Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dick and Jane

I was waiting for the real estate agent to come by, so I passed the time by reading my email. I was thinking that well, maybe there'll be something there that will change my life 360...

Only one email: Proven-Pe:nisGro:wth, it said. Add:in:chesin:weeks, it continued.

Hmm, that would be a fuckmazing life change.

My friend Jane was over and she saw the email.

Jane: Umm. ( a little cough) Why do you get emails like THAT?

Alice: Isn't it obvious? Message Central thinks I'm a man.

Jane (looking at me as if I'm to blame): Well, why don't you tell them that you are not a man?

Alice: Them? Who should I tell?

Jane (with a don't-take-that-tone-with-me-young-lady look): Obviously, the PEOPLE WHO THINK YOU'RE A MAN!

Alice: Whatever. It's just computer-generated shit. No one is saying well, let me just tell this guy with the teeny wiener that I can change his life and make teeny into mighty!

Jane (sniffing): I never thought you would be a give-upinsky!

Alice (astounded): Give-upinsky? Where the hell did that come from?

Jane: Look, this, this, uninformed email thinks you're a man ⎯ a man with a small, um, er....

Alice: (trying to be really helpful): Dick?

Just then, we notice three people in the room with us. Oh, yeah, the real estate agent has a key.

Agent (looking askance): Bad time?

Jane (looking...askance): I don't live here!

Alice (looking...not askance): No, no. Come in. We were just working on a...a...a script that we're writing. Right Jane?

She nods furiously, but she’s drinking from a can of soda so she manages to spray Coke on her face.

Agent: Oh? Ah, splendid. What's it about?

Jane is giving me a please don’t be crazy look, though she’s the one who looks loca because, after all, soda is dripping off her face and all. She tries to answer before I do. You know, cut me off at the pass so no harm is done.

Jane: Well, see, it’s about…

She has to give up trying to explain. She also is a product of Catholic schools, and lying is not something she knows how to do well. I, too, have always been a very bad liar, but I figured that if I’m very flamboyant in my ersatz lies, they might be believable. They never have, of course, but still I soldier on with this conceit.

Alice: It's about hot man-on-man sex.

Agent: AH. Splendid, splendid. That sounds very, um, very… creative, yes?

Alice: Yeah, well, it pays the rent.

They never bothered to tour the house. Jane left with them. See Jane run.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Never interrupt me when I'm making a mistake

Okay, so now job hunt, part 3. Had an interview with an agency that places “professionals” in temporary non-profit organizations. They are looking for “professionals” who can multitask, organize, plan, edit, write, maintain calendars, and arrive on the job on time and in “professional” attire. That could be me, I thought. I’m very good with organizing myself and everyone else and can do all the above with aplomb and good humor and, oh shut up!

So I found myself dressed professionally, arriving five minutes before my appointed interview, and had my multitasking, organizing, planning, editing, writing, maintaining calendars look on my face. Also annoyance was flitting about there because it was now ten minutes after my interviewer should have come out to greet me. Why was he late? I’m supposed to be on time and the prat is late? Don’t want to work with them, I huffed to myself.

He comes out to the waiting room.

He: Ah, hello. Umm. We were expecting you tomorrow, but it’s alright. I have time to see you today and now.

Alice: TOMORROW? No, no, our appointment is for TODAY. I have it written right here. Thursday, at noon.

He: Well, that’s true. But today is Wednesday

Alice: Wednesday? Today is Wednesday?

He: Yes, but don’t worry about it. I can see you now.
Alice *wondering where all the aplomb and good humor has gone*: Well. Ah. I see.

We arrive at his office and sit down.

He: Well, now. Tell me about yourself.

My Brain: You’re a stupid bitch who fucked up big time! How can you tell them with a straight face that you are organized and can keep things running smoothly when you can’t even remember when to show up for a meeting!

My Mouth: Well, I have a lot of experience in communications…

My Brain: Oh really? Then how come you couldn’t “communicate” to yourself that your meeting was NOT for today?

My Mouth: And I have worked in Special Events and needed to use a lot of planning and organizational skills….

My Brain: Plan this, baby! You busted in on the WRONG DAY! He is staring at you politely but also he's thinking, what the fuck!

He: Of course. So on a scale of one to three, how would you rate your administrative skills?

My Brain: Heh. Can we use negative numbers?

My Mouth: Oh, definitely three. I mean I am very good at administrative tasks. Except for the forgetting the right day for my appointment and showing up unannounced and forcing you to see me thingy, I’m quite organized and remember everything that needs to be remembered.

He: I like your….ummm

My Mouth *helpfully*: Aplomb and good humor in the face of disaster?

My Brain *so not helpfully*: Stupidity?

He*laughing*: Yes, actually. I like that you are cool and collected despite your obviously embarrassing to you but not to me faux pas.

My Mouth *relieved*: Oh, thank you. Well what kind of job is available to me that would appreciate my coolness and collectedness?

He: Don’t have a clue. But we’ll try to find something for you that will fit your, ahem, skills. We’ll be in touch.

My Brain: Memorize his face, bitch, because that’s the last time you’ll ever see this one!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Travels with Myself

Went to New York City and for the train ride, Eva pressed a book into my hands. She said that I could finish it in one read. Great! I love to read, especially on trains. But there was a problem. The title of this book? Spontaneous Human Combustion. Yes, yes, that's the title and it IS about people just bursting into flames and dying. It wasn't a joke book either. Rather a scholarly and well-documented look at this, um, mysterious occurrence.

Alice: Uh, Eva?

Eva: Yes, dear.

Alice: Uh, this seems to be a really strange book for me to be enjoying on the train. I mean it's about people dying. Horrifically.

Eva: Oh, it seems like you wouldn't want to read such a book, but it really is an interesting subject, don't you think? Don't worry, dear, you'll love it. And you don't have to return it. Keep it for your library.

Alice: Uh. Thanks?

I glanced at the chapters. One was called A History of Incineration. Another was Heated Exchanges. There was also May the Force be Within You. I did not take this book with me on the train.

When I returned to Washington, DC, I was riding the metro and saw an advertisement on the wall that I had seen once before. It reminded riders not to forget to take their teeth when they left the train. It went on to say that we would be surprised what people leave behind in their rush to get off the train. Surprised? That doesn't even come close. I mean, teeth?

All I know is that DC is uber strict about not allowing metro riders to bring food, candy, drinks, whatever, on the trains. The police get very antagonized if they even see you chew gum.

See, that's the problem. That attitude is so whacked. The way I see it, if people WERE allowed to eat while they ride, then the teeth would be so busy chewing, they couldn't be left to ride to the end of the line. I'm just saying.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tales from the Job Front...Take 2

So after that silly meeting with Susan at her employment agency, I was job searching on the web and came across a heading that intrigued me: Earn $10/hr stickin’ it to the man.

Wow, I thought, that’s what I need to do, except for the low pay part. Enough with the jobs that ooze sense and sensibility, that ask and require multitasking, micromanaging, excellent grammar, professional demeanor, sensitivity, blah, blah, boring, boring, yada, yada….

