Friday, November 30, 2007

on being gauche ...

i heard the word gauche today and immediately thought of chuck. gauche is how i ended up here on his couch right now, sharing a tin of burt's bees lip balm and watching "fast times at ridgemont high." gauche is how i got him to meet me at schultz's in superior for what one of us [read: not me] considers our first date.

before we had met, back when we just read each other's blogs and occasionally swapped e-mails, i read this: "And calling people at midnight is just so gauche, so I probably won't do it at all."

i stood in the parking lot of the bar and dialed the digits he had given me as a consolation prize on my birthday. that night i had wanted a quick makeout; he didn't want his tongue being orbited by something that tasted like half-digested blue cheese and vodka. four days later, calling him from the parking lot, it was past gauche. it was, like, 12:30 a.m. -- literally half-past gauche.

"sorry," i said when he answered. "i know you think it's gauche to call people after midnight, but i'm at schultz's and ..."

whatever. he met up with me. except what i really said was something that sounded more like gow-chay.

there were other words that represent the start of our relationship. i used touche to flirt with him in the comments section on my blog; one of our first conversations was about the way crossword puzzles always have a clue that says sapphoro sash, to which the three letter answer is obi. something i liked about him while browsing his archives was the frequent use of the word lurid. lurid is a smart boy's word. then there was the time i used the word deflammatory, which he quickly informed me was not a word at all.

whatever. i like to think of it as word-people's version of what non-word people would call our song. you can have your james blunt, we have gauche.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

wherein we jettison matching wads of spit ...


today's post is brought to you by my cravings.


lil latrell moved into town quietly in a shiny honda crv in the middle of the night. she unpacked her toothpaste, slept a long sleep, woke and found target. then she completely derailed my menstral cycle, systematically and without remorse.

until i met lil latrell three, four years ago, i surrounded myself with people who did not get periods: men. my own cycle was lazy. a thing of whimsy. its comprehension of a calendar as rudimentary as my own ability to read a map. my period was less like a monthly guest and more like a strange goth roommate who mostly hung out in her boyfriend's basement apartment, eating easy mac with her fingers and circling jobs in the classified section with a purple sharpie. occasionally returning home unannounced for clean socks, her allowance, her copy of atlas shrugged.

lil latrell hadn't been in town long before we started hatching the tell-tale warning chin blemish within 15 minutes of the other. after a round of dueling yawns, i'd look at her through eyes drooling with false, hormonally altered sentiment and see her weeping across the table. lil latrell clutching a bag of m&m's, me face-first in cool ranch doritos.

"oh, yeah," i'd say. "we're getting our period, aren't we?"

***

this always surprised me. that a woman with a blip of a body -- just over 5-feet tall, 85 pounds if she's holding a 5-pound bag of sugar in arms that i swear are purely decorative and cannot be functional -- could come into town and hijack my hormones.

let's be honest: were lil latrell and i to wrestle, box or play bloody knuckles, i could easily palm her tiny head until she grew tired of swinging her arms in my direction.

but when it comes to forcing her period on me, this woman proved to be a brute. even a year after lil latrell moved away, we remained in synch. her sobbing in kansas; me in duluth.

***

these days my cycle is dictated by a prescription and everything runs effective and efficiently. until this month. last week i began getting the aches, the saggy bloat, and the cranky days before i expected. i counted through my pills twice, trying to figure out why it sounded like a good idea to lock myself in a dark basement for a few days with just a jar of cheeze whiz and an embroidered journal with a puppy on the cover.

"who is doing this to me?" i wondered, counting the women i spend a lot of time with and coming up with a big fat "none."

then i flashed on jcrew. we spent consecutive days together last week first at pizza luce, then at midi for dinner on sunday. and with these wimpy peon hormones ... i didn't stand a chance.

***

jcrew and i were hanging out today. smoking a cigarette and talking about what we always talk about: an itemization of our caloric intakes since, oh, birth and people we want to punch in the face.

"i don't even know why i'm wearing this sweater today," she said. "i think i got it in 1999 ..."

the disregard for this century's fashions struck me as a bit out of character for jcrew. something more along the lines of something i'd do. did, actually. a few weeks ago i wore vintage american eagle: a brown oversized sweater i'd paired with leggings in college. the out-dated and obvious decorative V sewn into the collar.

simultaneously, we both leaned forward and jettisoned matching wads of spit. they crossed paths and came dangerously close to colliding. we laughed. oh, how we laughed. two old friends on the same menstral cycle, smoking and spitting.

"oh, gawd," she said. "we're turning into each other."
we brangelina'd our names to form a single identity.

when we looked at each other and realized we were both wearing winter caps pulled down to our eyeballs, we snorted.

"thank god," i said. "you may have hijacked my period, but at least i'm rubbing off on you, too."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

oklahoma, oklahoma, oklahoma ...

i was either barely asleep or barely awake the other day when i asked myself the kind of question you pose to someone else while on a long road trip: what are the things that i thought were super funny when my "funny" was at its absolute most pure, unrefined state. and of those things, which are still funny now?

i realized i was veering toward the mentally absurd. obviously i was sort of dreaming, because these were the only two things i could think of and, while funny, they seem like random things to dredge from my psyche:

this exact garfield comic is the first time i realized that you can laugh so hard you are dizzy. i reread these panels dozens and dozens of times, obviously. it took me just 12 minutes of trolling the garfield.com archives to find it. apparently, i followed early 80s garfield plotlines like they were my pre-pubescent version of dynasty.



and this scene from the movie "dirty, rotten scoundrals," which i saw with fannie in the theater. you would be hard pressed to attend a sleepover with us in those waning pre-high school days where one of us didn't bust out a manic "oklahoma! oklahoma! oklahmoa!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

ear ye, ear ye ...

typically, if i am out in public listening to loud live music, i prefer to let my bobbing knees speak for themselves. i save the serious one-on-one convos for the commercial breaks during the sarah silverman show. and if someone wants to say something of import to me while listening to loud music, i hope it is either a) said in a way that doesn't make my ear hair vibrate; or b) something i can pretend to hear. something in which a nod or a feigned look of exaggerated shock is the appropriate response.

chuck was in the corner talking to an acquaintance on saturday night. the conversation lasted three, four songs, and when he came back he brought a new trick.

the guy had leaned in to talk to him, and right before the guy began speaking, he put his finger into chuck's ear and poked his tragus so it was covering his ear canal -- literally plugging chuck's ear for him.

on one hand, this was the kind act of a man who understands the science involved with loud music, loud voice and ear hair. on the other hand, dude just put his finger into chuck's ear.

