no puppies or clowns were hurt in the writing of this email 05/08

June 22nd, 2010 Comments Off

i must admit i’ve been quite pleased with some of the perks facebook has offered.  IM’ing folks at random hours would be a perk.  men i went  on one or two absurdly bad dates with reconnecting after 7 months or 2 years…not a perk.   an email from souk…perk.  i haven’t spoken to anyone i went to high school with in about 12 years. quite possibly 13 since my senior year had me taking courses on a college campus 60% of the time and skipping classes 40%.  which equals 100.   as my math skills imply it seems everything turned out all right in the grand scheme of things.

last time i saw souk she was a gang member with a meth problem.  no wait…that was someone else. souk was a sweet and social gal i had some sort of class with during those oh so life altering years.   neither one of us is quite sure which class.  it must have been one i attended at least a few times before i skipped out to go swimming at 3rd bridge.  for those of you unfamiliar with the midwestern town i grew up in  the brilliantly named 3rd bridge was christened this  as it was the third bridge on that particular dirt road.  now before anyone has an impulse to turn nostalgic and conjure up black and white images from mayberry.  the more accurate picture is one of children swinging from vines into rushing water 2 feet deep that was over-flowing with jagged rocks and the occasional fish hooks.  turns out souk is going to be in nyc for the summer and needs an apartment.   turns out she takes a look at my place and loves it (who doesn’t?)  turns out she is renting my place from july 1st until mid september.  i will have to wait a little longer before my eyes behold lovely new york city.  the friends…the food…the everything that is new york.  i can’t even remember the last time i saw a rat.  but everything happens for a reason and souk really is a doll.  after an hour of chatting on the phone the other day she promptly emailed me (today’s equivalent of a thank you note) suggesting i may have a future career as a phone operator in the world of adult entertainment.  well thank you souk…i’ll take that as a compliment and into consideration.  i told you she was a sweet girl.

besides writing i will use this time in continuing my efforts to learn spanish.  i have entered the 4th week of searching for a tutor.  i answered an ad on craigslist for what sounded like a fair and normal exchange.  his spanish for my english.    i figured, since it wasn’t a date, he wouldn’t be crazy.  that was working off a very complex equation dealing with the laws of average and my record for off beat male encounters….but i believe my reasoning was off because i didn’t factor in the southern hemisphere.   it could also be some of those classes i skipped were important…i’m open to that possibility.  he shows up…and  lets just say after dating in new york for 5 years my creepy detector is pretty spot on.  he walked by me on the street and i prayed, “please don’t let that be him.”  he was…well…twitchy…he looked like a guy you’d see a head shot of on the 10 o’clock news right before his neighbors said things like; “he was a quiet man,” “he kept to himself,” “he collected tv guides.”

the last time i had that ooohhhh so very accurate feeling i was in for the worst social interaction of my entire life…bar none.  remember people i’ve been in prisons.  a blind date that left me with the question, “what did i ever do to my best friend to deserve such cruel revenge.”  i don’t believe i ran over her childhood puppy 57 times as she watched  tears streaming down her face…but i couldn’t think of anything else worthy of such payback.   at least i got a few amazingly authentic and cringe worthy  character sketches out of it…that and a pile of therapy bills.

so this guy shuffles by and before i can complete my first hail mary he shuffles back.  we chat a few minutes and  i’m smiling as he tells me about his job as a corporate lawyer. who doesn’t smile when they are learning about international corporate law over a glass of wine with  a man straight off a most wanted poster?   he stops and says, “you smile a lot…it makes a man think you’re interested.”  a smile couldn’t have left my face faster if i had just witnessed a playing puppy kicked into the street or a clown maced at a children’s birthday party for no apparent reason.  i did not come even mona lisa close to a smile the rest of our…encounter. after  thanking him for the tip.  i said, “no i’m just a generally happy person.” (people he doesn’t know me what’s one white lie?)  then he asked if i was willing to commit to becoming fluent in spanish. his voice and demeanor changed to that of someone asking me to enlist in some gruesome covert military operation.  i told him i had no plans of being fluent in the next few months but i would love to master a few more conversation skills.  he then asked how many hours a day i was willing to commit to my effort.  i randomly grabbed the number 2 as what i assumed was an adequate answer.  i am sad to say my spanish is much worse than i thought.  for years i have been under the impression “dos” means two.  but from his reaction i now know it must mean something more in line with,”i think we should glue ourselves together from this moment on until i know spanish or you lock me in your basement.”  language is tricky like that.  he said we should do two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening and take day trips as often as possible.  well…that wasn’t really going to work for me…i have the gym… and my book… and really… you’re just freaking me out.  i was sure the follow up was going to be an invitation to the home he shared with his mother.  a day trip that might have ended in me finding out she actually had been taking up residency in the freezer for a few years now.   he is sooooo not invited to my birthday party.

it could be dengue fever, smokers cough, scurvy, a parasite or something equally as romantic…. (4/08)

