Wednesday, December 29, 2010


This blog is over-songed as of late, but searching through old CDs for something "new" to listen to on drives about the town I stumbled across this old gem. This one goes out to my mom, who once spent hours on a long drive to Tennessee trying to teach me how to do algebra in my head. When that utterly failed, she taught me how to harmonize instead. My gift to her (and the world for that matter) is that I usually confine that lesson to the space behind the steering wheel.

"Never mind fortune.
Never mind fame.
I don't wear diamonds
I don't drink champagne
I've learned a lot that I don't want to know
Take me back to where we were so long ago.
Take me down easy,
Take me down slow,
By the side of the road."

Saturday, December 25, 2010


"This is the room one afternoon when I knew I could love you
And from above you how I sank into your soul
Into that secret place where no one dared to go."

Hm. Old loves, big smiles, and learning that although sinking into someone's soul may be a little like quicksand, you can always be the King of Carrot Flowers.

Um, kinda ready for the nostalgia of the holidays to shift a bit. At least in time for me to spend less of my present thinking about presences, passed and future-going. Or lack thereof. It is so windy outside, but we have no snow. Otherwise Christmas walked on tiptoes this year, and it was divine.


How to Tread Water

You must remember always
That water is stronger.
But if you are capable of asking,
It will bear your lightness up.

Do not waste time convincing yourself
That water is your friend.
It has no desire for friendship.
For it already knows
All the secrets flowing through you
And into the space of others,

Spreading into chasms
That you will never see.

Nor tell yourself that water is your enemy.
In taking your secrets, it trades you life,
And it has no choice but to withdraw.
For water must leave when it is time
To flow through other births that call it.

Know instead that you are both
Its host and its guest
And you may not strike it
Or thrash about in frustration
When its responses fail you.

Be polite. Water will be kind.
Be kind, and it will be gentle.
Gentle, and it will become
A listing tiger upon which you may ride.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


"Fish in the sea, you know what I mean.
River runnin' free, you know what I mean.
Blossom on the tree, you know what I mean.
It's a new dawn.
It's new day.
It's a new life for me.
And I'm feeling good."

Thursday, December 16, 2010


"The wandering eye that I have caught
Is as hot as a wandering sun
But I will want for nothing more, in the garden
To start again
In the hardening of every new heart but one"

"We came by the boatload
And were immobilized
Worshiping volcanoes
Charting the loping skies

The tides of the earth left
Us bound and calcified
And made as obstinate as obsidian
Unmoving sable eyes"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Report

The Confessions of Nat Turner
William Styron

I've read Sophie's Choice a long time ago and before this book and I marvel at the fact that an author can ask us to accept so many questions and contradictions that are never resolved, and we are yet inevitably satisfied. In fact we close the book looking more closely at our own mysteries and suddenly start thinking of them as less than mundane.

In 1831, a black slave sits in a jail cell, after leading a slave revolt that let over 50 whites dead, contemplating his impending hanging and running over the contradictions that led him there. Sometimes the voice of God calls to him clearly, sometimes he ponders whether the voice of God is one that only exists in his head. He preaches hate and butchery, but cannot himself kill except for a mercy killing of one who he a strange attraction and yet repulsion for. His revolt lead to the retaliation of the white population against the blacks so that 200 blacks that had nothing to do with this revolt died. The small emancipation voice in the legislation fades and stricter slave laws are put into effect.

So, what was the point?

Nat Turner is caught up in this world of contradictions, capable of feeling love, he is also capable of quelling it to act out his revenge. His curious choice of eliminating everyone - not just the whites that have been cruel to their slaves, but their small children, their kind daughters - make him a monster. But his observations and insight also make him a man of compassion - and since ne'er the twain shall meet all of us are left wondering, what did he really expect to accomplish and why?

And the larger theme being, do these dangerous contradictions exist today? Which road to we take and what reasoning must go with it? Was Nat a folk hero or a lunatic?
Styron deftly forces us to decide for ourselves. And in the end, we somehow are compelled to make that choice, aware that that what really shows through Styron's stylishly winding prose is that the heat of life will keep on humming and confusing us, with its offal and its flowers.

Poignant prose. 5 out of 5 and a Pulitzer thrown in.

Highly recommended.

Friday, November 5, 2010


"But tell me now, where was my fault
In loving you with my whole heart"


30 Juin 2001 / June 30, 2001

Ton pays, il ressemble un peu au crois comprendre de
plus en plus Erin que le pays que je cherche s'il existe
n'est pas fait de terre, d'arbre, de ne
s'agit en fait pas d'un pays....tu disais : `c'est ca que
je cherche, cette domicile, ce monde a moi ou je peux
placer mes esperances et ma tristesse....dis-moi
Fred...penses-tu a cet endroit...est-ce que c'est possible
a le trouver a ton avis?`...ce monde dans lequel tu peux
placer tes experances et tes tristesses je pense que c'est
un monde entouree de peau, un monde avec du sang qui coule
dans ces veines....ce monde est humain....ce monde va
bouger et evoluer avec toi....c'est je crois.....


Your country ... it's a lot like mine. I believe I understand more and more, Erin, that the country I'm seeking (if it exists) isn't made of earth or trees or houses. It isn't about a country at all.

You said: "It's what I'm searching for, this domicile, my own world, where I can put my hopes and my sadness. Tell me, Fred, do you think about this place? Do you think that I'll ever find it?"

I think this world of yours, where you can put your hopes and sadness, is a world surrounded by skin, with blood that runs in its veins. It's a human world - it will evolve and move with you. That's what I believe.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book Report

Next on my journey to complete the ambitious 26 "Lists of Bests" I've set out for myself, I decided to hit Sebastian Faulks' "Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War."

The novel came highly recommended, highly rated and was on several lists of "books you should read before you die." There's a lesson in that last categorization. Because after reading this novel, and having to acknowledge that there are that many people that think it's a masterpiece, dying looks pretty good.

The premise is sound enough, centering around a young Englishman who has an affair with the charming wife of a slightly sadistic mill owner while staying in Amiens, France and then later follows his travails in the trenches of World War I. There's a random more "modern" annoying character from 1978 thrown into the mix but I'll get to that in a minute.

I have several complaints about this book apart from it being a complete waste of time and making that book on hedge funds that my boss left in my chair "for Labor Day reading" all the more enticing. The language is cloutish and unrelentingly awkward. Every character speaks exactly the same - like a philosopher in a Victorian novel (something of which I was once accused of in a writer's circle and thus can easily peg). Halfway through the book, I actually decided to look up Faulks' nationality, thinking that maybe a clumsy translator had made mincemeat or his otherwise promising prose. It was then that I discovered he was British. Which explained the first of my complaints.

