This week

I know darling.

How to sleep in the new ikea bed when bombs fall in real time in the desert? What’s there sweet to dream about then? And who really cares to save a world that is destined to die?

Remember the fireworks on New Years Eve? Remember when you quit smoking to save yourself for better days in better places? Were there ever thoughts you had where you didn’t have to sigh and also shake your head?

Still there are jobs to bid for and friends to be cynical with and a lover’s skin to taste in the middle of the night.

It’s springtime after a winter no one thought could end, and that no one thought could go on for one more day longer.

It’s been a week that million dollar, thousand pound, precision guided smart bombs started to set buildings on fire.

“Only a week?” you say. Yes, just one.

Almost Sunny

Imminent war and imminent spring today. Also St. Patrick’s Day. How to reconcile the happy giddiness of short sleeves with the knock-down dread of Bush’s holy war? A parade of drunkeness on 5th Avenue? Uh no.

The world, actually just my neighborhood, was out exercising yesterday as it was the de facto first day of spring. Today my hamstrings are sore and I have several budding blisters. Then I went to see a small festival of film shorts at Long Island University. A friend of a friend directed of one of them. They were all a little bit bad. Obvious plots, cliched dialogue, marginal acting. Well the acting wasn’t so bad. The overarching badness was bad writing. Really bad writing.

At the moment Colin Powell is live on the radio explaining things here and there with respect to war, war, and war. This much impending death can even put a stain on the end of an unendingly cold winter. Later on the Brian Lehrer show a psychologist imparts tips on dealing with feelings of frustration and despair. He recommends limiting news ingestion to just a few hours of information heavy segments. For example choose an hour of morning edition over several hours of emotional and graphics-heavy CNN. But I will probably choose both. In any case it’s hard not to think that someone important’s mind was made up about this situation a long time ago, and there wasn’t much anyone could do to change the positions of ships at sea. The only question now is wheather to watch Bush’s empty morality or Dinner For Five. Toughie.

Phone Home

It was like a taste test of spring this weekend. The cold is back today, but maybe I can live on the memories of one weekend. Fort Greene Park was idyllic, with all the snow melting and the kids and dogs running around. There are a lot of kids and dogs in this neighborhood. Also there are a lot of cell phones. When I was sitting on a bench noticing the flower buds and contemplating the nature of change, a woman 10 feet to my left was asking someone to e-mail her a resume to her work account, and a man directly behind me was recounting last night’s bar hopping. Naturally the park is practically empty but these two see no problem with having their inane conversations a stone’s throw from an innocent loner depressive. Why is listening to one side of a cell phone conversation so horribly awfully annoying?

I don’t get annoyed at overhearing two humans in close range having a conversation near me. Actually I mostly like it since eavesdropping on strangers is one of my favorite activities, until they annoy me of course. But take away one person and replace with a shiny plastic device and I start to shoot them dirty looks. Which they don’t notice of course because they are so oblivious to the actually existing world. Maybe that’s the thing. The second one puts a cell phone next to his head the entire rest of the world disappears. Shouting gossip about Sam five feet from uninterested strangers is acceptable behavior.

I should disclose now that I currently don’t own a cell phone. It’s a hard thing to explain to most people. Depending on how much I want them to know about me I either say it’s a moral, practical, or financial decision. Of course it’s sort of a combo. Originally it was purely financial. When I left for Paris I sold my trusty Sprint flip phone since it didn’t speak French or have a work permit. I got a cute and cheap GMS phone my first week in Paris after possibly the most convoluted and painful retail exchange in history. But the little red Alcatel served me well. I used these refillable cards which were amazingly handy for avoiding ten page legal contracts and talking excessively. When I came back to New York the Alcatel didn’t work and I put off getting a new one since I kept thinking I might leave the city. My standard explanation was that I just couldn’t commit right now. Plus I was always home so whatever.

But as the cell-phone-less months went by, I started noticing all the good parts about not having phone. Like not having to remember to shut it off when going to the movies or a concert lest you become everyone’s pet asshole. Like not perking up like trained monkey every time there’s a ringing noise in the vicinity. Like actually making plans with people instead of planning to call each other and then make plans. Like not checking the thing maniacally when you have plans to make plans and are in a crowded, loud or reception-questionable place. And of course not having to remember another number. It took me months to remember my new/old French one (but only a day to forget it entirely – odd).

So lately it became a practical moral type thing. Of course there are times when I miss the thing desperately. Like when I write down the address of a meeting place wrong. Or I want to do something with someone spontaneous. Actually the convenience of the phone that I miss the most is having all my phone numbers stored somewhere. Right now I’ve got a disintegrating little red book with things scrawled in no particular order, that I keep leaving at home no less. Last week when the AOL corporate jet to DC was delayed on the tarmac for two hours (that story is on it’s way), I asked my neighbor to borrow his phone to call and alert my appointments. He was incredulous. “I lost mine yesterday,” I added quickly. “Oh – Of course.”

