Today I was up and wide awake at 4:28am -- and I mean wide awake. I could have written a paper or done my taxes or plotted world domination if I wasn't so annoyed that I rarely sleep through the night anymore. And it seems irresponsible to plan out world domination when one is not well-rested.
Realizing that sleep was not anywhere within my immediate future, I chose to accept it and instead did what any normal person might in the situation:
I got up and washed my face and brushed my teeth.
I organized my bra drawer.
I deleted the Victoria's Secret app off my phone, as it's become abundantly clear that I don't need one more bra, not ever.
I awoke my dog who had slept through me dumping out a drawer beside her sleeping form. She looked at me with pure pity, clearly wishing she had it in her canine powers to prescribe me something that would bring me the deep sleep she herself had just been enjoying. (I like to think her dreams involve frolicking with bunnies because how adorable would that be? She's never shown any actual interest in a bunny while awake, but I like to think she's friendly to other species in her REM cycles.)
I took her outside in the blackness of the pre-morning, the stars still out, because I just had my carpets cleaned and I rush her out the door before her little paws hit the floor, so terrified am I that she will have an accident. I took my phone with me so I could call for help if someone was, by chance, waiting outside to abduct a sleep-deprived girl in a tank top and her annoyed dog who'd give me up to a stranger in a second for the promise of just a nibble of rotisserie chicken.
I stared daggers at a tawny-colored cat who was sitting under my car because it was arching its back and staring daggers at Wookie who didn't even notice it. And while I was in no condition to fight -- even feline-style -- I would have thrown down with that kitty if necessary.
It turned out not to be necessary.
I came inside and gave my dog an 1/8th of a Pepcid because she has a sensitive tummy in the morning, fooling her by shoving the tiny piece of pill into a ball of peanut butter, proud of myself for fooling an animal who, according to my ex-boyfriend, has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut.
I made coffee.
I drank coffee.
I drank more coffee.
I used my Cookie Monster mug to bring some festivity to the dawn.
And then I turned on my television because there was nothing left to do and I watched a show called Don't Be Tardy for the first time ever and it was so bizarre an experience that I thought maybe my coffee had mescaline mixed into it in the way all those wives seem to use antifreeze to off their husbands on the episodes of Dateline I like to watch.
(Quick moral: gentlemen, if your wives never served you Gatorade ever in your lives and all of a sudden she starts doing so a week or so after you sign a new life insurance policy in which she will be the sole benefactor, and the bottle she serves you with a flourish and a smile is already open and it tastes kind of weirdly sweet, don't drink it. She's trying to kill you. You can send me a fruit basket when she's hauled off to jail for premeditated murder. Leave out the cantaloupe, but spring for the chocolate-covered strawberries. I believe I've earned it.)
Back to the other program. It's a spinoff from one of the Real Housewives shows, the Atlanta one -- which I hear is still the one in the entire franchise with the highest consistent ratings.
I don't contribute to that show's soaring ratings. I used to watch, but I stopped several years ago. Why? Let us count the key reasons:
NeNe Leekes terrifies me with her size and her ability to wrap her enormous hands around another woman's throat at a moment's notice and squeeze hard, and she does so with the same justification most normal people would have to simply roll their eyes at someone in a way that could be deemed rude but not criminal.
Phaedra claimed to be delivering a healthy baby at only seven months because he was done cooking in her superhuman uterus rather than admit that a professional adult woman had simply had sex with her husband prior to their marriage -- after his incarceration, but before his newest upcoming incarceration. (I know -- it gets confusing following the lives of these women.) Then she began dabbling in becoming a mortician. I'm interested in lots of things; embalming fluid's not ever been one of them.
Kim openly dated a man who was married. I had less of an issue with his marital status -- that her young daughters were fully aware of -- than the fact that she called him Poppa without a shred of irony. Um, vomit.
A tall, beautiful woman named Cynthia turned out to be boring as hell and her only storyline seemed to be that she married a geriatric fellow who is half man/half pure evil who can bankrupt a bar faster than the speed of sound or faster than a human goddess called Phaedra can create a viable baby before nine months are up.
I've heard there's a new girl on the show named Kendra who twirls. She doesn't twirl on a dance floor as part of a choreographed routine. She just twirls like you and I sometimes sneeze.