if chuck were to do this to me, for instance, it would seem normal. chuck has also pulled things from my nose and once popped a pretty nasty burn blister on my thumb that was beginning to look like its own ecosystem. likewise, i would have no problem sticking my finger in chuck's ear. in fact, that is exactly why i bought him a couple of drinks: to loosen him up so i could stick my finger in his ear.

chuck wasn't bothered by it. he thought it was a kind gesture, although he agreed that he probably could have plugged his own ear. me? i think its dirty.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

introducing supersaturday! ...



in recent weeks i have come to ignore the 24-hour span known as "sunday." i have taken to hitting the town on a saturday night, then sweating out the evil toxins in a fitful 14 hour sleep that lasts until approximately 5 p.m., when it is dark again. having not seen the light of a "sunday" in weeks, i've decided that anything that happens from the moment my feet touch party shoes on saturday until the pointer finger on my right hand involuntary dials pizza man on what was formerly known as sunday will henceforth be known as "supersaturday!"

i plan for this by making no plans. this is easy because the day formerly known as sunday typically finds me trapped at chuck's house, while my car is still snug in a parking spot near the scene of the previous night's crime. this is a good reason to remain in my pajama pants for the entire second half of supersaturday!

if i do make plans, they sound like this:
me: let's try bob bennett's new restaurant tomorrow night for dinner. if i'm not hung over.
jcrew: why, christa! that's a great idea!
me: if i'm not hung over.
jcrew: what time do you think.
me: late.
jcrew: six?
me: later.
jcrew: seven?
me: later?
jcrew: seven is late enough.
me: how about we make a window. somewhere between six and eight if i'm not hung over.
jcrew: can we narrow it down?
me: why can't we just have a window? if i'm not hung over.

so. we started supersaturday! at pizza luce for the cars and trucks cd release. it had been relatively easy to coax jcrew to this bar, as the band has some ties to her high school friends. [any other night i'd need to jiggle a sample of kiehl's body polish in front of her face and hope she didn't accidentally smell a hippie before i got her through the door].

we were parading down lake avenue when the pixie took a digger on what, for her sake, we'll call "slippery cement" [read: bricks]. jcrew sprawled spread eagle on the sidewalk, bemoaning the dislocated tailbone that ended up in her throat and the stigmata that had been burned into her skin while catching her fall.

"can we laugh about this tomorrow?" i asked her.
"we can laugh about it now," she said.

gah, can you say trooper? what's next: sage incense, dreadlocks and delivering meals on wheels? that set the tone: for the rest of the night her mood was only tested by a large woman who kept ramming her oversized purse into her spleen.

"there are about 50 mean things i want to say," she scowled with clenched teeth.

later i'd find jcrew among the lucians, sharing a cigarette and a smile. and when she started to get cranky, we pointed her in the direction of pizza by the slice and gave her a little shove and all was right with the world:





***

i woke at noon on supersaturday! without a single throbbing internal organ mucking up my will to live. pounced out of bed, shielding the sun from my eyes. dear sweet baby jesus, i found the elusive combination of perfect amount of beer to have fun and yet not feel like i'd spent six hours hate-criming myself.

i decided to walk the 16 blocks to where i'd stowed my car for the night. down one street, over nine, down three, over three ... unfortunately, i was still wearing my prettiest of party shoes. it took five blocks for the balls of my feet to feel like i'd been whittling away at my skin with a nail file. the bruising set in around block nine. the crawling at block 10.

***

a man said something to me when i crossed in front of the kozy.
i had ear buds jammed in my ears, the shout out louds jammed into my soul.
he licked his lips.
"i can't hear you," i said and kept walking and thought "imagine what the movie flashdance would have been like if jennifer beals wore an ipod past the other workers before a heavy duty welding shift."

***

jcrew and i decided to go to dinner at midi, the new restaurant that replaced bennett's unbeknownst to bennett's customers. the place, too, was teeming with card carrying gitchi gammi blue hairs.

it took about two hours for us to fill our gulletts with, between us:
a cheese tray that contained an unidentifyable purple food
asparagus soup
peacan coated salmon and mashed potatos
a chuck of chicken that had vomited cups and cups of olives
crepes

now you know why they [re: i] call it supersaturday!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

first i congratulated myself for not being classist, then i stabbed myself ...

i'm about four deep in line at the ghetto spur and the rapid flow of transactions is stalled: one woman, a lot of cheetos, a malfunctioning ebt card and a rookie cashier. i am in the middle of a line that winds toward the gum display and our caboose is an older woman clutching kleenix box to her chest like she is shielding it from accidentally absorbing stray pellets of nasal drip from the rest of us.

our caboose has that look in her eye, like she was just dropped here in the middle of the ghetto spur on a friday afternoon and every tin of alatoids, every pack of bubblemint extra is a trinket in a knick-knack store. she is reading the labels aloud to her adult daughter.

snickers. skor? slim. jim.

the woman at the front of the line is studying her remaining balance on the ebt reciept and gesturing. when she shifts i see pork rinds, grape cigarillos, mr. pibb, two packs of merits.

"doya want me to run it again?" the rookie cashier suggests.
"no," i scream in my head.
"yes," she says.

to my right, the other cashier returns from her smoke break and opens a new line. it must be the caboose's lucky day! she ignores the eight of us ahead of her in an civilized single-file line and jumps to the front of the new line. neither of the zombies in front of me seem to notice this slighting. i'm gaping at the caboose, my jaw slack. one man meets my eye -- the sixth person in line -- and he seems less alarmed by this breaching of social code and more amused that in a matter of seconds he will be harvesting slivers of my imploded skull from his hair. he can tell. when my blood boils, i literally emit steam from my ears and imagine cooking scrambled eggs on my throbbing face.

the caboose slowly fills her purse with her purchases. hands some back to her daughter. she has all the time in the world. i'm assuming the rest of us have made a silent pact to remain in one line and branch out for the next available clerk -- in order.

wrong.

a man who hasn't even set foot in our line quickly replaces our caboose, who is all smiles and kleenix. his coffee cup is half-empty.

the woman at the front of my line? she has decided that now that everything is in order, she does want a bag. multiple bags. bags filled with cheetos and pork rinds and mr. pibb.

and i know i'm getting pissed because i'm judging her purchases, which is what my idle pissed off mind does. a content me would never care that she is obviously making a cheeto and pork rind salad for dinner tonight. a me who has been stuck in a store with a bunch of budgers will think all sorts of mean things about people who grocery shop at the ghetto spur.

***

i remember that i need to pick up coffee. i wander back into whole foods and end up in line behind a man who is obviously picking up something that was specialy ordered for him. it's like 15 dollars worth of green seeds -- pumpkin, maybe. edemame, maybe. whatever. he is asked for his customer number twice by the cashier and proceeds to pay for his seeds with a check, filling in the blanks with the slow cursive script of a fourth-grader who will be graded on this.

i wonder what it would sound like to dump these seeds over his head.

