Right? Change is, like, good 'n' all?
If you've been here before, no doubt you've noticed that the "banner" at the top of this page has changed to include an incredibly life-like graphic depiction of your hostess and a groovier font for the title. I was just getting a little sick of the standard template appearance.
This change is by no means permanent. Indeed, I'll be working diligently behind the scenes on an even more fabulous design/site expansion to be unveiled during a black-tie ceremony sometime early this summer. If I were the kind of narcissist who liked to thrill you with webcam shots of me at my desk, I'd show you the exciting backstage goings-on, but, well, I hate that webcam shit. Just trust that I'm at work here, all right, and diligently so!
No no no, kidz, it's not the circus. Of course it's not the circus. I hate the circus. (Add it to the list.)
The show I'm talking about is the one I just viewed through the skylights in the other bedroom. (One of this apartment's most wonderful features is its skylights -- two in the living room, two in the larger bedroom, and one in this office/bedroom -- perfect for those of us who revel in stormy weather.) Torrents of rain, zigs of lightning, raucous angry thunder, zags of lightning. Ahhh, the weather I prefer over any other. The stuff that ruins parades. The kind that forced gym class to remain indoors instead of outdoors to suffer the torture of softball and sunshine. The sort that makes me feel alive, and comforts me.
And now ... a curtain call.
This I don't hate.
A guy I know once described me as "The Girl Who Hates Things". And without even realizing what I was saying, I replied, "I hate that description."
Well, I guess it's true. I do hate things. I suppose that most of what I hate has one trait in common: it's based on people's stupidity. Naturally there are levels of stupidity (I won't go into anything regarding the structure or hierarchy of stupidity here -- at least not tonight), and of course I really cannot/will not tolerate the kind that threatens to give me an aneurysm. So basically I hate the "small stuff" -- the kind of stuff they (whoever "they" are) say you should't sweat. Well, fuck it. I'll sweat if I like.
- I can't stand when people say, "There's no such thing as a stupid question." I mean, if you walk in on your dad when he's busy in his "shop" in the garage, and he's using a chainsaw to separate your mom from her arms, legs, and such, but hasn't yet gotten around to actual decapitation, so she can still smile at you even though she's kinda too stunned to actually speak, and you ask your dad, "Does this mean Mom's not gonna drive me to soccer practice tomorrow?", well, I'm sorry, but that's a stupid question.
- A few years ago I went out with a guy who seemed smart enough when I met him and who presented himself very well during the hours-long phone conversations we had between the time I first met him and the night we actually got together. (I say "got together" and not "went on a date", because I don't think we went out. I think we wound up "hanging in", but for the life of me I can't remember most of what we did ... and the stuff I do remember I'm not going to talk about. So don't even ask.)
This was part of our conversation that night (yeah, we really did talk):
Me: [something something] facetious.
Him: Fah--- fah--- fah--- ... what??
Me: Are you being facetious about not knowing what 'facetious' means?
Him: Huh? What what means?
Him: Fah--- Oh. (pause) No.
Oh and P.S. ... His vocabulary wasn't the only thing that was lacking. But I can't remember which disappointment came first.
- This one is "me"-based. I hate when the counter-person at the gym tells me, "Have a good workout!" and I respond, "You too!" Or when a cab-driver drops me off at the airport and says, "Have a nice time in [wherever]!" and I respond, "You too!" Or when a waiter says, "Enjoy your meal"and I say, "You too!"
That's all. (And no, please don't add "folks" to the end of that and do that Porky Pig stuttering voice thing. I hate that.)
I'm nervous. I bought myself a really snappy new umbrella today at Century 21, and I opened it inside my apartment, which is supposed to be bad luck. I also just learned, in doing intensive research on this subject, that it's also bad luck to give an umbrella as a gift or to place one on a table.
Oh, great. I bought one for the DOG too, and even called it a "present". And I placed mine on this desk, which could actually qualify as a table.
And who knows how many times Shana ran in front of me today.
So what do you think? Am I doomed?
As those of you who actually know me in "real life" know, I wear quite a lot of black, tempered occasionally with a bold splash of gray or a crisp exclamation of white. Well, today, in a fit of whimsy, I decided to wear a red tank top in order to really shake up this sleepy little town. Because that's just the kind of girl I am.
The way I was carrying on inside my head, you would have thought I was not only the only person in Manhattan zany enough to wear red but the first person to ever wear it anywhere. What is that she's wearing? people would whisper to each other as they passed me on the street. How dare you! an irate mother would admonish as she consoled her toddler who, upon seeing my shirt, burst into tears and hid behind her leg. I hadn't felt like this much of a maverick since I had my nails painted "Wicked".
