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I'm sick of sitting at this desk, staring at this computer, distracting myself with the internet and email and the godawful, boring-ass motherfucker "blogs"and "journals"of cretins I loathe without even knowing them in real life. Tomorrow I take myself out into "the field-. I take my version of the laptop - a yellow legal pad and several perfectly sharpened Dixon-Ticonderoga pencils - onto buses, into parks, and anywhere and everywhere that's not connected to the stultifying computer screen world.
What's next? Will I become one of those schmucks who says he cannot type unless it's on an old manual Royal?
Trajectory of our infrequent weekends together:
- I'm in love with you upon seeing you again for the first time in however "too long"it's been. I think you are the most charming man in the room.
Morning after first night
- We may as well be brother and sister. And not even close ones. I hate how you hover over your oatmeal at the tacky diner.
- In love with you.
Morning after second night
- Can I get an earlier train? I hate your jeans and your belt.
That night, home alone
- Can't wait to see you again.
Note to Leadfoot Stompers In Apartment 14B:
Just because this building is superstitious and doesn't acknowledge the number 13 on the elevator or mailboxes doesn't mean you are exempt from the force of my telepathic wishes of bad luck to befall you.
Just as you denied the existence of your incessant noise one night last week at 12:37, when I knocked at your door to bring it to your attention, I'll deny the existence of my foot up your ass next time. The stomping you do on my head will be nothing compared to that which I'll do on yours.
Rita glides in at 4:00, and stands in front of the chair that ordinarily she flops into, blonde head bowed and blue eyes focused on the area rug's pattern. She raises her head, and my suspicions are confirmed: Today is Chinese Day.
On Chinese Days, she narrows her eyes into slits, pulls her lips into a thin line, and speaks in a fashion that recalls Mrs. Livingston from "Courtship of Eddie's Father-. Oddly enough, she refuses tea. However, she never refuses on British Days, when she bursts into my office, jutting out her teeth and fussing with an imaginary hat.
He stands, tragically, by the bed, and waits for her to see him standing tragically by the bed. He sighs, tragically, and waits for her to hear him sighing tragically. At the end of each sigh, he pauses and waits for the sound of her stalled footsteps behind his back, so he knows she has seen and heard him standing and sighing tragically.
She is supposed to ask him, "Why so tragic?" He imagines that her asking would reduce his tragedy and spur him to move away from the bed and stop sighing. He never imagines her rolling her eyes.
It's the fourth time in two weeks that I've had to witness her way-too-large-for-her-body-frame tits in the long horizontal wall mirror behind the row of sinks in the ladies locker room. It's the third time too many. I was amused the first time, to see the at-least-Cs-but-probably-Ds suspended above her tiny torso, especially since they never drew attention to themselves while dressed in a workout T-shirt.
Today is the first time I get to see her ass for longer than a split second. And all I can think is, "My god. Even the tiniest of asses isn't immune to cellulite.-
Someone in this building is the creator of noise that resonates in my bones and viscera with such intensity that it's all I can do not to kick the person's door in, drag her (the footsteps wear heels!) out, and punch her in the face until her cheekbones collapse.
Twice I've confronted Apartment 14B, and twice they've denied the noise. Tonight (the second time) I went upstairs to complain, and met E, the woman of the pair. I'm still not convinced she's innocent.
What next? Will I learn those occupants died four months ago, and nobody's occupied their apartment since?
If I would've known, I would've memorized that small, tender spot a few inches between your clavicles, where, as I laid curled around you in semi-darkness, I gently pressed my fingertip to feel the warm flesh yield and then spring back. If I would've known, I would've pressed this soft skin several times and marvelled at its smoothness and how it was just a half inch among who knows how many cubic feet of man stretched out alongside me.
But I didn't know. I didn't know it'd be our last time. So I didn't memorize it, or you, at all.
Why do you insist on presenting yourself in ensembles so wretched and unpalatable that I find myself gagging at the memory? (Note: If I want to gag, I'll let you ram yourself down my throat. As unappealing as that notion is, it's less offensive than your clothing choices.)
Hello, but what kind of man comes to bed in a banded-bottom college sweatshirt, so oversized that the material sags over the band like the huge, flaccid-skinned gut of a morbidly obese man? And this, paired with little white underwear? I mean, come on.
No wonder you're still a bachelor at 46.
So. Key West next month. He's presenting something to the ABA, and I'm tagging along at his invitation.
I'm fretting over bathing suit ensembles, and what else to wear and what to bring. Already envisioning myself lounging on a chair poolside, sipping something technicolorful out of a pineapple, trying not to blind myself on the little paper umbrella. I'm hoping for debauched beautiful gayboys frolicking in the pool, with just me as their very appreciative audience.
