in san diego, where i live, rent is a bit steep. in la jolla, where i more specifically live, rent is back-breaking. i do menial work for the university of california, gathering information about local rich people (which is analogous to a hungry person watching others eat all day long) so that the university can be in the know when it's trying to suck out money from the high and mighty of the area, like dr. seuss' late wife. anyway, my income can't support my living sans roommates, as i wish i could do because i've yet to find a set of roommates all open to my prancing around in skimpy underthings at all hours of the day.
but the three chicks with whom i share a pleasant, three-story townhouse make not living alone not only bearable, but really enjoyable. granted, i spend a fair amount of my time at home shut into my own bedroom with the lights dimmed and the music turned up, doing my own thing, but i can count on laughs and rants and american idol debates being on the other side of the door if i choose to open it.
two of my housemates have birthdays next month, sandwiching my own, which is on the 8th (national outdoor sex day, for those of you who missed that bit of trivia the first time around). for the past few months, we've been throwing around suggestions for a celebratory shindig to be held at our underused hot spot of a home. but as the time has approached, i've gotten skeptical about the party idea. part of this is because i'm absolutely uptight about keeping the damn place CLEAN at ALL TIMES, but there's also my spotted history of bash-throwing to be taken into account:
when i turned ten years old, i had a birthday party that my ever-supportive mother referred to euphemistically as "intimate." meaning, i had no friends. actually, that's not quite true. i had about one and a half friends, and one and a half friendly acquaintances. (the halves are accounted for in a girl who certainly felt close to me -- example: she once invited me to her house and proceeded to enthusiastically and instructively make out with her pillow -- but who made me feel a tad uncomfortable -- example: she once invited me to her house and proceeded to enthusiastically and instructively make out with her pillow .) party highlights included: bad presents (thanks, heather, i really wanted your used clear telephone), awkward silences, and late attendees (remember, each guest made up one-third of the invite pool); and my relationships with those girls dissolved within the next month.
i organized a fifteenth birthday party for a girlfriend of mine, to be held at another girlfriend's house, at the end of our ninth grade year. the hostess was a drama queen who was named sarah at birth, decided to change her name to grace about a year after entering college ("no really, guys. it's grace now. no exceptions."), and then, after finding out that "sarah" means something like "princess" or "enchanting" or another vague positive trait, changed her name back. sarah's boyfriend broke up with her at that party, so she naturally wandered down her street a ways, in a fog of despair i'm sure, and eventually collapsed in a sobbing heap on the sidewalk and wailed (i'm not kidding) for so long that neighbors came to us and asked if they should contact emergency personnel.
my mother's parents flew in to attend my high school graduation and, as their gift, offered to fund a graduation party. this was another "intimate" gathering, but this time at my own will. rather than inviting a crowd of friends to my backyard for a long, messy, hectic event, i opted in favor of lunching with a dozen or so of my nearest and dearest. the only problem was that many of my nearest and dearest were unacquainted. the result of that kind of mingling is almost always a frantic effort made by the center of attention (me) to make introductions and ensure that everyone becomes best friends, all in a matter of minutes, which is exhausting and difficult.
i helped to organize a bash for co-workers when i was 18 or 19. the idea was that one of the gals had a second job at a local posh hotel, and she'd book us the royal suite for a night of debauchery. which it was, to a most unfortunate degree. what began as a rare evening of just plain fun among people who usually had to socialize over folding tables and cash registers turned into positively scandalous night of way too much wine and gossip and immaturity and shamelessness. it was horrid.
there are more. the point is, as a result i've cultivated a fear of parties that are thrown for me or by me. plus there's the anal-about-house-cleanliness thing i mentioned before. i can make a dashing hostess and i love a good time with people who are required by the nature of the event to give me their best wishes and possibly even presents, but for now this is still a dilemma.
i'd like to introduce everyone to my real-life friend, stan.
stan is my only real-life friend to read this page, because i keep the rest happy with another less totally fabulous page, like you'd distract dumb animals which is more appropriate to its audience.
