“What did you say?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’ve got the hero’n scratch, you know. I see it.”
“What the fuck.”
“It’s OK…I know.”
“Know what? You know nothing.”
“If you didn’t do it you would be more offended.”
“Maybe I think it’s funny. But you’re wrong.”
“So you know because you’ve done it.”
“No. Look–you even act like a heroin addict.”
“I’m flattered. Are you drunk?”
“Obviously. Why else would I say that?”
“Well it was a smart pickup line. Why don’t you take your messiah complex and head on home.”
“That’s funny…a messiah complex…You may have me there. It’s just because I’m right.”
“Well you’re not. You look familiar, by the way.”
“Come on, I mean, the bugs? They don’t get to you?”
“Ha, the bugs. They’re only in my dreams.”
“You told Rick you think you go somewhere else when you dream, right?”
“How do you know I said that.”
“I’m right, right?”
“I was sitting on a serpent and there was a huge larvae and these skittery spiders.”
“Well it’s dreams…you’re about one for two.”
“You barely remember them anyway; who’s to say you didn’t do the drug while you were over there.”
“It is another place.”
“You said I looked familiar.”
“I heard everyone in your dreams is a person you’ve seen in life.”
“Or visa versa.”
“Fucking A. You know it’s probably true about humans evolving in non-physical ways at this point.”
“You’re at the stage where you can’t imagine having anything in common with–”
“What is full circle when suddenly one could go back to arguing the world is flat and all imaging is illusion. Or even that maybe we’ll find a new planet to trade up to. Like I never questioned the fact that my neighbors are noisy and that I can hear them, because my wall is thin since our apartments used to be connected. And then someone said ‘well that’s annoying,’ and I thought…’well, maybe it actually is annoying. And maybe I deserve a quiet place with privacy. And suddenly my mind is on thick walled, air conditioned paradise…yet maybe I like knowing someone I’ve never met has to hear me have sex every once in a while sort of like if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it or this innate desire to impact…and what I’m getting at is imagine we found out there was another planet with some bounty on it and all the fun and everything you need…and we all wanted to leave Earth…but maybe I would miss some of the grime and filth and dissonance. I would, you know? I really do enjoy being surrounded by some degree of a society where..everything is sort of like…they wear their genitals on their sleeves, you know?”
“It’s all a bit more vulnerable.”
“Right…like I saw a man in a shirt and slacks after work and he looked so tense and caught up in his life of–and I assume here, because I have no idea–making money, possibly saving up for a nice apartment, etc., but it made me laugh because it seems so unnatural and role-play-ish to act like something more than a wrinkly, purple baby covered in shit and bodily fluids…it seems so presumptuous that the ability to speak gives us anything like a right to have convictions and suppose that we know something about this place we live in…and I learned to pretend I also know what is happening as a survival mechanism. Or a mechanism to thrive. The facade of confidence is calming I guess. Like you have the cow people and the steel people, and if you choose to put on the confidence facade, you get steel, and all the cows feel calm and you tell them where to go and how to feel before the slaughter. Which is death. Which is what life is, helping each other to the end, right?
“And you presume this with your words.”
“Touché…I guess it’s a postulation. Like I don’t fucking know. I laugh sometimes thinking how the dumb cunts trying in earnest to do everything the society way might actually be right about not thinking about it. Like maybe they’re the true existentialists. Maybe everyone else already left the existential crisis behind and chose life while I stayed behind to waste my time thinking about it.”
“Maybe we’re all cows, and then when you sleep, and you go there, you could think about it a little more.”
“This other place we go. Why is it dark lately.”
“You mean the time when she had your whole outfit on and no one knew you had it first and she was taking your identity.”
“More or less.”
“It’s just not that simple.”
“We can’t lie there, can we?”
“You can, but it’s just a place where there are no dress shirts and everyone has their genitals on their sleeves, as you so eloquently put it, before.”
“Of course; I always understand you.”
“Why the drug accusation then.”
“You said it was a good line.”
“Are you going to eat the rest of that Cookie Monster cupcake?”
“I thought you knew me.”
“I can still have manners.”
“You like the bottom?”
“My favorite part.”
“Why don’t I know that,”
“We forget things.”
“Am I wrong? Are they watching us all the time?”
“Nevermind…Or also, is every person a true person or just a simulation to entertain me.”
“Are you a simulation to entertain me?”
“I don’t know. I can think and feel…Whatever that means.”
“It’s so cold.”
“You look like Matt Damon; has anyone ever told you?”
“You look like David Bowie.”
“Strange…I did always think I was the only one who didn’t know me, but I thought at least that’s what mirrors were for.”
“Did you just–”
“Hear myself…haha yes.”
“Shut up. Ugh I feel the diabetes coming. Take the rest.”
“Your mouth is blue.”
