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Indulge my momentary laziness, won't you?
HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR HAPPY NEW YEAR
Hey, at least I typed each HAPPY NEW YEAR out instead of doing a cut-and-paste, right? Never mind that half of the NEW were first typed as NEAR no matter how much I admonished myself not to keep making that error.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! (17 total)
My cat is out of food and it's late and I don't feel like walking to the usual place to get it, so I stop in a store on West 72nd. Immediately upon entering I wish I hadn't because I can tell the place sells some sort of animal. My search for cat food takes me toward the back, where all sorts of birds are in cages in a separate room I can see through its big glass windows. I can barely keep from crying as I apologize to all of them, even though I know they can't hear me.
We've just arrived at my best friend and her boyfriend's apartment for the New Year's Eve party. A few people are already there, and my friend is in the kitchen area, preparing the food (mostly vegan!), as her boyfriend makes introductions and gives us the "tour". I join my friend to girl-gab. She asks where my guy is, and hers says he's still in the bedroom. "What, is he napping after his seven-hour drive?" I joke, and go to "find" him. He's there, all right, on the bed, gently stroking the cat's fur and talking to her. I swoon mightily.
I used to fret over who would walk me down the aisle if I ever got married. I didn't want to hurt my biodad's feelings, but he hasn't been a major figure in my life in years, and I couldn't "diss" my stepdad. However, now that he's left this world, the biodad would "win" by default. But just as laughable as it would be for me to wear a white dress, it'd be ridiculous for me to be "given away" when I've been "away" for half my life. How about walking down the aisle with my guy in something paisley?
I'd forgotten about my Veggie Date (ha!) profile until several lame Lotharios "winked" or sent messages. What, were they all lurking behind a broccoli bush, waiting for the new year to (celery) stalk and ambush new prey? I ignore the wimpy winks, as I'd always done on dating sites, and respond to those who sent me thoughtful notes, thanking them for writing but telling them I have a boyfriend. I get giddy thinking how wonderful it is that not only did I not meet him on a dating site but that he's vegan to boot. And gleefully delete my account.
I see no reason to be out and about in the stupid cold, where every step into the wind brings a slap to the face so painful that a grimace contorts my face like a reflex. This is Manhattan. If I want anything, I can have it delivered, and generously tip the contorted-face delivery person who brings it to my door. Trampling around, tears freezing on my cheeks, wind slicing my lips to the point of bleeding, and a shiver so intense that I could do double duty as a tuning fork, is not my idea of a good time.
About 25 years ago, during a visit to my parents' house, my then-boyfriend and I cleaned out the closets and drawers of my bedroom. I'm not a "hoarder", but I do attach sentimental value to personal items, especially the longer I've had them. In a rare few moments of manufactured bravado or contrived coolness, I decided to toss a mass/mess of spelling quizzes from the very early 1970s, all neatly printed in No. 2 pencil. "These aren't that special. Why do I need them?" I said, trying to convince myself I didn't, knowing damned well I was full of #2.
It was to be just us two, trampling through the snow to a wine bar on Amsterdam after dinner at Peace Food Cafe (try the raw Key Lime pie!!!), but immediately upon reaching the bar, I spot my friend Amy, a mishmash bundle of boots and sweaters, accompanied by a glass of wine and a salad. I greet her, introduce my boyfriend, and once we're assured we're not intruding on her privacy, instantly engage in spirited conversation. Rather than be rankled that our evening has been rerouted, my fella's delighted. My heart melts enough to get rid of the snow.
Girly-Gross No. 2: The last time I had a boyfriend who partakes of The Alcohol, "Y2K" wasn't even conceived, cell phones were barely in existence, nowhere near mainstream, and the size of a flip-top 64-count box of Crayola crayons (the kind with the coveted little sharpener). How did I go for so many years without the supreme, boundless joy of receiving a slightly slurry. adorably rambling voicemail (complete with easily-transcribed punctuation) full of sweet declarations, including, but not limited to, one particularly vehement one saying, "I fucking hate this place [a casino in Atlantic City] because you're not here!" How?
I'm wedged into my sofa, cross-legged, a lightweight "down alternative" coverlet fluffed around my legs, and Shana looks up at me with a patient question mark above her head. I ask her if she would like to join me for what we call "Mommy and Baby Night", and she expresses her assent by jumping onto the far side of the sofa and tiptoeing over to my lap, into which she wedges herself as if I am her own personal sofa. She gazes up at me and reaches out a paw to stroke my chin. I can't tell who's purring louder.
