hiatus, part 4

January 31, 2008

Heidi is working. Heidi is working at Bolthouse. Heidi is at work at Bolthouse. Heidi is doing her job at Bolthouse. Heidi is getting some work done at Bolthouse. Which one sounds better? Which one sounds more professional? Heidi is professionally doing her work at Bolthouse? Is that right, can you use it in that way? On her business card, what should it say – “Heidi Montag, Professional Worker”? “Heidi Montag, Working Professional”? Like, if her mom called, Heidi would probably say, “I’m at Bolthouse, mom, doing some important work,” and her mom would ooh like she always does. If Brent called, well, he wouldn’t call, he would just walk over because he’s next door. If Spencer called, she would probably say “I’m at work,” because with Spencer she doesn’t have to pretend, well, at least she doesn’t have to pretend in that way. And anyway it’s not like he has a job, but that’s okay, he has a lot of options, he’s keeping his options open. It’s important for me to keep my options open, he said, and for now I have my Heidi to bring home the bacon. He said that to Heidi and then he kissed her in the middle of the restaurant right in her chair and a lot of people watched and it made her feel good and better and best.

Bring home the bacon. Why do people say that? Was maybe bacon really important at one time, like it was like gold, so when people brought home bacon they were bringing home money? Salt was like that once, salt was really important. People killed each other for salt, they fought wars about salt. Now you can get it for free everywhere, like at McDonalds. Jews don’t eat bacon, but Jews have all the money, so maybe that story isn’t true. A myth is a story that isn’t true but sometimes people believe it anyway, like evolution. Bacon is best with pancakes, but pancakes are bad because of all the carbs. Bacon is bad because of saturated fat, but if you do Atkins then it’s okay. But people don’t do Atkins anymore because of the saturated fat, so maybe it’s not okay.

Heidi is working. That’s the away message she finally settles on – “Heidi is working.” Simple, clean. It makes her feel good. Working is important. Working out is important. A healthy mind is a healthy body and the other way around. Heidi went to yoga class once with Lauren. At the end of the class, the teacher had them sit and meditate. Heidi sat and pretended to meditate but didn’t really meditate, because the teacher said you sometimes see things when you meditate, like light or a vision or something, and Heidi didn’t want to maybe see a vision of the yoga god. The yoga god was in a painting on the wall in the yoga room. The yoga god looked scary and had a lot of arms and heads and eyes and looked scary. Heidi sat and pretended to meditate, which was harder than she thought it would be. Concentrating on pretending to not concentrate takes a lot of concentration. After class, Heidi asked if Lauren saw anything when she meditated, like light or a vision or something, and Lauren laughed and then they got drive-through french fries.

Working is important. Heidi is supposed to call some people about some things. These are important calls that have to be made so that things can happen so that other things can happen. Brent gave her a list of the people to call and their phone numbers and the reasons she is supposed to call them and the things she is supposed to say when she calls. Also she has to fill out some paperwork with some information and then courier it to some people so that things don’t get delayed. Delays are bad and they cost money. Time is money. Time flies. Also she has to organize her desk because it’s getting way messy and messes are bad and unprofessional. Also she has to write some lyrics, but that’s not work. Well it is work, it’s hard work, really, but it’s not work work, so it really shouldn’t count in her work list but just in her general to-do list.

A pop-up pops-up and Heidi clicks it shut, but it won’t click shut, it stays there, stuck. The computer freezes and Heidi has to pull out the battery and unplug it so it can restart and now she’s lost so much valuable time that she could be using to get things done like making calls or filling out paperwork or the other job related tasks that she does every day. Computers are annoying. Why is it called freezing if the computer doesn’t get cold? Heidi hates distractions. Focusing is hard as it is. A lot of people have a hard time focusing. There are just so many things. The world is full of things and you have to decide what things are important and what things are not important and not just that but what things are important to you and what things are important to other people like Spencer and what things are important to your job and not just that but what things are important right now and what things will be important later and what things will be important even later. The things are all around you and it’s hard to focus because there’s just so many of them.

