And all the harm that e’er I’ve done,
Alas! it was to none but me.
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To mem’ry now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all.
I’m generally not one to get weepy over pub songs, but this one says it all so freaking well. Being bitter is easy — it’s genuinely wishing peace upon other people that’s challenging.
I only went out on the motorcycle with him a couple of times in my life, and those rides consisted of a few short laps around the neighborhood. (I think, for my mother’s sanity, that’s all my Dad would ever allow.) But however quick, however rare those little excursions were, I will never forget the joy of moving so quickly that you didn’t have time to think about the inherent danger of the world around you. I will never forget the feeling of holding on to him for my small life, worried that one of us would be torn from the other. I will never forget that we could have, at any moment, hurtled off the bike and into the deafening, blurry world around it.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get on a motorcycle again.
(He love Sam Cooke and badgering people with his singing. So do I, hey.)
It’s hard not to add a touch of hyperbole when discussing the Book Cliffs. They are, after all, a testament to the fact that we were once all underwater, that our existence was and is a slow, dry burn spanning several billions of years. That before there were the dizzying sinews of yellow, brown, and red, there was nothing but a sea so vast it dwarfed mountains, that it swallowed up the state of Utah and most of the continental United States along with it.
You see the Book Cliffs and see a world that rose out from the baptismal font and literally weathered its long existence in spite of everything the universe had to throw at it — be it dinosaurs or Donny Osmond.
It’s hyperbole, sure, but it’s the Book Cliffs. You’d have to be there to get it.
Delaware isn’t as awful or as boring as most people make it out to be, but there is something to be said when one of your highest points of elevation is kindly named “Iron Hill”. You spend maybe one or two field trips at the small museum by its foot, admiring the arrowhead collection and the fact that you’re not in class for a few hours. You drive by it without a backward glance on the way to swim practice or on a Sunday night adventure to the libertine pleasure dome that is the State Line Liquor Store in Elkton, Maryland.
Perhaps most sadly, Iron Hill sits right by the site of Delaware’s only battle during the Revolutionary War — the likewise largely forgotten but more interestingly named landmark, “Cooch’s Bridge”. 30 men died in the fight for independence, and now we call it “Vagina Bridge” when we drive by it. It’s a real tangled yarn of tragedy when you think about it.
But that’s how we roll when we’re 331 feet from the ground and a two-hour drive from top to bottom.
Iron Hill is no Mt. Marvine, certainly — Mt. Marvine, which is nowhere near the most impressive thing I’ve seen on this trip, but it sits so far out into the distance from the train tracks that you’re able to see it in its monstrous entirety, along with the large lighting storm rolling towards it from across the endless stretch of brush and sand.
And it’s not the Book Cliffs, that’s for certain. And as I lay out across one of the padded plastic benches in the train’s viewing cart, head spinning from the Rocky Mountains that morning and a large amount of overpriced snack bar wine, I start to wonder how much of Delaware I am.
I want to be like Utah, I tell myself as the train runs along Green River, makes it way through Helper. I want to be like Utah, I say as the train passes between the ghostly Castle Gate rock formations and the abandoned town bearing the same name. Would it be so much, to be so remote, so large, so quiet, and yet to still say so much?
And as the sun sets over Price River Canyon, the cliffs become a dense, deep purple that somehow manages to glow in the coming night.
I want to be that, I say to myself as I flip through my phone in my restlessness, the sky so dark that I couldn’t tell you anything about what Provo may or may not look like.
But I am the short person who, upon realizing how tiny she is, shakes off the big personality and sits down, occasionally remembered with a little laugh. I am Delaware.
Yeah, okay, I know everyone was over Sufjan Stevens and his failed “I’m gonna write an album for everyone one of the 50 States” deal, but the more I read about Utah’s history, the more I weep for what could have been an amazing record.
So this is a lighthearted post about how the weather was nice this evening and how I walked home whilst listening to the Amélie soundtrack. Mostly because I’m feeling so 2003 right now.
Anyway, everyone loves this song. And I a boring sap… so I covered it.
In other news, this tumblr page.
Happy Hump Day!
So fate was handed down to me the first day of 7th grade choir, when it became very clear that I was not a soprano in a room full of 12-year-old girls desperate to prove themselves one. In the middle of the shrieking maelstrom, I remember Mr. Gray firmly plunking out a middle Bb, asking me if I could sing it comfortably.
I gave up quickly enough and took my seat on the left side of the room with the other dejected rejects.
It’s not that we all looked at being an alto like it was something truly terrible — like your mom still packed you notes in your lunch or like you had lice. It felt more like the way most girls cling onto the flute and clarinet in elementary school. It was girly. Expected.
(I’m still angry my mom didn’t let me take drums.)
That was how I, untalented as I was, managed to snag a spot in Delaware All-State Choir for two years in a row. Most girls audition edas soprano, regardless of whether or not that was their appropriate voice part, leaving a large, gaping who desperate to be filled by people who can spit out a straight pattern of C-D-E for sixteen bars.
