I woke up the other day drenched in disapproval of my apartment. I still don’t know the secrets of decorating. I’ve broken two glasses and a lamp in the past week, so I ordered an unbreakable paper lantern. But the lantern, when it arrived, was comically oversized and shaped like a potato bug. It seemed representative of my shortcomings.
How does a person learn to decorate? Is it by passive absorption or do people sit down at some point with a stack of magazines and teach themselves the rules of successful furnishing and arranging? Of scale? Of compromises made between form and function?
I’m able to dress myself okay. I understand color and proportion when it comes to my body—an irregular-shaped thing—but not when it comes to a tiny rectangular room. Why?
This worried chain of thought strikes down every couple of months, and at the end of it are two possible and opposing convictions. Sometimes I wind up convinced that habitat is important and I should figure out how to make a decent living space, dammit. Other times I wind up concluding that I’m 25 and what 25-year-old has a satisfactory/clean apartment, anyways? The problem is either insurmountable or it doesn’t need to be surmounted at all.
This may change when I turn 26.
1:33 pm • 13 October 2012 • 19 notes
I set my alarm for 5 AM and woke, as one does in these situations, two hours early in a state of frantic anticipation. My draft was due. I didn’t try going back to sleep because I knew it wouldn’t work.
Since I now had a “credit” of two hours, I spent one of those hours cleaning the house. It’s funny how dirt varies regionally in a small apartment: floor dirt is gray, kitchen dirt is orange, window dirt is black, etc. After cleaning I put on elaborate eye makeup and an indifferent outfit, then walked to the office. Here I sat alone and worked for five hours until my coworkers started trickling in. As the office whirred to life, I mentally switched into ‘office’ mode, which means that I unplug certain parts of my brain and hot-wire others.
By 10 AM I was referring constantly to a set of instructions typed on my computer: DRINK LOTS OF WATER, TAKE WALKS. I keep the instructions in my To Do list as a hedge against future bad moods, and they seldom work because I rarely obey them.
11:54 am • 27 September 2012 • 23 notes
Never a rule without exceptions
At 4:15 PM, Jarrett wheels over.
"Today doesn’t feel like a Monday," he says.
"It feels like a Tuesday."
"Which is weird," he says, "because Tuesday doesn’t have a feeling.”
Jarrett wheels back to his desk and recommences typing.
A few seconds pass.
"I feel bad for Tuesday," he says, softly.
"It should try to get a feeling."
4:42 pm • 24 September 2012 • 15 notes
Wallflower at the orgy
A little while ago I took a train to Long Island City and sat in a corner for several hours while a porn shoot took place. This was for a New York piece that I was reporting. The shoot, which took place on a winter afternoon, was scheduled to culminate in a five-man gangbang. Since sex without a trace of intimacy tends toward either the goofy or the dismal, I’d prepared myself for a goofy afternoon.
Mostly I’d prepared myself with practical questions, because there is so much to wonder about with porn models.
For example, how would they get to the shoot—by subway? Cab? It was freezing outside. Would they have eaten breakfast? What were their pre-sex rituals—bath, shower, moisturize—what?
Are porn actors instructed in these things when they start out, or do they figure it out all on their own?
Is there a handbook?
Are they nervous?
Do they take Viagra, or a vitamin supplement, or a homeopathic erection-maker? What do they feel like the next day—sore? Is it like a hangover, where you take two Advil before bed and hope for the best?
A few days after the shoot, I called one of the models, Kennedy Carter, to ask him these questions. When he picked up the phone, Carter was on the front steps of the library on 5th Ave, where he’d been studying. Not only did he *not* tell me to fuck off, but he answered every question I asked. What a mensch.
First, he explained, he took a car service to the shoot. If slated to be a bottom, he skips breakfast and takes an Immodium. If he’s a top, it doesn’t matter what he eats. In either case he goes to the gym in the morning and drinks no water (which helps him look more defined). He showers the morning of the shoot but prefers to shave his balls two or three days prior; otherwise, the skin reddens. There’s no handbook for porn stars. He is not sore the next day.
Aren’t you glad to know?
There wasn’t a place (or a reason) to put this stuff in the story, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more pleased with a recon mission.
12:51 am • 12 September 2012 • 73 notes
A year ago, for no good reason, a friend and I spent several weeks reading out loud to each other from a lurid book called The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde. It had a yellow cover and a prose style that was like—I don’t even know. Like yarn drenched in corn syrup. It was a terrible, terrible book.
For my part, I read it because I wanted to figure out why the country had become obsessed with these two figures. Was it their beauty? No! The real Bonnie and Clyde were runts with pinched faces. Was it their criminal élan? No! The real Bonnie and Clyde were cruel in the way that children are cruel, which is to say boringly and uncomplicatedly so. Their entire career of mayhem seemed to consist of pointing at people and laughing, except that the pointing was aiming and the laughing was shooting.
Anyhow, my friend and I got through 60% of the book before we abandoned it. We’d gotten the point. Here was the point: Clyde liked calling Bonnie sugar, and Bonnie enjoyed eating canned beans, and together they randomly killed a lot of people.
The book was not exactly rich in analysis.
There were two themes, however, that cropped up often enough to warrant mention.
The first was that Bonnie and Clyde obtained, from the start of their spree, an insane degree of notoriety, which they clearly enjoyed. The second was what I already mentioned, which is that they were mad dumb. I can’t overstate this second theme. If The Sound and the Fury hadn’t been published a few years earlier, you could make a very convincing case that Benjy Compson, the “idiot” of Faulkner’s novel, was in fact a composite of Bonnie and Clyde: his compromised sense of chronology; his limited but debilitatingly extreme urges; his unintelligibility—it’s all there.
Bonnie and Clyde, at any rate, were people whose lives were defined by 1) a hunger for fame and 2) stupidity. Add greed to the equation and you wind up with a pair of villains that is despicable, relatable, and unsquashably American. They were basically the Kardashians of their time, but with a different type of casualty.
So, mystery solved.
12:56 pm • 5 September 2012 • 26 notes