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BY Jodi

09/01 Direct Link
If it can't actually be 1948 or 1962 or 1974 or whatever year I want it to be (certainly nothing after 1990), then the least I can do is dress like it is and stroll around the city as if it is and allow my eyes to pick up on parts of the city that were around then, especially the architecture, and to not only patronize restaurants that still have counters with vinyl-topped barstools but sit at the counter and daintily remove my gloves and place them neatly inside a compartment in my handbag. It truly is the little thing.
09/02 Direct Link
My best gal pal (ew) (why do I continue to use this term?) gives me an assignment: Engage 20 different men, say at least five words to each by the end of the year. Each man must be someone from whom I'd accept a date if he turned around and asked. I have no idea why she thinks it will be easy to find 20 men I'd even want to talk to, let alone date, in three months. I can barely find one to whom I want to devote even the minimum five words of "Chew with your mouth closed."
09/03 Direct Link
My best gal pal (ew) (why do I continue to use this term?) gives me an assignment: Engage 20 different men, say at least five words to each by the end of the year. Each man must be someone from whom I'd accept a date if he turned around and asked. I have no idea why she thinks it will be easy to find 20 men I'd even want to talk to, let alone date, in three months. I can barely find one to whom I want to devote even the minimum five words of "Chew with your mouth closed."
09/04 Direct Link
We meet at 34th and Seventh, just outside Macy's, and make our way to Central Park's Conservatory Pond around 72nd and Fifth Avenue. I think we both say "Oy" as we sink into a bench for a bit of a breather, and I don't think we realize we're only about halfway to our destination, a diner around 102nd and Broadway. We both realize, however, that we haven't made shoes made for this much walking even though our bodies can handle it. By the time we reach the diner, I feel like my feet could literally be on fire. Ahhh, vanity.
09/05 Direct Link
I hand the postal clerk my envelope with the green certified mail card affixed to the back, green and white label to the front, and the torn-off portion of that label for my records. I'm self-assured to the point of slight smugness, a pro who's done this so often she can do it in her sleep. He doesn't have to know I Googled the procedure before leaving home because I couldn't remember exactly how to do it from working in law offices 20 years ago.

"You need to fill this part out," he says. "Please step aside."

Oh, the shame!
09/06 Direct Link
The little fella on your lap looks like he's not having the best of days, but instead of making a peep, he buries his crusty nose inside the little hoodie he's holding and hides his face. You, his dad (I assume) speak softly to him. When he emerges, he gazes at me across the subway aisle, his big dark brown eyes looking like they want to smile but he's just not feeling up to it, so I smile because I am. Instead, he lets you arrange the big headphones over his small head, and that seems to do the trick.
09/07 Direct Link
I'm back in the swing of lunching with my best male friend. It saddens me to not have to distinguish between him and B ("my non-Eric best friend"). In my heart, B will always be THE best, the one who truly "got" me, who never left me behind in the 20 years we were a pair in some form or fashion.

But still, it makes me happy to be seeing Eric again, to laugh stupidly with him the way only the two of us laugh. And to know I can get teary in front of him without having to explain.
09/08 Direct Link
I think I may have lost my readership of precisely two people. The circulation of this "newspaper" may be zip, zilch, nada, or even less. But that's quite all right because I am not writing these words for anyone, only for myself, and even that's up for consideration and/or debate. I'm writing them because if I don't, I will feel even more lost than I already do, because they anchor me in a way that almost nothing else does, and because even though they are only 100 of them, they're mine and no one can take them away from me.
09/09 Direct Link
My cat is one of the only things keeping me "sane" now. Also the gym, vintage-wear, and the luxury of hiding from the outside world as much as I want thanks to the good fortune of working from home. Right now I need escape. I need protection. I need to know that I can cry at the drop of a hat, or even as the hat's just leaving my hands en route to the floor, with abandon. But when I do venture outside, I am guaranteed to see dogfaces, which is the one outdoor "event" guaranteed to bring me cheer.
09/10 Direct Link
"Alexa, what are my notifications?"

"Jodi's shipment of Padlock 4 Digit Combination Lock for Gym, Sports, School and Employee Locker, Outdoor, Fence, Hasp and Storage, All Weather Metal and Steel, Easy to Set Your Own Keyless Resettable Combo, Red will arrive tomorrow."

