Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Oh, Yeah.
And this

(Thanks to Peter for this one.)

These are way bigger than my elbow.
If I hugged a Hasid in this I would go to jail, huh?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Almost Nostalgia?

I'm in the car with Rachel.
We are driving to a show downtown.
We reminisced about the ear infection she had not too long ago.
She said that the doctor had blamed it on Q-tips.
She said she was so sick of the medical profession coming down so hard on Q-Tips all the time.

I agreed. I wish they would give it a rest. I have never had anything but success. Q-Tips rock. I will confess a more than minor Q-Tip addiction.

She said that they told her that you shouldn't put anything in your ear that is smaller than an elbow. She, much like me, had no idea when any such thing would ever be necessary. An elbow that is. I mean, really, who's doing that?

We were driving to a Chiptune show. A friend of ours, Bit Shifter was performing. He makes music using three Gameboys.

I have no idea how it happened, or why, but I really like the music. I have been to one other show and totally fell in love with the idea and the way it makes you want to move your head. Post Punk meets Tetris. Pretty cool.

Before the concert we grabbed dinner at a diner. The place made me feel like I was somewhere else. Maybe it was the pictures of Greece on the wall, but I think it was Something Else. Something less about ethnicity and more about time. We had some food and the owner/waiter/counter guy wanted us to guess the salad dressings he had and was pretty pissed that I didn't already know my cheese options. I liked him just the same.

At the show, which was all ages, which made me feel, at times that I was 74, Rachel bought us both earplugs. We were introduced to some of the other performers. I didn't drink and felt a little like the kids who were there with their moms. And I was thinking, how many of these kids ever had a Gameboy? I mean if they're 16 would they? Wasn't there already something cooler when they were "of the age?"

When I was an undergrad, 80's night was all the rage and we would go and dance at different clubs in Boston. The 80's thing seemed to be nostalgia for a time we were mostly too young to have fully enjoyed and understood.

Is my childhood already someone's Almost Nostalgia? I looked around the room. I spotted Rachel. She was dancing.

And then I realized something.

Earplugs are smaller than my elbow.

All I Can Say Is That I'm Sorry

Ok guys. I gotta confess. I rode the subway today. And not just today, I've been doing it. (Cringe.) I have been. I know, I know, I just went through this huge blaze of glory break up with it and everything, but you know how people can be with things like that. You don't always know if it's right. If it's you. If you just weren't communicating well enough. My friend Sam Fels said it was my fault. He's right a lot.

Well, on it today and sitting next to me was a woman reading The New Yorker.
The cartoon I was leering at over her shoulder had two therapists and a patient.
One of the shrinks was saying, via a bubble, "face your demons," the other one was saying "take your pills." I think the caption was Good Shrink/Bad Shrink.

Well, I thought it was apropos to my thoughts. My thoughts being, of course, that my demons wished they had some pills. Preferably pain killers.

I think about this still. I know it's borderline passe to think about "meds" these days and that Prozac was so 1990's, but as someone who has/had bouts with depression and have many friends who do/did, I think about it.

I think about what it means to work through your layers.
I think a lot about how we convince ourselves through the help of others and self help books and such that we can quietly get ourselves together. Self improve. Be a mellower us. Learn how to quiet our anger and not let it rule us and that there is a better us out there.

I have mixed feelings on all of this. As a woman on a spiritual quest. As a woman with a great deal of emotional activity.(That sounds nice doesn't it?)As a woman who, someone once said, must do a great dish smashing act. Heh. Well, I did throw a bagel once. He ducked.

Do you ever get better?

Even after you look at, face, name, color code, correlate, collapse, and combust your demons(Oh, I know mine. We've met before. Hello Sam. Hello George.). Then what?

What is the best that happens to us when we look at these demons?

I like telling my demons they look like they're putting on weight and that their old records were better than their new stuff.

So, I see you guys. You look lousy in track suits but you keep up with me very well. Where do we go from here?I mean I got these guys, what do I do, kill 'em?
Break up with them? We see how well that went with the Subway.

And anyway, if it weren't for my demons where would I come up with all the things I have to be sorry I say out loud?

No, but it's true. You gotta look 'em square in the eye. Then you can Tango. My demons look beautiful with roses between their teeth.


I look at my grandmother, a woman of what one might call a "Self Help-less" generation, and my grandmother would say there's nothing wrong with anybody. If you want to be happy you make yourself happy for as long as you are here on the planet. I have a strong feeling my grandmother read very little by the German Philosophers. And she takes a lot of vicodin. She is also not dealing well with the idea of her own death. Let's just say she didn't do a lot of "acknowledging impermanence" through out her the course of her youth. She doesn't think she has any demons.

What am I saying? Jesus, What the HELL am I saying?

