Last week I failed spectacularly and repeatedly on many fronts, and because (like Beyonce) I am a survivor, I began this week with a burst of uncharacteristically human-like activities; e.g., other humans make doctors appointments and then go to them, e.g., other humans enjoy the company of other humans, so much so that they would invite said humans to where they live with other humans and perhaps offer them food and drink. I did both of these things yesterday (Monday).
(brief tangent for those who care about such things: Please check out Automatic Straddle: My L Word Blog if you want to experience a brief moment of impenetrable bliss, via Season 4 Promo Photos, just discovered this morning.)
I present: Manic Monday, a Work in Three Acts (like Ira Glass does!), or "An Inspirational Tale of Riese's Triumph Over Counter-Productive Habits and Behaviors":
Act One: Our Heroine Attends a Dermatologist Appointment at The Ryan Center, which is located in the Fifth Circle of Dante's Inferno.
(Note: I have a really bad habit of not showing up for doctor appointments. Or canceling them on a voice mail the night before. That is, if I even make them to begin with. I skipped one last week, in fact.)
Dorothy at the Desk
Elizabeth the Dermatologist
10:20 AM: I arrive only 5 minutes late, which is pretty much as close to "on time" that I can be. I am sent to the desk "down the hall on the left." This desk is horse-shoe shaped, with two chairs and terminals. I go to the side with a person at it. Dorothy tells me I need to go to the other side of the desk. I do this. I figure I just need to wait for this other woman to return to her desk.
10:30 AM: Dorothy catches my eye.
Dorothy at the Desk: "What happened?" (but by that she means "Whats up?")
Me: Oh, nothing.
DD: Oh, I thought you were trying to catch my eye.
10:35 AM: There is no one at this desk. I am just standing here and there are people like, dying and having convulsions all up in my grill.
Me: (gesturing towards empty chair) Is she coming back?
Me: Didn't you just tell me to stand here?
DD: You need to put your form in that silver basket next to you and wait for the nurse to call your name.
I think we all can agree that was not the first chance DD had to share this coveted information with me.
Dear DD, I am sorry that you are fat and ugly and that you are wearing white jeans, but that is no reason for you to make me stand there like an idiot for twenty minutes, about 4 feet away from you, when you know full well that you haven't given me the proper directions. I will not forget this.
10:45 AM: I take the only available chair. Directly to my left, an elderly woman is describing a recent accident suffered by her big toe, which is why she is here at the doctor today. Not content with merely relaying the tale, this woman proceeds to provide a visual aid: she removes her shoes and socks, and her friend, in an act of pure comfort with the obscene that rivals anything I've ever seen on Fear Factor (which, actually, I've never seen, but I've heard about it), inspects said toe and confers that the toe is In A State.
10:50 AM: I'm not sure how this happened, but my dermatologist is kinda foxy. At least I hope that's her--she keeps coming out here and calling people, I just have a feeling. She has great skin. She looks like a grown- up Elizabeth from Sweet Valley High.
WOMAN PUT YOUR TOE AWAY!
11:10AM: Yes, you, Mr. You in the tapered jeans and the orange sweater. We both appear to be Caucasian, unlike the rest of the patients in this room. But you are going to need a lot more in common with me (also, I mean, talk about judging a book by it's cover) to justify all those creepy looks you keep shooting my way. Seriously, stop it. Don't sit next to me. Achh!!
11:15 AM: I am called back with two other whackos, asked if I have allergies, and sent back into The River Styx with my traveling companions.
This is known as "a tease" which is one step a way from "a complete douchebag."
11:17 AM: Every time they call for a "Maria," which is about every five seconds, I think it might be me. But it's not. It's never me. I have almost finished my entire book.
12:30 AM: At last my moment arrives. At one point, Elizabeth coos "you poor baby!" and she totally means it. The good news is I don't have skin cancer so I should go tanning ASAP. She sends me back out there to wait for something else, who knows what the fuck.
1 PM: Seriously? I go into the back room like all the crazy people do and try to make my shit happen.
Nurse: So you need to see her again in 3-4 weeks, do you want to book that now or do it by mail?
Me: I would like to leave here either immediately or as soon as possible.
Nurse: Oh, I hear ya! Mail it is.
Act II: In Which Our Heroine Treks to the Upper East Side to see her Psychiatrist.
Me, the psycho.
Him, the doctor. He is not the one I talk to about my problems every week, that's my therapist. He is the man who gives me pills once a month.
Him: "Do you get blonder every time I see you?"
(is that literal, or figurative?)
