Thursday, August 30, 2007

Slum-Day Top Ten: Back to Sleep to Re-Dream Me

I say "that'd be like, my worst nightmare" a lot. It's an odd phrase, as I'd never use it to describe a nightmare I've actually had: Oh, man, Al Queda attacking Manhattan in glass-bottom boats? WORST NIGHTMARE, or like: The dead coming back to life on the condition that my living family dies? WORST NIGHTMARE, or Getting kidnapped by Willow? WORST NIGHTMARE.

What if the things we said are our dreams [as in "hopes and"] were the same things that happened in dreams [as in "while sleeping"]? What if I dreamt every night about being a fabulously successful writer with a hot girlfriend who looks like Jackie Warner and possessing an endless bounty of peanut butter M&Ms? Maybe I'd wake up able to make dreams come true right away; maybe I'd walk like the ground is a trampoline and life itself a boundless and sunshine-streaked sky. Or I'd just have a LeanPocket and sit in front of my laptop and make dying ferret-esque low-pitched moaning sounds, per ushe.

I seem to recall referring to something, in the comments, as my "worst nightmare," then acknowledging I overused that term, then announcing my intention to use that as my next Sunday Top Ten topic. I can't find evidence of this, but I'm pretty sure it happened. Or I've got no excuse for this slap-shot presentation of pathos. I talked about dreams in like, February. 'Dreams You Want to Hear About.' Times have grown dark since then. [What am I talking about?!!??]


SLUMDAY TOP TWELVE: THAT WHICH I'VE REFERRED TO OR THOUGHT OF AS "MY WORST NIGHTMARE"

TO BE PRESENTED IN TWO INSTALLMENTS

INSTALLMENT ONE: 12-6


To evidence my over-usage of this term, I searched my blogger and gmail to find how I've [mis] appropriated it in the past. That's in here, too, along with things I just thought up, just now, all by myself. It turns out I have a lot of fears, y'all. The way I use 'worst nightmare' is pretty specific though. Like, I know what I mean. Also, I feel like all the sentences in this intro are a grammatical nightmare.


12) From a Feb 22, 2007 Blog Post: "I Love The Subway, Unless I Forgot to Put on Deodorant": Missing Your Subway Stop, Even If Making It Presents a Great Emotional Price

"Really though, this applies to all morning after subway rides, not just "morning after" subway rides: As your stop nears [after, if it's someone you don't know so well, you've inevitably asked, "What's your stop again?" 30 times], even if you're having a fight hurdling towards divorce/breakup, or a discussion pointed towards marriage proposal --when their stop arrives, convo OVER. You've got no control over this. Your fate's the subway engineer's whim, his fast/slow hands your doom/gloom. At a house, people'll stick out the extra ten minutes to finish a discussion, end a fight, complete confession ... but people will not, under any condition, suffer the unbearable consequences of riding the subway even one small moment further than where it JUST WAS, if where it JUST WAS is YOUR STOP, and G-D FORBID you'd encounter the worst nightmare ever, which's if you actually RIDE ALL THE WAY TO THEIR STOP. When the discussion's over, you're now forced to exit the subway at THE WRONG STOP, and, in some cases, you must actually exit the station, cross the street, and attempt to get back onto the subway going BACK towards your stop."

Ideally I guess all that drama took over 18 minutes.



Interlude:

Okay so I'm trying to think of these, and somehow, they're all related to losing technology of some sort: a computer crash, the swift&sudden death of a well-functioning iPod, the [formerly] hypothetical restriction of internet access. 'Cause it turns out you actually can't control life at all, these gadgets and gizmos a'plenty just keep telling you that you can, if you buy more of 'em, but it's a lie! Still, all I ask is that I'm able to select my own soundtrack for being mercilessly trapped underground on the A train for twenty of the best most beautiful minutes of my life or directly after spending a day staring mindlessly at "access restricted" computer screens. Like: life is hard, here is Frou Frou.


That Being Said:

11) Spilling Water On My Laptop

This happened once. I'd just bought a new iBook and I moved a glass of water and it spilled and just like that, everything: vanished, after only two days prior undergoing severe trauma when my first iBook crashed, requiring the purchase of this new one I'd just destroyed. You know when you start like, developing complex relationships with the men at the Genuis Bar? They're like "Oh: you again." My Genius was a photographer and asked me to model for him for his fashion portfolio. I looked at his stuff online and it was good, but I felt weird 'cause I'd already almost cried in front of him. It's like he already saw the most spoiled, stubborn, codependent side of me, after all that I couldn't just show up and be like "What a pretty dress!"

Krista spilled scotch on my ibook once when we lived together.. That wasn't pretty at all whatsoever. The sitch upset me beyond belief, and I took it out on her, as I had, really, no other options for resentment besides Steve Jobs or like, whomever invented this stuff to begin with. The fixed computer was returned with this "sticky" on the desktop:
MLB: this is your happier and healthier-than-ever computer, back in your life to stay. It respectfully requests that you back up your work in case other future unexpected events (i.e. accidents) result in the compromise of your life's soulful records. This said, we promise that your roommate, scotch, and your computer will never ever again share the same small space. The divorce between the scotch and aforementioned i-book is complete and non-negotiable with no chance for reconciliation. However, if you can explore the deep back mildewing recesses of your heart and find there, trembling in some dark corner, forgiveness - - feel free to invite him up to the light and share him with your roommate who loves you desperately and cannot live up to her full potential when she is wrestling with guilt and the vengeance that you cultivate in times of asthma ridden - bad days. peace in the middle east. love, kcw.
I love when we sign letters "peace in the middle east." I feel like it's saying: "There are bigger problems than ours, obvs," though I originally picked it up from a sk8er boy I'd email alot back in the mid-90s who I had a big crush on. He told me everything in email and ignored me in school and that's how he signed his letters. Oh, him. Also, I love Krista.


10) From the annals of the G-chat archives: Having an Extended Conversation Regarding How Much I Like Someone and How Much That Person Likes Me

me: I mean, we're fully having a three hour convo about how much we like each other, which is totes my worst nightmare, but obvs not right now, because you're like, my greatest dream.
[redacted]: You like, totally make my day. And night. ... God, I want you.
me: I hate you.

9) Waking Up in a Borough

I don't do sleepovers. Lately, this's been a totes non-issue. But, back in my former life as a more emotionally ambitious person, I tried to avoid this at all costs. The worst was the morning I woke up mid-morning at [redacted #2]'s Williamsburg loft on a mattress underneath the bedroom she shared with her then-boyfriend, who hated me with the fury of a thousand suns. It was four or five A.M., maybe, I'd just developed a sudden need for tampons, and I was ten or 100 blocks from the L train, in Williamsburg, where I'd never been before. I was defo still drunk. I remember walking in the dark out by the water, seeing the bridge that I knew linked me to home but having no clue how to reach it.

An empty bus came by, I got on it. It was a bus like in a movie where innocent young girls get killed in mundane blue light. I asked him where we were, if he knew where the train was, I didn't have enough cash to get all the way to Sparlem via cab. I musta looked super hard-up 'cause he took me directly to the L station, which I took to 14th street and then took a cab uptown, slept for about an hour, and then went to work at nerve.com in Hangover Shirt.

Hangover Shirt, which I actually inherited from my Dad, is what I wear to let people know not to fuck with me. I've been doing this for probs like, seven years, which's why there's a lot of holes in Hangover Shirt (aside from the whole "existing since the 70s" thing). I can't believe I used to have jobs where I could actually have a "Hangover Shirt" that looked like this, and wear it to work. Waa. Anyhow, I love it because the drawing in on it is of an old-school computer. "My system is down." Get it? Ha ha.:

Coincidentally, [redacted #2]'d won a nerve photo contest a year prior, so I could explain my wrecked state to my best work-friend Jason not only via audio but also w/visuals: I quickly found her picture in the archive. He approved. He was one of those people I could talk to forever. That morning, prior to the A/V convo, he IMed me [everyone at nerve communicates via AIM 'cause we're all socially awkward weirdos] --my IM name is Plaster176 -- "You're plastered176 today." Obvs, I was wearing my hangover shirt. Which I still have on 'cause I just took those photos. I love it.



