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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Caller ID

Some things that are true for everyone-

You have to help people move and pick them up at the airport
No one gets perms anymore and I don't know why
No one likes to be drunk in front of their mother, no matter how old you are.

Tonight I braved the inevitable migraine I get when i drink alcohol and had a few margaritas. You can only be "joyless" for so long before you need a break.
I don't think I am a likable drunk. I met a man at the bar, a friend of a friend,a macho little guy, and within five minutes he turned from me.
"I don't like you. i don't like this whole 'bitter' thing you have going on."
"SO- YOU"RE GAY?" I said loudly.
"No," he said tense and frustrated."I'm a gentleman."
I snorted."You mean you're a GAYtleman."
"Apologize and I might forgive you."
I didn't, and ended up just walking away after he refused further conversation. Gay men are so sensitive.
My friend Donna told me about getting her period at a meeting.
"It was going really well, I was selling them on something big, I could feel the blood soaking through my jeans but I just kept going," she said."Then I felt it run down my leg and saw it pool in my shoe. I realised-maybe it's time to go change my tampon."
Yes. Maybe.
The only other person I know who gets so absorbed in what she is doing that she ignores her bodily needs is Ruby, who will pee on the floor so she won't have to miss even a minute of Dora. I pointed this out to Donna.
"Yeah," she shrugged."I'm sure that one of the guys I was presenting to saw it and thought-weird-but I was on a roll, dude. What can I say?"
"Listen, don't wear my jacket when you are on your period, okay?"
"Let it go already. You will never see the jacket again."
My buzz only made the desire to stab her with a nearby steak knife even stronger.
"I'd forgotten what a belligerent drunk you are," said Jeff.
"Go to Hell," I told him and went off to find his friends. I needed their help to convince him that I should be allowed to go visit North Korea.
I need his permission to go because we operate our household in an old fashioned 1950s style-he makes the money, I clean. He pays the bills, I pay for daycare and groceries. I write checks off his account into mine secretly-he pretends not to notice. I live the life of a child, carefree.'How much is your gas bill?" you might ask. 20 dollars? 200? I have no idea.
"Tell him that Kim Jong Il golfs 38 under par every time." I told his friend Steve.
"You could promise him six months of hall passes." suggested Steve.
"Yes, wonderful. Keep the ideas coming. I love your synergy."
Hall passes are what the boys call it when they get to go out late without wife or child.
Soon, men were crowded around jeff telling him why his wife should go to North Korea.
"Did you know that Kim Jong Il invented the microwave?" asked one guy.
"Hey Jeff, Sunny wants me to tell you that when Jim Jong Il was born a rainbow split in two and a new star lit up in the sky."
"Shut up, already!" he finally yelled. But it's wearing him down, I can tell.

I've decided to stop being a weirdo and pretend to be a professional about my book.Today i am going to wear high heels because that always makes me act like more of a grown up.
It's working.
You really can talk yourself into anything. I realised last night that waiting for an agent is very much like waiting for a boy to call you. I haven't experienced that kind of anxiety since i was single, and I wasn't very good at it then either.
I remember the moment I first became aware of something called "Caller ID". It was after I'd called this guy I liked about thirty times, hanging up each time his mother answered. He was in a band called "Breedlove", which I could never take seriously because it was also the name of my goofy,"natural" chiropractor. He was always at band practice, something young boys take really seriously in Austin-the Live Music Capital of the World. One of the requirements of living here if you are under 30 and have a penis is to play guitar and talk about playing guitar until those around you pass from feeling dead inside to actually sleeping with your eyes open. If you get bored enough, it is possible.
Finally, he called me.
"Well, hey, how nice to hear from you." As though I hadn't been sitting on the bed staring at the phone, willing it to ring.
You can't control the phone with your mind, I'd told myself. Then it rang.
"Hey," said the boy,"Have you been calling my house and hanging up on my mom?"
"No, of course not," I scoffed."Why would you think that?"
"We have this thing called Caller ID. It records who calls."
"Oh. Well, I'm very busy. I have to go now." And that was the end of our romance. Had it not been for Caller ID, the entire course of my life could have been different. Instead of being married to Jeff I could be Mrs. Breedlove, still watching him "jam" in his mother's den on Friday nights during our "dates".
I had to come up more creative ways to stalk after that.
A puzzling phenomenon I discovered later on, as I grew older and began to date with a little more dignity, was how you could long for a man to call you for months and he wouldn't. Then the minute you became interested in someone else, sometimes literally that day he would call. Thousands of miles away, proximity didn't matter, the minute you stopped caring, they KNEW.
This happened again and again to me and my friends.
"How do they know?" we would ask each other.
You couldn't fake it either. You had to genuinely stop wanting them for it to work. You had to reach a completely neutral, maybe even a little repulsed, state of emotion towards them.
Ring! went the phone, like clockwork. But by then you didn't care anymore.
So, I'm going to put all of my energy into stalking Kim Jung Il. According to official news reports, when he was born a monster rose from the sea. He began to talk when he was eight weeks old and write poetry about the motherland when he was two. He invented the microwave and the radial tire. He even invented Caller ID.


  1. I don't remember any of the details surrounding my first having learned about Caller ID, but I remember strongly that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach upon realizing the ramifications of such a piece of technology. Thank you for reminding me why it sucks to be single and 21 years old--my office smells like baby poop, so I needed this perspective.

  2. I miss your posts :(, I am having withdraws...

    and I think you should hide me in your suitcase when you go to North Korea!