“That Time I Got Blown Off for Someone Born in the ‘90s”

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The following is an excerpt from a piece seen on Lady Clever:

Marco’s brought me over here on the pretense of meeting a dude. “You’ll like Nicholas,” he says. “Right up your alley.” In my “right up your alley,” Marco means slightly Nordic looking, probably hairless, and sporting the type of under-eye bags that you only acquire by ambition-induced stress or a drug problem, likely a combination of both. Marco knows me well enough; my tastes have become disgustingly predictable, self-induced misfortune honed like a craft over the last four years. Give me someone broken and striving and I will give him my heart.

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“Gripes from Singleland” on Lady Clever

a-boy-standing-aloneThe following is an excerpt from my piece “Gripes from Singleland” on Lady Clever:

As each month passes, my kind becomes increasingly obsolete, a species on the verge of extinction. Our numbers dwindle, slowly at first and then more quickly towards the end, an insidious but expected decline, until, all of a sudden, you look around and you’re the only one left, the lone surviving cockroach after the asteroid strikes. Yes, that’s me. The last single girl in the room. The incidental holdout. The persistent proverbial roach.

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Field Trip: “Focussed on Things That Matter” on Lady Clever

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The following is an excerpt from my recent piece “Focussed on Things That Matter,” as seen on Lady Clever:

“Hey, Jenny. It’s ____________. Your friends gave me your phone number after you left. Give me a call or text me whenever. I’d like to buy you a drink.”

After being single for practically four years, you would think a text message like this would leave a girl swooning, but not here, not in New York. The phrase “give me a call” immediately sends my stomach falling through the floor, my senses overcome with a combination of paralysis and nausea. Give me a call… This isn’t the charmed opening for a lifelong relationship; it is the death knell for my own sanity, a Venus flytrap I have finally begun to see for what it is. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 43 times, shame on me. Like an old basketball player fearing broken bones, I have taken myself out of the game.

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Field Trip: CMJ Coverage, Day 1 on VMAN

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The following is an excerpt from my article covering CMJ, featured on VMAN:

Yesterday’s CMJ festivities got off to a weird start last night in front of Piano’s, where crowds huddled around paramedics as they heaved a man onto a stretcher. In broken English, someone said that the man had apparently been “hit with straps” and then pointed towards Banksy’s Ludlow Street installation. Confusing, to say the least…

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2012, In Songs

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Foster the People “Helena Beat”

It’s noon or one or two. Sometime on January 1st, 2012. We woke up late, had breakfast, said goodbye. Me, back to Brooklyn. Jake, back to Los Angeles. I’m standing on the subway platform in a party dress and heeled boots, the painted ceiling of the station blistered and puckering, reaching away like trapped butterflies, brown and blue. The train pushes a frigid wind towards me, lights up the tunnel. For the first time in forever, I feel good.

Sleigh Bells “Born to Lose”

That good feeling lasts about a week.

Elliott Smith “No Name #2”

And so I lay in bed at night, feeling quite sorry for myself.

Rebecca & Fiona “Bullets”

It’s been a year since I slipped Daniel my phone number while working in a showroom, two weeks from a year since that trip to Paris, four weeks from me sobbing into my coat on Great Jones Street. And here we are again, in the same white room, less than strangers. The dressers put me in tight, beautiful things. I walk around the room with my hair down. I rely on Xanax to get me through hour after hour until its effects begin to wane. He stays for seven hours – seven hours of parading silently around a room of tables and chairs and $4,200 cocktail dresses. When he leaves without saying goodbye I feel as though I have just run an emotional marathon and never made it to the finish line. Nikki and I are the only models left. It’s dark outside. We dance in the tiny closet with the filthy floors, hopping around like exhausted lunatics, waiting for someone to come in and say they’re done with us.

Father John Misty “Hollywood Forever Cemetery”

I contemplate the merits of becoming a human tragedy.

Porcelain Raft “Unless You Speak from Your Heart”

But think the better of it.

