Oct 31, 2006

The Howling


Tonight, walking into my darkened apartment building, I can hear the unearthly howlings of an unhappy creature above.
She shrieks in horrible muffled pain. I can hear sudden clattering and frantic, random clapping and snapping of fingers, interrupted by gasps and screams of pain. Occasionally I hear sobs of pain that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The sounds echo up the darkened stairs. The sounds get louder and more distinct with every footstep. It's going to be a scary Halloween night.

Unfortunately, it is Halloween here every other week or so.

You see, I have a neighbor who has some sort of psychosis. I don't know exactly what kind. But she's got it. I'm not sure what the diagnosis is, but it's bad.

Periodically, often ironically coinciding with the full moon (I'm not making this up, I swear) she goes into a frenzy of screaming and clapping. She has not left her apartment for the past three days.

She's been in there for the past 70 or so hours, clapping and screaming and moaning like a person possessed all day and all night.
Once, during a full moon, I stayed up, all night listening to her, for two nights in a row. She didn't let up for 48 straight hours.

I've seen her occasionally. She looks like a perfectly (well not quite, but almost...you know...) normal 50 something, spinsterish schoolteacher (much like me?). She's rather skittish, but for the most part, from 50 yards away, she seems normal enough. Every so often, however, she turns into a middle aged version of Linda Blair (redundant?)

When I first came to see this place, I chatted with the landlord. I asked him naively about the neighbors. He rattled off a bit of a biography about each. I didn't really pay much mind. It all seemed pretty innocuous what he told me.

In retrospect, however, his mention of the across the hall neighbor was telling
"Oh, you'll know________. She takes care of the yard. She's ummm....kind of eccentric."

Little did I know.

He told me that the couple who had been in my apartment before, wanted to move to another apartment in the same building "for more room." Again, at the time I didn't think much of it. It seemed to make sense. Looking now at their new apartment, however, I realize they don't have any more room.
Now I know why they really wanted to move.

My mother insists I need to move. She's afraid the woman will take a knife to us all. My friend Velinda (who got a tiny taste of The Howling one night...in a very abbreviated form...has offered her blow up mattress and floor of her apartment across the street).


As I type this right now, I can hear her across the hall slapping herself and making incoherent sounds, sometimes what sounds like sobbing. It's very disconcerting, I have to say.

She'll be doing this all night again, I guess.
Up here, it's always Halloween

Oct 29, 2006

Shortbus



Yesterday Carlos and I went to see "Shortbus."
I'd been wanting to see it, despite the so so reviews. (Thank you Carlos again, for keeping from looking like a total perv there.)

My friend Dennis had told me that it was good. It's "very New York," he added.
(he was right)
He'd also told me that the first few minutes are the most graphic....so be sure to not miss them. (he was even more right)

He'd liked it a lot, and my friend Mark in Toronto had written me the following a few days ago:

"Oh, and on Friday I went to see Shortbus, the new John
Cameron Mitchell film (I never did see Hedwig).
Despite being about depressed and unhappy people, I
thought it was unrelentingly positive and upbeat and
hopeful. So I liked it, as it lifted my spirits
momentarily. There is some explicit sex, and the acting isn't
all that great, but it has a kind of naive optimism
that people could have a brighter future."


That sounded like recommendation enough.


Besides the fact that it seems like I'd been hearing about this film for years. I remember my friend Ben telling me that his roommate had been up for a part in it.

He didn't get the part, I'm afraid.

I can't say that the film is a complete success.
There's everything you could hope for, full frontal nudity....money shots...hetero-homo-ambi-sex...attractive, interesting actors....absolutely beautiful scenes of a cardboard New York city....lovely score....
but no identifiable plot really.

It seemed like it was written on a whim, and you could almost hear them saying in the background:
"You know what would be cool? If, like, when she has her orgasm, the whole city....."

There's a lot of emoting and a distant feeling that something "important" is being related, but you're never quite sure what it is.
Still, I have to agree with my friend Mark's point about it being about depressing subject matter, but not depressing. It's really kind of happy. And a movie about sex that's happy is pretty rare, isn't it?

