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, December 31, 2008

home: and i can't feel my legs.

it's not typically a healthy sign when, after three weeks of non-blogging, a girl gets online to do just that at 2 o'clock in the morning. it tends to imply she's emotionally distressed or, worse, intoxicated. i am neither of these things, or at least not the latter.

thing is, i just stepped out of the car after sixteen hours of travel. sixteen hours of travel in the greater parts of alabama and mississippi, and with my parents of all things.

christmas was just fine, in that it held a great deal of upsides: stan getz records and days spent reading roberto bolano (i know. still can't do the enn-yay) and octavio paz. lots of writing (finally). lots of cajun food. that dirt devil vaccuum i've always wanted. little morgan making everyone megaphones out of sticker-covered empty toilet paper rolls. so that we can call out if we need her. my mother, at a holiday party, even tried pawning me off on a gorgeous man who does fascinating work with refugees in iraq.

"i can't live in bagdad, mom."
"mame," she said, irritated. "writers can write wherever."

this from a woman who doesn't sleep if i'm driving the hour home from asheville after dark.

however, traveling and gambling and spending days-plural with your parents in the french quarter has its challenges:

i lost eight dollars at the slots, spent a whole lot of hours writing a syllabus and scratching it and writing a new one. and there's the issue of my adorable sister, who, even without us, is always with us (via cell phone, etc.).

my parents fight over things like paprika and the french pronunciation of street names: well, charles, if you're not CAPABLE of handling the paprika and i know it's SPELLED chartres, but everyone SAYS charter.

it comes off sounding like, "why is the carpet all wet, todd?" "i don't KNOW, margot."

but, the reason i have you all here is the matter of books on tape. books on tape for a total of thirty-two hours of driving:

the david sedaris was fun, mainly due to his reading the part of brother paul (aka the rooster), which is genius. and kinsley amis' lucky jim reminds me why i like that sort of character-driven british humor.

the whole dick francis thing is another matter entirely. british: yes. but divisive as the sweet valley high series, and it's clear no one taught this man the beauty of simple he-said she-said dialogue.

and i quote:

" 'i did not throw the lemon fizz steeple chase,' hughes roared excitedly."

"and then hughes turned to stare the facts of life in the face."

" 'i did no such thing!' firth exploded excitedly."

"roberta blinked her eyes and reconsidered. she spoke more evenly now."

"hughes rounded his burnt-orange lotus around the bend."

people forever exploding or reconsidering. this. for six hours. plus more meal stops at o'charley's than i'd like to admit. and hannah is driving home from new york as we speak. which means more stories. and soon.

merry merry.

Monday, December 8, 2008

i'll tell you what: a post in two parts.

there's the what i want to blog about and also the what i think you people will find interesting. hannah's not experiencing this problem and i'll tell you why. she doesn't care about you or us anymore. i know i'm not supposed to say this. to assure you we'll both, in our own ways, always be a major part of your life. well, here's the thing: i love you more and you can forget her packing the cooler of capri suns and orange slices for your soccer games. FORGET IT.

I. so, my mother called last week, said: mame. i was up, sitting on the bathroom floor, thinking about you from the hours of 1:57 am to 4. and i think you seem unhappy. but there are two things i think might help that: hosting a holiday party and investing in new carpeting for your living room.

me: uh huh.

mom: you know, because you're the type of person who needs something to look forward to.

you know. as opposed to the person who needs only the guillotine looming somewhere in the foreground.

and this is the part i can't do justice: the very next day i pulled up at my parents' home. to catch up. only, my nephew was dancing on the piano bench, a metronome beat wildly in the background, and my niece greeted me by screaming, "I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU NAKED." then, my father chugged scotch so as to not have a heart attack. the couch cushions lay everywhere outside of the couch. then, each family member began screaming "ideas" for my party.

molly: girl, you've got to try this chipped beef dip the ladies from north baptist introduced me to.
(seriously. i have no idea where she came from.)

dad: jesus christ. whatever you do, no vegetables and ranch.

molly: have you thought about vegetables and ranch?

mom: what about stencils???? (pulls out file that houses every invitation she's ever made).


