I once witnessed Dylan wake up by punching himself hard in the balls. He sprang up in bed all angry, shouting, “Fuck!” and then displayed an agonized face of visible distress. I chuckled, said, “Poor baby,” and felt sorry as best as I could, because how am I to know how much pain you feel from a sudden hard balls punching. I only know what they’ve told me and apparently it’s lots. I also know from the time I used to kick balls for money, crush, shock and tie them up, or stick the ball sack bounteously with many long sharp pins, but that of course was skewered knowledge, because those motherfuckers loved that shit, so much so that they paid for it. Then later I’d torture my friends with graphic recaps of the day’s ball punishment and amuse myself greatly watching guys who possessed zero desire to have their own balls be destroyed struggle to process the dark details of all my joyfully horrible stories. What I love about life is that it’s fun, and what I love about the world is that it’s fucked up, confusingly, maddeningly, beautifully. And good thing, because otherwise it’d all be just silence and loneliness, harsh words and complaints, emptiness and heartbreak, like tears in rain. Might as well welcome the pain.
Afterward the two interviewers joined the rest of us downstairs on the patio for a pitcher and something to eat. I don’t know how the subject came up but during conversation one of them said, “Well this one time, I went to these guys’ house and they were gay. But they were just hanging out. They were like. Just dudes.” I gazed at the speaker, my expression mild, expecting more. “They were… just dudes,” he said again, as if the repetition more conclusively clarified his train of thought and beefed up his thesis. I don’t know if this guy expected to in all gay company be immediately imprisoned inside a semen-drenched enclave helplessly confronted by a swirling cesspool of seething testicles and permanently erect penises flying ramrod and relentless into every male available mouth and anus visibly in range and line of sight or what, but he seemed to be recalling the actual experience now, reliving the unexpected calm of it. He meanwhile didn’t seem to be aware that exactly two such “just dudes” were with pastoral elegance seated at the table with us all. “Ah yes,” I said finally. “‘Just dudes.’ Those would be the straight-looking-and-acting ones. One must watch for those.” And I grinned. I might’ve even winked. But in the silent secret fortress of my brain, I laughed out loud.
One festival night after his set Dylan was immediately surrounded by fans. He accepted compliments, told jokes, took photos, hobnobbed, hi fived, smiled big and grinned. Then one young fan apologetically suddenly said, “Sorry man, I just came up with a new nickname for you, but I’m not sure I should say it.” “Well now you gotta,” said Dylan gamely. “It takes a lot to offend me, so go ahead.” The fan sighed self-consciously and stalled for time. Then he said, “Over-the-hill Gates” in such a muttering tone as to be almost inaudible. Nonetheless what the young fan said still managed to be heard loud and clear by everyone near. I stifled a laugh and turned my head slightly away. Dylan’s face darkened as he scowled. This is a sight to see since Dylan’s default facial expression is happy-go-lucky if not outright zany. Dylan was annoyed. “Sorry dude,” said the young fan, and he did look sorry, even though all of us were trying hard pretending to not be laughing. Later we told Bil Bless what happened and he also got a good laugh in. Nice to see Bil Bless laugh as he usually seems depressed. Months later at another festival, Dylan was smiling grand and effusive hanging out after his set feeling fresh. He chatted contentedly with friends. Out of the blue a guy came streaking by, leaned into Dylan and hectically said, “Over-the-hill Gates” and with a worried face he scurried away. Dylan’s face darkened as he frowned, he looked quickly left and right, but it all happened too suddenly and the culprit fast disappeared. Then Dylan spied Bil Bless nearby in the shadows chuckling. You could tell he put the kid up to it. “Wiseguy,” said Dylan with eyes like slits, and he shook his fist at all of it.
