I love LiveJournal, but I think it's time to move on. Behold, the new blog: Polarity of Sound, once again, because I'm super-creative. Check it out!
I love LiveJournal, but I think it's time to move on. Behold, the new blog: Polarity of Sound, once again, because I'm super-creative. Check it out!
One month before moving: Sign lease on new, pretty apartment in the Big Bad City. Resolve to turn in notice at current apartment post haste. Make a list of all the credit cards, magazines, and other postal flotsam you'll have to change your address with. Marvel at how efficient and put-together you are.
Three days later: Suddenly realize that today is the last day for you to turn in your notice at your current place, and that you only have fifteen minutes to do it. Slap yourself in the forehead for not being nearly as efficient and put-together as you thought you were.
Two weeks before you move:Reserve your rental truck for the weekend before your lease runs out. Make your final change-of-address calls and congratulate yourself for being efficient and put-together again. Pick up a shitload of boxes from U-Haul and take them home so you can actually get a jump-start on packing.
One week before you move: Realize that those boxes you picked up serve a purpose other than collecting dust, and start clearing your bookshelves into them. Complete this task, marvel at your efficiency, and call it a day, after fishing the cat out of a box of books.
Three days before you move: Realize that you have more to pack than just books. Slap yourself in the forehead again and start flinging contents of your closet, TV stand, and kitchen into boxes with a vaguely room-centered organization scheme. Carefully label the boxes so you'll know what to unpack in your new place. Fish the cat out of a box of silverware.
One day before you move: Fling any and all of your belongings into empty boxes or plastic trash bags without labeling. Stand in the middle of your living room and say, "Why the hell do I have eighty-five mugs and six boxes of Ziploc bags?" Decide that half the things you meant to pack can be thrown away without remorse. Fish the cat out of a trash bag full of scarves.
The day you move: Run back and forth from rental truck to apartment no fewer than sixty-eight times. Marvel that your brother and brother-in-law are able to squeeze your couch out of the apartment door without it getting stuck once, avoiding an embarrassing Dirk Gently-type situation. Load up the contents of your apartment, chuck the cat into her carrier (after extracting her from a box) and head out to the Big Bad City.
Notice, as you're driving along the freeway at 60 mph, that the truck has been loaded unevenly, and that left-hand turns are especially treacherous. Annoy every driver behind you as you gingerly edge the truck around freeway corners at 30 mph. Rue the fact that you turned down insurance for the truck while visions of it toppling over dance in your head.
Arrive at the new apartment and unload everything that was so carefully packed an hour before. Convince your brother and brother-in-law that if the couch made it out of the old apartment, it'll make it into the new one. Be greeted with skepticism.
After lugging up every fifty-pound box of books, your kitchen table and chairs, pictures, lamps, bed, dresser, TV, and video games, haul your gigantic decorative chair and couch up the stairs. Celebrate by collapsing onto the chair and having a coronary.
Two days after you move: Sit in your living room in the midst of a thousand unlabeled boxes and resolve to never move, ever again. Fish the cat out of a box.
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March 2006 compared to March 2007:
So, here's the thing: I hate my current job, but I can't think of anything else I'd like to do. I'm stuck. So I'm asking y'all for help in finding me a new career path. Here's the sitch as it stands now:
Liz and I went to the symphony last Saturday, which is becoming a pretty regular thing with us, since we both go to all the concerts where I sing, and the majority of the concerts David Robertson conducts. This past weekend, the program was All Russian, All the Time: Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy, Rimsky-Korsakov's Le Coq D'or Suite, and a Rachmaninoff piano concerto. Powell was nearly sold out--Rachmaninoff + David Robertson + too cold for Mardi Gras = lotsa people at Powell--which always bodes well for our perennially cash-strapped Symphony. This also meant, however, that there was a large number of apparent symphony n00bs.
The pre-concert lecture, delivered by the maestro, was entertaining, as always. (It included an enumeration of Scriabin's many mistresses and illegitimate children, concluding with, "And he still found time to compose! This is time management!") The concert began with the Rachmaninoff concerto, played very well by the guest pianist whose name escapes me (and yes, I'm too lazy to look it up online). At the end of the first movement, however, a small eager-beaver section in orchestra right erupted into applause, which David graciously encouraged, saying, "Rachmaninoff would've wanted it that way!"
