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I still peek into buildings as I pass, to see if their floors are old black and white checkerboard tile, the sort you told me, long ago, that you longed to see. I'm always somewhat disappointed when my glimpses yield nothing, because I too adore that kind of floor. Then again, I'm always somewhat relieved too, because if I discovered one, not only would you not be there to share the thrill but I wouldn't be able to contact you to tell you. But oh, if we were still together, I'd insist on pulling you inside for a brief dance!
In the late '90s I was "involved" with a natural bodybuilder. When walking around my neighborhood, which was kind of known as a "gayborhood", he'd get tons of looks. He was exceedingly good-looking, but it may have had something to do with his outfit as well, which included shorts and black work boots, the uniform of the boys in the 'hood. From what I could tell by dint of our being together (wink), he wasn't gay. I chose to believe this even though his image was used in connection with "1-900" numbers in the back of "Honcho". Maybe I misjudged.
He's outside my building, leaning on the driver side door of his car, the top down, ready to whisk us away to a party in Brooklyn. The stance is reminiscent of something James Dean would've done and maybe even did, but because the James Dean role is played by someone who couldn't pass for him even if I squinted, peered through a filter, and took a hallucinogen, it's just not working. I want to spin on my heel and retreat into my building. I don't really wish I could be that rude, but I wish I could've been that rude.
I would not have picked this fake wood/marble kitchen tile if I owned the apartment, but because I'm a renter and this is what the landlord wants, and it's clean and fresh and he's not increasing my rent (knock wood) (or fake wood tile) to cover the cost, the way I'm acting, you'd think he'd installed brilliant antique Moore tile in an original mosaic pattern. (Well, not quite, but close. I'm giddy.) I keep turning the kitchen light on to gaze at it. I feel sorry for the stained "battleship linoleum" it's covering, but I'm happy it remains intact beneath.
Central Park figures so heavily in my life these days that I find it hard to believe that when I lived a bit further downtown I never visited it. What did I do when I needed a quick and easy "nature" fix, when I needed to talk to the trees and flowers and grass and birds and rocks and water and everything else that I've turned to when I need to fling my brain-ricochet thoughts out to the sky? My morning walks home from the gym, through the park, have done as much for my sanity as the workouts themselves.
From my vantage point by the canned chickpeas, I dig what I see. True, I can't see your face, and I'm only going by your cargo pants and the way your T-shirt hangs "just so" from your shoulders, and your hair, the perfect blend of messed-up and fussed-with, perfect for a casual Whole Foods jaunt. My next point of swift analysis is on your left hand, retreating from the ice cream freezer, revealing an occupied ring finger. I leave before I can see your face, because if it's as cute as the rest of you, I don't need the disappointment!
Six months later, and although missing Maura is still excruciating, Brian summons the memories every chance he can, poking at them like a masochistic tongue seeking an aching tooth. He doesn't even have to close his eyes to miss her. Staring at a can of chickpeas at Whole Foods is just as easy as standing in the shower, eyes closed. Every once in a while, in an attempt to "move on", he substitutes memories of Abigail, which don't sting nearly as much as they once did and aren't nearly as painful as Maura, just so he'll have someone to miss.
What kind of degenerate cretin shrieks at her meowing cat to shut up shut up shut the FUCK UP as if trying to stop a train from barreling into a Victorian-styled lady tied to the tracks by a black-and-white villain, desperate to slash through the silent movie and create sound for the audience by sheer force of panicked will? What kind of freak roars at meows as if the soul of her sanity depends on the obedient silence of a black ball of fur peering up at her from where she lies on the sofa like a corpse? This one.
For years I trampled around the city in skyscraper heels with complete disregard for the sanity of my feet. Was I trying to keep up with the Samantha Joneses? Trying to prove I was the slickest of the city slickers, too cool for school and sensibility, taking pride in my stride! Sensible shoes were for tourists! The higher my heels, the more of a real New Yorker I was! Now I see it's the other way around, and when I see tourists hobbling in heels, I want to say, "Honey, no one who lives a real life here does that."
I wish all the memories I had of you were ephemeral, as deep as a pebble skipping a few feet over the surface of a still lake before sinking slowly but surely into oblivion. Instead, the memories are boulders, requiring sweat-browed strength not just to lift but to then heave with all my might before plummeting, splashing cold water up into my face. But not going very far, and landing not on the bottom of the lake, but on my foot, rendering me incapable of moving, bleeding, and inviting sharks for a feast even though sharks don't live in lakes.
