How to Get Attention

1. When you are having a bad day, say that you are having the second worst day of your life. When someone asks you what happened on the worst day of your life, tell him that was the day your mother killed herself on the way to prison to serve a jail sentence.

2. When you are having a great day, say that you are having the second best day of your life. When someone asks you what happened on the best day of your life, tell him that was the day you won the lottery and decided to give all your money away to friends and kind strangers in $10,000 increments.

3. When you are eating a slice of pie, tell people that it is the third best slice of pie you have ever eaten. When they ask about the other slices, tell them one had an engagement ring in it and the other one was made out of meat.

4. When you are swimming in a public pool, go number two.

5. When you are going to a party, bring a really good-looking baby. When someone compliments you on the cuteness of your baby, say “Thanks, but this is only my second cutest baby.” When your new friend says “ORLY?,” you say, “At home I have a shrunken fetus in a jar that I dress up in comical outfits.”

6. On a river tubing trip, make sure you drink enough rum punch so that you will throw up on the car ride home and then cry because you threw up.

7. Make sure you eat a lot of fried chicken, Doritos, and chocolate chip cookies before said trip.

8. Make sure that all your older brother’s med school friends see you throw up, but they don’t offer you first aid because they are too drunk off Natural Light.

9. Make sure you call your brother lots of times to thank him for cleaning up your parents’ van.

10. Take a trip somewhere exotic, and then host a slide show while serving expensive hors d’oeuvres like brie cheese and sushi. Then give everyone cash for coming over.

Fake Cripple

Tonight Darren and I were driving to his sister’s house for dinner, when we both spotted an old man walking down the sidewalk. In front of him, at shin-height, he held a metal walker. It seemed to me that trying to walk while carrying a walker was just creating more work for the man, even though a walker is meant to make life easier for those with bad legs and hips. He was struggling not to kick the metal while he navigated the pavement, and honestly, the thing looked heavy. I am 26, and do push-ups, but I probably couldn’t carry a walker for more than a block. So what was this old man’s story? Was he trying to get downtown quickly, where he would ground his walker and begin limping behind it like a cripple, begging for spare change? Was the sidewalk too bumpy for the walker’s wheels, so he was forced to carry it? Was it a walker he found beside someone’s trash can, salvaged with the expectation that he would need it someday? Watching him struggle, I kept thinking of someone with a wheelchair perched on his head like a bucket, jogging along with the upside-down wheels turning in the breeze. Or someone strapping a bicycle to his back and sweating on his walk along a bike path. If I ever break my ankle, I am going to buy crutches, and instead of using them to take the weight off my foot, I am going to make stilts out of them and start training for the circus.

Dinner was really good. We had vegetables from Jennifer’s garden. Big props to Jennifer in case she is reading this. I apologize for the word props. The best part of dinner was when Harper stopped in the middle of her ramikin of homemade chocolate chip ice cream to tell her mother, “I like to lick you sometimes.”

Christopher Hitchens on Harry Potter

I get the feeling that Christopher Hitchens took it easy on Harry Potter because otherwise his young daughter would not forgive him, but I still appreciate his mostly benign review. The notorious hater incorporates Hitler, George Orwell, Dickens, George W., and Arthur Conan Doyle in his criticism of the Deathly Hallows, but begrudgingly he also shows himself to be well-versed in Harry’s magical world. From a safe distance, Hitchens honors Hogwarts, even going so far as to complain about Harry, Ron, and Hermione being away from their beloved school for so long in the Hallows. I think the atheist in him probably appreciates the absence of religious references in JK Rowling’s books, even though it pains him that Christian ethics somehow infiltrate the magical realm. I also think he got paid a lot for the review. But good job Hitchens! Maybe you are becoming less of a snob. Maybe you are getting soft in your old age. I would expect a harsher treatment of Harry than of Mother Theresa, but you defied my expectations. You tried to hate, but you failed. You’re still just a little English schoolboy at heart, even though you smell like whiskey shots and your three-pack-a-day habit.

Another Scene about Race

When my sister came over, she wore little blue boots with metal straps around the ankles that resembled silver belts. Her boots were accessorized with belts. Why stop there? Why not wear pants that had their own chandelier earrings hanging from the pockets, or a jean jacket with a Burberry scarf tied around the button? Her outfits were so annoying. I thought about all the time she put into shopping and dressing and how many circles she had spun in front of her mirror that morning. I wanted to convert that time into cash money and give it to charity, to orphans maybe. What a trifling bitch she was, with her little blue boots leaving their wedged stamp across my wall-to-wall carpeting.

“Whoa,” she said, picking up a brown wicker Jesus that was resting on my coffee table. “Who might this be?”

“He’s from Mozambique. I would have brought you one as a souvenir but I knew you’d prefer the coral necklaces. He’s fragile. A hunter gatherer made him. He only wanted a couple bucks for it but I gave him ten.”

“Well worth it,” she said, dangling the Jesus by his little wicker toe until his head hit tabletop.

