Friday, December 30, 2005

Jesus Loves You, A Lot

Brad and I were sitting around my parents' house a few months ago, up in my room, watching TV and checking e-mail the necessary six hundred and fifty times an hour. I had received a junk mail invitation to join Christian which, they promised, was the answer to all of my pious days yet lonely nights. I decided I was going to find Brad a man. I must've had a momentary embolism because I used my actual e-mail address to create my "Lolita666" profile.

While it is true that Lolita666 is registered for a Christian Mingle profile, she has no information listed. Not her age, not a photo, no location, no interests, not even her denomination. This does not stop me from getting approximately seven hundred and fifty thousand e-mails every single day from Christian Minglers who want to know me.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Nothing Much

When you're driving, do you ever think to refer to yourself as a motorist?

There are so many classy words we never get the chance to use.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Catholicissor Sister

There's this church song the choir director of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic parish whips out every Christmas. It goes in between "We are Marching in the Light of God" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain" in the teen choir medley of Songs That Might Be Cool When Sung By A Gospel Choir, But Just Make Us Sound Chlorox-White. It's one of those songs that repeats the same thing over and over, changing one word in each verse to keep you from falling asleep mid-praise. "He came down that we may have love...He came down that we may have love...He came down that we may have love...hallelujah forever more."

So the sopranos at the 7:30 mass last night had to have been preoccupied with sugarplum visions, because the whole section thought they were on the "...that we may have love" verse when the rest of the choir was on the "...that we may have peace" verse.

Turns out, He came down that we may have lice.

I go to church on Christmas to keep my mother company. What was once a non-negotiable weekly outing is now, through the freedom of legal adulthood and a general antipathy toward gross clerical misconduct, a once yearly trip to hear the choir. I was a dutiful choirgirl from third grade through my senior year of high school, so I like to see who's inherited the Christmas Gloria, my personal solo.

I mean, that's the reason I give my mother for going to church with her on Christmas. The real reason is that I have an unquenchable desire to see who among my high school classmates is losing their hair, who appears to have landed a lucrative job, and who grew out of their awkward stage into full blown swanery. (Observed: one kid with a tragically receding hairline, one kid with a nice suit, zero lookers, and one uncategorizable wiener who's grown a ponytail and, according to the church bulletin, got married on Friday.)

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His bitches on earth!

Even though there isn't one thing I agree with that goes on in the Catholic church, from the "Hey, we're hip!" bongos to the unflattering robes to, y'know, the outright bigotry, it's the one thing left to do on Christmas that feels at all Christmasy. Without family to visit or red-suited trespassers to believe in Christmas feels like any other day, albeit a day that includes shrubbery in the living room. I miss the days when my brothers and I were so excited about the presents under the tree we organized midnight meetings via walkie-talkie and crawled on our stomachs, like cadets under barbed wire, past my father snoring on the couch. Going to church is, at least, dependably enraging, dependably frankincensy, and dependably boring, with dependably hard seats. I've spent every other Christmas Eve of my life crammed elbow to elbow with once a year Catholics dolled up in the finery of the marginally saved. Why stop now? Especially when tomorrow morning we'll all sleep until ten, open a couple gifts, and then head back to sleep. Plus, I'm not going to see Ryan-from-11th-grade-English-whom-I-still-love-to-this-day sitting on my ass in my pajamas.

Gloria in excelsis hottie!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Oregon Trail of Tears

I know I bring up the computer game Oregon Trail more frequently than someone without at 5.5 floppy drive should, but it shaped my entire childhood. I got a little choked up playing the game on the computers at school and passing the gravestones of former third-graders who had long since moved on--corporeally to Crompond Elementary via graduation and electronically to the Great Beyond via cholera.

I learned more than just American history while marching my tiny pixellated family across the country. I learned how to budget my money. I learned how not to shoot more buffalo than I can carry back to my wagon. I learned that caulking the wagon and fording the river is never, ever a good idea. Just pay the six dollars and take the goddamn ferry.