I think what I'm saying is: that we're a bunch of beautiful children born to die who have to deal with that everyday. Us, with our pain and fear and ecstasy. And that the point of being here, as far as I can tell, today anyway, is to ease all the ugly with some love for ourselves, the people around us, and even those demons in their track suits. You and your demons are awesome.

Ok-ay. I will now take a break from reading books about Buddhism.

See, a riot, a total riot.

Monday, January 29, 2007

And One More Thing

I got one...

A:Knock. Knock.

B:Who's there?


B:Oh, really, now stop it. Ha. Ha. Who is it really?

A:No, no really. It's me WINTER, open up, let me in they're after me!

B:No. Now, don't be silly, do go away. We don't have that here anymore. We wouldn't know what to do with you, anyway. Find someplace else. We're all filled up here.

A:But, wait! Remember snow?

B:Snow who?

A: Um...

B: Snow who?

A: Uh..

B: How are you going to end this joke if you don't know the answer?

A: Well..

B: Make me laugh and I'll let you in.

A: Ok...

B: So?

A: Um,orange... you glad I... didn't say Banana?

B: That's not funny.

A: Does that mean you won't sleep with me?

B: No. I won't sleep with you because you aren't good looking enough.

A: Whew!

See, I'm a riot.

Now, who's more desirable, me or Paris Hilton?

now that's funny.

Like for example, Hillary Rodham Clinton is Hilarious

This makes her more to attractive me.

(Yes. It's from the Post.)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Community Chest


I was walking along side a companion of mine in the East Village. It was chilly. I was starving and about to start work. It was just four.

On Second Avenue, at the corner of 4th street, we were just about to walk up on a Bum. He was Spare Changing. People used to call this money making ploy "Spangin'" in Boston, especially when it was punk kids who should have had jobs who were doing it. I really never liked the expression, it made it all sound too cute. Diminutive.

But anyway, there was this Bum and he had a Red Coffee Cup. It was a little tattered. The kind with the words in different languages written all over it. All the names for coffee? Words for hello? I forget.

Just as the Bum was being denied by someone, again, another guy walks up to him. This guy, maybe in his forties, maybe having hit the sauce a little early on a gray Saturday afternoon, had a wine glass in his hand. He responds to the Bum's plea for change by pointing the long stemmed glass back at him. Bum with some pennies in a cup, funny guy with a schmaltzy wine glass. How droll. It all happened very smoothly. What I would call Calculated Spontaneity on Doing Well In His Forties' part.

So clever, his little moment, so Trading Places, so ironic.

Thank you, Man Doing Well In His Forties for taking the opportunity to put this bum, with his cup that says hello who probably just wanted a drink as well, in his place. I rested easy that evening knowing that we are all capable of understanding each other so well. Worst part, Guy In His Forties was with a woman who he was undoubtedly trying to impress. And since, I have recently learned, that it is unimportant for a woman to be clever in order to attract a man, I am glad he was so invested in what society would deem his necessary mating call.

I forgot, until it was recently reintroduced to me, that we still live in a time where all a woman ultimately needs is looks to be desirable, and that men, however, are expected to have the sense of humor and success.(This is what 2007 looks like.) I don't remember if the woman was pretty or not. She must have been though. That's clearly what made her worth it.

My friend said the whole thing looked like a New Yorker Cartoon.

I said, yeah, from the 19fucking20's. Or that it was something the Monopoly guy, Mr. Pennybags would do.

My friend said that Mr. Pennybags wouldn't do that. He knew what it was like to be down on his luck.

Hey, oh yeah, Where's Mr. Pennybag's woman? Who's he fucking? How come he can't hang on to someone? Not funny enough, I guess.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of

Was it just me, or was President Bush turning the State of Union into an infomercial for how great America is when he started introducing all those people last night?

Here's a big tall African guy. He plays Basketball. Who has him? We do!
Here's a rich woman with weird baby products. She's blond. What is she? An American!
Here's the guy who saved the kid on the subway. We got one of him here, too.
Red Rover, Red Rover.
Buy! Buy!

I really wish the democrats had had the balls to start chanting something like, "Who's- our- lame- duck?" like the fans used to do to Pedro in Yankee Stadium.

Just a side note: What kind of people become meter maids? I really hope they get paid well for the kind of horrifying work they do. How much do you pay someone to not have a heart? And to ruin someones morning? My plan, next time I get a ticket, is to just hand them the keys to my car and tell them it's their problem now.

Bush mentioned Darfur once. Never mentioned the death of Saddam as far as I heard.The state the union is in, Mr. President, is thinking about the election of 2008. The State of the Union, I would also like to add, followed American Idol. How many people do you think stayed on?

Do you think any part of the President is looking forward to handing off the keys?

Your problem now.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Fuck Iraq.
Fuck Israel/Palestine.

We need to be talking and thinking about

Much, much more.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Buddha, go back to bed, it's just a rash.

