so everyone can calm down: once more, things worked out for princesster — swat becca, noting my distress last nite, suggested that i try priceline. no, i told her — nothing can be done. it’s over. it’s hopeless.

clearly, she’s more attuned w/ the rhythms of my life than i was. just try, she ordered, and i did. and sure nuff, not only did i find tickets almost immediately, but they were the exact price i was going to pay before, at almost the exact times i had intended to go, and on continental (!). so bless becca, bless priceline, bless the indulgent gods who hover over me and for the moment anyway are content letting things go well.

i’m happy too — now i have a more familiar thing to angst over than not getting what i wanted: what to do now that i have gotten it. i always worry too much. but worry is a luxury sometimes; if you have to worry about various issues specific to spending a week w/ yr boyfriend in san francisco during early summer, then, baby, you’ve got it made.

today was good. alexis from wifp and i went to hear a panel at the newseum in arlington sponsored by the freedom forum. apparently they spotlight a different country every other week and conduct a discussion about the state of its media. martha got an invite and asked we interns if any of us were interested in freedom of the press in russia. alexis spent a month there this past year and i … well, i’m tangentially related to the country, in a 2nd-cousin-twice-removed type way, so i thought, what the hell. also, it was just something different.

it was interesting. two journalists spoke. one, a jowly, beak-nosed, cheerfully round, economically-minded conservative who assured us in very good english that the situation there is being overdramatized and blown out of proportion. the other, a narrower, tired-looking, cynical liberal with more stilted english, was not as optomistic as his colleague. still both maintained that the truth is distorted in our newspapers, and that no one understands the importance of a free press more than russia. no, this was not a communist regression. people are merely restructuring; a comeback is in order and is in the cards.

afterwards, they gave us lunch. the audience for the most part skewed to the older, suit-wearing demographic. a loud click resounded thru the ornate top-floor dining room as everyone seemed to open their business card cases at once. two ex-military men asked the panel the same question about organized crime in russia. of course the journalists couldn’t answer but you had to wonder what the army knows that we don’t.

made friends (and exchanged cards!) w/ the woman next to us, who was intrigued by our description of the institute. also made friends w/ a guy from unc who’s working here this summer. i realized at some point i didn’t know his name but i just felt like he was an adam — he looks like an adam — and i kept referring to him that way in my head and that was sufficient. we talked politics and feminism (of course, always) as we metroed back from VA.

rented another 7 movies for $7, my favorite deal in the world. also spoke to the manager about getting a job there. now that SF is happening, i need to get a fucking job — i want to pay my parents back as quickly as possible. i filled out my barnes one but i’m hesitant. i’ll probably give it in … beggars, choosers, you know. i’ve tried lots of other indy bookstores; they just don’t need people. ah well. at least it’s not starbucks.

then this evening better than chocolate w/ liz ilana and annie. it was cute, very sexual in an artsy turn-on way. liz squirmed and made adorable noises when her parents wandered w/in earshot of the tv. the two main characters were like commercials for Noxema and Bally’s Total Fitness meeting, falling in love immediately, and consummating their flawless passion by painting each other’s naked bodies and rolling around on white sheets.

back to work tomorrow. then shabbes, then weekend. and so on and so forth, until the 26th.

for about 20 sweet, sweet hours, i was going to SF after all. my parents and i worked it out: i would pay them back $200 and i would promise to look up all their old long-lost friends and not buy any drugs on the street. (really, i’m a good kid. i only started doing any kind of drug senior year of high skool, i never did anything stronger than pot, and that was (is) only sporadically. i told my parents i was clean and they believed me. then they found an article i wrote for swat’s humor magazine, spike, where i described my trip to amsterdam this summer, part of which was spent w/ my brother adam, and much of which was spent in a classic a’dam-style haze. naturally the whole thing was exaggerated for comic effect and mostly my parents took it in stride. only now they probably feel naive and stupid for trusting me. ah, parental dynamics.)

so yeah, up til this afternoon, i was SF bound. becca (swat becca) was excited: we’d be in the city the same time — we could do the slack-jawed, saucer-eyed tourist shtick together. martha was excited: she loves SF and told me i’d love it too. ben was excited: we’d be together. and, of course, i was excited: SF; my first visit to sunny CA; becca; the bunnies; ben (benbenbenben).

