I am a judgey person. I know it’s wrong. I hate this aspect of myself, and I’m working on it. But it’s hard with my brain and particular sense of humor. I’ll walk out of the house all positive and cheerful and full of brotherly love, and then someone in ill fitting pants cuts me off on the sidewalk and it’s on: “Look at him. Does he really think he has the ass for those pants? And what is that, a manpurse? I think I hate him….”

I am equally rotten to myself, so I like to think that makes up for it somewhat. I’m constantly assessing my face and body with an overly critical eye and am truly depressed every summer that I can’t manage to look decent on the beach. I’m just not one of those beach girls. My hair gets wonky (as opposed to beachy tousled) and my face tans into scary looking blotches. The lines on my forehead deepen almost immediately upon arrival. Swimsuits rebel on my body as soon as we hit the sand, riding up and digging in. I’m just a squinty, liney, blotchy, ill-suited mess and I cringe when someone wants to take a photo. I had a very bad breakup with my ex-husband a million years ago and my replacement in his life was a just-out-of-her-teens blonde who looked flipping amazeballs on the beach. I know this because when he moved from the building we both lived in he left a box of photos of her in a bikini in the hallway, knowing full well that I would not be able to resist going through them. Bastard.

On the upside, I am pretty good at pulling it together for nightlife, which is probably why I was drawn to that world at an early age. When clubs were wonderful in New York I was able to reinvent myself pretty regularly with makeup and clothes. I felt glamorous and free in that atmosphere, I stopped being a bookworm from Michigan and could pretend I was an exotic creature of mystery and mayhem. I can still put on a pair of eyelashes and a decent dress, so that is available to an extent even now, although the rock and roll crowd is decidedly middle aged, so the glamour and excitement has dimmed somewhat.

I found myself in the unique situation of being dosed recently, which as far as I know, is the first time in my many years of going out that it has happened. But who knows? I have certainly had enough crazy nights in my life that anything is possible (“Ouch! Hey, that isn’t coke…oh, it’s heroin? Hmm… okay, I guess that’s alrighturrrrgggggggghhh…”). 
The whole thing was very weird, though, weirder than usual. Zoe and I went to dinner, ate a decent amount of pizza, then went straight to a party. I’m not going to say which club or party because I don’t want to damage anyone, especially as I don’t have any solid facts to back up the theory. We were at the party for maybe an hour, it was 10:30 at night, and I suddenly thought it was 3:30 in the morning and started slurring the desire to go home, that I was too tired. I had had a couple of small glasses of wine at dinner, and probably two vodka/sodas at the bar, but refused a shot that was proffered. Everything blacked out after that, except for a flash of making out with a girlfriend in a bathroom, then being poured in a cab by her and her disturbed looking boyfriend. Drew was at work, so I barely made it into the apartment before passing out in my clothes and makeup.

I hate the feel of makeup when sleeping, and never go to bed without undressing and washing my face, no matter how much I’ve been drinking. And the whole makeout thing was weird and came out of nowhere. It was embarrassing. I woke up, eyes half-glued shut, lipstick smeared all over my face, full of angst and convinced that I must never imbibe alcohol again. I couldn’t remember most of the night, but I did remember that I was a sloppy, disgusting mess in front of a room full of people. Beyond mortifying. I texted a heartfelt, anxiety-ridden apology to Zoe, and the same to the make-out friend. I told her to apologize to her boyfriend, who was clearly and rightfully unhappy with the situation. She told me she drank a similar amount as myself. She couldn’t remember anything either and threw up when she got home. Her boyfriend had to help her to bed. Then Zoe responded to my text that in all our nights of questionable behavior she had never seen me like that, especially so early into the night, and she was positive that I had been dosed. I texted this to the make-out friend and she concurred, it was the only thing that made sense for her as well. 
Whew! I know I should probably have found the information disturbing, but honestly I felt nothing but relief. I’m still embarrassed and confused as to who would have done something like that, but at least I had a reason for my amateur behavior. Although I still felt determined to be very careful with the booze on subsequent evenings out.

So fast forward to a couple nights ago on a boat on the Hudson to see the Detroit Cobras and Manitoba open up for Dick Dale, and I’m dutifully breaking up my glasses of wine with bottles of water. Almost immediately upon arrival Zoe managed to find the one gacked up gay bartender who was willing to pour copious amounts of wine for us for free as long as we threw lots of tip money at him. We would be rich if we could turn this stellar party radar into a phone app. Prior to finding our bartender we arrived late for the launch time and had to run, clicking and teetering in our heels, up a long boardwalk in front of a full, laughing crowd on the deck of the boat, shrieking, “Wait! WAIT!!”. Someone asked Puma Perl where we were and she said, without even knowing this was happening, “Oh, they’re gonna show up late and have to run to catch the boat.” 

