Category Archives: Late Night Aka Probably Drunk

You may or may not know me from the JumboTron

Tonight my face was featured on the JumboTron. Why I was in the vicinity of a JumboTron is incidental; for the purposes of this story, just imagine that I have one in my bedroom.

Seeing my image up there was exhilarating in a way that terrifies me now. To my knowledge, my face has never before been 10 feet wide, but I think this is the scale I’ve been trying to effect on Facebook lately. As I’ve plundered the site this past month, looking for ways to appease my loneliness, I’ve slowly gathered that it’s not other people I’m so desperately seeking, but a proper presentation of myself. I’m longing for what? A self who makes sense in the context of all these other selves doing busywork outside my apartment. If I could only get it right here, in these well-trafficked places, then I could sit solidly in my chair and be someone calm and important. Tonight, as I primped in the bathroom mirror, I told my mom, “I finally figured out how to make my hair do. It didn’t do before, but now it does.” I feel that my internet persona strikes the same shallow register as my enhanced body of hair. At this point I’m just fluffing random parts and spraying product in all directions, hoping for some degree of positive attention.

Darren Hoyt recently wrote a blog post about anxiety and the internet, inspired by an N+1 piece published last November. As I grapple in Virginia with my book’s many empty pages, I think about bullshit websites and my presence on them. When you dance from place to place, you’re not forced to uncover meaning in your surroundings. When you tangle with identity only here and there, you can’t authentically untangle yourself (I know, First World Problems, fuck it). I realize that I’ll never write a good novel with one foot still in Facebook, but I rationalize that the constant distraction of web browsing is productive insofar as it makes me hate myself better, which I am told is good fodder for fiction. Ha ha, totally kidding.

I’m going to try to bring this all together now. Wine is not my friend this evening and Pandora has confused me with one of his other lovers, a pretentious electronica DJ.

Hours after my face darkened the JumboTron, I expected to be recognized by strangers in the street. “It’s really me! The one with the giant head!” But peoples’ reactions were surprisingly muted. Therefore I came home to Facebook, which I knew contained my biography in a comforting, manageable, place-holding format, where my life will stay put until I’m brave enough to venture off screens both small and jumbo, and put something right and real on paper.

The cosmic cure for nailbiting

I have been a nailbiter since I was very young. Sometimes I attribute this to the same sort of neurological anomaly that makes small children sniff glue or pregnant women eat dirt. On good days I think, “I am like a momma chimp picking lice out of her baby’s hair, except I am both momma chimp and baby chimp.”  Other times I think despondently, “Maybe this is simply a bad habit within my control, except I have no discipline whatsoever.” But more often the nailbiting seems so out of control, especially when I’m driving down the road, trying to conform a bit of cuticle to my specific compulsive vision, all the while knowing that I am distracted enough to crash into a telephone pole but it will be worth it because my finger will be shredded just right on the gurney. It’s a sickness. I realize that. But I’ve been helpless to cure it. Even when the whole world says “Gross.” Even when I say “Gross.” There’s still something so satisfying about tearing my hands apart.

But no more! I have been cured. And it wasn’t the bad-tasting nail polish or the synthetic nails or the hypnosis or the tape or the gloves or the sedatives or whatever. I can honestly say that the universe cured my nailbiting. Or rather the universe by way of my godmother. Because she read my chi – when up until last week I didn’t even know I had one – and she told me that I wanted to get rid of my body. This is true. I’ve always been separate from my body because, let’s face it, my body is not that great. Despite the fact that tonight I sensationally dropped an edamame down my cleavage, I would readily trade my body for a few more brain cells. My body is pretty much worthless to me unless it’s wearing something really cute.

My godmother says that Christianity has instilled in us this dichotomy between mind and body wherein we privilege the intellectual/spiritual sphere over the physical. “Yes,” I say to her. “I feel that.” And then she says that we’re all actually one thing, that there’s no separation. “Yes,” I say. “I believe you’re right.” What she’s getting at is that we’re whole beings, interconnected, cosmically integrated into the couch, the stars, the popsicle, the soy bean buried in my bra. We can’t discard or abuse our bodies because we’ll simultaneously be hurting our deepest selves. That makes sense to me. But what makes special sense is when you take this concept of the universe being a single, indivisible entity with good intentions and you apply it to the bloody tips of my fingers. Why am I trying to destroy the universe? By biting my nails I am undoing all of the important work of the cosmos. I am the character in science fiction who wants to explode planets where cute, furry aliens inhabit utopias. I am a space brat. I’m destroying my nails because I don’t believe in God, order, love, or the mind/body connection.

