emma b. says

Thursday, May 26, 2005


I played squash today, yes I did. In Marin. With a trainer. I am becoming unrecognizable to myself. Prior to playing squash, in Marin, I killed time at a mall with piped in music. I didn't know if I should laugh, cry or barf, or do all three.

It was the piped music. I loathe piped music for the very same reason that I loathe Disneyland, the quintessence of the manufactured experience for your enjoyment.

I languished in the sun, counting the rail thin Marin ladies in matching jeans, artfully frayed pushing blondied babies while yapping into cell phones, mind you I was yapping into my cell phone as well, but I was the lone rebel, I was brazenly smoking. And I had on no lip gloss. I don't wear lip gloss, but everyone in Marin seems to. I like lip stick. Though this whole casual office environment has made me increasingly lazy, I am likely to show up soon in my jimjams and braless with hair asunder.

My reverse snobbery is nothing new of course. And it dovetails neatly with the NYTime series on perceptions of class. By rights I am they and they are me, given what I come from and what I have.

But the years after my marriage dissolved and I had to own up to the debt that I had incurred taught me an invaluable lesson of the tenousness of money. Easy come, too easily gone and really fucking hard to get back. The years of poverty where pride prevented cadging from my parents, where it came down to dinner (ha! rather some sort of nourishment) or cigarettes and the cigarettes won out. I was poor, baby, but I was thin! (oh that's just embarassing, Emma, and you sound like a jackass) It took four years to get back, and some good fortune that not everyone gets, and a long lesson in humility and a strong dose of hubris, and the solid knowledge of just how far a little kindness will stretch, and the incalcuable value of true friendships and family, and the fickleness of fairweather friends, and the bottom feeders who will blithley bleed you dry.

That and money, that distinctly impolite subject, makes your lip curl a little. Money. A dollar here and a dollar here, the difference between cobbling together your rent late and eating the untouchable ramen noodles for weeks on end and drinking rose in the South of France despite the ever-waning value of American currency. Or doing with both with equal parts panache and restraint. Unfortch, restraint is not one of my strong suits, if my heart were to rule my wallet it would be as unruly as my hair.

So where does that put me on the socio-economic scale, the girl with the unruly hair peering down her nose at the uniform prevalence of $250 dollar jeans and the big rocks and the version of the 1994 Anniston, am I such a snob or am I in a slow puce burn of envy, am I very decidedly insecure and compensating for my percieved inadequacies, oh whatever, I could chase my own tail for a millenia.

I need to go dancing, it's been too long.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

34 & almost a week, 82 degrees

The weather has turned on the charm, the hussy, all balmy blue skies and sun kissed cheeks. Except for the burns, oh yes, the burns. I was out with a couple of highschool girlfriends on Saturday when the weather decided to turn coy, one of them is the married to a dermatologist, and thusly she has lots of wisdom and product. We set out on our cross-city hike having embalmed our faces in SPF 30 (18 for me, don't tell her) but forgot our other parts. So it is that I have a rather jarring farmer john tan and a red neck. I have a red neck. I am not a redneck.

I know it's bad, bad and possibly uncouth, and possibly lethal to miss being tan, but I miss the bikini line and the sock line from tennis in the summer. I am fond of the freckels that sprout on my nose and dot my cheeks. My skin gets brown and my eyes get green and my hair gets golden without spending all of that money.

It was a lovely birthday weekend, full of friends as it should be.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Farewell my Jesus year

In an hour I will be 34, and though it is past my bedtime I feel compelled to see this year to it's sleepy end. I feel a little eh about this birthday, it's not a milestone or a marker, it's simply a question of positioning. Am I in my late early thirties, or my early mid thirties and does it matter? As I going nowhere on the treadmill fast this afternoon I started to archive the year, and overall it's been a very good year, the poverty of my sex life aside (internets, I can count on my fingers and several toes the number of times I have hit the sheets, streets or beaches) This year might prove even better since thus far I haven't needed to visit the ER for stitches, then again a lot of damage can be done in hour.

What does it mean to be older than jesus anyway, house, spouse, louse? I don't have any of the answers I so craved at 23, I just keep bumbling along celebrating my small joys and occaisionally indulging in self-loathing. And then, still on the treadmill, I started to think of a man that I used to know, who was a lover and a mentor, and a gigantic influence in my life. I am not the same person I was at 28, a sort of subtle realization, but I felt glad. It's a shame we don't know each other anymore, I think he would be proud.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Seventh Day, Day of Rest

And light breaks through the blinds to applause. Cracking an eyelid to assess the sunlight, a watery grey. The six-hundred thread count sheets in a pastel egg shell blue cocoon me softly in the gentle space between shedding a dream and donning the day so I stretch and listen to the applause. It's Bay to Breakers Sunday and the nuts, the nudists and the physically fit are all in running shoes careening through the Panhandle and the whoops of enthusiastic rooters waft through the park, dodge traffic and float up Ashbury to my bedroom window.