We spent an afternoon in Paris, it was Dylan’s first time there. We had our phones off to avoid roaming charges, we didn’t have anyone local to help us with anything, and we hadn’t yet changed our money. The day was insufferably hot, there were thousands of tourists trudging everywhere, you couldn’t get away from them, or the heat. Dylan got all pissy and loudly complained about the tourists, the weather, everything. He ignored the fact that we were tourists too, and that the intense heat could technically be blamed on nobody. Hours later of trudging under the relentless sun and a lot of total misery, we boarded a train and I by that point resolutely stopped talking. We rode that train in an obstinacy of silence heading south of Paris, eventually lost consciousness, and fell deeply asleep. A railway worker woke us at the end of the line, we had entirely overshot our destination, we were the absolute last two left on the train. The railway worker walked us long and down along the tracks away from the last station back to the world without saying a word. He spoke French, we spoke English, our interaction was for the most part simple hand gestures and silence. I was still annoyed with Dylan for having been such previously ill-tempered and unpleasant company, Dylan for his part held himself stubborn and aloof. As the railway worker lead us quietly away, Dylan stopped in his tracks and in a shocked and shuddering voice he said, “I can’t believe she left us!” “Who?” I said. “Nunich!” said Dylan. I looked long and hard and deeply at Dylan. “I’m Nunich!” I said. Motherfucker’s lost his mind, I thought. I gazed at Dylan with more dismay than has probably ever shown on my face. Dylan’s face expressed an equal consternation. His eyes were blank and wild. I pretty much had to slap the guy several times to bring him the fuck back. Dylan challenges the accuracy of this account, who fucking knows what he thinks went down. All I know is it’s crazy when the person you’ve loved for years suddenly looks at you and passionately honestly doesn’t know who the fuck you are. Love. Sometimes it blindsides you by being holy shit strangely seriously unsettlingly surreal and fucked up.
Seated on a stage edge at festivals late at night outdoors in extremely cold conditions, I often shove my freezing hands with heedless familiarity deep into and between Dylan’s thighs in order to steal there what warmth from him I can. This action usually works and casually comforts and soothes. I performed this maneuver automatically one consumingly cold late hours festival evening. As I sat there huddled gazing obscurely about while listening to the sounds of the music and the night, it occurred to me in a way that was both gradual and sudden that something was different and strange, not normal, and not right. Absently I moved my hands between the warm thighs searchingly upward in propulsions that changed from casual interest to confused concern to outright panic. I felt deeply around the V-shaped recess with a wondering insistency as my trepidation grew. No balls. NO BALLS. I looked up and aghast at the owner of the borrowed thighs and it wasn’t Dylan. It wasn’t Dylan at all! It was some completely unsuspecting festival female that was fully not my husband. She gaped at me thunderstruck as my offending hands below froze in their previously blind and utterly urgent balls-seeking endeavours. In that suspended moment, I don’t really know whose face registered more speechless horror, hers or mine. Once I could wrench myself out from the paralyzing spell of the shared shock and our mutual stare, I flingingly withdrew my provocative hands and fled. Who knew marriage was such a minefield of molestation and mayhem. Shit.
During the conversation, I mentioned that even after 11 years, people often aren’t aware that Dylan and I are together. We’re not at all into torrid displays of public affection, and there’s also the fact that I called Dylan my roommate for years. Sometimes I still call him my roommate. Initially I wouldn’t even let Dylan tell his mother that we were any kind of anything, so the first time I met Dylan’s family, his mom set me all up in the guest room separated from everybody. Upon retiring, I paid the price for my primness, and I was lonely. Dylan had to sneak over to my room after dark and later he said, “Can I at least tell my mom?” “I guess,” I said. When Dylan dropped the news, “That’s nice dear,” was what his mother said. Scarlett made a huffy sound. “That’s what you do, Nathan,” Scarlett said, “You hide your wife.” “No I don’t,” Nathan said. “Yes, you do,” Scarlett insisted. “When you’re on the road, you don’t let people know you’re married. You don’t think of me. You put your music first.” Nathan narrowed his eyes and puffed his cheeks a bit. He sat there stiffly deep in thought. “Yes,” he suddenly said, “That’s right. Music first!” “You asshole! You’re not supposed to say that!” Scarlett exploded, adding, “There goes your blowjob for tonight.” A fleeting agitation flashed across Nathan’s face, but he kept his gaze level and straight. He was defeated but defiant. “He’s just talking about what he most likes to beat,” Dylan said. Nathan’s a drummer so Dylan was angling rather lamely for wit. “Well he can have fun beating his dick,” Scarlett said. I covered my mouth to hide a desire to laugh and cleared my throat instead. Dylan and I glanced at each other. I winked and he grinned.