8) From A Blog Feb 1, 2007: "Come On Ilene, I'm Begging You Please!": Going to a movie with my friends at the age of 15 and seeing my Mom and all her lesbian friends in the back row.

"At 15, I saw All Over Me [my mother and her lesbian crew occupied the front row, my friends and I took up a front few: more or less an encapsulation of my worst nightmare ever]. Later, I'd fantasize about that scene where best friends break a barrier I once considered unbreakable: that skinny blonde badass girl, in bed, straddles Claude like it's all she's ever wanted [at least right then], which was so much more than my previous concept of "never." When the movie was released on DVD last year, I re-watched it and was surprised to see: the scene I remembered was not even a sex scene, though I'd remembered it as such. It was just a kiss. They just kissed! But it meant so much more to me than that."



7) From the GMail Archives: Being Trapped in a House W/O Wireless, Car, Gym or Soy Products

Seriously, reading this email just now, I was slightly taken aback by my own insanity.

From: Riese.
To: Haviland.
December 2006
"I am in Michigan. There is no wireless. I have cramps like WHOA but I guess i'll just be waiting it out sans Midol considering that I cannot get to a drug store or anything because I am trapped without a car, which is...um...my worst nightmare! Ack! I don't know how I am going to survive the next three days...no car...no wireless....NO GYM I AM GOING FUCKING INSANE CRAWLING ON THE WALLS I NEED A HORSE TRANQULIZIER, SOME MIDOL, AND MAYBE SOME MARAJUANA ! STAT.

Don't people come home to get fed? SOMEONE MAKE ME SOMETHING I CAN EAT SOMETHING THAT WAS NEVER EVER EVER ALIVE!!! NEVER. ALIVE. SOMETHING. NOT DEAD. SOMETHING NOT ANIMAL PLEASE NOW PLEASE THANKS.

I am losing it, and it's called good old fashioned Midwestern Despair.

Tomorrow Lewis and I are going to go to Home Depot to buy power tools for our Moms and then kill each other with chain saws and hammers and overpriced drills.

I am going to go jump off a bridge, but because I am in Michigan all I can do is jump off a highway overpass.

GOD Marie, you are so negative!
Jesus!

Speaking of Jesus, how was the rest of your xmas? Did you eat any dead bovines?"


6) Having Everyone I Know in the Same Room:

Lo and I threw a housewarming party (one of our "reminder" invites, to the left to the left) in March '06 for our Brooklyn pad, and the night before I almost had an anxiety attack thinking of how it'd actually play out: I realised I was hopelessly and irrevocably fragmented and thus, in preparation, I drew a diagram to ease my mind. Lists help me. Each box contained a different set of guests and the personality they expected from me.

These are those categories/personalities, literally, transcribed word-for word (I do not include the friend/s who apply to each category, as that would be TMI) (haha):

1) Bitchy, smart-ass, distracted, hot, damaged, gay.
2) Crazy writer girl, talented/insane.
3) Emotionally distant, erratic, bi, impulsive, self-destructive.
4) Nurturing, creative, loyal, illusive, smart.
5) Goddess of mythical proportions (obvs does not know me at all whatsoever).
6) I am exactly the kind of person who'd have such disparate groups of friends. [sidenote: Krista was the only person in this box, obvs]
7) Ambitious & "quirky."
8) Undependable, tease, exciting/fun but flaky.
9) Workaholic, starving, anxiety-ridden, insecure, vanished.
10) However Lo's described me to her friends. (annoying? amazing?)

Obvs I delt with the panic that ensued when all these people did come together in one room by drinking heavily. I was so amazed that so many people'd shown up in the first place. It was weird.

A few weeks after that party, I started this blog. I hadn't wanted to ever start a public blog because I didn't think I could ever be happy with an image anyone who knew or didn't know me could consume. Except my grandparents, they can't read it because they don't understand the internets.

Consolidation of personality was part of the idea, actually, and in my first entry I said : "I think, especially now, my personality has become kinda fragmented. And although there are far more important things in the world then the Generation X Search for Self, it might be a good idea for me to try to consolidate myself into someone I recognize, and therefore not feel this deep panic when someone random asks to be my friendster."

And you know what's funny? It worked. And the difference between Marie and Riese and Auto-Win has continued to narrow even further than I'd originally imagined; not that in I'm revealing more, but that I'm becoming comfortable with this image, whatever it may be, for better or for worse. This flawed, half-finished, grappling, strange totes randomized weirdo of a girl. The idea of having a party and inviting everyone doesn't panic me at all. Well, the "inviting everyone" part doesn't.

The "having a party" part does though, clearly, because like, Who do I think I am?

"What I, like, dread is when people who know you in completely different ways end up in the same area. You have to develop this, like, combination you on the spot."
-Angela, My So-Called Life, Episode 1.2

"There are so many different ways to be connected to people. There are the people you feel this unspoken connection to, even though there's not even a word for it. There's the people who you've known forever who know you in this way that other people can't because they've seen you change. They've let you change."
-Angela, My So-Called Life, Episode 1.8

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Work So Much I Miss the Sunshine Away

Long long ago [six weeks ago] in a place far far away [my room], I said "I need to do my Sunday Top Ten," and Carly laughed and said "You mean your Tuesday Top Eight?" And I was like, "Ha ha ha!"-Slash-"Obvs." The main barrier to timely Top Tens right now is South of Nowhere, P.S., recap here, and honestly ... HONESTLY ... check it out. There's girls kissing, funny jokes, Smirnoff Ice, and a solid Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reference.

So remember how last week I like, spilled about 10% of my guts all over your computer screen? This isn't like that. I still feel a little excavated, like metaphorically half-naked, but I know the timing was actually perfect and the content necessary, and mostly: there's sooooo much I didn't say that I don't feel nearly as hollowed out as I could.

So, switching gears from totes emotional catharsis to frivolity ... writing this post feels kinda like we just had sex and now I'm pretending like we've never seen each other naked. D'you know what I mean? Anyhow this isn't a Sunday Top Ten either. Later this week, fo' reals.

Photo: to the left, to the left: Riese's first day of school [No clue which year, either Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade]. As you can see, I look hopeful and optimistic, eager to take another step forward in my education and grip the reins of my future, like they do at ITT Tech. Somehow I've emerged from said education with no marketable skills whatsoever. I suppose reading's been useful, but I taught myself how to read before I started kindergarten. Oh! There was that class where we learned to put condoms on bananas. Not so useful anymore, but whatevs. Anyhow, um ... right.

Oh! Speaking of not putting condoms on things; on Sunday Carly, Haviland, Heather, Matt, Roy and I went to an UH HUH HER concert at the Mercury Lounge in New York City. Also, FYI, Leisha Hailey is even cuter in person than she is on the teevee. And I don't say that about lot of people. I defo did not say that when I met um ... uhh ... I don't know. Whatever. The point is that I was like "HAY! Blablabla" and she was all sweet and then she was like "Who's this?" to Carly and Carly was like, "HAAAAY!" and then we were like, ::haayyyyy:: That's that. Carly has photos so I need to wait for those to really say more. Not of us with Leisha, as we obvs did not wanna seem like starfuckers [I actually remember saying "I'm a Guestbian," which is like, so super gross, what's wrong with me?] [Vodka], but just photos from the concert itself. But seriously; their music is super good. And I'm not saying that because L.H. is between my legs right now. Because let's be honest here: she totally IS NOT.

**

Last week, stuck in Dante's Inferno/work sans internet, I had the genius idea to live blog this momentous occasion, and by that I mean "write down a record of events in order of their occurrence in my notebook." Nothing about that place actually resembled the Inferno, P.S., besides the lack of internet. Also I've never read that book.

I had lots of elevated fantasies about this experience because I've worked about every job on earth except "tedious office job." Babysitter, agent assistant, waitress, retail salesperson, bartender, promotions, model, writer, housecleaner, sandwich artist, deli clerk, literary assistant, photgrapher, videographer, personal assistant, tutor, receptionist, teacher, hooker, crack/smack dealer and rock star. [Kidding about the last three.]

But not this. I've worked in offices, even as an Office Manager, but these weren't the terrible kind; I talked about books and music all day, earned $12/hour, considered my co-workers my buddies and usually spent my entire daily income on lunch.

I think you get on a track as a pre-adolescent – you either go food service, retail, or office. I went food service, since I enjoy eating food and being treated like shit by stupid assholes, which cemented my post-college crap-job fate--as in: why hire me for a random crap office job when you could hire someone with years of actual office experience? I cannot answer that question. There is no reason whatsoever to hire me, unless you need a fast typist. I can type pretty much as fast as is humanly possible. Seriously, if you saw me type, you'd want me to fuck you. JK. Only if you're a girl. JK again. Kinda. I polished my own nails tonight.

Also I know Quickbooks! And I somehow kicked ass on all the tests at the temp agency. Seriously, I was as surprised as you are about that. It was misleading.

OH! Also! So last week I said I thought I was developing the most loser-ish injury ever which I cited to be a bruise on my right wrist from typing too much, and actually, I was wrong. This is the most loser-ish injury ever:
That's from writing a lot of emails on my Dash while at "work" last week. Yes, that'd be a popped blister on my thumb.

***

Wednesday, August 22nd: Riese Goes To Work


HOME

6:18 A.M.: It must be so early. It's still dark out. It's probably 4 A.M. I'm tired. It's probably 9 A.M. Oh fuck. I've slept through my alarm! OMG. Neither of those things. Ew, it's 6:18 A.M. I have to wake up in 12 minutes. This is not the life for me.

6:30 AM: I wonder if Ryan notices that I'm awake so early! He must wonder if I have a job and I'm going to work today. Doo-dee-doo—look at me! I'm in such a hurry! I better make some coffee! I have to be at woooorrrrk at 8:30 A.M.!!

7:30 AM: I just got dressed in like, five minutes. Probs because my "clothes suited for an office" wardrobe is pretty minimal and I need to do laundry. Wow. I'm so good at budgeting time, I should put that on my resume.

7:35 AM: I should probably check my email before I go. Even though obvs I'll be online all da-yay. Unless maybe they have like, soooooo much work for me to do.


WALKING TO THE SUBWAY

8:10 AM: Leaving the apartment. It's still remotely possible that I could make it to Park Ave by 8:30 AM. It's not likely, but it's possible, because it's not 8:30 yet.


ON THE SUBWAY

8:20 AM: On the A-train. It's still not eight-thirteeee! Look at all the other grown-ups on the train with me. Hello! I'm going to work too! What smart shoes you're wearing. How are you? I don't think I like the book I brought for myself to read (Mysterious Skin). It was a good movie. I wonder if people are looking over my shoulder and seeing that I'm reading about cocksucking.

WALKING TO WORK

8:40 AM: Never-Eat-Sour-Wheat—a-HA! Park Avenue. My shoes go clop-clop-clop like horseshoes. I hate it. Oh well, the life of a working woman.

IN THE BUILDING

8:43 AM: There is no one here. Oh! Hello!

8:50 AM: I'm meeting my supervisor. I forget her name so I'll just call her Shavonda. She's telling me all about my JOB, which apparently involves doing absolutely nothing all day. Answering phones (luckily, that's my area of expertise) (Kidding, I am so bad on the phone, it's ridic). Perfect. I don't mind having nothing to do because I'll be online all dayyy! I can finish my blog! Hm. Why won't this turn on?

I'll ask Shavonda: "How do I turn on the computer?"

[I cannot transcribe her response as it was too shocking for me to really register her exact words.]

Wait—WHAT?!!!! NO INTERNET? NO COMPUTER???!!!

[Fighting back tears]
[This can't be real. This can't be real!]

9:05 AM: I bet I could kill myself with that irrelevant mouse cord.

9:10 AM: I'll just post from my Dash. Maybe I wasn't trying hard enough when I tried to do this before. Publish. PUBLISH. Fuck. Impossible. It's like G-d is laughing at me.

9:15 AM: I'm sitting in a semi-cubicle in a poorly lit room; about four other women are here--not temps. The woman directly next to me looks like she woulda been super-fly in high school and now's a little worse for wear, like it's possible she's got a grown son [update: she does.], but I like her 'cause she seems Sassy. You know, like the magazine, Sassy, where I'd be working if it still existed, Sylvia Plath/Mary McCarthy/Joan Didion - style. I'm going to refer to my cubicle-neighbor as "Molly," 'cause she's Irish. Also, she's got an incredible Brooklyn accent.

Molly [to Shavonda]: "It is freezing in here." [to me] "Isn't it freezing in here?"
Me: "Eh, not really."
[Molly shoots me look of death.]
Me: "I mean, OMG, it is so cold in here, brrrr, I'm getting delirious, I think I have frostbite, I can't move."
Molly [to Shavonda]: "See? How ridiculous is this? I mean, for Christ's sake, it's not like they're doing anything down there, they can't just come up and turn off the air conditioner? I'm not a mechanic, I'm not gonna get down on my hands and knees and tinker around with that thing."

9:20 AM: Better email Carly to tell her how miserable I am ASAP. Writing emails on the Dash is like being a morbidly obese middle-aged man eating a Tasti-D sample with a teaspoon. Can I get a contraction up in this bitch? Jesus.

9:25 AM: I'll write a letter to my Grandma! What a fantastic idea.

Dear Grandma,
I'm here at a temp office job, clawing my eyes out with boredom. Send money.

Love, Marie.



9:30 AM: There're so many things I could finish today if I had internet, I should make a list of those things. Wish there was an envelope I could steal to mail this letter to my Grandma.

9:40 AM:

Molly: "Pretty fun, huh?"
Me: "Yeah, I just wish I had a computer."
Molly: "They won't let you on the computer? They didn't give you a password?"
Me: "No."
Molly: "Jesus Christ. What are you supposed to do all day? Just sit there?"
Me: (sitting here) "I guess so."
Molly: "Jesus. Are these maintenance guys coming up or what? I mean, if I need to go out and get a pair of gloves, they should just say so, alright?"
Me: "Totally."

10 AM: It is freezing in here. I've never been so cold before in my entire life. Molly's planning a vacation online. ONLINE. My jealousy of her internet access and her vacation is a burning bitter kind of jeaousy, but it's not burning hot enough obvs, otherwise I wouldn't be freezing my ass off. Maybe I'll go check out the break room and get some coffee.

10:05 AM: Seriously, does no one drink actual cream anymore? They have hot apple cider, for Chrissakes, but no half-and-half. Oh! Here it is. Hm. I'll just open a new container. No one cares, I'm only here for three days. Little floaties at the top of my coffee. That indicates sour. Oh well. Maybe I'll get stomach flu and be sent home on sick pay.

10:20 AM – BATHROOM

Randomized Woman: "Pretty boring around here."
Me: "Yeah, I just wish I had internet. Then it'd be like, dream job!"
[awkward laughter]


10:30 AM: It's so cold in here. How early's too early for lunch? 11 AM? I think I used to eat lunch at 11 AM. When I was ... 11.

10:45 AM: Better email Carly again and let her know that I'm both cold and w/o internet. I should roll down my sleeves. Oh, they're too short. Like all my sleeves. Because I have monkey arms. WHY IS LIFE SO HARDDD?!!

10:50 AM: Major action: the temp supervisor just called to check in. She advised: "Pick up as much as you can today!" Hm. How about my SPIRIT? How about my WILL TO LIVE? Who's gonna pick THAT UP?

11 AM: Durrrrrrrr. What's cooler than cool? Anyone? Anyone? ICE COLD, y'all!!

11:05 AM: I should write a webisode for "Living it Out." Hm.

Morgan and Sam are in their dorm room.

Durrr.
How many times have I written that line?

11:07 AM: DURRRRRRRRR. My stomach is growling like whoa.

11: 10 AM: Molly's trying on her new glasses. Shavonda is planning a vacation to Las Vegas, she's leaving tomorrow. I wonder if I can use her computer when she leaves. I hate her and her internet and her vacation.

Molly: "Do you like my lesbian glasses?"
Me: "Yeah, they're hot."
Molly: "I can call them lesbian glasses beause my sister is gay. She's gonna love 'em. Her and her girlfriend will hang out with me. I think they make me look smart. My boyfriend doesn't like 'em. 'Cause he doesn't listen."
Me: "Why doesn't he like them? I think they're hot."
Molly: "Oh whatever, you know, men. They don't like anything. I like my lesbo glasses. He doesn't have to like them."
Me: "I like them."

Coincidentally, her glasses look just like Carly's new glasses, which I am wearing in this photograph:
Also, Carly is a lesbian.

11:15 AM: Okay I am freezing to death. Gonna go get some hot tea. Then I'll hold it to my face so everyone can see my misery. God, I could be writing so much email right now! WAAA!

11:17 AM: I'm gonna use like, every single kind of tea they have. That'll show 'em. Lipton-check. Green Tea-GOT IT! Peppermint-DONE. English Breakfast-YES PLEASE. This's gonna be a flavor explosion.

11:30 AM: Lunch. Fo'real.

LUNCH BREAK

11:35 AM: Hello, workers of midtown! Here I am! On my lunch break! I'm going to Barnes & Noble ASAP. Luckily I know the exact location of every B&N in Manhattan. These are the kinds of things you learn when you don't usually go to work every single day in the morning in an office. I refer to this kind of information as "useful information."

11:45 AM: Barnes & Noble
Why does this "going to work in a terrible office thing" feel so weird? I've been working between 20-60 hours a week in office-y environments for years. I think it's two things: location, and well, it's so – JOB. Like, the lit agency always felt like play-time. So did nerve, and--well--every job I've had since moving here. I mean, it was serious work, but I could be still drunk from the night before/wearing jeans/wearing yoga pants. But now I have real authentic misery job. I guess that's why those other jobs didn't exactly "pay a living wage."

NOON: I'm getting The Bell Jar.

12:30 PM: Hale & Hearty Soups is PACKED! Probs 'cause of the cold weather. I used to call Lo from Veronica's, when I worked for her, and moan: "All morning is anticipation of Tuscan White Bean Soup. Then I get my Tuscan White Bean Soup. Then I eat it. From there on out, it's all downhill."

12:45 PM: Guess I should check my voicemail before I return to the office. Oh. God. Whoa! Voicemail from ex. Isn't it weird how you can get so used to hearing someone's voice for hours and hours and hours and hours every single day and then you hear it again after not hearing it for a while and you're like, oh, you. She read my blog? HOW?! Awesome. Waa. Wish I still could get on blogger and delete everything like a totes reactionary weirdo.

BACK IN THE OFFICE

1 PM: Not screaming or showing emotion. I am totally fine. I bet Carly's wondering if I'm still miserable. I should email her. Done and DONE.

1:10 PM: I might cry. Not crying. Man, I could go for a good two or three extra hours of sleep one of these nights.

1:15 PM:
Molly: "No calls?"
Me: "Nope!"
Molly: "At least it's not too much work."
Me: "I think I'm addicted to the internet."
[silence.]

1:30 PM: OMG the phone is ringing. What do I do? What do I doooo?
Okay. It's for Vivian. I'll just put them on hold and figure this out.

1:32 PM: Who is Vivian?

1:35 PM: Vivian is not on any of these spreadsheets ... Vivian. Vivian. Hm. I wonder if she's here. She must have an extension, this mysterious woman.

1:37 PM: Maybe if I just sit here, it'll go away.

1:40 PM: Is he still on hold? Was he ever on hold?

1:45 PM: If he's still on hold now, he's clearly got some issues. He and Vivian should try to work their shit out.

2 PM: So cold. OMG, unexpected loaded text message, waaa. How do people do this? I'm at work, hello!!! Phone is dying. I've never seen my phone die before. I guess that's 'cause I don't talk on it.

2:30 PM: It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs ...

2:35 PM: Just LOLed remembering how Lo and I had a friend who was always depressed about something and so we called her "The Bell Jar." Ha. Oh, life. You and your jokes.

2:45 PM: It is FREEZING IN HERE. I am shaking. I keep thinking I could somehow get wireless somehow if I just tried hard enough. But with what? How? My teeth? Like that Daniel Pinkwater novel?

3 PM: What if my phone dies while I'm emailing Carly about how miserable I am? Fuck.

3:10 PM: I'll write my ex a letter. That would be therapeutic I think. "Dear Ex, I hate you. Love, Marie." Good. [JK!]

3:15 PM: Going to read this Writers Digest. I feel very good reading this at a job instead of at home, like I can take it or leave it [re: their advice]. This is the longest day of my entire life.

3:20 PM:
Molly: "I want chocolate. It just never ends, you know? It never ends."
[WORD.]

3:30 PM: notthinking about blog

3:35 PM: I would kill to update my blog right now. This is all my worst nightmares about work coming true:
1. My clothes are uncomfortable.
2. I cannot get on the internet.
3. Emotional issues are infringing with work. [Not that I have any, but whatevs.] [I should specify: I have no work, also I have no emotions.]
4. I had only one simple task and I could not accomplish it.
5. My phone is dead.

Just overheard the tail end of a conversation between two women down the hall, and I've got no clue what started it, but I mean, just, yeah:

Random Office Lady: "He should take the blood from the dog and wipe it on every single one of those guy's faces. Maybe they get turned on by that. Pigs. It just amazes me what people do for sport."

Seriously, I couldn't have made that up even if I'd really wanted to make some shit up.

4 PM: I'm so excited because the end's in sight. Also, I love Molly. She's talking about how her boss is single and lonely and her birthday is coming up and she's gotta get her something good.

Molly: "I'm gonna get my boss an edible creation. Ohhh! Juicy pineapple daisies! I mean, I gotta, you know? She's not married. She just works all the time, if she could be working 24/7 she would be. Who's gonna get her something nice? It's not like the dog's gonna get her something ... well, you never know."
.
She's talking about her lesbian sister now because she just used the word "lesbo" again and wants me to know that she can say that because her sister is a lesbian, and a cop.

I just nod absently, like someone who is not a lesbian or related to any lesbians. It's like, where do I begin?

Wow, I didn't even realise there's all these awkward conversations I haven't even figured out how to have yet. I mean, I've only recently figured out how to slip in a casual: He's dead when people ask "What does your Dad do?" and: She's gay when people ask if my Mom is re-married or anything. Or both of those, when asked about my home life in a seemingly innocuous way by a total stranger.

God, I'm like – I should be on Montel, what am I doing here? I should be on the g-dforsaken internet.

4:10 PM: I miss Tegan&Sara, the internet, oxygen, my bed, my iPod Sparky McNanostien and my Macbook Sparky McMacbookenstien.

4:45 PM: DURRRRRR.

Molly: "See, my son doesn't want clothes. I said I'll take him shopping for back to school – what am I, like he's six years old or something? He doesn't want to go shopping. He'd go to school barefoot, I swear to God. Mom, I don't want clothes. Mom, I don't need to get up, it only takes me five minutes to get ready, I'm not a girl. And you know what, he's always late. But he's growing up now. Mom, my phone doesn't work anymore. He says his phone doesn't work anymore!"
Me: "It doesn't work?"
Molly: "It can only take incoming calls. He can't make outgoing calls. Well, maybe you shouldn't've taken it swimming with you, like, what am I, a freakin' genius or something? God, I hate Algebra, but I've gotta do it for this online course on Phoenix Online to get my associates? Why do I have to do algebra? You know? I'm almost 41, I don't need to know this stuff. It's just cause I smoked so much pot in high school. I ask my son to help me, he's like, Mom, I don't know algebra. Oh, he knows algebra."
Me: "I like solving for x."

4:50 PM:

Molly: "I can't believe these people with the air conditioning. Did they come up there already? she says. I don't know, why don't you get a like, a system or something, where you write down when people want service calls and then you follow up and put a little check mark when they've come up I don't know, Diane. I love how this morning I was like Hi, it's a little chilly up here, and now it's like, five o'clock, and I'm like Diane, don't make me have to smack you. I know those guys are just downstairs, talking about what they're gonna do this weekend. I see 'em when I come in and out. I tease 'em about how they don't do any work. My boss is gonna flip out if she comes back and the air is still on. Flip out."

