People keep asking me if I've been watching the Democratic National Convention.
I ... I've watched some, but ... it's difficult ... because I just can't ... I just don't think I can do it. I don't think I can take another heartbreak.
It happened in 2000. And it felt just awful. I remember showing up to work bleary eyed, my head feeling like it was full of styrofoam popcorn. I remember walking up the steps of Francis Scott Key Hall at the University of Maryland only to find a coworker standing outside, two-inches of ash dangling from her cigarette, hands shaking, eyes almost crouching behind dark circles. She nodded and said, "You up all night too?"
Inside, everyone looked like zombies. We had all been up all night. We were all ragged. The nation felt frayed.
And then we lost. Or we at least admitted defeat. But it was just four years. How bad could it be?
Four years later it was like that protracted and painful breakup all over again. I drank scotch to forget and woke up dry-heaving on the bathroom floor.
I can't. I just can't. I can't take another heartbreak.
This isn't about experience. That man is not a maverick. What appears to be an affable septuagenarian is actually someone who does not believe in abortion even in instances of rape or incest. He is privatized social security and deregulation of financial institutions and less health care coverage for children. And this at a time when all that is left to trickle down is our nation's sewage.
Please, America, Don't break my heart.
Brian and I are escaping the city for a long weekend to parts DC & Baltimore to visit friends. We still haven't found our old new little camera, but I had come to love it so much, I bought a new new little camera. Here are some photos to remember me by.
F train platform at 4th & 9th Street — impromptu skylight
In the meantime, Ms. Banana has a new blog. Check it out.
We used to have dinner with my grandmother every Saturday.
That was back in the days when we paid $400 a month to live in an apartment she owned. We used to visit with my uncle in the mental hospital on a regular basis. Mostly because the apartment was technically his. But now my uncle has been released and we live in Brooklyn. Months will go by without us seeing each other. Sometimes this makes me sad.
This Saturday Brian and I made the trek to the Upper East Side and had dinner with my grandmother and uncle at the diner across the street. Brian and I sat on one side of the booth and Nonna and Uncle Ira sat on the other.
About half way through the meal, I spied Uncle Ira's bottom teeth rising up in his mouth, gums and all. It was like in a monster movie. I kind of freaked out before I remembered that he has no teeth of his own, and was probably pushing up his dentures with his tongue.
My grandmother noticed the look of white horror on my face, turned to my uncle, and said, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?"
By this time, my uncle was manipulating his dentures with his hand in his mouth. With a frustrated look, he replied, "HCH GOT FOOH SHUCK UNGER MAH DENCHURJZ."
Even in the best of times, my uncle maintains voice modulation issues. Now, as he was talking through a hand and with his teeth half-unstuck, he spoke with enough force to give himself a virtual Heimlich maneuver. And it worked. The food that had been lodged under his dentures came flying out. It continued to sail in the air until it reached Brian. At which point it fell all over him in a warm, goopy embrace.
I looked at Brian and saw unspeakable anguish in his face. He closed his eyes and took a long, deep breath filled with disgust and disappointment.
Shortly after the Heimlich-like-projectile-food-through-dentures incident, it was revealed that Uncle Ira recently received a clean bill of health regarding his prostate cancer (or, as he calls it, "Prostrate cancer").
He said the doctor even offered him Viagra (he calls it "VEEAGRAH"). He said, "HE GAVE ME A PRESCRIPTION WITH THREE REFILLS. BUT I DIDN'T FILL IT BECAUSE IT AIN'T NO GOOD FOR ME. IT'S ONLY GOOD FOR INTERCOURSE. IT DOESN'T WORK IF YOU WANT TO—"
My grandmother inadvertently cut him off to ask for the ketchup. But then completed the thought by saying, "WHAT HE NEEDS IS SOMEONE TO USE IT ON."
My grandmother's words can be like the poetry of tiny, delicate, flowers unfurling towards full bloom, stems intertwined in subtle suggestion.
