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I don't know what to blame for the fantastically poor cell phone service that plagues my apartment. Could it be because I'm in the back of an old townhouse that looks out onto a semi-demi-hemi-courtyard of taller buildings? Or that my neighborhood is one of only a few in the city that retains an "old school" flavor due to its relatively undeveloped real estate landscape and thus any form of modern technology is denied easy access? Or, most likely, is it the influence of the fiendish ghost of Patrick Swayze, who was a tenant here long before he was famous?
After they broke up, I didn't really miss peering at them from behind my blinds under cover of darkness. I mean, how many times did I need to see his flabby sparsely-haired ass quivering as he dipped in and out of her for a frenzied two minutes anyway? After the fiftieth time, it gets kind of monotonous. Still, I was compelled to peer through the blinds hoping for a glimpse of the girl, now alone. Without his gelatinous flesh to obscure the view, what would I see? Ice cream shoveled to a crying mouth via a soup ladle?
(No, not continued from 10/2. Nothing to see here insofar as that's concerned. No descriptions of his love handles jiggling like a flesh belt only a half foot or so below a chest so defeated that it's submitted to the whims of gravity years before its time. No descriptions of him looking off into the distance as if imagining he was with someone else other than this faceless woman who, just by the sweetness of the Pebbles Flintstone ponytail bobbing atop her head in concert with her head in his lap, I could tell I liked. Nothing to see here.)
The hands I miss are the hands that touched only me, the lips I miss are the lips that kissed only me, the breath the breath that warmed only my hair. The arms I miss are the arms that wrapped themselves around me only, held me close, made me feel safe, stayed around me all night and pulled me closer even in the moments before they were fully awake, knowing intuitively where they belonged, where they were needed, where they were loved.
But the lies and the cheating have disfigured you and maimed my memories. This doesn't reach me anymore.
I'm pretending to smile at something in The New Yorker, but I'm only doing so because you're also reading The New Yorker (same issue! we're both so current!) and you, like I, are plugged into an i-Something. I don't tap my fingers to the beat of my private drummer because I want you to think I'm listening to a particularly droll podcast, like I imagine you are. Is Brooklyn home, cute skinny-jeaned Asian boy, or are you just visiting, like I am? Oh, and look, you too have a nose! (P.S. Stop thinking I'm old enough to be your mom.)
Gary's a better atheist than you are. You may refuse to go to church even for your goddaughter's christening and insist that the word "god" be omitted from "goddaughter"; you may, as proof of the longevity of your belief, present your hand-printed manifesto from junior high in all its blurred purple mimeographed glory, held together with dulled brass fasteners; you may even go so far as to cross out "God" with a Sharpie on the back of every piece of paper money ever to cross your palm. But Gary's better than you are, damn it: he kills mantises for praying.
The morning of the day I'm supposed to have a first date, I'm not feeling it. Something's telling me to postpone, so I write a note around 11 saying I have a 9 p.m. deadline and won't be able to make our 7:00 date. He responds, asking if we can meet at 9. I say no, it's a school night, let's just do it another night. He writes back that he doesn't do same-day cancellations (what is he, a medical facility?), how does he know I won't do this again sometime in the future? Like we have one, buddy boy?
To The Men of Match.com:
Please refrain from posting photos of yourselves where your shirtlessness reveals flesh whose last acquaintance with outdoor light was during the Eisenhower Administration, your inexplicably raised arms (often the consistency of pizza dough in need of a good punching down) reveal caverns in desperate need of a turbo-machete, you're holding up a large dead fish, or you're flanked by two professional cheerleaders you no doubt paid for the opportunity. Please also refrain from pouty-faced self portraits snapped with a cell phone in a bathroom mirror.
There's more, but let's start here, okay?
I agree to chat with this guy on Yahoo! Messenger, even though I have no real desire. I figure what the hell, a few minutes can't kill me. And who knows, he may translate well into chat form, even though I suspect he'll employ the dreaded shorthand, automatically earning demerits.
He does, right off the bat, and I want to click off, but I'm not that rude even to people I don't like. Worse, within 60 seconds of starting the exchange, he wants to send a "pic". And actually gets offended that I don't want to see his dic. Sic.
This is my friend's first visit to my city, and she's having a blast. She's probably walked more with me in the past few days than she has in a whole year back home in Arkansas, excluding walks she may take for exercise. Her feet hurt, despite the new shoes she bought just so her feet wouldn't hurt, but she only wants to stop long enough to run into Banana Republic to buy socks. She's content to pass by the Empire State Building without going up. She wants to see the city as I do, hungry and grounded and breathless.