5:00 PM: OMG, now I just have another "boring day at the office blog." I'm supposed to be the anti-office! You are at your office, and I'm reporting live from the center of the dream! From the middle of the world! From New York City!

5:05 PM: The phone's only rung once all day and I fucked it up, which is a pretty solid track record. I love big corporations who pay people to do nothing.

5:10 PM: DURR. I need a new job. This one sucks. Also, I need internet ASAP. Better call Pam for job next week before she finds out I'm incompetent.

Pam: "Oh, that job was cancelled. So-rrry!"

Excellent. See, this is exactly what I hate about my life. Huh. What can I do with Liberal Arts? I wish I had the trust fund to go along with this attitude.

**

Day Two and Day Three I brought my laptop with me to work so I could get something done and on the pipe dream of wireless [obvs not] but I clearly I did not get anything done at all whatsoever. Howevs, I was able to use Photobooth to document my misery:




(By Day Three, I was clearly attempting to communicate my sexual preferences without having to actually vocalize them.)

In contrast, this is what I looked like on my first morning:

Though that photograph suggests otherwise, I was not on my way to work at a banana stand or anyplace else requiring massive amounts of joy. On Day Two, I typed some stuff on a typewriter and answered the phone twice. Day Three required two photocopying-related tasks and a few more answer-phones, and helping Molly with her algebra.

It was, howevs, surreal: I had this little gadget--the Dash--with it's limited access to the world I'd grown so accustomed to accessing constantly in a wider screen with full interactivity and an actual keyboard-- so accustomed to this that I'd in fact counted on it when I'd conceptualized the blog I wrote last week -- also, I suppose, counted on my ability to delete things as I receded, changed my mind about what I wanted to say forevs and evs.

I could read comments, I could fantasize about impailing myself with staples every time I spotted a typo I couldn't fix 'til hours later ("hart"! "on"! an accidental name-drop!), but I couldn't interact. Maybe it was good for me to be like that; to step back, concede control over this, too. Ultimately that was almost part of the unfolding: my daily web-impotence, knowing I'd have to simmer, wait, observe, feel. Wallow in reverb.

Also, I clearly started losing my mind from no sleep. I got super good at typing on my Dash though. I sent a few relatively long emails.

For some reason on the last day when Molly asked me what I 'do,' I started laughing and said I was a writer. She asked me why I was laughing. I didn't know what to tell her. It just seemed hilarious, saying "I'm a writer." It just made me laugh at myself.

Friday, August 24, 2007

SomeDay Top Ten: Live Through This And You Won't Look Back

So, back on Monday night, I accidentally pressed "return" which became "publish." It may've come up on your Google Reader. Then I had an idea to do this in like, stages. And somehow this now fully-staged oft-edited posting experiment has become its own kind of testament. It's probably one of the longest blog posts of all time, but I like it that way, 'cause it's all here, started & finished: my name is Marie, and this is my heart. And--also--what I've found most stunning about this as it evolved in my head and on "the page" [I feel like such a pretentious fuck using that kind of language, hot!] is that it's such a strange full-circle because as much as I was drowned out at times, I cannot understate the following: She was the best writing teacher I've ever had. And I've had a lot of kickass writing teachers--official ones. She helped me find my voice, develop it, own it ... and punctuate it. And I'm saying that right now with that voice. The indisputable fact of That Gift is perhaps the only thing from all of this that I Know For Sure.

*

So I published what I had so far, and then I republished as each segment developed. I said: "Ideally this entire process, which will be approximately as exciting as watching paint dry, will be completed within 32 hours. Comment at any point. I'll probs respond to comments quicker than I'll update the post, which I think might be kinda interesting and fun." That turned out to be a big lie.

Also, I'd like to add that because Stef has forfeited payment for her kickass blog redesign, I have one free date with Lozo still to give away. Just something to think about.

I won't regret saying this,
this thing that I'm saying,
Is it better than keeping my mouth shut
That goes without saying.
- Tegan & Sara, "Call it Off"
*
I'm way behind on email/thank-yous/phone-calls[surprise!] everything right now. Obvs.

*
Most Recent Update - 8.23/9:26 P.M. EST - Installment # 10


*

Sometimes, you go through something brief but intense in both good and bad ways and your whole life changes. That's a good first sentence, right? Okay, moving on then: I think I'm developing some sort of bruise on the lower corner of my right palm/wrist connector area from typing too much. I'm going to be injured from typing. That's pretty much the most looserish illness you can develop, besides whatever it is that people get from masturbating all day to Sailor Moon. Or dressing up like a Klingon for any number of consecutive hours.

So lately I've started to notice the wires of thoughts fizzing through my brain that don't take the same paths anymore; some things exploded or burned out or turned liquid on the way from [there] to here. But they feel real, too, and no less honest.

And ... I know there're so many factors going into how I feel here now ... and I'm still limited in what I can say and petrified, too; I learned the hard way that not only is the internet a free place to really go off at someone without any recourse for the attacker or protection for the victim, but it's also a place where you can actually attack someone on grounds that're not only ridiculous, but precisely the opposite of the truth. Reader: I'd've married her. [We considered ourselves "engaged."]

That [redacted] magazine article reminded me of how good things once were. I'd tried to forget, obvs, as The Girl I Chose became a totes mad twatwaffle ... It wasn't just the content that brought me back, but remembering how much she'd labored over the article with me, remembered her bringing home groceries and making me dinner while I sat glued to my computer ...

... and then ... remembering being yelled at for hours, and hours, and more hours, until the hours became my life and where else could I've gone every morning, really, than my life?

*
"Behold I come as a thief,

blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments,
lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
-Revelation 16. The King James Bible.
*
So this week's Sunday Top Ten is a reflection, like the kind you get when you gaze into a small pond or other reasonable body of water, on the things that've changed that I didn't even notice were changing. One of those changing things is this blog; I'm trying to post more frequently but with greater brevity. So far my success rate has been about 0%.

On the topic of this Sunday Top Ten, I had Crystal read it, and threw the idea at Stef and Lozo. All three thought I should just say it. I keep trying to organise it, but I can't.

Sunday Top Ten:
Things That've Changed,
or
Things We Lost in the Fire

or
How We Live Now
*
I know what I wanted,

I gave what I gave

I'm not sorry I met you

I'm not sorry it's over.
- Stars
*
10. I Am Ready to Move to Someplace Sunshiney

Sitting on the subway with Natalie the other night it didn't feel any less true to say "I am so over this city," in the same way I used to defend it as though it's busted arteries were somehow still supporting my heart.

*
9. I'm Addicted to Email


Now that I have my Dash [Truth: my previous phone, a Sidekick--a gift from my mother--was stolen after (redacted) started a fight on a Philly street-corner, attracting a crowd that ultimately included thieves. Her wallet was stolen. She didn't replace her wallet--she had me instead--and subsequently didn't replace my phone. Besides, I had nothing to say to anyone.] I've become more addicted to checking my email than normal. Howevs, I can't really reply in anything resembling proper English, or comment on my blog, or read anyone's blog, or access Google Docs. It's like I can see in but I can't do anything about it. Like a Read-Only Doc or something. Nevertheless, I must check. I must check obsessively and constantly.

*
8. I'm No Longer Afraid of Mice.


I'm not afraid of mice anymore. I used to be so scared of 'em that when we spotted one in our Interlochen dorm, I built a chair-bridge from the door to the top bunk and wouldn't let my feet touch the floor 'til we'd been rid of them for many days. Also, the top bunk wasn't even mine. I mean, mice're gross, obvs, but there was a mouse in our kitchen here and I didn't scream or anything. For the record, having a mouse in one's apartment in New York City isn't indicative of anything (bad cleaning habits, infected building) besides that you are alive and life is unfair. Also part of my fear comes from the Sex in the City episode where Carrie wakes up and there is a mouse on her bed.

Tears for fears, fo' real.

*
7. The Final Playlist. 18 Carefully Chosen Tracks.

