It Hardly Matters

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Open Letter to Jack White*

Jack. Jackie. I love you. Watching you play (the verb pales, Jack, pales) guitar makes me hotter than a thousand suns. It's as if the top of my head has popped off and been replaced with spotlight beams reflected by your Gretsch (is that what you play?) and an afro of light springs from my head. I balance all of my weight on my ten tiny toes, which hurts and is wobbly, just so I can see you over the six-foot-one bitches in front of me. They are annoying. They are wearing flowy renfair shirts with peek-a-boo backs and baby clips in their ropey brown hair. Their faces are small and the only reason I can say anything about their faces is because they keep looking back at the crowd to see who is looking at them. Like someone would choose their drab drunken faces over yours. The only way that would happen would be if some cultural anthropologist happened to be scanning every venue in New York City to locate an Edie Brickell circa-1989 look-alike for some hippie-rock research project. Then, maybe, I could see someone looking at them over you.

Question: Why do tall skinny girls always have loud tinkling laughs and the latest-model cell phones? Also, they never wait in line for drinks or carry shit. They have long hair and an air of absolute power mixed with carefree nonchalance. Oh, and jeans. Always with the jeans.

So, Jack. Off topic, off topic--I know. It happens. Anyway, your guitar playing. Right. It's fast and sloppy and sure and your whole body gets behind every note and bend and you don't care if your hair flops in your face or your shirt gets twisted in your guitar strap or you trip over PA wires and you're always perfectly in time even though your fingers are all over the fretboard. That was a boring description, but you get the idea.

Wait a minute: I just realized something. Why the hell would you need me to describe your guitar playing to you? You live it--you do it. I am officially crestfallen. Because if we were to, say, bump into each other outside of a venue or near a big gold tour bus on 50th Street (they always park around the corner--duh), or in the hallway of a Midtown hotel (let's say the Righa Royal), you would look right past me and my feeble description to the girls trilling on their cell phones with the long, ropey hair.

But I'd still stand on all ten toes to see you play.


* After seeing you play with your band, The Raconteurs, at Roseland, NYC, September 26, 2006.

Monday, September 18, 2006


It might be raining. It’s dark, and I’m sitting on my deck under an aluminum awning, presumably attached to the wooden slats over the back door of my apartment by my landlord, Joe, when he and his wife lived in the entirety of their family home. It has since been sliced into four apartments, where a family of three live upstairs, my roommate and I live downstairs, and next door, their son, Tommy, our handyman, lives in the unit above his father and mother.

The house used to be grand, for this part of Brooklyn, with a large front sitting room, in half of which I now sleep on a hand-me-down mattress. I imagine Joe and Marie, just married, moving into her family’s house just after their honeymoon down the Jersey Shore, maybe Florida. Every Sunday, her mother cooked veal in the kitchen and looked out her bay window onto what is now my deck. I would bet a hundred million dollars that she wore a white apron over a housecoat, and would win. Marie and Joe probably took over our part of the house, setting up their married salt- and pepper-shakers and butter dish in a light-finish hutch that stood where my kitchen begins. They were happy because they were supposed to be happy. They were married because they were supposed to be married.

I realize now that the crackling I hear is not rain, but the sound of someone frying something jumpy in a pan near the back window of a Grand Street apartment, across my landpeople’s landscaped backyard upon which the Virgin Mary forever stands quietly in her husk. It’s eight-o’clock, and someone is frying something for someone they love. From their kitchen window, this formless wife or husband can see the same morning glories that I see when I’m up before ten, the ones that wind thickly through a now-obscured fence and up an ancient iron ladder that was once used to adjust newfangled telephone wires.

In 1962, Joe waved to the telephone man and slammed specialty nails through my aluminum awning. His hair was black then, and done up with pomade. He was handsome, and gentle, the perfect complement to Marie’s curls and demands. She told him to put up the awning. He wouldn’t have thought of it himself, even though, like all of us, he wants to emerge from the rainy street, shake his umbrella twice, maybe three times, before he unlocks the door to his house, his warm, yellow home, where his wife will stand, sweaty from the stove, not looking, but stirring, waiting for her husband to enter.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Right One

I'm sitting in the backyard of my neighborhood cafe. It's noon on a sunny Saturday (a time and condition second only to noon on a sunny Sunday in the race for busiest brunch times), and the touseled people are here, post-coital, smiley, and sharing grapes. I'm hogging a 2-top, using the cafe's free WiFi, and ordering $4's worth of food and beverage. The waitstaff hates me. I have no napkin, no ashtray. They scoot by delivering huevos rancheros to tables of hipsters, glancing disapprovingly at me, my laptop, and my iced coffee. What do they have against my laptop? It never did anything to them.

I've been on those delicious, disheveled, day-after brunches. In fact, the last one was here. I can't remember if it was with my once-adored Jersey boy or with an awkward friend who had crashed on my couch and tried to get into my bed in the middle of the night in a drunken haze. I had given him a pillow, shut my door, and lain down when I heard a knock. Frantically pulling on my robe, I tripped to the door and opened it a millimeter. He peered up at me. "Um, would it be okay if I slept in here with you?" My hand tightened on the doorknob. My head slowly shook from side to side. "No." He did not move. As the door shut, his face was pale and humiliated. I locked the door, bad feelings flickering through my nervous system, and returned to my big, safe bed, my liferaft. And after watching Taxi, I fell asleep and dreamed of moonlight and kisses and the big, warm body of the right one.