Races “Big Broom”

Aliona and I are in Paris. It’s freezing cold, gray as concrete. We have a two-bedroom apartment on a cul-de-sac in the Marais. It has high ceilings and crown molding, wooden floors and a tiny mural of a French bulldog at the end of the hallway, near the floor. Every morning, at the same time, we get up and shuffle down the carpeted staircase, passing the shiny blue lacquer doors of unseen neighbors. Every evening, after the sun has gone down, we return. Aliona sits at the table in the living room, eating yogurt with a spoon while I sit on the sofa watching dubbed-over reruns of Beverly Hills 90210: The New Class and Dawson’s Creek.

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Lotus Plaza “Strangers”

Jason and Karen are getting married in the Maldives. I don’t have a date so I fly alone to London, where I am hosted by my good friend Barnaby for 20 hours before the next leg of my journey. He lives in a modern house at the top of a hill, across from a park with green grass. Have a shower. Take a nap. Drink this. Barnaby is my custodian and I listen to him. We go to a pub. We go to another pub. Barnaby and I eat falafels on the street at 3 a.m. while someone punches his friend on the sidewalk. A drunk redhead wipes the blood away with a wool scarf. I wake up the next morning wearing my clothes from the night before, the girl next to me muttering in her sleep. Barnaby is nowhere to be found.

NazcarNation “Beeswax (Star Sling-er Remix)”

I turn one year older while back in London after six days in watercolor paradise, snorkeling in wetsuits holding the hands of friends.

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Purity Ring “Fineshrine”

The perfume was a gift I had been given and then avoided. I throw the bottle away in a garbage can filled with banana peels and coffee grounds, plastic cups from the restaurant down the street. I inhale deeply one last time. I haven’t worn it in over a year; it’s been sitting behind a mountain of half-empty shampoo bottles and Swiffer refills. I look at it – really look at it – for the first time. Now it looks cheap and silly in a way I never bothered to see before… just a purple bottle with Parfum Sacre written on a cheap, gold-plated charm. I throw it in, push it beneath other garbage, bury a year and a half of feelings.

Big Black Delta “Huggin’ and Kissin’”

I’m back in Paris for the third time this year, this time with a girl named Monika. Our apartment is on the edges of the Marais. We hate it. The guy who owns it is strange and bumbling. There are gnats floating around the kitchen every time we come home and blister packets for French Propecia on his bookshelves, along with stacks of Ray Bans and books about Middle Eastern music. My room is a dusty lofted office with ceilings only 3 feet high. My mattress rests on the floor, next to two desks covered in crap and a tiny little window. I have to lie on my back to get dressed in the morning. Still, on our day off, we walk along the Seine and sit in the Tuilieries, talking about ex-boyfriends and feeling extremely fortunate.

A$AP Rocky “Wassup”

Jonas picks me up from the airport. He points at buildings and statues, Berlin talking points. We meet his hung-over friends and eat bowls full of hummus at a place called City Chicken, then walk over to a grocery store to buy food for the week I’ll be staying with him. Coffee, peaches, German bread as heavy as a brick. Rain starts pouring down outside, rivers of water running north to south. Jonas runs to get the car. Our twenty-foot sprint to meet him out front leaves us drenched as though we’ve dived headlong into a pool. Every time I get into a car, this song is playing through blown-out speakers. I love Berlin, unequivocally.

Fiona Apple “Werewolf”

I go to Hamburg. It is, by all accounts, the worst trip of my life, some sort of karmic punishment.

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Talking Heads “Born Under Punches”

There is some sort of turning point that happens, though I couldn’t tell you exactly when. It is a build-up that has taken nearly a year and a half to get to — to start feeling regularly normal. This is after another brutal winter, after vowing to give up writing and then crying in a car on my way to the beach, after knowing that was impossible and starting writing again after only three days off, after giving up on being sad and dedicating myself to being good – if not dryly – humored.

Clams Casino “I’m God (Instrumental)”

It’s September. Everyone is going to Paris. I’m going to South Africa. The flight takes 14 some-odd hours. Africa, as it turns out, is fucking far. I eat more meat than I have all year. Biltong, beef tongue, venison in berry sauce. I drink booze and socialize with rowdy winemakers. I walk through townships filled with little children and bored-looking parents. I get back on a plane and go back home.

