Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Out in the real world

Originally uploaded by LarimdaME.
Earthshaking fire from the center of the earth
will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
then Arethusa will redden a new river.

Nostradamus (Century 1, Quatrain 87)

So here I am again--huddled over Herman the Powerbook--on my boyfriend BGs rickety little futon in the wilds of the Bronx, New York. This morning, at the other end of the teeny "couch," BG sat working on his latest painting of Sid Vicious's mug shot (he eschews easels), the cat snuggled contentedly between us. Safe and sound once again--far far away from the real world. Except, of course, in my head.

Like most addicts, I justify my newfound web obsession by telling myself it's a harmless diversion. It's not like I'm trolling the streets of the naked city in pursuit of an "angry fix." Except for the monthly internet fee, it's all free fun, so I'm not squandering my money. Besides, It's been a brutally hot summer--and though mad dogs, Englishmen, and BG go out in the noonday sun (BG trudges the mean streets for hours), I prefer the more sane alternative of air conditioned luxury.

As a result, things have evolved to the point where I don't leave the apartment for days. I get virtually no exercise, and I'm smoking cigs with the same compulsive fervor a crack fiend devotes to the pipe. When I'm not on Herman, I'm either:

Zoning out in front of the TV;


Having long rambling conversations with BG over coffee and yet more cigs;

Enjoying ever more frequent party daze devoted solely to the consumption of liberal quantities of liquor and herbal supplements, along with stoned blabbering to a soundtrack featuring all my fave Britpop masters--Depeche Mode, XTC, Elvis Costello, et al.-- and a temporary moratorium on CNN.

But in the back of my mind lately is a haunting irony which keeps me from feeling too guilt ridden, viz:

Even if I forsook all junk food, jogged every day, ate only whole grains, veggies and tofu, and banned all booze and bowleg--all that pristine self sacrifice in the name of longevity could still be a total waste of time. Why not eat, drink, and be merry if tomorrow we could all be vaporized?

Nevertheless, after an evening of partying this past Saturday, I vowed to get up bright and early the next morning and schlep back to my coop in "the city" (aka Manhattan). I had work to do--C, my ex b/f, needed help alternately packing or trashing his voluminous junk, in preparation for the sale of our coop.

But as I often do, especially when Herman or the bottle beckons, I woke up late and quickly conjured up a handy excuse not to get after it on Sunday,

For one thing, the subway service was always disrupted on the weekends, when the MTA scheduled most of its maintenance and repair work. Yeah, that'll work.

But then, of course, there was the even more compelling fact that it was September 11th. I figured if anything untoward happened in NYC on the fourth anniversary of the World Trade Centter attacks, it would be much more likely to occur in Manhattan than in the Bronx. What would they do here, blow up the Botanical Gardens?

So I went into the city yesterday instead, After dragging my heels as usual, I finally got to my downtown apartment by mid-afternoon. C had the TV turned on to some People's Court clone, and we started loading up his crap into boxes and garbage bags.

Then, the regularly scheduled show was interrupted by a special report.

Seems that a large portion of Los Angeles, California had just been hit with a blackout. Officials were quick to reassure the public that it did not look like a terrorist attack--DESPITE THE FACT that just the day before, on 9/11, a tape had been released featuring a dire warning regarding upcoming attacks on Los Angeles, California and Melbourne, Austrailia.

According to the New York Times:

"ABC News broadcast the tape which it said it had received in Pakistan on Saturday. It reported that the masked speaker appeared to be Adam Yahiye Gadahn, a young man from Southern California who is wanted for questioning by the F.B.I. In the taped message, the speaker threatens attacks on the two cities, "Allah willing," and warns that the attackers will show no compassion."

A blackout in LA the day after--some coinki-dink, hey? For awhile, despite the official reassurances, I really thought this was IT. But it turned out that some bozo had cut a cable by mistake, and the power was up and running again within a few hours.

But I suspect that the combo of the 9/ll anniversary, the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster, our involvement in Iraq, and the tragic bumbling of the Administration in getting people out of New Orleans in a timely manner had given me a whopping case of post traumatic stress disorder. As a result, anything I heard or read seemed like one more sign pointing the way to the next indescribable horror.

Many years ago, I saw a movie about Nostradamus called "The Man who saw Tomorrow." Hosted by Orson Welles, it succeeded in scaring the living shit out of me by detailing some major global events he had (arguably) predicted. Although skeptics abound, I was haunted forever after by the quatrains concerning the three Antichrists. Most Nostaradamus afficianados agree that the first was Napoleon, the second Hitler, and that the third--even more unimaginably evil than those before him-- will hail from the Mid-East (though some favor East Asia). To illustrate this, the movie featured a chilling scene of a dusky faced, blue-turbaned man, his finger poised over the nuke button--destination, New York City.

This film was released, if memory serves, during the tail end of the Cold War and before the war on terror, so the idea of global annhilation originating from the mideast rather than Russia was kind of novel at the time. Now, of course, it seems all too likely.

