“Is this world even real?”
On Sunday, October 22, 2017, I would have missed a multifarious discussion with a famous friend ranging from geopolitics and artistic expression to his penis; and, later in the evening — curiously — writing this Ode to Men for #MeToo:
I was born as a boy so I never really understood women talking about harassment from men
Until one put me in a chokehold and threatened me with death if I didn’t submit
He was prosecuted and pleaded guilty because I thought what if he tries to do it again
It’s just that men are so much stronger physically, and that’s always the undercurrent
Just as it was when a mentor offered me a quid pro quo as a baby lawyer — for my career
Except by then I was strong enough to say I intended to get what I wanted on my own
And so I did — with a lot of help from good and sincere men along the way
The hard part is that the very things I like most in them — the strength and vigor and assuredness
Are also what I fear more than anything, when unbounded
The balance is as delicate as the characteristics are the opposite
And I know that men struggle with this very contradiction, too
The truth is I’ve flirted a little or liked a little flirting when maybe I shouldn’t have
It’s doubly convoluted for me being transgender because of the validation thing going on
It’s triply convoluted because I’m getting older and the desirability thing is also going on
It’s quadruply convoluted because sometimes I misread or find I’ve been misread
It’s quintuply convoluted because sometimes it’s invited — from both ends — but it’s unclear
It’s sextuply convoluted because, well, we’re human
But it’s like there’s this line and somehow you just know
In the same way I know every woman instinctually recognizes Harvey Weinstein’s tone
On that blood-curdling recording
And the President’s on his
You know people say they’re surprised when it happens “in certain environments”
But an education and money and power hardly mean you respect others
Some of the kindest men I’ve known had none of those things
And sometimes I can’t help but wonder if that’s why
Maybe all this talking about such an age-old phenomenon will make things a little better
Or maybe it’ll simply confirm what we already knew
I want to love men again, I really really really do
On Monday, October 23, 2017, I would have missed generating energy with other humans in a co-defendant meeting that I went into resigned and came out of invigorated. Sometimes it feels like every day I must learn all over again how much I enjoy what I do — like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates — I keep waking up having forgotten all the progress I made the day before spiritually, psychologically, financially and in every way really — as if every morning is a tabula rasa that startles me just as much each time. I also would have missed downtown LA feeling exactly like Cairo, Egypt, somehow in particular at this moment in Pershing Square:
On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, I would have missed airline staff remarking that I have “a good attitude” — but, nevertheless, after a five-hour delay due to weather and then a mechanical problem with the aircraft, after having to de-plane because the main cabin was in the 90s and the a/c just like stopped working, after trudging across the terminal to another plane that had already been loaded with luggage destined for another airport than where we were headed — after all that, I up and walked out of the airport and didn’t look back. I would have missed standing up for myself with customer service and getting a full refund, and, as much as I was looking forward to going to the baths in New York upon landing, I would have missed getting a call out of the blue for a potentially major case here in LA that I need to attend to swiftly — as well as maybe dinner with Jimmy who contacted me, after I thought he was long gone, with questions about the pending bitcoin forks. I also would have missed a very warm evening in LA, which I enjoyed as I drove to various places wearing a light-fabric t-shirt and gym shorts and nothing underneath — with the windows down.
On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, I would have missed plotting my counterattack to a letter from the Honorable Dale S. Fischer, who wields control over court-appointed indigent defense in the largest District in the nation — basically without any oversight whatsoever. She is a problem and a disgrace to our nation. Yeah so whatever because later I was all fuck yeah: the goal of restoring Constitutional principles and independence for the defense function imbues this conceptualization of Ikigai — which I stumbled upon the day before — with life:
Good heavens would I have missed Jimmy taking me out to dinner so we could catch up and talk crypto at the Indian vegetarian place on Sunset where we went in August to celebrate my trial victory. Wouldn’t you know it, I remembered to show him a piece of paper that we discussed almost exactly one year ago: a list of problems and solutions that — much to my astonishment when I checked on a whim quite recently — I had worked through almost to a T.
What a difference a year can make.
