Monday, January 30, 2006

Tiny hiatus

Dearest Readers,

The social experiment that I've called my life for the last year on this blog is about to come to a screeching halt...Momentarily of course.

As I have alluded, there is a shit load of uncertainties in the air for me: grad school apps, seasonal depression, and of course my mild form of alcoholism.

With 3 beers consumed as intellectual fuel, I've come to understand why I have been such a small-time fuck up for the last few years since college graduation (and one year in blog world). I've been ignoring my true passion--I miss being an intellectual and pontificating on dumb shit that nobody really cares about. As much as I pretend to love money, and worship my Manolos and my Grey Goose, I don't write about how I sit in the Cultural Studies section of Barnes and Noble for hours on end. Nor do I tell you readers about my legnthy discussions sandwiched between the chats about sex, dating and masturbation, on trying to understand factors of social mobility and the impact on the social construction of gender.

I've realized, after re-reading my work, that this blog has evolved into a chronicle of, I know this sounds so fucking cliche, a woman trying to figure shit out. Substituting alcohol and other indulgent experiences for her frustration with modern life, hoping that the experience will quell the emptiness of idle office chit-chat and looking at excel sheets for hours on end.

So, the blog is taking a tiny backseat. My priorities are realigned, starting with grad school of course. And sadly, because I have never gotten anything in my life based upon merit, my foray into grad school will be far more labor intensive. With the frequent emails on how much I love the Professor's work, to the meetings, basically schmoozing. If I knew which profs at my proposed grad programs played golf, you know my ass would be inviting them for some Scotch at the Club. Sadly, I don't want to sound too bourgie since I am trying to convince people that I care deeply about social stratification.

Old readers, new readers, and friends...bear with me please. I promise ruckus drinking stories in the near future but right now, I need to kick some serious ass because if I hear one more person use HR speak...

I really can't make jokes about suicide on a public forum.

Much love,

PS so just expect less frequent posting, like 1-2 times a week for the next few weeks. That is, unless you guys help me recruit more readers. Because that is the ultimate love:)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

PMS and Wishing I Wasn't a Woman

Dear G-d,

Please, give me my period ASAP. I sit here on the couch, wallowing in self-pity, panicking over grad school apps, and feeling horribly bloated and achey. My breasts are so swollen I am about to fly myself over to Africa and nurse the famine stricken children with the trapped excess fluid.

Last night's festivities included premptive super market shopping for chocolate and tampons in my sweats. You might as well put a huge sign on my forehead that read: "Expecting period right now."

Much love,

PS: I love reading how people perceive me as indicated here and here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sex and Guilt in the City

Saturday night/Sunday morning, I went out drinking with an old childhood friend, who I haven’t seen in about a year and a half. Taking our trip down memory lane, we didn’t realize that we had about five pints of beer each and ended up incredibly drunk. From personal experience, taking the train back to LI at 4am tired and far from sober is an awful experience; too many times I’ve woken up in Port Jefferson, disorientated, hungover, and wondering how I got onto the train in the first place. And let me tell you, it is fucking scary waking up in a strange town after a night of drinking.

I insisted she stay over because, in my spoiled mind, a girl should never have to ride the LIRR by herself on that dreaded sunrise train, dodging vomit and fist fights. We decide that I’ll take the couch and she could have my bed. I know, I am such a fucking fabulous hostess. We walk into the apartment, go into the bedroom and change into jammies. I take my blankie with me into the living room, ready to sleep on my shitty Ikea sofa. As I am about to sit on the couch, I see the outline of a person. Startled, I jump and let out a yelp. John walks out of his bedroom to see what’s going on.

“Whaa?” Groggy and tired he says as he leaves his room.

“Uh, why is there a strange man sleeping on our couch?”

“Oh it’s Pedro. Are you ok? Do you need the couch?”

I slur, “No, I have my friend Samantha here but she‘ll sleep in my bed, no worries.”

This is definitely weird. Like me, John understands that the couch is not for our friends. If we bring someone home, it means that we like them enough to share our bed. The only exception to this rule is our acquaintances from LI because they use the couch as a place to sober up for their drive home so they won’t wake us when they leave. Even my platonic guy friends will share my bed because, even if I am not sucking their dick, I am a cuddle whore and make them ‘put-out’ to earn their keep for a night’s slumber.

In the morning, I find out why Pedro slept on the couch instead of in his bed.

“Oh well, I was having sex with Ramon,” John said.

“Wait, didn’t you date Pedro last year? He met you in Greece, right?”


“So isn’t it weird that he slept on the couch as you fucked another guy in your bedroom?”

Gay men, like all of us, cannot just be friends with an ex. There has to be a good reason why they can hang out without fucking.

“Well,” he began, “Pedro has a lot of issues with being gay. He’s a staunch Catholic and used to make us pray after having sex.”

“Wait, so each time you reamed him, afterwards you prayed the rosary and asked Jesus to forgive you?”


It appears that I am not the only one fucked in the head from years of catechism in the Catholic Church. From the Sunday school teacher who told us AIDS was created because (I shit you not) “a man fucked a male monkey in Africa and then was gay here” to my father who impressed upon my sister and I the Pope’s vision of a chaste woman. Threats of burying the man who we fuck outside of marriage included.

However, I have never asked any of the boys who I’ve hooked up with to pray with me after we had sex.—I keep the feelings of guilt and fears of phantom STDs bursting through the condom neuroses to myself.

But my deep seeded guilt is a contradiction to my experiential personality and often leaves me feeling conflicted. I wish I could be completely bisexual so I could take a hiatus from dating NYC men, but I’ve learned that I am forever hetero (ok I’ll make the allowance for a threesome with really hot women) and now understand why my lezzie friends laughed in college when I attempted to ‘come out’ each semester.

