More Wine

DREW: What time is Kim coming?

ME: About 4:00. I’m gonna help her set up to be ready to sell by 4:30. What time are you coming?

DREW: I’ll be out of rehearsal by 6:30 so I’ll stop by at 7:00. You guys should be good and sloppy by then.

ME: Really.

DREW: Yeah. A bunch of old sluts covered in tattoos and wine stains, talking really loud over one another.

ME: Mm hmm. Well, joke’s on you, dickhead. This is your life.

DREW (flopping face down in the bed and sighing): I know…

ME: So bring cash because we’re probably going to need more wine by the time you get there.

FNO, No, No, No!

Lord. It’s Fashion Week…again.

I have absolutely nothing to do with Fashion Week, but I do live in New York and work for Patricia Field so there’s some shoulder rubbing by default. And as much as I proclaim to hate fashion, it’s not completely true. I love clothes and I do think some people can make beautiful art out of it (McQueen!). I’m secretly flattered to receive the occasional invite to runway shows and I always try to make The Blond’s show because they are beautiful souls and I enjoy what they do. I just hate 80% of the people in the industry of designing and selling clothes, including myself sometimes.

So I thought I’d give you a random report from my own tiny frontline:

We had a Fashion’s Night Out party in the store on Friday night, which featured Amanda Lepore and Cazwell DJ-ing, free cupcakes (Delicious by Danielle), free coffee (Bustelo), free makeup (Maybelline), free booze (Skyy Vodka and Golden Star Tea) and an appearance by Ms. P herself. In a retail clothing store…you know, with glass shelves and mannequins perched delicately on high places and a thousand little items that can easily be shoved in pockets:
I didn’t really have to do much this time around except hire three security guys and show up. Jesse sent me two from his places and I hired our friend Rizzo to do the door. Done and done. Slapped on a faux ponytail, some false eyelashes and a pair of the most uncomfortable Louboutins ever created and rolled on in.

It started at 8pm, I got there at 9 and it was already impossible to move. Mannequins swayed precariously in the tide of bodies. Pat wasn’t even due to arrive until after 10pm, so it was obvious it was going to get really ugly. The bar area downstairs was even worse. And it was all little kids. Piles and piles of well-coiffed and decked out teenagers, mostly black, packed like sardines in the bar area, waiting for a turn at the booze. Hmm. They looked adorable, but dangerously underage. Luckily it took so long to get to the bar that it was impossible for any of them to get drunk.

I am trying very, very hard to live a conscious, centered life these days. I don’t want to fight with people, I don’t want to be impatient, I want to be serene and kind. This is not a simple task because I am not a serene, kind person. I’m cranky and quick to react. But those reactions cause me pain, and I don’t want to hurt, or be hurt anymore. The joy of the fight has left the building.

But of course, alway, always in these crowds I am tested. And this is why I hate fashion people so much. They’re assholes. All of the things that feel imperative to me are not even on the radar for them. They don’t give a shit about the planet and what we’re doing to it. They don’t care about animals. They don’t care whether children were forced by economic need to sew the beads on their dress. They’re not very nice to each other. There’s no love or light, there’s no deep connection. It’s all surface and bitchiness and getting close to the famous, regardless of what they’re famous for. It’s pointless. It makes me want to set fire to things.

This is a generalization, and there are a few good ones mixed in there. And even many of the bad ones aren’t really bad, they just aren’t very awake. But I am not evolved enough myself yet to be able to gently bring them into my mindframe with delicate leading by example, so the less contact we have, the better really.

I have been working on Sushi, our head Buyer and Creative Director, for years on the fur issue. This is Sushi, with Moto, our other Buyer, more on her later. Cute, right?
My main arguing point with Sushi is that we are an inexpensive store and the fur is coming from the dodgiest of places, dodgy as in most likely some cracked out Chinese man grabbed a small animal, jammed it live on a hook, then slashed open its belly and yanked out its internal organs while it twisted in agony. Then he did it again. And again and again, because demand for cheap fashion is high. Then he took the pile of tails and sent them to someone who washed the blood off, stuck a key ring on, and sold them to us for a very reasonable price.

The people I work with are pretty great for the most part and although they pretend to think I’m nuts, they really don’t, and over the years have begun making concessions. I’ve got everyone in the office drinking out of a Britta instead of buying plastic bottles. We print and wipe with recycled paper. And this season Sushi and Moto were able to find some really good fake tails to keep up with the obscene hipster raccoon and fox tail obsession that is currently sweeping New York City. They were so pleased to present them to me and I felt happy that they a) cared about my feelings and b) were starting to get it.