On Thursday, October 26, 2017, I would have missed looking up from my backyard in awe as a flock of wild parrots flew overhead. Bitcoin, really quite bitchin’ rn, has been flirting again with $6K! I would also have missed conversing with a jail guard who has aged so much in the past few years since I first starting working in Los Angeles that I vowed to let go of any idea about living for retirement — as he said he was doing. Yikes. Even more than anything else, as always, I would have missed accepting that my heart has broken beyond repair. Like an overgrown forest, I must burn to the ground before I may grow again — but do so I may, now less encumbered.
On Friday, October 27, 2017, I would have missed a day that I could not have imagined had I not lived it — beginning with that ineffable experience of waking up in San Francisco and going for a run.
At the Ethereal Summit, I would have missed a string of conversations with clients and potential clients who expressed appreciation for the legal approach I am taking to cryptographic token sales, and how to structure and frame them from a legal perspective that simultaneously contributes to project value and community development. I would have missed talking to everyone I had hoped to, and many others whom serendipity had in mind for the day. I would have missed smiles from the guys at my regular sushi joint and accidentally ordering the wrong thing and enjoying it all the more. At Archimedes Banya I would have missed talking about LA with a finance guy who had a nice penis, and about life and love with a young man whose exquisite body art I had complimented — yo, he recognized me from a previous conversation we’d had at a restaurant in New York a few years back — WUT — anyway, you see, we were both standing close together in the whirlpool the whole time — both very open in all ways — because of that thing, I think, about being naked with strangers that keeps it all on the level. Afterward, in the Uber back to my hotel, Billy Joel’s Piano Man came on the radio and oh my goodness the driver obliged me and cranked it up until there was music everywhere and I felt 16 all over again. These are the moments to live for! Is it okay for me to believe that treating myself to that ridiculously overpriced $9 juice out at the Marina during my morning run when I really needed some liquid and calories, and which tasted so so so good, somehow unlocked the day’s potential?
On Saturday, October 28, 2017, I would have missed feeling inspired from a mural I happened across on my morning coffee run along a little street — alleyway — that I’d never explored before.
On my jog afterward, I would have missed venturing into the courtyard of the San Francisco Art Institute for the first time…
And getting to see a mural by Diego Rivera…
And then, after running along the Marina buoyed by the mirth and energy of children’s soccer games, I would have missed a seagull flying over the Palace of Fine Arts.
On Sunday, October 29, 2017, I would have missed being followed on Twitter by the Executive Director of Coin Center, and engaging with him and other lawyers working in cryptocurrency matters for an epic discussion about legal stuff. The experience — which has enmeshed various other folks over the past 12 hours — has maintained civility and feels as productive as it does illuminating. I would really have missed being the only female in the whole thing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Throughout the day, I would have missed communing with My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante — which somehow seems more authentic and digestible on my second attempt. Also, this time, there are more popular underlines — like this one: “She stopped to wait for me, and when I reached her she gave me her hand. This gesture changed everything between us forever.” — and I find myself joining many of them! I would miss wondering: Who are the other human beings around the world likewise identifying with these encapsulations of the human experience, and how do I find them?
On Monday, October 30, 2017, I would have missed the fecundity of POV=P time in the face of what I anticipated would be an explosion of news on the indictments issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and hyperactivity still brewing in that cool Twitter discussion. Whatever. I proceeded to fill up approximately 20% of my New Project notebook — which has been going for a couple of months now — in just a few hours. How I miss those creative spurts from being a teenager and a young adult — and oh my God I am so so so glad that I can still experience them if I dedicate myself to staying open. Of course I also would have missed hearing Billy Joel’s Piano Man come pouring out the speakers at Food-4-Less — what’s up with that song, all of a sudden — the memories and state-of-being it reawakens dovetailing in that instant with the flow that had overtaken me throughout the morning. Side note: maybe the vapid expanse of LA renders this desolate city inspiring in the same manner that deserts inspire spirituality.
On Tuesday, October 31, 2017, I would have missed coming home after my run from the park and seeing this little guy on my back steps. (How swiftly our experience of life will pass!)
