tales of a girl in the city

février 24, 2005

Running Very Hard To Stay In Place

A Motel 6.
An upcoming 4 a.m. bus ride.
Quadriplegic planetarium attendants who believe the moonlanding was faked.
TGI Friday's Potato Skin chips for dinner.
A Stradivarius cello.
"Miss you" text messages that make me half-smile.
Trans-Atlantic phone calls that make me full-cry.
My first siting by a fan.
Too much styrofoam.
Nokia's Carribean ring-tone interrupting every take.
Waiting for the beautiful moment when my producer finally says, "That's a wrap."

février 16, 2005

Getting This Far

A person who is very important to me, and who figures very prominently into the beginnings of this blog, likes to tease me for my journal reading. He and I have argued, and laughed, and finally reached a standstill, in our debate over whether or not me reading his journal (once upon a time) is the same as him reading my blog.

I say it is the same, and I am always right.

However, recently--between discussions on the complexity of my taxes--other conversations that he and I have had, have made me think a lot about journaling. About writing as a vehicle for self-discovery. About all of you readers and why it is I like having you in my life. About why it is that you might come to Bellow, and why it is you seem to be so invested in the craziness of my strange and great and shitty adventures.

Anyway, it's made me look back on some of my old entries, both here and in my college computer files. The result being that I moan a lot and laugh. GOD, and cringe at the stupid boys I've dated, and at my own ridiculous maudlin teenage/twenty-something angst.

Well, I'm not really sure why I feel like doing this. I guess it's kind of the equivalent of the"Looking Back At the Seasons We've Spent Together" episode of the sitcom that's about to have its Series Finale, but I wanted to post a bunch of these old journal entries I've discovered.

They prove two things. One: I've always been this awesome. And two: I've had life-long love affair with adjectives.


Saturday night we went out to dance. I always love to watch people having so much fun together, waving their arms around in the dark. I wondered about how A is in settings like that. I wish, sometimes, that he and I could meet all over again.

When I go out I mostly dance alone. I find my way onto the middle of the floor, surround myself on all sides with a throng of strangers, and raise my arms in the air. What I enjoy is the way my dancing feels intensely private, in spite of all those people.

Rachel and Emily were both swept away by guys. Actually, swept does not at all describe what they did?their strategy, which is very common amongst twenty-something men (I?m sure even A has friends that do it, although they may not admit it) is to kind of creep up on your butt. By no means do dancing men ever focus on your face or your body as a whole. If they are in front of you, they attack the breasts; behind, they always approach the ass. And their plan seems to be (as far as we can tell), to pretend that they are not dancing with you, but rather, just dancing near your ass. They approach, closer and closer, doing this strange, thrusting thing with their hips, as if there is a magnet in their groin, drawing them straight into your behind.

For the woman, the appropriate response is to pretend not to notice them. You continue to dance while your friends watch over your shoulders, telling you with their eyes how close or far away your perpetrator?s pelvis is from your backside. When they finally make contact, you are never supposed to be surprised, and the women who are true champions of this particular sport never miss a beat. Undaunted by the fact that they have not yet even clearly seen the face of the guy who is thrusting himself into their behind, they act as if nothing has even happened?as if they had spent their entire life with a strange man rubbing his khakis into their ass. It?s truly odd and never ceases to make me flash on the picture of the evolutionary process where you see man emerging from ape.


I am sitting in the hallway of a Comfort Suites Hotel somewhere outside of Chicago, surrounded by the burgundy and forest green wall paper that seems to decorate every hotel, be it Holiday Inn, Ramada, or Motel 6.

I've been undertaking a study of hotel décor, and have been fascinated to realize that the world seems to be under the impression that burgundy and forest green make all of us sleep a little more soundly.

Hotel wall art is also a current hot topic in my own head: I have slept with my head beneath numerous boating scenes, roses, Italian Rennaisance statues, several Santa Fe desert montages and, best of all, one set of abstract Tron-art that could have come right out of Pink Floyd's The Wall.

I cannot begin to express how strange it is to be a hotel nomad. Members of our cast have dubbed us minstrels. Others prefer the title "Carny" which I find depressing. If I return to New York with my ass-crack hanging out of my jeans and a Def Leopard t-shirt I'm going to have to seriously re-evaluate my career choice. We eat with plastic forks out of styrofoam cereal dishes everyday. I have had more fast food, more restaurant food, more single servings of shampoo and soap and toothpaste than I care ever to repeat. I find packets of mayo and soy sauce in the van every day, and no shortage of napkins from every gas station, Mc Donalds and green room that we have passed through. My suitcase is bursting, but somehow it seems that I've only brought along three or four outfits, because I feel like I wear the same things every single day. I look forward to cable, hotel pools, free local calls, Chinese food and pizza--no extra charge for delivery.

