july 1st. i woke up. i would not sleep again until about 10 pm on july 2nd. it would be one of the most insane periods of awakeness of my life thus far

i got everything definitively packed up. my round brush, my bluetooth speaker, my laptop, my laptop charger, my spare laptop charger, my spare face mask,
maniac magee, the complete cosmicomics, intro to capital, lots of protein bars & cheese crackers, a travel toothbrush, my olive green shorts, my red hoodie
with white drawstrings (a gift from the very friend i'd be embarking to see), several pairs of socks & underwear, a bra, a spare phone charger, my floral
skirt & floral blouse (gifts also), bus-disallowed scissors & pepper spray, scented lotion, scented body spray for the intentional creation of nostalgic
smell associations, & the blouse & skirt that used to be in my tumblr header. my id, debit card, & cash in a thing clipped to my belt loop

i left my spare luggage tag hanging from my fan chain. it is a red heart. my dad, my brother, & i headed to the bus stop. we arrived at about 4 pm.
it wasn't a dedicated bus station, just a tiny gas station at the edge of town. after the ticket printer printed the first ticket, which was for the
manager to keep, it started endlessly printing gibberish, just running the stack of ticket paper through continuously. so the manager had to go to
the back & use a different printer. a girl working there said that she loved my blouse. my dad said he liked the wrist cuffs & called them "peasant style"

about fifteen minutes later, a bus arrived. it wasn't the bus i was originally supposed to get on, but the driver said i could take it to st. louis &
get my ticket amended there to route me to my destination: iowa city. this bus was five hours behind schedule. it had passed through Albuquerque.
the driver informed us that some unknown thing was going on in Albuquerque that uniformly caused the buses to run five hours late. he was
a fantastically gruff, no-nonsense man. whenever he was solicited for the barest of information, it just seemed to so powerfully tire him

an amusing event here: my dad has been consistently calling me "she," but he called me "he" to the bus driver, perhaps by mistake, perhaps
in the interest of not... obliging me to be functionally trans in an uncertain context? but the driver wasn't listening that carefully,
& just immediately called me "she" based on appearance, after which my dad quietly switched to "she"

there was a guy wearing a cool denim jacket that had panels from Uzumaki sewn all over it, & Swans stuff. the
Filth cover, the text "Public Castration is a Good Idea," a "You Fucking People Make Me Sick" shirt underneath

at around 4:40 pm, i got on the bus, scored the last window seat. i was sitting in the back, right in front of Uzumaki.
i told him i loved the coat. he said thanks. he was with his girlfriend. they both had green highlights in their hair.
over the next few hours, i overheard that they were on their way back to Raleigh, North Carolina in the return
portion of some kind of disastrous cross-country trip to California where his car had permanently broken down

we set off. my brother honked twice as they passed the bus

a guy across the aisle liked my shoes. the bathroom of the bus, with the way it swayed, was definitely one of the strangest spaces
i was afforded access to during the trip. seeing parallax between clouds always feels sort of like a religious experience. we passed
a billboard that said "advanced nutrition for puppies like yours." at our first stop, i watched a train of endless stacks of two
shipping containers scroll by. there was a taco truck outside, which i thought was sweet, to let people hop out & get
some real food instead of freeze-dried gas station stuff. a new guy in a Frank Zappa shirt got on & sat
across the aisle. the shirt had Zappa saying "my guitar wants to kill your mama!"

about three hours in, the bus pulled over on the side of the highway without explanation. the driver immediately called someone on
his cell phone & just sort of listened, without addressing us or anything. i wasn't the only one to suspect he had lost consciousness.
here, something upsetting happened for Uzumaki's girlfriend, a sort of quiet & irritable girl who seemed pretty distressed about her
overall situation. she was, in her words, the only one with the balls to go up & make sure he was alright, & he just yelled at her to sit
back down... the driver got out, walked around to the back of the bus, fussed a bit with something, & it started back up. we were off

... for fourteen minutes, then we pulled over again. we wouldn't be resuming travel this time. not in the same bus, at least.
we were adjacent to a Denny's & a Quality Inn. we were nowhere. the bus driver called the company, was told he'd receive
a call back. so we all waited for a call back. "it's her fault with the Skechers on," said the guy who liked my shoes, in a
display of humor that somehow doesn't really make sense on paper but made perfect sense from the mouth of a crusty-
looking guy around his thirties. as i took the above photo of the bus, the driver said "don't put me on youtube!"

i listened to him chat with some of the riders & heard him mention Uzumaki's girlfriend going up to
check on him earlier. he was unsympathetic, seemed a bit resentful of the idea that someone had
leaped to the conclusion that he had passed out. it was the kind of nonsense he didn't cater to

he got a call back. a bus was being sent down from st. louis to retrieve us. it would arrive in two
hours. so we waited. i saw what i thought was a ludicrously bright light on the horizon, but
it turned out to be a fairly nearby streetlight that happened to be perfectly aligned

i talked a bit with Uzumaki in front of the bus while he smoked a cigarette. Uzumaki's name was Giovanni. he asked
me how i felt about the situation. i said that at least we were in a pretty, expansive location that we'd have had no
reason to stop & appreciate & connect to otherwise. he agreed. he was happy to have his shoes off, to feel gravel
between his toes. he wished we weren't in an area with light pollution.. he wanted to see the stars. he said he
loved the stars above all else. he'd noticed me taking photos of the scenery, called me a "nature girl"

night fell. the Denny's closed, but i opted to pace back & forth in front of it. it felt more comfortable. i was
joined by two old ladies on a bench, & a guy who looked like he was in his twenties. he sat on the curb watching
a Twitch stream of a first-person shooter on his phone. the two girls who closed up the Denny's came out & gave
us a few water bottles. i waited for rescue. i listened to molly nilsson - whiskey sour a good deal of times,
& came to consider it the theme of the situation, the theme of the whole night portion of the trip really.
my dad called, & said that if i wanted to abort the trip i could book a room at the Quality Inn &
he & my brother would be there to get me in the morning. that was nice of them

i'd wander back & sit on the bus on occasion. the guy who liked my shoes truly liked my shoes, asked where i'd gotten them.
he said he tried to get a unique look for himself sometimes by tucking his pant legs in his socks. a woman sitting in the baggage
compartment made a joke about performing oral sex for a ride. later on, she said i was beautiful & asked me questions
about myself. i'm describing these things adjacent to each other but the former didn't give the latter a creepy
tint or anything... i started to get hungry & develop a headache. the idling bus was so loud

at around 11:40 pm, the replacement bus arrived. something incredibly baffling happened here. when i gestured to the Twitch
guy that the bus was here, he just... said he was fine. he didn't get on. he stayed where he was. the bus ultimately drove
away with him still sitting on the curb of the Denny's, watching Twitch, in the middle of nowhere along the interstate

after an upsettingly loud & busy process of getting all our luggage transferred, we all boarded & off we went.
the interior lights went off. the ride now had an amazing, hallucinatory, nocturnal quality of seeing both the
view through the window & the reflection of the view through the opposite window. i felt intensely drained,
hungry, in need of a real bathroom. but i didn't doze off here. i kept listening to whiskey sour on repeat,
staring around vacantly. i tried box breathing to help myself relax a bit. midnight passed


july 2nd. finally: St. Louis, my second brush with it. i recognized the initial expanse of suburbs immediately, began to recognize more
landmarks i'd seen in 2017, more & more the further we got. it did things to me. i got to glimpse the arch. we were deposited at 2 am in
a transit center that served buses & trains. my last interaction with the driver was this: i approached. his eyes seemed to slither in his
head, laboriously, to redirect from his phone to my face. i said, "if i just go up & tell them i need my ticket altered... they'll know
what to do, right?" he nodded three distinct times. these nods made me, would have made anyone, like a puny worm
for asking. it only deepened my admiration for his very distinct character & total lack of concern

i went in, feeling like i was on the verge of death. i was to be there for five hours. i got my ticket amended, sat down,
ate an italian sub, drank two bottles of milk, started to feel alright
. i would have liked to have wandered around outside
& explored st. louis a bit, but it was a sketchy prospect. so i hung around, drinking in the "no one in this building likely
wants to be in it
" energy. i got set up on my laptop, at a table in the corner of the little cafe. i listened through the
first Talking Heads album for the first time, & part of the second. the center was under an overpass,
which i found gorgeous. i took some pictures of cute claw machines [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

