Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Talking to Strangers

"Where the hell have you been?" I hear you demand, clamoring for a fix of my wit and wisdom like a junkie at the methodone clinic. It's been a week since I last posted, perhaps the longest I've gone without writing since I started this diary. But I came up with a topic to discuss on Thursday, and I have been puzzling it over ever since.

Lest you think I've been perched here with a furrow in my brow and a big question mark over my head for a week, I have also been playing Sims at work instead of blogging, watching movies in bed instead of blogging (VHS is so cheap now, I picked up But I'm A Cheerleader, Character, Love and Human Remains, Total Eclipse, Dead Man on Campus, and Urbania for under $40), going to Court functions instead of blogging, going to the gym (for forty minutes of cardio every day... and I gained two pounds) instead of blogging, and window-shopping instead of blogging. But despite my neglect, the question remains to be discussed.

And so I started writing yesterday, but I was unable to concentrate long enough to write more than a paragraph every hour. I've been having this concentration problem all week, unable to read for very long, unable to do any work, unable to do much of anything except play with the Sims. Maybe it's the Sims sapping my strength. Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe it's just ennui.

So anyway, here's my percolating-for-five-days problem: What do you say to a person you just met? Even worse, what do you say to a person to whom you haven't even been introduced yet, a complete and utter stranger? How do you walk up to someone you don't know (and who doesn't know you) and just start talking? Even if you have been introduced by a mutual acquaintance and you know each-other's names and a little bit about each-other, how do you maintain a conversation?

It occurred to me, as I was pondering why I haven't been enjoying these larger Court functions, that I always get bored if I have no one to talk to. I usually bring Caroline and/or Angelique to these functions, so it's not like I have nobody to talk to at all... but they go off on their own and talk to other people and do other things, leaving me sitting at the table like a big old lump on a log. A glittering and well-accessorized lump, but a lump just the same.

As I was discussing this with Caroline, I bemoaned my inability to think of anything to say to people I've just met, the difficulty I have carrying on a conversation with strangers... for these events are all full of people, and I am often introduced to them, but I can't think of what to say to them after the introductions are through, and so they wander off and there I am alone again. Caroline looked at me a little crazy, being the sort of person who never hesitates to say whatever is on her mind to whoever happens to be standing nearby, and wondered, "Why don't you just ask them questions?" Then she rattled off three excellent conversation-starters, right off the top of her head, tailor-made for a Court function.

Well, it always pays to ask an expert... if you need to learn how to talk to strangers, you go to a gregarious extrovert. So I'm going to make little small-talk cheat-sheets bearing Caroline's pearlescent conversation-starters ("Do you go to many of these functions? How did you get involved in the Courts? Is your Court's Coronation/Ducal Ball anything like this one?"), and stash one in each of my purses. That still leaves the problem, though, of feeling comfortable talking to strangers.

Some pukeworthy pundit once stated that "a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet." But to me, a stranger is an enemy waiting to happen, someone who might hurt me, or to whom I may say something unforgiveably stupid, because we don't know each-other's boundaries or sore spots. Each new person is an opportunity to feel awkward and unworthy, waiting for a click that will make conversation easy, a click that seldom comes. Essentially, I am afraid of strangers, because you simply don't know what they're going to be like.

Perhaps it's a control issue. Underneath it all, I want everyone to like me, and I can't control whether or not they like me, no matter how nice and charming and witty I make myself, so it's best to blend into the wallpaper and not take a chance that they won't like me (thereby robbing them of the opportunity to like me, along with the opportunity to dislike me... hey, if it made sense, I wouldn't have spent a week puzzling over it). One can only control the conversations one has in one's own head; with friends of long standing, you can also predict how the conversation is going to go... as well as being able to rely on the fact that they must like you because they've stuck around for a while. Of course, almost all of my friends are the gregarious type, because they had to do all the work of getting to know me in the first place. If left to my own devices, I doubt I'd know anybody at all.

My sponsor, at times like this, usually encourages me to consider the causes of the issue... it turns out that underneath most of my idiotic phobias lies an actual traumatic experience. I'm the once-burned-twice-shy type, but I often supress the memory of what exactly burned me in the first place. Rejection is a painful experience, even to the most gregarious of souls, and I know there have been times when I have been rejected/disliked/hurt by strangers, and sometimes by people I know: for example, I think it was in the sixth grade that I stopped to talk to a girl I thought was my friend and was told to fuck off because she didn't want her new boyfriend to know she was friends with geeks like me, and twenty-four years later I still remember how much that hurt.

