tales of a girl in the city

décembre 31, 2003

The last day of 2003. I think we should make some lists.

Things I Should Give Up In 2004, But Probably Won't
1. Coca-Cola
2. Coffee
3. Rubbish TV (Examples: "Rich Girls," "The OC," etc.)
4. Mentioning M in my Blog

Things I May Actually Give Up In 2004
1. Keeping tissues in my pocket or purse (even if they're used and gross) just so I'll always have one.
2. Sex. I only say this because I've had sex exactly two times in the last 365 days, so I guess I really might as well just go cold turkey in 2004. Believe me, I find this more depressing than you do.
3. Exercise.

Well, what a year. Though, unfortunately much of it involved recuperating from The M Fiasco, it was also a year of several important triumphs. And, although I am not one to brag, I figure that there is no better forum for celebrating my personal accomplishments than a blog that no one but me reads.

So, in 2003 I was one of five women accepted to one of the top five MFA Acting programs in the country.

In 2003 I had enough insight to know that I didn't actually want to go to an MFA Acting program, but just wanted to get into one.

My tenacity in 2003 got me an agent. A good agent. An agent who I'd have coffee with and who says things about me and my performing that are so good it's hard to believe they're true.

2003 brought me my first non-self-induced orgasm. Thank you to those involved. You know who you are.

2003. Smack in the middle of my twenties. Blonde. One hell of a story-teller. Great cheekbones.
Couple of good friends. Couple of great ones. Superior family; truly top-notch. No life-threatening bad habits, and a few rather charming ones if I do say so myself.

Think it's gonna be a Happy New Year.

Knock wood.

décembre 30, 2003

My Ex M and The Unholy Slutwhore From Hell

Cheating is a horrible thing. And, lest there be any doubt about the kind of cheating I mean, let me clarify. I do not mean the kind I did when we played that game Seven Up in fourth grade where you put your head down on your desk and one of the seven "it" people would come around and tap you on your shoulder and you had to then pick out which of the seven "it" people it was who had tapped you and I always knew because I cheated and looked at their shoes.

No. I do not mean that kind of cheating.

I mean the kind of cheating where you find out that someone you love is fucking someone else. There. That seems clear.

M was, to my knowledge, the first guy to ever cheat on me. I now qualify that statement with "to my knowledge" because The M Fiasco taught me in no uncertain terms that you never ever ever ever never know what goes on when you're not around. Unless you have high-tech video surveillance in your apartment building like in the movie Sliver. And even then, you'd have to have high-tech video surveillance installed in every hotel room in Manhattan, and, as I discovered, Washington DC. Which is expensive and a pain in the neck to maintain. So. Anyway, I'm off my point.

I dated M for eleven months and I had actually already officially broken up with him by the time I found out about The Unholy Slut-Whore from Hell. I broke it off, I suppose, because on some molecular level I did know about The USWFH and possibly always knew. Molecules, however, have very small pee-wee voices that only dogs and bees can hear and they are easily drowned out by the mighty, booming voice of Self-Delusion. Which, in case you're wondering, sounds like those cars that drive up and down your street on Saturday nights at four am with the bass turned up so high that your windows rattle. Meaning, I guess, that Self-Delusion sounds like really loud 50 Cent. But anyway...

Though we had officially broken up when The USWFH reared her unholy slut-whore head, we were also officially trying to be friends and seeing each other regularly and doing pretty much everything we'd done when we were officially dating. So officially this time was painful and difficult, but in an unofficial, delicious kind of way. Very teenage-angsty stuff.

My molecular knowledge turned to actual knowledge on the morning after the NYC Blackout when I was staying at M's apartment and snooped in his computer. The power in his apartment came back and, sitting at his desk about to search the internet for the answer to the looming question, "How the hell did the power in New York City actually go entirely -out-?", my eyes immediately traveled to the file titled (go figure) "My Journal". Hmm... Should I? Why not.

Open file.

Read file.

Die a thousand deaths.

For any of you moral wombats out there preaching that I shouldn't have violated his privacy, first of all, Eat Me. Second of all, don't you worry. I got mine.