i watched the sunrise. it was very pretty. i like st. louis, i was sad that my stay there would be so short. the transit center had
strange, harsh, colored tinting on lots of the windows
. the placement didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason, except
maybe for not having rhyme or reason. a tv displayed the FOX 2 channel. the ticker at the bottom showed about seven
consecutive variations of "(type of person) shot (& killed) in (some part of) st. louis," all equally vague [1]

finally, at 7:20 am, i departed. as we passed st. louis' airport i missed an opportunity for a photograph that i thought could
have been very good. the way an air traffic control tower was framed against the whole sky with the rising sun felt sort of
astonishing. somewhere around Illinois saw a cardboard cutout of a Bigfoot way off in the middle of a big empty field.
i started propping my phone up on the tray in front of me & watching myself crawl along in google maps. we crossed
the Mississippi
, which i didn't care for at all. i don't like driving over water. a minor traffic jam had us stuck
suspended over the river for a few more minutes than necessary, which was really not ok with me

at about noon, i arrived at the bus station where my final transfer would occur. it was a cute & quaint little place, it gave me
laundromat feelings. beige walls, big outdated tvs, a pot of coffee. it was a bit crowded, so i couldn't take the best photos.
& although it was sort of cute, i wasn't looking forward to spending two hours there. a man with a sort of unnerving, erratic
demeanor said to me, unprompted, "it's okay, sweetie, it's gonna be fine." or something along those lines. i ignored him

about forty-five minutes in, i went & inspected the selection available in a vending machine. there wasn't
much else to inspect. the man suddenly approached me, gave me a handwritten note, & promptly walked
away. the note said "Hi / My name is Michael / I am Going to / St Louis / I own property there"

well, i stashed the note in my purse as a souvenir. then i tried to avoid eye contact with the guy. about ten minutes later
i went to another vending machine for a diet Pepsi. Michael suddenly approached me again, & handed me the sequel:
"Get on Bus." so i stashed it in my purse as a souvenir & tried to avoid eye contact. fortunately, the st. louis bus left
almost immediately after this. Michael headed out, fortunately. along with a lot of other people, also fortunately.
when i didn't get in line, he looked back at me, & said, indignantly, "i could've paid for it!" he got in
a bit of an angry confrontation with the girl taking tickets, then finally headed out

so Michael was gone. it was at about this time that i reached twenty-four hours of being awake. i box breathed again.
i drank my diet Pepsi. i drank a cup of tomato soup. i didn't bother to microwave it. my body's fuel thus far was mainly
a plethora of protein bars, plus one italian sub, two bottles of milk, two bottles of diet Pepsi, about forty-eight ounces
of water, & a cup of soup. i listened to more of Talking Heads' second album. i felt myself possibly coming to
the terrifying conclusion that i just think they're okay. i'll have to spend more time with them though

finally, at 2:28 pm, we departed for my penultimate stop. an awful & loud tutorial video about bus riding began playing on
several monitors. i quickly learned that much of Iowa had absolutely nothing to show me beyond corn. we stopped at about
3 pm, then it was off to my ultimate destination. nearly an hour into this stretch of the strip, i discovered a large packet
of ranch dressing at the bottom of my backpack. it would have been an absolute disaster if this had ruptured

at 3:52 pm, i arrived at the Iowa City bus terminal. i grabbed my luggage, went in, fixed up my hair. it was
essentially a small waiting room. my friend's mom would pick him up around 4:45, then it'd be about a half-hour
drive to the terminal. the terminal happened to close about eight minutes after i arrived, so i was booted out. the
city block i was on was mostly occupied by a parking garage. so i started strolling through Iowa City [1] [2]

basically the first thing i saw as i headed up Clinton Street: the most heartbreakingly pretty person
i've ever seen, immediately getting into a car & vanishing. it was as lastingly flustering, & as,
i don't know, traumatic, as any witnessing of someone that pretty generally seems to be.
i stopped in a Starbucks, drank a can of raspberry sparkling water, & pressed on

as i strolled further through the city, i quickly fell in love with it, deeper in love with practically every new
thing i saw. i passed a man playing an electric guitar on a park bench, with a sort of watery, twangy effect on it.
there was the Iowa City Jazz Festival, with a man charmingly describing the capabilities of different instruments
& directing musicians to display them. there were so many people, there was so much life. i was flooded with desire
to live somewhere like this, it was an alien feeling, it was intoxicating. i didn't want to leave. to this moment, as i
type this on the afternoon of july 3rd, i can still feel the lingering effects on me of my brief encounter with this city

& as i review it, too, on the afternoon of august 2nd

but i hadn't come all this way for Iowa City. so my only option
was to circle back around to Starbucks as a rendezvous point

my friend arrived there at 5:27 pm. i was drinking a can of grapefruit sparkling water
now. so i walked out of Starbucks with my grapefruit sparkling water & rounded
the corner to the side of the building. my friend was standing there

so now we had met in-person!

we packed my things, boarded his mom's car,
& set off for the city that is undisclosed here

(at least until the point later in this diary when i
just stop caring about that tidbit of confidentiality)

at around 8 pm, we got checked into the hotel. we did some
more driving, got tacos, candy, soda, alcohol, that sort of thing

so then we were settled in

i had been awake for about thirty-one hours. the past twenty-five had been marked by... constancy, constant
happening, constant motion
. i felt like i had lived a lifetime between the two relevant cities. now i sat
in a hotel room with my friend. i was in a rolly chair with my hands clasped. there were no strangers,
there was none of the constant rushing, whirring sound from the bus. all that had happened
was only the prelude to now. it took a minute to adjust. we were eating tacos

he gifted me a stuffed walrus, a cd of Trout Mask Replica, copies of Stanislaw Lem's the cyberiad & the star diaries, a copy
of China Mieville's the city & the city, & copies of Ann Leckie's ancillary justice, ancillary sword, & ancillary mercy

we finished the tacos. we turned on the tv. i had brought one of my little stuffed animals, & placed it on top of the tv. we
watched the absurd final battle of the Twilight series. we saw a Garnier micellar water commercial, followed by a fourth of
July Budweiser commercial, followed by the same Garnier commercial, followed by the same Budweiser commercial, followed
by the same Garnier commercial, followed by the same Budweiser commercial
, followed by an episode of The Golden Girls.
this made us laugh a lot. we fell asleep. i had do your best playing on repeat. it is a well-established sleep aid


july 3rd. we walked to dollar tree & bought these things: a copy of denis johnson's the laughing monsters; a 350-piece
puzzle that looked like a pizza; a bottle of red nail polish; a bottle of base coat; kids toothpaste; four knockoff lego
sets of a steamroller, a helicopter, a motorboat, & a gas pump; some awful Takis-branded beef jerky; a little bottle of
hand sanitizer; cherry jello; werther's originals; hershey's cookie & creme bars; some watermelon gum; sunglasses

then we ambled through a floral shop. then we went to goodwill. near the entrance there was a big pink bear sitting on a chair

we bought these things: two dresses & a skirt; a copy of colson whitehead's the underground railroad; a copy of the pc game
the kings of the dark age; these tapes: tin machine's oy vey, baby, a v/a comp called mad about piano, & some Chopin
recordings; these CDs: vitamin c's self-titled, enigma's mcmxc a.d., aaron carter's oh aaron, seth marsh's whole
lotta noise
, vince guaraldi's charlie brown's holiday hits, robert belfour's what's wrong with you, a v/a
comp called i can only imagine: ultimate power anthems of the christian faith, & your #1
requests... & more!
, a promotional cd featuring nsync & britney spears

as we left, we looked at the bear again & it was now a guy sitting on the chair

we got lunch at burger king. i wondered what the exact rationale had been of whoever ultimately made the decision to remove the
old drink machine & replace it with an ostentatious touchscreen one. i caught one of my hip bones on a corner of a booth & felt
it in a whole half of my pelvis. we walked back to the hotel & wandered around. on the way back, i found a baseball in a parking
lot. we returned to the room. whenever we'd walk in, it'd smell strongly of ramen. but the smell would fade from awareness
after about a minute. we listened to five albums, four of them being ones we'd found at goodwill. we ordered
two pizzas. i tipped the driver fifty percent. i was feeling celebratory [1]

we drank vodka & spent a while working on the pizza puzzle, listened to more music. a lot of jazz on the
radio, the Iowa City Jazz Festival, in fact. we sang the carpet crawlers by genesis. i got very focused on
the puzzle, had to be prompted somewhat forcefully to abandon it & get some sleep since it was 3 am. we
lied on the bed & listened to random songs for a while
. i opened Audacity & made some slow, asynchronous
sine wave dings that functioned like a music box. i played them & fell asleep without noticing