If ever you have read a Harlequin romance, however ironically, take those play-by-plays and imagine that they were written by a British man. Big deal, you say. Ha! You must not have ever been sexually involved with an Englishman, because overall (with some exceptions of course, which I doubt Faulks falls into) their lovemaking skills are as bad as their dentists. I actually had to start flipping through the pages (and pages) of the "torrid affair" because I felt some vomit rise in my throat. A German could've done better, really.

I'm just glad that Faulks informed us that it wasn't just about sex - the hero had "feelings" for her too. Wow. It must be real love if it needs to be pointed out.

Anyway, that about covers the "Love" part, except for some self-involved female character from 1978 who we later learn - and I'm really giving nothing away here - is a descendant of this sensitive British man. Her kicks are designing and having an affair with a married man. There's a weird scene where a man she only went on a couple of dates with suddenly demands that she marry him, but then he disappears as arbitrarily as he came and she discovers that she is then pregnant with her lover's child.

In fact random disappearing characters was a recurring theme in the book. I want to give Faulks some credit here. Maybe something like "this is a tribute to the transience of people in our lives." But I just can't. I think the fucker had too difficult of a time developing the main characters - mostly unsuccessfully. Having to add humanness to these minor persons was simply too much for the old guy.

The "modern woman" part was was completely pointless, except for one thing. The description of her birthing her love child (with married lover completely supporting her to add to the unbelievability factor) was far more gruesome than any of the war scenes in the "War" portion of the book. Rotting bodies, blown-out brains and random dismemberments I can completely deal with. Long descriptions of placenta trailing out of a woman's nether regions was frankly too much for this girl to handle. More page-skipping.

Which brings me to my final observation. I'm pretty sure that many of the war scenes were parroted by Faulks from Remarques's far more noble "All Quiet on the Western Front." A novel that is somehow not making these lists with the frequency it deserves. Well, it did make the all-important list of "Hitler's books to burn because they might scare people out of starting a war."

All Faulks did was scare me off childbirth and reading more sex scenes written by British men.

"Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War." Very highly not recommended.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


There comes a moment in every young woman's life where she sees that it might be time to be a grown-up.

Like when you're hanging out at 4 in the morning with a young musician in drag that you met in a bar after a wedding and his young musician friends in a one bedroom house that seven people are living in who all trip over drum sets and sequester weed away in very odd places. And as you sat there, still gussed up to the nines from a fancy plantation marriage in contrast to all the hemp clothing surrounding you, you think "there was really a point when living with other people really stopped being all that cool. Even if they are very talented and have a CD to prove it, it's annoying to have a line to the bathroom in one's own abode."

Or you sit on French Quarter stoops with a long-lost friend with a hand grenade that has a smiley face on it, and you start talking about other things that should have smiley faces on them for really inappropriate reasons and one thing leads to another and you are more than ready to have her take a snapshot of you giving a "hand grenade-job."

Or everything starts going double at 4pm due to said hand grenade and several maker's and gingers and you calmly tell said friend that you're going to puke, do so and then calmly come back and order another drink.

Or you start telling large handsome black men that they have the majestic faces of a tribal chief, and when they say they are only from Baton Rouge-via Beaumont-via Houston wave your hand dismissively and say "I'm sure there are Masai warriors that would claim you as one of their own."

That's right. There are times in a young woman's life that should convince her it might be the moment to grow up.

I'm sure it's coming any day now.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


A couple of months ago, I decided to reach deep back into the disorganized Catholic recesses of myself and start attending mass again. St. Mary's of the Assumption is a church about six blocks riverside from my house, right where the neighborhood starts turning from gentrified and into pro-homicide. I like to think the church somehow keeps the peace between the two, and the crowd that shows up on Sundays proves it. The first time I went there, I wore a dress and heels. Now I have pretty much started attending in my pajamas, since I saw the the guy in crotch-height cut-offs and a t-shirt saying "Yes, I AM an asshole."

But it is a diverse church, full of Latinos, blacks, whites still slightly hungover from other heavenly habits from the night before and old run-down southern society women who relish the readings. Who practice in front of the mirror whilst peeling off the cobwebs. Miss Havishams with emerald rosaries and silly hats. The first time I went there, hungover myself, the reading happened to be about circumcision (apparently not biblically required). Just imagine the effect. Just imagine the further effect of when I grabbed my-then boyfriend's leg to keep him from laughing but misjudged and grabbed something else.

The Virgin Mary definitely has a sense of humor. You'd have to. We're all so tremendously silly. It's either that or weep. And she can ascend anytime she wants in that case.

For awhile I went to St. Mary's rather regularly, where I would find to my astonishment that the church newsletter is more concerned with whether practicing on home turf will affect the Saints' performance this year, little league is now admitting girls (but god help them if they want to be altar boys) and the church needs about a billion dollars to get it back to its original splendor and somehow that amount only seems to be reduced about $2.00 a week. Half of the place looks like St. Paul's post-blitz, the confessions booths are at full tilt, and part of the booths blocked off with fragile ribbon have holes so deep into the vault I am sure that if I dared peek over skeletal smiles of old Orleanians would greet me. The relatives of the Miss Havishams who occupy the pulpit perhaps.

St. Mary's has confession once a week, from 3:15-3:45 Tuesday afternoons. Perhaps this is because no one goes. Or maybe they are on to the people like me, who use confession as a way to avoid paying someone $100.00 to hear my horrible secrets. I may have to branch out on this point.

Despite my attendance, I still have not learned the names of the priests, so in my head, they are Father Silver-Fox-Maybe-Patrick(?) and Father Guy-Whose-Nose-Bled-While-Breaking-The-Flesh-of-Christ. They are both lovely and have targeted me as a potential faithful attendee, cornering me in my pew toward the back with niceties. This embarrasses me because I may be the only person in the church who actually doesn't believe in God, but also because sometimes (shh) I find myself a little teary-eyed for no particular reason at all.

I've fallen off my little routine. Work's been kicking my ass (I have to find some funds to help raise the church again, right?). I go to brunch with my heathen girlfriends. A friend in a time zone six hours away calls. I sleep in. Like tomorrow, I get club seat Saints tickets - although mass is usually canceled for midday games so I don't feel so bad about that one. And somehow falling out of that routine, has made my life fall out of so many others that I need.

Point being, I miss you St. Mary's.

I miss you very much and only God knows why.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


" George: You take the trouble to construct a civilization, to build a society based on the principles of... of principle. You make government and art and realize that they are, must be, both the same. You bring things to the saddest of all points, to the point where there is something to lose. Then, all at once, through all the music, through all the sensible sounds of men building, attempting, comes the Dies Irae. And what is it? What does the trumpet sound?

