My dad is in town for a few days. He came to New York for a boring two-day business seminar and is staying on for the weekend just because it meant free airfare to come hang out with me. Aside from bringing me a suitcase full of CDs and iron-on letters and my skillet, his office put him up in a swank hotel with two queen-size beds and a giant bathtub, which means I get two whole nights’ worth of sleep on a bed that doesn’t deflate. He goes to bed early, so I spent most of last night reading in the bath, and then wrapped in a towel, reading on the marble bathroom floor. I was in heaven.
My dad is one of my very favorite people on the planet. He is quite possibly the tallest, nicest man who ever lived, and if you met him and told me you didn’t like him, I’d call you a filthy liar. He runs marathons and rides rollercoasters on his birthday and washes his car every Saturday, and gives sound financial advice and is an excellent dancer and is totally in love with my mom, and always has a peppermint in his coat pocket when you need one. He once a lost a tooth during a bar fight in Japan while he was in the Navy, but he doesn’t like telling that story. When I lived in Tulsa, my dad and I had lunch together every single Wednesday because that was taco salad day at the Presbyterian Church downtown, and we went running together by the river three times a week. When I finished my first mile, my dad sang the Rocky theme. Last night before he fell asleep he told me a joke about Abraham Lincoln, and when I woke up this morning as he was heading out the door for his meeting, he tossed me an orange and a newspaper. I’ve missed my dad.
The boss of me
I hereby decree that, should anything ever happen to me that renders me incapable of making my own decisions, Steve is to be put in charge of making them for me. Aside from being totally awesome all the time and constantly game for black eye target practice, Steve is wise and savvy beyond his years. Steve gives excellent insider advice and managed to clear up issues in 20 minutes that I’d been mulling over for months. Steve knows the kind of boys I like and the kind of music I like and the kind of drinks I like, and Steve knows I’d never wear Uggs or get a french manicure or cut my hair above my chin. More importantly, Steve knows that the only cure for my hiccups is a good hard slap across the face. From here on out, Steve is officially the emergency contact info boss of me.
They don’t love you like I love you
Things are so much better than they were a few months back, and I’m happy and really love living here, but sometimes I wish I had a portal so I could go back to Tulsa for important things, like Kate having her baby yesterday, or Erin getting a shipment of Seventeen magazines from 1991, or Julie removing a cyst from Jon’s finger over cocktails, or when Tony calls me drunk at one in the morning and shouts every inside joke we’ve ever shared in the eighteen years we’ve known each other and I just laugh until I can’t breathe and he yells, “You’re laughing! That’s a great SOUND, Sarah BROWN!” over and over until he runs into a bookcase and drops the phone and Emily takes over.
In other news, I’ve listened to “Maps” on repeat for about 900 times now. Someone should stage an intervention.
In other other news, I am so good at keeping secrets that someone should give me a medal, or at the very least, a certificate of some kind.
I was sitting in the waiting area of the temp agency, surrounded by four or five other people, all of us in job interview clothes, all of us filling out paperwork on clipboards, when all of the sudden the woman next to me yanked her pantleg up to her knee to reveal her naked calf and shin ENTIRELY COVERED IN BALLPOINT PEN PHONE NUMBERS. She glanced at her leg, yanked her pant leg back down, and then went back to writing on her clipboard. This happened a few more times, like she was cheating on a test, only the test was her name and address and social security number and work history. I just sat there with my mouth half-open and tried to catch someone’s eye, but no one else noticed. I’m still not sure if this made me want to move a seat away from her or become her best friend, but I do know it made my morning extra awesome.
Ballpoint Pen Leg Lady, this one’s for you.
What I Learned Tonight
If someone asks you to marry them in all seriousness, your first response shouldn’t be “Would you care if I kept my name?”
Take it all off
The other day I went for a run in my neighborhood. About halfway through, I got too hot for my sweatshirt, so I pulled it over my head mid-stride, pulling down on my T-shirt underneath at the same time. There was suddenly a chorus of catcalls from behind me, and I looked over my shoulder at the three pre-teen boys hooting and whistling and imploring me to TAKE IT ALL OFF, LADY! I tied my sweatshirt around my waist and kept running, but I couldn’t help but wonder what they’d do if I suddenly turned and ran at them, peeling off my shirt and sports bra and screaming I WANT ALL OF YOU, NOW!