i told stan about fauxhemia because of the pivotal role he's had in the development of my own wit. without him, i might not be so constantly on my guard against achingly bad (awesome) puns and humor that is somehow both self-depracating and self-exalting. and always self-referential, as you'll see below. here's a sample -- you can call it silly and snobby, but we call it genius ingenius. it's an instant message conversation from a year ago:
staaaaaaan (1:18:11 AM): hey. take and kate are anagrams. staaaaaaan (1:18:15 AM): TAKE THAT. staaaaaaan (1:20:04 AM): upon seeing that anagram staaaaaaan (1:20:24 AM): i considered spending time not writing my paper to try to come up with a palindromic sentence that would incorporate your name katekinks (1:20:30 AM): hahaha. staaaaaaan (1:20:47 AM): but i had second thoughts about the fruitfulness of such an effort. staaaaaaan (1:21:01 AM): perhaps for another time. staaaaaaan (1:21:39 AM): i'm starting my com essay with this quote staaaaaaan (1:21:41 AM): from the west wing staaaaaaan (1:21:55 AM):
President Josiah Bartlett: Sweden has a 100 percent literacy rate. 100 percent! How do they do that?
Chief of Staff Leo McGarry: Well maybe they don't and they also can't count.
katekinks (1:21:59 AM): hahaha. yeah, i read about that statistic. staaaaaaan (1:22:05 AM): yeah katekinks (1:22:05 AM): pretty funny, and quite suited! katekinks (1:22:19 AM): "quite" and "suited" both have "uite" katekinks (1:22:22 AM): !!!!!!!! staaaaaaan (1:22:26 AM): indeed. staaaaaaan (1:22:32 AM): AND YET THEY'RE PRONOUNCED IN DIFFERENT WAYS. staaaaaaan (1:22:47 AM): we should send some of our chat logs to someone for immediate publishing. katekinks (1:23:00 AM): i agree staaaaaaan (1:23:10 AM): CrappyBooksThatYouWouldNeverBuy, Inc. staaaaaaan (1:23:11 AM): perhaps katekinks (1:23:37 AM): i thought for a moment about trying to come up with others katekinks (1:23:47 AM): staaaaaaan (1:20:47 AM): but i had second thoughts about the fruitfulness of such an effort. staaaaaaan (1:23:58 AM): witty re-direction. staaaaaaan (1:24:05 AM): or perhaps i meant staaaaaaan (1:24:11 AM): katekinks (1:14:07 AM): pretty funny, and quite suited! katekinks (1:24:23 AM): hoo hoooo, we're so clever. staaaaaaan (1:24:22 AM): hey staaaaaaan (1:24:29 AM): katekinks (1:14:20 AM): "quite" and "suited" both have "uite" staaaaaaan (1:24:32 AM): i just noticed. katekinks (1:25:22 AM): ingenius observation, if you ask me. staaaaaaan (1:25:34 AM): ingenius and genius both have "genius" in them katekinks (1:25:49 AM): staaaaaaan (1:22:32 AM): AND YET THEY'RE PRONOUNCED IN DIFFERENT WAYS. katekinks (1:25:55 AM): oh wait. staaaaaaan (1:25:57 AM): oh stop. we're too funny.
i just caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror while changing out of work clothes.
i'm not really that amazing to look at, but when this happened i suddenly totally, totally understood the self-indulgent self-love that inspires 17-year-old girls everywhere to wear skimpy next-to-nothings and tease their male peers with their bodies and dabble in the adventure that is skinny dipping. i've been 17 and i've done it, but this persective, from a greater distance, is refreshing. ah, all that skin!
i remember the first time you brought me to the airport.
it was new then. new and thrilling and riddled with possibilities for delving into something neither of us knew anything about.
i wrote you a short letter. it was honest. i wrote that i really liked you and i was truly happy with you, but most of all, i wanted to know you better. i wanted to know every inch of you, every facet of your personality, every interest, pet peeve, beautiful memory, facial expression, and idealistic goal.
