Showing posts with label stream of stupidness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stream of stupidness. Show all posts

pop!

If it's important to me, and I'm important to them, shouldn't it be important to them, too? + Should? What's should? What has should ever gotten anyone? + I'm so disappointed. I'm angry. I want to lock the door. I want to take my ball and go home. + Well, you could do that. Would that make you happy? + No. I don't know. Maybe a little. Ultimately no. + You let expectation get the best of you again. + Yes. + Expectation is a balloon waiting to be popped by reality. You can have a hundred of them, tie them together and float away on the levity of what they promise. But eventually they'll give out. They'll burst, or fizzle and deflate, and you'll hit the ground with a thud. + So what do I do? What do I do with these feelings? + Tell them. Ask them to ask themselves how they'd feel. Then let it go. It's just a balloon.

beautiful, in six parts

1. the tweet

A hint dropped, by a musician we love. English singer/songwriter we saw at Coachella last year and whose scream-along populist ballads get me through housework. He's doing a secret show tonight, just like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist! Somewhere in Hollywood. Piece of cake - train ride away. We set him to mobile notifications and track the game until one of his followers cracks it: Madame Siam, a speakeasy near Vine. Perfect. You nap; I'll paint my nails dark blue. Yes, let's definitely get there early. Bet bigger fans than us will be around the block.

2. the scramble

Went for a run and now I'm running late. Goddamn it, why can I never manage my time? Can't decide what to wear. You zip me into a long sleeve dress - it's cold but I don't want to mess with a jacket. Nope. Too hot, too constrictive. Cropped tank and jeans? Good god no. Whose clothes are these? Where is that girl? I haven't seen her in ages. Fuck it. T-shirt, jeans, bomber, sneaks. It's Frank Turner, FFS. You sing and fix yourself a drink, in a fantastic mood that levels me out. I toss my own back and it's time go, now, we've got to get moving. Running to the subway. Running back to the apartment; I forgot something. Running to the subway again. No trains to NoHo from here tonight? What the ever loving fuck? What are the chances? We hop a bus to the next station. On the way over, I fill you in on my web adventures the night before. My new obsession: slaughterhouses, factory farms, meat packing, Temple Grandin. Captive bolt stunners, livestock behavior, restraints, bloodspotting, the whole nine. I tell you some of what I've learned, the good and the bad. Back out on the street, running again, a text comes. Holy shit. Kerry and Ross have won a trip to Japan?!

3. the wait

Bigger fans indeed have beat us there; we won't be getting a spot up front, that's for certain. Blame the Metro, but really we should have known. A solid hour's wait, in the cold. But our mood is fantastic, bubbly and giggly. The way you hold me, and kiss my cheek if I look at you too long and smile. Where did this come from? So nice. This. So easy. Your affection, the playfulness. I am so lucky. We read tweets and watch videos. We text Kerry back, joke with our neighbors in line, and cuddle in the cold. You offer to go grab us pizza. I'd rather wait, hungry as I am. It's all lovely though. Such a great space we're in. Hi. I missed you. 

4. the show

I make a beeline for the stage while you get drinks. I can't get too close, but I don't begrudge those in front of me; they know every single word to every single song. True fans, they have my respect. We end up against a bit of brick wall, not more than five feet back. You've got something to lean against, and now so do I. Depending on whether I know the lyrics, whether I can belt them out along with the others, I jump and dance and fist pump - or I melt back into you. Hearing you at my cheek, watching this performer we both love. This is a really, really good night for us. Frank's brilliant, of course. The music matched by his jokes and stories, the way he flirts with the crowd like an old flame he'll never get over. He loves us. We love him. We are all of us drunk. He is a poet. And I tell him this, afterward, in his ear while you sneak a picture though I told you not to take one. Poor guy is wasted and exhausted, only a few hours off a plane. But I had to meet him. Don't know when I'll ever get the chance again. "You're my favorite poet" I say, and draw back a bit to see him smile. "And my favorite discovery of the past few years. You inspire the writer in me and I hope to someday see you across the pond, too." Holy shit I got it all out without stumbling. Thank you, vodka. He is grateful. Says it means a lot. Or something. Not sure; I was still pretty nervous. He's thinner than I'd thought. Taller, too. Let's go get pizza, baby. 

