Warning Rattles

I saw a man on television (okay, yes, it was Oprah, stop judging me) named Gavin Becker who wrote this book: The Gift of Fear
It was a fascinating interview. His focus as he spoke was not on foot stomping and ball busting, but on how humans are the only animal that will sense danger and ignore it, and this is what gets us into trouble. Women, he said, are very prone to this, because we are accustomed to wanting to be nice. While our spidey sense may start tingling as soon as we hear a dangerous man’s voice behind us, our politeness brain kicks in and takes control. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. And they look harmless enough most of the time, most serial rapists and murderers look like normal people, so it’s easy to override that small bell dinging in the distance.

When I was in grade school I walked a half mile to and from school every day with my classmate neighbors/friends. This was in the 70’s, in a small town, and we rode our bikes and walked everywhere. We wore Catholic schoolgirl uniforms and stopped at the store for candy if we had cash, and joked and bickered the whole way about things like what we would do if we were witches like Samantha on Bewitched. So it was generally a fun journey if the weather was decent. On one of these walks home, on a beautiful Spring day, a man came up from behind us and said hi in an overly friendly tone and started asking random questions: what were our names, where we went to school, etc. 
My friends reacted immediately with poker-face non-response, and then when he continued to push and went so far as to try to carry one of the girl’s bags, they ran away. I kept walking with him alongside, but staring straight ahead, and answered a couple of his questions as tersely as possible. I didn’t want to, I was extremely shy on a good day and his presence scared me. I knew I was in the vicinity of wrongness, I had already been molested earlier in life and recognized the icky temperature of the air. But I was frozen to the spot by the need to not hurt his feelings in case, just in case, he was really just a nice man who needed friends. My friend Shelly Hesslau finally ran back and grabbed me and pulled me into a run. I felt a great wash of relief as we ran together, knee socks sliding down skinny calves, even as she yelled at me for not moving immediately. She probably saved my life that day, and she told her mother who told my mother and then I got a big talk about the danger of strangers.

Now I am much older and have impolitely hurt feelings many times in my life. I have already written enough about a compensation for shyness that is sometimes too blunt and too bitchy. When I react in this manner I feel shitty about upsetting people so then I over-correct by being too accommodating and it becomes a neurotic see-saw of weird behavior. Like a teenager fresh behind the wheel of a car, I’m veering all over the road.

We flew back from vacation yesterday and the flight was jam-packed with babies and toddlers. I swear there must have been a ticket deal for people with kids under 5, the din was overwhelming. Seated directly behind me was a little girl with a great fascination for the tray table. Up, down, up, down. Bang, bang, bang! I dirty-looked the mom and she apologized and then I felt bad. Not that it really changed anything. Bang, bang, bang! Kick, bang, kick, bang, squeal! Finally I turned around and said, “I know she’s really little and it’s hard, but if you could keep her from banging on the back of my seat I’d be grateful.” I tried to be polite but I still felt weirdly shitty about the exchange, like I was a bad person who couldn’t control herself.

Next up was the woman in front of me with a shrieky infant and a chipper and admittedly adorable toddler who she referred to as “Nina-Bear”, her husband blissfully on his own in the seat in front of her. Sometime during the second half hour of the flight she created a rattle from hell out of a water bottle with change in it. So mommy ingenious! The baby screamed joyfully and shook the bottle and it made an overloud thunk, thunk, THUNK and then the baby would scream again and throw it on the ground, directly near the head of my poor dog who was horrifically abused throughout his puppyhood and is desperately afraid of loud noises, and who was at that time trapped in a carrier directly under the baby’s seat. 
Sensitive dog who just wants to sleep in peace on planes:
Sigh…I tried, I really tried to be cool, as I already felt guilty about ragging on the woman behind me and I knew the woman in front of me didn’t know about the dog and was just trying to keep the baby occupied. 
But then the noisy, ugly, change-filled plastic bottle flew in the air for the 9 gazillionth time and landed in my lap. The mother turned around smiling, expecting an indulgent ooh-don’t-you-just-love-babies smile as I handed the bottle back. Alas, it was not to be. I held the offending item in front of me and cocked my head and made a grimacey face that said, “Really?”. 
She said, still smiling, “Well, it’s either that or a screaming baby, it’s your choice!” 

I looked her in the eye a moment longer and said sadly, “Both choices suck.” And then handed the bottle back to her as her smile dropped and Drew’s eyes crossed as he tried to contain his glee. 

I felt really crappy almost immediately afterward. I was right, in a way, but I didn’t like how the exchange made me feel. Why couldn’t I have just nicely told her there was a dog under the seat? Why do I always have to take it there? I don’t want to be mean, I really don’t. It makes me feel better when people smile rather than frown in my direction. I love my rebellious nature but I’m a grown up lady now and let’s face it: the middle finger is more appropriate and attractive when paired with a mohawk instead of a manicure. 


My nails look awesome right now, by the way.
But I digress…So this is a big lead up to the real topic, which is following intuition. After living in the heart of NY for 25+ years, I believe that I am fairly in tune when it comes to dangerous men. I know when someone is acting weird on the street and I know how to charm a potential psycho in a bar in order to avoid a brawl. But I am still learning how to navigate the less obvious pitfalls of ignoring my inner voice, which come these days in the form of unhealthy relationships, less soul-destroying than a rapist to be sure, but still damaging if left unchecked.

I recently learned that someone I trusted really doesn’t think too highly of me or wish me well. This happens, I am somewhat loose about this kind of thing because lord knows I’ve talked my share of shit, even about people I adore. Sometimes you’re just momentarily venting about a friend and it gets back to them and it becomes a high school drama. I don’t want to know what everyone thinks of me all the time, it’s none of my business and my ego can’t take the blow. But this turned out to be much deeper than momentary bitching, with an element of insidious using and secret hatred that shocked those closest to me. It’s a sickness that really has nothing to do with me, but I allowed it into my personal life.
The interesting thing about this situation is that my initial feelings at the beginning of the friendship were a tattoo needle buzz of quiet discomfort. No great warning bells, just a small something felt off. True to form, I initially overreacted and then over-corrected. On the surface there was so much overt, demonstrative kindness and intelligence and what I thought was deeply honest conversation, that I overrode the vibration of my own nervousness. I didn’t want to be a snob to someone outside of my usual circle, I wanted to be thought of as nice, I want to think of myself as nice. I wanted to make someone happy, I wanted to be loved. It’s nice to be nice to the nice. So I ignored warning signs, the advice of my clear-seeing boyfriend, and my own intuition for quite some time, and it bit me in the ass a bit this summer.

Happily, I am in tune enough that I feel the pebble hitting me on the head and don’t have to wait for the wall to fall to get the message. I have people who love me dearly and are there to guide and protect me when I am unsure. So everything is good, just a few hurt feelings on my part and a lesson learned.

