Friday, July 31, 2009

A Cop Gave Me Food Poisoning

(Right: the grass looks that nice precisely because you're not allowed to grill there.)

Well, at least we didn't get a ticket.

What I did get was: two first degree burns, two long slashes of stinging nettle (which for some reason appear to have left a scar), an ambiguous bug bite, and food poisoning.

To my own credit I must say that I knew--I knew! that we were probably not supposed to grill in Treptower Park. As we sat there, grilling away, I imagined that everyone else in the park was watching us, clucking their tongues, dialling the Ordnungsamt or worse, the police. I couldn't remember ever once being at a barbecue in this park, and a quick survey of the grass revealed very few burn marks. There was nowhere to put out coals.

But we figured, how often do the cops make their way down here? Never, eh? Where are they even going to come from?

And I suppose the chicken had been out for a while even before Officer Friendly showed up. As a matter of fact, if Cookie had gotten her way, it would have sat out even longer. On a beautiful day like this
temperature around 78°, yr chicken probably needs to be refrigerated. Mine was out for at least two hours before it got slapped on the grill, and the rest of it went on considerably later.

I was just putting the garnishes on my second poison burger when the cop car pulled up. Here you can see the little road, which I would never have believed wide enough for an entire police vehicle:
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the silver and green vehicle and continued slathering curry ketchup and salad onto my burger.

"Are we in trouble?" I asked Cookie, neither looking up from my burger nor turning around.

"Yeeeaaaah, it looks like it," she said, just as nonchalantly.

The cop gets out and introduces himself, then tells us that we are grilling in a protected area and that he won't give us a ticket this time but to beat it. There is another grillplatz near Bulgarische Straße if we'd like to go up there. We say thanks, he says have a nice day. Graham and I are trying to figure out what to do with the grill and its freshly lit coals. For a minute it looked as if we were going to just extinguish it with water and start anew, but I piped up and said I knew where Bulgarische Straße was and that I bet we could just carry the grill to the new place.

Bulgarische Straße turned out to be further than I had remembered and when we got there we still couldn't find the grillplatz and kept walking. By this time, the grill was spitting embers and I had one burn on my right hand. As the sidewalk narrowed, Graham had to push into me a bit to avoid knocking the cyclists off their bikes and inadvertently wound up pushing the fiery hot grill into my forearm, giving me another two-inch long burn. As I flinched from that, I unfortunately dug my left arm into a thicket of nettle, which left two long slashes across my tricep.

All the while, Cookie, Jarral and Jason are still at the park. Graham and I are carrying the grill while Michael pushes my bicycle. Once Gra and I found a place in the woods to put down the grill--a dark, unfriendly place with no grass on which to lay out a blanket, no sunshine, just woods--I cycled back as quickly as possible to the rest of the party. On my way, I noticed that we'd passed the intended grillplatz, which did indeed have grass and sunshine and ponies and shit. So I got the rest of the gang, led them to the new spot, the cycled back to Michael and Graham and told them where the new spot was, then cycled back to the new spot and ate a ton of poisoned chicken, from which Graham and I both suffered abdominal cramping and diarrhea all the next day. Total cycling and lugging time was somewhere around 2.5 hours--the cop first came around four and we settled down in the new spot around six thirty. Then we went to a bar. The end.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good Neighbor or Meddling Busybody?

I'm laying in bed, no idea what time it is. The tail end of yet another disturbing dream is still in the foreground of my mind; I can still see traces of it when I open my eyes. But piercing through the gossamer fantasy, rousing me to consciousness, is a brutal yet unshocking dose of reality.

The neighbor is bashing his lady again.

No, let me not lie. I'm not sure if he's actually bashing her. The screaming usually starts in the mornings, before he goes to work. While I can hear every word he says, I can't actually understand it. At my request the 'Stoph once listened closely enough to make out that the neighbor--we'll call him Gunder since that's his name--seemed to be upset that the woman has no job and does nothing all day. Sits around the house, makes excuses for why she can't employ herself, blah blah blah.

