So far the birds in the backyard have not started flocking to the block of food I provided for them. I don’t know what their problem is. I happen to love blocks of food, especially in wintertime. This bird meal cost me $7, and it’s basically a family-style lasagna. If any birds are reading my blog, I urge them to give this food a chance.
I got peed on, but not in a good way. The baby’s urine ran down my thigh from the changing table, and I remembered every rejection I’d ever experienced. Not really. That would have been too easy. It took days of wearing those same jeans for the piss to sink in on an existential level. A writer must have a thick skin, but my skin is sticky with pee. A nice girl must have a thick skin, but I went out afterward in my pee jeans, thinking, “Why am I all about town tonight? I was just peed upon.” The baby didn’t mean it maliciously. He was just a boy baby doing what boy babies do. He was just marking his territory. He was, frankly, just being an asshole. But that’s a different story.
The toddler upstairs locates a recorder and launches a one-boy parade.
The next door neighbor decides that it’s time for him, and for the rest of the apartment complex, to fall in love again with the Destiny’s Child song catalog.
My head bangs against the wall and/or the heating pipe when I startle from a dream. The heating pipe is worse because it tends to burn.
The woman living below my bed wakes up her children for school, everyone in her household already combative at 7am. The heating pipe that vertically connects our apartments carries her voice to my ears in muffled, yet somehow still booming notes, giving me the impression that I am crunched upside-down inside the womb of a terrible mother, and I feel free to dread the rest of my life.
A few weeks ago I went to Penn Station at 8pm to meet my mom’s midnight train from Virginia. I was excited about spending four hours under Madison Square Garden, exploring its subterranean wealth of eating and drinking options. I’ve been to some tasty restaurants in Manhattan, but you don’t truly know a city until you’ve dined in its train stations. I thought I could get some good writing done in the back of TGI Friday’s. I ordered wine and french fries. I noted in my journal that TGI Friday’s is exactly the opposite of the way it’s depicted in TV commercials. The waiter didn’t want me there. If I had ordered a $17 plate of buffalo wings, or if he’d been accustomed to Salman Rushdie drafting novels at one of his sticky tables, perhaps things would have been different. At a certain point I could no longer deny that both he and the waitress wrapping flatware in paper napkins were judging me harshly.
That’s the first indication it will turn out badly. The second indication is that I have nothing to say. Here is what time is doing lately: inching, edging, creeping, lurking. It is twisting in my back. It doesn’t spare me, it doesn’t take pity on me. It doesn’t let me sit by the side of the road for a minute to rest my legs. It treads, it marches, it drags me along with it.
In class the other day, my professor quoted this poem by Bill Knott:
The only response
to a child’s grave is
to lie down before it and play dead
I have been trying. I have been motioning surrender with my hands and my feet. I have been telling time to stop, to reverse. I’ve been holding as still as I possibly can. I’ve breathed in nothing but dirt and November. I’ve frozen my mouth so it’s beyond words. And yet I will wake up tomorrow. Tomorrow I will wake up.
It seems that I am directing my normal, healthy anger toward the grief handbooks which are trying to teach me that my anger is normal and healthy.
New York seems like an especially crappy place to be disabled. Someone in my school is disabled and as we rode in a campus elevator today I commented that last week the Fifth Avenue subway station elevator was full of fresh pee and he said, “That’s nothing. In the Paris Metro they shit in the elevators.” I started to think about what it would be like if Sarah Jessica Parker had no legs and in the sequel to her hit movie she had to navigate all the ritzy cocktail bars in Manhattan from a wheelchair and how that would bring a lot of attention to the issue of disabled people and the city and how people need to stop obsessing about sex so much and start focusing on proper toilet technique.
I’m feeling unhappy about the way things are going in my bank account, and years of therapy have taught me to openly express my feelings whenever it’s convenient and the feelings won’t lead to confrontation. The status of my bank account is nobody’s fault – especially not mine – but my feelings about my financial situation need a public forum.
Why doesn’t my bank account give me the money that I need to live in a highfalutin manner? I give it my everything, especially on the two days out of the month when I sometimes receive a paycheck, and I feel like I deserve more. It’s like I give and I give and I give and all I get in return are questions, statements, invoices, deficits. I start feeling bad about myself. I already have self-esteem issues, so why am I in this abusive relationship? I know I should just get out, say goodbye to the debt and the disgrace, but something inside me says, “Keep up the hard work. It will get better. Someday you will be able to afford Chipotle again.” And then I find out that a check bounced and my credit card had to kick in $200 at 50% interest just to keep me afloat.