Until very recently, my dad's voice was still on my mom's outgoing landline message. Sometimes, in a more fragile mood, when the phone would ring more than five times and no one answered, I'd hang up before the message would kick in. Other times I'd listen, and at the end of the message, would say hurriedly, before the beep, "I love and miss you, Daddy," regardless of whether I left a message for my mom or not. The other day I called and the outgoing message was my mom's voice. I feel like my dad just died all over again.
Because actual paperwork is largely a thing of the past and there is very little left for Shana, my cat, to collate, I have started to assign her short transcription projects in an attempt not only to ease my own load but to give her valuable work experience and put a few "kibble koins" in her pocket. "It's my mad money!" she says.
I'd be lying if I said she was doing a remarkable job. Or even a good one. Just yesterday she handed in 20 pages of single-spaced "Meowmeow." I must say, though, that her punctuation skills are spectacular.
My fella and I are in Basics Plus on Broadway, on the hunt for tiny nails so he can repair a dresser drawer that's been waiting two-plus years for proper attention. Our search takes us to the basement, and the young store clerk clambers down the stairs after us, practically perched on my guy's shoulder like a parrot as he crouches to make his selection. I want to say, "Oh, come on. It's not like you sell loose nails, which we could easily slip into our pockets! It'd be a lot riskier with a packet of 50!" But I refrain.
I'm still "escaping" into movies, submerging myself into fictional worlds that are often not worthy of my participation, and then, emerging once the credits roll, finding myself wanting to go back under again, searching for the "Polo" to my "Marco", holding my breath as long as I can. This is the danger of Netflix Instant Watch: I'll scour the selections and settle for something that I wouldn't choose if I had to shell out shekels. I'd be better served by escaping into books, where I can engage my imagination and not feel like I'm just following what I'm being shown.
Sometime in the past few months I, a delivery.com devotee, seem to have stepped into a time capsule (with fins and a huge steering wheel) and morphed into a 1950s housewife (Jewzy Homemaker, anyone?), positively giddy as I scour Amazon.com for the perfect rolling pin so I can make pecan pie and cinnamon buns and bread. Concocting a creamy sauce for my vegan stroganoff caused me to clap my flippers like a delighted, demented seal, as did the simpler task of making my own almond milk (including a chocolate-cinnamon variety). Is it time to invest in a full-length vintage-y apron?
Mere moments after a particularly good DILF sighting by Fairway on West 74th, immediately after which I thought, "Very nice, but I have my own DILF who's even better and I have no desire to F anyone else," I met an adorable brown and white pit bull (or a mix) with a little red light affixed to the back of her jacket who has the same name as my fella's daughter. I don't know if that's just coincidence, serendipity doo-dah all the livelong day, or fate, but I'll take it any way you want to slice, dice, or julienne it.
Next thing you know, a two-minute phone call snowballs into two hours, and it's even more way past my bedtime than it was when the call started. I'll get fewer than four hours of sleep, but that's okay, because tonight this is what I need: His voice in my ear, even if from hundreds of miles away, telling me he can't wait to return so I'll feel the breath behind his voice, directly in my ear as he "spoons" me, and the only thing separating us is however many molecules can fit in the black cartoon outline of our bodies.
A guy who used to send me a lot of work was recently found dead in his apartment after his daughter sent someone to check on him after not hearing from him in a few days. He was 67. He was alternately a cantankerous bastard, an annoying "uncle", an amusement, always with a brashness that was simultaneously familiar and alienating. We'd spoken on the phone a few times but never met in person, although we planned to eventually do so in Chicago. I hate that I'll never get the most honorable opportunity to say "Fuck you" to his face (nicely).
When a romantic relationship ends, the little lexicon of phrases, made-up words, and any ridiculous pet names the two of you amassed during its run needs to be shelved. As much as you may have adored the cleverness of the collection, and you are still free, of course, to remember it with a certain fondness (or disgust!), it should be gently stashed, even taking special care to keep its dog-eared pages intact. Those old gems, no matter how treasured, should not be recycled for use with anyone new. Instead, create something completely fresh, to honor the uniqueness of the new.
My cat coos and warbles like a polysyllabic pigeon, with inflection that sounds as if she is asking a multiple-clause question, punctuation, and a large question mark. My response of, "What, Mewy, what?" looking down at her on the floor, where she looks up at me, dash-mouthed, are met with a steady gaze that insists I know what she's asking and how dare I suggest she ask again. Often she'll ask again in spite of herself, more insistently, and much more rarely she'll turn and ask her question of the mirror propped on the floor into which she routinely gazes.
