Our weekend in pictures:
This weekend, Brian and I rented a zip car and traveled upstate for a wedding. Our friends Oliver and Ryan were married at a winery outside of Poughkeepsie. They are very wonderful people, and the wedding was very zesty. It looked like this:
After the wedding, we traveled up to Ithaca to visit our friend Heather. Heather used to live in the City, but she moved upstate back in January. Our friend Dan came along for the ride, and we got to meet his whole family. They looked like this:
Heather lives in Ithaca's EcoVillage, where the homes are equipped with neat things like solar panels and composting toilets. It is very beautiful up there, but we were a little weirded out by how many people were reading books about "humanure" Heather's home in EcoVillage looked a little like this:
It's true what they say about Ithaca being gorgeous. Heather took us to a Taughannock Falls national park, where we saw and great big gorge and a really swell waterfall. Brian got so into it, he took off his shoes and got his feet wet in the stream. Then he stepped into some kind of pothole, and found himself underwater up to his waist. So I yelled at in. Our trip to the falls looked like this:
Later, Heather took us to one of Ithaca's many wineries for a wine tasting. It was fun. Our wine-happiness looked like this:
That evening, we saw the movie The Wind that Shakes the Barley. I knew almost nothing about the film beforehand. For some reason I assumed it was about the Irish Potato Famine. It was really about Ireland's fight for independence in the 1920s. It was rather violent and depressing. I was disappointed.
On Monday afternoon, we bade Heather farewell and began the long drive back to New York City. Just south and east of Scranton, right by the exit for Moscow, Pennsylvania, our zip car started driving bumpily. I thought it was Brian's fault, so I yelled at him. But actually, our car was bumping because we were driving on our rim. We pulled over and discovered that the rear driver's side tire had been completely ripped in two. We have no idea how it happened. For about ten minutes we stood around in a state of sheer panic and yelled at each other. Then we calmed down and began changing the tire. It took a while to locate all the parts that were needed, but we (mostly Brian) finally did it. The old, ripped up tire looked something like this:
The rest of the trip home was thankfully uneventful. Brian recalled that the last time we had had a flat was when we were back in Maryland. It was the day before we were supposed to move to New York City. It was evening. And it was raining. We blew a flat, and when we went to pull over, the car kind of slumped off into a ditch. We could hardly see anything, and two possibly developmentally disabled women found us and went back to their home to get a flashlight. But they refused to hold the flashlight up in any way that would allow Brian to see the bolts. Mostly, they just wanted to chat with us. They seemed to be having a nice time. But we hated them and their lame kindness.
It was then that we confirmed our desire to live a car-free lifestyle, and were very happy to be moving to a city that would allow us to do just that.
Now we're back in the city. The zip car has been returned. Brian and I took the train to work this morning. We've been to Poughkeepsie and Ithaca and even Moscow, but we're back home now. And we feel great.
My new office is on the 23rd floor.
Yesterday, like most days, I went down to the cafe downstairs to get lunch. There was a young man and a middle-aged woman already inside the elevator. They reshuffled themselves a bit when I entered. The elevator made another stop, and we picked up a 30-something fellow who was visibly agitated. He entered the elevator with much gusto, cursing to himself, pushing us even farther back into the recesses of the elevator.
And it was when we did so that I noticed his right trouser pocket was turned inside out, coughing up its material onto the back of his pants. The fellow was still agitated, still cursing, still taking up the majority of space inside the elevator – our elevator – but looking a bit foolish for having his pants pocket completely turned out.
I smiled. And my comrade, the young man, saw me smile. He smiled too. So I smiled again. And he giggled a bit. When I giggled back, he pointed to the agitated fellow's out-turned pocket. I nodded conspiratorially. Then we reached the ground floor, and we all went our separate ways.
I thought about this vignette, and thought about telling it, about the best way it could end. Maybe, on my way back up, I would ride with my giggling comrade.
But it didn’t happen that way. On my way back up, just as the doors were closing, the out-turned pocket guy jumped in. He was still agitated. He didn’t seem to recognize me from ten minutes earlier. And his pocket – he had managed to stuff most, but not all, of the material back in.
I wondered about what had happened to make him perform that poor attempt at fixing his back pocket. I wondered if someone had told him. Or if, out of the corner of his eye, he had witnessed my comrade and I pointing and giggling.
And in thinking about the arc the story was forming, I realized that it wasn’t a very good story after all. Except to say that nothing forms bonds among strangers like a nice dose of schadenfreude.
I left work and stopped off at the Duane Reade
I needed some toothpaste, some hand soap, some ladies products. And some gum.
