Monthly Archives: October 2002

Surfing the Status Quo

I like consistency and routine. When I feel unbalanced, it keeps me sane. When I feel balanced, it keeps me punctual.My morning commute is actually quite a journey, and it’s both consistent and routine.

I’m not sure if I feel guilty about sitting in Starbucks in the morning. I mean, they do have a fireplace.

And for a while I nurtured a peevish anger at the Someday Café for not saving me a seat, rearranging furniture to compensate for a throng of incoming students, and hosting an altercation that ensued when I redirected some garish track lighting.

But I guess that little fit is over. And still I keep going to the corporate caf every morning before work to curl in a giant velvet chair with my feet up on the fireplace and write three pages of copy.

Starbucks is consistent. The coffee is always the same clinically-monitored temperature, the same heavy dark roast. The stock of cream and recycled cardboard cup wrappers is undoubtedly full, and you never have to ask for a cover.

My seat of choice is always free, and the sun starts coming in the window halfway through the filling of my spiral bound pages. The bathrooms are clean, the napkin dispensers are full, and I’m beginning to enjoy the predictable folk CD when I’m not blasting my brain out with Spoon.

I believe in supporting local business. It adds culture to an area, employs neighborhood residents, and makes the spot unique. I was up in arms when the green circular logo appeared in the building across the street from the Diesel Cafe. I even got one of those stickers that said “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.” I thought for sure it meant trouble for the two local businesses that, in the end, seem to have suffered no loss of customers.

But the sameness of every Starbucks in the city means I never have to find my glasses to read the menu and I know my cup of coffee is $1.68. This is both good and bad, and I’m having a hard time reconciling the dichotomy. Some of my friends would hate me if I started batting for the other team.But what if Starbucks is just more consistent?

I play a game with myself when I take the subway to work. I became obsessed with surfing when Point Break came out, and although my center of gravity appears to be too high and my limbs too gangly to ever ride the waves on a board, I haven’t surrendered the dream. So I have been building my balance by riding the T standing up for the past two years. I was quite good at it until I broke my leg, and then it became part of my physical therapy routine.

Having gained sure footing once again, I had to up the ante recently with a new challenge: I try to make it from Davis to Park St. without touching the handrail. That’s six stops. Not only does it build balance, coordination, and work the glutes, but I avoid contracting a cold in the germ swill of the Red Line.

The toughest spot is between Harvard and Central, where the recently-laid tracks are uneven and the train lurches fitfully. I’ve learned to rock from toe to heel and shift my weight accordingly. Maybe one day I’ll even transfer these skills into the water.Look, I’ve got nothing else to do for those 40 minutes each day.

Surfing complete, I skirt the Commons, down Boylston to Arlington, watching the dogs play. I do this so routinely that I know the dogs by sight, and I’ve fictionalized their owners’ complete life story. I also have invented names for each dog based on its appearance.

There is one guy who I have grown quite fond of, and I look forward to him every morning. In a collared linen shirt, corduroy vest, gentlemanly coat, smart derby, and white hair, he looks like a retired English professor. He smokes a pipe and walks slowly looking at his saddle shoes, his Boston Terrier nosing after squirrels. He knows more than he lets on. I think he’s getting back at the youth that tortured him during his tenure at the University. Prescott, the dog, skims the ground quickly and methodically on the end of one of those 30 foot retractable wire leashes.

If I’m lucky, I get to watch the Professor clothes-lining a fleet of bike messengers with the leash as the dog trolls across the paved path. This morning was one such occasion. Feigning an apologetic mouth, his eyes twinkle with intention. I unsuccessfully supressed a grin as I passed, and he winked to acknowledge our connection.

There are comforting constants — the sun that finally slices through the buildings when I emerge from the trees and wait to cross Arlington. I always hop over Boylston to the other side, walking straight toward the Four Seasons Hotel overlooking the Commons so that the valet opens the door for me. For three whole seconds I pretend I am going in to enjoy a decadent weekend of pampering with a view; room service, cable TV and a bulky cotton robe. As a bonus, I look into the windows of Le Perle and imagine some day when I have resources to wrap myself in one of those crazy red lace dresses.

