REPORT A PROBLEM
I recently rewatched "Crumb" for the first time since my initial viewing years ago. I didn't remember much about it except some stuff about his brothers, although in memory I'd molded them into one person. One, Charles, a cartoonist in his youth, was a mentally ill recluse who OD'd a year after being interviewed. Crumb remarked on the odd wrinkle/folds that eventually overtook Charles' drawings. I cringed when I realized that my own stuff, which I'd been drawing before rewatching the movie, contains this same element. (Don't worry. I have no suicidal ideation, just a proclivity for bizarreness, I suppose.)
I don't care what anyone says about the new kid's mom. I don't care if the other mothers with their bulletproof bleached beehives raise their penciled-on eyebrows about her shiny black curly hair and her dangly earrings and her colorful hat. Or ...
"Those can't possibly be real sapphires," one said. "What man would waste good money on
"That can't possibly be a real beard," my mom said. "It's made of vines and flowers! And I swear I hear it make little bell sounds in the breeze when she goes out to her mailbox every afternoon. She's..."
"...FABULOUS!" we said.
"I like raisins more than anyone you've ever met," he says. "I'm not trying to brag. It's just the truth."
"Congratulations," I say.
"Thank you. I hope I didn't come across as cocky."
No, I think, you didn't. You came off as a jackass because you don't go around acting like there's competition to be crowned ruler of the realm of raisins without a shred of humor or awareness of the ridiculous of such a claim.
"I like the colorful fall foliage more than anyone in the history of fall foliage," I say.
"No one likes a showoff," he says.
Fran "Frumpy" Peters reviews the shoes I'm considering for purchase on Zappos. They were a hit at her niece's wedding in Waukegan, where she danced for hours without bunion pain, the first time in years, and all the ladies in her church book club are ordering a pair! Sharon Morton reviews the shoes too. They're a godsend! She'll wear them every day at her new job as a Walmart greeter. They're fancy enough that she won't even have to change shoes to go directly from work to Olive Garden with her hubby. I remove those shoes from my "maybe" list.
"Fuck yeah! Fuck yeah!" she yells from across the aisle, and laughs. She'd been sitting there so quietly, reading (or pretending to read) Metro or amNewYork. "Soon all your dicks will be cut off. And it'll be all right. Fuck yeah!"
Perhaps she's related to the guy who shambled onto the subway recently with a six-pack of beer and muttered, "I just need to strangle a bitch today! I just need to strangle a bitch!" as he mimed wrapping his hands around a throat and, well, strangling a bitch.
I guess I'll just always have to wonder now, won't I.
I'm in the home of someone who holds himself out to be a germaphobe, a big fan of mentioning his OCD. I pretend it's vital that I wash my hands (much like I imagine him to do countless times a day) and go to his bathroom. AN inspection of the medicine cabinet doesn't reveal prescription containers lined up like soldiers in alphabetical order. There's a water stain on the faucet, a blur of mildew on the unironed shower curtain. Had everything been as orderly as I'd expected, I'd planned to lick something in defiance. But now I don't have to.
Crabtree Punchdrunk McAllister doesn't want to change his name. Everyone else wants him to, though, including (or especially) Crabtree Fruitpunch McGillicuddy, who says that even though he had his name 15 years before McAllister was born, people keep confusing the two of them because of Crabtree's video that "went viral" a few weeks ago. McAllister's parents are embarrassed now (rightly so) by their son's association with the moronic video and just want him to agree to "Carl". He's a minor, after all and must do what they order him to do, despite the hurtful filth he spewed in the video.
Carly scorches the hem of Marina's gauzy skirt with the vanilla-scented candle she picked up at Goodwill for 25 cents to make their apartment cozier for the little party they're throwing right now. "Hey, come on!" Marina yells, and flounces its folds to put out the imaginary fire. "Great. That's two dollars I'll never get back. You did that on purpose."
Carly says she didn't, that she was just trying to show Marina's not-so-secret admirer, Barton, who told her yesterday that she couldn't hold a candle to Marina, that she could, indeed.
What a waste of a perfectly good quarter.
Several moments ago, as I closed the blinds with one hand, a bottle of raspberry-lime sparking Poland Spring grasped in the other, I saw a neighbor across the courtyard in a well-lit window, both hands shaking a cocktail shaker with the vigor of four, no doubt in preparation for the debate. I'm willing to bet he'll drink whatever he's shaking in a glass, probably specifically designed for his drink of choice. And I'm also willing to bet I'll be swigging directly from the bottle. I feel like we should raise our vessels to each other to make this Nora Ephron-worthy.
I do like Old Bay seasoning on fries and occasionally welcome a sort of crispy coating, but I’d appreciate if restaurants serving them any way except for traditional, PLAIN AND UNADULTERATED, would make this clear from the get-go so I'm not surprised when they arrive and thus have to adjust my excitement accordingly. Most of the time I just want my fries very hot, crisp on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside, salted and peppered, golden brown but not burnt, with or without the skins (one option I don't need advance notice about). This you must know.
