March 21, 2019
New York, New York
There was a big party at the movie theater a few blocks away, and my best friend B and I had been planning on going for weeks. When the movie theater was under construction a few years ago, I remember telling someone that I wouldn’t patronize it because it was bad for the neighborhood (I myself am obviously much worse for the neighborhood, I buy iced matcha with oat milk and everything). But then they opened, and it’s beautiful. There are indoor potted palms and cushy leather couches over red Turkish rugs, and they pick really, really good movies to show. Like, they show tons of movies that I pretend I’ve heard of, and movies I have heard of and can brag about, but then also movies that everybody knows, like movies with Seth Rogen, the rare man whose looks are unfairly underrated. They have a restaurant with wifi and crunchy french fries that burn your mouth in a BDSM way, and a sour tequila cocktail called The Iguana, which is great for me, a person who became a certified tequila girl after unfortunate whiskey experimentation in college.
So now I go to the movie theater all the time and sit in the restaurant to work. I do this embarrassing thing where I stick my ass in the air in order to bend down underneath a booth and plug in my computer. Everyone there has to do it, this dance of high-waisted wedgies and Apple products. It is a great equalizer, one that fits with the kindness of the theater overall. The buttery bathroom lighting is a miraculously flattering liar. They let anybody come watch the Oscars for free.
B came over before the party to borrow shoes and help me clean my apartment, as that whole week I was a sort of pathetic invalid. She just started cleaning without me asking, doing that thing where someone is so kind that you can’t even protest, because it would taint the kindness a little. She said she was impressed with my “well-curated” life, which is a lie because she is an actual art curator and my apartment is full of millennial pink and the centerpiece is a photo of an alpaca posing on a hotel bed, christened Al Paccacino. But she was so nice that she didn’t even comment on all the dust.
She brought me special teas, new towels, and herbal cigarettes like the kind the actors smoked on Mad Men, because my uterus had very recently undergone something of an explosion. I now have a host of reproductive issues. I wish I had received this diagnosis a few years ago, when I really could have milked it with the personal essay industrial complex. But alas it is now, and the only thing notable about my uncooperative parts is that I look at pregnant women meanly and I bled a really remarkable torrent of blood all week, an amount that genuinely shocked and impressed multiple medical professionals. And I had no more towels, so B had to bring me some.
We went to the party anyway, which had mini chocolate cakes for everyone. A couple had sex in one of the screening rooms, which I thought sounded cool and B said was “pathetic.” The party had a lot of locally famous people but also a number of real famous people, including a director who wears scarves like he lives in a perpetual 2008 and an actor who is incisively parodied on a sitcom where they say his toilet is shaped like a motorcycle. A friend who works at the theater served champagne from the projection booth. There were three people I knew who cried from stress, all for unrelated reasons. I had four champagnes and half of something resembling The Iguana, but I knocked the other half all over myself when lion dancers came in, wiggling in red and gold.
I went home kind of early, because I felt ugly even though I was wearing Marc Jacobs eyeshadow, which has a lot of pigment. And I had started bleeding again. I went home to change, realized I had run out of the stuff that comes in the pink boxes, left to get them, and bled all over the street.
Once, on a work trip in Israel, a guide told me about a Jungian snail theory. We all were snails with snail trails to follow home, and since I was a Jew and I was in Israel I was a snail who had found my way. Or something. It was a bit hard to follow. But then tonight I did make my own sanguine snail trail, ruining a pair of leggings described in the New Yorker as a garment that “‘sculpts’ the body, like Spanx.”
It’s just a burnt streamlet that goes west on Madison Street until you hit the bodega. There are other, much bigger stains–from the lobster market and rat…detritus and your average wads of gum. But if you were looking for it, you could see exactly how I got home.
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