Bob is in town.
I had dinner with him and some of his friends last night. We email all the time, but it was very nice to see him in person again.
Here are some pictures of my beloved Bobert.
Last night, after I got home, I had a little meltdown because I feared my suitcase wouldn't be big enough. And it's supposed to rain the entire time we're there. So should I bring a raincoat? Brian says no but my coworkers say yes. What about rainboots? Should I just buy them there? I'm a little panicked.
Last night, I said something to Brian like, "We both have these tiny carry-on suitcases and it's just not enough room. It's barely enough room for a three day weekend."
He said, "So we'll bring another bag."
"They might not let us check another bag. And then we'll have three bags and it'll be hard for us to carry them."
Brian said, "We have that other suitcase in the closet. It's pretty big."
"I hate that suitcase," I said. "It's ugly. I don't want to bring that suitcase to Paris. It doesn't deserve it."
Brian said, "What do you want me to say?"
Then he walked into the next room and I screamed back, "Why are you abandoning me? We have to talk about this."
"But you told me you didn't want me to say anything."
"You don't care about me. If you cared about me, you'd help me come up with a plan."
"But I just made a few suggestions and you rejected them all."
"I'm panicked. I haven't started packing yet. But how can I start packing when I don't know what suitcase I'm bringing."
"You'll pack tomorrow."
"You never plan. You never prepare. I'm always the one running out and buying all the toiletries for our trips."
"Maybe I should have my own toiletry case."
"Why's it stupid. I used to have my own toiletry case."
"Yeah, and it was yucky and gross. And it doesn't matter, because I'm always running around buying the toiletries. You might as well use my toiletry case."
"Well, what if I bought my own toiletries?"
"That's dumb. I'm going to buy them anyway. I LIKE TO BUY TOILETRIES."
"What are we even talking about?"
"I DON'T KNOW. BUT I'M FEELING VERY ANXIOUS."
We went to bed fighting. This morning, I kind of pulled it together, but I'm getting anxious again.
Ms. Banana came over last night.
We ate pizza and drank wine and she showed me how to use our new camera and where to go and where not to go in Paris. It was great. She looked at a map and explained what museums were great to visit and which ones had terribly long lines and which museums had lousy collections but great giftshops and she let me know how long it would take to walk different places.
This made me feel much more relaxed. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am not a good traveler. I love the idea of traveling. And I love having had the experience of traveling. But while I'm actually traveling, I seem to have a lot of trouble just going with the flow.
When we were in Prague, when Brian wanted to stroll down tiny, picturesque alleyways, I would begin to have an anxiety attack because I was sure that we would get mugged or lost and never be able to find our way home. I was a total drag. And in Budapest, at one point, I sat down on the curb and just started crying.
My memories of our trip, though, are extremely pleasant. Somehow, when I think back about the experience, I airbrush out the crazy. But Brian remembers. Because he was the one who had to lug me around when I had my little meltdowns. I think I kind of ruined things for him.
But this time I am determined to do better. I have been studying a map and people have been giving me advice so I know what to expect. And I think coming to terms with being a lousy traveler.
After Ms. Banana enlightened me on thing Paris and Canon SD 1100, we played the Wii a bit. Which is to say she made an avatar for herself.
Here we are together just hanging out:
I don't know what the internet situation will be like while we're away. So here is an article to read:
And here's one last photo for the day. Also taken with my crappy camera phone. It is a picture of a heavy-set man mopping the floor of a nursery school in Tribeca. He is doing this around 7pm, which is still daylight, and he is not wearing a shirt. Uck.
We're leaving for Paris on Saturday.
Just for a week. But I didn't say anything because I didn't want to jinx it.
I love my camera, but it's enormous and expensive. And it's an ordeal to assemble with the new lens and the bounce flash. And since I've been unhappy with my camera's performance in very low light situations, I just bought one of those tupperware things you stick on top of your flash.
The more I obsess about my camera, the more equipment I buy for my camera, the more I recognize scenes I pass as pictures, the more I ensure that I will never capture any of those pictures, because it takes me ten minutes just to assemble my camera. And it's heavy. And expensive. I don't want it to get damaged, lost, or stolen.
So my camera stays at home. Like a young hemophiliac tsarevich — so full of promise, but too valuable and fragile to be allowed to go out and play (and like a young tsarevich, a little too heavy and cumbersome to carry in your purse).
