I was sitting in the waiting room when I started to count: Phones and Frames.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the 10th grade. I was driving by that point— sometimes at night– and my mother agreed with my opthamologist hat I should have eyeglasses. My vision was affected by an injury I got at summer camp. But that’s not this story. With my first written prescription in hand, my mom and I, we went to the mall and picked out my first pair (one). They were silver and black, had round lenses, and gave me a new look. I was Eddie Bauer. I lost those pair in no time, maybe a month. Usually, when I left the house there was a pocket-check: glasses, wallet, keys, pager. But one morning I couldn’t find them. I looked hard but couldn’t. My mom took me to get another pair—thanks, Mom. I got the same frames (two). They were a brown but the same size and style. A few days later, well, I found the original silver and black pair, so I had a back up. I still have both pair those glasses; they’re in the top drawer of my childhood dresser. I saw them the last time I was home.

I took one of those pair—maybe both—to college with me. I wore them some, but didn’t worry about seeing that first year in college. I sat in the back of lecture halls; I didn’t pay too close attention.

One night in my second year of college, I flipped over a catwalk backwards and landed on the cement. I hit my head. Because of the fall, my eye doctor rechecked my vision. And before I went back the next semester my mom said I should get new glasses. You have to see where you’re going, it pained her to say. I picked out some new black frames (three) for my white face. They were oval, and I took care of them best I could. I started seeing better after that.

After that semester I got a cell phone to compliment my Calvin Klein frames. I went with the Samsung 8700 (one), and was told by the salesman that it was the Furby of cell phones.

A bit later, I was adjusting the sides of the glasses—they were crooked from me sitting on them—as I was on the phone. The person on the other end was talking but I couldn’t hear her. The side of the oval glasses frame broke in my hand. The earpiece on my Samsung went out. My phone was dead, my glasses were broken. As quickly as I had had them both, I learned for the first time that I could lose it all in a matter of an adjustment, or a telephone conversation, or a fuzzy trend.

A replacement phone was sent to me so fast you could say it sprinted. I singed up for insurance as if I knew this type of thing would happen. Furby insurance. I waited, however, to get new glasses. I could live without them, I convinced myself. Plain ole me was the brand new me. I struggled seeing what my professors projected and by the end of that semester, I knew if I was going to graduate college I needed new glasses.

So, I got new specs (four), a new look. But then I picked up this dog, and this dog picked up my pair of glasses and took them outside to munch on them like a rawhide bone. Another set of frames was lost. The day before I went on a road trip I got a new pair of glasses with my somewhat dated prescription. These new frames (five) I loved the best. They were the same brand as the first pair(s) of John Lennon-like specs I had, but these were different, they were more Buddy Holly than Lennon I still had the same phone at—the refurbished Furby—so apologizing to whom I left was possible.

I wore the Buddy Hollys for about a year, during which I got a new phone. What the fuck is a Furby? people would say when I described my phone. The joked wasn’t funny anymore. I got a new phone with new games and more minutes. I was set with my Kyocera (three).

But what good is a cell phone if you don’t have anyone to talk to? Then, my glasses broke at the bridge of my nose. It was another adjustment mishap; I don’t learn. Luckily, I found the same frames (five)—a slightly different shade—Online and had Lens Crafters put the lenses in for me free.

The truth is I hated my phone. Kyocera is Korean for crappy. I went back Online and fell in love with new phone. It reminded me of an SUV I had seen on TV, the Extera. I couldn’t afford the Extera, but I could afford the SANYO. I bought it (four) and got a factory rebate on the deal—it really felt like buying a car.

I had the SUV of cell phones and glasses frames that I felt comfortable in. I was single and I met new people who called me. This one girl started calling me a lot. I was calling her some, too. One night I spent there at her apartment. When was leaving in the morning I thought I forgot my glasses. Driving home, I wore sunglasses. When I went to switch to my eyeglasses I couldn’t find them. I picked up the SUV phone and called the girl to ask her to look around her room and under her bed to see if she could see my specs. No luck, she said. I could talk on my phone, hear just fine what was on the other line, but I was having a hard time believing what I was hearing. I couldn’t picture myself without those frames.