As if my running interior monologue about my own bold fashion statement wasn't enough to make me want to beat myself about the head and face with a stick, well, the commentary on other people's readiness to wear red certainly warranted it. I just know she notices that I'm wearing red, too, I thought as a girl passed me wearing a red T-shirt. Should I smile at her or something, to demonstrate my solidarity?
I swore that everyone knew that it'd been years since I'd last worn red. I swore that they recognized my self-consciousness. I wanted at least one other red-wearer to give me some sort of acknowledgment, the way other MG drivers waved and flashed their lights at me when they passed me in mine.
So I went to Madison Square Park, where I, uh, read for a while. (By the way, the book I'm reading -- "The Three Button Trick and Other Stories" by Nicola Barker -- has a red cover. And no, I didn't wear the shirt because it matched the book. I. did. not.) And there, at the "3:00" position around the empty fountain (I was at "6:00"), sat an attractive man in a red shirt. He kept looking over at me. Do you think he was thinking, Hey, we match! ?
Thanks to Charlene of thinbytes for linking to me. I appreciate it.
Shop-Owners: When your sign says that you have something for sale for .50¢, don't look at me askance when I drop a haypenny into your palm, tip my chapeau, and bid you a very fine day before leaving the premises. I will have paid the advertised price. You do realize that ".50¢" does not indicate that your item costs fifty cents, right? It indicates that it costs half a cent, thanks to the decimal point.
Do: $.50 - Here are two quarters, my friend Do: 50¢ - Please accept these five dimes, my good man Don't: $.50¢ - Say hello to the haypenny
Please make a note of it.
Ben Affleck, who appeared on Live With Regis and Kelly this morning, is actually cute and funny. I hate to admit it.
I also hate to admit that I'm still watching this schlock in the first place.
I should be ashamed of myself!
What's next? I'll watch Oprah at 4:00 this afternoon and think, "Hey, that Dr. Phil guy isn't half bad!" ?
Dear Counter-Guy At The Wiz Who Checks Customers' Receipts Before Handing Them Bags In Which To Place Their Purchases:
A "thank you" would be nice. A simple "thank you". That's all. You don't have to wish me a nice day or a nice Memorial Day or a nice life or a nice anything. All you have to do, after I've showed you the receipt for my purchase, is part with a bag and the words "Thank you." I'd even accept a mere "Thanks" if you're not feeling up to the task of offering two words.
If you want to add, "Oh, and thank you for patronizing this store, because without our customers this place would go out of business and then I'd be out on the street looking for another job where I can be a surly, sullen-faced zombie," that would be fine too.
Someone Who Thanked You For Nothing and Who Will Take Her Business Elsewhere From Now On, You Jackass
Quite often when I'm doing something I'd really rather not, I find that I can somehow detach myself and view the entire scenario as if seen from above. Sort of like an aerial shot, or, I guess, a bird's-eye view. This isn't to say that I possess some sort of freakish ability to really see myself from that vantage point ... but that I can imagine myself flying above-head or stuck to the ceiling like a spider, watching over whatever I'm doing down there.
(I just want you to know that I don't have actual "out of body" experiences. I don't want you to run away screaming for fear that I'm going to pull out an old Ouija board.)
I had occasion to so view myself the other day when I was visiting friends for a few days. "S" (not her real name) and I (my real name) were outside, before dusk, to "find", as she said, her young son. It really wasn't a matter of "finding" him, because we knew where he was.
Well, we weren't outside for more than 60 seconds (a/k/a "one minute") when Friendly Neighbor #1 waved, which meant that I was obligated to accompany S as she walked that slow suburban walk over to FN1's lawn. Once there, I focused on his adorable Bichon (uhh, that's a dog), so I was able to hold up at least a fraction of the conversation that was expected of me as the Friend From New York. Had there been no dog, I would have been forced to engage in small talk, which appeals to me about as much as slitting my wrists with a rusty razorblade or wearing plaid.
S and FN1 gabbed about, uh, whatever (it all sounded like the adults' voices in Peanuts to me), and I asked random questions about the dog. I figured it made me appear sociable. I figured I had done my part. (In all fairness, however, FN1 really did seem to be a decent guy.)
