Friday

Stranger things

Last night I had a nightmare that an evil genius was drowning Charlize Theron in a Houdini box and I was the only one who could save her. My mission was to incapacitate her clone (for clarity's sake let's call her Charlize 2). As you can imagine, Charlize 2 was better trained, better equipped and better -- just better, better than me at everything.

Listen. I pride myself on my ability to make Hollandaise, but I'm guessing her Hollandaise could kick my Hollandaise's ass, and even a Hollandaise-fanatic who had been deprived of Hollandaise for years and years would choose to wait three more years to have her Hollandaise rather than:

a) to have a bowl of my Hollandaise two seconds ago.
b) win a million dollars.
c) invent Hollandaise.
d) all of the above.

She probably has better metaphors than me, too.

But you get the picture. There's no way I can beat Charlize 2.

Except...dream logic being what it is, I beat her! I make a balloon animal that somehow reminds her of a traumatic childhood event, and POOF, she's gone.

I throw Charlize 1 a super long and super wide straw (think Boba straw but longer) and she's able to breathe while I find a way to crack the glass box open.

What the fuck is that about? 

Saturday

#Pics or it didn't happen - Dark Thoughts 1

I'm a little bit of a curmudgeon lately. It might be the seasons changing, the days getting shorter, waking up to darkness and going home in the dark. It might be the person I'm becoming, someone who tells the truth without caring who it might hurt, without wondering whether it is useful or necessary, without a second or third or fiftieth thought. But it's there. A bad temper that only lifts when I'm asleep and returns as soon as my eyes betray me by fluttering open on a dark new day. Right now these eyes are focused on "selfie" culture.

I don't mean the selfie itself — self-portraiture has been a valid art form since the first caveman drew stick figures on the wall. Just look at Dürer, Kahlo, Cindy Sherman. How compelling! No, I mean the modern culture that surrounds "selfies."

As a teenager my parents sent me on a church trip to World Youth Day, an event organized to bring young Catholics together from all over the world. I got to meet Pope John Paul II. But I didn't take a selfie with him. No, I took the disposable camera my parents had given me (we still developed film in those days) and I took pictures of buildings, monuments, and paintings. When I got the photos back, my mother chided me for wasting the film.

You can paint still-life but photographs should capture things that are alive. You should have taken pictures of yourself and your friends. Now you will never remember what you looked like or what you were wearing or how much fun you had. 

Okay, she didn't say all of that. My mother is not a woman of many words. Basically she looked over my shoulder as I flipped through the stack of photos and said, "Boring." I filled in the rest.

In my twenties I heeded her wise "word" and took pictures of people and parties. At that age, at the peak of my beauty, and at my lowest dress size, I wanted to broadcast my popularity. The pictures implored, "Hey, look at me! Like me! Love me! Me! Me! Me!" like there was never enough attention to convince me that I was a real person and not just a trick of the light. Like Tinkerbell, I needed people to clap for me to go on pretending.

At some point in my thirties it was like a circuit shorted and I didn't care anymore. I didn't have the energy to exist here on this plane and curate another life online. In a way, I've always been like this; I've always been lazy or anxious or a Möbius strip of one feeble characteristic feeding the other. While my cohort played with three-way calling to expose two-faced frenemies, I sought more low-anxiety entertainments like binge-eating Cheetos or binge-eating Doritos or writing poems involving Cheetos or Doritos (but never ever Fritos).

All this to say: I stopped taking selfies and I stopped posting online, probably because I'm neurotic and I prefer snacking to pretty much everything. Now I'm just a lurker who clicks "like" like I'm a rapper making it rain.

There are several reasons why people like me don't actively participate in social media, reasons ranging from anti-capitalist to antisocial. Let's not forget to mention the vainglorious "I'm too busy/happy/in love/alive/Zen/old-fashioned/'insert humble brag' to waste my precious time on Facegram." Conscious non-conformity and abstaining from the Zeitgeist might be brave and it might be protesting too much.

Vanity isn't just the purview of the snap-happy Kardashians of the world. I freely admit that my own brand of narcissism sets its teeth on edge when an unflattering photo of me appears online. Why?

