2020’s final gift was waking up to a black eye I don’t know how I got. Just straight up sucker-punched, by life, or maybe by myself, no opportunity to beg or bargain. Poetic, really. I got up to go to the bathroom in the morning and caught myself in the mirror and thought What the fuck, did I put on makeup last night? Oh fuck.
The wow, you are not fixing this gave way to the how the hell did this happen? and I noticed the pools of, for what it’s worth, weirdly lilac blood that made me originally think I had done some somnambulant 1980s eyeshadow tutorial, matched suspiciously with the frame of my glasses.
I am a dutiful glasses taker-offer. But, I had been watching Love Island and the villa had just been rocked by the news Jessica, having been dumped in the prior episode, had forsaken the covenant of the Hideaway and her island boyfriend Dom and immediately shacked up with some commoner. Dom, an adult man, had been deliriously excited about seeing her boobs, so it was hard not to feel for the guy despite the ridiculousness of actually honoring a three day reality TV relationship.
But I’ll be damned if he didn’t keep lulling me to sleep with his delightful accent and stiff upper lip response to getting mugged off. I started the same episode three or four nights in a row, but couldn’t get more than 20 minutes in without succumbing to his lad siren song.
The flaw, however, I watched Dom get pied off multiple nights, but only woke up with a black eye once.
So I went to the doctor, he’s examining my eye. I wore my glasses, and he is in support of the sleeping on my face theory. I try to let go that I’ll probably never know what weird nocturnal maneuvering I did on this particular night to weaponize a pair of Oliver Peoples.
Then he tilts my chin up, looks closely at my eye and says, “what is this, a week old?” I tell him no, it’s from last night
“No, there’s yellowing to this bruise, you must have done this to yourself multiple times.”
and I thought, fuck you Jessica, you thirsty slut.
“Would you drink vermouth?” “Yes, I’m afraid I would.” – Roger Sterling
We went to see On the Basis of Sex at the new movie theatre with the fancy reclining seats and table service and pop-out tray tables that reminded me of college desks. Jess, who has always been more cultured than I am (when we went trick-or-treating I went as a bat, and she went as Jackie O), had been to Alamo Drafthouse many times and understood the human condition and the reflexive desire to cradle a bowl of food that reclining would induce. When you’re comfy and you want to eat you’re going to minimize the vessel to mouth ratio.
I had to rebel. She was right. I got a chicken tender platter. Delicious, but a missed opportunity to cradle a plastic bowl to my chest and bond with my food like a mother with a newborn child. Oh my god, I love chicken tenders though. I wish they didn’t have the connotation of being child’s food, because I think everyone should indulge in them more. Fried pieces of chicken that come with fries and honey mustard? Salt, sweet, protein, carbs, fat. You dip some chicken in the honey mustard then get bored and start dipping the fries and then get bored and dip the chicken. It’s kingly.
On to the film. I remain… confused. I think it boils down to, On the Basis of Sex could have made a great dry… I don’t know, prestige picture, or a Hollywood, legal Rocky, underdog story and instead it chose to split the difference. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life is fascinating, and I didn’t have a problem with the casting or anything like that. I’m not going to lie, the character of Marty Ginsburg was delightful and I certainly enjoyed looking at Armie Hammer playing an unwaveringly supportive feminist Dad and husband. My ovaries were like, purring. It just had the content and pacing of a much more “serious” film, with all the trappings of a blockbuster, as in, beautiful costumes, beautiful sets… Armie Hammer… just enough lazy exposition to take you out of the moment… some of the stuff with RBG’s teenage daughter awakening her to second-wave feminism was just too convenient.
But none of this was my biggest problem of the night. So ten minutes into the movie, I’m sitting there confused in a luxury movie theatre with my chicken tender platter and my blanket scarf (polar vortex) and I think, you know what’s making me uncomfortable, the fact I am eating chicken tenders in a recliner while watching Ruth Bader Ginsburg fight for my rights as a woman. There was no overcoming the dissonance of that one. Sex based discrimination is legal in America… Mmhmm sorry RBG let me just open my second honey mustard and get the pitch of my seat just right. I don’t think I can ever go back there for something more mentally taxing than The Meg 2 (God willing.)
I feel like all I’ve done this year was complain about the rain, but I have no remorse, in fact I am doubling down. People live like this in Seattle, they say. I do not live in Seattle. I did not consent to be rained on to this degree. The rain has been so unrelenting, it is difficult not to feel as though God has forsaken the DC-metro area.
And look facts people, I am right. My complaining is justified. But I tried to pull up my bootstraps because even with the most rainfall on record, I am not giving rain Satan the opportunity to ruin my holiday sight-seeing, and more importantly, some boomer to write an op-ed connecting my soy-weakened constitution and inability to cope with water.
So we tried to visit the Capitol Christmas tree but every single walkway was flooded. So we looked at it from afar as I tried to hold an umbrella with one hand, and take a photo with the other, all under gale force winds and horizontal rain. The umbrella was contributing fuck-all, so I just let it dangle by my wrist as I desperately tried to wipe the camera lens then quickly hit the shutter, I don’t know what the shutterspeed is but it was evidently less than the speed of rain + the time to hold an open umbrella that is now whipping back and forth out of the frame.
