i might be asleep. right now. my eyes might be closed. my fingers might be typing out of self-deprecating habit. i might be dreaming. that's what i thought last night when i walked in and saw my roommate not wearing pajammaz. well, i thought, that might be her bare back, but then again, the room is tilting pretty severely and i'd rather just lie down. i might never finish my homework. this might be all one long day, as the light of the sky has no bearing on when i'm awake. i'm sleeping less than 25% of each day, at least five days a week. usually six. thursday night (when a whole lot of rather illogical partying happens), i can usually get eight hours. this morning i woke up, admittedly in a possibly altered state of mind, and stepped straight into the shower. and then i cleaned my room and completely forgot about my morning until later erin, who'd been leaving for church when i was washing my hair, said she was surprised to hear me up and cleaning myself no less (i like to get good and scuzzy before showering, so i can better appreciate clean. however, erin enjoys reminding me that i shower maybe one or two times weekly, passing only mild judgment) so early. i stared at her. what? i had forgotten that i'd showered this morning. or yesterday morning, as we are now in monday. today is one of my suite-mate's birthdays. tomorrow is my birthday. which i have also been forgetting. my mother told me to stop by the post office on tuesday. why? i asked. because it's not just tuesday, she responded. huh?ohyeahright. i hate how much time i spend on my computer. i'm looking forward to not having it over thanksgiving break. so looking forward to that. i hate itunes. i hate itunes. to listen to most of my music means i have to have my computer on and open and then i think of this thing or that thing to look up online and everyone knows that vicious horrible cycle of mouse click after mouse click until all hope and time has been lost, and it's your own fault and not the computer's or the fault of the capitalists who dreamt up the internet. it's your own lack of self-control, like the kind that comes out when you eat half a pint of ice cream like some fuckinggirl cliche, some chick all ripped up after her boyfriend broke up with her, only for you, for me, there is no break up, there is mutual agreement, and there is ice cream and the two are independent of each other.
in other news: i really like my bangs.
in other news: i would like somebody to love here at college.
in other news: there is a coffee table outside my window, on the roof of the parking lot, which is also my apartment's fire escape. i found the table weeks ago, and washed it and then put it out (which was difficult - getting it out the window) because it smelled. i brought it in today and now it is full of water from the rain over the weeks and it still smells. so i put it back on the roof. i will take it back to where i found it sometime in the next couple days. and i liked this table. everything goes wrong.
that means bands from california, or (as in the cases of joni mitchell, led zeppelin, the mamas and the papas, and tnv) songs about california!
so here we go:
wolf like me - tv on the radio (fine, in no way related to california, but it's the theme song/curtain call music for the play that i spent this week teching at school. i was a dresser (for quick costume changes) and a general run crew person. the play was called the desert play. it was written by eric dufault, who is a student. i like the play, it is about loneliness (i think?) and is a little surreal.)
so what brings on a california themed show? well, as we all probably know, thanksgiving is coming up; it's thursday to be exact. and i have wednesday, thursday, friday off of school. so i get to fly to chicago on wednesday, very early in the morning. cool. i'm so psyched to get to go to my city. i'm expecting/hoping for some huge heart swell of emotion when i fly in and see that skyline (even though i don't like downtown all that much - what fun is there in huge phallic office buildings? kind of kidding.).
but i don't get to stay in chicago for five wonderful days, seeing friends and movies and doing homework. oh no no no. that sounds far too leisurely.
as my grandma (on my mom's side) gets older, she wants to do more and more things with her whole clan (all 7 of her children, their spouses, and her 16-18 grandchildren). so she bought the entire family a cruise.