Cut to the party, I’m getting knocked back and forth but seeing cute people I haven’t seen in a while and everyone is up and happy and being friendly. One crazy girl I know is walking around topless and casually asks me where to find the bikini tops. I love that. I’m happy with my hair and choice of outfit. Someone tells me I look like I’ve lost weight. Someone else walks by and hands me a cocktail. Life is grand. Here’s a shot of Moto and I looking foxy with our new completely pointless mini mini gloves:

I am smiling and facing a woman who is digging through a giant martini glass holding a display of tails. She waves them at her friend, trying to decide on a color. I say happily, and really just as a passing remark, having a little Cher in Clueless moment and not intending to get into any tedious fur conversation, “They’re faux!”

Her face twisted into the ugliest of masks, and she threw the tails down in disgust, and said, “Fuck PETA.”

It’s hard to describe with words the clear energy of hate she sent my way, and I had no choice but to turn my back and start a new conversation as quickly as possible to try to deflect the wave of darkness I felt. Because what I really wanted to do was turn back around and punch her square in her ugly rat face. But underneath my anger was a pool of hurt. She hurt me. I was happy, I was being open and friendly (a rarity), those tails were a sort of gift to me from my co-workers and their presence meant something to me. I was trying to share my good mood and she spat on it.

As an aside, I am not a fan of everything that Ingrid Newkirk and PETA does to get attention. I support the cause, but I think that the extremes can hurt the cause sometimes, and this was a witness to that very point. It was more that the slap of the momentary good mood wounded me.

Rabbit sent a text from outside, she couldn’t get in. I went to the door and looked out upon the faces of a mob of people jammed up against the store all the way out into the street, desperately clamoring to get in. Russian Dennis was actually holding both sides of the door jamb and using his body as a barrier to keep them from entering. I ducked under his arm and elbowed my way outward and shouted at people to let her through, and somehow we pulled her through the fray. As I managed it one man with a giant camera who was pressed up against Dennis and looking pained, said sadly, “I just want to get my story and go home.” I pulled him through too, and we stumbled back into the store.

We fought our way through the crowd and back downstairs, side-stepping a clusterfuck of cameras and fans surrounding Pat. She looked calm as lights shone in her face and people jostled and pulled at her. Her assistant and my pal Ingrid looked stressed in the glare of the spotlight; it’s her job to organize and control at these events and it’s scary how famous Pat has become and how intensely people desire to make contact.

Sushi grabbed a bottle of vodka from the bar and we retreated into the office. It was the only safe place to be and about 6 or 7 of us gossiped happily in the small area that I spend much of my days. Moto, who I call my Teacup because she’s tiny, funny, gorgeous, and you want to treat her like a fancy pet, was being trailed by one of our vendors, one of the few straight men at the party who obviously had an interest in her. He followed her into the room and stood near the door.

I still felt creepy about the encounter with the woman. Why is it we can have twenty good moments and then we’ll fester on the one bad moment? What is that bit of self destruction?

I turned to Moto to tell her the story. She doesn’t give a shit about animal or human suffering or the planet, but she loves me and tries to pretend that she cares. I knew she’d listen and I wanted to purge the residual feelings so I could get on with the night happily. But before I could get the full story out, the straight dude, who was already getting on my nerves with his continued and unasked for presence, piped in with his own hatred of animal rights types and his love of fox fur tails. 
And that was the straw. I shouted him down:
“You are in MY HOUSE right now, motherfucker! You are in MY OFFICE. I am talking to my friend and I don’t want to HEAR YOUR SHIT about fur. I don’t WANT TO HEAR IT. If you want to stay in this room, I suggest you SHUT THE FUCK UP about PETA and fur for the time being.”

Ahhhh…NOW I felt better. I certainly didn’t say anything enlightening or evolved, but I did manage to pass the crappy energy on. I heard him mumbling something about how people get so excited about the issue, and to his credit he didn’t argue it any further. I think he really liked Moto. 

Someone else came into the room and said Pat had gotten so frustrated with the abuse that she’d actually shoved someone. And that was our cue to leave. We struggled our way back through, up the stairs, and out through the still thronging front door. I wobbled on broken feet. I hate those fucking shoes. 