I suppose it happens to everyone, but a naturally gregarious person would most likely take it in stride and balm his hurt feelings by meeting someone else, someone nicer, with whom he can vilify the stranger that hurt him. But an ungregarious person, particularly if that person has low self-esteem to begin with, would most likely cradle the hurt to his bosom and retreat farther into his shell.

But the question remains, how does one overcome this problem? By practice, I suppose. You conquer your fears by acting them out over and over again until you're not afraid anymore. So I guess I am going to have to make a conscious effort to walk up to someone and ask him or her a question from my little flashcards... without worrying about whether or not the person will like me, whether or not the person will welcome the interruption, whether or not I think I want to get to know the person better. Just do it.

Scary shit. Do you, my beloved reader, have any advice to impart? Leave it in the comment box below.

On your way there, rest your eyes on this:

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What Is It?

Although I had a good time at Sacramento Coronation on Saturday, I'm starting to think that it might be a good rule of thumb to avoid activities that are impossible to explain to people who weren't there. I don't know how many times I have tried to explain what a Coronation (or Ducal Ball) is, with little success. Perhaps I simply don't understand what they're for, myself.

I told my coworker that Coronation is a big self-congratulatory party where the outgoing monarchs are lauded and made much of with a handful of performances and a whole lot of ceremony. Visiting courts, both Imperial and Grand Ducal, come and "walk," presenting themselves with all their titles to the local court with bowing and protocol and gift-giving. At the end of the night, the incoming monarchs are crowned. When you're not walking (which takes a lot of preparation but very little execution), you network with the other courts and drink, watch the command performances and the Candidate performances (some of which are fabulous, some of which are painful, some of which are surprisingly elaborate), and sometimes there's food and sometimes there's flirtation and sometimes there are jewelry vendors.

It's like Shriners for queens, I guess. But what is it all for? Why all the titles and protocol and walking? What purpose does it serve?

The Imperial Courts started off as a political organization of bar owners in San Francisco a million years ago, headed by the First Empress Ever (ahem, "Absolute Empress One"), Mama Jose the Widow Norton. The Court moved from civic power bloc to community support organization eventually, becoming rather more social than political. The Court spawned other Courts, which have since proliferated across the country, in many places branching into Grand Duchies as well as Empires in places where there are too many queens for one Court. They have mostly taken up fundraising as their purpose in life, or at least their ostensible purpose.

The real purpose, it sometimes seems, is to compete for fabulousness and fuss about with arcana. Expensive gowns (with and without trains, fur, beads, and/or feathers, more often than not custom made), immense jewelry (foot-deep necklaces and yard-tall tiaras costing hundreds or even thousands), towering wigs (sometimes so big the wearer can't turn her head), conspicuous largesse (tipping, buying drinks, giving snazzy gifts and commemoratives, etc.), these are all common sights in the Courts; many Court members are so enthralled with Protocol that they spend most of their time talking about how So-and-So defied Protocol by walking twice with two different courts, and how Whatsername neglected to hand in a protocol card for Whosiwhatsis and how angry Whosiwhatsis was even though she didn't tell Whatsername that she was coming, and how tacky it is that the reigning Empress of Wherever changed out of drag as soon as she was done walking and how awful that the reigning Grand Duke of Somewhere tricked with the reigning ICP of Somewhere Else (apparently you're supposed to be a paragon of decorum while reigning, but you can be a big sloppy slut when you're not)... and so on and so forth.

Sometimes as I'm sitting there, goggling at the jewels and listening to someone prate on about protocol, I sense a certain triviality to what we do. It is, in a sense, little more than showing off... showing off your ability to buy necklaces of paperweight-sized CZs, showing off your vast knowledge of the Court systems, and so on. And then there I am with my hideous competitive streak and my barely controlled shopping addiction... the Courts do good, but the good sometimes seems secondary to Keeping Up With the Joneses.

So why do I bother? I have to say that I enjoy seeing the conspicuous consumption (even if I do get struck with tiara-envy), and even a bad drag show is better than no drag show at all, and I love to be seen in my best and loveliest outfits. It's fun, even if it is a bit trivial and sometimes even slightly venal.