Working is hard. Writing is hard. Sometimes things are so hard and it gets to you, it makes you sad. Heidi has a notebook in her desk and she uses it when she has ideas for lyrics for songs. It has a picture of a unicorn on the front. It’s like a school notebook for little girls from Walmart. Heidi grew up in a small town, so much smaller than LA. When Heidi was in middle school, they got a Walmart. Spencer got the notebook for her and said it was for her songs. Writing lyrics is hard. Heidi is so glad she’s got her new producer. Her new producer is black and black people are better at music than white people. Heidi is not racist. She loves Stevie Wonder and she wants to make music like him. Sometimes she closes her eyes while she’s recording vocals and pretends that’s she’s blind too. Blind people can’t see things so they don’t get distracted by the things they see – they have less things to deal with. Heidi wants less things, she wants to block the things out so she can find the things in her soul that she wants to sing about. Heidi is so glad she’s got her new producer, who’s black. David was so mean. He laughed at the lyrics she wrote in her notebook and Spencer stood behind him and laughed too. Later, at home, Spencer said he was just pretending to laugh. He said sometimes you have to pretend things for business. David is white. He’s Brody’s dad and Brody turned out to be mean, too. Maybe meanness is genetic, like skin color.

Heidi is at work. Brent used to be mean, but then he stopped for some reason. Now he is nice and he buys her lunch sometimes. He doesn’t eat lunch with her but he buys it and has someone drop it off in her office. Salads, usually. Sometimes there is a post-it note that says “Heidi – Lunch is on me today, keep up the good work – Brent.” That’s nice – it’s nice to leave a note. Good work. Good work is what gets you into heaven. You have to believe but you also have to do good work. It is a fifty fifty kind of thing. Heidi does good work, or at least she tries. She works hard to do good work. The computer is finally restarted. She changes her away message – “Heidi is doing good work.”

Mean people suck. That’s a bumper sticker and it’s also true. All bumper stickers are true but some bumper stickers are truer than others. When Heidi was in seventh grade, her mom told her that she really wanted a bumper sticker that said “My Daughter is an Honor Roll Student at Crested Butte Middle School.” She said she wanted it so she could put it on her car so people could see what a great daughter she had, even if she didn’t know them. She said that people would maybe see the bumper sticker and then drive up beside her and roll down the window and say, “Hey, what’s your daughter’s name, she sure sounds smart!” and Heidi’s mom would yell, she would have to yell because cars move fast and wind and stuff, she would yell, “Her name’s Heidi!” and people from three towns over would know who Heidi was, she would be famous. Heidi tried really really hard to get the bumper sticker, like really, but she was never good at school. Well, she was good at some parts of school, but not the school parts of school, which are the parts that decide whether you get a bumper sticker or not. School is important for some people but not for everybody – some people have other directions they can go in, some people have talents that are hidden and reveal themselves later, some people have options, some people have to keep their options open. On the day that the bumper stickers were handed out, Heidi went behind the gym and showed a boy up her sweatshirt for his bumper sticker, but then he ran away and didn’t give her the bumper sticker. It was her favorite sweatshirt – it was really soft because it had been washed a lot.

Heidi is at work. There are just so many things.


January 31, 2008

“the difference between my voice and someone else’s can literally be the placement of a comma.”

heidi on jimmy kimmel

January 25, 2008

HEIDI – “It’s kind of…i don’t know, kind of like a young “Sex and the City,” is how they describe it. It’s about four girls and we’re all living in LA and we’re working and it’s about the ups and downs of relationships.”

We just all do our lives.” (my italics)

“I met Lauren and we were like the only two blondes in our class and we were just a little scared, a little nervous – we were like, oh, let’s be friends.

JIMMY – “Do you think you guys’ll get married?”

HEIDI – “I mean we’ll see, you know, I love him, you just have to watch the show and see.” (as if marriage is a performative condition, like, if the ratings are high enough then we’ll get married.)

HEIDI (on her music producer) – “Everything he does is so, it’s all original, you know, it’s not- it’s from outer space – literally from God is the only way I can describe it.”

JIMMY (showing the posed paparazzi photos) – “Are these paparazzi photos? Because it looks like, i mean, it looks like you posed for these.”

HEIDI – “I mean, they just happened to be there.”

JIMMY – “Do you have to bring a blow drier to the beach?”

HEIDI – “Yeah, you just have to be beach-ready.”

JIMMY (showing Heidi’s maxim cover) – “Now, they say “The Hills”‘s hottest bad girl bares her claws, but you seem to be, uh, a fairly nice person. How have you become the villain on the show, how has that happened?”

HEIDI – “Because I don’t narrate the show. And that’s the whole difference, like, if I narrated the show, I feel like it would be…a different show, you know?

JIMMY – “Who would be the villain, if you narrated the show?”

