R.E.C. and I have set this site to ‘private’ for some time now. There are some things I’ve written on it that I’m not proud of. I wasn’t exactly proud of them when I wrote them, either, but I still wanted to write them on the odd, shape-shifting palimpsest that is our Internet. I could have written them on a Word document if I really didn’t want them to become public, and I take full responsibility for that decision, even though it has caused me and people I wrote about pain. There are still people who I hope will never read this site, which I know is unreasonable, like leaving a diary open and saying “but don’t read it!” Nevertheless, I hope.

The reason that I’m making the site public again is because I want anyone who cares, if anyone does, to be able to read my side of the story and form their own conclusions. In the magazine article that Josh wrote about my having written about him on this blog, he made it sound like I had created this site in order to smear his reputation, which he found “creepy.” Well, yeah, that does sound creepy! But I think it would be hard to read all the posts that Ruth and I wrote and conclude that we were doing anything other than writing, for each other and whoever else wanted to know, about what our lives were like in the aftermath of long-term relationships, from manic rebound highs to depressive lows. Josh also made it sound like the impulse to share details of your private life with strangers was completely alien to him — in an article where he shared details of his private life with strangers. I hardly need to point out the irony there, except maybe I do, because it seems to have eluded him.

When you write about things as they’re happening — which is what most people do on blogs — you lose perspective, or rather, your perspective shrinks, so that only a tiny slice of your reality gets recorded. The cumulative impact of several months’ worth of posts can lead to an entirely different conclusion than a few snippets taken out of context. This is the danger of blogging and also its seductive charm. It’s so easy and fun to report on your current state of mind and your opinions, especially when you have strong feelings, and strong feelings are also fun to read about. You hated that movie! You’re in love with that guy! That person’s a douchebag!

Unfettered self-expression has its drawbacks, though. Like: what if you change your mind? What if you learn some things that make you feel entirely differently about that person, that movie, that guy? The version you recorded is still perpetually available, making you seem wishy-washy or, worse, like a liar if you flip-flop now. Your problem now becomes that the most popular result of a Google search becomes “the truth,” even if you’d like it to be otherwise.

Well: You can’t control what people think, and who cares what they think anyway? By now, the only person who really cares about this stuff is you, and maybe Nick Denton because he is, among other things, a pervert who delights in other people’s misfortunes. Josh is busy altering his odd sweaters with the $2K he got for his article and probably doesn’t give a shit about anything but that money, and the fact that the whole little scandal gave Gawker commenters another opportunity to marvel at the musculature of his torso. It’s better to leave well enough alone, take the high road, and just try to forget about the whole thing.

Well, obviously I couldn’t quite do that. But I also won’t go through that article point by point and refute what I think its omissions and inaccuracies are or try to revise history by erasing or altering anything I’ve written here, tempting as it is to do so.

I made some mistakes, it’s true. Writing this may well be another! But I am not going to shut up just because I might regret what I’ve said later. That might be the smart thing to do, and I’ve tried to, but I can’t. It must be because I’m a blogger.

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My happiest moments in San Francisco were spent lying alongside RC in her cozy bed, dozy from her Vicodin, watching tv like invalids. We watched The Office and The Sopranos. We also watched a French movie that tracked the course of a terrible marriage backwards, from divorce to first meeting.

Neither of us could understand what the couple’s marriage was supposed to have been founded on in the first place: deep compatibility? Pure animal lust?  Love? Love wasn’t telegraphed in this movie the way it is in American movies, with wide-eyed staring, breathy whispers and smiles. Maybe the couple was in love and I just have no idea what that’s supposed to look like anymore.

We walked around in Golden Gate Park which, like a lot of other things about San Francisco, is incredibly pretty in the abstract, but grimy and depressing up close.  We walked along a lush forest path, everything extra green and enlivened by the soaking rain that had fallen nonstop for the first two days of my visit.

(Also it was very windy and cold and no one has heat in their houses, I feel obligated to point out!)

