Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: I Saved Up All My Sunshine Just To See You More Clear

Clearly, there are a lot of things about life that I don't understand. That's right, M[redacted] V[redacted], my English 125 professor who drilled that we shouldn't ever open an essay with a trite & broad generalized statement: There Are A Lot of Things About Life I Do Not Understand! Also: the world is composed of many different kinds of people, since the beginning of time human beings have grappled to comprehend the meaning of life, literature explores topics that expand our views of the universe, and the personal is often political.

[One thing I don't understand is why M.V. was such a cunt ... but English 125's how I met Natalie! I should probs adjust that name in case M[redacted] V[redacted] googles herself. Done and Done. She seems like the kind of person that would. Let me google her right now, BRB.

Holy shit. "Rate my professors dot com"? Why didn't this exist when I was in school?!! Whoa. You can indicate if your teacher's HOT OR NOT. This is brill. Anyhow, she's got a 3.8/5 for her teaching skills. Hm. Oh wow, someone wrote that she accused them of using someone else's paper to write theirs. She totes did that to my friend Inga. Looks like she's still up to her same old tricks. Tsk tsk. Oh man. She won something. A Fulbright? Damn. I guess she wasn't that bad. I loved her class, actually, it's just that she accidentally caused my One and Only Actual Mental Breakdown. Did I have a point? Chances are good that I did not.]

OMG, someone's grilling cheeseburgers or something outside my window. It smells like childhood. Usually people're getting shot outside my window, so this's pretty effin exciting. Seriously last night someone got shot outside my window. Not kidding.

Sunday Top Ten: The Great Mysteries of Life That I Do Not Understand, PART ONE

(Items 10-5, Posted Early, For the Reason Why, See "9.")

10. Why's My Phone Bill So High?
My phone bill inspired this post. I've had this issue since 2000, when I got my first cell phone. Somehow I talk less than everyone I know, and yet I always have the highest bill. My total text messages sent/received number (837 in August) is higher than my minutes-spent-on-the-phone. My phone got shut off for like, 24 hours, earlier this week and though I found it slightly odd that I seemed to've lost communication with a few key players, I wasn't necessarily shocked by the silence echoing from the chambers of the Dash. I just thought "Oh, Haviland must be busy," etc. But um: totes shut off. Apparently I owed them $250. I don't understand this. Can someone explain this to me?

I want a no-phone Phone Plan. I just need email and texting, and the calender and calculator. The rest I could do without. I don't need voicemail or any kind of minutes--I'm equally uninterested in daytime, nighttime, weekends, and other T-Mobile customers. I mean; I got T-Mobile 'cause my girlfriend at the time had it, as does Haviland. I tend to pick my phone companies based on who I'm dating at the moment I need a new phone, that's how I got stuck with Sprint for three years, thanks Scot.

[This's what I've got: 600 Whenever minutes (I use about 200/month), unlimited text & picture messaging, unlimited nights and weekends, unlimited tmobile-to-tmobile, Total Internet Add-on, equipment protection, and er *cough* late fees. Also last month I sent a text to Australia, that cost 0.15. That's really the only place I see where I could possibly cut back, and I'd rather not. That's right Crystal, you're WORTH IT]

9. Why Don't We Get Drunk and Blog?
I mean, you know? Why not? Really, I'd like to talk about something else. Why is Stef losing Lozo's join-my-top-25-blog contest by such a gigantic margin? That's why I'm posting this right now as opposed to three days late, per ush. Stef was kidding when she nominated herself and she doesn't want to win 'cause she doesn't really want people to read her blog, and I probs don't have enough readers to make her win anyhow, but she'd like to lose by a less significant margin. Please go here and vote for her, thanks, you have 'til Sunday night at 10 P.M. I can't relate to the not-wanting-readers thing, as I clearly want everyone to read my blog, obvs, esp. Ilene Chaiken, Shane and G.W. Bush, and, whenever I blog about doing something fabulous, I hope all my exes are reading it and feeling bad for cheating on me with 16-year-old synchronized swimmers.

Sidenote, 9a: Lozo and I were discussing our lovely inter-blog traffic flow, and how it's resulted in many new lady commenters for WDWGDB, but not necessarily vice versa, though Lozo brings me lots of traffic which's fabulous, mwah. Anyhow, Lozo said it's "intimidating" to comment on my blog because my commenters are so awesome. Is this true? Do you people feel this way? This is sort of a retarded question to ask, as probs if you do feel this way, you won't comment, which is totes fine. I think it's a Catch-22 or whatever. I mean, because srsly, say whatever. Long, short, true, false, funny, insightful, brief, beautiful, retarded, whatevs. I talk in abbreviations, have a compulsive urge to overshare, and I frequently live-blog my emotional breakdowns and I can't spell. Again: not complaining, I totally understand, there're lots of blogs I read & never comment, and I don't really know why, I just don't feel like I can. I love & appreciate all my present commenters and I would make love to all of them if I wasn't so busy being Emily Dickinson, or if I hadn't already, or they actually wanted me to, or whatevs.
Lozo: Commenting on your blog is intimidating.
Me: It's intimidating? Really? But I comment back! I'm so nice! You're like: "Alex: Fuck you. Gina: I'd only do you if you had a bag over your head. Matt: You are wrong about the Yankees."
Lozo: lol. Not in that sense. Your commenters write lots of deep stuff.
Me: I'm like "Alex: I love you!, Gina: You're so special!, Matt: Good point! I feel that way too sometimes!"
Lozo: But my commenters are one-sentence people. Yours are people who tell stories.
me: I know, but I like one-sentence people too.
Lozo: It's a fitting in thing. You know what would have made this conversation awesome?
me: If it had been live? In person?
Lozo: Naked girls and drinks.
me: In bikinis?
Lozo: I like that you have my setups to my jokes read already.

8. Why Does Haviland Still Use AOL?
She's answered this question approximately 500 times, I forget the answer. I think it's got something to do with her career and keeping the same email address or something. But! AOL's just started doing this thing where they insert about 40 yards of white space to the end of all their emails. It's insufferable. I've communicated this. Here's what a quick gmail search turned up:

-August 17th, ME to HAVILAND: "Why does your email attach 30 pages of blank space to the bottom of every email? It's maddening and it must stop."

-August 20th, ME to HAVILAND: "The white space that follows every email is ruining our friendship."

-August 30th, ME to HAVILAND: "Dude that white space at the end of your emails is the most maddening thing on earth. Does anyone else tell you about this? It's going to make me into a crazy person. Oh wait, I already AM a crazy person!"

-September 12th, CARLY to ME: "I liked the unnecessary amount of white space at the end of your email, I thought of Haviland's emails when I saw that and then I laughed."

-September 13th: ME to HAVILAND: "1. Dude, you have to do something about this space Is there any way to fix it? Can I write someone at AOL? It's really maddening and unbearable."

Another question would be: Why do I repeat myself so often? Or, better yet: why does AOL make me repeat myself by sucking so hard?

8a. Why Does my Mom Still Use AOL?

7. Why Don't More People Read Books?
It's just that I get depressed when I feel like people don't read books, and then I use that as an excuse not to write mine. "It's not like people read books, anyhow," I'll say. But actually, the real mystery to me here is: who doesn't read books? Everyone I know reads books. You probably do. So why's publishing in such a dismal state? I don't know. It keeps me up at night, obvs. I also enjoy listening to books, like right now I'm listening to "Lucky" by Alice Sebold. I get really into it, I listen to it at the gym. Ppl are all like "what's up, gonna do a delt fly," and I'm like "She got raped in the tunnel!" It's like, serious.

I feel like books can be a lot better than movies or the teevee, cause there're books about everything. Books can offer special POVs and voices that you can't get from most movies or teevee, which first must receive "funding" and "distribution," which means that someone with money has to like the idea. It just becomes part of this big system. I mean, so is publishing, but you know what I mean, yeah? Here's some of my favorite books.

They're definitely better than doing nothing. E.g., on public transportation, while waiting in line, while walking (books-on-tape), while sitting on your ass, waiting in a doctor's office, waiting for your life to begin, waiting for your date to show up so you look smart, sitting at a bar alone not like I'd do that, etc. I dunno. I guess that's just my opinion. I also enjoy magazines.

