Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Choke on them pearls

I went to college at a kind of snotty school, in that it thought pretty highly of itself, and the students thought pretty highly of themselves, when they weren't thinking the opposite and being bulimic. Like all schools, mine likes to talk up successful grads (also already-successful freshmen, like olympic athletes) which makes failures, such as me, detest the alum magazine more than is reasonable. And yet, I'm always drawn to stories about alums and their lives when I hear or read about them. Did I know that one? Was she in my class? It's like a type of self-hatred because I usually end up disgusted.
There is one person from my class who has a blog, and she is kind of funny. Not, like, Cockeyed funny, but pretty funny. She's a doctor, and married to this other doctor, and I never wanted to be a doctor so that's OK. Doctors, when I meet them, are kind of annoying, because they turn every topic into a medical topic--they'll comment on what kind of syndrome they think an American Idol contestant has and bullshit like that, while at the same time lamenting (read bragging) that people always bring up ailments in social situations. Like, who started it? Also, don't get me started on Dr. Defensive who is very ultra sensitive about her medical cred--once I was joking about how doctors make shit up, she got all snappy and was like "I never make things up! I am honorable and upright and would never do that!". Shut up!
Wait, back to my classmate with the web page. She lives in Manhattan, she has this enormous apartment with a balcony, she has a dog and a housekeeper and a dogwalker and sends her laundry out to be washed and folded, la la la, so to 89% of America, she is disgustingly wealthy and has all the acoutrements of the yuppie lifestyle. Yet to her mind, she and her husband are the struggling poor, and she's trying to get a nanny for her expected child but is getting shot down because she can't afford the going price for Manhattan nannies, or so she says. Insert lots of jibba-jabba about how she's poor, a resident only, and can't afford...blah blah blah. This from an enlightened, educated person who ought to recognize that she is at the top 1% of the income scale! I think bell hooks wrote something once about how many people at the top only think about those above them, and how the tip-top is topper than the top, while truly enlightened people (OK, am I making this all up now?) remember the people who are further down the money chain. Guess what? there are millions of people who not only can't afford a nanny, they can't afford a baby, they can't afford a dog, they wash their own clothes, and some people can't afford that either. I would think she should pretty much shut up and go with normal people daycare, you know, live the life you claim to inhabit.

Friday, January 21, 2005


My lady and I, we hate making salad. Well, first off, we eat vegetables basically the same way we do laundry, shovel snow, clean the litterbox, and empty the dishwasher--with extreme prejudice, and not promptly. Any meal I make has vegetables, because without them clearly the universe would collapse, or so my mother led me to believe, growing up. But due to varsity-level laziness, this usually means frozen peas, microwaved, or frozen spinach, fried, or salad. Not creative. But of these, salad is so hard to make! aaaa! It has more than one component, usually, and those items are not stored on the kitchen counter but all the way over in the fridge! and you have to wash the lettuce! and cut things up! It's all too much, and we've reached the point where "salad" means lettuce, with entire baby carrots piled on top. dressing is way, way beyond us. Last night we agreed that from now on, we'll just get salad-in-a-bag and fuck this weary lettuce-tearing. To me this seems like the ultimate in lazyness. So I'm feeling pretty sluglike.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

And my eyes rolled out of my head, down the street, and out of town

The daily Moron News brings us this hard-hitting science story!

I get annoyed by entertainment--movies and tv and so on--where "gay" is used as a character all by itself. It comes from lazy, stupid writing and weak acting, obviously, but it persists because there are just too many other lazy, stupid people watching and jollying along with Jack and Will. Look! He is getting a manicure! ha ha ha! Oh! he irons his jeans! Jesus fuck, it's like 1952 on TV. Uh-oh! She asked out a boy who rides a vespa! She is in for a disappointment! It's lame, lamer than lame, hyperlame, massively boring face-slappingly hackneyed worn-out bullshit. Plus, it is not funny.
The idea behind the abovementioned article is just like that. The idea that there is anything "scientific" about having people look at dudes and guess whether they are some of those GAYS is heart-stoppingly ridiculous, obviously, but how much harm will it do? really?
Well, when I was in college, there was a girl across the hall. She was an international student, from Greece or something like that. One day we were watching Jerry Springer or some damn thing, and there was some skinhead or something on there, he said something about how some people "look jewish." Someone goggled that anyone in 199X could possibly think that way. Then the girl from across the hall goes "Well, you can tell. Jewish people look different." Well hell. That conviction, in 1930's Europe, was harmful, but in a college lounge in the present day, in a harmless college kid, is less dangerous, because context does matter, obviously. Stupid though.