The newspaper guy knows that I only buy the Herald when it has a good headline I can cut out and paste in my collection, and this is our inside joke. Each morning as I pass, he springs to attention and holds up the newspaper for scrutiny. I either shake my head or give him a quarter. Today’s headline is uninspiring.

I turn the corner to the alley behind my building to watch the electronics store amass boxes of shiny silver and matte black toys I will never own waist-high on the sidewalk. There is a Steve Madden shoe tossed aside carelessly, sole peeling and filled with rain, that has been there for weeks. Each time I step over it I wonder how anyone could lose a shoe in this city and not notice. Today is garbage day but I don’t mind. Garbage always smells the same, no matter what’s in it.

And that, my friends, is consistency.

Jewish Penicillin

I didn’t go on any of my planned adventures this past weekend. I’m sick. Really sick. I haven’t been this sick since the Big Flu Sweep of ’98.

Luckily I have Jews in high places. Chicken soup and way too much attention.

I did go to Connecticut yesterday, and drove through all these rural routes with handmade cider signs and perfect foliage which was all unbearably Better Homes and Gardens. On the drive home I rediscovered my anger, went to my cave, found my Power Animal, and quit smoking again. In a stirring Academy Award-winning moment of pure rage, I threw my cigarettes passionately out the window of my speeding vehicle.

I looked for cops first.

A while back I was driving up 91 with a former boyfriend who does not smoke but graciously allowed me to pollute his very hot old school RX-7. I threw a cigarette out the sunroof, and it bounced back in, but I didn’t realize it until I saw smoke creeping out from under my seat. I poured my water down between our seats when he wasn’t looking, slyly covering it up. I wanted to make sure the next cigarette really made it out the window, so I thrust my arm all the way out to the shoulder before flinging the lit butt highway-bound. When the cop pulled us over, his face was beet red under his shiny State Police hat, and I thought he was going to drag me out of the car by the neck for tossing a lit cigarette into the window of his freshly-polished-with-a-diaper cruiser. Ooops.

In another stunning moment of vehicle/lit-cigarette mayhem, I repeated the Out the Sunroof/Back In the Sunroof number while my friend Adrian was driving us to New York, and the cigarette landed in the back seat of his car, igniting a small pillow he was particularly fond of. I was highly inebriated, and proceeded to pour Kahlua and iced coffee on the pillow to douse the flames, which just made things worse, and as the fabric scorched away, feathers began spiraling in the air, filling every inch of the car with smelly wet burning mudslide and smoke so I could barely breathe and he could barely drive. I tried to perform damage control, but I was laughing too hard and was also too drunk to be of any use. Poor Adrian finally snatched the pillow out of my hands and threw it flaming to the highway, leaving clouds of ruined feathers in its wake.

So I was sure the sunroof was closed before casting off my final cigarette.

I Just Don’t Get It, Toto

They were painting the Freedom Trail on my way to work this morning. The Freedom Trail is a two foot wide red line that runs from one end of Boston to the other, through all the important historic spots, battle memorials, graveyards, and monuments. If you’re anywhere of importance in Boston and you look down on the sidewalk, you’re probably standing on the red line of the Freedom Trail. It was weird to watch them painting it. They had the sidewalk sectioned off with dirty police tape and utiltiy cones that had tipped over. They were using old paint rollers and masking tape. Some guy was smoking a cigarette and talking to his coworker, not even looking at what he was doing. It was like watching two cement truck drivers from Southie paving the Yellow Brick Road. Something was not quite right.

I discovered yesterday that I’m not celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas with my family this year. It has been advised that I make my travel plans for my birthday in February instead. How weird. I’ve always complained that Christmas was a bunch of bullshit anyway, but what does one do when they are not with their family on Christmas? I guess this will give me an opportunity to bond further with my slew of Jewish friends. Or sit at home under the tree listening to Bing Crosby, writing poetry riddled with abandonment issues.

I’m going on vacation now. When I return, I’ll have photos from my big Harvest Party last Saturday, and my upcoming trip to the Mass. Museum of Contemporary Art and The Fall of the House of Usher in Oneonta, NY, as well as a brief tour of the Connecticut shoreline this weekend. Got to put in some quality time with the beach and the cows.
Happy Trails.

Confusion, the Waittress

I mean, really, what’s the point?

