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Thursday December 21, 2000, 03:03

If, at this point, I take a break from airing out my dirty laundry here I am afraid that there will be nothing else for me to write about. Yesterday can be pretty much categorized as one big day of laundry that only ended this afternoon when I got home and showered.

I sat in the coat check room with them, she in a silver dress, skirt working its way up her hose-clad thighs, feet shuffling back and forth across the carpet, he in khakis and a button-down sporting self-proclaimed "Dawsom" hair. She was complaining about her shoes, about how nobody looks at your shoes anyway at these events and how she shouldn't have worn heels.

I looked down at my own sneakered feet and wiggled them.

"I look at people's shoes." I didn't know if this was entirely appropriate, but it didn't seem inappropriate, there wasn't anything else to say, and she had a boyfriend. I shut my mouth and they continued with their conversation, this woman and the gentleman in the room (notably not her boyfriend).

They spoke about airing dirty laundry. She told him that he was too willing to open up, to share his secrets, to tell his stories. That people will form opinions about you from what you tell them before they even get to interact with you. That branding yourself in that manner is not so good. She told him all of this as I stared at her legs. I really didn't have much of a choice in the matter.

Later, she would say "What are you, like 12?"

I had shaved that morning.

She went off in search of soup and I sat down on the counter that ran the length of the small room.

"I think it's because you're a writer," I said, and proceeded to address him as if I knew what he was going through, that I had "been there myself" and could understand why he felt this need, or this comfort, to talk to people, to let them know his story.

He might have bought it. I might have been making sense.

The whole while, though, I was thinking of possible designs for a business card. Was thinking that I should really have cards, for while I can always beam to the nearest nerd and/or executive MBA wanna-be-type, most people I would encounter in this industry would be firmly rooted in paper and I would have to conform to those limitations. Besides, paper makes me smile. The thoughts in my brain and the thoughts coming out of my mouth were as detached as they'd ever been and I had to regain my composure every time a patron entered the room looking to retrieve their garments.

The evening continued as such, punctuated throughout by the woman in the silver dress, the occassional magazine writer who described my fingernail polish as something similar to, but much more eloquent than, "slutty," with whom I could have had a much better conversation had I not been so bogged down in not having one. It would be nice to say here that I was merely blinded by her beauty, opening my mouth to find that it had gone slack. Regrettably, that was not the case and I fear that the lack of conversation was due mainly to my own shortcomings.

There was also a pretty girl. I climbed down from where I was perching up a support column and extended a hand.

"Hi, I don't think we've met before." An appropriate opening in any other situation except the one where the response is "Yes we have. Twice."

Embarrassment rapidly set in and the girl proceeded to slip a shirt over her tie-around top and remove said top, accenting the whole operation with comments about her breasts. If one would like to discuss perceptions to strangers, perhaps the exchange that went something like the following should be called into question. "Unfortunately," she began, "my breasts aren't big enough to hold up this top." "Unfortunately?" "Well, no, not really. I like my breasts."

An appropriate answer, in retrospect, was probably "I do too." But that would have been shallow. But perhaps funny. The next time the opportunity presents itself, I will use that response.

I left the party with a gift bag containing a health food bar and a new mouse pad. On the way home on the train, an hour away and worlds apart, I glanced out the window and noted the phrase "the darkness was puncuated by burts of light from street lamps along the tracks." Or something similar. I have used a piece of that phrase elsewhere however, punctuated seeming to fit much better where I placed it, rather than in regards to the light. Visually though, the light would have made more sense.

I really must stop writing about girls.

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