Now THIS could be great! I so need a job where I could finally STICK IT! TO THE MAN, NO LESS!

So, I checked it out and it consisted of a person standing in front of a dentist’s office handing out flyers that criticized this dentist’s, well you know, dental abilities. Apparently, he sucks and he has a list of patients—including celebrities—who have suffered at his hands. Standing in front of the office. All day. Handing out brochures. For$10 an hour. That’s the job.

Not really sticking anything are we. Hmm. No. Not for me. And this reminds me that I actually need to see a dentist because I have a chipped tooth. Well, just won’t go to him.

I press on and then see the job alert that makes me catch my breath:

Want to be a bitch and get paid for it?


It’s a job at a BDSM studio. A dominatrix. Shit. I knew it was too good to be true. Still and all, the ad said that the studio offers training and promotion, no age requirement (whew!), flexible hours and lots of excitement for students (not me), creative types (I wish it were me), and anyone wanting to escape the 9-5 life (ME, ME).

The next paragraph in the ad screams, No sex! No nudity! No kidding, I think as I have a flashback to my Catholic school upbringing where no sex and no nudity were a required course of study. A course, I might add, that I passed with flying colors, thank you very much.

Hey, it’s $70/hr. Hmmm. Well, maybe….

Also says that it’s a great opportunity to express your inner bitch and inner goddess. Well. Just a thought, but what about taking BOTH jobs? Stand outside the dental office AND be a bitch about it?

No, wait. The ad ends by REQUIRING that the person applying have a professional demeanor, a high level of self-motivation, sensitivity, blah, blah, boring, boring, yada, yada.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Tales from the Job Front

I remember when Sarah called yesterday and told me that her friend had found a job posting that sounded perfect for me. Great! I thought. Tell me about it.

SARAH: Well, now hear me out. Be open-minded.
ALICE: Why? What’s wrong with it?
SARAH: Nothing. It’s just that you have to work in (indecipherable) guitar.
ALICE: Guitar? What do you mean?
SARAH: NO! You are not hearing me. You must work in guitar…
ALICE: You mean a guitar shop?
SARAH: NO! Qatar. You know, like Dubai. Only not.

Oh. Well, Alice here really loves cool weather, bosky vistas, lakes, and woods. She really dislikes hot weather, humidity, and sandy places. So, of course, it makes sense to seriously consider applying for a job in Doha, Qatar. Yes, Qatar, as in Middle Eastern country where the summers are very hot, and humid; where the terrain is mostly flat, barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel. Yeah. That sounds like a great match for me. I know that my family is desperate for me to be employed at long last. But still.

The job as an assistant editor for a college website sounded good, but the pay was not so good. Then after reading blogs from people who actually lived there, one learns that it is a very expensive place to survive. So there’s that, too. Also, I learned that Sarah and I were not pronouncing it correctly. Apparently, It does not rhyme with guitar but rather a cross between cutter and gutter. Huh?

SARAH: Oh, come on, where’s your sense of adventure?
ALICE: Right where it should be. Right here safe and sound.
SARAH: Do you have anything better in mind? I mean you don’t have any job offers at the moment, huh?
ALICE: As a matter of fact, I do have an interview this afternoon and I have a feeling that it will go very well. So there!
SARAH: Yeah, right. Good luck with that.

I went to meet with a Susan for a job that sounded great; it required great organizational skills, writing ability, event-planning capabilities for social and political functions. Yeah, I thought, this is sooooo me. Oh, yes. Salary open to discussion. I’ll discuss, sure.

Went to the interview and it turns out that the place is just an employment agency. That’s so not how it was presented in the listing. Susan turned out to be the type of dame that populates offices in film noir movies. The interview begins.

SUSAN: So, the job is with a very well known female journalist who writes about foreign affairs. Look, honey, if I told you her name you would know it right away; she is BIG in the business and she is always in the paper.

MY BRAIN: Whatever!
My MOUTH: How… fascinating.

SUSAN: Yeah, so anyways, she is looking for someone to be her right hand. But I gotta tell you, she is a big pill, very difficult to work with and, gotta tell you the truth to let you know what you’re getting here, I would never work for her.

MY BRAIN: You actually represent her? You actually are trying to HELP her find someone?

SUSAN: Yeah. Hours are long and she travels a lot. One minute here, next minute London, next minute Paris. You know.

MY BRAIN: Well, how bad could it be? Sounds like she would never be around to be a bitch.
MY MOUTH: Yes. Yes, I know.

SUSAN: Are you thick-skinned, honey?

MY BRAIN: NO! I AM SO NOT THICK-SKINNED. MY SKIN IS THIN, THIN, THIN. But don’t tell her that! You WANT a job, remember.
MY MOUTH: Um. Er. No.

SUSAN: Well, whaddaya want to do?

MY BRAIN: I want to not be here with you, thank you very much.
MY MOUTH: Well, I believe that I should meet this person and see if we could work together. The job sounds interesting and perhaps we could find a way to have a strong, respectful working relationship…

SUSAN: Yeah, yeah, right. Okay. I just wanna let you know that she is tough.

MY MOUTH: Well, is she verbally abusive?

SUSAN: Oh, no. She just wants things done her way. ALL THE TIME. NO DISCUSSION, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.

MY BRAIN: Sigh. And this is different from the life I lead with the people I know, how?
MY MOUTH: Well, I am happy to meet with her at her convenience to discuss further.

SUSAN: I’ll fax her your resume and if she wants to see you, she’ll see you. If she doesn’t she won’t.

MY BRAIN: I wonder what your I.Q. is.
MY MOUTH: That sounds…..sensible.

SUSAN: Oh, if she asks you how long you plan on staying with her, just tell her the one thing that will please her and make her hire you.


SUSAN: Forever.

MY MOUTH: Forever?

SUSAN: Yeah.

MY MOUTH: Well, (a quick laugh) no one can stay FOREVER at a job.

SUSAN (not looking amused): Yeah, well, with her you do.

MY MOUTH: Forever. Got it.

So no one has called. Never mind about for-ever, it seems that Miss well-known-psycho-harpy-journalist DOES NOT want to meet me for-now. The bitch. I am going to go scrub myself in the shower to toughen and thicken my skin before I go out into the world again.

Now, how bad could hot, humid, barren, sandy, gravel-ridden really be?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Look But Don't Touch!

Jane telephoned early this morning and proposed that we do several things: go to Apogee Gallery, where she will have another showing this October, and help to hang some of her art; go to a department store to buy two very large umbrellas for her husband; go to a department store and buy him more shirts for work.

ALICE: Oh, no, no, no. You're NOT getting me to go and find shirts for David again after that last time! And by the way, why can’t one go to the department store and buy him two umbrellas AND shirts. On the same trip!
JANE: Never you mind! But, David made me promise that you would pick out the shirts. You know that he feels that only you can find him the softest cotton around, and you know that with his sensitive skin....
ALICE: NO! Anyway, we are not allowed in the Men's department at Hechts anymore. YOU KNOW THAT.
JANE *pretending that it's a thought that just occurred to her*: I know. Maybe we should go to Macy's.
ALICE: NO! We'll get thrown out of there, too!