july 4th. we went to target & bought face moisturizer, vinyl gloves, & room spray. we heard such great heights
playing on the intercom, which i thought was weird. we worked on the puzzle more. he took a nap. i wandered a bit
around the empty area immediately surrounding the hotel, then paced the halls reading more of intro to capital

he woke up. we ordered a taco pizza. we listened to six more of the things we got at goodwill, & my lumiere album. we ate
the taco pizza. at one point i drank a little cup of vanilla coffee creamer. it was really pleasant. it was so smooth & such
a concentration of vanilla that it didn't feel like drinking something, more like just experiencing the essence of vanilla

we worked on the puzzle. this wasn't just any session of working on a puzzle, it was a bit furtive because it was
what we directed our focus on as we overheard a commotion outside. a family had been having a cookout on the patio,
& a woman was reacting to the sudden unexplained collapse of an elderly woman, either her mother or her grandma
but called "grandma" regardless. she wasn't moving. an ambulance came & took her away. i would assume that
someone went with her, but the woman stayed behind. they seemed to have just proceeded with the cookout

i dozed off for about an hour. i woke up. it was time for his mom to drive us downtown to see the firework show.
i blearily packed the things i wanted & got a coffee. his mom's car is very small. she has to tilt her seat forward,
then i slither in like a contortionist or jack skellington or something. she had the windows down, so
the drive over was a blur of whipping hair & noise. i had my eyes shut most of the time

we parked & started walking for a couple of blocks. people were riding those app scooters everywhere. there
were lots of people. i enjoyed the celebratory atmosphere in a vacuum from it being related to the 4th of july.
i thought about how... i hoped a minority of the people here were here for the patriotism, that there was
the necessary proportion of people there for patriotic reasons then a big crust of people wanting
an excuse to be celebratory or drink in the celebratory atmosphere like me

we arrived at a very loud, crowded bridge, the location of the "freedom festival" & the sanctioned viewing
location for the show. there was distressingly loud pop music playing from inescapable loudspeakers.
there were tacos & funnel cakes & porta-potties. you know the drill. we sat on a curb near a
giant grill & chewed watermelon-flavored gum, waiting for the show to start

the fireworks would be launched on an adjacent bridge, from behind a nearby historic building. but i was under the mistaken
assumption that the launch site would be in our field of view. i imagined a firework-launching mechanism mistakenly tipping
over & launching it towards us, of this detonating the propane tanks on the big grill & turning us all into charred skeletons.
this didn't happen. what was in our field of view though, over on the adjacent bridge, was a small replica of the statue of
liberty. this was the exact location where hillary clinton had filmed a video of herself "chilling in cedar rapids"

we heard some words from the regional manager of a local supermarket that was funding the event, then the show started.
i had been hoping to record the bangs & pops with my phone's sound recording app, but the show was accompanied
by music from the loudspeakers. i didn't expect that. some of the fireworks were actually choreographed with
the lyrics. it opened with the national anthem. there were some other poppy, patriotic songs but also among
them were rachel platten's fight song & the star wars theme. my favorite firework resembled a drum
being hit, & was synced with... well, a distinct drum hit. there were also smiley faces

the show ended. as we left i found a very satisfying keychain on the ground. it looked like a frog. it was
made of flimsy rubber, & had all these buttons that could be popped back & forth. we drove back to the hotel.
we got drunk & worked on the puzzle more. we sure do love that puzzle. we listened to ambient one & four


july 5th. we walked down the street to a greenhouse, where the city grows decorative plants for transfer to local parks & the like. the building
was closed, but there were some trails that still had pretty plants growing along them. i crawled through a little tunnel that resembled a cave with
cave paintings in it. i photographed some very cute signs on a little fence. on the way back, we passed through the alleyway behind a Quality Inn
& found a cassette of a guy reading the Bible. we went back to the room & took the puzzle apart. we tried our best, but we just couldn't finish
the sucker. i packed up my things so as to move them to his house, in preparation of checking out of the hotel tomorrow. "packing up" always
feels melancholy, & it did here even though we had a good while left. he told me i'm more fun & goofy & warm in person. i went & saw his
house, his room, encountered his dad, met the two cats & the dog. the house is nice & old, a kind of house i'd like to live in. we drove
past a house that is significant for having "ALEX" written in the sidewalk in front it. we got salads & ate them back in the room.
we listened to a bunch of Slugbug while i dozed. we finished the vodka & had an emotional conversation. it made me cry
while my brain kept inexplicably forcing me to smile in discordance with my actual emotional state


july 6th. the last day. we got everything definitively packed up. we called a cab & checked out of the hotel.
while we waited on the patio, i decided to see how many of the 69 love songs i could sequentially remember & sing
from memory before the cab arrived. i made it to the end of the second verse of the luckiest guy on the lower east
, which is track seven. the cab took us downtown. we explored the library, went up on the roof, saw a bird
that wouldn't react to my presence until i got fairly close
. then it'd hiss & fly a couple feet away. i thought
it might have been a baby hawk. he took a photo of me taking a photo of it

we set up in the library near two teenage boys who were playing a grand theft auto-ish game. it might have been roblox.
their banter was great. classic tween roblox player banter. we got lunch at the library's cafe. i had a really good blt &
a cookie. when we sat back down near the boys, their situation had grown dire: there was someone using an aimbot

we went to the art museum. a lady at the front desk had to confiscate our bags, & she was stunned by the weight of my
backpack. most of the stuff on display was by Grant Wood & Marvin Cone. one of Cone's abstract paintings was titled
a wiggley thing. there was a whimsically tedious section devoted to parodies of american gothic. there was also
some Mauricio Lasansky & Conger Metcalf. there was a flock of children being led around

i saw a one-hundred-&-four-year-old oil painting, inches from me, not even separated by glass. i could
see the slight topography of the brush strokes. & it occurred to me that i had never really seen
anything like that. & then i saw two-thousand-year-old Roman busts, right in front of me

more than anything, i fell deeply in love with a bricolage titled where have you been? it's
almost dark,
by richard d. pinney, who died in 1996 & tragically, tragically seems to be fairly
unknown. i wish my ability to experience this work wasn't now limited to these photographs

we bought two tokens for an "Art-O-Matic" machine that dispensed small original works of art. we got these. i got
the one on the left. then we went to the gift shop, after i filled out a survey that netted us a five percent discount &
aided the museum in obtaining grants. for myself, i bought a small hand-cranked music box. it plays Tchaikovsky's
flower waltz, & is housed in a cardboard box with edgar degas' prima ballerina on the front. i am very enamored with it

i got him two gifts. one is a little heart-shaped sculpture, with a fourth of it being sort of lopped out & having
circuit boards. the other is a button with this quote from Chunghi Choo: "i like to see simplicity, harmony,
& grace. i would like each piece to appear sensuous & celebratory, a pleasure to use & a pleasure to view"

we went back to the library. one of the roblox boys had left. i refilled our water bottles at a sort of fountain i
am familiar with, in that it had a digital counter of how many bottles it's filled. my bottle was #45,489. we sat
for a while, simply biding time. i e-mailed ms. harris about the artwork i'd gotten from the "Art-O-Matic."
i told her about myself, showed her which one i'd gotten & told her what city it'd end up hanging in

eventually we walked to a costume shop full of halloween costumes, props, prank devices, & the
like. the owner's little dog was walking around the store. i bought a pair of glasses that made it
appear as if my eyes had sprung out of their sockets on bouncing metal springs. then we walked
to a pizzeria. i wore the glasses as we walked. i wore the glasses into the pizzeria. i asked
him to take a picture of me wearing them in front of some ratty, rusty metal siding

i wore them while we ordered. we ordered cheese sticks & a small pepperoni pizza. we had the box
of vinyl gloves, so i could wear them & be able to stand touching the pizza. they were a thoughtful
purchase. there was an aquarium in the pizzeria. on the side of the soda machine was a yellow
sign that looked like it should have been a warning about legitimate danger. but it just said
"warning: we charge for ranch." i couldn't tell if it was restaurant humor or a genuine notice

we finished our pizza, walked back to the park in front of the library, waited for his mom to pick
us up & take us back to their house. she did. i noticed a painting of a dog in the kitchen. it looked
like Grace, the dog in the house. i asked his mom if it was a painting of Grace. she said a painter
she's acquainted with had indeed painted Grace. she thought the painting looked strange

