Friends and Lovers

IMG_0233Dear Bill O’Reilly,

I hope you’re well. I hope the holidays so far have treated you kindly. I hope your Thanksgiving turkey was cooked just so and that your menorah is shining in your window. You must be relieved that the liberals haven’t taken Hanukkah from you.

My Thanksgiving was very nice. I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, but I met a Swede named Rasmus who made me think of you. He was born in Finland and spent the first two years of his life in Santa’s Village. He showed us pictures of Santa having a swell time, wearing a cardigan sweater, sledding down a path of ice, laughing with children. I made a mental note to write to you and let you know, as Rasmus said, “Santa is allowed to have fun, too.”

Rasmus swore he wasn’t one of Santa’s elves, though he wears a handle bar mustache and a cravat. He’s just a regular old gay Swede who popped in for a drink at The Stonewall Inn and left with a pink-cheeked, drunk street-artist on his arm. The street-artist is friends with my friend Alexis. Which is how we ended up together in Alexis and Grega’s apartment, eating and drinking.

Our friend Katie was there, too. You’ll be happy to know that Katie has taken a lover. She announced it at dinner. She is very happy with him.

There were others, too. A country singer, an art photographer, a music booking agent. The conversation was lively and intelligent. The food abundant and lovingly prepared. It was good to be with people I sort of know.

After Katie and the street artist drank many glasses of scotch and wine, Alexis changed the music to show tunes. I tried to tell her that show tunes are not allowed in my life outside the workplace, but I was drowned out by Katie and the street artist who were singing at the top of their lungs. Rasmus joined in, too, as he has performed in many choirs in Sweden. And so, defeated, I laughed and endured a medley of show tunes which, I have to say, was very heavy on the Les Mis and Disney musical selections.

Katie seems so happy with her lover, I started to think maybe I should take a lover, too.

I’ve had a few bites on the internet, but I’m not sure if I’m meeting the right types. They seem more interested in my sock puppet references than they are in me.

There was one guy, Dean, who sent me an interesting email. Here’s what he said:

“Hi! I’m Dean and I must say it’s a pleasure to meet you! :)”

I liked that he has manners. And a clever use of grammatical symbols always blows me away.

“I’ll start off by talking a little about myself… I m 6’4″ and I got to say, I love the height because it’s made my life so much easier…”

Which is great because I love my height and think it’s made my life so much easier, too!

“I am a fun-loving person who likes to have a good time and make the best out of any situation…”

I love that he’s a fun-loving person who loves to have fun!

“I am also an honest guy and being honest means a lot to me.”

We might run into a little problem there. I’m very honest, except with the people I date.

But we can work that out.

“As for you, I’ve read through your profile and think that you and I would be a pretty good match for each other. You seem like a nice person who is down to earth and to be honest your (sic.) one of the prettiest girls I have seen on this website hands down.”

First off, there he is, being honest, which is so cute, but his reading comprehension and math skills are a little lacking. He’s twenty-one years old and I’m forty-three and specifically state that I’m looking for someone between thirty-nine and fifty-two. But, I mean, age is just a number, right, Bill?

“Let me be honest with you before I conclude this message… I love to go down on women as it is one of my favorite things to do (I can do it for hours on end… not a joke and this is a deal breaker if you don’t like to be gone down on)

“Let me know what you think and hopefully I’ll be hearing from you soon.”

I don’t know, Bill. Maybe I’m getting old, but taking a lover seems like it might be too much work. I don’t think I have time to lay there while someone goes down on me for hours on end. I mean – maybe if I kept a note pad and paper by the bed I could get some work done? I guess?

I did respond to him. I thought it only fair. He asked for my input. I didn’t want to not acknowledge his offer…

“Dear kid,

you are super creepy. You might want to try a different approach if you ever want to get laid.”

I think I’m doomed to enjoy an oral-sexless holiday season.

I hope you get a lot though! ;)…

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! May your winter season be bright.

And thanks for being a friend.

yours always,

Amy

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October

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I’m in a bad mood.

The kind you can’t shake simply by shaking.

The kind that’s like a cold and sticks around until it’s run its course.