Jane spends a few minutes looking at me and wondering whether she could really speak her mind. Apparently she thinks, sure, why the hell not.

JANE: Well, maybe you shouldn't take the shirts and rub them against your cheek.
ALICE: You're blaming me? How else can I tell if the shirts are soft enough for David's baby skin?
JANE: Why don't you just finger them?
ALICE Finger them? That's not going to work. They need to be caressed!
JANE: David is just going to work. At the State Department. There won't be any caressing there.
ALICE *a bit smugly*: He HATES the shirt you pick out. He LOVES the shirts I pick out. Who has the advantage here?

Jane spends another few seconds thinking this over.

JANE: Who made the salesperson come over and scold us because someone was rubbing the shirts against her body and when that someone started to argue, asked us to leave. And never come back.
ALICE *shrugging*: Bah, I was going to fold them neatly again. She was a cretin. She didn't understand skin, softness, caress, you know.

Of course, Jane did drag me to the store. She stood guard while I "tested" the shirts. I had about ten of them strewed about (neatly, of course) but could only find three that passed the skin test.

SALESPERSON: Excuse me. What are you doing?

Jane, as usual, doesn't say a word and pretends to find ugly ties incredibly interesting to examine.

ALICE: Um. Finding shirts. Soft shirts. Feel-good-to-the-skin shirts.
SALESPERSON: Did you OPEN all of those packages?
ALICE: Maybe.
SALESPERSON: OhmyGodpleaseleavenowthanks.
JANE: We'll take those three!

I was planning on putting everything back, I really was, but Jane paid quickly and pushed me out the door.

JANE *reproachfully*: David wanted five shirts. We have to find two more.
JANE: Look, there's Filene's. Want to go there?
ALICE: *cries*

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pesky Statistics

Yesterday, I met with friends and we were talking about anything and everything when one of them mentioned that they had read an article a while ago that claimed that the less sleep one gets, the fatter one weighs. Hmm. Well, I know some people who are not sleepy AND fat but, never mind… It seems that researchers found evidence that points to less sleep = hormonal changes = appetite increases = fat ass.

Well, I can just imagine telling some of my other friends about this.

Alice: Hey, you guys! There’s a new diet plan we can try and we don’t have to worry about how we are going to keep away from the refrigerator!

Friends: Awesome! Tell us, tell us…

Alice: Well, all we have to do is sleep… a lot.

Friends *not jumping with glee*: Sleep? A lot? We get enough sleep as it is.

Alice: Well, if you count going to bed at 4:00 a.m. and getting up at 7:30 a.m. that same morning a lot, then I guess you do.

Friends: O.K. We can try going to bed earlier. Let’s try tonight. Let’s see. If we go to bed at, say, 7:00 p.m., we can get up at 6:00 p.m. the next day. How much do you think we would lose?

Alice: How will we go to sleep at 7:00 tonight, huh? We won’t be sleepy. We’ll still be fat, but not sleepy.

Friends: We know! How about if we drink ourselves into a stupor? Yeah, we’ll drink and drink, then get very sleepy and, voila, off to dreamland.

Alice: Guys. If we drink all that then we have added a million calories to our day! The point is to lose it not abuse it.

Friends *thinking so hard their eyes cross*: We know! Instead of waking up at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, we can sleep even later. Maybe wake up at midnight! That should give us plenty of time to make up for the drinking. Then, to celebrate our “loss” we could go to our favorite loser bar and toast our success!

Alice: Oh, hang on! The study was done with people from southeastern Virginia who were OLD and OBESE. And it says that normal weight people there got 1.9 hours a week more sleep than the fatties.

Friends *using the thinking caps again*: WHAT? Southeastern Virginia? We thought this was a serious study using serious people who don’t breathe in massive amounts of southern food and…

Alice: Please! No need to be so unkind and rude! Well, maybe we don’t need to follow this; it won’t work for us, anyway.

Friends*depressed*: We’re depressed.

Alice*depressed*: I’m depressed.

So in order to cheer ourselves up, we walked (great exercise) over to loser bar and drank away our sorrows. And pledged that we would go to sleep at 3:00 a.m. After all, it didn’t hurt to try it...just in case…

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door

Was in NYC for two days looking at apartments. Nothing to entice me to turn over billions of dollars a month…but I have hope that I will soon walk into an apartment and feel that I am “home.”

Was supposed to drive down to Washington, D.C. with a friend, but my ride had to stay an extra day and I needed to be back because I had a class at 7:00 p.m., so I was convinced by several people that rather than take the Amtrak, I should ride the Chinatown bus. NO! That was my first thought. I don’t do buses because I always get “bus sick.” But after thinking about it, and being told that it would cost $20.00 and that it would take 4 1/2 hours and that many people I know have done this with comfort and no problems, I succumbed.

WRONG! The bus was to be an express. NYC to DC. That’s what my e-ticket showed. I made sure to ask the hordes of people who stopped me and asked to see my ticket and they nodded and said, “yes, express, no problem.” My seatmate was a very hunky man in his 20’s and we chatted and laughed during the trip.

We made a stop in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. How odd, I thought, why are we here? This is an express run, right? It turns out that the bus driver had made his own rules and was dropping what seemed to be different ancient relatives hither and thither. After Cherry Hill, we stopped at a gas station…somewhere. Then I see that we are pulling into Philadelphia. It was getting late and I was anxious about missing my penultimate class.

After Philly, there were just 5 of us left on the bus, including my seatmate. We talked about how irate we were that the driver was not sticking to the program. I love rebel behavior but…

Then an elderly man stood up and walked over to the driver, who was speeding along an unfamiliar road near Baltimore. The next thing we knew, they were SCREAMING at each other.

Elderly Man: You stupid, stupid, driver. You were supposed to drop me off in Baltimore. Go back. Go back. GO BACK!
Elderly Man: GO BACK. NOW!
Driver: No one told me! No stop at Baltimore! Sit down! NO! Don’t sit down! GET OFF MY BUS!

And he slams on the brakes and stops. In the middle of…nowhere.

I, of course, was thinking about all the people that I know who have taken the Chinatown bus and have arrived in DC, happy and on time. I was also thinking about what IS it about ME that always manages to find myself screwed. And, of course, never in the good way.

So my seatmate turns to me and says something along the lines of, “Do you think that elderly dude has a knife?” I push away visions of stabbings, death of driver PLUS the witnesses, or of having to drive the bus a la Sandra Bullock and look at him with panic.

“Do you want me to go and see if I can calm them down?” I nod and my brave, buff seatmate walks to the front and a few minutes later, all is well. Driver decides to pull off into an industrial park place and lets Elderly Man get off.

