Feeding the seagull is exhausting business. I feel like it’s a distraction, but to say so would be impolite. Every time freakin’ Cap’n Jack is even the slightest bit hungry, he knocks on the damn window. Last Friday I was given the task of putting on latex gloves and feeding him thawed out smelts. It sounds kinkier and far more fun than it really was. Some stinky fish juice landed on my foot. And now I have to fend off the other jerky two-footed gulls that try to eat Jack’s food. Yesterday there was even a crow. And two pigeons. We have slowly managed to make ourselves a working aviary right down the road from City Hall. And I have unwittingly become the new Bird Girl of the Tenderloin. Here is my pet:
This past weekend, my pop needed help with a self-portrait project for some photo class he’s taking. He asked me to help him with a death mask. There’s something very strange about slathering Vaseline and then plaster on your dad’s face. At one point one of the little straws I stuck in his nose fell out and I tried as gently as possible to shove it back in. I just ended up hurting him—I think—because all I could see was his body jerk around like a flapping fish. I’ve mentioned fish twice so far. I wonder if I can manage to somehow sneak one more fish-related story in somewhere.
I think I know how. Last night I was up late watching BBC America. On came a show I’d been meaning to catch since the preview—Love Me, Love My Doll. It was a documentary all about men who have formed “meaningful” and “loving” relationships with their Real Dolls. These dolls are really amazing and if I was lonely, rich, and sans any semblance of hope for a relationship with a real woman, I’d go out and buy me one of my own. They are fully customizable and supposedly feel like real women. They interviewed a woman who worked at the Real Doll factory and she said she’d had some interesting special requests: pregnant dolls, a doll that looked like an 80-year-old woman, and a doll with an over-abundance of pubic hair. I guess they ended up just sending the guy packets of additional hair so he could go as hella hair-happy as he liked.
The guys they interviewed were, as you can well imagine, characters. One of them was black guy named Davecat with emo bangs over one eye. His was an Asian doll—a pretty one with hooker hair and heavy eye make-up. They showed him lying in bed with her, rubbing her stocking feet. When she first arrived, he said, “…it was just sex, sex, sex…but now we use words.” He lives at home with his parents who just don’t understand. He feels tortured by his love for this doll. He still tries to date “organic” women sometimes but they end up just letting him down. I feel you brother.
Another guy was called Gordon and he was from Virginia. He had two dolls who were dressed in Wal-Mart attire. I don’t know how a factory worker can afford these dolls. Maybe there’s some kind of low-income, needs-based award offered. He admitted that the reason he did not have human female companionship was because he was very ugly. His words. He also said that before he got Ginger and Kelly, he was a doormat and that now that they’re in his life, he feels a sense of empowerment which I find refreshing. Disturbing…but whatever. Gordon also collects weapons like swords and semi-automatic guns—so his life, he feels, is full.
And these men cannot wait to get home to their dolls. They feel like they can go out into the world where real women exist and if they get rejected, man, it’s cool…I got me a hottie just waiting for me back home. And she never says no. One man took a lot of posed pictures with his dolls. He called them “family photos.” The dolls were doing things like reading books and sitting in lawn chairs in the garden. Gordon films himself with the two dolls. I took copious notes so as not to forget anything. I was apparently very impressed by this show. In one of the last scenes, Davecat sends his poor beloved on a two-week journey across the country for a tune-up. The repairman had dolls crammed in all over the place. He admits to having “tested out” a couple extremely attractive dolls which seems slightly unethical…not to mention a little gross. He tightened up Davecat’s doll’s limbs and cleaned her up because she was beginning to smell a little fishy. And there you have it—three fish references. And I’m only a little grossed out. For your viewing pleasure:
Yesterday I had to take a cab ride out to the Hall of Justice (which sounds a lot cooler and a lot more heroic than is actually the case) and it proved to be nothing short of amazing. Hailing cabs is one of my few and limited talents. On maybe a couple occasions it has not worked as expected. Like the time the cabbie angrily threw my umbrella at me through the rear window, or the time Vanna and I had to walk through the misty Santa Barbara morning looking like two soggy slags. The nice people at Carrows called us a cab.
Well, I waved down this cab right near the courthouse. I got in and realized I was in a movie. Had to have been. The cab driver was wearing a black leather cowboy hat with a matching black leather vest. And the soundtrack to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was blasting over the stereo. I kid you not. And he drove like a madman. I thought to myself, for sure, this is the way I am going to die…in some crazy cowboy’s cab. That would just be the way I die. When we finally stopped and I was paying up I told him I liked his music and he handed me his cell phone number in case I would like to request him specifically.
The Hall of Justice, like all government buildings these days, makes you go through a metal detector. I had to take off my big leopard belt and then the guard asked me if I was carrying a corkscrew and could I show it to him, please. Of course, I grabbed the other set of keys with the mace attached and he flipped out and told me I couldn’t come in. And they don’t do the courteous thing and just hold it. He told I could hide them someplace outside the building and then just hope they’re there when I get out. And lucky for me they were there where I left ‘em—in some bushes. There is nothing as awesome as carrying mace and a corkscrew. The two-prong attack is probably the most effective.
So, I sort of thought to myself, I need to make me some quick and easy money. I like making money basically just so I can travel. I ran through Craigslist’s “Etc.” job listings and thought I found what I was looking for. I could be a medical test subject. I have asthma and so I found a PAID asthma study and emailed them for more information. It was all good until I got down to what exactly would be required.
In a span of 8-12 weeks, I would need to go in to have blood drawn, my lung function tested and an EKG on three separate occasions. Then, in an 8x8x8 room, I’d be exposed to some ozone gas and then made either run on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike for 30-minute intervals within a 4 hour time frame. 17 hours later, I would need to return for either some breathing test or some horrible procedure called a bronchoscopy.
“As part of this visit, you will have an IV placed in your arm and you will be given medications to relax you [this already sounds bad]. The back of your throat will be sprayed with a numbing spray [again, not liking the sound of it]. A small, flexible plastic bronchoscope tube (about the diameter of a pencil) will be passed down your throat and into your lungs. A number of samples will be collected from your airways…Following the bronchoscopy procedure nurses will monitor you for approximately 2 hours. You will need to be accompanied home by an adult companion.” Oh holy hell. That is just yucky. I like the way it casually describes this procedure. Almost like a spa visit. You will be relaxed and numbed and then a gnarly tube shoved down your throat. And the compensation for all of this? $1,100.00. It does note that you will receive a lesser amount if you don’t complete all your visits. I don’t think I can do it, though I feel Hawaii a-callin’ me.