It would have left all four of us with a great story to tell, at least.
To-Do List: Week of 2/16
- write ballet about Pythagorean theorem
- spike the juice boxes for this weekend
- lobby to have Alexander Hamilton elected president post-humously so I can celebrate him alongside Abe L. in my black construction paper stovepipe hat and ten dollar bill costume
- make black construction paper stovepipe hat and ten dollar bill costume
- start dating guy who’s really into hockey so I can wear his favorite hockey jersey to bed
- bring back Tretorns
I woke up while he was removing my watch. He was trying to be quiet, but he was accidentally pinching my skin, so I rolled over halfway and held my arm off the side of the bed in a sleepy attempt at helpfulness. My shoes were already on the floor, my legs already under the covers. I nodded off again before the watch was off my wrist, only to wake up at 6 am and sit straight up in the bed, gasping for air and gripping the sheet and remembering, “The alarm!” Without opening his eyes, he yawned and said, “I set it last night,” curling his arm around my side and falling back asleep with his face in my hair. I had two more hours until I had to be up, but all I could do was lie there in bed, smiling at the ceiling, because I had found the man who would set my alarm.
Valentine to my old apartment
The chipped-paint archway wall against my back, the cold shower tiles against my cheek. The delicate balance of sitting close on the porch swing but not too close, at least not until he leaned in. The section of the kitchen counter that broke off underneath our weight, the chipped glass on the cabinet behind my head. The way the soap dish looked from underneath while lying in the bath and playing 20 Questions. The velvet of my couch underneath my bare legs, the tiny leap my heart would make at the clink of the pullcord against the lamp when he leaned across me to shut it off. Lying on my back while talking on the phone and feeling my hipbones against the hardwood floor, my eyes closed, his voice in my ear. Him lying facedown on the floor with his shoes off, dress pants on, while I slipped off my sandals and walked on his back. Supporting ourselves with the doorframe, freezing when the knock came. My bed, with the old headboard that would crash into the wall and wake up the downstairs neighbors until we duct taped the dishtowel to its back. The old bedside table, with the drawer that would stick shut at the most inopportune moments. The backs of my legs hitting the washing machine, his hand over my mouth at the sound of footsteps on the basement stairs. Inside the hall closet with the broken light, fingers clutched to splintered shelving and slipping, suitcases falling down from above. The night we fell asleep on the living room rug, everything in moving boxes but the candle and the book. The night he pulled the mattress off the bed and onto the dining room floor, looking up at the ceiling fan turning lazily while the sun came up.
Old loves, old house, old life. Happy new.
Don’t be so quick to walk away!
On Saturday night we went to First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and danced to a DJ playing late ’80s hip hop in the third floor ballroom on the glass floor amidst all the art and chandeliers and other museum decor. If it had just been a little bit darker, and maybe there had been some club-kid/vampires lurking in the corners, it would have looked just like a scene from a bad movie. But the best part was that there was a DANCE-OFF right in front of us, like the crowd seriously cleared and formed a circle around this guy who looked like Peaches and this girl who looked like Tina Turner, and it made my life complete and whole and true in a way that the love of a good man never could.
Evidently tensions were high in Brooklyn that night, because then we went to the Gate, and a fight broke out right in front of our table, with the bartender holding people back and drunk blonde girls yelling. I had the misfortune of trying to slide past the gentlemen involved moments after it happened en route to the ladies’ room, and despite my excuse me, got elbowed in the ribs so hard that it knocked me into the wall. After I got my wind back I seriously considered clocking him for a minute, but then I remembered the part where he was drunk, twice my size, and already attending to someone else, so I just limped back to our table instead.
It was totally worth it to see the dance-off, though. I mean, do those happen in real life? Seriously.
Would you be an outlaw for my love?
Things I Like:
Stories that begin “at camp, we used to…”
New mix CDs
Making tents in the living room
Breaking into the hotel pool after hours, jumping in still fully clothed
The lean in
Things I Almost Liked:
Running home from the bar in the rain, laughing the whole way, and then taking off our rainboots and collapsing on the couch and turning on the TV and look, it’s The Blue Lagoon! only to find out it’s the TBS version.
Note: If you call and wake me up in the middle of the night, I’ll think the things I’m saying are pretty funny. Probably funnier than they really are, and definitely funnier than you’ll think they are.