But, I guess the driver is pissed off at us for interfering because the rest of the ride is at warp speed. It is raining hard and hydroplaning WAS an option. He was also yelling on the phone in Chinese and I am sure he was complaining about us. We both kept quiet because we... well, we didn’t have that strong of a death wish.

So the roller coaster ride stops in DC at 7:00 p.m. I am late for the class. Raining. No cabs. After twelve minutes of desperate seeking, I manage to get a cab to stop for me. I get in, look at the driver and say,” Don’t break any laws but get me to Georgetown AS FAST AS YOU CAN. He smiles at me and says, “Just like in the movies, eh?” Then proceeds to practically drive up on the sidewalks to get around the traffic. I am acutally only half an hour late, totally soaked by the rain but I summon all the aplomb that I never really have and enter the classroom. My teacher looks at me and says, “Wow, there must be a story here.”

“Oh, no,” I answer. “No story. It’s just that as…someone… once said, if you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Little Help from My Friends

Received a call from Lolly who told me that he had gotten a call from a Sol who was trying to place a client looking for employment in his (Lolly’s) office. Lolly’s organization only uses interns so he decided to talk about me to Sol. No, I thought, no! I will not go to another agency because it never works out. I have to spend hours meeting with eager recruiters who never call me back. So, no. Then I really listen to what Lolly is saying:

LOLLY: So I babbled on about all that you can do and he was very interested and he absolutely wants you to call him.

ALICE: I don’t want to do…
LOLLY: He really, really insisted that I tell you that he wants your call.
ALICE: I don’t want to do…
LOLLY: Today. Now. Hang up and call Sol. Now.

A few minutes later, I am dialing Sol’s number and thinking that maybe, just maybe, this might be a good thing. After all, Sol did insist that I call. Lolly told him all about me and Sol still wanted to speak to me so, yaay!

SOL: Who is this?
ALICE: Well you asked that I call…
SOL: I am confused. Who are you?
MY BRAIN: Hmmph. You are such a sad, sad, thing!
ALICE: You. Asked. That. I. Call.
SOL *was that a sigh I heard? *: Well, let’s start from the top. What are your skills?

Two minutes later:

SOL: Why now?
ALICE *confused*: Why now, what?
SOL: Why do you want to work now?

Well I am thinking that I should be truthful and tell him something along the lines of, Oh, I don’t want to work now. It’s just little things that are forcing me to find a job. You know. Collection agencies. Concerned parent. Scoffing children. Irritated friends. The usual.

But I don’t, of course. However when I try to answer, Sol cuts me off.

SOL: How much do you want to make?
ALICE: Oh. Well. You know, as John Ruskin once said, the highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.

Sol does not say anything though I can hear heavy breathing, which either means that he is running on the treadmill while talking to me -- then I hear a groan -- or not.

ALICE: Oh. Um. Well, I am willing to discuss salary.
SOL: You are? So? How much? What is your range?
ALICE: Just. Not now. When there is a real job offer, then I’ll know.
SOL: Do you want to work as a temp?
ALICE: Yes. Yes. I do.
SOL *with an aha catch to his voice*: Well, we are not a temp agency!
ALICE: No? Then this call was a mistake.

In so many ways!

SOL: Obviously.
ALICE *quite irritated*: Tell me, Sol, why did you insist to Lolly that I call you?
SOL: I make so many phone calls. I remember speaking to, er, Lolly? And I am sure that I wanted you to call but…
ALICE: Well, you know what? I don’t want to be a temp. I want a permanent job.
SOL *happy*: That I can help you with! What kind of position are you looking for?
ALICE *sick and tired of talking to him*: An upright one.
SOL: Umm. Well, if such an opening comes across my desk, I’ll call you.
ALICE: Yeah. Do that.

When I speak to Lolly later and berate him for making me go through another impossible, asinine situation, he dismisses my rant with an arched eyebrow and wisdom obviously honed from his many years of experience with the human condition.

LOLLY: You just DON’T want to find a job and that’s why you behave like an idiot with people who can help you.

While Lolly talks and talks and talks, I am thinking, What! You mean someone like Sol? Help me? It was the other way around! Apparently I HELPED him! And unless I get a job as a phone sex operator. . .

Lolly has stopped talking, so it’s time to stop thinking.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Calling Dedalus

Eva, the self-described psychic whom Tiggy introduced to me this past summer -- the one who has a deceased nun whisper in her ear whenever she needs advice -- had something to tell me. Tiggy had told her about my job search and Eva had been thinking about me and was ready to tell me what she felt.

Eva: Doll, when I first met you I saw someone who was so calm but was roiling inside with words, information, things that needed to get out.

Alice: No kidding?

Eva: Yes, I had a vision of you all tied up with duct tape.

Alice: Duct tape, eh? Umm. What part of me was taped?

Eva: ALL of you!

Alice: What the hell does that mean?

Eva: It means that you are not meant to get a job! You should write!

Alice: I am not to get a job? I am to write? You got all that because you saw me tied up? With duct tape? Is this a sick joke the nun has thought up to piss me off?

Obviously I have forgotten how to speak in declarative sentences.

Eva: Listen, Doll, don’t bother trying to get a job. Just sit down and write whatever comes into your head. Stream of consciousness. Don’t concentrate. Just write whatever. Get it all out of you and then things will happen.

Alice: Things? Will happen? What things? What will happen?

Hmm, still not getting the hang of saying sentences that end in periods.

Eva: You know, the things that are meant to happen will happen once you sit down and…write. But I don’t want you to concentrate.

Alice: Let me understand here. I am not to get a job, never mind the fact that I NEED to earn money ah, yesterday; I am to sit and spill my guts on paper, and in a disorganized, non-concentrated way I might add, and then…things will happen. Sure, things will happen. BAD THINGS.

Eva: Pah! You want to be free of the duct tape, don’t you?

So here I am. Streaming. Consciousnessly. Let’s see. Duct Tape. Taboo. Evening. Nuns. Anarchy. James Joyce. What the hell am I doing just sprouting words and why did I ever meet… Wait! No! Must not concentrate!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Alea Iacta Est

Recipe for helping one spend an evening NOT THINKING ABOUT SOMETHING (O.K. someone) NOR FEELING WHAT SOMETHING DID (O.K. someone) to cause utter distress:

1. Share a Pink Flaming Pussy with three others, making sure that you drink, drink, and drink on an empty stomach.

2. Share ANOTHER Pink Flaming Pussy. This time have some Pu Pu Platter, too.

3. Share A THIRD BLOODY PINK FLAMING PUSSY, and eat some steak.

4. Have your tablemates give your name (without you noticing because after all there's still Pink Flaming Pussy to be consumed) to the emcee of the club where all the staff are beautiful women who are really men.

5. Find out that your name is called and you must go up on stage and join other women (real ones) who must do just one thing: give an 18-year-old boy/man a lap dance.

6. Glare at tablemates and vow silently to kill them all later. But gamely walk onstage and hope that you don't fall off the edge.

