A call to arms
Thursday, June 29, 2006, 6:28 PM
On September 11, 2006, I will be one of 2,996 bloggers who will write a tribute to a victim of 9/11.
This is a project headed by D. Challenger Roe, who is asking for volunteer bloggers to honor one person out the 2,996 lost on 9/11 with a tribute this coming September 11th. I thought it was a wonderful idea, and I signed up to both promote it and to remember one of the people lost that day.
Once I signed up, I was e-mailed the name Joseph J. Coppo, a municipal bond trader who was at the World Trade Center that day. With Mr. Coppo's name came a number of helpful links that gives me some of the background on who he was, so it's not like I'm flying blind here. I bet D. Challenger Roe sends this kind of research with each name sent to volunteers. It's a worthy project and I hope you'll be one of the 2,996.
I know my tribute will be the most difficult, most important post I'll write here at Unhinged.
It'll also be the easiest.
For everything else ...
A ride on the Metro: $1.25
Co-pay for the shrink: $10
Hamburger at Wolfgang Puck's: $12
One month's subscription to Netflix: $19.47
Hair color (not a hair trim, 'cause that's $150 extra) at Sally Hershberger: $350
Bouncing back after being slammed in the stomach by a 2x4: painful, but priceless
I'm just sayin'.
Why having kids is dangerous
Before there were ATMs, there was the drive up window at the bank, and Dum-Dum suckers. Oogie would get her next couple week's worth of cash and me and Rhonda would get suckers.
When we were kids, Rhonda and I liked trying to sell our old toys, rocks or donated goods from Oogie. We'd hold kiddie garage sales on the apartment lawn that faced the main street. We'd even offer free Country Time lemonaide as a way to sucker people over.
"I don't go shopping to feed the neighborhood," Oogie would say. She loved her Country Time.
Well, but, we weren't FEEDING them, I'd want to say. Just offering them something to DRINK. Sheesh.
It quickly became evident, though, that there was no demand for our supply. Nobody wanted a ping pong paddle without the ball (but it'd make a good paddle for your kids, we'd say), shiny rocks we'd chipped off from the side of the clubhouse (the landlord loved us, he really, really did), or gently used Cherry Bomb nail polish.
So we decided to go door-to-door. If they wouldn't come to us, we'd go to them. Nobody had even heard of no solicitation back then. But first, we needed money because what if someone bought a five dollar rock with a ten dollar bill? We'd need to make change.
Oogie liked napping on the couch on Sunday afternoons, which made it easy for us to break into the Oreos or her purse. We grabbed a bunch of one dollar bills and headed off for our first big sale of the day--the apartment building across the parking lot. We would have crossed the street, but we weren't allowed.
We got lucky. We knocked on the door of a sympathetic woman who thought we were cute. She was interested in buying the Cherry Bomb and two Oreos, and she had a five dollar bill. So I carefully counted out two one dollar bills to give back to her.
She took them and gasped. "Honey, where did you get this?"
"From my mommy."
"I doubt that," she said. "Lets go see her, shall we?"
So we trooped across the parking lot and woke Oogie, whose gentle napitude morphed into one of horror at the woman's words.
"Your girls are going door to door with a hundred dollar bill. I assume it's yours."
We were sent to our bedroom without the Oreos. And even though she began hiding her purse from us, it was a long time before Oogie took a nap again.
Peeing on tape
She ruined my song, but I have to admit that her words added a certain nuance to the Halloween party I'd recorded the song for.
But before that, there was uncensored sounds from the john, which involved:
The tape recorder.
One trigger-happer soul who had to pee.
The object was to capture the most entertaining bathroom act. No sound was ommitted.
The door closes with a bang. Maybe softly. It depended on the recorder's mood, really.
Is that a zipper? It might be from a Levi's pair of jeans, maybe a Lee's, but it's definitely female because there's a whoosh of material and everyone knows guys don't have to pull their pants down to pee, the bastiges.
A whomp, a sigh.
A sigh of bliss? Was that what that was?
Another sigh. Maybe the sound of the toilet paper roll. Maybe the sound of a newspaper or magazine.
Giggle. (Because listeners can't see you with elbows on your knees, grinning down at your feet that are encircled in whitewashed denim. Your socks are coming off at the ankles and you laugh freely, demonically. Ah, life's little joys.)
