Friday, June 01, 2007

Sunday Top 10, Part Two: Demented and Sad, but Social...Right?

This is Part Two of this week's Sunday Top Ten, "Clubs Which I Do Care to Belong To," which's really a Top 15. For the explanation behind this theme, please see "Part One." I could go on about it here, but let's face it: I probably will go on. And on. For hundreds and hundreds of words.


7. Duane Reade Dollar-Savers Club, Food Emporium Gold Card Club, Subway Sub Club, et al.

File Under: "Examples of Riese's Questionable Money Management Skills."

I grew up clipping coupons and donning hand-me-downs/TJ Maxx-pilfered "trend items," so you think I'd be better at things like "Buy nine subs, get one free!" Not so. This's one of many of my endearing incongruous personality quirks.

I visit Duane Reade almost every day, yet I lived in NYC for two years before joining their club, a choice which's likely cost me hundreds of dollars. What's wrong with me? Nothing, obvs, my fate's repeatedly sealed by Duane Reade's sub par line-waiting experience.

The Scene: Two employees idly re-stock Massengill, one totally-over-it cashier stares wistfully at the tiny sparkles on her acrylics. A line of impatient bitches mutates into a store aisle. The customers in line are suspicious of all customers not in line; their eyes dart dangerously at every passing patron because now that the line's spiraled out of control, someone could possibly CUT in line, unjustly, then act all innocent about it, Really? The line ends HERE?, yes, someone could misinterpret the line's evolution, someone could start a new line, a shorter line, over in Photo, where a half-brain-dead employee is possibly opening a register [or doing nothing at all, probs], and I start wondering if it'd take less time to get sick, go to the doctor, get a prescription, take it to the back register, get it filled and pay for my other items as I pay for my [by this point, necessary] Xanax.

By the time I've actually paid for my items, I'm certain I can't spend one more moment of my life on this particular errand, and thus, I repeatedly forewent filling out the membership club forms.

Similarly, back in Michigan when I was living off lunch shift tips [total=$30-$35/day] and dining at Subway daily, why didn't I just ask for a Sub-Club stamp? I don't recall ever earning a free sub. Haviland's always amazed that I've foregone the Tasti-D card as well.

However, I was always a member of the Delia*s Discount Domain. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular club: sorz. I'm not gonna footnote it, because it's better for my reputation as Super-Cool that you stay in the dark. For those of you who know what I'm referring to: yeah, totes.

6. The Wingnuts

1. "A nut with wing-like projections for thumb and forefinger leverage in turning."
2. "What Delp dubbed us."
Ingrid1 reminded me in the last post's comments of one high school club I proudly belonged to: The Wingnuts. Our writing teacher, Delp, at boarding school2 [cited in last post for the "this school's a country club" doctrine] referred to us [us=Ingrid, Sheetal3, Meg4 and me] as "Wingnuts," because we were very bright children with excellent thumb-forefingering skills. From what I saw on television and read in YA novels, the cool kids at other schools had more prodigious monikers, like 'The Heathers" or "The Queen Bees" or "The Plastics." That's the difference between High School and Weirdo High School. I've illustrated this difference below, employing photos from Beverly Hills 90210 and Sweet Valley High.
Club activities included: riding in Delp's car/istening to Bob Dylan, driving to the 7-11 for Frozen Cokes, lounging in the Traverse City Borders Bookstore, eating lunch and talking about poetry, being reminded of our status as Grasshoppers. When you're stuck on a tiny little campus, "driving to the 7-11 for Frozen Cokes" is like "train-hopping to Chicago" for other kids. It was AWESOME. [Seriously.]

5.The Mickey Mouse Club

I watched The MMC every day. Granted, it was on a short list of shows I was permitted to watch [including Fraggle Rock, 3-2-1 Contact, Square One and Kids Incorporated], but my love for this variety program was pretty tried/true. I wanted to be in it, too, and fantasized about traveling to Orlando and being [discovered] in the studio audience [read: fully sent out for pamphlet, begged parents, etc.] Mostly, this was related to my dreams of becoming a fab singer/dancer, like my hero Shirley Temple. Unfortunately, my dreams were thwarted because I cannot sing or dance. Instead of being on the MMC, I performed Send in the Clowns on my futon for my parents. A lot of kids from that show got famous and some are in rehab, so in retrospect, good thing I wasn't on it. Instead, I'm living proof that not all drug addicts need rehab. [JK, everyone! I'm unemployed because I want to be, not because I'm a drug addict! I can't afford DRUGS!]