I know that many people out there struggle with this too. We want to be polite, we don’t want to be snobs, we want to make new friends. We want to co-exist with our fellow humans in a way that fills our hearts and ensures that we’ll always have entertaining dinner partners. These are all good things. Most of us are, at heart, good people. I simply want to remind you, as I have been reminded, that if there is something tapping at the back of your consciousness, it is there for a reason, and it is important to pay attention to the small messages before they snowball into more unwieldy and painful ones. 
It is my amateur advice to meditate or practice yoga or whatever it is that you love (painting, running, etc.) that will connect you with your inner, higher self, so that you have an easier time differentiating between mind chatter or social conditioning, and your true voice. It’s hard to tell when we have been trained our whole lives to follow societal protocol, which is necessary for peaceful co-existence, but sometimes cripples our ability to protect ourselves.
If you are not in immediate, dramatic danger, but are unsure of someone’s intentions toward you, envision yourself surrounded by white light whenever they are in your vicinity. Lower energies or intentions cannot get through a field energy of love and protection. Don’t hate them or engage in the struggle, this will bring you down into a lower, and therefore more vulnerable vibration. My mother told me that she imagines a diamond of light in everyone’s heart center as she walks through the world. This is a means of recognizing that regardless of form or personality or evolutionary progress (or lack thereof), there is a higher self in each person. I love that. People may or may not respond, it’s not so much about them but about keeping in tune with your own higher self.
Come to think of it, it’s probably a good idea to surround yourself with white light whenever it pops into your mind. Right now energies are moving very quickly, and we are being asked to step up to the plate and shed old, destructive habits in order to make way for a more crystalline form of being. If we don’t cut the shit and do it now, we will probably get left in the dust with the worst of us. Which, in my case, is probably why this is happening, just a little reminder to stay the course of true soul as we move into the new age. I am releasing this person with love and moving forward peacefully.

Oh, and I found this: If you’re on a plane with a parent using a super loud gross plastic bottle and dirty coin rattle that’s totally freaking out your dog and ruining your flight, you can suggest this much more peaceful alternative. And then, because you’ve been so helpful and accommodating, you can ask for one of whatever is in the bottle.




Jane Street

I did a reading for one of Ms. Puma Perl’s writer’s nights last night. She is a killer poet and author, a true East Village rebel artist, and an all around lovely person, so if she asks I am there. I feel like she is one of the keepers of the creative flame in a neighborhood that has lost much of that fire, and I am grateful that she includes me in her circle.

So I wrote a piece a while back that I read last night, and I hadn’t intended to post it anywhere. But since I haven’t had any time to blog lately, and a friend asked me if she could find it online, I decided I might as well house it here:

JANE STREET

One of my best friends is semi-famous. She’s not like, Motley Crue or Tom Cruise famous, but she’s got a lot of action in her life as a performer. Let’s say she’s past 5000 facebook friends famous.

We’ve been friends for 25 years and it’s a relationship in which there is a lot of trust because we went through some difficult times together. I was the semi-famous one when we first met, so it’s been entertaining to watch the roles reverse, and it has created a safety wall around us because we both know what it’s like to be either visible in a way that isn’t fully the truth, or invisible, which is an untruth in another way.

Recently my friend flew into town to meet someone new that she had hired, and she asked me to come with her to a party this person was throwing so I could offer my assessment. I do love to give an opinion and gladly accepted the invitation.

The party was at the Jane West Hotel, where I lived for a brief time in the mid-80’s when it was a trannie hooker flophouse extraordinaire. It was hardcore, complete with the guy in the weird cage desk in the lobby and a vibrating air that smelled of crack sweat and desperation. The guest rooms were bum hotel tiny but two friends and I managed to rent a large, sparsely furnished room in the basement. These two friends were Michael Schmidt, who has since become a well known designer and who created the legendary party Squeezebox, and a supremely talented painter named Martine. We were all kids fresh out of the Midwest, so we had a lot in common, primarily obscurity and a lack of income.

Our room must have been a ballroom at one time. It maintained that sad brokedown aura of elegant days gone by, with ceramic tile on the floor and a balcony running along one side of the room. It was probably beautiful once, but by the time we arrived, it was filthy and depressing. There was another large room on the other side of one wall that housed parties, most notably the Rock Hotel, which was the first party in New York to feature hardcore and heavier bands like Motorhead on a regular basis. And sometimes they’d rent out that room for low rent disco parties. The bass would thump, thump, thump all night long against the wall near my head, until I would sit up in bed and scream, FUCK YOU, MICHAEL JACKSON! FUCK YOU!!

We were beyond broke. Michael (Schmidt, not Jackson) weighed little more than a hundred and some odd pounds and lived on mini-marshmallows for what seemed like one entire week. He sat crunched up in his jacket like a bony mantis picking them one at a time out of the bag with long fingers, shivering in front of our television, which featured a screen cracked with what looked remarkably like a bullet hole.

We shared a bathroom with a Chinese family who we never saw, but every single day, without fail, would jam the toilet beyond use with leftover food. The floor and tiles were gritty with grime, and waterbugs were our constant companions as we stood in flip flops day after day, shaking angry fists at the unusable toilet and the unseen Asians who crept in at night to fill it with rice and mystery meat.

And just to round out the picture of this magical time in my life, I was date raped in our room by a Frenchman who was my boss at my very first job in New York, working as a salesgirl at Betsey Johnson. I didn’t know that it was date rape at the time, it was quietly traumatic in a way that didn’t become clear to me until years later, but this is a another story. I just want to give you a memory snapshot of my time at the Jane West Hotel.

So now it’s been renovated to the nines and it’s very fancy and Jane Street is THE street in the West Village. And this is where my friend’s very expensive new person was throwing the party.

When we approached the building I recognized the entrance staircase, but everything else was quite different. The smoky desk cage was gone. The lounge we entered was sumptuous, with a sort of murder mystery mansion come Moroccan feel, featuring that taxidermy of exotic animals that is both horrible and beautiful and very fashionable right now. Suffice to say not a waterbug in sight.

At the entrance to the party room was a single file line-up of very bored looking models hired to stand in a row as eye-candy. They were very pretty, of course, but looked miserable and bored. It seemed a pointless waste of thin nubile flesh to my experienced party eye. I would have given them drink tickets and sent them into the fray. Let ‘em get too drunk, pick a fight at the bar, blow someone in the bathroom! This gives the guys something to focus on and old cranks like me the opportunity to feel superior with our more mature behavior. Everyone is happy. Instead they just stood there, like giant statues, reminding me of all my physical flaws as I slouched past them, avoiding eye contact.

The new hire was cute: one of those typical industry girls–short, animated, not much makeup, trying very hard to exude that super-hip, “just one of the guys” energy that many women working behind the scenes in entertainment adopt in order to survive. She seemed cool enough. She introduced us to people who seemed cool enough.

My friend and I got a drink and sat on a plushy couch and things immediately went awry in that quietly horrendous way that these kinds of parties always do for me. The models looked even more hostile from our new vantage point. We were seated across from a couple on the couch who were as cute as could be and more boring than should be humanly possible. I think the guy was gay. He had side-swept bangs that he kept tossing out of his eyes and the kind of wardrobe that my boyfriend and I play a game with on the street: “Gay or Hipster”. His adorable and clueless girlfriend was dressed perfectly in overpriced Soho boho gear. Someone took a polaroid of the two of them and handed it to her. She set it down immediately and stared off into space with her hand in her chin. He stared out into the crowd, probably wishing he could tell his girlfriend he’s gay.