***

getting into my car, i'm still enraged by the world's customers and the people who are paid to ring up their seeds and grape cigarillos. and then i think, "well, at least i learned that i'm not classist: i hate everyone equally today."

***

back at my apartment i'm trying using a knife to slice the plastic wrap off a bottle of sugar cookie scented body spray. i take the knife and run it up the side of the bottle and immediately jab it into the fleshy part of my palm at the bottom of my thumb.

it's a gusher.

i grab a paper towel and i'm screaming. conjigating the eff word and applying pressure to my stab wound. when i feel like i may pass out, i lay on my bed. this makes me think i may barf. i crawl toward the living room, within hurling distance of an easy-to-clean wooden floor.

i'm wondering if i'll need stitches.
i'm wondering if i severed a tendon.
i'm wonder if i sliced a vein.
i'm yelling fuck a lot.
did i mention the knife had a serrated blade.
the word "serrated" bounces around in my head and makes me nauseous.

downstairs, biggie or sneaks is coming in and out the front door. i know they can hear me. i think "what if one of those clods has to drive me to the emergency room? what if i die up here and they scratch their heads and say 'yeah, come to think of it, she sounded like she was in pain ... but that was days ago.' "

what if i can't ever use my thumb again, and it hangs worthlessly from my left hand like a teenager behind a convenience store in 1989?

i dress with one hand, the towel still clasped over my stab wound. i barely brush my hair. feeling woozy, i head out the door. about 20 minutes later i run into my friend mocassins. i tell him that i was stabbed.

"let me see it," he says. "you don't have to look."

i pull the towel away. it has stopped bleeding. now i just throbs. i wrap it in a few bandaids, then limp off to show jcrew.

"did this happen at your place or chucks?" she asks.
"mine," i croak.
"you're going to get tetanus," she says.
"it was a clean knife," i say, "right out of the drawer."
she shakes her head. she's not convinced this means anything.
"you're going to get gangerene," she says.
"it was clean!" i say.
she shakes her head.
"they're gonna have to cut off your hand," she says.
"WHATEVER! PROSTHETIC LIMBS ARE SUPER LIFE-LIKE THESE DAYS!" i squeal. my hand throbs when i squeal.

***

i know this all happened because of the mean things i thought about the people at the ghetto spur and whole foods.

Friday, November 23, 2007

things i've learned in the past three days ...

* to be my best, most energetic, less misanthropic self, i need 10 hours of sleep. 12 if the dinner menu included alcohol.

* sometimes i will wake at 3 p.m., see sunlight, and decide to try again at 5 p.m.

* i am still afraid of basements.

* that some people still have their seventh grade cheerleading patches.



* that this is the sort of internal conversation i have:
me: "one of my tires seems low. i wonder if i can get to eden prairie with a half-flat tire?"
other me: "i'm sure it's fine. other people probably don't fill their tires, either, and you rarely hear about someone's tire falling off their car on thanksgiving."
me: "maybe that's because other people don't let their tires get low and you are really just the most irresponsible person on the planet?"
other me: "but what if i put too much air in it and it explodes and there is wheel debris all over the ghetto spur?"
me: "that doesn't happen to people either."
other me: "maybe that's because most people know how to read a tire gauge."
me: "touche."

* how to read a tire gauge

* that i wish that lynn rosetto casper and i were better friends.

* that if i think i should wear a belt, i probably should.

* a six year old can beat me at battleship.

* so can her dad.

* its the trouncing by the six year old that stings worse.

* i live a very quiet life and so when i'm surrounded by more than once voice at a time, it causes sensory overload.

* that an episode of "this american life" can really take the edge off of that span of highway between rush city and sandstone.

* that after spending an entire day in the car, chuck's couch [and chuck] feels a lot like a pretty posh resort.

* gas station string cheese does not need to be refrigerated.

* that even though i am the self proclaimed tv marathon champion, i can handle no more than three consecutive episodes of "reaper."

* that no matter how long i watch this, i cannot get myself to think it is a good idea.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

i totally thought it was friday ...

so we went to quinlan's. and then, if you think i'm kidding about the regular eccentric nature of our cab rides home, this time our driver had a toy poodle named teddy bear climbing over the seats and shivering in our laps. he also had a caffeine allergy [our driver, not teddy bear], so i had to return his barq's root beer for an a&w. typically, when i ask the cab driver if he wants anything -- before we run into the ghetto spur -- he says no. this one said "root beer."







i want a dog so bad. a big one that knows how to use a toilet and drive himself home at the end of the night.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

wherein the internet makes me dry heave ...

you have either seen the ballyhooed video, or you haven't. if you have, you know what i'm talking about and no amount of dry heaving will change that; if you haven't seen it, this is a good time to use the 'get out of pop culture free' card you have been hording in that velcro wallet.

you know what i'm talking about: the one teeming with response videos on youtube, the one john mayer made a parody of, the one alledgely referenced on vh1's best week ever, linked to on perez hilton's site ... yeah, that video.

i met my fate late thursday night. chuck had seen it at burrito union. if you've seen the video, you know that by definition, burrito union has to rank among the top five of worst places to see the video. although, to be fair, better there than taco bell.

"trust me," he said. "you do NOT want to see it."
if he really didn't think i would want to see it, he should have had the pope call and demand that i see it, or at least put a mushroom on or near my computer.

instead we did sort of calisthenics: first chuck described it in great, frothy detail, then we watched john mayer's most-poetic adaptation, then we consumed a few response videos. finally, when my sensabilities had been numbed to drooling, root canal proportions, we watched it.

a recreation of my own responses:









Sunday, November 18, 2007

archaic relics from a simpler time ...

we walked into norm's -- in superior, wisconsin -- last night and there it was: an ashtray.



i pointed at it and laughed at the archaic relic from a time when you could smoke in bars. i've been out like three times since the statewide smoking ban took effect, but already i'm used to finding an outdoor alcove to use as the evening's smoking tent.

"oh, wait," i said to chuck, suddenly understanding this was not decorative. "you can SMOKE here in wisconsin!"
he nodded.
"that's a REAL ashtray!"
he nodded.
"that's why i suggested superior," he said.
honestly, my eyes welled a bit. it was like i'd woken to find a unicorn peering in the window.
"granted, i'm not going to be able to breathe tomorrow ..." he started.
but i barely heard him over the sound of my lighter lighting.

***

we got great corner seats where we could watch a bleached blonde woman bully her less-dynamic friends into drinking a shark tank.

