When we first moved to Brooklyn, we had every intention of doing our own laundry.
The nearest laundromat was on 6th Avenue, only a couple blocks away, which was great. But there was something weird about the place.
For starters, it kept really lousy hours, closing at 6:30 on weekdays and 7:30 on weekends. And then there was the guy who managed the place. He always had this incredibly suspicious look in his eyes. And he was always peeping around corners spying at us laundry-doers.
His eyes were heavy on you while you loaded up the washer. He would do creepy laps around the small facility while you waited for your clothing to dry. And folding around him with his your-going-to-slip-up-sooner-or-later gaze was simply too much.
We tried schlepping our dirty clothes to new laundromats, but they were farther away with fewer places to sit. So, eventually, we found a cute place about five blocks away with a bunch of workers who get a real kick out of our laundry bag. We drop off our laundry, and they wash, dry, and fold it better than we ever could. And when we come to pick it up, they always make some incomprehensible joke about our laundry bag. But they know us. They're friendly and hard-working and are the farthest thing from creepy peepers.
Still. I have some things that are not supposed to be run through the dryer. So every few weeks, we take our small bundle of delicates to be washed, then take them home and hang them on our drying rack.
I'm lazy, so I usually make Brian do this. And he usually goes to the 6th Avenue Laundry.
On Saturday afternoon, I took in my own delicates. I walked into the weird laundromat, opened the washer, and began loading in my clothing items.
"NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" It was a the horrible booming cry of the weird laundromat guy. He had practically swooped in, and was now hovering inches from my face. "READ SIGN!" He motioned at me like his arms were on fire.
I looked over at the sign. It said, "Last load in at 6:00 PM" I looked at my watch. It was 6:04.
I looked back at the laundromat guy. "NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he screamed again. He sounded like he was avenging the honor of a close friend of relative.
I said, "But I'm just washing. Not drying. Delicates."
"But I'll be out in 25 minutes."
"NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO! NO! NO! LAST LOAD IN AT 6 PM. PERIOD. READ SIGN!"
I looked around the laundromat. All the other people in the facility suddenly looked down, pretending to examine their own laundry. They refused to meet my eye. I felt like I pariah. I was being banished from the 6th Avenue Laundry. There was not much I could do about it.
So I began loading my delicates back into my bag. The creepy peeping laundromat guy turned around and stomped away, still proclaiming affectedly, "LAST LOAD 6 PM!!!" He said it like the other laundry-doers totally agreed with him, like they all thought I was as big of an idiot as he did. Everyone looked uncomfortable. I walked out, the bag of delicates under my arm, feeling strangely hurt and vulnerable.
I walked four blocks to the next nearest laundromat. They were open until 8:30. Their sign said nothing about a time for a last load. People inside were chatting and folding laundry. The owners appeared to be doing inventory. The soft steady sound of soggy clothes spinning was perfect music. I sat in the corner and knitted, waiting for my delicates to be clean again.
Speaking of knitting, here's a picture of scarf number three. Scarf number four is nearing completion.
I think one of my big problems is that I don't feel the way I look.
I mean, the me the way I imagine myself looks much different than the me as I seem to appear. And I have a lot of psychic trouble reconciling the two.
For starters, I feel a good deal taller than I actually am. When I'm not slouching, I come in at just around 5'2". And Brian is 6'1", but I think of us as being roughly the same height, and am always surprised to see pictures of us in which I comparably look like a dwarf. In my dreams, I am always taller than everyone else. But in real life, I need a step stool to reach the glasses in the kitchen cabinets.
My psychic self has okay posture. My real self has a slouch like a question mark.
My psychic self is elegant and radiantly glamorous. And tall. My real self might sometimes be mistaken for a loud dumpy gnome.
I am forever studying images of myself, trying to figure out how someone so gigantic got stuck in such a tiny body. How did my dramatically helixing soul get caught behind a prosaic Russian peasant woman face?
My uncle once looked at a roll of film my father had taken and complained that his brother had sabotaged the pictures, replacing his own imagine with that of an heavy, bloated, sallow-faced, middle-aged man.
Sometimes, though, when I'm telling a story and I'm really on a roll, I feel like I am able to transcend my small, dull form. I am able to become to others how I feel inside: brilliant and larger-than-life. I guess that's why I thought I wanted to go into the theater. But in college I discovered that all the theater people were freaks. So here I am. Webbing it up. Writing erratically. Drinking. And watching French films with a husband who is actually quite tall, but feels in his soul to be only 5'6".
I'm continuing my ed.
I enrolled in a Continuing Education InDesign class at NYU.
I was a bit panicky, because it's been a while since I was in school. I kept fearing that there were things I should be doing to prepare that hadn't yet occurred to me.
When I walked into the classroom, I almost freaked out. There was a room-full of people working studiously on computers. Was I late? Did I somehow miss the first assignment?
But as I walked through the room, I noticed that my fellow classmates were all just checking their email.
The girl next to me spent a portion of the class ordering clothes online. It was weird. At one point, the teacher even said, "Hey, you guys. Please look up. If you only listen to one thing today, you should listen to this."
It's a different world.
