Last night, I got another email from someone wondering if I'd OD'ed or if my hand had finally given out from chronic masturbation.
No. And no.
I'm still popping pills and masturbating but my job's ending in a month so I've been busy fellating potential employers via email. Also, I've been going to as many doctor appointments as I can before my health insurance runs out.
Last Friday, for example. I headed over to Brooklyn Heights to see my eye doctor and to run a few errands. I don’t know what was going on, last Friday. Maybe something funky got into the water supply. Maybe it was a full moon. Whatever the reason, people in downtown Brooklyn were fucking nuts that day.
I saw one arrest and heard at least three verbal altercations. It was awesome.
Pissed off people make me happy. They make me feel that I actually do belong in this world and that I’m not so alone in my scary, solipsistic rage.
Anyway, last Friday morning began sanguinely enough. First, I hit the True Value on Court Street for some light bulbs.
In the window, I saw a sign that read, "Obama: Change Brooklyn Can Believe In."
This made me happy, despite the fact that his pastor may or may not hate the good ol' U.S. of A and think that 9/11 was simply just desserts.
My mother calls me stupid and naïve for supporting Obama.
This from a woman who’s planning on penning in "Mitt Romney" on her ballot come election time.
"Obama's going to turn the whole country communist," she said the other night. "Mark my words."
"At least he can string a simple declarative sentence together," I countered.
"Oh, sure he can," she snapped. "That's the only reason he's as successful as he is. He's a good speechmaker, that's all. And lazy, snotty, communist-leaning kids like you think that's what makes a good president."
"Okay, Bill O'Reilly," I replied cheerfully.
"Well," she sighed. "It doesn't matter anyway. Everyone knows that when it comes down to actually voting and not just talking about it, young people don't vote."
"I vote," I replied irritably.
And I do, once I've put down my bong. Sure, my eyes are red and glassy when I hit the booth and the whole time, I'm pretty hungry but still. I do my civic duty.
Also, as a U.S. citizen, if and only if you vote, are you allowed to complain about the state of American politics. Nothing makes me angrier than some verbose dipshit who grudgingly admits, after an hour of political polemic that they didn't, in fact, vote last election.
“Well, maybe you’ll get lucky,” she said bitterly. “Then you can have a communist president. Although I must say. That McCain is no great shakes. He has Stockholm syndrome, I think I read. He'll give the whole country over to the Vietnamese! And to China!”My ORF (One Republican Friend) says that Obama is without substance and is merely a powerful orator and that the press is treating him like the black Jesus.
"Kinda like The Manchurian Candidate, huh?" I snickered. "Who's Angela Lansbury in that scenario?"
"Kinda like The Manchurian Candidate, huh?" I snickered. "Who's Angela Lansbury in that scenario?"
"Think about that name," she mused, ignoring me. "I mean, what does it sound like? It sounds like ‘Osama.’”
"God," I sighed. "You'd think that you of all people would cut the guy some slack about an Arab-sounding name."
“Why on earth would you think that?” she said, nonplussed.
I was silent for a moment, stunned.
“Because your kids have Arab names!” I yelled finally. “Jesus Christ.”
"And his middle name," she continued, undeterred. "My God, 'Hussein!' Does that sound like the president of the United States to you?”
"You know what it sounds like to me?" I shot back bitterly. "It sounds like the same fucking name Pops was gonna name your own son before you eighty-sixed it."
"Please. I never would've allowed that drunken, skirt-chasing idiot to name my son 'Hussein.' In fact, if I'd had my way your name would have been Elizabeth. Or Constance."
"I'm hanging up now," I said flatly. "Go watch Remains of the Day or something. Everyone in that is really white and has names like Alistair and Rupert."
And maybe she’s right and maybe my mom's right.
But I’ve been called a lot worse than stupid and naïve and without substance. A crazy, selfish cunt, for example. That was three boyfriends ago.
At the True Value, there was a long line of ambitious looking winners waiting to buy Megamillions tickets.
I held up the burned out light bulb I'd brought, for reference.
The man behind the counter laughed.