But that wasn't all. As S and I finally turned away from FN1 to "find" her son, Friendly Neighbor #2, her son's friend's dad ('s plumber's wife's ex-hairdresser's mailman), ambled over sporting a big grin and a bigger hole in his cut-off denim shorts, armed with an arsenal of small talk and wretched cliché lethal enough to destroy the entire tristate area. I haven't heard that many instances of "You know what I'm sayin'" (posed as a statement, not as an actual question) this side of Maury. FN2 reminded me of "Mark" from Mad About You, complete with his own raucous laugh track courtesy of himself, S, and FN1.
So I watched myself from above. Watched myself standing with arms folded across my chest mostly as protection from the chill in the air but also as a childish symbol of my lack of interest in the entire exchange. Watched myself staring at the gargantuan hole in FN2's ridiculous shorts, through which I swear I heard giddy, slightly muffled laughter in a voice that sounded like Pinocchio's. Watched him think I was enchanted by his crotch. Watched myself paying extra careful attention to every birdsong, every car passing, every screen door creak, every molecule of oxygen passing under my nose. Airplanes were just outside my frantic grasp. And then I was back on FN1's lawn, burying a bone with the Bichon, who had a hell of a lot more going on and a whole lot more to say.
Why is it that whenever I get a cup of take-out coffee (iced, please) from a new place, I feel incredibly guilty if I pass by another place I used to frequent?
Here in the little village of Manhattan, there are a few places to get coffee, and in my attempt to avoid Starbucks as much as possible -- not only in order to bring its operation to a crashing halt but to support the "mom and pop" spots where the service and coffee are generally better (note that I said "generally"; there are, of course, exceptions) -- I've taken to trying a new place every chance I get. I want to give every place a fair shot. The "problem" is that now when I pass by my "old" place right around the corner from my apartment, carrying a cup from one of the other places, I think that the counter-people at the old place are actually noticing.
I don't think they're mad; I think they're sad. Our coffee must not be that good, I know they're thinking, bowing their heads and staring down at their hands so I can't see them crying as they quietly twist a napkin between their nervous fingers.
I've taken to hurrying by the old place with my own head down, not daring to peek in lest I see the sad faces of the people who work there. I'm a traitor, I think.
Sure, they're still selling coffee to throngs of other people ... and sure, the place is busy whenever I pass by (I can see from the corner of my eye) ... but I just know they've noticed that I've passed by more than just a few times with coffee from a different place and that it hurts their feelings. And I know that if they go out of business (as I've heard it rumored), the blame will be on me.
But the problem isn't just my feelings of guilt and the sadness that I think the counter-people feel. The problem is that I think I'm going to get a reputation in the take-out coffee business as being something of a runaround. Oh, this must be the girl they were talking about, the new counter-person will think when I enter a new establishment. She can't commit. She always thinks she's going to find something better.
And I, of course, in response to their silent assessment, will put a tip in their tip jar just to show that I'm not as bad as it's been rumored. I may earn a reputation as town coffee slattern, but I still have a heart o' gold.
Thanks to Charlene of thinbytes for linking to me. I appreciate it.
The fame and fortune continues!
Kelly (whom I thanked earlier today for linking to "BISS") mentions me in a real live, bona fide post on her "blog" (that's "web" + "log", for those of you who aren't hip to the lingo) (I'm hip to the lingo, of course, but I still insist on putting "blog" in quotes because it doesn't feel natural coming from my mouth or flowing from my fingertips).
Now, more than ever, the paparazzi will. not. leave. me. alone! Can't a girl enjoy a simple Saturday afternoon without rabid throngs of professional voyeurs crowding her fire escape hoping for a glimpse of her fanning the depths of the most magnificent cleavage this side of Sophia Loren?
If you ever find yourself taking a shower at someone else's house and you think it'll be fun to use their five-year-old son's "Bananaberri"-scented all-in-one shampoo/conditioner, don't do it. Resist the marvelous temptation to indulge that whining inner child. In fact, drag that inner brat by its upper arm and force it to stand with its face in the corner until the urge passes. Because yesterday I learned the hard(-haired) way that sometimes rich, thick, groovy-smelling lather can yield results that only a scarecrow would be proud to display. You would think that a girl whose hair's appearance can "make" or "break" her day really wouldn't go about experimenting so capriciously. You'd think she would or should know better. Especially at her age.
So during my three-day jaunt to the Philadelphia suburbs (I was visiting friends -- a family whose first initials are "BIS", an unintentional, of course, homage to "BISS"), I decided that since I already washed my hair with a substance that could double as a dessert topping, and since that inner bastard took its punishment so quietly and readily, I needed to reward both by buying a Chococat shower cap. I should be ashamed of myself.