I would have missed placing him among the bougainvillea where I thought perhaps he would feel more at home as he lay dying. I also would have missed making it from the curb through security at LAX in less than 60 seconds — #personalbest — and a complimentary upgrade for my seat to New York. Sometimes I almost wish those flights would last longer: I get so much writing and reading and thinking done above the clouds.
On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, I would have missed what followed a night of sleeping straight through until morning, dreamless but renewed: undulations of inflationary motivation lasering into the focus I needed to: (1) review my little black notebook (which I’ve been writing by hand over the last month during POV=P time), and (2) synthesize my meanderings into an outline for the two-to-three crypto-related blog posts I have in mind. The experience catapulted me into another realm of consciousness that, in turn, wormholed to a galaxy in which dimensions blossomed before me and the motherfucking articles morphed into a new book that blew away every convention I ever knew and had me inventing words to describe the things I want to write about — or, should I say, the things that want me to write about them. I also would have missed forgetting about crypto altogether during some legal research that swept me away later in the afternoon — only to watch bitcoin push $7K afterward, as I walked to the Baths where I ended up seeing some friends and being touched on the thigh by a man. And oh shit — a couple of days later I have gone back to this entry because I remembered that I also would have missed this message from the scruffy genius guy from SF-Tinder-whenever:
On Thursday, November 2, 2017, I would have missed discovering that the Supreme Court of the United States had to intervene, and, well, basically change the law to deal with some precedent I established in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the first appeal I ever handled all on my own. I would also have missed jettisoning my secession arguments, indignation, fury and closed-mindedness in favor of focusing on what I believe binds America today: a struggle to correct the fundamental unfairness of political, economic, and social systems that perpetuate injustice and exacerbate inequality. And oh hell would I have missed those solid eight hours of sleep — in which I dreamed of a hot water polo player overcoming the whole transgender thing and allowing himself to show up at my doorstep to ravage me, while I grumblingly succumbed with secret delight. That physique of his was yum.
On Friday, November 3, 2017, I would have missed the day that followed such beautiful sleep that I knew not whither my troubles had absconded. I am very glad that I’ve finally come to peace with starting work whenever I’m ready rather than beating myself to ego-smithereens for taking my precious time. It was such a pleasure to approach the rounding-out stages of two diverse projects: my first extensive crypto-related blog post and the next leg of my war against the federal judiciary of the United States — with some spiritual grounding. I would have missed the lull of thinking and writing through the day and reaching where I felt I needed to get to by the time I was ready for the Baths. I would miss fall in the air, and yellow leaves.
On Saturday, November 4, 2017, I would have missed my neighbor from across the hall holding the front door open for me with his laundry basket. It is as if he knows what his hair does to me. And speaking of yellow leaves — why do I love them so? — I also would have missed riding through the crisp air of River Road on one of my favorite weekends of the year.
And, like the deserts miss the rain and LA misses the human soul, I would have missed the meditative transcendence that overtook me with each sip of just-perfectly-shy-of-scalding miso soup after the Baths, not to mention each bite of smoked salmon roll interspersed with eel and cucumber roll, at my go-to sushi spot where the waiters know my name.
On Sunday, November 5, 2017, I would have missed taking 108 breaths in the lotus position while allowing my sacral chakra to expand in the direction of all six axes. The experience lingered in a soft fullness throughout the day — culminating at a 5Rythms dance class that lifted me up into the stratosphere and whisked me all about and seemed just so utterly gorgeous and worth everything to express joy in, and which featured a guy with the nicest armpit hair and happy trail that I think I have ever seen. I walked home eating fruit in the mist. And here’s the thing: I purchased this refreshing snack from the very deli where I used to pick up an egg on a roll with American cheese every morning on the way to work 23 years ago, and where I probably bought my first pack of cigarettes in New York City three years before that. I suppose it’s no surprise, then, that, once back home, I had the idea of going through my CDs — and of course ended up listening to Everyone’s Happy for the First Time in Weeks by Small Factory — which you can’t even find on iTunes I guess because it’s such true blood indie 1994 — and I am so glad I kept it because that goddamn song is about exactly the kind of Sunday afternoon that it gave me.
