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", 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!"