June 10th, 2010 Comments Off

…but i’m sure it’s nothing. i woke up yesterday out of sorts with a  heavy damp feeling in my chest.
the first suspect greeted me as i swung open my bedroom window.

do you remember the joys of sitting next to a campfire when you were young?  looking at the stars, laughing with friends and toasting marshmallows… and then the reproach your lungs received when in your exuberance and possible sugar shock  you moved too close to the smoke?  now imagine sitting there 4 days unable to escape …minus the benefits of smores and you have the recent air quality in buenos aires.  the attached photo was taken at noon two days ago…and the approaching train does not emit smoke.

my friendly farming neighbors abandoned their nightly serenades with pots and pans and  started lighting fires.  a common farming practice, which coincidentally occurred after the three week strike had effected the public’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables, has spread out of control for the first time in any one’s recollection.  yesterday was the first day my poor little pink lungs struggled. my gym is skylight central and the normally outdated hip hop tunes blaring and scantily clad bodies were now sweating in a haze of stagnate smoke crawling through the window panes overhead.  even the televisions were in on the overhaul of the athletic setting to an eastern european night club.  the screens showed a heat sensitive ariel map where the fires took the shape of two slightly parted lips swallowing the coast.  the surreal image played for an hour on a loop …and had me questioning exactly  what the farmers were burning.

of course that was only after my morning had started by washing a thin film of soot from my face.  which means i have either, unbeknownst to myself, picked up a bit of nocturnal mining or the air conditioner, my friend and ally a mere 6 weeks ago, has turned against me and become the gateway for my own personal armageddon.  my window hadn’t been left open in the evenings since my house guest arrived.  kate came and after only one night of sleeping with the window open we were both covered in mosquito bites.  my mosquito bites had bites.   my knuckles were swollen and a women in the sauna at the gym gave me a concerned look tinged with revulsion.  implying her concern was more for herself and the level of me being contagious then for my health.  imagine.  after dousing  my apartment in the bug spray i  had left over from africa we headed to uruguay for a few days.  i returned to a humid apartment where the bug spray seemed to encourage the mosquitoes more then quiet them.  silver lining…. the smoke did them all in.

uruguay was an architectural cornucopia.  all the renderings architects create that never come to fruition take life on the coastline in uruguay.  an organically sleek frank lloyd wrightesque masterpiece could be sitting next to a home one can only assume papa smurf dreamt  up when he had the munchies.  a tiny one story house with a sloping roof and bubbled walls resembling  a toasted marshmallow in color and shape could be adjacent to  an adult sized version of a mcdonalds play land or nestled into a cove with a hotel shaped like a cruise ship.  homes that appeared condemned would have 5 star tree houses in their front yards. they were almost musical… a fugue of chaotic creativity.

in these small towns where views seemed to  be drawn from memories i always hoped to have there were also… dogs that would rise from seemingly nowhere like flea ridden canine cyborgs.  dogs are like all things for me…adults, babies, music, books i dont enjoy them all just because they exist…my fondness comes on an individual basis.  these creatures blended into the gutters so well they had become accustomed to being stepped on by pedestrians.  their response to the disturbance was less of a whimper and more of a cough or groan at the inconvenience of having a foot find their motionless bodies curled up against a curb.  they had this weird mutt mafia mentality where a bark across the village would have two out of ten jump to attention and off running and yapping at speeds moments before you could not envision these comatose animals to have in them.  the others would sit silently unfazed.  minutes passed and the two loped back to their curbs and did not move at all when in short time another bark would be heard and three other dogs would take off at lightening speeds.

i went for a walk in the morning and no dog was in site. i sat down and began to read my book when out of thin air one certainly diseased beast of nature jumped in my lap and licked my face.   i turned and saw the dogs plodding down streets and alleys materializing out of nowhere and heading to a specific gutter, curb, park bench where they would blend in for the rest of the day.  until a familiar yap pulled them away ….momentarily.

so for all the drs. receiving this mass email (those that have actually gotten this far without being called away to save a life)  if you have thoughts that the heavy damp feeling in my chest could be the plague …please don’t tell me.  i’m in too good of a mood to have reports of my imminent demise bum me out.  this morning the sky is blue and taking a long slow deep breath is not followed by the need to cough or the desire to sit down due to light headedness. the mysterious haze has lifted and the city no longer looks as if orson welles is lurking around every corner.
blurred edges always add a little mystery

for hallucinations, geriatric fist-fights and public nudity please click here… (03/08)

