Losing My Religion and Birthing a Cult

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Now that I’ve formally left my religion—if formally means in a blaze of passive aggressive email glory—I’m creating a cult. A new religion of sorts that is light on the spirituality but heavy with crime and punishment.

My codependent hook-up with Catholicism has ended after decades of rockiness, make-up sex, and dalliances. I’ve tried, but I’m either going to go to jail for harassing Bishop Tobin, Lil’ Rhody’s villain Bishop, or I’m going to stop drinking the blood Kool-Aid and open myself up as a free agent on the spiritual highway.

Now that I’m free, or excommunicated, I’m welcome to enlightenment. I dug a lot about Catholicism, so you won’t hear me bashing it too much. There’s nothing that irked me more than when I would tell people I was a Catholic and they’d badmouth it right in front of me. I don’t need to do that because I’ve gone and created my own religion named Bonkers and my followers are called Bonkos.

Join me if you can follow these strict doctrines.

Self-Analysis is a Must

Followers must constantly analyze themselves internally and with psychological help; this is a requirement. And I’m not talking about support groups, I am referring to in-depth psychoanalysis conducted by acclaimed therapists. Bonkos must dig deep to get to the bottom of their problems and it is mandatory to talk about their therapy in most conversations, in fact one’s neuroses is disclosed upon introduction.

Sound tricky? Don’t fret, here goes: “Hi, I am Kathleen. I have narcissistic tendencies, delusions of grandeur, and a real chip on my soldier. On a positive note, I’m five feet tall, my hair’s going white and I suffer from a wretchedly itchy scalp yet I’m still the most confident maniac I know. Nice to meet you.”

Polite Conversations are Forbidden

At church functions, of which there will be many, small chat will be limited to two minutes and 22 seconds. Once the talking parties hit that time threshold, they must talk about something interesting or cease talking and move on to sit in a corner for two minutes until they have something noteworthy to say.

And talking about home improvements is a sin punishable by wearing an “I’m a boring arse” banner all day.

Children Have No Rules

Unless regarding physical safety, children have no rules and no chores. Children are the superior spirit and must be treated with dignity and be granted free range of doing almost whatever they want. Parents and caregivers must be light on punishments and fresh behavior is not only tolerated, but also encouraged.

Children may be scolded for the following infractions and ONLY the following:

  • Bullying
  • Tattle tailing
  • Watching “The Kardashians”
  • Speaking to people while glued to one’s phone.

Corporate Jobs Start at 9:30 a.m.

I like to work as much as a GenXr slacker can and encourage every Bonko to work. However, it is strictly forbidden for Bonkos to begin the workday before 9:30 a.m. Precious morning hours must be savored with coffee, screaming at the news, perfecting one’s outfit, and making plans for the weekend.

Light Drinking is Mandatory

This is a controversial commandment and alas this religion is not for everyone: Two glasses of a light alcoholic beverage are mandatory at all church gatherings. No more and absolutely no less. The scientific reason behind this is so followers can remove the stick lodged up their behind while at church—thus making conversations livelier and people more likely to give money to the church. Drink up, baby.

What Would Holden and Courtney Do?

When churchgoers find themselves in a spiritual dilemma they must wonder what Courtney Love or Holden Caulfield would do in the same situation and follow their leads. In fact we follow the Book of Holden and Courtney that contains the following edicts:

  • “That’s something that annoys the hell out of me- I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t.” Holden Caulfield
  • “Lots of time you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn’t interest you most.” Holden Caulfield
  • “I like to behave in an extremely normal, wholesome manner for the most part in my daily life. Even if mentally I’m consumed with sick visions of violence, terror, sex and death.” Courtney Love
  • “Only dumb people are happy.” Courtney Love

Everyone Must Dance

Dancing is a Bonkers church commandment and each church session will be followed by an hour of dancing to pop music. This will cleanse your spirit and teach humility and foster flexibility. Megan Thee Stallion is mandatory listening material and each dance will start with a Megan Thee Stallion song.

Botox Euphoria and Things Worse than the Plague

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I scheduled my first Botox appointment in the midst of this bloody apocalypse. It seems my sunny disposition and smiling mug have rendered me more wrinkled than a fat furless cat. After a lifetime of fainting at the sight of blood and the thought of a needle, I bravely welcomed these injections—right into the corner of my beady eyes— without a blink. Thank you, sir, may I have another?

It was such sweet relief; the results were automatic, and I felt a few years younger. Unfortunately, I don’t have many people to show my motionless face to right now. I’m not Housewives of NYC paralyzed but I am refreshed. What’s next? A colonic? Might I order my first salad?

What’s less bearable in plague times: being away from people or actually speaking to them? It’s tougher than figuring out who’s more annoying: Kelly Clarkson or Justin Bieber. (For the record, Kelly wins.) Every strained exchange ends with, “We’re all in the same boat.” Well so was everyone on the Titanic and young, hot Leo still ended up dead and bloated when there was a perfectly suitable flotation device for him. If we are all in the same boat, I hope mines being filmed for “Bravo” and that my new eyelids look AMAZING!

