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While visiting Jay and Scott in Indianapolis, one of the buttons on my coat falls off, prompting me to pretend to cry my mouth into a large black kidney-shaped void a la Lucille Ball wailing to Ricky or Mr. Moony. I am as nimble with a needle as I am proficient with a push-broom (it may as well be called a pull-broom), so Jay comes to the rescue with his sewing kit.
"Darling, do you know that one of these buttons is held on with a safety pin?" he asks with a gasp.
What the hell? No points for McGyverism?
He told me to use my considerable powers for good not evil, that I'd serve those who stumble across my words far better by creating a world of happyhappy smiling pink daffodil rainbows and froth than by bringing up the muck and yuck and the fuckity-fuck-fuck. I do no good by being bad! If I'd been guaranteed swift starfish-esque regeneration and an absence of pain, I would've sawed off my finger and given it to him, perhaps by carrier pigeon or Pony Express. But without such guarantees, I gave it to him through the computer monitor. Nice day, have a!
In the mid '90s I went out with a guy whose plans to use tomatoes for a dish he was making for our dinner were thrown into a tizzy when he couldn't find his super-duper special tomato-slicing knife. He turned his fancy kitchen both topsy and turvy looking for the thing, working himself up into quite a froth and lather, while I stood on the sidelines feigning marginal interest, subtracting points, and wanting to claim a sudden stomach ache so I could just call a cab, go home, order a big ol' pizza, and slice it with a butter knife.
About twenty years ago, when discussing our great nation with a lawyer in my office (about my age, one of very few I liked in that or any other office), I said "the 48 continuous states", not as a joke. He corrected my gaffe with a sardonic laugh, and, I think, a touch of sincere eyebrow-raising derision, to "contiguous". I was wholly mortified but feigned an easygoing laugh. A few years later, when I no longer worked there, someone told me he jumped nine floors from that office to his death, landing atop a car parked alongside the building. Coincidence?
My boyfriend is on his back on my sofa, and I'm stretched out on top of him. Each time I ask if I'm squishing him, he assures me I'm not. Finally, I believe him, and sink into him like he's a Tempur-Pedic mattress. We're snapped together like Lego, secure as jigsaw puzzle pieces, and the only way it could get more delicious would be if … ahhh, here she is: My meatloaf of a cat tiptoes onto the middle of my back and settles in, the cherry on the top of our sofa sundae. Mixed metaphors? Sure, but who cares!
I'm about to take a nap. Please feel free to invade my dreams.
I regret to tell you, boys, that I have eyes only for my own fella and will not indulge your passions even in a REM state. Ladies, however, take note: If you'd like to be featured in a dream in which we make out, you should know that in my dreams I often sport a rather impressive Tom Selleck-like mustache. So, if this turns you off, you may want to steer clear of my dreams and just treat yourself to a 100-calorie packet of mini-cookies or something.
Little-known (until NOW) secret: I am a natural blonde, but I dye my hair RAVEN ESPRESSO. This way, when I meet new people, they won't automatically assume I'm dumb as memorialized in all those side-splitting jokes that have been floating around an easily-entertained galaxy since the days of the mimeograph. I figure there's plenty of time for them to make that determination once I open my shiny lipglossed mouth and they hear me discussing the merits of lollipops and ponies in my wispy, whispery little-girl voice, crinkling my little lemon gumdrop nose at the thought of dirt and multiplication tables.
Despite my admonishments, several clients still insist on dedicating most of their sessions to relating their dreams, often in detail so excruciating that I've considered cutting myself with cuticle scissors behind my legal pad as they speak to divert the pain.
"Do I look like Sigmund Freud?" I sometimes say. (Believe it or not, Amanda P. asked who that was, and then added, "Oh, that guy! I saw him on Oprah?")
"A little bit around the beard," Raymond K. said, causing me to laugh despite myself.
"What's so funny?" he said.
"I shaved it off yesterday," I said.
Continued from 2/8
Amanda has crammed her overstuffed body into the overstuffed armchair instead of melting into the sofa they way she usually does. I'm trying hard not to imagine her with a three-striped tube sock crammed into her mouth and me eating pizza while she watches.
"So, I don't know which part of the dream I like best," she says. "The part where I've found a dress made completely of live kittens ON SALE at Bloomingdale's or that I fit into the size 2."
I want to ask if the dress comes in puppies too but refrain.
