“Chink, Chink, Scrape.”

When I was 20 years old, I shared an apartment with a former Christian recording artist. I would light candles, burn incense, paint things badly and go to goth night. Sometimes, when I went to goth night, dudes hit on me. This story is about the second guy who did.

We make plans to meet up on a weekend afternoon to hang out at my apartment. The plan is to have no plan and just see what happens. This is MY plan at least. HIS plan involves a 90-minute tape of music he’d written.

“Music”
he’d
“written.”

This is the late nineties, when every guy with questionable hair and an eyeliner pencil wanted, with all of his little black heart, to be the next Trent Reznor. This guy is no exception: as we listen to his experimental noise music, he describes all of the various instruments he’d used. Rusty pipe. Rusty pipe #2. Random piece of metal.”Chink, chink, scrape.” “Chink, chink, scrape.” “Chink, chink, scrape…”

I have a cousin who majored in rusty pipe at Julliard.

“Chink, chink, scrape.” “Chink, chink, scrape.” “Chink, chink, scrape…”

I keep waiting for the end of a song, the cue for him to decide that he’s given me a representative sample and for us to move on with the day. After 30 minutes, I’m trying to be subtle about checking to see how much tape is left before the end of side one. “DO NOT let him play side two,” I tell myself, “I don’t care what happens. You will not let him play side two. Fake a heart attack. Fake a seizure. Just don’t let him play side two.”

Side one comes to an end and, instead of flipping the tape, I say something about how that was interesting and hand the tape back to him. I whip out a tape of my own, one of me playing a song I’d written on a piano. A song with a melody and chords and instruments that don’t come from a dumpster behind Krispy Kreme. Roughly 30 seconds into the 3 minute song, he takes my tape from the stereo and says something about how “that’s fine, if THAT’s what you’re into.”

It becomes clear to me what we’re going to be doing today. We’re going to be playing a rousing game of “don’t kill this guy with your bare hands.”

We turn on the tv and start watching some movie or other, and he starts kissing me. It’s that kind of kissing that comes out of nowhere and isn’t part of the moment at hand. Kissing that makes you feel like THIS was the whole point of his visit. As though he had “kiss girl” on a to-do list and he’s just running through it with German efficiency.

1. Play shitty music
2. Dismiss girl as Tori Amos clone
3. Kiss girl
4. Touch girl’s breast…..

I stop him and say something about how I think this is happening at an odd moment. He says that I should just go with it.

Readers, forgive me. I was young, and I’d heard much tell of just making out with people because it was fun, even if you didn’t particularly know or care about them. It seemed like a rather popular thing to do. I figured I’d try it.

But I am bored. He is kissing me with all the horny fervor of a manchild of his early twenties, and I am bored and wondering why we can’t just watch the movie. In later days, I would forgive myself the guilt I felt about having one undeserving guy on the short list of guys who had seen my breasts by repeating a quote from Oprah: “when you knew better, you did better.”

“Wait, stop.”
“What?” he answers, standing up from the bed.

There’s a long pause. I’m not entirely sure what to say, and I’m trying not to just blurt out something like, “this isn’t fun and it feels whorey.” My actual response, as it turns out, isn’t much better.

I stand up on the bed to be eye-level with him, and with all the jaded street smarts of Shirley Temple riding a unicorn, I ask…

“So…are you trying to be my man or what?”
“Huh? I’m just…having a good time.”
“I don’t like having a good time!”

I am saying this to him with arms crossed and brow furrowed, like an angry Puritan school teacher. At 20, I had not yet wrapped my head around the idea that sometimes people have sex with people they don’t know very well.I had been busy studying, playing a piano and hanging out with dudes who were far more interested in progressive rock than sex. I always ended up being one of the guys, drinking coffee and discussing Queensryche. Now here was THIS guy, treating me like guys in their twenties treat girls who are not one of the guys, and I have no idea what to do with him.

He’s not quite sure what to do with himself, for that matter. 30 seconds ago, he was eye to eye with my boob, and now this? I can see his brain trying to process this, this goth chick who asked him to her place to actually JUST watch a movie. I hear the gears turning…

“Chink, chink, scrape.” “Chink, chink, scrape.” “Chink, chink, scrape.”