The woman responds in the most horribly high pitched whine ever. It's the same high-pitched whine she uses when they're engaging in one of their two-hour-long fucking sessions. Her voice would be enough to drive any man insane, but that's no reason to scream at the lady. Just tell her to get out.

Which is exactly what he does. Once, after a particularly heated eviction (Gunder kept telling her to get out, to just get out, to get the fuck out now, what the fuck are you still doing here? I told you to get the fuck out) I saw her moving girly-type furniture out of the house--a vanity mirror, the type of upholstered armchair no self-respecting potbellied biker dude in his 40s would dare have in his home, an unidentifiable object made of wicker. Soon after that I was subject to the familar yet nauseating sound of them having sex, and not long after that I saw them walking peacefully together like a happy couple.

Usually when he starts screaming, the first thing you think is, "Wow, that dude is really pissed about something. I wonder what it is?"

Then you think, "Man that chick's voice is annoying."

Then the screaming escalates, with the man getting louder and the woman maintaining her volume, but obviously protesting and you wonder, "What the hell did she do to piss him off so badly?"

Then you can hear the screamer moving about the apartment, repeating himself, refusing to allow anything the woman says to mollify him. And you begin to think, "This guy has an anger issue."

Then you realize it is only the eleventy-seventieth time you've been subjected to this nonsense and you wonder, "Why don't they just end it? We are in our 20s and we've never screamed at each other like this, even once, and we live in a tiny shoebox of a flat, while theirs is literally four times the sizs of ours. Can't they find some way to get along? Why would either of them stay in a situation that is so obviously not working out? What a couple of douchebags... grown ass people who can't figure out how to manage their lives. They deserve each other."

Then you hear the first crash and you think, "....."

And you shut off your stupid judgmental brain and listen very carefully.

The screaming continues after the first crash, but the man's voice takes on a higher pitch. He has worked himself up in a frenzy. Crash, boom, shatter. The woman's voice is not to be heard.

And you wonder, "Maybe I should call the police."

Today, after he was finished verbally and perhaps physically bashing his lady, he slammed the door on the way out of the house and I could hear her through the wall, crying to herself, pathetically, self-pityingly. Part of me can't understand why she would stay--they have no children together and as far as I know haven't been a pair for longer than a year or so. Why wouldn't she cut her losses and just get out?

The other part of me understands that sometimes weak people can't help themselves out of harmful situations. I don't understand it deeply or well, but I understand that other people understand it, and I can respect it despite its incomprehensibility.

I know that there are people who read this blog although they don't comment. If you've made it this far, can you do me a favor and give me your unbiased opinion? I am considering taking some sort of action. A good friend thinks that if I write a letter telling the man that we can all hear him and that if the fighting continues the cops may have to be called, Gunder will perceive it as a threat and take it out on his woman. She also thinks that the man will just shrug and think I should mind my own business. I thought of including as an addendum in the note that it is his business if he wants to scream his head off all day during daylight hours and that I understand we all have complications in our relationships sometimes, but that if he is indeed hitting his woman then I am obliged to intervene, regardless of the fact that I don't know either of them from Adam. The note would be anonymous.

Even if this will be your first and last comment I'd be really grateful for your opinion.

P.S. I went to the party last night and didn't drink a drop.

Monday, July 27, 2009

You Can Eat All the Dust You Like

(The title is a Little Britain reference; if you've never seen the show you need to make a date with YouTube, pronto.)

It's weird the stuff that's considered "healthy" just because it's not "bad for you". Everyone agrees that anything deep-fried or with a ton of sugar in it is "bad for you" although that's complete bollocks. As someone who's struggled with her weight for all of her adult life and has lost 50 pounds in the last two years can tell you, the key to changing your eating habits and thus changing your life is to enjoy everything in moderation.

There are some things that people enjoy in moderation that they really shouldn't--such as cocaine, cigarettes, reality TV, and extramarital affairs--but no single food is going to ruin your figure. As anyone with half a brain knows, the key is to eat well.