Three o'clock on a weekday, and the subway is packed with people who clearly aren't on their way to or from work, unless their places of business allow them to wear ratty sneakers and jeans or skinny jeans on bodies that can't claim that adjective. Does no one have a job? Is everyone else self-employed, as I am, and we all just so happen to be in the same spot at the same time, giving ourselves the right to go to a movie midday in exchange for having to cram work into the evening time slot? Somehow I doubt it.
I'm not going to fall into the sap trap, not going to wallow in ballads, to allow the swirl of frothy memories viewed through a gauzy filter to morph into a lip-smacking slimy beast with more flailing tentacles than a sea-beast viewed through a kaleidoscope, reaching every which way, knowing that there's no way it won't eventually reach me, and that once it has me in its slimy, sunctiony grasp, it will squeeze me until my eyes pop out a la Marty Feldman. I will not give in to girly-girl nonsense. Now, more than ever, is the time for punk.
We're doing our usual thing, picking up a car at Paris-Orly, zipping off to that tiny hotel with the cool elevator, diffident desk clerk, and marvelous proximity to everything. We'll stay a few nights and then head south to -- where, this time? Portugal, is it? Yes, Portugal. Spain was last time. On the road to Portugal, you say, "Hey, how about if we make a left and go to Italy instead?" We have no itinerary, no plans, nowhere to be for three weeks. We still choose Portugal, but the knowledge that we could've easily done Italy instead is breathtaking.
A long time ago, my parents took my Bubby (mom's mom) to a Tom Jones concert. Bubby absolutely adored him. She had a thing for hairy chests. She got so riled up at the concert that my grandfather got mad/jealous. Back then I didn't see his appeal. I was more into Bill Bixby (YES). I don't know when I started getting into Tom Jones and agreeing with Bubby that he was intensely swoon-worthy, but man oh man, now I realize she had supremely good taste. (My grandfather, Poppop, for the record, was gorgeous and awesome and the best bagel-baker ever.)
I'm at a la-di-da gallery event, hanging around the food table, because it's there that I feel truly among friends. The crackers crack up at my cheesy jokes about the cheese; the grapes, while jealous of the wine, are punch drunk with glee that I choose a handful of them instead of a glassful of the other; I exchange crudities with the crudite. I'm happiest to hobnob with the smorgasbord rather than the hoi polloi. It doesn't ask what I do for a living, it doesn't make excruciating chitchat, it doesn't fake-laugh. It knows it's the highlight of my night.
At the GLAAD Media Awards, the volunteers in my group were in the ballroom for the auction portion of the event. We were divided into four quadrants, each assigned a different color light sword. The way we acted when they gave them out, you would've thought we were the high bidders in the auction. I looked so super-tough with that thing.
Using my sword, I aided some rich person in winning something for $6,000. I didn't give a shit about what she won; I just wanted to take the light sword home. Alas, we had to give them back. Whatever.
Waiting for him in the restaurant, wondering if he's changed in the six years since I last saw him. Hoping on one hand, that he hasn't, at least in some ways, meaning that he hasn't gotten fat as he approached 50, and, on the other, that he has, that he's one of these people who, when younger, wasn't such great shakes but who grew into his looks and now was attractive if even just in a "weird" William H. Macy way. But no. I want to sprout a third hand to slap myself for suggesting dinner in the first place.
Laundromat patrons, you need to know that it matters not if you sort your stuff before cramming it into the washers. Not only does it not do a lick of good vis-à-vis the laundering, which is quite color-blind, but if you leave the premises for the duration of the wash/rinse/spin cycle, the laundromat attendant dashes to the washers and flips the temperature controls to "cold" to save precious dollars on the overhead operating costs. So, if you bleed from the ears thinking your reds will bleed all over everything else, have no fear. It all comes out in the wash.
Her 7-year-old hand prints "I will marry David H_____" in a book. No doubt David is not yet thinking of marriage. He doesn't know Megan's already picturing him lifting her veil and kissing her.
When Megan is 11, she moves to another state and loses contact with David. She winds up marrying someone else.
Almost 25 years later, she finds David via Facebook and they correspond like mad. They fall madly in love. She divorces her husband.
Next month, the hand that printed that vow 30 years ago will bear his ring, and the vows will come to life.
The slow motion modern-ish dance sequences in your three-woman show that I can tell you wish was reduced by two-thirds of the cast are making me squirm in my seat here in this little East Village theater. Although the first half of the show made me admire you, now I want to admonish you to end it already and put me out of my misery. If I'd worn a watch, I'd be consulting it, pleading with it to turn itself into a remote control that could trigger the smoke alarm and send us all scurrying out onto East Ninth Street.
