|Leeking Ink #22 Table of Contents
Looking for Jeremy Bentham and Finding Reckless Abandon
Excerpts from Journal
1/6/00 Things you never knew you had...My back has been bothering constantly since Sept/Oct. I had a lot of stress this fall and it seemed like it tensed up and never relaxed. After months of swearing when I moved wrong or being unable to stand upright, I decided to actually go to the doctor (shock!). It would be the first time I used my health insurance since I got my job. I went to the dr. this evening. He agreed it was probably tension related and would give me a referral to an physical therapist. Seeing as I had good insurance and I had been having back problems since I was in my late teens he thought we might as well go ahead and do some x-rays. After they were done and he had had a chance to look at them, he walked back into the office and said with some perplexity that they were mildly odd. He wasn't sure, but it appeared I had an extra vertebrae. He also said it looked like there was evidence of some arthritis starting. As I left I asked him to let me know next week if I really had a tail.
1/11/00 An example of my wild sex life...I was sitting and watching television- probably one of those forensic detective shows on Discovery- when he decided he was in the mood. I mistook his affectionate intentions for something more innocent. By the time I realized what was going on there was a feline penis being thrust into my shoulder. I could have easily lived out my life without knowing what a cat's member looked like. I told him to knock it off and he rolled over and went to sleep.
4/11/00 Coincidence? I have needed fountain pen cartridges for the last two weeks. I bought some Saturday morning...right about the time Androo decided to send me some. He had no clue I needed them.
4/13/00 I dreamt I was at the train station, which looked a lot like an airport. I had a refillable mug with me and asked the man at the coffee counter for coffee and a hummos sandwich. I realized that the man taking my order was Robert Carlisle. Suddenly my train was about to leave and I asked for my mug back. Robert Carlisle was pissed about this and threw my cup of hot coffee at me. I could feel the hot liquid all over me. Is this a new theme? Actors serving me coffee?
4/14/00 Went to see They Might be Giants in Washington DC. We had extra time before the show so we infiltrated the hospital across the street, brazenly walking past the guards at the visitor's desk. I had a great time and am glad Patrick is making me get over my youthful concert going traumas.
4/20/00 Scenes from a Penn Station (Baltimore) commuter
7:21:00 am That guy walking in the door looks like James Coburn.
7:21:15 am The guy walking towards me looks exactly like James Coburn.
7:21:30 am That guy walking past me has to be James Coburn!
4/21/00 My first holiday from work since January! After playing Parasite Removal Team with the cats, I went to the hairdresser. My hair is now unnatural, fucked-up Run Lola Run red. I love it.
Excerpt from Looking for Jeremy Bentham and Finding Reckless Abandon
What do you think about maybe going to France this
(from Dover to Calais and back)
We awoke and we were as pleased as only grimy travelers can be to take hot showers. I put on my new Derby boots. We decided our next stop would be Dover. We arrived into Dover and headed for the cliffs. No one ever warns you that the beautiful white cliffs of Dover are actually the muddy, chalky, cliffs of Dover. My new boots were covered in the stuff and becoming heavier by the minute. We took a ton of photos from up on the cliff, including Rockslide Victim Barbie. We saw Dover Castle in the distance and knew we wanted to go there next. We also looked at the ferries below us and rather casually bandied about the idea of going to France.
Over at the castle we saw a 1st century AD Roman lighthouse and walked around the grounds. We noticed signs for medieval tunnels and went looking for them. We started telling each other about various favorite horror books, ghost stories, scary movies, and episodes of The New Twilight Zone. In the dark tunnels it was reviled that we both remembered an episode of The New Twilight Zone verbatim. In that moment I knew I had found something incredibly special in Patrick. This rather small occurrence took our increasing friendship to new levels.
We left the castle and inquired at a travel agency about going to France for the evening. It was only £7 a piece roundtrip. We booked passage on an afternoon ferry and went to walk around until it left. I didn't expect to go to France when I woke up that morning.
