Just One of Those Nights
K is actually an attractive gay man who now works for my mother. He used to work for the local bank where he apparently made so much money that he can't wish or spend or give it away. He has a huge restored Victorian house, so large you can't believe only one man lives there. He is always harassing me to come visit him. So when I told him I was actually here, in Upstate, he decided he had to organize a serious evening of debachery in order to make sure I return.

He sends a car to come pick me up at 6 so "We can enjoy a few cocktails and not have to worry about driving." The driver pulls up to the house and looks as if he is no younger than 170 years old. This guy has forgotten his age and has to be carbon dated in order to be reminded of it. So now we don't have to worry about DUI, but we do have to worry about what happens should our driver, you know, drop dead at the wheel while we are taking a hairpin turn on a backroad.

We pick up K and head to Coxsakie, a small town on the Hudson river. On the way, K asks me "What is really going on" in my life, as he knows that when my mother is around he gets the G rated version, which is honestly still pretty racey, but he wants the triple XXX completely uncut and uncensored Bunniliciousness. Neither of us have any liquor in our system, and honestly I am unguard. This is my mother's territory, not mine. I look just like her, and I don't want word to get round that the head of the hospital's daughter is a complete idiot. When you're in NYC you can fuck up and be sure of relative anonymity, or at least that someone will fuck up in a more dramatic way in about fifteen minutes. In a small town, the eyes of G-d are upon you at every moment of the day.

K tells me we are going to meet up with a friend of his who just won an award for best business person of the year. "She's wild" he tells me "you'll love her." I am reserving judgement. So we meet his friend, Woman of the Year, a tall blonde with green eyes who just divorced her husband. Woman of the Year has two friends, a lemondrop blonde wearing hot pink and a mousey brunette. They kind of reminded me of the two hookers from Fargo. Turns out they are vetrinarians.

Woman of the Year and I chat and she is surprised how many people I know up here. How much gossip I have. Which has always been a gift. People tell me their secrets. I'm not really sure why. Perhaps they think I am safe or I somehow broadcast acceptance of all sins. But they tell me, and as I result I have more dirt than most would suppose. The reason I know dirt up here is because of my relationship with Duke Nukem.

I haven't written much about Duke, and so I will take a moment here to explain what happened. Duke and I met in March the year I took off between undergrad and grad school. He lived in Catskill ( still does) and so when the Fall semester started I would travel four hours round trip every weekend to see him. For two years I did this. Not only did I give up every weekend in the city and lord knows how many parties and events, but I did it for a man who never ever told me I was beautiful and never told me he loved me. In fact, three months into our relationship he told me that he didn't know what the word love meant. Now most girls would have run screaming right there, but not me. I thought "I'll show him what love is." And after two years, I gave up. I thought if all the sacrifices I had made didn't even make a dent in him, well, nothing I could do would. So I left him. And for the last six years he has been making half assed attempts to get me back. Since he never loved me, I'm not sure why. I have a lot of regrets in this life, most of them connected to romantic entanglements. I have never regretted leaving Duke. The only thing I regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

But there is a part of me that would rather not see him. And in six years, I haven't. I've run into his mother and some of his more distant friends on the few occassions that I have been in town. And I'm sure news of my appearances has gotten back to him, and this yet another reason why I have to be careful. The last thing I want to do is run into Duke while I am completely drunken. While he fumbles for conversation I might say something completely horrifying to him like "Leaving you was the best thing I ever did."

Turns out that although most people have news of Duke's mother, Duke's existence is completely unknown. In fact, Woman of the Year didn't even know that there WAS a son. She and I chat about the men in the area. She has her eye on a recently divorced man who is "hot." I ask her if she has any news about a particular doctor I flirted with at a party three years ago. She tells me about her husband who "is completely obsessed" with her. "I can't stand needy men. I've spent 17 years with somebody completely dependent on me. My husband and my daughter used to fight about who got to sit next to me on the couch. I just want someone independent you know?" I offer her my standard agreement. "The first one is free. Then I have to charge, but you know since you are a friend of K, I'll cut you a deal. And I promise they will never find the body." She laughs and invites me to join her the following evening to see a male stripper.
Bunni: You know I dated a playgirl bunny once. Mr. October.
WotY:Did you actually have the issue?
Bunni:No, no my friend told me. We only went out for like two weeks and one day in the car she says 'Oh by the way did he ever tell you he was a playgirl centerfold?' His ex girlfriend sent his picture in and they liked it and so there he was.
WotY:And how was he?
Bunni: Honestly, we never were able to uh complete the deal. Mr. October was a serious pothead and alcoholic by the time I met him. He had been married and had a child, who died. He never recovered. Well, the long and short of it is he was completely impotent. Luckily for me, he had other talents.
WotY:You dated an impotent centerfold?
Bunni:I was young. It was only for a few weeks.
WotY (to K): I love this chick. She has to come up more often.

