Tuesday, March 30, 2004


grrrrrooowell . . .

i must love doing acting. because this show i'm opening this weekend is making me miss both mike doughty in brooklyn and bishop allen on rollerskates. on roller skates. sheesh.

today, one of my students suggested we through a dinner party at a harlem soul food restaurant. you bring your boyfriend, she said, and i'll bring my family. i have to say, i sort of wish we could do it.

Sunday, March 28, 2004


turning over a new leather rosebud.

yesterday i was walking in midtown around two pee em, and saw a guy get out of his hotdog cart, spread a plastic dry cleaning bag on the ground and pray towards mecca. i realize i'm describing this as if it were something cuh-ray-zay i saw in the street, the same way people say they saw pigeons humping or a crazy person licking his own arm, but i don't mean it that way. i just liked it, and i liked that he had a half-full snapple next to his improvised prayer mat.

i had lunch with a baby after that, and then went shoe shopping. although i'm approaching areas of poverty previously unknown to me, i had a credit at macy's and needed shoes for svetlana's wedding. i agonized for half an hour over small black slides with demure bows, or higher black sandals with straps and a black leather flower on the toe. i even called my boyfriend, although i'm unsure how i thought that could help. anyway. i have new shoes.

and i chose the gaudier pair, which i hope heralds a new beginning in the closet department. after about four years, i am finally tired of eighty percent of my clothes being grey, black or brown. i love that shit, but i've been walking around this new york realizing that it is not the same runway i'm used to. people dress here, and they do it in technicolor. when i admitted to a group of women acquaintences that i only own black and brown shoes, they goggled in horror. it's spring. it's time to dress up and buy something orange.

in case i haven't mentioned, the other reason i know it's spring is that the monkey brought home an armload of cherry branches the other day, from the florist. he said, i thought maybe you'd be homesick for the cherry trees in spring. he's right. he's also incredibly great.

Thursday, March 25, 2004



come on, you. take me out to lunch. it's a perfect day for it, and i'm even feeling pretty. if i were a scarf today, i'd be a fascinator. i'd be pink. i'm not even promising all these things, but i feel strongly they are possible. so.

come on!

Wednesday, March 24, 2004


join me!

i was oddly intrigued and bafflingly encouraged by salon's reportage from a frustrated midlist author. sort of in keeping with my allentown excursion, it's useful to see other people with lives i think i envy dealing with similar dissatisfaction (and that's not just the schadenfreude talking, or however you spell that). maud, who i'm going to see this weekend, mentioned that the author manages to come across as neither clever nor deserving of symapthy; perhaps that's what i liked best about the story.

in other news, i have learned to play one of those clapping hand games (gradeschool girls will remember these from the playground) called "i won't go back to mexico." while we're speaking of failed (or at least delayed) literary ambitions, i think "i won't go back to mexico" would make a great title for something. right up there with what my allentown friend came up with on sunday: "Does This Vagina Make Me Look Fat?"

another of my very most admirable friends is pregnant, and buying a wonderful house to boot. to them i say, mazel tov. i'm pretty sure no one can do it better than you guys can.

yesterday on the subway i saw an ad poster that rivalled the michelob lady made out of beer in terms of how much it freaked me the fuck out. there's a graphic of a stylized golden birdcage, door open, this bird has flown. giant letters spell out 1-800-INNOCENT! and the text above the number reads,

"for when spending a night in jail is not an option."


Tuesday, March 23, 2004


they closing the somethings down.

i went, over the weekend, to allentown, pennsylvania. it was strangely restful, and i feel better than i did before i went. i visited one of my best, most missed college chums--someone i see far less than i'd like to, but circumstances have once again put us within three hours of each other, so it's about to get better.

i got to spend time in an apartment that seemed like a home, with a yard and astroturf, and space for a dining room table and all the plastic figurines owned by my friend's boyfriend. they're all on a tall, shallow shelf bolted to the wall of their bedroom--as you're lying in bed, you're staring at about nine levels of primary colored five-inch superhero action figures. i love this, and that when one of them falls in the night and my friend stirs nervously, his boyfriend begins to chant, "it's catwoman! it's catwoman! it's catwoman!" because he can identify them by sound when they fall off the shelf in the night.

