"She has killed us, but she has taught us how to die" -- said Vergniaud of Charlotte Corday
In honor of the hot spring stuff I'll be getting soon, here's a little lesson in French history.
Charlotte Corday was a supporter of the French Revolution, a Girondiste. She believed that the true enemy of France was the tyrannical Jean-Paul Marat, a Jacobin journalist & a prominent figure in the Reign of Terror. Quietly & independently, she planned his murder. She made an appointment with Marat, under pretenses of revealing to him a Girondiste plot. She slipped in to see him & stabbed him thru the heart as he lay soaking in his bath (he had an icky skin condition). Initially most of France supported Marat & Corday was sentenced to death. But history has redeemed her; I see her as a romantic vigilante, a lone figure stealing away to Paris on her own, a knife concealed in her scarf, convinced of her own ideals.
A witness to her execution had this to say: "Her beautiful face was so calm, that one would have said she was a statue. Behind her, young girls held each other's hands as they danced. For eight days I was in love with Charlotte Corday."
I am falling asleep at my desk. In my quest to end the insomnia that's plagued me for the past couple of weeks, I allowed myself to be slipped an Ambien last nite. It wasn't really slipped to me so much as placed directly on my tongue by the divinely wealthy, tho nevertheless old & creepy Mr. M.
DB introduced me to Mr. M last nite. We were going to have a drink at the Rainbow Room; instead we ended up in M's high-rise apartment on 5th Avenue, a lavish, enormous, strangely un-beautiful dark place full of mirrors, chinese art & heavy furniture. I remember the first hour of the evening: scotch in hand, glass bowl of raisins & nuts at arm's reach. Lighting my cigarettes from a 21 Club matchbook & listening to DB talk about Burning Man, as M kept questioning him, But what did you really see there? You're not saying anything. I kept thinking that an ugly, frightened-looking tribal figure on the coffee table was trying to tell me something. Things got blurrier & the conversation turned weirder, & I can't for the life of me remember in what manner goodbyes were said. I'm waiting for a reassuring email from DB; so far, I'm still in suspense.
Ambien is kind of weird shit. I slept great for the first time in weeks, but I trust that stuff about as far as I can throw it. Considering the size of the pills tho -- I could throw them pretty far I guess. OK, so I'm still out of it. I half-wonder if I am actually asleep now.
I stopped in at Sweetwater last nite on my way home from Lit. The boys at the bar were gathered around the television watching Pumping Iron, the 1977 documentary about bodybuilding, featuring a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, of eventual Incredible Hulk fame.
It was the perfect movie with which to end my nite, over beers at my favorite little dive bar. It was awesome. Besides the obvious camp value in the synthesized soundtrack, the omnipresent moustaches, the wardrobe of poor wide-collared polyester shirts & teeny shorts stretched nearly to the breaking point by bulging, veiny muscles, and the vacant looks on all of their faces, the movie is full of revealing tidbits about the governor of California. At one point he says he didn't have time to mourn the death of his father, because he had a competition coming up in two months. Two months. Two days, maybe I could sort of try to understand. But two months? I guess a person really has to have layers & layers & layers of grossly gigantic muscles padding their brain in order to think that way.
I have to admit that Arnold was easily the best of the bunch tho. He was the most charismatic & the most handsome (shockingly, this is not a factor in bodybuilding competitions -- & when you think about it, that just doesn't make sense. The face is part of the body & has everything to do with one's overall appeal). & he kicked ass in the "pose-off" -- a real term for the hilarious part of the competition when the three finalists try to outpose each other on stage.
Also, he smokes pot. I saw him do it at the end.
As a side note, for some reason, when someone with fucking enormous muscles flexes, I always imagined there was a sound to it. Like a crunchy little squeaky noise of muscles in motion. Well, it turns out this just isn't true. At any rate, it wasn't captured on film & the bartenders at Sweetwater laughed at the idea when I brought it up.
So -- yet another mystery solved by the wonders of late-nite TV & beer at Sweetwater. God bless it.
Sunday I wanted to be civilized. Instead one drink at Diner turned into three giant ones & an escarole salad, then snowballed into the evening becoming My Treat, and eighty dollars gone bye-bye.
Monday I attempted to be civilized. I rose early, breakfasted on fruit, granola & tea, and worked on my writing for two hours. Then I went home & spent the better part of the afternoon on the couch, watching the soaps & eating crackers. At two a.m. I drank scotch from a plastic cup & fell asleep with the light on.