The gang is hanging in there, although it is only our first week out on the road. Six more to go. Then one lone night of respite in NYC, and back out on the road (on the East coast this time) for another week or two. I call Emily at night and tell her how homesick I am and she laughs at me for being so sentimental. I think for her everything stays the same while I'm gone and she can?t imagine why it is I am so convinced that, in my absence, Hoboken and my house have undergone some sort of radical transformation. What she doesn't understand is that I'm trapped in a strange limbo, mix between constant change, continual travel, and eternal sameness: day after day of up and out and to the theater and do the show, close the show, take down the set, pack up, drive, up and out and in and up and out and sing and gone and here and there and next and when will this be done?

That sounds as though I hate this, which is not the case. I don't hate it. It's just not real. This is not a real life; it's a special boxed up living situation that is peculiar to this point in time and that will never be repeated anywhere else. There is a routine, and that routine is that we do the exact same thing in a different place every day. Routine re-routed. Routine re-located. Every day relived, but not. It's truly bizarre. Part of me feels stuck, and yet another part feels liberated.

Contrary to what I had expected, it's a terrible time for writing. I'm never alone. I?m never given the opportunity to think because we are all always together, whether by choice or by assignment. In the van, on the stage, in the dressing rooms, at the hotel, in the pool, at a restaurant. The six of us have become like some strange set of Siamese twins, joined together by a long, spongy, Theaterworks umbilical chord. And if I had to pick one thing that I missed the most about my other life, it would be freedom. The ability to make independent choices. To want something apart from the six other people who currently share almost every moment of my life.

My life. That is the catch phrase in my thoughts all of the time now. I'm haunted by the idea of "the rest of my life" and by the question: What do you want to be when you grow up?? I want to be a firefighter. I want to be a scoundrel. A professional scoundrel. That would be a pleasure. What, indeed, would I wear? Black mostly, with fuschia lipstick and a fantastic fur coat. Or maybe spurs.


Why is it that we love stories? What is it about other people's experiences, that makes us go to movies, pick up books, dial the telephone, watch tv?

If I could sometimes I think I would give all of my stories away. Package them in precise, tiny boxes, tied with lovely pink and green ribbon, sealed with scotch tape, corners folded neatly in just the way Mom taught me.


Take this.

It is the things that have happened to me. A life. Have it.

Right now I am tired of being strong.

People are always telling me that I am the strongest person they know. (Or maybe I just imagined that once. Possible, because where would a conversation like that take place? McDonalds: My friend and I have just ordered burgers and Cokes. We sit down in silly yellow plastic chairs, facing the painted image of Grimace and the Hamburgler. By the way, my friend says, you?re the strongest person I know. Thanks, I say. Then we break into the fries.)

I am not the strongest person I know.

I am the weakest, scaredest, most unsure, most reluctant, do things only because I have to and people expect them of me, person that I know. Sometimes I feel as if my skin is paper-mache, covering a wire frame, with maybe, a single Christmas light in the chest cavity, standing in for a soul. Just a big carnival trick, animated by wind, moving where it's told, waiting until someone gets too close, folds back a paper corner...lights a match.


...On Saturday there was no need to pretend to want to talk to anyone else. Fear and nerves and a want for deadened senses had already made me drink too much to care. No pride. Screw propriety. I wanted to talk to you. Into your ear I said all sorts of things. I think I told you I've been lonely. I berated you for not finishing your movie. I asked about your job. You broke up with Emma finally last weekend. I should really give you my phone number in the Bronx. My stomach brushed against your legs. The world was spinning by and all I could do was lean my face into yours, listen to the way having me close made your breath stop. Don't. You make me so nervous. And then, later, asking me how long it would take us to get home to my house. I don't have any place to stay.

Looking at you, drunk and hungry and so lonely that I could already feel the space in my bed where you would not be, I saw your face and wanted to touch it, lick it, kiss eyelids and eyebrows and my teeth on your chest and my fingers in your hair. My body is driven by memories of you; rain-kissing on the street and the taxi driver who stopped to make fun of us, grinding hips against you in the dark of a bar Let's join in the dancing, your rooftop that morning, clad only in my red boots and your blanket. These thoughts make chess pieces of my fingers, I touch your leg, your hand, lay my head on your shoulder. For a moment I give in to the scent of you; your smell opens all the books in my memory and I read through them again. How Much I Want You.

I need to go.

Please stay with me. Please stay and talk to me.

And if I do stay?

