Ragan has no idea how much of an influence he was on me in high school, even though we only had a short time together. First of all, I remember him in Noises Off, and I remember seeing him and thinking, “That boy and I; we are gonna be friends.” His Houston high school theatre scene was completely different than mine. They all seemed so grown-up, with how they dated each other and had big, giant drama. It was like they were already in college! And when I went to see Ragan’s show at his school, he was in drag. (“Little girls! I am in the process of putting old heads on young bodies!”) The first time I ever saw a boy in drag, and I was just smitten.
I don’t know if he remembers this, but one night we drove up and down Westheimer in his Jeep, being the most obnoxious teens in Texas, ruining the ending of “The Crying Game” for the poor souls waiting at the red light next to us. (Ragan, I put that in my high school’s yearbook, by the way! I never got to tell you that!)
It’s amazing to me that Ragan and I were living parallel lives all these years, so close to each other without knowing it. He’s always been in my heart, and I’m so proud of him for all he’s done over the years. And I’m not just talking about how he’s a published poet, accomplished performance artist and a teacher. It’s that he’s still brave, bold, fiercely independent and intelligent, with compassion that reaches right across the table and holds you tight.
The weather is cold and raining, and not unlike the air around you the first time you ever stole one of Mom’s Marlboro Reds because you wanted to see if it felt “cooler” to smoke in the rain, as you were waiting for Keith Randolph to pick you up in his Jeep on the way to school. He overcharged you five bucks a week for the pleasure, but anything was better than getting stuck with those faux-Nazi poseur bullies on the back of the schoolbus. Continue reading →
I have a long history with being right. When I was a kid, I was right all the time. Knew the answers, knew why I knew the answers, knew what the next questions would be. Moving all the time meant I was always being given another series of placement tests, and I knew what those would be like, too.
I didn’t know everything, but I found a way to be right about what I did know.
One of the cruelest (and probably best) things about getting older is I find I’m not right as often. In fact, these days I’m usually wrong. I’ve found that my main tool for always being right — my memory — isn’t doing its job as well as it used to. I don’t think I’m getting dumber, I think I’m starting to understand how much more I just don’t know, and because there are all these things I don’t know, I can’t possibly be completely right about what I do know anymore. The bravado I needed to be sure and confident through my teens and twenties isn’t necessary right now. In fact, I seem to need to not know things in order to learn anything anymore. I have to enjoy being wrong.
Because I’m wrong a lot, I now really appreciate when I’m right. When I know I’m right, anyway. I can have a hunch I’m right, but when I’m right with facts and proof, it’s a pretty good feeling, as it doesn’t happen as often as it used to. Probably because I no longer spend much time taking math tests. Continue reading →
It was Halloween and I was nineteen and Trent Reznor was singing this song behind a scrim showing images of rotting animal corpses and flowers dying and it was before the video came out and I’d never seen anything like this before in my life and I thought, “This man. This man is the only one who knows why it hurts to be me.”
Just got back from seeing Inside Man, or The Inside Man, or whatever it is. It doesn’t matter. I wanted to see it because Clive Owen is amazing, and if the entire movie was him doing that first monologue straight to the camera I would have been much more entertained.
Consequently, about half an hour into the movie I started thinking about writing this entry.
There’s a scene that’s in the trailer, so I’m not spoiling anything, where the bad guys make everybody in the bank strip to their underwear. This taps into something I’ve never talked about here, mostly because it hasn’t come up. I recently confessed my this confession to a co-worker, and while he did give me the, “Every day I learn something weirder about you” look, he didn’t suggest I keep this neurotic fun fact to myself, so I’ll blame all of this on him.
The scene confirmed my fear, and let me know that it was a perfectly normal, rational thought to have each morning.
When I get dressed, I always think, “Is this what I want to be seen in when the bad guys bust into the building and force us to strip down to our underwear?” Continue reading →
There’s a King Cake in the breakroom because one of the pretty girls who works here is from New Orleans. She sent a message warning people about the plastic baby inside the food, and suddenly I remembered the song we used to sing in high school theatre about King Cake: Continue reading →
I used to be very shy. A quiet girl who liked to read books and stay out of the way. I wrote a lot of stories to entertain myself, and I wrote them from inside a walk-in closet because I’m a dork. I avoided making new friends because I knew I’d end up moving, and I didn’t want to lose more friends. Continue reading →