Getting Through This

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           I picked up my computer from the shop this morning. 
           “It had some viruses on it.  From some of the websites you’ve been visiting,” the computer guy told me over the telephone. 

             After a moment’s hesitation, I decided not to ask him which websites “I’d been visiting” that he was referring to.  Safer that way.  More considerate, you know.  Though I’m sure PC repair guys have seen it all—like EMT personnel, they are probably pretty hard to shock. 

            (Though I did look at the “Recent Items” category under my control panel and found that it was wiped clean except for a half dozen pics of me in my bikini.  Riiiiight.)
           The interview I referred to a few posts back (not the tutoring job) went well.  I was hired, if I decide to take the job.  I think it’s safe (relatively speaking).  It doesn’t advertise, it’s a legal establishment; the management struck me as serious-minded and professional.  The Surgeon couldn’t find me there.  So, it’s an option.
          I ran my predicament with the Surgeon by two women friends today.  This was a first for me—usually I don’t talk about it to anyone, ever.  Both of them were, shall we say, alarmed, which just goes to show you how distorted my thinking can be when it comes to this guy.  I need to get out of this situation—but leave now, or leave later?  For the first time in a long time, he has something that I may need—really need.  If I keep him happy—and I know how to keep him happy—he’ll go to bat for me if I run into some problems with a certain institution (which, I’m sorry, cannot be named here) a have an…adversarial relationship with.   The Surgeon likes to fight; to him it is a sort of recreational pastime.  As I was reminded a few days ago—in a most unpleasant and hurtful fashion—he will punish whatever or whomever says no to him.  And he will not stop. 

             To him, you’re either on the top, or you’re on the bottom.  Like a child, his thinking is very black and white.  Over much time, I have learned how to handle him—how to be on top.  The trick is to make him think that I’m not.  Whatever it is, make him think that it’s his idea.  Never ask—let him offer.  Whenever possible, you do not give this man the power to say no to you, to deprive you of anything.  He can be generous, but he is capricious, and he enjoys his power. 
            Here—I will make a bet with you, good reader.  A bet with myself.  A little game. 
          This is what Tanita reported this morning.  I am slightly skeptical; we’ll see what she registers tomorrow. 

            If the Surgeon sees me this week—if I decide to stick it out—do you think that he will inquire about my weight, or express anything resembling concern?  Or will he rave  and tell me how fantastic I look? 

            If it is the latter, it would tell you quite a bit about his personality, wouldn’t it?  
In fact, I think it would tell you just about everything you need to know.

The Real Deal

      I was writing a blog post that I was enjoying quite a bit, but unfortunately, it’s going to have to wait.  Right now I’m much too upset to finish it.

      The Surgeon pulled quite a stunt late this afternoon.  My feelings are hurt, but at least I’m not surprised.  I know what he is.  I knew it from the day we met.

      That’s the tricky thing about being with sadomasochists, you know–you have to vet them very carefully, find ones who can compartmentalize it, who can express that part of themselves in specific, controlled, isolated situations.  In my opinion, these individuals are the most self-aware sadomasochists, and the least conflicted.

      The Surgeon does not fit this description.  He is a sadist for real, the real deal.  It’s easy to forget that –after all, he can be very genial, and he is not without charm–but you forget it at your peril.  Take my word for it.

      Tomorrow–or Wednesday at the latest–I have two options: fake it and make nice (lie and degrade myself), or tell him NO.

     I’m leaning towards no.

     It’s not going to be pretty.


My Computer is in the Intensive Care Unit. Pray for her.

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 Update 10/16/11:  Edited this post slightly for typos and clarity; I added a few sentences too.  My policy is to never delete or change my posts, even if I regret publishing them in hindsight (I would make an exception in the event of a true emergency).  

