Tina’s Apartment – Alice
I pretty much told Bette and Tina both – a few days after we returned from Canada and Shane’s botched wedding, Bette’s botched kidnapping, and Helena’s frozen bank accounts – that I was waving my “friend’s with both of them” white flag, and to please stop shouting around me. My parents yelled for years and years, and Bette and Tina are starting to resemble them. And those aren’t good memories for me.
When I had unfortunately run into them at The Planet during a baby exchanging exercise fraught with unnecessary tension I had raised my voice at them. “What do you guys do? Stew overnight? Make up more shit to yell at each other about the next morning?
“Think about it! Why do you show up here every day for coffee if you fucking hate each other so much? Just a thought, but really: Get a clue.”
In character Bette had stormed off. Tina had done this new ‘I just give up’ move of hers. Something she must have picked up out in the suburban wilds. She had tossed both her hands up only to smack them down on top of her thighs. And then, The Look, as if I were not already convinced she was clueless.
Man, they are getting on my nerves. Long ago I had guessed their numbers, and I’m about there – at the end of my dirt road of patience with them both.
Bette and I used to date for about five minutes – she thinks, but for me I was smitten, and trying not to show it because clearly she wasn’t with me. We had fun. We went out to a lot of great parties. She was and still is a great dinner companion because she isn’t fussy about food.
Dating someone who’s picky about their dinners, and turns their nose up and orders everything, “on the side” can be it’s own horrible limo ride and entourage to hell and back. And in an overindulged, pamper queen town like this – my money is on waiters being huge abusers of Xanax – an educated guess – but in a number of unexpected ways Bette can be uncomplicated.
One example: When our waiter would materialize Bette would ask about the chef’s special, and unless it was Brussels Sprouts or some indecipherable puree – she would order it without ever looking at the menu. On those evenings she gave me a feeling that there were so many more interesting things to do with her time at the table with me than, and I quote, “Try to interpret the silly ways nouveau cuisine was attempting to explain itself this week.”
And sex with her was – I’m going to have to come back to that because I’m actually blushing standing in Tina’s kitchen thinking about a certain night with her ex-lover before they ever knew each other.
And I introduced them! Well, sort of. I think what I did more than anything was cause my own bit of mischief at the dinner party. Then Tina had looked down the table at us. I remember Bette throwing back her head to laugh at something clever I’d said, and then when the joke was over she’d glanced down the table to see how her guests were fairing. That was the moment their eyes had locked and something interesting and not invisible between them had happened.
In my mind their game is long from over. They love each other too much, and now they hate each other too much, and while I’m thinking about it two days ago they had given me a fucking headache by 9 am. So, I had yelled at them, and since then they’ve been quieter around me.
But at the moment Tina is definitely stuck on stupid again. She slams her kitchen cabinets after hanging up the phone with Bette. I gather today’s meltdown is already beginning. What restraint! It’s ten fifteen. They waited an hour.
“So, I guess she told you about her big event tonight with Arnold, The Governator, he’s coming down here to give her some big arty award.” I say to mollify Tina that Bette does have other things to do today than make her life a living hell.
“No, but that must be why she wanted to switch Angelica’s night with me.” Tina fusses with the tea bags and cups. “What award?”
“So, you haven’t seen today’s LA Times?”
“Just tell me, Alice. I’ve been up for hours, but not pouring over the newspaper. I can’t sleep well all of a sudden. Angelica didn’t want to go to daycare. She wanted to go riding in the car with Mama B.” Tina blows her hair back from her face. “So, no. I’ve not read today’s Art Section.”
“Well, she’s on the front page actually, so it’s impressive. Nice picture of Bette, naturally. Some big idea and program she’d convinced Phyllis and the Board of Governors to fund, and it just so happens to be a pet project of Governor Schwarzenegger’s. So, it’s a big deal for her, and there’s a cocktail reception tonight. Then, the article says Bette’s having dinner with the Governor.”
“Hm.” Is all I hear Tina say in return. Phyllis has filled me in completely on anything I want to know about the workings of her university.
“Hey, while you make the tea I’m just going to slip in your lavatory for a sec, okay?”
“Of course, Alice, I’m just furious right now with her, and I know you don’t want to hear about it.”
“Well, maybe for a second, but I’ve got something in my contact lens.”
Inside the bathroom I dig around in my purse. If I found last week’s turkey and avocado sandwich I would not be surprised it’s such a wreck inside my handbag. I’ve got a stack of letters to send to Dana’s parents that have come unclasped. Now they’re everywhere like leaves in my way to finding my contacts and eye solution.
Fuck it! I dump everything on the floor. My eye solution rolls away from the pile. NO! It’s empty!
Maybe Tina has saline. I open her medicine cabinet. No eye drops but a fresh prescription bottle of… I squint my right eye to focus my left, Doxycycline. The label reads: Take three a day with meals for treatment of vaginal infection. Dr. Judith Wilson, MD/OBGYN.
Oh my God! Tina has Chlamydia! I’d bet anything! This is exactly the antibiotic Dr. Wilson gave me while I was being a dumbass bisexual last year. No fucking wonder Tina’s being crankier than usual! Those Chlamydia bugs can hurt, and make you moody and crazy.
Or should I say, moodier and crazier? “Yuck and ewww.” I slam the door to the medicine cabinet shut. “Henry, you asshole.”
If I tell Shane my morsel of gossip she’ll likely say, “Well, what’d you expect? The guy’s had like fourteen wives or something you told me? Right?” Then she’d wildly rub her face.
Shane is particularly dismissive about anything that has to do with that weekend. In fact, we are all geographically challenged now that neither country to the north, Canada or south of us, Mexico, where Carmen was from can be mentioned without her face showing symptoms of what I hope is not really Tourette’s Syndrome. But I’m seriously starting to worry.
But what if I were to tell, Bette. Now, that’s someone who would find this information very interesting and infuriating. Hmm, well, maybe I won’t tell her then because when her switch has gotten flipped on lately about Henry and Tina, well, volcanic about covers it.
Who can blame her though? But they’re both being stupid bitches and that’s all there is to it.