Friday, September 18, 1992
Yesterday I got a tape from Fran. It was a letter one she didn’t feel like writing. Anyway I was so happy to get the tape from her that I asked if I could send one back and my dad suggested that I invite her to sleep over during the weekend instead. I was so happy.
Then today I come home and my dad says I have to do all my homework for the weekend tonight if I want her to sleep over. I griped about it a lot and even my mom agreed with my dad.
So after dinner I was about to go into the other bedroom to do my homework when I go into my room (where my dad was playing Nintendo) and I told him I wanted to study in my room. He said I could when he finished playing and I got angry and I told him I would be up all night if I did (I did exaggerate a bit). I was so pissed that when I left the room I called him a hypocrite. He called me back into the room and asked me what I said. Finally he dragged it out of me and what did he say? Surprise, surprise!!! Fran couldn’t come over.
The weird thing about it is that my mom starts defending me saying Fran is coming over but later she comes into the room I’m in and starts yelling at me! As usual she threatened to leave so I would be all alone with him and would have to live just with him.
The thing I don’t understand is why she defended me when she probably agreed with him. She thought I was wrong anyway so why didn’t she just back him up and make him happy? Why is she disagreeing with him then yelling at me? Well I know I did deserve it.
“I ask myself too many times why don’t you ever learn to keep your big mouth shut?” (Annie Lennox, “Why”)
I’m used to getting my hopes up and then fucking things up.
To complicate matters further I think I’m beginning to like Will Davidson. I really don’t want to because he is IMPOSSIBLE to get. They all are. I ask Didi to hit my every time I think of him, or I dig my nails into my skin. LIFESUCKS!
Fran did not end up coming over.
I wish I could say this was a rare family occurrence, but I just chose not to write about them in my diary often. It was easier to stick to lighter fare, like crushes. The dynamic at home could be turbulent, and while being a smartass didn’t help matters, I know now there were circumstances that added to the tension which I had nothing to do with.
My parents tried to do their best. We all did. Let’s just leave it at that.
Monday, June 17, 1991
School is over. Earlier than the other schools. Justin asked out Gina, and she said Yes. I was very upset untill I found out that she changed her mind and then said no. (Sound familiar?) I guess Tony figured out (the hard way) “what comes around goes around.” I think I’m over him.
I have some good news. At the end of July, for 2 or 3 weeks I’m probably going to go to Israel without my parents! I would be going with my cousin Anna who is 15 and I like a lot, and her mother. I hope I go. I can’t wait! I can’t believe that my parents actually let me go. I think they are becoming a lot less over-protective.
For a 13-year-old who was fond of complaining how unfair life was, this was a pretty sweet moment. Perhaps it was a coincidence that Justin faced the same romantic reversal of fortune that he caused me, but that’s now how I saw it back then (or even today). I took it as confirmation from the universe that doing a crummy thing would lead to payback.
Vindication aside, what the hell was wrong with Justin and Gina? Who says yes when someone asks you out only to double back and reject them? Was it some kind of passive-aggressive cowardice or further evidence that while Hunter College High School housed the “gifted and talented” it also housed the socially retarded? I vote yes on both counts.
As for Israel, the prospect of the trip was exciting for several obvious, and one less obvious reasons. Clearly I was ready to spend some time away from my well-meaning but overprotective parents and cut loose. I was craving adventure and travelling thousands of miles for it sounded like a great idea to me. And even though I’ve never been a fan of hot weather, Israel in the summertime sounded like the Best Idea Ever as soon as Anna told me how cute the boys over there were. The Promised Land indeed.
Saturday, May 19, 1991
My grades are improving and so is my relationship with my parents. Especially my father. I know I haven’t been writing for a while, but I don’t know what’s stopping me. Laziness, I guess.
[It took some time to make my father realize that the string of perfect grades I got in elementary school would not be easily replicated at Hunter. Mom was more understanding, but Dad was the kind of disciplinarian who would look at a grade of 95 I proudly held before him and ask, "What happened to the other five points?" He decided to see if bribing me would produced better grades and offered a certain amount of money A's or grades of 95 or better. Eventually, my more frequent A-minuses and B-plusses were recognized for the good grades that they were, but I could still sense my father's undercurrent of disappointment at anything less than perfection.]