We did make it, and then found the kindred bartender, and after some socializing sat down and watched the show. It was a very fun situation, the boat rocking, the bands rocking, everyone in a good mood. I don’t think there was anyone on the yacht under 40 years old, the crowd was pretty ancient, yours truly included, but the enthusiasm and the sets were enjoyable.

Getting back to the whole judgey thing (I should take a moment to tell you I have no idea where this blog is going, I just poured myself a cup of coffee and started typing), this is the conversation that Zoe and I had during Dick Dale:

Zoe: Oh girl. She should not be wearing that dress.
Me:  That is an American tragedy. Did you see it from the front?
Zoe: No. It can’t possibly be worse?
Me: It’s shameful. It’s a crying, desperate shame what she is doing to the front of that dress.
Zoe: And her hair. Just awful.
Me: Horrendous. 
Zoe: Tragic.
Me: But you know, there’s decent raw material there. She just needs better underwear and a curling iron.
Zoe: Spanx. Why haven’t any of her friends told her about Spanx?
Me: I don’t know. You know, we could change that poor woman’s life with the proper underwear.
Zoe: She needs us.
Me: She does. 
Zoe: Do you think we should say something to her?
Me: No. I don’t think she’d take it very well.
Zoe: You’re right, babe. You’re always right.
Me: Well, I’m right about the criminal things she’s doing to that dress right now.
Zoe (sighing): So true…Do you want more wine?
Me: Yes! We’d better go now before that bartender gets fired…

So yeah, I’ve just exposed myself as the most vapid person in the history of people, but that is where my head is at this morning: wondering how it was possible to get dosed so easily, relief that nothing worse happened, and half chagrin/half amusement at my own judgey ways. There is so much going on in the world right now that deserves more discussion: the tragic Colorado shooting, the abysmal state of our political system, the horror I witnessed this week in the form of sweet, beautiful dogs being transported for food in Korea. But it’s summertime and I’m feeling lazy and there are smarter people than myself already talking about these things.

After we finished assessing this poor stranger’s hair and clothing choices, I noticed a girl who couldn’t keep her eyes off of us. She wore a loose floral dress, flip flops and no makeup, just sort of messy backyard kind of dressing, a touch migrant worker in the 40’s but appropriate enough for an old people rock show on a boat. She slouched quite a bit and hung very tightly onto her boyfriend, and kept turning around over his shoulder, away from the direction of the show, to stare at us. Ordinarily this would make me paranoid and cranky, especially after a couple of drinks, but in keeping with my new trying not to be an asshole state of mind, I smiled the next time she turned around and crooked my finger in a come here motion.

She submitted and walked back to us, and I said, “Hi, I’m Raff, and this is Zoe, and we noticed you were looking at us, so we wanted to meet you.” She blushed and said, “Oh, I just really like your tattoos.” I asked her if she was enjoying the show and said it was great to meet her, and she went back to her boyfriend pretty quickly after the exchange. Zoe and I both noticed that she was no longer slouching, but standing much taller, and seemingly more confident in her demeanor. We felt warmed by the exchange.

So in a summer of lazy mayhem, I got a little lesson from that girl, which was simply that if I am nice and polite and extend myself, rather than remain an insular, insecure mean girl, I can sometimes make a connection which enhances my energy and the energy of the other person. I have also learned, perhaps for the millionth time in my life, that water in between drinks is not a bad thing. So there’s that.

Summer So Far…

Which is primarily going to be a pictorial as I don’t have anything deep to tell you right now…

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Handsome Dick Manitoba and I called a truce because I was kicking his ass we decided our arguing was putting too much pressure on his wife/my bff Zoe Hansen to continue arguing. She always worries that he’s going to offend me and I always assure her that everything he says offends me so worrying is pointless.

My job at PF came to a close in mid-June, and as expected I have spent some happy mornings on the couch, in my underwear, xbox controller in hand, dirty hair in a clip on top of my head.

In other words, Paradise. 

But with the extra time I feel obligated to get more diligent about writing, so my first foray back to the keyboard is this lame report on what I’ve been up to since last entry.

Truthfully, I had no idea how burnt I was on daytime work in a stressful environment until I stepped out, blinking and confused, into the sunlight. I have had maybe, maaybe, a sum total of 5 Mondays off since 2001, regardless of holidays or illness. So when Drew asked me on that Sunday night what I wanted to do on the first Monday of my new life, sooner than later to be filled with new schedules and new job possibilities, and without prior consciousness of desire, the words, “I want to go to the zoo.” popped out of my mouth.

So we went that Monday morning and it was a perfect day. The Bronx Zoo is lovely. The administrators are very conscious of conservation and animal welfare, so there is a comfort knowing that the animals are kept in environments as close to their natural habitat as possible. We found ourselves mere feet away from giant gorillas, snow leopards, giraffes, monkeys, seals, etc., and I felt renewed by the oxygen flowing from the trees and the exhilarating feel of being near so much beauty and anywhere other than a basement office. 