1. Because it doesn't match the flattering image I have of myself.
2. Because that facsimile of me will persist in perpetuity and can be monetized and/or manipulated against my will, like a kind of virtual rape.
3. Because if I could choose to leave something of myself to echo through space-time I would rather it be an act of kindness than a picture of me with a visible booger hanging out of my nose.

Some people are masters of the form; it is their art and I would not assail it. Nor would I condemn people who are cataloging their lives and sharing love across long distances. I benefit so much from the pictures my sister-in-law and cousins send me of their kids. The focus of this meandering and hopelessly jumbled essay are those who are living on the other side of the Gorilla glass.

Maybe this whole rant is just the old man in me (not literally, I'm not a gerontophiliac) shaking his cane and telling the future to get off his lawn. Maybe I should just unclench my ass cheeks so that my anus can let its hair down. (Okay, now I understand why mixing metaphors isn't such a good thing.) Maybe I should just chill out and stop being so anal retentive about this. After all, technology is the engine of human evolution. Where would we be without the invention of the wheel?

Nevertheless, I struggle. The easy way out is to say, "I assign no morality to selfie culture, it is just a thing that gets framed through use and intention" but but but ... I doth protest! What kind of society is slowly taking shape? Is it one in which we are the indentured servants to our own fantasies of ourselves? "Death by selfie" is already a category in the Darwin Awards. And that makes me sad, but it also makes me want to laugh, and having laughed, I feel like I did something bad. Like that time when Farrah Fawcett died of a funny-sounding cancer. Funny if you're puerile. And heartless.

Shit. If karma is real, I'm going to be reborn as a dung beetle.

#sadselfie

Friday

A Flash, Draft 2

Last-minute Christmas shopping was just the kind of hellish lifescape Andy tended to create for himself. He trudged through the snow, weighed down with bags that would trigger buyer's remorse later when they stood empty and upright like gravestones. Steps from the subway and only two stops from home, he made an about-face when he saw the yellow glow of a Best Buy and remembered his Roku remote was out of batteries. 

Christmas muzak played on an infinite loop and the light from a million LEDs pulsated in an epileptic frenzy. Andy forgot why he was in the store. Hypnotized by shiny packaging and price tags promising deep discounts, he started browsing the bargain bins to mine for gold. It was then that he saw her, there, among the tablets that were so sleek it made a person want to burn their old device to justify the purchase of a new one. 

He put his bags down to rub his eyes. No, it couldn't be her. Her profile said she was living in Bali, where she moved three years ago with a Kelly Slater look-alike. But it was Christmas, the season when prodigals came home to be counted, so it could have been her. He picked up his bags and got the hell out of there. As the automatic doors began to open he found himself on the threshold of pleasant warmth and piercing cold. He hesitated. Yes, that's what it was. He forgot the damn batteries.

Instinct impelled this out-of-shape, 43-year old software engineer to mimic tactical movements his avatar usually made in war games. As if she were an enemy combatant, he stalked the aisles to find her position and maintain a safe distance. He cursed his civilian sneakers with their wet and squeaky rubber soles.

He sighted her again among the DVDs.

DVDs, he sneered. Who the hell buys those anymore? He began to deride her until a wave of self-censure washed over him: Maybe she doesn't have internet at home. Probably thinks 'streaming' is a water sport.

Andy knew that she would be staying with her mom in that third floor apartment he used to know so intimately. He missed the masculine armchair that he called his own, the tacky Monet reproductions on the wall, even that hateful cat Mr. Javits. Javits, after the convention center where they had found him as a mewling. Who knew that as the cat grew up it would also grow to despise Andy's frequent visits? Last he recalled, the cat had been diagnosed with kidney failure, and he had made the joke that the women would finally inherit the great Javits fortune. They laughed, but mother and daughter both had a pained look on their nearly identical faces.

