and unconscious. I think it's related to the fact that I don't really care about school right now, and work doesn't use much of my mental capacity. For instance, today while I was driving (I know, scary) I started randomly fantasizing that I was in a beautiful evening gown being carried around by/dancing with 10-15 men in tuxedoes, just like in the video for "Material Girl" by Madonna, only it was more like in old movies. I had more of an Audrey Hepburn look. The best part is that the 10-15 men were all the guys in my Physics II class--I know I know, you're all probably picturing a bunch of pizza-faced bespectacled super-geeks. The truth is, almost *all* the guys in my Physics II class are attractive either physically, mentally, or both. In their own special ways.

Okay, so I'm dancing with each one in turn sort of 40's style, and then "This Love" by Maroon 5 comes on the radio, and it starts playing in my head too, so I start to tango and salsa to Maroon 5. It was awesome. You really must try it some time. I had all these incredible dance moves in my head... I was totally hot. Oh, and since not *all* of the guys in my Physics II class are ever-so-desirable, I got to mentally X-out the ones I didn't want there, or perhaps just shove them away.

And this is why we should all live in our heads. It's so much better there.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Of Mixups and Men

I'm going to do this entry backwards, Memento-style.

Today was Mother's Day, so I got my mom some earrings. My cousin's fiancee was over here with the rest of my huge extended fam, and she did my hair up lovely. Too bad I can't sleep on it.

Yesterday I worked for eight hours in a shack by myself, and it was wonderful. I sat in an open-air shack and felt the sweet May breeze. $5.15 an hour never looked so good. Later I met Hannah and Raymond w/companions for coffee at the new Starbucks (springfield's first *real* one, besides the dinky one inside Barnes and Noble) just so I could see how much I'd hate it. I hate it. It's so pretentious. Blugh.

Friday night was Prom and it sucked. I had no date, so I went with friends, which I thought would be fun. And it was, for a bit. The problem was, Laura had a date, which isn't a problem in itself of course, it's just that the few times I was dancing with him it reminded me of a certain-someone-I-used-to-do-things-like-that-with, and I immediately began missing him, not just for him but for the role he used to fill. I was then feeling deeply sorry for myself for not having a Dream Prom. How stupid is that. Our culture has built up Senior Prom to be this huge big deal that's supposed to be one of the best nights of a young girl's life, the absolute pinnacle of the high school experience, the cherry on top of the Ice Cream Sunday that is Senior Year. All that just so when there's no prince charming to wisk you about in a white limo and shower you with sweatmeats and roses, you feel like there must be something wrong with you, that you are so undeserving of this glorious right of passage, and you must therefore not be the princess your mother tries to convince you you are. Your proverbial tiara has been taken away from you, and you are nothing more than a Cinderella whose fairy godmother forgot about her and must therefore turn away from her dream, push her hair out of her eyes, bite back her tears, and go back to scrubbing the dishes. Insert rusted spoon and twist. Let's get back to the real world.

But that's just what loser girls who can't get dates say because they're jealous.

Thursday I took the AP Lit exam. It was bad, but not as bad as I thought it would be. I went out to lunch with fellow over-achievers and watched the seires finale of Friends with my mommy. We cried.

Wednesday I worked.

Tuesday was the Spring Choir Concert, where I recieved The Bridesmaid Award (you know, always a bridesmaid, never a bride) for being basically the fourth-best senior soprano, if you don't count the girl who switches between soprano and alto all the time. Being the fourth best means that I never get the spots I want in contests, ensembles, select choirs, solos, etc etc etc you name it, but I am so eeensy weeensy close that I still feel shafted, and not just like a huge loser. So I feel like both. I "reflected" on this in my senior speech, and thus earned myself a Bridesmaid Award. Therefore, at least I will be remembered for *something*.

Before the Concert on Tuesday, I spoke to (drumroll) Him/Former Friend/He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named/that guy. He wanted to set a few things straight, like for instance, I *WAS* *NOT* the one who made him cry at the Poetry Slam that one time! That's right, it *WASN'T* *MY* *FAULT* *HANNAH* (hannah please don't leave me nasty comments, we've already had this discussion. it's just that the other readers don't know yet). I suppose we're okay now. I suppose I can feel comfortable around him now. It's just... odd. Oddness. Oddity. After a few minutes of talking to him, we started talking as though nothing had happened, and it was only yesterday that we'd last spoken, and we still knew everything about each other, and there had never been a sixth-month period where we'd not spoken. Strange...the last time I spoke to him as a friend was after the opening Fall Concert of the Year, and the next time I spoke to him as a friend was before the finale Spring Concert... freaky.