A well-timed fart was all. Something your bored audience wasn't expecting and after all, the name of the game was to take 'em by surprise, to make them laugh, to make them feel as if they were in there with you.
I'm not sure who started this craze, but soon the whole 'hood was doing it. Me. Rhonda. Tracy. Jeff. Gail. Oogie. Pat. Chris. Eric. Nancy. Ron. Kids, teenagers, adults! That's what made it so great ... that everyone saw the quirky craziness of it all.
How unique was your bathroom experience?
And were you up to sharing it with the rest of us?
God, we had fun. I want to cry remembering the fun we had, and my heart breaks at the thought that these tapes aren't around today. It's stupid, it's crazy, it's embarrassing, but it's history. It was us on tape, for all posterity. Who can beat that?
Who'd want to?
Take your judgements and bury 'em under your liver pate. Deep.
I'm going pee.
Why vanity is a sin
How traumatic is this for an eleven-year-old girl? Catastrophic.
The only thing worse would have been peeing my pants or barfing on the floor in the middle of class. Maybe wearing the retrainer was forging my spine of butter into something stiffer, like mashed potatoes without the milk, but at the time it just felt like all hell breaking loose. I would have rather been left to chew gum and caramel with my crooked teeth because when you're a kid, individuality is taboo. Back in the late 70s, you didn't see many kids with braces or retainers.
And like every kid, I wanted to fit in. To be chosen during Rockin' Robin, the roller skating dance of love during the late 70s and early 80s. The girls would line up on one side of the roller rink's wall and the guys would line up on the other. From there, we would eye each other shyly, slyly, embarrassingly, covetingly. To be chosen was all--it was the pinnacle of roller skating happiness and made you the envy of the rest, a feeling that followed me into my dreams.
I remember standing with hip outthrust, a coquettish grin on my face. Everyone said my smile was a killer, probably because I didn't smile that often. I was tall for my age and slightly crazed like all eleven and twelve-year-olds are. And I'd left my retainer back on one of the tables, wrapped neatly in a napkin. I was free! Nevermind that little-to-no talking went on during the single trip around the roller skating rink, but I couldn't risk the thing popping out like a Jack In The Box. I had a conquest to make. Heartbreaking and rollerboogie to do.
I felt sorry for the boys who never got to rest or revel at being chosen the way the girls did, because once the girls completed their turn around the floor with the boy who chose them, they headed like a strip of velcro for the wall, leaving the boys to have to choose again to keep the dance going. But I was never brave enough to keep going after the whistle blew, to beckon to the one of the boys who stood along the opposite wall waiting to skate. I'll always be sorry about that. Oh, if only. I know now that the boys wanted to be chosen as much as the girls did, but back then? I would have rather got a tooth pulled than to ask a boy out onto the skating floor.
Later, I discovered that someone at the rink was extra busy that night about throwing away the trash on the tables. Imagine my surprise when I found out that my napkin-wrapped retainer was gone, the horror, the butterflies in my stomach. How could I feel such loss over something I routinely wished to Kingdom Come? And what was I going to tell my mother?
That someone stole it.
For some reason, she didn't believe me. I caved and confessed that I'd wrapped it in a napkin and left it on the table, that someone had thrown it away, and couldn't she just buy me another? I was embarrassed and sorry and would never do it again! But she made me go back into the skating rink and dig through the trash to find it. I even had to explain to the people there what I was doing and why. Pretty soon all of us were looking for it. And when it was found, I ran for the car like a devil's imp was on my heels.
Vanity must be a sin because it's embarrassing as hell.
When Spence moved into our apartment neighborhood, he took us kids by storm. He worked out, he had long dark hair, green eyes and a smile that made my pulse do the funky chicken. He drove a maroon Nova with a loud muffler. It had wide tires with very white walls. Remember white walls?
He was named after our favorite store, Spencer Gifts, the place with the fake dog doo, the Whoopie Cushion and the naked people cards. Way. No way. Spence was like a god and he was just a few doors away. He was an adult--twenty-one or twenty-two, which is ancient to a kid--and he'd open his front door and talk to us.
"Don't you kids have bikes to ride? Homework to do? Fires to start?"
