Friday, June 29, 2007

On the Supernatural

Back when my grandparents were alive, we'd cap every visit I made to Twin Oaks with a singalong. It was always on the last night, and my uncle always played, and we'd sing "I Don't Want to Play in Your Yard" and "I Love You Truly" and "The Band Played On" and, for my grandfather, "On the Banks of the Wabash (Far Away)" (because his mother was from Indiana.)

This singalong was a tacit tribute to my grandmother's childhood, which was generally acknowledged to have been of the taffy-pulling, idyllic variety (despite poverty etc.) and included vast amounts of music. We used a peculiar songbook called "Songs of the Gilded Age", which had been put out, I guess, in the late '60s and featured stylized watercolor illustrations of Gilded Age folks in the good old summertme, or at the Saint Louis World's Fair or whatever might be appropriate to a given song. The book was divided into sections, like "Places," "Travel", "Love" and "Stories." I had my own copy of the book (where either came from is a mystery) and I played from it a lot at home. I can still play "On the Banks of the Wabash" from memory, although I was never much good at accompanying myself, and my singing suffers when I play, or vice versa. I left my copy in Chicago, though, when I moved out of the dorms, and when I went back for it was told it had been thrown away.

Anyhow, after my grandmother died and she was sending signs to people left and right and things briefly became very irrational and full of possibility (my grandmother was a big fan of books like A Search for the Truth, incidentally), I opened my closet one evening and "Songs of the Gilded Age" fell out and smacked me on the head.

That was two years ago this July, and I hadn't thought of it lately. But then, yesterday, I was walking on Atlantic Avenue and noticed a thrift store that I'd never seen. Went in, and although it wasn't very good, and really overpriced, by habit I moved to the book area to check for career romances. And there, of course, was "Songs of the Gilded Age."

I didn't buy it; I hope that doesn't matter. After all, I have my own copy at home. But I can't help wondering what she's trying to say...

Along similar lines, since I've been feeling more than usually superstitious lately, I passed along a Craig's List chain letter on Wednesday, within the specified thirteen-minute time frame. I was told that if I reposted the letter, having opened it (and of course it was labeled with something ambiguous and tempting), between three and four pm of the following day, something remarkable would happen to me. They hinted that my true love would be involved.

Well, between 3 and 4 pm yesterday, I was watching "Le Doubleur" at Lincoln Plaza Cinema with my dad and a bunch of old women, so it's very probable that I missed the extraordinary happening. Or maybe it just hasn't come to my attention yet. But I'm certainly in no position to toss away true love.

I'm reading In Patagonia. Mostly because I've always been annoyed by the Moleskine inserts that proclaim "the legendary notebook of Hemingway, Renoir, and Chatwin!" and never really felt the latter had any business being in such distinguished company, even if he did demonstrate more of an attachment to the Moleskine notebook than did the other two. So, in fairness, it seemed only right to come by my prejudices more honestly - and, really, if it's an educated opinion it ceases to be a prejudice, doesn't it? (But then, where does Creationism fit in? I suppose that's the meat of the problem, really.)

Had a sad realization yesterday about the nature of eccentricity, but have forgotten it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

thurs pm

Saw my shrink today. Didn't have much to say, but his office was deliciously cool. There were loads of other patients in the waiting room, making it difficult for me to steal the ancient New York magazine on the table, for ego-boosting crossword purposes. I always want to exchange roguish, conspiratorial glances with the other patients, but they studiously avoid my gaze. Why?


Okay, it's hardly the time nor the place to get into a long-winded discussion of the social and racial differences in moviegoing behaviors. You'd think after the Skeleton Key experience, I'd know better than to try to watch a scary movie at Court Street UA multiplex. But it was so very hot, and my little fan was so very weak, and somehow I convinced myself that I was the only one in Brooklyn who had the idea of catching the 2:50 1408.

Well, as you may have gathered, the theatre was chock-a-block with middle schoolers, who spent the whole movie screaming "Oh SHIT!" at random moments, wandering in and out of the theatre and, strangest of all, breaking into spontaneous applaude whenever anything scary happened. I appreciated their enthusiasm, but it did make it hard to get really caught up.

That evening, I met a friend for Italian dinner. She was a bit delayed because of yestrday's power outages. Our waiter looked familiar to me, but I couldn't place him. My friend, Amanda, detailed her love life of late, in the process clearly revealing to me that someone needs a copy of The Rules, stat.

"Erase his number," I said sternly, not because I've read The Rules but because I am a fan of dramatic action. She was appalled. I like to think I'd practice this sort of asceticism if I ever got the chance. Of course, I did stalk The Man Who Shamed Me, but that wasn't because I was interested in him; it was because I was furious.

Anyway, after dinner she wanted a drink so we hied away to a nearby bar which I tend to avoid ever since I saw the bartender , Brian, humiliated himself at karaoke by doing a really embarrassing rendition of "The Letter" and rolling around on the floor a lot. Everyone was disgusted - because his heart clearly wasn't in it.

I walked her to the subway and bought a bag of Swedish fish. The skies opened, and I was forced (because I was wearing that white nightgown thing) to take refuge in the old-timey bar nearby.
"I'm here to take refuge from the storm," I pointedly told the bartender, just so he wouldn't think I was one of those silly girls who's taken in by his line and shows up to be flirted with.
"I figured as much," he said. "I know you don't come in here to see me. Give me some Swedish fish."
I did, and fed the jukebox a dollar: Joy Division, Velvet Underground, The Supremes.
The bartender produced a vintage umbrella, which kept me reasonably modest on the walk home.

The umbrella's really something: it's red striped, with a sort of bakelite handle. Far too nice to keep; I'll drop it by the bar tomorrow, maybe with a bag of Swedish Fish.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Apologies for the continuing heat. Against my better judgment, I got bored last night and did the Can-Can.

(Also, watched Bridge to Terabithia - not my first choice, but the only thing that would upload from tv-links, albeit with Chinese subtitles. Disappointing! Didn't feel at all like the book and was marred by forgettable pop music over all the montages. Also, the Leslie looked completely wrong.)

Man alive, it's hot. As is usual in such cases, it's the humidity that really does you in. Impossible to move above a crawl, and unpleasant to touch even the fur of the green rabbit's foot on my keychain. Sometimes heatwaves have a Gershwin soundtrack, but this one doesn't have the energy.

Last night, I wrote a strongly-worded and probably ill-advised email to my ex-boyfriend, going on about not learning from his mistakes or something. Of course I regretted it this morning, but was still annoyed when he sent me the seemingly irrelevant text message, "Post has good headline today." I was all set to berate him about his avoidance of issues, but it turned out he hadn't gotten the email at all, and we had a good talk about the new Australian meat pie place in the neighborhood. Think I'll make him a Mahler mix CD.

The Post did have a good cover. I made it out of the house about ten and walked to the place on Court Street because I know they make their iced coffee with an oversized coffee ice cube, which actually makes the coffee too strong if, like me, you take milk, but is still the sort of extra effort I appreciate. I drank it in the park with my Post and about melted. Then I dropped off my favorite pair of Deener high-waists to be made into shorts as they have a big hole in the knee, and I don't, obviously, have a sewing machine in my sublet.

While out, saw on Henry an advert for an upcoming stoop sale, featuring an illustration of a smirking man wearing a checked cap, smoking a briar pipe, and leading a fey French poodle on a leash. Will certainly go.

I am now working in the apt., but am, obviously, taking a break to write this, as it's certainly breaking news.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Let's get this going, for confessional purposes if nothing else. Lower than an angleworm's belly today. First off, terrific heat wave. I caused it, by doing the can-can. Wore a new dress: white cotton and looks exactly like a nightgown. I felt very a la mode. After the shop closed, I debated walking past the flirtatious waiter at the outdoor cafe, just so the new dress wouldn't go to waste, then gave myself a shake and realized what I'd come to. Wanted to wallow in degredation, but instead just bought some cream-top Brown Cow yogurt and an overripe avocado.

Then I came home - very stuffy - and changed the dress for a real nightie, even though it was still full daylight. Had the remains of some Thai chicken and some tapioca pudding. I watched the end of Death in Venice and was as troubled as before by Tadzio's anachronistic shag, but pleased that Dirk Bogarde was one of the liberators of Bergen-Belsen. Felt bad for Mahler, being implicated as a pedophile. Then listened to some Mahler. Read a couple of deathly depressing short stories, full of remote observations and elliptical precision. Listened several times to "Walk a Thin Line" by Fleetwood Mac, even though I normally can't abide them.

Had some heartbreak today, but you'll just have to read between the lines.