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GLINT


The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

When was the last time you got something good in the mail? Actual mail, I’m talking here, a.k.a. snail mail, post, etc. Me, I only get bills and The New Yorker or journals in my mail. And lately lots of wedding invitations. At least the wedding invites include the qualifying element of “real” mail: a handwritten address. Each evening, my trained eye scans a sheaf of long, narrow, business envelopes, and instantly hones in on those clear plastic windows that frame my name and location, or the computer printed label bearing the same intimate details. And then I know that these envelopes aren’t really for “me”—they’re for my corporate doppelganger who, despite the outward resemblance, is kind of shallow and fond of making promises she knows she won’t keep.

For some time now, a certain student loan organization has been sending me “business correspondence” bearing my address written in perky, bubbly script. This alarmingly good-natured penmanship suggests a buxom administrative assistant, whose personality may be characterized similarly to her script, somewhere in Middle America has wielded the pen and is ultimately responsible for the offensive epistle’s deceptively personal appearance. Hey, honey: quit it. You’re not my friend so use a computer printed label so that your envelope can retain the look of the impersonal affront it actually is.

Maybe it is just post-vacation blues, but yesterday eve, as I dragged my sorry self over the threshold, collected the said sheaf of bills, magazines, and wedding invitations, tossed them aside muttering nasties about the presumptuous office girl’s annoying handwriting, heartily pet the puss, cracked a beer, flopped down in a lawn chair and lit the FIRST ciggie of the day, I felt empty and soulless. And kind of sad. In the apartment was my collection of mail from the last several weeks displayed on the coffee table. The bills, invitations, and high-brow publications lay strewn in a sloppy arc, an array resembling a lopsided grin. Suddently, I saw what was going on. My life was mocking me. My little mailbag microcosm of a life was positively getting off on the incredibly trite symbolic punch it packed if you looked at it in the right self-deprecating light. The haze of the setting sun through the bitter exhalations of smoke did the trick. My PBR turned to cheesewater in my mouth.

The bills: This is Symbolism 101, ok? Current employment woes cannot override the overpriced existence I lead in this ridiculous town and I still find myself nearly broke by payday. Student loan officers have kept in touch with me better than most of the people I actually went to college with. Fuckers, both.

The magazines: Oh, lookee! It’s the new fiction issue of the NY or the most recent issue of the journal that just rejected your last submission! Yay! If only you were too busy to write old friends because you were too busy…writing.

Why are my old academic colleagues too busy for sporadic social contact? That’s an easy one. They’re all too busy with their wildly fulfilling creative pursuits and quirky para-professional careers (that all pay better than my hackneyed research gig, not that anyone should care about salary). But if they did drop me a line, their return addresses would read “Kick-Ass Loftspace In Post-Industrial Urban Hipster Wonderland That Is Actually Getting Too Overrun By Second-string Poseurs, So Expect A Change-Of-Address Soon” or “Charming 1-Bedroom With H/W Floors In Offbeat Neighborhood In Exciting Small, Almost Affordable City That You Totally Ignored A Few Years Ago” or simply “Transient in Micro-Asia.”

The wedding invites: Another self-explanatory one here. Sometimes it seems like everyone is nuptially inclined; sometimes it just seems like everyone is part of an annoyingly healthy relationship that is comfortably cruising at a safe speed along the normal route towards cohabitation, etc.

Either way, the wedding invites pile up and remind you that you must remember to pigeonhole $100 in four months for a silly formal dress that at some point might make good on its investment by serving as appropriate attire for a rock show if you accessorize it correctly and cut it off at the knee. Your friend is embarking on the most adult of escapades and you’re still half-broke and going to rock shows with the same on-and-off boyfriend in a routine that appears to support only lateral movement, no progression. The same boyfriend who a week ago drunkenly opined that your writing “has no soul.” But more on that another time.

What to do, what to do? Last night, in an uninspiring wave of apathetic self-pity, I did nothing. I chain-smoked, drank a few more beers. The mail still leers at me from the coffee table. More is coming today, I know.


reflect - reinvent ....rayclaire@gmail.com... what i used to think... what i hear... what i see... where i'd like to be...


the black apple... the girl who... sarah brown... thunderpie... evany... jenny b harris... posie... claude le monde... artsy... fartsy... jeff... random person in texas... another rachel... smitten kitchen... more of me... still more of me... even more of me...and yet still more of me...more of me but not for free...


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