some the wiser

IMG_1719The morning after I turned 24 my extensions had turned against me.

Autumns are always a little rough for me. My birthday is in September, which never fails to put me in an existential haze. And no matter how many years I’ve been out of school (three) that feeling of starting a new grade never fully goes away. I start to feel the weight of a change beyond my control. Who was I, who am I, does it really matter… Everything Old starts to die to make room for something New. But that can be beautiful, or so they say.

The week of my 24th birthday was the usual mix of celebration and apprehension, with a short congratulatory period pancaking to an idle anxiety. Sure, I’d accomplished some things in the past year. But what would I do next? I was back on the job hunt, newly single, another year older and this was all sounding far too familiar…

The seasons were refusing to change. I was refusing to stop using my air conditioning. Other people’s lives were advancing all around me and the most exciting things that had happened in my life recently were that my mother had sent me a care package of Kraft mac n cheese and I got a membership at Planet Fitness (a contradiction not lost on me but in fact one that I find representative of my life philosophy. Everything in moderation, sure, but still everything I want). With more time to myself, that is, less time working, I started working out. I realized I was in better shape than I’d thought, and that running is a good way to take out aggression. Plus it burns off the booze! I guess I always knew these things, but if you remember me before I moved to NYC you know I couldn’t run a mile without my heart nearly exploding from my thoracic cavity (I found that word on wikipedia. Did I use it right? I’m not a scientist.) Now I can run like two miles while sexting and still have the energy to masturbate in the shower after. I’m a regular Florence Griffith Joyner.

 me rn

OK, so maybe not. But I still consider it an accomplishment. Let me have this, okay?

Somewhere around the end of last month, Alex and I fell into a lull on our Big Project, the ever-dreaded Writer’s Paralysis leading us both to send each other terribly transparent, self-deprecating gchats from our respective caves of neuroses. I had become pretty irritable by this point, but I think that had something to do with PMS, and as much as I love her, probably something to do with my mom coming to stay the weekend at the end of September. My lack of patience is still something I really need to work on, especially when it comes to someone who does so much for me. I mean, she birthed me, and even though I didn’t deserve it, she bought me these cool knock-off crocs.
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Susan Miller gave us fair warning that October would be rife with hurdles, disappointments, or possibly blessings disguised as the worst fucking thing that ever happened. The jury is still out on the blessings part, but I felt the tension in the air from the very beginning. Granted, I always feel tension at the first of the month because the words “rent day” and “freelancing” go together about as well as Virgo and Aries (that one’s for you, Susan). This time, I had a lot to look forward to, thus a lot of planning and stressing. With grand plans come great expectations and I have to be prepared for every possible outcome.

Every fall (as in twice so far), Sarah Sassafrass, Jeffrey Scott, and Justin aka Boy Reverend come visit me for a handful of days. They’re my fam away from fam, my Team outside of Big Things. When they visited last year, I had the cheapest mattress from Ikea lying directly on my floor, we made a huge mess, and because I started a new job that weekend we didn’t get to spend as much time together as I’d hoped. This time I had the Ikea mattress on an Ikea bed, fun things scheduled for every night of their visit, and I told them to bring they own damn towels. The Monday before they arrived I was feeling equipped for a houseful of guests, but I still didn’t have a job. So I looked on craigslist, found a post I liked for a development associate position at a production company, and applied. I interviewed Wednesday and I felt good about it, but hey, I’d been wrong before. I didn’t hear back the next day, so I decided to say “fucket yolo” and go to Hannah’s salon to get my hair texturized.