And frankly that’s all it took to stop biting. I just had to redefine my bad habit in terms of the universe at large. In two months I’m going to be able to scratch my itches for the first time since I was five. I’ll be able to pick a quarter up off the floor! And, as a bonus, I might go to heaven too. I’m not Cinderella (at least while I wait for these 10 nubs to grow out), but I do have a fairy godmother. And I probably helped someone today. That’s just me giving back to the cosmos that made me.

Jonas in the belly of a whale, not a teenage girl

I have a lot of things on my plate, including a trip to ALASKA tomorrow. Not that my Xanax will prevent a plane crash. Did someone say Xanax? I know it’s the night before, but maybe I should get a head start on the drugs. We’re talking about the same cross-country travel plans that I tried to coordinate via railroad, but it turns out Amtrak doesn’t go to Juneau. You would think that expressing my fears about flying in a blog post would be therapeutic, but no. I only imagine CNN picking up the story about a young blogger dying in a tragic plane crash shortly after predicting said plane crash online. She must be some kind of clairvoyant, says CNN, with flattering photo. I only have one thing keeping me motivated: whales. They’re waiting for me. And they have way more to be worried about than I do. But look at them, fearless, still whaling it up. God, I just want to feed them and caress them and dock on them. If they can travel to Alaska, so must I. If only their journey involved Detroit airport, Seattle airport, TCBY, Cinnabon, Sbarro’s, Us Magazine, a tiny bottle of vodka, then they might understand. I will be fine. Seriously, don’t worry about me. Unless you’re selling sedatives, in which case meet me at the Richmond airport at noon.

The Virginia Festival of the Book is like Bonnaroo but for sexy people

Why do I say that? No reason.

I’m outrageous!

The truth is the Virginia Festival of the Book is better than any music festival you can shake a porcupine pie at and that’s because the VFB doesn’t buy into the whole concept of “cool” or even that of “music festival.” The VA Festival of the Book doesn’t try to wow you with its “Clean Vibes’ Trading Posts” or its Yoga Classes or its rock ‘n’ roll or its Yeah Yeah Yeahs. People don’t bus onto the festival grounds because they want to get a henna tattoo and smoke weed with John Grisham. They come because I’m here. In my capacity as a headlining VFB blogger, I demand that you join me for this important event, March 18-22, 2009. Here are some highlights:

Stephen L. Carter of Yale and John Grisham of My Pants are going to have a handsome contest and I don’t know who’s going to win, but I will be judging strenuously. I feel bad for the writers who aren’t given enough credit for being sex objects. I want to print their book jackets on giant posters and distribute them to teen girls.

Doctors are going to bridge the gap between medicine and writing. I am going to grow a hernia thinking of something funny to say about it. Then the doctors are going to operate on me and I’ll be cured! Haha!

Rita Dove is going to read from her new book of poetry accompanied by a member of the Dave Matthews Band, Boyd Tinsley. He will be jamming on his electric poetry violin which will plug into his poetry road amp, nicknamed Will-jam Butler Yeats. Maybe Nikki Jamiovanni. Oh god.

Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, is going to eat croutons and peanut butter sausages or perhaps something even more unexpected at his business breakfast.

I am going to have an awesome time shmoozing at the Authors’ Reception, just like last year when I met these precocious young ladies and ate my weight in hors d’oeuvres and (swoon!) got a literary agent’s e-mail address. The VFB Authors’ Reception is my Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

The perils of drinking until you set the noodles on fire

The last time I made the freshman “cooking while drunk” error was five years ago when I lit spaghetti on fire after an evening of karaoke in Northern Virginia. But last night I really wanted macaroni, and macaroni wanted me. But I only got as far as boiling a pot of water before the house started smelling like burning. So I guess I burned some water. Incidentally, you can’t throw a pot of water on something burning when the water itself is burning, because you’ll just add fuel to the fire. And that, Julia Childs, is how you make Eau Flambe.

