31 May 2009

0 may: a revue

"never in my life have i seen so many printed pieces on how to properly blow one's nose."

"the word 'maternity' seems very old and 80's. like, concepts unheard of since our own mothers were young."

"if we were a tv show, i'd assume they were our corporate sponsor."

"i'm not racist. was never raised with it. heck, you remember my friendship with talitha."

"that's the second boner i've seen on a train."

"it's not rape unless my penis is involved."

"i've known all along they are not my future so we'll just see how long they're my present."

"rebecca romijn, the most annoynig pregnant woman of all time."

"no foul moodies! hooray!"

"heaven help me if i start to look like my aunt barb in my arms."

"this is all proof that he was an upstanding citizen. not just being a step-dad but adopting your slutty wife’s child."

"it's kinda sad that instead of curing cancer or something the CDC is just enabling busybody relatives."

"it all seemed so normal until i went to a place where people didn't race for the hand sanitizer every time someone around them sneezed."

"oh i know how to have sex with people who don't want to have sex with me."

"that's genevieve- always amazed, thrilled at nothing."

29 May 2009

11 let them eat cake

cake becomes more and more important as i age.

like, really fucking important.

by cake i don't mean hoity-toity, high class cake. this is no austrian bakery situation. there need not be barbies crinolined in skirts of iced braids or alice in wonderland layers or dora the explorer's head. (marzipan, stay the fuck away.)

i'm talking cake. real fucking cake. the sheet cakes stacked in the inter-aisle freezers in supermarkets. the cake they have at birthdays and mississippi funerals because only rolling expanses of fondant icing can soothe the emotions around aging and death.

the operative word here would be fondant. fondancy is the key to my heart. sugar, good. water, good. frosting, fuck yeah.

last night, i bought a cake. let's be clear. this was not a slice. not a square. not a serving. not a quarter nor a half. the whole fucking cake, it is mine.

my buying of a whole fucking cake is rendered somewhat less shameful given that my parents are blowing into town and will, no doubt, assist me in destroying it. but i know, deep in the sugary depths of my sweet tooth, that the buying of this cake would in no way have been influenced by them. were they not coming, i would still have bought it. i would still have wanted the whole fucking thing.

because cake is fucking important. fondance is really fucking important. they make the world go round.

so 28? the year of cake.

and the year i say fuck a fucking lot.

fuck yeah.

26 May 2009

5 au revoir

i'm not good at goodbyes.

in the third grade, facing summer exile in memphis and two weeks of unconditional grandparental love, i ran screaming across asphalt-- unslowed by a stumble and the ripping of my favorite flamingo pink stirrup pants-- to throw myself sobbing upon the front bumper of my parents' minivan, creating a spectacle the likes of which i think we can pretty safely say had never before been seen in the culman, alabama cracker barrel parking lot.

a shirtless man in a rocking chair with a tattoo of a confederate soldier extending from the lower folds of his gut to the top of his floppy breast wondered aloud if i had been sold into white slavery. it looked that bad.

rightly, my parents lit into me then and there for having broken a whole heap of moral codes. thou shalt not jump from moving cars. thou shalt not do anything to increase the chances of thine parents accidentally killing thyself. thou shalt not destroy thy stirrup pants. (a host of lessons somewhat undermined by my guilty grandmother feeding me chocolate chip cookies the whole way home, as though i had suffered a trauma healable only by binge-eating baked goods.)

i do not do goodbyes. because if i do goodbyes they are a visceral volcano of repressed emotion and tears and snot. before moving to college, S and i met at a park to bid one another adieu. by the time we left three weepy, kleenexless hours later, my forearm was caked in a sunburned mucusy crust suspiciously reminiscent of deep fried oysters. this is something no one should have to face. the manifestation of one's emotions in a manner evocative of fried food.

i may be making a bigger issue of this than it is. maybe you don't walk away from me thinking, solid on the greeting, but she sure flopped on the goodbye. this is inevitably what i assume you are thinking, because if ever i've been obligated to bid you goodbye, odds are i shoved you into that car/cab/train/plane, dropped some exceedingly inadequate cliche of the "see you around" variety and ran the hell away only to text two minutes later with a belated farewell.

