and 3.) Real Housewives of Atlanta NeNe Leake's unconfirmed biological father and confirmed chronic leg pain sufferer, Allen Pope.
My friend Dan is crashing with me for a while and while I think we were both originally looking forward to this little set up, I'm now pretty sure he's going to check into the local Y tomorrow and never come back because all I talk about is the Holy Trinity that is Hat, Towel, and Allen Pope. Although, that being said, Dan did just tell me that he thinks I should, "maximize [my] potential as a blogger and an artist, follow [my] dreams and write about NeNe Leake's father, Allen Pope." So I will! And I'll also write about Hat and Towel, both of whom have filled the anthropomorphic hole in my heart left by Weekend Hair and Aspie's Clip's absence, god rest their souls.
[TIME OUT: OK, so speaking of Weekend Hair, I wrote the majority of this post Monday night until I hit a brick wall from around 3am-5am because I couldn't articulate my emotions re: Allen Pope (there were a lot of them), fell asleep, woke up, brick wall continued, blah blah blah I've worked it out, it's not important. What is important is that apparently Dan couldn't find his dress socks this morning while he was getting ready for work, so he looked in my underwear drawer to see if there was something he could borrow from me. Instead, he ran into the decomposing remains of Weekend Hair 2.0 and ended up wearing one gray ankle sock and one black knit thigh high sock to work under his dress pants. I have thoughts on this:
A.) It takes balls of steel to root around in a single twenty-something lady's underwear drawer without her permission. You, sir, better thank your lucky stars that the people at Tinge were too bitter to send me a free "razor" and I keep my porn some place way more accessible from my bed than in my closet.
B.) You're welcome for how comfortable that knit thigh high was. Next time try it with its brother, booty shorts and a wife beater and tell me you didn't just see god.
and C.) I just appreciate that in my apartment you're more likely to find fake hair and gold lame gloves in my underwear drawer than socks. If I didn't interact with my vagina on a semi-daily basis, I'd think I was a drag queen.
OK, time back in.]
I first met Hat when I was in K-Mart last weekend to get some last minute camping supplies. I was on the phone with my sister in the hunting aisle trying to convince her that I didn't need to spend $25 on a camping chair when they have a perfectly good compact hunting stool on sale for $8.99, when I noticed a knit camo hat dangling a few rows above. "HA HA. Irony," I thought to myself, in typical obnoxious fashion, as I reached out and grabbed it to try it on. (In retrospect, it probably wasn't a good idea to try on headwear in the hunting aisle of a K-Mart on Georgia Avenue all willy-nilly, but meh. That's why god invented RID and trash bags.) Now as I reached out for that hat, I knew I was going to buy it no matter what because I'm the kind of asshole who values ironic fashion choices over things like oh say, bills, any day of the week, but what I didn't know was that it was what was behind it that would change my life forever. It was Hat—a camo baseball hat with two levels of built-in LED lighting.
We locked eyes across the ethnically crowded aisle and it felt like someone had knocked the wind right out of me. (And I'm not just saying that for comedic effect. I legitimately gasped when I saw it. Which means the idea of a camo baseball cap/flashlight excites me so much that it has the power to disturb my breathing pattern.) My eyes widened, my heart skipped a beat and I almost dropped my phone.
"Oh I'M sorry," I said, blatantly interrupting my sister, "but I just found a camo baseball cap with a built-in LED flashlight in the visor, it's on sale for $7.99 and yes I am going to buy it."
I threw Hat in the styrofoam cooler, picked up a Redskins camping chair (if I was going to spend $10 on a ironic clothing, I guess I was obligated to splurge on silly things like "comfort"), paid with two food stamps and a diarrhea joke and was on my way.
