Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Pretty good year

Actually, it sucked. But I couldn't resist the Tori Amos reference.



Onward and upward, however. This year, for the very first time, I was alone during the countdown to the New Year. I was in a bar, separated from my friends for the moment, getting myself another (yet another) beer, and I'd lost track of the time. All of a sudden, one of the numb nutses in the band announced that it was nearly 2004, and started the counting thing. The lights in the bar were warm and low, that mellow golden color you only see in basement bars late at night when you're really blotto, or else in furnishings and clothes from the 70s. The bartenders -- all goth, in this place, although it's not a goth nightclub -- smiled through their mascara tears and stopped serving for a moment. We all counted down together and no one harassed me or gave me a dirty look or bumped into me or tried to get me to do anything. I'd ridden the T over from JP by myself, and later, when I was tired of being social, I'd go home early the same way, in a cab operated by a friendly Haitian cab driver who hated G.W. Bush almost as much as I do. "He don't like poor people, man," he'd say, taking a nervous slug of his Redbull. "Shit -- he don't like PEOPLE."



If it's true that you spend the rest of the year doing what you did the night the calendar flips, I should have an interesting, drunken, friendly, political, independent, conversational year.



My best to you all. Happy New Year! Happy New Year! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Hot asian girl on the 66 bus (m4w-23)

I am addicted to the "Missed Connections" section of craigslist. It's like a window into human behavior. So far, I've learned that guys in Boston are seeking blonde waitresses, hip asian girls and bookish redheads who aren't paying any attention to them. I swear I learned this after I dyed my hair red.



Girls in Boston, on the other hand, are looking for a guy who knew their brother in college, and was talking about a book they read, at the bar they always go to. He is generally tall, and wearing some kind of a hat. None of this has much statistical relevance I'm sure. Except that if you're trying to score a girl on craigslist, fellas, you better start walking around on stilts and know somebody who knows somebody.



What's my point? I don't even know that I have one. Except that I have a new Internet fad just about once a month these days, and a terribly addictive personality. Oh, also: I'm nosy.

Saturday, December 6, 2003

What's she DOING in there?

I had no shovel, but I had a broom and a lot of free time, so I set to work sweeping off the steps. Fifteen minutes in and I was sweating and cursing and kicking at the snow while the neighbors stared and muttered to themselves and each other, "That's that redheaded girl of Siobhan and Willy's. Keeps to herself. Sometimes she has a party and sometimes she has visitors but mostly she goes in and comes out and that's all. Quiet, though." Secretly, they've all been expecting this. When the cops come around asking you if you ever suspected that your neighbor is mad, it's only polite to say no, but really, don't we secretly think that all our neighbors are insane? They could be up to any number of things in their little houses and apartments and pods. They could be having weird sex or cooking endless series of chewy vegan pies or watching C-SPAN obsessively like Frank Zappa, eating hot dogs and chain smoking and cursing the man.



Anyway, I mostly watch HBO and read, but today I'm having one of those days when nothing interests me. I have six unread books and 400 channels and two shelves of CDs, and oh, hey, I could write, but the cabin fever has set in, and I'm just pacing my apartment and reworking old conversations and imagining stories I might write someday and thinking about when I'll let myself drink the last Diet Coke in the fridge. The neighbors are right. I am crazy.



I love the snow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

I will never be cool...

...because I am having too much fun. Also because my idea of fun is so very dorky, and left over from, like, seventh grade.



For example: a few years ago, Mrs. Piddlington and I were out shopping and decided to pull into the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts for my hourly cup of coffee. Mrs. P and I had been talking about our extreme brokeness, as usual, and as we pulled up to the front of the line, I decided that I would help her out. I offered her "one reaaal american dollar" to pretend to be developmentally delayed when the girl at the window gave me my ice coffee.



The thing you should know about Mrs. P is that she's a lovely girl. Really: I don't know how we can be related. When she isn't finding adoptive parents for orphans, she's healing the sick or something. She frequently thinks I'm not funny in these scenarios. For some reason, however, on this day, she agreed to go along with it.



Oh, one other thing you should know...Meg is a REALLY good actress.