'Up yours.'"

-Edward Albee
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Thursday, September 30, 2010


This evening as I rounded the corner at Zara's with the dogs straining at the leash, my mind occupied with an argument I'm sure I can make if I had just been practicing law for 50 more years, a man about my age came out of the grocery store.

"What pretty dogs," he said to me.

"Yes," I said in that way which sounds like I am half-laughing and half in a major hurry. One which I've employed ever since being drawn into conversations with every crackhead in the neighborhood, and a grungy man who, while drinking a six pack at 9 in the morning, invited me to come watch him play a gig at Whiskey Dix on Thursday evening. "I'm really good," he said. "If you come, I'll dedicate a song to you."

Ever since being exposed to such a mortifying possibility (as I've grown older I'm more than happy to play my roles in the wings), I've been cautiously kind but shy around strangers. Even at night I wear an old sweaty hat and gear that looks like pajamas. I'm just trying to look like someone who no one in their right mind would ever talk to. Apparently, this evening it did not work.

"Well," said the young man, "look at them. They're happy to be out here. Happy to be alive. They're checking their emails. See those sniffs? See how they stop? Checking their emails."

Luckily, at that moment one of my dogs ceased checking her emails and got down to other business, so I had a chance to bid the stranger adieu.

Communication is an odd thing - random shouts from the universe a recurring theme for me. I remember receiving a text once from a number I did not know. "I just got raped," it said. I paced for awhile and then then texted back my first name just to confirm that it wasn't someone I knew, and begged the anonymous party to go to the police. "Haha!," came the reply. "Just playing around." What?

I have been waiting to hear from someone who I should not be waiting to hear from. This morning my phone rang at 8:30am, and my heart jumped until I saw the number was private. Apparently some man named Ruffa Scott listed me as his estranged wife and had the kindness to make sure that info was distributed to every debt collection agency in town. Taking a deep breath so as to not lose my temper at the person who is simply doing an unpleasant task and doesn't know that while I've been estranged, it's never been as a wife and that I've requested time and time again to please please please have my name taken off these lists, I picked up the phone.


"Hi there, Erin."


"This is Dale, from Marrero."


"Listen, my iphone got stolen and I'm going through and entering all of these phone numbers again and I saw yours and decided to give you a call to catch up."

"I'm sorry ... Dale. I can't quite seem to place you." (This said standing in front of my dressing mirror looking with bewilderment at my own bewilderment.)

"I think we know each other from" (, a service that I had the misfortune to use for approximately four months three years ago trying to get over my ex by finding he was far superior to any man I went out with.)

"Oh ... yes."

"Well, I guess I'm just calling to see what the status is."

Herein ensued the largest number of lies I have ever told in the space of a minute.

"Actually, I'm engaged. And very happily engaged. It just happened."

"Oh. Well, that's okay. I've just discovered that I'm bi or maybe just homosexual."

" ... "

"But congratulations on your engagement. You're that 35 year old anesthesiologist from Metairie, right?"

"YES. Yes, that is me."

"Well, the best of luck to you."

"You too. And congratulations also on your ... discovery." (Hand smacks forehead.)

"Yeah, thanks. Bye now.


Strangers reaching out to strangers. It's a notion not unknown here, particularly if you are a good listener, and that is probably one of my few positive attributes. I remember taking this course in communication in college and we were working with a partner. First, we were supposed to listen to them telling a story with encouraging listening body language and then at some point we were supposed to switch off and convey that we weren't interested. The professor singled me out. I couldn't do it, I couldn't not listen or even pretend to. I don't think it's kindheartedness - I'd be the last person to be guilty of that. It's just that I feel, somewhere in the mumble-jumble of all this verbiage, a meaning is going to reveal itself, and enlighten me. It's happened too often. It's hard to let go. But I feel now more closed-in. I do not want to chat, I want to walk, and breathe and hope that the loneliness I feel at this moment purges itself. Because only you can purge yourself of loneliness.

Perhaps, while I walk in my frumpy crazy lady costume, I need to start muttering to myself.

About murdering someone.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I think I've started sleepwalking again. Unlike most native sleepwalkers, this wasn't a problem that manifested itself enormously in my childhood. Occasionally I could be found dozing on the floor of my father's closet or curled up at the end of the parental bed like a faithful lapdog. But for the most part, my sleepwalking was benign, within limits, and with large spaces in between.

Fast forward to my twenties, and the night when I apparently tried to climb out of my boyfriend-at-the-time's sixth story window. After he shook me awake, disproving once and for all the theory that waking a sleepwalker will kill them, we had a long talk about my non-existent suicidal tendencies, which forever offended me. I remember pointing out to him that if I really wanted to cream my body on some pavement it would not be on the dog-shit-strewn Parisian street across from the Gare St. Lazare. The fact that he did not find this funny further added to our compatability issues.

Enter insomnia and Ambien. I gardened on Ambien, melted plastic things on stoves and ... most humiliating of all, got picked up by the Garden District patrol in a satin nightgown wandering Camp Street aimlessly at two in the morning. I actually had to give a police statement the next day, which was pretty much useless as I could only vaguely recollect that I needed to get my mail. Frankly, I'm grateful they just took me home and didn't throw me in a psych ward. That is why, to this day, unless someone is sleeping over, I try to remember to wear some of the most un-sexy pajamas ever made. In case I decide to go for a midnight stroll again.

The reason that I suspect that my body is once again wanting to take a somnambulant turn is the appearance of mysterious bruises all over my body. I am the first to admit I am not most coordinated person in the universe, but I KNOW where my bruises come from. I know because I'll hit something and then say to whoever happens to be around (usually just myself and the dogs) "well, THAT'S gonna make a big bruise." But I have no explanation for these. I have thought of keeping a "things I have physical contact with daily" notebook to identify the bruise sources, but the only thing I really come into contact with are my clothes. And files. But the latter only really presents paper cut issues.

The part that creeps me out the most, and the part that I'll admit is very hard to believe, is that most of the bruises are on my upper thighs and look like someone has grabbed me very hard. Like discernible fingermarks. After questioning all the reasons for this phenomena, I have finally decided to settle on my deteriorating mental state.

And/or a phantom lover. Let's at least hope he's hot.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Politesse (III)

There are certain times in life when it is necessary to say "I'm sorry." For example, "I'm sorry I got drunk and smeared your lemon meringue pie on my face so that I could pretend I was a man shaving my beard" definitely qualifies. Or "sorry for ashing my cigarette on your small child, I thought he was an ashtray."