So I purchased for Brian a small point-and-shoot camera (like Ms. Banana's). Maybe we will come back with some pictures.
Here are some night shots with my camera (without flash):
I'll try taking some pictures tonight with my new tupperware flash thing and tell you how they look.
I've been thinking about Brian versus Ira Glass.
I've been thinking that over the years a number of people have asked or assumed that Brian was Irish, and are often surprised to find out that he's actually Jewish. This is especially weird, because it's happened at Shabbat dinners and other Jewish events. Sometimes, I wonder if it isn't exclusively Jewish people who think Brian looks Irish.
But Ira Glass doesn't look Irish at all. Right? Maybe on the continuum of looks, Brian is located someplace between Irish and Ira Glass.
No one ever mistakes me for anything but short and Jewish and loud. At least, not to my face.
Brian and I recently got a Nintendo Wii. Sure, playing the games is fun. But so is creating avatars (or miis). Jewish? Irish? Ira-ish? Here we are.
What I really love about this picture is its secret message. I didn't see the message until I had it up on my computer: Change OK. Or maybe it's saying "Change. OK." Like a mom's calm ultimatum when she thinks you're dressed inappropriately.
There are two stories in the news about people taking advantage of dead nonagenarians.
Hospital worker admits having sex with corpse.
"Authorities said a security guard last year saw Merino engaging in sexual activity with the body in the Holy Name Hospital morgue."Poor security guard. That's got to be so awkward.
Also, in my opinion, the very, very best story of the year: Dead woman's money spent. This story hits just about all the major tabloid plot points:
I loved this story so much, I started chatting about it with Bob, who I assumed had heard about it already. But he hadn't and got confused at first, thinking I was conflating two other stories: Woman sits on boyfriend's toilet for 2 years and Corpse Wheeled to Check-Cashing Store Leads to 2 Arrests. I had actually heard of the latter, but not the former. Wow. So many dead people, SS check cashing, and toilet stories out there. Incredible! I see the makings of a new rock opera.
Also: Jenny's back! What I relief. I was getting terribly bored.
About a week ago, Brian received an email from a coworker.
It looked something like this:
Subject: Ira glass, this american lifeThe coworker was referencing the poster for This American Life, hundreds of which are plastered all over the city. They look something like this:
Several days later, Brian received a voicemail from his aunt, who had independently come to the same conclusion.
The comparisons to Ira Glass have been growing, and while Brian doesn't agree, he has noted that there are many worse people to be accused of looking like.
He was discussing this with coworkers on their way back from lunch when they passed one of these ubiquitous posters. The coworkers suggested Brian stand beside the poster. As he did, a cab driver, who was stopped at a nearby light, leaned out of his window. He pointed and yelled excitedly, "IT'S HIM!"
Since then, Brian has been trying to avoid standing too close to any "This American Life" ads.
I didn't mean to sound like a crazy bag lady in the last post.
I'm aware that biology is biology. But humans weren't built to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day either. That's why we've developed ergonomic keyboards and lumbar support and those cushion things that attach to your telephone receiver.
But when a female has a baby when she is young and not financially/emotionally stable, we think she is trashy and careless. When she gets pregnant and wants an abortion, we tell her she's a murderer. And when she waits until she's good and ready, we tell her she's selfish.
My general feeling is that women can't win. I think this is partly due to the fact that many of women's harshest critics are other women.
I was home sick the other day, and I slept for probably almost 20 hours (non-continuous). During that time, I experienced hundreds of dreams. I remembered only brief snippets of some of them, but for some, and I could recall whole plot lines. They seemed to be interconnected and very vivid.
During one dream, Brian and I were cleaning up the items on our messy bedroom floor when he dug out a pair of gaudily shiny tuxedo dress shoes. I was surprised that he would own such a thing, and when I said as much, he told me, "Don't you remember: I wore them to our wedding."
In another, I was sorting through papers on our bed when I noticed what looked like a take-home test. It was dated two weeks earlier. I realized at that moment that I had forgotten all about the test, which was our final, and now probably failed the class.
I think in most if not all of the dreams I remembered, I was straightening up our otherwise messy apartment and discovered items I had forgotten about — for better or for worse. It's kind of dumb, I guess. But I would wake up from one dream, sweaty-headed and dazed, having just experienced finding, among the bills on the kitchen table, a rent check that Brian had forgotten to send out. Then I would plunge back into sleep, only to have the scenario reshuffled. Now I was doing the dishes. I felt something strange at the bottom of the sink. Out of the soapy water I pulled a large amber old-lady ring.
