tales of a girl in the city

janvier 22, 2005


Snow is change made visible.

Inside it is me and Bach, six cello suites and Ms. Woolf's diary. Outside it is a gust, a showy snow. God's effort, I think sometimes, to erase and start over. The early snow delineates--outlines all the roofs and trees and sidewalk cracks that otherwise you'd never notice. It's a reminder for later, so that tomorrow things can be put back where they belong.

The later snow obliterates. A car is a curb is a stairwell is a storefront. Everything gets mounded and fat in this new strange noncolor. The mailboxes become the garbage cans. The garbage cans become the bushes. All of it huddles together for a few hours, indistinguishable, held still and blinking.

Today and tomorrow are days to rest.

I'll stay here and wish I knew how to play the cello. Day one: there's a story to write about a friend of mine, and then ten toes to paint and paint again if I want. (There's enough time for red and fuschia.)

Day two gets itchy. Gets to be, What's in my closet? and discovering that single can of coconut milk waaay in the back of the pantry. I'll sit in not-the-usual chairs and cut apart old conversations. I'll call everyone.

Right now, though, it is just Day One: The Beginning. And I'm warm and couch-happy, looking out at the early part.


And thankful.

janvier 21, 2005


It's 1:11. Make a wish.

There will at some point be a post about how I caved. How I went, post-concert, to a restaurant in the West Village. How I chose the dress so that he'd want nothing in the world as much as he wanted to taste the shape of my neck. How I dazzled an entire Brazilian soccer team.

All of those details will follow.

But, for now, it is 1:11 on Thursday night and I'm making a wish for two boy-hands on my hips. I wish to find fingertip bruises in places that make me bite my lip tomorrow. In about five minutes, when I go to bed, I want there to be someone there telling me, "Turn around. I want you from behind."

It's not polite. It's not about the holding afterwards or breakfast the next day. Right now it's just about my mouth and tongue and lips and teeth and hips and breasts and thighs and hands. It's about someone to wake me up at 2:11 to whisper into my ear, "Again. Wake up. I need you again."

It's 1:11. Wishful thinking.

janvier 13, 2005

In Which I Lay Out A Plan For World Peace And Admit That I Can No Longer Make Fun Of My Parents For Not Being Able To Program The VCR

My current favorite thing about myself is that I have somehow managed to completely erase my new iPod, not once...not twice...but three times.

Some of you have probably had your iPods for years and NEVER erased them.

I've only had mind since Saturday.

I know. When it comes to technology, I am such a winner. There is no other winner quite like me. In fact, I am so much of a winner, that I think I'm going to claw my eyes out with the prongs of my new, useless iPod's charger. Because, that, my friends, is what people who know about technology like I know about technology, do.

I do not understand this terrible iPod curse that has been laid upon me.

Did I not welcome the new iPod into my life (hold it in lap, pet it like cat)?

Did I not make up fun stories about the three small set musicians that I believe live inside of it (Lenny, Greg, Igor) who can play every instrument and instantly sight-read any piece of music ("Shit, guys. Get out the synthesizer. She wants Enya")?

Do I not have a very clear vision of the dance they do (Jets: West Side Story) whenever I give the iPod a command?

AND does no one understand what I have had to go through to acquire this iPod (sex, strangers)?

Then why does my iPod continually forsake me?

Email at right. Send help.*

*People who my Nedstat counter says are reading this blog from the Pentagon, THIS MEANS YOU!**

**Also, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU AND WHY DO YOU READ MY BLOG? Am I in trouble for something? Is my punishment for whatever bad thing I did that my iPod won't work? If so, that is a fucking unbelievably effective punishment, and you guys really know what you're doing.***

***But, if the Al Qaeda guys have iPods, and you know about it, and you're using me as some sort of guinea pig in a trial run of a new top secret military tactic--you know, screw with their iPods, screw with their minds--then it's fine. I mean, you can keep on messing with Igor and the gang. Because, obviously, I'll do anything for my country. Even if it means that I don't get to listen to Orinoco Flow whenever I want to. Which is, like, all the time. Just in case you thought this wasn't hard.

