Friday, July 30, 2004


I got an e-mail from Barbara Boxer today.  We're pen pals because I communicate with my representatives all the time.  They work for us, you know, at least, those of us who bother to vote, and so I like to share my opinions on various issues and let them know what I'm thinking - a little guidance on the important issues.  She's totally got my vote in November by the way - Senator Boxer is doing a most excellent job.  So now I'm on her e-mail list and she lets me know about the things she thinks I might be interested in too.

Like this e-mail today about how the technology they use to predict earthquakes, while not perfected, has been greatly improved and the prediction is that there will be a major earthquake in the Southern California desert sometime before September.  It's been ten years since the last "major" earthquake and so, while I remember being traumatized back in 1994, I have stopped with the vigilant, just-in-case behavior.  Like sleeping in pajamas with a pair of steel toed work boots by my bed - just in case.  Like having door locks on my cabinets to prevent all of my dishes and glassware from flying across the room.  Like making sure that I have batteries on hand for flashlights and radio so I can see and hear what's going on.

I have lived in Southern California all my life so the threat of "the Big One" is omnipresent in my consciousness.  It's like the boogie man and every time the earth moves I wonder if this one is it.  I am not and will never be blase about earthquakes the way some of my fellow natives can be.  The first earthquake I remember occurred in 1971 when I was just a little kid.  The earthquake hit in the morning early enough that it was light out but my dad was still walking around in his underwear, getting ready for work.  It was a 6.7 and it's epicenter was the San Fernando Valley.  We lived in Long Beach, about 25 miles south.  When the earthquake hit it was the noise that woke me up.  Earthquakes make the weirdest and most distinctive noise that starts low and far away and then overtakes you.  And they come on quick like someone sneaking up behind you and hissing in your ear.  Even though I was a kid I remember being awakened by the sound and sitting up in bed, very alert and frightened.  The next thing I knew my bed which was on caster wheels was flying around the room, sliding on the tile floor, bouncing off the walls and the furniture like a bumper car.  I remember my father coming in and grabbing me and taking me to stand in the doorway, because that's what you're supposed to do, stand in the doorway where there is supposedly better structural support.

Which is all well and good unless you're in a liquifaction zone.  When the Loma Prieta earthquake hit in Northern California in 1989 it was a 7.1 and there were houses in the Marina district that sank into the ground because they were in a liquifaction zone.  If you have ever stood on the sand at the beach at the point where the waves ebb and flow and marched up and down in place, that hole that you found yourself standing in was the result of liquifaction.  Where water and sand are mixed together via pounding and the sediment turns to soup.  They found the bodies of the people who lived in those houses standing in the doorway of their home holding each other buried beneath the failed foundation of their homes.  That earthquake hit in the early evening.  We were watching a baseball game that was being played at Candlestick park on TV, you could see the stadium bouncing up and down and hear the announcers freaking out and then the transmission signal was cut.  We knew it was big because right after the TV signal was lost we felt the earth shuddering - and we were over 500 miles south.  That was the closest thing to the "Big One" that I ever saw.  Bridges and freeways collapsed.  Specifically the Bay Bridge collapsed.  It's a bi-level bridge with traffic moving one way on the top and the other way on the bottom and the top collapsed onto the bottom.  People were trapped in their cars, under rubble, suspended over water.  That's pretty much my worst nightmare.  About the only thing worse would be to be driving in a tunnel underwater, in a traffic jam, when a big earthquake hits and have it collapse.

But that earthquake was far away and I experienced it through pictures and through the accounts of my friends that live in San Francisco and the surrounding areas that were affected.  I had no idea what a really big earthquake felt like until January 1994 when the Northridge earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the richter scale, hit at 4:30am.  I was awake because my 22 pound cat, Peaches felt it coming and went tearing across the bed at full speed and into the closet.  That startled me awake so that I heard that sound, like a train if you're sitting on the tracks, and before I could think or move it hit and everything in the room seemed to be airborn all at once.  I tried to get to the doorframe of the closet across the room but the floor was moving up and down and I kept falling down.  It wasn't a rolling motion like previous earthquakes I remembered.  Everything was moving up and down like King Kong had picked up our house and was shaking it like a ketchup bottle.  It was violent.  I could hear glass breaking from all over the house and all I could say was "fuck" over and over as I tried to get to the closet where I kept my flashlight.

And some clothes and shoes - because I was butt naked and there was glass all over my carpet from where the computer screen had shattered.

When it finally stopped I stood in front of my closet which had exploded with every bit of crap that was in there when I opened the door, running in circles, in the glass, because I couldn't find anything buried in all that stuff.  My bedroom door opened and there stood my roommate dressed in a t-shirt and Doc Marten's.  Behind her was a white dusty fog rising from the chunks of plaster that came from the walls downstairs.  She made me stop running in the glass and got me focused on finding shoes and clothing.  We got our other roommate from her room downstairs where she was attempting to light her was with a CANDLE! and since there was no elecricity and none of us had batteries or a battery powered radio to put them in we went outside and sat in the car and listened to the radio there as the transformers on the electrical poles in the neighborhood exploded up and down the street.

All the people on the radio could say was that it was a really big earthquake, Cal Tech's initial estimates were that it appeared to be centered in the valley where there were fires shooting out of the ground and that it could be as big as 7.0.  Damage and injury reports were starting to come in.  An apartment building in Northridge had collapsed.  The Santa Monica Freeway had collapsed at Fairfax - about a mile down the street from our house.  As we sat there my friend Ray roared up in his bright red Porsche.  I noticed he was wearing leather driving gloves and his blond girlfriend sat in the front seat in her skimpy pajamas.  The image was surreal, but he was so sweet - coming to check on us to make sure we were okay.  And we were.  It was our house that was trashed.

And it seemed it was only our house.  As all the neighbors came out to check on each other they all reported that there was minimal damage in their homes.  Apparently ours was the only kitchen where the cupboards projectile vomited their contents.  The neighbors all came in and ooohed and ahhhed over the mess of spices and glass and fine crystal that ended up blended on the floor of our front hallway - 20 feet from where those respective things had lived in the kitchen.  And we were the only ones who had chunks of plaster fall out of our walls revealing the chicken wire and framing beneath.  We rented our house, a spanish style 2-story in a neighborhood of similar tract homes built in the 20s with a swimming pool in the backyard shaped like a wine bottle.  It was charming - but for some reason it was also the hardest hit on the block.  It could be because the landlord never repaired anything and it was only one of many that he had purchased and fixed up cosmetically.  We sent my roommate's boyfriend into the little basement where the water heater was, to see if there were any gas leaks, the weeny wanted to know why he had to go - because you're a man - and when he came back up with the a-ok he brought up a knob that he found down there that had a swastika on it.  Apparently something in our basement was original equipment and imported from Germany - over 45 years prior.

We bonded with all of our neighbors that day - some of them people we had never said so much as hello to in the year that we'd lived there.  One of them had a gas stove and he let everyone come over and make something to eat because the rest of us were cooking with electricity - and there was none.  My roommate, the one who had it so together that morning and helped me put my shoes on, fell apart completely as the day wore on and the aftershocks, some as big as 5.5 kept hitting.  We had no electricity until the next day and no phones for a day or two longer and we didn't want to leave because we kept expecting something bigger and more horrible to happen.  My cat didn't emerge until late that night and I held him as I sat awake all night waiting.

In the days following the earthquake I went to bed fully dressed with my shoes and a flashlight right by the bed.  I had a full supply of batteries in a bag by the bed next to the portable radio.  The stuff that didn't get broken in the earthquake sat on the floor.  All the pictures were off the wall, sitting on the floor, leaning against the walls.  For weeks after the earthquake people would not wait for lights if it meant their car would be sitting under a freeway overpass.  They waited on the other side of the overpass and the people behind them did not care, because they didn't want to sit there under a huge slab of cement either. 

But as the months passed I became less jumpy.  I stopped binge eating cheetos in the grocery store aisles and hording canned goods - just in case.  My pictures are hanging on the walls and I have flowers in vases again.  I don't know where my flashlight is.  I don't know if I have enough batteries to make the boombox that sits, covered in dust in the closet play.  I often fall into bed sans pajamas and while there are shoes littering the floor by my bed they are mostly high heels and sandals.  I never have any cash on me and I often let the gas gauge on my car go all the way to 'E' before I fill up.

But Barbara's e-mail today has nudged my subconscious.  The place where all the fear is stored from traumas long gone.  I'm stocking up on bottled water and getting some cash to keep in the house.  The car gets filled up when the tank is half gone and I will get a stash of cash to have on hand.  I will pull on at least a t-shirt before I fall into bed and make sure the flashlight is by my bed with fresh batteries installed.  The boombox will be dusted and placed somewhere that it will not be buried by closet crap.  

Just in case. 

Thursday, July 29, 2004


The take down took place right outside my bedroom window.  I had taken narcotics to sleep because my migraine was still hanging out so as I floated up to consciousness I wasn't sure who the hell was making all that noise at 3 o'clock in the g.d. morning.  I could hear a woman yelling and so I thought perhaps it was the tweaker upstairs.  Then I heard a couple guys yelling and thought maybe it was drunk guy who lives next door coming home with some friends.

But then I began to comprehend what was being yelled, and my inconsiderate neighbors don't yell things like, "Keep your hands where I can see them" or "Get down on your knees.  Lie down on the ground.  NOW!"  I slithered across my bed and peeked out my window where I saw a white Ford Focus pulled into the parking spot not 5 feet from my apartment.  And it most definitely didn't belong there.  I also saw at least six police officers, one of them a woman, with their guns drawn on a guy who wasn't quite under their control yet.  Something was definitely wrong - none of these people should be this close to where I sleep. 