Maybe one of my favorite television moments ever -- and I'm including the last episode of MASHand finally finding out who the fuck killed Laura Palmer -- was an early Atlanta reunion special where Kim debuted her song, Don't Be Tardy For the Party. (Why would she not have a song? Non-Bravo watchers -- these are questions you simply mustn't ask.) She performed it on a tiny stage set up by underpaid Bravo employees and she had backup dancers, though I didn't see an actual musician or an instrument in sight. It was like watching a drunk sorority girl belt out Hallelujah on Spring Break in Cancun while covered in foam as her equally hammered friends Instagrammed the moment, some of them because they too were so drunk they thought she sounded like a wet-t-shirted angel, the others so they'd have blackmail fodder on the chick forever.
After Kim performed (we're going to call it performed, okay?), Andy Cohen, both the biggest genius and the biggest asshole on the planet, turned to NeNe in particular and asked her what she thought of the musical moment. (We're also going to call what we had just heard music, yes?)
This was the end of a season where NeNe literally almost killed Kim, wrapping her talon fingernails across Kim's neck while cameras rolled and nobody stopped tape to maybe save the blonde or restrain the brunette.
So what did NeNe think, Andy goaded, his smirk in such high definition that I could almost see the glint of his lip moisturizer I am certain he has one of his assistants procure for him weekly at Bendels.
"Nice," answered the lunatic.
"Nice?" repeated a stunned Mr. Cohen, wondering what the hell was happening. He'd had a stage constructed for fuck's sake. He'd allowed a moron with no talent to use up five whole minutes of a reunion show where the women could have been sneering at one another for donning fake Chanel! What was NeNe doing?
"It was nice," NeNe said again. She might have also thrown in a "good."
And that's all she said.
There's two options as to what happened in that scenario:
Scenario #1: NeNe, in a moment of either impressive personal growth or supreme religious enlightenment, developed self-awareness and kindness the way the rest of us develop the ability to learn how to share crayons in kindergarten and, while that transformation was in progress, Kim developed a real singing talent that only the most perceptive and musically-discerning people on the planet could comprehend, which includes NeNe, every member of every season of The Bachelor, and deaf men everywhere who just stared at Kim's heaving bosom and didn't notice she was singing in the first place.
I'm however willing to bet on what I'll call Scenario #2:
Here's what I think happened. In the hours before the reunion, both Kim and NeNe sat in their luxurious homes and scrawled on expensive embossed stationary all the shit they each had on the other, going back years to the good stuff they had shared with one another before they had gleefully signed away their anonymity. Then they met in the parking lot near a Burberry -- you know, to keep it classy -- where one of them pulled a cauldron from the back of a black Escalade and they each read out loud what they could and would use to destroy the other. Then they decided -- right then and there -- to burn the papers with the damning info and they stood together and watched the ashes travel majestically towards the dimming Atlanta sky and NeNe agreed to not fall off of her reunion couch laughing her ass off about Kim's misguided perception of her talent and Kim agreed to not file charges against NeNe for assaulting her, even though we all saw it happen.
Poor Andy Cohen. Who knew these bitches had it in them to conspire off-camera and get away with it in the way Jill Zarin never could?
But back to Kim's spinoff, which she earned by -- well, I'm not exactly sure, other than the fact that these shows have cheap production costs and Bravo has to fill 24 hours of programming. But the show exists and it has a running time of half an hour. That translates to about 22 minutes without commercials. What that meant to me at the crack of dawn was that I watched a woman who has six kids, an assistant named Sweetie (after Pickles, intern-extraordinaire on The Real Housewives of New York, who else is of the belief that there's a clause in Andy Cohen's contract that he has the power to christen each one of these peripheral women with a new, ridiculous moniker he comes up with after the last shot goes down his gullet after last call?), a nanny, an injured football player husband, and a bevy of wigs Kim wears that travel via Tupperware -- which reminds me that someone has my Tupperware cupcake carrier and I want it the fuck back.
And speaking of fuck, the word was said easily twenty times in the twenty-two minutes the show was on. It's Bravo, so it was bleeped each time, and I don't have a problem with profanity, but can someone buy this woman a thesaurus? Maybe it can be her stylist who brought over the new Louis Vuitton luggage she demanded for her twins who are about a minute old.
