Thursday, October 19, 2006

and let's face it -- who isn't

less fortunate than I?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

my cat has a doctorate in applied psychology

she appears to be doing a postdoctoral time-motion study. she can frequently be found doing observational research from the vantage point of the front window. furthermore, i am reliably informed that she stares at the front door starting around dusk, waiting for the primary subject to come home and fill the dish and lie down on the goddamn sofa already where have you been i've been waiting for hours nobody has as many problems as me meow meow meow!


she's reeeeeeally smart.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

peter max meets david lynch meets mtv

jean and i had gone to see a movie. we arrived at the theatre, and found it set up for a live tv show. there were a lot of rambunctious kids and frazzled parents in the “studio audience.” we made our way down the aisle and then jean picked some seats for us. she let me have the aisle, but left an empty seat between us. right in front of me was a very tall guy, so although i was grateful to have the space around me, i couldn’t see very well. i was feeling some shame about why she had left the open seat (“she’d probably be crowded if she sat right next to me, given that i don’t exactly fit in the seat”).

the lights went down, the curtain went up, and it was in fact a movie and not a live tv show. the movie provided intense sensory stimulation with its rapid jump cuts, high volume, evocative music, combination of animation and live actors, and non-linear narrative. i was enthralled.

at some point, i became aware that we were now sitting on straight-backed chairs in a carpeted living room, watching the movie being projected onto a blank wall. i also realized that the guy who had been sitting in front of me had moved his chair to one of the side walls. jean had moved to the other wall. in fact, there was a general clearing of the center of the room; i was one of the few people still sitting in the center and intently watching the movie. others had found it too overwhelming, too loud, too weird; some were driven off, upset by the lynchian elements.

the content of the movie fascinated me, partly because some visual cliché would be unfolding, but then the movie would go in an unexpected direction. i kept expecting cruelty at the expense of fat people, and it kept not happening.

there was one sequence where trays of treats were being eaten. most people were eating one or two of the treats. one woman ate a couple of the treats, then a few more, then started to shovel armfuls of the treats into her mouth. she sort of collapsed to the floor on her back, with a superhighway of the treats still pouring themselves into her mouth. i thought, “okay, now she gets fat and explodes”, and i braced myself for the mockery of the people around her. but then, she turned into a cartoon of a naked woman with blue skin, and the words “magic mae” in an elaborate curly font appeared on her side, and she got longer and bigger, but proportionately so. then she started to waft off the ground in widening arcs, like a piece of paper caught by the wind – or, i thought, like a magic carpet. and then she rose completely off the ground and zoomed away, to wild cheering and applause from everyone else.

and then the phone rang.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

bending twigs, but not 'til they snap

i'm off to dine in a snooty new york restaurant. i make my way there on foot, dodging taxicabs, flying litter, and hell-bent pedestrians. when i arrive, i see that the maitre d' is on a sort of mezzanine. there don't seem to be any stairs, but all the seating is banquettes, and each is about a foot higher than the next. it looks to me like the only way up is to clamber over the bench backs and the diners. i call up to the maitre d' to confirm this. "yes, yes" he says impatiently, in a thick french accent, and he gestures imperiously for me to ascend.

i am as careful as i can be, but it's still quite disruptive to the various seated diners. the backs of the seats are flat, about six inches wide, and covered with cocktails-in-progress, plates, and the occasional handbag. it's a challenge to pick my way over/amid them, but i'm almost to the top level. i am going to need to step onto a seat, up and onto the seatback, down onto the opposite-facing seat, and then down onto the floor of the upper level of the restaurant. the back of that final banquette is covered with stacks of cds in cases, and there are diners sitting on the high side.

i ask a couple of times for one of the waiters to move some of the piled-up cds, and then finally, exasperatedly, i slide a bunch of them off the seatback with the side of my foot, so that there's a place for me to set my foot. as the cds topple, an outraged howl arises from the maitre d', the waiters and the diners. the maitre d' berates me -- as does a botoxed and bejeweled society matron -- saying that i have "smashed beyond repairrrr" a stack of cassettes and that "ze full and complete replacement cost of $182.50" is going to be added to my dinner bill.

given how careful i was, i don't believe that i broke anything. none of the cases are broken. i manage to get down off the damn banquette (picking my way between the diners), and insist on looking at the purported damage. at first the maitre d' won't let me see the stuff, and we get into a shouting match about it. i insist that i'm not going to pay for something i didn't do. he keeps blaming and berating me, "why did you climb ovair zat way", "eet is your clumzeeness zat caused zis", and i lose my temper and yell, "you *told* me to climb up. i *asked* you if that was the right way to get up here and you said 'yes'! i was doing what *you* told me to do!"

eventually, mme. botox hands me a couple of the cassette cases, and i can hear things rattling around inside. i open one and sure enough, the cassette inside is shattered. i still can't imagine how a few cds falling 12" onto the cassettes could have caused that damage, and i insist that i'm not going to pay. i say, "go ahead, send me a bill", and the maitre d' says "but air you going to pay eet?!" and i say, "i don't know, i'm going to think about it", and we get into this spiral where we're repeating ourselves, louder each time.

finally i shout at the top of my lungs, "i wouldn't eat at this shithole restaurant if *you* paid *me*, you pompous charlatan, and you can take your 'full and complete replacement cost' and shove it up your ass!" i storm out of the restaurant and he follows me, brandishing a cordless phone and insisting that he's going to call the police and have me arrested. "make yourself happy, you fucker!" i scream at him, and i keep walking.

and then i woke up.