today travelocity fucked me in the ass. unexpected and unpleasant. i cried in the car going to bethesda out of sheer frustration — mental, sexual. i had dinner plans w/ becca (penn becca) and ari. tho i was late, they were later; i had calmed down, but standing in front of the restaurant in the thick, sewer-quality air, i still felt pretty miserable. i heard someone call out, “ester!” and i glanced across the street. ben — different ben: oldest-guy-friend first-boyfriend (5th – 6th grade) once-partner-in-wicca oft-partner-in-rebellion senior-prom-date who dated another girl named ester in high skool just like i’m dating another guy named ben @ college, isn’t that a funny coincidence? — was working at xandos. we chatted for awhile until i saw becca approach.

and five seconds later, ari.

dinner (wonderful: everyone go to raku) discussion about feminism. becca calls herself a feminist, always has. ari, like ben (swat ben) w/ whom i had this same talk last nite, doesn’t see the need for people to label themselves feminists. again, very reasonable, calm, intelligent argument ensued. everyone i’m around is so mellow, especially compared to some of my beloved swatties, god bless ’em.

tomorrow i’m going to a lecture on russian freedom of the press which no longer exists so really the lecture will be on the ramifications of that. afterwards, they give us food. then i guess i go and try to find a real part-time paying type job. i picked up an application @ barnes today and i’ll pick up another for video warehouse. i have no retail experience; i guess that’s probably a detriment. maybe they’ll hire me anyway. even if i don’t need to make $200 asap anymore, it would be nice to get some cash.

wish i looked like this: beautiful.

wisdom from ani: “when i look around, i think this, this is good enuf/ and i try to laugh at whatever life brings/ cause when i look down, i just miss all the good stuff/ and when i look up, i just trip over things.” (as is)

so true.

last nite was moderately discouraging. johnny tamar geoff and i rendezvoused as planned at silver diner and moved from there to eatzi’s to eat. initially the dynamic was all right and we discussed interesting things. eventually, however, it disentegrated into geoff and johnny making fun of tamar. i’ve found that when i’m w/ boys, my instinct is to go along w/ them. maybe it’s from long years of experience being the younger sister: it’s safer to laugh w/ the boys who are mocking some other person rather than to be indignant or defensive. it’s also b/c i haven’t, historically, been the person targeted.

none of that makes me any less chicken-shit.

but johnny and geoff weren’t malicious — it seems that’s the way they can relate to tamar, at least when someone else is present. i don’t get it, and i don’t get why she stands for it, and clearly i’m no good at trying to make them stop, so more or less inevitably neither tamar nor i enjoys these gatherings. i don’t think the boys do either — they’re good guys; they don’t want to upset her and don’t really know how to react when she stops reacting and retreats into herself.

anyway, after that and a very mediocre health shake that tamar and i split back at the silver diner (it was so bad we tried to start a drinking game in which the loser of each round would have to take a shot), we all shrugged and hugged and headed our separate ways.

back at home, my mother informed me that i might not be able to go to san francisco. she cited money, which is inarguable, and the necessity of saving mileage so the family can visit me in stockholm next spring and adam, my older brother, in australia.

then she added that she didn’t think it was fair for me to take a week off from work, from which comment i derived that maybe she simply doesn’t want me to go. i don’t really know how to proceed — certainly there’s no law that says parents have to send their daughters across the country to visit significant others on demand. at the same time, the idea of not seeing ben until august makes me feel hollow and heavy at the same time.

the depression lasted thru the night and this morning until work cheered me up. the office is full of very sweet young women and i keep trying to explain to people that it isn’t radical in the least. we all have long hair, something i noticed a complete absence of at the dyke parade, and everyone voted for gore except martha, and even she was vaguely apologetic about having voted for nader. but, she said, her voice staying firm, he was the only one who addressed media, the issue i really cared about. everyone in the office nodded; we all respected that. it’s a great atmosphere that way. no one is confrontational, discussions are always conducted diplomatically, and (so) everyone gets along.

too hot to walk today.

angelina jolie was on leno last nite — i can’t wait for tomb raider.