As much as I pretend otherwise, I think may be vanilla, hiding behind a party girl exterior and the enormous tatas. Secretly suppressing this newfound gnawing desire to make like my friends and find emotional stability that comes with a relationship. Or maybe I am just tired and PMSy.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Overheard in my apartment--lotsa sex

Although I live in what my friends term “the best location ever”, there is a large amount of sacrifice that accompanies my ability to associate myself with that superlative. 50% of my post-tax income pays my rent, my building owners are slum lords, and my landlord’s son lives upstairs, directly above us. Like all old buildings in NYC, with its origins as quarters for the city’s proletariat, they were not made with the best materials and are riddled with structural compromises, such as the lack of sound proofing.

The landlord’s son, Mark, regularly complains that our apartment is too noisy: the tv is on too loud, he hears our friends come in and out at 6am Saturday morning, and he overhears our conversations. Our response: unless the other neighbors complain, he could go fuck himself.

We are having a conversation one night during the week around 11pm in John’s bedroom, his room directly below Mark’s.

“So John, the walls are too thin and I just don’t feel comfortable masturbating when you are in the apartment. When you were living on LI, I had a fucking awesome time! I was doing it three, sometimes four times a night.”

“Shannon, I don’t care what you do, and I bet I wouldn’t be able to hear it.”

“Yes you would! You live in the living room and my vibrator is pretty loud. I mean, I hear the occasional conversation in Spanish sometimes.”

Suddenly, I hear a very light tap. Not thinking its anything, I continue the conversation with John.

“Dude, so do you play the sound when you watch porn on your computer? Because I never hear anything from your bedroom,” I said.

I hear the tap again and instinctively look through the peephole. Mark is standing in front of my door in his pajamas. I don’t know how long he’s been there since there was a considerable time lapse between the taps. I open the door.

“Hi Mark!”

With a vicious sneer, “Could you keep it down?” And he storms off. Not caring about whether I understood his point, but his only concern that he made it.

And of course, when your landlord’s son complains that he could hear your conversation, as you were just discussing masturbation, we laugh.

The incident happened a few days before Lu and friends came into NYC to celebrate her birthday. And since the Mark incident happened so close to when my judgment becomes completely impaired for a weekend when they arrive from out of town, we all know that with their encouragement, we exploited the thin walls for shits and giggles.

Sunday morning of Lauren’s birthday weekend, we get back to the apartment at 6am, after spending the night with the owner of one of my favorite bars in NYC. He kept us well lubricated with Dom Perignon, top shelf liquor, and of course my B&B and a cigar combo. To say we were lit, would be an understatement. I puked and rallied once, right after the restaurant so that I could make more room for the liquor.

Going up the stairs, our bellies full with egg sandwiches that in vain are trying to sop up the extra booze, I tell them about weirdo Mark standing outside my door as John and I talked about masturbation. I decide, with drunken reason, that tonight I was going to show his perverted ass, and if he wanted to hear me talk about sex he will certainly hear me “have” it.

We get ready for bed, and Lu begins to egg me on and asks about the type of sex noises I would make to annoy my landlord. On the top of my lungs, around 6:45am, I begin my rendition of morning nookie.

“Ah, Ah,” short breaths, getting progressively louder.

“Ahhhh,” I scream.

“Fu, fu, fu, fuuccckkk,” with a crescendo at the ‘k’ sound, at the top of my lungs.

Everyone in my apartment is laughing their asses off. If my landlord heard me talk about sex at half this decibel, then I know he hears me “having” it. Lauren, drives the bus to hell and asks me what lesbian sex with me would sound like.

“Like this! Fuuuucckkk meeee! Fuuucckkk meee!! Give me the plastic bitch. Give it to me daddy. Make me suck the plastic cock. Mmm….[loud sucking noises]. I love your cock and its plastic flavor.”

Don’t ask me why I decided to base my mock on a plastic cock because, honestly, I don’t know. Maybe I have been watching too much porn.

My friends are suppressing their laughter, and I am too drunk to do anything except pass out, sandwiched between Lu and Corinne in my very comfy bed.

In the morning we are off to the great NYC tradition of Sunday brunch, and of course in the vestibule of the building my landlord sees me with my lady friends. Two who could easily pass as lesbians. I look at him sheepishly as he held the door open with the widest grin.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Finding englightment with TAO

Unless it is a terrifically special occasion, I never ever go to nice restaurants and foot the bill myself. Between work and older men taking care of me, I can boast of having eaten at least half of New York Magazine’s 101 top restaurants, all without paying my own way-- which is impressive for a 20 something who works in the ad world, without a major trust fund. I take advantage of expense accounts that don’t belong to me: from my vendors who take the ad team out to lunches at Balthazar, to my ‘mentors’, who only need the justification of a young girl sitting across the table. However, even in my sick world of comp’d five star meals, I didn’t have enough balls to call any of my wealthy older friends and ask them to take out five alcoholic foodies for a birthday extravaganza. Confronted with reality, my friends and I decided to swallow our dinner-whoredom and give Lauren a proper birthday present, one where she wouldn’t have to pay the host back with mild flirtation and empty promises of future afternoons together.

Knowing that my friends and I are partial to Asian food and great cocktails, a ‘mentor’ suggested that we make reservations for TAO, a faux-trendy fusion restaurant that is part disco, part bar and barely restaurant. Being the native NYer in the group of out-of-towners, I was left in charge of making the Saturday night dinner reservation. Which I forgot to do, until Thursday afternoon.


“Hi,” not understanding her heavily faux European accented slur. “Is this TAO?”

“Yes,” in a short choppy syllable.

