Here for It w/ R. Eric Thomas, #85
Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
I regret to inform you that we are now boycotting bikes. Beloveds, I am calling for a Bike-cott. Bikes are cancelled. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Whew, chile, I was in Provincetown, MA this week where the word on the street is you get places with your feet. Cars are allowed, but parking is a nightmare and the streets are teeming with pedestrians and bicyclists. Hearing this described I was like "Cute. Utopian. A little Tour de Moment. I'm into it." The other word on P-town was that there were some hotel pools open to the public but if you wanted to go to the beach, you could, you just had to walk through the dunes to do so. I thought "Chic. Sandy. Halle Berry as James Bond. I'm into it." Let me let you know I would like to speak to the manager of vacations because je have been deceived.
(Pictured: me as Rihanna as over it.)
Our rental house had two bikes available to us, both what those in the know call "Fixies." I was like, "I am very interested in being fixed so this seems to be a good bike for me." They were both a little tall for me and adjusting the seat proved to be a challenge but I was I figured it just be like a spinning class where you get the one machine that's a little temperamental. For years I took regular spinning classes at the gym, sometimes spinning up to five times a week. That was 5 years and 50 pounds ago but you know what they say, "an elephant never forgets how to ride a bike," so I hopped on and set off on an adventure.
The friends we went away with wanted to go to a beach on the other side of the island. This should have been my first cue to exit stage left and spend my day shopping for ironic t-shirts and eating various ice creams. That's the kind of vacation life I'm trying to lead yet every time I go away I convince myself that 1) I am someone completely different than the person I have always been and 2) now is the moment of my spectacular transformation.
Honey, I love a scam and my favorite scam victim is my own psyche. 360 days a year I'm like "My job is sitting; my lungs are for decoration only; coordination is the work of the devil" but then on vacay I tell myself "you should jog every morning and then challenge a bunch of tall models to a game of volleyball. Also, spend all of your money! Buy every model a round of drinks! Stare directly into the sun!" Honey, when it comes to my own self-talk even the scams have scams. Scam cubed.
To get to the beach on the other side of the island, you either rode on the main drag, including a little freeway moment, which was fairly hilly or you rode on the bike path which the map labelled as "dangerously steep." (Side note: my next solo show will be titled Dangerously Streep. It's already sold out. Don't even try to buy tickets. 15 Tony Awards plus the Medal of Freedom.)
I didn't know either of these things when I jumped on my Fix-My-Life-Cycle and started riding. I assumed we ride on flat land for five minutes and then I'd hop off and go find some Olympians to water ski with. Nevertheless, I've watched enough Lost to know that "the other side of the island" is not a place I need to go. (And, yes, I know that it's technically a Cape or something, but "the other side of the cape" sounds both magical and potentially sequined and my second favorite kind of scam is being inaccurate for the sake of comedy.)
The first thing you need to know is that, despite the fact that it was up a mountain, this ride was only 3 miles. The second thing you need to know is that I stopped multiple times along the way and asked Jesus to just take me home to glory. My leggy, Crossfit-doing friends were so far ahead I couldn't even see them anymore; I was considering tossing myself into a pit of brambles and staging some sort of crime scene like Old Timey Scam Artiste Bre're Rabbit. It. Was. A. Mess.
I went into the whole thing thinking I was going to be pedaling along, sweat-less and well-abbed, like Oliver from Call Me By Your Name.
Instead, I was drenched like I'd done two back-to-back Bikrams and my thigh muscles rose up out of my legs and slapped me across the face for my audacity. You ever been slapped in the face by your own legs? It's humbling! So, I say all that to say, bikes have, unfortunately, been cancelled. Clearly, they do not work as advertised and I would like all of the zero dollars I spent refunded to me plus six million euros in damages (Don't give me any dollars, girl. The federal reserve is the original Scamtrix.)
Anyway, that's that on that.
(Look at these jerks!)
David and I went away with two other couples, who both also happen to made up of one black man and one white man. We were like matched sets, which is great because it let me do my third favorite vacation activity: a game called Drive Myself Insane Trying to Figure Out If My Friends Are Doing Better Than Me Using a Myriad of Minute Categories Only I Know About.
A fun thing to do with friends, strangers, enemies, really anyone. This bike thing was a real highlight of the game because I kept thinking "Do I suck? Am I terrible? Does everyone hate me? Would life be better if I was better at this? Will this affect our ability to get a mortgage? What if my entire book tour is on a bike?" It escalates. None of that is true, obviously, but it's an insidious little scam that sneaks in in the most benign of places: the feeling of being with your people.