June 1st, 2010 Comments Off

all this time i thought it had been the malaria pills/jetlag/hooting/the overall “don’t go out  the men with machetes are out there” combo that had lead to sleepless nights in kenya.  now  i have another possibility to add to the list of culprits.  there it was.  it was so tiny amongst the blue tylenol p.m., chalky white exedrin, and amber gel caps (i’m almost positive are for flu like symptoms).   the last little baby blue sleeping pill given to me by a surgeon in nairobi.  so i took it…and low and behold not only did i NOT sleep through the night but every time i woke up something different was happening in my room. i felt like i was the sole audience member of some brechtian experimental theater.  where the cast of characters infiltrated my bedroom and paraded around nonsensically as i was left to decipher the greater meaning.  turns out there wasn’t one.    the first time i woke up completely groggy and saw a man in a white t-shirt and jeans fiddling with the phone jack at the foot of my bed.  i remember thinking, “of course, they come to fix the internet when i’m sleeping…typical,” but all i said was, “hola.”   as soon as i said it out loud i  realized he wasn’t actually there.  i always knew i was a friendly gal when intoxicated but apparently it turns out that to  breakers and enterers and other figments of my drugged imagination i am down right pleasant in the most intercontinental way.    p.s. my internet is still not fixed.

so it happened…i was involved in my first buenos aires street fight.  like most street fights blood was shed but the insults were thrown much faster then the punches and the shoe that ended up in the middle of the street was orthopedic.  i was walking home wondering when the last time was i had heard a song that just played (skate country…circa 1986 most likely).  i came across 3 septuagenarians having a heated conversation.  i thought the situation was a little “off”  but then i recalled two days earlier seeing an elderly man and a man who could have easily been his father shouting on a sidewalk.  i was sitting outside at a cafe and no one seemed to notice as they became more and more agitated…except the police officer that escorted the older of the elderly inside.  with that as a reference i moved on…a slight smirk at the disturbed state of  geriatric men in buenos aires. (i’d like to insert here that i heard in a recent study male pattern baldness is related to high levels of testosterone.  there is a lot of thinning hair in argentina.  just thought i’d mention it).   i was 1/2 a block a way when the yelling stopped and  i heard a thud.  i went back and they were in the gutter.  not even rolling around just wrapped  tightly around each other.  i guess they were just willing the other one to die …or not able to get up on their own.   i yelled, “hey”  (very helpful huh?)  and stomped my foot by their heads as no one came over.  i was then joined by a man who pulled them apart to reveal the thud  had been the sound of a head making contact with the curb.  one man was left with a nasty gash on his wrinkled forehead.   then 3 tiny women  marched out of the apartment building behind me… each with an even tinnier dog in their arms.   all six yapping away.    the guy who had pulled the arthritic men apart started to scream TRANQUILO, TRANQUILO, TTTTTRRRAAAAAAANQUILOOO.  which i found not the least bit calming myself and i guess the women didn’t either because one screamed at him and then spit in his face.  which he didn’t take that well and pushed her towards me.  she lunged and i pulled her back.  it really was not that difficult as it was apparent this tiny woman had partaken in one of buenos aires favorite past times… plastic surgery… and whittled her way down to practically nothing.  we were then joined by a security guard.  i have no idea what they were screaming about it was all too fast and too loud to be heard.  but it really didn’t matter to me what they were saying.    the shoeless man escorted the women and there handbag sized dogs back into the building  and the man with the bleeding head was left with two men; (MR TRANQUILO ) and the third man who had been there at the beginning.   they had no idea i was still even there…so i left. …and returned to pondering the question my favorite cafe’s music selection had brought to mind,  “when was the last time i heard…we are the world?”

i bought 7 vintage dresses for $70 and they all slid right off the hanger to fit perfectly onto my body…which in vintage world never happens.   one very fierce orange and cream dress was purchased at the san telmo market.  (joan crawford would have worn it to kick bette davis’ ass while wearing open toed sandals in saint tropez.)  i was standing in front of the mirror and the saleswoman  kept pulling it tight around my neck giving the effect i was wearing a dicky.  i was no longer crawford but lucille ball involved in some sort of hi-jinx that would lead inevitably to her not playing at the club.  i didn’t understand this woman’s new found modesty for my body.  when she offered me a place to try on clothes she pulled two dresses off the rack and hung them from a wire strung from the ceiling for me to change behind.  now… when on my body one dress is usually sufficient enough…but when hanging from the ceiling in front of me two somehow still lacked in supplying complete coverage.   i let her pull it close  to my neck one more time knowing it was the last time the fabric would ever see itself there.  it felt like a gramma was getting me ready to go out on the town. a gramma not my gramma…which, by the way, reminds me:

facebook clarifications:
a. my gramma does not have a fortune…believe me i’ve looked through every bureau drawer and behind every bookcase.  should anyone be tempted into garnering  her identity to abscond with her millions they would be sadly disappointed
b.  she has not stolen the identity of one unlucky sod still walking this earth unawares…she planned on lifting two names from the grave.  she was pretty sure they wouldn’t mind.  i am less sure.
c.  she has let me know that if trash talking in spanish appears on my facebook profile she will be learning the language.
does that cover it gramma?

time…what a relevant concept…you all jumped forward and i fell back …and while the clocks may say we’re closer …geographically not an inch has changed.

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