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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04


2003-03-26 ... 3:46 p.m.

DO-IT-YOURSELF SMARTYPANTS ACTION

Sometimes people who keep public diaries go on "hiatus." Sometimes they have big hyperbolic dramatic reasons, like "Oh woe is me I have hurt too many people by shamelessly airing their dirty laundry in this public forum, whatever was I thinking, weep moan weep." Or sometimes their life circumstances change dramatically---they move overseas or get married and decide to stop keeping their journals, which infuriates me if it was something I liked to read. WRITE ABOUT IT, I want to say, HOW CAN YOU NOT WRITE ABOUT IT?

Most often people who go on hiatus do so because they feel like they keep saying the same things over and over. On the very few occasions I can stand to go back and read my old entries, I definitely get a hint of this déjà vu flavor on my mental tongue (A mental tongue? Eeeew. Call the Metaphor Police, I probably need to pay a fine or something.) Yeah, I say the same things over and over. To wit:

1. confrontational encounter ([a] rageful, [b] insane, or [c] startlingly bizarre and flirtatious) with a stranger.
2. alcoholic beverages.
3. what I'm reading.
4. a situation where I make a snap judgment or have a reaction about something, then I feel bad about doing so, and then I reevaluate and decide there was nothing wrong with my original emotion, and then I decide that I think too much.
5. something that's funny pretty much only to me.
6. some sort of meta-commentary, like a Google referral. Or, interesting hyperlinks. Or both.
7. something vaguely cheesy and heartfelt, for which I will excoriate myself later.

So since this page is SO DREADFULLY PREDICTABLE it would seem like I am a perfect candidate to go on hiatus but I just don't think that is going to happen, because I have a very high tolerance for doing things over and over. In that numbered list up there I provided an outline of this particular, very typical, diary entry, and now I will flesh it out. Pretending like I am writing a term paper or something. Ready?

1a. A few days ago I was getting off the bus and waiting to cross the street, and an extremely large man was huffing and puffing across the street, waving his arms and screaming something unintelligible as the bus pulled away. I felt that this was none of my concern. Until that is, he planted his sweaty carcass in my path and roared, between his strangled incipient-cardiac-event gasps, "God, do you speak fucking English? I said HOLD THE BUS!"

First. I am sick and tired of people asking me if I speak English, a question I find incredibly insulting on so many levels. (Hey guess what moron, not everybody does, and even if they don’t it is no reason to be rude. Also I would venture that I probably speak better English than you, and thanks so much for outing yourself as a racist jerk, since if you would say such a thing to a somewhat olive-toned white girl I don't even want to know what you say to people who actually are from other countries).

Second, how exactly am I supposed to "hold the bus"? Use my Wonder-Woman grappling hook to keep it in place?

Anyway, I had this gigantic sweatpanted man breathing on me and demanding to know if I speak English and why I have failed in my bus-holding duties. This made me crabby and I snapped back, "Just wanted to see you try to run across the street, fat-ass." Then the light changed and I got on the train and felt horrible all the way from Belmont to Damen because that was a cheap shot and I should not have said it. He totally started it but that is no excuse, and I resolved to try and keep my mouth shut more and not add to the petty verbal ugliness of the world, even when it comes in the form of a sweaty mean jerk who mysteriously blames me for missing the bus.

1b. There is a skill that most of us city mice have. I call it the Urban Eye Slide. This is the ability to scope out one's surroundings quickly but without actually seeming to look at anything at all. This allows you to find the open seat on a crowded train, to move to the other side of the sidewalk well in advance of people handing out flyers or crappy free newspapers, or to sort of let your eyes skip over the spare-changing homeless guy on the corner, while pasting what you hope is a small wistful sympathetic smile on your face, and three steps past him you will have pangs of conscience about this but sometimes you are just not in the mood. There are downsides to the Urban Eye Slide as well. I have stood on El platforms right next to people I actually know and not seen them. Also, sometimes the practice of Urban Eye Slide will result in you missing out on really great crazy-person chatter. When I got on the train yesterday morning a casual glance around revealed an open seat next to a wild-haired woman who was muttering to herself in that cartoony crazy-person way, the way where you actually turn your head back and forth as if there are invisible people on either side of you. I took a seat behind her instead, playing it safe, but instantly regretted that when I kept overhearing snippets of her grade-A-crazy material, such as "Those aren't stars on the American flag, they're TEETH!" All the way downtown I leaned forward, straining to hear, notebook at the ready, but everything else was too garbled and quiet.