The audience somehow managed to sit on their hands until the end of the Rachmaninoff, and we were rewarded with a nice little encore by the guest whose name escapes me. After intermission was the Coq D'or Suite, and in the last movement, at a fermata rest mere measures from the end of the piece, the same damn people erupted into applause again! The maestro was again gracious, holding up his hand to that group to tell them to wait, then pleading with the audience, "He's just died in a most unseemly way!", prompting a nice round of laughter to end the piece. Forunately, the Scriabin was only one movement, so the orchestra right folks didn't get another chance to interfere with the concert.
I try to look at this as a positive thing: the symphony is attracting people who wouldn't normally come to concerts and aren't familiar with concert etiquette, and at least they're applauding instead of throwing rotting vegetables or something. But, people, come on--it's written in the goddamn program to hold your applause until the end. We appreciate the enthusiasm, we really do, but there's a time and place for everything, to every thing there is a season, yadda yadda yadda.
It's things like this that give St. Louis its unfortunate unrefined reputation. Every time we think we're getting the hang of acting like a big city, our hayseed roots pop up like so much alfalfa to spoil the moment.
Home sick from work today, so I figured I'd update this poor neglected blog with a meme stolen from Anonymous:
1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Sang at Carnegie Hall, made out with a guy on the dance floor, went to Big Sur, bought a car.
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't believe in new year's resolutions; I see no reason to wait until January 1 to try to improve meself. I did start working out with some regularity back in September, so I guess I can count that one. For this year, I will eat out less, because the bank account, she is hurting after the holidays.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth or adopt?
Not that I can think of, but a friend of mine is due any day now.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, but Robert Altman's death made me sadder than I expected.
5. What countries did you visit?
The US. Because I'm exciting.
6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
A cool million would be nice.
7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April Fool's weekend, for singing at Carnegie Fucking Hall; the last week of June, for my vacation with Anonymous to see the lovely Becka and the California coast; and New Year's Eve, for being the first one in a while that didn't suck ass.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Figuring out how to keep myself sane.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not winning the lottery and sticking with a job I hate.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got sick in San Francisco (of course), pulled a muscle in my lower back, and sprained my ankle. Which I think is a damn good track record.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Definitely the car, though the laptop comes a close second.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My dad's, I think: not only is he going through cancer treatment right now, he's had to deal with never-ending house renovations, my mother's increasing depression, and his MIL's increading dementia, all while still remaining relatively upbeat and amazingly supportive.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
No one's, really; the advantage of being a pessimist is that you're never unpleasantly surprised.
14. Where did most of your money go?
In order of expense: rent, car, vacation, laptop.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to California and New York.
16. What song will always remind you of 2006?
Probably the Brahms Deutsches Requiem.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? The same
b) thinner or fatter? I'm going to say fatter, but I'm not sure.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer, since taking the big-ass paycut to work at BigCreditCard. Goddammit.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Hanging out, coffee shop haunting, working out (I guess).
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
WORKING. And sitting around by myself in the apartment.
20. How will you be spending Christmas or New Year's?
Christmas was home with the fam, New Year's was in downtown StL with Liz and Anonymous, freezing our titties off and getting drunk.
21. Did you fall in love in 2006?
No, for once. It was kind of nice.
22. How many one-night stands?
23. What was your favorite TV program?
Well, I don't really get TV, so the TV shows that I watched and loved on DVD/tape were Nip/Tuck, Blackadder, Jeeves and Wooster, Boston Legal, and what few episodes I could catch of House. Oh yeah. Feel the Hugh Laurie love.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I can't think of anyone I hate, really. Maybe I should get to work on that.
25. What was the best book you read?
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood and Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I have to admit, I found Keane's Under the Iron Sea stunning the first time I listened to it, though it shames me to admit it. Less commercial is the Cafe Roma mix CD set I'm currently addicted to.
27. What did you want and get?
Car. Laptop. Trips with friends.
28. What did you want and not get?
The aforementioned cool million and some sort of significant other. (Besides the cat.)
