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Years ago, my then-boyfriend and I were at the Los Angeles wedding of two of my friends. We were mainly wallflowers, but when we eventually decided to dance, we faced each other on the floor like awkward eighth graders dying for our dads to pick us up and relieve us of the torture. I went to wrap my arms around his neck as if we were indeed in junior high, and he repelled me as if I had cooties. He insisted on taking on the stance of an octogenarian who'd just learned the fox trot on a Princess Cruise.
I looked up at him in disbelief and laughed, hoping with all my might that he meant it as a joke, as a nod toward stiff formality, after which we would cut loose and start doing the Mashed Potato, The Twist, The Frug, and Freestyle Complete Jackass. But no. He looked down at me with impatient annoyance, insisting. I complied, wishing my dad would pick me up in a 747 and relieve me of the torture. Never again when faced with the opportunity to cut a rug will I be forced into bland wall-to-wall carpeting. You'd Berber believe it!
It's not a terrace, it's a fire escape. It's not a mini-loft, it's a studio. It's not rustic, it's got a cooktop instead of an oven. It's not a sunken living room, it's two steps down from the front door. It's not a cozy bedroom, it's barely big enough for a double bed. The super is not super, the heat that's included in the rent is so dry your eyes may never tear again, and the refrigerator is only as tall as Henry Winkler. But Central Park is your playground, Broadway is a pirouette away, and you're making it here.
He wants to build me a house made entirely of bubblegum chewed by him and only him. It will take six months to chew that much gum, he says, holding up that many fingers, maybe six and a half ("make believe I have half a finger!"), but he'll get it done and then we can live there. We can get a sofa from IKEA and order in pizza until we get a kitchen. However will he afford all this luxury? I ask. Being a dog-walker on the moon pays really good these days, he says, shoveling sand into his bucket.
I don't care about your gyroscope, your periscope, your telescope. Your telephone, your telekinetics, your Teletubbies. Your tub of lard, your barrel of monkeys, your monkey bars. Your handlebar mustache, your bicycle seat, your bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. Your mother's maiden name, how many "froyo" shops have sprouted up in your neighborhood, or what the owls say to you when they hoot from unseen perches at night. Well, wait a minute, I take that back. I give a hoot about that. Tell me what the owls say, tell me that their wisdom extends beyond potato chips, tell me every word.
Amy , an 11-year-old Akita, lives in my neighborhood. On my way home from the gym, I often see her and her mom, a woman who's probably as old as Amy is in "people years", slowly making their way to wherever they're going, and I always stop to say hello and smoosh (Amy, not her mom). Amy is so calm and soothing, and her mom is so lovely and accommodating. I always thank her for letting me interact with Amy and she thanks me for doing so. "Amy is like your favorite teddy bear come to life," she has said.
"They call me Martini Shots," he says, winking at me while upside-down on the monkey bars. "You wanna know why?"
"Because your name is Martin Schotz and you think you're James Bond?" I say, and cram my Tootsie Roll Pop back into my mouth, sighing inaudibly at the thought of Roger Moore. This kid is no Roger Moore. (And my mom says Roger Moore is no Sean Connery, whoever he is.)
"For your information," Candy Appleton, "martinis aren't served as shots, big shot."
I have no idea what a martini is, but I'm pretty sure I know what flirting is.
At first thought, the idea of lounging on the sofa, binge-watching "Hoarders", seemed like a great way to spend a rainy night, the TV equivalent of a big bag of Funyuns or Fritos, rare treats. However, midway through the first episode, as a woman blubbered about her attachment to her rubbish, I experienced the brain/mind equivalent of nausea and a stomachache. Although I soldiered on through the discomfort, the thrill was gone and I longed for more substantial, much healthier fare. Still, it got me to stop fretting about a small pile of papers on my desk, so there's that!
Central Park is my therapist, my muse, my friend, my ally, my confidante, my joy, my savior, my love. I do not say this lightly. For the four years that I lived by the Flatiron Building, I visited the park less than a handful of times. It seemed so foreign, so far away, so huge and overwhelming. There's no way I would be able to find my way from one side to the other. But now that I've befriended it, especially in the almost eight years that I've lived so close to it, I cannot imagine ever being without it.
Marshalls sprung up on the southeast corner of 78th and Broadway, opening its doors on Thursday, and two days later, it already looks as lived-in and used-up as a Lower East Side tenement circa 1912. The only thing that seems even vaguely fresh about the cramped, narrow, dingy, claustrophobic multi-level space with its already trampled-looking speckled white floors, one-person-wide conveyor-belt-like escalators, and haphazard merchandise displays (Memorandum to All Staff: "Hey, guys, when you get a chance, just, like, put some stuff in some places or something") is its smell, which is nauseatingly reminiscent of the interior of a new car.
Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there, whether two-legged, four-legged, three-legged, eight-legged, no-legged, flippered, winged, feathered, furred, scaled, flesh and boned or exoskeletoned, or otherwise, who has cared for and loved and nurtured anyone, human or other species, even if it's a jade plant named Sadie that she totes around town in an old-fashioned pram or a kid in a photo from a country she may never visit or cannot pronounce, sponsored for the price of a daily cup of coffee. Enjoy your day, Mama, wherever it takes you, even if it's Olive Garden, which I certainly hope it's not.
Proof exists that as the cat hey diddle diddle fiddled, the cow did indeed jump over the moon and the dog, whose littleness has been verified, did laugh to see such sport. However, while the dish and the spoon did vacate the premises simultaneously, there's not one shred of evidence that they "ran away" in a fashion that suggests camaraderie. Eyewitnesses to the event have recently reported that the dish looked somewhat frightened and confused and that the spoon was speaking sotto voce with menacing tones as they fled. No one ever heard from them again and kidnapping is suspected.
Neither my mother nor my father ever sat me down, stood me up, or spooned me, and had "that talk" with me. No mention was made of birds and/or bees and no analogies to flower pollination. Storks in jaunty caps delivering blanketed babies to doorsteps were never discredited. I don't remember where I learned about boy body parts joining with girl body parts and what was expected or not expected, but it certainly wasn't from my parents. I think my teacher was Judy Blume and "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret", which I devoured countless times like Hershey kisses.
Several months ago, when I discovered out of the blue that I loved cooking, I decided I'd try a new recipe every week, like a 1950s housewife. I didn't ease into it with "baby steps" but did the long jump, in cleats. It was fun at first, but eventually it felt more like a combination of a dreaded obligation and a nagging responsibility than a joyous exploration, so I curtailed the enterprise. Now I have a wonderful recipe repertoire to which I can add in a more organic fashion. Now I want to savor the process, just like the food.
I just clicked through seven photos of Suri Cruise's "Best Fashion Moments, So Far" just as mindlessly, listlessly, and joylessly as if they were stale off-brand Bugles from a dusty, ransacked Job Lots store. The only way I can forgive myself is by realizing that although I did look at seven photos, there are 29 more in the collection that I didn't view, which means my self-loathing is only about 20% of what it could've been. Had I clicked through all of them, certainly my ability to perform that calculation in my head would have been 0%. So, there's that.
Not-Shot: Near the Flatiron Building, a "Big Gulp" sized disposable cup, sadly sprawled on its side on the damp sidewalk in a way that would require a chalk outline, a copious amount of sundry pinkish and other quasi-pastel congealed liquid and color-coordinated chunks spewing from its gaping maw and splattered in an elongated fan-like configuration. You may have gagged at the visual and most certainly would have rolled your eyes (with love) at the caption, "Not so smoothie." So, be thankful that other pedestrians were passing by and I didn't want to be thought a freak for memorializing the mess.
I just clicked through seven photos of Suri Cruise's "Best Fashion Moments, So Far" as mindlessly, listlessly, and joylessly as if they were stale off-brand Bugles from a dusty, ransacked Job Lots store. The only way I can forgive myself is by realizing that although I did look at seven photos, there are 29 more in the collection that I didn't view, which means my self-loathing is only about 20% of what it could have been. Had I clicked through all of them, my ability to perform that calculation in my head would have dwindled to 0%. So, there's that.
These beautiful dogs who are killed in the so-called shelters, whose lives are ended way before they should ever have to even think about being ended, whose fate is doomed because of the callousness of arrogant human beings, who want only to love and be loved, to be loyal, do they know their fate? Do they know they have only hours left to wag their tails and smile, to whimper and bark, to stretch a paw through their cages, to breathe, to lie down, to tilt their heads? I don't know, but I know, and it kills me to know.
I haven't been to my mom's house since last Mother's Day. I'm in my old bedroom, which hasn't been my oasis for almost 26 years. The walls, still covered with stucco that I had applied by hand, barely know what to say to me, so they don't say a word. The closet walls on which my sister and I and other friends used to write each other notes were painted over long ago. I wish I could dissolve the white paint to reveal the color of our caprice. You can't go home again. Maybe that's why I go so infrequently.
He's one of few people on the subway other than me who isn't hooked up to electronics. All he has is a cane and a section of the Sunday New York Times. He juts his head slightly forward to read, his hair a white picket fence beneath a wide open sky, lips moving. He periodically lowers the paper to look around, laughing a laugh as silent to me as it is to those drowning out the world via headphones. When he folds it down to find an unread spot, I see it's the color comics. My grin shatters my face.
I would chalk up her faulty reasoning to her moderate tipsiness, but she makes the same sort of silly arguments when she hasn't had three Maker's Marks or whatever other ghastly spew she's been quaffing. A trans woman, she slurs, could make a lot of money off of being a "chick with a dick"! Why should transgender people change their bodies? What right do they have to choose how to be beautiful? I refrain from pointing out that she is wearing makeup, has several tattoos, and colors her hair. I want to tell this chick to not be a dick.