I need Amazon to make Alexa lose her breath when providing a lengthy description of an item on its way, or to just say, "Jodi's shipment of Padlock 4 -- yeah, it'll arrive tomorrow" and then go about her business of resting up to say "Snooooozing" the next day at 4:20 a.m. when I instruct her, "Alexa, snooze."
09/11 Direct Link
At some point all the words will be used up, and any that try to break through will collide and smash up against the NOPE SORRY NO MORE WORDS BARRICADE like typewriter typebars when the keys are pressed too quickly and cram, jam and cancel each other out before they make an impact. Everything that had already been said will be on the other side of the barricade, flouncing and sashaying, dipping each other like seasoned ballroom dancers in a room soundproof to outside intrusion, and the words outside will just melt together, harden, and chip off like dried candlewax.
09/12 Direct Link
I recently found a dress online that typified my best friend in Vintage, the ever-fabulous Erica. When I showed her, she gasped and said I know her so well. We both admired it in great detail, and revisited it together today. She'd told me she'd love to have it but funds were already allocated for other things in her marriage. I told her I'd buy it for her and she could maybe reimburse me. Her affirmative, grateful responses were riddled with exclamation points. I could practically see the tears in her eyes even though we were just in Google Hangouts.
09/13 Direct Link
My last ex-boyfriend has gotten so goddamned fat. There's just no other way to put it. Not morbidly obese but "what the fuck happened to your face and where's your chin" fat. The kind of fat that would have people say, of a woman, oh, she has such a pretty face. And man oh man, I don't know if it's because he's happy in his marriage or not happy in it or can't keep his hands off the booze and doughnuts, but all I can say is that shit wouldn't fly under my watch. Is this "mean"? I don't care.
09/14 Direct Link
My AOL email account has been deactivated due to lack of use. Shocking, I suppose, since I haven't thought about the account in a decade let alone used it for 20 years. Still, I'm disappointed and a little pissed because I would have loved to have seen email from the early days of acquaintances back when I barely even knew how to use a mouse. I wonder what my password was back then, though, or if I could even have retrieved it now had the account still been active. I hate that all that stuff is lost to the ether.
09/15 Direct Link
I just wasted about half an hour of my life looking at photos of Facebook "friend" I haven't seen in years and have no desire to ever see again, especially because I'd be too busy snickering into my napkin, feigning a cough, as I focused on the skin anomaly that magically doesn't appear in any of her selfies, the reality of her philtrum that has no place on her selfie facial real estate, and none of the lines around her eyes that appear when she smiles that enormous fake smile. And now I've wasted two minutes writing about her. Finito!
09/16 Direct Link
Earth-shattering discovery du jour or de l'année (yes, I sheepishly confess I Googled that, but left to my own devices, I would've typed "du anée", thus running the risk of being sneered at by a huge population of Parisians reading these words, or, rather mots, although not of the bon variety) (I know, I know: Shut le fucque up and just get on with it.): Equinox opens at 7 not 8 on weekend mornings. When I arrived at 8:03 and saw many people in full swing, I thought, "Wow, these people are go-getters!" and felt like a lazy bum/fainéant. Duh.
09/17 Direct Link
Stacy says she doesn't know how I'm even standing. I tell her I'm amazed I can stand at all, but that at times I feel like I'm going to fall through the fucking floor. I can't even adequately describe how it feels, though, when I'm standing and something out of the blue makes me "remember" the hideous, ghastly new reality that was suddenly forced on me 12 weeks ago, and how I feel like I've been kicked in the gut by an enormous boot that has no intention of ever stopping and indeed grinds itself into me that much harder.
09/18 Direct Link
It's ridiculous, I say. Nobody names their kid Hortense in this day and age. Although their daughter is yet to be born, we've whispered among ourselves (feeling sheepish because Jonathan and Renee are so damned nice) that she's doomed in the looks department given her parents' resemblance to The Joker and Shrek, respectively. So to saddle her with this name, which we foresee morphing into Tense Whore, is folly if not downright cruel. But really, on the other hand, could she live up to being, say, a Kaitlin anyway? We hate ourselves for thinking this, but there you have it.
09/19 Direct Link
Joe Kathy Kaitlin will be first to tell you his name is stupid, and not just in a preemptive strike against any jeers anyone else might lob his way, but because he knows it's stupid and hates himself for picking it out as a three-year-old when his parents, Madgelarise (nee Legnose) and Fliptimer McGooligan-Floostertype, told him they hadn't named him yet because they didn't want him saddled with a terrible name like their parents did. So it kind of backfired. Then again, his mom reminds him, it's better than Madgelarise Legnose-McGooligan-Floostertype.

"But why Kaitlin?" he asks his reflection every morning.
09/20 Direct Link
Marvin and Letitia named their baby "Grope". This one joins "Slip" and "Slide", the twins, and "Gerrymander," the oldest. I suggest that "Grope" isn't the best name for a boy, especially given the current social climate. But they won't hear it. They're not even telling anyone what the baby is. They're calling it a "theyby", a term they recently read in The New York Times.