she said everything in that kitchen had a story. she gestured to a watercolor of an owl & told me
a long story of how she found an injured owl in a parking lot & took it to a rehabilitation center,
where it spent four months recovering. after it recovered, the center called her & asked if she'd
like to release it. so she went & got it, rode home with it standing on her hand, & took it out
into the backyard. it flew up onto a branch, then turned & looked at her, then flew away

i went up to his room. we spent a while up there. it was the last space that i was to inhabit before we set off for the
bus stop a little before eight pm. he showed me all his lps, showed me lots of sentimental toys & trinkets & doo-dads.
it was a cluttered room. we listened to his most recently acquired lp, which was todd rundgren's a wizard, a true
. he'd told me a good deal of times that this span of days had been the best experience of his life

i walked downstairs to refill my water bottle. i encountered his brother. his mom caught me in the kitchen, asking questions
about my trip. she asked if i'd like to see the backyard. i went out with her & saw the backyard. Grace came along. i played
Fetch with her. the ball was a deflated basketball. i spent a while doing this. i was the only one throwing the ball, but
each time she would drop it at his mom's feet, then i'd have to go tsk-tsk, & she'd pick it back up & drop it at my feet

well, eventually the time came. i changed from my floral gown & skirt back into jeans & a hoodie. i clipped my little wallet back onto my
belt loop. we headed downstairs & outside. i slithered into the tiny car. we drove to Iowa City, to the bus stop. we passed the Starbucks
that that first in-person moment had taken place at. we stopped at the bus stop. i slithered out of the tiny car. i still had the empty
can of grapefruit sparkling water. it was in my backpack's side pouch. as i struggled to pull the heavy thing out of the seat,
the can fell out. then the backpack fell over & meticulously crushed it. oh well. it's all dented, but i still have it

here, as i review all of this on august 4th, sitting at a cabinet with
my laptop in it, it sits above me on a little shelf of the cabinet

we hugged, said our goodbyes. or he did, at least. i actually forgot to speak at all, which made me feel
fairly unceremonious after. regardless, he got in the car & they drove away. i was again without company

without company. that is to say, without anyone i know, around whom there would be an excuse to express
my latent whimsicality, silliness, frivolity, flair. without whom there is no excuse to be anything but stiff
& methodical. it feels like a constant tragedy, to have unexpressed whimsicality, to have no outlet,
to have no one around to watch me begin skipping. so many people are diluted freaks who
can't even appreciate skipping, not in the way i need it to be appreciated...

so i ambled over to the bus stop & waited. a woman with a cast on her arm sat down next
to me. she asked where i was going. i told her. she said she was going to Des Moines,
then from there to some other place, to bury her father. so it wasn't a happy trip,
she said. she had pillows & blankets in preparation for a twelve-hour layover

the bus arrived. we got on. so off i went, back towards home. my purse was stuffed
with receipts for random purchases. i had kept them as souvenirs. the sun was setting.
i took out my little music box, sat there & turned the crank a little. tiredness fanned
the inherent melancholy of the conclusion of any very big thing. but it was ok. i idly
thought about the state of being at once the author & the protagonist of my thoughts

i am now a girlfriend again... which is fine. nothing more, nothing less

the only thing i listened to for quite a lot of the return tip was whiskey sour, over & over & over. we passed silhouetted wind turbines.
i spent a lot of time with my eyes closed, crying sometimes as i spent time with the person in my head whose company i can always retreat
to, the person who says my silly checklist of sentences, the person who transcends my numbed feeling of my close social interactions so
often feeling like nothing more than objects moving around around me, the person who transcends it simply because i define them as the
person who transcends it regardless of their traits, the person who is definitionally my home... he isn't this person. this person isn't real

we stopped in Des Moines, where i was to transfer. i nearly left my little stuffed animal in the seat, which would have
really upset me. as i got off of the first bus, on which i had been sitting in the second-to-last row, i noticed there had
been a forgotten bottle of mountain dew sitting under my armrest the whole time. at the stop, i held a door open
for a very old woman who barely had the strength to open it herself. it was late. the stop was very small. i stood
outside with a lot of other people at this loud, boring island in the dark for a while. eventually i got on the second
bus & sat in the second-to-last row. there was another forgotten bottle of mountain dew under the armrest

we set off. one of the driver's rules was no profanity. i was okay with that. i didn't intend to swear


july 7th. for the first time, i nearly dozed off while on a bus. also for the first time, i got
out my laptop while on a bus. i worked on the journal for a while. i was very drowzy, so
i resolved to simply get as much as i could down, skeletally, then come back & edit it later

i very nearly dozed off listening to burial - archangel, but not quite. i did finally decide to succumb, though.
i sat my bags on the floor & did my best to lie down on the seats. i suppose i might have fallen asleep for
fifteen minutes, but i was awoken by the announcement of our arrival in kansas city. so i was to be deposited
into my lousy, drowzy five-hour layover in this bus station that my dad had gone out of his way to warn me about

as i blearily gathered up my things, a man filing out actually grabbed my luggage & yanked it
into the aisle. i threw my hands out for it. he muttered some excuse about meaning to assist me,
& carried on. even if he was telling the truth, i think it was a pretty ill-conceived thing to do

i got settled in the station. this was terrible. the place was crowded, small, empty of things. there was
a restaurant, but it wouldn't open until ten minutes after my departure. i was horribly drowsy,
& too paranoid about theft to nap. it was difficult to rationalize being here for five hours

in my paranoia, i would hook my arm through the straps of both my purse & backpack, & keep my hand on my waist.
then i would extend my luggage's handle, place my leg between the bars, & tighten the handle around my leg.
i sat like this & read more of intro to capital. i thought maybe i could just throw myself into reading for
five hours & have them blow right by. but after about an hour, the tiredness really hit me. i knew i
wasn't going to be able to focus on reading. a man's rick & morty face mask fell off of his luggage,
& i returned it to him. i saw a brave, avant-garde soda can & a funny graphic on a sign

i began to feel like i was being subjected to torture by means of sleep denial. i resigned to buying a coffee-flavored energy
drink from a vending machine. the price was an absurd five dollars, which i needed to pay in exclusively ones. plus, somehow,
i managed to amble over to a different machine with exclusively water in it, & punch in the code to make sure i hadn't misread
the price. when it said it was three dollars, i put three of my ones in without looking at the machine, then
realized... eventually, i noticed i could just use my debit card to get the energy drink

i drank my drink & listened to more talking heads. the sun began to rise, a pleasing affirmation that time was
indeed passing. a woman enlisted me to remove her card from an atm for her, because her fake nails were
so long that she couldn't get at it. life during wartime really clicked with me. i listened to it ten times

finally, finally, it was time to board. i noticed that in seven-hundred-&-forty miles of travel, i had never actually
been obligated to have my bags checked. i wasn't supposed to have the scissors that were in my purse, or the mace in
my luggage, but there was nothing in place to stop me. i wondered what sorts of interesting things the other passengers
might have been hauling. i figured the staff would probably drag me out into the parking lot & shoot me in
the base of my skull like an animal if they knew i had a little music box that played Tchaikovsky

i departed from kansas city, forgoing my chance to hit up an electronic musician i was once acquainted with & meet up so
i could listen to him go on a weird rant in arcane 4chan language that had isolatedly mutated into his own idiosyncratic
dialect. another gorgeous sunrise ride awaited me. this was the drowziest stretch of all, a flickering blur of angelically
lit farmland. my head would droop, i would slip in & out of microsleep, have tiny vague dreams...

