The Know Better Blues

So with all this heat, I've been beginning to lose my sense of humor. I was having moment of feeling like an epic failure as I contemplated the GRE and other assorted tribulations to my Bunni existence. I admit it. I started to take things, namely myself, seriously. This is never a good thing.

Thankfully I have discovered a cure:wings, beer, and good company. The anonymous poetess, who often acts like a surrogate mother, called me and said "Have you eaten today?" She knows I am prone to not eating particularly in the heat. I admitted I hadn't and so she insisted on wings and beer. I started the evening blaming myself for everything, including her recent heartbreak, and she, as all good friends do (like my dear bakerina) reminded me gently that I am not an epic failure that I have done many good things in my life, and I need to remember the words of my father and find the joke. And so as the evening went on, I was able to find that things weren't as bad as they seemed and that indeed I was doing pretty well in the grand scheme of things and most importantly I have friends who care enough to worry about if I have eaten today and are involved enough to drag me out and make me laugh. And this is what good friends do. Pay attention. This will be important later.

"Act like you got some sense"-Jamie Foxx in his Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Actor in Ray

Now the AC in my apartment is not working, and I have one of those like prehistoric built into the wall ACs. Every few years I have to call and have these guys come and take apart the entire thing and fix it. It seems it is that time again. So as a result, I have been hanging out in places with AC until I am exhausted and then going home.

If I had working AC, I would have gone home last night and rested as I was exhausted. But I wasn't exhausted enough to sleep in the heat so I headed down to my local to enjoy their industrial AC.

Mu, Abby, and the Amazon all welcomed me. The Amazon had been drinking since 8. Mu and Abby put on some music and pull me off of my chair and insisted I shake my ass to Dancing Queen, and I shudder to say it, some Jessica Simpson songs. Things seem to be great. We're all laughing and dancing and joking with each other.

Brian the optometrist tries to woo me again with the latest story of his sexual hijinx. This time he picked up a coke head who allowed him to live out his "porn fantasy" by cumming all over her breasts. I can't tell you how much I didn't need to know that in this life. And how he thinks this story will seduce me is even more baffling, but this is a guy who comes to an Irish bar to drink chardonnay so logic isn't really his strong suit. Of course, my grandmother would say, "But, but, but he's a Jewish doctor!"


Abby, Brian, and Mu decide to go home. Suddenly the bar is fairly empty. It's me and the Amazon. She asks me what's been going. I try to back pedal and not talk. I have learned with the Amazon that no matter what I say, there is no right thing. I'm going to say something that is going to prompt a recommendation from the Oprah Book of the Month club or purchasing "He's Just Not that Into You" or some speech about how I'm too depressed or too much of a drama queen or too whatever is wrong with me this. So much like the computer in War Games, I've learned the only way to win is not to play. But the Amazon doesn't want to talk about herself, she wants to talk about me.

So I figure the safe way to go is to tell her about the open mic, show her I was able to overcome my fear.

Classic mistake.

"What the hell do you care about what these people think of you?"

"Listen, the reason why I write online is I DON'T LIKE TALKING ABOUT MYSELF IN PERSON. I was an actor. ACTOR. If the production was horrible, I could blame the director or the writer. When I became the writer, I stopped performing because I was utterly terrified of how people would judge me."

And then I get the half an hour long tirade about why that's so wrong, why there is no reasonf or me to be afraid, and why she is so sick of this behavior, and how I am being ripped off by my therapist because "I've known you for a year and you aren't getting any better", and how she loves me and would do anything for me, but I need to hear this because this is tough love.

Right, I'll love you and do anything for you, but accept that this is who you are. You get scared about performing a story about your dead father in front of strangers. You get scared that really you have no talent, no sense of humor. You get scared that you lived through all this turmoil: an insane father, ORs and ERs and tests and injections and experimental treatments for no reason at all. That you couldn't even get good material out of it. That only are you not David Sedaris or Philip Roth, but you aren't even up to the level of say Arthur Neresian (the unknown author of The Fuck Up) some obscure little novel published by, of all people, M TV. You worry about being rejected even by the fringe of soceity. I'll do anything for you, but accept that this is you on a good day. I'll do anything for you, but shut the hell up as you dissolve into tears, as I always do under this type of rant. I'll do anything for you, really, accept understand.

And of course, incidentally, as I am typing this a girl next to me is checking her email. Her man has sent her a long email about she is his hero of perseverence. He emailed her this morning with this tripe, and she returns his email with one line "I am feeling neglected." I am tempted to call the EMS workers and tell them not to even bother to bring a mop, all they will need is a sponge. Or maybe a handful of Brawny. "Hey what happened here? What's this puddle of goo?" "I don't know, officer, I was just having my freakin' coffee." I used to tell my students when they came to me for relationship advice, which happens less and less frequently and that worries me, that the best way to ensare a person, and this goes for all ages, genders, and species, is treat them like dirt. Don't return their calls. Cheat on them. No matter what they do, demand more or reject what they offer. Throw tantrums in public. Expect expensive gifts. Be unreasonable in your expectations. "I'm feeling neglected." Yes apparently you have been neglected by my wrath. I will rectify that immediately you red headed twit. Don't you worry about it. Hopefully your man Victor will still think of you as hero of perseverence when I present you to him in a bucket.

I digress.

The Amazon has decided that she has to go home, she's had too much to drink, and remain for the last of the last. There are two regulars who come in who are hookers. They looks twelve even though they are both my age. They are always very sweet. They are scoping what's left of the crowd for potential customers. Marty, an overweight man who coachs a softball team and is wearing a ripped t-shirt, siddles up to me and says "Listen, you can't let the Amazon get to you like that. I know, I know, we ALL feel that way about her sometimes. She's overwhelming, but you just have to tell her to shut the hell up. Besides, you know we can do whatever we want."

Yes, we all can do whatever we want. I decide that I am tired enough to sleep in the heat and that's what I want. As I walk home, I think about how happy I am to be going to upstate, to be staying half a mile away from Ichabod Crane high school, a high school whose mascot is, so appropriately, the headless horseman, because I need to mindless for a while in the grass. To sit in the heart of darkness and drink margaritas. Because, after all, we can do whatever we want.

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