Yesterday I was civilized. I had no more than two glasses of wine at a bar off Union Square. Ceremoniously and one by one, I erased what's-his-fuck's numbers from my phone: his mobile, his landline, his mother's house. I traversed the Hudson River by PATH Train into Jersey City, where I saw Bright Eyes play at a vast old theatre. In the hushed darkness I looked at the couples huddled around me, and I thought of all the mistakes I've made & how fiercely I don't regret any of them. It took me a long time to fall asleep at bedtime; I think civilization gives me insomnia.
Enough with the drunk dialing.
Have more compassion for people who drunk dial you.
Do not yell "OH GROSS!" at top volume when your ex-boyfriend walks into the restaurant where you're getting loaded. Because now you may never see your Buffy DVDs again.
Speaking of horribly bad poetry, I wrote a ditty on the F train last nite. It went like this:
hey you little life Ive known
the Alps & the Caribbean Sea
hey you little life Ive known
shooting pool in Soho
sitting uselessly at the bar as
my friend broke up with her boyfriend
via cell phone
hey you little life Ive known
Judy Garland in the morning & in
vinyl spinning next to the candle & me,
in the pink-bulb evening without any windows.
why dont I pack up my little life &
take it for a spin
in the big dawn of day
& stay awhile thinking of stuff to say.
I heart sitemeter! Someone got to my site by googling "crystal meth poetry." Now there's an untapped genre!
So, I just can't get into John Cheever. So far he reads the way an English professor tries to teach you to write.
The details, one must record ALL the details! The sights, the smells, the tastes!
Granted, I'm only on page 10 of the Wapshot Chronicles. But if it doesn't improve soon I'm packing it in. Turning to my crisp new PG Wodehouse. Or I'll reread Edie Sedgwick's biography for the third time.
The last great book I read was given to me by Stuart. It was This Is Not a Novel, by David Markson, whose work I had never read before. I felt a bit like that person reading it on the L train, by virtue of the avant-garde-ish title & the nearly verselike layout of isolated lines upon the page, but about a quarter of the way thru I didn't care anymore. It was amazing. I gave it to Sara when I finished because great books are dying to be shared.
So Markson's no Nancy Mitford, but then who is? I mean, besides Shakespeare. Shakespeare could be a pretty great Nancy Mitford sometimes.
My parents bought me a hot pink tool kit. I am obsessed with it. They sent it to me here at work. Sometimes they do really embarassing things, like when my dad got his ear pierced or when my stepmother sent me a nativity scene at Christmas, which somehow caused a huge fight between me & my Jewish boyfriend. But this time they actually hit the nail on the old head. Literally.
I bought this fucked up tea. It's supposed to make you relaxed and sleepy at bedtime. I rarely have trouble sleeping but I love tea, and I liked the idea of having a cup of it in bed, and dropping off nicely after reading a chapter or two of my book.
Last nite was the third & final time this horrible tea shall pass my lips. On all three occasions, not only did I not drop off nicely but I suffered from the worst insomnia ever. Not forty-five minutes of tossing & turning. More like laying there livid until 7 a.m.
Last nite I scratched all this out in my spiral notebook as I was trying to sleep. I started writing at 4:30 a.m. My notebook is normally filled with more salacious items, existential angst, lurid remininscences, bits of short stories & stray lines of embarassing poetry. Never had a rage-induced insomnia-fueled rant against a particular brand of outrageously misleading tea graced its pages & this pissed me off even more.
I closed the notebook & tried again. Twenty minutes later, returning furiously to the page:
On the bright side, I suppose I can save the tea for special occasions, like if I decide to go to a goddamn rave or something & remember I don't do crystal meth anymore. That's how they should market the tea. Yogi Bedtime Tea -- when you're a little too old for crystal meth. Or Yogi's Organic Crack Tea, Which Also Happens to Taste Like Shit.
This is a killer site.
Not only does it have Japanese street fashion, one of the modern world's more bizarre phenomena, but it also has shop windows, food displays, street art, and Japanese emoticons, which are a thousand times cooler than our emoticons, which by the way only morons use.
Like, these are two people dancing. \(^o\)(/o^)/
And this person is smoking! (-.-)y-"""
This person is suspicious. (p_-)
I wonder if smart people use emoticons in Japan, or only lame-os, like here. Speaking of Japan, I finally saw Lost in Translation yesterday. I thought it was strange that such a simple, beautiful film caused such varied reactions from people. I had heard so many people say it was boring, overhyped & not worth seeing. I thought it was genuinely romantic, and very funny, and sad.
When they said goodbye on the street, and she was on tiptoe, and he whispered something to her that you couldn't quite hear ... it was perfect.
This is me crying (T_T)
and then applauding (^_^)//
What is it about Valentine's Day that makes everyone rush to say defensively it's just another day, when secretly they wish what's-his-fuck would send them a sprig of flowers with a note, preferably tear-stained, even tho one year ago today he broke their heart as surely as the brittle bones of a baby bluebird?
