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WBG in NYC
The night we got to the hotel on the beach the owner of the place warned us about the monkeys. ďThey make a lot of noise,Ē she said. My friend and I brushed her off. Weíre from New York City, we both thought. Noise means nothing to us.
At four a.m. the howling started. It sounded like the boogeyman was running through the jungle. I didnít say anything, afraid to wake my friend, which was ridiculous. The sounds were piercing, bone-rattling and scary. The monkeys were probably right outside our window. I thought we had come on vacation to hell.
Iím starting to think every social circle has one crazy, glamour girl. Life with her is always more exciting so you endure her for a while.
A week after I met Trish she asked me if she could move in and sleep on my couch. She didnít know for how long. I said no, but we became friends.
We would walk into a bar and men would swarm around her. She rode me around on the back of her motorcycle. She was always half an hour late. Her car got booted. She had crazy stories and picked fights with everyone.
I remember my earliest memory. Our next door neighbor, Tomoko, was an adult woman with long black hair. I thought she was very pretty and sweet and quiet. She and I would watch Sesame Street together at her house and learn English together.
She had windchmes that I really liked. They made a clean, quiet sound that reminded me of her. I remember that her carpet was white, and that seem to go with her too. She was quieter than my mother. Windchimes that were my mother would be made of brass and would clank. Tomokoís were silvery and sweet.
I remember the time J.B. came and stood in my room. He had gotten a haircut and was wearing a big watch on his wrist. His hair was closely cropped and was a deep black. His skin was smooth and white. He must have been taking better care of himself because he looked handsome.
He looked in the mirror and told me about how handsome he was. I agreed with him. I laid in my bed while he talked to me. He was confident and conceited and a little mean and I didnít care because I believed everything he said.
I am drunk with power. I have rolled into work today at 10 am. What is anyone going to say about it? I am the boss.
I can have someone bring me lunch. I can delay a meeting because I need to go get a cup of tea. Everyone will wait for me.
Itís been so rare that I have any say in the general machinations of the workday in my career that I savor every time I say Ďjumpí and someone says Ďhow high?í I know this wonít last forever, so I plan to enjoy it while I can.
An evening of evil. Just a little too much fun with the friends. Two friends of a pal's long-distance boyfriend show up. They are deeply awful. One is the kind of guy who thinks I need him to give me advice on everything. I am feeling pretty good, so I let him kiss me in the bathroom. He is a terrible kisser. I have kissed two gay male friends in my life, and he kisses the way they both did: slobbery, aggressively. Then, he starts to explain to me how I kiss badly. I figure I'll just let it slide.
I'm jealous of good liars. They are creative, adventurous, sexy-bad.
I had a friend in college who used to lie all the time. She would look me in the eye and say it was summer even if it was January. After a while it was just too much trouble to call her on it.
It became impossible to trust her. But life with her was a roller coaster ride. She ate and drank and screwed more than anyone I knew.
I am a terrible liar. I'm both proud of this and ashamed of what a Puritan I am deep down.
I have this thing about being touched. I'm not talking about the kind of touching from the guy you are sleeping with or a good friend or even when someone brushes up against you on the street. I'm talking about the kind of touching from a guy you barely know or just met, who, when talking to you, will casually, say, touch your hipbone, your bellybutton, the small of your back. Sometimes he'll take his hand and bury it deep in my hair.
Some people might say I have an issue. But to me, touching me that way feels intimate. I feel offended that a man would think that I wouldn't notice his hand on me.
But I suppose, in a way, it's flattering. I just wish they'd choose to express that in another way. Like, they could say "hey, you're cool. You're sexy. Can I buy you a drink?" Or "you look nice today." Honestly, I'd even prefer "Man, I'd love to sleep with you" over a surreptitious grab.
S. is endlessly fascinating to herself. Narcissism. Self-centeredness. Whatever it is, it is tough to keep up with.
Mostly I nod and smile at her when she talks. On occasion, it is important for the flow of the conversation for me to say something. It's tough to keep up your side of things when all you have to work with are boasts.
Maybe deep down she is a hip-hop artist waiting to be discovered. "S. is the bomb. S. is better than you. My skin is softer, my boyfriend is hotter, all the men love me. More than you."
I guess that's why it's so hard for me to respond to her, since all she is ever doing is telling me how much better she is. I wish we could talk about other things: tv, the weather, politics, art.
Mostly, I just want to tell her to shut the fuck up and fuck off.