My prescription was too old, so I couldn’t just walk in a get new glasses. I had to get a new one, but my original eye doctor retired. I went to a new doctor and got new frames (six). I didn’t like my new frames as much as my old, but I got a good deal them. That said, my phone was working fine.

Not to detract, it was at this time I moved to Portland. On my phone I could talk to the people I moved away from and the people I would meet.

The first female I met in Portland would call my SUV phone, and come over late at night. I’d take off the specs I didn’t care for and we’d kiss. One morning I woke up next to her and put on a jacket that I hadn’t worn since I had moved. I put my hand in one of the pockets and I found my old frames, the famed frames I thought I’d lost (five).

That girl ended up removing me from her phone—another story— but hey, I had those glasses.

There was an ice storm that winter in Portland. I happened to go out the night it came. Luckily, I went out with my back-up glasses (six), and I left them the bus. I had the back-ups, the frames I loved, the Buddy Hollys. I still had the SUV cell phones.

One night, after I packed my bag for a trip I was taking I went out for a drink. I was riding my bike home from the bar and I crashed in to a parked car. I lost my glasses in the spill. But the next morning, before the flight, I went to the scene and found them. They were (slightly) scratched, (a bit) bent, but I felt lucky to have them.

The screen on my phone cracked that night and digital ink spread. I had to get a new phone (five), replaced later with a new provider and phone (six), an LG. Those frames finally broke for good—another story that takes place on New Year’s Eve—and I had to get new glasses (seven). Those broke quick, a stooge kicked me in the head with a soccer ball. I replaced them (eight and nine) with a two-for-one deal. And that’s where I’m at now. Added up: phones and frames, six and nine.

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I saw this ad on

$1150 / 2br - Alberta Arts bungalo for rent

I replied as soon as I saw it:
Would love to check out this bungalo. Feel free to give me a call or email back.
I got back:
Do you want to schedule a time to see the home?
So I said:
Yes I would. The ad says after the 15th. I'm free in the morning/early afternoon on the 15th, 16th or 17th.
Let me know when.
I have scheduled showings at 9 and 9:30 on the 15th. Anytime after that will work for me. What time would you prefer?
I wrote: can meet at 10 on the 15th so long as you are already over there. Unless you need more time between, I'll be there then.


That’s great, see you then. Please call if you need to reschedule. (503) 515-xxxx.
Followed by:
My 9:30 cancelled, would you be able to meet at 9:30? If not let’s keep the 10am.
Are you still available at 10 or can you make it at 9:30 tomorrow?
(I went to visit Maggie in Eugene and didn't get my gmail until later)
Sorry to get back to you late but I think I'll only be able to get there at 10.
(Then, I met Grant and checked out the house. I liked it and wanted to move. To spare details, it's great: location, rent, yard. I filled out an application and went back to pay a money order.) And, I wrote him this follow up:
It was good to meet you and see the house this morning. To further my interest, I put in your door my application and money order.
(He wrote back)
Thanks Carson,
I faxed your info to PVRS [?] this afternoon. FYI I am expecting one other applicant, and together with your application I don’t expect to hold an open house this weekend.
Thanks for your interest and I will keep you informed of my progress
(Then he wrote)
The other application did not come in so I am going to hold the open house tomorrow, looking for one more application. We received your credit info and that looks fine. We are waiting on your employment confirmation as well as previous rental confirmation.
Your application says you are looking for a July move in, would it be possible to move that up at all?
So I said:
I put July on the application as an estimate. I would like to move earlier, and as we talked about anticipate some overlap between my current house and the new place. So sometime in June is realistic.
And now I wait...


Pvrs is still working on your report as well as the other applicant. I may know more tomorrow and will let you know as soon as I do.