It was the Oregon Trail pioneer spirit that carried me the two miles to the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, the other two miles across the Manhattan Bridge, and the remaining 1.8 miles to work this morning, on foot, in the freezing cold, because the Transit Workers Union is on strike. I threw on my warmest hat (with earflaps and everything) and long johns and Brad and I hoofed it from Sunset Park to Soho in two hours. If this was Oregon Trail, I thought, I would've had to walk this far before breakfast.

And I'm not even on meager rations. I used to make my children walk so much further than that on meager rations.

Halfway across the bridge, though, I remembered the other lesson learned from Oregon Trail. You don't start your goddamn journey in the winter. If you do, your babies die and you have to bury them in makeshift graves by the side of the road.

It is December 21. I should not be walking 5.8 miles in the winter. I should be sitting by the fire in motherfucking Oregon, eating some pie, or salt pork, or whatever it was they ate. My children should be playing keep away with a balloon made from a pig bladder in our expansive front yard--a horrifying Laura Ingalls Wilder scene I can't erase from my memory no matter how hard I try. Someone had to put their mouth on that thing to blow it up. It used to be full of pig urine.

This metaphor has gotten out of hand.

The point is that because of the TWU strike Brad and I had to walk what is usually a 40 minute subway ride. It was very cold. The mayor uses the Brooklyn Bridge for his daily transit strike photo op, so the kids on that over there get a Red Cross station on the Manhattan side distributing hot chocolate and cookies. We suckers taking the Manhattan Bridge get bubkes.

New Yorkers secretly live for shit like this. It gives everyone an excuse to be late, upset, and a victim, and at the same time allows us to yell into news cameras about how resilient we are as a people, cuz eh, ya know, iss da greatest ciddy inna world. The news has been mining bridge foot traffic for the chipperest commuters, and I actually bought the stories of friendships formed while hiking en masse to midtown. In reality, everyone was cold, everyone's noses were running like faucets, and I saw two dead birds.

I may caulk Brad and attempt to ford the river on the way home instead.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Stir Crazy

I'm watching Fox News right now, which goes against every fiber of my being, but they hands down won the Most Exciting Transit Strike Graphic contest. In the lower right corner of the screen there's a TRANSIT STRIKE COUNTDOWN clock that's actually ticking off the seconds until midnight like it's New Year's and we're all going to make out and get drunk in one hour, four minutes, and fifteen (fourteen, thirteen) seconds.

At midnight, I win an undetermined sentence in Brooklyn. Big money!

I don't know if this is even a blip on the radar outside my five boroughs, but the entire New York City transit system is pretty much guaranteed to grind to a halt at midnight. I'm actually really into union politics; I remember my dad going to union meetings my entire life, and their deliberations always guaranteed he would be home to late for dinner. There's something turn of the century, Norma-Rae-fabulous about unions. I mean, I just heard this from the TWU leader: "We're not afraid of any rats in the subway...and we're not afraid of any rats above the subway either!"

Can I get an amen? And a giant, inflatable rodent?

Stuff like that is almost worth the horrendous inconvenience of not being able to leave this borough unless Brad and I pick up at least two hitchikers in his car. No bridge is allowed to let people across to Manhattan with fewer than four people in their vehicle, which is making me feel more than a little like Rapunzel in the tower. Castles are great and all, and so is Brooklyn until you're locked in.

chris the little brother : it's a full on strike now?
kathy : no
chris the little brother: ...
kathy : but the news has nothing else to do
kathy : besides count down
kathy : to the
kathy : GET DOWN!
chris the little brother : oh man, i gotta see this
kathy : fox five is pretty great
kathy : they have an ACTUAL TICKING CLOCK
kathy : oh they did
kathy : until they broke back into seinfeld
chris the little brother : aww
kathy : they'll come back
kathy : and rosanna scotto will blink her big vacant eyes
kathy : and countdown to the TRANSIT STRIKE!

