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Two of my best-illuminated memories of locations are, actually, diners. Maybe it's because they were so well-lit. Perhaps also because I had such good vision when I was 7 years old. Or because I went so many times. When you're a child, being in a diner is like visiting another planet. Well, when you're a child, pretty much every time you get into the smoky backseat of your parents' car, you're embarking on an interstellar journey. The Northway Diner, in New Rochelle, NY was my favorite diner, but I didn't go there too much. It was the one near my mom's apartment, and we didn't go out to eat often. But we would always sit by the window and rarely ever went down the aisle with the bar. I liked to play Whitney Houston songs and that song, "Rush, Rush," on the table jukebox. There was a trivia arcade game in the lobby that I liked to play. I was pretty good at it, even though I didn't know the answers. I was just lucky. They had mint toothpicks. I remember one time that I went there by myself and ordered a strawberry milkshake. I was surprised at how quickly it disappeared in that tapered glass. How I got there and got the money is a mystery...

I thought it was fun to stand kind of where I wasn't supposed to stand and take up a lot of space, while absently meandering or twirling against a wall... and the men and ladies would look at me the perplexed way that men and ladies sometimes look at children that are doing something out-of-place. "What is she doing? Where is her mother?"

But the diner that stands out most is the Eastway Diner, in Yonkers, otherwise known to us kids as, "Mack and Freddy's." Mack and Fredericka... I don't know whether they owned the place or were just waiters. I think they were married. They were our favorite strangers, and we were their favorite kids. It's funny... I probably haven't seen either of their faces in 15 years, and I'm sure I could draw them, right now, if I wanted to. Sometimes, I want to go back, incognito, and see if they're still milling around in there. I'm afraid they'd ask about my sister. If they did, I would have to lie to them, so as not to be a harbinger of disappointment. So I will just go and watch, someday, through a window, or behind really large sunglasses.

It smelled in there like any nice New York diner. Like air-conditioned sweet cream, coffee, and wine. and cigarettes. I can see myself walking in the door, up the ramp from the parking lot. The walls in the foyer are tan cobblestone, for lack of a better description. Part of the wall is mirror-paneled, and the mirror converges at the corner so that my movements appear inverted. My father plays The Claw game and wins a stuffed animal, every time. If nothing else, he is a master of physics. It's so easy for him. What does he perceive that I don't? Looking back, 3 feet between our eye levels may have had something to do with it... but I think I've failed at every Claw attempt I've ever made. I remember walking on the long booth by the coat rack, with my 3-year-old sister. The first fake tree I really paid attention to -- had that curly, fake twine, in the place of soil. The desserts were in front, behind cold glass. I see chocolate mousse and strawberry shavings. Humongous cookies on the left-hand side. Then came the counter with the after-dinner mints, then came the hypnotic tank of rubber-banded lobsters. My sister always ordered chicken noodle soup. I almost always had roast beef, which I learned to cut properly, there. We always sat in the same booth, unless it was taken, and the booths were separated by thick glass windows with a smoked design of a sailboat.

And I remember the bathroom. It was very modern, with brushed metal stall doors and tan/black granite counter-tops. I would use the first stall, which had an imperfection on the wall that reminded me of something... I think a flower or a woman's head. And I remember, especially, because I was alone -- if I would open the door at the same time that a lady would be coming in, she'd apologetically smile and step to the side -- she'd laugh and look me in the eyes. As if we were peers, for a moment. Peers in awkward excuse-me's.

It makes me wonder whether that's how I make children feel, now, when I'm alone with them, for brief moments. Like adults? I don't really feel comfortable, face-to-face with cognizant children. What do I say? Do I try to act like a child or like an adult? Some mixture? I wish I could just ignore them. I kind of felt the same way when I was 7, though.

