Tag Archives: benjamin gonzalez

a link, an itinerary, and a lagniappe

so today i have three nice surprises to share:

1.  an article explaining the f2fb project.  the writer wendy donahue does a better job of explaining me and the photographers chris walker and benjamin gonzalez make me look a lot better than i am in real life.



2.  an itinerary of sorts:

a.  atlanta, huntsville, tallahassee on the 20 through the 24th

b.  montreal the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth of september

c.  alaska on the thirteenth through sixteenth of october

d.  (gulp) from the eighteenth of october through the fifth of november–korea, taiwan, india, united arab emirates, turkey, italy, germany, and england

somehow i have to squeeze in the northwest and southern california before the october fly out.  i am starting to get just a little dizzy.

3.  a lagniappe–one thing i’ve learned this year is that if you have a clipboard and any sort of laminated pass that says “media” you can get in anywhere, whether a san diego comicon or a chicago half marathon.  so here’s a media pass–

print this, laminate it, and put it on a lanyard. carry a clipboard or a camera. now you can get into anyplace on earth!


i was at the chicago rock n’roll half marathon with f2fb friend #194 rett britt this weekend and he had an extra pass so i was able to look all official.  i really admired the athletes because everything that they have done to prepare for the race was done with the encouragement of friends and family–the race itself was just the let go and enjoy the ride time.  these athletes do amazing things!

tomorrow i hope to see f2fb friend #195 patti schmidt!

what do you most want to do when you grow up?

benjamin gonzalez had his birthday yesteryday. and instead of spending it in chicago with his beloved wife marissa and their eighteen month old desmond, he spent it charging out to new york as part of the first leg of my f2fb trip to see facebook cousin megan, first time ever in person facebook friend mary, and steve ware, who is a camera operator for jersey shore.

my new years resolution is the same:  i sat in my house in front of the computer and decided i will go out and meet every one of my 324 facebook friends.  by the next morning, i had eleven new friend requests and i’ve honored those.  i have to meet those 335 friends in their home turf, or wherever they suggest (thank you brian brethauer for directing me to san diego two weeks from now for the science fiction convention!).  i have become a lot better at getting on planes, getting out of the house, getting where i need to go.

upside:  i have learned so much about people–mostly, that everybody thinks they’re odd and some are even ashamed of that oddness, but that–really–there is so much room for normal.  and i’m sort of within range.

downside:  i have gained six pounds.  i feel quite like a snuffaluffagus!

ben has a job that he has set for himself, which is to create a film–almost like making a painting of what i’m doing.  like i said, yesterday was his birthday.  i felt kind of bad that he’d be with me instead of with his family.  but he said this project–which is to say, his project–is exactly what he has always wanted to do.  i asked ben’s assistant director brandon what he wanted to do if he could do any job.  and brandon said “i’m doing it”. . .

the weird thing is even though i’m scared sometimes and sometimes i think my new years resolution is stupid, i’m doing the thing i most want to do–i think i might like to do this when i grow up?

sandra bullock’s doppelganger

sandra bullock gets asked at least twice a day “does anybody tell you that you look like arlynn presser?”  she must be very flattered.  stammers.  maybe gets hives.  i get the same thing just people asking me about her.  we’re similar to the eye, although possibly also to the ear:  i’ve been told that my laugh ends with a particular nasal sound that .  . . oh, just go to netflix and get miss congeniality and you’ll see what i mean!  we’re twins.  in a way.

i once was in an airport and signed an autograph because i was baffled.

but i met my psychological twin last night when i had dinner with ben gonzalez (f2fb #140) and marissa durbin (f2fb #141).  we were outside in their backyard.  it was as the landscape architect frederick law olmsted imagined american life should be–several different families came out of their houses, sat for a spell, waved as they passed, hung out, checked their cell phones.  okay, maybe that last part was not olmsted’s vision. marissa and ben have an adorable seventeen month old desmond who is the playboy attracting admirers.  olmsted must have anticipated desmond.

the next door neighbor came out of her home.  she was wearing green capri pants and a white t-shirt.  i was wearing. . . it must have been a black dress.  but we were still indistinguishable.  she hovered, she chatted, she was so sociable, but when asked to sit down with us, she declined.   disappeared and returned.  when i asked her to sit with me a second or maybe a third time, she said “i can’t.  i’m very antisocial.  i have agoraphobia.”

i asked her about her anxiety attacks, which roughly track mine–meaning that she can negotiate zones of safety and outside of that, it’s too terrifying.  she has recently lost her job (a safe zone) and her home (the safest zone) is being foreclosed upon.  she has sent her sons away in the hope that if they aren’t living in the house, the bank will not go after them.  she had her first anxiety attack on the block near her home just a few days ago.  there is a closing in of the boundaries just as the “safe” zone is going to be taken away from her. and her sons–whom she is trying to protect–are not there to help her.

i wanted to say “come with me!” i have laid out a track of junkets–i’m off to california on sunday whether i like it or not!  i’m in ohio the week after.  new york, rhode island, boston. . . i have two friends in alaska and damnit i have a friend in hawaii who is moving to turkey (no slur on turkey)

i will assume i am having a near death experience every step of the way just like my twin has just found out that she will have every time she goes to the bus stop on her block.

i have tried everything to stop panic attacks.  therapy.  every prescription drug.  some nonprescription drugs.  acupuncture.  hypnosis.  alcohol. meditation.  prayer. nothing has worked.  but this year i’ve done things i never would have thought possible.

flying on a plane.  being in a different country.  boxing with a ukrainian middleweight.  driving a car in that direction.  and the other direction.  popping open a champagne bottle with a sabre sword.  watching a funnel cloud form over my head.  seeing people i would never get a chance to see if i stayed in my house and bought the requisite seventeen cats that being my age requires.

but i couldn’t say “come with me!” to ben and marissa’s neighbor, my twin in the green capri pants.  because i’m not even quite halfway there.  i may fail.  i think odds are i will.

so she said i have to go back home, i have facebook, i have other sites, my back aches from being in front of the computer, and i said “pleasure meeting you” and what i want to say is “at the end of the year i will come back for you”

the real focus was marissa and ben.  i met ben initially because his uncle–a renown photographer and author–did my portrait four years ago.  i happened to be nude at the time.  i love the picture although i’m not sure you’d know who it was and you might mistake me for sandra bullock.  ben and marissa were just friends for the longest time and then. . . .

i am planning out the california, ohio, new york trip and yeah, i will  be scared.  i am home now.  safe zone.  but the train keeps riding. . . .