On Monday, November 6, 2017, I would have missed Emin Gün Sirer tweeting out my very first blog post on blockchain stuff, and CoinDesk following me.
I also would have missed running into a friend at the Baths who’s doing a big crypto startup and discussing precisely the issues that I had published my piece not twelve hours before. My favorite part was talking to him and his wife about shit as he reclined on the bench above. Again, there is the topless phenomenon: Why are men — and, for that matter, women — so unbounded when breasts are exposed? Or is it just that I am freer in myself? I love that the less I think about crypto pricing, the more I feel able to do in the space.
On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, I would have missed being overcome with calm after sending off the letter that I am — and, I suspect, will be — most proud of in my entire legal career.
Dear Judge Lohier, and Judge Cardone and Ad Hoc Committee Members:
Please accept my final letter concerning violations of the Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”) and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in the United States District Court for the Central District of California (the “Central District”). Ethical obligations to my indigent clients demand that I give justice one more try.
Membership on the Central District CJA Trial Attorney Panel has dwindled to 65 members from around 115 a few years ago. This erosion — effectuated through the court’s sustained attacks on defense lawyer autonomy, statutorily required compensation and basic dignity — means there would be insufficient attorneys to represent all defendants in one of the first large-scale RICO cases typical of the District to which I was appointed in 2014, if the indictment came down today.
Ongoing developments have rendered my termination from the Panel last year increasingly suspect. You may recall that, in considering my reinstatement at the request of the District’s Federal Defender and co-CJA Representatives, Central District CJA Committee Chair Hon. Dale S. Fischer stated that my re-application to serve would be considered if I came into “compliance” with various District CJA protocols (which my clients had challenged as unconstitutional), and made an assertion that I considered to fall in an ethical grey area. That promise has proven illusory.
It seems uncoincidental that, meanwhile, I continued to represent my previously appointed clients by prosecuting their Constitutional challenges to the system, and my most recent jury trial in the Central District last August resulted in the client’s full acquittal. Unpaid balances on my Central District CJA attorney work vouchers now exceed $19,000. No attorney should have to write a note begging the supervising CJA Circuit Judge to intervene in a broken process to avoid economic ruin. Nor should necessary requests for clarification on payment reductions go unanswered.
My own view is that unauthorized CJA voucher cuts amount to theft of services in violation of state and federal law. Additionally, when a court exercises excessive control over CJA attorney selection and compensation, as well as the scope, manner and execution of legal work, then those attorneys presumably qualify as employees under the law rather than independent contractors — thereby triggering numerous tax, payment and civil and criminal liabilities. There is also the matter of the federal judiciary’s failure to secure a much-needed $1.9 million in defense allocations while obtaining an additional $133 million out of the same pot for judicial salaries and expenses in 2017.
Investigation into such dimensions of the problem is, unfortunately, hampered by the shortcoming of Congress — in 2009, 2011 and 2013 — to create an Inspector General of the United States Courts. Why are the judiciary, as a practical matter, exempt from law?
To be sure, I appreciate prior assurance that the Defender Services Committee are fully committed to the Sixth Amendment. The Ad Hoc Committee’s forthcoming findings and ruminations — no doubt reinforcing the recommendations of the committee chaired by the Honorable Edward C. Pardo decades ago — may indeed prove interesting. But, even had the Committee’s report been issued by the April 2017 deadline, it would still stem from the very forces that gave rise to the need for it in the first place.
Hon. Kathleen Cardone:
…We as a committee are hearing that there’s a problem in your District . . . Judge Fischer is on our committee and we are a very cohesive committee and work together very well, but the problem is that if — if there is a problem in your District and people perceive Judge Fischer as the problem, then, if you are her fellow judge, and you’re not willing to take a contrary stand to Judge Fischer, where does that put the CJA Panel Attorneys in your District?