WHAT THE FUCK? A CRUISE, GRANDMA?
yeah, all 30 of us are piling onto a Carnival cruise ship that leaves from long beach, california and goes to mexico, and then back to long beach. in three days (friday-sunday). on monday i fly from california back to new york city.
i'm excited in an anthropological sense. i get to see southern california! i'm gonna put my body through some kind of weather shock - even though fall is being incredibly warm here (normally, in november, i'm like, preparing for the first snow storm, thinking about my heavy coat. but no, i'm still beatin' around in a cardigan.).
i'll take lots of pictures. of hot california girls in bikinis. and PALM TREES!!!
REAL LIVE PALM TREES, NOT JUST THE PLASTIC ONES THAT ARE ORANGE AND GREEN AND IN FRONT OF TIRE STORES!!!!
i actually want to go to los angeles really badly. see it. go to the Smell. hit the scene. i mean, i know i'm not going to los angeles, but, hey southern california, whatever. it's all new to me. cool.
i haven't had time to think about "fun" very much and i've never really been one for cutesy shit and frivolity. i want laundry money and black ink for my printer and metro cards and baking utensils.
and fabric. fine, i have been thinking about "fun" things, because i'm dying a little bit inside without my sewing machine and i have all these ideas of things to make. my fingertips ache for want of sewing!
and i want a cake.
actually cupcakes, but whatever.
i want someone to remember and bake me a cake. please?
the other day, on my long walk peppered with the mallards and other westchestetr towns,
i wanted another person there. i could feel air rushing past my palms
and i wanted another hand there to block it. i wanted to laugh and not feel lonely.
have you ever had that happen,
where you're like watching a movie and something funny happens,
and you laugh out loud, not hard or crazy, just pleasant,
and you hear your laugh and open your eyes from their smiling squint, and
you feel so profoundly alone.
have you ever had that happen?
where you're fine by yourself
until it's called to your attention - by your own mind?
i did pretty well on the introducing-myself-to-people front. the meeting people thing.
not so much on the making friends thing.
i don't know how to make friends! in high school i started with a group and then that group lost people over four years. the new friends i made weren't that close and we became friends in situations, like school plays or art classes. and then i have lost them too because i don't have a facebook.
how is it that i think i've missed the boat? how can some people make such quick connections? when do i get to look a person in the eye and think best friend?
ever? never? would never be okay with me? i don't know. i'm just trying to get my work done and enjoy as many moments in-between as possible, but it's really fucking difficult.
also i feel really out-of-place here, especially in the classroom. my classmates/peers will say such beautiful, insightful things sometimes. the kinds of things that make me want to reach out and touch their faces, and then i'm still this teenager, this high schooler. this little girl looking at college and seeing summer camp without kayaks and the lake. and the kayaks were the only reason i went to summer camp.
i'm starting to form a theory of sorts. a ton of the kids here went to boarding school. also a bunch have taken a year off here or there. to have gone to the kind of school where i went home after six hours of "learning" everyday, let alone having gone to a public school, is kind of different. so my theory about boarding school kids is that they have a much more unified sense of self. they know themselves much better than those of us who lived primarily outside of school and yet had our lives defined by school (that barely makes sense). they are used to school and life being one thing, while i have never had school and life unified. so it's a new concept to me, this living and learning in the same place, and i'm away from parents for the first time and away from my past.
but i have no idea who i am and i only have little fragments of ideas for who i want to be, which are really hard to develop when i'm working all.the.time.
at least the weekdays pass quickly. i never have time to stop and ask "why" to get to any sort of constructive end.
i walked to tuckahoe. that's tuckahoe in the distance. i climbed up to the train tracks and walked along beside them. i later found out (when i climbed up on the train station platform) that people are not allowed to walk along to train tracks. it didn't seem like a very good idea. i mean, what if a train came. it was fun though.)
that looks nice.
ooooh, a slanted hill street.
a happy day indeed. just now i realize that it says "happy [turkey] day." i liked it better before i noticed the turkey.
westchester ain't so bad.
i like my lonely walks,
but they're starting to feel increasingly lonely.