I've been daydreaming about pretzels, both Philadelphia soft (my true love) and hard sourdough (the big brown box of Snyder's and Martin's) (also my true loves). It's a shame I live in a tiny, isolated, practically unnamed village where not only are pretzels not available but no one has even heard of them (and indeed don't even know who the Amish are, when I said in exasperated disbelief, "My god, even the AMISH know what they are and MAKE them too!), so I can't satisfy my craving. And drawing them didn't help, either, much to my surprise and considerable chagrin.
My phone likes when I ask it how old celebrities are. "Hello, Google. How old is Ted Danson?"
"Ted Danson is 68 years old."
"Hello, Google. How old is Mary Steenburgen?"
"Mary Steenburgen is 63 years old."
"Hello, Google. How old is Jason Schwartzman?"
"Jason Schwartzman is 36 years old."
But after that, Google gets impatient and only supplies the number without the name, like a parent who, on the way to IKEA, thought it would be fun to do that "I spy with my little eye" thing, and realized quickly it wasn't going to end with the car trip.
I've long been finished my work and don't need my headphones on anymore. I don't know how long I've been sitting here with them still on, but I leave them on. They perfectly and completely cover my ears and in an odd way comfort them, like they're cocooning in tandem with my body, attached to it even more firmly than they are by the purple embroidery floss used in my manufacture.
As long as I have the headphones on, I am "safe". From what, I'm not quite sure. My Facebook news feed? The upcoming election? Everyone in NYC? Everything? Anything?
When the Ansonia laundromat closed several months ago, I lamented its demise. They'd always offered laundry service, but I never took advantage of it. Now that that's the only option, it's a big load (of laundry) off my mind. Doing laundry myself, although not difficult at all, rankled the hell out of me, and I always dreaded the trips back and forth to accomplish the task. Now, though, I have found a new thing to dread, and that's the simply act of taking it to the place in my granny cart and then picking it up once it's done. Oy!
Weather permitting, I walk home from the gym almost every morning. I have walked up every Avenue from east to west, and have varied my route, zigging and zagging and twisting and turning, but I feel like I've seen "everything" more than enough. I don't like the new development happening on the far west side and avoid that as much as possible. How I wish there were a super-secret Avenue, like Twelfth or Thirteenth, that magically awakened in the shadow of the new construction, to say, "Hey, look, I've been here the whole time. I think you need me now."
The CREDO customer service lady asks if she can help with anything else today. She's been lovely and helpful with paying my bill when both the online and phone methods have failed.
"Well, you can come over and make my bed, if you like," I say with a chuckle, and instantly think, oh god, no, she thinks I think she's just good for "service" work and I'm some spoiled, privileged Manhattan jerkoff who can't even make her own bed.
Fortunately she laughs and says, "Okay! I'll be over as soon as I can!" and we have a few laughs. Phew.
Oh, big baby booboo Trumpy Wumpy. You want the big bad baddy bad bads on "Saturday Night Live" to stop making fun of you. You want horrible meanie meanster Alec Baldwin to stop being such a bullypants poopyhead who makes you pout (your default, actually), stomp your stalking/stocking feet, and curl your tiny pink hands into tinier pinker fists. I just realized this afternoon that perhaps they started way earlier than this election season. Maybe it all started with Dooneese, the infant-handed delight played to perfection by Kristen Wiig. Should we start calling your Dooneese Trump instead? I say yes!
Because it's Tuesday and it's unseasonably warm for an October morning and because on his way home from buying a Hershey bar with change he scrounged from the sofa cushions he passed a fawn-colored miniature poodle on the street who looked up at him and smiled, Carl knows that if asks the sky to rain pink lemonade instead of the usual iced tea, it will oblige and his day will be made. But he's not in a rush, because it's not even 8:00 a.m., and he knows the rules: He has to make the request by noon for guaranteed returns.
I just saw that thousands of Titicaca water frogs (a/k/a "scrotum" frogs) (either name makes me giggle) have turned up dead. Someone I don't know posted an article and said, "Leave nature alone and let it take its course. All animals become endangered at times and die out. We don't have dinosaurs anymore. God knows what he is doing and he doesn't need our help doing it." If you know me in real life, you know my facial expression right now. God knows what he's doing! He does. Really, guys. So it's okay, okay? (Don't get me started. Shhh. Shhh.)
Today is my mom's eightieth birthday. She is five years older than her mom was when she left this world and three or four years younger than her dad when he did. I don't see any signs of her slowing down or acting her age (whatever that means), but then again, I don't live with her, so I don't see most of what my sister sees on a daily basis. I love that she's still nuts and ridiculous. She drives me crazy at times but I keep reminding myself, perhaps in a maudlin way, that one day I'll miss it.
