IBS AND OTHER THINGS KEEPING ME BUSY

May 15th, 2020

Words by Cara Schacter · Artwork by Chiara Girimonti

April 25th, 2020 

The most significant thing I accomplished today was my bowel movement at Mulberry Market (they have a bathroom on the main floor to the left of the hummuses). Here is something I used to do at summer camp: when girls in my cabin were being bitchy, I would go to the bathroom and go into their respective toiletry kits and find their toothpastes and squeeze some of their toothpaste into the toilet. I wouldn’t empty the tubes completely, I wanted them to have enough to get through the summer but I wanted to deplete their tubes enough that they might have anxiety about running out. What is a cauliflower tot? We have to try to balance knowing that we’re going to die with knowing that we’re going to live. What does ‘sour’ really mean? At first, I think, obviously it means when your mouth puckers: sour candy. But then, I think, well what about sweet and sour soup? Sourdough? A panic attack waiting to happen: the yogurt section. Kefir is one of those situations, like kombucha, where I don’t exactly know what it is but I  understand it energetically. You know when you hurt yourself by accident (spill scalding liquid / step on tack) and you freeze and there’s a moment of disconnect between what’s happened and your brain registering the sensation, why is that? I always say: “I hate to admit that I enjoy cottage cheese, but I do”. I always say the same things. I am against buying a potato masher as a
matter of principle. Remember when the only kitchen utensils people had were wooden spoons? Remember when nobody knew about protein? I feel bad but it’s unsexy to me to see a man buy a bag of lentils. Being hot is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Is the word ‘murmur’ onomatopoeic? Kind of in a campy way. It’s not onomatopoeic in the way of ‘buzz’, for example. There’s a type of onomatopoeia that’s more about vibe. Like the word ‘disgusting’ captures the vibe. Also, ‘mellow’. ‘Porcelain’. ‘Cream’. Ok but maybe I just think these words capture the vibe of their subjects because of a chicken-egg situation where the rose by any other name type of thing. Like, ya, obviously, the association exists before the judgement. But I can think of words that aren’t right vibe-wise. Like the word ‘nail’ does very little for me. It should have been an s-word. The word ‘window’ says nothing. ‘Oven’. Most appliances. ‘Hammer’ could have gone a lot further. ‘Screw’ is decent, though again, take it further. Maybe repeat a syllable to connote the cyclical nature of screwing. ‘Screwew’. That’s a rough draft. Why are most Kleenex box designs horrendous? Who is insisting on closeups of peacock feathers? If you store cottage cheese upside down, it lasts longer.

 

April 28th, 2020 

All day my neighbor cackles on Zoom. She can’t possibly find that many things hysterical in a day. Some people can fake cackle which I respect. Her dog has a squeaky toy. I try to drown outmy neighbor with music. There’s something so catty about classical music – the instruments having their private conversation that you can’t enter because they don’t even use words. I can’t deal with “Für Elise” acting pouty at first until she gets everyone’s attention and then she’s laughing and twirling and no one else can get a word in edgewise. Remember when Vivaldi literally wrote “The Four Seasons”... like ok... create a theme song for time itself, why don’t you? The thing is, I actually don’t think you can fake a cackle. A chortle or guffaw, sure. But a cackle is organic. It must be disorienting to erupt into cackles so many times a day – to involuntarily vocally expulse all day long must be unsettling. “My Life is a Joke” is a short story by Sheila Heti in which the narrator describes the afterlife as a place "where everyone is always laughing." The narrator says a person’s laughter can make you hate her. She says: “Who likes to hear someone laughing to herself, headphones on, while staring at a screen? Probably the same people who like to listen to strangers fuck behind a hotel wall.” In "Sex And The City" season three, episode eighteen entitled: “Cock-a-Doodle-Do”, Samantha Jones hears her neighbors having sex. At first, this annoys Samantha. But then, Samantha uses the noise as a soundtrack for masturbation and comes to appreciate it. But then, the tables turn when the neighbors hear Samantha masturbating. The neighbors slip a note under Samantha’s door. In gorgeously rotund handwriting (the tail of the s’s have a flourish I initially wanted to describe as an ‘alley-oop’ but that’s actually a basketball term, not a calligraphy term, and then I wanted to call it a tilde but that’s the accent that goes over n’s in Spanish to pronounce them like gnocchi, and then I thought of Tilda Swinton in the film “We Need to Talk About Kevin” which I have not seen – also, returning to the note, I want to mention that the end of the m’s dip under the following letters as if scooping them up – which resonates since I have always felt the letter m has a nurturing, maternal presence on the page which might just be because ‘mom’, ‘maternal’, etc...) the note invites Samantha over to “say hello”. Intrigued, Samantha peeks her head out into the hallway of her apartment and beckons the man vacuuming by saying: “Excuse me, Jésus!” Samantha asks Jésus if he knows who lives in the apartment next door. Jésus shares his knowledge that it is a musician and a dancer. It’s clear Samantha is pleased with this intel. Later, wearing a long sheer black nightgown with a black feather trim, Samantha knocks on the neighbors’ door. Long story short: the neighbors turn out to be an older eastern European couple and Samantha is disappointed. When people say: “it is what it is”, I can’t tell if those people have given up or if they have they done whatever is the opposite of giving up? Getting down?