It made me kind of hope for a 1960s kind of naivite. That was worth the ticket price right there, I guess.

Oct 28, 2006

A Voodoo Awakening



The weather being cool, I went to bed without the roar of both 1970's vintage window units...just one. I awakened this morning to a dull rumbling sound over the ac. Half asleep still, I couldn't quite figure it out.
Now I'm fully awake and fully aware. The roar of music is the Voodoo Fest. I'm sitting here in my living room typing away, but I'd might as well be right there.
No need for a ticket, I can hear everything. Even the announcers.

Although the music is pretty good... I think it's time to see if I can get my car out of here somehow... and perhaps head off to the peace and quiet of Target.

Oct 22, 2006

Monk-ey see....monk-ey don't....

So, there I was yesterday, in the middle of the droning, neverending mindless talk.
Power point presentations for godsakes, at 8 in the morning on a Saturday!???

Anyway...being bored and perpetually like a 16 year old girl, I notice a cute guy across the aisle.

The gaydar goes off like sirens in the blitzkrieg,
even without him saying a word.

He's dressed in a suit, perfectly fitted. His legs are crossed in a ladylike way at the ankles.
He's too cute to stand.

He looks like a Banana Republic mannequin.

For the next hour or so, as the monotone of the speaker hums along, interrupted only by the clicking of the powerpoint slides, I find myself obsessively glancing over.

He's clearly not one of us (he's white for christsakes). He must be one of the speakers. Even from 30 feet I can tell that he's from the north. (There must some sort of Northdar I have too, more reliable than that gaydar by the way.)

About an hour later, who is speaking, none other than *him*...with his fashionable (but in a pretty suburban Banana Republic sort of way, of course) suit, and cute little glasses. I'm so excited. I'll get to hear him speak. I'll get to stare at him for an hour with impunity now!
The fantasy factory in my head goes into overtime. He's going to be my husband dammit.

Someone thrusts a handout for his slide show into my hand.
I open it up and read, excitedly:

Mr. Banana Republic is a child psychologist from Illinois.


Oh, and he's also a monk.


WTF?!
God is seriously messing with my brain, I tell yah.
I can't take it no more.

Anyway, 5 minutes of work tonight yielded a picture. It does *not* do him justice, alas.

Oct 19, 2006

Argh

Have I mentioned how much I hate my job currently?
(I think I have)

So today I get in my mailbox, just as I'm leaving, a three page schedule for a "Katrina Spiritual Retreat Workshop on Stress" we're all mandated to attend.

Tonight.
Mandated.

Now, we'd heard a vague threat that we'd have to attend something like this from the principal (spurred on by our overly eager religion teacher, who found this idiotic thing in the first place), and like the naive sheep they are, the administration jumped on it.

I think what I hate most about this job...well, one of the things....is how the administration views us, the faculty. We are viewed and treated essentially as children. That's the way we are spoken to most of the time, as naughty children...it's a constant stream of patronizing, petty criticism.

The administration is staffed by elemetary school nuns, and that's how they roll.

(To wit, this is pretty bad teaching methodology by the way, but then they've never been much concerned with teaching anyway)

Aaaaaaaaanyway, back to the story:
So, after 9 hours of being on my feet (literally), teaching 150 odd rowdy teenagers all day, I get this note in my box, *finally* giving us some information about this rumored "workshop"
(This, by the way, is the top two "thing I hate most about my job," the administration's utter lack of planning ahead for *anything*)

The workshop started tonight at 6 pm.

Ummm...we got the information at 4 pm today.

We were to check into the hotel downtown by 5 pm. Dinner was at 6 (0h, by the way, "please bring 20 dollars (cash) for dinner," the paper specifies)...
then workshop one begins until 9 pm (on a Thursday frickin night.)
I've been awake since 5:30 this morning.

Tomorrow's interary is more grueling and inane still. It will be, as all such things I've ever been to (and I've been to a lot) a complete and utter waste of time.

We're expected to be there at 8 am tomorrow morning(on Canal Street) for a mass. Then we'll be there all day again, having our blood pressure checked (?) and listening to droning automatons talk about "stress" presumably.
Who knows. It will be painfully boring I know.

