i have been complaining for the last few days about how it doesn’t feel like new year’s eve (or new year’s eve eve, as it was yesterday). but all of a sudden, about ten minutes ago, it finally felt right. i was in my local dingy bar of a post office, in the slanting afternoon sunlight after a day of heavy snow. the weakerthans song “sun in an empty room” was on my headphones & it’s a good new year’s eve song, layered in bittersweet finality. one postal worker came in and said, “i can’t believe yinz ain’t closing early!” and the bitter postal clerk said, “yeah, it’s because they’re a bunch of idiots. but i don’t care, i don’t gotta use any vacation time, so they’re doing me a favor. those moronic idiotic imbeciles, they’re doing me a favor!” and it was something about the way the other guy laughed in response; bitter yet oddly sweet and hopeful. i don’t know.
when we were pulling into pittsburgh at 6 a.m. yesterday, my greyhound driver got on the loudspeaker and announced, “i want to wish you all a happy new year. and i hope that 2009 is the best year you’ve ever had, but not the best year you ever will have.” he sounded sincere and urgent. i don’t think i’ve ever heard such a genuinely nice new year’s wish. who would have guessed it would be on the hound at 6 a.m.?
new york was good, full of inspiring ladies & good people who i miss. i remain glad to be just a visitor, though. riding the LIRR back into the city on saturday night i felt the genuine misery, of all those people trapped in gilded cages miserably shuffling to work at some god-awful hour. that used to be me, and i am glad that it is not me any longer.
today is gorgeous & i can’t really enjoy it cuz i’m here. it’s okay, though, i guess. the building across the street blocks my view of the sky entirely, but one of its windows reflects it. i can see the most eye-blinding shade of blue & a bare spidery tree & all sorts of birds swirling around. i wouldn’t even know they were there were it not for this window, this little portal to the other world. to the casual observer, i am just staring vapidly into space. but you know what? the casual observer’s wrong.
my dad’s wife no longer even tries to conceal the fact that she hates us. i baked muffins & burned them & laughed like a psychopath, laying on the floor. nobody saw me except for jill and she thought it was funny. this house seriously has already driven me crazy! i wrote an intense entry but i made it private because i’m tired of going there. i’m tired of a lot of things. but i don’t want to talk about it.
my sister & i just got giggly watching old my little pony cartoons mixed to songs like “you can’t touch this” and “i’m too sexy” on youtube. peepz seriously have too much time on their hands! then jill got depressed because it looked like the ponies were having too much fun & we aren’t. she has a point.
so much more to say but time to go to my mom’s house and be awkward with her new boyfriend. the pope said that gays and trannies are bringing about the apocalypse, so i think i will pointedly not go to church this year. that’ll show him!
not even back 24 hours and the poison is already reaching my brain. most people love me because i shake things up; not my dad’s wife. to her i am an inkblot on the kitchen counter. not even the strongest spray can get rid of me entirely. my dad, brother and sister are all happy to see me cuz i’m a blip in the routine but my dad’s wife just sighs a lot and mutters to herself. i asked to use the oven to bake vegan apple-cinnamon muffins & from the reaction i got, you’d think i had asked to smoke crack or something! seriously, people, it’s muffins! home made muffins! how much more wholesome can you get? but she went away for a while so now the house is full of the scent of delicious baked goods plus the sound of queer rock & hip-hop that makes liberal use of the dreaded f word.
as much as it sucked, i am glad my ass was kicked out young, so i didn’t get complacent like so many of my friends. being on my own as a teenager caused lots of trouble, emotional scars, serious nutritional deficiencies & a drinking prob, but it also made me very self-reliant & with the knowledge that i can survive just about anything. it saddens me how many of my friends who are my age & older are still rotting away with their parental units cuz they’re scared. fuck being scared! did you hear me? FUCK BEING SCARED! being scared is a luxury. being scared is a cop-out. being scared is for the weak; and although i have many, many personality flaws, being weak (usually) isn’t one of them.
on a completely diff note, the muffins are done! so i must go!. (update: i burned them and laughed like a psychopath)
the following conversation occurred, verbatim, between my family and i whilst eating pizza.
sister: dad, aren’t you, like, so glad that all your kids are under one roof again?
dad [ignoring her]: where’s the sauce?
[me and my siblings laugh hysterically]
dad: what? what’s so funny?
me: dad, jill just asked you if you were glad that we’re all together again, and all you could say is ‘where’s the sauce’?
[dad laughs. then there is a pause.]
dad: wait a minute. who’s the sauce?
brother: oh, goddamnit. I AM THE SAUCE!
Dec. 24th, 2008 06:19 pm 2008 in review!