"In back," he said. "To the right. The guy there will help you."
This is what he always says. He's used to me coming in brandishing dead, dusty light bulbs and it's pretty clear that he thinks I'm a little dim myself. And he's right. If I don't bring the bulb in, I'm unable to explain to them that it's one of those lights in the ceiling; you know, it's like in the wall, you know? I think it's called a strobe or something? Or a track light. Is that right?
The guys are always nice at the True Value on Court. Also, I believe in supporting Mom and Pops old neighborhood establishments. And what with all the depressing shit going on in Fort Greene these days, my local hardware store is long out of business. I'm sure yet another cozy “neighborhood” wine and foie gras l'épicerie will be going in any day now.
So, you need light bulbs or caulking or Megmillions tickets, hit the True Value on Court. Those guys will fix you up.
When I took out my ear buds to pay for the light bulbs, I heard an exchange that made me as happy as the Obama sign out front.
"Your back still hurtin' you?" a huge construction worker-looking guy asked the counterman.
"Oh yeah," Counter Man replied. "I just went to the back doctor."
"They give you therapy and stuff like that?" Construction Worker Guy queried.
"Therapy" came out with a hard "t."
"Yeah," Busted Back said. "They, like, stretch you out and shit."
After that, I headed to Court Order to get a salad. It's named as such because it’s located directly across from the Brooklyn courthouse.
Although, really, they should consider renaming it “Restraining Order” since every time I go in there, there’s someone at the register bitching to the bored looking cashier about the ever-escalating prices.
Case in point.
"Ten bucks for a salad and a soda?" an irate-looking guy protested loudly to the blank-faced girl behind the counter. "That's retarded! And last time I paid like, forty bucks for a sandwich! And it was only ham!"
She stared him down, unmoved.
A bit hyperbolic, sir, don’t you think? she said with her impassive gaze. And besides, the fact that you can even PAY these exorbitant prices, bitching or not, says something about your financial state. Try WORKING here. I make minimum wage and believe me. At these prices I couldn’t even afford one of those rotten bananas over there. So just shut your fucking piehole and pay up already.
Before the eye doctor, I hit Starbucks to pee. Of course, as do 99.9% of Starbucks bathrooms, it smelled like rotting human flesh and the elephant cages at the Bronx Zoo.
In front of the bathroom mirror, I took my knit hat off. Paired with my shades, it looked too hipster tardo for my comfort level.
A few years ago, a hairdresser accidentally gave me a Rod Stewart-esque shag that a lot of people told me looked really cool. All of the people who complimented me had pretty much the same Rod Stewart shag action going on. Less than a week later, I cut all my hair off. I don’t look good with short hair but I’d rather look in the mirror and see a pumpkin pie hair-cutted freak, to quote Dumb and Dumber, than a hipster.
On my way out, I got a coffee. I hadn’t yet hit my morning quota of two pots. I’m nervous and jumpy to begin with so that much coffee makes me feel crazy and coked out. I don’t do blow anymore so that’s the closest I get to panicky euphoria these days.
While I was making my way to the line, an older guy in a Gentleman’s Warehouse type suit rushed in front of me. Then he got on his cell and started talking in his booming OUTDOORS voice, all the while turning around to leer at me.
I stared back at him hatefully.
You don’t cut a chick in line and then stand in front of her and check her out, I thought, filled with a scarily homicidal feeling of rage. You fat fucking dickbag.
Fat Dickbag stopped leering long enough to bark his non-fat, fey order to the girl behind the counter.
"This latte is cold!" he exclaimed loudly when it was finally handed to him. "God, it's Starbucks! You're supposed to be able to at least make coffee!"
Even though he was right, kind of, this only made me hate him more.
You don’t abuse minimum wage workers. Period. Even if it is Starfucks. Hate the corporation. Not the poor, underpaid schmucks working for it. And really, who can blame them for doing a shitty job? I’d do a shitty job if I had to work at Starbucks. Just on principle.
After Fat Dickbag had a sufficiently warm latte in his beefy, presumably sweaty paw, he looked over at me one last time.
