Sunday, July 27, 2008

Television Memories

My boyfriend's pack porch faces three large apartment buildings. It's very "Rear Window." When I'm out there smoking, I like to look in all the windows. Sometimes you can see what people are doing. More often you can see what people are watching on television which is ultimately more revealing. Lots of CNN, ESPN, MSNBC, American Idol, Family Guy. A lot of straght men. This is the north side of Chicago. Another geographic location would undoubtedly produce a different back porch-Nielsen sample, obviously.

Someone watching me watch television through my window would probably deduce that I am gay or female. And they would be at least partially correct. The View, Project Runway and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List. The boob factor on Big Brother 10 might throw them off from guessing my sexuality. I do not watch pornography. On my TV. So my sexual tastes wouldn't show up on this peeping tom report. If there were to be any pornography displayed in my apartment, the shades would be drawn, volume kept to a minimum. Respectable.

The only window I have to peer in, outside of my apartment belongs to "The Man Who Washes the Dishes." He has been given this title because this is all he does. I have no further information on this one. Sometimes the dishes are done in his boxers, sometimes with the shades completely shut or slightly open. I can see him there showing off how he does his dishes, and that's fine. Some people have that kind of time. Jessie, the cocky bodybuilder on Big Brother, has been nominated for eviction this week and I have just learned that there are rumors fllittering around the internet that despite his hetero jock like demeanor he might be gay. So we're researching that. How this applies to my life, how it enriches my human experience I don't know. I haven't begun that research. I am compelled to go from link to link, being told that there are shocking nude pictures just around the corner of the internet. I certainly can't be bothered with dish scrubbing right now.

TV is sometimes used as a babysitter, and that's sad. For me it was more of a best friend. Best Friends. Forever.

My mother's father was a television critic. So excessive television wasn't something that was looked down upon too harshly in my childhood home. Not that I wasn't encouraged to do other things. But when I did go outside, it was time to reenact the television. Like a fifties child reenacting a cowboy show, when I went outside to play I wanted to make a gameshow. On our sundeck, I was Bob Barker on The Price Is Right pulling products out of my mother's pantry for my very unenthusiastic stuffed animal contestants to guess the price. A new car couldn't bring the stuffed bunny and Garfield out of their wide eyed catatonia. This wasn't of great concern. The focus here was on the host.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

last time I ever leave my apartment

I have been sort of a hermit all weekend, cuddling my air conditioner. The idea struck me to do laundry so my apartment smells less like feet. I gathered my laundry and looked for quarters. Not enough to wash one load.

I decide to drive to the grocery store to get quarters. Very expensive, but what are you going to do? The lady at Jewel's fabulous TCF bank says she's out of quarters and suggests I go to the service desk. The gentleman at the service desk tells me he isn't "selling" quarters until tomorrow.

I stop at a gas station and the attendant offers me only a dollar in quarters. I stop at a Currency Exchange, they closed two minutes prior.

I go to Walgreens. I see a cashier who had refused me quarters in the past. So I decide to approach the manager.

"Is there anyway I can get a roll of quarters?" I ask, sweaty, desperate.
"No we don't have enough."
A very dramatic about-face and out of the store.

I walk to Staples across the parking lot. I try to flirtatiously (I don't know why, I'm losing my mind) ask an unattractive cashier with a very thin mustache if I can get some quarters.

"You have to buy a candy bar," he says with an nineteen year old authority.

I look for a cheap candy bar. I am fuming but still try to concentrate on what would be the best candy bar. It's hot so I really don't want chocolate. But I really don't want a candy bar at all. Whatever. I quickly debate back and forth between the King Size Snickers and the regular size. Then I get angry with myself for taking time out to have this debate in my head and grab the regular size Snickers.

He rations out four dollars in quarters and I storm out. I decide to drive to a laundromat. I have to park a block away.

I walk in and go to a simulated-wood covered change machine. I try to figure out how to work it and realize that its apparently just a decorative piece. A lady with an eastern European accent asks if she can help me. "Yeah, I need quarters."

She dismisses me, "Customers only."