He executes a pirouette with more flop than finesse, but it's his enthusiastic delivery that makes it the grandest dance move ever performed one block east of Broadway. I'm sure this isn't a requirement of his employment with whomever hands him a stack of flyers to foist on passersby who don't want a piece of paper competing with their phones for valuable hand real estate. Yet he completes his spins with a grin and present his messages with a grand flourish. I want to get off the bus just so I can be the one person who accepts his gift.
What does it say about Facebook and its standards of appropriate conduct when photos of dogs being killed and their heads boiled and displayed are not considered a violation (be grateful I'm not one who links to such horrors), yet photos of gay couples kissing have been called into question, images of President Obama hanging from a noose or being likened to the contents of a cat's litter-box, and a photo of a woman's completely tattooed chest/torso, a gorgeous design created after her mastectomy, was deemed inappropriate and banned (yet keeps resurfacing, thankfully, on people's pages from time to time)?
Gay men have an affinity for me, for latching on to me and calling me their Auntie Mame. Just now, to my right, the product of a delightful ménage-a-trois among Mick Jagger, Christopher Walken, and David Bowie is trying to get my attention and succeeding. I'm enchanted by his dark nail polish and tattoo of three star outlines near his thumb, his gleaming grin, the sliver of dancer-boy stomach and hipbones just above his studded belt, revealed when he lifts his arms to dance (poorly), and the fact that he's clearly fucked-up. When he speaks, out tumbles Harvey Weinstein's croak.
Does it count as crashing a wedding if you just so happen to be passing by a reception hall on your way to a bar mitzvah ceremony, your date looks at you out of the corner of his eye with a mischievous smirk, you raise your eyebrow in response, and the moment you dash into the room, a large platter of hors d'oeuvres crosses your path and you grab two even though they're shrimp and you don't eat shrimp so you put them in your purse for your cat later on, and then you bolt out of the room, guffawing?
I hadn't been to a doctor since my bout of shingles in 2008, so I was apprehensive about the visit to the primary care physician, wondering if anything had changed in six years, no so much with my health but with the state of technology. Surely there had to be a better way to collect three vials of blood from a squeamish girl's arm, right? (No.) Surely the little robes had to be more stylish? (No.) Surely there had to be something useful to pilfer from the examining room while waiting for the doctor? (No.) What a waste of time!
I'm trying to convince myself I don't hate the acupressure mat (and accompanying pillow) that I ordered from Amazon. I'm trying to convince myself that I'll eventually agree with the rave reviews these things get, that no, the 8,000-plus little plastic spikes not only stop hurting but actually transport me into such a relaxed state that I'll be ready to fall asleep immediately. The reviewers urge new users not to give up and discount the benefits too soon, and I guess after three uses, I shouldn't be ready to throw in the towel or the mat, right? Meanwhile: Ouch, etc.
The little bird lies in the middle of the sidewalk of East 19th or 20th Street, not yet sniffed by dog noses, trampled by office workers, crushed by scooter wheels. Its little body is soft and feathered and vulnerable, and has no idea that it's so exposed. I cannot bear the thought of a street sweeper collecting it with debris and adding it to a big garbage bag, so I find a card in my purse, lift up the little body, and gently deposit underneath a shrub in a big planter by a restaurant. "Your little life mattered," I say.
When I visited Carmel nine months ago, I immediately felt at home and thought, "I could live here." Back home in NYC, I researched rentals and found that I could afford to live there. Now the "there" is "here", and every morning when I wake up I pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming. Our place is so colorful and cute and cozy, just like the apartment back in NYC that I'm subletting. Even my cat is smiling, taking more luxurious naps, murmuring happier purrs, much like those that will come from me if I ever run into Doris Day.
All these toddlers squatting in a big sandbox, inexpertly collecting sand into primary color plastic buckets with coordinating shovels, sand in their hair, their pockets, their Crocs, their noses, and more. They have no clue how to make a sand castle that looks like the one on the box that their buckets and shovels came in and they don't care. Some shriek, some cry, some whine, some look like they're using the sand as a diaper, and some are marvelously, brilliantly, delightfully quiet, which is the only reason why I cannot completely pray for a sudden magical conversion to quicksand.
Every time I visit my mom, she asks which train I took: the regular train (New Jersey Transit) or the fancy one (Amtrak), and every time I tell her the latter, I know she pictures me with big sunglasses, hatboxes full of purchases from posh shops, and a butler. What she doesn't realize is that the shorter ride on the nicer train, the quiet car, and the comfortable seats are worth shelling out more money for, even though it may mean I can't go out to lunch with friends the next three times they ask me. Everything's a tradeoff indeed.
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