harpier cries

The Secret Classroom

Back in the early 1990's, I was a pseudo-wannabe hippiegirl. I was a freshman in high school, and there was an extra curricular environmental club students could join to earn some extra credit from their Biology classes.

The activity was sponsored by my Biology teacher. He was a tall man, with icy blue eyes like Locke's, and knew how to smile with them and not his mouth. Fancy trick, that. Try it.

He was notoriously lax about observing us as we were on-duty with the club, so I spent many a study hall hour in the little office off of the stairs, goofing off with other kids from my class, trying to find cartoons on the old black and white television tucked away on one of the shelves.

Because I was always the trustworthy one (believable, able to tell lies, a two-sided girl), I was often set as the guard for when a tunnel excursion was underway. Back in the storage area, where our collected aluminum cans awaited recycling day, there were doors that led to maintenance tunnels on the interior of the main building. Stairs and ladders downwards led to darker, less-trafficked areas. All of it was strictly off-limits to students, and even the janitorial staff had no use for most of the deeper, narrower tunnels that led underground from the old sections to the newer construction near the fieldhouse.

So, I'd sit topside with my psychology book or maybe a paper journal, or even a deck or cards, and I'd wave goodbye to the adventurers with their coats and their flashlights and their nonchalant chatter totally betrayed by the glint of excitement in their eyes. I felt like their guardian, and looked forward to my turn in the rotation more often than not.

The tunnels were cool. We were often so worried about getting back to the "surface" (read: first floor) by the end of the study hall period that we moved quickly through them, trying to scare each other, trying to keep our own squeals and screams muffled so that we wouldn't get caught.

We never really did end up making those maps we talked about, the ones that charted out every last tunnel, every shortcut, every set of old water pipes you could wriggle through, every pile of old furniture, every army of old chalkboards, and end up somewhere new. Even now, my memory of our usual paths is blurry.

There was one day we found an entire classroom, tucked away, practically walled off from the rest of the school. We made up horror stories about its original purpose and why it was sealed away from the current student body. We'd be sitting cross-legged on top of the old desks in our jackets, pushing flashlights up under our chins. For added effect, we held aloft frogs in jars, floating ghostily in their greenish preservative. We pretended that they were the missing students of Aught-Something, shrunken and transformed, and made to spend the rest of their days slumbering in goo far beneath the thundering feet of their fellow teenagers.

I wish we'd taken pictures, or something. Gotten one of those disposable cameras. Maybe taken captain's logs, or done up a little pirate's nest a la Polly Plummer. Maybe left a letter detailing our adventures for whoever would manage to sneak down there long after we were gone.

But, the club was disbanded. Not any fault of ours, to be sure, but it was one of those administrative adult decisions that made no sense at the time. There was nothing to be done. Recycling cans and cleaning up the occasional residential block of its gutter trash was really not considered a good use of our time. Many of us just went back to our study halls. Spent the time after school gluing glittery letters to paper banners for Homecoming. Whatever.

I still wonder what I would think of the stories I might have written, had I dared to make a mark on those days.

I wonder what the Present Me would get out of it, having a record of those times, when there was excitement, and even the whisper of academic doom were we ever to get caught.

Sometimes, in the thick of it, we get so tired of it all, when it's not really about the tired.

It's all about the legacy, isn't it? These footholds you have all sent out for others to grapple onto -- it's all part and parcel of this adventure we've all taken -- into places we never thought we'd go.

I find myself ... almost envious of where some of you have been. And of what you've created. I wish I could hold it all, right here, forever.

Something like this shock, though: this is not some fleeting, rushed journey through some old cinderblock-lined corridors. Nico's apparently raised his stubborn head again and warned of us a repeat performance.

Maybe I haven't told you everything about my life.

But I need your stories now, more than ever, because I just might need to map the twisty tunnels of my urban life if this continues on. I just might need them.

(no subject)

I feel as though I've been in a really foggy place. Like I've half-woken from a nap, and the world has become this mirrored funhouse version of itself.

I decided to get out of the house, for once. See, I've sort of been keeping to myself. Words don't come easily when it feels like there's not much to say, except the same ol', same ol'. I mean, who cares about my boring urban life? Too many hours spent waiting for the bus, too many predictable rough edges to every interaction. I am not a ray of freaking sunshine. Trust me on this.

Anyway, I got out. I breathed the cool air in deep, and I felt it hammer my chest like first-date jitters.

Took the 56 to Armitage, then walked to the former Roby street.

From there it was a simple stroll to the train stop at North Avenue.

Took the train all the way to Clark and Lake, where I walked up to the surface and then over to the park to see the ice skaters.

I found $20 on the ground, and no one was nearby, so I hailed a precious cab, since it was already sleeting, and rode home quickly and in comfort. Back in the day, that same cab ride would've cost half as much, and still been a bit of a spendy thing to do.

I felt guilty and giddy and devil-may-care.

About a cab.

Mission hints

♥ The number is just that: one number.

♥ This number is unique to me, and I am intensely curious to see what your numbers are, and what you can do with them.

♥ Because of my circumstances, my number will likely remain constant for at least a little while longer. It's been the same since long before April 30th.

Any ideas?

math is hard

math is hard
math is hard
Hey, I have a mission for you.

It's sort of split in two, like my moods have been, lately. :P

The first part of the mission is to figure out what this number is. Once you've got that, e-mail me at pachinko.chance (at) gmail . c0m to see if you've sussed it out. (Click on the image to get a closer look.)

The second part of the mission is to make your own image - make it like a poster, or a mysterious postcard, or a calling card by which you will proclaim your own number.

Submit your mission to the WWO-org-a-licious site, and be sure to tag it with words like mission, and math is hard.

Ready, set, go!



I spent the evening reading parts of some of my favorite books tonight.

I think it was just what I needed.

You know how sometimes you can smell a perfume or food cooking, and you will be instantly transported to the first time you smelled that smell?

Well, for me, I began reading books right when I started really developing my personality, and I was reading some really amazing books in my teens that apparently made a huuuuuge impression on me, because here I am tonight, wiping stupid tears out of my eyes because I had forgotten over the last week or so where I left parts of myself.

Those little pieces of me, anchors, were pressed like flowers between the pages of these books.

Tell me about an activity you are still able to do that brings you back to yourself, to a time when things felt a little more tolerable/happy/stable?


Is it true? Is it really so bad out there ...

You can do anything you want, as long as it's done out of self-righteous revenge?

I have no words. We have lost our balance. No one to catch us.

Six dollars and thirty three cents.

It's no wonder I stay in my apartment, away from the rest of humanity.
  • Current Mood
    indescribable indescribable


I think maybe it's time for me to come clean.

Collapse )

I wonder sometimes if maybe being a city dweller means just going without so many things in the first place, that being part of some huge machine means that we experience a pre-determined loss of things we never knew were "supposed" to be ours to begin with.

*Closed loop, circuit tight and electrical, sparking to life for a moment, dulling down again as soon as a routine is re-established.*

My favorite color is wine.

My hero is no one.

My transportation costs have held steady.

Turning on the news is an exercise in surreality.