When the scraping subsides, his decision is that I have officially become more trouble than I’m worth. He is out the door within 10 minutes.

I make sure he remembers to take his tape.

July 31: The (annotated) Set List

As you may have figured out from the Facebook badgering, I had Baby’s First DJ Gig Saturday at Oblivion. Because Abbey asked for it (and to show you all the fun you missed, ha ha), here’s the annotated setlist.

SET 1
Britney Spears: If U Seek Amy

A bit on the nose, I will admit, but come on. It gots mah name in it, phonetically sounds like “f-u-c-k me,” is danceable AND full of cheese. Thus, a no-brainer. In every sense.

Birthday Massacre: Looking Glass
Cabaret Voltaire: Sex, Money, Freaks
These two were added partly just because I like them, and partly because of the “don’t run around with a set full of stuff no one’s heard” rule. I will not play “Closer” for you, but this is me throwing a bone we can both stand. (Let the record show that Britney got a better reception than these two songs. See? You guys are all secret cheese pirates, too.)

Lady GaGa: Teeth
This one proved to have too high a degree of difficulty for at least one person. My bad, y’all. Could have been “March of the Pigs,” ya know.

Ayria: The Gun Song
Taste that? It’s me, throwing you a bone again. Also, you are so totally not surprised that I love Ayria.

M.I.A.: 10 Dollar
Not particularly goth, but certainly high on the curve ball scale, danceable AND containing the lyric “what can I get for 10 dollar? anything you want.” Be glad it wasn’t Angelique Kidjo’s “Batonga.” I totally almost did that to you.

Roisin Murphy: Ramalama (Bang Bang)
Cassie had trouble with this one, but I hold that it’s just because Cassie doesn’t speak the language. In gothdance, slower just means “more time to be overdramatic,” and I’ve had mad love for this song since Wade Robson used it for that zombie routine on So You Think You Can Dance.

Skinny Puppy: Politikil
When I started putting this set together, I’d never heard this at Salvation. In recent days, Jimmy has been playing it, and I would like to encourage this behavior as much as possible. In the Skinny Puppy portion of my heart, this one sits adjacent to “Pro-Test.” And you KNOW how I feel about “Pro-Test.”

Stendal Blast: Die Totale Disko
Ich liebe das oontz. Only not, but I like Stendal Blast.

Nine Inch Nails: Discipline
I am a pander bear. Here’s some damn Nine Inch Nails. (This one almost didn’t make it in, and apparently shouldn’t have, as it was a bit of a yawn. Let the record show I should have listened to my gut.)

The Faint: Symptom Finger
The Presets: Yippiyo-Ay

Frankly, I thought you guys would have gotten these more, but maybe I overestimated your synth tolerance. I think I felt vibes of anti-skinny-pants hate shooting at me. Or maybe that was premonition…

Ashlee Simpson: Outta My Head
OK, fine. I was testing you. I figured at least one person would be like, “for real? Ashlee effing Simpson?” but nobody did. This would be the point where one friend said to me, “you’re, like, 1 step away from going too far.”

Gang of Four: Natural’s Not in It
Fine. Bringing it back to being on-task here.

Mindless Self Indulgence: Mastermind
I am not now, nor have I ever been, too good for MSI. Even new MSI. Also, I am tired of everybody running around acting like “Faggot” is the only song they ever did.

Das Ich: Opferzeit
Yes, “Destilat” is nice. However, there’s also “Opferzeit.” Honorable mention to “Atemlos” and “Paradigma.”

SET 2
Icon of Coil: You Just Died

Since requesting it at Salvation generally ends fruitlessly, I was like “by God, I’m playing it.”

Yello: Planet Dada
Do what now? I have no idea. Just felt weird.

Eisbrecher: Heilig
Eisbrecher: all the German drama of Rammstein, but with melodic choruses instead of…well, 100 songs that all sound like “Du Hast.” Don’t get me wrong, I love “Du Hast.” I just don’t need 99 other songs just like it.

Deathboy: Smile, You Fuckers
Lyric: “shut the fuck up, pucker up, cause this thing won’t suck itself.” Period.

Einstuerzende Neubauten: modimidofrasaso
Oh, look. An E/N song that you can dance to! It’s like a Yeti!