i put the letter in an altoids case. in january and february, altoids makes heart-shaped cases and you'd given me one. with the mints still in it, of course. and you'd given me a valentine. it was the only valentine i'd ever gotten that meant anything. you told me i could read your mind like a book, that i could capture your thoughts with a singular look. i can still do that. there's a sluggishness in your smile when i know it's false, a bitter stiffness to your brow when i know you're hurt and angry. i think you forget how well i do know your face now. better than you know it. i understand what each tense muscle means. i know when you're not telling me something.
the first time you brought me to the airport was only a month and a half after you gave me that valentine. i left the note in the altoids case under the seat in your car -- back when your '66 mustang was still running -- and you saw it, and took it out for me. you thought i'd simply forgotten it, and i was gigglingly embarrassed to say that, no, i was trying to be cute and it was actually intended for you.
you still have it, somewhere. i've asked if you kept it, and you've said yes. you have a file, too, dedicated to me. notes i wrote to you. drafts of poems you wrote for me. i know you still have all this because of the time you said you'd had thoughts of systematically ridding yourself of all evidence of me, so that you could get over me. all these sentimental trinkets were the evidence. i have some too, littered around my bedroom in places i can easily both find and avoid. i'm so bad at deciding when to throw things away.
girl and coke have a long affair. girl is young but voracious, and develops a passion for coke. girl and coke do it upwards of six times a day, sometimes ritualistically. girl and a friend of girl's meet every day before third-period english. either girl or girl's friend stops at a pop machine on the way. (they were called pop machines, there, even by those -- like girl -- who called the beverage "soda," and when girl goes to college in a different place, with a different beverage vocabulary, she finds it difficult to kick the habit of calling them pop machines, much to the bewilderment and wonder of locals who would ask, "a machine that sells weed?") so girl and her friend would pop the top of coke and take turns chugging until the head ached, passing coke to the other, back and forth, chugging and recovering, and always finishing in under a minute.
it was triumphant.
one day, someone told girl that her teeth were remarkably not-yellow for someone with such a close relationship to coke. girl started to question that relationship. was six times a day too many? was she becoming dependent on coke? were those headaches she got when coke wasn't around a bad sign? should she reevaluate her commitment to coke?
girl started curbing her coke habit.
girl usually spent her afternoons at another friend's house. girl's friend always offered pepsi when girl was over. pepsi wasn't coke, but it was okay. it reminded girl of coke, and girl missed coke. then, suddenly, girl's friend's parents stopped buying pepsi, and started buying diet coke.
girl hated diet coke. she knew it could be worse, because she'd had diet caffeine-free coke, but she was more acutely aware of how much it could be better. diet coke cheapened coke. girl remembered vividly the taste of coke in her mouth, and considered this diet crap a vile replacement. girl turned up her nose at diet coke, and refused to drink.
but sometimes girl wanted something to drink at her friend's house. sometimes, after the bus ride and brief walk to her friend's house, while her friend was happily sipping her diet coke, girl got wistful. envious. thirsty.
diet coke was her only choice.
and so girl started to drink diet coke. slowly at first -- haltingly, weaning herself onto the taste, forgetting her initial disgust, learning always to have it cold, learning how to love it.
like an arranged marriage.
and she did. she learned to love it. she began to crave it. it became girl's one true soda.
and she stopped thinking about coke. girl no longer craved coke, or spent her time with diet coke just wishing it was coke. in fact, the opposite happened.
girl no longer liked coke.
girl became very aware of all of coke's flaws. how could she not have noticed before? coke was so sweet, so thick and syrupy. it was so much heavier and darker and so much less cool and refreshing and light and bubbly. girl never cared a bit about caloric intake. girl once spent three months eating nothing but salad with thick, creamy caesar dressing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. girl won't touch most of diet coke's diet relatives. no, diet coke was never something girl had to do to achieve a goal, or to uphold a dietary value. she simply loved diet coke for diet coke.
girl never came to hate coke. coke still has a special place in girl's heart, along with the dog-eared novels and broken cassettes and folded-up notes and forgotten crushes of adolescence.
but she doesn't drink it. her loyalties are elsewhere.