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I don't want to go home. I want to have someone pack up all my stuff, cram it all into a Hello Kitty airplane with a propeller, and have Shana pilot it while wearing big goggles and a headset and saying all sorts of technical mumbo-jumbo into a microphone, to join me in a quaint apartment in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I feel at home here, on the rocky beaches, the highway to Big Sur, hiking up the huge hill to the deserted, with a vista so gorgeous it brought me to tears. Manhattan is going to feel like a cluttered junk drawer.
Who am I to tell her she can't wear toddler-style arm "floaties" in a public setting that doesn't include any body of water except for the 20-ounce bottle she's wearing on a lanyard around her neck along with what appears to be a skate key and a five-dollar bill? True, I'm her therapist, and I can tell her it's silly or irrational, or just that it looks stupid, but who am I to talk? Five minutes before her arrival, I knocked wood after confiding in a friend that I think the nagging pain in my left arm is bone cancer!
Everyone on the bus wonders what it is that the pretty girl with the small red bow in her '30s-styled black hair is smiling about in a way that seems so private they don't dare disturb her. Is it a boy she fancies, one whose watch is on a fob inside his vest? A rosewater macaron secreted in the sleeve of her jacket? Only she knows that she fantasizes of the dental floss she always carries inside her tiny handbag and the heroic way she knows it will someday be put to use, braided into a life-saving rope or something.
"You look like someone I would have known had I lived the life I didn't choose," he says, finally sitting down next to me after glancing at me intermittently since Wall Street. I understand what he's saying, even though I'm not quite sure there isn't a double negative in there somewhere.
"It's a compliment," he says. "I would've seen you walking on the street, and I would've told you there was something about the way you walked that made me stop to say hello."
We reach my stop, and I don't know if I wish he'd followed me off the train.
In case you're ever in need of a prop that perfectly mimics the bilious product of a cirrhotic hobo's liver for a community theater production, your kindergartner's Hallowe'en pageant costume, or for your own sizzling, romantic "role-playing", I present the perfect recipe, easily achieved in the Vitamix: One cup water, 1 Sambazon acai smoothie pack, 1 honey crisp apple, 2 pitted dates, and a fistful of dollars (and by "dollars", I mean spinach). If you plan to drink concoction this rather than use it as aforementioned, please know that although it may not be pretty, it still tastes pretty good.
I hear her meowing as I approach the my apartment door after being gone for a week. "I'm home, my love!" I call out, struggling to not drop the keys, fumbling with my suitcase. Sleeplessness on the red-eye has left me an odd hybrid of catatonic and restless. I cross the threshold, and there she is, my curvy black cat, staring at me like I've only been gone for a few hours in the morning, at the gym, as usual. I, of course, am the dog in this family, and slobber all over her, in near tears of delight. Woof.
Often I write these 100 Words out of order. For instance, I'm "secretly" typing this on 10/13 (the cat's WAY out of the bag now, yes?), to warn you that in the entry for 10/9 I mistyped the word "circus" as "circle". I know you could figure that out on your own, but I, ever the crazed perfectionist, need people to know I'm aware of the error! I cannot have you thinking I think people run off to the CIRCLE. Because we all know that when they run off to a geometric shape, the preferred one is the rhomboid. Duh.
There is no shame in saying, "I don't know" or "I don't understand" when you don't know the answer to a question or don't understand what someone is talking about. It's a shame that so many people are compelled to act like know-it-alls when they know very little, if anything, about whatever is being discussed. Are these people's egos so damned fragile that they consider admitting they don't know or understand to be a devastating sign of weakness? Show some real strength and say, simply, "I don't know." No one likes a know-it-all who knows nothing. This much I know.
Ronald tells me of his pipe dreams. I tell him I know of his desire to run away with the circle and be the bearded lady and to own his own cheese shop in the Alps, even though he's so agoraphobic he has the drugstore one block away deliver root beer to his doorstep. But he says, no, literal pipe dreams, and describes a corn cob pipe in which he will smoke creamed corn "even though it sounds vaguely cannibalistic” and a classic reddish wood and black plastic 1970s dad pipe packed with sweet cherry tobacco fresh from the humidor.
I have taken to strolling around the city with a telescoping periscope affixed to my head in a special harness/contraption fashioned by a man named Ivan who lives just down the street, whose acquaintance I made several weeks ago when he found me bouncing on a pogo stick outside his window so I could catch a glimpse of him in his studio apartment playing the violin at dusk. Rather than being angry at the invasion of his privacy, he was delighted, but said, "There must be a better way, my friend." And this, beneath my top hat, is it. Voila!
Despite my secret (!) eye-rolling at both the word "smoothie" and people who drank them, not only did I discover I liked them but actually loved them thanks to my friend Peter, who made me one every day I was in California. So, I bought the Vitamix, figuring it would "pay for itself", even though I knew that had I not done so I would not be trotting around the city in hot smoothie pursuit. Well, it *has* paid for itself already, when I took it to a movie and it pulled out its own wallet for a ticket! Smooth!
