Date Decision Flow Chart: Nothing Could Go Wrong (+ Bird Hilarity)

      You missed quite a comedy show this morning here at Margo Manor, friends and neighbors.  

       Yours truly, Captain Cranium, was getting caught up on housework.  I was washing my stockings in the sink when I heard the unmistakable sound of wings flapping.  I poked my head out of the bathroom door in time to see all of my little birds–not Parrot, the little ones–making a cage break.  I’d left their door open after I cleaned their cage, and they were using this opportunity to get the hell out of Dodge.

       Several of them, flying around my apartment like crazy.  And unlike Parrot, they are only quasi-tame–they don’t step up.  I had to chase them, which was quite an experience, and I could only chase one at a time.  I was terrified that the ones I wasn’t focusing on would fall into the aquarium tank or fly into a window or eat some rat bait or God knows what.

      Or get eaten by Parrot.  Parrot was hanging out on top of her cage when this happened, and she didn’t like the little ones whizzing around the room, feathers flying everywhere.  She didn’t like it at all. 

     I was chasing birds for a few minutes before I remembered that I’d left the bathroom sink running.   Flooded the floor.  Took every dry towel in the house to mop up the water.  

       I was going to do the floors today anyway, but for Chrissake.

      I finally got the birds contained by throwing a pillowcase on top of each one and gently bundling it up.  I examined each bird carefully and I think they are all okay.  

       It’s a beautiful day outside.  I’m going to finish my chores and walk to the west side to catch the train to Jersey.  I have a student tonight and then I’m going to catch up with a friend.  I feel much better.  Last week was emotionally rough for me, for reasons that I don’t quite comprehend.  Maybe I overexerted myself.  It’s good that I made plenty of money and got the monthly bills paid up in advance, but maybe I overdid it.  I think I’m gonna take it easy this week.  

      I was also sorta torturing myself about what to do with the Mathematician.  He’s always sending me emails and text messages.  Not about setting up an appointment, either.  It’s friendly stuff like “I took my dog to the beach today!  Wish you were here!” with attached photo of sand-encrusted retriever fetching a tennis ball, or “What do you think I should get my female colleague for the office Secret Santa exchange?” 

        It is notable that these warm–dare I say, affectionate–gestures provoked within me anxiety and an impending sense of doom.  Tell me that isn’t hilarious.  I’m sitting in back at the Studio–the atmosphere of which was only nominally more sane than the psych ward at Bellvue last week–answering emails from random internet sadomasochists, and I look like I was attacked by Hannibal Lecter because the Surgeon took a bite out of my shoulder, and I freaked out over the photo of the dog with the tennis ball.   

       This nice man has no idea what he’s getting into, I thought.  What do I do? 

       Well, you know what…?  He’s a grownass man.  He’s older than I am, and he has his shit together.  He can make his own decisions.  I’m not going to get rid of him just because of my stupid self-sabotaging impulse.  He doesn’t need me to protect him from anything.  

        At this point, the only thing that I owe him is honesty.  He can decide for himself whether, and to what extent, he wants to be involved with me.  

       He invited me to watch him play squash tomorrow night, and this time I am going to go (last time he invited me, I freaked out and canceled).  Then I am going to let him take me to dinner.  I am going to eat the food, and not cut it up in tiny pieces and move it around on the plate.  I am going to enjoy his company.  If he wants to pay me, he can.  I am not going to stress out about it anymore.  If he wants to talk about it, then we can talk about it and reach a decision like two mature, thoughtful adults.  

      The Mathematician is not Hannibal Lecter.  There is nothing to be afraid of here.  He is, in fact, probably the least scary part of my life.  

      I just did a little decision flow chart in my head.  Barring a catastrophic freak event, like a car crash or the Surgeon showing up at the restaurant, nothing could go wrong.  It is impossible to fuck this up.  I am going to spend time with a really great, attractive guy who treats me like gold.  

      Wow.  I don’t know where I got this burst of clarity and insight from, but I’m sure glad to have it!  I will definitely have to share this with my analyst.  She will be thrilled.  Three cheers for positive mental health!

       What a relief, man.  I need to think like this more often!

       Here is an awesome, beautiful video about birds.  It makes me feel happy inside.  I hope you like it!  

Miss Margo: Girlfriend…?

       So.  I have a situation here.  

       The Mathematician saw me three times this week and invited me to watch him play squash on Thursday.  