I said, “You should keep that photo, you both look very cute in it.” They turned for a moment, looked at me as if I had three heads and then went back to staring into space.

My friend sat next to me, talking  to new hire, who, in the space of five minutes had morphed curiously from professional businesswoman to teenage drinky gal. She had curled herself up into a ball with her knees scrunched against my friend and was alternately whispering into her ear and taking gulping swigs from a Heineken bottle.

My friend, who is the soul of patience, responded to each utterance briefly, and with eye contact and body language tried to direct Drinky Gal to the fact that there was another person on the couch, namely ME. But she could not be less bothered with my unimportant ass and rambled about her bad relationships and how she couldn’t be friends with ex-boyfriends and the usual completely inappropriate stuff that you shouldn’t talk about with employers but we all do when we drink too much.

I caught a small portion of it and said something that I thought was incredibly deep about the fact that until the lesson is grasped your energy will remain stuck. She glanced at me with that same three head glaze, and went back to ignoring me and whispering. I rolled my eyes and stared into space. Then I went back to staring at the young couple, fascinated by how truly not-fun they were at such an early age. The polaroid sat there, unclaimed, and its presence tortured me.

My second glass of wine kicked in and I started to get really mad, and I decided to play a game with Drinky Gal. I figured, I’ll give her the stare of death until she either gets uncomfortable and is forced to include me in the conversation, or until I finally master the power to explode people’s heads by deftly harnessing and focusing my rage. I thought, surely before her head blows up into a million pieces and covers my friend’s face with drippy viscera and bits of brain, she will notice that she’s being an asshole and include me in her dumb, stupid, ridiculous conversation.

She did not notice. And try as I might, I could not make her head explode. My wine glass quickly drained to empty and along with the wine, my passion dissipated, the residue a sort of limp resentment. If I had a third glass things were sure to head south, but my friend knows me well and we took our leave, abandoning Tiny Toad and her Heineken bottle.

In the cab I asked, “Why do people think that they can be rude to the wives and best friends? Don’t they realize we are the ones who will be sitting in the car with you on the way home, complaining about their shitty behavior?”

My friend slouched into the seat and sighed. “I don’t know. I guess she just got too drunk. I’ll give her three months and see how it goes.”

Then she asked, “Was it weird being in that hotel again?”

I said. “It was fine. Except for the stupid fuckface models reminding me that I’m a billion years old.”

She snorted. And I felt loved and that made me less angry about being ignored. And it occurred to me how much easier and safer things are for us than they used to be.

Twenty years ago this same friend was a nobody to the outside world, but still everything to me. She helped me put back the rubble of my shitty East Village apartment when my crazy, high-on-pills boyfriend trashed it nearly beyond repair. He smashed my antique jewelry box through a closed window, where it flew along with shards of glass down five flights and onto the courtyard below. The box contained all my tiny trinkets, a necklace from my dead father and a check for a few thousand dollars from Sony records, the only real money I would see during my big rock career. This friend climbed a concrete wall to try to salvage some of the items and almost got shot by a cracked out neighbor for the effort.

She had a broken mom and I had a gone daddy and it fucked us up nice, so then we fucked ourselves up. We fucked inappropriate people. We made disastrous choices. We talked complete shit. We spent endless hours working a coke grinder at our dealer/friend’s house, until the sun was well up in the sky, until we felt nothing but a longing for death, and still we didn’t stop. We both know what it is like to lie down on a dirty floor and cry, desperate and alone, for help that won’t come.

At the time, much like those models probably, we had no idea how impossibly beautiful we were. We were so very young and lost, how could we understand that we sparkled? Our hearts were broken. Our badass middle finger in the air hid the fact that we thought we were garbage. And we were of no real use to each other’s healing process, except that it was always a safe place to crash, a guffaw in the dark, a warmth in the eyes that did not falter. A true love, if you will, and a soft landing among the jagged rocks we’d chosen to reside upon.

I thought about the new hire and her less than stellar party behavior and the gorgeous decor of the hotel and my past there when it looked so much different, and the bored couple and the photographers and how all of it, everything around us in those public situations is like a tiny tapping on our window. We can hear it, it exists, we can even play with it and have fun. But because we are now closer to whole, it lives outside of us, and cannot penetrate or harm in any deep way.

So ramble on, Drinky Gal, and rock on, fancy new hotel, and enjoy your own trajectories, beautiful models. I hope they give you an ocean of free drinks and let you roam free at the end of the night. I do not begrudge you your youth and beauty, I can live without being included in your conversations, although I’ll probably still keep trying to blow up your heads telepathically, if only for personal, petty amusement.

I See You

Me: I saw one of my former generals on the street today.
Drew: What are you talking about?
Me: From that other lifetime when I was a queen.
Drew: Really. So who was this person?
Me: Somebody’s mom on the street. I didn’t know her, but I recognized her. We had a moment. (Pointing two fingers to eyes and back out again).
Drew: Really?

Me: Yes. It was nice to see her again.
Drew: You do realize that you are 100% batshit crazy, right?
Me: I don’t know what you’re talking about, Andrew.

Drew:  It’s terrifying. Your lips move and I feel actual fear. (waves hands in the air) Gaaahhh!

Bebe Buell, Babes, and Bathroom Brawls

So, my longtime and dear friend Bebe Buell asked me to do a spoken word opener for her record release party last night. She said, “You’re so funny, Raffer. I am envisioning you with a new spoken word career!” Which is very kind, and I gladly accepted and wrote something specially for her night.

My mom is in town for a visit, and staying with me, so I’ve been on the go nonstop all week, and I worked all day. I ran home, curled my hair, threw some eyelashes on, printed the piece out quickly, then ran to the venue without checking. the pages.


True to Raff minor chaos form, I got onstage, read the first three pages happily, and then realized as I stood in a spotlight, with 350 people listening, that I had left the last page at home. Le sigh. Le panic. Le FREAKOUT. I had to wing it. I am SO not into winging it. But I had a great time, and I think the crowd did too, and I’m so grateful to Bebe for her incredibly generous spirit and her awesome audience. Please pick up her new album “Hard Love”. You won’t be disappointed, I think it might be her best yet.

All my best girls showed up for support, and in another typical Raff situation, two of them almost got in a major brawl in the ladies room when a zaftig goth girl complained loudly to the bathroom attendant that I had stolen her material. I have killer friends, and I do mean killer in both senses of the word. They do me proud.

And happily, more than a couple of people I met asked if they could find the piece online, so I am posting it here. And then I’m going back to bed, because my vodka-soaked head is killing me. 


As per usual, namaste, my bitches.



BEEB


When Bebe asked me to get up here and say something, I thought about a number of stories that I’ve written, but decided that since it’s her record release, it makes sense to begin by speaking about Bebe, and how we met.

When I was a teenager I was a nerd. I wore thick glasses and lived in a small town in Michigan. And I was insane about Todd Rundgren. Like devoted, rabid fan. His nerdiness spoke to my nerdiness in a way that I felt no one else could understand. I knew we were meant to be together. One day we would be madly in love. I would stand at his side wearing the coolest clothes and we would use big words like “onomatopoeia” and “ubiquitous” in our everyday conversation.

