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So far, in just five minutes, Lila's found the profile of George Washington, Texas and Hawaii (all the islands! in precise order!), a Volkswagen Beetle, and a Bison Terrier in the clouds. With each announcement, she grabs Roger's forearm and kisses his cheek. Not a bad deal for a second date, stretched out on this blanket under a sky so blue it looks fake. If he doesn't see anything in the clouds, will she consider it a deal-breaker? Should he point to any cloud and claim to see a sheep, on the hope it'll get him a bit of boob?
There are very few things about which I'm sure. I'm not sure if I really did kissTommy Berdini by the monkey bars during third-grade recess or if I invented that so I wouldn't have to admit that the first time I kissed a boy was at the spinsterish age of 12. I'm about 75% surer that I offered to share refuge under my umbrella to a handsome guy in Philadelphia (and he accepted). However, I'm 100% sure that in 1988 I slapped Glenn B. across the face (which was unacceptable). I wonder if any of them remember at all.
I have received what is best described as "angry baby-man goo-goo hate mail" from men on OKCupid whose profiles claim they're loving, mature, sensitive blokes with hearts not only of gold but of chocolate and sunshine. Amazing how this charming lot, sporting a wide variety of receding hairlines and ubiquitous paunches, photographed in front of motorcycles they probably don't know how to ride or with dogs who aren't even theirs, none of whom would have the guts to approach me in real life to whimper a hello, feel so comfortable being dicks from behind the safety of a computer screen.
My Bubby is so tiny that if it weren't for the sharpness of her knees beneath the sheets, I wouldn't think there was a body attached to the head that barely makes an indentation on the pillow. Is it possible she's even shorter than her usual 4'7"?
Even in her extreme condition, the colorless nursing home room seems an inappropriate backdrop for this little lady with the love of bold color. Her round black eyes, now the biggest part of her, follow me as I tiptoe closer. I hope she can't hear how loudly my heart is pounding.
"Hi, Bubby," I say, careful to neither whisper as if trying not to wake the dead nor shout as if confronted with a deaf foreigner. I wonder if she can sense my false cheerfulness.
She says nothing. Is she waving? Or is that just a tic?
The way she doesn't recognize me is not the same as the way I don't recognize her.
I do recognize the pink-polished nails, though. I'm happy to see someone has done it for her, and leave the polish I bought especially for her in my purse for another time.
Which never comes.
His breath isn't minty or lemony, she tells me. Rather, it smells faintly of dental office dentifrice masking a tinge of freshly-scraped plaque.
"But not in a really bad way," she says. "You know what I mean."
Really? Do I?
She goes on to tell me, despite my Mary-had-a-little-lamb protestations, that a whiff of her husband's crotch after several rounds of golf (why?) reveals a scent not unlike that of Campbell's chicken and stars soup and underarms like baked beans and boiled hot dogs.
"I sniff him because I suspect he's cheating."
What other woman would want this odiferous buffet?
Alas, my loudmouth, drunk and drugged up, music-blaring, incense-burning neighbor with the yellowing teeth that could have passed for George Washington's petrified wooden dentures, is long gone, but I still hold among my favorite memories the time one of his cretinous cronies stumbled out into the front hall outside his door, a mere 15 feet or so away from mine, and crowed something I couldn't decipher through all the drama. I flung open my door to find a chunk of a girl on a cell phone, tearful and melodramatic. "Oh, go take your teen angst outside," I said. Ahhh, memories!
I cannot wait for my mom to meet my boyfriend next month, to see her push food on him and for the two of them to compete for the coveted position of president of my fan club. I can't wait for him to moonwalk in the kitchen much to my sister's delight, and for my mom to do her ridiculous "flippy foot" slipper dance. I can't wait to show him my stucco-walled bedroom where I used to listen to Neil Young ad nauseam while embedded in my denim beanbag chair, daydreaming about one day meeting a boy just like him.
I don't know about you, but I prefer my mannequins to retain a certain inanimate quality, to not be as lifelike as living people. (Although, of course, one could argue that with the prevalence of plastic surgery, people are increasingly resembling mannequins.) The old-fashioned sort looked like even better-looking versions of Miss America but without the pesky humanity. The modern-day female variety displays such an alarming anatomical correctness that they appear to be in a constant state of response to extreme air conditioning. I am always prompted to think, "Is it cold in here? Or is it just the mannequins?"
There are worse things in life than having a ridiculously cute boyfriend who makes perfect vegan chocolate chip pancakes and home fries in your kitchen, serves them to you on a pretty plate with a trio of orange slices and two kinds of hot sauce, and who not only clears the dishes when you're done but washes them and cleans up the rest of the evidence of preparation, and telling you he';; do this for you for the rest of your life. If this were happening to someone else, I'd be fantastically jealous. But as it is, I'm fantastically joyous.
