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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Punch Happy People in The Face.

in 2008, i did this thing that has changed my life for the clearer.

The actual "event" doesn't matter as much as the sudden awareness of how often people want to punch me in the neck or kick me in the girl spot.

Could it be that this has always been the case and i was too unaware to notice?


Is my happiness now completely unappealing to most humans I come into contact with?

Admittedly, it is annoying and super not hipster.


smiling is my favorite.

so. i'ma keep doing it whenever i feels like it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Santa Cruz - How to Mourn

Chelsea Gable passed away September 3rd, 2012.
The date today is March 2015.  1:37 p.m. PST.
chelsea gable, monica riehl, remembering chelsea, chelsea, new york,

For the past two days i've felt heart broken to have lost her.  i don't understand why, after over 2 years, the feelings return as though the accident just took place.  Is this common?  Had I not mourned her "enough"?

i don't remember what that day's weather was like or if i was on my way somewhere or coming back from something. The memory is an echo.

Despite typically being on Facebook, I had not signed on to social media for 3 days.  It was Tuesday, and had sent a text to Chelsea the previous day - asking if she was back from NYC - could we get together (something along those lines).  We had loose plans after Labor day before i was scheduled to fly to Hawaii.

No reply.

Mid afternoon or mid morning, cell phone rings:

"Hi Betsy!"

"Hi what are you doing?"
"Nothing, about to get in the car.  What're you doing"
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, how come?"
"Have you been on Facebook at all?"
"Nooo, not for a few days.  I've just been lazy."
"So you don't know?"
"Know what?"
"Is there someone there with you"
"Yeah, Essbie is right here.  What's going on?"

i don't know what Betsy said to me.
There is a dissociation.
 I watch someone else go through it.  It is just like directors show it in movies.

Silence. Active bodies moving in triple slow-mo, close ups of faces with down turned eyebrows, spit out of mouths turns into a Chinese diving team's tapes being played backwards.
A lot of the color white thrown in between scenes.

In this memory, my mouth agape, not shaped in an "O" but like a baseball mitt, the bottom tray of teeth, gums, and/ or lips stretching out to catch something - to prevent it from hitting the floor.

The upper body - presumably my own - is folding, deflating, becoming the letter 'C'.

Except the arm is holding something (or maybe it lets go of that, to).

 The words she chose don't matter.  The variety of letter-sounds are pennies dropping out of ski lift rider's pockets, undetected, plink, sinking beneath the snow.  The same way seagulls disappear into horizons.  Beak outline and Wing span oneifying into a dot.

You know what that's like.  All of the hemming haws, the how should i put this, i don't wanna be the one to tell you's, the i really wish what i'm bout to tell you wasn't true's, your in our thoughts and prayers', and on and on.  All the sentences instead of what is actually being conveyed: There is nothing any human can do, nothing I can say to help you right now.

My life's "No Vacancy" sign lit up.  Everything sound related is trickling up to skin's surface-using it as a guide, racing through vessels and capillaries to infiltrate, suffocate my brain.
The rush of Spaniards & Foreigners, all together, in the San Fermin Festival -my veins magnificent streets hosting the chaotic rise of noise reverberating the overwhelming number of feet to pavement.
  We have to get away from the bulls.

That day's memory has fog in it, too.  Smoke, even.

i google'd Chelsea yesterday and the day prior to that, finding blogs she had written and a few posts remembering who she was.  The internet is such a tricky thing.  Could it be used to prolong denial?  Have i failed to mourn my friend appropriately because we had a long distance friendship?  Spoke about six times a year.  Saw one another every couple of years or so.

We spent nearly 3 entangled years of being in-love after meeting at Emerson College.
  Guilt resides in this part of my history.
i was an unleashed, selfish, human being - emotionally unstable.  She absorbed a lot of this during the time we dated.


Chelsea was compassionate, supportive, present.  She wanted to "fix" or "heal" the wounds from childhood, or whatever other bullshit my psyche was carrying.
Chelsea's sense of timing with goofy ideas, gesture outbursts,  and well placed one-liners are still my favorite.
There is a memory of returning to Boston, from having lived in Los Angeles for a few months.  She surprised me -after having dined in Cambridge, at Central Kitchen- with a choreographed dance to the song "I like to move it, move it".
All 6 feet of Chelsea leapt into the air- including her unforgivably beautiful hair: an incandescent, opaque, bundle of curly locks bound together by the forces of gravity - in unison with another friend, Allyssa, 8 inches shorter than she.
and they both sang:
"I like to move it move it, i like to move it move it"
in the middle of a deserted parking lot, in front of Manray, where male, teenage hellions paid $3.50 for water bottles and ate ecstasy to have an excuse for the dancing shirtless, chest to chest with one another - while The Hunger played in shit speakers.
This was in 2001.

i wasn't ready for her.
She knew how to love a person, already then.

I've just figured that out these last 3 years of my life.
How to love.

So when Chelsea passed, despite our reconciled friendship, i felt like i had no right to mourn.

