Category Archives: Kate

a violent awakening in a hospital room

I feel like I’m suffocating. I look at the prosecutor. I look at my mom. She has tears in her eyes.

“Ms. Forbes, please answer the question.”

My frantic search for words is interrupted by the loud ringing of a bell, and no sooner have I heard it than I’ve awoken and pulled my phone from my pocket to see who is calling.

It’s my mom. I don’t want to talk.

I press “ignore” and put my phone back in my pocket, reacquainting myself with my surroundings – a tiny hospital room – and stretching my neck. Sleeping in a chair isn’t my favorite way to sleep. If there’s one thing I hate more than hospitals, it’s tiny hospitals in Middle of Nowhere, Tennessee.

I tell my friends I’m going to go grab a bite to eat, and walk to a diner across the street.

Making my way through the parking lot, I see a Cajun man leaning against an old Porsche. He’s smoking a cigarette, and not being very hungry, I decide to ask him if I may have one.

He obliges me, and I introduce myself, catching my reflection in the window in so doing. I look like hell – blond hair alarmingly stringy and as worn out as the past few days have made me feel. I comfort myself with the fact that my new friend probably isn’t judging me, given that his appearance isn’t much better.

“So, Darryl, is this your car? It’s so cool,” I say, trying to breathe through my mouth to avoid breathing in his offensively nasty fragrance choice.

“Nah, it’s my buddy’s. I’m meeting him here. Just wanted to grab a smoke first.” Despite his rough appearance, he’s actually more attractive than I initially noticed.

“Well, lucky him then. You know, I don’t really smoke,” I grin due to my amusement at my own clear denial of my smoking habit, “I mean, I do so very rarely. But thanks. This is just what I needed.”

Suddenly, a guy whom I imagine to be Darryl’s friend walks up. “Darryl, hi.” He says with, it seems, undue seriousness, and turns to me. “Hi, I’m James.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you James. Your car is lovely.” And suddenly the bell rings again – does a bell ever ring in a manner that isn’t sudden? – and I silently vow to change my ring tone from the “Saved by the Bell” theme song.

It’s my mother again. I cannot avoid her forever, so I excuse myself from James and Darryl.

“Hi, Mom. I’m guessing you’re calling about what happened at the festival. I don’t really know what to say. Is Dad mad?” I spit it out at once, knowing that my mom is calling because my father’s entourage is freaking out.

“What? No, that’s not why I’m calling, Kate. But something has happened. You need to come home right away.”


not exactly west 20th street

“There’s nothing quite like a good road trip for me. Seeing my country – actually seeing it, as opposed to flying over it, is so cleansing to me.” I say to my friends as I eye the “Welcome to Tennessee” sign in the distance.

“Jesus, Kate, give me the fuckin’ joint.” Jill replies, as though I’m rambling incoherently. I probably am.

We’re en route to a music festival. To camp. I am nothing if not a so-called “city girl” but I can never say no to an adventure, especially when it is a road trip with my best friends. Doesn’t get better than that, for me.

We arrive and settle in to our “camp” – really a tent behind our car in the middle of a field filled with aisles and aisles of parked cars and their accompanying “camps” – and the adventure begins with some magic chocolates, which are pretty great because the chocolate covers up the unpleasant taste of the mushrooms. I’ve never quite gotten used to it.

After a few bong hits, we decide to head to a show. As we scamper from our makeshift camp (officially named: Camp Pussy Galore), I feel as light as hydrogen as my friend Chloë hands me a joint and my friend Jill comments on her boob paint-job. I have chosen to refrain from the toplessness, but to tell the truth, it’s hot as hell and I kind of regret choosing to don clothing.

Soon there’s a drum circle where 7 or 8 people are rhythmically beating drums with about 5 or maybe 10 more people dancing to the beats in the most fantastic way. Surrounding the group is a small “forest” of 10 or so trees, which also make music. The trees play different notes depending on where and how you touch them. Low on the trunk, a low note, high, a high note. We spend some time – an hour or ten minutes – exploring this scene, making beautiful music, before deciding we’d better get to the show.

When we make it to our stage of choice, the crowd is huge, and everyone is whispering the typical drugs under their breath – “sweet doses – blow – malis” is the soft hum seducing my eardrums. Then one guy whispers to me: “blue dolphins” and I instantly follow him, exclaiming loudly to my friends: “YOU GUYS. THIS GUY HAS DOLPHINS. AND THEY’RE BLUE. BLUE DOLPHINS.”

