I Feel like Bill the Cat (III)

(I have described my identification with Bill the Cat a few times; please utilize the search function of this blog if the description confuses you)

Insomnia, man, what am I going to do about this…?  I never had insomnia till I started studying hard, and then drinking more frequently at night while I was studying for my Master’s degree (drinking at the conclusion of studying, of course, not during).  Prior to that, I always slept like a rock.  


Then I quit drinking, and developed insomnia on steroids.  It makes me think that I haven’t really been going to sleep most of the time for the last few years, but instead actually passing out.  Now I have to learn how to go to sleep again.  This is, apparently, too complex a concept for my big brain to handle.  
          

Miss Margo is Alive–More Shall be Revealed

UPDATE 8:30 PM:  Novice young dude had a fantastic time. Among many other things, I hooked him up to a TENs unit and zapped the hell out of him.  Though he was begging, I told him, “You know what the magic word is, ‘Jack,’ and I want to see if your epileptic-like shudders can shake all the, ahhh, debris off your skin.”  Yes yes I thought he was going to pass out at the end, and he wasn’t half-bad to look at either–he was almost as young as myself, and had a nice trim figure.  I gave him a big hug at the end and said that he did a great job, and we were both very happy, and a good time was held by all. Very nice, that.  I would have done it for free.


   *        *                *                       *                      *        


Sorry for my lack of communication, gentle reader.  My week was pretty nuts.  I was away from home for part of it and not about to check this blog or Fetlife from an internet server associated with my other employment, I’ve been getting my ducks in a row to get The Surgeon out the door, and I’ve been scrounging for work that provides things like, you know, HEALTH INSURANCE.  


     I also found a really nice, smart lady who wants to be my sponsor in AA, but I think that she is gay (which does not bother me at all) and I am also getting the impression that she is, well, hitting on me, which does bother me quite a bit.  I don’t know if she really is (either gay or hitting on me), so I am really confused and very vexed.


    I am at secret job today and I have a booking with some dude who’s never been here before and has no idea what he wants.  This makes me nervous, because that’s what LE says “I don’t know what I want!  Why don’t you suggest something?”  What?!  Why would you come here if you didn’t know what you wanted?  How am I going to entertain this guy for two hours if he doesn’t know what he likes?  If he wants pampering female attention, he should go to a strip club.  Miss Margo is not here to coddle you or touch you in a remotely affectionate fashion.  


     Speaking of affection, I have decided that, along with white-collar employment, I need to get beaten and laid on a much more regular basis.  


     A date to the Met would be nice, too.  


     Update soon.

A Card from Jackass John

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I don’t blog much about the people that I meet at my secret job because I’m concerned that doing so would be a violation of their trust and privacy.  


This is too good not to share, however.  


Yesterday I was hired by a nice man who was also batshit insane.  Not weird.  Not eccentric.  Not troubled.  I mean full-on loony tunes. Batty.  Nuttier than the proverbial fruitcake, gentle reader.  When I met him, he started spazzing out and dancing around in joy (I was momentarily taken aback, thinking perhaps that he was having some sort of attack, like a seizure).  


    “You’re so beautiful!  Even more beautiful than I expected!  You’re the one!  AND YOUR SHOES!


     As you will see, gentle reader, the fellow is very enthusiastic about women’s footwear.  He was there to enthuse about shoes.  He babbled about shoes like a maniac.  In between stories of shoes, he told me about his life.  


    Improbably, he is employed.  I don’t know what he works at, but I can tell you something that he does while he’s there, because he told me: when he’s working late at night, he goes around to the cubicles in his office building and looks for women’s shoes.  Some of these office workers, he told me, his face contorted in rapture, wear sneakers to work and keep their high heeled work shoes under their desks.  He ferrets them out.


    I am not sure what he does with them when he gets ahold of them–he omitted that detail–but he did tell me that he’d been “caught” by the cleaning personnel twice.  I can only imagine what the story would be from the janitor’s perspective.  


    “But they never ratted me out!  I’ve never gotten in trouble!” he said.  


