Today I want to take a long walk. I have bare legs that need to see the sun before I get to Florida next week & I want to take a long walk & at the end of it buy a pair of shoes, but I can't because I have Belkys's ATM card & she has mine. You may have noticed that I put up a post yesterday & took it down. I half want to put it up again but it was such a mean post, such a petty, overly personal thing I couldn't stand the sight of it on my quiet navy page & so down it came. To those of you who commented, thanks, & I will say that what I did do in response to the asshole in question was to send him the meanest email I've ever sent anyone. & guess what? I feel better! Hit me up if you want a copy. Or his email address, or phone number, or place of business. Hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned. Shall we think, then, instead, of something pleasant? Of my boo drinking beers at the Chipp Inn in Chi-town? Of not-model-material Noelle getting kicked off ANTM last nite? Of perfect Kate Moennig? Of Paulie getting married? What about a passage from Orlando that made me happy as I read it on the train this morning even as my head was pounding & I was dehydrated & hot & I could actually smell my own BO? Here it is:
Nature, who has played so many queer tricks upon us, making us so unequally of clay and diamonds, of rainbow and granite, and stuffed them into a case, often of the most incongruous, for the poet has a butcher's face and the butcher a poet's; nature, who delights in the muddle and mystery, so that even now (the first of November, 1927) we know not why we go upstairs, or why we come down again, our most daily movements are like the passage of a ship on an unknown sea, and the sailors at the masthead ask, pointing their glasses to the horizon: Is there land or is there none? to which, if we are prophets, we make answer 'Yes'; if we are truthful we say 'No'; nature, who has so much to answer for besides the perhaps unwieldy length of this sentence, has further complicated her task and added to our confusion by providing not only a perfect rag-bag of odds and ends within us -- a piece of a policeman's trousers lying cheek by jowl with Queen Alexandra's wedding veil -- but has contrived that the whole assortment shall be lightly stitched together by a single thread. Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that.
I went to the bar with R. because I thought it would cheer me up. I've never seen you so sad, he said. I was leaning against the long varnished bar with my chin on my fist, looking very dejected. I've never seen you in such bright lipstick either, he said. Is that blog lipstick? Blog lipstick? I said, half-heartedly. I think you mentioned bright lipstick on your blog, he said. I mention everything on my blog, I said. We sat there for awhile. I thought seeing him would make me feel better but it only made me feel worse. He told me he was going away for the weekend with S. & her family, & then I knew it had been a bad idea going to the bar. I've never seen you so sad, he said. He left before I did so I finished my beer alone.
In the last few days I've seen some increased traffic from B.A. in Chi-town, thanks to this post. If you look at my dumb comment in reply, you'll see I basically had no idea what the joke was. On Saturday Anise came over & I asked her to explain it to me & she said, I think he thinks your blog is funny. I said, oh. Sometimes I need people to explain very basic things to me. While we're on the subject, longtime readers of this space may notice I never use the term f.b. anymore. Well, I've been admonished for talking about sex in the recent past, but of course that isn't really why. No, it's all part of my new commitment to take other people's feelings into account whilst blogging, not just my own. F.B. is still a hottie tho, in case you've been wondering. Tho my lips are sealed from now on -- promise! Despite massive amounts of champagne-drinking & great batches of soup-making & several episodes of The L Word-watching & a little bit of too-much-of-everything-doing, I managed to get some work done this weekend. I spent practically all of Sunday all by my lonesome at St. Helen's on Wythe, slurping up tea & editing some writing for a friend. When I first got there it was bustling & brunch-crowdish, & the only free table was next to a former fling who flaked out on me sometime last summer. It was all weird running into him even tho he was very friendly & talkative. It was just that the tables were all pushed together & I had about a million bags with me & I was wearing this big scarf I suddenly felt sweaty in so it took a moment that felt like ages to situate myself & all the while we were making that dumb small talk I happen to be really bad at. Eventually the place cleared out till actually I was the only person there & I moved over by the window & spread all my papers out over 2 tables & watched the sun go down while I worked & it felt so peaceful & perfect, like being in France or at the old Les Amis in Austin (at no. 12 AND no. 15 on this wistful list, where you only have to order 1 cup of coffee & no one comes over to your table to bother you every 5 seconds to hustle you out. In other news, my birthday is sort of coming up. I'm feeling a little eclipsed by various April happenings -- weddings & going-aways -- & thinking maybe of doing nothing. But I don't know. I can't decide. But if you are wondering what to get me... & please note that the complete first season of the Golden Girls is marked Priority 1: "Must Have." This is not a typo. Thanks.