7. Listen to first woman on stage decide not to go through with lapdance and leave.

8. When your turn is next, listen to brain urging one to do the same thing and just leave.

9. Ignore brain and just mutter to oneself, “The die is cast, wtf” and then do the lap dance. No bits touched, thank you very much; it was an ersatz lapdance. I mean, he WAS 18 and...not cute.

10. Go to another bar later and drink something with vodka and cranberry juice.

11. Go home and throw up in the street on the way there. Oh yes, have son helping you home and holding back your hair. Very first time for this and son is proud that at least Mum is no longer a prude.

12. Feel like death and wonder why this all happened.

13. Realize that, what the hell, at least the evening sped by with no thoughts except staying upright and that’s a good thing.

This recipe works! Umm. Don’t have first hand knowledge, of course. It happened to… someone.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Not There

I spent a day with a real estate broker looking at apartments in New York City. He took me to an area where I specifically told him I had no interest in living, but then figured that at least I should look at many places so when I rejected any out of hand, I had research to back me up.

Some of the apartments were lovely, but midtown Manhattan was so...corporate. So, I knew that at night, people would leave and return to their homes wherever and I would be living in an area bereft of humans, and tumbleweeds would be tripping down the avenues...

One particular apartment was appalling. It was a 2-bedroom--good, so far-- but it was dark. Very, very dark. Except for the bedrooms, which had the only windows in the whole apartment. My broker thought it was perfect.

Broker (excitedly): Look at the size of the bedrooms. Look at how bright they are.
Alice (not excitedly): Yes, but look at the living room, kitchen and entrance. Look at how bright they are not!
Broker (rolling eyes): Bah! All you need to do is put in those standing halogen lamps and you'll get plenty of light!
Alice: And what about the bedrooms, huh? If I wanted to sleep in late, the light would prevent that.
Broker: You're silly! All you need to do is put those blackout shades on the windows and you solve that problem!

So, basically, I pay billions of dollars for an apartment where I then have to spend billions more for electricity in order to have light where I want it. And more money on shades to take away the light where I don't want it.

Oh, and outside the kitchen window there is a very small area with a table and two chairs. Broker was almost shrieking with happiness as he led me to the window.

Broker: LOOK. JUST LOOK. An outdoor spot to drink your morning coffee, or to have a romantic dinner. What do you think about that?

I looked but could not see a doorway leading out there.

Alice: But how does one get there?
Broker (giving me an are-you-that-dumb glance): You climb out the window, of course!
Alice: WHAT! But the window is over the sink.
Broker (happily): Yes. That makes it easier, doesn’t it?
Alice: Not to belabor the point, but this IS a neighborhood where I do not want to live in the first place, and don't get me started on how much it costs to rent. Then the apartment’s layout is so wrong, and finally one has to be a cat burglar in order to sit outside. So despite all these, um, undesirable attributes, you actually think that I should seriously consider this place?
Broker (in a very silky voice): What will it take for you to sign on the dotted line on this apartment?
Alice: Amnesia, despair, and just plain dumbness.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Life at the Top

I have a friend who decided one day that she was not going to teach anymore; she wants to be an artist. So on a cold early morning walk along Washington, D.C. streets, we vowed that within the year, Jane would be the featured artist at a gallery, and that I would be spending all my days writing. We swore that we would be drinking champagne and saying things such as, “Wow, can you believe that we did this?” Anyway, almost a year to that day, Jane had a show! The Apogee Gallery. Everything looked phenomenal. Jane finally was beginning to feel that she IS an artist, with professional validation that her work is quite good. I have always told her how fantastic her pieces turn out, but she always smiled at me fondly, indulgently.

Jane: Oh, thank you, but you’re my dearest friend. What else are you going to say?
Alice *sighing*: If I did not like the work, I would not be so effusive about it! I would say something along the lines of ‘well, it certainly is unique.’
Jane: No, you wouldn’t. You would never say anything bad about my work. You can’t. It’s not your personality to be anything but an adorable, wonderful friend who would never hurt my feelings.
Alice *quite irritated*: NO! I SO CAN BE UNADORABLE AND HURTFUL!
Jane *smiling and sighing*: No, no, you can’t.
Alice: Well, I’ll try hard to be… you know…. more hardcore.
Jane: You try that, sweetie!

Jane was nervous because she had invited a lot of friends to the opening and one hour into the event, not one had arrived. Finally, a woman from her bible studies group came in and Jane, who had been drinking A LOT to quell her nerves, was quite drunk.

Jane *squealing and running over to the woman and throwing her arms around her and kissing both checks*: OH, ANN, HOW WONDERFUL TO SEE YOU!

The woman looked quite shocked and it wasn’t just because she and Jane did not have a huggy friendship. I knew the reason why.

Jane *still hugging and kissing the woman*: OH, ANN, COME AND SEE MY THINGS!
Alice *quietly whispering into Jane’s ear*: Her name is Elizabeth.
Alice: Janie! Listen to me! Her name is Elizabeth, not Ann!

Of course, Jane was leading the bewildered woman over to the wall to show her Fissure and was still babbling and calling her Ann. Then she came back to where I was now downing more champagne quickly and wondering if I could call for Jolly Rancher shots.

Jane: Isn’t it wonderful that Ann came?
Jane *looks at me with concern*: Aren’t you drinking too much?
Alice: God, no!
Jane: Look, are you practicing being a bitch to me? Because you’re doing a good job, although I know you’re only pretending so I applaud the effort, my dear friend!
Alice: Let’s go find Ann!

I do not remember the rest of the evening clearly, but I think that it involved words such as: brilliant, hello, bravo, Ann, slut (not Ann), NO, goodbye, HOME, NOW, and I can't believe that we did all this bloody-drinking.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Spending Time Usefully

Went to get the car registration renewed at the Motor Vehicle office in D.C. I’d rather eat glass than do this but I lost the scissors, rock, paper tournament so my failure meant spending a chunk of the morning being abused by the bitches nice DMV people behind the counter.

DMV bitch nice lady: WHAT can I do for you?
Alice: Er. Renewing a car registration?
DMV bitchnice lady:O.K.gimmeregistrationinsurance
Alice: Huh?

I sit down next to a man who looks at me and tells me that his three minutes have turned into thirty. I sigh. A woman walks in and sees us seated along the wall and asks us if we are waiting in line. I look at my seat companion and he has the same expression I’m sure is plastered on my face. How CAN we be in line if we’re seated AWAY from the line, against the wall. Especially with stricken looks which can only mean we have already had the pleasure of conversation with the bitchesnice ladies.

Alice: Oh, no we…
Man: are not waiting because we…
Alice: have already been…
Man: well, you know, processed…
Alice: Yeah. Processed. You know, like cheese.
Woman: Cheese?
Man: Cheese?
Alice's brain: Oh please stop talking. I implore you to stop.
Alice (chastened): Oh, sometimes I try to be funny by saying things, you know, um, with my mouth.
Alice's brain: Please be quiet. Oh, please be quiet!
Woman: Really?
Man: Really?
Alice:: Um. That was one of those times.
Alice's brain: I really hate you sometimes. Many times if I really think about it.
Man: Oh.
Woman: Oh

An hour later with renewed registration in hand, I leave with the thought that I DON’T EVEN OWN THE CAR! Then it was time to take the car to be inspected. What’s worse than going to the inspection center on a rainy day? Having to return the next day (also rainy) because you drove off without allowing them to change the sticker on the car the first time.