(Oh, bring 10 more dollars "for the t-shirt", the 3 page handout says)
At 9 pm we may leave, and then prepare to return for Saturday's events.

Added to this, my mother, who is particularly needy right now and had already plead with me to stay with her this weekend, is giving me grief now too. She is not happy.
Neither am I.

The principal (a nun, needless to say) must have heard some distant echoes of grumbling I presume...even secluded as she is in her ivory cacoon....
So, being the effective administrator that she is, she's told us point blank,
"If you don't feel like coming, you can report to school to pick up trash."

In other words you'd better be there tomorrow morning at mass or look out. Hell hath no fury like a nun that's been scorned.

So, I've figured it out, between the money I have to spend on parking down there and food, I'll be out close to 75 dollars. I'll be spending the whole weekend with people I hate, and for what? Because some nitwit of a religion teacher got it in his head that we needed some relief from "Katrina stressa>."

Oct 18, 2006

Nice day for a wipe wedding....







Let's see those Project Runway prima donnas do *this*
More toilet paper masterpieces here

Oct 12, 2006

Dinner with Mom



Tonight I had dinner again with my mother, after the traditional
running of her errands.
She's been depressed, I think, though she would never use such a word
(depression is for psychos, in her opinion, and weaklings. It's not allowed.)

There are a number of reasons why, but that's beside the point....
The point is, she's been needier than usual lately.

She's alone, trapped on the westbank with no one there.
She's never driven, so I've been her only source of transportation since I was 15.
I try to go over every other day or so.

So we're eating our suburban meals at Chili's, and I notice yet another bruise on her arm.
She's always bruised up like she's been in a fight (blood thinner probably).

I ask, "What happened?"
I point at the bruise.
"Oh," she says. "I hit myself last night."
"How?"

"Well, I had a dream last night," she goes on, between bites. "I was choking this little boy. He wasn't behaving, so I had to choke him. I must have waved my arm around and hit the lamp. It was on the floor when I woke up."

"Umm...Oh"


And I wonder why I'm neurotic.

Oct 1, 2006

Striiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike two!



Wow, that sure was quick.


I just got off of the phone with bachelor number 150 (?)
(see just below)
After a long round about, he tells me that he's "reconciled with his ex."

So, I guess the good news is at least I won't have to disappoint him with meeting him in person any time soon.

I think this is the 3rd time in my life that such a thing has happened....someone getting back together with an ex before my even getting to meet them.

So, in the past month, I've snagged two potential dates, only to lose them before they manifested. Used to be I had to wait till I met them for that.
ahem

too (good?) to be true

So, a few weeks ago, someone responded to my (now defunct) match.com ad.
It said:
-------------------------------
OK, SO HEAR IT GOES. THIS IS A LITTLE , WELL ALOT UNUSUAL FOR ME. I HAVE NEVER CONSIDERED ON LINE DATING OR ANYTHING OF THE KIND. BUT, MY FRIEND DORE AND I ARE SURFING AROUND JUST FOR FUN TODAY AND UP POPS YOUR FACE. FINDING IT HARD TO SCROLL PAST IT, I DECIDE, AFTER A LONG CONSULTATION WITH DORE, TO MAKE CONTACT. IN ORDER TO THIS I HAVE TO JOIN THE SITE. SO I AM HERE AND AM ONLY HERE TO SAY HI TO YOU. I HAVE NOT MADE A PROFILE SHEET YET, MOSTLY BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING.
YES I KNOW, NOT HAVING A PROFILE SHEET MEANS YOU HAVE NO PHOTOS TO LOOK AT, SO I WILL BE ON THAT AS SOON AS I FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO IT. BUT IN THE MEAN TIME. .....I AM ATHLETIC AND HAVE PLAYED FOOTBALL MY WHOLE LIFE. I AM 37 NOW AND ONLY PLAY ON A FLAG TEAM ON THE WEEKENDS. I HIKE COMPETITIVELY(SP) (AND AM NOT A GOOD SPELLER).
I HAVE TRAVELED THE WORLD HIKING, JUMPED OUT OF PLANES AND AM READY TO HANG OUT WITH PEOPLE WHO VALUE THE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE LIKE FRIENDS AND GOOD RELATIONSHIPS. I AM VERY CLOSE TO MY FAMILY AND MY NEPHEW AND NIECE ARE THE CENTER OF MY WORLD. I SPEND ALOT OF TIME WITH THEM.
I AM NOT INTO THE CLUB SCENE AT ALL AND IN FACT HAVE NOT BEEN NEAR IT FOR A LONG LONG TIME. I STAY INSHAPE AND LIKE TO DO OUTDOOR THINGS. THE SOFA IS NICE, BUT ONLY FOR CUDDLING AND KISSING AND NOT FOR LIVING. I RUN SEVERAL ART GALLERIES ON ROYAL STREET AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND AM VERY HAPPY WITH MY LIFE.