6. Why Do People ADD Apostrophes to Plural Nouns?
There's this poster on our wall in the living room that makes me want to tear my hair out. It's a drawing and it reads: "The 59th Annual Kings County TONY'S." Probs it was drawn by some kid who's dead of a drive-by shooting now or something, and I'll feel really guilty when Zoey sees this and clues me in. Or maybe Zoey drew it herself, in which case I'll make fun of her about it. Starr's boyfriend was here last weekend and also got annoyed by it. He pointed out two additional errors, further fueling my fire. Sometimes, during Writeathons, Carly'd suggest we switch seats 'cause looking at that poster made me miserable and I commented on it often.

It's just that you have to ADD AN APOSTROPHE. WHY?!!! What goes through your head when you add that in?!! Like, what are you thinking?
This would be a good opp for y'all to inform me that I don't know the difference between "its" and "it's." I know. I'm working on it. (Kinda) I'm v.busy.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Back In Our Bedroom After the War

Today I rearranged all my furniture. I built a wall down the middle of my room with bookshelves so now one half of my room is for sleeping and lounging and the other half's for my words and the desk from the whorehouse. Speaking of whorehouses, today I found no less than 13 packs of matches apparently snatched from the Happy Endings Lounge last week at my reading. I don't remember taking any, but I wouldn't put it past myself, especially as it'd seem I'm really testing my body's capacity for alcohol lately. I feel like I have a secret cubbyhole here now, like what I always dreamed about when I was a little girl and my Mom never let me close my door all the way. 'Cause she didn't want us to die or something. I don't know. The point is that I am now writing you from my emo-cave. "Emo-cave" is a word I made up when I was proofing Crystal's essay the other day. I got so excited about it I thought I'd build my own.

I've been waiting to talk about the "In the Flesh" reading 'til I got some photos but, as Paula Cole once sang during the opening credits of the classic television program "Dawson's Creek": I don't wanna wait for my life to be over, I wanna know right now, when will it be? I didn't take any photos, obvs, my camera is so old it's the equivalent of a Zach Morris cell phone and therefore semi-embarrassing to extract in public, and also I was drunk and probably would've just taken photos of Stef pointing all WTF-y at Menudo (the name of the guy who was hitting on us really loud while people were trying to read) (not actually his name) (but wouldn't it be cool if it was?). But someone did. Where are they? I dunno.

[Oh, like o, like h, like hey: Thank You. All of you ... you know what I'm talking about, you know who you are? Thank you for your words. I've got a lot going on in my head right now, a lot of things ... to be figured out, gone through, looked at, talked about. I am so blessed to have such fantastic friends, readers, friends/readers, it's really beautiful.]

So, the reading was super-awesome. Stephanie read with me and did a fantastic job and the people laughed. They videotaped it, which's why I decided to starve all day, so afterwards I went somewhere with Stef and had hummus and pita, which I love. I even loved it when I got to taste it coming back up later. See, I'm being gross now like Lozo. He posts entire entries about a certain bathroom activity that I don't think people should ever talk about. I'd rather hear people talk about vomiting like I just did. Maybe I'll erase this part later.

So so so so I'm going to um, just publish the story I wrote for the reading right here on my blog. Isn't that exciting? I'd publish the first one that I read last year, too, but I feel like that might be against some copyright something since it's going to be in the Dirty Girls book. I don't know, I never read my contracts, I just sign them, it's really a miracle if I can even find a stamp. Anyone who works for JP Morgan Chase can tell you that this habit hasn't exactly worked in my favor.

Oh, there's parts of this story I stole from an old blog entry, FYI, I know that. I steal from myself left and right.

So, in introduction, I'd like to say that last year I read a story called "Fucking Around" in which the protagonist tells New York she's going to start seeing other places: Boston (Boston wants to pick me up and toss me about like his arms are rackets and I’m a buoyant shuttlecock.), Washington D.C. (His apartment looks like a hotel; pressed sheets, organized bath products, neatly folded cream-colored towels. D.C has Magnum King-Sized condoms ostentatiously placed on his bathroom counter. We rub against each other. I feel what I think is DC's dick through his pants but it turns out to be his T-Mobile Sidekick), Wisconsin and Michigan (..I want her breasts on my face, I want to fall asleep that way. When I cum, it won't be normal cum. It will be blackberry jam), Los Angeles (I look in her refrigerator for a beer. All she has are celery sticks and powders for protein shakes. That's when I start to suspect that Los Angeles is a robot.), Detroit (I think Detroit might be good at something and I'm hoping that it's fucking. Detroit rolls me onto my stomach. Detroit actually holds my damp panties to his nose and sniffs them.), San Francisco (San Francisco takes me to an S+M party where everyone is wearing taut leather and has a lot of Opinions. I'm surprised: I met her in the park, she had flowers in her hair and a vintage bicycle. Is she a top or a bottom? Does she want me to whip her? I don’t understand.) and Alabama (He fucks me with the elemental intensity of a man who handles animals and land and dirt. When he cums, I hold him and the look in his eyes makes me want to cry. I feel like he could be crying too but he doesn't know it).

Then she goes back to New York, obvs. I used the same opening and closing this year but adjusted it for a new sort of theme I was playing with this year. Like last year it was that no other places are as good as New York. This year, it was that New York City itself is maybe just an idea, maybe only a dream we keep holding onto and looking for, everywhere, and are always, kinda, not able to find it.

I obviously finished writing it about two hours before the reading started, because I la-la-love the last minute.

Fucking Around #2: Back in the Habit. (JK. I just wanted to reference Sister Act)
Fucking Around #2: Rise of the Machines (JK!)

Fucking Around #2: Local Edition

New York

Me: I told New York I loved her but she wouldn't say it back. We'd just made love, and then I said it and she laughed. I felt like she was holding all my limbs together with her breath and so when she laughed it felt like she was dropping me and pretending it was an accident.

New York: It takes me a long time, you know that, I told you that. But when I do say it, I’ll really mean it. When I feel it, you’ll know it all over.

Me: New York fell asleep but I couldn't. I stood naked at the squashed rectangle of window in the corner of New York's bedroom and watched a man exit a crowded restaurant, put his wife in a cab and then meet a girl on the corner; she was cinematically pretty and looked happier than I'd felt in years.

New York: Come back to bed, baby, what are you doing? If you aren't doing anything, you should be sleeping.

Me: Lying unblinking next to New York in the dark, I couldn't be certain I wasn't sleeping with the tooth fairy, or something else I'd always secretly believed in. New York's always playing hard to get, but she knows I'm not going anywhere.

New York knows if I believed in reality, I would've left years ago, found another place. So I ask her; what if I left now?

New York: You'll be back.

New Jersey

I meet New Jersey on craigslist, I was drunk, she actually took me seriously. She picks me up in a gigantic white Jeep; she's radiating like she's smothered in glittery lotion, her hair is dark streaked red, she has tan lines like arrows racing towards her breasts. I tell her I've never met anyone on craigslist before.

New Jersey: That's what all the girls say.

--and she buys me dinner at a Pan-Asian restaurant next to a shopping mall—

New Jersey: It's my Dad's credit card, he's been like, King Asshole this week.

I can't stop staring at her tits, but I'm guessing that was the idea when she picked that shirt and that lotion.

Jersey: So, when did you know you liked girls?

Me: What do you mean, "Liked"?

Jersey: My best friend and I used to play doctor. You know, doctor?

Me: What did you have?

Jersey: Breast cancer.

After dinner, I let her push me into the backseat of her big car like I'm being kidnapped. She pins my arms behind me with one hand, removes her own pants with the other.

New Jersey isn't wearing underwear. I laugh: "You're not wearing underwear?" but she doesn't laugh, she just removes mine --

Jersey: You neither.

Her fingernails are chipped black except she's got both middle fingers painted a glossy bright purple that reminds me of Bubble Tape, and I imagine her in traffic, flicking off drivers, in photos flicking off the camera, inside me, flicking off. And then she's inside, almost her entire hand, turning circles. Over and over. If I think I'm close, it's another circle, back where we started. But I trust her to get me where I'm going, if only because fucking her is not unlike fucking a live-action sex toy with ambitious sound effects.

If bubble gum was a drug, injecting it would be like fucking New Jersey. She's tacky and delicious and flexible, like liquorice. She scratches me with her nails.

She bites my lip so hard I bleed. She pulls my hair and tells me I'm beautiful. She flicks my bellybutton ring with her tongue and then claws at my abs—

Jersey: How many crunches do you do, a day?

We both cum, we finish, I'd like to fuck her in about five hundred positions but I can't, I know sooner rather than later she'll want me to meet her parents, and I'm in no shape to meet anyone's parents.

