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How many times has she tried to get the attention of the guy who's working in the aisle, doing nothing that requires a huge chunk of brainpower? How many more times will she have to say, politely, "Excuse me? Sir? Can you help me with my cart?" before he acknowledges her existence.
I've seen her here before. She, like I, obviously prefers early morning grocery-shopping. For me, it's impatience and misanthropy, disdain for a store clogged with the masses. For her, though, I suspect it's because she's confined to a motorized wheelchair/cart and maneuvering would be damned near impossible otherwise.
Every time I've seen her, she's worn a longish dress, big floppy hat, glasses, and maybe sneakers. Her hair is long and grayish-mousy-brownish. She's very thin. I hate to even guess her age, because I have a feeling she's younger than I think, but I'll say 62. I'd never heard her speak before, never had interaction with her, and if I saw her in an aisle, I'd usually go somewhere else to give her the freedom to move around as much as needed to without having to interact with *me* with even as much as a greeting or "excuse me."
But here she is now, just outside the mouth of an aisle.
"Excuse me? Sir? Can you help me with my cart?" I can hear a smile in her just-loud-enough request, and patience I would have already started to lose in her position. Indeed, I'm on the verge of losing mine because I can't tell if he's purposely ignoring her or is in his own little world. I dash over.
"Here, let me help you," I say, and ask her where she would like the cart. She thanks me profusely and indicates a checkout lane, empty, like all the others.
"Can I help you?" I say, indicating the checkout counter.
She accepts with effusive thanks. I put as much of her stuff, most of it fresh produce, that will fit on the conveyor belt and say, "Oh, it's my pleasure."
She thanks me repeatedly, grinning broadly, laughing.
"She's a customer of the store, not a worker, and she's helping me!" she says to the cashier, another woman.
"What's your name?" I say.
"Caroline," she says.
"I'm Jodi. It's nice to meet you."
I shake her hand in its plastic glove and leave her to the rest of her morning.
You lived in another state not readily accessible by car, and we see each other when you have depositions in other cities. Usually it's not my city, which suits me fine, because I prefer when you fly me to your location and we stay in the rather nice hotel your assistant arranged for you. I don't mind that these trips are usually just overnighters and we don't leave the room, ordering in room service and lounging around in the robes like we're in a romcom. And you always tell me *I* can hoard the miniature soaps, shampoo, and the like!
Support local businesses, especially NYC institutions like the iconic (yes!) Gem Spa at Second Avenue and St. Marks. Stop in, have an egg cream (dairy or vegan!) made right up front at the cash register. Add a few pretzel rods like it's 1974. Buy a T-shirt online when available again (they're great quality, and for size consideration, I wear an XS, so gauge accordingly), and be sure to greet the gorgeous lanky orange cat keeping, yes, tab(bie)s on everything. Everything in this city doesn't have to be shiny and new. Indeed, most of the best places are the complete antithesis.
"Sorry", but not only did you vote for the seeping sack of sewage last time but you're wearing a MAGA cap and hashtagging "4moreyears". Contrary to what you had told me, you're not going to work on Biden's campaign, you're not going to make amends for your shitty, shitty, motherfucking shitty decision in 2016. You want this shtick dreck to further destroy our country and the planet and you want this repugnant racist to represent our interests when the only interests he's interested in are his own. "Sorry", but we can't be friends anymore. I can't even mourn the loss.
I haven't been back to "our" Whole Foods since 23 June 2018. Several times I've considered it, but the mere thought gives me a stomachache. The only reason to go would be to find Oliver, our spice aisle buddy, to fill him in; I feel like he should know since he was always so lovely to us. But I want to keep the place "sacred", untouched, free of any "after" energy.
I wish it were a sort of Shangri-La, and if I returned, life as I knew it would revert to those good days, if only within the store's confines.
Oh, look, a Facebook photo of your chipmunk-cheeked wife half-grinning through shiny teeth and thin lips untouched by anything but Chapstick, eyes turned toward you, the phone photographer, instead of focused on her truer love, the enormous beignet grasped in both hands, fingers as doughy as unbaked pastry, eyebrows raised as if in challenge, like it's really a stretch to imagine her cramming the entire thing into her impatient maw, chewing with great effort to the point of near-tears, swallowing in one large, almost painful gulp, sighing when her mouth is at long last empty, signaling she still wants more.
I didn't see anything wrong with the corner subway seat you'd just vacated, so I occupied it. I thought perhaps something was wrong with it, so I glanced behind me, saw nothing, but still perched on its edge. I said something like, "Is this seat okay?" meaning, of course, as anyone who's habitually ridden the subway knows, "Are you not sitting here because someone peed or worse on the seat?"
You mumbled something unintelligible, and I thought maybe you were being "gentlemanly" in a shambling incoherent way, and I semi-smiled at you and the skinny young guy next to you.
The skinny guy, who was not your companion, looked like he didn't know what to do when someone acknowledged his existence and hummed to himself like a child pretending not to hear the teacher addressing him.
I looked beyond both of you at the tall, willowy transgender person wearing a simple ivory linen/muslin wrap dress and matching espadrilles, short light brown hair, sweet face, and focused on the cover of the book they were holding. Out of my peripheral vision, I saw you trying to get my attention and angrily mumbling something at me. You huffed and puffed.
I didn't react to your vocalizing or to the movement of your arms, hanging by your sides but now were swinging toward the front of your shabby shorts.
I heard you say something like, "Don't care where you sit, sit there if you want, don't fucking care where you sit, fuck, shut up fuck sit fuck don't care."
You continued to stare at me, glaring. You dangled your hands by your crotch and slapped at the loose cloth with both hands. I gazed beyond the lovely vision in ivory linen and kept a benign expression on my face.
A Facebook friend I've never met but who lives part-time on the UWS and part-time in Vienna, messaged me from Vienna to ask me if I had power. I had no idea there was an outage, but quick Googling revealed that, oh yes, there is indeed an outage in parts of the West Side.
Please Note: You are not invited to come here if you don't have power, because I haven't put the air conditioner in the window and thus you would doubly resent me. Try to stay cool, kids, and don't do anything stupid, like loot or conceive babies.
I'm always THRILLED when some jackass is on the subway, still on a phone call that he either started on the platform or has maintained on the train for several seconds, thinking he's the shit because he's somehow managed to retain a signal and then we go into the tunnel and he loses the call, removes the phone from his ear, holds it out in front of him, and looks at it with an expression of consternation and disappointment, like, HUH WHAT HAPPENDEDED DERE? Bonus points when he looks around, slightly embarrassed because someone might have noticed. (Note: I did.)
Sitting at my desk, working, literally bored to tears. Shouting: THIS IS SO FUCKING BORING! I put on the one ensemble I want to wear that's not vintage, since the thought of hot polyester and heels is horrifying, and walk the 30 blocks to Malaysia Grill, where I order the dish I've liked the few times I've had it before, but it's not as good as I'd remembered. Is it the sauce? The tofu too freshly, lightly fried?
I walk home as if everyone on the street is an inconsequential blur. I smile at dogs, but even that doesn't work.
To my left was the door leading to the car behind us. You were now facing that door. One person sat to my right, and the rest of the car was crowded. I acted as if I didn't notice you or the escalation of your agitation. I feigned great interest the cover art of the book held by the ivory-frocked person.
You jangled your hand at your crotch again, lightly grabbed it and wagged whatever saggy thing was hanging hidden beneath the folds. You looked at me, wanting me to look at you. I didn't give you the satisfaction.
You jangled, you wrangled, you slapped, and you brushed several times, and I continued thinking about ivory linen and the neckline of the dress, imagined the person at home coordinating it with the espadrilles, breezily walking to the subway on this bright afternoon.
When my stop finally arrived, I stood and immediately said to that person, "That's a beautiful dress." They smiled, head slightly ducked, and shyly thanked me.
You glared at me "Shut the fuck up, stop talking, stop talking so much, shut the fuck up," you said. Oh, you deranged dick-jangling creep, I left *so* much unsaid.
I can't even pretend to be a "trooper" when it's this hot outside. I can't pretend I'm anything but downright fucking miserable and want to slap people across the face for thinking this heat is a blast, especially those who think they're somehow extra-crispy warrior-like and superior because they run outside in the blaze when those of us with even a modicum of common sense are walking just quickly enough so we can get the fuck home already, out of our damp clothes, into a cool shower, and flop down on the sofa in a darkened room, drinking something icy.
I've secured a haircut with someone new, the first time in years that my hair will be in the hands of someone other than my friend Erin, who visited me at home to put the sass and swing back in my hair every few months when I couldn't stand pretending I was going to try growing "mermaid hair", which doesn't even suit me anyway and which actually even grosses me out and makes me think "hippy hag". Gone are the days of the simple exchange of $30 and sweeping my own hair clippings. I'm simultaneously excited and anxious as fuck.
He hasn't been to the gym since June 1, when you asked me out, and I haven't heard a peep. Although I know you've been wrapped up in divorce and custody details, I still think, "In this day and age, a simple 'I just wanted to say hello! Be in touch more soon!" isn't difficult to maneuver. It doesn't have to be a declaration of love or lust, anything you soon-to-be-ex-wife could use against you. For fuck's sake, a simple stupid emoji would even "do", even though it would hardly suffice. Absence isn't making this heart grow any fonder, fucker.
I'm excited about the lounge chair I ordered the first of the two Prime Days, using the $10 credit given to me after using Prime Now. The credit was only valid for those days, and I would've been annoyed if I used it on something "routine" instead of a "treat". I hadn't even remembered I wanted a lounge chair until my best friend showed me chairs he was considering, and then I got giddy because I would've been pissed if I bought something else not nearly as fun. I can't wait to nap on it after dark on the patio!
Whoever said, "There is a time and place for everything" has apparently never gotten a whiff of patchouli.
It's bad enough it smells like a pungent body to begin with, but coupled with sweat earned from a workout at the gym, it takes on another level of repugnance. Why anyone would think it's a good idea to wear any perceptible scent at the gym is beyond me, but one so overwhelming and in an enclosed space? Unforgivable.
This is the equivalent of a cook throwing cilantro into a dish it doesn't "go with", knowing many are repelled by its taste.
When I heave open the thick wooden kitchen door leading to the patio, the force causes the metal bell affixed to the doorjamb to clang, and I feel like I'm going to step outside to feed the chickens on the farm. Instead, I'm stepping out onto soft Astroturf, sliding into my new zero-gravity chair, reclining as far back as possible, and invariably dozing off, under cover of darkness and surprising quiet given this is NYC. It's at moments like this that I am so insanely grateful for what I have and don't give a flying fuck about what I don't.
I spent way too much time checking out burr coffee grinders online, first pretending I was actually reading the articles explaining how they are different from standard blade grinders and why they're superior, then pretending it really made a difference to me, but then I realized this is the same thing I've done with earbuds for listening to music while at the gym, when I'm not a discerning audiophile nor do I have a desire to be. In the end, I decided on coffee already coarse ground, which will make preparing my "Toddy" full of cold brew that much easier.
This was the month I was going to get back on track with drawing/painting, making use of the art supplies I started amassing three years ago back when I was on my way to making "art" a habit. July was the month for which I ordered a new sketchbook that I'd dedicate to the renewed endeavor and told myself I'd use every day so I wouldn't feel like I'm dying inside.
Now, that was a grand failure, wasn't it.
I let myself down.
But I'll lift myself back up, start a month later, and try to be "nice" to myself.
Mr. Robert Mueller wasn't on TV the other morning to entertain or put on a good show or do anything except answer hours upon hours of questions truthfully like an intelligent, thoughtful, capable, and upstanding person. I'm so goddamned sick of the oh so hilarious barbs about his "performance", the lack of razzle-fucking-dazzle and fireworks, and his fucking age. Gosh, Mueller's 74. What a CRIME. Hate to break it to you, people, but he's an actual human being, not a flashy fucking puppet or programmable robot. We already have that and it's called a so-called President. What's really important here?
We're at that point in our spin around the sun where I'm wishing away time, as much as I loathe the notion, so we can skip ahead to cooler temperatures, to jackets, jeans, boots, dresses, and scarves and hair that doesn't look like tumbleweed and skin that doesn't feel like a wet sponge moments after leaving home. Some people hibernate in winter; I do so in the summer. I've barely left the apartment, except to go to the gym, in about two months. It's too gross outside even for my lovely summer dresses, and I feel sad for neglecting them.
Now that I have this fabulous "zero gravity" lounge chair on the patio (with a little table/tray attached to the side to hold TWO beverages, a book, and a phone!), I can't believe I waited 13 years to get one. It's not like it was cost-prohibitive, so I truly can't come up with a reason why I didn't get it sooner. I keep kicking myself for wasting so much time.
I've wasted no time falling asleep in the chair in the evening, though, which thrills me to no end and which I can't wait to do on a regular basis.
He keeps on saying I've warmed the cockles of his heart, and I know I'm supposed to respond with a raised eyebrow, an "ew", a scowl or smirk, or some combination of these, but I don't give him the satisfaction, especially when he puts the emphasis on the first syllable and pauses before uttering the second as if I didn't "get it" before that.
"Maybe you don't know what a cockle is," he says after enduring my long silence. "Do you want to look it up in the dictionary?" And yes, he emphasizes the first syllable in that word too.
Neither Nancy nor I participated strenuously enough in our respective gym classes to make an impact on our apparel dedicated to the period, so we decided we'd share one gymsuit, hers, which she'd leave in her gym locker. I never asked, but I'm positive she never took it home for laundering, and I certainly never did, although it would've been "good form" for me to do so as my contribution to the arrangement. But no, we put as much effort into upkeep as we did to "steal the bacon". I wonder if she remembers any of this, 40 years later.
I'll watch any movie, no matter how inane plot-wise or how poor production-wise, that features time travel. The main characters could be a broken wooden pepper grinder, a mote of dust, and a bowl of soggy Quisp, and I'd be flopping down on the sofa with a huge plate of chow fun delivered from the local Chinese place, a can or two of TaB, practically breathless with excitement. If afforded/awarded any superpower, time travel would be the one I'd choose, hands down, even over invisibility, and the ability to each as much chow fun as I want without gaining weight.
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