Laptop Anthropologist

Where the Sidewalk Ends

About 9 p.m. on Sunday, a line forms on the sidewalk at Eighth and Arch streets. People are waiting to get inside a makeshift “cafe,” a space leased by the city to give homeless people a safe, warm p…

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Post-Dramatic Stress Disorder

Before last month, the most bizarre thing I’d ever witnessed on Broad Street happened on Election Day 2004. Walking to my polling place, I saw a man hunker down and take a shit on the sidewalk in fro…

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Laptop Anthropologist

My new friend Juli invited me to a party for transgendered people out in the ‘burbs. After hours at a fancy restaurant in a posh pocket of manure-smelling McCain country is the unlikely spot where me…

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Laptop Anthropologist

Ex-lovers—not that I talk to them—would tell you I’m not very nostalgic. I’ve always associated the saccharine sentimentality required for full-on nostalgia with stereotypical femininity, which is …

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Laptop Anthropologist

As far as I knew, there was one other Tara Murtha in the country. We lived just a few blocks from one another in this city for years without crossing paths—until last week. I’d wondered about the Ot…

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Laptop Anthropologist

Bouquets of the city’s khaki-clad business-casual chit-chat between sips of cigarettes. Young men in blazers saunter by in loose packs, texting or talking into earpieces while women flip-flop their w…

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Laptop Anthropologist

I slip into line for the open bar and spot Margaret Cho in front of me. Painted in borderline geisha-face, hunched and twiddling a lollipop in her mouth, she looks fabulously bored to death. She’s ta…

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