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And Charlie will ask her if she likes men with accents when she gets home, and she will have to lie. It'll be better that way, he'll sigh over the phone and tell her all the things he's thinking of doing to her when he sees her next. She likes listening to his voice, she can tell he'll be successful later on, maybe even tomorrow. He'll have that house if he really wants it. He'll have that house and all that comes with it, the backyard and the garage and the tools he'll shine just like he shines his shoes.
She saw them in the windows when she was lost at the Grove. They were thin and hip, their arms sinewy and white, and she thought, who are these girls, theyíre looking at me. It took a moment for her to realize amidst the crowds of people that they were hunks of plastic. Their skin was hard, but smooth, and she only called their plastic casing Ďskiní in her head. She knew anyone that overheard her would think she was crazy. She slipped out her camera and took three or four pictures of the saddest looking girls in the world.
What weíre arguing about is the difference between white and black. White is his favorite color, Black is my favorite color. No matter how much we try to convince the other that white is better or black is better, itís a foolish conversation. Theyíre just colors, and itís stupid to convince someone that their favorite color isnít black when it clearly is. Sure, one person could pretend that their favorite color is white when it wasnít, but that still wouldnít change the fact that what heís really asking me is that I have to sacrifice what I want for him.
Sheís always been the type of girl to compromise everything that sheís got for others. Thatís why it comes as a shock when he says that heís thinking of coming to where she is. No way, she thinks. Iím dreaming. But sheís not. Heís telling the truth, and in his mind, he always has. Iím coming soon, he whispers, though in Charlie time that could mean two days or two years. It would be nice if she could just escape all this responsibility of whatís to come. Some days she stares out the window and thinks of moving to Brazil.
Some of her friends had hiked to the Hollywood Sign. She wanted to go too, but she was afraid of the motion detectors hidden in the bushes. She was afraid that they, whoever they were, would know that she was there and lead her away. She was intrigued by how people would throw themselves from the sign, she thought it fitting, and realized that it was something she would do. She wanted to erase the white in her life, she wanted to rid herself of the cold, but by moving to Los Angeles she had merely disposed of the snow.
She swerved in and out of the traffic, eating the Maki Maki with her hands, daring the people in the cars next to her to watch her eat such a trendy dish as sushi by shoving whole pieces in her mouth. She maneuvered past cars that were attempting to parallel park, that were stalled in the street. The rules in Los Angeles were that there were no rules. The city of angels was making her angry, sometimes for no reason, sometimes just because a man beeped behind her or a little old ladyís car was blowing exhaust in her face.
They show her pictures of what she will become. They say thereís a chance nothing will happen, but it doesnít look good. Does she feel the shudders within her? Thatís the poison working under her bones. She asks them what it will do to her, what this is called. Bizzaro. They say. Bizzaro. They donít seem too concerned, but theyíre grateful that itís not happening to them. She is twisted in knots, her head where her legs should be, her arms bent back, she is the miserable and unwanted and they are lucky that this will definitely not be them.
Today he says he'll stay in, he doesn't need the car. I tell him that LosAngeles isn't like the city that never sleeps, you need wheels to get around. He smiles, pats me on the shoulder, I'll be okay, youíll see. Three hours later he calls me as he's getting on the orange line. It was a long walk, he says, but I made it. Made it where? Youíll have to transfer to the red and then who knows how long it will take you to get to downtown. But he just coughs, I'll see you when you get off.
Sing like you mean it don't deny that you're falling it's going to be fine just don't touch the ground keep on believing this is what you wanted all that you had was just a reaction to the sound. Stop. Fight. Keep on grinding. The way things are humming you'll never see the sun, the sky's been winding down the future is rising no one ever asked if they mind coming undone. And that is what she told him as he got on the plane. See you December 23rd, 2006. But it was already too late, it was already today.
The fire on the mountain snakes through the valley. We take the elevator to see the flames. I can hear the helicopters whirr above our heads, and it frightens me that the only time I notice the earth is when something goes wrong. I ask him if there is anyone that likes him and he says the auditor since she looks down when she sees him. I'm addicted to the jealousy I feel. I listen carefully to what he says. Is she pretty? I ask. Do you like her? If he doesn't abruptly say she's stupid, I know the truth.
