Doorknob.

I don’t think that being flippant about weather is a “New York Thing,” I think it’s something that you get from your family.  I think it’s something genetic, something embedded in one’s DNA.
I feel that if a mosquito drank my blood, landed on a tree and drowned/was fossilized in sap, the world ended, then Future Richard Attenborough were to  clone me to make an amusement park, The Keely would be characterized by a tendency to be perpetually irritated, fatigued, and ignorant of impending weather.

The Keely would also charge Jeff Goldblum if he ever visited.

LOVE ME BAAAACK!

My family has always taken a very casual stance on severe weather.  As my dad always says to me, be it post-break-up or pre-hurricane, “It’ll be fine!”  There was one time a few years ago when tornadoes were touching down not too far from our neighborhood, and the only person who batted an eyelash was my then-boyfriend who had come over for dinner.  “Shouldn’t we go down to the basement?” he asked, and that seemed so silly to all of us.  What a drama queen! Plus, we were all kinda hungry, and the Red Sox were playing (and woe betide the man who comes between Poppa Flaherty and his Red Sox.)

Is dinner ready yet?

In retrospect, my then-boyfriend definitely had a point.  But I didn’t fully realize that my attitude towards weather was unhealthy until this past week, when Hurricane Irene took roughly two months to travel from The Bahamas to North Carolina.  Once Mayor Bloomberg got on TV and used his very, very bad Spanish to evacuate parts of the city, I decided it might be a good idea to buy some stuff, and fast.
So around 10PM that night I walked two blocks, got some bottled water, walked home, and felt too tired to look for a flashlight, food, blah blah blah.  So I watched part of Four Weddings and a Funeral and went to sleep.

The next day, my workplace was positively a-twitter with talk of the storm.  Everyone talked about which evacuation zone they were in, the subways shutting down, is life imitating Deep Impact now that we have a Black president, whatever happened to Leelee Sobieski, etc.  I started to panic.  Her career was so short-lived.

I was so intent on getting to the grocery right after work, that I didn’t change out of my work skirt–which, as I mentioned before, has the girth of a headband.  It is, blessedly, a skort, but by skort, I mean a granny-panties-included skort, not that lovely thigh-slimming athletic type of skort.
What I didn’t mention is how very light and lovely the fabric is, how it is so easily moved, and how a child’s gentlest cough would blow my work skirt right off.

Subtract the heels and add white sneakers.

As I rush to the store after work, I front-flash everyone on the subway as the train pulls into the station with a windy whoosh!  I back-flash everyone again as I exit the train and it speeds off with a windy whoosh! I flash a gaggle of Hispanic women crossing the street as a bus passes with a windy whoosh! to a chorus of “AY!” and “UH-UH, GIRL!”

Meanwhile, back in Ohio, Oscar was playing “Roadkill.”

I try to keep my skirt on as I make my way to the grocery store to buy “non-perishable” food.

Let it be known I don’t really believe in “non-perishable” food.  All food should, at some point, perish (even marshmallows, tragically, go stale).  The check-out line is halfway around the store, they are completely out of bread, so I decide to grab the standards: Cap’n Crunch, granola bars, and dried cranberries.  “These will get me through the long haul!” I think, when realistically, they will get me through one episode of Firefly.

Despite my not being a big believer in “non-perishables,” the guy in front of me buys a bucket of cottage cheese, half a cantaloupe, and three bags of spinach.  Now even I know that food has a shelf-life of one Frasier episode, commercials not included.


I power walk to two different Duane Reades, groceries in hand, and buy out their four remaining candles.

I trot to Home Depot to find they don’t have flashlights, then to CVS to find that they don’t either.

I sprint into a sketchy deli near my apartment as a last-ditch attempt, and behold!  They are selling flashlights!  For twenty bucks.  Whatever, I’ll take it, I need to finish reading The Magician King, power or no power.  I pull out my debit card, and the cashier makes a throat-slashing gesture with his finger and says, “Cash.”  I have two dollars.
I need know if Quentin Coldwater learns what it means to be a hero.  I need this flashlight.  (I have clearly forgotten about the candles at this point.)