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It’s always a sight for sore eyes when I see those colorful heads of hair standing at the Starbucks across from the Megabus stop. I was feeling ready to party, we went home and changed for some party, prepared to deal with the continued hiatus of the L train. After drinking at Winston’s until about 1 am and getting a belated birthday present from Sass (a collar that says BITCH), we thought we’d finally hit the street. A walk, a wait, two trains, and another walk later, we arrived at the location of the party, only to see that…it wasn’t there. We had the address right. We were standing in front of it. But the doors were shut and there was no one inside, as far as we could tell. Bummed, drunk, and weirded out, we headed to The Woods to drown our defeat in pickleback shots, but not before seeing who I was pret-ty sure was Alia Shawkat of Arrested Development fame scurrying down the street ahead of us. Despite my confusion at how I always end up at this bar and that I was convinced something must be wrong with me, we actually had a pretty decent two hours. We closed the place down and it was the first time I publicly made out with a stranger since being single. It was not as fun as it sounds. But there was a dog in the bar, so it all came out in the wash, I guess.

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Hannah didn’t realize until much later that that was not her boyfriend.

That Friday was a huge milestone for the closet comedy nerd inside me. I had my first improv class at Upright Citizens Brigade, and at 400 bucks a course, this is no small feat. UCB has been a launch pad for many of your favs, and even though it may not be at the top of my Life Goals List to be on Saturday Night Live, I’d probably rank it somewhere in the top 100. But really, as a writer with a “performance background” it’s pretty much always been a dream of mine. So when I went to the training center at 3:30 for my three hour class, I was a little bit nervous. About as nervous as I was this time last year about my topless gogo dancing casting call, that is to say, I felt awkward for about five minutes before breaking the ice and flirting with all the girls. Of course, about halfway through the course I got a call back about that position I interviewed for. I had gotten the job. Yay! But there was just one catch. No! I’d have to be available every day until 6:30 and continuing the class at UCB at this time was a no-go. Fuuuuuck. Of course, I took the job with only slight hesitation, switched out of my UCB class and bore the fees I incurred with gritted teeth.

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That night, after buying some new accessories ^ at Patricia Field, I had Jeff dress me in my look for a night at Bossa Nova (the photos of which you will see next year sometime because it takes Sarah that long to edit them, ahem)

Every part of the weekend that I wasn’t in FULL LOOK from head to toe per Jeff’s insistence, I was lounging in bed, moaning off hangovers. We pretty much only got up to eat Popeye’s and go shopping on Knickerbocker, where I showed the gang what Bushwick life is really like, and where Sarah almost shat her pants. My favorite find of the day, and the only thing I could afford, was a teeny tiny “nurses outfit” in the Halloween costume sale section of Shopper’s World, that was really more like a nurse’s bra and slutty nurse’s mini skirt…they wear those in the ER, right? After getting drunk on Evan Williams and sending some of the best sexy photos I’ve ever taken of myself, we went to Passion Lounge for the marriage of Ultra Velvet and Shock Value.  Obviously the whole thing was great until the next morning, when our fish bowled brains had shriveled to raisins and I found a twitter mention from a hater calling me a whore. Sometimes it’s hard being a star.

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Because I had scurried over to my ex’s house that night (in a bikini top and socks with my shoes in hand…let’s not talk about it) I spent the next day blazed, walking around in an oversized boy’s t-shirt, a leather peplum, and arch-splitting heels that I couldn’t take off for the sake of The Look. The only saving grace of the entire day, besides waiting in line for 30 minutes to use a piss-stained Starbucks bathroom of course, was the kielbasa sandwich I devoured at Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village. It made me glad to be an EX-vegetarian (a refreshing break from kinda feeling guilty all of the time), and made me miss the kolbász my Hungarian gramma used to put in our kapusta. I tried to make a vegan version of this once and it came out SO abominably terrible I felt I’d disgraced my ancestors and vowed never to try it again.

IMG_1260_2Stoner wear/boner wear

After not being able to sleep at all before my first day at work, I spent 8 hours staring into my computer screen like a fool and then scurried home for my last night with my visitors. I’d looked like a bucket of horse manure all fucking day but I had also promised myself that I’d have Sarah take my Christmas card pictures with Kos n Gon before she left (I plan on being an adult this year and letting other adults know, namely my family, that I am not an ungrateful, useless person that forgot about them when I moved to the Big City). After achieving some spectacular results that I wish I could show you but won’t, the four of us sat in bed with Gonny, ate two pizzas and watched Clueless. In typical fucking fashion.