She blamed her awkwardness on the snow, but now that she lived in the land of sun she couldn't blame the weather anymore. The sky was always blue, the palm trees always swaying, and the buildings yellow and pink and green, bright like what she thought Mexico would be like. She bought a subscription to People en Espanol and spoke the words to herself on her flowered Ikea comforter after work. She spoke to herself in Spanish until her eyes closed and the owlís hoo hoos outside her window were softer and softer and then not even there at all.
Last September, David Smith went to Fiji to see where the water was that he was drinking in those square bottles with the picture of the island on the side. That water has electrolytes, he said. If that water has electrolytes, I wanna see 'em. Like where are all those amoebas scooting around in my drink, huh? I just told him itís good not to ask so many questions. Leaves your mind to wander in the devil's backyard, and when he offers you those BBQ ribs it can't be good, you know? I mean, whose ribs are they, you know?
The day the mannequins came to life Marcia Pickings had cut her body into thirty different pieces. She knew she had sliced her face eight, the slits of her neck seven, and her legs and arms approximately fifteen times. Then the statues rose, the big iron bear in downtown hunkered down on a hot dog stand, collapsing the metal cart in one sitting, and then mosied on down the street, BMWs and Chevrolets stopping in the road, running over the lines, the reality of Monday on a June day. Sweltering. Inconsolable. The beginning of the end. And so it was.
I made him go to the Nursery with me before he left. The wind had knocked over my cactus' and I saw him sweep over the rocks and soil that belonged in their pots. I asked him why he had done that and he turned to me. He was wearing his Yankees hat backwards, his tie around his head like a bandanna, and a Who's Your Daddy shirt from a Mr. and Mrs. Smith promotional tour (It came with a free poster and matching coasters). I loved him. And on my balcony at that exact moment I knew one thing.
He was never going to come out here to live with me. I told him we could split the rent. It would be $300.00 each. Or, we could split the rent four ways. $475.00 for all four of us. It was nice, I suppose. A nice share. But he would never go for it. He had his family in New York, he had his friends. He had a decent job. He was going to be promoted in two months. I didn't want to say that we were doomed, but we were, and despite knowing all this, I still held on.
Look see you're there and Iím here and that's fine with me. In fact, we can be fine with each other not being fine until the end of time for all I care. But now youíre saying these things and asking these questions, and with you being lovely and me pretending not to notice I canít help but fall for all you could never be, and I love you, god damnit, I do, and now I have to live with all that does and doesnít mean and I just donít know anymore, I just donít know a god damn thing.
They love him because he's honest. Telling them exactly what they want to here, but never lying, at least not to the point that they care. Although he's with all of them at once, he manages to make them all feel worthy, like the best girl he's ever been with, like the only one for him. Now, they do not talk to each other in elevators, but only politely smile. Waiting for the floors to pass, for the moments to end so that they can go home and freshen up, wait for him to come home, or maybe just wait.
He told her two things. One, that Joe thinks they are cowards, and two, that there are no out-of-state cars in California. She is too busy looking at the license plates that they pass to answer. Did we just pass Oklahoma? She tells him that he could get a job here if he wants, but all he says is that New York is the center of the universe. He would like to visit her more, he continues, but he isn't moving out of his house until he has a down payment. He must get it from his mom, she thinks.
In your head you imagine the life you would want to have. The life that would make you the most happy. It doesn't matter if in reality it's not the case, it's just how you think your life could be. Having this happen and having people respond like they are is like living that dream. I'm happy and the world is full of possibility and wonder, but at the same time, because nothing is going wrong and I am living the life I wanted to live in my head, I have to stop sometimes and just take it all in.
Who wants to be a winner? I find losers far more interesting, because there's always somewhere you can go. People rarely stay at rock-bottom, you can go up you can go farther down you can go to Australia there's always other options you can take. Life veers off course and that's exciting to me. I used to love snow days as a child, fire drills, smoke alarms, sirens, helicopters, hazards, rain. I never really wanted anyone to be hurt, but the jolt from the everyday is reassuring and snaps you out of your comfort zone, reminds you you're still here.
Good things must come to the end, and I always seem to be preparing myself for a lack of happiness. It worries me. One of my favorite quotes is from a Manuel Puig novel, Kiss of the Spider-Woman. The best thing about being happy is that you think you'll never be unhappy again. And my god, it's true. One day a helicopter landed on the roof of the mall, I got to go home early that night. It was like Christmas in July. The warm air sticking all over my body. Heat. Feels good when you got nowhere to go.