Five minutes, two dollars, and lots of hand gesturing later, I am running to my apartment to get the remaining eighteen bucks in cash.  I am almost positive that the deli cashier is holding a flashlight for me, so long as I get back and pay in a timely manner.

I wave and sprint past my doorman, the sweetest, most vaguely Eastern European person in the world, to find that the elevator is there!  Luck!  I always feel like a jagweed taking the elevator to the third floor, so I generally press “3” and stare at the floor until the door opens, then hurry out.  There’s another woman in the elevator with me, so I do just that.  I feel the heat of her judgment.

The elevator door opens, and the woman and I both get out.  I feel a little better. I get to my door and jam the key into the lock, ready to throw my groceries down, grab the cash and run, but the key doesn’t turn.  Gahddammit I say, and then I look down.

The doorknob is gone.

Wait, what?

The doorknob is gone.

This is gone.

For some reason, I kick the door.  Hard.
Nothing happens.
I reach for the place where the doorknob should be.
Nothing happens.
I knock.
Nothing happens.

I’ve been robbed.  I’m
being robbed.  Somebody on my floor hates me.

I catapult myself down the stairs.
I skid into the lobby, lock eyes with my doorman, and the following occurs:

The Keely: It’s gone.
The Doorman: [smiling] What?
The Keely:  My doorknob.  It’s gone.
The Doorman: What?
The Keely: Gone.  I–I don’t know, it was there when I left this morning, and I just got back, and now it’s gone.
[Doorman grows serious, then grows about five feet in height, and becomes the human equivalent of the Iron Curtain.]
The Iron Curtain: Hang on.
[Iron Curtain locks the front door, grabs a pair of pliers, and heads toward the maintenance elevator.  The Maintenance Guy comes skidding in.  We lock eyes.]
The Keely: My doorknob is gone.
The Maintenance Guy: Holy shit?
The Keely: Holy shit.
The Iron Curtain: We’re going up now, watch the front desk. [Whisks The Keely into the freight elevator.  The Keely stares at the floor out of habit.]  Did anything strange happen this morning?
The Keely: No, nothing, I can’t believe it.  What could have happened to it?
The Iron Curtain: Did you look on the floor, see if it had fallen off?
The Keely: Actually, no.
[Elevator door opens.  The Iron Curtain and The Keely walk down the hall, and The Doorknob is there.]

 This is no longer gone.

The Iron Curtain: …
The Keely: …I swear to GOD this was not here, I swear to JESUS CHRIST that this was GONE FIVE MINUTES AGO. It was, I swear, it was gone, it was not here, the doorknob was gone.  IT WAS GONE.
[The Iron Curtain looks quizzical for a moment, and then, shrinking five feet and once again becoming The Doorman, starts laughing hysterically.  The Doorman practically weeps with amusement.]
The Doorman: You got off on the wrong floor. [The Doorman hugs The Keely like a small child, for that is what The Keely feels like.]

It is humiliating.  It is more humiliating than when my phone autocorrects “Haaay!” to “Gassy!” I’ve text-initiated more than one conversation with, “Gassy gurl!”  That is nothing compared to this.

It turns out the woman in the elevator with me had gotten off on the second floor, not the third floor.  I’m so used to being ashamed of taking the elevator to the third floor, I never considered the fact that someone would have enough lazyballs to take it to the second floor.  I just pressed the button and looked down, per usual, waited for the doors to open, and stepped right out onto the wrong floor–a floor that, currently, has a vacated space that needs a replacement doorknob before the new tenant moves in.

Embarrassing things happen when you take weather seriously.

Job training.

This post has been illustrated by the ridiculously talented David Hovey.  He’s also much funnier than me, a better writer, and taller.  He is my natural nemesis; the strapping Bruce Willis to my less strapping Samuel L. Jackson.

Gahddammit, David Hovey.  Did you make this whole thing with your hands?

Maybe.

(David Hovey did not illustrate these google images.)

***

I don’t think I’m very good at being employed.  That could be because I haven’t been it–employed–all that often, but it just seems like maybe employment isn’t for me.