“Uhm, I would like to book reservations for 5 on Saturday night?”

Scoff. “We have 6pm and 10:30 pm”

“Shit…it’s a birthday, if we get pare down the group could we maybe get an earlier reservation?”


“Shoot, I don’t know what to go with,” hemming and hawing.

“Well, it’s either 6pm or 10:30,” in an apathetic rush to book the reservation.

“You know, give me the 10:30 and I could always switch the reservation, to the earlier one, right?”

“That is if we still have it available! Credit card info?!”

“Why do you need my credit card?”

“To hold the reservation! What is it!”

Pissed, I rattle off the card number from memory. But, I’m booking this for Lauren and not myself, so I have to abide by this bitch’s demands.

“Call and confirm the reservation on Saturday or else you lose it. And be on time, if you are more than fifteen minutes late you lose your reservation. Bye.”

The line goes dead before I can tell her ‘ok’.

The reservation-nazi and the reviews on citysearch should have clued me in that this was not the gastronomical delight that it was once billed, but instead like many well known trendy restaurants in the city, fall victim to perpetuating its image—pretension cannibalizing the flavor.

We get to the restaurant at exactly 10:30, with the aid of a taxi driver whom I’d bet was a drag racing champion in his native country in South Asia.

“Hi, [my last name] for five at 10:30”

“Oh, we are going to need fifteen minutes, here is a buzzer and we will call you when your table is ready. Feel free to have a drink at the bar.”

We do as we’re told and drink a round of martinis. No buzzer sounds, and twenty minutes have passed since we arrived. Bored, my friends explore the restaurant as I go back to the bar for another drink.

We reconvene on the stairs, bored expression across their faces as I sip my second martini, half drunk and smiling goofily. Thirty minutes, in total, since we’ve walked in with no sound coming from the buzzer they gave us.

“Let me go talk to them, this is ridiculous.”

I speak to the maitre’d, she answers my concerns and frustrations with mock understanding and free drink cards.

Score! Free drinks!

I give them to my friends, but since they aren’t as afflicted with alcoholism as I am, they don’t want to ruin their meals by getting too drunk. Although it means more booze for me, drinking by yourself in public is never in good taste and usually indicates a small problem.

Fifteen minutes pass after my initial encounter with the maitre’d, 2.5 martinis have been chugged, and my friends are threatening to walk. They’re on the verge of leaving and I talk to the door bitch again:

“Hi, Listen, we’ve been waiting here for forty-five minutes and it is my friend’s birthday, and we’re hungry. If you don’t have the table ready in the next 5mins, we will go someplace else.”

“My apologies,” she says with mock sympathy. “Here are some more free drink cards, and as soon as the table is ready, we’ll send over appetizers.”

Now you know I have to be frustrated when the following words leave my lips:

“While we appreciate the free drinks and appetizers,” I said as I pocketed the card, “they’re useless without a table. You have five minutes to seat us or I will find another restaurant with an available table!”

“I promise your table will be available in five minutes.”

Empty promises, another free drink card in hand, and the 2.5 martinis hit my bladder.

In addition to the crappy service at the bar and the long wait for a table, I’m now met with a women’s bathroom line snaked around the cellar. Only the attendant was inside the men’s bathroom.

“Ladies,” I drunkenly slur, “this is fucking bullshit! I don’t know about you, but it is our legal right to pee in men’s bathroom when the line is this fucking long. I’m going. Who’s with me!”

The other women give me skeptical looks, tentatively waiting to see if I will follow through my drunken rantings, and wanting me to shoulder the potential consequences first.

I walk with my head held high into the men’s bathroom, in my knee length skirt and heels. Another woman follows. We’re greeted by a flustered attendant, not knowing what to do with women in the men’s bathroom.

“Ok, you pee here but no others, and please wash hands in the ladies’ bathroom.”

Did he just tell me that no other member of the sisterhood could join me? After leaving me waiting for 45 mins for my reservation, left only with free booze to fill my gnawing belly? I get quite self-righteous when I’m drinking, especially with feminist issues.

As I walk out of the bathroom and see that the line is longer, I make an announcement, “Ladies, the men’s bathroom is open. I just came from there and it is cleaner than our bathroom. Get off the line and pee in the men’s room!”

A stream of women hustle into the men’s bathroom, confronted with an attendant who didn’t understand that gender can be deemed a social construction when a lady needs to pee. Teetering up the stairs, not caring about the mini-riot I started, Corinne sees me with a with a smug smile on my face. Evidently, the minute I left the restaurant floor, our table became ready.

“Corinne, we are going to make them fuc-king pay! Do they have champagne here?”

“I think so,” she answers tentatively, not sure of what asshole move I am going to pull.

The group is seated when I get to the table. Before I sit down, I already have the drink menu in my hand.

“Sarah, how many drink cards do we have each?

“Great! Lauren, how would you like some Vueuve Clicquot to start the evening off? The bitch said that the cards will buy us any drink. Well, I would like a $22 glass of champagne! Who else is in?”

In my estimation, those 2 free rounds of champagne for 5 people cost the restaurant about $75. 10 glasses of champagne, roughly 3 bottles, and figure at cost each bottle had to be about $25. Also, in addition to the champagne, the free appetizers were wonderful, especially the Sea Bass. I was so full, though, I couldn’t even finish my $10 sushi roll. And I know my friends felt the same way.