A friend of mine constantly refers to everything I do as "healthy"--working out, drinking water, eating salad. Only one out of three of those things is healthy. I drink just enough water not to die, OK, well, I drink enough water that I don't wish I would die (somewhere around 5 liters a day), and eating salad is, well, eating salad. Everyone knows that it's all about what you put on the salad, but at the end of the day, a few kernels of corn, some feta cheese, a couple shreds of carrot, a bit of tomato and four tablespoons of oil and vinegar are not significantly contributing to your overall health. Lettuce is nothing. Salad is... nothing.

You also cannot eat a salad to "cancel out" "bad" foods. Recently, at an Italian restaurant, this friend placed her order: Pizza Delo Chef, an order of cheese bread (the exact same size as a pizza, except without tomato sauce or toppings) and a half liter of house red. I placed my order next: Salami and mushroom calzone, tomato salad, and half a liter of house white. Friend's jaw dropped as if I'd just figured out the last digit of pi--"Salad! So healthy, aren't you good? Shit, I should have gotten a salad too!" She then waits until the server is finished taking down orders and changes her own. I was impressed with her spontaneous display of willpower until she opened her mouth and ordered the salad as well as cheese bread and pizza. I looked at her and made some sort of joke about how now she's got bad plus bad plus neutral and she looked back and replied in all earnestness that the salad was going to cancel out the cheese bread.

(This is the same person who drank like a fucking fish until I told her that a bottle of wine contains as many calories as a medium-sized meal. She literally had no idea that there were calories in alcohol. She still drinks like a fish, but has taken to eating more salad in hopes of combatting her budding obesity.)

I can't remember now what my point was, other than "hahahaha!! Point and laugh at those who I am better than" but I guess that's what happens when you try to blog everyday... they can't all be gems.

OK I will invent an artifical point. I'm not even that much of an internet nerd and even I use the internet to my advantage when it comes to educating myself about nutrition and fitness. I find it incredible how many people share the mindset that if you do a couple of things right, everything else will be cancelled out. In short, if you want to stay healthy and active, you're going to have to do a whole hell of a lot more than watch Billy Blanks every blue moon and eat one salad per six cheeseburgers with fries and Coke.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ack! Today is the birthday of two people close to me--the cousin mentioned in a previous blog, and an Irish girl I met here a couple years ago. Tomorrow Brigid "Dessie's Got to do the Rage" Lynch is having her birthday drinks at a bar in a neighborhood I adore and it will be a huge challenge to stay sober.

Not that I've exactly made a Herculean effort--a couple days ago I gave drinking for 12 hours my all, and succeded wildly. Made it from 2pm to 3am without a break and without passing out, although there were a couple of cups of coffee, a few liters of water, and two heavy meals thrown in there for good measure.

So far, from what I've seen of the Irish in Berlin, stereotypes about Celtic drinking habits are not that unfounded. After one of their favorite bars closed its doors forever, the former employees are now scrambling for work in other Irish bars staffed entirely by their friends, and one is even going home. After eight years of living in Berlin and having a child with a German woman, he is packing it up--life is simply not worth living if he can't go down to Murray's and have a bit of a craic with his mates.

Tomorrow night will be a true test of my dedication to pretending not to drink. I will be around people who are piss-drunk, people I don't know all that well, which never helps. Also, truth be told, I might just have a better time with a few drinkies.

The problem with that is that all I'd be having is a fake good time.

I can still remember, way, way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, before television or electric toasters or democracy or the internet and before I was a career alcoholic--so about 1999 or so, that I was perfectly able to engage in great conversations, to dance, sing, laugh and embark on adventures stone sober. After having gone through my pot phase, my cocaine phase and my current alcoholic phase however, it's become nearly impossible to imagine doing all the things I used to do without a bit of help. After the cocaine phase ended, I literally could not sit in a room with anyone--even people with whom I'd been well-acquainted for years--without drinking something. I also could not smoke pot. Something had changed in my brain, I felt that I was actually differently wired than I was before.

Re-wiring my brain to go back to its default settings will take some time and effort, and I won't get any further by going tomorrow night and drinking myself into a good time.

