This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Monday, May 28, 2007


To most reasonable women and men it's not only a refreshing thirst-quencher, but it is a necessity. The human body contains approximately 45% water and 15% gin. It's nature's most soothing beverage.

But unfortunately, I will never touch another drop. A few martinis on Friday laid me low for all of Saturday and a great deal of Sunday. Why, oh why, didn't my parents coach my puny little liver to tolerate gin? Back when I was three or four, couldn't they have introduced the gin martini, plus a half-dozen green olives, to give me a head start and a chance at a normal existence? Why couldn't I have been raised like the rest of you, who were brought up by red-cheeked rummies?

Having up to that point coddled my liver with a steady flow of beer and wine, I thought it was time to step up to something a little more worldly. I hadn't taken into account that worldliness is earned over time, it doesn't just appear, like magic or a graduate degree in Creative Writing. How could I have been so stupid?

I'll tell you how. And you, who to me seem so street smart, you who were suckled on stuff stronger than Gallo, please don't judge me. I was raised on homemade wine, humble country values, and the painful end of a whip. I was restricted to only one glass of the wine each night with dinner, cherry brandy for when I wouldn't fall asleep, and on the weekends a shot or two of bourbon or scotch. Puritanical to the point of madness.

Believe me, this isn't how I'll raise my children. Withholding the substances that to everyone else in modern society are a daily and nightly dietary staple is nothing less than abuse. The duration of my hangover this weekend is plain evidence of the gin-gaps in my upbringing. I know, I know, I shouldn't go blaming my parents for my problems. But I do. And I hope you understand why I can't share in a martini or three after a plate of gosht vindaloo. A little understanding would have saved me, back when I was a little girl.

My time has passed. I leave it to you to raise your children and your cups in the manner they should be raised. No person should ever have to go through what I've been through. I stand before you, a woman almost thirty years old, give or take, deprived and deeply ashamed.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lexington, Kentucky


Just as I was about to head out the door, my phone rang. It was Matty, who wanted to get a piece of fudge and a diet coke. I picked him up at his apartment, then we sat down at a pizza place to talk for a bit. These days, Matty is like a bite of cake to me, a small, sweet dose.

And now, I can't remember what we talked about. The events of the evening must have erased the events of the afternoon. I know that I returned the videos Matty'd loaned me, then I withdrew some money from the ATM, gave Matty a hug good-bye, and hopped on a bus, only to discover I'd left my ATM card in the machine.


I stepped off the bus in Bernal Heights, where my friend Dahliafully was waiting. She'd contacted me at the exact moment that I needed a friend. Coincidences like these are sort of rare, but they give us a reason to thank god.

We hiked down to The Mission for Guatemalan food, and afterwards we searched Mission Street for a bar. I noticed a man up ahead of us, who was cutting across the sidewalk at a funny angle. He was shouting, and in his hand he held a Corona bottle as though it was a piece of razor-sharp glass. It wasn't, though. It was intact, and half full of beer. Another man, who was dressed all in white, reached into his pants. Then I glimpsed the butt of a gun.

My first instinct was to walk past the two men and pretend that nothing was happening. It's a reaction of blind fear. For some reason, my mind tells me that if I pretend very hard that something doesn't exist, I'll wake up from this dream I'm having. I wish it wasn't a reflex. It makes me feel about as smart as a farmyard chicken.

Dahlia pulled me through a doorway and into a narrow restaurant. It was a very different world in there; everyone looked up from their plates, and they seemed so small, so sweet, blinking up at us, some holding their forks out in front of them. At the far end of the restaurant, behind a glass counter, stood two women. One of them said that everything was all right, which was sort of funny, as I don't think she knew what was transpiring just outside the door. She said it again, and hearing it made me feel safer.

When things on the street seemed quieter we ventured back out, and for the rest of the evening we walked around, peeking into doorways. The whole time I could feel it in my stomach, as if I'd swallowed that gun.

That was yesterday. Today is brand new.

I rose late in the morning and hiked over a couple of streets to see if I could catch part of the Bay to Breakers, an annual footrace through the streets of San Francisco. Instead, I saw hordes of drunk kids and a litter of smashed Dixie cups. I stopped by a corner market and picked up some produce to get me through the week. Most of the fruit I found there was either very hard or very soft. I squeezed peaches and lemons and grapefruits until I'd collected an assortment of things that were reasonably pliable. At the counter I had to wait in line behind three other groups, who were buying six-packs of beer.

I think I'm falling out of love with this city.


Are you the favorite person of anybody?

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day, Mofos.

Here's hoping that yours was just lovely, unlike mine, as this year I didn't receive any presents, nor did I get a card or phone call. No, the selfish children I never had did not remember me this year. When I think back on the nine months I didn't carry my children, the vomit I did not puke up every morning, the grueling hours of labor I didn't suffer at their expense, and the man I didn't stay with until they were old enough to move out of the house I did not buy with my hard-earned money —

I didn't wallow in self-pity this Mother's Day, though I had every right to. Instead, I slept in late. And since nobody thought to bring me breakfast in bed, I got up and made my own oatmeal with sliced apricots and coffee, black. Not.

It's nothing new. For the past twenty years of my life I haven't stolen out of bed before everyone else, slipped into my housecoat, and prepared a healthy meal with my loving hands, come rain or shine. Nobody depended on me to do so. It was a small sacrifice that I did not make, prompted by a mother's love, which I lack entirely.

When I undress at night and notice the stretch marks that don't form rivulets of scars on my once-distended breasts and abdomen, I don't rejoice in the absolute miracle of my fertile womb, perhaps because I do not have one.

Yes, it is the thought that counts, and maybe next year the babies I didn't give birth to will remember the woman who didn't bother to have them. A little thanks is all I ask on this one day of the year. Thanks in the form of presents. In truth, I'll just throw away the cards without reading them, should I ever receive them. But not before I've looked to see if there's any cash inside the envelopes.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Things I Haven't Been Asked To Do

I have things that I guess I should be doing, but today I'll continue to do only those things I haven't been asked to do, like looking into store windows and drinking tea in cafés.

Right now I'm at this place on Haight called Café International. The barristas were nice enough to provide me with an extension cord so I could sit out here, on this funny little patio, squished between two very tall buildings. If I look up, I see a small patch of sky, and from one of the apartments above me I can hear angry shouts. There's a man standing out on his fire escape, speaking Chinese into his cell phone.

Today I managed to mail off my mother's present on time. Matty helped me pick out the card — the most expensive one in the store. On the front is a pair of origami slippers. About the present: it's a secret. Yes, it's a book. That's all I'm going to tell you.

On my way to mail off my mother's present I cut through Dubose Park, where, at the bottom of a rolling grassy hill, I saw a circle of people chanting and clapping their hands while at the head of the circle, three men played instruments I'd never seen before. At the center of the circle, two people kicked, flipped, and rolled. From a distance they appeared to be fighting, and this alarmed me. I've always been repelled by people who cheer on a fight rather than try to prevent it.

But when I got in closer and figured out that they were performing a choreographed dance. I felt drawn to the sight, and I think I was happy. Yes, I was happy.

I'm trying very hard to allow myself the space to think. Lately, I haven't been too sure in my thoughts. That is, if you asked me what I think, I would probably give a very long answer that changes directions many times during the course of it. Lately, conversation has been difficult and I feel this disconnect. I hope next week is different.