       This is getting way too intimate.  We spend a lot of time together.  He is always texting me and talking about his life and he does lovey-dovey shit like petting my hair and holding my hand.  He brings me little presents, like a Starbucks card, and he e-mails pictures of his pets.  Last night when he came to my apartment, he voluntarily changed two burned-out lightbulbs.

       After he left last night–we’d spent about three hours together–he texted me from the train and then sent me a link to this video.  Too funny!  I thought you would like it!  It reminded me of you! he says. 


      Well, I don’t drink beer, so it has to be the hawk.  I told him about my Vermont falconry vacation over a month ago.  Know what that means?  It means that the man is actually listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth, and not just waiting to get the sexual attention he’s paying me for.  

      I was describing it to a friend at the Studio: “I think he has a crush on me.”

      “Sounds like a lot more than a crush, Margo.  You think a client  invites you to a squash game where you are going to meet his friends?”  

      “My shrink says that he didn’t pressure me for sex when I spent the night because he’s repressed.”

      “He didn’t pressure you for sex because he respects you and he’s not an asshole.  And yeah, he’s probably a little scared.  He gets a hot chick like you in bed and he doesn’t want to blow it.  And it’s not like you’re some tease who is stringing him along for kicks and trying to hustle him for money.”        
      But here’s the thing: he’s still paying me.  

       I called up my friend, V., in Jersey.  She is also a domme and she’s older than me and has a lot of experience with men.  

      “If you like him, fire him as a client!  Tell him ‘Session’s over, math geek!’ and go have dinner and have sex with him!  You don’t need him as a client.  There’re always more clients.”

      “No man wants a dominatrix for a girlfriend!  No man is going to put up with that!” I wailed.

      “That’s how he met you.  If he holds it against you, it would be the very definition of hypocrisy.”

       (Here, gentle reader, do you know what just happened?  Literally, just now?  Mathematician texts me to ask if I want to go see the new James Bond film with him!  ARRRGH!)

      Look, I don’t know him well enough to know if things would work out between us.  But I do know that I’m attracted to him and I like him a lot.  I also know that, objectively, he has everything I want in a partner.  He does have kids, and that kinda sucks, but they’re mostly grown and don’t live with him, so it’s not a deal-breaker.  

      But…it’s the same damn conundrum I’ve been writing about since I started this blog: I cannot have a loving relationship with a healthy man and live the way that I do.  

      And I still owe the Surgeon money.  

     I have to change.  I’m going to have to do it sooner or later–why not sooner?  Because the way that I live is unsustainable.  

      Maybe things wouldn’t work out with the Mathematician.  Couldn’t I at least try?  

      “I think that I have a lot of love to give to someone,” I told my shrink.  

      “Yes.  But I think it is more important that you experience being loved.”

      That made me cry and I don’t know why.  

Margo’s Greatest Hits

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     I have always been surprised at which posts on this blog turn out to be popular.  Sometimes I’m amused by my readers’ preferences, and sometimes I’m just confused.  The posts that I think will be popular sink to the bottom of the blog ocean like the submarine Kursk, while random posts I jotted down in a hurry from the top of my head generate traffic and comments, sometimes for months after their publication.

     Here are PiecesofMargo’s greatest hits, in no particular order…well, almost no particular order:

#1:  Boy on the Rug
        Far and away the most popular page on this blog.  I wrote it in ten seconds when I found a picture on the internet that I thought was hawt.  It was a silly post with a stupid title (I’ve always had a problem with titles…academic writing, fiction, my titles were always shitty).  
        But…do you know how many people on earth search internet search engines for “coconut porn?”  Yes, that is what they google.  “Coconut porn.”  And its many possible misspellings: “cocnut porn,” “coconut oprn,” etc etc.
        And get this…it gets better.  The coconut porn thing is a head-scratcher.  I have no idea what coconut porn is, do you?  But the mystery deepens: almost all of the coconut porn hits come from Arab or Muslim countries.  Almost all of them!  Why?  If you know why, can you tell me?  
         I’ve wanted to write about this before, but I was worried that someone would think it was insensitive or racist or something.  But how it is racist if it’s what is happening?  People in Jordan and Indonesia are looking for coconut porn.  Nobody in Mexico is.  
       I almost took down the post because it’s an outlier that skews my stats, but what the hell.  Traffic is traffic.

#2: VERMIN!  Cockroaches and Mice

      I have found the vehicle for world peace: humanity’s hatred of vermin.  You could get the Israelis and the Palistinians together for a barbeque and they would get along famously as long as the topic of conversation focused on cockroachs and their elimination.  
      People from around the world want to know whether cockroaches are immortal, so they search for it, and Google sends them here.  I also get notes of sympathy from people who share my fear of roaches and notes of contempt from people who want me to know that New York City cockroaches are nothing–NOTHING!–compared to the roaches in other parts of the world.  Readers share tips and tricks on dealing with infestations, and a few total strangers have, touchingly, inquired as to how vermin elimination at Margo Manor is going months after I wrote about it.  