The gum section was a little off to the side from the front counter, but obscured from site by the greeting card section. When I walked around the greeting cards, I saw two individuals engaged in what appeared to be a flagrant act of shoplifting.
The first individual was a 30-ish gentleman dressed casually but cleanly. He had a sober look on his face and was holding open a tote bag.
The second individual looked like what can only be described as a crazy toothless homeless person. She was wearing a dirty tube top, tiny, ripped jean shorts, and old flip flops. Her eyes were rolling in her head, and she kept saying, none too softly, "We're going to steal us some gum. DO YOU HEAR ME? We're STEALING US some GUM!"
She proceeded to pull packs of gum off the shelf, ten or more at a time, and drop them into the tote bag being held open by the normal-looking individual.
I grabbed one pack of gum, ran back around the greeting cards, and made my way past a dopey-looking female security guard to the front counter. Shortly after I did so, the gum-stealing couple took a similar path, but instead of walking to the front counter, walked right out the door. As they passed the security guard, the second individual kept repeating, "THAT'S RIGHT! WE JUST STOLE US A WHOLE BUNCH OF GUM. JUST TRY AND STOP US! HEH, HEH, HEH! A WHOLE BUNCH OF GUM. JUST TRY AND STOP US!"
The cashier looked at me, then at the security guard. Then back at me. I smiled. "Yes," I said. "They did steal a whole bunch of gum. I saw them putting it into a tote bag."
The cashier looked back at the guard again in utter disbelief. But the guard only shrugged her shoulders, saying, "What you want me to do about it? They're out of the store now. They're probably all the way down the block."
They were probably not already down the block. But the security guard clearly didn't feel like moving. The cashier said to me, "They stole gum? People steal gum all the time."
"A whole bunch of gum," I said. "They almost cleaned out the section. And they were pretty vocal about it."
"Will you look and see how much they took," The cashier said to the guard.
"Why?" the guard said. "They're already gone. They're probably out of sight by now."
The cashier looked at the guard, then back at me. She said, "People take stuff all the time. They take a lot of stuff all the time."
I smiled, paid, and left the store.
Brian was so happy when he was able to secure a "bgeller" web-based email account.
Little did he know this would open up a world of misdirected email messages.
He’s received emails for Barry Geller, Bella Geller, Bernie Geller, Boris Geller, and Brandon Geller. And how could we forget Brooke Geller.
Oh, how could we ever have forgotten the flirtatious “cookie” email from William to Brooke. Do you think he was hurt that she never got back to him? Apparently, not hurt enough. Because he’s at it again:
From: William HarrisHmmm. Something tells me that Brooke is not around.
My friend Sam hooked us up with free theater tickets.
He works for a theater, and he is sometimes able to get us free tickets. We don't normally get out to see shows that often, mostly because they're too expensive. But I said to Brian, "Even if we don't like the show, at the very least, we'll be doing something cultural."
But, as it turned out, I more than didn't like the show. I hated it. Brian didn't like it much either, but I felt that watching the play was like some sort of metaphysical torture.
I was supposed to call Sam when the play was done (he was still working) ... and any normal person would have done that. But I didn't. I couldn't bear to tell Sam I didn't like the show, and I didn't feel I could be a remotely convincing liar. So I ducked out and ran to the Urban Outfitter, where I purchased two pairs of consolation jelly shoes.
Of course, Sam called to say Where the hell are you?, and then I was forced to admit that I had fled the theater because I was too immature to tell him the truth -- that I thought the play, the one he had gotten Brian and me into for free, had almost no redeeming qualities.
So this is one of my problems: I would rather flee from someone I like than tell them bad news.
Another one of my problems: I don't mind giving bad news to people I don't know.
On our way back from the subway, Brian pointed out that some naughty MTA employee had misspelled the word "Bleecker".
Here is someone else's picture of a Bleecker Street street sign.
And here is my picture of the sign on the subway.
Okay. I'm the first to admit that I am a HORRIBLE spelled. But really. This is silly. Doesn't anyone around there proofread? And did they put it up anyway thinking we wouldn't notice?
First day ... was okay.
Very strange to be doing as a job the thing you've been doing for fun in your spare time.
On August 12, 2001, I left graduate school in Maryland and moved with my then fiancé, Brian Geller, to New York City. I had a only song in my heart, an HTML book under my arm, and a dream of a career as a web content developer. It was a strange and nerdy dream. But I was strange and nerdy.
As a graduation present, Brian had bought me this website, and, with a little help from Jenny Miller, I began teaching myself code, secure in the faith that a new media job was hovering just around the corner.