HEIDI – “I mean, then L- you know, it would kind of be more-”

JIMMY – “Then Lauren would be the villain”

HEIDI – “A little bit. Through my eyes, not necessarily a villain because we have different mind frames and I’m not quite like that, but…”

JIMMY – “If you could punch her in the face, would you?”

HEIDI – “No, I wouldn’t, I’m not that kind of person. I’d pray for her.”

JIMMY – “You do? Do you really? Every night or how often do you pray for her?”

HEIDI – “Like, five times a day.” (laughs)

JIMMY – “Like, when you sit down to pray, you kneel when you pray?”

HEIDI – “Um, sometimes.”

JIMMY – “-or you just lay there in bed and pray?”

HEIDI (moves into orant pose) – “Sometimes I just sit there, like-”

JIMMY – “So do you say, ‘God, please have mercy on LC, that little bitch…” (Audience laughs)

HEIDI – (hands clasped, mock prayer) – “Please help her… no”

JIMMY – “How do you position the prayer for LC?”

HEIDI (uncomfortable/or trying to get back on message) – “You know, I’m going to kind of keep that-” (hand motion)

JIMMY – “You’re going to keep that -”

HEIDI – “-to myself a little bit. Like, to your imagination.”

JIMMY – “Well, but wait a minute, I mean, really, you’re followed around constantly by – there’s cameras on you in the bathroom!” (skeezy laugh, like he’s imagining her in the bathroom). “You’ve got to let us in on your innner… All right, well, if you ever decide you want to pray on camera, I hope, I hope that you’ll-

HEIDI – “I will. I mean, I don’t know if they’ll air it or not, I mean, our show’s not “The Truman Sh-”

JIMMY – “I mean here, I’ll let you do it on camera.”

HEIDI (uncomfortable) – “Oh…OK.”

JIMMY – “We’ll have a whole -”

(crowd applause, whistles)

JIMMY – “Dear God, please send lightning down on LC.”

HEIDI (smile, high pitch) – “No, I’d never wish that on anyone.”

HEIDI – “It’s a lot harder to hate somebody than just be okay with somebody and let it go.”

HEIDI (on her single, “Higher”) – “This was the first song I wanted to come out with because it just it’s really a piece of me and it’s really personal and you can’t hold grudges and you can’t let negativity hold you down, you’ve just got to go higher.”

JIMMY – “This is a theme for you.”

HEIDI – “It is a theme.”

JIMMY (channeling Murray) – “In your case, your past is actually reruns, your past is on DVD.”


watch this video. the fact that the prayer thread goes on so long is crazy, and jimmy’s feelings re: the invasion of her privacy are kind of interesting, re: his historic freakout about gawker stalker. obviously to him, since heidi is on a reality show, she is less than a person and thus should spread her legs on command if he asks her to. my transcription doesn’t even include the part of the video in which she is subjected, “clockwork orange” style, to picture after picture of audrina in the tabloids as jimmy continues to refer to audrina as one of her best friends. also worth noting is that heidi says “life’s too short, you can’t hold grudges” on three separate occasions in one interview. watch this video.

“We’re hearing very good information that the agency cut a deal with The Hills‘ Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. PCN gets access to the couple, staged shots, and thus a leg up in selling their photos to tabloids, while Heidi and Spencer get to be seen in positive light. Oh, and pad their pockets with a cut of the revenues.” – jossip

yeah so i know i said i don’t read gawker anymore, but whatever, these pictures are too incredible.

“I was a very quirky child,” Port, 22, reminisces about her early years. “Being the third of five kids, there was never a chance to be shy. We each had to have a very strong voice to be heard.”

see photos of lauren, brody, whitney, and audrina as children at us. the ones of them as children are adorable, although the ones of them as babies reinforces my belief that all babies are ugly. i was sad not to see pictures of beloved lo, who has moved/is moving into lauren’s new house (!!!), as i’m sure she was a very sassy child. also, no polaroids of heidi and spencer? how scandalous. the times made its endorsements today*; is “us” taking a stand against speidi?!

