Monday, January 21, 2008
Have Peace in Your Soul
I know I can speak for all of Dan’s Boston friends when I extend warm condolences and a never-ending lifeline of support to Dan’s family. Please do not hesitate to contact any one of us in your time of need, and the days, months, and years following.
The gayborhood was our playground. Dan and I worked across the street from each other in the heart of Boston’s South End. With Dan at Liquid, and I at Tremont 647/Sister Sorel, nearly every day was filled with Starbucks runs, weekly mani/pedis, laughter amongst friends, hair parties in my kitchen, and quick trips to H&M. Thursdays were for industry night at Toro and boyfriend hunting at The Beehive. Sundays were brunch days and my weary pajama wearing body would always be rejuvenated with a burst of positive energy while I served Dan coffee and eggs.
We lit this candle on his chair at Liquid and loved. We laughed, we cried, and then laughed some more. I thank the staff at the salon and praise their strength. Now and in the trying times that are ahead.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I spent an obscene, disgusting, American style amount of euros in Bologna: the type of money that could feed a family of eight tagliatelle with bolognese sauce for an entire month. I just hit week five of being in Europe and with The Sox two games away from the World Series, homesickness is brewing in the bottom of my stomach. In order to cure my ailments, I turned to an age-old American remedy: I went shopping.
I kept the consumer urges at bay for just two hours while I lit a candle for the Red Sox, took in the Host, and saw the world’s largest zodiac sundial at St. Pietro’s Basilica. There are two great things about attending mass in a different language. The first is it is OK to not know all the words to the prayers. It is not my fault that I American in an Italian Church. It is my fault that I can NEVER remember the Act of Contrition at St. Christine’s, and my penance always represents that. The second is the feeling you get when you shake hands with the people occupying the space around you and confidently chime “peace be with you”. I have always loved this phrase. Peace be with you.
The downward spiral started small; there was a strip of H&M style shops lining the street leading to my hotel. I passed these shops an average of four times during the first two days in Bologna without a blink. Enthralled by a European university, a stunning statue of Neptune and his member, and more vegan restaurants than a lesbian from JP knew what to do with, shopping was not high on my list. Until day three. It stormed the night before and the damp city was cloaked in wool hats, and leather boots. I thought about calling the states in order to fill the hole my small intestine seemed to be missing. No luck, it was 4:30 am on a Saturday. I could think of a few friends that would most definitely still be awake and would answer with drunk enthusiasm and continue to yell and pass the phone: “It’s ELLE, from EATALLY!! She has salmonELLLLA in her phELLLLEophian tube.” but none of these warm ideas materialized, as I had no numbers stored in my head for such an event.
The first purchase was just a warm up, a small purchase in which all three items were on sale. I walked out of store number one with a small change purse to house my camera, some running pants for the imaginary runs I will be taking on the last leg of my trip, and a tank top that reads: There are no more punk rock heroes. The latter of the three purchases is a lie: There certainly are existing real life punk rock heroes and I wish I could name three to prove it, but I can only come to one, a real life example of a real life punk rock hero: Nate Stearns. Although his music isn’t exactly defined as ‘punk rock’ he owns (and wears) more arm jewelry than I, so he is in fact, far more punk rock than me, not to mention one of my heroes.
By this time, a gray cloud rolled through and settled right over downtown Bologna. A chill? Hmm, I must need a heavier jacket. The 45 euros I spent the day earlier on Thinsulate wool mittens weren’t keeping me quite warm enough. In the states you can walk into any Wal-Mart, Bob’s, or Sports Depot and buy a pair of these wool mittens, the kind that have finger slits, and Velcro, and double as a glove and a mitten, a glitten if you will, for no more than 20 bucks. In Italy, these glittens are trendy, hence the cost more than tripling. I can understand the inflation of price due to shipping, but good lord we are not talking about buying an ’01 Brunello di Montalcino in a Boston Enoteca, it is a sporking pair of wool gloves!! Regardless, I needed a new jacket seeing as the one I purchased in Montevarchi two weeks earlier was in the back of my former co-guides economy Fiat named after Picasso somewhere in Florence. Another H&M knock-off, another purchase. Walking out of the second store I said to myself, out loud, “I can’t believe you just spent 60 bucks on a polyester jacket from FRANCE.” It wasn’t the 40 euros I could use to house or feed myself that I was worried about, I think it was more the thought of wearing the brown polyester jacket in Boston wishing I had that cash to go to the real H&M in downtown crossing and buy leggings, and big cheap sunglasses on a cold January afternoon after feeding myself at the Buttery on Union Park with Michael.
