Cold Brew

I made cold brew two weeks ago in a container I used to store dog treats. I discovered the metal top doesn’t have a solid seal with the glass bottom. It makes sense now.

I prepared it on the counter in the kitchen, following the instructions; placing an individual bag into a container and adding two cups of water to then let sit for at least 24 hours. You can later add equal parts water or milk when you want to drink it.

I picked the container up, along with a bag of baby carrots, a carton of cage-free eggs and bag of spinach— balancing the cold brew on top of the groceries, pressed against my chest, making my way to the refrigerator in the hallway. At first I thought it was annoying and strange to have the refrigerator in the hallway, nestled into a cutout in the wall underneath the staircase to the upstairs apartment, but now I appreciate the obscurity in spite of the inconvenience.

I started to put everything in the fridge, balancing all of it against my chest with my right arm, opening the door with my left. Everything was dripping with the coffee concentrate. My dress— I was wearing the dress that some unknown girl left at the restaurant and never came back to claim. I imagined I was confronted on the street wearing the dress, convincing myself of a backstory, just in case. “I had purchased it at a second-hand store on 6th or 7th street, Crossroads— Oh, I always find the greatest deals there!”

The dress is white, navy blue and beige stripes with pockets that have zippers— the best feature. I love it, too, because I don’t feel like I need to wear a bra with it.

The dress was soaked. Well, at least the right breast. The stain came out with water immediately. I don’t know if it could be considered a stain if it never had the chance to set.

I half-assed cleaned up the fridge. I was more concerned with the dress. The floor was also wet. I sopped it up with c-folds I had taken from the restaurant.

I realized just today that I hadn’t drank any of the cold brew because I moved the container it had brewed in while getting half-and-half for the hot coffee I had just made and saw the ring of coffee below it. I still haven’t cleaned it. I took the creamer out, leaving the spill alone.

My reasons for 13 reasons

My take on the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why”

Yes. It’s about suicide. Yes, the show has flaws, inconsistencies and faults. I do not think that suicide was necessarily glamorized. The death of the second student was an incongruent pull that detracted from what I found most compelling. And the whole riddle game and blaming of others for Hannah’s suicide… is for a different tangent.

There have been a plethora of responses and critiques concerning the show that focus on the topic of suicide. My issue is that I haven’t read or heard any response to what I thought was the most successful aspect of “13 Reasons” — its realistic portrayal of how young women, girls, are sexualized and sexually abused without pause.

We live in a misogynist, hypersexualized, rape-normative culture. Worshipping hypermasculinity, sexually aggressive behavior while we ignore the bombardment of sexual microaggressions that women experience almost every day of their lives— it could be argued from the time they are born.

As young girls, before we can comprehend the threat, the threat of rape, we are warned by our mothers not to be near, or alone with, strange men. The seed is planted. One day, it seems as if out of no where, we feel it. We feel the stare. We are aware we are being watched, looked at, consumed with a glance. It’s not the innocent stare of a boy across the cafeteria that makes us nervous and giddy— and those stares too, change all too soon— and it never stops, except maybe when we are old, crinkly and wrinkly, and then, become invisible.

“13 Reasons” showed how young girls are trained, even expected, to participate in the psychological manipulation of their peers, and unconsciously, simultaneously, as they are victims, too. Like in the 1996 movie, “The Craft”, the new girl is bullied by the popular jock, who also lied about having sex with her, calling her a “bad lay”. And, then, her only recourse to regain her power, to have revenge, to right the wrong, was through supernatural manipulation — casting a spell for him to be in love with her.

Young boys mirror men. They are not natural predators; they, too, are trained and manipulated. The difference is the system is designed to support them, to give them power, and help to maintain it. For some of these young men, it becomes like a drug, the power they have been told they possess. They are praised for exhibiting “manly” behaviors, for being physically strong, for being smart and confident.

How can they think their behavior is wrong? Everyday we read in newspapers where an anonymous woman accused an anonymous man of an “alleged rape”, yet charges were dropped, or police closed the investigation for “inconsistencies” in the alleged victim’s story. Or a chief of police claims that acquaintance rape or sexual assault isn’t a “total abomination” like being dragged off of the street. What does it say about holding men accountable when millions of people voted, both men and women, for a man who boasted about grabbing women by their “pussies”? School policies emerge that restrict clothing of young women because they are a “distraction” for young boys. Arguing, it’s in the boys’ nature to be sexually aggressive therefore we must curb it and hold women responsible.  Men and women  need to teach young boys to value all human life, to respect women, to not use their presumed power- to no longer presume.