There were always adventures I wanted to go on, but I learned early on that if you didn't have money, it was extremely hard to do what you wanted to do. We lived in a very rich area of New York but my parents were always worrying about money. My mom and dad worked to give my sister and me an education, but I could hear them fight over bills at night. When a lot of kids in my school received brand new cars for their sixteenth birthday, I had to take the late bus or catch rides with friends.
This is it. Everyone wants it to be for something. Everyone wants the parade. When you go to war, you'd like to think that there is a real good fucking reason you're risking your life to be where you are. You never want to hear that there's no point and it's a lost cause. Sucks to be on the field knowing everyone back home doesn't support why you're being there. It kills morale, makes you sloppy. And when you're sloppy you end up getting shot. You only have one life, and no one wants to give his up for nothing.
At this point I have firmly committed to never being with him, always living life at half speed. This is, of course, impossible. So I will forever be in this sort of in between place. On the shelf. Boxed. I've done it to myself. And I've found a way to weirdly be okay in this sideways world. Today I confused two guys, one who was getting married, the other who wasnít. I was happy, I must say, to hear that this one guy wasnít married. What does that mean? Iím horrible. Even more so for not feeling horrible at all.
I want to live on the west side, baby. But it's hard when the rent's so high. People fly when they're living on the west side, the west way of life. It kills you. The way it could be. But then you go home, you get in your car and you go home. The Valley's okay, it's a bowl of smoke and smog. There's nothing much more you can say about it, cause you can't really say much when you're dying. Choking on your own words. Damn. This town is gonna drive me to drink. This town is gonna drive.
You can drive this town, you can take Sunset straight to the ocean, and you can sit on the dirt, by the signs that say parking anytime, parking anytime. You can do that here. You can drive to church or to the mall, to the convenience store, you can drive yourself to drink, you can take one or two shots. Just to help you pretend you ain't you. Boss at work says be someone else, she says she pretends she's Marilyn Monroe. I say shyness, this shyness it's a disease. My face reddens - it's game over for this gal.
This is what I think about when Iím at work: Three Weeks = 21 Days Los Angeles to Ensenada Ensenada to Punta Baja Punta Baja to Bahia de Los Angeles Bahia de Los Angeles to San Francisquito San Francisquito to Guerrero Negro Guerrero Negro to Santa Rosalia Santa Rosalia to Loreto Loreto Loreto to Ciudad Constitucion Ciudad Constitucion to La Paz La Paz to Todos Santos Todos Santos to Cabos San Lucas Cabos San Lucas Cabos San Lucas Baja Loop Baja Loop Baja Loop Baja Loop Baja Loop Cabos San Lucas Fly from Cabos San Lucas to Lost Angeles, CA
Summer/Fall Trips 1) Hawaii 7 nights: Late August/Early September $300 -> roundtrip airfare $250 -> maui accomodation $300 -> snorkeling/adventures/food/misc $50 -> renting a car for some days _______________________________ total: $900.00 2) Ensenada/Rosarita: Weekend/Long Weekend 2/3 days (June/July) $100.00 3) NYC: 2 weeks: August/September $350.00 + $200.00 = $550.00 4) Port Townsend, WA + Portland, Oregon (August/2 weeks) $200.00 _________________________________________ total: $1750.00
I love finding fat people in Los Angeles. Double chins, I adore you. Bring it on thunder thighs. Big, bold, and beautiful people of this city, please rise. Stand against the skinny plastic people. We will melt them until their faces stick to the sidwalk and we can draw our names with popsicle sticks in their faceless puddles. CHECKA WAS HERE. Take that, you twig. Double wink to the people of the double stuff oreo persuasion. Say a prayer for the orange Barbie in front of me ordering a wheat grass float. Whatever happened to vanilla? Chocolate? Double brownie fudge?
Simon is a question left to be answered. he is tall, with thick thighs and darting eyes who instantly makes me nervous. What's going on? I have no idea. I have no fucking idea.
What do you think is your greatest weakness?
Poor interviewing skills. If you hire me though, I'll be good. I'm a hard worker. I'm awesome. Pinky promise? Okay, no pinky promise. That's fine.
How does name dropping work? I'm not very good at it. But I'd like to be.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a professional. Friend. So fuck off.
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