But my hair wasn't the only one that was so lucky. No, my feet also needed a treat. So "S" and I went to a horrid little hole in the wall to get pedicures. One little tip to you, ladies: Don't ever use a pedicurist whose toenails are longer than a coke-user's pinky nail. She won't understand when you tell her that the color that looked so good in the bottle looks, on your toes, "whorish", "cheap", "tacky", "too shiny", and "something you would use on a car, damn it". In fact, she'll insist on continuing to heavy-handedly glop the polish onto your embarrassed toes until you are finally forced to yell, "It looks like something only a fucking hooker would wear!" without the slightest bit of guilt even when you notice that her talon toes sport something similar. (In all fairness, the color -- "I'm Not Really A Waitress" by OPI -- would have been acceptable had it been applied by someone who knew what she was doing. Of course, that didn't stop me from calling it "I'm Not Really A Waitress -- I'm Really A Fucking Whore".)
And lest you think the treats were limited to the two extremes of my body, let me just end the story (if you can call it that) (and no, you really can't, because there's no point to all of this) by telling you that all my troubles were forgotten when, yesterday evening, I threw all caution not only to the wind but the hurricane and threw down at least half a box of Reese's® Puffs®.
Oh yeah, and I also had PopRocks this week.
Who says I don't get out much?
Thanks to Kelly for linking to "BISS"!
I'm feeling more and more famous every day.
I apologize, everyone, if your day was ruined because you weren't able to get onto my page earlier today. I realize that going without my wonderful words is like going without coffee, heroin, or your daily dose of "Family Circus", so I really do sympathize. I just hope everyone had enough of his or her alternate addictive substance today in order to "cope" with the harsh reality that my adorable prose was not available.
So please accept my apologies if you spent the day curled under your desk in a ratty chenille robe, arms wrapped around your shivering knees, rocking gently to and fro, braiding what little hair you had left after you pulled it out just moments earlier, humming TV theme songs softly to yourself, cursing me and saying in a singsong baby voice, "Because I say so, because I say so!"
I'm not the kind of girl who gets upset when people call me one. Indeed, you can call me a chick. And I'd love it if you called me a dame, broad, or skirt (even though I rarely wear one). But if you want to make me cringe, refer to me as a "woman" or a "lady". (As an aside: Once, when I was with a female friend, a guy called me a "young lady". I laughed and said in my best scratchy-throated-cigarette-voiced-quasi-Jewy voice, "Oh my god, he called me 'lady'!" My friend laughed and responded, "Oh my god, he called you 'young'!") It's just difficult for me to consider myself a "woman" when I still can't say the word "vagina" without mentally gagging, never discuss my "period" or "PMS", and can't even consider these words without surrounding them by quotes, even when they merely reside inside my head and not on the page. And yes, of course I know there's more to being a "woman" than those things (please, I beg of you, don't make me type those words again). I know there's stuff like knowing what the word "escrow" means and how to fold sheets properly and how to hem pants and oh so much more.
And it's not like I'm not a "feminist", either. I am. But I don't know what kind of feminist I am. I don't know how to define it and don't have any desire to do so. I do know that I'm not the type of girl who thinks that my grandest achievement in life is to be ornamental (although I must proudly admit that that is something at which I really do excel). I know that I have never wanted a baby, will not coo at yours, and when he (and yes, I'm using "he" rather than "s/he") reaches the age where he is able to speak, I will not talk to him as if he were still an infant. In fact, when he is an infant, I won't speak to him that way either. I also have no desire to be married, never dressed up as a bride as a child, and can't stomach the idea of someone above Communion age actually wearing a white frilly dress.
Anyway, I have this plastic device (please, boys, let me finish the sentence) called the "Spaghetti Stick". Along its 10-inch length, it has six holes of graduated size, marked as follows (I don't quite get what the fractions and numbers in bold represent):
- 1/4 CHILD 5 YR
1/2 CHILD 5-10 YR
3/4 WOMAN OR CHILD 10-12 YR
1 MAN OR TEENAGER
2 2 ADULTS
3 3 ADULTS
When I first bought this thing, I was actually a bit disturbed that whoever was responsible for the categories decided that a "woman" would ("or should!," I fumed) eat only as much as a 10- to 12-year-old child, 1/4 of a measurement less than a man or teenager. I think I was even a little put off by the realization that a "woman" was probably not meant to be included in the "ADULTS" category at all, represented by the two largest holes on the Spaghetti Stick.