Because it was the 70’s I had pictures of him up in my locker at school, cut out from Creem and Rolling Stone Magazines, where I got all of my most important news. There was no internet. You couldn’t google your idols, you just had to wait for these magazines to come out each month, and listen to flat, vinyl records over and over again while you looked at the jacket cover and fantasized about another life. A life that involved fitting in and rock stars and skyscrapers and fancy backstage parties. A life that did not include shoveling snow in moon boots and waiting for your birthday so you could get contact lens and stop being abused for being a four-eyed nerd at your Todd-festooned locker.

One day I opened a magazine, most likely the aforementioned Creem, and there was that famous photo of Todd and Bebe sitting at a small table looking up at the camera. I stopped breathing for a minute. Bebe looked so beautiful, and not much older than me. Her big blue eyes were wide and sweet, she wore a flower in her long, light, full hair and her mouth was parted slightly open, as if she were waiting to be kissed. She was so beautiful.

I thought to myself…“That fucking bitch.”

I was pissed. My hair never looked like that! I had assumed, wrongfully I could see now, that Todd was waiting patiently for me to pull myself together and move to New York so we could start our life together. Bebe was an interloper. She had stolen my man, my future life! I began listening for signs of her in his songs. I practically had a meltdown when she put out a record of her own. That was really taking it too far. I was gonna beat her up one day. As soon as I got the hell out of Dodge and into New York City, she was gonna get it.

Well…I did get the hell out of Dodge, and I stopped wearing glasses and started my own band. Screw you, Todd. I don’t wanna be your goddamn girlfriend anymore. I’m going to get famous and then you and all the hometown haters will be sorry that you didn’t appreciate me when you had a chance! I was officially a Cycle Slut from Hell with an attitude to match the name.

Sometime in the late 80’s Dee Dee Ramone hosted a show that featured a number of bands, including my band, the Cycle Sluts, and Bebe was scheduled to play. I was finally going to get to see my teenage nemesis in person and I was very curious. I assumed that I would hate her. She was blonde, after all. Surely just a spoiled model with nothing to say.

I dressed in my heavy metal gear for sound check and put my guard up. Too cool for school, just hanging here near the stage, smoking a cigarette in my thigh high boots. You know how it is.

Bebe spotted me immediately and got up from her seat and marched directly over to me and introduced herself with a big smile. Liv, who was just a little girl then, smiled and waved from her seat. Bebe’s blue eyes were even more clear in real life. Her hair looked great (of course). She was so friendly and natural. They both shone like the sun and their presence was so warm and friendly that I couldn’t help but warm up a little bit in the light.

I thought…“That fucking bitch.” Now I had to be nice. This did not fit into my master plan.

My brain sort of exploded. And my brain has been exploding ever since. Bebe has taken me to Todd’s house for the weekend, we took a road trip to Wisconsin with Skid Row and Guns and Roses, and another time we went to a strip bar with Gene Simmons, with whom, by the way, I had a very deep and thoughtful conversation about silicone breasts. My teenage nemesis helped make some amazing rock and roll moments possible for me. This is all the proof I need that life is magic.

So today I thought I would hail all the women who have entered my life much as Bebe has: as someone to eye with suspicion as we are raised to do. Who are you? What do you have that people will love you for more than they love me? Are you prettier than me? Skinnier than me? What are you going to take from me?

If you can get past the the butt-sniffing phase, you can occasionally find someone to call sister. Sometimes you gain an archenemy instead. But this can be fun as well, full of catty conversations with friends, dirty looks across the room, and the occasional bar brawl that leads you to review your current life choices. Or maybe that’s just me? Regardless, I get a little smarter with every connection.

So here’s to you, my girls. You bitches, you gossipers, you haters, you nurturers, you lovers. I am so grateful, more grateful than words can say, for the tender hand you extend when I fall. I forgive you for sometimes pushing me off the cliff in the first place.

Here’s to you, girls who weren’t born pretty and made themselves so. I salute you for the effort. You look fabulous. Here’s to the girls who put themselves through college. The ones who get the job done. The ones who can carry half their weight, the ones who can stitch a wound. The ladies who know what it’s like to lug their own suitcase up six flights of tenement stairs. The women who will stop their car on the highway to rescue a stray dog. The ladies of pro-wrestling. You’ve all got great asses.

Here’s to anyone who’s ever sent a cringe-worthy drunk email or left a wasted late night message on the phone. Here’s to the cheaters who just couldn’t help themselves. Here’s to the girls who have figured out all his passwords. You know you’re crazy, but you’re fucking smart. Here’s to anyone who’s ever made an ass out of themselves over love. Here’s to you, who loved so much the bones of your heart had no choice but to crack in a million pieces under the weight. They fused back in new patterns and you were never the same. Harder perhaps, but less of a sap and more compassionate where it counts. You chose the pain; now you don’t need to choose it again.

So here’s to damaged goods. You couldn’t stay away from that bad boy, and now you’re flawed with the occasional std and the constant bad attitude. Here’s to your junkie past that scarred your skin and burned your brain. Who gives a shit. That was yesterday, this is today. Don’t do it again and you’ll be fine. You are fine. You are a stone cold fox.

I laud you, single mothers. I don’t know how you do it, it looks like the hardest job in the world, and I’ve worked some shit jobs in my day. I have a friend who lost her four year old to cancer. She told me some days it was all she could do not to go to the cemetery and dig that baby up just to hold her one more time. Imagine the courage it takes to get through just one of those days. The good mother is superhuman. What it does to your boobs is criminal and it is my God-given right to glare at your stroller that blocks my entrance into the liquor store, but I hail the you just the same.

And I bow to you, wives who make their marriages work, and wives who could not. Either way you are golden and grand and you have done the best you could with what you know. Give yourselves a gold star, a pat on the back, a big glass of wine in a fancy goblet, unless you’re one of my girls in recovery. In that case you can have an ice tea with no sugar. I want you healthy and happy because there’s a lot of work to do out there.

I have so much love for you, you’ve carried me through the best and the worst of times, which are sometimes interchangeable. You loaned me clothes, bought me lunch, called to gently break the news about my cheating man, did coke with me until the sun came up and then called the next day to tell me we had to stop. You shouted and clapped at every show I performed, no matter how off-key it sounded. You forgave me. I’m so grateful that you forgave me.

Here’s to the witches, psychos, crazy bitches, shrews, harpies, cunts, fishwives, hellcats, she-devils, whores, harridans, skanks, nymphos, prudes, dogs. The festerers, the obsessives, the maniacs, the freaks, the drunk dialers, the wallflowers, the fatties. The ones wearing too much makeup. Too thick, too skinny, not pretty enough, too pretty, not the right one. The rock and roll bitches, because you are my favorite bitches of all. You are perfect, my dear. Stop shouting into the wind and and do your best to learn to sit peacefully in your imperfection. It will get better, I promise.

I raise a toast to my girls: Take a look at yourself next time you’re in front of a mirror. This might be the most beautiful you’ll ever be in your life, so enjoy it while you can. Maybe not. Fuck it. Fuck it. You are a champion, you are more lovable than you think you are, you are a muse, you deserve to have songs written about you. You are holy, you are whole. You just have to shut the fuck up and step out of your own way.  

So here’s a salute to you my sisters. I hail you my frenemies. I thank you my enemies. Without you, I am nothing.