What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
–written a book! (well, most of one, anyway) -stayed in an apartment till the end of a lease
-signed a new lease all by myself
-allowed myself to become a vital part of an activist group, instead of relegating myself to shitwork like i always do because i’m afraid i’ll fuck something up
-became a karaoke superstar! (i say that semi-sarcastically)
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
i don’t make new year’s resolutions!
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
liz popped out little hattie on dec. 2! and i cannot wait to meet her.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
not as of this moment.
5. What countries did you visit?
none, as per usual.
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
a new tattoo, fewer health scares, maybe some more disposable income would be swell.
7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
the day i found out i wasn’t dying, that one really fun day in february where i ran into literally everyone i like in this city and really felt the love, the day pino & i took pictures at giant eagle & i got on the news, the day monica, sena & i took a “vacation” at tiffini’s house, pride and all the hilarious hijinx, the really good weekend my dad & my sister visited me, the really good weekend that ray first visited me, the first snowfall & snow angels & kale soup. a whole lot of little moments. also, some bad shit that i won’t dredge up here.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
surviving. writing 120 pages of a book plus three zines! making a lot of really good friends & having a lot of fun, despite the bullshit.
9. What was your biggest failure?
i completely ruined the friendship i had with the former love of my life. also, i lost my wallet (although it turned up a month later–in the fucking refrigerator!)
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
my heart condition. plus i got really bad tendonitis while i was a dishwasher (which, thankfully, has gone away for the most part.) also, i whacked my hand into a side-view mirror the other day and my fingers swelled up so big! they’re better now though.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
um…i don’t really buy much. some cute patches, good thriftstore clothes, bus tickets to new york city & baltimore.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
all of my pittsburgh friends have been so sweet, especially when i was going through that rough time this winter. the faggotz have given me lots of good life coaching & laughs; ali helps keep the riot grrrl torch burning and gets me in a very specific way, alyssa has always been down for mystical adventures, amanda restores my faith in humanity on a regular basis, the craft night girls feel like home. my friends in prison have taught me a lot this year. my friends in new york occupy the most prime real estate in my heart, even though i haven’t seen them very much this year. emily, lucy, steve, jill and ray all visted me which was super fun. ray has been a sweetheart in every sense of the word.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
now would be a good time to employ my favorite destiny’s child quote: “no, i’m not gonna diss you on the internet, cuz my mama taught me better than that.”
14. Where did most of your money go?
rent, billz, student loans, my extremely expensive heart monitor. so fun!
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
my new apartment, fun times with friends, good makeouts, wacky adventures, trips to NY, etc.
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
“epitaph for my heart” – the magnetic fields. there are more but i can’t think of them right now.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? fatter. but that’s not why i’m sadder.
c) richer or poorer? poorer.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
i’m going back to NY. i’m going to bake vegan macaroni casserole & apple muffins to share with judgemental relatives.
21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
i fell in love with my freedom, with the work i’ve been chosen to do & all the good people surrounding me. i plead the fifth as to whether any actual romance was involved.
22. How many one-night stands?
none, unless you count that psuedo-orgy post-dyke-march (which i don’t).
23. What was your favorite TV program?
geez i didn’t watch too much TV at all. huzzah!
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
25. What was the best book you read?
“against love”, by i forget who; “rat bohemia” & “girls, visions & everything” by sarah schulman; “ladies first: revelations of a strong woman” by queen latifah, “pedro & me” by that guy from the real world; “nick & norah’s infinite playlist” by david levithan & rachel cohen
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
as per ush, i am slow on the uptake. so: outkast, common, the roots, arcade fire, etc.
27. What did you want and get?
a sweet apartment. inspiration. peace.
28. What did you want and not get?
an easy time.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 26. i went out for thai food with my pittsburgh favorites & then down to the lesbo bar, where i discovered my inner karaoke superstar for the first time ever!
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
less mental and physical health problems. less upset in my personal life. although i think that wreckage led me to somewhere better, it was still so hard.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
biz-cas faggot at work; also i declared this summer “femme summer ’08” and i experimented with being femme. (or femme-er–i still didn’t shave or wear makeup). it was semi-successful.
33. What kept you sane?
my friends, reading, baking, knowing i’d get through this.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
prison-related stuff, as per usual, especially how our tax dollars are being used to torture people in camp hill and throughout the state. also i got a lil’ misty-eyed when obama got elected (i know that’s not an “issue”, but it still falls within the realm of politix)
36. Who did you miss?
new york! new york! new york!
37. Who was the best new person you met?
amy, colleen, stephanie, everyone at book ’em. also i technically met aaryn, alyssa, branden & pino last year but it was this year they became my amazing friends and i’m so glad.
cuz i have no short-term memory.
1) some book ’em volunteer who i’ve never met or known died & her husband wrote us a check from her estate account for $5,000! which is over half our yearly operating budget!!!!!!!!!! those of you who know me in my day-to-day life know how stressed out book ’em’s financial situation has left me, and this is amazing fucking news! i am so stoked.