There was only one entry written during the weekend we had officially broken up. Weirdly, he had already told me a version of everything in it. The conversations he recounted with his brother in the first paragraph were no suprise. He'd told me them almost verbatum. Description of his frazzled state of mind post-breakup. No surprise. I even remembered witnessing the tears. Mention of a certain athletic, skinny Asian woman from work who he'd had dessert with. Surprise. Mention of how he invited her back to his apartment. Surprise. Description of her saying something coy like, "If I come back to your place, I'll spend the night." Surprise. Account of her seeing my photo on his bookshelf and running out of the apartment. Account of him acknowledging that he forgot to take down said photo (as had, apparently, been his routine) because he'd expected me to be over and hadn't expected her to stop by. Account of him dashing down the hall after her to tell her that he thought she was "different" (?) and that he was willing to "try the relationship on her terms" (?). Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

Amazingly at this point, the bellowing voice of Self-Delusion was still frantically singing away, pulling out all the stops and belting out every Broadway tune it could remember. We're talking full production numbers here, all in a last stitch effort to drown out the obvious truth.

But then.

He described how they went to bed.

To our bed.
I had a side.

He described how her body was beautiful. How it was a pleasure to lay next to her.

He talked about waking up in the middle of the night when his doorbell mysteriously rang. How he thought it might be me. Worried it might be me and told her so. How she recommended he call me. How he got out of bed to check if I'd called, and when he came back how she said,

"When we had sex in Washington D.C. did you come inside of me?"

Like I said. I got mine.

I remember feeling like my bones were trying to absorb me. Sitting in that chair, in that apartment drawing myself into myself so as not touch anything around me. Wishing to be small. Wishing to be nothing. So that I wouldn't have to deal with every polluted surface around me. Places where I had sat and lain and kissed him. Things that I had touched and read. And God the stupid, childish gifts that I had given.

A ceramic pot that I had painted for him for Halloween so that he would have somewhere to keep his millions of pens.

The wooden bird my father had carved and sent to him for Christmas.

My foolish, foolish photo standing on his bookshelf, in a frame decorated with pages from _Twelfth Night_, the play we'd seen on our first date.

These things offended me most because they showed how thoroughly I'd been invested ("invested" meaning "fooled"). I mean I made him crafty things to decorate his apartment. And I wasn't even embarrassed about this. I even told people about my Martha Stewart endeavors who, in response, pretended to be happy that I was so in love that I was making crafts. Sentimental pots with pumpkins on them and a homemade picture frame. Things that, let's face it, were meant to be cute reminders of me around his apartment, signifying our history and our feelings.

But, from that chair, in front of those words and my grinning fool's face, I remember doubling over from the force of the transformation. The uncovering of the most horrible kind of movie set magic--coming up against the wires and tricks and manipulations. Recognizing the truth of the gifts I had given. Seeing them as he saw them: as props.

I wondered where he put them when she came over.

When I could breathe and see again I started writing him....

a very scathing letter.

I know.

I wanted to burn shit up--I mean actually physically set things on fire. And it would have been very satisfying in a Bertha Mason sort of way, to be able to stand atop the crumbling roof of his apartment building as it collapsed in on itself and I cackled in crazy fury with flames licking at my feet. To see his face twist when he realized that his vast collection of priceless books on war, politics and the economy was gone forever. But I figured my vengeance would be short-lived and would quickly lose its satisfying tang as soon as I plunged eight stories to my fiery doom. I mean I know they do say vengeance is sweet, but "they" also used to sit around trying to kill two birds with one stone and figuring out how many ways there are to skin cats, so....

I also wanted him never to be happy again. Seriously. I still kind of want that. I want him to go through his next seventy or so years on this planet and never feel good about himself, never feel excited. And at the time I wanted to find a means to ensure his eternal unhappiness. Burning shit up being out of the question, I figured writing a very very scathing and mean, nasty letter would just about do it.

So I wrote one and unfortunately didn't save it and when he came home that night he closed the window and deleted it before he even finished reading it. Yep.

The moral of this story, then, would seem to be:next time, burn shit up.

décembre 29, 2003

OK, I have a dilemma. It's another one regarding M and new (well, new-ish) technology.

I'm about to close my AOL account because it's useless and because my roommate and I, feeling rich several months ago, bought Road Runner. I used to use it as my internet provider, and when I no longer needed it for that purpose, I used it to.... Well. Ahem. I, um--FUCK.


I used it to see when M was logged in to AOL Instant Messenger.

Man, the truth is ugly.

It's just that (you know whatever's coming next is gonna be pathetic) it made me feel better to know when he was online. God, can you even believe I wrote that? It's good no one reads this.

