Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Great Paul Hunt

I’m using Halloween as an excuse to talk ad nauseum about my tenure as an adolescent witch, although, in all honesty, it’s kind of my favorite thing to talk about and I do it all year long. But, you know, fuck you. It’s festive.

Anyway, so, rewind to when I was maybe fourteen years old and a grunge suburban witch practicing her craft in her friend’s living room—it’s imperative you picture the Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt, the floor-length black skirt and the pastel baby barrettes to get the full effect. Kai, my legitimately psychic friend, was reading my tarot cards on the coffee table, as per usual for a Friday night. Why leave the house and talk to actual boys when, instead, you could have your friend do several complex Celtic cross spreads about when you’ll finally talk to some boys?

Since we had a lot of time on our hands (basically from 4:30 when I showed up after school until, you know, I left for college) we were in the middle of an extraordinarily long and in-depth tarot card reading about my entire lives. She was in the midst of telling me what I would be doing in my twenties, information that has long since been forgotten, when she mentioned this one thing that came back to me really vividly just recently. When she mentioned a boy, you know, like The Boy For Me, with implied vocal capitalization and everything, she said, very nonchalantly, “His name’s gonna be Paul.”

“Paul?” I said.

“Definitely,” she said.

Like I said, I’d forgotten this until maybe a month or two ago, and Kai still can’t remember it happening even after I told her about it coming back to me. I didn’t really think much about it until Jes, a friend from long after my teen witch days, had this kind of insane dream involving me, and her, and a scary dog, and several guest stars from my stupid life. We were all at a rooftop party in the middle of a blizzard, though none of us seemed to mind the cold. I got a phone call.

“Paul’s here!” Dream Me said, all excited, to Dream Jes. “He’s downstairs, I gotta go!”

Dream Jes knew that we had just started hanging out, but that we really liked each other. Real Jes also has a history of semi-prophetic dreams about my life, so when she told me that Dream Me was hanging out with Still Fictitious Paul, I was kind of excited.

Thus began the Great Paul Hunt of 2008.

I can recall knowing only two Pauls in my entire life, and I’m not sure if I ever had an entire conversation with either one of them. One rode my bus in elementary school, and the only thing I can remember about him was that he lived somewhere on Colonial Street. The other was in a writing workshop I absolutely hated in college, and our one interaction was me watching him accidentally spit a green Skittle (possibly an M&M, but I’m pretty sure it was a Skittle) across the room. No one else noticed but me and then we couldn’t stop laughing about it, silently, so as not to interrupt the painstaking dissection of student fiction. He was definitely cute, but I’m not willing to bank on him being The Paul given our one smidge of history that is, actually, kind of creepy I remember at all five years out.

I’ve asked around. I've even checked MySpace friends of friends of friends, and no one seems to know any Pauls. My friend Brian has volunteered his friend Paul to be The Paul, and so far I dig the only thing I know about him, which is that he is an “amazing badass Aztec/Native American.” But Brian lives in Santa Fe and I’m not sure if I’m willing to long distance my star-crossed Paulationship.

Anyway, so, I figured I’d put it out there. Paul? I know we don't, like, know each other very well, especially considering that I might have made you up and, even if you are real, you are a stranger. But seriously. You should call me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spell Me Something Good

So last Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday—before a staggeringly large percentage of my friends ended up in the hospital--was an awesomely good weekend. Kai came down from Westchester and kick-started a weekend that included a pitcher of margaritas, and bands, and an unforgivably middle-school-caliber crush, and lots of driving around listening to epic nineties jams, and, best of all, the reason for Kai’s visit in the first place: drunken witchcraft.

I knew things were going to get all Craft-style nuts when, in the middle of our salads at Yaffa, she conjured from her backpack a red silk box filled to the top with stuff she’d purchased on family vacations to Salem when we were in middle school. We were never allowed to use any of it because our parents expressly forbade us from so much as lighting a candle in their houses, so it was entirely out of the question to burn sacks filled with all kinds of magical herb blends that, now, look suspiciously like potpourri and glitter.

While we were going through the crystals and little bags and thirty-one flavors of incense, our waitress came over to refill the water.