Once, Andy broke a blue crystal vase and let the blame fall on Mr. Javits. (That particular memory was quickly retrieved and vividly rendered, a sign that it was a well-worn neural pathway.) He was in the living room waiting for his girlfriend to get dressed for a party. As he approached her room to air his impatience, he noticed that the bathroom door was open just a sliver. A draft of warm and humid air that smelled like monoi blossoms opened the door a little more as it caressed his face. He could see his naked girlfriend enveloped in steam against a pink tile background. It was the first time he had seen her this way, not only in the nude, but himself as a voyeur. He was especially captivated by the journey of a single water droplet as it fell languorously from her hair down her right breast, dangling for dear life on her rosy nipple before rounding the curve and submitting to gravity's cruelty. His mouth was parched. He stood there and feasted his eyes as if the world had stopped spinning and he was anchored to that spot for the rest of eternity. It was only when he heard the sound of a key turning in the front door that he snapped out of his trance. He rushed back into the living room to grab a magazine or a couch cushion to hide his arousal. But it was only the neighbor next door. Andy let out a sigh before he made eye contact with Mr. Javits and understood that the cat had witnessed it all. The cat stared intently at the tentpole in Andy's crotch and lunged at it. Andy swatted him away just in time, throwing the cat in the path of the vase. The vase hit the corner of a side table and sang a clear tone as it shattered. Stunned, Andy picked up a shard of crystal and cut himself deeply. His blood stained the rug.

Nearly 20 years later he knew the stain was no longer there -- he had removed the spot himself -- but he wondered if they could still find traces of blood with one of those blue lights they use on CSI. He wondered what other traces of himself remained in his high school sweetheart's childhood home.

She went away to college as Andy began his senior year of high school. Before she left, on the last full moon of the summer, they went out on her fire escape and she swore undying love and steadfast devotion. He remained silent and entertained his own thoughts. She rushed to fill the void of his passivity. She lured him inside her bedroom, two lazy fingers pulling on the hem of his shirt. They sat on the quilt her mother had made for her out of old T-shirts. Andy ran his hand over it. He saw that one of his shirts had been included in the design. She smiled and kissed his square, and then she kissed him. The prospect of imminent separation galvanized every touch. For him it was like fucking the moon, which reflected in her eyes and gave her black hair a blue halo. But for her it was difficult to see; the moon shone so intensely from behind him that all she could see was Andy’s silhouette. It was as if a dark incubus were penetrating her, a sensation that both frightened and excited her.

That night they whispered promises no one can possibly keep. They fell asleep facing each other but the gradual advance of dawn leached them of oblivion. She turned her back to the light. He fought fitful dreams of falling from a great height.

Andy woke in the big spoon position and stared at the back of his girlfriend's head. He was tempted to untangle the nest of knots, but held back so he wouldn’t wake her. There would be hell to pay if he did. Instead, he got out of bed, got dressed and headed to the kitchen.

He bumped into her mother in the hallway. She squeezed his shoulder and patted him on the back.

“Morning Andy. I’m going to make some coffee. Want some?”

“Sure,” he said. It was the first time an adult had ever offered him a coffee. He stood a little taller and followed her to the kitchen. In her wake he recognized the scent of monoi blossoms. He sat on a barstool and watched her prepare the coffee. Unlike his father, who pre-programmed a coffee maker the night before, she used a stovetop espresso maker and foamed the milk by hand. She served Mr. Javits a saucer of milk before handing Andy a perfect cappuccino.

In his romantic high school heart, he thought this woman would one day be his mother-in-law. It made him happy to imagine that his girlfriend would age so well. He knew what his friends would call her; they would call her a MILF and try to punch him in the nuts. But Andy was more mature than those idiots. He loved the idea of being a dutiful son-in-law. On Sundays he would sometimes bring her flowers and she would make him a cappuccino. They fell into a routine and developed a natural rapport. Sundays turned into Thursday night dinners and Must See TV. She would imitate Elaine and he Jerry. In fact, they started calling each other Jerry and Elaine and speaking in a private language all their own.

When his girlfriend returned home over Spring Break, she was cautiously amused about the culture that had developed between Andy and her mother. At first she tried to join in, but she felt inauthentic copying their banter. So she launched into a monologue. They listened to her politely as she regaled them with stories of dorm life, but as soon as she was done they were back to their comic routine. She lost her appetite. 
After dessert, she told her mom that she and Andy were going out for a walk. 

