(this is annie)

An Embarrassing Admission

Last night, I dreamed that Robert Pattinson and I were in love, driving past wheat fields in Michigan. Blame Sabrina for this. Last fall, she started reading those corny-ass Twilight books, which I have always dismissed as a second-rate Buffy knockoff. Not that I've read them, but come on, the high school girl who falls in love with a "good" vampire? I decided not to read the books, because there are countless pieces of actual literature that I have yet to read. Better to spend my time with those.

I didn't read the books, but when Sabs wanted to go see the movie version of the film, I was game. Why not? The actor was pretty cute, I said. So we spent the entire time cracking wise at the screen and slowly developing teenage-style crushes on Edward Cullen. (Byronic hero-lite! Great hair! What's not to like?) It would have ended there, except dummy me looked up interviews with Robert Pattinson. And then it was all over, because Pattinson is more interesting than his character. He likes modernist literature and le nouvelle vague, which made me think that I could take him on my Mies Van der Rohe walking tour of Chicago and he'd like it. (I always thought that was a great date; the guy I took it on was unimpressed.) Worse still, a colleague had interviewed Pattinson — at the very same moment that I was in cultural hell interviewing Paris Hilton — and when I asked her to please tell me that he was a jackass so that I could squash my crush, she couldn't do it. Instead, she said he was endearingly awkward and open. Crap! I love awkwardness!

Sabrina and I agreed that I only needed to find out something unpleasant about Pattinson, and then I could stop blushing every time a new paparazzi photo came out. We Googled phrases like "Pattinson cokehead" and "Pattinson snob" and, in one desperate moment, "Pattinson bad breath." Nothing! If anything, our endeavors had the opposite effect: The more interviews I read, the more I crushed out on his nerdiness. (In one, he alluded to liking older women. Well, hey, I'm an older woman, I thought.) You can see how Tiger Beat things were becoming. One day, Sabs found out that his favorite musician is Van Morrison. So far, this and his smoking are the only things that have cooled things down. That's not a very long list, which is why, very pathetically, my junior-high self has resurfaced to insist that if only we were to meet, Pattinson would be charmed by my equally oddball tendencies, and I'd make a Nick Drake mix tape, and I'd make him omelets in the morning. This is why I am on a strict no-Pattinson media diet. See, I told you it was embarrassing.

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The Name's Dan. Dan Electro.

Longtime readers, all two of you, will remember that I bought a guitar a few years ago. Sadly, my plans to launch a Moss Icon-y (Moss Iconic?) band died before they were born. Which, when you think about it, is right in line with all of the together-for-ten-minutes bands that came out of the mid-90s hardcore scene, so I guess I did that right.

Anyway, I had to sell my guitar to help pay for my move to California. It was unfortunate, but not emotional. In a way, I was happy to see it go, because it represented failure. I wanted to learn how to play guitar well, but my hands always cramped up, and then I got lazy. Typical story. And yet, I missed strumming my cruddy power chords and pretending that I was gonna be in a band. Which is why I bought the Danelectro:

I found it on Craigslist and bought it from a woman in her 40s. She'd put banjo strings on the guitar, so it has a tinny twang. But I love it all the same. I wind up playing it more frequently than I played the old guitar. I'm still a pretty bad guitarist, but I wind up spending hours tinkering around with the thing, and slowly my muscles are remembering chords. So far, I can play these songs from memory and everything:

  • "Want": Pathetically, I envision recording this one and giving it to someone who will probably not appreciate it, thereby increasing my misanthropy levels to previously unimagined heights. Tortured artist! (See earlier admission of humiliating love of the original Jawbreaker song.) I also set up the bassline on the 303. Because I am not a very fast guitarist, the song winds up sounding forlorn in its slower pace.
  • "Love Will Tear Us Apart" I don't know how it happened, but somehow Joy Division has become my favorite band. I think it's the winning combination of moodiness and beauty. Anyway, the opening chords are so easy to play, and they burst forward shining. I don't have a keyboard for the melody, so I have to sing "DOOOOOO, doo dee doo doo doo doo, DEE doo" like the cut-rate musician that I am. Sabrina is going to learn the bassline, and then Monarchs of Laze will finally be able to complete our first song. Even if it is a cover.
  • "Clash City Rockers" My poor downstairs neighbors must have grown so tired of hearing these eight chord-bursts for, like, three hours straight last weekend. Sorry, guys (but, to be fair, I can hear your snoring in the mornings. Call it even.)
  • "Ceremony" Jesse showed me part of this song a while ago, so it was easy to delve into the dusty recesses of my brain and produce the necessary plinkings. I still need to look at the tabs for this one, but I only started learning it last night.

This list will expand, of course. You can say you knew me when. Just as long as I don't try to join Ghost of Curtis, things should be just fine.

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Union in the square

I met a friend after work last night. Or maybe we're not friends, I don't know. We have an odd relationship. We talk maybe once every six weeks, see each other for short bursts of time every couple of months — sometimes just 15 minutes — and that's it. And yet I feel like we know so much about our emotions, which sounds so Mr. Rogers, but it's not corny, promise. Because we don't have many shared experiences, we can be nakedly honest with each other without fear of judgment. It works for me and I think it does for him, too.

We were talking about recent disappointments in our personal lives, and how changing relationships is not necessarily a bad thing. Painful, disappointing, but not bad. It was a satisfyingly mature conversation, the kind I couldn't have understood years ago, and I found my mind rolling around in its nuances back at the apartment. It was a good reminder to be more accepting of myself and of others, to assume no responsibility for someone else's issues, and to be a better communicator. Also, I know the language here makes it sound like we're having sexytimes, but this is not the case. I don't know what happened there, but I'm about to be late to meet a different friend, so I can't pull out my thesaurus to make it less suggestive.

I wasn't laughing like that.

I worked late tonight, and the sun was just beginning to sink when I left the building. A middle-aged, legless man was making his way up the street in a wheelchair. His face showed the accumulated stresses of an uneasy life, but he didn't look defeated or miserable. Just tired, maybe a little lonely. I gave him a smile as I walked by, then he turned and looked at my shoes. He asked, "Can't I get you to walk me somewhere in those heels?"

I smiled and started laughing a little bit. I always do this when strangers flirt with me; it's a nervous response, and of course it makes me happy to be noticed, so it's a genuine laugh. "Not tonight," I replied. I was nice, I was friendly.

"Please," he said. "I'll do anything for you to come with me." It was more sweet than sad, the kind of line that makes me crack a smile. "No, but thank you," I said before wishing him a good night and going on my way.

Halfway down the block, my grin fell as I wondered if my laughter, borne of delight and surprise, could have been interpreted as that of scorn and mockery. It's been hours and I still can't stop thinking about the man on Sutter Street, pushing himself up that hill.


Thanks, Vanessa.

The best thing I received all weekend:

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say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


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