Thursday, July 31, 2008

Awesome Levels of Awesomeness

It is so hot. It is so hot I want to punctuate that sentence with that annoying bloggy way of putting periods after every word because that's how I'd say it out loud if it wasn't too fucking hot and disgusting to take four breaths in such rapid succession. It is so humid my sheets last night felt like I'd pulled them out of the dryer too early, but since I haven't washed them in a repulsively long time I know that not to be the case. It is so hot my glasses fog not only entering air-conditioned buildings, but just walking around. It is so muggy my hair stays in a sweaty mess of curly ponytail when I remove the elastic. In short: I look awesome right now, so quick, let me run into someone from high school.

Cool, thanks Union Square foot traffic!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Waisted: Total Losers

Kathy joined Weight Watchers. Shut up. Because it apparently breaks some weight loss commandment to display even a scintilla of cynicism at meetings, Waisted is where she bitches about eating, not eating, oversharing weight watchers, and probably you.

The thing I like best about my neighborhood is the coffee place, so of course it lost its lease and it's about to close. I went for an obituary of an iced coffee last night and realized that orphanhood is becoming kind of a leitmotif for my stupid life. I've been orphaned by the Tea Lounge and a few weeks ago I was orphaned by Ricardo, my whirling gay dervish Weight Watchers meeting leader.

He moved on to the greener and presumably thinner pastures of cosmetology school and I've missed my usual meeting ever since. Add constant travelling for the past month to the loss of my favorite giggly Brazilian weight loss oracle and the most enthusiasm I've been able to muster for the program is dropping in at lunchtime just to get weighed in. I split immediately after stepping off the scale. Somehow this arrangement still leaves me open to haranguing by a chipper WW employee who insisted on giving me a nametag as I walked out the door "just in case I need it sometime." Just in case. Just in case I really want to associate my name, the tit it's affixed to, and the Weight Watchers brand outside the AA-like secrecy of a meeting.

The thing I loved best about Ricardo was that he made me forget about all the reasons I don't want to lose weight. I read Bust magazine at an impressionable age. I helped circulate a petition to force my high school's administration to let girls wear pants to our graduation ceremony. I cut my own hair. I have never worn foundation in my life. For years I had a pin on the military surplus bag I used as a purse that read "Fuck your Fascist Beauty Standards." The idea that I am now dropping pounds and paying to do it sets off an internal sellout alarm that is difficult to silence, but Ricardo could at least turn the volume down. "Dis is nah abow dieting," he would say, "dis is abow lerneen to eat like a person who doesn't hah to theenk abow wha dey eat. Iss about peace of mine." Or even better: "Joo know how we talk abow portion contro for food? Sometie you got people in your life you gotta portion control. Sometie you gotta say hey, I luh you, but wha else do we have in common besigh pancakes?"

I was able to make my Wednesday meeting this week. Hal, a substitute meeting leader I can only describe as the Bill Frist of Weight Watchers, discussed the following (offered by a blonde girl in flared pants near her goal weight) as an inspirational quote to chew on:

Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.

Hand to god, that is an actual Margaret Cho punchline I am now being asked to use as a mantra. It's perverse. My life is perverse, and my inner fat riot grrrl is lighting fire to my inner bras and kicking my inner Weight Watcher in the teeth with a pair of steel-toe Doc Martens. Number one, everything tastes as good as being thin feels, because thin isn't a taste. It also isn't a feeling, it's a social perception. Futher, how about guacamole? Can we discuss fettucini with pesto sauce here for a second? How about a motherfucking brownie covered in hot fudge and topped with mint chocolate chip ice cream? Being thin doesn't taste like anything, you stupid twats, and food tastes really motherfucking good.

Number two, the dumb asshole who offered the phrase mentioned that she had just gone on vacation at the beach and repeated that sentence to herself every time she passed this candy store that sold salt water taffy and candy apples and and homemade fudge. "I'd think that to myself and eat ten baby carrots and I'd get through it," she said, all proud of herself.

Fucker, I ATE that brownie I described up there last night for dinner, because that is the point of this whole thing. If I had to give up eating candy apples, I would never ever in a billion years have stuck to this program. Day one, meeting one, pamphelet one, the Weight Watchers people tell you that you don't have to avoid food like that. You just need to learn how to eat to accomodate it, and if you don't get that, I'm amazed you can button your own flares without assistance. (Or, really, the intervention of friends who shouldn't let friends wear flares, but that's your shit, not mine.)

