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Today' date, 100111, oh such a binary one! (Get it? "Oh … one"?) (oy) If only I could remember what binary meant or how to use it or why it exists. All I can remember about it is that when I did know what it was, I thought it was really cool and a language that only I and a handful of other dorky middle school classmates could use to write top secret messages to each other using lemon juice and a toothpick. Now it just makes me think of bar codes, which make me think of concentration camp tattoos. Lovely.
Of the eight puppies, the one with the most dramatic markings, the tiny version of his mama (Mamaduke, I'm calling her) is obviously the favorite, and the one with the white "scarf" around her black neck, is a close second. The three black pups appear identical, and I feel bad because I'm convinced they're not as coveted by the people watching on the webcam. In still shots where they're held up to the camera, I see the surprise markings on their bellies and faces, and swoon. I wish they would spend more time on their backs so everyone could see!
"What kind of bagels do you have?" I ask the gruff, hurried waiter.
"Plain and plain," he says, without a smile.
"Then I'll have the plain," I say, with one.
He comes back a minute later.
"No plain, just raisin," he says, still not smiling.
I want to say, "Raisin and raisin?" but don't.
"That okay?" he says.
"I'm using the bagel to make a sandwich with the homefries, and the idea of sweet raisins with salty homefries is gross, so NO, it's NOT okay! Cancel my order!" I want to say. But don't.
"Sure," I say, forcing a smile.
Behold a perhaps boring list of things that make me inordinately happy:
Flannel pajamas, anytime, but especially when it's too early for pajamas even for a senior citizen or a baby
Ordering dinner in, especially the moment the delivery person rings the bell and I know the wait is over and I can get into the aforementioned flannel pajamas
Having Indian food with a friend who is intolerant of gluten so I can have all the naan
Deciding to fall asleep on purpose on my insanely-easy-to-sleep-on sofa
When the laundromat dryer stops spinning the moment I approach.
The round-shouldered quasi-pinhead sends me a message via OKCupid that reads like a hiccup or bad syncopation or staccato. I know what I must do. I record myself reading it, in a voice that I imagine would belong to him, and then play it back on my ReverseBeatlesAlbum software. Lo and behold, my hunch was correct! What appeared in print to be a poorly punctuated message typed by a dolt, when played aloud, was an articulate plea to look at the sender's photo upside down in a mirror. I printed it out and raced to the bathroom. Gregory Peck 2012!!!
You don't have to remove your shoes immediately upon entering my apartment. Indeed, you don't have to remove them tens minute after or even 400 hours after entering, unless your plans include putting your feet on the sofa or crawling into my bed. You can even keep your shoes on if you're only here to take a random shower and then be on your way. I never want to be one of these people who thinks her home is so sacred and pristine that the regular course of being moderately peripatetic in dry conditions is going to taint the place.
I planned to be a hermit, using as an excuse the chilly drizzly air and the joys of avoiding it by snuggling under a blanket with my cat, watching as many 30 Rock episodes as I could cram inside my cranium, but the cat needed food and a box needed UPS drop-off, so I braved the outdoors, even throwing in a jaunt to a shoe store where I tried on purple vegan Doc Martens and platonically chatted up a married guy who dug that the boots matched my fingernails. Incredible, what just half an hour out and about will do.
Photos sent by my ex-sister-in-law type person reveal that my ex-boyfriend has reverted to his pre-me suburban schlub incarnation, complete with flourishing SPG (soft pliable gut, a delightful phrase my sister and I came up with years ago, before we knew this guy even existed), doughy arms, an outfit that would make Garanimals run screaming for the hills, and a haircut apparently crafted via a broken bowl. Since our breakup two years ago, I'd wished that a law of nature would reveal itself that would rescind all improvements made during the course of a relationship. Alas, my wish came true.
When the check comes, we're startled at the cost of our lunch. $65.90? The sandwich board outside said, "BUFFET $12.95". We call the man over who'd filled our water glasses and had greeted us with a perfect-toothed grin at the chafing dishes each time we'd gone back for all we could eat.
"We thought it was all you can eat," I say. back for all we could eat.
"Oh, it is," he says, flashing teeth. "But there's a $20 surcharge when you get the handsome server." back for all we could eat.
We should have known. The people around us, served by a hunchback, had squealed with delight when their checks came.
Seize the day, seize the day, seize the motherfuckin' day, I often think, after reading something "inspirational" or having someone die on me (not literally, natch) or waking up in a weird mood that makes me realize damn it, life is unbelievably short and one day I'm just NOT GOING TO BE HERE. Seize the day, squeeze the day, wring it dry, then wet it again and wring it again until your hands and muscles ache and your brow is sweating. And then five minutes later I'm a lump on the sofa, saying, "Fuck it, I want a nap." Oy.