“Is that…wicca stuff…?” she asked.

She had artfully highlighted hair and impeccable eyeliner, so I wasn’t sure whether she was making fun of us or not. I kind of laughed and was like, yeah, uh, this is all stuff we found from when we were in middle school…and really liked The Craft

“Oh my god!” the waitress said, putting down her pitcher. “When I was thirteen, me and my cousin though we were witches and we did this spell? To control the weather? And then we opened the windows and it was SO WINDY!”

See, witches receive signs from the universe in many, many forms, including extra-hip waitresses on St. Mark’s. We left her tip under a sizeable chunk of quartz, with a note that read “By the power of three times three…here’s a random crystal!” Because, also, witches know that whatever energy you put out comes back to you threefold, so we figured we better start sending out the love, stat, before we got too drunk to remember not to hate on everything we saw.

Witches also have the ability to transmogrify large chunks of their disposable income into Pabst, which, in turn, imparts the particularly devilish power to make pitchers of strawberry margaritas disappear instantaneously.

When we woke up the next morning, the basement of my house looked like Mellificent had been hit by an eighteen wheeler. There were incense ashes and crystals everywhere, and the Ouija board was out but cast aside because, as I vaguely remembered yelling, “these spirits spell so fucking slow!”. Next to that was a piece of paper on which I’d scrawled something very important the tarot cards had told me. This paper was surrounded by an assortment of herbs seasoning the tiles like the Colonel’s secret recipe. Not one to let the daylight and sobriety get us down, we burned some stuff on my Weber grill (probably not how they did it in Salem, but I’m hoping the spirits or whatever won’t mind my wishes smelling slightly of Boca burger) and made spells to carry around and, I don’t know, enchant my cubicle and the F train and, mostly, the bottom of my purse where the pink satin bag fulla love spell is currently hanging out.

It’s always a love spell. It’s always been love spells, since we were 12 and started hanging out in the “New Age/Spirituality” section of Barnes & Noble. Whereas Kai bought herbs to commune with nature (Me, last weekend: WHY DID YOU BUY THIS? Kai, last weekend: Seriously, I have no idea…), I bought pink candle after pink candle that sat totally unlit under my firefighter father’s roof and meditated in front of them on the no doubt copious charms of whichever pimply retard was receiving the brunt of my hormonal devotion at the time. I don’t think they’ve ever, even once, worked, but it seems like whenever Kai and I break out the witchcraft stuff like when we were thirteen, the only thing I can think is holy crap, it’s time for a love spell.

Because really, what else is worth it? Money’s great and I wish I had buckets more than I do now, but it seems sort of uncool to waste your drunken witch time on a money spell. That always seemed kind of like the stripper who gets her boobs done to make more tips instead of just going to night school and becoming a vet tech or something – like, maybe I should just work harder and get a better job instead of muttering things in my basement over a candle for more cash. What else is there? Your health? Crap. That’s like wishing for world peace on your birthday. Lame, and vague, and totally pansy. But then I’m too pansy for the other end of the spectrum—I’d never do a spell to hurt anyone because 1. I’ve seen far too many horror movies not to know how that goes and 2. I grew up Catholic and have such a lingering sense of guilt about everything I do I can’t even take a pen from a bank, let alone stick pins in a legit voodoo doll.

Which leaves you with a love spell. Because even if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t hurt to throw a few extra make-out vibes into the cosmos. And, while fumbling for my Metrocard, should you see a small pink satin bag leaking rose petals and glitter and generally looking like it was thrown together by Glinda on a bender, well, fuck you. It was.

Friday, October 24, 2008

General Hospital

One of the best weekends I’ve had in a while managed to give way to Medical Calamity Week 2009. A fractured skull, an appendectomy, the worst stomach virus I’ve ever beheld, a sawed-off bit of thumb, a marathon E.R. visit, and second- and third-hand reports of stuff that’s far more serious. None of it’s happened to me though. I feel totally fine. All my bits and pieces are in the right place and in working order. But it appears that someone has put the voodoo on my friends, and I’m definitely jumping over cracks and throwing salt over my shoulder until everyone’s back in fighting shape.