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
2006 was not a great year for films, but the one I enjoyed the most was probably Superman Returns, because Brandon Routh is gorgeousness on toast.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 25 and went shopping with Sobriquet, and it was awesome.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Besides the million? More free time and fewer idiot coworkers.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
How To Look Vaguely Professional In Cheap, Big Lady Clothes/preppy.
33. What kept you sane?
Singing with the Symphony Chorus, and the people in it. And reading.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Fancy: Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry (see the userpic for this entry), Barack Obama. Admire: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Claire McCaskill.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Environmentalism, as always, the proposed abortion ban in South Dakota, impeachment of Bush.
36. Who did you miss?
In no particular order: Anonymous, JJ, Becka, G, Vera, Mac, Jeremy, Sarah, Sara, Frisbee and Nassau, and too many others to count.
37. Who was the best new person you met?
Two lovely boys in the chorus to whom I haven't given nicknames yet, and my coworker Nicole.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006:
Always carry enough extra feminine supplies to share with friends. And stand back when mixing Mentos and Diet Coke.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I'm not really a person who thinks in song lyrics, strangely enough, so I never know how to answer these questions. But here's a lyric I like, at any rate:
I get no kick from champagne.
Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all,
So tell me why should it be true
That I get a kick out of you?
So Liz and I went to a local Breadco (St. Louis Bread Co. here, Panera Bread everywhere else) and were having a lovely discussion about evolution and creationism and aesthetics and Richard Dawkins and other weighty things when a little girl a couple of tables over asks her mom, adorably, "Mom, why is it snowing? It's not Christmas!"
Liz and I pause our conversation to remark, "Aww!" and blush at the adorable little girl, who's now singing Christmas songs to herself. As she and her mom get up to leave, she pauses her singing to let out the most monumental, just-chugged-a-root-beer-and-jumped-up-a
Man. I would have killed for a burp like that when I was seven!
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for wine. As of 9:30 tonight, I have had four glasses--two white, two red--and believe you me, this entry would have to have been posted from a loony bin if not for the sweet, sweet juice of the grape.
See, at some point in the past month, I said, foolishly, "Hey, Mom and Dad, since your house is being renovated, why doesn't one of us kids host Thanksgiving this year? I mean, I could, in a pinch--"
"Sounds good," Dad replied, and that was that. My parents, siblings, and attendant fiancée, all packed into my little one-bedroom for the traditional Thanksgiving repast. This, in and of itself, is not a problem. Granted, my apartment has been sliding inexorably closer to pigsty status over the past few weeks, but a quick sweep, mop, and vacuum quickly had that taken care of. And it wasn't the cooking, since we kids divvied up the dishes pretty evenly and all had horror stories to tell--my overdone green bean casserole, Liz's underdone yeast rolls, my, uh, overcooked pecan pie. The complication stems from the fact that Liz and my mother have been in a very frosty feud over the past month or so, and without dear, sweet wine, there may very well have been a fistfight over the turkey and stuffing. Fortunately, though neither my sister nor my mother is known for backing down from a fight, they managed to smooth things over earlier this week and things went as well as could be expected. There was a distinct sense of discomfort bubbling underneath all night long, though, and that is what drove me to drink.
Well, that, and the fact that I'm a big old lush.
Thankfully, there were no fights, a distinct lack of sniping at each other, and we all managed to come together for the traditional after-dinner family Scrabble game. And believe you me, you haven't played that game until you've played it with three players three sheets to the wind.
And in other news, I'm also thankful that the music critic as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch finally saw her way to give the chorus a positive review for once. "Recording-ready standard"! My goodness. After all the bitter reviews of the chorus last year, who knew she actually liked us?
It seems our fair city may soon have to rethink its customary inferiority complex: while David Robertson continues his well-deserved victory lap around Powell Hall after his awesome premiere season, the arts in St. Louis are making a swift comeback, and, capping off the first season in their brand-new stadium, our little baseball team just won the World Series. This means that our much-maligned Cardinals are now behind only the Yankees in the most number of World Series won. And manager Tony La Russa is now only one of two managers to win a title in both leagues. So ha! Right?