     Well, I had an interesting week (long periods of uselessness and anxiety punctuated with manic flourishes of activity).  I have to say that being underemployed has done wonders for my housekeeping.  I cleaned things that I never even thought about in the past, like the top back part of the fridge next to the wall, and the plastic container cases that hold my makeup.  I also bleached and scoured the grout between the tiles in the bathroom.  Usually I avoid doing that (scouring, I mean, not casual cleaning) because I get totally OCD about it and become very agitated when I can’t get the grout all the same color.

      I landed a tutoring job teaching a  <Ivy League School redacted> undergrad jock student athlete about Niccolo Machiavelli  and Thomas Hobbes.  I am familiar with both, but I feel much more comfortable with Machiavelli, the first modern political scientist (among other things).  Political theory was not my area of emphasis, but I took a few seminars.  I had to brush up on Hobbes (WOW was that guy smart!  Stop reading this blog and go get yourself some Hobbes right this minute) before I went in to the interview.  The student isn’t hiring his tutor, his parents are, and they were there for the interview (the son sat between them, looking obviously and justifiably uncomfortable, as if he was at a parent-teacher conference in 4th grade).  They had misgivings (obvious, but not vocalized in my presence, of course) about the fact that my credentials come from lowly PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, but I got the job.

         I have another interview lined up for tomorrow morning.  A different job.  Should be interesting.  I’d write more about it now, but I am very tired, and I don’t think that I can do it justice.

        For no reason that I can discern, I was inspired to (try) to build a playstand for Parrot with materials purchased from the $.99 Store.  Did I mention that I have no experience with carpentry whatsoever (remember The Curtain Rod incident)?  Oh, it was quite an adventure, let me tell you.  I felt like Ogg the caveman trying to program a plasma TV, only my project involved lots of sharp power tools.

      Fear not, gentle reader, I took many photos of the monstrosity after the glue dried overnight–a catologue of my incompetency, if you will. Like a Yugo GV, the playstand was both ugly and structurally unsound.  I would not climb on it if I were a bird, even a little bird.  So, I tore it down and now I’m starting again.  Will document.

       Then my COMPUTER BROKE–I think it has viruses–so I had to drop everything and run it into the shop.  It took forever because I had to get it booted up and transfer tons of the data to an external hard drive.  I’ve always kept multiple copies of my financial records and research/school stuff (in multiple locations across the country, including a safety deposit box at the bank), but there was still some stuff on that PC that I was scared to lose.  Also, I didn’t want anyone else running across it, like Mr. Computer Fixit.  Nothing illegal, of course, but sure to raise a few eyebrows.

      So, I’m stuck with my crappy laptop for the next few days till I can pick up my PC.

      On the way home, I got a call from the Surgeon.  Maybe write more about it soon, when I’m not so tired.  Suffice it to say that it didn’t end well.  He turned on a dime, for no reason that I could see.  I told him not to talk to me like that anymore and got off the phone quickly.  But now I have this shit to deal with sometime over the next few days.  Makes me tired just thinking about it.

      One day, I want to tell him, one day I will leave you for a man that is capable of loving me.

      I came home and baked gingerbread cookies.  I put cream cheese icing on a few of them.  I wrapped them up and put them in the fridge to bring to a meeting tomorrow.  I did not eat a single one.

       We are quite a pair, the Surgeon and me.  A long time ago, as I sought to understand his behavior, I thought that he was afraid of emotional intimacy.  I was wrong.  I am the one afraid of emotional intimacy (which is why I’m with him). He deprives not because he is withholding, but because he has so little to give.  He has nothing to withhold.  And I deprive myself.

time stamp is incorrect

A Dangerous Method

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     There’s a film coming out in November that I am curious about.  A Dangerous Method is about Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, a troubled female masochist, and the origins of psychoanalysis.  The source material is very rich, but there’s no room for error when you’re trying to make art out of people and issues like these.  Let’s be honest–the description reads like a Monty Python skit.  One wrong move and it all lapses into howling, unintentional comedy.  That Keira Knightley is the female lead doesn’t inspire much confidence, either.

     Anyway, the still shots released for promotional purposes have made me a very happy camper.  Into the Coconut Porn folder they go!

     This one is my favorite:

         Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror at the right time, and you’ll never forget what you see–or, rather, who you see.  There are pieces of yourself, your identity, that you seldom express, or think about, or even acknowledge in your daily life…but you look in the mirror, and there they are, looking back at you through your face.  And they’re not just there, either–they’re running the show.  The part of you that you usually think of as you–the dominant narrator in your head–has been usurped.  Still along for the ride, but moved to the back seat.


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   I love staircases and stairwells, especially when they are old and beautiful like this one.  I wish that there was a coffee-table book devoted to stairwell photography.  I would buy it.  Click any photo to enlarge:

      This is, obviously, a sunbathing squirrel.  He was chilling out in Tompkins Square Park.  I was there to get tips from the hobos about how to survive in the Park if I don’t get a freaking job pretty soon.  Anyway, the squirrel was interesting to me because I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a squirrel sitting still for more than a few seconds.  Doesn’t he look cute?  I love squirrels.  I think they are awesome!  I wonder if they have soft fur.

Squirrel chillin’

       This is a water fountain erected by a Temperance Movement organization in Tompkins Square Park.  I found it by accident, but I recognized what it was when I saw it.  The Temperance Movement contributed a lot of public water fountains all over the nation.  They wanted to give thirsty people the option of getting a drink without having to set foot in a saloon.  I believe the aim was twofold: to give people the option of having a free, non-alcoholic beverage, and to keep them–especially women and children–from being exposed to the  ‘degeneracy’ in bars.  If you look around, there is probably a Temperance Movement water fountain in your community.  They’re all over the place if you know how to look.  Pretty neat, if you’re a history geek!

The Dilemma

            I need to make money.  Pronto. 
            I have about four days left of wiggle room, and I have to make them count.  I need to be as productive as possible until my food/metrocard/prescriptions/grace period from the cell phone company/good will of the landlord runs out.  Once those things start to go, you’re screwed.  You’re no longer making decisions in your right mind.  So get out there and tap dance till your shoes smoke, kid. 
          I’ve applied to five jobs since I found out my contract was suspended—thee of them are band-aid jobs and two of them are white-collar.  I figure that if I keep applying to four per day, someone’s going to call me back, even in this crap economy.  The problem with this is that from the time I get called back and interviewed to the time I get hired to the time I get a paycheck is at least a month, and that is being almost unrealistically optimistic. 
           I need money coming in soon.  How? 
          Oh, I know how.  This ain’t my first rodeo.  Miss Margo has been taking care of herself for a long, looooong time.  I feel like I’ve been an adult since I was about twelve years old. 
          There are two solutions: resume work at my secret job, or ask the Surgeon for money to tide me over.

          Pick your poison.  

          Getting money from the Surgeon would be the fastest and most fail-proof option.  I am confident that he would give it to me.  I am extremely reluctant to ask him, however.  I’m extremely independent, and the thought of going to a man with my hat in my hand  and my other hand out makes me wince—but it’s more than that. 

           The Surgeon doesn’t give charity.  The money would come with strings attached; I’d have to work for it.  He wouldn’t explicitly set conditions upon its receipt, but the conditions would be there nonetheless.  What would he want?  Here, I’ll give you an idea: imagine you’re a kid and the rich kid invites you over to his house to play.  The rich kid is aggressive and has entitlement issues, but you have to keep him happy and you both know it.  This should give you an idea of what I would have to put up with.   I get worn out just thinking about it.

            Going back to work at a House for a few weeks is not without risk, but it would rest a lot easier on my mind.  I’d retain my autonomy and not be beholden to anyone.  I’d have to put up with some demanding, tiresome individuals there, as well, but hell—at least there would be an end to it. 

            So if you’ve read this far, you’re probably saying, “Go work in a House for a little while, then, if that’s the most palatable option!  What’s the problem?”

            The problem is this: The Surgeon would go nuts.  The Surgeon would go nuts.  The Surgeon would go nuts.  Did I mention that the Surgeon would go nuts?  Remember what happened last time?   When he freaked out and pinballed around Manhattan, ringing my phone off the hook and calling me from payphones and actually crashing my place of working looking for me?  Oh my God!  I couldn’t even write how that ended on this blog, it was so crazy.  Really crazy.  The guy was acting totally unhinged.  Major drama-rama.  I can never go back to that House again.  I had to leave about five hundred dollars’ worth of excellent wardrobe and equipment there, too. 

            That was how bad he was last time.  Can you imagine how he would behave the second time around?  I don’t want to think about it. 

             So, the Surgeon has me in a hell of a bind.  Or, rather, I’ve allowed him to put me in a hell of a bind.  I’m very ashamed about that, and I’m pissed that I have to placate and worry about interference from a man who has no honest claim to me.  The fact of the matter is that I don’t owe him anything.  He’s not my husband; he’s not really even my boyfriend.  But I can’t just tell him, “I have to take care of myself and if you don’t like it, you can get lost.”  I’m not ready.  I need to keep him close to the vest for at least a few more months. 

            If I go to work at a House, I’m going to have to lie about it to him.  I do not relish the prospect.  The anxiety, the energy involved, the consequences if I am caught.  I resent that I should have to lie.  It’s humiliating. 

          So you see, I’m facing a hell of a dilemma. 

         I have a few more days—literally, a few more days—to think about it.

Every Trace

           At his apartment, I go to the restroom.  While I’m there, I check my makeup.  My hair is messy, and it turns out that I forgot to bring a brush in my purse, so I use his.  I smooth my hair, pull it up at the sides, fasten the crystal barrettes.
          Then I lean against the sink and pluck the hairs out of his brush.  Not all the hairs.  Just the blondie hairs.  My hairs. 
          It takes a minute or two to make sure I’ve got them all.  
          I put the brush back where I found it and roll the hair between my fingers into a tiny ball.  Then I pluck out a tissue, wrap the hair in it, and place it into my purse. 
          I take it home with me. 
          It is only later, when I am cleaning out my handbag and throwing the tissue-wrapped hair into my own trash can, that I suddenly realize what I am doing.  I freeze, my eyes widening. 
          I have done this many times before—my hair, tampons (even their paper wrappers), q-tips, even cotton balls used to remove or apply makeup.  I do it automatically, without thinking about it. 

          I take back every trace of myself.  Every piece of me.

Employment Problems Solved!!!

     Jesus, just kidding.
     Found this gem of an ad while perusing the local CraigsList jobs ads…shoot me now.
     (I want to be very clear–I AM NOT going to write this girl’s paper for her.)

     I like the way our fearless little scholar includes her email address in the ad and offers the writer “an extra $20 if I get an A.”

     But seriously–WTF?  4 pages, double-spaced?  I know Kant and Sartre aren’t exactly your boyfriend’s copies of Maxim magazine, but I know that any university course that assigned a paper like this didn’t hurl a copy of Being and Nothingness at your head and scream at you to “Figure it out!”

      I’ve practically taught this course. I think your professor stood up there and presented, via PowerPoint, Kant and Sartre’s “views” on freedom in nice, neat bullet points!  I think that she stood over each one of her tattooed, spikey-haired, pajama-ed little students like a big momma Robin, trying to drop big fat juicy worms of Kant&Sartre factoids into their little mouths!  Why didn’t you get a worm or two, Nicole?  Surely not because you’ve been skipping class, right?
      You know, Nicole, you still have DAYS to write this little essay, most of which could be straight paraphrase and regurgitation–you only need to formulate and proffer an opinion towards the end.  Maybe you could take this time and go ask Professor Momma Robin, or her TA, for some tasty worms, instead of someone off the internet.
     Barring that, you could just look this shit up on wikipedia and summarize it yourself.  It would be a crap paper, but it would pass.  Just don’t cheat–be sure to paraphrase or put quotation marks around citations.

Write a Philosophy Paper – $50 (New Brunswick)

Date: 2011-10-05, 10:39PM EDT
Reply to: 
nicole_12909@xxxxxxxxxx [Errors when replying to ads?]

I’m having a very difficult time writing this paper so I’m asking anyone who’s good at philosophy to help me out. Due Tuesday 10/11, a 4 page, double spaced (Times New Roman, 12 pt) paper on the views of Sartre and Kant on freedom. Basically, you explain each philosopher’s view on freedom and then choose a side and support it. Let me know if you have any questions and thank you so much for the help! 
·         Location: New Brunswick
·         Compensation: $50 for writing the paper, and an extra $20 if I get an A
·         Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
·         Please, no phone calls about this job!
·         Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Sneaker Ad, or Sexual Rorschach Test?

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    (…Is “sexual Rorschach test” redundant?)

    I’m introducing a new topic to this blog, a subject near and dear to my heart: Making Porn out of Coconuts.  I credit defunct blogger Bitchy Jones for coining the phrase. I believe it’s inspired by Gilligan’s Island or some similar lost-on-a-desert-island story, where the survivors have make everything they need to live out of coconuts and bamboo–hence, porn out of coconuts.

     I have to make porn out of coconuts because (as longtime readers of this blog have doubtlessly surmised) I’m a little weird.  I’m hardwired differently.  I wouldn’t say that my hardwiring is wrong (though it can be problematical and inconvenient), but it is, statistically speaking, definitely atypical (I prefer not to use the word normal for a reason that has nothing to do with my being defensive). Suffice it to say that I see erotic potential where others do not, and vice verse.

    Consider the following ad for Diesel shoes, which ran in magazines (where I came across it) a few years ago–I think around 2008.  I cut it out and put it in my Coconut Porn folder.  Then I got online and found a digital copy.

    Now, I’m pretty much a pure heterosexual, so two dudes are not particularly interesting to me, but whatever.  When you make porn out of coconuts, you can’t be too picky.  This is a very weird, very provocative picture.  It’s fascinating.  I try to understand what is going on.

Miss Margo sez: don’t ever say I never gave ya anything, good reader….click to enlarge

      Think of it as a projective psych test, like the TAT.  If you were describing the events in the photo as a story, what would you say? What do you think is going on?

      I was waxing rhapsodic about the photo to an old grad school friend who asked if he could take a look.  We are very close, so I let him have a gander.  He couldn’t make hide nor hair of it and he looked vaguely disturbed.

    “Okay–this is clearly the old guy’s house,” I effused, gesturing about the photo.  “See that old-fashioned armchair, the bowling trophies, the lace curtain tops?  Definitely the old guy’s house.  The young guy is visiting–he’s a hustler, a professional.  Look at how well-groomed he is, his unusual choice of clothes. The old guy paid the young guy to come over and rough him up.  The young guy is good at it–look at that sneer on his face, the shoe on the back of his neck!”

    My friend looked at me.  His expression was kind, but it was obvious that he thought I’d lost my mind.  “Oooo—kay,” he said.  “Well, that’s interesting.”

      Yes, it is interesting.  Very interesting, indeed!  I plucked it from his hands and put it back in the Coconut Porn folder for safekeeping.  Good porn like this does not just fall out of the sky, you know!

      This ad has a following on the web.  I knew I wasn’t the only one!!!  Would do anything to know who conceptualized it and how it got approved for distribution.

P.S.  Applied for two band-aid jobs this morning.  Found opening for position as legislative assistant that sounds interesting (unlike the band-aid jobs) and I plan to apply to that one, too, after I tweak my resume a bit.