Now let’s get on with this show because time is ticking and Bebe and I aren’t getting any younger.

Reviewing the Situation

A friend of mine, who I have never met in real time but have spent some time getting to know via social networking and her awesome blog Metal, Misery and Mayhem, left a comment on my previous entry about the gym that has me thinking. She said that perhaps some of the rage that I feel towards the anorexic woman in class, and her in turn towards an incredibly annoying sounding co-worker, could be natural alpha instinct.

This intrigues  me because I’m often trying to figure out exactly how much of my behavior is natural personality, and how much is damage-related. I struggle with my natural instinct toward cranky reaction to much outer stimuli found in normal life.

My equally awesome friend, Mr. Eerie Von of Danzig fame, says that I should simply embrace the fact that I am naturally crabby and stop wasting time examining the bitch lint inside the mental bellybutton. This metaphor is mine by the way, he’s far too cool and busy to talk about bellybutton lint, metaphorically or otherwise.

And indeed, I have been crabby since birth. Bear with me as I share a few tedious childhood details: I was a difficult baby, or “colicky” as they used to call it. I cried and cried and cried. And then I cried some more. When I was three years old my mother wrote in my baby book, “Mary has a VERY low frustration tolerance.” The word “very” was underlined numerous times, in a what looked to be a weary hand.

I think there was an enormous sigh of relief when my brother was born a year behind me and turned out to be the happiest thing in a diaper. He was roly-poly chubby and wore a smile a mile wide at all times. He looks as if he’s giggling in every baby photo. He was as happy as I was cranky, from the get.

When the two of us were old enough to walk and talk it became clear who the alpha was in the relationship, as I dictated his every cheerful toddler move. I was always coming up with new plans for action that ended in him getting hurt, in trouble, in tears, and once on a bloody trip to the hospital for stitches. I loved my brother, he was my pal and it wasn’t that I wanted to hurt him. I just pushed the envelope with a brain too young to follow logic through to envisioned consequences. And he was happy and open and willing to follow orders. I was authoritative: get on this scooter and I will push you down the long hardwood floor hall as fast as I can and then I will let you go spinning out on your own a few feet before you hit the radiator at full speed. He would waver for a moment, his baby survival mechanism holding him back. I would point with stubby finger. Get on the damn thing, what could possibly go wrong?

Once we ventured outside of the safety of the family unit and into the social river of ravenous pirahna that is grade school, things shifted. I was already bookish and shy outside of my home, and learned around third grade that I was not attractive, primarily due to poor eyesight and the unfortunate need for glasses with very thick lens.
First year of glasses, blissfully unaware that my social life was about to go straight into the crapper:


So I shut the fuck up publicly. For years. I was still Bossy McBosserson with my younger siblings, but outside of their orbit I remained a silent egghead, opening my mouth only to answer questions pertaining to sentence diagramming or algebraic formula. And although I wasn’t bullied, I was a nerd of the deepest order, and did get the occasional mean comment thrown my way. It wounded me deeply enough that I still remember where I was standing and what I was wearing when Dan Something-or-Other called me a dog to his friend who had a locker next to mine. I was beyond mortified when I found out my nickname with the boys in 8th grade was “tits on a tube”. The irony of this was not lost on me, by the way, when I noticed some years later that Sebastian Bach had bought his teeny wife a rocking pair of tits to go with her non-existent frame. If only I had known then what I know now.

But I digress. The point is, I have spent some time being distinctly non-alpha and I am grateful for the lesson of compassion that it taught me. But I never want to go back there again, it’s painful and powerless.

Once I got contact lens at age 16 and realized that most of the boys in high school were nitwits, I was back in the bossy game, often by default. We’d be forced into work groups in Social Studies and everyone would sit there staring at their notebooks instead of choosing who worked on what end of the project. I couldn’t take the lame duck energy, it was too much like wrangling my four younger siblings. So I’d yank the pad of paper out of someone’s hand and assign tasks just to get things rolling.

And then all of a sudden, I was REALLY alpha, obnoxious alpha, like completely OUT OF CONTROL alpha. I was famous, sort of; I looked pretty good so guys liked me; I was angry for all kinds of reasons and cultivating a badass persona that had more to do with wanting to be Catwoman when I was ten than anything based in reality:

And I had a whole crew of girls who would do whatever I told them to do. I’d say, “I don’t want to talk to her.” The person in question would approach and someone would step in front of me and say, “She doesn’t want to talk to you!” I would mention there was someone I didn’t like in the room and someone else would “accidentally” spill a drink on them. Can you imagine? It was crazy. It was AWESOME. I still can’t believe anyone listened to a word I said. And of course it was rotten and I abused it to the point that even I finally noticed that I was a big fat jerk. And I’ve been trying to find my way back ever since.

Luckily for the world, or at least New York City, it was temporary. Sometimes I watch Oprah on TV (okay, constantly I watch Oprah on TV) and I think, wow, I wonder how hard it is for her not to want to shout “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!” every once in a while. You know, just to see how it feels rolling off the tongue and if the staff would start making frantic calls to locate a guillotine. They’d probably ring Martha Stewart first to see if she had one stored in one of the million rooms of her fancy Connecticut country home.

Since then I have sifted through the rubble of the standard semi-damaged childhood psyche and navigated through a day to day existence in which I have often been too quick to state a thought or opinion in too blunt a fashion. Sometimes something sounds funny in my head and then after I say it out loud I see the face in front of me crumple and I think, ooh, filter is clearly not working. And someone is then sad or angry due to my bad behavior and I feel like a piece of shit.

I have a third friend who will walk into a room, beam the widest smile, and dive right in with each person in the vicinity: what’s your name, what do you do, your eyes are so pretty, are you married, do you have children, how is the cheese dip? She’s genuinely interested in everyone. Her energy is open and there is never a moment where she looks uncomfortable or appears annoyed regardless of whether she’s surrounded by strangers or loved ones. People step on her shoes and bump into her and she doesn’t even notice.

I want to be like that! I don’t want to be prickly and the one who always tells the waiter who gets what meal because I’m impatient and annoyed that no one has their shit together enough to raise their hand when he calls out the dish. I want to be gentle and kind and interested in everyone in the room. But I also still secretly want to be Catwoman and only 10% of the people in the room seem genuinely interesting to me. Small talk makes me break out in hives. I’m uncomfortable around new people. I’m annoyed by people bumping into me! Mraow! Hiss!!


So again, the question remains, how much is natural alpha and necessary for survival and achievement, and how much is just being an asshole? And how do you clean yourself up enough mentally that you can do right by your fellow man while still retaining the essence of who you were meant to be, of what makes you interesting and different?

Clearly I have no idea or I wouldn’t have just spent yet another hour writing about my same old shit like it’s the most fascinating stuff on the planet. I think this entire blog entry may be a flimsy excuse to post a photo of Julie Newmar.
Sigh…

Hot Guys Who Aged Badly

Against all logic and things that are holy in this world, I have eased into the role of romantic adviser in my dotage. All the men who have ever had the pleasure of my company are now doing a collective eye roll (or grave roll, where applicable). Because prior to continuing it must be announced to those who don’t know me personally or are new to this humble blog, that to many from my past, I am a complete nutjob. 
When Drew and I first got together, people told him he was asking for trouble. My own brother pulled him aside and said, “Dude, she is smarter than you, and meaner than you, and she will crush you like a bug. Run!” In this lifetime I have been called maneater, psycho, crazy bitch, witch, stalker, slut, skank, prude, pushy, obsessive and too nice. Most of which are true, or have been true at various times.