I have decided Fuck Sex in the City, I am gonna tell it like it really is here in New York. I have decided I am going to write a script that gives the real low down on living and dating in New York City. This New York. Our New York. The twenty-something-thirty-something,24,000-35,000,scrape-it-together,I live in Brooklyn NOT Manhattan existence.

I want a show that has recovering Drug Addicts, Depressives, Hypochondriacs,Artists,People who work in Bagel Stores,Bartenders,Bad Bands, Drifters,Grifters and the people insane enough to hang out with them.

My show will not have one pretty dress or lunch with the ladies.
There will, however, be Hangovers, People Crying Uncontrollably, Internet Hijinks(Sarah, I will employee you as a research coach),People Stalked at the Guggenheim, Frantic Paranoid Phone Calls at 3 am about Venereal Diseases,and Married Men Going Home Drunk with Hickeys.

There will be arguments about Buddhism and frequent discussions about the nature of existence. Everyone will be over educated and unable to pay back their student loans. Everyone will fear marriage and procreation. No one will wear make-up, Some asshole will occasionally quote Howl.

And, no one on the show will write for Vogue, because they are lucky enough to be of the generation that hates fashion, sweats too much, and doesn't need an article to help them to please their lovers.

Since I'm writing it, think Woody Allen meets Twin Peaks, has sex with My So Called Life learns to play an Ani Difranco song on the guitar, and marries Bob Dylan. Think lots of akward pauses, cut throat humor, and a push for a happy ending.

I'm thinking HBO.

I just need a title.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hasidism and You

I reached for my notebook and I accidentally hit a Hasid standing in front of me in line. I am not going to lie, I took some mischievous pleasure in it. I looked at him, but he didn't turn around. I have a bit of a fascination with Hasidism.

One of the things I love to hate is that the laws they follow forbid them to touch women they are not married to. Like, for example, your Landlord won't shake your hand.

So, I had this idea a while back and I was very excited to implement it as a performance art piece until it dawned on me the high likelihood of being sued for a hate crime: I wanted to walk the streets of New York City hugging Hasidic Men.

My plan was to dive bomb them from the side. Take a running leap and GET 'EM!

Hug and Runs.

I wanted to get it all on tape. I was all set. Inspired. I could feel Yoko Ono smiling down on me from high atop the Dakota. But then, I had all this conversation with people about what may and may not be covered under "harassment" and "freedom of religion" and blah blah blah. So, I never did it.

But, I still have fantasies. I thought it would be an interesting debate carried out through art. Feminism versus Freedom of Religion. Of course, there are people who would say that Hasidic beliefs have nothing to to with Misogyny, women being unclean, or anything like that. Just that women are such intense temptations that men aren't able to control themselves. Man, I feel terrible about that. Sorry guys.

Well, I accidentally touched one. So there.

There was a gaggle of them in front of me in the passport line. I watched them for a while as I tried to tune out the woman screaming at one of the postal workers in Spanish and the Italian guy banging his fist in front of the man who wouldn't give him his mail. The TV that normally plays Oprah whenever I am there was nothing but snow. To make up for what we don't have outdoors, no doubt.

Then it hit me. All the Hasids were getting passports to go to Israel. And then it hit me even harder. I'm going to Israel, that's why I was there. We are all going to Israel. Me and the Hasids suffering it out in the Williamsburg Post Office for the sake of visiting our Homeland.

You know why the State of Israel is giving my young friends and me free trips to Israel, don't you?

So we will stay and make babies.

They want I should claim Israel as my home, get married, and pop out more Jews.

Well, to them I say thank you for the free trip, but me and my ovaries have other plans. A Hasidic man came up to me and asked if he could cut ahead of me in line just so he could ask a question. I have never wanted to hug anyone more in my life.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Kind of Town

Ah, New York.

Land of loud trucks, chance, food I can be certain is vegetarian, and all of the people that I love.

I was coming back from the airport on Monday night and the Empire State Building wasn't lit up. I didn't recognize her without a hat.

I am happy to be back in a place where everybody bumps up against each other. And means it.

I liked the Texans.
I like you assholes a lot more.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How Do You Say Sore Thumb in Spanish? A Conclusion

There was a Flash Flood advisory from 8:30 am 'til 9:30 am on Saturday, the day of our performance. The rain didn't stop. The Farm at Shady Lane Flooded. A cold front came gliding in. It said 41 and felt like 36. Things were going to start freezing that night. After much debate, we had to cancel the performance. Postpone was the word floating around. Postpone.

Well, there was very little to do after that, besides drink.
I was in shock for a few hours. We walked around. We sang songs. We saw a movie. Did I mention we drank?

We decided that it was in all of our best interest to have a night on the town,
Specifically in a fabulous little town called Gruene.

Gruene Hall was littered with locals. For Real Texans. Listening to Country, Listening to the Big Blue Hearts.

