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Every once in a while I amuse myself by searching Craigslist for apartments to rent in other cities. I choose the same monthly rent as I pay here in Manhattan, "just to see" how my standard of living would compare elsewhere. And ohhh, my god, I could live not just like a princess but a queen everywhere else except San Francisco. I could rent a multi-bedroom, multi-bath place in the Midwest, with a yard. But then I remember, oh yeah, that's right, I'm one small person who doesn't need that much space and Central Park is my yard. Never mind.
This year I may be spending New Year's Eve in an incredible house several hours away, built by the man who lives in it. Its skylighted roof is level with the top of a small hill, so it looks like it's underground, but the front of the house is completely exposed, with huge windows facing the forested (and hopefully snowy) property. We'd have the fireplace burning, perhaps a game of Scrabble going, vegan food cooking, hot chocolate steaming, and a couple of squishy sofas into which to sink in flannel pajamas, far from the glitz and grime of Times Square.
You said you were "conflicted" about our friendship. When I asked you to explain what the conflict was, you didn't respond, thus confirming that the "conflict" wasn't really a conflict at all but a way of saying, "I'm through with you, but I just don't have the balls to say it." I did not write to you again. Instead, I took the bullshit by the horns and removed you from my list of Facebook friends. Because, you see, as sad as I am to lose you as a friend, I don't chase people. I removed the "conflict". Your loss, completely.
A summer night in 1998, and the pretty boy in the BMW who had wined and dined me in Rittenhouse square, now lies beside me in my bed, in the semi-darkness, his perfect hair made imperfect (and thus perfect) by my hands. His clothes are on the floor by the bed, and have probably laid themselves out in the shape of a man to make it more convenient for him to jump up and slide into them.
"I can't stay the night," he says, tentatively.
"Good," I think, relieved, practically holding his pants up for him to step into them.
Next month I'm going to my mom and sister's house for birthday stuff, and just to visit in general, the first time since Mother's Day. I'm still not used to my dad not being there, and don't think I ever will be, even if, when he was still in this world, he was rarely in the same room with the rest of us. But how's it going to be now, now that the family dog is gone as well, who spent all of his time in the same room with all of us? Already I feel sobs in my stomach.
I don't give a fig about The Wiggles. I'm grinning and barely bearing it because I'm in your home and I can't tell you what to talk about and I can't tell you to shut up and I can't tell you that you're giving me a nagging headache and I can't tell you that I want to flee the room and run screaming out the door and down the stairs and out the door of your building into the middle of the street where I'd rather get hit by a car than endure one more fucking syllable about The Wiggles.
Missed Pun Opportunity: Yesterday a "friend" posted a link to a 2011 video of Melissa and Joan Rivers, where Joan Rivers appeared without makeup pre-surgery. She said Joan Rivers' face was so disturbing she couldn't even look at it. I commented that the friend is fond of posting "selfies" in which she makes a variety of not=so-adorable faces, pointing out that her photos aren't exactly picture perfect. I was defriended before I could say, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't thrown Joans." I hope I don't lose as much sleep over this as I do over the tragic defriending
A tiny store on West 72nd Street sells cans of soda for one measly dollar. So, after painful physical therapy, after walking through Central Park, a reward in itself, I can cap off the reward with the treat of all treats. The only "problem" is that I wish the store were on the east side of the park, so I could have the cold can in my hand just as I enter the park. Because, really, walking through Central Park while drinking a dollar-can of Diet Coke is my idea of heaven. It doesn't take much to make me happy.
This morning on Fifth Avenue, on my walk home from the gym, I had the honor of running into a dog whom I've met once before, a 10-1/2-year-old tannish-cream-colored Shar Pei in a pink collar named Lucy, and as I chatted briefly with her petite, elegant, caramel-colored human mom about how Lucy must bring her so much joy every day (her mom agreed), and let Lucy approach me for pets (only if she wanted them) (she did), Lucy leaned her big, beautiful, smooshy terrycloth-towel-like head on my leg. There is no way my day can get any more delicious now.
I need to institute a new policy for the treatment of chocolate chips once they've passed the threshold into my apartment. I need to not open the bag until such time as they're to be used for the purpose for which they were intended when I bought them, which is not to be shaken out into my palm like Tic-Tacs and blithely popped into my mouth. The bag is to be left sealed until cookie dough is mixed and it's time for the addition of chips. If I want to palm/pop some chips thereafter, on a later date, then fine.
The only time I've ever been to the diner at 72nd and West End was in 2005, when I was whisked there on a moped by an impossibly handsome cad. I wore a sparkly flowy summer "top" and high-heeled sandals and didn't feel like myself at all. Which may explain why I ordered fruit cup instead of my "signature" diner combo of a bagel, toasted no butter, and home fries. You'd think because it's so close to home, I'd be a "regular" there, dressed in something more "me", asking for Tabasco, minus a cad, transported by my own booted feet.
