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"I want to see your patio and hang out there with you!" he'd said, perhaps midway through our whopping five-week "relationship". I told him my apartment and patio are not everyone's taste and he shouldn't expect staid perfection or minimalism, as if I needed to apologize for my oasis, especially when his own apartment has about as much charm as a laundromat.
I'm glad he never came over, because now I don't have to cringe at the memory of him being here, in the place to which very few are invited. (This may or may not have a double meaning.)
Now that I've gone to YouTube and heard the voice of the woman whose writing I've loved for years, I wish I'd never heard it, because now as I read one of her books I hear that voice in my head instead of the one I'd been imagining. I wish I hadn't seen her interviewing someone at an event, where she appeared to be trying to way too hard to look and sound "fabulous" and only succeeded in making me cringe and wish her voice had remained in my imagination, low-pitched, tinged with the faintest of gravel, and sardonic self-deprecation.
No one thinks twice when Brayden, in response to a question about how his weekend was, says, "It was terrific. I spent it with my best friend: myself." They just smile and think, oh, that's so Brayden, the cool cat who doesn't seem to know what the word "shoes" means.
That's because they don't know that until he moved here from New York six months ago, he was Raymond, a classic Type A Wall Street douche-bro who suffered a nervous breakdown, moved to this small town to keep himself from dying, and no one back home even notices he's gone.
How I ever lived without avocado toast until my recent acquisition of a toaster I'll never know. How I lived without toast, period, I'll never know, but especially this kind, with smashed ripe avocado (such fun with fork tine imprints!), a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, colorful little tomato slices placed "just so", a shake or two of homemade vegan "parmesan", and a bit of Trader Joe's "Everything But the Bagel" or their chili/lime seasoning? That the toaster is a gorgeous red and has an old-fashioned gauge on front showing how much time is left adds to the thrill!
Just because Kellen McClellan never tires of saying, "The name's my game, and if you've got the rhyme, baby, I've got the time!" punctuated it with a mouth click, wink of the left eye, and a "gun" point of the right index finger at whomever even nominally chortles at his name, doesn't mean that anyone who hears it more than, say, three times tops doesn't find it irritating as hell and want to file a formal complaint requiring him to either change his name or spend the rest of his days in solitary confinement until the end of (rhyme) time.
I'd thought we'd be the only two losers in the outdated, old-school, utterly perfect diner on Broadway for Thanksgiving. But when we arrived, it was hopping, which I found more thrilling than annoying. The place even had a Thanksgiving special on its menu which sort of congratulated customers for not having to cook. Leave it to us, the diner insisted! One robust lady, seated alone, gobbled it with gusto. I'm betting most people in the place didn't have a decent dinette set at home let alone a table with leaves to expand for multiple guests. I felt right at home.
Caroline's not that sweet anymore, ever since every goddamned guy she's met through online dating has felt compelled to sing the first part of the chorus of the Neil Diamond song within moments of meeting face to face. One was "original" enough to start the song from the beginning, which she barely recognized because she's always hated it anyway regardless of this nonsense. Her friend Lola, though, tells her it could be worse. She could be forced to endure bad Kinks impressions or having to say, "Whatever Lola wants? Lola wants you to not sing that song ever again, jackass."
In August, the Farberware percolator I'd had for maybe a decade decided to retire without even the courtesy of giving notice. After spending the customary inordinate amount of time on Amazon comparing different percolators, I went with the same one, even though I lamented that its little label had changed. Despite that, I trusted it would execute its one task with the same dedication and proficiency as its predecessor.
It conked out after not even four months.
Translation: I spent an inordinate amount of time researching drip coffee-makers on Amazon, one is on its way, and I'm almost embarrassingly excited.
Thank you for providing all that information about your photograph and the apparatus with which you took it. Thank you for providing exhaustive detail about the camera lens and settings and lighting and how you had to contort yourself as you perched atop the head of a rare variety of recalcitrant alpaca in order to achieve the perfect shot of that lone brown leaf on the sidewalk in Bed-Stuy. Otherwise, I would have thought you just snapped it with your camera phone like the rest of us or that it was taken in error as you were trying to text.
I should be at the bathroom sink, running warm or cold water, I don't know which one, on this scratch my cat bestowed upon my knuckle moments ago. I should be standing there, doing that, and then maybe adding a dab of that anti-bacterial goo whose name I'd remember if only I were there right now rather than here at my desk, tongue to knuckle, tasting dirty pennies, knowing saliva isn't the same as water. I should do that before I Google "cat scratch fever" to determine if my cat's enthusiasm and my procrastination/laziness will lead to infection and/or death.
