All Posts By

Anne Clendening

    Bent: the Book Life in L.A.

    More Stuff That Probably Won’t Make It Into Bent: The Book

    April 14, 2017

    Yes, there is a part one to this post. I’ve written a lot of stuff. Not all of it publishable. I don’t even know if that’s even a word but spellcheck didn’t correct me so I’m going with it.

    On how much I hate change: I miss record stores. I was a mess when Tower Records went out of business. Ice cream at Thrifty’s used to be 25 cents and scoop and now it’s $1.79 at Rite Aid. Supposedly it’s the same exact thing but I don’t care. And did you know they stopped making Jello Pudding Pops? Change sucks.

    (There was something in my notes here about the old LSD bridge on Beverly Glen and Santa Monica and that’s what brought that on.)

    What can I say. Maybe there’s a little part of you never changes, no matter how many damn chaturangas you do.Maybe I’m still the same person whose entire goal in life at one point was to beat the Super Mario Brothers game in under an hour. Maybe I slept in this morning, blew off yoga and didn’t do jack all day. Maybe I’m sitting here at midnight on a Friday watching The Shining and writing about yoga. HOLLAH.

    It’s a good thing there’s no shame ledger in yoga. What you did here is good… And this, well this is very good… Wait a minute, then you did what?? That’s bad. So bad. Baaad yogi.

    On getting sober at 22: Goner means broken. Defunct. Damaged beyond repair, blown to smithereens. Maybe I wasn’t the perfect, stainless being I was when I came into the world anymore. So what. Is anyone? But you will never hear me refer to myself as broken. That would be the saddest story of all. That would be the Les Misérables of sad stories. And don’t even get me started on the “what’s wrong with me’s” (she says with the finger wag). “What’s wrong with me” is the hell spawn of self-deprecation and self-doubt. “What’s wrong with me” is pointless and limiting. It’ll get you nowhere. Whatever made this world and everything in it isn’t wrong, it’s miraculous. Typos are wrong. That’s about it.
    What’s wrong with me? Fucking nothing. That’s what.
    Whoomp, there it is. YOGA.
    Goner my ass.

    A typical morning:
    7:40am. (Alarm goes off.)
    Hey, you.
    Yeah you. Lazy.
    Hit the snooze button. Now.
    Don’t even think about getting up.
    Yoga? Uh-uh.
    Go back to sleep.

    7:39. (Alarm goes off again.)
    Really?
    You think you’re going to yoga?
    You’re not going to yoga.
    Because you suck.
    There’s no point.
    What are you thinking?
    Your organs are going to harden like fossils no matter what you do.
    And your spine will disintegrate into a sad pile of ashes.
    In fact, your hip just cracked.
    Hear that? That’s the sound of getting old.
    Get used to it.

    On the day the kitchen knives went missing: The last time I had seen any of the knives was the day I cut my tongue pretending I was Dracula. I put cookie butter on the yellow one, licked it off and murmured “mmm, blood.” Cookie butter is like peanut butter, which I’ve also licked off plenty of knives, but it’s made from Belgian cookies. Imagine a crushed gingerbread house in a jar, like a fable you can eat. You’re supposed to spread it on waffles or use it in a recipe. This seemed funner. Oops.

    My fake name is Elizabeth, after Kim Basinger in 9 1/2 Weeks. It comes in handy when strangers come to the door or basically anytime I want people to think I have a personal assistant. She’s much cooler than me. Elizabeth is a UFC ring card girl and got a perfect score on her SAT’s. Her favorite book is Helter Skelter. She’s considering Harvard Law School. Don’t call her Liz, by the way. She hates that.

    A good example of the “babble” I was talking about: Yoga was the best idea I ever had. Not that yoga was my idea. Obviously. Scratch that. Going to yoga was the best idea I ever had. Yoga was actually no one’s idea, just like math was no one’s idea. No one invented the number two. It just is. Yoga just is. It’s out there, and not in a creepy, I’m watching you from the fire escape of your apartment way, which actually happened to me once when I briefly lived in San Francisco. It was the middle of the night and I called the police but the guy got away. I was so freaked out I went down the hall to sleep on my friend’s couch. Then her phone rang and for some stupid reason I answered it and heard this: I know where you are. That’s what he said. I know where you are. The only thing I could think to do was to laugh and say “it’s late. Go home and go to bed.” Nothing ever came of it. My point is, yoga’s out there. And it knows where you are. (Just kidding.) (Sorry.)(Forget it.)