“Can I help with the dishes?” asked Andy.

“No,” she said, “You two enjoy.”

Outside, they held hands. She avoided eye contact. A guy would have to be blind to miss a signal like that. But he didn't want to know, or rather, he was afraid to know, so he didn't ask what was the matter.

“Been spending a lot of time with my mom, huh?”

“What?" he said.

“Nevermind.”

“Oh, your mom. Yeah, your mom’s awesome,” he said.

“Yeah, I know,” she said defensively. “So … what’s been going on with Benny and Lucas?”

“Those assholes? You know, they’re still sneaking into raves and hooking up with Bridge and Tunnel girls. They probably have all kinds of gonorrhea,” he said.

“What about you?” she asked.

“I don’t have gonorrhea! Why? Do you?” he asked, letting go of her hand.

“No, I meant: What’s going on with you? We haven’t spoken in a while,” she said.

“You know,”  he said, reaching for his back pocket. “I’ve been --”

“-- wait, why would I have gonorrhea?” she asked, raising her voice. “Why did you say it like that?”

“I don’t know, why would you have gonorrhea?” he said, narrowing his eyes at her.

“Andy, shut up. You’re being obnoxious,” she said, aware of the strangers surrounding them on the sidewalk.

You’re being obnoxious. You were really rude tonight. All you did was talk about yourself,” he said.

“I was being rude? I didn’t understand half the things you guys were saying! I felt completely left out!”

“Well maybe you would know if you called us more often,” he said.

“What are you, my dad?” she said.

“That’s mature,” he said, rolling his eyes. He tried to grab her hand to lead her away from the small crowd that was forming, but she recoiled from him as if it were her cue to go center stage.

“I called you three times last week! Your dad said he told you. Why didn’t you call me back?” she asked.

“That's rich, coming from you,” he said. “I have to call you like what, eight times before I get a call back? You know how humiliating that is? Your roommate probably thinks I’m a stalker. I was just giving you a taste of your own medicine.”

“Who’s the mature one now?” she said in her best impression of Seinfeld.

“Wait,” he said, a smile growing on his face. “Are you jealous?”

“Jealous? Of my mom? My middle-aged mom?” she taunted.

“Your mom’s hot. I would do her,” he said with a smirk, spreading his arms as if to welcome a counterattack.

“Go ahead,” she said. “I’m fucking someone else anyway.”

“What?” The blood drained from his face and he froze like an animal about to be slaughtered.

“I said I'm fucking someone else! Lots of someone elses!” she screamed. “I probably have “all kinds of gonorrhea” from all the fucking I'm doing.” 

“You’re -- you're just saying that,” he said, shaking his head. He pulled out a piece of paper from his back pocket. It was an acceptance letter to her school. He had wanted to tell her in person. He was afraid he would give it away on the phone. It was the reason he hadn’t called her back.

“I'm not. I think we should break up,” she said. “I'm too young to be tied down. I want to see the world and meet new people. I want to be free.” 

He crumpled the piece of paper in his fist. The thought had never occurred to him that they could break up. He thought he would join her at college in September and move in together. Play house. Get married after graduation and buy a real house. Kids, weddings, funerals, the whole nine.

He stood with a stoic look on his face while his insides imploded. She started crying. Strangers walked by the scene, some oblivious, others acutely aware of the human anguish that was unfolding in front of them. Andy lost all power of speech, and could not bring himself to comfort his erstwhile girlfriend. He just walked away. It took all his mental energy not to cry. Andy promised himself he would not cry.

Andy was surprised to find himself crying. He wiped his face on his sleeve and scanned the area. He was standing next to a shelf of video game consoles. A little boy wearing a Mario costume stared up at him. 


He found her again. This time she was over by the wireless speakers. He resolved that he would go to her. He would tell her what he never said all those years ago. He would...apologize. He would wish her well and he would leave with his head held high.