i would like to believe this is not my fault. that it is a hereditary failing. that my ancestors have been shoving their beloved visitors onto carriages/kayaks/camels since the advent of time and i, therefore, bear no responsibility for my inability to appropriately handle the emotions of departure. but i'm kind of sure this isn't so much genetic-- my parents have never exhibited any compunction about being rid of me-- as it is a character flaw. this isn't in my blood, passed down along with the high cholesterol and heart disease and hearing problems. no, this is me.

i am wired weird. bereft upon being left in any way by anyone but incapable of expressing that in a manner more sophisticated than fight or flight. yesterday, i forfeited the Girlfriend of the Year award by practically shoving eF into a security screening barrier. next weekend, i will, no doubt, encourage my parents to take night showers and leave before dawn.

this, this hatred of goodbyes, is the sole reason i have left the house of every friend i have visited in the past decade at an ungodly early hour, under the cloak of dark. a social eccentricity that has masqueraded under an only marginally more acceptable morbid fear of "traffic."

no modifier, mind you. not heavy traffic. just plain traffic.

as in, oh yes, i'm perfectly safe being the only car on the natchez trace at 3:45 a.m., but dear God, heaven help me if have to contend with the presence of TRAFFIC...

i will risk personal safety to avoid a farewell.

because i do not like endings. i do not like to let go. i do not want to make small talk and eye-contact. i refuse to wave. i will make nothing even so much as resembling a spectacle.

and at the first tug of that old instinctual pull to run across a parking lot in front of moving cars, pink stirrup pants be damned, i will walk away.

21 May 2009

8 just like US

i can no longer afford tabloids. yes, at long last, the economic downturn has hit home.

mind you, this does not imply that my financial fortunes, meager though they may be, have changed. just that magazine wholesalers have gone the way of the dinosaurs and the us weekly subscription that was once two years for $12 is now a preposterous $79.99 for one.

thus, an experiment upon which i embarked years ago comes to an end. you see, back in my naive, dorktastic youth, i had the noble idea of subscribing to various gossip magazines for the specific purpose of charting the development of characters, plots, archetypes, etc. over the course of several years and across different publications. i did this in the name of Research, knowing full well that i would enjoy it very much.

because tabloids, they are of the devil.

i knew this. i'd read irving schulman. i'd interviewed readers. i knew what i was getting myself into and i did it nonetheless.

i sensed there was trouble brewing sometime in early December 2006, when the InTouch screaming "NICK & JESS BUST UP!" landed at my door two days after i was dumped and the article on how jessica simpson was drowning her sorrows in six-packs of zima hit entirely too close to home.

it is never good when the advice of a "medical expert who has never treated her but is familiar with her case" resonates.

so as a rational person, i know it's not an entirely bad thing that the tabloids are leaving my life. it's probably even for the best. i should not relate to jessica simpson. i should not know jennifer aniston's hair-dresser's name. nor should i know the precise age of everyone in the public eye. but how to prepare for this life-change?

because it is a life-change. 6 years of tabloids. 312 weeks. sure, there were a couple dry spells here and there. lapsed subscriptions. issues that got stuck at the post office and were delivered five weeks late. but still. tabloids are what thursday is for.

so i steeled myself for that first thursday when us weekly would not come.

that thursday came this past thursday, when i opened my mailbox and was greeted by emptiness. it was sad, but i totally took it like a man. i even boasted to eF that night that i'd survived my first week without us weekly, like this was a triumph on par with brokering world peace.

stupid girl, i flattered myself that, in a mere week, i had totally kicked tabloid addiction's ass.

the next day, my mailbox yielded what proclaimed itself to be the LAST ISSUE. the official final us weekly, with the "we'll miss you" and everything.

and my first thought, my only thought was-- much like when rose jumped out of the lifeboat and ran into jack's arms-- oh, thank God. i wasn't ready to let you go.

