10.30.2012

Because the world needs to know.

These were the posts of  Buddy Toth during hurricane Sandy. Wherever you are now Buddy, our hearts are with you.

Storm date 107: The power has been out for over an hour. I should showered last week when I had the chance. Despite the rumors, you can't just eat bagel bites straight out of the freezer, you really do need a microwave.

Storm date 109: I've traded several rolls of toilet paper with some local marauders, in exchange they will spare our house. Their leader, "Bloodtooth", has warned that they will return as they see fit. And just yesterday I was watching Spongebob.

Storm date 117: Neighbor complained of a cough earlier this week, I did what had to be done. He was basically dead anyways, now he will provide me with much needed calories as I forge ahead toward rebuilding civilization. Life. Finds. A. Way.

Storm date 124: "Tyler Perry presents: Buddy's shadow puppet reenactment of Madea Goes to Jail" has been a phenomenal blunder. God forbid I try to bring some laughter to these trying times.

Storm date 513: Lessons learned: 1) when lighting a fire in a barrel the barrel should not be plastic. 2) when lighting a fire in a barrel in your home you should have proper ventilation. 3) do not light a fire in a barrel in your home.

Storm date 584: Bloodtooth returned, apparently it was just my neighbor, Kevin. I have now joined his group of bandits. Thanks Kev!

Storm date 654: I've ripped every inch of copper wire out of my walls and fashioned it into weapons and a suit of armor for when Bloodtooth returns. If only the power would come back on I could- oh shit.

Storm date 677: How am I supposed to finish my body painting in the dark? I CANNOT CREATE IN THIS ENVIRONMENT!

Storm date 687: Coffee grounds used up. Ground up Cheeto's are not a good substitute. This is a serious waste of the generator.

Storm date 666: After several ghost sightings, a demon who refers to himself as Astaroth has tried to take possession of me. Thankfully I've convinced him to take my 10 year old sister instead.

Storm date 698: This gallon of white vinegar, being the only drinkable liquid left, will be my only sustenance. How much can one safely consume in a sitting? Time will tell.

Storm date 949: Upon further inspection the Owl in my kitchen is NOT my spirit guide as I had previously thought. It is, in fact, just a very frightened (and violent) owl that got into a kitchen.

Storm date 988: They all laughed at me for my monthly subscription to Penthouse. "Use the Internet!" they said. Who's laughing now fella's?

Storm date 1002: Silver lining, I finally have time to organize my Pokemon cards. Next stop: Pog-town.

Storm date 1005: I have burned all of my clothing for warmth as President Obama advised. I may be nude, but I'll be warm. Your move, Sandy. 

Your move indeed.

--M

10.29.2012

Hurricane Miranda.

There's a hurricane rolling through New York right now, and it's not like down south where everyone's used to it; there we throw parties and wade through the standing water in flood pants to our favorite bars to enjoy their drink specials during the storm. People here are scared, and we don't have the infrastructure to handle it in the same way--we don't have hurricane shutters and our basements flood and all the trains have stopped running--people are still split on what will actually happen, will we fare okay or will we be destroyed by this Frankenstorm? 

Some [like me, actually] think yes, we'll be fine. I wear my former Floridian-ness like a badge of honor in weather like this, and I, like everyone, refer to her by the somewhat endearing name Sandy, and forget what kind of damage she can actually do.

My name, like most American kids, was given to me on the day of my birth, 32 years ago today. It's weird that we are identified by a string of letters that were imparted onto you rather than chosen by you; this huge piece of your identity that most carry until their grave. Even though I didn't chose it myself I hold my first name very dear; I relate myself to other Miranda's, both those real and in literature and movies, I find the similarities between us and carry them with me like a sign that my name has somehow influenced my character and now becomes me more than any other could.

This doesn't mean that I haven't loved my many nicknames, because I do.

I love nicknames. I both grant them and own them; I have had so many over the years, all the endearing colloquialisms and pet-names that I have been called, and when I think back over them it looks like a chronology of everyone I've loved so hard, and I feel fortunate that I may never have to be divorced from them, and I giggle when I am called one from long ago and am fond of the memories that this affords me. 

