Archives for posts with tag: hollywood

random things happen here.  so many odd things smashed up against one another sometimes it’s hard to figure out a narrative.

i’ll break it down to you this way.

riding in the car.  my head bobs and dips as per usual as the car swerves in the dizzying ride they call traffic.    rihanna’s on “freedom radio” singing about calling her, rude boy. nah nah nah nah nah while my friend S tells me about his mother being beaten by the Talibs one day.  Now some lady on the “freedom radio” is talking something about a song called “These 5 Rednecks,” but I’m not really listening because S is explaining about how a few years ago, he’d be in the audience of soccer games and would have to make it through the halftime show beheadings.   Now some dude is singing about bales of hay and chicken bones and making love in the back of a pick up – and I’m hearing another story  about how even tho I’m complaining about the constant rolling blackouts that occur every hour… I should be thankful to have power at all.  The city only recently lit up the grid.  … and now I’m home.  Opening the gate to the compound in the freezing dusty wind.

or.  how about nudging my class of girls to write a comic book.  they have the problem: Girls Education.  They have the hero.  But, one girl stands up to explain, there is no solution for this problem.  The men will never want us to learn, why are we trying to pretend like things will ever change?  This is a stupid assignment because it’s making me think there is going to be something different to happen and I know realistically its not.  niki fights back tears.  no time to tell the story of the american slaves and their plight.  hmmm.  what’s practical?  what do you say?  i’ve got a translator staring at me with big brown eyes imploring me – yes niki – you westerners come over here with big bad bright ideas, but a the end of the day these girls all go home to fathersbrothersuncles… and mothers…. who would rather keep things the way they are. sigh.  i had so many speeches prepared on the flight here to kabul.  in the moment, on the spot.  after even having read 3 cups of tea.  i gots nothing.  i drum up a short, hopefully truly memorable, inspirational answer.  and tell her – to just dream.  it starts with a dream.  eventually, you, or your children will be so angry at having dreamt for so long, you will do whatever it takes to have the dream be a reality.  sigh.  what the heck am i doing here?

or.  …. maybe i won’t get into the privilege topic.  i’m caught between two worlds and its dizzying.  i’m western.  i’m black.  i’m the daughter of the results of somebody’s assumed superiority over my ancestry.  i’m so many things.  i see what’s also happening here, but it’s weird to say anything because i’m them too.  I’m sure this paragraph makes no sense to anybody but me.  it’s okay.  i can live with that.   i’ll leave it for when i speak to you personally.  it’s…. whoa.

or.  i’m mad because i want to do something simple like go to the bazaar.  but the hurdles to get there because i came equipped with a vagina get bigger every time we try to hash out the complicated details on how to get there.  the local who can show us around isn’t allowed to travel alone without a male relative.  they dont’ want to go.  WE can’t go pick her up because we can’t take the car because we can’t drive here and none of the boys who live here want to take us.  Nevermind this means that we pay a girl “tax” so to speak because we always have to take taxis on our day off if we want to go somewhere.  sigh.  so the 23 year old girl who could show us around has to ask permission if its okay for her to travel with two other women alone.  this is only the half of the story, but incredibly frustrating.  i suppose me and the other “westerner” will venture out alone guideless and make it do what it do.  meanwhile, apparently the boys all had a MARVELOUS time dining at a restaurant we couldn’t attend.  yes, and their ride was free because of course they can drive. sigh.

or.  thinking about the people closest to me who have made little or no attempt to call or write vs people i met right before i left who keep constant contact.  life’s strange that way.  there are so many people i miss dearly.  sometimes when i’m asleep i think i’m back in los angeles.  i think that i can just drive home or something.  a weird in-between state.  you don’t know how my heart sinks when i realize, nope.  still here.  still can’t see those people i love.  but i press on because above all of that, i know i’m needed where i am.

or.  listening to one person who has about a 75% mastery of english try to explain a concept to someone who has about a 65% mastery of english.  this person either grows frustrated, or disagrees with their conversation partner.  i giggle because the conversation starts getting heated i think it’s really because there’s no way for them to remotely understand one another.  they don’t dare ask me for help.  i just look down and keep poking around on the computer.