So yesterday I meant to go see Dead Meadow at the Mercury but the only person I asked to go with me couldn't come & then I forgot to bother asking anyone else & then I had a shit day at work & I was all-around bemoaning my shitty day slash life to Belkys & she invited me over for mashed potatoes & artichokes & that kind of sounded like the best thing ever. We drank beers in dark little Kings County & talked about harmless crushes & the futility of plans & by the time we got to her place Jade had nearly finished cooking our dinner. The artichokes were still steaming & we had brought milk & butter for the mashed potatoes but the couscous & the portobello mushrooms & the salad were done & there were crackers on the table with cheese & sausage. Utz the dog was roaming around the kitchen nudging us with his sleek little head & shedding like a madman when you pet him. Dinner was delicious; there was a lot of garlic in the MPs & a lot of soy in the PMs & it got us talking about how Jade having grown up in the Midwest never used to eat garlic or spices or anything like that. Then I remembered something from the year I lived in Nebraska as a child; that when you went to the local cafe & ordered salad what you got was green jell-o with fruit in it (the type I remember looks just like the scary stuff behind the pies here). Jade knew what I was talking about but Belkys was incredulous; she didn't understand how you could order one thing & be presented with another food altogether. I don't think we had a very satisfactory answer to that. In other news Anise is moving to San Francisco. I'm proud of her for getting a job out there & making such a big move but I'm going to miss her really fiercely. Luckily 2 of my most favoritest things about Anise -- namely, that for every email you send her she writes you an average of three in return, & also, that she sometimes sends you fun surprises via post -- are unlikely to change even tho she's across the country. At least I hope not. Here's a pic of the 2 of us last summer in Brooklyn, wearing revealing little dresses & smoking away. Anise, we have to do that in Cali some day, k?
This morning I woke up with my alarm at 7:30 & I brushed my teeth & put some makeup on & I got completely dressed in pinstriped pants & a blue sweater & my socks & my boots & the whole 9 & the entire time I just felt terrible. I had a mind-numbing hangover but I also felt feverish & scratchy-throated so I finally I lay down on the couch & called the office to say I wasn’t coming in. I feel this monstrous guilt about it, compounded by the hangover, because 2 weeks ago to the day I called in sick also. But this time I really wasn’t able to make it; I knew it this morning as I was circling the living room looking for a book to take on the subway & the charger to my cell phone; I knew it wasn’t any use trying to make it. I feel stupid about not going to work & stupid about getting drunk last nite & leaving about 8 million retarded comments on practically everyone’s blog I could think of & stupid about breaking out the old photo albums with Maria last nite so I could show her pictures of my atrociousness in high school. Pointless, pointless. So instead I’m going to drink some Theraflu & check for the mail; hopefully season 1 of the L Word arrived from Netflix but if it hasn’t I might be bad & watch soap operas. As if this day could get any stupider.