It’s a fucked up thing to say, but pretty girls have it worse. If you are identified by your society’s standards of beauty, as being beautiful, you are more susceptible, you expect this behavior and learn to feel a responsibility for their lust. Women have to learn as young girls to ignore, to push out, to overt our gazes for fear of locking eyes. We learn to deflect, to deject and distract ourselves for want of not being consumed whole.  The seemingly innocuous bumping into on the stairwell, the telling you to smile— the eye fucking— you can’t let it break you, break your spirit, but it penetrates you even if never touches your body. This is not to disregard the abuse that men are victims of, it’s just not the point. Hannah could not push out the comments and the ultimate physical violations she endured. This is not to say she is weak, nor to justify her suicide. This is an opportunity to talk about what women go through, what we endure every day of our lives, the minute we walk out of our door and go down the street and sometimes within the walls of our very  homes. From magazines to television to day-to-day interactions, it’s a constant push and pull of horrible thoughts of realized actions and violations against our bodies, against our beings, against our spirits.

That is a conversation that “13 Reasons” should, and can, open up. How we watch our men be placed on pedestals and rewarded for their prowess; cocky men are revered and confident women are bitches or conceited— is a narrative far too old and far too dangerous to sustain.

Let’s talk about this.

Toenails

I tear my toenails.

I tear them too short.

They hurt. The skin around the nail bed is ragged, raw pink flesh and white where dried out.

I never use clippers.

There is a creepy satisfaction to tearing them, and getting it just right— but that’s rare. I always tear too much, too low, ripping the skin sometimes. And they bleed. The meat around the nail inflames, swelling from the irritation.

It hurts to put on shoes. Socks are fine, usually. Sometimes there is a tiny bit of nail that snags the fabric, and I know if I try and pull it free, I will bleed. It will be too short. Too much nail removed. The most loose fitting shoe still rubs and aggravates.

This is an old song.

I know the chorus by heart.

I keep singing even though I know it’s going to hurt. And I’m going to bleed.

 

 

The Zoologist

“Are all of those yours?”

“Some of them.”

“I like dogs. What kind is that one?”

“Italian Greyhound.”

“Little guy.”

“Yeah. That’s as big as he’ll get. He’s not mine.”

“I, I have a pet duck. Best pet ever. A duck. Very clean. Very smart.”

“Wow. Do you have a pond?”

“Oh yeah, but he’s an indoor duck. He’s very clean. His little area in the house is very neat. He does his business there, but if he wants to go outside, he quacks, ‘Quack, quack’ and let’s me know he wants to go out. He has a spot he goes in. He’s very smart.”

“Have you had him since he was young? You trained him? Does he come when you call him?”

“Oh yeah. And he drinks beer. He loves Heineken. For treats, I open up a can of corn. He loves it, too. You should give your dogs beer. Dogs love beer, too. Do you give your dogs beer?”

“No. Just regular food.”

“You should give him beer. Not liquor though. My duck doesn’t like it. He tasted it and blah! ‘Quack’ and spit it out. He’s the best pet. He walks around the house, waddles down the stairs and if he falls, HA! he hits his beak! Heheheh. I love all types of animals. I’ve had all types of pets. Every animal. The worse pet I had was an iguana.”

“Why was the iguana the worst?”

“Ha! ‘Cuz he would beat everyone up!”

“How?”

“With his tail!”

“How big was he?”

The bald man in the plain white T-shirt with blue jeans and a belt, standing about 5’8″, gestures to his chest.  “This tall! But the funniest pet I ever had,” he pauses, rocking back and forth, “was a bobcat. Ha! THE funniest!”

“Where do you live?! An iguana, a duck, a bobcat?”

“Ah, I have a place upstate, here in Greenpoint and I had one on Long Island. Sold it though. They wouldn’t let me have my other pet.”

“Which is?”

“A porcupine.”

“What? Are you a zoologist?”

“Ha. No, I’m an electrician. I just love animals. They’re better than people.”

 

 

Anxiety

You feel like vomiting.

Overwhelmed and blind.

A static energy pulsates through you, as if all of your nerves have received a low frequency jolt— electric— not in an excited and invigorating way— nervous, anxious. The definition of nervous; all synapses popping, pulsating in each thread throughout the body.

In the famous “Body Worlds” exhibit, plastinated specimens of the intricate workings of the human form are displayed. The entire nervous system exposed. Each strand hangs, composing the frame of the human body. Vulnerable. Connected to each limb, spine, toe, finger, stem and brain.

The finite host of infinite sensations.

Tingling. Rippling. Frantic vibrations from the flesh inward. The internal fury, invisible to the outside world, hidden by skin. No one can see the frightening lightening flashing. Silent screams— deafening, ear drums thumping.