I suppose that it didn't actually mean that he was online. It mostly meant that he just forgot to turn off his computer or log out at the end of his work day. Means--I should speak in present tense. Because, though my account will be terminated shortly, it is not yet terminated, and I did just (as in five seconds ago) double click on his name (which is the only name on my buddy list--the only name on any of my lists, actually, because he is the only reason why I even have an IM account) and do what I always do which is sit there and stare at the blank message box that comes up, begging me with its sweet, siren song to send him a message: Please, send him a little note. Just a short one. Just a "How are you?" that would pop up in the middle of his workday and surprise him. You know you want to. It would make you sooo happy. Would make him sooo happy. It'll make him love you. His love is just one click away. It's so easy. Just one teeny-weeny click.

It's like crack. No. That's inaccurate. You know what it's exactly like? It's exactly like when you're missing a tooth and you can't keep your tongue away from the tooth-missing-crater in your mouth. So your tongue keeps going back to the crater and feeling around, and feeling it out to see if anything's changed since the last time four milliseconds ago when it was in that same hole feeling around. And of course nothing has changed, but your tongue just keeps digging in there anyway because its fascinating for some unknown reason, that gummy hole where your tooth used to be.

It's exactly like that. The sight of M's name on my buddy list, particularly when my buddy list tells me that he's logged in and clearly waiting at his desk on Wall Street just for me to IM him, is my very own gummy crater hole. And I am a huge, pathetic, slimy, probing, masochistic fucking tongue.


Where Does Snot Come From?

I am serious about this. Count it as yet another of the universe's cruel jokes. We've been given the ability to endlessly produce one thing with absolutely no effort, and that thing turns out to be utterly disgusting and totally useless.

Cruel world.

I shouldn't complain overly much, however. Because of what will go down in history as The Christmas Flu Miracle, I did not have to sing a Celine Dion duet with my high school boyfriend at my high school best friend's wedding in Wisconsin.

My Christmas Flu Miracle did not save me from having the following conversation with my high school boyfriend (who is a pompous ass and an opera singer) at the wedding reception:

Me: Hey.

HSBF: So how did I sound?

Me: At the wedding? ( the wedding that happened four hours ago?)

HSBF: Of course.

Me: Umm. Great. Introduce me to your date.

HSBF: This is Melissa. So the balance was fine?

Me: Yeah. Sounded great. So, Melissa, what do you do?

HSBF (scanning my face to gauge my reaction): She lives in France with her mom.

Me (not very impressed): Wow.

HSBF: I'm glad to hear the balance was fine.

Me: Yeah. It was. The whole thing was just really, really well-balanced.

HSBF: Good. 'Cause, you know I really had to hold back. Stood as far as possible from the mike. Tried to reign myself in--the voice is getting so big, and powerful and all. Wasn't easy.

Me: That's. Wow. That's great. If you two will excuse me, I have to run blow my nose.

Don't worry, I coughed on him several times.

décembre 20, 2003

A Bash

Ah, the bleary-eyed, muddy feeling of a righteous hangover. Didn't even have the strength to put in my contacts this morning. Ah, Karaoke. Ah, Quervo Gold. Ah, Youth.

Observations from the party last night:

Sometimes, when I'm feeling particularly awkward in conversations (like, when, for example, my friend is introducing me to a guy who writes and directs music videos for Britney Spears) I don't know what to do with my hands.

Why is it never that the man who writes and directs music videos for Ms. Spears wants to include me in his next project, but instead that the strange man with a large gap in his teeth and suspiciously unkempt hair wants to keep in touch with me because (in a breathy voice, with eyes large and spooky like a jack-o-lantern) he thinks I'm adorable and wants to know how he can get me involved in his work?

When feet are tired and clamped up in very high-heeled boots, they throb on the bottoms in time with your heartbeat.

Sometimes the older, glamorously dressed woman who has a slightly mysterious Southern accent and is keeping the attention of the man whose attention you wish you were keeping, turns out, in the end, to be his stepmother.

It is never a good feeling to have a married person hit on you.

Energy can shoot through you like a sneeze the minute they play Petula Clark's "Downtown." Even at 3:30 am.

décembre 17, 2003

A Pox On Text-Messages. And The Ex-Boyfriends Who Send Them.

I would like to complain about text messages. More accurately I would like to complain about my exboyfriend, M, who--because of existing text message technology--managed to hurl a "Thinking about you" message at me last night at (let me check my phone) exactly 1:09 am.

Email is bad enough. While going through the trouble of turning on a computer, logging into an email account, crafting a message, addressing it properly and clicking the "Send" option is (one would think) enough to make certain that no one who is too drunk or too emotional (or both) could ever complete the task without thinking better of it and returning to bed to either throw up or cry (or both), we all know that those emails do sometimes get sent. We'll give it, however, a sending percentage of around 33%. Meaning that two out of three drunken, emotionally misguided computer users usually just never even turn their laptops on.