Yesterday I spent the day cooking a big pot of soup & watching movies. My friend came over with Barry Lyndon. Both of us had seen it before but for some reason it was as if neither of us had seen it before. We had forgotten everything. Wait, the British army is on the same side as the Prussians? I asked. Who are they fighting anyway? I don't know, he said. Well, what year is it supposed to be? I wanted to know. The 1800s? Something like that, he said. I thought a minute. Aren't they dressed like George Washington? I said. I think that means it's 1776, I said. I guess it could be, he said. Or maybe it's the War of 1812, I said. I don't think so, he said. Wasn't that one in America? he said. I don't know, I said. I don't know anything. We sat there for awhile sipping at our wine. I'm confused, I said later. Are they still in England? I'm not sure, he said. Well, why was there a German woman in that village? I said. I really don't know, he said. Just watch the movie, he said. So we watched the movie. There was a war scene. Neat rows of men marched steadily across a field, towards the army who waited for them with their weapons cocked. It looked like a horrible thing even with the pauses in action because of the old guns that they had to stop & reload. War is the difference between men & women, I said because I couldn't stop talking for some reason. If women ran things nothing would ever happen this way. How would things get resolved? he said. I don't know, I said. Any other way. Nothing justifies that, I said, looking at the violence on the screen. I was thinking about The Magus, which I am very very very close to being done with at last. There was a passage I liked that said:
Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because they imagine it is the one thing that stops women laughing at them. In it they can reduce women to the status of objects. That is the great difference between the sexes. Men see objects, women see the relationships between objects. Whether the objects need each other, love each other, match each other. It is an extra dimension of feeling we men are without and one that makes war abhorrent to all real women -- and absurd. I will tell you what war is. War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our fellow men. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death.
I don't know that I wholly agree with some of the sweepingness there; i.e., I don't know that there is one great difference between the sexes, nor am I sure what J.F. means by "real women." But Barry Lyndon made me think of it, made me know the crux of the idea was true for me in an instinctual sort of way. Anyway I looked it up this morning & it turns out they were fighting the Seven Years War. Who knew?
Last nite I got so horrifically drunk I very nearly wasn't paying attention to like, the BEST episode of Top Model ever. Rebecca fainted (anorexic much?), tho it looked kinda staged to me. Check out Stereogum's awesome clip of it here & decide for yourself. Plus, makeover-disaster & professional wrestler Michelle tearfully "confessed" to being bisexual after a mysterious incident in which she suffered some sort of panic attack because she was afraid of getting physically stuck in a shoe rack. Really. I thought I was too drunk to get what was going on but it turns out that no, it really was just fucking weird. The revelation came just moments (in TV time) after the shoe-rack freakout, seemingly implying that bisexuality & bizarre fashion claustrophobia are somehow related. I personally have never had a fear of small spaces, clothing-related or otherwise, but maybe it's in some sort of latent stage. My girl Naima is still the hottest, but she doesn't get nearly enough screen time for some reason. Anyway today is St. Patrick's Day. I know because Google is all festive & shit. I'd like to share the lyrics to "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" by Against Me! According to my iTunes Top 25 feature, this is my favorite song to listen to ever. It is also very a propos today. I once put it on a mix for Melly, who loved it too. Skot said: That's your kind of punk rock. Melly & I said: Exactly. & so it goes:
Evelyn sits by the elevator doors It's been 37 years since James died on St. Patrick's Day in 1964 She could not hold it against him. There were times when there was nothing she could do but lie in bed all day Beside a picture of them together, a picture of better days...
& just like James I'll be drinking Irish tonight & the memory of this last work week will be gone forever. Evelyn, I'm not coming home tonight. If we're never together, if I'm never back again Well I swear to God that I'll love you forever. Evelyn, I'm not coming home tonight.
In all the years that went by, she said she'd always love him & from the day that he died, she never loved again. & in his wallet she kept on her nightstand an AA card & a lock of red hair. She kept secrets of pride locked so tight in her heart it killed a part of her before the rest was gone. She said, "If I would have known just how things would have ended up, I just would have let myself die."
& just like James I'm drinking Irish tonight & the memory of this last work week will be gone forever. Evelyn, I'm not coming home tonight. If we're never together, if I'm never back again Well I swear to God that I'll love you forever. Evelyn, I'm not coming home tonight.
Stop looking for answers in everyone's face come on let's go What's the point in wasting time on people that you'll never know?