Maybe it's just me, but do me a favor and, just briefly, think about the people who routinely call you by your first name. If you're anything like me, then these people are your co-workers and acquaintances, maybe the people who make your coffee, while the people in your inner circle have no doubt granted you a diminutive, engendered form of that word that makes you you; those close to you have likely dubbed you babe or dude or brother, maybe even, as I am so fond of calling people, fave.

Look, you guys, it's my birthday. There's a storm outside and I've been drinking all day and it's warm in here. But I want a cigarette, and as much as I'd like to sit with you all forever and wrap this beautifully and eloquently I don't have much for you. Except, maybe, for this.

I pretended for a long time that this was okay with me and it's not. I wish it was, I do, but real life Miranda and here on this very blog Miranda and my work and me and me, goddamnit are all the same thing, at least they were before I wrapped my life in all of this. And even if I wasn't exactly sure yet when I told you no, said that this can't continue, that the naked part of us had to be removed from us, I was positive by the time half my hair laid tight in the grip of your palm and I heard, several times, my given name escape your lips .

Im not saying that I indicatively dislike hearing my first name in bed, I'm just saying that in this instance it belies the notion that you would delight in holding me at arms length forever, as you do most, and before you jump to disagree with me let me assure you that this is evidenced by all the times I have lain naked beside you and listened to you lie to your best friend on the phone because of, and about my, presence. Both in your bed and in your life.

And see, this is why I don't really need to wait anymore for your input on this; I just can't do it. I can't live in your world where your personhood is faceted and different people see different portions of you, and I definitely can't let you continue to, as you have, influence me to do the same. I promised myself, and Lisa, that I would be better. I promised that last Christmas day would see the end of that Miranda that hides the poor parts of her relationships from the other people that she, meaning me, loves.

Our names, they are a part of us. They are ours, but we set them aside for those that deserve to rename us.

That is a right that, as it seems, you don't feel like you have.

So if you'll excuse me, if you'll all excuse me, I'm stepping out into Sandy's wake for a cigarette and some French wine. You see, we call her that, the hurricane I mean, so that we are no longer afraid to be within her, to feel her so scarily close to us.

I'm sorry, fave. I'm sorry I got too close.

--M

10.24.2012

Let this be the year when hope fails you. Part two.

Years and years ago on the flat, slim island of Miami Beach, late in the night, some friends and I nearly closed down The Abbey after my second, and final, going away party. I had a girlfriend in town from Seattle, and so when we all got back to my apartment instead of making her sleep on the pull-out, I offered her the spot in my bed next to my slight husband, threw some PJ's in a bag, tucked my toothbrush head first inside my mouth and shot them a peace sign before I padded out the back door in my flip-flops and climbed onto the back of my friend Richie's scooter. It was May fourth, it was at least 80 degrees, it was almost five in the morning, and despite the signs along Alton Rd. that warn "don't even think about speeding", we were helmetless and clocking at least 45 down the dark and narrow 30 mph thoroughfare to North Beach.

Two days later, I got on a plane.

These days Rich doesn't occupy much of my head space and I spend long stretches of my life oblivious to the way I so completely, for a time, hung my hopes on him. But lately it seems as if I can't get him out of my head and I haven't been quite sure why--maybe because of the upcoming stint in Miami I'll be enjoying this winter? I figured surely I had written it all down somewhere, so I combed this blog and found but four mentions of him. Four. That's hardly enough to unravel this mystery, so a couple nights ago I decided to do some hard-archive hunting.

I still own most of everything I've ever written down on paper that was of any consequence stretching back to 1992, but I don't often look at it. I'm fairly intimate with with everything I've done since 2005 since I've kept a fairly thorough online record of it, but sometimes stuff before that escapes me. I thought I remembered the 48 hours or so following that ride up Alton, but that was before reading my account of it written six months later.

It's weird reading yourself when it's been so long that you don't remember what it says, and although it sounds like me I feel voyeuristic reading it; It's all so foreign now that it feels like it happened to someone else, that I'm treading on someones ancient insecurities and vulnerabilities and hopelessness. It's just so goddamned sad, and now, pushing ten years later, I can't believe it all happened to me. By me. Because of me. What I'm telling you, finally, is that it was all my fault.