II. anyway, what i want to blog about is waitressing. again. for a few years (say, oh, 2002-2007) i hated waiting on tables. the two things that drove me are the two things that drive any waiter/artist/actor/writer: money. money and material, material, material. ("something for your poetry, no?")

well, on the one hand: yes. when the family from three towns over drove in last week at 9:oo on a tuesday with their seven year-old, i couldn't wait to serve them. per usual, the mother asked little elizabeth if she remembered me from last time. and, like last time, elizabeth glared and gave one firm shake of the head. actually, this is precisely why i like elizabeth. she gives me a look that forever says, "i've had a full day of horseback, watercolor, tai kwan do, and tutoring. why the hell should i remember her?" only, an hour later i came out of the kitchen and elizabeth was standing by the computers and linens, tapping one of her black patent galoshes on the floor. "oh, there you are, mamie," she said in the same mock relief my sister uses when i'm twenty seconds late for our movie date. "looks like i'm going to need the charred arracherra, medium rare. our chicken just came, and i hate it. hate it hate it hate it."

on the other hand: no. i've had a problem lately, particularly with my male clients (i know. out of context that sounds slightly ashley dupre-ish, which is actually fitting, considering.). how i long for the days when my older men pretended they couldn't read the small font of the menu so that i had to stand there and recite it, word for word. or the men who flirted with me before realizing my father was an old racquetball/gin/college buddy.

at least those men are interesting. their stories, their demeanor. material? yes. nearly always. but now, now it's gotten so cheap and predictable. i will say this only once: not every waitress is in the market for a rich man to make them the best stay-at-home second, third, or fourth wife they've ever had. (okay, maybe on my worst, worst day). also, also, if i am not interested in you it does not mean that i am a) married or b) a lesbian. i may just not like you, even though this leaves you dumbfounded. what with all you have to offer. and the very little i have going on for me. i know, i know. it just DOESN'T. ADD. UP. because sometimes, at the end of the day, i could really go for a conversation about stock options and garage renovation.

okay. i'm done bitching. until beyonce writes some other stupid song or another man offers me the world, the world the size of a tether ball.

Monday, December 1, 2008

yellow ledbetter would be my status update, were my status update a song.

they say life happens while you're not looking. they say this and other ridiculous things. truth is, while no one is looking at hannah, she's busy chirping along and hanging stars and bells from her four-poster bed. she's doing that and watching boats leave from the channel just below her balcony. she is, probably, also wearing a smoking jacket and line-editing an early copy of a marilynne robinson book. and growing her own hyacinths and fig trees, right there in her little apartment. and playing a game of scrabble with her significant other, a game of scrabble where words like archdruid and, i don't know, el sol poniente baila come out of nowhere famously. sentences count. kennings count. "whale-road!" she's exclaiming to herself.

see. we're like some constellation no one's found yet, the twins who can only occupy totally opposing spaces. i hate working in binaries, but...

meanwhile, i'm eating plates of meat i can't name. and then, after that, plates of ham. then, excusing myself to go look at the meat room. my old self would not know what to do with this self. it's as if i've never seen forrest gump before. i'm screaming "jenny!" at the television and sobbing like it's the mid-nineties. just this afternoon, i heard livingston taylor's "get out of bed," which is a song my father used to wake my mother up with, back when they had speakers for end tables...and began wailing. you might recall, hannah warned of this. these "emotions" returning after years of neglect. plus, i'm really cold. wherever i go. i'm like the mess of a woman in those degas paintings with all that red hair, just waiting to be bathed.

and then, the only thing that can hold my attention: susan lucci's malibu pilates chair. i've watched the infomercial six times. it's the only thing i believe will help. so much cardio, so much defining of the legs. right there in your living room.

so, this is the state of things, and it's not pretty. if you've naively wished we'd blog, i hope to have shoved that wish squarely off the side of a bridge. or into the highway. or under a dune buggy.