Hon. David O. Carter:
Okay, that, by the way, thank you for the question. And, bluntness between us. Um, we needed, if you will, more uniformity. That was going to require a strong hand, whether it was Judge Fischer or me, and I was supposed to succeed her as the Chair. I absolutely have refused do that for one reason. I don’t want CJA counsel, or anybody, to outweigh the standards that have been set and agreed to by our entire court, and the changes that Judge Fischer has made, by CJA counsel outwaiting her term. So, from my perception in talking to CJA counsel, who quite frankly came rushing in the door, perceiving I was the next Chair, (1) I’m not undermining her, and (2) she’s there forever, and she’s going to live to be 105.
Alas, this attitude combines with an unprecedented assault by the Executive Branch. As your Honors will be aware, the President of the United States recently characterized our criminal justice system as a “joke” and “laughingstock.” On a ground level, prosecutorial oppositions to my clients’ Constitutional challenges — in which the government consistently supports limiting defense independence — speak for themselves. The Sixth Amendment should have been removed from political caprice and protected long ago.
In order that I may provide effective representation in developing the record for my clients’ pending cases, therefore, it is necessary for me to understand what will be done to immediately rectify the Constitutional deprivations to which indigent people facing federal criminal charges have been subjected? Barring corrective measures by year’s end, I will assume that the answer remains: Nothing.
s/ Zoë Dolan
I also would have missed the cellist in the York Street station whose music sent a soft fullness (there it is again!) cascading over the metallic roar of the F train, and a conversation with some men in the sauna about the Golden Age of Hollywood that began with our mutual appreciation of those extraordinary performances by Shelley Winters and Montgomery Clift on that little boat in A Place in the Sun.
On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, I would have missed watching through my front windows as two of my buildingmates gave each other a good morning hug — one a ripped Chinese-American former astronaut who does avant-garde theater, the other a tall and stately Puerto Rican version of Frank Zappa if he’d been an elementary school teacher… and, both to die for. You kind of wouldn’t know what’s inside them if you looked only at the women they’ve brought home over the years — at least the ones I’ve met — and these secrets unfurling is why I would miss having caught their embrace all the more. Surely I would also have missed receiving my ninth retainer in crypto, and the guitarist wearing white denim who just played and played away in Tompkins Square Park.
On Thursday, November 9, 2017, I would have missed an artist painting on a corner I’ve always loved in Gramercy, as I walked across town on my way to review secured discovery at Homeland Security. I also would have missed ducking into the National Arts Club on a whim and catching exhibits by the Mexican artist Jose Luis Bustamante and the self-portraitist Lissa Rivera. I would have missed watching a crane lift a giant pane of glass to the upper floor of a new building, and a restaurant named “Almayass” (I mean, really). Heading back, I would have missed happening upon an exhibit-experience named “Noah’s Ark” — a series of Van Cleef and Arpels pieces, in an experience designed by Robert Wilson. Then I would have missed taking the High Line — for the first time, after all these years — on my way to the subway to meet a friend and try to support him after his cancer diagnosis. Those new subway designs and that violinist electrifying the 14th Street station with “Billie Jean” played to a fierce-ass remix were really something! And to think it all started with a walk through the park when I looked up and wondered: Is this world even real?
On Friday, November 10, 2017, I would have missed posting, in response to the ongoing avalanche of male sexual predator news stories, my feelings:
As a survivor, a woman and a human being, I cannot excuse the behavior of men who suffer from sex addiction. I can, however, understand how the illness may change a person and make them into something they are not. It is a horrible, horrible disease, and I would not wish it on anyone.
I followed my addiction to the depths of human experience, and, frankly, am not quite sure how I lived through it. I hope anyone who needs treatment receives it.
I remember being unable to cobble one day of sobriety together. I remember the cold sweats and the head spins during withdrawal. I remember getting eight months and then losing it all in five minutes. I remember the hell of it all just like yesterday.
And then I remember standing up for my one-year chip in absolute awe and gratitude. I remember that moment like yesterday, too.
My recovery birthday is now over 15 years ago.
Provided I do the work, one day at a time, I get to keep it.
