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Some grandmothers bake cookies all weekend just so they can see their little moppets' faces light up when they come to visit for an hour or two on Sunday afternoons. Some grandmothers knit itchy bulky sweaters and insist that everyone try them on "just to see, now go on, and put it on". Some grandmothers don't do much of anything except stare out from behind glassy eyes in nursing home beds with bars on the sides and IVs hanging alongside. But Sandy's grandmother was different. She did none of those things.
Sandy's "gram", after all, was a block of cheese.
So after the frostbite forced the surgeons to amputate every finger on little Jessica's right hand, everyone thought it was going to be the end of the world. How would she do this and that? How would she survive? What would become of her? But Jessica didn't let anything stop her. With her left hand, she opened a jar of pickles, affixed five to her right hand, and learned to use that hand all over again. When she was 18 years old she wrote her inspirational autobiography, "In A Pickle", and with the proceeds bought herself some really nice stuff.
In the end, they all seemed so very very happy, and most outsiders would even say the happy couple lived the classic fairy tale life of "happily ever after". But what no one realized was that it wasn't all that easy for a beautiful young princess to come to terms with the fact that eventually the handsome young prince she'd found by kissing that slippery frog would turn into a frog yet again. Maybe not an actual amphibian, mind you, but a regular shlub with all sorts of repulsive figurative warts. And one who couldn't even swim. So then what?
All of Lucy's friends had pets. Melanie had a fuzzy yellow kitten. Pam had a goofy dog that she'd had forever. Rebecca had two fish that matched the walls of her room. But Lucy's parents said dogs were too much work and cats were too hairy. And fish, they said, were just pointless! Little did they know that Lucy kept a secret pet in the back of her closet. The tiniest, quietest baby she'd ever seen, found one day while digging around in her back yard. It slept in a pink shoebox, like those from her mom's favorite shoe store.
You utter a paragraph worth of sentences, but all that gets through to me is a muted blahblahBLAHblahblah not unlike that which the "Peanuts" kids hear when adults speak. Your words are amorphous, toneless, shapeless, and about as interesting to me as anything having to do with automobile repair or sports. You may as well be saying, "Plotbiz krampibon shilovim ecobaricxybiufgiuagidiufidufghgbueiuiq" for all I care or hear. Come to think of it, though, that might actually get my attention. Which is more than I can say for what you told me ten minutes ago. Did you really think I cared?
There are certain people for whom you can buy something idiotic such as a KAT KAZOO (yes, that would be a kazoo with a cat face) and place it in their medicine cabinet when you visit their apartment, with a yellow Post-It that urges "Blow me!" and you know they will get it and think it's just as asinine and funny as you think it is. Then there are others who just don't get the joke and actually want you to explain why you think it's funny. If you're the latter sort, please just say goodbye to me now. Thank you.
Listen large and listen loud.
If there's one truth I can state positively, without hesitation and without trepidation or any other -ation, it is this: I LOVE POTATOES.
I cannot think of one way that I don't dig potatoes. Fried (French or otherwise). Mashed. Scalloped. Au gratin (even though I don't eat cheese, I'd make an exception). Hashed. Sauteed. Rosemary/paprika. Baked. Boiled. Tater tots.
If I didn't think Idaho was such a nowhere state, I'd live there, if only to be closer to my true love. But then again, they sell potatoes here in New York too!
Life is good.
It wasn't until Martha was 12 and her family had moved into yet another new house in yet another new neighborhood in yet another new state, and her dad said, "This time, we're going to stay put! Mark my words!" that she finally felt confident enough to make new friends and bring them home to meet the gang. Daddo, Mammu, Bing, Chet, and little Kippy. The whole kit ‘n' kaboodle! What Martha didn't understand was why her new best friend, Tiffany, ran from the house crying when she met Mammu. What was the problem? Wasn't everyone's mom a baked ham?
"What are you doing with your day?" my friend asked me in an email.
I told her. "Making a sandwich." I also told her this:
"Right now I have the news on and am enjoying watching the Iraqi men trying to take down a huge statue of that cocksucker Hussein. They are hacking away at the base on which the statue stands. Using an axe. Their passion and dedication is incredible. They are cheering and have their arms in the air. It's fantastic."
The statue has fallen. It has broken in half.
This is as political as I get, kids.