I was so good at being a “student”; going to class, spending way too much time editing papers, making pretentious comments from the middle section of the classroom–freshly pressed do-gooders sit in the front, meticulously disheveled hipsters sit in the back, and I am neither a good nor trendy person.
I am truly excellent at napping and getting worked up about pointless academic topics in small groups, but actually being responsible for tasks in a work environment makes my palms slicker than Slimer of Ghosbusters.
I also, much like Slimer, would rush at Bill Murray in a teeth-bearing scream if I ever met him.  Fear leads to respect, and respect leads to love.


However, for some reason I recently lucked out and got a job!  It’s not a permanent job, but it’ll keep me busy for a bit and make me some moneys so that I can keep buying the $1 bags of Sugar Babies from the sketchy deli below my apartment.

Yesterday I woke up super early, too excited/nervous/sweaty to sleep any longer, for my first day of job training!  The night before I had laid out my outfit, placed a microwavable Quaker oatmeal packet out on the kitchen counter so that I could save those two critical seconds it takes me to grab it in the morning, and used my remaining nervous energy to clean my entire bathroom.

On the train there, I notice two girls who no doubt used to sit in the back of the classroom in college–long shiny hair, super tight pants in playground colors, thick belts cinched over flowing floral tops–and figure they’re headed to the same place I’m headed.  To top it off, they have adorned themselves with the ultimate accessory: the male BFG (i.e. The Buff ‘n Funny Gay).

We all get off at the same stop, where the Burberries/BFG immediately light up cigarettes, whip out their phones, and proceed to text, smoke, and walk.  I stay a good fifteen feet behind them  They get wolf-whistled by all the construction workers we pass.  “Disrespectful,” I think, and then when the construction workers promptly go back to their work as I walk by, I am highly offended.

I eventually lose sight of the Burberries/BFG.  Despite checking train schedules and trying to diligently manage my time, I have still arrived forty-five minutes early.  I sit outside the office where I am supposed to sign in and wait.  I read The Help and tell myself that I am not allowed to cry before 10AM.  After the office opens and I’ve signed in, other people start to arrive, and everyone seems to know everyone else.  The air is thick with “Hey, guuuurl!”

It takes over an hour for everyone to arrive and get signed in.  I’ve been there for a couple of hours now, and I am, of course, hungry.  Just as I unwrap my granola bar and stick half of it in my mouth (cause what good’s a granola bar if you can’t eat it in two bites or less?), our manager stand up and tells everyone to circle up.  Everyone quiets down as she looks around, smiles.

I smile back, swallow my huge mouthful of granola, and start choking violently.  I spit a mouthful of chewed granola into my palm and just hack, fighting to take an in-breath.  “Keely, are you ok?” my manager asks with genuine concern, as I nod and wave in an attempt to tell her “Yes, proceed,” through the hack, hack, hacking as the tears my eyes are streaming.

Someone rubs my back.

(Really, David Hovey?  That’s what I look like to you?)

I regain composure, immediately look down at the chewed granola in my hand, and in a panic, pop it right back into my mouth and start to re-chew.  When I look up, everyone is looking at me–moments before it might have been with concern, but now it is with disgust.
“Sorry.” I say through the wad of granola, wiping the tears of exertion from my eyes.  I check my phone to make sure I have not cried before 10AM.  It is 10:11AM.

After an introductory speech, we’re shown a place to stow our bags and given a 5-minute restroom break.  I hear my mom’s voice in my head, like I often do when making decisions.  It says, “Baby, you’re here, you might as well try to pee.”  I sigh, send her a telepathic “GAHD, MOM!” and pick the last stall.

I have to push the lock a little harder than I usually do to get it to move, which is weird, but we all know that excess estrogen makes locks stick–and women’s restrooms are hotspots for feminenergy (the estrogen-based energy that is formed and released into the atmosphere of a room whenever women share secrets).

But when I try to open the lock, it won’t budge.  I use both my hands to try and move it.  Stuck.  I begin to panic.  I don’t have my cell phone to text my mom–not to ask for help, just to let her know that no, I should not always try to go.  If I don’t have to go, I don’t have to go, and now I’m going to die in this bathroom stall because of her.  I try to begin pacing, but I’m in a tiny bathroom stall.

