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Random New Year's Resolutions for the General Population:
Stop using "folks" when you mean "people". Especially if you're from a large metropolitan area. If you own a general store in Alabama, you get a pass.
Stop using "gentleman" to refer to the perpetrator of a crime. "Please be on the lookout for the gentleman shown robbing an elderly woman at gunpoint on the surveillance video." Stop.
Stop beseeching, warning, and/or threatening people not to use your shitty Instagram images without your permission. No one wants wants an out-of-focus shot of your Starbucks cup on which your name is hilariously misspelled.
Brindle Foxmoor (not his real name) comes to my office reeking of Cheetos. I've told him time and again to kindly refrain from indulging at least 24 hours before our sessions because I'll be driven to distraction if the Cheeto aroma attaches itself to his clothing, hair, or skin, or if he's not diligent in tooth-brushing and reveals an orange-tinged grin. He tries to tell me it's not Cheetos, it's a dollar store brand called Cheezos. I tell him he's making that up, and besides, let's not get that particular, but he produces the bag, so I guess I lose.
I'm trying to get back into the drawing habit but everything I'm drawing lately looks like it was created in haste by a barely educable blindfolded toddler who has never seen, say, a giraffe before and can't remember if it has stripes or spots and is that the one with the long neck?
Note to appalled audience: I know giraffes have long necks and are beige-ish with sort of squarish flagstone-esque brown "tiles" all over their bodies. And I know they have long legs so they do not resemble long-necked Corgis. I'm just trying to make a point, y'know?
Elaine P. says she has fantasies of cutting off her earlobes with cuticle scissors. The notion pops into her head only when she's performing the most mundane yet still aggravating, of activities, such as clearing out bunched-up paper bags crammed underneath the kitchen sink or going through a stack of papers stashed in search of a 1099.
My professional advice: Wear pretty earrings. The urge will pass.
After she leaves while searching in vain for a misplaced receipt, my fingers brush my own right earlobe, which hasn't worn an earring in ages, and think, "Hmm."
(No, I don't do it.)
I've convinced myself that my landlord's cute young sidekick, who lives in the apartment in front of mine, while in his kitchen, which shares a wall with my bathroom, misinterprets the buzzing as a vibrator and not the electric toothbrush.
I turn on the faucet, even though I don't use water for the two-minute cycle, just so he'll know it's a toothbrush, and for extra bonus points leave the bathroom and wander around, toothbrush still buzzing. Surely I can't be doing *that* if I'm walking, can I?
Split screen: He's in his kitchen, straining spaghetti through a tennis racket, oblivious.
Things that should probably stop delighting me by now:
The foot pedal on my kitchen trashcan.
I often forget to use it, but when I remember, I feel a bit smug, like I've finally moved in the 20th century.
How many times will I stand in the shower and say, aloud, "Oh god, that feels so GOOD!" and think my landlord is thinking salacious things (because I'm sure he's listening through the vent above the shower).
TV remote controls.
However, even though they do a lot more than the old Zenith "clicker", they're not as exciting as that.
Capshot Crapshoot isn't as much fun as you want him to be. You'd think with a name like that, he'd be swashbucklin' all over town in boots that mean business, using a curved knife he keeps in a hip holster to lop off chunks of pineapple for a snack, eating the rough skin/shell and tossing the sweet part to a stray dog. You'd think he'd be great with the ladies, even though a cad.
But nah. He's at home in his carpeted efficiency apartment, clipping coupons for "soup for one" with safety scissors, wondering if he should wear snow boots
I'm at home on the sofa under a cushy blanket, cat perched on the pillow I've put on my chest as bait to encourage her. We're watching something moderately amusing via Amazon. I imagine people way downtown, out and about, spilling out onto the sidewalks from bars, loud and drunk and having "fun" and think, "Should I be out doing something like that? Something that doesn't include a blanket and cat?" and then just as quickly remember I hate all that crap and that even if I went out, the entire time I'd be daydreaming about my blanket and cat.
Sitcom device that will probably never go out of style: A police officer meets a celebrity during a stop for a traffic violation. The police officer asks the celebrity if he can trouble her for an autograph for his niece, who is a big, big fan. The celebrity obliges and, with pen pressed to paper, looks up at the police officer and says, "And your niece's name?" and the officer says, without missing a beat, Robert Peterson," clears his throat, adjusts his cap as he realizes the jig is up, and the celebrity signs with a knowing chortle. *laugh track*
Things I hate doing that are very easy but still inexplicably hatable:
Putting away the dishes from the drainboard (for those of you with dishwashers, this is akin to this thing I've heard about called "emptying the dishwasher")
Making the bed
Even worse, changing the sheets
Putting away groceries
Rolling up and snapping my reusable grocery bags
Chopping garlic cloves
Subway transfer, especially between the 1/2/3 and the F at 14th, and anything involving Times Square)
Rewinding Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix on the TV, because it does it in "chunks" and I just wanted to go back literally two seconds
When putting the fresh-from-the-cleaners laundry away I noticed a pajama top was missing. I couldn't decide which was less dread-making: Walking the one block to the place to ask if they'd left it out of the bag or calling to ask if they'd left it out of the bag. The former involved leaving the house and the latter involved having to identify myself.