Why is everyone so fucking afraid to be alone inside their own heads? Why is everyone so quick to cram their skulls full of music, blasting it directly into their buttery brains via some sort of portable music device (oh fuck all of you and your trendy iPods)? Or to jabber endlessly and loudly into their tiny cell phones, about nothing in particular and everything in general? Is everyone really that terrified of being alone not just inside their own heads, but at all, in any situation, anywhere, at any time? Is everyone so goddamned empty? How absolutely fucking pathetic.
We shared a "moment", didn't we, girl on the Bronx-bound 6 this afternoon at 2?
"That's my biggest pet peeve," you said, indicating the nail-clipping slob. Our eyes had met and I'd just joined you by the doors that 30 seconds later would be opening to let us out onto the platform.
"Mine too!" I said, laughing.
"That sound. Oh god!" you said, laughing.
"It makes my skin crawl!" I said, just as you said, "It really turns my stomach!"
The doors opened. We wished each other a good day. I got back on the train, onto a different car.
I have no patience for people who count to ten when they're angry, for those who take deep breaths in order to dispel their anger, for those who analyze what they're feeling instead of just fucking letting go and getting good and pissed off. Anger is not a decision. There is nothing wrong with it. What's wrong is not acknowledging it or expressing it and trying to quiet it down instead of letting it out. Scream. Yell. Pull out your hair. But under no circumstances should you keep quiet. I have no respect for people who can't "own" their anger.
The night before, we were bon vivants. Chic and elegant in our black clothing, sipping something colorful and trendy. He introduced me to his dimly-lit loft, where canvasses leaned against the walls and others propped in easels, touched with paint in various stages of progress. Minimal furniture, everything low to the floor. (Was it Japanese inspired?) The next morning, I awoke before he did. He was snoring. His paintings were garish and bad. The furniture, covered with white dog hair. And his feet – the night before hidden in black boots – what was with the cracked heels and the unkempt toenails?
I'm not knowing you again. You go through periods where you retreat for a while and do whatever the hell you do while in hiding. And then, when you finally do resurface, you emerge in a form that I don't even recognize and I cannot even identify vestiges of you in the ruins. You think that by running away, you are making yourself stronger and more refined, but you're really only smoothing out the edges that defined you in the first place. The "real" you that you display is so far removed from the version of you that I prefer.
They (whoever they are) say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I can't fucking stand it. I don't want people trying to imitate what I do or what I say or wear. I don't want them trying to impress me by copying me. If you really want to impress me, you'll develop your own style and way of expressing yourself. I already hang out with myself; I don't need another me. I'm not flattered. I'm repelled. You are only making me think you are an unoriginal loser by trying to copy me. So stop it. I insist.
One weekend we share a house in the mountains with several friends. We're the only "couple", so we get the big bedroom with private bath. In the middle of the night, we get into the shower. You hold me under the water stream and occasionally turn off the hot so I'm forced to endure an ice cold blast. If I yell, I'll wake everyone else. So I just gasp. You kiss me hard. Deep. Then turn the hot water back on. And off again. How trite that it was a metaphor for the way you treated me outside the shower.
I don't like happy music. Upbeat or uptempo? Major key? None of that works for me. I want to smack the sunshine from each note. Give me melancholy, minor key music any day. The only time I want to hear happy, peppy, kick up your heels "tunes" is when I'm running and need something to keep me going. But other than that, I only want to hear music that makes me cry or want to. I want sad "ethnic" music that makes me remember being torn from a homeland on whose soil my feet never rested in the first place.
Every Sunday night when I watch "Six Feet Under", I picture everyone I know who watches the show sitting in his or her house, watching it at the same time. My brother on his leather sofa in his "country house". My friend D on his blue sofa, across the park and only a five minute walk away. My mom in her living room, 100 miles south, smoking a cigarette on her green sofa. And others too. And I, on my brown sofa, smile to myself in the dark, knowing I am somehow "with" them if only via this tenuous connection.
You walked in, thinking you owned the place. You and your fake blond hair, tight jeans, and slick black leather jacket. And the requisite pointy-toed boots. And the attitude that doesn't permit you to smile. During the show, you chatted with your like-looked friends in a voice loud enough to compete with the performers'. When you got up at the end of the night, I saw that one of your thighs was the size of both of mine and your ass was bigger than the seat you'd sat on. Honey, you didn't own the place. You couldn't even rent it.
Every Sunday when Cintra visited her grandparents, she'd find her grandmother in the kitchen stirring a pot of noodles. Egg noodles, for soup. Macaroni, for a cheesy casserole. Spaghetti, for her favorite meatball dish. No matter what kind, Cintra would fish one out and slurp it through her lips.