After dinner, the drinking commences. K insists we have cocktails, not beer or cider, so we begin with cosmopolitans. K's plan is to go bar hopping. The next place on the list is in Catskill a bar called Creekside. We walk around this small town, with the river by us, and you can really smell that air and I wonder about living in NYC. I could have a house up here, a nice one, for the price I pay for an apartment in New York. Sure I would need car, but that wouldn't be difficult. And now it seems I even have friends.

Creekside is a dive by the river's edge. When I walk in I get the standard re-action from the men, that look that says I hate you and I want to rip your clothes off with my teeth all at the same time. The one thing they won't do is talk to me. The place is crowded, but we all agree it isn't the right vibe. We run into Rita on our way out, a good friend of Duke's and Duke's mother. News of my presence will reach them both quickly now that Rita has seen me. Luckily I look good, and I am in good company so no worries.

We head down to Mariner's point where there are cute young bartenders and nice large glasses for the cosmopolitans. K is still insisting on cocktails "We can't switch to beer now. We'll get headaches." WotY is telling me about a recent trip to Vegas where she played strip golf. "You want to come with me to Vegas on Thanksgiving? We'll have a car and a house and a pool. Everything we want." I tell her I'm down for it. I even promise to cook. Better than spending another Thanksgiving watching Orca and her brother devour the ten pounds of mashed potatoes I make for them while they regale us with their latest tale of roadkill hijinx. K insists I tell her about my Paris trip and so I oblige. Most people flinch when I tell them about going to the apartment, but WotY is with me. "I would have done the same thing." I have found my people, I think.

At Mariner's some of the men are looking over the heads of their girlfriends, which makes me disgusted. There was a period in grad school when only involved/married men would hit on me. I'm not sure why, but it is probably part of the reason why I don't trust men any farther than I can throw them (and with my bad back I shouldn't be throwing anyone-thank you Ferris Bueller for all the memories). These guys would tell whatever story to their girlfriends and then chase after me. True, I am an international renouned piece of ass, still, it makes one lose faith in the idea of commitment. It's not the compliment that some men insist that it is. Epsecially when their girlfriends are standing right next to them.

We decided to head back across the river. K suggests that he and I should fly to London for four days so that I can meet my favorite monkey in the world, Blogmonkey. He could keep himself entertained while I finally get to see blogmonkey in person. I have no idea how far blogmonkey lives from London. I promise to find out.

We end up at a gay bar listening to a Patsy Cline impersonator and her band. I strike up a conversation with a law student, while WotY chats up the bartender's father and K chats with various men he knows. These are the people I should be hanging out with I think, not back in NYC where the Amazon reduces me to tears and where I have become paralyzed by routine. Why are these people not living in the city? Why are they way the hell out here in the country? The young law student asks for my number. As we go to car, they are both jealous of me. "He was totally in love with you" says WotY. "You're such a dick magnet" says K. And I realize in that moment how lonely they both are, which is why they are so hungry for my company. Here is a woman who at 35 just got an award for her business savvy. She has a daughter and alovely place to live. K has more money than G-d, a gorgeous house, and he is great looking. They both have important social connections. I am, on the other hand, in the lowliest department at NYU. My apartment looks like the soundstage for Twister. I have no important social connections unless you count the Amazon's boyfriend who works for the government. And they are jealous of me. I find this hysterical. But then after about five cosmopolitans almost everything seems funny except the idea of another drink.

My mother has remembered to leave the door unlocked and I promise to call WotY about the male strippers. "You can crash with me. You'll have your own bed and everything." Suddenly it's like being back in high school. The driver pulls away and I lurch upstairs. In the morning I check my messages. WotY called me at 3:30 in the morning to let me know she was finally heading home and to be sure to call her. From behind her I hear K yelling "And remember absolutely no teabagging tomorrow." I make a mental note to charge my mother's digital camera.

Over my morning tea, I begin to ponder what I should wear to see a male stripper. And what exactly he is going to do to my twenties.