Now, I originally thought Hat was just going to give us all an ironic little chuckle around the campfire and that would be that. But as it turned out, Hat was incredibly useful and kind of saved the day? Thank to a series of unfortunate events (including, but not limited to, inadvertently driving through a marsh in the middle of a soon-to-be housing development in Reston in my Chrysler Sebring convertible at 9 o'clock at night because Google Maps is an asshole) by the time we got to our camping site, it was pitch black out. Which was not the most "helpful" environment for setting up a tent and building a fire. We kind of stood there in the dark being like "sh..shiiiit..." until I realized, "OOO! WAIT! I IRONICALLY BOUGHT A HAT WITH WHAT'S APPARENTLY A STRONG FLASHLIGHT BUILT IN AT K-MART TODAY!" I fished Hat out of the trunk, put it on, turned him on and I. said. god. DAMN. That son of a bitch lit up our entire camping area. It was absurd. And really helpful until Helena pointed out that I could simply reposition my car so the headlights were pointed directly at our tent and it would be a non-issue. And...yeah. Good point. But still! Hat continued to be helpful throughout the entire weekend, what with the hands-free ghost story telling and 1 Night in Paris style lighting effect it had on everyone.
Needless to say, Hat and I really bonded camping that weekend and now that we're back in real world, I don't know how I ever lived without him. We're inseparable. I took him home last Sunday night to meet the family. Yeah. It's that serious. Alex tried him on yesterday and took him for a test drive in the bathroom. (That sounded slightly more homoerotic than it was.) (SLASH hats don't have gender and this needs to stop because I'm starting to freak myself out. I just had a giant gchat conversation with my mom about whether or not he'd embarrass my dad in front of his work associates if I brought him to the Navy football game this weekend.) (Although let it be known my mom responded, "Of course not. We're just happy you two found each other. He lights up our life." ENABLER.)
...That being said, here are some pictures of Hat:
I call that, Hat In Profile
That's Hat keeping me company in traffic en route to my parent's house for dinner.
That's Evie laying like a lamb on an oriental rug looking at hat with a dubious look on her face. Typical.
Ughh...OK, Towel is a bit of a bittersweet story. So I went over to Alex's place the other night and ended up sleeping over because by the time I was ready to go, the metro was closed and, you know, I had spent all of my emergency cab money on a flashlight hat. When it was time to go to sleep, I crawled into bed with Alex, started to spoon him and went into a giant coughing fit. When it had passed, I spooned Alex again and whispered softly into his ear:
A: Yeah Meg?
M: Can I ask you something?
A: Yeah Meg?
M: ........Have you ever coughed out a fart?
A: Jesus Christ.
And then he separated us with a chastity towel. But honestly? I wasn't even mad. Because that towel was absurdly fluffy and smelled ridiculously good. I slept curled up with my little face burrowed in it all night. It was amazing.
The next morning, I had one of the most painful red wine hangovers to date. Which sucked for me because we had to drive to Pentagon City Mall to get Laura's birthday present in heinous bumper-to-bumper traffic on what had to be the brightest day on god's green earth. As of right before we left, I was in that hangover limbo where I knew if I put an outstretched finger within six inches of my open mouth, I would absolutely vomit everywhere, but I could probably power through it if I really tried, but it was my funeral. I eventually got up to vomit, but Alex looked at me with eyes that said, "I waited until noon to get you up, please don't delay this process further with your red wine vomits." I decided to man up and go, but in order to not throw up in his car, I needed a few things: a bottle of Gatorade, a trash bag and Towel, for emotional support. Towel was probably the only smell circulating around the city that day that didn't make me want to vomit, so I rode the entire way to Pentagon City doing lamaze breathing directly into into him.
When Alex dropped me off at my apartment later that afternoon (when I was feeling significantly better), I took one final deep whiff of Towel and said,
M: God, I love this towel. I couldn't have gotten through today with out him. Would you be mad if I stole him and kept him forever?
A: Yes. Yes, I would. Slash, you know what's funny?
A: [with a hesitant look in his eyes] I don't think I've actually washed that towel since using it like three times. At bikram yoga.
A: Yyyyyeah...that's my hot yoga towel.
It was like I had just realized that my lover was my sibling or something. Like, all of our intimate moments flashed before my eyes and I felt dirty and ashamed and confused by how something so wrong could have felt so right at the time.
M: WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SOMETHING THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW ME RUB IT ALL OVER MY FACE?!?!!?
A: You looked so happy!
M: THEN WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME NOW?! WHY COULDN'T YOU HAVE JUST LET ME LIVE A LIE???
A: Because I didn't think you'd give it back!
M: So, wait, did you just say that because you want me to give the towel back?
