How in hell did these signs get approved…?
|Pointlessly Complicated Crosswalk Sign|
I’m going to see my friend Heinrich this weekend! I haven’t seen him once this year. He was working for a museum in Germany and before that he was training his girlfriend at her place in another city most weekends.
I apprenticed under Heinrich for a while when I first relocated to this area. He taught me lots of stuff. I wrote about it once on this blog–one of the first entries.
I almost had sex with him this time. Almost, but didn’t.
* * * *
At 4 PM, I rapped on Heinrich’s door. Nervous.
He didn’t answer the door himself, but I heard his voice shout to come inside.
I tried the doorknob; it twisted in my hand, and I entered. The short, narrow dark hallway, with a coat closet on the right. Beyond that, the living room, lighted with late-afternoon sunshine. I moved towards it.
Heinrich was sitting in the middle of his living room, in a chair he’d pulled out from against the wall. We’d spent a lot of time together in that room. He’d generously taught me many things there. The sunlight coming in from the windows illuminated his sandy blonde hair. He was wearing a white undershirt–shockingly informal for him; I’d never seen him so undressed–and brown trousers and a pair of boots. They were not my favorite boots of his, but they were my second favorite. They were black with a brown stripe at the tops.
Bach on the stereo, as usual. Heinrich is a Bach fanatic. The music was some fugue. I don’t remember which one, but I’d recognize it if I heard it now. He was also drinking, which was unusual (for the record: I never saw the man drunk–ever).
I froze, unsure of what to do. Most of the time, he was my teacher, and treated me like a friend. Occasionally–at my request–he would dominate me. He did not take the initiative in this. I had to ask for it. That is typically his method; it gives him the most power, the power of rejection.
This time was different.
“Did you bring what you need?” he asked.
“I’ll see. Drop the bag. Take off your blouse.”
I put the bag on the floor and my hands flew to my blouse buttons. One, two.
“Not so fast. Slow!”
I forced my hands to move more slowly and concentrated on the patch of floor just in front of his feet. Adrenaline had lit me up, coursing through my bloodstream.
“Look at me,” he said.
I couldn’t look at him. I raised my eyes, looked down, raised them again. Eventually I settled on the space just beside his head.
I got my shirt off, folded it, and placed it on a chair against the wall.
“What are you here to do for me?” he asked.
I gestured towards the bag. Mouth suddenly dry. “I’m going to work on your boots, Herr Romer.”
“Do it, then.”
I ran forward and practically fell at his feet. It was awkward, because I am a clumsy girl. My knees knocked on the hard wooden floors. I didn’t even feel it. I removed the tools from my bag.
“You know, I hope you know what you are doing. I will know if you lied to me. Do you know what you are doing?”
I nodded. Couldn’t look at him. “I think so.”
“That is not a confident answer.”
I didn’t know what to say to that.
He nudged me with his boot. “Go.”
In my sack, I’d brought all of the tools necessary for a good shoeshine: Kiwi polish, soft brush, hard brush, bottle of water, two fresh soft rags, paper towels.
My father taught me this skill. Every man in my immediate family served in the military. The shoes are immaculate. To his credit, I had the cleanest, shiniest shoes at my Catholic school.
I went to work.
For those of you who have never done it, let me tell you: shining shoes is hard fucking work. If you get your shoes attended to by someone at your local train station, you ought to tip them an extra few bucks beyond what you already pay, because it’s a laborious task–especially if you’re doing it quickly. You have to press that rag, and the polish, into the leather. A light touch just ain’t gonna do it. The hands are contorted into unnatural positions for an extended period of time. You get cramps. And you are down there. Down there. Up close and personal. It’s an intimate service, and it makes you sweat.
“Do not get that on my floor,” I heard Heinrich say when cloth started to get very blackened with polish. “I hope for your sake you do not get that on my floor.”
I took the soft shoe brush. Worked it over.
“Are you missing a step in the process? Sure you haf done it all?” he asked me. I could feel him leaning over me. The tinkle of ice in the glass. I kept having to toss my hair back because I couldn’t touch it with my polish-stained hands.
I nodded, not looking at him. I was embarrassed by how unkept I looked. The sweat between my breasts.
I took the last cloth and gave his boots a good gloss. I was afraid to stop working on them. That is how obsessed I get. Something can always be improved, be better. Even without the threat of punishment or disaster, that is how I approach my work.
Eventually, when he sighed, I stopped.
“Well, what do you have to say?” he asked.
