Eat It!

Stumbled across this over at the fabulaire Shapely Prose. I laughed so loud I think I scared the office’s student admin.

The video was originally produced by InfoMania, on the current_.com site.

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I was as surprised as anyone, believe me

Major announcement here on planet virgotex: it seems that yes, the mermaids are singing to me, yes I do dare to eat that peach, spring has sprung again and love is in the air. And oh yeah, I’m hanging up that lesbian thing and tryin’ on a little May-December number. Well, maybe April-November is more appropriate.

He gets me. He really gets me. What more can I say?

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UPDATED: Just in case, for the foolish-impaired,  and to protect the innocent:  yes, this is an April Fool’s joke.  I remain one of Dorothy’s best friends and the splendid man in the photo remains an eligible bachelor.

Tweety’s little problem

Nellie McKay

“Mother Of Pearl”

Dedicated to misogynistic fucktards everywhere:

After Clinton won the New Hampshire Democratic primary, Matthews asserted: “[T]he reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around.” He described her performance at a debate last Saturday as apparently “good enough to seem good enough here for women who wanted to root for her anyway.”


Beachglass, frogmen, and the passing of time

hoppercapecod

It’s either the phone vibrating along the top of the bedside table or the dog trash talking at me, or both. I am now fully awake.

Fuck it, I can tell sleep is over for the foreseeable future. I sit up.

“What?” Spoken to dog.

“What is it?”

Dog, appearing to suddenly doubt he even knows me much less is dependent on me to subsidize his existence, breezes out the door I have left open (so they won’t need to wake me), heads to far side of backyard, rolls on back.

I feel underneath pillow for hair tie, pull hair back out of the way. Stare absently at the gaggle of young knock-kneed deer milling about on the other side of the fence line. Yawn, note that it’s now raining. Look back down at pillow, where the cat stretches and also yawns – much more luxuriantly than I – then settles himself back down into instant deep sleep, monopolizing pillow. I wonder briefly, why do I have pets again?

I realize at once I must call my friend Marie in Chicago, that it’s a Marie conversation I’ve been needing. I get coffee started, put left over pad thai into microwave and dial the phone, thinking she is probably busy and won’t answer. Happily am wrong, as I hear her unmistakable voice breeze onto the line, “Hellooo.”

“Hey you, it’s me.” We haven’t seen each other in at least four years but speak and/or email every six weeks or so, picking up conversations like they were only minutes old.

“Who is this?” Coolly, with an edge.

What? Suddenly awkward, like a door has been shut in my face, “Marie?”

“No.” Pause. “This is her daughter.”

“Damn.” I haven’t seen the kid in a long time. “Oh sorry,” picturing the child I remember.

“Can I help you?” Except for the tone, she sounds exactly like her mother, down to that slight Wisconsin thing along the edge of the voice, like Athenae has.

“Nora, you sound just like your mom.”

Silence.

Jesus, this is a teenage girl I’m talking to. I wince. “Guess you probably don’t want to hear that, huh?”

Almost imperceptible sardonic chuckle on the line. “Yeah, not really.”

I leave a message for a call back, go check the pad thai, punch in 30 more seconds.

“What are you doing?” I hear the ex-Mrs. Tex ask sweetly behind me. It’s the parrot.

“Making breakfast,” I answer. He makes one of his R2D2 noises then barks companionably as the dog walks into the kitchen, shaking rain and wet dog smell all over the floor as he lays down three inches behind my heels.

The bluetooth earpiece that I forgot to remove vibrates and I automatically step over the dog to reach the phone. It’s The Best Friend. She’s been at a conference in DC for a week. We spoke briefly the night she got back and I remember we discussed getting together for a drink today, which is of course, now impossible. I apologize for not remembering and we move on.

I eat rubbery pad thai and sip coffee and she tells me about the inspiring breakout session on midwifery that segues into running into someone from the Austin wayback machine at the Hopper exhibit at the National Gallery. That reminds me to ask if she remembers any standup comedians we might have been acquainted with during that somewhat admittedly fuzzy span. Inconclusive data for that query returns inconclusive results and based on the Hopper tangent, we jump forward to our NYC decade and that Montauk vacation (the second of three) with the middle-of-the-night jigsaw puzzles at the lazy motel run by the beautiful sun-drenched hippie couple, and their two beautiful tow-headed boys.

“Dylan and Marley!” we chuckle simultaneously, remembering a foggy meandering afternoon, her boy and those two shaggy blondes running like puppies ahead, as she and I and the ex-Mrs. Tex poked along picking up beachglass for some planned-for Christmas earring project that never moved beyond the first couple of prototypes.

“Moving right along.” I say quietly, and we start to wrap up with the inevitable detour into the week’s politics, and share some Schadenfreude over this.

Which brings the final segue, sometime during the Giuliani era, she and I tucking into a joint as we escaped the wind in one of the steep little pocket parks above the East River, realizing we were suddenly in the middle of some vast piece of police theater accompanying the day’s visit by President Clinton to the UN, just down the way from where we were ensconced. Cops, secret service vehicles, vans all squealed back and forth above our our hiding spot. It dawned on us they were going shut down the entire length of the FDR up above, but our paranoia quickly gave way to the realization that we, along with the other bystanders and dogwalkers, were of entirely no consequence to the goings-on.

We sat for a long time in wonder at the spectacle of manliness that was now spreading as far as we could see. The boys brought out all their toys in one big vast Scarry-esque spectacle. Now came the helicopters puttering up and down along the river, next the police boats racing past us. We suddenly could not stop laughing at the excess of it all.