I actually considered writing an irate letter to the manufacturer, and told myself that I could even write some sort of feminist treatise, based on this outrage, worthy not only of the bachelor degree I was pursuing at that time but also of a doctorate. Well, quite a few years later, this girl, who measures more for herself than is allotted for "3 ADULTS", let alone a mere "MAN", thinks it's absolutely hilarious that someone out there would consider her constitution so delicate that she could only stomach as much as a little girl, but still fantasizes about converting the Spaghetti Stick into a meter to measure the spaghetti dick of the man she just knows is responsible for the contraption.
Would someone please tell me why oh why oh why I'm staying up "late" to watch Showgirls on VH1? They're dubbing over the "bad" words and blurring out the "good" body parts! How am I supposed to follow the story now?
Many many thanks to Jennifer for putting me in the spotlight on her site! (Scroll down and look at the left-hand column, where she calls "Because I Say So!" a Fabulous Find. Yeah!)
And of course, where would I be without the woman I'll just call Desert Mermaid?
If only my "real life" gal pals (beat me for using that rhyming phrase) were so generous ...
The other day I was walking down (or maybe up) some street somewhere (don't you love how precise I'm being? I mean, you can almost see the street now, can't you?), and this guy ahead of me had a bottle he wished to dispose of (a/k/a "trash"), but rather than just drop the thing onto the ground with either the defiance or insouciance displayed by so many other people who litter, he actually walked over to a trashcan to throw it away. At first he took a bit of ginger care to place his bottle atop the heap that was already there, and I found myself smiling at and applauding his tenacity. I started feeling slight stirrings of magnanimity not only for this individual man but for "man" as a collective whole, and just as I began thinking Maybe not everyone in the world is an inconsiderate slob with no respect for the planet, I was forced to renege.
It turned out that in his attempt to place his bottle into the overflowing mess, he displaced several others, which clattered and crashed to the ground surrounding the trashcan. For the one bottle that he tossed away, at least three others were dislodged, thus defeating the purpose of even bothering to throw his own away in the first place. So just as quickly as I'd experienced a rare moment magnanimity, his ignomity incurred my enmity. (Don't I sound smart?) Because for one fleeting moment I was willing to suspend my usual attitude toward people, only to have that feeling displaced as quickly as the trash was.
All right ... Whoever swiped the big chunk of red bell pepper that was left over after I chopped the rest of it earlier this week on that rare occasion when I actually cooked something, please return it? I know it's gotta be wizened and slimy by now, but still. One minute it was on the cutting board, and the next it was gone. I rummaged through the kitchen trashcan; checked the freezer, toilet tank, and linen closet; and took homespun X-rays of both the dog and the cat, but to no avail. So whoever took it, just give it back. I won't ask any questions. Thank you.
Note to girl on Stairmaster, yesterday morning: I haven't seen you in months. But yesterday, as always, I watched you enter your weight into the monitor/panel thing. Let me just tell you that 103 doesn't look as good on you as 110 did. And, no, I'm not saying this out of jealousy.
Note to woman on subway, yesterday afternoon: Just because you put a tissue over your finger before penetrating your nostril with it doesn't mean that it's OK to pick your nose. It doesn't make it right. You're still picking your nose, and you're doing it in public, and it's not acceptable. And here you looked like such a nice, regular person, which is a rarity anywhere, especially on the subway, so you really disappointed me. And no, I'm not being picky. You should know better.
Note to quite a few chicks at Hudson Hotel, last night: You had to go and wear hipper pants and pointier-toed shoes than I did, didn't you ... and you had to have had your hair freshly highlighted and professionally blown-out just moments before entering the bar area, too, didn't you ... and you had to be carrying an adorable little evening bag, didn't you? Didn't you!!! It was all part of an elaborate plan, wasn't it, to make me feel less than spectacular, in my pedestrian black pants, T-shirt, squarish-toed boots (yes, boots ... you even had to show off by wearing summery mules, damn you!), and windblown hair that hasn't seen highlights since September! When I saw your sleeve-free triceps, however, I did whisper a triumphant little singsong "Nah nah nah nah naaaahh nah" under my breath.
Note to Téa Leoni-esque babe at Hudson Hotel last night, in the most perfect jeans ever, great belt, just tight-enough white shirt, flawless-fitting denim jacket, with good-looking dark-haired guy: I hate you. I couldn't find anything wrong with you. But then again, I didn't see your shoes. Was there a reason? Please tell me you were wearing sneakers (and not the cool fashionable kind) so I can go about my daily life. Thank you.