Imagine my thrilled relief when I found the top safe in the dresser drawer, never having gone to the laundry in the first place. Alas, I had no champagne, so toasted my triumph with seltzer. (Not really.)
Men's shoes should not make a hard clicking sound when filled with feet and propelled across a surface, an activity some call "walking". I associate this sound with a stern disciplinarian in high heels striding with purpose down an otherwise silent school hallway in search of the recipient of imminent punishment, an efficiently stylish lawyer dashing to make a timely court appearance, and a pretty divorcee who hasn't had a date in a while, scuttling around the house in stilettos to answer the door to greet her date. Fellas, just wear soft soles that make, at most, a gentle "ploosh".
Although I hate the word "naughty", here's a sample of naughty mnemonics I've found useful that may be of use to you.
"Terrific" is spelled with two Rs and one F. Remember: You don't need two Fucks. (Even though you probably do, at least, to get a sense of what someone's really like.) (Oh my!)
When changing the band on my Fitbit, the bottom of the tracker device attaches to the part of the band with holes. Remember: The holes are on the bottom. (Never mind that your mouth, a hole itself, is on top.)
There are more, of course.
The color of Dr. Bronner's tea tree oil shaving soap goes hand in hand with its scent. I was expecting neither a dark brown thin gel nor a smell reminiscent of what I'd imagine a school nurse would swab on some kid's scraped-up knee to prevent infection or a hospital would use to try, in moderate vain, to mask the pervasive stench of sickness. Oh, little foil tab protecting the tube's opening, I appreciate you, but I wish there'd been a way to bypass you so I would have a made a choice that didn't make me a little queasy.
I'm riveted by the glassed-in display of halvah at Kalustyan's, clutching a small jar of aji amarillo, so far my lone item for purchase (not that I even know what to do with it). Oh, the variety! Which one to get? Layered chocolate? Cocoa? Marbled? Pistachio? I'm leaning toward a quarter pound of layered chocolate, a $3.50 treat. Alas, I know I'll eat it all the same day, and hate myself, so instead I choose a prepackaged cylindrical biscuit with a tiny core of halvah for a dollar, which leaves me guilt-free but not nearly as delighted as I'd wished.
The coffee filters I bought at Whole Foods, brown paper, packaged in a very "green" box made of lightweight brown cardboard/paper, are a brand I'd never heard of called IF YOU CARE. They were the only filters available at the time, which is a relief, because I'd shudder to see them all smug, perched on a shelf next to a box of ordinary white filters that someone would buy because obviously they did NOT care. What other items are in this self-satisfied line? A prepaid telephone card made of hemp that you'd use to call your mother, if you care?
I keep forgetting that when I block the gym sounds via my bluetooth headphones, I'm not blocking the sight of myself from anyone. Although I feel I'm sealed off in my own little world, people can still see me tapping my feet and drumming my fingers to the raucous beat of The Sex Pistols.
When I pause and realize what I'm doing, I wonder if anyone noticed, and if they did, if it looked as "big" to them as it felt to me as I was doing it. And then I wonder why in the world I give a shit.
I don't like clowns or mimes but I wouldn’t exactly say I hate them or even find them particularly creepy. I may even feel a little sorry for them because they both seem to want people to find them charming and endearing but instead tend to annoy, repel, frighten, or anger people and of course invite ridicule just by dint of their painted faces and outlandish outfits.
But really, have I ever seen a mime in the classic striped U-neck long-sleeved top, tight black pants, jaunty beret, and jazz shoes, offering a lone rose to a passerby? I think not.
I recently packed 30-plus shirts into a big box, along with some stuff from drawers, and sent them off to Give Back Box. The stuff had languished for years and I don't know why I'd held onto them for so long. Most of them I had worn quite a few times. A few I had never worn at all and as I placed them in the box, I apologized to them, and only consoled myself by knowing that someone else will be delighted to receive something never worn. I had to tell myself that so I wuoldn't literally cry. Oy!
I'm almost convinced that a tall, dark (it's too far away to include "handsome") guy who lives across the courtyard perhaps one flight up peers out his window at me and notices when I close and lower my blinds. And if he does, I'm convinced he's disappointed when I do so because he's been waiting for someone exciting to happen over here because he can tell that I'm a chick with incredible stamina by dint of the duration of my binge-watching. Sometimes I pause for the briefest of moments before closing/lowering, thinking maybe he'll give me some sort of sign.
I went out with him because he reminded me slightly of a combination of the boyfriend who had just broken up with me and Christopher Walken, with an emphasis on the latter, especially in the hair, eyes, and teeth departments. He was a self-employed plumber who joked about a place in his neighborhood boasting the world's worst pizza. He was kind and understanding when a horrific stomachache made it impossible for us to do more than make out a little in his bedroom. I remember his name even though it was 30 years ago and we had just one date.
