weapon against dualism
No idea if I am just legitimately cute, or if the true draw was my girlish headband, petticoat skirt, and t-shirt that says DWEEB in 1970s-style iron-on letters, but for whatever reason I was like catnip to lesbians the other night, at a farewell party for a friend of mine in Andersonville. I am still at heart a Simon's fan, but if you are going to drink in Andersonville you could do worse than drinking at T's, a friendly little gay bar that serves gigantic steins of Blue Moon for cheap. Two of those and some flirtatious geekgirls will do nicely for a weeknight, and I was home safe and sober(ish) before midnight. It was one of those creepy adult-type evenings where you do nothing irresponsible, unless you count the conversation I had with a forty-something housepainter girl where we shared our fondness for tequila. She told me how tequila makes her want to hug everyone, and I told her how tequila makes me want to hurl bricks around and kick in basement windows and generally go on an exuberant, maniacal property-destruction spree. She jokingly called me a sociopath, and then I tried to correct the misunderstanding by stressing how cheerful I feel when I have these tequila-enhanced wreck-everything spasms, how it's a happy drunk, albeit a broken-glass-strewn one, but I think the explanation just made her more fearful of me. It's a good thing I am not looking for a girlfriend because gossip would surely get around in lesbian Chicago and then no amount of DWEEB t-shirts would be able to counter the reputation of a five-foot-tall tequila-swilling brick-hurler.
ME AND KEYS (HAVE A BAD RELATIONSHIP)
1. My senior year of high school I was first chair violin in the orchestra (brag brag), and at the last concert of the year I was to be the soloist for a relatively difficult concerto. I had gotten a new bow just a month before and I was kind of nervous about that, and kind of nervous in general, so I drove myself to the auditorium super-early, in the pouring rain, thinking that I would be able to practice on stage before anyone else got there. And somehow I managed to lock the keys in the car. With the car running. In the rain. I remember going into the school to call my completely-exasperated dad, who ordered me to go back out and stay with the car (why?), and I remember my very sweet stand partner, a boy with thick glasses, an unfortunate Human League haircut, and one of those improbable Laotian names that ends in “-phong.” (He wanted everyone to call him Warren. Where the hell did he get Warren?) Anyway, Rajsaphong (Warren) was a perfect gentleman and stood out in the rain holding an umbrella over me until my father arrived with another set of keys, and the rest of the concert went just fine.
2. I once lost my keys after a long night of drinking. At the time we lived near University of Chicago, and so before I left the north-side bar to make the hellish grimy transit trek back down to the xenophobic pustule of a neighborhood they call “Hyde Park,” I made repeated attempts to phone LT to make sure he would be available to let me in. However, it was around three in the morning, we only had one phone, it was not in the bedroom, and LT sleeps like a Vicodin-addicted tree sloth. So picture me trapped outside my apartment on our not-nice section of Woodlawn Avenue at a prime murdering-people hour of the night, only I am not even thinking about personal safety issues because I am so angry (and drunk) that I cannot see straight. Angry that I did something so stupid as lose my keys, and (irrationally) angry that LT does not HEAR THE FUCKING PHONE OR THE FUCKING BUZZER and let my drunk ass in. Details get fuzzy at this point in the story, but somehow I managed to climb over the (tall, pointy, wrought-iron) apartment security gate, execute some nifty rock-climbing moves to get up to our living-room window (ten feet off the ground), balance on the narrow ledge, kick in the open window's screen (good thing it was summertime), drop to the floor (knocking over all our CD racks in the process), march into the bedroom, throw the screen on the floor next to LT who is STILL SLEEPING, and unleash a crazy rant of key-losing frustration in his bewildered direction. He very wisely said something like, “I'll talk to you in the morning” and I very unwisely decided that instead of sleeping I needed to keep fuming and vibrating with my fucked-up drunk energy. I think I ended up opening a refrigerator beer, eating a piece of toast, and sending inebriated e-mails until the sun came up.
3. Although I have a lot of arcane stuff in my head (how to bargain with Bahraini cab drivers, a working knowledge of the main book-indexing software, the ice-water method of making pie crust), there are many things that it is embarrassing to admit I do not know. When LT and I started living together, he was on his way to work one morning and tossed our only set of apartment keys in my lap. “Why don't you get these copied today,” he said. “There's a hardware store across the street.” I said, “Uh, sure,” even though I had never copied a key in my life. How was key-copying accomplished? Was the appropriate analogy more “leaving your car at the mechanic” or “dropping off a prescription at the drugstore”? Would I have to leave the keys there overnight? Would I have to fill out a form? A key is made of metal, after all—I had visions of some journeyman keymaker with a jeweler's microscope carefully cutting the key ridges with tiny, specialized tools. And how much would it cost? An inventory of my wallet revealed that I had about ten dollars; surely it would be more than that! I have to pay for the key guy's apprenticeship somehow, right? Mixed in with all of this questioning anxiety w/r/t key-copying was a vague irritation at LT for so casually abandoning me to this Homeric-sounding quest. But no one likes a whiner so I hit the ATM, got out twenty bucks, and made sure I had my checkbook in case it cost even more than that. Then I walked to the hardware store and approached a sweaty troglodyte with a timid, “I need these keys copied?” Of course, three minutes and not even five dollars later, all the keys were copied and I felt like an idiot for investing so much thought and emotion in this routine process, which apparently everyone on the planet knew about but me, and LT still makes fun of me for it sometimes.
REVOKE OUR PARENTING LICENSES
We are watching Sesame Street with Nora, and the classic segment with Ernie in the bathtub, singing about his rubber duckie, comes on.
LT: Ernie has no nipples.
Me: But Ernie has a huge, Muppety, ahem ahem.
LT: One word: uncut.
Nora: [still struggling with the distinction between "duck" and "chicken"] BAWK BAWK!
Leaving aside the problem of how we have simply got to stop making dirty references about the Muppets in the presence of Nora's soon-to-be-comprehending ears, why is the notion of an uncircumcised Ernie so funny? I think it has something to do with the dusky feltiness of his “skin.” That night I thought a bit more about Muppet genitalia—the slender gothic cock of the Count, the unnaturally pink labia of Prairie Dawn, the terrifying prospect of Cookie Monster's furry blue junk (god, think of the SCROTUM on that guy!), but then I started to freak out a little so I just went to bed early.
—mimi smartypants reminds you that although cats be frontin' like they one tough cookie, all her real g's do the gangsta boogie.