Diary, Late 2000

DIARY 2000

OCT 28  Saturday. Went to corp gym on Wed or Thurs so am not impossibly logy but slightly constipated fr too much codeine-taking it every nt-finally it boomeranged + left me w/ massive headache early this am.

Going to get cold, v. cold + windy this wknd. Warmish + windy now.

Moki v depressed. Regina. He can’t borrow her car when he goes up to see Dr Nicholai. Going to rent car. And he broke his bedroom phone. I’m going to bring him his 2-line old Panasonic phone back. Maybe.

Tate membership card finally arrives this wk. I signed up in April but apparently they never put charge thru till Sept. Patti Smith on tate mag cover. Makes me think of Connecticut Eagle. I write DRC, we exchange emails. My longer 2nd or 3rd one gets no reply. She tires of me quickly. Her brother works for the Mets.

Mets lost World Series in Game 5. I saw nearly every game, at least part, beg. Last Sat. at rr on Franklin St. (Film Forum: Brit New Wave this wknd.)

CAT Scan on Tuesday. A pleasant and thrilling experience except for the 2 days of diarrhea afterward from all the magical elixirs. RA has not returned my £90. CG Review still be revised by Carol W + K T Gallo. CitiFX Econ back in gear, due for completion by Wed.

I revived my cellphone w/ VoiceStream (which took over Omnipoint). New number bks they sold my old one to a noggie. I called it once.

Found a most surprising sudden phone msg on my Manhattan phone, dating from the Sat I was in Oxford (2 wks ago). Barat—out on the street (“with Claire”—Claire 18 now, still offstage like a papoose having a nap—somehow distasteful to me how my sister has treated her daughter, maybe distasteful because of the remoteness of my own parents—or maybe I dimly recognize that my sister, in keeping this ‘familiar’ abt her, is just doing what she often did w/ me. It wasn’t a good thing for me, how can it be for Claire?), didn’t leave a phone number. Like calling a business contact at lunchtime, you don’t really wish to visit with the person.

NOV 8  Wed. Stopped at Tristan on 6th last nt to buy a charcoal grey skirt bks I’d worn the same charcoal grey trousers (bought at Brooks on Sun nt) for 2 days running. Dark festive election night. Went to the old Jewish lady’s liquor store on 55th to buy wine-2 bottles of what turned out to be slightly bitter Shiraz from Californra. Watched ‘The Conversation’ w/ Moki. Harrison Ford in early bit role. Self-indulgent technothriller that wears on one. But very ambition, says Moki. Elections inconclusive , to M’s irritation. “What kind of country are we living in” (where so many people vote for Gore). FL to Gore, then to Bush, then withdrawn, w/ B slightly ahead. No one talks of anything else today.

Stock markets “all but paralyzed” says the BBC about the unfinished election. Results not due till Thursday.

“Don’t get snippy with me!” Line from Fargo, supposedly used by Gore on phone to Bush at 3 am when Gore phoned to retract his concession.

Gym today. They had the sound up on the TVs bks everyone wanted to hear the election reports.

Afterwards me & Chas G. to Due South for rum & cokes, then another round and a dinner. I bought Vanity Fair, Dec. issue, at WTC bfr Path, thinking I needed change, and inspiration for those cosmetics cartoons too…

Disco notice from “verizon” (Bell Atlantic) for Hoboken. $200+ due by Nov. 13. Send tomorrow (9th) to reach them 10th or 11th.

Someone named Mike, whom I gave my phone no. to on the CTCL list, phoned up last nt as we were tuning into the election. Much to Moki’s annoyance. Who are you talking to? What sort of person calls up at this time on election night? Mike is having 3rd biopsy today. Has a particularly nasty variant of CTCL, w/ swollen lymph nodes.

Gave J Woodley 4 Solpadeine tonight, in case he needs it for his tooth discomfort.