5. the pizza

We go to my favorite place, even though it's already late and you have such an early morning. Two huge slices of cheese that we eat on the steps of the El Capitan, as is our tradition. Tim Allen's star at your feet, Roger Ebert's at mine. People watching. You can't beat Hollywood people watching. Post-mortem on the show. You're embarrassed by what you said to him ("Great show, man") because you think it was lame. But it was sweet and perfect. Something magical about seeing him hug you thanks, this stranger who's nevertheless meant so much to me, and you. Two of my favorite musicians. We should have taken a photo, we agree. Together, with him sandwiched in between. A Frankwich. Next time. Maybe across the pond, even. Crust isn't very good tonight. Let's go. But I'm still hungry? Ghiradelli? Yes! But once inside I change my mind. We skedaddle with our free squares of chocolate and head to the station. You are wiped out, poor thing. Way too long a day for you, with way too little sleep.

6. the train

I'm in the most comfortable plastic seat in the world, sinking sleepily into your shoulder. Selfies, in between yawns. You're so damn beautiful. So was tonight.


venice beach

Okay, we've Eastered. Now what? Beach day? We waffle. Kind of cold, swimming would be out of the question. Lay on the sand bundled up? I'm itching for the ocean, but it's also getting late. "I can get us there in half an hour." Fuck it, let's go.


I haven't been to Venice since high school. The intersection we turn at looks exactly the same, the one where we spent our meager teenage dollars on imitation Ray-Bans, leather bracelets, mood rings. Where the oldest looking among us hoodwinked the liquor store cashier into selling him a six pack of Zima. My first hangover. Long live young Thespians.


Whiplash back to the present: a parking attendant is demanding $30 for a spot in a makeshift lot near the main drag. "You're out of your mind," I scoff, but as we start to pull away I call back to him: "Will you take twenty?" It's packed out here today, and I'm antsy to get moving. But Terence thinks he can find street parking, and a few minutes later, he does. I hoist the beach tote, heavy with just-in-case, over my shoulder. Rash guard just in case. Sunscreen just in case. Flip flops just in case. Blanket just in case.



The wind starts my eyes watering immediately. I zip up my jacket, squinting into the already low sun. We get our bearings, taking in the shuffling crowd: colorful locals mixed with tourists and day trippers, teens on bikes, skateboarders. More pit bulls than I've seen in one place, ever.



Slightly more decrepit than I remember but not much different otherwise. Ethnic food every few feet. Souvenir shops spilling slang-covered shirts onto the walkway. "Ratchet 1" catches my eye, an in-joke with neighborfriend. I debate buying it for her while Terence checks out a hooded muscle tank: I FLEXED AND THE SLEEVES FELL OFF. I'd been wanting to find him a fun tank for Bonnaroo - this is perfect. The arm holes aren't too deep and he'll break his hand from the high fives it gets him. We've got spirit, yes we do. We've got spirit, how 'bout you?



A sunburned, dusty looking kid in neon and cargo shorts latches onto us. Store employee - one of several. They work on commission. He's already trying to sell me the "Ratchet" top, saw me laughing at it. Ten years ago I would have given in; the kid is cute and clearly hungry. But today I shake my head. "It'd be a fun gag for about ten seconds, but she'd never wear it." Quite a little racket they've got going in this place: prices vary wildly depending on clothing article and complexity of design. $35 for a beach tee. Eh, it'll be worth it. It'll be fun. God, Bonnaroo. Just around the corner.


Already feeling like we've won, like we've made the trip worth it, we step back out into crowd, getting swept along mindlessly until I spot a sign. Soft-serve ice cream. Yes. Tiny little place, staff scurrying to shove hot dogs and pretzels and slurpees into the hands of hungry children and frazzled parents. Terence gets a corn dog, spraying me with mustard when the pump on the condiment table sticks. I retreat back outside but he comes after me with a fistful of napkins. "Where did I get you?" No matter: I'm already busy with my own mess. Dripping swirls of chocolate and vanilla, melting much too fast considering the cold, as if it knows it's in Southern California, has a reputation to uphold.