I suppose we'll all find out in Tuesday's blog how it went tomorrow night.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I love going to the gym. No, scratch that, I love working out at the gym. Cycling there in the rain is not my favorite part of it.

Tons of people smarter, more active, and more creative than my good self despise going to the gym. They say it's boring, repetitive, rote. They'd rather jog outdoors, play tennis, swim, rock climb or hike.

I love all of those things too (with the exception of jogging--bleh) but they're not suitable as regular, 3-5x a week workouts for a Neurotic Nelly like me. The reason both the 'Stoph and I like gymming it up is exactly because it is so repetitive and predictable.

It's never raining in the gym. No one (usually) is staring at you in the gym. Everyone else is sweating and grunting; no one is picnicking or playing acoustic guitar or sunbathing. You don't have to be rich or buy a nice outfit or be fearless when it comes to heights or buy any special equipment. You don't have to wax your bikini line or smell like chlorine for the next two days. You never have to wonder if you got a good enough workout, if you burned enough calories, whether your ratio of aerobic to anaerobic was correct. Working out in the gym is methodic and efficient for people with specific goals and a fear of embarrassing themselves in public.

Besides the convenience and comfort of working out in the gym, there are also a ton of steroid-inflated, full-body waxed, orange-tanned men to stare at and you hardly see any of those while rock climbing or mountain biking.

Eventually, I want to get to the point where I am working out occasionally in the gym and getting most of my exercise by doing some cool outdoorsy type sport... but not until I look good in a leotard. Looks like I'll be regularly hitting the gym until, oh, 2016. Sigh.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lots and Lots of Paint on Everything

Oh God. Yesterday I met up with Laura at 2pm and started drinking immediately, urgently. In a sense, it's her fault, because she was a living, breathing human being who happened to be there, and although she didn't consume any alcohol until much later, her presence served to justify my behavior, as I wouldn't have drunk on my own. Thanks a lot bitch. We took a walk, sat in a park, ate lunch, and sat in another park, where, thinking some lovely green leaves were either strawberries or mint, put them up to my nose to smell them and immediately realized that they were stinging nettle. The tip of my nose burned and tingled for the next six hours. Then I invited another friend of ours (Brigid "Dessie's Got to Do the Rage" Lynch) to meet us at my house, where we ate, drank, and chain-smoked until 3am. Fun. Laura stayed over for the night, then woke up at an ungodly hour and dragged her alcohol-soaked carcass into work. I slept for three more hours then took a walk around the neighborhood. This is what I saw:

At first I thought it was some sort of rescue ladder until I realized it's extending from a moving truck, not a fire engine. Apparently I'm not the only one who has little trouble moving furniture into an apartment, to later be baffled by my inability to get it back out. You just heave it over the balcony instead of taking an ax to it. Good thing to remember for next time.

Germans are so. weird. with their little stuffed animal obsessions. First all over the backpacks of 50-year-old women, now on their own lattice frame on the patio.
My name is Odessa, and I approved this message.

This is on my street! I feel so... urban. Also, in black, it says, "Nazis aufs Maul," which, literally translated, means "Nazis on the mouth". I have to find out what the hell that means.

I can't tell if this is graffiti, or if the building used to a midget-in-a-teacup factory.
OK, this was creepy. Santa here is hanging from the rearview mirror of one of those psycho trucks. You know the ones I mean, the ones that are literally crammed to the ceiling with clothing, odds and ends, and plain old garbage. Like the home of a packrat, except one who lives in his car. The air freshner was "New Car Smell" and I somehow couldn't get over the irony of someone trying to pass off New Car Smell in a 30-year-old landfill on wheels.
A playground next to a school.
I know what you're thinking, that it's some sort of circus school, but it's not. Evidently it's just a really, really bad school where no one attends so you have to sort of trick them into thinking school is somehow fun.
Yeah. Um.
Someone likes blue. I do have to say that this bike is looking a little fresh and so clean-clean with its allover blue paint job (even the basket) but then again I have to wonder if these were the only colors the bike thief had in his garage.
Another cake building... sigh... I'd love to live in one if the cellars didn't look like dungeons and they weren't all haunted.
Pretty patios. Unconventional but pretty.
A former beer barden.
I think cobblestones look soooooooo pretty in the rain... best is in the rain at night.

