Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A-Five, Six, Seven, Skate!

I was home sick yesterday, which is a very nice thing to be on a Monday. Mondays are best celebrated by sleeping through every show with a salutation in the title--I'm talking full-on drooling during all of Good Morning America--and avoiding rush hour traffic, cube air, fluorescence, and even direct sunlight for as long as possible.

Of course, wading only up to your knees in Monday makes submerging yourself in an icy Tuesday all the more shocking. The line at Starbucks this morning was enough to make me want to pull the strings on my hood and play ostrich, and the seventeen thousand e-mails I waiting in my inbox didn't make things any sunnier. Even when armed with a grande Sumatra blend.

On the way out I got one of those up-and-down inspections New York women dole out like the Falun Gong zealots at the Times Square subway station hand out tracts. The woman casting a downward eye on my cowboy boots was sitting in the window and looked sort of like Trishelle from The Real World and every reality round-up show thereafter.

Look sister, I thought, I was disappointed when you weren't that reality TV slut.

Sprinkle that on your frappucino and suck it.

I spent this weekend at my parents' house, out of equal parts desire to hang out with my family and need for clean socks. Just when I begin to consider myself something of an adult, free laundry in my mom and dad's basement is the elastic that snaps me back into my adolescence like one of those rubber balls attached to a wooden paddle. From there it's only a small sidestep to gorging on my mom's chicken parm and collapsing on the couch to complain that there's nothing to do in Yorktown--undoubtedly the most popular pastime for Yorktown residents. I might as well be procrastinating on my algebra homework it's such a throwback to high school, but it's a comforting regression nonetheless. At my parents' house it's a given that I'll be home by ten at the very latest; at home in New York it's easy to consider the night a bust if I don't end it doing body shots off a tranny's rack.

"Bust." Ha.

Actually, last week the city treated me pretty well in the way of exciting stuff to do. On Wednesday Adriamnesia and I went rollerskating at the Roxy. Actual, honest to God rollerskating in all its late seventies, partner-spinning, Michael Jackson-listening, spandexy glory. I had a great time (though my sore behind might've told you otherwise the next morning). It was a classic recipe for fun, though: good company, plus an adorable boy in a plaid shirt to ogle, plus a brand new obsessive subculture to observe spells F-U-N for M-E. I had no idea that there were still places to rollerskate, nevermind an avid population of rollerskaters dedicated to cultivation of the craft. I have never seen people do in shoes the kinds of things some of these rollerskaters were pulling off on eight wobbly wheels. And, to boot, many of the super snazzy skaters looked like they'd been rolling around since the last time skating was trendy.

I rolled next to the wall for the first few laps, never more than an arms length away from something screwed to the ground. Within thirty seconds of my wheels hitting the wood an older woman in metallic leggings and a swirly skirt descended on me, handed me a lavender card, did a spin, and rolled away. Lezly, as it turned out her name was, owns a skating school. One would think if she were able to so quickly identify a beginner she would shy away from handing them reading material until they were seated, or at least a little steadier on their feet. Isn't it kind of like handing a student driver the owner's manual while they're on the freeway entrance ramp?

The potentially lethal combination of rollerskating plus alcohol could've rendered me a paraplegic, but we survived it with nary a scratch. Adrian managed to figure out all kinds of spins and squats and tricks. I totally mastered an advanced maneuver rollerskate aficionados call the Going Forward. Surprisingly, I also took home a newfound hope for finding a career.

When I was in high school and they made me take one of those career aptitude tests (An actual question: Please circle your level of interest in tying leather straps into bundles: Very Interested, Interested, Neutral, Uninterested...) I would always lament to my mother that I didn't know what I wanted to be, and how I shouldn't have to choose what I would be doing at fifty when I was only sixteen. She would always respond that I would figure it out eventually, and that maybe the thing I wanted to be wasn't even invented yet. When she was sixteen how could she have known if she wanted to be a web designer?

On my third or fourth lap around the Roxy, a man (who looked just like Carlos Mencia, but that's unrelated) skated up to me and asked me to tie the scarf I had looped around my neck. When I asked him why, he said it could slip off and get tangled in someone's skates, which I suppose is a valid concern, but doesn't mean it wouldn't be very, very funny to watch. I obliged though, and when he skated away I saw the back of his shirt read ROLLER SECURITY.

Roller Security.

On Tuesday mornings when I've got to answer seventy-three thousand e-mails about free copies of orthopaedic surgery atlases, it's good to know that there's a world of career opportunity out there that includes things I've never dreamed of. Things like Roller Security.

I'm crossing my fingers that a job in Pad Thai Quality Control opens up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Look! It's the Look Book!