Mo – “Maiden”

I meet some guy on Halloween. He matters for five minutes.

Calvin Harris – “Sweet Nothing”

The trees thin out and the temperature drops. I spend more times indoors, writing on my bed, writing on my couch, writing on a beanbag, sometimes writing at my desk. I finish projects, start new ones. I think I’m getting a hang of all this finally… this wonderfully horrible being-an-adult thing.

 

(Photos: Uncredited)

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Sharing Crotch Space with Strangers

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There are girls sitting against the walls in dusty corners.  The few chairs that inhabit the lobby (if you can call it a lobby) are already occupied by tiny asses (if you can call them asses) or Celine bags.  I scan the room for a sign-in sheet, which there surely is one judging from the lacking undercurrent of anxiety that generally accompanies a potential for rule breaking and lawlessness.  Take my unmarked, unnumbered place, bitch, and I will cut you!  No, there is definitely order in this room.  An order of the very bored kind.

I sign in.

Number 91.

I push an aforementioned Celine bag to the center of a bench so I can sit down and rest my weary bones.  Everyone in here looks like they’re starting hour five of driving school so I imagine I’ll be here for the rest of the afternoon if that serves as any accurate indication.  May as well get comfortable.

“Number 72, 73, and 74.”

Some bland, porridge-looking girl calls out the numbers we have since traded our given names for upon entering the room.  “You can change now,” she instructs.

The “change” in question is the removal of our winter/spring 2012 garments and into something, you know, a little more comfortable…i.e. their lingerie.  It wouldn’t have been enough to have simply asked all the models to show up in their own adorable, purchased-for-boys-but-now-have-to-wear-in-public bra and panty sets, not an unreasonable request given the girl they hire will likely not be required to have lumps in any places but the right ones.  No, they want to see us in their undies, their bras, of which there are only three sets in total.

As I stare at the backside of Number 74, noting the way in which the stretchy white fabric has begun to wrench its way into the crevice of her (surprisingly ample) ass, I calculate some figures.

91/3 = 30.3

Okay, so 30.3 vaginas will have been pressed against whatever pair of underwear I am so lucky to be handed some three hours from now.  Granted, everyone (dear god, please, everyone) is keeping their little g-strings on underneath, but there’s a reason Victoria Secret doesn’t let you try on underwear, little protective plastic crotch patch be damned.

30.3 x .25 = 7.57

That’s the number of girls standing in this room – statistically speaking – who are likely infected with some sexually transmitted disease.

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How many minutes I will need to pretend I haven’t done these various calculations in my head while I wait, standing half-naked in front of a room full of pretty girls while some aging photographer dude with an ambiguously foreign accent turns pages of another model’s portfolio with an E    X   C    R   U   T   I   A   T   I    N   G  slowness until it’s my turn for him to do the same.  Oh, joy.  Lucky me.

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The number of minutes I’ve been here by the time they get to the next three girls.

“Number 75, 76, 77.”

I’ve already contemplated an exit, but I have recently discovered the British gentleman with the salt-and-pepper hair manning a laptop in the corner.  “Hey, Thomas?” someone asks him.  He’s British and his name is Thomas and I like his hair.  I decide to give this thing a few more minutes.

A girl I know from Los Angeles comes in and sits down next to me, the owner of the Celine handbag having already left and taken her $3,000 leather tote with her.

“How long have you been here?” she asks.

“Who the fuck knows…my whole life?”

We talk about her haircut.  We talk about my old haircut.  We talk about apartments in Roosevelt City vs. apartments in the West Village.  When we run out of things to talk about, we both tend to our respective cell phones.

Another girl I know from LA comes in.

“How long have you been here?”

“Ages.”

“Have you been back to LA recently?”

“No, I wish.”

Like most casting conversations, this one extinguishes quickly as well, a flash-fire of feeling generally human for a moment or two until you begin to more wholly devote your attention to the anticipation of the ultimate moment of dehumanization, a reality that is clearly presented itself as I make judgments in my head about the new crop of girls standing half-naked in front of me.  Bow-legged, she looked better with clothes on.  Big arms, are models allowed to have big arms?  Wonderful ass, I wonder what she does!

