My Humble Act Ends with a Tap Routine

Skankbaby

My new-ish neighbors are total assholes.  I hate to sound like a really unfeeling human being, but I don’t understand how the economy could be so bad that a young couple could move out of a comfortable first floor apartment next door, and a family of fifteen could move in.  These people are so goddamn skanky and loud.  There is almost always a crowd in the 4×4 strip of front yard they have, up to the wrought-iron fence by the sidewalk, and a grill, and a baby pool, and trash, and a fat man screaming for everyone to take off their shoes before they go in the fucking house.  Beyond the sidewalk is another strip of (public) grass, next to the street, where they have been depositing each turd lain by their three dogs in their enclosed lawn.  I know this because I have been noticing the stink on my way past on particularly hot days.  Finally, someone busted them for it, because I saw the landlady explaining to the fat patriarch that no, you don’t own that property by the street, and even if you did, you would be expected to pick up your dog’s shit and dispose of it.  And the fat man responded by playing totally dumb, “Oh, really?  Okay, yeah, because, I didn’t know that, okay, wow, uh huh.”

If I lived above or below these people I would be so pissed.  I just live Next Door and I don’t like it.

Am I just a cunt for expecting a reasonable level of quiet?  I must be old and crotchety because I can’t stand it when they leave the bathroom window vent open and I have to listen to the only words of “Single Ladies” that the neighbor girls know.  And they have this new punishment for the baby when it cries, which is to leave it sitting on the sidewalk in front of my building, where its “time out” spot has been designated, while they destroy the sidewalk in front of their building with gang signs and tributes to Michael Jackson in pastel sidewalk chalk.  So the little thing sits there in its filthy diaper, screaming in its frustration, and I’m at the point where I’d go out there and pick it up and play with it just to get some peace and quiet, as it sits directly in front of my open street level window.  Mind you, that would be a sticky endeavor, because the skankbaby looks like it has been rolled in melted candy and dirt, in that order, and even has dirt between its little baby fat rolls and under its tiny fingernails.  I would go over and ask if I could wash their baby for them, but then I’m sure they’d get uncomfortable as their shortcomings as parents were pointed out by a gringa, then come over and collect their baby, cooing and smiling, then in a couple of weeks they’d just start leaving it in front of the other neighbor’s house.

Do the Basil

I really, really don’t like it when people say they’re going to “do” food items, or when people use the proper names of places as verbs.

You know, as in, “Ummmm….um um um um ummmm…I think we wanna doooo the tomato?  And basil?  Yeah, let’s do the tomato and basil, and I’m gonna do the blackened salmon.”

“I’m gonna do the turkey burger.”

“We’re going to do the pinot.”

People usually say shit like this WAY LOUDER than they need to, and while they’re saying it, they’re pointing to a menu as if the waiter is going to need to read it, like even though their voice is LOUD, the menu must be utilized to illustrate exactly what they want.  Sometimes, and this is the worst, they look across the table and nod, big-eyed, at whomever they happen to be eating with, like, “Do we agree that we’re going to do green peppers on the pizza?  Did I get that right??”

Okay, but waaaay worse than this is reading on someone’s Facebook or hearing someone designate where they’re going to be by turning that place into a verb.  Such as:

“I’m probably going to Denver it in the fall.”

“I’ll get in touch with you when we Chicago it.”

“We Seattled it in March…why didn’t you come?!”

This is quite possibly one of the most douchebaggy things a person can do.

Speaking of Facebook, however, it’s also really awful and annoying when people refer to it in public, in loud, open conversations, as “FB.”  Now, I’m guilty of abbreviating it as such when I’m writing an email, but I swear to Christ that in my head I’m thinking the whole word.  A tub of shit walked past me yesterday at the Art Institute saying, “Well then she put that thing on my F.B.”  Just like that!  EFF BEE.  I emitted another, now famous, audible “yeuuugh.”

Once I was at a movie with Agent Ventura and, just after something funny happened in the movie, a girl in the midst of seven or eight friends just behind us said, “Oh my God I’m gonna post that on someone’s wall when we get home.”  Like it’s not enough to laugh at it and enjoy it AS IT IS.  We need to immediately plan to post it on “someone’s” wall.  It doesn’t matter who.  Just someone.  Just get it done.