he's a doctor now, this friend. the PhD kind. and he teaches the students that we were, not so long ago (or rather, that he was--i never touched neuroscience with any kind of pole). it made me wistful, and then, eventually, it made me feel a little bit better. my friend sometimes feels like he played it safe and should have done what i did, just as i am beginning to feel that what i understood as a brave and necessary risk was possibly more like shutting blind eyes to any sort of plan for happiness.

another day, another call to the powers who be in an effort to get back on the mental health train. beaurocracy can shove it, in my opinion.



Thursday, March 18, 2004


keeping it up.

i heard someone gushing today about being in the second month of one of those relationships that makes your life make more sense than it did. and i just wanted to say, it's not not like that anymore. i still occasionally cannot believe that something like the monkey happened to me, and i still swoon. just this morning, he did a striptease in the living room in which his inexpertly cast-off pajamas became large cloth sausages which eventually throttled him. i watched in amazement. there are times that my life is a movie.

or rather, there are still times that my life is the movie i like. but those moments occur almost always at home. i know that's not enough, and if there were any danger of my not knowing that it wasn't enough, the monkey's near constant stream of well-deserved professional success would be lifting the hems of my eyelids, saying peekaboo, you. remember what you always wanted?

in deference to the good things in my life, i called The Doctor today. if i had insurance, it'd be a simpler set of calls, but even so, i'll get it done. i'm tired, though. it's harder to do it when you're tired.


one potato, two.

i spent yesterday trying to get some kind of help for the little girl who confided the abuse to me. i messed up in a number of ways. first, i was unclear about the rules regarding mandatory reporting, and while it seemed to me at the time that giving a girl who wasn't sure what she wanted to do an evening to think about her options wasn't so unreasonable, i was rightly scolded for letting a night go by before making the report. i did say, however, that i'd tried to report to a guidance counselor immediately--someone who could have corrected my misunderstanding about how urgent a response should be--but none were in the building. worse, i should never have let this poor little girl imagine that i could hear about what happened to her and not report it. her mother, it turns out, was adamant that she not tell anyone, and she's now petrified about how angry her mother will be when it comes out that the authorities have been notified. somehow, that's what got me the most--not even the story of the abuse, but the girl in front of me getting wide-eyed and teary at the prospect of disappointing her mother so grossly. and then everyone thought it was ridiculous when i cried, after realizing i'd done everything wrong and disappointed almost every party, and watching this girl's face fall into the dark.

what no one said all day, and i eventually had to tell myself, is that it was a good thing i was there, because she might not have told anyone otherwise. not because i'm willy wonka or anything, but because she's never had contact with any of the other counselors and probably wouldn't have had the notion or the opportunity to tell them. i don't know what's going to happen with her family, and i bet the call to ACS doesn't fix what's broken, but the small amount the system can do will now get done, and no matter how many people i pissed off while trying to do the right thing, at least it got done.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004


have you looked outside?

expense account dinner with the monkey's visiting cousin last night proved a lovely diversion. and no debilitating anxiety for about twenty hours in a row. i'm on a roll.

back to school, where on friday, while i wasn't there, a girl was attacked in the gym of the school upstairs that shares our building. i tried to talk to some of the kids about it yesterday, once i'd heard what happened, although they didn't seem to have much to say. except one of my newly-favorite little girls, who eventually confessed that some guy was "feeling on her" and had told her that if she treated him with respect, he'd give her a lot of money. this happened to her when she was eight, too, and that time she was able to avoid having sex with the man and told her family and he was banished from her housing project. this time, her mother called the man, who said he was so drunk he didn't remember what happened, and now continues to entertain him in her home. she had so many tears by the time she told me that the table was wet. "i should just go live in virginia," she choked.

i let her stay in my office during lunch and gave her half my sandwich. she played with my hair and admired my socks. she's such a good girl, and i didn't know what else to do for her. it seems like a sad bargain: confess this terrible fear and humiliation, and you get half a peanut butter sandwich. that sort of sums up what i can do for them, most days.