When Betsy called me to tell me about Chelsea - I didn't believe it was my Chelsea Gable.
So i called her phone. Left a message. Sent another text.

We were going to meet up.  i was going to see her. She would laugh aloud and leave her mouth a little bit open, molars not touching down, tongue slight and curious.  Her eyes would be accessible. Bounced open high the way cartoons pull up the shades from a window-excitedly. Lashes reaching out like flower tendrils. Her eyes were not "Doe" like.  They were half mule-deer and cow or 6 month old calf. Take a good look at a cow's face if you haven't already.  They are beautiful.

Chelsea might ask "she had my name and was from New York? Weird." Then another topic would swing a lazy leg into our hammock conversation and, at some transition,  Chels, when referencing me would say the entire, proper tag on my birth certificate: "What have you been up to, Monica Lysette Riehl?  Why were you in China for so long?"

That's the way it was going to go.

i left a voice mail every day for 4.  12 weeks went by and I'd check to see if her phone was still working.  How long would it take me to stop paying my beloved's cell phone?  It's much more that $49.99 or unlimited data. It is a chance. A pending miracle.

"What if she picks up today?"

and, of course, her voice on the outgoing message.  When is the appropriate time to let go?


Chelsea died because she had fulfilled her quota for having given love away.  To everyone she met.  She gave an injection of love.  She worked in hospitality for years, she wrote blogs, she was social. She had access to thousands of wretched humans over her lifetime.  Every day exchanging with approximately 39 people.
The math is incredible.  She did it.


Brian, Kevin and Janet were allowed to miss her.
People that had been there for her when I had hurt her, 14 years ago.  Folks that got to spend summers on the Cape with her, friends whom witnessed the maturation of a knitting odyssey, or that were present for a conversation in which anti-exercise, cigarette smoker, Chelsea decided to start jogging.
These people could cry amongst one another and acknowledge the depth of their friendships with the girl being mourned.  I am an outsider.

i was the girl whose scarf was used around Thunder's neck as Chelsea photographed him, in 2009.

It is ridiculous to consider that anyone would judge my sadness.  Logic outwits emotion and feelings outpace logic.

i judged it. i felt like i had no proof that she and i existed. No one had seen it.  All of our conversations took place one on one, or over a cellular device, Skype.
I was obsolete.
and what if people think i'm being fake?

Wait, when the hell have i cared what people think?  This time: I did, I do.

i judge(d) myself.

That's probably something you picked up on at the onset of this story yet it is taking me two pages to figure it out.

i am grateful to have had Chelsea in my life.  She caught my proverbial eye over long distance conversations, making it a point to let me know how much she believed in me.  That she could "see" me beyond the struggle.

Did i ever tell her that?  

She knew i was good inside.
She was willing to wait to see the outcome.
and she did get to see it.

i don't want to stop writing. i'm afraid that it is not enough.  That the story ends when the page stops sharing letters.

Chelsea was the first person to take me to New York City.  i was fresh to Boston from El Paso. Invited her to a sushi restaurant on our first date- trying to prove that I wasn't so "Texas".
i taught her how to drive stick shift (after I'd taught myself) in my forest green, Jeep Wrangler-that story deserves its own post.
We took our first cross country trip together in that same car.
She held a rooster in Juarez, Mexico at Ajua restaurant. Smoked cigarettes & drank Tecate with my mother and Tita at the Mercado (which was an upgrade to the previous meeting she'd had with mom).
My grandmother bought her a Kokopeli ash tray.  It was her way of saying "It's cool that your into my G-daughter".
Chelsea was paranoid of the squirrels in any public domain - and i thought they were super cute to come over and beg for food- on our walk to her work in downtown Boston's Barnes and Noble.
I was vegetarian and she would consume indiscriminately.

 i see her face and now we are in the dining hall at Emerson, her hair short, long-lithe body covered with a white beater tank top meeting dark jeans towards the bottom.  She had these bulky, oval, leather shoes for years - the kind that showed the stitching on the upper side.  She got those soles replaced about every 6 months.  Fluevogs?

i once told Chelsea that my dad had died so long ago that i couldn't remember his voice or his facial expressions.  i make it a point to flex those memories of her so that i won't forget.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Santa Cruz Day 2 - The Afternoon of Quitting Coffee

12:34 p.m.  The Windmill Cafe  Day 2  No Coffee Update

My lips have been tied to the spout of a green tea bottle most of the morning.  Measured sips.
 2 ounces per 15 minutes.  Rehydrate with water.  Eat a Fuji apple for energy.  Nut bar a little after an hour. (DOn't stop get it get it. DOn't stop N*ggah hit it.  <----- this is what happens in my mind.  Random song selection.  My FGF (Forever girlfriend) gets to hear my unfiltered, radio station brain in the morning as she gets ready for work.  But everyone else would be appalled by what is on the flow chart. )

Met with a new friend, Di Di, in downtown Santa Cruz near the Trader Joe's on Front street.  Walked over San Lorenzo Park and passed 6 homeless folks.  Two of which were technically not home less porque they lived within their econoline.