1c. More evidence of my kinky aura. Also yesterday, I am walking back from lunch, and a man coming toward me on the street turns around and starts to follow me. This does not really concern me too much in broad daylight in downtown Chicago, and when he catches up he starts chatting with me about my Doc Martens and about being a "closet punk." It was relatively charming, the sun was shining, I was in a fine mood and feeling very expansive and in love with the world. Then, kind of suddenly, he asked if I was "on the take-charge side of things." I said yes, because:

a. It is the truth. (Jenkins! I want that report on my desk in one hour!)
b. It is the truth. (Silence, slave! On your knees!)
c. It is usually more interesting to say yes than no.

I think this guy may have been slightly saddened to hear that I did not currently want or need a houseboy to dominate. Our little total-stranger moment ended amicably when I reached my office building, but AGAIN it raises the question of why so many men are always assuming the sexual-domination thing about me. I already told you the story of the Polish contractor, and there has been a night or two in the past, at Exit or Neo, where a random man has approached and said, "I bet you're a top," or something similar. I don't mind, exactly, I just want to know what the signs and signifiers might be so I can suppress them for things like job interviews.

2. Strangely popular this week. Dinner or bar dates almost every night, which is fun but sometimes I long for a plain old nesting night with LT. Last night I went with R. to a little BYOB Italian place. Showing up with a surprisingly excellent eight-dollar bottle of Cotes-du-Rhone rather than paying restaurant markup is great for the wallet. However, having to work right next to a bottle of wine all day while you impatiently wait for five o'clock is bad for the nerves.

3. My love affair with Jonathan Lethem has lessened a little bit as I slog through Amnesia Moon. I am just kind of finding it tedious, plus it owes so much to Philip K. Dick that I keep getting the feeling I have read it before. Which is maybe appropriate for such a paranoid post-apocalyptic thing, but still. Not entirely my literary bag.

4. In the alley this morning I see a small gray furry parenthesis, obviously a tiny dead animal, and instantly my heart feels sad because it looks like a kitten from where I stand. Then I get closer and see that it is really a small dead squirrel, and I feel better, but feeling better turns to feeling bad all over again because I am so very speciesist. But kittens are cuter than squirrels, damn it. (Not that "cute" is an appropriate way to determine the value of a life, for which we had better all be grateful---otherwise many of us would end up euthanized or living in concentration camps while babies roamed free.) Incidentally, did you know that in urban areas rats and squirrels compete for the same food and thus are not found together? So if you have a lot of squirrels in your neighborhood give thanks that they are not rats. Or something. I have a lot of dumb facts like that cluttering up my brain.

5. smartypantsmimi: There's this rumor that Courtney Love travels with an "assistant" who is really a psychiatric nurse.
feedmewithyrkids: Ha ha. With the tranq shots at the ready?
smartypantsmimi: I think that's way cooler than traveling with a yoga instructor or vegan chef.
smartypantsmimi: Ain't no yogi carrying Xanax.
feedmewithyrkids: "I can't take the turbulence on this flight anymore. Tranq me."
smartypantsmimi: Hell yes. "Tranq me" is a good slogan.
feedmewithyrkids: Much better than "let's roll."
smartypantsmimi: And more appropriate for these anxious times.

6a. Hindemith cell phone was a recent Google referral for this page. Downloadable German modernist ringtones! Less cerebral, perhaps, was the person who was assiduously searching for man fucking a goat on fire. So unclear---who exactly is on fire? (Curious myself, I clicked through many pages of his results and found no flaming, violated goat.)

6b. This text provides a basic understanding of the principles of evaluating, planning and programming, designing, constructing, maintaining, and carrying out research on pavements. It also addresses the implementation of pavement management systems. Here's a course you can take on pavement management. And probably one of these people used to work in Pavement management, ha ha ha oh I slay me.

6c. I like to watch is a program that watches COPS. Fascinating, zeitgeisty stuff.

6d. The mobile beaver lodge! With beaver puppet! Yes! Scroll down!

6e. Some hatred for Boston (March 24 entry). I do not feel strongly about Boston, but this was fun to read.

7. Why am I so happy lately? Is it spring fever? I am going to lose even the last veneer of being a gloomy eyelinered goth girl if this keeps up. I walk down the street and look at all the thousands of strangers and think: Almost every one of these people has someone who likes them. Or loves them. Or loved them once. Whatever the opposite of Edvard-Munch-style free-floating alienation is, I have a bad case of it these past few days, as I think about how we make connections, create subjective meaning where no objective meaning exists, how we reach out to people with real or virtual hands and leave our little grubby fingerprints all over them. Hi. Nice to meet you.

---mimi smartypants: dress her up, mess her up, she's ready to go.

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