Almost immediately after arrival I dragged Drew to the black leopard in the Rainforest exhibit. I know it’s beyond corny, but I’ve always thought of the panther as my good luck symbol ever since, as a teenager, I went to see Cat People in the theater with a boy I was dating that I had just caught on the phone with another girl. I walked in feeling hurt and walked out two hours later fantasizing about eviscerating him feeling empowered and sure I would be fine on my own. Something about the high drama of watching a giant black cat made me feel whole and happy and more sure of myself.

We got to the panther as he (she?) slept lazily on his perch:

I felt blessed just to be near enough to see the spots and giant claws through the glass. Then as I stood there already feeling awed in the presence of greatness, he turned his head and looked directly at me, blinked once or twice, and then stayed looking at me until we walked off:

I took it as a sign from the Universe that all is on course, and felt elated and grateful for all of it: for this job change, for a boyfriend willing to escort me to the zoo, for a beautiful summer day, for the safety and well-being of this beautiful creature.

After that excursion, next up was a couple of days in Cape Cod with Drew’s mom and sister, just outside of P-Town, whereupon we were greeted with this sight upon arrival:

I’ve never been to Cape Cod or Provincetown and I fell in love. Gays, the ocean, and quaint historical New England cottages. What’s not to get excited about?

That is our friend Jaime, who moved from New York to P-Town a couple of years ago and hasn’t looked back since. He calls me Mary Haines and we spend a lot of time quoting “The Women” to one another while Drew rolls his eyes.

More eye-rolling: Drew’s sister bought herself a floatie, and he had to blow it up for her:

He wasn’t at all dramatic about it.

The second morning we were there we were greeted by this sight upon arising.

Our neighbors were in a tizzy because this little guy washed up on the beach:

My photo doesn’t do him justice. He was the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen. Like a puppy with flippers instead of legs, so not only is he adorable, he’s also heart-breakingly vulnerable on land..

We joined in the tizzy. Where was his mother? Why was he stuck on a well-traversed-by-humans beach? Was he injured? OH MY GOD, DO SOMETHING!!

Luckily one of our neighbors was a set of very beefy lesbian librarians. If the zombie apocalypse comes, I want to have manly lesbian librarians on my side. Those women HANDLE shit. They have got it UNDER CONTROL. They had already called marine rescue and remained on the beach to yell at anyone who tried to get too close. Any time people got near to take photos he flippered down to the edge of the water, and if he went in without his mother, he would be shark bait. His mother (we think) was spotted for a hot second wayyy out in the surf, but then she was gone.

And speaking of shark bait, this is going on in a different area of the Cape, because seal populations bring sharks:

I don’t get that excited about stuff like this because I’m not swimming with schools of seals, but Drew has a flair for the dramatic (see above photos) and he watched the news regularly for new shark sightings. I made Jaws jokes whenever the opportunity arose.

Anyway…the baby seal. Marine rescue came out and assessed that he was fine, no injuries, and announced that sometimes the mothers drop them off for a day. They put police tape up with a sign that threatened a $10,000 fine for tampering, and they left. And he sat there. And sat there. And sat there. All alone in the blazing 90 degree sun. It was torture to witness.

The day passed, the sun set. No mother. The tide rose, no mother. Finally we went to bed, wondering if the tide would eventually wash him out. Even if it didn’t, he had spent a full 24 hours without food or care. Fuck you, marine rescue! I wanted to put him in our tub. I’d already picked out a name–Beauregard. I envisioned hiking the beach to P-Town to get him a pink collar.

When we got up he was, as expected, gone. We spent half of the day sad until Drew’s mom heard from one of the other hotel guests that someone had seen him get very excited around 5 am and quickly flipper his way into the water, so the assumption was that his negligent mother finally showed up. I hoped that the report was true and felt sure it must have been witnessed by one of the librarians, who either stayed up all night or arose at dawn to assess the situation.

There was also a barbecue in at Mike’s house (Brooklyn, not P-Town):

Drew headlined the Revelation Records festival out in California: http://www.suburbanapologist.com/look-photo-review-of-rev25-aka-revelation-records-25th-anniversary-shows-the-glass-house-june-7-10-2012/

(Photo by Nicole Kibert/elawgrrl.com. Gotta give credit where credit is due.)

And Chockie had to go to the groomers and get a haircut after a disastrous trip to the vet where they completely humiliated him by shaving his face and neck.



And that’s my unemployed summer so far.

Somewhere in between handing over my credit card to the vet and then the groomer, it dawned on me that the one thing my day job did provide was cold hard cash, and now I am fresh out of it. OOPSIE! So yes, there is that, unless I want to spend all my savings I have to act responsibly and wisely moving forward (i.e. get gainfully employed). But since I’ve always been responsible and had a job, this new experience feels interesting, and the downtime is, as expected, pretty frickin’ awesome.

I will try to use the extra time to make you proud with some writing progress (this entry clearly doesn’t count), and I hope this blog finds you all happy and healthy and enjoying your summer!

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