I also would have missed meeting a friend in her 60s at my favorite coffeehouse in the world and feeling a little less solitary in my concerns about our country’s devolution. The anniversary of Kristallnacht was lost on neither of us as we discussed what has happened since the election last year. I would have missed sharing about this project, for she said that the concrete action it comprises served as a gift with which to address her own depression. As my mind opens and changes through these writings, it has become easier to believe that I may have helped someone. Anyway. I would be remiss if I failed to mention how much I would have missed whipping out a bitcoin discussion in the sauna while shooting the shit with a bunch of conservative, retrogressive financial prudes — and my delight when suddenly the young man with extraordinary facial bone structure appeared.
On Saturday, November 11, 2017, I would have missed waking up in New York and going to sleep in Los Angeles — a marvel that never gets old. I would have missed that feeling of walking around in my cocoon of an apartment that’s been home for over a decade, and, half a day later, opening the front door that I painted and smelling my houseful of plants. I would have missed looking out at the East River and Brooklyn from the Williamsburg Bridge, and, half a day later, the San Gabriel mountains rising above so many spots here in Southern California where I already have memories. I would have missed feeling divided as one. I also would have missed being treated to the swank Russian bathhouse in West Hollywood by my friend from the Baths in New York, who was housesitting for me here in LA all week, leaving fresh linens for her in the guest room, and falling asleep without even taking a sip of my tea because I was so exhausted from a day in a life that seems so full it might as well be something other than mine. I somehow feel that things are about to change, and I would have missed not really knowing how, or when (or, for that matter, why) they must — but knowing that, most likely, I will be okay. And how could I almost have neglected to write that I would have missed bitcoin cash skyrocketing up to nearly $2,000 from just around $300–400 earlier this week. Its market cap exceeded ether’s! Who the fuck was expecting that flippening to happen — and in a challenge of, like, less than 24 hours?
On Sunday, November 12, 2017, I would have missed one of the juiciest orgasms I can remember. Honestly, if I didn’t have to dilate I might just skip them altogether and that would suck. I also would have missed missing water polo to goof off on Twitter — nah, actually, to write a thread exposing the corruption of the federal judiciary — for I was then available to help a client with an urgent need and was also able to spend some of the afternoon talking with my friend before she left back to New York. There were two profound consequences of the latter fortuity. The first was that she encouraged me to use her shiatsu massage machine, and, when she saw me rolling around on the floor in ecstasy, she bequeathed the incredible invention to me. I can just tell that this little mofo is a game changer. It even heats up. The second is that I ran her through the situation that I wrote to those federal judges about, and, in doing so, was: (a) inspired by her enthusiasm to not only continue the project, but also to work on taking it to the next level and exposing everything for as wide an audience as I can, and (b) visited by the practical inspiration I needed to start plotting the execution of (a). After laying around on the warm marble floor at the spa and reading Elena Ferrante, I would have missed Jimmy’s call and talking to him about books he should read now that he’s finished Debt by Graeber. I love Jimmy. At some point in the day — I don’t remember exactly when and can no longer find the RT — I would have missed someone, somewhere, tweeting that he wants his last words to be: “What are you waiting for?”
On Monday, November 13, 2017, I would have missed an epic and inspiring morning routine that commenced at like 3:00 a.m. and brought me to understand that, provided I approach certain activities such as reading, thinking/dreaming and notetaking with a soft mind, these activities may even rival sleep. I would have missed stumbling upon Seneca’s observation that “[t]he pleasure of all things increases by the same danger that should deter it,” and catching creative fire from the spark of a core theory for my next project that derives from some previous work I did on personal identity and relativity. The path ahead remains fuzzy in the dawn of it, but at least I’m trudging forward. Motherfucking hell would I have missed that transcendent shiatsu massage machine, which, for the second day in a row, rendered my heart a pulsating orb of warm white light.
On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, I would have missed a bunch of stuff that was wonderful but all of which seems to pale in comparison to news from one of my crypto clients: the ICO raised over 22,900 ether (currently valuing more than $7,500,000). So this is how it feels to be a part of the future. Wow.