This morning I plug my head up with my sicko bass-boosted headphones and take off listening to Underworld’s Beacoup Fish. And the world becomes an instant movie. The kind where the girl finally loses her shit and decides to fly. Striding purposefully in slow motion through Park St. station, loose limbed, people clearing the way, coat flying out behind her like some superhero in knee-high black leather boots.

I am dubious
I am metal
I am stainless
I am milk in your plastic

What do I really want today?

To be able to write. Writer’s fucking block is the worst feeling in the world for someone obsessed with words. Like massive constipation gripping a rain-check on Metamucil. Of course silly girl continues to thrust broken words out into the world like that will heal something. Like sputtering nonsense somehow warms the silence.

Anger boils the blood.

When I don’t feel like talking, I take photographs. Wait till you see.

Survival of the Fittest

I made the mistake of going shopping on my lunch break. Madness, I tell you — pure madness.

I’m not a shopping kind of girl. It’s never been a pleasurable activity for me. It’s too competitive, and with a 36″ inseam, I’m screwed. So I shop purely out of necessity. I usually buy clothes three times a year and all at once. Almost everything I own is black or brown or gray, corduroy or cotton. I like it that way. But I needed a winter coat so I went to Filenes’s on my lunch break.

I was in search of something disgustingly decadent. Ankle length and hooded, preferably shearling or some such nonsense. I had no idea I would risk my life in pursuit of this whim.

The second I walked into Filene’s, it was a sensory overload. Bright lights and noise and people running around and that awful speaker system that screeches and the person making the announcement doesn’t even speak English. I was frightened. But I pressed on.

I should have known that lunch time downtown is not the best scenario for a peaceful consumer experience. In fact, it’s open season. I immediately and without forethought resorted to my hunter/gatherer instinct. Everyone around me was out for the kill, pawing at racks of coats hungrily. The cow was already dead, judging by the zipper. But before I realized it, I was tearing coats off the rack and running away to some safe den-like corner to assess my prey. It was savage, people.

I found this amazing coat. It was truly ridiculous. I have to be careful not to get too extravagant or I’ll look like a drag queen. But this coat… it was camel suede with this enormous fuzzy cream trim running from the collar to the ankle. Flawless. Except it had no buttons. One of those I Look Cool Getting Out of My Cab and Going Into Sonsie with My Rich Date coats. Well, I’m not taking a cab, going to Sonsie, or having a rich date. I need utility. Think a mile hike through the Commons in January.

While I was mauling the coat in the mirror and searching through the fur for at least a single butterfly closure, I noticed someone had taken the coat that I wore into the store and was furiously turning it over looking for a price tag. “Hey, that’s mine,” I told her. She scowled at me, highly disappointed. So I offered it to her for $100. She looked insulted and threw it on top of the rack. Trust me, it was a bargain.

Weather with You

The brightest gem of New England weather is its dazzling uncertainty.

~ Mark Twain

Okay. Little lesson, children. Sit up straight. Bobby, throw out your gum. Today class, we are going to study W-E-A-T-H-E-R. That’s right, my apt pupils, weather. Please sharpen your pencils and write down the following information.

In New England, we have four seasons.

1. In the fall, it is sometimes hot and sometimes cold.
2. In the winter, it is cold.
3. In the spring, it is sometimes hot and sometimes cold.
4. In the summer, it is hot.

In all four of these remarkable seasons, it precipitates.

Got it?

I can’t for the life of me figure out why these tried and true facts take people by surprise every three months. I also cannot wrap my head around exactly why the weather is the Only Acceptable Elevator Topic of Conversation. I made a little promise to myself when I entered the urban working world. First, I would never wear white socks and white sneakers with my corporate suit. Second, I would never talk about the weather.

Innocent coworker: Jeez! It’s cold out there!
Me: It’s winter.

Sadly, I had to resort to discussing the climate with my family because somewhere along the line it became the only safe topic. I tried sharing on the availability of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll but the temperature in Boca Raton seemed more appropriate dinner conversation and resulted in a lot less agitated silence over the phone. I used to call my grandmother every once in a while and listen to her diatribe on how fantastically unbelievably wonderfully beautiful it was on the beach in Boca. She would ramble infinitely, dipping into such details as dew point and low tide projections, and every time she finished, I would say, “It’s snowing here. And I hate Florida.” This was a ritual for us. Probably because she could never remember what we talked about five minutes later anyway.