It is so easy to break my heart . Which is crazy, because people tell me all the time how tough I am. "You are so strong," they say, and I don't think they are completely wrong. But still, just when I think I'm past you something makes me feel a little twinge of something.
Funny thing is, on the walk home tonight I tried to analyze it completely. I haven't thought about you in a month or so. I can see that you aren't good or right for me. But R. mentions your name, and mentions that we both like the same album.
But I'm not fifteen anymore, you know.
Here's an experiment: can I write 100 words in the middle of work? At the present moment, I am supervising the edit of the television series I oversee. The producer is sitting behind me; the editor is working at the computer.
I'm their boss, which you think would make the whole thing easier, but its doesnt'. I am supposed to be the model of professionalism. If they catch me doing something not work related, it somehow makes me less of the boss.
I'm having that illicit thrill you get when you have sex in the bathroom of a fancy restaurant.
This week has been a terrific blast. The girls and I have been throwing back bottles of wine, sitting at bars, going to parties. I was just at this rockiní bash, but I hit the wall. I just couldn't have any more fun.
Something about spring is making this week seem like Christmas season, when the wine really flows. I'm feeling like there is some new kind of happiness going around. That's not something that happens all the time in New York City. Usually I feel like we are all just scratching and clawing our way through it all here.
Like most of us here in New York City, I see a shrink. Itís come to my attention that my shrink also sees a celebrity.
I find myself wearing higher heels and cooler clothes to my appointments.
One day The Star had the session right before mine. I pretended to pay particular attention to my newspaper while I sat in the waiting room. The office door opened; I heard The Starís boots stride out. I casually looked up.
But The Star had marched right into the bathroom. At the same time, my shrink called to me: "WBG! Come on in!"
Some guy I met on vacation asked me to sign up for one of those instant messaging programs. I like a little sweet talk as much as the next girl when I'm between boyfriends, but I have trouble keeping things in perspective.
I will probably never see this guy again, since he lives in another country. We have nothing in common except surfing. The sweet talk would be lovely, but it would be like candy or junk food. I'd really enjoy it, but I'd still be hungry afterwards .Actually, I'd probably be hungrier.
Unfortunately I guess itís all or nothing.
Why is it that every time I am supposed to go on a date I feel dread? There are so many romantic movies, and there are people who relate to them, so that kind of stuff must exist somewhere. But my life isnít like that.
When the phone rings, and some guy asks me to dinner or a movie, I donít want to skip and sing and shout my mantra to the stars. Sometimes I long for the college days when you would have a bunch of drinks at a bar and make out with someone and call it dating.
Itís 5 pm. In the TV business that means there are two more hours to go in the work day. When I was younger I worked all the time, fifteen hours a day. Now Iím ten years into my career and Iíve learned to delegate. That means that I get to a point in the day where Iím no longer busy.
I know that my job now is to think more, be creative. But Iím so used to being busy busy busy and working frantically at the speed of light Iíve forgotten how to relax and let the ideas come.
I can't sleep. I'm thinking about: how my friend's daughter left a message for my cat; how my cat seems thinner; whether I should run before work; how long I can do my job for; whether dermabrasion makes your skin look different; how the Sopranosí characters are so complex; how my boss wants me to fix a grammatical error in one of the episodes I produced; how long I should live in this apartment; how I will run on the beach this summer; the face of the man I went out with last night; whether I'll ever find true love.
I have a bigger piece of writing Iím working on, and usually I hate it. I work on it inconsistently, whenever I can make myself. Itís like there are pins in my desk chair that make it impossible for me to sit for hours and dig in. I keep it on the surface, never really getting in there to do the work to make it good.
Usually I think the piece sucks and I have no talent. But deep down, I know Iíve never put my all into it.
If I never really try then I can never really fail.
I had what I thought was a pretty lousy surf session today. It was fun enough, but I was disappointed in my performance.
As I was getting dressed in the shack one of the guys gave me a look. ďYou took off on a great wave,Ē he said. ďIt was well overhead. You were right in position and you had great form.Ē He shook his head, as if he was envious. He looked like he hadnít had any good waves himself.
I had no idea how great it would feel to be appreciated for something I didnít know I did.
The hardest thing for me is to do nothing. I think relaxing comes naturally for most people, but I always, compulsively, have to find something to do.
This weekend I am going to work on this.
I plan to do nothing. I will do as little something as possible.