One day she heard her grandmother exclaim, "That's using your noodle!" She peeked into the kitchen. There stood her grandfather, hatless for once, head bent over the pot, and her grandmother scraping linguini from his scalp into the boiling water.
That night, Cintra feigned a stomach ache and ate oatmeal instead.
I loathe when people try to sound more intelligent than they are by using words like "concur" and "peruse" when "agree" and "read" will do. The person using those words invariably sounds like a pretentious jackass. Or an absolute fucking moron.
"Please peruse my email. I think you will concur." No. Just tell me to read it and say you hope I agree. Knock it off with the loftier words that I know you had to look up in the dictionary (to you, a "lexicon", no doubt) before using them. You're not fooling anyone. You just sound like a fool.
The one thing that turned me off about him, other than the blue and white striped seersucker suit he wore a few times when we met for lunch many oh so many summers ago, was that his dick tasted and smelled like new balloons. I half expected to see that sort of white powdery stuff that a never-inflated balloon has on its surface when taken from the package. A new balloon should smell that way. One that has never been blown. But a dick? And one that I had blown many a time before? Well, no. That was just wrong.
And now it's time to address something very important. Something very difficult to broach. Please sit down.
Regis Philbin, you need to cut your fingernails.
There. I said it.
You need to do it NOW. As of this morning, 23 April 2003, your fingernails, seen in closeup when you showed something to the camera during "Live", were too damned long. They reached past your fingertips.
I looked at my own hands. Did my fingernails extend past the tips of my fingers? No. Did yours, Regis? Yes.
Regis, you are a man. Cut your fingernails. Please.
That is all.
I ask him what his favorite color is, and he says, softly, with great intensity, "Dark dark gray, fading into white," or maybe, "Dark dark gray, fading into black". Either way, it involves dark dark gray and fading.
We are on the damp, chilly, dark green grass in the far field of my parents' property. At 23, I am the older woman by a few years.
He thinks his answer to my question is deep or meaningful. I pretend it is. I may even say, "Wow."
I wonder if now, over a decade and a half later, he prefers blue.
A perfect way to get into bed. Tired. Weary. Fatigued. Relaxed. Face already washed, teeth already brushed, so I don't have to "worry" about water rousing me from my drowsiness. Indeed, water will lull me into delicious sleep, in the form of the rain tapdancing on the skylight just above my bed. More a downpour than a drizzle, but not enough to be called an actual "storm". I will ease myself underneath the covers of the bed I rarely make, put my head on the pillow, and be tempted to purr. (I will imagine a certain someone is beside me.)
I always seem to have more than enough words to go around. Every day I type quite a few words for my website, oh so many for email, and here I am committed to 100, and everywhere I go I take a little notebook just in case more words decide to make themselves known. But then, when it comes to actually talking to a Certain Someone, I have nothing to say and struggle to come up with any words at all. The words I do come up with eventually (if at all) are false, hollow, and completely devoid of meaning.
I don't have to be with the guy who's the life of the party, but it would help if the guy I go to the party with isn't dead. It would help if he would at least participate on the periphery rather than sit by himself without saying much of anything at all. It would help, too, if he would make an effort to appear somewhat alive so that I don't have to wonder if I should be taking his pulse and calling an ambulance. Actually, it would be really nice if he wouldn't come to the party at all.
Little things, such as the way he brought his own reusable storage containers to the vendor trucks on campus, so there would be no waste generated from a disposable takeout carton, and the way he alone could get away with wearing shirts that no straight man I'd ever met could get away with, drew me to him and set him apart from everyone else I'd dated and everyone else in general. Those little things kept me with him. Little things mean the world to me. So what were the bigger things that separated us? Why are we not together now?
I don't know what it is about you that just gets to me so much. What it is that makes me ridiculously happy as soon as I see you. And why it is that no matter how much or little time I spend with you, it's always so charged with passion and desire. I can be with you for a half hour and be consumed with/by everything that is contained within you. And then I can spend several hours with you, consumed that much more. Yet still it never seems like enough. With you, in all ways, I am insatiable.
Desperation smells worse than the dense, all-encompassing body odor that attaches itself like a leech to a sweaty T-shirt that is left to cool down in a gym member's locker between wearings, reworn every daily workout for two months, and abandoned in the bottom of a damp, mildewy hamper before ever being washed again. Desperation stinks like an old wet sponge used to wipe up vomit around a filthy toilet after a particularly enthusiastic heave-ho. You, therefore, you desperate pathetic girl who sooo wants to be "in" with me and mine, posifuckinglutely reek. Get up, wash off, and move on.
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