While I walked, I thought, maybe the pleasure in museums is
a little thing that lives inside my hangover, feasting on my
vulnerability, and this moves me, because
otherwise it all becomes very The Emperor’s New Clothes,
and I’m too eager to love the paint, and that
erodes breathing and walking into chores…and I wouldn’t even say
hunger would help at all, but just this mix
of exhaustion and frayed brain and blasé relationship
to the body is perfect, and I just ghost around. At the
portraits exhibit, I even thought maybe I
was Egon Schiele, because he died not
much older than me, and I think maybe we feel similarly about
ribs and hating ourselves enough to love ourselves at people…but
I knew I was not him–rather a friend that should’ve been, us
and our masturbatory humor and aesthetic both, paired with id
frequencies and the way that for us everything is blasphemed in
our wake…just enough to tilt the people so we can grin about it but
maybe sometimes wish we left a few things sacred. And maybe
that’s why I bought linen towels after my time with Egon…to restore
order with blankness and creased white. He and I smear everything,
I think, and sometimes I get tired from rubbing down the world
with gouache, even though it needs the color. The dirtiness is
where we divide from it all, I guess, like, and I laugh, imagining what
if they ran a blue light over our lives, all that gouache everywhere…what
the fuck, they would say, I think. This necessary fragility is in the cycle
of gouache, much in the way Egon might smirk with me over
some kind of amethyst necklace, you know, they say amethyst is
Greek for “not drunk.” And maybe Egon would’ve been the one
to ask whether muses are good or really just an obstruction of the
self and free will and all that shit. Maybe that’s what he meant, like I
am Egon not Wally and certainly not Edith. Or who is this Egon
character I keep painting…it appears he is me, as the mirror suggests. We’re
always naked, but only in indirect proportion to the emperor, and
in this way, life has some truth to it…
I stopped feeling lonely when I remembered to check in with Hemingway. It’d been a long time, and the bastard hadn’t texted or called. But he’s just the type of friend that reminds you you’ve got people despite the ostensible. I had just finished up with some business on the Upper East. Stranger things all the time with these narcissistic art people. One day it’s Warhol and his movie of couples macking it, and the next it’s a guy planning to recreate the film starring himself. Well, to be honest, I didn’t mind co-starring, considering the money. I had found the dude online, looking for a girl to come make out for a hundred bucks. I’m no whore or anything, but money talks, and I’ll be damned if a college education wasn’t enough to teach me that a hundred bucks for twenty minutes of my time is a higher rate than the ten fifty an hour I’m getting downtown at the restaurant. I took Economics; I know about high risk-high reward. That is why I went with a pair of scissors in my bag.
When I got to the place, I wasn’t entirely sure about the high risk part, but the address was to a brownstone, so I walked in. It was a fancy neighborhood. And yeah, I know about facades, but don’t forget about the high reward part. So I walked in, and I smelled weed, so I knew I was probably at the right place. Sure enough, this scruffy artist emerged from the door up the stairs when I knocked. If you’ve ever met a stranger like this, it goes like “hi”/ “yes, hello..”/ “come in”/ “thank you…” and then the door shuts and they offer for you to put your bag down, and you think about your scissors and locate where the person’s kidneys must be before you see the person’s Shiba Inu in the corner and decide it must be okay and surrender your bag to the offered chair back.
I looked around at his posters, wine bottles, shiny floors, and furniture. Must be nice, I thought. I mean, the dude wasn’t young. Maybe by the time I’m fifty, I won’t be needing roommates either, but that depends on how far I can get in my career before I lose my shit. A guy at the bank today was asking me if I was a chef at my job, and I was too hungover to smile when I said no. Everyone assumes you’re the head fucking chef. I should’ve asked him if he was the owner of the bank. Anyway, this artist shows me his idea for the film, shows me the windowsill where our makeoutery will occur, shows me his nice filming equipment, etc. And I’m there like let’s do this thing, because I have a date and I need time to brush your saliva and my guilt out of my gullet beforehand.
So we make out in three different takes. It’s awkward because I’m tiny and he’s tall, awkward because I haven’t kissed a man in over a year, awkward because it was at once the longest kiss I’ve had in a while and the worst. I wondered if he agreed it was terrible. Or if it was his first kiss. By the end of the last take, I did start to contemplate whether I would sustain post traumatic stress issues from it, but there was this healing moment when he handed me the hundred dollar bill. I was like, well that’s what that bill looks like. And then I got all socialist and divided the money amongst a number of bars downtown. No trauma was sustained.