Me: "I have that same shirt!"
(he's wearing this shirt:)
Him: Oh yeah? I got it at one of those outlet places--
Me: I got mine at Filene's Basement--
(We're still talking about clothing, and I told him all about when I worked at Banana Republic, etc. Very important convo re: prescription medication)
Me: I mean, I haven't really worn normal-people clothes for that long, like only since I was like, 16.
Him: What are "not normal people clothes?"
Me: I mean, I used to wear like, big skater pants and huge oversized polo shirts I bought at the Kiwanis sale and a winter cap every day and boxer shorts under my pants and all of this like, glitter? and tore-up sneakers-----
Him: (laughing) You had some uh--- gender identity problems?
(Clearly we can see where this is going)
Him: So do you uh--like girls?
Me: I like both. I like boys and girls. I mean, I think I like men better (Why do I say things like this? Internal homophobia? What's wrong with me?)
Me: I mean, I don't like men better, actually. I'm just more likely to date one. Sort of. In the past..... ramblerambleramble..but now...baalaalhlblahablahah
Him: I imagine a girl like you could really have anyone she wants, right? I mean, you're tall and thin and blonde, and Jewish and smart, you probably have men and women lined up around the block for you.
(What are you trying to say? Mr. Robinson are you...)
Me: Yeah, I don't know, not really.
Him: I'm sure you do--
Me: Just call me Cinderella.
Act III: In Which Our Heroine throws a dinner party at her apartment.
Mary, who originally suggested such an event a few months ago, has no clue that I am so not the kind of girl to throw a dinner party, but I am so glad that she suggested it because I can become that girl. I mean, even when I am surrounded by loved ones, I often feel an urge to run into my room and hide behind my bookshelf and write poems that read like Soundgarden lyrics, so this was important for me. Even Haviland's therapist was proud of me.
So Yay Mary!
My Domesticated Partner Haviland
My dear friends: Sherri, Katy, Anna, Janet, Mary.
My dear roommates: MM and LS.
My dear roommate's friend Evan, who supplies the testosterone not provided by a roomful of ladies (although the ladies present include 4 Homos, 3 Bis, 1 straight roommate and 1 almost-completely-straight roommate)
I look online for recipes about 2 hours before party-time, and realize that if I am really going to feed 10 people, it's best to get a big pot and some pasta and sautee some shit up, and then try to get everyone stoned/drunk enough to like it.
The guests arrive, we drink, we eat, I do not take photographs because you know, sometimes it's best to just let things be.
Also Janet is currently using a cane.
Janet: God bless us, everyone.
Sherri makes me laugh so hard I can't breathe, which reminds me of how I would laugh until I hurt with Veronica and Lizzie and Lisa and Ashley (from the Macaroni Grill in Michigan), which is an interesting memory to be summoned when my jaw is about to fall off, but still a fitting one: those girls really did almost make me pee in my pants more than anyone before or since. Until last night.
Anna, who was recently in New York Magazine (I would link to the specific article, but I am aware she would find this unsavory), and I, the Open-Minded Dater in marie claire magazine, discussed the travails of weird photographs and interesting "quotes" and sudden, overwhelming fame.
By request, Haviland and I perform the In the Flesh reading again, the lovely tale 'Fucking Around.' Katy: "First I think you should put on short shorts and boots, like at the reading."
I try to re-create the original August night by asking everyone to vote for Stephen in the hotties of publishing, but I am told to make it a new experience. It is a success especially because of those who I love who could not be there at the time, which is a lot of people, and I was happy that Katy and Anna enjoyed it again. If anyone wants to know more about enjoying things again, I would encourage you to listen to the delightful This American Life podcast, episode titled "Reruns" that I downloaded this morning.
In an act of unprecedented maturity, when my stunningly hot roommate offers to give me a lap dance because I have just admitted that I've never been to a strip club, I squeal a lot and then just admit I must deny on the "It is Not Healthy for Riese to Have Intense Pent-up Sexual Desire for Her Roommate" Clause, which was added this year in order to make my life less complicated and more comfortable. This clause battles other, more biological urges, but nevertheless I rose above the burning desires of my lap and did The Mature Thing.
In another act of unprecedented maturity, I do the dishes immediately. Here I am doing the dishes and MM is being fabulous:
We are rock stars, or something.
1: aside from the sex part and the money part and the living together part, tonight Haviland and I discovered that we are in fact engaged in a domestic partnership. FYI, we're allowed to see other people. that's right, Kim Stolz, I'm talkin' to you.