Blogathon 2005 Posted by Hello
Courtesy of my favoritest monkey in whole world, Blogmonkey, for whom I have developed not only a song but a dance, I have discovered that Blogathon 2005 is beginning to get organized. I've wanted to participate for the last three years and somehow always managed to miss it. But not this year. I even have my theme and material all planned out. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.
So who is with me?
I can't hear you.

But Not For Me Posted by Hello
I was doing research today, and I found this lovely scultpure of Dido committing suicide over Aeneus (who is so not worth it, I mean sure he was the son of Aphrodite and like really good looking with long flowing blonde hair, which kind of sounds gay to me, but regardless of that let's be honest he was no Odysseus. He didn't have a will of his own. Without the frickin' gods helping him every fifteen minutes with visions and possessions and driving his chariot and invading his dreams he would have been nothing more than one more roasted Trojan many times over. Now Odysseus there was a man of vision, of brilliance, of commitment dare I say it. Twenty years to get home and never gave up and never used divine aide. And he didn't a hair stylist to travel with him. Now THAT'S a man.) And then not but five minutes afterwards I check my search engine results on this blog and find some poor sick soul came to this site for "bunni suicide." Now not only am I against any bunny committing suicide, but I want to say that now and forever that this is absolutely the wrong place to look for suicidal bunnies, (although if you really desperate look here) you sick sick bastard.

If you want homicidal bunnies, that's a whole different story.

And yes, we do children's parties.

So Not Good At Being on Vacation
I know, I know, I announce a hiatus and blog more than usual. Isn't it always when you think you have absolutely nothing to say you discover that the impulse to blog overwhelms? Perhaps I am simply contrarian that way.
On the train to Upstate I bought the recent Harper's which features a poem by Eula Biss called the Pain Scale. It's a rather long poem, and generally poetry taint my thang, especially after completing "Oy that's alot of Romans" but of course all things medical fascinate me. And her poem, which is frankly amazing, is worth reading. Just to give you a sample:
Where does pain worth mentioning begin? With poison ivy? With a hang nail? With a stubbed toe? A sore throat? A needle prick? A razor cut?
The sensations of my own body may be the only subject on which I qualified to claim expertise. Sad and terrible, then, how little I know. "How do you feel?" the doctor asks, and I cannot answer. Not accurately. "Does this hurt?" he asks. Again, I'm not sure. "Do you have more or less pain from the time I last saw you?" Hard to say. I begin to lie to protect my reputation. I act certain.
Now I don't often go for poetry and the idea of really liking a 24 page poem, well, it's a bit of stretch, but trust me this is a fabulous poem.
In other news, aside from enjoying poetry and the latest David Sedaris story (a plane story I might add, that rat bastard, but I digress), based on the work I have been able to get done up here in one day and how much more work I would be able to do if I was locked up with say nothing but my work and a computer and a grammar guide that aside from examining grad schools I should also be examining writers colonies and grants like the one that Bakerina managed to get for herself last year. Of course mine would be the non-fiction memoir, or travel type bent. I have been searching the net for such things, but the results are overwhelming so I thought I would turn to all y'all (the plural of y'all for those not familiar with the South) for a bit of help. If you happen to know of any such places, please forward me the link. Please?

The Snack Stand at the End of the World Posted by Hello
Because I am a twit and don't bother to figure out the hell that is blogger bot I have to make a seperate post for each photograph. This here photograph was taken outside of the walls of Pompeii. Aside from the actual city this little fruit stand and a sad hotel are all the development Pompeii has seen in 2000 years. When Pompeii was destroyed by Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD, the city walls were being knocked down in order to expand the city and make more dwellings. This development occurred despite the earthquake of 63 AD. At the ruins one can see columns which were going to be used to build, but were never used due to the eruption of Vesuvius.

The Lemons at Pompeii Posted by Hello
I took a number of pictures for my dear friend Bakerina, this being one of them. I was about to get into the car to go back to Rome, I quickly snapped this picture. Almost all of the locals thought I was nuts. I come to a dead city and take picture of lemons. I was trying to capture the size of these lemons; they were actually the size of grapefruit. It also explains why you can actually get the best lemon granitas or fresh glasses of orange juice you will ever taste at Pompeii. It's a little on the expensive side, but look at those lemons.

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.

Le grand cauchemar est de retour

Dear readers, I know you all want to hear about my days in Italy, but I will be taking a brief hiatus. I have been a bit slacker-ly in my pursuit of grad school, and I need to take time now before the semester starts to sign up for the GRE, do test prep, and figure out how to teach my kids "Oy that's a lot of Romans" in a way that doesn't induce a coma.