#3:  That Nutty Adorable Surgeon!

       I am not surprised that these posts are popular, because a lot of them involve sex and relationship drama.  People like to read about other people’s relationships.  What is interesting to me is that these posts are popular, but nobody says a thing about them to me.  People read and keep their opinions to themselves.  I assume they do that because they want to be polite.  Nothing nice to say, so they don’t say anything.  
       For what it is worth, the feedback that I do get about the man is not positive and readers’ impressions of him are not complimentary.  The messages I get about him are: 1) Miss Margo OMG are you okay?  2) Please be careful and 3) This guy seems like a creepy kook. 
       Dude.  I never even wrote about the bad stuff he’s done. 
       The Surgeon did get a few supportive shout-outs after he chewed me out for being at a strip club.  No comments, but I did get two emails along the lines of “Good for him!  If you were my daughter, I’d lock you in your room, too!”  I couldn’t tell if the emailers were judging me or expressing protectiveness or both.  

     #4: Breakup Protocol
          Apparently, people want to know if there is a breakup protocol, because I get random strangers from around the English-speaking world who find this blog looking for etiquette.  

     #5:  My “Man Hands”
            This one got hundreds of hits.  I liked writing this one a lot because I thought I was being really funny.  Look at those zingers!  Frito talons? Airbrushed nails?  Seinfeld? Come on!
            As it turned out, nobody who communicated to me about this post had anything to say about the writing whatsoever. 
            But the respondents fell into two categories.  The first group was spillover from the pit bull war blog Craven Desires.  A troll from Craven Desires came over to my blog and jumped on me. Then Craven herself (!), and some others, came over here to jump on the troll.  
          The second group of respondents were (and are) a bunch of people who got angry and offended that I was selling my used shoes to strangers on the internet.  They expressed their disapproval via abusive anonymous comments, which I declined to publish.  
          Why?  Why would anyone get mad that I was selling my shoes?  Because, presumably, the shoes would be sold to fetishists, and that’s “gross” and it makes me a “slut?”  Really?  But it would be okay, I presume, if I sold the shoes at a garage sale or Buffalo Exchange?  HELLO!  YOUR LOGIC MAKES NO SENSE, ARISTOTLE!

#6: The Biz
      This one is pretty self-explanatory.  The topic is popular because people are curious about what goes on at a commercial dungeon.   

       Posts about Alcoholics Anonymous do pretty well, too.  For some reason, nobody seems to be interested in my birds.  Haahaha.

     Thank you all for reading, whomever you are. I’m flattered that you enjoy my blog and knowing that people are reading it encourages me to write.  Writing is a healthful hobby and a professional skill which always needs more honing. 

Good Question

      I cried in my bed right after I awoke this morning.  Like, one or two minutes after I regained consciousness.  It was brief and undramatic. It was like what the weathermen here in this schizo weather area (Tri-State) describe as a “light, random thunderstorm!” I don’t think that I made much noise. By coincidence, I had my very best sheets on my bed–the sheets which have such thread count and quality that they are always dense and crispy, even though they are five years old now.  They were a gift to me, a long time ago. I put them on my bed yesterday after I did my laundry and changed my linens.

    I put my head underneath the crispy clean sheets and curled up like a shrimp on my side facing the wall and did my little cry.

      Then I got up, went to the bathroom, checked in with Tanita, poured myself a glass of water.  And now here I sit.

       I’m not here to be a coward.

       I went to my Sunday crispy burnout AA meeting yesterday.  As I mentioned on this blog, I have a new service commitment to make the coffee.  I showed up an hour early, but the gate was locked. I waited with other committee people until the guy with the keys came to let us in (he was stuck in traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge). There was no time to make coffee, but I set out the cookies.

       The meeting’s Speaker–the random person who shares his or her personal experience with alcoholism and AA–was good.  (AA culture is that you’re not supposed to talk about what you see and hear in AA meetings, because you have to respect confidentiality and peoples’ privacy.  I think that if I keep this vague and omit details and any identifying info, it should be okay to share here on this blog.  I don’t see how it could hurt anymore.)