more walking today: three miles up conn. ave. again, from adams morgan where a girl from my office and i had lunch (@ tryst) and where i sat down briefly to read oleanna by david mamet in a small playground, up to politics and prose to meet my father. i had chai, he had iced coffee, and we discussed whether there are any admirable characters in shakespeare’s plays. we attracted a few curious glances, which is nothing new. once in a coffeeshop, he and i got into such a heated argument about cartoons, of all things — the effect of disney on this country, i think it was exactly — that a woman unfamiliar to us both approached us, patted me on the shoulder, and said, “for the record, i agree w/ you.”

quite heartening.

shortly to silver diner to meet tamar, johnny, and maybe geoff. supposedly they have a new improved menu and we skeptics are going to try it out.

read thru my first edition of ms. today — i’d glimpsed it but never flipped thru before. also took a quiz from off our backs to determine whether or not i was a feminist. not surprisingly, i’m not, but they said i’m close.

when i was w/ my friends the other night, i polled them as to the same question. they all shied away from the term. one said she still felt it was associated w/ man hating. that’s unfortunate. can’t you promote the cause of one group w/o being violently opposed to another group, even if you do view that other group, generally, as oppressive?

i don’t know.

my elliott smith cd arrived in the mail today. yesss. i borrowed it from a friend at skool but reluctantly gave it back before i left, and i missed it. my music taste expanded so much this year, for which i have ross to thank, mostly. but my affection for elliott smith, belle&sebastian, simon&garfunkel, the beatles, bob dylan, jill sobule, suzanne vega, ben harper, and tori amos are new and much appreciated. and of course none of it could have happened w/o napster.

ahh, college. …

i king leared tonite w/ becca, ari, and johnny at the free theater at carter barron. the production, michael kahn’s, was, as it happens, the same one that we saw a couple years ago w/ our skool at the folger theater. doesn’t matter: it’s still a terrific show; the cast is uniformly strong; and if anything the lighting and set added a different, interesting dimension. it is a play, after all, where at least half of the action occurs outside. it makes sense to perform it that way.

i was also vaguely worried about the dynamics — becca and ari had been friends sort-of once, back before my privilege to call ari “nari” was revoked, back in high skool when she would come down from nyc (she went to hunter) to visit. but they hadn’t really interacted since. she used to express concern when i would visit her in what she considered strange or unbecoming clothing so i also wondered how she would react to ari’s new biblically-inspired look. needlessly, as it turned out. they got along fine.

i’m a little tired b/c i spent last nite at tamar’s. she had a gathering of about fifteen, and, true to form, we basically just talked. ate, too, of course: we needed the energy to fuel our mouths. yoni entertained, of course. jamie and i laughed ourselves breathless recounting europe stories (i can’t believe it was almost a year ago that we set off together to do amsterdam and copenhagen on as little money possible. god that was a fabulous trip. jamie led: she had the agenda, the things we had to see and do. i was more or less acquiescent, except for the certain points when i would put my foot down and demand that we find a bench, take a lull from touristing, so that i could read harry potter. i was repenting, you see: like the snob i am, i turned my nose up at the series. when i finally deigned to open the copy rick leant me, i got drawn in at once, and i was so chagrined that i couldn’t help but get carried away in the opposite direction. i read all 4 books during that trip and it was well worth it.)

jamie and i slept over, curled up on various couches (mine too short, but how can i complain: tamar insisted she was perfectly comfortable in an armchair.) jamie left the next morning to study chem and tamar and i went walking. more walking, always more walking. 🙂 discussed college; differences of identity here v. there, attached v. unattached; careers; the stasis we fear will claim us in middle age; the suburbs in general. i missed having her w/ me this year. she notices things — she would most likely have noticed fifty small ways in which being w/ ben, and just being at swat, has made me different.

speaking of which, becca (the other becca, the one from swat) emailed me, and offered june 25 as the departure date for san fran. maybe? must ask. johnny leant me a mamet play. never got to read the patricia ireland bio. maybe this week.

ahhhhhhhh … it feels wonderful to sit down. jay and ilana and i spent the whole day walking: marched w/ the dykes up from dupont to adams morgan, shouting the slogans and otherwise being supportive. we were there w/ liz, who’s queer, a friend of hers from smith, and annie, a friend of ilana’s who was like best friends w/ liz when they were little. funny: they separated years ago but grew up to be similar people and lead parallel lives.

