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My morning ritual, once outside en route to my run, is the same as it was when I would go to the gym. It announce the date like this: Today is Tuesday, 1 September 2020; 9/1/20," followed by brief statements about the weather and my direction of travel. I lay out the day's work. If state any errands. And now, an exciting new addition is that I often state what I'm going to eat. It is, in essence, the recitation of a routine so sensationally snoozeworthy that it's a wonder I don't just turn around and crawl back into bed.
I have five "active" pairs of running shoes, and I'm trying to think of which are my favorite, but don't know if I have one. Sometimes I mull this over with all the attention it'd deserve if it were a test, and every time I do, I don't want to make a definitive decision because I wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of those that wouldn't be my favorite, but even as I think that, I feel a little sad, and in the end land on "I love all of you, but in different ways," like a good, uh, mom.
My friend sends me Marco Polo messages that are way too long, and I hate that the "2X" feature, which allows you to speed through it in double time, is now only available with the "Plus" version of the app. . I don't want to spend money for Plus, so I must "suffer" through the long, rambling message, which at times is excruciating. My friend probably thinks the same about me, though, so I must be mindful to be brief myself and catch myself when I ramble. I hope the friend will adjust in kind and spare me as well.
I don't know why I can't find the Reservoir when entering Central Park at West 85th. The map of my miserable run shows me close to it upon entering the park but then heading south into The Ramble, which I should now by now won't lead me there. I've done it before, so why is it so difficult?
Meanwhile, the run to West 85th is about a mile on hard pavement, which is a poor introduction to a run. If I walk to the West 72nd entrance and find my way to the reservoir from there, that would work. Goal?
You haven't lived until you've slid out of bed, barefoot, on your way to turn on the lights so you can pour yourself the first of two mugs of coffee that had brewed as you'd hit "snooze" on your watch's alarm, when one of your feet slides in something gushy and you shout a few curses, dash to turn on the light, and discover it's cat vomit that had enough time to cool down, and you can't decide it would've been grosser to slide in hot vom that it was to know that it had been there for a while.
This afternoon I made my own vegan butter! I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder, in a long dress and pinafore, well-worn lace-up boots, blowing wayward strands of hair that came untucked from my bonnet as I churned it by hand in the barn in a wooden contraption Pa created with his sturdy, capable, oh so handsome hands, much to the amusement of Mary who told me she wished she wasn't blind because she'd love to see the look on my grimy face when she told me, "Nobody knows what on God's green earth what a vegan is. It's 1880, silly!"
You know that thing with toddlers, how all they'll want to eat is chicken tenders every night for three months? That's like me with this "butter tofu" recipe I found a few months ago and have made who-the-fuck-knows how many times. It's one of those recipes that I have memorized by now, but that, months from now, when the frenzy/obsession is over but I still want to make it for a "one off", I'll have to refer to again and wonder how I ever memorized it and maybe even wonder why I was so obsessed. But in the meantime, YUM.
I was thrilled when Amazon and Whole Foods deliveries became readily available after months of not being able to get a slot, so of course I started ordering online again. I used to think I'd never do it, back in the days when B and I would go to WF every Saturday morning, but since those days are, very sadly, gone and I can't bear the thought of going to WF, this suits me fine. The only thing I don't like is the anticipation of waiting for its arrival, but "thanks" to social distancing, any contact (socially distanced) is brief.
I wish I could plan a walk with BP like the impromptu one we had a few Sundays ago when we both were on morning walks and happened to run into each other on Broadway after we'd texted about random stuff (ice cream!). But of course that was part of the fun, that it wasn't planned, so there was no weirdness or "pressure" or expectation of any kind. But it was so much fun to spend a few hours with him, to be in the presence of his marvelous gesticulations and effusiveness. Plus, it doesn't hurt that he's rather cute.
A selection of peeves, in random order, and by no means a complete list:
Searching for a vegan recipe for baked goods online and finding so much that's cheerfully "gluten-free". Gimme the goddamned gluten. Also, I don't need brownies to be "healthy".
Toddlers who waddle-run after seagulls on the beach.
Toddlers who do the same with pigeons in the city.
People who, even when confronted with the simplest suggestions of math, announce that they suck at math.
The use of "simplistic" instead of "simple".
"Let that sink in."
People who say they need a drink to "wash down" their food.