Recently, In some sort of frenzy about feeding myself, I bought way too many herbs/spices from Penzeys, purchased at two different times. One of the occasions offered a free pin with a "retail value" of $9.95, so I checked the "yes" box to include it in my package (and another "yes" to some "Paris" herb blend). It's now affixed to the strap of the purse/bag I carry to the gym because there's no way I'd wear a multi-colored heart-shaped *anything* that includes the words EMBRACE HOPE, even though I believe in doing so. (Does anyone actually would buy this thing?)
Oh, those three little words that make my day: "Out for Delivery". Although I get alerts/notifications soon after delivery, that doesn't stop me from obsessing about every step along the way, from the moment I place the order until it's actually in my hands. And although the packages often don't require my presence for delivery, I still feel an obligation to be here if I don't have plans.
When my obsessive "refresh" effort yields the desired outcome, I gasp. And when the mail carrier buzzes and says, "Mail lady! Package for you!" I can't dash to the door fast enough.
I found a list of the 19 oldest Italian bakeries and pastry shops in the city and am going to make it my mission to go to each of them, more so for their signage and aroma than for anything else and to satisfy this seemingly insatiable appetite and hunger for everything "old school". Newfangled hot spots have their place and time, too, of course, and I welcome them. Still, they don't feed the soul, as eyeroll-worthy as that sounds. I need to be transported, and only the old-fashioned, the long-established stalwarts posses that transcendent magic of the truly awesome.
I haven't been to the 19th Street Equinox since mid-December 2016. It's odd to think that it used to be such a big part of my life, five days a week for 16 years, that the faces were familiar and I'd achieved a level of comfort even though so much about the place annoyed me (including those familiar faces). The few times I'd go to 76th Street to "supplement", I felt like a "guest star" rather than a series regular. Now it too annoys me, especially the familiar faces. Now, though, I don't engage, so at least I've retained anonymity.
As part of my pledge to myself to keep the "old school" alive in both this city and myself in as many ways as possible, I've started buying coffee beans at McNulty's on Christopher Street, because I adore that they use a red-inked rubber stamp on the paper bag to identify the variety and take such special care in folding the bag down neatly and sealing it. It's so much more satisfying than just plopping a bag of some hipster stuff into my cart at Whole Foods. That it requires a special trip makes the excursion feel even more special.
Out and about with my best friend, him giggling even more like a girl than I over how many cute boys are crammed into Cafe Reggio, and he says, with amazed adoration, of my camel-colored double-knit jacket and long white chain necklace filling in the space left by the daring unbuttoning of my groovy multi-colored polyester shirt, something about me looking like a "pimp".
I consider this a magnificent compliment, a nod to the '70s version of NYC that captivates me even more than the 1948 version (runner-up). My quest to be a walking anachronism is well on its way.
I used to pass her every weekday morning on my way to work as I walked up Spruce Street and she walked down. For some reason I always thought she regarded me a rival instead of a comrade because I put us in the same age and attractiveness bracket, but she never acknowledged me in any way and I never acknowledged her.
I always hoped one day we would share a "knowing" wink or eyebrow raise. I wonder if she ever took note of me. And of course wonder if now, 25 years later, she wonders whatever happened to me.
From the DAMN IT, I SHOULD'VE CUT AND PASTED THAT AND SAVED IT TO A WORD DOCUMENT files.
The vegan sausage spice blend variations that appeared in a PPK forum for 3 billion years is gone. I was interested in breakfast sausage using sage, an herb I always forget how much I love and which I just bought a jar of from Penzeys even though I have an unopened jar from Whole Foods and now need to find a way to use since the thought of it not being put to use makes me sad (Note: chickpea cutlets, mushroom gravy.)
On November 8, 2016, I wore a hip 'n' swingin' vintage ensemble to a friend's place in Brooklyn for what I thought would be a celebration of witnessing the election of the first female President. Since then, I'd retreated into a somber blockade of black, in mourning for obvious reasons. Although I'm finally emerging from the cocoon with a vibrant vengeance, I'm still seeking refuge because everything I'm buying is from the 1970s or earlier, where I feel safer, less frenzied, and so much happier. This suits me perfectly. I can only participate in 2018 in a severely limited fashion.
Here are the lyrics to two original "songs" to which my cat is subjected on a regular basis, much to her horror. Apologies to my true love, One Steamed Dumpling, for the "ear worm" (gross term). Just be happy you, unlike he, don't know the melodies to these things.
All cats are cute
All cats are cute
Because you're a cat, because you're a cat, because you're a cat
You're cute by default.
She's a kitten and she doesn't care
She's a kitten and she loves her mommy
She's a kitten and she doesn't care
Her name is Lola Vatepoz
The Tip Jar