Alice's brain: Need I tell you ONCE again how much I hate you sometimes?

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Ferry Tale

Went to NYC via Staten Island, so found myself having to take the ferry to Manhattan. Am sitting on a green plastic seat looking out at the river when a very old man wearing a Nike jacket and a cap with LAS VEGAS festooned across the front walks up to me, holds up one hand and with the other takes out a harmonica and plays a tune. I stare. He is playing away, never taking his eyes from mine and his song brings to mind merry-go-round-type music. What is more interesting is that he is wearing two hearing aids.

Then I notice that he now has an empty coffee cup in his right hand. Ah. He wants money for the pleasure of his music. It's not a welcome-to-the ferry moment.

After he leaves (with no money, sorry, sir), a pigeon comes walking along. Wow, I think, that pigeon is a bit of a slacker. No flying to Manhattan for him. Nope. He is taking the ferry. After all it's free and fast and provides musical entertainment. And I guess when a pigeon has business in Manhattan, what better way to go.

The pigeon stops next to my seat -- of course -- and stands there. Waiting. For what? Does it want money, too? A panhandling slacker pigeon?

It looks at me with a watch-what-I-can-do toss of the head. I look back with a well-show-me-your-stuff shrug. Pigeon walks forward, bends its head and picks up a pretzel crumb and throws it. Then it runs and kicks it, runs after it again and kicks it once more. Holy shit! A soccer-playing pigeon! Money SHOULD be paid for this!

Too soon we are nearing the end of the trip, the game is over, the crumb is consumed and the pigeon follows the crowd walking down the ramp.

Ah, these David Lynch moments.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

New Men in My Life...Part !!

This morning the three painters showed up again to work outside. *Sigh* I was inside when I heard shouting, laughing, ladders tumbling to the ground and more shouting. OMG, one of them must have killed himself working here!

Alex: Hello? Please come outside. Elias has found a nest of bees and has been attacked!
Alice: You want ME to go outside?
Oscar: Yes, and please bring bee killer.
Alice: Bee killer?
Elias: OW.

Wow, I think, finally I can understand him.

Larry is here and I send him off to the drugstore; he does not want to go.

Larry *scowling*: What do I need to get? Why should I be the one to get it?
Alice: Go get bee killer. And you need to go because you need to be useful not merely irritating.
Alex: Did you make any coffee?
Alice: Oh, well, I can just drop everything and rush to make some right now for you. Here, let me take orders. Who else wants some fucking hot coffee? They all do.

While I'm making the coffee, Elias is walking around me. Moaning. Holding his ear. Tapping me on the shoulder now and again and pointing to his ear when he gets my attention. I am trying to be very sympathetic.

Alice: Yes, yes, Elias. I know. It must hurt. Just wait. Help is coming.
Elias: OW.
Alice: Yes, I know, ow. Piss off now!

The bee killer thingy arrives. Coffee is handed around and I go upstairs to hide.

A mere few minutes later, Alex is shouting up the stairs.
Alex: Someone is here to SEE YOU. CAN YOU HEAR ME?
Alice: Yes, Alex, stop shouting, they can hear you in Canada!

Downstairs, there is another man standing in the hall. A real estate agent ready to give the pitch about why he's perfect for the job.

Agent: Hey, where's Larry?
Alice: Hey, no clue.
Alex: He's outside fighting.
Alice and Agent: Fighting?
Alex: Yes. With the bees. Go outside you two and see him.
Alice and Agent: No. We'll wait here.

Then the door opens and Tiggy comes in.

Tiggy: Hey, I am going to Home Depot. Wanna come?
Alice: Uh, much as that sounds like tons more fun than I am having right now, no can do because... At that moment, Larry, Alex, Oscar, and Elias are shouting about the bees getting angrier and watch out and get away and close the window and aaahhhh!

Tiggy looks at me stunned, and I look at her, er, not stunned.

Alice: Coffee?
Tiggy: Uh, no, I'm leaving now.
Oscar: Refill for me. But you put not enough sugar last time. Make it better this time.
Alex: I want more. But you put too much sugar in mine. Don't do it again.
Elias: OW.

I went with Tiggy.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

New Men In My Life

Hired painters to paint (no kidding!) two bathrooms and window trim. Oscar, Alex, and Elias came to do the job even though it is raining. A lot.

Oscar: Hi, we're here to paint the bathrooms and windows.
Alice: But, it's raining. A lot. You can't possibly paint the windows outside.
Alex: Do you have umbrellas?
Elias: *does not speak English so he says something that sounds like mggghhhasta*
Alice: Ha, ha, very funny, Alex. You want umbrellas. That's hilarious. Wait, you look serious. You can't be serious.
Alex: Just kidding. Do you have coffee? Make some coffee. Black, with a teeny, tiny, bit of sugar.

I'm making the coffee and thinking that it's always the same when it comes to people working on this house. I try to keep a professional distance and it is always breached. One time, we even had some painters from the Eastern Shore spend the weekend here because the trip home would have inconvenienced them. Of course, never mind that I had beds to make, linen to wash later and a meal to make for them. AS LONG AS THEY'RE FUCKING HAPPY!

I notice that Oscar is nervous and avoiding eye contact. I don't like this. Oh gods, please don't let him ask if they can live with me.

Oscar: I need a favor.
Alice *hyperventilating*: Uh, uh. What is it?
Alex: Don't worry, it's nothing bad.
Elias: Mggghhhasta
Oscar: We want to give an estimate to a new client and we need you to call up a competing company, ask them to come see the outside of the house and give you an estimate over the phone. Then you tell us what they said, and we'll give a lower estimate so we can get the job.

Alice: WHAT! You want me to PRETEND that I'm the owner of a different house?
Oscar *smiling with happiness that I understand*: Yes. Thank you.
Alex: We appreciate this.
Elias: Mggghhhasta.
Alice: More coffee, anyone?

Of course, that was not going to happen. I had to break their hearts. But, I want them to do a good job on my house so I think that I will sort of let them think that I am mulling it over until they are finished and then... Oh, well, perhaps as a consolation prize I will cook them dinner. Hmmmm. No, no, keep it professional.

Alex *shouting from upstairs*: Hey! Can you put less sugar in my coffee?
Oscar: Put a little more sugar in mine, O.K.?
Elias: Mggghhhasta.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Love and Coffee

Was reading educational stuff on the computer, heh, and Tiggy calls up and before I know it Eva, the nun,Tiggy, and I are in a Middle Eastern restaurant in Washington, D.C. because they want us to have Mama Ayesha read our Turkish coffee grounds. Mohammed, the waiter and Mama Ayesha's great nephew, has just informed Eva that Mama is no more. Eva is shocked. Tiggy is grieving. I am hungry.

