daily preciousness

Friday, March 16, 2001

the call

I jumped up and down. I screamed like a 5-year-old. I felt a little light-headed, stopped for a minute, then started jumping all over again. Squeals of "They want me!" and "I'm gonna get me a job!" sprang from my smiling lips.

It was Tuesday night when I got the e-mail from Library of Congress that they were trying to contact me. Nobody was home, so I didn't have an ounce of shame or shyness about my squealing and bouncing.

I bounced around the apartment, in a parade of one, a little victory dance, like the ones seen at the 40 yard line. I made quick calls to family and loved ones. The conversations were peppered with words like "thrilled" and "proud" and "supreme ruler of the universe." (The last one was mine.)

The next morning, I woke up with an incredible lightness of being in my heart. I was getting ready to go to work, cleaning the kitchen, when I got the call to set up the phone interview Thursday, March 22nd.

It's an interview for my DREAM JOB as public affairs specialist at the Library of Congress. That's right, kids, the largest library on the planet, the most complete and storehouse of information mankind has ever known. And they want me spread the good news of secular humanism and enlightenment on their team. (Or, they will want me, if they don't already.)

Stay tuned for details. Meanwhile, chant a "go, Jeffrey" mantra in my direction.

I just read a quote from an e-mail signature. It seems appropriate for such good news. "There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming." -Soren Kierkegaard

I'll admit it, the prospect of living and working in DC and making such a huge change in my life is very scary. But I was strong enough to survive in Japan; it was a pivotal time for growth and change for me. So I suspect that DC could prove to be a similar set of wonderful challenges. The fear is overcome by the promise of new possibility.

Sunday, March 11, 2001

thoughts of Selma

Petit and out of place, she stands at the metal extruding machine and waits for her shift to end. Waits for her boy to become 14. Waits for her eyesight to leave her.

Then the noises speak to her. The clattering of the conveyor belt, the hiss of the steam compress, the monotone hum of the transformer box – they converge in a symphony of ambient music.

"This is a musical," she reminds herself. Through her Coke bottle glasses, she squints at the world around her. Dampened globs of color, warped into movements and stillness, are all that she can make out.

Despite it all, she smiles. The indistinct forms dance in front of her as she imagines them engaged in an elaborate choreography. The shapes wrap around for a Broadway-style lineup. A show-stopper. The elfin girl giggles.

These are the memories I have as I shop for a movie on DVD. Time to make a purchase.

Saturday, March 10, 2001


The man with perfect biceps at the table next to me is talking with his friend. They are discussing his wife's naked pictures on the internet. "But it's just from here down," he adds, motioning from the base of his neck to his crotch. "Nobody knows it's her, unless they know about her birthmark!"

The woman nods and covers her smiling mouth. She points out the benefits of a healthy sex life to a woman in her 40s. And adds, holding an imaginary joint up to her mouth, that just a little bit of "this" goes a long way, too.

I am sitting next to hippies. Hippies dressed in Izod khakis and J.C. Penny Liz Claiborne weekend wear. Who knew it would come to this? Covert hippies whispering about swinging, soft-core electronic porn and marijuana. Can't a gay man escape from the ubiquitous heterosexism? You'd think that a smart little coffee shop would be the perfect hideout. But sadly, this is not the case.

Defeated, I pack up my computer, my David Sedaris book, and head home, where I am safe -- from swinging hippie fossils in their 40s.