Mostly I’m annoyed at having to apologize to everyone else for not having one. It seems to be more of an inconvenience for my friends than me. But I’m never the asshole in the park, or the asshole in the movie theater. It just cuts out a lot of opportunities to be annoying to strangers, which is a good thing. Like built in civic responsibility. Maybe it’s a platform for running for office?


All you or I or anyone else can think about right now is this god awful weather and when it’s going to let up. But isn’t this a tedious topic to rehash day after day, hour after hour, layer after layer? Yesterday after stepping out of the car into a freezing puddle disguised as a snow bank, running across the street in gale force winds while trying to save my umbrella from death, some guy at the elevator was like, “What a crappy day, eh?” or some variation thereof. I nodded in agreement, but what the fuck – I can’t think of a single thing to say about the weather anymore. Yet I’m sitting here rambling like your aunt Peg about it. It’s these kind of quirks that keep it fresh and interesting here at Nil by Mouth and we sure are glad you stopped by.

Since I can’t cull together a whole post these days (see emptiness of the last two weeks), I’ll cull together several paragraphs of half unfinished posts. In reverse order. Try to keep up okay.

2 -25

I’ve been having a hell of a time overcoming Saturn in retrograde this week, seeing as Saturn is my ruling planet. Shit’s been out of wack and I’m finding myself sobbing at the slightest change in the wind. Also I’m starting to cook up a theory about how news is bad for health. Sure we can all lament how ill-informed most of us are, and how if only more people knew the truth about things (the state of the world, the ingredients in a big mac) a more peaceful and better smelling world might come about. But if you actually set out to inform yourself about the world and it’s events you’d do well to get rid of most sharp objects and corrosive cleaning products first. I always thought I didn’t read enough news etc etc, and now since I’ve found myself with a touch too much time on my hands and a fear of leaving the house it’s all news all the time. And I’m pretty sure it’s bad for me. Skin problems, insomnia, general malaise. It may seem silly to bring this up in response to wars, fires, rebel skirmishes, etc but I disagree. Knowing about so much fucked up shit but feeling powerless to change any of it helps how?


It was supposed to be a dedicated work day. I made a list, something I haven’t done in over a month. It’s no wonder I’m not getting anything done. Well, I get some things done, but not the kind to write all over the web. But let’s see, last night I got my ass kicked on the tennis court by a guy from craig’s list. I’m used to all these dudes that I play with via the CL totally sucking. Ok, it’s not that they totally suck it’s that they overestimate their ability (a lot). So last night, it’s late, I’ve forgotten a sports bra and a T-shirt, but what do i care cause I’m expecting a somewhat chagrined dude who’s surprised to be getting buried alive by my backhand. Instead I’m all out of breath by the ten minute mark and can barely get my racket on most of the balls. It was great. By the end of the hour I was totally in the game though. The unfortunate thing was that we finished playing around 11:30 pm and I came home all awake and, eventually, starving. I drank like a gallon of water and gave myself a stomach ache. It took me until 2 in the morning to push past my soaring endorphins and my whining tummy to sleep. I woke up at 7 am hungrier than I’ve ever woken up in my life. All I could think about was one of those breakfasts on the menu that I usually shake my head at: pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast. Barely awake I somehow got to the diner around the corner and ordered my dream breakfast (I skipped the eggs actually) and watched this very nice snow falling in the sunshine and all the little kids on their way to school. Remember when you had to be on the way to school by 7:30?

Anyway I came home expecting to start my day and my list, but instead fell back into bed for four hours. Not good. Already I have to make up for lost time. And already I feel kind of sick for no obvious reason. The only cure I can think of is a trip to the coffee place in my dark shades and big hat. Cause it’s that kind of day.


Here it is, another year running down the street at top speed, like the two kids I saw when I peeked out from my bedroom window last night, scared from the loud booms and double and triple booms from the midnight fireworks. I’ve never been scared by fireworks before, and actually I mostly really like ‘em. But what was it? Maybe that I couldn’t see anything so the rumbling just filled the sky on it’s own. Maybe that after the news and such on the radio every morning, and the recap at 7 there’s a rock in my stomach that just doesn’t go away anymore. And this dream I had a few weeks ago that there was a firestorm in Manhattan and everything was bloody. In spite of those persistent feelings of doom, I spent the evening just as I needed to, with my sleepy dreamy-eyed boyfriend watching home movies (not *that* kind you pervs), listening to music, and feeling right.

No New Year’s resolutions this year.