We eat besides an outdoor gym: parallel bars and rings and climbing ropes mounted into concrete, inches from the sand. No serious contenders here today, though, just a few toughs in undershirts showing off for their girlfriends, or each other. They shimmy self-consciously up thick cables, refusing to look at anyone when they reach the top or slide back down, obviously pleased with themselves. "Do you think you could do it?" "God no. You?" "Maybe."


I notice the color. Look left at the row of businesses, begging with all their might for attention, see a splashy wonderland. Painted walls, painted plastic. Some of the people beg for attention, too. Spiked hair, spiked shoes, leopard print and leotards. But look right, out towards the water? A desert. Wasteland of grey-beige sand, much of it dusted up into the air, hazing over the sunshine. The beach looks barren.


We notice the sound: the wind, whooshing through palm trees whose fronds are lifted and flattened as if against a wall, on the ocean side. Here away from the crowd it's all you hear. We look at one another, marveling at this small thing.


Snacks consumed, we amble on in search of - what? More food? Sights? Not sure. We just amble. The sidewalk grows narrow and chokes up with foot traffic; we skirt along on the browning, brushy grass hill beside. So many dogs! I smile down at them as if they'll notice my appreciation. Mastiff sighting! Huge, wrinkly, pensive looking as he watches passerby. "He must have had his smarts brought up too high", a reference to our practice of rubbing Chaucy's "smart bump" every morning in accordance with what he'll need that day.



Cluster of actual sit-down restaurants. I don't feel like shopping around; there are too many people, it's starting to feel complicated, let's just go here. So we go here. Outside table, sure, we can seat you right away - only there's no alcohol served outside. Hm, okay.


We're arguing. Are we arguing? What happened? What am I annoyed about? Indecision, confusion, we were on a track but you suggested something else. My brain gets overloaded. I want to copilot together. We eat in silence, each nursing a pointless anger. Turkey burger's really good; I feel guilty on top of everything that I'm Not Speaking To You Right Now or I'd share a bite. It's really damn good.


Meal goes mercifully fast, though we bicker a good five minutes more, clomping back down a suddenly sparser path. Maybe everyone heard us fighting and decided to clear off. Don't blame them. But now we're getting somewhere. Something's been unlocked. Was it you? Usually you. You have more keys than me. And now we're hugging, clinging actually, two is stronger than one against this wind. It's made your face red, the wind. Mine too, that means. So goes the selfie.


What are we talking about? Us? Today? The little bump we hit or the landscape of the whole mountain. It doesn't feel like it matters, because we've made ourselves understood. You asked me what I remember from my teenage visit. I told you there was something I wanted, that I didn't get - a piece of jewelry, something cheap and silly that made an impression on me. I'd planned to go back to the shop and buy it but for some reason I didn't. "Let's try to find it," you say. As if we could. But my god how sweet.


For a moment we just stand there, hanging in the space between pain and peace. The wind is a wingman, conspiring to push us together. A guy in dreads stands on a tree stump, silhouetted against the sunset, twirling balls on a rope. What's that called? You see it sometimes at festivals. Just for the fun of it. Just for the thrill of balance and coordination. It must relax the mind. It relaxes me to watch him. A pretty young couple hop up on stumps beside him. He's going to teach them how to do it, I think. But I won't know for sure because now we're in a candy shop.


Gummi bears. Every last motherfucking kind of gummi bear. 


Now. Now we're ready. I unlace my tennis shoes, dropping them into the tote. Holy fuck the sand is cold. But it's an unspoken rule: you have to go to the water, no matter what. Touch it or don't but you have to at least get close to it. Wrapping the blanket around me, trying to anyway. The wind turns it turns into a sail, slowing me down while you charge ahead. Hipstamatic time. I shake and tap, shake and tap. Random pairings of film and lens. You are so photogenic. And you love the seagulls, who make you laugh as we return to the paved walkway. You think they're playing, showing off as they ride the breeze. And they might be, baby. They might be.


