mood bouncy-bouncy.

Big chunks of Southern California are on fire. How big? Well, check out the satellite photo. For a sense of scale and location, those are the Channel Islands, between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Yet another reason (as if I needed one) to be glad I live here and not there. Pretty awesome in the power-of-nature sense, too. Those are some big fucking fires.

At Kelly's urging I am slowly reading Island of the Sequined Love Nun, which is...strange. I may read Naked Lunch afterward for some perspective on strangeness.

I'm still tracing the paths of my memories as they come. I think part of the fascination of youth is the sheer newness and awkwardness of everything, especially relationships. Except that it doesn't really get less awkward. I get older, I gain some real experience and intuition about the world and myself, and I think that I can handle relationships or work or living situations better. And to some extent that's true, but I think I kid myself about how awkward life remains, because I find few things so unsettling these days as the idea of getting to know a new person in a romantic context. It's moot, of course; I guess it could conceivably be less so if I were more excited about the idea. In theory I could even arrange to meet more people. That's a bit more out in the world than I want to be right now, I think. I'm getting to know the friends I already have. Although I can't generally date them. We'll see.

I survey my life with a certain amount of satisfaction. I don't see any branch points where I made choices I can't live with, or where I made choices that weren't me. If what I really want is a house and wife and 2.5 kids and a minivan and a picket fence (which is not, by any stretch, the only way to go, and I can scarcely imagine that's where I'm headed), there haven't been any junctures where that would have happened. I'm here, in this time and place, and my life is what it is, as the sum total of a lot of good luck, and me being myself, in my various sticky incarnations.

I have a pretty detailed map in my head of the old city of Guanajuato, Mexico. I liked it there: no timetable, beautiful place, nice people, cheap living, and because I speak Spanish I could explore in a way that wouldn't otherwise have been possible. We were at our first hostel for the Feast of the Three Kings on January 6th, which I knew nothing about except that the Puerto Rican kids in school would always spend that day with their families, and that's when they would do presents and things. The family that ran the hostel invited any guests around to be part of the ceremony, which was interesting (and interminable): I can't remember what people were reading, but it was a group responsibility to have at least one sparkler going the entire time, so we would periodically get handed fistfuls of sparklers by the grandfather. Then there was dinner, of homemade tamales and some slightly sketchy cream-based drink that I'm 98% sure didn't have any pork in it, and we met a nice Argentine couple (this was right when Argentina started its huge economic meltdown), whereupon I discovered that if I ever go to South America I probably won't be able to understand anyone, and I acquired an unending wonder that Spanish-speakers from around the world can communicate.

Not all good, of course. There's a lot of bad from that time in my life (and others, but we're not talking about them now) that I've yet to let go of.

I keep thinking that this--my life, the world at large--should have a point. It doesn't, particularly. There's nowhere I need to end up, no one I need to be, nothing I need to do. That has both a freeing and a saddening effect on me, and I always seem to flip drastically between the two. I tend to view them as separate, and the sadness as wholly undesirable. But maybe they're not so separate, in a way I just don't understand yet.