Number three, FUCK YOU. Way to take something I was just starting to feel decent about and make me feel like the world's biggest bag of shit. It wasn't just the girl or the phrase that pissed me off. It was the whole meeting. Most of Ricardo's regulars were gone, including the weirdos I used to make fun of. The Quip Rehearser was there but she didn't say a single thing--not one practiced anecdote, not a solitary dumb pun. I didn't know that I'd unwittingly found the anarchist rebel Weight Watchrrrs group, but that's what it was when Ricardo ran it and now all I've got is a bunch of women losing weight for their weddings who don't see the value of eating salt water taffy next to real salt water. Ricardo's people were all a little nuts, and they said "fuck" if necessary, and Ricardo, unlike Hal, never asked you how much weight you'd lost before you were permitted to say your piece.

I've lost my coffee shop and I've lost Ricardo, but the other thing I've lost is 49 pounds since January. Tied directly to that, I've lost the stores I used to shop in (though it was liberating to bid Fat Topic adieu), and most of my old favorite clothes, and a concept of what I actually look like, and, most unnervingly, an identity based on how much I weigh. I've been the fat girl since seventh grade, so what am I if not that? Taking the "fat" part out of "fat girl" leaves me just as unmoored as if I'd taken out the "girl" part. I've still got a lot to lose, and, on the flip side, I've still got a lot to lose. Know what I mean?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We Three Things of Orient Are

If someone were to tie off my arm and inject espresso straight into my veins, I'm not sure the effect would rival how antsy I feel at this particular moment in time. It's completely without cause, too. Tuesday is nothing but a normal day (possibly the normalest of days?) and, yeah, there's fun to be had tonight, but no reason to think it'll be different than any other Tuesday at my two Tuesday spots. I can't say that I don't relish the idea that I'm getting clairvoyant vibrations about some surprising and wonderful turn of events yet to unfold, but chances are I'm just fucking antsy.

Here are three paragraphs that are completely unrelated.

1. Estelle Getty, my favorite Golden Girl, died this morning. I'm sure that there are going to be campy gay tributes galore, but I didn't love the Golden Girls ironically. Actually, I don't really love them currently. I used to watch the show with my grandmother whenever she came to babysit, which was rare. She was a difficult lady in general, but watching Golden Girls and drinking Coke floats with her in the living room when my parents were at the firehouse dinner dance are among my favorite memories of a lady who once critiqued my overbite in the middle of a community theater performance of "Nunsense."

2. I fell asleep sideways with my head hanging off my bed watching "Girls' School Screamers" last night, so in addition to having the world's most voluminous head of hair, I had strange dreams that featured slashers and ghosts and, you guessed it, screaming girls.

3. I can't stop listening to Lil' Wayne. I don't understand what it is with me and him, but I feel like there's something there. I've google image searched him several times in the past few days before I even realized what I was doing. I've gone to his Myspace page but stopped short of requesting friendship, because I know it's not really him. I started out hustlin', ended up ballin'. Not true, but you know, someday. Maybe.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís

I think I'm probably a terrible house guest. I'm not the type to rifle through your medicine cabinet or drink your last beer; I'm just inordinately fond of sitting around with you and not doing much of anything. You can ask me seven hundred times what sights I want to see, but mostly I'm happy just to be hanging out so long as the topographic landscape of the couch under my caboose is exotically different than the Ikea model on which I regularly camp out. The thing is, I work in an office. My life is spent in pursuit of the elusive balance of Windows applications that will project efficiency but guarantee a maximum of bullshitting is accomplished during the eight hours I am contractually bound to my cubicle. When I can pursue leisure with all the proper tools of the trade (a credit card, a plane ticket, vacation days, whiskey, a friend in a far away city, and the constant awareness that I will never see any of these people again), I do so like I'm panning for gold in a stream, looking for pure, shiny moments of unadulterated time off.

After the world's longest Friday night, I arrived in Santa Fe looking like a homeless lady, smelling like an airplane, filled with complimentary pretzels, wired on complimentary coffee, and confused about the relationship of the people I'd sat next to for an entire flight across the country. Were they mother and son or husband and wife? Why did the one speak only English and the other only Spanish? Was the man developmentally disabled or just an asshole? What were they carrying in the overhead compartment that was wrapped in newspaper and leaking? Why do I always get the awesomest seat on the plane?

Anyway, I was there to visit my friend Brian, who I have seen for approximately 24 hours in the past two years. I like that I'm writing like 1. he doesn't read this and 2. anyone else does, but the conceit works for me and I'm just gonna run with it. He'd warned me that Santa Fe was weird and that everything closed early and even that I might not be able to breathe because of the altitude, but the pictures he sent looked pretty and I had never been further west than Oklahoma and I rarely get to see him so I went. And also, the desert. Like the polar ice caps, or sorority houses, or the entire state of California, the desert is this thing that existed only as a myth in my mind.

My friends and fellow nonbelievers, I present this photo as proof that the desert does, indeed, exist. I even saw lizards and cacti and shit. Brian says he's seen tumbleweeds, but since I didn't see any I'm going to go ahead and call him a liar.

