did you have to be there?

i found more old journals & am reading them. personally, i think they are fucking hilarious. please enjoy these excerpts:

january 24th–today cory called the crush “a big nerd”. she said he talks exactly in the same manner as all the guys her sister jessie has ever dated. this stunned me a little bit due to the fact that a) i don’t see the crush’s nerdy attributes at all, & b) jessie is seriously nerdy, to the point that i can barely stand to be in the same room as her.

january 27th–there was a big scary bug in my room, but nick disposed of it. he was shrieking & he kept talking to the bug. “what ARE you?” he exclaimed, “are you a grasshopper? you’re not a grasshopper! what the fuck are you? oh god!”

january 28th–nick is lighting a performance art show this weekend & he told jess & i we could go for only $5 if we let him know in advance. it involves middle-aged naked people & one of the characters is tied to a wheel & rolled around the stage. um. i don’t think jess knows this & she is planning to go. i feel like i should warn her but nick asked me not to.

january 29th–he spelled “weird” wrong. & i actually thought to myself, you spelled weird wrong, i could make you my boyfriend without even trying.

february 3rd–best of all for real was when the french kid that tom went to boarding school with called for nick. he said, “uh, hello, yes, i’m sorry to be calling so late, but this is antoine, is nick there, please?” until he said his name, i seriously thought it was a prank call. his accent is so french & so overpowering, it sounded fake. it was fantastic.

february 8th–i tried to set up a fortune-writing session, but it quickly turned sour. i told everyone to plumb their own personal torments for hilarity (that’s how i came up with “your next partner will leave you because you’re not jewish” & other gems), but i guess none of them were as adept at turning their suffering into amusing anecdotes as i am. everyone just started moping & then they went outside to smoke, & then i felt shitty.

february 9th–noreen was obsessively taking i.q. tests online (she scored 89 on one! so sad!). she got pretty upset & suggested we hook up an antennae to the tv & watch the grammys. we tuned into justin timberlake performing “senorita” while sitting down at a piano. “fuck this! you can’t see his ass!” noreen grumbled.

february 10th–scott handed me a tissue, which i accepted, but then i got upset that a bank manager keeps a stash of tissues sneakily hidden behind his computer monitor. “you have to have tissues here because you know you ruin people’s lives!” i exclaimed.

february 11th–(conversation upon receipt of the long-distance bill)
nicky: so that $35 call to canada was me! it was so easy to call international & talk for a long time because i didn’t have to dial in an international code or anything! how am i ever gonna pay for that?

february 13th–here is a dream i had two nights ago: i am a college student in the 50’s. i live in a small bungalow with a few other female college students. it is “date night,” which means boys can come to our door & ask us out on dates (we’re not allowed to ask them). two boys come to the door. “hi, are you here to ask us out on dates?” we ask. “no, we’re here to tell you, we’re really sorry, but we’re gay & in love with each other.” “oh great, my boyfriend is gay!” i exclaim. i decide i need to go for a ride & clear my head, so i take their car keys & go driving in their car. somehow, i end up in hollywood with my whole family, including my dad, in the car. i stop behind a wax museum of famous people. “let’s go in the back way & avoid the crowds,” i say, & so we enter through a sketchy wooden back door & go down a narrow dark flight of steps into a series of cavernous rooms that comprise a maze, absolutely brimming with cats. not just domestic cats either, but also lions & panthers & such forth. “we have to be careful that the cats don’t notice us,” i explain, “because they survive by attacking & eating the people that get lost in the maze.” i take it upon myself to lead the way through the maze, even though i don’t know what i’m doing. we have to crawl through windows & stovepipes & stuff. i lead them all into a room & become overwhelmed by how hopelessly lost i am, & pause to gather my thoughts. the cats notice us & begin encircling us, waiting to pounce & feed. “retreat!” i exclaim, & we all hustle out the way we came. i lead them through another room & down a hallway. at the end of the hallway, there is a sign that says, “all schoolchildren left behind will be eaten by the cats.” “we’re almost to the exit,” i explain, “because this is the last sign they have before the exit when kids come here on field trips.” sure enough, an exit sign gleams ahead & we stumble out on to the street in downtown hollywood. my family wants to explore because they’ve never been to california before, but i see a zine store across the street & force them all to go to it with me. “we don’t want to do that, that’s boring,” they protest, but “i have the keys! you’ll come with me if you want a ride home!” i tell them, & they acquiesce. inside there are lots of zines & small press books for sale, people drinking coffee & doing readings. i am rifling through the zines when a fey blond man in an expensive italian suit approaches me. “those are my car keys,” he says, “give them back.” “they’re mine now,” i tell him, but he starts to grapple with me. i reach down & rip his shin bone out of his leg & hold it aloft like a drumstick at thanksgiving dinner. “good luck chasing us when you don’t have a shin bone!” i yell gleefully, “everyone to the car!” my family piles back into the car & i drive us to the nearest monorail station. “to the monorail,” i yell, still clutching the shin bone (which has muscle & tendon clinging to it). i rush to the front of the monorail as it drives up over the canyons into the dusk. we are on the way to my home on the edge of a cliff, where my family will be staying for the night. as i gaze over the view i think, “my boyfriend might be gay, but i have a great house & now i have that guy’s shin bone too!”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN????? (nicky said it was “the most fucked up dream” he had ever heard.)

