Chicago, as I remember it, seems to have been just as rainy as Portland. Recently, I found proof in the form of the diary I kept when I was in 5th and 6th grade. I remember sitting at the kitchen table agonizing over how to fill the four lines alloted to each day. It seemed like such a chore. My solution seems to have been to devote at least two of those lines to weather data.
I don't know if I did this because I was paranoid that my brother or mother would read my diary, and I didn't want them to know what was really going on inside my head (if anything) or if my mom (a farmer's daughter) suggested that I document the weather in my diary and that seemed like the easiest way to get the diary writing out of the way. Anyway, I guess my obsession with the weather lives on.
The reason I dug out my diary was for an event sponsored by the Multnomah County Library called "Cringe Down Memory Lane," which is one of several storytelling events being held this month. People brought in embarrassing diaries, letters, poetry, etc., and read them out loud. One exceptionally brave woman even sang a song she'd composed as a kid. Another woman (after much prodding from the crowd) actually read an entry from her diary about the first time she had sex, although I think she exercised quite a bit of self-censorship. I don't think I could be that brave. Of course, there's no way I would ever even write about something like that in a diary.
So I read my weather-o-centric entries. I have to say that compared with a couple of other diary entries people read (also from 5th/6th grade), I came off as a singularly underachieving kid. There's no evidence of any ability to think analytically, link together related ideas, spell words correctly, punctuate properly (if at all), or even print legibly!
If you want to see what I'm talking about, click here. Cringe!
Crammed onto the same closet shelf as the diary, I was very surprised to find a letter from an ex-boyfriend that he'd written to me after a friend of mine had seen him with another woman. Why did I keep that? Even more surprising, I found a draft of a letter I'd written to him about a year after we broke up (typed on the back of an article about carpal tunnel syndrome [?!]). At first I thought that I'd struck the cringe motherlode, but after reading it, I realized that the letter made me sound like an absolute lunatic--and pompous to boot! OK. I was only in my 20s when I wrote it, but still. Here's an excerpt:
You may not believe this, but I'm not a fragile little fool that has to be protected from the truth. I wouldn't have liked it at first, but it would have been the right thing to do, and I would at least have some respect for you. Lying the way you did is cowardly and not something I would expect anyone but the most novice of high school boys [I have a feeling I was really proud of that turn of phrase] to do. And here you are at age 37. It is really quite pathetic, and in many ways I feel sorry for you. When will you ever get your shit together? I could never treat anyone the way you treated me. Can't you see that the way you handled our break-up caused me the maximum amount of pain? The fact that you could lie to me about something as important as why you didn't want to see me anymore and keep reinforcing that deception causes me to call into question our entire relationship.
Yikes! Fragile little fool? Ha, ha, ha!!!!! This letter was like three pages long (single spaced). And I actually sent it. I have no idea what the guy (he truly was a passive-aggressive jerk, just so you know) thought after he read it. Do you think he continued to think I was a fragile little fool? Should I work on mustering the courage to read this thing at the next Cringe Down Memory Lane? I've got til March of 2008 to think about it.