Monday, March 31, 2008

Darn, Missed the First Scintilliating 8 minutes

Didn't realize that The Bachelor started at 9:30 and so I don't know what happened in the first little bit, except probably nothing. He is on a one on one date with Holly, the children's book author. She wears a dress that resembles a zebra hide and won't stop giving this fake Holly Hollywood smile. He is adorable still, but perhaps a little bit of a manwhore. I get the feeling that he's going to kiss every single woman on the show. Oh, awesome, a plug for a movie starring Patrick Dempsey and she's crying over it? Why are they completely reclined in their movie seats? They're supine.

I missed this beginning because I'm trying to get through a book for tomorrow night's class. We'll be discussing Seinfeld and Philosophy. I am getting snippets of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and a bunch of other philosophers whose names I cannot spell and am too lazy to look up, despite having just read Nietzsche's implicit argument about how you might live your life differently if you knew you were going to have to repeat the same life, over and over and over again, each moment the same. I read that and in the back of my mind, I was thinking about how great it would be to take a break and have some strawberry frozen yogurt.

But enough of that thinking crap, back to The Bachelor. The one on one date has taken them to the romantic rooftop of JC Penney's. She's romantically drinking a beer. Does every British guy look like Hugh Grant? Because he does sort of resemble a less wrinkly HG. Okay, one second, why does the black girl have faux gold glued to her hair part? Shayne gets the one on one date. She is so profound. She just said, "If you want to get to know me, you have to get to know me." He's telling Holly that he finds her extremely attractive. He wonders if they feel too comfortable. He's sweating. He wonders if there's any electricity between the two of them. She worries because her feelings are in it now since she's been there for two days. They made a delivery to the girl house of the sidewalk with their hand prints on it from the movie premier. The girls are peeing on it. They are so mad. Okay, now Holly and what's his name are in their bathing suits in the tub full of suds. Oh, gross, he has a lot of chest hair. It's floating on the top of the water. He has given her the rose. Oh, he just slid her across the tub to him. That's hot. I don't know if he's a good kisser. They make too many noises when they kiss.

I hate Shayne so so so so so so much.

Interesting email conversation about poetry with a friend today. I haven't read any poetry in a long time but then reread e.e. cummings "i like my body when it is with your body" as a result, and I wish I could write like that (except I wouldn't use the little "i"). I've written a total of four poems in my life and yet......could brag about winning the Academy of American Poetry Prize or something like that when I was at Penn State. But of course, I won't bring that up. That would be immodest. "Again and again and again."

Next group date: rugby aka football aka girls in short shorts. They are doing warm up exercises. Ashlee has put black eye make up on her face like a NFL player. They are rolling around on the ground and sparring. Here's spazzy Robin. She talks super super fast like she's on speed. Amanda with the hiccups is still my favorite. Shayne is talking about she needs to tan. Holly is going to let her use her fake spray tanner. If I were her, I would make the tan so orange that looked radioactive. Okay, now they are going to play a game. Ashlee is the last one picked. She is wearing fake eyelashes. They all are putting in their mouth guards. Does anyone have any idea what this game requires except for running around and toppling over? Their pants are falling off. Uh-oh, the black girl got hit in the mouth and is now hyperventilating. She needs help because she's bleeding a teeny tiny bit. And the game continues and it is colossally boring because they keep screaming and high-fiving and Marshanna is stuck underneath his armpit.

Okay, I missed an entire date because I was trying to come up with the best move ever in Scrabblicious. I am winning. I just managed to spell both "queer" and "gay" in the last two moves. Brilliant! Padhraig spells words you never heard of like "fraps." What the hell is that? A Starbucks coffee muffin combo? I don't think anything much happened anyway except some girl told him she likes it hard (the massage. Vulgar, vulgar girls).

I hope this date with Shainniie goes badly. She's wearing snow boots and a black dress and sunglasses. She sucks so bad. She has very little emotion in her voice and she looks at herself in the rear view mirror every five seconds in the car and she can't even do a British accent. Take those sunglasses off your head. She doesn't listen well. She can't listen. She's too distracted by the cameras everywhere, looking right at HER. Oh, her dad is Lorenzo Llama. WTF cares? That's the big reveal?? Her dad was on the show Renegade. He hasn't heard of him. She explains, Well, he's a really big name in America. Among whom? Her family? I just told Julie that he's like a guy who was on the Love Boat as a recurring character but not a real cast member. Danny looked her up and found out that she has been on General Hospital eighteen times. That's it. I have more hits on IMDB than she does. I will concede that I like that she isn't one of those girls who pretends like she likes him for no reason. Oh, dear, though she says "sawl" instead of "saw." Their date includes a gigantic bed on the floor in front of a fireplace. She said that her top five favorite things are shoes, watches, sunglasses, purses and herself. Those are her top five. He's holding her like she's a baby. I'm serious. He's cradling her. He really just wants to make out with her. He just thinks she's hot. He just said, "She has cast a spell on me." It's your penis. She has cast a spell on your penis. God, men suck sometimes. They are so predictable!

Last time to mingle with the girls before he has to kick three of them off. I wish they wouldn't scream every time he walks in. They are all kissing him on the mouth. Who is this Kristine person? Where did she come from? What's up with this girl Chelsea who has her boobs hanging out? She just forced herself on him. This girl with the dimples and the fake eyelashes is saying how she's one of the few girls who is, like, real, you know? Okay, Robin is going in to steal him away from what's her face. She still sounds like she's on speed. She wants him to kiss her, but instead, she is getting interrupted too. Robin is a bit driven. She has a rose. The other girls are ganging up on her. I don't like this girl Holly. She seems fake. She has a rose too and she has a single tear running down her face. He's a liar. He's telling every girl that he missed her and thought about her, but that cannot possibly be true...I will be so sad if he sends Amanda home (that's hiccup girl). I think he's going to send Jewel and Chelsea home and maybe Amy.

The Rose Ceremony: Holly, Shayne, and Robin are safe. The rest are in trouble. And three will be going home. Jewel has to know she's out.

First rose: Amanda!!!!!!! Thank GOD. I wonder when she will hiccup in front of him.
Second: Ashley. You're serious? Everyone hates Ashley.
Third: Kelly. That's Cameron Diaz.
Fourth: Chelsea. Really? I am so wrong this week.
Fifth: Noelle. That's the girl with the dimples. She thought she was going home.
Sixth and final rose: It'll be the black girl. Maraschino Cherry. I was correct.

Going home: Amy, and the tough looking girl Erin, the hot dog vendor. At least she's not crying. Amy didn't cry either. She's a nanny. Oh, whoops, she is crying and laughing at the same time. This older woman, Kristine, she is the oldest, she's 32, she looks like a grandma. I am not being ageist. At least no one is talking about their cats like that red head from last week. Will Marshanna please stop putting herself under his armpit?

Next week: Everyone hates Robin. He goes on a one on one date with the girl with the dimples or is that Amanda? They look a lot alike, honestly. Okay, that's it for now. Apologies to all of you who hate this portion of my blogging. BUT IT WILL NOT END UNTIL THE BACHELOR FALLS IN LOVE WITH ME.

