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Every once in a while I go through an, "Ugh, my apartment annoys me" phase, and daydream about becoming a minimalist, which, if you know me at all in real life, you've heard me rail against at least once. Recently a friend who hasn't visited in a while came over, and upon entering said, "Oh! I'd forgotten how much I love your place!" I thanked him, and he said, "And it's even cuter than I remembered!" I said yes, I'd re-angled the sofa and added even more color. "Is that even possible?" he said. I'm sweet on my home again.
Summer is barely upon us and already I want it to be fall. It's not even the heat (or the humidity!) that bothers me. It's the clothes. I do have a good variety of capris and tanks and sandals and even a couple of pairs of sporty (!) maryjanes that add pep to my step, and it's fun to bop around town in them, but I want jackets and ascots (as one of my best friends calls them) and Ultrasuede and oh my god, boots boots boots with everything. I can merely traipse in other footwear. But in boots? Strut.
I may be spoiling myself with these Nuun electrolyte tablets I've using for the past couple of months. Now I don't want to drink plain tap water while at home or the gym, even though NYC water isn't bad at all. I'm still hesitant to drop one of these fizzy things into a glass of water in a restaurant, though, because (1) I don't want anyone witnessing it to think I'm a geezer with indigestion so bad it requires public Alka-Seltzer consumption and (2) it makes me look like a pretentious git who wants someone to ask, "Oooh, what's that?"
Seven months have passed since I last set foot inside the 19th Street Equinox and I couldn't be more pleased with my decision to forego it in favor of the one much closer to home (a mere hop, skip, and pirouette as opposed to too many of each to count). Although the early morning crowd at this location rankles me as well with their antics and a high percentage of the "trainers" need beatings, I'm still thrilled that I made the switch. I still hold no hope of ever truly loving the gym, even 20 years since first joining on.
Online articles and book peddlers, I kindly urge you to refrain from suggesting books to add to a "summer reading list" you obviously think everyone either has or should have. Stop assuming that everyone has a striped tote bag into which he tosses a book or two along with sunglasses, coconut-nausea suntan lotion, and a floppy hat, to lug to a location that features sand and surf. Why isn't there such a thing as an "autumn reading list"? I'd rather toss a bunch of stuff into a tote bag sporting a leaf motif, along with a blanket and something apple-related.
I feel secure walking anywhere in Manhattan because I know that no matter where I walk, I'm still in Manhattan unless I cross a body of water larger than the Central Park reservoir. I can keep wandering, meandering, marveling as long as my feet can stand it, without worrying, "Oh shit. I've been walking a long time. Am I in White Plains?"
Every part of Manhattan feels like the city. But in Chicago, only its Manhattan-ish downtown does. I can't decide if I like that. My friend's neighborhood, north, feels like a suburb. A cute one, but a suburb nonetheless.
I've decided to live on the edge, throw caution to the wind, and hope that wind doesn't blow me off the (l)edge. I've forgone printing out a boarding pass or using a self-service kiosk in favor of a mobile boarding pass. I'll stride into the Laguardia, directly to security, present my phone with an air of diffidence and a skosh of smugness and a bit of disdain for anyone doing it any other way. Watch me kick off my sandals as if by reflex, quasi-bored, because hey, now that I'm going the mobile route, I'm clearly among the jetsetting elite.
You know, if someone, mere moments of being handed a free airplane snack by a flight attendant, turned to me and offered it to me with a smile and pleasant, "Would you like this?" the smile I would return would match, if not be bigger than, the one given to me, regardless of whether I wanted the stroopwaffel or not. Feh to you, dour-faced seatmate lady who could barely muster a "No." Thanks to the young fella a seat behind me across the aisle, who cheerfully accepted after your rejection with a huge grin, I don't have to hate *everyone*.
Laguardia Airport is a fucking chaotic bullshit motherfuck of a mess. It doesn't deserve even the slight effort of coming up with more mellifluous words or a more carefully crafted description that could be read aloud to a Bible study group in Utah. My Carmel car ride to O'Hare was perfect, security was incredibly fast, and the flight itself was uneventful, even with more leg room than the flight to Chicago. But now, with the horrible, ineffective signage regarding the shuttle bus to passenger pickup, and the clump of waiting cars once there, JFC, next time it's JFK or bust.
Proud Moment: Shouting OH, JUST MOOOOOVE!!! directly at a clot of tourists in Times Square last night. (I'd had dinner on 46th between Sixth and Seventh, and why I headed crosstown first instead of fisrt heading north on Sixth is beyond me.) And yes, I'm as shocked as you are that I didn't say "fucking" before "move". Or maybe I did and I've repressed it. Perhaps the tourists who no doubt recounted the incident to the "folks" back in Nebraska or Alabama or whereverthefuck they're from remember that detail from what was probably their only truly authentic New York experience.