So many memories are bright, hard, cool, contradictions to the impermanence of the universe. Every strawberry, napkin, leaf, atom on every person's body in a memory that old has become part of the dirt. But it really doesn't seem to matter up here *taps*
If only I could use this to capture something emotionally meaningful, forever.
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There are certain kinds of zen moments... like sex... or closing my eyes in deep conversation, mechanically performing a job, or during eating... a quick flash of movement... or just certain stimuli, like a few notes of music, a few words... or imperceptible changes... I don't even know what they are. But environments from my childhood slip into my screen, like a slow slideshow, spaced out over days and months. With no warning, I'll be on the threshold of the living room after my 6th birthday party. In the middle room by the bookshelf, in Korreena's house, staring at the slate mosaic floor pattern. In Dr. Plucheck's house, after his daughter gave me a bracelet made of glazed shavings of mussel shells, when I was 5. My first pair of dress-up high heels, gold, given to me on the way out the door. Staring at Oreo's on top of the fridge when I was 3 or 4. The cat ran between the rooms. The cat is faster than I am. My father's old apartment, when I was 5; picture of a rose on the wall, nintendo games, smells like smoke, old yellow couch, Linda's jewelry. The alley between the houses on Treno Street. Walking up toward the cemetery on Memorial Day, 1999. Standing on a cement wall in the playground on the left side of the school in 4th grade. The hall, in high school. On the train alone, at 16. On a roof in Brooklyn. But mostly the places in between, in transit, in a shadow, or less travelled-by. Not momentous occasions. Just noted moments in the random harmony of life. Photographs from my inner album. But why would my brain do this? Why does is want to? What is it doing?
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but, anyway, let me reiterate that the new computer is fuckin rad; so fast that the page loads before the mouse clicks back.  That I finished applying for financial aid for next fall, and it feels great to have that broken wisdom tooth out.  my boyfriend is also the bomb.
so are my friends, like Audrey, who was very loving and supportive to me, yesterday.
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The biggest thing about Virginia Beach -- no privacy.  anymore.  When I was younger, there were a couple of woodsy growths or secluded lots I could visit, if I wanted to cleanse my mind, but they've all been turned into something else.  There's nowhere, at all, that you can go, where you can be sure no one can see you.  With no sanctuary, I feel myself turning into another generic pedestrian searching for a destination, with some alibi for where I should be going.  Then I forget my original desire.  I start dressing as if I'm being watched.  don't have anything to wear if I want to sit on the ground.  Don't have anywhere to go, except to see a friend.  You know, I don't have anywhere to go, to Be.  Has City Council ever given this a thought?  Or the men at work, carrying out their will?  the people buying the condos?  I'm sure they haven't, but they're all suffering.  I mean, goddamn, a body needs a big rock, at the very least, to hide behind.  '
I like going out, alone, and sitting down, and thinking that this is My Spot.  No one knows I'm here, except for The Spot, itself.  No one has ever paid attention to this place, no one knows it exists, you hear me?!  Muahaha, I think, they are all fools for not discovering it first.  This is my special place.  Where I can talk to the environment, the only real authority, and it can feel me.  Do you ever get the feeling it knows you're present?
And then I think, This is what they want.  To wash my mind out, to get rid of the annoying unpredictability, to cut spy labor costs, to mock me with their jets.  Their big, proud machines, projects, landscaping, change, and the complacency of the population, who, in turn, highway hypnotize with their family cars.  and their husbands.  and their husband's jobs.  and their drone-like expressions.  And to that, I say --
I decide what to do about it, later.
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The event in the last entry spurred a funny story from my mom.  When I was about Jack's age, I drew a picture and handed it to my mom's boyfriend, Bobby.  It was a simple drawing; an oval, some eyes, some lines for the hair.  He asked, Brittany, what's this? 
And little Brittany cooly replied, "It's yoah muddah."

(may I remind you I was raised in New York)

So he took another look at it and was amazed to find... it looked exactly like his mother!  At that point, he burst into hysterics and would ask me, every 20 minutes or so, who the picture was of,

so that I would tell him... "It's yoah muddah."

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Last night, I was babysitting for Angela, and Jack was playing with the kids. He gets this mini-magnadoodle thing and sketches a few lines and says, "Look, Mommy, it's a fish!" I'm like, yeahhh, I guess I can kind of see it. So he takes it back and sketches a bit more on it, and hands it to me. "See? It's a fish!"

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Today is mine and mike's technical anniversary, although we're having our celebratory one on Sunday.  Maybe we'll pop open a bottle of.... soda and toast to our triumph.  We're measuring said annivesary counting from our first date (it would be too difficult to measure from anywhere else).  It was a good first date.  I haven't had many dates, if any, other than that, but if I had, I still imagine it would be up there with the best.  I think he had me when he made me an origami t-shirt with a dollar bill.  I spent that dollar bill, but I avoided it for like a week. I liked how... tiny and fine his thought processes seemed to be.  Soft, simplified, logical, playful, confident, concrete, secure.  Sometimes, when he talks, somewhere in my subconscious, I can see him softly, adeptly handling tiny, tiny objects.  He'll probably think I'm really weird when or if he reads this.  He'll want me to explain myself, and I won't do an adequate job of justifying these interpretations, and he will laugh and give me this sidelong glance like I'm batshit loopy, then comfort me and pat me on the back and suggest we get up and go play video games, or something.  And then I'll laugh, because he's so... practical.  But I don't say so, because he doesn't seem to like it when I find his personality funny.   But I like it a lot.