I floundered. “Thank you, Sir…?”
Seemed like a safe bet. How can one go wrong with that?
“Don’t you like my boots, Margo?”
I bent again and started to grovel over the toe of his left shoe. After a moment, he took his right and placed it over my head, pressing it into the floor.
Well, Sunday sucked. Besides my beat-up friend and attendant loss of faith in humanity, my mother didn’t get her flowers on time, and now her feelings are hurt, understandably. I paid $40 just to ensure Sunday delivery! What is the problem, 1-800-FLOWERS…? Why do you say you could deliver on Sunday if you cannot? I am never using you again! Do you know how many make-up notes I am going to have to write to smooth this thing over? My mother is sentimental! My brother barbequed tri-tip for her and had his girlfriend and her kid (both of whom are awesome) come over! He gave her food, attention, and a grandkid, basically! And my damn flowers couldn’t even arrive on time! THANKS FOR NOTHING!
Anyway, where were we…?
Oh yeah…! Friday! The Caring Homosapien, aka “There is Nothing About Me That Would Suggest I Would Leave a Syringe in Your Notes While Your Back is Turned.” I don’t have a moniker for him yet because I am unsure, exactly, of how he identifies himself.
So, it was a beautiful Spring evening and this dapper young fellow took me shopping for a dress! Entirely of his own volition!
Readers of this blog will know that times have been a little tight around Miss Margo Manor recently. I have plenty of decent clothes, so I can’t complain, but I haven’t had a new dress in some time. This wasn’t some Strawberry shit, either (if you don’t know, Strawberry is a ghetto clothing outlet that sells cheap trendy slutty clothes to broke young women. Hilariously, at both the tutoring center I work at and at my secret job, the girls are constantly making jokes about Strawberry. Everyone shops there, however. Every girl in New York has lace boyshorts from Strawberry).
This store, Brooks Brothers, was fantastic and bizarre. I have never been in a Brooks Brothers before. I am sure as hell taking my family next time they are in town. If I’d known about this place when I was learning how to do participant-observation research in Qualitative Methodology, I would have used it. It was much more interesting than the train station.
The quality of the clothing I had the opportunity to handle was excellent (I know how to sew, so I recognize good tailoring when I see it). Your humble redneck correspondent can also attest that some of it was weird. Exhibit A:
|Velvet tasseled loafers. Huh?|
Where does one wear the shoes featured above? That’s an honest question. I am not being sarcastic. They were in the mens’ formal section on the top floor. Do you wear them to a wedding for royalty in Liechtenstein? I subscribe to GQ, and have never seen anything like this.
|What? Children? Golf? In a clothing store? What?|
A golf simulator? Really?
For those of you who have never seen something like this, is really is a GOLF SIMULATOR. It is a GOLF VIDEO GAME.
I never learned how to golf. I was more like Foosball. I bet I would like golf, though. It’s the only sport I can think of where you can smoke and drink martinis while you play it.
He bought me a preeeeeety dress that is cotton with stripes on it called SEERSUCKER.
|Thomas Wolfe would approve|
Then we went to eat in a club which shall remain anonymous, because photography and spandex are forbidden there, and if the management sees this they will send assassins to my apartment to beat me to death with crewing oars and feed my body to ravenous mascot bulldogs.
It was beautiful (and BIG! CAVERNOUS!) inside and my gracious host gave me a tour. I really wish I could have taken more photos. There were paintings of presidents and booooooooks books books and more fine leather upholstery than you could shake a stick at.
Furtively snapped with my cell phone:
|In the Harry Potter School-esque library. I was responsible; the Diet Coke glass was mine.|
|Bill Clinton: Rockstar President (I am not a groupie). Note grand piano.|
|President George W. Bush: American Resume Stain. Note nice furniture!|
Dinner was very tasty, very tasty indeed. There were, like, 12 different animals to choose from. I had lamb and lots of crab claws. Nothing was not good. The Meddling Psychiatrist will appreciate the contributions to my thighs when he weighs me in tomorrow (I couldn’t get out of it. I tried.).
|I am fascinated by the “display.” Why not “cheese for eating”? “Tasty cheese”? There was also a salmon “display.” I learned one eats it with capers.|
I didn’t know how to tell my date that I couldn’t drink, so I just ordered a glass of wine and didn’t touch it. The default excuse is “I’m on medication/antibiotics,” but both of those raise potentially unlovely connotations. In any event, he didn’t notice, or pretended not to notice, so everything was cool.
