my photo diary

29 Feb

On instagram, I am @theboredalice

Hey there, friends. I started using instagram in 2010 and nobody I knew was there. Now that more people are joining up and following one another, it’s much more entertaining. I take several photos each day with instagram. It has become my public diary in tiny photographs. So, follow me to find out what I’m doing, to see my neato cats, or to just marvel at the ridiculousness of my sporadic and awkward self-portraits.

My photos are humble offerings of the things I find beautiful and want to celebrate and remember. Mostly simple things, bright things, and one of these days I swear I’m going to get a good shot of the bluejay birds that taunt me from the bushes just outside our living room windows!

 

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No 9. – Fake British Accent

28 Feb

 

Once you came back from England and your accent had changed. Your parents raised you in Ohio and couldn’t understand how in a week your bland Midwestern accent had become something like the chimney sweep’s in Mary Poppins.

I pretended not to notice your fake accent that day we spoke on the telephone. I pretended to love you, too and that’s more unforgivable I suppose.

If you were searching for an identity, you didn’t find it in Ohio or Japan or even England. None of your many travels seemed to suit you and entire cultures which spanned hundreds of years were tried on, found to be ill-fitting and in a month’s time just fell away from your body like a layer of skin.

You never spoke about it. But who would say, hey remember that time I had a fake British accent?

No.

Some people thought you were cultured, but I saw how carelessly you tossed aside centuries of words, customs, art and history. Your entire personality changed with every new stamp in your passport.

“Hello, love,” you had said to me that day.

Love.

I always took things the wrong way. I said, “yes.”

I said, “I am in love.” And you promised me half of anything you owned, but you never meant it. It was just something romantic you’d thought of and wanted to say to anybody. In a fake British accent.

 

© Ashley Noelle, 2012. All rights reserved.

Kitty Vintage

19 Feb

Today I just wanted to share with you these photos I took using Instagram (follow me @boredalice). These are some vintage cat food boxes I cut up to save the kitty pictures (I was about 3-4 years-old) and still have all these years later. I am loving the little tongues sticking out on almost all the photos (so funny!) and the designs on the food bowls. I think these are darling.

All images  © Ashley Noelle All rights reserved.

No. 8 – Marlboro Red

16 Feb

Dear Sir,

I would have addressed this letter to “Marlboro Red,” as that is what I call you, but you would be confused by that and I don’t want to confuse you right from the get go. I’m writing because I want to help you.

I know you smoke Marlboro Red cigarettes because one night last week I sorted through your trash after you put it outdoors for the garbage man to come collect in the morning. I think you can really tell what a person’s life is like by looking at what they throw away. I can tell that your life is very dull and very sad and I want you to know that I’m sorry for you. I found almost nothing in your trash but empty soft packs of those cigarettes and losing lottery scratch tickets. It was a little disappointing, to be honest.  I don’t know what you want the money for, but I’m guessing it’s for more cigarettes, just based on how many empty packs of them you threw away. If it’s not for cigarettes, maybe it’s for more comic books. You look like the kind of person who goes through an awful lot of comic books, if you know what I mean.

You don’t know what I look like, but you know who I am. I’m the girl who lives across the street from you in the big apartment complex. I’m the one who calls your phone every time you leave the house to walk down to Linn’s Corner Market to buy a 2 liter of Coke, a newspaper, and a carton of Marlboro Reds. Two out of three of those things are ruining your teeth, by the way.

I’ve left you several voice mail messages, but obviously you don’t have the technology to figure out where I’m calling from. Like I said, I’m just across the street. I see you’ve cut your hair.

I guess I’m writing to confront you. Lately I’ve noticed that when you get halfway to the corner market, something seems to frighten you and you suddenly turn back and run into your house. You do run funny, but that’s not my point. My guess is, you’re running back to the house to see if I’m calling you or maybe you hear your phone ringing from halfway down the street and you think it might be someone important. In either case, you’re becoming increasingly more and more paranoid and I just wanted to write to express my concern.

I will enclose the business card of my psychiatrist, with whom I have had some success over the past 4 years. If you’d like to ride to appointments together, you let me know. I have a car and I noticed that you don’t have one. Not having a car can be a very big barrier to your getting help for your obvious mental health issues. That said, I do not allow smoking in my car, so don’t bring your nasty cigarettes. If you have some sort of sick attachment to your cigarettes, which I believe you do based on the amount of empty packets I found in your trash, I’ll ask you to take a Benadryl or a Valium, or whatever it takes for you to avoid any unnecessary outbursts while riding as a passenger in my car.