chris the little brother : i hope they bring the clock back
chris the little brother : ahaha
kathy : blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah TRANSIT STRIKE!
kathy : (that's the macarena)
chris the little brother : i haven't heard that in years
chris the little brother : well, before they played it in the store for no reason

chris the little brother : you're giving fox ideas, they own like half the internet
chris the little brother : watch, that'll be on the news next

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm...Dreaming...Of a Racially Pure...Christmas

I seriously love the holiday season--always have, always will. With all the hoopla about "taking the Christ out of Christmas" it's been harder to enjoy the things I love about it, which are, actually, its most heathen elements. I love wrapping paper, I love sucking candy canes into shivs, I love stuffing, and I love $1.29 multicolored lights from Target; any holiday that can combine these effectively while also giving me an excuse to swipe my new American Express card until it melts in my hands is so the most wonderful time of the year.

Jesus schmesus. Bring on the claymation.

The other day Brad and I had lunch at a diner down the street from where we work. The place was kind of decorated for the holidays; I think there was some garland and a menorah illuminating the ubiquitous CPR poster in its miraculous glow. The most important thing, though, was that the radio dial was firmly planted on whichever local station it is that plays nothing but Christmas music from Thanksgiving until New Year's. Oh, and the Adam Sandler Hanukkah song like once a week. Which totally evens things out.

Anyway, I was about incisor deep in my chicken salad club when I heard the first tinny, AM strains of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. "This song makes me so sad," I exclaimed to Brad. When he failed to see the absolutely devastating message of the song, I was forced to expound.

"It's the little! Have yourself a merry little Christmas! Little!"

The song is obviously about dirt poor twenty-something trying to make it on her own in the big city because her parents have died and she has no family and she sings this song while decorating her scrawny Christmas tree with tinsel and paper ornaments and a star she made out of aluminum foil and cardboard and paste, not Elmer's Glue, but paste, a word no one even uses anymore, and a word only applicable now because the song obviously takes place in, like, 1951, and the girl is a secretary, and she left her office Christmas party early because she doesn't know anyone and would rather watch the snow through her window and pine for the days when she would spend the holidays in the embrace of her loving, wonderful, living kin.

"FROM NOW ON OUR TROUBLES WILL BE FAR AWAY! Because they're here all the time! We're just going to pretend they're not until they come tomorrow and evict us! In the meantime let's eat ONE BEAN AND ONE PIECE OF BREAD LIKE THAT MICKEY MOUSE CARTOON!"

Brad pointed out that, since he never noticed the elaborate and heartwrenching story, there is a minute chance that I could be, possibly, maybe just a little, out of my mind.

"It's in the third verse," I assured him.

Thinking about it now, it's amazing I like Christmas as much as I do. Because I was a somewhat dramatic child (my mother once caught me mournfully singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" out my window after she sent me to my room for an hour for punching my brother), I couldn't conceive of a holiday so full of togetherness without inventing an undercurrent of lonesome longing to complement it. I get presents and go to my grandparents' house and get along with my brothers long enough to plot militia-style infiltration of the living room present pile before dawn? Then I'll Be Home For Christmas is obviously sung by a dying World War II soldier whose legs have just been blown to cranberry sauce. "I'll be home for Christmas...if only in my dreams."


I'd like to think that with a little age I managed to gain the upper hand on my melodramatic side. On the way home from work that night it occurred to me that Silent Night is so talking about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Then I decided to add "even one iota of maturity" to the top of my Christmas list.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Play It Again

It's all about the links today. Here's me with a bizarre look on my face in Time Out New York. The girl the quote about the bomb scare is me.

Cringe, motherfuckers.

Oh the Times, They Are A-Changin'

Who scooped the New York Times? What's that? Little old JUNK Magazine? Oh, that's right. JUNK.

The Times can SUCK IT.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Harajewku Girl?

Written for JUNK, recycled for here:

When Brad and I accepted an invitation to see Princess Superstar perform at Crobar, I did not expect to find myself in the recently blessed DJ booth, next to an electric menorah, surrounded by enormous inflatable dreidels, under a screen reading "JEWCY," watching goy/mixmaster extraordinaire Conrad Ventur bravely blaze virgin musical territory by mashing up selections from God Is a Moog: The Electronic Prayers of Gershon Kingsley with any song able to even slightly dilute the pious yet completely bizarre combination of scripture and experimental synthesizer.