A year later I found myself back home in Miami for a five day stint before continuing on to Mexico. Rich drove down from Hallendale for one night and met me at The Abbey; we drank pints of stout and then broke onto the golf course to climb trees and lay on it's sloping hills and smoke bowls. It was probably two or three in the morning when the sprinklers came on and reminded us that we probably shouldn't be having sex on a golf course.

I say that like there needed to be sprinklers to relate to us something so obvious.

I've made mistakes, you guys. I try not to dwell on them too often and just hold myself accountable for the ones I'm bound to make in the present tense but these damned looming airplanes always find me contemplative and confused. I remember that first trip back, that night at the bar and on the golf course; I remember taking Rich back to Rob's old apartment with me and holding him in the thick, hot night and closing the door behind him when he left at sunrise. I remember kissing him one last time across the threshold, but I never thought in a million years that it would be the last time I'd ever see him. Hope, as it seems, completely failed me.

Two days later, I got on a plane.

I had hoped things would be vastly different and I forewent my active hand because I knew I was hoping for things I couldn't have. I could have easily drove out in front of the storm, seen where we were headed, made active decisions that would have left his 954 programmed into my cell phone to this day.

I've hoped for a great many things this year, but the only hopes that I have had that have come to fruition are those that I worked so hard for. I pounded the pavement in freezing rain and worked 16 hour days and made it a point to see my best friends every single week. I boarded planes and busses and squeezed my niece and nephew in the throngs of a humid Atlanta summer. I've made time and loved hard and reconnected and asked for what I wanted and made plans and stuck with them and oh, oh god, the rewards.

Fine, then. Let hope fail me. Let hope fail all of us--it's a tricky thing, hope. It's the thing that rationalizes us sitting back and waiting for something to happen. I've hoped for nothing lately because when this year broke I felt hopeless, and it's odd because if I could go back and replace that feeling with any other I wouldn't. That hopelessness, it seems, is what has propelled me all the way from the Woodhull Psych Ward to the best year of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Four people, in the last week, have told me: "I want your life." You can have it. It's easy. Just let go of hope and start making decisions.

Let this be the year when hope fails you.
--M

10.19.2012

Dinner and a Movie.

If you're anything like me, and here I am referring to the me who owns her own vagina, is single, and is attracted to [among people of other genders] men, then you have probably at least heard of the concept known as a date.

Dating is so weird, you guys.

I've thought this for a long time, and although I've definitely mentioned my distaste for traditional dating, I've never really vocalized why. So maybe I should.

What's a date? Look, the vote may still be out on this one, but I think we can all agree on the Say Anything definition: "pre-arrangement with the possibility of love." Cheeseball? Yes. But all the bases seem to be covered, so I'm pretty comfortable with it. Plus, I feel like this definition allows me to thoroughly enjoy dating. I love pre-arrangement! I love possibilities! And yet somehow when I'm relating to a friend the details of a date I have gone on that probably included cocktails, late-nite strolls, rooftop ciggarettes, or back-alley make-outs, I am oft met with the reply: "Oh, so it wasn't a date date."

A date date? For me, this is up there with sex hug* as one of the most useless phrases of all time. Just as sex hug perpetuates the idea that men and women can't ever be real friends because at least one of them will want to have sex with the other (and so in turn that it is impossible for two people who are sleeping with each other to be friends), the idea that there are dates and then there are date dates belies the notion that one is more valid than the other and this intrinsic validity will remain the precedent for the subsequent relationship.

I. Call. Bullshit.

This is the part I don't like, you guys. I don't like the part where I hear from my girlfriends that some guy or another was disqualified for not buying them dinner. I mean, come on, ladies. This idea of dating was invented in a time when women were looking for a man that would take care of them until they met the grave and pop out a few puppies in trade. These aren't our lives anymore--in the United States women are earning more advanced degrees than men and two income families are becoming the norm. We take care of ourselves, we live alone, we're waiting longer and longer to have children, and we've entered a time when our demands for equality have been revivified--so why, when our lives are so contemporary, are we holding onto this outmoded ideal of dating?

