Imperfect 10

TheWorst

There’s nothing to get excited about anymore. Except Liz Lemon.

When I was young and stoopid(er than I am now), it seemed daily life was full of poignant things to write about. By hand, in college-ruled notebooks. Would I barf from eating those Pringles so soon after returning from Friendly’s? Was I the only person on earth whose hair was immune to Elnett? What would happen when Jan and Lew noticed I had added a third hole to my left earlobe? Did Doc Martens come in size 5 1/2? Whhhhhhhhhy did that douche who sat behind me in English class not love me, and why did I care? You see. Material a-plenty.

Now it’s not so easy. I don’t even know why, because I basically worry about the adult version of the same things. But this blog is dusty. The novel I’ll never finish has been 40 mediocre pages long for two years. I keep reminding myself that the actors I’ve mentally cast in the big screen adaptation are about to age out of their theoretical roles, but I’m still mentally paralyzed. Besides, now that I’ve moved from notebooks to bloggery, it’s all public – and anything I’d logically think to write about would cause a hefty number of people to file restraining orders and/or stop speaking to me. So in desperation, as you may know, I sometimes turn to the interweb and the array of writing prompts it offers, from places like Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Among her latest batch of prompts was this one: “List 10 things that make you feel excited.”

What is this word, “excited?” You mean excited like, “agitated?” Excited like, “I’m so excited with rage that Imma* punch you in the balls?” What else COULD it mean?

What’s that? Some people actually get excited about GOOD things?!  Come on. You don’t expect me to believe that load of crap do you? I mean please. That’s absurd. Clearly I need to move on to the next prompt. 

That one turned out to be, “You know you’re a mom when …”

Okay then. 

My eyes went back to the first prompt and suddenly the bold words of one Barney Stinson came into my head: “Challenge accepted.”

So can I do it?

10 Non-Everyday Things That Fill Me With a Faint Hint of Excitement

  1. The first hot day of summer and the first cold day of winter, because they mean a new season and a new atmosphere are upon us, and that today will be at least a tiny bit different from yesterday.
  2. Similarly, the promise of a massive blizzard that may result in the office closing, for its novelty and reminder of youth. And because junk food eaten in extreme weather conditions doesn’t count. Nor does junk food eaten after extreme weather conditions because it would be a terrible travesty to let it go to waste. Or, for that matter, junk food eaten before extreme weather conditions to make sure it’s safe for consumption.
  3. A jam-packed schedule of urban adventures with the Communettes (or as millennials might say, “my squad”), to destinations including but not limited to Russian nightclubs (whence comes the name “Communettes”); burlesque supper clubs (my burlesque name, in case you were wondering, is Andromeda Muscle Strain); ancient bath houses; nail art emporia; Tim Burton-themed bars; circus side shows (see Item 5); and other not-as-sordid-as-they-sound locales. You know who you are, Communettes. Come back to me!
  4. Duran Duran concerts, because nothing is more life-affirming than singing and dancing like an asshole to Rio live while you ogle an aging but gorgeous bass player.
  5. The Coney Island Circus Sideshow, because one of the snakes there makes me feel real loved and I myself love the smell of lighter fluid in the morning. (That’s a fire eating/Apocalypse Now joke and I find it hilarious.) Also, very few things compare to the sight of stomach slime glistening on a freshly swallowed sword.
  6. The virgin wear of new boots, lipstick, or jeans, all of which will be perfect for approximately 36 hours, at which point someone else will walk by wearing a version that is “better” in some way that can’t be articulated
  7. Canine hugs
  8. Reunions/visits/trips with people I love but haven’t seen in eons (most notably my lil sis, my Texans, my aforementioned Communettes)
  9. A completely empty New York Times crossword puzzle on a page that’s in pristine condition, paired with Wite-Out and a satisfying rollerball pen. Similarly, a brand new pack of multi-colored Sharpies/Flair pens/smelly markers.
  10. The exact moment of touch down on the runway at a new airport. But only that one moment, because a nanosecond later, panic sets in about whether or not it’s safe to drink the water wherever I’ve just landed.
  11. AND A BONUS NUMBER 11 … FINISHING THIS BLOG POST!

*Please note first-ever use of “Imma,” perhaps incorrectly. 

 

 

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Imperfect 10

Some Day Comes

Why yes, that IS Mexican corn from Dos Caminos in the background

For review, please see Sunday’s post.

