Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"I have a dog."

Sometimes I find a scene in a movie that seems like a film clip of my own life.

As I’ve been trying to assemble the list of All My Simply Ripping Qualities, I’ve been remembering one of those scenes.

It’s from Slaves Of New York, which I found a charming film and which made me realize that Bernadette Peters really does deserve her fame. Besides, it’s a film decidedly plunked in the eighties…and many have accused your own Cupcake of having dug her heels firmly into that very decade. (Cupcake wears a lot of black clothes and rhinestones, listens to Stevie Nicks, and despite decades of evidence that it's probably not a good idea, has never lost her faith in casual sex.)

In the film, Bernadette’s character is sitting home alone listening to motivational tapes. She lives with her boyfriend in his artist’s loft apartment. (It’s the fact that he is the leaseholder of this desirable space that makes her be the “slave” in the relationship.)

He’s a dickhead, but she loves him. (There’s a filmclip of my life, right there, in six simple words.)

She’s sitting on a swing in the loft, as I recall sitting in the dark, while the film shows us snippets of the boyfriend off having wild sweaty sex with Bernadette’s frenemy.

The voice on the motivational tape booms optimistically: “Say something nice about yourself!”

Bernadette pauses, then offers to the world the following hopeful statement. (Though she offers it hesitantly, almost as a question.)

”I have a dog. (?)”

I’ve think about that scene a lot. Which I shouldn’t admit to you as I am resolved to show up as Someone To Be Admired.

But perhaps I can Be Admired for this: that I am not too proud to admit my flaws, my hesitancy, lack of self-confidence.

I’m still working on this. I am determined that I will start raving about myself on these pages, at least for a while. I want to experiment with it, see what it feels like to look in the mirror and at least pretend to think “Superstah!”

In the meantime…I have a dog. Actually, I have three of them. And they do indeed make me happy. So I am going to go outside and throw a certain stuffed dinosaur around the yard so that Boss and Felix chase it, and little Momo will hover uncertainly at my feet, wanting to play but not really knowing how, and afraid he’ll get damaged in the fray of joyous chaos.

Oh, Momo. How I understand.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Two types of people (and the invisible third)

Readers, lately Cupcake has been feeling as if she’s waiting for something. But she’s not sure what that thing is.

Perhaps it’s the appearance of the White Stag, which will summon the hunters to leap upon their mounts and gallop wildly through the forest in pursuit. (Please see previous entry about Unknown Country for Arthurian reference.)

She is not quite sure how that would manifest in modern terms. Cupcake does now live overlooking a beautiful park with some quite majestic trees. But she reckons that if one was galloping on horseback, it would take mere minutes to traverse what seems to be quite an expanse for an urban-dwelling pedestrian.

As the owner of a beagle (Boss Dog, given to her by the folks at the Job From Hell and the only good thing to come out of that period of time)- Cupcake is familiar with the braying of hounds. Neighboring beagles echo Bosses howls, so that Cupcake is certain that, should the White Stag appear and the horses magically appear at her doorstep, she could at least be certain of the requisite barking to accompany the hoofbeats.

And yet there is no White Stag.

Cupcake waits.

As a femme d’une age certaine, Cupcake often presumes to give advice to her younger friends.

Today she observed to one of them that there are two kinds of people: those who want to show up as someone to be envied, and those who want to show up as someone to be pitied. There is actually a third type of person: the group of people who want simply to show up as a regular person, likeable, unpretentious and unremarkable. People who want to “fit in.” But the thing about being unremarkable is that…no one remarks upon you. And therefore this third group of people is relatively invisible, although very likely they number the largest population.

Cupcake realizes that all too often she opts to be someone who shows up as someone to be pitied. She points out the places in her life where she feels she has erred or failed. That’s because these are the places that her mind goes to, feeling out remorse like the tongue moving to a toothache.

And Cupcake wishes that this were not so.

So Cupcake has resolved to write a bit about things she thinks are cracking wonderful about herself, areas and accomplishments where she perceives herself as simply ripping.

She reckons that perhaps this will even things out. And perhaps it will simply amuse her. But perhaps the change in the air, the deliberate turn of consciousness, will be enough to summon the White Stag so that Cupcake can mount and merrily dash towards an adventure.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Party; or, how cupcake fell off her surfboard and survived to tell the tale

In high school, Cupcake’s friend Bryan invented a game called, “The Party.”

It was a game you could play alone in your head, or outloud with friends.

The game is to imagine that your whole life is to be constructed as an event. Where is it held? What food is served? Who’s on the guest list, and what costumes do those people come in?

At the party, what do the guests do? Who sequesters herself in the corner flipping through books? Who stands becomes the unofficial bartender? Who organizes the volley-ball game? (Assuming that volleyball would fit into your party.)

This weekend---oh, friends. If I could tell you about this weekend. It was a bizarre shining weekend full of magic and trouble. I can’t tell you about it.

