31 March 2013

0 march: a revue



'an interesting but not completely enchanting person.'

'i feel like tights always fall down when there are too many other things going on.'

'that is lindear’s world. morning radio shows, and CNN.com.'

'smart phones everywhere immediately exploded with news of the white smoke!'

'the last bouncy hurrah before they turn back into empty ankle socks.'

'as a life rule, one should never be forced to buy condiments in a vial.'

'i worked with people who had dermal piercings and my buttons were deemed offensive.'

'if you go alone you might get more kiss-writing material!'

'ugh! naming a person.'

'does england have raccoons?'

'i wonder if william and kate will have a gender reveal party.'

'this is the essence of winter/spring 2013: very high highs and incredibly low lows.'

'i don't want to live in a world where Hot Harry becomes Meh Harry.'

'IT IS WHAT YOUR VIEWERS WANT.'

0 happy easter!





28 March 2013

let's do this

we are all of us, my father tells me, in the midst of a mild depression. 

this is not new news. 

i realize, in retrospect, that it was maybe a tremendous blessing to have had an endless stream of house guests in the wake of donovan's death. to have had a day job. to have had to wake up every morning and go to work and come home and entertain people and go out drinking and go to bed and get up and do it all again. 

it's a different death, a different loss. but still. death is death, loss is loss, and all of it is awful.

a male voice that i did not recognize as my father's asked if i was sitting down. why do people ask this? at such times, is there a real advantage to being seated? your world lurches regardless.

i was, in fact, sitting down and this male voice that didn't sound like my father's proceeded to say something, the language of which was singularly unpindownable.

later, in my family's many reconstructions of these events, it would become clear that the language in which the news had been broken to my father over the course of three conversations with one of my grandmother's friends was then co-opted for his conversation with me. however, because it was condensed into a single four-minute conversation, by which time the outcome was already clear, the ambiguity confused me. the breaking of this news was, almost, too gentle. 

what i remember, what i felt even as it was happening, was a sense of uncertainty. not so much that this couldn't be happening as that i might have misunderstood, might have read too deeply into it, might have reached conclusions that were- in fact- not true. from the two-minute mark on, i wanted to stop this man and ask him to say, in no uncertain terms, that joe was dead.

but i could not bring myself to ask that of him, because i still wasn't 100% certain i was speaking to my dad.

he did not sound like himself and i had believed, from the first, that i was talking to a friend of my father's, some friend i didn't recognize, who was calling on his behalf.

the following night, i talked to burvil.

there's a distancing at work here. in their evolution over the last years into joe and burvil. because they aren't actually joe and burvil. they're gran and pawpaw. they've always been gran and pawpaw. they will forever be gran and pawpaw.

but when i write about them, it's somehow easier if they're joe and burvil. if i treat them as adults. as people from whom i'm removed. people i've not seen in hospital gowns. people who are not so thin, so fragile that when i hug them, i can feel their bones.

gran and pawpaw are my grandparents. joe and burvil are LEGENDS.

'we were just talking about you,' gran said. 'there was a commercial for anne of green gables and i was telling your mother how much fun we had. you know, they'll never really understand it. they'll never really know. we had so much fun, you and i. how blessed we are to have ever had so much fun. years of fun.'

and suddenly, vividly, with a searing heat like a migraine in the heart, i'm reminded of all the nights i spent at her house, where she tucked me into bed and lay down next to me, book in her right hand, running circles along my back with her left until i, troubled sleeper even then, fell asleep.

my mother, my father, and i are all in the midst of a mild depression. 

it is maybe not the best time to be getting up every morning and thinking about 9/11.

i find myself longing for concreteness. for tangibility. things that can be touched, that exist, that are real and lasting. i go to the dollar store a lot.

there was no burial service. simply a memorial at the church. and so we had not yet been to the cemetery. late in the afternoon of joe's funeral just before the sun went down, we went. all of us piling into cars, my teenaged cousin arm-in-arm with burvil to make sure she didn't fall on the uneven gravel that joe had had imported in a four foot high mountain way back in the winter of 2000, and which has only just begun to be flattened into the earth. 