Sitting in Starbucks this afternoon with my caramel frappucino light (yeah, after work and two cups of black coffee I turn into that girl) I noticed a guy walk up to the register who seemed particularly familiar. It might have been the top hat that tipped me off, or the gold loafers, or the evening coat with Michael Jackson style fake military medals attached, or the look of utter superiority, but I instantly recognized the guy ordering a brownie as the dude from last week's New York magazine Look Book.

I passed him again on the way to the subway. He'd set down his tiny silver boombox in a puddle of spilled latte outside Balthazar, the trendiest and most expensive cafe on the block. It was playing. The other people on the bench were seriously pissed.

That's the thing about New York; the freak in Starbuck's is a minor magazine celeb, and he's also saving the world from the kind of people who can afford a seven dollar cup of coffee.

You Can Thank Me Later

Look, you can download the new solo album by Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley and, yes, Troop Beverly Hills) for free!

Click it, ladies and gents.

The Month of Janubetterwatchit

It's January and I'm feeling feisty. My last several blogs have been pugilistic, to say the least, and I'm blaming it on the lamest month of the year. December has the holidays. February has the decency to be short. January just hangs on in the middle like the nasty fifth-grader on the kindergarten monkey bars, which makes me want to kick some ass.

I knew something was up yesterday when I found myself explaining to Brad, with great passion, in the middle of Crosby Street, how urgently I want to sneeze on people who hold subway bars with a napkin.

It's stainless steel. Now put your hand on it like an adult, or else I refuse to be held accountable for the fountain of bodily fluids I'm prepared to launch in your direction.

I'm not the most tolerant person in the world. Ask anyone who's ever tried to eat with me when someone at the next table is making loud chewing noises. I have a menagerie of pet peeves so varied and exotic I could charge admission. Even so, I can usually ride in an elevator without praying for the cables to break so the guy screaming into his phone will shut up. Permanently. I don't usually want to end the life of an elderly co-worker for flirting with the doorman in the morning and having the unmitigated gall to eat her sandwich too voraciously at lunch.

I'm blaming it on all this friggin' January.

I think I deserve a medal for resisting January this afternoon and bringing one of the company bigshots their coffee unlicked. It's true that my coffee was on them in exchange for retrieving the beverage, which would have been enough to make me happy if I were an unJanuaried underling. As it stands, though, I'm full up with January and there is nothing more I wanted to do than leave my cooties all over the lid. I didn't, of course. I would never. But it's that time of year when I'm a slave to my basest impulses and, apparently, many of those involve my spit ending up on other people.

Throughout the whole rest of the year I exercise a great amount of self-control in public places. I'm comparing myself to the myriad of people with whom I come in contact each day who spit on the subway, fart in the elevator, pick their noses while making coffee and do the unspeakable things that women do in the ladies restroom nearest my cube. It's just come January--when the days are short and the medical manuscripts keep rolling in and the subway is crowded because it's drippy outside and dogs are wearing nicer sweaters than I am--that I just want one day where I get to punch a stranger and hawk one giant, superhuman, January loogey right someone's hair.

Is that so much to ask.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Witness the Kathy in her Natural Habitat...

I have a best friend named Brad. He's also my roommate. We've known each other for about five years and we've been very close for nearly that whole time.

We met while I was doing my laundry. He was on a first date with a guy who was then a very good friend of mine. Virtually the only thing I remember about our first meeting is the leopard print CD case he was carrying. Though Brad and the guy broke up (twiceish) we remained friends and found out we were pretty compatible, as people go. My social circle has rearranged itself countless times since we first met, but Brad has remained the constant through a whole lot of good times and quite a bit of bullshit. Whether I was laughing my butt off or sniffling in a corner, Brad has been there with a nacho cheese chalupa, a ninety-seven cent jug of Tampico, and his undivided attention.

Because we've ended up in a lot of the same locations and occupations, a few people in my past who don't know me very well (in particular, people who have met me because they were involved or wanted to be involved with Brad) have revealed they don't think I am my own person. This handful of people have said they see me as an extension of Brad at best and, at worst, as desperate and malleable.

I don't like these people.

I dislike these people a la Joan Crawford and the wire hangers.

It is in the spirit of educating this select group of people about my merits as an individual that I have put together a handy field guide to Brad/Kathy identification. Hopefully those who believe I don't posses my own character will print this out and keep it in their wallets for reference, lest they get an assful of my foot the next time they say something stupid.

Kathy's Guide to Brad/Kathy Differentiation

- When in doubt, search for a penis. Brad has one. I don't. He won't mind if you make a grab for the boys if it's all in the name of a proper identification.