I will not plan ahead. I will do whatever I feel, except watch television or run errands. Those things just fill up the empty time. Sometimes I feel like I do things to avoid disorder or chaos. I will try to see what it feels like just to be formless, free.
It was never my intention to become boy-crazy, but somehow it happened. I spend too much time thinking about men. I used to have far more intellectual and artistic ambitions, and frankly, I miss them.
I have a feeling that a lot of us Ė single, smart women in their thirtiesófeel the same way. We are living in a neurotic jail.
All right! I will lead the prison escape! Iíve seen the seventh wave that is going to carry us all away into a sea of possibilities where anxiety about the future is replaced by productivity, fun and balls-out living!
An interview with Terry Eagleton in the NYT Magazine today talks about how Catholicism taught him not to be afraid of ďrigorous thought.Ē This has put words to a vague feeling Iíve always had: that I am an underachiever, intellectually anyhow.
I have a great job and make a good living, but I canít shake the feeling that Iím not doing enough in terms of my brain. I donít write any moreóor at least, I havenít been very productive. And the films and essays I have created havenít dived deep enough into their subjects.
This has got to change.
He is the dumbest creature alive, my poor cat. Right now he is sitting on the windowsill alertly scanning the courtyard. Nothing ever changes in that courtyard, but he looks at it intently for hours. When Iím feeling kind and generous, I think heís guarding me against some kind of evil he smells in the outside world. Mostly, though, I think heís too stupid to do anything else.
The best part about Paco is when I run the little red laser pointer all over the floor. For ten years heís been trying to catch it, and he never, ever can.
You know, all I ever hear from men is how much they want to get laid. And also how easy it is for women to get laid. Iíve found that once you find a man you want to sleep with it is increasingly hard to get him back into the sack after you do it a few times. They seem to grow all types of neuroses, especially that you are attempting to get them to commit to something that they are not sure they want in the first place.
So I really donít know what those men are talking about.
People are always amazed that I havenít been on speaking terms with my mother for fifteen years. They give me all sorts of advice, as if this is something Iíd change.
Really I feel like Iíve hit the lottery. I miss her desperately on very rare occasions. But I donít miss her criticism and anger. She always scared me. I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth. Or if I did know what she was going to say next, Iíd usually wish she wouldnít say it. Life around her was just too hard and never easy.
There are things about my mother that I remember and appreciate: her understanding of modern art, her humor, her fearless willingness to say what she was thinking (which I also grew to hate), her tomboyishness, her love for my brother, the fact that she would laugh at my jokes, her sophistication in the middle of bland suburbia.
I wonder what she could have become had whatever is wrong with her been fixed. I feel guilty I canít help her. All my efforts and love and care were just sucked into the endless vacuum of need that she has always been.
I donít remember sneaking out at night in high school. I donít remember figuring out how to walk down the stairs so that no one would hear, and so that a friend could come pick me up around the corner. We would steal off in the car laughing together to smoke cigarettes and kiss boys.
I donít remember telling anyone about the first time I had sex. I do remember writing it down on a computer in our basement. The letters on the black screen were green back then. After I read it I deleted the page without saving it.
Iím pretty cranky. Everything annoys me today: the Trans Am driving on the street whose owner doesnít believe in mufflers; my surfing buddy with his questions about his new girlfriend; the producerís guild party I have to go to in an hour; all my old boyfriends in relationships that ended badly. I am simply unbearable.
The bad part is when my irritation starts to turn back towards me. Thatís when I start to hate the stale smell my body has this time of the month, my job, my situation in life, even though in general I have things pretty good.
I tend to think of PMS as the bane of my existence. I am irritable, irrational, intensely emotional and angry. Itís pretty scary.
That said, there are things that I also like about having PMS. I have absolutely no time for the bullshit that I usually let slide the rest of the month. It is as if Iíve taken a truth serum, and everything that I typically hold back from saying just tumbles out of my mouth. Iím just a little bit glad that I can tell it the way it is for once, just a few days every month.
I am in Memphis on a work trip, hanging out with the homicide detectives. I donít really understand the Southís preoccupation with all things fried. How is it that the hottest region of the country is fixated on eating hot, spicy, heavy foods? I deny myself these kinds of meals most of the time.
We hit the wings shack for lunch with a couple of the sergeants. I tell myself I donít want to appear all Yankee and rude, so I tear into the fried chicken like I havenít eaten in weeks. I eat every last one. They are delicious.
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