I can hardly put into words the normalizing feeling of being in a town with a high LGBTQ population and hanging out with not one but two other interracial couples. Not having to check my surroundings or clock other people's glances when David and I held hands in public is a feeling I have so rarely it almost feels foreign. When I wrote my piece on the Masterpiece Cakeshop for the New York Times, the first draft was written with the assumption that people would understand why it was important that LGBTQ people be allowed, nay, welcomed to go about their lives freely, including in their interactions with businesses. The editor I worked with gently pointed out that one of the issues at stake here was that many people didn't get that; many people hadn't ever thought about what institutional discrimination and microaggressions can feel like. She encouraged me to spell it out. And I struggled to figure out how because what I was talking about was the experience of being allowed full humanity and the way denial of that experience worms its way into the smallest of moments. It felt, to me, sort of like describing drowning to a fish. The fish may be interested, sympathetic, passionate, but they've never had the experience of breathing, or I should say, not breathing. So we're just looking at each other through aquarium glass going "Hope everything is alright!"
I say all that to say, the bike's notwithstanding, this week away was a little bit utopian because I got to feel regular, unremarkable, human: the ultimate scam.
So, when the thoughts of comparison to other people who in this sea of sameness were even more same, at least on paper, crept in, they were a lot harder to swat away. Of course, our couple friends--who are very lovely, a lot of fun, and probably don't hate me (but who can say!)--aren't really that similar to David and I just because they're both interracial and queer, but whomst among us is really similar to anyone else? I think it's important to see yourself reflected in the spaces you inhabit but I think it's equally important to recognize that you're on your own journey. And sometimes that journey is not on a bike!
But the rode is full and some are going in the same direction and moving at the same speed and can make quite good companions as we make our way to the other side of the island or wherever it is that we're going, wherever it is that we can stop and breathe.
There's no links this week because I didn't write any! A PTO Scam! But I do have to say if I can go the rest of my life without hearing or thinking of Omarosa I will consider myself blessed and highly favored. Omarosa is on her Book Tour Scam trying to get people to buy her tone about her time in the White House and I want less than no parts of it. Omarosa does this thing where she tells you that she's got good dish and then you're like, "Fine, what is it? What's the dish?" She opens a pot with nothing inside but a note that reads "Good dish, coming soon!" And you're like "Omarosa! You well-dressed Strega Nona! You got me again!" But she keeps at it! It's really wild. Her whole thing is being a scammer who scams scamily and yet we keep expecting something more. There is no more!
What's amazing is that this is terribly celebrity-hood but if it was a drag act, I would be dying! If Omarosa was a queen on Drag Race pulling off one wig to reveal an identical wig or pulling off a dress to reveal the exact same dress underneath, I'd be like "GIVE HER AN EMMY! MAKE HER HUD SECRETARY RIGHT NOW!" But this Ru-veal she's been doing for years where she stares directly at the camera and says "I have nothing for you and I would like you to keep buying it"? She can take that back to the factory; it's been recalled.
ALSO! I was sitting on a (straight!) beach, drenched in my own sweat, and holding my phone up trying to get a signal when I saw a tweet about something called... Space Force? Apparently, Trump wants to fight his demons (truth, justice, Hillary Clinton) amongst the stars now. This is a surprising development because there are no people of color or immigrants in space so one would think this administration wouldn't even think about putting a war there.
It's remarkable that Space is a very cool concept and Force sounds authoritative enough and yet you put them together and it sounds like a CBS pilot that did not get picked up for a full series order. This will cost billions of dollars while Flint, Michigan remains unaddressed by this administration. Perhaps Space Force can go get some of that water they discovered on Mars and bring it back to Flint. Just an idea.
That said, when they reinstate the draft, I will definitely join Space Force because I want to wear a cute uniform and I'm very invested in traveling exclusively through being beamed from place to place. Bikes are anti-American; beaming is the future of our brave nation of morons.
Lastly! Idris Elba is apparently "being strongly considered" as the next James Bond by producers of the series. These scammers need to sit all the way down with that "strongly considered"; the internet has already crowned Idris as Bond and literally anything else he wants to be. Does Idris want to play Lyndon B. Johnson in a biopic? Sure thing! Please and thank you! Who else are they considering for the role? Henry Cavill's mustache? Omarosa? This deal is done; they're 2000 and late. Please do not contact me again until the Idris-centric poster has been completed. I volunteer to sing the theme song. It will be called "Idris the real life? Idris just fantasy? Caught in a landslide; no Elbscape from reality." (Already triple platinum. Winner of an entire EGOT. Praised by all religious leaders.)
Random Thing From the Internet
I'm late but if you haven't read Beyonce's Vogue cover story, you must immediately. It's astounding.
Four wheels good; two wheels bad,