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I think I'm "supposed" to hate Andrew Lloyd Weber. I don't know why, but it seems like all the cool kids -- and even some of the not so cool ones -- do. The groovesters responsible for "Spamalot" did a rather fun send-up of a typical ALW over-the-top production of ridiculously romantic love, and I laughed along with everyone else. Still, when I saw "Woman In White" on Christmas Eve, and the Boy and Girl stood face-to-face while singing their aching hearts out, I must confess that I swooned. Someone should beat me. I shouldn't enjoy that sentimental shit, but I do.
Cassie's always been manic, but ever since she's been on her chocolate-covered espresso bean kick, she's had more pep in her step than I've ever seen in the two years she's been my patient. I tell her she should cut back. Maybe not drink coffee if she's gonna eat the beans. Choose one.
"But I'm not eating the beans anymore," she says.
"What's in your palm, then?"
"I said I'm not EATING them," she says. And asks, with a wink, for the restroom key.
I tell her it's out of order, even though it's not.
If only she hadn't winked.
Dear Stoneface in 3C:
How is it that your housekeeper, two young daughters, and dog are all so outgoing, garrulous, energetic, and upbeat, and you are such a surly, aloof, non-communicative, dour grump? How does that work? Is your general jackassery necessary to balance out their good-natured charm?
Because you are so lacking in elevator etiquette, you left me no choice the other day but to swipe a viscous glob of unspit sputum on the "3" button on my way up, knowing you were waiting in the lobby to reboard. Consider it my holiday gift to you.
I'd hoped that Darla'd made a resolution that in 2006, she wouldn't be compelled to remove her bra in my office ten minutes into her session. It's not just the removal that's so annoying, it's the way she does it. Apparently she's seen "Flashdance"one too many times.
When she takes it off, her direct gaze into my eyes belies the nonchalant attitude she's trying to affect. She pretends she's not performing, but I can tell otherwise.
I have the overwhelming desire to tell her she's a "maniac"(not wise in this profession, of course) and to feed her lobster.
The next time one of you decides -- after telling me I'm the sexiest, smartest, funniest, wittiest, beautifullest, hottest woman on the face of this or any planet and spending lots o' time with me on the phone and in coffee shops, holding hands and making plans, and kissing like there's not only no tomorrow but no two minutes from this moment -- to never call me again, without warning or fanfare, and to ignore my still-civilized-never-escalating-into-hysteria phone call "just to say hi-, could you maybe just call me first to tell me you won't be calling anymore?
I can't decide which member of this mother-and-teenaged-son duo got the shorter, uglier end of the look-alike stick. They seem oblivious to their matching fluffy frizzy hair, honkin' proboscises, sloped shoulders, and aggressive overbites.
The kid's knees knock. He didn't know it was going to be this cold in August. Mom produces a pashmina (from where?) and drapes it over the shiver of his skinny shoulders. Adjusts it until she's satisfied it looks pretty, even though it's chartreuse and doesn't flatter the boy's skin tone or go with the rest of his ensemble. They exchange grins.
(Verdict: Neither is ugly.)
Pre-dawn. Minimal light shines from the crisp fingernail clipping hanging where the moon, in a week or two, will be full again. White streetlights and my huge dog are the only protection I have against the faceless thugs and bandits I'm convinced are blended in, chameleon-like, with the intricate architectural details of each building we pass.
My dog's ears throw happy, floppy shadows on the sidewalk. I look from his actual ears to his shadow ears and back again. And again. I don't know what makes me sigh more: the real ears I can touch or the shadows I can't.
"Why do you want to know?"Laura asks, looking up at me like I caught her with not just one hand in the cookie jar but two, and also both feet and a tit.
"I'm curious,"I say. "I like to know everyone's favorite color. Not just my patients's.-
"So if I say MAGENTA, it won't mean anything? A cigar is just a cigar?-
I reassure her that I am just curious. I tell her that these days I prefer purple.
"Well, I can't pick just one,"she says. "If I pick one, I'll hurt all the other colors's feelings.-
Petra insists the depression is a fist. A fist with roots embedded in her colon, her gut, her core, her viscera, her soul. It's so much a part of her that it's now physically palpable.
"At night, when I'm trying like hell to sleep,"she says, "its grubby fingers creep up my throat, trying to escape. I want to open my mouth to scream, but I don't want to encourage it to come to the light, like a plant.-
So she clamps her mouth shut, swallows the fist for another night, and it silently strangles her from the inside out.
Caroline can't stop laughing.
"Botox!"she says. "Bo-o-o-o-o-tox!" She throws her head back and gasp-laughs. Then returns her head to an upright position and stares at me.
I gaze at her without blinking or even raising my right eyebrow.
"Buttocks!"she says. "Bu-u-u-u-u-uttocks!-
I want to shoot BB's into her fillings.
I blink. Not slowly, to indicate that I am finding her wordplay tedious, but at normal speed so she doesn't realize this idiocy affects me at all.
"Botox! Buttocks!"she says. "B-b-b-b! B-b-b-b! Otox! Uttocks!-
It's times like this I wish I smoked and allowed it in my office.