before i knew it, we were pulling into the tiny gas station at the edge of town. i got out, greeted my dad, told him
i'd left my drink in the hotel room so i'd be hopping back on in a couple of minutes. i walked in, stood silently
behind my brother, watched him make a burger, waited for him to turn & notice me. he did. i waved. i saw
two cute snow hats... then we headed out, drove to the apartment. i came home to freshly laundered
linens & new pillowcases. i worked on the journal a bit. i lied down on my bed & passed out

i woke up. at long last, i opened up my backpack & unpacked: the packaging of my eyeball glasses; my bag of dove milk chocolates; my two
uneaten blueberry muffins from the hotel; my eyeball glasses, sans the left eyeball; my little stuffed animal who was on top of the tv; my
microbe plushie; my new copies of ann leckie's ancillary trilogy; my copy of the complete cosmicomics; my round brush; my bluetooth
speaker; some souvenir brochures; my special sparkling water can; the other eyeball; my new stuffed walrus; my goodwill bag repurposed
to quarantine some smelly socks; nine & one quarter leftover protein bars; the Bible cassette; the receipt for the taco pizza; pizza
coupons; the receipts for the papa john's pizza; intro to capital & maniac magee; eight uneaten packs of six cheese cracker sandwiches

then, at long last, i opened up my luggage & unpacked: my travel toothbrush; my floral skirt; my olive green shorts; my new copies of
the city & the city, the star diaries, & the cyberiad; my bottle of face moisturizer; my floral gown; my new floral dress; the baseball i
found in the parking lot; a tube of kids toothpaste; my phone charger; my body spray; my backup face mask; my umbrella; my two bottles
of nail polish; my mace; my lotion; my room spray; my new stripey roses blouse; my lacy collar blouse; my new floral skirt; my skirt; my
pink blouse; two pairs of underwear; my new cds of charlie brown's holiday hits, oh aaron, your #1 requests...& more, & trout mask replica

i spent a while recuperating, eating food, drinking water, et cetera. then, at long last, i opened up my purse & unpacked: my little
music box; my little painting; my original bus itinerary; my sunglasses; an empty tiny bottle of Southern Comfort; a gifted tiny
bottle of peanut butter whiskey, which we both understood to be conceptually revolting; the receipt for the hotel room; "rules
of gathering herbs"; the receipt from the gift shop; a note card he'd written our shopping list on; a recipe for spinach dip

now i direct my attention to the process of taking stock of all the photos, looking for ones i never sent anywhere,
processing them, collating them, putting them where they need to be... & i guess that's all i have to say about my trip


july 8th. i shampooed my hair for the first time in quite a long time. it made my bangs really orderly & soft, &
gave me poofy witch hair. i walked to the gas station in my googly glasses. a customer at the door said he really
liked them. the clerk was very tickled. he asked me if i could see alright through them. the best part was when
he asked if i needed anything else, & i shook my head, hilariously flinging the springs left & right

i spent most of the night putting a lot of concentration into sorting & taking stock of all the photos & videos from
the trip. interesting how as i live my life i'm racking up corresponding debts of self-imposed archival work, there,
in the moment, at a varying ratio to the realtime duration of each experience, even if i'm not thinking about it then


july 9th. i got a shot. i wore my googly glasses to the clinic. the receptionist laughed. the nurse lost
it the moment i walked into view. it made her day. she said she really needed a laugh, after the crazy day
she'd been having. she adored my commitment to walking around all day in the glasses. she thought my dress
was really cute. she asked where i'd gotten them, said she didn't even know one could find them anymore,
which led to talking a bit about my trip to Cedar Rapids & the circumstances around it

on the way to the coffee shop, i stopped in a bar to comb my hair & another lady lost it. one of the
cashiers at the coffee shop said "nice glasses." Philip's paintings of Andy Warhol & the police
car "burning rubber" were on display, among a few others. they brought back the "apple
pie latte," a special from november 2019. i drank it & remembered...

later, sitting idly in a bar, i realized i couldn't find the glasses. i was pretty sure i'd left them sitting on
a table in a room that i had my back to, which had only one entrance & exit that necessitated walking past me.
i figured someone had walked past me, picked them up, & walked away with them simply because i'd forgotten
that i had them sitting provisionally on that table... i felt like my soul had been ripped out! i walked around,
glancing frantically, feeling like i was sinking into a deep dark pit. i thought to ask a bartender about
them. she had actually seen them! she brought them to me. my soul didn't feel ripped
out anymore. i may have kind of a "special objects" problem

i asked my brother for a ride home. during the drive, i wondered what it is exactly that always seems to separate
me from the present moment, make me feel detached, lost in my head, lost in the incessant context around myself,
never viscerally living. this feels like the only thing separating me from the blissful feeling of being a child.
i feel like there had to have been some violent shift demarcating childhood versus now. i tried to identify
what it was. i supposed it had to have been related to the internet

as i type this i am considering that i may just be tired, & feeling detached from the present moment,
& blindly projecting that feeling onto every second of every day even though i'm usually fine


july 12th. i fell asleep in the early morning listening to four tet - morning side. i got woken up by unspoken. i felt
really blissful & cozy & calm listening to it. then timer-tab.com, which i had on a ninety minute countdown,
went off. a video of a chiming grandfather clock played loudly over the song. that was good too


july 13th. i went & got sushi with my brother. i made the cashier laugh. he said
he had the exact same debit card, & i said "i hope the number's different"


july 15th. again, i walked along a crowded street with booths & vendors. i was in my stripey roses dress. i meant to
bring my googly glasses, but i forgot. my dad organized some people to walk down the street with signs that protested
the homelessness problem. "housing is a human right!" it was awfully hot out, so i spent most of my time in the coffee
shop. i got a chai tea with too much cinnamon in it. new order - blue monday compelled me to ask what the song
on the intercom was. i've purposely listened to it before & just found it very bland. how times change...

i watched a bunch of youtube videos that i made when i was twelve. i briefly un-unlisted them, but it appeared to change
their upload dates to the present day & detach them from the order they were originally uploaded in. this hurt my brain
really bad, made my face burn. re-unlisting them restored it all, fortunately. i might still do it. i need to think about
it. if i do, it'll be one video at a time, since bulk updates republish all the relevant videos in a random order

i saw a car with a "post punk librarian" bumper sticker, & an unrelated lady in a devo shirt. i left my umbrella in the
coffee shop again, but i went back & found it. once again, i banked on the increased volume of people downtown leading
to an increased volume of people in the bar, at which maybe i could meet a friend somehow. so i sat in there. i ate
a pepperoni pizza sandwich & nearly cried because i felt so lonely. i downloaded all of slugbug's albums

later, at home, i lied in bed & beatboxed at sweet pea while she just stared
at me. then i barked at her once, quietly, & she instantly sprung at my face


july 16th. i received a prescription for progesterone. i had an exchange with slugbug about some of his oldest releases
& whether there's cover art for one of them. he said he'd look for the file, maybe rescan the picture if he couldn't find it


july 17th. around midnight i saw some totally poggers lightning to the south... it never hit the ground,
it only sparked around inside a big storm cloud that was invisible in the night sky but would light up from
inside, translucently... i went on a late night walk to the convenience store for snacks. once i had the snacks,
i kept going. near the convenience store there was a spot along the street where the bright lights gave me
four parallel shadows. i made them dance. i walked to a park & back, took some creepy photos, while
listening to a bunch of talking heads songs. & she was & artists only & air clicked with me


july 22nd. i guess nothing has happened between now & the seventeenth... sort of a deficit of activity to
compensate for the big trip at the start of the month, you could say? at least, i hope nothing worth journaling
about happened, as opposed to me getting lax about writing stuff down. i honestly can't remember...

i watched a squirrel eat from our bird feeder. the feeder dangles right next to the bird bath, about a
foot higher, so they have to perch on the bath & awkwardly hang onto it while they grab the seeds

at about 10:30, i walked to the convenience store for snacks. once i had the snacks, i kept going. i walked to
the park, & kept going. i walked all the way downtown & back, which is something i've never done at night.
it was quite a long & ethereal excursion. i took some creepy photos. i saw a fat sort of bug that i've never
seen before
. at about one am i had the daylights scared out of me by a little bichon frise screaming
at me from about a foot away through the face-high window of a tiny dilapidated house


july 24th. i went... to the nature trail!

i picked up a live cicada with a broken leg & inspected
it closely. i attempted to die for all of humanity's sins


july 25th. in the early morning, i had my laptop on my bed instead of rigidly keeping it either in a cabinet or a dresser.
the dresser is the only surface in the room that i feel safe burning a candle on, so with it free i was doing that. i'd had the
laptop there for weeks, so i hadn't been burning any of the three candles that i have. which is silly, because i think they are
great for me. there was a small dead bug floating in the wax. my dad was snoring in the living room. i could faintly hear
generic sleep aid music that prominently featured a flute. i lied next to sweet pea, reading the wikipedia page about
tulip mania. it was part of a tabbed-browsing careen through wikipedia that involved destructive tornadoes, beanie
babies, mcdonald's, & offshore accounts. i felt profoundly cozy, just really really normal. later in the
day though it sort of gave way to a more standard background level of dissociation

some of my neighbors got chickens. i saw them in their backyard as i walked to the store. in the
early morning, i even heard one of them go, ah... how would i transcribe the sound...?
"cock a doodle doo," i suppose, would be the closest approximation...


