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Alice Tully Hall, a Lincoln Center building, is undergoing an overhaul – not just internal renovations but a head-to-toe extreme makeover. But rather than being imploded, the existing structure is dismantled, piece by piece, and every morning when I pass, she looks more and more pathetic, embarrassed at her state of disarray.
"It looks painful," I say to a friend. "I almost want them to demolish it all at once."
"Either way it's a death," he says. "It depends how you want to go. Suddenly, all at once? Or agonizingly slow, bit by bit."
I think I opt for the former.
New York City, rumored to the point of legend never to sleep, sometimes sneaks in a sexy little nap sometime around 3:30 a.m. when no one's looking. When those who are still awake from the night before are so far gone on whatever substance they've been going on for hours and those who have just awoken to greet a new day but have not yet enjoyed caffeine stimulus, New York City curls itself -- millions of residents, thousands of tourists, countless skyscrapers and brownstones and landmarks and neuroses -- into a classic fetal position, sucks its filthy thumb, and snoozes.
I can count on the fingers on no hands the number of times gazpacho has been offered on a menu or by a waitperson listing the specials where I've thought, "Oh, yay! Sounds marvelous!"
It's not that I don't like tomatoes or that I don't like cold soup (I suggest the a-maize-ing [oh, LOLOLOL!] corn soup at Rice, at 28th and Third, for a taste sensation!). No. It's just that if I want to eat a bowl of cold tomato something, I'll just pour a few heaping spoonsful of spicy salsa into a cup and have at it that way.
She latches onto the principles of “The Law of Attraction” with a grip as fierce as a dog’s on a butcher bone, every night chanting aloud or meditating silently in the corner she cleared of years of clutter a month ago when she decided to finally heed the call of Oprah and the Universe and take charge of the parts of her life that need a charge and change.
So why, with all the chanting, meditating, affirmations, and other fervent attempts, can’t she attract a man, which, if she were honest with herself, is the real impetus behind this nonsense?
“If a robber” (because it was always a “robber”) came into the house and said they were going to have to kill either Mommy or Daddy, who would it be? And you can’t say ‘neither’, or else they’ll just kill both of them.”
We agreed Daddy’d be the one to die. And this was pre-divorce, before he was officially the bad guy.
“Okay, so if they said they were going to kill either your or Mommy, who would it be?”
At 7 and 8 years old, my sister and I were politically correct enough to vote for our own deaths.
A review of photos taken of me on an occasion when I should've been grinning so broadly my face ached leads me to critique myself as follows: Jodi, girl, fucking show your chompers, damn it! Knock it off with the odd smile that, for whatever reason, in three-quarter view, only reveals the saliva-gleam of your bicuspid, which, flash-reflected off your lip, appears gray and makes your teeth seem as if they've fallen victim to tetracycline. Grin, bitch, grin! Show off the glorious grin that lights up your face and makes you look at least 52 times prettier (is it possible??).
Anderson Cooper doesn’t like hot drinks, and instantly a bond is formed between him and me.
I learn this earth-shattering fact on Live With Regis and Kelly when Anderson Cooper fills in for Regis. Oh, enchantment!
I can now stop referring to him as “Anderson Cooper”! I can now just say “Anderson”! Or maybe even “Andy”!
Now, when I order my drinks cold, or if I let a hot coffee get cold (in the absence of a place not offering it cold to begin with), I can be comforted by the knowledge that Andy would do the same thing. Ahoy!
I just heard there's going to be a new version of "90210". Ahh, yes. Just what the world needs: another insipid TV series about a bunch of overprivileged skinny wannabe fashionista teens with way too much time on their bejeweled hands to whine and wheedle over their imagined angst.
And gee, do you think they'll cast someone as a "chunky" and "dowdy" girl who isn't that popular but who is brainy and witty, and who, although she claims she likes being brainy and witty, secretly wishes with all her 125 "fat" pounds that she too could be a brainless gigglesnort?
Back in the 1980s, I railed to my mother about the inanity of shoes that did more than simply provide a safe place for one’s feet to reside on occasions requiring public presentation. Shoes, I propounded, my eyebrows crunching downward, encouraging an attractive furrow between them, should only be black and uncluttered and not involve themselves with any sort of decoration. That was the responsibility of the rest of the outfit! Allow the clothes to shine! Shoes, shut your mouths!
Twenty-some years later, my high-heel slingback peep-toe blue suede knockouts and I kick that manifesto square in the ass, loudly.
I was prone to bad dreams as a kid -- rich with death, blood, explosions, and other charming non-rainbow-and-unicorn delights -- and would lie awake at night, trying to console myself by thinking of something nicer, the way my mother would advise. Flowers. Fields of flowers. Daisies. Yes, daisies. White and yellow and green and happy and smiling into the sun in a too-blue sky, and me grinning with joy as I romped through them.
Invariably, though, the sun would spew flames, the blue skies would bleed red rain, and the gleeful daisies would shrivel, bringing me down with them.