I don't know what to tell New York if she asks me about the scratch marks and my lip but I know what I won't say: I won't say it's from New Jersey.


Westchester glides through her house like a figure skater on a clean sheet of pond, shows me where I'll be taking the children, and how. She takes a lot of pills. None of the food in her house has actual ingredients.

Westchester: Don't ever call my husband. He is resolutely unpleasant.

Westchester has a pool with a waterfall, like a wild jungle. We sit at it, she drinks cocktails and makes phone calls and watches me with her children, bosses me around.

Westchester: You're such a bohemian. I was like you once. Are you vegan?

Later, she'll boss me around in her room, and I'll be really good at going along with everything until she slaps my ass with a string of diamonds worth more than everything I own—I accidentally grab for it and she lurches backwards, suspicious.

Westchester: I think my husband gets hand jobs on his lunch hour.

Me: Things could be much worse for you than this.

But, in spite of this, because of this: there's always a meal to prepare, a child's body to transport from one building to another building. I've seen her put "sex" on her list of physical activities for her personal trainer. Westchester is who New York would be if all New York's worst nightmares came true.

On my way out, I grab a pair of her panties and stick them in my bag. They smell like Chanel.


I've talked to Astoria before; somehow all my calls get re-routed to her when I dial the wrong extension at work. But I don't really talk to her til a work party at an outdoor beer garden, I think it's the first time I've seen her with her hair down.

Astoria: I usually wear a ponytail.

She flirts carefully, crosses and uncrosses her legs suggestively, and I like her smart black boots, her lip gloss that smells like a war between pastries and kiwis. She seems safe, like I could never love her and she could never hurt me.

Astoria: Want another beer? They're doing 2-for-1 for the next ten minutes.

Me:I'll take three.

At a picnic table in a dark corner, we drink from our heavy glasses, I try to figure if she's pretty or not til I'm too drunk to care. I'd like to unbutton all her buttons, make her scream and shatter her sallow skin wide open.

Astoria:I've given up men and taken up cigarettes.

Astoria's apartment feels like a punishment: one window, bare walls. She emerges from her long shower, cleanly, removes her shirt clinically, folds it on a chair, spreads her legs, rolls her head back and says –

Astoria: I've had my eye on you.

Astoria knows what she wants. She tells me precisely how hard and where, how fast, how long, and then she makes these little bird-like noises when she cums and then quickly gets dressed again.

Astoria: I'm happy to return the favor, but we'll have to use a Dental Dam.


The next morning, the walk to the train is so long I run out of things to say, and then she says—

Astoria: I get the impression we don't have very good chemistry.

Me: You should wear your hair down more often.

On the train, she balances her checkbook and drinks a latte. I listen to my ipod, play with my greasy hair, wait to get off. That afternoon, she sends me an email:

Astoria: I had fun the other night, did you? anyhow, it's best we keep business and pleasure separate from now on. thanks! :--)

Three days later, she's disappeared. I go to her office and smell the air, I don't know why, it just feels like the thing I do next. It smells like nothing. I remember briefly; she also smelled like nothing. I try to remember her face but I can only remember a paper plate, a computerized smile, a long walk to the train.

When I try to remember New York, it uses up all my senses.


Williamsburg takes me to a gallery opening. It's a video installation; there are pretty fat women being penetrated by bottles of condiments.

Williamsburg: I feel like feminism had it's moment, and that moment is, like, over.

Williamsburg's like boys I wanted to date in high school, but more predictable and skinnier. We share a cupcake by the waterfront and walk to his apartment, he tries to hold my hand, I rebuff him, we laugh, kiss, tumble; in his room on his mattress, I feel him tightening beneath his tight pants and he's squirming to hide it, he is sweet, I am a cupcake, he is frosting. I grab his hair but that's mostly just to get it out of his eyes.

He's a little boy and then suddenly he's a porn star. He cums all over my face. I remember what he'd said earlier about feminism.

Williamsburg: That usually never happens, I'm so sorry. I mean, usually only like, every other weekend between 2 A.M. Saturday morning til 6 A.M. Monday morning.

Me: That's a lot more than "never."

I'm thinking, fuck you, frosting, picking up my red panties, and he's limp and bony on the edge of the bed, his head in his hands like someone in a movie who's just suffered a minor but important loss, like the death of a family pet.

But--he looks beautiful, just then –naked like that on the bed, head in hands. I want his head in my hands. So I go to him and look at his blue eyes and kiss him and he's wet and tender and soft.

Williamsburg: Do you want to –

Me: Shhh. Don't talk. Please don't talk. That's how good things get ruined.

He's so soft that I can't help but attack him, like I'm testing him to see if he's anything like New York. I straddle him backwards to see if he can fuck me without looking me in the eyes. He can't. He has a few moves he's good at.

I don't know why I stay, but I stay. Our sex doesn't get better, it just gets louder and more physically exhausting.

He's got five roommates in his general age and ambition range, they all have blogs. I feel like I need to do my hair to go into the kitchen.

But I love the coffee, and his small hug, how genuine he is about lying. We fuck, he cries and blogs and takes photos of my body parts in appropriately etheral shafts of light, under which he'll then lay gently upon me, glide his dick inside me, and make love to the part of my soul that still likes Bright Eyes.

On Monday, he doesn't get up to go to work. The apartment is empty and I see that it's not that cute after all, it just had a lot of cute people in it.

Me: What happened to your roommates?

Williamsburg: What roommates? You mean Sarah Lawrence and Bard and Vassar? They were just hanging out, they left, they don't live here.

Bushwick and Red Hook come over for poker, they leave, he posits:

Williamsburg: We're starting this like, artist's collective? There's no funding right now, but we've got a hot web page, we'd love you to model for us.

Me: I think I'd better collect my things.

Williamsburg: I think you're too uptight about this art/life differentiation.

Me: I think that art-as-life thing has had it's moment, and that moment is like, over.

He's too upset to talk, says he needs sleep and as he dozes I look at his mail and see he's getting checks every week from his Dad, The Lower East Side. I wonder if he's actually a freelance designer or just a kid in a vintage t-shirt.

There's a knock at the door, it's a pretty girl with the same haircut on a blue bicycle. She says she's his girlfriend, but they're in an open relationship. I don't care. I'm over him. I know he'll still be here, with his moves, if I ever want to come back.

East Village

So while he's sleeping– snoring, dreaming dirty – I sneak out with East Village and we walk Williamsburg's pretty streets talking about his small but important failures. I say he's like New York but hollow and cums faster. We drink hot coffee in clean purple light. The coffee is sweet, like her voice.

East Village: Ready to go for a ride?

I ride on the back of her bicycle to her apartment, and five blocks from there the insistent seat of her bike pushes me to orgasm. I scream, and she thinks it's 'cause of the hill.

She parks her bike and as we head towards the building's entrance, she asks for my ID.

East Village: You need an ID to sign in to my room.

Me: Sign in?

East Village:: Yeah, that's how NYU does their dorms.

Me: How old are you?

Later, New York will tell me she saw my photo on a blog and I'll tell her that isn't me, and she'll believe me. She always lets me decide who I am, who I was, and who I'm not anymore. I could say "I'm a toaster" and she'd say "Well, when I feel like toast, you'll be the first to know."

Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, W.Village

Greenwich Village isn't gay anymore. I knew her then; now she wears a lot of brightly patterned clothes from Intermix.

Greenwich: I wouldn't say I was ever GAY, necessarily.

Me: You had a Lavender Menace t-shirt.

Well, that's just politics.

Now she lives with Chelsea, platonically, because Chelsea is still gay though his partner died. Chelsea has a lot of friends who are dead now. He has a daughter, also named Chelsea, and she's pregnant with another gay couple's baby. I ask her why she's doing it:

Chelsea: Good karma?

Are they paying you?

Yes, my job is being pregnant, I take it very seriously. I'm not showing yet, but I will.

Chelsea and Greenwich Village both work, so I'm alone always with Pregnant Chelsea. She's like New York, only real.

We make love every morning, it's a lot like hugging naked. It's lovely: how she sighs, rests her arm on my concave waist, the erect bones she could try to hold onto me with, if people were things you could hold onto. I can feel her future kicking through her skin. Her hair is so perfect it makes me feel sick to my stomach, like I overdosed on Gatorade.

Then one night Meatpacking comes home. She has two dead fathers and Chelsea always lets her stay when she needs to. Meatpacking's skin's almost blue, her eyes threatening to give up. For a moment I think she is New York and then in another moment I realise she looks nothing like her. But still, I hang on, just in case.