I am the most lazy and careless person ever, with my wigs and shoes and especially with my eyelashes. You don’t know how many goddamned pairs of beautiful lashes I’ve lost, wrecked, misplaced or ruined. I am the worst.
I have this mountain now of useless right lashes because often late at night, I just collapse wasted into bed without flossing or brushing my teeth, washing my face, sometimes I don’t even take off my shoes or remove my wig. Dylan, for his part, alternates between energetic speechmaking, passionate instruction, and periodic vehement attempts to heroically perform my nighttime tasks for me. His is a continuity of acceptance, resignation and fondness, with flashes of annoyance, exasperation, failure and despair.
I wake up mornings with a perfect right eye still flawlessly lashed and made up and a completely naked left eye because apparently I sleep with my face violently smooshed against the pillow hard upon my crushed and smothered left eye so the make up there and all my left lashes disappear. Sometimes the left lashes are stuck poetically to my forehead or are lost deep in the folds of my undergarments and hair.
I often afterward find myself wandering lost in supermarkets without still yet having washed my face or showering, looking carelessly like a zombie slowmotion feral woman, haphazardly dressed and debatably sane. Passersby and strangers stare in stupefied horror, children run away shuddering with tearstained faces, while Dylan with skillful effortlessness plucks all manner of random left lashes from wherever they might manifest upon my person. It’s a boisterous and chilling scene.
Now too I still have that mountain of useless right lashes. What’s to be done with all those. Dylan suggested when I’m a famous author sitting behind a pile of books at a book signing, instead of signatures, I should with great solemnity paste into each book’s momentous first blank page a single right lash. Those in the know will know and cherish.
I tell Dylan if I ever go missing or suddenly disappear, all he has to do is follow an exalted and extended trail of left eyelashes. At trail’s end, there he will find me, fully lashed, smiling like the Mona Lisa and ready for the great embrace.
Most people really don’t like getting spammed by massive group promotional emails, so a while ago, Dylan implemented some cool new software that individually messaged everyone with “Hello” followed by each person’s first name, but the software fucked up hard. Instead of a private personal message with everyone’s first name written after “Hello,” each message began with the words, “Hello, First Name.” “That’s hilarious,” I said. “Yeah it’s funny,” said Dylan, “and actually it’s not.” His expression was annoyed and pained. “Haha,” I said. And then I called Dylan “First Name” all day long and mimed telephoning him to exuberantly exclaim, “Suh dude. It’s your best friend First Name,” and “Hi First Name? It’s First Name. Such a pleasure to be on a first name basis.” Dylan treated me to much scowls and grimacing while I gaily made kissy faces at him. Fast forward to who’s laughing now. Every time Dyan drops a track or finishes an album, I’m the one stuck promoting it by emailing over a thousand blogs and djs by hand individually. This most recent batch of emails I’ve been slaving through and sending out since last Friday. It’s been over a week and I’m barely halfway. All these press releases, personalized messages and million hours of work are literally a pain in my poor sore beautiful ass. Dyan doesn’t know how good he’s got it. Despite the endlessness and the agony though, it might be me who’s fortunate, or maybe since we found each other and after so many years we still haven’t killed each other, we’re both lucky.
Walking through artist VIP we ran into Adam who said, “Here, take this. It’s all the rage in South America. It’ll really fuck you up.” Then he placed something small and light into the palm of Dylan’s hand. “What do I do,” Dylan asked and Adam said, “Just suck on it, or chew it a little.” Dylan popped the thing into his mouth and gamely began to suck and chew. Dylan is always down for just such new experiences and I watched him keenly, privately I was disappointed there hadn’t been something for me. “Feel anything?” I asked. “Oh yeah,” said Dylan. His expression was eager and his eyes were bright. “I can feel it in my blood, it’s like my whole body’s racing.” I looked at Dylan closely. Dylan gazed left and right wide-eyed and delighted. Maybe he was already hallucinating, on deck to run around naked and tear the place apart. Adam chuckled. “What is this stuff?” Dylan asked. “A twig,” said Adam, “it’s actually just a twig.” “Haha,” I said. Dylan ignored us and held on an extra beat longer to the earlier better fun of being fucked up on some brilliant new South American drug. One of the many reasons Dylan is lovable is that he is so suggestible. He’s probably the most suggestible person on Earth. If Dylan thought he had just been dosed with many hits of the world’s most wonderful acid, he would act accordingly. It wouldn’t even matter if the acid hadn’t actually happened. Adam grinned. “Haha,” I said again. To this day Dylan insists that that’s not how it all went down. Adam and I don’t argue the point because we know we’re right. We were there. Anyway Dylan was too fucked up on twigs so he can’t say shit.