* if you couldn’t guess, i am an ardent supporter of barack obama because i am very shallow and he is the best looking candidate. also, other reasons.

hiatus, part 3

January 24, 2008

Lauren wakes up. She’s really glad they never show her waking up on the show. Sometimes they show her right after she’s woken up, but never right when she wakes up. She’s really glad they don’t show that. That’s a private moment. There are some things that have to be private in life. Like the only people who should see you when you wake up are God and your boyfriend and your mom, that’s it. Because when you wake up, you’re not awake. Like that’s stupid, like, duh, you’re not awake, but you’re not awake, you’re not presenting yourself to the world the way you want to present yourself to the world because you’re not awake enough in your mind to think about the way you want to present yourself to the world and you’re not awake enough in your body to move the way you think you want to present yourself to the world. Also, you are probably not that well dressed. Some girls buy really nice pajamas but Lauren doesn’t really see the point of that. Like obviously if you are having a boy over but besides that who cares. There are limits to fashion, people are so uptight, people care way too much about what other people think of them and their appearance. Obviously you have to care some, it’s important to care some, it’s important to care a lot, even, very important, but it’s important to not care too much, because too much is too much.

Lauren’s really glad they never show her waking up on the show. A lot of people would say that the reason not to show a scene of her waking up is that it’s a boring scene, that’s there’s nothing interesting about seeing a person waking up, but Lauren thinks that’s wrong. A scene of someone waking up is the opposite of boring. When you’re waking up you’re more real than when you’re awake, at least more real in the way some people who say real mean real. Real is a complicated word. Lauren understands this. Complication is the spice of life, like nutmeg.

Lauren wakes up because of the sunlight through the window. Lauren bought her new house because of the sunlight. Well she really bought her new house because her dad said it was a good investment and it would something with interest and you never know with the economy, buyer’s market, but really really Lauren bought it because of the sunlight. She bought it because there are a lot of windows and the house is facing the right direction for the sun to come in (left?) and the sun comes through the windows and it’s nice. Lauren believes that everything is better with good lighting.

Lauren looks out the window. Through her sleepy eyes, LA looks hazy and blurry and warm. It doesn’t look real. She’s been here for years now but sometimes it still doesn’t look real. It looks like looking at the world through a car window when the car window gets all foggy and you can’t really see anything specific. Or like when people have glasses and they have to wipe off their glasses because they get foggy. Lauren remembers in study group in high school how ugly Kristin looked in her glasses and sometimes she would take them off to wipe them with a little yellow cloth. She had a bunch of different pairs of glasses in different colors and different styles but they didn’t help any, they didn’t change the fact that she was wearing glasses. Glasses are glasses. There are two kinds of people in the world: people who wear glasses and people who don’t wear glasses. Some people try to cheat, but they can’t, that’s not fair.

Lauren goes downstairs to make breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but breakfast is also the easiest meal to skip. This is a difficult and complex issue. Darfur is also a difficult and complex issue. When Lauren did the public service announcement about Darfur, she felt good. People in Darfur don’t have enough to eat but they also have a lot of other problems like rape. Lauren remembers when Jason had been drinking too much. He would look at her when he had been drinking too much and he would have this look in his eyes that was different. Lauren knows a lot about how to control the way her eyes look, but Jason didn’t look like he could control the way his eyes looked then. Because of her life experiences and personal beliefs, Lauren can identify with the problems of all the people in the world and she wants to, she wants to identify with everyone, she wants to listen to them and understand them and help them be stronger and more independent and not get raped and dress well and make healthy eating choices.

Lauren decides to have a container of low fat banana yogurt with two spoonfuls of organic granola. Discipline is important in eating. Counting calories is fun, and easy, too, ever since she got an application for her iPhone. Discipline is important in everything, not just eating. Once there were people called Stylites who stood on really really tall columns for a really really long time to get closer to God. Lauren wonders if she could stand on a tall column for a long time. It’s important to stand up for what you believe in, that’s a saying. Maybe if she was allowed to take an iPod. Probably if she was allowed to take an iPod. Leg press is her favorite thing to do at the gym and she has to stand for hours and hours when she works shows, so how hard could it really be? It’s just standing, right, it’s not like walking on coals or needles like on “Fear Factor” or something. Especially if she was allowed to take a video iPod or an iPhone.

(although how would she charge it? could they get a bunch of extension cords and run them up the length of the column, could they wrap them around like a may pole?)

Lauren looks out her front window. LA still looks hazy and blurry and warm, but it doesn’t make sense now, because she doesn’t have sleep in her eyes anymore. Is sleep really a physical, touchable, seeable thing, like do some people have a disease where they get too much sleep in their eyes and they have to go to the doctor to get the sleep taken out and the doctor takes it out and puts it in a little jar like tonsils? What does sleep look like?