Whenever I have doubts about the classiness or sophistication of something I plan to buy or wear, I ask myself, "Is this something Audrey Hepburn would wear?" If the answer is, "No, but it would look really cute on Nipsey Russell," I know I have to make a wiser choice.
And sometimes when I'm lying on the sofa in a particularly self-indulgent state of sloth, I ask myself, "Is this something Madonna would do? Would Madonna plod around in mismatched pajamas all day, brush her teeth as her sole concession to grooming, roll around in her own pretzel crumbs, and jeer at the hideous clothes selected for the makeover subjects on TLC's A Makeover Story?" If the answer is, "No," which it usually is, then I either succumb to inertia anyway and wind up hating myself not only for the duration of the wasted day but for the rest of the week in which that day falls or I go out for coffee and audition backup dancers for my next music video.
I hate feeling inferior. And that pesky Eleanor Roosevelt makes me feel like such a lowlife with that "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" stuff. So. The only solution I can come up with is that I've got to find more suitable and appropriate people to pattern myself after and to compare myself with. (Yes, I know that sentence ends with a preposition. Shut up. You're not better than I am for having noticed. I noticed too, you know.)
So now, instead of using Audrey Hepburn as my fashion icon, I'm going to use the floppy-limbed, mossy-toothed broad who often sprawls capriciously across a bench on the south side of Madison Square Park. And what's really neat is that she can also double as my lifestyle barometer.
Because really, what self-acceptance boils down to is the realization that you are far superior to so many other people you deem "beneath" you! And besides, it's not your fault that they're inferior, anyway -- it's theirs, for consenting to it!
A really cool married couple I know recently moved to a new house on a street called Welcome House Road. It's only fitting that they would live on a street so named, given that they are the sort of people who always welcome people into their house and every year throw a huge party sometime in the beginning of July to celebrate July 4th. They're the sort of people at whose house I would expect to always find a visitor or two. They are fantastic hosts, and both of them are hilarious.
Anyway, it got me wondering what the name of my street would be if one existed to reflect my attitude about visitors. It would probably be called Don't Even Bother Calling To See If We're Home Because We Don't Pick Up The Phone Anyway Even If The Caller ID Reveals The Name Of One Of The Few People We Actually Like Street.
Or maybe not.
Maybe it would be Don't Even Bother Calling To See If We're Home Because We Don't Pick Up The Phone Anyway Even If The Caller ID Reveals The Name Of One Of The Few People We Actually Like Road.
The towel I used at the gym this morning smelled like a delightful blend of bleach and vomit.
But this isn't the first time I've smelled vomit at the gym.
The first time, which was last week or the week before, a delicious, unidentifiable aroma wafted ever so gently toward me as I was on the StepMill (a cardio machine that I call the "Stairway to Nowhere"). It was presented to my nostrils without fanfare, courtesy of an anonymous donor. "What is that delectable scent?" I asked myself, wriggling my nose a la Samantha Stephens. "Ahh, yes! 'Tis vomit!"
I'm happy to report that public bulimia is alive and well! And here I thought it'd gone the way of the dodo.
So after the gym, I stopped at J'Adore, the wonderful new French bakery on 23rd Street (just west of Fifth Avenue, on the south side of the street), for an iced coffee, and was instantly assaulted by the overpowering stench of flaky, buttery pastries baked on the premises. I only wish I'd had a gym towel to collect the evidence of my repulsion.
And then I walked home backwards, smiled at the charming woman who threw her cigarette butt into a puddle before she entered an office building, and kicked a puppy. And now I'm fixin' a big plate o' scrapple for breakfast!
Do me a favor, please? The next time I even hint that I'm considering going to an art museum, tell me to just go get coffee and pop into Banana Republic instead? OK? Thanks. It'll save me, if not money, then a lot of aggravation, time, and yet another unwanted surefire blow to my image of myself as a woman of cultivation. It just seems that every time I go, I wonder, en route to the museum, why I'm even bothering to go in the first place, dread the entire experience before I even arrive, and then, when I finally get there, wish I wasn't.
Yesterday afternoon, I took myself to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see "Surrealism: Desire Unbound" and "Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi: Father/Daughter", the former out of a genuine interest and the latter out of a manufactured one. I never heard of the Gentileschis until a girl I recently met at a shoe store wrote me an email raving about the exhibit. What do I know. I thought "Orazio" was an Italian rice dish and "Artemisia" was a kind of flower. So I decided to check out that exhibit in order to impress the new girl with my broad experience. I also wanted to see what the big deal was, because she'd told me that people were leaving the exhibit with their mouths gaping (maybe they ate too much Orazio?).