A: [laughing] No, that really is my yoga towel. But if it makes you feel any better, it's just the towel I drape over my car seat so I don't get the leather all sweaty.
M: THAT MAKES IT WORSE!!! BECAUSE NOW I KNOW I SPECIFICALLY HAVE YOUR ASS AND BALL SWEAT ALL OVER MY FACE!!!
A: It's all the same sweat!
Now, this was obviously unbelievably fucked up on Alex's part, but you know what the most fucked up part was? Just between me and you, I kind of didn't care. Like, 40% of me wanted to toss Towel out the window and bathe in battery acid, but the remaining 60% really didn't give a shit and just wanted another whiff. But then the 40% would be like, "Yes, take another 'whiff', of Alex's ball sweat towel." So I'd raise Towel to throw him in the back seat and the 60% would kick in all, "I mean, we're all just ball sweat when you break us down molecularly and you were primarily just snuggling with the ends and his ass and balls would have technically been in the middle, so..." and it was just a horribly confusing time of my life.
I ultimately got my revenge though. Right before I got out of Alex's car, I secretly shoved Towel in my bag while we made plans for him to come back later so we could go to Laura's party together. When he indeed came back later that night, I told him I was just going to take a quick shower and to hang tight. About 10 minutes later, I leisurely strolled out of the bathroom and into the living room naked, wrapped tightly in (a freshly laundered) Towel. "Don't mind me!" I said, as I stood directly in front of Alex, tucked Towel into various interesting places and proceeded to do a few deep squats and lunges.
The look on his face was pretty much worth everything I had been through that day. But then he retaliated by shoving Jason's front paw down his pants. So I shoved his iPhone down my pants. And then we both got that crazy look in our eye so we called a truce before someone shoved Dan down their pants and he called the cops on us. So, I don't really know who won and who lost in the end. I think the towel really came out on top, however.
Ooof. Allen Pope. Allen Pope is a lot of things: man; player; Athens, Georgia resident; the reason there wasn't a blog post yesterday; an enigma wrapped in a track suit, topped with a newsboy hat, wrapped in Aleve. I think the reason I'm at such a loss about Allen Pope is because he's an actual living, breathing human being who I could conceivably meet and talk to and it wouldn't be cause for a cutting-edge documentary about people who fall in love with bridges and shit. I'm out of my element.
Dan and I spent the majority of Columbus Day parked on my couch eating Baja Fresh and watching a Real Housewives of Atlanta marathon (as all Federal holidays should be spent, really.) Around the fifth hour of the marathon, we were Cracked Out, with a capital C, capital O. Luckily, that's when Bravo aired Season 2, Episode 12: Baby Momma & Daddy Drama. In this episode, cast member NeNe Leake's goes to Athens, Georgia and meets the man suspected to be her biological father—Allen Pope.
Now, here's what you need to know about the state of affairs I was in while I watched this episode: they were sad. I was in a sad, sad state of affairs. I was tired and hot and cracked out and wearing a wife beater and dangling off my bed and drinking La Playa brand beer and laughing at everything and anything. It was unique. The second I saw Allen Pope on the television screen, I instantly fell in love. But like, deep love. Deeper than anything I felt with Hat and Towel combined. (BOLD WORDS. Bold words, from a bold woman.) I've been trying to articulate what it is about Allen Pope that's turned him the new Kevin Yang in my life all day, and here's what it boils down to: that little old man is fucking adorable. There it is. It's simple. It's jazzy. It's elegant. It's the truth.
BOOM. That's Allen Pope. Just sittin' on a little brick wall in front of his apartment complex, meeting what might be his long-lost daughter. I mean, I don't want to call him a "turtle" because we're starting to dance into some racial territory that I'd rather not, but the feeling I get in my stomach when I look at pictures of turtles (akin to what "normal" people feel when they look at pictures of kittens or babies,) is exactly what I experience every time I look at Allen Pope. He's just so fucking adorable. Like, I just want my physical person to be on his. And that's sexual or non-sexual! I'd take either! I'd take anything. I just want to be in his presence.
And then Allen Pope spoke.
And it was like a deep, smooth, mellifluous, soul-filled back rub for the ears. Just with those three words: how are you? I'm aroused, sir. That is how I am.