Once I went to a guy’s house and it was so unkempt and slovenly I was rendered terrorized, disbelieving and confused. I read somewhere that the average single American male changes his bed sheets like 3 times a year, I don’t think this guy had ever done even that. His dish towels and wash cloths also had never graced the inside of a washing machine, not his bath towels either, in the bathroom, I gazed in quiet horror at them, groped them vaguely with hypnotized fingers, and then actually leaned in masochistically for a sniff. I felt an immediacy of deep regret post sniff. It was all I could do not to scream 911 and run, punching through the window glass with my bare fists. I told the story in lavish tormented detail to another friend and when I visited him at his place, he stood proud hands clasped beaming before me and said, “I spent the whole day cleaning, and I washed the towels! Feel free to sniff.” Sweet boy thought my story was a hint and a warning expressly for him. Anyway sniffable towels are obviously preferable to patently unsniffable ones, so the end managed to justify the means. Another time, I broke off with another guy because I didn’t like the shape of his calves. The calves thing I know is pretty brutal, because it’s not like the poor guy could help it. Good thing I find Dylan’s calves terrific.
Most Airbnb places are prettily arranged and carefully maintained, the look and feel falls anywhere between an absent family’s tidy apartment, a boutique hotel, or a bed and breakfast. Usually the host has left little bars of soap and large fresh bath towels upon the foot of an immaculately made bed, the towels are rolled up into logs, artistically bowed or fanned, or fashioned into the shape of a swan. Dylan rarely notices discreet details like this fancy toweling feature. After his shower taken in our latest spot in Havana, Dylan used a small ornamental hand towel to try and dry off, it was the only thing evident and present. Dylan then burst with naked wildness from the bathroom still half wet holding the dainty towel in front of his johnson and exclaimed, “Man, they sure make towels small in Cuba!”
Dylan and I are on some kind of built in Apple iPhone family plan, so our Apple IDs and iCloud usernames and passwords are all messed up. They’ve kind of confusingly overlapped and converged. I get all his cell phone reminders on my phone, which is disruptive and fun. Dylan never updates or deletes his reminders, so shit like “Turn down the potatoes” periodically dings on my phone, for potatoes Dylan was apparently cooking at some point in his life. Also, “I have a meeting with Pete” comes up, even though the meeting with Pete finished probably some time last year.
Dylan has monthly, weekly, and daily reminders too like, “Call my mother” which I find funny, because the “my” I’m sure is superfluous, I mean, whose mother is Dylan going to call except his own.
My favourite reminder that Dylan has scheduled is, “Do something nice for Nunich.” That reminder comes up often, but I can’t say either of us pay it too much mind. The reminder dinged on my phone again recently however, and Dylan called out conscientiously from another room, “I love you.” “Is that the ‘something nice’ you are doing for me today?” I asked, keeping my voice mild. There was a pause. “Siri, delete this reminder,” Dylan, miffed, stiffly said. “Are you sure you want to delete this reminder?” Siri asked. “Yes,” said Dylan. “Ha, ha,” I said.
And dude hasn’t done something nice for me since. Kidding. Motherfucker spoils me rotten. I love my goddamned husband.