Not that I'm qualified to make broad generalizations about a city after spending four days there, but I'm about to do just that. Santa Fe is this strange blended cocktail of New Age spirituality, rich old people, tourists, weird hippie/yuppie hybrids, "artists" who have cultivated their eccentricity, and then everyone who's not white selling them shit on blankets like it isn't the world's biggest hustle. It's really, really weird. Like, okay, I bought the paper at coffee place? But like, a serious coffee place. A coffee as religion kind of a place, like, where they make designs in the foam on your latte. The guy who sold it to me suggested that the sections of the Times that I don't read could make a "killer paper mache project." And also, as a kicker, everything is made out of adobe so you kind of feel like you're walking around the Epcot center version of the Southwest, because even, like, the bank and the McDonald's are aggressively picturesque.

Because Brian rules, he managed to come up with a ton of shit that was right up my alley. Namely: a staircase that has been featured on "Unsolved Mysteries," the world's fattest prairie dogs, and an absolutely insane warehouse of a store called the Black Hole that sells 50 years of decomissioned military equipment from the Los Alamos labs.

Apparently some nuns prayed for a staircase and some guy came and built this with no nails and left before they could pay him. It was Jesus. Obvi.

The sveltest of the fatass prairie dogs. I will upload the photo of the John Goodman of the rodent world later.

Seriously, this place was the coolest. The dude who worked there behind the counter gave us patches that say "Let there be nuclear light" and "In bombs we trust." It's going on my bag immediately.

Brian and his girlfriend Rani also took me up to Bandelier, where you can poke around in cave dwellings and, if you're me, look like a total New York douchebag for wearing dress flats and skinny jeans while you do so. Aside from being awesome, Rani earned the distinction of taking one of approximately seven photos of me that I will show anyone, and do so herewith:

So, see, I saw sights. This doesn't change the fact that my favorite parts of visiting Brian, like my favorite parts of visiting any of my friends, involved driving around and listening to music (how Lil Wayne has become a recurrent theme in the soundtrack of my life I'm not sure, but I like it), drinking, good bad movies, fast food, and sitting around on the couch.

On the way home on the plane, seated next to yet another weirdo with a mushroom haircut because, apparently, it's 1994, I started to hatch this half-baked and kind of hippie theory that there are probably as many ways to be friends as there are people you will ever know. I blame the vauge southwestern New Agey mindset for it never gestating to the the point where there was a point, but think about it: there are the friends you've always known, the friends you used to know that you don't anymore, the friends you see nearly every day, the friends who duck into and out of your life. Friends who get stuff without you saying anything. Friends of necessity: the coworkers and the neighbors and the bartenders and the coffeeshop people and the friends of friends. The friends you can be quiet with. Those awkward friends you used to like or used to hate. Friends for hanging out in garages, or for singing in the car, or for talking about boys, or for watching DVD marathons, or for getting in fights, or for not wearing pants.

See, that's when I fell asleep and woke up as we were finally decending into JFK, and so it's just a list and not even that great of a paragraph. But whatever, put it together however you like. I'm pretending I'm still on vacation.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Euro for my Thoughts

I've had one of those weeks where every time I look at the clock it's 11:11, or 12:34, or some other time when you're supposed to hold your breath and make a wish, which I do, and it's always: Let my life work out. I think I'm probably just glancing at the time more frequently because I've been getting more texts than usual, but all this wishing makes everything feel very significant. Or maybe, like, dire. I don't know. Shit has been weird.

I spent most of last week in Germany on business and, while walking along a river on a cobblestone street late at night in a strange town in the mountains, I had to stop and think, "Well. Look where I am." Because really, what was I doing there? How do you wake up one day in your house and eat remnants of hummus on a pita you have decided is not moldy even though it's really kind of a crapshoot, and then wake up the next in Europe in a hotel room filled with fancy towels, with a pocketful of strange currency and the ability to eat at a real restaurant and get a beer instead of deciding between them? I'm 25, I own two pairs of pants, I still get nervous during take-offs, I forget to pack conditioner and walk around with hair that just screams I like Ratt. Who would send me to Europe? It seems like a big mistake.

But that's the whole thing. It's not just the random Europe trip, it's everything; it's seventeen weird situations I'm not sure what to do about, because they're cribbed from a different movie plot. I feel like I've wound up in someone else's shoes. Someone far cooler and more successful and definitely hotter, and I've risen to these strange, serendipitious opportunities by being trashy and belligerent and weirded out and, on one particular (non-work-related) night, DRUNK. I'm totally okay with my slightly weird girl niche, but when you send the weird girl to Grownup-Effing-Business-World or, worse yet, Some-Dude-Is-Weirdly-Into-It-Right-Off-the-Bat-ville, things get kinda fucked. At least in my head.
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