I pray his presentations disallow him poolside time with me. I do not want to see what he thinks passes for a bathing suit.
If you stack my mother-and-daughter cleaning-lady combo atop each other, they may be as tall as I. I want to say, en espanol, "Maria, take off your shoes and stand on Margarita's shoulders. Just for a sec. I want to see something.-
They're roly-poly. Weebly. Each has at least 50 pounds on me. Still, I can't help but wonder if, when they're in my bedroom, they sneak into my closet and hold my wardrobe up to their aproned torsos, saying, "Que pensas?" There no way they'd fit into the clothes, so I don't have to worry too much. Do I?
My patient, Martin, has trained his three-year-old daughter to fellate Popsicles. He lets her do it on the bus.
She sits. He stands above her, looking down at her looking up at him. He nods a nod only she can see. She licks her Popsicle (always purple) from its stick to its rounded top, several times. Her lips linger at the top, and, not removing her eyes from her daddy's face, she sucks and pulls at the melting purpleness. She smiles up at him, big brown eyes seeking approval. He nods it to her, a nod only she can see.
While you're upstairs getting ready to take me to breakfast at the diner I hate, where the only thing on the menu I'll eat is hashed browns, I scan your kitchen/dining area from my perch on the ugly stool you'd just bought in tandem with the rest of your ugly furniture, looking for something to steal.
There's nothing. Everything's crap. But still, I have to take something, so I settle for two matchboxes among the many crammed into a container by your fireplace. I'll take them home, but really, I should use them to set fire to the hashed-brown diner.
Why, when I saw the smashed-into-oblivion uncovered pillow on "my"side of his bed, did I not turn to him and say, "Excuse me, but would a pillowcase be out of the question?"Why did I stand in silence, hating him for not knowing that, when a lady comes over to spend the night, the least you can do is make sure the pillow is covered so she doesn't have to encounter mouth stains of mouths other than her luscious own?
I hate myself for having apparently accepted this, almost as much as I hate him for thinking it's acceptable.
How many times do you have to offer me your odd juice concoction (cranberry, orange, and who knows what the hell else) and have me tell you, "No thanks, I don't Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœdo' juice,"before you get it through your head that you really should have something in your refrigerator that I'll actually drink?
Inside my head, I'm screaming, "God DAMN you, you motherfucking MORON, I don't drink juice, I don't drink juice, I DON'T FUCKING DRINK JUICE!!!"while outside I'm politely declining the offer.
Dear god, I really do hope he offers it to me the next time I'm there.
We sit across from each other in silence, neither of our days interesting enough to warrant conversation that would mask the sound of the other's bored chewing. I rifle through my brain's filing cabinet for a noteworthy tidbit from days ago - something to rescue me from having to hear his food gliding down his gullet, culminating in a small wet gulp that makes me want to lean across the table, grab his shirt collar, and scream, CHEW YOUR FOOD BETTER! GODDAMN IT, CHEW YOUR FUCKING FOOD!
But I don't. Because, damn me, I couldn't bear the sound of prolonged chewing.
He lies on his back in the mat area, spreads his legs wide, and grabs each ankle with the corresponding hand. The guy can spread Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœem, that's for sure.
But why does he have to do it so that his ass and all that other ... junk ... is visible to innocent passersby? Can't he turn the other way, so the only witness is the blind plaster wall?
I imagine him saying to a lover, "I am ready for your cock." This makes me guffaw. I look up at one of the silent TVs above the treadmills and pretend CNN is hilarious.
"You have a great body, so why do you wear jeans that do it a great disservice?" This is what I plan to say next time I see him, when, I'm sure, he'll wear the too-high-waisted, too-short, too-tapered, too-revolting-to-bear jeans he wears every time I see him.
What I really want to say is, "Your jeans are vomitous. The only way they could be more offensive would be if they were pleated, like your chinos, and/or acid-washed,"but I'm told that's not very nice.
But, really, is he being nice by inflicting those wretched jeans on me? I think not!
"You're going to have to work up some enthusiasm for the concert,"he tells me after he asks me if I'm excited about seeing the Allman Brothers in a few weeks, and I tell him, "Not really.-
"Not really"is what I should have said in the first place, when he asked me if I wanted to go to the concert. Or, rather, "No-. A big, red, pulsing, neon NO delivered with enthusiasm I wouldn't have to fake.
Why oh why oh WHY did I agree to go to this thing? It won't even be worth it for the comedy.