The sun is really dipping now, and the temperature. We're dragging our feet back to where we turned in from the street. We should probably go home. I veer off here and there to take pictures. Shake and tap. I've missed this app so much. Why did I ever stop?


And then we hear it. I've been listening for minutes now without realizing, but you extend your hand. Look. Out there. I can't comprehend what I'm seeing. Some mass on the sand, towards the water. Something. I can't understand at first what you do right away: it's a huge group of people. A hundred or more. "It's a drum circle." But I'm incredulous. No way. What? Why? Just a bunch of strangers huddled together like that? "A sunset drum circle," you repeat. "I've seen them here before."


And just like that, we're off, running to join them. Running, running, running, the expanse between us and them feels endless. Why are we running? Because we didn't have a choice, feels like. So dry, blank, cold, colorless even with the sun radiating across the water, rushing now it seems, to say goodnight. You're faster, several feet ahead of me, though you look back and we laugh, breathless. What is this? What's happening? A pair of teenage boys passes us, leaving the beating throng. "You should go in there," they say, smiling big. "It's really fun." They mean the center of everyone, which now that we're upon it is like a slow-shifting animal with a single throbbing heartbeat.


Dozens of drums sound, though we can only see a few. Tambourines. Even a whistle. The crowd is locked in tight in the middle, looser at the edges. We watch, wordless. Women in sarongs sway and whip their hair. Men with crossed arms stand stolidly as if at attention. I try to be as unobtrusive as possible, sneaking a few photos. You hold me, and quietly we agree that this is the closet we'll probably ever get to Burning Man. And that's okay.


Time to go home. The last drops of light stretch our shadows across cold sand. The houses a safe block away from the chaos are cheery yellows and blues, but they look sleepy. One final look back: everything dark save for a daub of pink on the horizon. A short visit, but intense. I'm glad we came.

laguna beach

Sunday, late morning. My caffeinated bounce around the kitchen as you walk in from the gym. Beach tote packed. "Let's gooooo."

Breakfast first. The weekend sleep-in staples: cashew milk, cold-brewed coffee, baguette with butter and cheese. You can take the boy out of France but not the French out of the boy.

Boring drive down. Then suddenly: beach fog so thick and dark the ocean seems to be on fire. It's burning off quickly though. Smoky grey patches hustling inland, as if aware they've overstayed their welcome.

Highway becomes town. Surf shops, hair salons, pet boutiques, seafood shacks. Should we stop here? No, keep going, we'll know when.


Sidewalk breaks into green. Grass and a playground sidling up to the boardwalk. Blankets, sprawled-out limbs, dogs with Frisbies or lolling tongues. That chilled out beachfront vibe. Yesssss.

Metered parking on a winding side street. Souvenirs, candy stores, galleries. Five mom and pops for every corporate outpost.

Drinks first? Then exploring?

Don't have to look long. You find a place overlooking the water. Tiny swimmers in the distance, umbrellas all in shades of blue. No frills, standard grill fare, the server smart alecky and careless but we like him anyway. "We'll have the tequila quesadilla." Bits of blackberry pool at the bottom of my cocktail.


God, the sun. The haze has fled, and heat is sinking into my bones. Squinting without my sunglasses down at my phone, reviewing the dozen pics we've already taken.

Our table neighbors intrigue me. Sun bleached and Florida faded. Definitely tourists, definitely right coast. Her leg is slung across his lap, and he runs his hand lightly down her arm. His second marriage for sure, fifteen years on her easy.

Would the server mind taking their photo? Clearly he would, no time for that shit, busy busy busy, takes it facing the sun so they're in shadow.

Ellie to the rescue! No, I wouldn't mind at all. "Ugh, my phone's a piece of shit, sorry." Fumbling, tapping frustratedly at an unresponsive 4 that is clearly on its last leg. Finally gets the camera to load.


"I'm gonna take a few okay?" I fire away, multiple angles and distances. They look them over and she raves. "You're so good!"