He was very good company. Intelligent, educated and well-read, thoughtful, very considerate. Very…present. I was a little self-conscious about my marks, even though I’d told him about them in advance, but he didn’t seem put off. Good taste in music, too. I didn’t have sex with him, but I would if I saw him again.
He was a sensitive individual. What my good girlfriend back home would call “emotionally evolved.” I am not sure why; I think he might be in some pain.
But who the hell isn’t in pain…?
Unless you’re Miss Margo, and made out of metal most of the time.
Can’t write more; I have to respect the man’s privacy.
Glad that I met him, though. Most fun I’ve had in some time, and it was nice–as in instructive, as in therapeutic–to compare how I felt with him vs. how I felt with the Attorney last week.
I am so upset right now that I can’t think straight.
This morning I went to the Unitarian church I go to sometimes. Then I went downtown to see the woman I rent space from when I do my secret job independently.
She answered the door.
Her face was beat in. Beat. In. I’ve never seen it that bad, and I’ve seen a lot.
“Holy shit! Are you okay? Who did that to you?” But I knew it was probably her boyfriend. When women get beat up, it’s usually the
man asshole in the home. First the dad, then the baton is passed to the next generation.
Right on cue: “It’s not that bad! It was my fault!”
Did I mention she’s an R.N.?
“Violence is never your fault! Are you safe right now? Is he still here? Do you need to go to the hospital?”
“I’m okay! I already went to the police!” Translation: don’t call the cops.
“Did you get an x-ray? Do you know if your orbital socket is broken? Sweetling, you can’t fuck around with this. I’ve had a black eye before. It’ll take two days before the swelling goes down, and the skin will be so dark, you won’t be able to assess the damage. You gotta get an x-ray.”
“It was a client,” she said.
Horseshit. I guess it’s possible, but there are always other women in the building, which is one reason I picked it, and there are security cameras all over the street. A man would have to be a total moron to commit a crime in that area. A total, total moron. But then, most street criminals are not exactly MIT graduates.
“Did he rape you? Do you need to get medicine?” HIV cocktail. Contraception.
She gave me a story. It is not the story she gave to someone else. I checked.
If I knew that I would go to prison for less than three years, I’d go over there right now and shoot him myself. I honestly would. Three years. It would be worth it. Does this state have the death penalty? Back home, I’d definitely get the needle.
What could a woman do to justify getting hit like that? Honestly? Maybe try to kill a guy’s child in front of him? Knowingly infect him with AIDS? What else is there? Honestly?
I hate how violent some men are. Why do they have to be like that? Why do they think it’s okay? How nasty and ENTITLED do you have to be to beat up someone, especially someone who can’t defend themselves? Most people go their whole lives without beating someone up–what is the matter with you, that you can’t do it? I haven’t hit someone since 2nd grade!
Oh, wait, I know why you can do it: because you feel justified and you have no morals and you know you can get away with it. The same reasons given by everyone who does abusive crap in this world.
Another reason I am so furious is that I am scared. I know that it could have been me. You cannot protect yourself from someone who is bigger and stronger and out to get you. Maybe if you get their balls or their eyes straightaway–otherwise you’re shit out of luck. Your womens’ self-defense class moves will not save you. Nor will your kickboxing class. Everyone wonders why the woman didn’t get a weapon or run away, but the answer is obvious: because she couldn’t. You wouldn’t be able to either, if it happened to you. You tell yourself otherwise so that you can blame the victim and feel safe at night.
What can I do to help her? What should I do?
I know! I’ll call a DV shelter. They’ll give me good advice.
I know this is a weird blog post, but I don’t know what else to do.
Men, if you know someone who beats up his girlfriend, you should let him know that it’s disgusting. Cause those guys sure aren’t listening to us.
I love Kurt Weill.
I’m working on a big blog update–hopefully published tomorrow! I had a very entertaining date with a gracious intellectual who is about my age.
He took me to places in NYC I’ve never been to before. We ran to and fro and I snapped pics with my cell phone as furtively as possible (rules say NO PHOTOS! And, hilariously, NO SPANDEX!).
I got to eat delicious shellfish till I was stuffed AND my interesting date took me shopping for a pretty dress. It was a weird but fascinating store that sold pretty clothes but also salmon-colored men’s shorts. There were live orchids everywhere, too.
He loaned me a book. Not a sexy book, an intellectual book. It is weird to have a man give a damn about my life.