when we arrived, the light of the setting sun burned against joe's recently closed grave. 

this was all i could see on the plane, on the way back to london a week later, every time i closed my eyes. and so i stayed awake and watched water for elephants three times, crying every time hal holbrook appeared onscreen.   

the day before joe died, gary wrote me a letter. 

mail has absolutely no regard for context. in the week in which it takes a letter to get from memphis to chicago, so much can happen. never mind memphis to london. and so, while i was flying to memphis, what became known in my family as 'the joy letter' was slowly winging its way towards me.

in it, my father told me, he went on and on about the joy he was feeling on the wednesday night he wrote it, totally oblivious to the fact that, three hours after the letter was mailed, my grandfather would die. 

by the time 'the joy letter' arrived, i'd already orchestrated the moment of grief i would allow it to provoke. having decided that if i was going to look, i was really going to look, i'd asked my cousin for the photos she'd taken of us all at joe's grave. there was going to be no short-changing joe's loss, no half-assing this experience.

i needed to see the sun and the dirt.

when i was a kid in memphis, we'd take these field trips to the old houses downtown, previously owned by the wealthy memphians and later deeded to the city in what, i now realize, was somewhat of a mixed blessing as the city of memphis totally lacks the revenue to keep them up.

i remember two things about this. (1) that my father was a chaperone on one of these two trips, and (2) that the mcgevney house had a shit-ton of victorian hair jewelry and that was the absolute creepiest thing. 

yet as an adult, i find myself longing for a comparable concreteness. not hair, because really hair is always creepy when it's not attached to a head, but for photographs, for things. for something solid to hold on, to make death real rather than an abstraction or a mere absence.

MJ, my crazy old boss at the magazine in memphis, emailed the other day and told me, in between thoughts on the breakup of his marriage and burvil's future, that my dear friend martha has died.

the magazine in memphis was my first job. martha was my first work friend. a crazy manipulative crack-head with better style than anyone i've ever known and who i was totally enthralled with when i was 23.

she applauded my knee-socks. she coveted my legs. she wore hands-down the cutest white go-go boots to work every single day.

when i responded, asking MJ what the hell happened, he sent a photograph of martha in her coffin and what immediately jumped to mind was my 10th grade world history teacher nancy kemp who, when her mother died, told our class of how she got in the hospital bed and lay there with her dead mother, hugging her and weeping.

how bold to have shared that story with a bunch of 16-year-olds.

we are so seldom honest about death.

joe's funeral was open casket.

i've never ever in my life seen him so tan.

joe died on a thursday morning. approximately 10:15. he and burvil were getting ready to go into town to file some legal papers. she went to grab something from the bedroom. he sat down in his chair. when she came back, he was gone.

these things get pieced together over time, looking back. later, she said she thought he was maybe still alive. maybe he drew his last breath when she was calling 911. she wondered if she should have done something different. if she should have kissed him or said goodbye.

she called her friends and they came over to be with her. one of them had been in the shower and came so fast that the shampoo was still sudsing in her hair.

we turn events into narrative so quickly.

that week, in mantachie and memphis, you heard every story ten times. regardless of whether you were in the room when it happened, you felt you were. that has, in the end, been the hardest part of being in london. i am no longer privy to the stories. i have to ask for them. still, i am as needy for them as i was then. still, i want to hear them all.

suddenly, joe is so shadowy, so surprisingly distant though it's barely been a month. i nearly dropped the phone when, calling burvil's landline, the answering machine picked up and joe asked me to leave a message and told me to have a good day.

there has been a gravitational shift. we are all about burvil now.

we kept losing her at the funeral. burvil is so, so tiny. so easily lost in the crowds. 

my underage cousin said, watching gran was my only job and i have lost her!!! 

she was in the bathroom. 

the #1 lesson i have learned: at a funeral, when you cannot find someone, they are inevitably in the bathroom. they have not run away. they have not died. they are still there. breathe. do not panic. they just had to pee. 

