Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Priced Out

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hey, Baby

Wanna pet my alligator?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Straining to Be More Mainstream

Now now, gentle reader, just because I'm good with being single, and do not want a wedding beyond a so-minimalist-you-can't-hardly-see it ceremony, does not mean I don't want to have an I'm married party at some point that does not require pageantry of any kind. Unless I go disco or trailer. Then all the guests would be required to either wear roller skates or low-riding hemlines.

So I'm practicing being more normal by fantasizing about a wedding. As you might notice, this is coming off a little forced for me, except the part about the outfit I'd be wearing: a very hip, yet old-fashioned ivory suit with an A-line skirt & some smart heels.

Did I mention I used to bite on my Barbies' feet as a child? And, okay, just the other day, but I've been a little stressed, don't judge.

Thangs I Hear, Ignore, Utter, Roll My Eyes @ Re: Facebook

I can't believe she deleted me, I can't see his photos, I'm tired of hearing about, Some people really need to learn that, Rejecting a friend request is not the way to tell a person you're angry, Anyone who thinks that is, I'm leaving, Everyone who lives here is, If you don't like this show, you're, I'm tracking those profile visits, I have a right to my opinion though I am unfamiliar with the topic, I can't stand when certain people, I'm back, Don't you read this, I'm better since, I have the best blank in the world, If you care about this you'll repost this, Let's invite everyone but, Why is he using the internet to stalk me?, I hate this website, Thank you all, You missed out, I just got sick of this so I said this and this is right -- I said it, I'm here with them, Where are you?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Keep It Unreal

Something about turning 30, perhaps the taking stock that accompanies milestone birthdays, freed me somehow; I've felt less beholden to expections, shoulds and other people's opinions than I did during my last decade. Wanda Sykes defined this post-30 shift as "I don't give a fuck." And it appears to be true: I feel better. Yet

the implication I keep hearing is that, being almost 35 and a woman, my life is in fact over, oop: I have failed to find a husband, to have, or want, a wedding, to birth babies or to buy a home.

I've been aware of certain overarching...judgments for some time, but am just now starting to get true-irritated by them, them being accumulated comments, insinuations and inquiries from voices in life, in media, in stereo. For instance, I have heard the phrase "I'm a real adult now" upon congratulating various friends and cohorts on their home purchases or engagements enough times to wonder if, in tandem, I am insulting myself, as by this definition of "real adult," I am not one.

Then I can't help but wonder whether these people are friends at all, considering their opinion of me appears to be pretty errrr low, certainly lower than my own of either myself or them. And on the heels of that question comes my awareness of all those who do not fit this definition, first and foremost being gay people in America who are denied these opportunities -- based on the bigoted logic that they are not real, either.

While the individual comments are not meant to be insulting, and are not monolithic (perhaps springing from those in the 50-percent pool of soon-to-be-marrieds who are soon-to-be-divorceds?), they are also not meant to be uplifting and they are not kind or, in my view, necessary. I don't think to say these things. When I'm happy about something, I don't think others should aspire for the same. That'll give you cramps. Plus, I don't even know how I would translate my life experiences into a blueprint that would make any sense.

Also, I guess I'm sort of a hippie by our Roman Empire standards, but it would seem to me that externalizing one's happiness is more often the root cause of unhappiness, a precept of meditation that has shaped my own heart and mind, unreal as they, too, may be and as challenging as this process can be (damn car alarms).

Of course, I can strive to live by nonjudgmental principles all I want, and so can we all, but pesky society is not wired that way. And comparison shopping is an embedded feature of our modern American life, which I think is...distasteful to apply to people. But, if we are to do line-by-line comparisons of married versus unmarried, why not look at more than what single people lack, given that this category encompasses more people than ever before, including divorcees and widows? What advantages might an unmarried individual have, if not legally then psychologically or spiritually? The ways this question is answered in our culture, often through the almighty television, have never held much relevance for me in, dare I say it?, my real adult life -- for example, the notion that because I do not have a spouse, I can do whatever I want, a concept that became ludicrous when I began interacting with other humans as a child. But that's just it: the belief that unmarried people, especially never-married people, are abnormal seems to spring from the viewpoint that unmarried people are tantamount to children. Hmm. Is it mere coincidence that those who harbor this opinion are almost never single?

Meanwhile, though people will project onto singles the belief that they are miserable, particularly at weddings, I think the fact that I can both support and entertain myself, whether I am in a romantic relationship or not, whether it is serious or not, has been a major asset. That doesn't mean I don't support or entertain others (like a selfish child). What it does mean is I have a relationship with myself that I feel like people who question the merit of others' personal lives must not have, such as those who ask why I'm still single, as if I could boil it down to some simple answer, or need to, or get angry when I tell them the having-kids ship has sailed for me personally. It would seem to me that people like this are not comfortable in their own company, which would explain the dread and horror single people evoke in them: It's projection. If it were them, they would feel awful. Therefore, it's awful.

This paradigm more than any seems to define us as Americans in the current milleiu: expecting everyone to validate life choices by not only applauding them but making the same ones, lest they be put down or ostracized. Yet paired-ups who do this branding never seem to meet the many couples who do not, which brings us to another popular Amerian paradigm: My experience is the epitome of the adult experience. Under that rubric, who needs anyone that does not echo back one's own choices, beliefs, opinions? Under that rubric, in certain circles I don't exist -- and don't want to, thanks. Under that rubric, I'm all too happy to keep it unreal.

Monday, May 02, 2011


Their pain?
An opportunity

for orgiastic delight, for lapping up
all the attention your sense of entitlement requires, for
ranting at how even though some 9/11 victims may not thirst
for blood,
you do and that's your right as an American

After all, it's all about you, the pleasure
you take from violence disguised as righteousness

Insensitivity training
schooled you to the cruelest ways
to make authoritative claims about places, pains
you've never known but don't need to know to inflict
so you at last feel

Feel your sadism
And they do, too.