Greetings from “some day!”

After learning that place-holders would not be allowed at the book signing — i.e., no paying unemployed friends to stand in line so you could sleep late and then roll in at 11 — Rachana realized it didn’t make sense for her to come in from NJ.  Between this, the crack-of-dawn rising, the four+ hours of line-waiting with strangers, and the possibility of crushing disappointment, I really wasn’t sure I could do this anymore. But I kept hearing my dad’s words … Some day … on the street in New York … and I knew I had to try.

Armed with an Olive & Bette tote bag containing non-perishable rations and my finest Duran Duran memorabilia, some with original scotch tape and mauve wallpaper fibers, I headed across town. On 54th Street, nothing looked out of the ordinary — I had been expecting a squatter’s village and tents. That was a good sign. Inside, there was no line to buy the book – “In the Pleasure Groove” (favorably reviewed by the HuffPo, I might add)  – either. Upstairs, a kindly older woman escorted me to the end of the line and told me I was roughly number 40. SCORE! If I could deal with four hours of mind-numbing boredom, I would almost certainly make it to the front of the line.

Very weirdly, the time passed quickly and pleasantly. I made myself comfortable in the aisle where they’d stuck me (Personal Growth). I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and mediocre bagel, I became BFFs with ladies in front and in back of me, and Barnes & Noble had curated a special Duran Duran soundtrack for the occasion. The camaraderie was incredible! We spelled each other for bathroom breaks. We shared iPhone chargers and Tide pens and hand sanitizer. I killed a stink bug that had waddled out from under “IBS for Dummies,” accidentally spraying one of the other “Duranies.” We passed around our BOP and Tiger Beat and 16 posters. We told stories about the 80s and assessed the various girlfriends of Simon Le Bon and John. We talked about why we loved them and why we still loved them. We talked about our favorite albums and videos and the stupid things we used to think.  We talked about the different times we’d seen them live, what it was like being 12 and how, in some places that shall remain nameless Scotch Plains, a girl was a traitor to Bon Jovi and could get thrown in locker for loving Duran Duran. My modern-day friends cheered me on via Facebook and text message.

You can do eeeet! You can do eeeet!

Exactly at 12:30 we heard the front of the line start screaming and I knew that “some day” had come. Up until that point I had been a mix of excited and sad (about lost youth and how much time had passed since the first time I heard “Rio” on the way to school in 5th grade). As the line moved along, I realized there was a pretty good chance I would puke, pass out, or lose the power of speech. My hands were shaking too hard to take pictures and I tried desperately to think up something hilarious to say to him.

Then I could see him and then I was in front of him! He was gorgeous and smiling and felt like an old friend I hadn’t seen in eons. This is how the conversation I’d dreamed about for 30 years went down:

OMFG OMFG OMFG OMFG

JT: Hi Traci, how are you?

Me: The only thing I can think to say to you right now is ‘Holy Fucking Shit.’

JT laughs

Me talking very fast and trying to squeeze a lifetime of chit-chat into 10 seconds: I have two books for you to sign but I also brought some potentially horrifying stuff from my personal collection I know it’s a little creepy this has been in my family for 30 years it actually hung on my bedroom wall you can see the tape.

JT views the ancient pictures of himself. He actually puts his hand on the faded posters that Rachana and I bought in 1984 at Baron’s in Westfield.

JT: Wow this stuff is like heirlooms!

Me: I apologize for any New Jersey molecules that might have contaminated you.

JT laughs or at least I remember it that way. Then he signs both books, shakes my hand and says it was nice to meet me. I tell him it was SUCH an honor to meet him.

Downstairs, my new friends and I realized we were starving and bordering on hysterical in a totally mature way, so we headed to Dos Caminos for sangria and guacamole. Then, we parted ways and I returned to the “Ordinary World,” running errands on the rest of my day off and wondering what Keith would want for dinner. Nothing had changed, except that it kind of had.

And now I’m thinking about a conversation between me and my 12-year-old self. I know what she would say and ask. She would want to know if she gets married to someone nice and cute (she does); if she ever gets her braces off (she does, but could use another round); if she will always be friends with Rachana (she will); if she moves to New York (she does); and if she’ll barf at her bat mitzvah (she won’t). She will be impressed that she eats sushi and drinks sangria! She will love finding out that a Gear bag is in her near future. And now of course, I can tell her when she asks that some day, on the street in New York, her dream will come true.

