Blog Archive

February 2, 2020
The Language of God

I don’t talk to my mother now, and back then in 2012 in Buffalo I hadn’t spoken to her in about 7 years. I was on the phone with my ex-boyfriend’s Mom. They’d bought me a coat and sent it to Buffalo for Christmas. Her English was better than my German, and her English was pretty bad, but we talked on and on about what I don’t know for close to an hour. After years and years of distrusting the advice of people who spoke my language, she convinced me to maybe try again with my mother. I could picture her talking into the phone with the gap in between her teeth just like mine.

~

In New York City in Astoria Queens in 2015, I used to go to a laundromat right around the corner from my house. The worker in there was named ¡Yolanda! and when I put my laundry bag down, we would embrace like long-lost friends, her bosom comforting, she somehow felt like home. Her English was better than my Spanish, and her English was pretty bad and we knew each other for a couple days. On and on for an hour we would talk, and laugh about what I have no idea. Her gold tooth glinted. She was gone one day and there was a new worker Daisy. She felt wrong in a way that wasn’t bad. Her English was better than my Spanish, and my Spanish was bad, and we didn’t talk much. Instead, we sat next to each other one day and she wouldn’t take no for an answer as she shared her hamburger with me because that’s what her father had always taught her, and I want to cry.

The impossibility of what you can’t imagine. I believe in that. Deep down we know what it is because we are spirits, but I can’t explain it with language because I am human.

Until we meet (again),

The Unwitting Memoirist


February 1, 2020
Miracle Man: The Certainty of Miscalculation

blurred man blue book cover miracle man by ben schrank

I read this book over and over again and carried it around with me like a Bible in my early 20s. Miracle Man by Ben Schrank. It still causes a heartache when I think of it, and I dunno why since I haven’t read it since, well, my early 20s.

Miracle Man is a story about a white guy trying to escape his middle class background. He is a mover for a living with his Hispanic childhood friend. He falls in love with a poor Puerto Rican girl who longs for things. He is a modern-day Robin Hood who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, except he miscalculates because these poor don’t respect a thief.

You think about concepts like audience reaction, about the so many times when you were so sure but miscalculated with people. Your hopes as a miscalculation. Your dreams as a miscalculation. Your beliefs as a miscalculation. You’d tell your best friend that you saw her boyfriend cheating, and suddenly she is back with her boyfriend and you have no friend. Insanity. You think about all the miscalculations because you were so sure, so sure

About what?

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


January 19, 2020
Portrait of a Book Reviewer

I was on Goodreads some time ago when I came across a 2-star review that went on to read,

I enjoyed this book.

And 2 cars crashed together in my brain like cymbals, or like 2 neurons that come together and short-circuit because they don’t go together.

Now the picture beside the review was of a woman and she had a South Asian-sounding name, so we will call her Samantha Singh, because I used to work in an otherwise normal kindergarten class with a little girl named Samantha Singh. Samantha was a cute little girl with olive skin and a brown ring under her lips commonly referred to as “lip licker’s dermatitis” because her tongue was always licking in the direction of her chin. She had pretty shiny pigtails that always had the look of bedhead, and an unfocused glint in her eye, and you always had to say, Samantha!, like 5 times before she looked in your general direction.

I don’t remember much about Samantha, only that the teacher had to stop story time like 7 times to hiss, Samantha!, even though Samantha never really seemed to be doing anything. You would say her name crossly, and she would look at you out of focus, just to the slight right or left of just one of your eyes so that you always had to turn to see who she was looking at, and the teacher would go back to story time because I think she was afraid.

Anyway, Samantha really liked story time but she seemed like if you asked her anything about the story afterward, she would stop and look down and start counting on her fingers.

The End.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist


January 9, 2020
Language of Unopposites: Reading Between the Unlines

I saw a woman that I was familiar with one day last week and was surprised. Wow, I said, you lost weight! She looked good, but it doesn’t mean that she used to look bad.

Yeah, she said, her demeanor seeming to pick up on a cue that I wasn’t cueing. Because I was fat (before). But she didn’t seem mad, just matter-of-fact. But I didn’t really know her like that tbh.

It then became a little awkward, at least for me, because that’s how I am socially at times at all times, but that’s not what I meant. Or at least that’s not what I meant when I said it.

Oh no, no … I said, softly, weakly, trailing off in god knows what direction.

But as I stood there and thought about it, she did used to be fat, but I was only remembering that because she said it. It’s like I remembered that she looked different from how she looked now (without conjuring a fat image), and I was saying that was good, that’s all. Not that how she looked before was bad. Or fat. It’s like how people say the “n-word” and it makes you automatically think of “nigger”, trigger warning (sorry too late). So yeah, you might as well just say “nigger”. Or fat. Sorry.

So there was nothing else to do but let the conversation die off in silent agreement that she used to be fat. I mean, it would be rude to disagree with her, especially because it was the truth. But that’s not what I meant.

Sincerely,

The Unwitting Memoirist

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