Oh my way home from the gym some mornings, I devise new routes through Central Park, finding my way alone without relying on my phone's GPS. This, for a girl who gets lost if she exits Macy's from a different door from which she entered. A few times I've thought, "What if I get lost?" Then I realize, wait, it's not like I'm plopped down in the middle of the Redwood Forest without a compass (like I'd even know how to use one). Wherever I wind up is fine.
Somewhere in this is a really cheesy "life lesson". I cringe.
I cannot think of one "happy hour" that I truly wanted to go to without reservation, that I didn't dread on some level. It's not that I'm a habitual happy hour hound, or that I ever went on a regular basis -- indeed, the number of times is probably lower than my age, which would mean lower than once a week for a year (but barely) (oy!). My sort of happy hour is being under a smooshy blanket on my sofa with my purring cat, in yoga pants, tank top, tearin' it up with an ice-cold Diet Coke. Yay, spinster!
He had all the elements I thought would be essential for a successful "connection" (deafening eyeroll): Black glossy hair, not shnooky-short, just long enough to be groovy; great military-type jacket, jeans, casual boots; compact body and height; an amazing Basset Hound who he talked to exactly the way I talk to dogs; moderately liberal use of profanity without sounding crass; edgy enough so he didn't blur into the scenery; good-sized Pre-War apartment in the West Village, just disheveled enough to be welcoming and not uptight. One major flaw, not his fault at all: He wasn't and never will be *you*.
He looks like his profile photos, but something is lost in the one dimension between two and three and I'm already wishing to press the fast-forward button, hear the garbled squeal of the conversation we'll soon be having, and be home again after the get-together (I refuse to call it a "date"). As I approach, he doesn't come into better focus, and even as I stand in front of him, pretending not to be awkward, his edges remain blurry. For the duration of our time together, I feel like I'm a swirl of color and he's stagnant black and white.
The mushrooms , round and plump, look forlorn on the plate next to the green and red pepper strips, carrots, and other more colorful friends. They're the wallflowers on the buffet table, watching as cheese and crackers and all the others dance their way onto paper plates. I feel out of place too, as I usually do at these things, so I pop a mushroom in my mouth. And discover it is a small boiled potato, ever so lightly salted and perfect. I feel like I've found the prom queen hiding in the cloak room. Your dance card is filled!
Ahhh, yes, purple vegan Doc Martens, fresh out of the box and smoother and less creased than a baby's bottom and a lot more kissable (note: I have less than zero desire to kiss a baby's ass). I need to wear these boots to Fairway regularly so the produce guys and cashiers alike get so used to seeing my purple feet that they don't even notice the day I come in barefoot and walk out with two eggplants strapped to my feet, the price I have to pay for spending money on footwear that could have been spent on food.
Why did I think this time around on OKCupid would be any better than the last? I'm deluged with notes from so many morons who think they've got what it takes to woo me but whose photos lead me to believe they spend all their free time taking mirror photos of themselves. How many more cliché-ridden cretins who claim they see the glass as half full, love fine dining and wine, enjoy exploring the city, and LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!!! will blatantly disregard everything I wrote in my profile and contact me anyway, thinking I won't be reading theirs?
While you certainly can go home again, if you're like me you'll stand in front of the building that houses the last apartment you lived in there and sigh and get all misty, even though you left that city for one you like much more. You'll wish for keys to enter, because yes, 12 years later the locks will still be the same, and when you enter your old place and the current tenants look up from their laptops and ask you what the hell you're doing, you'll want to tell them, "Um, coming home. Who the fuck are YOU?"
I just chugged a can of Tab faster than you can say, "The only people who drink that crap anymore are former anorexics and gayboys." In the words of Ralph Malph, I STILL GOT IT.
A friend from Indianapolis was astonished that I was able to find it. I told her it's readily available at a bodega just a hop, skip, and sashay away. After all, I live on the Upper West Side, which has more Jewesses Who Went To High School In The 1970s per capita than anywhere else in the galaxy. It's like stocking poppers in Chelsea. Please.
No one seems to think it's odd that Marvin has taken up residence in his mother's "baby oven" 41 years after he vacated it. No one questions how he got back in there, how he managed to do it without his mother noticing, or why he didn't leave a note explaining anything. Margo, his girlfriend, suspects it's to get out of buying her a birthday present; Mr. Horvath, his landlord, is pretty sure it's to avoid paying this month's rent; and his mother, says she doesn't really mind, but she just wishes he would have taken his shoes off first.
Fortunately, my visiting friend is easy to please and only wants to walk around doing nothing in particular when she visits from the Philadelphia area. I wouldn't want to have to show someone a so-called good time, to have to do anything pointedly "fun", to be responsible for making sure the experience is something worthy of 4,000 Instagram photos for Facebook or even bragworthy once the visitor's back home. I don't want my or anyone associated with me to be part of the touristy tapestry. I'd rather be a snagged thread or a dropped stitch. And if unraveled, even better.