Three cars away from the front of the line, she started rocking back and forth a little in her seat. Two cars away, she started clapping. When we get to the front of the line, and I'd rolled down the window, she started screaming, "COFFEE! COFFEE! COFFEE!" in a loud and demented voice. If you've ever seen "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?", you know the type of voice I mean.I looked over at the girl in the window, who was staring at us in weary disbelief and said, in a sheepish tone, as if I had to explain this all the time, "She just really likes coffee."



The girl nodded, handed over my coffee and change, and we rolled on our merry way. It's only then that I realized that, on that particular day, Mrs. P was wearing more glitter on her face than the average professional "dancer"...plus, sparkly little barrettes and a pink t-shirt, and all manner of Meggish accessories. She might have sounded slow, in other words, but she wasn't exactly wearing her short-bus uniform.



"You realize that that girl thinks I dress you," I told her.



"Where's my dollar?"I hand over a buck. "She's thinking to herself, isn't it nice that that girl dresses her retarded sister in the latest trends?"She grinned. "COFFEE!"

Monday, November 17, 2003

Revenge of the crazypantses

Okay, for real, what's with all the crazy people who are infesting my life lately? It's like I'm a magnet and they're iron filings.



A moment ago, I was in the bathroom here at work and some woman tried to open my stall. No big deal, I have short legs. She probably couldn't see that someone was in there, right? Okay, fine, but then she kept tugging on the door, and when that didn't work, she put her eye to the crack between the door and the frame and looked at me. I would have said something, but I was too flabbergasted. She was unruffled however; she just said, "Oh, sorry about that" and looked in for another minute before wandering down the row to an open stall.



I know I'm attractive and all, but I don't think sitting on the toilet is my best look. Then again, it takes all kinds.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

With apologies to Dorothy Parker

Me: "'I like to have a martini; Two, at the very most. Three, I'm under the table; Four, I...'"



Meg: "Fall down and crack open my goddamn head on the floor of Lucky's Lounge and wind up with four stitches in my eyebrow?"



Me: "Um, yes."



Meg: "Hey, one for each martini!"



Me: "Um, yes."

Thursday, October 30, 2003

The Science Class Theory of Life

I'm a little nervous about how expectant I am that something good is about to happen. If there's one thing I've learned in life (and I'll be lucky if I've learned that much), it's that nothing ever happens when you're expecting it. For real: Whatever you're expecting, right now, is not going to happen. Something else is. Could be better, could be worse. Won't be what you're thinking.



Every really good thing that's ever happened to me has been a total mistake. I met one of my best friends at the worst company I ever worked for. I found my beautiful apartment by allowing a realtor to take me to a different part of Boston than I initially wanted. Every time I've met a future boyfriend, I was caught completely unawares. (And I was usually wearing paint-stained sweatpants or something similarly unappealing.)



I think of it as the Science Class Theory of Life. Science was my least favorite class in school. I sucked at it, I didn't care, and you had to have a lab partner, which was only slightly less humilating than being picked for teams in gym class. I wasn't totally friendless, or anything -- but I think I was the only one of my friends who ever went to class on a regular basis.



Anyhoodle, some days I'd be shuffling morosely down the hallowed halls of NHS, feeling like death in band t-shirt, and science class would seem like the last goddamn straw. I just couldn't take it. Probably I would spontaneously combust with annoyance and hormones and shame as soon as I crossed the threshhold of my classroom.



Sometimes, though, I'd feel like that, and when I'd get there, the teacher would have decided to show a film strip instead of having class. And it was THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD. I couldn't have been happier if there'd been a bomb threat.



Now that I'll all grown up and whatnot, I find that the Science Class Theory still holds. I'll be feeling like crap, and someone will e-mail me and suggest going for a beer, or I'll find five bucks in my coat pocket when I thought I was broke, and I feel all better. Maybe I'm not as excited by these small reprieves as I was when I was 16, but they still mean a lot. I like to think it's a sign of my positive attitude, but I fear it may just be low expectations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Crazy people I have known

I met my first crazy person at church.



I was five years old, and my family lived in Vermont. VERMONT-Vermont, not the adorable-little-inns-and-charming-eccentrics version you saw on Newhart lo those many years ago. The Vermont I lived in when I was five was seriously Appalachia, with hillbillies and trailers and no police force to speak of and more guns per square foot than most towns in Kentucky. For real, if someone misbehaved the old farmers would drive over to his shack on their tractors and shoot him.



