rot his blackened heart
TOO LONG GONE
Which means that I have been roaming around town composing diary entries in my head, writing lengthy emails to long-suffering friends, scribbling notes on bar napkins that turn out to be illegible even to myself, and finally carving out a whole THIRTY MINUTES (right now!) to sit in front of a screen, pull out the brain drain stopper, and let all that dirty dishwater and those horrible wet bits circle down. Lucky you! You get horrible wet bits!
A LIST OF THE BOOKS I READ IN THIS MONTH OF JUNE
1. The Birthday Party. (Not to be confused with the druggy No-Wave band that drove me into a brief but all-consuming Nick Cave obsession my sophomore year of high school.) Nonfiction account by a US District Attorney who was kidnapped, held hostage, and robbed of some cash, while also being offered blowjobs and fed turkey sandwiches. I lost interest when he was released unharmed and the book turned into a rather tedious rehash of the judicial process. What can I say, I'm into mayhem.
2. Kierkegaard for Beginners. Comic book about everyone's favorite grumpy Dane. Does a good job of covering Either/Or, subjective truth, the Abraham/Isaac problem, and is a hell of a lot easier than reading Kierkegaard.
3. Half of a Yellow Sun. Interesting if too-long novel about the formation (and dissolution) of Biafra. Story, characters, and writing are wonderful, but it is often slow going and I found myself flipping forward to see how many pages were left.
4. Three Dog Life. Horrible personal tragedy + survivor's grief process + dogs + the passing seasons + musings on time and love = another one of those memoirs. God I'm jaded.
5. To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism. There sure are a lot of essays by men in this book. Okay, three. But it feels like a lot. There's also a weird circular-argument piece about why misogynist lyrics are okay in hip-hop, a missing-the-point essay about how haaaaard it is to balance work and (the desire for) a family, and the introduction that talks about broadening (ahem) the definition of “feminist” and staking out inclusive terrain to work on “broader issues,” which sounds good in theory but my suspicions are instantly heightened whenever anyone mentions feminism in the same breath as “broader issues.” That feminism, so quaint and narrow-minded! Why don't you girls think about the broader issues? I swear I'm getting more rad-fem by the day, a few more years and I will be calling myself an Amazon and spelling women with a y.
6. The Big Question. The real big question was whether I would finish reading this crappy book.
7. Temptations of the West. I had trouble finishing this as well, and I am not sure why. It wasn't crappy. It just made me tired, and after a few days I realized I was actively avoiding it, so it was time for me and this book to stop seeing each other. No hard feelings. If I see the book at a party, it won't be awkward or anything. Hey book how's it going oh is this your girlfriend? Nice to meet you.
8. Snobbery: The American Version. Amusing in parts, flabby and uninsightful in others. Reminded me a little too much of one of those “didja ever notice how much NICER everything was fifty years ago?” old-white-guy syndicated columnists.
9. Agnes Grey. Anne! It is not fair that Charlotte got all the press! This is really quite funny, and should be required reading for anyone who has ever babysat or worked as a nanny.
10. The Dud Avocado. The main character can be a bit of an idiot, but oh man, what a charming and hilarious idiot. This book makes me restless to do an indefinable Something. Although I have already gone to Paris, lost my virginity, and dyed my hair strange colors, so I'm not sure what. Maybe have a cocktail? Yes, I believe that's the very thing.
WE PAUSE FOR A BIT OF BUSINESS
Claire from Australia with the fancy last name! I have lost your email address! Write me so I can thank you properly for the thankable things you've done.
MORE SCARY HEALTH CARE WEAR
A few days after I noticed the I Love Lucy scrubs, I ended up sitting behind a fellow bus rider who was wearing scrubs patterned with scuba-diving teeth. Happy teeth with fins and diving masks and little oxygen tanks. Happy teeth among the coral reefs. I sat behind her for the whole ride to the train, walked up the stairs behind her, and then (thankfully) lost her on the platform, but SCUBA-DIVING TEETH has amazing staying power, I have been thinking about SCUBA-DIVING TEETH off and on for quite a while now. Of course, I have a weird relationship with scuba diving in general, because in second grade I went through a phase of whispering “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus” repeatedly to myself, a sort of mantra not unlike the Franny Glass pray-without-ceasing thing, and was horribly embarrassed when the teacher asked me, in front of everyone, to explain exactly what the fuck I was doing.
Then today on the train a guy was wearing a shirt with a pattern of three-by-five-inch Al Pacino faces and the words POWER and RESPECT alternating in gothic script. When I walked past I noticed he was busy filling out an application for some janitorial service, so okay. Good luck in your mopping interview, Scarface. Honestly, when would that be a good shirt? For a date? For your kid's class picnic? Standing in line at the deli? Does your POWER/RESPECT Al Pacino shirt make you feel good about the lengthy wait for the $6.99/lb special on sliced turkey breast?
MORE SCARY JESUS PEOPLE
Same El ride, honest to god. It was an action-packed commute! A lady with really hairy arms sat next to me, and her hairy arms are neither here nor there but it was something I noticed when I did the Urban Eye Slide peripheral glance to see what she was reading. She was reading a little Christian pamphlet, hey cool not my thing but whatever. Then Christian Tract Lady put that away and got out a small stack of identical pamphlets, and sat there quietly for a while. Even though my nose was still in my book I just knew her plan was to distribute these in some way, probably starting with me. I was right. And because I was feeling restless and frisky (I blame you, Dud Avocado), I then did something kind of weird.
CTL: Can I interest you in some of my literature?
Me: No. Can I interest you in some of mine?
CTL: Oh…well…what's it about?
[already rummaging in my bag] Me: Hmmm. [hands her a Target receipt, which was the only giveaway paper I could find] It seems to be about what I bought at Target.
CTL [with angry look]: No thank you. [she gets up and walks down the train aisle]
Me [calling after her]: But I think you'll find it very edifying!
I think my tract did not look professional enough, that must be the problem. I'm off to Kinko's to print up and staple together some of my Theories, so I can be ready for the next time.
—mimi smartypants, hallelujah!