I think part of this weather talking business is a throw-back from the days of farmers, where the livelihood of the community was dependent on the rain or sun and its appearance or disappearance. But now, I go from climate-controlled apartment to climate-controlled subway to climate-controlled office building. My umbrella is never where I need it. Sometimes I have to roll up my corduroys so they don’t drag in the snow. Usually I avoid direct sunlight. So far, I haven’t died of exposure. But does one need to obsess about these things?

Of course, here’s me wearing my down jacket today in the rain so maybe I should just shut up.

Tofu Cordon Bleu

A few quickies cause I ain’t got time to write anything sweet today… used up all my sugar on my breakfast cereal.

Today’s soundtrack includes Richard Ashcroft and G.Love. While Richard Ashcroft’s new solo album makes me want to shoot smack just like the Verve did, G.Love encourages me to take the needle out of my arm and play some b-ball with the boyz in Brooklyn. It’s a healthy balance.

Speaking of healthy: One month, three days, 13 hours, 28 minutes. 671 cigarettes not smoked. $192.98 saved. Life saved: 2 days, 7 hours, 55 minutes.

I had my morning writing/caffeination session at Starbucks this morning. The Someday and I are in a fight. In the words of Allen Ginsberg: I am NOT sorry.

My roommate made this tofu rice dish which I brought for lunch today, and it’s blue and purple. It’s delicious, but I swear — it looks like the glop Lane’s mom made in Better Off Dead — the stuff that scampered off the plate. Think it’s the eggplant. I was just in the kitchen at work heating it up and getting all kinds of looks. “Geez, we knew she was weird, but not that weird.” People here are unnaturally fascinated by my cuisine. And my socks.

So listen to this: I’m going shopping on Sunday for an interview suit. That’s right. Little Ms. ‘Thang, all dolled up and no place to go. Yet. Give me a few days.

I discovered last night that my rabbit speaks German.

I’m trying to get the Coolidge Corner Theatre to sponsor The Nightmare Before Christmas sometime in October. It’s my favorite movie and ’tis the season. If my efforts fail, I will have a screening at my house and you’re all invited. Or whoever can fit in my “cozy” living room. (It’s got what real estate agents here call “cha-ahm.”)

Okay — I have to go research the Creation of Online Privacy Policies. Holy beejezus! The excitement never ends! I will write soon about New Englander’s fascination with the weather when I return. Seems ’tis the season for that as well. One of the four and all.

I got my big toe stuck in a pumpkin.

OH the Irony

Diesel Cafe, 5:53 PM. That’s right — the Diesel Cafe.

This is the entry where the sometimes-irony of the moniker “joyful thing” becomes apparent.

Who the fuck do these little Tufts University brats think they are?

I refuse to be driven from my homestead, the Someday Cafe, especially on a Sunday night, and especially by squealing college brats. I own that seat. My ass-print is on it for christsake. I must have spent… let’s see, about $1000 there in the past year? Doesn’t that warrant me being able to sit SOMEWHERE in the freakin cafe on a Sunday night?

So I have been exiled to the very last available seat in Diesel. The Diesel is cold and industrial and sterile. The seats are uncomfortable and crowded and the coffee sucks. The only cool thing about Diesel is that they have a functioning manual typewriter. The kicker of it all is that I have to make the font on my laptop unbearably small because people read over my shoulder. Because I’m THAT fucking important, people. Riiiiight, JT. Keep coming.

I wouldn’t mind the student population so much if it weren’t for the shrieking bitches. I have no tolerance for high-pitched voices or squealing. Shrill group bonding sessions make my skin crawl. It’s the squealing, and the flip flops and strategically-messy ponytails and men’s PJ bottoms. Good god. I know I shouldn’t exactly be the fashion police, and I don’t give a crap about that shit in general, but there’s seven girls at a table looking like a pajama party. Should I remind them where they are or just shove them out onto the rainy sidewalk?

At least I have my minidisc player and I can listen to my own music because all they ever play in here is Ani DiFranco. I love Ani, but there’s something pretentious about playing Ani all day every day in a lesbian-owned and operated café.