Sadly, in that hour that I stood there waiting for a table, I got too drunk to find out whether the food was worth the hype. So, my only memory of TAO involves what I saw of my meal at the bottom of a toilet that evening. However, I must say thank you for one of the cheapest dinners I could remember, especially since I didn’t even have to let an old man rub my ass…

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Choo Choo! All aboard the train wreck. First stop

There is a running joke between my friends, I am such a partier that the only way for me to “party extra hard”, the way milestones should be marked, will require an ambulance, a lawyer, and my guardian angel. Lu turned 25 this weekend. The last birthday where it’s ok to work in a dead end job, be unsure of what you want to do with your life and unlucky in love—still a victim of the quarter-life crisis that runs rampant among educated suburbanites. Where else to mark the should-be-end of those uncertain years but NYC, the city of the perpetual adolescent? The city where even the kid who makes $25K working in a “creative” job, has servants on his payroll—the cabbie who drives his drunk ass around, the delivery boy who makes sure he doesn’t go hungry, and of course the laundry service that gets the vomit out of sheets. And with a birthday marking a quarter century of life, we had to bring the antics up a notch and play with people who are far more well known than just the boring executives who we usually hang out with. Fuck the gravy-train bar that has become a staple in our drinking repertoire, we sought out the holy grail—exclusive private clubs.

With an old older friend acting as host, bottles of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne flowing and martinis that wet the pallet as our appetizer, Friday evening was on course for a page-six derailment.

A guy who I hooked up with, once told me, “Shannon, you have this way about you. You are incredibly charismatic but you use your gift to, instead, drag everyone down with you.”

Maybe he has a point.

It’s 5 minutes to six on Friday evening, Lu and Kate are hanging out at my apt, waiting for the official start to their vacation—when we are all reunited inside my apartment drinking. Knowing that I am swamped with work, they call in hopeful anticipation that I magically finished analyzing the spread sheets that were due tomorrow.

“Dude, I fucking can’t leave. Call our friend and push back the time. I need, like…45 more minutes?” I replied.

“Shan-non! Come on! Dude, it’s [insert hot club].”

“Lu, seriously, I need 45 more minutes.”

“Fine,” she says, begrudgingly, not fully understanding NYC work culture.

As she is about to hang-up, I blurt, “There are a few beers in the fridge, start without me.”

An hour later I finish the work that pays my over-priced rent, and make a pit-stop in the office’s ladies room to put the make-up on that transforms me from corporate cog into a semblance of myself.

Running late, I walk into my door, quickly changing into my heels, without time to pound a beer. It looks like I need to catch up.

We meet my friend outside the club because we fucked up the name we were supposed to give at the door.

Despite the change of scenery, I still haven’t let go of my work persona. I still answer questions using non-committal sentences, and play the part of the good hostess. “How was your trip?” “Did you enjoy the beer in my fridge?” “I hope you told you parents that I missed them!”

A few cosmos pounded, one chained-after another, allows me to let go of that person and within a half an hour I am telling my friend, who got us in, old college drinking stories about strippers, how I spend my weekends recovering, and my penchant for champagne and dinners I never pay for.

The train begins to lose traction on the tracks.

He leaves, not without inviting us to dinner. But, why would we pass up hanging out in [insert hot club]? Not even comp’d dinner able to lure us away. As soon as we say our good-byes and give our NY promises to keep in touch, we find a place at the bar.

“You know, if we order a bottle of champagne, it would be cheaper,” lured by contradictory frugality that only alcohol inspires.

“Yea, sure Shannon!”

Bottle #1 ordered.

We finish it. And proceed to order bottles 2 and 3. Keep in mind I’ve had about 3 cosmos, a bottle of champagne and no dinner…

And of course drunk girls are magnets for assholes. Especially the variety who use their job to compensate for unfortunate looks and just as pitiful attitude.

“Yea, so I work for [insert famous architect]. Yea, I am hoping to make partner in a few years…”

He drones on, leveraging the only thing that works in his favor—access to money.

Fuck that, I am going to have fun with this motherfucker, I think to myself. I don’t do well with people who like to think they are better than me because I don’t wear my accomplishments and access on my sleeve.

“Wait, you work for [insert famous architect]? Do you interact with him on a daily basis?”

“Yea,” he says boastful of his position on his corporate food-chain.

“Great, do me a fucking favor. Tell him that his cousin Shannon says hi and that the family hasn’t forgotten his behavior. And that without our great Aunt he would never have the capital to be half as successful. He is no self made-man.”

The asshole looks at me incredulously, half-believing the shit. I should have let it go…but I am drunk as fuck at this point and make more asinine allusions that don’t make sense. I continue to sip my 5th glass of champagne as I speak, making up shit.

Craving a cigg and alienating the man sitting next to me, I walk to the outdoor patio and see a hot guy who catches my eye. Since I am only attracted to gay men, and he is with another guy, I assume that he ‘bats for the other team’ and admire him from afar. But ciggs have a way of bringing people together, especially when you think that person is gay thus, the social-confines of male-female interaction are allowed to be ignored.

As I am in mid-sentence with hot guy’s friend, sharing the requisite conversation that accompanies a cigarette lighting, Kate runs over to hot guy and gushes, “Oh my God!! YOU ARE [insert really famous celeb].”

Drunk, she continues to gush.

Drunk, I need to combat her awe.

“Oh shit, I didn’t realize that it’s [insert really famous celeb], I thought you guys were together! Wait, you are not gay!?” I ask, incredulously.

“No, I am not gay!!”

Embarrassed, I walk away and Kate comes with me. We need a bathroom. For me to pee and for her to vomit. Lu takes over the conversation in our absence, without any idea what is going on.

[Insert really famous celeb]’s friend starts to talk to Lu, “You know I am not gay.”

Lu, having no context to the conversation. “uhm, ok. What is your name?” Trying to begin a conversation that does not revolve around a proclamation of heterosexuality.

“John. Yea, I’ve known [insert really famous celeb] for a while. I am visiting from LA. You know, seriously, I am not gay.”