So, in a context of jokey ha ha wink wink attitudes toward gays, the idea that some people can pick gays like picking winners at the track is merely stupid and annoying and will probably end in some humorous anecdotes, HO HO HO. But, in a context of governmental and institutional discrimination against gays, it's pretty fucking offensive. It de-individualizes and de-personalizes people until they become just part of a fashion trend called THE GAYS and probably ends in some nasty fucker on AM radio saying something megatasticaly obnoxious and me slashing the tires on his car.

My point being that, hey, local newspaper, stop being a bunch of fucking tools and go write about something FRESH like TEENS WITH CELL PHONES AND BELLY SHIRTS OH MY GOD CAN YOU IMAGINE.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

here's a new one

Here's a new anxiety dream. I was babysitting some toddler kid, and we were walking, and she tripped and fell on her face (as they do). I picked her up and was about to say "You're fine!" when I realized that she was NOT FINE. Her nose had broken off. It was lying on the ground and I had to pick it up and take it to the emergency room, where of course they spoke no english, and have them sew it back on. I was really, really upset about being responsible for a kid's nose falling off, but her parents were cool about it. They said it could have happened to anyone.

Monday, January 10, 2005


The more enraged and depressed I get about my job, the more I dwell on really old memories. Most are probably highly embellished and burnished by the passage of time. Nevertheless, I take some comfort in recalling days gone by when I was not shackled to a brain-dead micromanaging technophobe. Lately I've had dreams about summer camp, especially. Summer camp!
Summer camp was awesome. The camp I went to was a girls only YWCA camp on a lake. It was old (founded 1919!), and not aging gracefully. The structures were shabby and rickety. Anything not covered with eighteen layers of sticky gray paint showed tracks of woodworms or toothmarks from some nocturnal beast. There was a main lodge, where we took our meals, with a glorious old wraparound porch, which balanced precariously over a dry, patchy lawn, which I regarded as equal to the grounds of a royal palace. There was an arts and crafts building, which stood nestled against the forest of poison ivy that surrounded the camp. It had two stories, a narrow, creaky stairway between, and a couldn't-possibly-have-been-legal pottery kiln. There was another large, airy hall at the top of the hill, which was used for "drama class" and evening entertainments. At one end was a large closet filled with musty, torn costumes, matted wigs, and damaged props. The other end housed de-fletched arrows and out-of-fashion longbows for archery. The centerpiece of this building was an enormous, moth-eaten, mounted moose head, which hung crookedly over the unused fireplace. Some campers and counselors called the moose by name.
The first few years I went, the clay tennis courts were in decent shape, but the basketball courts, directly below them, looked more like ancient mayan ball courts than modern sports equipment. The baskets hung at angles, and knee-high weeds had forced their way through the cracked surface. In later years, the disrepair spread to the tennis courts, and the sports shed, which contained grimy tennis balls, deflated basketballs and creatively warped tennis rackets, remained locked.
There was also "lodge" for each age division: at one time, these had been charming cottages with fireplaces, chairs, and books to read on rainy days. During my tenure, they were used to store canoes, snorkeling gear, lawnmowers, broken furniture, and tents awaiting repair. The interior of the senior lodge was covered in decades of graffiti, in-jokes and nicknames long forgotten. I searched in vain for a trace of my mother, finding nothing due to her aversion to vandalism. I committed myself to ensuring that my own children would never search in vain, and painted my name in several locations for good measure. Campers lived not in cabins, like campers in movies and on television, but in platform tents along muddy tracks leading to the main road. The tents were standard army issue (circa 1936), and the platforms were in the same state as the rest of the camp. They were nearly all identical--some held 6 iron cots with thin mattresses; some held four; some were on the high side of the road; those on the low side filled with puddles when it rained. The front and back flaps could be tied open in hot weather, and the sides rolled up. In the rain, there was no point to tying them down, as the roof was filled with holes and de-waterproofed spots in the canvas. There was a bathhouse for each age group. These were brightly-painted, bat-filled, and had running water, hot and cold. My mother admired this advancement--during her camperhood, bathing was limited to sundays, in the lake, where their soap and shampoo possibly helped keep the weeds from choking the bay.

My favorite place was the rocky beach. There were huge stone steps leading down to the shale-covered sliver of shore. In the sun, the dark grey rocks were murder on bare feet. The swimming area had two floats at different distances from shore, and a roped-off area for weak swimmers. I was the most enthusiastic swimmer ever to fail to advance a swim level for five years straight, so I spent most of my time inside the rope, trying desperately to pass up to the next level, which would earn me a green latex bathing cap instead of the conspicuous red I wore.

Next up: meal rituals and mentally ill tentmates