(this is annie)


If you want to find truly effective birth control, try going to Six Flags on a weekend. There, you will find hundreds of unruly children and venomous teenagers who will effortlessly and unwittingly persuade you to stretch a Trojan around your entire body if it means you won't be able to reproduce. Their parents, bitter with stress, have hardened eyes and little patience for their progeny's relentless gimme-gimme wailing. You get the feeling that if there were more than one tiny beer garden in the park, the parents would shove their kids onto Raging Bull, knock out the minimum-wage ride operators and let that coaster speed along until the kids were as dizzy as the parents were drunk.

In other news, Six Flags has an amazing "extreme circus" called Circo Magnifico! that is, by any rational observation, incredibly gay. Jesse and I were astounded both by its intense homoeroticism and by the apparent lack of gaydar in the audience. We watched male acrobats in sequinned off-the-shoulder shirts slowly spooning each other to the softcore sounds of Enigma. Sometimes they held hands tenderly. One would lean his head into the other's crotch and then fold his legs over his partner's shoulder. A ringleader kept making come-hither hand motions while the soundtrack whispered, "FOLLOW ME"—all part of the homosexual plot to recruit the youth of America, obviously. Finally, the show ended with one of those joyful dance numbers with a woman yell-singing triumphantly over an oonch-oonch-oonch sparkly beat. It's difficult to capture this odd scene, but I think Jesse's observation sums it up nicely: Dude, that guy totally has a boner.

mikan + chubbers forever

Jesse is one of my favorite people in Chicago. A few years ago, we'd run into each other at parties, but I rarely recognized him because he had a giant beard that obscured the details of his face. After the Reader wrote about his record label last year, I dropped him a congratulatory e-mail, and that led to back-and-forth missives, which led to our friendship. Anyway, Jesse's band The Narrator is releasing their full-length record next month, and Pitchfork gave a favorable review to one of its singles. You can listen to the song there if you like.

she's lost controlo

Don't laugh: I'm taking a burlesque class. It's not that I envision becoming a Sexy Lady (tm) or a breast-twirling superstar (they're not big enough to bounce, even). I just got tired of admiring burlesque dancers and thinking that I could never do what they do, so I decided to stop making excuses and take a class for fun. I tried my best to follow the instructor, but clumsiness proved stronger than grace. She moved left, I moved right. She shimmied her shoulders, I robotically threw mine backward and forward. She kicked her legs toward the ceiling, I hauled mine as far as my tendons would allow. Where she shimmied fluidly, I jerked angular, like Ian Curtis swaying under a snake enchanter's spell. Next week: dancing with thigh-highs. I envision becoming tangled in the fishnets.


in which i confess belching

This is going to sound ridiculous and Stepford wife-y, but I love groceries. There's something about finding the perfect mango or a delicious cheese that makes me simply and purely happy. So I was quite excited to go home last night to use the produce I'd bought at Whole Foods. I devoured garlicky guacamole, chased it with pomegranate juice, and then made an avocado-provolone-tomato-sprout-tofurky-pesto sandwich. I was pretty sure that the sprouts were still good, and the pesto smelled all right, and I figured that nobody ever died from eating a whole avocado in one sitting before. And that's where the trouble began.

Halfway into the sandwich, my belly began to feel full. "That doesn't make sense, because I had a tiny lunch," I thought. "I will finish this SOB off." So I did, and then went on to clean the kitchen. Horrifyingly, I started belching. I very rarely experience this problem, honestly. Braap, braap, braap, I croaked while a tornado whipped through my stomach. The cat stared at me worriedly, then pooped in solidarity.