The Results Are In

5 things I don't suffer from:

March Madness
Wonky Eye

5 things I do suffer from:

Fantasia (Barrino)
Internet obsession

Friday, September 08, 2006

Zomezing Nice

A few years ago, I was invited to a wedding. This isn’t so extraordinary, except for the fact that the invitation was bestowed upon me via cell phone from the French-Canadian boyfriend of a fashion designer friend of mine. Which is to say, the invitation went zomezing like ziz:

Me: Hello?
Andre*: Ello, Megun?
Me: Hi!
Andre: I want to invite you to my wedding! It will be next Zaturday night at me and Michul’s place. Can you come?
Me (shocked): Sure! I mean, I think so! What time?
Andre: Zeven Zirty. We are aving a little zeremony and we would love for you to be there.
Me: Ok! Great! What should I wear?
Andre: Zomezing nice. It is not black tie but there will be many colors and food and dancing. Zo zomezing colorful would be nice!

Etcetera. Now, I hadn’t seen these boys in months and had no idea they were getting married. Sure, they had been living together for a few years and were happily coupled, but knowing Michael, I thought that his wedding, if he ever had one, would be a society-page event with Marc Jacobs performing the ceremony and invitations printed on scrolls packed into silver mailing tubes arriving six months in advance. But, hey, who am I to judge? So, I wrote down "Andre & Michael"s Wedding" in my calendar, dug out some flaming-red stilettos, and purchased a $5 wedding card at Kate’s Paperie. I was ready.

Zaturday night arrived, and I dolled up and called a car to bring me from Williamsburg to Tribeca. It was a hot night with a sunset that lasted for three hours. This was to be my first gay wedding, and I was excited for my friends and honored that they would want to include me in their celebration. I figured their fashionista and model/dancer friends would be lounging around their apartment looking like wrought-iron floor lamps from Pier 1 Imports wearing unfinished couture and holding glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. I’d be, by far, the largest human being in the room. Which is totally fine. Totally fine.

I climbed the six flights up to their top-floor three-bedroom without dropping dead from exhaustion or tripping, and opened the door into what looked like a Fashion Week after party. The space had been transformed into a Bedouin tent, with pink, orange, and red Indian silk squares attached to the ceiling and the walls, undulating in the strong, warm breeze let in by the nine open windows. Candles littered every surface, dripping onto saucers or flickering in hurricane lamps. A makeshift wedding arch adorned with gladiolas stood before a low divan covered in white muslin. The Pier 1 floor lamps were draped in deconstructed cocktail dresses and tailored tuxedo jackets over pastel Izods. I recognized a jewelry designer friend and, after a stop at the bar/kitchen, beelined for her. We decided we’d be each other’s date and I caught up on her latest adventures in Bali.

Michael appeared and I ran to him and hugged him, beaming. "I’m SO happy for you!" I squealed. He looked puzzled. "Thanks for coming." "This is so exciting!" I continued, looking deep into his eyes, searching for that look of a person about to be married. Which absolutely, without a doubt, was not there. My smile faded a bit, and I started blathering about how great the apartment looked. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Deborah, Andre and Michael’s roommate, wearing a silver-white slip dress. She was being hugged. A lot. A gardenia was tucked behind her left ear. Curiously, Andre appeared by her side and put his arm around her. They laughed. And looked like a couple. Realization like a two-by-four across the skull: this wasn’t my first gay wedding--it was my first green card wedding.

We danced, we drank, we applauded. Photographers crouched in front of the wedding arch and popped their flashes. Toasts were given. There was a heavily-documented first dance. The silks fluttered, the candles flickered out, and champagne was spilled near electronic equipment hot from overuse and excessive volume. Michael danced so hard that he threw himself on the floor and rolled around to Prince’s "Kiss." I kicked off my stilettos around 2 AM. That night I found out that being a fake wedding guest is as fun as being a real one. And as I surveyed the crowd through my never-empty wine glass, I really, truly hoped that Andre, Deborah, and Michael would live happily ever after.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dear Evite

Hey, E. How's it goin'? Listen, I'm flattered that you want me to simultaneously attend a Park Slope rootftop BBQ and an after-work drink party in Midtown, but, dude, chill your shit. That's not humanly possible. Actually, come to think of it, you wouldn't realize that, being a nonhuman web-based entity serving over a million invitees a day. Sorry. But, please, I beg you, spend a few minutes in my shoes. I have work, and school, and, you know, laundry and shit. I can't be galavanting all over this fair city to see if your gatherings are real versions of the high-minded clip art soiree representations you so casually fling into my inbox.

I think we should see other web-based social-gathering services. I know this is harsh, but, frankly, you're smothering me and I can't take it anymore. I need time to peruse MySpace and CitiSearch. I have GoogleTalking to conduct. I know that you will be okay without me. Fact is, I heard from some of my girls that you have been emailing them and asking them out. So go out with them if you'd like. You are free to do what you please. I'll always have fond memories of the early days when you so tenderly graced my Hotmail account with the first invite: it was for a baby shower, represented by a cartoon fuzzy yellow chick wearing a bonnet and a diaper with a large saftey pin on the left side. Nothing can take that away from us.

Please, don't cry. I know you'll get through this.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Memory

It's fall now, and cold. Sweatshirt weather. Leaves are flying through the gray air and landing damply on my plastic deck furniture, greener up close. They are starting to die.

You're here now, for some reason. You're on the deck with me, seated, and I'm standing over you. We are looking at each other, daring the other to leave, or to stay. We don't know what to do. Your hand slowly lifts toward my hip and it explodes. I'm still. The touch happens, no break in our stare. I love you everywhere, my heart chipping off into pieces then coming back together into a golden ball.

You look like mine. Your hair is blond and your eyes are green. Fingertips, exhale, a sleepy blink. I feel every nerve in my body but am numb with fear. Nothing is said, but our cells reach out toward each other's and little beams of light connect them together for that moment, for a little while, for a few months. Forever, I guess.