Monday, December 26, 2011

Cinema Park

The other day, some boys and I went to the batting cages on the far east side. We go to that one, even though it's a drive, because the high school boys who work the counter don't care when we show up in civvies, and hog the cages, then duck out to the bar for a bit, and come back. Also, I always get a free token from the guy. You can tell he does not really care about his job, except that it's an easy after school job where he just has to pass helmets and bats, and spend the rest of the time watching sports. I was wearing a sequin dress, and a sweater that was cut low on my shoulders which always stretches out the more hours I wear it, and by the time we got there it was pretty much falling off. I must have looked a little bit like a mess, and this time there was a little girls' little league practicing on the courts next to the cages. All the preteens were hanging out in front of the softball cage, which is the one I use because I don't like blisters, and they stared at me hitting balls for 30 minutes, stopping after every throw to hitch my sweater up so my boobs didn't fall out. I'm pretty sure their parents were less than pleased. Messy thirty year old women showing up with hipster boys in t-shirts, playing around, with bad stances.

Afterwards, we went to Fairmount to eat burgers, and on the tv was 60 Minutes. We sipped mildly fancy drinks. My dad used to watch that show religiously growing up, and because of the nostalgia factor I still enjoy it, but it's very old now. The story that came on was about the foreclosure crisis, the one big claim to fame Cleveland has now in the national news, and they interviewed people in a neighborhood who were refusing to give up their houses, despite being really underwater on the values. They showed footage from a place called Cinema Park, which was a housing development started and then abandoned when the company went bankrupt. The pictures were stark, half finished houses and acres of gas line caps. We immediately decided to go the next day. Later we went to our friends house, where an American Apparel employee christmas party was happening. All the people were incredibly weirdly thin and small, and wearing very nice clothes. We left there and went to the hipster bar, to watch Japanese skate videos and I bought 23 yr old girls shots for someone's birthday ( I was all about being the role model that day), and tried to parse out the correct french terms for military tactics used by Napoleon and then later in the Civil War. It turned out, later on FB, that everyone else had seen that foreclosure segment too, which is sort of nice, that people still watch 60 Minutes.

The next day though, we did go, found the place on google maps and went in the middle of the afternoon. This is the kind of stuff you do in Cleveland. You listen to Drake and drive around spying for things the news told you about in the place where you live. The land used to be a drive in theater, thus the name. There were a dozen houses, and people living in six of them, and the rest all empty plots. It was very gray and cold, and the sky looked like a down comforter spinning in an industrial dryer. One woman called out to us from her bedroom window, in a pink bathrobe. I could only catch half of what she was saying, but it made me feel weird, being there only to take photos of how tragic her street looked like. She was fine with it, presumably having dealt with reporters already for a while. Just don't break into any of them, she said. No problem. We understood each other, that this was just a reality of living in this city. They were boarded up tight anyways, Playmobil houses that just weren't ready to be shipped yet. The sidewalks started and ended in odd places, and there were several missing driveways. At the end of the street was a very nice large park with lots of benches, more benches than there were actual people living there. It was a park with expectations.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Malls are useless for everything, especially apocalypses and zombie attacks

It's hard sometimes, I know, to understand how anyone could be against Christmas. It's so sparkly and lit up, with bows and shiny paper and pretty dresses. Everyone goes around telling people how much they love them. Even if you don't believe in god or America, how can you be against people having a good time, right?

But listen, Randall Park Mall is how. This is the dark aftermath of Christmas, like the morning after a coke binge where even though you haven't slept at all, something in your brain clears and you wake up and realize you can't feel anything in the middle of your face but you feel the rest of your body with intensity, and you have no cigarettes left, and check out time in this hotel is in 5 minutes so you don't even have time to take a very hot shower and try to rehydrate the channels of dried snot in your sinuses. This is what consumerism has done to us, left us hollowed out wrecks of past booms sitting in the nonexistent sun, the Ohio December afternoon gloom.

Also, and I can't stress this enough, malls are the worst places to go if there is a zombie attack. There are too many entrances to defend.

Of course, the other annoying thing is if you are a white middle aged girl named Bridget, every stranger you talk to assumes you are a christian with their constant Merry Christmases, and it just reminds you over and over how racist we all are, how if you were a Turkish girl, or an Indian Girl no one would feel comfortably making that assumption. Then they ask you if you have kids, and there's a whole nother stereotype/expectation/disappointment to slam against, rubbing like onion skin against your already raw "I don't believe in god thanks" nerves.

Usually this rolls off my back like water, but this year I've had two customers at work so far get audibly mad at me for saying Happy Holidays to them instead of Merry Christmas, and seriously, fuck off then. As John Stewart said, if you want a War on Christmas, fine, it's War. You've planted the seed of bitterness in my chest, and the roots push up into my eyes every time someone says anything Christmas related to me now.

I wonder if people who aren't white but are christian get upset because people assume they can't say Merry Christmas to them?

I know if I was more militant about it to my own friends, if I actively railed against it to them, they would try to remember and keep it non-christian. But I love them more than strangers, so I forgive them their trespasses.

The Mayans came up a lot yesterday. There was some half truth internet based story about a pyramid in Georgia being identified as Mayan. It probably wasn't. But it probably is a pyramid, or something. It is lodged against the side of hill, a 1000 yr old pile of broken rubble underneath centuries of earth. Or course, it came out right around the pre-anniversary of the expected date of the end of the world, which is 12/21/2012. I feel like they could have done better with the symmetry of that number. 12/20/2012 for instance, or if you want to keep it simple, 12/12/12. Mayans are the new Y2K, or the new Leprechauns, the new Bigfoots. Someday we will hear rumours about hidden leftover Mayan tribes, somewhere in the wilds of Montana, with the secret to everlasting life hidden in a cave.  Not that the Mayans didn't actually exist at some point, but not these Mayans. These Mayans are citizens of Atlantis. They invented the telephone. They could turn dirt to gold. Their women were better at head. They were the first punk rockers. And now they are coming to destroy us all, out of revenge. Or because God told them to.

If I allow the side of me inclined to spiritual belief, the side that used to be obsessed with how Saints died, and who knew all the astrological personalities my particular Sign should have sex with, then here is what I think about the Mayan Calendar, bearing in mind no actual knowledge about the calendar other than what I've gleaned from numerous New Age crap over the past 20 years (the calendar, like the pyramid, does exist, but only as a scientific object, a relic, like an abacus or macbook). If the world resets on that date, then it will be a metaphorically End of the World, because it will be the Beginning of a New One, only in the sense that how time is measured will be different. If the very thing that creates our structured universe is how we quantify that imaginary force Time, then the end of the known calendar will be a New Universe. I like that idea, mostly because I think we could all use being reminded of the arbitrary nature of our laws every few hundred years.

Of course, if you all want to live like the world is going to burn in one year, I really encourage that. Do it. I want to see what happens. I think even if the End of the World was a government sanctioned event, verified and plotted and expected by the entire population as a thing as real as the Superbowl, I suspect most people would do nothing different. I suspect, in fact and for real, most people are already living like they assume it doesn't matter. They are still ringing up bills they can't pay for pleasures same day, and they still sleep with people they shouldn't. We tell ourselves all the time how much we are holding back because of convention, but frankly, I don't think you are. Humans are selfish and hedonistic, and inclined to getting what we want regardless. But we are also cowards, afraid of things touching our very fragile skins. So I think modern society has basically balanced out our desire versus our fear to exactly what limit we are willing to take our irresponsibilities. Which, the world is really really fucked up, right? Don't we talk about that all the time, how fucked up everything is? So why are we so loathe to believe we are at rock bottom now? We cling to the idea there is still time to stop the train before it gets there.  Some people see that as "still time to save us", but  with my perspective, it's more like "only way to go is up". Both ways are wrong. There is no more time left to save us, and there are plenty of other directions to go in that aren't up. Some of those directions are more fun than others though.

Which is pretty much how you can tell the people who are really into New Years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Honor of National Consumer Week, I Have Found KFC's new recipe

This is a chicken and waffles popover. I got the recipe from Jolie Kerr at The Awl, and my friend Melinda helped me make them last night. By help, I mean Melinda basically made them and I was her sous, because she loves to bake and will step right in and do everything for you. Which I am going to keep in mind next time I need to contribute anything for a bake sale. I imagine that will probably be never.

 Basically it's a popover made with hot sauce, coated in honey frosting and topped with fried chicken. It looks messy and weird, but it tastes transcendental. There were exactly 12 of us last night, which corresponded with the muffin tin spaces, and everyone had one, and everyone but especially me wished there had been another batch. The last few we ate right out of the oven, and the frosting, which is basically butter and honey and sugar, melted into this sticky awesome glaze. We substituted corn meal for 1/3rd of the flour, and used twice the hot sauce. For the chicken, I just used KFC popcorn chicken, because I didn't want to really fuck up my friends kitchen by making my own. I suppose if you are a immoral being driven only by pleasure with no sense of social responsibility, you could use Chik Fil A nuggets instead (I was particularly bitter about not being able to use them last night. Particularly).

 This is my Christmas present for all of you. Make these. It takes about 40 minutes, you can make them while you're a little tipsy with no issues, and everyone will think you are a)a culinary god b)exactly what's wrong with America. In fact, we should just name these American Cakes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Winter Antsiness only takes a week to kick in.

It's weird to look outside and really feel like it's winter. The ground actually has snow on it for the first time, for real. I have to be careful again with walking, I fell down the other day and ordered new boots the next day but they aren't here yet. I woke up way too early this morning, the noise is muffled and the light is brighter when there is snow everywhere, and I can never sleep in unless I'm really zonked the night before. I am sitting in a coffee shop, at a bench facing the window and the street. Across the street is a tax shop. I don't know, do you call them shops? A tax place. The lights are on, and there is a stout boy in a grey t-shirt applying white touchup paint to the window moldings, on a short silver ladder. There is a very large American Flag on a post amid the jumble of chairs and cubicles walls that have not been put together yet. Their name is on the awning, so I assume they are always there, always open, just today on a Sunday, they are repainting. I bet it is that boy's father's business. The boy has thick muppet hair that is too long, but he is painting very carefully. I really hope it is a tall fat teenage boy, and not a woman, I would feel terrible.

 One thing I like about this dark cold time of the year is that the window (and yes I hate to use that word here, you will see in a second why) the window during the day in which you can see into other people's houses (in through their windows see?) because they are all lit up and no one closes their curtains is longer, it starts at like three instead of six. I'm not some sort of creeper, but when I am driving through neighborhood streets, I like being able to glance into living rooms and see how people actually decorate their houses. Most people are horrible at it, meaning it's not really decorated at all but just filled with lots and lots of mismatched stuff they've gathered up. There is probably at least one chair they've gotten from their parents, even if they are in their late forties, I think people are very loathe to give up furniture they grew up with even though it's so much cheaper and more disposable now. There is a rocking chair at my parents house that I took with me around homes for a while, because it was the rocking chair that Dad used to sing to us in. When I was little, I used to pretend it was the very large chair from that Lily Tomlin Sesame Street sketch. I am surprised instead sometimes at how conservative the nicer houses look, as if their owners read a magazine and picked out a living room, then just bought everything in the photo. But never a photo I would choose. It help keeps down homeowners guilt, that sneaking feeling that people over 30 shouldn't be living month to month in apartments still, when you look at other houses and you don't want to live there. The exception to this is my friend Camilla's house, it's so very close to how it would look if I lived there, that I feel a weird sense of ambition to actually clean and decorate, to prove I would pick cool colors too. But my apartment walls are still cream colored like they were when I moved in years ago. And I'm so done with that place, cleaning is actually too much to ask at this point.

 Do you remember how tricked out cars used to be underlit with bright neon greens and blues, reds and purple. I love that. I miss that. I would also, if I believed in my car enough, love to have flashy spinners. I am destined to be a weirdly dressed old lady. I suspect my entire wardrobe this winter is going to be sweater dresses and sequin dresses. Wearing sequins during the day is the best time, because it shines so much in the sunshine. I feel the same way about my tiara, but its harder to pull that off without looking infantile, so I don't wear it as much as I would like. I wanted to snow paint today, but it melted too much, so that will have to be saved for a harder snow. Instead I tried to write for a few hours here, but you see how loose my thoughts are today? It's next to impossible to concentrate. I drank too much coffee. So I guess we're off to the batting cages now. I wish there was somewhere to see fireworks tonight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

- a Higgs field of my very own, to cuddle and squeeze and force into a condensed quantum liquid which will bestow mass upon all the fundamental particles in the universe - to have all Christmas songs replaced by that one Mariah Carey Christmas song, which is the very best Christmas song of all (except O Come O Come Emmanuel, which I feel guilty about singing cause I don't believe in God, but I do believe that watching Love Actually 15 times in a row will lead to mental and spiritual enlightenment.) - to start playing racquetball on Mondays - a nail polish that never chips ever, so I can stop feeling like a weird hobo girl every time I spontaneously go out without remembering to repaint my nails. Also I would like my toenails just dyed permanently. - World Peace, as long as that still means I can get all the things I love from other hemispheres, like coffee and oranges and birth control. - 17,000 cameras - a rose daffodil hybrid that grows in January - an albino Australian shepherd (dog)(I would probably accept an actual shepherd too) - the first human contact with alien life forms, also please I would like them to have already figured out English. - A really really really good story from New Years Eve. - 3 dozen lavender meringue drops and a very expensive imported absinthe and... those flavor changing pills that every one seems to have forgotten about, I assume because they aren't that great, but I didn't get to try them so c'mon now. - bluer eyes - a house made of stained glass, way up somewhere in the mountains but also in the South and also very nearby an ocean not a lake (lakes that aren't actually inland seas like the Great Lakes never seem to clean to me, I think because the waves and wind never get high enough) - Belgium. The Country. - one week in Texas with this one particular guy - fake eyelashes made of mink fur - full body heating pad - to see the Northern lights. Preferably with the full body heating pad. Or in Texas, that would be pretty amazing too.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Across the Field

When they were little, on the last day before the fall semester of school started, Abby's mother used to take them to the state park with the glacier rocks. At the top of the park was a huge large beyond her little kid mind grass field. She thought it must have been at least several miles around. They would take the family dog, a black shepherd that used to be a show dog before they adopted her. Pepper was the dog's name, and she would round up all the kids like ducks, because it was how she had been taught to be useful. Mother would pack a picnic lunch, nothing involving charcoal or grilling, but sandwiches and chips and pop, all the things they were not allowed to have at home. Later after lunch, they would walk down the path to the canyons of dark moss colored boulders stacked on top of each other, pushed and shoved out of the earth by prehistoric ice and they would climb like goats through the tight little spaces and slip and slide on the perpetually moist canyon walls. There was a cave, they called it Icebox Cave, and if you stood at the entrance on a hot August day, the frozen breath of god would cool you down. She was a fat little kid, so she liked this part of the walk best, standing in the cold cave wind, daring herself to go back as far as she could without a flashlight. She was also a wussy little kid, so that wasn't very far. 

She took her boyfriend here because it was the prettiest spot she knew of, far enough out to feel like the middle of nowhere even though it was only forty minutes from the city. It felt odd coming there without a dog, so they took her mother's dog. He was not a brave dog. She wondered why all the small things her mother raised were so timid when they were younger. Her mother was not intimidating, was certainly loving and attentive. But every dog she had was kind of a lame dog. The one right now was a German shepherd, and she had read somewhere that all German shepherd puppies went through two stages of fear imprinting, one at 8 weeks and one at 8 months. During this time they were easily spooked or startled, because it was supposed to teach them that things which were sudden were not to be feared. It was supposed to make them brave dogs who did not easily frighten on the battlefield or the city street. She thought if she was a puppy, she would go nuts in on these rocks, all these crazy rotting forest smells, all the yummy wetness and crevices and new things around every corner. This puppy was not having it. He refused to go down the steep steps carved into the rock by the park service, she had to pick him up and carry him down, which was not easy . A 7 month old German shepherd is the size of a small child. And really, it just convinced her yet again she should never have kids, if she couldn't muster up empathy for this poor frightened child who didn't want to risk breaking legs or go into the scary unknown things, when all she wanted to do was push him mercilessly into it and force him to have fun. Worst maternal instincts ever. 

They went into the Icebox Cave, which never got warm never ran out always stayed cold, and here the puppy relaxed and even got excited for a moment, snuffling his nose into all the pooled cave water on the floor, overthrowing entire protozoan civilizations with his tongue. Every animal is calmed down, sedated by the kind of cold air that only comes from really deep down unknown rocks. It's being held against something bigger than you. Her boyfriend went all the way into the back of the cave, until even he couldn't squeeze between the slimy walls. She wasn't wearing the right kind of shoes to wade through the muddy pools. He said he saw a snake back there in the water, and she got her socks wet trying to see it too, but it was too dark or the snake was gone by then. 

It was on the next trail, the one heading back up to the field, that the dog got loose. Abby was holding his leash, but suddenly he wriggled out of it, and ran off into the woods. Billie immediately went off after him, but  a puppy is a puppy, and a grown man is not. Within minutes he was gone. They chased him until they lost sight of him, and Abby sat down on a log crying. Mom was going to kill her. He didn't even bother to reassure her. They set off in different direction, both calling his name. It took her away from the canyons into flat Ohio forest - all the deciduous leaves lying flat and colorless in the afternoon heat. She strained her eyes trying to pick out his brown and black fur from all the branches and trees and it was like a magic eye puzzle where if you just focused and unfocused, hopefully you saw a mermaid riding a gingerbread train, or a dolphin doing math, only all she wanted to see was a little puppy, and if she did find him, goddamnit they were putting a bright construction yellow collar on him.

Maybe she was walking for an hour or two before she noticed that the sun was going down. She tried calling Billie on her cell, but there was no reception. Probably she should head back, but she didn't want to. Couldn't stand the idea of that poor dog alone out there at night, eaten by coyotes, shot by hunters, hungry and wussy. Probably whimpering. He always fell asleep at 9pm, was upset if Mom went to bed any later than that. She had to stop crying, it was making it hard to see in the dusk. She came upon an open clearing as the last bit of sun was setting, and in the distance across the field were the lights of a house. She figured her best bet was to call Billie from the house and have him pick her up on the road. She started to pick her way across the muddy clumps of wild grass and groundhog divots, filled with failure.

Nobody was answering the doorbell, but all the lights were on. She tried her cell again, and this time it rang through, and oh thank god he had the dog, the stupid thing had run back to the cave. She walked to the mailbox and looked at a piece of their mail to get the address so he could GPS it. The Hunters on Peasley Rd.

Whoever lived here had put up their Christmas lights, but instead of glowing santas and strands of blinking white lights, there were instead four giant stained glass birds. They were positioned across the front yard like soldiers, and were beautiful, radiating jeweled shadows across the yard, their blank black eyes benignly watching her.

20 minutes later, still no Billie. She tried him again, but kept being put straight to voice mail.
When she looked back at the house, all the lights still on, the birds seemed closer to her. She decided no one was home anyway, and sat down next to the blue one, putting her hand on the paper and glass sides. The bird was warm, and she could see from his perspective that he had a very good view of the surrounding road and landscape. You are a guard bird, she said out loud to him, and it seemed like his side got noticeably warmer. I will sit here all night next to you and be safe, right? You will protect me from the trolls and coyotes and giant catfish and 17 yr old homophobic football players, and crazy christian republicans and   weird meth head hippies and most importantly keep me safe from serial killers, because I'm sure there are serial killers just roaming the rural country spaces. It seems like the best place to practice murdering people, where the houses are far apart and no one will hear you scream or expect you to already be in their house. I could never live out there, surrounded by just dark field and trees, it's too exposed, it's scary, it's dangerous. And I know, that seems stupid, people think it's safer because it's less people, and supposedly better people right? But I bet, Bird, if they did studies on small places like this, the murder percentage over say, like, a hundred years is higher. I bet more people get away with it too. I feel like in the city at least I have someplace to run to if I get attacked. And there are lights and businesses and cars. I haven't seen a single car go by at all. It is cold too. Cold and dark, and I wonder why no one is answering in the house but they have all their lights on, I wonder if they left them on when they went on vacation, I remember Mom used to do that and she got so much shit from Dad about it, but I'm with her, I think it's better to make people think you are home, they are less inclined to notice you are not.

Still no Billie almost an hour later. Abby looked back at the house, which she had been sitting with her back towards. The porch was so inviting, it would be so much nicer to sit in the light and on the cement steps instead of out here with the lawn decorations in the cold mud, invisible. But something held her back. There was just, what, an invisible tug at her legs to stay put. That's stupid, she thought, this is stupid. If they were home and they find me, good, that's what I want. Also maybe Billie won't be able to see me when he finally shows up, and what the hell Bill, where are you? So she stood shakily, the pins and needles in her calves being sort of a relief after sitting still so long and cold and actually in a state of fear which she didn't even recognize yet but her heart was racing and her muscles preternaturally tensed. The calf which was asleep was terribly painful and awesome. She walked on it hard over to the porch, curling and uncurling her toes in her sneakers. She tried to look in the upper part of the downstairs windows, but she was too short and the windows too high. She listened. It was quiet and still. The curtains were bright yellow with red polka dots in sort of an abstract pattern, which made sense because it would probably be some retired art teacher or graphic designer, to have put out such weird lawn decorations.

Billie did finally show up. The puppy was asleep in the backseat, innocent and fuzzy and dirty. He said the road had been impossible to find on his GPS, so he had resorted to just driving around looking for the birds. He told her that the street name she had given him from the mail was not in fact the street they were on now, was actually Elmira street. That's weird, he said, why would they have a different address on their mail?  And why are all their lights on? I don't know she said, there isn't anyone home I don't think. He walked up to the door and tried to knock loudly, peered through the tops of the windows. Shit, Abby, call 911, he said panicked. Why? What? She tugged at his arm, but he was trying to break open the door, so she called 911, and waited in his car like he insisted. Apparently the owners were home.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


When the sirens went off in the neighborhood, blaring from the loudspeakers in the school parking lot, but loud enough to reach a 7 block radius at least, enough to overlap with the next school's territories, all the schools sitting in their low beige ranch squats like stoic and old watchdogs ( had indeed been watching over us since childhood and now as adults we hovered around them unable to separate from the cord, bought our houses around them, searched them out as signs of a "good neighborhood"), when the sirens went off, it was at first more of an inconvenience. Having to get up out of bed and put clothes on with that noise in your ears, not knowing what was happening or being awake enough to have the adrenalin of panic, that was just such a pain. Then there was the matter of heading out into the cold and being surrounded by your neighbors who you took such care to not get to know every day. Now  we had to interact with them, were being made to by necessity. It sucked.

Everyone met up in Gerard's backyard, because we just instinctively guessed that probably he would be the one in charge. His natural reticence and demeanor of perpetual annoyance, the way his lips only barely moved when he talked, and how he insisted on eye contact, glared at you when you checked your phone in front of him, which is frankly ridiculous in this day and age.  It must have reminded all of us of a natural childhood source of authority, like a teacher or priest or parent. So we turned our tired bare faces towards him, and let him take charge. If he minded at all, he never let on.

It did however take him a minute to understand the reason we were all on our phones was not that we were being rude, but that we were desperately checking the nets and the boards for information on why the sirens might be going off. That part didn't seem to concern him, he took it as a matter of fact that the sirens would be going off for a while, and that the reason didn't matter, but the action did. He insisted on head counts, and sent off people to go door to door looking for stragglers. It was generally agreed upon that we should head as a group to the school, where Gerard presumed there would be some sort of military or at least police presence waiting. Several of the rest of us thought this seemed doubtful, but we were not in charge, and we accepted this, like we accepted waiting for cable companies or overdraft fees, two year cell phones contracts. So after rounding up everyone, we started en masse for the school, which was only a few blocks away, but, as Gerard argued, there might be dangers on the way, we should stay together.

There was no one at the school. We could hear faintly in the distance the sirens going off from another school, so we knew it wasn't a mistake, but they must have been on an automatic system. Nobody had a key to get into the school, so we stood there exposed in the parking lot, waiting for Gerard to make a decision. Several of us, the phone people were now a separate party from the other older people, we stood off by ourselves and discussed what his decision might be. We thought probably the best thing to do might be to get back inside somewhere, sheltered and hidden, stock up on water and food in one place. Whatever was happening, it wasn't as immediate as bombs, we hadn't seen or heard anything to suggest bombs. If it was poisoned gas or something biochemical, then we were all fucked anyway, but maybe less fucked if we were inside and sealed up, but probably fucked cause if you seal up all the windows then eventually you lose air but also how would you know it was a biochemical agent until you all started dying? What we needed was news, and one by one we were losing reception on our phone carriers. The thing to do was assume this was a danger that was far away and wouldn't touch us for a while, and take advantage of this time to prepare and gather up supplies.

Gerard disagreed. Very quietly, very stoically, with that emotionless presence of eyebrows, he stated we should stay put and wait for someone. So we did.

We waited for hours. Someone went home and got lanterns and some blankets, against Gerard's wishes, but it was Claire who had her kids with her and she wasn't about to listen to anyone tell her that her kids had to freeze in the cold for no discernible reason. But then, she came right back, because Claire was a responsible person who believed in the inherent rightness of authority. Which was starting to seem weird to me, but then again, sometimes the swirls in my caramel latte seem weird to me, so its best to not say much until I've really thought something through completely. We sat against the brick walls of the building in the shadows as the sun started to come up over the tops of our vinyl sided bungalows, and glint off the peaks of our black glittering fake slate roofs. The neighborhood seemed so peaceful and calm, and I remembered how I used to run in the morning sometimes in college, before Pete and I had bought this house because he got the IT job a suburb over. I used to live in the city then, not a large city but more asphalt and brick stories than you ever saw out here in the middle of suburbia. When I lived with two other girls in a third floor walkup, and I would sometimes wake up really early on a Saturday, take a very hot shower and tie my hair back without drying it, dress warmly in yoga pants I never used for yoga and large heavy sweaters, lace up my favorite pair of blue and white Pumas I had bought on a trip with my mom to the outlet mall, and then run leisurely, without purpose, around the deserted city streets. Even the pigeons still seemed asleep, and I would count the number of bikes still chained up from the night before around the only college bar in town, and speculate about who had ended up where. I wanted very much to take off running now. I was only wearing regular sneakers now, and I hadn't done any action that even approximated running in years and years. But I could feel all the old muscles itching for it.

It was around 8am, sun up almost all the way now, that the first grumblings of mutiny towards our fearless leader could be heard. I was surprised it hadn't started in our group, but instead in the parents group, led by Claire's husband, whose kids were the loudest and most persistent in their complaints about no Saturday morning cartoons and no waffles and no warmth. If I had been that kind of kid, my mother would have insisted in the status quo even harder, and I wonder when that exact shift takes place in our heads, when I learned how to get what I wanted by not asking for it. For me I think it may have been in my late 20s, but I'm sure my sister learned it when she was 6. The two of them, Gerard and Mr. Claire, could be seen arguing in the corner of the yard, or rather Mr. Claire could be seen getting very heated and Gerard's expression never changed, only he stood square on both his legs, as if subconsciously bracing for an oncoming wind. Eventually Mr. Claire saw he was getting nowhere, and walked back to his family, then without a word to the rest of us, just left.

It was if a tiny hole had been poked in a balloon, and we all started leaking out one by one. The ones with kids went back first. Then Karl and his girlfriend left. One by one all the non family people - old people last, but following their younger neighbors, till it was just me and Pete and Gerard left, standing in the bright mid morning parking lot, the sky sunny and dotted with happy clouds, the temperature rising up to the 60s. The sirens were still blaring, though at this point I had to focus my ears to pick them out, our brains had naturally muted them over the exposure of going on 8 hours we had been standing out here. Or, more likely, we had damaged our eardrums permanently. The weather was so nice, it conflicted with the tension and sense of failure sitting in our chests, which I squarely blamed on the government. We had done exactly as they had told us to, during so many school assemblies and town meetings. When you hear the sirens, gather up your community and head for the safe space. But here we were, we had been here half frozen and brains scrambled by noise for the whole night, and we still knew nothing more and no one had come to help, and now the only sensible thing left to do was to go home surely even Gerard could see that now Pete argued. But no, he was determined. He would do exactly what he had been told to. So Pete and I we left. We went home. Everything was the way we had left it, lights on and water running. Claire waved at us from across the street where she was taking advantage of the sunny day to rake leaves. We didn't speak about what had happened. The tv and news and internet all seemed to suggest nothing at all in fact had happened.

The sirens continued for another two days. We wore earplugs and treated it like a vacation, no one went to work, Ms. Hunter had a potluck and I made my oatmeal raisin cookies that I always made for the bake sales. It was sort of a treat to make them just to enjoy and eat. The mood in the whole neighborhood seemed happier and more united, as if we had survived some sort of obstacle together. The thorn in this was obstinate Gerard who refused to leave the school parking lot. We brought him our tent from the Yellowstone trip, and food. We started to laugh about how stupid he was being.

On the third day the swarm came. It darkened the skies like a thunderstorm, and then like never ending night. We were all stuck inside our houses, frantically taping up our windows and vents, while the creatures devoured everything everything everything outside. When they had eaten all the plants, they went after the wildlife. I saw a possum being chased into a corner, and then eaten alive, until all that was left were bones, broken and white against the garage door. The phone lines worked for a little bit, but it turned out we didn't have any of our neighbor's numbers, and eventually those went out as well. I saw someone, I think Mr. Claire, try to drive out, their cars were kept in a garage adjacent to the house. But the creatures got into the engine almost immediately, flew up through the air vents, and devoured him trapped in the car. They were at once the smallest and the biggest things I had ever seen. They were not locusts, it was impossible to trap one long enough to examine it, they immediately starting eating themselves if there was nothing else organic to chew on, it was soul less, automatic, and terrifying to watch. The street outside, which had been so pretty and treelined, was now dust and asphalt. And now that almost everything was gone, I thought it would only be a day or two before they learned to chew through the window frames. If we didn't run out of air before that. We weren't scientists, we had no idea when that would happen, after the second day we became vaguely aware that it would for sure happen, and without discussing it, both started watching our breathing, trying to keep it short and shallow and economical. One day we did nothing but fuck for hours, in a grip of fear and panic and anger. Afterwards we lay there, guiltily aware we had traded that action for probably hours of one of our lives. I secretly hoped Pete would go first, so I would have a few minutes longer to live.

Pete remembered that you could put lime in water, and it would absorb CO2 from the air, which was the thing that really got you, the CO2 you produced in breathing out building up until the concentration killed you. But we didn't have any lime, and I hated him for it.

Day 6, they left. We waited to be sure. Then Claire sent out their dog, to test it out. Nothing happened, nothing chased it. It seemed clear. We walked outside, and even though it was gutted and filled with the dust of everything dead, it seemed wonderful to breathe fresh air. We checked on everyone. Ms. Hunter was gone, they had gotten in somehow. But she seemed to be the only casualty, she and Mr. Claire. Until we remembered Gerard. Three, we said to ourselves, as we walked to the school yard to look for his bones.

He was dehydrated, but fine. Apparently the point of gathering at the schoolyard was a force field around the whole thing. No one had told us. Pete immediately knocked him out, which everyone was fine with, cause frankly, he was going to be insufferable from now on. We didn't kill him, but it took a while before we could convince Claire to let him out of her basement.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Since I Can't Actually Talk Right Now, I'm Just Going to Post a Lot Today

Story from Gawker
Renderings from Talkitect

One of my friends posted this to facebook, and so now you can go read the Gawker story, and then read the Talkitect story, and then we can talk about this. But we're going to talk about it here and not on facebook, cause facebook acts like a prism. It catches the immense complexity that is your personality, and breaks it down into easily digestible and simplistic singular features. Like, you're a misogynist at this moment. Or you're a illogical patriot. Or you are a sentimental fool who is overly attached to pets he doesn't actually own. Facebook is like being drunk and 12 all the time.

Now, there are two ways we can have this argument. The first way is you can tell me that you just don't like this design, by itself, for no other reason, and I will probably try to tie in the idea of saving ground space, mention a nostalgic association with Tetris, you'll call it trite and probably know more about architecture than me, we'll agree to disagree.

The second way is you tell me this design is offensive because it looks like 9/11...
After my head explodes, and I take a moment to compose myself, so I don't start ranting to you about my own personal political beliefs about global warfare, after I bite my tongue straight through to resist screaming to you about how offended I am by what you assholes did to my country in the name of Homeland Security, which is by the way The Most Creepy Name for Anything Besides The Cloud, then here's what I have to say about this building.

First of all, I think it's pretty. I think it's the kind of building that I would go and eat my lunch under, and stare up at the pixel windows and the little cube corners. It looks like it could fall on me at any moment, and all the splinters of the corners would slice like falling icicles but shatter and then melt, sort of like ice bullets? and I love that. The inside renderings look amazing too. I would want to live in this building. Maybe, since it's gonna be in Korea, someday I can.

Second, here is what I don't understand about 9/11. I get why it's a big deal for the people who lived in NYC, and the people who had family and friends involved, or people they loved in the military. It was a terrible tragic thing that happened. But it was not the first, the last, or the worst terrible tragic thing, and it doesn't really affect me that much. Maybe this is a generational thing, but I don't feel a difference between hearing about a bombing in NYC versus a bombing in Dubai or London. I have the same number of friends in London currently that I do in NYC. If I don't actually think about it, the distance from me feels the same. I think that since we are all human beings, we should feel just as affected by mass death in another country as we are in our own, and then also the corresponding consequence of that is if I'm hearing about mass death all around the world constantly, then I guess I just take it in a little more stride, even when it's in my own country. Someone on FB said this design would have been great, BEFORE 9/11, and this is my first thought to that "But there were buildings blown up before?"

So if this was being built in NYC, I would totally understand the offense. But since it's not...I don't understand the problem. It doesn't occur to me at all. Like, if Gawker hadn't pointed it out to me, I don't know that I would have ever looked at it and thought 9/11.

I mean, so I guess, are you offended by any design that references bombs or war or violence at all? Cause, you know, okay cool, valid preference. But I'm not. I accept violence in my world, because it exists, explosions exist, also clouds that gather around really tall buildings exist,and so you argue that this building looks like a bomb blast or a pollution cloud, and you know what both of those things look like real clouds, so do real clouds offend your sensibilities as well?

So maybe the worst thing that 9/11 did to you, assuming like me you knew no one personally involved, is that when you look at this you think of that, instead of just regular water clouds. And if does indeed do that to you, wouldn't it be great to reclaim that image as something peaceful and beautiful?

Also I feel really bad for people in America who have that birthday. That's totally unfair.

Alright, let's get back into the swing of things here by being really sick

So after this, my 1800th time getting strep throat and my second time having that strep make a run for the border of scarlet fever paradise, I'm tired of having this conversation with the doctor:

Me: I have strep throat, I need antibiotics
Doctor: Well...have you been exposed to anyone with strep?
Me: No
Doctor: So it's pretty unlikely you have it. Let me now lecture you for ten minutes on how colds and nasal drip can affect your throat, and ask you a bunch of dumb questions like is it worse in the morning...have you had a cold lately...are you blowing your nose a lot?
Me: No.
Doctor: alright, let's go see if that test is done... *leaves the room practically shaking her head*
Comes back with a worried look on her face and another doctor with her.
2nd Doctor: "okay, so you have scarlet fever. I'm going to give you an antibiotic and it's really important you take it right away and if this get's worse even a little you need to go to the emergency room."
Me: "Can I please just have a renewable lifetime prescription?"

It's time to get my tonsils taken out, since they are just a nefarious strep farm now. I feel pretty confident I can get a doctor referral on it, and I should get it done now while I still have health insurance. It's a pretty terrifying thought for me though, I've never had anything cut out of me before. Well, I had a cervical biopsy once, but that was nothing, like a pinch, certainly no general anesthesia. Can you wake up while they are cutting out your tonsils? My friend woke up during her c-section, and that's pretty much the most nightmarish thing I can think of, except me waking up while they are sawing my throat in half. Like, how do you breathe when they are doing throat surgery? Wouldn't all the blood and goop clog up your nose too? I wonder if they could remove my wisdom teeth at the same time? Last time I took Eddy to the vet, they did all sorts of extra stuff to her when they had her sedated for her teeth cleaning. Can't it just be a package deal like that? And why does it all have to be mouth centric? I have a really small mouth. It's really difficult and painful to go to the dentist, cause it's basically like being made to swallow my fist for an hour. Two surgeries both having to do with the back of my mouth? I don't know how they are even going to begin to start without cutting out my tongue first.

The rest of the week before this was great. There was a cookie exchange party, and then Brandy night, and Sunday started with brunch in Ohio City, included a very long time hanging out at Mango's with pitchers of mojitos, and ended at 2am in Akron watching a band at Annabelle's. Monday Carrie and I drove to Pittsburgh to see Yacht, which was an amazing show and I danced a lot, a lot a lot, like more so than usual probably cause I was drunk. Then everyone else passed out and I ended up around the corner at the bar manager's ghetto apartment watching Freddy Got Fingered with his judo dummy till 3am. So of course my mom, and probably you too, is reading this going "well yeah, this is how you got sick", but you know what, if that was true, I would be sick all the time.....oh wait.....
Fuck these tonsils, their days are numbered.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Seriously At This Moment Couldn't Give Less of a Fuck

Right now the sky has a weird yellowish tint to it, like the normal blue/gray got dirty or pissed itself. Even creepier, there is no wind at all, the air is just sitting there completely still. I feel like a house may fall on me at any moment.

This blog follows a cycle. Sometimes I'll look at my last couple posts and feel awesome about them. Other times, like now, I see a lot of lists, lazy writing, a lot of overemotional crazy talk, and I really really want to be on a beach somewhere in a world where blogs, first dates, applications, references, and facebook no longer exist. I know this world is real, I think it's called Uruguay.

I've been writing other things besides this blog for two weeks straight, but it's mostly over now, at least for a week until the next round of deadlines, and I'm burned out. This weekend I'm going to bake some cookies, drink some brandy, go to Pittsburgh and see a band, and I'm going to forget this site exists at all till next week. When hopefully I have something more than hormones, stress, and hemingway complexes to talk about. Happy fucking ice cold December.