I'm just an animal looking for a home

Journal Entry


Note:  The only changes to this entry are minor corrections to grammar, punctuation, formatting, and spelling.  I’ve also removed any last names which appeared, except in the case of teachers.

I’m writing again much sooner than I had anticipated.  I doubt this will be the beginning of a new trend, although I would like it to be.

I’m currently on Continental flight 418, service from Houston to Raleigh-Durham.  I am on my way to see Monica.  She and I have been “together” now for about two or three months.  I enclose the word together in quotation marks for two reasons:

  1. Monica goes to school at Duke in North Carolina.  As a result, I have not seen her since December 14th.  I wrote my previous entry on the morning before I left.  I would never have met her if she hadn’t taken a year off from school and lived at home in Houston.
  2. Monica doesn’t like to say that we are “going out” or that I’m her boyfriend or she’s my girlfriend.  This took some adjusting on my part, but to be fair, she has also had to make adjustments.

Our relationship is a little odd.  The longer we are together, the more smoothly things work between us — I think we are coming to know and accept one another better.

But there is (of course) trouble in paradise.  As I said in my last entry, I love her.  She does not love me — or if she does, it is not the same sort of love that I feel.  This is by her own admission.  She does feel strongly enough about me to have stayed with me for this long, despite my variable nature and despite the fact that she hasn’t been in a relationship that has lasted this long for a while.  So these things encourage me.  It’s true that I would like my feelings reciprocated, but it is also true that Monica makes me very happy, we get along very well, and it would be silly and foolish to disrupt a happy relationship over this.

There are other sore spots, but I think we can work them out.  For example. it hurts her when I tell her I love her.  This sounds awful, I know, and believe me, it isn’t any fun.  But, in her defense, it is completely my fault.  But she knows how I feel, so it could be worse.  It’s complicated, I guess.  Again, almost everything between us is good, so these few rough spots aren’t too bad.  Of course, I am writing this when I’m in a good mood — ask me about this on a bad day, or at 5AM (my finest hour for melodrama), and you’ll probably get a different perspective.  But that’s okay — I’m happy most of the time, fortunately.

Now, I’m gonna eat my in-flight meal.

Done.  It was a good meal — that is and has always been my typical experience with airplane food.  I remember being surprised the first time I ate food on a plane, because I’d always heard about the bad reputation that seems to haunt hospital food and airplane food.  The closest I’ve come to hospital food was during my overnight stay when I had my wisdom teeth removed.  But it was not a hospital, it was a research center.  I was participating in a pain-killer study (alarmingly, some people — me included, of course — were given placebos) in order to have them removed for free.  In any case, the food was good, but all i could eat was jello and chicken salad sandwiches.  So I’ve come to disregard popular opinions, at least when it comes to food.  I suppose this makes sense — after all, everyone seems to love coffee.  How crazy is that?  Although even more surprising to me is the love of Coke, even though there was a time when I drank it in great quantity.  And while I can understand enjoying the effects of alcohol consumption, I am in frank amazement that people claim to like the taste — particularly of beer.  As they say (they, in this case, being me), there is no accounting for taste.

Oh, and although I had long maintained that diet soda was swill, I’ve actually come to like it.  Perhaps I am slowly losing my mind.

As long as I’m on the subject of soda, I have to ask — what the harf is actually in Diet Coke?  It has no calories, no sugar, nothing but sodium, as far as I can tell.  The mind boggles.

I’m still baffled — why do I write in this book?  Very few others have ever read it (or will likely ever read it) — which is probably best…  nobody should get a glimpse into the mind of a fourteen year old boy.  I never plan to show it to anyone.  Only three other people know it exists — Maile, Monica, and Sabrina.  I know that I don’t write it for their benefit — I’ve never felt like I was writing to or for someone.  The best way to describe it, I guess, is that I’m writing to my future self.  But I almost always read my old entries and am disgusted at myself.  I know my thoughts and feelings were not atypical for a teenage boy, but it still is embarrassing to read.  It is a testament to how much I trust those people whom I have permitted to read it.