The handiwork of yet another blue-obsessed person.
I put this one in here just to freak your eyeballs out. The other angles were so bad even I couldn't deal with it.
Hermannstraße. This last one I took right after exiting Hasenheide, one of (in my opinion) Berlin's most beautiful parks. Unfortunately for me and everyone who loves it, it is full of African drug dealers. In general I don't mind drug dealers, especially when they're just selling weed, but these guys are aggressive, they follow you, ask your name, etc. Everywhere I went they were there; I haven't seen so many black folks in one place since the time I got drunk at the hair shop.

Then it started pissing down rain and a lightning bolt cracked so close to my house that the apartment was full of a bright white nuclear flash and I stood stock still, terrified. I was cooking a meal and not sure if you're supposed to touch anything metal while there's an electrical storm going on so I just kind of kept standing there, undecided. Sounds like a good diet; I should move to somewhere that has a lot of thunderstorms.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More like P-Üno

I'm not much a reviewer, because I don't consume the kinds of things people like to read reviews about--I don't buy CDs or DVDs, I don't drink in expensive scene bars or eat at upscale restaurants with star chefs, and I don't go to the cinema unless there is a movie I really, really want to see.

I'm not sure why I wanted to see Brüno so badly--probably because I am in love with Sacha Baron Cohen and want him to be the father of my children. I didn't see Borat the film, but I adored him on the Ali G show. Also there is a Brüno promo poster plastered all over Berlin which mesemerizes me; I stare at it everywhere and think, "If only."

The theater was packed. We had high hopes in the beginning of the film. The first twenty minutes or so are good--really funny stuff. Cohen messes with people who are in ridiculous positions--patronizing models and talent agents and the like. Later on, he interviews an actual terrorist, which I found to be the highlight of the film. Good, solid Ali G style piss-taking.

But then he moves on to people like Ron Paul and Paula Abdul, people who, while I don't have much time for their politics or drug-addled reality show performances, are Real People with agendas in the Real World. I liked the bit with the gay converter, but for the most part, all Cohen did was force other people to feel very, very uncomfortable, which made me feel very, very uncomfortable.

Some people deserve to be made fun of. Models, terrorists, rednecks, swingers and the parents of child actors and models. But I think he took it too far with some of his victims, beyond the boundaries of good taste or entertainment. It's not often that I am stunned by the crudity of another person, but there were times when my mouth hung open and I covered half my face with my hands. Several times, I wished I'd had the nerve to just cover my eyes, but I figured that as I'd paid to watch the thing, I might as well get my money's worth. I left the film feeling drained and uneasy and relieved that I'd only spent €5 on the show.

So that's my review. Go see Brüno if you have a really strong stomach, oh, and if you don't mind a talking penis and several comedic but explicit sex scenes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Postbank is (not) for Lovers

Before I moved to Berlin, I hadn't had a bank account in years. The explanation for that is simple enough: as a teenager I'd fucked up my Washington Mutual account, owed them a hundred bucks or so, and decided to cash my paychecks at my employers' banks for the following seven years, until the debt was erased. I wasn't the world's most responsible 17-year-old, that's for sure.

But when I got to Germany, I quickly learned that no one believes in paychecks. There is no such thing as "automatic deposit", it's called "getting paid." Almost without exception, employees are paid on the first of the month, which of course always reminds me of my free lunch-, medical coupon- and foodstamp-assisted childhood. Back home, the first week of the month is when all the blacks, Mexicans and toothless, illiterate white people descend upon Macy's, McDonald's and the liquor store. The last week of the month is the busiest then for hock shops and the return counter at Target. But in German hip-hop there are no lyrics about the "first of the month". More like, the "line-up at the Arbeitsamt".

(If you don't like my race "jokes", you don't have to read. Just to put that out there.)