Well, St. Louis nourishes and cherishes its inferiority complex even in these most un-depressing of times. No matter how much we tell ourselves that we have "world-class" this and "premiere" that and "best in the world" the other thing, we're ultimately just telling this to ourselves. Unbelievably, a lot of this resenment seems to stem from the fact that we hosted the 1904 World's Fair (hello, first Olympics in an English-speaking country?) and no one else seems to care! And ever since then, things have swirled hopelessly down the shitter while that upstart across the state, Kansas City, has been thumbing their nose at us by growing into an ever-richer, ever-expanding snarl of urban sprawl. A memorable high point in the city's history was when we became the murder capital of the U.S. in the mid-nineties. Neat!
And yet, things are looking decidedly up these days. The World Series championships. A quickly rebounding midtown and downtown. Arts being recognized beyond the city's borders. Not being able to swing a cat without hitting a gentrification project. We should have long ago dropped this silly idea that we're a backwards little town with no culture and stepped into our rightful place as A Big City, a rival to Chicago, full of intelligent people steeped in culture who love some jazz and can tell their wines apart.
And then I see the poll on the St. Louis Magazine website in which St. Louisans nominate toasted ravioli (a raviolo breaded, fried, and dipped in sub-par marinara) as the quintessential St. Louis food, and the whole thing starts to make a bit more sense.
So I found a new job last week. This was necessitated by the fact that my current job ends along with the year 2006, and by the fact that, with my current temp company, MP, I don't get any sick or personal days, and only one week of vacation (which I've already used for this year), which sucks hairy donkey balls. In a couple of weeks, I become a for-real employee of BigCreditCard, complete with two weeks' vacation, another week of personal days, some sick days, a cookie, a ticker-tape parade through the atrium, and a kangaroo. Unfortunately, it also comes with a pay cut. But at least, come January, I'll still be employed, so I can afford all the fun new things I've bought myself.
Including a new laptop, which I've named Eris. Old Zodiac the PC has been chugging along on borrowed time for the last year or so, so it was time to put it out of its misery. (And by "put it out of its misery," I mean "convert to a Linux machine and pretend I actually know something about computers.") If Zodiac is a'72 Gremlin, then Eris is a used '04 Jaguar XKE with only one previous owner. She has so far put up with all the software I've installed and the eight trillion USB devices I've hooked up with nary a complaint, so Renée is a happy woman.
In other news, Netflix is the best thing ever. Just thought I'd share that.
And in other other news, I've started a second blog called Print Junkie on Blogger. It's a place where I do my chest-pounding political ranting. If you go in for that sort of thing, take a visit, why doncha?
Because I have been having the weirdest dreams lately. For instance: last night, I dreamt that as I was driving down the highway, I kept seeing clothes without owners--like, whole outfits--lying in the road with a big blood spatter where the head would be. (Blech.) This is weird enough, but you know how in dreams you just go along with it-- "Oh, hey, some people apparently got run over on the highway and left their clothes behind. Huh." So at some point I end up at a large pink building by the sea that could very well be the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where someone has CNN on. (Of course.) According to CNN, there is so much roadkill and clothing without owners because we are experiencing the Rapture.
Uh . . . huh.
Apparently, the Rapture is a bloody affair that results in execution-style murders upon being whisked away to heaven and only takes a relative handful of people in the entire country. (I guess we really are Sodom and Gomorrah. Geez.) At the same time, President Bush (wha?) is giving a press conference announcing that the US is attacking some country or other and that warplanes are on their way to bomb the hell out of 'em. (What's hilarious is that the CNN newscasters in my dream are really torn between covering the Rapture and the press conference. Hmm--widespread supernatural occurance that finally confirms the existence of the Almighty to a cynical American public, or the president jabbering in the Rose Garden? Yeah, I'd be pretty torn, too.) As the president is saying this, I and all the other people watching CNN with me walk out onto the deck and watch F/A-18 Hornets launch from an island about five miles away. As they pass just overhead, I can feel the force of the wind and sound pressing me down into the pavement. At some point--and this is the kicker--I realize that Bush has faked the Rapture in order to distract from his new war. Meaning, he just killed a bunch of people and stole their clothes and called it the Rapture, all as a cover for a military action.
Man. I knew he was a bastard, but I didn't think he was that bad. Christ.
So . . . yeah. My dream intepretation book is of no help. So instead, watch this here hilarious 1940's evangelical video about the Rapture.