This fall is the season of sad music. Tonight’s irritation aside, I am happy, but all the music coming out now that I’ve been buying is so sad. Seems everyone’s breaking up. I filled my CD changer this morning and was weeping halfway through the set. Christ. The new Beck is un-fucking-believable in all its gut-wrenching loss. I also got Low’s brand-spankin-new release. I went to see Low on Tuesday at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, and it was a heartbreaking show. Ruby called it a “musical eulogy”, and that’s exactly what it felt like. The album is gorgeous, but overwhelmingly dark.

And then poor Doug Martsch, who is depressive and antisocial anyway, but obviously went through some recent rough times romantically based on his new album. I went to see him last night at Paradise, and it was a strange show. He’s such a petulant little brat, cranky — anyway, he played a bunch of Built to Spill songs, and a few covers, and a handful of his solo stuff, and all of it was so stripped down and lacking… whenever he played a Built to Spill song, everyone in the audience would start bouncing up and down because they could hear the upbeat drums and the slide guitar and the good beat of the thing playing in their heads as he plodded along on his six string acoustic alone.

He played with Mike Johnson from Dinosaur Jr. during the opener, and Jared captured it perfectly when he said, “Do some lines or get off the stage.” I did almost fall asleep. It was boring. Even with my newfound patience it was boring. Right now I’m listening to the new Coldplay, and even that is all sad songs. Jeesh. Spread the love, people. The music world needs a big hug today. Not that anyone would want to hug me after my anti-college-girl rant. I should add that they’re all small blondes.

So jeezus crisco there’s been so much shite going on in my world over the past four days. Whooey. Things are changing like diapers on a brand new infant. Half the stuff I can’t even write about, but it’s good, trust me.

I think my days as a netslave are drawing to an end, and while at work fretting on Saturday — yes, Saturday — I realized in a moment of divine intervention and epiphany: I don’t have to work here. I mean, there are actually other jobs in the world! I swear, it was a bolt of lighting in my sky, a golden brick to the forehead. WTF???? Had that never occurred to me before? Well, truth is, it had. But I was always waiting for something. I broke my leg three months into my employment there, and let me tell you about medical insurance… anyway, then it was the money, and then it was me trying to get sober and not being able to do anything else but show up and sit in my chair, nevermind think about the outside world and the fact that there was actually other jobs. So anyway, suddenly finding myself free from all medical entanglements and with my head and body screwed on straight for the first time since my freshman year of college when I got drunk and stayed that way until last fall… I realized that I was now free to check out other avenues. And I have to be honest — I don’t want to do much work. As a matter of fact, I want to do a lot less than I’m doing now.

When I worked at Fleet bank two years ago, I had roughly four hours a day of nothing to do. I was so good at Tetris that Sony wanted to sponsor me. I wrote roughly 75 pages a week of my own braindump, and 75 spectacular email extravaganzas as well. I did my job well because it was easy, and I like being told what to do and then being left alone to do it my own way, and taking care of tasks and organizing. Organizing is one of my favorite things to do. I find enormous gratification in putting like-sized items in piles and stacking Tupperware according to color. I am a nerd, I don’t deny that. But why not work somewhere that appreciates my need to spend two hours a day buried in an Excel spreadsheet?

I don’t want to work in Advertising anymore.

There, I said it. Now let me pack my things and leave quietly. What I want is a job that I can go to and do well and leave at the office and go home and work on my own creative endeavors.

I have come to a few resolutions concerning the status of my possible job. I have already sent out several resumes. I did this on Saturday immediately after my epiphany. The weird thing is, I kind of had to dumb it down because I don’t want places looking to employ administrative or research assistants to think I’m overqualified and not hire me because they’re afraid I’ll want too much money. Which is another issue, but one I’m willing to accept — the fact that I’ll probably be taking a $15,000 pay cut. Ouch. Most of the jobs I applied for were in that price range. But you know what? Screw it. So I don’t buy CDs for a while. So I figure out the freakin street cleaning schedule and stop paying $200 a month in tickets to park my car in the free resident zone. So I start eating dairy again. (Do you realize how expensive soy is? Benjamin tells me that in places where they don’t have cows, soy is cheaper. I asked if we fed our cows only soybeans, would they make soymilk? And he replied, “As long as they stayed alive.” Which is probably true.) Anyway, what use is money if you’re miserable? And I have to tell you, if I write one more small business article I’m going to vomit up Norton AntiVirus all over the pool table in my dotcom office. Ikea office furniture is not worth my mental health.