Some Day Comes

44 to Go

Rob, Dave and traditional pre-wedding peanut butter sandwiches

I have never been a wedding crier.

Maybe I’m too distracted by the prospect of mini hot dogs, looming on a butlered tray just a few feet away, to access the emotion.  Maybe I ration my supply of tears, saving it for sad people eating sad little homemade sandwiches out of sad little tin foil squares on sad little park benches.  Maybe I understand that conjuring tears during the matrimonial ceremony does not actually prove that you are the bride’s bestie. Or maybe I’m just frigid. I don’t know. But in the 18+ years since the first wedding I attended (shout out to my cousin Randi), there have been only two ceremonies at which I’ve cried. My own, and the one we went to on Friday: Dave and Rob’s.

Because Texas is one of the 44 remaining states yet to legalize same-sex marriage,  Dave and Rob tied the knot in our nation’s capital last week.  And as they have traveled a total of 5,016 miles to attend not one but TWO of my weddings, there was no way in hell I was missing theirs.

Somewhere out there is a picture of them successfully lifting ME at my wedding

As you would expect of a wedding planned by two gay men, everything about it was perfect.  Prior to the ceremony, I presented Rob and Dave with the peanut butter sandwiches I’d packed at home.  We had partaken of this tasty and nutritious pre-marital snack before my own nuptials, and so too would we partake of them on this momentous occasion. Side note: are peanut butter sandwiches still safe to eat after 18 unrefrigerated hours? Let’s just go with “yes” and put the cholera concerns behind us, shall we?

Rob’s cousin Liz, an ordained minister, performed the very tasteful ceremony on the roof of a friend’s apartment building. From there, you could see Rock Creek Park,  the National Cathedral, the Capitol, and a strange white orb no one could identify. Side note: I am thankful that the large-footed Universal Life Minister who married Keith and me does not read this blog, as much of Dave and Rob’s ceremony, I am honored to say, was taken directly from inspired by the one he performed for us.

Additionally, Rob carefully chose a reading for all the attendees.  This is the one Keith and I read:

May the door of your home be wide enough to receive all who hunger for love and all who are lonely for friendship. [Specifically, short Jewish girls from New Jersey.] May it welcome all who have cares to unburden, thanks to express and hopes to nurture. May the door of your house be narrow enough to shut out pettiness and pride, envy and enmity. May its threshold be no stumbling block to you or old feet, and may it be too high to admit complacency, selfishness or harshness. May your home be, for all who enter, the doorway to richness and a more meaningful life.

I don’t think I had ever seen either of them cry before, although I suspect they did on several occasions in Philly, when all the Yeungling was gone.  But at some point that day I saw a tear run down Dave’s cheek. You know how you suddenly feel like barfing when you see someone else barf? Same idea.  The no-cry policy had been broken.

Watching this wedding was just, in a word, awesome. It’s always nice to see your friends happy, of course. It’s always nice to attend a wedding at which you can clearly see the love between the two parties. (Trust me, this is not necessarily the case.) But at this wedding, you could see first-hand something else: progress.  This wedding could not have happened even a short time ago, much less 30 or 40 years ago when Dave and Rob were little kids, in the middle of nowhere, alone with the knowledge that they were “different.”  I think we all know what “different” feels like in one way or another.  Still, no matter how much of a freak I’ve felt like throughout my life, I can’t begin to imagine how hard their “different” must have been for them — and still must be, at times.

I am hardly the most politically correct person on earth. I know that many people are uncomfortable with who Dave and Rob are, and what they did last week. But I also know that they are two of the most remarkable people I have ever met. They are hot, hilarious and full of wisdom, and their goodness is extraordinary. A minute after meeting them, you feel you have known them all your life.  They are the best hello and the hardest goodbye.  Because of them, I know that I will always have a home, no matter what happens or where I am. Because of them, I know that family is not merely defined by blood. Because of them, I know that the people who are the least like you may be the people you have the most in common with. So while I understand this is a sensitive topic, I do not understand how you can look at Dave and Rob and say they deserve less than what we all have.

Dave and Rob, I love you and wish you a lifetime of happiness. You have made my life better in countless ways — and saved it more than once.

44 to Go