She had aged, that was for sure. But age had only served to frame her vitality. She knew herself better now, knew what makeup to use, how to cut and style her hair to the best of its potential. Her cheeks, formerly round and rosy, were now angular and foreign. She wore clothes that were appropriate for her age and bohemian temperament. She looked exactly like her mother did at that age.

He practiced some lines in his head. For a brief moment his confidence waned. He stopped and pretended to look through a bin of identical flash drives. Then he exhaled, made up his mind and tapped her on the shoulder.

"Excuse me --"

"Yes?" She looked up at him and smiled. He hesitated.

"Hi, um ... sorry, never mind."

He walked away swiftly. It wasn't her. Up close, he could see that right away. This doppelgänger was a pale comparison to the original. She was an attractive woman in her own right, but she wasn't the one that matched his memory. He felt like he had dodged something, and this put a big smile on his face. Strangers on the street saw a man bursting with Christmas cheer.

Alone in the elevator though, his thoughts returned to her. Their first kiss was in an elevator. They were just teenagers then, leaving the apartment of a mutual friend. He didn't get on the elevator right away. It was covered in floor-to-ceiling mirrors and he was surreptitiously checking out her backside. "Are you coming or are you just going to hang out in the hallway?" she asked. He ran his hand through his hair to hide a cowlick and got on. As she reached across him to press the floor, he moved ever so slightly away from her. She saw this and moved toward him. They stood with their noses almost touching. She kissed him. Just like that. He was so surprised he didn't have time to close his eyes and saw how the mirrors reflected infinite frames of their embrace. Subsequent first kisses never came close to the magic or locus of that one, with her.

Safely inside his apartment, he put the shopping bags away, opened his laptop and signed into Facebook. First he Googled whether people can see who viewed their profile, just to be sure. Then he typed in her name. Her cover photo was an immaculate beach. She hadn't posted or updated any info since she moved to Bali in 2014. He tried to see if her mom had a profile but couldn’t find her. He opened up Messenger.

Hi, long time no
DELETE

Funny story, I thought I saw you
DELETE

I miss
DELETE

Andy closed his laptop and, after some thought, flung it open again to sign out of his account and delete his browsing history. He wrapped the presents he had bought and placed them under the tree. Quiet as a sugar plumb fairy, he went down the hall to check on his 8-year old son Carter, who was coming out of a dinosaur phase and moving on to superheroes, and his 5 year-old princess Lulu, short for Louisa, who often slept with one leg sticking out of her Little Mermaid blanket. He got himself a glass of water and took a vitamin before taking off his clothes and getting into bed with his warm and unwitting wife. Then he turned off the light and listened to her breathing until he fell asleep.

Sunday

Ratmates

I once lived with two rats. I should say: my roommate had two pet rats; one of them was named Magic Johnson, and I forget the name of the other one. Magic wasn't particularly big or talented in ball sports. But he could squeeze through an opening the circumference of a dime, and that was enough to earn my respect.

I don't even remember if Magic was a 'he' because one of the rats got pregnant, and it might have been him/her. My roommate was forced to separate the mother from the babies because she* had begun developing a taste for baby food.

Literally. She started eating her own babies.

In nature, mothers eat their children all the time. I'm not an apologist (or a budding cannibal), I'm just morbidly fascinated. Researchers at the University of Montreal found that "baby smell" triggers the same physiological response in mothers as a delicious meal placed in front of hungry people. You can interpret that any number of ways:

- it's a bonding mechanism,
- the smell is addictive so a mother doesn't abandon her baby in the forest or on a long escalator, and/or
- babies as backup food.

Ugh. Gross. Sometimes I disgust myself with the way my mind works.

Do you ever have revolting thoughts? And then another level of 'you' interrupts your internal monologue to tell you how offensive you are? And then you have to wake up every morning, spit in the mirror and go on living with yourself?

I guess it's better than living with rats. Although, I have to admit, they're kinda cute when they're not eating their own babies. Even then it's like, players gonna play.

---
*Not my roommate, the mother rat. Pronouns are hard!

