The NYPD was all set up at the Bedford subway stop this morning, with 4 officers grouped near a big sign advising us, the commuters, that our bags were subject to a search at any time. I had a plastic bag with my breakfast in it & I dangled it out rather obviously on the police side. I don't know why I wanted to be searched. I guess because it seemed au courant. The cops would get a glimpse of my cottage cheese & bottle of juice & I'd be on my way in a second, but now I'd be a veteran voice in the debate over public security versus individual privacy. "I personally was searched!" I could say. "& you know, it wasn't that bad." But, of course, I wasn't. So whatev. Last nite I was supposed to be working but Joe was having a terrible day so I met him at Dumont for dinner. He is having trouble with his air conditioner. It isn't nearly as delicate a situation consoling someone with a broken A/C as it is someone with a broken heart, but all the same I felt bad for him. Here it is the hottest day of the year & it seems the compressor of the A/C in question is busted & Joe is going to have to ship this giant standing (not just a window unit, mind you) 100-pound thing all the way to the air-conditioner factory in California, home to the only people licensed to perform maintenance on this specific machine under the warranty. Meanwhile Joe figured he would need to buy another air conditioner while he was waiting for the old one to be fixed, since it probably wouldn't arrive back in Brooklyn till September. The situation becomes more ridiculous when you consider how many air conditioners Joe has bought over the years. In fact one of them is cooling my apartment as we speak, & quite well, too. The more ridiculous the situation became, the more A/Cs we totted up, thinking about selling them on eBay or shipping them across the country, the more we drank & decided to keep drinking. We ended up walking down to Moto for a slice of date cake & another bottle of wine. It turned out to be the 3rd anniversary of their opening so there were champagne toasts & teary eyes & there was a fun little band that made me feel like we were in the middle of Triplets of Belleville. Come to think of it Moto has a Triplets of Belleville feel to it all the time. Which is a great thing. I'm very happy for them that they've made it this far & I hope they have many more swingin' years.
Except I can't remember if we paid our tab. I should check on that.
I am definitely sick. I think it's because we went swimming in Chappaqua on Saturday. Even tho the pool was quite fancy it was full of children so the water was doubtless plagued with who knows what germs. On Saturday nite by the time I got home from seeing Last Days with True my throat was a little scratchy & when I woke up Sunday I just felt terrible. Yesterday I spent most of the day reading the paper & sleeping, waking up to piece together more of the crossword from the magazine, letter by letter, tho in cold-medicine haze. I thought about Last Days too, about how I liked it despite how frustrating it sometimes was. I liked that I was thinking about it even in my haze, the long slow shots of the house & of the woods; the mumbling, shuffling, hiding hero; the way it didn't bother to answer any questions but just seemed to create more. Also I was really into the clothes. Can we talk about grunge? Is it OK yet? Flannel shirts are cute. They are ever so Brawny Man. They look great on boys. I lived in a blue & black one sophomore year I wish I had never gotten rid of. It would be perfect in the fall under a skinny grey sweater with little pearl earrings. This is why one should never throw anything away, ever.
Lastly, Michael Pitt is amazing (see above). My friend Dan went to high school with him. I am still waiting to be introduced.
Instead of working I am buying tickets to faraway cities to see old friends & being hungover & forcing myself to drink water & looking at vintage burgundy leather handbags on eBay that are exactly like the one I already have but hopefully nicer & ludicrously described by their sellers as RETRO COOL EMO INDIE UNIQUE. I am hungover because on my way home from work I stopped in at Sweetwater to have a beer while my phone charged, but I ended up getting invited to a party thrown by Argentineans in Dumbo & because transportation (via truck) was included in the invite I said OK. The Argentineans lived in a barbershop storefront & they served delicious empanadas & white wine sangria & little white-bread sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I think the party was in honor of this man's children who were visiting; they were twins, a boy & a girl both 17, the girl was painfully gorgeous, all tan limbs & sudden curves & long golden brown hair, & the boy had lots of piercings & was very mature & friendly & funny & not overly drunk. It's so unfair, I told Laura. I was a wreck at that age. God, me too, she said. Absolutely hideous! After that we wandered out of the party & down the street till we found ourselves at Superfine, playing pool on the orange & white table & I was playing like complete shit after so many plastic cups of Sangria & later we wandered out & into the subway & I realized that thanks to the hospitality of the Argentineans & the free pool table at Superfine I didn't spend a cent all evening. Which is fantastic because after my plane ticket splurging I really don't have any to spare.
