I Don’t Need a Calendar

Dec7th 022

I know it’s May when I start thinking about getting a career counselor and fantasizing about being reborn as a bohemian richboi.

Bohemian Richboi: Mid-twenties/early thirties, smart guy, lives in a lovely apartment but has never paid rent. Two Masters deep. Parents: biological Mom & Dad and also The State.

In Spanish: Hijo de papá.

I don’t really want to be a bohemian richboi, of course. I like paying my own bills. I get membership, at least, in one of the biggest but most exclusive clubs on earth: people who pay and have little left over. I am willing to admit that I might only say this because I am brainwashed to believe that there is something to be proud of about having less. It is also possible that I just like having something to tell myself when a BRB annoys me. The truth is that I too want to live in libraries and on bar-stools. I too want to believe that knowing the name Jacques Derrida makes me better than.

“Whatever, at least the money I use to buy beer and say stupid things is mine.”

A man I love often said “No sabe hacer la ‘o’ con un canuto.” We used this idiom for a lot of things. She may be a doctor of Philosophy, but she doesn’t know how to save a file. He may have written 400 pages on Economic Theory, but he doesn’t know how to ask the waiter for the check. She may be this country’s premier Agricultural Scientist, but ya boo has never touched a shovel.

“The conversations of straight white men…” a friend of mine says. He never completes the sentence. We have our own ways of making people small, less about who’s read what and who’s been where than it is about OK, who here has ever wanted or really thought about what that might mean?

I went to Warsaw two weeks ago. A man I know thinks that people who live in cold places have better senses of humor. I stayed with a stranger who became a friend. On the midnight bus to Ostrobramska we laughed so hard that our ribs hurt and tears jumped from our eyes.

“What’s the best thing about being Polish?” I asked a factory worker on the Vistula River.

“I am proud of being Polish. We are poor but we have fought for our history” my new friend translated.

I may not be a BRG but I do have enough to dip into worlds that aren’t mine and drink wine there.

A thing called “wealth therapy” exists. It’s often geared towards those who have inherited their fortunes. Therapists teach trust fund babies how to overcome the guilt that being part of the 1% creates and how to accept their fortunes and reach their full potentials (note: the BRB and the trust fund baby are not the same but surely they have some things in common). I read an article about group therapy of this type at Central Park. The group must smell very good. Rich people always seem like they’ve just had a shower. There are tiny AC units under their armpits that puff out essential oils at all the right moments. I can’t be the only one who thinks so. One man in the article said that being rich felt like his “dirty little secret.” It is not possible for me to take this seriously.

He was born, had everything he could ever wish for, and grew up to be successful” is not the sort of story that anyone I know is interested in, but I certainly don’t feel bad for the main character.

Where does rich guilt fall on the hierarchy of shame?

It was May. It ended quickly.

Luv and labor,

Seo

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In case you ever wondered how your weirdass middle-school teacher started her days…

As someone who is perpetually behind the times, it’s no surprise that I just started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, now in its ninth season. As someone with a deep and unshakable love for theatrics and men who are prettier than I am, it’s also no surprise that I’m ADDICTED.

I’m convinced that I’ve seen six to nine Drag Queens on my morning commute. I’ve also begun the past three days lip-sycning to Diana Ross in my bedroom mirror (complete with choreography that will never see the light of day. Again, neighbors, I’m sorry but not sorry).

 

Happy Tuesday Queens,

Seo

I will never grow so old again

Listening to Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is exactly like living in the most painful, beautiful dream you’ve ever had. Very James Joyce. Very makes me want to dance down the metro aisles and also lay down in the middle of the road and cry and also jump into some sea, any sea, and run down an empty street with a lover or with a friend or alone, laughing until the end of time.

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Kildare, Ireland 2016

“Sweet Thing” means something different every year, but has been an especially prominent song in my life lately and often played on repeat (sorry not sorry, neighbor). It’s like being a child again. It’s like falling in love with life, with yourself, with someone new after two-million heavy nights. Like getting younger every year. Like looking at the same old world you’ve always lived in and seeing it for the first time again. Like not looking for answers, “being satisfied not to read in between the lines.” Like surrendering to a gorgeous madness. “Hey, it’s me, I’m dynamite and I don’t know why.”

