Well, since Benedict Cumberbatch is marrying someone else and Emily Nussbaum doesn't want to leave New York (I STILL LOVE YOU EMILY but I concede that it must remain love from afar) I think it's only reasonable that I join every feminist over 25 and set my cap for Mallory Ortberg. Mallory Mallory Mallory. Every time I see her name in print I fall a little more in love. So sweet and so fucking smart. I know she's too young for me, but she's so clever and insightful that she seems older so it's not creepy. And I don't actually know if she's single but since all my imaginary love is entirely pure it doesn't matter.
What's the best thing about you?
My friends. They are diverse and funny and kind and awesome and I'm a better person for having them in my life.
What's something you know by heart?
Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The lyrics to every 80s song.
What's the last song you sang along to?
Heroes, by David Bowie. I'm learning to play it, so I sang along with myself, but that counts, right?
I wake before the alarm, the new alarm in the phone with the ringtones I like that start quiet and get louder. I lie in the bed and wait for the alarm even though I could just get up, the reasons are murky like dreams and the soap bubble cheer of the alarm washes them away and I get up and my eyes are covered with soapy rainbow film, but I blink it away. The cat is sleeping on the box that the dehumidifier came in and is still in because every time I think about it she is sleeping there. I am perplexed by this new occupation as it is a place she can be that does not bother me; see for example: sweater drawer, kitchen counter, washing machine, laptop keyboard. I walk by and she looks up sleepily but does not move. Every morning I ask her if she will die today, and every morning she is closer, her fragile bones increasingly prominent under her poor itchy skin, but she is still happy about food, about butting her head under my hand to be petted, about curling in the crook of my son's legs when he sleeps, so she's not there yet. The coffee pot grumbles and sputters while I put away last night's dishes. We watch The Daily Show and our mouths laugh around bites of toast covered with peanut butter, camaraderie, the ease of not needing to peek to be sure the moment is shared. The front door closes and I put in a load of laundry, wash and stack the breakfast dishes, note the condensation on the windows but the cat is back on the box and I can't bear to disturb her; maybe tomorrow. I crush ginger and lemon into a pot for tea and start to work, a paper on the begging behavior of cuckoo chicks. Another sunless winter day spreads before me and ecstasy is impossible but simple pleasures are easy to grasp, if you reach out your hands.
when you've made a change to your appearance and every time you walk past a mirror you don't recognize yourself for a second, and then eventually it becomes normal, like looking the other way when you cross the street in London or Japan, and then you can't remember the way you looked before.
Whoa I'm sorry, boy I stepped into some kind of alternate dimension where time wasn't moving and when I stepped back out again time had moved. Here we are.
Working so much. I have cried from the sheer weight of it but on the plus side I'll have money for the hot sandy beach calling my personal name this winter.
Doing stuff with other people. Sometimes with other people's children, but then aren't we all other people's children? We are, we are.
Tomorrow I'm going to Prague to a garden party at the embassy. As one does.
A weekend in London. This time I think I'm going to touch the art.
Next week I'm going to see Laurie Anderson in Budapest. I almost can't articulate my love for her except I totally can because somebody asked me yesterday and it poured out.
The next week my sister's coming. I just can't even do my anticipation justice here. It's been five years.
After that, it's hermit time. I'm... I don't know. Dancing as fast as I can. No drugs and no dramatically bad hair, just trying to make my body outspin the dervish of my heart.
A beauty in white, heels clicking on the sidewalk, matching white bag slung over forearm, ducks around the corner and pulls down at the sides of her very short, very tight dress. At the edge of the parking lot, a tall police officer is on his walkie talkie while the middle-aged seller packs up the cheap pajamas and underwear and two people lean over the railings at the tram stop to watch in what can only be described as extremely passive fascination. A tie and shirtsleeves absentmindedly rubs at his generous belly, waiting for the light to change. A woman leans down and whispers in a baby's ear, and the baby's face lights up in joy at the warmth and tickle, the flow of words. Two bent elderly women get on the tram and the rush to give up seats is like a sudden wave of kindness, and one of the people who sits back down starts talking with the too-loud voice of the mildly retarded, asking the ladies how old they are, and it's lovely, flirtatious and the ladies, both ninety, are coy and visibly pleased. A green shirt and shorts pacing on the sidewalk, muttering angrily, though whether to himself or his demons or his phone is hard to tell at this distance. In another parking lot, a police officer in mirrored sunglasses is talking to a driver, also in mirrored sunglasses, their faces versailles as they talk, endlessly reflecting.
In light of what I have done and have yet to do I should be sleeping and in the same light I am not. Part of my brain thinks I can stay awake and prevent bad things from happening and as I am not a shark or whatever animal it is that lets part of its brain sleep I am swimming swimming swimming and I am awake. Please let the future be bright and I promise not to ask for more than I deserve; please let things be as they are and I promise to be satisfied. Although this is why I don't pray, because they are deals I always forget. Almost 4 a.m., almost time to wake up, and I have not yet slept, and I am making deals with imaginary objects I don't believe in. The first imaginary object I remember believing in was a girl who played with me all the time; her father was an Indian who rode a motorcycle. We loved each other and I think sometimes I am still looking for her, the girl who always wanted to play the same games as I did. Though how she looked has so faded from my memory I'm not sure I'd recognize her; she'd have to have not changed her name, and then I would know.
Today I edited a paper about dancing preventing or delaying Alzheimer's, and then because I am prone to connect the dots I went to a dance class where I could do everything except what I couldn't, and it was loud and sweaty and wonderful and now I enjoy the bonus of thinking that my brain is as happy as my body to be doing this, ass wiggling arm flinging slow-quickquick-slow stepping.
The weather is unpredictable and often miserable. Some days feel like a litany of complaint. And yet even though I have wanted more, me and my greed, I have not lost sight of the many wonders of my life: that I love my job, that my life is so full of goodness, that art can always get past my walls and straight into my heart, that my friends are amazing. Keep counting keep counting, blessings like sheep. If I can fall back to sleep now I could get a good two hours before it's time to begin again.
On Friday my favorite wine bar was closed when we got there and the second wine bar closed just as we finished the pickled cheese, but the third wine bar was open all night, Goldilocks, and we so started late and finished later, a nimbus of alcohol and fine fellow feeling around our heads as we stumbled home in the wee hours and did not brush our teeth before we collapsed into bed. On Saturday morning just after sunrise I learned the word tetrad and then after breakfast we sweated across the well-lit cobblestones and sat in a sweet shady garden behind the cathedral drinking tall glasses of mint and lime and watching women in dresses just right for opening barn doors. We were locked in a dark room for an hour with cameras on us and puzzled till our puzzlers were sore and passed notes but could not remember chemistry enough to realize it wasn't important. We walked and walked and ate and ate and then watched other people's relationships for hours; relationships are hard even for KGB agents, imagine how it would be if you could kill a person with your pinky and still be unable to navigate marriage without crashing on the rocks. And yet I know how they feel. On Sunday various CGI monsters on a small screen lulled me to sleep and then I walked past a million Christians to sleep in a park and burn the back of my neck while the wine in my bag turned warm. I rolled a blade of grass between my fingers and explained how I got here, to this place where I only feel what I want to, then we went inside and put the wine in the fridge and watched the storm come closer and closer until it was right overhead, and we turned off the lights and let the lightning strobe across the room, our faces briefly illuminated and then plunged back into darkness, eyes adjusting almost by the next flash. This morning I bought a chocolate muffin at the bakery and ate it slowly, reading. I've nearly finished Norwegian Wood.