ROLLER DERBY.

I am coming to terms with the fact that I have a self-destructive streak.  Not anything serious and worthy of treatment, like suicidal behavior or getting addicted to Lost.  Actually, it could really just be called a stupid streak.

I am coming to terms with the fact that I have a stupid streak.  And it really is more than a streak, it’s more like a stripe.  A thick stripe.  I have a thick, stupid stripe.

This is the first Google image result for “thick stupid stripe”:

 

Correct.
If my life decisions were a tie, it would be thickly striped with stupid, just like this one.  Please picture this tie, and the appropriate emotional reactions it would have, during the following tale(s) of woe.

I always manage to willfully ruin relationships/would-be relationships with great guys who have stable personalities and few vices, who are committed and openly affectionate, looking for something serious, and not always entirely boring.
But if you are any kind of openly promiscuous musician, unemployed acrobat, emaciated barista with a 5 o’clock shadow, or, for lack of a better word, a relentless pussyhound with a thick head of dark hair, I am ready to give it all up and follow you to that dingy apartment you share with your non-girlfriend.

I have fought tooth and nail for three guys in my life, and two of them are, or were once, addicted to drugs.  One of them cheated on me repeatedly–once in front of me– and not only did I instantly forgive him, but I then had to persuade him to stay my boyfriend.

The other, who also fell into some detrimental habits, tried to do the honest thing and tell me that he wanted to see other people.  After fifteen minutes of screaming “SAY IT AGAIN! JUST SAY IT AGAIN AND I’LL BELIEVE YOU!” into the phone, I then reverted to just saying, “Nope, nope, nope, nope.”  I shoulder some of the blame for that relationship failing.

The third, and most painful, was my 7th grade love–not crush, love–who would always look directly at my chin when he talked to me, and then ask, “Does that make you nervous?”  At more than one school dance, he opted to dance with no one at all instead of with me.  I still get misty whenever I hear the intro to K-Ci & JoJo’s “All My Life.”

TANGENT:

They have a greatest hits album?!  What’s on it, “All My Life” and that other song that sounds exactly the same?

END TANGENT.

Then there’s my friendships.  I have one older brother, so I grew up around him and his friends.  As a result, I feel that I was developmentally stinted in one aspect of the friendships I now form: I, like many women, am afraid of women.
We can be very intimidating, with our sweet-smelling trinkets and sex jargon.  I have a few lady friends who I adore, but none of those relationships were instantaneous.  Each one of them resulted from us being forced to spend a lot of time together (i.e. in school), or living together (i.e. roommates).  I had to be brought in slowly, like a skittish colt with few social graces, and fed grain and satiating carrots.

BUT GUESS WHAT TONIGHT I FOUND THE SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING!

No longer will I sit around in this post-college slump, crunching Nerdropes in order to feel productive!  No longer will I gravitate towards the skeaziest of skeazes when it comes to dating!  No longer will I fear you, new female acquaintance!

BECAUSE NOW, THERE IS ROLLER DERBY!

Yeah, like in Whip It! It is the absolute coolest, and for the first time tonight, I saw a game, Bronx Gridlock vs. The Boston Blackout.  This player, Bonnie Thunders, is a steel pole.  She’s tall, has a BMI of roughly 3, and knocks down women thrice her size:


I fear her, but also want to be her.  Full of feelings.

Every time I go to a sporting event, I realize how much I miss playing sports.  I also remember that I’m obnoxiously competitive.  I figure that becoming a roller derby player is a fantastic way to fix everything that’s wrong in my life.  It will:

1) Force me to make friends with women, and even better, women who I am already fucking terrified of and intimidated by.
2) Help me be less prone to dating scuzzballs, because it just will.
3) Give me an outlet for all my obnoxious competitiveness, therefore improving all my relationships.
4) Be applauded for my meanness.
5) Prove to my 7th grade love that I have moved on.

So what if I don’t own a pair of skates or fully understand the rules of the game?
Details.

 

Clownmouth.

I am currently in what I call an “artistic rut”.  Someone in another field of work might call this “being unemployed,” but I would counter that he/she could never understand an artist’s plight, and probably wouldn’t feel the need to label things if he/she was more creative.

