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I miss the good ol' days when seeing someone with a tattoo meant that that person was somewhat counterculture, perhaps dangerous, had lived a hard life, or had been, I don't know, mysteriously at sea for a while, perhaps warding off hook-armed pirates or questionable women in strange foreign ports. But now that every other gum-chewing dickish Tom and Harry at the gym sports a calf tattoo or a sleeve and every Midwestern mom with an angled-toward-the-front bob with a purple streak in front has some symbol on her calf or shoulder, it's as tedious as hearing the term "gluten-free".
Oh, to have a "studio", a room or space apart from the rest of the apartment, in which to do the "art" stuff. (I refuse to say "make art". Even the word "art" makes me cringe. Hence, the quotation marks.) If all the supplies were readily accessible, at my fingertips (I started to say "literally", but then realized, no, that's not so), it would be much easier to just dive in or at least stand in front of everything and say, "Okay, now it's 'go time' and then have at it.
(Is everything in my life in quotes and/or parenthetical?)
No one tells you before you get to Saturn that there's not much to do unless you're into skateboarding or Indian food. Now, I love Indian food as much as the next skateboarding Saturnian, but is it really worth the long trip?
My first and only other trip to this planet last year, I tried skateboarding but found the difference in gravity didn't improve my ability despite the increase in gravity, and I felt incredibly foolish. I will say, though, that the samosas at every restaurant were unparalleled.
(Full disclosure: I couldn't get over seeing "270" on the Jupiter scales.)
It's not even farfetched to suggest that I'd easily be able to eat four cups of cooked couscous, seasoned with perhaps nothing more than cashew "parmesan" and a bit of pepper and whatever's in the bouillon I used in the water. Indeed, I sit here daydreaming about doing just that, my eyes narrowing as if about to doze off where I would no doubt dream actual sleep dreams about the same thing. Because yes, even though I am capable of the most vivid, lurid, complex dreams, I am also capable of dreaming about the calm delight of a simple grain.
I will attempt a half marathon if the following criteria can be met:
I'm surrounded on three sides by a curtained rolling rack with just enough room between me and its sides that I don't feel restricted, so no one can see me. The casters must not make much noise and be able to respond without a hitch to any pavement vagaries.
No one offers me a Mylar cape upon completion of the event.
I do not have to see anyone stretching his or her hamstrings.
Ricky Gervais takes me out for french fries afterward.
I don't ask for much.
The receptionist welcomes me via a crackling intercom. She tells me to take a seat.
I approach the counter and inform her there are no chairs. She peers over her reading glasses, brushes the air with her left hand, a flick of four fingers, thumb stationary, and says, "No need to come closer. Take a lean."
"Oh, you said lean, not stand."
Several floor-to-ceiling poles, stand along two side walls. I lean against one like a pole-hogger on the 1 train.
"What is this?" I say.
"No budget for chairs," she says.
I leave. I'll find a new dentist tomorrow.
I will not be replenishing the popcorn supply in the house. It is too easy for me to make an entire Whirley-Pop's worth of the stuff, transfer it to the big plastic yellow bowl, sprinkle a generous amount of cashew "Parmesan" on top from the groovy glass shaker, plop on the sofa and devour it like an automaton while bingeing on "Veep". Those calories could be better allocated for real food that won't make me feel like my stomach's going to explode and cause me to question my sanity for the umpteenth time because by now I should know better.
When you use the toilet paper in a public restroom, the first sheet you touch has probably already been handled by the person preceding you, unless, like a magician pulling a tablecloth from beneath a fully-set table leaving everything intact, the person managed a perfect flick of the wrist that precisely removed the paper along its perforation. I have taken to discarding this first sheet, even though I don't like wasting paper. This careful attention to hygiene flies in the face of the fact that I will eat food that I dropped onto the sidewalk more than three seconds ago.
He tells me his name is Spry Fleetfoot. I roll my eyes. I tell him my name is Frenchfry Saperstein and he recognizes the last name as the doctor in "Rosemary's Baby", so he can't be all bad. Still, I cringe when he says, "I'm 1/16 Cherokee", like his face should be embossed on a coin.
He almost crashed into me with his scooter, causing me to stumble into a tree whose bite was worse than its bark. My arm is bleeding.
He has a Band-Aid in his pocket. I wish he'd just go by the name "Steve" or something.
My cat told me she is going out of town for a few days this summer and has some reservations about leaving me home alone. She and I haven't spent a night apart since July 20, 2015, the day she first came to live here. I told her that I managed just fine quite a few nights away from her predecessor (pause to sob) and she bowed her head in solemn recognition of the "fallen" sister she had for two months and said, "Not all cats are the same." I didn't press for an explanation but do appreciate her concern.