I know it’s cyclical. I know things will change, but don’t like. Not one bit.

***

I am becoming my mother.

She’s seventy-something years old.

In the past year, I’ve written to two authors. Writing to authors is one of her more harmless hobbies.

Two.

***

To be fair, the first letter I sent was to a writer who wrote to me first.

The second, I have no excuse for. It’s to Stephen King.

***

I decided not to email my letter to Stephen King. I’m not a fan of his. I’m not not a fan either. I’ve never given him much thought. But, his memoir “On Writing” found its way into my hands. So, I read it.

Since finishing it, I’ve admitted defeat with my dead green tea plants and my unproductive mushroom log. In a Herculean attempt at attaining a sense of normalcy, I’ve consulted a witch, listened to the stars, floated in a sea of Epsom Salt, and submitted to a facial peel. Still, I’m at a loss.

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Not even penning a letter to Bill O’Reilly to reassure him that Hallowe’en is safely out of the hands of sacrilegious liberals and ne’er-do-wells, nestled in the loving arms of gender inequality, and kicking around the streets of drunk and beautiful New York City, where women of all shapes and sizes totter around in high heels and short skirts through much of October gives me solace.

I fantasize about whispering sweet nothings of free trade in his hot, red ears –  enticing him stories of companies that profit from child slave labour and destroying the rain forests abroad while stoking the flames of ADD, Diabetes, and constipation at home, fueling the pharmaceutical companies profits as well as their own. But this doesn’t make me feel better, either.

My letter would start: Dear Bill O’Reilly, I know you often worry about the liberal destruction of religious holidays in the USA. I am writing this letter to you to allay your fears and let you know that Hallowe’en is alive and well. I am looking forward to seeing you dressed up as a Playboy Bunny or a Slutty Nurse. Wink. Wink.

I am in a piss poor, pretty terrible, traumatically tearful, classically trained, bad mood.

***

There are a few reasons I’m in a bad mood besides the signs that I am turning into my mother.

I’m in the middle of a desert with no water in sight. Stuck in a long, cold, lonely winter without a sweater. On a transcontinental plane ride, with no room to stretch my legs.

I haven’t been laid in a very long time. A drought with no foreseeable end.

I’m a little grumpy about that.

***

“To what extent do you think your father’s death has to do with travesty of your love life,” Kelly asks at work. I’ve just announced that I’m considering giving up on it all. A statement I emphasize with a handful of potato chips and a candy corn chaser.

“One hundred percent,” I say. ” But, it’s not only me. I’m convinced that a curse born of love was placed on the women of my nuclear family. Of the four women, two of us have rocky love lives, one, none at all, and the fourth married an asshole. What are the odds of that?”

“You have crumbs on you upper lip.”

***

“I met my boyfriend while I was riding my bike.” she tells me, launching into a cautionary tale. “He was so sweet. He walked me home, asked for my number, called the next day. He did everything right.

“The next date, he offered to pick me up at my apartment. He showed up in shorts with a huge backpack on his back and a friend in tow, looking like a homeless person. He barged in and asked if he could use my shower.

“While he was showering, his friend, sitting on the edge of love seat, afraid to get comfortable, asked how long we had known each other.

“‘I don’t – really – know him – this is our first date.’

“And then it was midnight and I’m in my kitchen whipping up ratatouille for this guy I’m supposedly on a date with and his friend I don’t know…

“The third date, he invited me to a bar. It was a rainy night and I cried on my bike while I rode to meet him. Here we are three years later, living together.

“You just never know. Or maybe you do. Shit. What the fuck am I doing?”

“Maybe you should consider hiring a witch, too.” I eat another chip.

***

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“What I’m saying,” Kelly says, “is be careful what you wish for.” And then she laughs. Sort of.

Love is a messy business.

It’s not for the squeamish.

Or the faint of heart.

***

Dear Mr. King, my letter starts. it’s not in my nature to reach out to authors about their work, so it’s odd that this is the second time this year I feel compelled to do so. This email, I know, will be lost in cyberspace the moment I hit send. However, I suspect cyber space is a close relative to the universe, where a song of thanks in never misplaced.