What feels like ten minutes but is probably only about two, passes, and I stop fidgeting with the lock.  Instead of calling out for someone to help, because I’m already the fatty who couldn’t wait until lunchtime to shove that whole granola bar down her esophagus, I decide to throw myself against the door.  I do so once, nothing.  I fidget with the lock again, step back, and shove my shoulder into the door.  I fly out of the stall and straight into the door of the stall across from me.  My shoulder hits the opposite stall door with a thud and the girl inside yells, “WOAH, OCCUPIED!”  I hope she doesn’t make a mental note of my shoes.

Next, we get fitted for uniforms, and who should be fitting us but the almost-forgotten BFG!  He is friendly and tan and totally ripped in his fitted t-shirt, and all I want to do is be his best friend.  He explains that we’ll have to share a dressing room to try on the uniforms.

Three other girls and I are the first to be fitted.  BFG pulls out a t-shirt and another strip of cloth.  Well, it’s a little Sabrina the Teenage Witch circa 1997 to put us in cloth headbands I think to myself, but at least I won’t have to worry about what to do with my hair.  He looks at me and smiles, “Do you have a skirt already?” he asks, holding up the headband.  I gawk and take the hanger, holding it up to my waist.  It covers about as much of me as a TV censor bar.

I think of Sabrina Spellman, naked and weeping.  Then I irrationally think of Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All, standing next to her holding a knife.

BFG ushers me and one of the other girls to the dressing room, then smiles at the other girl, who makes a goofy face at him, like they know each other.  Then it hits me.  She is one of the Burberries from the train ride.  She doesn’t have her floral top on anymore, so I didn’t recognize her.  BFG swishes the dressing room curtain closed.  Burberry looks up at me, holding the skirt, her face a mirrored image of my own horror.  She looks at me.  I look at her. We burst out laughing.

“Are they serious?” she cackles.
“I know, I thought it was a headband,” I cackle back.
“I would be so fine with a headband, even if that is a little Party of Five.”

Oh my stars, I have found a friend!  And my friend is one of the Burberries?!  As we laugh, I think to myself that I shouldn’t be so judgmental.  So Burberry is a major hottie who looks cooler than Rizzo with a cigarette in her hand.  So construction workers wanna do her.  So she has an accessory that gets her a free pass into any gay club in the city while I’m at home reading Roald Dahl.  Burberry just made a snarky nineties reference, and a better one than Sabrina.  This chick is obviously cool, and I’m the tool for pigeonholing her.  I decide that together, we will take bathroom breaks, and fill the air with camaraderie and femininergy!

“I mean, I’m a dancer, I’ve had to wear some crazy shit, and this is skimpy to me,”  she says, and casually whips off her shirt, revealing a perfectly chiseled six-pack.

We will never be friends.

Eomer.

I woke up this morning with a piece of my nose-skin missing.

This is “Cut Nose.”

It isn’t a huge chunk or anything, it’s the equivalent of a mildly skinned knee, but on my nose.  It’s true that I spent a good half an hour in front of my bathroom mirror last night, squeezing out blackheads from my nose (“eww” all you want, but you’ve done it, and deep down you agree that there’s nothing quite as satisfying), but I don’t think that’s the reason why my nose-skin is missing.  I think–I feel–that I have suffer from undiagnosed R.E.M. Behavior Disorder.

Here is a random definition for RBD I found online:

RBD occurs when you act out vivid dreams as you sleep. These dreams are often filled with action. They may even be violent. Episodes tend to get worse over time. Early episodes may involve mild activity. Later episodes can be more violent. RBD is often ignored for years. At some point it is likely to result in an injury. Either the person dreaming or the bed partner may be hurt.

Since I live by myself, of course no one’s noticed!  And my parents are both very deep sleepers, so I’m sure that when I had that recurring dream about The Battle of Helm’s Deep in junior high, they didn’t hear me scream, “Look, it’s Éomer! Do me, Éomer!”

TANGENT.

Why did The Mouth of Sauron get cut from The Return of the King?  Cut one of the many Sam-innocently-offers-to-carry-The-Ring-for-a-bit-and-Frodo-misinterprets-it scenes.

END TANGENT.

If that excerpt, my skinned nose, and my LotR sex dream are not proof enough, then here is the clincher: when I woke up this morning and saw my nose, I thought, “Wow, it looks like I lost a boxing fight!” Verbatim.  When I googled “R.E.M. Behavior Disorder” just now, this was the first image result:

Fate.

Now, I have a band-aid on my nose.  This excites me, because the last time I had a band-aid on my nose, was the one week when the women who work at the nearby grocery store were nice to me.

The grocery store staff are all female, all notoriously grumpy, and all of that facial and bodily softness that makes their age impossible to place.  There is one shorter member of the staff (somewhere between the ages of eighteen and forty-five) who is occasionally pregnant.

First image result for “grumpy grocery store” (obviously).

The last time I had a band-aid on my nose, it was because a scene partner had accidentally (and truly, it was an accident) thrown me into the stage wall, face-first, during a sketch comedy show at The PIT and busted my nose open.  I openly bled, but it got a huge laugh.

It looked like I had gotten the shit kicked out of me for a week, and if the rest of the world is anything like me, the rest of the world saw me on the subway and assumed my significant other had socked me.  For those seven days, people on the street looked at me with pity, with accusation, either understanding or condemning that I was too weak to leave him.
But the women at the grocery store tilted their heads and smiled at me warmly as they scanned my vegetables (that sat in my fridge for weeks before rotting) and value-sized pack of marshmallows (which was empty in less than 36 hours).  The first time it happened, I thought it might be because they had all finally lost it; gone crazy from the boredom.  But after the second time, I realized that they felt sorry for me.
I made it a priority to go to the grocery every day so that I could get as much attention as possible.  Once, at the check-out, one of the grumpier shapes touched my hand.  I think it was on purpose, too!

Of course, the minute the band-aid was off and I had clearly healed, they went back to being grumpy and oblong, no longer the friendly and oblong creatures they had been.
I toyed with the idea of wearing the band-aid whenever I’d grocery shop, but I didn’t want to be wasteful.  For the sake of the Earth, I wear this instead:

But the same nameless force that masks their age has also given them the power to sense genuine injuries.  They know that I’m faking it–or maybe they’re just really confused by what I’m wearing on my face.  Whatever the reason, they scoot on by me, muttering and leaving trails of slime in their wake.

I miss you, friend.

In defense of the movie ‘Twister.’

I not-so-recently saw Captain America: The First Avenger, and I think that the person with whom I saw it summed it up perfectly:
Tommy Lee Wrinkles. The Person with Whom I Saw Captain America and I generally agree on movies.  He-she recently introduced me to the impeccably crafted indie mystery Brick, and the unsolvable human mystery that is Total Recall. 
He-she has also highly recommended Black Dynamite.
I’m so hoping it will be the Black equivalent of The Wicker Man.

However, despite the endless movies The Person with Whom I Saw Captain America and I both mutually go “OOOO YEAH!” over, there is one movie on which we just cannot agree.  That movie is Jan de Bont’s 1996 (though it is timeless) classic, Twister.

Nope, maybe the #2 result.

Nope, not #2. Sweet, sweet #9.  Ted Williams is, somewhere, pleased.

I personally believe–well, let’s be honest, I know. “Believe” implies that there’s some part of this not rooted in fact, and Twister is, beyond reproof, a great movie.  Yes, I own it on both VHS and DVD.  Twister combines action and romance, weather and fate!  It has both physical destruction and emotional reconstruction!  It is, in essence, perfect!  I also use it like some people use religion, or My Dog Skip.  If I really like a guy, I’ll sit down with him and watch the entirety of Twister.  If he weeps at the end, we may then know each other in the biblical sense.  If he is dry-eyed, then it will never be, for he has no heart.

