things to think about

today i am grateful for: POOH POOH POOH
December 7, 2010, 2:21 am
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I was riding the 4 train home after: 1) work 2) work social 3) free haircut 4) writing work 5) workshop 6) talk to ehowe 7) talk to emmaia and 8) run into a strangerfriend on the platform. At Brooklyn Bridge, an older man went down – sitting on the floor and unable to breathe. They announced a sick passenger and I didn’t even realize it was in our car at first; I was all bundled up and making conversation. But he was right there in the door, sitting, and no one was going to him. There was someone on the emergency phone to the conductor. 

So of course I went to him. He was unresponsive. Someone said he had asthma. So I hollered out to the car to see if someone had an inhaler and finally sent someone specific to go ask in the next car if anyone a) knew CPR b) had an inhaler. But this didn’t look like asthma; it looked like dying. There was no fight. He laid back and he wasn’t responsive and his jaw was clenched. We got an inhaler and I tried to inhaler him. He had a very weak pulse. Finally, a lady who knew CPR came, and she and a med student from the back of the train started at it. I went to see if they had a defibrillator or something in the booth; they didn’t. He took one big breath there, lying down, like he was dying.

The paramedics came after his heart had stopped. They did their paramedic work with the paddles and got his heart started again. Everyone was crowded around to watch and they were really angry; we were all invested, though. We were all there! The 4 train must have been a disaster – no service on the downtown side at all. They started running 4 trains downtown from the uptown side and that is how I got home.

I guess tonight I am grateful for being pushy – for being a loudmouth who can organize people to go get people. That’s how the lady and the med student came. I am grateful that other people knew what to do when I didn’t. I am grateful, sort of, that that guy lived – I mean actually I don’t care that much – I mean, I am not a person who thinks of death as a tragedy unless it’s tragic. Sometimes it just happens. It’s easy to say that when it’s not your dad or uncle or brother who might’ve just died but for the grace of God and some people.

I am grateful that I am the person in a crisis, provided it isn’t a crisis about feelings, who can keep a calm head and direct people and do what I can that is actually helpful. I am grateful that I feel that kind of responsibility to other people and do so without thinking twice about it. I am not writing this to get pats on the back as much as to have the whole thing witnessed. There but for the grace of God go I.
Jews say baruch dayan emet on a death – blessed is the true judge. You have to let go of these things. I like Jewishness when it is about an incredibly visceral detachment – about engaging with both hands but realizing ultimately it is out of your control. I can armchair quarterback what I could’ve done – taken that CPR class in 2001, asked the booth people for something different, gotten something between his teeth so his airway didn’t close. But that is I guess what God is for me – it is challenging myself to the grace of not being in control. Of not being perfect, and that being okay. Of doing the best work you can. Of ritually distracting the evil eye just in case.

I am not even sure what I am grateful for right now. Grateful to be alive drinking silk nog and bourbon. Grateful that there was a cop (eventually) who helped out the woman who did the CPR without a face shield – helped her find out where to find out what communicable diseases he might have. I am impressed that she did it anyways. I am grateful that they figured out a way to run the 4 trains so they got me home. I am grateful for my bed. I am grateful for my luck. Many, many things.


today i am grateful for: QUEER LEGENDS IN OUR MIDST
December 7, 2010, 2:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Saturday night I went to see a show by Tim Miller, one of the NEA 4, a real QUEER PERFORMANCE ART LEGEND. Then I went to a latke party at the home of a QUEER MOVIEMAKING LEGEND. I stood around all night and talked with people I didn’t know, and some I did – some of the most interesting people in NYC I am sure. I helped make latkes. I watched as two artists I respect immensely did the best Chanukkah ritual I have seen yet and I held a Chanukkah candle in my hand as my own little light. I got driven home by a filmmaker I respect immensely who did something awesome and we had an amazing conversation together sitting in her car in front of my house.

It was basically an answer to the question “why do you live in New York, anyways?”

I’m not a huge starfucker generally speaking – or I guess the thing is that I don’t like to be this guy who is all I LIVE IN NEW YORK BECAUSE IT IS COOL. I am a huge starfucker in that I fucking love living in this community with living legends. I performed on Friday at the book release party of the person who basically made up modern performative drag kinging – obviously, it’s evolved since then, but you know. She was the first, or at least as much the first one to get recognition, or at least the first one to get recognition and live in New York. It’s easy to be an asshole here and forget that other places have awesome artistic history too because you’re talking to someone and *her* most recent show is about all the time she spent with Andy Warhol.

I am taking class with Tim Miller and I am thrilled. It is amazing when living legends turn into regular people, people who maybe talk a little too much and fart and have weird neuroses and are pretty good teachers but not always the best. I live in this place where all these living legends ARE regular people – and I get to interact with them and remember that I am just a real person too, and that it is okay that I am not always A MAGIC CREATURE WEARING JEWELS because even the most magic creatures still have to eat breakfast and take a shower.

I feel in context here. I feel like a freak at work – yes, lesbian paradise – and I feel my weirdness all the time in the greater landscape but I also have a little safe place to retreat to where we are all striving together. It is amazing to feel your heroes and legends just be people around town. It is amazing to feel yourself a part of their work, moving forward. THAT is why I live here, under it all, why I pay so much, why I work so hard. There really is nowhere else like it – and if I can make it here, sure, I’ll be fine everywhere else, but that is because I will have had somewhere to put down roots and grow strong.

today i am grateful for: FAMILY
December 7, 2010, 2:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A twisty donut made into a chanukkah menorah.Heath and I have been friends forever. I guess since 2004 or something, but that’s a long, long time. Forever. Heath and I are family in the way that we squabble but we care very deeply. We take good care of each other. Heath pushes me into being a better person, like buying a motorcycle jacket or thinking about living on my own. I think I provide something to push against for Heath, and a logic brain, and I don’t know. A sense of something.

Anyways. Heath and I come from very similar places and, more than that, we come from VERY similar shit. The weight of our pasts and how hard we are working. That is where Heath and I just get it. We’re family. You know? I don’t know how you say it. My experience with family is just so tricky and so often I feel alienated and weird and so I am so extra very grateful for the family I choose.

For Chanukkah we went to a diner, and made a menorah out of a donut. We ate a lot of donuts. Heath did not get too mad at me when I started singing Tina Turner in a cat voice. If that is not love I don’t know what is.

I have a lot of chosen family in my life. I think it’s because my birth family was such a disaster zone. Luckily I can count my little sister as a part of this chosen family, which feels so good. I have people in my life who really love me, who love me despite all the little and big things that make me a pain in the ass. I have so much love and so much inspiration and I am such, such, such a lucky person. I never thought in one million years I would say I was grateful for family, but here I am and I mean it.