Much has been blogged lately about the Bush Administration's embarrassing and tragic blunders in response to the awesome devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Cutting short his month-long vacation, the Prez finally gave up the figurative umbrella cocktails by the pool and emerged to say some stupid insensitive things while viewing the massive devastation of the area. Unforgivable and tragic fuckups--which left residents stranded without food, water, or adequate police protection for days and days--resulted in untold deaths and injuries, and horrible despair and chaos.

One result of all this is that Bush's approval ratings have plummeted. Another is the chilling reaization that if the almighty USA--busy fighting a war that so many now agree is an unmitigated disaster--cannot deal with a domestic crisis, what in the flying fuck will happen if (or in all likelihood, when) we are attacked by terrorists again?

Today I fully intended to go back downtown and proceed with the trashing and the boxing. But there's been many a day lately where I've just blown it off and kept myself glued to Herman. Maybe part of the reason is that although the coop sale has been much anticipated and a long time coming, I can't predict with any certainty that my new dream will be realized.

This dream involves getting a two-bedroom coop a ten-minute walk from BGs crib. We can hang out chez Elvira, but we can also chill at BG's. In addition, BG can utilize his (much) smaller space as a real studio, where he can paint in peace. If I'm lucky, I can bag a high floor, with a view of the Harlem river and Palisades.

Much like my Manhattan coop, I see this apartment as the culmination of a New York fantasy. C and I bought the Manhattan coop for a song about 13 years ago --(8 grand, if I recall correctly) with no mortgage and a low monthly maintance. The neighborhood, on Manhattan's Lower East Side, had once been a cramped, squalid immigrant ghetto. When I first lived there with my aunt in high school, it was still a 'hood no one considered even emotely trendy. But in typical New York fashion, the area has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis culminating in its current status as a boho playground for the hip. Former tenements and sweatshops have morphed into repositories of innumerable bars, restaurants, galleries, boutiques, unaffordable apartments, and luxe hotels

My Manhattan one bedroom (with full eat in kitchen) is huge by NYC standards (approx. 800 sq ft). All the windows save one feature a partial view of the east river, where one can watch tugboats and sailboats go by as the afternoon light streams cheerfully in. The remaining window in the bedroom--featuring a downtown skyline--offered a prime view of the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks on my birthday--as well as the tip of one of the World Trade Center's towers every night, its antennna's red light blinking reassuringly in the dark.

Six months after 9/11 brought A Tribute in Light (view AWESOME slideshow here)-- an art installation featuring two vertical columns of light next to the former WTC site. Every night from March 11 to April 14, 2002, I could gaze upon this ghostly reminder of what had been destroyed forever from my bedroom window before I went to sleep.

Moreover, if I had ventured downtown on Sunday--and stayed late enough to see the sun go down--I would have been able to see the Tribute of Light once again, as it is resurrected every September 11th to mark this sad anniversary. .

In any case, although I'm always up for ready excuses, I sense that one reason I bagged out again today is because part of me wonders if all the preparations for my next dream might be for naught. In the meantime, I connect with the "real world" in an artificial way--through TV and webcasts, along with reading the many bloggers who have been writing daily about Katrina and Bush's follies. More than ever, I'm trying to live each day to the fullest for obvious reasons, even if that means favoring what I enjoy over what I "should" be doing. .

So now that BG has just returned from his daily Battan Death March redux--toting a brand new bottle of vodka to boot--I don't particulary regret the fact that my venture into the real world will just have to be postponed one more precious day. Cheers!


At 5:13 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

right now I'm listening to the Best of Procol Harum which brings me right back to age 14 when I first heard "Shine on Brightly" on a local FM station and subsequently couldn't get enough. I caught a nice buzz which helps too. Ah, I feel like a kid again!

At 6:43 PM, Blogger surly girl said...

in about the tail end of 1998, someone kindly told me about a nostradamus prophecy that the world would end on new year's eve 1999. well, thanks - i spent the following year in pretty much perpetual panic that it was all going tits-up on the stroke of midnight.

i hate being so easily persuaded...

At 7:19 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Surly girl:

Yep, those false alarms can be a real bitch.

I remember in Jr. High, we heard tell of some upcoming Apocalyptic disaster. My best friend, all of 14, turned to me and said, "Well, if the end of the world is nigh, I want to go out with a piece of cake in one hand and a dick in the other."

However, nowadays, I go by what Bob Dylan once wrote:

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger LloydChristmas69 said...

Elvira --

Sorry, but the flamers get the best of 'ol Lloyd. I just get real riled up by people who publish stuff that just begs to be ripped to shreds for humor's sake.

Your site is not among that group, though I'll try to visit regularly. Happy blogging and feel free to join in on the fun.

-- Lloyd

At 12:07 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


I'll drop by frequently to see who's being raked over the coals by Lloyd!

At 1:40 AM, Blogger Walker said...

Who wants to go out into this hot and muggy crap weather. Soon we will have cold slushy crap weather.
I brush aside nostradmus's predictions and the ones that look like they have happened are no more than people twisting then to conform to any significant episode in our history.
Bush has nothing to worry about any more, he got his second term so he need not worry about elections anymore and he will get his library. This is just a hinderance on hios big goodbye.
I bet if this had all happened in his first term he would have been there bailing water and giving out food personally for the vote.