Attrition: My Friend Is Golden
I never did get over that kick drum.

Effcee: Gentle Devastation
More synth pop. Aaand, scene.

Quick, Get Your Beret.

To answer the unasked questions, yes, this is 1998 and I am 21 and pretentiously drinking Earl Grey tea at Cafe Coco. This can only explain why I am subjecting you to poetry today. Poetry! What’s next? Panic at the Disco fan fiction? Apologies in advance. Emo stupidity today, continuation of 1,000 Christmases tomorrow.

—————————————

Smile, click.

In pictures from years ago
we all look so innocent.
People always look so happy in pictures, standing, smiling for the camera.

I was there.
We weren’t always happy. Some of us were miserable.
We just stopped being miserable
long enough to smile
and wait for the click.

Smile, click.
In a week, dad’s going to die.

Smile, click.
In six months, he’s going to kill me a little.

Smile, click.
They end up divorced.

Smile, click.
You two will stop speaking.
No one will remember why.

Smile, click.
Within a year, we’ll all be at his funeral.

Smile, click.
He’s going to shoot himself.

There are no time machines to save any of you.

Put on your costumes and smile, my darlings.
Years from now, we will remember being happy

even if we weren’t.

—————————————

To Your Soles

Dancing happily.
Dancing angrily.
Dancing eulogies.
Dancing to convince everyone we’re ok.
Dancing to convince ourselves we’re ok.
Dancing because it makes us feel less powerless.

If I can boss around a snare
it’s all okay.
Right?

Requests come for a reason.
Not because we want something
but because we need it.

This is how I celebrate.
This is how I fight, fuck and bury.
With my boots on.
Like I mean it.

Arguing with Myself and a Long Answer to a Simple Question

Last week, I ran into someone I don’t see much. This came at goth night, so it was pretty much the usual when he said to me, “so, how are you?”

Unfortunately, his timing kind of sucked. I was standing by the door at goth night, so a truthful answer would have been “I’m standing here waiting for 10 different awkward situations to walk through the door.” An even more truthful answer would have been “…and one of those awkward situations is happening right now.”

The last couple of months at goth night has been like some kind of twisted game show where you see whether the predicted awkward situations outnumber the brand new awkward situations. We’ve all been there: we’re dancing, mingling and more or less having a good time, but we’re also watching the door. If an awkward situation walks through the door, I at least don’t want to let it get the drop on me at the bar. You know how that is: you go to get some water, someone taps your shoulder from behind, you turn around and the little voice in your head goes “BUH!!!”

This would explain why, when this person asked how I’m doing, I opened my eyes kind of wide, said “good…” and made the same face that my sister made that time someone hit on her at goth night. No wonder my inquisitor questioned my sincerity. Half of my brain was watching the door. The other half of my brain was in a sensory overload “wtf” test pattern.

Awkward things have been afoot the last few months, mostly brought on by dating. Turns out when you lose 20 pounds and recover your self-esteem, people notice. I appreciate the attention, but that doesn’t mean I have any clue as to how to handle it. Thus, awkward situations happen, either by dating or avoiding dating. Leaving the house becomes an endless game of “oh hell, what’s going to happen NOW?”

So, what’s a girl to do?
Think about it later.
Dissect it.
Have a moment of clarity.

Like many moments of clarity, this one came days later in the shower:

“Why are you watching the door? Why are you letting other people dictate how you spend your night?”

“But…I don’t want to be overtly bitchy to people I’m probably going to keep seeing…”

“Excuse me, but didn’t they already do something bitchy, or at least awkward, to you?”

“well, yeah, but that’s no reason to stoop to…”

“Please. You told those people, as nicely as you could, as clearly as you could, how you felt. If your answers weren’t to their liking, that’s too bad. It’s not your job to keep feeling weird and crappy just because you don’t want to date those people.”

“But they’re going to show up here eventually and do I talk? Do I not talk? Nod from across the room…?”

“They are not the boss of us. WE are the boss of us. We dictate how our night goes. No one else. Do you WANT to say hi?”

“I most certainly don’t want to say hi.”

“So don’t.”