And They're Back

This orange cat is playing with my emotions. She brought the kittens back. Who knows why or where she's been taking them. I thought for sure she wouldn't b/c this other orange tom cat has been sleeping in the shelter too. I moved the food so that it's not near the cat hotel in case it was drawing other animals or something. She would probably like it better if the cover was more secure, but I can't really do anything about that. I was going to move the hotel and put it somewhere else in the patio, but maybe it's just that she feels like she has to move them occasionally to keep them safe. Who the hell knows. For now, they're back and I am going to leave them alone and see if that makes a difference.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


So, I got up this morning to check on the kittens and they have vanished in the night leaving no forwarding address. I must have freaked the mama kitten out by bringing one of the kittens inside for the house for a little while. She took them away. I guess she must have moved them to wherever they were before, but I'm sad because I doubt they'll be safer; unless someone in the nieghborhood is competing for best cat condo. Maybe if I added a skylight and an extra room with a pool she'd return? I was going to try to get them homes but now they'll just be more strays who don't live long and continue to reproduce. Carrie said that maybe she'll come back. Maybe. Or not. Okay, so even as I type that the mama cat is outside on the brick, and she let's me pet her. Where are the kittens? Did they die? Did something carry them off into the night?There's no sign of distress in the shelter. Well, my guess is that she might bring them back. But why move them then? It is a conundrum. She's cleary not scared of me and still let's me pet her, but...Who can understand the workings of the cat mind.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cat Lady

I must accept that I am a cat lady. I must accept that I worry too much about every stray animal in existence. Why, you ask? What are you talking about? I am referring to this orange and white kitty who I thought was a boy until yesterday, when I spotted her carrying something wild in her mouth across the wide expanse of brick in my backyard. I thought she had caught a mouse, but then realized it was a kitten. And so I worried. Where would she take it? So I built this little hutch in the back yard made out of two drawers and a piece of wood and a couple of rugs I don't need. I didn't think she would notice, but then, tonight, as I was making pasta, I saw her drop down into my yard with that same small animal in her mouth and realized that she had seen the shelter and was ready to use it. I thought, How sad. Only one of her babies survived. But then, a few minutes later, I watched her return again with another kitten in her mouth. Okay, so two survived. She abandoned them, only to return with another. And then another. So now I have four kittens and the mommy living in this makeshift shelter. And it's taking everything within my rationale mind notto bring them inside b/c I know the mom is a stray and not healthy and possibly, she has feline leukemia plus a bunch of other disease, so okay, they have to stay outside, but that doesn't mean I can't go out there and pick the babies up, one by one, and cradle them in my neck, while they give this meek cry, but they are so soft and sweet. You would love them too, I know it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Back Again and Worse Than Ever

Here we go, bitches...The Bachelor does have a perpetually rosy bloom to his cheeks and that lovely accent and the pretty boy lips. It looks like they're going to Vegas and stripping. Chris arrives dressed in a striped shirt that looks like a pajama top. It's also two sizes two big for him. Two roses up for grabs on these dates! Ladies...The date box has arrived. I think the host, Chris, has lost twenty-five pounds. He must not have liked his look in the latest issue of People magazine before the new show started filming.

The first group has to go the runway for a fashion show. I believe it's eight girls/twits and him. Jewel is drinking champagne and wondering when she's going to get to play her guitar for him. Erin H. is both excited and mortified to be able to strip for him (that's Ditta von Teese). This is stupid. This is how he says he's judging. "It's not about who is the hottest, who is the best model, but who really goes for it." That's what he just said. LIAR. Please, please, let someone fall down. They all have to wear short shorts. Kristine's hair looks like she did just jump out of an airplane. One girl moonwalked down the runway. Good, she's trying to stand out. Okay, but she did it too many times. One girl took her shirt off to reveal a gold lame bra. Real boobs, you guys. God, I would so fail at this. I can't walk in heels. I can't wear shorts. I certainly can't walk in heels and shorts. Michelle the redhead looks like a small man in drag. Oh, crap, she's going to sing too. Oh, dear, she thought this was American Idol and not London Idol. What a stupid date. Well, at least they get to go to a penthouse overlooking Hollywood. They're doing shots of champagne? They are all fake laughing. Moshawyn appears to have made this second dress that she's wearing. It's a gold sheet with a black Velcro strap over just one shoulder. He picked her because she has a glow over her and because she has a certain glow to her skin (he said that). Oh, crap, the redhead in drag. False eyelashes and false curls and one of the eyelashes appear to be falling off. Her face is way, way, way overdone. SHIT, she thinks she's in a Disney movie! She thinks she's Arabella or whoever the little mermaid is. Ariel? Here is the song she wrote (no lie): "I want to touch you, I want you to touch me. I want you to find me, and I want me to find you. I want to feel you and I want you to feel me. (This is horrid). I want to find you in (drawn out) front of me. With your penis out." Jewel has pretty hair and a cute laugh and her right boob is about to fall out. He's rubbing her knee. OMIGOD. He kissed her. They are kissing. She's cute. She said, "Matt's kiss was perfect. It was soft and..." Then he just left her and oh, he's giving her the first rose. She's giggling like Jewel as a schoolgirl, and they kissed again. HAHAHA to the rest of them. Wait. Now, she's being an asshole and waving the rose around and saying, "I got the rose, I got the rose, I got the rose." I liked her for about four seconds and now I don't like her because she's obnoxious and being a jerk and the black girl is having none of it.

(As an aside, I overheard two little girls playing UNO in the library today. One girl played her card and the other girl goes, "Tssk...You ugly." There's also a sign in the library that says, No cell phones, no ipods, no candy and no sunflower seeds).

Date two: Seven beautiful women in Las Vegas. How do these girls pack for this trip? Shayne, the porn actress who I believe is going to drop out of the show because he's not noticing her enough, thinks she really feels a connection. One of these girls looks like Cameron Diaz. Uh, I think he's wondering why he chose this woman in the multicolored shiny top. Everyone keeps saying, "Vegas, baby!" Robin is going to have a nervous breakdown in her green chiffon flowing dress. She's confessing that she can't gamble. This other girl has this horrible hair with way too much mousse in it. Cameron Diaz won the most chips. Her purse is ten times bigger than her baby doll dress. It's too bad that she hasn't done anything with her hair. She's quite drunk. And she just said to him, "I know, we have to go see all the other bitches now." The actress is saying to him, "Look at me, would I really be doing this in real life. Do you think that I am in a person who is waiting in the wings?" Everyone is in that position, he said. He sees that she's being bratty because doesn’t he realize who she is? Who her parents are? How many movies she hasn't made. He's pulling Chelsea aside she's saying that she loves to do things, and she does great things and it's hard to share them without nobody but yourself. I'm lonely. She just said. He's lying to her again. It's a two-way thing. It totally is. I'll warn you, I'm stubborn. He just got up and said, Okay, forget it. she's an idiot and her hair is terrible. Shut up Shayne, we understand that you were the girl on the beach in an Adam Sandler movie two years ago. Bye the way, stop chewing your gum so much. Okay, Robin is sitting on his lap while she attempts to play the piano. She is a hard ass. She has this horrible look on her face when she's talking to him one on one. This girl with the bad hair asks him what he's looking for in a partner. They all talk stupidly. This girl in the boots, the hot dog vendor, just kissed his fingers. Oh, God, why is he giving the rose to Chelsea, is it because of her cleavage? I can't stop talking about their chests because that's all I can see. Shayne is crying in the bathroom. Maybe she should stop chewing gum and wearing that scarf in the middle of summer. He gives the second rose to the girl with the bad hair. He thinks Chelsea is beautiful and uh...that's it, he said, but then why is he kissing Robin and why am I watching this show? Where is the girl I liked last week?

The cocktail party: Someone long ago once told Robin that she looks adorable when she sticks her tongue out when she laughs because she won't stop doing it. Oh, God, Marshanna is now wearing a mink blanket and a dress that she might have also made, actually, it's a very pretty grey dress. She's dancing with him on the patio and pressing her hips against him. He won't kiss her because all of the girls are staring at them through the window. He is a true Brit gent. Shayne is wearing a bow that is bigger than her brain. Oh, dear, Jesus, this girl is going to sing opera. She's going to sing. I am dying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She's singing Summer Time, opera-style. And it makes her face completely twitchy. He has to sit there with this stiff smile on his face. He is talking to the huge bow...He is saying that he understands that she is an actor and that her family is full of actors. What he means to say is that she seems to be on the show because she wants to get another bit part. Why does the black girl have to dance like a black girl all up in his lap? And someone else is doing the pony. Terrible. I think he still likes the girl who gets the hiccups. I like her too. He really is totally hot.