At least none of the dreams had my teeth falling out.
I started my day this morning with some of the most depressing news I've heard in a while:
For Prospective Moms, Biology and Culture Clash
Fertility seems to peak at about age 22, says Marcel Cedars, director of reproductive endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. After that, it gradually declines, and past the age of 35, pregnancy is much harder to achieve.Ladies, you may think that waiting until you are emotionally and financially stable is a good idea, but you are just being selfish. And by the time you are ready to have a child, you will only have one egg left, and it will be spotty with the downs.
Grrr. When I read things like this, I want to submit my own articles: "MEN'S EMOTIONAL INFLEXIBITY AND PROPENSITY TO LIVE IN SQUALOR CONTRIBUTE TO EARLY DEATH RATES"; "PHARMACUTICAL COMPANIES SAY IMPOTANCE SEXIER THAN BIRTH CONTROL."
Bob sent me an article too: 15 Fish Hooks Surround Dog's Neck: Border Collie Underwent Surgery To Remove Hook. This was preferable to the link to the Norwegian metal band slideshow he sent me last week.
Brian and I pulled out the TV tables so we could eat dinner while watching the last episode of the second season of The Wire.
Before we put the disk in, Brian said, "I think we need to get a new DVD player. This one isn't doing so well."
I said I hadn't noticed any problems. Then I put in the disk and the DVD made terrible noises, but wouldn't load. I said, "Brian, it heard you!"
This was truly my first thought—that the DVD player had heard Brian insulting it and decided to take revenge.
I walked up to the player, knelt down, turned the machine off. And when I turned it back on, I said loudly (so it could hear) that it had always been a very hard-working and reliable DVD player and I had no intention of replacing it.
But the damage was done.
We moved to the desktop computer to watch the show. I scooted up my TV table to get a better look. And we began watching. The first 20 minutes or so were personally uneventful.
But then, like all things of its kind, it happened in slow motion. A wooden dowel holding up the legs of the TV table inexplicably came loose. As it fell to the floor, it scratched my right thigh. I looked down from the monitor to see what was happening, and I saw the top of the TV table tilting forward. I reached out to grab my plate full of food, my glass of water, my glass of wine, as they slid forward and down. I lurched forward and was thrown back by the breath of the table top. One after the other the dinner accouchements crashed to the floor, the wine glass bouncing and tossing its contents against the wall.
Maybe this lasted a half of a second, but it was plenty of time to have a full understanding of what was happening. And plenty of time to feel dumb about not being able to prevent it.
How many of these longest moments have we had? In the car as we are about to crash? The misstep leading up to the seeming forever fall? In the morning, I look down at my coffee cup, and when I look up again, ten minutes have gone by. But the seconds spent between the moment I slip and the moment I hit the group are an eternity.
The half-second when my food was falling from the TV table seemed like ten minute. But the ten minutes we spent cleaning up the mess ... well, that also seemed like ten minutes. I wish we could use our time sense more wisely.
I went to the gym after work.
I do this sometimes nowadays. Not because I want to. And I'm aware that no one is mistaking me for a gym bunny. I realized that I wear to the gym the same clothes some might wear to paint a room.
Still. I went to the locker room to change last night, and before heading upstairs to the elliptical machine, I took a look at myself in the mirror. Something was wrong. I looked more absurdly schleppy than usual.
And that's when I realized that instead of packing my gym shorts I had packed an old pair of swimming trunks.
While I'm sure that no one else could tell the difference between my normal bag-lady-chic and this new low: exercising in an old pair of ill-fitting swimming trunks, I still felt ridiculous. For 45 minutes I experienced sharp pangs of embarrassment.
I'll traipse around the city in a mismatched polyester pantsuit, but old swimming trunks at the gym is crossing the line. It's funny what causes us shame and what passes for personal style.
Speaking of personal style and the wearing of tight fitting athletic gear, Bob wrote:
i sent comments to the nytimes earlier query, 'who's your favorite action hero.' it had not been posted last i checked, and now they appear to have taken it down for some reason. so here it is for you, dear: i just commented on that nytimes board asking 'who's your favorite superhero'... I gotta pipe up on this one for Batman as well, but for slightly different reasons--I love a complete sociopath with unlimited resources.