Anyway we walked  along, smelling the eucalyptus and pine, avoiding eye contact with the grimy people who live in the park (“It’s like an outdoor music festival with no music,” RC had explained earlier).  We started talking about how she thinks her exboyfriend never loved her. I eventually got her to amend this to: He never loved her, based on her definition of “love.” From what I know about them, this seems accurate. She said she wished she’d never gotten back together after the first time they broke up.

And I remembered, for the first time in a long time, about how, a couple months into our so-intense-so-fast relationship (I’ll never be that young and trusting again!), William had freaked out and tried to break up with me and I hadn’t let him.

I sat on his lap in the kitchen and deployed the biggest weapon in my arsenal. It was the only weapon in my arsenal, actually.  Also it had only just then occured to me. I asked him to imagine me with someone else and, because he couldn’t imagine that, he stayed with me. I wonder whether it should have ended then. I wonder what the past six years of my life would’ve been like.

RC’s relationship totally should have ended the first time it ended, right? Or maybe there’s a purpose to everything she’s suffered since. Does all suffering have to have a purpose? Does any suffering ever have a purpose?

Anyway later we went to a teahouse that had at least forty floridly described varieties of tea on its menu. One had been specially blended for the Dalai Lama. Another was described as being somehow like the thundering hooves of a herd of majestic stallions.

San Francisco!

RC sat across from me, dipping green tea cookies into her $6 chai. “I wonder if I’ll ever date anyone again,” she mused.

I got ready to launch into “Don’t be ridiculous, of course you will, and sooner than you think,” but it was late in my visit and each of us had given the other one so many hollow pep talks by then, all the words had been said so I stopped a few words in.  I ate a bite of cookie.  It was delicious.

“I wonder if I’ll ever love anyone again,” I said.

Then we sat there silently for a while, stabbing our forks into a little puddle of green tea mousse and then into the fudge brownie alongside it.  It was an unexpectedly good flavor combination.  San Francisco does have the most amazing food.

“This is my little brother Ben. He’s a hippie,” I told Patrick, who owns the friendly cafe a block away from my house where I always feel bad about noticing movie stars, because they have so obviously come here to be safe in a homey little corner of Brooklyn where no one will recognize them. (However, someone once sent a sighting of ME at the Victory to the Gawker Stalker tip line, so this is a delusion on everybody’s part).

“Nice to meet you, Ben,” Patrick said, and told us a story about how he used to steal pot from hippies when he was 11. Then he gave us a free breakfast. I really like Patrick.

Ben rolled his eyes. He doesn’t especially like being called a hippie, but that’s what he is. Personally I would be a little bit flattered if someone called me a hippie, but I guess that’s one of the differences between being a (semi) adult person who has always had a job who, like, has some tattoos and will order her entree with brown rice instead of white if that’s an option and being an almost 22 year old male college sophomore with long, long Jesus hair who has spent time — like, years — living on actual communes.

Anyway, Ben and I took our tea and bagels and walked to the Flatbush Avenue Long Island railroad station, where we caught the train to Rockville Center to attend our grandfather’s funeral.

The funeral home was lame as fuck, not at all like Fisher and Sons. I found myself wondering whether a small cottage industry of Fisher and Sons-themed funeral homes has sprung up to tend to the deathtime needs of hardcore Six Feet Under fans, and whether it would be possible for me to have my funeral at one, and whether I would actually want to do that. I also mused about a lot of more appropriately somber things as I sat on some fake-fancy furniture with my family, facing away from the corner of the room with my grandfather’s coffin in it.

I really appreciate about Judaism that everyone gets buried in the same unvarnished wooden crate. It was jarring to actually see it, though. The funeral director came and made my Dad look in the coffin, which I guess is an important duty that someone has to do. This started a mini-trend of people looking in the coffin: My aunt and my brother both did. “He looks good, he looks good,” my aunt kept repeating. My brother said he wished he hadn’t looked.

I felt like I was being chicken, but I was not about to go look in the coffin.