Meatpacking:I'm so over the scene, you know?

Me: Totally.

Meatpacking:Because it's such a like, scene.

Meatpacking and I don't sleep for five days. I can't dream, because that's called going back to New York. We just do drugs and take turns tying each other to various pieces of Chelsea's expensive furniture and fucking with glass dildos and not eating. The dirtier we both get, the more we love each other. I let her pierce my ears and when it starts bleeding she wraps her lips around my earlobe and sucks until the bleeding stops.

Meatpacking: You're everything.

Me: No, YOU'RE everything.

Meatpacking: Fuck me now, harder!

We take all of Chelsea's pills, they have pills for any feeling you want to have. We grind pills and inhale from each other's hipbones.

Then Meatpacking almost dies, Chelsea makes it back just in time.

Chelsea: Get out of here. You're a bad influence.

Me: But she started it!

A lot of things are thrown. I try to look Meatpacking in the eyes but I'm not sure either of us have eyes anymore. I walk outside and it's the brightest day I've ever seen, or else there are strangers taking my photograph.

Meatpacking runs desperately to her window and pounds on it melodramatically.

Meatpacking: But I need you!

I look back, Lot's Wife, skeleton's shadow, I'd like to sneak her through the physical world into my arms, and get lost in her forever, until we both burn up and die, or until we grow old.

I know she needs me to believe in her most of all, otherwise she'll die with tears falling off her face as she turns it away from me and from the lights. So I don't tell her where I'm going, I just go.

New York

New York is three hours late to meet me, like she didn't even miss me. Her eyes are green rimmed with red. She looks sick and devastating and gorgeous and she doesn't apologize.

New York: I haven't slept in like, three days.

Me: Do you want to do this later, then?

New York: Why? No, of course not. What are we waiting for?

New York might not know that I can see her veins through her skin now, or the scar from the tattoo she got removed. I liked that tattoo, but I guess I'd never told her that out loud.

I kiss her and she tastes like toothpaste and cocaine,I finger her angel wing shoulderblades, our bones clash together like drumsticks. She puts her ipod on shuffle and sticks it in the speakers and we fuck to The Scissor Sisters and Basement Jaxx and La Triviata and Charlie Parker and Yo La Tengo and Joss Stone and the soundtrack to Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

New York: I've started taking Ritalin before we make love. It helps me focus. I’ve got a lot going on.

New York is wearing expensive underwear and she lets me take it off with my teeth, kissing her inner thighs, and she squeals in a voice that sounds nothing like her actual voice. New York takes off her own bra and she apologizes:

New York: It's from Conway.

Me: All your dirty trashy bras are from Conway, and I don’t care.

New York fucks me. New York fucks me so hard that I cry. New York believes crying only happens when no one's looking and the rest of it is just wetness, like how she's making me all over, all at once, she leads, I board. All at once, we are on our way, all at once, her hand digging into the crevices of bone and flesh, my pussy opening like a long throat, life is long, here is someone, I grab harder. Her fingers make love to the inside of my bellybutton, we're sweating so much that our bodies glide against each other like fish underwater, like my veins are the passageways of a busted pinball machine.

I can't tell if New York likes to hurt me or if she just doesn't care about me at all.

New York's body is hard and thin but also strong. New York fucks like she's killing me with the understood secret that death is orgasm.

New York:I love you.

Me: I--

New York: Shh. Don't ruin it.

When I cum, it's short and pure; a star shoots straight from my pussy to my head and everything goes brilliant white for one second--maybe even less than that--but that split second is worth it. I emerge; the sun is shining, it's raining, it's danger, my body is all bright lights, it's somewhere we shouldn't be or magically it is in fact exactly where I should be. It's home, we're lost, I can't imagine being anywhere else.

What I'm left with is the way she shouts "I love you!" haphazardly while leaving a crowded room, the way, all at once, she shows up, all at once we are on our way, and she's looking straight at me, the way I'm always looking when I'm looking back at her, and I pretend her eyes on me mean nothing when the truth is, I've waited for New York all my life, and I'll keep on waiting.

I look at New York, and I wonder how she does it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Birthday Girl/If You Go, You Go

i. Top 26 Years of My Life

Did anyone notice that the Sunday Top Ten didn't include an actual Top Ten of anything? I honestly didn't. I asked: "Haviland, why did I name this blog 'Sunday Top Ten' when there's no top ten in it? At all? Whatsoever? Did you notice that?" and she was like "Well, it was Sunday? But I did notice that." It's true: it mos def was Sunday, published just as the clock struck Sunday. I mean, I apply the term 'Sunday Top 10' to Tuesday Top 8s, so it's usually half-a-lie anyhow. But this week, it was just a different half doing the lying.

ii. What I Did For my Birthday.

I decided I needed to walk it out. Ghost-fighting, maybe, taking stock -- sort of. Whatever it was, it just came into my mind as what I needed to do on my birthday and so I did it.

I subwayed to South Street Seaport, then walked home. Yes, item #450 on the "Why Riese Is So Cool It Hurts" list: I spent my 26th birthday walking from the South Street Seaport to Harlem, listening to an audiobook of Alice Sebold's Lucky, reading text messages, listening to voice mails, and occasionally stopping for food/Tasti-D-Lite. [Other items on the "Why Riese is So Cool It Hurts" list include: "Owes Visa her first-born child," "Has no marketable skills," "Listens to the 'Spring Awakening' soundtrack in the shower," "recaps television shows for fun, even though she apparently despises all of them," "Is attracted to Will Smith and Amy Ray from The Indigo Girls."]

I've done the midtown-to-Harlem or Harlem-to-midtown walk many-a-time, as well as a midtown-to-downtown --- with Natalie, Haviland, TB, etc. When I was younger and hungrier I used to think if I kept walking, I could make everything else inside of me stop, and when I left the city I'd itch to return just so I could walk and walk and I thought maybe eventually evaporate, or fly; weightless. That's one of many reasons I loathe summertime; the heat prevents this pastime. That's also one of many reasons I hate my life; my life prevents all pastimes, allowing only room for present-times. I just invented that word, it means "things that are efficient and conducive to productivity right now."

See map: I walked a little over eight miles.
I wish it'd taken my Mom like, 10 days to give birth to me, and then I could've had a 10-day long birthday, and I could've walked past everything that's ever happened to me in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn [I've never been to Staten Island, though I saw a great MTV True Life documentary about it, and I've only hit up The Bronx once -- to get a filing cabinet they didn't stock @ the Manhattan Staples]. Unfortunately I only had the time and leg/foot/back-power to canvas about 15% of my ghosts.

[Also, I'm JKing, I know how birthdays work.]

In retrospect, I realise that I shouldn't've worn Chuck Taylors. That was a Bad Call. But if I'd worn my Nikes, then I would've felt like I was a mall walker or something. My Mom used to go walking in the mall. Sometimes I'd go with her and try to cut the corners and she'd get really annoyed with me and go "REEEEE, Get back here!" and then I'd be like "OK, can we go to Godiva now?" and she'd be like "O.K."

iii. "This is what I remember." (First line. Lucky, by Alice Sebold.)

So I left the Seaport, heading north, went through Soho--nerve offices where I interned [Winter 05], Apple Store, site of many-a-mental-breakdown/cash drop ['04-'06] -- and then I was walking through the East Village, where I lived at Third Avenue North [Summer 01] and a pretty girl rode by on a bicycle, and then I saw her, she saw me and then she stopped and got off the bicycle.

Janet: Isn't it your birthday today?
Me: Yeah, it kinda is.
Janet: Happy birthday. What are you doing?
Me: Walking home from South Street Seaport.
Janet: Oh, that's cool.
Me: Where are you biking to?
Janet: You know. Nowhere really. We should probably get a lottery ticket.
Me: Totes.
Janet: Nice hair.
Me: Thanks.
Janet: You know who else I saw today, besides you? Danny Bonaduce from The Partridge Family.

Also, Janet lives on the Upper East, so both of us were literally miles from home. What're the chances? The big drawing is tomorrow, I'm probs gonna win a million dollars. Wanna know what I'm going to do with it? Two chicks at the same time, man. Seriously, that's still one of my favorite dumb jokes from any movie ever. Last night I couldn't sleep, it was like 4 A.M., and apparently I rated like 550 movies on facebook. That wasn't exactly on my to-do list, but you know those things you do when you can't sleep are never things you should be doing. I mean, you've gotta go easy on yourself at 4 A.M. I was thinking of that because I was thinking of my other favorite jokes in movies, which made me think of "Super Troopers" which I gave five stars, obvs.