And this is what passes for acknowledging disaster
across empire.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Subway

I'm not sure why the gentleman on the train taking me home from a friend's party in Brooklyn was swinging a plastic gallon container of orange liquid, or why he had to change seats to do it right across from me, but I've been riding the subway long enough to be unfazed by this sort of attention seeking -- unlike the other occupants of the car, all of whom seemed to be backing away per usual. These types strike me as being the same ones who go back to their places of origin at Christmas and brag about what tough New Yorkers they are, yet can't even stand to be near someone weird (good luck). So they do what adults do best in America: pretend what's right in front of them does not exist, a behavior I personally consider insane, not to mention counterproductive. And I think we can see how well denial has worked out for US.

The jug swinger stared me down, swirling his strange liquid, so I returned his gaze for more than a few beats, causing him to lose interest in me, right on cue. Can't say I blame him, seeing as how his goal seemed to be to freak out or frighten someone and there were other, better candidates to choose from, like the guy reading with the book so close to his face he might as well have been wearing it. Of course, there is something inherently confrontational about being confined in a moving, locked train with seats facing one another, be it above or below ground. I understand people wanting to protect their space by not engaging. But at what point does that m.o. become ludicrous? Mock the devil and he will flee from thee, after all.

On the flip side are those -- men, more often than not (and no one is sorrier that's the case than this lady) -- who enjoy the confrontation, who see the subway as their opportunity to preach, to leer, to impose, to expose, to throw a scene, to get some in the form of rubbing up on some woman who will, more often than not, pretend that's not happening. Going against the standard advice of ignoring reality, I find that if someone is feeling a bit more rowdy than orange-liquid guy and waiting them out won't work, talking back is, in reality, a successful way to discourage these behaviors. Telling someone to stop, moving away and/or pushing back is more an instinctive reaction to being imposed upon than something I have to strive for, or be congratulated for. To me, it's akin to common sense. However, sometimes I feel like the weird one on this issue, given the way people back away from you in America should you speak up for yourself -- without first considering all the reasons you shouldn't and then falling silent, bringing to mind the way the other kids would back away from me at the pool when a beetle would get stuck in my thick hair and their leper treatment would unnerve me more than the beetle.

I understand on an intellectual level that people can freeze under duress, but when I hear a woman say she sat there afraid to move while some perv masturbated in front of her on public transit, I just don't get that. Worse things can happen if you hang around there, lady. And I truly don't understand how you can have some stranger well, rub his genitals on your person apropo of nothing and not run away, scream or otherwise freak as an automatic reaction. I saw a guy masturbating under a tree once in fifth grade, while riding bikes with another friend at our elementary school. You know what we did? Pedaled faster!

I don't want to be unfair. I guess some of the reluctance some women feel -- and I tend to hang with women who are the opposite of ah, reluctant, so I can only guess -- can be attributed to the old victim-blaming saw that you better not say anything or the creep will get mad and hit you. But if someone is already touching you, that caveat sort of goes out the window, huh? What do you have to lose by, at the very least, saying something, as the post-9/11 MTA parlance goes?

The sleazoids disgust me, but I do enjoy rebutting the people who go on to their captive subway audience about how everyone but them is going to hell if they don't accept the distorted version of Christianity they're pushing, a pronouncement that's especially special, and especially prevalent, on trains bound from Flushing, Queens, where the majority of citizens are Chinese and Korean -- and therefore all misguided sinners, by that illogic. Take heart: Explaining how they're misrepresenting the Bible encourages sacrilegious preachers to exit the train, though sometimes I, too, am possessed by the spirit and can't help but cry out, "You're all going to hell except him -- he's God! He's God! Worship him -- or he'll set you on fire!"

Less enjoyable are the dudes who put their backpacks on my head; the guys who are always on hand to block the only entrances and exits to the train, refusing to move until someone either asks them to or moves them by default (hey, these exits and entrances are time sensitive, you know); the leg spreaders who take up two to three seats, must be huge; the Mariachi players, one of whom once thought it would be cute to shake his ass in my face until I made it clear that no, it was not (everyone again went blind when I said so); the nose pickers; the people who can't be bothered to cover their mouths when they cough; those American tourists 'n transplants who talk about how ________ all New Yorkers are, with the most-often-used adjective being "rude" and "New Yorkers" meaning the people from 718 to 212 to 516 who established this city they have now graced with their presence in order to plunder; and the people who glare at babies for crying when a. the babies are understandably disturbed by the latter delights and b. unlike the babies, they are grown folks who should be capable of behaving better than the infant they are stink-eyeing, yet won't.

In an emergency, I seek out someone else with a local accent, put it that way -- a good thing to do any place, I've found.

There are other subway hazards, one being the MTA itself, with its cooked books that never seem to draw any penalties. In recent years, I've seen people online, including MTA employees, claiming the "two books" scam is not in effect since there are not literally two ledgers and becoming indignant about their idiotic literalism to boot. Maybe if they included some evidence, such as a photo of the MTA accountant's desk with just one book on it, I'd be convinced?

Garbled announcements, bad information, fluorescence, conductors slamming the doors shut on people, no elevators in most stations outside Manhattan to accommodate the elderly, infirm or tired riders, "please be patient" (please be less condescending when your company's screw-up has trapped us) and that green liquid that drips from certain ceilings, such as the one cracking apart on the downtown F/M/D/B track at the Bryant Park station.

When I first came back to New York in 2007, I thought those who wore sunglasses underground were a little robo looking, a bit much, but now I've become one of them, if only to keep that green goo from dripping down into my eye socket...