Diary of a Chambermaid

Army of me: Madonna trains her troops in the art of war and...uh, hatha yoga
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
American Life

By "Perdita X," As Told To Matthew Wilder

Caro diario,

She's always watching CNN these days, with like one foot over her head and making these noises, and she keeps saying she feels guilty about it, she feels responsible--"It's like I did it." Mrs. Ritchie is so super touchy since Swept Away came out. She calls all these old people from way before I worked here, she bugs them like six, seven, eight times a day, Sandra she calls about ten times. (Bernhard that is. Tsing Loh gets maybe four.) Ingrid Casares she calls and cries over what she calls "the Mister," she doesn't know what to do. It totally makes sense, though, that the one love song on the new record is called "Intervention"...right? Like when I heard this--

I got to save my baby
'Cause he makes me cry
I got to calm him down now
I got to save his life

--me and Tatiana an Monica were like, oh that ain't about no baby, that's Mr. Man, right?

Mrs. Ritchie, you know I like her sometimes, and I'd like to help her, it's not like I wouldn't, but she's just so confused, you know? I guess everybody is right now, but she's like the most confused. Her record ends with this song, she used to play it for me and Tatiana and Monica like over and over again, crying, and she'd make us listen to it and study the words, and it's like

I want the good life
But I don't want an easy ride
What I want is to work for it
Feel the blood and sweat on my fingertips

and then she'd be all, "I love you guys so much, 'cause you work so hard, what you get, you really deserve it and I totally don't." And you know I was like, hey, if I had Mr. Man and all these nannies and whatnot to teach Lourdes phonics and take her shopping and stuff, I wouldn't care if I deserved it or not!

She can be so snotty sometimes though, like when I was looking at those pictures she did in W magazine of her doing yoga stuff in fishnets? She got really upset and ripped 'em up and threw 'em on the floor and kept saying, "I can't take care of everybody, I can barely take care of me!" I don't know what this is supposed to mean, but I do think she was mad that next month somebody wrote in to W and said, "At last--the world's biggest pop icon can finally sniff her own crotch!" Me and T and M thought that was like a friggin' laff riot.

I said to her once when she wanted to wash dishes with me (she only dried, and she didn't really do a good job, so I did it over when Guy and Brad came home and they played "hearts" in the drawing room--bleh!) that she's kind of like everybody in America in that here you have this country that kind of did it all and won it all and so now it's like where is there to go but down? Oh shit, I think that started the whole thing. That's probably why she called it American Life instead of Down Dog/Chadarunga (the original title; does that suck ass or what?). But seriously, you listen to it now and it's all this stuff like "You could take all this/Take it away/I'd still have it all" and "Jesus Christ, will you look at me?/Don't really know what I'm supposed to be" and "I used to live in a fuzzy dream/And I used to believe in the pretty pictures that are all around me." See, after I heard the first mix of all this, I told Mrs. R.: You don't have to be so bummed out. There's lots of things that a lady your age can do. She could do real estate, like my friend that got her Century 21 license, and she's still big, they'd pay her so much to do an infomercial for, like, eye cream or a ThighMaster type thing. I said that and then she cried some more and went back and made the whole album more depressing.

My friend Tatiana said something funny. "It's just another 9/11 thing," she said. "Rich people like to feel bad 'cause they know they don't deserve all that money, so this just gives them another reason to feel sorry for themselves." I told Mrs. R. that Tati said that one night when she was up and we were drinking Midori sours and getting real upset watching Fox News. Guess what: She started crying all over again! I think maybe it was because Guy didn't come home that night; or maybe it was just me! Whatever, it's nice to know that Mrs. R. is listening; 'cause you know what, diary? The next day she called Maverick and that video she did about the war was dead meat. It just feels good to know you have some impact on people.

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