The September Project

Thursday, September 02, 2004

9.16.04--10:49 p.m.

last night i gave my sis and her daughter the room i normally stay in,
and slept in the den on the couch,
grabbing three awful hours,
if that.
an then everybody up early
to drive to my sister's synagogue for rosh hashannah.
and between the little sleep
and the prospect of dealing with her abusive husband,
i stayed in,
watching tv,
eating english muffins with cream cheese,
drinking store brand crystal light,
and taking a long afternoon nap
to try to gain back last night's hours that i never can.
my parents have lunch in my sister's backyard
so they can steer clear of her husband,
but he was inside so that didn't work,
like when he sprayed water into the bathroom,
and onto my mother,
from the backyard hose.
my folks came home
and over dinner they told me my sister was contacting a lawyer next week,
and is going to be staying in her house,
with her husband,
with the hope of getting him out of the house
and receiving support payments.
i told them i dont believe it.
it's the weird thing of wanting to be supportive of people,
how they ask you to be there,
and you are,
and then they say, my bad, everything's cool.
after awhile they become the boy, or girl, who cried wolf,
and you don't know what to do the next time they ask for help
only that you want to help them.
i made a pact with myself
to never be in a room with her husband again
and it's one i'll keep
regardless of what family functions i'll miss.
it's a little gift to myself,
and the only one in this that i have only control over.

9.18.04-3:30 a.m.
(really 9.17.04)

it was a lazy day for the kirschenbaum family today.
we didn't eat anything until noon,
and then, as it edged into my mother's soap operas,
days of our lives beginning at 1 o'clock,
i asked them if they were going to come downstairs,
meaning to the den,
to watch,
because when i'm home i like to spend the time with my folks,
even if it means soap operas as the white noise.
no, i think we're going to lay down for a while,
my mom said,
so i decided that that sounded like a good idea,
checked my email,
put the computer to sleep,
and turned the radio timer on for 45 minutes,
and listened to mike and the maddog talking about the ryder cup,
falling asleep before they discussed the yankee-red sox series starting tonight.

9.19.04--2:53 a.m.
(really 9.18.04)

saw bend it like beckham tonight
on one of the many hbo's my folks cable has.
first time since i saw it in the theater.
it's one of the few movies i've wanted to own,
but since i have only seen it the once
wondered if it was as good as i remembered
of if i was remembering it better than it was.
and then,
after okay american splendor,
i turn to bend it like beckham,
and it is as good
and it is better.
sports and romance and family,
and i am more in love with Parminder Nagra than ever before,
i know this much is true,
i do.

9.20.04--12:18 a.m.
(really 9.19.04)

my folks have been urging me,
for years,
to go to a meeting of the H.E.S.A.,
the Harry E. Slonaker Association,
this group of people who grew up on the Lower East Side,
and their children and their children.
It's partially like some club,
some way to see the people from the old neighborhood on a regular basis.
But it's the other part that's why my folks urge me to go to the meetings.
See, you join the society you get a cemetery plot,
it's how all these groups work,
taking care of their own so that when the time comes
they're tooken care of.
And though I went to a meeting years ago
I've never joined
and always find a reason to opt out of going.
Today it was good enough to say I'm not up to it,
a pain free escape if ever I had one.
I'm gonna join soon enough,
if only to calm my folks,
who worry about who will provide the net once they're gone.

9.21.04--1:19 a.m.
(really 9.20.04)