Monday, March 15, 2004


she say . . .

spring's coming, you guys. it's a good thing to be able to think of something that will make you happy. try pic-nics, i think.


keep away.

it happened again last night--strange, bolt-awake anxiety in the wee hours. it lasts for about two hours, and then i get a small catnap before the alarm goes off at 6:30. it's gross, though. i lie there getting alternately flushed and chilly and search my brain for something that will work. last night i tried all my good old acting school breathing (a counselor at the school had said, "you know, it's physically impossible to be anxious when you're breathing," to which i say, "bullshit"), a sort of home-grown self-hypnosis, and finally just a frantic search for any topic that might occupy my sleepless brain and be inert enough to stop the anxiety from getting worse. in desperation, i tried to think of the particulars of the pizza we made last night for dinner, thinking nothing was safer than cheese, only to find that it caused me to go down a few more levels into the worry. for crissakes. even pizza.

Saturday, March 13, 2004


bottoms up.

well, we shot a vodka commercial on thursday. i was background. ho-hum. another hundred bucks, but this time i met a friend. in about hour seven, i heard someone do a strongbad voice. during the grueling last third of the shoot, i laughed so hard my cheek muscles hurt. everytime background action was callled, my new friend would say, "i'm sad that i'm flying!"

i was sad that i was yet again wearing a stupid hat. some of you may remember my complaining about the beret from my last background job. this one was a stupid club-like black baseball cap. maybe my hair isn't fit for the camera.

drama job is starting, finally, to be less drama. on the best days, i just get paid to talk to kids. not so bad.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


on our way.

one of my students got a callback from the performing arts highschool's dance department. you know the high school on fame? that one. i'm so pleased for him.

a different one of them mentioned suicide the other day. heavy times. on the most suffocating days, it's seven hours inside a box that doesn't work, like trying to hold court inside an injured animal. on the best days, i just talk to kids for a living. today was a better day. there are starting to be more.

Monday, March 08, 2004


the third can has botulism.

i still feel bad. but spalding gray, wherever you are, like sjet said once. i hope your heart feels better.

Sunday, March 07, 2004


i can't even.

i'm just saying, that i thought i'd be prouder of myself by now. i thought i'd be doing more things--something, i guess, that made me proud. i love my man, and i suppose i like a couple things i've done in the last year, but i spent a bad day this weekend wishing i could be someone else. i don't like how i feel. and i'll try to fix it and all, and i appreciate all of the people who try to tell me how good things are, but i feel like a large, fat failure.

my dad has these dreams, sort of waking dreams, in between sleep and lucid thought. usually, in them, he can't move. i've had three of them, now, and one was on friday. i had a nap, and while waking up i couldn't move. i was firing all the pistons in my head and the arm was just lying there like a sausage, like roadkill. i kept doing everything i knew how to do, but i guess nothing i knew how to do was the right thing.

Friday, March 05, 2004


knew then what i knew now.

i remember telling my mother while i was still living at home that i thought my generation would look at gay rights the way hers did at civil rights for people of different races--that there'd be some sort of climactic major change, even if it wasn't completely adequate, and later we'd think of the time before as large darkness, as unjust.

i just can't tell you how happy i am about all this marrying and giving in marriage. maybe i'm cynical, but i didn't expect it to go on this long, or for other cities and towns to join in . . . or for anyone to agree that civil disobedience is called for here and now just like it was in the lunch counters and the buses in the sixties' south. for once, i am pleasantly surprised. amerika, you are not all bad.

Monday, March 01, 2004


nell schadenfreudenberger.

i think i mentioned her once before, and about how not only am i not her, i'm not any number of other things closer and more related to her than i, but today i started reading her stories, the collection called _lucky girl_, and they are good enough to buckle my envy right down to the ground. it is good stuff. you might could stand to read it.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?