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I feel very much like Rosanna Arquette in Desperately Seeking Susan. You know, how she got all caught up in Madonna's life via the Village Voice personal ads? Well, that's how I've been feeling about 100 words lately. I've been reading about all of you and connecting the hidden and not so hidden lines. I know some of you only by this forum and then I know others because I actually know ya'll. I read one particular person's November words and get this -- I actually got mad. How could you be such a big jerk? Yes, I'm talking to YOU.
This year was a big one for me: marriage, quitting my job, miscarriage, book deal, people being big fat fucken flakes with me. I've gone through the "how could she have done this to me?" phase for too long now. Because now, when I really think about it, she was always this way. Always. I just didn't see it. It was too well hidden between our bitch sessions about "other people" or "other things" for me to see it clearly. I'm learning to be graceful about these things and just let them go. Right. Whose head am I living in?
Today was my first meeting with the editor of my book. Was I this nervous for my own prom? And I didn't even want to go to the prom! My best friend Sonia told me that she wasn't going and so that was my excuse not to go either. But then that skinny kid Seth asked her and before you knew it I was "boogying with Barry" in a black chiana dress with major cramps (great!) at a place called Emerald City (now a car dealership). Dang. Why I am nervous? I made it through that damn prom, didn't I?
At first I decided that I would only watch The Today Show and then start writing. Problem, though. Because after that is the most excellent post-Wapner People's Court that I just have-have-have to see. Ok. That is definitely the new limit. I actually followed through today, although I didn't get out of my pajamas until 1:00. Is that bad? I don't know why they call it freelance. There's nothing free about this. It's pressure not having a set schedule. I'm still adjusting and I know it will be fine. So stop looking at me like that. I know I'm lucky.
Cut my thumb and burned my finger today. That's how you can tell I've started cooking more. Besides that I've got a whole new daily problem of what "new" to do with chicken. Because really, how many ways are there to "do" chicken? The thing about deciding to cook at home is, once you go out and buy food and spend hours making it -- guess what? You're out of food again and you have to do the same thing all over. But my main question is why doesn't a tuna sandwich taste as good when somebody else makes it?
Today started off somewhat interestingly. I woke up early and quickly got dressed because a film crew was coming over to shoot D. for a television spot he was doing. I stay sequestered in the bedroom with my laptop, phone, TV and a big glass of water. (Foreshadow). After 2 hours of emailing, watching crap TV (even that gets tiring) and drinking that big glass of water, I needed to uh, go-to-the-bathroom. Too bad the sound guy was tightly wedged outside the bedroom door with thick cables plugged into -- guessed where -- the bathroom outlet. There was nowhere to go. Literally.
The snow is melting but that doesn't stop the kids (you know the ones that yell "motherfucker" to each other) outside my building from throwing snowballs at people across the street or at passing cars. The ringleader lives in the penthouse of my building. We might live in the crappy east village, but we live in one of the nicest buildings here. As I step away, I can see the kid start to fashion a ball. I turn around unexpectedly and say "Don't even think about it," with that mean look I can get. "Happy holidays," he yells back sarcastically.
As a child when you don't like someone you can ignore them or hit them. I can't do either with this annoyingly pompous guy. He suffers from the me-me-me syndrome, the one that must dominate every conversation. I can see his distaste for women as he sits on the sofa with his arm around the band of where my husband is sitting, inappropriately hitting D.'s thigh during Sopranos "key moments." He's been a friend of my husband‘s long before I came into the picture so I can say some things but not everything. I'll say it here though. He's creepy.
A woman brought him into the waiting room but as soon as he got situated, she left. I looked up to see his eyes, or rather the space where his eyes would have been. They looked like black holes and his face caved in to these charcoal clumps. He fiddled with his Walkman and then started singing with it -- loudly and very out–of-tune; the way people sing when they're in their cars alone. "Jeee-sus" he sang along to his religious tape. "God is awesome," he said defiantly. He was still singing when the doctor came to get me.
I went without watching any television today (Night time doesn't count though. I'm knee deep in this sci-fi mini-series. I know!) Trying so hard to get into a routine, so I got up, made toast, went-to-the-table and actually wrote. This is a lonely business, but I'd forgotten how good it felt when your fingers just move and sentences come out. Went out for a slice of pizza as a reward and then on to D.'s class to see his grad students final projects. As I sat there looking at examples of non-linear narrative, I thought, damn, I have it easy.
