Monthly Archives: March 2009

like flies on shit, part 2

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i’m at book ’em & i was using the bathroom & i heard a man and a woman screaming at each other. i heard him hit her & ran out of the bathroom to see what the fuck was going on. the woman was already on the phone calling the cops, screaming about how he hit her, how he tore her earring out.
the cops came surprisingly fast & i followed them out. the guy (an ex-con volunteer who was here for the first time) was screaming, “you a lying bitch. you a lying bitch. ain’t no witnesses!” and i stepped forward and said, “actually, i heard the whole thing from the bathroom. i heard you hit her.” and that was so scary, & the look on his face, & oh. shit. oh fucking shit.
i am aware of the implications of being a white girl doing political work in a poor black neighborhood handing over a black ex-con to some white cops. i am also aware that every time i see a woman hit & do nothing, it kills me a little more. in fact, i had JUST come from a violence-against-women poetry event where i read a poem about seeing a woman getting choked on a subway platform in the bronx. your silence will not protect you, right? & so i said something. nothing happened to him, of course. the cops were scoffing, “aw, it’s just a domestic argument.” like, who cares.
the most fucked up part of the story? while i was hiding in the back getting upset quietly because i couldn’t take it anymore, the woman got picked up by a friend. five minutes later, they came back to the center & picked him up. they picked him up. he got into the car.
i am pretty speechless & super-terrified of retaliation. i am feeling triggered and teary and numb. i am still at the mert & thinking of going home but unsure of what i’d do there. unsure if this car full of crazy people is going to recognize me & do something fucked-up. i kind of really don’t want to go down into that basement full of ex-cons who know that i squealed. they don’t know my reasons for it; & how can i tell them? they don’t give a shit. why would they give a shit? they don’t understand. and i don’t understand what they have gone through. and….and….and….i don’t know. i don’t even know what else to say.

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yet another conversation with my boss i felt the need to document.

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[scene: ocean, t. {a fellow 26-year-old. he’s a lawyer though, not a secretary like me}, and my boss discuss finding a defendant who’s gone awol. this defendant is the same age as ocean and t., which is relevant.]

boss: she’s not in the phone book.

ocean: i don’t think it’s all that weird for someone our age to not be in the phone book, cuz most people our age don’t have land lines. now i have TRIED to get a landline SO HARD, but neither house i’ve lived in has a verizon box, and verizon wants to charge me hundreds of dollars to install one! [facetiously] i think they should be thrilled that someone in the 18-35 age group actually WANTS a land line, and just give me the damn thing!

boss: [semi-facetiously] there you go, complaining about everything again [note: i rarely complain about things in my boss’ presence]

me: well, don’t you think it’s stupid that a dying industry is rejecting customers?

boss: [thinks about it] you’d better watch out, or else they’ll renounce your citizenship! you’ll have to go up north, to canada.
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also, i am really tired of my current haircut, but i can’t think of a better one. i can think of about ten that would look good if i didn’t have glasses but would look shitty with my big old honking frames. incidentally, i am really fucking tired of glasses, but i think that getting contacts is one of those things i will always talk about and never actually do.

like flies on shit.

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lately i’ve been having weird interactions with people who have wished me great harm in the past and caused lots of problems for me. first of all, i found out that somebody who (to put it extremely lightly) i’ve had issues with in the past has found out about this blog & is possibly reading it. this makes me feel extremely censored on my own blog, because i don’t want this person knowing anything about me, my daily life, what i think about, etc. i realize that’s one of the perils of having a public blog, but it still makes me feel massively unsafe in my own space. if that’s you, i’d really appreciate it if you’d respect my boundaries & not read this thing (or my zines, but i guess if you already have them there’s not much i can do about that). this is all just a hunch, but one that haunts me nonetheless.
yesterday i was riding my bike to the library to spend a little quality time before my stupid-ass second job, and i saw someone ELSE who, to put it lightly, i had issues with. she was a pregnant teen squatter who stayed at my ex-girlfriend’s house for several months, and was so incredibly mean and manipulative and fucked-up that two people moved out & i had a nervous breakdown. of course, my ex cared way more about helping out random punx than she did about her own housemates’ and girlfriend’s mental health and safety, and during the numerous house meetings held about whether or not to kick this girl out, she always blocked consensus. so instead of kicking this girl out in october, before things came to a head, when it was still warm out and she was only 4 months pregnant, she wound up getting kicked out in january, when it was freezing & she was seven months pregnant & a lot of words had been yelled & a lot of tears had been spilled & i was in a near-state of catatonia. my girl axi saved the day for me there & i will always be grateful for that & for her.
needless to say, pregnant teen squatter girl hates us (by “us” i mean me and axi. i don’t know if she even knows that axi is dead.) a lot, and in some ways i don’t blame her. i haven’t seen her since then, which was january 2004, and yesterday i saw her walking with her kid in front of the library. i don’t know if she recognized me, cuz i was wearing a bike helmet & i look hella different, but i sure as hell recognized her. i literally jumped, involuntarily, and almost fell off my bike. she looked old (she’s 22 now), and tired, and crazy, in that order. i felt really bad for her, and all of the old anger was gone, replaced by a deep, deep sadness for her and her fucked-up life and all the impossible choices that impoverished, abused, mentally ill women are forced to make in this shitty goddamn world. i looked back at her. she didn’t look back at me. i don’t know if she knows i live in pittsburgh now. i knew she was here. i’ve heard rumors about how she’s abusing her kid & how she’s trying to get him taken away from the other parent. the other parent is trans & this girl is playing up the transphobia of the court system to deny the other parent custody. i was hoping that, like eminem, having someone (aka her kid) that genuinely loved her–just one person–would change her life deeply. i know it’s not that simple, and i know it’s a naive thing to wish, but i wished it anyway.