            “Was it weird being the only white girl? Did all the Africans stare at you?” As she sat, my sister tossed her blonde hair over the back of the armchair so it wouldn’t get flat.

            “No, Cass, all the Africans didn’t stare at me. Because I wasn’t prancing around like some girls. I didn’t wear tube tops or mini skirts. Plus I wasn’t the only Westerner in the country. And later I was traveling with Raoul. Guys don’t bother you when you’re with a man.”

            “Oh yeah, Raoul, your Mexicali boyfriend.”

            “He wasn’t my boyfriend.”

            “Mm-hmm. I read the postcards, senorita. I know what’s up.”

            I missed Raoul. In Mozambique he took me to the best local bars and told me what to order. If I was very drunk, he kept me from giving all the change in my purse to panhandling kids. And he always tried to kiss me at the end of a night out. I always rejected him, but I liked that he tried. One night I showed him pictures of my family. “This is my older sister Cass,” I said. “She’s shallow. She would never come to Africa on a mission, or even join the Peace Corps. She’s such a little sorority girl.”

            “What’s a sorority girl?”

            “You know. She’s really into fashion.”

            “I see.” He stared more closely at her picture, taken under an umbrella at the beach. “You look nothing like her. Does she live in New York too?” He stopped trying to kiss me after that, and began asking about visiting me when I got back to the States. One night he didn’t stop me when I got wasted and gave whole dollar bills to hungry orphans. I made him buy my café au lait the next morning to make it up to me

My sister began tapping the wicker Jesus on the head with her blue boot.

“Tell me something,” she said, “When you were in Africa, did you feel, I dunno, did you feel weird? Was it weird to be there?”

“That’s a retarded question.”

“No, come on, you know what I mean. Like, the other day, I was in Neiman Marcus, and this African-looking lady – you know, she was wearing one of those colorful sari type things and had the blanket wrapped around her head – she came into the store with her three little kids, like, to buy them polo shirts or something, because they looked American, and she seemed so out of place. And I wondered if when you were in Africa, if that’s what you felt like. Like if Africa was Neiman Marcus and you walked in wearing culottes and jellies or something and the salespeople gave you dirty looks.”

I felt so sorry for my sister, who could only compare whole continents to department stores. How could we have come from the same womb, when I was born wanting to help people and she just wanted to commodify things?

“I think that’s a really ignorant comparison to make.”

“Why?” she said, “You bought all that stuff.”

High School Klansman

“Does this make you feel racist?” she said, dipping the tip of her mocha finger in the tar-colored head of my diet soda. The foam already looked contaminated, like an eddy in a dirty river.

“No,” I said. “Of course it doesn’t.”

“How about this?” she said, and licked the length of her finger like a malicious porn star. Then she stuck it down to the knuckle in my glass and swirled it, making a dark whirlpool. Did I want to drink it then? Could I? I thought that the taste might have changed from the addition of her spittle. Was it because she was black that I suddenly wanted a fresh cup?

“You’re a jerk,” I said.

“You’re a Klansman,” she said.

“Look,” I said. “Look how thirsty I am. I’m so thirsty for this soda.” I lifted the glass to my lips and sipped from below the foam she had swirled.

“Tell me,” she said, while she wiped her wet finger on her jeans, “Am I your only brown friend? Am I what you might call a ‘token’? Just admit it if I am. It doesn’t even matter anymore. You can keep inviting me over and showing me off to your lily-white parents, trying to prove to them that you’re more enlightened than they ever were. You can keep pretending like you’re attracted to my older brothers, even though they’re darker than me and they probably scare the shit out of you. You can even keep writing your stupid English essays about how multicultural you are, about how you love Chinua Achebe. You can keep getting A’s on your papers, while I get B’s because I want to write about Robert E. Lee. Just fucking admit it though. Just admit that you think I taste different. That you think my skin feels different. That you don’t want to use my toothbrush if you forget yours when you spend the night. That you’d rather have the bad breath. Just acknowledge that I am black and you are white and that means something. Why don’t you ever see me? I stuck my finger in your drink. If anyone else did that, you would smack them.”

“You took me by surprise, that’s all. I mean Jen, we have made out before. Racists don’t make out with black people.”

“You were so wasted, Sienna. I had to remind you the next day what we did. And believe me, it was nasty. I would not do it again.” I did sort of remember our kiss. We were at a Halloween party and she tasted like pumpkin pie. I had been eating from a box of Fruit Roll-Ups that I found in Brian’s parents’ pantry. There were still bits of what looked like green plastic stuck between my teeth. The senior boys had egged us on, then they all turned away once my tongue was in her mouth. But I kissed her, and I knew what I was doing, and no white boy had asked me out since.

The soda really did taste bad now. I wondered if the dishwasher hadn’t rinsed all the soap out of the glass. I just sipped it anyway. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Some of her greasy lip gloss was on the rim and I drank around it.

“I really like you, okay? You’re my best friend. And when it’s just the two of us alone together, I forget you’re black. It’s just that I always find myself thinking about your blackness when we’re around other people or your family or something.”