 

May 6th, 2020 

The problem is that I have a whole container of chunky tomato soup that I don’t like but I’ve learned from experience you shouldn’t dump tomato soup down the drain because the chunks don’t go down and it’s a nightmare. I consider flushing it down the toilet but the idea of a potential lingering smell of tomato soup disturbs me. I am going to need to go outside and find a sewer. I wonder if I will see one right away or if it’s going to be a hunt. The thing about sewers is they’re one of those things I see all the time and I know I register seeing them – I can remember thinking to myself that I am looking at a sewer – but I couldn’t tell you the location of a single sewer in the world. If you have a single syllable name (e.g. ‘Sue’) that appears in common nouns (e.g. ‘sewer’), I wonder how often you think people are talking about you when they’re not. Or, if you are in the midst of a lawsuit and use the pronouns ‘she/her’, I wonder how often people are talking about sewers around you and you think they are saying “sue her”. I wonder if Plato ever had a nephew who said “I want playdough” and Plato said “I’m here for you always!” and then it was awkward. Likewise, I wonder if Heidegger was ever at an excavation site and someone (referring to a coworker) said “Hi digger” and Heidegger said “Yes?” and then it was awkward. The thing about the soup is I remember I can use a strainer.

 

May 9th, 2020 

Multipacks of toilet paper are back in stock at Duane Reade. That said, multipacks of paper towel are gone. The saying “when one door closes, another one opens” is a terrifying concept in terms of home security systems. I refuse to pay three dollars for a single roll of off-brand paper towel so instead I buy a matte eyeshadow palette in the color Nude Awakening. It’s not that I’m balding but I’ve always known my hair to be thin around my temples in a way that detracts from my feeling my most powerful in a high pony. YouTube recommends eyeshadow to fill thin spots in your hairline. I want to believe I don’t need paper towel, that I can use something reusable, a rag, but there just seem to be moments that call for paper towel. I know I’m wrong, but it doesn’t feel that way in the moment. ‘Debonair’ would be a good name for a blow dryer company. Can we talk about the weaponization of sunscreen. Remember when sunscreen was a cute summertime toiletry and not a looming memento mori that’s very existence makes you feel like you’re drowning in failures to reapply appropriately? If you leave a sheet mask on for too long, it might actually start to pull moisture out of your face and back into the mask. If you look into how to properly do anything you become paralyzed. It’s not that the price of the roll of paper towel would ‘break the bank’ per se, it’s just that it’s one of those things where price per use becomes top of mind. Once I start dividing an experience into individual units, the experience is ruined. When soy sauce spills, the last thing anyone needs is a jarring ka-ching resonating with each rip off the roll. The thing about using Nude Awakening on my temples is that I know it’s there. The whole point is to create an illusion of fullness but the thing about tricks is you can rarely trick yourself. I wish someone else would secretly powder my temples with Nude Awakening while I’m sleeping. The thing about the illusion of fullness is that I can’t do it alone.

Cara Schacter lives in New York City. You can follow her on instagram @cjbs

Chiara Girimonti is an interdisciplinary artist from Argentina. Her interest in illustration and the narrative of movies led her to animation. She enjoys creating characters and scenes inspired by film noir and Westerns.

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