This was New Furniture weekend. Laura & I found a big beautiful old mirror at the junk store in Bushwick. I paid for it & left it there; went to meet Sara & Leyla for brunch; dragged Sara back to the junk shop with me after we ate. I'd fallen in love with an old black desk with tarnished gold handles & a red interior with a (working) fluorescent light. Sara wanted a giant Van Gogh-ish painting in a crumbling frame & a big brass coat rack. We were thinking about the transportation of these items when I heard a voice say "Kat." It turned out to be my friend Will, & when I told him our dilemma he said, "My truck's outside if you need a ride home," just as simple as that. So I asked the old Hasidic owner if he could have someone wheel the desk out for me. When I showed him which one it was, he took one look at it & corrected me. "This piece?" he said. "This is a secretary." So now I'm the owner of a secretary, of all things. We took the drawers out on the street so it would be less heavy to take up the stairs. We were surprised to see that despite its rather '50s-ish appearance a stamp inside the middle drawer said "1926." Thanks to Will's truck I also lugged home a gorgeous lamp of (like the secretary) black & gold, as well as the mirror & some odds & ends that included a salt shaker so old the print was rubbed almost completely away & a beautiful skirt a few sizes too big. Sometime during the transportation process the mirror backing must have been scratched because when we got it inside we saw a long black line about the width of a crayon's mark going across the center of it. That was quite sad. I also realized I didn't have anywhere, really, to put the secretary. Yesterday I looked at my new things -- the marred mirror, the homeless secretary, the lamp without a shade, the salt shaker without its pepper mate, the skirt that needed taking in -- & still felt like I’d gotten a deal. Scoring a ride home in a truck from a junk shop is a piece of luck in itself, its own rare gem serendipitously uncovered. So the skirt's at the tailor, the salt shaker is another tchotchke on the mantle, the secretary will learn to blend in, & a lamp shade will be bought. The only sad part is the mirror. I think it might be fucked. If anyone knows anything about vintage mirror restoration, I'd be much obliged...
I am a Francophile lately. I can't stop listening to Francoise Hardy. Then yesterday was Bastille Day. I had a date with a Frenchman but I blew him off to do some writing. Then I blew off my writing to see Ali Shaheed Muhammed (always followed by "got me doing calisthenics" in my head) spin records at Triple Crown. Cancelling on the French guy wasn't as easy as it sounded. I wanted to tell him that I would have liked to go out, but I hadn't gotten as much work done as I thought I would, so I couldn't. That meant I had to use the dreaded conditionnel passé, more than once. Oh la la!
What's more, I'm dying to see this new French movie. A friend of mine was in France recently & was laughing at the ads he saw for it everywhere. "It's called La Moustache," he said. "As far as I can tell the only plot to it is that the main character has a moustache. I mean there were just posters everywhere of this man with a moustache." He thought for a second. "I kind of wanted to go see it," he said. After reading a more detailed description of La Moustache on La Coquette's blog, I can already tell I am way into this movie. I can't wait for it to come here!
In non-French related news, I want to skip out on work today & go see Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Except I can't. & that's all I have today, friends. Please enjoy le weekend (see, French is easy!) if I don't see you. Love, Kat
The weekend felt like a couple of different weekends. Friday nite was chilly & the next day there were sporadic rainstorms while we shopped in Soho but yesterday when I went up to the roof to read the Times & eat mango slices in the sun I nearly died of heatstroke after 30 minutes. Well, almost. On Saturday after dinner we saw some incredible African drumming at Zebulon; the place was packed & everybody was really into the show. We were clustered round a dark little table near the door & the guys we were sitting with had brought in their own Stellas from the bodega & were rolling a joint right there on the table. I rolled my eyes over at Laura. "Classy," I said, even tho really I didn't mind & later I went outside with one of them to smoke it. After the band was done we moved up to the bar & drank Hoegaardens & this man tapped me on the shoulder & said "Pardon, mais comment tu t'appelles?" I asked him how he had guessed I spoke French. "Parce que tu portes des lunettes," he replied. "Oh, I'm wearing glasses, so I must be smart?" I said. "C'est un stéréotype." Anyway it turned out that it had been an easy guess for him because up by the bar when the music was over it was clear that Laura, Polly & I were just about the only non-Frenchies in the whole place. Between the bartenders, the drinkers & the musicians from Mali there was barely a lick of English to be heard. I learned useful phrases like "saoul" rather than ivre for drunk & "pâtés de maison" instead of rues for blocks. Around 4 a.m. I decided I'd had enough & 2 of the French guys walked me home on their way to the subway. A funny thing happened on our way out of the bar: my French, which had surprised me by being free-flowing & sharp all nite long despite such a long period of hibernation, fell away at once. Outside Zebulon on the barren stretch of sidewalk on Wythe I switched back to English & my chaperones, while still speaking French themselves, carried on talking like they didn't notice. So maybe my stellar French exists somewhere in that bar. Bizarre, n'est-ce pas?