My very brief marriage after a long on and off relationship looked pretty much like a standard day with Ronnie and Sammi:


Note how she screams repeatedly that she wants nothing to do with him while following him around the house as closely as possible. Wise girl. Repeating your point in a loud tone while acting out in the opposite manner is a perfectly effective way to create healthy communication between two people.

I have wrecked rooms, started bar brawls, cheated, been cheated on countless times, slapped, screamed, thrown glasses, hit someone over the head with a bottle, hit myself over the head with a bottle, called obsessively, gone to jail for assault, broken up and reunited repeatedly, cried, cried, cried, cried, cried. Once I got so crazy and angry during an argument that I stabbed myself in the arm with a fork. And eventually spent a nice chunk of time and cash on therapy. And frankly, I’m still nuts. But it’s manageable now.

About eight years ago divine providence saw fit to send me a very attractive and intelligent person whose imperfections mesh very well with my own, and who has the integrity necessary to sustain a healthy relationship. My first reaction to this arrival was to embrace it heartily for about two seconds. My second and much longer reaction was to examine it with a microscope for the fatal flaw which would send me back into the usual spiral of depression and destructive behavior. When I couldn’t find any major flaws or betrayals, I made them up and did my best to fuck things up first, so I could at least have the upper hand when it collapsed. And yet, despite my best efforts at being the worst, it remained solid. Or rather, he remained solid.

It is the weirdest thing. I give him the side eye when we’re watching TV and think, “You still here? What is wrong with you?” But after these happy years together, I have come to the conclusion that the Universe, in its infinite wisdom, decided that it was time for me to learn some lessons through joy instead of through agony. And my karma for that, I believe, is that I must pay it forward whenever possible.

So I give my friends decent romantic advice, not because I was born wise, but because I know firsthand the consequences that arise from pretty much every dumb move that a female can make in the struggle to obtain or maintain a relationship, or even a date. I simply explain what happened when I did the wrong thing over and over, and how it feels to get slapped down heartily by the hand of fate. And their eyes widen and they say, “Ooh. That doesn’t sound good. Maybe I won’t call him obsessively/date an alcoholic/have an affair with that non-single man.” Sometimes they follow the advice and sometimes they don’t, but at least I know I’m giving them solid information.

I work with a young girl who is pretty, somewhat gothy, and very dramatic. She suffers when it comes to boys. She obsesses. She festers. If I’d ever had a daughter she could have been just like this kid. Recently there was an office discussion about her ex, who she hates, but loves, but hates, but loves. Of course he’s gorgeous, as those ones always are.

So I said, “All right, show him to me.” She pulled up a photo online and there he was in all his sullen glory. To me he looked like a child but I recognized the heartbreak oozing off of him. The fine features, the great hair, the perfect shitty attitude. Ah, the potential for exquisite anguish contained in that capsule, I know it so well.

I said, “All right. Let me show you something.”

I pulled up one of my ex’s facebook pages. This was the guy that I really hurt myself over for years. Poems and sobbing and phone calls and long nights of painful obsessing and when we were together just staring at his perfect, exquisite face. He was so beautiful I ached. The thought of him touching another girl was unbearable to me. And of course he was ALWAYS touching other girls. I could not imagine a life without him and yet life with him was horrendous and painful. I suffered. Oh, how I suffered.


Back to present, I said: “Here’s my ex then.” I clicked on one photo. “Amazing, right?”

She said, “Yes. he’s hot.” I said, “Here’s another. See how perfect his cheekbones are?”

She said, “I get it. He’s great looking.”

I said, “He was beyond great looking. Light bounced off of him in a way that I’d never seen before. So you get the picture?” 

She said, “Yes, got it. Very hot.”

I clicked on a photo of a paunchy, puffy, haggard old man in a Hawaiian shirt, sitting on a lawn chair with a can of cheap beer in his hand, and said, “This is him now.” Clicked back to an old photo, “Then.” Clicked back to the recent photo, “Now.” I was like an eye doctor: “This one, or this one…”


She gasped. “No way!!!”  

Yes way my dear.


I said, “This is what is going to happen to your ex. People get fat. People get old. Everyone ages, nothing stays the same, and all that suffering for beautiful boys, although enjoyable to a certain extent, is pointless because eventually they become your dad, belly hanging out on the couch, droning on about the good old days when he was in some crappy punk band. So you’d might as well try to enjoy your youth while you can.”
She said, “Wow. That makes me feel so much better.”
I said, “Good. Then my work here is done.”

We’ve been joking about starting a web page called Hot Guys Who Aged Badly. I actually took the Tumblr url, but I haven’t put anything up yet. It’s not like I haven’t aged too, and I don’t want to be mean to people, there’s enough of that online. Still, perhaps in the name of public service…



Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution

Weeeeelll, I had a classic old broads kinda weekend I thought I’d share.

The Friday before Halloween found Alison and I on a bus to Philly to hang with La Montenegro (Kim) and see the Black Crowes play at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby (birthplace of Todd Rundgren, for you equally, ahem, “seasoned” readers). Kim’s good friend Alex was able to procure 4th row center seats and I haven’t seen the Black Crowes play live since the early 90’s, and Kim and I spend a lot of time listening to them when we’re together, so it seemed a worthy undertaking.

The beginning of the night started with Kim in the middle of a really good rant about her latest ex. I love her rants:

“You know what? I hate that fat fuck even more now. UGH. Take away the beard and mustache and he’s just an Irish potato. A POTATO!  WITH A SHITTY ATTITUDE!! ECK. And those hands. THOSE LITTLE HANDS! They’re all tiny and grasping, like a troll. LIKE A FAT FUCK POTATO TROLL! He should be UNDER A BRIDGE!!! I hate that asshole, I can’t believe I ever let him NEAR my vagina.”

Alex and I accidentally wore the same McQueen scarf (which, btw, is a $500 rip-off of the $8 skull scarves we used to get on St. Mark’s Place), hers was purchased legitimately, mine stolen from Drew. A female fan gave it to him at a gig in Europe and I relieved him of it immediately upon his return home, my argument being that he was never going to wear it and items from admiring women must go to the girlfriend for use or discard. He rolled his eyes and handed over the scarf. 
We laughed at our matching designer scarves and then because Alex is in the middle of a pumpkin ale love affair, I helped her shove a leather-covered flask full of the stuff into the back of her pants right before we entered the venue.

I felt puffy from PMS and stressed over what to wear that would make me feel svelter than I really am. Kim has a broken toe so she’s forced to wear a medical boot for a month, so she wasn’t much happier, and Alison was worried about the way her ass looked in her pants. There was no need to stress it turned out, as we discovered that a Philly Black Crowes audience is not an overly glamorous one, and in fact consists primarily of wasted old fat dudes, with a few tolerant wives scattered here and there. As soon as the four of us entered the building we were accosted by a man who could barely speak from overuse of spirit, who  found us all equally attractive and urged us to high five over and over again in celebration of Kim and my tattoos. We were, indeed, the belles of the contractor’s ball.