I’ve been here almost an hour.  Thomas still hasn’t looked my direction.  Girls begin to lose patience and walk quietly out a glass door.  And as I watch Number 82 sit down, cross her legs, and get otherwise nice and cozy with her new pair of underwear (which, I may as well presume will be my pair of underwear) while she chit chats on her iPhone like this lobby were her living room, I realize that I’m too old for this shit – this assumption that I’m too dim to acknowledge the shared-crotch space and extremely unwanted intimacy, the wasted time vs. potential income earned, the generalized inconsiderate nature of what we are being asked to do – and, like a big girl, I gather my things, put on my coat, and walk right out the door.

Score 1: Team Dignity.

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The Boom Boom Room

I walk towards the new Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District.  It juts up into the sky like some sort of alien fortress, its legs straddling a bistro noisy with the sounds of people decompressing and enjoying St. Patrick’s Day.  Everyone is taking full advantage of the ability to sit outside and leave windows open.  Spring in New York.

The entrance to the hotel strikes me as rather confusing and instead of approaching random doors in front of people I don’t know and outing myself as an idiot newbie, I walk the perimeter of the property looking for some indication of where the lobby is.  The whole hotel is surrounded by venues for eating and drinking but there is no obvious sign for an entrance.  Getting a vodka tonic in this place would be easier than checking into your hotel room.

I turn a corner and realize that I must have missed the entrance because now I’m walking towards the West Side Highway and that can’t be right.  Just as I am about to turn around and admit defeat, I spot a door that has been propped open with a notebook.  The open door leads into a random hallway which leads me past a private dinner, almost into the kitchen, then walks me past managers talking about bottles, and finally into the restaurant where I have to move a server out of the way to get to a door that says “Hotel” in small letters.  Jesus Christ, this is definitely not the right way in.

Past some towering walls of honeycomb porcelain that is probably plastic and I am in a dark elevator with a bellhop and a woman that isn’t engaging in any form of polite conversation.  We stand in silence and I try to imagine what I do when someone is helping me out and I don’t know them.  I usually try to carry on some awkward conversation about God knows what.  They get off and I hear him say, “Room 505.  This is you.”  The doors close and I watch an absurdly bright and absurdly strange video in the elevator wall to my right.  There is a girl with her boobies out.  Hot.

Floor 18 comes soon enough and I walk through a door being held open for me by a man who holds it open when he realizes I am a woman.  Chivalry is not dead.  I am almost in the Boom Boom Room, but first I have to consult the host.  He is wearing a suit and glasses and reminds me of this guy David I know back in Los Angeles but this guy is taller and possibly straight.  He instructs me to leave my coat at the coat check and then take a look inside to find my friends.

Everything is dark and angular and within two steps I am confused as to what direction the coat check is in.  I turn around to inquire for help and he just points again and says, “To the left.”  It’s maybe a foot out of my vantage point.  This hotel makes me feel drunk.  Every wall is put at an angle that makes me want to give up on living if living is this hard.

Once I hand my coat over, I walk past the host and through more doors into what could be the most beautiful room in New York City.  Before I left for tonight, Whitney told me that being inside the Boom Boom Room was like being inside of a trumpet and that it reminded her of vintage Las Vegas – the coke-fueled, Sharon-Stone-in-Casino variety.  It is on the top floor of the hotel and it has a nearly 300-degree view of the city.  Everything about the place glitters and it is a shame that everyone in this place isn’t wearing fur coats and bowties because that’s what this room deserves.

It is only just after 7 PM and the blue sky is turning inkier while still holding on to the dustiness of the day – nonchalantly moving into night.  To the south of the hotel is the river, which is currently a color I would have mashed together with acrylic paints when I was six.  Beyond that is New Jersey and even though it’s New Jersey I don’t mind looking at it.  In the dark all things are beautiful.

The ceilings are covered with mirrored bulbs that reflect more of the gold of the room in its silver surface.  Hanging from the ceiling are midcentury starburst chandeliers that make an admirable attempt to distract from the twinkling of the city outside.  The columns are a rich brown that immediately reminds me of the old play areas in McDonalds: the plastic tree trunks where exactly this shame shade.  People sit in cream leather banquettes and the cocktail waitresses are cream too with red lips and pale skin.  This room makes you feel ugly and insignificant – in a good way.

