7:15 on a Friday night, we're so old that we already ate dinner at the diner around the corner, where a couple had two children under the age of three, one of whom was barfing white fluid from its face and crying, so why didn’t they take him out of the restaurant? Why in the world did they linger, and let the child barf and cry, and not have one of the adults take the child away from the restaurant full of people trying to eat? And then the guy picked a fight with the waitress about something he felt he’d been overcharged for, and the kid threw up some more, and then Dad made the manager bring the ice cream tub from the freezer to show him that it was Haagen Dazs and not some child poison brand, and I hated them so much, so so much that if I wasn’t on my meds I would have been losing my mind. I would have said something, and part of the reason I didn’t was because I’m medicated, but partially because there was a table of cops right behind them, and I could easily see the husband and then the cops turning on me for telling the woman to take her barfing, crying baby outside, because cops are still mostly suspect to me.
Rage. Still there, underneath. But I am at least fifty percent less enraged these days, these days when I sleep for ten hours at a time, wake up, eat oatmeal, and lay back down. I feel like I’m trading furious for tired right now, and I’ll take tired. I feel like I’m a notoriously angry person, like I’ve embarrassed myself publicly so many times, shot myself in the foot. I was putting on lipstick today, trying to do it so it stays on, starting with this cotton candy flavored lip scrub to scuff off the ragged flesh I get from biting my lips, then using a pencil, lipstick brush, powder layer, another layer with the brush, and it’s no use, it looks gloppy and uneven, and I’m 41 years old, and I’m trying so hard not to be, with my tight t-shirts and jeans, and it’s just ridiculous. Bill came into the bathroom and I said, “I’m twenty-four! I’m twenty-four years old!” And he shook his head, not meanly, but definitively, side to side. No, you’re not.
Why that age, he asked, when I’d finally wiped off the lipstick and was ready to go. Why would you want to be twenty-four? Wasn’t that the worst of it? Yeah, almost. Twenty-five was the big one, the life changing one; twenty four was still the dark ages – thumbsucking, self-abuse, threatening everyone around me with suicide, shrinkless; so angry, so guilty, so full of shame. How I lay on the floor on 8th Avenue and wept, and the cats came over and nudged me, get up. But man, you should have seen me at twenty-four. The abs on me! The tits! The attitude! Diva! I quit Pussy Poets, I performed at Woodstock, I almost got arrested in Detroit for performing my poem “The Slut of Pascack Valley High” over an amplified sound system at Lollapalooza. (Leans on cane.) I tell you, I ushed to be somebody!
Ah, but today. I shot myself in the foot so hard at Lollapalooza, it hurts to talk about how many opportunities I blew back then, how grateful I am for the opportunities I still have.
Wait, Bill is talking to me. He does this sometimes, when I’m writing, and I’m like, ech hem. Writing here.
So, shooting yourself in the foot. I want to go back to twenty-four and make the right decisions this time. I’m willing to write off everything before that age as character building; god knows I wouldn’t take back leaving home, because then I’d have no shtick! But I want to re-do twenty-four, I want that body, that energy, that anger, frankly, which while it totally fucked me up, also drove me much harder than I drive myself these days. Which is not very far, in circles, etc., cliché, self-deprecation, milky vomit from a toddler’s gullet, aka, this post.