Thursday

Stream of EXTREME consciousness

What goes through my mind on the rare nights I can't fall asleep:

- IMPORTANT THING! that I have to do tomorrow
- regretting youthful insouciance regarding eyebrow grooming
- unwanted body hair and how I would just feel better if I got rid of it permanently or accepted it as a natural part of my human fucking body
- the Patriarchy
- what outfit to wear tomorrow
- oh shit it's in the laundry bin, and, let's be honest, we both know you're going to work in your pajamas
- I wonder if I have clean underwear for tomorrow
- ugh who cares -- go commando
- remember to buy laundry detergent and bread, laundry detergent and bread, laundry detergent and bread, laundry detergent and bread, laundry detergent and bread...
- omg I miss bagels
- mental note: look up bagel recipe -- just look it up, don't actually make them
- buy Q-Tips, even though you know you're not supposed to (damn that shit feels good in your ear)
- omg file taxes!!!
- is that an ingrown hair or a cancerous tumour?
- should I have kids?
.
.

- maybe I should count sheep
- I hate sheep's cheese, it tastes like a barn
- barn weddings were a thing
- oh my sweet husband, I wonder what he's thinking about
- he's breathing weird, maybe I should wake him up
- maybe if I move his head he'll -- oops -- he's awake

"Babe you were breathing weird, like you were choking! Maybe you have sleep apnea!! What if you die in your sleep?? You should go see a doctor."

*snuggle snuggle* (fall asleep)

husband = wide awake

Saturday

Definitely a night owl

Dream morning
8:00 - Wake up to the sounds of the ocean. Cabin boy has delivered fresh fruit and avocado-y ceviche. Night table mini-fridge stocked with champagne, fresh strawberries and orange juice.
9:00 - Make love. Ooh-lala.
9:07 - Already showered. Husband hands me espresso. We drink it slowly and contemplatively on our overwater bungalow balcony.
9:39 - Now it's time for the first swim of the day with friendly neighborhood dolphin Alphonse! Alphonse and I have a bond that transcends this lowly dimension. He takes me to all the best snorkeling spots and looks the other way when I pee in the ocean. Husband slightly jealous that we spend so much time together.

Aspirational morning
5:59 - Wake up before alarm. Effortless and fiber-rich poop. Drops like magnet attracted to the earth. Clean wipe. Hop in shower.
6:45 - Husband hands me mug of hot black coffee. Has prepared healthy and nutritious breakfast.
7:20 - Kisses me goodbye, puts money and a banana in my pocket. Says, "Is that a banana in your pocket?" I reply, "No, I'm just happy to see you. But, honestly, yeah, there's a banana in my pocket because you just put it there. Bananas rate a 7 on my fruit scale. Got any apples?" "No, sorry, you'll have to get one on the way to work." "Fine, I'll take the banana." "Don't do me any favors." "No really, it's okay. I have peanut butter in my desk." "Okay, bye." "Love youthanksbyeee." Maintain eye contact and creepy smile as he slowly closes the door in my face.
7:30 - Am only person on train. Pass all gas before going to work. Tony Robbins says it's the key to career success.
8:00 - First one in the office. Water all plants, open all windows to let in fresh air. Sun salutations on roof deck. Coffee brewing downstairs.
9:00 - Check all emails and achieve Inbox Zero by 9:30. Spend rest of the day on standing treadmill desk making important decisions for my world-renowned savory pie/furniture restoration company.

Actual morning
5:45 - Husband's alarm goes off to Kanye West song. Resist urge to dance. Go back to sleep.
6:30 - Own alarm goes off. What the fuck was I thinking? Why does Hana-from-the-night-before think Hana-in-the-morning will be a different person? SNOOZE.
6:38 - Turn off alarm. Set another alarm for (do math in head, humans sleep in 90-minute cycles...) 8:08. Make it 8:10 in case it takes me two minutes to fall back asleep.
8:10 - Ughhhhh Hana-from-92-minutes ago!!! Self-hatred, regrets, and dread. Why didn't you listen to Hana-from-last-night??? Brush teeth, throw on eyeliner, go to work in pajamas.
9:00 - Arrive at work. Make important decisions about the education of future generations of human beings while pretending to be awake. Self-medicate with unhealthy amounts of caffeine.