Eileen is standing by the bar with all of her lady friends and I saddle up to all of them, chat for a moment, and then turn to the bartender – also well dressed in a cream server’s jacket with buttons, the outfit finished with tufts of groomed strawberry blonde hair.

I ask for if they have a Syrah or a Malbec.  Unfortunately for me, they don’t.  The bartender, however, says that they have a wonderful Cabernet that might strike my fancy or a Merlot that may have what I am looking for.  I don’t know if I am actually looking for anything; my knowledge of wine is incredibly limited.  I’ve only ever bought a bottle close to $20 twice in my life.  My favorite red is actually a chilled red with bubbles for $5 from Trader Joe’s.  In other words, I am a low maintenance anti-wino.

I just tell him to pour me whatever is the least dry and he disappears.  When he returns he hands me a sample in a large glass and then presents the bottle for me to read.  I bend over and pretend to actually read the label and make it look like I belong here but I am only admiring the typeface.  Curly script, hmmm, pretty…

After doing a decent job faking that I know anything about wine at all, I drink my sample with Orbit Sweet Mint gum still in my mouth.  “That’s perfect,” I tell him as I hand back my glass.  Like I give a shit.

He asks if I want to leave the tab open but I’m not a “tab open” kind of gal.  One glass usually puts me within two steps of over the edge.  “Tab open” to me is a voluntary and open invitation to ruin the next twenty-four hours of my life.  I tell him I will just close out the bill now.  Before he leaves he says something that I think sounds like $7.75 and I think, holy crap, you can’t get a drink anywhere for that cheap.  Eileen whispers to me, “I think he just said $37.75.”  I dismiss her with a, “No fucking way.”  He comes back, hands me a leather folder with my bill, and I open it.  Fucking way.

Thirty-seven dollars and seventy-five cents.

“Gratuity is included,” he says as he leaves me with their rape fee.  Gee, thanks.  Glad you took that out of the equation for me.

I want to laugh out loud because I had no idea glasses this expensive existed.  Literally.  I couldn’t imagine going out on any particular evening and spending more on one glass of vino than I do on dinner.  Who do I look like?  Puff Daddy?

Ordinarily I just buy a glass and then sip on it to be polite and to not have to field questions like, “Oh, you don’t drink?” or “Oh, why don’t you drink?” or “Why are you such a weenie?”  It’s just easier to pay $12.  But $40….  Each one of my sips is worth just over a dollar, depending on how greedily I drink.  I start drinking my wine and start drinking in this room because that is what I am paying for – an expensive Cabernet and million dollar views of a city I only just started feeling like I live in.

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I used to be friends with the environment, but we had a bit of a falling out.

There are seventeen some-odd items in my green handcart.  Frozen entrees, frozen spinach pancakes, two types of broth, LARA bars.  All of a sudden I understand the bachelor mentality.  The idea of slicing up a chicken to make a delicious stir-fry for just little old me seems absolutely ridiculous, even on the days I stay home literally all day.  I microwaved a sweet potato for the first time the other week.  I’ve never stooped so low.

And so I stand in the middle lane, shuffling my handcart along the cement floor in unison with the shoppers to my left and to my right.  Four of us move in a synchronized fashion and I listen to the symphony of grating plastic sliding across the floor.

Number 7.

The loud Robo-Tron voice tells me it’s my turn to offer up money to the organic gods.  Please take this paycheck as an offering of thanks and gratitude, Mother Earth.  I hope Whole Foods cuts you a percentage.  I walk over to the check out counter at the end.  My handcart gets propped up in front of my male Whole Foods employee who will be assisting me for the next five uncomfortable minutes.

“Are you going to need a bag?”

He looks at me with eyes that both dare and taunt.  Clearly, he sees that I have no canvas or otherwise eco-friendly bag currently in my possession.  No, man.  I’m going to fucking juggle this shit all the way down Bowery.