Life got so much easier when I realized I don't "have to" read the self-serving, rambling blog of an ex-friend, unless I needed an instant cure for insomnia; when I realized I don't have to worry about friends who admit that they know they hurt me by not acknowledging my milestone birthday and who extend tepid apologies for their poor behavior, because they're not really friends anyway regardless of the duration of the friendship; when I realized that life is too short to think too long about people who obviously give no thought at all to me. Easy peasy, kids.
My friend and her boyfriend are helping out a friend who faces eviction for cat overload, and they bring one of the cats here, a small orange and white bundle of sweetness, in a carrier. They place the carrier on the floor, fully zipped, but the little guy can still poke his nose and paw out. And he does. Shana tiptoes toward it slowly, not quite sure what to make of it. She has never been this close to another cat without the barrier of a glass door. They touch noses briefly, and then she backs away without a word.
You should know: If I buy you a super-duper KitchenAid KHB300 immersion blender with all kinds of nifty attachments as a wedding gift and you tell me not to lug it down to your Battery Park digs on the subway, you'll swing by my place and pick it up instead, I will carefully stash it above my kitchen cabinets and not even remove it from the box out of curiosity for four and a half years. However, after that grace period has expired, that motherfucker's being used every day as I face south, singing, "Nah nah nah nah NAH nah!"
I'm meeting Eric at Red Bamboo in the West Village for lunch. I've been there often enough in the past that I should know how to get there with one eye tied behind my back and my arms closed, but still, here I am on Seventh Avenue tossing around like the S.S. Minnow. It takes me way too long to realize that ordinarily I take the subway to Sixth Avenue and know exactly how to proceed from that point. But really, for at least five minutes, I think I'm truly succumbing to a horrible "senior moment" several years prematurely. Phew.
Several years ago I had a boyfriend who disregarded my "Bless you" after he'd sneeze. At first I ignored his ignorance, but eventually, during one particularly sneezy session when I informed him that "Thank you" was the commonly accepted and expected response, he said, with pompous self-righteousness, "But I'm an atheist" (which I already knew). I should have said, "Yes, and an asshole," but instead I suggested we substitute a secular response. He eventually agreed to my semi-facetious offering of "Glockenspiel."
I don't believe in God either, but I do believe in not being a godawful dick about polite convention.
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Jodi says hi, with a smiley-face.
My best friend is having a karaoke party for her birthday. I've committed to going, but already I'm dreading it because I keep forgetting that the only time I like doing karaoke is when it's just the two of us in a private room at Duet 35 on a weekday afternoon, when it's $4 per person and soda is $1 a can, which means an afternoon of ridiculousness costs $25 (including the round-trip subway). Her Facebook invitation now shows 14 confirmed attendees, a dozen too many, which should be just enough so she won't notice I'm missing after an hour.
It's the kind of big snow that clings like a sloth to a branch, and the trees accommodate the accumulation accordingly. "How pretty we look," they whisper to each other between shivers, "but oh, what a burden on our shoulders!" Everything along Central Park West looks lovely in fluffy white top hats, reflecting sun like sequins. Even the battered green trashcans stand taller in the newfound finery, happy for the democracy afforded by the snow. They puff out their chests like pigeons, gazing with cautious confidence, hoping someone takes notice of their beauty and new dapper costume. And I do.
My brother took me to a Knicks game, where he had a $10 beer and I had a nice bag of salty hard pretzels that lasted me less than one quarter. Phil Collins, Spike Lee, and Taye Diggs were seated across the court, mere feet away from one another. Security to get into MSG involved getting "wanded", and I wondered if I would have to remove my shoes and find a laptop so I could put it in a separate plastic bin. We gabbed and laughed for the duration of the game. I felt like the little brother never had.
My boyfriend is on a boat in Key West for a week, holed up while working on screenplay edits, every day looking more and more like Jeff Bridges. He'd wanted to fly me down to join him, but there's no way he'd get anything done with me around, so I decline. There will be other trips, he assures me, where he won't have to divide his attention, to Key West, all around this country to visit various people, including my biodad, and then to England to finally meet my wonderful transgender friend Nina face to face for tea and hilarity.
My Facebook Super Bowl participation was limited to a photo of a super bowl of soup and this:
If you want to pay me to care less about the Super Bowl, that would be, yes, super, but otherwise I'll just not give a shit for free.
"Sorry", people who live in the cities represented by winning sports teams, but YOU did not win that game. The only people who should really use the first person plural to describe the win are those who actually play an active part on that team. They're #1. You and your foam finger are not.
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