Eva: How can that be? I saw her not too long ago. When did she die?
Mohammed: Oh, about eleven years ago.
Alice: Sorry about your loss. So let's order then.
Eva: No, we can't think about food right now. We came here for a reading, not food.
Tiggy: Well, I would like to eat something, too.
Eva: Not without a reading!
Mohammed: Well, I don't have as great a gift as Mama, but I could read a bit for you.
Alice: Done! Let's order!

Our coffees arrive. I drink it down in one gulp, swirl the grounds around the cup three times (as Eva ordered) and wait for Mohammed. He gives Eva and Tiggy pretty bland but apparently useful-to-them information and they are happy. It's my turn.

Mohammed: Have you been to Florida?
Alice: Never.
Mohammed: Have you been to a place recently where there was a violent storm?
Alice: No.
Mohammed: How about a horse. Mean anything to you? I see something equestrian.
Alice: No. No horses in my life.

Now I'm thinking this guy really, really sucks at this.

Then I remember that I was in New York City recently and we did have a major thunderstorm with so much rain that one could not cross the street without hiring a gondola. And, I saw a cop on a horse. Holy crap, this guy is good!

Mohammed: Ah. There is an evil eye over you.
Alice: WHAT!!! Oh, here we go, what is it with me and shit happening.
Mohammed: Calm down. Eye is not all bad. It can be good too.
Alice: Yeah? So why is it prefaced with the word "evil"?
Mohammed: This evil eye is actually guarding you. It is waiting in the wings and will make a move very soon. It seems to be infatuated with you and it means no harm. Be prepared. Big change is coming your way and you cannot stop it.
Alice: I can't fucking believe this!
Eva: Well, it means no harm, so what's the....harm?
Alice: Shut up.

It is now that I notice that Mohammed is really good looking. He has left us for a bit and Tiggy and Eva are trying to show me the bright side of things.

Tiggy: Well, maybe this evil eye will turn into goodness because if it is infatuated with you and you're such a great person...
Alice *interupting little Miss Polyanna*: Don't start with me, Tiggy!
Eva: You may think this is bad news, but really, be openminded.
Alice: What I think is that Mohammed is in the kitchen laughing with the cooks over the three retards at table ten who believe that he can read coffee grounds!

Tiggy: I enjoyed the coffee.
Eva: My bird's nest dessert was wonderful.
Alice: Hey, did you two notice how hot Mohammed is?

On the drive home, Eva tells us that she's trying to line up a tarot card or a palm reader for us. Oh, please, evil eye love, come and get me very soon!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Panhandling with Panache

Decided I needed to take a break from writing the short story I've been trying to work on all summer. Okay, I was also probably reading H/D fics, but hey, think "research". And it's all Autumn's fault for introducing me to this... this... ADDICTION.

Anyway, off to the drugstore. Pathetic, no? A break to go to the drugstore rather than someplace more, I don't know, spine tingling.


Me walking down the street and meeting up with a vampire (who looks suspiciously like an ADULT, hot, Draco, thank you very much).

Vampire Draco: Excuse me, can I ask you a question?
Me: You already have. (What a tired, stupid retort that always is)!

VD: Yes, well, I thought that since I'm new here that you might show me around.
Me: Hmmmm.

VD: Yes, also I find myself drawn to you and I have lots of money, a great loft in
New York City, a townhouse in London, and I would very much like to spend all
of my time with you forever (and for a vampire that's a bloody long time) and
I would love to have a bit of a snog right now if you don't mind. (Wow, I
think, what great manners).

Me: Well, the thing is that I'm going to the drugstore.
VD: What??? You'd rather go to the drugstore?

Me: Well, you see, that's where I was headed.


Me: You would think, huh.

End of daydream. Noooooooo. I want to change my plans, I want to change my plans (this while tapping my red shoes together).

Instead that is what really happened. No lie. I am walking to the bloody drugstore and two men are seated on a bench outside the store. In their forties, I'm guessing. One black, one white. The black man yells HELLO to me. I stop. "Hello," I answer not yelling.

Black man pointing to the white man: This man I have adopted as my father.
Me: Have you now?

BM: Yes, he is family.

Me: ---

BM: You are beautiful and exotic (???) and you are not from here..

Me: Yes. Yes, I am from here.

BM: Oh, I know you were born here, but I mean a very long time ago. You come from a line of royalty.

Me (thinking about how often my mother has called me a royal pain): Well, yeah.
BM: Yes, anyway, you are family, too. You are my sister.

Me: So that makes him my father?

BM: Uh-huh.

ME: ---

BM: I don't need anything for myself, but Dad is hungry. And you look like you
are very, very, sweet and kind (and exotic?) And, of course, You ARE my sister.

ME: What kind of food do you want to eat?

White Man (thinking very hard): Breakfast.

Okay, I know, I know. These two dudes are trying to get money from me. But they are not shaking a paper cup in my face, which I despise. Give them points for creativity and some more points for amusement factor. Yeah, I know, I amuse easily. So, I think, what the hell.

ME: Okay. Here's some money. Go get breakfast.

BM: Thanks, sis.

Dad merely nods at me.

I walk into the drugstore and when I leave 15 mins. later, they are still seated on the bench, talking to someone else. Hey, I think to myself, I always wanted to be part of a large family. I'm also thinking, now where in hell did Vampire Draco get off to?

So I receive a note from someone who has read the above and it runs like this: You’ve officially become the dread demographic – the creepy American woman who is wont to British affectation (think ex-girlfriend), while lacking the necessary genes, accent, and, on the whole upbringing (think ex-girlfriend). You bring shame to your family; it is a pleasure to see you have found a new one, for I fear the old one will abandon you momentarily.

This came from my SON! When you get down to it, how sharper than a serpent's tooth...

What the git doesn't know is that I really am a creepy British woman who is wont to American affectation.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fool Alice once...

Yes. Yes, I did. . Tiggy. Car. Acupuncturist. Again. Doc told me that my liver is tired. Yes, of course it is. Also that my chi is not in balance. Whatev.

Then later that night Tiggy and I go for a walk. Brisk and purposeful. An exercise walk. Usually lasts about 90 minutes, and we always end up at Arlington National Cemetery.

So it is about 9:30 p.m. and we are crossing the Memorial Bridge and it is very dark. We're chatting and I am looking at the ground as I march along, because Tiggy is always tripping over shit and she usually grabs my arm when that happens and I'm hoping to warn her in advance that a trippable moment is about to happen.

All of a sudden, my spidey senses tingle (also maybe because I feel some cobwebby thing latch on to my arm). I glance up and see that ahead of us are three shapes huddled together. Hmmm. Here we are, two people alone on the bridge, in the dark, getting attacked by cobwebs, and walking toward shapes.

"Hang on," I say to my walking companion, "Do you want to turn back?" She, oblivious to everything as usual, says, "No! I want to walk off the slice of chocolate cake that I ate this evening!!!" (She is actually shouting this last bit).

