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In my Moleskine rests this sentence, enclosed in quotes, “Which way to the crapper?” Apparently I deemed it memorable when I wrote it in 2007, and attached sufficient staying power not only to its importance but to the power of my memory to offer nothing in the way of explanation. Did a friend say it? Did I overhear it and I found it amusing enough to jot down? Reading it out of context, with no memory whatsoever, gives it fresh new power. It makes me laugh because now it means absolutely nothing. I love that at one time it did.
Once coins go the way of the dodo, as I fear they will given the preference of debit cards and other plastic, and an item in a photo image needs to be compared size-wise to something, what will be used in place of a quarter? The new crop of people being born will know as little about the size of that coin (or any other) as the current crop knows about how big a 45 spacer is or what a 45 itself is or what a subway token was. I feel like a younger, prettier (yes!), less eyebrowy Andy Rooney.
Now that Tom's broken up with Lila for the fifth and final time, he can finally confess to his friends that he never liked her tattoos either. The second time they broke up, he wanted to admit that he thought the teal thing on her shoulder looked more like peacock's feathers than ocean waves, but he didn't want to betray her yet because he wanted her back and he didn't want to risk Simon, that loudmouth, sabotaging his chances of reconciliation. But now the first one he's going to tell is Simon, who just last week got a matching tattoo.
Every Friday evening he'd appear on my doorstep like the late edition of a newspaper, hot off the presses, ink barely dry, eager for me to unfold him and tear through his pages. Now his primary existence is inside my phone, reduced to a font so miniature that I sometimes have to squint to see so when he asks about my parents I don't wonder why he's asking about my patents. Conversations are protected beneath a sheet of glass, contained in alternating comic-book style speech bubbles, so no matter what words we exchange they appear slightly foolish and always self-conscious.
It is easy, living in this city, with everything available everywhere all the time, to not leave your neighborhood on a regular basis if at all, but even the most often-semi-agoraphobic of us (not really a fear, just an aversion) (is there a suffix for "averse"?) gets the itch to seep beyond the borders of our self-confinement for a change sidewalks, energy, and glimpses of sky between the buildings. I often neglect the East Side, forgetting that there is an entire other side of Manhattan over there with sidewalks and energy and glimpses of sky that are someone else's "regular".
I need to stop acting like making the coffee and making the bed is a race, like powering on the computer and feeding my cat and doing all the small morning stuff is a race. If I do everything zippily, I save, what, ten minutes tops? Unless I plan to perform life-saving surgery (or any surgery!) in those ten minutes, what's the point? Now, if someone could arrange for those ten minutes to include a calorie-free zone wherein I could cram as many piping-hot tater tots into my maw as possible without gaining an ounce, maybe it'd be worth it.
How I ever navigated this city in high heels I'll never know. Why I ever wanted to is an even bigger mystery. Did I buy into the nonsense that Sex and the City was selling? I shudder when I think I may have fallen prey to such supreme brainlessness. I, who raise my eyebrow at whatever poppycock Madison Avenue (or wherever the hot spot is these days) wants to cram down my throat as if I were a foie gras goose! I have never been happier than when my feet were. I'm thrilled I kicked that habit to the curb.
I still worry about hurting people's feelings, even when I know they won't be reading these words, don't even know these words exist, and probably, because they're so oblivious, might not even recognize themselves as the subject of any entries written about them. I hesitate to say anything less than marvelous, even though it's nothing libelous or scandalous, even though it could provide some amusement or make for a good post. But what of the people who are no longer my friends? Should I spare them the grief of reading that I lied when I said I liked their hummus?
It's not enough that Carlos is top banana. He wants to be ultimate banana, mega banana, and uber banana (with umlauts above every letter, even those where it makes no sense). He also wants to be the cherry atop the sundae, the Mondae, the Tuesdae, and so on. He knows he should be happy with his lot in life, which is pretty damned good considering he's only four and has already accomplished so much in the fruit kingdom and is already a hit with all the little Chiquitas. "I know I sound like an ingrape," he says with a wink.
Everywhere I visit, even the rinky-dinkiest of towns, I envision myself living there. I insert myself in an apartment with rent a fraction of what I pay in Manhattan or in a little bungalow type house with brightly colored walls and a grotto garden or a groovy split-level demanding palazzo pant -- and imagine waking up there, going out to lunch and out for strolls. Doing my work there. Having a dog. Saving money and visiting New York City instead of living here. But then I remember: Every day I live here is a vacation. I already live a fantasy.