my therapist tells me that there are five topics you're supposed to discuss each session--
past, present, dreams, our relationship, and sex.
so i spent the majority of the beginning of the session detailing the present--
my sister's dilemma with her husband.
then at one of the pauses when i look out the pre-war window
onto the courtyard, the back-facing building's ivy, the person in the window who always seems to be staring at me,
i started to run through the five things in my head,
figuring out which ones i still needed to cover.
i had dealt with the past--
the boxes of mine my parents have removed from the attic as they get a new roof put in,
and which they want me to take to my apartment or discard.
i hadn't written down my dream from the other night at my folks,
still a bit thrown from the sister scene.
i went to our relationship.
not a lot to talk about there i said,
though you are talking a bit more than usual.
Is that okay, she asked?
Yeah, it's great, I wish you'd talk more,
otherwise I think you're doing the jumble back there.
That left sex.
The first comment is always that I haven't gotten any.
From there we slide into phone sex and cyber sex, and, today's topic, roleplaying.
I was in the 40s love room,
even though i'm 37,
because the 30s room is filled with bots run amuck.
And someone saying they were a 13 f looking for an older male messaged the room.
I im'd them,
unsure of their age or gender, not caring,
and they wanted to father-daughter punishment roleplay,
but not sexually.
Depending on my mood i'd go elsewhere,
but it was early and i thought i could sway her.
And little by little i did,
having the punishment be a spanking,
progressing to a different scene where i catch her and a boy in the house,
her bra on the floor,
to a third scene,
with her and a boy again,
but this time her panties joining the bra on the floor.
She plays this scene out a bit,
then decides to end it.
My therapist interjects.
Isn't it awkward,
I mean, how do you …
i either type lefty or alternate between typing and pleasuring, i say.
but i have a headset for my phone.
Ah yes, she says. Handsfree.

9.22.04--1:58 a.m.
(really 9.21.04)

i'm trying to date when i showered last.
i went out to long island last wednesday for rosh hashannah unshowered,
before that a mets game on sunday
and a boog event on friday.
i know i showered for one of them,
most likely the boog event,
because why bathe for jean-paul and the mets.
so that places last shower at friday morning september 10,
meaning when i wake in six or so hours it will be 12 days since last shower.

i can't remember when in my semi-functioning life i've gone so long.
i mean, when shutting it down during months long depressions
i'd go a month, easy, without changing my clothes,
no less showering.
even in my semi-functioning states i make sure to shower weekly,
but here five days pre-holiday,
then no going to synagogue because of sister's abusive husband,
and now back in my apartment for two days.

my scalp is feeling particularly crunchy,
me picking the same flakes in the morning and the evening.
little white- and blackheads are cropping up all over my body,
which, well, i quite enjoy while popping and watching them ooze.

it's also that my shower head is kinda broken
and i've been lazy to call my building's maintenance department.
turn the shower head too far in a direction
and it pops off into yr hand,
and one giant stream of water pounds you in the middle of yr chest.

i think i also may be getting a smelly ass.
and that's when you've gone too far with the not showering.

so, although there are no plans for tomorrow,
i'm planning to shower.
i just bought a new corn starch powder, too.

9.23.04--2:26 a.m.
(really 9.22.04)

left the church early tonight,
the event not quite over.
i'm not a fan of artists exceeding their grasp.
like jordan playing baseball,
it just doesn't work.

so, i left the church early tonight
and turning down 11th street,
on the far side of the street,
saw a young woman panhandling.
this is one of two streets by the church
where i've paid for sex,
going back to new year's marathon in 1993.
(there's always that fear that someone from a poproj reading will see me pick up a girl
but it hasn't happened yet.)

But the panhandling woman seemed like she would be into a date
and she was.
and we walked back to the church to get her girlfriend
who was sitting at the edge of the lawn,
walked to an atm on third ave,
set a price of $60 for half and half,
and against my better judgment gave $40 to the girlfriend,
who then split to feed their cat.

and me and chery headed back to my apartment,
grabbing a heineken 40 and a pack of camels for her
two-liter bottles of diet sunkist and caffeine free diet pepsi for me.

and she headed out to the terrace for a smoke and drink,
while i sat on the bed and relaxed.

online yesterday,
a woman asked me when the last time i had sex was,
and i had to think,
and finally realized it was during a threeway in march 2002,
discounting paying for it.
and i guess part of this was answering that,
part of it.

and then we took our clothes off,
the first time i'd seen a naked woman since the threeway girl a little over a year ago.
"have you ever been out on yr terrace naked?" she asked
no, i told her.
"well, let's do it."
and she grabbed her smokes
and we small talked out there for awhile about nothing i remember.