After wasting a year of my life at the Neighborhood Abattoir on East 54th Street, mixed in with a mess of "theater students" as impressively untalented as they were irritating, I received the letter that all first-year attendees waited for with neurotically bated breath: Would I be invited into the program's second year?
The answer: No. Despite my perfect attendance and stellar feedback from all of the never-weres masquerading as instructors, I was not permitted to spend an additional $10,000 to "hone my craft".
For a split second, I feigned a cry of disappointment. And then said, "Thank fucking god."
A series of the usual clicks through links, like tiptoeing through so many tulips a la Tiny Tim and his atonal warbling, leads me to a word I have never heard before but which seems most appropriate, especially given that I found it just as I started typing this entry. (Hello, fourth wall-breaking! Hello, mighty meta!) That word: drabble. Meaning? Briefly: A story of 100 words.
I don’t merely ramble here. My words are not rabble or drivel or any other two-syllable sorta-sound-alike word. It hits me that I have enough drabble, here on this website, for a mighty tome.
I don’t know of one who hasn’t crept out of the clichéd woodwork in an attempt to inch and itch his way back into my good graces after who knows how many years have passed since I ever even thought of whatever “relationship” we’d had. It doesn’t matter if they’re married or if they’ve got two kids and are risking enormous alimony payments should I decide to contact their wives.
Somehow they find me, crying, “I made a big mistake!” lo so many years ago, that, alas, ‘tis I that they love!
Do they really think I’m that fucking stupid?
Wordscraper, a new Facebook "application", is supposed to pacify those of us still clinging to Scrabulous before its suspension, hoping the day would never come when we would be force-weaned. I'm not that deep into it yet, but already I'm daunted by the opportunities the board presents for very high scoring.
Whereas Scrabulous assigned triple-word scores to certain squares, Wordscraper assigns quadruple-word scores and possibilities for extra-scoring individual letters adjoining them. I guess people don't feel like they're truly winning unless the numbers are sky-high.
My parents' old pinball machine racked up points one by one. I kinda miss that.
Plain wine, beer, and "spirits" all make me suspect I'm unwittingly swallowing various varieties of witch hazel. On the infrequent occasions when I want to enjoy the kooky effects alcohol has on my lightweight system, I prefer prettily colored, frou-frilly drinks like apple pie martinis and anything that could be given to a child without her knowing she was on the road to swift and sure sweet-dreams intoxication via a straw. (Oddly enough, I am not a fan of actual juice.) I don't want a drink that'll put hair on my chest. I want one that will put tits there.
My landlord, a modern-day but ascot-free and way hipper Mr. Furley, often knocks on my door to tell me something he could convey by phone. Sometimes, when I'm not up to the inevitable 20-minute chat, instead of opening the door, I yell, "I'm not presentable!", and he says he'll stop back later or just relates something brief and inconsequential through it. Most of the time, though, I open it, and we talk about who the hell knows what.
"I'm just hoping to catch you," he once joked, looking at me sidelong.
I don't even want to know what he's imagining.
This is no ordinary day for "the girls" of Starck, Gallagher & Minshew. Sure, their lunches of Lean Cuisine, meatloaf sandwiches, leftover lo mein, and pineapple upside-down cake, gobbled in between gossip that would be better off whispered, are what Louise calls "status quo" in an attempt to impress the new girl with her legalese, but today is different in one very major way. Today is the day Margaret announces to the rest that she will no longer be known as such and will now answer to "Maggie" or "Mags". She'll even allow "Magpie", if someone wants to be extra-fun!
As soon as he enters my office, Doug wrinkles his nose so hard that his eyes disappear behind his rather fleshy cheeks.
"Yo, doc," he says. "What stinks so bad?"
"Could it be the string cheese in your pocket?"
"Nah. Mandy gives me fresh every day, and I eat it so fast it don't have time to spoil anyways," he says.
Turns out the culprit are the new fresh-cut flowers on the console table.
"They smell real," he says.
"That's because they are."
"They smell too real," he says. "I thought a classy doc like you would have the silk."
If you didn’t want us peering into your stunning Brooklyn Heights kitchen, a few steps below street level, you wouldn’t have had your shades furled or curtains pushed aside or blinds up to allow a full view. You would’ve feigned a desire for privacy by making it difficult for passersby to take in the glory of your red walls and the impossible perfection of what appeared to be a personal chef preparing a late night dinner. You didn’t protest our voyeurism, but probably only because you were too intent on reveling in your own evening to witness us envying it.
I don't know how to properly bring this up, so I'm doing it here, silently, on 100 Words, without the blessing, I'm sure, of Emily Post.
You know how when we go out to eat, we order two entrees (in addition to at least one appetizer) and split them? Well, I don't always want to share. Sometimes I want to order our own separate food, and restrict the tasting of each other's to a forkful or two.
Other times, of course, we can promiscuously share, but sometimes I just want to mostly keep it to myself.
Never have I felt more alluring than this morning, pertly perched on an examining table a block from Bloomingdale’s, decked out in a light blue open-front smock, lifting one side up to expose my hip for the gamine physician’s assistant to investigate for further evidence of zoster (also known by its less glamorous name, “shingles”). I wondered if she appreciated that I’d left on my shiny copper just-gladiator-enough-to-be-stylish-but-not-gladiator-enough-to-be-tiresome sandals and had chosen red lacy panties for the event. I also wondered if she could tell that moments earlier, I’d pilfered two latex gloves and two cheerfully-wrapped condoms from the counter.