I slithered back under the covers and in my opiate haze wondered if perhaps it wouldn't be better for me to crawl down the hall to the guest room where bullets, should they be fired, wouldn't accidentally blow through my wall, pierce my spine and leave me paralyzed, or dead.  Apparently I had missed the arrival of the white car and the three police cars and I had no idea how this episode of Cops came to be playing out in my own backyard.  But my bed was super comfy and I didn't want to miss anything.  You know besides relieving pain very effectively, the nice thing about opiates is that you don't get all het up about shit.  Because normally the adrenaline rush from this kind of activity right outside my window involving brandished weapons, would've launched me all the way to the front of the house.

Because I was feeling kind of floaty and this action seemed like it was happening in another dimension I decided to hang out and listen to it play out.  Like a radio show.  Or a book on tape.  So the cops got the guy on the ground, added handcuffs to his hot pants and cut off t-shirt ensemble, and put him into a squad car.  I never heard a peep out of him and in retrospect those cops were awfully considerate of the slumbering inhabitants in the surrounding apartment buildings.  There were no lights and sirens, at least none that I saw or heard, and once they got the guy into custody they stopped yelling. 

I laid there and listened to the conversation as they went through the car.  One of the cops said, "Damn, it smells like there's body parts in here."  Then the female cop said, "is that a dead baby?" And I was at the window again faster than Gladys Kravitz and this time I got a little of that adrenaline rush.  Thankfully there was no dead baby, just a bag of crack and a pipe and a box of rubber gloves.  The cops wondered why he had those.  So did I considering his "outfit" - yuck.  They briefly discussed the differences between crack and meth and the female cop wondered aloud about whether there isn't currently a resurgence of meth.  The other cops assured her it had never left.

Apparently a squad car had tried to pull the guy over on Highland and he fled south to Wilshire and in trying to elude them by turning into an alley, ended up in the alley that runs behind my building and dead ends at the school next door.  Bad choice.  There was nowhere for him to go except right into our driveway.  If it had been after work rush hour my building would've been featured in a helicopter shot on the local news at 11:00!  A high speed chase ended in my backyard!  So the guy told the cops that the car wasn't his - it was borrowed.  Yeah.  Borrowed from the car rental agency.  There was a rental agreement in the car with his name on it and apparently he'd had the car for over a month and hadn't returned it.

I wondered if this guy had come here on vacation or business and it all just went horribly wrong?  How did he come to find himself on crack and wearing hot pants in an alley behind my house?  Maybe he was forced to smoke crack by a psychotic carjacker like David on Six Feet Under - they say it's highly addictive.  Then I started wondering if David is going to end up addicted to crack and end up in rehab...  But seriously, how could this guy have possibly thought he'd get away with lying to the cops about the car when he had ID and it matched the documents in the car?  I mean was he high? - uh, probably.  As I slipped in and out of dreamless sleep I was vaguely aware of a tow truck arriving and one of the cops, I think the woman, got in and backed the car out of the driveway so it could be hooked up and hauled away.  Opiates are good like that.  You can wake up in drama, but still go back to sleep.  I woke up this morning at 7:30, late for me, and looked out the window wondering if it really happened.  There was no sign at all that anyone had ever been back there.

If I didn't know better I'd think that I just had a dream about an episode of "Cops" - up close and personal.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004


The other day I was thinking about how lucky I am that I don't have any horrible addictions.  You know those compulsions that create situations where you wake up with a stranger and find a ship tattoed on your chest.  Or you find yourself sitting at a black jack table with your rent money on the line going, "hit me".  Or you find yourself stealing your Grandmother's television and rationalizing that you'll replace it before she ever notices.  Or you find yourself strolling up and down that certain part of a street in a disreputable part of town humming "love for sale" and asking the guys who pull over if they want to party?  Or, as a friend of mine recounted to me not so long ago - you find yourself committed to a psychiatric facility where they pump you so full of thorazine that you can't make a sentence and when you get out the first thing you so is crush up a bottle of Ritalin and snort it. 

The addictions that take over and run the show that used to be  your life. 

I can take or leave alcohol.  I smoke on occasion as a social activity (stupid I know, it's never good for you).  I abused the cocaine for a bit, but was able to walk away with only a few night sweats and zero cravings.  You could put me in a room filled with shimmering piles of powder and I would pass - too many negative memories there.  Not a place I want to re-visit.  I sniffed a little heroin and while I do prefer down to up I can do without the nausea thanks.  I'll still take one toke over the line sweet Jesus - but I'm not ever holding anymore.  So I'm feeling like I've pretty much dodged a bullet but then I remember...

I have got a serious addiction to sugar.  Because I know this I recently spent three days eating only grapefruit to get myself off the sugar.  Cold turkey so to speak.  And I was cruising along practicing excellent self control until this past weekend.  I was at Meg's and she offered me whipped chocolate frosting in a can with the idea that I could dip some fat free cookies in there and make'em a little special.  All of a sudden that monkey was on my back and I grabbed a spoon and just dug in.  I ate half the can of frosting in about 10 minutes.  And it was good.  I could feel the rush of pure sugar going through my blood stream and all was right in the world.

Until about 2 hours later when I was at a party and I started to crash.  I got all disoriented and shit, like bordering on incoherence.  I wanted to find something healthy to eat to counteract the sugar, but I got waylaid by the dark chocolate covered english toffee from Trader Joes which is basically my brand of crack.  I shoved a couple in my mouth and then horded some more in a napkin to take home for later.  I never did eat anything else that day.  I continued to eat sugar all the way until I went to bed.  I continued to eat sugar despite the fact that I felt like shit on a shingle - my head hurt, my jaw was tight, my eyes felt like they were bugging out of my head and I was kind of trembly.  But I couldn't stop.

Because I am an addict!

I don't know how I got this way.  When I was a kid my mother was not one to have processed sugary foods in the house.  Ice Cream was a special treat.  So were cookies and brownies and apple crisp.  Most of the time the sugar snack offerings at my house were along the lines of peanut butter molasses balls.  The best that can be said about those things is that you couldn't eat too many because it took a while to eat just one.  I loved to go hang out at Beth Anne's house because her mom kept a shoebox full of candy bars - full sized candy bars - in the refrigerator.  I would save my allowance and then I'd ride my purple sting-ray bike to Hill Drugs and spend a whole hour in the candy aisle trying to decide whether to go with the Big Hunk, Blow Pops, Bit o'Honey, Sugar Babies, Necco wafers, Mars bar, Almond Joy - or some combination of any of those.  I would then sneak my purchase past my mom like I was smuggling weed and stash it in my room where it wouldn't last more than 2 hours.

Perhaps it is because I was raised in a sugar restricted home that I have this weird relationship with sweets.  The always guilty, doing something wrong, smuggling contraband feeling when I find myself in the vicinity of the dessert table.  I will eat dessert even if I'm not hungry and I will also stash some in my purse for later.  Just in case.  And then, sometimes, I will get up in the middle of the night and eat it!!

The thought of giving up sugar is inconceivable to me so I can't really go cold turkey.  I am aware that massive sugar consumption equals lard butt, not to mention the risk of onset of type II diabetes at which point there is no more choice - it's sugar or death.  I don't need it to get that extreme.  I'm still in a place where I will respond to my pants getting too tight and can ease back on the throttle that drives the craving. 

But I am an addict and sugar is my smack.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


And getting worser as the day goes on. 

This morning I was awakened by migraine and nausea.  It sucks when you feel so bad it wakes you up.  It's not as bad as being awakened by a 7.2 earthquake, or by gunshots right outside your window - those things wake you up fast and then you're disoriented and rushing with adrenaline.  The feeling bad thing just kind of creeps up slow and I was half way awake and aware that all was not well before I got all the way conscious.  I took my migraine medication and shut my eyes for another half hour and then I got up and worked out and went to work.  I felt a little better doing the cardio, like the blood was getting pushed through my brain instead of clogging up in constricted veins.

But today is one of those times where the bad bleeds through the meds and all I want to do is lie down in the dark until it passes.  I think this is what they referred to in the old days as "vapors" that condition that ladies got that had no real name or diagnosis and the common treatment was taking to bed in a dark room with a cool cloth over the eyes.  It's difficult to distract myself with reading or writing because focusing on anything for too long makes it worse. 

I can, however, look at pictures, so today I went here and spent some time browsing through Randy's fashion pages.  I forget how I found this website, but it's on my favorites list because it never ceases to make me smile.  And not in a malicious judgmental way either.  There's something about people who are so willing to let their freak flag fly as they follow the beat of their own drummer.  Maybe it's the lack of guile.  Maybe it's the fact that he's just having the best time running around all dressed up.  I tried to stay up to watch him on Conan, but I fell asleep.

It does occur to me that he might be crazy, but if so, I think it's in the very best way. 

Monday, July 26, 2004


It's hard to believe just how far off the deep end I've gone, especially when I remember my initial feelings on the matter.  Up until ten years ago I could not even imagine eating a tomato.  As a small child I refused to eat pizza because it there was tomato sauce on it.  To my way of thinking tomatoes were an unfinished food item.  They were firm on the outside which was fine, but when you cut them open they oozed fluid the consistency of snot and that goo had seeds in it!  No way was I putting that in my mouth.  Add to that the fact that the most repulsive worm I'd ever seen trolled up and down the vines with an evil looking spike on it's butt, well, that just made tomatoes all the more repulsive to me.

Then I decided to grow some tomatoes thinking that I would just give them to people as gifts.  I was looking for the immediate gratification of a hearty plant that would quickly produce tangible results of my labor and tomatoes pretty much grow like weeds.  On the first attempt I grew the most amazingly beautiful vines which were abundant with blossoms that I promptly killed when I saw one of those dreaded worms and grabbed my bottle of organic bug killer and realized only after dousing the entire tomato bush that I had mistakenly picked up a spray bottle of the acid you spray on tire rims to clean them.  Bummer.

I started over and when harvest time arrived I just couldn't help but try a little wedge of the warm, ripe, perfectly shaped red ball.  And it was good.  It was really good.  I found that I didn't mind the oozing goo because it was sweet and I didn't even notice the seeds.  I got hooked on homegrown tomatoes and soon became a fanatic.

Last weekend I went to dinner at The Globe in Venice.  The kitchen sent out a beautiful heirloom tomato salad which was basically just sliced tomatoes sprinkled with a little crumbling of feta cheese and some olive oil.  The tomatoes were all different colors and sizes and although they were not perfectly shaped - they were beautiful and very tasty.  My first crop of tomatoes vines that went into the ground in March had finished ripening and I wanted to plant something new.  I started doing some research on heirloom tomatoes and I found Hayground Organic Gardening - a wonderful business owned and operated by Jimmy Sullivan who is a modern day Mr. GreenJeans. 

I called Jimmy and he said that I could come see him at 8am on Saturday before he left for Descanso Gardens.  Since I was going to a wine tasting I knew that might be a tad early for me, but I was too excited to wait, so I decided to suck it up and make the appointment.  Jimmy sells at the Farmer's Market in Hollywood on Sundays, but he said that I'd have to get there really early because he usually sells out of the heirloom tomato plants first thing.  I decided I'd rather do "really early" with less people. 

Saturday morning my hangover from the fabulously fun winetasting from the night before where I met really nice people whose names I don't remember, woke me up at about 6:30a.m.  I was afraid to go back to sleep because I knew I'd probably not wake up and I'd miss my appointment.  It was a good thing I had an hour to get my eyes open because my eyelids were glued to my eyeballs and I had to drink about a liter of water before I was able to get vertical.  Thank God my neighbor wanted to go because I was driving straight into the rising sun and couldn't see any of the street names.  I overshot by a couple blocks and had to make a U-turn, but I was so grateful not to have the laser beams from the sun searing my retinas it seemed like a fortuitous event prior to actually having to execute the turn.  I find right turns much easier to make than left turns across oncoming traffic while blinded by the sun.  It was about this point when I realized I might still be drunk.

When we got to Jimmy's house, the street was silent and peaceful.  He was out in the side yard watering and it was like entering a botanical zoo.  My neighbor was so excited to be there her voice went up about 3 octaves piercing the pastoral silence of his garden and bouncing off my brain like a blast of thrash metal.  I couldn't help it but I shushed her shrill enthusiasm, pretending to be concerned for the neighbors whose house was not even 10 feet away and who were probably still be sleeping.  

One of the first things I saw was a Habenero chili tree when I placed my hand on it to steady myself.  It was covered with bright orange peppers dangling off of it like jewelry, very rare and very expensive.  I inquired about the chocolate Habanero chilis I'd heard he sells, but he was all out.  The scents of freshly watered herbs enveloped me as Jimmy led me back to the tomatoes growing in their half-gallon cans.  I specifically wanted the Goosecreek tomatoes, an heirloom variety that's been in Jimmy's family for over 100 years.  Heirloom seeds are passed down from generation to generation - the Goosecreek heirloom is apparently really popular because my name is now on a waiting list for the SECOND planting!  I'm also on the list for the chocolate Habaneros because I'm thinking mole for the fall! 

As a novice going in - knowing pretty much nothing - I was grateful for Jimmy's guidance.  He has over 1000 varieties of rare and heirloom vegetables and he is so knowledgeable about organic gardening.  If I had a yard and a lot of money I would so totally hire him to come and design an edible, organic garden.  Jimmy not only grows the plants he is also a landscape designer who uses edible plants in his design elements.  How cool is that?  I hadn't gotten much further in my research than locating a supplier so I had no idea what I wanted, but they all had such wonderful names like Marianna's Peace, Hillybilly, Mr. Stripey, Mortgage Lifter, Marizol Gold, Eva Purple Ball, etc.   I was so hungover I couldn't really think straight and I ended up buying ten different kinds of tomatoes.  I will be sharing them with everyone I know because as much as I now love tomatoes I can't eat all that I will be harvesting.  I also bought some Vietnamese cilantro and some more basil and some beautiful strawberries and he threw in a pretty green herb that's used in Japanese cooking that tastes kind of seaweedy.  Jimmy also has worm casings and every other thing that you might need for organic gardening.  He's also got all the answers to the problems I had with the last batch of tomatoes, e.g. leaves that die for no good reason. 

All in all I spent about $100 and had a helluva time filling out all the necessary areas on the check.  We could barely get all the stuff into my little car, there's still dirt all over the backseat.  We were home in an hour and I decided that since I was up and in love with my new tomato plants, not to mention the fact that I had just made a fairly substantial financial commitment, we should amend the soil with the manual roto-tiller and put everything in the ground.  I have been known to buy plants and not get around to actually planting them because it's a lot of work to make the soil ready.  After a sweaty, dirty hour it was all done and I felt like I had lived a lifetime.  I probably would've enjoyed it more without the hangover - I felt like I had lived a lifetime and it was only 10a.m.

Yesterday I went here and found some of the tomatoes that I bought.  They're going to be beautiful pink and yellow and orange and red, and I can't wait to share them with any and all who love tomatoes!  The worms still gross me out but now I can't think of anything better than a tomato fresh off the vine, sliced and sprinkled with a little salt.  Yum!

Friday, July 23, 2004


I go here everyday to see what my friend is up to.  He's a most excellent writer and he also has fabulous taste in music.  He just sent me a bunch of mp3s, including The Grey Album by DJ Dangermouse that I was totally pining for.  My friend rules. 

Lately he has been in "clean sweep" mode - cutting out the caffeine and cigarettes - AT THE SAME TIME!  I am impressed that he is able to write coherent sentences, much less function. I've heard that nicotine is more addictive than heroin.  So today, since he's on a roll, he is taking the purge to yet another level by putting those relationships in his life that are dead weight on skates. 

I was talking to a friend last night at dinner about this very thing.  That those people, who in the course of being who they are tend to create drag in one's life, are better loved from a distance.  I used to cut people off altogether, but that doesn't allow for the possibility of growth or change.  And I know from experience that sometimes we need to move away from each other in order grow and change so we can come back together and have an even better experience!

Or not. 

A friend, a man I had been involved with, recently came back into my life - and the time apart gave me a new appreciation of all of his wonderful qualities.  In many ways it felt like a homecoming.  But over the last couple months I've also become aware of the fact that all of his complaints about his employees, his clients, his relationships in general are the same complaints that he had when I first met him in '98!  And the only thing that is the same in any of these situations is him.  Now it could just be that his rap is to complain, but I do believe that relationships in any arena of our lives are only mirrors.  And if you notice a theme developing perhaps the only way to change the outcome is to check yourself and see what you can change about your perception or behavior so you can create different outcomes.  This guy has had so much therapy he could practically hang out a shingle and he knows this, but it's like what he knows in his head hasn't integrated into his behavior so he's all talk and no walk.  In a word - he's stuck.

Having spent many, many years in that class of "I know, I know, but I don't want to change how I perceive/behave because that will make me uncomfortable," I understand how you can get it intellectually, but not actually achieve shift.  To change behavior/perception requires a level of conscious living that is exhausting and just plain scary.  Why do you think monks sit around in a monastery?  It's really hard to live a fully conscious life and acheive transcendence every minute of the day when you have to drive in traffic and deal with people/personalities and your need for immediate gratification and filter all the information that comes at us on so many levels everyday and everywhere we go.  In our culture and society fully conscious is not a popular choice!

I hate being uncomfortable and scared and that is why I often lapse into old reactive behaviors.  And you know I can easily identify those same behaviors in other people, like my friend, because that shit just bugs me! 
And we're back to the concept of mirroring.

I know, I know!

Life's a process and I believe that compassion, for myself and others, will get me through.  The Dalai Lama is a super compassionate dude and I think that's why he has a good sense of humor about life in general.  I mean have you ever seen anyone who grins like he does - it's like he's always having a blast no matter what he's doing.  I think that if you can see the world compassionately, instead of with judgement it stands to reason that you're going to have a better time overall.

I'm getting better at knowing my boundaries and choosing compassion and loving from a distance.  I'm getting better at recognizing that fine line between tenacity and masochism and letting go - even when it's scary.

I'm getting better because I've got so many opportunities to practice. 

Thursday, July 22, 2004


The big to-do over gay marriage threatening the moral fabric of this country is beyond comprehension to me.  It seems to me that heterosexuals don't do that good a job with marriage if you look at how many end in divorce.  What I have observed over the years is people who reach a certain age and feel that they should "settle down" get married and have kids.  So they marry whoever they're dating at the time without much thought to what life will be like with that person 10, 20 or 30 years from now.

Most of my friends, I'd say 75% of those who got married in their 20s are divorced and on second or third marriages.  One of my oldest friends seems to have traded in her first marriage for one just like it.  She has the same issues with her second husband that she did with the first.  Since she married number two four months after meeting him she's been discovering this unfortunate fact over the last two years.  There are some differences, e.g. her first husband made a lot of money and her second husband makes none. And he has a five year old son that he's very close to although when he gets angry at him he pulls over to the side of the road and threatens to throw him out on the street. Now that's an example of good parenting if I ever heard. He threatens her the same way so I guess it's an all ages policy.

But the point is that marriage in this country, the institution that the opponents of gay marriage so righteously feel needs to be protected, is in my opinion, a fantasy.  Marriage in America is romanticized as this adventure in true love and Hallmark card christmas tableaus.  This sacred covenant is a con job because once the party is over and you take off your wedding clothes the relationship between the husband and wife is like any other important relationship.  It's a lot of work.  And when you add children to the equation and a mortgage - because that is the American dream, - it can start to feel more than overwhelming.  It can start to feel burdensome.

I read this articletoday and I wondered why it would make any difference to a child of divorce if he had two daddies or mommies, or a mommy and a daddy? Shouldn't the most important thing be that a child has adults in his life that love him and make his happiness and safety a priority? Some of the shit that couples made up of a mommy and a daddy do to their kids when they're going through the dissolution of their sacred union borders on psychological abuse.

Opponents of gay marriage believe that children need a mother and a father, but they don't really make a good argument as to why they feel that people with penises automatically make great parents. From what I've seen a lot of the penis people don't have the slightest idea about good parenting. One guy I know screamed "Fuck you" in his three year old daughter's face because she didn't want to kiss him goodbye. When his wife told him that he owed his daughter an apology his response was, "she should apologize to me!" Um, hello! She's three - you're the adult!

By contrast one of my co-workers and his partner had a child with a surrogate and they both took parenting classes and arranged for one of them to stay home full time. They have a solid relationship, but even if one day they separated the well-being of their child is of paramount importance to both of them because they had to make an effort to create their family. It's sad that gay parents do not receive the same protection under the law that straight parents do. I can't tell you how many dads I know who could see there kids just choose not to after a divorce. Why? Because it's too hard to be the one and only parent even for a weekend. Because it's painful to have to say goodbye when your kids go back to their mom. Because they've met someone else and they have new families. Because they haven't paid their child support. The excuses go on and on.

But I'm just sayin' being a man doesn't make you a good parent by virtue of your gender. That argument doesn't hold water. My step-sister is a lesbian and she and her partner are among the best parents I know. Her two almost grown kids are great, healthy, happy kids and it is a direct result of the love and support that they've received growing up. If I had kids and anything happened to me I would be happy if J. and A. would take them (although now that their nest is almost empty they're ready to travel) because I would know that my children were loved and cared for.

And no one would ever scream "fuck you" into the face of a child in their home, or pull over and threaten to throw them out of the car.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


This morning I checked in at Womanchild where the fabulous Allison writes and shares her incredible photos. I love her Daily Specials too! Being a New Yorker she commutes via public transportation, a world that is foreign to me since I live in the car culture on the left coast.  I drive my car to the grocery store that is 2 and 1/2 city blocks from where I live, but that's only because the time I decided to walk to the store I forgot and bought a whole grocery cart full of stuff that I could no way carry home.  Not even only two and 1/2 blocks.  I had to go get my car and come back to pick up my groceries!

In her day-by-day journal entry for today, Allison shared yet another one of her adventures from the subway.  Someone broke wind in her face as she ascended the stairs to the street, her face level with the butt of the person on the stairs in front of her.  She has shared other subway stories that involved weird levels of intimacy that take place between commuters, like the girl that was standing very close to her who finally reached out and caressed her hair, but today's story made me cringe!  Not just for Allison who started her day with a breath of intestinal stench but for the person who let it rip.

I am making the assumption of course, that they had no control, that the pressure was too much, that it slipped out.  Because I cannot imagine farting in public.  For me that is almost as bad as peeing in the bushes (although in extreme emergencies, e.g. no options I have copped a squat in the bushes).  I mean just hold on until you can get someplace out of close proximity to others.  Or at least out of hearing range.  I guess that's why I figure the ass in Alli's face couldn't help it.

But there are people in this world who are just fine with sharing their baser human qualities with the general public.  Like frat boys on beer who can fart on command.  What is it with guys and farting?  Oh, and then there's Jessica Simpson who burps and farts and talks about her bowel movements on MTV.  And no I don't watch that show - I do hear the highlights on the morning drive radio station the next day.  The two bozos who host that show have referred to her as the ugliest hot chick in existence whom Nick Lachey would never have married if she didn't make him do so for the pooty.

I had a boyfriend who used to experience all kinds of intestinal drama and he thought it was funny to pull the blankets over my slumbering head as it rested on his chest in the morning, creating a seal under his chin, and then letting one go.  That is a traumatic way to wake up - but he thought it was funny.  I wonder if he still thought farting was funny after 4 years in prison? (another story for another time)

Maybe it's because I have a sensitive nose and I have actually gagged on bad smells, but I don't think farting is funny.  Especially not stinky farts.  I mean seriously go to the doctor!  Something is not right when hot air emitted from your body can bring tears to the eyes of the people around you.

I suppose in the grand scheme of things passing gas in public isn't that big a deal - unless you're in junior high, in which case the potential exists for nicknaming and social ostracism - but it takes a certain kind of person to be able to fart in public without an inner cringe of embarrassment.  Like the person who went up the stairs and casually farted in the face of the charming young woman bringing up the rear, so to speak.  Or like my mother.

Yes, my mother is a prodigious farter.  And lucky for her she's a very beautiful woman whom you would never identify as the culprit in response to the cry, "who farted?"  She usually blames it on someone, like her husband, unless she's caught standing alone amidst the ringing echo of the fart.  Like the time we went shopping for a Christmas tree.

You know how at a Christmas tree farm, where the trees are lined up, you wander around as if in a meticulously laid out forest until you find the tree you want?  And in the area where the trees are quite large you may lose sight of other people?  That's where we were looking at trees.  I was on one side of a gorgeous 9 ft spruce and standing about 4 feet away from me was another woman who had wandered into our part of the forest.  My mother had no idea that she was there since she was down a tree or two and blocked from sight.  She was talking away about whether we should get a Spruce or a Pine tree when, thinking it was just us, she broke wind.  And it was a mighty wind that went on and on and on so that she was actually talking over the cacophony of her fart.  The woman next to me stopped in her tracks, her head tilted up in curiousity.  I turned bright red and scuttled toward the sound of my mother's voice, frantically gesticulating and advising her sotto voce, that we were not alone.  And then we started giggling hysterically, though we tried to at least muffle that - so that we were making even weirder sounds among the Christmas trees.

Although I am grateful for my mother's gene pool when it comes to cheekbones and long legs I fear I may also get her windy guts.  I guess it's a good thing I've got her sense of humor.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Because I have the supreme self confidence to celebrate the fact that I am not defined by the car I drive or the labels on the clothes I wear, I have decided to make a list of all of my closeted behaviors and to "out" them here.  These are the things I read/watch/eat/listen to, etc. that I still hide like a binge and purge princess.  These are the things that I feel a little embarrassed about buying, or discussing in public with friends who can't hold back the sneer in their voice and the look of disappointment in their eyes - "you like that" - as they move a half step away from me so as not to be contaminated by proximity to my appalling lack of cool.
These things make me happy.  They give me joyful moments.  Life is too short to hide anymore so with the hope that coming clean will free me to enjoy what some consider to be cultural cretinism, I am sharing all those guily, secret pleasures that I have indulged in with the doors closed and the windows rolled up so as not to suffer the derision of those in my social sphere who would judge me.  I mean really, fuck'em.
First there is the music.  Let me preface this by stating that I love music and I have, if I do say so myself, an excellent collection of all kinds of music.  I can appreciate the eternal talent that Gram Parsons had as well as the new whimsy that is Franz Ferdinand.  But I love Billy Joel people.  And Neil Diamond.  And Elton John.  These guys are timeless troubadors and excellent singer song writers and they put on amazing shows.  Yes their music is now featured in elevators but it's still dope.  I love the band that was Bread from the early 70s.  Love them.  The Peter Frampton Comes Alive album gives me goosebumps - the dude rocks.  I can listen to Everything's Different Now over and over.  I like my Aimee Mann with a synthesizer.
When I'm channel surfing there are movies that I will stop and watch, delighted that they are being rerun on TBS, or sometimes as they years pass they show up on AMC.  This past weekend I watched Diehard, the first one, about 3 times on TBS, or was that TNT.  I would do the same for any of the Lethal Weapon series.  I love me some Alpha male - guys surging on testosterone with guns and terrorists.  Yippy-ki-yay!  I get the same happy feeling when I see any of the John Hughes movies that are in eternal rotation on cable; Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, The Breakfast Club, She's Having a Baby.  I've seen them all and they are like crack.  I get so hooked after just five minutes even though I know everything that's going to happen.  I have my favorite parts in every movie.  When Jake is waiting for Sam outside the church after her sister's wedding with the Thompson Twins playing over it.  I feel the same way about A Star is Born and Tommy both movies that I will watch over and over because of a deep appreciation for Kris Kristofferson and Roger Daltrey without their shirts on.  I also love movies that come out for kids, e.g. Iron Giant, Shrek, Ice Age, Toy Story, Nemo - I'm always glad to borrow a kid for an outing to the mall for some good G-rated fun.  Oh, and Bring It On - Missy's the poo, so take a whiff!
When it comes to television I don't really have "my shows" - that programming that people plan their schedules around or Tivo so as not to miss it - except for America's Next Top Model.  I never miss an episode, of course it helps that they air it two nights in a row so I can schedule around it.  I don't know what it is about a random bunch of personalities in pursuit of a career as a walking hanger, but I can't get enough of it.  I just know that some of those girls are screened for "crazy", e.g. Robin from season one and Camille from season two.  It's scary that I know all of their names, but I do.  Other than ANTM I love old Dynasty reruns.  Back in the day I never missed Dynasty.  I loved Alexis Carrington!  In fact, there are situations where I still ask myself, "what would Alexis do?"  It was cheese decked out in Nolan Miller shoulder pads and sequins - now that's entertainment.  Finally there is COPS - bad boys!  Whatcha gonna do?  Nothing like a little peek into the parking lot states and what's up for fun on any night of the week, to make me appreciate the flakes, fruits and nuts that flock to the edges of this country.  Inbreeding + Crystal meth + malt liquor = a scary breed of American.  This show gives me a deep appreciation for those brave souls in uniform who patrol the streets to keep the rest of us safe.  It's got to feel just great to go out on a domestic disturbance call only to be attacked by a woman with a bloody nose and a black eye who's angry that you're going to arrest her baby's daddy that just got done fucking up her face.  So you have to arrest both of them and there's like 7 kids standing around in their underpants and dirty t-shirts, picking their noses and crying because their mom and dad are going to jail.  Again.  It's like a train wreck - I don't want to watch as the train goes over the cliff, yet I can't tear my eyes away.  Plus they have the best theme song ever.
So when I'm not listening to Hanson or watching COPS I love to prostitute my literacy by reading The National Enquirer.  Yes. I. Do.  Also, People, Us, In Touch - glossy pages, but still tabloidesque in the dishing of the jugo de Hollywood.  I don't necessarily believe everything they print, and I don't really care about what celebrities are eating, who they're screwing, or what they're wearing.  This is mindless entertainment at it's very best.  There is no critical thinking required.  Having admitted to reading these magazines I must confess that I would never be caught dead buying one of these magazines.  I'll read them while waiting on line at the grocery store, or in the waiting room at the doctor/dentist, but I'm not going to contribute cash to the hunting of celebrities without makeup.  No.  I'd rather spend my money on Harry Potter books.  I have everyone, purchased through pre-order on  I love kidlit and YA (young adult) novels, including anything by Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl.  Some people love their Grisham and some love their Danielle Steele.  I look to David Almond for good story telling (the dude is dark and creepy).  And when I want to get completely lost in total escapist fantasy complete with overwrought dialogue and overheated love scenes, I turn to anything written by
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss author of bodice ripping romances extraordinaire!
And while I'm indulging in any of the above there is nothing better than doing so with a snack.  First off there is the old standby, Kraft macaroni and cheese.  I know that there are much better mac & cheese offerings out in the world, but nothing compares to Kraft with the powdered cheese that turns into sauce.  Dee-lishous.  I also love a good fried baloney sandwich on Wonder Bread spread with Miracle Whip.  Normally I think Miracle Whip is a terrifying food product - I mean it's labeled as "salad dressing" for God's sake.  Blech.  But there's something magical about the combination of doughy calorie empty white bread and a fried slice of pork biproducts that makes me happy in some primal place in my brain.  It is very possibly a latent memory from a white trash past life, I'm not sure.  It's the same part of my brain that says, "go ahead, eat that whole box of Kaptain Crunch."  Or a half dozen Winchell's donuts.  Now I haven't actually eaten any of these things in years.  Serious.  I was very stoned when I blithely snacked on the goodies mentioned above.  So the memories are sweet.  But I have a feeling that I would get very sick if I tried to eat them now - some things are just better left as memories.  Or left for a dare on a drunken afternoon after a bong hit for old times sake.
So now I'm out and proud although I still won't be seen purchasing The National Enquirer.  As I walk through life I try to keep in mind the words of that most wise man, Dr. Seuss, ""Always do what you want, and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."



Monday, July 19, 2004

I read this article with great interest since I have definite opinions about the subject of who pays on a date.  Especially after doing time on the internet dating circuit.  This article discusses the shifting political landscape of who pays mainly as it affects the twenty-somethings who are interviewed for the article.  Regardless of age, it seems to me, that the question of “who pays” comes down to agreed upon gender roles and in its purest essence power.
It is my observation from personal experience and from the stories shared by women I know, that how much money and effort a man puts into a date is directly related to how much he wants to get a woman in bed.  Initially he doesn’t even know if he likes the woman, but he is sure he desires her.  This is not true of all men.  An extremely good looking and charming man can usually find lots of women who want to buy him dinner and take him home right after, but for the average guy there is going to be some investment of capital.  And because women know this, dating is a gamble if the objective is purely to get the booty. 
An unscrupulous woman will allow a man she has no interest in at all to wine and dine her.  I know women like this.  They are, for the most part, very beautiful women who are aware of the power of their beauty and have no moral or ethical dilemma when it comes to making the most of it.  I know a woman who had a boyfriend who was super cheap, I mean he went for his wallet like never.  She always paid – but that’s what you get for dating a B-list, not so successful musician.  She would go out on dates with guys who knew she had a boyfriend, but thought they had a shot anyway, because she would hold hands with them or snuggle up to them in the car.  Those guys got nothing except a lighter wallet and she defended her actions by saying that they knew she had a boyfriend and that they just wanted to hang out.  As long as she was up front with them then it was okay.  The most funny/sad situation that came from her tangled web weaving was the older divorcee director who though he was meeting her for a date only to find her out with her mother – whom she wanted to set him up with.  Another one of these foolish men was a good friend of mine and he got played like a fiddle at the Grand Ol’ Opry. 
He came crying to me about it and I didn’t feel sorry for him because he knew what the deal was.  It was like he was under some sort of spell that induced stupidity.  I was amazed out how indignant he was.  Just as I am amazed at men who get upset when they lavish women with gifts and expensive dinners and glorious vacations only to find that those women are “just not that into them” e.g. not going to put out.  If a woman is really into a man he doesn’t need to do all that, a perfect example being the above referenced pretty woman/cheap musician duo.  But these angry men who feel ripped off are those same guys who believe that everything can be bought.  They’re used to throwing their money around and having people do their bidding.  And there are still women out there who will go ahead and get real drunk and have sex with these guys they are not the least bit attracted to in order to keep the gifts and money flowing.  During the 80s they were identified as “coke whores”, women who would put out for the guy who had the bag.
A man who has the expectation of some tangible form of reciprocity for his generosity would be better off engaging the services of a call girl.  Ultimately that’s going to be cheaper and less aggravating.  Of course there’s no thrill of the hunt because as Julia Roberts put it in Pretty Woman, there’s no need for seduction because the hooker is a sure thing. 
I have been on more dates than I can count – the most memorable have been committed to writing for sharing with my friends, or just to remind me…  And I have definitely met that guy who thinks that with dinner he’s getting a blow job.  That guy who slips his hand to the back of my head during the good night kiss and pushes southward.  The guy who parks the car when dropping me off and pulls his overnight bag from the back seat in order to walk me to the door.  The guy who after a miserable evening of stilted conversation over dinner and two hours spent rigidly avoiding contact in a freezing movie theater wonders aloud as he’s driving me home if he might be able to get a massage.
And these were not guys that I met on!  These were guys that I met through friends, or through work.  Guys that were not complete strangers – they had references and context.  I have a three date policy for all except the extremely heinous (the head pusher and massage guy only got two dates because I didn’t need to find out how much worse it could get). One for yes, one for no and one for maybe.  This is because I am a fickle and commitment phobic female and I know I have a tendency to put a perfectly nice guy on skates.  Especially if he likes me too much.
That being said I am a traditionalist in that I believe that the man not only pays, but he also makes the reservation, picks me up on time and pulls my chair out for me.  He wines and dines me and shows me his very best self in an attempt to win my affection.  And if I’m not digging his chili he’ll know because not only will I not hold his hand so his feelings don’t get hurt, but at the end of our second date I will insist that we split the check.  If the second date doesn’t turn the tide in his favor, but I go out on date three just to be sure I’m not missing something, and I’m not, then it will be my pleasure to pick up the entire check and let him know that he can consider the evening a parting gift from me.
And thanks for playing – buh-bye.
It’s very hard to look at a perfectly nice guy whom I do not want to kiss – even after a third date that involves four shots of tequila - and say I don’t see this going anywhere. In fact, it’s so difficult it sometimes takes me a few months and a lot of money spent on dates I didn’t want to go on before I say it.  Despite what my mother says it’s either there or it’s not.  Chemistry is not something that develops over time.  It doesn’t matter how sweet, or creative, or rich, or generous a man is, or even how much he likes me – “that thing” is either there or it’s not.  The same goes for women.  I know so many men that find themselves corralled into relationships that they’d really rather not be in because it’s sex they can count on, even if it’s not great sex,  it’s better than being alone, or because it’s too much work and drama to end it and they don’t want to be the bad guy.  That actually describes more than one marriage I know of.

My new rule is 'no more saying yes to someone I am not in the least bit attracted to', because “you never know”.  I do know and it isn’t nice to play with people’s affections and feelings.  I’ve been on both sides of that game and there are no winners. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004


Lately I have been feeling, I don’t know, not depressed, not disconnected, but I’m definitely on the down low. It’s not the hibernation that I lapse into in late fall/early winter. It’s more like inertia, laziness, apathy, all rolled up in a ball of contentment. In fact it is very reminiscent of summertime when I was a teenager. Those halcyon days of nothing to do, nowhere to go, not a care in the world.

My days consisted of opening my eyes and lolling around in bed until about 10am, at which time I would don a bathing suit and meet my friends at the bus stop to catch the bus to the beach. Or sometimes we’d stick our thumbs out, if a car with cute boys in it approached, and if life was really good they would stop and we’d pile in, worrying about how we’d get home later. There were a couple of guys who would always stop their orange Econoline van and give us a lift. It got to where they would hang out with us at the beach and then give us a ride back. The interior of the van featured shag carpeting, not only on the floor, but up the walls and onto the ceiling. There were huge stereo speaker back there and we would listen to Houses of the Holy everyday on the way home.

After a shower and dinner we would congregate at Laura’s house because her parents were often out, and if they were home they never bothered us. We’d sit in her room and watch TV, play records, read magazines and smoke cigarettes. All at the same time. The next day we’d start all over again. On the weekends we’d try to find parties to go to, or occasionally hit the rec center at the park if a band was playing. We weren’t old enough to drive so our mobility was limited. Occasionally, if someone’s parents were gone we’d sneak out in the car, but the fear of getting busted was pretty prohibitive and that also involved a level of effort we weren’t into expending.

So this summer I’m feeling very much like I did that summer when I was fifteen. Of course I still get up and work out every morning during the week. I go to work. But, it seems I can’t be bothered with a social life. I’ve got no chat and no desire to do much beyond going home at the end of the day and puttering around my house. I am not even starting projects. I turn on the stereo and make dinner, open the mail and then flop on the couch with a book. I’ll read a chapter and then turn on the television, but mute the sound and before I know it I’ve fallen asleep.

I am sincerely hoping that, as it was at age fifteen, this is just a phase I’m going through because while I never thought twice about my slothful lethargy nowadays I’m a little concerned by it. I’m used to being out four nights a week! My inner parent is standing inside my brain with hands on hips yelling, “what’s wrong with you?”

And all I do is shrug.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I had a moment that changed my life years ago. I didn’t wake up that morning thinking that such a thing could happen to me – because it wasn’t the kind of thing I’d ever plan for. It was February, very windy and chilly, and I was wearing blue linen trousers and a blue wool coat. I worked in marketing for a Japanese company that manufactured huge machines which other companies used to manufacture printed circuit boards and the like. It was the day before opening day of a huge technology expo at the convention center. It was a very big deal necessitating the arrival of several employees from the head corporation in Japan who would assemble the machines that we were displaying.

I was looking forward to schmoozing with all the engineer type geeks and enjoying some free cocktails after work. It was my task that day to meet my boss, the VP of marketing at the convention center, deliver all the written materials and set them up. Mr. Yazaki the owner of the company would be arriving that night. I loved Mr. Yazaki because although he spoke no English and I didn’t speak Japanese we had bonded over the teppan table on numerous occasions, laughing uproariously together as we got hammered on sake and beer. I was his American daughter.

I pulled into the main lot and was advised that I wouldn’t be able to get into the arena. The parking attendant told me to go around and enter through the drayage area –whatever that was, and after I unloaded my materials I could come back and park in the main lot. I followed his instructions and told the parking attendant standing watch over the rear parking lot what my mission was. He directed me to park where the other cars were and then to enter through the rear of the convention center. Okey-dokey. I made my way down the service road that ran along the edge of the parking lot, dodging forklifts and trucks that were headed to the loading dock. There were numerous crates waiting to be unloaded lining the way and big burly guys yelling and rushing to get everything loaded in. It had been raining and they were way behind schedule.

I entered the convention center clutching my box of materials. I found our exhibit area, but my boss wasn’t there. The only people at our booth were the numerous employees from Japan, none of whom spoke English, but who all bowed and listened earnestly as I explained to them that I was going to leave the stuff for Tom, move my car and be right back. They all nodded politely and without any idea what I was saying. I put the box down and headed back to my car thinking I needed to get back sooner rather than later.

As I headed back down the service road toward the aisle where my car was parked the wind was blowing something fierce, pushing big black clouds to the south. I clutched my coat around me and moved to the right side of the road to avoid a van that was speeding toward me. As I approached a house sized crate that was standing there empty – the front and top having been removed to facilitate removal of whatever gargantuan machine had arrived in it – I heard someone holler, “lookout!” Simultaneously I heard a creaking whine of splintering wood and looked up just in time to see the crate coming down on top of me. For some reason my instinct was to go into it with my shoulder, like you know I’m going to be able to push the 8 foot wall of wood back into it’s position like Jamie Summers, bionic woman.

Therefore, I collided with the crate and it was like getting hit by a car. I was knocked over and the crate tore through my left pant leg, about mid-calf, peeling the skin down my ankle as we, me and the crate, came to rest on the asphalt, my ankle and foot completely pinned underneath the weight of the crate wall. My immediate concern was that I was getting dirty on the ground like that and that the man driving the van that was heading toward me didn’t seem to register that I was now lying across the road. Things got really quiet and I felt like everyone was staring at me because they totally were!

About forty people came running in my direction all at once as I lay there like a bobcat in a trap, my hand flapping around looking for my sunglasses, which had gone flying off my head on impact. I found them and jammed them on, completely mortified to have created such a scene. I wasn’t even considering the fact that I might be hurt, I was more concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to get up slink away like you do when you fall down in public, because I was pinned under this huge fucking crate. It took five of those big burly men to lift the crate up high enough so that another one could slide me out from under it. I heard sirens in the distance and told the nice men that I just wanted to get to my car and go home please.

Then I looked down at my foot, which was turned at an awfully weird angle and noticed that I couldn’t actually move that leg. I lay there rather confused and then I started to shake. The kind of shaking where your teeth chatter and you have no control of your body. One of the big burly men shooed everybody back and sat down on the asphalt next to me and took my hand. He told me to squeeze his hand as hard as I needed to and since I was now becoming aware of how much pain I was in I squeezed really hard. Tears started to leak out of the corners of my eyes and I started to breathe in small gasps as I squeezed and looked into his face. He was completely bald with a huge moustache, the ends of which were waxed into zippy little twirls, and he had the nicest eyes. I could see that he was concerned about me and I felt really safe just lying there holding his hand. It was now starting to occur to me that I was hurt pretty bad, a fact confirmed by the paramedics who got there, took a look and hooked me up to some monitors while my leg was placed in a trauma splint.

I was loaded into the back of an ambulance with instructions to go to the closest emergency room. Once the doors shut and I was on my way I advised the EMTs that I wanted to be taken to Los Alamitos Hospital, a small hospital where my best friend’s father worked who just happened to be an Orthopaedist. I don’t trust doctors and I trust emergency rooms even less and I was adamant, although for some reason I told them that they couldn’t use the siren because I didn’t want to pay the extra money that would cost. Don’t quite know where that reasoning came from, like I said I was in shock, but they did as I asked. They were really quite sweet – they just wouldn’t give me anything for the excruciating, jackhammer through the bone pain that I was suffering. At first I thought it was because there was a huge ice pack on my ankle. You know how when you put your hand in ice water it begins to ache? It was that kind of achy pain – only multiplied by about 10,000. The guy who was riding in back with me took the ice pack off when I started going, “takeitofftakeitofftakeitofftakeitoff”, but then the pain got a million times worse and I started screeching “putitbackputitbackputifback.” As the ambulance made it’s way through rush hour traffic, passing cars on the right – silently, per my bizarre request, I started to cry and beg for drugs. My ice man told me that I would most likely need surgery upon my arrival at the hospital and indicated my ankle which was now swollen to about the diameter of a pickle jar and getting bigger by the minute. One benefit to the grotesque swelling was that it constricted the blood vessels so the gaping wound wasn’t bleeding – all the better to view the torn skin.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore we got to the hospital and I was unloaded and rolled into the emergency room. I asked them to call Dr. F. and have him come right away. Dr. F. has known me most of my life and being aware of my propensity for drama he told them to take x-ray and he would come as soon as he could. I had to cool my jets in the ER because x-ray was busy and I wasn’t dying. So I’m in pain and not getting what I consider to be adequate attention and I demand a phone. They rolled me over to the phone on the wall and I called my parents. Who weren’t home. I left a suitable message on the answering machine designed to inspire guilt and fear and then proceeded to call my mother at her office where she was seeing clients, my mom is a psychologist. I made them interrupt her session and when she got on the phone I began to weep as I am wont to do when I am upset and I talk to my mommy. She becomes distraught and asks if she should leave her client? Mournfully and in best martyr mode I tell her no, that’s okay, there’s nothing she can do anyway.

They roll me into a corner where I lay silently weeping, chewing on my towel and asking anyone who looks like they can work a needle to get me drugs. An old woman is brought in who has just been discovered after laying on her floor for 4 days in her own urine. Her blood pressure is 80 over 30 and she’s not doing well. She crashes and they begin drastic measures to bring her back. The whole situation sucks. Not only am I in horrible pain and hurt worse than I’ve ever been in my whole life, but now I may have to watch someone die. And no one will give me drugs.

In the midst of all that drama Dr. G., one of the partners whom I know shows up. He looks at my ankle and rolls me down to x-ray where we cut in line and he has the films taken. In this x-ray room you lie alone on your gurney after the tech has adjusted the machine to get the view he needs. The film comes out in the other room, where I hear Dr. G. say in a very loud voice, “oh shit, I don’t know if we can fix this.” He comes running into the room with my films and throws them up on the light box and I get to see that not only is my ankle broken, it’s dislocated and decimated. Both the tibia and the fibula are broken in little pieces, but the bigger issue is that the talus, the bone upon which the leg bones rest to create the ankle joint, is smashed to bits. What was my ankle joint now looks like lots of rice krispies doing the hokey pokey.

Dr. G. runs out of the x-ray room with my films and I am wheeled back to the emergency room to await Dr. F. I find out that the old woman was very dehydrated and they got her back in her body and admitted her. That, at least is a relief. Dr. F. arrives with his hair blown and out of breath from sprinting across the parking lot clutching my x-rays. I start to tear up because I know this man like my own father and he is trying not to show how concerned he is. He tells me that I’m going into surgery right now. Have I eaten anything in the last twelve hours? Yep – I had lunch. This means that I’ll be having surgery with an epidural and a IV morphine. Yippee! Can we start that IV like now? And can we wait for my mommy and daddy to show up in case I die? No we can’t wait and I have to sign the consent for surgery before they’ll give me the morphine.

The next thing I remember I was lying on my back watching the holes in the ceiling tiles go by in long lines of blurred black and my dad is walking along side the gurney looking down at me. He’s wearing a hat, quite sporty, and a turtleneck and his eyes are teary. I am so high and even through that I can feel the railroad spike pain in my ankle. They do that transfer thing from the gurney to the bed, it is better not to try to help while this is going on. I catch a glimpse of my left lower extremity and I am relieved to see that although it is drenched in blood my foot is still attached.

I have 26 screws in my ankle, no cartilage left to speak of, and Dr. F. tells my parents that he doesn’t know if I will be able to walk again – that he wished he’d had permission to do a full ankle fusion before he went in because what I am left with is not a stable limb. I miss this part of the conversation though because bless their hearts they left that morphine IV in and I am off in a far, far better place…


Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Last night I was lying around channel surfing, because I have not been this indolent since I was 15 and all I want to do is watch TV while listening to the stereo and shoot the shit with my friends all night. But I am a grown up now with a job that I go to everyday and a metabolism that goes slower every week so I have to get up at the crack of ass and go the gym, so I lie around and watch TV by myself because I go to bed at 9:30 and it feels rude to tell people they have to go home. People who have children don’t really have this quandary – they go to bed when their kids do.

Anyway, I came across a show on Bravo called “Blow Out”. This is a reality show based in a hair salon in Beverly Hills that was just opened by “celebrity” hairdresser Jonathan Antin. I had caught bits and pieces of episodes 4 and 5, but this was episode 3 and I'd missed that completely. It was my opportunity to fill in some more of the missing pieces.

So, Jonathan Antin, inspired by Warren Beatty’s character George in shampoo goes into the fabulous world of hair after dropping out of high school. He’s supposedly super successful and famous and owns a shop in West Hollywood and now he’s sinking his savings into a shop in Beverly Hills. We watch the stylists arrive to the chaos that is the uncompleted shop and we are privy to all the snit fits that you would expect when you throw a bunch of gay men and insecure women together in what approximates the girl’s bathroom at a suburban high school. Oh and Jonathan – he’s not gay. He’s incredibly uptight and he could be the poster child for Narcissistic Personality Disorder – but supposedly he’s straight. I don’t get that he goes for women all that much though, except when they’re paying him $400 for a haircut. He strikes me more as the kind of guy who would actually prefer to jerk off in front of a mirror while looking deeply into his own eyes.

There is a stylist who is very reminiscent of George Roundy (Warren’s endearing and slutty character in Shampoo) and that’s Brandon. He’s even got Warren’s big 70s hair and cowboy boots/motorcycle vibe going. He’s cocky personified and the women love it. But where George was affectionate and loving to all his ladies, Brandon is obviously on the make and desperately needing attention. When Jonathan calls him on the carpet for his inappropriate behavior and Brandon looks at him cluelessly, you know he’s not long for this gig. I’m not worried about him though because he could easily have a line of women snaking around the block from his bachelor pad in Santa Monica. He’s 27 – he’s not going to have to worry for another 10 years because as he approaches 40 his act is going to wear thin and then he may find himself in George Roundy’s cowboy boots. In any case he’s going to be gone really soon – Jonathan will not put up with the competition for top rooster in this henhouse.

As I watched him alternately whine at and deride his assistant Kim I wondered if he gave any thought to how he was going to come off to his audience. He’s such a complete prick I cannot imagine walking into that hell hole that is his salon, much less paying him $400 for a haircut. Never mind the fact that all of his haircuts look the same he is a total starfucker and it’s obvious. When Brandon cuts the hair of some actress from a soap opera called Passions he just cannot stay away and he leads her over to the make up artist and insists that she get her make up done for free. Revlon is a sponsor for this show and so the make up artist gives the actress the blush she comments on. I don’t for one second imagine that if it were me, or any other average woman that we would 1) get a free makeover and 2) be given free make up. It also didn’t look like she paid for the haircut.

The show is also sponsored by Lenscrafters and when Kim, who is responsible for Jonathan’s glasses, loses those glasses we watch Jonathan head to Lenscrafters to get a free replacement pair. Not only is Kim, who has been working at as a glorified slave and doormat for Jonathan for two years in hopes of getting her own chair – the carrot he dangles in front of here while telling her at every turn how much she sucks – lost his glasses, but she also fails to oil his scissors every night. He takes her into the back room where he berates her for undermining him by not making sure that his equipment is working perfectly and he tells her that she is responsible for EVERY THING – not SOME THINGS, but everything. And as he does the entire viewing audience is thinking, “what a fucking dick!”

I couldn’t watch anymore, but I caught a tidbit from last week where Jonathan tells Kim that she’s crap because she can’t do a clipper cut. With tears welling in her large brown eyes she tells him that they’ve never covered that and he calls her a fucking liar that she did a clipper cut on Steve and she’d better change her attitude because he will not have anyone on the floor who can’t do a clipper cut. She pleads, “Jonathan, I never cut Steve’s hair, you can call him,” he tells that she is insane and he doesn’t get where this crazy girl act is coming from. He banishes her from the shop for an hour so that she can think about what a bad crazy girl she is. While she’s gone he calls Steve and finds out that no, she never did cut his hair. He proceeds to find Kim and still in pompous ass mode he tells her that she was right so he’ll give her a reprieve. He asks her to forgive him, but in a tone that indicates that it doesn’t really matter because she is nothing and useless and completely devoid of value and there a lots of women with healthy levels of self esteem just waiting for him to cut them into shreds. This is a man who gets $400 for a haircut – he is the golden God of hair for christ’s sake!!

I will definitely watch for as long as I can bear it tonight because in the promos I swear there’s a scene where Jonathan is crying. I can only hope that all of his high priced hairdressers – including Kim – tell him where he can shove his well-oiled shears and take to the streets in protest. One of the reasons I don’t like most reality programming is that it seems like there is always a level of humiliation that must be experienced by people who are weaker, not as pretty, or just don’t fit in and that humiliation is usually meted out at the hands of people like Jonathan Antin, who seems to feel that he has a right to treat people like crap. And after watching just the little bit that I’ve watched I have to say that I wouldn’t mind seeing someone who’s been dishing out get a taste of what it feels like – I’d really enjoy seeing him cry.

Wow reality TV really does bring out all that’s venal and evil in a person – whether they’re featured on the show or lolling on the couch.

Monday, July 12, 2004


His teeth were long and yellow, which I later discovered was from chain smoking. Since we met in a restaurant I wasn’t aware of just how many cigarettes he smoked. He was in his late 40s, had been married, but was now divorced, currently working in a studio where he made glass sculpture. He supports his schizophrenic mother – pays the bills for the institution he put her in a few years back. He invites me to his house for dinner with friends. As we drive there, it’s just a few blocks from the restaurant, but safer to drive because he lives on the same street as the Rolling 525s a Hispanic gang that hangs out in the front yard of the small bungalow in the midst of the remodeled yuppie dwellings. Young boys wearing wife beater t-shirts and baggy pants with guns tucked in the waistband at their backs – the gentrification of Venice is still in progress and the poor and disenfranchised aren’t leaving this beach community so easily so the Yuppies carry guns too. Just not where you can see them.

The interior of his small truck is full of trash. Literally. My feet sit on top of a pile of fast food wrappers, cigarette boxes and dirty clothing so that my knees are level with my shoulders. He lights up immediately, clearly he’s been jonesing for a smoke during the two hours we were talking in the bar. He’s not bad looking, tall and gangly with sinewy muscles in his arms from surfing. Salt and pepper hair, lots of it curly and unruly, that Sam Elliot look from lifeguard that I find so attractive. I decide to ignore the trash in his car and the obvious addiction to nicotine. A trip to the car wash, some nicotine patches and a cleaning the dentist could fix him right up.

Then we arrive at his house. It is the smaller of two units in a building owned by the man for whom he works. When we walk through the door I take in the fact that the living room is full of trash! There are also a few guitars, some skateboards and surfboards. It looks like someplace inhabited by an 18 year old. The kitchen is even worse. There are things in there that don’t belong in a kitchen – like shoes and overflowing ashtrays. I ask him how often he smokes and he says occasionally. I ask him how much time passes between the time he opens his eyes in the morning and the time he lights up his first cigarette. He says not much. Uh-oh.

His guests arrive for dinner – the man is his landlord and his boss. His wife is a lovely person who he clearly married so that he will always have an audience because he talks about himself incessantly. I am attempting to help the artist cook the dinner, but this requires that I clean up the massive mess as I go. I wonder that he would invite people over for dinner in squalor. I wonder that none of them seem to be phased by it. I wonder if I have become Felix Unger because I am definitely phased by the slovenly mess.

I eventually have to go to the bathroom. The sink is a truly a work of art – designed by the neighbor who owns the building. A clear glass bowl that has beautiful colors suspended within it like flowers. Unfortunately it’s filthy like everything else. Again there are more dirty clothes on the floor. I am afraid to sit down on the toilet so I hover over it gripping the sink for support. I wash my hands really good with very hot water after touching it. I dry my hands on my jeans. The bedroom is up the flight of stairs to the left – I am truly terrified of what might be up there. I bet he cuts his hair himself and keeps it in a drawer.

When it is time for me to leave he walks me to my car, which is good because the gang members are still out front - with their guns. I see their cigarettes glowing in the dark and hear their muttered comments as we pass. I suppress the urge to run – they can smell fear. When we get to my car he leans in to kiss me and sticks his tobacco flavored tongue in my mouth. Where it sits like a sodden cigarette. Um, eeeeuuuuwww. I feel his hands trembling on my back. Jeez! I am getting so grossed out. I open my car door and slide inside my hand in my purse already looking for a piece of gum. He asks if he can call me and I say sure even though I’m pretty sure this was already the “no” date.

We go out one more time and he brings me flowers. Unfortunately he also brings a little cloud of cigarette smoke, which wafts along behind him into my house, permeating the couch that he sits on. He asks me to drive to dinner because he’s forgotten his glasses. This is very definitely the ‘no’ date. Once there we have awkward conversation and I pay for my own meal – the surest sign of disinterest. When we get back to my house he tries the cigarette kiss, but I turn my head quickly and shake his hand. I tell him that it was very nice and thank you, but it’s late and I have to go to bed – it’s 9:30 on a Friday. I know he understands that I am telling him not to call me ever again.

Friday, July 09, 2004


Her brother introduced her to the rock star and the attraction was immediate.

He wasn’t really a rock star, not in the Steven Tyler, Lenny Kravitz rock star way, but he had been a guitar for hire on tour with an aging singer in the twilight years of his career and he’d had some success and popularity in Japan. He was still big in Japan and although he was pushing 40 he could pass for 33, and he still harbored fantasies of hitting big in America.

She was 30, but told everyone she was 21, and when she put her long, curly hair, dyed platinum like Pam Anderson’s, in pigtails and talked like a little girl, people didn’t question her. When her hair wasn’t in pigtails it was long and wild, reminiscent of the hair you’d see on the groupies that flocked after the 80s metals bands that she revered. Her complexion was peachy and she was tall and slender with hips and full breasts that turned rich and powerful men into babbling idiots. She was in Los Angeles to become a successful actress but although she’d gotten some walk on bit parts in a couple of movies and a few pilots, they’d gone nowhere – success was eluding her. That was okay though because she was only 21.

The rock star had a girlfriend whom he lived with and had been in a tumultuous relationship with for 12 years. This woman, let’s call her Tess, was very successful at her job as a stylist for a super diva popstar, but very unhappy in general. The rock star had cheated on her throughout most of their relationship and it had done a number on her self-esteem. When he had attempted to end the relationship she refused to let him go and would commit acts of vandalism – making it impossible for him to leave her (this is the way he tells it – doesn’t make much sense if you think about it).

She was just out of a marriage, although the state of California and SAG didn’t recognize it as such, since they’d just gone to a notary public to take their vows, and so all the medical claims he’d made on her insurance as her husband were being denied. She’d filed a restraining order against him because he had just recently moved into her building. The place she moved to in order to get away from him. Now he was living on the fourth floor with his new girlfriend and he’d just booked a soap opera.

They hung out together on a number of occasions, along with her brother. He was her twin and they had just started speaking again after being estranged for nine years. There was some kind of issue when he began dating her best friend all those years ago and it was her style to cut people off completely when there was conflict. She and her brother both smoked pot everyday, all day, so nine years went by before they knew it. Now he and her ex-best friend were broken up and they were together again, partying with the rock star.

On Valentine’s Day she made the rock star an offer. Since his girlfriend wasn’t in town and she didn’t have anybody special right at that moment, how’s about they act on the intense chemistry between them and have a little no-strings sex to celebrate the day of love? And he jumped on that ride like a hobo on an empty boxcar and before you could say Voodoo Chile they were making hot monkey love. At his house. Where he lived with his girlfriend. In his bed – where he slept with his girlfriend who was currently away on tour.

Of course this wasn’t a one time thing. Oh no! It turned into an everyday thing and against her better judgment she fell for him. Hard. By the time May rolled around and Tess, the girlfriend, was due to come home, the thought of ending the affair was breaking both of their hearts. But she told him that she could not continue to come over and fuck him in his girlfriend’s bed and it wasn’t okay for him to continue to come to her house either. Of course he couldn’t stay away and she didn’t really want him too, so even though Tess was home and wanting to go away with him he continued to come to her and they would fuck all over her apartment. And when he would go home, she would cry and feel like shit about herself.

The rock star did not want to go to Hawaii with Tess, but he did, I mean it was a free trip to Hawaii. But when he got back he told her that it was really over between them. He told her that she could have the apartment that he loved so much on the beach and he told her that she could drive one of his cars while she figured out what to do next. Tess was floored and she asked him if there was someone else. He told her “No, of course not! I’ve been unhappy for a long time.” And he walked out.

He called and told her that he had left Tess and asked if it would it be all right if he came and lived with her? She was happy, but inside she felt a little guilty. What about Tess? He told her that Tess would be fine, she had a place to live, a car to drive, and she knew that it wasn’t working between them. She’d get over it. So they went to bed and had sex to celebrate the fact that now they could be together. It wasn’t as easy as that however, because now he had nowhere else to go and he started bringing his stuff into her house. Soon it was full of his guitars and his surfboards and all the other odds and ends that he would swing by Tess’s house and pick up. He was used to having someone pick up after him and now he expected her to do it and to consider it an honor. He was, after all, a rock star. Now that this had turned into a full time relationship he was beginning to take her for granted and that wasn’t quite as fun as an illicit affair. But no matter – they were in love.

Tess would not be discarded so easily. She called constantly, crying and asking why? And why now? Some mutual friends told her that they’d seen the rock star with another woman and before you knew it Tess was calling her too. As she and the rock star were getting ready to go to his condo down south for Memorial Day weekend Tess called again and begged her to stop seeing the rock star. She told Tess that this didn’t have anything to do with her. It was between Tess and the rock star and he was doing what he wanted to do. And what he wanted to do was be with her. If Tess could just understand that and move on with her life it would be better for everyone. She and the rock star took off for the weekend.

It was Friday night and Tess who had been trying to “get over it and move on” with the help of a therapist decided that she just couldn’t. So after making a neatly lettered sign that said “POLICE ONLY” and taping it on the bathroom door, which she closed tightly, she put some blankets and pillows in the bathtub, climbed in and took all the pills in the house at once. She placed a knife on the floor by the tub. Just in case. But she didn’t need it. On Sunday they found her body lying on the floor in the bedroom by the phone. A neighbor had contacted one of her friends after seeing all the light in the house on for two days and two nights. The friend tried calling and got no answer. He came over and banged on the door but got no response. So he called the police and because there was reason to be concerned about her mental state, they broke in. Her friends conjectured that Tess must’ve changed her mind and gotten out of the tub to call for help.

But when she called to check her messages from the rock stars condo she heard Tess, tearful, slightly slurring, telling her that she could have the rock star, but she should remember how she got him, because that’s how she’d lose him.

When the rock star found out about Tess’s death he seemed to take it in stride. What bothered him most is that people who loved Tess were blaming him. They were angry at him! All of a sudden he was the bad guy! Well it wasn’t all of a sudden really. They’d never like him because he’d treated Tess like shit for the most part. He gave up the apartment on the beach and moved in with her full time. He still had an apartment in the Hollywood Hills, but his cousin was living there and it was so far from the beach. He cleaned out the home that he’d shared with Tess and brought the plants and food over to her house. He filled up her freezer with ice cream that Tess had bought, but never eaten.

Now that he was her boyfriend when they went out to eat they would split the bill. And although she was now paying her own way, he never offered to help out with the rent. But he was a rock star and the sex was still good so she let it slide. He was working on new songs for a CD and they were all about Tess. And although her friends didn’t like him or the way he treated her she felt that she was in love and so she ignored them. It probably helped that she still smoked pot everyday, all day, because it took the edge off the resentment that was starting to grow.

When the holidays came around she felt uncomfortable having him around her family. Her mother didn’t like him and she didn’t even know the half of it as far as how they’d come to be a couple. She just didn’t like the off hand way this man treated her daughter. His ego was such that he didn’t realize that his behavior and the “me, me, me” conversation was off-putting. After Thanksgiving they broke up, but he cried and begged and she allowed him to come back for New Year’s Eve. After they would fight he would be more loving and make a conscious effort to be more considerate, but it never lasted for long.

As the one-year anniversary of Tess’s death approached a fashion magazine did a story about her death. He was interviewed, and the article referenced him as a B-level player, who flipped his longish dark hair back from his face over and over, as he denied any wrongdoing in their relationship. He came off in the article like a complete jerk and she was embarrassed that her friends read it. Work was slow for her – she wasn’t getting call backs after her auditions. The rock star still wasn’t helping out with the rent so she told him he needed to move his shit to his Hollywood apartment, and he did. He started going out more and more with his friends and one night after he told her to meet him at his house, he didn’t come home until 4am – some girl he met in a bar dropped him off. He said they were just friends. When she complainingly told this story to one of her girlfriends, the woman looked at her and said, “I wonder how long it will be before you’re in the bathtub with a bottle of pills?”

She started going out with the numerous men who asked her, accepting their attentions and allowing them to spend lots of money on her. Because she told them that she had a boyfriend she figured it wasn’t cheating. And she couldn’t be accused of using anyone because she was up front about the fact that she had a boyfriend. And even though she sometimes kissed these men, or held hands with them she wasn’t leading them on – they were just having a good time hanging out. And because men love a challenge they would continue dating her, because that’s what these guys thought was going on. She started lying to her mom and her friends who were very vocal about their dislike for the rock star. And she still smoked pot everyday so the bad feelings were only a low hum.

Around her 32nd or 33rd birthday – she wasn’t really sure how old she was because she was still telling people she was in her twenties, but twenty what exactly kept changing, her mom came out to stay. She had told her friends and her mom that she and the rock star were really over. But they weren’t. And when he showed up at a restaurant one night after she called him and told him where she was, but lied and told her mom that it was a girlfriend on the phone, there was a huge scene. Also there at dinner was the friend who’d made that bathtub comment and a guy who’d pursued her and wooed her and actually made the rock star jealous. Which was why she wanted to the rock star to stop by – so he could see that the man still wanted her. Her friend finally had it with all the lying and storytelling and she pretty much told mom everything in a loud voice in the restaurant. Mom cried all night and she decided that she would never talk to that friend, or any other friend that ever said anything negative about the rock star – ever again.

Because people who are really your friends support you when you’re in love. And just because you’re lying to everybody and smoking pot all the time and your career is going nowhere despite the heavy hitters who think they’re dating you and promise to help you – that doesn’t mean that you’re going to end up in the bathtub with a bottle of pills.

At least probably not…