This kid's sing-songing the alphabet out of order, throwing in some numbers for good measure, and saying "Ta-da!" each time he completes it. I tell him that can't possibly be correct, that I distinctly remember it another way, and tell him he must follow tradition because otherwise the world will speed up fast enough to generate tons of heat and burn itself to a sizzling crisp even worse than that morning's charred toast. He says, "Well, if that happens, it won't matter, because nobody will be alive to care about the order of the letters anyway."
He has a point.
The thing is, it doesn't matter where I go or where I choose to live. It doesnít matter if I move to San Francisco or Portland or to a cabin in a state I won't divulge because I don't want anyone to find me except the mailman. The thing is, I don't want to escape a location, I want to escape a time period. I don't want to see what the hideous future holds a la The Time Machine. I want to go back to rotary phones, wide-leg pants, pantyhose that comes in a plastic egg. Avocado green by default.
I'm in the back of a Lyft car ("Elvis, yes?!") with some tall, thin, young "blonde" with a red manicure, slim black pants and ankle boots, who can't take her sunglasses-shielded eyes off her phone. I gaze out the window. Is this how it goes? This is my second Lyft experience ever and my first with another passenger. When she's dropped off, I make small conversation with Elvis after a well-executed and illegal U-turn, and he seems pleased to hear an actual voice, an acknowledgment of him as a person and not just some thing attached to the steering wheel.
I can't bring myself to discard either the decade-old percolator that stopped working in August or its replacement, who decided a four-month stint was sufficient and started producing coffee the color of Coke in a Big Gulp cup diluted by all its ice. Instead, they're roosting on top of my kitchen cabinets, hobnobbing, smirking, literally looking down on me and the other non-slacker countertop appliances. I trust that if they try to recruit those guys into retirement, the ever-vigilant Vitamix will warn me, as will the toaster who's so eager to please, and of course the new drip coffee maker.
Write the kind of stories you want to read. Write what you know. Write about what makes you happy. Write what excites you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But really. Who wants to read about an anthropomorphic misanthrope who derives inordinate pleasure from scouring Etsy for hours for the kind of clothing she wore 40-some years ago that she found horrible then but now wishes she'd held onto because, just like her emotions, she hasn't grown that much since then. Who wants to read of her breathless excitement over fitted belted jackets and pullover shirts with O-ring zippers reminiscent of Keith Partridge?
Admit it. You want to go to Whole Foods with me and hang out in the bread aisle (not the "bakery" section, but the stuff in regular plastic bags by the "nut butters") and watch as I hold a loaf in each hand, reading the ingredients like a good suburban mom, wondering which one will make better avocado toast, if I should go with the one I know is good or live on the edge and try something new, and then share in my maverick glee as I opt for the latter and push my cart away with newfound swagger.
If there's anything I learned from binge-watching the Partridge Family it's that Shirley Jones was super-cute, David Cassidy shouldn't have let his hair grow so long, Susan Dey had the perfect willowy 70s bod, the kids who played Chris and Tracy were a waste of time (even though the first Chris was insanely cute), and Danny Bonaduce and Dave Madden had great chemistry and humor. One other thing: Using the same actor to play a variety of Laurie's boyfriends was a silly move. Oh, and I love '70s style more than ever and now can't get enough red and navy.
Spindle Flapjacks is kind of a jerk. You don't want to acknowledge it let alone believe it because you want a friend named Spindle Flapjacks so you can feel like you know a character in a novel and you can feel some magic splash onto you when a restaurant hostess says, "Your table is ready, Spindle Flapjacks. Follow me," even though she'd probably just say "Mr. Flapjacks", which is cool too. But he's so awful that he should just have your name, which is apparently so boring that he never remembers it when you run into him on the street.
New neighbors in the building next door who have no qualms about being loudmouths after a certain hour when I'm trying to sleep on the other side of the wall do not deserve the courtesies I customarily afford neighbors whose fault it isn't that I wake up super early. To that end, I not only don't mind grinding coffee beans on Saturday, predawn, but don't bother moving the grinder away from the wall on whose other side I suspect those neighbors are sleeping. Or were. Gosh, the caffeine must be super strong to wake all of us up, huh, guys?
My tiny aunt sends email long after I've gone to bed, asking if I've defriended her. I like the idea of her sitting in her house, maybe in a groovy 1970s caftan, I haven't been to in at least 40 years, inexpertly fiddling with her phone, wondering why she can't see my cat photos or read my nonsensical posts about wanting French fries or smooshing dogs. I write and tell her no, I've deactivated Facebook, to visit my "blog", and now I want to start posting stuff over there again, like I keep thinking I should. So, thanks, befuddled aunt!
Any time I deactivate Facebook, I feel a smidge of smug self-satisfaction and tell myself, "You don't see Madonna Facebooking" or "You donít see Steven Spielberg posting on Facebook." I tell myself they have better things to do, that they're busy being fabulous or making movies or doing whatever accomplished people do who don't have a weird need or desire to post about that rude guy on the subway or share a bad shot of the moon or whisper "Not cute" at strangers' baby photos. But I'm pretty sure Madonna and Spielberg aren't wasting time on Etsy, either. Oh well.