Janet was a perfect person to run into, 'cause she doesn't disrupt my energy. Perhaps she's on it, maybe that's the thing ... but you know what I mean? How most people kinda shake you up a little, or pull you into a different version of yourself, or deject or elevate you in some way? Or you feel you've gotta perform a little for them, or just be present in a way that demands something of you -- which can most defo be a good thing, of course, that's the idea of hanging out with other human beings after all. But when you're in Wandering Hermit mode; if you're going to run into someone, it best be someone who's already riding your inevitable vibe. I sound like a stoner right now, I'm talking about vibes and shit. Or I guess I sound like movie versions of stoners.

As I write this I keep thinking about how crazy people (literally crazy people) spend days just walking around this city. I am not one of those people. Or am I? [I'm not.]

Union Square: where I met Stephanie in person for the first time in '04. Where I spent weekends escaping Sarah Lawrence in '99; Meg & I'd get produce at the greenmarket, make soup in her Carlye Court dorm, go drink at The Mexican Village 'til it got busted for selling crack. The Barnes & Noble I'd write at when I lived in a closet [both literally and metaphorically, actually] in the West Village in '04. Forever Fucking 21, where I've spent the best most beautiful years of my life waiting in line to buy tank tops that're like, 30% cotton and 70% crap, where I met up w/Haviland after she'd been out of town for a week (June 06) and then got on the L train! To my Williamsburg apartment (Jan-Aug 06).

Past Flatiron; the MoSex where I had that panel (June 07), Garment District; the lit agency & Mina's old office, past Bryant Park where I made out at 3 A.M. under the summer bar-service tents with the Puerto Rican boxer with the stab wound (July.01), Bryant Park where Stephanie and I went ice skating (Nov.06), Bryant Park where that Live Through This and You Won't Look Back story happened (April.07).

I avoided the Times Squareish area--it's too much, and people walk too slow there, and then I want to kill them, and it would suck if I killed someone on my birthday.

Past Rockefeller Center where I'd wait Friday nights for Lo to get off work (Winter 05), before we moved in together, in that sweet part of a new something where you don't know yet exactly how it's gonna fall apart or even if it will, because ideally it so often doesn't -- the part where it's still just super-sweet, and hopeful. That's the best part.

I hate how that part gets less sweet as you get older because you're already scared, anticipating, and consequently killing or shying things too soon, lest they get too sweet. But also: you make up 'cause that's the point, right? To go for it, anyhow.

Columbus Circle -- Haviland and I call The Time Warner Center "The most romantic place in New York City" and often meet up outside it: a mutual friend recounted her husband proposing to her at Per Se on their wedding website (April 06), and I was like, dude, you cannot start your engagement in the Time Warner Center, that is lame and un-romantic. Carly and I outlined out two episodes in that park (Aug 07). All the stores and restaurants/cafes I'd frequent to pick things up before visiting hours at St. Luke's (07), and how I'd feel afterwards, walking back to the train, long longing.

The Upper West -- my first NYC apartment, 74th & Amsterdam, where Ryan and I slept on a bunkbed (Winter/Spring 00). All our boarding school friends lived up there: Julliard, Columbia, Manhattan School of Music. The corner where Marc kissed me and then told me to think about it (Feb.00). The restaurant where I'd worked and met Jeremiah (Summer 04), his Mom's apartment where he stayed when he left his wife (Winter 04), that spot on Central Park West where I fell on my rollerblades (May 00) and went home bloodied, the restaurants I'd eat at on dates with rich Jewish boys who bored the fuck out of me (summer 04), The Fairway where Krista and I flirted our way into getting groceries delivered to Sparlem (Sep.05). Ryan's non-air-conditioned apartment (summer 98) -- the site of that "mind-over-matter" ice cold shower torture procedure I talk about here. My ex-gym (06-07). Where Cameron and I rode our bikes right in the thick of traffic and I learned how to let go (summer 05).

This part of the walk is when my legs really started throbbing. But I kept going, like Odysseus.

Then up to Morningside Heights, where I lived earlier this year (Sep 06-May 07). Too much there to even begin. All this stuff is just tips of various icebergs too, obvs. Then up. Higher up there're less people walking, but instead there're people sitting on milk-crates and stoops or just standing in the street, hanging out, or whatever.

iv. and did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?

By the time I got home it was dark out. I had emails and phone-calls and other such things. Blog comments!

I called my Grandmother. She told me to tell Rosie that she never liked that blonde-headed girl and asked me if I had any men in my life. Erum. Lozo? Also said she tells everyone in Wilmington, Ohio all about her fabulous granddaughter the writer, and I said, urm, maybe you shouldn't do that. Because then what will you say when I decide to work at Duane Reade? Also, I'd like to work at the Wilmington Gold Star Chili.

Haviland came over. Asked if I wanted to meet her at McDonald's, she wanted Soft Serve. I said OK! I said I wanted dinner. She said, silly, I would've brought you a nice dinner, we can order something good, I said I wanted McDonald's for my birthday because you know why? It tastes really good. I'm a cheap date.

Monday, Haviland & I went to Bliss for my b-day and now my tired feet are beautiful. Also my skin is radiant. That's good news for my roommates and the Dunkin' Donuts people who get to see my radiant face all the time. They had my two favorite flavors at the Tasti-D place, peanut butter and cookies 'n cream.

v. The Places We Retreat To, the Places We Can't Bear to Be Found

So I wanted to walk and do some thinking and I wanted to do this without worrying about anything, like having to be someplace, or having to talk to people, I just wanted to walk and think and so that's what I did. I don't know, still, if I want to stay here or if I want to leave. I'm always leaving, you know?

I don't really know how to slow down or stay anywhere, I don't even really know how to grow up, and every time things stop working, I walk. I've got a long history of long walks, sometimes in serious inclement weather or super-sketchy neighborhoods.

That's my gig: I can walk away. That's my top tenth skill, walking away, I can walk away all my life, I'll walk away from anything, because when you walk away from something you get this extra-credit wind beneath you like almost flying and you can ride that for a long time. But like -- what are you walking TO, you know? I'm 26, that means nothing, I'm alive, 26 years later, still walking, still wind, still leaving, still still still rounding corners.

[It was perfect.]
I've sat in corners at parties hoping for someone
who knew the virtue
of both distance and close quarters, someone with a
corner person's taste
for intimacy, hard won, rising out of shyness
and desire.
-Stephen Dunn, "Corners"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: Twenty Six Years of Auto-Mechanics/Living

"Do you actually want to do nothing for your birthday, or do you just think that's clever?"
-Carly, re: my birthday wishes

Apparently, I turn 26 today. Perhaps Facebook, MySpace or Haviland told you about this. I'm being a weirdo about it this year; it's highly uncharacteristic. I mean, I write a blog, so clearly I enjoy heaps of unjustified attention lavished upon me at all times, and consequently I've always enjoyed birthday parties — though, falling as they do in mid-September [prime-time for "life-changing events" such as starting new schools, living situations, jobs, various phases of self-destructive behavior], my birthday celebrations often attract a haphazard assortment of celebrants AND I'm often blessed by having my birthday coincide with Yom Kippur. In the past, when I was a better Jew, this meant I spent the day in temple starving and atoning for my sins when I should've been eating ice cream cake.

I've always been that girl who writes her birthday in your planner in marker with circles and stars. But this year ... it just seems kinda overwhelming — I mean, it's awesome for people to call me and mail/send me things, OBVS . But the idea of having some sort of live in-person celebration is too much for me to handle ... feels inappropriate, feels like a lie ...

I've become a hermit, or the Bell Jar. Maybe it's just a phase. My therapist has suggested that I'm becoming agoraphobic like Emily Dickinson, my hero. I just wanna be alone. Like, maybe go somewhere and write my book or something.

See the thing is I'm supposed to be writing this book. And I've sort of let it fall to the wayside because it became a relatively significant aspect of my relationship and I needed to step back from it right afterwards, and now "right afterwards" is over, and I still haven't opened a single doc in the "Some of my Parts" folder (h/t Jenny Schecter) since June. And my agent is going to slaughter me with a machete.