All I want to do tomorrow: Hole up in the house and watch Freaks and Geeks and listen to “Thirteen” by Big Star over and over again.
Alternate things I would consider doing tomorrow: sneaking a flask into the Flatbush Pavilion showing of You Got Served and drinking whenever anyone, you know, gets served.
On Monday Ryan called, asking if I wanted to go see a taping of Last Call with Carson Daly that afternoon. That sounded about as tempting as nothing until he clarified, saying the musical guest was Modest Mouse, and the regular guest was Tracy Morgan, and it was free.
Modest Mouse is one of my very favorite bands, and I’d never seen them live, so I was really excited to see them this close and free, regardless of the venue. However, as we stood in line to get in with approximately 200 other Modest Mouse fans all between the ages of 16 and 22, it became obvious that everyone else in line was having a real crisis of conscience about it. They were all talking very loudly, and acting generally put-off, making sure that everyone in a 100-foot radius knew they were JUST HERE TO SEE MODEST MOUSE, lest one of their peers mistake them for a Carson Daly fan. First of all, seriously: are there Carson Daly fans? That’s not an age thing: I’m pretty sure everyone regards him with the same amount of half-hearted disdain. But secondly, and more importantly, this is like running into someone you know while you’re both shopping at KMart and then getting embarrassed about it. What the fuck, kids? Just shut up and watch the show and don’t be petulant and think you’re staging some sort of REVOLUTION by ONLY clapping for Modest Mouse.
Carson, as I expected, was sort of dull and man-tanned, but I spent the whole time worrying for him. You get the feeling that he’s not really a complete tool, just a partial, harmless one, and maybe his career sort of careened out of his control and maybe in a direction he didn’t really want, and now he hates his life and is just going through the motions, and I’m very concerned that he’s going to off himself. I spent the whole show telling Ryan this. It didn’t help that Carson could probably feel the ironic hate emanating from the hordes of Modest Mouse indie rock brats in the audience. If Carson Daly dies, his blood is on your hands, snotty youth of America, not mine, because I cheered extra loud for all of you when the applause sign told me to.
When the taping was over, the stage manager invited us all to stick around for the next taping with Kelsey Grammer, John Laroquette, and musical guest Default, and I have to admit, I laughed and walked out with everone else there.
So, in summation:
Tracy Morgan: very funny, very short, and evidently older than I thought, because he said he’s been married 20 years.
Modest Mouse: fantastic.
Modest Mouse fans: annoying.
Carson Daly: pray for him.
The show airs after Conan next Monday, February 9.
Nailed to the nightlife
On Saturday night we saw Les Savy Fav and The Hold Steady at Northsix. At one point, Craig Finn dorked out and rocked out so hard simultaneously that he actually broke his glasses mid-song. Ryan said, “This sounds like Led Zeppelin meets Microsoft Office or something.” Then Ryan stumbled to the bar while wearing his earflap hat, promptly picked up some girl, and was MIA for the rest of the evening. Les Savy Fav were fantastic, but my favorite part was at the very end of the show, when I’d came back from the coat check room looking for Stephen, and I found him at the bar doing shots with Tim Harrington like they were old buddies. This was approximately two seconds after Tim Harrington had been performing. Never underestimate the quickness of drunken affinity.
During Les Savy Fav’s encore, Craig Finn came up to me and said, “I like your shirt,” and I said, “Thanks, I like your band,” and then we started talking, and at one point he stopped and asked me my name and then introduced himself to me, like I didn’t already know who he was. He asked me how I knew Lifter Puller, and I gave all the credit to the ex-boyfriend who lived in Minneapolis, and he asked, “Oh, do I know him?” and I sort of wanted to hug him.
Today I talked to my mom on the phone and she told me all kinds of Tulsa gossip about fistfights and sixth grade boys and eighth grade sluts. It’s important to keep abreast of your local current events.
It’s funny because it’s true
I hate hate hate it more than anything when people begin sentences with “I’m the sort of person who,” but if I had to start one that way, I’d be forced to say I’m the sort of person who cuts her finger open with her pocketknife while trying to remove the shrink wrap from her lipgloss, and then doesn’t notice until the blood is running down her wrist a few minutes later.
I’m going to tell people I did it while gutting a fish.