If it seems odd now, post- 9/11, that we would find this so funny, it was just that they were all enjoying themselves so much, it was so testosterone-laced, as was of course, the whole damn era, and well, we were just a tad altered, as noted. As was, of course, the whole damn era…

Then, just when we thought it couldn’t get any more surreal, a high-speed boat with a Coast Guard insignia plowed to a spectacular halt in the middle of the river in front of us. We waited expectantly, and were rewarded with the sight of a group of four or five burly men in wetsuits exiting the cabin.

The frogmen finished suiting up with their tanks and masks, then flippers, and then one by one, stepped off the side of boat into the choppy dark water.

The phone call ended, I check the clock and start to get ready to go back to work. As I leave the house, I remember it will be the middle of the night when I come back so I unlock the door to turn on the porch light. That reminds me of that box on the shelf of the front hall closet that I keep forgetting to take to the post office and mail. Making sure I have time, I pull it down.

Getting back into the car, I take a look in the rearview. I realize it’s time for a haircut — it’s hard to see the beachglass earrings.

Stevie Nicks, in the frozen food section, with “Landslide”

My wise cubicle neighbor, X the Zen Libertarian, and I joke a lot about, well, pretty much everything. We’ve both had more than our share of misfortunes over the last few years and if we didn’t laugh we’d probably never make it out of bed to get to work every day. (Her trials make mine seem trivial, believe me). Life threatening illness, death, faithless spouses, divorce, poverty, etc, and then there’s menopause.

So one of the things we joke about is just how little it takes to reduce us to tears anymore, especially with everything enhanced by raging hormonal surges: from the maudlin to the truly transcendent, from actual enlightenment to mundane logistical inconvenience.

So, ala Clue, my waterworks list (which includes the Muzak ambush in the post title) from just this weekend:

Annie Liebovitz, in the library, A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005. One of the librarians came around a corner and caught me sniffling. “Isn’t that a beautiful book?” she whispered. I love libraries.

My dog Possum, on the deck, with one of my not-even-broken-in-yet New Balance hiking shoes. Little fucker has outgrown most of his bad habits, but not all.
Burgundy red stalks of little bluestem, in the pastures along Ranch Road 12, waving in the wind.

So, anyway, there I was, just sitting on your porch

And they all pretend they’re orphans and their memory’s like a train
You can see it getting smaller as it pulls away
And the things you can’t remember tell the things you can’t forget
That history puts a saint in every dream

And it’s time time time, and it’s time time time

Questions on a white board for an exercise during training for my new (additional) job:

Who are you? Where do you come from? Who are your people?

She is my Best Friend.  She knows all my answers.

Men across the room would buy her drinks but were too often afraid to come to the table and talk to her. It might have been the short chunky dyke at the table with her but more probably it was the long red and gold burnished hair, or the broad swimmer’s shoulders, or the way she blew the smoke out sideways before she threw back her head for that deep throaty laugh. We both smoked Camels in a box back then, conspiring across the sticky oilcloth tabletop at Les Amis, leaning back under the twinkling lights at Chances, up till the wee hours, the street so quiet the possums and coons came out looking for scraps.

She was directly responsible for my Scariest Most Interesting Drug Adventure. It involved five poets crammed into her Toyota Corolla, ingestion of a “test batch” of a powder nicknamed Rat Root, listening to Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs for the first time ever, an interminable journey way the fuck north of 183, on a quest to find a party at an auto showroom and warehouse that doubled as a residence and rehearsal space for at least one of the Two Nice Girls. Plus the obligatory stop by the cops,  the three of us that were, by that time, speaking in tongues somehow managing to keep silent as the flashlight played across the back seat.

She set up housekeeping with a gorgeous and intense asshole writer, and they had a beautiful son, born the same rainy night I first slept with with a woman, (the classic curious straight girl story) someone we both worked with. That didn’t end well. I remember the resulting depression after the fall out. I remember her dragging me to a sneak preview of Raising Arizona. It had been weeks and weeks since I’d even smiled, and here we were, leaning on each other on the way to car, still laughing so hard we were in tears.

25 years, a marriage and divorce each. Texas and New York and back to Texas. We’ve seldom quarreled, though we did “break up” for a few months during the bad time. Those intense months after the ex-Mrs. Tex finished chemo and radiation. The monster vanquished, the battle was over, won at great cost. Exhausted and empty, with no cancer left to fight and push against, I didn’t realize for a while that I just kept pushing against pretty much everything and everybody. The Best Friend jumped my shit and I turned away from her. Later, when the ex-Mrs. Tex dumped me, she was the first person I reached for. Yes, that thing between us happened but now this has happened. I need you. Please. It’s bad. And she answered. Of course I’m here.

She used to call me every year on my birthday and breathily sing Happy Birthday ala Monroe but this year she came out and spent the weekend at my place. I drove her out across the Devil’s Backbone at sunset. A controlled burn deep in the valley poured smoke out across the pink and purple clouds as we drove west into the twilight. Post-fajitas and margaritas, we drove back home. I took the long twisting way, driving slow along the curving hills between RR12 and 2325, and a fox obliged our adventure by trotting across the bottom of the hill, silhouetted in the headlights.

Later, we retired to the deck, put our feet up and watched for falling stars. Stars, smoke, red wine, music. Winehouse, Diana Krall, Bettye LaVette. Up till the wee hours, talking about everything and nothing. Just like we always do, always have done, will do.

Who are you? Where are you from? Who are your people?

She knows all my answers. She is some of them.