For a second I flash to images of us going home to my new house. You on the train with me, in the flourescent light, both of us drunk and sleepy. How the glare would make us look foolish. I would see you next to me and think of the look on your face when you turn your back on me, the way your eyes gloss when you decide to retreat into yourself. I would look down at my hands and hate myself for needing so much to touch you. The screech of the doors opening and shutting would hurt our ears. There would be gum on the train floor and paper bags in the hands of the tired people around us.

There is a bar on the Upper West Side of Manhattan near Columbia University. On my twenty-second birthday, I walked out of it and looked back into the window to see a boy seated there, wearing white, blue, black. He stared at his hands, down at the beer he held. Please stay with me. Please stay and talk to me.

He sits there for hours. He leaves eventually, drops himself into a bed. His own. Someone else's, maybe.

Meanwhile, I have already left the neighborhood, crouched on a curb somewhere and sobbed, or thrown up. Fallen into a sleep deepened by Too Much To Drink.

Far way, there is an apartment on a small, residential street. On the second floor of a brownstone. It is wooden and dark and there are velvet pillows on the green sofa. I dragged that sofa from the garbage. I imagined that the pillows would look great on such a bright, minty background, and they did.

There is not room for you in this new space. I do not want images in my brain of you on this bed, in these new rooms, naked in front of this refrigerator, in the doorway wearing white, blue, black.
Those belong elsewhere. I am both happy and sad to say.

février 15, 2005

The Morning After

Valentine's Day tries to make love simple.

Walking through Penn Station last night, all the business men were scrambling for roses. The ones without the patience to wait in the rose line, headed to Perfumania. The others grabbed balloons; big, shiny exclamations of "I love you" floating down the subway stairs. Flowers were clutched in all the fists around me, wrapped in the cellophane of relief and obligation.

Love, this holiday tells us, is attainable. It is on sale all around us, $14.99 a dozen.

My Valentine's Day was not so straightforward. It began Saturday with a sort of belated fancy-chocolate apology. And last night, over dinner, there were further reminders of love's complexity. I have learned: nowhere do they sell boxes of Timing. No glass of champagne--no matter how expensive--can make someone grow up before they are due.

"We get along unusually well," you told me. I shake my head sometimes when you say these things. Because I have known them since I met you.

Today is the day after Valentine's Day. For the next 365 days love will be, once again, harder to find.

février 09, 2005

Defective iPod Free To Good (Or Shitty) Home

Last evening, at approximately 8 p.m. EST, Lenny (my iPod) underwent the iPod-equivalent of open-heart surgery. At the advice of several nice computer-geeks at the Apple help-line, I performed a procedure on Lenny known as an HDD Scan. Buttons were pushed, screens flashed, and suddenly a new font appeared. Where once there should have been song titles, there were now categories labeled "5 to 1" and "A2D STAT."

They told me as soon as I described Lenny's problems that the prognosis did not look good....

"The operation will take anywhere between twenty and ninety minutes. By the end of that time, lines of text will appear," said Computer-Geek Number Two, "Write these lines down, and call us back. At that point, we'll have a better idea of how to proceed."

I'd like to take this moment to look back on my month with Lenny and remember all the times we shared. I'd like to think of the trips we took to museums together, with him crooning Nina Simone in my ears. The subway rides home at night as he soothed the stress of my day with Counting Crows or...well, whatever.

I'd like to do those things, but the truth is, Lenny has never actually been able to PLAY any music. Though I have spent hours attempting to fill his little iPod insides with all manner of music--Coldplay, Madonna, the theme from Fraggle Rock--he insists on merely showing me his small apple picture in indignant, white-plastic silence. Stubbornly. Incessantly. Hour after mute apple-screen hour.

To be fair, if the point of having an iPod is to always have a mini-picture of an apple with a bite taken out of it in your pocket, then I suppose Lenny rocks the house.

Say, for example, that I had some strange sort of fruit-amnesia, and needed constant reminders about the shapes of various fruits--

Well. No. Actually Lenny would be pretty useless then, too, because he really only does the ONE fruit. But I'd have that one fruit down pat. There'd be nooooo fooling me when it came to apples. Put a banana in front of me? Total confusion. Probably a lot of hand tremors and nervous ticking.

But, put an apple in front of me? Well...wait. Maybe not. Because if it didn't have a bite out of it, and I really did have fruit-amnesia, I'd probably still have no fucking idea what it was.

BUT, put an apple with a bite taken out of its right side in front of me, and I'd be all over that shit.

All thanks to Lenny.

My own little $400 fruit-amnesia insurance plan.

Awwwww yeah.