     I tried to be sympathetic, but I was really at a loss of what to say to that.  I was kind of stunned, actually. I’ve heard much worse (hell, I’ve done much worse), but I was trying to picture this lunatic individual ricocheting through the cubicles of some Midtown office hellhole, scrounging underneath the desks for pumps and maryjanes and then trying to eat them, or whatever the fuck he did.  And then encountering some hapless, traumatized janitor.  


   “Um, well, that’s good.  It’s not like you were hurting anyone,” I tried.  If he was not crazy, he would have noticed how unconvincing I sounded.


     He was very friendly.  Out of his mind–but I have to say, I didn’t dislike him.  


       He gave me a card.  This card is off the hook!  It’s one of those musical cards that plays a tune when you open it up–in this case, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”  The jumping girl on the inside vibrates, too.  This card was a big hit in the lounge, believe me.  He addressed it to me, and made interesting cartoon art on the envelope.  I’ve been given wacky things before (coupons for Rite Aid and the battery for a hearing aid spring to mind), but I think that this card is a contender for #1.  


      It’s a keeper.  Most definitely. 


     Check it out:  

A koala bear…?  And note the misspelling of “Dweeb.”  The cartoon does look sweet, though.

Did I mention he likes pumps?  And boots?  I love the hearts instead of  o’s in “boots!” 

Happiness overload, indeed!  Well, at least I definitely got one Valentine this year….


Things I Don’t Understand about New Yorkers (1): Dining Outside

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   I love New York.  Hopefully, I will never live anywhere else for any length of time.


   I also like New Yorkers.  On the whole, I think they’re terrific.  Sharp, energetic, interesting, and infinitely more generous and polite than I could have imagined. The worst personality trait I can ascribe to them–if one can ascribe a personality trait to an entire community, especially one as huge and heterogeneous as New York–is an astonishing sort of aggressive parochialism (I cannot fault them entirely for this: New York is not the center of the universe, but it is certainly the center of a lot of things).


    I cannot pass as a native New Yorker and I do not aspire to.  People can tell that I’m not from around here. When I travel and people ask me where I’m from, I invariably say that I’m from the place where I was born and now I live in New York.  When New Yorkers learn where I’m from, their reaction is typically good-natured fascination and curiosity, as if I said that I was from Mars.  They think that I am a country person (according to their foggy notions of what constitutes rural American culture).  This amuses me, because I grew up in a big town.  It’s okay.  If I am a hick, then I am a very well-educated hick.  


      Anyway, even though I’ve lived here for a few years now, on occassion I still feel like a cultural anthropologist doing field work. Sometimes I think: these people do the damndest things..!  Why oh why are you doing that, my New York countrymen?  


     Take, for instance, the proclivity of New Yorkers to dine outside whenever the weather is not freezing cold or raining.  

Truck! weird pedestrian! patio furniture! livestock-containing gate!  Ah, dining al fresco in New York.  Photo source: 

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/01/would-you-like-soot-with-that-burger/



     New Yorkers love to eat outside.  They love it.  If a restaurant has outdoor seating or a private patio for diners, this fact is featured prominently on its website.  People go to places with crappy food, like the Boat Basin, just because it offers outdoor seating.  In the spring and summertime, the sidewalks are packed with diners.  Even in the winter, some places put out heat lamps and plastic tarps, and people sit outside.   This shitty Italian place down the block from my apartment offers just such accommodations.  At night, it’s packed.  People prefer to sit on lawn furniture in a plastic tent in wintertime than to be inside. 


      Dining outdoors in NYC is incomprehensible to me because the streets and conditions here are…not conducive to a relaxing, enjoyable dining experience.  They’re not.  I defy anyone to tell me otherwise.  You may like to eat outside on the grimy, gum-encrusted sidewalk, but please don’t tell me it’s pleasant or helps you enjoy the food better.  Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. 


     The streets and sidewalks are filthy and congested.  This is true whether you’re in the Upper East Side or the East Village.  (I’m not complaining about Sanitation Services here; I think that they do a good job–I don’t think that the city, or at least the parts of it I am familiar with, could be much cleaner without the active participation of the populace.  This would require a shift in cultural values…beyond the scope, alas, of Sanitation’s influence.)  The streets are gross.  They are strewn with litter.  Even the clean ones.  At night, there are piles of garbage bags chest-high on the curbs, three feet away from where you’re sitting.  In warm weather, they reek to high heaven.  There is standing water in the gutters and vermin running to and fro.  Don’t delude yourself.  Garbage, all around, and this city stinks.  I love it, but it smells.  It does.  