Then some things happened. And some more things. After a prolonged bout of unemployment, I found work with a September 11th commemorative gallery, a non-toxic sculpting resin manufacturer, and, for the last four years, a Holocaust Museum.
In November of 2006, I turned 30. I took a long, hard look at my bellybutton and realized that my life was off track. I loved my Museum and the people with whom I worked, but it was time for me to move on.
I have worked at the Museum for almost exactly 4 years. My last day was Thursday, May 10th. It was an incredibly bittersweet day, a day that saw me struggle for almost 8 hours (on and off) to compose a two sentence long resignation letter.
And just when I was convinced that I was going to fade out quietly, that my coworkers had all but forgotten me, they surprised me with a fabulous goodbye party and two ice cream cakes (I didn't eat them all).
I cried the bizarre, sloppy tears of one whose heart is rending. But if I had never decided to leave, how would I ever have found out how many ice cream cakes I was worth?
I made my coworkers and friends a postcard by which to remember me. It looked like this:
After work, many people headed to a pub in the East Village. Former coworkers came from as far away as Chicago (okay, just one), and they drank and played pool alongside present coworkers, college and grad school friends, and even a couple of cousins. I would have cried more, but I was having too good of a time. Here is what it looked like:
On Monday I begin my new life as Manager of New Media & Graphic Design at the New York offices of Habitat for Humanity. I am both nervous and happy. I want to thank everyone who came out to celebrate with me last night, everyone who participated in the ice cream and crying fest at the office, those special people in Clearwater, Cleveland, and Seattle who phoned it in, and a special thanks to my old man, Brian, for being so swell and putting up with my loud mouth and enormous ego. I realize that, on occasion, I can be difficult.
Brian and I officially met in the spring of 1996.
We met through a mutual friend, but we really didn't start hanging out together until the spring of 1997. Those days were filled with discoveries of how much we had in common. Of course, there were many things we didn't have in common. I was a tremendous loud attention hog, while Brian was quieter and more thoughtful, avoiding the spotlight, choosing his words carefully. I stock-piled toilet paper for fear I would one day be without, while Brian waited for it to magically reappear.
So we were different, yes, but we were similar too. We came from similar backgrounds. The same things made us laugh. We were both horribly clumsy. We both identified as outsiders. And we had near identical taste in movies.
Have you ever told your limb to do something, and it didn't respond properly? Maybe it started to shake, or maybe it just sat there. Disbelief. Then fear and betrayal pulsate through your brain. This is how Brian and I feel when we disagree about a movie.
The other night we watched Cool Hand Luke. Neither of us has seen the film before. I knew so little about it, I thought it was a cowboy movie. But it actually takes place in a prison camp in Florida in the late forties. Both Brian and I liked the movie, though we both agreed that the smiling montage at the end was cheesy.
Then I said, "What I really liked about this movie was that it wasn't really about Luke at all. It was about what someone like Luke meant to the other guys in the prison camp. The focus was subtly off-center."
Brian scoffed. "It's totally about Luke. It's an anti-authoritarian film."
"But it's really the story of the other guys," I said.
"What?" Brian said. "It's clearly about Luke. All that christ imagery."
"But it's about how this christ-figure affects the other prisoners."
"I don't understand what you're talking about," Brian said. "It's an anti-war film. It's an anti-authoritarianism film. Like all those other films from the late 60s."
"I know. But the focus was really off center. Luke isn't the center of this film, even if he is the main character."
Brian said, "Did you like the movie or not?"
"Yeah," I said, "I liked it. Except for the smile montage at the end."
"We both liked the film. Why are we arguing?"
"It's true," I said. "We both liked the film. I'm sorry. I don't want to argue."
We got up to brush our teeth. Then I added, "But you have to admit the focus of the movie wasn't Luke...."
Being a politician is difficult.
One must try to reach out to all one's constituents, be they democrat or republican, black or white, Jew or gentile, flesh or plush.
Here's a picture of DebCentral's mother, Florida State Representative MomCentral, as she reaches across boundaries of district and species to appeal to a more diverse constituency: plush university mascots.
My grandmother called me twice last week and left messages.
She had found an article she wanted to cut out and send me. It didn't sound like an emergency, so I waited until last night to call her back. When she picked up the phone, she said, "Hh-ellllo…"
She didn't sound too good. So I said, "Nonna? You sound awful."
She said, "I feel awful."
"I must have a bug or something. I've been nauseous all day. I keep taking more and more of those goddamn pills, but I don't feel any better."
I have no idea to what pills she was referring. But then she said, "I'm going to have to call you back, darling. I'm about the throw up."
Shortly thereafter, she did and then she did. It was a kind of a cute conversation.