It’s filthy fun, this level of pandemic judgment we all have going on. The people in the bunkers are scoffing at peeps like me who occasionally get out, while I feign outrage over people hopping on planes. At this point, I prefer fewer actual conversations and more living in my own head. It is comfy and crowded in there and Courtney Love makes occasional appearances.

There are people or places worse than the pandemic. I’d rather be stuck in my unorganized home smelling my dog’s gas than experience any of the following atrocities again:

More Unpleasant than Quarantine

Jennifer Lopez’s Desperation– Jennifer Lopez is old, way past middle age, and her inner thirst clock strikes her brain senseless. Yes, she looks amazing naked, but we’ve seen it all before when Ben Affleck sold his soul to apply lotion to her derriere. In the world of faded pop stars, why is JLO the last woman standing? She’s packaging the same crap at every award show and we’re all just AMAZED that she’s so hot. Yawn.

I’d rather live without toilet paper than listen to new Jlo music.

Jenny from the Block, you are so past your time for anything other than an ABC drama that will surely be canceled, or another divorce. Girl, it’s been a long time since you were a fly girl and it’s time to take your vitamins and settle down with Alex Rodrigues. Sell your crappy products, hawk your kids into the entertainment industry and let’s call it a career. As much as I’d love to attend an all-day music festival hopped up on whatever I can find, then show up at a local hotel in hopes of making out with the bass player, I’m old, like you, and I’ve retired that act. It hurts, I get it.

Whining about Losing- Listening to pop stars and politicians complaining is less appealing than piercing my own brain with a COVID swab. I dig The Weeknd as much as the next overweight housewife, but get over it. Add Halsey, our former president, and Lana Del Rey and everyone else who whines about losing onto my shite list.

Where can I file a complaint over never making Homecoming Queen?

Take it from this big loser, it’s okay. Every year I would find the most overdone semi-formal dress I could in the sticks of Massachusetts and tease my hair with ferocity- just to be deemed pretty enough to make Homecoming Court and it NEVER happened. I also never landed a date with Patrick Kennedy, after years of trying, but you don’t see me crying into my cheap white wine.

Zoom Meetings– No, I can’t take them anymore. Oh, the people who are obviously looking at themselves the whole time, pumping their lips and trying out different poses while also attempting to look scholarly. Or even worse, the over talkers who just forge their own path of rudeness when others are speaking. Then there’s always one older person who is miffed that he can’t figure out some technical mystery that kindergartners have mastered. Can we go back to the conference call?

COVID Dreams– There was a time when I tracked COVID time with my periods, but I’m going to be in menopause before we’re out of this. Now I’ve started tracing time with COVID dreams and nightmares. My dreams are a sacred place for me and Timothee Chalamet so this invasion of privacy is jarring.

We’re All in This Together– No, I’m not referring to the insipid saying that everyone’s spewing, I’m talking about the legendary “High School Musical” series. Put me back in high school with Troy and I can save the world and make Homecoming Queen.

xoxoxoxoxox

I Caused the Pandemic by Being Bad

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There are weeks when pandemic life gets me down, lower than America’s current character. Days when I have to remind myself that I can’t sleep all day and nights I succumb to alertness while the hours crawl by and I scratch my head and worry about how much I scratch my head.

At 3 a.m, my mind veers into absurdity, like I start to wonder if maybe I brought this pandemic on. I suspect this illogical logic stems from my Catholicism and won’t go away no matter how hard I distance myself from my religion.

See, when something bad happens, I think of what I may have done to cause it. I’m incapable of dishonestly calling out from work sick because I believe that deceit will make me sick. At church as a kid, I’d spend the whole time fantasizing about making out with cute boys and I’d shake it out of my head — sure God could hear and I’d be forever doomed. A few minutes would go by and I’d be right back to thinking about boys and Cyndi Lauper.

So, I think I caused the plague. I’m also a self-diagnosed narcissist so everything relates back to me and my formative years, but I’ve done some lousy things and perhaps my juvenile delinquency started the plague.

A Fake Teenage Elopement

I was a mildly screwed up kid. I wanted to be much more screwed up than I actually was, but I tried damn hard. All my idols were troubled, and I craved excitement and drama. But acting out in a small town becomes redundant after a while. How many times can you smoke cigarettes in the girl’s bathroom, or go to the high school dance after having a few nips? How many games of Truth or Dare can a young girl initiate? One must get creative.

Afraid that my wanna-be groupie lifestyle and poor grades just weren’t cutting it to define my bad assery, my high school love with the chiseled cheekbones and I concocted an eff you to the world: We ran away and left a letter to our caring parents stating that we were eloping.

As a lifelong lover of letter writing, I think back on that stark letter, written on a haphazardly ripped out piece of paper: “Mom, I eloped. Kathy.” That was it. Nothing fancy and right to the gut.

The zeal of such defiance was intoxicating. Or maybe we were just intoxicated. Anyway, we didn’t get married and we had never planned on doing so. We wanted to piss people off and well, it worked. My boyfriend’s parents placed a missing person’s report while he and I traversed all around South County, Rhode Island for two days.