My heart and soul, along with my love for not having credit card debt all went missing when The Bank of America plastic was thrown on a glass counter top the third time. Remember the leather boots that I mentioned earlier, somewhere between a slice of pizza and two scoops of gelato I convinced myself that I could not possibly get on a train to Ferrara without some. I knew exactly what I wanted. My love affair with these boots started in the very first hour that I first arrived in Florence. I visited these brown boots three times before I started my bike trips. At first, I just flirted with the idea of having the boots, where I would wear them, who they would be allowed to meet, and which city streets they would be allowed to see. The second time I was in Florence, I actually tried to convince the boots, through a glass window pane that had a film of city grime on it, that they would love Boston as much as I did, and that even though Florence was nice and all, it didn’t have a large enough gay community to fully be appreciated. No dice, these boots were not budging from their 300-euro price tag, and certainly would not be traveling across an entire ocean to reside in Boston. The boots that will be traveling with me to Boston are a close cousin to my long lost loves in Florence. I will never love them as much as the original; one never loves another as they do their first. The only thing I have to remember is not to get too attached: I might have to sell these boots on EBay come January to feed myself at the Buttery with Michael one afternoon.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
“No, the animal, it has nothing to do with the church, like Santa Claus”
“Oh! The Easter Bunny, which is really a Rabbit, but we don’t eat that on Easter, we eat Lamb. The Easter Bunny just hides the eggs.”
Our entire conversation went on and on and on exchanging small facts about our different customs. Dinner ended with crème caramel and espresso. Schnitzel, being an Art History major knew far more about all the buildings architecture and which painting was in which church than I would ever care to read in travel guide, or in a museum pamphlet.
So with a full stomach, and a complete understanding on why all the Jewelers are now situated on the bridge rather than the butchers, I am looking forward to my first day in Umbria in the Morning. Here’s hoping my padded bike shorts arrived from The States to greet me.
Trains, Planes, and Automobiles
I was woken yesterday by my refreshingly naïve eleven year old cousin at 8 am.
“Shelly, it’s five of eight, I have to leave for the bus soon. I know you told me that you would walk me to the stop, but if you want to sleep, I -“
“I’m coming baby, let me just brush my teeth.”
Tori missed the bus by 45 seconds, while my Aunt Linda was still packing her lunch that would have to be dropped off later. I ended up dropping Tori at her generic elementary school in the middle of suburbia. We sang ‘Born to be Wild’ in it’s entirety on the way to 6th grade. I should have taken it as a sign when the blur of the big yellow school bus and flashing lights whizzed by us before we could open the front door, that this trip across the pond was going to fall dangerously on the line where easy intercepts really flippin’ difficult.
I suffered from a ridiculous case of anxiety all day. It was the type of anxiety that you want to curb with coffee and nicotine, but really should be treated with a balanced breakfast and counting backwards from ten. The only two times I remember the anxiety leaving me were before I even left the South Shore.
The first was playing one on one kickball with Jack on my Aunt’s perfectly manicured law, the only one on the block that manages to remain an envious shade of green while a water ban is in full effect. Jack, my four year old cousin does not fall for “The quiet game”, “The let’s see what’s on Nickelodeon game”, or even, “The I’ll give you some ice cream if you leave me alone for five minutes game”. Jack is way too smart for the latter of the three, he can now push a chair across the kitchen floor and open the freezer to get his own ice cream. Kick ball was nothing more than me kicking a 3-dollar rubber ball from Wal-Mart in the air and Jack trying to catch it. The game of kickball was mindless, and quite fun to watch Jack, the miniature man run around aimlessly with this eyes on the sky trying desperately to catch a blue rubber ball. I eventually convinced Jack to take the puppy for a walk. The new puppy, as you will have it, is actually not a puppy at all. Benny, even though he came from a puppy mill, is actually 3 years old and has the muscle strength of a veal chop. Therefore, ‘walking the dog’ is a loosely used term for, ‘ Let’s put Benny on a leash and have Jack follow in around in a 4 foot radius for ten minutes so the grown ups can actually get something done’. Benny gets walked about 25 times a day.