It's warm enough for me to be wearing only a sleeveless shirt under a light jacket, so why oh why oh why are you wearing gloves? But worse, why are they fingerless? You didn't rappel down the side of the Chrysler Building, did you, to get to the café? You didn't jump over 16 flaming cars on a motorcycle to get here, right? You didn't just come from a tug-of-war competition fit for the Guiness Book, either, I assume. You took the train from a New Jersey suburb. We're in a tiny café where civilized French macarons are sold. Poseur.
For the first 10 minutes, she may as well be peeking at me through her fingers, as if viewing a scary movie. She has no idea where to start and says so. Often. No idea how to say it. Even so, she speaks hungrily, like the smallest kid in a big family who has to rush for the food lest she be left with nothing. Soon, however, her words, no longer as jagged as the first few solid shifts of an avalanche, assume a liquid form, whooshing with the kind of force that causes in white-water rafters an unparalleled thrill.
The dog people forgive you for not remembering their names. They don't care if you know they're Kate or Mark or Arlene (or is that Eileen?). They care that you know Chewy or Jasper or Loki. They just love that you love their dogs. They care that you're crouched on the sidewalk, not only allowing their dogs to do everything they've tried to train them not to do but encouraging it, inviting it, and reveling in it. The dog people know this is better than the strongest cup of coffee, the most beautifully-wrapped gift. This, they know, is what matters.
You'd think I'd learn by now that I am powerless over the seductive powers and prowess of Fiber One Raisin Bran. That when faced with an entire box in my kitchen, I'd know, as I transferred it to a big glass container by the stove, that it isn't long for containment anywhere but inside my greedy stomach. How many times do I have to look down upon the scene of the crime from a ghost-like levitating perch somewhere near the ceiling fan and see myself below, devouring flakes and raisins and those particularly charming "clusters" before I seek professional help?
Dennis, a philosophy professor I dated in the mid '90s, was a pretentious ponce prone to consuming books whose photos he regarded as "food porn" and who had a kitchen as equipped to concoct feasts to feed the lust of his palate and tongue as a fetishist's dungeon is to satiate all manner of delectable prurience. Once, when in search of his special knife made specifically to slice tomatoes, he was just about to call off the salad when he found it. I'm confident that the salad, although quite delicious, would not have suffered had he used a different knife.
I'd noticed Dennis in Fresh Fields before we met but didn't notice him noticing me. Once face to face, he confessed he'd tracked me, noting what I put in my cart, and when something that he'd already placed in his didn't jive with the lifestyle he assumed I had based on my items, he'd remove it from his cart so that, on the off chance I peered into it, I wouldn't think he was the sort of guy who ate, say, full-fat ice cream. Little did he know that I can't stand men who pretend to prefer low-fat frozen yogurt.
My Match profile says that I require you to be neither God-fearing nor dog-fearing. It clearly indicates that I am Agnostic; Jewish but only for the kasha. I say I have a filthy mouth. So why in the name of all that is good and/or not good and wholly unholy would you Latter-Day Saints, kosher Jews, and all manner of obviously religious types who probably have a hard time uttering the word "fuck" let alone actually doing it, send me all these "winks" and notes? Should I just be flattered that apparently all you've done is look at my photos?
I am watching a videotaped deposition where the lawyer, some self-righteous obnoxious big city schmuck, is about to implode because the witness, who seems like a good ol' country boy, occasionally asks him to repeat one of his long-winded, convoluted questions. It seems almost physically impossible for the lawyer to be anything but snide, impatient, rude, and belittling. I cannot see him, but I imagine him flailing all four limbs, frothing at the mouth, and bleeding from the ears. I want to reach through my monitor, down into his throat with a hook hand, and rip his fucking lungs out.
Martin Pogue's latest installation, his largest yet, on view for a fortnight in September, draws more reviews than any of his previous work. Mr. Pogue's paintings feature original line drawings that have been colored in by way of a paint-by-number scheme created by his toddler daughter, Patricia, who has yet to learn to count beyond "this many", which translates into "three", the number of years she has been on the planet. Perhaps we would enjoy the title of the installation, "Try Color," a bit more, though, if he wasn't compelled to point out that it is a homonym for "Tri-Color".
I'm wondering what you'll be wearing when we meet, predicting something along the lines of "former rebellious prep school boy", praying for an absence of pleats. We are, after all, meeting at an Upper East Side haunt of your choosing, not too far from the Sutton Place house you call your part-time home.
I recognize you on the street, walking quickly toward the designated bar. In none of your photos were you wearing anything even remotely close to skinny turquoise pants or were there any hints that you'd be the sort of guy who would. Oh, rebellion! I am thrilled!
I forced myself to cry on the bus the other morning just so that anyone who happened to witness my sobbing, grief-stricken face turned toward the window at red lights or while in slow traffic would be able to tell their co-workers at the 9 a.m. staff meeting or around the water cooler at noon or while eating cake in the conference room at 3 for Patty's birthday that they saw some lady bawling on the bus and it wasn't even 8:00 yet. It would also make for a delightful ice-breaker at an otherwise mundane cocktail party. And everybody's happy!
