I wish I kept a better journal. But, alas, I do not. I’m just not that disciplined as a writer. I fall into these extroverted fits where I don’t take any time on my own to think and reflect with pen and paper, I just surround myself with people and action and lights and music and think, “THIS IS GREAT – I hope I can remember ALL OF THIS, so I can write about it later.”
Which would be a great idea, except I have a terrible memory.
If you are ever out with me, please push paper napkins my way when you see the “shifty eyes, I’d sell my first child for a pen” look. You’ll know that look. It’s pure conflict – I want to rush into the bathroom and scribble notes in dark ink all over the insides of my arms, yet I don’t feel like I can tear myself away from the scene for a second. I hate to miss anything. I’ll twitch. I’ll shake my foot. I’ll look to the napkin crumbled in my lap, smeared with bright fuchsia lipstick and soggy from sopping up several spilled ounces of my gin-and-tonic that night and know that my trusty ball-point would tear right through it, and any other pen would bleed into illegibility. If you go out with me, you’ll see this. Please, just hand me a dry napkin and try not to judge. I’m still evolving.
As you may have guessed, I didn’t write much on my Japan/Thailand trip. I had all the best of intentions, but ended up with a notebook that was so pretty, I hated to write in it (don’t ask, I’m a special kind of neurotic).
However, I did keep a scratch composition notebook in which I scribbled directions, notes, sketches of maps, doodles, important phone numbers and random (sometimes drunken) thoughts. Like this:
Imperial Palace, bitches!
I usually only took the time to write on the train – hence several train themes, and I promise you, I don’t do drugs.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, Quotes from a water-logged travel journal:
I look in the mirror and scream, “When the hell are you going to grow up?!”
My reflection stares back at me and giggles uncontrollably.
Hm. This is like that time I was silently judged by the Japanese man as I took a picture of pigeons. I know they are pigeons. I am just marveling at how they look exactly the same as pigeons in London and New York and San Francisco. What the hell. Elephants in Africa and Asia are different, but pigeons, they are all the same. Bizzare.
Ugh. I suck at umbrellas. Seriously. Is there a secret to this?
My thoughts are steeped deeply in sake as I sit at the Fussa station awaiting the arrival of the 10 car 2137 to Tokyo. I sip a cold apple tea. I fucking love Japan. Fussa, the home of my former roommate, has become a second home to me now. I am comforted by the familiarity of streets I’ve walked as if they were my hometown. I left J in Tokyo with a group of American college students. I told him if he was not back to our hotel by 0825 tomorrow morning, I’d leave his bag at the front desk and depart for Hong Kong without him. I don’t think he knows how much I mean that.
My handwriting is hideous. My own form of shorthand. Drunken. Numerous letters lost in the cursive. Why don’t they teach cursive to kids anymore? It is handy. And art.
Did someone seriously jump in front of my train tonight?
I’m not going to make it to Tokyo.
I might make it to Tokyo on time.
I’m not going to make it.
Am I being calloused about the “Emergency Stop.” Like, I really hope no one died. But, I also really hope I make my connection.
Unbelievable, I made it. On the 0005 train to Narita. Takes a deep breath. Why do I risk the last train? Because the right one feels so damn good. Vending machine purchase: Iced coco latte. It tastes like chocolate milk. I love it. Like that line – potentially something someone famous once said, known only to me by some (likely) misquote from a popular culture film I obviously can’t remember in detail, but whoever said it, wherever, whenever – I understand: Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.
Stop staring at the young girls with the thigh-high stockings and mini-skirts, you old pervert!
My train to Narita slowly fills up. The night’s last train always has a special energy. And plenty of drunks.
I’m in the Seoul airport. A very tall gentleman in a turban and I shared a moment. He had delightfully dark eyes.
Take a note: Baby Elephant Orphanage in Kenya!
I wish there were more Robert Redfords in the world.
Buzzing off one glass of wine and thoroughly enthralled with Out of Africa. I am turning into my mother.
For the first time in my life, my broken heart was recognized as an “emergency” to someone besides just me…
I did record one palm-sweatingly great train adventure, but that story stands on its own. So, you’ll just have to wait til I find where I wrote it….
DUN DUN DUN