The Battlefield Where the Girls Say I Love You

That's just the thing: we will never tell you we love you. In fact, we're here only to hold hands across state lines and yell at the world. We're here to try to touch you across this chasm of flown things. Not even that. At most, I will teach you how to make a gin smoothie when there's nothing left in the house. Hannah can teach you several languages and what to do when your car breaks up with you. Thanks for coming out.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

sisterhood of the traveling pant suits and other world news:

just a few things, dears:

*it has been brought to my attention that the barnes and noble on woodruff road carries as many books of poetry as they do specialty bibles.

*my students asked what, exactly, a sestina was today. to which i yelled, "the most tyrannical form there is!" then, because i'm not malleable in any way, and because i noticed how delighted they were BY sestinas, i said, "we'll write one tomorrow." then, "they're six six line stanzas, followed by a tercet called the tornada." then it gets complicated. the end words from each line are used in the following stanzas...apparently at random. 123456, 615243.... and all i could think--and this is humiliating because i'm not sixteen and i'm their teacher--is "area codes" by ludacris: 916, 415, 704...

*perhaps you've heard the next brilliant thing they're doing with beer: low gravity. LOW GRAVITY? like, 2 and 3 percent alcohol. okay, i don't condone drinking for intoxicating purposes. but, why would i want to drink 12 highly caloric beers with next to nothing by way of relaxation?

*finally: my last table tonight was a cute couple younger than myself. i recognized them immediately, as they sat in front of me at vicky christina barcelona. only, i said this to them, as in, "weren't you guys at the sunday matinee..." and i immediately felt totally bananas. they sort of stared cross-eyed at me the rest of the night.

oh, and to the furman girls who left me 11% tonight. i'd totally forgotten about the north face jacket paired with stilettos look. and that you talked about facebook your entire dinner and not ironically was like a slice of hell. thanks for coming out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

it's not that we haven't been blogging:

it's just that we haven't. hannah's been polishing her book, which is the most pleasant way i know of saying she's been sweating and consuming numerous french presses each morning. i, most certainly, have not been taking myself on dates to p.f chang's. to see vicky christina barcelona. scarf shopping. pleading to my defiant outback. falling into platonic love with the line cook who saves all the chicken and dumplings, pours them into quart containers, and labels them "mamie's school lunch." also, i have not been flipping between the convention and john cusack's serendipity. and, we've been reading our students' work. i've been conjuring up strange situations wherein the other first graders are mean to morgan. and i, of course, wreak havoc upon their lives. finally, because we're so busy, we absolutely have not been watching jon and heather make edamame on but, but, there's this:

in lieu of blogging

Monday, August 18, 2008

An open letter to Haris (“that’s spelled with one r”) at Progress Energy:

I can’t say I wasn’t surprised to see the disconnect letter on my door. It’s a good thing it was neon pink so no one else could miss it either. That way, if it pulled loose of the masking tape your people used, one of my wealthy and retired and judgmental neighbors could have pointed it out to me at the next cocktail hour.

The reason, Haris, I was surprised was because I set up an automatic bank draft with Jenny back in July. After speaking to two other supervisors, they passed me to you—I was a little tired by then, my phone was dying, and I had been sitting naked on the kitchen tile for coolness. I remember when you asked me to go over the problem again, anxiously saying, “But I’m losing light.” And then I walked into my vacuum cleaner.

You said you’d also had “quite a day,” so let’s go over your greatest hits:

Haris: I’m not saying you didn’t call. I can see here that you did. But someone must have misinformed you, because we didn’t receive your payment. That’s why your power is shut off.

Me: Oh well, the thought did occur to me. But then I rejected that out of hand because I thought it far more likely that it was a prank. Pulled off by Progress Energy and Jackass.

Haris: Ma’am, there’s no need for sarcasm. And you would have received a final notice letter.

Me: I didn’t. I have not received a single paper bill since I moved in. I’ve told Progress this in other, possibly imaginary, conversations.

Haris: Is your address 807 Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480.

Me: You are one fifth right.