At 2:04 AM, Blogger ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

Excellent post, I can relate to so much of it (though in my "own little way"). :-) I needn't comment too much on your political offerings here, as it would be like talking to myself...heheh...I 100% agree. As with several aspects of the personal observations however, I am right there: getting up late on a weekend when there are things you should be doing (and quickly dig around for the "best possible excuse"), zoning out in front of the TV, or (better yet) hanging out with the trusty ol' Mac having a festive time on the internet; I would rather be without a TV forever than without my computers and internet connection! I have not, however, gotten around yet to naming any of my computers...any suggestions?

Well, I am mostly "back from the dead" now; I think i have mostly (at least 90%!) pulled out of the Cymbalta mind-fuck and NEVER PLAN TO TAKE IT AGAIN. I've definitely developed a slight attitude at work, too (in terms of not wanting to put up with anyone walking on me like I'm a doormat or...worse yet!...a dead squirrel in the middle of the road, which is what I have been feeling like more often than not until recently). However, now that I'm back in the loop of life, I'll be around regularly. :-)

(take care!),

At 2:05 AM, Blogger ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

P.S. -- I'm still smoking like a chimney, too! :-)

At 3:32 AM, Blogger Justine said...

*What would they do here, blow up the Botanical Gardens?*

Good to see Bush acts the same at home as he does overseas though. I mean, at least he is consistent.

At 6:04 AM, Blogger JC said...

I too have been smoking like a fiend. I think it comes from being sooo pissed off about this whole thing....the Katrina thing. I am actually feeling pretty well due to my new Lamictal fix. At least my mind seems to be working.
I really can relate to being on guard for the next disaster and can also relate to zoning into the computer. I ceased living real life as soon as the internet hit the cornfields. I always did spend a lot of time living in my mind, now I spend a lot of time living online. Ah well....I enjoy it and at this point in time that is enough, as you said.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger jane said...

found you via weirdcake's blog & so glad i did! i'm also bipolar. your blog description had me in stiches! you've got a great writing style & it's probably no surprise, i agree with all of what you had to say.
blogging can be addictive, but so far, it's the safest form of addiction i've found.

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous janice said...

I feel as if I've stumbled upon my long lost, albeit more verbose, twin.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger !ce said...

I don't believe in prophets. I don't believe in anything. Bush fucks everything up. If you are able to find articles from foreign newspapers, you can really get a feel for how we look to the rest of the world. Actually, they know more about what's going on in the US than Americans. What I like is their style of writing. They got the 411, and they know they got the 411. At the same time, they don't lord it over us anywhere near as intensely as they could.

At 12:59 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks for helping me not feel too bad about my hermetic lifestyle. I'm hoping for some in-between fall weather, but not holding my breath yet...

The jury is still out in my twisted brain about the N-meister. The quote I picked is kinda lame, but I discovered that of course some of the supposed quatrains that sound really right on are inaccurate hodge-podges. The internet, of course, is chock full of these, so I had to double check this one.

There are many of us here who think that Bush's first term shouldn't have happened at all due to alleged irregularities in the vote count.

My b/f BG may be a directed in this regard, but he always tells me:

Why waste your time voting? "They" knew who would get in--the results were decided way ahead of time. And they're all puppets anyway.

A little fatalistic, but sometimes I think he's got a point there.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks--I think we share a lot of the same "issues," don't we (lol)?

A name for your computer...hmmm.. I think I could make a killing coming out with a "baby name" book for pc's and Mac's. Whadda ya think? Wanna get in on the ground floor and grab a piece of the action?

You go, girl--sometimes a bit of 'tude is just what the witch doc ordered.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


I figure this way we can always forage for berries and stuff if need be.

Dubya is, to my mind, the quintessential Ugly American--muscling his way in everywhere, getting his fingers into everything, without one ounce of remorse.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


You said it, g/f!

I am really becoming concerned because my lungs feel like they've been lined with sandpaper. Two rays of hope though: I recently got a chest x-ray and was a-ok (knock wood); and many years ago I managed to quit for five years. I think a bout of hypomania made me fall off the wagon that time.

Glad the Lamictil is working well--I've found it to be very effective too.

I can so relate to the living within one's own mind thing. I've always had that tendency too. BG is always complaining about me being perpetually huddled over the computer--but I do feel like I'm at least exercising my brain cells. Use em or lose em, right?

At 1:57 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


I'm so glad we've met each other thanks to AriK (thanks, A!) I just checked out and bookmarked your site and will be back--looks very cool! I couldn't resist peeking at the post about quitting smoking, complete with that horrific tongue pic--oy vey!

Yes, blogging is not as bad as some addictions, but I literally feel like I'm going through withdrawal if I have to be away from my Herman. It's a little creepy, actually...oh well!

At 2:01 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


That is so sweet of you to say! I hope you'll visit and comment again. Perhaps you'll even start up your own site soon--then us twins can get even more properly (re)acquainted!

At 2:07 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


That's a good point re: the media. Thanks to Broke's blog (Broken), I've followed his links to various Guardian articles and was quite impressed.

It also seems to me that a lot of things go un/under reported here. And how would you ever know that without some alternate source to compare it too?


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