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A few months ago I was doing nothing in particular on the sofa when a cockroach decided to do the same on my lap. All I wanted to do was lounge and continue doing nothing, but the intrusion took me so by surprise that I was compelled to spring up from the sofa in a frenzy and jangle of panicked limbs in an attempt to evict the interloper. It wasn't that I minded the actual presence of the little guy so much as I was offended by the way he "popped" the collar of his polo shirt. That's just gross.
Before I even buy the bike, I have buyer's remorse. Not just the anticipation of buyer's remorse, but the affliction/malady/disorder/disease itself, as if the $150 has already been transferred from my death-grip into the all-too-eager fist of the faceless seller. This transaction is made possible thanks to Craigslist, so I suppose I should be more terrified of being chained to an IKEA Billy bookcase or bludgeoned with a Target torchiere than merely parting with precious moolah earmarked to pay down a credit card used to buy something so long ago I can't remember but which I'm sure generated similar remorse.
I have to stop leaving books on the M5. Or at least thinking I left books on the M5. And no, this is not a neuroses centered on a compulsive irrational thought about the process of thinking, but rather a statement on the real live fact that I have lost two books recently and can only surmise that I left them in the back of the bus (no Rosa Parks defiance for these bound volumes) in the mad excitement to be taking leave of it after the 25-minute ride home from the gym. (P.S. The M5 route includes the library.)
A couple of years ago, a few weeks into the new year, I realized I'd already forgotten to do something I wanted to start doing once the new year started. It wasn't a resolution, but a little project I thought would be -- well, I don't even know if FUN is the right word to use. You tell me.
I was going to jot down, in my Moleskine, the number of every cab I used for the year, transfer those numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, and then, at year's end, see if there were any duplicates.
(Answer: Yes, FUN, absolutely!)
Everyone has a photo somewhere, taken when they were a kid, in which either they or one of the other kids is sporting bold plaid pants, often in the vicinity of a birthday cake. The photos, whether taken with a Kinney shoebox in 1954, a Polaroid in 1972, or a digital Canon in 2003, all look like they're from the same era, with a quality of color, mood, and situation that transcends the passage of time and the advances in technology. Maybe, though, this phenomenon exists only in the Western Hemisphere. What is the plaid pants equivalent in the East?
Although it's been a few years since peanut allergies were all the rage and all the cool elementary school kids' parents were claiming ill effects even from being in the same ZIP code as a shell, I'm still mystified by the wholesale hysteria. When I was a kid, we wolfed peanuts with abandon, often in a delicious spreadable form amassed between two squares of white bread cut into triangles, and our moms were summarily thrilled. I'd hate to be a newfangled kid, suffering with a sorry soynut substitute washed down with goat's milk at the panicky behest of my mother.
Tara wears a Hello Kitty bandage just below her right knee. She wears a dress, as always on a first date, and amuses herself with the knowledge that Steve will be sure to notice.
"Is that Hello Kitty?" he says, pointing to her knee.
"Yes!" she says, amused not only that he knows about Hello Kitty but also because he feels he has to indicate the bandage's location.
"Very cute," he says.
Melanie, who didn't do "cute", used the same flexible fake-flesh bandages he did, but still called wounds "booboos".
He falls in love when Tara talks about her "laceration".
When I worked in a Doylestown law office in the mid-'80s, there wasn't much to do for lunch other than drive to Boscov's to look at suburban duds that I tried to convince myself were worthy of the meager earnings I made or to walk to the one "cute" lunch place that heaped pita with more hummus than it had any business trying to contain. My coworkers ate not-so-tall sandwiches brought from home while playing solitaire around the rectangular table or watching "All My Children". No one spoke. I wonder, did each repeat a similar scene, hours later, at dinner?
Sal rolls his eyes as we enter a room full of shiny-faced wax representations of ex-Presidents. He'd warned me, on the walk to the museum, that people would be doing what we're now seeing someone doing, but I have to admit it doesn't annoy me as much as it does him. What do I care if someone pretends to be fascinated by the silent droning of an inanimate Richard Nixon? I'm as amused by this as I was when in Italy, and the lawn by the Leaning Tower of Pisa was peppered with tourists pretending to hold the tower up.
I suppose I should be flattered that the teacher thinks I'm such a good swimmer that I'd be of better use as inspiration for the kids in the lower group than as just another swimmer in the higher group, but when you're 13 and wearing a school-issued green bathing suit that clings to the tits you didn't have last summer, this isn't the sort of compliment you want. You don't want to be feigning patience with the wall-clinger who cries when his head gets wet. You want to be trying to look up the leg-holes of the cooler kids, underwater.