Now, I'm not saying I absolutely will not let a man buy me dinner, I will and I have. Exactly four times in my life have I let a man whom I did not share a bank account with buy me dinner in the context of a date. I have bought a man dinner about twice this many times. Why? If I want to be in a relationship with a partner who understands and respects the fact that I am hyper-independent, strong willed, and opinionated, why in the world would I participate in the callow act of traditional dating repeatedly only to flip the script later?

It's about intent ladies, it's not about money. If we want to be satisfied both as people and as half of a partnership we need to start emboldening ourselves to be great, not acquiescing to this idea that male/female relationships are designed for the same puerile outcome. If you, in your regular life, pride yourself on being a happy, healthy modern woman, then why in the world would you partake in this culture of dating that serves only to tell you that you don't need to nor can you take care of yourself?

This has seemed obviously crazy to me my whole life, but only recently have I realized that I am more or less alone in this view. It makes me sad you guys. And I'm not sure why it doesn't make you sad, too.

--M

p.s.--Starting tonight, my Mom's movie, Sexy Baby, will enjoy another short run in Los Angeles and New York City after a very successful season of festivals. We are entering a time where we will have the opportunity to reinvent the way that people see women as sexual beings, and we still have a long way to go. If you'd like to get a baseline of where we are now, do yourself the favor and go see the film if you're in the area. You can buy tickets for the New York screenings online.

*So, what's a sex hug? I'm still not quite sure.

"Wait. Was that a sex hug? Did you just give him a sex hug?"
"Namel, WHAT THE FUCK IS A SEX HUG?"

--M


10.16.2012

Oh, do tell.

I owe you all an apology.

I planned this differently--I thought I could artfully cover up my hiatus from writing about the present with some filler posts about nail polish and exes but every time I opened Lakricia to do so nothing came out. It all just felt like some calculated lie and when I even thought about typing something--typing anything--a story I'm not ready to tell threatened to come out.

And I know. I said I wouldn't do this anymore, for anyone, right? But here's the thing: It's not like this is Woody. It's not like I can just troubleshoot all the shit in my head online and then wait for him to read it.

On a side note--it's shit like that that makes Wood and I the worst couple ever. We speak to each other so infrequently about how we feel about each other (even now, even platonically) that I would, for years, just put everything that I wanted to tell him here and then check my site tracker later to see if he read it. This ironically makes us very good friends.

What I'm trying to tell you, what I'm trying to divulge here is that yes, I promised myself that I wouldn't keep secrets for anyone anymore. But I also promised myself that I would at least start these oh-so-scintillating conversations in person rather than on the internet.

What I didn't anticipate was how my departure would color my judgement, would make me keep putting it off. Once I bought those tickets it all just got so real, and kinda hard, and I began to stand on the patio at Gallery and stare south down 6th from way up high and realize how much I just fucking love it here. And fuck, I'll think, how can you not love it here? A few months ago three or four months seemed insignificant compared to the eternity that New York will be here waiting for me, but fuck--what will happen without me here?

I mean, who will Sally have dinner with on Sunday nights and who's gonna tip for all of Namel's drinks when he fails too? I mean, I will miss New York like crazy, but it has only recently occurred to me that New York will miss me, too.

What's crazy is that this has never occurred to me before.

Every airplane and moving van, every jaunt to another country or another state, and I have somehow never, ever realized that I will be missed just as much as I will miss everyone so desperately.

It was only last week or maybe the one before, and it was late and I was naked, and I had propped myself up to face him with my bent left arm stretched across his chest, and then it hit me. All the people I've left behind that I've always assumed are fine without me, they missed me. They miss me, and oh-so-suddenly I could easily reason that everyone here will miss me too. It came out so flat and even; when it first came to mind I had planned on proposing it as a question, but in the moment before I spoke it became so obviously true that I had no need to ask anything.

"You're going to miss me when I'm gone."

And what the fuck are you supposed to say to that? How do you respond to someone who so declaratively tells you how you feel?