However, some people disagree.  They throw around words like “weak plot” and “really stupid.”  The Person with Whom I Saw Captain America has argued the following points:

1) You can’t have Helen Hunt/Dr. Jo Harding getting chased by one specific F5 tornado for her whole life.
That tornado started chasing her when she was around 8 years old, so you’re right, you can’t have Helen Hunt getting chased by one specific F5 tornado for her whole life.

2) I can think of few things lamer than having the bad guy be an evil meteorologist–especially if Evil Meteorologist Dr. Jonas Miller is Wesley from The Princess Bride.
I found him to be appropriately sinister, and barely recognizable in that Everyman’s baseball cap.  Plus, you have to respect an actor in the heat of the craft (remember, I studied acting at NYU).  Only a chameleon of an artist could feign such fear:

But if you still want to question the validity of Dr. Jonas Miller, starter of gas station brawls, as you wish.

3) How is it that Evil Meteorologist Dr. Jonas Miller cannot drive away from a tornado fast enough, but Bill Paxton/Bill Harding and Helen Hunt/Dr. Jo Harding spend the last 20 minutes of the film outrunning one?
It’s obvious that the goodness in them is what gives their feet such lightness.  Had Evil Meteorologist Dr. Jonas Miller been a better person, that car would have gone faster.

4) Bill Paxton is kind of the worst.
Yes.

5) This whole idea of “Dorothy” is impossible.  You run up to a tornado–that swirling vortex of doom that starts in the the fucking sky– drop off some empty snowglobes, and the tornado just gently takes them into its innards in an aesthetically pleasing swirly motion?


We always fear what we don’t understand, and we often forget that the simplest solutions are sometimes the best solutions.  Have you tried running up to a tornado and giving it the gift of science and self-awareness?
When I typed “Dorothy” into the Google search engine, these other unworthy “Dorothy” images had been viewed more often than the image above:

Fear.

TANGENT.

Sometimes, in a city so big, with so many people, it’s nice to just feel noticed.


END TANGENT.

In conclusion, when you watch Twister–and you will–don’t watch it with the same person with whom you went to see Captain America: The First Avenger.

Universal problems.

There’s nothing that bonds two people more quickly and superficially than commiserating over shared petty problems.  For example, I was sitting in the Columbus airport today, waiting for my flight to La Guardia to board–the flight was delayed because, and only because, I have the worst airport karma ever. I said these very words to the guy sitting next to me, and because I italicized them, he listened and found them amusing.
We swapped stories about our flight misfortunes, and before long, we had struck up quite a rapport! It turned out he had also once studied abroad in Madrid, owned a terrier as a child, and hated kids! Unfortunately, I have to use the past tense when it comes to his opinions and experiences, because he promptly turned into a Candarian Demon.

Worst airport karma ever.
(46th Google image result. Guy Sitting Next to Me at the Airport deserved better.)

I’m always intimidated by people who dress up to get on planes.  Why would they do that when you can use air travel as an excuse to wear a sports bra and stretchy pants somewhere other than the gym?  I always get on a plane fully expecting to die, and if I’m going to die violently, I’d like to be comfortable when it happens.
This hot biddy is gonna die in discomfort:Even the tots brought their disco book bags:

A few minutes later, their mom took the oldest one aside and said, “The time has come,” then tried to rip her stomach out through her throat.

Luckily, we started boarding before she could finish.

The last thing I did in my hometown of Athens, Ohio was go to the local community recreation center, find the most secluded elliptical machine I could, and sweat from the stress of possibly being spotted by a former classmate.

Wait, that’s a lie.  The very last thing I did in my hometown of Athens, Ohio was get hunted by Oscar.

So the second to last thing I did in my hometown of Athens, Ohio was go to the local community recreation center, find the most secluded elliptical machine I could, and sweat from the stress of possibly being spotted by a former classmate.
But as I pedaled away on the elliptical–with much more zeal, I might add, than I usually do, in case someone was watching–I relaxed a bit.