PS. One more thing. If you Pentagon guys aren't screwing with my iPod as some sort of top secret international military defense effort, please help me fix it.

PPS. Final thing. Promise. If you haven't already thought of it, though, you should totally consider giving the Al Qaeda people some iPods that only work for, like, one afternoon. That way, they'll get fully addicted, won't be able to live without it and will get all distraught and sad that they can't get any more Enya. THAT'S WHEN you Pentagon guys can make an announcement that any Al Qaeda who surrender will get their iPod fixed immediately. And I think that'll pretty much do it. Their need for technical support will defeat them. BAM! Peace in the Middle East.

PPPS. Yeah. You're welcome.

janvier 11, 2005

I'm Not Even Going To Tell You What This Post Was Originally About

British Boob: Hullo. Kathryn had asked if I would be so kind as to say a few words about her--ahem--rather active imagination. To that end, I have prepared the following remar--

Southern Belle Boob: Sweet thing, don't you even bother yourself about it. All these nice people already know quite enough about the quality of our lady Kathryn's wild fantasy life.

British Boob: Yes, but--

Southern Belle Boob: Honey. *sighs* We're her bosoms.

British Boob: But, I do think--

Southern Belle Boob: And we talk.

Unn the Deep Minded *interrupting*: I am the viking virago who colonized Iceland, and I now live in Kathryn's womb!

Southern Belle Boob: See what I mean?

Unn *digging frantically with spoon*: I must get out of her belly! I yearn for adventure!

British Boob: Ah. Right, then.

janvier 10, 2005


What I love about my uterus is that it wants to get out and see the world. I know this because it is currently trying to dig its way out of my body with a spoon. Or, at least, that's what it feels like. It's neat. Really.

And all the great things about being a woman aside--you know, childbirth, ob-gyn exams--today there is nothing I would love more than to turn in my Woman Card and get a FULL FUCKING REFUND RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!!! Because this is unbelievable. Four Bayer and three Advil later, and I am still practically doubling over as I write this. I spent fifteen minutes on my kitchen floor this morning, just lying there, trying to find relief on the cool linoleum. (I did not find the respite I was seeking. Though I did find a refrigerator magnet and two quarters. But, any man who thinks that that is somewhere close to a fair trade, should come to 26th Street and 6th Avenue immediately, so that I can punch you in the throat as hard as I can, which--you should know--is really fucking hard since I have no feeling in my hands because I'm so hyped-up on Bayer and Advil.)

All I know, is that my future children better be fucking rock star, cancer-curing, Olympic athlete, mother-spoiling, beauty-pageant winning, Green-Beret geniuses. Because that's the only way this kind of pain could ever be worth it.

And even then, one false move--one overly whiny, two-syllabled "Mo-om"--and they are in a basket, headed down the river, Moses-style.

That is all.

janvier 06, 2005

Planning Ahead


Having perused the websites of various philanthropic organizations that give smart people money to go to grad school, I have realized that I am not nearly as smart and wonderful as my mother had previously told me I am.

Who knew.

The people who win these scholarships have biographies that read like this:

Elected to Phi Beta Kappa on the day of his conception, Charles Radborn displayed his genius early on by making all the other kids feel stupid. At age two, he was named one of the nation's "Top 30 Under 3" for sacrificing his pet fish in order to perform the world's first fish-to-sister heart transplant. The technique he pioneered during that operation is known as "The Radborn Guppy Method."

His pre-school thesis--the subject of which has since been classified--earned him honorary degrees from both Harvard and MIT, which, along with his fuzzy blankie and his stuffed bear, Boo-bah, are now among his most prized possessions. What's that? Oh. Sorry. Charlie doesn't actually have a fuzzy blankie or a Boo-bah. Those were just someone's lame attempts to humanize him. In actuality, he abhors the soft materials used in most children's toys and, instead, derives his comfort from thinking of the various aromatic compounds used in the synthesis of a molecular diode.