Haris: If you had given us the right address—

Me: IF?? IF??? At what point, Haris, do you think I set out to deceive you about my address. Because it wasn’t when Progress told me a few months back that I had to be mistaken—there was an 1107, a 605, and a 1008, but certainly there was no unit 807. I had to come up with a very compelling case to get you guys to believe there were more than 3 units in this building. In this 11 storey building.

Haris: …. Ma’am, I understand what you’re saying.

Me: That’s good.

Haris: But even if you’re right about everything, I can’t waive the fee. I don’t know if you set up a bank draft with her because she forgot to make notes on your account.

Me: I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you because my brain just exploded.

Haris: …

Me: Sorry. I’m sorry. Listen, I’ll take it up with your supervisor tomorrow, but what if he tells me our conversation never took place. Then what. You guys could just keep deleting everything.

Haris (superb timing): Ma’am, I’m really having trouble hearing you. Are you there?

Me, panicking: Canwejustgetthepowerturnedon PLEASE. What time can someone be here?

Haris: Unfortunately, we are not in communication with the service vehicles.

Me: You are not in communication with the services vehicles. You don’t communicate with them. So, Progress has no contact information for them, no phone number?

Haris: No, we don’t have that information.

REALLY Haris?? What were you going to do?? Send a fucking letter? Get the town crier? Smoke signals? Cup and string? Fine. I’m sending my next payment to you via a Harry Potter owl.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

hannah hates when i do this, which is precisely why i'm forging on...

mostly, our phone conversations go something like this:

hannah calls, singing: in a big country dreams stay with you. like a lover's voice...

me: what is that. what are you doing.

hannah (yelling): "in a big country!" by big country! best 80's song ever!

me: i love anderson cooper.

hannah (sigh): i love anderson cooper.

me: i want to be porochista khakpour (novelist, sons and other flammable objects).

hannah (who's misunderstood): five hundred sheep in darfur? what does that mean?

me: no no no. the novelist.

hannah: no one would speak to you with a name like that.

me: everyone speaks to her.

seriously, that bad. sometimes, though, we read to each other. which is when the earnest, bleeding heart writer comes out in us both.

so, i thought i'd post the louise gluck poem we both love...and will preface only by saying:

once, in grad school, a very dear professor said to me, "i wish only you'd think in more conceptual terms." i only now realize he meant, "i only wish at times you were smarter." we had been reading "hard books," and i had been churning out "simple" work. the work of a storyteller.

but that's the thing with gluck--her brilliance, her strange clairvoyance, it's all tempered by such a frank voice. love her. love her. and so, one of the poems we read aloud:

the destination

we had only a few days, but they were very long,
the light changed constantly.
a few days, spread out over several years,
over the course of a decade.

and each meeting charged with a sense of exactness,
as though we had traveled, separately,
some great distance; as though there had been,
through all the years of wandering,
a destination, after all.
not a place, but a body, a voice.

a few days. intensity
that was never permitted to develop
into tolerance or sluggish affection.

and i believed for many years this was a great marvel;
in my mind, i returned to those days repeatedly,
convinced they were the center of my amorous life.

the days were very long, like the days now.
and the intervals, the separations, exalted,
suffused with a kind of passionate joy that seemed, somehow,
to extend those days, to be inseparable from them.
so that a few hours could take up a lifetime.

a few hours, a world that neither unfolded nor diminished,
that could, at any point, be entered again--

so that long after the end i could return to it without difficulty,
i could live almost completely in imagination.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

must be: 72% scott avett, 11% devendra banhart, 9% paul newman, 7% nadal, 1% ellen degeneres...

...and, you know, dashes of tim o'brien, t.i., robert f. kennedy, tim gunn, rick bragg, bob weir, and john stewart.

listen, yesterday, my mother accused me of enjoying waitressing. as in, she cut me off mid restaurant-tale (she's been listening to these best/worst customer stories since i entered the tenth grade) and said, "you like it."

me: no i don't. you know i need the extra cash.

her: no. you don't. you have two other perfectly respectable jobs. you do it because you like it.

i felt like someone had caught me wearing only a feather boa and dancing to the jonas brothers.

but, truth is, i do "like it," i suppose. if made to choose, i'd obviously lock myself and my brilliant students up in our classroom...but people amaze me. i never know who i'm going to meet. this might mean some idiot who calls me sugar and asks me repeatedly about nursin' school. more likely than not, though, my customers are warm and smart. in fact, the statistics are staggering: so many less cads than you'd imagine.