Heart/Stars. A Better Son or Daughter/Rilo Kiley.
Don't Cry Out/Shiny Toy Guns. Where Did The Good Go/Tegan & Sara.
Don't You Know/The Sleepy Jackson. Hear Me Out/Frou Frou.
Nineteen/Tegan & Sara. Who You Are/Tears for Fears.
Good Luck/Basement Jaxx. 23/Jimmy Eat World.
Floorplan/Tegan & Sara. If I Ever Feel Better/Phoenix.
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead/Stars. Explode/Uh Huh Her.
Soil, Soil/Tegan & Sara. Next Plateau/Longwave.
What the Snowman Learned About Love/Stars. Ave Maria/Franz Schubert.

*


6. I Wanna Be a Robot

I got an email Monday morning, oddly enough, from a reader who worked at a law firm I'd applied to for part-time admin assistant stuff right around returning from the cruise -- basically confirming all my worst fears -- it was not cool at that time to google me when you're looking for someone to type and enter data and not cause trouble. Like O.K. it's possible that I'm is totally into Satan and a first worldian douchebag whore, and it's probably not true, but why risk it? I mean, Satan! That is serious business! The devil herself!

I ended up talking to this girl back and forth all day, and ... ugh. Things're better now, thank G-d, and though technorati remains deeply attached to old things, my heart doesn't [ha!], and, finally, neither does Google.

But still, I totes just say whatever I want and my name's right there. This would be fine if I wanted to work in publishing but I don't really -- mostly because I feel it's just more smoke and mirrors and the pay is shit. For some bizarre reason, as confusing to me as my recent desire to live in L.A., I want a randomized robotic office job. Yeah, weird. I always said I could never do it and now, when the temp agency called and asked if I could start the next morning at some office job they didn't even describe to me, which implies it involves sitting on my butt and inputting data while slowly transforming from human to octopus, I was like "WHEEEE!!!!" I think it's because I need some stability.

I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I'm tired. Also, I think I am not only losing my tan, but becoming perhaps transparent.

I started a temp job on Wednesday morning and said "I am so proud of myself for getting up on time, I'm pretty certain I'll end up being late." Obviously I was. Also I was told at 8:45 A.M. on my first day that I would be serving the next 9 hours of my life WITHOUT INTERNET. And then my phone, which has limited internet capabilities (read: not blogger, not grammar), died!! What the F?

*
5. I'm Raw.

One of many enlightening activities I accomplished on Wednesday while WITHOUT INTERNET at work was reading through my notebook -- not my journal -- my sketchbook. It's mostly to-do lists, but writing too and I saw that at first, I was resentful & broke & bitter, but also ecstatic in a way, high on my strength at breaking free. I wrote: I'm feeling easier about it all of a sudden, and it's almost not being able to stop myself from stopping myself coming but not certain I ever will come.

I felt sad & guilty, too, a failure, like I could've done more. But -- post breakup, I remained sympathetic & sensitive [through more than either of us will ever say] 'til the online slander started, and that exhausted what remained of my tolerance for mistreatment. So. This's me right now being [semi] straightforward because I realize that lately, pieces of the story've been leaking out of me passive-aggressively, shards, 'cause I held my tongue so well then and it continues its reverb.

I'd say I want to scream and what I meant was: I am screaming.

I wanna clear what I can because air is a vast & tricky thing; it's hallucinations, ideas, the fog, the fallible mailable ridiculous air, which is, p.s., never enough.

I wanna clear the air so I can step out of it, go walking beneath the enormous sky.

I had such a reservoir of non-judgmental acceptance. So what happened was such a unique, maddening way to get to me. For one: as a writer, I've just naturally got a lot online. But mostly: this space'd become remarkably precious, both because it'd brought her to me to begin with and because I'd been so intensely private about my sex & dating life on my blog prior to her precisely to avoid any possibility of having to explain a breakup online, which's like my worst nightmare. I mean, I took sick days in junior high after breakups. I hate having to bring all that personal nonsense into the light. It's impossible for anyone to judge. Breakups are personal, complicated, subjective things.

I've always been careful how I tread the line between honesty and "dirty laundry," and I was pissed to see her try to demolish that in her mania, get to me, break me. I didn't want to air mine. I don't. But it's still out there, it's still flapping, I still see it, am asked about it, feel it, hear about it, know people wonder about it, remember it. So, I think there's enough behind us and enough before me to warrant some kind of something... said.

I didn't read her blogs for a long time. I still wanted what I'd always wanted: for her to be well. But I got really angry, too, that everything at that point had been left in such shambles and that there wasn't even mercy here. In permanent public space. That there was so much I had to say in response but didn't.

That anger's hard to shake: that 24/7 cyber-slaughter--the commenting on my stuff [the subsequent moderation], the day she asked everyone I knew to be her myspace friend. When she was emailing and commenting everywhere -- other bloggers, my readers, my friends, my family, drunken heterosexual Lozo. The phone calls, the texts. Those effin blogs.

Oh I wish my arms were wider
I wish that I could hide you
So you can rest and repair
-The Cardigans, "Feather and Down"

My natural tendency towards loner-hood amped up a bit when her hospitalisations started, and the social isolation reached it's peak during the last&longest one. I was traveling to Suburban NY every day. People stopped understanding altogether and the more things I gave up (jobs, money, stability, friends), the more I fought to cover up and keep it all together -- the more this blog meant to me. I let it become an actual outlet for the first time ever.

It'd been up and down like that for a long time, and I'd done everything I possibly could to help her get better. After all, in health she was What I'd Wanted, she'd been So Good. Even in mania, I'd loved her. I justified putting everything aside to be there. I incurred expense. I stuck around because I loved her, because she was devoted wholly to me, because she told me our whole lives before that point had existed to make our union possible and I agreed, because she loved me, because I saw glimmers of her old self and she made promises and I always hoped. And the more I threw in, the more I needed her to come out of it.

*How do you know when to let go?
Where does the good go?
Where does the good go?
-Tegan & Sara, "Where Does The Good Go?"*

We'd joke: "This is the longest relationship I've ever had. We've been together for 100 years, totes." Because we'd already been through so much together.

So then I fell apart, and I had to, before I could call it off. Thunder, Perfect Turtle:
From Original Draft of "Naked on the Internet" Panel Recap:

I squat on the heels of my cowboy boots, pull my dress over my knees, lower my head into my neckhole like a turtle receding into it's shell and--though this sounds as if it's going somewhere sexual, it's totes not--tell [her] I wish I was dead. I'm not going to the panel. Can you tell everyone that you killed me?

Her: Jeez, death death death's all you can talk about. I don't want you to die, is that okay? Why don't you want to go anymore?

Me: I just don't wanna. I don't have anything to say. I'm stupid and annoying.

Her: Aw, Auto-Win, [strokes my hair tenderly] Why're you being thunder perfect turtle right now?
Actually, I do know why death death death's all I can talk about: Kathy Acker. [She]'s advised me to stop reading everything she's been telling me to read, as clearly it's "too much for [my] little baby mind to handle." Don Quijote, Nietzsche, Kathy Acker, The Art of Love, Marquis De Sade, Bartimelle, et al. I have this thing where the voice of whomever I'm reading seeps into my mind and becomes my mind.


4. This Blog Like, Means A Lot To Me

So, I zoomed in here. I realized when I was out for dinner with Natalie last week that Wow, I say "blog" every other word, which's a lot for someone who only updates twice a week. It's become a big part of my life, which is really seriously hilarious considering my intentions when I started.

And it's resulted in so many fabulous things; my readers, who've become friends, many of them in "real life" -- I met K-Lily through my blog, and TB of course, and, obvs: Carly.

Rachel, who at one point was the only one who knew what was really going on via a private blog called "Too Much Information" later re-titled "Not the Mountaintops." Stef who's redesigning my website, Jaimie who invited me to read at her theatre.

Crystal, who not only fiercely believes in me and my choices/talent in a way that inspires ME to do more, but has also gotten me the most reliable freelance gig I've ever had and listened to me whine for about 50,000 words while enabling the development of new career skills.