- Brad is clean. I am messy. Brad has files. I have, on occasion, misplaced my bedroom floor.

- Brad is outgoing. I am not. If you are ever confused as to which of us is Brad and which of us is Kathy, drop us in a bar filled with strangers. I will pretend there is a reason I need to spend a really long time in the bathroom and then I will leave. There's a good chance Brad will come home at three in the morning with new phone numbers.

- I am a big, big nerd. Brad is very smart, but also cool. If you have any problem discerning nerdiness by our exteriors alone, check our bags. Brad's will be filled with CDs and flyers for the party he runs. Mine will have at least three books. And a journal. With a list of books I want to read in the front. The ones I've succeeded in reading will be crossed off. The journal will also contain lots of feelings. Brad is cooler than that.

- Brad is a very good musician whom you can hear on the radio. Though I have a passion for karaoke, my most successful musical endeavor to date was Another Combo Creation, the album my experimental two-year fourth and fifth grade class recorded. I had a one-line solo on "Heal the World."

- Say you've been hanging out with us for, like, hours, and you still can't figure out which is which, and it's far too late in the evening to ask us our names. Take us to a Wendy's drive-thru. Brad will ask for no tomatoes on his Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger without fail. I, on the other hand, enjoy the occasional tomato. Now you know who's who. Embarrassment averted!

- Brad's the one who likes A Diva's Christmas Carol.

- I just wanted everyone to know that Brad likes A Diva's Christmas Carol.

- Yeah, that one with Vanessa Williams.

- But I'm the one who genuinely likes that Lita Ford song "Kiss Me Deadly." This doesn't only differentiate me from Brad; it probably distinguishes me from all of humankind.

-Brad wants to be a party promoter and a musician. I want to be a fiction editor and possibly, secretly, a writer. Though we currently work in the same place, the only thing in common between what we're working toward is that we both want to get the hell up out of medical publishing. Geriatric gynecology is a subject that neither of us ever wants to give much thought to again, but I think that's a nearly universal desire.

-I'm the one with titties.

-Ditto for glasses.

-Brad will say it to your face. I will cry about it in my (messy, see above) room.

-And then put it on my blog.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I Like, Solemnly Swear, or Whatever

Paris: Whatever I write in an e-mail, it doesn't mean anything. It is just words I write.
Attorney: So you use multiple exclamation points after normal sentences?


A woman named Zeta Graff (heiress to a diamond fortune, aspiring actress, and ex-girlfriend of Paris Hilton's ex-fiancee) is suing Paris Hilton for defamation. She claims that Paris intentionally planted a false item about her on Page Six of the New York Post that was picked up by a large number of tabloids and, she claims, has hurt her career by ruining her reputation.

Attorney: Okay. And what did you specifically say as far as you can recall?
Paris: I said something just along--I said just to her that I wanted her to stop saying things about Paris and I to the media and to stop using my name for fame and that she is old and should stay home with her child instead of being at night clubs with young people. And just that -- I just...What else did I say? Just that she is not cute at all.


Page Six of the New York Post today posted the entirety of Paris Hilton's two hundred plus page deposition. I read about a hundred and fifty pages of it this morning. This sounds excessive, but you don't understand until you've read it yourself.

Attorney: This Elton John party, was that a pre or post Oscar party?
Paris: Yes.


Paris: Not stalking. I would never say stalking. I'm not like a dude. Like, I think a girl can only stalk a guy. She can't really stalk another girl.

This is disgusting, but did anyone else go to a crappy public primary school? Did kids where you live get nosebleeds as frequently as my fellow first graders at Mohansic Elementary? Was your custodial staff similarly understaffed or under-observant, and it wasn't a rare site to see a trail of small blood drops on the linoleum beginning at, say, the gym and ending at the nurse's office?

This is what it's like reading one hundred and fifty pages of Paris Hilton's slander deposition. It's gross, and probably actually hazardous to my health, but I just have to follow the awful yet completely fascinating trail.

Attorney: So you are tapped somewhere on the back, and you said it was a hard tap?
Paris: It was pretty hard because usually I won't turn around because everyone always does that to me and it is usually someone annoying...


Attorney: Let me--maybe I can help you. Were there--Were they UK publications?
Paris: No. Like Us Weekly or In Touch. And there is stuff in London.
Paris's Attorney: London is a UK publication.
Paris: Right. UK. Whatever
.