One thing I have realized is that I need to squelch what little artistic individuality is left of my appearance after the corporate world was finished with me. In preparation, I took out the body jewelry today. My hair will go back to its natural state of brown soon. And I will wear tights and proper shoes! How exciting! Maybe I’ll even toss in a nice Talbots jacket for good measure. Good god. What am I becoming?

This week I’m catching up with the ex with whom I have not communicated since our breakup last winter. I am looking forward to it for a few reasons. I have been facing a lot of unresolved issues from my past lately, and I feel that relationship was one of them. The past four years have been a smear for me, and I’m beginning to make sense of it all.

Other developments have left my lips and skin tingling with disbelief but someday perhaps I will delve deeper into that world. Maybe I’ll post some new lovesick poetry. I am, in fact, thirteen.So that’s the wrap-up. This week may be riddled with anxiety, so I’ll be sure to update frequently in that case. I want everyone to have a taste of my pain, and later my freedom. Because I know there is something exhilarating in the turbulent chaos of change.

I will leave you with this:

“Hey Jared, do you want a bite of my York Peppermint Pattie?”

“No thanks — it makes me feel like I’m skiing.”

Pain Makes You Beautiful

Let me tell you something — you don’t completely know yourself until you sit in a chair half naked for two and a half hours with a needle in your skin bleeding all over yourself. And you do this by choice. I’ve been planning this tribal tattoo forever. When I want to mark a period of time in my life, I do it on my body. I want to be like one of those gorgeous old trees with notch marks and hearts etched into its surface as it grows and grows. A map of history, each swirl and impression a token of turning points, stepping stones, and landmarks. I hit a couple of those this week and I need to commemorate. This world is so magical to me right now and I want to remember this feeling forever. It is in stark contrast to where I spent the past couple of years. This tattoo is a big reminder.

This is my third tattoo. You can kind of see my second one in the photo on the back of my neck; it’s the Japanese character for “sea.” I have to admit, I went into this a little cocky. I am convinced that inside I am actually a badass. I have my moments — but this was an excruciatingly long moment. My other tattoos took about 20 minutes of needle time each. Just enough to be annoying, but not too painful. I’ve heard the wrist is a painful place to get ink, and it did hurt for me, but it didn’t take long enough to put me through any endurance tests. Two and a half hours is another story.

While I was sitting in that chair, I went on a big head trip.

The act of tattooing in itself is cathartic for me, as is piercing. There’s something empowering about giving someone else permission to inflict pain on you, pain that results in an altered appearance. I pierced my tongue six or seven years ago, and I still remember the boy who did it. It was one of the most erotic experiences I’ve had. I’m not into S&M at all — at all — but body art is different for me. So I’ve got these pieces of art decorating my body, and I will always remember the event, and the time surrounding it, and the artist that has forever left traces of their fingertips on my skin.

The tattoo artist doing my piece was Gennifer, who was soft-spoken and talented. She was into swing dancing, and the stereo alternated between rockabilly and death metal as she and her coworker took turns choosing CDs. I asked her what the most painful place was to get work done, and she said, “Anyplace where there’s a lot of bone.” And she traced my vertebrae with her finger, where the majority of the tattoo was going. “Like your spine.”

My cockiness was amplified when the manager came over to see the work going on, and I gave him a hard time. He’s like, “Do you want a soda? I don’t want you passing out on me.” and I’m like, “What do I look like, a wuss? Give me a freakin break. Coke’s not going to save me.” He kind of looked at me for a minute, and I gave him my raised eyebrow, and he shrugged and walked away. An hour and a half later, I was crying for Coke — and heroin.
One of the complications was that I was bleeding, a lot, and every time she went over the area with the gun, the blood would push the ink out and she’d have to go back and do the section over.