or. realizing that every local person who i work with has had to leave their own country for a period of time because of the talibs.  they have such a unique relationship with their nationality.  or hearing more stories about how they used to get their homes raided randomly.  or just.  being. sad. at. humans.

or. taking a shower in a bathroom used mainly by ….  not so clean men…. when the lights go out and i’m having to do most of my washing and dressing in the pitch pitch, there is not even a candle or lantern darkness.  soooo happy i’m the stereotypical black girl who wears shower shoes.  because otherwise i’d have had no idea where or what i was stepping on.

or. realizing that as much as i like wine, it’s not so deep i’ll pay $60 for the experience.  booze is super expensive here, so miraculously, i just don’t have a desire for it in the least.  i’ll stick to water and tea because apparently, that’s pretty much the only things to drink here.

or.  explaining that not ALL of america is comprised of fat asses.  in fact, when you work in hollywood, they have the opposite problem.  how about that at any company meal, i would typically be the only person who wasn’t eating just a salad.  or if i got one, the only one having the dressing that it comes with rather than just lemon juice or balsamic vinaigrette (sorry, but uh, a free company meal means you actually eat in my book.  guess i rep the fat asses after all).  then laughing to myself here for typically being too tired to eat or cook my “free” meal here in the guesthouse.  we’re supposed to work together on thursdays and fridays…. but miraculously, i’m just not hungry those nights.  go figure.

or. how nothing i brought here will be worthy of any thing when i return.  all my clothes are officially covered in dirt.  the washing machine doesn’t fully work because we don’t have full power.  things that are “clean” are still dingy.  too bad.  i got over that a long time ago.  now i’m happy just not to stink.  it is what it is.  it takes to much energy to fret over dingy things.  or dust.  in a way it frees my mind up to think of a better answer for the girls in my class.  how to not be overly revolutionary, be respectful and follow the “rules,” but still put fire in their hearts?   the answer isn’t telling them to move west.  i refuse to believe that that’s the answer for them.  sigh.  again.

ok i’m done.  so much swirling and colliding around me.  i think i need to sleep now.  or listen to the germans speak german.  or try to watch some afghan television soap operas.  or read a book.  or find a snack. or. or. or.  just think some more about a good answer.


Since Willie’s under the weather, and Niki’s probably unpacking from her move across town, here’s a post from guest blogger and friend of The GignerFly, HOLLYWOOD GIRL.

I, like everyone and their Mother (literally), am addicted to social networking. Facebook has revolutionized the way I build relationships. There are its pros and cons, but I love the fact that I can connect with my long lost playmates. I can understand how that can be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Most of the time, you get a lot of old high school acquaintances friending you even though, at best, they never spoke to you, and at worst, they duct taped you to a flag pole or wrote your number on the bathroom wall under the word “BLOWJOBS”. Despite revisiting some traumatic memories, there are some rare moments in which you get the chance to reconnect with someone you were once very close to. Sometimes the conditions are perfect and that childhood playmate comes into your life again prepared to share new memories. But other times… what you hope will be a wonderful reunion turns out to be the most uncomfortable weekend of the year. The friend you once knew as a happy-go-lucky teenager, lover of Star Wars and Laffy Taffy has become a socially inept individual, with strange fixations and an unsettling unawareness of other people. And so I begin my story…

When I was in high school, I had a small circle of friends that performed in a theatre troupe. I was a relatively shy teenager, and I often felt out of place. I think that’s why this group of kids connected. We had art to bring us together. My friend L was one of the shy, quirky performers in the troupe. I remember him being talented, and very determined. He could memorize his lines in no time and was a skilled Lion Dancer. Once, he took me to the mall. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was his first date. There was a grocery store there, and he asked if we could stop in to get something. The only thing he wanted was a quart of real milk. We sat on a bench outside the grocery store while he drank it. It was such a treat to him because his parents never used real milk, they only bought powdered milk, convinced that it was the same thing if you just added water. It’s a very sweet memory that we share.

As it goes, I went off to college and he went on his way. I never thought I’d run into him again.

And then came facebook…

It was so nice when I reconnected with L: I found out what he had been doing all these years, and I was excited to hear about his future plans. When he told me that he wasn’t very happy living in his city, I told him, “You know, maybe you should just get out of your town and come to Los Angeles. You can crash on my couch and I’ll show you around. You can visit your friends down here. You just need a break.”