I prop the library book on my face like a tent. I know the pages are musty and have been touched by who the hell knows how many hands that have been who the fuck knows where. I really don't care. Let the filth of countless fingers caress my skin. I'll wash my face later. Right now I've got talking to do.
I whisper into the musty pages everything I don't want to write or say. And imagine that the next person who checks this book out will hear me when he gets to the pages that touched my face.
I hated the cigars my handsome Polish Poppop smoked, but I loved the clear plastic tubes with white plastic pop-off caps that they came in. I didn't have to covet them, though, because he gave them to me without my even having to ask.
I don't know what was the most fun: gripping the tube, popping the cap with my thumb, and being rewarded with the *pop!* sound; cramming my nose as far as possible into it for a whiff of ghost tobacco; or sliding coins (Poppop-supplied) into its length. All I know is that I miss it like mad.
Ask anyone who's met her, and they'll tell you the same thing: Tara's tall! Most people say 5'9", but at least two guys swear she's "round about six feet"and one says at least 6'2".
The thing is, Tara's only an ordinary 5'5". And when people meet her after having spoken to her on the phone, they say, "I thought you'd be taller!-
Later, though, if you ask any of those people, they, too, will remember her as being tall.
Tara just shrugs and offers no explanation. But I see the glint in her eye. I know she's hiding something.
I'm in a non-descript cafÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© with a 26-year-old, drinking the roughest smoothie in Manhattan. We're chitting and chatting, and I'm having an OK time, but really wishing I were elsewhere, drinking anything else with someone else.
I tell him I met Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward at a theater and that they were the most gracious, unpretentious movie stars you could ever hope to meet. The kid looks at me with a blank expression on his face.
He doesn't know who Paul Newman or Joanne Woodward are.
Or George Harrison. Or Gregory Peck.
Generation gap? No. Fucking retarded? Yes.
Twice today Julia wished her husband would just die so she could collect the insurance money. Twice today Julia envisioned her life without him and did not feel even the slightest sting of tears. Twice today Julia wished he'd lose his life so she could get hers back. Finally. Twice today Julia thought these things and felt no sadness. Twice today Julia wondered if she should feel sad, and twice today Julia wondered if she should worry because she didn't. Twice today Julia thought these things as she stared at herself in the bathroom mirror, brushed her teeth, and spit.
Everything you need to know, you can figure out without her turning around in her seat at the coffee shop. The set of her shoulders, the rigid spine. The hair immobile, bereft of its customary carefree toss. The hands, out of sight in her lap. The tensing of her neck when you take just one step toward her. The total lack of movement when you dare say her name. What do you expect after forcing her to endure a ten-day hiatus from your relationship without any advance notice? You should be shuddering to imagine what you'll see when you're face-to-face.
Brian barges into my office with the "attitude"he's supposed to be eliminating from his daily experience. I tell him to "turn that frown upside down-, and demonstrate by pushing up the corners of my mouth with my forefingers. It's the way I deal with Brian when he's being a baby.
"Know what I hate?"he says, flopping into the overstuffed chair without freeing himself from his thick scarf's strangle. "I hate when kids pretend to Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœlight' a french fry with ketchup and then Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœsmoke' it.-
He demonstrates with a crinkle-cut fry he's carried in his pocket for a week.
My semi-scruffy, longish-sideburned, shabby-booted, tapestry-coated, floppy-hatted, cigarette-smokin', now-teetotallin', erstwhile vegan, Indian-food-lovin' vintage cowboy on acid. My Neil Young meets Bob Dylan meets Timothy Leary. My one-man band who mesmerized every fiber of me the first, second, and third times - the only times - I saw you. You made living in an old trailer by a river in the middle of who-knows-where sound like something I would actually give up a glossy city apartment (by a river!) for. Maybe I should be thankful you've chosen to ignore me, so I wouldn't be tempted to put myself to the test. Or maybe not.
While they were seeing each other, Dana and Rick would stop at random Manhattan street corners and start smoochin'. Occasionally one of them would go a little further than was "appropriate-, and a hand would settle on an ass or a pelvis would lean a bit forward and bump into the other. Many street corners were witness to this display.
Now that they're not together anymore, Dana cannot pass any of those street corners without feeling like she's going to die. She's packing her things and moving to Roundtown, U.S.A., where there are no Ricks or corners to be found.
One recent sunny Sunday morning, as I walked down Broadway to meet a friend for coffee, a shabby, grizzled old man and his two dogs eventually appeared in my path, off to the side. I smiled as I approached, and when I was close enough for all of our eyes to meet, the man smiled back, I smiled more broadly, and looked down to smile at his dogs, who were smiling too. The sun, of course, smiled, and I swear I saw the corners of Broadway's mouth turn up in kind.
"Thank you!"the man said, grinning, as I passed.
It took all I had not to cry like a big baby at the nail salon. After throwing a near-tantrum upon discovering they didn't have my preferred color (last week, after using the last of it, she told me she'd order more for this week), I railed against the sins of the available colors. Whorish! Childish! Slutty! Tacky! The little bottles bowed their heads and didn't strike back at me.
