the party

I love my dad. I don’t know if he reads this blog. Tonight was his birthday party. I went with my fiancée, Gerhard Richter’s Daughters.

 

GRD: It was weird. This one woman was mean to you.

Q:

GRD: And then Henry ate your headphones.

Q: Henry is our dog. These were the $2 Virgin America headphones I bought on the plane.

GRD: She … I don’t remember. She wasn’t making that much sense. First she thought you had to figure out what you were doing and get a job. Then she kept saying that farmers were going to ask you what you did with your life. Then she said your dad didn’t love you.

Q: Who the fuck was this lady? She was the wife of one of my dad’s golf buddies. At first it seemed like she was being playful, I went along with it. Then it turned nasty, and circular, and weird, and hateful. I did the thing I sometimes do in those situations, where I exaggerate and amplify the worst of what they’re saying, at my own expense — e.g., “no, you’re right, I don’t even know if he’s my real father. We all have chronic diarrhea.” Tell me about the lady with the daughter.

GRD: The lady with the daughter, who I hadn’t even met, stopped me and said, “hey, let me know if you need any advice about having a baby and a career at the same time.” That other woman asked us if it was our first marriage. And then Henry ate your headphones.

Q: My stepmom asked me if there was enough for me to eat, since I was vegan, in a tone of voice implying that vegans cannot possibly nourish themselves properly. The hateful golf wife also mocked my dietary choices, and called the magazine I used to work for “crunchy,” though she didn’t know anything about it. She said she was shocked when she found out my father had a son. She must hate my father. Do you think she is crazy?

GRD: Yeah. I don’t know if I think she’s crazy. I think she likes to talk alot and doesn’t think about what she’s saying and people think she’s funny or fiesty so she gets away with it but it doesn’t make sense or sometimes it makes sense but was confused about this issue. She’s been divorced twice and seems unhappy in this marriage and so she has a lot of strong feelings that were getting in the way of her logic.

Q: She was telling us not to get married.

GRD: I don’t know. It was confusing. I think she ultimately gave us her approval.

Q: If somehow my father or stepmother reads this, it’s not your fault. I love you. You have your faults, and so do I. I was irritated by this woman at your party, and now I’m writing about it on the internet. Henry ate my headphones. The farmers hate me. The other people at the party were kind. I was strongly reminded a few times — this was a party in Marin, Calif. — of The Serial (hat-tip blufugate)

“The Indie Yuppie”

Christian Lorentzen:

What would have happened to Kurt Cobain if he had pulled through his depression and come out the other end to experience the joys of fatherhood? He may well have stopped touring, moved his family to a co-op on the Upper West Side, had a few more kids, applied his considerable literary talents to writing prose, mellowed into the drollery of prosperous middle age, developed a taste for smoked mozzarella, and become a New Yorker staff writer. In the final analysis, Kurt Cobain and Adam Gopnik are the same person, and all of us are that person, too. Me and you and everyone we know.

CSR

AG: …and have been published or are forthcoming in ROAPE, Mouthwagon, and Came-Tree.

AL: So you’re a freelance writer? Is that how you pay the bills?

AG: Periodicals publish my writing, yes, but I’m not a freelancer. I’m a writer.

AL: Fine, right. OK. But how do you make money?

AG: I don’t, really. I’ve been living off my savings. Raising my son.

AL: That sounds nice…

AG: It is. I started a pomegranate orchard in my yard.

AL: So money’s not a problem?

AG: Not right now, anyway. I might start volunteering with this political pain intellectual suffering charity thing soon

AL: But that’s volunteer, so they won’t be paying you?

AG: Right. I guess that won’t make any money. But it’ll take time, so the day won’t be quite so empty…

AL: Lots of people don’t have that luxury. They have these awesome sprawling narratives inside them, but they have to work to pay the

AG: Yeah, I know, I realize that it’s a luxury not to have to work and to get to write about fictional people all day. What’s your point?

AL: I guess… I just want you to know… that I wish some of those people… the writers who have to waste their days answering customer service emails, while you grow pomegranates and write stupid poems about pomegranates that are published in

AG: …periodicals including Roiphe’s Bones, College Radio Fiction, AGNI…

AL: … I wish those people who have no choice but to struggle and waste their time on unsatisfying labor could have even a few minutes with you in a  dark room with a whiffle-ball bat, making you feel extremely uncomfortable. It wouldn’t take much. That’d be justice, by my lights

AG: Damn your lights. I may not need to answer customer service emails all day but when I write my poems, some of which have explicitly taken up as their subject the suffering of the customer service representative, I am forced to experience the pain and the boredom and the angst and everything that the CSR feels. So being a writer isn’t any better than being a CSR, at least as long as you’re writing about the great struggles of modernity — the struggle of the Customer Service Representative — which I am. Which I hope I am. Maybe I should write about horny teens in paradise. It might be more fun…

AL: Can I have another one of those…

AG: They’re called “Flynt Martinis.” Help yourself.