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i would just like to announce that, thanks to the magic of the wordpress stats tracker, i have learned that people have found this site by googling the following things: “dancing naked on a bar”, “gayz”, “kastoory” (the name of one of my BFF’s back in new york, probably googling herself. hey girl!), “the future frightens me”, “tape loops for therapy”, “‘hugz for free’ shirt” and “gayz feet video.” wow!
i would also like to announce that literally every street in pittsburgh that i ride my bike down is covered in broken glass. like, literally every one. i’ve covered a decent amount of ground this week–bloomfield, garfield, squirrel hill, oakland and of course good old lawrenceville–and everywhere i go i navigate my tires delicately over a constellation of broken glass. it’s really pretty, but also really nerve-wracking, cuz i really don’t feel like replacing my tires again. i just replaced the back one last spring! and that’s silly to replace them so soon.
i would also like to announce that yesterday, while miserably sitting at a cubicle at job #2 calling people who don’t want to talk to me, i had the revelation that the reason why both my jobs are sucking so hard lately is because it’s the universe kicking my ass & reminding me not to get complacent in my current life. i really loved my primary job for a long time, but now it SUCKS. partially cuz i’m really overworked now [….as i type a blog on company time….] and not really getting any more $$, and partially because my boss is going senile, and partially because i am an aries and the universe punishes us if we EVER, for a second, let ourselves get complacent or rut-like or (gawd forbid) BORING. i don’t think my life is boring, but it’s certainly less exciting than it used to be. i am certainly challenging myself less & i think it is time to make an escape plan. not necessarily from this city, but definitely from this job.

i went to wheeling, WV this weekend…

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…and here are some bizarre things that i saw. wheel-always-havwe-wheeling-009

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isn’t this AMAZING!?!?! it was at the gay bar.

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isn’t this even more amazing??!! in case you don’t know, 516 is the area code for long island, ny, where i hail from! to think that ANOTHER book-mad long islander wound up in the totally random town of wheeling makes me really happy.

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we did both.

(not pictured: the shoe hospital downtown [yes, a hospital for shoes, much like the teddy bear hospital {but more useful}], a witch supply store, following a bunch of over-the-top drag queens from a mediocre gay bar to a much better one, making out in a cage above the dance floor in said gay bar, having pretty much everyone we encountered be completely shocked that we came to wheeling. it is entirely possible that we are the only people who ever visited wheeling just for shits and giggles. i thought it was fun, but i was very glad to go back home in the morning, and very glad that i don’t live there [even though there are a whole lot of gorgeous abandoned houses that are probz dirt cheap].)

argh!