We went to the Canadian Embassy Christmas tree, which was blessedly elevated and closer to a sidewalk. There having given up on the polaroid camera, I was trying to hold onto the umbrella, which kept inverting, and take my cell phone out of my pocket, when I made the mistake of trying to hold the cell phone with my mouth as I zipped up my jacket since it was pelting rain, and I bit two holes in the gorilla glass screen cover.
There were two like, lit emos, like obnoxious goth-y former English majors cradling each other in a most conspicuous, posed sort of way, in front of the Christmas tree, and they would not fucking move. Like minutes are passing, you think they could stand to the side for 10 seconds so another human being can take a photo of the tree, especially since it is pissing rain. At this point I became suspicious they wanted to be in my photo, as if I were their personal street photographer. Perhaps they thought they could find themselves tagged on Twitter as “lovely likely militant Whovian couple canoodling outside Canadian Embassy tree” but really unless they were a) engaged immediately prior to me sloshing up the Embassy steps or b) one (ideally both) of them is dying, I think they were inconsiderate twats.
The tree was beautiful though.
By the time we got back, my boots were soaked. My jeans were soaked. My coat was soaked, with the left sleeve that was trying in vain to hold the shitty umbrella completely soaked through. We couldn’t hang anything in the closet because it wouldn’t get enough ventilation to dry so we opened all the doors and picked door corners to hang things off of, as I stuffed my shoes with wads paper towels. Changed clothes and then put socks on over my tights, because my boots were still wet, and packed a change of the thickest Reebok tennis ball yellow sports socks in my purse to change into at the restaurant if the first pair soaked through on the walk to the restaurant. Everything was soooo damp. Walking in the rain with all the warmth providing potential of your coat and shoes now gone and now having swapped pants for nylons was miserable even though it was a short walk to a happy place.
I love DBGB. We got a table by the window so I was able to look at the shops lit up by white Christmas lights and all the other poor fucks clutching their hoods to their faces as they attempted knowingly the futile task of minimizing wetness. We were all getting soaked. Immediately. There was no mitigation. Yet we all tried. We do not like to leave before the end of the movie.
Describing food seems kind of stupid, I’d throw in an apologies-to-the-field-of-culinary-criticism, but really, what are you doing. I’ve never felt like I could taste something as described, I just want to watch the chefs I hate based on personality get voted off The Final Table in the most personally and professionally scarring way possible.
Maryland Blue Crab Spaghettini from DBGB’s in DC City Center
They seem to have a new foie gras dish every couple weeks, so I forget what this one was officially called, but it seared and served with peaches, mint, and peanuts and it was delicious.
Escargot Persillade from DBGB in DC City Center. Not my idea, tasted like the “funny” bit of chicken you get if you eat fast food. The malformed part.
DBGB’s spin on duck a l’orange
I did have a cocktail table called High Noon that mixed bourbon and tequila together yet was somehow delicious.
We walked back. The discomfort escalated. We capped off French bistro with Live P.D.
Then, for real life, I slept through it but my sister was awoken to the sound of an adult human man throwing a scooter at another adult human man.
Christmas Eve-Eve we watched Murder on the Orient Express with a coffee table full of charcuterie and I still cannot believe that small pieces of French bread, cheese, and meat can make you that full (even when consumed at a blistering, constant rate over a 3-4 hour period) or that Kenneth Brannagh was Detective Poirot.
Christmas Eve we did the Winter Lights which is always my favorite fucking thing. It was actually nice out so all the little kids were hanging out the sunroofs (sunrooves?) losing their minds in their little hats and mitts (and one little Asian girl in earmuffs, omfg) and being adorable. The only other thing I wanted was to hear “Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey” on the radio and it started just as we turned into my neighborhood and stopped just as we were getting out of the car and when I turned around their were people walking a Chihuahua behind me, so basically my Christmas miracle.
We ate tortiere and cheese fondue and Cajun sausages my Mom ordered off the internet. Yeah. They were good, but internet meat purveying still has some hurdles to achieve mainstream acceptance. Again, all the fancy internet sausage and the best combination was still a chunk of bread dipped in cheese.
On Christmas, we started drinking nearly immediately, which is an excellent way to start Christmas. I made Old Bay bloody Mary’s. I made mimosas. I made lunchboxes. I discovered a love of amaretto and made Amaretto Rose’s. We made eggs benedict as per family tradition. I put a packet of Vietnamese Cock Soup in my sister’s stocking. We watched probably six hours of Fixer Upper, including the “Shotgun House” I had heard about while Googling spite houses the night before (Christmas miracle #2).
For New Years, I watched an obscene amount of Reno 911, ate the rest of the charcuterie assortment plus a baked brie, and for the third year in a row watched Don Lemon get drunk while drinking the yellow label Veuve Clicquot. I also ate 12 grapes, which an episode of Modern Family told me was a Colombian New Year’s wish thing, which I was beginning to wonder if I just misinterpreted because I never heard about it again, but then CNN sent their New Year’s correspondent to… somewhere Spanish speaking that I can’t remember… and she brought it up as well. Two sources. It’s legit guys, the grapes are legit. I just figured I have never eaten grapes at midnight any other year of my life, and my life has turned out like this, so might as well give the grapes a shot.
My Mom was trying to unwedge my sister’s phone from between the couch cushions and got impaled by a loose nail. The cushions are so tightly pressed together she didn’t have enough space to back her hand off the nail, and the nail was in too deep to sacrifice some surface skin and just yank her hand out, so she yelled for my sister to grab something like a can they could pry the cushions apart with. My sister came back with a silicone spatula.