2) if i die suddenly, plz donate money to prison book programs instead of buying me flowers, or do it on my birthday or death anniversary. i speak from personal experience when i say that it does make you feel a little better, donating money to groups that carry on yr dead pal’s vision for a better world. if i die suddenly because i got hit by a car, please donate money to bike advocacy groups like bikepgh or times up! nyc.
3) today my boss took me to lunch & we were talking about our origins. i said my family is originally from the bronx but moved to long island around the time that a whole bunch of other working-class white people were fleeing the bronx (i.e. the 1950’s). my boss said, in a faraway voice, “i went to the bronx when i was a little boy. we went to the zoo…to see the penguins…” (he’s 78.) he got quiet for a while and when i looked at him i noticed there were tears in his eyes. it was an oddly beautiful, poignant moment.
4) his daughter, however, remains a fucking bitch, and i was sorely tempted to key her motherfucking lexus today. but i shan’t get into that.
5) why does obama think that an economic stimulus plan is a good idea? why does anyone? it clearly doesn’t work (although i would certainly love a spare couple hundred bucks, duh)
6) out of all the upcoming things i have to be excited about this month, the thing i am most excited about is watching “home alone” with my siblings, and hearing my brother say, “santy claus don’t visit the funeral home, little buddy!” in that truly deranged way. don’t let me down, sibs!
7) i think i may be falling into a girl-shaped trap. if you know what i mean. complications may ensue.
8. i haven’t done a damn thing for christmas, and what’s more is that i don’t care.
9) at this time next week, barring any disasters, i’ll be in new york! it’ll be christmas eve! i cannot believe that this year is over, how crazy it’s been, how drastically fucking different my life is from a year ago, and any other number of things.
10) the khia song “my neck, my back” has been stuck in my head all day, which is a hilarious song to be playing in your mind while you’re hard at work at a law firm. even if it is, you know, the weirdest law firm in the world. it’s still not work appropriate! even though nobody knows it’s stuck in my head besides me.
(the subject heading for this entry is stolen from my friends claire & stephanie’s hilarious modification to the hook of the beyonce song “single ladies”)
whoa! i feel like this weekend i ran into lots of peeps i haven’t seen in a while, and they were like, “so, what’s up?” and i was all, “aah, nothing” and they looked at me like i am boring or something, when the truth is “aah, nothing” is my code word for “OMG like so many things are going on in my heart and mind and life and i haven’t found the words yet to describe them, even though i spend my whole life, like, trying to perfectly define my experience via the english language i am, like, dumbfounded because my life is so wild.”
but is it really? i guess so. i guess every day is an adventure, and even the boring ones have at least something to be learned from. yesterday sucked and i was in a very grumpy mood. at book ’em, we’ve taken to checking the packages before we send them out, to ensure that the address is right & that that inmate is still in prison, so we don’t waste $$ on returns. this involves typing their DOC numbers into their state’s prison website. some prison websites have photos, some don’t.
i was doing this task at book ’em yesterday, and i entered this arkansas dude’s number in there. up popped a picture of this guy that looked so evil; a chill went down my spine. even though i’ve only been checking packages for a short time, you can tell by someone’s mug shot when they’re in there for murder. they have a different look in their eyes than the robbers, the arsonists, the drug dealers. this guy was in there for murder.
a list of his tattoos revealed that he is a nazi. swastikas on his thighs, white power crosses on his shoulder, a whole bunch everywhere. fifty tattoos, they inventory each one. i know the person who did this package; he’s very dear to me. he’s also jewish. i was tempted to write “a jew sent you these books!” on the outside but felt it wouldn’t be a good idea.
& this is just five minutes of the whirlwind, just five minutes.
the drone of a vacuum + “it’s not unusual” (that god awful easy listening song) + my boss’ daughter’s shrill voice bitching about some insignificant thing or other = a combination of noise that makes me feel like my soul is dying.
of course, i am bitching about some insignificant thing in criticizing someone else for bitching about some insignificant thing. but at least you can’t hear me!
the first real snowfall was super. i spent it with a cute boy. he fell off his bike on the train tracks, i slipped on the ice on 53rd street and banged my tailbone up. we ate almost-free brunch and free cookies. we made snow angels. we made out. my neighbors might hate me a little more now, but i don’t care, man, i don’t care!
lawrenceville is so quiet. this quiet doubles in the snowfall. it still, nearly a year and a half later, blows my mind that i live here. it’s so random.
sometimes updating one’s blog with mundane details of one’s life is kind of nice. perhaps i had something real to say, but i think i’m going to save it for the zine. perhaps i had something real to say, at some point in time, but i think i’d rather go home and make some bread pudding out of the stale-yet-delicious bread i got at my favorite thrift store on thursday. yeah!