I discover they’re actually pills and purchase them, then start a campaign to advance in the crowd. Then – a short mission to figure out what the pills are, and we discover they are ecstasy, soon downing them accordingly.

We groove to some songs, but end up only hearing a few due to our late arrival. As the show and bowls/bongs packed with various items wind down, we decide to head back to our dwelling, feeling rather spent after so much driving and so much, uh, adventure. Mostly I just want to get back to our “camp” neighbors because I have an epic idea in my head about dirty hippie sex.

On the walk back to camp, Jill mentions that her boob paint is messed up and I need to fix it – being ridiculously high and thinking such activity is hilarious, I proclaim myself the Picasso of boobs and try to “fix it” by re-working her previous work, and essentially groping her in the process. The truth is, I don’t really think much about it, except to decide her boobs aren’t my favorite (I even like them less than my own) and that I should probably incorporate her nipples into my masterpiece.

Upon arriving at our site, our neighbors invite us to toke a bit, and who can say no to a goodnight toke? Or hot dirty hippie boys? Certainly not me. I swear one of them actually IS James Franco. So we shoot the shit and I wonder if our lovemaking will be better or worse than unicorns, until my thoughts are interrupted by a visual of Jill – completely naked, sans paint. She’s just chillin’. I assume she’s trying to get laid by one of the guys, thinking in her drug-induced haze that this type of behavior is a way to go about doing so?

In any case, I take it as a cue to pass the fuck out. I used to think people who did this – who realized when it was time to bail – were kind of lame, as one needs to supervise their friends in times like this. But, you know, we’re not 18 anymore, and I am not trying to have an orgy tonight. You dig?

So I head to our tent to pass out, and who ends up right next to me but Jill? I assume she put clothing on before joining me on the air mattress, but am informed otherwise when I give her a little snug. Who doesn’t like snuggling right?

Thinking about the fact that my best friend is now naked, curled up next to me, with her legs around me, and her hand resting curiously close to my boob, multiple drugs in my system or not, I feel a little uncomfortable.

“I’m going to go smoke.” I announce, leaving the tent.

For All and None

Papers shuffle. Keys click. Printers hum. I occasionally sneeze. My office mate – David – questions whether or not I am allergic to him. On each of these occasions.

10:24. The time is a taunting reminder in the corner of my screen. I’ve only been in this office an hour and already would like to smash my head on something. Or maybe just smash something.

It is my first day.

The ever lovely Julie, who is apparently my “boss,” explained to me that I should spend the remainder of the week working on a press release, introduced me to David, and her chunky heels went tapping down the hallway.

I continue to stare at my computer screen, not quite wanting to start the press release, because then what the fuck am I going to do for the next three days?

I cannot help but think of my cousin Liam. He is a 30something attorney with a tribe of kids and as he so abysmally puts it, ‘a fat wife.’ Liam is clearly not happy with his life. However, I enjoy his presence at required functions because he usually gets quite drunk and starts talking about his fraternity days. You know the type – he remains obsessed with college, and I imagine he is one of those creepy weirdos that shows up at parties on alumni weekend because the dudes just can’t. let. go. And well it’s all of course very amusing to me.

Liam recently shared an anecdote with me about getting high before work and how much work he got done that morning. I obviously thought it to be an alarming tale. However, I shall momentarily begin my plotting for getting stoned before work on Monday.

David appears to be playing some type of virtual reality-based game. Though not entirely unpleasant, he really enjoys making unsolicited comments for no clear reason. I’m not sure this sharing an office situation will work out for us.

I’m going to be meeting some of the others at a luncheon later. Statistically, I am thinking that at least someone will be decently pleasant. Right? Or at least more appealing than David. Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this far too much – for the past hour, to be precise.

10:36. Truly. I am going to lose it if this is life. My bored level is a 36.

This days needs to end.  Now.


impolite fiction

“…So that is pretty much what we do here, Kate. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?”

I barely heard her, so distracted by the view behind her that I was more focused on identifying which suburbs I was looking at than impressing her with my bullshitting skills.

“Well… most of it is on my resume. I really like politics. I’m not sure what you want to know?” As soon as I finished speaking, I knew that my halfhearted attempt to conceal my disinterest was not even close to successful.

The interviewer – Julie was her name — just smiled, looking vaguely alien-like in her facial contortion. I told her it was great to meet her, she told me she had a few more candidates to interview and would get back to me. The kiss of death.