Lauren opens the front door. LA looks hazy and blurry and warm, but wrong somehow, not real. Not real in a bad way, not not real in a good way. Unreal. It’s like there’s some problem with her eyes, except she knows she has perfect 20-20 vision – she never needed glasses, not even for reading. She steps out onto the lawn and then she sees it, everywhere, some kind of translucent sheet covering her entire house and stretched out over her yard. It’s like saran wrap on a piece of cake, except the piece of cake is her beautiful new house that cost 2 million dollars. 2.2 million dollars. The plastic extends out over the roof and over the tops of the palm trees she had put in and out to the sidewalk. There are poles at the edge of the yard that prop up the sheet at the sides and the corners. Lauren approaches the sheet. The grass is wet from the sprinklers and it soaks into her socks and makes her feet feel gross. The sheet is somehow sealed tight into the ground so that she can’t pull it up or crawl under it. She hits one of the poles and it makes the sound a metal pole makes when you hit it and also her hand hurts. She runs her hand over the plastic and it feels smooth and clean. It’s kind of like a cheap shower curtain in a motel, which obv. she has never been in a motel, gross, but like a shower curtain looks in a movie with a motel in it.

Lauren puts her face up against the sheet, but she can’t see any better, she just sees her neighborhood looking hazy and blurry and warm. It looks kind of like a Monet. Monet always painted paintings that looked hazy and blurry and warm. When Monet was old, he lost most of his vision but he kept painting and his paintings got even hazier and blurrier and warmer. He painted water lilies, Lauren saw them in Paris. She bought a coffee mug for her mom and at the hotel room that night, she made the water lilies her desktop background because they were so beautiful. Every time she looks at her desktop background, it reminds her of Paris and that’s why she made the water lilies her desktop background and that’s why she’s kept them as her desktop background since then, even though that’s a pretty long time to keep the same desktop background with all the new images that are being created every day. Lauren squints into the sheet, even though it makes her look ugly, like someone who wears glasses. It looks like there are more sheets on the houses on either side of her, and more poles, but she can’t say for sure.

Lauren doesn’t know what to do. She walks along the edges of the yard, running her hand along the sheet. When she was in high school, a teacher recognized that she was intelligent and smart and had lots of good qualities and nominated her to go to leadership camp, but Lauren didn’t go because Stephen’s parents were out of town that weekend and he was having a barbecue and he wrote her a note specifically inviting her. Like, he didn’t run into her by the cafeteria and say, “Hey, I’m having a party this weekend” and he didn’t send her a text or an IM, he wrote out an invitation on a piece of clean white paper and drew a red heart in magic marker and glued it shut. “I’m having a party this weekend and it won’t be a party without my Lauren,” he wrote to her. Lauren doesn’t know what to do. A girl in a movie would probably scream, but Lauren knows her scream is really unattractive and you never know when someone is waiting around in the bushes to put your unattractive scream on Youtube and Lauren does not need that kind of stress right now. Lauren goes back in the house without screaming and turns on the television. Her cable is out. Lauren doesn’t know what to do.


January 22, 2008

The Hills is starting to be shown on Channel 4 in the U.K., and before each episode over there they air this disclaimer:

‘The following programme may contain scenes that have been created purely for entertainment purposes.”

this is the best fucking disclaimer ever. a TV show with scenes created “purely for entertainment purposes”? oh my god!!

hiatus, part 2

January 20, 2008

Heidi is reading. Or trying to read, which is the same thing, really. Trying is succeeding in itself, someone once said. Heidi is trying to concentrate on reading, because reading is both entertaining and educational. Reading is fundamental. Heidi is trying to read because reading is important, fundamental, entertaining, and educational. Heidi is trying to read. It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Now her phone is ringing, but Heidi is ignoring it because she is trying very hard to finish a sentence and she’s been trying very hard for a while to finish a sentence because of all the distractions and now she’s going to finish the sentence except she answers the phone because what else is she going to do.

On the phone is her mom.
Hey sweetie, what are you doing? her mom asks.
I’m reading, Heidi says.
What are you reading?
A book.
Well, gosh, I guessed that, Heidi, her mom says. What book is it? Whatsit about?
It’s about a lot of things, Mom, Heidi says. Listen, I’m trying to read, is it something important?
I just wanted to know if you were watching Idol, her mom says. There’s some really funny people-
No mom, I’m reading, Heidi says. I love you, I’ll talk to you later.
Okay, it’s back on, bye, love you, her mom says. Her mom cuts the call off in the middle of the you, so it sound more like “love y-.”

Heidi puts her phone on silent. Then she puts it on vibrate, because what if someone called about something important. Then she thinks who is really going to call besides Spencer or her mom or Brent, and Spencer is in the living room and her mom just called, so she puts it on silent. She picks up her book, but then puts it down again and puts the phone on vibrate, just to be safe.