Such mavericks, these two. First using all verbs for their kids' names, now not telling the world what's in one of their pants. Say what you will, but all of this makes them both dicks.
09/21 Direct Link
I neither want nor need my gloves to have fingertips that can work on a touchscreen. I will not be operating a newfangled cash register screen and will not be using my phone when outside unless taking a photo, and even then can peel off a glove to accommodate the task. Unless for logistics, I want to adhere to my "Outside, offline" credo as much as possible, not tethered to technology while out and about.

At home, my work requires me to be plugged in, my head constantly capped by headphones, my hands constantly tapping on a keyboard. That’s enough.
09/22 Direct Link
Please don't ask if it's getting easier.

I know you "mean well," as "they" say, but still. Don't ask anything except, "How are you?" and if I want to answer beyond, "Trying to breathe," or elaborate, I will. Maybe. But probably not, especially if we're not the closest of friends and you don't know just what this person meant -- no, means, present tense -- to me.

It won't get easier. "Sorry" if that makes you uncomfortable or you want a different answer. Living with this person in my life was easy. Living without him never will be.

That's all.
09/23 Direct Link
A good friend and I spend an hour at Star on 18, a small diner/restaurant that's unfortunately situated across Tenth Avenue from the High Line. It's classic, old-school New York, the kind of place whose description might attract tourists who want what they think is an authentic New York experience after having been crammed on the High Line with the rest of the out-of-towners and will probably think isn't that great because it's not unlike any old diner/restaurant in their hometown and they're expecting more for $12 than they'd pay $6 in East Bumlick. Steer clear, tourists, in that event.
09/24 Direct Link
I'm trying with some of my might to not fret over petty nonsense such as waiting in line at Fairway. But here it is, 7:00 a.m., no one should really be here, yet they are. Several of us are quietly waiting for the one cashier of the two working who's acknowledged not only the fact that she's on the job but that we exist. Toss in a youngish woman with her daughter who goes directly to that cashier as if there is no line, pretends to not understand English when told (by me) there is one, and fuck that "trying".
09/25 Direct Link
We're in Whole Foods. I've recoiling at the price of a packet of dried mango. He approaches from my left and does the same thing. I'm not getting them, but I encourage him. At first he balks.

"What the hell," he says taking one from the rack. "You only live once."

I say something like, "Living on the edge" or "Livin' large."

Two days later, a bit after noon, I'm in his kitchen with several police officers. He's in the bedroom. I duck my head and see the packet on the little steel-topped green-painted table.

His one life is over.
09/26 Direct Link
My landlord's sidekick, who lives in the apartment in front of mine, is playing music at a volume that pulses through our two shared walls. I let it slide on weekends because, when I pretend I don't mind if music is loud. But damn it, this is 9:00 on a school night! I don't want to be a mom, but hey. I text the young fella, tell him to please turn down the music, and he promptly complies and sends a text of apology. I reply with a text that includes a smiley emoji. His real mom raised him right.
09/27 Direct Link
Through my bathroom wall, I hear Alexa's muffled voice in the apartment in front of mine. She sounds like she's talking a lot, so I press my ear to the wall like a good yenta (but not the best yenta since I forego the use of a juice glass) to hear what she's saying. Is she telling my neighbor what the weather will be? Is she telling HIM the time? Is she answering HIS question of "Am I pretty?" I look over at my own Echo several feet away with a bit of betrayed suspicion. Girl, you cheatin' on me?
09/28 Direct Link
In still photographs, she looks like a "girl" in her early forties. I'm amazed by her luminescent skin, flawless eyebrows, and impossibly perfect bowed lips, almost as much as by the exquisite cut, color and design of every single item she wears, from her slightly kookily elegant hat to her omnipresent gloves to her shoes.

Of course I Google her to find her age, which is hovering just this side of 70.

Then I find a YouTube video, which shows her in motion, and I see wrinkles and lines not apparent in the still shots, and love her even more.
09/29 Direct Link
Scouring Etsy and eBay for finds gives me the oddest thrill akin to a fix. Last night, overcome by the feeling that if I didn't buy an eBay handbag (you should see its clasp!) I'd had my eye and someone else nabbed it from under my nose I'd never find another that was quite as perfect and would always hate myself for it and then be sad because I'd "resent" any bag that I would eventually get, I bought it. Is this how a heroin junkie feels when the needle delivers? Are my eyes rolling back into my head? Probably.
09/30 Direct Link
My plan is to get to Body & Soul at the 79th/Columbus market for half-price muffins, but when I pass, there are no muffins, meager pickings otherwise, including just two chocolate/sunflower seed cookies. I pass, loop around, and backtrack, thinking, yay, end of the day, half-price, wooo. Alas, they're full price. But I can't back out, for fear not just of seeming cheap but of hurting the cookies' feelings. I eat one as I head toward Zucker's, where I buy a salt bagel that I scarf on the way home. Once home, I devour the other cookie. Yay, self control.