I finished reading your book ‘On Writing’ this morning, sandwiched between a hefty MTA worker and a twitching woman on the A train and found myself pulling back a mass of tears. Those tears, and the memories behind them have followed me around all day.

My father died when I was fourteen. I was home with my mother in a house in a sleepy little bedroom community. One sister was getting drunk at a high school graduation party, the other, tucked away at college. My father was visiting his mother in New York, a mean old lady who kept her decrepit blush compact closed tight with a rubber band. 

There were phone calls. First, my father, then my grandmother. When he agreed to go to the hospital (he had a pathological fear of doctors, which I share), we knew things were serious. 

My mother didn’t drive on the highway those days, so she scrounged for a ride, eventually paging a friend at the mall. My drunk sister came home from the party. She sobered up real quick.

There was the nervous drive to the city, the moment when the nurse took us past all the patients in the ER to a private room and waited a good long while before she told us he had passed. The walk through the back hallways of the hospital to the morgue, my father’s body in a morgue drawer, my mother crying as she tried to fix his hair… the nurse took my mother’s elbow and said “he told me to tell you that he loves you very much.”

Mr. King, your book is beautiful and I enjoyed it very much, but that’s not why I’m writing.

I marvel at the honesty, the care, the poise that a person standing at the precipice of his own death can possess. How he can have the strength of mind, the presence, the kindness to look back towards his family, body in pain, chaos swirling around him, to say “I love you.” I know your thoughts as you teetered between life and death the day you were hit by that car were not my father’s thoughts as his heart stopped working, but somehow your description of those moments made it so clear to me what he might’ve been feeling, thinking, breathing. It touched me. Deeply.

And maybe it doesn’t feel so good to be me right now – I feel a little ragged and raw, to be honest –  but it feels right.

So, thank you.

***

They make slutty Hallowe’en costumes for women. And gay men make slutty Hallowe’en costumes for themselves. But I’ve never seen a slutty Hallowe’en costume on a heterosexual man.

That just doesn’t seem right.

***

If you find yourself in New York on a Sunday night with no plans, check out Kelly’s show, When Thoughts Attack,  at The Cell Theater. Information is on her website: kellykinsella.com.

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The High Dive

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It’s Thursday night on Friday Harbor; I’m sitting on a bar stool, watching a woman dance. She has tightly wound curls and loose smile. I think she knows the boys in the band. Beyond her is a table of four men, all dressed in vertically striped shirts, and though they will not tell anyone who they are, I am certain that one of them is Where’s Waldo, and the other three, his brothers. A group of ten women in their sixties wearing plastic leis spill onto the dance floor, one after the other, and a drunk bride to be, barefoot and bloated, with a cheap plastic tiara and a feather boa sways in the doorway as her friends smoke.

I’m sipping a beer, a little too bitter for me, and make a mental note that someone should tell Bill O’Reilly that Where’s Waldo has been found, living large in the San Juan Islands. I’m alone, having returned only a few hours earlier from a three day kayak excursion. Only a few of the group are still on the island. The couple from Michigan, the two young adventurers who live anywhere, and everywhere, and my friend from New York have scattered for the moment. I’m happy to be free of the chatter, happy to watch people dance.

There were fifteen in the group to start, kayaking and camping for a short three days. We rowed along the San Juan Islands, looking for whales. We didn’t find any, despite their considerable size, but the sky was beautiful, the wind, heady, and our leaders told stories that skipped like flat rocks across the Puget Sound. Some people know how to talk just so, their voices wrap around you and keep you strong. They’re tricksters and crows with good hearts, sad souls, mischievous minds.

I wonder how many secrets the water knows. So many people. So many heavy hearts. Does the water remember it all?

Is that why there’s more water on earth than ever before? Does the weight of our worries equal the amount of water dispersed.

There’s a tap on my shoulder. One of the group is back, a gangly twenty-two year old who knows how to dance. We join the Where’s Waldo’s and the women in leis on the dance floor and though it’s been a while since I last danced, we knock out a song or two.

I learned to swing dance a few months after I left my husband. I was sleeping on couches, relying on the charity of friends, trying to find my way back to stasis. I wanted to do something fun. So, I took a class until I ended up sleeping with the teacher. I remember crying on the stoop of a brownstone before and after each session. I had decimated my personality during the four years of my relationship. Being alone seemed so lonely.