The trip to the hospital last night was truly the puke green icing on this turd cake of a week. Just when I thought everyone was home safe, their nausea abating, their bones knitting, their stitches all Halloween festive, I got a call from Jes who was, apparently, dying. In the words of a dude we met in the waiting room last night: Jes lives in the hood hood, not even in the rap hood, so I called a car to take her to Methodist (which is at least familiar even if it’s not the greatest) rather than roll the dice with whatever hospital was closest to her house.

I’m beginning to think that six hours in an emergency room waiting room is a more accurate indicator of one’s personality than the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Thirty minutes in, there’s this great divide between the patient and the impatient, and then from there the population breaks down into a variety of types: the caretakers, the complainers, the class clowns, the overreactors, the lonelyhearts, and the straight weirdos.

And the drunk. The very, very drunk.

A girl walked in bleeding from the nose and (this coming from a girl who takes her whiskey with a 40) stinking like booze. She was covered in terrible tattoos (light sabers, bible quotes surrounded by Buddhist imagery, a Star Trek emblem) and, after standing around picking blood out of a nostril for a while, she sat down without signing in and began playing with several of the sick, feverish children.

“Don’t worry,” she assured one of their mothers. “I may be drunk, but I’ve got two kids of my own!”

“I fell on my face,” she slurred as a post-script.

Eager to spread her herpes-esque friendship around the germy waiting room, homegirl then decided her time would be better spent hitting on a guy with crutches. Opening line?

“Hey crutches! Yeah, you! Other white person! We should hang out.”

Then she diagnosed his clearly broken foot as “a metatarsal, I definitely think you’ve got a metatarsal.” Turns out she’s a nursing student! I’m going to assume she’s in her first semester, though, and give her a pass on confusing the name of a bone with any kind of actual disorder or condition. When Crutches was called back to a bed, Florence Drunkengale turned her attention to a lone Hasidic grandma with a sprained elbow, and, valiantly, refused to let the English/Yiddish language barrier get in the way. Whenever Bubbie seemed a little confused, Nurse Jager would just repeat her question louder and slower. In Spanish.

(Fun fact: Bubbie actually made the pinky/thumb “drunk” gesture when I caught her eye.)

But anyway, back to my theory here, which is that when placed in a depressing room whose inhabitants have nothing in common besides discomfort, with no prospect of escape in the foreseeable future, you can really tell what someone is like at their core. You either laugh or you whine, you stick it out or you give up, you make friends or you piss everyone off. The emergency room waiting room is such a douchebag sieve it may, in fact, be the site of all of my future first dates. Any boy who could make me laugh for ten hours with nothing but sick children and injured grandmothers as comedy fodder would be one hell of a motherfucking keeper.

Friday, October 10, 2008

M-4-DoubleEw -- The Best of Craigslist Personals

Craigslist is a horny hotbed of personal ads. It has to be the no-frills anonymity compelling the crazies to fill page after page with strange, demanding, borderline terrifying requests for love. Below, I’ve gathered and tried to explain my favorite headlines from recent M4W posts.

BIG BLACK DICK - 25 –
I RESPECT YOUR SUCCINCTNESS

FINGER FUN IN CENTRAL PARK - 45 - (Central Park)
WE HAVE DIVERGENT CONCEPTS OF FUN

if you are pretty, have a nice body and are between 18 and 22 .... - 33 - (queens)
…you are probably not trolling for 33-year-olds from Queens on the internet at 4:54 in the morning.

THE FALLING LEAVES DRIFT BY MY WINDOW - 63 - (East Village)
THE BAD POETIC CLICHES RAIN DOWN LIKE URINE FROM A DOG WIENER

Want to take a shower together? No sex! - 31 (ny)
Don’t worry, totally non-threatening if there’s no sex! Just you, me, and my soapy, unfamiliar dick!

ARE YOU A CUTE POTATO?LOVE DOGS?THE BEATLES? - 33 - (nyc)
I was going to be all what’s a cute potato? But then I realized that that might not be a bad descriptor for yours truly, and then I got sort of embarrassed, and then I realized I love dogs, and then I e-mailed him. Kidding. Mostly.