When all you guys whose iPods actually play music, get fruit-amnesia and totally lose your shit in the produce section, don't come running to me.

Because I'll be the girl rocking back and forth on the floor to your right, taking bites out of all the Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious, petting my own hair and murmuring through the falling bits of half-chewed pulp, "Apple, Lenny. Apple."


Thought so.


Well, anyway, ninety minutes after Computer Geek Number Two told me to run the HDD Scan, the following lines of text appeared on his screen, "HDD Scan FAIL. NG."

I called the Apple Geeks back. "It says that the HDD Scan failed," I told them somberly. "And right after the word "fail" it has an "N" and a "G." Does that mean something? Is that some sort of code?"

"'N.G.'," Geek Man explained, "It means 'No good.'"

Wow. Hi-tech.

So, yes. As I have suspected the entire time, Lenny is defective--or, in covert technical Apple-speak, "No good."

Thus,in an effort to help Lenny help himself, I have no choice but to do what any sensitive iPod parent would do. I am sending him back to Apple to go be with all the other PIECE OF TRASH DEFECTIVE REJECTS. And I'm making him wear a sign that says, "Deficient." And, until he leaves, I'm taunting him daily by putting him near my roommate's working iPod so that he feels extra bad and tries all the harder with his pathetic half-eaten apple picture.

It's really the caring thing to do.

février 03, 2005

Going On Record

Dear Future Men Who Might Attempt To Date Me,


Don't bother.

I am tired of you.

I would rather set myself on fire than go through the effort of getting to know you, allowing you to know me, letting you into my life, and so on, and so forth, etcetera.

Because no matter how wonderful you may seem, inevitably, you will be disappointing and infuriating and hurtful and just completely...unaware of your own behavior. You will be a coward. You will be.......

You will call me at 10:40 pm on a Thursday night. And I will hear in your voice that you need something. From me. And because I am stupid, I will return your call and think--not because I love you, or miss you, really, but because I'm lonely and it's been a long, hard week--that maybe you are calling to tell me you're coming up for Valentine's Day. Because I am stupid, and have this stupid, stupid, horrible, hopeful, fucking imagination, I will think that you are calling to make a plan. Again, not because I think we're right, but mostly because you're safe and harmless, and, well, familiar.

And instead you tell me you have a bump on your tongue.

A bump on your tongue.

Even more ridiculous than a polka-dot on your puffalump. A bump on your tongue. A bump on a muscle that is bitten and oddly shapen and, well, usually bumpy.

And, of course, you think it's herpes. You know it, really. You're certain. And the doctor couldn't do a definitive test--too many hours had gone by since this tongue-bump appeared. So, it could be anything. Could be *gasp* an inflamed taste bud. Could be. But, it seems like such a random series of coincidences. Some polka-dots and now a bump. On your tongue, no less. The breeding ground for many sexually transmitted diseases.

From the sound of your voice, before you even say aloud what you're thinking, I know what you want. You want me to go get tested again. During this month, when I am working, literally every single fucking day, you want me to find time to go to the doctor. Because of you and your bumpy tongue.

And, maybe I have it. Maybe the two blood tests, and the tests for every STD in the WORLD, and your (what?) seven doctor's visits to two separate physicians, and your multiple tests, and God knows what else...maybe they're all wrong. All of them. Maybe I have something.

Will you feel better then? Having someone to blame. What answer do you hope to get? That I have...something. The ability to inflame the taste buds of others, perhaps. Wreaking bumpy havoc on tongues 'round the globe.


Everyone can write what they want in the comments. Tell me it's not fair to blame boys everywhere. Tell me that he'll come along some day, and be fantastic and kind and all of those things that some women find boys to be.

But this woman seems to find only the crazies. And whether that's me, or them, I don't know. Probably some combination of both. Probably something to do with my dad not giving me a toy I wanted when I was eight months old. Or my mother making me wear pants too often as a young child. Who knows. Whatever the case, I'm off the market.

I'm too sick to go out on dates anyway. There's a bump on my tongue.

A Faint Signal

Where have I been? Nowhere exciting. Believe me.

Trains mostly. A few buses. A recording booth. A glass office on 6th Avenue. Hotel rooms (alone).

What have I been doing?

Getting cricks in my neck from sleeping on armrests. Waking up with a loud expletive after getting socked in the head by some stranger's luggage. Reading sentences like, "The show that follows real families and couples as they explore new places, and rediscover a few favorites" over, and over, and over, and over. Leaving my house at 5 a.m. and not returning til 2 a.m. the next day. Working eleven hours--on my day "off." Falling into bed, still making lists of all the things I need to do.

It ain't much, but at least you know I'm alive.