Still, I am glad that I'm done with Coronations and Ducal Balls for the time being... all that's left on the calendar, before our own Ducal Ball in July, are the Chico, Fresno, and Orange County Imperials... none of which I plan to attend (they're too far away for me, since I can't stay overnight). And of course we have local RGDC fundraisers to attend, the Decade Monarchs' "Return to Mother Goose" show next weekend and the "Mama Portugal Does 69" birthday show the week after, and then there's a Disco Show and a Duets Show and a couple of other things that I shall attend as Royal Crown Countess to the Twelfth Reign. Next year I won't have a title, and I can pick and choose what events to become involved in. That will be a relief.

So anyway...

I'm kind of exhausted today. After Coronation ended on Saturday night, we went out to Faces for the after-party so that Caroline could continue flirting with the Faces bartenders who had been serving at Coronation... and so I could see what Sacramento gay nightlife is like: it's very pretty (lots of people who look Abercrombie & Fitch models, many of whom were actually wearing Abercrombie & Fitch... Sacramento is very suburban, despite being the capital city of the state).

We left at a quarter to one, and then it's a two-hour drive home, and so I didn't get to sleep until nearly four... only to be waked at 8 a.m. to take the Grandmother to church. I took a nap after church and got to bed fairly early Sunday night, and after work yesterday I took another nap before dinner and got to bed fairly early... nevertheless, with all this napping and eight-hour-sleeping, I feel very very tired. There's an extra hour of sleep out there waiting, calling my name.

Or maybe it's the diet that's making me feel tired. When I put on my lovely lavender beaded backless gown for Coronation, a roll of extraneous flesh draped itself over the back of my bustier... aside from being unattractive, you never want loose skin rubbing against glass bugle-beads. It hurts. And since the theme of Coronation was "A XXX Night at the Chocolate Factory" (a sort of Willy Wonka theme), there was candy absolutely everywhere, in addition to a lavish buffet.

So on Sunday, coming down from a serious sugar high and rubbing my bead-abraded backflesh, I decided it was time to, first, fast for a day to flush my system (which I did yesterday, eating nothing but carrots and drinking juice until dinner time, when I had turkey and string beans), then cut out sugar and other carbs for a week, and, finally, go to the gym every day until I get back down to 200 lbs (or lower, I'm not picky). My body always resists these little health-crashes to which I occasionally subject it, but the resistance is always temporary and I usually feel better after a few days.

But until my body remembers that it can burn stored fat instead of recently-digested carbs, and until I get that extra hour of sleep back, my (slightly pudgy but still cute) ass is just draggin.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Dream Statements

So last night, or rather early this morning, I was dreaming I was staying in a dorm room in a college somewhere... I forget why. But the students in the dorm room asked me why I had gone to San Francisco State instead of UC Berkeley, which is a much more prestigious school and also closer to my house. I gave them the Official Version, that to get into UC I would have had to take another semester of French, another of Science, and have gone much deeper into debt on student loans than I am now... I have always said that UCB's English Department wasn't any better than SFSU's (and it may very well not be, it's not one of the departments that Berkeley is famous for), and so it wasn't worth the extra effort and expense.

They (the students in the dream) didn't believe that was all, so they pushed me until I also said that I preferred the more relaxed atmosphere of SFSU... being a non-prestige school, people weren't quite so wound up about their success-rates as they are at the more demanding UCB. I didn't want the competition, really.

But as I explained this to the college students, I let out a phrase that struck me so profoundly that it actually woke me up and I've been repeating it all morning, even in the dreams I had after I went back to sleep: I said "I would rather be a single star burning in the dark than to be eclipsed in a galaxy." My context was, I suppose, that I wanted to go to a non-prestige school so that my intellect would shine brighter among the mediocrities than it would at a prestigious school where I would be just one of a number of low-end geniuses in any given classroom. But I love the way my dream-self phrased it, it applies to so much more than just my college choice. It's kind of poetic, too.

So poetic, in fact, that I keep wondering if I've heard that phrase somewhere before. It doesn't sound like me.

I'm just glad I got the sleep. I haven't been sleeping well this week, it's been shockingly cold at night and I've been losing an hour or two every night, unable to get to sleep before 1 a.m. but with my alarm set at 8. This morning I let myself snooze a little longer than usual, so I feel a little better. Still, when I get tired like this, it colors the rest of my life, and makes me not like my life or myself very much.