I may be replacing the Brady Bunch-esque Astroturf-type stuff on my groovy patio, which predates my tenancy, with something a bit "nicer". I don't think it was even in ideal condition when I moved in 11 years ago. Several summers ago I considered replacing it but didn't have the green stuff, the moolah, the dough, the shekels to make this green stuff actually happen. After doing a bit of Googly research, I've written to a company for a sample and am as giddy about receiving a response from it as if I'd ordered Indian food on a stormy Friday night.
This guy who either calls himself the captain or someone else has called the captain is letting the six in our group take turns steering the sailboat. When it's my "turn", I can't very well say, "Nope, don't wanna" without looking like the kind of person who doesn't want to try new things, even though all I can think is, "I don't even want to be on this boat in the first place, let alone steer." In the 11 photos one friend took of me doing it, I appear to be enjoying it wholeheartedly. I must be an excellent actor.
How am I supposed to listen to anything this woman says when I can't tear my eyes from the exuberant horror a half inch from the right side of her nose the size and shape of a pencil eraser, when I imagine holding a piece of paper on which are written several misspelled words needing correction and asking her to press that thing against it and move her head from side to side to see if it can accomplish the task? How am I supposed to focus when it threatens to turn into a tiny police car siren, pulsing red?
I happily swing my plastic bag from Pricewise, thrilled to have supported another old-fashioned neighborhood-style store for mundane household purchases rather than a ubiquitous chain. I pass the Kasbah food truck at 76th and Broadway, about to pass the Beacon Hotel on 75th, deciding not to heed my pre-leaving-home decision to avail myself of its falafel to keep this business afloat too. I spin on my heel and return to the truck. I cannot be a traitor, a hypocrite. The man inside toils in the heat, and who am I to pass him by, saving myself $5 and some calories?
He's afraid of having too many friends. He's afraid of having too few. He's afraid of failing and scared of succeeding. He fears people find him too obtuse but worries they find him impossibly shallow. He's afraid he blubbers and rambles when speaking and anyone listening wants him to shut up. He's scared of running out of words. He can't decide which socks to wear, what to eat for breakfast, or if he should cancel that Amazon order. He's afraid of dying alone and afraid of someone witnessing his death. He's afraid of dying in his sleep and terrified of waking up.
It's super-duper annoying that I can't go out on my cute colorful patio here on the fabulous Upper West Side of Manhattan with my un-cute cartoon cat for a delightful al fresco lunch or amazing homemade smoothie made in my Vitamix as I sing show tunes loudly, because I'm waiting for an Amazon package to arrive at my doorstep because I can order whatever I want anytime I want as I work at my desk clothed entirely in GapFit fabric, my true love, barefoot with a perfect pedicure, hair as messy or unmessy as I please. HASHTAG FIRST WORLD BLAHBLAH!
I reiterate my position that if you do more than glance at your phone when we're together, especially when we're at a restaurant, and you're not a surgeon guiding a life-saving procedure via text, you need to not be at my table. If the people you're with take a back seat to whomever is on the other end of your phone engagement, then excuse yourself and do that somewhere else.
Of course, this doesn't include those times when we're all, like, "Who was that guy in that movie who said that thing?" and we'll all Googling or Siri-ing or whatnot.)
Any morning I see Cooper, a 6-year-old Irish Setter, en route to the gym is a good morning. But days like today, when I smoosh him and talk to him and he barks at me ("He's talking to you!" his dad said) and wags his tail and smiles up at me with happy eyes in his graying/whitening fuzzy face, are better than good. As I left him, he barked more, and his dad said, "She has to go now, Cooper!" She has to go!" and I wanted to rush back and say, "Never mind. Can we hang out all day?"
Take responsibliity for your bullshit. Stop blaming others for YOUR decisions that are stupid AF. I'd rather you be an asshole and say, "Ugh, I fucked up. I was a dick, and I take responsibiltiy for it. Hell, I even *own* that I'm an asshole." If you keep having the same issues with an neverending stream of people, take a good look at the common denominator in all those situations. I'll give you a hint. It's a three-letter word beginning with "Y", and it's not "Yak."
(Although of course I'm sure there are some yaks out there who are assholes.)
This morning I'm working on a deposition transcript of a police sergeant with a demeanor as pleasant as that of Mr. Rogers. His tone of voice manages to be matter of fact without a hint of arrogance. He doesn't seem to be putting on any airs but to be a genuinely nice person.
Oh, how I adore a polite, genial gentleman. Makes me want to dress up in a lovely frock, enhanced with a bit of crinoline, sit on a veranda glider with him, and later go for a ride in his classic convertible with bench seats and push-button ignition.
I preface this by saying that talk of workouts leaves me cold and I cannot stand when anyone asks what I do. Having said that, though, I must let the world know that my new thing, which I've seen called "high intensity interval training", or "HIIT", is kicking my ass just as much as typing those words makes me cringe. The other day, while at the most intense of the intervals, I had to jump off the treadmill, straddling its zippy rubbery belt, in order to avoid being bucked off of it like a mechanical bull. I have truly arrived.
