Good afternoon everybody. It’s a bit of a strange day, as I come to you from the inside of a Subway restaurant on 26th street. I’m exhausted from staying up late last night eating frosted mini wheats and taking graphology quizzes and trying to fix my nails.
Over the past couple of months my mom and I have started this tradition where every time I come home to North Carolina we bond by getting our nails done. I got my first set of gel nails when I visited after the 4th of July this year (okay not the first set. the first was when I got them as a joke when I was 18 and then immediately went to Bonnaroo where I snapped each of them off after filling them with mud and sand. That was a rowdy summer). This time, though, I decided I really liked having nails as in the four years following that particular Bonnaroo I have tried to play on the spectrum from a perhaps less “feminine” character to the other extreme and back again (please refer to your Schechner texts). There is of course room for comment on the fact that having plastic melted on the top of each of my fingers severely limited my dexterity. I would have to pick up things like bobby pins and quarters off the floor by pressing my finger pad on them until they stuck. I had to pretty much entirely relearn how to type. But once I got the hang of having them I kind of felt empowered. I was pretty into them. I felt like a badass opening my tallboy with a nearby screwdriver so I didn’t break my nail. I mean after spending one summer in New York I could probably run a half marathon in a pair of heels. You don’t have to let looking good slow you down.
The problem with adding fake nails and blonde Redken dye to my ever evolving look is that they are serious cosmetic commitments. I don’t mind this when I have the time and money. I was recently discussing with my hair stylist/possible future sister-in-law Hannah how part of the appeal of making these commitments is the fact that you’re forced to go to the salon every month. I love the salon. I drink champagne, I lay my problems on other women who are stuck in the chair next to me. It’s an all around good time. For a couple of months after moving here I was able to keep up this charade by returning home to NC and making a day of it with Mom. But going home is expensive. And New York spas are expensive. I didn’t want to pay $45 for a fill every three weeks. I can’t. It even costs like $30 to go to a salon and have your nails removed, so I set out to do it myself. One bowl of acetone, two episodes of Arrested Development and about three hours of scraping later, my stumpy childlike fingers were back, and more agile than ever. Albeit my nail beds have been pretty much destroyed. I recommend not trying this at home.
While that night I managed to not knock myself out with manicure fumes, there was another disturbing odor in my apartment that was more relentless. Let me begin by saying I love Bushwick. It’s a nice place to live. I don’t even mind seeing rats outside from time to time. I have cats, so there’s not really a chance of a rodent infestation in my home. The problem I have is with the rat poison (and not for PETA reasons. I’m all for animal rights but I’d just assume get the RATS out of here however you have to). It’s because the traps the landlord puts out by the garbage are the little hexagonal rat garages where they run in, eat the poison, and then bring it back to their little nests or whatever. Conveniently, one of the nests is through a minuscule crack in the foundation of our building magically navigable to GIANT vermin who then crawl into the shoddy structure where they proceed to die off. This brought a smell that can only be described as rotting flesh because, well, it was rotting flesh and because rotting flesh smells like nothing else on earth. We complained to our landlord who reassured us with the comforting assertion that soon the carcass of whatever had died would dry out and the smell would disappear. I believe this has started to happen but I also believe that we have gotten somewhat used to the odor, which is upsetting to me on a lot of levels.
Mind you, I live in a fairly nice apartment. It’s one of those renovated buildings in Bushwick where all the appliances are stainless steel and the bathroom has black marble and a deep square tub. The problem is that only the inside of the apartment was gutted and refurbished. The outer structure remains as decrepit as it ever was, and I’m assuming it’s fairly old. Not to mention we live on the first floor, which means anything that crawls in the foundation to die is going to do so directly under us. And then came the flood. One lucky day this month there was a delightful mini-monsoon that somehow concentrated itself only on the central parts of Brooklyn. After it destroyed my roommates’ rooms (two kind and thankfully low-maintenance guys that live in the basement of our duplex) we had the water pumped out. The next day, thanks to my curious kittens, we started finding maggots in the basement. Maggots are no joke. There were little pods in the corners of the rooms which we guessed were egg sacks or cocoons of some kind. We assumed all this came from inside the burst drain pipe that had caused the flood, because a storm drain is kind of like a sewer and why wouldn’t there be maggots in it? Two nights later my roommate comes running up the stairs drunk at 3 am in his underwear with scratches all over his arms, burning sage and screaming that his room is haunted. I wasn’t sure, but the whole situation was definitely curious. Everything’s been getting particularly Amityville around there lately, especially since I started seeing flies on every surface in the house this week. Of course, that could just be because of the dead animals in the wall. To top it all off I was forced to kill a cockroach the size of a Twinkie last night because all my cats seemed to want to do was slap it around a bit. It’s starting to look more and more like I’ll have to get married soon, not because this is a man’s job, but because it needs to be somebody the fuck else’s but mine.