Additionally, when we arrive at the psychiatrist’s office, pretend you don’t know me. Wait outside for me if you get done first. I don’t want you to embarrass me and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to think we were dating. If we ever happen to be at Linn’s Corner Market or the library or the post office at the same time, don’t say hi to me. You won’t see me anyplace else because those are the only places I go. Either way, just keep walking. I don’t want to be friends or anything, I’m just trying to do something nice for a neighbor.

If you’d like to know the whole story, I’m paying it forward, so to speak after the old woman downstairs did me a kindness. What happened was, she caught my friend and I smoking pot in our living room, even though we barricaded the cracks in the door with paper towels. She promised not to tell the landlord, and not because I threatened her with a small hammer or anything, but just to be neighborly. So, one good turn deserves another and I have decided that YOU will be the lucky neighbor I will help out in the spirit of passing on the neighborliness.

Since we’re on the subject, I also just want to apologize for whistling the Star Wars theme music out the window whenever I see you outside. I guess I’m just trying to relate to you and let you know that somewhere across the street, somebody understands. I’m not a fan of Star Wars, or any other movie or comic book that nerds like, but I’m familiar with that tune and I guess in a way I thought you’d appreciate my whistling it out to you. In retrospect, it was mean and I’m sorry. You probably don’t want to be confronted with your social awkwardness every time you leave your home.  Oops!

In closing, I would appreciate an answer as soon as possible as to whether or not you are going to do the right thing and make an appointment with the psychiatrist I recommended. If you don’t feel comfortable calling me, just walk outside over by where you usually put your trash and hold up one hand for yes, two hands for no. I promise I won’t call and leave you a voice mail message when you go out to do this. I can see that my doing so has exacerbated your paranoia problems. If you don’t know what that means, you should look it up in a dictionary as soon as possible. I don’t want you getting any wrong ideas about what I mean, just because I use a lot of big words.

Anyway, let me know if you need a ride to get your head checked out. Sooner or later you will probably have to talk to me to tell me when your appointment will be. We have to coordinate. You know, we’re in this together.

Oh, and if you don’t like people prank calling, you may also consider painting over the enormous sign on top of your house that has your phone number on it. I get that you’re trying to run some sort of home comic book business, but honestly it’s just asking for people to call and leave you messages when they see you go outside. If you’re angry at me in any way, you really only have yourself to blame.

Best Regards,

Your Neighbor

 

© Ashley Noelle, 2012. All rights reserved.

i love you

14 Feb

Image

Tartine

12 Feb

photos by me using instagram

photos by me using instagram

Every morning since we left Des Moines (Iowa) I curse the fact that I can’t go to Tartine for a cup of the perfect coffee and pain au chocolat! They only have one coffee because it’s the right coffee. The pain au chocolat was so good I had it two days in a row. If you’re in the Des Moines area, give Tartine a try. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a brunch with cocktails. It’s quite comfortable and very cute inside and kid-friendly without being too loud. My fiancee loved it, too and we took home a couple coffee mugs to remind us of our trip and the fun we had.

Seafoam green macarons…! Enough said.

No. 7 – the bees

3 Feb

You can’t stop looking. It is obvious that looking is the exact opposite of the proper thing to do. But you can’t quit. And every time you look, it makes you so nervous that you light another cigarette. The smoke temporarily kills the bees that are buzzing and swarming in your gut, but when you look at her photograph again, they just come back to life.

You smoke Lucky Strikes because that’s what you heard Kurt Cobain smoked. You used to fantasize that you’d die at 27, the way he did and the way Janis Joplin did and the way Jim Morrison did, but nobody even knows your name and wouldn’t care anyway. You know this deep down, but you still couldn’t help the surprise when your 28th birthday arrived and you lived through it. Then you were 29 and 36 and 42 and death never came for you and you never got famous.

In fact, if I had to title your autobiography, it would be called Death Never Came & I Never Got Famous. Or something. Anyway, you aren’t memorable for anything except being extremely odd and acting creepy around women. You stammer and clear your throat repeatedly in line at the A&P when the checkout girl is remotely pretty, even if she’s obviously a high school student working after school shifts, and you’re nearing middle-age and starting to go bald around the temples. She’ll hand you your change and politely decline the offer of your idea of a witty joke or maybe even your phone number. She’ll smile and tell you to have a nice day, but her eyes are full of terror.

