Thursday, March 27, 2008

...and that's how I got hepatitis C

Okay, is it just me or was everybody driving reeeaaallllly slowly this morning? I mean, fuck, I’m not in any hurry to get to work either, but at least they have a bathroom and Internet there.

Anyway, last weekend, G, C, M, and I got together for M’s belated birthday celebration. First up, we batted around a guitar-shaped piñata in their side yard. I’d never had the pleasure of hitting a piñata before, and I was surprised by how sturdy those things really are. Finally, M managed to break it open, and we all scrambled for its delightful innards of candy and toys. Afterwards, we made a Mentos fountain, and then we were off to our next destination…


As it turns out, C and M had booked us all on a tour of the stars’ homes. I was insanely excited about this, because even though I’ve lived in Southern California for the vast majority of my life, I’d never been on one of these tours. Judging from the looks and accents of the other people on the tour, I’m pretty sure that we were the only Californians, but we decided to stay undercover.

Our first stop was this scenic overlook above the Hollywood Bowl:

(All pictures courtesy of C)

Next, the driver took us down Mulholland Drive and pointed out all the stars’ homes as we gaped out the window. We saw everything from Jack Nicholson’s surprisingly rundown mansion to the piano-shaped home that Elton John is having built. Occasionally, a jogger or dogwalker on the side of the road would give us a really nasty look as we drove by, which was fun. I wanted to lean out the window and shout, “Maybe I ain’t got millions of dollars, but at least I ain’t a bitch!”

(And yes, to be completely honest, I’d rather have the money and be a bitch.)

Next, we drove through Bel Air and Beverly Hills, where I decided to splurge and buy myself a new car:

You know, just a little something to tool around in when my 1996 Chevy Cavalier is in the shop.

When we got back to Hollywood, despite the fact that we’d been in an air-conditioned bus for most of the tour, some of the participants were sweating and flushed. One man in particular, who was as bald as a stripper’s pussy, was turning an alarming shade of red.

G felt the need to pose for this saucy snap:

Ariel sure seems to be enjoying my boyfriend’s attentions, that shameless hussy. (In unrelated news, she was later found unconscious and badly beaten in a nearby alley. Sorry kids, no sing along tonight!)

When we were walking back to the parking lot, we saw a bright pink Corvette. I said, “Hey, that’s either Barbie’s dream car or Angelyne’s!” Sure enough, when we got closer…

It was almost time to leave Hollywood, so we posed for one last picture. Enjoy it, for it is the last one you will ever see of me in good health.

We had a long drive ahead of us, so M and I decided to duck into a nearby McDonald’s to use the bathroom. There was a line waiting for the two stalls, so we stood at the end, behind a older woman with an astounding blonde beehive and an Elvis tattoo on her arm, and chatted. M said, “Oh, wait, why don’t you get in front of me? I got to go first the last time.”

This act of courtesy spared M a lifetime of pain.

When a stall finally opened up, the most desiccated shell of a human being I’ve ever seen staggered out. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never seen emptier eyes in my life. Nervously, I walked into the stall and latched the door.

No ass gaskets, of course.

Now, I’m not one of those people that thinks a thin piece of paper is going to protect me from germs, but if nothing else, they keep me from experiencing that horrible sensation of sitting my bare ass down where a total stranger’s bare ass had been sitting mere moments before me. And, considering the person who had been in there before me, I wanted to keep as much distance between me and the seat as possible. There wasn’t much toilet paper left, so I didn’t want to waste it on lining the seat; I decided to squat.

Come on, C, you used a squat toilet on a moving bullet train, you can do this, I thought to myself. Lowering myself into a pissing plie, I hovered over the bowl and let loose.

Then my foot slipped on the wet floor and I landed on the seat. I was relieved that it was dry, but then I looked in the trash can next to the toilet and saw A LENGTH OF RUBBER TUBING AND A WAD OF BLOODY KLEENEX.

The previous occupant had been shooting up in there!

“Oh god,” I moaned, leaping from the seat as though it had suddenly caught fire. I hastily wiped and went to the sink, where I scrubbed about five layers of skin from my hands.

Our final stop of the day was a restaurant called Kate Mantilini’s, where I tried to take my mind off my second most horrifying public bathroom experience with a filet mignon sandwich, beer-battered fries, and a Willy Wonka martini. (Contrary to what you might think, this martini had no chocolate liqueur in it. Our waiter explained that the bartender had tried to make an alcoholic drink that tastes like an Everlasting Gobstopper might.) The combination of good food, good company, booze, and a (mostly) lovely day helped me relax, and I finally stopped obsessing over the horrible diseases I might have contracted in that godforsaken bathroom.

But if I see even the slightest TINGE of yellow in the whites of my eyes…I’m making my will.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Flashback, New Jersey, 1977

I was sitting in the courtyard of our apartment complex, happily opening a new batch of Wacky Packages. I popped the dusty piece of gum in my mouth and blew a bubble, chortling over the silly gags on the cards.

Then a shadow blocked out the sun, and I looked up to see the neighborhood bully looming over me. “Whatcha got there?” he asked.

“Nothing,” I said, quickly pushing the cards under me. Even though I was a girl, and only six years old, I knew this kid would have no qualms about stealing my precious cards.

“Come on, let me see,” he said, and grabbing me roughly by the arm, he hauled me off the ground. “Nothing, huh? Looks like Wacky Packages.” He reached down and picked them up.

“Don’t,” I whined. “Give them back!”