(As I recall, we thought that was really annoying, and we had plastic theater cups that were 1/4 Sprite and 3/4 Smirnoff.  Then we went to the bar next door and had some beer and she told me she was going to New York, and we got all emotional and cried and stuff, then I went home and puked in the sink, then I went to work the next day feeling like someone had filled my head with nails.  But I STILL thought the Facebook thing was annoying.)

Pancake Boots

I have now been job searchin’ for three months.  I have not gotten so much as a phone call.  I am seriously confused about this, as I have experience in things, and am a smart girl, and at this point I am even applying to places like that one place, which will not be named, which sells those famous pancakey looking boots with sheep wool on the inside.  YEAH.  I applied THERE.

It’s nice, though, that libraries which have not even offered you an interview send you a nice rejection letter to let you know they went with another candidate.  Duh, assholes.  But thanks for making me feel like I was, briefly, a candidate.

I don’t know, I guess I’m like, an artist, or whatever…

What bothers me sometimes is that I talk to these guys who have like a thing that they do…you know, like they’re drummers or photographers or painters or something.  This is the problem with Chicago, it’s that every dude you meet is so far “into” something that he’s got his head twisted backwards and crammed up his ass.  His art is the most important thing in his life.  I mean, it’s typical for guys to basically be more focused on themselves and their stuff than they are on anything else, and for the most part, I think that’s the way it should be.  I LIKE people who have a passion and are in pursuit of it.  You’d be boring if you didn’t.  But what annoys me are boys who are so focused on climbing, both socially and artistically, that they just become really phony and shallow.  It’s really too bad.  I don’t believe you can be true to any sort of artistic vision and still be into all that “networking” shit.

Uh, anyway, what I meant to say is that I always get myself into these “talking to” positions with boys who do stuff, and I never seem to like it, and I always have to pretend that I do.  Don’t get me wrong, a lot of what these guys do is good, but it’s never exactly anything I find any interest in beyond appreciating what it is for that moment.  Most of them can do their craft pretty well, they’ve got the technique, but son of a bitch, since when are technique and talent the same fucking thing?

So I smile and nod and say “Oh you’re really very good at it!” which is true, usually.  But it always starts to wear on me, like, Ugh, if I end up dating this guy I am going to have to pretend for a million years to be really moved by whatever he does.  And I can never be honest.  It’s hard to ignore the lack of respect you have for someone’s thing.

I was once accused of having a “humble act.”

I was accused of this by a boy who I was face down, ass up in loooove with*.  He was reminding me of something I’d written that he’d read, he was listing its merits and forgiving the things that were wrong with it, just going on and on about how greeeeaaaat it was.  At the time, he had his hand on my upper thigh, and I don’t know about you but I don’t trust anything that comes out of someone’s mouth when their hand is that close to my lady bits.  So I said he should stop it, that I didn’t want to talk about it.

He removed his hand from Lady Bit Zone, grabbed his beer, and as he brought it to his lips he looked away and said, “Oh, fine, go on with your little humble act then.”

This bothered me for kind of a long time, because I was in LOVE with him, so his simple opinions had the ability to tie me to a tree by my ankles and gut me and leave me draining blood and swinging in the wind.  It bothers me sometimes to this day, a little bit, because I am often scared of being as fake as I see others being.  But not so much anymore, because I’ve seen a true humble act now, officially.  It has a lot to do with cultivating attention, which is what the most self-serving of “artists” needs in order to keep creating, which is why some people feel the need to be so goddamn loudmouthed and open and public about what they’re doing while they’re doing it.  What keeps them going isn’t the drive to do what they claim to have the drive to do, it’s the attention they get for it along the way.  It’s sickening to have someone’s half-assed crap shoved in your face before they’ve given it a second thought, or to be asked to follow the “development” of someone’s art project every step of the way, while assholes with no accomplishments except stupid tattoos and checkered scarf collections constanly fellate their comments section with stuff like “Dude this is looking so rad.”  And they, of course, respond politely, humbly, “Aw, thanks guys!”

THAT is sick.

When did people forget about the benefits of solitude? If you’d shut the fuck up about yourself I might be inclined to look at what you’ve done.

*This same boy sometimes wore a t-shirt that said “I’M WORKING ON MY NOVEL.”  What’s funny about that is that HE WAS.

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