february 15th–there was a couple making out in the corner of the living room & while i was dancing, i shouted, “i see a couple that should be making out the closet of doom & not my living room!” & they slunk away in embarrassment.

february 16th–this is how my mom described me today:
“how would i desribe you? well, about 5’5″, blue eyes, a laugh like a babbling brook, nicer rack than your sister, great ass.” (“i think that’s kind of an inappropriate thing for a mother to say,” i protest, but to no avail.) “you know, you kind of look like lisa-marie presley, i think she’s so pretty. you also look like kurt cobain when you wear those ugly glasses, what’s with the dark frames? it’s like some kind of “revenge of the nerds” thing. oh ciara. & what’s with always wearing all the pink? what’s wrong with black? good guys wear black, your father wore black every day of his life. you never liked the motorcycles either, i think you might be a changeling. but you came out the chute drinking & cussing & smoking a cigar & not much has changed in that respect, so i guess you’re really mine. moody as hell & always with that bad temper, i feel sorry for the next sad bastard that marries you. give me some notice so i can warn him. let’s see, you are very smart, very creative, with the writing & all. you were always very driven, always wanting to know everything right now, reading all the time. you can be funny as hell when you want to be, but what a crybaby! always with the waterworks. & always with the ‘it’s not fair.’ well, you know what, kid? life ain’t fair. get over it. i think it’s great that you’re always trying to save the world, but there’s also something to be said for listening to some good rocking punk music & rolling one. but try telling you that, you always have to be so contrary. i say red, you say blue. oh, but you have nice teeth, very straight, & a very cute small nose. it’s just a shame you’re not taller & you have those fucked up hands. what’s the matter with you?”

february 22nd–karl answered. “hey ciara, i just ate some mushrooms,” he said. it took me a minute to realize he was referring to hallucinogenic mushrooms, i’m such a square.

february 27th–at one point last night at the surprise party, amanda turned to me & said, “you know what i really want right now?” & i said, “to actually not be in the seventh circle of hell? because that’s where i am.”

at one point, one of corinna’s friends saw me staring at the ceiling. “what are you doing?” she asked me. “oh, i’m just looking for an exposed beam over which i can loop my scarf & hang myself. WHY DOESN’T DEATH TAKE ME AWAY FROM THIS HORRIBLE PARTY?”

february 28th–we are about to engage in the finest movie marathon this town has ever seen. not just “the legend of billie jean,” but also “RECKLESS KELLY” starring yahoo serious! he steals from the rich & gives to the poor! he is australia’s most enduring folk hero! i called like a thousand different video stores & none of them had it & finally i called palmer video & asked, “do you have reckless kelly?” & the guy said, “uh, yeah, we do,” & i said. “OH YAY!!!!” & he said, “okay then.” then he said, “actually, let me make sure it’s on the shelf. it hasn’t been active since 1997.” NO ONE HAS RENTED IT IN SEVEN YEARS. DON’T PEOPLE LIKE GOOD CINEMA??? i weep for the children. so they held it for me & i rode my bike down & picked it up & the guy said, “what, other video stores don’t have a wide yahoo serious video collection?” & i said, “i know! go figure!” & he rolled his eyes & walked away. HE DOESN’T KNOW. HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW AMAZING IT IS.

march 1st–noreen says she thinks the “compass of love” might be pointing in a positive direction for me.

okay, back to the present day. there’s so much more good stuff in there, but i don’t know if it’s actually funny or if you had to be there. the bit about the awful performance art & “nick asked me not to” made me laugh so hard. i wish my life now was this funny. the funniest thing that happened today was when jared, ramona, & i walked by a coffeeshop & overheard some girl saying, “…so, we’re working on it. basically, i think all of the problems in our relationship can be traced back to the fact that he’s a fucking asshole.” which was admittedly pretty funny.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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