“…the most important factor in the now-widespread tendency to label musicals as “gay” is rooted in the same ground as the misogynistic impulse to dismiss any art widely understood to be artificial, frivolous, flamboyant, or melodramatic, all charges that, not coincidentally, are regularly used to dismiss women as unserious, unimportant, and inferior.”—Matthew Gallaway on musicals.
This morning, Kevin asked me what my plan was for my day. “Packing, hopefully,” I replied, and his smile was the sort of smile a boyfriend gives a girlfriend when he is too kind to point at her and laugh out loud. Packing, hopefully. It’s the “hopefully,” of course, that makes the answer pathetic. It’s the “hopefully” that would allow me to shrug off today’s prospective lack of progress. Oh, I only hoped to pack today, but then I was beset by so many other urgent activities.
Urgent activities I’ve been beset by so far: Eating pita chips and cookies. Pouring Drain-o down my kitchen drain. Waiting patiently for the thunderstorm that has been promised. The thunderstorm that would make my room slightly more comfortable than an oven. The thunderstorm that would have perfectly complimented my finishing of Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger, the finishing of which beset my packing. I closed the book and said “Three stars!” out loud. I haven’t showered today. I had to clear a space on my bed in order to lie down and read—magazines, clean clothes, socks in my hair, pull it together, lady.
I’m going to throw everything away, unless you want it. Do you want questionable editions of Jane Austen novels, too many pairs of pajama pants, an unused journal bearing the face of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly on its cover? Well, contact me immediately.
Ideas I've Had That Could Improve the Hit Series "Mad Men" (Season Four Premiering Tomorrow at 10/9c on AMC ["Story Matters Here"]) Which the Writers of the Hit Series "Mad Men" Are Free to Use at Any Time, Provided They Give Me the Credit Which Is Rightfully Mine:
“Katie, he’s going to learn about all your ‘secret single behavior’ like eating saltines and jelly while reading fashion magazines in your closchen! (get out of my head, Carrie Bradshaw!)”—E-mails from Alice.
A large percentage of my Facebook friends have spent the summer getting married, getting engaged, and popping out babies. Is this what adulthood in 2010 feels like? Creepily clicking through pictures of weddings I didn’t attend while building a stack of empty Diet Coke cans on my desk like a crazy person?
Today, packing hurriedly to catch a bus to take me to the library where I am currently realizing my genius (this is a new thing I’m trying, describing any activity in which I partake enthusiastically as “realizing my genius”), I picked up a copy of Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife which I once bought at a used bookstore, and out of it fell a greeting card. Faded yellow with age, the cover shows a polar bear sleeping next to a cluster of flowers, which the back of the greeting card (manufactured in 1992 in Canada) identifies as arctic poppies. This struck me—there are, as you may already know, polar bears in the His Dark Materials trilogy, and I wondered how this card, which seems older than the book itself, managed to find its way into these particular pages. Perhaps the recipient of the card organizes all of his or her memory into animal categories: polar bear book, polar bear card, these belong together.
The writing inside the card has no date or recipient name. It says, in moderately illegible blue scrawl, “Rest assured, all good will prevail and light up your life, I know. Love, Guy, xx.” Which seems to me like the kindest possible sentiment one human being could give another, and now I wonder if it’s Guy who made the synch—polar bear, polar bear—and Guy who placed the card inside the book before he passed it along to a used bookstore, to broadcast this simple, brilliantly hopeful, possibly untruthful, but ridiculously kind message—all good will prevail and light up your life. I know.
Last night Kevin made a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference and I missed it, and I had to admit to him that the last time I’d seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail was at a birthday party my freshman year of high school, and that that had also been the first time I’d seen it. “The one and only time you’ve seen it was ten years ago?” he asked. “It wasn’t ten years—” I began to say, scoffing, but that’s when I realized that it had been ten years since my freshman year of high school and I burst into tears. “Oh, my god, I’m old,” I cried, “I’m old; am I old?” Kevin reassured me that I am not old, but this morning I am no longer so reassured.
Ten years ago I wore my hair like a boy’s and ties to school and was the only person in Mr. Chern’s 8th period English class with the audacity to announce that Romeo and Juliet totally BONE (I obviously didn’t state it like that, but I did state it while wearing overlarge red Elton John glasses), and basically I was probably totally obnoxious in the opinion of anyone who met me, and ten years can’t have done anything but improve me, but still I am quite proud of that crazy loud tween and so it feels a little sad to be ten years away from her.
But sincere nostalgia doesn’t pay the bills, WHICH I HAVE NOW BECAUSE I AM OLD.
Donated an educational DVD to the Catholic grammar school where my cousin teaches social studies. Since there were obviously no sex education options, I went with the one about the Roaring Twenties in the hopes that they can pick up hints from the flappers.
Outside the Planned Parenthood with six months of free Uterus Landlord in my hand (they give it away like Halloween candy here!), I smiled smugly at the lone protester shouting “Cutting up babies! How could you, America?” and then did a weird and jaunty jig across the crosswalk.
Corinne and I met some Mormons on the street. Sisters Anderson and Bradshaw. They were very sweet and just wanted us to consider the fact that God is our father, and then move on from there. Just consider it, guys.
It was too hot to do anything but see The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which, incidentally, was terrible. Why is anyone on Team Jacob or Team Edward? I am on Team Bella Taking Some Time Off From Relationships to Develop a Characteristic or Two.
Last night, with Corinne’s head full of miscellany and Rich’s last-minute realization that Michael Jackson died in 2009, our trivia team, Bustin Jieber, reigned triumphant.
I can work up nothing but a pleasant buzz of apathy regarding the employees of a fake news program on basic cable, the Queen of England, the snarling way Glenn Beck says “We’re better than you" towards the end of the last video featured in this post. It’s too hot to even be outraged about this heat. Heat like this brings a country together (not literally, of course, because that would be sticky); heat like this makes me realize that we are all God’s creatures, suffering painfully as a result of our own folly (something about greenhouse gases? I don’t know; I don’t understand science). Breathe deep; take a sip of ice water. You are not alone. Somewhere, on those heathen sidewalks of New York City, Glenn Beck is sweating even more profusely than you.
“We had also once had an ebullient pig named Helen, who would come when you called her name and smiled like a dolphin when you spoke to her. And then we didn’t see her for a few days, and one morning over bacon and eggs, my brother said, ‘Is this Helen?’ I dropped my fork and cried, ‘This is Helen? Is this Helen?!’ and my mother, too, stopped eating and looked hard at my father: ‘Bo, is this Helen?’ The next pig we got we never met and its name was #WK3746.”—