"is it, like, her 21st birthday?" i asked chuck, concerned about the amateur status of these women taking a pull off a straw and making sour faces.
"nah," he said, "it's norm's."
he began itching his arm.
"got an itch?" i asked.
"nah," he said. "it's just norm's."

***

norm's, to the uninitiated, is not a destination bar. it seems to be a warm-up bar. by 1 a.m. the place is empty and a bartender is turning chairs upside down and calling a cab for the other lone patron.

we begin to feel that we've overstayed our welcome.

***

we go across the street to striker's. apparently, when it isn't winter, there is a mini golf course outside. one thing that knows no season at strikers: a pitcher costs less than a glass of beer.

this fact makes this a bit of a struggle. bar bathrooms should not be puzzling. and should not require hand-eye coordination. that's for boys.



***

vending machines sure have changed since when i was in high school. whatever happened to good 'n' plenty's?



oh, chuckles.



this is starting to get fun, all this drinking and smoking. these, i tell you, are the faces of fun.






the night ended just like all of our most romantic dates: a 20 dollar cab ride and burritos from the ghetto spur.

***

today i spent a great deal of time reading "endless love." i had a pizza man pizza party in my face and watched such a horrible episode of nip/tuck that reconfirmed that i am doing the right thing by believing it is truly the greatest show to ever come through a tv set.

then i made a food comprised primarily of marshmallows.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ur-band legend ...

not big on parades, this lady. for the most part i've believed that parades are just lazy marathons in drag. i've managed to ignore duluth's annual christmas city of the north parade five consecutive decadent pagentries in a row. i've heard tell that this parade does not include candy. airborne frozen tootsie rolls and fontanelles -- that's a flying 25.5 calorie developmental disaster in the making.

on the other hand, my second favorite thing is being in crowds. [first favorite: being somewhere and making a crowd happen]. not to mention my friend the norwegian wonder was going to be part of a mob of preteens wearing hats shaped like cod, which you don't see everyday. so i met chuck near starbucks where we very rudely budged in front of hordes of people who had staked out curb space hours ahead while the fanfare was still getting into formation miles away.

highlights included: one camel, mouth foaming with either rabies or colgate. it took me a few minutes to make my brain understand i was seeing a real live camel and not some special effect of a george lucas nature.

"where do you get a camel?" the guy next to me asked.
"egypt," i said.
i was met with a dull gaze.

lowlights included: marching bands from towns i had never heard of. this brought back a lot of memories of the hell that was high school band.

[cue fuzzy flash back]

in whatever grade it is that you decide what instrument is going to ruin your social life, i chose the alto saxophone for a lot of superficial reasons -- including, but not limited to -- i'd never seen a cool clarinet player and my parents saw no reason to let me play drums. i didn't want to play any instrument, frankly. but this would be the first in many conversations that ended " ... will look good on your college applications." this, of course, is like telling a fourth grader to drink milk so she has strong bones and teeth when she is 60.

the saxophone was a pretty impractical choice. it costs twice as much as a clarinet, and limits your instrument-playing to the saxophone. whereas, according to ur-band legend, if you learn to play the clarinet, you can segue into other great instruments. like the saxophone.

" ... yeah, but then i have to play the clarinet first," i explained deftly, and won.

***

lessons were approximately 20 minutes trapped in the basement at st. pius with one or two other novices squaking "three blind mice." about three years into this arrangement i realized that i didn't have to go. i could leave class and sit in a first floor bathroom for 20 minutes. have that showoff shannon tell the band teacher that i forgot my saxophone that day.

***

band developed into a worse commitment in high school. the first hour of the day spent in a humid band room with trombone players emptying gallons of spit next to plastic chairs. spending football games in polyester and spats and dancing like a monkey at halftime.

when the basketball team advanced to the state tournament and my friends were gathered in a face-painted horde, i was sucking on reeds and wearing captain merrill stubbing's hat within view of the fun.

***

my best friend princess linda was an equally frustrated trumpet player. we took to clanging our instruments together, an act that looked celebratory but was really an attempt to irreparably damage our brass. or at least send it to the shop for a week. as various marching band events neared, we became bolder: we dropped our cases down the 20-some steps leading to the bandroom, standing at the top and feigning alarm, then accidentally kicking the instruments down another flight of steps.

***

the whole thing would have been completely unbearable if i wasn't occasionally making out with a trombone player after school in the choir room.

***

i was allowed to drop band after my sophomore year.

***

after the parade i called princess linda to see if she had any photos of us in full band regalia. she tersely explained that i was interupting friday night lights, but eased up a bit when the show went to commercial.

as a testament to how much we loathed this extracurricular: there were no photos of us in band. and princess linda took photos of everything in high school. she did, however, send me this photo which remains my prefered way of getting into bed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

scenes from a target near you ...

i could go for this dark pink pink henley with a pocket in the front, a merona knockoff of something i bought at abercrombie last winter -- where it came in green and with a hood. i'm in the children's clothing department at target, tugging on an extra large and considering it very, very seriously.

henley shirts, it seems in my world, are today's new wife beater tank top and the hoodie of tomorrow. my clothing phases evolve slowly and all bear a passing resemblence to the previous clothing phase. i've recently been buying large children's clothing for three dollars-ish less than the adult version.

this isn't some sort of "ouch, i just stabbed myself with my own jutting hip bone, get that wurther original candy away from me i'm full" confession. no. i'm still built like a retired male soccer player. fortunately, the people whose clothes come from the children's department -- ie children -- are also occasionally shaped like retired adult male soccer players.

in the end, i just walked away from the shirt.
"i feel like i can't tell anyone i shop in target's children's department," i tell chuck. "it makes me sound like 'look at me! look at me! i'm elfin! i'd have to have an appendectomy to lose another pound without dying!' but really, the clothes are just big."
"so what? the recent epidemic of childhood obesity has worked in your favor," he shrugs.

***

i need replacement blades for my vintage soap caked razor, a brand i've been almost monogamous with since the day i finally realized that my shin bones would never become weathered and calloused enough to actually enjoy using an epilady. [the epilady, for you tots, was an electric razor with a wire coil head that would spin and become entangled in your leg hair, then rip each individual strand out one by one while you wept alone in your bathroom, one throbbing and bumpy red leg propped on the toilet seat. a song by a band called "mr. big" playing in the background. it billed itself as being a way to only have to shave like every six weeks. for the pain it delivered, you could have more easily stuck your leg in a bonfire and singed the hair off.]

apparently my brand has been discontinued, so i'm forced to find a new razor with which to form an unhealthy product-loyalty relationship. i grab a thing called intuition, sensing it will be my rebound razor, and tell chuck that one of the after shave lotions smells like tooth paste.