Anyway, needless to say that in this version of Vermont, crazy people were not sent to hospitals or given therapy. They were given rye whiskey and strapped to the back of the family pickup where we could all keep an eye on them.



The Crazy Man had Tourettes syndrome, which my mother had explained to me. I didn't really understand it, though. I just thought he was awesome. His family brought him to church with them every Sunday, and I used to wait eagerly for his outbursts.



He'd usually wait until the minister had a full head of steam before he started in. About halfway through the homily, we'd start hearing these weird snuffling exhales. The minister would start looking around nervously, and my Mom would poke me to remind me not to giggle, and eventually, the Crazy Man would let er rip:



"GODdammit. This is the MOST BORING piece of COCKSUCKING CRAP I have ever heard in my entire FISTFUCKING LIFE."



The minister would continue as if nothing was happening. If he weren't sweating profusely, you wouldn't even know that he'd heard.



"Christ on a MOTHERFUCKING CRUTCH. This sermon SUCKS COWS. I can't believe I'm even here. I would have been better off STAYING AT FUCKING HOME and watching that FAGGOT BILLY GRAHAM."



And so on.



Later, I discovered that persons with Tourettes are rarely so specific in their outbursts. It's probably that my childhood hero didn't so much have Tourettes as he did a bone to pick with the minister.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

If ya got em

My acupuncturist smokes.



I didn't realize that until my session yesterday, because up until a week ago, I smoked myself. It's totally weird. My friend Cathy K. is a vegetarian and she says it's the same with leather jackets once you stop eating meat -- all of a sudden, the smell is overpowering. She wrinkled up her nose when she said it, as if the smell of a leather jacket were the worst thing in the world. I, on the other hand, took deep cleansing inhales of my acupuncturist's smokey smell, and felt comforted. I bet it slowed my pulse almost as much as the needles.



I hope this doesn't bode ill for my new smokefree way of life.

Ach hoo!

I am allergic to your cat. Yes, your cat. No, not his cat. Not her cat. Well, okay, theirs, but yours too.



Oh, that's interesting. No, I've never heard that before. Your cat doesn't give people allergies? Your cat is magical and hypoallergenic? By all means, let's have Mr. Mittens climb right up on my lap and make himself at home. No, no -- my eyes always look like this. I always cough like Welsh miner. Don't worry.



While we're at it, have I introduced you to my pet? His name is Mr. Poison Ivy. You have to pet Mr. Poison Ivy, or I'll be terribly offended. No, don't worry. He never gives people rashes. Oh, I know some poison ivys give people rashes, but not mine. Because he loves you.



Ha, ha, do you see what I did there? I am allergic to your cat. Your cat makes me sniffle and sneeze. She gives to me the hives. My nose runs in his presence. My tonsils, they are like balls of molten lava. I resemble a super-flu victim in "The Stand."



Let me tell you something else. Your boyfriend, who isn't allergic to your cat? He is. He's pretending to have a coke habit so that he can get into your pants, but in reality, the cat hair on your sweater is making the teensy blood vessels in his eyes explode.



And your allergies, which act up around every other cat, but not yours? They don't exist. You are mildly irritated in the presense of twelve pounds of pet hair, as anyone would be, but once you get around to vaccuuming your apartment you will breathe easily once more. Don't be offended. I am allergic to dust in much the same way.



I am allergic to your cat. I am.

Rar! Jennie smash!

Many of you do not have the big big love for anger. (Digression: Did you hear that the Pixies are getting back together? I heard that they are. Who wants to go?)



I am not one of these people. I am, in fact, anger's biggest fan. Oh, no, you say. Jennie! Don't be angry. It's so unattractive. It's so bad for you. You'll get high blood pressure. No one will invite you to their parties.



Well fuck you. I am gorgeous in a high irish. Everyone invites me to their parties. They all want to have sex with me when I'm angry, that's how hot I am -- all of them, gay men, straight women, everybody.



In addition to making me absolutely beautiful, my anger has made me strong. I can lift you right up, just like the Incredible Hulk. I can smash through walls like Mr. Kool-Aid. I am only five foot two, but I have the proportionate strength of an ant. Find me a giant piece of corn. I will carry it over my head.