Or is that just me?
So, I haven't had the talk yet with Ruffneck, who Anise thinks I should call Suge Knight. I do feel guilty about turning him into the butt of many, many hilarious jokes among friends for the past couple of days. Wait, is that guilt, or fear that he'll get all ruffneck steez on me & pop a cap in my ass?
Anyway I hung out with him on Wednesday nite at his place & I avoided the whole conversation by bringing & subsequently imbibing the biggest, scariest bottle of Fin du Monde I could find. I passed out halfway thru an episode of Black Adder & didn't wake up until the next morning, when I rushed out with a quick assurance that I'd never drink that beer again (yeah, right).
Which reminds me to consider that he does have some great qualities. He's a Black Adder fan, which rocks. On the other hand, he sang the Black Adder song in a piercing British accent at several points during the show, which I discerned even thru my Fin du Monde haze & rolled my eyes in the dark.
He is also well-traveled & wordly, which is important to me. Pro: He speaks French fluently. Con: He once referred to Grenoble as his "hood."
I feel horrible about being so scrutinizing, but I can't help it. & I can just hear the calculating appraisal I'm sure I've been subjected to at one point or another. It's terrible to imagine.
Pro: Puts out.
Con: Probably an alkie.
But enough about me. Everyone should go see my friends The Narrator play at the Knitting Factory on Thursday. They're playing with some very cute boys I met last nite at Plaid, who are in a band called The End of the World.
Wait a second. That's the English equivalent of that beer I was drinking. A sign? It has to be. It's Friday the 13th after all...
I would say that my dating life is spinning out of control, except it's pretty much always out of control. Suffice to say it's staying its crazy course.
To recap, I went out with the nineteen year-old. I fucking KNEW I would do that. Anyway, he was great. He came with me to see The Fog of War & whispered intelligent & funny (when appropriate) comments to me furtively thruout. Afterwards we went to Milady's in Soho, to play pool & get beers. I meant to ask him whether he had a fake ID but I forgot. Either way, nobody carded him. The only awkward part of the evening was when that song "Two Princes" by the Spin Doctors came on (the jukebox at Milady's isn't updated very often). We laughed about how old it was, and then he said it was his favorite song when he was in third grade. I think I was a freshman in high school when that song was popular. I shudder to think!
As to the other guy I'm seeing, he's starting to annoy me. He's super into hip hop, which is totally cool. But his lingo is out of control. The last email he wrote me contained the phrases "ill," "word," "mad," and, most gratingly, "ruffneck styles." I'm not even sure what that means.
I know it's nitpicky & psycho to be turned off by someone on the basis of vocabulary. But I think I feel a break-up speech coming on:
Yo, baby, I ain't feelin' you! Nahmean? We used to be mad chill & everything, you was my boo. When I first met you our shit was tight yo. It was sick. But on the real, I think we'd be doper as homies. You feel me? PEACE.
Sometimes, on bleak mornings when I've had far too much to drink the previous evening, it makes me feel better to imagine good ways of annihilating myself. They aren't realistic, & I'm not actually going to carry them out, but they're reassuring thoughts for some reason. One good way I think would be if I could be rolled up very tightly into a ball, put inside a big paper bag and then smashed with a giant mallet. That's the kind of pain I think might be a relief. & the paper bag is indispensible for some reason. But, tho neatly violent, the plan doesn't go nearly far enough in destroying all evidence of me.
To that end I like to imagine I would jump from a great height into an enormous fan-like contraption, with millions of tremendously sharp metal blades whirring along incredibly fast. It wouldn't hurt because of how instantaneous it would be, but it would be satisfying because it would turn me into pieces smaller than corn flakes.
I had assumed I was the only one having these crazy thoughts but one day a character in a book said something that could have come straight from my hungover head. It was in Vox by Nicholson Baker, which by the way was just okay. Anyway the woman in the book wished she could be one of those birds that gets sucked into the jet engine of a plane & ejected again in a long clean stream of blood. It went something like that. It sounded beautiful & for me it hit the feeling right on the head.
Anyway. Wow. I am hungover.
Met an unbelievably beautiful guy last nite, at Sweetwater of all places. Standing by the bar with my friend Gabe's sister Emily, I spotted him. He was playing pool. I actually kind of went slack-jawed for a moment. I came back to earth after a minute & I said to Emily, "I think I spy a cute boy."
"Where?" she said, turning around to see where I was looking. There were no less than fifteen guys in the room & I didn't even have to point him out.
"Oh..." she said.