Thanks, United Airlines goons, for the nifty free *carry-off* service on your flights, to balance the $25 fee for checking a carry-on in Basic Economy.
This is super. Now I have three months to dread the round-trip non-refundable flight I purchased a few weeks ago to Chicago/O'Hare (or ORD for those who prefer to flaunt their in-the-know jetsetting lifestyle), the same airport where the inexcusable, inhumane disgrace occurred.
I did call yesterday to try cancelling, but it's just not going to happen. I did, however, unload at least two earsful to a customer service representative, so at least there's that.
I wish the horrific skinny jeans trend that's plagued us for way too many years would just perish from anorexia already, bury itself, and never resurface. I have yet to see any body type flattered by the silhouette. The one exception may be when they're tucked into calf- or knee-high boots, but that's not enough. No, they can disappear and groovy flare-leg jeans can rise again so everyone, even the thinnest girls, can stop looking like not only their thighs but their calves and ankles are screaming for immediate relief and release. (Also, please surrender any and all over-the-knee boots.)
When availing yourself of the delight of a revolving door, you must do some of the work of propelling the door forward. You cannot rely on the person behind you to carry your load. If you linger, inert, once inside your isolated wedge, and make little or no effort to advance, you have essentially given the person behind you the right and privilege of using sufficient force to get the lard out of your ass in order to advance his own, which then affords a bit of an advantage to the person behind that person. In other words: Fucking move.
My family has no traditions, no rituals, no anchors. We don't celebrate holidays, only sporadically get together for birthdays, and otherwise don't congregate. When my grandparents, my mom's parents, were still in this world, we would still gather a bit and Poppop would stand up and tearfully give a toast that made us snicker, but he's been gone almost 24 years and that concession to family togetherness and tradition went with him. I view photos of other people's assorted Thanksgivings, Passovers, and family vacations like an anthropologist with no real reference point, adjusting my monocle with a curious, quizzical "hrmph".
The solution to this crushing crisis isn't to stay home and watch both seasons of The Office, followed by the special and then David Brent: On the Road while lamenting that not only will Ricky Gervais never fall in love with me but already has a long-term lady anyway. It isn't to Velcro myself to the sofa and read Margaret Atwood until I've had it up to here with handmaidens. It isn't to "hate read' people's Facebook posts, knowing Facebook is two-faced. It's to be out and about, collecting bits of life lint to fashion into something of my own.
He'll have to not only understand but laugh and contribute when, at a party, I say that the woman over there, who I can tell is dying to empty the bowl of cashews into her pocket, looks like a 1970s astronaut's wife. He'll have to supply an alternate voice for my cat and "get it" when I ask her if she's wearing Keds or are those her own white paws today. He'll still feel compelled if he can ask for an apple from the refrigerator even though he knows he doesn't have to ask. He's gotta be out there, right?
Late this morning, after reading about it on Gothamist, I applied to be a turtle walker for a "famous" 20-pound turtle named Henry who lives not too far from me. I will present my application/reply in as many 100 Words entries as it takes. (I promise it won't take the rest of the month/batch. )
I just read, with finger-twinkling, foot-tapping, heart-skipping delight, the piece on Gothamist about Henry the Turtle, and I practically tripped over my feet, even though I was seated, to get my hands on the keyboard to apply for the position of his walker.
To say I am an animal lover is as grand an understatement as saying Pavarotti can carry a tune, Bach can write a little ditty, and Picasso can fingerpaint. I love animals so much that I don't wear them or eat them, so Henry would be super-duper safe and secure in my care. I would scratch him under the chin, feed him treats as his little heart desired (or as you desired for him, since he's probably want more treats than you'd want him to have, if he's anything like most of us), and be honored and delighted (Continued)
to take him for walks in Central Park or wherever else he wanted to go.
I live on the Upper West Side in the lower 70s by Riverside Park, but I am quite familiar with Morningside Heights and the upper end of the Upper West Side. I lived at 101st and West End Avenue for a couple of years and was often in Central Park by the gorgeous pond and Harlem Meer back then. I never walked a turtle in the park, but I imagine it would be similar to walking my dog except with less drool and (Continued)
with a bit more dry wit because as much as I loved my dog, he was more of a Vaudevillian than anything else and not exactly one for puns, as I imagine Henry would be.
I work from home, make my own schedule, and could easily accommodate the needs of a big, beautiful turtle fellow. Nothing would make me happier, probably.
No. Make that definitely.
I hope to hear from you!
(Signed with my first name and last initial)
This is a long shot since they received hundreds of applications the last time they sought a walker. But still!