anyway, yeah, it's our anniversary.  listen to me being all flowery and stuff. 
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 it turns out that, after I spent all this money and energy and exhausted my friends' kindnesses to move to Virginia Beach, to spend more time with Jack... Marko and Melodie are moving to Norfolk.  Ghent, in fact.  in one month.  yeah..... well, I'm not going to get mad, because, ultimately, it works out better for me.  I planned to go back to school in August, and this wipes away my worries about not seeing Jack enough and having to work out a painful school schedule.  They found a 3 bedroom apartment that's old, like mine was, but someone actually took care of it, and there's no lead paint.  I'll be staying here at least until May, but the rent would come out to be 375 a person, if I moved in upstairs from them, with two others.  Not that that's extremely likely to happen, but boy, would it be awesome.  The apartment is huge, too.  
I totally feel they should reimburse me for the U-Haul, though.

I got my Perkins loan out of default and deferred it, today.  wooo.
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I've mostly only posted pictures, for the last few months, and I hate it when people do that.  Lauren and I were talking, yesterday, about the necessity of writing something, anything, every once in awhile, just to leave a mark.  no matter how simple.  I used to expound on every little detail of every little moment... but that comes in the package of a life filled with angst.  Who is Brittany without angst?  Well, I'm sure it's not entirely possible, but I've learned how to make my experiences much less selfish.  From one perspective, it may seem shallow, but from another, it's healthy and aware.  It's necessary.  I guess I decided to self-administer what everybody else is taking.  And I know, someday I'll be back to my normal... but when I have fewer responsibilities.  Maybe in a decade or decade-and-a-half.  So let me write about what things are going on, for me.

I've got this job as a receptionist at a tax office, in Virginia Beach.  My boss calls me a secretary, but I find the term a little too sexy.  I'm learning a lot about the law, history, taxes, obviously, wills, loans, the economy, and other such things.  My boss (Kerry) is an extremely knowledgeable guy who runs a few businesses (he's a tax preparer, reverend, notary, astrologist, and a doctor of something or other).  He's also quite a windbag and leans to the right in the Libertarian realm, and I certainly don't agree with everything he says.  He has a book by Ann Coulter on the shelf.  Haven't brought it up.  And he tends to be critical and patronize me, from time to time.  But I just smile and nod and say, "okay," and, every day, he is more warm and friendly and seems to appreciate me, more.  Sometimes, he gets extremely angry about clients missing their appointments and not calling, and he throws papers and stomps his feet and whines like a big toddler.  I spent yesterday filling out basic information on corporate tax returns in this big conference room on a marble table, by myself.  And I do say... I like it.

The original plan was for me to move in with a friend of my mom's, but said friend is evidently very bi-polar, and she also wasn't able to get all her furniture out of the room I was going to rent, in time, so now I'm staying at my mom's house.  She has this crazy roommate, Christine... oh, Christine, I could go on and on and on... everybody in the apartment wanted her to leave, so my not-being-able-to move in with Judith (mom's friend) was a blessing in disguise.  A family member moving in is one of the only legal reasons to spontaneously give a tenant 30 days notice.  I'll have to write about Christine's crazy antics, next time.

My goal, this half of the year, is to learn how to drive, pay my debt to the college, and enroll for next fall.  My life will be flipped in the other direction, once again, but I'll be finishing school, which I have to do.  I wasn't able to, before, but I think I'm ready, now.  I mean, I definitely had it in me, from the beginning.  It was just having a child that so complicated everything.  And I felt so overwhelmed, at a certain point, and my mind's young pleasure centers just couldn't be soothed, and I couldn't be happy and still have enough time to do homework.  I couldn't go to bed on time.  I couldn't handle all the scheduling, the jobs, the assignments, the money...  but I feel that I'm different, and I'm going to just jump in, again.  I'll, at least, get my bachelor's, right now, and I hear that there actually are some good job opportunities for people with only that.

On another topic, I just got over laryngitis (first-timer).  At first, it was kind of neat being all disabled and having to whisper.  But by the second day, I was over it.  Mike and I went out to Williamsburg to look at a time-share, so we could collect a prize of up to 3 free vacations, and the merciless sales associate engaged me in constant conversation, despite the fact that I could only whisper... which, by the way, is supposed to be worse for your vocal chords than talking.  By the end of the night, I was actually jealous of other human beings for being able to speak.  It's just another one of those things that you take for granted until you're overcome with some kind of yucky disease or gash, or whatever.  I'm glad to have it back, but I still can't rock out on the Rock Band microphone.  It'll probably take another week or so before it's all conditioned and stuff in there.

okay, I have stuff to do. 
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