I've done this before. Gone to a museum just to impress someone. (Does that make me some sort of "Impressionist"?) Years ago when I first started seeing a guy I really liked, I accompanied him to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where we spent about six hours looking at a bunch of stuff I can't even remember. In fact, I don't think I really remembered it five minutes after leaving the museum. However, I do remember thinking, quite proudly, This is the sort of things adults do on dates. I think I may have even looped my arm through his, the way I'd seen older women doing with their gray-templed husbands.
About a year later, he and I were living together, and we went to Greece, where we also visited museums, because he was still under the impression that I really enjoyed that sort of thing. A few years after that, we were still living together, and we went to Italy, where we visited more museums and I saw way too many renditions/interpretations of "Madonna con Bambino al Trono" (little baby J looked a lot like Don Rickles in so many of the paintings). By that time our arms were far from linked, and I whined like the infant I had revealed myself to be.
We don't live together anymore, and fortunately the person I live with now isn't into the whole museum thing, so I don't have to worry about impressing him. In fact, the two times we were in Paris together, we almost pointedly avoided the Louvre, because, as we both said, we'd already been there with other people years ago. And even the Louvre failed to impress me. I remember following the trail of signs to the Mona Lisa, the sight of which I anticipated would cause my jaw to drop in awe. Well, I saw it, and the first thing I thought was, "It's so small!" The second thing I thought was, "I hope no one takes a flash picture of it" (there were signs everywhere, admonishing people not to do so). The third was, "Can't those fucking Germans read?" And the fourth was, "OK. I've seen it. Now where's the ladies' room?"
I don't know. Maybe there's something deeply wrong with me. I just don't feel anything akin to awe or wonder when I see these great works of art. I do appreciate that they are masterpieces, and I do recognize that there's a hell of a lot of talent exhibited in these places, but I just don't have the desire to stand and examine most of the stuff I see. I know a guy who believes that every work of art should be examined for the same amount of time it took the artist to create it. If this man were to trust me with the assignment of affording artwork the attention he suggests, he would be surprised to learn that the entire collection of the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art was created in two hours.
For the duration of yesterday's museum visit, I dragged myself from gallery to gallery in search of the exhibits I'd gone there to see, and that in itself was enough to make me want to leave instantly. I have a very poor sense of direction, so of course I wound up in the wrong place most of the time, despite consulting the museum map and asking the guards for directions. But when I ultimately found what I was looking for, I also found that I couldn't wait to get away from it all and go outside into the sunshine (yes, the sunshine -- which goes to show how desperate I was) and delight in the pleasure of watching pretty girls and prettier dogs walk by (or, if I was especially lucky, maybe a pretty girl walking a pretty dog). I forced myself to trudge along inside anyway, but not without muttering under my breath as if I were on a particularly torturous field trip circa 1973.
I must admit, though, that some of the surrealist work did amuse me. I mean, you've got to be a complete bumpkin not to grin at Dali and not to identify with Duchamp's desire to lightly embellish the Mona Lisa in L.H.O.O.Q. I'll also admit that there was quite a lot in the surrealism exhibit that I wanted for my apartment (even if it doesn't really match my living room -- because we all know that a good painting is one that matches one's decor). But I must also admit that I couldn't wait to get out of there. Instead, however, I grabbed myself by the arm, pulled myself off to the side, and whispered to myself, between gritted teeth, to knock it off lest I give myself detention for a week, which of course would mean that I would miss my after-school job delivering Grit.
And then I spent a total of three minutes at the Gentileschi exhibit. "Oh, I've seen stuff like this before, in Italy," I whined, glancing at my wrist for the time, even though I knew damned well that I wasn't wearing a watch.
So now what do I do when the girl I met at the shoe store asks me if I went to the Gentileschi exhibit? Do I tell her that I went? And if so, do I tell her it was, indeed, overwhelming? And if she asks me which painting moved me the most, should I just tell her that they all moved me, and then take cues from her comments on the various paintings? But what if she is "testing" me and makes stuff up to see if I really went, and then realizes I'm a big fat lying whining baby who spent more time brushing her hair in the museum's various ladies' rooms than in the gallery housing the exhibit? Oh, it's all too much to bear. I suppose I could just lie to her in the other direction and say I missed the exhibit entirely because I had detention.