Well, today is going to be a busy day. I have to go pick up my car at the shop (the rack part of the rack-and-pinion steering went flooey, and that's as technical as I can get), get snacks for the meeting at work this afternoon, write a lot of checks, make up and print an agenda for the meeting, and hopefully find time to get my nails done so it will be easier to hold a pen and take notes during the meeting. I'd really rather just get my car, get my nails done, and then come back here and get into bed for the rest of the day, but that's not going to happen. Oh, well.

I would rather be a single star burning in the dark than to be eclipsed in a galaxy...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I Wish I Were In Love Again

No more care, no despair,

I'm all there, now,

But I'd rather be ga-ga.

I think I've expressed this sentiment before, and I have definitely noticed the repeating pattern in my posts, but the other day I said it out loud... I miss being in love. One would think, given the spectacularly painful failures of all of my love-relationships, that I would be rather disinclined to enter that state again; but though I can always do without the frustrations and despairs I have suffered in the past, I crave the insane bliss of being in love to such an extent that it seems worth the price.

There's a particular satisfaction in having another person in the world who is more important to me than myself. Friends and family simply don't do the trick, nor does work or writing or performance or projects. I miss having a person to think about — not to think about how to get along with or how to best serve or how to get what I want from... but just to think about him, what I like about him, what I dislike about him but think is cute anyway, what's he doing, what's he thinking about, what's he wearing, what's he having for lunch. That thrill when the phone rings and it's him, seeing his face after an absence, studying him while he's working on something, reveling in his presence. It's sappy and stupid, but there it is.

There's nothing like being in love to take you out of yourself. And I guess that's what I want right now, to be taken out of myself.

I must be getting bored with myself. And why not? I'm pretty boring in many ways: I've been at this same job for six and half years, I've been living in the same room for almost ten years (not counting the other years I've spent in this room in childhood and adolescence), my blog has not changed appreciably in two years, and even though I keep getting different cars they are always the same color. My fiction-writing has not progressed one whit, except for the growing appreciation of how bad my fiction-writing has been. I have grown a great deal as a person, but all of the changes have been internal (with the exception of my fluctuating weight and increasingly grizzled hair) and not very interesting to me once accomplished.

Being of service to others is supposed to take you out of yourself, but all I seem to get from my service commitments is tired. Perhaps it's the "commitment" part... for while I certainly do achieve a certain amount of satisfaction from helping people and being of service, it seems that when it becomes formalized and people come to expect my service, it often loses whatever charm it possessed. Instead of being taken out of myself, I am shackled to myself with yet more odious chores.

But perhaps the problem is that I am confusing "getting out of myself" with "escaping myself." Escapism is not bad in and of itself, but it leads us into some ugly places... like alchohol, drug, shopping, and sex addictions. Most addictions come about when we are trying to get out of the boredom of being just ourselves and nothing more... we seek excitement, romance, luxury, and so on, from romance novels or from illicit sex, from a feel-good pair of shoes to a Visa-killing vacation, from a chocolate orgasm to a heroin high, just to forget for a little while that we're just ourselves... for just a moment to stop being plain old boring me.

Perhaps I should try loving myself, instead of wishing to fall in love with someone else. Nevertheless, I keep thinking that it might be easier to love myself if someone else were to fall in love with me... it's always easier to believe what others believe, isn't it?

Friday, April 9, 2004

Angst v. Apathy

I used to be apathetic,

but now I just don't care

Remember buttons? Though you can still get buttons, and people still wear buttons, they aren't quite the fad they were about ten or fifteen years ago... back in the late eighties and early nineties you used to could spend a good deal of time simply reading new acquaintances' jackets. Nowadays such witticisms are reserved for overpriced t-shirts that I never see anyone wearing but always enjoy reading in Castro or Telegraph store windows.

I used to have a green tweed sportcoat that was liberally crusted left and right with buttons and brooches of various sizes, each button bearing an amusing little saying or epithet or picture. There was a big white button with an excerpt from a gay porn novel on it, a jazzy pink one that read "Queen of Outer Space," a vivid yellow one that read "Eat Well, Stay Fit, and Die Anyway," a tiny green one from Venice picturing the lion of San Marco that I found on the sidewalk, and a medium-sized blue one that simply read "BITCH." And of course I had a number of pink triangles, one of which was worked into the American flag, as well as fan-pic buttons of Nick Rhodes, David Bowie, and Cyndi Lauper to name but three. But my favorite one was the one cited above, "I used to be apathetic, but now I just don't care" (followed closely by "I'd probably like you better if your head were on a stick").