My mom is vehement! She does not like pretty boys! She's told me this many times over the years, often in reference to my taste in fellas, which although not limited to pretty boys, does include a gent or two who'd give me a run for the money in the pretty department. (She does like Johnny Depp, though. So, WHATEVER, Mom.)
"You know who I really don't like? What's his name? Oh. Rob Lowe. It seems like you would, like, slip off of him or something."
I imagine my mom imagining herself on top of Rob Lowe. Why, Mommy? WHY?!
The cake recipe whose spices I use for another recipe's chocolate chip pumpkin Bundt cake is no longer online. The cake I make only specifies "pumpkin pie spice". I scour the 14 billion choices a Google search HAS yielded and can't decide. I'm pretty sure cardamom didn't figure into the mix, which narrows it down to perhaps 12 billion. I plow on. I don't want to leave the house to buy a can of pumpkin so I check if Amazon will deliver it to me today. No dice. I guess my mom's getting macaroons instead of cake for her birthday.
Although this Amtrak train doesn't have a quiet car, everyone boarding has been quiet, so I'm feeling encouraged. Then a massive pair of jeans with glittery back pockets schlumps down the aisle and, with way too much hoopla, as if she's on the grand adventure of a lifetime, takes the seat across the aisle, soon joined by an equally doughy, pasty male companion.
Eventually she plays a video on her phone.
"Ma'am, would you kindly put on headphones if you're going to watch that?" I say. She complies without event. Meanwhile, I really wanted to say, "Fuckin' shut up, bumpkin."
I'm in one of my "I'm going to buy some new vintage stuff so I'll have an incentive to leave the house" phases. I thought I was going to revert to a "I'm going to wear a uniform of black leggings and black boots" phase, accompanied, though, by a really nifty black, belted Butte Knit coat I recently acquired, but no. I can disappear at home if I want, but in order to get myself out of this godforsaken rut, I need to traipse around town in purple shoes. Or an orange jacket. Otherwise I feel like I won't resurface.
I expected strife from the company that sold an adapter that was supposed to work with my Casio keyboard but didn't. I expected them to not only insist that it would work if I forced or jiggled it, but to quote a ridiculous, prohibitive return shipping fee. I was prepared to leave a scathing Amazon review. I'm pleased to report I didn't have to. They did request photos of my old plug and the new plug, but afterward promptly sent information about how to return the item, including a shipping label for a free return. Ahhh, it's the little things.
I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. I'm with her. After all, our birthdays are on the same day (TODAY!)
Someone recently posted on Yelp that she objected to a bodega cat in an East Village store. Other Yelpers jumped to the cat's defense. But gosh, I totally share her anguish!! The presence of a cat in any public setting, especially in a bodega, where they're often iconic fixtures, TRIGGERS me. One hissed at me in a YouTube video four months ago, baked-good-shaming me for indulging in a gluten-free muffin, and I was so traumatized that my mom had to go to my interview at Kate Spade *alone*.
P.S. If you don't like it, gato the fuck out of NYC.
I'm about to watch my first episode of Black Mirror. By the time it's over, I'd better be bleeding from at least one ear, rocking inconsolably under my desk while sob-humming "London Bridge is falling down" and braiding my hair with trembling hands, and developing an adorable semi-permanent facial tic for all the brouhaha I've been seeing about the show when scrolling through my news feed (squinting, to avoid spoilers). It can't possibly be any worse than a nanosecond of a video I saw of some guy getting a huge-ass mofo of a cyst popped on his arm, can it?
I cannot think of her being "six feet under" or I'll go completely nuts. I can't think of her lying in that box, feeling like wax and looking like wax or not feeling or looking like anything anymore. Her leaving this world, I thought, would make me want to go out and be among the living more, to end this inertia, this self-imposed seclusion, to go out and celebrate and be alive, but instead I'm in a huge motherfucker of a rut and all I want to do is hide more than ever. But this has to end. It must.
I don't know what's most wasteful: The paper used for the unsolicited tome-like La Perla magazine/catalogue that arrived in today's mail inside an elegant matte black envelope, the money someone would fork over for the overpriced undergarments gracing its pages, or the notion that someone like me, who, although she does wear dresses, can barely take herself seriously in them, would actually buy into this stuff.
I only opened the envelope to save the black paper for drawing on with white pen. The catalogue went directly into recycling, joining a tenant's kid's discarded coloring book, which interests me much more.
I'm in a rut insofar as drawing is concerned and haven't painted anything of "significance" (ha) for several weeks. That I've managed to write any email beyond a few sentences in response to the people with whom I correspond that way (which I absolutely love, not being much of a texter) is remarkable given that I feel about as interesting as dryer lint (no offense to the actual stuff, which can be kind of cute and fluffy). So what did I do? Ordered very pretty socks for about $15 a pop from Amazon. Is this where I say "hashtag winning"?
The Tip Jar