Dylan was cheerfully showering so I snuck in quietly and watched him awhile. He was all covered in suds and happily humming to himself while luxuriously massaging his scalp. Dude was acting like he was in a hair commercial, peddling high grade body wash and shampoo, or some shit. His eyes were trustingly tightly shut, all blithe innocence. I hunched down sneaky full ninja, approached him, and soundlessly slid the glass door aside. Then, with a great flourish of suddenness and menace, I grabbed both his ankles fast and hard. Dylan made a delayed reaction loud terrified whooping sound, like a scared and fainting woman, pure blind vulnerability and total fear. His terror and upset were quiveringly real. I wish I had this gold moment captured on film. Dylan was furious when he peaked open his eyes and saw me clutching my stomach from laughing so hard. “You’re gonna get it, lady!” he roared. I waved his words away, still chuckling too enormous and deep to speak. “Ha, ha, ha!” I said. Dylan gazed daggers at me. I was pretty much crying as much as laughing, and for a substantial period. The best romances don’t end happily, and the greatest love stories are tragedies. We might be an exception to this bleak rule, at least we’ve made it this far, we’re still laughing a lot, and we do try. Effort is as important as fate. It’s always much funnier though when I scare Dylan than when he scares me. Scaring me is too easy, scaring Dylan is the bee’s knees. Or ankles. Who knew ankles could offer such an unexpected depth of comedy.
Before his return to Europe, Jason visited a final time and left with us some things he didn’t want to take onto the plane. These things included an ornamental knife and a large economy-sized tube of Astroglide.
“The people’s lubricant,” Dylan said.
“I enjoy this bulk version of keeping your woman moist,” I remarked. “It’s like, ‘Check it out babe, I don’t even have to get you excited. Just slap this onto ya, and we’re off to the races. With this big tube, it’ll be hours of undisrupted pleasure with zero of the usually necessary work and effort!’”
We had afterward some fun innocently placing the big boldly labelled bright purple item in random prominent positions around the house, and were privately amused every time we noticed that someone had without comment changed its location or outright hidden the tube.
When Audrey came over, I tossed the Astroglide at her and said, “Hey, Audrey, you forgot your lube.” The expression on my face was breezy, and my tone of voice was light. Emotions beginning with blitheness and warmth, passing through to bewilderment and perplexity, culminating in repulsion and alarm, flashed all across Audrey’s vivid face.
“That’s not mine!” said Audrey. “I’m not poor.” There was a surfeit of bolds and italics attached to her every uttered word. Audrey thrust the tube back at me, appalled. She said, “I’m not poor” again. I had to bite my lip pretty hard to keep from laughing, and to preserve my neutrality and coolness.
“Look, Audrey,” I said, “No judgment.”
I must mention that I do the biting lip to prevent destructive laughter thing a lot, it’s a wonder how I still have lips. Also I have no idea what did ever end up happening to that big tube of lube.
The cool thing about Chinatown is it doesn’t matter where you are, Chinatown is the same, it’s Chinatown the world over, there’s something wonderful and comforting about that. The ladies that work in Chinatown shops are also rampantly comparable, often they are the wives of the owners, hardworking, middle-aged, and indefatigable. When you enter their shops, they thrust shit at you and trumpet the quality and goodness of their wares with a greatly casual paradoxical disinterest. They barely even make eye contact as they mumble declarations along lines of, “You like. You want. You buy. Very nice. Special for you,” straight ahead into the air. It doesn’t matter what the shit is, or what shit you need, or what shit you might be interested in, to these Chinatown shopwomen, it’s all the same. These excellent ladies put little effort into their statements and encouragements toward purchase, but they always engage, however aimless and inattentive the engagement.
One blustery wintry day, we were in some Chinatown shop looking for a hat for my cold head. It was so terribly cold that day, I was desperate to buy anything warm enough and just put it on, concerns like fashion or cost took a back seat entirely. I considered my options for no more than a second, before the Chinatown shoplady thrust some headpiece at me and said, “You like. You want. Very good hat. I have best hats. Good hat. Special for you. You like. You buy. Perfect hat.” I put the hat on and it was so huge it slipped down over my face and my whole head. I could see through the large roomy fabric the shopwoman gaze briefly at me. With elaborate disregard, she shrugged her shoulders, looked dismissively into the horizon, made a “Hhhmyh” sound and declared, “Small head.” The Chinatown shoplady dexterously washed her hands of the whole affair. The unresolvable freak of nature that was my supposed too tiny head had certainly nothing at all to do with her wonderful hats.