We fought our way to the front of the large theater and found ourselves seated behind the biggest mountain of a man I’ve ever seen. Why is it there’s always a giant guy in front of you, no matter what show it is or where you stand? I think there should be a tall dude section in every venue. In the back. But whatever, we were so close to the band it didn’t matter.

I know I should take the time to give proper show reviews, but I find show reviews tedious and am far too self-absorbed to pay enough attention. Last time Jesse played he got off the stage with his wireless mike and made his way through the crowd to point out his oblivious ex-girlfriend as I stood yammering with Zoe and Rabbit at the bar. It was embarrassing but well played. I do love his shows, it’s just that there’s so much to talk about!
So review: the Black Crowes put on a great show: nine people – the core band and then another percussionist and two back up singers. They are tight as hell and I am a huge fan of the music so that helps. What I am not a fan of is their Grateful Dead tendency to ramble off into never-ending jams. I hate jams. And I am not alone on this, the great Lemmy Kilmeister once said to me, “I don’t jam.” Well, of course you don’t because it’s tedious as fuck. So in between great versions of great Black Crowes songs you have to stand and look interested in the tedium of a 15 minute song breakdown. Cut the jams, people! No one cares! That’s my goddamn review.

We danced and sang along and drank copious amounts of cheap beer (after we polished off Alex’s flask), as it was the only alcoholic beverage available. As I tried to avoid another high five from our original friend (who somehow was seated right next to us), a girl I’d known in the 80’s and 90’s made her way through the row to me. She was a little bombed and hugged me repeatedly and said “I miss you!” I told her it was great to see her, and she handed me what I thought was an aftershow VIP sticker, one of those sort of backstage passes that generally lead you to a holding pen where you hang out feeling like a dick wondering if the band will eventually deign to hang out with you and the other dicks. 

I thanked her profusely and said, “Babe, this is no good to me unless I get three more.” And she said, “That was mine, I’m pretending I lost it. Don’t tell anyone where you got it. I want you to go backstage and say hi to Chris Robinson.”

Ed note: Quite a few centuries ago, during the paleolithic era, I had a brief couple of moments with aforementioned singer. It is not worthy of too much discussion, although I will put it in the book if there ever is a book. It was at a particularly low point in my life, no reflection on him, I was just not in a good head, and it went down in the standard rock and roll sputter: girl thinks there’s something actually going on, boy just having fun on the road, girl writes boy a particularly scathing letter, boy thinks girl is crazy and refuses to make eye contact next time they’re in the same room. Which was cool, and it was 20 years ago so it’s embarrassing to even bring it up, but her statement wouldn’t make as much sense if I didn’t. I’ve bumped into him numerous times since then and it’s all good, mostly because I’m so determined to show that I’m not crazy that I’m as stiff as the Queen of England. Which probably only makes me look crazier. No matter how hard I try to hold it in, the crazy seeps out through the cracks.

So I slap my sticker pass on my leg and get to dancing and clapping. BOOSH! All of a sudden I’m completely drenched in what feels like a bucket’s worth of cold liquid. What the hell? Is this a GWAR show? I look at the moron next to me. He is stoned beyond any sort of functionality and stands swaying and staring emptily into space. I know that he had a full plastic pint of beer two minutes before that, now his cup is empty and hanging at half mast in his grubby mitt. I pick up my shirt and wring it. Liquid drips onto the floor. I can feel my sock squishing in my boot. Yes, there is beer pooling in the bottom of my extremely overpriced Jonathan Kelsey boots, which were procured at half price but still cost almost as much as my rent.

Rage flares, I turn to dumbass and say, “Do you want to explain why I’m COVERED in your fucking beer?” He mumbles a word and goes back to staring forward. He then drops what’s left of his beer, and slowly, sloooowly squats down, feels about on the sticky floor for the cup, and sloooooowly stands up, brings the cup to his mouth, and swigs the last bit in the bottom and and then stares into the bottom of the empty cup. I hate him with every fiber of my being.

“WELL???” I sputter ineffectually. He mumbles again, “I said I was sorry.” He turns to his equally stupefied friend and they exchange a look which says, “Bro, I am so fucked up and this bitch is freaking me out.”

I turn around and start pointing out my state of soaked-ness to anyone who will listen. It does not bring me satisfaction, but it’s all I have. A lone security guard makes his way to the idiots, says something to them but moves on. I want to yell at him, “I DEMAND SATISFACTION, GOOD SIR! REMOVE THIS LOUT, IMMEDIATELY!” But there is no satisfaction when you’re covered in beer and the guy who did it is too stoned to care. I go back to watching the band.

The show ends and I tell the girls I’m going to see if the pass is worth anything. It is not. I find an accommodating security guard at the backstage door and he says, “Who gave it to you? I can look and see if they’re back there.” I panic and mumble the girl’s name, as she told me not to mention her. Another security walks by and says, “That’s a working pass, you can’t just pass those around! You should go wait in the diner across the street, maybe the band will show up there.” Then he snickers. I look at the nice security and say, “Well, that was a bit snarky, wasn’t it?” And then I snicker as well. I’m separated from my crew and so coated with beer that I can’t really defend my honor too mightily at this point in the game. I also notice that this is, indeed, a working pass, and I am very obviously not on any sound crew. Quelle embarrassment.



The nice guy says, “Who do you want to see?” And I say, “Okay, I REALLY don’t care if I get back there, but I had intended to run in and say hi to Chris Robinson, and then run right back out to my waiting friends.” He says, “Who is Chris Robinson?” I say, “The singer.” He looks at me blankly. I say, “You know, the one who looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo? Tell him that Raffaele from the Cycle Sluts wants to say a quick hi.”

“Ooooh! Okay, be right back!” This truly must be the nicest man working security in Northern America.

After a few minutes he exits again and says, “Sorry, couldn’t find him and they’re being very tight back there.” I said, “Absolutely no worries, thank you so much. I feel like a jerk standing here anyway. Have a great night.”

I find my ladies and we make our way back to the parking garage, which turns out to be quite the scene. We are immediately spotted and followed by a rapist in a grey hoodie who keeps saying things like, “Hey. Where ya goin’? You girls wanna party. Hey, where ya goin’? Let’s hang out.” Fortunately he was too fucked up to formulate an effective plan of attack, and when we ran aground of a tailgate party featuring a loud sound system and about 6 or 7 guys who looked like they had grandchildren waiting for them at home, he wandered sad and alone back to his kidnap van. 
One of the grandpas, said, “Hey, ladies! Want some beer!” We sat in the car debating this opportunity for a few minutes. I was sort of pro. What could be more entertaining that drinking cheap beer in a parking garage with a bunch of really old Black Crowes fans? I mean, we’d already come this far. Alison is way more sensible than me and hadn’t had anything to drink, so she took the con position. Alex mentioned that she already had a pumpkin ale in the car and Kim couldn’t make up her mind.

Alex didn’t have an opener, and before we could say anything about bottle opening options, she ran to the curb and smashed the top of the bottle, creating the most jagged opening possible.