I ate alone at the lunch-counter at Veselka today. When I first moved to NYC I'd eat out a lot by myself -- usually lunch or breakfast. As I met more people that happened less frequently. Today I had my book, Jane Eyre with me, the same book I read every December. When I sat down, the guy next to me swiveled and did the staremaster thing. I felt his gaze as I twirled my wedding ring. He got the message and went back to eating as I got all interested in a book that I knew practically by heart.
The "distracting walk" is a lot less pleasurable when it's cold outside. But there comes a time each day (3:00) where if I don't get out of the house, I'm going to lose it. So I go to a different pizza place in my quest to find the perfect slice. My favorite place used to be Stromboli on St. Marks and 1st because they had this great sweet sauce. But now whenever I go back it's all cheesy with a different sour sauce. I opted for a sicilian today at that place on A. Too doughy though -- like this entry.
The dirty secret of working at home/free-lancing is that you're not chained to a desk all day so you are free to roam or meet people or even go to a daytime movie. It's all about experience. But to me it still feels like cheating. It felt good when I was doing my own stuff on The Man's time and because I was doing my work-job and my writing, it felt even more productive. So now, if I write for two hours and then go to a movie, am I cheating on my own time? Am I the new Man?
Williamsburg makes me feel old. I went there today to drop off some zines to Clovis. It was a rainy day and the air oddly enough smelled like bacon. Walking down Bedford I saw many children with green and orange hair -- rich kids, trust funders, artistes with hundred dollar haircuts and cigarettes dangling from their mouths. I went into some stores that were selling thrifted clothing for at least triple the price of its worth. It's not so different from Avenue B, I know. It just feels so concentrated there. I think I like the dilution of Manhattan better.
There was a book signing for Genesis tonight at Tonic. It was in the basement where they had booths that were old wine barrels. We made our made to Gen's den and observed the scene from within, plastic cups of red wine in tow. His fans are quite beholden but also very respectful. I watched a couple come in for autographs and pictures and thought that maybe we should go and make room for others. As we got up to leave I looked at the heavily tattooed tough-guy in our booth. He was applying wine colored lipstick to his lips.
What would be the nightmare "Trading Spaces" episode? The Munsters with the Bradys? Do you even know your neighbors? Enough to decide to re-decorate one of the rooms in their house and then have them re-do, say, your bedroom? Our neighbor is a concert pianist. He seems nice enough – we say Hi to each other and all that. But we've never seen his apartment, nor has he seen ours. I wonder. Would he like an "asian inspired bedroom" (like today's episode) or a bright fuschia dining room (like last week's installment )? I know. You HAVE to watch this show.
I've been thinking of my lost friendship with A. For reasons I don't fully understand she needs to cut herself off from contact. Friendships and people change, I get that. But the past few months have been heavy. A lot has happened and it would have been really good to share it with her, and to hear what she has been going through too. We could have helped each other, I think. We used to do that. The thing is, I understand that notion; that need not to talk to anyone. I just wanna know when I turned into anyone.
As soon as our food arrived, they started cleaning around us with smelly disinfectant. If they'd spilled some bleach directly on our sandwiches, it would have produced the same end result. It was almost 4:00 when we got to this lonely diner in Dover, New Jersey and there wasn't much of a crowd. Just some people who started drinking early – and us. I guess they figured it was a good time to clean up. We were looking for a homey place but this was all we found. There was something really sad about it. I don't think we'll go back.
What do you think it means when someone actively makes a plan with you and your husband a week in advance and then you meet for dinner and they order soup and salad and then during the soup entrée they announce suddenly that they have to go back to work? Like, they get up, leave the soup and take the salad to-go all the while explaining about deadlines and acting all freaked out. What is that? Is that bad? Would your feelings be hurt? Should we be offended, worried, or not give a shit? What? Is it something we said?
Just when I think that we should get out of NYC, something happens to change my mind. It's usually a really small thing, like coming home late at night from work totally exhausted and seeing all kinds of flowers at the local all night grocery store. Today we went to the movies in the afternoon. Granted we were at an "art theatre," but as soon as we sat down I heard familiar music playing as we were waiting. It my favorite Built to Spill song ("I Would Hurt A Fly") coming out of the speakers. It takes so little sometimes.
We stayed in tonight and watched "Grey Gardens" with Sean, one of those movies I should have seen long ago but never had until tonight. We took a dinner break during the film and discussed things that we think should be invented – breast milk to-go (Don't ask), beer for kids (Li'l Buzzy brand) and urinal holograms (It's fun peeing on George Bush!). Sounds silly but it's amazing how we all bounce off of each other. Back to "Grey Gardens," which was disturbing, funny and mad. Then again, if someone had filmed us tonight I bet they'd say the same thing.