So, are you ready for my thesis statement? Yeah you are! "This post attempts to do two things; one, reignite the author's interest in her own boring life and consequently fuel the fire of her "book," two, explore the 26 birthdays before this birthday in an effort to understand how we got here. Three, provide an easy reference point/timeline for readers to understand the ridiculous tangents that the author tends to go off on, often."

That's a trick thesis statement, because just "exploring" something doesn't count as an actual thesis. I need a point and then I need to prove it.

But luckily this is my blog so I can do whatever I want. Even rehash my entire life via birthday celebrations, much to your total amusement I'm sure. I actually have my entire life journaled, which is useful for the book. But I can't find all the journals right now and I think some of them are still in Michigan. So I'm working with limited tools here.


Birth: 1981. Fetus, Illinois- I think I spent the day crying, probs. Good start.

One: Baybay, Illinois- Again, no memory of this. Probs: cried, ate something pureed like smashed up apricots or applesauce, was likely dressed up in a wig and/or ridiculous party hat by my father and then subjected to multiple photographs.

Two: Baybay, Michigan-I'd imagine somewhat similar to "one," but perhaps by then we had acquired Wig #2, The Blonde Wig, to compliment Wig #1, the black-curly-haired wig, offering additional sources of baby dress-up amusement.

Three: Baby, Michigan- By this point, I was eating solid foods, right? I don't even know what three-year-olds look like. I hope when I have my own kids, they can give me a heads-up about these things so I don't have to look it up myself. "Mom, I'm ready for solid food now!"

Four: Toddler, Michigan- Definitely eating solid foods and reading. My brother would've been alive by this point, keeping the smushed-up foods economy thriving in our home.

Five: Eberwhite School, Michigan- I turned five in kindergarten 'cause I started kindergarten when I was four. So I could read pretty much anything. That's all I got. Perhaps I received some books. To read.

Six: Eberwhite School, Michigan

I GOT THIS ONE. I had a party, wore a cute Margot Tennenbaum dress I'd definitely wear right now if I still owned it, had a similar haircut to my present haircut, and participated in activities including bobbing for apples, making Mr. Potato Heads, and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. At some point I acquired a necklace made out of organic Froot Loops. Looks like a hot party, honestly. Now that I know my Mom was stoned for most of my childhood, I can see these memories in an even brighter and more beautiful light, like she was probs like "Oh man ... lets have the kids BOB for APPLES!" and my Dad was like "DUDEEEE."

Seven: Eberwhite School, Michigan-Urm. I think this may've been when I got the Bangles cassette, 'Walk like an Egyptian'? Went to Bill Knapps maybe?

Eight: Emerson School, Michigan- THIS IS THE YEAR I GOT THE SAMANTHA DOLL!!!!!

Nine: Thoreau School, Concord, Massachusetts- Probs went to Walden Pond or something. I got Paula Abdul's "Shut Up and Dance" cassette, that was exciting. I didn't have very many friends yet.

Ten: Emerson School, Michigan- We went to Flint for the weekend... like, Roger & Me Flint. My three best friends and I. We stayed in a hotel and went to a restaurant with a big buffet, because I fucking LOVE BUFFETS, and then we went to museums the next day because I LOVE MUSEUMS and we got astronaut ice cream. It melted in our mouths.

Eleven: Emerson School, Michigan

Activities cited in my diary as occurring for birthday-related festivities include: Champion House ("It's a Japanese steakhouse, they cook the food right in front of you. I got shrimp."), a scavenger hunt, a round or two of Tabloid Teasers, and pizza. Gifts received include "letter-writing stuff" and trolls.

Twelve: Emerson School, Michigan
My Dad had just moved out, so we were doing that thing where we pretend like things are still normal. I remember a sleepover, and that we cried all night; my friends and I. That was the beginning of our sick habit — other girls were cutting or drinking, we were crying. It was a relief, I guess. It was something. You know. Kurt Cobain, etc.

Thirteen: Emerson School, Michigan

I'd just had my Bat Mitzvah so the b-day party itself was low-key since there was so much put into my Bat Mitzvah. In the photos I'm wearing overalls from The Gap, we're eating chocolate cake with our hands and there's green frosting. I feel like we went to Major Magics. God, I fucking LOVED THOSE OVERALLS.

Fourteen: Pioneer High School, MI- I was so sad this year, I hated my new school and my face and body and didn't have any friends. I invited five friends from middle school for a party my Dad was organizing but he wouldn't tell me what it was going to entail. I couldn't guess and it was driving me crazy. He knew I was sad at my new school and was trying really hard to help me be happy.

Before the advent of competition-style product tie-in reality television programs, it was still possible for someone to totally rock your socks simply by having a limousine parked outside your house on your birthday. Now we know that scene ("Oh my God! A PRIUS!"), but then it was perfect, and lovely. I was 14. He'd arranged an extravagant scavenger hunt and printed out instructions for us. We felt like little tiny queens.

My diary: "Daddy gave me the best birthday party ever. He rented a limousine and me and my friends rode around for a while and went on a scavenger hunt. Everyone wanted to get in."

He took photos. But when he died about seven weeks later they hadn't been developed yet, and we never figured out what happened to that film, like so many things we never found after that.

Fifteen: Community High School, MI
We went to Cedar Point, ROLLER COASTER CAPITAL of the Midwest. This was the age where having a party wasn't cool anymore if there were no drugs or liquor at it, so if your parents didn't allow that, you'd have a small thing like this thing.


Sixteen: Interlochen/boarding school- Diary, 9/23/97:

"Today was my b-day. At first it was kinda sad, but things picked up. Ryan switched into 8th hour, which rocks. Then, when I got back to my dorm, I had all these packages, including one from Magali and Becky. I got so much FOOD yum! Then me and this girl Carly went and filmed stuff, that was kewl. She just got a new camera. Then I got to talk to my friends on the phone. Ryan is having an emotional crisis."


Seventeen: Interlochen/boarding school- Ryan was my gay best friend — my "soulmate" — my everything. He'd just started college, I was starting my senior year at Interlochen. On the 22nd, I told Ryan about John and then Ryan yelled at me. I cried. He said scathing fatal things to me, stuff I never expected, but I guess I didn't really understand, yet, what he was going through.

The next day — my birthday — I couldn't make it out of bed or to class and my friends took turns visiting me on their off-hours. "There's no way Ryan can live without you," Krista assured me. No one believed that Ryan was honestly going to cut me out, but he did, for six weeks. It was like having my heart removed.

My friends dragged me to the cafeteria that night — the tables were covered in construction paper, a gigantic birthday card for me, and they blared Puff Daddy on Sheetal's boom box and sang to me until the boob box was confiscated. Everyone was so sweet and so patient. The next day John asked me to be his girlfriend. I had to say yes — I'd just lost Ryan over him, after all — and I did. We were together all year.

Eighteen: Sarah Lawrence & NYC/living in Bronxville a house-dorm-thing, they're hippies, whatever
Everyone gave me cookies and cakes. Girls I'd just met made me sweet cards.

I wrote in my diary: "I can't believe they love me so much. Why?"

Ryan showered me with gifts, as was his way, including the stuffed dog named after him that I still sleep with, and he took me to Chez Es Saada in the East Village; it's underground, the descending stairwell's littered with rose petals, like a movie about a dangerous man and a sweet birthday. Afterwards, we met up with Meg at Madame X for drinks, and got served.

Then that weekend I hosted an 18th Birthday Cocktail Party. I needed all my high school friends in the same room. We missed each other so much and none of us liked college as much as we missed each other. We mailed invitations -- remember that? When you actually had to MAIL invitations? Formal dress required. Since all of us, including our bartender, were underage and living in dorms, I got a hotel suite on the Upper West for the night using my savings from working at GapKids that summer. Everyone came. It was perfect, except for when we went to McDonalds for McFlurries at 1am and they'd already turned off the machine, like nobody cared it was my 18th birthday!

Nineteen: U of Michigan/living in the dorms
I had a group dinner at Seva — vegetarian place — my typical mishmash assortment of residential college kids, future sorority girls, and hall-mates. September birthdays are a good test at a new school of who's interested in your life, as in; being a part of it. And later: how lucky that Becky, who I barely knew then but ended up becoming my best friend, had come along that night. Samara got me a Super-Soaker 3000. Later, in the dorms, Jessie and I tried to open a cheap bottle of red wine without a corkscrew and it exploded everywhere, crazy big eruption like champagne; Chianti all over her fresh white walls, like someone'd been killed and it'd been violent. She didn't wash it off for weeks.


