Life as an Extreme Sport

The Things You Need to Do Alone, In Santa Fe

Well I’m thwarted by a metaphysic puzzle
And I’m sick of grading papers, that I know

A little before 7pm this evening, I stood on the corner of 45th and Brooklyn, breath escaping from behind my scarf in steaming bursts, hands shoved into gloves into pockets. I’d bailed on both my commitments for the evening for the chance at a beer and relaxation with friends, and was now at that point. That point of the night where I knew, if I came home, I’d just flop uselessly to one side and do nothing but berate myself for doing nothing, but had nothing compelling calling me anywhere else, and that lack of energy which made flopping to one side so attractive permeating everything else.

And then I looked up, and saw the Varsity sign saying “Rent: This Space.” Rent. Rent, rent, rent. Rent.


And I’m shouting in my sleep, I need a muzzle
All this misery pays no salary, so

Alone. It was something I needed to do, something I needed to see. It was a memory I needed to build for myself, new and removed from the memory of Rent that was, of seeing the play in Reno, of being so near the front row, of the feeling and experience and the everything-awe of the musical, all tied up in memories of my ex-husband. It wasn’t an exorcism, but it was an invitation, to new, that needed to be done alone.

I teach- computer age philosophy
But my students would rather watch TV

Tonight, I was alone, and it was a good night to see Rent. To reground, to create, to feel, to cry. Only a few tears, but I cried. Angel died, and I cried. I cried for Angel, and Tom, and Mark and Maureen and Roger and Mimi and even Benny, and I cried for friends gone and friends here, and people who should be friends but aren’t (or maybe are), and I cried for J~. I cried for J~ and the way that she died. The way her story ends. Just a few tears, but there they were, and there was the meaning so gathered into them. And one year, more than a tear or two is going to have to fall, and this will need to be processed.

Chatting not about Heidegger, but wine
Let’s open up a restaurant in Santa Fe

Stories shape us. We shape stories. We shape memory. It is a construction of our experiences, our ability to trust, our ability to love and connect. It is a reflection of those things that become important to us in hindsight, with memory, and those things that seared their meaning and purpose to our mind on impact.

Does anyone want to open a restaurant in Santa Fe? Cuz sunny Santa Fe, sure would be nice…


  1. *hugs* I saw it on Monday night by myself as well. Much needed and I’m really glad I saw it solo although I think I’ll have to see it again w/ others.

  2. Rent has always been a favourite of mine – as cheesy as the soundtrack can be, in its stereotypical musical flourishes and swells, I really love it. I wanted to see it alone, to either treasure the memory or mourn its awfulness alone – I’m glad it’s a treasure and not a bad thing! (Although I agree with one friend, who did complain that Benny lost his “redemption” in the editing they did for the movie. Still, Taye Diggs as Benny… day-um!)

  3. I tend to think that seeing movies alone is one of the more cathartic experiences in life. Not just because of cartharsis, but because there is never the obligatory post-movie redux that ensues in the company of another. In the aloneness, the meaning of the experience is purely ours to possess. And in that possession, the lucidity of the truth is increased.

    Download, rob or cheat someone out of the song, “Nightswimming,” by REM. You won’t regret it. For some reason this entry made me think of it.

    “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” –Charles Dickens, David Copperfield.

  4. You, I thought I knew you
    You, I cannot judge
    You, I thought you knew me,
    This one laughing quietly underneath my breath

    Wow, I have no idea why this entry made you think of such a beautiful song, but thank you for the recommendation; it’s lovely, aching and just…yeah. You’re right – no regret.

    I’m slowly learning that I like to see movies alone. It’s hard, because I’ve almost always gone with a person, to have that post-movie redux and dialogue and sort of mutual deciding on opinion. I’ll probably always remember Girlfight, not for the movie itself, but for being the first movie I can remember ever seeing alone. And you’re right, there’s a sort of possession of memory and meaning that becomes almost a little precious gem of self – in a world so rare to find a space where it is only your own thoughts and opinions, you get an entire universe to shape an opinion of.

  5. I do agree that the way the movie was edited did not explain Benny’s character that well. And yes, Taye Diggs was yummy.

    And I too have been in love with the music for a long time. Ever since the first time I saw it on stage in 1999. I’ve seen it 2 times since then (both times it’s come back to seattle).

    Oh, and because I saw it alone I didn’t have to feel any which way about all the crying I did during the 2nd half!

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