     Add to that: crowded sidewalks.  Pedestrians constantly moving past your table.  Dogs, strollers, children.  Cars parking on the curb beside you.  Traffic waiting at lights.  The roar of sirens, trucks beeping as they back up, the engines of city buses.  


    In the summertime, it’s hot and sticky.  You’re sweating, your makeup is running off.    


      Why pick all that over air-conditioned comfort?  


     Dining al fresco: definitely something I don’t understand about New Yorkers.  


     The next post in this series will probably be weird New York foods, such as the baffling and gorge-inducing habit of putting fish onto a bagel.  First time I saw that, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Folks back home don’t believe me when I say that New Yorkers eat fish on bagels.  I had to take photos to prove it.  And why don’t they like soda from soda fountains?  It tastes so much better.  

Dad Crush (II): Walter Cronkite

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(Note: I wrote the second, conclusive part to the Benjamin Franklin post, but left it stored on a flashdrive at someone’s apartment.  It’s long and I am not going to try to reproduce it.  Will post when I retrieve it.)

I love this photo!  From Heifer International  

     I know very little about Walter Cronkite–I know less about him than any of my other dad crushes.  So this will be a brief post.  My dad crush on Cronkite is predicated exclusively upon the emotions I felt towards him when I saw him on television.  There couldn’t have been more than ten instances; Cronkite retired as an anchorman before I was born.  I only saw him on TV when he was doing special guest reporting and interviews.


     Even as a small child, I was drawn to him immediately, as if I was some kind of homing pigeon seeking out benevolent, caring male authority. Well, FML–I was likely looking for it then and I’m still craving it on some level now.


     Anyway, whenever I saw Cronkite on TV, he always looked formal (though not stuffy!) and very sincere.  Professional!  When you read a really good book, you feel as if you’re having a personal dialogue with the writer.  My identification with Cronkite was not dissimilar, even though the media was television.  He was an excellent communicator (not that I had any idea about the topics he was discussing).  He made everything sound important, and he always looked like he was talking at you, just for you.  Like he was sitting on a chair in your living room.  


      In my child’s mind, I would fantasize that he would listen to my problems, and then tell me what to do.  His advice would always be perfect, and nobody could argue with it.  Nobody is going to fight with Walter Cronkite. When I was frightened or upset and all alone, I would go visit him in my mind.  He would take my side and advocate for me.  He always wore the mystical, masculine attire I found so exotic and fascinating: a necktie, cufflinks, the rich, shiny satin that lined the inside of his suit coat.  And he had a mustache!  Hair grew on his face!  You know the way you see things when you were little?  Really see things, pore over the smallest details, the texture and composition of things.  Adults seemed so powerful, and their grownup stuff had talismanic qualities.  


      These days I listen to Brian Williams when I watch the evening news.  I pick him because I think he’s hawt.  Brian Williams is total eye candy, but he looks like a moron when he reads the news most of the time–his eyebrows scrunch up in the middle and he appears perpetually confused, like he can’t believe what he’s reciting.   

“I have no idea what’s going on!”

 Williams hates President George W. Bush, and I think it’s funny because Bush would have the exact same facial expression as Williams whenever he was giving a speech.  They both look like chimpanzees under pressure.  

“I don’t understand what I’m reading.”
President Bush doing his Brian Williams impression

Dad Crush (I): Benjamin Franklin

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   I wish to introduce a new series of posts on this blog: Dad Crushes.  By ‘Dad Crush,’ I mean a fixation with or affinity toward some fellow I earnestly wish was my dad. I expect that I may get pervy or hostile emails about this, so let me belabor the obvious now, at the commencement: I have no romantic or sexual affections for my dad crushes, or for my real father, and I do not advocate that anyone have erotic feelings toward their parent, and incest is unacceptable and objectionable in every way.  Jesus. 


    My first Dad Crush is Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790).  I’ve been a Franklin fan for about ten years.   He is my favorite Founding Father.  