I sat in the pain and breathed. Not all of it was excruciating, but there were moments that brought to mind the lye chemical burn in Fight Club. I kept going into my cave and looking for my power animal, but instead of a penguin sliding on ice, I was finding a devil with a pitchfork and fire shooting out of his nostrils. I kept thinking over and over, “In the exact now, we are all, always, all right.” Which is some quote from Julia Cameron that I keep handy. It worked for a bit. That and “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” I alternated. Occasionally my vision would go white.

Toward the end, I was filled with an enormous amount of adrenaline, and I hit an ethereal calm. It was an amazing feeling. I was deep in my head, and people were trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t talk, and I just looked at the pain and thought, this pain is huge, so big, but no matter how big it is, I am bigger. Because I was sitting there with open hands and perfect posture, not flinching or gripping or fidgeting or crying. Just sitting and breathing. And Gennifer was laughing because the guy next to me was getting his forearm done, and he was screaming in tears. He and I both got up occasionally to pace the floor for a few minutes. As we were nearing three hours, I had enough. I was starting to see stars, and they weren’t the pretty kind. But we were done.

I told the manager that I wanted a Coke now, and he smiled. I was tough though, don’t be fooled. I’m one badass motherfucker. And I’m not limping about today trying not to touch anything, flinching each time my sweater touches my back, carrying my messenger bag gingerly over one shoulder. Riiiiight.

Of course, I’m already planning the additions I’m going to make to the work, bringing it up closer to my neck. I just couldn’t sit there any longer.

I left with a lot of respect for myself. It was incredible. I highly recommend it if you’d like to take a close look at yourself and then leave something to remember the view.

No Frontage

There is so much love on Diaryland these days! I’ve been getting all misty-eyed reading entries from my favorite people. Even those characteristically cynical tyrants among us are getting a little soft in the heart. I feel like giving the whole world a big hug today.

I had, hands-down, The Best Weekend Ever. For so many reasons. Let’s detail.

1. Friday I went to Newbury Comics and bought 7 new CDs. All of them so fantastic that I didn’t know which one to put on when we got back to Ruby’s, so I manically played one song off each. We listened to the new Pulp album all the way through, though. It’s good.

2. Saturday morning I went to see the lovely and fabulous Linda at Judy Jetson Salon, where she took over an hour to give me a fantastic hair cut, talk smack about my ex boyfriend, and berate me for putting henna in my hair. Then she berated me for glowing guiltily in her chair while she tried to pull details out of me as to why. I divulged nothing.

3. I got to drive all the way to Connecticut in a perfect fall day, the sunshine pouring in my sunroof, unlimited amounts of Dunkin Donuts iced Hazelnut, talking endlessly about so many things (and gossiping violently), listening to the aforementioned 7 new CDs. Well, the first 45 minutes of each of them, since my CD player is broken and I had to make tapes. Eeeeew. Analog.

4. I got to spend the weekend with my favorite girl, Miss Ruby Fuss. Perhaps our weekend of fun and excitement will lure her out of her Diaryland-updates hiatus. Actually, that’s not completely true. She updated the other day. She was one of the d’landers who wrote some beautiful things about me that brought a tear to my eye.

5. My sister threw this party… okay, I swear this doesn’t seem so confusing to everyone else, but for some reason I’m still shaking my head. My mom and dad have the same birthday. They also live in Florida. Most of the year. They came back to CT for a month and a half. My sister decided to throw a birthday party for my mom only, seven months after her birthday. And it was a surprise party, but my mom knew about it; she thought she was going to my sister’s for a housewarming party. My sister moved into her house two years ago. Can anyone understand why I’m so bewildered? Anyway, I didn’t care why the party was happening. I just went because my sister makes killer appetizers.

That’s not completely true. I also went because I had the pleasure of seeing almost every single living relative I have, which usually only happens when someone dies or gets married. Everyone kept calling me Kelley, since she’s the first-born and more memorable apparently, and they kept saying, “Kelley, you got so tall…” and I’m like, “I’m not Kelley, that’s probably why.” Speaking of tall, the men in my family rock — my uncles are all like 6’5″. So I feel elfin at my mere 6’0″. I got more hugs on Saturday than at the last funeral and wedding combined.

And at least a dozen people asked me if I’d written my best seller yet, and demanded the first copy, autographed. Yeah. Aunt Beatrice, who keeps calling me Kelley, is going to get the first copy of my book. I’m sure.