Ahhh, yes. The delightful belly chain. The accessory equivalent of the ubiquitous "tramp stamp" that litters the lower backs of so many ill-advised women whose only association with the term "three-way" has nothing to do with a mirror. Nothing says, "Please take me seriously and stop looking at me that way" than littering your body with such accoutrements, also including bellybutton piercings, gold ankle bracelets, and a couple of rings on your French-pedicured toes. Smack on a couple of overinflated fake tits, an orange tan, and dark lip-liner, and ladies, you're good to go. To the STD clinic, that is.
Moments after I swallow a whole Vicodin to ease the pain of my sexy shingles, my friend L sends email warning to only take half a pill because it can be strong. I’m skeptical, because medication usually doesn’t affect me. You’d think it would, given that I almost never take it and thus haven’t built up a tolerance. But hey, maybe this time I’ll be surprised.
As a delicious bonus, she says, I should expect euphoria. Enjoy the ride!
I sit back and wait. The only euphoria I experience is freedom from pain.
And oh, that is more than enough.
Although I told myself I would stop yelling at Shana to shut the fuck up already with the incessant meowing for no good apparent reason (food, litter box, and easy access to outside all
), and to think about the innocence of her ridiculously cute little dash-mouth the next time I reacted that way, this morning I can't contain myself.
An hour or so later, she tiptoes into the bathroom to see what I am doing.
Me: Yes, Shana?
Shana: Why did you scream at mew before?
Me: Because I'm an asshole.
Shana: That's what I thought. Okay!
I understand you've had a demanding day at whatever workplace allows you to dress so shabbily, but you must also understand that you do not own the subway (if you did, you'd dress better and be chauffeured 'round town in a private car), so the entire length of the back side of your body should not be melted against a pole when space is clearly limited and other riders' hands are reaching out to grab the pole to steady themselves. If by chance my knuckles dug into your lumbar spine when I wedged my hand behind you, I deeply apologize.
We find the gallery without problem, but once inside, realize we d know which floor the exhibit is on. After debating whether to call my friend who's already seen the exhibit, I decide to ask the woman behind a desk in the first floor gallery.
"You'd have to know the name of the gallery," she snoots.
Two women on another floor assist us instead. How is it that they manage to not be supercilious and dismissive when it was so difficult for the first person?
"Hey, cunt," I want to say to that one. "It costs nothing to be polite."
Corinne never dreamed of being a ballerina, nurse, or princess. She never wanted to be a wife, mom, or PTA member. Her own mother's dream, realized, a split-level house on a cul-de-sac with a basketball hoop by the curb, tools in the garage, and a small vegetable garden, was, as Corinne wrote for the "Home Sweet Home" Miss Stack required of her third-graders every year, "a catatonic nightmare of stultifying homogenized suburbanity from which I ache, with every synapse, to escape before the onset of fourth grade."
Corinne received a failing mark and banishment to her room for a month.
I reach into my purse to retrieve my cell phone and find it streaked with an unknown red substance. My first instinct is blood, which intrigues me and has me pressing my tongue to the phone’s casing to confirm my suspicion. It does not taste like blood, though. I am sorely disappointed.
After a few moments of wrinkled-brow perplexity, I notice the stray strawberry I had rescued from Whole Foods’ floor and placed in my purse earlier that morning, and realize it is the source. I pop it in my mouth without washing it off.
I live on the edge.
I glance at his photo, on the table a few feet away, and realize I cannot remember when I kissed it last. I know it was recently, but not as close as yesterday, and this distresses me. In the beginning, I kissed it every night before bed and often more. I'd tell him I loved him and missed him and was sorry he was gone and I would never forget him.
If I don't kiss his likeness every day, I fear he'll think, however dogs think, that I've forgotten him. And this makes me sadder than anything I can imagine.
Norman, usually well-groomed, natty, and with elegant posture, especially for someone his age, slumps, unshaven, on the sofa in my office, fiddling with the zipper on his oversized Michigan State hoodie.
"Late night at the frat, Norman?"
"I wish," he says. "No, it's just this rash, you see?"
I ask him to let me. He unzips the sweatshirt, revealing a lean, hairless chest covered with a crimson rash.
"It's undeniably an 84," he says. "Is it trying to tell me something?"
I advise him to check with his primary care. And hold my breath until his 85th birthday next month.
When Maura was 12 and her "big teeth" were firmly in place, she orchestrated a playground accident that had her falling on her face onto the blacktop seven feet below the monkey bars where she had stood, peeling a pretend banana.
When the dentist remarked that she was brave to be grinning when she broke eight teeth, Maura said, "I don't care, because you're going to replace them with pearls!"
The dentist laughed and said, "Not real pearls, but just as pretty."
Maura said she didn't mind if they were cultured or natural, just as long as they were pearls.
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