the kind where i want someone with me. i want to hold someone's hand and drag them along by my side. we'd sing our favorite songs at the tops of our voices. my spastic private impromptu dance parties would be shared and all the better for it.
but nothing changes in college. i've been a loner for so long that i don't know how to change, even when i want to.
i'm listening to about four different parties happening in my apartment building.
i'm gonna watch slacker and wonder i can't be as cool as those kids when i'm doing more (productive) things than them.
i saw these two dragging an industrial sewing machine around on third avenue. i wanted to steal the machine.
taken from the williamsburg bridge.
for some reason, having baseball diamonds next to traffic is very new york to me, even though that definitely kind of happens along lake shore drive.
i want to go.
"show me the love"
yes, i definitely am. but i like it like that.
out of my element: well, yeah. college. new york city. i am soooo midwestern. the other day someone said that i don't look like a midwesterner, but i have sort of a midwestern attitude. which after going to new york and taking a 2.5 hour walk from grand central to bushwick, brooklyn i guess means i'm friendly.
new yorkers don't look you in the eye
and when they do they will not return your smile, fucker.
i like smiling at people on the street.
because we're both on the street.
we are linked by the cement under our feet.
we are going somewhere independent of each other and yet here we are, together for a fleeting moment.
why not smile and say
we're all in this together?
if you're having a bad day,
if you hate people who look like me (what do i look like? i dunno.),
if you hate the fact that you're here in a big city where you don't matter,
but maybe i can make your day a little better
or maybe i can weird you out
or maybe i can make you think
or just give you a story to tell to your cynical friends
with my smile.
it definitely happened where i caught someone's eye and beamed at them
i'm really excited to be here and happy to be alive right now!
and they had to do some kind of double-take.
so yeah, i had another night in new york city. all by myself. which would give my parents (how does holden caulfield put it?) "about five hemorrhages a piece," if they knew.
i went to see grass widow and vivian girls (again!)
stupid party and bitters also played. before the show i was walking around trying to find the market hotel (because new york's numbering is fucked (chicago's grid has spoiled me)) and a guy carrying a guitar stopped me and asked if i knew where the market hotel was. i told him that was where i was headed too. he was the bassist for bitters, dylan. so we found the market hotel and he went to sound check and i went to dunkin' donuts for some hot chocolate, because the doors weren't open yet.
inside was me and
other people who'd arrived too early.
trying to look cool
leaning against the walls and smoking cigarettes and sipping beer.
and i've got black sharpie slashes on the backs of both hands and a eugene o'neill play in my bag, which i'll try to read in the dim light that i can't even tell where it's coming from.
until the first band starts of course, then i'll go and watch them play.
and all the bands were good. grass widow and vivian girls, so glad i got to see them play. i got the vivian girls' set list at the end, cool and now it's taped to my bedroom wall.
i don't have very much to say about the show: i'm glad i went, i think it was the first time i went to a show alone, but saying that doesn't feel quite right. i know i saw mika miko by myself a couple years ago but it was an in-store show at reckless records in wicker park and it was a summer afternoon, so the sun was shining and it felt different. i feel like there must have been another time, but if there is it won't come to mind.
there was more dancing to vivian girls this time around (my left eyebrow is bruised).
it was funny not having anyone to check in with.
a guy whom i'd sort of met at the no age show re-introduced himself to me, apparently i struck his fancy a second time around.
a lesson learned: while the buddy system is probably effective and valuable in situations of getting lost or falling victim to some violent crime, &c., i feel that possibly its most valuable and readily accessible use is to keep oneself from getting hit on. i had no buddy, i got hit on.
twice. on both legs of my train ride back to bronxville: subway and metro-north.
the boy on the subway had been at the concert, and we just talked about music and college and he thought i was "awesome" because i have a bratmobile patch (homemade, of course) stitched to the cardigan i was wearing, and he'd never met anyone who liked bratmobile before. a little before i had to get off the train he said,
"this might sound ridiculous, but can i have your phone number?"
