Friday Night, A Kelly Bergin Tradition.

8pm: I wake up from an ill-timed nap and prepare myself to go out.

8:30: I notice, from my bed, that my shower is still dripping. The last time it was used was 12 hours ago.

9: The shower is in full on stream mode, despite being off.

9:01: I tweet about this potential disaster.

9:02: I pour a vodka drink and put on Mad About You to pregame to.

9:03: A flood (WATER PUN!) of helpful tweets come in. I follow them.

9:05: I shut off the water. Or so I think. Really, I break my toilet.

9:05:30: I realize the shower is still dripping and the toilet is now broken.

9:06: I pour myself a second large vodka drink.

9:08: I call roommates in a panic, even though they are both out of town and are as useful as me.

9:10: I call my super to find out his number’s been disconnected.

9:12: The cable goes out. I fix it. I kiss Paul Reiser’s face on the LCD screen.

9:18: I tweet that I will bring a man home tonight. Not for love, but to fix my shower. I have hit rock bottom.

9:21: I resign myself to the drip, drip, drip of my sanity slowly dying. I sit down.



It's Four in the Morning

I wake up most nights, as if I am caught in the throes of a wicked nightmare, throttled forward into consciousness.

But I cannot remember if I have been dreaming.

When I wake up, my face is wet and like a child, my first thought is of my mother. I need you. I allow myself this thought for ten seconds before I move on. Where are you?

But I am grown now. This is mine alone.

I focus on the tangible, on what has woken me. So many days it's my jaw. Beaten by years of swelling, it is almost constantly inflamed. A dull ache that roars at 3:40 am, when I wake and shake in pain.

My feet, too. They hurt plainly, a common complaint. The banality of that soothes me. When the bones crack, I wonder if they are broken, if i injured them and then put that pain away. It is possible.

Time flies this early. I stretch, I move about. I rock back and forth, my leg as an anchor, my whole body shaking. I have rocked myself like this since I was a child. Slow, steady, why is my face still wet?

It's 5 now. Day breaks again. June feels relentless and I'd like some release. I want to wake clear. I need to get back on my feet.

I don't want to feel a thing.



1) All my laundry is at Kim’s Laundromat and I have been wearing thongs out of desperation, which are clearly meant for Sexy and Attractive People® and not me. They are so supremely uncomfortable it makes me clear on the fact that as women, WE HATE EACH OTHER. We wear these things to impress men? Why? It’s a permanent wedgie!

2) I got an invitation to a wedding shower, which also makes it clear to me that women secretly hate each other. Why would we force each other to sit around, make small talk with elderly relatives, braid a bow out of ribbon and watch our friend slowly morph into the kind of person who squeals over a crock pot? Seriously. Gender roles!

3) There are no sheets on my bed because they are at Kim’s Laundromat and so I’ve been rolling myself like a joint in my comforter, which is in a duvet cover, so about half of the comforter smothers me and the other half makes my body cold. And every time I overheat or shiver, I realize that my domestic skills have plateaued and there’s no hope for the future, not now, not ever.

4) The air conditioning is making my nose bleed and now I’m convinced I’ve become one of those people who get nose bleeds and I’m pretty sure those people, who walk around with tissues stuck in their nostrils and blog about nose bleeds, die alone.

5) It’s 4:26 AM and I’m watching Family Ties. I was going to make a commitment to watch an entire series of a show this summer and also read a Huge and Important Literary Masterpiece. I was going to watch The Wire and read Infinite Jest but now I’m thinking that Family Ties and Judy Blue’s entire Fudge Series might be all I can handle. (Edit: Reading Amazon reviews, it says the publisher changed the books to reflect modern times. This is so depressing that I don’t know if I can make it through the night. Peter Hatcher listens to records, NOT FUCKING MP3s. I mean, why don’t you kill my childhood right now? Why don’t you tell me I was born with testicles and raised as a female or something? Seriously, publisher? YOU ARE EVIL.)

6) At work they talked about summer wear and what we can wear and everything I own is inappropriate so I have to wrap myself in an unmatching cardigan or walk around with a notebook covering my chest. It’s demoralizing. And today I was getting up and my bag got caught in my chair and I flew forward and my bag spilled and Junior Mints went everywhere and everyone saw. Also the Junior Mints exploded in my bag and now everything in my bag is glued together with mint and regret.

7) I still have no new friends at my new job and I think it has to do with #6 and also because I’ve been introduced to 100 people and I have no clue what anyone’s name is. “Kelly, this is Blah Blah. Blah Blah does this.” “Hi Kelly! Nice to meet you!” “You too…appropriately dressed female art director!!”

8) It’s approaching day break. So, please get the tune of “It’s Hammer Time” in your head and join me as I sing…




The Ukrainian

The Ukrainian sat down at my table and said hello.

He was drinking a beer. So was I, alone--somewhere in the middle of London.

His English was broken and after I said ‘yeah’, instead of ‘yes’, he said my English was bad too.

“American English,” he said. “Very different.”

The Masters played on the TV above the bar and he turned to me, after a few awkward minutes in silence. He asked: “What do you think of Tiger Woods?”

An odd question, so long after the scandal broke. I told him Tiger was fine.

He didn’t ask about Charlie Sheen. For this, I was grateful. We went on about Obama and politics and the broken party system in America. I spouted off whatever I had heard someone else say on Twitter.

After ten minutes, I asked if he had children. He didn’t understand, so I used my hands. I lowered my hand, as if to indicate height. “Kids,” I said. He shook his head, misunderstanding my American English. “Son or daughter?”

I prodded like I had the right, even as he grimaced. After awhile, he answered.

“I have a son,” he said. “He lives in Canada.”

“Oh! Canada.” I pretended to know things about Canada. I pretended I’d been there. I repeated thoughts I’d had while watching the Winter Olympics last year.

The Ukrainian waited for me to shut up and then continued: “I have not seen him since he was very small. I do not speak to him.”

I asked if that made him sad. I was boldly looking for a story, some way to connect.

It had only been twelve minutes since he sat down.

“You know,” he started. “When you get old, you see this. Life is very simple; there are very simple things to be happy about. But life is very complicated too, and very beautiful and sad.”

I considered this, quietly.

He continued: “I don’t speak to him. He has a new father in Canada. He should only have one father. He does not know me.”

I nodded. I fidgeted with my phone and I took a sip of my beer.

He asked if I had children and I laughed. He asked if I was still a child. He guessed I was 20.

I said 25, and no. Not any children. Not yet, maybe never. “I’m not sure," I said. “I’m not sure about it.”

Our beers drained themselves. He asked if I wanted vodka. He told me he drinks a lot of vodka in the Ukraine.

I politely declined. I did not want to black out. I had to be safe. I was alone.

He told me, with a laugh, that I wasn’t very fun.  He repeated it when I declined his cigarette offer. “You travel alone, you do not drink vodka and now you don’t smoke cigarettes! You are not very fun!”

I agreed.

Eventually, I had to use the bathroom. I said I’d be back, and he said he’d have a beer waiting for me. 

Before I left the table, he said I’d make a terrible wife but at least I was sort of pretty.

I laughed in his face. I went upstairs and in the restroom, a young girl was sobbing at the sink. “Boy troubles?” I asked.

I was really looking for a story.

She nodded and went on about him. I went on about my own boy troubles and in the end, I handed her my card and told her to email me when she was visiting New York.

I went downstairs, 30 minutes later, and the Ukrainian was gone. He probably thought I had left for another bar, another place, ah, what a bad wife she’d be.

I sighed and drained the pint left for me on the table. 

I walked back to my hotel, alone, still looking for something I wasn't quite sure of.