Stay off Facebook on 9/11 at all costs. Avoid reading yet another person's rehashed account of where they were that day in 2001, how brightly the sun was shining, how clear blue the sky was, how it was just another ordinary day and then BLAMMO. Run the other way from photos of the Twin Towers from either the years leading up to the attack or of them in ruins. Spare yourself the pleas to NEVER FORGET and to remember, of course, how we all came together and blahblahwhatever. Who in their right mind needs to be told to never forget?
I just cancelled an order for a groovy pair of sunglasses by a company called Goodr that I wanted for running, because I realized that (1) I have never looked good in sunglasses and cannot take myself seriously in them; (2) I hate the distortion in color that's an unavoidable byproduct of the tinted lenses; and (3) the bulk of my run occurs before the sun even comes up, so why do I even need them. I'm sure I'll order them again and cancel again, because it's not enough to have buyer's remorse just once for any particular item. Oy.
One of my favorite people, who lives in San Francisco with his wife and two sons, tells me they're considering moving to New Zealand as "Plan B". In the event the election in November doesn't go the way it MUST, the way any person with a functioning brain stem wants it to go, the way not just the country but the planet needs it to go if there's any chance of us surviving without going absolutely fucking insane for the next four years. I can't have these people moving to New Zealand, so VOTE FOR BIDEN/HARRIS, PEOPLE!!! For everyone's sake.
You haven't lived until you've seen a jaunty Jewess grinning like an idiot as she runs in Central Park, talking and/or singing to herself, greeting every squirrel that crosses her path, every bird, and perhaps some fallen leaves and definitely the trees, that grin quickly turning into a grimace when she trips over a rock, clump of grass, or an imaginary friend who had fainted on the ground in front of her, stumbles forward, and does what the kidz still may call a "faceplant", tearing the knee of her capris and the skin beneath, and quietly (really) saying, "Oh fuuuuuuck."
I suppose part of the charm of my Bea Arthur voice is that it bellows forth from a petite vessel. If you're charmed by it, that is (and oh, you should be). When I was younger, I tried to emulate "girly" voices like Marcia Brady (of course), but that just didn't jive and I felt like even more of a fraud than Jan in a brunette wig. But now, as a so-called adult, every time I hear a mincing little girl voice coming from someone who clearly hasn't been little girl for decades, I thank Maude for what I have.
Oh, Shana, my little love, I cannot believe five years have passed since the last time you were of this world. I miss your tiny round paws, your dashmouth, your tiny head atop your CURVY body, your polysyllabic inflected talking, your black whiskers, pads, and nose, and of course every other of your fabulous features. Every once in a while, I open my mouth and "you" say something, sometimes telling me you miss me, and I feel like I'm kicked in the heart. The improvements you made to 15 years, five months, and 15 days of my life are immeasurable.
It's important to fill in my eyebrows before I go out for my run every morning, even though it's dark when I leave, no one sees me long enough when they approach/pass (because I'm such a speed demon), and no one really gives a fuck what anyone's eyebrows look like when they're running or at least they shouldn't. Have I ever noticed another chick's eyebrows when we're both running? No. I'm more interested in her shoes. And even then I barely give a damn. Still, I feel more confident with filled-in eyebrows. And damn it, my shoes are always cute.
I mean, I kinda have to make something in my new 8x8 baking pan to, like amortize the cost, right? And to pretend it's for Rosh Hashanah even though I didn't know it was Rosh Hashanah until one of my favorite Jews wished me "Shana Tovah" in email and I started seeing it all over social media. Right?
I recently found a super (and easy) recipe for "New York style" crumb cake and made it last weekend. It was gone in two days. I should make it again, just to make sure its wonderful deliciousness wasn't just beginner's luck, no?
The appeal of the Just Egg omelet lies more in making it than in eating it. Although I do like eating it, it's not nearly as much fun as that marvelous moment when I flip it. The first time wasn't a roaring success, but the second and almost every subsequent time, it has been. Alas, I don't have enough confidence yet to flip it over the stove, so I shuffle a skosh over to the sink, just in case I miss, so the mess will land in the sink and not all over the stovetop. I know this thrills you.
I'm picking up my stuff at the laundry service. The attendant brings my stuff up front with his customary cheer, and I respond as if he's presented me with a gift, because after months of lockdown hand-washing, it seems like one.
"These your socks?" he says, indicating a pair of navy blue. I tell him, yes, they're new, something I think was included as a bonus to a recent order I'd placed for other socks. "Because your other socks are all so colorful!" he says with a laugh.
I'm delighted that I've apparently reached "regular" status, like in a restaurant!