Current stuff that's making me not hate the world:
Frank's Hot Sauce, recommended by Molly
My cat polysyllabic inflected murmuring
Riding my bike anywhere and everywhere instead of taking the subway or bus
My private patio in Manhattan, complete with Astroturf, rainbow-colored pinwheel, hostis waiting to bloom, and the gorgeous tablecloth that, when placed on the four-seater table, makes me want to serve little sandwiches to a trio of friends
Knowing where to get the perfect red velvet cake in a city that's home to more than just a few bakeries
Paying down my credit card bills
Jeff's face, always
Your arm around my shoulders, my arm around your waist, moments after leaving Forbidden Planet, where we exchanged exclamation points but bought nothing, we stroll toward Union Square. We've had Indian food, samples a variety of salts at The Meadow and came away with a chocolate-tinged chocolate bar, followed by Bea Arthurs at Big Gay Ice Cream on East Seventh. And there's more to come, thanks to you being born on this day a few decades ago. We'd never strolled this way when we were "official". I'd like to go on the record as stating that I want more. More.
The Peter Graves-handsome pilot smiles at me as he strides by and turns his head to continue smiling as he passes. Is it my adorable bell-sleeved leaf-print jacket, teal suede maryjane slingbacks, fresh magenta-ish manicure/pedicure, brown and aqua dot carryon suitcase, multicolored dotted laptop back? Clearly I hang out almost entirely with gay men, since these are the things I think a man would be noticing about me. This is the pilot, though, right, the one who's supposed to be Clint Eastwood manly, not a fey flight attendant who takes great pleasure in miming oxygen deprivation during the pre-flight presentation.
Oh, Mario, you sweet, beautiful, gentle, loving boy. Tonight, just one month shy of your 15th birthday, you left this world. Although I'm devastated that it happened during my visit, I would've been even more distraught had you left before I had a chance to see you again after not having seen you for 2-1/2 years. Were you waiting for me to visit to make your exit? Did you need me to spoon you one last time and to hold your paw? Did you need me to whisper into your ear that I love you and kiss your sweet nose?
At my most recent trip to LaGuardia Airport, the mere sighting of the security device that takes a sexy x-ray (sex-ray!) scan of a passenger's entire body caused me a skosh of consternation. My carry-on suitcase was nonplussed, told me it was no big deal and muttered, "Yeah, well, now you know what I feel like." I didn't mind the idea of my body being viewed by some invisible shlub in a remote booth as much as I minded being seen by visible people with my arms raised above my head in the stupid triangle position. Insecurity in security. Nifty.
I'm at my friend's parents' house on Mother's Day, wearing a groovy floral frock and proper black patent peep-toe flats in an attempt to look and feel ladylike. I've stuffed myself with cinnamon buns and even indulged in quiche despite a distaste for eggs. I wind up stretched out on a white sofa, like someone's mom wishing away a hangover, occasionally allowing a moan to escape when no one's in earshot. I'm trying hard not to vomit on my dress or the sofa. A lady doesn't do that, after all. She runs to the bathroom and does it there. Classy!
She's 1/5 my age, twice my weight, and from where I sit on this bench by the man-made pond here at this small Arkansas park, she looks about four times as tall as I am. She compensates for a lack of intelligence and common sense with loudness and a staggering lack of class. She's one of who knows how many fifth-graders in an after-school program whose sole purpose this afternoon is apparently to disrupt the peace of everything with which the members come into even peripheral contact. Mere seconds after their make their appearance, I feel my ire rising.
A month after giving her the adorable necklace from Etsy, she decides we're no longer friends (thanks to some severely fucked-up illogical argument she insisted on foisting upon me), and I feel sorry for the necklace for having to reside against the flesh of someone so undeserving (if she'll even wear it anymore). If she doesn't, I'll be sad about that as well. (Either way, I lose!) I want to sneak into her apartment in the middle of the night, like Lucy and Ethel or Laverne and Shirley, to retrieve it, but with someone other than her as my sidekick.
Walking your dog and riding a bike should be mutually exclusive. The walk is for his benefit, not yours. This is also not the time to chat on your cell phone, smoke cigarettes, run into Starbucks for coffee, drop off your dry-cleaning, or anything else. This is your dog's time and his time alone. Your own exercise, your phone call, your cancering, your caffeination, your clothing, and whatever else is so important in your little life can wait. Your dog's life is so very short. Give him every drop of attention he deserves. He would do the same for you.
Mid-afternoon Sunday under a seamless blue sky, the only tweets from birds somewhere unseen, slight breeze dancing with the hostis, three wind chimes tinkling. Persimmon and orange floral tablecloth on the round table. Large plastic tumbler with black-outlined white flower design happy to offer iced coffee with a bright green straw. Ancient cobalt blue bowl, somewhat chipped on its rim, even happier to be able to offer purple-red grapes, sliced strawberries, and chunks of complementary colored cantaloupe. Black cat whisper-munching pink bonito flakes out of a red bowl. Me, magenta nails, silver Birkenstocks, grateful for all that colors my world.
For the hour that I'm consumed by a book called 80/10/10 pulled from my friend's shelf before her household awakens, I'm convinced that subsisting on a diet of raw fruit with a few occasional greens is a grand idea! It will give me even more energy than usual and keep me from wasting so much time trying to figure out what to eat! Bingo! Once back in New York from that Arkansas aberration, I try it for three days. Alas, the sweet siren song of hot non-fruit calls to me. Well hello, kee mao with mock duck! Forgive me, darling?