Someone I hold quite dear, an avid fan of the object of my earlier scorn, sent e-mail to correct me on numerous counts.
I still stand by what I wrote, but do admit that I did make one grave error: Oprah's theme song changed two years ago! Does this mean she admits that she is not every woman?
O, I just knew I was right.
Setting: Pilates counter, Wednesday afternoon, after private session
Players: Tall Pretty Blonde Who Works There, Young Pretty Counter Girl, Me (Also Pretty, to the point of Stunning)
TPB (to YPCG): Jodi lives right next door to [yoga studio].
TPB: But she never goes there.
YPCG (to me): Oh, why don't you go!?
M: Nah. I don't have to go. I can just stand on my window sill, crane my neck, and watch them through their skylight and hear them chanting and "om"ing like a bunch of morons. They're a pain in the ass. I don't want to join them. I prefer to peer down at them and scream at the top of my lungs, "Shut up! Shut the fuck UP!!!"
YPCG: You're hilarious!
TPB: You should just go!
M: No way. I'm SO not into the whole yoga thing. (To YPCG, but not aloud: I've told you this before. I've told you this before. I've told you this before at least three times. Don't make me repeat myself. Don't question me. You're both really cute. Don't make me tell you to fuck off.)
TPB: Just try it!
YPCG: Yeah! You should.
TPB: Check it out sometime.
M: It's just not for me. I really love this Pilates stuff, but that's about as far as I'm willing to go. I just don't want to get in touch with that whole "om", chanty, let's-all-sit-on-the-floor-and-get-in-touch-with-ourselves bullshit. Nope. Not for me. I don't like being in touch.
(TPC and YPCG laugh. So do I.) (A trio of pretty girls, sharing a pretty laugh.)
YPCG: Aww, you should really get in touch!!!
M: I am in touch. I am! I'm in touch with my anger. I like my anger. I love it! And I don't want to lose it, because it's what drives me, what keeps me going, what makes me feel alive. It's part of me, and I'm not willing to give it up. (I smile. I'm sure my eyebrow is raising on its own.)
(They both laugh again. I know they're envious.)
YPCG: You're the best. I just love you!!!
M: Have a nice day!
My next appointment is in an hour. I hope I don't have to repeat myself.
I just realized something.
This: If I wanted to, I could spend my entire day in the shower.
I mean, really ... who or what is stopping me?
As if it wasn't bad enough that we've had to be subjected to scads of jackasses in suits and ties peppily zipping to work on scooters, pretty soon we're going to witness the upgrade, in the form of the Segway.
The way it works is this, kidz: If you're too old to wear a clip-on tie, then you're too old to use a scooter. I don't care if it's an original Razor or any knockoff thereof. I don't care if you paid $19.99 or $299.99. I don't care if it's souped-up and extra peppy and can get you to work faster than the bus, subway, or taxi can get you there. It's still a scooter, and it still ranks right up there with a propeller hat and a big swirly lollipop.
Same with the Segway. I'll grant that it is pretty nifty, the way you use your own body to propel the thing, and I'll admit that it may be cool to try one for about two minutes. But do we really need this thing? You see, I've discovered a really amazing way to get where I need to go. It's a really radical idea, one that may shock you, one that I've finally decided to share with the public, even if it means that the streets will be teeming with all sorts of trendy beboppers eagerly joining in on the hubbub and unspeakable fun of my bold innovation.
You see, I've found these really cool things hanging from my body. They're called legs. They're attached to my torso at the hips. In addition, a little more than halfway between my hips and the ground are these kooky knobs (they bend!) known as "knees". And if that's not enough to make you stand up and take notice, well, waaay down at the bottom of the legs are these amazing extensions we here at the laboratory have tentatively named "feet". But what's particularly clever about this whole set-up is that I found that if I balance myself on the legs (I have two, which makes it a little easier) and then sort of bend each leg at the knee, lift each leg individually, each time placing the leg a little farther ahead of where it originated, alternating left and right, I can actually propel myself forward. And amazingly enough, I can do it backwards and sideways. And with practice I can spin and accelerate and do all kinds of really far-out and funky things with the whole contraption.
(Oh, and by the way ... It's all free!)
Don't ever talk to me in a Donald Duck voice. In fact, don't talk in a Donald Duck voice ever.
Again, I thank you.
Fellas: Just because they make sandals and open-toe shoes for boys now, doesn't mean you should wear them.
Don't do it.