I see it in the middle of the sidewalk only a few yards from home, but tell myself I'm not seeing what I know I'm seeing. My heart pounds wildly, I'm already in tears, and I take a closer look to confirm. Yes, it's a small gray mouse almost embedded in the sidewalk, on his side, with a dot of dried blood coming from his mouth, part of his insides squished and sort of underneath his midsection. As sad as I am that he's not living because I wouldn't him to be in pain, I'm just as sad he's gone.
I find a small discarded sheet of metal several feet away and transfer him onto it with the aid of a napkin from my running belt. I have to do a little scraping to lift him and cringe as I apologize to him for the disturbance. I'm tearful because someone had to have stepped on him on purpose or have run over him and just not cared. So I tell him, aloud, through my tears, that I care, I see him, I'm here for him, and his life mattered and he will have a place to rest on my patio.
I deposit him among the flowers surrounding a tree just outside my building. I go inside and out to the patio to see if the dirt inside one of the two flower-box "cemeteries" is soft enough to scoop to create a final resting place for him. I'm relieved to see it is.
It's still light out, and I don't want any passersby to see what I'm doing, so I leave him by the flowers overnight. Early the next morning, I shroud him with a napkin, carry him inside, out to the patio, and, in tears, lay him to rest.
I'm getting a haircut next month and cannot wait. The last time was November, but even then, it seemed to be more like a "trim plus" than a real cut, and any casual observer or dedicated stalker probably wouldn't have noticed a change. This time, though, with it completely out of control, any cut will be noticeable, and I'm giddy thinking that I will finally be wanting to leave the house for more than just early morning runs. I just don't feel cute enough to "compose" an outfit for a stroll, even if I don't really have anywhere to go.
Two and a quarter years. How is it even possible? How have I not spontaneously combusted to join you wherever the fuck you are in the ether or on Saturn (as my friend Stacy likes to say) or just quietly evaporated and then become part of a delectable torrential downpour? You are missed beyond measure, you are with me constantly, so I don't have to say it aloud, even though I sometimes do, often when I'm running and thinking about how my workout has had to evolve to accommodate the times. It's a new way for everything to fit, maybe-ish.
Somewhere in the area of the courtyard behind my building, a group of raucous loudmouths has been vocalizing for the past few hours with all the charming elegance of a frat party. I'm sure this whole time all of the merry-makers have been wearing masks and not at all standing closer than 6 feet apart. I'm also sure the one female voice that has been shouting "Woohoo" with alarming frequency like she's on Spring Break isn't in the least bit fucking annoying or making me want to dunk her head in a vat full to overflowing with 100% proof COVID-19.
Two Random "Fuck Off"s:
When someone posts a photo of fruit and/or vegetables they just bought and another person just haaaaaaas to say, "Where's the meat?", often accompanied by a mention of bacon. And people think vegans are obnoxious?
That the National Republican Senatorial Committee is offering "Notorious ACB" T-shirts to (stupid fucking) donors. No, no, no, and hell to the no. The supremely magnificent Justice Ginsburg earned the Notorious nickname and it suited just as perfectly as the trademark lacy collars she wore on her robes. Fuck you, NRSC, to hell, but not back. Stay there where you belong.
In a ridiculously upbeat mood several months ago, I told C, the overnight manager at Fairway, that I'd make him blueberry scones. Now whenever I see him, he jokes about the scones he still hasn't received, and I tell him I'll definitely do it. I recently made them twice , one full batch that came out so-so and a half batch that came out perfectly, but ate them all myself. I felt slightly "guilty" that I didn't give any to C, like he'd know I'd made them and kept them for myself. (P.S. I didn't buy the blueberries at Fairway.)
On my way home from my run, I saw a little yellow and gray bird on his side on the sidewalk, "sleeping" (ugh). A PLEASE CURB YOUR DOG sign was halfway hanging off a fence so I twisted it off, transferred him onto it using a tissue I had handy, and solemnly transported him the block and a half home. I buried him in one of two flower-boxes on the patio that I use as a little cemetery for other "guys" I've found over the years. I gave him a tearful sendoff, telling him his little life mattered to me.
I can barely stomach this mottled mess in even the briefest of clips, but I felt like I "had to" watch, so I did. Straight out of the gate, he was worst than I anticipated, and degenerated even further with each passing second.
I transcribe for a living, mostly depositions, and I've had to make sense out of a roomful of lawyers shouting over each other, and it's frustrating as hell and headache-inducing. For the entirety of the debacle of a "debate", I thought, "You couldn't pay me to transcribe this shit."
What an utter disgrace on so many levels.
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