I was thinking of this yesterday as I lay on the living room floor, sort of shell-shocked, trying to digest Bowling for Columbine. Yes, I know, I must be the last left-leaning person in the free world to see this film, but you know I've never really been cutting-edge and have always had a strong aversion to documentaries. But my nephew had to watch it for some class of his, and he's picked up my horrible habit of buying things cheap instead of renting them, and so we have a DVD copy of the film laying around the house... and since I was also laying around the house and had nothing better to do, I popped it into the machine and had a look-see.

Of course, I was appalled. I don't think anyone could watch this film without being appalled. I'm sure that was Mr. Moore's intent: he meant to appal. And as I lay there being appalled, I absolutely longed for those bygone days when my relationship with news, information, and politics was one of complete and comfortable apathy. I had no idea what was going on in the world, outside of the spheres of fashion and entertainment or my own social and family circles, and I simply couldn't care less.

Nevertheless, I always voted, considering it my solemn civic duty from the time I turned eighteen. But I tended to not investigate candidates or issues very deeply, basing my decisions on the voters' sample ballots and my own psychic impressions of the personalities involved. Of course, in the days before the Information Superhighway, there wasn't that much to investigate... unless you could stand watching TV news and reading news magazines, personal appearance was all we had. I'm almost (but not quite) sorry to say that I often voted Republican in those days, simply because the personalities of the Republicans were more reassuring and stately than the Democrats, who often came off as whiney and shifty (they still do, to an even greater extent now that their powerbase has been so thoroughly undermined by terror and third-parties, but in the current atmosphere I find myself preferring whiney-and-shifty over belligerent-and-shifty).

What Bowling for Columbine did, though, was remind me that the Republicans are not the only warmongers among us. I had forgotten about all the deadly international meddling that went on during the Clinton Administration, where US "peacekeeping" troops went around killing civilians in Eastern Europe and Central America and Africa. Well, I didn't forget the events, I hadn't forgotten that it happened, but I hadn't ever before linked those events in my mind to the Democratic Clinton Administration. Clinton's foreign policy was by no means any better than Dubya's or his daddy's, characterized by continuous flip-flopping and media misdirection and literally fatal intelligence mistakes.

The only difference, as far as I can see, is that the Bush wars seem more organized and have much better PR. The Bush motives are more transparent, and their operations are more transparent. Evil, certainly, but visible to the naked eye. We no longer refer to our killing of civilians as "peace-keeping" (though just imagine how peaceful the world would be if everyone were dead)... we come right out and call it "war." It's still wrong, but at least it's a little more honest.

What really grills my asparagus, though, is how blind my countrymen (and family members) are to this perfectly transparent and very-nearly-honest evil. Why should the corporation that Vice President Cheney used to chair be given a multi-billion-dollar contract to rebuild a country with which we are at war? Well, why shouldn't it? is the question with which the first question is supposed to be answered (the current media/government style seems to delight in answering specific questions with vague questions, as if your ignorance of the answers should prevent you from asking the questions in the first place).

Doesn't anyone see an inherent conflict of interest there? Doesn't anyone know what a system of checks and balances is for? Doesn't anyone care that government programs like welfare and Medicare are being privatized, that even the idealistic social work that government is supposed to conduct is being turned over to profiteers? Don't people get that a corporate mentality and actual coporate operators are taking over our government? Don't people understand that profit-motive has no place in institutions of education, social care, or government?

Deep breath. I get overwrought sometimes.

Anyway, the point is that I miss not caring about all of this (...we can never go back to before). I miss being able to sigh a fatalistic "Ho-Hum" and go back to the current issue of Vogue. This frustration from feeling unable to change things, this anxiety that things are actually going to get worse instead of either getting better or muddling along as they are, this anger that people can actually be so stupid and evil (and I really do believe that stupidity and evil are two sides of the same coin), it all roils around in my heart and makes me terribly unhappy.

But there is always hope. I hope that this climate of media-driven terror will dissipate, that Americans will return to (or begin) thinking about things logically instead of merely reacting, I hope that The People will eventually realize that they are being led around at the nose by corporations that have absolutely no moral compunctions, I hope that diplomacy will someday be allowed to do what self-serving commerce and destructive war cannot. I'll keep on hoping, too, and working for change, and voting my conscience.