My incessant nightmares haven’t helped my suspicions of a haunting in Bushwick. There was one where our civilization was built on an Islamic burial ground and the buildings crumbled into the ocean and everyone drowned. No big deal. Another, less gruesome one involved me getting left at the altar on my wedding day. Upon realizing this I collapsed to the ground in slow motion, later going to the deserter’s trailer to get my belongings back and getting chased away in broad daylight with a shotgun. I barely survived.
Two nights ago I had another apocalyptic dream about me and another girl, possibly two, both strangely young. We’re traveling through sterile futuristic subway tunnels on some sort of mission to save the world. After some silent cosmic event, we make it outside to the sunlight and everything seems fine until one of the girls suddenly starts emitting electricity from her body. She can direct it at anything she wants and I am one of these things. I don’t get hurt but I am instead suspended at least 15 feet off the ground by a steady stream of lightning (this may have something to do with the fact that I interviewed the band Tesla Boy that day).
But last night’s dream was especially disturbing, if slightly humorous. I was on another mission to look for things in my house which was now mysteriously located in middle of the woods. The house, however, had been demolished and in its place I found an old elevated railroad suspended in the trees. Then I saw that hanging from the tracks were the legs and torsos of bodies that I guess had been hit and torn apart by the train. The body parts were dressed in Aeropostale and there was no blood to be seen anywhere, just severed limbs. I continued looking for my hair straightener. My friend that was with me said, “Well there goes our weekend.” I mean who writes this stuff?
Lest we find ourselves struggling with meaning yet again, I present you with a bit of positive news: I finally had sex to my Babymaker ~Part II~ playlist, from start to finish, something I had been planning on since its inception earlier this summer. It was a well-deserved turn of events considering my most recent prior sexual encounter involved me woman-on-topping a very drunk person until they began vomiting unceasingly between the bed and the wall, after which I slept on the floor for three hours (at press time this person and I are still friends as none of the vomit got on me and he as cleared up that my naked body was not the source of his nausea). Of course I walked home at 8:30 am on a Sunday with my minimal clothing inside out past pretty much every church-going Brooklynite between my house and the East River, but that part I’m used to.
Other than that I’ve been hanging out with brother Winston and the aforementioned Hannah who live down the street now. Having similar maintenance and employment problems of their own they have decided on a remedy of frequently drinking. We never really go anywhere. The most we’ve done is get fucked up enough in random bars to cover an entire car of the L in peanut shells. But I have seen some more of the city’s hidden beauty along the way.
Since I’m going to be 23 next month I’ve decided to practice being old by saying no to a lot of invitations for weeknight partying and stay home to get some much needed alone time/introspection/self improvement (yeah I’ve mostly just been eating in my bed). I did go to some random thing at some random recording studio last Saturday where I met some random amazing people and found a random tiny sparkling cowgirl hat (thinking of getting a tattoo that says ‘random’). I then wore the tiny hat for the rest of my night despite sweating a LOT in that one spot on my head while dancing at 285 kent until 3 am. After I abruptly decided I wasn’t having ANY fun anymore, I burst out of the building and disappeared, said a ceremonial goodbye to the tiny glittery hat and made friends with a cricket that I considered my spiritual guide. Not really realizing where I was going, I ended up getting sort of lost and taking a $13 cab, the availability of which I considered a “sign from god.”
The next day I dealt with my hangover by traveling to a beauty supply store in Woodside, Queens so we could try to disguise my prominent, rapidly growing roots as ombre and stop dying my hair for a while. You have to take three trains to get there and the beauty supply store didn’t have jack shit but I found Woodside oddly enjoyable. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed being able to see that much of the sky. All the houses had front yards that were filled with plants. I found this mind-blowingly quaint, even if low flying planes did blast overhead every ten minutes. But it was seeing the shitty highways and the shitty empty streets of a shitty tiny town that made me homesick. Rushing to the nearest Taco Bell in the late afternoon, pre-autumn sunlight I felt like I was in Raleigh again, running from the bus stop on Western Boulevard. But the cheap thrill of my cheese quesadilla and potato soft taco faded away and I noticed the soda fountain drain overflowing with Diet Pepsi, the flattened packets of taco sauce strewn across the sticky brown tile floor. It did remind me of home.
It was at that moment I realized everywhere is kind of gross. And that comforted me.