***

this product takes me aback:


this is a variety of condiments for your iams pet food: sizzlin' bacon flavor, country style chicken flavor, pot roast flavor, roasted turkey flavor. hell, maybe there is even a chipotle flavor.

i like the idea of cradling toonses in my arms and pouring this directly into his little gaping face hole while he coos in delight.

chuck reads off the ingredients, which would sound decent if they described something on the menu at applebees. he's convinced people can eat this.

"let's have a taste test," he says. he seems serious.

***

i buy two dollar shower gel, two dollar lotion and two dollar body spray forgetting that when applied out of the store, two dollar anything just smells like burning plastic. and now, so will i.

***

the best thing about this new razor is that it feels like a toy. something your mom would give you so you could pretend you were shaving. it has a special end that foams when wet, meaning no shower gel. it feels like applying deoderant to your leg.

but it works. and it's pretty awesome. and i almost got through the whole experience without carving a bloody divot into my knee. almost.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

lather, rinse, rreah-peat ...

i come from a land that knew no sugar cereals. cocoa crispies were out, but boxes of plain old rice krispies were piled high in the pantry. we were, however, allowed to ladel two, three mounds of pure sugar -- or nestle quick chocolate milk mix -- onto the healthier cereal.

if anything, college gave me the opportunity to ingest as much sugar as i wanted. i could, in theory, sand away at my stomach lining with the stuff. i opted to drink my sugar from domed canisters of tang and presweeted mountain berry punch kool-ade.

in the dorms, i was never far from a 24 ounce translucent blue non-microwaveable glass, which i kept filled with sugar drink. i developed a very obsessive compulsive routine: fill the cap of the canister with mix, pour into the bottom of my glass, hold under dorm's bathroom faucet, fill with water while swirling my glass to eliminate the added step of stirring with an actual spoon, consume.

it wasn't necessary to wash the glass that often, as it was always filled with one color of sugar or another. but once in a great while, when neglected in favor of a coke-cola frenzy, that cup would become caked an inch thick with a hard crystal sediment.

i cleaned the glass the same way i made my drink: squirt a spit of dish soap into the glass, hold under the faucet and swirl. literally lathering, rinsing and repeating. when i was sure that most of the soap was gone, i'd make more tang.

"you didn't rinse all of the soap off," my roommate burge noticed from a sink away, where, odds are she was coloring her hair, as she was wont to do.

i shrugged. soap is a taste easily diluted by tang.
"if you don't get all of the soap off your dishes, you will get diarrhea," she said.
"oh," i said. yet another neglected chapter in my schooling.

what burge didn't know is that she had just planted a seed of soap paranoia that will probably last three times longer than even the shelf life of a canister of tang. from then on, every time i did dishes -- especially if i volunteered to do some of her's -- i attributed a phantom soap taste to the dish and waited for her to clutch her stomach and sprint to the bathroom.

i think of this everytime i wash dishes, even though i haven't washed dishes in a dorm's bathroom sink in 11 years. and everytime i eat off a dish that i've washed, i prepare for the taste of lemon fresh joy. sometimes it doesn't happen. sometimes it does, and then nothing kills my appetite like the sound of burge's voice in my head: diarrhea, diarrhea, diarrhea ...

today i made a big pasta feast for dinner and packed it into tupperware until i was ready for it. the first bite tasted soapy. by the fifth bite it seemed like it would taste better if i had actually stored it in an old bottle of dish soap and squirted the tiny bubbles of red sauce into my mouth.

i tossed the meal aside, disgusted, and waited for burge's warning to come to rumble to fruition. the moment where instead of being full, my stomach would feel like i ate thunder.

***

"my pasta tasted like soap," i told chuck later.
"ugh," he said. "that has happened to me. it will give you diarrhea."
"so i've heard," i said.

***

later, at chuck's house, i heated up a pan of refried beans for a snack.
"refried beans and soap, huh?" he said, shaking his head.
it could be a long night. or it could be brief. and sudden.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

oh the places i've lived ...

at the end of this month i'll have lived in duluth for seven years. this is five more than i planned, but it took five years for it to get fun. here is a tour of the places i have lived in my time here:




you can exactly judge this book by its cover. a house tilting with rot, between sixth and seventh avenue on east third street. i rented it because it had a deck and the landlord let me split the space with a cat. the deck had a great view of more rowhouses; the litterbox was like an entertainment center in a corner of my living room.

["look! he's crapping again," the photographer would stop everything and watch toonses twist himself into a half moon and drop his lunch. my own living, breathing plahdoh french fry squirter. "always at the same time. he's really regular."]

my brother had lived in duluth before i knew duluth existed. and when i told him where i planned to move, he was horrified:

"that's in central hillside!" he said.
"nuh uh!" i said. [it was. what did i know?]
"yeah! it is! a guy was murdered a block from that address a few years ago. wait. a guy was murdered ON THAT BLOCK a few years ago," he said.
"whatever," i said. "it's duluth. it's not, like, chicago."

when it comes to real estate, i can be wooed big by small charms. in this apartment it was a few paines of stained glass in the living room and kitchen. my first night in my new home i drank crowne royal and barfed grapes onto my box spring.

the apartment was narrow. using the bathroom required climbing over my bed. you had to squat by the sink to shut the door. i didn't realize my deck railing was being painted until the moment i was drip-drying after a shower in my bedroom and met the gaze of three young maintainance men. i can only imagine they developed an immediate craving for eggs, sunny-side up.

i didn't have a doorbell and the woman across the hall always locked our shared entrance. friends had to stand in the middle of third street and yell their arrival. one night i watched a man beat the shit out of a woman in the apartment across the street. this is where i learned to crouch in a dark corner, thumbing 9-1-1 into my phone ... a hobby that has lasted longer than my time in that apartment.

***

sometimes, if you don't pay attention, you will wake to find you have been living in a pretty shitty apartment for more than two years. you don't notice the stained glass windows that charmed you, or the litter box or the domestic disputes anymore. "oh yeah," you think. "i can actually move if i want to."

***



my second apartment was my most pedestrian apartment. it had carpeting. half of an old carriage house located in the posh district east of 21st avenue. my current landlord and i split the duplex with a quiet professor from st. scholastica who had turned the back yard into a flower garden. this place was clean, three levels, on site washing machine and off street parking. i had a walk-in closet and kitchen big enough for me to whip a small glass carafe of melted butter at my landlord's head while he was making lobster -- and miss. my cell phone at my landlord's head when he was doing god-knows-what -- and miss.

we had a very sibling-esque relationship. toddler siblings, i might add, each trying to out bad-behavior the other.

so we got to be the riff-raff. a ping pong table jammed into the back of my landlord's convertible. this house became a sort of clubhouse: natty light, ping pong tournaments and crave cases from white castle and screaming matches.

once i typed up a six-page chore list with a biweekly rotation, complete with a spot for his signature. he laughed and put it in a pile of stuff.