Already digging in my bag for lipgloss, I pull out my Joby. "You're talking to a girl who brings her own tripod, okay?" They laugh; a tipsy grin from Terence. Half a beat later she volleys: "I wasn't quite sure what that was..."

Awesome, I love her. The four of us cracking up. She punches it: "We're all adults here." Bigger laughs. I say something about 50 Shades of Grey.

Second round of drinks. Just enough, exactly how toasty I wanted to be on the inside. California beaches only lose their chill in the deepest part of summer.


Changing tops in the bathroom, brand new open back rashguard I've been dying to wear. Excitement like opening day at the water park.

Hurrying down to the sand. You carefully rolling up your cargo pants, me itching to yank off my jeans and go splash.

Stretch the festival sheet out, less foot traffic over here. Weigh it down with our shoes. Put Spotify on. I'm already bounding down to the water.

Cold, fucking cold, no surprise there though. Just up to my knees then. Which means my thighs, accounting for waves.


The rashguard feels amazing. Slinky and smooth, warm against the breeze but none of the persistent sting of direct sun. Fuck yes.

I feel freer and more comfortable in my skin than I have at the beach in years. Hurdling waves, looking back like a kid. Did you see? Yes, you saw. Is that your phone? Are you recording me?

I run back up to you, then back down to the water almost immediately. This is great but it's making me want Mexico. The icy water is just a tease, the dark blue vaguely sinister. I want clear, bath-warm waves slapping gently at my legs. God, we need to go to Mexico.

I can't walk, I've forgotten how. Only running from now on. Rushing to you, not at all chilly just charged with happiness, flinging sand with my heels but no one's around, it's okay.


Lower myself onto you, push up style. Roll to the side. Pictures, more pictures. The light's so pretty, you're so pretty. Turn this way, get the solar flare, see? 

Relaxing. Then not, because I can't sit still. Come with me to the water! The cold hits you harder than it hits me and you groan. 

Messing with the tripod. Let's do a jumpstagram! A what? Hang on, I'll show you. I stabilize the legs carefully in the sand, twist the timer to start, then hurry to you at the water, calling out the number as I run.

"Seventeen! Sixteen! Fifteen! Fourteen! Thirteen! Twelve!..."


"What are we doing?" ("Eleven! Ten! Nine! Eight!...")

"Jump on 1! ...Five! Four! Three! Two!"

We hurl ourselves into the air, legs akimbo, almost unable to launch from laughing so hard. The timer is still beeping though so we jump again. Hopefully we got something good.

Oh holy shit did we ever.


(By the way are you thirty-seven or seven? Because I'm definitely nine.)

Winding down. So's the sun. Let's get fudge, I'm not leaving here without fudge.

Rinsing our feet only to get them sandy again right away. You've got to let them dry, rub the sand off then. Tiptoeing across pavement, partially dressed, still jazzed from the ocean but I'd better get some pants on. "The further you get from the water the more risque it is."

You mean my ass, peeking out of my bikini bottoms. I didn't realize until I changed in the bathroom, but I doubt I'd have cared much anyway.


Jeans, sweater, jacket, even my infinity scarf that I'm glad for, despite being on the beach. I'm cozy and dry and ready to wander. We ditch the bag in the car.

Popping in and out of shops. Barrels of saltwater taffy but no, my heart's set on fudge. Pop Rocks! We have to get some. Pouring in mouthfuls on the sidewalk outside, comparing the noise. I win, I dumped the whole pack. They snap and crack as I wedge them between the tips of my canines. I've done this before.

We find a two-story cluster of tiny hut-shaped stores, all closed, but the bridges and walkways are open. "It's like an Ewok Village." The church across the street chimes the hour: 6pm.


Food, we need real food. Dodging strollers and dog leashes, a hungry crowd on the prowl like us. Every restaurant a forty minute wait.

You want a burger, so I Google: "best burger in Laguna Beach". The only promising option is the drive-up joint we passed coming into town. Cheap but good if reviews are to be believed.

But you're reluctant to leave, stubbornly hitting up every hostess at every place we walk by. Hour wait or more at most places. "Come on baby, let's go back."