My Dad used to tell me how in the 50s, the show was semi-decent and Anette Funnicello brought all the boys to the yard. Personally, I liked Tiffany, who joined MMC-spinoff band THE PARTY. I bought all their albums, and danced alone in my room to them, like a totes weirdo loser:
Tiffany's the girl with the curly hair. I love Chase and Damon's matching haircuts, and that I still remember their name, and probably all the track listings. My fave song was "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." I performed that a lot too, sometimes for my grandparents, those lucky ducks.

4. Vodka/Club Soda and a Club Sandwich

Though clearly this category, included here on Lozo's suggestion, is enabled by it's play on words, it ALSO enables me to discuss the essence of Groucho's statement [which, P.S., I realized yesterday was quoted in Annie Hall, which is probs where I know it from]. I'm not sure what's in a club sandwich, but I think it involves a lot of meat and possibly bacon. The consumption of club sandwiches is one of many things that separates me from other Americans, along with watching American Idol, knowing the rules of the game "football," and enjoying pork products and outdoor BBQs.

I don't like sandwiches. Here's why:
1. I don't like lunch meat, except low-fat beef bologna.
2. I don't like biting into things.
3. I don't like things that other people like.
3a. Unless that thing is Freedom.
3b. Or vodka.

3. Fruit of the Month Club

I need some vitamins like whoa. Monkeys eat more fresh fruit than I do, by like, 400%. Harry & David used to just sell fruit and chocolate, but now they probably sell like, Sushi. If someone got me a FOTMC membership for a major or minor holiday [Purim, Bloomsday and Belated Memorial Day totes counts], I'd give this person something special. I can't promise marraige, because back in December I promised to marry whomever purchased me The Paris Review Interviews, and said "I am a decent cook, and I promise to always keep my svelte figure," and TB bought it for me. So I have to give away something else. Okay, my first born.

I suspect the Bloomsbury folks--Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Vanessa Bell, E.M Forster, Clive Bell, et al--purposely shunned the word "club," but I'm going to include them anyway because it's my blog and I make the rules. I sometimes wonder if the internet's prevented the emergence of true artist/writer groups like they had in the old days, or at least in the old days of my imagination. Which's why TB and I are opening a bed & breakfast and it'll be special for artists and writers and such, especially homos. Once, Ryan-C and I accidentally went to a gay bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere, upstate New York. Luckily, Ryan was gay, and both of us liked eating banana bread and reading all day while the lesbians went a-hikin'. I was sick then and was limited in what I could do, physically, so I was jealous of the hikers, but also happy to read. Ibsen, Nadine Gordimer and Homer. The owner hated us, we ate all his banana bread. At our place, you can eat all my banana bread, cause I made it for you, weirdo.

1.The Special Secret Lesbian Club

On Episode 408 of the Showtime Hit Series [and by "hit" I mean "listening to TLW dialogue often feels like being HIT over the head with a dead lesbian horse, except that lesbians don't like horses, they like monkeys, I learned that on The L Word"] The L Word, Tina confesses to her ex, Bette, that now that she's gone to the dark side [a.k.a. dudes]: "I miss the way we communicated subtly, I miss the way that we worked together to make everything around us so beautiful. I miss being surrounded by women, and I miss being part of something so secret and special."

Then this conversation, which I've cut-and-pasted from my L Word Online Recap Blog, Auto-Straddle, happened in my living room following Tina's statement, which was found dubious by my friends and "popular opinion."

Haviland: Did she say secret?
Me: Yeah, like you know--it's not a secret but [I understand what Tina is saying and I like it, but everyone is talking over me, so I retreat to my cave of ignorance/bisexuality.]
Meg: Yeah, she misses the secret code and the secret handshake--
Haviland: What did you say?
Yana: What, you don't know the handshake?
Haviland: [totally in "Maude" voice, all gravely and been-around-the-block-and-had-a-ciggie-after]
I've been a lesbian for a looooong time.....
That being said: I've been an Undercover Outsider in the In Crowd most of my life, finding corners in the middle of crowded rooms, but [forgive me, ye womyn's music Haters, in advance, for what I'm about to say], even as a kid, I'd feel a particular peace when my Mom'd tote me to lezzie folk music concerts--though I had no conscious forbearance of personal queer-dom, I've been breathing easier in the queer world far before I came to identify as such. It's outsider culture, and it is, still, to me, a little secret and special; at least it's somewhere that lacks the presupposition that I'm anything like anyone else.