Monday

No, not ex-presso. Yes, I'm one of those.

There is a whole chunk of my life in Germany that is missing from this blog. I'll try to recount some of the stories, but it's not all Black Forest cake and beerfests, let me tell you. Immigrating to a new country is hard and it has made me appreciate what my parents went through when they came to the States. Can you imagine?! Motherfuckers didn't have Google Translate back then! They had to fake it till they made it!

Mama Kim remembers the first time she went to a cafe by herself. She only had a couple dollars and wanted to buy a coffee but she was shy and afraid of making a mistake. So she studied the menu for a while and practiced her lines before calling the waiter over. 

She pointed to the thing that she wanted, the thing for $1. She pointed because she was embarassed, because she didn’t trust herself or the waiter. She pointed because a lot of things can go wrong when people talk to each other.

She waited, proud of herself for taking charge of her life. She didn't need Papa Kim to order her no damn coffee. She'd get her own damn coffee. It's the motherfucking eighties, bitch!

But when the waiter came back with what she would later learn was an espresso, she was crestfallen. "What the fuck is this, coffee for midgets?" she must* have thought. She sat there, fuming, feeling vulnerable, certain that this man had cheated her.

Mama Kim doesn't get into details, but apparently she expressed her disappointment and left without paying. I like to imagine it in slow motion:

Waiter comes over with espresso. Mama Kim looks it over, picks up the cup and throws the red hot coffee in the waiter's face. She clears the table in one fell swoop. Sugars and Sweet'N Lows go flying in all directions. She picks up a napkin dispenser on her way out and rips them all out, throwing a handful into the air. She walks through the cascade of paper napkins and past the gawkers. Just before she's at the door, she turns around and flips the bird to no one in particular. Then she slams the door so hard that the glass front of the cafe SHATTERS into a million shards of reflected light and righteous indignation.

I inherited an espresso machine from a friend who left Germany for sunnier climes and I make myself a nice little espresso every morning before I go to work. Reluctant to betray Mama Kim, I always add hot water to it. Because that, my friends, is what we call Americano.

--
*I don't actually know what she was thinking. But I am pretty sure that her inner monologue was not PC back then. Today she might have thought, "What the fuck is this, coffee for Donald Trump?"

Friday

It's that simple

I've grown up a lot since New Zealand. Don't get me wrong, I still pick my nose in public. Stealth, people. 10,000 hours and I'm pretty ninja with that shit. But I've matured in other ways.

I recycle. I...

Okay that's about it.

Listen, too much has happened for me to give you a good briefing. I'm coming back to blogging because I missed it. Also because when people ask me “What did you do over the weekend?” I don’t remember shit, and that scares me. Having a written account of my high jinks helps to mitigate the fear that I won’t have a credible alibi when the police come.

The truth is that I have grown up a little bit. I like my privacy and I respect my spouse enough to respect his. Like, would he want me telling you that I have a lone pubic hair near my belly button that is named Fernando? I honestly don't know. But I'm going to ask him, and if he doesn't want you to know, then I'm going to come back and delete that shit.

Come to think of it, maybe I just shouldn’t tell you about things like Fernando.

What if Patrick gets kidnapped? What if he’s kidnapped by hostile scientists who need beautiful human subjects to clone? What if I broke into the lab and was faced with two or more Patricks? Only the real Patrick would know about Fernando! Real-Patrick could use Fernando like a safe word! Because you and I both know I'm going to have to shoot Fake-Patrick in the face. Because I mean, come on.

Wait a second, that doesn’t make any sense. Think, Hana. Think!

Fake-Patrick would also have Real-Patrick’s memories, right? I mean, I don’t even know if that kind of consciousness-cloning technology is available, but just in case it isn't, I should probably keep secrets like querido Fernando under lock and key. That would be the smart thing to do.

.
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Hey guys! Want to hear something funny? Ha-ha. There’s no Fernando! Absolutely no Fernando! I just made him up! Totally just made him up. Ha-ha. Tricked you! Ha-ha.