While on vacation in California, after turning into the parking lot of the wrong hotel in Monterey for the second time, I informed Anonymous that she was traveling with an idiot. She pooh-poohed this and informed me that I was no such thing, but if she'd been with me today, she might have retracted that opinion.
So after Liz and I got back from the much-overrated Festival of the Little Hills in St. Charles, I decided to go out on my balcony and read for a bit. I took out a chair, a book, the cat, and a bottle of water, and got myself nicely situated. I closed the sliding door to the balcony to keep the bugs out, and settled in. And then I heard an ominous shhhhonk. I realized with a sinking feeling in my stomach that the 2x4 I wedge against the sliding door to keep it locked had just slid dutifully into place. Against the closed sliding door. With me on the other side.
Yes, kids, that's right. I had locked myself out on my own balcony.
As opposed to when I'd locked myself in my own apartment building last year, this time, I really, really needed to get on the other side of the locked door. I was stuck out in the sun with a halter top on and no sunscreen, along with a cat who didn't yet realize the gravity of the situation, but would no doubt become cranky as she was unable to go back in the apartment to pee. Fortunately, it was not nearly as hot as it has been, so she wasn't uncomfortable, but I and my exposed skin were. I started to panic a little bit.
I tried to force the door open. It slid back about a half-inch, enough to work my fingers into the crack for a better grip, and would gladly leap out of its track when I yanked on it, but not enough to let me pop the door out or jiggle the piece of wood loose. I started banging on the door to try to jiggle the piece of wood out, but that just gave me a sore foot. I started to panic a little more. I began kicking the door spitefully, trying to either pop it out or get one of my neighbors so pissed at me that they would come out and see what I was up to. Neither worked. I looked out into the parking lot--no one. Of course. No one walking by. No one in any of the houses behind us outside in their back yards. It was just me, the cat, and the chair against the sliding door.
About a half-hour after I'd locked myself out, I began contemplating when I would try to break the glass. If it started raining? When it got dark? When the cat got hungry? Out of options for the moment, I sat in the chair and just kicked at the door repeatedly, mainly out of spite, but also hoping that someone would hear me. I don't know why I thought they would come out and investigate what I was doing rather than just turn up their radio, but that's what I was thinking nonetheless.
About fifteen minutes after this, a neighbor finally walked out of the building. I called him over, and he dutifully offered to go into my apartment and let me out. I felt a wave of relief. Of course, I had locked the front door. Fuck. I asked him if he could call my sister, then proceeded to give him three bogus numbers to try. (Hell, she's on speed-dial; how was I supposed to know her number? Lousy cellphones.) He was giving me a look that I would give me if I were in his place (that "bitch is crazy" look), but gamely called the next number I gave him. Which just happened to be the right number. And of course, Liz didn't answer. (Turns out she was doing laundry. Pfft.) He left her a vaguely amused message describing my predicament, I thanked him sweatily and profusely, and he went back in.
I sat back down to read. Either Liz would get the voicemail and come to my rescue, or she wouldn't, in which case, I could call the fire department or police or Superman or someone. Unfortunately, without a watch or a clock or a cellphone, I had no idea how much time would be passing while I waited. Meaning, no matter when help arrived, I would feel like I had been stuck out there for hours, and I would be in a full-blown tizzy.
I tried to read, but then settled for watching the parking lot like a hawk, watching for Liz's red Scion xB to pull in. (Yes, she got another, cooler Scion after I did. In fact, she out-cooled me in less than a month. Jerk.) I watched and watched and watched and nervously noted the wasps flying around my neighbor's balcony and watched and watched some more, then must have passed out momentarily, because suddenly Liz was walking up to my apartment, a properly concerned (but also somewhat amused) expression on her face. She let me in, consoled me that I was was not an idiot, gave me a hug, then dashed back to finish her laundry. And thus, here I sit, knowing that the next time I go out on the balcony, I'm taking that fucking piece of wood out with me.
So yeah. Anonymous's assurances aside, I certainly feel like an idiot. But at least I'm a mostly harmless one--just don't go out on a balcony with me.
This video is . . . I just . . . Dear God. David Hasselhoff must be stopped. Deprogrammed, detoxed, emasculated, something. I think this is, hands-down, the worst "music" "video" I've ever had the misfortune of seeing. Behold the Hasselhoff as he leaps from one horribly fake, dachsund-infested locale to another, apparently mistaking himself for an Eskimo, Jeff Corwin, and Lorenzo Lamas along the way.