I place "I'm sorrys" into two separate categories. There are the psychopathic "I'm sorry"s where you don't actually mean a word of it. You are just trying to diffuse a situation where the other person wants you to grovel and/or fight them but you secretly know that you're right. (The "ashing on a small child" is a good example, because what shitty parent allows babies to hang around smokers?). And there are the ones where you genuinely mean it, because that lemon meringue pie looked pretty tasty. Or when you're driving with your uncle's stepdaughter that you never met before to Mass, and she mentions that she goes to Mass everyday, and you say "What are you, a nun?". And it turns out, in fact she is. Although you never would have guessed it because she got sunburned that day, and you never knew that nuns could expose that much skin.

And just as there are moments where nothing but an "I'm sorry" will do, there are also moments where "fuck you" is equally apropos. The problem I've noticed is that people keep mixing the two up. Like the bike rider who turned right across my path as I was driving home today, and when I slammed on the brakes to avoid smashing him because Louisiana is a contributory negligence state (which means the jury would have to find that I did SOMETHING wrong in that situation like perhaps I was enjoying that mellow jazz too much and it put me in a semi-trance which kept me from missing obviously suicidal bike riders), the guy had the nerve to yell "fuck you."

Okay, this is a perfect example of what I am talking about. In this situation, you, biker-guy who almost tore up my car and raised my insurance rates, are supposed to indicate that you are sorry. I'M the one who gets to say "fuck you." But now I'm confused. Does two "fuck-you"s equal "I'm sorry"? No, two "fuck you"s equals a world of conflict and hate. Which almost kept me from saying "fuck you" back. But he couldn't hear me, so it didn't count.

I suppose what I'm saying is the world needs a good balance of "fuck you"s and "I'm sorry"s. Both are supposed to tell you which side justice is on. "Fuck you" means "I'm right, and stop being a jerk." "I'm sorry" means "you're right, sorry for being a jerk." And if the world is going to achieve my ideal equilibrium, where sometimes every human being is right, and sometimes they're wrong, we have to know when to say "I'm sorry" and when to say "fuck you."

But until everyone figures out the difference, I'm probably going for the latter.

Monday, September 27, 2010


For those who knew how to navigate hills in North Carolina at top speed with your own personal soundtrack, I've dedicated this to you once before. I dedicate it again in place of long emails. Forgive me. For those who had a childhood at the top of the trees with a book in hand ignoring the shouts of parents far below, this goes to you also. For myself, after a long tired day, I know the water is wide, but I will never grow tired. Never, never ever ever.


Fall comes swiftly in New Orleans, brought on by signs like some extra-frisky dogs and the urge to keep my windows open all the time, like we did in my freshman dorm at college. The one that didn't have air-conditioning. My bed was shoved into our dormer window, so it could fall over me. Fall.

The only thing I hate about Fall is that it means winter is around the corner, with its gray skies and lonely birds in the sky. I feel senses of loss in the winter, which are largely undefinable. Or at this moment. I don't know.

For all of you happy couples out there, congratulations. I am alone in my bed with "The Sound and the Fury." It passes the time until Spring.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


The tempestuous nature of New Orleans is often revealed through its steady stream of thunderstorms. As I write, one is happening outside of my window, a rainless one. It is only lightning and the sound of thunder. With each flash, I occasionally use the childhood skill I learned at summer swim meets, huddled under the shelter of a greasy grill set-up, waiting for the storm to pass with my muscles tense and impatient for competition - both against my peers and with the water.

After the flash count: "one Mississippi, two Mississippi ..." Each Mississippi equals a mile. The more the Mississippis, the safer you are. Around ten Mississippis and you are soon able to get back into the water.

From my office window - one that towers so high over New Orleans I can see the haze of Lake Pontchartrain - I have occasionally experienced what I fondly (and somewhat unrealistically) consider very close instances of death by lightning strike. This is mainly because I have experienced strikes that don't even let me get "one" out of my mouth before Zeus's hammer echoes with a force that shakes the building.

Of all the ways I've ever wanted to kick it, lightning strike is definitely a fave. The pain lasts only a few seconds, the force makes your eyeballs explode, and getting struck by lightning tells everyone that you were just THAT lucky - like a lottery winner.

A guy I knew in high school got struck by lightning and survived. That, of course, would be better as long as I would later die by being pecked to death by a dodo bird. Which would pretty much take them all.

It's a quiet day here. A project that's been taking up a good deal of my time (and an even greater deal of my hair pigment) is finished for the moment and so I am spending a lazy day in bed catching up on my reading and eating green tea ice cream by the pint.

I finally finished the Poisonwood Bible, spellbound and heart-wrenched and dissolving into occasional tears at odd moments. I'd only included this book in my monthly shipment of novels from Amazon because I am desperately trying to work my way through a few "lists of bests," which has saved my flaky self from being overwhelmed at what to read next. As this novel was on quite a few lists, I was trying to knock out a few birds with one stone, and had no clue what this book was about.

I've read a couple of Kingsolver's works (Prodigal Summer and High Tide in Tuscon) and had found her prose a bit dry and almost scientific. Definitely not the case here. The Poisonwood Bible dramatically describes in detail the history of a family in the Democratic Republic of the Congo f/k/a Zaire f/k/a Belgian Congo from 1959 onwards. It was gruesome, fierce and brutally true. And, unfortunately, not knowing this, I cracked it open at the same time I learned that I might be visiting the old DRC sometime in the near future for a work project.

Closing this book, still teary-eyed, I realized that five years ago the prospect of a trip to Africa would have made me jump up and down in glee. These days ... these days I've grown soft and conflicted. Like the characters in the book, I am divided about how I feel about places like the DRC. One character putting her creature comforts first, another unable to keep herself from growing bitter and resentful about all of the injustice around her, and the third, a fatalist - one who finds that places like Africa eat themselves - through the interference of people and nature - and that there is an equilibrium to it all that has nothing to do with good or evil.

This may all be a moot point, of course. I have yet to be given definitive marching orders. But I wonder where all my enthusiasm went. And my sense of adventure. I find myself escaping to distant lands the way I did when I was a girl whose family could not afford to take her anywhere but the beach. That is, through books. Now, I have the capability to actually see these things, and I balk. Where did this sense of self-preservation come from? Why can't I trust in the world and fate to do their thing? Even if that thing doesn't agree with my constitution, wasn't I taught to roll with the punches?

I realize that my last few blog entries have strayed off the path of observing the absurd and trying desperately to set it down in a form that might make the average of 4.78 people who read this blog daily smile. I hope this isn't a sign that my sense of humor has leaped into the same latrine as the girl who once had many friends end letters to her with the question "do you still do crazy things?".

Yes, I hope I do. Yes, I hope I will.