But before I go, and I will only be gone for a week or two, I want to leave you with a very typical Bunni story.

I have often thought that I live my life in order to have interesting stories. Of course, what makes a good story is not often what makes a good experience. So I hope you enjoy this latest episode.
"Do you know what the most terrifying thing is? It's Fear." Peeping Tom

I woke up face down on my couch. I was fully dressed although I had taken off my heels and my rings. I had put my cellphone,which died earlier in the night, on the charger. I apparently had emptied the contents of my pocketbook on the couch before I passed out, no doubt I was looking for my brain, which I had left behind several hours ago. Then I fell asleep clutching my killer bunny, Marv, who now accompanies my everywhere.

I only vaguely remembered the night before. Even before I got drunk, things were hazy. I had decided to perform at the open mic at Collective Unconscious, but that afternoon I was terrified. I am person who likes to revise and rehearse and perfect before I go onstage. I like to be sure of every line, pause, expression. So to go on as I was preparing to go on, with very little preparation, without even f a cohesive narrative was absolutely terrifying. In addition, this was the first time I would performing my own material in front of a real audience. All of my other performances had been padded with friends and family. The only friend I told, the Anonymous Poetess, couldn't attend because of her job.

I spent my afternoon soaking in a tub full of Lush products and drinking a bottle of wine. I remembered all the arguments my teachers had taught me to minimize performance anxiety. "There will only be a few people in the audience. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be ok. The important thing is that you do it." Right the important thing is not to let the fear win.

So I take a cab to the theater because I'm not sure how to get there and I don't want to be wandering the streets in the heat, it will only add to the anxiety. The anonymous poetess advised me to "go on like Bukowski" ie have a few drinks so that I would be calm for the performance. Really anything short of heroin injected directly into my carotid artery was not going to calm me. I signed in early. I was hoping to be picked last, that way most people would already be gone.

I was picked second and signed up to go last before the break. Far from the sparse audiences of previous evenings, a class from Columbia Prep was there. This is, of course, my worst nightmare performing a story about my life and my father, something incredibly personal, in front of the students who would someday fall asleep in my class. They already torture me at my job. Now they were here to judge my real work. To judge my real life. A whole freakin' herd of them.

Oh and the videocameras. More than one. And I could hear that voice in the back of head "You don't have to be perfect. Just get up and do it." Getting softer and softer. A few of people went up, stand ups, but the crowd was mainly silent. The performers were crashing. In the theater, you learn how much power an audience has, and you learn that a group of people who have never meet before can have a very strong dynamic. Having performed in plays you have nights where the audience laughs at everything, you have nights where they laugh in strange places, and you have nights where you joke about selling death certificates at the concession stand during intermission.

This was a death certificate night.

And so my name was called and with my decadent bath products and wine buzz I went up and told a story about my father, nazis, Spamalot, and the afterlife. (If you like, I may be cajoled into typing out the story for you, or perhaps even recording it.) They laughed, not a huge amount. But I was prepared for nothing. Of course the things that got the biggest laugh were my father's lines. Or lines that I often attribute to my father. It's been so long who knows what he really said.

And the truth is I don't even remember fully what I said. (This is very common for me with performance anxiety. I often blank out my performance. I used to come off stage in high school and have no idea what I had just done. Which is why I insist on knowing material so well. The only time I did actually blank on my lines was when my father sat in the first row one night. After that he always sat in the back of the theater.)

The thrill of the performance, the heat, the wine hit me and I simply sat enjoying the rest of the evening. I remember stumbling out to catch a cab. All I wanted was to go home and go to sleep. I don't remember the cab ride home. And as I said, I wake up in the heat, wondering what I have done, what have I done?

Because someone always said earlier and better than I did

"The only obsession that everyone wants: 'love.' People think that falling in love they make themselves whole?...I think otherwise. I think you're whole before you begin. And love fractures you. You're whole and then you're cracked open...You either get rid of it or incorporate it through self distortion. And that's what you did and what drove you mad."
-The Dying Animal by Philip Roth

Like it's not bad enough that David Sedaris just published a travel story in the New Yorker, that bastard, just to make me feel awful and insignificant my travel writing is. Now I have to read this. Alright I'll concede to you guys on some of this material as long as you leave me my bizarre growing up disabled with a clinically insane father memoirs. Deal?


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