Water, Seven Ways
A tasting menu.
A Drawer Full of Water
The other night I hopped into the shower before being interrupted by a knock at my bathroom door. I clambered to my feet from where I’d hunched, curled in a ball, on the tub floor, flung back the shower curtain, and demanded, “Yes?”
“Something’s flooding,” came a meek response from across the threshold. I turned the knob, and there stood my roommate and his ex-boyfriend (whom he’s getting back together with, despite us bonding over our respective breakups when we first moved in together). At their feet, a large, rapidly expanding puddle of water steadily engulfed our living room.
How did this happen? It’s a line uttered by Colette in Ratatouille, and a thought that entered my head as I stood staring at the metastasizing pond headed for our bedrooms. The answer became clear in another instant: my bathroom sink, which has refused to drain properly since I moved in and as such has developed a permanently congealing crust of toothpaste residue across the basin, had been left on.
I leapt from the shower and began throwing towels at the problem, somehow formulating the situation into being my roommate’s fault in my head and privately glowering about my ruined shower experience. The burgeoning Great Lake was dehydrated out of existence and everything seemed to return to its natural order.
A week or two later, I needed to access the drawer in my bathroom sink. When I opened it I was startled to see four or five inches of water quivering up at me from within. My butt plug, a box of Band-Aids, a box of Q-tips, and my douche bulb floated inside, seeming to tremble with fear at their unexpectedly aquatic surroundings.
For a good long while I stared down at the scene, trying to figure out how it worked metaphorically. Did the Q-tips and the buttblug represent my sex life and/or my attempts at self-preservation? Unexpectedly submerged and festering in fetid water, did the whole image say something about my carelessness leading to the destruction of all that had been carefully kept shining bright and pure?
When I began to gingerly remove the drawer’s non-liquid contents from the waterbox, I discovered the water to be thicker than expected, viscous, coating each of its victims in a slimy film. I shoved an old beach towel into the drawer and left it there for a week to soak up the slippery sludge.
The Paul Dano Effect
There are three actors in this world whom I cannot bear to even look at. Something about them makes me feel physically ill. The chief officer among this unholy trinity is Paul Dano. I cannot look at him. I’m sorry. I don’t think he’s good at acting and I don’t think he should be in things. It’s a shame, because I do love Little Miss Sunshine. But the fact he’s in it makes it difficult to stomach. I call this unfortunate reality The Paul Dano Effect.
The second actor who falls into this phenomenon is the guy who plays Andy on The Office — Ed Helms, that’s his name. I love The Office, but in the episodes where he’s featured prominently I become so ill I have to shut the whole thing off and take some deep breaths, so deep is my hatred.
The third is, unfortunately, Matt Smith, who now plays a character that is supposed to be extremely fuckable on House of the Dragon. It’s extra off-putting because in this Game of Thrones prequel the scope is far smaller, the list of main characters shorter, meaning we will be spending quite a bit of time with Mr. Smith, whom I simply cannot digest properly (if I had a nickel). Still, that aside, I am enjoying the series, and am hoping his character can be eaten alive by crabs soon. Also, ever since I saw this video of him doing pushups and playing limbo I’m beginning to wonder if I may have spoken too soon.
While I’ve never fully understood the expression, I think it’s safe to say all three of these men have watery faces.
Rain Dripping Into A Coffee Cup
Rain came. I stomped through the streets of Greenpoint with an inflating pimple perched upon my lip, carrying a cup of free stale coffee, the main perk of serving as a production assistant on P*****t R****y. Raindrops landed in my open cup. I drank it anyway, wondering if the fresh ingredient might enhance the taste.
That afternoon I sat in the production van, letting the patter of rain on the windshield harmonize as best it could with the clicking of the hazard lights as I parked illegally, waiting for a new task.
My old friend from college called me out of the blue. The chimes of the ringtone blared out on the car speaker. My ancient pal delivered me some shocking news — it concerned a sighting of my ex, whom I’d presumed was still laboring away at his film in England. Even though it has earned Olivia Rodrigo, Adele, and countless other female scribes Grammys in the past, I shall restrain myself from explaining the situation further, for now, in the interest of dignity — a word I’ve previously considered myself antithetical to.
I hung up on my friend. I cried, hard, til I couldn’t breathe, and I wished I could permanently vanish into thin air. My wish was not granted.
The rain warped the windows and distorted the haunted neighborhood outside.
Plumes Parting Beneath Ferries
I went to Fire Island for a day trip and blacked out in a Dolls Kill tanktop and a metal speedo I’d purchased off of Instagram. Ketamine and Vodka and rejection coursed through my veins, while the mist of the Atlantic sprayed my face (or so I’m told) as, completely lost to the hypnotic grip of alcohol, I boarded the Ferry home with my friends.