Still, I'd rather have not known, I'd rather I didn't care so much. Life could have been a dream.

Sh-boom, sh-boom, sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na.

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

You're No Fun

The above phrase is very popular in my immediate family, generally used when someone doesn't want to do the idiotic and ill-fated thing that you want to do. "Let's go down to the five-and-dime and steal something like in Breakfast at Tiffany's" my Mother might suggest some dull Sunday afternoon; "Aren't you on probation or something?" level-headed me might answer; "You're no fun," Mother would have pouted...

...if that exchange had ever happened. Mother never makes film references, and I was an adult and had little to do with her when she finally got around to getting arrested and probated for her little "shenanigans." Perhaps if I had been around during my adulthood, she might have asked me if I wanted to come along with her when she drove down to Modesto on her suspended-eternally-for-DUI driver's license, crossing two county lines and thereby violating the parole she received for assaulting a Tuolomne County sherriff, in order to buy a baggie of crank from an undercover cop; and had she asked me along for such a thing, I would no doubt have refused — I mean, aside from the illegality of such a trip, Modesto is one of the many armpits of our state and on warm days it smells like urine. And so, when I declined to aid and abet her in violating her suspended license and her parole in one trip to buy drugs from a narc in a pee-smelling town, if in fact such a scene were even remotely possible, she would have pouted and said, "You're No Fun."

And I suppose it would be true. Sometimes I look at myself through the eyes of a more adventurous (or heedless) person and wonder how I can be so practical, so cautious, so boring, so unbearably lame. Yes, I indulge in frivolity quite frequently, but it is always harmless frivolity, inconsequential frivolity, safe frivolity. The direst consequences of my kind of frivolity is that I might get overtired and catch a cold or might have to pay interest on my credit-card balance if I overspend myself at the mall.

During a discussion with my nephew recently, I found my practical side rearing its ugly but neatly-groomed head. He asked me the famous hypothetical question about what five items I would want if I were to be stranded on a desert island, and without hesitation I answered: 1) a boat, fairly large and enclosed; 2) someone who knows how to drive the boat back home, preferably cute; 3) sufficient fuel to make the boat bring me home; 4) sufficient food to eat during the trip; and 5) a working computer with internet connection to while away the time.

There are two possible responses to such a party-crashingly practical answer: either "You're No Fun," or a continuing discussion to find out what is most important to you in the world, further legalizing the conversations with rules (like those sneaky genies who won't let you wish for more wishes), such as you have to stay on the island and/or have to be alone on the island, and then what five items would you want... which is the tack my nephew took, to further the conversation. I gave it some thought and answered again: 1) some porn; 2) some lube; 3) a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (or a good box of chocolates); 4) a thermos of coffee; and 5) a loaded gun with which to end my life on a high note, because who in his right mind would want to spend years and years completely alone on a goddamned desert island with only five things?

This all comes to mind as I sit here in my darkened room being an old fuddy-duddy. I'm on vacation for Spring Break, you see, and while college and high-school students from all over the country are flocking to Palm Springs, Daytona Beach, and other MTV-covered hotspots, I am immured at home, catching up on my sleep and reading. And that's not just my age talking... when I was young, you never would have caught me in a hotspot on Spring Break, you would have found me right here in this same room doing the same thing (except that when I was in high-school, there was no internet, and blogs weren't invented until well after I left college, so I would have had to write all this to you in a letter).

I have always stopped myself short of doing things that might have consequence, such as getting a tattoo or driving drunk or opening a joint bank account with someone I might break up with or moving far enough away from home that I couldn't easily get back. Prudence has always been my middle name.

Well, not always... when I was fifteen I did something that had consequences: I stole my grandfather's credit cards and carefully made it look like he'd lost them, and then got caught with them while shoplifting a black snakeskin envelope-clutch handbag that went so well with the black-and-white silk dress and black fox-tail-trimmed cape I'd just bought with Grandpa's stolen Emporium-Capwell card (I would have charged it, too, but the service was too slow and I was in a hurry). And of course my nonperformance in public school had consequences aplenty.

But none of these consequences were lasting. Sure I got no allowance for two years as I paid back the money for the things that couldn't be returned, and Grandmother didn't trust me any further than she could throw me for quite some time; and when I finally did start back into my education, I was able to completely erase my high-school performance by performing well in community college. So all I lost were two years of trust and seven years of youth (and the youth wasn't a complete loss, I "sowed my wild oats," what little there were of them, so I didn't have to waste time in college on being young).