If someone had asked me to write a short courtroom drama, like an episode of Law & Order or something, based on how I think Paris Hilton might respond to legal questioning, I still could not have dreamed dialogue as flabbergasting as what actually came out of her mouth. She demonstrates several instances of extreme difficulty with the language, manifested in turn as an inability to spell or talk:

Attorney: When you say "we," do you recall who you were with at that event?
Paris: Paris, me, Kim Stewart, and Terry.
Attorney: The same Terry that you had mentioned earlier?
Paris: Yes.
Attorney: You just don't know his last name?
Paris: It is like a weird Greek name. Like Douglas or -- I have no idea how to say it.


Attorney: I haven't read this declaration, but I did see that this Mr. Fred Khalilian was identified in the written response you had provided earlier in the case, I think it was, to have some knowledge as to the article or the incident.
Paris: I didn't even know he had gave a thingy.


Paris also gives valuable insight into the lives of the upper, upper class. Most days I'm still pretty excited that I can go to work and come home to an apartment that, yes, may be smallish and smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn, but it's mine and paid for by me. (My half, anyway.) But as it turns out, there are worlds of wealth I cannot fathom.

Attorney: Is there one particular maid who is like a close family friend to the Latsis family?
Paris: Kula.
Attorney: Kula, correct. And she lived with Paris Latsis and, I believe, yourself in Los Angeles?
Paris: No. She lived at the Beverly Hills Hotel.


Worlds where maids reside at the Beverly Hills Hotel. That's a real world. I didn't make that world up.

Attorney: Okay. Did Paris Latsis ever communicate to you a fear that he had of her?
Paris: Yeah.
Attorney: A physical--
Paris: He said that she threatened to send Mexican people to come and beat the shit out of him.


It is also a world in which there is, apparently, no greater threat than that of an angry south-of-the-border mob. I can be reasonably assured that world and my world, where even the Korean noodle flavors are in Spanish, shall never meet.

Paris's world not only comes with the privilege of wealth, but that of legal leeway I have never in my life witnessed. Take, for example, this testimony on a conversation she had with her sister:

Attorney: ...and what do you recall saying specifically to her about what had happened?
Paris: I was just, "Oh, my God, I saw Zeta last night." And she was like, "Who?" And I'm like, "That old lady." Whatever, da-da-da-da-da. And she was like "Oh, what happened?" And I'm like, "Nothing. I just called her ugly and old and told her she was desperate and that she was trying to be famous." I just told her that part.


Imagine, if you will, if Paris were on Judge Judy. Da-da-da-da-da does not a large settlement win and, moreover, would have Judy barking like a chihuahua in two seconds flat. Or better, imagine her as a poor defendant with a court appointed lawyer. I doubt they'd have the skills to floor the opposing attorney with such astounding bouts of legal brilliance as this:

Attorney: Let me just take a step back because I didn't ask about what Val Kilmer had said about Zeta, if anything. Did he speak negatively towards her? You might have said something.
Paris's Attorney: She reported that he said she was a crazy bitch.


The other two hundred pages included Paris's assertion that Zeta was trying to work voodoo on her, as well as her claim that the Page Six publicity machine had nothing to do with her notoriety and instead that she "made it on her own." She also answers a question about her publicist, the one who allegedly planted the false story in the Post, by saying "I'm so hungry."

I may not respect Paris Hilton, or like her very much, or want to see her one crazy eye and backwards pose on television ever, ever again, but I can't deny that the life she leads is so outside the realm of my personal possibilities it's utterly fascinating to me. I was excited to go to traffic court with Brad to argue a ticket for an expired registration sticker. Paris, on the other hand, has such an exciting life that being deposed by two high-powered Hollywood attorneys about slander and gossip and other deliciously salacious rumors that, by three-quarters of the way through her testimony, she can hardly stay awake:

Paris: (yawns)
Attorney: We have to do this every day.
Paris: I'd kill myself.


That's hot.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Go Go Gadget SpeedFreak!

I've had a lot of coffee today.

First a really diligent waiter at the Vandam Diner kept my coffee cup full all through lunch, and then an incredibly nice Starbucks barista gave me a grande house blend for free, and before all that I had a Diet Pepsi chock full of caffeine, and now I can't even blink my eyes or focus on one window or get anything done that requires more than one nanosecond of my attention, or stop compulsively checking my e-mail, or have a complete thought that isn't interrupted by increasingly peripheral and weird things like, for example, wondering who gets the most mail on this floor, or if I could accurately test the efficiency of the interoffice mail system by sending myself something, which probably wouldn't work because the mail guy would just read it and pop it in my box and it wouldn't even leave the floor, and "pop it in my box" sounds grosser than I intended it to, but see what I mean, it's impossible to focus on any one thing, especially when the thought most frequently looping through my head is that my heart, which is beating much faster than normal, might, in all actuality, stop.