How history repeats itself. Again, I did not realize that he was thinking that this was going to be a romantic rendezvous in my city. All of a sudden, his messages were addressed to “Cutie” and there were little texts in LOLSpeak, which to me (and many nerds) is the retard equivalent of Baby Talk. “I can has your number pls? Kthxbai!” “Looking adorable: You’re doin it pretty well ackchooally.” I was starting to think that it was a bad idea to have invited him, since I wasn’t interested in him in that way at all. The LOLSpeak was really unattractive.

He asked me if such and such weekend would be convenient for a visit, and I said sure. I thought that a weekend meant that he’d come in on Saturday and leave on Sunday. He purchased a ticket that had him arriving during my workday on Friday and departing during my workday on Monday. I was not anticipating the additional days in which I needed to be entertaining someone. But whatever, that was something I’d deal with. I told him he’d have to wait for me to pick him up.

The minute he landed in LA, he sent me a text. I replied to him telling him that I was at work and that I would get to him as soon as possible, just let me know where he ends up. He went to a library and stayed there for the entire day and when I picked him up, he couldn’t help but moan about it. I figured, whatever he had to moan about, it wasn’t my problem: he’s the guy that purchased a ticket on a flight that arrived during my workday.

We went to a 50s Diner in Venice Beach so that he could get some food in him. That’s when the spitting started. As soon as we got out of the car, he hocked up a loogie and spit it into the street. I’m not just talking about a discrete little “Patooey…” He was doing the full on gutteral, “Hhhccckkkkkk! Pfft!” launching a giant thing of mucus several feet into the distance. Between the car on the street and the door of the restaurant not twenty steps away, he did this twice.

When we sat down to dinner, he blew his nose really loudly into his napkin. He did this at every meal.

Throughout dinner he kept making fart jokes.

I didn’t know what to do, but this was seriously grossing me out.

When we went back to my apartment, I noticed that he stomped. He stomped everywhere.

It was as though he had walked into my space and he had claimed it. He left his clothes scattered about and he used my toothpaste without asking.

He didn’t ask me for a towel, he just used my roommate’s hand towels.

When he prepared to go to bed, there were more loogies hocked into my sink, which he would extract from the bowels of his respiratory system with a “HHhhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyccckkkkk!” that seemed to go on forever.

When he woke up in the morning, he grunted and groaned, he would pee with an extremely loud sigh.

He complained very loudly about my neighbors.

He required a meal every three hours. THREE HOURS! That meant that I would have to also eat with him every three hours. That’s a lot of money and food! When I’d ask him what he’d want to eat, he would say, “Something with vegetables and meat.” “L, that’s every kind of food known to man, it doesn’t really narrow it down for me where you want to go.” “I dunno. Something crisp and clean.”  “L, I don’t know what that means, so we’re going to Mexican.” Also, he would blow his nose really loudly at the table every time we ate out.

Without asking, he drank half a carton of my roommate’s expensive juice.

Everywhere we went, I was mortified when he’d speak, so I would take him places that played music so loud he wouldn’t get the opportunity.

The spitting didn’t stop. It was almost a constant thing. When I would comment about it, he’d say, “I’m congested!” As though it made it any better that he had an excuse for a really disgusting habit.

By the end of Day 2, I was ready to tell him to stay in a motel. But I couldn’t bring myself to be that cold. I’d have to endure and distract him for as long as possible.

Finally, I figured out his weakness: Wine. I took him to a wine bar and he finally relaxed and got quiet after a glass of wine. After the second glass, he was ready to go to bed.

I’ve never been so relieved to drop someone off at the airport.  My roommate was actually concerned that he would become upset and then slit my throat while I slept. I know L, and I know he’s harmless. But never have I been so annoyed and mortified to be associated with anyone.

I guess I could blame myself and say that I probably should have gotten to know him a little bit better before I invited him to crash on my couch. But I’m gonna go ahead and blame facebook for this one. How dare you, facebook, make my life so accessible to old friends who have become socially inept! How dare you!


Hollywood Girl