Currently just seven years old, Mr. Radborn is fluent. There is no need to specify in which languages. In his spare time, he enjoys correcting other people's grammar, singing Christmas songs in Klingon, and drawing fractals.


Because the biggest innovation I came up with before age seven involved wearing my underwear on the outside, I am beginning to think I may need another method of raising money for grad school.

Hence, the Google Ads below.

janvier 05, 2005


Some people build moats, choose isolated mountaintops, wear armor, carry a sword. I? Buy a ticket to Carnegie Hall.


David's worried and wondering about dress shirts from Hong Kong, and then, practically in the same breath, he's saying, "So I was thinking of coming up to New York on the 15th."

And some of you--most of you, in fact--will say "Fuck it. He's an ass," and will insult him and encourage me to move on. You'll be right. And I won't even hesitate as I tell him, "I'll be shooting in Philadelphia."

He counters immediately with potential plans to visit his friend in Philly on his way to New York. Maybe he'll find me and watch me film. Maybe we can have dinner. The maybe's go on long enough for me to remember the good stuff. And it's hard again, then, to stop his plans short, but...

"I'm not sure what my shooting schedule is yet. We'll see."

As I say it, I think about our 4th of July.

When he emails the next day it's, "When are you going to be in Philly? I'll be there for work on the 14th. Are you just going to Philly, or will there be other stops? Will you still be there on Monday?"

No luck, I reply. Though that doesn't phase him.

"Well, I guess I'll just come on up to New York the night of the 14th, then. I'll be in around 7:00. Sounds like you have to get up early the next day, but maybe we can meet up for drinks or dinner?"

That's when I start to look around for a ticket. Because I'm not strong enough to say no without an excuse.

(You can criticize that all you want, but only if you've never gone back when you shouldn't.)

The Met: No Performance. The New York Phil: Nothing. Carnegie Hall is my last option; I'll take anything. Anything--a euphonium soloist.

I'm in luck, and it's not even terrible. Violin and piano. Brahms, Beethoven, Prokofiev. A single ticket. I know already that I'll wear a creamy sweater. Pretty earrings.

A few clicks and it's purchased. Safe.

I write back, "Sorry. I'm going to a concert that night (can't always listen to Irish drinking tunes.) It starts at 7:30 at Carnegie Hall...."

I know already. The sweater will be meant to approximate the heat of another body. I'll play with my earrings if I miss him--something to do with my hands.

Brahms, Beethoven, Prokofiev.

Their notes will swirl around me, and pile up.

janvier 04, 2005


Normally, she's just an old biddy. She comes to class every Monday night with her white hair piled on top of her head, and while she acts, I contemplate how many dimes I could hide in the folds of her neck. The fact that she tries so hard has always bothered me. She delivers lines like she's talking to cats.

Last night, though, she was telling a true story about her friend Marcus who'd been a hooker on 42nd street. She stood on stage and talked about the grass they grew, and the loaves of bread she made him whenever she'd worry that he'd been forgetting to eat.

And suddenly her hip is cocked and there's dirt under her nails from futzing with the marijuana plants stashed in her bathtub. The shadow beside her on stage is all at once Marcus, coaxing her--yet again--to float him twenty bucks.

Marcus, I got it! He's the first person she called when she found out she'd been cast in a real Broadway show. Her face alone tells us they kissed once on her sofa. Afterwards they probably smoked up and giggled about it. They'd eaten mint ice cream.

When it's over, it's over, and there she is again, an old lady in gardening shoes. But I don't care, now, that she tries so hard. I want to ask her about Marcus. I wonder if he still calls way too late at night.

I was thinking about her at my refrigerator this morning, when the radio switched to news.