We boarded the ferry around sunset. We couldn't stop taking photos, as if we had never seen the sun setting into the ocean before. The view of the cliffs from the boat was incredible. One of my favorite photos from the trip is of us standing at the aft of the boat with the cliffs bathed in a light pink behind us. It was getting rather cold standing outside, so we went inside to find a seat. While waiting I looked at our tickets. There was a coupon for a free liter of vodka. We went to the duty-free shop to see if this was for real. It was and we walked away with a huge bottle of Smirnoff.
My growing sense of euphoria and freedom had now progressed to a state of reckless abandon. I hadn't had a drink in years, not because I ever had a problem, but because I knew I might develop one due to that damned genetic predisposition to the stuff. We were headed to France, so what better place to break some old habits.
We would be landing in Calais, home of Rodin's Burghers of Calais statue. The statue commemorates six citizens of Calais that volunteered to sacrifice themselves in 1347 to stop the Hundred Years War. They surrendered themselves to King Edward III and in exchange the king was to cease his eleven-month siege against the city. The men were to hand over the keys to the city and prepare for execution. Unlike most "heroic" statues, the burghers are seen barefoot and shackled, their faces reflecting the agony of their decision. Rodin placed the sculpture on a low platform at ground level, so that viewers are not removed from their plight. Their lives were spared due to the pleas of King Edward's wife, Queen Philippa.
We decided to find some food, something that we had somehow successfully avoided all day and toast the Burghers with our free vodka. I should mention that part of our reckless abandon at this point also included not having arranged a place to sleep and going to France without a single franc to call our own.
At the bus station we knew we were in a foreign land. How else can you explain the musak theme to St. Elsewhere playing over and over??? We wandered up and down the Rue Royale. We read the menus in the restaurant windows and become more and more afraid of the French. "Deep fried meat (unspecified)" served with a side order of cute furry animal and internal organs were not what I was looking for. We eventually ended up at Café de Paris, where I would unsuccessfully attempt to convey the idea of veganism. I learned the hard way that a bad French accent will not help matters. I thought settling for a "green salad" would be safe. It came with green beans and beans mixed with mayonnaise, white squiggly things in mayonnaise, a few leaves, and beets. I hate beets. I don't speak a word of French, aside from "fromage," a word I learned 10 minutes before from reading all the menus. If anyone knows of a good universal hand gesture for milk that won't get me thrown out of a restaurant, please let me know. I eventually convinced our waiter, Dave, that I just wanted greens with vinegar. What I got were greens drenched in some form of toxic French vinegar. I shut up and ate them feeling my stomach pickled. That along with the bitter tea, 3 pain relievers (inexplicably my hips and legs had started aching), and empty stomach created quite a nourishing atmosphere, which I still had plans to fill with vodka.
I looked around the restaurant and noticed several single men eating huge pans of mussels. I couldn't get past the fact that they looked like over-sized otters with their mustaches and empty mussel shells. Happy to see that MasterCard was indeed accepted universally, we were back on the street and in search for the Burghers. It was about 9pm and we had to be back at the bus stop to catch the ferry at 9:20. We loped along the road and found the town hall. They were right in front, exactly where they were supposed to be. There was also a van in the parking lot that appeared to have some hanky-panky going on inside. I'm sure they loved the camera flash going off as we toasted each other and the Burghers. Figuring if something is worth doing it is worth doing right, I poured the equivalent of two shots in our sparkling P & O Stena line cartoon tumblers. We downed the burning liquid and started running for the bus. I could feel the contents of my evening's repast sloshing around as I ran. We were still catching our breath when the bus pulled up. While we waited for the shuttle for the boat I, now somewhat inebriated, decided to turn dear Barbie in to a first class tramp. It was then Patrick and I realized the silent telepathy had developed. When I was done with her she was wearing daisy duke shorts, leg warmers, a sleeveless shirt, and black tights. Her hair was in taped up ponytails.
Once on the boat we decided to buy gifts for our friends. I am suspicious this was the purpose of the free alcohol in the first place. We went up on deck to watch Calais slip away. We found some comfortable seats to lounge in and watch the red moon that was rising outside of the window. We then proceeded to get drunk. It was the first time in my entire life I had ever had the much to drink. Four shots might not be much to other people, but I'm small, I don't drink, and I had a salad in my stomach. It is good to be free of responsibility and giddy because life offers you the opportunity to go to France on a whim.