The Second Rose Ceremony: How many seconds until Chris says that he will be making the toughest decision of his life? That one girl just hiccupped. She will win. Everyone else sucks. Ten roses and only nine girls! Wait...No, two of the girls are safe and ten will get to roses and three can go suck it. First rose goes to: Robin because she played the same song on the piano that Julie told me she learned in fifth grade lessons. Second: Holly: perky blond. Third rose: Erin S. She sounds like she smokes. Fourth: Amanda, will you accept this rose? 5th: Kim: That's Cameron Diaz. She's fun, but not that fun. 6th: Amy: Why? Bad roots. 7: Christine: Another no descript blonde. 8: Marshanna. She can't wait to make his tuxedo for the wedding. 9: Noelle. Shy girl. Haven't heard anything from her. She has done nothing obnoxious. 10: LAST ROSE!!!!!! My prediction is Ditta again. Ditto Ditta. Not the redhead. Omigod, he picked Shayne. WTF? "She says that he's killing her, he's killing her." It's the line she had in the Adam Sandler film.

Going home: opera singer (she's in church marketing), Ditta, and the redhead with her eyelashes falling off. Don't sing, that's the real lesson. She's going to go back and see her cat and hear her purr. She said that. Thanks for making all single girls look pathetic.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

TV Has Cured Me From Ever Needing Therapy

That's because I have spent most of this Easter Sunday--nay, all of it--watching this marathon of In Treatment because Comcast has brought me the miracle of free HBO in order to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. In case you don't know, In Treatment is a half hour show starring Gabriel Byrnes. Each episode is a particular therapy session on a certain day with a client. There are four rotating appointments--the seductive Laura with the huge teeth, the black closeted gay military guy, the adorable, suicidal gymnast, and the angry, mismatched couple. The last day (Friday) is the therapist's meeting with his former mentor, Dianne Wiest. I find these shows to be the least interesting, or maybe the hardest to watch, because they basically just argue back and forth. It's a compelling show, but I do have one teeny tiny pet peeve with the dialogue. They overuse each other's names...Nobody in reality says another person's name with the same kind of frequency.


Paul: How did that make you feel, Laura?

Laura: Well, Paul, I don't know. Sad, I guess. How do you think it made me feel, Paul?

Paul: I couldn't say, Laura. Maybe you're remembering your absent father, Laura?

Laura: My father's name wasn't Laura, Paul.

Paul: He was named Paul too? We really should discuss this Oedipal connection, Laura.

Laura: No, Paul his name was Peter, Paul.

Paul: Peter-Paul, Laura?

Laura: No, just Peter Laura Paul. What?

You get the gist. I will likely stay up until it goes off the air maybe midnight, or three a.m., if that's what it takes.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I Keep Forgetting I'm Trying to be a Vegetarian

It's hard to eat meat when you have to walk through the Italian Market all the time--this place that houses cages full of live chickens with their eyes pecked out, roosters, and scared gray bunnies piled on top of each other and about to become venison. That said, I keep ordering the ham and cheese sandwich at Last Drop. It's sooooooooooooo good, but I should resist. Pigs are smart animals. Not smart enough to unionize and keep from being slaughtered, but still very smart. Smarter than Emma Carol who tried to drink water from the tap the other day by lunging at it and biting in the general direction of the water (unsuccessfully). I told Celia that yesterday and she couldn't stop laughing. Celia is my friend who pointed out that Emma Carol has crazy eyes. She does. She always looks startled, as though the paparazzi has unexpectedly snapped her photo. I was a vegetarian while living in State College for about three years, but only because I was surrounded by non meat eaters who frequently hosted dinner parties featuring mostly couscous and fake chicken. Now, I mostly live on pasta and do not have any clue how to cook a chicken, but I also eat out occasionally and find myself ingesting animals. I must stop.

Here is Emma Carol hanging out with the Virgin Mary for Good Friday.

Started my freelance piece today about having crushes on strangers but realized quickly that I don't have that many stranger crushes. Hardly any. Maybe none. I don't know what the point of the article will be. That when you're single, you have to still exercise that crush muscle so that you don't feel so alone and hopeless? LM invited me to sit in on one of her classes to meet the teacher, a really smart engineer artist guy who makes electronic toys for his cats. He was cute, but...I don't know. I didn't like his shirt. How shallow am I? Also, he has long hair that he often puts into a ponytail and if we ever did go out on a date, I'd probably have to sit on my hands to keep from snipping it off when he wasn't looking. I am too hard on people, or, to be more specific, I am too hard on men. But usually, they deserve it.
Here is a photo of a frequent occurrence in my abode. Emma Carol catching and trying to kill this toy made of feathers and shiny things. She has about three modes: Sleeping, licking, and killing. Sometimes, she does all three at once. I realize that I am breaking a rule from my previous post and writing about cats. I do wish that I could have a dog. There's a plucky black dog with a curly tail who frequently pops into Java Jive with his owner. Today, I fed her a piece of a bagel and she let me pet her for approximately four seconds. The barrista illustrated how she will dance for a treat (the dog, not the barrista).

And yet another photo, sans Emma Carol, mostly taken to illustrate to my friend Luke that I love the cross-stitch piece he brought me the last time Liz and Luke visited. Liz thought I would hate it and Luke was convinced that I would love it. He is right. It fits in to my shabby chic decor. I do love my house. I would love it even more if the ceilings on the second floor weren't made of office panels with fluorescent lights. And I would love it if the bathroom wasn't the size of that you find on a boat. And I would also love it if I had closets. Currently, the second bedroom functions as a closet with two clothing racks (one for shirts; one for pants and skirts). Last weekend, LM and I were trying to figure out clever ways for me to create closets, short of purchasing a large cheap wardrobe from IKEA. LM suggested that I hang a curtain in front of the racks, but...Wouldn't that look kind of dumb? Or like I was about to do a magic show of some sort? What's behind Curtain #2? Ta-da! A bunch of magical thrift store skirts!
And finally, here is a photo I snapped today at the Italian Market where Padhraig was strong-arming me into buying basil and garlic to make my pasta more palatable. I took this picture because of the fashion faux pas being committed by the woman buying potatoes. Striped pants + puffy hat = What Not to Wear.
My ex-boyfriend will soon be leaving to conquer the Appalachian Trail for six months. I considered writing him a letter before he left, something like, Why We Broke Up, because, the last time I saw him, he said that he was still trying to come to terms with the demise of our relationship. But then I worried that I would feel guilty if he somehow died while out there. I couldn't live with the knowledge that my last contact with him was a criticism of his relationship skills. Still, he probably won't die and he might learn something from it and, so might I, in the writing. But I know why we broke up and I am always amazed to hear that he doesn't quite understand it. He seems happy. He has found another person to be his "activity pup" (an Amanda Bailey quote). And, he also seems to like her lots because, as he said, she is the only girl he's ever dated who accepts him for who he is. Here is where I pause and refrain from writing what I really think. I tried to accept him for who he is, but it kept meaning that I had to put my own emotional and physical safety at risk (i.e. travelling to Mexico with him wherein he decided he had to bring pot, even though I asked him, please, please, please don't, I do not want to end up in a Mexican prison. But he did it anyway. And smoked it. And drove across large expanses of deserted, unmapped roads where bandits love to hang out. I didn't die while with him, but I always felt like I was in danger and also like I was alone).
Tonight, I shall watch movies and clean and not write a scene for my play writing class tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Uncomfortable with Weird People