On the other side of the drape, 96-year-old Joseph, lying on a vinyl-padded table, groans softly and says, "That's the criminal" when the physical therapist touches a painful spot. His German accent reminds me so much of my grandfather's that tears leak out of my eyes as I lie on my back, waiting my turn, gently zapped by a TENS unit. "I'll do vot you say," Joseph says to the therapist. "I vont to be a good boy." He slowly makes his way to another part of the room, where his wife waits quietly, for the rest of his therapy.
Eventually I'm in the part of the room where Joseph and his wife stand, preparing to leave. "It's good to heff a vife," he says, as she guides him to an alcove to retrieve his stuff. Their backs are to me as she helps him into a tan twill suit jacket. "Joseph, I'll comb your hair," she says quietly, reaching up to smooth the bright white silk. They turn slowly to face each other, very close, smiling. She straightens his jacket, reaches for her cane. He clutches a matching cap between his spotted hands. And I try not to die.
Today's weather, brisk, crisp, kicky, is the kind that makes me fall even more in love with NYC. Or back in love with it after wanting to break up with it ("It's not me, it's you") for recent bouts of face-mopping humidity. Boots not sandals, socks, real jeans not capris, a jacket and light scarf, and hair that cascades vertically instead of jutting horizontally to make me appear like the scowling love child of Larry Fine, Roseanne Roseannadanna, and Bozo(witz) the Clown. A perfect day for strolling (Prancercising) to the Columbus Avenue farmers market in search of Martin's hard pretzels.
Summer clings like autumn leaves nearing winter, and I want to pry its sticky fingers from my hair and fling it into the 72nd/Broadway intersection to be trampled by flip-flops, bicycle-delivery guys, impatient buses. A girl in a get-up straight out of the 1940s steps to the curb in front of Trader Joe's to hail a taxi. Straight skirt, peplum jacket, heels, hat with tiny veil, red lipstick. I ask if she's going to an audition. No, she says, she just prefers the older styles. I gesture with my hand, a la Carol Merrill, and say, "And I appreciate it!"
She smiles and thanks me, and although I want to just stand there next to her and take in every detail of her ensemble, I know, from having been examined like that in one of my own get-ups, that even if the intent isn't to be creepy, it could be interpreted as such. Instantly, I feel too modern, too "of this time", and regret having chosen jeans and my trusty purple boots and army-type jacket. And realize, hey, Autumn is officially here in a week, and I can usher in the new season with my own preferred past era. Shazam!
A little tip from me to you, in case you ever find yourself having your deposition taken: Don't chew gum during the proceeding. I don't care if Fruit Stripe calms your nerves, if Big Red fires your synapses, if Freshen Up and its liquid center is your security blanket. I don't care if three sticks of Trident bring you good luck. Your credibility as a competent person with anything worthwhile to say will be severely compromised, especially if your jaw is going a mile like a 14-year-old gigglesnort hanging out in front of Spencer Gifts with an enormous Orange Julius
A little tip from me to you, in case you ever find yourself having your deposition taken: Don't chew gum during the proceeding. I don't care if Fruit Stripe calms your nerves, if Big Red fires your synapses, if Freshen Up and its sexy liquid center is your security blanket. I don't care if Trident brings you good luck. Your credibility as a competent person with anything worthwhile to say will be severely compromised, especially if your jaw is going a mile a minute like a 14-year-old gigglesnort hanging out in front of Spencer Gifts with an enormous Orange Julius.
Correct me if I'm wrong, well-coifed, well-heeled older lady on the Upper East Side, but the things you're wearing on your bottom half are not black leggings, they're black semi-opaque tights with a white cotton crotch panel that, as you stroll along East 71st Street (and beyond), is wholly visible to anyone not assisted by a guide dog. Unless you know that, but you incorrectly assessed the length of the garment on your upper half, which is not a tunic or a mini-dress or anything but a shirt that barely grazes your hipbones. Now *I* need the guide dog. Oy.
If your age is in the double digits and the first of those digits is a '2" or higher, you have no business being crippled by shyness to the point of catatonia. You either need to start therapy or to be kicked in the ass to get over yourself and get out into the real world and force yourself to stop hiding behind your mother's skirt like a wet-faced kindergartner on the first day of school. I understand being quiet, I understand being introverted, but the inability to function in the world because of shyness? No. Seek professional help. Please.