I have seen the going-out-to-the-graveyard scene in a hundred movies and tv shows but this was my first time experiencing it, and those tv shows and movies have it right, pretty much. People in black stand in the wintry, windswept graveyard looking stoic while a priest or in this case a rabbi says a couple of things, and occasionally the people burst into tears. Again, Judaism has a good aspect: everyone shovels a ceremonial shovelful of dirt into the grave. The dirt makes a loud plopping sound as it hits the coffin. When you see a coffin lying in a grave as you shovel dirt on top of it, you cannot help but realize that the person in the coffin really is dead.

Afterwards, we spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on the couch in my grandparents’ apartment, eating cold cuts and rugelach. For the next few hours, old people and middle aged people were talking about movies they’ve seen recently, what their grandchildren are up to, doesn’t Medicare suck, what medications they’re on, and other old-people topics. I kind of wished that someone wanted to talk about like ‘death, man, what is up with that’ but a funeral isn’t really the appropriate venue for that kind of conversation.

However, the rest of the evening, which I spent with my little brother at my apartment, completely was the appropriate venue for that kind of conversation. We talked, not only about ‘death, what is up’ but also: ‘is the government spying on us at all times (yes)’, ‘capitalism is so so so so bad’, and also ‘consumerism, corporations, and global agribusiness are so so so so bad’. We talked about ‘basically we live in the Matrix’ and about the commune in Hawaii Ben’s hoping to start. It was equal parts bleak and fun and annoying. Along the way, we — or really Ben — made some soup out of the vegetal contents of my fridge. We ate it with a salad and some Irish soda bread.

Hippie Soup (tastes especially good if the only thing you’ve eaten all day is a bagel and some funeral meat)

One can black beans

One can whole tomatoes

a few cloves of minced garlic

a diced onion

Whatever vegetables are in your fridge. I had:

Half a head of Savoy cabbage

Four potatoes

A parsnip

Saute the onion and garlic. Dice the potato but leave the skin on. Remember, you’re a hippie! Slice up the cabbage and the parsnip and add those too. Add the beans and the tomato, salt and pepper, and a bunch of water. Simmer until the veggies are soft.

Irish soda bread

2 cups of preferably bread flour but it’s not like I have bread flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup buttermilk or failing that, milk or even (this worked!) soymilk with a splash of vinegar added

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together (or just whisk together) the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk or faux-buttermilk and knead on a well-floured surface for about a minute. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Shape into two mini-loaves and place them on a greased cookie sheet, scoring across the top with a sharp knife. Bake for 45 minutes. Try to let them cool before you eat them.

You’d think a hippie would use whole wheat flour but life is too short for that bullshit.

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In the trash room of my parents’ new condo in Coconut Grove, you can press a button to tell the trash chute what kind of trash it will be receiving: periodicals, cans and bottles, or regular garbage. The hallways are plush-carpeted and floral-scented. Even the gym, which is just a largeish mirrored room full of different kinds of brand new exercise equipment, is plush-carpeted and floral-scented. Everything is done in subtle, soothing shades of cream and pale brick red and pale green, and in the hallways there are large oil paintings of dead pheasants and tapestries and heavy chandeliers. It’s like a cartoon about the idea of luxury, sort of like how Florida is a cartoon about the idea of paradise.

Today we went to a big manicured tropical garden where my mom has purchased a membership and we walked around the man-made ponds and waterfalls looking at hypertrophic versions of familiar houseplants. There was an iguana with a ruff around its neck and I moved too close to it and made it hurriedly clamber up a palm tree.

On her cel phone, my mom was talking to my little brother about the plans for my grandfather’s funeral, so I didn’t have to smile or make conversation and I could just walk around and think about whatever was in my head. I stared up at the perfect blue sky, dotted with fluffy white clouds. I bent my head and took a big whiff of some little purple flowers so sweet-smelling they didn’t even smell real. I felt the warmth of the sun and the slight balmy breeze on my bare arms. I tried to absorb it all through my eyes and my pores, like it was some kind of medicine. I tried to remind myself that beauty is here for us to enjoy, and that we are here to enjoy beauty.

But I didn’t start feeling better. I keep not starting to feel better. There’s nothing I want to do and nothing that I want to think and nothing that I want to say. There’s no one I want to talk to and no place I want to go. And there’s nothing I want to eat. I haven’t been hungry in weeks.


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