      His story was comparatively undramatic. No jail, no hospital, no spectacular train wreck.  His family didn’t drink.  He maintained a modest but respectable job.  And drank.  Sometimes socially, mostly alone.  Went to the bar alone, “for fun.”  Gets older–no longterm partners.  And this wasn’t an unattractive or unintelligent man.  He was likable and there was no obvious reason why he had to live such a damn lonesome existence.  He had no one.

       I was very moved by this. I know what that is like to be alone, or alienated.  That’s something about alcohol which is paradoxical: it makes the loneliness (or even boredom)  comfortable.  Acceptable. Unimportant.

      Invariably, however, something happens–the tables are turned, and your companion becomes your jailer. Drinking becomes the cause of the loneliness. It isolates you and prevents you from being with others in a meaningful, nurturing way.

        Just speaking for myself…when my drinking was approaching its worst…I was going through a very tough time in my life. I was depressed, stressed about school, and basically paralyzed by fear and confusion.  Actually, fear is not the right word.  Terror is more accurate.  I was lifting at the gym in the morning and back again to do five miles in the evening, and my eating habits were becoming obsessive and abnormal (let’s just say…I kept spreadsheets.  Excell spreadsheets.  The data I had.  Oh boy.).  I didn’t tell anyone what was happening to me. Professionally, I kept up appearances–I wasn’t spending weekends in the labs or publishing my ass off or anything, but my grades and writing projects were superior.  Many professors commented on my talent.  But I was slowly becoming a ghost.  I gradually withdrew from everybody I had a meaningful emotional relationship with.  Even the people I loved.  All my old friends, the professors who cultivated my intellect and spent time with me.  

       It was like I was a girl in a raft out in the sea, and my relationships were the ropes attached to my raft that kept me anchored to the shore.

       I untied the ropes and let them go.  One by one.

      I raised my hand and shared a lot of that at the meeting.  A few people came up to me afterward and said that they liked my share and that I sounded really good.

       I eyed one of the men, suddenly suspicious.  “Are you serious?”

       “Of course.  Why?”

        “I was upset.  I almost cried.”

       “What’s wrong with that?” he asked.

      I curled my lip and turned away, throwing my soda can into the garbage.  “Crying doesn’t help a thing.  It’s not dignified in public.”

       And there it is.  I can be a very hard person.  It’s only a minor character trait, and it seldom evidences itself (thank God)…but part of me is very hard.  Especially towards myself.  I’m not proud of it, but it fascinates me, I must say.  Where do I get it from?  My father?

      The man looked confused.  “Why not?”

      Good question.

Alcoholic Coffee Wars

   So, yesterday I went to my Sunday A.A. meeting.  It was good.  The speaker was great and the shares were great (they tended to focus on the professional consequences of active alcoholism…yikes…I remember what that was like) and everyone liked my cookies!  

        The chairpersons had a business meeting afterward, and I stayed because my sponsor says that I ought to get a service position.  

         It was interesting.

         Wait–no, it wasn’t.  Remind me again of why I hate business meetingsAny business meetings.  At school.  At work.  Fucking business meetings!  Meetings render everyone idiotic.  I hate them so much!  Nothing ever gets accomplished. 

        So, yesterday…the treasurer–who is a lawyer–says, “It’s summer, so attendance is down.  We’re a hundred bucks short on rent money.  We need to negotiate with the Church for reduced rent this month.”  

        A woman raises her hand.  “We ought to stop providing coffee and cookies until our financial situation gets better.”  

        Oh no you didn’t..!  OH NO YOU DIDN’T FUCK WITH ALCOHOLICS’ COFFEE! 

             Hands immediately go up (not mine, btw.  I don’t drink coffee). 

         Retired navy guy gets called on.  “We can’t get rid of the coffee.  Newcomers depend on it.”

        “We can’t afford it!” says the woman.
        This turned into a debate.  And it went on and on.  Yours truly, Miss Margo, is broke, but I was almost ready to offer to buy the coffee myself just to end this stupid back-and-forth.  It was like they were negotiating the Treaty of Versailles or the SALT talks or something.  

          The woman stormed out.  Yup!  She picked up her purse and left!  I wanted to quip–because I don’t really like her–“Don’t let this affect your serenity!”  But I didn’t.  Because I am mature!  haaahahahahahahhahaha

          Eventually, the chairman said, “I will buy the coffee myself.”

         Another guy raised his hand.  “But what about the Seventh Tradition?”

          Shoot me now! 

          Chairman says: “I’ll get it!  It’s just for a month!  I’ll get it!”