“Ok, I believe you! You’re not gay!!” Lu proceeds to tell the guy about her dog, her aspirations for vet school and inadvertently stumbles upon his hidden passion.

“Oh, then you will love this!” John says, as he takes out a pic of his dog from his wallet.

Leaving Kate in the bathroom, I rejoin the group. [Insert really hot celeb] hovering as I walk in on John showing Lu pics of his dog.

When the guys leave Lu says, “Shan, so [insert really hot celeb]’s friend invited us to party with them tonight. He seemed nice but obsessed over the fact that he wasn’t gay. But then showed me pics of his dog. What a fucking closet case!”

We continue to nurse the third bottle of champagne and realize an hour later that Kate is still missing.

We walk into the bathroom where we hear dry heaving coming from a stall.

Lu and I look at each other, and walk in without knocking, empowered by intuition that it’s Kate. We see her, on the floor, praying to the false-God, mumbling slurred, ‘I’m fine’ greetings towards us. Her face doesn’t look up from the bottom of the commode. Watching her, collapsed at the bottom of a toilet, has a sobering effect on me and my responsibilities flood my drunken stupor.

“Lu, I need to get going. It’s late and I have things to do tomorrow.”

I leave in a taxi. Lu and Kate join me 3 hours later, phone #s in pockets, more drunk, but bellies fuller than mine with food substituting additional glasses of champagne that I pounded before I left.

Confronted, when I wake up, that I didn’t leave early enough because I am hurting-- stomach in flip-flops, wanting to take an axe to my head, pain.

We repeat the praises to Bacchus, each night she is here.

Tomorrow I’ll touch upon why my landlord thinks I am a perverted lesbian who is into orgies, the additional celebs we saw, the gender riot I started in the bathroom of a trendy restaurant, and the four figured bar tab we didn’t have to cover.

Happy 25th Lu!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Not even death is sacred

5th hour in front of my computer, earphones blasting Dave Matthews, my eyes mesmerized by the excel sheet’s grids, entering data from the year’s invoices. The only time I’ve looked up from the sheet is when my sister and I took a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood, since she works across the street from me.

My phone rings, I haphazardly glance at it, thinking its her, telling me she forgot to tell me a piece of gossip from work. Like I want to hear about Jeanine from accounting sleeping with the mail clerk and cheating on her husband, when I have to get these invoices out…

It’s my home phone number.

My heart skips a beat, my mother only calls me at work with bad news, or to tell me about sales at Loehmann’s. But it isn’t Wednesday, the day last season’s Jimmy Choos get further discounted.

I pick up the phone, before my mouth reaches the receiver:

“What happened?” immediately cutting to the point of the conversation. No time for pleasantries, not caring how her day is going, just wanting her to confirm what I already know.

“It’s Bubby”

Silence. Tears form. Voice becomes choppy.

“What happened?” hands shaking, as I choke through the semi-sentence.

She talks, I hear but not listen. She sounds strong, her voice unwavering. We were expecting this. I cut my vacation short, knowing her time was near, when I found out she went into the hospital. I saw her in the industrial bed, said my good-bye, and told her I loved her. We all knew this was coming. Even after her release from the hospital, because she wasn’t the same. Especially when she started sleeping a lot more and stopped watching Wheel of Fortune.

It shouldn’t catch me off guard. I was expecting this.

But, death, even of a 104 year old woman, still blindsides us. That split second when your intellect connects with emotion, processing the end of Chinese food Sunday afternoons and the lectures on why to never marry, to stay young and keep traveling, that you will never see the person again—you can’t prepare for death’s arrival nor the feeling that comes immediately after.

I get up and walk over to the bathroom, still on the phone with my mom. Luckily nobody is inside. I step into a stall, not noticing that I didn’t close the door behind me, and cry.

“I don’t know why you’re hiding, they’ve seen you cry, this isn’t anything new,” my mom kids around. Alluding to my weekly tears of frustration that I shed because I misplaced another few thousand dollars onto the wrong excel sheet.

I sniffle. “I know.”

“I decided to call you now so you could tell your co-workers that you will be out for the funeral. I know you have a lot of work.”

The only part of our conversation that does register in my head, the mention of work. A panic strikes in my heart, I don’t want my colleagues to see my vulnerability. I don’t want their false empathy, I just wish to leave my office and run along the Hudson, hoping that the beauty of NYC reflection off of the river will distract my head.

I put my phone into my pocket.

I throw cold water onto my face.

Fuck, my eyes are still puffy.

I throw cold water onto my face again. And then a third time.

I stare into my eyes, trying to convince myself that they look like I sneezed very hard. It’s one thing to cry in your cubicle because you misplaced $30K, it is another for them to witness your grief.

I saunter over to my bosses’ cubicle area, unsure how I should phrase it. How do you tell the people who you work with 50 hours a week, who only see you emote sarcasm, frustration, and contrition, that one of your single-girl heroes died?

I falsely believe the composure that befalls me as I make my way to their desk.

“Hey Rebecca!”

I my boss look up, “I..” suddenly choking back tears, “I just got a bad phone call, there was a death in my family.” Tears stream down my face

This isn’t good, the last thing I want is sympathy. Especially because I don’t deserve it since I have caused this woman to do double work—hers and correcting my learning disabled mistakes.

She looks concerned, and offers to hug me, assuming it’s the worst.

Trying to deflect, “No, it’s ok! I mean, she was 104. It’s not like this as completely unexpected.” Laughing through the tears, making a joke. Trying to distract from the levity at hand.

But it was unexpected. She wasn’t supposed to die today, she had 5 more months until her 105th.