Bit of a scare 8 days ago when I got here (Hoboken) w/ my big garment bag + trash bag full of clothes-M had driven me over after coming back from Boston in the rental car (which he is nw preferring to taking thr train or bus). An IRS letter lay on the mailbox in the doorway. I ripped it open, sick to my stomach. They just want me to identify the $326 I paid in April. A delightful relief.

 Remember to get new SS #.

Nov 18. Moki is 60. Still no president-elect. A sunny Saturday. We watch a rented Rules of Engagement w/ Samuel L. Jackson. Tomorrow to the cancer luncheon on Coney Island w/ Sonnekson. He knows the restaurant. Gargiulo’s. I’ve been in Hob most evenings the […]

Last Sunday afternoon to Tap Room. Doug Cooper showed. I ate lots of roast beef. Doug drew a map of the lower 48. (Page opposite.) M in bad mood bks I had not bought the paper earlier. I did buy it after 8 pm Mass however. Monday I felt sleepless + tired, thought of running right home to Hob at 5 but was tempted by Merlin Holland’s appearance at the Donnell Lib. I thought perhaps 50 people wd show. But the event had received wide publicity, it seems. A line of 400 or more stretched down 53rd St. yet I nearly made it. 260 seats and some standees, and if I’d been there 10 min earlier…  To Hob where I ate a cup of chili and garden salad at Lady Jane’s. The large round-faced Bill (Holmberg) was at his usual corner table. Bought me a wine + Grand Marnier wh we dunked into coffee. The coffee later kept me awake longer than I’d like. Bill is a Gore man, has nothing but contempt for Bush He is a ‘human rights’ attorney for a private firm that establishes clearance policies for American companies doing business abroad. I like him but I had his number early on. A lib Dem (right, of course), a nonbeliever, no regard or concern for the afterlife of the “after” generations. “After all-they [his descendants] won’t care about me.”

Back at 928 I found another msg from the Egregious Nicki. Jacked up on booze + coffee I phoned ***. Jolly conversation abt my cancer, abt Diane Lask, and whatever else I forget.

Tuesday I saw Colbert, who sprayed my rear end w/ liquid nitrogen. It felt like powerful medicine when it sprayed but had no result. I got C to write me a script for Renova, though, so it wasn’t a total loss. Back to work at noon, off to Silhan at 2. No cavities, it seems. But my teeth felt artificial for the net day after the cleaning. He’s still a clumsy, rough, scraper, when it comes to cleaning. Took radio taxi home to Hob that night – quite tired, and I went straight home to bed Another taxi on Wed night – one cig and one beer toward midnight at Maxwell’s Back to Maxwell’s Thursday nt at 830, sat at table w/ the pretty blond waitress from South Africa serving me. She was astonished, really truly, to learn I favored Bush. Wanted to know more abt my claim that Gore’s party had been jiggering the votes all along. (An idea had recently occurred to me, wh is that the ostensibly irregular vote for Buchanan had a fudge factor of phony ballots—not at all a matter of old Jews misvoting en masse on the confusing ‘bufferfly ballot’ in Boca Raton. )
Nov 25  Saturday in Starbuck’s. Icy cold + overcast outside. There is an art supp shop in Wmsburg I mean to try. ‘Big Genius,’ 540 Metrop. Ave., 10-11 718 302 4002. Fierce headache this am. Sinus headache, didn’t yield to 4 ibus + 2 codeine tabs. Came here and one big cuppa killed it-mostly. On my 3rd ± it is still throbbing there remotedly in the b.g. Last nt at riverrun 2 big beers, one ‘Bay Breeze’ (free from Daniel, reward for fixing the cable TV connection wh he’d dislodged from the box), also dinner of blackened swordfish 2/ some sort of salso on top, a huge clumb of broccoli, two identical boiled or roasted pertaters. I was feeling ill by Bay Breeze time. In the frosty night to WTC, home to 928 via the Academy bus after 10 pm.

Excellent review of 2 food concordances, one from Oxford, one from Cambridge, in the New Yorker. One of the most thrilling reviews I’ve ever read. Humorous + intelligent, bound to send me looking not only for these new books but for the old ones mentioned as landmark histories. Hunter-gatherers ate better. The trade-off for the agro-society is oppression + malnutrition.