Let’s start with my love life. What love life? The guys that I like don’t know me, and there is no chance they will like me. I’m not sore, though (well, not really) because I know the right guy will come along some day. I just hope “someday” comes soon! On to other things.
[Wow, other things beyond boys and my non-existent romantic life?? What sort of eclectic topics could I possibly devote to the rest of this diary entry?]
That’s the way I am. I go through lots of mood swings. It’s really amazing how fast my feelings can change. I’m not a flake, I just go through mood swings.
[I wasn't a flake, I was a teenager.]
Today my parents and I went to Manhattan, because I had to go to the American Museum of Natural History for school, and anyway, when I’m in Manhattan, I get this feeling of how cool it would be to be indepandent and living in Manhattan on my own.
[That's one thing I can say in favor of Hunter College High School. Part of the rigorous academic curriculum included assignments that required us to go to museums, which I always loved doing. Not only did these trips provide overall cultural enrichment, but they helped me develop a passion for art and science. This particular exhibit I had to see and report on was about the rainforest. The museum replicated the sights and sounds of the habitat which, paired with the multitude of of specimen and sobering facts on deforestation, had me utterly captivated. As did the sights beyond the museum walls: the street vendors, boutiques, and outdoor cafes of Manhattan's affluent Upper West Side.]
Well, I think that next weekend will be lots of fun because it is Memorial Day, and my parents, their friends, my cousin Anna and her parents, and me are all going upstate. It should be fun, chaotic, or both! See ya!
I still remember parts of that weekend. My parents’ friends had a young daughter, around nine years old. Anna and I spent much of that weekend dodging her. She followed us incessantly and at one point even ended up in tears because of our less-than-subtle avoidance (there are only so many times you can use the excuse of having “private things” to discuss before it gets taken personally). It was a tough situation. On one hand, she was bratty and immature and Anna and I did have older girl things we wanted to talk about. On the other hand, I was no stranger to being excluded and left on my own, so I could empathize with this little girl all too well. It felt only marginally less terrible to be the one doing the ostracizing.
Thursday, Dec. 27, 1990
I have good news and bad news. Actually more good news than bad.
First the bad news: For New Years, I was going to go to Connecticut and spend it with my friend Anka. Well, as it turns out, we are not going because my dad’s friend called him and invited him to spend New Year’s in New Jersey where there is going to be this guy that might be able to give my dad a job. Well of coarse my dad jumped at the offer. That’s the bad news. The good news is that all the teens are going to be left at this girl’s apartment for New Years ALONE!!!!! All riight! Wait, there’s more!!!
[The other bad news is that my spelling and exclamation mark abuse is still a problem, as is the fact that I'm addressing my diary as if I am the host of an infomercial. "You want news? I've got all kinds of news. I've got good news, bad news, news that chops vegetables..."]
Either tomorrow or Saturday we are going to Connecticut to visit my cousin Jenna for a few days! It’s a lot of fun at the house, we get along great. What’s really cool though is that Mom says (so does everyone else) that we look alike! Cool! Jenna is 3 years younger than me but it doesn’t make a difference, because we have so much fun together. What I really wish is that we would be sisters. That would be soo awesome!!! We would probably be so close!
[Oh my god, just like the Sweet Valley High twins! Because what fun is looking like yourself if you can't have someone who looks just like you to make mischief with!? I love writing like a valley girl! Like totally! Ahem.]
My parents tell me that we don’t have to be sisters to be really close, and I guess that they are right. What really makes it hard is that we live far away from each other. Well at least I’m going to see her soon.
I hope New Years will be fun, because I know that the time I spend in Connecticut will be.
Well, it’s past midnight, so I better sign off and return you to the secret hiding place I chose for you. Thanks for listening! -Bye-
Yeah, thanks for “listening,” you trusty inanimate object you!
Growing up an only child, I often wished for a brother or sister. Instead, I got spoiled by my parents and also got tons of expectations heaped upon me. Oh well. While I enjoyed much of the time I spent on my own, I did crave more social contact, especially during those first few uneasy–oh who are we kidding–miserable years at Hunter. Every visit with a friend or family member, every party was something I had enormous anticipation for.