26 March 2013

0 FJ: an open letter to lindsay lohan on the occasion of the last three weeks having been a total trainwreck of stupid


lilo ridic fur
dear lindsay lohan,
i’ve taken an accidental month-long blogging break in large part because there is just too much to take in. what with beiber’s meltdown in london, the DOC/mantel plastic bride/royal bodies smackdown, a piece i’ve been trying to write for months on celeb surgery, and then… THEN… [ominous drums] there is you. there is always you.
personally, i didn’t want to write about you, but then a friend’s mother told me i really needed to engage, so here goes.
li.lo, i can’t even look at you right now. Continue reading 

25 March 2013

0 PS90210: “they whacked him because he was a bad guy.”/”it was just sort of a last minute death.”/”these chips are so salty.”



Ok, ya’ll remember where we were? we’re halfway through how to cope with alcoholism in the wake of your dad’s death, how to cope with the press in the wake of your dad’s death, how to cope with your girlfriend in the wake of your dad’s death, how to cope with staying in your ex-girlfriend’s parent’s house in the wake of your dad’s death, and how to cope with the fact that people are totally out to get you in the wake of your dad’s death. SO.MUCH.COPING.
plus all the coping of all the other people who aren’t dylan mckay.
basically, guys, we’re powering through, because funerals ARE awkward. therefore, an episode about a funeral is kind of unpleasant as well. but let’s do this. as frenchbrenda would say: PART DUAHHHHHHHHHH! Continue reading 

24 March 2013

0 oh dear

today my father asked me if i knew what a MILF was. he'd apparently seen the word in a movie review and looked it up and was horrified. truthbomb: MILF is a very strange and horrifyingly awkward cultural concept to have to discuss with one's dad.

23 March 2013

0 things i have learned this weekend


never ever try to connect what you're working with to 9/11. 

even if it makes sense. even if it's valid. even if it totally illuminates everything. 

DON'T DO IT.

because it has always been arduous to write about jackie as i want to write about her. it has always been like extracting teeth. throw 9/11 into that mix and it becomes a way worse intolerable horror ramped up to an entirely new unspeakably awful degree. 

i've spent the past week trying to forge this jackie's modern significance/9/11 connection and now that it's been solidly forged in my brain, now that debo's gung-ho, i wish it were something that could be unseen.

yesterday, over burgers, i actually asked k.smartt: do you think we forgot about 9/11 too soon? sometimes i just feel like that week of R.E.M. videos on VH1 wasn't enough.

for reals. 

you guys, no one wants to eat burgers with That Girl.

but this jackie/9/11 connection is like that damn dolphin in that poster made by all those tiny pictures of al gore. once you've seen it, you can't unsee. 

this is the incredibly sucky thing about writing: once you know what you're meant to write, you have to find a way to fucking write it down. even if it's awful. even if it hurts. you have to extract the awful from your head and confine it to the page in such a way that the reader, blinded by its beauty, experiences only a fraction of the hurt you inflicted upon yourself in getting it there. 

0 this is amazing


'It seems to me now that part of the compelling power of Sweet Valley High’s vision of identical twins lay not in the obvious assignation between our split selves (id and ego), but instead, in the ways in which writing itself—real writing, difficult, strenuous, hard-won, “under your own name” writing—always stands in an uneasy relationship to its enchanting, seductive, rule-bending twin. The one who always seems to win, to get away with it—as if, in the end, only a toss of a golden head or the sparkle of an aquamarine eye can carry the day. The theorist George Lukacs called the “entertainment novel” the “caricature” or bad twin of serious fiction, and in a sense, for me at least, that was both the allure and the potential hazard of ghostwriting mass-market books. I wanted, as long as I thought I could risk it, to stay in the pastel, exclamatory world of the light and the popular, the world of fast cars and faster verbs, the world where difference was traded for sameness and the blondes triumphed and the eyes sparkled and the parents stayed married and the brother stayed away “at college” and the paralysis was curable and anything and everything could be resolved by the final chapter.'