I’ve recently had more time to myself and less to do than I’ve had since I was busy being a fetus.  Having all this time to myself enables me to see my actions in a more objective light. For instance, being in an artistic rut has left me a lot of time to go to the gym.  I’ve learned that I only mostly hate going to the gym.  No, I do not have the coveted Chix-Pack, and I probably never will.  When I say Chix-Pack, I do not mean a cutesy term for a woman’s six-pack, I mean the little-known San Francisco fem-band:

Here they are.  I’ll never have them.

So the gym takes up about an hour and a half of my day.  That leaves those lingering fourteen and a half hours of wakefulness totally open for a whole myriad of activities.  For instance, doing nothing and eating (much like a fetus).

To be fair to myself, I have been actively (albeit sporadically) seeking out employment.  I went to an employment agency, where everything was unnervingly glossy and color coordinated.  It was all fantastically decorated, with light, varnished wood and conference rooms made entirely out of glass.  The receptionists were all intimidatingly hot and disarmingly kind.  I’d never sweated in such a lovely place before.

There were all these words on the walls that I didn’t understand: execu-pod, fish bowl, virtu-pod, think tank.  An ex-boyfriend of mine worked at a “think tank” for a year and a half, and I never had any fucking clue what he was talking about.  When I told people what he did, I always had the same answer ready: Oh, he works at a think tank.  And not one person asked me anything else about it, because no one has any fucking clue what a “think tank” actually is.  If you Google it, this will be the first image result:

However, the crux of this story is that I spent too much time picking out the sensible dress I would wear, and not enough time considering lipstick shades.  My mind blurted out “RED!” because Dolly Parton sometimes wears red lipstick, and she both stars in and sings the theme song for the ultimate working woman’s film: 9 to 5.

So I put some red lipstick on (using a mirror) before I left for the agency.  But I sweated most of it off on the subway, so I nervously applied some more (without a mirror) while I waited in the pristine lobby.  Shortly after that, my name was called and I met a very helpful employment agent and her colleague.  I noticed the agent and her colleague occasionally glancing at my mouth, and wrote it off as them admiring the one genetic gift I was given: my teeth.  Yes, they must be so taken aback by the natural beauty of my teeth that they can’t keep from glancing.

Then I was ushered into a room to take a series of computer tests, which did not go well, so I took solace in the comforting ritual of applying lipstick (again without a mirror).  Then it was back to the employment agent’s office to meet more colleagues, each just as fascinated, if not moreso, by my blindingly white teeth.  I was just dying for someone to ask me if I had ever had braces, so I could say, “Nope, just got lucky!” and grin again for emphasis.

I was ushered back into the waiting room for some final paperwork, which the gorgeous secretary took from me, smiling and bidding me farewell, glancing very briefly at my mouth.  I didn’t really think about my teeth that time, I just figured she was a lesbian.

In the elevator down, a man asked me what floor, and then stifled a laugh.  I figured it was because “lobby” is just a funny word in general.

On the subway, an attractive man made eye contact with me and smiled quizzically.  “Sleaze,” I thought, “I wish he’d ask for my number.”

I got home, feeling that things had gone well and that I had definitely chosen the right dress.
Then I threw my things down, glanced in the mirror and went “OHHHHHHNOOOOOOOOGODNOOOOO.”  There isn’t a word in the English language for what I saw, but if there was, it would be “clownmouth.”  It looked as though someone had inexpertly drawn another mouth over my mouth with a red Sharpie pen.

But that hot receptionist was definitely a lesbian.

RIP childhood.


Remember that lovely, lovely book your mother used to read to you?  It was called The Rainbow Fish, and it was by that guy whose name you could never quite get your underdeveloped 6-year-old mouth to pronounce.  Wasn’t that book just the best?  It was all about how the Rainbow Fish had these gorgeous scales that all the other fish envied, and how the Rainbow Fish couldn’t make any friends until he learned that in order to make friends, he had to become less attractive.  In order to do so, he had to physically sacrifice bits of himself.  In the end, he magically detached his rainbow scales, keeping only one for himself, and giving the rest to those other Bitchy Frienemy Fish.  Sure, it masochistic and pretty stupid, but the ultimate message was a good one: dress down if you want people to like you.

 

Here is all that now remains of the Rainbow Fish and his school of selfish, slaughtered friends.  You can purchase it at Victoria’s Secret.

 

 

 

 

On a somewhat related note, I saw this on the street recently and thought it was just heartbreaking:

Plastic bottles and a Coke can in the trash?  Come on, New York.  Let’s recycle.

