One: Mangos- I love them. I love them in a sick, insidious kind of way. One may think for a moment, don’t worry, it’s fruit, it grows on things, you can pronounce all of the ingredients, of which there are exactly one, and on and on, peppered with additive good terms like fair trade and organic and nectar of the gods.
But I can’t dwell on all of the good things mangos can be. I have to focus instead on self-control.
I’m convinced that a small part of my mango obsession is really a subconscious drive to make up for lost time. You see, my mom drank guava juice when I was a child. She loved fucking guava juice. She would get it blended with all kinds of other exotic sounding fruits—guava and kiwi, guava and pineapple, guava and passionfruit (the worst), guava and fucking mango. And guava is a sick and insidious thing on it’s own. It never mattered what it was blended with. It only mattered that my innocent and trusting five year old self would reach up with both hands for whatever carton of juice was on the top shelf of the fridge every time she got back from the grocery store, and with care I would set it on the counter, then climb up and pull down from the lowest of the high shelves one of my sweet little Disney themed cups, and finally, with the greatest concentration I could muster, I would fill it to the brim. And without testing the waters I would drink.
And then as I sprayed that vile liquid across the length of the kitchen and dropped my cup in horror I would reestablish the fact that yes, guava still sucked. In time I grew hardened to exotic sounding fruits. I refused to touch them. Yes, I knew guava was the culprit, but I never knew what horrid thing it actually came in. I didn’t know what a guava looked like. If fruit salads and platters were set in front of me I would only touch things I could identify. Apples and bananas and grapes. The occasional peach. Melon. I think cherry-flavored things are shit but that’s another story. At some point I forgot that it was guavas I hated. I just knew I avoided all fruit that wasn’t already on the cleared list.
And then one day, fifteen years later, I smelled something, somewhere, that I was convinced was the best smelling flower in the world. I looked around but couldn’t place it. I don’t remember where I was. Probably heaven. Then I saw the fruit plate. And right then and there I dropped all of my baggage and opened my life up to mangos.
There is nothing better than a perfectly ripe mango. I feel very strongly about this. Bruised or slightly to severely unripe mangos don’t become less appetizing on a gradient scale. They are just dead to me. Mangos are perfect or they are nothing. But I am stern with them because I love them. And that is how I feel about mangos.
Two: I have never met an occasion on which I wouldn’t ride a horse. Take, for instance, my preteen years. My mom’s friends liked to buy discount and/or rescue horses and then work through their various training problems, bond with them, fatten them up. They call them project horses. But before you can work on a project horse you have to gage your starting point. That is where I would come in. They’d lure me in simply by saying the word “horse” and then toss me up on the animal in question and see what kind of vices he had. Did he buck? Good to know. Bite? Kick? Rear? Grab the bit in his teeth and run for the hills? Roll with the rider still on his back? Try to scrape them off under low hanging trees? These were all things that they wanted to be prepared for before getting on themselves. This went on for some time before my mom finally put her foot down. That intervention came after one friend brought home the cutest little Arabian. He was four years old, and had been gelded the week before. They didn’t know anything about him and then when they got him home they didn’t have any bridles that would fit him. Or saddles, for that matter. Also, I’d just been over there to swim that day, so I was wearing a bathing suit. In light of the lack of appropriate riding gear, my mom’s friend decided it would just be best to run the lead rope loosely through the halter (if you’re not up on your horse terms, a halter is basically a head collar. You use them to walk the animals around like you would a dog), but not actually tie it to the halter. This created a flossing effect under the horse’s chin. If I pulled my lead rope “rein” in one direction, then the rein on the other side would get shorter and the horse’s head would stay in the same place. If you’ve ever paid any attention to a horse under saddle, you’ll notice that they are ridden with slim metal pieces that sit in the mouth in a place where horses naturally don’t have teeth. This is called a bit. It makes the horse stop, among other things. Reins are normally attached to the bit. Notice the conspicuous lack of a bit in this scenario.