After a few days without a shower, I calmly walked back home and yelled ,”I’m back.” I don’t recall actually getting in trouble, but my goal was met: I created excitement and messed shite up.

The Thievery

I once had an Aunt Mary whom I would visit monthly. She was old, frail and as nice as a curmudgeon could be. She lived in a small condominium and every visit came with a penmanship lesson and a little money in my stonewashed jean’s pocket.

Good ol’ Aunt Mary gave me money to take out her minimum amount of trash that only contained crushed and cleaned TV dinner boxes. I suppose she was green before her time.

Aunt Mary’s home was tidy and filled with creepy religious pictures and crosses. She’d watch Mass on the television and I got a kick out of that. One day as I snooped through her place, I saw a Jesus cross affixed to the wall that I just had to have. After looking both ways, as all good thieves do, I swiped it right off the wall. Accomplished, I fingered it in my pocket for the rest of the visit and all the way home, happy with my forbidden treasure.

Not long after arriving home, the one home phone rang and it was ol’ Aunt Mary concerned about her missing artifact. Could I have taken it? I denied it for as long as I could but eventually, I had to fess up and apologize. I had grabbed it right off the wall and left a tear where it had been.

Crab Murder

My cousins and I spent most summers hanging around Rhode Island beating each other up, comparing sunburns, getting lost at state beaches, stealing cigarettes from the adults, and crabbing. I could spend hours collecting crabs but my cousin was petrified of them and I would absolutely torment him with crabs.

One night we had a bonfire and I fed the fire a bucket of crabs. Directly into the fire, I dumped live crabs while giggling over the sounds that escaped the crabs as they were burned alive. I was young and…evil? I’m not sure but I do remember my more sensitive cousin battling insomnia for a lot of that summer and mentioning that when he closed his eyes he could still hear the squeaking sound of those dying crabs.

I think it’s entirely possible that I created the plague by being such a bad child and I’m really sorry. I will find a way to make amends and if you have any ideas, send them my way!

The Pandemic Shame Game

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The cruel comfort of being home, safe among dust balls and a creepy aesthetic, has become claustrophobic. I suffer from a failure to deliver. “I should really move that beach bag that’s been in the foyer since August,” I ruminate while my daily screen time climbs higher than Johnny Depp on trial nights. Lock away my phone and perhaps my brain will reappear. Then again, perhaps not.

There are many errors in my pandemic lifestyle. As an unabashed news junky, I won’t stop watching, listening to, or fighting over current events. This and my insomnia shapeshift me into a hatred-filled tweet machine at night. I’m currently in Twitter battles with so many conservative radio hosts that I fear a(nother) restraining order is in my future. Okay, maybe just a dramatic block.

What comes first: insomnia or my spontaneous fits of dancing and singing? Both create a landslide of embarrassment for everyone, other than me. My poor children, I never shut up. Days are narrated with an endless stream of consciousness spoken in my valley girl talk. Sometimes I find a gem of enlightenment but it’s mostly, “Should I get Botox? Like, do I look older or younger than the mom on “Rick and Morty?” Where’s my phone? What DID I do with that phone?”

The Shame Blame Game! Play along!

I posted this picture and was automatically shamed.

My pathological extrovertism is always getting me shamed. Haters, don’t fret, I’m keeping safe. Heck, I’m geography-dumb but I’m not socially stupid. Like ALL my psychiatrists assure me: we’re all doing the best we can. Can we all give each other a break?

When I escape my house with shimmer on my cheekbones and a bold lip, you bet I’m going to take a picture, obsess over a clever caption, and share. I HAVE to share it on social media because I am a narcissist. I promise you that I’m not at a rave so please stop barraging me with judgmental comments. “Are you outside?” No, I’m inside French kissing strangers and licking waiters’ eyes. Come on, I am sitting at a bonfire drowning my solitude with too many Bud Lights, not at a Trump rally becoming blood sisters with Kellyanne.

Six and a half days per week, I dwell in stained sweatshirts and my son’s socks. On Saturday nights, I free myself into a haze of something…outside and with a fire. Don’t worry, the other days I am home and miserable, just like everyone else.

This lobster had more interesting things to say than most people.

Conversations are so dull now. It seems that all the smaht people talk about is how long they’ve been in home confinement. It’s become a contest of culture. “I went to the pharmacy for the first time in eight months and saw a child picking her nose. I won’t leave for another few months.” It’s alright, folks, we’ve (mostly) all been staying inside, and it truly doesn’t need to be an honor of superior citizenship. Let’s get back to what we do best and talk poorly about one another, our family, and how weird Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara’s baby is going to be.

Thoughts:

  • Snob and slob are practically the same word and I’m both.
  • I do adore Claudia Conway. May I adopt her and get her mom’s money and lipsticks?
  • I’ve scheduled a Botox appointment and think it will cure me of my needle phobia, vanity is that strong.
  • I went to a new doctor recently and he asked me if I’ve ever gone to a therapist. That’s my funny story of the summer.

1975 – 2020: Kathleen’s Battered Soul is Buried

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It’s been a wretched year, a year that made me ponder what gouging out my own eyes would feel like. Then I thought about the poor girl who really did that while high on meth and I’ve instead opted to scratch at my scalp psoriasis all day, every day. Scratch, scratch, pick, pick until little scabs form a constellation.