I delegate my responsibilities to her, and return to my desk. At first trying to organize my day’s work, but then finding solace in the monotony of entering figures off of the invoice into the excel sheet. I continue, until my other boss walks over to me and asks me why I was still at work. I begrudgingly leave, walking my usual route home.

Confrontation with physical death makes us hyper-aware of the living.

I walk into the apartment and see John laying on the couch, blasting French rap,

“I broke down today and cried on seventh avenue. I can’t talk to another recruiter, telling me to take a pay cut. They make their commission off of me regardless of they nickel and dime me. I am going to revive the tradition of Seppuku! Last time it happened, back in the 1970’s after the big JAL crash, the CEO disemboweled himself in a town square. I am going to do it in Washington Square Park next to the Falun Gong devotees. Let’s see how meditative they really can be!”

He continues to talk as I am in the middle of putting my purse and coat down.

Unzipping my jacket, interrupting him mid-joke “John, my great aunt died today.”

He gives a requisite amount of silent reverence before he says, “Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“I don’t want to talk about it. Talking about it will only make me cry, and I did enough of it at work.”

“At least its not because you think you are getting fired because you misplaced $30K.”

“My mom already used that joke.”

He then goes back to work, trying to resurrect life into his stopped career, looking for a job. Increasing the volume to the French Rap he is listening to while watching the Golden Girls. He curls into the fetal position, muttering aloud a sentence of his resume, listening for correct syntax.

I take my seat next to him, check my email and begin to type in my blog finding my frustration with his noisiness comforting.

Random Thoughts

It’s nights like this I wish I was a gay man, my roommate meeting yet another guy off of the internet. Post ad on, pic exchange, 45 mins later you meet, 15 mins after the initial meeting walk into apt with pizza and kick out roommate watching tv in the living room.

This guy works for Kmart. It’s better than the porn star and the homeless guys he’s dated before.

But people who live in glass houses should not throw stones…

Fuck, it’s rough. I think I hear them making out in the living room and I need to pee.

Drinking Lessons of the weekend:

1. If you eat a lot, drink a lot because then you could purge it all—budding bulimia here I come

2. Do not go for sushi the day after vomiting all night. Your tummy will not be happy.

3. If you masturbate when you are incredibly drunk, do not be suprised when you view your history the following morning and don't see your toys in their usual spot

Stats final on Wed and have been studying (ok, well masturbating to internet porn). Sorry for the shitty post.

Oh yea, and the pics from New Year’s, no fucking way am I posting them. My boobs look too fucking awesome and I am afraid one of you will stalk me…but they may go up on myspace, because I need a few more freaks messaging me and telling me how their babies’ momma won’t get in the way…

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sleep deprivation and the aftermath of taking a shit

Although I am a party girl and have grown up entrenched in gay culture, I’ve never tried crystal meth because of the horror stories associated with the drug, people awake for days and hallucinating, bad come downs, and panic attacks. I kill enough brain cells with alcohol and don’t see the point in melting it down.

If I’ve never done meth, then why the fuck do I feel like I am on the shit?! For the past 3 days, I’ve slept a total of 9 hours and spend my days in half awake limbo. It’s that feeling of extreme exhaustion, when you get so tired that you feel drunk. And we know how my mouth disconnects from my brain when that happens:

“Hey Shannon, you’ve had that cold for some time!” a co-worker said to me.

“Yea, my friends want me to get tested for HIV”

Or a discussion over why I gave up Catholicism and embraced my status as a member of the tribe:

“You know, it goes with being a NYer, a dark sense of humor and renouncing Jesus”

With the panic attacks associated with my bouts of insomnia and my desperate need to pick up my $34 scalp treatment system that I left behind, I fled to my parents’ house on LI.

My life has come full circle, I used to flee here because I couldn’t deal with their nuttiness and now I flee my apt and come here because I can’t deal with my own nuttiness.

I dealt with this in college, my insomnia a by-product of my seasonal depression. For the last 6 years by every January I gain 15 pounds, stop leaving the apartment, wallow in depression, and develop a horrible case of insomnia. By February I get so lonely and horny I buy a new vibrator and troll the internet for dates. A new depth of depression emerges when I am confronted with the reality that everyone internet dating in NYC during the winter months, does it for exactly the same reasons as I am, except missing my sense of humor and ability to still look cute 15 pounds heavier.

By April, however, the cloud lifts, and I inaugurate my new found happiness with a few thousand dollar weekend shopping spree, booking a trip to Europe, lose the 15 pounds within 3 weeks, and once again sleep like a baby because I tucker myself out from my hour long blading sessions along the Hudson.

Only 3 more months of this shit feeling.

However, genius and creativity go hand in hand with madness, and I find that my observations on human behavior become more acute as I look outward to satisfy that emptiness that comes from a sun-devoid depression.

As you know, I’ve been sick lately and as a result I’ve been popping tons of vitamins, afraid to go back to the doctor and tell him the meds didn’t work because my excessive drinking nullified its effectiveness. Water soluble vitamins, such as C and B, taken in high doses can never harm you because your body just pisses out the excess. Combine my ODing on vitamins with drinking gallons of water per day to flush out my system, along with the insane amount of black tea I drink to keep me awake at my desk, and you have an author peeing about once an hour. Sometimes more frequently. I’m sure my co-workers must think something is wrong, and I have to admit, I am actually embarrassed by how often I pee. I just hope they think my frequent bathroom breaks are a result from my politeness, not wanting to blow my nose hard at my desk.

I walk into the bathroom, into a stall and pee for the 5th time by the early afternoon. I realize I am not alone in my bathroom when I hear strains coming from another stall. Farts, wet sounding poop, a flush but no motion of the feet—the sounds encouraging me to pee faster because I do not want to meet the shitter at the sink. I quickly finish, flush, pull up my pants, and am in such a rush to get out as to avoid the awkward, ‘Hey, you just heard me shit up a storm’ look of sheepish embarrassment-false-confident-faith that all bowel movements are created equally natural, yet embarrassing. I am so eager to get the fuck out, that I am actually buttoning my pants walking out of the stall, hoping that by shaving off a few extra moments, I can get out faster and by-pass that moment.