Over kasha and bowties, mashed potatoes, french fries, creamed spinach, and a Diet Coke, I tell him that although I never intended to be a "cat mommy", I've turned into one. I hasten to add that I'm not the kind who wears T-shirts depicting airbrushed images of her cats and that I do it with absolute irony, fully aware of how utterly retarded it is. I tell him that the names -- Mewy Mewstein, in particular -- are ridiculous as well. Once explained, he laughs. This is our second date, and I know I am being assessed for a third.
I'm paranoid that the bus driver won't stop when she sees me standing anywhere but directly beside the pole designating the route number, so I make sure I position myself just so. This way, when I file my imaginary complaint with the MTA in the event that she blows me off, I can say there was no way she didn't see me. (Although of course I'd be delighted if she said she didn't see me because I'm as thin as the pole.) I also display the yellow side of my Metro card, all faux-casual-like, so there's no mistaking my intent.
Sometimes when my mom asks 40 billion questions about something that only requires maybe 20 tops and I want to put the phone down and run around town on errands while she's gabbing, with a dotted line charting my route like Little Billy in Family Circus takes a particularly hilarious circuitous route through the neighborhood, I remind myself that hey, she's not going to be around forever, so I can endure questions about last night's date or what I'm doing this weekend or where was I when she called earlier. Will I really miss it when she's gone? Fuck yeah.
We are the red roses whose petals you plucked with all the glee of a bully separating spiders from their legs, tossed with all the frenzy of a deranged flower girl in the foyer, up the stairs, down the hallway, over the threshold into the bedroom, and onto the bed amid its satiny throw pillows. We are embarrassed at the cliche, wish we could duck our heads like morning glories and apologize to your wife that you remembered your anniversary this way. We are the red roses who would have preferred a vase. She is the wife who prefers tulips.
I'm sorry, madam on the subway, if I stared. I thought you were having palpitations or a seizure. I didn't realize until it was too late that you were pinching your right exposed nipple with one hand as the other was down your pants, vigorously rubbing, bringing you to a shuddering, sputtering, muttering, sobbing orgasm that shook your bare midriff like chocolate pudding. How'd you know it was my birthday?
The man to my left peered briefly over his newspaper without any visible change in facial expression. Was I alone held surreptitiously spellbound by the demonstration of this ambidextrous autosexual?
"I have Crohn's disease," he says, amid the manly cheers of bar patrons whose focus is on the TV above our heads. Oh, so they're not reacting to his news? Okay.
I don't respond either because I don't know what it is. Is Crohn's the one where the eyes bug out? Nah, that's Graves', and his eyes look fine. A skin condition? From where I sit, his skin is intact and even glowy. So, ix-nay on the aves-Gray and no scaly flesh. I say nothing.
Once home, Google ruins any chances of romance with this guy via "inflammatory bowel disease".
My dreams tend to be marvelously bizarre, so much so that David Lynch could cull them not only for ideas for a TV series but for the full-blown content of a movie. Not for me the black and white linear dreams where the most remarkable event is that the layout of my mother's house features the dining room on the *other* side of the kitchen. Stephen King's got nothing on my dreams for sheer terror power. Subjected to what would be in store for him in one of my dreams, James Caan would beg Kathy Bates to hobble him again.
You have lived in this city for a decade. You have been out and about with big shots, thanks to your position as a portfolio manager at one of the nation's largest global financial services firms. You have dated here and there. You read books and magazines. You have eyes and ears and indeed they function well. So, how is it that you have not only have never eaten tofu but have no idea what it is? The word sounds so foreign coming from your mouth that it may as well be pronounced in Xhosa. Boy oh boy oh soy.
A friend was up front at today's rally, with a marvelously unobstructed view of all the shenanigans, hijinks, and all-around tomfoolery, jonfoolery, and stephenfoolery. On TV, I noticed that when Colbert was romping about, his rump looked like it was rather robust in those star-spangled slacks. The friend, via text feedback, confirmed that yes, Colbert was packin' some pumpkin! I was like holy moly, fuck, and mackerel, that's a tasty tush! I've always dug Colbert, but never noticed his delightful derriere! Who knew? Apparently not I. Or my friend, who was taken aback by the "back". Colbert's got back, baby!
You either 'get it' or you don't. My Match profile says, in part, "I look just as good in a tuxedo as I do in my motocross outfit," a play on the "I can easily go from jeans and T-shirt to black tie!" tripe. So, in discussing the ridiculous and banal profiles with a recent Match date, the guy told me I had a cliché in mine and cited the aforementioned line. I explained it was a joke and he still didn't get it. Needless to say, he's not getting 'it' either. "Let's do this again!" he said. As if.
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