“So the ideal is to forget that I’m black? It’s not to accept it – it’s just to forget it? That’s what you’re going for?”

“We should all be ignorant of color.”

“You know what I just became ignorant of? Your phone number, where you live, where you sit in the cafeteria, and what your name is. Later sister.”

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.

Do You Hate Me?

Does everyone hate me? Is this a mistake? Should I be doing this? Am I being paranoid? Is this one too many? I’m not talking about the drinks. I’m talking about the revelations. Is this going to lead to divorce? Disownment? Amputation? I worry sometimes. Isn’t that what bloggers do?

She knelt down beside his chair and asked him about Anne Carson. “Do you want to go to the bathroom with me?”

“No,” he said.

“Oh my God,” she said, when I was paying her check by the bar. “Is he afraid? Did I scare him?”

“Yes,” I said. “Next time, less makeup, less poetry.”

This Is Weird

I know that when you are in the water for a long time, your body’s soft spots get all wrinkly. For instance, if you soak in a pool for an hour, your toes look like Jabba the Hutt’s. BUT. Here I am, only a few drinks into the night, and I look at my knuckles and they are OLD. Like crow’s feet and cow udder old. Is that because I have been soaking so long in stupid conversations? What is it? I feel like I have come back home much prettier and smoother than this. I hope this wrinkly blood doesn’t flow into my face.

After a Short Night out

The short nights out are the best. You’re still lucid enough to blog, but you’re drunk enough to be blogtarded. I passed up the after-party. The guys retreated to play video games, the girls didn’t know they were done drinking (which means they’ll be hooking up tonight), and I was all white & rose’d out at the French bar, looking for my next entry. On my way out the door to Boheme, I almost ran back inside because the outdoors smelled like peanut butter. It was the first time I’d been outside today. “Peanut butter!” I thought. “I have to blog about this.” It was all I could do to put myself in my little car and tear my brains away from the internet. I wonder if I’m going to link my family. That’s the big question. I am already holding back, and I just got my blog today. I have a picture of my mom taped to my hard drive, and she says, “Don’t write about that. Don’t write about the gross stuff. Your grandmother will read this.” She is better than all the other moms. She hasn’t had the Botox like them, even though she’s naturally prettier. Tonight I was talking to the proprietor of the bar. “I pictured your boyfriend as more flamboyant,” he said. What does that mean? Does that mean Darren should be wearing leather pants and riding a motorcycle? I only used that example because of the overload of Wild Hogs DVD commercials of late. By the way, my older brother just rode a motorcycle to Nova Scotia. This is a good opportunity to tell you about my brothers and sisters:

Brad: 28. Motorcyle enthusiast. In medical school. Handsome. I’m actively looking for his future wife.

Jack: 24. Lives in Jackson, Wyoming, which means he smokes a lot of pot. He also runs a radio show. His DJ name is “The Body.”

Margaret: 21. Manages awesome bands. Her first just signed to Mercury Records. She is the Big Time.

Stephen: 18. Recruited by Loyola to play D1 lacrosse. The ultimate sweetheart jock and my baby brother. Cuddly as a kitten.

Fan letters accepted here.

My parents will get their own blog entry, God bless them.

My boyfriend went to a movie

He went to a guy movie with some guys, and I am taking this opportunity to write about intestines. I realize this is not a great introduction to me, the chief blogger of my blogosphere. I am home on a Friday night, geeking out, fascinated by being published in the wilds of the internet. I get disappointed a lot because my mind leaps ahead. This blog is my big break. People are going to write me love letters. How do I stop myself from doing this? I’ve watched two special interest movies in the past month. The first was Carmen Electra’s Striptease Workout. I have never felt less sexy in my life. I had to push the coffee table aside, crowded with all its New Yorkers, Discover Magazines, Wired Magazines, Chinese takeout debris, and nonstick coasters, in order to prance around on the living room rug in workout gear, not realizing that every girl in the video was wearing an outfit. Who works out in knee-highs? Who works out with her finger in her mouth? I gave up when I realized Carmen couldn’t do anything in one take. There were more cuts in that video than ___blah blah funny metaphor__. But this brings me in a roundabout way to my point. The second special interest video that I watched this month was The Secret. This movie was forced on me by two women in my writer’s group as well as my college friend who writes a sex advice column in Barcelona. The Secret is basically the new god of good parking places and cash money. You envision what you want and the universe provides you with it. So from The Secret’s point of view, I am not being ridiculous by believing this blog will provide me with love letters. But from my boyfriend’s POV (to use writerspeak), The movie was decent and dudes are cooler than chicks and you did what with your evening? So I’m going to quit lusting for a blog audience and envision myself leaving the house and finding wine and friends, and not having a hangover tomorrow. It’s better to start with small, manageable goals, not with winning the lottery. And I have to write lots of entries on top of this so no one will be lazy or bored enough to skip all the way back. The fresher stuff will be better, I promise.