From 1968 with love,

Seo

Mysteries of the Mind, Part 2

Last week I saw In The Same Boat, a documentary about how technology and job automation have led to monstrous wealth inequality and how one might confront the problem moving forward. It was followed by an open forum debate with Rudy Gnutti (the director), Yayo Herrero (premier eco-feminist), Jorge Moruno (Podemos representative and “lover of gnocchi”), and Iñigo Errejón (Podemos’ poster-baby and serial gesticulator). I was interested in the subject matter, but it would be dishonest of me to say that my facetious goal of dancing a chotis with Errejón didn’t have just a little bit to do with my decision to buy tickets. At the time of writing that goal remains unrealized, but I can tell you that in person Errejón looks younger than most of my middle-school students. I can also tell you that, after telling said students about the documentary, a few of them informed me that if I was a Podemista, I should leave class. Others warned me that my “pants were turning purple” and one incredulous girl asked “so, what, you think everyone should have jobs?” More on this later. Or never.

Getting ready for bed I thought mostly about how I should study economy and take a public speaking class. I also thought about the Amazon executive from the documentary, whose interview included a really amusing line in which he talked about how truly awful he really felt about getting on his private jet after seeing poverty in the streets! Finally, head on my pillow, eyes closed, my thoughts drifted not to neo-liberalism nor to Spain’s new political party, but to… Nino friggin’ Bravo, Spanish crooner and eyebrow idol.

Musical insomnia, again.

What was the song this time? “Un Beso y Una Flor.”

And the lines that wouldn’t leave my mind?

De día viviré pensando en tus sonrisas
De noche las estrellas me acompañarán

A beautiful, romantic goodbye song.

Why? And for what?

Y’all didn’t think I was about to analyze economics, did you?

Let’s Bring Letters Back

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The problem with me and amor is that I’m actually really romantic but when I talk about love I sound like a 62-year-old woman who’s been through six divorces (five of them from lyin’, cheatin’ good-for-nothin’ bastards and one from a gay man [things were different back then]. We still have brunch every now and then—him, eggs benedict, me, scones and organic deli meats).

Springtime in the city is a long series of micro-romances, smiley strangers, endless lunches and accidental sunburns.

I just fell in love with the man at the Aluche convenience store. I bought a juice; he offered me a plate of cookies.  I chose one with red jelly. It was violently mediocre.

I just fell in love with a Tarque look-alike at Café Amargo. We chose the same dishes from the menu del día. We were mostly alone. Me with a book. Him with a laptop. I retired all eye contact upon deciding that he was old enough to have three children and an ex-wife.

I just fell in love with a barista (per usual). I ordered an empanadilla and a coffee to-go. He said “enjoy your Sunday!”

I just fell in love with the Lidl cashier for the third time. He looks like he’s into wood-working. He knows I eat one kilo of mandarin oranges a week.

I just fell in love with four women who were all equally passionate about everything under the literary sun.

I just fell in love with a mischievous young professional on line 5. We both stifled laughter when an andaluza told an elderly man that she would kick his ass if he got any closer.

Lately, older women have been mentioning their collections of letters from lovers and husbands to me.  All casual like “we met while I was traveling but we kept writing each other and eventually we reunitedthey say.

“Y ahora que?” is what I say “All those beloveds who never quite came to be are sweaty and drunk and swiping through Tinder.”

“Vaya coñazo” is what I say soon after.

My great-grandmother of long-lost Latvian origins had a boyfriend after her husband passed away. A widow and a widower who met often at the firehouse dinners. She made steaks and he fixed things. His name, if I remember correctly, was Walter.

“Thank you for helping me overcome this wall of loneliness, Vera” is what he wrote.

All these thoughts of letters and when I got off the metro this afternoon I found a hand-written note on the ground. This is going to be so cute! I thought.

The note was, I assume, an exchange between two teenage boys.

“Should I go out with ———-?”
“Go out with her and if it’s good, good, and it’s not, no.”
“Thanks man, this is what friends are for!”
“You haven’t fucked in ages.”
“I have, but I don’t want to say it in front of everyone.”
“When she comes to class, you should say it in front of her.”
“Hey, when are we gonna smoke?”
“During Holy Week, bro!”
“Listen, I gotta finish this exercise, don’t fuck up my pen. I use it all the time.”

Well. There’s always the next note, right?

Luv and letters,

Seo