I learned a lot at Crobar. I learned, for example, that Jewcy is more than just a pun; it is in fact a Jewish webzine where one can purchase "Shalom Motherfucker" attire. Defying every nightlife experience of the last two months of my life, I learned that there is a breed of New Yorker immune to the new Madonna single—so unmoved, in fact, that they actually sat down on the dance floor when Conrad played it. I also learned that Jews seriously don't like Christmas and no less than four Vaudeville-style musical numbers can accurately express the depth of this sentiment.

The event was a benefit as well as a Chanukah party. Had I known this, I might have expected the weird variety of performers in the lineup. Without a schedule of acts to give me any clue who might be taking the stage, the spaces between numbers felt like the turning of some giant sweepstakes drum filled with the name of every comedian and musician belonging to the chosen people. Crank, crank, the next act is...Rachel Dratch reading a poem! Crank, next up...uh, how about Triumph the Insult Comic Dog?

Except, you know, for real.

Rap trio Northern State and Princess Superstar brought the funk to the somewhat funk-resistant crowd. Comedian Todd Barry (you could tell he was a comedian because he was wearing the legally required stand-up uniform of an untucked button-down and jeans) denounced Polish food, the neighborhood of Chelsea, and the entire borough of Brooklyn in less than five minutes. Jackie Hoffman sang a fuck you to every group who’s asked her to perform at a benefit, but more importantly (for me) put a name other than “you know, that one…” to her face.

Bookending the evening was certified space cadet Perry Farrell. He began the show by spinning Roy Orbison and ended it singing "Jane Says." "How does it feel to be a modern Jew," he asked during his DJ set. "Kinda classy...kinda special," he answered himself.

I was raised Catholic and therefore have very little idea how it feels to be a modern Jew, but I am inclined to agree that there is something kinda special about Judaism. Catholics rarely rent entire Manhattan nightclubs to celebrate their faith. Even if they did, I highly doubt their party would culminate with Perry Farrell's crotch inches from a girl's face. I can only guess that she was imagining herself as the Jewliet to his Romeo when she actually licked her lips and groped away.

Catholic parties have Kool-Aid and sugar cookies. Jewish parties facilitate the pawing of lead singers' genitals. If that is not "kinda special," I will never understand anything about religion.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cigar? Cigarette? 'Zine?

A still from Monday night:

I'm standing in the middle of a crowd at the Nokia theater in Times Square holding an armful of magazines in front of my shirt lest I blind passersby. I was told "disco fabulous." I obliged with sequins. Amanda Lepore bounces past, looking more wonderful in lingerie than most people could in a ballgown. I offer free copies of the magazine to millers and loiterers. They have already checked their coats so most pass up the offer. My stack of magazines stays hefty. The magazine is called "Useless."

This is the moment when I resolve that I will, from Monday night unto eternity, try to avoid situations in which I serve as my own bitchy caption.

Speeding up the tape and letting it play, Monday night was one of those things I was lucky to be invited to and had a good time at in spite of my semi-hourly tendency to feel awkwardly out of place. A friend of Brad's and marginally mine was asked to open for Goldfrapp's only US date, as well as corral some general B/C/D-listitude into the lobby pre-show. I got a free ticket in exchange for wearing something disco fabulous and handing out magazines with a not-just-cute-but-leave-a-puddle-cute guy. (It is a heavy cross I bear.)

But, so, I'd be walking around, knee-deep in schmooze, walking, walking, and start thinking about how my new boots were a little bit uncomfortable because they're a tiny bit small and not broken in yet, and then I'd be thinking about how I ordered them from a Delia*s catalog, a catalog whose name includes a star, a catalog aimed at girls shopping for outfits that will totally kill at a canteen not a pre-show party for a musical act they really like, and then I'd be looking at everyone else's either perfectly vintage or even more perfectly new boots and coveting on a biblical level, and then bam, that's it, I'm thirteen and in the cafeteria of Mildred E. Strang Middle School at our once a month dance, listening to the Real McCoy and appearing actually, physically, literally green with envy over a ying-yang tie-dye belly shirt.

