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.

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Some Day Comes

Ordinary World

From the private collection of me.
Note that John Taylor is a total fox.

It was the spring of 1984. I was 12, the clothes were Esprit, the hair was bi-leveled, and the night was sultry. (Or maybe it wasn’t. I was in the basement watching Suburban Cablevision for most of it, so I can’t say for sure.) John Taylor, Simon Le Bon and the rest of Duran Duran were the reigning MTV Friday Night Video Champions. It was during this reign that my middle school bestie Rachana and I became obsessed with the band Tiger Beat and BOP used to call “The Fab 5.” Ours was to be  an unrequited love story that would span three pathetic decades and media from vinyl to cassettes and CDs to iPhones. Chuckle away. But you will never convince me that “Rio” isn’t one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.

A few years in, Duran Duran paid a visit to Z-100 and listeners were invited to call in with questions. What this really meant, if you were lucky enough to get through, was that for a few seconds, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon would know you existed.  So I redialed and redialed and redialed and got only a busy signal. I was devastated. Trying to console me, Lew said, “You never know. One day, you could just be walking down the street in New York and bump right into them…” And it is those words — that tiny possibility  — that still gets me through my darkest days.  I don’t know why, but I never got over this obsession. They are my first loves. They taught me nothing I know about eyeliner. And when you have loved something as long as I’ve loved them, even without a shred of personal contact, they kind of become part of your psyche.

Cut to 2012. Rachana and I are 40. The clothes are J. Brand, the hair is flat-ironed, and the night might or might not be sultry. But it doesn’t matter, because John Taylor is signing copies of his new memoir in the city on October 16th.  Dressed in our finest skinny jeans, uber-stylie fall tops and shiny new booties, Rachana and I planned to hit the bookstore, experience the nirvana that is John Taylor, capture the whole thing on our iPhones, then enjoy a delightful ladies’ lunch as we analyzed our interactions

For some reason, I pictured this going down at the famed Fifth Avenue bookstore Rizzoli. Rizzoli hasn’t actually been on Fifth Avenue since 1985, and the book signing is really taking place at a non-descript Barnes and Noble in a midly depressing part of town. Tuesday is also supposed to be way too warm for booties. I might have to meet John Taylor in … GASP … ballet flats. Since my other long-running friend, Nicole, lives in Germany, she’s obviously not coming. That feels wrong. Then came the big blow. The signing starts at 12:30. The store is opening at the inhuman hour of 7 am to accommodate the massive line of screaming ninnies expected to show up. Most likely, I was told, those who arrive much later than 7 will never make it to the front of the line. This seemed like the gods of childhood dreams playing a cruel trick on me. Really?! I had to choose between sleep – my most beloved body function – and JOHN TAYLOR? REALLY?! Thankfully, this disaster was averted when Nicole’s sister Rebecca suggested I pay someone to hold our spots in line. I hadn’t known this was a thing, but apparently opera fans do it all the time for tickets. Brilliant!

Yet with so many of the details unraveling, I started to question the whole thing. Assuming we even make it to the front of the line, it will take him two seconds to sign his name. Photos might not even be allowed, and if they are, I’m entirely confident I’ll look grotesque and cross-eyed in mine. There is no possible combination of words we could conjure to leave any kind of impression in that situation. He probably won’t even look up.

But what really concerns me is the end of the fantasy. What if he’s a total douche bag? What if he looks like a sad, washed up Happy Ending Sundae Story? I don’t want to meet that version of him. I want to meet him in 1984. I am so used to looking forward to this – how will I feel when I have to look back instead? When the thing I’ve waited for all these years has happened, will I be happy about it? Is it better to have the hope than the memory? Is this a really bad idea?

Maybe. But fuck it. We’re meeting John Taylor on Tuesday!!!

Ordinary World

The Tekcub List

If you know me – if we have spoken for even five minutes – you know that worrying is one of my greatest skills. In fact, there are few things I do not worry about. So when my guru Mama Kat posed the idea of creating a reverse bucket list – a list of things you hope you NEVER do before you die – I could barely contain the creative juices (which could be laced, I’m just sayin’). In order to avoid jinxing myself and boring you, I decided to set aside my chronic day-to-day worries (car accidents, aneurysms, cancer, public pukage, genetic diseases, dying alone, poverty, Rick Santorum, etc.) and focus instead on some of the more obscure (but real!) concerns I have. As such, below are some highlights of my “Tekcub List.” I never want to …

Be without the fabulous prompts provided by Mama Kat and her Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop

Suffer the kind of brain damage that leads to “Locked In Syndrome
I officially appoint my sister and my friends Kiki and Loren to ensure that if this does happen, and if for some odd reason the plug is not pulled IMMEDIATELY upon diagnosis, a private waxer is brought in at least once a month to maintain my dignity.