Ahhh, yes, I should have known when I created a new OKCupid profile (again my own better judgment) that I was leaving myself open for the same kind of moronic nonsense that I'd encountered the first time around. Why did I think that anything would have changed in the two years since my old one? Many are still lying about their age, others are trying way too hard to be funny and failing, and those who write me thoughtful notes lose what little luster they may have had after the first volley or so. Still, why is it strangely "addictive"?
Next month I'm off to Seattle, for a long overdue change of place and space and face. Visiting two guys and their almost-15-year-old dog, Vinnie, a part of the country I've never visited, whose streets are completely new to me, a city I know almost nothing about except for its tendency to be overcast. For some reason Seattle strikes me as "cool", not pointedly hip like Portland per Portlandia or "weird" like Austin insists on reminding us. It's the quietly groovy guy in the corner, observing and commenting, participating but without making a spectacle of himself. I hope I'm right.
Evidence that I may be a simpleton: This morning when I glanced at several coins in my palm after a Trader Joe's transaction, I stopped mid-stride in the center of the sidewalk, transfixed not only by the brilliant glint of three pennies but by an unfamiliar design on their non-Lincoln side. "Why didn't anyone TELL me about this?" I wondered. I wanted to show the next passerby what I'd just discovered, but resisted. I squinted like a geezer at the year (2012) and uttered a satisfied little "Hmmmph!" I've always been mesmerized by new coins. Some things never, um, change.
Some days, perhaps even most, all it takes is a dog doing dog things -- like today, a Wheaten Terrier gulp-lapping water spraying from the green hose otherwise being used on the sidewalk outside The Dakota, his beard getting an inadvertent but probably much-needed bath thanks to playing ball with his pop in Central Park. That's all it will take to make my day. And when your day is made and it's not even 8:00 a.m., that's not too shabby. I'll have to recall today on one of the days when I fear nothing will penetrate or illuminate the darkness.
I'm visiting Philadelphia, hanging with the boyfriend I lived there with for eight years, and we're sounding like those gross people who chortle mightily over lists of "If you remember [some nostalgic whatnot], then you're [basically an old fuck]" you hear on the radio from time to time. Look, the little diner we used to go to on Saturday mornings in the late '80s is now a sterile Walgreens. The pizza place is now a hipster bar. The old charm has been replaced with new smarm, or what we geezers this is smarm but the kidz think is cool. Feh.
Okay, so nine months have passed since the breakup. Time enough for me to have had a baby! Holy fucking non-cow moly. The mind reels, the body recoils, the so-called biological clock says that clock has ticked its last tock, and the heart, yes, the heart still breaks. I've heard (who knows where) it said that getting over a breakup takes half the time the relationship lasted, so by that calculation I should've been over this in mid-August. Funny, but that's when he was here, saying he wanted "friendship". Easy for him to say. It won't ever be for me.
Does "no gifts" for a party really mean no gifts? I plan to heed the hostess' wishes but don't want to wind up looking like an awkward, gullible cheapskate in the event others didn't believe it, disregarded it, and bring gifts wrapped more beautifully than I even intend to dress. I don't want to have to scrape a linty orange Tic-Tac from the bottom of my grandma pocketbook and wrap it in a dollar bill at the last minute, upon being faced with the realization that "no gifts" comes with a secret P.S. of "but we don't really mean it".
I cannot tell if this thing on my neck, just beneath where Mattel has attached my hair, is a blemish of sorts or a tick. But here my curious furious fingers are, on a pokey mission to ensure that whatever it is vacates the premises posthaste. I can't imagine how a skin-sin could sprout there or how a tick would've taken root, but either way, I'm disgusted. No telltale signs of blood when I glance at my tenacious fingertips, alas. As gross as that would have been, I would've preferred to be mistaken for a woodland creature than a teenager.
Sandy has come and gone, and my life has gone unscathed. My pinwheel and wind chimes spun and jingled, but in no way indicated that anything more than an occasional burst of air found its way into the courtyard to make itself known, as if to remind me, ever so politely, that, "Hey, there's a big-ass motherfuck of a storm out here, all right?" Rain, too, was no tantrum. Lights flickered only a handful of times around 10:30, a mere wink, a brief jot on the back of Sandy's calling card. If only everyone else could have been so fortunate.
If your brats are whining because they didn't get to shout "boo" at the top of their lungs while running down Broadway and cram grimy fistfuls of candy into their gaping maws because of the storm that devastated not only New York City but the world beyond it (yes! it exists!), I cordially invite you to bring the little fuckers to my place. I'll dress up as Sandy and give them something to really cry about, and I'll talk your ears off about what a shitty job you're doing insofar as teaching them about compassion and priorities. Boo fucking hoo.
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