Polish reflections.

While visiting Poland this past week, I almost had an epiphany.

No, it was not the amazing theatre we performed in, or even the performances themselves (which were both exceptional).  It was one evening, after we had all eaten Mexican food (really soaking in the Polish culture), and I decided to go home to pack my suitcase (two days in advance) instead of going out.  I got a cab.  No big deal, right?  No, not right. You couldn’t be less right if you tried.

When I was in high school many moons ago, my friend Bryan Young and I had an obsession with this one video of a 1979 German disco band called Dschinghis Kahn singing and dancing to their hit song “Moskau.”  I can only describe it as the best Star Trek Christmas Special that was never made:

So riding home in this cab in Poland, years later, what comes on the radio but a stirring rendition of MOSKAU!  Unable to contain my glee, I start singing along (and by singing I mean shouting “MOSKAU!” and “Oh ho ho ho ho HEY!” when appropriate, and then mumbling whatever the fuck they’re saying in between).  The cab driver looks back at me, stony-faced, and without saying a word, cranks it up and starts to sing along.  At the end of the song, both of us panting from the exertion only a 1970’s German disco band can bring out in you, he looks at me in the rear-view mirror, and nods.  In this moment, he is Farmer Hoggett, and I a simple pig.

As the cab pulled up to the hotel, I felt that I learned something profound about life, like some dark unspoken place in a Pablo Neruda poem.  And there it was, my Polish epiphany: some things in life are universally understood, they supersede spoken language, and perhaps, just perhaps, Moskau was one of these things.

Unfortunately, Farmer Hoggett cut my epiphany into thin strips of jaded bacon.  When I saw how much he had overcharged me, we got into an intense argument consisting mainly of accusatory pointing and head-shaking.  Apparently, there is one thing that knows no cultural bounds: money.

***

I last updated from a pay-by-the-ten-minute-increment web kiosk in the illustrious Portos Hotel. (It is one of three adjoined hotels, the other two being Hotel Aramis and Hotel Athos. Not a joke.)  The Portos Hotel had many, many charms.  Here are a choice few:

1) It is located in a neighborhood named “Mangalia,” and while I don’t speak a word Polish, I am fairly positive that the English translation means “Neighborhood of Recently Released Criminals”.  Everyone in the area wears a baggy windbreaker and walks with their hands in their pockets, which are the two universal marks of regretting one’s past actions.

2) The only nearby source of a food is a charming gas station called “Orlen”.  It serves a concoction that combines a hotdog, a seamless pita, and ketchup–not-so-fondly nicknamed “The Delicious Menstruating Vagina”.

3) The carpets in the Portos Hotel would be Jackson Pollock-themed, if Jackson Pollock had used dark bodily fluids instead of paint.

4) The Portos Hotel is currently under intense and almost constant construction.  Each night was like Christmas Eve. I would go to sleep wondering, when I wake up tomorrow morning, might I find myself lucky enough to look out these open curtains to see, no, not a a fresh dusting of snow or the soft silhouette of a reindeer, but the hearty Polish construction worker who much resembles Santa Claus?  Will he once again be perched on the moldy scaffolding outside my window?  Yes, he certainly will!

4) The hotel’s elevators are tiny metal boxes that hold four people at most.  When you yell from inside the closed elevator on the ground floor, anyone standing by the elevator on the 6th floor can hear you clear as a bell.

Dear Dee Daniels, our stage manager and company mother, had the misfortune of being inside one the tin-can elevator cars when it broke down.  A fifth person, a small girl whose weight might have seemed insignificant, crowded into the elevator at the last minute, and ruined everyone’s lives.

The elevator made it up a couple floors and then stopped, dropped a bit, and stuck.  They were stuck inside the elevator for an hour and a half with no communication, despite the fact that the elevator is made of shiny paper you can probably punch through (and make Pai Mei very proud).  Still, the doors had to be pried open from the outside, slicing the hand of one man inside, and everyone had to climb out to safety between the floors.

No doubt Dee was never in any real kind of danger.  Sure, Dennis Hopper escaped, but Jeff Daniels and Keanu Reeves were always hanging above that elevator, like the very handsome and svelte SWAT bats they are, keeping the peace and debating whether or not it is ever appropriate to shoot the hostage.

Later in the week we all got stuck on a bus with Sandra Bullock, but who wants to hear about that.