My book, when I get back to it, is not so much about bisexuality as it is about being "bi-everything." About the 10,000 clubs to which I've pretended/genuinely deserved to be a member, about masks and trying to be happy/sad with such paltry, ridiculous truths, about feeling always like at least half a fraud, like I couldn't stop being undercover. Like I needed to hold something back--at least fifty percent--or else lose everything. Like not giving everything's the same thing as lying. Who's the "real you," yeah? Generation ME? Is there a "real you," and why's the default "reality" always whatever's being pulled off in the present tense?

Dr. W: Why's it so black and white? Why're you a fraud or always telling the "whole" truth? Is there anywhere in between?

Me: No, there is no coexistence, [dramatic flourish of legs over armrest], I'm a FRAUD!

No one ever guessed anything about me just from looking: no one'd guess that I'm queer, or a writer or a or even smart. "I would never guess that _______" I can be anybody, I can be anything, tell me what to do, you say jump I say I'm already jumping, look--

For every apparent revelation: a million secrets, stories denied and squelched by each reincarnation. A love/hate relationship with everything I've stood behind. Gay/straight, Jewish/Quaker, Genuis/Airhead, Sane/Insane, Artist/Robot, Social/Recluse ... It's like I've been everything and it's opposite, and've gathered enough narratives to hold my own amongst any of them, now. Though I refrain from anything of import following "I am." Maybe here's a place where I can be all of those things at once and be validated instantly simply by the very fact that I'm writing it and I have a sitemeter.

In fact, this particular truth feels indulgent, why should anyone care, that even acting as though I think you should care is breaking into another character, which's the only one I've yet to actually play: confidence.

Sometimes it's nice, after all that, to retreat into a club which you find you're already a member: someplace special and secret but already understood, maybe with only one other person, or two other people--maybe with virtual people that you don't even know--maybe with hundreds, where you've got nothing to prove, you're assured you can handle at least what this situation demands, because but what more assurance can I have you have not told me, that I will be there, I and the canyons of my heart, its vast and vacant majesties...

Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,
The Breakfast Club

I am
a brain, an athlete,
a basketcase
a princesss
and a criminal.
Does that answer your question?


Join the Club.

Let's rock.


Some remaining clubs I hadn't the time to cover: Friendship Club [Degrassi: The Next Generation], I Hate Rachel Green Club [Friends], Hunt Club, Cat Scratch Club, Buena Vista Social Club, Culture Club, Equinox Fitness Club, Drama Club, Yale Club, Harvard Club.

1Ingrid: Ingrid and Krista were my suitemates my first year (11th grade) at boarding school. Then we became BFFs and, the subsequent year, became Wingnuts. Ing lived in NYC, twenty blocks south of Krista and I's Sparlem place, following her graduation from University of Wisconsin. Now she's in Chicago getting another degree in Art History, which's a very useful topic.
2boarding school: Interlochen Arts Academy.
3Meg: Is Meg. Northern Michigan reared. I'd crash at her NYU dorm almost every weekend when I was at Sarah Lawrence. Now she's in Michigan, I think. We met in my first writing workshop--which's also where I met...
4Sheetal: Raised in India, then Laguna Beach, then Interlochen. Then Johns Hopkins. Then NYC. Once convinced me, based on her evident germ-a-phobia, that she and her boyfriend had never even made out. I believed her because she wouldn't let me drink her PowerAde.


melaina said...

i'm really glad i wasn't the only loser who danced around to The Party's "I wanna be your boyfriend" you are actually the only other person i know of who listened to The Party. i find great comfort in this.

Chase was my first official boy crush. don't tell.

riese said...

Aw Chase, he was def. the underdog. Whatever happened to that guy? I liked Damon better, he was a bad boy like Dylan McKay.

Anonymous said...