On this, the last Sunday before Autumn's onset, I'd like to give thanks, two months before the official day for doing so, for the following: 1. That I become almost physically ill when I even think about trying to "fit in". This reminds me to be true to my "outsider" self, which was apparent to me since before kindergarten. 2. That I have a a lovely, comfortable apartment in which to avoid the kind of people willing to spend painfully inordinate amounts of time waiting in endless lines for bullshit. 3. Hard pretzels, iced coffee, Shana Shornstein, flannel, and movies.
The last time I saw her was over a decade ago. This is her first trip back to the United States since then. We're meeting by the park near Columbus Circle. I hear her before I see her. She wears big sunglasses, a shorts "outfit", and shoes not entirely appropriate for walking. In short, she's wearing what people who do not live here think people who live here wear. I, in Doc Martens and jeans, an ensemble I could bolt in with ease if threatened by a thug, know better. She hugs me loudly, big necklace imprinting on my chest.
I'm finally getting rid of heaps of holey socks that I've been telling myself for aeons I'm going to "darn". Especially since I don't even know what that means and am sure I wouldn't be able to do it even if I did, given that my skill with a needle is still as appalling as it was in seventh grade, when in "Home Ec" I realized upon completion of making a wrap skirt that its tan corduroy was running horizontally. ("I've never seen anyone use corduroy this way," the teacher said, and, praising my inventiveness, presented me with an "A".)
Where to spend New Year's this year? Here, in New York, with someone staying here with me? Or me, going somewhere else, to spend it in someone else's "here"? The possibilities are marvelous. Another offer to come aboard a houseboat of sorts across the country, to celebrate the flipping of the calendar page far from the grime, glitz, and tourist sludge of Times Square. That holds much promise. It's been years since I've been anywhere other than here for the occasion. That one year in Spain, although spent quietly, it was Somewhere Else, and that was enough cause for celebration.
Unrelated, but related-ish:
I'm transcribing the deposition of an older man with a voice that's the equivalent of chocolate mousse. When he opened his mouth to speak, it was like when a server in a restaurant, for whatever reason, brings you a free dessert. Thank you, kind sir. Thank you for your delicious mellifluousness.
I'm OBSESSED with possessing a 1970s electric typewriter. I've got the clothes and boots, I've got the hair, I've got the apartment. This is the last thing standing between me and my insatiable desire to go back in time to convince Lou Grant to hire me.
Today in Central Park I spied a curly burly bundle named Trudy, a wire-haired Dachshund I met two years ago in the same part of the park. Trudy's now 13-1/2 and takes her adorable, sweet time in the park, as her mom pushes a stroller made just for pups.
When I saw them today, they were talking to another woman and her 4-1/2-year-old rescue, a brindle pitbull mix named Jekyll Levin. Jekyll's mom said people sometimes think it's "Shekel" given his Jewish last name. I may have guffawed quite heartily over that. I flailed significantly, over both adorable fuzzfaces. Sigh.
While I appreciate that the Moves "app" on my phone tracks my every step so I can be amused by how many I take any day and delight my friends by bragging about how much I walk, and I can persuade myself that on days when I don't do cardio, the amount of walking I do actually counts as exercise, I am a bit annoyed that the GPS often gets so wacky that it not only has me walking (not swimming, since that is not one of the transportation modes available) across the Hudson but doing so at breakneck speed.
Important to know:
Crunchy peanut butter over smooth. A must. If smooth, add potato chips, preferably Ruffles, for much-needed texture and pizzazz.
Diet Coke or Coke Zero, no real preference, except when I want to feel more manly, I'll go with the latter. The black can blends in well with my Tom Selleck mustache.
Chocolate chip cookies over oatmeal raisin.
Chocolate mousse over chocolate pudding.
Boots over shoes, necklaces over earrings, dresses over skirts.
Wavy hair over straight, straight over curly. I won't do Pippi Longstocking braids.
Layers over single-item bulk.
Coffee over tea.
French fries AND mashed. Won't choose.
Why oh why oh why when I saw him on the street did I call out his name? He hadn't seen me, in his rush to get wherever he was going, he didn't avert his gaze, he barely blinked as he passed, so why did I feel compelled to break that concentration and call attention to myself when the last thing I wanted to do was talk to him and risk him asking if I want to "get together" sometime, when the last time we did, lo so many months ago, I couldn't get away from him fast enough? Why?
Today my dad would have been 76 years old if only cancer didn't think it would be a great idea to invade his body, settle in, and refuse eviction. This is the second year I don't get to call him on the phone to wish him a happy birthday. This is the second year I don't have to wonder whether he would prefer an Amazon gift card or one from Home Depot. Cancer, you are a vile, despicable, hideous beast. There aren't enough FUCK YOUs in the world to express myself fully.
>br> Happy birthday, Daddoy. I love and miss you.
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