Live in Michigan again
Despite my new-found appreciation for Detroit thanks to Jeffrey Eugenides, and despite my love of Pizza House chapatis, I very much hope I am never again forced to live in bad-accented Midwestern hell (no disrespect to any indigenous peoples, some of whom I consider close friends).

Find myself in a desolate Utah canyon with no cell service, trapped between two boulders and forced to choose between dying a horrible death or cutting off my own arm with a pocket knife
I think we know how that would turn out.

Appear as a contestant on “Fear Factor”
Worms send me into convulsions, in general and as an entrée.

Be photographed by paparazzi/run into John Taylor, Simon Le Bon, Scott Porter, Kyle Chandler, Jon Hamm or Jean Dujardin while not wearing make-up
Believe me, it would hurt the public as much as it would hurt me.

Be framed for a heinous crime, wrongly convicted and sent to maximum security prison

Observe a heinous crime and have to enter Witness Protection

Attempt, fail, and die trying to climb Mt. Everest
Just seems unnecessary and not a particularly enjoyable way to expire.

Get stuck in the Sierra Nevadas during a blizzard and have to resort to cannibalism to survive

A Donner Party is no party at all.

Sky dive
More like sky die.

Contract cholera, Ebola, Fatal Familial Insomnia, dysentery, typhus, kuru or the plague, among many, many others
These are just a few of my greatest hits.

Wear Mom Jeans

Choke to death on a cheese doodle

Have someone sneak into my bedroom whilst I slumber and cut my hair into a 70s-era bi-level

Become allergic to Cadbury Crème Eggs

Seek treatment at a fertility clinic where, unbeknownst to us, the evil doctors replace their patients’ manly “samples” with their own, resulting in 8,000 artificial insemination babies who all have the same genetic lazy eye
Please see the terrifying 1994 made-for-TV movie “The Babymaker: The Dr. Cecil B. Jacobson Story” starring Melissa Gilbert for details.

The Tekcub List

Welcome to Tech Support: Your FAQ

Welcome to the unofficial Support Section of the not-so award-winning, acclaimed, widely-read blog “The Letter T.”  We value your business, and to better serve you, we’ve compiled a list of the questions our clients most commonly ask our CEO. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, try someone else’s blog.

Why on god’s green earth did you write an FAQ for yourself?
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that this post, like so many of my others, is the brainchild of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop.

What services do you provide?
Nothing of import, including:

  • Copywriting/copyediting
  • Social media updating
  • Search engine optimization
  • General corporate communications
  • Medical consults
  • Shoe consults
  • Cosmetic consults
  • Comedic relief
  • Hillbilly cooking
  • Stuffed animal foster parenting
  • Intermittent emotional comfort
  • Instant recall of trivial and random information
  • Defense of the Great State of New Jersey
  • Candy trafficking and dealing, sometimes within 200 feet of a school
  • Holiday party hosting

Where are your headquarters?
New York City, with regional offices in Scotch Plains, NJ and Dallas, TX.

Do you take credit cards?
With pleasure!

Do you have time to write and send an urgent email blast for me within the next hour?
No, but I will.

What happened to your chin?
The small scar on the lower right corner of my face is from my cameo appearance on Nip/Tuck ’86. That year, I had a dime-sized birth mark removed. Plastic surgery has come a long way, and if I’d had it removed today, I’d probably be scar-free.  But, as Karl Lagerfeld said, “There is no beauty without strangeness.”

What were you doing in Michigan and Philadelphia?
Very little.

How did you meet your husband?
My husband and I went to high school together. I knew him, because he was the class president and homecoming king, as well as an athlete
and a twin, which was still rare back then. He claims to have known me, but that is simply not possible. Obviously, we spoke nary a word between June 1990 and the summer of 2008, when we reconnected on Facebook. Yes, Facebook actually can do good.

How’d you sleep last night?
Not great.

Why do you look like a chipmunk when you eat?
I suffer from what my inner circle knows as “the swallowing thing.” Depending on who you ask, it may be a social phobia, and/or a severe form of globus
hystericus
, and/or a conversion disorder, and/or the result of control issues that cause me to involuntarily clench my jaw so hard it will barely move. In any case, it is often difficult for me to swallow with grace and aplomb. It is embarrassing and unpleasant, but somehow, I am always able to get ice cream down with no problem.

On that note, you eat an absurd amount of cheese and junk food, yet are not yet obese. How is that possible?
With irritable bowel syndrome, everything is possible.  Any day now, I will wake up and suddenly weigh 400 pounds.

Where do you get your fashion ideas?
I stare creepily at well-dressed women on the subway; I copy my fashion-forward friends; and I cut out pictures of Rachel Bilson, Reese Witherspoon, Kourtney Kardashian, and Jessica Alba from US magazine.

Why are you so afraid of barfing?
Studies show it has to do with the trauma of a reversal of fortune in front of my entire second-grade class in 1980. Plus, barfing is horrible.