          FYI: I have to say, I really dig this chairman.  Always have.  He is a handsome Englishman and I have a bit of a crush on him. Don’t worry, I would never ask him out–AA is not a dating service; I don’t go there for that.  The dudes there are strictly off-limits in my mind.  But jeez, he is so cute!  He’s educated, too.  Whenever I make a literary reference, he knows what I’m talking about.  I spend at least two or three minutes every week thinking about giving him oral sex. 

        FINALLY it was time for me to raise my hand.  “I need a service commitment!”

         Handsome Englishman says: “You can make the coffee, Sheriff!”

          Everyone applauds.

           “But I don’t know how to make coffee!  I don’t drink coffee!  I don’t know how to taste coffee and determine whether it’s good or bad!”

            Well, the facts, as they say, are irrelevant. 

             Despite having never drank a cup of coffee in my life, it is nevertheless my duty to brew coffee for fifty junkies every Sunday.  The committee has spoken.  


The “A” Bomb

     Or maybe it’s the “A.A.” bomb.  

      The man I had the Brooks Brothers date with–I guess I’ll call him Spencer–SOMEHOW figured out that I’m in A.A.  He mentioned it via text message, which made it difficult to gauge his emotional tone, but he didn’t run screaming in the opposite direction, so I guess he’s still hanging in there.  

       I calmly told him that we should talk about it when I saw him again and I would be happy to answer any questions he had.  I mean, what else can one say?  Though the sum total of my opinion about A.A. is: “Yes, it’s vaguely cult-y, but I go to a lot of Agnostic meetings and I can’t quote the Big Book without feeling like an idiot, and in any event, IT BEATS BEING DEAD.”  

      I would probably be better off if I was a little more indoctrinated–I was doing better when I had a sponsor and doing more service instead of just cookies.  I’m counting days AGAIN.

      I also get the feeling that he’s a little concerned that I’m out screwing around.  Normally he’d be right, but as circumstance would have it, I’m not seeing anyone.  The guys at the Studio don’t count, at least not to me, but perhaps, as a man, he has a different perspective.  Though I hardly think that anyone could construe giving Milton a swirly as legitimate romantic activity.  I assure you, Spencer, Milton is no threat to you! 

      That is actually pretty funny.  I keep thinking about flushing the toilet with Milton’s head in it.  It makes me crack up at totally inopportune times.  The deli.  The laundry mat.  People look at me like I am crazy.  

       Anyway, it’s just a feeling I have because he makes jokes about me confusing him with other guys.  He’s not pulling any jealous controlling bullshit.  After the Surgeon, my tolerance for jealous controlling bullshit is pretty low.   

                           *                          *                      *

     Actually, here is a funny story that is typical of what happens when I meet a really, really attractive man at the Studio: 

     I have aregular, and the first time I met him, I was thrilled.  WHAT A BABE!  He’s a tall, very well-built Japanese guy.  You can see that he lifts weights–he looks very athletic.  He also has a great face and a nice haircut and he always wears stylish, elegant clothes.  And he was born in Paris, so he had a French accent.  Accents usually don’t do much for me, but on this guy, it was sexy. He smells like nice clean clothes. 

      I was getting dressed in back after I met him, and I was practically doing a happy dance!  I wonder what I get to do to him! I get to see him naked—yaaaay!

      Well, let me tell you what I get to do to him: jump up and down on his stomach for an hour.

       Yeah, you read that correctly. 

        He doesn’t even take his clothes off.  I get nothing, except a little exercise.  And the threat of a broken ankle.  Power-walking on someone’s abdomen in high heels is pretty difficult. I have tripped on more than one occasion. 

       At first I was afraid that my shoes would puncture him, like a scene in a bad horror movie.  That would be fun to explain to the cops! But that has never happened, obviously.

     I don’t even get the satisfaction of thinking that he hires me because he thinks I’m hot.  Frankly, I think he sees me because he finds me to be the optimal weight for stomach-stomping, and I’m fit enough to do it for a whole hour.   

     He does tip very well.  He is, after all, a gentleman.  

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

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     I went with my mother to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden today.  It was super beautiful.  The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is the best, but really, when you’re talking about parks of this caliber, you sound like a snob splitting hairs when you argue which is superior.  

     My life here is not easy, but I am fortunate to have access to these places.  There is more beauty here (natural beauty excluded) than in most of the U.S. combined.  

    Anyway, I ran around taking pictures and geeking out on flowers until my camera ran out of juice.  You can thank your lucky stars for that; otherwise you’d be wading through about a hundred other photos.  


Momma’s In the House

     My mother is coming to visit me, so I probably won’t be able to blog again until Sunday.  

