Friday, July 11, 2008


Forced myself to get out of the apartment today after a morning spent reading and playing on the computer. I might not be reading anymore, but I'm still managing to hole myself up with the interwebs more than I should. I had plans to go to a lecture at the Frye Art Museum this morning, but scrapped them when I realized that I would have to battle other people to pay $6 for a last-minute seat if any were available. I'm nothing if not a strong practitioner of avoidance.

Instead, in a bid to make myself feel better about doing something productive, I worked on an assignment for my online class. This involved reading a short story in a collection of stories by Sherman Alexie that I had tracked down online at the Montlake Library yesterday and picked up on my way to work. Having not been in a fiction-reading mode for the last couple of years I find myself easily affected by what I read. This isn't a new phenomenon, but with really good, well-written fiction, I feel like I'm not just reading it, I'm absorbing the experience. Maybe this is a common feeling? If so, people don't seem to talk about it. I'll walk around in a daze for a couple days while I process the events of what I've just read. It takes some time before I can return to my own mind, body, and life.

So the short story I read was great. And then after writing my brief response and deciding that I needed to not be a hermit, I walked down to Top Pot and got a mocha and apple fritter (snacks!). I read a few more stories, this time starting at the beginning of the book until I came to the story I had read already (which was the third one, and on a suggested list provided by the teacher). I re-read it again. Still great. Observed how everyone in the place was busy isolating behind books or computer screens. I suppose there were a few people who were with other folks. Wondered if there was really any point to leaving my apartment when all I would end up doing was being isolated somewhere else. Wondered why all of my thoughts were sounding like some angsty teenage diary. Decided to go back home.

On the way back I wandered by the Vertigo condominiums a block away from my apartment. I find the compulsion to 'name' everything so ridiculous. Every single apartment, condominium, housing development, and such has to be given some terrible moniker by its developers nowadays. My own building is just called '400 Harvard' which at least relates to the address. Other places I've lived range from the romanitcally idealistic (Falcon Ridge), to contrived (The Sydney), to shabbily pretentious (Manchester Arms).

Vertigo as a name for a home, seems to be a terrible choice. Why would I want to live in a place that is named after a false sense of movement? Or maybe, in my angsty teenage way, it the exact perfect name for where I should be living. I think back to a couple hours ago when I was reading a Top Pot and decided I wanted to leave. Somehow, I felt glued to the table and chair I was sitting at. And when I finally rose to go, my movements seemed jerky and disoriented to me, as if I were having my own private vertigo.

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