The horruh . . . the horruh . . .
I got a new car. It's a black '06 Scion xA, and I love it very much. It needs a name, though. My mom suggested calling it The Bat, and while I kind of like it, I don't think it's really menacing enough to deserve that name. Suggestions?
And now, a meme I ganked from Anonymous:
1. Elaborate on your default icon.
It's a picture of me in San Francisco about four years ago, heavily Photoshopped to make it look artsy-fartsy. It also appeared on my poster for my senior recital.
2. What's your current relationship status?
Nonexistent, as ever. Looking, though. Sadly, St. Louis is not known for its singles scene.
3. Ever have a near-death experience?
Um, almost drowning in the Iversons' pool when I was about seven, and an out-of-body experience the year before which may have been a really intense fever dream. Other than that, no.
4. Name an obvious quality you have.
What, like having blond hair? Or like being able to do a mean Cartman impression? Or how about being able to sing the alphabet backwards?
5. What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?
Nothing at the moment, but I had "The Perfect Drug" stuck in my head for a while, then Orgy's version of "Blue Monday".
6. Name a celebrity you would marry:
Well, I'd fuck Hugh Jackman blue, but I don't think I could be in a long-term relationship with him. I'd marry Kate Winslet if I could. Or if she's unavailable, I'll take Jude Law. And I'll just get Johnny Depp to sit around my house and look beautiful.
7. Who will cut and paste this first?
Uh . . . no idea.
8. Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity?
No, but I apparently look like someone everyone used to go to school with, or everyone's cousin, because that's all I get.
9. Do you wear a watch? What kind?
I wear this one. I like it a lot.
10. Do you have anything pierced?
Just my ears. It's my fourth attempt at pierced ears---let's see how long it lasts.
11. Do you have any tattoos?
One--the nautical star on my shoulder, which desperately needs retouching.
12. Do you like pain?
Not especially. Why do you think I left the Mormon church?
13. Do you like to shop?
Yes, but I hate crowds, so they tend to keep me away. I like browsing for stuff like dream cars and tarot decks online, where there are no people.
14. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
Besides laundry? Gelato, I think.
15. What was the last thing you paid for with your credit card?
Gas for the new car. First new tank of gas! Oh, I'm all farklempt.
16. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
My sister, who just returned from The Lake. (Missourians only have one Lake, by the way.)
17. What is on your desktop background?
A Cézanne painting of the Bibemus Quarry.
18. What is the background on your cell phone?
A polar bear flopped over an iceberg stamped with the Cingular logo. One of four crappy backgrounds available. Goddammit.
19. Do you like redheads?
20. Do you know any twins?
I met one half of the Quallses in college, and went to high school with the Shaw sisters and the Biermann brothers. And my mom's family is just riddled with twins. So, yes.
21. Do you have any weird relatives?
Nothing but. We're a family of black sheep. The normal ones are weird to us.
22. What was the last movie you watched?
The Philadelphia Story with Anonymous and JJ. Ah, '30s screwball comedies that haven't always aged well. Good times.
23. What was the last book you read?
I've been slogging through Crime and Punishment for the past millenium, but the last book I really finished was Cheryl Peck's Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs, a collection of essays by a fat, queer, Midwestern woman. Can't imagine why I liked it.
I want to talk about something that is uncomfortable, even painful, for people to hear. It's not something that's often broached in polite conversation, nay, in conversation at all. What I have to say, however, must be said.
This constant Mexican standoff in the ladies' room at work has got to stop.
Backstory: so, my job can be stressful at times. My body's favorite way of reacting to stress is to tie my intestines into knots the Boy Scouts would envy. This means that I'm frequently sprinting off to the bathroom at work, hoping against hope that the Poo Stall is free, and the bathroom empty. Because, as Sars so neatly articulates in that thar article I linked to, there's this weird miasma of shame and denial hanging in the womens' bathroom--that we're only there to touch up our makeup, wash our hands, and emit rainbows and sunshine and happiness. Not, you know, to actually shit or let one rip that we've been holding in through the last meeting or perform a natural human function or anything.