A favorite song from my parents' extensive record collection. That was never as relevant as it has become these days. Oh dear, I am a grownup!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


When my grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she decided to expand her talents beyond those of stuffing her grandchildren full of well-made Italian food, trying in vain to keep my grandfather from telling us the same story over and over, secretly whispering her histories and early flirtations to my sister and me seated at her kitchen table, and sending us both birthday cards with plenty of double entendres, signing them in her perfectly graven handwriting "your sleazy grandma."

My grandmother decided that it was the moment for her to build each of her children's families a dollhouse. This was no small task. Owing in large part to the great deal of affection she and my grandfather preserved to her final days, as well as (my father would joke) a very tiny marital bed, she had nine children, thus nine families.

I'm not sure why she chose dollhouses. In my final visit to her I never had the courage to ask. I think it was because she was never happy if she was not busy doing something that involved taking care of those in her life, and lacking the strength to cook, clean, and beat us in Spite and Malice (a card game I mistakenly called for years "Spike and Alice), she could sit and spend hours on something she hoped we'd keep for our own children and theirs - the ones that she would never live to see.

It's funny, although I never put it together until I was going through some journals recently, it was almost 2 years to the day of the anniversary of her death that I was taking pictures of spirit houses from a longboat in Thailand. Perhaps that's what our own family's miniature rendition of a Southern mansion was supposed to be. I wish I had a tiny vase of flowers to set on the dining room table along with some stuffed shells. I've neglected her perhaps.

In her final year, she had sent each of us one of her wedding presents as a gift. My sister and I, being the ones she rarely got to see as we were of the exotic Southern strain - the strain that found the Western Pennsylvania accent garbled and strange, the people hard and the weather less than kind - were probably her favorites. I got her silver dish with flower engravings, which was the first thing I put over my kitchen window when I moved into this, my first home.

Everyone is fascinated by where they come from. Genealogy has grown from a hobby to a full-fledged business. I recently laughed at a friend during a trip to Napa for being somewhat obsessed with tracking down her roots. My roots are (due in large part to the efforts of both of my grandmothers) set in stone, so that search holds much less fascination for me. There are no questions. Just legacies.

Ever since my father's paternal strain stepped off the boat from jolly ol' England, there has been a Samuel in every generation, starting with my great-great-grandfather and ending with my brother. In the order of stone-set legacies, the three most recent are buried side by side in a roadside cemetery located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Thus, continuing the Samuel legacy is now up to the remaining children in my own little family. I refuse to speak for my sister, but I heavily doubt being up to that task. I have little patience, am easily annoyed by my own dogs, and will never be able to hold a baby in my arms without feeling terrified that I will drop it. I am supremely selfish, inherently lazy, and my sense of humor borders on the perverse. And I have friends that are far too much of a good influence. My Sam would probably love them much more than me.

Which leads me to doubt about what my own legacy is. And if I even need one, considering my fear of spawning the next generation.

I've thought about this all day as I've paced with that last minute writer's block that only a legal deadline inspires along with my own fears for what I really want my future to be. Do I even care if anyone remembers me when I'm gone? I think a few years ago the thought of being forgotten would've filled me with complete horror. I thought the only point of life was to excel and thus be well-known. To have people remember me fondly and with admiration. Or at least tell each other "and she was always sooo beautiful."

I just realized an hour ago that I don't have to have a legacy. This is strangely liberating. This gives me excuses to realize that there is life outside of the work of making a legacy, that is little life in forcing a legacy, and if my legacy should be non-existent, that doesn't mean that my life is non-existent as well.

In other words, if I have to have one, my legacy is going to be not giving a damn about things like legacies. And I think, despite her own enormous legacy symbolically captured in the careful detail of her nine dollhouses, my grandmother would approve of that.

She always thought I was the eccentric one anyway.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bangkok, August 2008

I took a long walk yesterday afternoon after saying goodbye to the Englishman that I had met on the plane and who had been my unofficial guide for the last two days. He's heading southwest, I'm going east. We say goodbye in the code for people who know they are only meant to be friends for a few days.

I decided to try to find the Thai Massage School - not the one inside of Wat Pho - but the less touristy one, but due to my steadfast refusal to ever be caught in the vulnerable position of looking at a map, I got completely turned around. The new entertainment was how not to get hit by a combination of motorcycles, tuk-tuks and oblivious pedestrians. I start using the Thais as shields between me and the oncoming traffic. I find the monks are the most effective.

A boy pushing a pulley (if something to be pulled can be pushed) catches on to my little traffic game and I repeatedly play chicken with my trusty buffers trying to get my bearings. He laughs at me. I get laughed at a lot. A girl imitates my way of walking with my hands wedged deeply into my pockets, like I am trying to force my cargos off. I laugh back at her with no malice.

The day before we took a public bus and got off on a random place on the highway to watch two men shuck coconuts. I was really unimpressed by this idea, but it turned out to be fascinating. The husks towered like skyscrapers and it was only 8:30 in the morning. The two men are dark and muscular, and the tool they used is a large sharp spear-like contraption coming out of the ground. One thing is for sure. It is probably a very bad idea to combine alcohol, barbiturates and coconut shucking.

I hope they know that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I don't think the American Cancer Society should ever send out an e-mail entitled "Come see what we are up to!"

I know of course that non-profit organizations have to disclose their financials to donors and/or potential donors (in my case, very potential, because I'm the only charity case I can afford right now). Still, I feel like other titles would have been more apropos. Like "An update from the American Cancer Society" or "Donate today, and God may not give you cancer later."

My talents are obviously being wasted in the legal field.

It was just the weird playfulness of it. I couldn't bear to actually read the email before sending it swirling into the infinity of spam, because it would've probably ruined the following vision that its title conjured up.

Scene: A cancer ward. Lots of bald suffering patients around hooked up to tubes with that despondent resigned look like Emma Thompson in "Wit" (which, by the way, convinced me if I ever have Stage IV or above cancer I will promptly off myself - and I'm pretty sure that was actually the message behind the whole thing).

In comes the American Cancer Society, except they are all dressed up in clown outfits, and as Disney characters, and they have cake! And balloons! And someone puts on "YMCA" and suddenly everyone's doing it, everyone's dancing the YMCA, even those that can barely move. And while this brief happy interlude is occuring, a professional photographer takes a few choice shots of the temporary hopeful, cheerful patients - their hands in the air, their faces bright and rosy, their hospital gowns not awkwardly exposing everything.

And then the song finishes. "Got what you need?" asks one of the clowns. The photographer nods his head and gives the "let's go" signal. The American Cancer Society leaves as quickly as they came in, leaving only crumbs of cake and a stray balloon with the random message of "It's a Boy!".

A cavalcade of those photos can be the only explanation for the American Cancer Society wanting you to see "what it's been up to." The American Cancer Society knows how to party, and it wants you to get down (no pun intended) and give them some money already.