6. After force-feeding ourselves penuche, guacamole, and ice box cake, Ruby and I went to beautiful downtown New Haven, where we had the pleasure of hanging out with Genghis-jon. Everyone must love Genghis-jon. This boy is ridiculously funny and rocks out of control. We got together at Rudy’s Bar. I guess it’s been a while since I’ve been there. I ran into some old friends. One of them did not recognize me, and the other two did. I kind of wanted them to go away. I know that’s mean, but I hate running into people I haven’t seen in years, and they’re like, “What have you been up to?” And I’m like, “Sit down and buckle your seatbelt for a few hours.” I mean, where do you start? And why?

So anyway, we hung out at Rudy’s, and two good bands played, and I DID NOT SMOKE A CIGARETTE. I have no idea how. Sitting between GJ and Ruby and the two of them freaking chain smoking until I had to get up and go outside and confess to this homeless guy on the sidewalk that I really wanted to smoke but I wasn’t going to, and told him all about the benefits of not smoking. He agreed with me wholeheartedly, and after a few silent prayers I returned to the table calm and in control. Mostly.

Three weeks, four days, 14 hours, 43 minutes. 512 cigarettes not smoked.Please hold your applause until the end.

I wanted to run around the city because I haven’t been to New Haven in a few months, so we left the bar and took to the streets. One sucky thing was that my car got towed. There’s a Fleet parking lot that you used to be able to park in as long as the bank wasn’t open. Guess they changed that rule. So they came and towed my car, and took it 3 blocks down the street to the towing company, and I walked over and picked it up and parked it across from where it got towed. It was truly stupid. The place was super sketchy though. It was in a not-so-nice neighborhood, and it was all fenced in. This scary dude was waiting outside the gate, and he yells to the garage, “Put the dog away!” And then opens to gate enough for me to squeeze through and leaves my friends standing on the sidewalk. Then after I pay, the guy in the garage yells out, “She’s clear!” so he could open the gate to let me out. I felt like I was on freakin Death Row or something. Anyway, the Retardation of JT cost me $75 and 20 minutes and we were on our way.

I love Yale. It is a place near and dear to my heart. When I was a teenager, I would roam those streets for hours, learning all the buildings, fascinated by the structures. Stained glass and wrought iron, gargoyles, randomly-placed carvings. It feels like vanilla candles and Jeff Buckley. Cloves and Jack Kerouac.

We are a silly bunch. The next day my face hurt from giggling all night.

7. Ruby and I added some new terms to our vocabulary. Inspired by her family’s love of fine meat, we’ve adopted “Choice Piece” to represent something other than steak. And driving through New Haven, we got on Frontage Rd., and decided that “frontage” sounds like a sexual term. So this is how it is: “He was a real choice piece, and I thought I was going to get some frontage, but it turns out he just wanted a cigarette.” Later on we got on No. Frontage Rd., which was a sad place indeed. I swear we turn into thirteen-year-olds when we hang out. It’s foolish.

8. Sunday I got my tattoo, and Mon Frere Shea drove down from Boston to meet us at The Edge, and he got a tattoo as well. Ruby also got a sicko piercing — The Industrial — which goes in one part of the cartilage of the ear and out through another, two piercings in one, like a big silver arrow. Very cool. We tried to take pictures during all the holes and ink, but my flash broke again and I suck for not having a decent camera.

9. This morning was gorgeous fall sunrise and I walked through the Commons listening to Built to Spill and smiling. I have been careful lately about when I start listening to albums. When I get a new CD, I want to break it in so it reminds me of something good. Because I attach time and place to every bit of music I listen to. And there’s one or two that I had to hurry up and start listening to in my car, driving in the sun with the lovely Ruby, because I didn’t want to attach that CD to someone else. I’m like, “NO! He doesn’t get that one. He got all the other good ones — he doesn’t get the new Coldplay. That one is my blissful weekend in CT.”

Of course, in a fit of mindfuck, right after I typed the last sentence, “True Love Waits” comes on the radio. That song makes me want to slit my throat. Of all the songs in the world, one of the good ones that he did get. Right now. Do you believe in divine intervention? I never know what to make of these obvious signs. If they serve as encouragement to hang on to something or a reminder to let go. Fuck.

10. I came home and my bunny missed me.