The announcer read "One hundred fifty-thousand." At first the number is an abstraction; I register it from a distance. It is circles and lines--a person I see often, but don't know very well.

But then I think about mint ice cream and the friends people call when they want to celebrate. One hundred fifty-thousand. How their faces would've changed as they told their best story.

For a long time I stand there and think about them.

janvier 03, 2005

Christ, Man! There's NOT A Polk-A-Dot On Your Puffalump!!

One of the benefits of attending a women's college was that, just as I was starting to have sex, I was also given an infinite number of resources to ensure that the sex I was having was safe. If I didn't feel comfortable seeking out advice at the women's health center, I could head on over to the Well-Woman offices where any number of large-breasted lesbians would cheerfully help me practice putting condoms on cucumbers.

In my first semester alone, I learned that:

1."Taste the rainbow of fruit flavor" is a phrase appropriate for both Skittles and dental dams.

2. The morning-after pill makes you puke so much that you may actually vow--next time--to just take your chances on single motherhood.

3. That anyone who tells you lightly that they "Totally just had [their] first AIDS test, like...gosh? I don't know? Like a week or two ago?" is absolutely lying. Because, I don't care who you are, that kind of stress is memorable.

Bottom line: the word that best describes my early sex life is, "Informed."

Additionally, no picture of my sexual education in college would be complete without also mentioning my First-Year roommate. The word that best describes her early sex life is, "Paranoid."

After living with her for two years, I learned:

1. The real first names of every volunteer at The Herpes Helpline.

2. That there is little in the world more frightening in a soul-freezing way than the photographs in the STD section of "Our Bodies, Ourselves," and anyone looking for an awesome Halloween costume should check out p.467.

3. That, in women, the symptoms for things that are harmless and trivial happen to be exactly the same as the symptoms for things that can rot your guts from the inside out and make you go blind and crazy.

4. And, lastly, that living with someone who is constantly certain that she's going crazy and blind is about as fun as it sounds. (Really. Fucking. Fun. I love you, T.)

Out of these auspicious beginnings, then, grew my current responsible and empowering (and at times fucking freaked out and paranoid) health-care practices. Annual Ob-Gyn exams. Boxes of condoms under my bed (or under the sweaters in my closet if my mom is visiting). Lube in the bathroom drawer. And a morning-after pill safely tucked beside my underwear in case of emergency. All currently there in their places, taunting me with my own extreme preparedness--even though at this rate I may never again actually HAVE sex.

So, that is why I was very surprised when, during the final weeks of our relationship, David expressed a concern.

Because I am at work right now and can't bring myself to type the real words needed to describe this situation, I will use euphemisms. We will say, for the sake of my job-security (such as it is), that David had a polka-dot on his puffalump.

"A polka-dot on your puffalump?" I asked. "Are you sure?"

This was the first time that anything like this had ever happened to me, and as you might expect, I was a little concerned. But, as per my usual, I handled it with fantastic calm and fortitude: I cried hysterically and apologized for killing him with my foul bodily juices.

But, then, when I actually saw the polka-dot on his puffalump, I immediately stopped crying and started hitting him. Because it. Was. NOTHING. It was a freckle, a zit, a paper cut, a bug bite. Not a p. 467. Not even a p. 254. Nothing.

And, though he also expressed his own certainty at its nothingness, he then proceeded to go to TWO doctors--making sure not to "bias" their opinions by telling them about the other's prognoses. And even when both doctors agreed with me and insisted that this polka-dot was a medical non-issue, David requested that they give him a series of tests.

One refused because he was so certain David was fine. The other doctor grudgingly administered the test. And, so, for two weeks, we waited for the results.

You should understand "waited" to mean: OH MY GOD WE'RE BOTH GONNA GO BLIND AND CRAZY!!!!

Only more dramatic.

But, at long last, the results came in and we were fine. David's puffalump was without polka-dot.

Pfshew. Relief! Joy! Rapture!

"But," David said, "Wait! What if there's a polka-dot on your puffalump?"