In the kayaks we were to close shore and yet, I felt so far from land. When I signed up for the trip, I assumed it would be an easy float. Surely, I told my friend, they wouldn’t run a trip that was too challenging. They didn’t know who would show up to row. But there’s this little fact I neglected consider: when you’re working with things far bigger than you, pushing against the wind, and rowing against the tide, even breathing can be hard. On the water, I wasn’t thinking about all those years ago, swing dancing and crying on stranger’s stoops. No one wanted to hear my stories. And I didn’t want to tell them. I simply wanted to keep moving through the water. Sometimes rowing hard, sometimes hardly working, as the tide carried us along.

IMG_7256At night, I slept outside, and when it rained, the raindrops felt like kisses. It was cold and my feet felt wet, even though they were dry. My eyes drifted open during the night and I’d see through the slits that the stars had decided to spatter the sky.

I had a dream one night that a coworker, a male, hired a surrogate to have his baby. This surrogate was a breatharian. She nourished herself only by her breath. I voiced my concern. I didn’t think a woman could grow a baby solely by breathing. But every time we checked, baby and mother were doing just fine.

Back to the table, the group reconvenes wearing various degrees of drunk. My too-bitter-beer waits, abandoned in the middle of the table, for someone to drink it. I’m not drunk, but I am happy, diving into the ocean of bright eyes and artful smiles. And then, my dance partner holds out his hand and we hit the floor one last time. He is young, but he is wise.

When I was a kid, I used to jump off the high diving board. I’d climb up that narrow rung ladder with wet feet, walk to the end of the board, and jump until I flew. Mid-air, I’d pull my legs into my chest, grab them with my arms, and cannonball into the water below. One day, a month or two after my father died, I discovered that I was afraid of heights. Diving into the water poolside became an impossible task. It was as if I could feel the ground shifting beneath my feet. I was standing on the waves of an uncaring ocean, unable to balance, afraid to fall. I’m not sure what I was afraid of. Or what I’m afraid of still.

I have this fantasy. It’s that I’ll move somewhere, out of the city, and be even happier than I am now. That I’ll find peace in quiet and joy in stillness. That I’ll be able to make a living outside the fray, and that the magic of life will permeate every breath I squeeze from my lungs.

Another swing dance teacher, the one I didn’t sleep with, used to say that a swing dance is like a three minute love affair. Daunting at first, then beautiful, sad when it’s over, but a great ride.

If the San Juan Islands were a person, I’d be telling you that this afterglow is me recovering from a hell of a fling.

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Santa Claus

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Dear Bill O’Reilly,

I wanted to let you know that Santa Claus is alive and well. I met him this week at his
summer home in North Pole, Alaska. The elves are recuperating from an intense holiday season in a little village in Kalawao and are expected back to work late August. Mrs. Claus is obsessively making fudge.

He is very nice. Erudite, thoughtful, and open-minded, as one would expect from a
well-traveled man.

The Easter bunny is also thriving in Alaska. I caught him kicking back before the big day, as smart as a bunny can be.

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I know you have been worried about their well-being. I wanted to reassure you that both are living large in Alaska.

I am currently reading an article on how to make money off of ginseng, rabbits, chicken, and moonshine from The New Pioneer magazine (the complete guide for self-reliant living) that I picked up on the grocery store check-out line in Fairbanks, and so must go.

Please, do, feel free to drop Santa a line. He loves mail.

yours,

Amy

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Lunch

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The hurricane and I are sitting side by side on the subway, lurching uptown after work.

He’s talking about something, I’m thinking about something else, and he slaps his substantial hand over mine.

“What are you doing,” he asks.

I look down. My right hand is squeezing my left. My nails, short, as always, but not short enough, dig into my skin. I am wringing my hands.

My right hand drops the left and I shrug.

“I’m thinking.”

The train throttles through the underground tunnels and the people riding, sitting, standing, blocking their ears with music, their sight with games and books, hurtle through space and time, riding a slow-moving rocket back home.