Washing my hands at the sink, my embarrassment got me thinking, about shit-shyness. In college it took me a full semester to feel comfortable shitting when someone else was inside the bathroom. And until third year of school where I stopped using the secret shit-stall for the ‘day after’ drinking sessions. In the working world there are no secret basement bathrooms. Instead forced to listen to someone you spend 50 hours a week with, shitting up a storm, something within a movie or a tasteless tv show would have you rolling on the floor laughing. At work, however, if you ever encounter them face-to-face, able to associate them with the movement, social protocol dictates that you pretend nothing out of the ordinary happened. Even if you also ate the same suspectable food-borne pathogen infested food, suffering from the same diarrhea…you don’t acknowledge, you don’t offer your secret stash of Immodium AD.

She didn’t come out of the bathroom immediately after and I returned to my dark corner of the office, not knowing who the shitter was.


6 Beers within an hour
Counting sheep

Nothing I do could cure it.

Day 3, and I only have 7 hours of sleep under my belt.

1/2 drunk, mildly delerious from sleep deprivation...I'm scared that I have lost my mind and end up having a fight club moment.

Getting Drunk With Quakers--A Reflection of 2005

For those of you who are lucky enough to be born on a day far away from New Year’s Eve and its culture of empty promises, you have two opportunities to take the requisite inventory to examine your life and become a better person, New Year’s and your birthday. Well, three if you are Jewish and observe the high-holidays. One cold March night in 1981, my mommy and daddy prayed very hard and there was so much love in the room that the stork suddenly appeared and tapped my mommy’s belly and I was born 9 ½ months later, during the stale week between Christmas and New Year’s. With a birthday so close to New Year’s, I am convinced that the way I celebrate and falsely pontificate on my year’s actions will impact my karma for the upcoming year. Hence, that week turns into one massive introspective self-pity fest, leaving me thinking twice as hard about the life I lead and realize how I spend most of it drunk. My life thus far has been caught in the bitter cycle of alcoholic karma.

If you think about it, that is a pretty irrational thought, how ever I spend my birthday and New Year’s will indicate how I will fare the rest of the year. This is what happens when your childhood birthday parties' invitees are your imaginary friends the Thunder Cats, Transformers, and Rainbow bright and not your childhood friends to distract you from your precocious neurotic pensive behavior. My non-imaginary friends vacationed in exotic destinations such as Orlando Disney, California Disney, visiting the grandparents in Fort Lauderdale, or skiing out West. As I grew up, and went off to college, I saw a repeat of my youth—instead of parents whisking kids away it was the school kicking us out for winter break.

Taking a cue from the feminists I read in my Sexuality and Gender class my first year of college, I appropriated Audre Lorde’s teachings, “Using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house”, and reclaimed my birthday. I was going to make my birthday work for me, while simultaneously wearing a short skirt, cum-fuck-me boots, with a dirty martini in hand. I’ve kept that New Year’s birthday resolution for the last 5 years, always spending my birthday and New Years in an exotic locale or making sure my friends fly up for my birthday, convinced that the energy of my birthday and New Year’s rubs off onto the upcoming year. And every year, the karma does follow the energy of those nights, my years have been spent drunk and making out with the sexually confused.

This past birthday I spent in Sun Valley: getting drunk off Bloody Marys, and Hot Cocoa mixed with peppermint schnapps and Godiva liquor, celeb spotting in the lodge (Larry David!!!), making some amazing runs down the beginner trail, yoga, and of course champagne and caviar. Needless to say my birthday left me with high expectations for the upcoming year.

I wanted New Year’s to continue the trend.

Except this year, the contradictions of my life dictated how I would bring in the New Year. Vomiting so hard over a toilet inside the dorm of a Quaker boarding school because I drank too much Veuve Clicquot.

And yes, this happened to me many a time this past summer, Vueve Clicquot making a widow out of my sobriety and the contents of my stomach, as I performed my rendition of a what a scale-down Niagra Falls would look like if it existed over a commode. I shouldn’t be surprised this is how I rang in the New Year.

Except this time, instead of vomiting and getting rid of the excess alcohol so I’d be left with a clearer head—I ended up drunker after my barfing spree.

So drunk, that I began to walk along the floor where my friend lived and looked at the pictures outside the girls’ rooms--giving my predictions who would end up ugly, who would be gay (of course the dirty hippy), and commenting that the ugly married faculty members living across the hall were perfect for each other because they are both busted. I announced my pity for their future brood, legitimizing ugly offspring because ‘you can’t expect much from a gene pool like that’. After I called the couple ugly and announced my pity for their future unborn children, I began to wonder about the off-chance if their child received the recessive good-looking genes, and their reaction to a good looking child.

“They would shame their child into being ugly!!” I slurred aloud.

Lu interjects into the conversation I am having with myself , “Shannon, how do you shame your child into being ugly?”

Obviously not winning the internal dialogue that became external, I look for my next drunken distraction and find a drunk Quaker rummaging through old theater clothes and wigs. Simultaneously, my friend Katie asks me to pose for a picture with Lu.

“Duuuuddee!! Wait!! I got the perfect costume!!”

I run over next to the drunk Quaker and begin to try on wigs. As I am trying on a blond wig, I see the perfect dress…a size 2 front lace up dress that would perfectly expose my breasts and barely cover my nipples.