My first reaction: Whoa, there buddy! My puffalump is a Seven Sister Puffalump. There is a TEAM of highly-trained people taking care of my puffalump, making sure that it is manicured and polka-dot free.

My second reaction: I had tests for everything less than sixty days ago. There's no way anything is wrong with me.

"But," David said, "Did you get tested for Sparkling Glittery Rainbow Disease?"

"Huh," I say, "I thought only toothless sailor-whores from the 1500's got Sparkling Glittery Rainbow Disease. I'm not sure. I don't think I did get tested for that."

*calls doctor*

"Hi, Dr. G? When I came in in June, did you test me for Sparkling Glittery Rainbow Disease?"

"Why, no, Kathryn. We did not. Only toothless sailor-whores from the 1500's get that particular disease. Sounds like someone thinks you're a dirty slut."

"Huh. Well, thanks Dr. G. But, just to be sure, I'm gonna come in and we should test me for every kind of STD that has ever existed since the beginning of Time. If a sexually-active stegasaurus could get it, I want you to test me for it."


Ten white-knuckled days later, however, my fears were proven wrong. I did NOT have any sort of Rainbow Disease, sparkly or otherwise. Not only that, but my tests came back so free of all kinds of Rainbow Diseases, that I believe the official medical term for me is: Pure As The Driven Snow.

David, however, was not so sure.

"What if it was a false negative?" he asked.

"Huh," I say. "I'm not so great at math, but you'd think it'd be statistically improbable that BOTH of your tests AND my test would have--all three of them--come back as false negatives."

"But--," he said.

It was true. What if my powers of logical reasoning were being destroyed because I WAS GOING BLIND AND CRAZY?????????

*calls doctor*

"Hi, Dr. G?" I ask. "Is it possible that both of my boyfriend's tests AND my tests gave us false negatives?"

"Well, not really, Kathryn. I'd give that a chance of about one in three trillion. In fact, you'd have more luck winning the lottery. Sounds like someone thinks you're a dirty slut."

"Huh. Thanks, Dr. G."

"Well," I say to David, "I think we really can trust what our doctors--all three of them--are saying. I think we're OK."

"I'm not so sure," he replies. "I think I'll go back in three months and then in another six. Just to make sure."

"Well. Ok," I say.

What I think is: "Huh. My boyfriend thinks that I am a dirty slut."

It continued like this for the next several days. Every time we spoke--contrary to all medical evidence--David expressed a sort of frantic worry about the polka-dot on his puffalump.

It was horrible. Nothing I could say made him feel better. No matter how many times I recounted the doctor's words, the panicked note never left his voice.

Finally, it became undeniably clear; the issue was psychological, not physical.

Now, I'm no psychiatrist, but this was about--I don't know? His fear of commitment. His need to leave the relationship, coupled with his inability to actually break-up with me? The fact that his mother obsessively cleaned his bathroom when he was little? Who knows. But, he had fixated on this thing--this impossible, illogical thing--and was refusing to let it go.

So, I broke up with him. (My mom let me keep my bathroom as dirty or clean as I wanted it. Thanks mom. It's because of you that I don't have imaginary polka-dots on my puffalump.)

Well. THAT IS WHY (In answer to the question that M posed this morning via email) I could not believe my fucking ears, when, on the phone last night--in the middle of our otherwise nice conversation--David said to me:

"There's another polka-dot on my puffalump. And I went in again to have it tested, and the test came back fine, but I still just think it's weird, you know? And I've been thinking of anything I've been doing differently. You know. New detergent. Soap. And the only thing I can think of is that I bought dress shirts in Hong Kong. And, if I tuck them in, they hit my puffalump right where the polka-dot is. But I don't know. Have you been to the doctor recently?"



Given the fact that there is no medical way that I could have any sort of Human Rainbow Disease, do you think this is his way of telling me that he cheated on me with a dress shirt from Hong Kong?