I don’t know if I’d want these to exist after my death.  They don’t exactly portray my best side, although I don’t imagine that matters posthumously.  But would I want my sons or daughters reading it?  I’m not sure.  I think that I would, actually.  They might reach a point in their lives when they’d like to know where their father is coming from.  I’d love to read a journal that my father had written, particularly in his youth.  In many ways, my father is a stranger to me.  I was born when he was 52 years old.  So I guess I wouldn’t want to deprive my children of the opportunity to see into their father’s mind, as harfed up as it is.

I found a letter that I wrote to Maile — it was between the pages of this journal.  Christ, I was really into melodrama, manipulation, self-pity — the whole nine yards.  It was painful to read the letter.

Oh yes, I just re-read some old entries and Summers (the girl who introduced me to Harold And Maude) knows about this diary also, although I don’t recall if she ever read any of it.  I’ll go back and see…

I don’t think she did.  But I only scanned the entry.  Damn, I was a real bastard.  I still have my bastardly qualities, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a different person.  Of course, it is entirely possible that in six more years I will look back and think that right now I’m a real jerk.  I hope so — I’d like life to be a steady progression of self-improvement.  It is something that I always plan to work on.  In any case, there has been a marked improvement over the past ten years.  Slow to begin with, but I had to learn how to change.  Self-change is never easy.  I am more adept at it now, but it is still difficult.  But I guess life isn’t supposed to be easy all the time.  Adversity isn’t a bad thing.

I know one thing about myself — I am fascinated by myself.  Look how much time I spend in introspection.  This is not to say that I don’t find others interesting, but I certainly could be guilty of egotism.  But that’s not right, exactly, because I am not incredibly proud of myself, I just like exploring my mind and my life.  And that isn’t a fact about myself that I would like to change.  My interest in how I work — which is always present — has probably had a lot to do with my ability to change my life.  I also think that it may have contributed to my initial period of depression, though.  I spent a lot of time in introspection, but I hadn’t learned how to focus it, to steer myself away from dangerous territory, and to laugh at life, rather than let it bring me to my knees.  I still have low points in life, but I am buoyed by the fact that I know these low points will pass.  Dwelling on unhappiness is fruitless.  Be that as it may, it is still true that I am in a good mood right now (how could I not be?  Just 40 minutes until I see Monica) and therefore I am viewing myself through rose-tinted spectacles.  But that’s okay with me — happiness is good.

Monica commented that I am very candid when drunk.  Perhaps I should get drunk before writing in here.  Probably not a wise idea — when drunk, I am less able to fend off mood swings.

I briefly (just now) considered talking about the problems between Monica and I, but I don’t want to think about them right now, particularly since I am about to see her.  There are no pressing problems, anyway.

Sometimes I think that mathematics is one of the most beautiful and grand human creations.  It never fails to inspire in me wonder and joy.  I have difficulty explaining its sublime beauty to others, though.  I really should work on that.  As strongly as I feel about it, I should make a point of exploring and clarifying this feeling.  Part of the appeal is that it is perfect.  By that I mean that it states all of its assumptions and isn’t an approximate model of something else — it is self-contained.  And humans created it.  Before mankind, there were no numbers!  From such humble beginnings, humans have build up this impressive edifice.  It is like a world in itself, ripe for exploring.  All of this sounds trite, I guess, and probably does not adequately convey the childlike wonder with which it fills me.

I wonder how Gauss or Euler or Archimedes felt about mathematics.  They had such command of it…  I wish that i could glimpse, even for a brief moment, the brilliant constellation of truths and connections that must have lit up their minds when they thought about mathematics.  When I, on my indescribably smaller scale, experience a moment of mathematical intuition, I cannot even describe the elation and… _______ that accompanies it.  In that blank, fill in a word that means “feeling as though you have seen the mind of God.”  That is kind of like it.

We’re landing — Woohoo, I get to see Monica!  I love her so much (and I can’t let her read this entry, given that it will bother her to read that).

-Mitch (as though anyone else would be writing in here.  Didn’t I make this same joke in a long past entry?  Hmm…)


Author: mitcharf

vegan, curmudgeon, animal lover, feminist, agnostic, cat whisperer, bookworm, hermit, Red Sox fan, Cthulhu enthusiast, softball player, man-about-town

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