I grumble to myself that she didn't need to eat that crap, considering that she's been on a diet for two years, and she's always crying that she cannot lose those last ten pounds and whine, whine, whine. But anyway, we soldier on.

We reach the shapes and they turn out to be two women and one man. One of the women is sitting in a director's chair, having her face made up by the other woman. The man is standing next to her.

I am flabbergasted! It's the middle of the bridge, it is bloody dark out, and these people are not carrying a flashlight or anything and one woman is applying eyeliner to the other one. In the dark, on the bridge, for fuck's sakes!

As we approach, they look at us and say, "Hey."

"Hey," we answer.

So we move on. After a few minutes of silence, my friend says, "Can two people share the same hallucination?"

Damned if I know.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Love? In the Afternoon?

Tiggy and I are in her car heading to an acupuncturist. I've never been to one and I'm hoping this will be somewhat fun. If one could call being stuck with needles all over fun. We're talking in the car and she tells me that she's very tired. I tell her that I'm exhausted because the jackhammering outside my window last night kept me awake for MANY MANY HOURS. She also says that she's "hungry, how about you?"


We reach the office and have to fill out a form asking if we suffer from the usual things these forms always ask, including psychiatric illness. "Are you gonna check that one?" Tiggy asks, attempting a joke for the very first time in her life. Hmmm, I think. Maybe I should because after all I'm HERE WITH HER AND I REALLY REALLY DIDN'T WANT TO BE SO YES I AM ILL. I finish first and decide to read the small print. It says that some side effects could occur. Such as bleeding, pain, swelling, fainting, and syncope.

What? I look at Tiggy and tell her the happy news. I start reading out loud and reach the part where it says that these side effects could be triggered by nervousness, hunger, and tiredness! "Tiggy," I say, "we are SO SCREWED!" The nurse hears me, smiles, and asks if I am nervous. "I am now!" I yell at her.

Tiggy asks me what syncope is. I didn't know. Anyway, here comes the doctor and says," Who's first?" I quickly point to Tiggy and he smiles and invites her into his office. She glares at me and asks why she should be the guinea pig. I'm thinking that if she suffers from that syncope thingy, I would want to know what it was first before I went in. I am such a bad friend, but hey.

My turn. I meet the doctor who does not speak English very well, but he asks me what's wrong and I want to answer, "Wrong? Why Tiggy's very existence is wrong! She always has to include me in her craziness and won't take no for an answer!" Instead I say that oh, I just feel blah.

So he makes me lie down and pushes up my shirt and pulls down the waistband of my pants (yes, Sarah, I now regret wearing what you call my enormous knickers. Sigh) and pushes his fingers on my stomach really, really hard. He looks serious. He tells me that my immune system is very weak. "You can tell that by pushing on my stomach?" I say with a little laugh. He answers me by sticking needles on my checks and forehead and the top of my head. Oh yeah, on my stomach, too. Then he leaves for awhile. I feel like freaking Hellraiser!

When he returns many minutes later, he pulls out the needles and then pushes an implement all over my face that sounds like a stapler, but it seems to zap with electricity. Oww. Then, he gives me a tissue and tells me to hold it over my face. Why? Because there's blood coming from the pinprick holes. AAAAHHHHHH. Now, I am really worried that I will have that syncope thing, whatever it is. Once on my stomach, I feel him put something on my back, not a needle, but something, and away he goes for more minutes. He tells me that it's to help my back pain. Of course I didn't have pain BEFORE he touched me, but whose quibbling.

He returns, pulls off the thing on my back, and then rubs some vile smelly liquid on my back, neck, and gets alot of it in my hair. I smell REVOLTING. Come back Saturday, he says. O.K., I say but I'm thinking NO FUCKING WAY.

Once, I'm home I find out that the suction thingy that was on my back has left a circular, red mark on my back. In addition to everything else, I now have what looks like an enormous hickey on my back.

The strange thing is, I do feel better. I also looked up syncope. It means fainting spell. So the side effect could be fainting or fainting. Go figure.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Yours religiously

For weeks my friend, Tiggy has been trying to get me to meet Eva, her psychic friend. Now this Eva apparently has a deceased nun who stands behind her right shoulder and whispers in her ear whether the person meeting Eva is worth a friendship or not.

I am a product of Catholic schools and I know that nuns did not like me. They told me often enough. So, no, I did not want to meet Eva, or rather Eva's nun. No, thanks!

Not really giving a damn about my wishes, Tiggy dragged me off to meet Eva at a pancake diner. Well, Eva was nice. Welcoming. Amusing. Stared hard at me whenever I spoke. I would think to myself, "Is that freaking nun talking trash about me?"

After lunch, we went to Eva's condo and Tiggy, at one point, (and quite unnecessarily embarrassingly, I thought) said, "Oh Eva, Alice was so nervous about meeting you because she thought your nun would not like her. But I think it seems like she hasn't said anything bad about her."

"Well, not yet," Eva answered. “She is a nun after all, and she will be polite and wait until after you both leave before letting me know.”

I spent the rest of the afternoon being on my best Catholic schoolgirl behavior. Eva did give me a big hug goodbye and invited me back so maybe I did manage to pull it off. But I really don't know if I fooled the nun, though. There's still plenty of time for her to give me the thumbs down.

Do I care? Yes, yes I do. But after some thought I decided that what is going to happen is that Eva will not want to be friends after all but the nun will decide that hey, she missed me after I left; I am that adorable. So I will spend a lot of time visiting Eva and not speaking to her but rather to my new bff, the nun! Finally, I see a way into heaven (without having to do the kneeling, praying, and confessing thingies).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Who are these people?

I did want to start my journal with “It was a dark and stormy night.” No really, I did. But it is not dark, nor stormy, and it is not night. Another time. Thinking about what to write, I became aware that the people in my life are, well, not like everybody else. I was recently visiting my sister in New York City and we had gone to her health club. I know. I know. It sounds so New Yorkish to do this. But, I wanted to spend quality (!) time with her so there I was trying to follow her lead. We were sitting outside the club for awhile before we went inside and suddenly a young man in tattered, filthy clothing sees me and walks over. I am so used to being approached by people—yeah, more often than not, weirdish people—but my sister was alarmed, being a true New Yorker and all.

Young Man: Hey, are you busy?
Me: Ummm. No.
Young Man: My nails are too long and weak, and I don’t want to break them. Can you peel this orange for me?
He opened his hand and sure enough, there was an orange there.
Me: Okay.
He then told me that as a thank-you, he was going to read to me two poems he had written. And so he did.
After the orange was peeled and I separated the segments, I gave him my verdict: Very good poems. He beamed and told me that he was giving me the paper with the poems as a gift. And so he did!

Later, my sister told me that whenever I tell her about the random visits from strangers and unexplainable situations that seek me out, she always thought that I was s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y exaggerating. But, after seeing it with her own eyes, no longer would she doubt my veracity.