Twenty: U of Michigan/living with friends — Fancy-pants brunch with my Mom and brother, Colliders [frozen yogurt & candy smash up delight] w/my boys. Mejiers [it's like Wal Mart] with Natalie: we stole handfuls of bulk candy and I listened to voice mails and waited for this boy to call. Eventually, he did, and we went out. I can't tell you what we did, it's too embarrassing.
Diary, 9.24.01:
a) My life is fun and games.
b) My life is in shambles.
Reading tonight, gym tonight, birthday, homework, sex blah blah blah. Meanwhile, America is declaring war and people are buried in rubble in New York. Fuckin' A. I do no work. I sicken myself.

Twenty-One: U of Michigan/living with boyfriend off-campus- I'll tell you how it ended; dark blue-ish light, Chris and I's bedroom. Screaming, crying. I told him, "I'm leaving!" I wasn't nearly drunk enough for my 21st, but my mind was everywhere and therefore crazy — it was with Another Boy I'd Just Met, it was with my friends who loved me, it was with my mother, it was with myself, and I'd lost myself by this point, so that was a really far-away place for my mind to be.

My Mom wanted to buy me my first drink [ha!], so I met her at The Earle. In the dark reddish light, she told me more about her divorce than I'd ever been privy to before ... how there comes a time ... and Chris, as if on cue, called cranky for directions to the restaurant we were meeting up w/my friends at.

I gave him just-barely-incorrect directions to Champion House; he used this as an excuse to show up in a rotten mood, pout all through dinner and refuse to speak to my friends: Natalie, Becky, Jessie, Bobby, Lauren. Also he'd done bad on a test or something, I don't remember. He clearly wasn't good at sucking it up.

We tried to let conversation fly around him. He responded to my friends' inquires about his state of being with "I've been better." His justification, later, for sulking through my entire birthday dinner: "You know not getting directions right is my pet peeve." Which isn't even the correct usage of "pet peeve" and literally I was one block off, he coulda seen the place from where I'd accidentally led him. It's not like, the Labyrinth. It's Ann Arbor. I was a quick phone call away, and I answered.

On our way to the car after dinner, he started in bitching about how he couldn't talk to my friends because they went to Michigan and he went to Eastern, he was poor and they were rich. I didn't understand this claim in all its complexities at the time. I did know that if he'd talked to my friends instead of ignoring them, he would've found out that not all of them were rich at all, and that even the ones better off than him had been through shit he could relate to. I wondered how he could know anything about them when he never listened to me talk, and, after nearly a year of us dating, still hadn't read a single piece of my writing.

We went to his frat house and once we got there, I ditched him to hang out with boys who were nice to me, and the Other Boy, who read poetry and wanted to be an actor. Then we got home and yelled at each other and I told him I would leave him. I told him I couldn't keep living with someone who expected me to cook him dinner every night and yelled at me for every misstep and, you know, like I said, hadn't read a single word I'd ever written. He said I was too drunk to drive.

He said we're so different, my friends and him.

I said, How's this for different? Let's sleep in different beds. Live in different apartments. Let me leave. Let me leave you. But he wouldn't let me leave. And we went on. I wanted to love him, was used to him — was dying, was dead. Four months later, I ran after my life.


Twenty-Two: U of Michigan/living with friends including Natalie

The night before, S begged to see me though I'd refused: "I don't want you to ruin my birthday."

He promised he wouldn't ruin my birthday, he just needed to deliver a letter. He asked me to meet him in the Law Quad. He gave me the letter. It was incredible, honestly, the letter. It was everything I'd ever wanted him to say to me.

But I confused him sharing his feelings with him sharing feelings he actually wanted to do something about. I was hopeful.

The next morning, I wrote in my diary: "There's this dream I keep having about SD where he comes to me and tells me everything -- how much he loves me, how much I mean to him, that he knows that he did an undefendable thing and that he's sorry and he knows he doesn't deserve my apology." [NAME THAT TELEVISION SHOW REFERENCE!!]

My Mom came over in the afternoon with presents, told me, about SD, "Marie, sometimes you've gotta just know when to cut your losses." I had dinner @ The Macaroni Grill (my place of employment) with my friends. They'd ripped out the USA Today Crossword puzzle and put it on my chair, and we all got drunk and ate heaping plates of gooey pasta. I felt very blessed to have all these wonderful people in my life when I felt I'd neglected them so recently to chase this true mean love.

Speakerboxx / The Love Below came out that day too, I remember that.


Twenty-Three: New York City/living with Krista in Sparlem- JH told me he was Really Good at Birthdays. I obvs did not believe him, but he was right. He took me, Krista and Ingrid to dinner at Atlantic Grill, got me a Tiffany's bracelet 'cause I'd joked to him that a Tiffany's bracelet is "Every Jewish girl's dream." "Rent" tickets, books — dreamboat. Obvs on his birthday I had to do even better: a weekend in D.C., tickets to see Steve Nash play there, a hotel. That weekend was almost foiled when they refused to rent me a car because of my "moving violations" and him "not having a drivers license" but then we found a FLIGHT that was super-cheap and fast, and that's when JH said one of my most favorite things he ever said:

I'd dropped a "fuck" in my language and he goes: "Marie, do not use foul language in the Reagan International Airport." Like how some people would shush you in church? Because Reagan was his favorite president!! Can you believe it?


Twenty-Four: New York City/living with Krista in Sparlem- The end of the summer of my sweet romance with drugs and general trashwhoriness. Everything felt unstable then, everything, except the brief momentary but overwhelming sensation of that particular inhalation, that particular hand darting into the darkness and underneath. Of girls, and what I took to handle that. Ryan emailed me that day after months of non-communication. I worked; I believe there was a cake and some ceremony of sorts at the lit agency. Krista and I went to Cafe Mozart and shared everything, ate sweet food and talked about Who I Was Before Ryan, and who I Was With Ryan — how crazy it is, how far we'd come since then, how long since I last saw him. For a moment the room was blurry as I almost cried, stabbed my salad. How far we'd come since then?


Twenty-Five: New York City/living on 106th
To: All my friends
From: Haviland Stillwell

Subject: And at the end of the day she'll be another day older ....

And that hot barely-there shirt on her back won't be keepin' out the HEAT...(10 points to whoever gets that reference)


which means.....

we are going to a girl on girl establishment and riese has one task and one task only!! --


Of course, I'll be piggy backing off of the cause, when I feel it's warranted...

If you are available and up to having mind blowing amounts of ass-kicking fun, email me back and i'll coordinate the details.
I won't subject you to another recap. But if you so desire, I obvs blogged about it.

So — the theme of this — no matter who I am or where I am or what's going on or how I feel I've failed or exceeded expectations, I've been consistently blessed with generous and kind friends who always rally together to celebrate that somehow I've managed to defy death for one additional year.

I can tell you about the birthday parties of all my friends from those missing years but not my own. Because I suppose it was theirs I really anticipated, because it was a chance to direct my focus onto someone other than myself, because "myself" didn't seem to be a very productive place to focus.

One day, I will grow old. Until then, there are stars to ride, invitations to consider. Today, I guess, I'm 26. That's how old my Mom was at my 2nd birthday. Crazy, right? Crazy.

Tomorrow I'm going to go for some long strategic walks. I have a lot of thinking to do.

When I feel like this/When I get so into myself
And lose track of where I'm going
and then lose track of how to get going again
feel myself slowing down/feel myself turning round
is this taken/when I feel like this
I get so sick/Tell myself, where are you going now
-Tegan and Sara

On the topic of having short hair that I play with all the time now--

Carly: You're like, worse than me.
Me: Hey what if I did like, 26 hairstyles for my 26th birthday? For my blog?
Carly: That would be AMAZING.

Right now I'm eating Chocolate Covered bananas from an Edible Creations Bouquet -o- Birthday Magic, so I can't really complain.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sunday Top Ten, Part Two: You Got Some More Deep Inside Of You

So I thought it'd be super-awesome to not write my story for the reading until two days beforehand. It's still in various states of terribleness. I need a job where there's no such thing as "the last minute." I guess that would be an astrophysicist or a prophet or something.

I might try to make this post better than it is within the next 24 hours, or else delete this sentence. I really need to work on my issues with committing to first drafts.

This post is the result of a mind that's pretty certain it's out of words. I'm only awake to write this because my roommate's passport is in her storage unit in Queens and her flight for Toronto [a city in Canada, her homeland] leaves in two hours, so it's like, Full Fledged Crisis in our apartment at present. I told her she's probs not supposed to be on the flight if she doesn't make it, like it's fate.