I love Sunday mornings in bed, when I reach an arm away my warmth and feel the cool touch of my settled apartment, and my sleep warmed welcome the chill of the wood floor, and I may or may not have to dress at all.

On this day my two good friends and I have resolved to walk. In the opposite direction from the nuts, the nudists and the physically fit.

P and I meet Z on the hill beneath the tower where he lives. We descend a mythic staircase, and the foliage is lush and dense and the parrots sing as we descend, on a day like today, where the sun is half out and the rain is half in, and we feel the strength of the sun at our backs and the lick of the Pacific on our faces, it's a bit of tropical nostalgia, and all of the birds and helicopters are in flight.

Heading West on the Embarcadero, past hulking wharves rehabilitated to house Cruise ships and striving-to-be fashionable restaurants, past clumps of tourists new to sea and new to city, past the surviving restaurants flagged in neon and wax museums and sagging relics and tee shirt shops, past what used to be towards unabashedly what is.

An Irish coffee in the belly of a dinosaur so I can use the facilities and we are off again. We skirt the water at the Dolphin Club, where the bathers used to preen, once upon a time ago. Beneath what is now the Maritime Museum, the peeling pastel glory of Art Deco. It begins to sprinkle as we crest the hill over Fort Mason, and the Eucalyptus is intoxicating in the humidity, down the hill, though the park to the marina. The wind has come up and is jingling the masts, a conclave of pigeons and mediating seagulls. We stop at a bench to smoke, throughout conversation has the languid urgency of people who know each other well and are likely to concur. A regatta on the bay, brightly hued spinnakers fueled by luft. We walk the length of the Marina Green to Chrissy Fields, snack on a vaunted but actually mediocre tuna fish sandwich at the Cavern on the Green I relish the increasingly plaintive rain drops sliding down my neck and soaking my shoulders, quietly wishing for a squalling bay and a wet lashing, and wringing the water from my hair.

But we head inland, towards the great dome of the Palace of Fine Arts in search of the gigantic mythical black carp. Hard to discern much under the oily green water beneath those graceful arches, just a lone swan and her offspring and and a massive, mutant orange carp who regarded us with disinterest.

Heading South East towards Union and Rose's Cafe to the promise of polenta and tomato sauce. Alas, are options were limited to panino and chopped salad, not bad since dinner was a few scant hours hence.

We parted ways with Z and headed to Whole Foods to do hand to hand grocery combat with the well heeled hordes of the renegade cart brigade, armed with a massive Rosie chicken we made is out unscathed and I even managed not to scrape my car in the obscenely tight parking lot.

I roasted the massive bird in lemon and herb de provence, roasted fennel in the massive bird juices, made M's favorite crispy leeks and a mache and mint salad, watched the season finale of the Simpson's and drank a nice, crisp Vin de Savoie. The lightest chord, for the lightest day, a quiet fermata, to end as we began. Or to borrow the last line of the book I just finished, I am yours in dharma, there is no period, because there is no end

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Oh, but life is strange

Marin is a really peculiar place.

After work today I found myself killing time on the treadmill of the posh gym, I was underdressed, and under-botoxed. I found myself sandwiched between ladies of leisure, the and succulent, disaffected highschoolers, several benevolent geriatrics, and a smattering of independently wealthy day traders trying to outlift one another, and by God if it isn't a pissing contest. Who is prettiest, who is youngest, who has the most disposable income, my money is on grandpa. There is Emma huffing the slogging and panting through the last ten minutes of cardio, sweaty and disheveled, wishing for a solid, sludge-worthy cup of coffee and a half pack of cigarettes, and how is it possible that the sharp brunette twice my age with the trainer half my age can look better than I do at my age.

So I have an hour or so to kill before W.W.'s photography opening, and I linger in the mall that my gym anchors, and the sun is hanging in it's laconic Californian way, and the light is long and golden and sparkling on windshields and flashing fiery diamond facets, I am the pariah skulking along the perimeter, cigarette and coffee in hand, dodging the myriad, errant children, contemplating the inappropriateness of shorts and troubled by the surplus of panty lines. From my limited data collection, I posit that panty lines are some sort of obscure (a reclaiming of sorts?) badge of honor, meanwhile the pariah smoking and skulking on the perimeter is becoming apopletic at the sight of so many uneven "v" outlines of undergarments... It's just not pretty. Giggling inwardly at the remembrance of some lady in her gigantic panties, and hearing my inside demon rasp wetly in my ear, lord but those are some esspansive panties, and my outside self stubbed her toe whistling aww shucks, while donning the mask of innocence.