When I say I wish I had a time machine, it's so I can go back to fifth grade and not fuck up on purpose on my callback for the role of Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz", back to 1998 to "go for it" with the crazy, hot lacrosse-playing associate in the law office file-room as I pretended to Acco-fasten a "chron" file, and so many other reasons. It seems Time-Warner has heeded my plea but has only taken me back to 1996 so my Internet connection can be as sporadic and mind-numbingly slow as connecting via AOL dial-up.
I truly, truly, TRULY do not belong in 2013. Despite the fact that I love my Vitamix, dehydrator, and the Internet, if it were 40+ years earlier and I had an Oster blender, a toaster oven, stationery and a fun pen and stamps, a dictionary and microfiche and the library, and a bike, I'd be happy to be back there (but at my current age). But barring that time machine I've mentioned, it's probably impossible, so I'll dress the part instead. Can I create my own 1971-ish bubble in 2013 (but still carry my cell just in case of emergency)?
Her legs are so long they look like they're dangling from brass fasteners affixed to her shoulders like a Hallowe'en skeleton decoration. Her eyelashes would cause Liza Minelli to shoot daggers. Her nose is as tiny as Wilma Flintstone's. She's holding onto the subway pole in second position, wanting everyone to recognize her as a ballet student. She sneers at a chunky girl seated several feet away. A woman, obviously her mom, stands next to her, the same height and about 80 pounds heavier. I snicker to myself, envisioning Little Miss Ballet Barre 25 years and 80 pounds from now.
Tanning salons in Manhattan couldn't look more anachronistic if they popped the collars of their Izod shirts, slid their sockless feet into penny loafers, buried their hands in the pockets of their Z. Cavaricci jeans, and flashed a Chiclet grin at their Wayfarer'd eyes in the rear-view mirror of their Volkswagen Rabbits. Has all of this turning back of the clock poppycock we've been doing all these years somehow managed to clog up the time-plumbing like so much feathered hair in the shower drain, and instead of going back in time a mere 60 minutes we've gone back 30 years?
Tall strawberry-blond beardy boy guy on Broadway yesterday afternoon, lurking several feet from a comedy club entrance, holding a folder or clipboard, which automatically repels me as much as if he were swinging an enormous turkey drumstick while simultaneously singing a Steely Dan song: "Hey, do you like COMEDY?"
Me: No! In fact, I really dislike laughter. Him, sneering, all pale-like: And what part of Jersey ARE you from?
How I wanted to say, "Ahh, yes, there's a reason why you're here on the sidewalk peddling tickets for the show rather than actually onstage performing."
Now, THAT would've been hii-i-i-i-iiiii-iiilarious.
The day my mom tells me my brother's cat was killed by a car, I'm lounging on the sofa with Shana, telling her how much I love her. While my nose is inches from hers, I notice gray fur near her nose and mouth, peppering the otherwise all-black silkiness. I try to convince myself it's dust but remember a friend who, meeting her for the first time the day before, commented on how cute the gray was on her face (which I discounted as a trick of the room's lighting). She's almost 14, so why does this break my heart?
I really must learn how to PROPERLY pronounce "Catahoula", so when I see a dog on the street who may be a Catahoula, in whole or in part, and I want to sound all fancy-pants knowledgeable, I don't wind up saying, "Oh! Is he a mix of Jack Russell and CALLA LILY CAT HULA HOOP???", like I did about three minutes ago.
Trying hard to reconcile the fact that I have friends on Facebook who not only like Olive Garden but who go so far as to "like" it on Facebook, which is, like, a pretty big commitment.
Yesterday some madcap grapeseed oil took it upon itself to spill onto my hardwood floors, resulting in a Rorschach effect that resembles a stunning dame in gogo boots lying to a bearded landlord about the origin of the stain. Because I don't want life to imitate this inadvertent art, I need a way to reverse the damage or at least lessen it. Sprinkling the splotches with baking soda, as Internet geniuses suggest, did zip, rendering me nauseated enough to consider mixing some with water to drink. So, dear friends, are any of you "fix-it" types with helpful knowhow to share?
Okay, so my birthday is in SIX DAYS. I have plans for the actual day, with my bestest (yes, I just said "bestest") friend in the world, but would love to celebrate with others too, at various other times. I'm not one for massive blowouts, groups of people en masse, but prefer little phalanxes (NO, I did not say "phallus") here and there instead. So, let me know if you'd like to help REJOICE that I've been on this planet for half a fucking century, and we'll, like, do it up. down, and all around. Thank you, and good day!
I just caught Shana laughing over old Cathy comics on the patio, where I'd let her out a few minutes earlier. Apparently she's been squirreling away clippings in a "fort" she created beneath the makeshift shelving I placed to in the corner for planters to rest on, which I thought was home only to dried leaves and her occasional cigarette butts. But this? Totally unacceptable. Seeing your cat contorting her mouth into the Cathy "Ack!" shriek is something I hope none of you ever have to witness. "At least it wasn't Garfield," she said. She has a point. I guess.