The gay college kid behind the counter at Urban Outfitters yesterday thought I looked like Maggie Gyllenhaal; he told me he thought I was her when he saw me in line. No one has ever actually mistaken me for a celebrity so I was intrigued. "Really?" I said. I used to work in retail so I asked him the first thing I would have wanted to know. "Did you wonder what I was buying?" "Oh totally," he said. “I wondered what you were wearing & what you were buying." My coat was missing a button & my hair was noticeably unwashed (then again, how chic!) & I looked at the pitiful spread between us on the counter. 4 hot pink water glasses for my dish-starved kitchen, 2 pairs of deeply, deeply discounted underwear & a silly ring from the 99-cent bin. "No," I sighed. "I'm not her," for the first time vaguely wishing I were. Eh, anyway. Stupid Maggie G. & her unpronounceable last name (I can never remember whether the G is hard or soft) & droopy face & adorable brother. In roommate news, lucky Joel is flying to Austin for SXSW today, or as music-industry types call it, "South By." & Maria is sad because the other nite her amazing bong broke. The cat sprang out of her arms & hit the bong, which fell to the floor & shattered. "It's these hard concrete floors," she said sadly. "If it had only fallen on the carpet..." Which reminds me of when my friend Jessie in high school was wasted + tripping + stoned & she fell flat on her face on our friend Chris's driveway. "It was the driveway's fault," she said. "It came up & bit me." Just like the bong broke because of the floor, not because of the cat. Still. I'm relieved I didn't do it. I don't know how much it cost but it was a very elaborate piece of equipment. My new pink glasses from Urban are not elaborate, but they are very cute. They came with little stickers that say "DO NOT POUR THE BOILING WATER INTO THE MERCHANDISE." That made me laugh.
Yesterday I went to see the Greater New York 2005 exhibition at PS1. Mike drove us down in the grey Dodge with Matt up front; Daphne & I rode in back with the baby. It was enormously crowded, I mean it was an absolute scene. All of the art kids were out in their Sunday best & some of them were so gorgeous it hurt. More than once I caught eyes with a cute one, then quickly stepped away from the baby. I don't think anyone actually thought it was mine, particularly when we sat Indian-style in the corner of a sunny room on the second floor so D. could breastfeed, but I wanted to be sure. We were really impressed by the quality of the work there. The only artist whose name I happened to write down was Amy Cutler. She does these fascinating scenes in gouache on fairly spare white backgrounds. Later I found out she only paints women. The detail of the clothes -- bustled skirts & taut corsets as well as frumpy, slouchy dresses & sandals -- reminded me of fashion illustration. But then there would be something grotesque: women joined together by their noses, little girls with birdfeeders hanging from their hair, or the scene below.
Daph & I were especially into the obsessive sort of meticulously detailed art that seemed to be everywhere. An enormous wedding cake made entirely of the thinnest, most delicate laser-cut paper; a series of ink drawings of thousands of cats in various situations; someone who fashioned finely wrought paper trees into the insides of shopping bags, etc. etc. Anyway a little bit of art & culture was a nice cap to a weekend that hovered somewhere between the beautiful, the grotesque & the mundane (tho I can't decide which is which): strip poker, the Brooklyn Brewery tour, spring cleaning, my favorite Belgian beer bar, the snow melting in Carroll Gardens, puking from drinking for the first time in years, a massive Sunday brunch & yesterday's crossword (nearly complete). For now, back to work.
Today I'm really happy for once so I'm not going to subject you to a big disgusting post about it all. It's so much nicer to read about miserable people, isn't it? I know I vastly prefer it. But last nite I had great sex AND a great nite's sleep, & this morning when I came into work my boss immediately called me into her office & gave me a raise, & after that I took a walk in the sunny cool air over to Times Square, which wasn't even annoying for some reason, & then I bought a new lipstick in an obscenely bright shade of coral. So I don't have a miserable post in me today. I've got a pretty sad one in the archives tho; in fact it's my favorite miserable post of the bunch. Coincidentally it was written one year ago yesterday. Anyway, here it is.
So apparently someone wants to hear my Top Model post. I'm a bit stoned & sitting here with Anise but I'll do the Top Model post anyway. By the way I witnessed Anise pull an Anise firsthand when she removed 2 posts from her blog today. & now she is witnessing me blogging, both of us with beers in hand. & she is taking a photo of it. Far out. So all I have to say about ANTM 4 is that my favorite is Naima. Isn't she gorgeous? I was pissed they kicked off Brita instead of Brandy. The one who looks like Shelley Duvall (compare & contrast) is creepy looking. & also, the website doesn't list their weights on the site, which is total bullshit. & that's all for now.