I should have known something was amiss on New Year’s Eve. I voluntarily stayed home on New Year’s Eve and with that unbelievable act, my existence was soon to be spit on. A lifelong pursuit of partying, irreverent conversations, and fancy frocks would explode right into my eybrowless face. 2020 started with my 8th nervous breakdown and just kept descending lower than The Chainsmokers’ talent level.

The Chainsmokers: 2020’s Soundtrack

To think that in January my biggest source of anxiety was that I was on my hundredth new job because job switching was my rebellious protest to the world — for no reason. My eff you to, well myself, I suppose. Gosh I long for the days when I had to create problems just to keep life interesting. Sigh.

The best part of 2020. Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B.

Oh 2020, you boyfriend with the awful breath, chiseled cheekbones, and tacky mom — you will NEVER get much better. You show glimpses of humanity, like a surprise Taylor Swift album, the fun and public mocking of Kelly Ripa, the creativity of Hulu’s Palm Springs, and watching all the Chads and Karens hemorrhage over Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion’s WAP video, but you will NEVER get much better.

I enjoyed everything about this movie.

But the pandemic was kind of fun for a bit, wasn’t it? It felt like dabbling with a hobby for a spell. I baked bread, gave away junk, went on HIKES, dyed my eyebrows and thought that this too shall pass. 

But I’ve now been home for too long. I don’t even know where anything is around here because I never put anything away. At home, I spend 1/4 of my time searching for what I just put down. The other 3/4 is spent in the following order:

  • Worrying.
  • Working.
  • Worrying about work.
  • Checking Facebook only to want to unfriend a slew of “friends”.
  • Scrolling through Twitter and having Twitter wars with Bishop Tobin, Dorinda Medley, and Sean Spicer.
  • Saying aloud, “I just can’t believe this is happening!”
  • Itching my scalp.
  • Staring out of my window.
  • Becoming way too excited for Housewives of NYC episodes.

Until next time, pals, Now go watch WAP and let me know what you think about it.

Life’s so rotten, let’s focus on worse times.

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The Covid zombie apocalypse has got me low.  I’m sadder than Ben Affleck before he found Ana de Amas. I live in a shaky world where fainting is a palpable possibility and slumber is a nice-to-have requirement. But all the nervousness, political anger, and family closeness makes me realize that things have been worse.

Heartbreak Erupts into Obsessive Movie Habits

In 1994 I was so heartbroken that I spent three days watching Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts” on an endless loop — only stopping to drive by my ex-boyfriend’s apartment to envision all the sex he and his new teenage girlfriend were having. I was staying with my sister and she’d occasionally yell at me to refill the ice tray and throw away my molehill of smoked butts, but other than those strained interactions, it was just me basking in the pain of a 3-hour movie. I was proving a point, but I had no idea what the point was or to whom I was pointing the point.

Have you ever watched “Short Cuts?” It’s psychological torture. Watching it once messes with your head but watching it for days while chain smoking vacuum seals you right into the bell jar. I eventually aired myself out, plucked a few more eyebrows, and found another troubled boy to date. And yeah, life got better, but it was an even worse time than pandemic schpandemic.

Summer School Bullying

Then there was that unfortunate year when I failed high school science and was given the social-life death sentence of summer school in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. My mom was so angry that she plucked me out of my dazed summer party scene and forced me to endure summer school in a foreign land. I was stuck with a group of dumb kids who taunted me by calling me “Cure Girl.” As a big fan of The Cure, I was pleased with my new moniker.

A few weeks in, the teacher quietly called me up front and asked, “What are you doing here?” I responded with a well-practiced shrug. Say no more, say no less.

I’ve Been Uglier

I’ve definitely looked worse. Sure, I am currently sporting white hair on my head, eyebrows and other unmentionable areas, but I’m still prettier than I was during my elementary school love affair with the perm. I had reddish curly hair, a face full of freckles and ONLY wore clothes with rhinestones, lace and tulle. Of course I needed a perm!  

I think I know why my first kiss happened in the last few days of 7th grade during a ‘7 Minutes in Heaven’ game gone wrong. While waiting in line, having a slight panic attack, I could hear the boys discussing how bummed they’d be if they got me. Well someone did and wowza, I’d been kissed, albeit in a forced situation and years after all my girlfriends. Don’t worry though, I developed nicely that summer and made up for lost time.

Mistakenly Dating a Homeless Man

Yes, life can always be more painful. Right after college while I was hiding out in Portland, Oregon, running away from my parents needling me about getting a real job and escaping an arrogant manchild, I found a mysterious coworker to dig. He was much older, secretive, and good looking. What more does a naive girl need?

After months of waiting for Tim to ask me out, he finally did. He didn’t have a car — which now I see is a warning sign but this was Portland, Oregon and the crunchies rode bikes. So, I picked him up at a street corner.

My mind raced with all sorts of theories. Perhaps his home was so luxurious that he wanted me to know the real Tim. Could he have a secret family? The night staggered on and we drank enough alcohol to cloud all bad judgments into smart ones. There was some making out and a shared cab ride to his street corner and my apartment.