In completely unrelated news, Brawny has launched some sort of strange marketing campaign that lets you spend virtual quality time with the Brawny man himself. The idea is that he's this sensitive man living in a cabin who spends his time building rocking horses for disadvantaged kids & opening pickle jars for you while telling you how beautiful you are. The more you watch, tho, the more he seems like he's on some very heavy meds or possibly even been lobotomized. Completely hilarious yet a touch disturbing, it reminds me of something Jean Teasdale or Cathy Guisewite would love. There are several possible encounters you can have with the Brawny man but this one is my favorite. Tho I can't figure out what it has to do with selling paper towels.
I live in an old slaughterhouse. I don't know what kind of animals died there. I haven't gone out of my way to research it. I haven't heard the ghosts of them squealing or lowing or clucking in the walls at nite. So it is a mystery, & I'm happy to keep it that way. The other evening I was out for dinner with my new roomie & Anna & Marcelo, & we were talking about old warehouses in the neighborhood. So Laura asked me what it was our building used to be, anyway. Well, I said. I guess it turns out it was a slaughterhouse, I said. A slaughterhouse? She blinked. Then she said, quite brightly, Oh, no, I think it was a sweater factory. In fact I'm sure someone told me it was a sweater factory, so that's what it was. Marcelo laughed. Did Kat say slaughterhouse? he said. I thought she said that too at first. Slaughterhouse, sweater factory. It's easy to get them confused. So history has been rewritten, in true Orwellian fashion. I now live in a former sweater factory, with nothing but the ghosts of chenille & pearl buttons roaming the hallways in eternal limbo. It's much nicer that way. While we're on the subject, the other day someone told me some prick in Bushwick is having the German word for "slaughterhouse" tattooed across his knuckles. Now that is truly disturbing.
Last nite, as predicted, there were explosions in the sky. They were essentially the same as they have always been, except with a kind that looked like a magic wall of glitter I called the Forcefield & a series of rings we thought alluded to New York’s Olympic bid. Polly joked that any minute we'd see "NYC 2012" spelled out in the sky but it didn't materialize. There was an excellent turnout of people on my roof & we looked out at the other rooftops full of black-silhouetted people poised against the sky to see the show. It was the same as it has always been & I even wore the same white dress for the third year in a row. The weekend felt like déjà vu as well. On Saturday I took the 2 train to Flatbush & got the Q35 to Jacob Riis beach; on Sunday I did it all over again. The same bikini, the same sunscreen, the same buses & trains but different friends & different areas of the beach. On Saturday we claimed a spot at the northernmost stretch of sand, the unofficial gay/clothing-optional section, where there were many fat topless women & young men in G-strings brandishing sloshing martini glasses but thankfully no children. We bought illicit Budweisers for $3 from a guy walking around with a plastic bag of them & smoked cigarettes & ate apricots. A 50ish black man with a green beard kept disappearing momentarily & reappearing in new, wildly flamboyant outfits. He would trot out in gold lamé with black sequins or a tie-dyed minidress with a wreath of vines on his head or a pink negligee & a small poodle as an accessory. Then he'd make the rounds, saying hello to people, sipping a drink, curtsying grandly. Once he stripped off the negligee & dove into the ocean; resurfaced & disappeared to change ensembles again. Sunday we sat towards the middle of the same beach where there were families with coolers & beach balls & strollers & buckets of fried chicken & a little girl flung sand around liberally right next to us & we tried to read the Times & ignore it. So it was a lesson learned. Back to the gay section next time -- where the beer is cheap & the fashion show is free.
Today is the switching of the roommates. Goodbye Maria, hello Laura. Last nite I stopped at home with Joe so we could smoke a bowl before we went to Zablozki's & Maria came in with her mom & said they were moving some stuff out that nite, including the cat. Mowpa! I was wasted from happy hour with coworkers earlier & I got all misty about it. I love the cat. She is very small & very sleek & often quite naughty & she has a wide Egyptian face with dramatic black-lined eyes & she is allergic to everything so we have to protect her from everything. Meanwhile they were putting the little animal into her black zippered case & Maria & her mom had their arms full of clothes & bags so I followed them with the cat carrier. Mowpers was hunched up in the back of it very frightened so I kept talking to her as we went down the stairs & out into the street. "This is your neighborhood, Mowplet," I told her, "& look, there is the music studio where all the loud noise comes from & there is the grocery store where we would buy your cat food if you weren't allergic to everything & you are only moving 3 blocks away, little twig, so there is no reason to be scared." I think Maria's mom thought I was insane & clearly drunk & stoned besides but it couldn't be helped. I think I may have to break down & get my own cat. I had my heart broken when Daphne moved out & I had to say goodbye to Puccini & now here I am going thru the whole thing all over again. Such is life. In other news I am obsessed with old Modest Mouse albums. I can't get enough! Last month I couldn't get enough Interstate 8 & this month it is This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About. Melly used to play me a great song in her car that went "I'm trying to drink away the part of the day that I cannot sleep away” but I don't have the album that song is on. Bummer.