Monday, July 28, 2008

Wastin' Away Again In My Gorilla Suit...

That's one of my favorite misheard lyrics from I love the vivid mental image, and I've got the feeling of doing something that would ordinarily be interesting over and over until it's just what you do every day. Yes, I'm painting again. And it's a bathroom again (we had the new one built partly so we could have a wet wall in the old one replaced and not have to take all four of us to visit friends or get a hotel room in order to shower). So it's back to cleaning up dust and painting primer on drywall.

I've been reading a book that I found on vacation. I thought it had a good title: I Was Told There'd Be Cake. Also the first essay was interesting; about how the author, Sloane Crosley, always said she wanted a pony when anyone ever asked what she wanted. I've said this myself, so was intrigued by her tale of a collection of plastic ponies under her kitchen sink, from former boyfriends who brought her one to make her dreams come true.

The essays never take off, though. They never become more than what they are, the moderately well-written musings of a white girl from the suburbs of New York City. Despite promising titles (my favorite is Bring Your Machete To Work Day), there's no big laugh or payoff in terms of insight into human nature. It's just one girl and her thoughts, which are far too detailed and insular for most of us to share. Bring Your Machete To Work Day turns out to be about a video game she played at the age of 13, called Oregon Trail, which made her feel empowered.

We're happy for you, dear.

Maybe my expectations were too high, because the cover compares her to David Sedaris and features someone named Jonathan Lethem saying that "she seems to be telling the truth, helplessly." I don't know; it seemed to me that she was embroidering the truth of her ordinary life to make it seem more exciting. The most unusual thing about her is that when she loses her wallet in NYC, she always gets it back, usually with the contents intact.

I did like some of her responses to people about being a vegetarian, especially the inevitable question about why she wears shoes made of leather or suede when she refuses to eat animals. Here's her stock answer: "Because I'm not going to eat my boots, that's why. There's a big difference between stepping on something and making it a part of you." She reveals "the secret craving of every vegetarian: bacon," and says that "it's very hard to be a girl and say you won't eat something. Refuse one plate of bacon-wrapped pork rinds and you're an anorexic. Accept them and you're on Adkins. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and you're bulimic." Or maybe it's just because you're going out for dinner in NYC, Sloane.

If you're a Manhattanite or just a wanna-be (a lover of early Woody Allen movies, perhaps), you might like this book. If you're tired of the often-pretentious troubles of the privileged urban dweller, take my advice and skip it. I'm going to need another book in my head to give me something to think about as I paint.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Also reviewed by Kim: