It was never meant to be a "forever" thing, I tell
him. Really, it's a one-time
face-to-face get-together at a cafe, and oh my god, if I'd known that his paying
for my iced coffee would symbolize a desire for a full-fledged romance followed
by an instant relationship, I never would have finally agreed to meet after declining
invitations for what seemed like an eternity.
"I thought we had something great going on," he
says. "Was I wrong?"
I remind him we exchanged brief email a handful of times,
"Next time it's your treat," he says.
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I was anorexic before the doctors really even know what the
hell it was. "I think you have
something called anorexia nervosa," mine said, taking another drag on his
cigarette, "and we don't know much about it." He knew I was increasingly skinny, I knew I felt
increasingly fat, and I hated him and his gut and his stupid newfangled term
and that my mother would be trying to make me eat flounder stuffed with crab meat,
one of my favorite dishes ever, which I wasn't eating anymore because I didn't
want my weight to enter the fatso triple digits.
BP scoops ice cream with me at the Reading Terminal Market. His Peter Frampton hair can barely be restrained
in the proper way for food service. It,
like he, is ready to bust out all over the place without warning. We laugh like maniacs. I think he's gay, but apparently he's not,
because we go back to his mom's house in South Philadelphia, where we do all
sorts of things on a threadbare mattress.
The graffiti he's drawn all over the walls is our voyeur. His quasi-toothless, watery-eyed mama makes
us biscuits with white sauce. I've never
felt less Jewish.
He needs to stop sending me invitations to free and
discounted events around the city. He
needs to stop alerting me to Groupons and Living Social and Amazon deals. He and his BOGO need to go the way of the
dodo. While I appreciate that this schlub likes a tidy little bargain, it's
hardly the most alluring trait to fling around when you want a fling with
me. I'm not going to think, "Well,
gee whiz! A two-fer!" Sorry, but I'm going to think, "Well,
gosh darn! A loser!" Keep pinching your pennies, buddy boy,
because you're not pinching me.
I don't care why you like that certain song. You don't have to explain it to me, try to
put into words what shouldn't dare be put into words. See, that's the thing with music. It wants to be felt, wants to attach itself
to your heart, your bones, your viscera.
It wants to give you chills when it's hot out, make you sweat when it's
freezing, leave you gasping and grasping for something indescribable, like a
fruit whose name you can't remember or doesn't even exist. Don't try to rationalize it to me or to
yourself. Don't ruin it.
In third grade, in one of our classes we made Easter candy, which
consisted of coconut and chocolate. In
the early '70s, they trusted kids with graters.
Our teacher was probably smoking a cigarette by the cubbyholes when some
dumb boy started screaming and his pile of coconut was tinged with pink thanks
to his freshly grated finger. I like to recall
a lot more blood than I'm sure really resulted, and I like to remember tiny
bits of white knuckles mixed in with his batch, but all it probably was was one
cut mended with Bactine and a Band-Aid.
Oh, Amazon Prime, you're worth it even if just for the
quick-arriving deliveries that I send myself a few times a month from the
comfort of my desk. Two-day delivery of
even the most mundane of items still makes me feel like I'm getting a treat, a
much needed pick-me-up to break up in the workday. In the mood for a new spatula but a trip to
Bed, Bath & Beyond or Home Goods or TJMaxx would cost time? Obsess on Amazon for 20 minutes, find the
perfect one at the perfect price? The
slight delayed gratification is almost delicious.
I bought new bed pillows, to replace those that I bought
four years ago. I don't know how often
you're "supposed" to replace them, but I do know that based on the
condition of mine, this was overdue. Now
I have the old ones resting in the new ones' shipping box, as I decide their
fate. Do I save them for use as a cat
bed? Do I hold onto them for when "company"
stays over on the sofa? Do I keep them
because they're crying and sad that I'd consider tossing them? Should I be losing sleep over this?
I love the way everyone's trying to act like they don't
notice that Jim Farinelli's nose looks exactly like the Eiffel Tower. I mean, I know it's not polite to stare, and
you don't want the new kid to feel like an outcast (unless you're a jerk), but
still. At first I thought Maureen Coyle and
Keira Mondale smirked at each other, but later I found out it was because of
his first name (pervs). At lunch, he approaches
the table where I sit alone and says, "Can I join you, Leaning Tower of
Peter?" I laugh and tilt
In third (?) grade, someone got me a toy soft pretzel maker for
my birthday that actually made pretzels, just like the E-Z Bake Oven made real
cakes. I was so excited I thought I was
going to burst. I don't remember what
happened to it, but I never got to use it.