Which is weirder: Florida or Ohio?
Chairman Meow has weighed in to say, "florida is weirder, trust me."
New York has its quirks too. When crime was high and rents were lower, it might have seemed spicier. Still, I feel it not as tame as it has been made out to be in more recent film and TV. It is more than a place that several barely employed young people can occupy roomy apartments while sipping cosmos or cappuccinos. It is a place where a patient can fall down dead in an emergency room, and no one even bats an eyelash. It is far from neat-and-tidy endings of Law & Order.
Here is another example of how Law & Order could never be real.... Yesterday was our intern's last day. So I took her out to lunch. We left at 12:15. The elevator stopped at nearly every floor, more and more people squishing in. One woman clucked, "I guess this is a local."
We got off the elevator, and as I pushed open the lobby door, a woman was blocking my way. Her face was bathed in fear and her wig was askew. She said, "IS THIS AN EVACUATION?"
I looked at her like she was a Martian, which she very well may have been. I said, "No. It's lunch." I rolled my eyes so the intern could she, and made a "What was up with her?" motion. When we got to the end of the block, I noticed an ambulance. I said, "Maybe that's what she was talking about?"
The intern then pointed out a fire truck and several police vehicles. We looked down the street. Then we looked up the street. We didn't see anything else odd, so we shrugged our shoulders and continued on to mozzarella-tomato-basil paninis.
Later, I noticed an item on the gothamist newsmap: "A jumper up on John Street in Manhattan." OH!
This afternoon I saw one of our building engineers in the lobby. I asked him if he knew anything about what had happened yesterday afternoon.
He said, "I seen two jumpers before. I wasn't going to see another one. I heard there was a jumper and I said, 'No, thank you,' and came right here into the lobby."
He confirmed that the event had happened in the building across the street. On the 26th floor. He didn't know if the person had jumped or not. He hadn't heard much, so he assumed she hadn't hit the ground.
"The ladies on the 26 floor here, they saw the girl get out on the ledge. They called me and then they called the police. They were real shaken up. I saw these people on the street looking up, but I said 'No, thank you,' because you're looking up for something to happen, and when it does, it's ugly. It's terrible. I saw one person come down a couple of years ago here. Terrible. You don't ever want to see something like that. And once, when I was working in a building in midtown. The guy missed me by about 30 second. I wouldn't have even known what had hit me. There are people all the time getting out on ledges. Sometimes, they see the people out on the street and the people in the building are trying to talk them down and they decide to come back inside. But sometimes they don't. You don't want to be looking up when that happens."
A coworker of mine told me she was coming back from lunch when she saw a whole crowd of people in front of our building looking up. She said to one of them, "What are you all looking at?" One man responded, "We have no idea." That's the New York City I know and love.
I was recently chatting with some ladies.
One of them was single and dating. She was telling us about a fellow she had recently met. They had spent a very wonderful weekend together, and then he didn't call her all the next week. When she had called him on Thursday, he seemed very happy to hear from her and happy to make plans with her. Another great weekend. Another week of not calling.
This happened a third time. She said she was stumped. She wasn't sure if he was playing some game. If he was enjoying himself as much as he appeared to be, then why wouldn't he call or email during the week?
Discussing the catch-and-release of dating life is much more interesting than talking to an old married. Still, I had to put in my two cents. What if he liked her a whole lot, but was easily distracted. What if he had split focus problems or ADHD Inattentive Type? I told her I'd bet money that he leaves his dishes in the sink and his underwear on the floor.
Nobody wants to hear the old grouchy crone talk about what will become of new love when it grows old and arthritic. But I feel a Cassandra-like compulsion to "keep it real." Maybe it's why I have never been able to read romance novels. I assume many of them end in marriage or some sort of happy union. But isn't that where the real saga begins?
I would like to write a series of self-help books. There is a tremendous market for book regarding women's quest to better understand men. I would like to suggest that it's not nearly as difficult as one might think.