20 May 2009

19 May 2009

6 hell's bells, it's fire and brimstone!

as a rule, people do not swear in church. especially people standing in the pulpit. so you can imagine the collective inhalation of scandalized breaths this past sunday when the person standing in the pulpit of our church said "shit."

the drama of this moment was heightened by a few things.

namely, that our rather famous speaker was an 80-year-old, black man from mississippi who was improperly miked.

he seemed like your typical 80-year-old man. gruff voice, hunched, rather fragile, an impression enhanced by the fact that he leaned over the lectern as though it was an enormous plastic crutch and undermined by the illusion that God might grant him the strength to unexpectedly hurl it like a lightening bolt should the occasion demand.

so we're talking about an 80-year-old mississippi man here. and we mississippi people, we sometimes talk slow, a condition that worsens with age and is most noticeable when taken out of context, say placed alongside 35-year-old preachers with ADD.

it would be an understatement to say that our rather famous speaker talked slowly. the man stretched "ain't" out for a full four syllables. i know. i counted.

this slowness was compounded by the disconcerting habit, shared by my grandfather, of adjusting his volume down at precisely the moment he was making The Big Point. the moment when any other normal person would've raised their voice. thus, there was The Big Point you'd been waiting for, maddeningly hushed, barely whispered. it was an exercise in frustration.

one our rather famous speaker seemed to derive sadistic joy from, as every now and again he spontaneously rose his voice to a guttural bark that ricocheted around the room, awaking OK, who'd been lulled to sleep by The Big Point, with a violent start.

it's hard to pin down what exactly was the most uncomfortable moment here, which is surprisingly apt given the fact the service kicked off with an asian american girl speaking on asian heritage month and saying her favorite part about our church was that we're all pretty much uncomfortable all the time.

the most uncomfortable moment could have been when our rather famous speaker exclaimed HERESY! against a point that asian american girl had clearly taken pains to declare a truth not twenty minutes before. (outside of cecil b. demille movies, i don't think any of us had ever heard anyone branded a heretic before. it was invigorating to say the least.)

or it could have been the moment when our rather famous speaker broke down and sobbed at extreme high volume as the sound guys scrambled to turn him down and the toddler in the row ahead of us turned around, balled-up fists squished into his ears, and said, make it stop!

or it could have been the involuntary church-wide sigh unleashed when we had been sitting there for what felt like no less than four hours and our rather famous speaker said, now i just have five more points to make today.

but, who am i kidding? clearly, the most uncomfortable moment was when our rather famous speaker, emerging from a whispered Big Point and grasping the plastic pulpit so hard i was convinced the great hurl was upon us, shouted, apropos of nothing, WE AIN'T DONE SHIT!

because of all the things you expect to hear in a sermon, "shit" isn't one of them.

amidst the electrifying whoosh that moved through the air as all the hands of all the mothers clamped to their infants' ears, all i could think was this man is my people. because there is nothing more southern than religious spectacle. and there is nothing more spectacular than watching an old-ass mississippian get away with saying shit like that.

18 May 2009

2 more

food is very important to girls. there's probably some deep socio-psychological home economics reason for that, but all i know is this that food is very important to girls.

case in point, the friday cupcake.

every friday, MORE over on delaware offers a cocktail-themed cupcake tasting. croftie discovered this a couple months ago and since we love nothing more than cupcakes and free things, this has become the friday ritual.

true to character, i stick to the strawberry bellini shot and croftie leaps for whatever's most exotic.

this is something that we look forward to all week long. as in, on monday, our emails are littered with the refrain, oh, the friday cupcake!

i'm not entirely sure why this is. why a tiny iced cake should be quite so exciting. but there's just something rather delightful about the anticipation of something so small, in looking forward all week to a sweetness that only lasts a bite.

15 May 2009

9 merciful heavens, bono, WHY?

- Bono 1995

son of tupelo
mama's boy
the twin brother of Jesse who died at birth and
was buried in a shoe box
drove a truck
was recorded at sun studios by the musical diviner
sam phillips
was managed by colonel tom parker, an ex-carnie
barker whose last act was a singing canary
was the most famous singer in the world since
king david
lived on his own street
liked to play speedcop
had a monkey named bubbles before anyone
wore a cape at the white house when he
was presenting nixon with two silver pistols
was a member of the drug squad
wore eye make up, just hangin' out
wore a gold nudie suit and trained his lip to curl
was macho, but could sing like a girl
was not a big talker
was articulate in every other way
dyed his hair black to look like valentino
held a microphone the way valentino held nita
naldi in blood and sand
dressed black long before he dressed in black
sang black except in lower registers
where he was a student of dean martin
admired mario lanza
delivered the world from crooning
was a great crooner
had a voice that could explain the sexuality of america
was influenced by jim morrison in his choice of
black leather for the '68 comeback special
invented the beatles
achieved world domination from a small town
was conscious of myth
had pharoah-like potential
was made by america, so america could remake
had good manners
was a bass, a baritone, and a tenor
sang his heart out at the end
the opera
the soap opera
loved america, God, the bible, firearms, the movies, the
office of presidency, junk food, drugs, cars, family,
television, jewellery, straight talkin', dirty talkin' game
shows, uniforms, and self-help books
like america, wanted to improve himself
like america, started out loving but later turned on
body could not stop moving
is alive, we're dead
the charismatic
the ecstatic
the plastic
the elastic
with a spastic dance that might explain the energy
of america
fusion and confusion
earth rod in a southern dorm
shaking up an electrical storm
in hollywood his voice gone to ground
in las vegas with a big brassy sound
the first rock'n'roll star with scotty moore, bill
black, and d.j. fontana
with james burton and ronny tutt
the movie star made three good films : viva las vegas,
flaming star, and jailhouse rock
the hillbilly brought rhythm to the white race,
blues to pop, and rock'n'roll to
whereever rock'n'roll is
the pelvis, swung from africa to europe, which is
the idea of america
the kung fu would come later
built a theme park he later called Graceland
woke up to whispers
thought of himself as a backslider
knew guilt like a twin brother
called God every morning
then left the phone off the hook
turned las vegas into a church
when he sang "love me tender"
turned america into a church
when he sang "the trilogy"
was harangued by choice;
flesh vs. spirit, God vs. rock'n'roll
mother vs. lover,father vs. the colonel
grew sideburns as a protest against tom jones'
hairy chest
would have a president named after him
was one of the boys
was not one of the boys
had an acute intelligence disguised as talent
broke pirscilla's heart
broke lisa marie's heart
woke up my heart
white trash
the memphis flash
didn't smoke hash
and woulda been a sissy
without johnny cash
didn't dodge the draft
had his own aircraft
having a laugh
on the lisa marie
in a colour photograph
under the hood
cadillac blood
darling bud flowered and returned
to the mississippi mud
ain't gonna rot
in a memphis plot
didn't hear the shot
but the king died
just across the lot from
vanilla ice cream
girls of 14
memphis spleen
shooting at the tv
reading corinthians 13
with God on his knees
on three tvs
here come the killer bees
head full of honey
potato chips and cheese
the bumper stickers
the white knickers
the white nigger
ate at burger king
and just kept getting bigger
sang to win
the battle to be slim
ate america
before america ate him
the public enemy
don't mean shit to chuck d
changed the centre of gravity
made it slippy
the pelvis
the psalmist
the genius
the generous
forgive us
pray for us
aaron presley

14 May 2009

7 michael landon don't let a girl down

michael landon's son died yesterday. which is kind of unextraordinary since michael landon's son's only apparent claim to fame was being michael landon's son. that was, after all, my sole motivation for reading his obituary, wherein i stumbled across a tidbit so earth-shattering it reduced me to musings on the death of michael landon's son.

judging from the fact that it was repeated in every single obit, the most significant moment in the life of michael landon's son was that he and michael landon were about to make a made-for-tv-thingy together before michael landon's death at the age of 54 in 1991.