      There are many things I admire about Franklin.  First and foremost, he is that rare sort of genius who is also tremendously affable and approachable.  Oftentimes brilliant people are intimidating, or difficult to relate to, or they isolate themselves from society and interact exclusively with a small circle of other intellects.  Not Franklin!  Franklin loved people, and he had faith in their ability to realize their best potential.  He was a true democrat, and very friendly.  There was nothing snobbish about his character.  He was like the awesome older brother you never had.  


     Another thing I love about Franklin is his sense of humor. He could laugh at anything–especially himself.  This helped to make him a big hit in diplomacy (and in other endeavors), especially with the French ladies.  I mean, come on–we’ve all seen portraits of the fellow; we know what he looked like: he was plain and middle-aged (geriatric in those days).  And yet he was popular; he was charming.  His humor had tremendous appeal.  


     Consider this passage from his Autobiography, in which he recounts deciding to eat animals (fish–cod) again after a long period of (ethical) vegetarianism:

    ” …our crew employed themselves catching cod and hauled up a great number.  Till then I had stuck to my resolution to eat nothing that had had life; and on this occasion I considered, according to my Master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had or even could do us any injury that might justify this massacre.  All this seemed very reasonable.  But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and when this came hot out of the frying pan, it smelled admirably well.  I  balanced some time between principle and inclination till I recollected that when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of the stomachs.  “Then,” thought I, “If you eat one another, I don’t see why we many’t eat you.”  So I dined upon cod very heartily and have since continued to eat as other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet.  So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enable one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.” 

    Ah, the use of rationality for self-serving purposes!  Justification!  Who cannot identity with this story…?   The internal struggle between principle and inclination, as Franklin puts it.  Ethics vs. Desires.  The crucible of choice.  This duality.  You have to make a decision.





      Franklin understands all of this, of course.  He’s making gentle fun of himself in this passage: the ironic description of being a ‘reasonable creature,’ the shrewd–and inarguable–observation that people (conveniently!) contrive excuses  to gratify their desires. 


       He pokes fun at himself periodically throughout his Autobiography.  I suspect that this is a deliberate, but not affected (re: insincere) strategy on his part.  His self-criticism is never brutal or black.  It is always joking and friendly–light.  


        See this passage, in which he recounts stepping off the ship to visit Philadelphia for the first time as a young man.  He wanders around, sight-seeing, and stops at a bakery for a snack:

      “Not knowing the different prices nor the names of the different sorts of bread, I told him to give me three pennyworth of any sort.  He have me accordingly three great puffy rolls.  I was surprized at the quantity but took it, and having no room in my pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm and eating the other.  This I went up Market Street…passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife’s father, when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made–as I certainly did–a most awkward, ridiculous appearance.” 

     I mean, you can picture this kid, all slovenly from his ship voyage, wandering up and down the street with loafs of bread under each arm and stuffing his face, with crumbs going everywhere, and gawking around like a tourist.  And this dork is going to be sitting at your dinner table, courting your daughter.  Your future son-in-law! It’s a funny story, right?  Universally recognizable.  This sort of story establishes intimacy and trust with the reader. A sense of camaraderie, which is crucial to effective delivery of the book’s message (it is not a memoir, but a self-improvement guide for the citizens of the new Republic–proxies for the sons he never had).  His tone is humorous and witty throughout, but he does not engage in sarcasm or off-putting comedy.  Franklin is gracious, approachable, seductive.  He knew people.  


       Conclusion tomorrow!

Hurtling Through the Void

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  Miss Margo: I wrote this a long time ago.


 Pressing against the glass, I am aware that only a few transparent inches of substance keeps me from falling out into the air and then hurtling down seventy flights to the pavement.   My body, I think, would make a sound like a dropped carton of eggs, only louder.



    Two inches between me and the void.  The space does not seem real; my depth perception and sense of scale is unreliable.


     My life is very, very strange.  Fantastical, really.


     I pull myself away from the glass and clothe my body.  My underwear, my stockings, my dress.  I apply pink lipstick and brush the dark gold hair.  I am a whirring engine, passing through the veil–different lives, different roles.  You only get to see a piece of me.