***

there comes a point when you wake up and all of your furniture is in a pile in the kitchen, and you know it is time to find a new apartment. an apartment with character, but without the certain bulldogish character you moved in with.

***



by this time i'd lived in duluth long enough to know that in order to have duluth street cred, you need a west address on your residential resume. i absolutely loved this apartment more than any place i had ever lived, and probably more blindly. 1516 west first street, located behind the duluth gospel tabernacle church, was the bane of a pizza deliveryman's day. no one could ever find it.

the summer duluth was attacked by asian beetles, farmloads were camping on my pillow, in my light fixtures, strolling along my countertop. this apartment was huge: two bedrooms, wood floors, big windows and a view of water.

i had a special room for dancing; i could skateboard from the kitchen to the living room. my leaky shower was corroding my wall and my ceiling was crumbling. in the winter, it was about 55 degrees inside; the summer was 125.

the man who owned the place was a snakey bearded shit-of-a-man, whom i was convinced had strung a toilet cam into my bathroom. he drove a crappy old car with a lawn mower hanging out of the trunk. sometimes i gave him gatorade when he was mowing or shoveling. in return, he kept my entire $675 deposit when i moved out because he said it smelled like a cat.

***

at some point you wake up and realize that your friend is buying a duplex and wants you to rent the upstairs apartment and so back to central hillside you go.

***

i've decided to not post a photo of my current apartment, since it is very accessible for your drive-by eggings when i say something controversial about a halloween costume or refer to you as a shit-of-a-man with a toilet cam.

this place has been defined by my downstairs neighbors: ruby and jamaica and the time he went all world series with a baseball bat and her jaw, the unpaid rent and how they had a very progressive relationship with their dogs -- allowing them to crap on the carpeting. then came the funny little argentinian fellow, who fell for a demure woman from proctor.

now: sneaks and biggie and whoever can still walk six blocks by the end of the night at the pio. i like to think of it as a sort of flop house.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

point oh two ...

jcrew has me cornered in a small echo chamber, where her high-pitched peer pressure is bouncing off the brick and glass and multiplying itself for optimal effectiveness. if, hypothetically, she calls me a "bitch" once, i will hear it reverberated four times.

she is demanding that i go out. in public. that i have fun. that i drink beer and yell swear words until i physically cannot drink and yell swear words anymore, which will just mean it is time for a gas station burrito and bed. she interprets my inability to commit as a refusal.

"don't turn into one of those girls," she spits at me.
"too late," i spit back.

***

when i hear through the grapevine that jcrew and bubbles are considering red star or aces, my decision is made for me. not only am i one of those girls, i am also vehemently opposed to having one of those nights. as you know, i've vowed to not return to aces until it it thoroughly deloused and de-d-bagged. and red star -- well, i can still taste the graham cracker chunks i wretched the time i over indulged in key lime martinis. and, frankly, i'm not up for techno remixes of madonna's greatest hits and the spastic interpretive dance it inspires.

"fine," jcrew relents. "we'll go where you want to go."
i want to go to mr. d's.

***

mr. d's is exactly what i am craving. crowds and cover bands and spandex violations. a place where if i don't wash my hands in the bathroom, i'm the rule, not the exception. an all-inclusive resort-like destination bar for proctorites who have been 86'd from the powerhouse.

a place with its own breathalizer.

first we drink two beers apiece. then we aproach the greatest bar trick invented. it costs a dollar to play.

"what do you think you'll blow?" chuck asks.
"hmm ... maybe point one two," i guess.

he goes first:


and blows .00.
this thing is obviously a little off.

then i go:

i blow .02, while the carnie watches. this thing is definitely off.

***

back at the table, we're playing "name the signiture power ballad of [fill in the blank with the name of a hairband]." unfortunately we are all looped to the point where someone says "cinderella" and we all stare blankly at the table.

information that would easily conjured in the light of day has become the stuff of a MENSA meeting.

from there, things get foggy.
i know there was a burrito, though. and bed.

***

now. who wants to drive me to my car?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

saturday tag ...

so i guess it is high time i acknowledge that i was tagged by flenker last week. you just can't hide on the internet, can you?

A). Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog...
B). Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself...
C). Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs...
D). Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. lately i am inexplicably drawn to the shout out louds in a way that knows no moderation. at the end of the summer i was looking for great new bands and i'm not sure how i found this one but here they are and i cannot get myself to enjoy anything but the shout out louds. sometimes i'll listen to feist or the new pornographers. but the whole time i'm thinking "i wish i was listening to the shout out louds." and when i AM listening to the shout out louds, i'm pretty damn excited about it.

i heard the song "normandie" playing at the gap the other day, and quickly shuffled toward the great wall of denim so i could turn toward it and sing along unnoticed.


2. last night we went to the movie "30 days of night". vampires in alaska during 30 days without sun. this movie found me scratching out my eyeballs in horror and i was pretty sure that i liked it, until i suddenly realized that it was absolutely ridiculous, and then it became funny. within a half hour of leaving the theater, i was sure i had just witnessed the height of crap.

SPOILER ALERT: i really wish that when josh harnett went all vampo, that he would have said to the female lead: "whatever. buffy and angel made it work. for awhile."

3. caffeine no longer seems to affect me. about two years ago i decided no more coke after 7 p.m., and now i could have coffee piped straight into a major vein while i sleep and i'd continue to purr contentedly while dreaming that my teeth are falling out.

4. i get a little teary at least once an episode of "kid nation."

5. no matter how hard i try, i cannot fit an entire round tortilla chip into my mouth. i technically should only eat the broken bits, but the round ones are so enticing ... this is how i accidentally ripped the side of my mouth: with one of these too large round salt vessels. i'm waiting for it to heal, but in the interim, i've been eating big sandwiches and -- lets be honest --more tortilla chips. so it continues to rip open, bleed, scab, rip open. i pity the fool who has to kiss this mouth.

6. last night it did this. so i guess i won't be sitting here for awhile.


7. i don't mind being tagged, but i am where tags go to die.