Cops killed my sister's ex-husband with at least six bullets one early morning at the end of May as the culmination of a drunken crime spree involving stolen vehicles. When my sister arrived home from work, my mother, clutching the local newspaper, could barely choke out the news. My sister was far from being choked up herself.
"Oh, well," she said. "He was a fucking piece of shit anyway." I imagine this was punctuated by a slow blink, a stone-faced shrug, and a deep drag on the ubiquitous cigarette.
The man she'd married had died long before that.
Before they were married, he and my sister would drive to parks to release mice from humane traps they'd set in my parents' house. I was thrilled that this 6'5", tattooed, thick-bearded, motorcycle-riding guy made her happier than anyone had ever seen her.
Soon after the wedding, he ditched his sobriety and shape-shifted into an unkempt, slush-mouthed ogre who flicked lit cigarettes at my sister, tossed drinks on her, called her vile names in public, and terrified her so much that she'd bolt from their house in her socks to call me from a pay phone.
After their divorce, he descended even further into innumerable dramas, all of which were reeked of alcohol, he wound up in jail and called her. Gazing at him behind the bars, my sister denied his pleas to help get him out of there. Instead, she turned on her heel, got herself out of there, and freed herself instead.
She called his mother a few weeks after his death. The mother chirped that her son was with God now and she would be reunited with him in heaven, which, rather than comfort my atheist sister, repelled her.
From 6/13 (yikes! many errors in that one!)
My sister wasn't prepared to hear from her ex-mother-in-law a host of stuff about how he'd always felt terrible about how he'd ruined their relationship and should have accepted her earlier offers of help. In the mother's words, she recognized the version of the man she'd dated and married.
She confessed to me that rather than feel angry about him in death, she now felt sad. Inside the bad guy the cops had killed, she knew the good guy still existed, and for that -- and him -- my sister now mourns.
Jesse can't remember the last time he saw his toys from home. For longer than he can count on his fingers and toes, the only stuff he's had to play with is the ever-increasing mound of trash the man who calls himself Your Uncle Sam keeps down here in a clubhouse so secret that not even his best friend is allowed to visit. Even then, he only has a short time to play with his trash-toys every day before Your Uncle Sam turns off the lights to save money and to keep Jesse safe here in the clubhouse.
Ever since he dug the quart-sized milk carton from the bottom of the trash heap about a month ago, it's been his favorite. He knows Your Uncle Sam doesn't like him messing with the heap, but he figures it's just one of the many rules of the super-secret game that his funny uncle explained to him when he picked him up from school that one day in a car he'd never seen. His parents hadn't ever mentioned this uncle to him, but since he knew everything about Jesse, he went along without thinking anything of it.
Jesse's mom never liked him to collect bugs, but she knows nothing about how he collects them here in the clubhouse and talks to them in the milk carton "house". What she doesn't know won't hurt her!
"This is MY house," he whispers to them, keeping his voice down the way he's been admonished, "and you guys can stay as long as you like!" He lifts the house to eye level and smiles at his own face peering back at him. He wonders how Your Uncle Sam got the farmers to put his first-grade school photo on it.
I've had crushes on many of my brother's friends, but none as intense as the one I had on C from the ages of 10 through 18. We carried on an innocent kissing affair when he lived in our house while in his and my brother's freshman year in college. I haven't seen him since the week after I graduated high school and lost touch with him until I recently found him on Facebook. He's married, turns 50 next week, and said he'd like to say hello if he's ever in town. Is he better left just in my imagination?
I'm having moderate success looking like I know how to ride my bike with more finesse than a four-year-old. I'm so busy congratulating myself for making it down the bike path and onto the sidewalk along Twelfth Avenue without suffering much of a heart attack that I don't notice the group of guys at the corner where I need to cross to get to the "meat" of the city. It's too late to turn around without looking like a paranoid white girl, so I proceed with flagging confidence and what I hope passes for a benign facial expression.
I do the bike-riding equivalent of a stumble and beat the hell out of my left lower leg when the bike falls on me during an inexpert semi-dismount. Fortunately the guys doesn't notice.
"Can I ride you?" one of them says as I stop at the light.
"My girlfriend wouldn't like that," I say, wondering if he can see Gina Gershon from "Bound" in the thought bubble above my head.
"Oooooh!" he says. "Then can I watch?"
I could kick myself for not anticipating that comment, but figure the blood already trickling down my leg is sufficient punishment.
My gorgeous friend J texts me photos of herself getting a "skin corset" at some sort of party/event and my kneejerk reaction is revulsion. How could she allow someone to do this to her? How could she allow herself to want this? I could never, never. Never.
