Recently I haven’t been going to bed until 4 am. I like that world, that late night quiet world, where everything is dark and still and you are the only person alive. Sometimes you need to feel completely alone. It’s such a relief. It’s a good time to think. The one rule is, you can make decisions while the sun is down, but don’t ever act on them until after it comes up.
In college sometimes, I’d get ready for bed, and then put my coat and gloves on over my pajamas and drive until just before dawn. Every once in awhile now, I stay awake until right before the sun comes up, just for fun, just for the binge and purge of it. Once the sun rises, it feels sort of cheap. That’s the catch. You have to go to bed before it gets too light.
Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas.
There used to be this thing where I’d always get a tiny fleeting crush on any guy in a Ramones T-shirt and Converse. This was back in my early twenties, before people dressed their toddlers like this, before you could buy faux-stressed “vintage” band shirts at the mall. Ramones guy, I wanted to hold his hand under the lunch table and fall in love with his mix tape.
Now I have a thing where I get a tiny fleeting crush on any guy in an authentic Misfits shirt. Earlier this summer, in line before Repo Man, we passed a tall skinny guy in a big faded Misfits shirt, and I told Roy about my little automatic secret crush. He looked at the guy and said, “How do you know that’s authentic? Maybe he bought it at Hot Topic.” And I said, “It’s all faded and big, like back when guys wore their T-shirts large, not tight. It’s authentic.” And Roy said, “Maybe his older brother passed it down to him.” And I said, “Roy, just let me have this, okay? Let me have my one-minute crush on the Misfits guy.”
Misfits guy, I want to sit in his basement and listen to him fight with his older brother and ignore me until later, when we make out passionately in his beat up car in an empty elementary school parking lot. Later he writes me an incredibly heartfelt letter and it’s so raw I’m embarrassed to read it. When I break up with him he clenched-jaw cries and punches his steering wheel repeatedly.
I realize my relationship fantasy is still stuck in the teen years, but now it’s more like sixteen instead of fourteen.
Look at me, growing up.
Friends, tell me, do you like fun? Do you enjoy drinking and games and writing? Do you pine for the heady, carefree days of 2002 – 2004? Of course you do. Well, you’re in luck, because there’s a special portable, flammable time machine that will take you back to all of these things, and you can buy it online: it’s The Plug Anthology: Vol. 1, now in book form!
It’s all in there: Non-Poisonous Cake, Point/Counterpoint: Bismarck, Mystery Can. I cannot tell you what a wonderful gift this would make. If you don’t believe me, just wait until your birthday or Christmas. But seriously, don’t wait, because we’re not that close anymore, you and I.
Lois, late at night
Yesterday afternoon, our landline rang. We never answer it, because no one ever calls it but telemarketers, but for some reason yesterday, I did. I said, “Hello?” and a man, sort of confused, said, “Hello?” so I said, again, “Hello?” and then the man said, “Lois?” only he said it in this tone of voice that nearly made me choke up. He sounded like he’d just seen someone he’d wanted to see for years, across the room, like smoke had cleared and his heart had filled with joy and he had just been given another chance. If he was acting, this man should win an Academy Award for saying “Lois?” like that. It almost broke my heart. I have never regretted saying, “I’m sorry, you must have the wrong number,” so much.
Do you know what I do when it’s late and quiet but I can’t sleep? I pull out my notebook and lie in my bed and write the full names of everyone I can remember. I’ve probably written yours before, maybe even over and over if I liked the way it looked. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean anything. I wonder if anyone ever writes mine.
Tomorrow night at Cringe: INXS fan fiction, letters to Doogie Howser, Ayn Rand, periods. It should be good. It’s always good.
I know that Cringe is traditionally the first Wednesday of every month. Except for this month, when it’s not. It’s the second Wednesday, which is tomorrow, Wednesday, September 12. Well. I’m glad we got all that cleared up. I would have hated for you to miss it. I always look for you by the door, hoping you’ll show. Just you. It’s always been you.
This explains everything.
This weekend at my aunt’s house in Texas, we learned that we are direct descendants of Geoffrey Chaucer on our grandmother’s mother’s side, and that we come from German circus people on our grandmother’s father’s side. I need never seek religion nor therapy for answers ever again.