Monthly Archives: February 2009

onstage ghosts.

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yesterday i had a strange and beautiful experience. i was angrily stomping around butler street on my lunch break when i saw a flyer saying that bitch (of bitch and animal fame) was playing at a coffee shop in the hood that night. i don’t normally listen to her music, but i had a feeling that it would be an interesting thing to see live, and i was right. i was thinking about people playing music in the same room as you, how that’s such a gift, and how it’s easy to overlook what a privilege that is, what a rare special thing.

so i went home & made curried lentils & wrestled with my computer (not literally) & then went back out for the show. i laid on the floor, in a lushly carpeted & pillowed show-space, surrounded by lesbians (half of whom i know–this is pittsburgh, after all). one thing that i hadn’t expected (but i think i knew subconsciously, which i think is why i felt compelled to go so strongly) is that bitch moves like axi, and makes the same face when she sings.

have you ever known anyone who died? i think it’s not an uncommon experience to remember your dead loved one as a series of still pictures; not an animate human anymore. i think it’s not uncommon to forget their voice, forget how they moved, forget what their presence was like. partially because remembering hurts too much and partially because there’s just nothing left to remind you. and so here i was, sitting twenty feet from this woman who looks and moves so much like this other woman; something i thought i would never see again. and here it is, right in front of me.

in the between-song banter, bitch was talking about how she found a scary lump in her breast and spent a whole month totally freaking out, convinced that she was going to die, and how she made a promise to herself that if she was okay that she was going to live really fiercely, that she was going to love really hard and dance really fast and have really hot sex and do something that made a difference in her life and the lives of others. i had a very similar experience last year with a scary lump in my neck & a very similar realization stemming from it. and so after the show i went up to her & said that i’d had the same experience, and how it lit a fire under my ass. i said, “after i found out i was okay, i wrote a book, because i realized i didn’t have any more time to waste. and you need to let the lump be a gift.” her eyes got really wide, like she really needed to hear it. “what is your book about?!?!!” she yelled, but then she got pulled away by someone else.

so i wrote my email address on her mailing list, and then drew a bunch of arrows pointing to the other side of the page, and wrote “p.s. my lump-inspired book is about kale and compost piles and group-house love and the families we make when our own throw us away…” [which is not really an accurate description, but it’s what i could think of at that moment. i get flustered trying to explain my book.] i was chatting with this lady i know and then bitch came back and said, “wait! so what’s it about?” and i showed her what i wrote and she yelled, “I LOVE YOU!” and gave me a big hug, and the whole thing was so exactly what axi would have done. it was fucking eerie, and so unexpected, and so so beautiful. i didn’t cry; i went to the lesbo bar with some acquaintances of mine & then rode my bike home super fast, feeling triumphant and safe and loved.

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three reasons why my job rulez

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1. yesterday, i saw a mouse run across the floor & i screamed. my boss asked what was wrong and i told him about the mouse. he pondered that for a moment, and then said, in a truly hopeful and inspired voice that i cannot replicate via text on the internet: “great! let’s have it for lunch!” (for those of you not in the know, my boss is 78, extremely eccentric, and growing more bizarre by the day.)

2. there is one half of the basement i usually don’t go into, as it contains files from 1955-1980 and we usually don’t need those. but one day last month we did & i was confronted with this gem:
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3. we have a new client who is crazy. okay, they’re all crazy, but this one especially so. whenever i call him, i’m not allowed to use his real name. i have to call him “mountain man” (because he lives on a mountain!). when i asked him why i have to do this, he said, “let’s keep them guessing, okay?” without saying who “them” might be. anyway, today he showed up for his appointment an hour early & proceeded to take a nap in the waiting room. he was woken up by my boss, coming back from lunch, shouting, “what the hell’s going on here?!!?” to which he replied, “mountain man’s taking a lil’ nap,”. my boss sniffed, “this isn’t a hotel!”

[in case you can’t tell i had 2 cupz of office coffee even though i really shouldn’t thanks to my heart. caffeine + anticipation making my toes curly against my shoes. it’s so bright outside.]

madness, city lust, lists, etc. [not work safe!]

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i’ve been super-homesick for ny lately. i still have no desire to live there. it’s like a line i read from a sherman alexie story: “looking through photo albums she got that look on her face and i knew she missed my father. not enough to want him back. she missed him just enough for it to hurt.” enough that i get irrationally angry & jealous when other people get to go there. i miss strange, little things, like riding the subway all the way from brooklyn to astoria with kastoory and buying fruit at a vegetable stand in queens with her mom. like weird guys at health food stores telling me that everything in the universe has the same basic pattern, and that both mushrooms & stars look the same inside. like going to events surrounded by beautiful queers, with people onstage screaming the truth & everyone absolutely, full-force getting it. that’s not an easy thing to turn yr back on.
in other news, super bowl sunday was strangely fun. i went to the blue moon, which is a ridics gay bar in my hood. here is a picture of most of my friends freaking out because the steelers were doing something, and me & eric semi-trying to care:
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the best part was, after we won & everyone was on the street freaking out, this drag queen named candy decided to celebrate by dancing naked in the middle of the street, which was amazing:
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(both of these pics were stolen from branden. thanks branden!)

while we were walking back to tiffini’s house, she pointed out that one street corner was full of white people freaking out, and the opposite corner was full of black people freaking out. and that made me not want to be here anymore.
anyway. lately i’ve been looking at old lists that i’ve written. i love lists. mainly just things that i love and hate. #1 on my things i hate list from 2002, when i was twenty, is “being female”, which is kinda surprising now. #1 on my things i like list from 1997, when i was fifteen, is “beavis & butthead”. why am i telling this embarrassing fact to the internet? i don’t know. i think i am overdue on making another one, and i think that it’s important to periodically reflect on how, even when things change so much, they still remain largely the same. a thought both comforting & horrifying. it