So with that, the friend launched me up onto her new horse. I was still in a bathing suit and the horse still had no saddle, but I had my little floss-rein contraption. Just to be safe she put a helmet on me. Then she climbed on her tried-and-true dead-broke horse with the nice big saddle and the proper bridle and ten years of riding experience under his belt, and she told me to follow her. With that, she took off down the street at a dead gallop. And we followed her.
I hung on. The horse’s natural instinct is to stick together so I didn’t have to worry so much about giving him any directions. But when the friend slowed down ahead of us mine kept going. And going. And going. Seeing her new pet run towards traffic inspired the friend to maybe try to catch him, so she ran after us again. She never did. The horse got sweatier and sweatier and I ducked down into the mane and held on. I started feeling pretty good about myself. But then we stopped running uphill and started running downhill, which tilted me forward. The horse got sweatier. My bare legs against the slickness of the hide really didn’t stand a chance, and I couldn’t afford to jeopardize my already precarious balance by leaning back to where I should have been for a downward grade of that size. And this is trivial in retrospect, but little horse hairs were being ground into the crotch of my bikini bottom in the most unforgiving way. And that’s what made me bail. I knew it was inevitable. I would eventually fall. It was just a matter of which one of us was gonna pull the trigger.
It was my first time falling. Since then I’ve taken plenty of spills. I do it with grace. Sometimes I even land on my feet. But this particular time was not graceful. I know this because even though I don’t quite remember the details of the time between the horse’s back and a few seconds after the asphalt, I did take my helmet home in two pieces. I understand I fell under him, and got kicked in the head in the process. Possibly while also landing on my head. The horse ran home to his stall. We found out later he had never been ridden before that day. And I was grounded, along with my mom’s friend.
But like most things I got grounded for, I didn’t actually learn from the experience. It just became harder to get away with it. Luckily I’m an adult now. I do what I want. And what I wanted the other night after the Xbiz awards was to ride a fucking horse. That was my big adult decision at the bar at the Fleshlight party sometime after midnight when we’d had enough drinks and my accomplice agreed that since we had the limo for the night we might as well use it. We loaded into the car and directed the driver to Burbank. Then we unloaded in front of the combination lock that keeps our little grouping of giant pets safely inside at night. I kicked off my heels for flip flops and he, not being prepared for drunken horseback riding, stayed in his shiny shoes, shiny slacks. Slick, is the word. Slick slacks that slide ride off the horse’s back. That’s what we discovered. A saddle might have helped in this scenario as well but the mare is new and nothing fits her. She’s pretty big. This factor only added to the velocity with which he hit the cement while I tried to smooth down my skirt as it shimmied over my ass when I tried to keep up with the horse. I heard a crack and looked up. I wanted to ask if it was his skull or his spine that made that noise, but I was afraid if I acknowledged it our ride might be over. You’re not supposed to do it like that, I said. Yeah, he grunted from the ground. I climbed on instead. The bare flesh underneath the dress provided a lot more grip. And off we went, down the streets of Burbank, through apartment complexes and quaint one car driveways with their one story houses, behind restaurants and bowling alleys, and finally onto the horse trials that wind by the freeway, where the ground was softer, and I felt safe to put him back on and give him the wheel. Part of my sudden reinspiration to share was due to the horse hairs poking into my panties. I flashed back to my last bathing suit ride and jumped down. The rest went smoothly, aside from our hangovers the next morning. It should be noted that his was probably more intense than mine. Where am I going with this you ask? Exactly nowhere. I’ll stop now.