I’m stuck in a moment. Sitting on that subway bench, speeding by the dirty, tiled walls.

***

I am speculating about when I’ll be getting around to cleaning my apartment. It seems that I feel that I have more important things to do, including nap, pet my dog, eat breakfast, drink coffee, pace, play with my dog, read about the cannibal cop who’s on trial for conspiring to kidnap and cook his wife and his college friend, and wonder if Bill O’Reilly is not actually an angry old man with a microphone, but an oracle who speaks in riddles.

I feels like I have a conjoined twin stuck to my liver or maybe rattling around my blood stream. And I wonder how I can reason with her in order to get her to vacuum the carpets and scrub the tub.

She, of course, doesn’t understand why I don’t just get up and clean. If I were crazy enough to talk to her out loud, I would say, “because I’m trying to write.”

But, if I say that, she’ll cross her arms with an “I told you so” smile. I hate it when she smirks at me.

Lately, this psychic twin of mine is getting on my nerves.

We haven’t been seeing eye to eye.

***

There are three things I do well.

Walk, write, and worry.

Walking comes as naturally to me as breathing. It’s the loose whip-stitch that sews the Frankenstein quilt I call my life together. I was one of those toddlers who refused to walk or even practice walking, until I knew how. One day, I simply stood up and took a step and then another step. I’ve been walking ever since.

Writing’s a special skills I ignored for a long time. But it kept showing up. Stories wanted to be told and they wanted me to tell them. So, here I am, clacking away instead of cleaning.

I come by worrying naturally. My mother is a great worrier. She used to set aside time to worry, as if it were a treasured hobby. I try not to do it, since it doesn’t do much good; I don’t know if it’s the change in weather, or my impending trip to Alaska, the lack of direction in my life, or that I’ve discovered a sleeping dog where my considerable stash of ambition used to lay, but I’ve been worrying a lot lately.

It’s bugging me out.

***

NASA’s advertising for a couple to go on a rocket ship for five hundred day trip to Mars and back in 2018. They’re looking for a married couple, but I’m thinking about applying, anyway.

They warn that the space is confined, six hundred square feet, which is exactly the size of my apartment. And, unless they also want to chart the beginning, middle, and end of a married couple’s life together, I think it’d be better to throw two cute single urban dwellers and one super cute dog into the rocket to see what happens. Of course, they’d have to meet a few times, coffee, drinks, dinner, perhaps, prior to lock down – to measure attraction, the potential for romance, compatibility, stuff like that.

It would be a great opportunity to get to know someone. What’s the fun of going up there with someone you already know?

That’s what I’m going to tell them when I send in my application.

But, I’m worried that they won’t let me take my dog. And what happens if the space suit makes me look fat? Or if the moon boots hurt my bunions?

What if the man I’m in outer space with starts to look at me like I’m lunch?

It worries me.

See?

***

If I find the cave that Bill O’Reilly, the oracle, lives in, I will respectfully approach and ask just a few questions.

“Dear Bill O’Reilly,” I will address him, “is wrong for me, a single woman, to desire simplicity? To pray for safety? Is it selfishness that makes me not want to fall victim to the fantasies of a blind date, college friend, or boyfriend who wishes to barbecue my toes and eat them in front of me? You say I want to be taken care of. If I can’t find a husband or father to do it, that I want the government to support me. Does my sense of entitlement lead me to expect too much from others. Is it self-centered of me, dear oracle, to question humans who sexualize the pain of others? Is it wrong for me pursue evolution over entropy?

“In addition, dear Bill O’Reilly, I am worried about you. Do you like living in a cave and speaking in riddles? Or would you rather enjoy the sunshine? Would you like me to bring you some ice cream?”

***

Last week, I decided I wanted to stop worrying so much. But then I got worried about how to stop all the worrying. And I worried that maybe my worrying was justified by the blank slate in front of me.

IMG_5731I was worried about my dog not wanting to walk after we played in the dog run. And then I got worried about where I would find a pot big enough to make cheese in without spending $300 dollars.

And though I largely feel that life has a mind and motor of its own, I fretted over the possibility that I might be wrong.

Then, I decided to take a break from worrying about worrying at least, and take a nap with my dog.