The 'Stoph dragged me kicking and screaming to the Postbank, which is a combination of the national postal service and the world's worst savings bank. Because I was 25 when I arrived, I was supposed to get a service-charge free "youth" bank account. For reasons best known to themselves, Postbank started charging me immediately for their services, which include:

  • holding my money
  • transfering my money
  • not crediting me any interest on my money
  • avoiding talking to me about my money
  • frowning and clucking when I ask to talk about my money
  • telling me that my problem is not their problem
  • being absolutely useless, condescending dicks

My bank card doesn't work. It's brand new, was sent to me because my last bank card mysteriously stopped working. I haven't told them about it because I am terrified of having to go inside and talk to someone about it, someone who will roll their eyes and make me feel about one inch tall for having ruined their day with my petty inconveniences. The card only doesn't work at Postbank, my very own bank. But luckily for me, Postbank is part of a large network of banks and I can take money out of any of them without charge. However, if I need any services, I have to go inside my bank and deal with all of the dragons that work there.

I have never had a nice experience at Postbank. You want to know why I stay there? Because I am too afraid of dealing with the hassle of closing my account. No bullshit. I am staying at my bank because staying with it is less painful than dealing with a human being in order for me to leave it. Pathetic.

Last month I transferred some money to a translator for work she through the mail. A few days ago she emailed me to check if I had indeed transferred the money. I scanned my bank statement with her name on it and sent it to her. Too late, I realized that the sorting code was wrong.


I put it off for a few days, then mustered up all my courage and tiptoed into my bank. The conversation went like this:

Odessa: (prepared with bank statement, correct numbers, and cheerful voice) Hello! I made a transfer last month that didn't go through because the sorting code was entered wrong. [I omitted the bit about how I never do anything with numbers without triple, quadruple checking it. There is literally no way in the world that the fault was mine.] I'd like to know if the money has been sent back to my account, or if I will need to transfer it again.

Useless Postbank Assmonkey: (gruff) This is from last month.

O: Yes

UPA: You need to call this number on the bottom here. I don't have time to deal with this.

O: (cheerfulness gone, pointing to computer) You can't look it up and tell me?

UPA: This is from last month. Why did you wait so long to deal with it? Not my problem anymore. Call this number.

O: I didn't know there was a problem until last week, when the woman who was supposed to receive the money emailed me and told me she hadn't.

UPA: Well, it's from last month. Don't you have online banking [a service you have to sign up for, one more pain in the ass]? I can't help you.

O: (not understanding his preoccupation with the fact that it happened last month, other than that he was making a moral judgment about my lack of personal fastidiousness) Are you sure?

UPA: Yes.

O: (with a light tone of anger in voice) I find it absolutely unbelievable [pause for effect] that I can walk into my own bank [pause] and ask a question about my account [pause] and be told that you cannot answer that question. I don't believe you.

UPA: ... (takes my information, walks ten feet away, makes a couple of phone calls, digs up some paperwork, tells me to sign here and have a nice day.)

I won! I won! I can't believe I won! Or that I'm right about them being deliberately unhelpful. Hmm. Maybe it is time to switch banks. Now that I know I can dooo eeet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cross-Dressing in Other People's Clothing

The last time I wore high heels was in 1997. The theme of the dance was One Sweet Day; I think it was a "Tolo", whatever that means.

As usual, I had no date. Bopping around the school cafeteria were me and my chunky heels and my crush with a freshman girl called Melissa and 60 spindly high school boys, none of whom looked to the 6-foot-tall-without-heels, 300 pound girl for a dance. I wore a dress bought for me by my mother, in which I had recently accepted a literary award, and never wore after that night. I don't remember what it looked like, probably because it wasn't important--the shoes are what I remember best about that evening.

I danced and danced, then took a drink of water and kept dancing. I did not sit out even one song. At the end of the night I called my mother and she picked me up in her '79 Volare, a former police car with dirty adhesive in the form of a governmental serial code along the side. Scraped out of the adhesive were the names of various neighborhood kids who made their mark with housekeys and the edges of bottle caps and dirty fingernails. I rode home in my mother's car, in my chunky heels, while the other girls--Melissa included--rode to the beach, or to their date's house, in late-model Camaros and Ford pickup trucks with flawless paint jobs.