Tim didn’t show up to work the next day, or ever again while I was employed there. Seems Tim was living in a homeless shelter where sobriety was a requirement and his walk of shame landed him right into a court-mandated rehab. Who knew? Not I. But everyone else at work knew and I quickly became the girl from Massachusetts who caused Tim’s downfall.

So, it could always be worse folks. You could be married to Meghan Markle or Sean Penn. We could be members of the Cyrus family and have to listen to them all sing during Thanksgiving. Even worse, you could have a mom like me who bribes her children to tape her doing the WAP dance. It can always be so much worse.

April Showers Bring Mayday Mudslides

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Two toothpaste containers and menstrual cycles ago, I shut my door and buried myself with books, ample facial moisturizer, and “Mad Men.” Sometime in March, I put on an eternal pot of strong coffee that has somehow produced a pond of joe from which I drink all day, every day.

Other than a few trips to the Zombieland grocery store, a walk with my zany sister, and a sad meetup with my best friend where we each sat in our cars and conversed through the cracks in our windows, I’ve been here. I’m watching my children outgrow the clothes they wear, and wondering what’s next.

Nothing is funny anymore, is it? Every complaint and gossipy story must be prefaced with a “I know I’m lucky not be sick,” or “I hate to complain, but…” Can’t we be grateful to be healthy AND be disappointed in this horrifying situation – while fitting in wisecracks? Perhaps we can all give each other a chance to whine and vent without being so judgmental.

So here it is, some things that have spread a smile across my stressed face.

A Love Letter to Ben

The relief we all crave.

Ben Affleck has been popping up during COVID with his new girlfriend, star-on-the-rise Ana de Armas. They gaze at each other lovingly, like new beautiful lovers do.  As they clutch their Dunkin’ coffees, dog leashes and donuts, they’re effortlessly and casually chic.

Ben is an honest slice of Americana, a man bold enough to smoke a cigarette, in public, while wearing his mask. Ben’s deep drag on his butt is the collective relief that we’re all desperately craving. One doesn’t have to be a smoker to know that need. I feel it every time I pass my pantry and stuff chips into my mouth, looking down at the crumbs that have fallen on my kitchen floor and not really caring. I feel that release as I down my eighth cup of coffee, knowing that I just extended my bedtime to 2 a.m. and not caring.

Ben, I thank you for your loyalty. You’re steadfast in your zest for coffee, nicotine, and Boston. I thank you for your daily COVID walks, no doubt traipsed by paparazzi. I appreciate your white beard hair, fluctuating weight and honest portrayal of your battle with addiction.     

Somewhere in Malibu, Jennifer Garner is rolling her little eyes.

Notes During Quarantine

Reality TV’s Basic b&^ch.
  • When I pleaded for a celebrity scandal, I wasn’t hoping for Kristen Cavallari and Jay Cutler divorcing. Yup, I’m guilty of watching “The Hills” and “Very Cavallari,” and I can assure you that Kristen Cavallari is the most boring “celebrity” of all time, that Jay Cutler provides the only entertainment on “Very Cavallari,” and that somewhere there’s a “Bachelor” reject waiting to marry Cavallari in a soon-to-be televised reality series. YAWN.
  • I can cook approximately nine dinners and if I ever eat them again, I may never want to eat again.
  • Proving, once again, that Britney Spears is the celebrity gift that keeps giving, Queen Spears recently announced that she burned down her own gym. In her own words, “Hi guys, I’m in my gym right now. I haven’t been in here for like six months because I burnt my gym down, unfortunately.” Thank you, Britney. You are what the world needs right now.
Via Giphy
  • I just watched all 92 “Mad Men” episodes again. I know there are so many new programs to watch but I needed the comfort of double nostalgia. Nostalgia for a time I never lived and nostalgia for a cooler time when I watched the series. I love everything about “Mad Men” and watching it again is refreshing and sobering. Don Draper is a wretched man, Peggy Olsen is a comedic revelation of ambition and sadness, and January Jones’s Betty Draper is what nightmares and daydreams are made of.
  • It’s impossible to know if people are smiling or frowning behind their masks and it makes interactions extra scary.
  • Fiona Apple’s new album “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is exactly what I hoped it would be and so much more. There could not be a more fitting soundtrack for quarantine than this poetic masterpiece.

The Art of a Car Ride, Pop Music + a Plea for a Celebrity Scandal

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Day 666 of quarantine. Reality is setting in. The days cascade through gratefulness, fear, empathy and what is that? Anger, I think. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees and to-go servers are heroes and offer me a rare glimpse of human interaction beyond my four walls.

Quarantine makes me nostalgic for my teen years when freedom arrived in the form of a car. The anticipation of getting my license was so severe that I failed my driver’s test twice. TWICE. I attribute the failures more to anxiety than poor driving skills, but I finally nailed it on my 3rd time and took to the roads with a Chevrolet something.

Much like right now, driving through the windy roads of a small town, with pop music blaring, was all there was to do. It’s what I’m doing every afternoon now and here’s what I’ve noticed.