I, of course, just after arrival, made acquaintance with what were most likely the only people from the Netherlands in the state of Texas.
They lied to me about being Meteorologists.
We laughed about the weather.
Then I decked them.
No, I didn't.

We blamed the Front. Damn you Front.
It was a little anti-climactic, that conversation, I wish they had blamed The Wrath of God. Or Karma.

Somewhere in there, while the band played, a Woman with a Belly Button piercing and a Cowboy Hat hopped a table and started smacking her ass, stripper style. The local Sheriff gently escorted her down. There was some speculation as to whether she was a professional or not.

As for me, (how do you say Sore Thumb in Spanish?)I was shaking my tail feather for a
while, alone, as two of my companions swooned over the band. I am repelled and repulsed by men with Musical Instruments, so I stuck to the Foreigners asking me if I had any opinions as to why everyone here looked so funny. And no you can't take a picture of me.

After a while, after looking at people holding beer bottles in koozies they brought with them, I sat down to scrawl out a few notes on paper.

An entire family took notice of me, in my Fluffy White New York Half Hat, writing furiously on a napkin, and began to tap each other on the shoulder and look at me.

I ignored it at first, until they started pointing, and then I felt I should tell someone in my party, just in case we were in for an ambush.

Not too long after that the woman, who it was pointed out to me was wearing a Blue Track Suit and had no right to make fun of anyone, went off to dance with her Husband. Leaving her CellPhone on the Table.

Tall Nancy and I left the table to go to the Bathroom. Inside in line, Tall Nancy notified me that my friend with the Track Suit was there with us. I was ready. When Track Suit came out of her stall she made a comment about tall people and said that present company was excluded. Looking at Nancy. I was starting to feel like this wasn't just about me...

Then I looked at her and told her that I thought she left her CellPhone on the table.
I have a history with this, I know what I am doing.

She said thank you and then, "What language were you writing in?"

"Oh. English I just have really bad handwriting."

"Humpf, we thought you were from a foreign country."

"I see, Is it the hat?"

"Huh?!? Maybe."

She stumbled out very soon after. Probably to tell her family that I was, seemingly, an American.

Nancy and I exchanged a glance.

Just then, the Stripper walked in. I proceeded to ask her if she thought I looked like I was from a foreign country.

She said yes, like I was from Alaska.

I told her that I was sorry the sheriff put the kibosh on her foot work.

She said she liked me.

When Nancy and I exited the bathroom we decided we wanted someone to teach us to Two Step. I had passed words earlier with two fence salesmen from the Neighborhood, Mike and Eric. They directed me to a guy named Garth.

Garth was a registered nurse who paraded me around the dance floor as I watched my feet and the rest of the dance hall smile with what I wish to remember as affection for the "foreigner" as she learned the societal mores of their Land.

When Garth and I were done, everyone stood around and talked. They asked me if life really was better in New York.

I think my heartbroke. I tried, in what way I could, to explain New York.

They asked if you had to walk down a flight of stairs to get to all the cafes. They asked about the elevators. They wanted to know, most desperately, where the Lone Man Playing the Saxophone in the Window lived.

I told him my neighbor is an Argentinian Architect with a lot of girlfriends and that I really didn't know.

They couldn't understand how I had no control over the heat in the winter.
When I tried to explain the art of opening the windows to survive, I realized we had reached an impasse.

We are separated in so many ways. It's not just Mexicans who live across a border.

When I finally went back to the table. The guys from the Netherlands were still there. They said something about the Freezing Rain. I told them they weren't real Meteorologists and to leave me alone. They asked me which way was Mexico.

At the table,I picked up my pen again. The woman in the Blue Track Suit was still dancing with her husband. I put my CellPhone down next to hers. I looked around the bar.

I put my pen back down and went to join everyone back on the dance floor.

I heard outside, that it was still raining.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rain, Rain Go Away

It is 8:30 in Texas.
It is pouring.
We have an outdoor performance at 3pm.
We have a few hours for you to cross your fingers, and do an Anti-Rain dance for the state of Texas. At least for Austin.

I knew I should have brought my rain boots...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tecates and tails

I'm not going to lie. I got drunk and had a entire conversation, last night, that I do not remember. I have been assured, however, that it was probably interesting.

Somewhere, in the mid-afternoon, we found a lizard in a galvanized tub. There were also spiders. Because we wanted to put people in the tub for the purpose of a climactic scene involving ducks wearing Floaties and Zorro masks, those who were not afraid of potentially poisonous spiders went at the task. Not the New Yorkers.

When the Lizard was discovered I gently went at poking it, trying to corral it through the draining hole in the bucket.

My tactic was not working, so one of the other girls, the Texan, went in to grab him.

Severing his tail.

In that moment, there was General Horror. Laughter. Pain. Trauma. And One Wiggling Disembodied Tail.

This was unlike anything I had ever seen. It went on wiggling for 5 minutes more, stranded in the bucket. The Lizard was set on his way, on the other side of the lawn.
Maimed. I was very happy when someone reminded me that this was part of the deal with lizards, and now, he gets a new one.

Only one of the Spiders made it out alive. Why? Because we are doing a theater piece on Immigration.

We had dinner with the owners of the farm not too long after. Two Tecates and a bottle of wine later, babbling incoherently, I wasn't sure who I was offending anymore, or who was offending me.

I just didn't want to think about that Lizard and the fact that he was just living his life, when we took his tail.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Shady Lane

At the farm on Shady Lane there is a cat who falls over because of its bad equilibrium. Her name is Tiny. There are three goats, Magpie, Sophie, and Icey, all of whom were purchased for the purpose of eating the Poison Ivy. In case you were wondering, their tongues do not get itchy. I asked. There is a naked necked chicken named Penelope, as well. I have seen her eggs.

Outside the front door of the farm stands a headless Buddha. As if someone were saying beware.

There is a Buda, Texas. A few miles from New Braunfels.

We drew Milagros the first day we got here, I pulled a Wild Boar. Milagros are little charms, magical in nature. Annie Levy arrived to complete our HWY Rachel crew, and drew an arm.

Our piece is coming along. Yesterday, We played INS and immigrants.

I have a Masters Degree. No really, I swear.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

So a Mexican duck and a Texan duck walk into a bar...

On Main Street, in Eagle Pass, at the Texan border, my bartending/people skills came in more than handy. Except when Manuel tried to kiss Ashleigh. Then, there was little I could do.

After our trip to Del Rio, where we spent very little time, we decided to spend the rest of our daylight hours in Mexico. Ciudad Acuna. We had a lot of questions and were curious how it was living, guarded, on the other side, where the wall was projected to be built.

There was some doubt about our car and its safety (and I didn't want to sit in traffic on the way back in. Well, we know my priorities. I'm like the father. Sometimes, I'm the grumpy father).

We took a cab in and decided to walk back.

Once inside, for those of you who haven't been there, the difference is immediately noticeable, but extremely familiar. I have had similar experiences in Tijuana and Juarez. The border towns are Someplace Else and Someplace the Same.

We started talking to people in the the trinket stores and casinos about their opinions on the wall, on illegal crossing, on George Bush.

One guy laughed about how easy it is to get across and that he goes all the time. He may have just been trying to sleep with Lindsay, but somehow I believed it.

Another woman, with dual citizenship, told us a good joke, they will build an 11 foot wall, but there will be a booth right in front of it with 12 foot ladders for rent. She said the People of Mexico will find a way. She also told us that she felt that people who were Other Than Mexican were a true threat. She watches American News and knows those people are relentless and "with brown skin, like ours, they will come here and learn our language and will infiltrate the [USA]." I asked her whether she really thought that was true and she looked at me and told me, once again, that those people were relentless.

I bought a skull and a wicker bird. She said she has high hopes for Calderon and couldn't remember the name of the President who many had blamed for the NAFTA decision.

We met other people who told tales of their friends' run-ins with the Minute Men. One guy said a Minute Man put a gun in his pal's mouth and told him to get out right now or he would kill him and bury him in his ranch and no one would ever know.

The kid never tried to come back to the states. So, at least we know the scare tactics are working.

It was Three King's Day. I missed Ukrainian Christmas in New York this year. But, while in Ciudad Acuna, I had a few pieces of sweet bread. I didn't find anything baked in it.

Before crossing back, we took a walk to a square in the middle of the city. There was a large cardboard cutout Manger scene and shoe shiners and park benches and men selling balloons. All of a sudden, and with out warning, Joesph came crashing down. He fell face down and took two sheep with him. Just like in New York, no one turned around.

The Three Kings were doing all right, so no one seemed to mind.

We walked into a church and sat for a while. People were readying for an Evening Mass. It was a quarter of five. A dark cloud fell over me. I knew we had to cross before it got dark. We were pushing on to Eagle Pass and had to leave. I felt like we hadn't gotten everything we could.

We paid 30 cents USD to take the Pedestrian Bridge. And we started hoofing it. On a paved bridge regulated by two governments, across the Rio Grande. It was chilly. I was surprised, and as happy as hell that I brought a winter jacket. The sky was that clouded raw gray that children draw when they want the day to be sad. There were only a few people on the bridge, coming out of the country with us, and we, were the only Gringas. In fact, we were the only Gringas I saw all day. The Mexican population that can get of out Mexico is rich. Unless, they are lucky, they are rich.