Three: I am the fairest-weather vegan of them all. I say this, of course, as I am eating a turkey sandwich. But it is a shining example of my fair weatherness. You see, the turkey sandwich is the only thing available, and I haven’t eaten since breakfast, which fortunately did make the vegan cut. I do occasionally pack food ahead of time when I think about it, but for the longer trips the logistics stop working. I can’t take a shopping cart to places like Bulgaria, and even if I could, preservative free food does this funny thing after three days. It goes bad. So when I’m gone for more than a few days, especially overseas, I throw caution to the wind and I do what I want, spoiled-child style. I can pseudo justify this though. I’m primarily vegan in the states because I disagree with large-scale livestock operations. They are a gross abuse to the animal and the environment down to the last detail, and the things that go into them would in turn end up in my body, from the antibiotics and chemicals down to the karmic terror they have endured (this is a bit extreme and partly in jest, but just partly. I consider American meat to be haunted by the animal it came from. Again joking. Sorta.). But here is the cool thing about going overseas—it’s not nearly as bad. For example, if you’ve ever had lamb in Melbourne, you’d notice it has a slight sparkle that is not found in, say, Los Angeles. Their lamb eats grass!! They run and play in the sunshine!! I can taste their happiness. Either that or it’s been so long since I’ve eaten lamb that I’ve forgotten how good it is. And the chicken in Thailand!! Holy fuck! Their chickens play in the streets with the barefoot children! So much avian happiness they almost want to be eaten. They have lived well. Of course this doesn’t completely pardon me, because while I can get around the animal welfare aspect abroad I can’t find an ethical travel excuse for the part where all of these mass-produced four legged creatures walk around farting methane all day.
On a side note, I own plenty of leather but no fur, which really makes no sense, because any animal who is missing it’s skin very likely didn’t get to keep it’s hair.
Four: bubblegum scents make me puke. This is not a figure of speech. I will dry heave until the offending thing is removed from the room, and after a while, if it is not, I will actually puke. And then if it’s still there I will die. That is all.
Five: I have an irrational fear of placing my Apple products on the conveyor belts in airport security lines. This is a two fold fear stemming from the same issue. The issue is that the person in front of me and the person behind me will, more times than not, place the exact same product in a safety bin. So there is the rational fear that my Macbook air will be mixed up with the one in front or behind me, and there is the less rational fear that we are programmed drones. Nothing says assembly line like three chemically processed blonds placing three identical computers on the belt next to our three pairs of shoes, all designer, same brand. Fucking Los Angeles.
Six: other irrational fears include Kirsten Dunst.
Seven: I am entirely dependent on words when it comes to sex. Orgasms can be flipped off like they’re connected to a breaker switch if the partner in question says the wrong thing at the wrong time. I have fired booty calls over retarded comments. This is another thing that I recognize as irrational, because the whole point of booty calls is they’re not supposed to require any redeeming qualities other than the necessary sexual parts and the physical fitness to keep your heart rate up. But one time someone said, with an air of being deep in thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if birds came in all colors of the rainbow.” This comment, in turn, kicked me deep into my own cycle of contemplation, and to this day I am still stuck wondering how that thought ever happened. On the flip side, I have fallen head over heels for people in a matter of minutes, I have switched from exhausted to riding the upswing of the most excruciatingly high, rolling, punch you in the gut orgasms, I’ve let people stay the night based on something said just right. Those somethings usually come packaged in a thick accent, but not always. They’re either highly sexual without being cheesy or they’re so uniquely witty or genius that I’m knocked to the floor with my ass in the air. Either way, words are my kryptonite.
Eight: I was in FFA. It was my other, even less cool extracurricular in High School. Tennis was the passable one. Cute chicks sometimes played tennis. But FFA(That’s Future Farmers of America by the way)—chicks who aspired to help birth calves by sticking their forearms shoulder deep into a cow’s private parts played FFA. They were solid, pear shaped people, often blond, but full body blond, as in, they should probably have shaved. I had the necessary blue corduroy jacket and lack of social ambition. Each member had a project. The project was an animal of their choice that they kept detailed financial logs and showed at county fair. My animal? Rabbits. At the height of this disaster I had 14 of them. My problem was I couldn’t sell the babies. You may have heard about rabbits and babies. My knowledge of the intricacies of their reproductive nuances and how to manipulate genetic probabilities for color to this day has not served me well. Then, out of wisdom or lunacy, my mom took away my rabbits. Four days later I discovered sex. The irrational part of this story is that ten years later I own two of these exalted vermin. They wind through my legs, my guests legs, my furnitures legs. They chew on things that should rightly kill them. But then they shit neatly in a litter box and do cute things with their faces and I find that I still love them. And then I feed them the scraps of my leftover mangos and they love me back.