I have a new dress!!! - 28 - (brooklyn)
Me too! This is why we will never date.

Big Bad Wolf seeking Little Red Riding Hood –
To kill and devour her grandmother.

LIKE A VERY HAIRY GUY? - 40 - (MANHATTAN)
Shaved for the very first time?
Like a vee-rrryyy hairy guuuuyyy….
Electric razor
Starts to whine…
Ooooh-oo-ooh-ooh-oooo

LICKER in Queens - (Astoria)
JUST CROSSED MY LEGS DEFENSIVELY in Brooklyn, nice to meet you.

Soul meets soul on lover's lips – 27
Also where herpes meets herpes, just as an FYI.

A germaphobe romance –
File this one under “Craigslist Personal or Bestselling Debut Memoir Yet to Be Debunked as Fiction?” Particular points go to this guy because the ad actually includes the sentence, “I’d really just like to meet someone who doesn’t repulse me about 5 hours out of any given day.” Join the club, Mr. Clean.

Love, Cars, and The North Pole – 30
Greaser Santa seeks Pinky Tuscadero of his yuletide dreams?

I'M AN ORAL FREAK – 45
I HAVE 78 TEETH AND THEY ARE ALL SHARP

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Imagine This Is a Note In Your Locker

Holy crapola, it’s finally fall. Am I really, truly sitting inside writing about my stupid feelings instead of walking around and being cold and wearing sweaters and, I don’t know, doing something that doesn't rely on MS Word and trying to decide if the strange thing in the bottom of my coffee cup is a piece of lint or a dead spider? Yes, I am.

Verdict: lint.

I always fall prey to constantly thinking something very significant is on the verge of happening at this time of year. Currently, I’m aiding and abetting my own delusion with this playlist I made for my friend Kai entitled “Songs to Make Your Teenage Heart Hurt,” because we’ve known each other since before our hearts were even teenaged. It’s all pining and awkward lead singers and plaintive guitars and it’s making me so sure that I’m seconds from starring in my own John Hughes epic I can hardly sit still in my seat. I just wonder if October is going to turn me into a hormonal thirteen-year-old for the rest of my life, and at which point it will be inappropriate to acknowledge this. Forty? Thirty? Right now, because I am theoretically a grown-ass lady with health insurance and due concern about my credit score?

[Interrupting your regularly scheduled dumb minutia for the following conversation I just had with my boss, who is incidentally the president of a reputable international corporation. How I have a job is as big a mystery to me as anyone:

Boss: Who called before?
His assistant: Oh, just a solicitor.
Boss: Solicitor? There will be NO solicitation in this office! No streetwalkers!
Me: Then I’m gonna need a raise.
Boss: Get a part time job.
Me: I thought that’s what that was…]

Except, see, okay, when I was thirteen, I didn’t do anything exciting. I volunteered as a children’s librarian, I sang in a church choir, I was embarrassingly good at school, I returned my rented videos on time, and my one brush with alcohol involved chickening out of a parent-approved sip of champagne at my uncle’s wedding. Even my crushes were logical and non-threatening; who loves the same high-achieving, 4.0 GPA-earning, clean-cut dork of boy for four uninterrupted teenage years based on approximately two conversations? Yes, I walked around looking like a riot-rrrrretard and listened to loud music and, of course, dabbled in witchcraft, but I was never the kind of kid to take the extra step and, like, dye my hair pink. Looking like an asshole is not a great substitute for your life actually being unpredictable and diary-worthy.

I’m a firm believer in teenage rebellion, but also in that story of Archimedes and the golden crown and discovering in the bathtub that his volume in water was displaced when he got in. If this fluttery, thirteen-year-old feeling is the water in this equation, then maybe some of us just have an overfilled tub. Once you get in, it has to go somewhere, and bam, your twenties are sopping with adolescence, and there you are staying out too late with your close personal friend Mr. J. Daniels. And you develop quick and smiting crushes on boys, plural boys. And occasionally you’re that gnarly chick making out in public that thirteen-year-old you would’ve whispered about.

Is this is the equivalent of writing about myself on a bathroom stall?
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