Friday, July 15, 2005


watch yourself.

there was this old guy on our block when we lived in queens who looked entirely crotchety. and he behaved all crotchety, too. even when he was doing something that i suppose was objectively "nice"--i slipped a little bit on the icy sidewalk beside my door last winter, and Crotchety was there, and he barked a gruff,

"watch yourself."

which doesn't seem very nice to me, actually. it sounds like what you say when someone accidently elbows you in the crotch.

(one time in high school we were hanging out at the evergreen state college campus and we all got under this giant army blanket and there was a lot of co-ed tickling going on until am elbow let fly and my friend matt brady said, very seriously, "sorry about your crotch.")

it's also not nice to have almost slipped on the ice and have some grumpy neighbor imply it's your own fault. i'm no more careless than the next girl, and i definitely don't wear those ridiculous foot-deforming shoes.

so i gave him a dirty look, but i stopped myself from tossing off a sarcastic "hey, thanks" because months before, when the monkey was out of town the first time, i'd run into him drunk (that's him drunk, not me) on the corner coming home from work. he called me sweetheart, and i looked at him levelly and told him he was not, in fact, my sweetheart. i hadn't broken stride, but he called after me:

hey, girl. you better watch it. i'm your neighbor.

in retrospect, it's possible that he meant that we were neighbors and so i should be nice to him (watch yourself) because of that, and that being nice meant pretending we were on "sweetheart" terms and that i didn't mind pet names meant as condescension, but it really sounded like a threat.

and the monkey was going to be away for another month.

i'm not usually so scaredy, but i hurried away after that, and that winter when i was told to watch myself, i got so mad i thought my tongue was going to turn black. i didn't say anything, though.

i have this one acquaintance i don't like very much, but i suppose he's an okay guy. i'm pretty attentive to him, and i'm a little ashamed of myself. i just called him and agreed to go to some party he's throwing where i will feel like a total idiot. he's someone i'd normally brush off--and not to be mean, he's just really very hard to be around--except he is also an Important Guy and i am also, apparently, a prostitute. countinuing to foster our unlikely acquaintanceship in the face of my dislike seems like roughly the same thing as biting my black tongue toward mister crotchety so that he wouldn't do anything un-neighborly to me while my protection was out of town. i don't think i would have guessed before i got here, but one of the lamest things about being an actor is also one of the lamest things about being female: i'm just usually a big loudmouth in an environment that requires a lean towards self-preservation.


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