Padhraig and I were at Java Company the other day and this girl came in wearing bright red tight hot pants. She also had dreadlocks and a jewel glued or stapled to her forehead. She sat down next to us and began writing in her journal, a small book with a fairy on the cover. A few moments later, her friend joined her--a man wearing what can only be described as a smock with roomy pants. He also had a jewel Scotch taped to his head. They sat there together, talking about...I don't know what, but halfway through, she started doing yoga exhalations or speaking in tongues. It reminded me of being back in college with a bevy of theatre majors and how I just couldn't fit in with some of them--the more hippy-ish ones, those who could contort themselves into pretzels while talking about the Dali Lama and ingesting LSD. I was always intimidated by them. I am strange, but I could never be that strange or that certain degree of strange or maybe it's that brand of showoffishness.
I am realizing though that I do have a certain degree of spirituality or maybe it's simply superstition, that thing that makes me step over cracks while walking to the subway station, wary that any wrong move might cause my mother's back to break. For instance: what do you make of going to an important appointment and encountering a large, fresh pile of human feces on the stairs on the way to catching the Green Line? Does that not seem like an omen or at the very least, a sign that the world is a horrible place? Who is so desperate that s/he must defecate on the steps at about 7 a.m. rather than going to a Starbucks or other public restroom? And what does it mean about the rest of my day, or my future? Does that mean that my future is destined to be shit? Or is poop a good symbol in some cultures? A sign of prosperity?

In other news, I finally checked out Ian McEwan's Booker Prize award-winning novel, Amsterdam. Beautifully written and he captures his characters so well. There's this scene I just read last night where the character, Clive, has to make a choice--should he help a woman clearly in distress or finish writing the last refrains of his orchestra. He chooses the latter, for very logical reasons, but it makes you dislike him so completely that the author doesn't have to editorialize at all. You just see that Clive is, at his core, fairly despicable by this one choice he makes. On the one hand, you can understand why he wants to capture this moment of creativity. On the other hand, you must shout at him from your bed, wondering how he could pick his own needs over an individual in distress. I imagine this will play out more fully later.

Monday, March 17, 2008

London Calling:Wish I Were Referring to the Clash

It's that time again and many of you are not going to be happy about it. The new season of The Bachelor: London Calling has started with our fair Brit, Matt Grant. So far, every girl has huge tits and blond hair and a shiny, shiny tan face. Except for the three dark haired women who are all mom types. He is kissing every single one on each cheek. Omigod, this one girl just made smoochy noises when she kissed him and then almost licked his cheek. The rest look like they stuck their head out of the limo window on the way over because their hair is all over the goddamn place. Is that the way the kids are doing their hair these days?

Nice bangs.
One girl is a hot dog vendor, one worked for the Bush administration, one brought him a ball that matches her dress (as she pointed out), another asked him what country London is in, one is from Oklahoma, one just said, "Omigod, you are so cute! You are so fucking cute, I can't stand it!" (Several are from the South). Was every season this bad and I blocked it out? Julie pointed out over the phone that all of the brunettes have a Posh Spice bob and the PS fake breasts. The one black girl told him that she made her own dress, as if you couldn't tell that from the pins she forgot to take out. This will make America look even more stupid than it already does. All of the women seem like assholes. I can't stop swearing!

They are giving him a standing ovation and yipping, actually yipping as he walks into the room. I guarantee that 75% will get wasted and do something stupid and then cry when they have to leave. There is definitely a fire hazard in this home as all of the lighting is by candlelight. Some girl just said, "What IS a crumpet?" I wish he would say, "Let me take you into the jacuzzi and I'll show you my crumpet. We don't circumcise in London, ladies. It's flakey!"

The pressure mounts as he must choose the first impression rose. This girl is challenging him to arm wrestling. He's funny, he just said, "I only arm wrestle women. Pregnant women." He thinks she's really fun. I think a girl shouldn't show off her biceps on the first date. The Bush administration lady is talking about how the people in London are so much more political than stupid blonds. WHAT! This girl just bit into a can of Pabst beer to prove that she what?? Circumcise his jimmey with surgical precision? Now the mom of the house, the woman wearing a dress from the 1950s, is twirling her ass, not what a girl from the 50s would do. "I am a bit of a rock, paper, scissors person." Can't they think of something a little more interesting to say. Excuse me, the black woman is dressed like an Egyptian and has a diamond glued to her forehead. Oh, and Jewel is going to sing him the song she wrote. She brought her guitar and the way she is sitting on the chair, she is already showing her family jewels. Actual lyrics (sung like a cross between Jewel and Cher): "Pick me. Ohhh...My hands are small...I want the first impression rose because otherwise, I'm going to be homeless." Oh, Christ, they won't stop humiliating themselves. This girl is putting together her clarinet and talking about how the reed has to be wet in order to vibrate (I swear to God). She's playing "The White Cliffs of Dover!" (Not really. I wish). The rest of the sluts are gathering around to boo her.
Stacey, the girl in the blue sequin dress, is really drunk. Erin H., the event planner who thinks she's Ditta von Teese, just told the trashy girl to go get another tattoo (she has one on her back, what the girls are referring to as a "tramp stamp"). She's rubbing his leg while Ditta von Teese talks about her job as an event planner The slut just said, "I want to find a pharmaceutical that will cure something that no one else has thought of." She really said that. "You guys are really boring me. I'm not going to lie." He asked her what she knows about London and what her ideal date would be and she said, "I'd like to be near the ocean." He said, "I like the ocean too, but there isn't one near London." Then he asked her what she knows about London and she said..."Uh...the fast car?" Okay, she put her white lace thong underwear in his pocket. He's holding them up to the camera and they have a small stain on them. The hot dog vendor now has a venereal disease from touching them too.

He's now talking to Shayne (?) who asked him if he liked her dress. She's an actress whose parents were both porno stars. Noelle, the photographer, has graphic dimples on her face and ringlets. She talks like a baby. They all talk like babies. She's telling him how she likes to play board games. Brilliant. Robin, one of the Posh Spice girls, is lucky because she spent a summer in London and also went to Oxford and France. She speaks French. I think I like her. She doesn't seem totally stupid, even though she keeps showing him her cleavage, but at least her boobs are real (you can tell because they're pretty small). He's giving out the rose. He wields all the power. Robin is going to get it. He likes her because she's very down to earth and she is the ideal woman that he would have sketched if he knew--oh, shit, I'm wrong. It's Amanda. Who is she? He told her that she just shined like a diamond. She accepted the rose. She's one of the older girls and she already thinks he's the one since she's known him for fifteen minutes ("I love you and would like to go on a second date..."). She is the girl who earlier had the hiccups. Now is the part I hate the most, not because of the suspense, but b/c of the lack of suspense. The twenty minutes of drawn out rose ceremony.

Who would I nominate for the next Bachelor? I don't really know that many totally hot single guys. Wait, I don't know any. I don't even have any totally hot male single acquaintances. Well, except for Ernesto, who is currently attempting to tip over this box of animal crackers. He is hot.