I then run into my friends room, filled with such excitement that I don’t close the door behind me and proceed to squeeze myself into this dress.

I think I am making some headway, smooshing my breasts into the fucking garment when I hear a riiippp. Teeeaaarrrr. And I see what the sound left-- a massive hole along the stitch line.

Even fucking hotter. Now I get to expose my hip too! Score!

I bust out of the room, and Katie is in love with the camera loving me. The pictures go from sweet, to goofy, to slightly pornographic, to…well, if my dad found them, he would shoot me and any man who saw them.

20 pictures later, a renewed desire from my childhood to pose naked in Playboy, and there are some hot pics that I think may be worthy of Craigslsit Casual Encounters. Pre-photoshop touch up and lies about height and weight.

But as much as partying with Quakers rocked, the highlight of my New Year’s was the riding around philly in a Porsche Cayenne. Men stopping their cars in the middle of the road trying to get a glimpse of the three women in their mid-20’s inside. The automatic deference that valets paid. The snubbing by the dick doorman at the Four Seasons because Lu wore a Fendi scarf like Tupac with her Burberry scarf draped over her head as I sat in the passenger seat with my Gucci glasses on blocking the imaginary sun on the terribly overcast day. Yea, we looked like assholes. Complete with our desire to tell the doorman that “it’s imperative that you do not let anyone see the person inside this vehicle”. But even decorum got the best of us with that desire.

This year, using my birthday and New Year’s as a barometer for the year ahead, I resolve that my life will be filled with even more indulgence such as a burgeoning champagne and caviar habit. My year will be filled with awesome friends getting each other into asinine trouble, Porsche included; adventures in and out of NYC; drunken debauchery to appease Baccus; and a revaluation of what makes me happy--money, money, money (it enables the lifestyle I have so become accustomed to).

But what is to happen when I come to realize that my misery caused by stagnation isn’t worth it?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The first post of the New Year, and I am still sick

I just finished the ritual I perform every four hours: 2 pumps of saline spray into each nostril, toss back 2.5 Tablespoon of Robitussin, slather my neck and chest with Vick’s Vapor Rub, a 4oz. cup of Airborne, and shove simultaneously 1000mg of Vitamin C and 450 mg of Echinacea into my throat. I look like a 6 yr old, my scent a combination of mint and cherry flavored cough syrup, snot dribbling down my nose, and whimpers of how much I want my mommy right now.

Yes, I am still sick. My sinus infection cleared up only to be replaced with a horrible chest cold from the plane ride back from Sun Valley. In its place a hacking “unproductive” (aka no phlegm, and God how much I fucking love phlegm and wish for it right now) cough, heavy chest, and thoughts racing through my mind that I am about to have an asthma attack.

Whenever I get sick and paranoid like this, I need to be around people—someone to take care of me, their presence to remind me if I do go into an asthmatic fit someone will be there to call the police or drive my sorry ass to a hospital. But with my 24th birthday on Wed marking my entry into the “mid-20’s”, I’ve come to realize that my relationships with my friends have changed and no longer can I call them up at 2am to come over and sit by my side. To invite them out for a beer yes, but to take care of me, not so much.

Other priorities have come into their life: jobs, relationships that provide sex, a desire not to be nocturnal…things that have replaced the spontaneity of our college/mutually single-boyfriend replacement relationship. And it’s acceptable that the friendships have evolved. And it’s acceptable if you don’t notice this evolution because you are one of those lucky people who are perpetually in relationships and have the luxury to barter expedited intimacy via sex for chicken soup and companionship when you are sick.

Sex and relationships do weird things to people. It’s given me bottles of champagne a top of hotel bars, fresh matzo ball soup driven to me in a winter storm, phone calls at 2am asking me why I was online, things the men in question wouldn’t have done for their own best friends…but for a woman with the prospect of fucking her, we develop a much stronger resolve of ‘Do unto others’ and ‘expect a lot more shit’.

So perhaps it’s the combination of being sick and not having anyone to take care of me at 2am (gay Greek husband is on LI again) and the prospect of a new year on the horizon with promise, but I’ve crawled back to online dating, committed to find a decent guy.

And yes don’t remind me there is always something wrong with them, and there are no decent guys on online dating and the decent ones are shorter than me in my manolos such as the last one, who had a smaller waist line than me and he was my height. Without my heels! Yea, let’s say I contemplated barfing up the drinks at the end of the night each time I hung out with him. But no boy is worth bulimia I rationalized…so instead, I self-sabotaged the prospect of a relationship, and had Brit guy #2 allude that I was a whack job by the end of it all…Hey, but at least I am bulimia free at the moment.

So with that guy off the radar, friends in NYC still happily engaged in productive relationships, and Lu not coming to visit until next week, I am back trolling the depths of mediocrity called and craigslist. The beauty of internet dating, I recently learned, is this feature called the ‘keyword’ search. Have a foot fetish? Enter that term in and see all the ads that mention that term. I have a British fetish, love the accent and men who are my polar opposite: repressed, refined, sarcastic sense of humor, and date like polar opposites of their NYC male counterparts. Or maybe it’s a reminder of the London fag…but that observation is reserved for my soon to be therapist. So I’ve keyworded and CL for Brit, British, England, Englishman, etc. And I stumbled upon this one guy, who has posted ads in both places. Same dorky smiling face, similar rambling of why he wants a girlfriend…and I was thinking to myself, isn’t that slightly desperate? What must be his fatal flaw if he is posting on 2 dating sites?

And in other news, my great Aunt is doing much much better and it looks like she will prob see her 105th birthday…

Sun Valley and New Year’s rocked…will tell you more about driving around in the Porsche and the slightly pornographic pics taken but need to wait for the pics to come back from my friends so you can see what I am talking about.