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All that week it was work, work, work, dates, dates, dates. Including my first ever Tinder date, a concept that both excited and terrified me. I love sexxxting and meeting new people and talking about myself and eating fried chicken with strangers so you’d THINK dating would be my thing but truthfully, I’d only gone on one blind date in all my years of having Facebook, Twitter, OKcupid, and access to other people’s Grindr accounts. The first guy hit me up on Twitter, turned out to be a complete psycho and put me off the whole idea for a while. Until Tinder came along and I made it my personal mission to slide the entire city of New York to the left. The way I see it with these things, someone is only safe to approach if their profile appears self deprecating, effortlessly ironic, or no-fucks-given to a strong degree. I think it was Groucho Marx that said “I wouldn’t fuck anyone from a social network that would have someone like me for a member,” to paraphrase. Anyway, I had an amazing time. I got free Pies N Thighs, and shocked myself with my ability to have a great time while completely sober with a guy who doesn’t drink. Weird, right? (Yes)

By the weekend, I realized I’d spent all my free time in the last 7 days either naked or in belly shirts, so the stress must have been good for my figure. I’d been sustaining on dick pics and Miller High Life (cause that’s all I could afford) and I thought I looked just great, which is why I was AGHAST that PaperMag put up a picture of me from last Friday’s Ultra Velvet looking like a toothless hillbilly. IRL I looked spooky and swagadocious and the paparazzi just caught me at a bad time. The perils of fame, y’all.

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Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 9.53.38 PMWho needs a jack o lantern?

That Saturday, after emptying my pockets on a prix fixe brunch, reeling off of one bong rip and watching straight boys play GTA,  I decided to get my look together for Kelela at 285. We pregamed at Moe’s and I ate free pizza while annoying, if cute, Australian boys argued with my concept of society. After trying to run away from them on the street, failing and feeling kinda bad afterward, we ended up at 285. The thing about 285 Kent: the inevitable sighting of the boy you do not want see, followed by the boy you kinda really wanna see. Both are disconcerting, and by 3:45 when Kelela left the stage I was overstimulated and ready to die.  But the night wasn’t a total loss. The music was amazing as expected, I spent the night in Reid’s bed after he paid for all my drinks, and at some point I took a selfie with a golden retriever.

IMG_1529_2The next morning, even though I found myself gnawing on slim jim and watching the Kardashians as usual, I felt like something had changed. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t really had that much to drink the night before. Maybe it was watching the leaves blow across the parking lot of the food bazaar. The air tasted different. Did I feel capable? Hopeful? Maybe I could act like a teenager and still get things done. Maybe I could be free but not lonely. Nope, as I walked down Irving avenue towards my apartment, I realized it was just autumn. I was still poor, I was still confused. I’d taken two steps forward and a five picklebacks. But hey, I was still alive. And idk, maybe I was ready to write again.

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Ew York (have I used this before?)

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.”

(cool pic of me being completely insane)

(i distinctly remember taking this picture so that i would always remember this hat as i had for whatever reason decided to leave it behind)

(this is a “picture” i took of the cricket/buddha)

(me being sad about the hat and the cricket for some reason. i also have eyelash glue all over my face.)

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.

THE UGH OLYMPICS

You know, sometimes I think I don’t want to blog, ’cause I’m all like “man, this is so hard and difficult and complicated.” There’s some jpegs and basic html involved. I have to type with my outgrown manicure which has barely gotten easier over time. I have to hit “save draft” regularly so I don’t lose my “work.” It’s basically exercise.

I think I’m just feeling stressed because something is wrong with my kidney again (last time this happened I went to the hospital and vomited all over an old woman in the waiting room, lol), and because I’m coming down with some kind of weird summer cold, AND because…this past weekend was rly hella stu.

