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Insomniaville -- All the Stuff that Keeps Me Up At Night

4/3 -- Graffiti.

Picture of my lovely red hairTo the right: What I did on Saturday. I steeled my nerve, went to the mall, visited every damn Hair McParlor in the place until I found someone who could take me before I had another attack of the wussypants, and got my hair dyed red. Really red. These photos have not been retouched. The little sample strip the stylist showed me said "Warm Celtic Copper," but when she was finished I thought a better name might be "Oww Mom -- My Retinas! Red." I'm showing it to you because I am well and truly tickled with it. I've gone from seeing a drab little mouseburger in the mirror to seeing a glamorous redhead with a fetching creamy complexion. I think I must be every last bit as annoying as those models who bounce down the street in shampoo commercials to the beat of "Whooo's that laaadyyy?"

And I'll whip every last one of you in the Olympic Long-Distance Mane Toss, so don't even think about taking me on.

I'm able to show this off to you because when I left the salon and Bill picked me up, he had a MicroCenter bag for me containing a Mac-compatible webcam. He did this because he obviously read my mind as I sat in the salon chair thinking "Gee, it's too bad I can't use the old webcam anymore -- this should be a great photo op, if nothing else." He reads my mind because he rocks.

(You know ... I was just thinking that I could really go for a Titanium Powerbook right about now ...)

my new hairOn Friday, my little work group had a happy hour at the Brickskeller. I had to use the ladies' room at one point and found myself in a stall with lots of graffiti. Because I'd already had a couple of beers, I got to musing that I just haven't seen any really good ladies' room graffiti in a long, long time.

Kramerbooks used to have some fun stuff with heated political discussions running along either side of the stalls, but the staff decided to go the cute route to nip that in the bud. They painted the walls in bright colors and someone used a gold pen to scrawl recipes in really curly cursive all over the stalls. It looks like Martha Stewart smoked a little pot and decided to get all "artistic."

Best bathroom graffiti ever: Found in the ladies' room in Baker Center, back in my OU days. Some woman (I assume) scrawled a lesbian sex fantasy that fairly burned a hole through the stall wall. Really, I hope this person's being published in more productive venues now. She was a really, really good writer. I mean, whew. It was hot stuff, and it touched off quite the little firestorm.

Someone else wrote "GO LOCK YOURSELF IN A CLOSET" underneath the fantasy. A third person wrote "Why don't YOU let your mind out of the closet IT'S locked in???" under that. And Ms. Lock-Yourself-in-a-Closet penned a rebuttal. "My MIND is NOT locked in a closet. I just don't want to have to read about this in here!" (Or something like that. The words were twisting and bending around the other graffiti, and as the argument ran down the wall it got harder to read.)

Yes. Women were actually running to use this bathroom, pen in hand, prepared to argue their points. On a bathroom wall.

Maybe I don't see this stuff as often now because our need to express our outrageous or unpopular opinions in an anonymous fashion has been satisfied by computer BBSes and Internet message boards. The Web seems cleaner, somehow. (Only a few forums I visit give me a mental image of someone writing with their pants around their ankles, anyhow.) And you don't have to worry about all the ink in the ballpoint pen settling down in the bottom and making the pen stop working when you're in the middle of scrawling a Deep Thought.

(Not that I'd know about this kind of thing.)

So. The graffiti in the Brickskeller. Most of it was standard stuff. Someone very angry at George W. Bush was on a rampage: "DUBYA CAN SUCK MY LEFT TIT." But in the middle of the mundane, someone got all literary on our asses and conjured up Prufrock:

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.

That met with the approval of other bathroom-goers:

Dear Prufrock: If you were here, I'd stare across the room at you all night. And at the end of the evening, I would buy you a drink.

And someone else replied Beautiful sentiment!.

I couldn't decide if discussing Eliot on a bathroom wall seemed elegant and deep, or if these people were just trying too damn hard.

(Here's the whole honking poem, in case you were sleeping when it came up in English class way back when. I like it, although that line "like a patient etherised upon a table" always hits a clunker note with me. Sorry to blaspheme, but that comparison is just a reach to me. And too clever by half.)

The next entry.

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April 2001