Starr: Do you think there's any way I could get into my storage unit, even though it's closed?
Me: You mean like, Jedi shit?
See how helpful I am in a crisis? Very.

DREAM JOBS if salary, time, qualifications and
history were no object.

7. Haviland's Special Spot - Dream Job: Hairstylist
This week I am giving Haviland one special spot on my Top Ten for her dream job, which she just discovered recently.
Me: "Today I kept wanting to cut off all my hair."
Haviland: "Ooooo can I do it?"
Me: "Right now?"
Haviland: "Yeah! But I've never cut anyone's hair before and don't have the right scissors."
Me: "Um, okay. I guess no one's gonna see it anyhow besides my PhotoBooth and like, Zoey and Starr."
Haviland: "Yayyy! This is gonna be soooo much fun!"
Haviland's now decided she's destined for hairstyling, and I gotta say, she did quite a job using purple scissors designed for the elementary school classroom, I don't even need to get it fixed by a pro. I like it. Once I cut my own hair when I was 15, otherwise I probs woulda been more nervous. But what I learned from that experience was: hair grows back.

And now for a quick interlude. It'd seem that most of my ideas about "the workplace" have come from movies about record stores. Today's introductory thought comes from "Empire Records": Warren shoplifts a bunch of records and gets caught by Lucas.

Warren: You're psycho. You are psycho. What the hell is wrong with you people? You all belong in the loony bin. Every one of ya. Forget you guys, I don't need you. You think you're so good and damn great 'cause you work in a freakin' record store. You think you're so superior! Hey, Joe, Lucas steals nine grand from you and you don't do dick to him? So you gonna give me a job now?
Berko: So that's it, Warren? You wanna work in a record store?
Warren: No.
Lucas: I think you're lying, Warren.
Warren: He's not gonna give me a job, man.
Lucas: How do you know?
Warren: Why should he? Why should anyone give me a job?
Lucas: He gave me a job.
[police sirens are approaching]
Warren [to Joe]: So, do I get the job?
[cut to back room where AJ is making Warren a store ID tag]

I think about that part a lot, when he goes, "So that's it, Warren? You wanna work in a record store?" Like he goes in there and robs it and makes fun of it, but the truth is, he just wants to be a member of their dynamic team.

I imagine this happening to me too. One day Ilene Chaiken will burst onto the scene with: "So, that's it, Marie? You want to work for The L Word?" [6]. Another day, Shaquisha from Duane Reade will offer: "So, that's it, Marie? You want to work at Duane Reade?" [5] and my answer to both of those questions would be 'YES!" Here's why:
a) I think I could make "The L Word" even better than it already is. I know, I know: you find that hard to believe. Well, I've thought of a few things and I'm prepared to go down on whomever I have to to make this happen, except EZ Girl.
b) I really don't think the lines have to be that long. They just need to rearrange their floor plan to have less people on "standing around doing jackshit" duty and more people on "register." Like I would be the head cashier at the Duane Reade everyone wanted to go to on account of our speedy service.

4. Personal Trainer
I'm not very good at lifting. I just wanna get paid to go to the gym and be in super-good shape. "This is how you do 'quick start' on the elliptical trainer, obvs.'" Like that. If they were like "How do you get abs of steel?" I'd be like "I dunno, ask that guy."

3. America's Next Top Model

OK so what if you went on this show, and in the beginning, you were totes like, going with the flow ...

First, Tyra walks in the room: you burst into tears.

They prod for your life story, you offer up: "Every day I got beat up/robbed, Mammy & Pappy burned to death in the fire, then I found out I had cancer and beat cancer and had a baby, got my college degree and got hit by a car, I made all my limbs out of trees and built my own clothes from the skins of animals 'cause we so poor, we eatin' ketchup packets like they're tomato soup, or Ramen every day like Riese."

You get into the house, you fight with everyone like "I love Jesus!" or like "I hate Jesus!" or whatever'll have the best effect.

You make out with some straight girls.

So then once you're IN, you start revolting quietly ...

Like you're NOT gonna freak out about the Tyra Mail, you're just gonna be like: "Oh, what's up, it's the mail."

And at your makeover, you're like "Whatevs, it's a free haircut bitches!"

And when they ask you to hang from a building in a bikini while wild animals try to rip your skin off with their claws in the rain because that's what happens in high fashion, you're like "Awesome, that's what I do for fun! Bring on the tigers!" You know?

You just revolt against all attempts to transform you into someone who goes "OMG TYRA!" Like the anti-Natasha? That'd be pretty awesome, I think.

Howevs, if Miss Jay were looking at me right now, he'd say: "Girl, put DOWN the popcorn. You do not need that."

I'm watching the first episode right now and Tyra, Miss Jay and Jay Manuel just recommended one girl receive "a good ol' high fashion ass-whoopin'!" Are any of these girls lesbians is what I want to know? If they go another season without a lez, I'm gonna start a letter writing campaign. They're lucky I still watch it now after they kicked off Kim. Did you guys watch tonight? Tonight was the first night I've watched teevee without intent to recap in months. I watched "Gossip Girl" too. [Side note: still have no story, story I still have is bad.] I did other things at the same time, like write this brill blog entry.

Who were your favorite Top Model contestants ever? Wanna know mine? Okay!
1. Lisa D'Amato, Cycle 5
2. Dionne Walters, Cycle 8
3. Kim Stolz, Cycle 5
4. Brittany Brower, Cycle 4
5. Elyse Sewell, Cycle 1

2. A Dairy Queen Worker

Dairy Queen was the only place in town that would employ 14-year-olds, it seemed like everyone worked at the Packard Dairy Queen. We'd walk there, get free Blizzards with every kind of candy on earth stuffed inside it. I felt like all the paying customers were big suckers. One summer the Packard Dairy Queen ended up losing money. Then, later in life I started dating the best friend of the son of the Dairy Queen's owner, and then it was like, wow, this is the guy we stole all that ice cream from. Not like I brought it up or anything, but it was just weird, I mean, not like his son didn't give us free ice cream all the time too. I could go for a Blizzard right now.

1. TeeVee Writer Obvs
There's this sitcom called "Living it Out ..."

I just thought of more I'm going to start counting back up again. OK? Okay.

1. A Rock Star: I think I mentioned this last time. Get to meet other rock stars, party all night, have groupies, wear cute clothes, make political statements, design handbags, have extra money to give to people who actually need it.
2. A Taste Tester for French Fries: Because I really love french fries, so it's a cause I believe in, I also have a good mental database of other french fries.
3. Therapist: I feel like most therapists are secretly really fucked up, but they're good at telling other people what to do and they're usually right when they do. Like meeeeee!
4. One of Those Office Jobs: where you sit at a desk all day, getting paid to do your own shit and being ignored and not doing real work. Whatever job it is that enables most bloggers and their readers, I want one of those.
5. A Movie Star: I would have a lot of money, and then I could buy my Mom a castle.
6. Hat Tester: Most hats are too small for my big head. So if I could get involved in the process a little before the "retail" stage, maybe I could change that. I'd like to do the same thing for shoes, make them larger but with shorter heels. I bet I could get it plugged on America's Next Top Model.
7. An Ex-cast member of "The Real World" so I could be on the challenges where you get to play the games in the outdoors. I'd be like "no more drama, bitches."
8. Personal Assistant to Shane for Wax: Shane is a hairstylist at West Hollywood's hottest hair salon, Wax.
9. Pharmacist: Then I could have access to all kinds of fun things I could sell on craigslist. If you go to "Wanted" there are all these people all the time trying to get their hands on some painkillers, there are some real sob stories on there. Don't ask me why I'm obsessed with the craigslist "items 'wanted' section, I just am.
10. Interview Subject: I like to talk about myself and I can talk about a lot of topics. Try me.
11. Drug Dealer: Because then I'd have a lot of bling and could buy my Mom a boat for the river outside her cottage.
12. Philanthropist: I think first I need to have another job where I make a lot of money to give away, but if I could skip that part and go straight to where I pick charities to give money to, that would be hot.
13. Copywrite for "smartwater": Seriously all of their copy is retarded. "Is it just us or do clouds get a bad rap?" Um, ew, whatever. It's totally just you.
14. Entrepreneur: I have a lot of really good business ideas, I just need some financial backing. Seriously I'm like a walking talking invention convention.