You're supposed to be out saving the city, Superheroine, leaping here and there, flexing your famous biceps, bending the bad guys to your will, taking down the forces of all-consuming evil, but for hours you're nowhere to be found. When you finally are, it's on a filthy park bench on the edge of town, hunched over to keep the nausea at bay after another bout of post-drinking-binge vomiting on your own boots, scuffed from tripping in your sloppy stupor. The tarnish is off your tiara, lazy slattern. Tomorrow's newspaper headline, in reverse on your cheek, will tell the sordid story.
On the better days, when I see the doppelganger of your car, parked on my street like it used to do, I recognize it as a cute red gumdrop or a puppy in a red coat or a Fisher-Price toy come to life, and it blends into the rest of my day, with very little, if any, attachment to you. On the worse days, I regard it as an understudy, waiting to walk onstage for a play that no one bothered to tell it had closed weeks ago, and it stands out from the rest of the day like neon.
The $20 cylinder of dark and milk chocolate malted milk balls would have been more than enough of a treat to bring to my friends' get-together, but there I was in Jacques Torres, so there was no way I was leaving without something else. I chose two plastic sleeves of almond bark and smiled at my boyfriend like I was buying a sex toy. I tried not to fall to the floor when the $47 total was announced. Because I didn't want to hurt the almond bark's feelings by putting it back, I handed the girl my card.
"The other night I had the craziest dream," Dennis says. "I dreamt I was a lawyer. That was weird."
I wait a beat, then two, then ten. I don't want to ask for details because I'm bored just by this overture. Finally, I can't stand the suspense
"Why?" I say.
"Because I'm not a lawyer."
"That's it. I'm not a lawyer, so it's weird that I'd dream I was."
"Wow," I want to say. "When you dream, dream BIG!"
I don't have to Google "dream interpretations" to decode this one. Translation: You are as dynamic as cold grilled cheese.
(From 3/13 -- whoops!)
I figure if I'm spending this much on chocolate, at least I'll get the benefit of enjoying it too. However, when presented with the gift, my friend exclaims over the extravagance but only opens the malted milk balls. Still, I'm eyeing the almond bark, intact in its cellophane.
Thanks to her bizarre obsessive-compulsiveness, I know she won't allow me access to the kitchen to find a serving dish, so I attempt a few passive-aggressive remarks designed to nudge her.
Instead, she says, "Later I'll be gnawing on this like a rat!"
Next time: Brach's bridge mix.
Yesterday I ordered a 24-hour rental of "Love and Other Drugs" from Amazon but watched only 45 minutes. When I tried to resume today, I found that my rental had expired. I was secretly relieved because I wasn't really liking the movie anyway and had only rented it to see Anne Hathaway naked. Although I got to see plenty o' that (and "those"!) in those 45 minutes, I still couldn't decide whether I got the full value of my $4.99. For the splittest of split seconds I considered spending another $4.99 to decide. But didn't. I'm so proud of myself.
Yes, you are indeed the first person from [two-bit shit town] to tell me that the mortgage for her house that's [8, 12, 50] times larger than my Manhattan apartment is [1/4, 1/2, 28/63] what I pay for rent. I've only lived here for 11 years, and since we don't have a big library or even get the internet or TV or newspapers, I had no idea it was such an expensive city. Thank you, also, for informing me that on your recent trip here, you didn't find New Yorkers to be rude at all!
P.S. Love your fucking Keds.
In the four years I was with D, the only time we went to Central Park was in June, to Harlem Meer and the conservatory gardens. How fitting, that we visited one of the park's ends, mere weeks before the relationship ended. One of the best balms for the breakup was stumbling upon parts that I'd visited years ago but hadn't remembered how to get back to. I recently took my adorable new boyfriend to a few of those parts, including glorious Bethesda Fountain. I can't wait to claim the rest of the park with him this spring! Ah, rebirth!
Often I don't remember the grandest gestures, but rather the smaller, less humble ones. This stems from a lifelong focus on the "small stuff", the stuff that some may consider as being representative of the little picture but which is really indicative of the big one.
I will never forget the man in Philadelphia who, coming upon a pigeon pecking in vain at a cracker on the sidewalk, stopped in his own tracks for a second and crushed the cracker into pieces more manageable for the pigeon and went on his way as if he hadn't just done something remarkable.
At the GLAAD Media Awards, the volunteers in my group were in the ballroom for the auction portion of the event. We were divided into four quadrants, each assigned a different color light sword. The way we all acted when they gave them out, you would've thought we were the high bidders in the auction. I looked super-tough with that thing.
Using my sword, I aided some rich person in winning something for $6,000. I didn't give a shit about what she won; I just wanted to take the light sword home. Alas, we had to give them back. Whatever.