Me, alto. Alto II, even, because I enjoyed talking like a guy and figured the same sort of fun would be had there, at least.
I always admire people who are great at pursuing hobbies outside of their day job. The middle-aged guy standing in Rittenhouse Square with a palette in one hand and a brush in the other is my hero — how vulnerable and brave do you have to be to do that something like that? People see an easel and will automatically look at you. They’ll crane their necks to see if you have something arbitrarily valuable to show for the time you’ve spent, and when it isn’t a Picasso, they promptly forget about you or roll their eyes.
Or make you a joke in their ~ oh so introspective blog post~
So here I am, taking theater classes because it’s something that I enjoy and because it’s something I never had the grit or talent to do professionally. But, hey, it’s fun. And I can’t let the guy in the park take all the thunder.
Well, Angelina, is there something you’d really like to accomplish with this class?
Maybe singing outside of my chest voice? Maybe getting to be sexy?
Can you sing in your head voice?
Only when I’m joking.
Are you comfortable in your mix voice?
Well, my challenge for you this semester is to starting comfortable singing in your head and mix voice.
He forgot that Hannah had a TV in her bedroom, and so yet another one of his flaccid attempts at parenting fell apart by his own hands.
It had been one of the last things he and Diane had argued about, and Bill wasn’t sure if he ought to have been pained or pleased by the fact that it was over something so meaningless. It wasn’t like she died right after he told he hated her. Or after he told her that she looked older, fatter. Or after having spent weeks and months in bored, sexless silence. The truth was, he still loved her and had given her nothing but relentless grief over a piece of junk. Over $250 dollars. Over a 19-inch television, whose cold, clinical glow now seeped out from underneath his daughter’s bedroom door on a nightly basis.
He had half a mind to go knock on Hannah’s door and tell her to switch it off, tell her that he didn’t ban her from staying up all night watching television in the family room for nothing.
But instead, he stood at the end of the hallway and watched as the light from her room flickered in and out, then carried himself off to his own bedroom.
“She doesn’t need a TV,” Diane said as they were getting ready for bed, about a month or some change before Christmas. “She spends enough time in front of the one in the family room as it is.”
“Hannah’s a smart girl,” he said, pulling up the sheets to his chin. “She keeps her grades up. I don’t see a problem.” He dropped his voice. “She’s a lot less trouble than her brother, and he has one in his bedroom.”
“That was our mistake, getting him one in the first place,” Diane said, her mouth puckering as she slid deep underneath the covers. “And at least it keeps him occupied.”
“But what do you think Hannah learns from that,” he persisted. “That Jonah acts the way he acts, behaves the way he does at school, and still gets what he wants? It’s jut a TV.”
Diane didn’t answer — for her, Jonah’s behavior was a point of contention between the two of them. Jonah had problems that needed time and attention or more challenging classes or a new school or– anything but the stubborn indifference Bill constantly threw at the idea that Jonah wasn’t going to be as stoic and strong as his father dreamed. Jonah simply wasn’t right in Bill’s eyes, even if he never said it so bluntly.
She flicked on the lamp atop the bedside table and reached for her journal from the little drawer.
“Are you just going to stop fighting me when I’ve actually made a point?” he huffed, rolling over on his side and staring at the wall.
“I’m writing,” she said. “I’m trying to think.” He felt compelled to tell her that she was failing miserably at the second task, but had the sense to keep his mouth shut.
“Do you know what Hannah told me?” he said, after a beat. “She said she wanted a TV because she wants to watch movies whenever she wants.”
“Mm,” murmured Diane. The lamp cast her long shadow against the wall, and Bill watched her hands skimming over the paper with dull fascination. And he felt a bit sick and a bit in love again.
“She wants to watch them on her own free time because she wants to be a director,” he continued, in earnest admiration. “She said she learned that a person only gets good at something by studying it carefully, and how would she ever know what a good movie was if she wasn’t allowed to watch them when she wanted to?”
“Bill,” Diane had said, her hands clenching tightly at her seatbelt. “She’s 11. She watches the same damn Disney movies over and over. If you want her to learn about film, get her a camcorder.”
“Well, we can’t afford that,” he said flatly, “but a little telev-”
“–Get her a damned book about movies. Whatever. She doesn’t need her own TV.”
“She’s just a smart girl who has… genuine interests,” he grumbled. “We have a real dreamer on our hands. Someone who wants to make meaning.”
“And that’s why she doesn’t need to spend her life in front of a television,” said Diane pointedly, scratching her pen across the sheet of paper.
He was going to tell her at some point that he has already bought one anyway — a little RCA set with a built-in VCR that rewound tape cassettes automatically — that he had already hidden somewhere deep in the garage that Hannah would never think to look, owing to her endearing terror of spiders.
But that time never came, anyway.
Don’t be sad, this GIF exists: