Thursday, May 23, 2013


I put a note on the back of my mailbox--which is not a mailbox, really, but a tiny grey prison-cell box that fills up from just two rounds of circulars among 20 other rusted silver boxes in a block not entirely unlike some Soviet-era barrack--"I think the door on 6 is jammed. Can you please see if there's mail blocking the lock?" fully expecting the rain would smear the blue letters on my little yellow post-it into non-legibility or the mailman would ignore my note, or maybe some child would rip it off just to be cruel (those cruel, cruel, children). I'll never open my mailbox again, I thought.
It wouldn't be the first time; ages ago, the door was stuck from sticky, sugary blue-and-pink goo that coated many of the boxes in what I can only assume was some bizarre cotton-candy explosion. No one bothered to wipe the units down, because after all, who has time for such trivialities? This is a place where cats and children roam free, where puppies with seemingly no owners though dangling tags on their collars race alongside your car, out the gate and into the street, and there's nothing you can do, because you're late to work and this isn't your responsibility and maybe it would teach the dog owner a lesson if your disregard for their disregard led to a tragic end. But you stop your car and yell at the tiny Chihuahua and shoo it back into the complex.
The next day I'm able to open the lock on my mailbox, and my fantasies of hacking into the box late at night with paper clips are replaced with dreams of mailbox doors like manholes or submarine hatches, built horizontally into the ground with absurdly difficult access to the unknown held inside. If only, if only! you could open that door! what should be waiting within? But it's just more tropically colored coupons to inform you of 2 for $3 blueberries and 40 percent off Swedish furniture.

The interactions we have with those who are absent sometimes mean more than the face-to-face ones. Whether they're in real time or just us replaying our memories over and over.

Sometimes I see you walking down the street. At a concert. At the grocery store. It used to be entirely possible, if not all that plausible, that it was you. And my heart would race, in anxiety, and then in curiosity. But now when it happens, I get hit with a delayed thunk to my brain: You are dead.

I wouldn't have known if not for my mother's obsession with the internet. "Did you know Lady Gaga has a head injury?" she says to me with Julian Assange-like authority. "Those Kardashian girls are starting a clothing line--I don't like them. They seem very self-obsessed." My mother, celebrity WikiLeaks. But there's no bigger celebrity for the mother of an only child than her daughter, providing me with my own personal fan base of one: "When are you going to write a new blog post?"; "I saw you tweeted about bacon, that was cute."; "Did you see they put an article of yours up on the website?" Repository of information that she is, I suppose it's not surprising that one December evening before this past Christmas, as we're in the kitchen baking or eating or doing a food-related activity as we often do, she starts whispering in that knowing tone, vaguely hinting at information I "may or may not know," about a certain tumblr post by a certain someone about a certain other someone. I don't even write in my tumblr anymore, so I have no idea what she's talking about. But there it is. We find the post she's already read and processed but hasn't told me about until now that says he killed himself. A Google search for his name brings up his obituary.
He'd done it four months earlier, in September, but news travels slowly when you've cut him and anyone who even vaguely reminds you of him out of your life. You start replaying the already overplayed memories. The extreme highs and lows. The Facebook message hinting at suicide. The texts about "doing as many drugs and fucking as many people as I can." The vague references to a Girl-Interrupted-like event that you can only assume means time spent in a psych ward. And you feel...
What do you feel? What are you supposed to feel when the first person you ever slept with, who was a narcissistic, depressed asshole that hurt you emotionally more than anyone ever had, that made you for almost a year afterward not want to be touched by anyone again, kills himself?
That is not an easy answer.
You feel validated. For those times you tried explaining to friends why the way in which he was hurting you was significantly different than just any-old guy being kind of a dick, but you just ended up thinking maybe you were being too sensitive; maybe he was just-another-guy-being-a-dick.
You feel guilty for feeling validated.
You think, It doesn't surprise me.
You feel guilty for thinking that. You feel guilty for not feeling more sad. You feel guilty for processing your feelings when you hadn't had any contact with him in almost three years, when he wasn't your boyfriend, your son, your brother.
You see him walking down the street, at a concert, at the grocery store. You think: You are dead.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


S: In the first graph, she writes, "What’s next? Facebook for pets?"
Actually, there are subsites (Dogbook and Catbook) already. Should we have her cite another example?
M: Thoughts? Maybe we could even add a "(Oh wait, there already is)" or something.
Also, why haven't you accepted my Catbook invite yet?
C: Why don't we change it to Twitter for pets…that's funnier anyway.
Are you serious about Catbook?
M: "Just went to the bathroom, noticed no one's changed my litter in two weeks #soovermyowner #petproblems"
C: Nice! I wish we could do Pinterest for pets.
M: Dogs pinning pics of fancy toilet bowls.
C: Or delicious-looking piles of shit.

Friday, May 17, 2013

y so srs?

Here's the thing about my face: It looks angry when it's in the "resting" position. It's something I've been painfully aware of for a large portion of my life, and at times tried to remedy by consciously altering my features to look "happier," or at least "surprised" (although people probably just think Why does that angry girl look so surprised?). But there's really not much I can do outside of surgically altering my mouth, and I don't think plastic surgeons have yet mastered the "smize" operation. The thing about faces is, we're stuck with them. You wouldn't tell a disfigured person "Hey, you, stop looking so disfigured," and yet people seem overly eager to brazenly tell a stranger that they need to stop looking so serious and smile more. THIS IS MY FACE. This is how it looks. You are literally seeing exactly what it looks like.

Been wearing this expression since '87.
If I had a dollar for every person who has apropos of nothing told me I should smile, or made a comment about how I look angry or serious, when all I (thought I) was doing was sitting minding my own business ... I'd have about $17. Which isn't that much, but it's enough to take you out for a drink and show you in person the stupid shit people feel compelled to say. It's akin to one of my friends who often hears from her co-workers (or strangers, and most often men), "You look so pretty without your glasses!" She should definitely stop wearing them so that other people can feel "nice" when they look at her. I mean, she only wears her glasses to see.
I used to do this thing where I tucked my bottom lip in and rolled my chin out into a position that flattened it because I didn't like the way it looked in my profile. So in class or out and about I'd consciously do this chin-flattening thing so that people in view of my profile wouldn't see my rolly little chin. (Instead they'd see a girl with a flat chin doing something really weird and likely grotesque with her mouth and lips.) It became a habit, and I somehow convinced myself that it made me more attractive to shape my face into something I thought others would like better. (You know how people tell you things a million years after you've stopped caring and you're like, "Wish you could have told the me who was sitting in science class pushing her chin down with her fingers"? I told a guy I dated about the chin thing and he said, "But why? You have such a pretty profile.")
Maybe this is why I like Grumpy Cat so much. Grumpy's resting face probably most often belies his actual mood, but he's like I WASN'T ACTUALLY GRUMPY TILL ALL YOU MOTHERFUCKERS STARTED ASKING WHY I WAS.
I shouldn't have to alter my face, or explain why my face looks however it does at the moment, especially to some dildo in a bar who thinks he's flirting with me by telling me I look grouchy. (Because that always works on everyone, ever.) 
People are drawn to friendly faces, certainly, and some people's faces are perhaps naturally "friendlier" looking. (Whatever that means. The corners of your mouth turn up more than mine; I'm so happy for you [though I don’t look it.]) But here's the thing: People are drawn to a lot of things (kindness, drugs, cartoons, beauty, licorice), and it's not up to me to put on display what other people think I should. If I'm hosting a party, I’ll be sure to look lively. If I'm interviewing someone, I’ll be sure to look interested. But when I'm just sitting, I shouldn't feel actively obligated to look cheerful if the things on my face aren't forming into the expression people wished they saw. It's my face, and sometimes it's off-duty. It's not here for your viewing pleasure. Women have enough ridiculous things expected of them as it is; trying to maintain a pleasant visage if it doesn't occur naturally should not be another. 
My face, my choice.