“Small head,” she said again.
“Big hat,” I countered, peeved.
The Chinatown shoplady made another “Hhhmyh” sound and forged on with her dispassionate horizon gaze. She didn’t bother to accompany the “Hhhmyh” sound with a second shoulder shrug.
Dylan and I exited the shop without purchasing a hat. I had to suffer the winter cold and go it alone, my “small head” shrinking even further away and inward. Every once in a while and ever since, Dylan and I sometimes look at each other in unison without planning it, make a “Hhhmyh” sound and declare, “Small head.” Then we grin and chuckle or we laugh a lot. We do a similar thing with the word “vast,” but “vast” is a whole other story. Let me tell you though, it’s these small shared history moments and inside jokes that keep a love going and make a thing real and strong.
Hhhmyh. Small head.
My sister’s boyfriend has a big and beautiful penis. The only reason I know is because one morning I woke very early to go to the bathroom and there he was completely naked gazing at himself while shaving. For some reason he had an erection. It was massive and gorgeous. I was needless to say startled on all points. Later I relayed the news to everyone. My sister was embarrassed but proud. “I guess I was feeling good that morning,” my sister’s boyfriend said. He added, “Plus I really like shaving.” My sister’s boyfriend mistakenly seemed to think we all were more interested in why he had an erection rather than the fact that it was huge and exquisite.
My sister’s boyfriend got up far earlier than we did, because he worked very long and hard every day, and so was in bed much before us, and was thus forced to miss out on whatever fun we might still be having. He absolutely hated to miss out on all of the things.
One night we were giggling in the living room and a few times we laughed out loud. Suddenly my sister’s boyfriend stood partially dressed hectically before us with the world’s most worried expression upon the face. “What are you laughing about!” he shouted. He might as well have been wringing his hands. We paused and gazed at him deeply. Then in unison, at the exact same moment, we looked at each other, threw our heads back with eyes tight shut, and laughed uproariously. My sister’s boyfriend stood there pained. No one told him what was so funny. His beautiful erection was nowhere to be seen. It probably also wished it knew the story or joke, it likely was as sad and confused as he. When no elaboration outside of our loud laughing happened, my sister’s boyfriend hung his head, and went back to bed.
Dylan recently was dealing with a hater and we made the mistake of checking out the guy’s Facebook. Among the many light-hearted opinions and whimsical comments we saw this person finds solace in not being able to lock down a girl who likes to go shooting because then he only has to buy ammo for 1. The guy refers to women as cum dumpsters and feels giving ladies the right to vote is stupid and a waste. He dislikes people who make irksome distinctions between steroid muscle and nonsteroid muscle and offered the naysayers the chance to be punched in the balls by his steroid muscles so the beaten person could resolve whether the pain from the punch was real. There was so much more but we had to stop to catch our breathes. We reeled in fascination and amazement. I kinda wish now I was a politician involved in a political debate just so I can call my opponent a cum dumpster. This is all so wild and unthinkable and ferociously offensive it paradoxically approaches fun. How in the first place was this young man ever a fan?
My girlfriend says, “This girl, she’s a vampire and every time she has sex her hymen grows back and she’s a virgin again.” “Fascinating,” I say, “From what world doth this woman’s rare and diaphanous gift proceed.” “True Blood,” says my girlfriend. Matter-of-fact and with shrug. “That’s quite the plot device,” I say. “I enjoy for this hymen to be so substantial and apparently central to the greater narrative.” I speak in my ain’t nobody got time for that voice, even though clearly plenty of people do have time for exactly that. Regenerating hymens. Who in good conscience could really ask for more.
Back when I used to work at a newspaper assisting homosexuals to make sexual hook ups with greater immediacy and a higher rate of success, a lot of crazy fucked up shit would happen to me, even within the seven minute windows of my many randomly taken breaks for cigarettes and coffee.