Still, I can't stop thinking about it. I'm captivated by the photos and the pink ribbon lacing up her back. I wonder if I could do something like that, but on a much smaller scale. With my boyfriend in attendance, holding my hand, whispering into my ear, or maybe even Ö doing it?
"Death is for other people" appears in an old Moleskine.
I think it's an original quote, of my own creation, or I would've indicated an attribution. I often find ephemera like this in old notebooks and wonder what the circumstances were that made me jot it down and what I hoped to gain by doing so. Because I certainly don't believe that I'm immortal; indeed, as a Jew, it is my birthright to somewhat obsess over my own death (see: Woody Allen). But now I realize that the quote at least served some purpose: The creation of this entry. Ahoy!
Today in the diner you made your wife cry, big man. She wasn't crying when you came in; indeed, she was laughing and appeared quite at ease (I remember because she tossed her thick auburn hair in a way I found quite fetching) so you can't tell me someone just died and thus the tears. No, big man, from several tables away, I heard the low hum of your conversation turn into a rumble. All I could see was the back of your head, and even that looked menacing. And your fist pounding on the table was a charming touch.
I donít know who suggested this place, but here we are, five guys and I, standing in a circle, four of them clutching Coronas with the requisite lemon wedge, and me empty-handed and without pockets with which to occupy my hands, which want to slap the tanned faces of the titsy girls in too-short dresses and the buttoned-down blue-shirted clones milling around trying to figure out which one to fuck.
Later I learn that our guy who brought over the beer bottle bucket isn't gay, but he's enough like the others that he too seems out of place.
The place is called The Frying Pan, near Chelsea Piers, a semi-sunken bar/ship crammed with fully-drunken revelers. It is, after all, about 7:30, which means that they've been happy houring for at least two.
About 20 minutes later, more friends, a married straight couple, join and immediately they raise eyebrows and agree this isn't the place for us. We make reservations for dinner at East of Eighth, a Chelsea restaurant that caters to a mostly gay clientele. Once there, at a large table in the back garden, we feel at home. The pressure to "fit in" is off.
This goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, while perched atop the Ansonia with a megaphone: TIME WARNER IS A PIECE OF KAKA. After the first customer service shmoe couldn't solve my problem, he sent me to someone at the next level, who, with her baby-like voice, repeated the steps that had failed with the first guy. To get away from her, I pretended I had to tend to a child who was "getting into something he shouldn't!" While still on the line, I scolded the imaginary child. Poor thing is now setting fire to his imaginary racecar bed.
You won't see me teetering around town in high heels much these days. You won't hear me lamenting that I can't walk as far as I would like. You'll find me in my silver Birkenstocks most days, now that the once-rigid thong has eased and doesn't abrade the tender nook between my toes with the tactile equivalent of rap music booming from a car in the wee hours of the morning. You'll find me shorter and friendlier and, when in a rush, walking even faster -- but wanting more and more to slow down and take it easy. And succeeding.
My closest local gayboyfriend and I, wandering around the area near Abingdon Square the day of the Pride parade, come upon one of his friends who's boying a booth for Tylenol PM (he's young enough to be my son, thus too young for manning). Free rubber LIVESTRONG-type wristbands are there for the taking, each color of the rainbow corresponding to how many years the wearer has been a member of the LGBT community. We both take one of each. They complement the bright yellow FUCK YOUR GENDER sticker plastered on my chest and the orange I *heart* SISSIES on his.
Because I am either disinclined to cut up my own carrots (not as sexy as it sounds) or because I am trying to foster a "path of least resistance" attitude, I buy baby carrots or sometimes carrot sticks that tread water in a plastic container called "Aqua-Pack". The ingredients are this: "May Contain Carrot, Distilled Water". My morning at Whole Foods would be made if one day when I reached down to select one of the containers, it didn't contain carrots. I wouldn't have a right to complain to the good people at FreshPro, the manufacturer, given the implicit caveat!
Thanks to the recycling bin in the front hall, I know that someone in this building is now the proud owner of a 10-pound pair of ankle/wrist weights not unlike those I strapped on in the late '70s. Thanks to my rather vivid and always active imagination, I can envision this person who, although in possession of a generic Neighbor Face, sports a specific workout ensemble consisting of white terrycloth Jack Tripper shorts complete with Chrissy Snow light blue satin piping, a slightly midriff-baring T-shirt, a white headband, three-stripe (blue/red) tube socks, and navy blue Adidas. Let's get physical, neighbor!
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