And then things took a turn for the LOLZ:
So this is moment is like the zenith of NeNe's trip back to Athens to find her real father, right? Like, she was just having a panic attack 20 seconds ago at the thought of interacting with this man, and the second thing he says to her is, "If I don't stand up [...] if I don't stand, it's because my legs are hurtin'," which is just an incredibly ass-backwards and confusing way of saying, "I can't get up to shake your hand because my legs hurt," and NeNe's like, "Wha—O...K...?" and it's really tense and awkward and oh my fucking god. I was in tears just rolling around on my floor laughing and melting and falling in love and being incredibly jealous of the knee braces he was obviously wearing AND THEN! NeNe tells him that she has a lot of questions she wants to ask him, and he says he'll answer her questions in private when "Bird" isn't around.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Because in my mind that was just his adorable Allen Pope way of saying he wants to do it off-camera and he was referring to the camera or boom mic as a "bird". But it turns out that "Bird" is a nickname for NeNe's uncle Mel and he just didn't want to talk about banging his brother's wife in front of him, but still! ADORABLE. So then he kind of blows them off and tells NeNe to call him and says she looks like her mother and it's an emotional moment and all I can say is it was over way too soon.
Right after the scene ended, I picked myself up off the floor, went over to my computer and immediately purchased the episode for $1.99 from iTunes. Much to Dan's dismay, as he was working on some big important thing for work the next day and my downloading a file that large was slowing down the rickitey stolen internet.
Dan: Guhh. Edgar Allen Poe is slowing down the Internet tubes with his broken legs.
M: Uh, well maybe you should learn to respect your elders and get off the Internet so Allen Pope can walk down those tubes freely.
D: Yeah, well if his leg aren't workin', you know that he's not going anywhere, so there's that.
A few minutes later I told Dan that "Edgar Allen Poe is slowing down the Internet tubes with his broken legs" is probably be one of my favorite sentences in the English language, to which he laughed a bit and then said with some melancholy,
D: Yeah. There's an aspect of humor to it and there's also an aspect of "we're going to need to address this when a certain amount of time goes by and I need to do my job." HA HA. Ohhhhh, forced into living with me. BLESS. YOUR. HEART.
But that's not where Dan's troubles for the night ended. No, sir. Because I then spent the next four hours non-stop reciting Allen Pope quotes, specifically If I don't stand, it's because my legs hurt, in a voice I concocted by mixing a bit of Desmond Tutu, Morgan Freeman, stereotypical righteous Baptist preacher, with a dash of Sidney Poitier. And then it got to the point where I'd only talk in the "Allen Pope" voice, which quickly morphed into only responding to Dan's questions with If I don't stand... statements, my favorite being, "If I don't stand, it's because I'm maximizing my potential as a blogger." And then Dan took a shower because it's the only place in my studio where you can be alone and by the time he came back, I had transcribed the entire scene into a Word document and asked him to run lines with me.
And to my surprise, he agreed because he was finally on board with the Allen Pope joke. I think mostly because I didn't really give him an option not to be...? I don't know. I just know one minute there was a kibosh on the Allen Pope voice in the apartment and the next Dan was helping me e-stalk him, cross referencing various White Pages entries on Google street view, emailing me If I don't stand... one-liners from work and proposing we create an Allen Pope Twitter account. Which I was completley on board with, by the way, but can't happen because @AllenPope is taken by CSNwashington.com contributer Allen Popel. Damn him. I suppose we could do @AllenPope_GA or @THEREALallenpope or something but I don't know...it's just not the same. It's not as pure.
So what I'm saying is, Allen Popels: we're both Washingtonians, we're both bloggers, it looks like we have a few friends in common; let's be reasonable. I will give you—nay, trade you, as you say in your industry—@2birds1blog, what's left of Weekend Hair 2.0, Hat, and Towel for ownership of @AllenPope. Except my Twitter account feels like something I should probably hang on to, Hat and I have more camping to do in a few weeks and I'm convinced I can brush WH2.0 out and she'll live to bang another day, but I'll gladly give you Towel? Please ignore his..."colorful" past. You know where to reach me.
Meg & Towel