Friday, November 9, 2007

no coffee shop can be your everything ...



isn't this always the way? we get the good table at amazing grace. the viney one in an alcove by the window where you can hear the guy describing his dream journal, but he can't see you rolling your eyes every time he says "stream of consciousness."

i have nine dollars worth of turkey sandwich on feta and grape bread, tomato basil soup and a coffee the size of my soul. but when we go to crack into the internet, we can't get online.

this is extremely disappointing. i'd wanted nothing more that to sit here and write and repeatedly check my email. not to mention watch chuck do this thing he does: stare out the window over his left shoulder while typing on the laptop in front of him. this is what i imagine it would look lie to see stevie wonder LIVE IN CONCERT!

another life lesson. no coffee shop can be your everything.

so i ditch 75 cents worth of coffee and $1.36 worth of soup. we leave the cool comfort of amazing grace for the cool comfort of the red mug in superior. this seems like a fine substitute if we can sit on the red couches, but there isn't an outlet in the vicinity ... we don't want to sit at a table, because this is supposed to be relaxing, not polite. we end up here:



... in what is basically a hallway-slash-waiting room for the women's bathroom. this, as you would imagine, is a high-traffic area. caffeine, bladders ... you don't have to be a brain surgeon to understand the mechanics.

***

aside: on the other side of this wall is a unisex bathroom, equipped with both a urinal and a modern day toilet. if a man walks into a unisex bathroom and has both options, which does he use? and, in this scenario, is it acceptible for a man and woman who are comfortable using a bathroom in front of each other [this is hypothetical, BELIEVE me] to lock themselves in this space at the same time?

***

after the first woman trips over our feet and into the ladies room, it becomes apparent that this is not a sound-proof structure. just as i'm about to say "looks like we've got a hand-washer," chuck leans in and says "what they don't realize is that we can hear even the most delicate sounds from in there."

we have become accidental bathroom eavesdroppers.

for the record, at no time does this become a set list for the body-as-its-own-personal-marching-band. this is more about our proximity to the bathroom and, well, the potentinal for it becoming a set list for the body-as-its-own-personal-marching-band.


"my disgust is palpable," chuck says.


***

for awhile we are distracted by country pop music twanging its way down the staircase from the ceramics shop upstairs. minutes earlier, radiohead had been playing in the coffee shop. now faith hill is pecking away at my brain.


[chuck likes to photograph ceilings. this comes in handy. now i can show you where faith hill was coming from]

"what's that?" chuck asks.
"oh ... some woman from a small town just left her abusive husband. she just moved here to the big city for a little anonymity. now she likes to crank faith hill while tossing paint onto a canvas," i say.

this seems like a reasonable answer to him.

***

now there are four women. a pack of tourists. craning and clucking and looking around with wonder. each muttering variations on the word "bathroom?"

we both sigh.

"the only thing worse than menopause is clueless menopause. ... when you are simply baffled by the location of a bathroom ... when you have to wonder out loud hmmm where is the bathroom ... how are you going to deal with the rest of life's complications?" chuck asks.

***

meanwhile, i go check out what makes this bathroom better than the one with a urinal. the one far from our range of hearing. one you don't have to trip over our feet to get to.

it seems to be pretty standard, albeit fairly large. toilet. scrub brush. some floral-flavored smell fixer. so i take a photo of myself, instead, then leave.



eventually we are forced to tune into our ipods.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

the day the yeast died ...



by the time i realized i'd murdered an envelope full of yeast, i was too far into the breadmaking process to turn back. i suspected something had happened when my ingredients didn't foam, like it said they would in the recipe.

then the product did not double in size.
then it didn't double in size again.

then chuck told me that "warm" milk means "not cold" milk. not "heat it up on the stove for a few minutes before using." so, defeated, i flattened the sucker against a pizza stone and made cheddar and black pepper flatbread, instead. tuning out the wee squeals of baby yeasts being scorched to death.

those suckers never stood a chance.

in other news, i made a really awesome pumpkin soup. i actually relished burping it up later, just for that quick, nostalgic explosion of flavor.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

your davenport is by my fridgedaire ...

i voted

"i was at my polling place for 10 seconds before i heard the word 'davenport'," chuck says to me on the phone.

'davenport' is one of the words we like to predict will, after about 27 more deaths, become extinct. in fact, i haven't heard the word 'davenport' used without irony and in context in the seven years since my grandma smittley has died. she was big on the davenport.

she liked to curl up on the davenport on new year's eve with a highball, but beforehand she would let me fish vodka-soaked olives from the bottem of her glass. fridgedaire is another. grandma pista is trying to fit that one into a scrabble board in florida as we speak. fridgedaire is not a word. it was a brand. a gigantic white cold structure in your basement, where you store pies and extra meat. 'fridgedaire' goes to the grave with grandma pista.

***

election day, as you know, is my fifth favorite holiday. i am absolutely enamored with the voting process. here's mine: i take one big ticket item and i decide who i want. for the rest of the ballot i vote for who i think will win. in this way, election day is a lot like going to the horse races. i clutch my personal choices, eyes on the tv as we round the home stret.

i vote at a tiny community center less than a block from my house. it smells like my elementary school. the voting officials are a geriatric bunch of very cute rule abiders. there are three people voting at 3 p.m., but first i have to very officially check in and prove that while i may not ever sleep at my apartment i do recieve my new yorker there and so this is where i vote, womanhandle a reciept that says i am who i am and hand it to a man who saw me do the whole process and is sitting 15 inches away. he coughs. takes a pill. looks at the sheet, examines it, acts like he didn't see the whole transaction. frowns accordingly. sucks on his oxygen tank. says "davenport." approves me, i vote.

i feel like there used to be free coffee for voters. what happened to that?

one year i got really hopped up on the elections. i even voted for school board, knowing that i didn't even have the inkling of a seed considering sproutation in my womb. and if i ever did bear a fetal nicotene syndrome infant, these people would be long gone.

i did this all in a very tarot way. i voted for people who generated good vibes during the debates -- which i attended for probably the same reason i consider knitting these days: new hobby? okay. what else is there to do?

this year i only voted for mayor. i didn't even read beyond that oval circle. apparently there was a typo on the ballot. good riddance.

ness. of course. for a ton of reasons. but these are my favorite:

about a year and a half ago, i was going to turn into the ghetto spur and donnie ness was in the other lane going the other direction. both of our windows were open and we were waiting. we looked at each other, aquaintances and all.

"i'be been enjoying your blog lately," he said, through his window.
"really?" i squealed like it was actually donnie wahlberg sweating on my pubescent chest.
he nodded.
"my blog will endorse you!" i said.

two years ago at homegrown donnie was eating what i thought was a taco. it was well after last call at pizza luce.

"can i have a bite?" i asked him.
he handed it to me.
it was pizza.
that was weird. biting into something i thought was a taco and having it be a piece of pizza.
but the gesture was vote-worthy in itself.
i had a superficial reason to vote for charlie bell, too. i used it the last time he was up for mayor and i actually did vote for him that time. this was insignificant in the face of my blog and that bite of pizza.