It actually started two weekends ago with a really fun but really destructive set of events involving Brenmar at 285 Kent where I stayed up until 6 throwing shade at Williamsburg only to wake up there bleary eyed and pants-less the next day; Machinedrum at some random warehouse that I walked to alone in like .3 of an item of clothing,  something I’m starting to get really used to; and a day at the beach with 7 boys, 2 blunts and 1 warm bottle of Bacardi. I spent all day Monday in bed detoxing, and by Tuesday night we were back out again for Le1f’s show at Westgay. Patrick flirted with some dudes wearing blazers (???) to get free drinks and pass them off to me, so that I could prance around drunkenly and see if any of my new NY friends remembered my name.

(officially only wearing bras as tops from now on. also it’s really hard to take a picture of your own outfit. fuck it)

The next night we chugged Four Lokos and did finger dips with the rats in Washington Square Park before ghe20 g0th1k. I started a tab at the bar and spent 40 dollars of my rent money on double gin and tonics when I was already wasted! I flirted with every girl I saw and was met with pure, unadulterated shade from every one! I met Solange Knowles who, non-plussed and dipped in salt, was there for reasons neither she nor I understood. I WAS LIVING THE FAB LIFE. NO ONE COULD STOP ME.

(how do you guys feel about all the gpoys? are you sick of me yet? hope so.)

And then the weekend happened. We kicked it off with Aaron’s birthday celebration where, Peach Four Loko in hand, I was prepared to have the time of my life. By the time the can was empty I had successfully become inappropriate and obnoxious, just in time for 12 cops to ransack the place, arrest two of my friends and give everyone trespassing tickets for being on the roof next door.

(here i am in a state of shock after my friends got arrested and i had to wander home wasted rapping Fabolous to myself)

(here i am posing with my trespassing ticket and Da Diva Miss Gonny. the tissue is because i have tuberculosis. you may recognize my BRITNEY: TOXIC shirt from last year’s mugshot.)

After spending the next morning in a typhoon of my own alcoholism-induced drama all I wanted to do was…get drunk again. I woke myself up at 11:30 to go to the Bushwick Block Party down the street from my house and waited in line alone in the rain to get free pizza. I was super bummed out in the wake of the previous night and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to eat my feelings. When that was done and I took another nap, I pulled my unshowered ass into my Slutty Miami Bridesmaid strapless dress and pulled my trampy, greasy hair back with as little effort as possible. After all, I was going to Hotel Chantelle, a place I have already come to abhor with a passion in just my two months here. But invited by my new friend James (who has to be one of the only attractive regulars at HC) with the promise of vodka and whiskey, I figured I might as well pop in to pregame. To call it the mistake of the century would be a gross understatement.

(i’m just trying to be quietly fabulous and listen to 80s music without killing anyone. why you gotta go and fuck that up?)

Moe and I were casually waiting for the bathroom when some guy I’ve never seen comes OUT of the restroom, accuses us of cutting the line and refuses to let me pee.  In a grand gesture of misogynistic vigilantism, he bars the door and starts calling me a bitch and a cunt on repeat for about five minutes. Naturally, my response was to say “? DA FUCK?” and promptly poured my drink on him. Before I knew what happened, the dude had taken his glass and slammed it into the side of my face, leaving what is now a small gash and a swollen jaw. I got punched by a dude that looked like Alexis Mateo from Ru Paul out of drag wearing an Affliction T-Shirt and a FUCKING VEST. Are you kidding me? I was so in shock that rather than beating the mother fucking shit out of his ass, I just stood there holding my face laughing and crying. Clearly at that point my friends had no choice but to take me to the nearest Popeye’s for some soul food. I served one last hair flip and ate my feelings for the second time in a day. I’m not sure if the cut on my chin or the cole slaw hurt worse the next morning.

(luckily i wasn’t too butthurt to instagram my wounds. I would have fought back, really, but my new year’s resolution was to stop head-butting people in the face.)

On Sunday, Reid, who didn’t have the best weekend himself, had the brilliant idea to go get tattoos and bar food as therapy. Since, as you know, I hate to struggle with meaning, I also hate tattoos that have stupid emotional stories behind them. So I got the thing that felt most relevant to my life, ate a plate of potato skins and called it a week.

And that, my good friends, is all I can really say.