So, this was supposed to be a continuation from yesterday's entry, but my train of thought was derailed. Fortunately, none of the 252 handsomely clad (the ladies in little white gloves! the men in hats with brims!) passengers suffered injury and all luggage -- old-fashioned train cases lined in pink or peach or powder blue pleated satin and battered sticker-plastered hard-sided suitcases with brass double-snap locks -- was intact. (Even a lone goldfish in an open bowl survived!) The only casualty is my memory, which cannot produce the last part of the vignette. I remember thinking it was a doozy.
In late 2008, my hairdresser made it clear that she didn't know basic measurement units. My instruction to take off two inches resulted in enough hair to fashion into a makeshift cousin for my cat. At first I was dismayed and an entire lexicon of adjectives that don't mean "happy". Rather than tumble over my shoulders like Linus' blanket, my new hair swang/sweng/swinged/swong/swung/swyng just above them. I felt so -- QUEER ALERT -- free! (So I tossed some granola into the air like Rip Taylor's glitter, hurled my high heels into the Hudson, and danced on broken glass on 9A!)
After trying in vain, for at least five minutes, to remove my nail polish in the way I've been doing since the Pleistocene Epoch, it dawns on me: Rather than questioning the integrity of the nail polish remover, perhaps I should've questioned my ability to select the correct bottle from the cabinet.
I apologize, Rubbing Alcohol, for cursing you.
Moments later, I realize I'm right to doubt the nail polish remover. It refuses to live up to its name. The polish stubbornly refuses to budge. Way to hold a grudge, Nail Polish Remover!
(I am clearly living la vida loca.)
I miss your dog-horse nose-beak-snout. Your felty velour airplane ears. The loud gulps of water, the voracious chomp-gulping of kibble, your enormous paws flopping heavily in my palms, mine for the asking, and even sometimes when I don't ask. I miss the proud stance of your white-tipped tail when presented with a soup bone. I miss you tap-click-tap-clicking into my bedroom and trying to hide that bone from the scads of bone-thieves (including the cat) you knew were after it. I miss those espresso eyes, the white that overtook the top of your head, your smile. Two years already? Impossible.
Insider Information/Tips for the Fellas:
1. She still wants you to do something for Valentine's Day, even if she frothily insists that it's stupid, commercialized, just a Hallmark holiday, and is too much of an unfettered free spirit for roses.
2. On a date, if she removes the breading from the calamari or blots her pizza with a wad of paper towel or barely touches her spoon to the dessert you've ordered for the two of you, within five minutes of being dropped off at home, she's sporting a Pebbles Flintstone hairdo and is cramming Oreos in her still-lipglossed maw.
I don't want to have to play Goldilocks whenever I approach the three bathrooms on the top floor of the gym. I don't want to have to anticipate what lies beyond the doors with a mixture of fear, anxiety, and revulsion, knowing that, as has been the case recently, at least one of the toilets will have been the victim of a vicious assault, evidenced by the appearance of some filthy beast's unflushed, unabashed, full-fledged rectal event. I recoil in terror, disgust, and disbelief.
"Someone unloaded a week's worth of ass in there!" I say to a friend.
Continued from 2/15
There's no possible way someone could unload such an ass avalanche and then forget to flush. And not only flush once but at least twice, and perhaps a third "buffer" flush, like a palate cleanser for the toilet itself, a courtesy for the next person who uses the room, a way of distancing your dreadful experience from theirs. But to just out and out neglect to remove all visible remains of such an enormous deposit, to just leave behind what came from your behind? How very ironic that in this regard you just don't give a shit.
When I was learning to drive, I thought I was tough shit when I was able to complete several non-stop cycles around my parent's semi-circular driveway. The real heart-pumper, though, was the 50-foot stretch where I was on the actual street. It was strictly residential with barely any traffic, but the possibility that a car might be anywhere in sight was enough to inspire heartattacky panic. At the same time, I kind of hoped one would pass by, because I just knew the driver would think, "Oh, wow, what a skilled driver that girl is. A real natural!"
I dreaded to the point of near-vomit the thought of making the transition to a busy four-lane road beyond this easy blacktop. What was I going to do when I had to start up again after stopping at a red light? Did I have what it took not only to execute the fancy footwork required to drive with a shift but to coordinate it with the stick itself? Why had I allowed myself to be seduced by this chocolate brown MG in the first place? And why the fuuuuuck was I letting my father teach me?
It helps when you're on the Big Road for the first time, trying not to vomit terror and cry blood onto the steering wheel, if your passenger/teacher doesn't think the seatbelt is an option he can ignore and who hasn't prepared himself for the ride with not just two fingers but an entire hand of Chivas. It doesn't help if all you can think is, oh dear god, perhaps before leaving the house, I should've drawn up a Will to leave this adorable MG to my sister (provided it doesn't get totaled in my fatal crash).