      I’m glad that she’s coming.  I love my Mom and because I only get to see her a few times a year, our time together is very important to me. Her visit will anchor me and entertaining her will keep me busy.  She’ll also keep my mind off my problems and prevent any backsliding in my resolve about remaining out of touch with the Attorney (I feel pretty resolute about that, but I still have had dreams about him).  

      I have to admit, though, I’m a little concerned because I can’t work while she’s here, and I can’t afford to lose the money right now.  I can’t take phone calls to book appointments for my secret job. I also can’t attend AA meetings while she’s here–she doesn’t know that I attend them. 

       Preparing my apartment for her visits–“Family-proofing” it–is a bit of an ordeal: make sure ALL of my S&M gear is on lockdown out of sight, get all of the addiction and psychology books off my shelves, wash my phone in case someone uses it for anything, check and double-check that nothing remains out that could provoke unwanted curiosity: “Margo, when did you go to Toronto..?  How was it?  Why didn’t you tell me?”  

       If the weather is nice on Friday, I’ll try to take her to the Cloisters.  I’ve never been.  Also the Empire State Building and the jewelry and diamond market on 47th Street.  We probably won’t buy anything there, but for Honkeys like us, it’s super fun to walk around and watch.  Note to self: must go before 3 PM on Friday.  Hahaha–that would be funny–to show up on Friday night and have it be crickets and tumbleweeds around there.  Why isn’t anything open…?  

      Another bonus…sort of: my mother will scour this place clean until it reaches a shining, hospital-sterile cleanliness.  She will probably start doing this an hour after she walks in the door.  There will not be a dustbunny underneath the couch and escapes her eagle eye.  

     I thought of that today–the Attorney is so meticulous that I would never, ever be able to keep the house perfect enough for him.  

     There would always be something wrong.  


The Weirdness Must End (or, at Minimum, Radically Decrease)

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  I have the very distinct feeling that I dodged a bullet last week.  Actually, it’s more than a feeling.  The posts on this blog can attest to the fact: scary weird, scary weird, scary weird, lipstick mania, scary weird

    In the interest of not getting shot, I am removing myself from the proverbial shooting range (did I mention that the Attorney told me that he really likes guns, and carries when he’s not in the City…?  Niiiiice!).  

     I am no longer accepting new Secret Job clients.  A handful of my regulars will be grandfathered in.  I am reducing my shifts at the Superstudio by 50%.  It is my intention to quit doing this professionally altogether within 90 days.  If the landlord has to wait an extra week sometimes to get the rent paid in full, well, he’ll just have to wait.  This is NYC; he can’t throw me out.  

     Dating efforts are suspended until relative order and normalcy has been restored.  If I need a date for the movies and sex every now and then, well, there are plenty of men in my telephone who are reliably harmless and do not bother me when I don’t want to be bothered. 

     All communications from the Attorney will henceforth be deleted unread and unheard. 

    If the Surgeon bothers me one more goddamned time, he’s going to hear from my lawyer.  I called the last one I had to hire to help me get rid of a meddling dude (John).  He is ready to compose Ye Olde Cease and Desist Letter.  Officer Friendly at the local precinct  is going to file my complaint. The nice ladies in family court are going to take my statement, and the nice Judge at Family Court is going to give me Ye Olde Temporary Restraining Order.  The police can serve it to him in his doorman Upper East Side apartment.  Let him explain that one to his neighbors.  

    There are going to be many alcoholics in this neighborhood who are going to be eating a great number of my cookies in the next thirty days.  In fact, I fed them my first batch yesterday afternoon.  My Sunday Crispy Burnout meeting, which I haven’t attended in a month.  The burnouts were quite crispy last night, quite crispy indeed.  They were glad to see me, however, and they were quite happy to see my freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  Two young men squabbled with each other over whether it was fair for one of them to take two cookies, instead of one.  The Sheriff had to intervene.  Now boys, my cookies should not disturb your serenity! One apiece till everyone gets one!

     The fish tank was cleaned, the Parrot was entertained and fed almonds, the bills were mailed, the students were scheduled, the phone calls were returned, the newspaper was read.  And I called my mother and my brother.  We now return to our regularly scheduled programming!

    P.S. If you’ve sent me email or comments and I haven’t responded, sorry about that–I was out to lunch. I’ll get back to you soon.


Scenes from My Drunkalogue: Kiwi Bull Terrier

Late September, 2008

I woke up around 7 AM.  When I opened my eyes, I found myself looking directly into the egg-shaped face of a strange bull terrier.  He was laying about ten inches away from me and I felt his hot breath on my face.  His pink tongue was sticking out of his mouth.