I'm not one to exaggerate the effects of caffeine. I grew up on regular Coke and Pixie Stix. I have a pretty high tolerance when it comes to the coffee jitters, and still I have managed to ingest such a large amount I am afraid I my bags will be searched for suspicious powders if there are cops at my subway station.

I can't wait for the spectacular freefall from the caffeine high that's awaiting me sometime this evening. Undoubtedly it will come while I'm at Paparazzi, like every other cool motherfucker in this city. Come and find out whether I'm still unable to stop talking or asleep in a corner.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

You Better Work

If this morning were a metaphor that involves old school high top Reeboks, I would be the hooked velcro strap, my bed would be the looped velcro fastener, and the prospect of going to work would be the adhesive magic happens between the two.

My favorite boss recently left my company. She found a job closer to her home that's more interesting and probably pays much better than das kurrent employer. I'm glad. Ish. Actually, I'm considering sending a letter to her new bosses saying she made off with sixteen boxes of manilla folders and all of the nearly nude pediatric orthopaedic photos if it means they'll can her and she has to come back. In a job that is two parts tedium cut with one part rage and topped with a dollop of whipped gross, having a good boss was a stroke of luck I underappreciated.

My boss resigned at roughly the same time as another senior person in the department. Their combined departure left a pretty big vacancy in the ruling class. Before the empty seats even had time to cool the remaining managers were descending on the newly autonomous serfdom, planting flags in virgin cubicles and empty offices, claiming sovereignty over abandoned projects and assistants and leaving jettisoned file cabinets smack in the middle of the poor, entry-level village.

If I'm going to be dramatic about it. Which I am.

I'm not the only one. I got an e-mail that actually announced the arrival of "a new sheriff in town." It may have been punctuated with an e-mail smiley, the universal corporate tension deflation tool. But, as far as I'm concerned, that's just further proof that the sender meant what was written.

There's a new sheriff in town.

No more shootouts at the copier. No more whiskey-fueled brawls over who took the last Splenda packet and left everyone else with Equal. They're moving the poorly tuned piano out of my cubicle as we speak. Ditto with the swinging saloon doors.

In the year and four months I've worked in my current position I've never actually entertained the idea that I will be promoted. This is a healthy outlook, because I will never be promoted. My new boss only learned my name after I'd been working for him for eleven months. This is not the kind of person who, when faced with a departmental opening, will think on my many accomplishments and promote me to the that fabled level where it's rumored I won't have to punch out, spend precisely sixty minutes with my burrito, and punch back in for lunch.

It's only recently that people have even dropped phrases like "career path" in conversations with the assistant caste. I think they've avoided it in the past mostly because it's laughable, but also because they secretly know that no one will stay in medical publishing if they think they're actually going to stay in medical publishing. Their best tactic to keep anyone around at the lower levels is to hush up, pick up the lunch tab, and pray for Stockholm Syndrome. This is the kind of career that happens by accident or necessity; rare is the kindergartener asked to draw a picture of her dream occupation who sketches a cubicle filled with instant coffee and volumes of The Basal Ganglia V.

The reason I'm still compulsively cruising employment ads is just that; when I doodle in my cube (which I do more often than a seventh grader in algebra class) I'm never drawing little hearts around my favorite parts of the musculoskeletal system.

I'm hopeful that something great will come along before the new sheriff lays down the law. If this place truly had anything in common with the Old West, I'd suspect I might be the surly prostitute unwilling to stop drinking and mumbling under her breath at everyone in the street. No new sheriff is going to make me give up the things I truly love.

Like being disagreeable. And mumbling.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

You Learn Something New Every Day.

So, I'm writing lots of back cover copy today. There's a very limited amount of language that's applicable to the backs of medical (specifically radiology) texts, so I've had to use Thesaurus.com quite a bit to keep from saying the same exact things on every book.

According to this particular resource, an acceptable synonym for "information" is "hot poop."

This is how the world would be different if this were true:

Can I please have your contact hot poop?
Dial "Hot Poop" for directory assistance.
I work in Hot Poop technology.
Freedom of Hot Poop Act.

The Hot Poop Superhighway!

Monday, January 16, 2006

MLK? A-Ok!

I'm writing from my parent's house, where I am thinking about eating cheesecake for breakfast.

This, I think, is what Dr. King intended.

An urgent laundry situation and the desire to feel like I'd gone someplace beyond 14th street on my long weekend brought Brad and me up to Yorktown last night. We somehow managed to fit in all that Yorktown nightlife has to offer; eating dinner at my parents house, driving five towns over to see the only watchable movie in two zipcodes, and then doing a dinner reprise at the crazy diner. In lieu of real entertainment, sometimes a Mediterranean Grilled Fajita Wrap (with Potato Wedges, Pickle and Puddle of Cole Slaw) can serve as a high-calorie distraction from "THE MALL IS CLOSED!" anxiety.