The streets were almost as bad as the store. Hordes of fashion types threw themselves in the street trying to hail cabs. We walked for blocks, my feet screaming. I was on the verge of tears of pain. Finally we spotted an open pedi-cab, a guy with a bike attached to a rickshaw seat. We ran for him and made it, and he pedaled the three of us (Rabbit, me, Moto) all the way across town to the West Side to BES, where Rabbit sings occasionally, draped on the bar with a microphone. The night was beautiful and our driver whipped in and out of traffic easily as we passed people desperate for cabs. I laughed and clapped like a little kid, it was the highlight of my night, the buildings and lights, the traffic, the warm night air. We passed another pedi-cab full of girls and we blew kisses at each other. It was exactly what I needed, although it ruined Rabbit’s eyeliner. 
We were greeted at the door by gorgeous, well-dressed men (gay), seated in a luxe setting and handed drinks in heavy, elegant glasses. I watched people dance, lovely people for a change–pretty girls, not the tedium of models but real girls in their Fashion Night finery, handsome men who looked creative and interesting and who smiled at us and danced well. Not a hipster or celebrity or frat boy in sight, just some weird, elegant amalgam of the best that New York can be in rare moments. I sat in between my girls and sipped my drink, well buzzed by this time, and sent out a little message of gratitude to the Universe. Some people suck, but not all of them.

Cats and Drats

It’s official, I’ve become a hoarder again. After losing Lila last year and then Monty this summer, I thought I’d keep my shit together and just adopt one more cat, upping my one-bedroom apartment four-legged population to one dog, two cats total.

Alas, I have no control. I adopted Count Chocula at the beginning of August:

And then, noting that Chocula prefers Drew, which annoys me to no end, I went back to the lovely ladies of Eve’s Sanctuary and collected his pal Fat Albert, who is not actually fat and looks like a rounder, baby version of Monty:

Now we’re all jammed up tight, Winter the crazy cat-loving Pekingese dog, Roquefort the ridiculous, Count Chocula the Casanova, and Fat Albert the love bunny, and Drew and I could not be happier. Thank God I found a boyfriend equally dotty over animals. The dog is laying on my feet, I’m typing while repeatedly pushing Choc’s brown tail off of the keyboard, and Drew is in the bedroom conducting a getting along seminar with Albert and Roquefort.

The good thing about moving in new cats is that it’s nice and distracting, and since I have stalled out on writing, I can use their arrival as an easy focus rather than feeling shitty about what I’m doing with my life.

Here’s how it went down recently: I sat in front of the computer, opened up the folder with bits and pieces I’ve been working on, lists of things I could work on, etc., and I just thought, “Blech. I don’t want to do this.” Then I got a little teary in frustration, and the questions came up: What am I doing with my life? Am I gonna be working for someone else and not really contributing anything to the world for the whole of my existence? Why can’t I just get on being creative like everyone else? 
Then my inner voice, the one that I have been working to pay more attention to lately, said, “Don’t worry about it. Let it go for now, things will be fine.”

So I did. I moved five feet over to the couch and turned on the Xbox and spent the afternoon in Oblivion:
I am perfectly capable of whiling away my entire life in a good video game, surrounded by mush-faced pets, but regardless of sage inner voices this doesn’t seem to be the prime option at my age.

Luckily, more distractions, friends in town. One particular friend is uber-talented, has a mountain of followers, and a career trajectory on visible rise. We met for dinner and after this person filled me in on what had been happening in the world of someone who has their shit together, I blurted out.

“Oh my God. I’m freaking out. I don’t think I can do it. I don’t want to look back into my past. I just don’t want to go there. I can’t get my brain organized. And time is just ticking away and I feel like I haven’t done ANYTHING with my life. And then I think, well, maybe I’m not SUPPOSED to do anything other than what I’m doing but then I get depressed because I know it’s all this wasted potential that everyone’s always lecturing me about. And then I think well, maybe I should just take a totally different trajectory and work at the Humane Society or something and just call it a day and stop thinking that I’m supposed to BE this grand thing or CREATE this grand thing, this stupid, pointless THING, which is probably just a figment of my ego’s imagination anyway. GAHHH!”

And this person, who is amazing and adored by many and who does amazing things every day and had just swooped into town in between doing amazing things, said, “I feel like that every day.”

I blinked in disbelief and gratitude. Thank God for honest dinner conversations, they’re the glue that holds life together. And then we got into the whole shame factor that comes with looking into the past, which is what I have been doing with writing so far. The question begs, why is it that we often look back at things we’ve done or experienced with a deep, dready, anxious feeling of shame, regardless of whether those moments in time warrant it? I find it so hard to forgive myself for even relatively minor infractions that I would not think twice about if someone else admitted them. And is it that I find it hard to love myself if I don’t do something that the world rewards with attention? 

I haven’t a clue at the moment, but I’m glad to have friends to discuss it with, and endlessly grateful for the life I have right now. And maybe the whole point isn’t so much about creating something marvelous as an opportunity to burn off the old energies of shame and ego-need.

Or maybe I should just shut the fuck up and get on with it. We’ll see.

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