Okay, here we go. The first rose goes to...Chelsea. That's the girl in the red dress. She's okay. Second rose goes to...Shayne. She's the one who is a famous actress we've never heard of. Third: Michelle P. Of course. He wants to at least know if she is a true redhead. 4th: Myshona, the Nubian princess. 5th: Ashley. Oh, good, Jewel'll be along for another episode so she can play him yet another badly sung song. 6th: Noelle: that's the one with the dimples. He seems to like brunettes. I could grow to like that in him. 7th: Erin S. She's absolutely indistinguishable from Chelsea. 8th: Amy. Who? Well, you know what they say, once in love with Amy...9th: Carrie. Really? The girl who ate a beer can? And the final rose goes to...Christine. Um...Mermaid dress. I think she's really a man. Wait, that's not the final rose. Okay, 11th: Robin. She's about to cry. She's trying to make a connection. "You had me nervous, you limey bastard!" 12th: Kelly. She looks like she's about to tell him to fuck off. She's cute. She won't last. 13th: Holly. Holly's is an adorable little peppy girl whose boobs are almost, almost, almost but not quite popping out of her dress. Okay, now it's the final flipping rose. It'll be Ditta von Teese. Yep, I was right. The girl with the beehive hair is going to kill every single one of them. You should see the look on her face Mom and the underwear girl (who has sobered up) must say their goodbyes. Bye-bye, suckers! Congrats on your thirty-five seconds of fame.

That's it for now...Stay tuned and if you don't like the running commentary, just try to skip this entry every week. Well, and it's not unlikely that I'll miss a few episodes. You really only need to see the first and the last show. The rest is called "The Hardest Decision He's Ever Faced Yet, Except for the 500 Other Hardest Previous Decisions."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How Many Licks Does it Take to Get to the Center of the City?

I have a brilliant idea: Why doesn't Philadelphia develop an above-ground system of public transportation, perhaps buses, to help its citizens travel from place to place? Wouldn't that be grand and helpful? And maybe the buses could be scheduled to run about every 15 minutes. I mean, the city isn't that big, but they could get maybe more than one bus.

Last week after the art extravaganza, Lisa Marie and I walked down 10th Street from Vine in the rain, hoping that maybe we could get the bus that supposedly runs down that way. We waited and walked. And walked to the next block and waited. And made it to South Street and waited. And then walked. And then suddenly, an hour and a half later, we were home! All on our own. No bus bothered us the entire time. The same thing happened on Friday--different street. I was meeting Kim at Market and 12th and decided I'd go down 7th and hop onto the bus whenever it arrived. Which it never did. What typically happens when a bus does actually show up is that it won't just be one--it'll be three in a row. SPACE THEM OUT! I mean, this is a very walkable city but it kind of sucks to have to walk everywhere, every time. Maybe I should buy those sneakers with the wheels and glide my way around.

Many birthday wishes this week. Julie's birthday was on Friday, and then Christi had a birthday party at her house and Padhraig's birthday is on Monday, so they should all be wished well and sung to, etc.

I have my next assignment for this freelance column. I am to write about crushes on strangers (such as coffee shop boy). The other idea I sent was the X Factor; keeping track of your exes and how it can be satisfying and/or devastating (satisfying if they're not doing well; devastating if you run across their wedding photos). She said I could write that one next. I think I'll call it the X Files...The mystery of why we need to know what's become of people we used to date and how that's even easier to do now with the Internet. In fact, one of the guys I pined for in college is now a friend on my Facebook page where I can look at photos of him and read about how he misses his girlfriend and generally observe him from far, far away in the most superficial ways. It's weird too how that energy doesn't just snuff out. I saw another ex recently (not Shawn) and it was still there; this thing and nothing will ever happen but why doesn't that attraction fade away? Can't you, like, grow out of it? I guess you just have to figure out how to renegotiate the dynamic. And not spend too, too much time reminiscing with the other person because one memory leads to another leads to another and before you know it, you're having this only slightly veiled conversation about the first time you had sex (sorry, mom. This is all hypothetical, really).

Is there any way that I can express how much I love Emma? She makes me laugh pretty much every time I see her because she is so fat and goofy and just all over the place and chirping the entire time. And she's so stumpy. If she were a person, she would be an adorable overweight girl who's only five feet tall.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Do I Hate or Do I Love This Guy?

I have a problem, I admit it. I could probably watch Law and Order for 16 hours straight; preferably SVU. This evening, I have seen both Martha Plimpton and Henry Winkler implicated in terrible murders and rapes. I started a short story a few weeks ago where the central character has a crush on the guy who plays Elliot on SVU (I mentioned this idea in an earlier post--she's an actress who can only get work in ads for antidepressants or as like the "before" person in other mood stabilizer ads). The character in the story writes letters to the actor playing Elliot and keeps getting signed headshots back from him. I haven't decided if she will actually meet him; probably not, but maybe she'll get a letter back finally, from his agent or whoever reads his mail. In real life, I too sort of kind of like the Elliot guy, even though he's sometimes a dick (or because he is?). However. I have a different relationship with the Criminal Intent show, in large part because of the big goofy guy who plays the lead detective. I feel like I've seen in him in something else, but I can't think of what. Anyway, he always questions the suspects in this kind of stumbly, purposefully dumb ass stuttery way that drives me crazy. Like, who would fall for that? At the same time, he's tall and moderately attractive and has a sense of humor (as much as anyone on any of these shows is allowed to have a sense of humor). So, I pretty much hate him, but then I also find him handsome somehow.

Clearly, once again, we have come down the the same conclusion. I must socialize. I must call people. I must make plans. I must not spend my free time in the library; which is part of what I did today. Of course, they didn't have Amsterdam and I ended up checking out about ten books--a few play collections, short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Cosmopolis by DeLillo, a new Nick Hornby novel, The Memory Keeper's Daughter (the author also graduated from FSU), and a book by a woman who went to medical school. That whole book appears to be about her experiences in the anatomy lab.

It occurred to me in reading the first few chapters tonight that I've seen more than a normal person's share of dead bodies. I don't mean like bodies at funerals. I mean that when I worked at Northwestern, I dated (?) a guy who was a first year dental student. He took me down to the anatomy lab once and showed me the bodies they were dissecting. His group was dissecting an African American man in his late sixties who had died of lung cancer. Armen opened up the chest cavity and took out each of the organs: This is the heart, these are the lungs, this is the pancreas and I pretended to be very cool about it, but I couldn't stop staring at his half closed eyes and the hair on his body. He had tattoos too, faded blue ones along the inside of his arms. I had to sit down finally because my head started to feel like it was filling with helium. While at Gift of Life, I also saw body parts, and not just in slide shows (though we did get to see those too. I went to one continuing education course called, How You Can Die in the Bathroom. It included a PowerPoint with photos from crime scenes. I can go into detail if you like. I still remember almost every single one). I had a field trip to the Muscoloskeletal Transplantation Foundation which is where they take body parts. I saw a head in a cooler, a disembodied arm, and other pieces waiting to be transmitted to medical schools around the city. I also went with a transplant coordinator once to the hospital to visit a family whose mother had been declared brain dead, which basically means she was legally dead (no blood flow to the brain = no chance of recovery. Ever). The woman was lying in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of her chest. I jumped when he foot moved. The transplant coordinator, Bryan, said it was just a reflex. Then he went to check his email on his Blackberry. I frequently say yes to things like this--yes to going to an anatomy lab, yes to visiting MTF, yes to meeting a family at an ICU, just to see what I will do, if I can handle it. And it's not like I have bad dreams about this. I never dreamt about the cases when I was at GOL, even when I heard the most horrible stories. Instead, I wrote them down, so I would remember. But even so, I don't recall a lot of them. Only like the most tragic or gruesome. I guess I will have to amend my earlier statement about potentially becoming a nurse because I don't think I could deal with the blood, death, and sputum.

