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Woke up early today and headed for the CVS. Funny, I always thought someone would accompany me when I did this. I'm surprised at how calm I seem, although inside I feel like a twelve-year old buying her first pack of cigarettes. I surveyed the row of pregnancy tests while thinking about last night's "Felicity," where she too had this very dilemma. She bought Clearblue Easy. So did I. Eighteen dollars and forty-nine cents later I was in my bathroom, all interested in reading about "urine streams." All this inner angst and then sixty seconds later: negative. I knew it.
He called before I left to wish me a good flight. He was supposed to come with me, you know. I hadn't been to Chicago before, but I liked the vibe immediately. We took back roads and passed stores with great signage and names like Whip The Do and Bimbi's. Dinner with Archer and Ariane, Sam and Bettina was fun — until the red wine set in. Then I got to missing him and couldn't wait to go home to sleep. Sure I was tired, but I really needed to cry my eyes out. Alone. It didn't make me feel better.
I didn't sleep enough but it's always that way the first night in a new place. Up and out of the house to see Frank Lloyd Wright houses and eat pancakes. Smoke some cigarettes, and spill some guts. Thrift shop and share secrets. It was a full day with a quick stop home for a rest before heading to the rock show. I used my time to call him in New York and that's when he told me he went to the hospital that day. I felt so helpless. But what could I do? He didn't want me there anyway.
I'm still sad about things but at least I'm in good company. It was good to see Archer playing music and even better to watch the boys pack up their gear with Madonna blasting in the background. Sam started doing a little dance to "Holiday" and it made my whole night. That feeling of being able to let go with your friends is really under-rated. The trip was short but sweet. When we landed I called him right away from the phone in the airport. "I'm coming over," I said. I just wanted to hug and kiss him for awhile.
I made my first "real" mistake at work. In the realm of things, you know, life in general it's not a big deal. Like, at all. But in the province of workness, it is. I edit and fact-check the puzzle here at this very popular magazine (jealous?). It's a simple crossword, and I can usually do it with one eye closed. But I guess a couple of weeks ago (what with all the anthrax emails we were getting — on work time, no less!), I got distracted. But that's what we have housewives in Iowa for. Thanks, Mrs. Whoever You Are.
The lady that works right across from me asked if I wanted to buy some wrapping paper. "For my kids' school," she said. "I'm really picky," I countered, as she added that the selection was really pretty. As I thumbed through pages of little snowmen and bright red, green and— egads, silver sparkled crosses, I thought "how am I gonna tell this woman that I don't want her crap?" (And no. Not even a nice dreidel scene). "I'm Jewish and don't really need a whole helluva lotta Christmas wrap, " I said. I keep forgetting how that line always works.
The Little Baby emailed me today. Out of the blue. He was a guy I dated for a few months, 5 years ago. It was a bad break-up (i.e. he wouldn't leave) but finally came to an end one Sunday morning after I star 69'd him after many hang-ups and called his ass out ("whatyoutalkinboutwillis?"). The next day I procured a shiny new unlisted number (great for a free-lance writer, just great!) and haven't seen him since. Then he emailed today and seemed nice. But I know not-to-go-there-girlfriend. (Insert neck twinge). I don't mean to be all ghetto, but please.
Mandy was perturbed when the humor geek didn't respond positively to her invitation to see Stereolab. My favorite thing to say in these situations is: "we don't know him." And the fact remains — he could be doing millions of planned things. Like: Mother/Son talent show, watching endless loop of "Facts Of Life" (he loves Tootie!), standing electrolysis appointment, "Paxil'ed" out, all excited to experiment with new banana nut muffin mix, night to dress up dog in women's clothing, brooding about having NO PENIS, working on macaroni calendar, Overeaters Anonymous meeting, waxing back hair, extra toes. "We just don't know him."
My mother went to see the urologist. Usually I would hear about this on my answering machine, in detail. But we've been talking a lot more live on the telephone -- although my mother usually treats my answering machine as if she really is talking to me. She usually starts by saying "we're playing telephone ping-pong." Makes more sense than telephone tag. Anyway. Quite a gem came out of Mom's cakehole today. "The urologist saw my bladder through a camera. He said it looked it like the mountains of Afghanistan." God. I wish I had that on my answering machine.
My father died today. Not today, today. But on this date. It's been eleven years but whenever this day rolls around, no matter what I am doing, I am very aware what date this is. Usually I'm at work and so I have to see and write the date over and over. But today is Saturday, my day to do errands. Subconsciously or not I kept myself busy all day. I didn't even tell people what day this was because in the last eleven years since my dad's death no one ever really knows what to say. Like you now.