I think it was broken or someone said it was broken, and I never got to
even try to make a pretzel. I know I
exchanged it for something else, maybe a Lite-Brite, which I loved too, but it wasn't nearly as
daydream-worthy as the pretzel maker.
The best weekends are the ones where, after my customary
Saturday morning Whole Foods run, which has me home by 10:00, I have nowhere
else to be. I don't have to set an
alarm, I don't have to care about what to wear, brush my hair, look in the
mirror. I can order in or I can cook. I don't have to open the door until Monday,
not even to get the mail, if I don't want to.
I don't have to open my mouth to speak to another person. Home avec
cat is my favorite place in the world.
Regret for the passing of summer is limited to the fact that
I barely made any smoothies and thus can't celebrate the two-year anniversary
of my Vitamix with fond bubble-cloud memories of fruity and/or chocolaty
concoctions created to combat the heat. I
don't regret not seeking out picnics or parties or barbecues or anything
involving a Frisbee or volleyball. I
don't regret not piling into a jalopy with Archie and Jughead and the Riverdale
gang for a jaunt to the beach. I don't
regret the lack of clambakes, bikinis, and bonfires. And hey, I can still make smoothies in
A guy I went out with a couple of times several years ago
has a stream of dipshit women on his Facebook page who drool over his profile photos
and praise him for being deep whenever he posts a rambling narrative. Some either aren't native English speakers
or, if they are, have an incredibly limp grasp of the language. Either way, I chortle at the sighs and
accolades. I wonder how many of them
have "had" him. And to those
who haven't I want to say, "Get a grip.
He snores like a motherfucker.
And his pancakes aren't the best."
When I was growing up in the '70s, I was enamored of '50s style,
which is part of the reason I was so in love with "Happy Days" (the other
reason was Fonzie, natch. I thought
there was no way the '70s stuff was going to be revered in nostalgia at all. Years later, when it started creeping back, I
thought, "I wore that crap the first time around. No way will I be revisiting it." Now I can't get enough of it, and I wish I
still had all my '70s stuff. Much of it
would probably still fit.
It's cold and rainy outside.
I brought my bike inside from the patio so it doesn't have to
suffer. I've got curry simmering on the
stove, waiting for all kinds of vegetables to be added for a mid-afternoon, uh,
linner or dunch (very appetizing words, I know), "Six Feet Under" (via
Amazon Prime) about to be rewatched for the first time since it originally
aired, a blanket under which to alternately curl and stretch out, enormous messy
hair, an incredibly cute and cozy cat to hang out with, and nowhere
else to be this weekend. Life does not
I'm trying to pretend I don't dislike the new girl, that the
little roll of squishy "muffin top" exposed in the gap between her
shirt and jeans isn't making me think, "Why?", that her slight lisp
isn't rankling my inner Buddy Hinton, that her oversized front teeth aren't
making me think of misplaced Chiclets, that her bare toes in her sandals aren't
making me squeamish, that her unblinking direct eye contact isn't creepy, but
I'm failing miserably. I can't pretend I'm
disappointed in myself for finding her annoying. I am disappointed, though, that she seems to
want to be pals.
Pamela insists on arriving ten minutes early for her
sessions with me so she can water the plants in the waiting room with a large vintage
watering can she brings from home. Every
time, she comments to my receptionist, Sandy, about the condition of the
plants. After doing it for two months,
she says to Sandy, "They shouldn't be turning brown like this." When she still says it two months later,
Sandy says, "You know they're fake plants, right?" Pamela looks up at Sandy, pauses in her task,
and says, "Of course I do. That's
why I use fake water."
Every afternoon at 2:53, you'll find Darren in the break room,
standing in front of the vending machine, smiling at the sound of his coins
dropping into the slot, breathless as the Twix that is now his drops into the tray
by his knees. You'll hear his slight giggle
as he bends to retrieve it. Although he
can't wait to eat it, he takes his sweet time removing the wrapper, and it's at
that point that you'll stop watching.
That means you'll miss the part where he kisses the candy, but really,
that's enough to make you hate the guy.
Last night while watching a moving, I paused because I
started sobbing about Shana. I heard a
"brrrooooot" meow, and Lola magically appeared on the top of a sofa
cushion, perched almost on my right shoulder.
I cried harder, and she slunk onto my lap, made herself into a little
loaf, and moved closer to my chest. She reached
out her left paw, soft, no claws, and slowly stroked my face. I cried harder. She inched closer and did the same thing with
my right arm. She held my gaze with her one
enormous gorgeous green eye the entire time.
It is now 1:30. This
was the time and the day that I would've been taking Shana to her iodine
radiation treatment at Hypurrcat, for which so many beautiful and lovely friends,
Facebook and otherwise, had donated their hard-earned money. I am trying really hard not to punch holes in
walls or smash my face into a brick wall or scream so loud that they'd hear it
all the way in Timbuktwelve. For the most
part I'm succeeding. I feel like for all
I did, it still wasn't enough. One thing
I do know is that 15-1/2 years sure wasn't.
Six days have passed since her sweet little kitty soul took
leave of her diminished body and floated off to wherever it needed to go
next. I feel like she may have wafted
into me, like she may have known that I need her energy and her spirit to
attach itself to, what, my heart, my lungs, my pancreas, the zaniest part of my
brain. Several times I have pressed my
hands to my chest and said, aloud, "You're in here," and felt the weight
behind my hands and in the hole left in my heart from her passing. Meow.
Oh, sweet beautiful Shana.
It's been a week since my heart stopped after yours did. I feel like I didn't do enough for you, little
girl, didn't get you diagnosed in time, didn't do all I could in the way of
treatment or care, that it's my fault you're no longer in this world and have
zipped off into the galaxy. The next
time you are in my presence, it will be in a small box containing ashes that I
cannot snuggle or feed or hug or kiss and which won't meow no matter how much I
want them to.
A recent need to stash a cat-ton (British weight) of canned cat
food in my apartment propelled me to stand, at full height, on the kitchen counter
to place it atop the cabinets. It was
then that I got a full view of brown filth tacky to the tentative touch I
ventured. My disgust over the
realization that it hasn't been cleaned for at least 9-1/4 years, which is how
long I've lived here (and probably much longer, knowing my landlord), was
tempered by the relief I felt over not having dated a basketball player in all
that time. (Ph)ew.
When my mom was my age, she had three kids, 27, 25, and 23,
and a 2-year-old grandson. She had been
married to my biodad for 17 years and my stepdad for 14. She had gone straight from living with her
parents to the first husband to the second, with no breaks in between. I have no kids, no husbands, lived with two
boyfriends (at separate times!) (NECESSARY CLARIFICATION!), and have lived
alone (except for cats) for almost 9-1/2 years.
Sometimes I think she envies my choices.
I never envy hers, and it made me sad just to type that.
I should know by now that when it gets to the point that I
remove the keys on my keyboard and clean the tray beneath them with an array of
Q-Tips, and then press the keys back into place with mounting excitement (this
step I find oddly fun), enough damage has been done that the keyboard won't
perform the way I need/require/demand despite this task, and I have to order a
new one anyway. I sigh, of course, and
curse, but I'm "secretly" thrilled to have a shiny new keyboard over
whom I vow to never, ever eat rice crackers.
My association with the elliptical has come to an end. It has never done a thing for me other than
afford an opportunity to chat with a friend as if I'm having a stroll in Soho. I don't even consider it a workout. Indeed, I feel like I could line the little
"lip" to place a book or phone with sushi and wasabi and have a
leisurely snack while gabbing. It's back
to the stairmaster, treadmill, and bike, where I'm so involved in trying not to
pass out from the exertion that I can't even think about gabbing or sushi.
I met an artist on Sunday named August Wren whose paintings
I adored from the moment I saw them spread out on the floor of Dixon Place
before installation on the wall for an event that morning in which I sing as
part of a small choir. Every day for the
past two years, she has created a painting in a small sketchbook, allotting herself
no more than 30 minutes, and never returning to the piece thereafter. Not every day yields something good, she
said. I thought, "I should do
something like that" and then thought, "Oh. Wait.
If you're so awkward that when the laundromat dryer you're
trying to use acts up, and the LED display flashes "door", and you and
your casted/booted right foot just stand there, pushing the button over and
over and, not even bothering to turn around to apologize to the person behind
you who's waiting to use the dryer below it (which shares the same coin slot),
or at least grimace with chagrin, and you have to be prompted, like you're a
toddler and not a woman, to ask for the attendant's help, the broken leg is the
least of your problems.
I can't do this
until I do that. I can't do that until I do this. If I do that and this, I get to reward myself
with THIS. I am an infant who needs incentives and little
baby bonuses in order to accomplish the simplest of tasks. "If you wash your iced coffee glass
right now, you can open the Amazon package." Oooh! "You
can't check your credit score on Credit Karma until you finish another 15
minutes of the deposition transcript."
Weee! "You can't order
dinner from Delivery.com until you finish the 100 Words you're behind on."