I’d stand there at street level blinking in the sunlight smoking and drinking coffee and fielding constant comments and perpetual inquiries from all passersby. Drag queens serving daytime realness would accost me with entreaties to do their make up before their next big show. Cops driving by would honk and either give me knowing nods or subject me to a brief suspicion of passing scrutiny. Rentboys and drug dealers would offer services and products or bum smokes. Homeless people gave me sob stories that I quickly knew by heart. All these encounters occurred with a kind of clockwork consistency and many of the meetings were for the most part amusing, endearing and bearable, usually.
Some passing males however would darken my days with their forwardness and lack of anything at all approaching intelligence, grace, or chivalry. These men seemed to presume I was put on God’s earth literally for their sakes. They also assumed I was “specially equipped” and was just hanging around waiting for business to happen, or to score. In the simpleness of their minds and the thickness of their skulls, even the most faintly attractive stylized Asian female living or dead has got to be a ladyboy.
Put yourself for five seconds into my six inch stilettos and imagine how irritating and absurd it might actually be to deal with these rejects.
One man chatted me intensely up while I monosyllabically offered the odd reply. Suddenly this man leaned hard up against me to closely address my total face. He cocked his head vaguely in a certain key direction and huskily declared, “Listen. I don’t care what you got down there. I’m ready to go all day.” Obviously this man had aims and an advancement of skills to utterly redefine romance and bring things unforgettably to the “next level.” God knows how I found the strength to resist the magical delights he clearly had on offer. Surely I would never again in the rest of all my days receive a proposition that could be more gorgeous and enchanting. Knight in blazing armour, I mean, shit. “Thank you, but no,” I replied, “My calendar is pretty much booked.” Men really are retards flashed across my mind. I gazed neutrally around as I put out my smoke.
Later up in the office it was calling Vancouver time. My co-workers had a special dislike for making calls to BC because the province was overrun with rich Asians who could by all accounts barely speak English. In the din of all those one-sided conversations, I could hear a righteousness of annoyance and exasperation in many of my co-worker’s voices as they struggled to complete business with the Vancouver Asians. Statements were repeated loudly and slowly many times. “God! Speak English!” my co-workers would angrily afterward shout into the uninterested air amidst the sound of receivers being downward slammed. “Yeah!” I’d say, “Jesus. Come to our country, the least these chinky bastards could do is learn the goddamned language.” My co-workers mutteringly chorused casual agreement. “I mean,” I added, “if I went to China, I’d learn both Mandarin and Cantonese in five fucking minutes. Be the least I could do cause like. Go there. Take their jobs. I sure as shit should immediately and perfectly learn Chinese.” Here my co-workers would flounder a bit, losing the thread of wherever the fuck it was I was going.
For reasons including but not limited to the fact that my command of the English language approaches levels of both scathing and awesome, people when they are being racist and slamming “immigrants” for whatever unforgivable faults sometimes forget for quite a while before they notice or remember that at least one of the present company is in fact not white. That person with brutal usualness turns out to be me. Then commences the clumsiness of backpedaling. The more astute co-workers of quicker wit and greater awareness of their surroundings then suddenly cease with the Vancouver Asians Speak English complaining. The bright innocence of the look in my eyes I hoped spoke volumes; the abashed “oh shit” expression on some of my co-workers faces was nonetheless sufficient to amuse and appease.
“Nunich—how did you come to Canada?” one of my co-workers cautiously inquired. Her eyes were wide, her expression eager, and her tone of voice was carefully pleasant. In the sudden clarity of circumstance, girlfriend attempted a feigned interest in my personal refugee’s making it to the land of milk and honey story. “I walked,” I said. No one challenged the claim. “I mean,” I said, leaning forward and with a drop in tonal modulation to develop and deepen the conversational intimacy, “There was a boat of course but I didn’t do well with so much water. All that bobbing. No thanks. So I walked.” The bravery and brevity of my narrative was met with muted appreciation. The silence of the room felt very dense. “Long walk,” I added. Then I grinned with most of my teeth on display. The collective look I received was not comfortable. Nunich 1, Racist Co-Workers 0. Not that I genuinely enjoy “winning” in such moments, but when shit gets increasingly racist and the situation heads eye-rollingly south, it’s important to try for the teaching of a lesson, but it’s also important to still have fun. Winning is irrelevant.