Getting back to the original question, “how are you?” the truthful response goes like this:

“I’m doing better right now than I have since…well, possibly since ever. I get to work from home, my boss doesn’t micromanage me, my cat is awesome, my car is almost paid off, my family relationships are improving slowly, I’ve met a whole gang of new friends, gotten closer with people I’d been meaning to see more, I have a 4.0 in my programming classes, I’m off my drugs, my girly parts are functioning in the way that they were apparently supposed to be functioning the whole time, I’m dangerously close to weighing what I weighed in college, and I can dance for a solid hour without passing out.”

Alas, that’s a long response, a run-on sentence and it sounds braggy. Not to mention that I’d have to do even MORE cardio to be able to get it out in one breath. Besides, it’s loud at goth night and, when people ask how you’re doing, they don’t really want your freaking life story. So I’m just like, “I’m fine…you?”

Over It

You ever have one of those days where you just sit around not really giving much of a shit about anything? Thought so. I’m having one of those days. Granted, days like this prove to me that I’m not, in fact, over-medicated.  I am, however, forced to wonder whether the newly-doubled anti-depressants are doing anything other than screwing up my physical activity. Then again, maybe the trouble with the physical is mentally-based. Long story. Let’s not get into it.

There is no safety outside of the illusion of safety.
Once the illusion gets shot to hell, there’s  nothing left.

Anyway, getting back on-topic.

I was just looking at the recent batch of Raypics from goth night, and it’s so demoralizing. I can’t believe I bother to do my hair for that shit. What’s the fucking point? Going out to watch the mating rituals of the straight man, only to come out of it thinking that I’m lucky that I’ve dodged the sex bullet for this long? Honestly, nothing will make you celibate faster than watching some dude dressed like The Crow dry-hump some girl who is apparently under the terrible misconception that underwear is optional and her dress doesn’t make her look like a sausage. I look through those pictures and I can practically hear That Fucking VNV Nation Song. It’s all very tiring, and not really worth it when you know you’re going to have The Tired Headache at work the next day.

OK, haters, I hear you. “Those people aren’t bothering you! It’s not like you’ve got anything better to do on a Sunday night!” Yeah, I know. I just need some time off is all.

I just need for something to be non-disappointing for a minute. I just need one little victory. Instead, it’s a bunch of little things, stacked up into an unclimbable mountain in front of me.

I told my shrink all of this a month ago, prompting him to tell me that, “things are just really frustrating right now,” and double my meds. Two weeks after filling that prescription, things are still pretty much the same. It is a life of living on table scraps. Scramble around and snatch up whatever you can, and then one day look around and feel like it wasn’t worth the effort. You look around, and all it is is little crumbs.

House Shopping, Part 800

It seems that the realty downturn has finally resulted in there being houses in Sylvan Heights that I can actually afford. I know I said before that I was aiming for a condo, but it’s worth the pain in the ass of having a lawn to be able to stay in almost the same neighborhood that I’m in now. Besides, Asli had a good point about condo association fees that can go up and up. A year ago, some lady at some bank kind of laughed at me for wanting to buy a home of a certain price. Now? There’s plenty. It’s just a question of finding a place that’s not in a sketchy neighborhood and not out in BFE. Finding a place that’s reasonably in-town where you won’t get raped and killed is hard in itself. On a related note, Katy was right about the Torbett/Batavia area. It’s sketchy and, apparently, a go-to destination for the sex offenders in the 37209 zip code (which covers Sylvan Heights and Torbett/Batavia).

There’s a certain address in Sylvan Heights that I’m stalking. Granted, there are a couple of sex offenders on the street in question, but they’re both old. I can take ’em. Anyway, the house is small, but big enough and looks as though it’s been well cared-for. Big plus: hardwoods throughout, which is almost a requirement now that I’ve realized that Murphy is getting old and may become incontinent. Better safe than peed on. I did a drive-by last night and, while the neighborhood is kind of trashy, it wasn’t nearly as scary as Dickerson Rd. If all goes well, the payment will be about what I’m paying in rent. I’m trying to get my parents to cosign so that I can maybe get a better interest rate, so tonight I have to do the Bruce Mauk credit check…which is, in some ways, harder than a normal credit check.

Anywho, the pics from Sunday are up. My face totally sucked in this picture, but my boobs look nice. Per the norm, Jen looks fabulous. Seriously, I gotta quit standing next to her in pictures.