And if that is not what the body of that message contained, I still have my dreams.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I find it so bizarre that, after living in a City that has demonstrated its generosity to me for five long years now, I am strangely un-generous toward those who I feel are trying to steal it away from me. The way a cheap whore steals your boyfriend with a made-up sob story.

Let me explain.

I recently saw a post from a girl on my boyfriend's facebook wall wishing him a happy birthday, and calling him a "sweet boy." Naturally, this was annoying for a multitude of reasons that I won't go into. But it piqued my curiosity. Just who did this girl think she was? And so, with investigative skills that have been honed by my own extensive work with some PIs and a true gift for google stalking, I uncovered her blog. I will not link to it here, first because I'm about to say some truly vicious things, but second, I'm not as confrontational as I'd like to be. I'm working on that. (See "Aggression," infra.

Putting aside the fact that her blog was completely self-involved and pretentious - something almost every blogwriter in existence is guilty of - it wasn't even entertaining. And poorly written. Oh so poorly written. A colleague and I spent a little while today perusing the particular entry I am going to post about with the air of disdain that only people who have to write well for a living and are quite used to criticizing others' prose can do. It was a catharsis really. I feel slightly better about a few things now.

What made my water boil over is this girl was what I call "A K-stealer": translation, "someone who never experienced Katrina personally, but knew some people who did, and got teary-eyed when they watched the news. And has an arbitrary tattoo of New Orleans on her back."

Don't get me wrong. The outpouring of the nation's sympathy for New Orleans was overwhelmingly beautiful. The strange experience of living in a dead city with armored trucks and rotting refrigerators for months after returning will always be surreal. And of course, the nightmare of getting the hell out of town, which is a story for another time. But even giving this girl every benefit of the doubt, her attempt to convert New Orleans' tragedies into her own farcical Greek drama truly upset me. And while it is perhaps unfair to feel so possessive of my own newfound identity of a New Orleanian, I feel I've earned it.

I was going to go through her comments and analyze just why I feel like hording this part of the Mississippi away from her tattooed clutches, but I am far too tired. I wil thus, simply copy and paste and embolden the particular phrases that sparked my ire, and let my readers - particularly those of you who are brave and beautiful enough to make this place your home - judge for yourselves.


Title: Oh, My Nola

First of all, thank you to Harry Connick, Jr for making an album by this title and full of wonderful music from the city we share a love for, thereby introducing a phrase that remains in my vocabulary and permanently upon my back.

A few days ago I shared this post online: “‎5 years ago my heart was broken. Oh, my Nola, how it still hurts to recall the losses and to see your struggles but I share in the joy of your positive strides. You are my forever love.”

And so, as it is the 5th anniversary the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, I needed to reflect on my home, on my love.

Few instances in life truly write themselves upon one’s heart in indelible ink. 9/11 is one of those instances, as I remember each detail as though it were yesterday. The approach and arrival of Hurricane Katrina is another. With both I was not at the scene of the devastation but I recall watching with my heart tightened by a vice, short of breath, fear and sadness crashing over me just as the waves of Lake Ponchartrain crashed against those levees, whipped to a frenzy by wind and rain. Unlike the levees, I did not break, though if worse had happened to those I love, I may have.

I will begin this tale by being upfront: my family suffered material losses but no loss of life. However, we are as tied to the land of this crescent along the Mississippi River as any family could be. Having arrived as part of the Acadian Diaspora, my family rooted itself in and around the colony of New Orleans sometime around 1755 and the majority have stayed there. They survived Hurricane Camille and every other catastrophe that faced the city but this was something new for the current generation.

I recall laying on my couch the evening of August 28, 2005, watching The Weather Channel, clutching a pillow to my chest and crying. We knew. At that point, we knew. My mother, sister, and I lived in Fort Walton Beach and we had been in touch with the family to advise them to come to us for safety and shelter from the storm. Most stayed but thankfully my favorite cousin (the one closest to me in age and who has been closest to me all my life) brought her three children with her to Florida. After a fitful night of sleep, I arose the morning of August 29th and went to my mother’s house. My cousin and her children were there and we did our best as adults to entertain the children and keep their minds off the fact that their daddy had stayed at their home in Bellechase (on the West Bank). We cried as we watched the video footage but we couldn’t tear our eyes away. Occassionally someone who had stayed in the city and around the area would get a call to us, letting us know they were okay but the phone lines/ cell towers were both overridden with people attempting to contact their loved ones and out of service due to the storm.

I remember watching the people around the Convention Center, outside the Super Dome, and prisoners sitting upon the Bridge of Greater New Orleans (we call it the GNO). I recall footage from Biloxi, Gulfport, and Louisiana of brave (read: foolish) people who recorded their efforts as the waters rose and the winds increased. And then came the aftermath.


After the storm, my little town expected a large influx of people from New Orleans, those the media were calling “refugees.” While this term appears pejorative to some, I think it is appropriate since refugees are those seeking refuge, and that’s precisely what New Orleanians were at that time. I was dismayed to hear those I called my friends disparaging this influx, fearful of what “those people” would do to our small town. Shame on you. Shame on anyone who would turn away those who lost all and were in need of shelter and food through no fault of their own. As many of us in Nashville know, many people from New Orleans left the city and settled here in Music City. Music City took them in and gave them a new home, much to its benefit.

The rest of my family had stayed through the storm and they are fine. A little structural damage to homes but nothing that wasn’t taken care of quickly. We were lucky. So many lives were lost, so many still have no money to fix their homes, much less replace their material goods. This year my new home, my Nashville, suffered historical flooding and it was a completely different experience. The loss of life was comparatively marginal and our waters receded much faster. Within hours volunteers were sandbagging and assisting with saving homes and property, as well as demolishing the interiors of homes to prevent the mold accumulation that is plaguing New Orleans. Whereas New Orleans was shut off from much of the outside world due to the extent of the flooding, Nashville was open to assistance. Whereas New Orleans’ criminal element came out of the woodworks to loot and commit violence, Nashvilliains banded together, neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping each other, everyone donating time, money, and goods to the cause. BUT Nashville still had power, still had water, still had grocery stores and food banks to turn to. New Orleans had none of that. When I returned to the city that December (the soonest I could possibly return), I cried as I drove through Slidell and Chalmette where all was dark. No restaurants, no power, no stores. Those people in the aftermath of Katrina were desperate. There is no excuse for looting televisions and electronics. Do not mistake what I am saying. Yes, there was crime and there was corruption, there was evidence of the worst of humanity, but there was also hope, there was kindness, there was generosity.