Things I Don't Talk About on this Blog

Per a recent online conversation with an old friend/hook up, I started thinking about the many things I don't write about here. Like, I know it seems as though I am an open book, right, and perhaps nothing of great interest is happening in my life (this is mostly true), but since this is a public forum, you must guess that there are things I leave out for various reasons. Such as:

1. Anything to do with the Angela situation (friends will know what I mean. It's not as ominous as it sounds).

2. Anything that might upset a close friend, meaning, I don't tell other people's secrets or personal information, no matter how juicy or interesting. Go here to scratch that itch. I don't really tell my own secrets either, even though they would also be moderately intriguing/upsetting/another reason for my mother to worry about me.

3. Dreams. I don't often write about my dreams b/c there is really nothing less interesting than reading about someone else's fucked up subconscious night ramblings (unless, of course, the listener happens to be in it).

4. I do try to limit my discussions about the cats (see #3. Not really that interesting. I mean, they do cute things, but they do the same cute things every day and it's not like they're developing new skills or vocabulary. Mostly, they just crowd around and tip things over).

5. I should write more about politics, about the disgusting state of our supposed democracy. The rumblings now are that we are going to invade Iran. WTF? I get physically ill when I think about what we're doing. Sometimes, if I'm feeling really shitty about anything I might be dealing with, I have to put it into perspective. I am not being bombed in Iraq. I am not being raped by American soldiers. I am very very lucky.

6. My huge crush on Stephen Colbert. It's almost gotten out of hand. If you haven't ever seen this clip of him singing and dancing to "The King of Glory" (from Strangers with Candy), you really should.

7. Sex. I don't write about sex unless it's somewhat fictionalized, because family members frequently read my blog and I want them to think of me as pure as the driven snow, which, of course, I am. Except when...But that would betray rule #2. See? I promised to be vague.

8. The fact that I had no idea that this past Saturday was "spring forward." I went through all of Sunday without knowing about the time change until I became puzzled by the fact that the TV listings seemed to be askew. I need to get out more.

That's really it. Everything else is fair game.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Alternative Life

Have been thinking lately about what would happen if I decided to just switch my focus completely; to pursue an entirely new life and career. I could go back to school and change everything. Here are some ideas I've come up with:

1. Nurse. However, after finishing Atonement last night, I would prefer to be a nurse in London during World War I. I'd like to wear the tri-corner hats and stiff white uniforms and squeaky, sensible shoes. Drawback: blood and death. I don't think I'm squeamish about blood, but I don't know for sure. I've never faced anything more graphic than a nosebleed. Still, I like the idea of being able to fix people and am somewhat fascinated by being that close to the body in all of its weakness. I was a candy striper in high school, but the most I ever got to do was carry phlegm to the lab (totally gross).

2. Seeing-eye-dog trainer. Drawback: What if I get attached to one of the dogs? Or every single one?

3. Folk singer/guitarist. I'd start wearing patchwork skirts and growing my hair long. I'd write my own lyrics, most of which would probably concern cats. Drawback: Can't sing, plus don't really like to be too earnest.

4. Employee at Foot Locker. Can you imagine what it's like to wake up and go, I wonder if my black and white striped shirt is clean? Where's my whistle? Drawback: Not the greatest at customer service.

5. Homicide detective. Yes, yes, this is what I really want to be! And I would like my partner to be that Elliot guy from Law and Order. I believe I would be excellent at solving crimes. Alls you gotta do is assume that the most seemingly innocent person is really guilty. That's what happens in every episode of L and O. Drawback: Probably requires lots of training. As an aside, I overheard the cute coffee shop boy said something funny yesterday. They were talking about the NY mayor's prostitution scandal and he said, I can't wait until they make this into a Law and Order episode.

6. Forensic expert. Very interesting, but for drawback, see above.

7. Navy Seal. Drawback: Having to pretend that you like the government.

8. Stripper at a Crummy Neighborhood Nightclub on Columbus Avenue. Sure, why not? I have great tits and am pretty perky and friendly. It seems like easy $. Drawbacks: I am not as young as I used to be and so would probably only be able to get a Tuesday night shift. I do not have pole dancing training. It would probably make me hate men. I would likely become a speed addict.

9.Migrant farm worker. Drawback: Aside from roguing, I have no picking experience.

10. Hippie. Could start wearing tie-dye, smoking tons of dope, and wearing small spectacles. Drawback: Paycheck?

11. Staunch neo-conservative Republican Christian. Drawback: Seriously?

12. Marine biologist. Oh, yes, I would like to study the life of manatees. I would like to think that a daily perspective of the undersea world would help me to understand life on land better. I would learn to appreciate starfish. Drawback: I get sea sick and have a fear of drowning.

13. Performance artist. This would help me fulfill my desire to be noticed and enhance my creativity. Drawback: It seems kind of weird (no offense, LM).

14. Ice Sculpturist. Drawback: Ice makes my teeth hurt.

15. Roadie for the Dave Matthews Band. Drawback: I hate the Dave Matthews Band.

That's it. That's all I can come up with at this time. I could make a choice that would change my life, couldn't I? I could become an activist or a professional foster parent or a sex columnist and my life would go down an entirely different path.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The X Factor

Have been trying to come up with new topics for this freelance piece I'm doing for an online magazine. My first idea was to do something about on-line dating, like the top ten things guys do wrong in their profiles. I have only looked at them in the academic sense, research, you see, not for personal reasons. I am perfectly happy in my utter solitude. What one finds on these sites is that men on the whole seem to not understand what women are looking for. I am certain that if I took the time to investigate the female profiles, I'd see a whole host of cringe-worthy mistakes--perhaps involving photos of the a woman surrounded by 15 of her cats or old high school photos, twenty years out of date with the girl in her cheerleading/band outfit or profiles with titles like, "Is Prince Charming Out There or Does He Only Exist in My Personal Fantasies About Patrick Dempsey?" But since I am absolutely too busy to be fair in my critique, I'll just offer a few "don't's" for the guy profiles.

1. Don't include a photo with the following: you holding anything dead, including a bass you just caught, a deer head, or the corpse of a former girlfriend. Don't have a picture of you with your shirt off and chest painted in Day-Glo, holding up a can of PBR at a college football game. In fact, don't include any pictures of you not wearing a shirt. It's TMI. Ix-nay also on the photo of you leaning against your newly-waxed transam or a photo where the other person (clearly a woman) has been violently scratched out. You'd be amazed at the number of shots men post where you could be almost certain it's from their wedding day. I also don't want to see you running a race, climbing a mountain, wearing a bandanna, or white-water rafting. That's just me personally because I can't see myself joining you in any of those activities (especially the wearing of the bandanna).

2. Don't give yourself some crazy, weird user name like ghostrider53 or luv269 or hot4u or thesizeofasmallbanana or picklejarheadlover or excon911 or HarryPotterBoy or thatdude or goeagles or iheartjesus or metallica5 or looking4 jailbait.

3. Try to refrain from sounding overtly hostile (as in: Don't play games with my head. If you're looking for a baby daddy, look somewhere else. I've been burned too many times and don't want to hear from any more psycho bitches), or completely desperate (as in: I am completely content to give back massages all day and all night. I am looking for my soul mate, someone who wants to have children and live in the woods and home school them, sooner rather than later). No one wants to go on a first date that threatens the risk of bodily harm or a marriage proposal.

4. Put at least a little bit of effort into writing the profile, otherwise, it's obvious that you wrote it on an impulse, after coming home drunk from the bar at 2 a.m.