Was there some secret doctrine formed somewhere recently that mandated everyone I know or knew at some point in my life would get pregnant now, like, right this very minute? Or has it always been this way and I just never noticed it because I was always worrying about not getting pregnant? I don't know if "that" will ever happen for me although D. and I do talk about adopting a kid if we "can't." Timing has always my problem though -- I didn't even talk until I was four. Label me a late bloomer. Just hopefully not too late.
On the first night of Hanukkah the Empire State Building was dressed up in blue and white lights. Wow, I thought, (out loud, no less) in a city that people think is full of Jews but in essence is really old money Wasp, it felt good that a Jewish holiday was being openly recognized. Of course, the next night things changed – and since then the Empire State Building has been swathed in relentless green and red. It kinda bums me out to see this display. Not so much because it's Christmas overkill but because green and red together look yucky.
The city is pretty empty now and I think we're the only people on our floor to be here too. Tomorrow's all set – early movie and Indian food for dinner, but tonight is a little unplanned. What's a Jew to do on Christmas Eve? D.'s working and if it weren't for my broken eyes, I'd be doing the same thing. This is the first year that I'm not working on an issue of my zine and it feels a little sad to me. Instead I'll make dinner, take a bath, watch crap TV. It's just another day.
Joe Strummer R.I.P.
Like all good Jews we headed to the movies this morning. It was cold and raining sideways so we took a cab to the theatre -- which was closed. What? How? Why? Ugh, the newspaper screwed up. We didn't want to wait in the lousy weather so headed home where I started a new tradition of watching TV straight for 8 hours as it snowed fervently outside. Later, we met Genesis and Jackie for Indian food. We drank champagne and talked a lot. The best part was that it didn't feel like Christmas -- it was just a nice night.
Ran into Ivan today. That's the only way we see each other – by accident on the street. He looks well and lives in L.A. now. When he asked how I was, I assumed position and took off my glove to show my wedding ring. It's so nice to see people's true reaction -- happiness can't be faked. I pointed to our building on Avenue B and he said that he always wanted to see the inside of it. I told him to stop by anytime. And although I know he won't, it's ok. I'll see him when I see him.
Around Christmas, my father used to take us to see all the lit up houses. I always enjoyed a good electricity overload in the form of moving snowmen or grazing reindeer or an electric baby Jesus in a light-brite manger. Tonight, in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn we saw all of that and more. Talk about over the top. The oil crisis starts HERE. I got plenty excited when I saw the It's A Small World homage (they left out Iran). But the best part was seeing all the Baby Jesus'. In the city, they all get stolen and replaced with hams.
This was beyond a Woody Allen movie. As soon as we walked into my mother's house, cousin E. said to D. "I saw you on TV and I give you a…" and then she made a zero with her hands. "Outstanding." It was a strange entry, not to mention that getting a zero doesn't sound complimentary. We talked to her and she told us stories of how the neighborhood kids are constantly "screwin' on her lawn." Her schoolteacher daughter nodded her head, as her high school is nearby . "That's what the kids do," she added. Welcome to the family!
Saw "The Hours" and was kind of disturbed about Nicole Kidman's fake nose. I know that she is supposed to be playing Virginia Woolfe, and that this prosthetic accoutrement made her more "believable," but as s person with, how shall I say it, not a button nose, it made me mad! Like, what? She's a better actress because she wears a phony schnozzle? What happens when she takes it off? What also gets me is that that's all the talk show hosts want to discuss, instead of the actual movie – or even her personal life. Can we get back that?
Spent the morning doing some writing and figuring on the book. Then I got all jazzed up to go outside to try to photograph what could be an idea for the poster that's to accompany the impending Plotz Retrospective. I'm used to just doing things and figuring them out as I go along. But writing a book that someone has bought already (unwritten at that), plus making a poster that has been already commissioned doesn't work that way. I *need* to have it all planned out. I have one small question about all of this. How do I do that?
The ball is nowhere near dropping but I can end this month safely now, and thus end this year. It'll be a quiet night. Dinner at the restaurant where we had our wedding meal and then home to bed, Twilight Zone marathon on in the background. How many New Years Eves did I used to ponder, in Septembers and Octobers -- who I would be with, what would we do, what should I wear? That was important to me then –- and fun, then. Now, I look to the future. It starts over every day, not just on New Years Eve.
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