But I can tell you this.

One of the guests at Cupcake's party will be a tall man wearing a Hefner-esque satin smoking jacket. He will flirt and dazzle, glancing sidelong over his shoulder to make sure I see the line of women hanging on his every word. And then at some point during the party, he will sidle over to Cupcake and whisper, “You know it’s you that I want, don’t you? It’s always you. When I am with the others, I am always thinking of you.” His breath will be hot against Cupcake's cheek and he will graze her thigh with a brush of his hand as he moves back to his place before his admirers.

He will leave her flushed and breathing heavily, confused by desire. Hope and despair mingling in a toxic combination.

Another guest will be a hired entertainer, who will do stand-up comedy off in a side room. But he will catch Cupcake's eye in the crowd and when he looks at her, she'll know he SEES her, that he doesn’t miss a thing. But he will always be onstage. Even when he takes a quick break, his conversation hides behind jokes. And he will quickly climb the stairs to the stage and start performing again.

This comedian guest is my friend Sherrod. Part of the weekend was Sherrod coming to see my new house. He looked at one of my old standup videos and told me that I had showed promise, that I should have stayed with it. But that I needed to tell fewer funny stories and show more of my own agony.

It’s not good comedy if it doesn’t expose the darkest parts of your soul, he said. Or words to that effect.

Sherrod’s a great comic. You could google him, but he doesn't have his own website. He’s on TV a lot though. Maybe you’ve seen him.


The darkest parts of my soul just don’t seem funny at the moment.

Maybe that’s due to the lunar eclipse tomorrow, which according to astrologyzone.com will be one of the most upsetting days of the year. This is a week for ending things, it says. In two weeks, things will start again. We can move forward. But here are two weeks left hanging, weeks suitable for staring into space and planning The Party.

I have loved someone, apparently pointlessly, but to the best of my ability. I feel like a surfer whose feet clamped the board and whose body rode the waves as long and hard as possible. Until the sea tossed me and I woke up bruised on a beach, like Greg Brady in the trip to Hawaii episode.

I can’t do it any more. I suppose in two weeks I’ll be sitting up and knowing where to go.

Right now I’m just lying there realize that the sand and rocks have scraped my elbows and legs, and that my muscles feel torn. And that I can’t swim back out there again because I see shark fins in the water.

There’s going to be great comedy in this, someday.


And for the record—you’ll all invited to the Party. What will you wear? What will you do there?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I'm having my own little Oscars over at my new house.

In the category of "Who will do the sheetrocking?"

The contenders are:

1. Carlos, the friend of my new neighbor Roy.

2. the guy whose ad said, "No job too small!" but who told me that my job was too small.

3. the guy whose ad said, "We Always Call Back!" who - you guessed it- didn't call back.

And the winner is-- Carlos! He speaks English well enough to be understood, he gave a fair price, and he actually showed up when he said he would.

In the category of, "Who's going to do the roof repair work and give an estimate of replacing the roof?"

The contenders are:
1. The company with the very large, professional looking ad in the yellow pages, who promised someone would call back to set up a time for an estime. (No one did.)

2. the guy with the ad screaming, "We're cheaper than anyone else!" who I dialed by mistake. (A roof is not a place to economize, I shouldn't think.) He showed up on time to give the estimate. But the first words out of his mouth to me were, "You own a dog?"

"I have three dogs," I said.

"Oh, yuck!" he said.

I wanted to say, "You know son, that was the wrong response. I don't need to know your estimate, because you're not going to be working on my house."

But, to be polite, I went along with his telling me where he'd put the flashing and all that. As I seethed.

There's so much more. In fact, I have to go back to it. But that's why I've not been posting all that much. Perhaps later I'll think of something interesting to post. I doubt you guys want to hear the various possibilities of home repairs I'm considering. I know the topic bores me to tears, and it's my home.

Stay tuned. I swear I'll be back in sassy Cupcake form. Soon I hope.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Unknown Country

Someone who reads my blog, according to Sitemeter, peeks in at it from an "Unknown Country."

Whenever I see that, I get happy chills.

It makes me hope for continents and poles yet undiscovered. Or even, on a non-geographical level, it makes me anticipate some great new adventure. Like a period of time when, every time I walked home, I'd imagine that there'd be a note left on my door. Who the note was from, or what it would say, was never clear. But I was always SURE it would be there, and that somehow through that note my entire life would change.

Once there was one, but it was just from the building super saying that there was going to be a firedrill the next night.

When I was a kid, I used to read Arthurian legends, and it was the appearance of the White Stag that used to herald great adventure.

So when I see the visitor from the Unknown Country, I get a tingle. (Peefer, I suspect that it's you--which of course would give me a tingle anyway.)

Unknown Country. Terra Nova. The white stag glimpsed in the woods surrounding the castle.