Heidi doesn’t watch American Idol. At family gatherings in Colorado, like barbecues and picnics and stuff, she sings for her family. When she was a little girl they called these “Heidi’s performances” and the other kids did them too, like tap dancing or telling knock knock jokes, but now it’s just her and it’s just “Heidi’s gonna sing something for us” or somebody will ask, like her grandma, “Heidi, won’t you sing something for us? So she will always sing “Amazing Grace” or “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” both of which she has practiced a lot, both of which she is good at singing in both pitch and intonation and phrasing. She will sing her song and her voice will ring out over the Rockies, or at least she likes to think about it like that because it sound poetic, like an ad for spring water, but really it just rings out over the picnic tables. After she finishes and everybody hoots and she sits back on the wooden bench, redfaced, an uncle or aunt or little cousin with a mouthful of hamburger bun will say “Gosh, you’re so good, Heidi, you should be on American Idol,” and Heidi will smile and say “Aww, thanks” or “You guys!”

But Heidi doesn’t want to be on American Idol. She wants to be a real professional singer and she doesn’t think the best way to do that is to be on a TV show first. Because sometimes if you are on a TV show first, people think that you don’t have good talent or that you just want to be famous instead of wanting to be good and talented at something. Which is stupid, because the reason you usually get on a TV show for something is if you are good at it or at least if you are unique and interesting and have talents that may not have shown themselves yet but will surely show themselves in the future. But then when people are on TV shows to show off their talents, other people laugh at them and say they are not really talented, they are just TV talented, like they are just doing it because they like to be on a show. Heidi imagines herself in a gold lame dress and spotlights are catching on the dress and making it look like “The Wizard of Oz.” She knows that she can sing like shining gold.

In the other room, the television is on. The television is always on. Spencer loves the television, his television. Of course he doesn’t call it a television, unless he’s making fun of her, he calls it a TV or sometimes he calls it “the plasma” or “the Bravia” and when he calls it “the Bravia” he points at the tiny embossed logo at the bottom lip of the screen and says, in a movie announcer baritone, “the BRAVIA.”

Heidi calls it a television, not a TV, because that’s the proper word to call it, that’s what it is. When you have a word and an abbreviation, it’s more proper to use the word. She doesn’t know exactly why, but it makes her feel smarter and better and cleaner to use the word “television” than to to use the abbreviation “TV.” She thinks of sample sentences using both words. “Spencer watches pro wrestling on TV.” “Spencer stares at porno on TV.” “Heidi learns to cook a new dish from a food television show.” “Heidi is moved deeply by watching British plays on television.” Heidi thinks maybe she should have used “theatre” instead of “plays” because that sound more fancy and is a British spelling. She wonders if there is a British spelling of plays, like “playes.”

When they were moving into the condo, Heidi was carrying a big box of her boots so she couldn’t see where she was going and she bumped into the hand truck that was holding Spencer’s television and it fell over and it smashed on the ground and there was glass everywhere and Heidi felt so bad. She was already emotional about the move, because of Lauren and everything, and she was also kind of scared and nervous, because of Spencer and everything, and then she broke the television and it was just too much. What is that expression, the thing that broke the camel’s back? It was like that, it was like back-breaking, she felt paralyzed.

Spencer came into the room and Heidi tried to look at him but couldn’t even really see him because of all the tears in her eyes and the way she was shaking and also the large box of boots she was still holding. But Spencer, he was so sweet like always and he took the box of boots from her and put it down and put his hands on both sides of her face so that her hearing was blocked, so that inside her head sounded like listening to a seashell and she was really reading his lips when he said that everything was okay. “TVs grow on trees,” he said, when he had taken his hands off her ears. That afternoon they went to Best Buy and Spencer was so happy, walking through the rows of shining televisions, that she thought maybe it was a good thing, like a sign, like a symbol, like a theme, like a metaphor. Like that old television was something from Spencer’s old life, with the Playboy girls and going out all the time, and it broke, shattered, and now they were getting a new television and it was going to be theirs, for their condo. Together.

The television is on. It’s kind of loud, but she doesn’t feel like asking him to turn it down because then he’ll make some kind of remark or face or something and she’ll have to kind of apologize but not totally and it will take up more of her reading time. So instead it’s just another distraction that she has to live with, something else that is keeping her from her true purpose, from attaining her potential. “Attain” was a word on her Word of the Day calendar at work a few weeks ago – it means “to reach” or “to gain.”