***

We ate Thanksgiving dinner at 3 pm at the Greek diner on 57th st near 8th. Sad and funny. Dry, leathery turkey. I told people abt this as a comic incident-until I told Marian heller last night, and she did the same thing, w/ a friend, in the Village, Thanksgiving afternoon. But she had a real T-giving dinner later on.

Must do a half-dozen drawings for old Ashley… (later, late Sat nt.) Bill Bergstrom buys me a third wine at Lady Jane’s Looks at my drawings. Is impressed. How pleasing it it. Doesn’t understand why I am tracing one of my own drawings.

Still wound up from those 60 oz of Starbuck’s coffee-yikes.

Moki’s family has tradition of phoning around on Thanksgiving Day. Late morn on Thurs, as I was going in an out, I sensed he was talking to to AT and indeed he was. Very friendly call. She’d just sent him $1500 for his birthday so he had that reason among others. (Note this is paid out of the bequest from late brother, Bob, not out of AT’s piggy bank.) later on Moki told me that AT had asked after me. She thought I was ‘troubled.’ Moki brushed this off, but when relating it to me made it out to be an allusion to my being weird. Weird-eccentric and perhaps weird-the-other-thing too. Here Moki was probably missing the context entirely. Because AT had also asked how Moki was getting on with Carol. I told Michael, ‘Well in regards to me, Alice Therese was obviously asking about the cancer.”

“About the what?”

“About my health problems, which she’s undoubtedly heard of through Carol. She had heard I had a health problem and she was askig you about it.”

“Carol? No. How would Carol know?”

“Because I told her. Obviously she told AT. What else could AT be referring to?” I spun the analysis out a little further-AT not only keeps this back-channel open to the Blakes, without specifically referring to its, she’s understood from Carol that Michael has been difficult when drinking, and-perhaps for this reason?-has been p.n.g. w/ the Blakes since spring. “So Michael, did she say Carol had mentioned you?” As a matter of fact she had.

How like Michael not to put 2 and 2 together.  So blindered + wrongheaded where his family’s approval is concerned. Esp. when it’s AT speaking. Last Christmas he was near-psychotically fretful and angry w/ me, thinking I had got AT’s nose out of joint at the Dallas parties and that’s why AT failed to send him a Christmas check-then when the check turned up a day later, and Michael got drunk courtesy of me (I bought him 6 or 7 martinis on Christmas Eve) and raved at me that it was time for us to break up-he went and hid that red envelope so I wouldn’t rip it up when he went to the bathroom. Next day, and the day after that, he couldn’t find it. Asked if I’d seen it. I told him he’d hid it. He did not remember.

Bitter cold that Christmas, and a bitter time for me. It was the height of Michael’s nastiness toward me, though it flared up again in late January and wasn’t ever completely gone. Still, relations in 2000-after January-were far better than in 1999.

December 10-evening on Sunday   Back at Maxwell’s. Moki practically screamed at me on the phone for a full ten minutes-I put the handset down during most of his ran who seemed to be abt his family, who didn’t understand that it wasn’t impossible for him to make a living because he had ADHD, and Dr. Nicholai doesn’t understand it either, and I don’t understand the stress and torment he goes through when it is noon on Sunday and I am there (as I was today) and he has to go through the compilation of his bills to send off to Lefty Thomas, the family executor. It wasn’t too bad. I had spent early afternoon at the little dining table to trying to write the St. Chad piece for Chris Buckley while he fretted at his desk. I ran out at noon for buns and beer and an extension cord for the old PowerBook I keep at Moki’s. I bought one at Radio Shack for $5 after trying 4 other stores. The proper cord finally showed up in a pouch in the PB bad. So it was an errand wasted. I couldn’t even find a UK-US 3-prong adapter for the English cord I had on a bookshelf. Most frustrating, though at long last I did buy a cord, plugged it in and got some writing in before Moki’s fuming crescendoed.