were i a decent person, this revelation would probably have forced me to dwell upon the unpleasant sadness of anyone's most significant life accomplishment being that they almost co-starred in something they ultimately did not.

but i am not a decent person. thus, my mind went straight here: to the fact that if michael landon was 54 when he died in 1991, that would make him 72 if he were alive today, the day after his son died at the age of 60.

which leads us to what in the hell was michael landon doing having sex when he was 12?

remember, this is michael landon we're talking about. bastion of family values. head of the little house on the prairie. tv dad to sarah gilbert ingles wilder.

this isn't just anybody. it's freaking michael landon.

in our discussion of Michael Landon, Pre-Teen Father, lindear suggested that perhaps this child was not, in fact, the fruit of michael landon's loins. perhaps he was adopted, an idea admittedly a bit more plausible than sex at 12 though still rendered somewhat absurd given the timeline with which we were working. what 12-year-old adopts an infant? what 30-year-old adopts a teenager?

fortunately, wikipedia (where one would inevitably wind up when trying to untangle the tawdry sex life of michael landon) yielded an answer.

michael landon did not breed when he was 12. he did not adopt a 30-year-old when he was 42. no. apparently michael landon's son is not actually, if we're being biological, michael landon's son.

so this kid, the kid who died yesterday, whose sole accomplishment in his entire life was having nearly starred in a made-for-tv-motion-picture with his father michael landon was, in reality, not the son of michael landon but rather the son of some other man who happened to have sex with a woman before she married michael landon. which, if i were a decent person, would probably make me more sad still as this only renders michael landon's son's claims to fame more tenuous, seeing as he is not michael landon's son.

but, in the end, i just feel terrible relief. relief that i do not have to live in a world where michael landon has let me down.

07 May 2009

6 paris... oui?

since the summer of 2003, when i realized i had been and she- a french major- had not, i have wanted to take my mum to paris. (by which i mean i have been willing to condescend and accompany her on a trip for which she will fully pay.)

if we're being honest, i have never truly believed that this is something we will actually do. it's on par with the plan croftie and i make whenever we go to macy's and walk amongst the nanette lepores. someday we will save our money and buy a $400 dress. yeah, no, we won't.

with most dreams, there is an implied resignation that they will not come true.

so when, while talking to my mum, i prefaced my handy dandy frenchy factoids with "this'll be really handy when we go to paris next fall," i never actually thought it would and with each passing fall, whatever possibility there was only dwindled.

thus, in the past 5 years, paris has served as little more than a muse for thematic gift-giving: a frohmer's guide to 2002 france, a phone book of parisian patisseries, a silver-plated metro map, a scroll depicting paris circa 1917.

who, you might ask, plots a trip with a scroll?

the answer would be no one. because this is a trip we only take in my head. it is pure fantasy. something we are never going to actually do.

despite the magnet emblazoned with the plaintive wail, TAKE ME TO PARIS!!!, i've always been fairly certain no one would.

then two months ago, everything changed. my mum called at 6:30 a.m. (when you only say the really, really important things, so i knew this was big) to say airfare to paris was surprisingly cheap and that we should go. significantly, not in the vague fall in the future we've been planning on all along but THIS fall.

since then, it has become a popularly accepted pseudo-fact in my family that my mum, my aunt, and i are going to paris the second weekend in october 2009.

my father has randomly alluded to it in discussions of the remodeling of the master bathroom. my grandmother has expressed horror that we would ever dream of crossing an ocean in these "troubled times." my mum has downloaded french lessons to her (eaton-speak) "tunepod." and my aunt has sought to foster-- however misguidedly through the unorthodox venues of texting and anti-obama emails-- a closeness we have not shared since the cold, cruel winter of 1995.

they all seem to be operating under the belief that, at long last, we are going.

which puts me in a distinctly heretical position because i do not believe a word of it. yes, after five years of implicit faith, i simply cannot begin to wrap my mind around the belief now.

nonetheless, i find myself lifted into a new gritty realm of parisian dreams. i'm hoarding vacation days, renewing my passport, scoping out 7-day metro passes and contemplating really, really important things, like whether my north carolina travels have so refined my packing skills that i'm up to the challenge of traveling internationally with an impossibly glamorous wardrobe without checking a bag.

alas, we'll never go. probably. at least i think not. but... maybe?

