“Just seeing the name Myst makes my head fall off and roll down the hill into the creek. I hated that game so much! What a horrible impossible game that I wanted so bad to be good at and enjoy but was so bad at and did not enjoy even a little bit. Here’s an IMDB Memorable Quote of me playing that game: ‘I’ve been doing this for three hours and I’m right back at the Rune Sun Dial! My Life Is Bunicula!’”—Gabe from Videogum is my boyfriend. Myst! Ugh!
In my memory of my childhood town, the sun is always overhead, and so my memory of Agoura is that it was always hot. This isn’t true, of course; although Southern California is remarkable for its warmth, we also have the wet season which is cold and chilly. I hesitate to call it winter, because it’s not, not really. It’s just the wet season, which rotates with the dry season. That’s it—two seasons, wet and dry. I used to watch movies as a kid and see the falling leaves and the brilliant bloom of spring and the summer rain showers and the winter blizzards and think, “This is how it’s supposed to be. Four seasons. Vivaldi and all that.”
There was this patch of ice that formed outside of our house on the sidewalk one winter. It was no bigger than a dinner plate, but I treated it like my own ice rink. I slipped and slided using my tennis shoes as skates, until the sun began to melt it, slowly, like butter seeping into a slice of toast. I bragged to my friends later and they didn’t believe me. “Ice?” they said, their eyes wide and unbelieving. “I know it’s cold. But, ice?” “Ice,” I said, nodding, a touch smug. And then I went home and wrapped myself in a blanket and pretended like I was someplace in New England.
I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m glad it’s fall again and that I can experience it. I think if my childhood self knew, she’d be very pleased.
The air is thick as soup and I drink it in, slurping it through my nostrils and mouth, feeling it fill me up. There is a man on the sidewalk passed out, his large, white Moby Dick belly filling up the empty, dirty space of the cement, and I walk on, past him. My friend notices him and says, “Oh gosh, oh no, there are so many lately,” and I ask what she means and she says, “Oh, the other day, Monday? Was it? Tuesday? There were so many of them, so many of them down Avenue A, just passed out like that, lying down, ambulances everywhere.” The scene fills my head and I envision them, passed out, lying like soldiers of war on the battlefield. I have nothing to say to this and so say nothing, only nod, my head full of homeless men with protruding guts. I come home and it is empty and I turn on the television but it’s still empty and I turn on the computer but it’s still empty. I tell myself I am going to do something good and worthwhile, but I don’t. I’m empty. Everything I have been doing lately has been devoid of meaning, it feels like. Banter and chit chat without substance or forward movement. I am frustrated and annoyed and sad. I feel for the men on the sidewalk but I want to tell them to get up, do something, stop feeling sorry for yourself. It can be better than this, if you try to make it. Easier said than done.