***

say my parents come to town. we're eating brunch at luce. say the mayor walks in, sees me and stops at our table and says "hi" before getting a very posh window seat reserved for elected officials who are all doogie houserish.

"well ... he's cute. who was that?" my mom asks, slicing into pesto eggs benedict.
"the mayor," i say. "that was the mayor."

more than 30 percent of me voted for that.
so put that in your fridgedaire and smoke it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

cherry, cherry, why you buggin' ...

by the time i was in eighth grade i'd known the 30-odd boys in my class for more than half of my life. popularity points had been meted out by the end of first grade, and -- now that i think about it -- were seemingly based upon whether a person was in a high reading and math group [a life of elementary school dating successes] or a lower reading and math group [don't even bother combing your hair].

this left the initials of approximately 15 boys eligible for scrawling with glitter pencil on the bus seat in front of you, or carved with your thumb nail into a church pew.

unfortunately, not all 15 of them were necessarily attractive. maybe:
eight of them had avoided a slick topographical zit map across their forehead;
six didn't pick their nose in second grade or fart during the christmas program in third;
maybe one was not related to you, but had the same last name and you'd grown up together in a very vicious and sibling-like way;
and one kept drawing unicorns and rainbows and even though he was funny, you only liked him as a friend. ...

then, take into consideration that i was being run through these same formulas by those same boys, and sometimes other candidates prevailed. my forehead sometimes read the rockey mountains.

by the time i was in eighth grade, i'd liked tom for six years and when i didn't like tom i liked brian and when the burden of the ginas and mollys and kellys weighed too heavily, i dabbled in liking adam. lather, rinse, repeat.

***

jeremy's dad was in charge of youth groups and after school religion classes for the public school kids. this bubble of sweaty man made a two-hour daily commute from the suburbs.

something had happened in rosemount: jeremy's sister had died unexpectedly and maybe he had been caught smoking his grief. whatever. for some reason, he was sentenced to a junior high as a st. pius chief. riding in to rochester with his dad every day. let me tell you: the ladies of st. pius x were ready to welcome him.

for at least two years, most of us had been shrieking our way into puberty. taking those first tentative swipes down our shin bones with a disposible razor, in an act that was more like peeling a potato than shaving; negotiating the limitations of an untrained ball and socket joint in all things bra-related; combating foreign smells with powder-scented secret deoderant and $2 sample sized designer imposters perfume.

all while surrounded by boys that, because of familiarity, had the sex appeal of the cabbage patch kids we had only just recently aborted from our teenaged lives. [mine was named kendrick fairfax. his birthday was oct. 1. ... he'd be legal drinking age by now. his older sister, fae clarissa, is probably married].

***

jeremy had everything that an eighth-grade girl could want: a fantastic swath of natural hockey hair -- no perm required -- a black nylon pouch pocket jacket with flourcent trim, and an exotic background. he practically came from a big city.

jeremy skulked around school for about two days saying very little, peering at us from a curtain of side-swiped bangs. after lunch on the playground, we surrounded him, questioned him, and all-but performed the school song in his honor. he smelled a little bit, i noticed. like his armpit had been trapped in that same nylon jacket for weeks without reprieve or even a bit of wind.

it smelled great.

eventually he told neva that he liked "cherry" and then eventually he said that i was cherry. i'm not sure why he called me that. i like to think he had just seen the movie "the outsiders" and thought i had beautiful hair like diane lane.

i'm pretty sure he just couldn't remember my name.

we held hands from the lunchroom to the playground and then right up until the second before one of the junior high teachers would ask us to disengage. our first kiss was behind a pine tree next to the church during the school carnival. we made out on fannie's boyfriend's couch after school. jeremy was wearing dirty grey tube socks, mangled by a suspect wash-to-wear ratio.

during the junior high class picnic, fannie, travis, jeremy and i hiked away from the kickball games, snagging pop cans wrapped in tin foil for the trip. across a creek i fell into, ruining my new vuarnet t'shirt and bloodying my ankle. we ended up next to a wooden welcome sign that said "farmers community park." during the awkward moments where we worked up to kissing, i traced the letters backward and we laughed at the name "farmers community krap."

on the last day of school, fannie and i stood outside of st. pius and thought of the boyfriends we were leaving behind. travis and jeremy still had another year of st. pius chiefdom. our seventh-grade homeroom teacher pulled up in an old brown sedan and asked us why we were sad:

"we're going to lourdes," we told him. "our boyfriends will be here!"

he snorted and drove away.

jeremy called me once that summer from travis's cabin. the backwoods connection was immediately lost. he eventually transfered back to rosemount. and then later i heard he died.

Monday, November 5, 2007

revising history ...

today i spent an entire episode of nip/tuck deleting half of the photos from my flick account, and stowing the rest away in a little folder on my desktop called "there's nothing to see here, move along."

if you and i met today, and you surfed through my photos, you would find a woman:

who's pumpkin's face is melting ...
old man pumpkin

who is taking test shots of an orange nature variety with her new camera ...
orangeness

and who seems pretty stoked about finding her hat ...
hatback.jpg

you would no longer find this photo of my former roommate's friend minor consumption and the beer bong of doom, despite the fact that it was favorited and commented upon by strangers. no, for this photo you'd have to look in the folder on my desktop, which hopefully eventually will become a folder on a backup hard drive. and then, likely a folder on a backup hard drive that i lost years ago.



i kept this one only because you can the tiny splashes of natty light sprinkling out of his puckered little face. and, a few years ago, i did enjoy the idea that a three-story beer bong was living on my deck. i never used it; sometimes i poured things into it.

i deleted about 20 photos of my former roommate sacked out on my former futon, each special in its own portraits of sleep apnea sufferer sort of way. actually i deleted almost every photo of my former roommate. i also deleted photos where i appear blue and bloated, like i'd just been found submerged in water with a taco john's bag tied around my throat. i deleted photos of anyone whose name i don't remember. i deleted a photo of an ashtray in a bathroom in mitchell, south dakota; martin zellar in about seven different poses while playing the state fair. and i erased things that i had a gazillion different versions of.

this photos less-flattering, yet nearly identical versions are gone for good. i kept this photo of my landlord, me, jcrew and futbol because i like what jcrew's arms are doing:



but i got rid of the rest of them because i don't like what i'm doing -- which is looking a little thick around the middle in glasses i don't like.

i kept some photos where i've never looked prettier:








and i kept photos of my favorite people, most of whom i don't see enough:

















and i kept anything with a cheesy backstory. like, for instance, a first date-ish sort of event:




and i especially kept my favorite photo of fannie:



and this is why i love living digitally: you are only what is in your flickr account; on your blog; your favorite playlist; the numbers programmed into your speed dial. deleting is easy and if you delete it, it never happened.