And who wants to be stuck on neo-hippie, Woodstock II when all of Heatherette is pursing their lips on the other side of the room? Not this girl, that's who. So I snapped out of it.

My theory is that even if the evening was full of carousel-style highs and lows, at least I was on the ride, eh?

(That's from the Kathy Cacace Line of Unused Sports Pep Talk Metaphors.)

The actual Goldfrapp show was good. Titty dancers? Check. Titty dancers wearing giant silver horse heads? Double check. Superhomos spoken to by security for dancing too enthusiastically in front of me? Check, check. Asscracks of aforementioned superhomos observed? Check. My love for them? Considerable. "Bwaap bwaap bwaaap bwaaap bwaaap...." bass lines? A lot, but that's why we love Goldfrapp.

On the walk to the subway after the whole thing was over we passed the giant King Kong parked in the middle of Times Square as a promotion for the upcoming movie. Kong looked like he has seen better days. Even aside from the Wrigley's wrappers in his fur he seemed kind of forlorn. They couldn't have made him a little fiercer? It's his big night out (in midtown!) and he looked like would rather miss the whole thing to stay home with a pint of Chunky Munky and the Lifetime Movie Network.

Even when your moral comes from a huge stuffed gorilla in need of a mood stabilizer, it's still good.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Winken, Blinken and Thud

I sleep on a loft bed. This IKEA "design solution" seemed like a genius idea when I bought it, and it kind of is. My room is a little bit small for my absolutely unforgivable amount of possessions, so the loft bed allowed me to increase my under-the-bed space by, like, six thousand percent. I've got a chair and a nighttable under there, and an ottoman, and a lamp, and currently a pile of clean clothes I don't even want to think about putting away.

The flip side is, of course, that I'm six feet off the ground when I'm in bed. I was not the kind of child who did things like climb trees or build clubhouses. I was, conversely, the kind of child who spent hours arranging those cylindrical beads on those little pegboards and then ironing them so they melted together to form, y'know, melted beads in the shape of the pegboard. I didn't do a lot of scrambling or venturing to the top of things. It is therefore pretty predictable that, as an adult, the very last thing I want to do when I get up in the morning (or, even worse, if I have to pee in the middle of the night) is roll around like a manatee until I'm lined up with my ladder and then climb, rung by cold rung, to the ground.

Waking up should not incorporate elements from military fitness courses. Taking the D train with the chewers and nose-blowers is trial enough for the pre-noon hours.

So, anyway, the point is I sleep in a loft bed. 22 previous years of sleeping three feet from the floor have convinced me that I have a lot more leg room than I actually do, leg room I never realized I utilized so violently until it was reduced. I do a lot of urgent, dramatic blanket adjusting when I'm going to sleep. This involves sweeping leg movements. So, I do a lot of kicking the ceiling. Hard.

I don't feel too bad about this, because the people who live upstairs have kids who run back and forth. All. Day. Long. I don't know what precipitates that ping-ponging, but I imagine something along the lines of someone waving candy at one end of the apartment and someone else holding a puppy in the other. Maybe the kids are in training for a very short and repetitive marathon. I don't presume to understand what my upstairs neighbors are up to. All I know is that my every waking moment is filled with the pitter-pat of little feet. Which I want to chippity-chop off.

Since the layout of every apartment in my building is the same, Brad recently pointed out that the room above mine is most likely the kids' bedroom. This means that all of my nighttime kicking registers right below their sleepy little heads.

I remember waking in the middle of the night, mid-dream and sweaty, convinced that the thing chasing me in my nightmare was still, somehow, in close physical proximity. Every creak came from a thousand-year old joint of a ravenous monster concealed just feet away from my exposed toes. I love, love the idea that I am the terrifying thud that came from nowhere in the dark hours after bedtime.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am the monster under the bed.
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