If you came here looking for my usual 100-word stories about deformed kids (e.g., cyclops, but with the eye in the back of the head) or someone's poquita loca grandma with dual poodle-heads in place of hands (but man oh man, she still makes the best shortbread in all of Nilberth, Ohio!), well, you've come to the wrong place. At least this month. Prior months yield that variety of entry.
This month I seem to be dedicating to the deformity otherwise known as "this guy I sometimes date-. And I've gotta say, I think I'd rather date a cyclops.
My patient, Lisabeta, tells me of her obsession with clothespins. Not the new-fangled plastic kind, but the old-fashioned wooden variety with extra-strong grips. "I used to get a special tingle in my jingle Monday mornings when Aunt Lotta hung the laundry on the line,"she says.
Each Monday she'd snatch a clothespin from Lotta's basket and test it on a different body part. Since she didn't want Lotta to know she'd pilfered the pins, she'd do it only on concealed parts.
"I never got over it,"she says. "Wanna see?-
I'm dying to, but professionalism forces me to say No.
"Crono Simchak"(not his real name, although he tells me he signs checks this way, his signature a scribble/scrawl in which individual letters are indecipherable) had been coming to my office twice a week for the past year, but I couldn't figure out why he would hand over cash (he had no insurance) just to sit in the plush, overstuffed "chair-and-a-half"and enjoy a cup of English breakfast tea. He never displayed even the slightest neurosis, and indeed appeared to be a specimen of perfect mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. So what was the deal, anyway?
to be continued
continued from 22 February
After discussing this with my colleagues, we decided that deep below the flawless surface Crono presented existed a bundle of closely-guarded psychoses. (We envisioned the bundle as clean and shiny beneath a taut sheet of impenetrable Saran Wrap, its scent undetectable by a hungry tiger.) Still, after I just came out and urged Crono to "give me something to work with,"nothing ever came to light.
"I assure you there's nothing,"he said with a gentle, avuncular laugh. "It's just that Starbucks is too crowded, and there's nowhere else to enjoy a quiet cup of tea.-
On his first visit, Parker flopped onto the floor and asked if I minded if he sat "Indian-style-. When I said he could sit however he liked, he said, "Perhaps you weren't listening. I said Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬ËœIndian-style'. Shouldn't you chastise me for using politically incorrect language?" I said my job wasn't to chastise.
"Well, it should be,"he said, reaching into his pillowcase and extracting an Oreo missing one chocolate side.
"Aren't you going to judge me for my half-breed cookie?"he said. I said I was not there to judge.
Parker returned once, repeated this sequence, and never came back.
Rain is forecast for two of the three days I'll be in Key West, and I couldn't be more elated than if I'd personally executed a top secret raindance for this outcome. As "they"say, "Two out of three ain't bad.-
The best part is that the one rain-free day of the trip is the first day, when I'll be arriving after pool- or beach-time anyway, so, really, I'm getting off the hook quite easily.
"Fun in the sun"can kiss my soon-to-be waterlogged ass. Bring on the indoor activity. The books, the room service, and more. Bring it on!
Carl's been coming to me for a month, but hasn't divulged anything that warrants the expense of the sessions.
"I just don't like green,"he says one day, his voice so loud it shakes the windowpanes.
"I'd eat succotash, but I'm not crazy about corn if it's off the cob,"he says the next, his voice even louder.
Then, no matter what, he unwraps a small sandwich and silently chews it for the rest of the hour.
I'm tempted to wear green next week and shake two cans of corn like maracas, to see if he'll finally shatter the glass.
"You can't call me disgusting,"Charlisse says, pulling her pinkie from her nostril and spreading the bounty on a slice of white bread. "You're my doctor. You can't pass judgment.-
She jams her finger into her other nostril but comes up empty. "Damn it,"she says, and places the finger in her ear. Again, empty. "Jesus Christ!"she says.
She crams her hand down the front of her pants. But no: nothing. "What's it gonna take?"she yells.
She pulls down her pants and squats over the bread. But fortunately it's 3:00 and Mr. Calhoun, my next patient, is prompt.
I spent the entire day knee-deep in a mucky mire of wishy-washy, namby-pamby indecision, later disguised in curse-riddled conversation with my sister and mother as a hard-as-nails, iron-clad decision with a liberal peppering of guts and balls. They admired and applauded my bold, take-charge attitude and told me the choice I made was the right one. Absolutely.
They don't have to know that I've reversed that choice. They don't have to know that after all the feigned bravado and swagger, I backed down and made the decision closest to my heart. The heart I don't think they think I have.
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