And it’s like, why are you treating me this way? What did I ever do to you? All I did was try to grow up in an upper middle class home without any concerns about money, and now it’s like I’m being punished just because sometimes I got bicycles for Christmas and I was always above health insurance because my dad said I didn’t need any damn antibiotics, or stitches for that matter, and how dare my bank account get all high and mighty on me now like just because I don’t have a real job with real benefits I should be taken down a notch when it comes to writing bad checks to my creditors. So they bounce sometimes! So what! Who are you, Mademoiselle Bank Account? The Queen of Sheba of Financial Solvency? It’s like you don’t even care about the person – no, the ARTIST – behind the lack of money! It’s like all you care about is what’s coming in and out of the stupid account. I am a person with feelings and I am suffering direly from feeling poor. It actually hurts me, deep inside. But no, you don’t give a shit about feelings. Well I’ll tell you what, Miss Cold-hearted Bank, you are a grade-A insensitive jerk-off. And the next time I receive a paycheck, I am going to keep it to myself because you don’t even deserve it. Signed, Fuck You, made out to CASH.
This blog is going downhill in a hurry.
I’ve been cleaning around the same objects at our house for almost four years, and just the other day I realized that every time I vacuum or mop around the red chairs at our kitchen table, I subconsciously think that they’re snobby. I’m trying to help them, keep them free of cobwebs, brownie crumbs, etc., and yet they always treat me like I’m some kind of fool. They have this condescending way of standing there while I work around them, like they think I’m weird and inferior. It doesn’t help that I always save the dining area until last because I dread those bitchy chairs; by the time I get to them I’m all sweaty and pungent from my cleaning efforts and the chairs just ostracize me more. I hate them, and yet I keep going back to them, like those popular girls in high school.
I am now failing to think of any piece of furniture in my house that does like me. I’ve never sensed much animosity coming from the downstairs toilet, but the linoleum surrounding it is extremely hard to please. I mop the tiles quickly because I know they just want me out of the bathroom. The wall-to-wall carpet tends toward nonjudgmental, but it also lacks personality. It doesn’t have an opinion about being dirty and I think that creates a certain distance between us. I always feel comfortable with myself when I’m working in the kitchen sink. We have a good relationship. Perhaps it’s something cathartic about the drain. It’s so accepting of all my dirty water. I feel like I’m betraying the sink when I let Darren do the dishes. This feeling is a huge inconvenience after a big dinner.
Sometimes I want to lie under the couch cushions until someone vacuums me up. I am a very thorough housekeeper, but perhaps too sensitive for the job.
When I called the cops on my neighbors for the third time (yes, I am that asshole), I tried to act as victimized as possible. I said, “Please, officer. Just tell me what I can do.” He said I should keep a diary for a month in which I record every bark out of that neglected hound dog’s mouth. Then I would have some legal recourse. I was like, “Wow. I’m actually being instructed to keep a diary. This is a dream come true.” I told my husband that I was keeping a hound dog diary and he said, “Make it juicy.” So here we go.
Saturday, January 17, 7am: Damn I’m horny. I just want to rub my testicles on a lady hound dog. But all the lady hound dogs live in the country where they won’t pester their neighbors. So I will have to crush on the bookish woman next door who always yells at me to shut up. I will express my crush in incessant, guttural, glorious howling at her bedroom window.
Wednesday, January 28, 3pm: OMG she was totally reading today on her back porch. I barked at her for like an hour while my redneck owners cranked the volume on their satellite TV. She totally digs me.
Saturday, February 14, 8am: Bad news. I’m pretty sure the woman next door tried to assassinate me this morning. I was just doing my thing in the backyard, braying at the rising sun, when suddenly she was looking down on me from her back porch, poised solemnly with a hand grenade. After I got over my excitement at seeing her in pajamas (Old Navy!), I registered her weapon and her intent and I loudly demanded an explanation. I put my face right up against the chain link fence, lubricated the metal with my chicken liver saliva, howled magnificently, tried to make her understand that I was a good dog, nothing like those other dogs she’s known. I seriously turned on the charm. And yet I still got the feeling she wanted to explode me. Eventually she took some pills and went inside. Bitches be so confusing.
Sunday, March 1, 11am: Things are looking up. She was reading again on her back porch and I could tell she couldn’t concentrate on her book because she was so into me. I serenaded her until she went inside, made her feel like a princess. Treats for everyone!
Monday, March 2, 4:45pm: This fucking bitch. We take one step forward and four steps back. She’s going to call Animal Control on me? She’s going to overreact every time I wake her up on the weekend? Well she asked for it.
Wednesday, March 4, 6pm: I’m sad. It’s been two days since I’ve seen her. I think she’s gone to a hotel. I wish someone would walk me or give me a bone. Maybe I will just listen to “Rock of Love Bus” reruns through the window. Eventually someone has to let me in.
Sunday, April 5, noon: Hallelujah, I’m back in her good graces! Today she left a sirloin steak on my side of the fence. It was all I could do not to eat the whole thing right away as a sign of my forgiveness. Now I’m feeling a little groggy, snoozy, not so much like barky hound dog. Does anyone have any blow? Squirrel, why are you sitting on my brain? Someone take this meat off my teeth. Hush, puppies! Haha hush puppies, like the shoes. Wait, is that right? Dogs don’t wear shoes in the daytime. I’m going to hump this tree and you puppies are going to be sorry! My balls like to curl up under this tree to go to sleep forever. All dogs go to heaven. Purina!
I think I misunderstood the assignment.