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I survive the rigors of living in New York City because I really don't want to live anywhere else. Yes, my rent may be as much as your mortgage in Northsouthwest Suburb, as you're quick to point out, but I have no need for spacious digs. Other than rent, living here is only outrageously expensive if you drink (I don't), if you insist on expensive food (no thanks), if you're compelled to follow fashion (eye-roll), or if you're too busy giving a fuck what the Joneses do rather than what you do. I'm making it here. I'm not going anywhere.
In some book or article somewhere, some writer-type person advises wannabe writer-type people to "kill your darlings". Get rid of the shit that you think is precious, clever, oh so witty. I want to find that quote, cross out "kill", scrawl "bludgeon" above it, and send it in an anonymous typewritten envelope to a certain person in my acquaintance whose writing is so self-consciously, desperately precious that it may as well be curtseying in a starched pinafore and black patent maryjanes and warbling "Tomorrow" to a collection of rouged corpse relatives in the parlor of an Upper West Side manse.
Maybe some people have time in their lives for people who can't express themselves without fumbling all over their words the way a circus clown trips over his enormous shoes, but I don't. I have absolutely no patience for people whose ages are in the double digits who can't string together a coherent sentence to save Dick or Jane's life or whose every other word is a droned "uh" or "um" or "like" or any other nonsensical filler. Just because I'm not shouting, "Jesusfuckingchrist, just SPIT IT OUT, SPIT IT OUT, SPIT IT OUT!!!" doesn't mean I'm not thinking it.
Several years ago I went on a date with someone who was a bit "off" but in a way that probably was tempered by his enormous physical appeal, his earnest attention to me, and his adorable absorption at the used bookstore we visited on Broadway. Somewhere toward the end of our time together, he told me he had no desire to travel beyond New York City. That turned me off so much that I can't believe I stuck around long enough to hear him say, without irony, perhaps half an hour later, that he needed to "go peepee". Googoo-gaga. Bye-bye.
Foods (all vegan) I've created in the past ten months. (I refuse to use quotes to indicate the veganization!)
Chocolate avocado pudding
Raw almond pulp fudge
Chickpea-avocado deviled eggs
Matzo ball soup
Spiced dried apple rings
Smoothies (all banana-based)
Cherry sage sausage
Chocolate chip cookies (with/without walnuts/pecans)
Cumin-cayenne mashed potatoes
Chunky basil marinara sauce
Spinach mushroom empanadas
Curried sweet brown rice with tofu or tempeh
Spicy sorta refried beans
You'd think I'd know by now that whenever Trina tells me she had a horrifying dream that leaves her traumatized for hours after she awakens, I would know better than to press for details. It's just that I keep hoping that one day the dream won't involve her running out of Tootsie Rolls on Hallowe'en or Milk Duds during a movie. What if the day I don't press, that's the day she would've told me about decapitation of her family, her own fiery death, the bludgeoning of her grandmother, or nudity during a math final she forgot to study for?
A mug and a mini-flashlight. That's all I got when my dad left this world. I wanted the custom-made psychedelic patchwork boots from the 1960s, but my mom gave them away to a thrift store, so someone who would never know the boots' history could think, "Cool!" and buy them. This decision leaves me bitter cold. The flashlight battery has just run out, but I'll hold on to it more tightly than my mother did the boots. My dad's fingers touched the battery, and although its energy has run out, I choose to believe it still contains some of his.
I can't decide which was the better choice this year: To learn how to cook a wide variety of absolutely scrumptious vegan food as much from scratch as possible (but not the kind of "scratch" that means I milled my own wheat to make pasta!), even coming up with my own concoctions/creations; or to not go back to OKCupid or any other dating websites after ditching them all almost a year ago. Sure, friends, you miss out on my rip-roarin' hilarious dating stories, but you get photos of my food instead. And I get to save money and my sanity.
We're in this tiny plane, the four of us, and GT and I are behind the guys, letting them have the "front seat" as though it's 1952 and we're in a Studebaker. GT insisted on bringing white "Red Baron" scarves for all of us, and we're all laughing like loons, partly over the scarves but also to keep me from saying, for the 4,000th time, "I'd rather not say 'hello' to Amelia Earhart" and "Please avoid the Bermuda Triangle". I'm also advised to stop referring to us as "Kennedys", but honestly, I had forgotten about the fate of John, Jr.
I wonder how many people, when buying loose coffee beans at Whole Foods, purposely enter the PLU of a less expensive variety when weighing their individual bag on the self-serve scale. Further, I wonder how many people wonder that. I also wonder if anyone has ever tried to smuggle a smaller item, like a cruelty-free lipstick, in a self-serve bag of coffee, although if for some reason, the cashier suspected something, that would be pretty hard to explain away. But for the coffee bean "sitch", the cashier won't know one bean from the next, so it's actually very easily done.
The day I my adorable 1970s vintage Smith-Corona typewriter arrived here, I met up with an ex-classmate I hadn't seen leaving Neighborhood Playhouse in 2001. After hanging out with me, she was going to visit one of the instructors at the school. She invited me along. I went. I hadn't been back to the school since 2001 either. He took us on a nostalgic tour of the building, including the faculty lounge. And there, on a small side table, doing nothing to draw attention to itself, was the same typewriter, identical down to the unusual color (teal and light blue).
I need to start setting my alarm for 4:20 a.m. again so I can hit the snooze once and get up at the time I really want to get up, rather than setting it for 4:30 and pretending I’m not going to hit the snooze and bound out of bed joyously. The only reason I switched it, though, is because I was sick of people making “420” jokes and thinking they were original and hilarious. Of course I could have lied about waking up at 4:20, or just set the alarm for 4:19, but I wasn’t so quick thinking then.
My mom used to work with a woman whose young son (7 or so?) was a huge animal lover. He loved them so much he didn't want to eat them and was proud that he didn't eat them. The woman told my mom that she'd been giving him chicken nuggets anyway and telling them they were the vegetarian/vegan type. Both my mother and I found that profoundly disturbing and disheartening. It makes me sad, even now, to think about that betrayal. What purpose does her deception serve? How hard would it be for her to truthfully accommodate her son's loveliness?
I’m spending the weekend at the house of a new-ish friend who lives out of state. She picks me up at the bus station and tells me, on the ride over, to excuse the disarray of the house. I figure it’s just the standard disclaimer many people feel obliged to drag out when they have guests, even if everything is in place. But as soon as I cross the threshold into the small entryway, I realize it’s not lip service. As Bette Davis would say, “What a dump.” I can’t believe people above the age of 2 live like this.
A recent inventory of my hosiery drawer reveals that I do not have as many pairs of colorful opaque tights as I had thought. All I have left is one pair of teal/turquoise from a lovely (and affordable!) site called WeLoveColors.com, which I bought five years ago to wear to a friend’s birthday party in St. Louis and which I haven’t worn since. I can’t wait to revisit the site to buy myself a little “pick-me-up”. Oh, how I love a burst of color when winter gets way too dreary. Sometimes something that tiny works big wonders. (Trite but true!)
If you are an able-bodied person here in the United States and you do not vote in government elections when given the privilege, you need to be forced to live somewhere that doesn't afford its citizens the opportunity. Those ladies in big dresses didn't fight for the right almost a hundred years ago for me to sit home in sweatpants and ignore the sweat they put into the struggle.
Those who don’t vote should forfeit their right to complain if the election results don’t jive with what they wanted, but of course they’re the ones who will complain the loudest.
I can't decide who I'd like to bludgeon more on the uptown 1 this afternoon: The low-pants-wearin', mumble-talkin', "nigga"-callin', sweat-stinkin' quartet of boys no bigger than I am who I'd guess were born just before the turn of the century, or the strung-out, stringy-haired, plaid-mini-skirted, over-the-knee-socks'd, wiggly-voiced gigglesnort with someone's phone number scrawled on her hand in black ballpoint ink, at least five years older, telling them they'd see God if they did 'shrooms, which prompted one of these subway studs to say he saw God on "herb". It's a good thing I don't have to choose, in my fantasy.
Shana Shornstein is dashing across the floor in pursuit of a soft, sort of "plush" toy that looks like a large fortune cookie inside of which is the most wonderful fortune of coveted catnip. I am equal parts highly amused and highly relieved. Relieved that her plaything this time is an acceptable item of an inanimate variety and not the other kind that has me shrieking "Eek!" like an aproned housewife in a comic strip (or, worse, "Ack!" as in "Cathy") and scrambling to lift my feet up off the floor so they won't be tickled by six tiny ones.
Little boy on the sidewalk in front of me seems to be purposely stepping on all the cracks as he dashes ahead of the adults he’s with. It takes effort for his little feet to neatly step on each one, but he’s a trooper. If the woman shouting after him, “You’re stepping on all the cracks! You’re stepping on all the cracks!” is any indication of what he lives with, I think he’s fully aware of what he’s trying to accomplish by being so recalcitrant. I want to catch up with him and say, “Keep up the good work, kid!”
Seventy-eight years ago today my crazy little Mamanita was brought into this world, no doubt already off her rocker. She doesn't really know what Facebook is but sneers whenever I mention it and says it's bullshit and would never get involved, which makes me roll my eyes and giggle and sigh (and wonder, if she were involved, would she "like" my stuff?). I'm so glad she was born, and is beautiful, because otherwise I might not have been born, and if I had been but to someone else, I may not have turned out so impossibly cute. Happy 78, lunatic!
I think this is the year I break out the 1960s hostess dress for the Thanksgiving feast at my gayboyfriend’s house. It’s been lounging in my closet for, what, three years now, never worn for longer than it takes to admire how stunning it looks on, before realizing it’s not the most comfortable garment in all the land. I’d wear it on the trip to his place, for the duration of dinner, paying special mind that if I eat too much I’ll burst its extremely tailored vintage seams (hello, portion control!). And bring a Mrs. Roper muumuu for apres-feast wallowing.
I do not want to live in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Yes, I would love to be best friends with Lorelai Gilmore and share her wardrobe and order in tons of food with her and watch bad movies with her at her house and drink coffee and eat breakfast at Luke’s with her and share Luke with her (hello!), but I would never attend a town meeting with her, last more than three seconds with Babette, or be unable to resist slapping Taylor, tell Miss Patty she’s not as fabulous as she thinks, or develop a small, inexplicable crush on Kirk.
My walks home from the gym have gone from efficient, utilitarian just-using-my-legs-for-transportation trips to out and out treks that are double the mileage necessary to get me home. The route varies, and I often go way out of my way, heading south when I should be heading north, east when I should be going west, before the “business” of actually getting home enters the picture. Sometimes I favor a route filled with trees and grass, other times one car-clogged and industrial. But whatever route I take, I enjoy it “unplugged”, with no planned itinerary. I love this city like mad.
Dearest dough-faced mommy-person standing by your curbside car, allowing two gigglesnort tweens in your charge to flop and stumble around on the sidewalk, flailing hands swinging vanilla ice cream cones: When they halt suddenly in my path and stand there like a dimwit duo-pack, and I say, “Come on, SOMEONE move,” and navigate around them, and you yell, “EXCUSE you? EXCUUUUUSE you?” after me like a harpy, and I inform you they should watch where they’re flinging their ice cream, and you yell, “Oh NO, the ice cream! The ICE CREAM!”, you’re the one setting a terrible example. Gee. Shocking.
One of my oldest (in terms of length!) friends came to NYC yesterday to celebrate our birthdays (hers was on Wednesday and mine is tomorrow) so I'm staying home today to make up for ditching work. I've got tofu marinating for jerky, and later will be making vegan sausage and almond milk, and drinking obscene amounts of iced coffee, and, if that's not enough heart-pounding excitement, trying out my new mop, which arrived while I was out gallivanting with my friend and pretending that at any minute she was going to be subjected to a flash mob, led by me.
Three birthday celebrations in one day, three cakes from three of my favorite fellas, no time for costume changes between acts, barely enough time to smear on lip-gloss as I'm dashing from one subway to the next to connect all the dots. Alas, the boots I'm wearing aren't nearly as sensible as I had thought they'd be, and by the time I reach the third leg of my roundabout, I'm dying to unzip them even though I know that means I won't be zipping them up again. Good thing fella number 3 likes giving piggyback rides, the best present yet!
Oh, landlord, what part of the word "KILL" in big block letters on the side of a box containing a mousetrap means that a mouse won't be harmed? Your refusal to understand almost forced me to make dual "V"s with my fingers and draw them, blazing, from imaginary hip holsters, and "shoot" you in both knees. When it finally clicked and you returned with humane traps, I was so thrilled to be done with this exchange that I even chortled when you asked if I had cheese to use as bait but had no patience left to explain why not.
Me 1: Ugh, I have to go back and forth to the laundromat and then, once home, I have to fold clothes and put fresh sheets on the bed.
Me 2: I have funds to go to the laundromat, which is only a block away, and every time I walk down the block I see smiling dogs, and I have a home and a bed in which to sleep.
Me 1: Ugh, I can't stand transcribing Mr. ___'s stuff.
Me 2: Transcribing Mr. ___'s stuff means money, which means I can pay bills and rent and do my laundry.
"I don't have a filter!" = "I'm a child and don't want to control my impulses. It's not that I can't, I just don't want to. I'll say that the words just tumbled out of my mouth, and pooh-pooh on you if I offended you or caused you grief or anguish or pain or made you feel bad. I'm going to couch my self-proclaimed lack of a filter as a kind of free-spiritedness that you're just going to have to get used to if you want to be my friend, and you know you do, because I'm so much fun."
Sam, the white-faced Golden Retriever, is 13. When bouncy Bichon Chloe approached him just inside the Central Park Zoo, he could not resist the 10-year-old's curvy figure, and the two of them wagged their tails, wiggled, went nose to nose, and did a little dance. After Chloe and her very old, bundled-up mom with an "Old Country" accent departed, I spoke to Sam's dad, an older, casually-dressed gentleman, and took a few phone photos. "Look at you," he said with a smile, "you're getting so emotional over this." I smiled at him and Sam and blinked back the tears. Woof!
Rainy, cozy Saturday. Little lamps lit around the room rather than the overhead four-bulb "sun". Incense burning. Percolator chortling as it dutifully makes coffee. Shana curled into herself, pressed against the porcelain chill of the tub and the snug warmth of a heating pipe. A library book lounging on the red Parsons table, inviting me to take refuge in its pages. My typewriter winking at me across the room, trying to seduce me into writing a letter. And I have work to do, which doesn't bother me at all, because it pays for me to live here, among my lovelies.
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