OK , I REALIZE THIS IS LONG, BUT THE GOAL IS TO GET YOU TO EMAIL ME BACK, WHEN THE COMPETITION SEEM TO HAVE THIS PROFILE THING FIGURED OUT. SO I AM COMPETING AT HALF MAST HERE.

WELL, THERE IT IS, ALOT OF WORK FROM A GOOD GUY, JUST TO TALK TO YOU. SEEMS HARD TO PASS UP DOESN,T IT.
I,LL TRY TO HAVE THIS PROFILE THING DONE AS SOON AS I CAN. HOPE TO HEAR BACK FROM YOU MY PERSONAL EMAIL IS-------- IF YOU WANT TO TRY THAT IN CASE I GET LOST IN PROFILE LAND AND HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO GET OUT. MAYBE I WILL TAKE SOME DRIED BREAD WITH ME JUST IN CASE .

---------------------------
Ok, so I didn't fully read it because it was all in caps.
(I mean really. )

But eventually curiousity (boredom?) (frustration?) (all of the above?) got the best of me and I did read it....and eventually I did write back.

I didn't quite know what to say to this, of course, I mean what can *any*one say to all this???
But we've been corresponding off and on back and forth for a little while now...not quite a month or so.

About a week or so I gave him a call.
I was actually pleasantly surprised, in that he didn't seem to be as much as conceited as I imagined him to be. Of course, I could be wrong. He had a strong masculine voice which, I have to admit, was attractive.
I caught him in the midst of a America's Next Top Model-a-thon. He was laid up in bed because he had fractured his foot (just like I had in July!...but unlike me, it was while playing football, and not coming down the steps in flip flops.

Now, in case I weren't intimidated enough already, here are some quotes (paraphrased) from the conversation we had that night:

In response to jobs:

"I'm the guy who tore the projects down. I was ____________(insert official title here, which I forget) and spearheaded the tearing down and redevolopment of the projects."

"I got tired of the rat race. I was making lots and lots of money. I had the whole lifestyle."

"I ended up going to Cambodia. I joined the Buddhist monestary there for a few months. I came back with a different perspective...."

uh...ok.

"I went out to California. I was slated to be a contestant for Survivor Pearl Islands. I was in the final selection process, but didn't make it."

uh...ok.
So in between competitive hiking (wtf?), football playing, auditioning for Survivor, teaching art, running, owning galleries, he finds time to tear down the projects *and* join a Buddhist Monestary?

I made the mistake of telling him that I hate reality television....by the way...and the quarter, where he lives. He seemed to come around to my point on the Quarter, and we met somewhere in the middle on at least Project Runway.

Despite my mixture of intimidation, sneeringness, insecurity and horror....I'm attracted, I have to admit.

Early on, he sent me a photo of himself wearing a sweater I myself own. When asked about it, he said, "Oh, I guess so. I don't know, my mother buys most of my clothes. I'm hopeless about that"

*That* was enough to attract me to him there.

To sum it all up, I'm very conflicted about it all. And very nervous about my impending meeting with him.

I can only imagine that I will disappoint him horribly in person ....and he will rejoin the Buddhist monastery in Cambodia...and soon the projects will return too. And it'll all be my fault.

God help me.