I started thinking about the person I was in high school compared to the person I am now.  In hindsight, most of us are a little douchey in high school, and I am no exception.  I didn’t exactly keep one headphone cemented in my ear at all times and blast Blue Monday or wear a trench coat at all times, but my Douche Level was higher between the ages of fourteen and eighteen than it is now.  I made some dumb mistakes, like feeling painfully hip for loving the Garden State soundtrack.  I also drove a purple toaster (that I will love fiercely until the day we both die at the same moment, something like Thelma and Louise).

+

=



But come on, my DL has lowered considerably since high school.  I live in New York City.  I know people who have made out with minor celebrities.  I have to resist eating the world’s best bagels every day, and sometimes I succeed.
I was thinking all of this as I pedaled away on the elliptical, imagining myself as Diane Lane in the final scene of Under the Tuscan Sun: comfortable in her skin, looking positively radiant in a floral sundress, covered in ladybugs and happy about it.

I was so sold on this daydream, that as I reached for my water bottle and unscrewed the cap–ready to take a big cleansing swig, straight from that old stone well I have in the backyard of my Italian villa–I forgot all about the moving elliptical handle, which slammed into my elbow, and unleashed the wrath of Poland Spring.
I was immediately face-tsunami’ed, water soaked my shirt and shorts, the plastic rim of the bottle scraped along my gums, splashed all over my glasses (yes, I was wearing my hipster glasses to the gym) and rushed up my nose and down my throat so fast that I began violently choking.

I stopped pedaling, and realized that I was choking so violently, I was triggering my gag reflex.  I sprinted over to the nearest trashcan and dry heaved into it, dripping bloody drool from my mouth where the bottle had hit my gum.  I finish vomiting-without-the-vomit to look up and see a large man in a red Praise Him: Christ! shirt looking at me with concern.  I didn’t see any AHS grads, and bowed out as quietly as I could, still spluterring a little, like that broken sprinkler that just won’t give up.

These shoes comprise the first 20 Google image results for “bloody gums”:

This is the 21st:

This is much closer to what my mouth looked like.

Five minutes later, sitting in the front seat of my boxcar with a tissue stuck in my upper lip to stop my bleeding gum/eager ‘n busty beach woman, I exasperatedly began peeling off my soaking wet spandex.  I threw them in the back and grabbed my jean shorts.  Just as I began awkwardly shimmying them on, I looked up to see a fellow member of my graduating class standing outside my highly recognizable car, waving at me.
I’m sure he, yes he, got an eyeful of my ratty cotton undies, decorated with tiny purple elephants, that are only slightly less humiliating than these:

(This is the first Google image result for “elephant underwear.”  Why?)

I waved back and smiled as my inner Diane Lane withered and died, much like Walter Donovan in the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Walter Donovan and I are very similar.  We both have abnormally high DL Levels, him for supporting the Nazis and me for supporting Zach Braff.  He chose the wrong Jesus-cup at a pivotal moment in his life, and I was aided by a man in a Jesus t-shirt in a not-so-pivotal moment of mine.  The parallels are uncanny.

Anonymity.

I think that what makes New York so different is a feeling of anonymity.  Even if you were to do something silly like, say, wear bright yellow panties under a sheer white dress, no one would bat an eyelash.

OR WOULD THEY?

I SEE YOU.

However, I’m not in New York right now, taking inappropriate pictures of perfectly nice, unwisely clad pedestrians.  And I’m not here either:


I am here:

Portsmouth, Ohio.
This is the first google image, and it’s accurate.

What’s that you say?  You’ve never heard of Portsmouth, Ohio?  You obviously missed the recent A&E Special, Intervention In-Depth: Hillybilly Heroin.  It’s ok, I watched the Buffy marathon instead too–before the vampire porn that is True Blood, all we had was Buffy and Spike, and they were hotter.

Anyway, Portsmouth is on the DEA’s top 10 list for prescription pill trafficking.  However, Portsmouth also has a Tim Horton’s, which, by my standards, makes it an above average place to vacation.  It also has other distractions, some of which fill me with feelings.

THINGS IN PORTSMOUTH THAT MAKE ME FEEL:

1) Sadness. A sickly fry.  I hate to waste fried food.

2) Confusion/Elation. WHAT DOES IT MEAN I WANT IT.