C'mon, I can do better than dusty schlubs. I take way too good care of myself to settle for some guy with straw for hair and a body that looks like he's smuggling a Schnauzer under his shirt, who owns one pair of shoes, which he pairs with socks that, if not tube, are awfully close. Although I'd dig a fop who dresses like a cross between Mr. Peanut, Crispin Glover, and Don Hollinger, I'd be delighted if a fella would appear in something that doesn't make me think he dipped into the hamper for whatever was the least wrinkled.
For Immediate Release: The Adele song "Someone Like You" has been banished from every venue on this or any other planet in which there is even the remotest possibility for karaoke. Regardless of whether a person is an adorable musical theater major with stars in his eyes, glitter in his hair, and a Cosmopolitan in his hand, a secretary who finds solace singing to herself in the shower, or even Adele herself, regardless of level of ability, the song is strictly forbidden. Violators are subject to lifetime in solitary confinement, where they are free to warble to their heart's content.
Street Notes No. 4
Asian woman, 40 or so, with short rumpled hair, who, if not for the bright purple purse on her lap, would look like she was mistaking the subway for her sofa. Munching quietly on a cylindrical object held in her right hand, plastic wrap peeled down to the precise point where she's eating. It's corn on the cob, white with occasional darker kernels, and she hasn't missed a single one. She makes no sound, no mess, no rush, eating with neat order, around the cob. I wonder: From whose front door did she nab the cob?
Although my birthday isn't until tomorrow, I'm technically 600.03 months old right now, thanks to leap years. If anyone asks my age tomorrow, as people often do when they know it's your SPECIAL DAY, I will hold up both hands, palms out, and say, "THIS many!" and open and close my hands 60 times. But for today, I'll just stick to saying, "Gee whiz, I'm 18,262 days old!" as I fiddle with the bottom of my pinafore and swing my shoulders to and fro, the toes of my black patent maryjanes turned inward, and try not to suck my thumb.
Should I have prepared a list of 50 items in various categories in homage of this, my 50th birthday? Should I have penned a memoir of sorts, a musing, amusing or otherwise, upon having reached a half a century, in which I claim to have learned certain things, gained wisdom, become a much better person than I was half a lifetime ago? Should I have surprised myself with a gala fete complete with a live band and pretty people flitting about offering vegan hors d'oeuvres on silver salvers? Good god no. At 50, I know myself better than that. L'chaim!
At Whole Foods this morning, a little Asian lady about my age ever so lightly hit my cart with hers in the cleaning supplies aisle as she was passing by en route to the Mrs. Meyer's. She laughed gently and said, "I'm so sorry! It's my bad driving!" I laughed, Casablanca scrubbing sponges in hand, assured her it was no problem at all, and apologized for being in the way (which I was, a little). Does it make me horribly racist because I immediately wondered if she made the reference to her "bad driving" in acquiescent acknowledgment of the stereotype?
She wants me to read again for the new series she's producing on her own, in a bigger, better venue. I am one of her favorite storytellers. It's really hard to find people like me, she says. I have a natural gift, and should write a new story and tell it. I should, and I will, yet the thought fills me with giddiness and nausea simultaneously. And of course I wonder, what will I wear? And think, oh, naturally, my most fabulous Marlo Thomas/That Girl ensemble, complete with false eyelashes and shimmery tights. And all else will fall into place.
My eyebrows aren't as Brooke Shieldsish as I would like. Often, in photos, they appear Whoopi Goldbergesque, which is not a look generally considered attractive on this planet. This morning, a friend gave me a well-known eyebrow "filler" to use, and it was with a fair amount of excitement that I just tried it here in the privacy of my home. I'm delighted to report that, with this product, I look like a cross between Peter Gallagher, George Whipple, and Jerry Seinfeld's Uncle Leo after Elaine wielded the Sharpie, a look that I am confident will serve me quite well.
While out and about this morning, my shoes decided it'd be cute if their soles separated from the uppers so that they'd appear like flapping Muppet mouths happy to gab with the West Village sidewalks. A stray ponytail holder on the street served to secure the worse of the two shoes until I reached my destination. En route home, I bought a pack of holders, using one for the other shoe. By the time I got off the subway, the solution failed, so I removed both shoes and pretended I was in a Mentos commercial. Life, lemons, lemonade, or something!
I arrived at Judson Memorial 15 minutes late, but only missed the first part of the opening music, which could have served double-duty as a sleeping pill. The chairs were arranged in a large circle, about four rows deep, which threw me off a bit because it didn't look like the other church service I'd attended in the same space this summer. I prayed that this configuration didn't mean we'd be required to introduce ourselves, one by one, like on the first day of elementary school. Even though I'm an atheist, I'm still thanking God that my prayer was answered.
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