Hearing my friend Jerry read at KGB tonight really inspired me. He's a fantastic writer and maybe even a better speaker; his delivery is better than UPS. The whole time he was reading, I was thinking, damn, I wish I could do that. It's a ballsy thing to get up on a stage, (or even a small platform), light shining in your face and a crowd full of people standing This Close to you with their arms folded in front of their chest. Entertain me. Make me laugh. Enlighten me. Inspire me. If only to be able to do that.
Thirty minutes into today and I have a headache. I'm trying to sleep but at 12:30 I pop one of my special pills; low-level muscle relaxers that seem to do the trick. I know exactly from whence this pain comes. Too much thinkin'. Things aren't right and I know it, but I don't want to do anything about it yet. I need to sit with this idea first before I rush into making a decision that could really change my life. Mandy says that maybe it could change my life for the better. Funny, how I never think of that.
Have you noticed the pattern yet? The allusions to Mandy? The mentions of Shandy? It's a whole world. It all started a few years ago when Jenny was over and watching TV. We saw Patinkin on some show, doing some farcockamamie Yiddish act. Our mouths agape, we started to ponder the man known as Mandy. Who would name their son THAT? Then we become obsessed with Mandy-ness. Jenny was Mandy, I was Mandy. But it got confusing so I became Shandy (btw, Mandel is Dandy). I know this makes no sense. It doesn't have to. Stop being a stinkin' Patinkin.
It's a shitty feeling when someone has noticeably stopped being nice to you. It's not out and out meanness, but more of an understated cutting back on emotions. I'm taken aback with this change in temperament and don't know quite how to react. Unless someone is in-my-face nasty, I usually clam up and try to suss out the situation. But no matter how old I get, it always hurts me bad when people decide to do a 180 on me. I'm always thinking that something Else must be going on. And I know that it's something else. Still sucks though.
Girl-scout cookies are in this office and I've been eating too many plus I just ate a brownie just because. The other night I closed a story solely on ThinMints. There is all this free food here, which tastes that much better. But it's too much sugar and when I eat these things I want coffee with them, so yeah, tongue roll sound, I am whizzing by, really energetic and full of aspartame. Dang it, I really hope I don't get a sugar crash headache. But, whatever. I'll deal. Because through all this sugar, the world looks good to me.
Well. I just had some chocolate peanut things. And now I'm drinking coffee. I can feel the sugar surging and know that I'm headed for a crash, but I need something. Cause I'm sitting here in my cubicle of an office that is basically located in a hallway, checking things like what color was Tyra's thong and what are peacock colored wings anyway? I could think of worse stories to be doing. I'm not kvetching. It makes me feel like I'm actually doing something (not something useful, but something). So yeah. I guess I'm officially a part of the machine.
Some people you can't stand immediately. (Ted Nugent). Others you have to get to know first. Tonight Mandy came over to refresh (lipstick) and recharge (coffee) before we headed over to the party. The thing is, I met Mandy through this horrible girl. (I didn't know she was horrible at first). I forgot all about her until we walked into the party. There she was, with her arms folded against her chest and an expression that was going to unleash one of those god-awful "sick kitty " stories. Yup, it's safe to say that I still can't stand her ass.
Carsickness set in about the time that the little boy showed me his special rock. We were in the car with Tony and his wife and their child, getting a tour of Brooklyn. We ended up in an area that had a nook of million dollar Victorian houses, nestled right around the corner from gi-normous Jehovah Witness halls and places to wash your clothes that were called Good Church Laundromats. It was like suburbia on poppers; dreamy homes in the middle of poverty. Granted, Doug and I are both pretty sick of the city. But this was just too weird.
Mandy took Randy to the Bob Dylan concert tonight. I'm working late anyway plus I think it's nice that my man hangs out with my girl. They called me a couple of times from the stands of Madison Square Garden and I listened to their excited voices as I gazed over pages and pages of fact-checking documents. "He's wearing a lot of satin," said Mandy. "Is he ancient?, " I wanted to know. "Yeah. And when I met him he wasn't wearing any socks." I'm fairly certain that they're having a little bit more fun than I am right now.
I'm quite aware of how yucky this month o' 100 words is. And I'm tempted to stop the process. But it's more than half over, so I should just push on. I just hate being mediocre. I'm also well aware that what I'm doing right now, you know, talking to you (whoever you are) is like those annoying actors that talk straight into the camera with a wink, wink , tongue click gotcha kind of thing. I hated it when John Cusack did that in "High Fidelity." Then why am I doing it now? Because I got nothin' else. Nothin'.