and then we came in,
flipped through the cable music choice channels,
and when she heard "music man" by heart
we stopped on the classic rock channel,
and then had a little fun,
her not rushing it,
which is always nice.

and then i did what my brother taught me,
but i didn't have to pee,
so i washed it off.

then paid her the difference from what her gf took,
and told her how to leave the building.

it felt ok afterwards,
which sometimes it doesn't.
except that i can't really afford $60, well, $70 with a tip,
when i'm working the low-hourly wage job, still.
but other than that, was swell.

9.24.04--1:27 a.m.
(really 9.23.04)

tomorrow night is Kol Nidre,
the holiest night in the Jewish religion,
the beginning of the highest of the high holidays, Yom Kippur,
and i'll be spending it alone.
my folks and i have tickets to my sister's synagogue,
but after the abuse everyone at my sister's home received from her husband last week as Rosh Hashannah began
we won't be going there.
i mean, my mom said we could go there,
but i just don't feel right going there.
and my folks didn't pay their synagogue dues,
meaning no tickets to there for the high holidays.
and for 10 days my mother has said she was going to call the rabbi there,
see if we could just buy tix and not a membership,
considering the situation,
but, as always, she slacked.
and so this evening a call comes my way,
and i tell my mother i'm not coming to their house tomorrow,
that i can sit in my apartment alone and fast,
why travel to long island if we're not even going to schul.
and my voice was heightened,
the tension and anger at last week present,
and my resolution that this is what i was planning on doing not wanting to be upset.
but i still have the feeling that i'll wake up in the morning,
pack an overnight bag,
and go,
because that's what they raised me to do.

9.25.04--5:16 a.m.
(really 9.24.04)

i thought about going to my folks for yom kippur
decided not to go when i left for work
and then thought throughout the day
about going to my folks for yom kippur
about going in just the clothes i had on,
and thought that i'd have to wear the same clothes for two days,
and i didn't feel like coming home saturday night,
but the met game was on sunday
and the tickets were in my apartment,
and i had laundry to do,
and we weren't going to schul anyway
because we had tickets to my sister and her abusive husband's synagogue
and we didn't want to go there
and mom hadn't called their local schul to see if we could get tickets
and so it was basically sit in my folks' house and fast
or sit in my house and fast
and, really, i just didn't feel like going,
felt like being with just me this weekend.
so i called my folks a few minutes before the fast was to begin
and we wished each other easy ones and said our goodbyes.

9.26.04--1:45 a.m.
(really 9.25.04)

my fast didn't last long this yom kippur
the little sleep of the past week
the headaches and head-nod minute naps
all added up to me falling asleep shortly after the fast began at 6:31 p.m.
waking up 9ish
watching tv, surfing the net, and doing boog event and pub planning,
all the while my forehead pulsating,
me quickly generating more spit in my mouth to drink,
until 12:30 a.m. when i said
fuck it, i'm kosher, G-d won't be mad,
and if he is, fuck it,
and i poured 20 ounces of diet sunkist
into my plastic Mets tumbler
and had a drink,
which felt better then any drink i've ever had,
excluding the water from my grey, red, cream, and blue wool covered canteen during boyhood hikes at Camp Wabenaki.
and so i decided to make it a liquid fast,
and i stayed up until six a.m.,
finished that two-liter bottle of diet sunkist,
and another of caffeine free diet pepsi,
slept ’til 11 and poured some more diet sunkist,
my head still not great,
until at 4:30 p.m.,
three hours before the fast should have ended,
i ate the greek salad i ordered last night but didn't touch,
the cucumbers softened to where they now bent,
the tomatoes were still crisp.

9.27.04--10:28 a.m.
(really 9.26.04)

do not drink a 64 ounce container of grapefruit juice in one sitting,
even if that sitting is a three-hour long met game,
because then you will have the runs for the rest of the night.
let's go mets.