The St. Chad piece is a doggie dinner. References at the start to the Boys in the Band, Chad + Jeremy, and Peter and Gordon, before I get into the meat of the piece.

I work at this, doggedly, for reasons of obligation that go back over 20 years. In early 1979 Christopher told me that John Berendt, editor of New York Magazine, was looking for an executive secretary. Not an attractive position in other circumstances, perhaps, but it would finally get me out of New Haven. *** Ever since that time I’ve kept away from Chris, burdened with guilt. Gladly I sought out whatever obscure life I could find. Once, when living in the Chelsea-fall of ’79, not long after the Berendt episode-I phoned him at his place on East 20th St, loking from some juicy connections. He gave me the name of Paul Slansky, editing a movie throwaway, but I never followed up. Upon returning to NYC in ’98 I contacted Chris at Forbes FYI and tried to sell him on a harebrained story abt Ed Cuffe. Finally he relented-give it the old college try, he said-but by that time I was off on the May  trip w/ Moki in Hillsborough and had to say I couldn’t meet the June 5 deadline. End of Chris Buckley, for a while. ***

Chris was ill Thurs morning and we nearly didn’t meet for that reason. I rang him up at Forbes. He was dodging his calls, answering as “Chris Buckley’s line.” “It’s Miss Sheehan.” He was overjoyed to find it was me. We met at King Cole Room. Too crowded. Led me to the upstairs bar at the Peninsula Hotel where I had 3 Jack Daniels to his 3 vodka martinis. I told him Michael was great fan of Michi’s. Chris says, alas, he and Michiko haven’t spoken in 20 years. “After a point she drew a curtain between herself and me and anyone she’d known before, off the Times.” She had an affair w/ Carl Bernstein, and this somehow embarrassed her. ***

“Do you remember who it was I got you the job interview with? At New York Magazine. Remember who it was?” Oh of course I remembered, through having him remind me of it hit me like a stone. “He later wrote ‘Midnight in the Garden of-‘”

“Fucking closet queen. I haven’t forgotten,” I said.

We traded outre references. Hilaire Belloc. C recited part of the ‘unpublished’ doggerel-“At the end of Piccadilly stands a”-wh Chris’s father WFB Jr had once taught him. I riposted that indeed the thing had been published, in A. N. Wilson’s 1984 bio of HB. (Must send him a copy.) Revilo Oliver-the man w/ the palindrome name. He committed suicide in 1994, which Christopher didn’t know. He was mildly surprised to learn I had known him slightly. Peter Cook: I said he was fabulously wealthy w/ a big house in Hampstead, from his share in Private Eye, Christopher pretty sure he’d read an Alan Bennett eulogy telling how he’d bring poor Peter sandwiches and coffee.***

Friday night: met Sonnekson again, outside Two Lives on Waverly, just after 7. We went to a tiny Italian place on Greenwich-Sapore, I think. I stuffed myself on spaghetti + meatballs, w/ a share in the fried calamari appetizer. Corner table. Tiny bright place, very hot on a very cold night. A blind mulatto w/ a white-tipped cane was at the vestibule door as we passed out. “I see a white cane.” “Thank you,” he said. We went to Raffaela’s. R showed me his notes on Breeder Bullies, wh we are now conceiving as a comic treatise w/ lots of drawings. I lay awake much of the night w/ intestinal cramps. The Donnager I bought in Stamfor is alsomot gone, so tonight in Port Authoritiy’s Duane Reade I picked up a bottle of Kaopectate.

Have had a pain in my left shoulder and back last two days. Oncoming heart attack? Elevated pulse more than usual-72 to 78 when resting. Very unusual.

Off to London Thurs. Unprepared as usual.

Ashley phoned mid-week when back from Rio. We shall meet on Tuesday? Bring him cartoons.

Did 3 more for Colin on new topics-sent him 2. Got $500 ck for recent work, deposited it. Owes me maybe $1500 more.

