Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Got Motion, Restrained Emotion

Tonight I'm going to start this new old thing. I'm stealing this idea from a few others like the Alien and Dana. They have both been reposting entries from their old blogs, and I thought I'd do the same here and there. Those of you who have read and remember my old blog, I apologize. Most of you weren't around for it, and I've since made it private, so you can't read it even if you wanted to. I'm just going to go back and mine the sludge of blog posts of old, and if you do remember that blog, it's been a couple of years now, so hopefully these reruns won't be too tedious.

Okay, so here's the first one I drudged up. It's about, what else? An old relationship. Yup. Since I don't have anything going on in my life right now, I have to actually go back and steal from my former self. Damn, that's pathetic.

I originally wrote this in September of 2006:


Neal back in 1985.

We hadn't even left my apartment and already we were fighting. He had smoked some pot and was all lazy and high and now he didn't want to go.

"Can't we just put the tent up in your living room? We can camp here. It will be fun."

"No, it won't. I never get a day off and we've been planning this for weeks. I'm going. I need to go. I told you when we moved to the city that I was going to have to get out from time to time. Remember? You agreed and said you would too. Well, you do get out. You have days off. You go to Tahoe with your friends and ski and you go to Santa Cruz and surf. And when was the last time I got out? Oh let's see...When we moved here? That was the last time I left the city. You have options that I don't." It was the closest I had come to saying that he had privilege and I resented him for it. He could've easily shot my argument down by reminding me how difficult it was to be the only Black family in an affluent neighborhood in the seventies, but he didn't bring that up either. We both knew that in my head, I had it worse. And though we never clearly voiced our resentments, recently we had been letting them lie between us in bed.

"Okay. I'm going. I never said I wouldn't go, I just thought it would be way more cozy here at your place."

We took a van to Mount Tamalpais. It was only five dollars to ride and then another two dollars to camp in a communal space as long as we didn't drive a car there. Even I could afford that.

Once we had set up camp, we hiked down through Muir Woods and to the grassy area on the way to Stinson Beach. It was warm and sunny and I finally awoke from the influence of the ever present fog in the city. We messed around catching lizards and setting them free. Neal ran into a family of a dad and his sons and let them pet the lizard in his hand. Then he ate a grasshopper. He had taken one of those survival courses when he was in high school where he had eaten his first one. Now it had become his only parlor trick. I stood back and spoke to the dad. He was younger and handsome and Neal was keenly aware of his flirtatiousness. With the grasshopper still partially chewed in his mouth, Neal came up and kissed me in order to extinguish any interest the dad may have had in me. The family quickly moved on.

When we got down to Stinson Beach, we saw the signs for the nude section. "Do you want to go?" Neal asked and I nodded enthusiatically.

"Yes, please."

As we got closer, we noticed the kind of people who were either headed there or on their way back and we turned around as well. It proved once again that the people who were willing to get naked in public were never the ones you ever wanted to see without clothes.

We decided to pay to take the van back up to the campsite. It was wimpy of me, but this had been my only vacation all year and I felt I deserved to be pampered. Besides our tent, the rest of the site was still empty. We took advantage of it by having sex practically outside in the middle of the day. It wasn't as fun as either of us had imagined. I could still taste the bitterness of the grasshopper in my mouth or maybe it was just the weight of all of our grudges making our movements awkward and cumbersome and our words forced and disingenuous. When it was over, we both slept. Neal and I had always been big fans of the snorgasm.

We were awakened by voices and the dimming evening light. There were other campers now. Two guys a little older than we were. Both had worked in canneries in Alaska and were heading South to Mexico. They had indistinguishable one syllable guy names. I called one John and one Dave. John was riding his bike down the coast, while Dave was hitching rides. They had great stories and beer. Neal and I were too young to buy alcohol, but we had a one hitter and some weed. We all drank and smoked and they told us unbelievable anecdotes. One was about a beautiful, horny woman who gave Dave a ride and then soundly fucked him; and another was of the brush with death John had on Highway One, after a speeding logging truck nearly clipped him.

Neal was being sweet and charming too. He made fun of himself for being so baked and lame earlier in the morning and almost missing such a great trip. And I did an exaggerated impression of myself being a screeching harpy about it.

John, the more sensitive of the two said, "You guys really mesh. You," and he pointed at me with the one hitter. "You are the total anima. And you," he said now singling Neal out. "You are the animus." Because he spoke with such stoned conviction, we accepted it as truth. All of our differences were suddenly natural and necessary.

Enough time had passed from our nap, and we were finally tired. We reentered the tent and tried again. This time we had to be quiet out of respect for our neighbors, so our words couldn't betray us. This time the sweetness of the cheeb and beer was all I could taste. This time we had cleansed the air with the smoke of our peace pipe and chased away all of our grudges. This time we actually made love like we used to at the beginning, before we had become clouded by everything else.

11 comments:

Remiman said...

Churlita,
Often I think of a topic to write a post about and think; no I've already done that. Your right though that many of my readers today weren't back then. Maybe I'll follow your lead.
rel

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

It's a strange thing to go back and revisit those old memories.. I have yet to do up an old post.. One day I will though.. Good story..

NoRegrets said...

What a nice (re)post.

laura b. said...

That is a lovely post. You are such a great writer, Churlita.

Susan said...

This was great. It made me cry but about everything is doing that the past three days.

I deleted my old blog so I'll never firmly revisit.

Churlita said...

Rel,

yeah. It helps that no one can access these posts anymore. I don't feel so bad about recycling them.

Mrs.,

Sometimes looking at the past helps to put it in perspective.

Nor,

Thanks.

LauraB.,

Thank you. I think I could be more readable, if I could find a team of editors who would clean-up my stuff for me.

Susan,

I threw away my journals from the time I started writing them when I was 10 until I was 21. I'm kind of sad I don't have them anymore.

Cricket said...

During a difficult time for me to blog, I took down probably 2/3 of my blog. What I left up is pretty sanitized, but what I took down is original. I never thought to revisit them the way you did. I had thought of republishing them and let them keep their timeline.

I do like this idea and I very much appreciate your writing.

booda baby said...

This was really a great act of something or other that you'd share this with us. Thank you SOOOOO much. So, so nicely written.

AlienCG said...

So many people tell us that we should look forward, but it's so much fun to look back. Welcome to the land of the flashback.

Thanks for sharing your own past with us.

Poptart said...

I know I'm late commenting, but I love this old post. What would you do if you ran into Neal again? Would you want to?

.j.william. said...

Your Neal stories are some of my favorites.