Of course there was a certain amount of luck involved: I was lucky I didn't pick up any diseases while I was sowing my oats (and reaping the oats of others), I was lucky I never got hurt when I was wandering home drunk of an evening. But the rest of my lack of consequences was purely due to that little voice in my head that stopped me from doing things that had consequences: Miss Prudence.

Prudence and practicality are classic Capricorn traits, so I suppose I should just accept the written-in-the-stars inevitability of those traits and try to enjoy them. They have stood me in good stead, certainly (it's nice to be this age and have no children, no divorces, no serious debts, no diseases, and no tattoos), and have been beneficial to my friends and family as well (because you know perfectly well that I never keep good advice to myself).

It is not Miss Prudence, though, who prevents me from doing things that other people consider fun, like going to hotspots on Spring Break. It is part laziness, part homebodiness, and part poverty. I need the rest, and yesterday I took such an incredibly deep nap that I actually dreamed I was taking a nap while I was taking a nap, thereby increasing exponentially my napping accomplishment. And going on trips is so seldom restful to me, there is always something to do and see in a new place, as well as all the hassle of getting there and back. Not to mention the expense... my frivolities of late have left me with very little in the kitty to take Spring Break trips with.

So here I sit, not partying, or even vacationing in the proper sense of the word, just laying about and reading (I'm now on my third novel of the week, The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne, and enjoying it immensely) and watching movies and eating and sleeping. It's who I am.

And in the meantime, I can pretend to be the sort of person who goes places on Spring Break, without any of the hassle. And I can watch MTV's Spring Break coverage. Still, I wouldn't mind being in the vicinity of this sort of thing for a few days (if I had comfortable accomodations and didn't have to walk very far to get to it):

Friday, April 2, 2004

Crotch = Funny

Yesterday, when I got home from a long and soul-destroying day at the office, I was feeling tired and depressed... weary, really. I couldn't bear the thought of a whole evening with nothing but housework to do, nothing but television to watch. So I pulled right back out of the driveway and drove down to Silver Screen Video to buy a panacea on VHS or DVD. I bought four VHS tapes and two DVDs, and after dinner I retired to my room to revel in my purchases.

Since I'd bought four tapes, and it was four hours from bedtime, I figured I couldn't watch all of them, so I should divide my new purchases into two double-features, and watch one pair (the DVDs were out of the question, since the living room with the DVD player was filled with the Grandmother watching Dr. Phil).

My choices were: the critically-acclaimed and Oscar-winning drama The Hours, which paired naturally with the lush costume drama The Wings of the Dove based on the decadently grim Henry James novel of the same name; or else National Lampoon's Van Wilder which paired so well with the equally sophomoric American Wedding.

But like I said, I was already weary, so I wasn't about to overload my low-end-genius (see previous post) brain with a lot of intellectual stimulation. I therefore submerged myself in three hours of potty-humor and had a wonderful time. So many dick jokes! So many fake boobies! So much projectile vomiting! So many references to anal penetration! So much barely-repressed homoerotic rage! So much fecal matter, pubic hair, and dog-semen in inappropriate places! The unbearable cuteness of Ryan Reynolds and Seann William Scott! It was a balm to my soul.

So now you know my dirty little secret. I love sophomoric movies full of dopey high-school or college guys trying desperately to get laid and embarrassing themselves at every turn. Porky's I, II (The Next Day) and III (Porky's Revenge), Get Over It, Weird Science, Revenge of the Nerds, PCU, Spring Break, Dude Where's My Car, American Pie I & II, Road Trip (really, any movie with Seann William Scott in it), The Last American Virgin, Can't Hardly Wait, Scary Movie, An American Werewolf in Paris, Whatever It Takes, and so on and so forth.

These lewd and silly comedies speak to me in a way that more subtle humor cannot (and often have really good soundtracks, too). I laugh loud and long, and don't have to think about why I'm laughing or what I'm laughing at. These films also tend to have more than the usual share of really good-looking young men in them; and more often than not, one if not all of those really good-looking young men end up partially or fully nude at one point or another... anyone who knows me and this website knows that I am a bit of a crack-addict when it comes to the male anatomy.

So, any other fans of sophomoric humor out there? Have any suggestions of films I haven't seen yet? Particularly film with long-drawn-out locker-room shower scenes? Those are my faves!