22 March 2013

3 wherein debo does all the heavy lifting


my next assignment is to describe jackie's significance in american life in about a thousand words. i have 18 days remaining in which to do this.

when my advisor handed down this assignment, my jaw hit the floor. didn't she know that this was something other people had spent precisely 50 years trying to do?

jackie's significance in american life is usually reduced to hazy things like 'dignity', 'elegance', and 'class.' all terms that are equally applicable to show horses and, therefore, reductions from which i like to shy away.

things have been a bit smudged for the last few weeks, what with the death and the funeral and the jetlag and the congestion. it is hard to focus, hard to write.

i had one productive night a week ago and have been scooting by on the accomplishments made then ever since, but even those accomplishments were somewhat nebulous.

i'd identified the date that the jackie kennedy clothing exhibition began making the rounds.

i'd contemplated mad men as a post-9/11 exercise and copied some paragraphs on the falling man.

i'd wondered aloud why, in the wake of 9/11, the 1960s would become a means to cope.

the problem with writing is that it often involves talking. long, drawn out, rambling conversations that run the risk of being terribly boring to the other conversants and tremendously valuable to me.

the other night, i pitched a bit of a fit and said i needed to speak to debo. because, in her grief, debo's been keeping manically busy and we've not had much time to talk. my intent in speaking with her was simply to reconnect, to feel that we've not drifted, to feel that i'm not as far from everyone as i actually am.

what this conversation with my mother unexpectedly turned into was the solving of all my problems. with my simply saying a string of incoherencies about 9/11 and jackie and the dresses and mad men, debo did all the heavy lifting.

there's an advantage to debo's having essentially lived through a 17-year-long lecture on the life of jackie. it's that she really knows her shit.

19 March 2013

4 ruthless, iii

ruth died in september 1999.

i was a freshman in college. though i'd only been there a few weeks, already i'd begun my precipitous slide into D-territory in chemistry and zoology, already this was one of the worst years of my life. and then ruth died.

honestly, i cannot remember if steven was or was not gay at this time. i think he wasn't. but that had happened as of september 21st and ruth died september 29th, so it was all very very new. it was all very very confusing. and in the midst of that, ruth died.

i had to go to joe's funeral because i hadn't been at ruth's and, because i hadn't been at ruth's, it had taken, like, ten years to even begin to mourn.

i refuse to have regrets. had i not gone to joe's funeral, that would have been one.

this ties together.

joe was scanning my father's slides. he happened upon an amazing photograph of ruth. it is, i contend, the greatest photograph my father has even taken. in it, ruth is a total badass. her pink lipsticked lips curled into a sneer as she exhales cigarette smoke and deigns to let my cousin sign the plaster cast on her broken arm. her white hair shines like glory in the setting sun. her bra strap is visible.

this is a photograph william eggleston wished he had taken.

i decided this would be the piece of art that would define my new home. i would have it blown up and frame it and it would take the place of honor in the reception room.

mind you, this was a photograph taken from a teeny tiny slide.

weeks ago, i asked my father if he could go to joe and burvil's and scan it. he said no. he said it was a fool's mission. it was, you know, a teeny tiny slide. and so i set out on my own to resolve this problem. i uploaded the photo to boots, ignored their copious warnings that it couldn't possibly print out clearly due to its size and processed my order.

it arrived on a thursday afternoon.

it was GLORIOUS.

an hour later, joe was dead.

my father and i skyped the next night, late late, 1 a.m. london time, after i got back from burgers and scotch with HNP. the week before, he had mentioned that he was sending a letter and 'a tube'. that night, i mentioned that royal mail had informed me i had a package. i thought it was the internet router. he wondered if it might be the tube. i gave him a tour of the flat, because i'd not had internet before all this happened and now i did. he said i needed to work on the color scheme but he liked my red couch. he said it would go well with that picture of grandma ruth. i told him, that was what i was thinking. in fact, i'd had it printed up.

my father looked at me in disbelief. he said, 'but i had that printed for you!'

and i said, 'but you said it wasn't possible!'

his response: 'well, you know i have to fix everything!'

my response: 'and you know i have to do everything on my own!'

and so, in the end, i have two 20 x 30 copies of the greatest photograph my father has ever taken. which feels like an extravagance and yet also incandescently right.