He paid us to wash his car, his baby, a position no woman had yet usurped. "Five bucks if those walls are still white when you're done," he used to joke. But he was serious because white-wall tires were the gas, man. Five bucks bought a lot of Pixie Stix, so we scrubbed them tires good. I always payed special attention to the driver's side tire, hoping Spence would single me out as the most likely candidate for Spencerly Womanhood.
Sometimes he reluctantly let us in his apartment. "I don't do skinned knees," he'd say. "No, you can't have a cigarette. Yes, those plants are my only curtains."
As far as Tracy, Rhonda and I were concerned, all of this elevated him from goober barneydom to a pychedelic homey, yo. So of course we had to spy on him. He only had houseplants for curtains, so it was like he was inviting it. One of those tiered plantholder jobbies sat in front of his glass patio windows, with a couple of stragetically-placed hanging plants. It was nothing a trio of inventive kids couldn't overcome.
So we did -- one Saturday night when all of our parents were out at some place called The Cat's Meow where they used to hold dance contests ala Dance Fever. Jeff, the eldest of us kids, told us that Spence was bringing a girl home. It was after eleven at least (we'd bribed the sitter with some of Oogie's vodka) when I climbed on top of Tracy's shoulders, pulled on one of mom's long raincoats, then went stagger-walking into the Night. Tracy couldn't make it all the way down the sidewalk to the next building with me on her shoulders, which was a bummer because there were lots of windows I could have peeked in and seen all kinds of Unspeakable Acts. Still, just the thought of that scared me even more than what I already was because I was pretty sure our Peephood was going to cost us our lucrative car washing stint if Spence caught us. And sore white wall-scrubbing muscles or not, I wanted my Pixie Stix and Hubba Bubba.
I was outvoted that night, though, which was why I sat on Tracy's shoulders feeling like I was going to barf as I leaned in close for a look into Spence's patio doors. It's funny that I was the least interested in seeing what was going on, but I was the one who was going to get the eyefull. Only it was too dark to see anything but plant leaves outlined in black against the blue glow of the fish aquarium. I didn't know whether to feel relieved or disappointed. And suddenly it didn't matter because there was a growling sound behind me.
I screamed, Rhonda screamed and ran, then Tracy screamed and dumped me against the patio glass. I tore the screen door clear off its hinges as Jeff continued to growl somewhere beyond the patio while Spence and his girl, if they'd been anywhere near first base at all, probably had the Mood driven right of them. Or maybe the night's antics spurred them to greater heights. Who knew? Not us kids, that's for sure; we hit the town of Timbuktu inside of five minutes after all hell broke loose.
Spence only lived in the 'hood for a year, but I'm sure he misses us still. Kinda.
They’re at it again. The lesbirds (short for lesbian love birds). Something about wearing clothing too tight this time. You look like a ho! and No, I look like every other girl in LA, only I’ve got bigger boobs. I wonder how long they’ve been together. I wonder how much longer they will be, although my real interest lies in how much longer the neighbors might have to suffer.
Peds in Danger
Reads like a documentary, doesn't it?
Another pedestrian almost bit it tonight at that one dangerous intersection. Lured by the smells coming from the café, the ped (another male) was halfway across the street when an oncoming SUV must’ve realized whoa, obstacle in street! and braked just in the nick. I heard the tire screech, glanced over to see the bumper of the SUV maybe a foot—if that—away from the guy’s hips. Then, I saw a black Porche brush its lip hair against the butt hair of the SUV. Meaning they almost traded a kiss, awwwww. The ped who could’ve ended up in my lap shook his head at me and I nodded.
Yuh-huh, it's a dangerous woild in which we walkith.
Meanwhile, I've decided never to cross a street again. This chick will be quite happy on her own side of the road. It’s L freaking A. Whatever's on the left side of the road will also be on the right.
No, I don’t do north/south or east/west. Who do you think I am, a geologist?
The Lake House. Keanu Reeves. Unrequited love. June 16th.
Need I say more? Except ... psst. Keanu's ready to get married. Have kids.
So I'm taking off work early on Friday to go meet with him and, uh, you know. (I wonder if he'd settle for cats and dogs instead.)
If I was going to one, I’d bring twice-baked potatoes with lots of sour cream, cheese and green onions.