The strangest thing happened to me last nite. I was sitting around the house with Maria, not wanting to go out. Last nite was wretchedly cold & there was icy snow still in the air & that bitter sideways wind & the sidewalks were slippery, but I only had one cigarette & then I smoked it & so I had to go out. I went to Anytime, cos it's closest. The bartender was handing me the smokes when this young black guy sitting at the bar turned towards me. He looked down at the cigarettes, then back up at me, smiling. Do you want a Parliament or something? I said. I wasn't trying to be rude but I couldn't figure out why he was looking at me like that. I don't smoke, he said. I just wanted to see who this beautiful woman was coming in buying cigarettes on a nite like this. Oh, ha ha, I said. Well. The cold can't stop me from smoking, I said. I don't like the cold -- I'm from Barbados, he said. You are? I said. I lived in Barbados for three years. What? You're joking, he said. Which part? In St. Michael, on Cave Hill by the University, I said. His eyes got very big & then he turned to the guy next to him, apparently his friend. He asked him to go sit somewhere else for awhile, but he wasn't really asking because he was shooing him away at the same time he was asking. Please sit, he said to me, indicating the now-empty stool. Please. So I had a beer with him, & then another, & all the while we talked about Barbados & so many memories started coming to me at once. It turned out we were the same age, 26. Just imagining us as children, living on the same little island at the same point in time gave me the shivers.
We talked about a lot of things that won't be interesting to anyone who hasn't been to Barbados; it was an awful lot about my school (yes, I wore that ugly green uniform) & his school, flying fish cutters, Banks Beer & Sir Garfield Sobers. We did our best Bajan accents for each other (his had faded somewhat from his years in New York) & talked about soca & dub. We remembered the way the whole island used to watch 25-year-old episodes of Days of Our Lives & the Bajan soap opera Fish Cakes and Bakes. We talked about swimming in the clear water all day long & eating at Chefette. Really, it was amazing how many things I'd forgotten about & I said so. What, were you high then or something? he laughed. Come on, I was 9, I said. But coincidentally I'm high now. So anyway. I think this was especially strange to me because it marked only the second time I met a Bajan outside of Barbados. But it felt weirder than it sounds & all day long I've been thinking about that little island, neither windward nor leeward, & remembering all the memories as slowly as I can.
It's pretty romantic the way the snow is hurling itself around sideways outside. I got up to go to lunch & my co-worker freaked out. "Bundle up first!" he said, standing up for some reason. "Make sure you take an umbrella & stay warm!" I hate it when people freak out about the weather. As if the weather were going to stop me from doing anything. In fact I didn't go to lunch at all; I took the Q one stop to the Strand. It was perhaps the first time I found even one of the things I was even vaguely looking for at the Strand. I went in with the definite intention of finding Black Lamb & Grey Falcon, but I was already resigned to not finding it because I didn't know if it should be classified as novel, travel memoir, non-fiction or history. If Geoff Dyer doesn't know, how the hell should I or, more precisely, the employees of the Strand be expected to know? After I gave up on BL&GF I tried to find something by Ryu Murakami. There were about a thousand things by Haruki but not a single title from Ryu. Then I thought I might read Orlando, but the three copies under Woolf had the promotional cover from the movie, which I can't stand in books. It's needlessly snobbish but the whole idea of it seems wrong & I refuse even to be seen with one of those. All in all the experience was typically Strandy, till suddenly I spied a normal, non-Tilda-Swinton-covered copy of Orlando on one of those rolling shelves. Those rolling shelves are practically the only bastions of reason & decency at the Strand, thank God for them. I don't know why I'm telling you this, or why I am blogging at all. Frankly I am rebelling against the sudden paralysis that struck me after a literary agent emailed me about my blog. That just about floored me. I could hardly write a word after that. So, in rebellion then, I'll write a line or two more. Blogs are very silly, aren't they? Last nite Anise & I watched Before Sunset, which somehow managed to win best picture of 2004 from the Village Voice. Anise & I were categorically unfloored, tho I must say we were entertained. At one point they were walking along in the Bois de Boulogne or somewhere terribly romantic & wooded like that & Ethan Hawke was going on & on about his writing & his book & Anise said, "Aren't you just waiting for him to mention his fucking blog? Isn't he just the type? Like, & then I started blogging & it changed everything!" I think we laughed for about a million years after that. To conclude, the best things about the movie were: Julie Delpy, Julie Delpy's black lace-trimmed top, & Julie Delpy's Nina Simone impression. The end.