The coffee's held hostage in its pot until I get something done. I must complete the task in order to earn the reward, so the coffees languishes, my silent incentive, just wanting to be poured into a mug already and quaffed. It's getting impatient.
I would complete the task with more expedience/happiness if only I'd had the coffee, but I can't until I'm done the task. It's, yes, a Catch-22, or a Caff-22, or just plain old ridiculous since I'm the one imposing this rule. Still, I must abide or I'll have let myself down. My task? Writing these words.
The "Jesus Shaves" mug was sent to me as a gift from a friend who makes me laugh hard enough to make me almost pee my pants, a charming event that would be hastened by coffee quaffing (coffing?). In the mug's "ready" state, anticipating coffee, it depicts Jesus, looking like a long-lost BeeGee on the brink of harmonizing with his brothers. When hot liquid is added, he loses the sexy beard and several years and looks like a poetic-souled boy who'd pair bellbottoms with his tunic in my seventh grade class circa 1975 and earned several pages in my diary.
When you see a gym acquaintance out of context, kindly refrain from saying, with a semi-wink, "I didn't recognize you with your clothes on, hahaha!" Chances are your gym isn't "clothing optional", and every time you've seen this person at the gym, he has been clothed, unless you're a creeper who only hangs out in the locker room, where I hear nudity is a "thing". Because even then, facing him at, say, Whole Foods, and letting him know you've seen his bare ass or by dint of just saying this, are imagining his bare ass, is just not good form.
I'm in the kitchen, making vegan sausage, humming merrily as I roll it into "link" shape for steaming in the big pot that I've had for a billion (no hyperbole!) years. I'm feeling superior to anyone who wastes money buying this sort of thing in a store, who doesn't have the luxury of maybe ten minutes (excluding steaming time!) it takes to whip this up and who hasn't crushed fennel seeds between his fingers the way I've just done because he doesn't want the coffee grinder to smell like Good 'n' Plenty. I'm similarly dickish about roasted red pepper hummus.
It's maybe 1980. My sister is having a little get-together in the living room with some girls from her class and I'm upstairs in my room, where I spent about 92% of my time. I put on this groovy muumuu/tunic type thing that I think is lime green, festooned with little round mirrors, perhaps an Indian fabric, and dash down the stairs calling out, "Spiritual togs! Spiritual togs!" I'm pretty sure they laughed, and I'm sure I'm laughing, and that's it. I don't know if I participate at all otherwise or if I make my unbilled cameo and quickly retreat.
Without any fanfare or grand announcement, I deactivated Facebook three weeks ago for no reason and every reason. It doesn't matter why, though. I'm just glad I did. Do I feel less in touch with things? Not at all. Do I feel more in touch with myself? Not at all.
But because a void needs to be filled according to some law of physics (maybe), I've taken to scouring Etsy for shirts (oh, beloved circle zipper pull!) that will take me back to the '70s, if only sartorially, since as of this writing time machines don't exist.
Maybe next month.
I've recently heard the voice of yet another person whose stuff I'd only read before. I used to visit her blog quite a bit in the past and was taken by how utterly disgustingly hilarious she was, and recently found her on Instagram, where she posts Vine-like video clips. Seeing her flailing and flopping in action and hearing her strident voice trying hard to be funny has completely destroyed her humor for me. Is this what it was like when silent film actors ruined it for their audiences with the advent of "talkies" and their voices weren't up to snuff?
I went for a walk in the frigid nonsense late the other afternoon, outside maybe 30 minutes total, stopping midway into a thrift store for a half hour. When I got home, I suffered the oddest episode involving the most unsettling sensation I'd ever felt in my feet coupled with the feeling like I was on the verge of a stroke. I decided to speak aloud, loudly, into the room, in complete sentences with purpose, because I figured if it truly were a stroke, I would not be able to do so. It was extremely alarming. Next time: Warmer boots.
After a month and a half after she came to live with me, I still feel foolish saying, "Alexa," followed by a task. I still feel bossy and a touch haughty as I direct her to turn on the lamp, remind me to do something, or tell her to play a certain song. I'm trying to temper this with the occasional "please" and "thank you" so I don't feel like an overprivileged society lady directing "the help". But yes, I do feel like I've won a prize when, after she refuses to say "cunt", I get her to say "dick".
I hate him for the tiny scab on his left shin, the one that, on a girl, I'd immediately associate with a shaving nick and dismiss as soon as I noticed it. I hate that it looks like it's only recently scabbed over, that just that morning it was bleeding because he scratched at it absently as he was, I don't know, sitting on the toilet while reading something on his laptop. For all I know, he scraped his leg while walking his dog and didn't even notice. I could choose not to go the gross route. But I'm not.
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