He was very tall, ruddy-cheeked, wearing a sweatshirt & jeans. Something about him was Ashton Kutcher-ish. The perfect face, the laughing eyes, the messy brown hair. The girls ogling him from all sides.
But I wasn't going to let them stop me. The gin martini, half-carafe of sake, and nip of Bushmills I'd had earlier was doing its thing. I was feeling great. I went over to him & asked him if they were going by the list for pool. He said yes, so I put myself on it, & from then on just sort of attached myself to his general vicinity.
It worked. I wasn't even next for pool but he informed everyone that I was, & we ended up playing each other, hitting it off amazingly, & when I lost (scratched on the eight ball tho he had 4 balls still on the table) he made me his partner & we played some more. We smoked, he bought me a beer, he was funny & smart & everything was amazing. Never mind that I'm kinda sorta seeing someone at the moment ... I'm quite sure my kinda sorta boyfriend would make an exception for the female equivalent of this creature. We were outside smoking & he asked me if I was in school. I told him I'd finished and had a job. And then my Ashton revealed that he was in school, at Columbia. Grad school?, I asked. No, he replied. With a sinking feeling, I asked the question I now dreaded...
& here's where it all falls apart. It turns out he is NINETEEN.
Nineteen. As in, six years younger than me. As in, when I was his age, he was THIRTEEN. & yes, when I am ninety he will only be eighty-four, but he won't look like Ashton anymore either.
I think I said faintly, I have to go home now. He laughed at that. It didn't bother him. I guess nothing does when one is nineteen.
I didn't go home. I stayed for another beer. And when I said I really was leaving, he asked me for my number and I gave it to him. Saving my ageist qualms for another day -- if he actually calls me that is.
I've often thought about my older-significant-other cut-off point (which is scarily high, at sixty), but haven't given much thought to the other end of the spectrum. I guess because I've always been on the young side relative to the dating populace, & I don't have much contact with high school boys. But now apparently I'm getting up there. Apparently I socialize in the same places that people six years younger than me do. God! Don't we have a legal drinking age of 21? Who let a beautiful college boy into SWEETWATER of all places, to tempt an old lady like me? Can't Bloomberg get his mind off the smoking ban & enforce something that would actually benefit me???
- IF - he calls.
I think I might go out with him. My Nietzschean motto since the age of fifteen (when I would have loved to have met this guy, tho he never would have spoken to the pimply, pudgy, black-fingernail-polished, flannel-shirt-wearing version of me) has been to say yes to all of existence. Taste the rainbow & all of that. But I won't sleep in a goddamn dorm.
I'm totally obsessed with how poetic spam is getting. I've been a fan for awhile now of the stilted, tragic, formal language in those Nigerian money scam emails. Some of the stories are novel-like in their complexity if you bother to read them. Then I started getting emails typical of spam in their subject lines (eg "cheap v.i.a.g.r.a is here vqoncgf wkx" and "chicks taking a wiz on thier friends" -- really) but coming from a sender with a funny name like Mumford H. Theocracy or Dissolutely R. Afterlife or Wrongheaded C. Mimicry or Waxy B. Monarch. I love names so I started listing the best ones I could find. I started looking forward to them.
Things got even weirder when spam started showing up with chilling little subject lines like "Re: sound of footsteps," "Re: Germanicus succeeded," and "rotgut cartographer compulsive gumbo." I couldn't resist opening the emails, and inside were seemingly random strings of words. One after another of words too interesting to have been thought up by some Viagra-hawking lowlife in Boca Raton, supposedly the spam capital of the world, and yet too beautiful and odd to be the product of random word-generating software... I think.
It's like the Finnegans Wake of spam! What the hell is going on???
I don't care what they're selling but where are they getting those amazing words?
"ex brooklyn bisexual"???
On an unrelated note, I saw Sarah Jessica Parker today in front of Bergdorf's filming Sex & the City. A friend of mine thought she looked too gaunt and too tan. But I really believe this is the way female celebrities should look. I thought she looked incredible in an unreal sort of way. From a block away one could see that her highlights cost more than one of my paychecks. She was wearing a giant fur coat and sort of giggling at the sidewalk. She wasn't looking at the crowd at all. A woman from the crew was literally running down the street with a megaphone, yelling, "Keep moving! Get out! Go to the other side of the street! If you are looking this way, go away!" People standing around and staring, tourist-fashion, were hustled away, but busy Manhattanites with a sense of purpose were whisked thru a clearing in the sidewalk almost grandly. Still, this busy New Yorker secretly wanted to get out her cellphone & call her best friend in Chicago with the news. Instead I pushed past the crowds with my nose in the air... without missing a detail of the outfit!