My first book would be a la He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys. It would be called That's Just the Way He Is: And It Will Only Get Worse Once You're Married. I have even created a mock-up of my book jacket.
In this book, I would outline all those thrill-of-the-chase, quirky-seeming things men do, then draw a direct connection to their behaviors once they are married and good and used to you.
Am I just being old and bitter? Maybe. But I think stressing of marriage as an answer, as an ultimate, as the end-game makes me want to puke. When I was on the precipice of marriage, people would say things like, "This is going to be the happiest day of your life." I would recoil in horror. "I HOPE NOT! I'm only 25!"
Maybe life was easier when we had arranged marriages, no birth control, and high mortality rates due to famine, filth, plague, and war. At least we knew what was expected of us: to be born, to live miserably, to procreate, to die painfully. Things were simpler back then.
For some, this summer has been painfully slow.
Is No News a Good Snooze? (from Gothamist by way of Ms. Banana).
And what does this mean, when the biggest summer stories are about a bloated, hairless, unidentified mammal or a fat cat or a chupacabra, or a sham big foot?
I, for one, have been keeping very busy. Summer slow time at work has not been slow at all. And there's tons of interesting stuff to do outside when it's not raining. This Saturday, Brian and I took our relatively-new-to-us bikes into Manhattan to enjoy Summer Streets. It was great fun, though it made me feel a white hot anger towards rollerbladers as they skated two and three deep, chatting, taking up the maximum amount of surface area with their wide leg swoops. I was pretty sure I was going to run over someone's ankles.
Alas, I have no pictures. One reason for this is because Brian and I have managed to misplace our new little camera. The last time we saw it was at Susan's party. We're not sure if we accidentally left it at the bar or laundered it or if it's laying low in the apartment somewhere, hanging out with all our single, unmatched socks.
Sam and I have an ongoing dialogue about which state produces the weirder people.
As more evidence that everything weird happens in Florida, I sent him a link to the story Fla. man dials 911, complains his sub had no sauce. So he sent me back Ohio Burger King worker fired for bathing in sink. It's going to be a close one.
Here are a couple of pictures I took around town in the Borough of Kings. The first was taken on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, in front of a salon that appeared to be redecorating. The second was taken on an east-bound A train on my way out to East New York.
Here is my weekend in pictures.
FRIDAY: Elliot Gould at BAM.
SATURDAY: Susan's 30th Birthday Party.
SUNDAY: Brunch with David and Marc.
Phew! I am still feeling rather exhausted.
I had a Kathleen Turner sighting!
She was at the Delacorte Theater for the Public Theater's opening night of Hair.
I took pictures from a far. My friend Sam's back makes an appearance in a few. Take a gander.
The image in the lower right-hand corner has her standing in front of William Hurt, who is turned away from the camera. Hot stuff!
Thank you, Sam, for making the Kathleen sighting possible. And thank you also for your initial erroneous sighting, during which you spoke such poetry as: "Oh my god! She's here. I think I see Kathleen Turner.... Oh, no. It's a man."
At the beginning of the week I was totally obsessed with the Montauk Monster. Now I'm totally obsessed with the throaty, thuggish Kathleen Turned. I've been thinking, though... is it possible... could it be... could Montauk Monster really be Kathleen Turner? It's probably too good to be true. Though it should be noted that they both appear a little bloated and washed-up.
What I find most implausible about the show Law & Order is the idea that New Yorkers might be able to recall anything unusual they've seen.
As you may already know, I rarely watch television. I don't think I ever saw a full episode of Law & Order until about 8 months ago when I was a captive audience on the elliptical machine. I called Brian and told him that I thought I had seen some special episode, because it was an hour long. He said, "The show is normally an hour long." Oh.
I like to watch it when I'm at the gym because it's kind of smooth and monotone, and yet the plot twists enough to kept one's mind off the fact that one is sweating profusely and one would much rather be at home sitting on the couch and eating chocolate.