That's a short start on the list. My idea was rejected because the editor thought it needed a spin more directly to the female readership and so therefore, what not to do for men in their profile wasn't applicable. My other two ideas were to write about keeping track of your ex-es. I have about four or five men who I used to date/live with/kiss who I keep in sporadic contact with and it's sort of strange, because, on the one hand, you want to be sure they're okay, and, on the other hand, you don't want for them to be doing too well without you or like moving in with the girl they dated after you in the house that the two of you picked out and fixed up together and now he is seeming perfectly content with his new live-in despite the fact that you are clearly the better partner. My other idea was to write about crushes on unattainable guys...those who are married or engaged or skittish or utter strangers or much too young for you or all of the above and how it's easy to have these crushes on them because they allow you to sustain a pretend interest in someone you will never really have to be intimate with. They're safe as long as they continue to not notice your crush or reciprocate in any way because you don't really want them to require anything of you--that would make things complicated and too real. The whole purpose of the fake unattainable crush is to keep the disconnect between fantasy and reality so you don't have to risk anything. I am fully aware of how self-protective and tragic this is. I don't recommend harboring a fake crush, but the phenomenon does exist and it could be interesting to write about. I've had these sort of FC's morph into real world complications with teachers, mail boys, and air brush artists and trust me, they are nothing but trouble.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Spreading Awkwardness for 34 or So Years

Lisa Marie and I came up with a new term that explains the phenmenon when you're around someone who is so awkward and uncomfortable in his/her own body that they are able to spread that discomfort out into the wider world around them. An example would be as follows:

Group of people at an art opening. A seemingly very obviously gay man joins the conversation. He wears a pink shirt, bell bottom pants and speaks in a very girlish, feminine way, frequently saying things like, "Yeah, and so then I told him I'd just give him a jingle the next day..." Most people just assume he's gay and it's the art community and he's an artist and a decorator and owns small dogs and everyone is fine with it. But then, when he joins the circle of people, he announces, "Well, I'm getting married! Ding-a-ling-a-ling!" Everyone at first thinks he means to another man and so they're congratulating him, but then the guy says, "She wanted a small ceremony at the civic hall but I want us to paint the town pink, baby!" The group struggles with what to say and the awkwardness of the man and the situation seeps into every single person's arms and legs, making them feel self-conscious and embarrassed.
This is called: The Richards Effect. Formal definition: An interpersonal phenomenon wherein one uncomfortable individual manages to make the person/people around him equally or even more awkward by association.

Last night at First Friday, we managed to encounter accumulate three or so ancedotes to illustrate the power of th Richards Effect. Suffice it to say that we had to leave a few places abruptly to keep our wits about us.

Also, Padhraig and I met at a coffee shop yesterday and were trying to come up with a new word that describes something that is unattainable but also unwanted. I meant mostly as it pertains to men, but it could have a wider scope. The word I thought of was "disrelief" but that doesn't really work. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Here's a scene we're going over today in my playwriting class (warning: adult theme and language):

“The Seduction”

Scene: A generic hotel room. JoAnne is still wearing her interview clothes, but has taken off her shoes and jacket. Knock on the door. She answers.

Darren: Ta-da!

JoAnne: Really?

Darren: (hands her a plant). For you. How did it go?

JoAnne: What are you doing here?

Darren: This place is decent, right? In a David Lynch sort of way. Not terrible. Well, kind of terrible.

JoAnne: Did you drive all this way?

Darren: Don’t you like the fern?

JoAnne: No, it’s great, though I kill all plants.

Darren: I know. It’s fake.

JoAnne: Really? Very believable fakeness. Good job.

Darren: How did the interview go?

JoAnne: I think I may have a new boyfriend. Todd is his name. You’d like him. He’s an only child.

Darren: What did he do? Ask for your phone number? That’s pretty standard procedure for a job interview.

JoAnne: Let’s see…He told me I was pretty, he took my picture, he offered me a shot of whiskey, he tried to persuade me to swoon backwards into his arms. What else? He asked me if I was in love.

Darren: Well, you never know with these things. You still might get a job offer.

JoAnne: Oh, I got the job. I just don’t want it.

Darren: No?

JoAnne: I don’t think my day job should carry the risk of date rape. I have enough time focusing as it is.

Darren: Is there a funny smell in here? Like something died?

JoAnne: That’s probably me. You’re smelling the death of my girlhood dreams of becoming an A-one marketing assistant.

Darren: Come over here.

JoAnne: Why?

Darren: You’re tense. Come sit by me. (She does, reluctantly. He starts rubbing her shoulders, sniffs her neck). Mm, no, you smell good. Not like death at all. (Kisses her neck).
Let’s make love.

JoAnne: (she moves away) Oh, gross, God, you know, I hate that phrase.

Darren: Making love?

JoAnne: Ick—stop. It’s too corny. I feel like you’re going to pull out a guitar and start singing an Air Supply song and then, I don’t know, suggest we go run naked through a field of daisies.

Darren: Let’s fuck, then, how about that? Is that better? If we just fuck? We don’t even have to kiss on the mouth. I know you think that’s corny too.

JoAnne: Not true. It’s just…. It’s something about the way you approach kissing.

Darren: My approach?

JoAnne: It’s like you’re auditioning for a role or something. Like the director has told you to be sensitive and sweet and to make sure your right profile faces the audience because your nose looks smaller that way.

Darren: Gee, thanks.

JoAnne: Like you’re choosing from your repertoire of past kiss performances. Should it be a Tennessee Williams kiss, or a Neil Simon kiss, or a Kiss of the Spider Woman kiss?

Darren: Let’s talk about the way you kiss.

JoAnne: I kiss fine. I’ve won Girl Scout badges for my kissing.

Darren: You kiss impatiently.

JoAnne: That doesn’t make sense.

Darren: You kiss like it’s something you have to do just to get to the next moment and the next and the next. Kiss for two minutes and then you grab my cock and then I take off your shirt and then you unzip my jeans and then we get naked and we make love—sorry, and then we fuck.

JoAnne: Hmm.

Darren: So excuse me if I like to actually take my time and not rush into it. If I wanted cheap, meaningless, wham-bam, cum by the numbers hot and fast sex, I’d cruise the streets.

JoAnne: You would?

Darren: Sure, why not? I mean, no, I wouldn’t go to a prostitute, I’m just saying that sometimes, that’s what it feels like with you.

JoAnne: I make you feel like you’re with a hooker?

Darren: Well, yes, not a hooker, but someone who is so focused on the endpoint that…And I’m not saying I don’t enjoy it. I mean I like it that way sometimes.

JoAnne: You’re turning me on.

Darren: But it’s not like I want the same thing every time. A little variety would be nice. I’d like to be in charge sometimes too, you know? I want to be the one who throws you on the bed and tells you what to do next and how to do it and stops your hand or your mouth if you try to go too fast.

JoAnne: I’m serious. I like it when you take charge.

Darren: (flattered) Really? You want me to add some DeNiro? Talk like a street tough and push you around?

JoAnne: Okay, yes. I like it when you’re hard. (Moves forward to touch him.)

Darren: Wait, wait, hold on a second. We were having an important discussion here (She reaches for him again). Quit trying to seduce me!

JoAnne: Want to role-play? We’re in a cheap motel. I’m worried about even sitting on this bed for fear of contracting a venereal disease, but let’s take advantage of it.

Darren: Can we—can we just figure out a way to meet in the middle? Like somewhere between too slow and too fast?

JoAnne: (she climbs onto the center of the bed) Meet me in the middle of this crusty bedspread.

Darren: That’s not what I mean.

JoAnne: Okay, show me what you mean. (Reaches for his zipper.)

Darren: (stops her hand) No. Not like that.

JoAnne: Like what then?

Darren: Like this (grabs her roughly, kisses her theatrically, bending her backwards).

JoAnne: Wow. What play was that from?

Darren: Streetcar.

JoAnne: I knew it! I could tell that you were channeling Kowalski by the way your arm muscle flexed when you grabbed me.

Darren: I wish you wouldn’t always make a joke of everything.

JoAnne: I wish you wouldn’t always make an Act II, Scene I of everything.

Darren: You just said you wanted to role-play.