All that said, New Orleans remains the city closest to my heart. I love my home in Fort Walton Beach and I am certainly in love with Nashville but New Orleans is stitched into the fabric of my soul. While I dream of someday owning a home there, I believe the city needs another 5 years to recover. The criminal element of the city has surged, both due to some efforts at gentrification and due to the opportunistic nature of those disposed towards violence and taking from others what was hard won and earned through hard work. It is my own tendency towards self-preservation that will prevent me from living in New Orleans for at least the next 5 years, since a woman alone amongst an unsavory element is never a good combination. The change is palpable though. In areas where the neutral ground was once manicured and green there is now unkempt grass and weeds and plenty of litter, as you watch groups of young people with pants hanging around their knees gathering and meandering. You can sense that there is no safety on these streets anymore. Do not deny those instincts if you want to avoid being mugged, attacked, or murdered. I don’t. Also, relatives of mine who have lived in the city all their lives have been attacked this year though they had never been previously.

But is the city alive and thriving? Yes. We are still New Orleans. We are still a culture that celebrates all the small victories of this life.

Dear drama queen,

You apparently have two homes already. Go exploit their tragedies to sound profound. WE, the people who either live here, or who did through the worst of circumstances, are New Orleans. YOU are not invited.


The criminal element that is thankfully sparing us your presence for at least another 5 years.

Monday, September 13, 2010


My oldest dog, Magdalena (named after Jesus's whore friend of course) has some real anger management issues. I've read numerous books on dog training, and tried every kind of collar or halter there is. We are currently on the one that chokes her like an iron maiden if she lunges snarling at anything that looks like another dog. To make it worse, her eyesight's not that great, because I have occasionally had to drag her away from what would have surely been a very nasty fight with a bag of trash on the sidewalk that was slightly canine shaped.

Still, I could deal until I moved into a neighborhood where everyone and their mother has a dog. And to keep from getting robbed at night - in other words, sticking to well-lit areas - we have to pass the dog park, which of course causes all sorts of drama. The iron maiden is wearing off. I suspect that she has developed callouses on her neck. Or is in some sort of 'roid rage and can feel no pain. At one point, I went to the vet to beg for drugs. He prescribed Prozac and Xanax. So I popped the pills and took her for a walk, and her behavior really seemed to improve somewhat. Or at least I just stopped giving a shit about stupid she was making me look.

And lest you judge me for that last comment, I was in the vet's office recently picking up my dogs (and again being afforded the pleasure of seeing all the huge flourescent "MAY BITE!" stickers all over Magda's file), when a woman came in to pick up her dog's prescription for Percocet. A little early. In fact, a month and a half early. At least I was just kidding about using my dog's meds. No, really. Kid-ding. Stop looking at me like that.

Anyway, although along the way I seemed to have skipped the Dog Whisperer's book, I have seen enough of his shows to know that part of his philosophy is that a dog picks up what it senses from you. This is not not actually the case with my younger dog, because she's dumb as a rock and I just keep her because she's cute - but I think it's a good point with Magda.

Until a recent workload (and a trip to wine country), I've been running quite a bit. Part of this was because I like being thin again, and part of it because I really miss my boyfriend who is in the middle of the Arizona desert and thus, quite far out of reach physically. I also like to run because my gym has TV screens, and I like to watch the news and pretend that somehow my running is going to solve the world's problems. "Just five more minutes," I whisper to the pain in my body, "five more minutes and that child rapist is gonna GET it."

I don't check to see if I'm wrong. Because I am completely sure that I am not. And to add to the pleasure of child rapists getting what they deserved, Magda would be relatively well-behaved on our walks. It's like she sensed my endorphins through the leash.

So, back to point. Since I've been off my regular running schedule, I've found that I'm becoming a bit more aggressive about things. Little ridiculous things opposing counsel does can send me off the deep end, and I am only grateful for the mute button on my phone which is allowing me to remain (at least from what they can hear) somewhat gracious. I don't like the way strangers look at me in the streets. I am ready to kill people who park in my reserved spot. And if the Turkish cashier at the place where I am sometimes forced to buy my cigarettes after a long day at the office tells me once again that I smell good and he wouldn't mind giving me children, I might have to scream "this is for Smyrna!" and gut his sorry ass.


So, I think back to running. It saves me from myself. And Magda from being a complete asshole.

As for the world, it can take care of itself.

Jerk that it is.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alarm Clock

If, like me, you find it difficult to even get out of bed to make it to your bottle of speed, er coffee, and start that morning kickin', I highly recommend the following song, which was recommended to me by one hell of a girl with good taste.

Although I do dearly love this song, I have to say the part that affects me the most dearly is the album cover. It reminds me of being in a conference meeting. And if you want to know which of these important meeting participants is me, I may or may not be partially hidden, sleeping, and somewhat resembling a platypus.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Well wishes

I often think about the words we choose when we congratulate people. I myself like to stick to the following, which are, in my opinion, by far the safest:

"Congratulations." Or sometimes, when I'm feeling daring and actually like the person, I add "That's wonderful!"

The well wishes I have always found the most hilarious are "I wish you all the best" or "I wish you the best."

Here's why.

"ALL THE BEST" Wishing someone all the best is implying that, under normal circumstances, you may not be wishing them a full portion of the best. In fact, should a scientific study be conducted (which I believe it should), I could pretty much guarantee that on a normal day, with no celebratory event in sight, people are not thinking about wishing you all the best, or even a portion of it. They simply don't have the time or energy to make sure that your life is unfolding like a fairy tale all the goddamn time. So, "all the best," actually means, "well, just for this moment you'll get all of it, but don't think you're getting all of it tomorrow. After all, the Saints are playing, and they're going to need just a little bit of that 'best', um-kay?" Should you really wish that "all the best" retain its complete meaning, wrap it in a box and hide it so that the person may not then retract it and send it elsewhere. Of course, then they might start wishing you all the worst, but your secret box beats that, so no worries.

"THE BEST" Thanks for designating just what it is you are wishing me. I was hoping for "the suck," "the moon," or "the banana that has been left in my fridge for far too long." But I'm glad you have carefully thought through all of these things, and landed on something that would make me smile, because it demonstrates that you have chosen well my friend. And I assume by your characterization, the best might be here to stay, unless you need to borrow it back, like the Indian giver that you are.

But of course, the biggest problem with all of these expressions is that the person is only WISHING. That's right, your congratulations has been left to the determination of the stars. It's really very non-committal on the congratulating person's part, especially if given at a moment when the moon is in the wrong position. "Give" me the best, you selfish person. In fact, ALL of it.

You know you're secretly jealous anyway.