july 26th. i felt like gumby's horse, a bug eyed animal thinking vinyl record crackle. i cashed a twenty-two dollar check
that i received from the college in early june. they had leftover money from the student covid funds, & distributed it
sort of thinly. i got a shot. i went to the coffee shop. i happily watched a lady sitting outside let her small dog on
her lap lick something out of a small cup. i showed J's friend my googly glasses. she said they were goofy. i got
to do the "shake head no" thing again. on the chalkboard, i sort-of replicated two pictures that were across from
it in the little hallway. my brother was drunk, & the cab company had two & a half hour wait time. so i ended
up stuck there for a while, having been awake a very long time. i took a nap on the couch in the back room


july 27th. as i started to wake up in the morning, i had a notion in my head about... i guess
what "speaking in tongues" is. if i was with another person & we wanted to try to intuitively express
ourselves without distorting aspects of a shared language, & just improvised gibberish. i wasn't nearly
awake enough to really be thinking about this, it was just there very automatically & intuitively.
& i remember quietly saying a couple of things. they must have been very sincere


july 28th. i drank an uncomfortable amount of sweet tea because i had been finding
the presence of the jug in the fridge to be really annoying, & it was around one
percent of the height of the jug. but it was still a fair amount of tea


july 29th. i watched a squirrel fish a cracker out of an empty flower pot & slowly eat it. i
was real close because it couldn't see me through the sliding glass door. then it found another
one & ran away with it. later i ran into my dad as he was leaving the gas station. right before
he left he said loudly to the cashier, "be good to my daughter!" for no apparent reason...

i bought a fifty dollar record player, & a hard drive to back up my
music collection. will anything else happen before july is through?


july 30th. i woke up an hour or two before sunrise. i went a long time without turning on my phone or laptop screens
at all. i ate a bowl of oatmeal & an avocado, then jogged around the block as the sun rose. this all felt refreshing & good

then it was... friday night! around six pm, i took a trolley downtown. i decided i was going to stand aimlessly in a bar, to see if
anyone exists, to see if whoever exists would be there. i wanted to try to make it a weekend routine, just to invite chance, anything

i noticed on some level that the landscape around the trolley stop was making me feel like a child. then it hit me:
two large trees by the sidewalk had been removed at some point. their absence was deeply refreshing, so delightful

so then i arrived at the coffee shop. i ate a salad. i sat there for two hours until close. & then i went to the bar.
& i sat in there for a while. & it seemed that if anyone existed, they weren't there. which is my frivolous way of
saying the place was packed, & everyone seemed as uniformly alien as ever. so i messaged my brother for a ride home

right before he arrived, i stepped outside & ran into J & her friend, these two people i am so keen on maybe attempting friendship
with, or at least making myself sufficiently present that they may attempt friendship with me. so i hastily called off the ride.
my brother had already driven across town, had pulled up a short distance away. i apologized. it was embarrassing

J & her friend went inside. here i began doing what i had been tentatively planning to do from the start: i ordered two drinks with
vodka in them & drank them fairly quickly. it was my hope that this would give me the faculties just to go up & say "hi," to just
see if they were interested in talking to any significant degree... i noted to myself, uncomfortably, that my aspiration of
friendship already feels unbalanced, like i'm privately placing too much friend-want on them for how little i know them

as i ordered the second drink, J came up & asked how things had been. i told her various things about
my trip to iowa, about traveling alone. i told her i liked the Flaming Lips song that had started
playing (race for the prize). she told me she had seen them live once, that live music by
artists you really love is everything. then she went back to talking with her friend

i sat down nearby, thoroughly drunk, spinning around on a stool, reading yet more of introduction to capital,
of all the things to do. i found that i was still petrified of going up & trying to interact. i couldn't do it

my head began to fill with deeply hopeless & dismal thoughts about social isolation & birth sex. everything began to
feel purgatorial, endless. i would shuffle around unsteadily, stare blankly at nothing, feel like i was in a nightmare

sometimes when i go in public & see people whose occupation of their bodies seem so effortless
things peel away, i feel like: every one of the structures that comprise my psyche are built
around the central irresolvable tension of not wanting to be the sex that i am. it is not
going to get better. all my relief actually comes in social isolation & fantasy

at certain times i just feel like i am here in the world to report internal experiences that will
be read by people who are indifferent or appreciative of the sex that they are & it will benefit
them in that they will have a basis for comparison so as to appreciate being indifferent
or appreciative of the sex that they are. that's "the reason" for things to be
existing in this kind of setup. i do type other stuff too though

thinking hurts. everyone in my city i entertain the possibility of connecting with, it always seems the
same. nevermind no it doesn't. i'll still type the proceeding wrong sentences to show what i was thinking
though. "playing it safe" seems like the molecular basis of every expression, everyone talks like they're
in a tv show, everyone feels ruined. i think societal structures are procedurally ruining as many people
as possible, i don't think people are like this. it doesn't matter because i'm not interested in pursuing
a socially articulated life in my body. desiring a social life is just a habit i slip into because
it's more superficially appealing while the big hourglass drains

i wandered outside & plucked a leaf off of a small tree, hardly noticing as i did it. i walked around
rubbing it with my fingers. i went inside, sat down, sat it on the table with my bags. looking at
it made me emotional. typing this now, i think... that i might have left it somewhere

J & her friend left. eventually i called a cab. it took quite a long time for it to arrive. right before it did,
someone tapped me on the shoulder. a girl asked if i needed anywhere to sit. i shook my head. she said
okay, but i was free to sit next to her if need be. so i sat next to her. she introduced herself. she was S

S was very attentive toward me. she asked how i'm doing. i told her i was pretty sad. she asked what was going
on. i wasn't going to get into existential despair around birth sex but i stammered about not having had any
friends in so long, about J & her friend, how i couldn't even speak to them. she seemed to think it
was some kind of tentative polyamory thing, & i had to explain clearly that it wasn't

trying to recollect what all was said... as we talked, i ignored phone calls from the cab company. she said she was
from arkansas, that this city was an "in-between place," that she came from a conservative family & being queer here
was easier but not as empowering as in a big city. she would reiterate the positive qualities of living in a bigger city,
saying "it doesn't end here." she was very consoling, kept reaffirming things to me. she gave me her phone number.
she empathetically touched my arm. she platonically held my hand for several minutes. it had been three
weeks since anyone had done that. it felt like it had been longer than three weeks. i suppose
it had been unknowably long if you took into account the platonic aspect

she offered me a ride home with her roommate, but i was too skittish about getting into a car with her so
soon after meeting. in fact, it came perfectly naturally to lightly suspect that the attention & hand-holding
had been a love bombing thing so she could human traffic me. so i told her i'd just call a cab. her roommate
arrived. they waited with me on the curb for about half an hour until the cab arrived. there were rowdy
people & loud motorcycles all around. i said goodbye & got in the cab. the dna remix of tom's
played during the drive. i thanked her for the company in a text message, said
how it'd been three weeks since i'd really spoken with anyone

i got home & typed most of this, then dozed off. then i woke up & typed this:

i typed all of this, felt asleep to some degree, relived some
of this things described, though i han't atuall typed
on of this that it wa a memory i made up?

too drowzy comd back & review tomorrow

then i dozed off again


july 31st. when i woke up, S had texted me "Of course! No problem!"

the hard drive arrived... i backed up all of my music. two hundred & ninety seven gigabytes of mp3s, cozy & safe... a storm
blew through. once it was gone, i went on a walk to the store. it turned out to be a pretty scary walk, though. lightning
kept arcing across the sky theatrically. & i left my phone at home, so i couldn't message my brother...


august 1st. my brother & i went to subway. i accidentally told the cashier that i was with the lady behind me in
line. i thought she was asking about my brother... so i paid for that lady's sub, which i would've been happy to
do. but i didn't realize what was going on so i took it with me... the record player arrived. the first album
i played on it was kakashi. i spent all day spinning that album, wee tam & the big huge, & duck stab


august 3rd. it was a very tolerable temperature out. i bought a chocolate bar, which turned into soup in its wrapper as i
sat on a bench in the middle of a nearby apartment complex, reading maniac magee. i'm rereading a wrinkle in time too


august 5th. in the early morning i watched the first twenty minutes or so of stop making sense, which i have never seen...