I will never ask you to pardon my French, my Spanish, my Swahili, my Pig Latin, or even my English. If I use a word or phrase you find distasteful, then feel free to wash out your ears instead of suggesting I wash out my mouth. Our ages are in the double digits, we're old enough to have children and even grandchildren (pause to gasp and clutch my chest and reach for a velvet chaise), and we have otherwise extensive vocabularies peppered with polysyllabic gems. But I know when a good "fuck" is needed and when it's best to abstain.
Ahhh yes, today ushers in the first day Fleet Week. A few years ago, someone in my acquaintance (not really a friend, just a peripheral flit), told a bunch of us at a party that after indulging in particularly zealous deck-swabbings with sea-faring types, a gynecological examination revealed lacerations inside her hoohah the likes of which the doctor had never seen. It was clear from the telling of the tale that this was a badge of honor for the gigglesnorty trollop. I've seen barnacles with more sex appeal than this vessel, which made it even more astonishing. Ahoy! A whore!
Sitting at my desk, eating a tidy bowl of steel-cut oats with ground flax seed and a drizzle of medium amber maple syrup, marveling how much I truly love it and how simple it is to make, yet ogling vividly colored photos online of much more luscious dishes, one more dazzling than the next, bookmarking recipes, yet never taking the plunge and actually indulging. So, now I know what it feels like to have an ever-reliable, attractive, lovely wife dressed in Capri pants and a T-shirt but to find titillation online with more glamorous, mouth-watering options just out of reach.
Never mind the Ides of March. The end of that month was the one from which I needed protection. In the first instance, I didn't have to watch my back like ill-fated Caesar but from a guy friend who wanted to attack my front in the back of a dark bar somewhere near Bloomingdale's. In the second, I was attacked by a rabid, girl friend whose assaults took the form of bitter flings across Gmail. I must say I didn't see either coming. But never mind. I have better friends, Romans, and countrymen waiting in the wings. Et tu, jackasses?
The photos of the dogs in the GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN folder, with their hopeful colorful scarves and bandannas around their beautiful necks, haunt me. If you can't commit to a puppy after it grows into a dog, don't get one to begin with. If you can't treat a dog like the gift from Dog that it is, don't even bother. No word breaks my heart more than "unwanted". I want the best for every animal. It's a crying shame that there are way too many filthy heaps of garbage masquerading as human beings who don't feel the same way.
Daydreaming of eggplant parmigiana, yours and yours alone, eggplant medallions placed into the square pan like a jigsaw puzzle, and you neatly slicing through the layers with a sharp knife and placing it on a plate for presentation to me, where I wait on my sofa. Daydreaming of incense and candles and not doing much of anything other than eating that eggplant and watching a movie and being happy you're breathing in the same room as I am. Wishing this could happen again, that you'll want to do this again, all of it. I swear I can almost taste it.
Ahhh, so the Memorial Day weekend is coming to a close, and the pressure is now off to be Out and About Doing Stuff. My only concession to such stuff was having dinner Saturday night at a new cute little Mexican with my best gayboyfriend and his boyfriend, ill-advised ice cream afterward, capped off with a stroll to a pier off Hell’s Kitchen, where we reveled in surprisingly quiet New Yorkness. I was thrilled to have a lot of work this weekend to justify my desire to be a hermit. And now, the reward: Candlelight on my private Manhattan patio.
Bruised left rib or ribs from balancing myself a bit too zealously over a railing at the airport while reaching for my laptop. Right knee pain, seems connected to right hip pain, or is that right hip pain connected to right knee pain. Chicken egg egg chicken chicken. Vision, blurry and double when viewing awnings on West End Avenue, causing squinting as if staring into the sun. Random headache making me think TUMOR TUMOR TUMOR (knock wood, from veneer to teak). Left hand and wrist numbness, pinky twinges. This needs to go away before I become one of THOSE PEOPLE.
My landlord describes the flooring he'll install in my kitchen (at my request!). It sorta goes with the countertops, he says. I chortle because I don't trust his judgment. This a man whose aesthetic seems to follow no real rules or make much sense otherwise. When the bathroom tile above my tub need repair, he used black duct tape to secure it. Given his knack for "jerry-rigging", I asked him if this was the final product, and laugh. (Surprisingly, that repair was ultimately completed properly by an outside contractor.) I can't wait to see what he does with the floor.
My friend Cas from Houston sent me a box crammed with a variety of vintage clothes that belonged to her father's mother, none of which I could ever hope to be taken even marginally seriously in, which is part of the delight. Cas is thrilled she has a friend small enough to fit into these treasures and I'm thrilled I have a friend with such a huge heart who would part with them. I am just as overjoyed with her grandmother's name, Gertrude Roloff Spankus, and hope to be able to live up to that name while in her garments.
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