Psychic/ brilliantly astute...there's another dichotomy to add to your list-
I got Heathers out from blockbuster 2 days ago. You're the only person I know under 30 who's seen it, the years that you are wise beyond continue to astound…

JulieGong said...

I was a totally in love with Tony Lucca and Keri Russel. I was so sad when they broke-up.

And what's this 'loser' talk about dancing to The Party. I see nothing wrong with dancing to I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend. Nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

i love "Heathers." ;)

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
frank said...

did i catch the word "bisexual" in here? in my best jim carrey voice, "so you're saying there's a chance?"

and i was ready to get you into the FOTMC, but when the thing you were giving away was your child, that kinda ruined it. you have nothing better to give me than your spawn? raise your own damn kid, lazybones.

Jaime said...

I once worked at an office that once received the Fruit of the Month Club (there's a joke about me being a fag hag in there somewhere), and it's not all it's cracked up to be. I have this idealized sense-memory of what a Harry & David pear should taste like - heaven, basically - and it never really happened.

On the other hand, my mom had a party Memorial Day weekend, and I took home the contents of an entire fruit platter in gallon ziploc bags, and felt wealthy and scurvy-free for a good week.

riese said...

kate: thanks!

I think I've seen Heathers like, ten times. What's your DAMAGE, Heather?

julie: good to see other MMC fans coming out of the woodwork. THE PARTY 4EVA.

yknow probs everyone thinks that when you say "SM" you mean "S&M," which probably would get them thinking about *you know* and then um, or maybe that's just me.
B&B, S&M, D&V ... I'm like Ginsberg, except not at all. It's "I don't make sense day," per always.
I wish our B&B was open, cuz then I could be chillin' in it right now, cooking, as promised.

lozo: yes but...see, I have this girlfriend, and we like to make out? With each other, exclusively? When we're not shopping for seedless grapes?

Good point about the kid. Perhaps I should offer up something more valuable [besides the obvious genius that will be my spawn], cause I think a home-reared baby's best...hmm...aside from this computer, I've done a quick sum-up and determined I've got nothing worth over $100. And even that's pushing it, as it's ascribing value to a 6-year-old coat that needs to be dry cleaned really bad.

Jamie: Sometimes i order apples in pre-sliced format in tiny little bags from freshdirect, and then I eat them in two days. I did that this time, but then forgot about them, and now they are probably rotting in the fridge. I should take care of that, but instead...I'm gonna do this. I'm glad it's not all it's cracked up to be, because I would never wanna be a part of any club that'd have me as a member.

frank said...

you like chicks AND you're taken?

i lack the power to both convert and steal away. maybe one or the other. if i'm lucky. i guess i'll just have to be your friend instead.

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DH said...

I know nothing about Heathers, Duane Reade, The MMC or The Party. However:

1. I would join the Club Sandwich Club, which is what separates me from my fellow Australians.

2. My mum had this grand plan to open a gay B&B in Sydney. I was going to be the maid/chef. To follow would be the gay Resort, and I was going to manage the Gym and the Business Centre. The banks wouldn't finance it, surprise. But it would have been an ace occupation. And also hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I am French so I never got to see these movies that bind teenagers like oil and egg yolk...All those Breakfast Clubs and Pretty in Pink and Heathers. Arriving in 'Merica, I felt completely lost. I was not brought up on Little Women or New Kids on the Block. In France we had these lame boybands called 2B3 or Alliage. And yes, sometimes they sang in english, but we did not sing along, except the bits in French.
SO I guess I don't belong to any club at all here. It has its charms, it does, to drift along the cultural references and mostly miss them (but then being too pop for your own good is a capital sin) but sometimes (huge secret) you get the longing for the sentence that binds, and the smiles that replace actual explanations (yes, I watched that movie too.) To come back to my mayonnaise metaphor (eh, we French eat mayonnaise with everything), it curdles pretty damn fast. Can I belong to the club of Riese-reading-Frogs? Though?

The Spaz said...

Club sandwiches are the Devil. Seriously. Who wants to eat tomatoes and mayonaise on too many slices of bread? Ew.

I totally forgot about the Party!

Also, you just can't go wrong with Heathers. I must have been about thirteen the first time I seen it, I can still remember totally crushing on both Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Sooo confused ;)

Anonymous said...