later, after i had slept, i noticed a tick on sweet pea's ear. i had to yank it off. then i walked to the store for
cherries, blueberries, babybel cheeses, shampoo, conditioner, & parasite repellent for sweet pea. on the way,
i stopped at a soccer game with food trucks & got a slice of cheesecake drizzled with caramel. i sat on a marble
bench by a pond & ate it. it was very hard, i could hardly dig the spoon in half an inch. it was nice, though

so then i arrived, bought all those things, & set off back home. on the way back, i found a chuck e. cheese "play pass" card on the
sidewalk & took it. then i stopped in a gas station for fruit juice. as i left, an incredibly scraggly old guy said "hon? you have
a nice day," then when i looked back he made a wet kiss sound at me... when i got home, my dad gave me an early
birthday present. i think he knocked it outta the park with this one. then i gorged myself on cherries


august 6th. i received an early birthday present in the mail from that one guy... stanislaw lem's highcastle. the straps on the
bag my dad got me are very weird & dangly, so i took them off. i decided to walk around with it affixed to my purse's strap by my
water bottle. i filled it with dozens & dozens of strawberry hard candies. all i ate today were blueberries, cherries, & babybel cheeses


august 7th. i made a spreadsheet about a compilation that was released in 2017 for a japanese band that made
experimental children's music in the 80s. it has the compilation's tracklist & the tracklists of all the original
releases, with the tracks color coded to show which sections of the compilation are sourced from what, &
which songs are exclusive to it. i also uploaded the first disc of the compilation to youtube. more forthcoming


i went to a local cinema & opportunistically saw The Green Knight. it was pretty interesting. then there was a free outdoor concert
featuring some punk bands. it was kind of nice. but unpleasantly loud, as they always are. made my left ear crinkle like plastic wrap,
as they always do. i sat on the patio, where it was the most tolerable. there was a weird cardboard cutout of a guy up by the stage [1] [2]

i ran into drunken C & her drunken friends. they invited me to sit with them. i dragged a stool with metal legs over,
& it shrieked against the patio. i think i did this quickly enough that it wasn't grating, but slowly enough that it
brought out the humor of the action. they complimented my nails & my skirt. i sat there silently, swiveling my
head to stare dumbly at whoever was talking, even after the music began to drown them out entirely

eventually they went to stand up near the stage, so i retired to the lobby. there were about thirty small, simple,
framed drawings of tombstones featuring pithy eulogies for Earth, in reference to climate change. inspired
by Vonnegut! i read more of intro to capital. i idly played the piano, trying to channel music for airports

intro to capital was driving me crazy, because there's a point where he randomly switches from saying the value of
a capitalistically produced commodity is c + v + s (constant capital, variable capital, surplus value) to c + v + m, & as
far as i can tell he never defines m or addresses this change at all. m. was i forgetting when he talked about m?!?! then
my friend helped me figure it out. it was "mehrwert," he changed the abbreviation to the german word for surplus value...

i had a tofu banh mi sandwich, a slice of vegan chocolate cake, & the best gummy bears i've ever had.
the way their citrusiness would manifest, it was like eating air freshener. as i walked around,
i had to keep ducking under the breeze of a fan so it wouldn't mess up my bangs

i rode home, excited to move the lamp in my room to a small table


august 9th. i... tried & failed to get a shot. the clinic closed earlier than i thought it would. regardless, i still went
to the coffee shop. when i got there, "alex was not here" & a nice drawing were already on the chalkboard. i wrote
"yes i was :(" but forgot to take a picture of it. i had one of the august specials: a s'mores latte. i got it free as
an early birthday thing. it was kind of flavorless though. i tried to order a decaf espresso con panna but they
just made me a decaf cortado. i slammed it for no reason. just to feel alive i guess! i also had a banana smoothie

neither of these selections were of my own volition, really. i've been trying everything on the menu
by periodically sending... initially the whole menu, to a discord channel, & ordering whatever the
first thing someone types is. then i remove that thing from the selection the next time i do it

the coffee shop closed. i sat in the bar yet again. i sat in the back room, mostly reading intro to capital again. i got through
about thirty pages. i'm on chapter eleven of twelve now. soon this classic refrain will disappear from the diary entries

a girl on roller skates named M asked what i was reading. i showed her the cover. she asked if it was a novel. i struggled
with succinctly summarizing it, but did stammer that it's, like... karl marx's... description of how... capitalism functions.
she said that was really deep stuff, & then said, "karl, wha- is it karl 'marx?' i'll have to remember that"


august 10th. i received a second package of early birthday gifts from that one guy... an opportunistically purchased cd of
vektroid's shader complete &, truly the entree of this package, a guh guh guh guh gorgeous translucent red songs vinyl...


august 12th. i ate a microwave pot pie with sixty-eight grams of fat in it, as a humble invitation to my body to retain absolutely any of it


august 13th. i tried & failed to get a shot, again. i would have to go back at nine in the morning the following
day. then i went to a thrift store. i saw a cute sign, a doll, a jewel case of face paint (inspiration taken from the
, no doubt), penguin shoes, buddy mugs, a wonderful old cd player, a cute hangman board,
clothespins, an ornate book, some cute teacups. holding a toy story vhs case broke my heart

i got a fabric, a freaky toy dog, & a small mug with cute illustrations. i also got a speck of dust debilitatingly
stuck in my eye for an unreasonable amount of time. i had to just sit on the floor in the store until that resolved.
i also got very hungry. i wandered over to the park with my excessively heavy backpack & purse. the leaves were
starting to change. everything felt oddly cozy & unusual as i shook from hunger & stared at trees covered in
cicada shells. there was something intoxicating about the hunger pangs at that moment, sort of mind-altering

i shambled a considerable distance over to the coffee shop, probably burning at least one hundred & thirty six grams
of fat. when i arrived, i got a mixed berry smoothie & two turkey spinach wraps. then i noticed they had the black
bean hummus wraps, which i would have gotten instead! drat. a girl gave me a chocolate & peanut butter
shake in a jar, saying she "just used it for pictures." i used it for that picture but i drank it too


august 15th. i turned twenty-three years old. i ordered a vinyl of tanoshii ongaku's yappari from japan for about forty
dollars... i promise never to pay such an absurd price for physical media ever again. or at least to keep it to a "once a year"
type rate. i listened to les rallizes denudes' '77 live for the first time, specifically because it was released on my birthday
(seven years before i was born). i made myself throw away the cardboard box my record player came in. i spent a little while
restructuring my rym ratings, anchoring them by a more positive standard for 4/5 which used specifically the magnetic fields'
distant plastic trees as its model. my dad & brother made steaks & baked beans. my dad got me a shirt & a pair of shorts.
they constitute an okay outfit but i feel like it makes me look like a frat boy with rich parents. i walked to
the store for a bottle of coffee & a guy did the actual "weuu woo" whistle at me


august 16th. i finally got a shot. i went to the coffee shop. the wifi password had
been erased from the chalkboard, & i redid it. a de facto employee, really.
there was a poetry night. i went up & read my story story again


august 17th. my first day of classes for the semester. oral communication, interpersonal communication, video
production. i sat in a classic type of chair. i felt at home back in the student center. i got a free lunch because i
left my wallet in the book store, & the cashier at the food court took pity on me after i frantically dug through
my purse & didn't find it. then i recovered the wallet. really juked her. i ran one & 2/3 miles on an
elliptical treadmill. i'm going to start doing that every day again! then i got home & passed out


august 18th. i attended my first radio practicum class, learned i'll actually be on the radio during the semester, producing
& airing fourteen shows even. it's kind of crazy to me that i can just, take this class that expects me to ultimately curate
& mix fourteen hours of music. i mean, i can absolutely do that!!! but it's crazy that that's the aim! it's not even
a class that teaches how to do it. you'd think i had bypassed prerequisites, but i don't think i did


august 22nd. at about three in the morning, i noticed that the youtube channel that i've been uploading music to for several
years had been deleted for a perceived terms of service violation. so that... made my face burn. i submitted an appeal request

that night, i figured i would have to wait until monday, tuesday, or wednesday to get
the appeal looked at, & the waiting was getting to me. i had this to say about it:

years of interesting finds no one else had uploaded... the ten hours of content i'd uploaded
from the 365 days project, & i was just getting started on that. if it ends up rejected,
there goes a bunch of the motivation to keep sifting through that

plus numerous playlists i'd spent hours & hours deliberating on. my favorite songs list, favorite lyrics
list, the two "songs i've been posting" lists that are like special music diaries which strongly evoke
various spans of time. the tracklists of those two aren't backed up anywhere. my special "laundromat"
list which maybe i could reconstruct from memory, but its tracklist is not backed up anywhere
either... i would private all the videos if i could just have access to the playlists

just like to sit in my house & find music to share. not having the most fulfilling time overall but that is
something i like to do. no though, it gets threatened with obliteration out of nowhere. if the appeal is denied,
i don't know. i will just crumple up & drain of color a bit, & forget some things, & proceed with life

the channel was soon restored, though! so i calmed down


august 23rd. after feeling pretty negative all day, i lied down & tried to just empty my mind of thoughts for about five
minutes, then fell asleep listening to tracey trance - fountain 1 & felt better than i had in weeks. so that's all i had to do,
i guess... i kept having dreams where i'd click "stop after current" in foobar2000 to make the song stop looping,
but it'd keep influencing the dream from my laptop in real life, & i'd think "why isn't it working..."