18 March 2013

0 “funerals are awkward for everybody.”


Omg, you guys, it’s been forev! where were we? oh yes, sad sad times…
today, we’ve got ‘the child is father to the man.’ (question: is this title a reference to something else? some other cultural thing? because i do not understand it. help!) because this one’s a bit of a doozy and because i’ve limited time in which to get it done if i’m to meet the totally arbitrary deadline i’ve set for myself on these silly things, we’re gonna take this one in two parts. today… PART ONE! or, as frenchbrenda would say, PART OOON. Continue reading 

0 memories (31.05.11)


i spent enough of the other day driving about town in a car filled with balloons, that this story kept popping to mind... 

(and it's apparently tied into about 12 other stories, so follow the links if you're in need of some extra reading after a long weekend or leave 'em if not.)

my gay high school boyfriend and i didn't talk for years. 

(and yes, his monumental importance in my life is ridiculously trivialized by his identification there as "my gay high school boyfriend." his name is steven. he is amazing. he gives me license to write about anything and to include pictures. in september 2009, for the 5 1/2  hours on a tuesday night/wednesday morning and the 17 hours on a saturday in which i could not have lived without him, he was there. 

we have been through wars. and silences. many. and yet he withstands my intolerable bitchiness like no other and i will love him forever and ever. always. no matter what. that said...)

most everyone knows this story but here's two years condensed in quick: 

march 18th, 1999, the barnes and noble at coolsprings galleria, he was gay. 

september 23, 1999, he bought the red hot chili peppers' californication at a walmart between dothan, alabama and tallahassee and, in an email that i wish to god that i had saved, he informed me that he wasn't. 

six months later we kissed. kind of. 

on september 6, 2000, he kissed the president of the florida state LGBT club and i told him to go be gay. 

we were friends. 

in december 2000, i sent The Poems to him in a pile tied with an orange bow

we were still friends. somehow.

we spoke nearly every day and then we spoke on june 13, 2001 and he went away. 

for years. 

because i do not let people go, i sent him a detailed updating email on every single one of his birthdays. as though nothing had happened, i told him what each of us four girls was doing. i told him when kj got married and partner and lindear. i kept him abreast of every single anniversary. and, to an email address i no longer believed to be accurate, i confessed my hopes and dreams.


i haunted that poor man and in july 2003, he wrote me back. we wrote one another several times a day for the first week i was in chicago for maph before a silence descended that lasted four more years. 

in april 2007, he returned. for good. 

there are people who belong in your life. no matter the history. no matter the horrible things you've said or done. no matter how they've insulted your calves. no matter what. 

there's a hole in which only they fit and if they leave, they will come back. like a magnet. 

i'm in no ways wise and this is the only thing of which i am absolutely certain: there are people who stick. forever and ever and ever and always. half my friendships have proven that. 

in april 2007, my gay high school boyfriend came back and it was like all the lights went up in the room. we were us. i was me. he was my date to meggie's wedding

he came to lindear's Most Amazing Brunch Ever. we hadn't seen each other in eight years and hadn't spoken in six. i had long, black hair. his hands shook as he lay down his dominos in the increasingly cut-throat game of chickenfoot unfolding on lindear's kitchen table. i wanted to reach out and calm him down.

i wanted to but i didn't. 

we went to the dollar store and bought ten bucks worth of balloons for meggie's bachelorette. we shoved them into his car and set off. 

we hadn't been alone in seven years. it's him and me and a dozen enormous balloons in a tiny car with no air conditioning. we're flying down the highway making small talk. it's awkward. and then it happened. 

gunshots. 

we both squealed like stuck pigs and ducked. we thought we were going to die. as sweat dripped from my brow, my gay high school boyfriend looked me square in the eye and asked earnestly, caro, are we dead???

we weren't. 

and it wasn't gunshots. it was just the massive lime green balloons exploding in the heat. a dozen of them. one at at a time. as we went flying down the expressway. 

we laughed. 

there are people with whom you are more alive. people with whom you can be you. people who stick. no matter the history. no matter the horrible things you've said and done, they are there like a magnet. forever and ever. always. that is all i know.