I was hoping that while I was sleeping, my conjoined spiritual twin would actually make herself useful and straighten up the kitchen.

But, she wanted to nap with the dog, too. I can’t blame her for that.

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Miss Me


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I used to know a Miss Delaware. It was a while back.

She had a charmed life.

She was smart, savvy, ambitious, beautiful, charming, and was in love with a wonderful man. She joined the pageant as a joke and found herself wrapped in a ribbon and on a road trip in a ball gown. Two years later, she moved to New York, became the face of a line of lingerie, and married the man of her dreams, all while maintaining her six-pack stomach.

I sat next to her at a party once. Someone was video-taping and they stopped on her. She was eating a strawberry, her lips curled around the tip, contrasting reds. A voice murmured from behind the camera. “Beautiful,” the voice said. “Look at that.”

The camera turned to me. I glanced nervously towards it and then away. I slid into the leather sofa and tried to smile. Lisa Loeb played on the stereo and the voice behind the camera cracked. “Reality Bites.”

It’s not easy being me.

***

Last week, I felt pretty good about ditching Rhode Island for Delaware. The palpable loneliness of the “hope” state felt suffocating, to say the least, and Delaware, whose motto is “liberty and independence,” fits right in with my unique outlook on life. Though it is possible that my own personal attachment to liberty and independence is the very reason that I’m still single after all these years.

Bill O’Reilly might protest this leap of logic, seeing as all single women want to be taken care of in the World According to Bill.

But I digress.

I also like Delaware because it’s two and a half hours away.

***

IMG_0850I have a plan.

Plan A.

“Wannameetyou13” wants to meet me. He’s a self-proclaimed helpless romantic who wears his heart on his sleeves and likes my eyebrows and is the BEST in the GALAXY at kissing.

He seems very enthusiastic.

So, the plan is – I’ll email him until he asks me out. And then I’ll take a train to Wilmington and go on a date.

I thank him for his compliments on my eyebrows and tell him I’d be happy to meet for coffee.

“Good morning sexy butt,” he answers. ” I wish you were here now and just cuddled up next to me so that we could watch the rest of this Battlestar Galactica Marathon together. Or maybe we could watch something you like, too.”

Plan B: There is another man, recently separated, who likes leafy green vegetables, sock puppets, and the aurora borealis. He’s not ready for a relationship yet, but he wants to get out and about and start talking to female people again.

I have a scheduled day off from work. The plan – make a date, go to Wilmington, have the date, go home.

But, wouldn’t you know, he’s busy tomorrow night.

Plan C: I’ll take the train to Wilmington. Visit the museum. Walk the waterfront, check out the neighborhood I’ve decided that I live in, find a date somewhere along the way, and drink a martini, not necessarily in that order.

Plan D: If Plan C fails, revert back to Plan B.

***

Nicki’s stuck on the Miss America contest. She’s called me every day for a week with updates.

“Did you know that Miss Montana is autistic? And has a speech impediment?”

“No.”

“I thought you should know,” she says and hangs up before I can thank her for this pertinent information.

“Miss Iowa has Tourette’s Syndrome,” she says without even saying hello. She sounds worried.

“Everyone has their cross to bear,” I offer.

“Miss District of Columbia is having a double mastectomy.”

“Oh, my god. That’s horrible.”

“D.C.’s not even a state.”

She calls later that night.

“Miss Maine lost fifty pounds so she could compete in the pageant,” she says with what sounds like awe.

“Good for her. That’s great.”

“Don’t you understand?”

“I’m afraid I don’t.”

“I’ll call you later,” she says, but never does.

***

At work, we tune in to try to see Miss Montana’s comedy routine, but since she’s not in the finals, they don’t show it. We watch one of the beautiful girls answer a question on legalizing marijuana, stating succinctly that she feels strongly that marijuana usage should be limited to recreational and medical uses only.

This would not be good for the leagues of the domestically challenged who use marijuana as a cleaning aid.

On the upside, if the Miss America contest is any indication, it looks like we are becoming a more tolerant society. And even if the contestants still look the same, it is clear to see that each is proud of her unique dysfunction.