“Hot Girl Bummer” is Perfection

After years of silly resistance, I now embrace weird rap. What I dig is the honesty, lack of pretense and its boasts of illegal and poor behavior. I’ve had enough of the phony positivity of Lizzo and Lovato and prefer to listen to fairy tales of promiscuity, excessive partying and girl fights. “This that throw up in your Birkin bag, hook up with someone random.” Smells like teen spirit to me.

Speaking of teen spirit, the song’s tone reminds me of Nirvana. It’s angry and funny, with a keen eye on youth’s beauty and ugliness. “F#$k you and you, and you. I hate your friends and they hate me too.” Thank you, Mr. Blackbear, now please cool it with the facial tattoos.

Kurt Cobain + My Numbers Problem

I’m bad at numbers. I have to REALLY think before I can answer the years my children were born. My oldest is easiest, it’s 2001. But every year around the beginning of April I remember that it’s Kurt Cobain’s death anniversary. The hint of spring jolts me with a whiff of alertness and I recall that spring feeling with news that Cobain died. I tend to live in the past, in my head, and the quarantine escalates my dwelling.

Driving around with nowhere to go while trying to figure out the meaning of life is exactly what I’m doing these days, exactly what I was doing when “Nevermind” was released, and what I was doing around the time Cobain died. As the April 5 anniversary came and went without much news, I realized how much has changed but how little we change. Like 1994, I’m savoring car rides, writing and awaiting a new Fiona Apple album.

Fiona Apple Reemerges

Sensing Gen Xers’ malaise, Fiona Apple sweeps in and will release her first album in eight years on April 17. To share that I’m excited is as immense an understatement as “Meghan Markle’s dull” or “Britney Spears is strange.” I count down the days until I can listen to her new album and I’m sure I’ll keep it in my car’s outdated CD player until her next album is released during my retirement.

No Celebrity News Isn’t Good News

Perhaps Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange can get into another elevator.

I’m watching the news throughout the day and so saddened, but I feel like something’s missing: the universe needs something frivolous to focus on.

Consider this a personal plea to the Gwyneths, Madonnas, Brads and Britneys to mess shite up with a scandal hot enough to avert our attention for a day or two. Divorce, a secret marriage or a disastrous elevator ride will do.  Heck, I’ll settle for a cheating scandal, rehab or an unplanned pregnancy.

A juicy celebrity scandal should be a part of their agent’s contract. Come on, they owe us one. Brad Pitt, the epitome of coolness, could take one for the team and have an Instagram live wedding to some unheard-of environmentalist. Or maybe he and Jennifer Aniston could pretend to get back together again ­– just to entertain us now that we’ve finished “Tiger King”, “Ozark” and the entire “Madmen” series for a 3rd time.

Hollywood, think about it and feel free to contact me for guidance. I will be sitting right here, unless I’m driving around thinking of alternative music.

xo

I was a strange kid.

Mascara, Food and H20: Quarantine Necessities

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This quarantine feels like a supernova pharmaceutical speedball of sedatives, uppers, and Midol. I’m jumpy from the lack of activities, then drowsy by how overwhelming it all is – often while battling a small headache. I waver between relishing being home and panicking that if this continues, I won’t have a home.

It’s not the solitude, I’m at home with five people, it’s the freaky germ awareness. I’m a messy person and I’m now cleaning with no real purpose or mission. I don’t know how to clean. I think cleaning is something you’re taught, and I never got around to that lesson in childhood, I was too busy writing love notes to Prince. Sure I can clean surfaces but scrubbing floors and toilets has always been for a biweekly housekeeper. Now it’s my job and I’m remarkably bad at it.

But hey, on the verge of the apocalypse, who cares how clean or dirty my house has been? This is the first time I’ve been home and not working in over a decade. It’s refreshing and foreign. It’s also given me a lot of time to obsess over a few thangs.

Out, damn spot.

Mascara is a Dear Friend

The world can take away the restaurants, libraries, and malls but I will stab someone with my L’Oreal wand before they take away my extra-black mascara. As my deodorant application becomes infrequent and my eyeliner has disappeared from my droopy eyelids, my mascara is applied with a heavy hand!

Perhaps I’m a thinker, not a doer.

All this time has given me so many ideas! Register for an online course, brush up on my Spanish, explore Scientology. But what I truly want to do is watch “Little Fires Everywhere,” every episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Mindhunter.” I’ve polished off more books than I can remember and haven’t gotten to that online course yet.

Fancy Frocks Get You Nowhere

Feel low? Buy a dress. Celebrating a milestone? Fetch a froufrou frock.

Dress adornment has gotten me through the highs and lows of life but wowza, all those dresses are of no use to me right now. My knowledge of chiffon, silk blends and how to iron linen is useless. You know what I need more of? Sweatpants! I’ve been alternating between two pairs for weeks.

Things I don’t Care about Anymore

The fight nobody cares about. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)

I’m DESPERATE for a celebrity scandal but not the day-old donuts Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift reignited rift. Yawn. Who still cares what zonked-out Kanye West said in a 2016 rap song NOBODY heard?