I put clean sheets on the bed and collapsed on top of it. As long as I didn't move, my digestive system seemed happy. So, as I am wont to do upon turning horizontal, I took a little nap. The ringing phone roused me from an avocado-green dream. I groggily answered it, only to hear laughter and conversation: a party of some sort. The voices sounded familiar but muffled, and then I heard Phil's voice. I repeated my hellos before realizing that he'd just ass-dialed me. I don't know whether to laugh about this or cringe.


on the beach

It's five am on a Saturday morning when, after three hours of talking on the telephone, my boyfriend's battery is about to die. I already know that I can't sleep, and I feel restless, so I say, "Do you want to go to the beach?" I figure that nobody will be at the beach at five in the morning, and we can finish this ridiculous argument, and then keep each other warm as we watch the sunrise. He says yes, and I pull on my Wranglers and a thrifted polo shirt before heading out the door. There's a man peeing in the alley, and I'm about to yell at him—hey, this isn't where you pee, mister—but then I think that he might whip around mid-stream, and then man-pee and horror will soak in. So I just scamper past his double-parked SUV and hop into my car. I listen to Yaphet Kotto until I get to my boyfriend's house, when I replace it with Moss Icon. I can't listen to anything but loud guitars, because I'm driving and can't cry. And he doesn't really like abrasive songs, anyway.

When he gets in the car, he looks young and uncertain. "How are you?" I ask out of habit, and then I feel like a jerk because it's not like all of this fighting makes you feel anything other than worn out and heavy. We drive down North Avenue, and for a minute it feels like we're just going on an early-morning date, and everything we've discussed over the last few hours was a bad dream. It really feels that way, like I've just woken up and I need to tell him about this terrible dream before he reassures me that it's just another one of my anxious dreams and that of course he loves me, how could I ever be so silly to think anything else?

I miss the turn on Clark Street, but I figure we can't be that far from the lakefront, so we just park on North Avenue and walk east. The beach is farther than I thought, and too late I remember that his ankle is sprained. I feel terrible, but he says he's fine, so we keep walking. The sky is bright baby blue, as though it's being lit from behind with a 120-watt lightbulb in a 60-watt sun. The sun is starting to rise over the lake, and when we finally sit on a beachside bench, I feel like I can actually see it moving.

There are more people on the beach than you'd expect, mosquitoes are circling our heads, and a tractor is raking the sand. I'm cold and hurt and insecure. I pitch sentences at him, alternating between angry questions and accusatory statements. He stares anywhere but at me and says very little. The less he says, the more questions I have. So I start answering them myself, waiting for him to interrupt me and tell me that I have it all wrong. But he remains mostly silent, and I sand away our relationship until there's really nothing left. We talk until nine in the morning, when I finally drive him home. "Talk soon," he says. "Okay," I say. That night, after I've teared up at a birthday party while he is watching a movie with a group of friends, I will delete his never-memorized number from my phone so that I can't call to try to build things back up.

Okay. I will try to form a few sentences, but my mind is aflutter and I cannot form coherent thoughts.

As a child, one of my favorite activities was playing with my kitten. This seems like a sweetly normal thing for a country girl to do, until you realize that "playing" involved making cat chariots out of discarded shoeboxes and Tinkertoy wheels, and dressing the poor kitty in Cabbage Patch Kids outfits. "Ooh, Alfalfa," I'd coo, "You look so pretty in your bonnet! Time for a ride!" Unsurprisingly, my hands were often covered with tiny slashes from an unwilling feline playmate.

I like to think that I've grown out of that phase by now—or at the very least, I've become a part-time fashion stylist. But sometimes, when I crawl down a dark mental alley, there's a temptation to put a hat (okay, tutu) on Mikan. I am not particularly proud of this impulse, but at least I am honest about it, and I refrain from putting clothing on the cat.

Some people choose not to repress their animal-as-dolly urges. Instead, they indulge them in strange and marvelous ways. In Boca Raton (of course) a woman has befriended/captured a squirrel, who she calls Sugar Bush. Sugar Bush believes that prayer should be part of public schooling, that welfare must end, and that the ACLU is trouble. Sugar Bush hunts for Bin Laden, performs like Britney Spears, dresses like the pope, stands amidst the wreckage of September 11 and re-enacts last year's tsunami. It is as befuddling and amazing as you'd expect it to be.


say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


© 2009 avt

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