Cafe Mingala at 72nd and Second, and Bali Nusa Indah on Ninth Avenue in the 40s, my Burmese oasis, in a neighborhood I don't visit often, and my favorite haven in all of Manhattan, respectfully, are gone. I found out about the former the other day when I took the Q to that neighborhood on my way home from Brooklyn (my first time on the Second Avenue train), and the other today when making dinner plans and looking up the address, which I always forget. I feel like two of my oldest friends have died, and seriously want to cry.
I just finished reading "Rosemary's Baby" this morning (such a page-turner, or, more accurately, a page-tapper since I read it on my Kindle) and am now about to watch it for the 14,000th time (no hyperbole!). How is it that I'd forgotten about the eerie music overlaying the opening credits and how much I adore "la la la"-ing along with it, sending shivers not only up my spine but that of anyone who may have lived and/or died in this apartment before me, only a hop, skip, and several pirouettes away from The Dakota, the building used as The Bramford?
By the time I leave Chicago, I'm tapping my Ventra card to bus readers (?) and train turnstiles like a champ. Anyone watching thinks, "She's a native!" There's no way they can tell that several days ago I stood in front of the card machine, flustered as I tried to figure out how to buy a card and chortling that at home I'd be losing patience with tourists doing the same thing. But those who were certainly admiring my card-tapping can tell I'm not a native because I grin like an idiot and say, "Cool!" every time I do It.
Never let it be said that I don't know my audience. When on the phone this morning with Suzy from The Company Store, which I think is out of Wisconsin, to correct a mistake I'd just made in an online order -- I actually dig talking to customer service people about orders, because inevitably we wind up chatting about something fun -- I said, mid-sentence, "Gosh forbid," at that split second considering that even "God" might be a bit offensive or off-putting to sweet Suzy. Say what you will about me, kidz, but I know my fucking audience, damn it.
"Farm to table" needs to join hands with "artisanal", jump off a cliff or bridge (I'm not picky that way), and never be heard from again.
I need to incorporate "23 skidoo" and "dollymop" into my regular word repertoire a/k/a vocabulary.
I must continue to use "Jive bullshit" not only in honor of and deference to R. Crumb but because it's terrific in its own right.
I need to keep using "tops" and "aces" to indicate that things are super.
I need to not disparage and/or myself for saying "amaze" instead of "amazing". It makes me feel groovy.
Please don't ask people to donate to your inane non-emergency-related Kickstarter "project" if you're able-bodied and chronically unemployed BY CHOICE and have no intention of getting off your ass and getting this weird thing called a job like the rest of us hapless saps who have at least one job and/or only work seven days a week because as far as we know, the weeks haven't reached eight days yet, so we can do stuff like, oh, I dunno, pay rent 'n' all. Sorry if it's beneath you to have to sink to our loser level and actually earn something.
DEVASTATED that a photo I took of nachos a friend and I ordered at Jajaja yesterday afternoon didn't "take" for some reason and thus I can't PROVE that not only did we order them but that I ate more than half because my friend was "pacing" herself for our other appetizer and entrees. I do have photos of the other stuff but they aren't nearly as appealing as I'm sure the one of the nachos would have been. Can I still sort of "brag", though, that I walked about six miles to get to the restaurant in the first place?
I'm never going to be one of these people who says, "Gosh, I wish him (or her) the best" of an awful person I can't stand. "Sorry". I just don't and won't. I can't pretend otherwise to be polite or have people think I'm a fucking zen master or a "good person" or something. Unless by "the best" you mean the odious person perishes in a deep, deep crater of searing, bubbling lava rather than spontaneously combusts in an old rocking chair or accidentally gets drawn and quartered or falls victim to a truly heinous haircut worthy of public ridicule.
I'm wandering around the UWS, thrilled to have "scored" the last salt bagel from Zucker's. I approach Zingone Bros., in whose glass window a sign boasts the store's 90-year longevity. I enter, my maiden voyage. What can I buy that's in character with the store and my nostalgia? A can of Hershey's chocolate syrup, the kind whose top can be pierced twice with a can opener for easy pouring and kept fresh with the accompanying yellow plastic lid, and a soon-to-be-discontinued can of Coke Zero. An ancient gentleman rings me up on an adding machine, and I'm on my way.
More time reading other people's words in books; more time writing my own; more time in museums; more time drawing and painting my own stuff; more time tapdancing; more time bike riding; more time exploring this marvelous city, especially its boroughs and north of the UWS; more time tossing curls of coir rope into the air above my cat's head and watching her leap vertically, body elongated, paws flailing, to catch it and stare at me for a replay. Less time looking at other people's food photos and vacationing toes. Outside, offline, sunshine, fresh air have yet to fail me.
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