I had thought that, by telling myself it *was* going to happen, it wouldn't happen, but there I was at a red light, stalled, my feet spastic on the pedals, right hand gripping the stick shift like Excalibur.
"Why are you crying?" my father yelled from within his beard.
"Because you're yelling at me!"
"I'm yelling at you because you're crying!"
I wish I could say the trauma spurred me to pass the test immediately, but it didn't. I failed twice. The third time, I passed more on charm than on skill, thus proving the old adage true.
From Poppop I inherited undereye shadows, an unflappable need to act like a derelict clown, the desire to talk to strangers everywhere, and a love of jackets bordering on the foppish. From Bubby I inherited an insistence on high heels, a refusal to leave the house without lipstick, a love affair with nail polish, and the acknowledgment of the absurdity of eating. "You shove it into a hole in your face," she said, "and then you sit in a circle and watch other people doing the same thing." Fabulous on its own, but even more so in her Russian accent.
When I was a school-kid (cue grainy black-and-white newsreel complete with swing music and images of Amelia Earhart and the Lindbergh baby clinking champagne glasses with the original Mickey Mouse), we turned in handwritten book reports contained within construction paper covers, fastened with thick yarn or brass fasteners, and we deliberated over whether we would use glitter and glue (sniff it first!) or Magic Marker (ditto!) for the title. No doubt kids today hand in much more sophisticated stuff, typed on laptops and printed out on professional-grade printers, free of the shadows of erased pencil and glue fumes. A shame.
A sign on the door of "my" laundromat says they've lost their lease. Their last day is tomorrow. I'll be returning to the other laundromat, a block closer, where I haven't been for quite some time. Even if the woman who runs it notices my return, I'm sure I won't be afforded the sweet smile of greeting offered by the proprietor of the other place. I want to go to the doomed place one more time, but don't know if I can because it will make me sad and I just know I'll get a little "misty", a la Fonzie.
On Valentine's Day, my boyfriend bestowed upon me a heart-shaped box of 35 Jacques Torres chocolates. My thrill was tinged with anxiety, though, because knowing the way I've treated boxes of chocolate in the past -- years ago, 100 pieces of Teuscher direct from Switzerland were gone in four days -- I knew these could meet a similar fate so I could "get the guilt over with as soon as possible".
Instead, I chose to savor only one a day. And if I slipped even once, I would have to toss the entire box.
You could say I'm an extremist.
This morning I found I'd lost my keys somewhere in this apartment. After turning the place upside-down and inside-out, I x-rayed my cat with the home x-ray machine I won on eBay last July (put to good use at last -- bah to the naysayers!). Turns out that although it didn't reveal the presence of keys, it did reveal Amelia Earhart, a library book I thought I'd already returned, and my lost youth. Amelia Earhart was a bit pissed (and surprisingly good-looking and wearing a GREAT jacket) and said I'd better not return the book until she's finished with it.
Dear lady with the tiny parcel of velour ears and Milk Dud nose and marble eyes and chenille paws, bundled in a little jacket-sweater cradled in your right arm, pressed against your chest, and a small bunch of bright yellow flowers clutched in your left hand, sloshing along the snowy West 73rd Street sidewalk past the incredible Ansonia building as endless marshmallows drift from the sky in silent slow motion, cars masquerade as gigantic cupcakes piled high with frosting, and people laugh as they navigate the Great Lakes created at intersections:
How can you possibly be scowling?
The little kid in his polar-fleece pullover with the teddy-bear ears sprouting from the hood lounges in his yellow and red plastic tricycle with his Capri Sun like a fat guy in a threadbare T-shirt watching NASCAR while flipping open another Bud. His feet are up, and not on the ground where, if he had even a fraction as much ambition as Fred Flintstone, he'd find he could propel himself along the Amsterdam Avenue sidewalk. But no, this kid just lies back and lets his New Balanced mom push him instead, courtesy of the handle behind his seat. Big shocker.
TALK BIGGER, DAMN IT! I'm all for big sticks, but speaking softly? No. If you're going to speak in a little baby whisper or mumble into your chocolate milk, I'll assume you don't really want to be heard and thus dismiss you.
There's a time and a place for being soft-spoken, but when you're presenting yourself to an audience, where a bigger, bolder voice is called for, I expect and appreciate something robust and a bit meatier than a gnawed chicken bone.
Little-girl voices belong in the playpen. I have no patience or tolerance for that nonsense. Grow some balls!
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