Friday, February 23 2001
Because of the politics and limited finances surrounding it, work is no longer much more for me than a protracted humiliation. Unfortunately, my principle email account at Spies was dead much of the day because of some sort of server relocation thing, and it's possible that lots of emails sent to me from potential employers bounced. It's just a temporary setback, of course, since the wheels for the inevitable outcome have been set in motion.
In the meantime I dally my way through my latest assignment, making things as elegant as possible from the start. It's always a delight to figure out a way to write a function general enough to handle every possible case of a series of more specific functions, and I accomplished this today, so (in terms of my feeling of satisfaction for what I am paid to do) I felt happy when the day was done.
At 5pm I locked my principle workstation, turned off the monitors of the others and rode my bike to Venice on my preferred fast-route, which involves 28th Street, Ocean Park Blvd., 23rd Street, Walgrove Street and Venice Blvd. Using this route I am probably faster than any route I could travel by car, especially during rush hour.
The main mission at Bathtubgirl Central tonight was to drop off $5000 worth of money I still owe Bathtubgirl's mother. I'd been hoping to pay this with a discretionary bonus, but (given the harsh financial realities of the times) this bonus had never materialized. So I'd been forced to dip into the credit limit on one of my credit cards. Luckily I'm getting a special 9.5% rate on the interest, so it's not a big deal, especially since it means that I am no longer connected in any way to Bathtubgirl or her litigious mother. What is it about Saturnine child-devouring mothers in Detroit? Like Eminem's, Bathtubgirl's is threatening to sue her over some financial dispute (in this case condo-related), having first swindled her out of her portion of her grandmother's inheritance.
When I showed up, Linda and Julian were already there, doing their Friday show, this being their third. They were all dressed up in masks and mostly playing the rock and roll. I'd brought the Lusk Free Mars CD that Linda had loaned me during her short contracting gig; I'd been listening to it all night while sleeping because its dreamy David Bowie glam quality was good for that.
Later on I was delighted when Linda and Julian started playing the Soundtrack of Our Lives. Back in July when I first started listening to a Soundtrack of Our Lives CD Linda had given me, Bathtubgirl and I were still living together and BTG essentially banned me from listening to it because she viewed my appreciation of anything not provided by her as mutiny. Those times were fucked up and I'm still angry and embarrassed every time I think about the shit I had to put up with back then.
Even though Linda and Julian were both there, for some reason I didn't actually interact with them very much tonight. By the time they left, I was in a fog of my own making and couldn't really remember them doing anything except their evening show. But they definitely contributed to the ambience of Bathtubgirl Central, which tonight felt something like a bohemian salon, a radical place where anything was possible. If I made any comment about it at all, it was probably something like, "This is a good thing you've got going on here, Bathtubgirl."
Just because it was Friday, I started drinking tequila and smoking large amounts of marijuana, and there can only be two possible outcomes when a man starts doing that, especially if it's with the insistence of women. I was sort of flirting with Bathtubgirl's Art Director/assistant, the Basque chick Eva, and she was picking up on it and warning me not to, that if I kept at it I was going to get her in serious trouble with my erstwhile girlfriend. Said Eva, "She's still in love with you, everyone knows it." And then she proceeded to list all the people who supposedly knew it and it was pretty much everyone in the Bathtubgirl production staff, including Bathtubgirl's present boyfriend Snow. But you know, times move on, and sometimes you just have to get out from under someone's thumb and bring others along with you. If Bathtubgirl is going to be serious about having a new boyfriend, she's going to have to get used to the idea that I'm going to want to live a little on a Friday night. And now that I'm all settled up on my Bathtubgirl accounts, she shouldn't have any problem with it whatsoever. As if to seal the deal, I was being nothing but generous tonight. I was generous with my skills, solving a few seeming unsolveable problems with Bathtubgirl's website. I was generous with my money, throwing down $20 for alcohol and another $10 for pizza. And I was generous with my usually nascent sexual energy. Not only was I flirting with Eva, but what the hell, I was doing a different sort of dance with Rebecca Dynamite as well. For her part, Rebecca is awfully generous with her affection. This random Canadian C++ programmer guy who now lives in Long Beach had come up to hang out with Bathtubgirl during the webcast and before long he and Rebecca were kissing like prom dates. Nonetheless I was also communicating with Rebecca through the noise. I remember distinctly there being a toast in which various beers of various species (including Budweiser and Sam Adams) were clinked against each other and I joked that it would be interesting to make a deck of tarot cards for each of the various kinds of beers coming in contact with one another during a toast. Rebecca apparently thought that was a notably original idea because she immediately demanded a high five, Oklahoma stylee.
I was experiencing a feeling of effortless power, a strange sort of serotonin buzz, less unconditional, irrational and ultimately frustrating than the sort one gets from ecstasy. I felt completely on top of all issues I was confronting. When, for example, Eva was telling me in broken English that my flirtation was getting her in trouble with Bathtubgirl, I could tell right away that there was something about her that was willing to take that risk, and I felt no need to apologize for any imposition I might have been making. Perhaps it was my combat boots. I haven't been wearing them very much since moving to California. But when I put them on, I feel a strength, a luck, that I don't normally feel. They're old and tattered and the heels are worn out and hollow, making a funny percussive noise when I walk on pavement, but they've been part of my world since the day I first strapped them to my feet in Asheville North Carolina in the Fall of 1996. We've been through a lot together, my boots and I. Perhaps they're just the ally I need in this phase of my life.
So then I was dancing mostly with Eva in the living room. My dancing was significantly enhanced (or at least felt as if it was being enhanced) by the effortlessly ease I was feeling. Eventually Bathtubgirl closed us down, telling us we were probably disturbing the neighbors. So Eva suggested the party relocate to her room in the basement. "Have fun!" said Bathtubgirl, seemingly resigned to whatever she thought was inevitable. She then went off to hang out with Snow. The two of them seemed very married couple to me tonight, and I mean that in an exhausted worn-out sort of way.
There are some videos of Linda and Julian up on Bathtubgirl.com.
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