Team Caitlin [Caitlin #1=Our Producer!, Caitlin #2=Santa Claus/Magic!], who hauled ass to get an audition space for Carly and I ... and then we found out that we need to join SAG or something, urg/whatevs. People who've read the teleplay and given us feedback, like Crystal and Abby, and "m" [who I actually knew in college and then re-found on the blog, true story].

I could literally go on forever. Wow. I mean -- I really could. To even begin to fathom it would be impossible. If you think I've forgotten you because your name is not in this paragraph, you are wrong.

All the people who've responded to my call to financial arms ... and anyone who's ever commented, or emailed, or offered a connection or a gig or a job or a girl or just advice. Or a story. Or an undercover-in-a-museum flickr photoset.

And Lozo, my masseuse.


3. Then I Became Not Too Proud to Beg

I've had many conversations recently, re: The New Starving Artist. I know several others who're misconceived to be "going places"-- at the top of their game, career in possible overdrive, just exploding everywhere. But truthfully they've got maxed out credit cards, tore-up shoes and a lot of Ramen. Also sidenote I love Ramen. TB taught me the "secret" which is to put an egg in it. I know that sounds gross but seriously try it. I know, I was skeptical too. Except you Carly, I know you don't like Ramen.

The internet's created a funny kind of psuedo-"fame": the Broke Successful Person. People no longer have to make a physical effort to find your work via library or movie theater or art gallery. You've volunteered to come to them, they can find you and enjoy you at their leisure and consequently appreciate you without incurring financial cost. I'm not complaining, I'm just getting to this point: now more than ever it is possible to appear as if you're doing good when you're actually not. It's beautiful because I think it's a meritocracy, unlike the other kinds of archy-s that've plagued the art and publishing worlds.

Oh yes: and credit cards. Are often vital.

Certain things imply success: you've worked with well-known people. You've been to some particular events of distinction. Perhaps you seemed, for a time, to forego work altogether to take care of someone you loved, who claimed to understand you couldn't afford to do this. You've been scraping together the most random kinds of income to support all the free writing and then one week everyone keeps calling to say wow! You're doing so well! And you're like: Whoa! But I'm broke!

You've appeared places, with it is what you do, beaming, well-received, glossy. You've become a "name" which is now possible, in certain circles, to just come up.

But also; you're broke. It's your fault, you feel. Not everyone would've been so pliable as you'd been. Not everyone would've been so vulnerable, embraced the smoke & mirrors. People ask you if you're getting by, you respond affirmatively, you can't admit the smoke, because you're choking on it ...

When it's not your industry, it's easier to imagine that things are going better, or are about to go better, than they actually are. I look at people who claim to be broke and think, "See, even as you're saying this I can't really believe you. How on earth could [seemingly successful artist or actor] be broke? They're doing so well right now!" but then you think; of course they can be! Because I sure am.

It doesn't mean anything that I was in a major women's magazine [the payment for that goes to the editors of my anthology, not to me] or that I have a sorta-popular blog. Even I assumed incorrectly that TLW Online was a profitable venture, when it's actually just their labour of love. But I heart LW recaps and all that's come into my life because of it -- things money can't buy. "Priceless" as Visa might say, ironically. I wish there was no money. Then we could just trade things according to worth, and depend on each other maybe, even, to get by.

You can be in a video watched in 1.2 million homes and it's entirely possibly you're to earn not a single dime from it. [I'm not, obvs, but some people are, I hear of these things.] Certainly no physical book or public theater could gather that kind of momentum and popularity on it's own accord, be transported via body and space, like the internet can. So.

Dacia wrote about this in September and I remember it distinctly. And kottke made some valid points about what we do as bloggers, and so that contributed to my fundraising drive. It's hard -- underneath it all I always feel like a fraud, which's perhaps why it's so easy for someone to attack me and I'll take it because maybe i feel that even when they are wrong they are secretly right, they've uncovered me, and what they see is worthless and undeserving. I do good things, but underneath is bad things.

I feel like I wouldn't like me if I met me
I feel like you wouldn't like me if you met me
-Tegan & Sara, "You Wouldn't Like Me."

All this good work is leading up to something. I love this & the people, and I wanna build an audience for future ventures that I imagine to be profitable. Lately I've had people providing concrete support, and now, also, even more people that've put money in the Damn-the-Man jar.

"I'm so broke" jokes and "I can pay you with a Lozo, but not money" jokes are fun jokes. But on Sunday as I pondered this paragraph, I've realised my pride and inhibitions related to talking about money hasn't actually changed. What changed was circumstances, some sort of touched upon in this blog in many areas of this post.

Broke people sometimes annoy me because they never want to do fun things, so I try to pretend like I am not also a broke person. Visa can tell you all about this.

It's true that I write full-time, but not with a full-time income, and I don't know what to do about this.

I won't go into the specifics of what's gone down recently in my life; I am now, and always have been, happy to do this for free--I believe in making agreements and mine here is: "This is my work. It is free." I never intended to make money from blogging because I do not have any exclusives on Britney Spears' sexuality or Judith Regan's latest book deal. And when I do get similar information, Haviland makes me promise not to say anything. Also, my ex slept with Maggie Gyllenhaall. JK. I mean, JK about being genuine about releasing that information as an exclusive. It's a joke.

So there's a lot of things in here that kind of explain what led to my question like, well, maybe if I could just get $5 from everyone, my problems'd ease up a little. My Mom said she'd read about someone doing it. So that's that. [Kinda?]

*
2. Um,

I don't know why I think this is the most amazing book cover of any book I've ever been in, but I do. I mean, the title, the FONT! Wow. My story "Fucking Around" is in this book:



***
everything i love get back for me now
everyone i loved, i need you now
so conned, i lied i lied to me too (so what?)
hold out for the ones you know will love you
hide out from the ones you know will love you
-tegan & sara, dark come soon
****
1.
Formerly "#7"
A True Story:
Live Through This,
And You Won't Look Back

One morning I woke up knowing something was wrong, and so I went to New Roc. I'd never been there before so I just got on the Metro-North to the stop called "New Rochelle" and then I got off there, and got into a car, and asked the driver to take me to City Hall, wherever the jail was, and so he did. I think it cost four dollars, it seemed like a bargain.

It was an impossibly sunny, warmish-spring-perfect day, I walked up the marble-y steps of City Hall and went inside the sanitary, chalky building. Everyone inside it looked tired. I was tired. I'd grown less good at eating and sleeping. I gave them her name and said I thought she'd possibly spent the night there. The woman told me she'd actually just left but: Oh, she was just walkin' all over the place talking to everyone --

And so I decided to find her. I didn't know how I'd do that because I'd never been to New Roc before. So I just started walking, and I asked G-d, because I knew of that for sure, to lead me to her. I walked down a few sidewalks. This wasn't a good part of town, I could see that already. All the stores sold booze or greeting cards. Like, drink some Jack Daniels, then get a card to apologise to your wife for what you did afterwards.

And I walked down these streets and then I saw her, waking out of a store with a fresh pack of cigarettes. There she was: my girl, she was right there. I'd come there and found her, and so I thanked G-d for that. I jogged a little but she was in her own world so she didn't hear me coming up behind her. She had a million bags, it seemed like, always carried five or six books with her at a time.

I caught up and blocked her in the street. She looked up, saw me, stopped.

She said: "Hey," as if I'd been planning on meeting her there, as if she'd spent the night in jail simply to be nearby when I made my first visit to New Rochelle. She seemed surprised but not surprised enough, as if strange things like this happened all the time because of her or for her -- they did, after all. Of course I would just psychically know where she was. Of course I would just find her with no clues whatsoever and no knowledge of the area.

She hugged me -- a quick, tight, glorious flash of real -- she held me, said she'd missed me and that she was sorry they hadn't let her have her phone in jail. She kissed me. Those were still her lips. I thought her arms were still her arms but I looked closer and they were covered in bruises, even more than there'd been on Friday or Saturday, when we'd covered them in foundation for the photographer from the magazine for my article.

Then she stopped walking. I stopped. I turned and took her in: she was a slick black shark that day: in her sunglasses & Trinity black leather jacket, like her fingernails might shoot into laser beams and then burn me up, like in a fancy movie. Sometimes, when she wasn't around, I had a strange urge to sit on my bed and stare at the wall and move my lips in the shape speaking usually makes.