Is this getting to be a little TMI? Oh, well.
So, I'm not immune to the aforementioned miasma. When my bowels are unhappy, I want to placate them in an empty bathroom. And preferably with the men's room next door empty, too. In a different state. Nine times out of ten, I can either hit the bathroom at the right moment, or wait in my stall, rattling the toilet paper holder to announce my presence, until it vacates. But someone else apparently has the same idea as I do.
I don't know who she is. Her shoes and toes are nondescript, and I've never seen her face. She'll either come in when I'm there or will be there already when I come in. If I'm there first, I sit and wait. Rattle the toilet paper. Blow my nose, to pass the time. She sits there and does not shit, or pee, or anything. I wait some more, fiddling with the toilet paper some more, giving angry looks to the wall, checking my watch. I usually blink first, and leave without doing . . . what I had to do. She still sits there in stony silence. (If I come in on her, it's the same scenario.)
We have sat in the same bathroom, silently, for five straight minutes.
This is getting ridiculous. Today my innards were in a decidedly foul mood, so I was running to and from the bathroom about every hour. And most of the time, I hit it right. But, of course, when I really really really wanted the Poo Stall, she was in it. So I sat down and waited. I don't really need to use the Poo Stall, after all; I just really, really don't want an audience. After about a minute of waiting, I realized it was Her. The Other. She of the shits so foul they offend all other humans, apparently. (That's the only explanation I can think of for why I've never heard her shit. If it's a polite little poop, then I'll gladly subject others to it. Not her, evidently.) I thought about waiting it out, then decided against it and hopped to a different bathroom to conclude my business.
This woman is exercising superhuman control over my bowels. This cannot be tolerated. The only way to win this standoff is to clear away any shred of shame or denial once and for all. I'm going to start bringing a bottle of ketchup to the bathroom with me, and if ever I end up in the standoff with her again, I'll just start emptying it into the toilet. "So you're too embarrased to fart in the shitter, huh? Well, I'll give you something to be embarassed about!"
Yeah. That'll show her.
The highlights of my pictures from California are up on Flickr. Feel free to peruse.
So, the gay pride thing is still what's looming largest in my mind about the trip. I'm not out to my mom as bi, my dad knows and is totally fine with it (thank God), my sister is a big old homo and therefore in the same spot I am, and it apparently bothers my brother so little that I had to come out to him twice. So, in general, the family is supportive. But I'm not sure I could bring a girlfriend to their home, even if I were out to Mom, and have them be comfortable with it. Just a couple of weeks ago, Mom was moaning to Dad about my sister and me, "Are they ever going to get married?"
It was so freeing to be in San Francisco, Pride weekend or no. Being bi gives me a sort of weird pass into two worlds: since I read as pretty dykey (G thought, when she first met me at college, that I was going to be her "big dyke friend"), I can move in queer circles without raising an eyebrow. But since I also like men, those who know about and are not comfortable with my bisexuality can write off my queerness as mere curiosity, since I still like boys like a "normal" girl. I've only told three coworkers that I'm bi (though I'm sure more suspect), and it's been a battle with one to get her to accept that I really am attracted to women. Since I can lust after the boys like her, she can conveniently ignore how I feel about women until I force her to confront it. Does it really matter to me whether this coworker accepts my sexuality? Not really. But it is frustrating, and it does serve to illuminate others' attitude towards me.
I wonder how it must feel for Anonymous, who is out to her parents as a lesbian. If I bring a girl home to my parents (assuming they both knew), they can comfort themselves with the thought that at least I'm still attracted to men and maintain some illusion of heteronormativity. Anonymous's parents don't have that luxury of delusion; they must confront the fact that if their daughter is going to be in a relationship with anyone, it will be with a woman. I can't imagine what sort of tension that would cause in my own household, let alone hers. But then, parents are parents, and they'll love you no matter what, right?
Several years ago, when my sister had come out to me but before I realized I was bi, I asked Mom what would happen if one of us kids "hypothetically" came out to her. Her response was, "Well, I'd like to think that I could love you all equally, but . . ."
So I guess that answers that question.