Anyway, the intimacy is still there in some form, it's just... different. Evolved. We're both kind of the same, but still different. Evolved. There's an undertone of something that's changed, but somehow all the old stuff is still there too. It's almost a feeling of limbo. I don't really know what to think right now, or where we'll go from here. I'm still afraid of him, somewhere in the very center of my bones, an infinitessimally thin line of centrality that runs through the core of my marrow. Small, but focused, and it's the feeling that everything else is built upon.

I don't remember Monday at all.

Sunday I went to a bridal shower for afformentioned cousin's fiancee, then to a visitation for my great aunt. My paternal grandmother is now the last sibling standing.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways...

As most of you know, I have been working on the school literary magazine for several months now, as I did last year. In fact, it was working on the literary magazine that introduced me to Former Friend.... more on that later. Anyway, it's always a lot of work, but it was a lot of work that I was completely committed to and wanted to bear the brunt of. With my new job, however, that wasn't exactly possible. During Crunch Week (which actually was 2 weeks this year), I was scheduled to work several days, usualy from 4-10, which meant I couldn't stay after school to work on it like I wished I could. Since my computer decided to die around the same time, I wasn't able to work on it after work at home (during sleep-time) either. Therefore, I was not able to work on it at all for a while, which upset me a great deal.

The teacher who sponsors the literary magazine (we'll call her Mrs. X) knew all of this. She knew that I wanted to help, but that my schedule and coinciding computer death prevented me from doing so. Yet, when I entered her room to work on it last Thursday, she gave me one of the worst chewings-out of my life. She said I was undependable, irresponsible, and disorganized, amoung other things, reminded me that I said I wanted to do it and now I was blowing it off. That was bad enough, because I pride myself on being responsible (read: an overachiever), and the feeling that I had dropped the ball was horrible. She then made it worse by implying that the real reasons I hadn't been working on it included not wanting to work with Former Friend (untrue-- I told her our entire history, and that I was willing to work with him. In fact I did (sorta) work with him twice, without incident) and that I "can't handle it when I'm not completely in charge of everything," (also not true). I didn't have the heart to talk back and be disrespectful to a teacher--even though the allegations she made were false and completely insulting. I just told her again what the situation was, and that I was really sorry for not being more available. Then I went to work on it some more, and I almost cried, until I remembered that there was a looooong list of people whom she had made cry in her classes and elsewhere (at one point I think it was at least 2 people a week), and I didn't want to be on that list. I refused to let her childish and unprofessional outburst get to me that much, and I sucked it up. I had to leave within the hour, but stayed 30 minutes later than I should have to try to make up for my shortcomings. I then raced home, changed, and scarfed food as fast as I could before going to work. I felt like crap the rest of the night.

There is a guy who has been in a few classes with me this year whom I have not particularly liked since we first met, probably Freshman year. He is the most stereotypical mean jock jackass ever. *EVER*. He is the number one type of person I have trouble putting up with; it just makes it worse that he's so unoriginal. He makes your typical misogynist and chauvinist remarks, makes fun of people, is rude, crass, arrogant, and obnoxious all the time. I usually try to ignore him, but several times I just haven't been able to keep my mouth shut. When I can hear him across the room saying something ignorant and rude, I have to make a comment. Usually he replies with the standard "I wasn't talking to you" or "why do you feel the need to comment", and I reply to that with the standard "because it's rude and I have to listen to it" or "because it's ignorant for you to say things like that". Well, the other day it was another one of those situations, and he responded with "Why do you always feel the need to comment on things that have nothing do with you?" only this time I responded "Because I have to listen to it and I *HATE* you!". I promptly turned around and continued working on my physics, but the rest of the class made a very loud, vintage-elementary school "Ohhhhhh!" and made other noises of amusement and appreciation for about five minutes. I could feel my face starting to burn, but tried to focus on how to find Omega. I am now slightly afraid for the life of my locker and car, but mostly feel bad that I told someone I hated them. That's not very Christian, is it?

Remember the friend mentioned in the April 20 post? I had (and still have) reason to believe that she's angry with me over the events surrounding Former Friend and I last fall. I wrote her a very long letter detailing exactly what happened between he and I, expressed my concern for her, and asked her to let me know how she was. I delivered it yesterday morning, and haven't heard from her yet.

Why does all the hate
seem to hit
at once?