“It’s a fine for lyin’,” he said, and chortling, he pushed me down and sauntered away.

Instantly, my face turned into a tragedian’s mask, and I began sobbing so hard that the gum fell out of my mouth. I stood on shaky legs and started staggering towards home, but on the way, I ran into my brother. He was carrying his cherished Tonka dump truck and whistling happily, but he stopped when he saw me.

“What happened?” he instantly asked.

“Huh-huh-Harley pushed me down and stole my Wacky Packages!” I wailed.

R’s eyes narrowed. “Hold this,” he said, handing me the dump truck, and he stalked off towards the playground. After a moment’s hesitation, I ran after him.

Harley was sitting on the swings, idly scuffing his toes in the sand as he carelessly thumbed through my Wacky Packages. He was a big, beefy kid, so when my scrawny brother came storming up to him, he didn’t even bother raising his head.

“What,” Harley said.

“Did you take my sister’s Wacky Packages?”

“Yeah, so?”

R pushed him off the swing. He landed on the ground with an oomph that would have been comical if I hadn’t been so certain that my brother was about to get his ass handed to him.

“Ooooh!” crowed the kids around us, who had gathered for the bloodbath.

“What the shit?” Harley yelled. He leaped up, dusted off his ass, and charged at R, who grabbed him by his cheap red windbreaker, ripping it in the process, and flung him down on the ground again. Without a second’s hesitation, R reached down, picked up the cards that had scattered on the ground, and handed them to me. He took his truck back, and then he looked down at Harley, whose eyes were brimming with tears of anger and embarrassment. Then he looked at the other kids, pointed at me, and---with a bravado I had never even known he possessed---shouted, “This is my sister! If any of you have a problem with her, you have to go through ME!

And then he took me by the hand and led me home.

I’m the first to admit that R’s always been a bit of an odd duck. We were both almost cripplingly shy when we were growing up, but whereas I got a little better, he seemed to get even worse. Granted, I’m still pretty uncomfortable around strangers, but R makes me look like Paris Hilton in comparison.

And after a series of unfortunate events, most of which are too private or too painful or too complicated to go into here, he got REALLY bad. As in, so bad that my father was scared shitless, not that R would hurt himself or anyone else, but that R would be left completely adrift if nobody was there to help him. So, on the advice of a friend, Dad arranged for R to see a psychologist, who administered a series of tests.

The verdict is official: my brother has Asperger’s.

Asperger’s (and don’t think I haven’t already given R shit about having something that sounds so much like “ass burgers”) is a form of autism which, at its worst, basically renders the person incapable of dealing with other people. It’s a really shitty disorder (as opposed to, you know, the fun kind of disorder) because the person who has it WANTS to be around other people; they just don’t know how. R has a fairly mild case, all things considered, but it’s still not a great thing to have.

But oh my god, he’s doing so well. He’s found a support group that has truly changed his life. He’s made friends with whom he goes out to dinner and bowling, and they understand him, and he doesn’t need to explain himself when he’s with them, which is how friends should be. His e-mails to me are so upbeat and happy that sometimes I have a hard time believing that my brother wrote them.

Asperger’s sucks. It’s not going to be easy for him, least of all because so many people in this world are ignorant and misinformed at best, cruel at worst. But all I have to say is this:

This is my brother.

If anyone has a problem with him, they have to go through me.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I'm a sucker for a good meme - now with answers!

* Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
* Select one quote from each film.
* Post them and let your readers guess where the quotes came from.
* No cheating!

Damn, you guys are GOOD! The only two that nobody got were #10 and #13.

1. Don't you just want to feel that cozy little box grip down on your johnson? (Sideways)
2. You killed my father, and you stole my elephant! (The Protector.)
3. I like Coke. I miss my mom. I'm scared of a lot of things. (Chuck and Buck)
4. All right, I admit, he can be pretty funny on occasion. Like that time we stayed up all night drinking apple schnapps and playing Tekken 2. (Shaun of the Dead)
5. We have a whole life to live together, you fucker, but it can't start until you call me! (Me and You and Everyone We Know)
6. All of junior high sucks. High school is better, it's closer to college. They'll call you names, but not as much to your face. (Welcome to the Dollhouse)
7. Hey, try not to suck any dick on the way through the parking lot! (Clerks)
8. After my divorce from Luther I scraped by with baby-sitting gigs and odd jobs - mostly the jobs we call blow. (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
9. That's the one good thing about Paris: there's a lot of girls willing to take their clothes off. (Titanic)
10. I miss Mom's chocolate chip cookies, playing football with Dad on Sundays, going to...oh wait, I must have mixed up my childhood with someone else's. (Joy Ride)
11. Megan, I too was once a gay. (But I'm A Cheerleader. Yes, yes, I know lots of people hate this movie, but I can't help but love its candy-coated cheesiness.)
12. When I was a kid my father warned me. He said Rachel, don't ever play cards with a Jewish dyke. They cheat! (Angel, aka the "High school honor student by day, Hollywood hooker by night" movie. It's utterly unapologetic trash, which accounts for the soft spot I hold in my heart for it.)
13. You're taking a picture of yourself at Ground Zero: do you smile? (Shortbus, the best movie I saw in 2007)
14. The summer I was 8 years old, five hours disappeared from my life. Five hours. Lost. Gone without a trace. (Mysterious Skin, which just missed being the best movie I saw in 2007 by a red pubic hair)
15. My friends, you bow to no one. (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. God, did I BAWL!)