in the park where the march ended, a bunch of girls took their shirts off and ran around, whooping it up topless. about fifteen firemen appeared and just sat and watched, grinning.

then everyone got in a huge circle and started playing spin the bottle, at which we point we left.

jay, ilana, and i split off, had wonderful ethiopean food for dinner @ meskerem, and then walked it off, making it all the way up to van ness where jay lives and we’d parked ilana’s car on foot. we argued about whether having a “permanent long-term significant other” (ilana) was the definition of success, or to what extent it factored in. the idea sort of upsets me b/c i like to think i’m a realist in general — and i know that realistically that doesn’t happen for plenty of people. realistically, the odds are against it.

i don’t want to feel like a failure if i’m 45, i have a fulfilling-type job, satisfying relationships w/ people, respect and enuf money, but no PLTSO.

people have different values. i guess there’s no one formula for happiness that fits everyone.

still, it also scares me to think that romantic relationships are that important, even tho i have one at the moment.

bought a ben folds five cd — listening to it now. ilana and i are about to go join other friends for prototypical suburban good-kid fun in rockville. yumm.

today, walking back from my job at wifp, and holding, mind you, two books, one of which was a biography of patricia ireland, president of now, some guy whistled and made a thoughtful, incisive comment on my breasts. i mean, i appreciate irony as much as the next child of the 90s, but sometimes it just gets tiring. especially since i’ve spent the last week — my first in the office — researching pornography and violence against women.

ah well. working for the feminists is pretty new for me: i come from a democratic family but not a liberal one, really. my father professed support for some version of socialism for about 6 and a half minutes during its heyday in the 50s when he was at uchicago; nowadays when he says “feminism” it’s generally in the same tone of voice in which he’d say “astrology” “spiritualism” “alien abduction” “football” or some other example of american dimwittedness. altho he’s making an effort to keep the eye-rolling in check since i’m devoting my summer to this non-paid internship, and i appreciate it.

i don’t know if my mother ever considered herself a feminist. she traveled and lived all over the country after college, including on an indian reservation for a while through the VISTA program, and didn’t get married until she was 30. and she’s worked more or less every day of her adult life. hmm. i guess i should ask.

i met my friend becca for coffee last nite in bethesda — we’re old friends, from cty (yay preadolescent overachievers!), and she’s one of the few people i know who isn’t taller than i am so it’s always comfortable to be w/ her: we’re actually at eye-level when we converse. that can be such a relief. anyway, she’s in town, living w/ relatives and working in mclean.

we were supposed to meet up w/ matt rubin as well. you might not recognize the name now but the odds are you will, someday. he’s also in town, staying the gwu dorms and working cheerfully on capital hill for the damn republicans. naturally, the three of us could not connect; becca and i ended up in xandos alone, and matt rubin (ruby) ended up in barnes and nobles, leafing thru Playboy.

a good time was had by all.

i’m used to keeping a real-space notebook –the rules that differentiate this from that are keeping me tongue-tied. i can’t figure out whether it’s okay to mention names. but this isn’t fiction; i don’t have to pretend it is — and that’s part of its allure to me.

when i was in eighth grade, i kept a journal on my computer. i had a dippy little laptop my mother borrowed from the government, a toshiba with a rectangular screen (maybe 4 inches by 7) that could handle wp5.1 and little else. it didn’t matter — that kept me satisfied. like most young writers, it was in my head somewhere near the surface that someone would read what i was writing, so out of courtesy, i gave all my friends pseudonyms.

is that necessary now?

well, i can introduce myself w/ impunity anyway. i’m ester, i’m 18, i’ll be 19 on the 19th of july … funny: growing up, i felt that 19 was the age. it just seemed special to me, and far enuf off that i could view it like the horizon, with awe, and never expect to actually have to confront it.

i have more things to confront before i get there, tho. like the fact that ben is leaving in a matter of hours. (there, i said a name. ben. benbenbenbenben. go read his journal — he’s my inspiration, as well as justin hall and nori.) all three either went or go to my skool, swat.

oh, i could write and write. but i should take this slow.

full of pith and vinegar