reading anna's description of a to-die-for bra, i was inspired to waltz around victoriassecret.com for awhile, and i was reminded in doing so that despite all the frills and lace and satin and mesh that i love and everybody loves i can never find *the* perfect bra. so i'm going to design one. i just thought i'd let you all know. i'll tell you when i'm through.
i spaced out during a group conversation today, and when i tuned back in the other participants were saying:
"i think they're cute."
"no, donnie and marie osmond."
on tuesday i drove up to hollywood to see cat power, aka the achingly beautiful musical stylings of one chan marshall, who is, well, a little kooky.
it was definitely the first time i've seen a performer so enthusiastically offer drags of a cigarette to members of the audience.
but apparently the smoky allure of her voice can't be compromised by slight craziness or considerable drunkenness. she was insecure ("i don't want to play that one. it sucks") yet amazing. and the performance re-arrangements of "i don't blame you" and "maybe not" were stellar.
anyway. today i straightened my long dark hair and wore my new cat power shirt and i feel pretty hot. pretty chan-ish.
this is the story behind the veritable black thundercloud of bad karma that i trudge along with everywhere.
after reading this, you will likely be offended by my lack of moral certitude. i am not proud of this, and for the most part i keep it hidden away in a drawer of poor behavior and unfortunate conduct, but i sometimes take it out to air and to tell so that good people like you can know the worst of me.
but you must believe me when i say this: i had to do it.
* * *
the summer that followed my freshman year of college was the first i spent away from home. i sublet an apartment and took a full-time job at a bookstore in a nearby mall to pay the bills. i was told upon being hired that i would probably be promoted to supervisor within a few weeks. this after an disastrous, tongue-tied interview that went something like this:
assistant manager: "why do you want to work here?"
kate: "um. i really love to read."
assistant manager: "what have you read recently?"
kate (thinks: "i haven't read anything for pleasure since this college thing started!" mind goes blank. wonders: "what have i ever read?! i have to say something, fast!"): um. the catcher in the rye?"
assistant manager: stares blankly.
apparently i made a good impression after i regained my wits. in any case, i became senior bookseller a few weeks later, which meant that i had the same basic floor duties as the two managers, but without the final say in store matters or the responsibility to keep close contact with our corporate superiors. this seemed cushy for a nineteen-year-old, and for the most part i liked it.
until i went back to school in the fall. our store manager, doug (not his real name), was transferred away and our store was going to close at the end of the year because of its inability to keep up with the rent. so i was left with the frenzied assistant manager, melanie (not her real name), and without doug's balancing influence. after he left, melanie spent approximately one-third of her time on the phone with him at his new store, one-third telling me what a huge "secret" crush she had on him, in spite of his marriage, and one-third being a walking, breathing exemplification of p.m.s.
to make things more difficult for me, i was compelled to keep a 30 hr/wk schedule because i was the only other keyholder, even after school had begun. this held through periods of personal emergency and trauma. finally, i was specifically asked not to quit until after the store had closed on new year's eve, solidifying my imprisonment for another three months. i was trapped.
after several weeks of trying to balance the demands exacted on me by classes and by the hell that was that bookstore, i decided i couldn't take it anymore. not another second. not. another. second.
but i didn't know how to quit. i'd been instructed not to, and furthermore, the new senior bookseller we'd just hired to work alongside me hadn't yet been fully trained, so even if i was allowed to quit, i'd be compelled to postpone leaving for at least a month. i didn't think i'd last a day.
i needed a reason to leave that would be fool-proof, air-tight. that would necessitate me leaving immediately, without questions and without much explanation. that management couldn't dispute. that would even exempt me from the two weeks' notice rule.
i never back away from my commitments or cower under lies, but this was torture. i abandoned my principles.
i told melanie i was pregnant.
i did it in the stock room, with a completely straight, sorrowful face and a breaking, halting voice. and then i began to cry.
i explained that my parents wanted me to fly home to washington right away for care and punishment, and that i might not be coming back for several weeks, if at all before the store's closing at the end of the year. and melanie became my biggest champion.
"what about your boyfriend?! does he know?! oh man, if he doesn't take good care of you i will smack him so hard..."
she even offered me a loan to help pay for the abortion.
and after much talk and sympathy and deep breathing to calm me down, melanie said:
"well, as long as we're telling secrets..."
i wanted to scream, "no! don't do it! don't reward my lies with juicy gossip! my conscience can't take any more!" but, of course, i couldn't. she continued:
"...doug and i have been sleeping together."
my mouth dropped open. i learned that doug and melanie had been lusting secretly after one another for years, but had only recently consecrated their sexual tension. i learned that melanie thought she was in love with him, and that, supposedly, he was in love with her and remained "with" his wife just out of "loyalty". i learned that he and melanie had showered together, but he and his wife had not. i learned that they had had sex on the chair i was sitting on. i learned, in short, far too much.
i worked one short shift after that and never came back. the store got along fine without me, and i got along brilliantly without it.
and this is how i was able to quit a job that i hated, secure impunity from my flighty last-minuteness and receive all the cooperation and sympathy the manager could muster, and come into the possession of very secret, delicate information that isn't by any stretch of the imagination rightfully mine. and this is why i live with the constant expectation that my bad karma will catch up to me and ruin my life. it's like being on death row, sort of.
i hope you all don't hate me now. i really do.
there is a birth announcement in the paper today. it reads:
"david, jennifer and big sister dominique are proud to announce the birth of their beautiful (according to grandma) daughter, sophia grace lawrence."
beautiful according to grandma? almost as though the family grudgingly included that compliment because wiry ole granny made 'em. i can just imagine the effect this will have on poor sophia during her adolescent body-image crises:
sophia: "i'm not beautiful!"
family (minus grandma): "well, we said so from the beginning."
i write emails when i am angry.
but i don't send them.
because i know that they are bitter and reactionary.
and were i to send them, i would regret it later, when i am rational.
but i do write them.
but, at the same time, so tempting.
because the communication of my anger is only a "ctrl-x" away...
sticky-sweet compliment log for monday, 28 april:
"pretty pink!" (i am wearing pink.)
that is not interesting, but you see?! EVERY DAY!
i just stabbed myself in the eye with my own middle finger, if that gives you an idea of how my day is going.