"It's not just about nail polish, is it?"Ola said. I didn't even have to answer.
I apologized profusely for my outburst, but I don't think the rejected colors forgive me.
"You can sit anywhere you want,"the hostess says with a wide smile, and indicates the entirety of the restaurant with a sweep of her menu-laden hands.
The place is pretty much unoccupied, but still, all the seats I'd prefer - booths, window seats - are taken. I am not fond of sitting in the middle of a restaurant, especially at a "two-top-, but it looks like that's all that's available this morning.
I approach a windowside booth and plunk myself down on the lap of an innocuous-looking young guy. "Enjoy your breakfast,"the hostess says as she hands me a menu.
The afternoon of Bonnie's first session, I stood in the doorway to my inner office when she entered the suite from the hall, waiting to welcome her and introduce her to Beth, my receptionist.
I indicated that she was free to join me a few minutes early. She said, "No, that's fine. I will see you at 4:00 on the dot. Wait for my knock.-
After she left, Beth buzzed me and told me that in the six minutes that Bonnie stood in the reception area, she stood almost immobile by my door with her fist poised in knock position.
"Could you please not do that, Patrice?"I say, holding out a box of the tissue and indicating with a nod of my head for her to take it from me.
"Do what?"she says, leaning forward in her chair, reaching out her free hand, but not allowing her fingers to touch the box.
"What you're doing,"I say.
"What'm I doing?"she says, inserting every finger of her well-manicured right hand, in rapid succession, into her right nostril.
"Stop acting like you don't ... nose,"I say.
"Don't pick at me,"she says.
How am I supposed to not guffaw?
After V pulled some shit with me that was completely unforgiveable and for which I gave him more than an earful, he had the balls to text-message me two more times in attempts to reconcile. Coffee? he asked. Yeah, like caffeine, and limp conversation punctuated with giggles (his), would make it all better.
He would not take "no"for an answer, so I called instead of continuing the text exchange, and said there was no way in fucking hell I'd ever see him again. Less than a minute later, he texted me: "I want you.-
I'm done fucking the brain-dead.
The first thing I think when Keith and Sharon enter my apartment and I see her expanded ass and thighs, distended stomach, and barely there tits, is, "Knocked up.-
I raise my eyebrow in Keith's direction as if to say, "So, this is the best you can do?-
I can't believe he married not only the least attractive of all the women I've ever seen him with, but also the most bigoted, unsophisticated, and flat-chested.
Later, when we're alone for a few moments, he hugs me like he's never hugged me before, and I know he's thinking what I'm thinking.
Why I ever thought living on the Upper West Side would be a good idea is beyond me. Yes, it's pretty and lovely and Meg Ryan's character in "You've Got Mail"lived here, and yes, it's comfortable and easy and neighborhoodly, but god fucking DAMN it if it's not only too far removed from the true FUN of the city but also the most stultifying, molasses-paced, quasi-suburban HELL populated by more double-wide baby strollers pushed by overindulgent, baby-coddling, Starbucks-sipping mommies than you can shake a fist at.
My move back downtown can't come quickly enough. I'll miss the trees, though.
Finish your apple. Finish your apple. Finish your fucking apple already. FINISH!! IT!!
She's across the aisle on the bus, and every soft *crosh* of her teeth sinking into apple-flesh and the corresponding *sclorsh* of it yielding to her teeth, is enough to make me want to reach across, tear it from her scrawny hand, and scream into her runny eyes, "How long does it take to eat a fucking apple, bitch?!" I swear, for each bite she takes the apple regenerates itself twofold.
She's been eating it the entire ride. I can't tear my peripheral vision away from her.
You'd think by now I'd know better than to not eat pizza. I'd avoided it for five years, for no real reason, and should have continued avoiding it when I learned there was a real reason. See, my food intolerances (not just imaginary but confirmed by real live professionals!) include almost everything that comprises pizza, and I should avoid it completely. Unless, of course, I enjoy writhing on my bed in tearful god- and pizza- and self-cursing agony.
So why did I eat it this weekend - and the leftovers for two more days? Am I a fucking retard? (Don't answer.)
He was keeping his pants up by wearing his guitar strap as a belt. Poverty forced such improvisation. What a challenge he faced, then: lug the guitar comfortably or battle the pants as they slid lower on his hips?
I flapped my belt out from its loops and handed it to him. "Wear mine,"I said.
The next day, he was leaving the city. "Keep the belt until you find one you like better,"I said.
That was more than two weeks ago, and I have yet to see my belt or him, even though he's been back in town.
Text messages are both an immense pain in the ass and a heart-thumping secret joy. I never understood why anyone would want to exchange silly text messages when it's easier to just call, but now that I've been doing it for a couple of months, I must admit that I can see the appeal.
I doubt, though, that most of the people exchanging text messages enjoy it for the same reason I do. I doubt they regard it as an editing exercise, the way I regard these 100 Words entries.
Reduce fatty words to roux. So much tastier this way.
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