Text message, however, has changed this. The sending percentage for the average user when dealing with text messages: we'll put it at around 80%. Admittedly, average users are going to send text messages saying things like, " U R cute. :) " or " I'm out front. U ? " As we all know, there is no need to contemplate the meaning or repercussions of any message that either uses the letter "u" rather than the word, or is punctuated by a winky smiley face of any sort (this is just one of the basic common sense tenets of being a human being who lives in the world. If you need further clarification, stop reading this and go set yourself on fire). For these average users, then, text-messaging is a harmless mode of meaningless communication--the white noise, if you will, of the conversation family.

For M, though, the text message is an emotionally safe window of communication-opportunity unparalleled since the days of the smoke signal.

Picture this. You are M. You're a successful (read: millionaire at thirty) banker. You are more intelligent, academically, than 99.9% of the population at large. You are less intelligent, emotionally, than 99.9% of most...well, than most everything. Because I am the bigger person here and, though the bastard cheated on me with a skinny, athletic Asian woman who makes upwards of $800,000 dollars a year and has a fiance in London...fuck it. He deserves every bit of venom I can muster. Bed bugs and sea anemones are more emotionally evolved than M. They may also be better gift givers and keep cleaner apartments.

So, you are M and it is one in the morning and you are returning from a long evening of drinking with other emotionally stunted banker types. You have just eaten a large steak, imbibed copious amounts of alcohol, and possibly gone to a strip club. All in the name of doing business for a large foreign bank. You're terribly frightened of commitment. You have cheated on and broken the heart of a girl who you recognize would have loved you "whether [you] were a banker or a teacher or nothing at all." You're Catholic and at this point your meaningless guilt is so heavy that your taxi is actually riding low. And there in the palm of your hand is the means to your salvation. Safe (which is key, key, key to the M Rules for Self-Expression). Convenient (which appeals to your bleary eyes and alcohol-tainted dexterity). And Easy. All these things considered, if you are M the likelihood that a text message will be written and sent? It is what the French call, A Sure Thing.

So we all know what happened next. M, feeling drunk and sentimental, picked up the phone and--reaching deep into his heart for meaningful sentiment--recalled the last Hallmark card he'd seen on his grandmother's card table and typed the three little words every ex-girlfriend wants to see on her phone screen at one a.m.

Bless his heart, he didn't even write, "Thinking of u."

As a form of communication in general, these are the things that bother me about texting. The thumb-typing allows you to be involved in other activities while sending messages. Theoretically, you could, say, hold a cell phone and--I don't know--get a blow job in the back of a taxi from--let's use our imaginations here--maybe...mmm...A ha! From a skinny, athletic Asian woman (or five) while simultaneously typing a "Thinking of you" message to your lovelorn ex-girlfriend.

Also, as a form of communication in general, the text message is, en Francais, Half-Assed. It's impersonal, takes less than thirty seconds to write and send. It's origins are dubious (see above). Cell phone screens are too small to contain large sentiments or thoughtfully chosen big words. There's no art to a text message. It's not even an expensive cliche like flowers or jewelry. Less risky than a phone call. In other words, its exactly what you send if you're a drunk, emotionally challenged commitment phobic banker who wants to say "Yo, Yo, Yo Dawg! Awwwwyeah" to an ex.

For all of you men who may stumble upon this, and who don't have the benefit of a sister or female best friend to guide you through your pathetic and meaningless male lives, let me now illuminate the events that take place after the sending of such a selfish little missive.

First of all, a bit of backstory. Though it pains me to point it out, if you will cast your eyes up about ten inches you'll see the reference to bed bugs and sea anemones.



I know. Weak. All of you none readers out there are probably pissed at me and wondering when the real venom starts to flow. Yeah. So am I. I went to an all-women's college where I spent four years espousing feminist beliefs. Most of my friends own well thumbed copies of _Backlash_. We're hardcore. And, not to toot my own horn here, but I think one of the first adjectives my close friends would use to describe me would be...Strong. Followed closely by Independent. But, the truth is glaring and ugly like Michael Jackson in direct sunlight: my venom trickles rather than gushes, and it peters out after about a paragraph and a half.

With that in mind, I direct you to the above quote about loving M wether he was a banker, teacher, etc. Well--and readers with weak stomachs should probably stop reading here--this is a quote from the email he sent me (which I have pretty much memorized) when I stopped speaking to him after finding out he had cheated on me. And.... Well, fuck. Fuck, fuck fuck, fuck fuck FUCK FUCK. This quote accurately reflects my feelings for him. Money, no money. Whatever. Could've cared less. Odd and screwed up as he was... Well. You know.