Incidently that should provide plenty of fodder for the poor souls who landed here after searching for granny panties... GRANNY PANTIES, MOIST, GET THEM HERE.

Weekend round up on almost Thursday.
Thursday last, dinner with mere & pere Emma at Cortez: three words, Hamachi Croque Madame, also, if you happen to be hanging out with my father, I would advise you to leave off of politics, religion, and the environment unless you are want to traumatize your waitperson with a diatribe, keerist, I thought I was bad.

Friday last: T and I drinking in an unknown establishment deep in the Mission, named for an English poet and oddly frequented by frenchmen (not known at the time) are accosted by a would-be novelist with a seemingly severe case of ADD and remarkable persistence, Most Stoic Frenchman S. rescues us and sends us blithely on our way.

And our way is a, well it's a long story and the details are foggy and require backstory. But it was something like this, a club in the no man's land of defunct factories and Hunter's Point, long hair on men, the likes of which not seen since 1989, falling down girls and aerosol hairspray, a whole lotta posturing from fallen rock stars turned real estate agents cashing in on the tail end, for fuck's sake it can't get worse can it, of the eighties revival.

Saturday morning last: My brain hurts.
I rise to the chirping of my cell, I am to meet 7 fourteen girls in search of hundred dollar dresses for eighth grade graduation. One of their mother's is my highschool girlfriend, her kid is turning fifteen. I had so much fun. They univerally think that I am the fucking rockingest thing since motherfucking carb free wine. I guess when you are an almost 34 year old single and desperately horny woman living in a postage stamp apartment but you're wearing the stamps of last night's party and a matching hang-over and you spent your last paycheck on this season's purse, purposefully forgetting this month's rent and you wore heels to breakfast and have four shades of lipstick/gloss in your purse, and you curse like a sailor (so does their mother) but it sounds different coming out of my mouth, they think my address on a much heralded corner is the cat's meow, they think I am really, righteously fucking cool. And I must admit, I felt bolstered, just a little... that is until all the dresses that I chose were roundly derided. Here are these lovely, willowy young limbs calling not for demure per se, but for classic, for classic subversion. For irony. But no, they all want to dress like hookers... How exactly like me at fourteen. And L. and I had a long laugh, they have brought back all of the poufs and ruffles that we bought wholesale at their age, except now the poufs are better constructed and the price of the dressed has risen with inflation. And I felt old, but I didn't feel old, I felt glad, I marveled at those young slouchy bodies in mismatched tube socks and the same markered checked vans that their mothers wore.

Is that what it means to come full circle.

Saturday evening last: those girls wore my shit out. I stumbled to dinner with my parents, eyes half shut. We ate Iraqi. It was excellent, though the plateware was very much early Versacci, which was fitting given my day and my unrelenting hangover.

Mother's Day: Z and I go to the cinema, eat Japanese, troll through bookstores. The wind blows, howls by moments, rain falls, hard and pacific, we walk, I don't open my umbrella, and the drops are fat and staccato, and form perfect weatherproofed rivulets that trickle from his shoulders to his cuffs, and dams his beard.

And those of you following the story of the crush that would not go the way of the dodo, and then went the way of the dodo, and then was nutured by a growing and profound friendship was transfigured into it's own thick and lush crocus bulb. And we push though the dirt and our sturdy petals unfurl, and I am delighted to have fallen in love, fallen in deep platonic love with my friend. It's like a first blush minus the flush, and in my hunger for love, it's possibly very much misguided but it shines in my restless heart like a beacon and I am so pleased to know that I can love my good friends without equivocation, all of my good friends, along with all of the loves gone from me, and none of that can hinder me from finding the perfect, guileless 27 year old, with the sing song washboard abs in search of a sentimental education.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

On becoming a word with the suffix "ist"

I discovered that I was a bonafied word-with-the-suffix "ist" as I was cursing in my car. I had forgotten that one of the joys of driving is the freedom to curse liberally and audibly while occaisionally and brazenly dredging my nose backed by the muscle of power steering and a steel chasis. As it happened I was cursing at NPR, or rather it's content, it being national prayer day.

And this being a word-with-the-suffix "ist" is the stickiest of wickets because I am undecided and deeply divided.

Turns out that the christian right thinks I am a god hating heathen, and though I am rather proud of being an unabashed heathen, I do not hate God, I hate them. I really, sweepingly, hate them

God and I have seperate issues, and my She/He/It/They, henceforth known by the acronym SHIT (You don't mind do You?) My SHIT is benign, my SHIT is benevolent, my SHIT could give a shit. Like was SHIT taking a shit in the Sudan, did SHIT mistake it for it's litter box?