My prom came and went. Lara, my best friend at the time, and I, went to a Blood Brothers concert instead. Not that anyone had asked me anyway. The shoes sat, undisturbed since Tolo, in my closet next to the cat box, sprinkled with kitty litter and collecting dust.

Twelve years later, I don't own a single pair of girly shoes. Not even a pair of canvas Chinatown flats with plastic flowers. I own two pairs of flip flops, two pairs of athletic shoes, one pair of leather penny loafers sent to me by my Gramma who has no clue how unfashionable they are, and a pair of green knock-off Crocs with a hole in the ball of the right foot.

I own five or six dresses, all of them light, summery things, nothing one could wear to a wedding or funeral or even a job interview.

The vast majority of my considerably un-vast wardrobe consists of men's pants and shirts and women's pants and shirts in a masculine cut. One time I asked the 'Stoph if he cared that I didn't girly up for him, and he said, "Nah. I think women in men's clothes are hot. It emphasizes their femininity." I know, right? Did you ever hear such a crock of shit?

That's what I thought til I tried on Michael's sport jacket the other day. I loved the cut, the feel of the fabric, the pinstripes. Incredibly, I actually did feel sexier than I did while I was sitting around drinking beer out of a backpack and trying not to freeze my calves off in my capri pants. I experienced a sudden urge to grab the nearest microphone and start drawling something about never going back to my baby in a convertible at sunset or something.

Am I an undercover lesbian, or do I just really enjoy men's clothing? I have fantasized about buying men's chonies, because they look comfortable, like you'd never have to pull them out of your asscrack. I like men's pants because they usually have a straight-leg cut, which is good for a body type like mine, and I like men's button-down shirts, because I prefer the buttons on the other side.

If I ever showed the above photo to my mom I'm sure she'd join a Loved Ones of the LGBTQ group and start calling me KD. Very funny, mom. You can stop sending me knee-high pantyhose and ankle-length Mormon granny skirts now... I think I'll wear a suit and tie to my next funeral.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Doodooing into Cyber Space

I think I need to blog more. There are a few blogs that I read religiously, that are utter crap, but I just can't not read them. In the interest of discretion and tact, I'll omit the names of the bloggers. One of them is a popular relationship blogger whose posts have as much depth as a Dear Abby column. Another is a self-absorbed alcoholic woman-child who has definitely something worthwhile to say, but is too busy taking 28379371 shots of herself in front of a dirty mirror to bother writing any of it down.

Then there are a couple of blogs I really, really, like. (that's a zero, not an O) is home to one of the most talented bloggers I've ever read, but like me, she only posts once every blue moon. When she does post, it's worth reading, but you can tell that it takes some self-motivation to give birth to the blog, then set it free in cyberspace.

Maybe she has the same problem I do, though. I don't want to sit down every day and bang out something, anything. I want to sit down and carefully shape and mold thought-provoking posts with which the reader can identify and perhaps in which he can find hope and inspiration and blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda yawn zzzzzzzz. Here's an idea: just write something. Successful bloggers everywhere will tell you that the key action taken by widely-read authors is posting regularly. But readers will tell you that posting too much waters down content. No one has something thought-provoking to say every single day. I mean, I do, but I'm special. I can bang em out every day, sometimes several times in a day. I usually provoke my boyfriend to thought by gracing his otherwise lackluster existence with such wisdoms as:

"Oh God... I fucking hate birds. SHUT. UP."

"I think our neighbor is kicking his girlfriend out again. Quick! If you put your ear here, you can hear everything."

"Did you know Ava Braun died of renal failure and not suicide? It's true. No, really. I read it on Wikipedia."

"Ew, gypsies. They better not come into this yard. I told a tiny begging one to fuck off yesterday and I think it put a curse on me. My feet are cold."

"You should scrape off the black shit from your toast cos it causes cancer. No, really. I read it on Wikipedia. Eh? How should I know 'what kind of cancer'? Cancer cancer. The type that kills you. Duh."