A 40-minute early evening walk mostly through Central Park with my friend Jill's dog, Lolly; an impromptu chat with a groovy beret-wearing guy whose scruffy graying beard was brightly rainbow-dyed and his gorgeous green-eyed lady friend whose jacket I coveted that left us all grinning stupidly and laughing even more stupidly; strolling home eating an enormous vegan banana-blueberry scone Jill left for me in a bright pink paper bag on her coffee table as a "thank you"; squishy yoga pants and an old T-shirt, embedded on the sofa next to my cat, watching a Netflix movie. Life, you're quite good.
Saturday night and I'm dressed in a get-up so ghastly that if there were a fire in the building and I had to evacuate, I'd choose to perish rather than rush into the street, because no way hell would I want any of my neighbors or passersby to see me in such a shabby state. But, barring that, I'm thrilled to be home, embedded in my sofa under a squishy blanket with my cat, hair stop my head like a pineapple, Vitamin Water Zero within easy reach, and Shawshank Redemption. If I can make it here, I'll make it anywhere.
Tentative plans fall through, no work to do, nothing on the agenda other than laundry done earlier in the morning, all adding up to the potential for another day of eremitic movie-watching and the promise of napping with the cat. Contemplating, however peripherally, the notion of finding a new city and ditching Facebook, when a chance glance at the latter reveals an admired acquaintance and a cute friend of his contemplating vegan pancakes several blocks away. I leap and join them, and after a three-hour brunch, am thrilled I live here, thankful to Facebook for having a hand in it.
There was nothing we couldn't or wouldn't do. The world wasn't just our oyster but our pearl, our clam, our enormous dolphin. We were going to zip ourselves into one pair of pants (we're that small, you and I, and we'd fit into a fat guy's "before" jeans with ease!) and fly by the seat of them, zip zam zoom, all around New York City. We'd take ferries and subways and our own feet, and arm in arm, hand in hand, we'd create adventures! Too bad that when you said "forever", you only meant while it was still non-stop fun.
From a distance the person waiting outside my building looks like someone I wish were waiting outside my building, someone who occasionally waited for me there, one of the few I actually allow to enter my little oasis. I don't really think it's that person, but on the off-chance it is, my heart pounds furiously. In the handful of seconds it takes for me to realize it's not that person, I've concocted not only an entire scenario of what I'd do if it actually was that person but a full-length movie about the events leading up to his being there.
Give me the back door, the side door, the trapdoor. The nook, the cranny, the alcove. A room with a bookcase that, when one of the books is tipped forward, spins it around, revealing a hidden door that leads to a room with red-flocked wallpaper and Moroccan-inspired pillows, where I can escape from party revelers. An attic, a basement, a backseat, a secret pocket in the satiny lining of a coat which, once my hand discovers it, sucks me in where no one can find me and I can be carried 'round town on the shoulders of a fancy lady.
Even though my train is only going to Trenton, I think of it as an adventure, the middle leg in a transportation adventure that begins with an express subway jaunt to Penn Station and ends with my sister whisking me off to my parents' house in an SUV that reeks of cigarette smoke. Alas, it's hard to pretend it's 1962 and I'm in a pillbox hat toting a powder-blue train case, and at the next stop a gray-flannel-suited gentleman will ask if the seat next to me is taken when the reality is cell-phone yakking, Jets jerseys, and shrieking babies.
Lincoln Center movie theater, 10:20 Friday morning, escaping the rain and responsibility, submerged in darkness for two and a half hours (including previews), only a dozen or so other people. The only human contact the two seconds it takes to hand over the ticket I bought online and printed at home. All for $7.00, which can barely buy you lunch in this town. I'd rather feed myself a movie than breakfast or lunch. I can't believe I don't do this more often. I vow to make this a tradition, twice a month. I wonder how long I'll stick to it.
Ahhh yes, you will indulge me in a grossly girly post that I'm sure will have me rolling my hates in revulsion when I read it back upon online publication.
I have, at long last, found my "signature" nail polish color in a $4 gem from Hard Candy called Beetle. While searching for a vegan version of metallic polish, I came across reviews for Beetle that were as zealous and manic as teenaged girls witnessing The Beetles live in 1964. It is best described as, well, what a beetle's shell looks like -- purple, bronze, green. Divinity for the digits.
Smearing the pap from the cranium crannies, fully fumigating the pestilence of "rom com" nonsense, purging the neatly-wrapped notion that stuff like that actually exists off the screen and works in real life. I want to look at the Empire State Building and imagine the men who slaved to build it, those who have tried to scale it, those who have jumped from it, rather than Cary searching for Deborah atop it or Tom and Megan meeting there. I believe in romance, I believe in love, I believe in happiness, but the Hollywood version can go to weary bloody hell.
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