I don't know. Going to the parade has made me reexamine a lot of my attitudes about how I approach my sexuality. What right do I have to keep it from my mom that I'm bi? What right do I have to tell her, when I'm not even in a relationship with anyone? What obligation do I have to tell her, considering I'm on my own and only see her about once a month?
I don't know. I have all these half-formed thoughts that are all inevitably centered around coming out to all and sundry, moving to the Central West End, and living a Fulfilling Life. I'm still processing everything that I saw and felt this past week, and I'm sure I'll have something more coherent to say later.
Last Friday, I awoke and went to the bathroom of my Monterey hotel room and regarded myself in the mirror. My feet were black from playing on the beach in Carmel the night before, my eyes and nose were runny from the cold I'd contracted somewhere between the Pride Parade and Japantown, and my arms were peeling so profusely from sunburn that it looked like I had contracted leprosy.
Oh yes, I thought, I am teh sex.
I shared this with Anonymous, my traveling mate, and had it been later in the morning, I'm sure she would have laughed.
( Welcome to the Hotel CaliforniaCollapse )
So the trip was awesome. I'm still processing everything that went on (and all the pictures I took) but I was once again blown away by the beauty of the coast, and the fact that Anonymous and I could walk through Chinatown holding hands (so as not to get separated, of course) and not attract stares. Every time I come back from California, I resolve to live there again, be it in abject poverty or with the aforementioned Fuck You money.
Needless to say, Renée is a happy woman at the moment. More entries, I'm sure, as soon as I can begin putting my head back together.
I checked my mail today and pulled out the usual stuff: the weekly coupon dump, cable offer, student loan consolidation offer, etc. There was also a thick envelope with a regular old stamp on it. I take it all up to my apartment to sort out. The only interesting thing is the thick envelope, addressed to Michele P. at my address. I get a lot of mail for a lot of random people who've lived here before me, but I've never gotten anything for Michele P. before.
It's just a regular, plain white envelope. The address on the envelope was printed out, with no return address. The poststamp reads "Santa Ana, CA", June 3rd. There are no mysterious white powders dribbling out of the envelope, it isn't ticking, it doesn't seem to be filled with spring-loaded snakes. I consider it. There's some handwritten note inside--I can see it through the envelope. Other than that, unremarkable. I debate putting "Return to sender" on the envelope, but there is no return address. I think about throwing it away, but what if it's something important? What if someone related to Michele P. died and this is the only way they know to contact her? What if it's the start of some Amélie-esque adventure that leads to me finding this Michele P. and delivering the letter to her in person? (Though, technically, wouldn't that be mail fraud and, thus, a felony? Bah.)
So I open it. I'm hoping to find something personal, some letter to Michele P. that justifies my curiosity. Inside is a folded-up newspaper page with a post-it note on the front: "Michele, you gotta see this! J" The newspaper page reads "St. Louis, MO" at the top, which strikes me as something you'd find in any old newspaper here, which makes me wonder how someone in Santa Ana, California got ahold of it. Did they manage to find a copy of the Post-Dispatch and buy it especially for this?
So now I'm hoping it's a wedding announcement, obituary, birth announcement, funny article--something with a personal connection between J and Michele P. I open up the page, and it's--an advertisement. An advertisement? Really? I open it, look through it to see if there's anything highlighted or circled, say, a picture of an old friend or a local eccentric, an unintentionally hilarious headline, some writing in the margins, but no--nothing. It's an ad on how to get government money through a series of seminars being given in Clayton, St. Louis, and Columbia.
What the fuck? Who sends someone junk mail cleverly disguised as real mail? Can you imagine what a fucking disappointment that would be to the intended recipient? "Oh, yay, a letter for me! I wonder who it's fro-- What the hell is this?" Is it some kind of Crying of Lot 49-type code? Is it something like The Ring, where everyone who gets this letter dies within seven days? (If so, it's been nice knowing ya, folks!)
Do people really do this? Send each other junk mail . . . through the mail? It makes no sense. It's like ironic spam. Is it from a crazy aunt or senile grandpa who thinks Michele P. could really use the cash? Is it some fun game where you find some random piece of paper, pick a random name and a random address from the phone book, and mail it to that address? Is it a very, very weak and unfrightening form of terrorism?
How odd. I think I feel safe in throwing it out now.
In other news, happy birthday, Jeremy!