“Howdy!  Welcome to your nightmare!”

  I started–“Whaaaa..?!”–and drew back.

   I was laying almost halfway off the bed.  My knees hung off the side.  And I was laying on top of the sheets, without any covers.  


    I was unclothed.  

    I was in a strange apartment.  I didn’t recognize it at all.  

    I looked around, blinking owlishly in the light of the dawn.  Except for the Spuds MacKenzie dog, I was all alone.


     I rolled out of bed and got on my feet.  An ice-pick pain of a headache was stabbing just behind one of my eyes.  I registered the hangover, and then immediately classified it as “the least of my problems right now.”  

      I turned my head and looked out the window into a strange patch of NYC skyline.  I didn’t recognize it at all.  

      I looked down at the bull terrier.  He just lay there on the bed, staring up at me.  At least one of us was mellow.  

      My looked down at myself, looked over my shoulder to see the backs of my legs, ran my hands over my torso and the cage of my ribs.  I was thin.  Not quite as thin as I was eventually going to get, but thin.  

      I looked for damage, ran an internal diagnostic assessment of the body I inhabit.  

     I didn’t see any signs of damage.  Besides the pain of the hangover, my insides felt okay, too.  I cautiously lowered my emergency stress level from a 10 down to a 9.  

      I peered around the room again, searching.

     There was my dress, a puddle of black sequins laying on the floor by the bedroom door.  

     My dress from the night before.

     Then I remembered: I’d gone to a party.  Met someone.  A youngish guy, around my age, wearing a hipster fedora.  Dark-haired.  He was from New Zealand.  He did some financial sector Wall Street bullshit.  

     I remembered leaving the bar with him in a taxi cab.  We were both trashed.  Or at least I was.  I think he was too, but I can’t recall for sure.  My impression is that he was.  My memory from around the time I met him gets foggy. From the time we left the bar, I remembered only snapshot images.  Only a few.  Not contextualized.  

    Something wrong with the elevator.  Walking loudly up the stairwell of his apartment.  Him messing around with his stereo system.  Him snorting cocaine and offering some to me, and I say (ironically enough): Sorry, I can’t.  I can’t get in trouble at school. Go ahead, though.

     I knew that I’d had sex with this person, but I remembered almost nothing about it.  

     I picked my dress up off the floor and shimmied into it.  Then I ran to the doorway and poked my head out.  There was a bathroom, with the door open, right across the hall.  

     I ran inside and shut the door.  Locked it.  The tile floor was cold underneath my feet.  I raised my dress and looked at my body in the mirror, front and back.  No signs of damage.  

     I’d slept in my contact lenses, and they felt dry and grainy in my eyes.  

      Then I heard the sound of the man’s voice, coming from another room.  Sounded like he was talking into a phone.

     Who is this person?  

      I opened his medicine cabinet, frantically rummaging for a prescription meds bottle that would have his name written on it. No luck.  There were a few magazines on top of his toilet.  I picked them up and searched the backs for subscription labels.  Nothing.  

     Then I bent to the little waste basket.  It was mostly empty, but I clawed through the tissues and cardboard soap-wrapper packaging, searching.

    I went to the toilet and lifted the lid, searching the water.

      Searching for evidence we’d used a condom.  

     From the time I’d become sexually active, I was always religious about my use of condoms and contraceptives.  I have been extremely responsible about my sexual and reproductive health.  Except for the times when I was in a monogamous relationship with a man (and we’d both been tested for STIs), I was consistent–militant, actually–in my use of  both latex barriers and birth control.    That is not an exaggeration.  I never had unprotected sex.

      Except, possibly, for the times I don’t remember.

      There were not many instances of don’t remember, blackout sex, thank God.  

       But there was more than one.  

     This time–waking up with Mr. Spuds MacKenzie dog panting in my face–was one of those times.  

“Did you contract HIV last night…?   WHO KNOWS!”  

     I got down on my hands and knees on the cold tile floor and peered around the toilet and sink basin, hoping for an empty condom wrapper.  Or anything, actually.  Any clue.  

     (For the record: this guy’s bathroom, and apartment, was very clean and tidy.  Even stylish.  He had a really nice spider plant hanging in the bathroom.  Spider plants are awesome.  So in the highly improbably event that you read this and recognize yourself, Mr. Kiwi Bull Terrier, I want to reiterate that I appreciate the calmness of your dog and the squeaky-clean bathroom.)