I screamed and said, “There is no way in hell that you are allowed to drink out of that bottle! Throw it away, immediately!!” 

Alex, who is a practicing lawyer and all around super smart and classy chick, said, “It’s cool. I’ve got experience, spent a lot of time with fire-eaters. I can handle a little glass.” This is the look I gave Alison over the back of the seat:



We freaked, Alex insisted, and she did indeed drink out of the bottle. Then she realized she’d lost her flask. We drove around to the venue and Alex went in to search. After 10 minutes she  returned, sad and flaskless. 
I said, “We can get you another one.”

She said, “Not this one.” 
Kim asked, “Where did you get it, Chrome Hearts? Somewhere expensive, right?”

Alex whispered sheepishly, “Erm…It was Gram Parsons’.”

We all start screaming yet again, and I shout: “GRAM PARSONS?? We just lost GRAM PARSON’S FLASK?? Are you fucking kidding? You have to go back in there and get it.”

Alex assured us that she had done a thorough search and it was gone, and we all mourned the fact that it was not only gone, but picked up by someone who will never know its true value. I pray it wasn’t stoned beer jerk. Alex took another sip of her extremely dangerous beer, and we clucked sadly. What a loss.

Next up, a late night dinner with a bottle of red wine, and a waiter who was so impressed with Alex’s determination to drink that glassed up ale that he strained it for her into 4 glasses. Yes, I drank it. I’m not proud at 1 am, puffy with PMS, coated in some asshole’s cup of Budweiser and refused at a backstage door. Who am I to say no to a little glass infused pumpkin ale? This is the bottle, sitting on our table prior to being carted off by a very indulgent waiter:


Kim and Ali:


Alex and me. My tongue is yellow from drinking shitty beer for three hours:


And lastly, back to Kim’s kitchen, where I ingest half a painkiller that had been hanging around in my bag since my birthday, and within minutes am floating on a mild opiate haze, which no doubt is the reason for the focus on this photo:
We spend the rest of the morning drinking French wine and dancing to songs of Kim’s choosing. We danced and danced and danced until 7 am. Each time shouting, “Last song and then we’re going to bed!” But the songs sounded so good, we just couldn’t stop.
 


More Conversations with Crazy Friends


I’m constantly (and unsuccessfully) trying to prove to myself and others that I’m not crazy. It’s a fine tightrope walk: behaving uber responsibly 80% of the time, and then totally bonkers the other 20%. This is an improvement, years ago it could have been 50/50. I haven’t had a boyfriend over the last 20 years that hasn’t got a warning from someone ahead of time. Some, if questioned, might even put the crazy quotient higher, but I choose to avoid those people whenever possible.


So I am always thrilled when I meet someone else who is walking that same razor’s edge. We recognize each other immediately and either have some kind of major blowout and then become friends later on, or simply immediately bond over mutual stories of retardation.

My friend S told me one such story today, which I felt I must share.

I have to preface this by saying that she is in program and has been sober for some time now. I didn’t know her when she was using but she says she was a crazed dilettante cokehead. Now she is sort of trying to decide whether she’s straight or gay while working her ass off in the world of styling and regaling the lucky few with her wonderful sense of humor.

S–: So I have a great story for you, you’re going to love this.

Me: Fabulous, bring it on.

S–: So my ex-boyfriend calls me at midnight last night, DRUNK. He’s slurring, he sounds like an idiot. I say, “Why do you call a sober person when you’re drunk? You know I’m going to ruin it for you.” And he says, “You been fooling around with any girls lately?”

Me: So he’s jealous?

S–: I don’t know. So I say, “Maybe, what’s it to you?” And he tells me that he ran into this guy we both know, that I don’t know all that well, and the guy told him he’s seen me all over town making out with women and that I’m a big dyke now.”

Me: So what?

S–: Well, I’m like, who is this guy to be talking about my personal life? What business is it of his? And my ex is harassing me about it, all wasted, and I’m like fuck you, I’ll do what I want. And I hang up the phone, and I’m PISSED.

Me: Uh oh.

S–: Yeah! So this morning, I’m in the street, I’m carrying a hundred bags and trying to deal with work and I can barely walk, but I still call the guy.

Me: Your ex or the other one?

 S–: The other one.

Me: So what did you say? 

S–: I start screaming at him: “How dare you talk about me like that, you don’t know what my life is about you nosy asshole, why am I getting calls in the middle of the night from my wasted ex because of your big fat mouth, on and on and on and ON.” I just GO OFF.

Me: Oh my God, you did not! So what was his response?

S–: I barely let him talk. He started to say he didn’t know what I was talking about, that he thinks I’m great, he would never do that, whatever, and I just hung up on him. 

Me: Wow. Bitch!

S–: Shut up! So I’m all fired up and I call my ex, and I say, “I gave your fucking friend a piece of my mind, that fucker.” And my ex says, “You IDIOT. He didn’t say anything to me, I never talked to him, you dumb, crazy bitch. I was just fishing for information!”

Me: Ruh Roh.

S–: TOTALLY! Now I’m mortified. MORTIFIED. Do you understand? Now I’m not just the crazy cokehead, instead I’m the crazy was-a-cokehead dyke who stands on the street screaming at people over the phone about shit that doesn’t exist!

Me: Did you call the guy back and apologize?

S–(flopping back in her chair and sighing): I sent him a text. I can’t deal, I’m so embarrassed.

Me: I always send emails the next day. Like, “Oopsy, sorry I was a total asshole/almost broke your hand/threw that drink/had a giant tantrum over nothing/whatever last night. Friendsies?”

S–: Does that work?

Me: Nah. They just say it’s cool so they don’t have to deal with me. They still hate me.

S–: Agh, horrible. Well, I love you.

Me: I love you too, you crazy fucking bitch.

This Is What Happens…

…when cranky old rock chicks finally get fed up…

————————————————————————————————–
ME: So how are things going with X?
UNNAMED FEMALE FRIEND: You mean Fatso?
ME: Haha!
UFF: That fucking fat faggot? I’ll tell you how things are going. They’re NOT.
ME: Shit. What happened?
UFF: What do you think happened? He’s a fucking asshole, that’s what happened. I hate him. Those fucking bikers, they think they’re so badass. They’re all a bunch of pussies, that’s why they have to start their little clubs together, they can’t stand alone. I fucking hate him, and I told him so.
ME (laughing): Wow, harsh.
UFF: And then I hit him.
ME: You HIT HIM??? Are you nuts?
UFF: Yeah, I fucking hit him. Fucking faggot. I said, “How dare you lure me back into this bullshit with a promise that it would be different this time, then you TORTURE me again with your shitty behavior!” How DARE he! That is just NOT DIGNIFIED. So I slapped him.
ME: Oh my God. You are KILLING me! Then what happened?
UFF: He told me to never hit him again.
ME: So what did you do?
UFF: I fucking backhanded him with the same hand.
ME: You are completely insane. Weren’t you scared he would hit you back? He’s huge!
UFF (making the meanest face imaginable): I’d love it if he tried. Then I’d really kick his big fat ass.
ME: So I guess it’s over then?
UFF: Yes. Another fabulous relationship down the toilet.

DREW (calling from an attempted nap in the other room): You guys are gonna give me nightmares!