I was with Tall Nancy walking across the border bridge, hoping my research was right and current, and that no Passports would be necessary when we eventually reached the border guard. We looked down at the Rio Grande and at the ducks. We said something cliched about ducks not knowing the difference. Who is a Mexican duck? Who is a Texan duck? Ask their mothers.

The border guard on the American side looked at our IDs. I declared one wicker bird and one skull and we started the trek back to where we parked the car.

It was a long walk. Longer than we had expected. And the whole time I just kept thinking about what it would be like if our walk wasn't 2 miles with a car at the end of it, but one hundred and fifty with no water or money and no one to cook us dinner when we finally got home.

It is funny and unfair and inappropriate, but I thought about my mother. I thought about my family and their whole deal. And leaving and driving and dodging. And not having anything real, for a really long time. But, there is a big long Terra- Firmatic difference. We couldn't get thrown out of anywhere. My family was stuck in America. We had no place else to go.

We finished the walk. Kicked at stones, got into a car named Ed, and headed off to find another border town. And a beer. We didn't drink in Mexico. Are we still worried about the water down there?

In the car my mood lifted slightly. I feared the dark would keep us from throwing ourselves into the next town. Eagle Pass is 95 percent Hispanic and speaks Spanish unless people like me are around. Driving towards it fixed all that. Usually does.

En route, we passed many border patrol vehicles. One sped up to see our licence plate.

"How do you know they were doing that?"

"Because a man leaned out the window and pointed a flashlight at us."


We passed a few more. I recommended to the group that if we really wanted to do some research, it was time for someone to get out of the car and start running. Not me, though, we all know my policy on running. I'm sure we might have met a Border Patrol agent or two had anyone followed my advice.

We hit Eagle Pass and full blown night. Part of the town was what you might expect out of a suburb, Texaco and Long John Silvers, but the downtown was a different ball game completely. Just next to Mexico, there were little shops. Boutiques. It was about 7 pm, the stores were closed, but the line of cars to get into and out of Mexico was heavy, we saw as much when we peered down the street.

But never mind the politics, right then, Cervesa was on every one's mind. My permanent cohort, Ashleigh and I were sent on a reconnaissance mission to see if the bar we spotted, The Sun Set Inn, was suitable, if they had food, if there were people to talk to.

Oh. There were people to talk to. 50 of them. All men. Mostly in cowboy hats. One guy had a tattoo of a fish on his forehead. From temple to temple. We were, shall we say, noticed. As we made our way, in the wrong direction, to the bathroom, the entire bar went into upheaval: exploded, called, yelled, hooted, made every conceivable sound you could think of to help us reroute to Las Damas.

We said gracias. And locked ourselves in.
Having peed, we opted for less attention and set off for greener pastures and a little less testosterone.

We grabbed some food at a local Tex-Mex joint, where the servers admitted to hating gay people and President Bush because one of them had to pay child support. American born, they seemed to be very vocal about their scorn for what they called, "wet backs" and asked us all if we were married.

I think one of us said, "to each other?"
I was the first to say no. Realizing what I had done, I quickly added that we all had boyfriends, even the one with the girlfriend, I figured the details weren't important. He seemed satisfied. He then proceeded to make fun of my hair. My bed head look, so fashionable in New York, equals "you were just sleeping?" in Eagle Pass.

We bid them thank you at the end. The meal, for all of us, including coffee, sodas, Extra Avocado, and four entrees was twenty dollars. Before we left, I asked the guy with the kid where we could drink that wasn't the Sun Set Inn. He directed me to Richie's.

We were soon to learn that Richie's was a cop bar. PD, sheriffs, Border Patrol. This is where they went after work. This is where their community went to drink.

The men and municipal employees of Eagle Pass believe in buying ladies their drinks and in the midst of my investigative reporting, in order to keep up with Carlos the Truckdriver, I was drinking Muchas Coronas (It was the best option, following Bud and Bud Light.)

The Police Officer I was introduced to by my new pal Carlos, was young. He was young, cute, and cocky. When I asked him about the wall and the border, he expressed his disdain for the illegals and explained that he may be Hispanic by heritage but his race, was white. He believed in the wall. He believed in America. Carlos the Truck Driver, who was to share his woman problems with me later in the evening, informed me that the cop was full of shit and that he, meaning the cop, was more Mexican than Carlos. Carlos revealed that the cop eats tamales. I interpreted that as an insult. Carlos also told me a joke about La Chingada, the woman who gave birth to the first "Mexican". Once he got his girlfriend Patti to interpret, I was laughing pretty heartily. In order to get the joke, you would have to know she was a translator to Cortes and that she was seen by the people as mistrustful. It was based on that old the- translator -isn't- saying- back- to- Cortes- what's- really- being- said ruse. You know, like, very Marx Brothers.

Somewhere in there, Carlos asked me to be kind to Mexico and understand that they come to work. I shook his hand and said, brother, I know. American born, like most in Eagle Pass, he was on his own side like everyone else, but to a certain degree he felt for the plight of the Mexican worker. He admitted to and was ashamed of his Machismo and went off to look for his woman, now with another man.