august 24th. i was dying for a little while because, at the end of my Interpersonal Communications class, a girl with uniquely
appealing fashion sense, who had walked in to say hi to a friend there, said she really liked my blouse. that felt good, but i was too
caught off guard to return the compliment... it really bothered me for a while, maybe because i had just been awake for a pretty long time

then i noticed that she actually happened to be in the room that my next class would be at in forty minutes.
so i just waited around & figured i'd see if it would seem unintrusively feasible & non-weird to
return the compliment then. did i not genuinely have the excuse of this coincidence?

well, as i sat there i began to feel acutely aware that approaching strangers without some very strictly utilitarian
reason tends to make me feel like a sexual predator for no reason, & that that is a large part of why i don't have
any friends here. so i started to feel pretty sad. when the class ended i saw her leave the building a bit
too quickly for me to have said anything, even if i had felt capable of it, so that was that

i walked around campus for a little while, listening to cherry tomato on repeat. then, in the administrative building, i ran
into M, one of my old friends from 2017. a different M from the girl with the roller skates. we hadn't seen each other in
over a year, i believe. we talked for a little while, until the other old friend arrived & they headed off to that friend's class

i walked home. i indulged a common ritual of stopping & cooling off in the convenience store's "beer cave." after
i set back out, the heat began to feel so intolerable that i messaged my brother, asking for a ride home
from the store. i walked back to wait in the beer cave until he arrived. i got home & passed out


august 25th. was this on the twenty-fifth? it was around this time. my dad showed me some body
wash that he bought with me in mind, which had fairly explicit feminine branding as opposed to the
ones that are already there. he couldn't bring himself to say out loud that that was why, though,
even though it clearly was. so he just said that "it seems... less... abrasive, i don't know"

it's weird, because reaffirming one's identity through the gendered branding of their shampoo is insane but here
it's still being used as like, a channel to communicate genuine acceptance? so it's like... well okay, sure, i guess


august 26th. i went to my classes. the chef in the cafeteria finally said that she loves that i draw a smiley face on my meal
ticket every single day, after actual years of me doing it. that thrilled me. i saw the girl with the fashion sense again. i guess
on each day that i have a one pm class in that building, she does too. i am just going to internally drop that matter,
though. but i felt very despondent again, about feeling incapable of approaching anyone

still: my friend? acquaintance? E has her own dorm now instead of living on the far edge of town. i visited E's dorm
for the first time. she is in a big new building that i've been passively spectating the construction of for about
a year. i arrived at about four. we didn't talk much, we never do. but i brought my record player, showed her
all my records. i had had to hurry into the building because it was hot enough outside to warp them if they
were exposed for long enough. we quietly listened to wee tam while she did stuff on her phone

then we went & got dinner at the dining hall. i had two slices of pizza & a small bowl of ice cream. while we were eating,
i opened the tumblr app & remembered that i had logged out of it. "good. good me," i thought. then we went back & watched
the first several episodes of Inuyasha. at about seven-forty i had had my fill of Inuyasha & decided i'd message my brother
for a ride home at eight. i spent the last twenty minutes just clicking through endless netflix shows without watching
anything because i wasn't sure what else to do. it started feeling kind of bleak after a while


august 28th. in the early morning, i finished intro to capital

after i slept, i made an rym list of the songs that have made me cry. then i went to a pride festival. it was not super
big, but regardless i don't think i had ever been to one of its scale. it was a very pleasing event to witness, with tons
of cool people all around. two or three complimented my dress or said i was pretty. an old lady asked my name &
for a hug. so i gave her one. a girl walked up and asked if i'm the girl who does the music, the digi-music
at the open mics. celebration by kool & the gang played on big speakers & the kick drum felt good

still, though, i did stare around fearfully & think exactly what i tend to think. which is: "even in a society that was perfectly
egalitarian along all possible lines of difference between people the existence of sexual dimorphism & lack of choice in it
would be an intolerable oppression imposed by nobody, i can't take it i can't take it i can't take it i can't take it i can't ta

i truly revel in seeing expressions of happy progressive stuff & thinking & saying things in response that by comparison are just deeply
inconvenient in their simultaneous idealism & accompanying depression in light of how fundamentally infeasible they are. it rocks

okay, maybe i was just feeling depressed that day. after the festivities on the street finished, & everyone moved indoors, i sat in
a very loud & crowded bar, on my laptop, feeling super out of it. there was a drag show in the back. sometimes i sit at a little
table next to the double doors that lead to that back room, & when i happen to do that on the night that there is a show, people
tend to assume i'm the one taking tickets or checking ids or what-have-you. i spoke briefly with J's friend. M, not my 2017
friend, the one who had been in roller skates, sat across from me & spoke with me again, briefly. it seemed like she
was trying to calm herself down from intense anxiety that she was experiencing over how many people there were

i walked around the block in the dark, photographed a building, photographed statues

there is also: "i could participate in the feeling of solidarity fostered by this pride festival
but only on the condition that i roleplay as a person," which i am not interested in doing


august 29th. i went to the coffee shop. there was a second day of pride festivities, but they were at a park. i figured it'd
have been too hot out. i brought my record player, & used earbuds to listen to some of the records that they keep sitting as
decoration in the front room. i imagined the baristas clueless as i sped toward the shop, thinking "ah ha ha ha i'm gonna
play the decorative records! it'll be a delightful subversion of how like they are actual records but disassociated from
their original purpose for the sake of inertly playing into the established appearance of a coffee shop ahahaha ha!"

these were the records i listened to:
side a of tal farlow's the tal farlow album
side a of a split featuring supermarket all-stars & injury
side a of huey lewis & the news
side b of the paul desmond quintet's desmond
side a of bud shank & bob brookmeyer
most of side a of bud shank & three trombones

there was a finale drag show at the bar, & i spectated it from a room over while i downloaded music. a lot of people attended.
later, as my brother drove me home, he told me that there had been a plumbing issue & sewage had started coming out
of our bathroom sink & flooding into the kitchen a bit. so that was something the folks had had to deal with


august 30th. i got a shot. my yappari vinyl arrived! i was relieved that i got it directly from the mailman, as i had had no
idea what day it would show up, & if he had just set it on the porch while i was off somewhere & it was ninety-five
degrees out... the thing would have warped! well, i gave it some spins. it's the 2018 reissue, & i discovered
that each side has an appended track that i thought was exclusive to the hyokkori compilation

i went to the convenience store. as a really gnarly-looking sweaty guy left, he muttered something to a lady. i didn't hear
what he muttered, but i did hear her reply "no, i'm married," & see the cashier give a funny look in their direction

a plumber came & fixed our sink. i think it will take me a while to feel cozy in our bathroom again. it
was pretty bad in there. i threw away my toothbrush & deputized the travel toothbrush in my backpack


august 31st. i watched a mama cat & her five kittens playfully explore the backyard. the black & white one stalked
a bird, then charged at it, but couldn't catch it. i also found out that there is a cat lounge in town. i went to class. for
lunch, i asked my brother to drive me home so i could microwave some slices of pizza. i haven't really had the money
to get stuff to eat for about a week. my grant money is taking its sweet time to arrive. as i waited for him to arrive,
i stood in the sun & crushed pine needles & smelled them, seeking to reject the impulse to stand just inside
the building like someone drably waiting at a metro station to be taken to their desk job

later, still hungry, i barely managed to buy some hummus & crackers, & a... stick of beef. in the cafeteria,
i ran into both of the folks from 2017. they're both attending classes now. i sat by them for a little bit.
i told jokes that make them laugh. that's why i was so close with them in 2017. that's part of why
they live in this city, even. we're kind of distant now, though. M took a picture of me, then
made it sing that fortnite song. so a picture of me has now sang that fortnite song

i recorded all my spoken bumpers for the first radio show, then sat by a big third-floor window with a beautiful view
& painstakingly put everything together in Audacity as the sun set. this whole process took three or four hours