On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, I would have missed another rather orgasmic session with the shiatsu massage machine — which does something to my hamstrings that makes my entire body tingle. I would have missed the plumber knocking on my front window when I was naked in full view, and spending the rest of the day struggling to discuss the goddamn sewer line without grinning at each other. I would fucking not miss spending the money for that project one bit — but I very much would miss adulting it through. It feels good to be resolving an issue that has stuck like a thorn in my mind ever since I bought this dump almost three years ago. If I end up having to sell any crypto to pay for it, however, then I will be pissed.
Also, I would have missed Indian vegetarian at the place on Sunset — it really hit the spot. If the mere thought of dating did not make me cringe, I’d think about trying to find a man so I wouldn’t have to eat dinner alone anymore.
On Thursday, November 17, 2017, I would have missed thinking, “You know, if that goddamn sewer line ends up causing a run on my bank account, fucking hell, I’d probably rather have the crypto anyway.” More importantly, though, come to think of it, I would have missed the sunrise.
Goodness, I also would have missed learning from von Mises how we can see another factor that distinguishes cryptoecosystems from prior economic models: specifically, that crypto projects focus on network effects — i.e., the common good — to succeed, as the efforts of founders and stakeholders align.
And, finally, I would have missed These Are the Days by 10,000 Maniacs coming on shuffle and whisking me back to that one concert in 1993 or 1994 when they were at their apex and I dropped a little acid and ended up transfixed by Natalie Merchant swirling around onstage and you know what: I am pretty sure I could spend at least several minutes every day just sort of smiling over the past and holy fucking cow am I glad I took the time to write those goddamn books and now this project and string it all together into a constellation of memories that recede a little further into the universe with every passing day…
On Friday, November 17, 2017, I would have missed answering the 36 questions that are supposed to make you fall in love, in a Twitter thread art project:
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
My brother at age 14. He was looking forward to being in high school together — I graduated a year early and never found out until later in life.
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
No. Anonymity is healthier. But I would like to contribute to as many other people’s lives as I can, as much as I can, for as long as I can.
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Yes. Sometimes I have to say things a few times to get to what I mean.
And even then.
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
My high school crush remembering the most important conversation in my life 20 years later came poignantly close.
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I squeal with delight every morning, virtually, and often in made-up song. I only sing in the presence of others under duress.
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
I already want my memories to feel this graspable forever.
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
I saw someone — I think on Twitter? — say that he wants his last words to be, “What are you waiting for?”
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
You and I both have dreams and disappointments, and love is the only ocean between us.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
The capacity to help others, even when I had no idea I could.
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
Something of my own accord: I would have let myself fall in love with the first guy I slept with.
He had a hawk-like nose and a profile that belonged on a Roman coin. I wrote about him here.
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
Is 13 minutes and 29 seconds okay?
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I have always wanted the super power to turn invisible.
Realistically: to truly feel, as if I were they, what other people are feeling.
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
The price of bitcoin every minute forward.
I mean, whether, in the instant before I die, I will rest assured knowing that I gave life everything I could.
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Going to Morocco for the Sacred Music Festival in Fez. I think I somehow prefer the experience I dream of rather than the one I might have?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
After my video in #11 was released, I received an e-mail from an 18-year-old girl in Australia who told me that their drama class had been assigned to perform a skit inspired by someone they admired most in all of history, and she had chosen me.
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
Throwing all caution to the wind and going to Ixtapa, Mexico with an ex for our fifth date. I painted us waiting for the car as we left our hotel — the moment we fell in love.
18. What is your most terrible memory?
When my assailant put me in a headlock.
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
I’ve been living this way since May 22nd of this year.
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
My entire life has been about searching for love. Only now am I realizing that it’s been there all along. Affection I think I may need another half of a life to begin understanding — if I might be so lucky.
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
I like how you are still with me here. I bet we value some of the same things. I appreciate how we have both struggled to get to this moment in time, and that we can have a sense of humor about some of the shit we’ve stepped in along the way. I adore your smile.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
My mom told me she’d never be seen with me in public ever again if I gender transitioned. I am happy to report that we have indeed appeared together out and about innumerable times since then. Fast forward several years into being me — when I was kvetching about boy troubles and just would not stop — she interrupted me and said, “Zoe, your problem is, you just don’t understand men.”
I did not realize that the question I asked my friend on my first sleepover around age seven or eight — “It’s 8:00 already, why haven’t your parents started screaming at each other?” — was not normal.
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
See 23. My mom is my best friend.
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
We are both wondering why we keep coming back to Twitter if it’s so shitty. We are both realizing that sharing in the right measure can be constructive, and connections inspirational. We are both kind of wishing it was Q36 already, but we are also guiltily happy it is not?
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
Earlier this year — see #19 — I made a decision to do everything I could to become a better person. I will be able to tell you more on May 22, 2018, however, so far I can say that, in my experience, it is actually possible to sculpt one’s own mind.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
I like that you are out there and we now share a moment that I may never discover.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
When I was in my early 20s, I took off my clothes and walked around on my hands atop a tiny stage at some gay dive bar in Chelsea.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
I cry walking the streets of New York all the time. The last public occasion I can specifically remember was the hand-job/hospital scene in BPM at the New York Film Festival.
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
Can we come back to this.
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
That I’ve always loved you.
We’ve never met.
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
Alright maybe not.
Okay, the painting in 17.
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
My nieces because they still have all these questions to live answers to.
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
I really really really want to love men again — see #18 — what do you reflect?
On Saturday, November 18, 2017, I would have missed the plumber finishing the sewer line…
…and feeling, for the first time since I bought this crazy house, relieved. I also would have missed Jimmy congratulating me on my first Opinion piece for CoinDesk, which is an adaptation of the longer-form work that Emin tweeted a while back:
Friends, I also would have missed seeing how small Malibu seems from the air:
I wonder how these types of experiences would feel if I had been selecting window seats more often this entire time…
On Sunday, November 19, 2017, I would have missed a passage in Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions — which I haven’t read for more than 20 years! — that helps me understand why I have needed to create new language to further my work in crypto.
I would have missed coming to realize, as I was reading, how our world is presently in a crisis preceding revolution in many respects — but particularly as to the geo-political and financial systems that, I believe, are imploding. I likewise would have missed the insight that I myself have been upended — and that I get to reconceive my own little role in the world to move ahead. It was horrible in the moment, but another euphoric dance class that left me tearful and trembling really helped — as did the comment from a guy I passed on my way home: “For a woman, you make a handsome man.”
I am torn between how much I want time to slow down and how the ungraspability is what makes life so precious. I would miss all this and more — such as, for example, all that attention at the Baths a few hours later from the 57-year-old man whom I would have put at no more than his late 30s. I think he responded to my nipples — and, you know what, suspending the barrage of sexual assault and harassment in the media just for a second, I responded to his body, too. Hard to remember it’s okay, but, I think, if I ever want to experience intimacy ever again, I will need to make it over that hump.
On Monday, November 20, 2017, I would have missed what I really thought was going to be a nice, quiet and productive day, that, you know, just sort of exploded:
It’s still going full-throttle as I write this entry the following day. Smh. Well. At the Baths I would have missed seeing the guy with the facial bone structure, who was all complimentary and stuff about the CoinDesk article and some work in the space I’ve been doing — followed by dinner with another friend from the Baths and her Belgian boyfriend, who had also read my work and wanted to meet up and talk crypto. He is not a believer — but only because he, if I understand correctly, remains skeptical of trust and any human endeavor at all. Yet he holds cryptocurrency believing it is the future and simultaneously could not be; so, whatever. He’s laced with that very special and alluring soft cutting edge of European masculinity — which is always a treat.
On Tuesday, November 21, 2017, I would have missed getting to hang out with my nieces and watch them play “Monster Under the Bridge” with my brother.
Amidst it all, I’d have missed pointing out to them the pink and blue sky in the instant before sunset began to fall.
And, finally, I would have missed tweeting my way through a CLE (continuing legal education) thing on “legally compliant” ICOs that helped me sympathize with how desperate clients must be for decent, constructive and energetic legal counsel. Like, whoa.
If this project speaks to you, please feel free to donate in crypto. Thank you for reading.