I walk out into the heat and consider my options. Doing laundry is the right thing for me to do. I am not trying to get drugs or cigarettes. I just want to avoid fungus growing on my Old Navy T-shirts and white athletic socks. I have been in similar situations when I'm desperate for cigarettes. Walking all over, trying to find the lowest price or who will accept my large bag of pennies for a pack of Camel Lights. This is just me trying to wash my clothes. It shouldn't be a big deal. But everything is a big deal when it's this hot.

I storm back into the Laundromat.

"How much is a load of laundry?" I yell
"What?" the queen of the laundry mat answers, looking at me like I'm crazy. Which is the very right assumption.

"How much is a load of laundry! I will pay. For a load of laundry. If I can get some goddam change." I say in my best exasperated Julianne Moore-Annette Bening-Meryl Streep-I'm not taking this shit voice.

"This is..I own this place and I can't have..If you're not going to be a customer..."
She rambles on and approaches me and my open wallet. I take out three dollars and she grabs it and pulls out three dollars in quarters from her overloaded quarter pocket.

I walk out as she continues to ramble.

" time have to be a customer...I can't be...I'm not a..You can't"

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Proust Questionnaire

In the self indulgent tradition of The Jeremy Show, I have decided to take the Proust questionnaire. Proust discovered these questions in his friend Antoinette's book entitled "An Album to Record Thoughts, Feelings, etc." Apparently, these types of question games were very hip in the Victorian period.

1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

No Freedom. Imprisonment mentally and/or physically.
2. Where would you like to live?
New York City
3. What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Coffee in the morning.
4. To which faults do you feel most indulgent?
5. Who is/are your favorite hero/heroes of fiction?
6. Who are your favorite characters in history?
See question 7.
7. Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
Flawed women like Leona Helmsley or Tammy Faye Baker. Women who act just like men and piss everyone off. Eleanor Roosevelt, Martha Stewart, Hillary Clinton.
8. Who is/are your favorite heroine/heroines of fiction?
Don't read a lot of fiction unfortunately. Holden Caufield was my first fiction hero.
9. Your favorite painters?
Tamara de Lempicka
Mark Rothko
Geoffrey Todd Smith

10. Your favorite composers or musicians?
I enjoy performers. I know nothing about the craft of music. Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Bette Midler, Sandra Bernhard. I like music with vocoders.
11. Which qualities do you most value in a man?
Self Deprecation, Sense of humor, Sensitivity
12. Which qualities do you most value in a woman?
Confidence, Intelligence, Sense of humor
13. Your favorite virtue?
14. Your favorite occupation?
15. Who would you have liked to be?
A fifties housewife, just for a couple days
16. Your most marked characteristic?
17. What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty, Humor, Understanding
18. What is your principle defect?
Low self esteem.
19. What is your favorite color?
Dark blue, gray, white. I like colors.
20. What is your favorite flower?
21. What is your favorite bird?
Peacock. So obnoxious and arrogant.
14. Who are your favorite prose writers?
David Sedaris. Sandra Bernhard.
15. Who are your favorite poets?
Eminem, Prince
16. What are your favorite names?
Isaac. Jake.
17. What is it you most dislike?
Insensitivity. Confusion. The sound of someone flipping through a newspaper.
18. What historical figures do you most despise?
Hitler, George W. Bush. Almost angered more by their "yes" people.
19. What event in military history do you most admire?
JFK, bay of pigs
20. What reform do you most admire?
Most recently, gay marriage.
21. What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Musical ability.
22. How would you like to die?
Without my knowledge.
23. What is your present state of mind?
24. What is your motto?

"Maybe try again tomorrow." Alicia Nash, A Beautiful Mind

Saturday, July 05, 2008

candy and ribbons
I want a thing to play my iPod on. The one I had, an alarm clock variety, stopped working.
I want the two Bette Davis video collections I don't have. I have the first one.
I want a McGriddle.
I want to go to New York to visit Kara and see Mary Poppins, Xanadu, August: Osage County.
I want to see Grey Gardens, the estate in the Hamptons.
I want a new sound system for my computer.
I want to see Tina Turner, Bette Midler, Cher, Kathy Griffin and Sandra Bernhard in concert.
I want the Deluxe Hard Candy CD that comes with real candy inside.
I want a couple new bookshelves.
I want to buy my boyfriend Disney things.
I want a haircut.
I want an intervention.
I want lots of new clothes.