I stopped walking too, because she'd stopped.

She commanded: "Walk. And don't look back."

She let me take ten steps ahead of her and I started walking. She started walking behind me. This was easy. I didn't look back. I started thinking and then I remembered that thinking wasn't the point. The only point was to obey.

We were at an overpass that went over the highways. Cars drove beneath us like it was an ordinary day in an ordinary world. Though I've been to New Roc for real now, I still can't figure out where we were that day: somewhere between City Hall and the train station, I guess.

It was a beautiful day, brilliant bright beamy sunshine. It was for us.

Then she told me: "Okay Lot's Wife. You can stop now." And so I did. "Knock knock."

"Who's there?" I receded, she neared me.

"I love you!" She said.

"Knock knock." She said (that's her second line in a row).

"Who's there?" I said.

"Interrupting weirdo!" She said.

"Interrpting we--" I started to say.

"I love you!" She said.

I smiled. I knew those words, I knew that person.

We walked together to the Metro-North. I knew that's where we were going but she didn't tell me, I just knew.

She told me she'd given herself the bruises to punish herself for being prideful and judging everyone. Then she gave me her phone and told me to call her work for her and tell her boss she was sick and wouldn't make it in. She told me she had no time for work; she had to to learn Proto-Indo-European.

"I feel like yelling at people," she told me. I didn't really grasp then that she meant that. This was the very first time. This was the day after Easter.

That's when it started: on the Metro-North, heading back into Manhattan. She started yelling. I was there on the seat with her in this normal train, with normal people, being normal, and I realised I'd just stepped into some kind of something scary. I remember I was reading The Book of Daniel that day off of paper, printed out from the online Bible @ bartlebys -- because the fact that I hadn't read it was becoming a major issue in our relationship. I just kept thinking I could try to go along with things and then maybe I could fix them.

She started in on me then for a minute because I'd said "Be quiet." She asked me why she needed to be quiet. Did I not want people to know that G-d is coming to condemn them, that Buddha was NOT hallucinating and we can WORSHIP our MIRRORS and we can go worship Angelina JOLIE and the BUSH AdminiSTRATION while in the THIRD WORLD people are HUNGRY they don't need ANYTHING because my GOD IS GOOD and my GOD IS KIND and my GOD IS WATCHING and MY GOD IS COMING ... she was next to me but her cadence was riding up up up up to elevated language, I thought this person was my girlfriend, where has she gone ...

I was eager to get off the train so we could start over out there in the station with new people. Maybe we'd have another chance in a new crowd.

We were pushed out into the station. All of me panicked for a second, like I was a mouse that'd just found itself in a brand new city all alone in a big train station. I wanted to scamper for a corner but all I could do was follow, I wasn't going to leave her. There was no way. I was going to get the Real Her back. I was going to do it.

Why would I leave this woman? I had to wait for Real Her to return so that we could talk, because I missed her. You lose your relationship to reality and the people who exist in it, you have to re-orient your social group to fit the insanity you've gotten accustomed to and usually there is only one other person in your group.

She apologised for yelling at me and said: "Let me buy you a flower," and so then she did. I carried it close to me like someone might pluck the bud right off it while I stood waiting for her -- she'd decided to "trannie it up" and duck into the men's room to save waiting in line. It worked. I thought she was clever. I held my flower to my face.

She said she wanted to go to Bryant Park. I said okay. She stopped to give money to every homeless person. I did that too. I like giving my money away. I bought $20 of fruit roll-ups from some kid on the street who seemed really down and out. She wanted to give the fruit roll-ups to homeless people but later I'd also see her eating them, poking out little cartoon figures, sticky on her thumbs.

So, she'd give, and then the next person wouldn't, and she'd yell: "Don't walk by homeless people like ROBOTS!"

I winced. I wanted to walk away and I also wanted to tackle her onto the ground and hold her there til help came, so instead I just walked beside her, my whole body totally evaporated. Tense vacancy.

We were sitting in Bryant Park and she hadn't stopped, she started preaching to everyone to from her seat, told me the secret to poaching/preaching was to call someone on your cell phone and go like this: Hello? Father? Is that you? What did you say about my gluttonous worship of Angelina JOLIE?

People were staring, whatever.

I leaned forward on the table we were sitting at and took her hands, which had cuts in the palms. I said: I'm very scared. do you remember when you talked about how you'd kept yourself off meds for so long and done a great job controlling your episodes? Because I feel like you might be having one, right now?

What do you want to do? She asked. Put me in A CAGE? Like JEEE-SUS? Like you killed SOCRATES? For preaching in the MARKETPLACE?

I said: I want you to get help, I think that maybe we should talk about this, I feel like maybe right now it would be a good idea to see a doctor and maybe think about meds or maybe stop drinking or --

She said: I can be alone, you don't have to be my bride!

My body lifted from the chair and I walked away. It's important to mention I was still holding my flower.

I knew exactly where she'd be and for how long just how I'd known she'd be in New Roc that morning; I just knew because we could communicate on invisible telephones wired to our brains.

I went to the subway station and then I turned around and came back.

I can't just walk away, I said.
I need to be alone, she said.
Will you call me later, I said.
I will call you later, she said.
I will see you later, she added.
Okay, I love you, I said.
I love you too. You are my wife, she said. Marie. I will never leave you. You are the last woman I will ever be with. Okay?
Okay.

I went home petrified. I went home a mess. And I stayed in various states of mess for some time, Haviland came over, we were on speaker phone with my Mother the social worker and I was whining, repeatedly going back into my survival mode where I just curl up and declare my intention to become a starvation artist (not a starving artist, that's different). I couldn't get in touch with her but I tried. She called me on accident once and I heard her yelling at strangers. At some point, her phone stopped picking up.

At 2 A.M., I was lying in bed, un-asleep, and she walked through the door to my room. I saw right away that it wasn't her. Her face changes, she becomes someone else. It was someone else. I saw her eyes flash flint and I knew it, I saw it.

"What happened?" I asked. I was almost crying already, but she'd told me there would be a place where there would be no more tears; and soon.

"Baby, I got mugged," she said, exhausted but not a trace of surprise, like it was one of many things she could've done for entertainment that fine evening.

"How did you get here?'

"I just walked here from the West Village."

Thank G-d she had keys to my apartment then. I was living on 106th. She'd walked at least a hundred blocks, probably more. She made herself something awful to eat. I held her like she'd come back from war. I listened to her and saw the bruises everywhere, absolutely everywhere. I felt like a nurse. I would feel like a nurse for a long time but I didn't know that yet. I told you I was a weirdo, she said.

She'd had everything lost or stolen, it seemed. Me too, I thought. But I hadn't, not then. Here's the thing, I've just realised: control. Pre-breakup, and with the exception of a few briefly topped peaks, she seemed to [usually] turn it off when she needed to; at work, in restaurants, in front of other people, even for doctors. That was the tricky thing. Why was it just me and the strange public who usually enabled it? Did that make me strange?

When was it that she made me throw a glass of water at her in public? Yes, it had been a few days prior, the night after a day we'd spend with the photographer from the magazine article she'd helped me craft into something kinda special but scary too. We were having dinner at Cafe Mode and she asked me to throw a carafe of water at her, I said I wouldn't. That was a lot of breakable weight and water to throw at a person: but -- a glass was not too much.

It was actually like, totally awesome. We laughed so hard about that. I'd really done it, thrown a glass of water at her and then she musta thrown one back because I remember being drenched.

We dashed into the night all laughter, hightailed outta that restaurant, I thought these are the adventures that are now my life. I thought, Choose Your Own Adventure I Choose ----. I felt very Sancho. We wanted to make Easter Eggs for Haviland. We were wet, it was too cold for April. The air beat us, our skin froze.

But also: I learned so much. About writing. Literature. Love. Myself. Madness. Sanity. Self. Spirit. Sacrifice. Humility. Ego. Soul. Words. And, perhaps, an erratic [but, in this case, conclusive] case of compulsive TMI.

So, yeah, that happened.