Wood asked me once, years ago, if I was sad. We were in my elevator in San Francisco headed to the lobby, he with his backpack and bike box and me suppressing tears because he was leaving again. But now that I am forced to think about this moment again I realize that I wouldn't have answered any differently had he said "you're sad" rather than posing it as a question.

I know only too well how quickly the day I leave will arrive; it always feels like I have all the time in the world and then suddenly I'm leaving the next day. But I'm struggling with this, all of this, and yes--I've already entertained the idea that everything I haven't said will come out like a flood once I get on the plane.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Sorry.

--M

10.04.2012

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Flights have been purchased, hotels have been booked. In a little over a month I will be taking a trip that I've dreamed of taking for most of my life.

But then what?

I mean, once this is off the list, where will I dream of going?

You know how we're going to do this.

Planes.

Shanghai, which I will be going to for my first (and second) time very soon, is the largest city proper in the world. Rounding out this top 5 in descending order is Istanbul, Karachi, Mumbai, and Moscow. The 5 largest metropolitan areas in the world, in ascending order are: Mumbai, New York City, Mexico City, Seoul, and Tokyo. Combining these two top 5's, eliminating the one repeat and the places I've already been (or are going to go to shortly), and unfortunately for the time being eliminating the one of these that falls in Pakistan, this leaves me with a pretty promising top 5 of bucket list cities to visit (in ascending order of how badly I want to go):

5. Tokyo, Japan
4. Seoul, South Korea
3. Moscow, Russia
2. Istanbul, Turkey
1. Mumbai, India

Trains.

I've clocked a lot of miles via train travel, mostly in Europe, but it's not the only continent easily traversed by train. Unlike the last list there is no canon to this one, but these are the top 5 famous train journeys that I'd like to take:


5. The Orient Express

The Orient Express offers several routes in several countries, but it's most iconic route is that between Venice and Paris. I've been to both of these cities before, but never between them.


4. The City of New Orleans

They call it "Jazz Alley", as it connects Chicago to New Orleans via Memphis. Operated by Amtrak North America since 1947.

3. The Copper Canyon Railway

This trip connects Chihuahua and Los Mochis Mexico on a railway so treacherous to create that it took almost 100 years to build. Portions of this canyon through which the railway snakes are deeper and more vast then The Grand Canyon, and its cliffs copper deposits render its sheer walls a sparkling green.

2. Nizamuddin Duronto Express

This 20 hour trip connects Pune (a couple hours from Mumbai) with Delhi. This is the part you will not fucking believe: A first class sleeper, exchange depending, is about $100 and includes your own attendant. Baller.

1. The Trans-Siberian Railway

There are several ways to do this trip, but the [arguably] most classic is originating in Moscow and ending in Vladivostok. I'm oddly attracted to doing this trip in the winter, even though I hate the cold.


Automobiles.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to drive. I love driving, although I've never, ever done it in a foreign country. The first time I went overseas I read something about how hard it was to drive in Rome, and somehow, somewhat unconsciously, wrote off the possibility forever. Now, I'm not saying I'm going to try driving in London (I won't even drive in downtown Boston), but there are a few domestic and international road trips that I'd like to try.

3. Cinque Terra to Monaco via the Mediterranean Coast.
2. Olympia to Los Angeles via "El Camino Real", or HWY 101.

And then there's my favorite drive of all time, the one I'm convinced may change your life, the one I've done before but may never be able to get enough of, the one I may just do again in a few weeks time:

1. Miami to Key West.

So there we go. There's a solid five, if not ten years of traveling in there, especially if you add in my wish to visit all 50 states (I have...12 more to go, I think?). That should last me a while, right? But what the fuck does any of this mean when I should probably begin to at least consider making goals like "live somewhere for five years" or "pick something you want to do for money." And these lists: I love them. It makes everything seem so quantifiable and mathematic, and it's so very much easier to spend a couple hours wrapping myself inside this device rather than to think about the very real, very current reality in which I've been wrapping myself in the strong charge of someone's arms right here in this, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the world, to try in vain to escape the fact that I can't ever seem to sit still.

--M