The big game

I’ve been carbo-loading for days (maybe weeks), so I think I’m finally ready for the big soccer game tomorrow. A steady diet of mashed potatoes, macaroni, pizza, beer, and cookies always serves me well in competitive situations. However there has been a fingernail or an almond or something stuck in my throat for 24 hours now, and it’s throwing me off. Every time I swallow it’s like getting bitten by a little bug on my esophagus. Perhaps during play tomorrow I won’t swallow; I will spit. There’s nothing that symbolizes victory more than a ponytailed, spitting girl who likes to run around and kick people in the nuts.

I hate school

Wistar’s nightly news:

1. My cousin Mimi just got engaged.

2. My fiction class thinks I’m gross. I took the criticism very well in the classroom tonight, but now I want to curl up and die. Sometimes words take a while to sink in. Words like “Wistar, I felt like your story was bludgeoning me.”

3. I am going to become an expert on amputation. Does anyone have a friend or relative who has had something amputated recently? I am specifically looking for information about transtibial prostheses.

4. I booked a hotel room in Williamsburg for Homecoming weekend. I hope there is more going on at W&M than the usual football game, a capella group reunions, and pancake-eating. Please come hang out with me at the back of the Green Leafe. It has been five years since graduation and my alcohol tolerance has gone way down. You might glean some slurred wisdom about what life has taught me in the intervening years about failure, suffering, and the proper way to apply makeup.

I know I have been absent

I thank everyone who wrote to ask about my grandmother’s health. I thank everyone who commented on my blog, even though I did not respond. I am thankful that my grandma was on the rehab hall of the nursing facility, and not the feces hall, where old men groaned in wheelchairs and ran into my shins from time to time when they wanted me to take them back to their rooms. I was looking at the phone book and the old man crashed into me with his desperate request. “You can’t take him,” said the nurse. “If he’s in his room, he will try to get into his bed and hurt himself.” I asked him where he lived and he emphatically spelled out his last name, like I had a Rolodex that would tell me everything. I wish I did. I knew nothing about the Alzheimer’s, the senility. I knew nothing about my grandmother’s roommate, who had to be fed by a nurse and who frequently sent her oatmeal back for being too cold. I am excited because my friends Jason and Jessie are getting married this weekend. Life seems to be picking up again. I started a class tonight with a young teacher who has funny stories to tell. She also inspires me because she is a writer and a waitress. I am less than a waitress. I aspire to be a waitress. If only someone would support me in this dream. I like to bring people food. I am planning my trip back to Williamsburg for my five-year Homecoming. I hope to run into people, and to show them that I am no longer a wreck. I hope to watch some bad football while drunk. Maybe football will be my new sport, after doing laundry. I hope that ex-boyfriends will be amazed by me. I am putting sea algae on my nails to grow them. I am thinking of condensing my entire novel to 50 pages so I can figure out what’s important in it. I wonder if I am getting too wide for striped shirts. I will not put any more poetry on my blog for a while. I didn’t really mean it as poetry; I meant it as the transcription of a dream. It’s scary putting yourself out there. I am starting a bridge club for my grandmother, to replace her weekly group of card-playing widows in Georgia. Darren and I watched some soccer tonight at Zinc – Barcelona versus Lyon. There were some loud French persons sitting across from us at the bar but I didn’t get up the courage to ask them my carefully rehearsed questions in French. I told myself I didn’t want to distract them from the athletics, but in actuality I was afraid because I didn’t know how to apologize for speaking terrible French in French. I ate some of Darren’s mashed potatoes though. Good night.

When are things going to start happening on my internet?

Shit, maybe I should have gone out tonight after all.

Oh My Lord I Will Keep Going Until They Stop Me

There is always microwave popcorn to put an end to all of this jibber jabber. Put something in the microwave and I will be distracted forever. Same goes for ice in a glass. I am going to sign out. This is enough for tonight.