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom are having a baby. Who cares? Their parents and that’s about it.

Remember the college admissions scandal? It feels pretty silly to whine about the wealthy getting their kids into college while we can now complain about the privileged getting coronavirus tests WAY before the peons. Disappointing? Sure, but surprising? Come on.

Gal Godot embarrassed herself and all her celebrity pals with this literally tone-deaf “Imagine” cover. I haven’t watched anything this bad since I slogged through the first four minutes of this season’s “This Is Us.” Gadot should fire her inner voice and her celebrity pals should just fire her.

When in doubt, go to Beck.

COVID-19, Shopping, and an Inability to Act in a Crisis

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I’m extra twitchy.

Sure, I do dwell in a perpetual state of anxiety and weirdness but be forewarned, I’m acting much crazier than usual. COVID-19, coupled with my total inability to handle a crisis, has me shopping like Celine Dion and sweating like Amanda Bynes’s parents on visitor’s day.

My list of neurosis is as robust as my closet and hovering close to the top is a whammy: In a catastrophe, I’m immobilized by fear and can’t do anything other than shop, obsess and read.

White ceilings, bright overhead lights. Finally, I’m home.

Since my completely-sober Corona blackout, I’ve purchased a new wardrobe and polished off a book every other day. I don’t even know what the books have been about, I just read them until I can sleep.

Want to know what I haven’t done? Stocked up on necessities, contacted my doctor about doubling prescriptions, or sanitized my house. I’ve burrowed myself deep into a K-hole of inactivity and dealt with my fear by analyzing every word of The Weeknd’s creepy new masterpiece, shielding my eyes while watching HBO’s “The Outsider”, and wondering what Fiona Apple is doing. It’s all I know how to do.

Does Beck have a pre-existing condition? Will he be okay?

This behavior goes way back. Fresh from college, I drove across country with a male pal to move to Portland, Oregon. I had no reason to do this, no plan when I got there, and no thoughts on returning. My parents were on my back about getting a job with insurance and I just wanted to party, stalk Elliott Smith and get away from a pretentious manchild I’d been obsessing over for years.

So, to prepare for this ridiculous journey, I slept. I slept like I’d never slept before. I slept right until it was time to say my “goodbyes” and climbed into a car to travel 3,000 miles to party and stalk a new manchild. I can’t remember if I ever even wanted to go to Portland, I just didn’t know how to get out of it.

Portland-bound without a plan.

You know that part in a movie, right before someone delivers horrible news and they say, “Do you want to sit down?” That question is for people like me. People who get woozy at bad news and faint in times of turmoil. Don’t count on me in an emergency.

Some may blame it one laziness, but I think not. I’m not lazy, just crazy. I can’t even deal with this coronavirus stress by overeating because my inability to act landed me right into obesity and now I’m intermittent fasting like a millennial.

Can’t Kit-Kat may way out of this one.

For years I lived without a scale and with a false sense of comfort that I wasn’t THAT fat. Heck, I’d had three kids and could still wear all my ethereal tent dresses —how chubby could I be?

Because I also have a deep fear of doctors, I rarely had to step on a scale, and I enjoyed my make-believe land of thinness and health. But a nasty sickness landed me in the emergency room with a DEMAND that I get a doctor and lose weight. Yup, I knew I was getting fat, but I combated the problem by never stepping on a scale or going to a doctor. PERFECTO!

So, I’m going to fight Corona with everything I have: impressive clothing, an expert’s knowledge on The Weeknd, and a hunger for food after 6 p.m.

See you in the bunker! I’ll be the really well dressed hungry woman.

The 2010s + the Onset of Middle Age

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Cheers to the freaking 2010s, a decade of reality show saturation and political devastation. Ten years that left me wondering where all the poorly behaved celebrities have gone and if there are any original ideas anymore. It was a decade of sequels, reboots and trilogies that left me longing for the pantyless brouhaha of Lindsay Lohan’s youth.

Everything I know, I learned from Housewives of NYC

Thanks, TV. I’ll never leave my house again.

Who needs to leave one’s home when programs as delightful as “Mad Men,” “Veep,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and the “Housewives of NYC” are playing in your cluttered living room? The 2010s provided me with more streaming services than job changes and that’s saying A LOT. Ten years of silly superhero movies left my bloated middle-age belly full yet unsatisfied, but my TV was the coolest movie screen in town.

Adele + Anything = Coma < Facial Tattoos + Youth = Cool

Billboard’s best performing singles of the decade commenced with Kesha’s “Tik Tok” and sauntered to an end with 2019’s “Old Town Road,” both sonic gems. And while Adele wowed everyone for most of the decade, she lulled me into a coma where I was surrounded by other drips like Maroon 5, the Chainsmokers, and Shawn Mendes.

The Weeknd, Post Malone, Billie Eilish and SoundCloud freaks thrilled me with their youth, resplendent with danger, beauty and sexiness. No, I didn’t buy much of their music but respect that it’s the new alternative. I mean if I’m digging 6ix9ine, something’s gone wrong in the land of rebellion and teenage wasteland.

And really all I need is my Lana Del Rey, the best worst singer of all time. I absolutely love her.