I find you and your blog to be more than a smidge irritating. What can I do about this?
Please try rebooting.

Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Yes, but I am lazy and uninspired, as evidenced by the irregularity of my blog posts.

I think you should try. Are you afraid of failing?
What part of “lazy and uninspired” do you not understand? I am not afraid of failing. I fail at least once a day and I am used to it. What I am afraid of is losing hope.  As long as I talk about writing a book but never actually do it, there’s still the possibility that it might one day happen.

Isn’t there ANYTHING that motivates you?
There are a few things, including:

  • Fresh Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Knowing John Taylor and Simon Le Bon are out there, somewhere
  • The mean girls in high school
  • Thoughts of appearing on the late night talk show circuit – and what I will wear
  • The idea of making my husband/family proud

What nail polish color is that?
Most likely, it’s Lincoln Park After Dark; Midnight in Moscow; Romeo & Joliet; or Chinchilly. If you enjoy diarrhea-colored nails (which I don’t), I recommend  Uh-Oh Roll Down the Window.

I have tried all the contact numbers I have for you and still can’t reach you. What the deuce?
“Deuce” is the keyword here. I am almost never without access to a landline or mobile device. If you are unable to reach me, it means one of two things. Either my shitty iPhone battery has died a moment after it claimed to be 100% charged, and/or I am doing the kind of business that shan’t be mentioned here.

Welcome to Tech Support: Your FAQ

1984

To the untrained eye, the photo above depicts five humans of indeterminate gender. But, ladies and gentlemen, the faces you are looking at actually belong to the first men I ever loved: Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes, b.k.a. Duran Duran. (Please note, their official web site is ALSO powered by WordPress!) And tonight, I spent two divine hours with them in Central Park.

Thanks to Kiki, who called in a favor and secured tickets for us, she and my sister and I had the privilege of attending the first of two Duran Duran concerts in the park. Since I first fell in love with the band nearly a quarter of a century ago, I’ve seen them or some combination of them perform at least six times, but I’ve never been physically closer to or better able to see them than tonight. And I have to say that – despite their freakish appearance in this 1981 photo – Simon (turning 50 in October) and John (turning 48 on June 20) are still absolutely the hottest men I have ever encountered.

Furthermore, they happen to sound as amazing as they did in their heyday . I know. I know what you’re thinking. They’re talentless (vicious lie). Their lyrics are non-sensical and/or idiotic (not as vicious a lie). They’re just pretty boys (I don’t know what to tell ya. They’re pretty. Sue ‘em.). They’re like a spoof of a cheezola 80s band. That’s valid. The stage was adorned with two Ds covered in light bulbs. They themselves were adorned with black leather pants, black blazers, black button-downs and black skinny ties. With black and white bandanas around their arms for some reason. And make-up.

But honestly, I think they know what they are.  I don’t think they were trying to pose as serious musicians, and I don’t think they were trying to be young whippersnappers. I really got the sense that they were having fun making their overgrown teenybopper fans happy. That they liked giving the audience what we wanted – an escape, an hour or two of 1984. Not at all to my dismay, I had a perfect view of John for the bulk of the concert. And I use as evidence the natural, playful way he interacted with the lucky bastards (all whores) in the first few rows.  Of course, it’s also  possible he was high, but let’s assume the best.  

The concert included several highlights, including moving renditions of “Ordinary World” and “Save a Prayer,” during which Simon asked that we open and hold up our cell phones instead of the traditional cigarette lighters, even though it would annoy Al Gore. Much responsibility for singing was placed on us, and it is with great pride that I say our versions of “Girls on Film” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” should win Grammy Awards.

But the evening’s real joy was in its real joy. It will come as no surprise to you that nary a soul would use the words “sunny disposition” to describe me. Kiki and my sister both told me they couldn’t recall another time I’d gone so long without complaining, expressing a hypochondriacal concern, making a snide comment or experiencing some sign of panic. I just screamed and sang and danced like the tone-deaf, palsied dork that I am. I’m not sure exactly why I was able to behave in such a carefree, unbecoming manner. But for a little while, with Duran Duran in front of me, all was truly good in the world. Perhaps the intensity of my 12-year-old passion for these silly rock stars was so strong it still allows me to be transported back in time. Before cell phones and laptops and iPods and the internet. Before flat-irons and Brazilian bikini waxes and $150-jeans.  Before marriage and divorce and global warming and September 11th. Before complete and utter failure. Perhaps, in that fleeting state of mind, I am able to forget that it isn’t 1984 and that my whole life isn’t ahead of me.  

When the loves of my life left the stage at the end of the show, a group of Brazilians behind us began to chant, “DRIO! DRIO! DRIO!” A few minutes later,  the band reappeared, singing about a famous woman who dances on the sand. Rather poetically, John was now sporting a Barack Obama t-shirt that read “PROGRESS” at the bottom.   

1984