The second time the anxiety left me was actually during a conversation about going number 2. I’ve never been one for bathroom talk, menstrual talk, or sex talk, but for some reason, I felt it necessary to share my fear of having to poop in public places for the next three months. The conversation stopped almost immediately after a few jokes about Hershey, not the candy bar, and a few about Crop Dusting, and we were nowhere close to a corn field. The whole idea of having that conversation put me at ease and reassured the validity of on of my favorite pieces of literature as a child, “Everybody Poops”.
I was greeted at Logan with a cellular telephone call from Mum. My flight was delayed due to the weather at the JFK International Airport in New York City. The Delta customer service representative reassured Mum several times that I would absolutely make my connecting flight to Heathrow in time. The Delta customer service representative convinced me that there was no way that I will make my connecting flight, and should hop on the next Delta Express to LaGuardia and take a taxi to JFK. I said sure, as long as I make my connecting flight to London. Somewhere down the line, I ended up boarding my initial flight to JFK and my one and only suitcase was on it’s way to LaGuardia. Womp. Woomp. Wooomp.
I eventually arrived in Rome and a sparkle of hope that I would finally have my face in the Tuscan sun was fizzled the moment I realized my six hour lay over quickly became eight, as my 35 minute plane ride to Pisa was two hours delayed. I toyed with the idea of skipping the flight and taking a train straight to Florence, but thankfully remembered I had to argue with the women at the baggage claim at the Pisa airport. So, I decided instead to find a chair and sleep instead. Before naptime though, I needed one large bottle of water, and il panino formaggio. To be honest, that is one of the only phrases I know in Italian, a cheese sandwich. While in the Rome International Airport, I spoke entirely in the English accent I picked up on my layover in London. I did this for two reasons, to ease my frustration with not speaking Italian, and well, because it was terrifically fun to say words like ‘bloke’ and ‘fag’, and not have those two words enrage someone. I spoke in my new English accent until I found myself chime, “Hello Puppet”, to a small child. One look from the child’s mother and I realized it was better to sound like a dumb American than a pedophile from Chester.
Traveling across 3 state lines, an ocean, multiple countries, and through two Italian regions, proved my preconceived notion, that International travel, especially on the eleventh day of September, is more frustrating then watching The Sox close a game in mid-September. It already looks like this year will be better than the last.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Party's Just Begun
"Do you s.t.r.e.t.c.h. before you k.i.c.k"
"Giovanni, NO!" Elle needs Warner in Florence now, because she is prettier than Selma Blair and doesn't want to hang out with Mo's alone. Miss your guts already.
There are no words. I left a piece of my heart at 28 Phillips street #2 and will have aujoda until I see your pretty face at Thanksgiving, or when you show up sometime around November in Amsterdam (just a thought).
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Bagpipes still give me goose bumps and absolutely always will. Pale imitations of others will always being filling the pedestal, which I made myself, out of scrap wood I have found along the way, held together with recycled nails and finished with a half fast paint job. Old rusted Cadillacs will remind me of fields collecting rain. Silver pools of light will fill up corners coffee shops where an attempt at the great American novel fell off said pedestal and result in bruised elbows.
Religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell, and spirituality is for those who have already been there. It’s the difference between hearing the sounds of violins long before it begins and arguably making the most comfortable bed in the city while others run in the rain. It wants to do it better, and keep it together. Itching for a fight in the loneliest hour, just to make up and love. Loving the one you’re with. Non-traditional students making musical transactions.
Crash and burn mentalities that leave rifts. Broken falls and cushioned heart breaks. All the wild horses that love all the stars in the sky. Fun songs that result in laughter, the most fun songs that leave scars. Red cheeks from embarrassment, wet pants from jokes, and lost moments at stoplights. Sunday kind of loves in heather gray, sweatshirts; stolen articles. It is love, It is survival, It is being alive. Don’t take away me today to give up yesterday.
Stories and cigarettes ruin lives of lesser girls. But don’t girls just wanna have fun?
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Let Life Spill Over.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Three long time pals who find themselves single in the city, yet completely emotionally unavailable. Vulnerable, heartbroken, defeated, at the corner of Charles and Beacon. Unanswered questions, from each other, from themselves.
The corner of Charles and Beacon. Rainstorms: both emotional and getting caught in the elements. Breakdowns: physical, unpredictable and automotive. Love Spells: drunken, consuming, complicated. Blackouts: the result of exploding emotions as well as exploding man holes.
Three beautiful souls that are waiting to be balanced, to be found with equally open hearts. Find. Us.