"no," i said very simply.
he mumbled something about me being "another cool person to go to shows with" and i said i really wasn't in the city enough.
and then i shook his hand and got off the subway.
i fortunately got to grand central in enough time to locate my train's (the last train's) track and get to wander around a little before getting on.
when the train did start to board i got on and settled into long day's journey into night in comfortable lighting.
a couple minutes before the train departed a guy asked if i would mind if he sat in the open seat next to me.
remember: i'm a midwesterner.
"not at all," i said and moved my bag to the ground and went back to reading.
"i'm sorry, i hate being that guy," he said.
"it's no problem," i said.
he was not content to let me read. he wasn't annoying, we just talked.
my legs were crossed and he noticed my sequin sneakers and then my calves. he liked my calves. weird...
and then at a different point. he reached down, i don't know what i thought, i thought he was going to touch the sequins on my shoes,
but he sort of ran his hand up my left calf and on his way up, took my hand,
and OH MY GOSH JUST THINKING ABOUT THIS IS SORT OF GIVING ME THE WILLIES.
but it didn't at the time. i removed my hand.
i was just saying to myself, "okay, emma, be present, you don't know what's going on, so try and figure it out." he wasn't threatening, and there were a lot of people on the train, several of them were sarah lawrence students.
he asked for my name and i told him and he asked if i had a last name.
"i don't see why you'd need it," i said. that was good, you sounded smart there, tough.
"i don't have one of those." i don't like lying (of course i'm not at all opposed to lying to creepster strangers) and i am so happy i get to deliver the line "i don't have a facebook" with complete honesty. i had to say it twice, last night.
i'm done with this story.
there's more to it, but i'm done with it, because i'm thinking about how creepy this guy was, how he seemed okay and normal and kept saying he didn't want to be "that guy" - the one hitting on the underage girl (remember the slashes on my hands?); even though he totally fucking was. and i keep thinking about what i could have - should have? - said to him because WHAT RIGHT DOES HE HAVE TO ASSUME I WANT HIS ADVANCES, what right does he have to be "disappointed" that i wasn't as "bold" as he'd hoped? EW. FUCK HIM.
but hey, now i've got a getting-hit-on-at-night story.
it was so nice to get back to my apartment (which i cleaned the common areas of today!) and fall into bed and feel the day in my hips and my lovely calves.
oh god, thinking about him makes me want to shower. and i'm not the biggest fan of showering.
i affectionately refer to this weekend as "new york adventure weekend."
when i typed that, i meant new york city, but i suppose i had probably my best afternoon/evening ever at sarah lawrence on friday, so i guess westchester county in new york state can get in on the titled weekend as well.
on thursday a girl from my playwriting class invited me and another girl (i realize that "girl" is becoming a less and less accurately descriptive term, as these two "girls" were 20 and 27, respectively) to her house on friday late afternoon for tea. i was so excited.
tea was four of us young women sitting around discussing gender and time and blood and women and poetry and then tea became red wine and the afternoon became 9:30 at night. so very nice. it felt so very "college" or "sarah lawrencian." then i met my roommate erin back at out apartment and we walked dizzily to the "fall formal," a surprisingly well attended and attired event under a large white tent. we had ice cream. we danced. the dance ended, i went to watch some "friends" perform short plays about sex and censorship. i got a very long, very nice hug from a new friend.
i cooked rice at 1:30, alone for the first time in many lovely hours and feeling every minute of being alone, for better and worse.
i met with a friendly acquaintance/friend from high school in the mid-afternoon on saturday and we just hung out in the city for several hours, intending to end our night in brooklyn at a vivian girls show.
seeing her was nice.
we talked about her "boyfriend" (ihatethatwordihatethatword) and the confusion liking him a lot entails. i tried to give advice that may have been a little too flighty or existential (do i sound pretentious yet?) for her to latch on to, but she said she was glad i said it, as no one had given her the advice that i had.
we went to the opening ceremony store and tried on very very beautiful and well-made clothing and shoes for a while, which was surprisingly fun.
then we tried, in vain, to use public transportation to get to this vivian girls show in a nowhere-land industrial district, that we ultimately had to take a cab (expensive. so fucking expensive, i cannot spend any money this week, except for friday, when i'll maybe go see vivian girls again) to get to this crazy cement block of a space.
but oh man vivian girls are good. so good.
we were right up front, the two people closest to the stage and pretty much the only two dancing. fuck hipsters. yeah i'll just cross my arms and maybe nod my head or tap my right foot. also i guess with a band like vivian girls, it's like, well yeah they're a punk band, but they're also really girl-group-y, so maybe i should just sway and listen to their pretty voices. just dance, people.
speaking of girl-group-y: the vivian girls dressed as the shangri-las for halloween, which was kind of the coolest thing ever (okay, not ever). they dressed in the white shirts/black vests/black jeans of the leader of the pack cover. they also covered two shangri-las' songs: "gone" and "remember (walkin' in the sand)." hot.
while i stood there, so close, listening to these songs that i have come to love, that have started to mean something to me over the past several months, dancing, i was doing some thinking.
vivian girls sing a lot about boys, which is great, they're writing what they know, i have no problem with that, that's what i do, but
why is indie rock so heterosexual?
i want to be at a bikini kill show. i want to watch bikini kill play. i want to be part of a bikini kill show.
but bikini kill is long gone. i think i was thinking that because i was watching these three creative women and listening to their delicious pop songs, singing along, feeling so full. but the kind of full that comes with ice cream.
with caffeinated black tea, drunk down like oxygen or smoke.
i wanted bikini kill to shout along to,
to witness to pure female, pissed-off power.
i wanted an attack and i wanted to feel the full where my heart swells and my limbs shake for fear of holding my very core together.
but they are so long gone.
the rest of the night was a mix-up of public transit and west side college campuses. it was utter exhaustion, it was chewing gum on my sequin dress, it was two.5 hours en route, it was getting stranded at barnard and then sort-of saved (let's say "relieved") by absolutely one of the last people i ever thought would be of any use to me ever. it was an hour gained.
my friend and i fell asleep on separate couches in barnard's 8th floor lounge at 4 in the morning. we woke up at 10.
waking up in new york city is without a doubt one of my favorite things in the whole world.
a few more hours in the city held bagels-and-cream-cheese, philosophy-on-a-relationship-level, good-byes, missing-my-train-thanks-a-lot-fucking-new-york-marathon(oh-man-i-can't-be-annoyed-with-you-because-you-are-all-in-such-great-shape, ihope), back to slc.
it was a nice weekend.
here's the radio show, that has already happened tonight. it's heavy on bikini kill and vivian girls for obvious reasons.
double dare ya - bikini kill
i want you back - jackson 5 (three nerdy looking boys in union square were tap dancing and then stopped and sang this song, with karaoke wordless music. this song is dedicated to them.)
never see me again - vivian girls (one of my favorite vivian girls songs.)
where did our love go - supremes
tell me so - bikini kill
celebrate the mundane - grass widow
all the time - vivian girls (according to their set list, which my friend got to take home at the end, and which we could see on the stage from our close proximity, this was the second-to-last song. but they didn't play the last two songs.)
be yr mama - sleater-kinney
rise above - black flag
speed heart - bikini kill
when i'm gone - vivian girls (another of my favorite vivian girls songs. one of my favorite songs in general right now. "will you do what you think is right?/will you ride your bike past my house late at night?" - i love that lyric.)
sittin' on the dock of the bay - otis redding (a street vendor in harlem had this song playing from a boom box when i walked past.)
shelia - atlas sound
remember (walkin' in the sand) - the shangri-las
skeletons - yeah yeah yeahs (love this song so much right now.)