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may i just take advantage of this public forum to shout that the series finale of “the L word” was the STUPIDEST thing ever? i don’t know why i expected anything else, after literally years of the stupidest show ever, but it REALLY surprised me how fucking stupid it turned out to be. like, jawdroppingly so.

in other news, i am at work and really pissed off about nearly everything in my life. i checked my myspace horoscope for today and the first two sentences were, literally, “All good things must come to an end. The party is over.” Yikes!! how alarming. but, i knew this was coming.

i’m really pissed off at my boss’ exploitation of me; writing and reading blogs on company time makes me feel a little better (so does copying zines & doing book ’em work), but does it really change anything? no. capitalism still has me in a chokehold (a rather privileged chokehold, due to my white skin & college degree & fairly not-too-bad-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things job, but a chokehold nonetheless) & my boss still makes $200 per hour and i make $11. there is absolutely no need for this enormous disparity, yet, it exists. yet, there is really not shit i can do about it.

yesterday at book ’em an ex-con read a letter and exclaimed, “look! this guy wants stuff on gangSTERS and gangSTAS!” i thought that’s what the guy requested specifically, which is funny enough, but he actually wanted biographies of several gangsters, plus master P. how random.

later in the day, the guy who exclaimed got into his life’s story, about being a homeless crack addict and living in the woods, about being rejected from rehab because he lived in the woods and didn’t have a job, about robbing a bank and doing everything he possibly could to get caught because he wanted to be away from crack, and not getting caught and smoking lots of crack with the money he’d stolen and then robbing another bank and getting 4 and a half years in the federal pen. this dude is a jovial white guy who i thought was in there for bad checks or maybe a few dui’s or something. people are so intense!

just another friday.

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my boss has either been absent from the office, or busy with other stuff all day, so i’ve spent most of the day reading “jesse in jail”, which is a really intense website full of letters from a transdude who did 3 months in a federal (women’s) prison for protesting the school of the americas. it’s beautiful and inspiring and haunting, especially the part called 32 bones. it was a bit of a tear-jerker, which is kind of lousy for the office, but whatever. there’s a link on the left-hand side, if you’d like to read it (which i highly suggest you do, especially if you fancy yourself some sort of prison activist)
what else? me and amanda had our FIRST OFFICIAL OUTDOORS FRIDAY LUNCH DATE of 2009. yes! thanks to global warming, no cowering in a house or coffee shop. back to the cannon at arsenal park, which is where we belong. well, i didn’t quite make it to the cannon, as it was swarming with teen boys when i got there & i wasn’t really in the mood to be called a faggot repeatedly. so we lunched on the wall, which was just as good.
today my boss asked me, out of nowhere, “how many pairs of shoes do you have?” i replied, “ten.” he said, “every woman should have at least ten pairs of shoes!” i said, “but i only really wear three on a regular basis.” he pondered this for a second, and then said, “so the rest are in hibernation. that’s great!” and then we went back to work.

sweet strange things.

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yesterday i went to the east end community thrift store for some frenzied pre-night-shift thrift shopping. while i was locking up my bike i saw a cardboard box on the curb, with a bunch of trash. it was empty, and written in imposing black letters on the top it said: “BILL. DO NOT OPEN THIS. I WILL KICK YOUR ASS. DONNA.” i am writing about this mainly because i didn’t have my camera, and i want to remember it. it was so interesting for some reason.

also, last week i had a very sweet interaction with my favorite crossing guard in lawrenceville. i love this woman. she’s so relentlessly positive, but not in a fake, annoying way. she works the corner near my lawrenceville job/ex-house, so i’ve been seeing her often for a long time now. she’ll say hi to me and yell things like, “i just can’t wait to go home and curl up with a good book! and some tea! that’s all i need.”
anyway, i was waiting at the light, about to climb up a hill to oakland and my stupid night job. she said, “where are you going on that thing, anyway?” i said, “oakland.” she was shocked and said, “all the way to oakland! on a bike! wow, i could never do that.” (oakland is about 2.5 miles away from that particular spot) then she declared, “you’re my heroine!” i yelled, “no, you’re my heroine!” she looked a little confused by that, and the light changed so i didn’t have time to explain that she’s my heroine because she is genuinely nice to everyone, how she stands out on that cold corner and doesn’t bitch and moan about it, how she is a beacon of positive energy in this sometimes relentlessly depressing city. so instead, i just said, “high five?” and slapped her five as i headed up the long, steep hill.

p.s. in accordance with the title of this blog post, i have a lot of other sweet things going on in my life right now, but i’m feeling strangely tightlipped about them, both on the internet & IRL. i’m not talking about them on the internet because i am superstitious about certain things & petrified of jinxing them. i don’t talk about them in real life because i can’t think of a single person i know who would really be all that interested, and that makes me a little sad.

p.p.s. i am hungry. i recently learned that curried lentils mixed with macaroni & peas is fucking delicious! on the more high-end scale o’ things, i had a fresh mozzerella sandwich the other day and it was so fucking delicious i can hardly think of anything else.