point is (jesus. i did it again. the whole preface-is-longer-than-story thing), lately, i've been waiting on the best couples ever. we're talking 80 year-old's named ellen and paul who drink mojitos ("so this is that drink our kids been telling us about") and kiss at the table, young couples who give each other fist-daps a la the obamas. i had a guy last night in a white suit try to swivel his wine glass that held a taste of cotes du rhone. somehow--probably nerves--it went everywhere: on his face, his coat. and the girl he was with just leaned over and took his hand, laughing.

but the best, THE BEST, was the blind date from

i swear to god. bruce and terry. she (terry) was twenty minutes late, which, bruce and I initially took as a bad sign. (listen, you tell your waitress anything when you're nervous and already half plowed.)

but then she showed. and they had a THREE HOUR DINNER. and on the way out, he put his arm around her. later, much later, when i was taking off my apron and walking out to the car, i saw them standing in the parking lot still. talking.

what i'm saying is: we give men a hard time. if you've even glanced at memememespace, you've seen that annoying pie chart where the girl has plugged a photo of herself (i.e. bleeding heart/ego) into some site and they've delegated her aesthetic scoring: 73% jessica alba, 2% gwyneth paltrow, 18% sigourney weaver, 7% raven simone.

must cook, we say. must work, must love nature, must have strong calf muscles, must tolerate project runway, must love hannah as well, must enjoy all of the same books we do, must love his mother, must not love his mother too much, must pay for us, must not order for us, must drive a truck but not one of those big scary ones, must enjoy any blues musician signed by fat possum records, must like small chests and big booties...

but we understand y'all do it too: must look like/cook like giada, must love to surf, must be a good girl, must also have a touch of jenna jameson, must speak 6 languages...

and we can do it, too, because at the end of the day karma's going to kick all our asses. hannah's going to end up with a republican who enjoys portraiture and traveling as far as the rolling hills of kentucky. my guy's bound to be a personal trainer who thinks poetry's for sissies but enjoys building instruments from wood he's imported himself. and that's the beauty of it.

p.s. no more boy stuff. after this, only posts about things that matter. like pineapple express and how the U.S. fared in badminton.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

But I want exactly both.

Someone who loves Hart Crane, but who isn’t all, Baby, I’m so depressed, I’m gonna do a swan dive off that there freight ship boiling over the Atlantic.

A man who plants tulips and whips up an Osso Buco would be swell, long as he wasn’t also striding around the house in topsiders and croakies, pausing to check the laptop for stock activity. Make the crepe, but try not to shift uncomfortably when I say I haven’t paid off my student loans yet.

And I hate being tricked most of all. Hypothetically: you could get the most lyrical guy in the world and then in the middle of that hypothetical makeout session, you might hypothetically murmur (worried he’s not into it), Is this right? to yourself and hypothetically he might go, Nah dude, it’s cool. Nah dude, it’s cool??? No. Nonono. Dude, it is most certainly not cool.

Let me put it this way. What if you were nearly thirty and padded to the kitchen of a house at 3 am only to trip over a pile of videogames? Tripped because you were busy wondering if that could possibly be a Scarface poster scotch-taped to the wall. Well, if this did happen to you, I can tell you exactly what would be next. You would get in your car and drive home at 500 mph and look at stock activity.

It’s gotten to the point now, where there are two equally likely outcomes to a guy staying over: He could either go running out right after with his shoes in his hands, or he could still be there for lunch the next day. Somewhere between there is what we’re missing.

We’re either with guys who are worried about the cleanliness of the floorboards in their BMWs or who are giving their friends mullets at midnight.

Listen. We don’t need you to call on your way home. But be together enough to call sooner than three whole weeks later wondering what’s up, but not asking us to do anything. You’d think that because Mamie and I are asked out on average fifty times a week (what?), our odds would be better, but fergodsakes. Wait that long and we just think you’re assholes. And if we do forgive you and you do suggest we go out again, then you should know it’s not because we want to watch you watch tow-in surfing at a burger joint for a few hours.