3) Gifted. A former art project of mine–though much more recent than you think (mankind did have opposable thumbs when this was forged).
Ten imaginary dollars if you can guess what it is.

HUGE HINT
: It is not a screaming glow worm.

Hometown.

I’m from Athens, Ohio.  I’m there right now, visiting my family.

This is not the first Google image result.

I love seeing my family, and my cat, Oscar.  Oscar is always so excited to see me.

But visiting Athens causes me more anxiety than living in New York City.  I, like many people who grew up in a small, rural town, didn’t apply to any college within two states of where I grew up.  Each time I come back I have a deeper appreciation for Athens, but still, the teenager inside me rejects it.  I have many memories here, a couple of which are really very lovely.  But because of a choice few experiences, I have been left with deep, lingering fears.

TOP 3 MOST LOATHED (or…LOVED?) ATHENS MEMORIES, AND THE SUBSEQUENT FEARS THEY INSTILLED IN ME:

EXPERIENCE #1: The first two guys I made out with both came out of the closet within a year of each other.  I thought our mutual love for Cats the Musical and shared interest in school choir would give us a lasting bond.   They were each very supportive whenever I auditioned for a solo.  It just wasn’t enough.
FEAR #1: I had recently decided to stop going to church when Makeout #1 came out, and decided, in a very Catholic way, that I was being punished for my combined lack of faith and sluttery. To this day, if I really like a guy, I will wait until I have proof that he is straight before I tepidly touch his tongue with my tongue.
If he asks me why I don’t use much tongue when we’re Frenchin’, I scream “BECAUSE GOD DOESN’T LIKE IT” into his open mouth.  Then I leave, for he is unworthy.

EXPERIENCE #2: After I got into NYU, my mom enrolled me in a ballet class at the local dance studio.  This was before I went to college where they have lots of mirrors, and realized that me dancing will never be something pleasurable to watch.  This was also before two of my three dance teachers told me I had the perfect body for “ummm, sports.”
I walk in, ready to join probably two or three other girls my age, maybe one of my ex-makeout partners.  Instead, this is what the class looked like:

That’s me in the black.  The teacher is in the bathroom.

Awaiting me were ten little perfect ballerinas, no more than 11 years old.  They surveyed my quickly from head to toe, lost interest, and went back to contorting their bodies into the letters of the alphabet.
Those little bitches didn’t fuck around.  They were perfect pink robots who moved in angular unison. When I accidentally brushed one of their steel legs with my sweaty foot, I got a jab in the ribs and a callous “look out, you big dummy.”  I looked down in shame and nodded.

FEAR #2: Ballet.  Little girls.

EXPERIENCE #3: High school.
FEAR #3: I have this deep fear of running into people I knew in high school whenever I’m in town.  I have one good friend from pre-college life who I’ve stayed in touch with, but when I’m not with him and I have to run an errand by myself, I look and feel like a sweaty, rabid animal–not the aggressive kind that bites, the solitary goat in the petting that your mom told you to stay away from because it looked “a little off.”
It isn’t that I hate everyone I went to high school with, it’s that I dread having to tell people what I’m up to.  Every time I talk about living in New York, I realize how much I don’t do.  I also worry that they’ll catch me at a vulnerable moment and it will all just come out.

AHS Grad: Hey, Keely!  It’s been years, how’s New York?

Me: Wow, hi!  You look great.  Living in New York City, it’s wow, ya know, craaaazy!  I mean, it’s great, things are open late, I grocery shop at 10pm.  I don’t leave my apartment much.  Great museums.  I feel like I’ve been swallowed by that thing in Star Wars that slowly digests you for decades.  Recently my best friend asked me if I’m a lesbian, not because she’s a lesbian, just because she was concerned that I felt uncomfortable telling her.  I’m not a lesbian, but last night I did have a dream that I found a redheaded girl who was trying to parasail in my backyard.  Her chute had malfunctioned and she was sliced in half, but she was still alive. I took her to the hospital but she died.  Do you have any idea what that means?  I wrote it down to tell my therapist, but there are some things that I feel like even my therapist would find weird.  What are you up to these days?