Dec. 13  Have been BM-ing like nobody’s business. Terribly swollen around the middle for last week. Now we get over constipation? Made a point of eating salad last few days. Don’t forget. Have to go again now.

Ashley phones again. I tell him I spoke to Susy Goei in Paris yesterday after our lunch. He tells me she had a high old time w/film people in LA when she was living there after her arranged mariage broke up. Ashley to messenger down the CD art for ‘Diamonds’ wh I am supp to wk on.

No word from D Stead. Send Chad to Toby Young.

May have to go by air to Paree on Sat. Pick up pic in Islington at 11 am.

Ooh. Hemorrhoids beginning.  Have had a week of shits since 8 am….and we’re down to the soft caramel stage now.
Moki a good man. Loving, funny last nt. Phoned me up again today to tell me that Brian’s Christmas card this yr is B in a grip ‘n’ grin w/ Pres. of Ireland.

Bush Prevails” hed in NYT today. Late Supreme Ct ruling last nt. Barring Florida from jiggering the vote for Gore. This could be the fifth false alarm in as many wks.

Bright blonde girl named Petrie has turned up on the web. She’d made a website and domain for AA. P is nearly *** inscrutable, went to Andover + Babson. Lives in Manhattan. She’s the diametrical opposite of the last mirror-image who fascinated me (RD)…  I sent a note to AA via Petrie’s site but no reply.

12/15 3:55 GMT on BA flt 188
Whatever was I thinking? This Chris Buckley mtg a wek ago-I was putting myself on display for him. Nothing may come of this. Nothing. Fucking nothing.

From now on instead of going into depress, blotting things out through black thoughts, drink, whatever, I’m going to go pick fights and get back at those sleazoid jerks who need to be rubbed out…or just yell + scream and make myself heard.

This fucking Egregious-how dare he? And he is a he.

Yeah my thoughts were rushing on + scattered back in Dec. 72. And what did those incompetent fools at DUH do? They crippled me for life w/ that Trilafon.

Contagion of Michael’s LAZINESS. He has no drive. No drive. Which is the desideratum of Eastern religiions. No struggle. How demented and oppressed you must be-how tired of struggle you must be-to conceive of this as attractive. But where did Michael get it? Utter hell in his own childhood-fear of being negatively criticised, mocked, hit, punished. (Here Margot starts projecting her own hell on everyone-but that’s as sensible as any other apercu.) There is none. Keep to your knitting.

Grotesque fat blond creature w/ tattooed shields on his cheks + chin, distended ear lobes like some fucking savage. Crazy. Saw at Donnell Library on Sunday. This during time when M was being nasty on and off.

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Christopher had this way of punctuating questions-when I was ready to respond-by flopping himself backward. Disconcerting to me.

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Last nt (13th) worked till 8:30, then 2 win‘s + bowl of soup at Due South. Gore on at 9-conceding. Smiling like a cretin throughout. Began w/ one nice joke-he told Bush he wouldn’t call him back this time. Later, when I was in Hoboken + had tuned in WNYC, Bush was giving a longer, clichŽ-ridden speech. A panel of jews then commented that it was a lame speech-a warmed-over campaign speech. Wh it was- but surely it was okay speech for the person giving it.

I have rehearsed in my head what I sill say to the Brits when they ask me abt the election. “I wouldn’t have shed any tears one way or the other—but tell me what you’d be inclined to think.”

12/16 15:20 Paris time. We are somewhere in the Channel Tunnel. I booked for a table seat in the smoking car, surprised even to be asked if I wanted a “table seat” when I diffidently bought the ticket yesterday afternoon at Waterloo. Smking car, yes, because it seemed more European. The car is almost empty. Some continentals speaching French (why? Indians in Paris? What do they do? Run bad cheap hotels in the Marais? Popularize Doner Kebab?) are beside me on the other side of the car.

Ah! Out of the tunnel. First time in France, more or less. It looks just like England.

Rang up the Cottrells, spoke to Stefan + Steve, just before w e took off. Almost knows abt the Sonnet upgrade card-good-he was keeping this a secret

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