Ants on a hill
Daily log: November 23–30
I’m in California for the first time in three years. Three years and one month exactly. I left this place in a haze of chaos. A place that means a lot to me. A place that feels like home. I fucking hate cars.
I’m wide awake on a couch in Virgil Village. We had Chinese for Thanksgiving dinner. My fingers smell like cigarettes. I forgot to brush my teeth. I poured mezcal over frozen blueberries (bad) and we talked about the rat named Penguin and the cat named Batman. I feel like a cat named Batman. I’ve died here once. It’s a painful kind of nostalgia. The colors, the smells, the words. I imagine meeting my younger self, right here, outside on the wooden bench where we sat last night. I, the older self, look at me, the younger self, and simply listen and nod. I smile. I agree with me. I love myself for knowing it’s ok to die. There are eight lives ahead Batman.
My body is adjusting. I miss the kids. Lana Del Rey is exploding through the walls from the neighbors. They’re from London. They've been up all night. Yesterday, I found an advance copy of Blake Butler’s memoir Molly. I was also called handsome by a Parisian woman who owns a lingerie boutique in Echo Park. She’s coming out with us tonight. I bet she bails. Last night, I had a fun conversation with Alice, the bartender at Alma’s. I told her she was my second favorite Alice. Sandwiched between my ex-wife's maternal grandmother and the best Alice, Alice Rohrwacher. Alice from Alma’s seemed content with second place. I told her we had just met and it was really the best I could do. She smiled. Then she took out her phone and googled “Alice Rohrwacher”. The sun is up now. The neighbors from London are singing along with A Message To You Rudy by The Specials.
I miss the kids. A woman at the BrewWorks bar outside gate 135 just had an emotional breakdown when the Bills lost. I admire her. It’s so hard to love something. Airports are the best reminder that we’re all ants wandering around a hill. Last night I told the girls at 4100 that my favorite Taylor Swift song is Anti-Hero. They didn’t believe I had four kids. They never do. I’m a novelty fuck. I’m a lighthouse. I’m looking forward to seeing my kids. I miss reading to them at bedtime. I miss making breakfast and asking if everyone has their homework done. I miss Kelso putting his shirt on backward. I miss Florence braiding her hair before falling asleep. I miss Clementine slowly studying the shapes of words and whispering their sounds. I miss Ozzie asking for ketchup on his toast. I don’t miss California. I am thankful for what this place has meant to me. I'm thankful for this moment, these tears at the gate, leaving this place again, I feel a deep sense of connection with a truth that there is no arriving or departing, just constant movement, like ants on a hill.
Florence held my hand while we walked home from school. I softly squeezed three times while whispering I love you. She squeezed mine three times back. We made a secret language.
Sitting in my van in the parking lot of my therapist's office. I’m having a coffee. I saw Zach. It’s wild to see someone for the first time in 15 years and you can chat like it was last weekend. Time isn't real. While I was walking back to the van, a DoorDash bike delivery messenger asked me for a lighter. I smashed my pockets with delight but found nothing. I apologized. He said “No need to apologize, we’re on the same team” and then dapped me up. What a guy.
Talk therapy is a powerful method of internal navigation for me. I often find myself finding ideas just by having the space to feel heard. There were two special moments today.
First, through a series of stories, I shared a working model I've been creating for how intimacy is shared. It’s something like this – I imagine that everyone has a keychain. An old school dangle of keys tied on their waist. Every key opens a door in their interior, where there are an infinite number of rooms. So it's a huge keychain. Learning to feel safe with yourself involves learning how to navigate the rooms of your interior. Inside all of us are rooms. Rooms are memories, fears, hopes, all the good stuff, and all the heavy, hard shit. This is intimacy with self. Knowing self. Intimacy with another can only be built after intimacy with self, and it can only go as far. Intimacy with another is learning how to do this key finding together. Sometimes you find you have the same key to the same room. It's intimate to find things you share. You can both go in and out of a room and feel a similar thing; growing up a similar way, or a shared experience. There are also moments when you have a key and the other doesn’t. Being invited into a room that you don’t have a key for is the most powerful development of intimacy.
The other thing I brought up in therapy today was the dream I had where L met my kids. It was a powerful dream, the kind of dream you try to get back in. In therapy, I talk a lot about how it feels impossible to integrate my life with someone I love. It feels like a world I will never know again. So far, the closest thing has been this dream.
I want to continue experimenting with first person. I’ve been really inspired by the work of artists that expose parts of their interior. This is as close as I can get to posting something like a diary, exposing my interior.
Also, here are the five songs I listened to the most this week.
Always for you,