Someone recognized us from the previous bar and came up to ask if he could leave with us. Ashleigh deferred to me. She was dealing with Manuel. Manuel gave her a cough drop before going in for a kiss, explaining, that it would help.

I bade our good-byes to all and thanks for the hospitality and we were heading north. With me laughing about the joke from Carlos and bad beer on my breath.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Cortes and Montezuma driving to Del Rio

We flipped a coin at 3 am. We are driving to Del Rio, to see what we can see.

Has anyone ever checked out the story about Daniel Barthelme and Dan Rather? I recommend it. Check out Cortes and Montezuma. It's one of his pieces available on line. It's a Dylan Song I swear.

And I think we have on our hands a mystery.

Full report on the border when we get back. Pray they don't ask ME for my papers.

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys

Friday, January 5, 2007

La Chingada

It is interesting how liberal folks can be very mixed on this subject. This subject of immigrating. How land is separated. Who gets what, who gets to be where. It is also interesting how mixed conservative folks can be on this. It is an unfolding onion. And it has more to do with oranges than any of us might know.

We wouldn't have the economy we do if it weren't for those we are pretending we do not want. Even in High School, we never had these jobs. I never picked a strawberry.

One of the most interesting theories I have heard is to open the borders completely. This way we would have a nation like the EU. Where everybody is everybody. Yeah, how come it matters so much here? I'm still asking.

This Land is your Land. This Land is my Land. I heard that song. You don't think that this has anything to do with language and skin color?

Like, really?

I saw a woman walking her parakeet a coupla hours ago.
She was white and pretty.
The parakeet, however, was bright yellow.

Bright, Bright yellow.
It is almost eighty here and the coffee is strong and the burritos are good and I have seen very few people of Hispanic decent in Austin. New Braunfels is German. What were they doing here? The Germans? Some people were saying something about the soil.

We have discovered something very interesting about a Woman named Dona Marina.
Her nickname, La Chingada, in Spanish, means the "fucked one". She is believed to be the mother of the first Mexican. Cortes had a bit to do with it. As far as we can tell, he did the fucking.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Austin 3, Laredo or not to Laredo

It is my hope to be in Laredo, Texas on Saturday. There is some doubt within the ranks, however. There are rumors that Laredo is rife with shootings and kidnappings. The drug cartels are apparently taking out aggression on both sides of the border. Here, and in Nuevo Laredo, just over the border.

We know that for our work we would like to see the areas where they are trying to put the wall up, the one that was approved in the 2006 Secure Fence Act.
It looks like we might hit the stretch of land between Del Rio and Eagle Pass instead.

I have a call in to the Minute Men As we speak. The Minute Men are a Kamikaze group of white fat men who "take matters into their own hands". Big Ol' Grand Dragon Jim something or other is supposed to be calling me back. I can't wait to get this phone call.

As I try to sound friendly...

"So, You're a racist creep. How is that treating you?"

I got a tip from Beyer that there is a Walmart in Laredo where the the customers are primarily Mexican. They come up over the border and do their shopping. There are more people than you know on the border who oppose this wall. Land owners, Ranchers, and Walmart, I would imagine, no?

The hypocrisy is the thing people keep coming back to. That's what I've been seeing myself, so far.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Austin- Installment Two, Baby Food and Fear

New Braunfels, Texas. Tuesday. The Parking lot of the HEB, the chain here, like Key Food or Albertsons. I am walking with Ashleigh Beyer, in a bit of a left over stupor, when our eyes fall on a School Bus with a toilet mounted on the back. It had a bumper sticker which said give Peas a Chance and on both sides of the bus were two banners with the web address (I tried to HTML this, but look who you're working with.)

He started pulling away. I have no real idea why, but I started running after him.
I caught up to him and he opened his window. I just had to ask.

He told me that he is on a diet of only baby food. He is eating baby food for one month and filming a movie about it while he drives to a school bus.
I told him that some little old ladies have to eat baby food when they are poor or don't have teeth. We wished each other well.

And you tell me that New Yorkers are weird.

We went for a walk in the Canyon near the house where we are staying. It was dusk, and as always, I was wearing the wrong shoes. I was a little behind everyone else, reading strange signs people had left as markers, when the Adventurers up front stopped and said, "shhh!"

I wasn't talking, I may have been laughing, but I do know, that when I stopped, I heard something eating.

I was a distance from everyone, but I did also hear someone in my party say, "turn around and WALK FASTER!"

This I interpreted as run for your life.

And I lead the way. Last One in First One out.

Someone was trying to tell me something, but I simply threw over my shoulder that I couldn't hear them right now, because I was blinded by fear.