The Royal Family: A Joke With No Punchline

Kate and Meghan: Even more boring than your in-laws.

Kate Middleton; her bearded brother; Meghan “monochrome” Markle; her yoga-teaching mother; her overweight father on the cusp of a heart attack — what do they ALL have in common? I have no idea why I even know who they are and I’m begging the world to harass a new family. I dunno, the Trumps of the Beckhams will do. Please.

I don’t care what Kate or Meghan are wearing. Here’s a spoiler for those of you who do care: Meghan’s wearing solid colors with high heels and Kate is sporting a printed dress in a chiffon-like fabric. And their faces are adorned with the pained smile that belongs to those who have sold their souls.

I don’t give one crumpet if William and Harry duke it out over high tea at Windsor Castle or what happens at any of their royal engagements. Gosh, I’m SO sick of the royal family that I actually tried and couldn’t finish watching “The Crown” because, yeah, you guessed it: I DON’T Care.

Celebrities Behaving… Well?

2010 started off just right with Lindsay Lohan doing a little time for violating probation but the rest of the decade took a depressing turn with celebrities acting okay and when they acted poorly, it was just pathetic.

Sure, Demi Lovato’s been onto the path of recovery more times than I’ve polished my resume, but that’s not newsworthy anymore. Same goes for Selena Gomez. Poor thing’s crazy, I get it, but she’s no Britney Spears coo-coo crazy, she’s snooze crazy. Wake me up when it gets bad.

What’s more boring than this pairing? YAWN.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s secret love child was definitely better than Chris Pratt marrying his yawner of a daughter, but still not spicy enough for me.

The college admissions scandal that shocked everyone and no one.

And while Ariana Grande’s donut lick seen around the world was sexier than her engagement to Pete Davidson, it still lacked the oomph of the ’00s. Even the worldwide outrage of the college admissions scandal left me confused, we all knew that this was happening all along, right? Did America think that every celebrity spawn was bright enough to get into NYU? Come on, this is called life and I don’t understand the outrage or surprise.

My Nuggets of Wisdom

Youth is pretty.

The 2010s firmly cemented me into middle age with a newfound understanding of humanity with all its beautiful flaws. I’ve learned some powerful lessons along the way and here are a few:

  • If someone is starting a conversation with “I don’t judge, but,” they’re ready to judge. For sure.
  • No, Jennifer Aniston doesn’t look better now than she did 20 years ago. Nobody really does and anyone who tells you that is probably lying.
  • The sequel is never better than the original.
  • There’s not one thing wrong with Adam Driver. Not. One. Damn. Thing.
  • People with facial tattoos probably hate their mother.
  • Our youth was rarely as dangerous as we paint it to be.
  • Nobody wants to listen to you explain your dreams; I wish they did, but they just don’t.
  • Married couples are often content and rarely happy. And that’s okay.
  • A bad therapist is worse than no therapist.
  • We should all go out and party more.
  • It’s always a good time to put your freaking phone DOWN.
  • “I don’t know how you do it all,” feels more like a gut punch than a warm compliment.
  • I didn’t know how much I was going to miss Lena Dunham until she went away.
  • When people don’t like you, you usually know.
  • We all need to stop peppering our conversations with the word, “honestly.” Honestly, we do.

Happy New Year, y’all!

‘You can do anything for one year’ and other fibs we tell ourselves.

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Think about it, has anyone advised you, in the midst of a damaging relationship, to just give it a year? It’s the silliest advice I’ve swallowed since I convinced myself I could learn to become attracted to an actuary named Gregor JUST because his name was Gregor, or when I assured myself I had the physical and psychological strength to zipline. Gregor, the zipline and I all had disastrous outcomes but I did make it EXACTLY to 365 days at work and welcomed the day with a resignation letter and a new job I’m going to adore.

So there’s a new me now and I’m thrilled. Soon, I start a fresh job at a social services agency doing what I do. And I’ve had a little time off between jobs to digest some cool pop-culture and here are three things I dig.

  1. Hulu’s Shrill

Shrill is a hysterical Hulu series about Annie, a confident overweight writer, living a full life. What I enjoy about the show is that it doesn’t spend gobs of time focusing on Annie’s weight or pursuit for thinness; it’s about the trials and tribulations of an apartment-dwelling funny girl  making it in the hipster world of Portland, Oregon. SNL’s Aidy Bryant is a gem and the show is refreshing, honest and filled with cool music and surprising cameos.

2. Lana Del Rey’s Normal F$%^ing Rockwell!

Don’t listen to Lana Del Rey’s 5th album if you’re looking for the next Summertime Sadness, this is a quietly mesmerizing and haunting library of songs about loss, heartache and the Trump era’s crushing of the American dream. It’s also clever in a sly, understated way.

3. Kieran Culkin in HBO’s Succession
I found a new favorite actor and he’s Kieran Culkin in HBO’s Succession. Watching him every week is a marvel at the audacity of the English language and the sheer potential for ultimate cruelty that simple words strung together can produce. His character, Roman Roy, is ruthless and humane, all in one pint-sized man body. More Culkins in everything, please!