chaste spam

I think the robots heard (saw?) that I was denouncing their robotic sex vending shenanigans (great name for a band) and now there is nothing but chaste spam in my folder. Really. It all concerns itself with search engine optimization, and it’s written with a very concerned tone, as if the spam robot is my concerned elderly aunt and I am wearing a hopelessly frumpy dress. You have a very lovely figure, my dear, if only you would show it. Let me take you over to Mrs. Schneider’s so that you can have your colours done. The internets will never ask you out or tell all the nice people googling ‘hard bitch daycare’ to come see you if you don’t do something about the way you look . . .

meant to say

Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don’t – accordion music. Sometimes it seems to me indicative of everything that’s wrong with the world, the –

That isn’t what I meant to say. I meant sometimes I drink so much coffee I believe I can conquer the world –

Still, altogether not what I meant to say. I shouldn’t let anyone into my house. I should never have guests.

Or maybe I should never have anyone over that I actually like.

molly/break

I saw his hand slide towards his seat belt buckle and I squeezed his arm, said goodbye and thanked him in quick succession. I’d opened the car door and gotten out and had my apartment door closed behind me before I’d exhaled fully. I looked down. “What the hell are you doing here, Molly?” I hissed at the dog. She wagged her stump and looked at me with significance. Maybe it wasn’t significance – maybe it was just the size of her eyes.

I’d had enough champagne to feel cheerful, sufficiently cheerful not to care that a French Bulldog had suddenly taken up residence in my house. I’d known there was a chance the director needed me to watch Molly but I’d assumed it meant I would stay in her house. How can I describe her house? Well-apportioned, I suppose.

“I couldn’t invite him in,” I told Molly as she whined and looked at the door. She loves John, she remembers when he used to bring his daughter to school. I slid down the door and sat on the ground while she sniffed my shoes. “Do you have any idea what people in this town say about me?” Her stump wagged. “Actually, is isn’t good at all. Stop wagging your stump. Ac-tually, it . . . ” I don’t know what he thought would come next, I thought. What if he thought – I mean – what if he just shrugged to himself and said ‘my turn’, you know? I hugged my knees. Molly snuffed at the hand that had touched his shoulder persistently, as if there were something still there.

the christmas party

In retrospect I can use or at least approximate the right words for the feelings; I can say I felt all the air go out of me but at the same time I felt just like an overblown balloon, about to pop. I can say all these things but at that exact moment I knew nothing except a sort of wild-animal blank panic, and I stood in the shadows which was the most I could muster for propriety, and I didn’t know if I were happy or sad or if I loved him, still, or ever.

Neil walked in and saw me, giggled and began a story. “So I was saying to the director that ‘no, really’ because I had no idea she . . .” he stopped and looked at me. “Are you feeling well?” I shook my head, trying to keep from crying, thinking it would be the very worst thing, to cry while someone giggled at you, but my eyes were already smarting. I opened them wider to hold the tears in. “You’re not breathing Lola,” he said softly. “I can’t – he didn’t – it was – too long, I mean – ” I gasped, an epic story lost in the dashes. Neil stood closer, pushing aside the champagne bucket on the table in front of us. He almost took my hand, then stopped. “Look at me, Lola,” and I did, although he seemed kind of shiny. “In, out, in . . . ” and then I was breathing again, and the tears were re-absorbed or at any rate gone, and I began to feel the need to explain.

“I just saw . . . someone. I hadn’t seen in a very long while.” I said, breathing carefully. He cocked his head at me. “And then you forgot to breathe of course.” The comment annoyed me and I snapped back “It’s easy for you, you’re old, you’ve had time to live through this a dozen . . .” and the air caught in my throat, because I remembered he’s a client, and they all want to feel so young. He laughed. “I am old, aren’t I? Especially compared to you, Lola, then I’m extra old.” He crinkles his nose slightly when he’s amused, I thought. And he’s stopped giggling. And he’s taller than I thought, and he must be wider too, because the light from the other room is blocked with him standing in front of it. And I looked up suddenly into his eyes, wondering where the giggles were and the deep, spoiled sighs, and the whiny – because there is no other word for it – tone of voice that grates like a beginning violin student’s ‘music’ on my nerves. His voice was soft and deep, and he sounded like a person.

chubby hump

“So the other day Chubby Hump asked me for a time slip and I asked him, as politely as I could muster – ” I was attempting to explain to the director that sometimes one of the parents – Bob – confuses his work life with our school, and it’s mildly amusing and sometimes frustrating and a probable cause for concern.

She interrupted me by choking and spitting her juice into the sink. “Did you see what you made me do?” I looked. “Give you an excuse to hack up your homemade V-8?”

“What did you call that poor man?” I bit my lip. I refer to him, in the comfortable private environs of my brain, as ‘Chubby Hump’. I had just referred to him as that out loud apparently. “You called him Chubby Hump!” the director answered, while I continued my silence and fished for the right words. “Well,” I started, “He’s, uh, chubby, and, uh, he’s really horn – um, lascivious, and he – ” She cut me off with a wave of her hand. “Oh no no totally I completely get where you’re coming from, I just was taken aback by the name. ‘Chubby Hump’. That man is a Chubby Hump, whatever that is.”

And she walked off swirling her atrocious veggie smoothie.

at it

Sometimes I wonder if any of the parents will find this blog. They gossip incessantly about each other, scheme to get each other into bed, conduct intrigues with the teachers, get drunk at the director’s house with her family if given the chance, and generally behave like, like hobos on acid. They are always ‘at it’. It’s almost formulaic – the director rushing in from her other school across town, about to lose another pair of Chanel sunglasses, to tell me that they are “at it” and I ask her to clarify and to lower her voice so that the teachers don’t come stampeding to hear whatever it is like water buffaloes.

spanish fly

My spam comments are full of praise from robots selling Dutch sex, electric cigarettes and search engine optimization. Blogging for the most part – the mechanics of it – is a bland experience, but whenever I stumble into the spam comments folder I feel as if I’ve stumbled into a blue alley in a foreign country where suddenly your mind races and you realize that if they’re selling Spanish Fly next to the cigarettes it really isn’t your kind of alley.

Or at least not mine. Maybe it is, for you.

halo

“I never felt like this with anyone before,” he said softly, taking my hand. “I finally understand all those lyrics to all those love songs – ”

“I’ve heard that before.” I interjected in an even tone. I was careful to keep my voice un-accusatory. He pulled back. “Oh really? I guess men just line up to tell you how wonderful you are?” I stuck a straw in my Frappucino. “If you are honestly asking -”
“I am. I am asking you or I wouldn’t have said anything.” He crossed his arms. He had dropped my hand rather quickly onto the hard wood of our table top.

“In that case,” I answered breezily, “It isn’t just men professing love to me.”
“Women like you too, huh?”
“Or so they say. I never said ‘all women everywhere at once.’ ”
“Well obviously, right? I mean, my sister hates you. She says you’re a stuck up bitch and that body will change once you pop out a kid or too.” I smiled. “Or Bobby, I could live fast and fall in love with a beautiful girl who doesn’t slip the word ‘bitch’ into conversation when she’s annoyed. Or maybe I’ll find a nice boy who doesn’t quote the Cure while holding my hand in a Starbucks.” I stood up and shook the crumbs from my skirt.

He looked a little shocked. “Is there anything that impresses you?” I put on my sunglasses. “Of course – sincerity. I am always impressed by sincerity.”

It’s true. I might be continually unimpressed with life, but sincerity makes me blush furiously.

It’s so uncommon.