    On panic attacks: I’m always up for gambling away my troubles, so in a poorly thought-out surge of optimism my boyfriend Matt and I thought we’d drive to Las Vegas for a little vacation. Anxious people do not belong in Vegas. I ended up having a full-on sobbing panic attack because the lights were so blindingly overwhelming. What is so great about 99₵ SHRIMP COCKTAIL? Also, his friend was pounding Cuervo Gold and grapefruit juice, one after the other. I couldn’t handle it, hanging out with someone who was able to drink and be at total ease in a situation teeming with danger and neon. So I bailed. I left them at Caesar’s Palace and hopped a train home. Either sobriety had turned me into a neurotic freak, or I was finally seeing things clearly. How had I never realized how frightening the world was? Schoolhouse Rock should have been way scarier.

    On my fear of flying: “Is this really how you want to live? In fear? Don’t you want to see PARIS one day?” I resented it. People always bring up Paris when they find out you’re scared to fly. But she seemed trusty enough, like someone’s kind, sweatered aunt. So, despite my extreme dislike of discussing my issues, I saw the therapist. Twice. Maybe I wasn’t ready. Mostly I felt ridiculous talking to whats-her-face about the futility of trying to understand how the fuck a plane gets in the air. And maybe I judged her a little, and the whole “therapy thing” as a whole. I mean, if anxiety is such a common problem, why can’t you people fix it.
    And then bite me.
    Merci. 

    On fear: For years I’ve had a recurring dream where I’m getting chased by a grunting and faceless man wielding a hatchet. Usually we’re on an abandoned campground, which leads me to believe this is a subconscious mashup of Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He never catches me. The only thing that happens is I’m running and he’s chasing. It’s pretty fucked up. It’s also not real. 

    More on fear: I used to work in a penthouse bar in Hollywood. Penthouses, by definition, are high up. So high up, in fact, they have their own fancy name. Supposedly it had a dazzling view, but I wouldn’t know. I didn’t look up a lot. I’m sorry, but being 35 floors away from the safety of the earth is not natural.
    One night I showed up to find the dated wood-paneling inside the elevator had been covered in upside-down Bible pages. The normal light bulbs had been switched out for bright red ones, but the fake blood splatter all over the Bible pages was pretty unmistakable.
    Bloody, torn up Bible pages. Upside down. On the fucking walls.
    That’ll scare the bejesus out of anybody. I felt for the poor guy who was minding his own business, looking down at his watch at 5:01pm while he boarded the elevator to go home after a long day at the office and suddenly realized he was trapped in a pit of eternal damnation.
    A sign would’ve helped.
    “ATTENTION: THE PENTHOUSE BAR IS HAVING AN AFTER PARTY FRIDAY NIGHT FOR THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EXORCIST. YOU MIGHT SEE SOME WITCHY STUFF HAPPENING IN AND AROUND THE BUILDING. ALL PART OF THE FUN. LINDA BLAIR WILL BE HERE! JOIN US!”

    And more on fear: There was a window right next to my bar, and it wasn’t little. It was easily big enough for five or six humans to fit through at once. If you saw that window from outside the building, believe me, you’d worry. I did. I’ve always been clumsy, and I didn’t know the statistics or anything but I did know people fell out of windows all the time and those two things right there made for some pretty bad odds. (Then there’s being pushed out a window, which common sense will tell you is something we should all be afraid of.) I could have slipped on an ice cube and lost my balance. Or get plucked out by a heavy wind. Or maybe I’d have some kind of attack where I would start convulsing out of the blue, and everyone would have to stand back to back to protect themselves, at which point I would back away toward that open window, at which point my flailing body would toss itself out and I would end up plummeting to my death and splattering all over Shirley Temple’s Walk of Fame star.

    On hurting my back once in yoga: Nerve pain. It feels like barbed wire is being pulled through your veins. You’d think I would have been be screaming in agony, but I was actually kind of half laughing, one of those crazy laughs you do when something is totally not funny, but the reptilian part of my brain had kicked into survival mode probably because I had seen the show OZ too many times and it thought I had gotten shanked. It worked against me. The laughing made it hurt even worse. Then I was laughing and sobbing at the same time like a lunatic while my dog Shamus just stared at me. 

    On new stuff: Novelty. It’s like crack for the brain. That’s how we’re wired. The brain seeks it. It’ll have a stronger reaction to a photo of a new 7-up can than it will to that of a grisly car accident. I’m not making this up. I remember the first I saw a Wookiee better than I remember last Tuesday. I’m not even sure what day it is today.

    I’m not sure where this was going… If you have a sad story, it should at least involve one or more of the following: alcohol, jail, blood, unrequited love and/or a severed limb. Luckily, I do have all my limbs. But one of my fingers will end up partially numb when I accidentally cut it one night, drunk, making a bagel and cream cheese. (Add “stitches” to the list.)

    I could go on but clearly I have work to do. Deadline’s comin’ up.

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