***

I few days later, I call Nicki back, just to make sure she’s okay.

She is.

“I’m thinking of running for Miss America 2014,” I tell her. “My handicap will be – age.”

“And you’re short,” she adds.

“And a little funny looking,” I concede.

“A triple threat. What will you do for the talent portion?”

“Complain.”

She nods over the phone. “Okay. Let’s practice. ‘If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?'”

“I’d have a bigger apartment.”

“You’re supposed to say ‘world peace.'”

“I don’t think they say that anymore.”

“World peace. Say it.”

“World peace. I’d want world peace. Love and tolerance and world peace.”

She’s silent on the other end.

“Are you still there?”

“… so would I.”

How can something so beautiful be so far away?

“I’ll let you know how Delaware goes.”

“I thought you were going to Rhode Island.”

“I changed my mind.”

“Of course you did.”

 

“And I might change it again.”

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Nobody

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

— Proverbs 6:16-19

Dear Bill O’Reilly,

as a happily single woman, I entreat you to stop pretending that you understand my motivations, fears, desires, and appetites. I assure you that, though considered part of a demographic, my wants, needs, desires, and expectations are solely my own.

I do not wish for, nor do I expect, handouts from my government, or my parents, or from a potential mate, sugar daddy, or one-night stand. I do, however, wish for workplace equality, properly labeled food so that I can steward my own health, and for the government to stay out of my bedroom and away from my body.

I am sorry you mis-interpret my wants and needs so grossly, but, as you strategically ignore facts, yell loudly over reasonable discourse, and appear to be tacitly unable to listen, it is understandable that you would never even to care what anyone, friend or foe, has to say.

Perhaps it is because you cannot hear.

As my grandmother used to say, “getting old sucks.”

Anyhow, one thing’s for certain. I’m a know-nothing nobody.

But, if I’m a know-nothing nobody, so are you.

***

Dear Bill O’Reilly,

Thank you so much for trying to understand, through deep investigative reporting, why single, drunk, slutty nurses and kittens hoping to get laid on Hallowe’en vote the way that they do.

It might be useful to turn the mirror on your demographic as well.

For instance, I would like to know why wealthy, aging, white men with plummeting testosterone and failed marriages seem to hate women and everyone else so much. It might be a nice exercise to remind yourself that you know virtually nothing about humankind and that your willfully ignorant, extraordinarily limited, commerce-motivated talking head of a persona exists in its own bubble in an alternative universe.

I know it’s unfair to generalize about you and your demographic. I am certain that you are right that a approximately 40 percent of American women (the percentage of currently  single females in the U.S.), all want the same thing, which is for you, Bill O’Reilly, to personally pay for our birth control.

Well, I’m not really part of that group, since I’ve decided to be a cougar instead. Or is it a spinster? I lose track.

Anyhow, one thing’s for certain. I’m a cliche.

That’s for sure.

But, if I’m a cliche, you’re a cliche, too.

***

Dear Bill O’Reilly,

So, I’ve been doing a little research, about five minutes worth, on what it was Sandra Fluke wanted to say to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee earlier this year.

It wasn’t that she wants you, or me, to pay for her birth control and, as you put it, her lifestyle choice. It’s that she wants her private insurance company, you know, the one she pays thousands of dollars to every quarter, to include birth control in their coverage of their female clients. Seeing as the medical industry complex views pregnancy as an illness, wouldn’t birth control logically fall into the category of preventative medicine?

Regardless, when asked by my conservative friend during our pressing conversation about health coverage if I wanted to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control, I answered honestly, that I’d rather pay for her birth control than her baby.

Apparently, as a single person, I pay a higher tax rate. I also subsidize the American families who take tax credits and write-offs for having children. So, in essence, I do pay for other people’s’ babies. Somehow, despite this disparity, my demographic, according to your demographic, wants the government to sugar-daddy our existence.

That bit of research took me an additional three minutes to find.

I am surprised that an intellectual giant such as yourself, with all the tools you have doing research for you, could not distinguish between government aid and private insurance companies.

Oh, Bill. I’m just a stupid hairdresser.

But, wow, if I’m stupid, you’re stupid, too.