JoAnne: Role-play, not rehearse.

Darren: What am I doing wrong?

JoAnne: Nothing. Nothing. It’s nothing. Maybe I’m still weirded out by the interview.

Darren: You should just take the job.

JoAnne: Seriously?

Darren: I’m just saying. We—you could use the money.

JoAnne: I’ve been unemployed for exactly two weeks. Give me a tiny bit of space before I have to start turning tricks.

Darren: Or sue your old job.

JoAnne: The law firm? With what massive bank roll? And anyway, I can’t sue them. I was an “at will” employee. Sometimes, the bad guys win.

Darren: No, there are always karmic retributions.

JoAnne: I don’t believe in karma. I was raised Catholic. I believe in meaningless lessons about saints and the sanctity of the Virgin Mary. What about kids who have cancer? What’s the karmic reason for that? Or child abuse? Was the person, like, so horrible in a former life that she came back as a sick child who gets molested by her chemotherapist?

Darren: You’re confusing karma with Shirley McClaine.

JoAnne: Suddenly, I don’t feel so sexy anymore. Which is strange because kids and cancer and religion are usually a huge turn on.

Darren: What just happened here?

JoAnne: I had a bad day! I had this ridiculous interview, which, in case you didn’t know, I was kind of excited about and then the guy turns out to be a complete freak, and then I come back to this crappy Days Inn and you pop up out of nowhere with your plastic ficus—

Darren: It’s a fern! And excuse me for wanting to do something nice for you.

JoAnne: And are we very much in love? That was one of my interview questions, by the way. If I was deeply in love with my pretend fiancĂ©. Would you say that I’m the love of your life? Or even in the top ten?

Darren: This doesn’t sound like you.

JoAnne: I know, but, I mean, we’ve never said it. It’s been six months. Shouldn’t we have—

Darren: I have said it to you.

JoAnne: You have?

Darren: Yes.

JoAnne: Oh, God, I’m sorry. I must have thought you were joking. (Pause.) What did I say back?

Darren: Do you want your exact quote?

JoAnne: Maybe not.

Darren: You said, “Thanks, I think of you fondly.”

JoAnne: Why are you still with me?

Darren: I really can’t say. It’s probably my masochistic streak. Do you still only think of me fondly? Even when I have driven all this way and offered you my sexual services to distract you from your horrible, godless existence? Even when I am one of the best actors you know and you secretly possibly like it when I put on Stanley Kowalski to seduce you?

JoAnne: I like it better when you’re that guy from the King and I.

Darren: I will go shave my head right now.

JoAnne: Please don’t. Please don’t be an actor anymore today. Maybe we should break up.

Darren: Is that really what you want?

JoAnne: I don’t know what I want. I want to start over. I want to be the person I used to be who went to Catholic school and believed everything they told me and thought it would all turn out okay.

Darren: Should I whisper the Hail Mary in your ear? Would that be arousing?

JoAnne: Stop.

Darren: We are not breaking up. I forbid it. I am going to force you to realize that I am the best thing that ever happened to you. Better than Jesus.

JoAnne: But can you walk on water?

Darren: And I am going to make you stop talking now.

JoAnne: What miracle will that take?

Darren: (pulling her shirt out of her skirt) Hail Mary, full of grace—

JoAnne: Don’t be sacrilegious.

Darren: But you don’t believe in any of that, right? So it shouldn’t matter.

JoAnne: I know, but still—

Darren: The Lord is with me.

JoAnne: I don’t like you anymore.

Darren: Yes, you do. You like me against your will. You don’t want to like me because I’m nice to you and you don’t think I should be, so too bad. Deal with it.

JoAnne: I love being psychoanalyzed before sex.

Darren: (undoes a button of her blouse with each sentence) This is not sex. This is not making love. This is not fucking. This is praying.

JoAnne: I don’t pray anymore.

Darren: You pray today. And you kiss on the mouth. (He kisses her.) And you stop thinking and evaluating and you listen to me now and you do what I say.

JoAnne: I do?

Darren: Yes, you do. Blessed art thou among women. And blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (Kisses her stomach.)

JoAnne: Jesus.

Darren: A-men.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dear Coffee Shop Boy

Why so sad? Why do you never smile, even when I leave you a dollar on a tab of $1.75 so that you will like me better? Is it because you are located on 13th and Pine and seem to attract a steady cluster of homeless people who sit at the outside tables rolling their own cigarettes and then breezing in to use the bathroom in the basement? Is it because you are an artist and you know that your talents are being squandered as customers demand you to make them vanilla lattes with a shot of hazelnut? Is it because the loud, jarring music that you play enhances your anger; that the daily dose of Rage Against the Machine (meant, possibly, to keep individuals from staying at the coffee shop indefinitely) reinforces your sense of disenfranchisement and boyish angst? You're cute, with your round glasses perpetually fogged by the steamer and your dark bangs that hang over your eyes, but I don't think you care if girls find you attractive. You're probably jaded from the continual stream of waifish girls in short dresses and jeans, the ones who arrive with their new Mac laptops, plug in for hours on end, and barely give you the time of day because they are waiting for their boyfriends, all of whom are in bands and leave their hand-drawn fliers strewn on the sticky tabletops. But try to look on the positive side of things--the fact that you have access to as much caffeine as you want as well as dry cookies and day-old, flakey croissants. No one seems to be enforcing any form of customer service on you or complaining that you barely ever speak, just stare with veiled hostility at the person in front of you without saying anything, waiting for them to order their stupid drinks. I keep coming back because I like the oranges you sell for a mere fifty cents and because maybe, one of these days, you'll recognize me and say more than, Uh-huh, when I tell you thank you for giving me my drink.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Too Much Time on My Hands



I didn't see the movie, but I checked out the book from the free library last week and started it yesterday and fell deeply in love with the story right away, mostly because I identified with the young girl, Briony, she of the dramatic stories about princes and dark-haired young maidens. She's thirteen and stuck between the world of make-believe and the "real" world of adult problems and concerns. I remember being that age too and having a sense that I was about to lose something really important; the ability to get whole-heartedly caught up in a story or game. The make-believe world was great company. Lisa Marie and I went into this strange store in South Philly yesterday; a cramped shop with window decorations including many Jesus' and bunnies and also, a row of ornately dressed lady dolls. I had a sudden wish that I still could play with dolls because I used to love, love, love to do that (don't worry, I'm not regressing. I'm not going to start wearing bonnets and curling my hair into ringlets and skipping from room to room in a pinafore, tra-la-la-ing about getting ready for a tea party). It's amazing to me that the author of Atonement, Ian McEwan, has the ability to get it so right. How does he know that thirteen year old girls would think like this:

"...Briony knew her only reasonable choice then would be to run away, to live under hedges, eat berries and speak to no one, and be found by a bearded woodsman one winter's dawn, curled up at the base of a giant oak, beautiful and dead, and barefoot or perhaps wearing the ballet pumps with the pink ribbon straps..."

Well, maybe not all thirteen year old girls, but thirteen year old girls who write stories including white horses, rustling velvet dresses, and beautiful, tortured characters who eventually either find there way toward each other or are split apart and die of broken hearts and loneliness.

I read somewhere recently that the book ends with a surprise "reveal," that the person telling the story is someone surprising but my guess is that Briony is the one telling the story years later. It makes the most sense, and would be part of her "atonement" for destroying lives (I haven't yet found out what she does, but it splits the family and causes the requisite unattainable love affair between Cecilia and Robbie. Just quickly: why "Robbie?" It's such a little boy name. Why not Tristan or Caleba or some other more romantic names?). Don't tell me if I'm right or wrong about the narrator though. I suppose after I finish, I'll have to get Amsterdam too.