(Back in college, there would be nights when some of us would just know that there was something in the air that might very well cause us to behave in a manner that could be construed as mildly psychotic. Our rule was this: you're allowed to momentarily act like a psycho as long as you were willing to call it out about yourself. Coin it "drunk self-awareness." It worked, partly because we were all nineteen then.)
So it was with a moment of acknowledgment that at least this very fertile woman announced that she knew she'd be judged for demanding luxury luggage for beings that can't even hold their heads up, but then, she's not nineteen. She's a newly-monied woman who claims to be younger than I am.
I call bullshit on that one, but to please her in this insult, let's call the shit in question the shade of Louis Vuitton brown.
She does seem to be a hands-on mother, so that's good. She appears to adore her husband, who comes off as far too normal to be married to her or to be on a reality show.
There was an entire segment that might have portrayed Kim as a founding member of Mensa, but I can't recall a single moment of it. I'd blame sleep-deprivation for my lack of memory, but that would be a lie. Kim was wearing overalls in the scene and it was all my brain could take in, though I do recall the people on her payroll complimenting the outfit, which in real life would be grounds for being fired as a member of the human species.
The family of babies, toddlers, a tween, a teen, a husband, a wigged wife, a nanny, an assistant, and two of the eldest kids' friends piled into an RV to drive to Florida. Toss in a Pegasus, a rabid raccoon, promos of The Real Housewives of New Jersey playing on a loop, and an appearance by Mariah Carey at a rest stop, and that RV would be literal misery brought to life for me.
On the way, they stopped at a gas station where Kim bought over $1,200 in scratch-off tickets, which she counted out in hundred dollar bills.
I remember, many years ago, hearing people with very old money sneer about the nouveau rich. At the time, I didn't fully understand the distinction. Wasn't money just money? Watching this woman in her stone mansion point to assistants as they packed her designer luggage, count out hundreds like a stripper, and say she'd get her husband to agree to any of her demands by performing for him in the bedroom later, I finally understood the difference between the behaviors of those with old and new money. It all comes down to public conspicuous consumption, done without an ounce of inhibition or class.
Thanks, Bravo. I learned something, and it's not even 5am.
Down in Florida it was raining, and I'll give it up that they did cute family things like playing Pictionary and bathing mini babies who always look adorable when they're all sudsy. When the sun came out, the eldest girl wanted to go meet up with her friends. She was wearing clothing that, all combined, would not equal more than half a yard of fabric, but I know that's what some girls her age wear, so whatever. But it was utterly hilarious how, after her daughter left, Kim declared she knew for sure her daughter had never drank, done drugs, or had sex.
Look, maybe she hasn't. Totally possible. But Kim's husband -- a man who is now legally this girl's father -- told his wife that, while he believed she was a good girl, it didn't mean she'd never, at the least, tried a drink.
I never watched the show when Kim was pregnant, only pre and post all those fetuses. But during the days I did watch, I'm quite sure that I never saw her without a glass of wine, no matter where she was (party, restaurant, garage sale). She carted wine like Don Draper either holds a cigarette, a tumbler of bourbon, or a buxom female in his grips, which means at all times. She also appeared on television carrying on a full relationship with a married guy, changing clothing in parking lots, meeting the man she's now married to by complimenting his ass as the first thing she ever said to him, and looking into mirrors and screaming, "Damn, I'm a good looking motherfucker!" like a Disney princess who had descended into Pay Per View porn or who had taken a graduate class in Narcissism and graduated manga cum laude.
I would never write this to call out a young girl. She seems nice enough, but more, she's just a kid. But to put it out there that your child has never done anything scandalous, when she's been raised by a profanity-spewing-wine-guzzling-recording-a-song-when-she-can't-sing-for-shit-dating-very-freely mother in the days where anyone with a camera on a phone who was or will ever be at a party with this teenager, the moment she does anything ill-conceived, it can be proven in a mini-second and then posted for the world to see. Declaring it could or has never happened just seems like you're asking for trouble.
But should the kid get drunk one night and shave her head, I think I remember where the plastic bins of wigs are kept: right next to the Louis Vuitton luggage for the babies who need it desperately. And, on the plus side, should Kim's new wealth go bust in the way that's happened pretty often to those who once flaunted their material consumption in Reality Television Land, I suppose the entire family can live in matching monogrammed garment bags, and really, isn't that kind of togetherness what matters most?