I am severely traumatized by any conversation insinuating that the viewing of Heathers was some sort of optional endeavor. Anyone who ventured through high school without “fuck me gently with a chainsaw” in their comeback repertoire was at a notable disadvantage. If you fall into this category, please remedy the situation immediately, especially all you adorable little non-Americans. Seriously, I’ll have nightmares otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. That URL was supposed to go in an e-mail to my friend, not in the “your web page” field. My ALT key and I are in a fight over whether a keyboard can still function after instant oatmeal has been spilled into the motherboard. Clearly, I am losing.

Multi-tasking for mutha fuckin life.

riese said...

lozo: aw, friends.


crystal: totes ace occupation.

sara: riese reading frogs club, fosho.

spaz: DITTO, ditto, ditto.

m: fuck ME gently with a chainsaw.

and instant oatmeal: that's a new one, and an impressive one. amazing. if I ever used "lol," this'd be the place.

Mercury said...

I'm ok.

I skimmed most of the top 15 this week. Sorry. My brain is malt, and I'm not good at clubs/pop culture.

I read number 1 tho. I know what you mean, "I'm always a fraud." that is me, me, me. No matter how honest I am, it's never true enough... it's not quite true at all. it's just true to be mean or true to seem some way or even true just to be true but taken wrong, or false with time because things change and nothing stays true except "EVERYTHING CHANGES". Maybe this is the case for everyone, how could it not be? But it bothers me, a lot. Because I'm always a fraud.

Bourbon said...

Love this post. I really wanna stop myself from asking "what happens when your club falls apart?" because I hate this stupid state I'm in but I just can't stop wondering.

MoonKiller said...

I love this post - I say it on all of them but I do love all of them. = ].

Today my friends and I made a club - 'The It's So Fucking Hot Outside That I Would Like To Go And Enjoy The One Day Of Pure Sunshine We Get In Wales Each Decade, But It's So Hot I Can't Be Bothered To Move So I'll Just Sit Here With A Boiling Laptop On My Lap Club'. Quote of the day is 'I'm sweating like a blind lesbian in a fish market'.

MoonKiller said...

ps. That comment should be said in a pissed off welsh accent.

riese said...

Razia: You shouldn't be in any club that wouldn't have you as a member, obvs. Also: be sad, then find a new club, I think, is the answer.

mercury: I think for some people though it isn't. They're like, this's who I am, cool. I mean, there's tiny compromises, but not huge compromises, but maybe I just think that cuz I'm self-absorbed. hm.

MOONKILLER I AM IN YOUR CLUB. Seriously, just before reading your comment, I was writing an email to Haviland about how it's so hot outside that I cannot leave my laptop because just thinking about going outside in the humidity and sweating a lot makes me never want to leave this chair, except to go to the gym cuz it's only a block away and you're supposed to sweat there. Like, literally, totes on the same page as you right now, exactly.

Tara said...
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MoonKiller said...

Your totes in.
But today we made a new club - 'The It's So Grey Outside That I'm Going To Watch Movies On My Laptop All Day With The Curtains Closed Even Though It'll Look Like A Russian Brothel Club'.
= ]

Mercury said...

riese: no, you're right, most people aren't like that, and I know this because, at IAA, I took a WIR class about the trickster figure, and he's everything and the opposite of that at the same time, and we spent a lot of time discussing that, and htis girl Jenna, who was a mind-blowing poet and also had really bright blue eyes and long dark lashes, could not grasp that concept. She very loudly did not grasp it. "BUT HOW COULD THAT BE?!" The "Ambiguous personality" trait. Other traits included being a messenger of the gods, and traveling/on the road/crossroads, and transforming things particularly between being sacred and lewd or into being both. There were 6 total. I had them down at one point. Anwyay.

I don't think most anyone did except for Kate (who taught this class) and me, or at least nobody else was vocal about getting it. and I was like, That's my favorite trickster characteristic. Bc it was the one I related to, and it was why I always had no problem creating trickster figures for our projects. I was the nerd of that class.

Thought I'd share that.

riese said...

MERCURY: I love it when I read a comment as I'm having a phone conversation about the topic that the comment brings up. I woulda totally gotten it. Lovin' the tricksters, especially these days. E.g., Loki, , Thunder Perfect Mind...etc. Kate sounds better and better every time you talk about her. I pine for her wisdom.