Friday, March 02, 2007

Like A Piece Of Paper

For reasons I don't fully understand, I think makeovers are the work of the devil. Nothing can depress me quicker than some television show with a before and after and me thinking about how the person will never ever be able to maintain the new look, not even for a day, probably, and will always feel as if they need fixing. Not that I haven't tried to do them on myself or the places I have lived. My first apartment I shared with my ex-husband was perhaps my biggest challenge. I tried and tried with considerable effort and some rampant overcharging at Mervyn's, to make our squalid, roach-infested apartment seem less Travis Bickle and more like Breakfast at Tiffany's. You can't change this place, Michelle, he said. It's always going to be the way it is. As I surveyed the turquoise stove, the avocado-colored fridge, the stained and ratty carpet, and looked at the shelves and shelves of shit that I had put on the walls including a collection of troll dolls and two bridal bears that were connected by their teeny-tiny evil paws, I said, No, it's like a piece of paper. You can choose to wad it up or you can make it into a paper swan.

He smiled and agreed with me. We continued to do what we could, even though nothing matched, and we had to use the oven for heat much of the time when the central system was out. During the summer, we'd grill hot dogs on an outdoor grill the size of a plate. My ex and Hank would play guitar, and my friend Angela and I would swim in the brackish pool down below until dinner. We moved from the Maple into a much nicer apartment, leaving our paper swan that, by the time it was all said and done, was still more Taxi Driver than Friends. As for the new place, I didn't spend much time there. It seemed cold and colorless, a sea of beige -- beige couch, beige appliances, the works. I had dinner parties where I cooked food under the guidance of Angela and hoped for life to assert itself. But the paper swan was gone and in its place came something far sturdier, which, as I found out, wasn't always a good thing.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"But blood, of course, never really washes away. It filters deep down into the psyche and settles there, in subterranean pools." Jerry Stahl

Cocktail Hour

Drinking memoir suggestion: Permanent Midnight Jerry Stahl

Benedictions and Maledictions

37 days until The Sopranos airs!


the walking man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the walking man said...

if things were perfect then we'd never try to change them would we? Thing about change is you never know what it is going to lead you too.

*sigh* damn keyboard

Jack Kerouac said...

I'll always be a subterranean at heart, in or out of a brackish pool.

Charles Gramlich said...

I sit on my deck now and I don't care about insides. The flowers are always dressed well. The clover does not need a makeover, but the woods go through makeovers all the time and I love each version, before AND after.

Steve Malley said...

I've shuffled around so much in life that I'm pretty bad about improving my surroundings too.

Great blog, by the way. I often read but rarely comment...

paul said...


JR's Thumbprints said...

I've crumpled up enough paper to kill a whole rain forest. I've also let myself go these past few months. Nice post, as usual. I wish I could make a few swans now and then, instead of ugly ducklings.