01 May 2009

3 partner

in stop 2 of my 3-stop Spring 2009 Tour of the Southern States, i visited partner this past weekend.

a few things.

partner is not a secret code name for eF (whose [not so secret] secret code name is, quite clearly, eF).

partner is the name for partner.

no, we are not lesbians. we are not cowboys.

we were simply math partners in mrs. woody's 12th grade pre-cal class and due to a mutual loathing for referring to people by their actual names (presumably scarred by the "jack!" "rose!" "but, jack!" "no, wait, rose!" "yes, but jack, wait, jack, come on, jack!" "but, rose, no, rose, wait, rose" of titanic), we appropriated "partner" as our own.

so that's partner.

i met partner in the eighth grade. we were in the same homeroom when i spotted her reading sweet valley high: elizabeth wakefield's diary. next thing i knew, drawn together by a love of teentrash lit, we were sitting on some bleachers, half-assedly watching a softball game being played during a random free period in mrs. mauldin's math class in the waning days of fall.

we sat there for what felt like hours (as everything does when you're thirteen) while partner described her ideal wedding.

paul kendall- semi-famous for having once told our school bus driver to "pedal faster"- sat suspiciously close, one bleacher below us. at the time, i was preoccupied with the idea that he had an enormous unrequited crush on her and was secretly fantasizing himself into her fantasy wedding. i realize now maybe he was just watching the game.

but i'll admit i envied her. even then, even in the eighth grade, she had a boy literally at her feet. and she seemed to have everything figured out. with confounding certainty she knew her bridesmaids would wear pink. (we didn't.)

it's hard to see where friendships actually take root. when you're young you just remember the tangible things like riding home on a different bus, the silly thrill of saying you're going to "amy house's house," the bitter betrayal of the tapered leg jeans. in the absence of ceremony and vows, you don't stop and think, wow, i'm going to know this person the rest of my life.

i say that, but i must have known on some level because around the end of our 8th grade year, i was compelled by maudlin girlish sentiment to commit a crime against poetry and memorialize our bond in a rhyming monstrosity entitled "forever friend" that partner has rightfully yet to let me live down. so even then, it must have seemed like we were friends for the long haul. because there are some friendships where there is no option of walking out. you're just stuck with each other and that's that.

partner and i had shitty patches, but even when things weren't great there was an overarching calm. we still hung out. i could still, post ear surgery and high as a kite on valium, just five days after her dad left her mom, make her laugh so hard she peed. and we still talked. we just didn't talk about certain things, because there are certain things we were too young to be able to talk about.

it seems really self-involved to say we have our own partner culture, but in some respects doesn't every friendship? our's is built upon a sturdy foundation of diarrhea, desserts, and dr. quinn. and also a distinctively southern laziness. when together, we unfold at a slower pace and a higher pitch. (after two days in kentucky, it has taken a week for my voice to resume its normal timbre.)

and i have to say, there's something deeply reassuring in all of that. in slipping back into that voice, that time, that slow, gentle laziness. like sliding a toe into cool water on a hot day, it's an unbearably precious delight, the fleeting sweetness of which i always forget.

last saturday, as partner, braless, with a baby in her belly, sat curled up in a lawn chair and i stretched out in a hammock beside her, we talked for hours. rarely looking at each other, we just stared out into the green field that rolls off their backyard, watching a neighbor's dappled collie laze in the sun as the shadows slowly crept overhead, and talked about her and me and everyone we know in a stillness disturbed only occasionally by the sound of the coals in the grill her husband had lit for dinner breaking apart and crumbling to dust every now and then.

i appreciate now more than ever that there are few things lovelier than this.