I hope you get ass cancer from that latte, I said to him silently. You fat fuck.
Once I stepped outside the Starbucks, a middle-aged woman in a wheelchair was tying a plastic Pepperidge Farm bag around her head and screaming at passerby.
"Marcia’s in Coney Island and she’s got my shit," she yelled. "She’s got my shit! That's what I'm saying! I want my shit back! I want my lotion! Fuck you, Marcia!"
Then she began spitting at pedestrians.
Out of spit-shot, I hung out smoking and watching until the cops showed up.
From where I was standing it was unclear what was happening. Maybe she was schizophrenic. Maybe she was bi-polar. Or maybe, like me, she thought Starbucks coffee tastes burnt and over-roasted and resents having to ask for a "Venti" instead of a "Large."
After she was wheeled away by the cops to parts unknown, I meandered over to the eye doctor.
"How bad have they gotten?" I asked, as he shone the flashlight thing in my eyes. "Can I file for disability yet?"
"Sorry," he replied. "They're only as bad as last time. You're still almost blind but it's not any worse."
"Shit," I grumbled, genuinely disappointed. "Being legally disabled and on public assistance is one of my life ambitions. You know that."
"Well, it's important to have dreams," he said. "Maybe next year."
I really like my eye doctor. During the examination, we talk about books and he always gives me free trials of contact lenses and craploads of Replenish solution and refuses to accept co-payments from me. He likes me, as does my dentist, Doctor Frank.
Doctor Frank prescribes me Xanax simply because he knows I like it, not because I'm having oral surgery or anything like that. At one point in his life, Doctor Frank was a huge, hippie stoner burnout, you can just tell.
I don’t know how else to explain him prescribing me Vicodin after a routine cleaning.
I think they're both a little bored with their days, Doctor Frank and my eye guy. Their Washington Square and Brooklyn Heights clientele, respectively, seems pretty staid.
Laden down with boxes of free saline solution, I stopped by Duane Reede for some toilet paper and shampoo.
Much like you can be sure a Starbucks bathroom will smell like elephant shit and stale homeless guy urine there was, of course, a long line being attended by a single, incredibly slow-moving cashier.
I picked up an Us Weekly, took my place in line, and began reading about Jennifer Aniston's secret desire to become artificially inseminated by year's end.
When I was done with the article, I looked up.
The line, it seemed, hadn't moved at all.
I shifted my weight to the other foot and began an incisive, thought-provoking piece about whether or not Miley Cyrus is destined to become an unstable whore like Lindsay and Britney.
I heard grumbling and looked up.
The guy in front of me was swaying back and forth and muttering unintelligibly.
I went back to Miley.
"Fuck this shit," I heard him grumble. "Fuck this shit. Fuck it. Fuck it. Fuck it. Fuck it."
I bit back a laugh.
He was quiet for a minute but continued swaying.
I moved on to J-Lo's post-baby body.
"Where's all the cashiers at?" the guy in front of me screamed suddenly. “Get somebody up there! Get somebody else up there! Get somebody else up there! Get somebody else up there! Where's all the cashiers at? Where they at? What the fuck? Where the fuck all the cashiers at?"
The line turned around to stare at him.
The cashier shrugged and continued ringing up the customer in front of her, making no effort to speed up her glacial pace.
The guy in front of me hurled his shopping basket to the floor.
A can of anti-fungal foot spray skittered across the floor.
"Fuck this shit!" he hollered. "And fuck all y'all!"
Then he made for the door, swearing all way.
I laughed out loud. So did the security guard stationed by the door.
Scenes like this make me feel good. Happy. Alive. At one with my fellow man.
An elderly cashier ambled by leisurely and got behind the counter. A palpable feeling of relief filled the air.
But rather than ringing people up, she began fussing with some errant merchandise that had been left near the register. She held up a package of panty liners and frowned at it.
The line collectively groaned.
She glanced up, a bewildered look that quickly became irritated. She heaved a sigh and moved reluctantly behind the register.
"Next!" she called.