So now it's the morning of my day off. Since I am now relegated to the couch when I stay here, I was awake at eight this morning because that was when my family got going at full volume. Now that they're all gone to take my brother back to U-Conn, minus my youngest brother who is still asleep, I feel a little bit like I'm faking sick in middle school. Daytime TV, uncontested access to everything in the fridge, and staying on the couch in my pajamas.

I too had a dream, and it looked a lot like this.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Possible Careers for JT Leroy (If He Exists) Now That Literary Recluse Is Kind Of Out

Very shy administrative assistant
Very shy Wal-Mart greeter
Haberdasher
Very shy "sandwich artist"
Meanest man in the whole damn town
Truckstop prostitute
ProActiv spokesperson

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Paparazzi!


Here it is, Brad and Conrad's brand new Thursday night party. I can't promise that the incredibly fabulous five-year-old in the picture will be there, but in a court of law I could easily swear to at least one tranny, a really cute smut star, and two of the best DJs/photographers I've ever done laundry with.

PAPARAZZI
Presented by Brad Walsh and Conrad Ventur
With Sophia Lamar, Richie Rennt and special guests.
Thursdays at Don Hill's (Spring & Greenwich)
Pre-launch TONIGHT
Bigass launch January 19, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

No Joke Wednesday

Most of the time I'm operating at about a doggy paddle in the lake of self-esteem. I aspire to backfloat, or better yet beach myself on one of those big rafts, but generally if I keep my head above water it's been a good day. Living in New York and working in SoHo hands me many an opportunity to choke on a mouthful of lake water and plummet to the slimy bottom--not to mention opportunities rehearse the art of melodrama, apparently. But, the point is if I stay at a solid doggy paddle I'm okay enough to keep from drinking the volume of my head in rum and Diet Cokes, going to sleep under my loft bed, and later throwing up all morning into an empty H&M bag.

In the right moods and at the right times of year, even smallest things can get me going on a spiral of feeling lousy. I think that's a universal, though. I'm far from the only person who feels small on long December nights or sad on short summer ones. Lately, for me at least, it's been particularly difficult to just keep my head above the surface. That's why coming across a vicious passage about myself on the internet today was twice as sinking as it might have been otherwise.

Without getting too far into a story that didn't seem very important at the time, a very gracious friend of mine recently had to remove his companion from my apartment. He was very drunk, being very loud, and saying extraordinarily creepy things to some of the other people at my house. When my friend realized his companion was making people uncomfortable, he decided it was time to leave. I let the two of them out. I wished both Sober and Drunk the best on the way home. I gave them magazines to read on the subway.

I felt I was pretty decent to the guy.

The next day that I received an apology e-mail from the Sober on behalf of Drunky's behavior. At the time I wasn't the least bit upset with either of them. I was relieved Sober steered Drunk toward the door when he did, but overall I was glad they came. The only thing I regretted was that Drunk's behavior (specifically his excessive drinking) had caused a rift between the friends on their walk to the subway.

It wasn't until today that I remembered Drunk keeps a blog. I found it shortly after I met him. I scrolled back a few days and found his account of the evening's events.

I thought about not reposting exactly what it was he said about me. The more I thought about it though, the more I began to wonder why taking the high road is equated to total vagueness. If someone takes a really stinging swipe at me, I don't see how it's more mature to simply allude to the situation rather than discuss its specifics. It's not like the actual words he used aren't scrolling through my head like a stock ticker anyway.

"But what of my dismal party-goers," he asks. "That's ok, I forgive them, I am like Jesus Christ in my newfound drunken stupor. Besides, the fat ugly bitch at that party knows what I'm going through, she's got the same problem with food that I got with drink."

That's the kind of thing I'm not equipped to handle when I'm at work on a rainy Wednesday, when the shitty new boss is moving into my favorite old boss's office, when it's January, when there are no windows, when Craigslist Missed Connections still aren't about me, when my hair looks bad, when I'm wearing a jacket that makes me feel like I look like a man, when I'm twenty-three and terminally single and lonely about that, when I forgot my eyeliner, when I can't feel accepted and safe anymore around platonic acquaintances.