In my college days, all our computers were dos-based.
Our first assignment was to create a picture using only circles, rectangles, and triangles. so I made this:
I know, I know.
It seems the less religious I become, the more freaked out I get about Yom Kippur.
I will never be not Jewish. But somehow, the more I learn about the more intensive practicing of Judaism, the more alienated I feel by it.
Still. One worries. And isn't insurance always a good idea?
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
Okay, now for the next item: In honor of Kol Nidre, the holiest day of the year, I will post a text message my friend Bob recently received from his friend Andy:
the police just found a body with no brain, fucked up teeth, shitty underwear and a retarded face. i was worried. call me if you are ok.Bob would also like to send his well wishes on this very somber and reverent day. He wrote me, "I hope you have a very remorseful, reflective fast." Then he left to scribble the words in the men's room stall.
Thank you, Bob.
This year is a whammy.
Yom Kippur on the Sabbath. That means it's super duper holy (and the services will be even longer).
I do not look forward to the Day of Atonement. I kind of dread it. I must forgive all those people who I feel have wronged me this past year. I am not allowed to carry my rancor over into 5768. And I have to ask forgiveness from the people whom I have wronged.
I'm sorry to the people I made fun of, even though it made for a good joke. That was wrong, and I know it.
Sorry to all the people I didn't call or email back. It wasn't personal. I'm just not good at it. But I'm sorry anyway.
If I lost my temper with you, I'm sorry. I was a middle child, and I get frustrated easily. Still, this is no excuse, and I'm sorry.
I think that's all for now. I've got a couple more days to think up some more items. Then, on Friday, I will begin reciting the alphabet of woe with the rest of my people.
I aspire to be a kinder, gentler person. But sometimes life gets in the way.
As you may already know, Brian gets a lot of misdirected email messages on his personal email account. While I'm busy reforming, please enjoy this latest misdirected email exchange of Brian's:
From: Random Woman
Here are some more pictures:
Here is Clare, Stephen, and Maeve at the Baltimore Museum of Art two Saturdays ago.
On Sunday, we went to the zoo. Of course, we did this for baby Maeve.
And here is Maeve conducting her favorite activity: slogging around the house in adult-sized shoes.
Now, for a picture of me in scarf number 2.
This past Saturday, I went yarn shopping with Karen. I have just started on scarf number 4, which will be a ribbed number for Brian. Yea!
I know I said I'd talk more about my trip.
But I lied.
I've been a bit swamped, what with work and the Jewish New Year fast approaching. And last night, I spent the evening at the New York Historical Society for the opening of the show of pictures from Here Is New York, the September 11 remembrance gallery I worked at when I first moved to New York City.
It was so wonderful to see all those images up and arranged on clotheslines, just like in the old days. And, like in the old days, a whole bunch of the old Here Is New York gang was there to celebrate. And just like the old days, there was a tremendous amount of tension between the people in the erstwhile organization who felt it was all theirs and the rest of us, who did most of the work.
The event was bittersweet, and was bookmarked by an ongoing heated email debate, of which I surely took part.
My former coworker from the Museum, Nathan, showed up to the opening and snapped some pictures of the gang (the good ones). Here we are:
Star, Shaun, me, Maggie, Abigail, Ruth, Pam, Paul, & Jay
For the record, working for Here Is New York was an incredible emotional and important experience in my life. Everyone there became like my family. And, just like one's family, I came to love most of them in a very real and very strong way. I am still in regular contact with many of them.
But, also like one's family, there were a few bad eggs at the gallery who were incredibly egotistical, manipulative, insincere, petty, and small-minded. Most of those types can barely remember my name. Still, I spent the better part of my train ride to and from the opening yesterday fomenting about things I wanted to say to them.
This morning I was still fuming. But I have decided that I do not want to let my hate consume me. So, for the new year, I want to forgive all those people at the gallery who I felt had wronged me (like the way they told me they were letting me go the day after I found out my mother-in-law had ovarian cancer). Even though they were terrible people with horrible rotting souls made of shrunken, old tar and stinky garbage, I want to say that it's all okay. After 6 years, I'm going to try to clean the slate.
However, if any of those f*ckers crosses me again, they're going to get clocked.
We had a wonderful weekend with our hosts Clare and Stephen.
It had been a year since we saw their daugther, Maeve, who is now almost 19 months old. I will tell you more about our weekend in Baltimore, but for now, I offer you only a collage of Maeve, Cheerios, and a pair of very large glasses.
I finished my second scarf, which looks a lot more like a scarf and less like a knotted turd. Picture to follow. I am almost finished with scarf number three. It's awesomely dorky.
David E. writes:
Your knitting story made me want to share my 6th grade experience of learning to crochet. Our teacher wanted us to write a report on the art of crocheting and also to crochet something. Many of the boys said they were going to refuse, because they thought it was too girly, and I was a little afraid to go against that -- but while they were secretly crocheting at home, I actually wasn't at all.I think David should have gotten an "A" for thinking on his feet.
A couple pictures I forgot to post yesterday — In the four years we lived on the Upper East Side, Brian and I never went to the old school German restaurant, which was only a block and a half away. After our horrendous dinner with my relatives on Saturday, we stopped by for a beer. They actually have a small garden (or garten) area in the back. Who knew? Here are the pictures I took.
Tomorrow we'll be heading out to visit Clare and Stephen and whomever else we may stumble upon in our Baltimore adventures.
My uncle turned 63 on Friday.
I called my grandmother on Thursday to tell her I'd be visiting her and my uncle on Saturday. Then we talked about the problems she was having with her computer. Suddenly, she paused and said, "Wait. Did you say you were coming on Friday or Saturday?"
"Nonna, I work on Friday. I'll be there Saturday."
"Oh, good," she said. "It's just that your uncle has invited a friend to dinner on Friday. An older black woman. I think she's a prostitute. I was just thinking that if you came to visit on Friday it might be uncomfortable."
Yes. It probably would.
On Saturday, my relatives were in rare bickering form. Mostly because my 89-year-old grandmother wanted her 63-year-old son to learn to use the computer. She would say things like, "YOU'RE SO GODDAMN AFRAID OF THE THING. I JUST WANT YOU TO SIT DOWN AND LEARN TO USE THE MACHINE. YOU CAN PLAY CARDS ON IT, FOR CHRISSAKE!"
Then my uncle would say, "BUT I DON'T WANT TO PLAY CARDS. IF I WANTED TO PLAY CARDS, I WOULD GET A DECK. I DON'T WANT TO USE A MACHINE TO PLAY CARDS."
I kept trying to get the details about what had happened the evening before. There had been two women my uncle would refer to as his "girlfriends". One would occasionally visit him in the institution and send regular birthday cards with very nice penmanship. That was Melanie, and she suffered a brain aneurysm and died shortly after my uncle began receiving unescorted weekend passes. The other was Natalie. She only visited when my uncle paid her. She never wrote back, so I can form no opinions regarding her penmanship. She was a good 8 years older than him. And is still alive.
I believe my uncle met both women in the great singles mixer that is the mental hospital. They both apparently have histories of mental illness and drug abuse, and so if either one of them was a prostitute, it was purely ancillary.
What I learned about Natalie coming to dinner was that at 71, she suffers from severe arthritis and cannot walk without a cane. She arrived on the Upper East Side from the Bronx via Access-A-Ride. She ordered Shrimp Parmesan for dinner (A dish I never knew existed) and was a relatively good conversationalist. She then went back to my uncle's apartment, where he bestowed upon her a number of pens and refrigerator magnets he had sitting around. He said, "I also gave her a crisp two dollar bill, a silver dollar, two 50 cent pieces, a Susan B. Anthony dollar — which is not actually silver — and a five dollar bill for the Access-A-Ride home."
I was emailing with my friend Molly last night. I said, "Now that is definitely a New York City couple: schizophrenic man and hooker. And a hooker who is considered to be vastly more pleasant to be around by schizophrenic man's mother.
Molly said, "With a headline that unusual they might actually make the Times wedding section.
"That would be super awesome."
"Schizophrenic Arsonist and Low-Price Geriatric Hooker Wed in Splendid Pyrotechnic Ceremony. Limos by Access-a-Ride"
I knew there was a reason I loved Molly.
Here's a picture of Uncle Ira and me:
And here is Sam on Friday wearing a t-shirt I made him:
And here are some pictures taken at my friend Eileen's birthday party on Sunday. Lots of estrogen.
Tomorrow: More on crafts.
I had an extremely vivid dream last night. I dreamed I had a baby.
I'm still a bit freaked out. I was having a dream where I was trying to get to a friend's wedding, and I was lost. My parents were there. So maybe it was a cousin's wedding. But then I went into labor. I had this baby. I felt incredibly woozy. The nurse called a car service for me, and I took it to the wedding reception.
So I had this baby now. And I loved it. I absolutely loved my baby. It was super cute, too. I was so happy to have this baby. I talked to it and snuggled it. Then I was in a grocery store with my mother. She asked me if I needed any more diapers.
I didn't have any diapers. I didn't have any baby clothes. I didn't have any baby supplies. I didn't have any anything.
I realized that no one in the hospital showed me how to wrap up the baby. Or to breastfeed. I was entirely clueless. I hadn't bothered to think of a name. I didn't tell my work that I was about to have a baby. I didn't have daycare set up, so I was going to have to bring the baby to the office in the morning.
My mother said, "You're entitled to some maternity leave."
"I know," I said, "But I didn't give them any warning. I have stuff that I'm supposed to finish by the end of the week. I have to go in."
I still loved my baby, but I could feel my life spiraling into chaos. This was a very different kind of dream than the ones I would have in high school and college in which I was pregnant with some kind of ungodly beastly creature. In fact, Brian came to wake me up at a quarter to seven, but I wouldn't get out of bed, because I wanted to know how everything turned out.
Everything turned out to be a dream. I did not have a spontaneous baby. I will have plenty of time for work this week. As I walked to the train station this morning, I was haunted by the feeling I was forgetting something. My ghostly dream child? I felt so sad. I had to remind myself that any real baby I had would probably have schizophrenia.