I was just filling out the Times crossword puzzle over a late lunch of spinach & tofu. The clue for 78 Down was "Play the field, so to speak." I already had blank-A-T-E. I started to fill in an M, till suddenly I realized they were looking for DATE. Gee. That gave me a moment's pause. Well, I consoled myself, at least I eat healthy.
I just finished getting stoned & cleaning. 2 of my favorite things to do in conjunction with one another. My roomie just got home & he said that on his way in thru the hallway/storage space between the stairs & our apartment he saw something, he didn’t know if it was a mouse or a rat because it moved so fast, it darted away & hid under some storage. Fuck. I can’t handle another rat experience. I can’t even talk about the one I had. Later after I freaked out neurotically my roomie said that there was no way it was a rat, it was just a little mouse. But I think he said that because he wanted me to stop freaking out. I asked him that. Are you just saying that because you don’t want to scare me? I said. No way, he said. It was only a mouse & there’s no way it will come in here & anyway we have a cat now so relax. But secretly I am still very scared tho I am trying to put up a brave front.
Absolute 100% funniest thing I've read all day is the Observer's Off the Record piece on Deborah Soloman's Jonathan Safran Foer article in the Times mag. last weekend. Scroll about half the way down. It helps if you've read the original, but I'm sure it would be hilarious even if you haven't.
I got my hair cut yesterday & I don't like it. It's cut exactly the opposite of how I wanted it; I know it's the exact opposite because the only way to get it to look ok is to part it on the exact opposite side. She barely took any off so I know I'm being overly dramatic but all the same I feel schoolteacherish & stupid in it. Last nite, immediately post-haircut, I was coming out of the train when I ran into a cute boy I know. We went on a few dates ages ago but he is even better looking these days. He had a very substantial layer of snow on his hair & wool coat. The whole effect was very charming. He was being flirty, grabbing my arm & smiling, & then kind of standing there waiting for me to flirt back but I had forgotten how. I felt the wrongness of my hair & the wrongness of me & I gestured stupidly down at the subway station with my book. "You better go if you want to beat the snow," I said, inanely. I mean he was practically covered in it already. "OK, yeah," he said. "Well, nice to see you." & so with that I trudged home, cursing myself along the way. I knew that when you look & feel your worst you are as good as destined to run into someone you'd rather impress, but knowing that didn't make me feel any better. I felt sort of sad about a whole host of other things too, not just my hair, & it didn't help that before I went to bed I read a few more pages of The Magus. The characters in the book were having a huge screaming awful fight at their hotel in Greece, which reminded me that once upon a time I also had a huge screaming awful fight at a hotel in Greece. I was with a girlfriend of mine, & we'd been traveling together just a bit too long, & for one reason or another when we got home from the bar we started going at it really bad. It was probably 2 or 3 or 4 in the morning & we disturbed the entire hotel. I think we were in Paros, or maybe it was Antiparos, but anyway it was one of the quieter islands. We made so much noise that the next morning the English girls across the hall slipped a note under our door psychoanalyzing our personalities & offering "helpful" (read: vicious) ideas on what we could do to fix ourselves. I can't quite remember exactly what the note said, but it was something like my friend should go to AA & lose 20 pounds, while I needed anti-depressants & a boob job. (The girls never saw us, but somehow my friend's weight & my boobs figured into the fight). Whatever it was it actually banded us together, against the English girls, so really they did resolve the whole thing. I guess now that is a funny memory, rather than a sad one. Also, this post is all over the place, sorry.