9.28.04--12:09 a.m.
(really 9.27.04)

the bathroom is looking grungy,
us not calling the cleaning lady for months.
every so often we do a slight clean of the toilet or the sink,
which doesn't really drain anymore,
it a race to wash your hands
before the dirty water in the basin reaches your now clean hands.
and when you rotate the shower head too far in either direction it flies off,
and you're hit with a concentrated burst of water.
and the toilet seat has a crack through the right side,
so occasionally your right cheek gets caught in the crack,
and as you move you feel a painful pinch.
so this morning,
readying for work,
i sit down on the toilet,
go to wipe myself
and feel something sliding beneath me,
and half-stand up to notice the crack is now matched on the left side,
the toilet seat is now two half-toilet seats.
so i finish wiping,
race to clean my hands before the basin water dirties them again,
and call the building's maintenance department.
and now the toilet seat shines that bathroom white bright,
and there are no more races in the basin
(which a part of me misses already),
and my massaging shower hose awaits me.

9.29.04--12:50 a.m.
(really 9.28.04)

leaving for work at 10 o'clock,
later than i'd hoped this morning,
i open the door,
garbage and keys in my right hand,
the left one pulling the door in,
and i see three sets of papers taped to my door,
pull them off,
lock my door,
and go sit on my bed.

i've been served by my building for back rent,
which i'd been expecting,
i just wasn't expecting the server not to ring my bell,
and instead tape it to my door,
so anyone on my floor could see what i owe, what i pay in rent.

i called my best friend ian, who'se also my lawyer,
and he said nicely, "like i told you before,
i can't help you with new york city real estate law,"
and he suggested i call legal aid.
so i left for work,
since i'm an hourly wage worker,
and called legal aid from there,
was reassured that this was only procedural,
that i had five days to go to court and get a court date,
at which time the building, the court, and i would work out a settlement.

but it's getting tougher not to resent my roommate,
who i've known for years,
because if he had paid his rent on time this summer
none of this would've happened,
no court dates and legal aid,
no judges and lawyers, and their fees.
my roommate still owes me half of september's rent,
and october is 47 hours away.
it's gotten to where i'm looking at him reading the sunday times and thinking,
"motherfucker, that's my four dollars you're reading.
Go to the library for now on and give me the money."
or how he's cooked only a handful of meals since moving in,
and bought alcohol and pot,
all with, well, my money.
i've enjoyed the late night conversation about politics, the mets, and albany,
but i'm reminiscing upon my last roommate,
who for most of his time in my place we just made small talk,
and the rent was paid on-time or early each month.

9.30.04--6:09 p.m.
(really 9.29.04)

had the talk with my roommate,
explained to him,
that i have to go to court because he didn't pay his rent on-time.

i still have faith in people,
even when they fuck me over,
so i haven't mentioned to him that maybe he should move out,
in hopes that he'll finally catch up on the back rent now that he just started a full-time job at a decent wage.

i'm trying not to be the guy who turns my apartment door's second lock,
the one he doesn't have the key for,
and holds his possessions hostage
for the back rent,

10.01.04--1:45 a.m.
(really 9.30.04)

first debate tonight
and i check in every so often
happy i have digital cable
so the alternatives are multiplied
eventually settling on a diagnossis murder rerun
where four female cops are killing bad guys,
then affixing donor stickers on the bad guys' driver's licenses
so their organs will be harvested,
and help people who they cops have determined have blood matches live.
there wasn't much of dick van dyke in the episode,
making me think they might've been planning two spin-off the two female cops who caught the four bad female cops,
but i don't remember this ever happening.
my dad called to see if i noticed how bush really looks like alfred e. neuman,
asking how can anyone vote for him.
i'm not watching i said,
flipping to it every so often,
i already know i'm voting green,
nothing bush or kerry say is going to sway me anyhow.
i was just remembering that whenever i see dick van dyke i think of the fire safety campaign from when i was a boy,
him dropping to the ground and demonstrating "stop, drop, and roll,"
that's all.


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