The same thing happens with the Starbucks barista. Every time you leave the establishment, the conversation is the same. The pretty girl with the dark, curly hair turns to her co-worker and complains that you’re the guy who always comes in and mistakes good customer service for a come on. They talk about how you give off a serial killer vibe and start quoting lines from “Silence of the Lambs,” then laugh. The baristas agree it’s totally gross when a customer takes advantage of the situation they’re in and makes the entire transaction creepy. They both roll their eyes, but you never see this. At Starbucks they believe in good customer service.

You’ve been stalking this girl on the Internet for a while now. It is stalking, but you call it “being interested.” You visit her blog more than 10 times in a day. You have looked through all 2,071 photos of her on Facebook, twice. You know her home address, her cell phone number, where she went to college, what the outside of the building where she works looks like, her parents’ names and social security numbers. This information is all readily available and easy to procure. Other information is more difficult to find, like what her favorite color is, for example and what she throws in her trash. However, you could find that information out with a bit of determination. When you’re interested in someone, the determination flows.

You look at her photograph again, the one you printed at Staple’s and taped to your computer monitor. The one where she’s smiling for her husband who is behind the camera, but you know it’s secretly for you. She’s never said it and you’ve never actually met in person, but you know she’s in love with you. Her eyes are so blue.

The bees swarm.

You’ve lost track of how many hours you’ve spent trying to decide if her eyes are blue or actually green, a fact that disappoints you since you fantasize about conversations you’ll have with her someday, in which you present to her statistical data on how much you’ve thought about her over the years. You think she’ll be impressed with your dedication.

The bees begin to sting and fly into your throat. You light a cigarette and smoke them back down to your stomach where they lie in wait, a dull, moving hum.

In your email there’s a new message. It’s from her. It’s not good news. She says she feels uncomfortable with your friendship, that some things you’ve said have really bothered her and creeped her out. She prefers you stop contacting her. She’s afraid of you.

The bees rage.

Once a girl broke up with you in high school. It was your first girlfriend ever. You went out for a little less than six months and she wrote you a letter asking you not to call her anymore. You went home and chased a bottle of Advil Migraine with a bottle of whiskey. You thought that would show her.

When you woke up in the hospital the next evening, you called your mom and asked if she had explained to your girlfriend what had happened. She said yes, she had but that your girlfriend had hung up on her. You lie in your hospital bed feeling dazed. You wonder why she hasn’t come to see you, begging you to take her back and feeling terrible for what she made you do.

She never comes to visit and never talks to you again. She’s afraid of you. When she sees you in the hallways at school she tries to ignore you, but her eyes are full of terror.

The bees are in your throat now, choking you. You light another cigarette and stamp it out on your arm. You tear the girl’s photograph from your computer monitor, fold it up and swallow it. It presses the bees back down to your stomach, but they’re eating through the paper. Your pulse throbs in your temples where you’re losing your hair and you light another cigarette.

I’ll make her sorry, you think to yourself. You pick up your cell phone where her phone number holds the prominent place of first in your favorite contacts list. Hands shaking, you type out a text. It’s hard to type because the bees are getting through the paper of her photograph that now sits in your stomach. One by one, they’re darting toward your esophagus. The entire world seems to have turned into one pulsating, electric throb.

“By the time you read this I’ll be dead,” you type out and touch the send button. You crawl into bed, bees buzzing inside you, your whole world seeming like a carnival ride that’s gone out of control, but no one pulls the lever to stop the spinning. There is no hope anymore. You pull your sheet up over your head and grind your teeth until you fall asleep.

When you wake up, it’s morning. Something is crawling across your forehead, close to your eye. You slap it away and it buzzes toward the window. It’s a bee. It reaches the window and rams itself into the glass over and over again with tiny thud thud thuds. It is trapped. It’s nature tells it to go toward the light to get outside where it will be free again. The only light in the room comes from that window. The bee flies in circles, always ending up at the window, continuing to thump against glass with its fuzzy body. You watch it for six hours before it drops into the windowsill and stops moving.

 

© Ashley Noelle, 2012. All rights reserved.

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