Tired, humble, still unsure of myself, I sit at my desk and wonder when the last time I wrote was, when I wrote something really profound, something I was proud of. I wonder when the last time I read a good book, why I've stopped doing both, what I'm worried about, what's keeping me from doing the things I love. I concern myself with things outside of these things, I'm depressed for reasons that keep my from doing things that might get me out of this depression, though, there are other things that prove to be the cure for this. Still, I wonder what the ultimate cure is. When I'll be healed. I sit alone with the BBC in the background. Heidi in the closet waiting for the lights to go out. But I can't sleep. My body's tired but my mind won't put it in the rack. I'm not done.

I'm excited about stuff. There's much to look forward to. I rub my tongue across my front teeth and they feel rough. Fuck, it's plaque. How did this build up? I wonder. What's become of my dental health? I worry. There's this part of me, though, that's comforted by this feeling. Like I'm in control of things in my life that somewhat seem out of control. I can't control plaque. But I can tame it. There's a grasp, all I have to do is brush.

Like I can check out these books and make time to read them. I can set down my laptop and set myself in front of it to type on it. I can close the door behind me and write, write, write. Still, I wonder why. Or what it is that will mean anything. Who will read it, who my audience is. Does that make it feel better. No. I'm writing, reading for myself. I'll brush my own teeth, thank you.

The BBC rattles off market numbers. Ratios. Up. Down. Down, mostly. I rub again my tongue to my teeth. They feel smooth in the front but rough behind. I'll go brush them when I feel like it. But will it matter? "The earlier you start flossing the longer you'll have your teeth," a voice from the past tells me. And my thoughts rattle off: advice. My fingers dance across the keyboard as I get bored and tired and still and achy.

I reach for water, to hydrate. I swish around the water through the gaps of my plaquey teeth when I think about someone that's not here. And also the one that is here, the one that will remain here until there is no here that's recognizable. Then, I think about the content, the things to read and see and speak of and that's when I realize: I'm brushing for me. It's such a selfish gene.


Some hurtful things have happened as of late, I tell Heidi. She's in the closet where she likes to be. I'm fine with that and talk to her from the bed or the chair. The radio is on but for the most part the house is empty of noise and clutter.

My front two teeth still hurt for one. Last week I fell on my face, see. My front two teeth--I'm lucky to still have them--went into my lip and my lip was all bloody. The sidewalk also hit my lip, the outside--there's a scrape. Basically, think of my lip as the meat being squished between the white bread of my front teeth and that of the sidewalk. Flattened like ham-and-cheese in your back pack. That hurt but that's not all. My knee is bruised and the scrap on my nose is still healing. I'll be all right, though, when these teeth can bite down again. You don't need to know how or why I feel. I was running, not with you, for no good reason, really, when I came to a sudden stop. A halt, if you will.

There was another blow, too, I tell Heidi. I'm not a good student, so I won't graduate this term like I told you I would. I slacked off a bit. I didn't take pride in my work as of late. I stopped going, emailing, showing up for things; I stopped talking to people in the program. And now I'm realizing that I couldn't do that and finish, but it's too late. Understanding this, thinking about this in depth has been depressing. It hurts like something I can't always describe. It's an emptiness that suggests utter failure. Like it's a precedent set and I'm stuck with it for a long time.

My personal space was invaded, Heidi. When we were sleeping the other night someone went into my car, he or she went through my things. They didn't take anything--I have nothing of value in there--but they scattered stuff and left the door ajar, leaving the impression that they were there and they could come back at anytime, could have of mine what they want. And that hurt.

So I've been sad, you know? And I should get over this things. I mean I'm not taking it out on you but in a way I am. It's my lack of self-worth that leads me to mope around, not talk to you more often, not take you out, not share stuff (I am telling you all this depressing shit). Still, you know what I need to consider is that my mood--affected by these things--has an effect on others, affects others you might say. And while one of my faults might be being self- centered at times, my greatest gift is to light up another's life. And I can't do that like this.

I'm a mess, I think as I straighten my room up. Heidi's still in the closet, sleeping. She wakes to lick her paw or the carpet. I get things in order: to keep, to read, to recycle. To throw away.