Let’s talk New Year’s Eve. Us kids were given brief lectures about how we were being trusted to act mature blah-blah-blah, just give us champagne and go have your own adult party already. We were allowed to drink a bit, because Russians are known to be of hearty stock whose blood is composed of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and vodka. So we had a glass or two, nothing crazy, because we were all excited enough to be able to run around without adult supervision.
The first thing we did was snoop around in the master bedroom. The girl who lived there said it would be fine, and even pointed out the nook of the closet where her dad stashed his Playboys. We sat around the stacks of nudie magazines, passing them around like it was no big deal to be perusing someone else’s pornography collection. We didn’t giggle over them because we were too busy pretending to be completely nonplussed about the whole thing, when most of us where probably thinking, “WOAH. That is a lot of naked.” Naked gets boring after a while (maybe not to you, but it did to a bunch of pre- and barely-teens) so we decided to play a game.
Ah, Marco Polo. This was a game I hadn’t played in a really long time, one I had fond memories of. We blindfolded one of the boys, turned off the lights (and no, at the time the kink potential of such a scenario did not dawn on us), and started scrambling around in the dark.
“Polo!” We would shout back, dodging his blind grabs.
Mistaking a potted plant for one of us, the blindfolded kid gave it a good tug and sent it toppling onto the white carpet.
We spent the next three hours, and pretty much the rest of the party, scrubbing potting soil out of a carpet. Happy New Year!
June 14, 1990
I went to a Madonna concert, and, well what can I say it was FABULOUS!!! TERRIFIC!!! WONDERFUL!!! EXHILARATING!!! GREAT!!! SPELLBINDING!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!! SPECTACULAR!!! BREATHTAKING!!! THRILLING!!! I hope that says enough!
Even though our seats were in the back of the Coliseum (The concert was at Nassau Coliseum.) We could see very well because there was this big screen on top of the stage that showed everything that was going on the stage.
These are the people I went to the concert with: My Mom, my cousin Anna, Tolya, his father and Tolya’s friend Peter.
When I went to the Debbie Gibson concert, I was really amazed at all the energy she had, but when I was at the Madonna concert, forget about it, I was so shocked at the LIMITLESS energy that SHE had. I will NEVER forget what a MINT concert that was!!
[This was the last Doogie Howser-style entry. After this I returned to the composition book.]
It’s quite probable that I consulted a thesaurus when writing that concert review.
Madonna was never one of my favorite singers. In terms of pure ability, even as a kid I thought Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Gibson could sing circles around her. I also found her boldness and uninhibited (if not calculated) sense of sexuality daunting, much the same way I did of Samantha Fox. Seeing Madonna live on her on her Blonde Ambition tour changed all of that. It raised my opinion of her as a performer and made me gain an enormous amount of respect for her that I have to this day. It’s a concert I’ll never forget, and not just because of how uncomfortable I was watching her writhe around on a big red bed during “Like a Virgin” with my Mom next to me. Regardless of the bawdy shenanigans, the energy, charisma and precision with which she executed that show was nothing short of phenomenal.
I saw Madonna again about six years ago for the Reinvention Tour, and even in her mid-40′s the woman was still impressive. She twisted her yoga-fied body into complex shapes, tangoed in five-inch stilettos, and showed off complex choreography– all while singing live, which puts other divas who use backing tracks (*cough*JLo and Britney Spears*cough*) to shame. Say what you will about Madonna as a singer (and we won’t discuss her “acting,” unless we’re talking Desperately Seeking Susan), but as an entertainer, few can rival her. Sure, Lady Gaga seems to be her present-day successor, but Gaga’s career is a few years old. Madonna has been evolving her persona and captivating the public for over thirty years, without a single collapse or rehab stint or breakdown or bout with “exhaustion.” Let’s check back in a decade or two and see who’s still standing.
Pop culture is fickle, with very few constants. Madonna is one of the rare survivors, and I feel lucky to have been able to see her when she was putting out some of her best music, and to enjoy a concert which shocked and dazzled me so much. Few shows since have made me want to use as many capital letters and exclamation marks.
Oh, and did I mention Technotronic opened up for her? They pumped up the jam, and wore puffy neon pants while doing it.
Like I said, pop culture has very few constants.