Back to They who made me the word-with-the-suffix "ist". What is that word? It's not baptist, it's not methodist, it's not adventist. It can't be evangelisist. That sounds too positive. Maybe I am just a bigot, that sounds right, it's got the right connotations of blanket exclusion and condescension, and a dark thread of looming violence. So be it. I am a bigot, and they have made me thus. It's an admission that make me cringe, that is contrary to the hippy values my parents sought to instill, it is counterintuitive all of my moral values that prop up my backbone and I am worldly enough to know that only fools and politicians make such generalizations, but today in the car, after the battery of fucks screeched at the radio, when my blood was at a full boil, and I caught myself wishing They could all be relocated to a man made isle somewhere at the nether end of the Pacific where the weather is especially inclement with all of their bretheren in zealotry, Islamic, Jewish, Hindi and what the hell, throw is a few self-immolating Buddists for good measure and let them let as much blood as they like til the last person falls. I'm betting SHIT would be tickled pink.

I realize that I have affected a cavalier tone for this screed. I did have a rather detailed and succinct argument laid out in my head, but that was before I had a lovely dinner with mere & pere Bovary at Cortez, and it was the second bottle of rose that tempered my ire and hastens my need to retire.

And the pundits keep gnattering on about the culture wars, but I must remind them it isn't really a war until blood is spilled, and I fear we are not far from the first shot ringing in the square. And then we will see just how rabid and rapacious those good christians are, they'll be just as condemned as the rest of us as we pillage in the name of the restoration of our unassailable righteousness, and they will slaughter our children wholesale, and we will slaughter their children and commit unspeakable acts, and all of us on both sides will be stupified by the savagery in moments of repose and beg forgiveness and wipe our bloodied hands in the dirt, and the great pendulum of history will inevitably swing back, heavy and unmerciful, and SHIT will sit in judgement and snigger "the joke's on you, larvae"

So on this day of national prayer, I am praying to SHIT that reason will prevail, that the goodly Mother Nature wont bury us under a fine layer of silt, I am praying for forgiveness for my impatience with the boundless ignorance with the christian right, I am praying that people will stop detonating themselves in public venues in Iraq and Israel. I am praying that the angels will take all of the existing and future nuclear weapons to the champs elysees of weaponry, I am praying for the health and happiness of my friends and family, that my health wont fail, that here in my happy little nucleus of semi-bourgeosie that I can be good. That I can be good.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Early mornings, tolls late

Internets would you care to learn the full extent of Emma's nincompooposity, a month or maybe so, in a fit of egotism I signed up for the site-meter, and have been diligently paying for it since... though to my deep chagrin I'd get the weekly update and see that no one, but one had been visiting me in the internet's hinterlands, so much for that seven dollar grope for a newly minted dirty almost virgin (see below). Turns out I'm slightly retarded much like my car, the Elantra, Electra's slightly retarded younger sister, and though I had signed up and had been paying for the service, and how the innuendo abounds, turns out I had neglected to install it... anytime anyone wants me to contemplate assembling a set of key stroke into rudimentary code I tend to jump up and down and grunt like an imbecile ape and throw rocks at the thing that has a suffix like an "outh" and if you don't know what I am talking about, I am referring to 2001, A SpaceOdessyey, and the word I am thinking of is like behemoth (except it's not, Elantra, the word you're is Monolith...)

well, angry apes and non-synonymns aside

today as I squeezed my darling and somewhat reticent Elantra between the Hummer and sparkling Infiniti at the gym, she bucked a little, but no noticable damage done, just the slightest trace of a key across the hood, I was thinking about the ozone and hairspray, specifically. I am not sure that I have seen a can of aerosol hairspray since the late nineteen eighties, when our big bangs, not mine natch, started to buckle under the weight of all of all the spritz, which now that I think about it, must surely account for the demise of gigantic hair, it was a liberal conspiracy! Which led to remembering the commercials for the Dry Look hair spray, which led to feathered hair and nearly tumbling off of the treadmill, which led to an informal survey of Old Spice, who wears it still, which led to potentially embarassing situations with older gentlemen, which felt as though it might result in my expulsion, but did not, which led me to leave after having worked my abs into screaming submission, which led me and Elantra to weave across the bridge and to simultaneously spot the Farallons and to owe each other a coke even though she prefers unleaded and I prefer vodka, which led to the new ritual of paying 5 dollars to the bridge gods, which led to the hunt for extreme parking, wherein Elantra and I slayed us a good spot, which led to checking the mail, the email, the voice mail, which led to the spark of the hunter/gatherer instinct and we (that is I, Elantra being berthed for the evening) visited our local purveyor of grub, wherein the lovely Jen filled a mug, rather a wine glass, and we stuffed out gullet full of chicken, half of which we offered to the nearest hungry person, which led us to the familiarity of home, which led us to typing, which will shortly lead us to the bathtub, and afterwards the soft oblivion of familiar sheets.

how's that for an ungainly paragraph.