Heidi’s eyes refocus on the book. Heidi is supposed to be reading. This is the hour she has set aside for reading today. She wrote it in and underlined it and starred it on her day planner and also set an alarm on her phone. Reading time, 8:00. One problem was that she actually started reading at about 7:52 because she got out of work early and then when the alarm went off at 8:00, it distracted her from her reading. This was really annoying because she was in the middle of a sentence. It is 8:24. Heidi goes back to reading. She looks around for the sentence she had stopped in the middle of, which is hard because when you stop in the middle of a thought or a sentence and then try to come back to it later, it’s hard to remember what you were thinking or reading. It’s kind of like that book “Blink,” which was on the New York Times Best Seller list for a long time and a lot of people said was really perceptive. She finds the sentence or thinks that she has found it, at least. 8:25. She has 35 minutes left until reading time is over.

hiatus, part 1

January 20, 2008

Lauren is watching “American Idol” on TV. It is one of the early episodes of the season, the ones where people audition to be on the show and the auditions are shown on air. Most of the people that Lauren knows say that these are their favorite episodes of “American Idol” or that these are the only episodes of “American Idol” that they like; these are the kind of people who say “I don’t watch ‘American Idol,’ but I do love those audition episodes”; these are the kind of people who will be saying something about how television is stupid and fake and then remember that Lauren has a television show and will sort of change the subject very quickly when she looks at them.

Lauren doesn’t like the audition episodes, but she is a devoted fan of “American Idol” so she watches the audition episodes anyway, because what if in a later episode someone made a reference to something having to do with one of the audition episodes and she didn’t understand or know about it because she didn’t watch the audition episodes. Or what if one of the auditions was so crazy it went viral and then everybody was talking about it and she didn’t know what everybody was talking about because she didn’t watch. She tivos the show, of course, and her tivo places the episodes in order in neat, properly named folders. Before tivo existed, in middle school, she was a very devoted video taper. She liked to label the video tapes she recorded her shows on. Each tape came with three labels; a label for the spine and then two labels that went on the face of the videotape, a thick rectangle and a thin strip one. Lauren never really understood what the thin strip one was for and often found that it was problematic, as the lack of adhesive surface area would often cause it to get caught by the VCR machinery and pulled at and the corners would not be neat and flat, but Lauren would always put it on. Once her labels were adhered, she would first write the name of the show in pink highlighter on the spine label and then she would write “Vol.” and then the number of the volume of tape that it was. You had to have different volumes because tapes only hold so many episodes when you record at high quality. Then she would outline the pink highlighter with black highlighter, which now she thinks is a pretty gauche color combination but when she was in middle school she thought was bold and exciting.

On the television, an obese man in a moo moo is singing/rapping an acapella version of the song “Baby Got Back” and when he yells the hook, “Baby Got Back,” he jumps around so his butt is showing and smacks it with his hand and the flesh jiggles and the fabric of the moo moo flutters. Lauren doesn’t like the audition episodes because she thinks they’re mean. She thinks it’s mean just to laugh at people on TV for trying and being themselves. These people have a dream and they think the best way to get to their dream is to be on television, because they have seen other people with similar dreams go on television and get to their dreams, and so they are trying like those people. How can you hate someone or think they’re stupid because they tried something? How Lauren feels is that people don’t try enough, that people don’t put themselves out there and see what happens, because even though sometimes what happens is bad, sometimes what happens is good and you have to be brave and have courage about things. Lauren thinks sometimes that she doesn’t try enough, that she doesn’t put herself out there, that she isn’t brave and doesn’t have courage about things, and so she can’t hate these people because it wouldn’t be right.

Sometimes the people on the audition shows are so stupid or bad at singing or so weird, like the disgusting clothes they wear or they funny ways they talk, that it makes her want to laugh, that it makes a laugh rise up from her chest cavity into her diaphragm, but Lauren controls the laugh and stops it because she thinks it’s wrong to laugh at people on television and if she was to laugh at these people herself, she would be a hypocrite. Sometimes holding in a laugh like this when it’s already started is kind of painful and makes her cough, but she deals with it, she doesn’t laugh, because it’s not right to laugh. If people don’t have principles, society will crumble.