Back at the house. Lying in bed, later that night, I kept hearing things falling in my sleep. Dropping to the floor. I finally turned on the light, to get to the bottom of the matter, and discovered there was a Potted Tree in my room. Its leaves were curling, dying, and dropping off.

We have decided to travel to Mexico this weekend. We want observe where the Wall is being built from Laredo to Brownsville.

Austin is cool. New Braunfels is quiet. And I have a safe room which protects me from the three cats that make me sneeze.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Austin- First Installement

At 2 o'clock in the AM on the first day of the year, 2 hours after everyone had kissed and yelled, I was throwing an elderly Ukrainian woman out of my bar so as to make my flight to Austin.

As exciting as it was to fly on the first day of the year, my companion and I never took pause to think about the fact that, since people were usually out reveling until the break of dawn, we might not actually be able to easily procure a car to the airport.

Luckily, I have friends in high places and a secret Ninja Car Service got us to the airport a little before 5 am.

We boarded the plane, eyes half closed, and I passed out and woke up in Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport. I somewhat remembered leaving New York.

We shuffled off the plane and had an hour and twenty minutes to wait for our connecting flight to Austin.

We boarded what the airport there called, a "shuttle". This thing was not a shuttle. It was a large Room with Handles. There was nothing bus-like about it. It was about the size of my apartment in New York and seemed to float, as if held up by a stick, rather than drive from terminal A to terminal B. This, of course, became the funniest thing I had ever seen (at least at 7 am on New Year's Day) and prompted me to laugh hysterically.
A fellow passenger turned to my trusted travel companion, Ashleigh Beyer, and asked, "what's so funny? What are you girls laughing at?"

"She thinks this thing is a room with handles."

At which point, in my delirium, I turned to her and proclaimed, "you're making me sound like I am from Norway."

"She's from Norway," says Ashleigh Beyer.

"I'm from Norway," I resign.

"Well, things are different in Norway," replies the inquisitive gentleman.

We do not stop laughing and exit the Room.

Ashleigh locates our Gate and finds two sections of seating where we can "lie down," you know, "for a little while." Plus, she says, there is an excellent television program on. It is across from our gate.

We lie down. And when I say lie down, I mean keep- waking- up -to- a -pool- of -drool- under- my cheek.

Ashleigh was also doing a bit of the sleeping. Every few minutes we would wake up. Check on the bags, on each other, on our 8:40 flight across the way, and go back to it. Two little crushed birds on the side of the road. On United Way.

Something happened somewhere amidst all of that careful napping.
I awoke to Ashleigh sitting up and looking at her cellphone. I looked at her and I completely understood.

I just said, surprised only that I had a voice, "we missed our flight?"
She, however, was nowhere near as ready to admit defeat.

She says, "You know, it's funny, It says here that it is 8:56. They must have moved our flight. I'm going to go find it."

Ashleigh had never missed a flight. Neither had I but, I was not surprised. We had been sleeping in such a way that anyone could have walked away with anything we owned.

While Ashleigh went off with hope in her heart about an 8:40 flight that was somehow moved a Little Down the Runway,I stuck my hand in my coat pocket.

My Cell Phone was gone. I checked the floor. I checked the surrounding gates. I checked the Starbucks, and bars, and rib joints. Nothing. The flight had absconded with my phone. My phone, and not us.

Ashleigh had found acceptance out there at Gate Denial, and came back with plan B.
I tried to explain about my missing phone and all of the missing phone numbers for the people in Austin.

We began to wake up a little.

We both agreed we weren't supposed to be on that flight. We think magically that way sometimes. It cheers us up and annoys the neighbors.

We never found my phone. I used Ashleigh's to call 411 to stalk all of the family members of all the people in Austin we would have to contact.

We were greeted onto the stand-by flight after 4 hours, 3 cups of spilled coffee, and some carrot sticks.

This plane was playing music, something like, Django Reinhart, which pleased me greatly, and we settled into the last row near the bathroom.
The sweet little flight attendant in the back started to listen to our long story about cabs in New York, sleeping through flights, and lost cell phones and she smiled,leaned over us, and asked us if we wouldn't mind moving up to First Class.
She bumped us up to First Class to balance out the load.

I think this is where the 1pm Gin and Tonics came into play, if I am not mistaken.
We pretty much drank and slept our way from Washington to Austin.

I stared out the window a lot. I always do. My forehead pressed as hard as I could to the glass. Flying is this organized way of taking you out of reality. There is a certain height where you are back below the clouds and looking at the land, the first time you can see a car move again, but from such a height that the only thing you can think to think is Separate but the Same. I like that place. There are winding roads and you can't see the price of gasoline.

I wiped the window off when we landed.

Within an hour I was on a farm in East Austin looking at cactus and palm trees and goats and kale. There was a hammock made out of bamboo there and I kept thinking about lying down.

So far so good all.