“Yeah, and actually, if you could get it into two separate ones….That’d be great.”

My voice hangs apologetically in the air and I make emphasis with my two hands that I would like a bag in each of them while I’m walking home.  I don’t think this translates.

“I will do my best.”

I’m confused.  You’re going to do your best to give me what I asked for?  This is the type of thing you say when someone requests that you place seventeen pounds of Macintosh apples into a tiny plastic bag with a hole already forming at the bottom.  On that occasion, “I will do my best” is entirely apropos.  “I will do my best” is what people say when a request is practically out of the question and entirely ridiculous.  It certainly isn’t hard to fill two paper bags with an amount that could be placed entirely into one if need be.

Just give me what I asked for, asshole.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be so perturbed at this man’s passive aggressive way of chastising me for participating in the deforestation of Uruguay.  But this happened the last time I was here when I asked for the same thing, and then I even stipulated that I didn’t need a big bag, just two small ones.  The counter dude stared me down, sighed, and relented.  “Fine.  But I can’t double bag it.”

I wasn’t asking for gratuitous baggage.  All I wanted was to separate my thirty pounds for canned soup and bags of nuts to be equally distributed by weight so that I could get home without pimp walking.  Letcha shoulda lean, shoulda lean. Asshole.

Don’t get me wrong; I am an avid environmentalist.  Plastic bags suck.  Paper bags suck, too.  I acknowledge that my shuttling back and forth across the country on airplanes multiple times a year is probably killing a whole slew of polar bears.  But I will hold on to plastic bottles all day long so that I can recycle them at home and not just throw them into any old trash can.  I get it.  But this is New York.  I don’t have a car.  I can’t carry around two reusable bags in the bag I’m already carrying the rest of my life in.  I don’t know when I’m going to want to go grocery shopping.  I don’t have a car I can take things away in.  And on top of all that, my building doesn’t even give me the option of recycling.  The logistics of this city has rendered me an environmental terrorist.  Manhattan is not terribly “green” and to expect me to be in spite of all obvious odds is fucking ridiculous.  Lo siento, mucho.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

I watch as my disgruntled employee carefully stacks my boxes of crackers artfully next to other squares and rectangles.  He wants it to all fit, I know it.  I wonder when he’ll give up on his ridiculousness and just start filling the next bag.  It’s like an activist’s game of chicken.  Oh, yeah?  You wanna kill some trees today, huh?

His judgment is palpable and I stare mindlessly at the sleeve of my coat and tap my plastic credit card on the counter.  Last time, I tried to explain that I just moved here from Los Angeles and they’d be so proud of how many plastic and paper bags I never used, how I’d just put bottles of ketchup in my purse if I had room.  But that shtick gets old real fast.  I’m not going to apologize for myself into perpetuity.  I feel like a young Republican.

Anticipating a chilly outdoors, I take my leather gloves out of my bag and as I’m pulling them on I wonder if this guy is part of PETA and he’s watching me like I’m burying my hands into the side of a cow.  I quickly hide them at my side.  As quickly as he was done putting the last of my overpriced frozen dinners into the second bag (victory), I swipe my card, press a green button, sign my name, and take off.

As I began my trek home, shoulders ergonomically placed at the same exact height, I began to rant in my head.  Had I the huevos rancheros, here’s what I would have said:

You know what, judgey wudgey Whole Foods employee?  My scoliosis is bad for the environment too.  Because one day, I’m going to be so crippled from shuttling organic apples and frozen vegan dinners back and forth between Houston and Canal that my back will be twisted like a grape vine.  And you know what happens them?  I’m going to need a battery-operated wheelchair to get me around everywhere.  And when I kick the bucket at a hundred and two because of all of those nutritious and pesticide free fruits and veggies and cage free eggs I’ve bought from you weenies, that battery from my wheelchair is going to get thrown into a dump somewhere and start leaching into the groundwater, eventually traveling through the pipes of a school system somewhere near Redlands and it will poison the entire third grade class.  So give me my fucking two paper bags that I am going to reuse as trash bags after this anyway and stop looking at me like that.  Maybe I’m just reading too much Bret Easton Ellis right now, but come on baby, spare me.

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