my final lie, in multiple parts (read-as: document one with an excess of semicolons and parantheses)
part one: alan greenspan is immortal
we, and by that i mean, my immediate family, went to washington deecee during july fourth, 2000. i was twelve years old, plus a month and a day.
it wasn't because we are overbearingly patriotic (i am too cynically spoiled to love much of anything, much less notions so assuredly vaporous as nation and flag), but because we are the sort that spend our vacations running around learning about Important Events that occured before I'm able to remember. washington deecee just happened to be on my parent's list of places where Important Events occured, the july fourth weekend was free, and the fireworks were supposed to be pretty. however, it always rains during these vacations of history and academia.
in anycase, it was in my nation's capital that i first heard the name alan greenspan. we (oh, the we is always the same) passed a nondescript office building on our walk to the metro station, and i was told that this is where he worked. i neglected to ask exactly what mr. greenspan did at this work, but i figured then and now that it had something to do with money.
i don't pretend to be knowledgeble about american or world politics. i cannot name canada's president (or is it PM?) i do not know NAFTA from NATO. i'm not sure, exactly, how the electoral collage works. my understanding of current events is gleaned from the onion, saturday night live, and the five minutes of cnn i catch while eating breakfast. so alan greenspan is, to me, another one of those vaporous notions.
i've always been fascinated with the headlines concerning him. "greenspan concerned about economy". i picture a nice guru, old but not dying, sitting in a bubblegum hill somewhere acting concerned but very friendly. he's a breathing public service announcement, without the scary pictures of fried eggs in a skillet ('this is your brain on drugs, ad nauseum'). the kind of unsweating superhero that can save the world by the next fiscal quarter.
part two: anatomy of a falsity
the color will slowly creep into the tips of his cheeks; i have forgotten its exact name (he, in his innate metrosexuality, once asked me to list ten shades of pink). sometimes he won’t notice the heat until someone points it out, and from there on it will only intensify. it has also been said that you can count the number of times he blinks while speaking; eyes, after all, are the windows to the soul that should at times be shaded. “oh god,” he’ll think (i know this because he has told me so), and nothing more—no verb, plea, or narrative. just the affirmation and exclamation—“oh god” before preparing his backstory. he’s worried that if he dares to think further his eyelids shall be forced to close again. His throat and neck tighten. he is prone to strike. he is ready to confuse.
and you will undoubtedly believe him.
part three: the other side of the midwest
the manmade lake with its manmade island was somehow beautiful and full of whimsy; however, the house that sat upon it faced the highway and we peeked through the windows for milliseconds on end as the road whizzed by; this, of course, was disgusting. the highway, and the fact that we were on it, pervaded the beauty and whimsy and happiness of the little house on the little island in the little lake; and for this, we resented it. fairy tales cannot exist in iowa.
we are the easy kind of lies; seven hours and speeding from home and truth. they are glad i’m not able to read their minds (‘you’re a girl!’); i am glad they’re not able to read my handwriting (‘y’all are boys!); otherwise, i’m sure, all parties would be sincerely disappointed. even when we crane our necks to the fullest, the manmade lake is out of sight.
part four: in which the pronoun 'she' does not refer to me
she's the sort (if there is a sort. perhaps she's one of a kind, but i'll give her companionship for now.) that gets through the days by remembering the things she does not know. it's the small things that make her illusions believable; the pregnant pauses in all of the right places and the perfectly-matched pitches allow us to know that she has seen, heard, done the things of which she speaks. it's in how she smiles confidently after every allusion to pop culture; firmly rooting herself to the present in a show of affirmation that no one takes much stock in. (the "be miz" shirt was the exception to this rule of (nose)-thumb(ing}, there we marveled at her ingenuity and her mastery of glitter glue.) perhaps she views it as a time-saver. by merely referencing quotes and riffs instead of experiencing them, she has more time to reference other quotes and riffs. i must admit that all of this make-believing is rubbing off on me: she does not know who hunter s thompson is and neither do i, but we both nod knowingly when asked on the subject, remarking, "oh i know, that was bad."
she’s the sort (and i suppose we make up the entirety of this sort, her and i) that i wish to write a novel about; crafting beautiful lies on top of the ones she already exists in.
part five: the documentation of peter pan and stories to tell in the morning
it was the weird kid walking down the street that brought us together. i recalled how i had seen him dancing in the frozen food aisle at meijers; he volunteered information about the kid's passion for skipping around the hallways. we both thought he looked a bit like peter pan, with an old varsity jacket replacing the green jumpsuit, and we laughed with fear.
my first kiss was short; squishy and mechanical. at first i almost turned my head, a knee-jerk reaction, until i remembered he had won all three games of chess (i let him stalemate the first two). it wasn't romantic, per se, (my breath undoubtably smelled of schlotzky's onions and my hair of coffee-shop smoke), and neither was the second and third and fourth times on his couch with finding nemo, but they are nice stories to tell in the morning nonetheless.
stories to tell in the morning are the best sorts of stories, in which the audience is eager to be awakened and you yawn off the facts and figures to wide eyes; receiving payment in laughs and freshly-removed-from-the-refrigerator-yogurt. it is these stories that i tell in the morning that rip me quietly each day from reality.
i suppose i have lived all my life wanting to believe i was above it. i have wanted to believe that i didn't need to grow up; that i already was.
part six: based on a true story
it came a few days ago and was left, for the most part, untouched on the granite kitchen table until i ran out of reading material. it interested me, to be sure, with its thick pages and mod drawings of malkmus and didion on the cover. it was academic humor squared, ("next issue: more motels, children, and tools!"), the kind that makes you feel intelligent when you snort with a solitary giggle.
the note jennifer had scrawled on scraps inside fell out into the bathtub, and i doubt i will ever find out what it said. something about grackles?
but, oh, inside: "...instead, according to its roots, memoir is an assaying of ideas, images, and feelings. It is, in its best sense, an impulsive exploration. It is not storytelling. It is not moralizing. It is not knowing, learning, nor even theorizing. Etymologically at the core of every memoir are anxiety and wonder and doubt.”
furthermore: “…one might venture to argue similarly that the reception of nonfiction literature is also often focused on the books' autobiographical facts—the illness, the incest, the poverty, the depression, the rape, the heartbreak, the screwing of the family dog—rather than on the strategies employed to dramatize those facts, rather than on the “how” of their tellings, instead of only their “who,” only their “what,” only their “where,” their “when,” their “why.” only their facts.”
a tuesday night spent in the bathtub with smelling salts and razor blades--it was then that i realized that i have already written my memoirs.
there was an article in time magazine that day titled, "forced retirement for alan meanspan?"
part zero: good-bye
i have never lied within this blog.
this is, subconsciously, precisely why i have stopped writing within it. with my living life full of subtle lies, it is so blatantly harsh to keep a written life devoid of them all.
perhaps we will meet again someday.
it's a wonderful life.
Fresh squeezed by melly at 10:32 PM