Walking out of the building, I felt as though I’d be lucky to work there. It had these majestic marble floors and modern art sculptures in the lobby in a mildly irritating display of ostentation, but a visually pleasing one nonetheless.

Whilst taking the elevator, a few people engaged in a rather impassioned discussion about minors and vehicles and criminality, but despite the various floor exits and accompanying crusades of my elevator comrades, it was clear that everyone shared one commonality: each was going to do something fucking important. Or at least they seemed to think so.

I remain concerned about the interview. I know that if Julie – the type of person who, in my opinion, clearly takes her job far too seriously – gives an accurate summary of the interview (which she almost certainly will), I am going to be summoned to my father’s office.

I will walk there gloomily, humming ominous tunes. Eventually arriving for the type of lecture that he can only conduct in his office – where I am not his daughter, but instead the daughter of an entire political brand, or however the hell he puts it when he rationalizes his never-ending diatribes on my roles in his campaigns.

Not that I would expect him to be pleased with a colleague reporting his daughter’s decidedly lackluster impression. The weird thing is that I genuinely thought I were well-prepared.

But maybe not so much. Until now, the most difficult thing I’ve encountered was initiation to my secret society – which was no easy feat. It involved tasks that in retrospect seem truly insane… and I thought, while suffering through things like wearing coke cans in my hair (before the days of Lady Gaga), “Well, at least this will prepare me for life.”

Not so.

And in consideration of my fancy education and my ridiculous knowledge on the subtleties of Shakespeare’s work and religious movements in the United States and government heath initiatives in Nigeria, I can’t help but wonder what the fuck it is that I know? About anything relevant? I sure as hell don’t feel like I know enough to have satisfied Ms. Julie during the alien encounter. (She truly did resemble an extraterrestrial.)

I wonder if perhaps I spent too much time deciding which bag to bring, instead of deciding what I would say – not a Birkin, because I didn’t want her to think I am some type of spoiled brat – but not a thrifted bag, because I didn’t want her to think I am some type of unprofessional hippie, either. I ended up stealing an old Chanel from my mom’s closet. Is it completely absurd to consider the impact one’s purse may have on an interview’s outcome?

My GBF (aka, best friend who happens to be homosexual) Robert insisted the interviewer had a bad attitude because she is ugly and poorly dressed. He hypothesized that she may be from Jersey. Even though these comments were inaccurate, they made me feel better, like Robert always does.

Robert grew up in Tokyo before moving to the US to attend Exeter – and he is just as colorful as his background suggests. Though always quick with a bitchy comment, he is actually the sweetest person I know underneath his whole bitchy gay guy shtick. Really fighting stereotypes, that one.

Callum, my unboyfriend (read: sort of but kind of not boyfriend) keeps reminding me that I should not worry about it because I am obviously going to get the job anyway. Or someone is going to be sorry.

Although I believe his comments to be true, I cannot decide if they are good or bad.

Truth is always kind of like that, though – not always the black and white we want to believe it to be – or that we were told it was when we were kids. Nope, truth is the big fucking mess of sleeping with someone you don’t love, of getting jobs you don’t deserve, of never quite being able to give up the occasional coke habit. Some might argue with that notion, but isn’t truth that which opposes lies? Isn’t truth the opposite of the lies we tell ourselves – and the world?

The polite fiction.
That is not truth.
(If it weren’t evident, I much prefer the impolite kind.)

I’ve never quite had a way with words. I like the way Maya Angelou put it when she said, “There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.” (I know – cliché – but if there’s one thing the Ivy League has taught me, it is: “When in doubt, defer to the experts.”)

…and that is another thing about me. ADHD. Allegedly. The staring out of windows during important meetings? The random ponderings on the nature, essence, substance of truth? Well, they call it a disorder nowadays. Because I have an attention deficit. (Which just sounds ridiculous.)

Callum interrupts my thoughts by telling me we should go to his friend’s place – everyone is smoking hookah and then having a beach volleyball tournament. This is a favorite activity for many of us because his friend has an enviable sand court that makes it really fun and summer-y to play. I am instantly cheered up by this plan, and happy to escape the impending doom of my interview crash’s burning aftermath.

I head into the bedroom to change out of my suit, and as I catch myself walking past the mirror, I stop. I cannot believe how foolish I look.

Who am I kidding?