1 14 years

it's queer- literally and figuratively- that of all the anniversaries in my life (and i've a mind that retains dates like a sponge), this is the one that still looms largest. 


15 March 2013

0 totally gratuitous Fashion Update

i am currently obsessed with these nails:


these pants:

and this picture:


2 now, i want this to happen



3 toddied


i have a cold. like a really, really snotty one. which has basically provided an excuse for buying a mug (as i basically only buy things as i encounter a need for them and the oklahoma coffee mug has, until now, met all of my needs), a shit-ton of sherbet, and whiskey. (the mug and whiskey are related to the toddy, the sherbet is just for kicks). 

i'd never had a hot toddy before yesterday. yesterday, all i could think about was a hot toddy. especially after the discovery that the medicine i had thought was meant to be taken every twelve hours was, in fact, intended to be taken every four, leaving eight hour windows in which i could have been breathing had i been able to read. 

14 March 2013

1 they released a zillion mad men images today. this one made me laugh out loud.


3 whoa


THIS is amazing.

0 very abbreviated selections from my father's viet nam photographs (scanned by joe)

'It was 46 years ago today (March 12th 2013).....at the age of 19, I flew from Travis Air Force Base in California to the 90th Replacement Battalion, about 30 miles south of Saigon, United States Army, Republic of South Viet Nam. My memory of names and places has grown so obscure, that I cannot even tell you the name of our Advisory Team location, nor do I spend a lot of time thinking about my time in country. One of the last things my Father-In- Law did for me before his death, was to finish scanning my slides of Viet Nam, a very, very, generous act. As my daughter has been asking questions for some time about the war, and some friends are planning a return visit to Viet Nam, I thought now might be a good time to post these. I will follow my timeline from March of 1967 to October of 1968 beginning with arrival in Saigon, brief assignment in Lam Son, 30 miles to the north, in Hue the former Imperial Capital, the port city of Danang, and last in the far north in Quang Tri. One thing it is essential to understand, is that I mean no disrespect to the brave men and women who served in combat in country. While I was shelled and shot at a few times, my experiences are very different from those went looking for the enemy, and they have my highest regard, and deepest appreciation.'


'
To be honest, I was probably a waste of the government’s money as a soldier, just short of useless, but without a clue of that reality. What played large in what talents I did provide the Army was an elective typing class I took in 10th grade. This typing class was to again and again influence my life (got me into computers later) but here it was critical. After flunking out of a Top Secret Security Repair Class (oh the horror – Physics at midnight!), I was bound for the Infantry in Fort Jackson, South Carolina – but at the time they were picky. As this was very early (1966) in the build-up, they were just entering into specialized Infantry training for Viet Nam, and wanted the best and brightest – sorry no four-eyes. Instead, I wound up being sent down the street to the Southeast Signal School to become a Radio Operator (05B20), one of the guys with the radio on their back and a long antenna sticking up to show everyone where they were. I learned Morse Code, and did well enough that they looked over my resume, and saw I had Typing. That qualified me for Radio Teletype, which was a large radio mounted on a 2 ½ ton or ¾ ton truck, or in a building on the ground. That was what I was going to be doing in Viet Nam. During training in the states, I was with four other Yayhoos that called ourselves the Fabulous Five. All of us went to Viet Nam as 05C20s, one was assigned to be a company clerk, one to helicopter repair, one a duty soldier, and the worst, one assigned to the Marine Corps at the far north in Con Tien. I was the only one who did what I was trained to do.
 — at The Republic of South Viet Nam.'

'Saigon from atop the Caravelle Hotel - From Wikipedia: Still, despite the war, the tourists would come. Forty-six thousand tourists showed up in 1966, according to the Vietnamese authorities, but Arnett reckons that most of that number were journalists and businessmen coming in under the cover of an easy-to-get tourist visa. It wasn’t easy to stay in Saigon then. Taxi drivers charged 20 times the normal fare. Journalists and soldiers took up most of the hotel rooms. The garbage collectors went AWOL, and the streets were dirty. But still, the “elderly folk” would drop in, marshaled about by a frantic tour guides.
“No one seems interested in discouraging the occasional tourist, simply, perhaps, because of the political necessity to pretend that all is going well in Vietnam. But all is not going well and hasn’t been for years.” Me: My part of the war was very civilized during the early stages. I know it wasn't for the combat troops out in the bush, but that was a long way from Saigon, and all of the news we got was pretty much good. Every now and then we would hear of some really bad place or event but we still had unlimited passes in the city, and as you can see, I dressed the part. I turned 20 two months into my first tour.'


'1st Infantry Equipment Graveyard'
'After a most interesting first night in country, where I pulled guard duty armed with a shotgun I did not know how to load, and shared a bunker with the largest spider I had ever seen (up till that time), I received my permanent assignment as a Radio Teletype Operator (O5C20) attached to the 525th Military Intelligence Group located on the outskirts of Saigon. This is the inner base headquarters of the 525th Military Intelligence Unit. I was here awaiting assignment for around three months. They found out I had a top secret clearance from my failed class in the states, and therefore were able to have me change the codes on some security gear daily, getting an officer out of the job.'


13 March 2013

2 noooooooooooooooooooooo!


0 i promise

we will resume our regular schedule shortly, but things are a bit rickety at present due to the winning cocktail of across-town moving, inconsistent internet, unexpected death, and unrelenting jet-lag.

still, there are good things:

(1) like drawers under my bed! here i've been bragging about living in an apartment with no drawers when, really, they were there all along. i am columbus!!

(2) the fuse that blew last saturday when i was leaving for the airport only affected the reception room light, not the bathroom light. so (a) i need not have showered in the dark, and (b) instead of having to figure out how to remove the cover on the bathroom light whilst standing on a toilet with an inexplicably flimsy lid, now i only have to figure out how to change a lightbulb in a chandelier twenty feet from the ground.

(3) did you know i am a spaghetti heiress? true story. my father's mother ruth made The Best Spaghetti of All Time save burvil's and i'm in possession of both their recipes. freshman year of college at mississippi state- that memorable nine months, wherein steven became ungay, my grandmother died, and i had no friends and so read 107 books- whenever i came to visit them, burvil would pack me off with ziplocks full of her sauce, that i would later- i cannot stress enough how dire were my emotional circumstances- eat from the bag with a spoon. i don't know when i last had her spaghetti but it was some time around then. last saturday, debo and i drove down to the farm to visit burvil and witness for ourselves her new-found independence and what had she done? made up an enormous pot of spaghetti, that's what. there is more to say about burvil and we'll get to that, but for now i would like to say that, as a granddaughter, i can't remember anything that has given me more joy recently than being able to call burvil from the charlotte airport and inform her that i had her spaghetti for breakfast.

(4) when i came back through customs, the customs dude expressed great alarm that my visa had not been activated. apparently they don't do that in ireland. so here i've been lolling about the last two months with an inactive visa, which maybe wasn't the best thing given the admonishment i got from the customs guy, but it is evidently a fairly easy thing to fix. he took my biometrics and slapped a stamp on my visa and, heading up to baggage, i heaved a sigh of relief. i am home. i am activated. now, this is for real.











11 March 2013

4 gertrude

the last quarter of senior year, partner and i carried stuffed pigs around school.

writing that now it seems both childish and phenomenally bold.

i'm not entirely sure why we did this outside of the simple fact that we wanted to. and, really, as a kid how often do you have the balls to do something stupendously ridiculous simply because it is what you want. because it will make you feel better. not often.

so we carried these pigs. we hugged them during class. other people asked to hold them and said they were cool.

(were they lying? or did every senior that spring, when our lives were about to change forever and we were all preparing to be grownup, wish they had a stuffed animal to hug?)

arnold was white, gertrude was pink. i'd gotten them during a visit to atlanta in the mid-80s and then in that spring of 1999, partner had comandeered arnold as her own.

this is all background so you'll get the significance when i say: guess who's coming to london...