Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
California Teacher's Association
UCLA Alumni Association
Graduate School of Education & Information Studies
ASU Alumni Association
The Cronkite Journal
The New Yorker
catalogs: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Sephora, Free People, Paper Source, Crate & Barrel, Aaron Brothers
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Jet Blue TrueBlue
Orange County Performing Arts
San Francisco Opera
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The previous week, on St. Patrick's Day, my non-profit held a happy hour meeting at the Pink Taco in the Century City Mall. The staff, three of us plus one intern, squeezed into a booth where we discussed literacy, our shrinking budget and the Compton Unified School District over tequila. Green plastic beads hung from our intern's neck. When our tacos arrived, they were not pink, but green.
Afterward, shopping for bras in Macy's, I stupidly accepted a phone call from my younger brother. Earlier that day, he had been escorted from my mother's home by four police officers. I told him to get a job as I handed my credit card to the cashier. I spent over a hundred dollars on underwear.
At the Black Boar in Eagle Rock later that night, I dropped the sleeve of my jacket into a toilet bowl and then continued to wear it.
My favorite stretch of Highway 1 fell into the ocean. Next Friday, I am driving to San Francisco for my first-ever half-marathon. I'd planned to take this route, carb loading at the Big Sur Bakery along the way. Now I need to reevaluate my travel plans.
(via the Dog Blog)
Monday, March 21, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Over a Newcastle and an Old Fashioned, he told me that he'd bought a new mattress that day. It made spiritual sense, he said, because we'd bought his previous mattress together.
"That mattress was a mistake from Day 1."
I recalled the Glendale mattress store, the two of us lying side by side, testing different floor models. I stared up at the ceiling and tried to determine what a good mattress was supposed to feel like. I was 26 years old and still had no idea.
We talked about the expense of a quality mattress, and while I considered the cost of my semi-recent mattress purchase a splurge, I balked when he revealed his mattress's pricetag: $5500.
"Well, you know, that includes the box spring and some other stuff."
I tried to rationalize this expense.
"Are you still having back problems?"
"Not really. It's weird because I had lower-back problems throughout our relationship, but they just kind of went away." He paused. "My legs get pretty achy from running though. I think the mattress will help."
This ex-boyfriend is going through a transitional phase, having vacated the sprawling and dilapidated Hollywood apartment he occupied for nearly 10 years. That building, that apartment, contained me for three of the ten. I pictured it like a dollhouse: the institutional white stucco exterior, the rats scurrying up the palm trees, the foosball table, the roof parties, the wall-to-wall blue carpet (an ocean in Hollywood!), the side-by-side ovens: one for pizza, one for cookies.
Now he's holed up in Valley Village, killing time until he finds a house to buy. Throughout our conversation, I noticed that he kept referring to the apartment itself as Valley Village, as if the neighborhood existed only through his front door.
"Valley Village is just a layover," he said. "This is my time to sleep in the trenches."
"But you're sleeping on a $5500 mattress."
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
He was closer in age to my mother, and I think she was happy that Tony was talking to us. She was smiling a lot and her New York accent became thicker as it does when she wants people to ask where she is from.
"Do you like the beach?" Tony asked, looking at me.
I told him I did.
"You should come back to Malibu sometime and we can go together. What's your number?"
He caught me off guard. The sun was directly overhead and his girlfriend's dog was panting and I was wearing a bathing suit. I could hear my mother breathing next to me and I may have taken a pill that morning that made me a little kinder, more tolerant. I take these pills when I spend time with my mother. The numbers fell from my mouth.
Malibu Tony calls once a month. That's his name in my phone so I know not to answer. This was his message this morning, verbatim:
"Hey Meghan. This is Tony in Malibu. Remember we met last September when you were on the beach? And, um, it's Wednesday, March 16th, and I just want to know what's new. I thought we were gonna maybe get together, have a nice time. I know you like the beach and I like the beach too. Well, anyway, I hope you'll give me a call. Maybe if you come out to the beach, we can get dinner or something like that. Or lunch. And we'll have a nice time. Thanks a lot. Bye."
Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I went for the fish.
Sitting alone in this restaurant (where I would spend $35 without regret on a bowl of ciopinno, a loaf of sourdough bread (on which I only nibbled) and a bottle of Perrier), I felt aware of my shifting demographic. I read a novel on my Kindle as the 40-something waitress kept bringing me things. I used my iPhone to take a photo of my food, which I posted to my Facebook page. Later, I used the phone to calculate the waitress's tip. I walked away from the restaurant, my leather boots feeling tighter around my calves. I'd spent the weekend celebrating Amy's 30th birthday in a rented, luxurious vacation house, the out-of-state guest list comprised of those who could afford to be there.
Hours later, on my second flight, I ate the sandwich for dinner. It tasted better than expected.
Two weekends, two different planets: Joshua Tree was Mars, and Moclips, along the Washington shore, was somewhere icier, Planet Big Chill. In Joshua Tree, our troop hiked Mount Ryan, a 3-mile out and back trail, a reasonable choice given Nico's age and the threatening clouds, which followed us up the hill, but delivered only the occasional snowflake.
In Moclips, we wore rubber boots onto the beach, snow crunching underfoot until, finally, our soles sank into the sand. The water spread out before us, a sheet of glass reflecting the clouds. It was difficult to discern where the sky ended and the earth began.
North of the I-10 East, past the sign that reads "Desert Cities," we were holed up in our tiny Western-themed bungalow called "The Cowboy Hideout." Above my bed, a guitar was mounted, which lit up from its soundhole. The sheets were covered in horses. Our Moclips Beach House could've slept 20, but we maxed out at a comfortable 10 on Saturday night. Both places featured warm meals and good friends, old and new.
Beach House: There was a hot tub. We ran from the house in our bathing suits, bracing ourselves against the cold, knit hats on heads, and jumped.
Joshua Tree: We gathered around our fire pit and Dicky read a Donald Barthelme story aloud. After he'd finished, he said, "We should burn it." It seemed like an appropriate sacrifice, but as the story blackened and shriveled in the fire, he said, "I wish we hadn't done that."
On the beach in Moclips, we found a dead seal defrosting in the sunshine. We weren't sure if it was a rock or an animal until we saw its gleaming teeth. It sunbathed on a pile of snow, the corpse green and red and stinking. Sean took a picture.
Joshua Tree: We listened to a country & western records at first. The "Cowboy Hideout" came with vinyl and a turntable. Later, we had an inspired, effusive Morrissey singalong: You had to sneak into my room / Just to read my diary / It was just to see, just to see / All the things you knew I'd written about you.
It was a lullaby. Not long after, we paired off, curled up and fell asleep.
Beach House: We listened to Beach House. Later, we danced on the kitchen table to something else. Sean told me this story: "I have a friend who, whenever she starts to feel depressed, reminds herself that she has a great ass. Think about it."
I have been thinking about it. A great ass, like most things, is fleeting. Despite all of my running in the snow, someday my own great ass will abandon me.
There was so much dancing in both places, but in Moclips I couldn't make it stop. There was something about the sensation of my feet sliding across that slick, hardwood floor. I was floating. To dance across it was an impulse beyond control. Walking was no longer an option -- I only danced from room to room. Our last night there, while my friends played in the hot tub, I stayed inside the dining room and danced alone. Amy's boyfriend, Ben, was my unwilling audience, sitting at the table, hunched over his laptop. Occasionally he glanced up at me, flailing across the room, and shook his head. I danced until I was so sweaty that I had to throw myself into the hot tub to cool down.
My favorite writer, Lorrie Moore, said it better than I ever could:
"I tell them dance begins when a moment of hurt combines with a moment of boredom. I tell them it's the body reaching, bringing air to itself. I tell them it's the heart's triumph, the victory speech of the feet, the refinement of animal lunge and flight, the purest metaphor of tribe and self. It's life flipping death the bird.
I make this stuff up."