It's raining cats, dogs, ferrets, and foxes. It's a regular jangle of paws out there. Ordinarily I order in food on Fridays, but I don't want to be the kind of heartless dick who doesn't care that the person delivering it may be one of the many bicycle delivery guys who defiantly rides against traffic or on the sidewalk, doesn't obey any other rules of the road, and probably couldn't give two shits if your bag has been upside-down on his handlebars. (Actually, "my" delivery guys are usually lovely, so I'm sparing them this perilous downpour. Hello, delicious homecooked dinner!)
My online search for the perfect very lightweight gym jacket comes to an end when I pull one I already own from a dresser drawer in my apartment. I had forgotten all about it. I shake it out, put it on, and zip it up, noting with delight that it has the double-zipper I'd been looking for online, and gasp. It's absolute perfection. I'm as giddy as if it were new. I wonder if I had been as excited over the jacket when I bought it, probably about 20 years ago. Either way, I'm elated to have made its reacquaintance!
My "weekender" bag has arrived and it's supercute. I'm trying to convince myself it's okay that it's the same size as my new "spinner" carryon because they're not necessarily interchangeable, in that I will not be taking an actual suitcase with me when I visit a certain 100 Words member in June. The thought of boarding the Amtrak train with regular luggage makes me cringe just as much as the thought of boarding it with this groovy, nifty "weekender" and then placing it in the back seat of his car when he picks me up delights me. (P.S. Hi, OSD!)
Several weeks ago, I made the mistake of engaging the chatty trainer during a workout and immediately regretted it because I didn't want to set the stage for future chats that'd interrupt "the flow", which means I just want to be left in peace to do my stuff even though I know I played a part in encouraging the chat. I avoided her on subsequent gym jaunts, felt uneasy about it, and went up to her to apologize in case she thought me rude. She assured me she didn't, not at all, and all was right with the (gym) world.
My cat has taken refuge inside a big Amazon box that used to deliver a friend's dog's kibble to my apartment. She's snuggled in the brown packing paper that I'd left inside because I know how much she enjoys it. I love that she likes having her own little "bedroom" here, aside from the luxurious carpeted scratching post/bed and the shelf in the closet that I have no idea how she navigates or the bathtub or under my bed. I get all happy-teary when I think of her making little unspoken cat choices on how to be comfortable and secure.
I miss Colony Music just above Times Square and the cheapo Conway stores, particularly the one by Macy's. I miss the stationary, non-flashing, non-flashy Beacon Theater marquee. I miss the "big board" at Penn Station that announced the arrival and departures of Amtrak and NJT trains. I miss phone booths everywhere. I miss rotary phones. I miss albums and 45s and 8-tracks. I miss inserting the eraser end of a pencil into one of the holes of a cassette tape to pick up the slack. I miss buttons and levers and dials and switches. I do not "fit" in 2017.
I order an appetizer. "We're out of that," the server says. I say, "Oh no!" and choose something else.
I order an entrée. "We're out of that too." I groan and choose something else.
What I really want to do is shout, "You've barely been open an hour. How can you not have the ingredients on hand for what are clearly two of your most popular dishes?" I want to cancel my order and quietly leave.
I stay and exclaim over the appetizer, which is deserving of accolade. It was overkill to do the same of the undeserving entrée, though.
I'm perched on the corner of the kitchen counters by the antique stainless steel breadbox my mom has had for years. I'm quaffing coffee into which she's poured someone's bizarre interpretation of what hazelnut is, just for the caffeine, because even if I were the kind of person to savor coffee, the experience wouldn't be worth drawing out. I'm grateful for the simplicity of the hard pretzel I've taken from a bag in the breadbox and am relieved that unlike other times I've been here, it cracks with a crisp snap, indicating it hasn't been languishing long enough for staleness.
Conversation fragments with myself yesterday evening:
"Remember, it's Houston, Delancey, Grand, Canal. Come up with a mnemonic. Remember, above Houston the streets are numbered, so at least that's a start."
"How long have I lived here and still can't fucking remember that crap about the order of the east-west streets below Houston?"
"Why do I have such a shitty, shitty, shiiiiiiitty sense of direction?"
"Happy Dog Graham Cracker? No. Humpty Dumpty Got Cracked? Not too bad. Maybe?"
The 15 miles you walked yesterday probably could have been a mere 12 had you only remembered this stuff, hilarious dopey girl child.
I'm on streets I've never seen on the Manhattan map, whose sidewalks I didn't know existed, whose buildings and curbs and trees are like many others in the city, who aren't necessarily "remarkable", but I gaze at them as if in a wholly foreign land. I try not to gawk so I don't seem like a pale tourist separated from a tour bus group, who are all no doubt cramming Yelp-recommended pizza in their sloppy face-holes that they're thinking isn't as good as Domino's back home. I don't consult my phone for guidance. I dig the freedom of being lost.
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