So now you can see what you'd have to look forward to if I blogged every day. Still, it might be an interesting experiment. Maybe it's not as hard as it seems. Putting too much thought into the posts is what murders my desire to blog. I want to write something funny and smart, but if I just settle for something that makes it through spell check I should be satisfied with that.

Oh, right. I don't use spell chekc. OK. Well, something with a minimal number of split infinitives and dangling prepositions then. Ha ha, uh, is a "dangling preposition" even a thing?

OK. I'm finished taking a dump into cyberspace for now. See you tomorrow with another gripping, riveting post. Maybe I should take some pictures of my ass in tight pants or of my pedicure or something, to prepare.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Finally Cut Off

I hate that I had to cut my cousin, once the person closest to me in the world, off my friends' lists.

But how pathetic is that?

True, I live on the other side of the world from her, but it still seems so petty, so passive-aggressive, to show someone your displeasure by cutting them off a fake fucking networking website. It's ridiculous. I feel ridiculous.

I can't be alone in this experience. There must be someone else in the universe who has tried and tried to reach out to someone, to keep a relationship going, to realize they are never going to be met halfway. Even a quarter of the way would suffice.

I think now I will tell you a bit about my cousin. As briefly as possible.

She is 25 days older than me, which means she is going to be 28 in a few weeks. She is not only unemployed, but refuses to get a job, because it interferes with her "kickin it time". She sleeps on the couch of any minor acquaintance with food in the fridge, but the bed of a guy who's careless with cash is preferred. Rather than spend any appreciable amount of time attempting to improve her situation, she lives off handouts and a meager amount of tips earned by dancing burlesque once a week. A mutual friend of ours is running out of patience after having spent endless amounts of blood, sweat and tears trying to help the girl. Now she is about to be ejected off said friend's couch.

I would call my cousin at what for her was about noon--nine pm my time. She'd be sleeping. I'd almost beg, "can't you talk just for a little bit?" and she would mumble, "call me in a few hours."

"But in a few hours I have to go to sleep. I have to get up early for work."

"Well, try another time." Click.

As I write this down, I realize how sad and pathetic all us suckers in her life are. The people she makes time for are the scenesters, the ones with money, the ones with drugs, the ones with liquor cabinets and hot tubs in their condos. If she knew anyone in the "business" she would be the world's most notorious Industry Ho. She latches onto people who can get her ahead in the fields of getting wasted and buying clothes.

The rest of us fall by the wayside.

Like a junkie, who would steal from his own grandmother, who doesn't even recognize his oldest friend as he begs from him on the street, my cousin has turned into someone beyond help, someone who must either hit rock bottom and rebuild, or fall into that pit and perish.

The cocaine, the booze, the reefer, the parties, I introduced her to all of that, and now I can't help but feel a pang of regret when I look back on those early days of our adulthood, when her biggest vice was opening her legs for whoever asked. I should have known then, that she would grasp for anything that felt good, anything to distract her from the inner turmoil she so faithfully drags along.

Her life knows no stages. When I left the United States, we were 23 years old. At the time, I reasoned that while six years is a long time to be out of a job, 23 is also young enough, resilient enough. A 23-year-old can explain away a six-year gap on a resume by claiming any number of things, but a 28-year-old will be harder pressed to explain what she's done with the last ten years of her adult life.

What have you done in the last ten years, cousin?

  • Stayed in Seattle and as good as refused to learn about anything else
  • Drank yourself half to death
  • Snorted yourself stupid
  • Got fired from every job you held for two months at a time, for poor attendance and atrocious work ethic, then complained aloud about unfair treatment
  • Made no effort to either gainfully employ or educate yourself
  • Burned so many bridges you deserve an award for outstanding achievement
  • Alienated everyone who loves you

I was the one who always understood, who always forgave, who always excused. I pointed out your thoughtful and philosphical sides to the ones who claimed you were nothing but a brainless, ignorant, gold-digging whore from the ghetto.

That is over now.

Get your shit together... you disgust me.