This morning I saw my analyst and then I had two students. Then I went to the gym. I have to see the Meddling Psychiatrist late next week and I can’t stand how big I am. I have to keep him off my back.
Enjoy PJ Harvey video! I feel a bit like her with my new dress. Details to follow.
P.S. I always loved shopping for presents for my boyfriends. Or any friends. All my friends will tell you that I am a good gift-giver. I like to get things that match their aesthetic, and have the gifts engraved.
Found in hard copies of my Performance Measurement Seminar notes.
P.S. I never used drugs.
* * * *
P.P.S. 11:30 PM It appears, understandably, that this picture requires contextual placement.
SOMEONE left this syringe in my personal stuff for no other reason than to leave it in my personal stuff. Guess who…?
I was thinking yesterday, as I pulled a wad of $20 bills out of my bra to send to the evil corporation ConEd, that sometimes my secret job is a hell of a lot of fun.
Don’t get me wrong–I remain committed to quitting by July, at the latest. But it’s still damned entertaining sometimes, and when the wind blows in the right direction, it can be very, very lucrative (I was never a top earner, despite having cultivated a decent skill-set and a deep personal interest in S&M–I have zero hustle, I don’t do the sexy stuff, and I won’t do things that gross me out).
Remember terror-and-blackmail Joey, from Tales from the Biz? Well, sure enough, he doesn’t find me as scary as he used to, so he’s fallen down on his game. I decided that I needed to step it up a little bit.
Now, as I said before, I’ve never actually called him or made good on any of my threats to fuck up his life. I just can’t. I’m not cruel enough. I don’t want to hurt his relationships.
Well, yesterday I decided that I’d shake it up a little. Put a little fear of God in the man. The House was slow and the marks on my back were costing me business.
I ran out to a payphone (the Surgeon taught me that) and dropped two quarters on Joey. What an excellent investment that was!
Ring! Ring! He picks up.
“Hi, is this Joey (Surname)?”
“Joey of (street address)?”
“You know, it really hurt my feelings that you didn’t give me anything for my birthday. Not even a card! I was complaining about it to the others. Know what we did?”
Dead silence. I’m sure he was either jerking off or making a ligature out of his belt to hang himself with.
“We decided to make a card for you! We printed out those pictures I took of you with my cell phone–I like that wacky one of you holding up your driver’s license and that copy of the New York Times the best–and put them into a card for me. We made a place for you to sign inside! When can you come in to see it? It’s sitting out with the others in the consultation room with my cake!”
“Other people can see it? It’s laying out?” his voice is high and screechy, which cracks me up.
“You have to take it down!”
“Why should I? It’s a big hit! People ask about it!”
Sure enough, Joey rolled through the Lincoln tunnel and in to see me within the hour. He was sweating and shaking. I haven’t seen him that upset in a long time.
I took money out of his wallet without asking. I would normally never do that to someone, but I was 99% sure that he’d like that (and I would have given it back if he protested). If the babbling emails he sent me were any indication, my intuition was right.
Nice work if you can get it!
Vladimir Putin is arguably the most charmless major world leader. He is also the only one I can think of who would conceivably murder another human being with his bare hands (I would not, in fact, be surprised to learn that he has actually done this). I bet his kids are terrified of him. I bet dogs don’t even like him.
Has anyone seen this guy crack a smile? Ever? Can you imagine him cracking a joke? How can a human being have absolutely no sense of humor? Kim Jung Il was a laff riot compared to this guy. That sleazy right-wing gangster in Italy is more human. What do you think Putin does to relax on the weekend? Iron his pants? Strangle prostitutes?
My old roommate found him fascinating (sometimes, late at night, we would play a lively round of “Would You Sleep With This World Leader?” He didn’t get why I would never be with Putin, but I was definitely more attracted to Nicolas Sarkozy. For his part, my roommate said that he would do Angela Merkel.). Putin is also tremendously popular in Russia, for unlovely but characteristically Russian reasons: he brings home the bacon, and he is despised by the West. Russia really enjoys flipping everyone else the bird. They just don’t give a shit. Though, after we wrecked their economy with a bunch of Harvard-trained asshole Economists in the 1990s, can anyone blame them for holding a grudge? Really? I’m surprised the Kremlin didn’t find a way to flatten Harvard, just on basic principle.
The Attorney rejected me.
I’m a bit stunned. This is the second time I’ve been dumped in my life.
Why? Am I insufficiently beautiful? Too poor? The weird occupation?
I know I ought to be relieved.
My hide hurts a lot.