Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Death of a Swan

Not that long ago, I didn’t live in Los Angeles, and I didn’t live alone. In fact, I had a roommate whom I had known for a long time. As it turned out, we were not actually close. I don’t think we even liked each other.

In the last year of cohabitation, the divide grew especially apparent, and there were times when I felt angry about perceived failures in this less-than-friendly relationship. It also happened that the roommate owned a set of porcelain Anthropologie measuring cups that were shaped like swans. The actual cup formed the bird’s body and then a neck and head extending from there in what would appear to be a handle but which but which seemed to me too delicate for that purpose. Like I said, they were from Anthropologie, where aesthetics always trump functionality and omigod did you see how the drawstring on this shopping bag can also be used as a hair ribbon? Now I’m spinning in a meadow!

Anyway, now that I’m an adult, I try to act reasonably, and I try especially hard not to exact vengeance on inanimate objects, so it’s a testament to my self-restraint that I didn’t drop the swans one by one onto the kitchen floor, to say nothing of just snapping off all their necks while I made my old roommate watch. When I finally moved out, I was actually proud that those swans still had necks: I hadn’t lowered myself.

Two years later, I’m walking back to my apartment, Saturday morning coffee in hand, and I see two girls unloading boxes of stuff from a trunk. There are books, there are cosmetics, and there’s junk generally tossed into these open-topped boxes that I can peer into as I pass by. Clearly, someone’s moving and they’re taking every previous bit of their life with them. I look up at the girls just in time to see a box overflowing with stuff get pulled out of the trunk, and perched near the top of this small junk mountain is one of those fucking Anthropologie measuring cup swans. Naturally, it teetered off the mountain and exploded onto the asphalt. The noise was softer than I would have expected — and I had thought about it — but still satisfying. The other girl, the one not responsible for the swan’s death, laughed a little. “Oh, she’s going to be pissed.” The first girl, stonefaced and unmoved by this tragedy, simply said as follows: “She can suck my dick.”

And that, friends, is the most empowering thing I’ve experienced in a while: Yeah, she can suck your dick, righteously disdainful girl. You don’t have to care.

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