I had to go the lady doctor the other day, which always brings a sense of joy into my life. As the friendly nurse had me step on the scale, she told me to put my purse on the counter. At which point, one of the reception staff told me snarkily to take my purse off of the counter and put it on the floor. It was too early for me to be snarky back and so I did so. As I stepped on the scale, I could see the nurse seething with indignation. But the scale showed that I am continuing to get skinny, and with that good news I waltzed into the bathroom to complete the necessary task of a urine sample.

The nurses stationed outside of the bathroom, obviously unaware that the door was too thin not to allow for some eavesdropping, begin to talk amongst themselves about this incident. I heard the nurse who greeted me complain "I don't care if it's her birthday. That was really rude, and somebody should say something to the manager." As I came out of the bathroom I pretended that I didn't hear a word. She escorted me to the examination room and told me, rather pointedly, to please put my purse on the chair.

I thought about the reception woman. She was fat, homely, and obviously had a lot of other things going on in her life that made making other people feel like their purses are far too germy to take up the limited space on her counter that was already crowded with stuffed animals, Saints pompoms and religious paraphanelia, a perfectly normal part of her day. Perhaps this was an oversight on her part. Perhaps she was just one of those people who found it impossible to realize the effect of her words on other people. Maybe I would even pray for her at Mass, to let whatever underlying evils in her life that made her behave that way would dissipate, leaving her light as air. And somewhat less of a cunt.

For those of you who know me well, you are surely thinking that I am a changed woman.

But then I put my feet in the stirrups and started thinking. I thought about how her making me put my purse on the floor, a thing I always try to avoid as much as humanly possible, made my purse even germier and thus, even more of a threat to mankind. I thought about all the germs that were clinging to her tacky counter collection, airborne no doubt by all the diseased patients that dared step foot in her door. I thought about her job in a doctor's office, where disinfectant was readily available and could be tactfully used after the carrier of accessory borne bubonic plague had gone out of sight. And last, I remembered that I, by being a client at this office, was paying her salary. In short, the bitch had to pay. It was just a matter of figuring out just how to do that.

I looked down at my doctor fiddling with some contraption between my knees and thought how my payment of her salary trickled down to this woman - although it must be said that even a gynecologist was better at customer service. I thought of perhaps letting her in on the little scene. But no one likes a tattletale, and I certainly wasn't going to risk it with a woman who had access to a prescription pad that I might find handy one day. And, for the same reasons a talk or a letter to the "manager," would probably be just as ineffective. But still, the indignation curdled.

I was running late to work, but as I was getting ready to exit I saw the desk with a birthday balloon and the woman behind it staring vapidly into space. And I got a flash of brilliance. So, I asked one of the staff to call her over to me. And she came, with that look of dread that I often see on the face of a dog who just knows they're going to get it.

I pointedly placed my purse on the counter, and just so I'd further infect it, leaned my elbows on it as I looked at her and smiled brightly.

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Marion," she reluctantly replied.

"Well, Marion, I hear that today is your birthday. And I came over to wish you a happy birthday, Marion. Have an excellent one, Marion. See ya later!"

And I walked out enjoying her stunned expression.

For those of you who cannot follow that particular path of action, let me explain the 2 alternative purposes this served.

1. I made it clear that I knew her name. Which means that she probably went back to her chair, stared at her cheap print of "Footprints" while worriedly twiddling her thumbs wondering at what point in the next few days she would be called in for a reprimand. Maybe even she would worry about her job, and what kind of health insurance she would be able to find for her impending Type 2 Diabetes. Or even better, hopefully that was a pre-existing condition, which would make it more fun.


2. She went back to her chair, stared at her cheap print of "Footprints," and thought about what a good Christian I was, to turn the other cheek in spite of her arbitrary rudeness and this completely made her feel like shit. And hopefully saved another person's purse from suffering the same fate that mine did.

Yes, it is of course possible that neither of these things happened because she looked like the type whose skull was about 6 inches thick. But it had been a long time since I had felt the passion to call out an asshole for being one.

On my way back to my car, I couldn't stop giggling inanely.

I slept well that night.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I haven't written in a good long while. I've been letting my life sit if you will, or maybe even more appropriately, I've been letting my life stew. I bought my first place, and I furnished it with things that did not need to be assembled. Although after watching those moving guys get it all up my narrow staircase, I sure felt exhausted, and missed those boxes from

I got engaged, and learned what it feels like to have something sparkly on a ring finger. And not too far after that I became disengaged. So, I threw away the bridal magazines and stopped returning the vendor's phone calls. I told my mom to please subtly tell the thousands of people she was going to invite that the wedding was off. And I felt that those were the least of my losses.

Sometimes, on nights like tonight I sit alone and think. I'm free to be as zombie-like as I please, I'm not forced to animate for the pleasure of socialization or to avoid the inquiry of my superiors. No, tonight I sit alone and think, and while I do it, I dig back into the recesses of my brain for the echos of my own life soundtrack and came up with this.

This is a very dear friend of mine who I would lose to jubilation in her own mental illness. We are 16, and burning incense in my room to cover up the smell of the butts of my mother's Virginia Slims. We are laying in bed, as only friends can do before it gets past the age where your boyfriends want you to describe what you were doing in lascivious detail. Because when you are best friends all you have to do is lie there and giggle at the thought of Sinead slaying a dragon.

I think of a guy friend from high school. For some reason we would randomly go to his gay father's house and have lunch with him and his partner, Eric. Eric lent me the CD. I think he's dead now, but it doesn't matter. His face was already far away by the time I left my town behind for school. His CD was the same one I listened to with my friend. She still cuts her hair with shears and burns herself with cigarettes. I wish she would come back to life, even if we don't talk anymore.

I myself was once in Dublin in a rainstorm with an Irish boy named Paul. In one summer I dated three Irish boys who were all named Paul. This became very confusing for one of my housemates whose cell they would call. But then, three of my housemates were named Barry. I guess name books in Ireland are really more like pamphlets.

Anyway, it's not really walking with Paul through the Dublin rainstorm that I remember so much as waiting on him to come back to go with me to the airport where I was leaving Ireland for (so far) good. He was going to head back from classes to go. It began pouring, and I waited until the last minute to call a cab. As I got into the car, still hoping he'd wheel up, I slammed the side of my head so hard against the top of the cab that it brought tears to my eyes. And somehow this song trickled in and out with the tears of pain from my astonishing self-injury. I never saw him again, of course.

Tonight this song trickles in again. It's about being in love and then not. About wanting to escape it and then wanting it so deep inside of you that you feel it tickling your liver. It's about remembering that there was a time when something as simple as a song gave you such sublime hope, such a certainty about the future, such a meaning to the masses. It's fleeting, but it's still there all the same.

Enjoy. And close your eyes to avoid the hideous 80s video effects.