It's depressing enough that Knut, the polar bear who gained superstar status four years ago as a cub the size of a large puppy, died Saturday in his compound, but this (found in a PETA article) -- "the zoo had tried to unload the less-cute adult Knut to another zoo when his lucrative 'cub-ness' had dried up" -- makes me murderous, reminding me of people who discard their dogs when they outgrow the adorable chubby puppy stage. Ah, yes, the arrogance of human beings, and their greedy need for animals to amuse them for their own gain. Deplorable.
How sad, that Knut was deemed "not cute" because he had the audacity to grow up -- and sad that he didn't get to grow up even more. Animals are done a great disservice by being adored only during the "cuddly" stage when we envision snuggling them on our laps like plush toys. It's easy to love something when it's young and fresh and its fur is untouched by smog or dirt or experience. Real love extends beyond that and is ageless and timeless. I would have loved to have seen Knut mature into a wise old bear.
She's the prettiest volunteer, clomping in high heels like a tomboy, arms flailing in accompaniment to the raucous comments stumbling from her Angelina Jolie lips. I want to tell her she reminds me of Angelina Jolie, but better, but I resist because I'm sure she's heard it from dozens of other idiots. We're inseparable most of the night, and I gaze at her like a freshman boy crushing on a senior, at the same time "hating" her for being so beautiful yet unaffected. Later, when she's barefoot, changing into flats, I am thrilled to see she has Fred Flintstone feet.
My landlord knows less Spanish than the handyman knows English, but he insists on peppering their exchanges with Spanish words that even the most lackadaisical remedial third grader would get correct on a pop quiz. When instructing the man where to put the ladder, he points and says, "Aqui, aqui." When expressing satisfaction, he says "bueno." Occasionally he'll really wow 'em with an expansive polysyllabic effort such as "trabajando". All with a very bad accent. How I'd love if someday the handyman would say, in Queen's English, "Would you kindly stop doing that?" I'd pay good pesos to hear it.
I look up at you or down at you or aside at you or any preposition at you and can't believe I'm looking at you at all. This seems like a dream, that we are together, that whatever groovy cosmic forces conspired to bring us here actually got their shit together and made it possible that we would wind up not only meeting and liking each other but really digging each other big-time, and not from minute two or minute three but minute one, or, scratch that, second one. From the get-go, you know. So let's never let go. (Okay?)
Are people really so mindless that the only way they're willing to get past prunes' historically maligned image is if they're repositioned as individually-wrapped candy-like treats, as Sunsweet has done by introducing them as "Ones"? I don't know what rankles me more: That this moronic mind-game will actually work on the general public or that all of that wasteful, unnecessary wrapping won't faze most self-proclaimed health-conscious cretins targeted by the advertisers. I suppose none of this should surprise me and that instead I should just be happy that I'm capable of knowing that this rebranding is plum full of shit.
I just found an errant piece of Cap'n Crunch under my keyboard from, like, 1964. So, did I pop it in my mouth without a second thought, like a rabid raccoon? Does a Quaker (Oats) worship in silence?
It had retained the same quality of crunch as that of a fresh-from-the-box piece. Rather than being frightened, I choose to believe this means that whatever preservative is responsible for such remarkable crunch retention will attach itself to my viscera and ensure my eternal youth, which will then insist I throw a tantrum for more Cap'n Crunch. It's a vicious cereal cycle.
Three months ago, I met you in Penn Station and grinned so hard I thought my face was going to fall off. When only face to face with you for mere seconds, I wanted to whisk you off to a place where we would not have the coffee we'd planned. Your pictures did you no justice. They didn't capture the shine of your hair, the sweetness of your sidelong glances when I don't think you thought I noticed, the sincerity in your gentle question, "Can I hold your hand?" I cannot tell you how happy I am to know you.
I've stumbled upon Facebook pages dealing with dogs who have been abandoned, abused, and tortured at the hands of mostly faceless hunks of vile trash. At the same time that I want to find the filth responsible for these indescribable acts of cruelty and treat them to a public stoning followed by drawing and quartering and another handful of punishments that still wouldn't come close to the crimes they've committed, I want to meet every person who has shown up to support the dogs and hug them individually for the sweetest of words and love for dogs they've never met.
Damn that purloined gift bag I felt entitled to after volunteering at the GLAAD Media Awards. Damn its Reese's mini peanut butter cups in the bright orange bag that clamored for my attention every time I opened the kitchen cabinet. Damn me for finally being unable to resist tearing it open, way too late in the day for such beastly shenanigans, and thinking I could limit the damage to one ounce, 11 pieces, for 200 calories. Damn me for considering an eight-ounce bag a single serving. Solution: Two hours, 32.5 miles, on the bike. I'm sure my sweat was sweet.
In the semi-darkness, you tell me that you've been living in the shadow of the one who came before you. But in the three months you and I have been together, I've learned more about you than I did about him in four years, and you know more about me than he ever did, even though he claimed he had me all figured out. It is impossible for you to live in his shadow, my sweet boy. I shine no light his way anymore, so there's nothing to cast one. All my light (and dark and shade) is for you.
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