"Why the fuck I wanna leave my home to go there, bitch?" 
  I like my home!"
(I could totally relate to this sentiment)
-- yelled the hidden, presumed male, figure somewhere beyond the opaque curtains in the windows and the half-way ajar, slung door.  The van was 1970's Gold paint with beautiful, deep, marron lines on the sides.  It was parked beneath a birdless, oak tree, in front of a meter flashing red. Code for : "put a quarter in me".
i wanted to ask them: "Do you guys have to pay the meter if one of you stays with the vehicle?"
They would know.

When i lived in the streets of Southie, in Boston, it was necessary to understand how to get around the Transportation Department system.
They would definitely know.

Di Di walked on with a confluence of words, spit and scent jogging from inside the cave of teeth.
Didn't seem to notice this urban ecosystem claiming neighborship to her domain. We passed the couple on our right.  The woman was standing, half cocked torso toward the floor, holding a self-rolled cigarette in the left hand between the bottom 2nd and middle finger.  Her head wrapped in a tunic showcasing apricot and sanguine gardenias.  The black pants were reminiscent of MC Hammer.  Puff pastry cotton - crisp from wear and billowy, despite the soot.  Her nail polish flawlessly in tact matching the pristine condition of all the cuticles.
i glanced down at my own mitts.  Terrorized phalanges.  Every second bitten nail giving away the recent stress of moving across the country.  A few of them were angled, serrated, brittle slabs of human proteins.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Santa Cruz- Day 1- The Fear of Starting Over & Facing Addiction

It's been multiple years for me.  The journey of just everything.  My mind still feels 19 or 17 years old.  Sharp, incandescent, and upset over the social constructs.  Most of them when my emotions are generous, all of them - when they are not. 
The rebellious nature of immaturity vs. the acceptance which comes with the nuances of time continues.  Some folks still battle with alcoholism, drug dependance, the exaggerated desire to consume 1 entire flourless, chocolate cake from Trader Joe's and/or an entire Otto's Pizza (squash, dired cranberries, fontina, ricotta - I know we just met but trust me on this one). 
I stopped drinking coffee yesterday - and just recently moved to Santa Cruz, Ca.  Perhaps, it is a move to molassify the feelings of change.  Yes, mollasify.  It is a verb - and it means to assist with the delaying of, or slowing, of a process, event or timeline. In this case, the application refers to the emotions associated with so much change.   
Transplanted from Boston, Ma.  Someone reading this may be like - 
"oh!  You've missed the 'bad' weather!  You must be so happy!"

i like snow.  Grateful to be here - and, also, today it is '42 degrees in Boston compared to Santa Cruz's early morning '43 degrees. 

So- I'm quitting coffee.  Or, I've quit coffee, despite arriving into town and experiencing a nirvanaesque (the feeling, not the band) adrenaline rush after finding nitrogen infused, cold-pressed, iced coffee at the Verve.  Yet, no iced coffee is the same as Boston's super impressive, Fazenda Cafe- located in Jamaica Plain. Have it, cradle it, and don't share it.  Also, please try it black before tainting it with anything coming from a cow udder or shell. 

Maca.  I brought that ancient, Peruvian devil powder into my kitchen to assist with the expected slump in energy.  I read the posts, reports, and history (allegedly used by the tribal natives of Peru - by the way, if you Google 'indians of Peru' there are some not politically correct choices in the search).  Excited about all of the health and fitness benefits - sure to be making a fantastic choice - there was 1/2 teaspoon added to my Chicory/Dandelion coffee substitute.
Typically a chill person, hardly a user of vulgar expression, an advocate of peace and often compared to having movements akin to a slothenly pig in the sunother gluten-free fig bar
- imagine the surprise to be experiencing unwarranted aggression towards a gluten-free fig bar stuck to his brother,

First, there was a stream of obscenities spewing from a whisper within the 'E note register

Suddenly my face is fired up Maroon.  The rest of the day was approached with the casual residence of folding towels.  1.  a series of arguments with T-Mobile and Walmart's Family Mobile in which I flex my bi-lingual ability to denigrate, then apologize. 
 (I don't really want to link to either of those bastards brands to this blog right now).  I've still got the Maca in my veins.  Suffice to say that customer service is a thing of the past.  Centurian here, checking in for an X-Generationer.

8:16 a.m. 
In this moment, "Dream Lover" by Bobby Darin is on, I'm sitting in front of my computer table - overlooking this beautiful garden with an oak tree (this could be a total fabrication as I don't know tree species) and Zantedeschia_aethiopica (these are lilies) and tiny yellow flowers budding out the ground. The first time these guys were spotted outside of our patio - I knelt down to welcome them.  Literally "Hey!  Where did you guys come from!?".  
no response.

Beautiful, serene. Everything I've just described sits between lagoon and Twin Lakes State Beach