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
Drinking memoir suggestion: Permanent Midnight Jerry Stahl
Benedictions and Maledictions
37 days until The Sopranos airs!