The show goes to commercial and Lauren pauses the Tivo and goes to the refrigerator. In the refrigerator, there are a number of things. There is Evian and soymilk and Diet Dr. Pepper and a couple of half-filled cardboard-sleeved cups from Starbucks. There are numerous take-out trays and foil-wrapped things; a small box of nigiri, some lasagna, half a pizza which has been in the fridge for a while. There are tangelos and red delicious apples and there is yogurt – blueberry, strawberry, cherry – the basic American flavors. There are stale tortillas and there is a large bag of high-quality provolone cheese in thin slices. There are carrot sticks. There is whipped cream in both regular and chocolate flavors. There are various ethnic condiments.

Lauren sits back on the couch with the half a pizza and the two liter bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. The half a pizza is pepperoni and olives and green peppers. Lauren never understood why people liked cold pizza and talked about how good cold pizza is all the time except then one time she had it when she was hung over and then she understood. She fast-forwards the Tivo. One of the commercials she fast forwards through is for Jenny Craig. She remembers when Anna Nicole Smith did that Trimspa ad, the one with the fake red carpet and all the camera flashes. That poor baby.

Lauren imagines what it would be like to be fat. Some mean, negative people used to say she was fat but Lauren, thanks to her upbringing, has good judgment and a good solid head on her shoulders and she knows she has never been fat. She definitely sees a difference between the Shape cover and the pictures of her from last summer, but she wasn’t fat then, she was just less skinny. But to be really fat, to just eat and eat and eat and not have to move, not have to go to the gym, what would it feel like? To be so fat that you don’t worry about how your clothes fit because they just don’t fit at all, to be moo moo fat, how would that be? Lauren knows that it would be problematic, that it would probably make her sometimes feel sad and negative, but there are a lot of things now that sometimes make her feel sad and negative and would it be worth it to get to eat so much and not have to go to the gym every day?

Body image is such an important topic. So many girls worry about it too much and that is sad. She wishes when she worked at Teen Vogue they had covered that more. Not that she had any say in editorial or anything, not that she ever did anything even a little important, but she just wishes they would’ve covered it, for the greater good. Causes are important. Like ethical labor, that is so big right now, that is the direction she is going with her line, ethical. It’s a good cause. Also she is going to make clothes for real body shapes, that is a thing everybody is talking about. Not for like really fat people, of course, but definitely for less skinny people, because she knows what it’s like to be less skinny, she’s been there. She has a message and she can relate it to people and she can do it in a way that is attractive and stylish and she works hard and these are the reasons she knows she will be successful.

The Tivo runs too far, into the show itself, and Lauren’s thumb clicks the rewind button and her thumb is deft and practiced. She unconsciously maneuvers the Tivo back in seconds. Sometimes Tivo time bothers Lauren because with all the pausing and unpausing she’s not in sync with real time and that’s difficult because she likes to be in sync. Audrina will probably be home from her date in an hour or two, unless it goes well and then who knows. Lauren hopes that Audrina comes home so that they can talk about the evening and Lauren can, from this conversation, create a mental picture of this new guy and help Audrina understand this picture the way she sees it. At the same time, she hopes it goes well for Audrina so she doesn’t have to do all the analysis and thinking and everything, because sometimes caring about people takes a lot of work and energy, or at least it does for Lauren, because she really does care and think about people a lot. Sometimes her favorite times are when nothing happens, when she can just sit like this, still, and eat and watch.


January 11, 2008

a woman cries. cameras capture the woman crying. the footage of the woman crying is aired on television. the footage captures the attention of everybody. everybody is very interested in watching the footage of the woman crying. everybody watches the footage of the woman crying over and over again. everybody is trying to see something in the footage of the woman crying that other people don’t see. everybody has an opinion about the footage of the woman crying. some people think the woman is really crying. some people think she is really crying because she is really sad. some people think she is really crying because she is really sad because the guy she is going out with doesn’t really love her. some people think she is really crying because in the same situation in a hollywood movie, the star would cry, and some people have internalized the shapes of hollywood movies and the emotional triggers within them and so that is why she is crying. some people think she is fakely crying. some people think she is fakely crying because someone in charge of something wrote some things down and one of the things was that she was supposed to cry. some people think she is fakely crying because she is fake and thinks it is in her best interest to cry. some people think she is fakely really crying because she knows she is in a situation where it is in her best interest to cry even if she doesn’t need to cry and that people might finally really see what she is sure is true and good inside her, what she has been trying to show them, if she would just pretend to cry, and the pain of wanting that makes her really cry. everybody is watching the footage of the woman crying over and over again. everybody is trying to see something in the footage of the woman crying that other people don’t see. everybody has an opinion about the footage of the woman crying.