I know what I look like. I'm not fishing for compliments; it's just that it's pointless to harbor any illusions that I'm one of those movie-makeovers waiting to happen, where you take off my glasses and hey! Supermodel. It's not the easiest job even doing everyday stuff while constantly repressing a tidal wave of self-consciousness. Knowing that there are people around who hate the same things about me I have trouble with, and who, when even slightly provoked, are willing to bare their claws and take aim at my soft spots is one of the most upsetting things I can think of. It's one thing to come to terms with the idea that I'm not what many heterosexual men find attractive and that I pay the price for that discrepancy by being perpetually dateless. It's another to realize that even friendly acquaintances are judging me on those same criteria.

I wanted to bring this back around to the fact that he was drunk, and the idea I started with that keeping my head above metaphorical water is what keeps me from literally drowning my sorrows. I had this idea that by the time I got to the end maybe I would see that he himself is insecure, that maybe he drinks to mask that, and that maybe we're the same.

We're not. He's a fucking asshole. He really hurt my motherfucking feelings. I hope he chokes on an olive. With a toothpick still in it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I Wanna Take You To a Gay Bar! Gay Bar!

Last night I went with Kai (or, Jolene, as she prefers to be called when signing guestbooks, making reservations, or giving her name to anyone who doesn't already know it) to get pizza, drink coffee, and watch drag queen/Rosemary's baby Amnesia Sparkles perform at XES. Kai had never seen a drag show before, but this was an excellent introduction that covered all of the required drag bases: frumpy to slutty costume change; Cher; a "Seasons of Love" singalong; penis jokes; boob adjustment; "Toxic." Amnesia, if I must say, which I do, even if it's a bad pun, and one that required thirteen dependent clauses, sparkled.

While we were sitting at the bar watching videos and waiting for the show to start, Kai asked if it's weird to spend virtually all of my evenings out in gay establishments. "I mean, there's like no opportunity to meet a guy, ever," she pointed out. "Which must be kind of sad."

Yes, Jolene. Here is the salt. Here, also, is a lemon. Twist the knife first.

The way I see things, I'm chubby, I have big hair, and I am viscerally drawn to loud accessories. I am, also, judgmental and quippy. On a genetic level, I was born to be that girl at the gay bar. It's a fact that you can't reduce gay men to cultural stereotypes; personally, I know far more who defy them than conform to them. But let's not pretend you can't spot a girl who spends her weekends in gay clubs from, like, sixteen glittery miles away.

You can pick us out pretty early. Who went to see Rent instead of going to the prom? Check. You are going leave college knowing more about how to properly duct tape down a penis than how to do anything else with it.

Not that straight clubs are actually even fun. My (albeit limited) experience with them has been that I feel inadequate, guys hit on my friends by flashing their stomach tattoos, I get rip-roaring drunk in about thirteen seconds, slur inappropriate things to strangers, and occasionally punch my companions right in the face when they won't stop talking about their lame ex-girlfriends.

Alright, I'm lying. That last part was totally fun. The rest of it I could do without. Going to a straight club when you're chubby, have big hair, and are viscerally drawn to loud accessories is less like going out and more like being a Special Olympian. You're not winning any real medals, but it's good you got to dress up and get out there on the field.

Hugs!

At a gay club, though, I'm a spectator. Despite all the sports metaphor about having to be in the game to win, when the chances are nil that any "baskets" will be "sunk" by going to a straight bar, I'd rather go someplace where the music is good, the people are fun, and everybody knows your name.

Which is often Biological Girl, or Are you a lesbian?

Close enough.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Someone Light A Bush

I spent this morning googling the shit out of a list contributors to a book about knee surgery. It's apparently very important that they all get a letter informing them that their work, work we already own as per the contract that every sorry motherfucker who writes even a word for one of our books must sign, will be reprinted. As dictated by the instructions handed down from the next rung of the editorial food chain, we must give them the opportunity to take their name off of their chapters. You know, just in case their five hundred words on the patella once caused them great shame and disgraced their family.

"DO NOT PUBLISH THAT RUBBISH WITH MY NAME," the urgent, telegram responses will say as they pour in. "MY CHILDREN MUST BE ABLE TO HOLD THEIR HEADS HIGH STOP KNEES BELONG UNDER THE TABLE STOP WILL TAKE LEGAL ACTION IF MY NAME IS NOT REMOVED STOP SERIOUSLY STOP."

I took a page from the Brad Walsh Book of Luck this morning and bought a Jones Soda. Each bottle has a fortune under the cap and his recently proved spot-on. I got "start a journal." I mean, awesome. Actually, it's a kind of eerie in that I do have a delayed Christmas present on its way that is a blank book. But, O Swami of Jones, O Oracle of Root Beer, I started a new journal last week. First time since college. Way to be on the ball.

I gave it another shot after lunch. "You shall attain great wisdom with passing years." Thanks. Thank you very, very much for telling me what, bar Alzheimer's, is the natural progression of the human psyche. I'll embroider that one on a pillow. If I can remember where I live.

I'm rarely jealous of those living in biblical times, but I would accept lice, plagues, half my life expectancy, and social status as a baby-squirter and manna-maker if I got to have one of those voice-from-the-heavens interventions. An old school pssst, Kathy, I'm just saying...do this, because this is going to happen. I mean, no pressure, but I'm, like...GOD. I wish we had a contract with God, or fate, or whatever that guaranteed burning some incense or hacking up a chicken on the proper days meant we would know where our lives were headed.

Because, frankly, I've decided my life needs to take a sharp left turn off of the Philosophically Blogging While At Work highway. I don't want to spend eight hours a day inviting people to take their names off their work. Especially when I want to have something great to put my name on.

(That doesn't have to do with knee replacement.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sometimes I Can't Suppress the Horror

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Some More JUNK

I've got a new thing up on JUNK about one Mr. Joey Comeau, web comic writer, novelist, Canadian. You should read it. Then you should buy his book.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Eight! Seven! Six! Fa-fa-fafa-fa-five!

I've been limping around like Tiny Tim for four days as a direct result of two things: Starbucks and Mariah Carey.

During the transit strike I tripped on the way into Starbucks to get a peppermint mocha which, admittedly, is what I get for giving in to froufy coffee beverages. While walking home it became apparent that I'd done some damage to myself, but after a few days I felt pretty normal.

Enter Mimi. The other night at an Oberlin reunion/housewarming party in Park Slope I was dancing in the living room to that remix of "We Belong Together" with such fervor that I aggravated the old mocha knee. She hit the high note, something popped, and my ass was on the floor.

"My knee goes a different way!" I pointed out, once or thirty times on the walk back to the subway.

You know how Barbie has those legs that you can snap into, like, three different angles? My leg is stuck in the snap between fully straight and completely bent. Which is actually a blessing, because I'm beginning to believe that the best way to ring in the new year is injured. The rest of the year can only get better from counting down to midnight on the couch with your leg propped up. There really is no further downhill to slip than drinking Red Bull at 12:02, January 1, 2006 in order to stay awake to apply frozen spinach to your extremities and watch the Law and Order marathon.

I'm not a huge fan of New Year's Eve anyway. I like Thanksgiving just fine and I'm very pro-Christmas. I've sort of made my peace with Valentine's day--at the very least, I don't have any easily thwartable expectations that February 14th is going to blow my mind. New Year's, though, tends to be an exercise in disappointment. Where Valentine's Day gives you twenty-four hours to find someone, lament someone, get all up on someone, or chop someone to bits and ingest the pieces because you just love so much, New Year's gives you ten seconds to find a person to apply your kisser to. Ten seconds!

When I was a kid, we used to have to play this game in Girl Scouts called Fruit Basket Upset. I can't remember the particulars, but it involved being divided into different fruit groups, running around until the troop leader yelled out a fruit name, and then scrambling to get all of your fellow bananas or kiwi or whatever into some kind of large fruit hug. Something even zanier! and more exciting! happened when they yelled fruit basket upset, but I can't remember what.

Anyway, the feeling I got during the ten seconds you were given to locate, gather, and embrace your fellow apples is exactly the same as the churning in my stomach when I think of the New Year's Eve countdown.

Ten! OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD I NEED A BOY OH GOD OH GOD
Nine! OH SHIT OH FUCK OH SHIT SHIT SHIT
Eight! I'M GOING TO DIE ALONE IN A HOUSE FULL OF CERAMIC RABBITS
Seven! WHERE ARE ALL THE OTHER GODDAMN BOYSENBERRIES?

And so on until midnight, at which point people make out for three or four desperate seconds, and then stumble, hangover-bound, into the New Year. I'm all for drinking, making out, confetti, yelling, and dropping massive amounts of Swarovski crystal, but all at once it's too much pressure. Until I find my pomegranate counterpart and have a sure thing midnight make-out partner, I think I'm better off on the couch with a bag of ice and Ryan Seacrest's possibly computer-generated head on TV (come on, has anyone actually seen him in person?), making vague resolutions that 2006 will, by any measurable standard, be better than 2005.

I'll accept fewer natural disasters, more burritos, greater hair volume, fewer H&M returns, longer periods during which I resist picking off my nail polish, shorter waits for the late night D train.

What I'm aiming for, though, is way, way more making out. Christian Mingle hasn't yet yielded any prospects. Is there a "Messed Up Legs Due To Mariah Carey" Bistro?
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