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8:20 p.m. - August 14, 2004
Nectarines taste best after two days
Was so hungry I drove to the university and sure enough, my spot was open. End of fast. I was pleased by my self-control, how effortless it seemed when I wasn't thinking a slice of toast - no butter, ever - couldn't count against me. I should dredge up this control I once had over food and thereby solve my fat-self dilemma, resurrect the bargains and negotiations like If someone says trite by 11 you can eat lunch or If I make it two, three days, then I can have some pizza. It was a game I played with myself to develop self-control and self-denial, inspired by The Rule of St. Benedict I read in 8th grade. Denial of self strengthens the tendons and the mind, or something like that, as well as the ubiquitous hunger sharpening the spirit. In my application it was mind over matter and I always win.

Life was easier when I had control. Disconcerting to see where my mind drifts. Brad's concern was legitimate and I fought his insights not because I'm in denial but because it hurt to see these myriad issues stacked up like illustrations of the earth's crust in vibrant reds, oranges, and browns. A direct hit on these coping mechanisms would strike the I-am-an-island like S & G heralded and I'd open up to people, relish the slings and arrows alongside that peace and reassurance I imagine comes with sincere interaction between people. Place, in other words, for friends, a permanent lodging instead of a dock in the middle of the lake.

Last night I dreamed my father came into my backyard and systematically removed every plant and bush, leaving piles of brown dirt. He operated slyly, and I repeatedly turned around thinking I was sure there had been a plant where my eyes fell on bare ground. Shortly before I woke my dream self was standing in the middle of a brown desert wondering whether the daffodils would bloom, or had he dug into the ground to remove the bulbs as well.

Tonight I am reading papers and watching TV. It's a nice evening, for what it's worth.


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