So anyway, I woke up the other day feeling all crappy and alone in the world. I got out of bed and walked to the corner for a bagel, and Ishan finally stopped questioning me on my untoasted bagel preference. It felt OK to be accepted on that end, but being a regular at the bagel shop wasn’t the sense of belonging I was looking for at the moment. I bought a scratch off and lost. It was one of those stupid crossword ones. I used to win them sometimes–fifty bucks, once. But anyway, when I went back up to my apartment, I saw something my cousin posted on Facebook about France, and I thought of Hemingway. I love the guy, but I think moving to Paris after college was a douche move on his part. Look, I hate America too, but New York is easily as good as Paris, and either way you slice it, Ebola will get to every country eventually. So maybe I’m a little bitter that he left. But we have our adventures overseas from each other, and when we compare notes, it’s more of the same shenanigans.
I hadn’t checked in with him in a while, so I pulled up my last email to him to see where I left him. It read,
How’s that Paris life treating you, you fancy fuck? Come back to New York so we can sit in bars together and talk about the merits of butt sex when we’re sitting next to people who are clearly on their first date! I miss you. I’m finally settling into my new neighborhood, and I think it might be a secret lesbian Mecca. I’m not sure yet, so I’ll keep you posted, but I’m seeing a lot of butch haircuts and Birkenstocks. Oh. And there’s this lady who rides around town in a scooter for disabled people with a parrot on her shoulder. A goddamn parrot! They don’t write this shit in the movies.
I had the weirdest night last weekend. Remember I told you about the girl I went home with from that 80s party? Well I ran into her at this bar the other night, and it was awkward, because I left her that fucked up haiku about sorry for falling asleep in the middle of it, and it turned out she was straight anyway. Total wannabe bi girl, but straight as an arrow. On the bright side, she let me crash on her couch after the bar. And her roommate offered me coffee and a phone charge when I woke up like it was some four star hotel or something. I’m not making this up. And we got to talking about beer, and she gave me a bottle of her favorite brew. I’m pretty sure I’m ok with free beer from kind, cute strangers. Unfortunately, I don’t think she was hitting on me, though. Everyone wants a big butch these days. I don’t get that. I made this horrible mistake of eschewing the institution of categories, and it’s not working out well. Someone called me a chapstick lesbian, but I’m thinking I’m more of a “needs chapstick lesbian.” Real talk though, this weather is drying out my lips like a motherfucker. Maybe that’s the issue.
How are you, though? I feel like I only get random snapchats from you all captioned, “Don’t drop the baguette!” from various raves you’ve attended. You really need to come up with a catchier phrase. Haha..catchy…I think I’m punny. Speaking of, how are the boys? I’m guessing they love your American ass, but who knows. I’ve heard Parisians can be bitches. I want to hear about your life!
He had responded,
“Gretchennnn! I miss you more. Calm your horses on this meeting people thing. It sounds like you’re getting enough for us both. And what the hell with these nice people inviting you into their homes and offering you free beer in the morning? Was there a turn down service? I don’t understand. I’ve been kicked out of people’s flats here. Like “OK, this is not a thing, bye, I’m going to bed, go back to whatever arrondissement you came from.”
Still, though, I have been having a lot of fun. I finally straightened shit out with my work visa, so I can finally get a job. I don’t want to work, but I’m down to my final Euro, and I’m getting a little partied out, too. These French people can hang! Like if you and I thought our blood was made of a 30% wine solution, I fear for the vampire that tries to feast on the Parisians.
You’re done with “don’t drop the baguette”?! It still gets me every time. Unclear why. Ughhh wait so this is so annoying, but I think all French toilets are low-flush. Everyone has a toilet brush for deuce-dropping purposes, and it freaks me out. I think as soon as I get rich, I’m gonna get a fancy, American style toilet in my place. It’s awful.
Oh, I actually do have a story for you. So I met this guy at a club, and we left at like two in the morning, which is pretty early still for me these days, and we went to buy some blow. We each do like two small lines, go back to the club, dance our asses off, and then leave to go back to his place. And at this point, we were starting to come down and we bumped some to keep going (he was going to skip work). So we’re walking into his place, and this tiny little old lady catches me grinding my teeth a little, and she grabs me by the arm (you know that intense old lady grip–like rivaling Jack and Rose in Titanic). She looks me in the eyes like she knows what’s up, and then she says in this raspy French, “can I get some?” I died. She had to be like 90 years old. I absolutely did not give an old lady coke, but nonetheless…what is my life coming to?
Alright, well I have to go, but we should Skype sometime. I know our schedules never work, but you know…one day.
Bye, bitch (haha my phone always auto-corrects it to butch! It knows!)
What a guy. Basically the male version of me, but not at all. I thought about booking a trip to see him, but I was pretty damn sure I wouldn’t have the money until tax returns come in. I mean, with my luck, I’ll owe money back to the government, but whatever. I hate thinking about the government. Just the other day, my friend, Jen, was telling me her family was all on her dick to vote. And I didn’t vote either. The way she saw it, her parents were Republican for money reasons. And she has Democratic values, but she’s also not making enough money to give a shit either way. We decided we are definitely fucked either way, so fuck voting. At least until we read up on what exactly is going on. We are pretty sure no one really knows.