conversations with other women

A little over a year ago, a woman came up to me with a cat in her arms.  His name was Sly (Silver Sylvester, for long), and I’d be doing her a favor by taking him.  Now then, I’d known someone with a cat called Sly and have a complete inability to say no to this sort of thing, so I took him home.  Obviously, he’d have to be called Clive.  Obviously.

Spot Clive.
Spot Clive.  Also, tell me what you do with the crappy books you get as presents from family members who are all, “You like books.  Here is a book!”

I’m reading a book for class and this book references all three other books I’m reading right now, and every non-contemporary novel on my wee summer bookshelf.  (The Protagoras, Portnoy’s Complaint, and The Recognitions; for class, on the go, and for fun, respectively.)

My friend was at a used book sale and found a one of those fill-in journals.  She flipped open the book and the first name she saw was of one of her closest advisers in undergrad.

I play this game all the time.  Aren’t I lucky to have stormed out of my editorial meeting early and to have been given Clive?  Isn’t my life the perfect example of how we can’t escape intertextuality?  How funny it is, the way things work.


I called my mother the other day, and one of my aunts answered the phone.

F.: Hello, Bunny!  Your mummy is on the road.  Is there anything you need?

Me: Oh, well, my roommates found a gigantic waterbug, and we’re unsure of how to proceed.

F.: Get a gun and shoot it.


After coming in from a weird, aggressive stand-off with a chestnut-hued squirrel in my backyard.

Me: K., I think the squirrel in the yard wants to kick my ass.  Or maybe he had rabies.  Not sure.

K.: Maybe he’s had a hard life.

I put some almonds in the yard for the squirrel, contrite.


Oh?  Me?  Just hanging out on this fence, watching you work, not in a menacing way or anything.
Oh? Me? Just hanging out on this fence, watching you work in what’s basically a blurry, bodega security cam photo.  Not in a menacing way or anything.

Me: So, I’ve been getting followed around by these huge black birds.  I’m not sure if they’re rooks or crows.

Mummy: Maybe they like you!

Me: They blocked my path on the way to the coffeeshop, sat beside me in front of the student center, and now they’re in my backyard!  One swooped down right in front of the window when I was writing my paper!

Mummy: Did you say hello?

Me: They’re PORTENDS!  Maybe I’m dying.

Mummy: Maybe you’re not being friendly enough, love.


Me: My roommates were gone for the weekend and I got home super late and there was an unwrapped, unrolled condom under my bed.  It wasn’t there before, all of our doors and windows were locked, and I left the house after everyone else.

My dean: Talk to housing.


Me: [forwards email to housing]

[one week elapses]

Housing: Thanks for letting us know.  We’ll alert the supervisor.


This morning.  I wake up to a riot of crows (rooks?) squawking outside my door.  They have eaten the squirrel’s almonds.  (I live in the basement and have my own entrance.)

Anyone familiar with the famous legend of the unrolled condom, insects, arachnids, and/or glimmer murder of crows?  I’d be thrilled to know.  I hope this answers any “Why don’t you blog more often/answer emails/acknowledge my existence?” questions, friends.  Obviously, I’m here, awake, not dying of a rook attack.  Obviously.


12 thoughts on “conversations with other women”

  1. Books – just give them to your nearest charity shop. I have the “You like cats, here’s a thing with a picture of a cat on it” problem [I do like some cats, but that’s not a cat, it’s a mug/coat hook/packet of serviettes]. I would say don’t take the crows too personally, we have loads round here and they always look like they’re up to something but so far it hasn’t amounted to much. The condom part is seriously freaky, though…

    1. I love cats, but I also REALLY love moose—I sleep with a stuffed moose, the whole nine yards. Now I get moose magnets, other stuffed moose (there is only room for one stuffed moose on this homestead!), and everything. Not fun.

      Then again, I couldn’t stand to see poor Ted Kennedy’s face in a charity shop. Maybe you’re right.

  2. Unwrapped, unrolled, UNUSED condom right? I think you got off lightly. Plus I think it’s really buzzards and vultures that you need to worry about.

    1. Well, here’s the thing about that. I’d gotten home at 2am, after dinner, and was on the phone with my mother. I looked under the bed and said, “Oh, great, a used condom,” and thought little of it. (I was tired! Maybe I was hallucinating!) It was far back enough (spatially) for it to be ambiguous. Then, I had a dinner party, and we all went downstairs for a viewing, and we couldn’t tell. Finally, the condom emerged days later because I accidentally vacuumed it up and I’m too afraid to actually open the canister to ascertain its condition. The condom is dead to me. I am dead to housing. And so on.

      Funny aside, one of my roommates (who’s a total, adorable naif) said, “Maybe it dropped out of someone’s pocket!”

  3. LOL! OK, so this post completely cracked me up. The crows sound very ominous, but really there’s just so damn many of them that they kind of seem like they’re stalking everyone. Just don’t make eye contact and you’ll be safe. 😉

  4. Damn girl, your life is scary! I mean, compared to that my daily ant invasion is a joke. Because who gets hurt by 1000 tiny ants entering your bedroom to travel through your apartment and reach the pack of sugar in the high cabinet of your kitchen EVERY NIGHT? No one, right? RIGHT??

    1. RIGHT! Then again, ants are plenty menacing. My roommate brought in my squirrel-feeding plate, but didn’t rinse it, and now our counters are crawling with them. Their penchant for teamwork disturbs me. Why no independent thinking, ant?

  5. Almost all of these conversations with other women are about animals! Aha, the (super-obvious) things you catch on a reread! Liked this post (“Maybe you’re not being friendly enough, love,” haha) and the story of where the cat from your about page came from.

    Also, I love how transcribing real-life conversations automatically makes the people involved–however normal I’m sure they are!–sound a little insane (or like Tom Stoppard characters). It’s so much fun to see.

    1. The only conversations worth having are the ones about animals. Trust.

      Clive says hi and he thanks you for liking his story. I am constantly concerned that he gets shorted in favor of Basil when it comes to blog face time. Poor Clive. He has the cheekbones of a supermodel, though. Poor me.

      Oh, I sound totally insane. In person, in translation, post-transcription, and everything in between.

    1. There is currently a spider in my bed. It is obviously there because it wants me to answer your crawly thing-related comment.

      Oh, Zoe. They get focused on you, don’t they? Ickity ick ick ick.

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