I’ve been here for just over a year now. I flew in for good—to stay—on a Friday, last May 28th. It feels like I just arrived yesterday, yet at the same time it feels that I’ve been here forever. Who knows if that’s good or bad. I take it one day at a time.
Do you think they're lactose-intolerant?
Give me at least one angsty character, one not-so-angsty character (because two will be overkill) with believable attraction chemistry, and a MAJOR roadblock to keep them apart. In most of my favorite love-type stories, the romance becomes secondary and the plot becomes the focus ... which drives me perfectly crazy and keeps me hankering for more.
* The cable TV series La Femme Nikita, which is based on the French movie Nikita, which spawned the American film Point Of No Return. (So you know it's gotta be good.) At the center of the series were Michael and Nikita. I first saw them late one night during the Sydney Summer Olympics when I was channel-surfing. I came across what is commonly known by LFN fans as the hand dance. It was the episode called ESCAPE and this particular scene showed a wary Nikita and an impassive Michael slow-dancing that began by Michael trying to seduce Nikita with the touch of his hands. And ... it looked as if they were afraid to touch. Which I learned had more than a grain of truth as I began watching the series. Michael and Nikita were allowed to have sex only under orders.
Excuse me while I fan myself.
* The TV show, Alias', which came after La Femme Nikita's run (and ripped the holy hell off of LFN). In any case, the show's most interesting romantic couple wasn't the main lead, Sydney and her guy of choice, but her parents: CIA agent Jack Bristow and KGB assassin Irina Derevko. The Jack/Irina relationship began with treachery, since Irina originally married Jack under orders so that she could spy on him. Their strong emotional bond was just fascinating, especially when they were trying to kill each other. Talk about a major roadblock in the way of love. And I love it.
* My So Called Life, a TV show hailed by critics and for reasons that continue to stump me today, largely ignored by viewers. The smartest, shyest boy in Angela's class (Brian) has had a crush on her since they were kids. They live next door to each other and used to be best friends. That is, until they begin high school and Angela decides to cultivate new friendships because she's young and still has much to learn, part of which is learning who your true friends are. Also, she's developed a crush on the high school's hottie--I did, too because Jared Leto as Jordan was fine. (I also think it's interesting to note how much Jared Leto resembles Roy Dupuis, who played Michael in La Femme Nikita.)
Anyway, Angela couldn't see what was right in front of her nose (Brain, yell! make her hear you!) because she was broadsided by puberty and pretty boy endorphins. Along the way, magic happened in the show. I hate that it was cancelled after only one season.
* And ... like two characters living two years apart. Even better, Keanu Reeves. Another sexually-taut dream come to life as of this June 16th. When I first saw the previews for The Lake House, it made me think of The New Twilight Zone's episdode A Message From Charity where the love interests were living hundreds of years apart. It was one of my favorites because it posed the question of how much I'd ache inside being able to talk to someone I felt was my soulmate, someone I had to meet but couldn't because more than a hundred years separated us.
This is the kind of stuff that does it for me. It's what leads up to the point of sexual consummation that interests me, and the longer they make me wait for it, the bigger the obstacles that lie in the way, the better.
I turned down my TV at the time to better hear what was going on. Why not? If they were going to scream their dirty laundry at the four winds, I might as well get the full scope. As far as I could tell, the main jist of the argument was cigarette smoking and money. One girl smokes too many and the other makes too much.
And ... dirty word, dirty word, dirty word interspersed with bang, bang, bang! (Must've been the door. Over and over, just like Oogie would make me do when I slammed the door as a kid. God, it was so humiliating doing that, having to open and close the door quietly. Not once, but 20 times.) Someone slammed it closed one time after another.
I've never heard a lover's quarrel between two females before.
What annoyed me was the sound of the one girl's voice. She argued like she was on stage. Oh, she was effen pissed, but she gave her voice inflections, she emphased certain phrases. Not words, but phrases. Like, "Yeah, I make more money than you, damn it." And, "You always want a fucking cigarette."
I wanted to choke her and laugh while I was doing it.
I couldn't hear the other girl's words. She must have been the beta.
I have to say, though, that if I'd been two doors closer, I would have wanted a cigarette afterwards.