Before I get back on point, I have to have a moment to defend my feelings for him and to try to explain why those feelings are so hard to get rid of. He was an emotionally witholding cheating letch, and a liar. I now know that this is true. But the thing that happens when someone lies to you is that they usually only cover up the bad stuff.

To me, the truth of our relationship was him rapping Sir Mix-A-Lot in the shower at six am while getting ready for work. It was being in bed next to him and opening our eyes just long enough to kiss once before falling back to sleep. Just like that. Kissing as natural as breathing. It's him saying, "Have fun storming the castle," as I rolled out of bed for the airport at four a.m..

During our relationship, he may have lied and withheld and lied and withheld some more. But I just told the truth and fell in love with him. And the result? Well, I suppose it would be like the museum guard sidling up to your favorite painting and unveiling its tacky, horrendous, day-glo colored other half. You can't help it if you still see the thing you loved before. Sure it's altered, but the GOOD half is still there. And if you just hold your hand up and stand at a distance, you can totally block out the horrible part. Or if you close one eye and turn your head at just the right angle it's like the bad stuff never was even revealed. And though the good half wasn't perfect, it was...well, it was your favorite.

(For those of you already sick of this metaphor, skip two paragraphs down. You'll miss little, trust me.)

But eventually you realize that you can't go around with your head bent at funny angles and one eye closed forever (and believe me at this point that you've contemplated buying a patch or just going all the way and Oedipus-ing the one out with your fingernails.) You realize there are other paintings in the museum, that there is little dignity in self-mutilation, that that line "Love means never having to say you're sorry" is total bunk, blah, blah, blah, kumbayah, Gloria Steinem, rah, rah, rah. And, though I treat these realizations lightly now, coming to them in reality is mind-numbingly, bone crunchingly hard. Crawling on broken glass hard.

But you do it. And, though you're too depressed to be even the slightest bit happy about not gouging your eye out, you open 'em both. And you walk away.

Then, in an effort to get over M, you embark on a mission to remake, reorder, and redo everything about yourself which includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(This gets ugly. I'm warning you)
Whitening your teeth.
Getting monthly facials and a glycolic peel for a cost equal to the national debt of a small Third World Country.
Joining an online dating site.
Going out on any number of dates with men from said site in an effort to convince yourself that there is hope of finding someone new. (There isn't).

SO THAT IS WHY IT SUCKS (wait 'till you see how I'm gonna bring this one FULL CIRCLE, back to the POINT--Barbara Taylor Bradford move over, it's just us Big Dawgs now, Awwwwyeah) to receive a "Thinking of you" text message at one in the morning. Because receiving such a message means that, just when you were starting to put your life back together... turns to shit all over again.

So what will I do? Will I respond? As I sit here, blogging furiously, my newly whitened teeth glinting in the light of my computer screen, I already know the answer.

I would like to say I will respond with something cool and distant:

HIM: Thinking of you.

ME: Don't.

But, the trouble with that is that then he might not. Think of me, I mean.

And then there's the other kind of message I'm dying to send.

I think of you, too. I think of you and miss you and hate you and have things I want to ask you and things I want to scream at you. And why? And how could you? And do you? And did you ever? And when? What was it like? Why her? And there is not room in the world for me to write out all things I think of as I sit here thinking of you.

Which I won't send him either.

So I'll just sit here. Stalemate. Just silently hating the useless fuck who invented the text message, and put me in the middle of this dilemma in the first place.

décembre 01, 2003

Christmas Muzak

Why do people not understand that the purpose of Christmas music is to inspire warmth and good cheer? Recording a version of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," then, featuring only tinny sounding electric keyboards and xylophones would seem to be a poor choice. As would the entire idea of an American Idol Christmas Special. I just came back to the office half an hour early from lunch simply because the Au bon Pain X-mas music selection was so grim. All those pasty sounding voices stretching what used to be one word into what sounds like eight hundred a la Mariah Carey: "HaaaahHHvvee YooooOOOOOOoorseeeeehehehehehlf AaaaAh Meeeeeeeheehereeeeeeeeee..." You get the idea. Nothing can be soft or pretty. Certainly nothing can be sincere. Everything is long acryilic fingernails flashing in the air and hip-hop versions of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" performed by P. Diddy and the entire cast of Survivor Thailand.