"No, I don't want to go home." "You don't want today to end, huh?" I tease. "No." Yeah, me neither. We needed this.


I thought the sun was done with me but it isn't. Comes gleaming over the tops of cars, a fiery streak I'm impatient to get close to. Beach sunset. Beach sunset! Hurry the fuck up, stoplight!

Your leg is bothering you, so you'll catch up. You take a picture of me taking a picture of the ocean, pink and yellow sorbet smears. We attempt a selfie together. Too dark.

Up the road, another cluster of shops. They remind me of Seaport Village. Galleries with ugly, surrealistic and pop art. Too much color, it competes with what's already outside.

Not much light left though. And then it's gone.


Slowly making our way back to the car. A narrow offshoot from the street leads to a secluded overlook. Totally dark, makeout central, but another couple's beat us there. We check out the view, listen to a wave or two, then retreat.

Stop in another candy shop, just to gaze at the truffles. "Fudge is my absolute most favorite dessert ever," I announce, thinking of the way my mother made it, putting shallow trays in the fridge to set overnight. It would all be gone within a day. I should find a recipe. I wish I could find hers.

At the car. I'm hitting a wall. So full. Are we really stopping for burgers? But you didn't have fudge. 

Husky Boy it's called, like something straight out of Tucson's main drag.


A burger each, fries, a soda and a root beer float. Overload, toxic, wonderful. At some point I ditch half the bun and fold the patty on itself like a slice of pizza. Still can't finish it.

We're giggling about something I'll forget when I write this up. What was it? Will you remember?

I'm quaffing my Sprite, I've never been so thirsty. Fudge. 

And now we really have to leave this place. I'd offer to drive but my night vision's crap and I've hit an even bigger wall. I don't want to fall asleep while you drive, so selfish, but baby...


Half asleep. KCRW. Head propped on my fist, fighting, fighting. Henry Rollins show. Okay, yes, this will keep me awake.

We talk music. Your music. Traffic is dense and fast. I hate driving at night. Keep us safe, I can't keep my eyes open. 


Ah, there. Familiar towers rise into view. I live there. Right there. I can read the letters on the tops of the buildings. There's the one whose elevators Chaucy loves. There's the one Terence used to work in. There's the one we park in the basement of. Hurry up, buildings, get closer, I am sun-sleepy like a child after Disneyland. 

My god baby, you might have to carry me upstairs. I am done for. But there's still the puppy to be walked. He'll scramble for his Piggy when he hears the door, pressing it into our hands, pushing his head at us for pets and love. 

He's going to smell the sand and the salt and oh yes, the burgers. He's going to know the sort of day we had.

1/365

Face down on the bed, fingers gripping the edge tightly. Holding on for dear life. It's changing again. Whoosh. Sliding down away from familiar things, hoping there's a soft landing somewhere there in the dark. No choice but to jump. 11th hour. Time to go, time to leave the safe house.

What can I control? Very little. Accept the powerlessness. Identify other ways in which control can be gained. Baby steps. You can't do everything at once. 

Stop ingesting poison. Stop internalizing hate. Stop watching train wrecks. Stop counting bodies.

A reckoning, but not. Doesn't need to be. Minimize the drama. Laugh, as always. Oh, this life. Dumb and funny, funny and dumb. Cynicism is a lead apron that's grown strangely lightweight and comfortable. Okay then. Be that for now. It's a different path from hopelessness, where there is no grass. 

Here at least there's grass. Sure, it's dead, but it might grow back.

Fingerprints all over the one way mirror. What are you looking at? Are you smiling? Did you bring others to watch? You know I don't care, right? I'm the one over here with the Windex and rag. It's freeing, do you understand that? Nothing more liberating than saying, Hey, my shell is cracked. The meat might still be good, but I don't know. It could be rotten. How hungry are you?

Cling to the people that accept and support. Gather them around, tell them. I love you. And you. And you. All of you. I wouldn't be here if you it weren't for you.

I would not be here if it were not for you.

Don't go anywhere yet, okay? 

Not yet. Please.