I used to go home for Thanksgiving on Wednesday nights way back when. (Yeah, when I was stupid). Now, I wake up on Thursday mornings and head back for a quickie visit. We don't even have the holiday at my house anymore. Well, ‘cause we don't have the house anymore. After dad died, mom sold the place and moved into a nearby apartment complex. I helped her weed out the junk but still she managed to move most of the stuff into this new place. Which is set up EXACTLY like the old place. Only it's not the old
I spend most of my time this Thanksgiving on the floor, building this Thomas the Train railroad set. My little nephew Jordan is here. When he gets frustrated he starts vigorously hitting his hands against his head and then does a stop-in-name-of-love hand gesture thing. Me? I used to bang my head on the floor in frustration. "You had a permanent red mark on your forehead," my mother says almost proudly. When the track won't fit together properly Jordan starts yelling "no no, no," his face all red and his fists curled into tight little balls. Been there, banged that.
Mom likes her apartment very cold. Growing up, I remember our house would be so icy that I'd wear sweatpants in July. Coming home on those hot nights, the front door would open and bam, the cold air would hit like an Arctic blast. It felt good at first, melding my sweaty face into a make-up mask that only mounds of Noxema could crack off. Now when I come home I bring extra sweaters. Today I sat in front of the TV in my winter coat. Mom doesn't blink twice, just remarks that she can't understand why I'm so cold.
I know I'm getting old because most of my younger friends don't know what the hell Dark Shadows is. Um. It's the vampire soap opera starring Jonathan Frid, a Shakespearean actor (who flubbed his lines live!) as Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows' resident farcocked vampire. This show used to be on at 4:00 and the days that I didn't have to go to Hebrew school, I was glued in front of the TV set watching Angelique the witch or Quentin the ghost. Doug brought five episodes to watch in the country tonight. We almost got through them — but we fell asleep.
He seemed to be ill at ease. This middle-aged guy, not terribly attractive with yellow gold rings and baggy leather pants. That's the thing, you really need a swagger to pull off leather pants. I ordered pretzels and he ordered vodkas. We were sitting in the dining car so I had a pretty good view of this guy the whole trip. His companion was a sloppy man in a worn t-shirt, who was falling asleep against the rainy window. "It's very wet. That's a good thing," the leather pants man drawled eerily. I was the only one who turned around.
Complaint minute. I have a killer sinus headache, the kind where my eyebrows hurt and my neck twinges, add in a touch o' migraine and yes, there it is, to add insult to injury can I please get awful cramps too? It's barely 8:00 and I am ready to shut out the light to go to sleep. Sick sleep. The kind where you take over the counter medicine that says non-drowsy and then you get sleepy, that is, until you really want to sleep. Then you get antsy and your mind gets filled with inane details. That's me right now.
He had a gray flecked mullet, pockmarked skin and an attitude out to there. He passed us on the train car dragging his luggage, and when he saw us it seemed to really piss him off. He started muttering under his breath as he eyed me (Doug says it was when he saw him) — either way, it was going-postal scary. Like. This was the guy that would have a ton of anthrax in those bags. I didn't think of him until tonight. I got to the restaurant early and saw the very same mullet-man facing me. Weird when that happens.
Glass of water. Some overcooked rubbery eggs. One dried out hash brown (ate it anyway). Tea with sugar (supposedly more caffeine than coffee, but I still don't feel it). More water (straight from the bottle). Something called a "rice bowl" (chicken, rice and broccoli). A corn muffin to make up for the lousy rice bowl, eaten mostly on the elevator back up to my desk. More water. Coffee (mocha something-something). Assorted crackers from the conference room. Green tea. Mushroom barley soup (large), steamed kale. More water. Migraine medicine. One more water. Two tablets Advil Cold and Sinus. Still more water.
My head is pounding with sinus pain and my eyebrows hurt. I tripped over my ankle this morning, got perfume on my pants five minutes before I had to leave for work and then decided that I hated what I was wearing anyway. The subway was damp smelling and a lady actually raced me for a seat (she won). My walkman batteries died just as the song I really wanted to hear came on. But when I got to work, a dozen long-stem red roses were waiting for me. Because one hundred and fifty four days ago we first kissed.
I was going to end this month by saying that nothing much happened. And when I say that, I mean it as a good thing. No more drama to quote Mary J. Blige, is the way to go. But upon waking up, I heard about George Harrison. I got to think how my dad would buy Beatles albums for us. That music — there's nothing like it. And there's nothing even close to them now. N'Sync? Limp Bizkit? I feel really bad for kids today, growing up with all this lame music. They'll never have it like we did. Poor fuckers.
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