     I pulled myself up off the floor and washed my face and hands. Then I ran across the hallway again, back into the bedroom.  The dog was still there, panting happily.  I looked around for my underpants and my stockings.  And my shoes.  And my coat.  And my purse.  And a condom, or a condom wrapper.  I got on my hands and knees again and peeked underneath the bed, searching.  

    I found my underwear and my hosiery.  The hosiery had a run, so I rolled it into a ball in my hand.  Full of fear–but knowing that I had to do it–I padded out of the bedroom and into the living room, where I heard the man’s voice coming from.  

     He was up and partially dressed to go to work, wearing his suit pants and an unbuttoned shirt.  His cufflinks were in, though.  He was pacing to and fro, frantically, in his living room, screaming into his Blackberry:


     The bull terrier rubbed against my leg, snorted, and ran past me.  

     My eyes looked around the living room and I saw my fake-fur glamour coat and my purse draped over a chair at the bar.  

     I darted over and retrieved them.  I immediately covered myself in the coat.  My sparkly cocktail dress was decent, but not very modest.  Nudity doesn’t bother me at all, but I was self-conscious in front of this person.  

     The man saw me and lowered his Blackberry.  Frantic voices screamed out of it.  

   “Hi, how are you?  Do you need anything?  Want Coffee?” he asked. 

    “Uhh, no thanks.  Just don’t want to forget my bag!”

     Hey, I had a good time last night.  It was nice to meet you. Your dog is really cool.  We exchanged numbers.  I gave him a fake one.

     He did not speak my name, and I did not use his, until we were entering the data on our phones.

      I hustled out of there and down the (newly functional) elevator as quickly as possible.  When I emerged from the small building/apartment complex, I stood on the street and looked around at my surroundings.  I had absolutely no idea where I was.  

    I blinked in the bright autumn sunlight and tripped up and down the block, looking for street signs--any street signs!  

     When I found them, I couldn’t recognize them. Where was I? Manhattan?  Brooklyn?  Queens?  I could have been on planet Mars.

      Then, in the skyline, I saw a little slice of the Brooklyn Bridge.  That grounded me; gave me some perspective.  
     I approached a few Latino gentlemen who were hustling boxes of produce downstairs into the cellar of a deli.  In my high heels, I was taller than all of them.  I saw them giving me the up-and-down. I asked them where the nearest subway station was.  When they told me, I walked towards it. 

    When I got there, I opened my purse and looked for my MetroCard–the plastic/paper card used to pay the fee in order to ride the train.  

     Gone!  Where…?  No idea!  Maybe Kiwi Bull Terrier used it to chop his coke.  

       I opened my wallet to take out money to purchase a ticket.

      Wallet is devoid of cash.   NO MONEY FOR YOU!!!

      But I took $80 out of the ATM last night.  Where’d it go…?  No idea!

      I had plenty of change in my coin purse, so I used that buy the first ticket I needed to get back to my apartment. 

      I felt self-conscious while I was riding the train, and kept my eyes mostly on the floor.  I was clearly still dressed from the night before.  I was doing the proverbial “walk of shame” back home. 

      Except that I wasn’t 20 years old anymore, walking fast back to my room at the girls’ dorm.  I was a little older than that.  This behavior, this situation, was no longer “cute.”  I couldn’t chalk it up to some youthful learning experience.  

    My phone beeped.  A text message from my roommate, because I hadn’t come home last night: ARE YOU OKAY? 


     Except that I was not “okay.”  Nowhere near to being “okay.”  And things were going to get worse before they got better.  

    Then: going to the drug store to buy Plan-B, the emergency contraceptive. Just in case. $45 out-of-pocket I don’t really have, since I’d just shelled out $300 for Fall semester textbooks.  

     Then: making an appointment and going to my local Planned Parenthood at 3 weeks, and then again a little later, to get tested for everything.  All of this–while very reasonably priced–was paid out-of-pocket, too.  

    No pregnancy.  No disease.  All tests negative. Thank you, Jesus. 

    To be clear: I have no shame whatsoever about having sex with a  man, and I don’t think that there is anything necessarily wrong with “casual” sex.  I think sex is a natural biological function.  Not strictly necessary, but optimal for human functioning.  Since I quit drinking, I haven’t exactly been a nun.  

    But one should be cognizant of their behavior–especially sex!  It is a responsibility, and it holds one accountable to one’s actions.  Everyone.  

      I paid for that night with Kiwi Bull Terrier–in anxiety, humiliation, and money.  

       It could have been worse.  But what sort of shit platitude is that?