The water crashed beneath us, the wake looking like white feather boas against the black sea. Drunk as all hell, my gays and I puffed at cigarettes and were commanded
by the nautical crew to put them out, or they “were going to stop the boat.”
“Stop the boat, then,” I croaked with venom, taunting them like the wasted little asshole ex-twink I was. “Go on, stop the boat, and we can all just sit here.”
We made it to port safely and on time.
One day a gay guy reached out to me on Grindr and asked to take my photo. Never one to turn down the chance to be objectified, I acquiesced. I knew only that the nude he’d sent saw him sporting a gas mask, and that I’d been instructed to bring my white Calvins and a jockstrap.
Inside his studio, I was immediately put at ease when I saw pictures of several people I knew plastered to the tall concrete walls. I shimmied out of my clothes and into my jockstrap, feeling desirable for once as the tattooed photographer eyed my figure appreciatively.
He explained he was working on a series involving large wads of plastic wrap, and proceeded to wrap my head in a cloud of translucent tarp and masking tape while I breathed through a cardboard tube, saliva dribbling out the corners of my outstretched mouth. He took some photos and showed me his favorites. My head was a large white wad, at once cumulus and ogreish.
Then he told me to stick a necklace of large, misshapen plastic crystals into my mouth as far as I could. More drool crawled down my chin as he tied twine around my eyes and clicked at his camera. When I was permitted to remove the baubles from my throat, I explained to him, in way of an unnecessary apology, that I was famous for the amount of saliva my glands produced: my dentist growing up had even nicknamed me “Niagara Falls” because of my spit levels.
Essence of Stomach
I’d forgotten about my laundry. The load had been inserted into the washing machine in my basement around 6PM on a Wednesday. The following morning, at about 4:45 AM, I sat bolt upright in bed and realized I’d never switched it over. I descended the stairs and transferred the musty jumble to the drier, realizing as I did so that I wouldn’t have time to start the inevitably necessary second dry cycle before jetting off to set, where I’d either be making Home Depot trips or eating Pringles while flopping on Grindr.
Suffice to say, my laundry was damp and reeked of richly-aged mildew as I carefully folded the load that night and placed the shirts, thongs, and tennis skirts into the dumping grounds of my wicker baskets. I grabbed a couple cocktails with a friend and went to sleep with the peaceful knowledge that I would smell bad in whatever I wore for the next month.
I woke feeling terribly ill. I ran to the bathroom and found it to stink of something akin to nail polish. I considered whether there might have been a gas leak as I wretched clear bile into the toilet bowl. I left. Thirty minutes later, in the production van, headed towards the P*****t R****y set, I pulled over on the corner of Franklin Ave and Hancock. I flung the door open and expelled more essence of stomach, clear and watery, onto the tarry pavement. The liquid was mostly clear, with a yellowish tinge. I tried to see my reflection in it but couldn’t. Narcissus did not drown that day, but he did find time to work on his Substack.
As I drove away from concerned teenage boys beelining for my heaving figure, I imagined becoming the people I was whizzing by — what it would be like to inhabit the body of the gray-haired woman in the baggy linen pants talking into her cell, to think her thoughts, worry over her concerns. To not be me. As her figure retreated into the distance, I was reminded, with a muddled sense of both disappointment and relief, that that would never be possible.
Perrier Served On A Bed of Poly-Blend
After one of the more gruesome weeks known to they/them, it was time to throw on a ball gown and rip this godforsaken town to shreds. I’d found a lavender poly-blend masterpiece for $40 upstate the other weekend, and felt Fashion Week to be the perfect opportunity to get corseted up by my dolly Alec and go gag some NYU kids.
I talked incessantly of The Dress. I entered rooms that Saturday with the full expectation that The Dress would receive proper greeting and gaggery before the broken woman inside it did. When I looked into people’s eyes that day, a desperate plea for verbal tribute toward The Dress oozed out of me. I was inextricably associated with The Dress. It had become my whole identity. My everything.
So when, at a birthday party that afternoon, surrounded by close friends and strangers alike, my darling pal accidentally spilled a glass of red wine all over me, it felt as if the oxygen had left the room entirely, a considerable feat since we were outside. From where I stood, every conversation seemed to stop, and every eyeball seemed to turn toward me, wondering how the girl who’d made such a fuss about The Dress would react to its demise. I felt myself shut down. Better to go completely blank than to throw a tantrum in front of so many gay guys with metal chains around their necks.
Without a word, four of my trusted sisters were on the case, pouring Perrier onto the lustrous lilac folds and dabbing away like a frenzied atelier team at the house of Dior. In no time, the stains were miraculously almost completely gone. I wore the dress a few hours longer and then slipped into a knitted shift, screaming along to “Break Free” and “212” on the Lower East Side, determined to make another stab at happiness.
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what the FUCK with that matt smith clip. I thought he was really gross for weeks now I’m like completely rethinking that￼