But I can almost not watch it anymore. An attractive young girl will turn up dead in an alley. There are no witnesses. The detectives check around at the local bars, asking if anyone knew the girl. A bar tender says, "Never seen her before in my life." The detectives furrow their brows and demands, "Take a closer look." So the bartender does, and manages to recall what the girl ordered, what the guy sitting next to her looked like, and at what time she left.
Last night, on my way home, I was staring out the window of my subway car. As we pulled away from the Smith and 9th Street platform, I saw a man sprawled out on the floor, tongue lolling. He looked unconscious. A woman, walking towards the exit, stepped over him like one might step over a puddle of sewage. As wrong as I felt this was, as odd as it looked, I was pretty sure I would have done the same. And when the cops came to question me about the man I had gingerly avoided tripping over... would I even have remembered seeing him?
There are too many crazy people in New York City to pay attention to each and every one of them. And frankly, your best bet is to keep your earphones on and eyes on a book, lest they want to chat with you, ask you for money, or assault you. When they are passed out, they are much less likely to do any of the above. So you can take the earphones off, but you need to make sure not to trip over them.
I don't think the writers for Law & Order are real New Yorkers. If they were, every episode would consist of detective asking a group of people who had just stepped over a dead person if they had recalled doing so. Most of the people would scratch their heads and give a vacant look. A few would look annoyed because the questioning was making them late for meeting friends for dinner, and you know how restaurants here rarely seat you unless you have a full party. One of them might say, "Yeah. I remembering thinking to myself, Don't step on that guy on the floor. If he wakes up, he might ask you for money." While the questioning was going on, behind the detectives' backs, a young tough would be defacing a subway poster.
I just can't stop thinking about it.
I have become totally obsessed with the Montauk Monster.
Or, at least as obsessed as one can be when one finds out all of one's news from reading local blogs and listening to public radio. Now the bizarre, barely news-worthly item that has caught the attention of people who just can't stop staring has made it to the Colbert Report.
The Montauk Monter myth has been spurred on its own blog, which maintains there's something fishy going on with this washed-up what's-it. They are pretty certain it's some sort of hoax. And Wired suggests it's a just a dead, bloated pit bull.
Okay. Now I feel stupid. I will stop googling "Montauk Monster" in hopes of finding a late-breaking fix. But if anyone knows anything more... you know where to find me.
I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge and back to Park Slope with my friend Rachel last night.
We usually do this about once a week. I like the walk because we always see such interesting things. Here are some things we saw yesterday:
Here is what looks like an exploded pigeon near the base of the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Here is a van that is covered in graffiti. I love graffiti vans. I think they are so beautiful. I have wanted to buy the domain name grafittivan.com for about 3 years now. Last I checked it was still available.
No More Corporate Rule!!!
I love this building. It is really quite beautiful. Though in a state of terrible disrepair. Which, to me, makes it that much more breathtaking. I always dream of buying it. Or squatting in it, should I one day become homeless.
Looking over the blog, she discovered that the friend was now in a relationship, that she had decided to set up permanent residence in the south, had gotten into yoga, bought a car, and was going for a colon cleanse next week.
Rachel's questions: 1) Is a blog supposed to replace an "I've moved" card? and 2) Does anyone care about this woman's new car and colon cleanse? Is that really something one wants to find in an Internet search?
Why do we blog? I started blogging in 2002. Before that, I sent out mass emails. And before that ... I guess I ironed letters on t-shirts.
People equate blogging with diary-keeping, but I think it's much closer to wearing a personalized t-shirt. Because diary-keeping is a private act, but posting photos and thoughts of oneself on a webpage is an act of exhibitionism.
I agree that many people are using the Internet as a medium to publicly post information that most people wish would have been kept private. I like to think I'm better than that. That I'm writing to entertain. To connect. To hone my writing skills. And to display pictures of exploded pigeons. My calling is obviously a much nobler one.