Finally: I’m turning twenty-nine. Don’t rush me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

we don't like adult swim. we do not enjoy papa john's.

okay, hannah and i had (until now) an unspoken rule: we can talk about boys, but only peripherally. not only do we have no interest in emulating carrie bradshaw, most of the time other aspects of our lives are far, far more interesting (if only to us). also, while many of the men are not calling, a very small part of our spirit earnestly believes they are reading the blog. which is why we can't mention them.

but it's just so rich a topic. and we're single...and, somehow, we both have a clearer insight into the male psyche (or our own) when we're not dating. a male.

i am twenty-seven years old. hannah is approaching one of those pivotal birthdays this coming winter. and here's the deal: we're finding that, at this age, we're straddling two hemispheres. there are the men who go paddling on the weekend, who wear ties most days, who have 401 K's and dogs named sanford. these are often the men who call, promptly after meeting you, for real dates and possibly discussions of impending children. then, there are the other men. to those, i must finally admit:

i don't want to sit on the same side of the booth at elizabeth's pizza so we can watch that 70's show. nor do i care to learn how to make chicken wings. on the topic of wingeries (actually what they're called): i don't want to eat at one ever. specifically, i don't want to eat at one with bunches of televisions immediately before going to a movie. no, no, no. please don't drag me outta bed to referee your wrestling contest with your other thirty year-old friends.

here's the deal: we don't like the mellow mushroom. or television shows involving other grown people caught on video crashing their bikes. or their segues. and i, at least, hate drugs. you should know that.

we're finally admitting it after ten years: we will never be the cool girlfriend who gets along with anyone, no matter how heinous. we have opinions. about you and other things. we will play darts and pool and drink beer and shower and occasionally wear make-up. we will say thank you. however, we will not allow bongs on our coffee tables. or your feet.

Monday, August 4, 2008

nobody does it better. by carly simon. morgan family theme song:

frankly, i have little to say to you people. that being said, i'm sick of looking at the tirade below. i don't take it back. am just feeling more butterflies and orchids this week.

now, if my mother knew how to work a digital camera (or an alarm clock, for that matter) i might have famously good pictures to accompany this post. perhaps a season from now...

my family borrowed a truck and went to the IKEA in atlanta yesterday. we left at ten and got there at--wait for it--3:15, a mere three hours behind schedule. this is, of course, because we stopped for lunch at murphy's in the virginia highlands. now, i despise atlanta. but if you could get me a house in the highlands and a table at murphy's every sunday: i'm there.

we had a lot of wine at lunch. pinot gris. chardonnay. sauvignon blanc. we hit up more varietals than anyone should in one sitting. we fell in love with randy, our hungover waiter who said too much. as in, "i realize it's taken me ages to get to you guys. from now on, i will be speedy. probably." we watched the poor woman at the bar reading the kiterunner get hit on, like, 8 times. why do men think women sitting at a bar READING want company? we don't.

so, when we got lost on the way to said swedish store, my mother muttered, "at least we're absolutely sure we won't wind up in germany." i have no idea what this means.

IKEA itself is not something i'm ready to talk about holistically. overwhelming. so many desks. and honeybuns. and small people running about unattended.

my father fell asleep in three different makes of rattan chair. and when he said, "where do we get a cart to fill up?" i said, "i think they bring it to our car."

i think they bring it to our car. nothing has ever been farther from the truth. and after hauling boxes of shelves and chaise into our truck, we had to leave my beloved orange poang chair behind.

it was hell. and when i tried to photograph my father, he shooed away the camera much like the person in the limo who hasn't got the final rose after the producers tell her to look into the lens and say how it feels to be rejected. or janice dickinson just before she lashes out at some innocent person.

on the way home, i sat in my mother's lap with my feet on the dash. whenever a cop came up from behind, my father yelled "LAW" and i ducked. we sang "devils and dusk," rufus & chaka khan's "tell me something good" and louis armstrong until i fell asleep. then we bribed my next door neighbor with sierra nevada anniversary beer to help me bring it all in.

finally, after crying through the freedom writers (not a particularly good movie, but still), i tried to put together my left-arm chaise...which turned out to be a right-arm.