Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Shouldn't a Two Bedroom Have Two Bedrooms?

Scene: A tiny apartment in Sunset Park. Kathy is peering into the hole in wall of Bedroom 1 when Brad approaches. Kai is in the living room. Smarmy Real Estate Agent is trying to reach the light switch behind the fridge in the kitchen and muttering something about getting the place "all cleaned up."

Enter Brad.

Brad: [whispers] It smells like a cat is peeing inside my nose.
Kathy: [whispers] But it's only $1200 a month...
Brad: [whispers urgently] PEEING INSIDE MY NOSE.

Brad and Kathy join Smarmy Real Estate Agent in the "living room."

SREA: So whaddaya think?
Brad: Well, it's an option...
Kathy: I'm not sure we love it, but we're considering it.
Brad: It's definitely an option.
SREA: [Blankish stare, runs hands through thin, thin hair]
Kathy: I'm a little concerned about the cat smell.
SREA: Oh, well, we'll clean.
Kathy: Well, the cat smell won't really go away. I have a piano that a cat lived in ten years ago--
SREA: You have a piano?
Kathy: No, I'm not moving a piano in here, I'm just saying, I have a piano and that was around a cat ten years ago and it still smells.
SREA: Don't you think I'll make sure this place is clean?
Kathy: I don't think it's a matter of clean, it's just, once wood smells like a cat it's hard to get out.
SREA: [mumbles something about a piano]
Brad: [rolls eyes]
Kai: [counts empty beer bottles left in apartment by workers]
SREA: ....
Kathy: ....Well, you know, it's an option.
Brad: We'll let you know.

Lights down. Curtain.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ch-ch-changes

Things are a-movin' and a-shakin', and hopefully I can write about some of them tomorrow when they're confirmed. And, also, when I'm not looking at horrendous apartments in Bed-Stuy with a six-inch layer of grime in the tub and a white caddy up on blocks outside the front door.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Match.Complete Idiot

I've previously admitted to having a match.com profile. I don't go so far as to pay for the service, though, which means I can't send e-mails to potential fathers of potential heirs to my potential fortune. I can, however, send an electronic "wink" to guys whom I find particularly worthy to gain entrance to my secret garden.

Despite my winking powers, I've never actually used match.com for any love-related purpose. I believe I sent out one wink, and that was a one-off event precipitated by a severe hottie. My clicking finger couldn't be controlled. As a result of my general inaction, my inbox isn't exactly a hopping joint. This isn't something I take particular offense to. The reason I joined match.com wasn't to become the belle of the virtual ball, but more along the lines of why I would buy a lottery ticket. Who knows? You may or may not get really lucky if you buy in, but there's no chance whatsoever if you don't.

But anyway, back to the fact that I don't get very many messages. I think I've gotten four or five in total, and one of these was from a man older than my father. A few others were copies of a f0rm letter forwarded three times by another forty-something. I've thought about ragging on that guy before; if you can't take the time to write a unique letter to the person you want to date, at least remember to remove the "FW:" from the title of your e-mail. But, when you really stop to think about it, the possibility exists that the guy wants to go out with someone so badly he's e-mailing too many women to have time to write them individually. He's so lonely he's canvassing, which sucks the fun right out of skewering his bad e-mail.

The one I got today, on the other hand, is something completely different. If it weren't so funny I'd be calling the police as we speak.

I woke up this morning to find an e-mail from a man whom I will call Frank, just in case he ever finds this blog. He is a twenty-two year old student at the Culinary Institute of America, a credential I would find fascinating under different circumstances. After the e-mail he sent me, the single thing I'm fixated on is the fact that this man probably owns an array of very, very sharp knives.

I checked his profile after I read his message. He is a self-described "hopeless romantic," who enjoys "being the one to take of [sic] a girlfriend after a bad day with dinner, massage, and more."

He also stresses that he is "fun loving and not creepy." Phew! Rest easy, ladies.

Anyway, what's the way to get to a woman's heart? Abject hostility, according to Frank:

First off, I am going to try to capitilize everything and stuff, as not to piss you off. I am a horrible speller too, but you didnt sayanything about that so i think im safe. Sorry not to be worth a wink to you. Thats ok, im not quite the interlectural mastermind your looking for. I just wanted to tell you that i love your high standards and we have a lot in common...So my question to you would be; Do you allow yourself to have not perfect friends? You amuse me greaty and i would like to hear more of your perspectives. I hope to hear from you- Frank

On second reading, it appears that he is asking to be my friend at the end there. But, the first time I read it (and still a little bit on succesive readings), it seemed like he was more asking if I deign to associate with anyone imperfect, you fucking bitch with your fucking standards.

It should also go without saying that this man has never contacted me before in my life. I particularly like that he starts out by faulting me for not "winking" at him. Classy. Totally classy.

I'm swooning. Watch me swoon.

So, "Frank," I don't know if you'll ever find this blog, but if you do I'd like to offer up the reasons why I never responded to your e-mail. It is entirely possible that I'm missing a chance with a wonderful guy, and I admit that I am often a mean and judgmental person. But, in response to your e-mail: firstly, as my profile states, I am not a paying member and cannot e-mail you back without getting charged for the privilege to do so. Please don't take my lack of communication as a complete affront; even if I wasn't afraid of you, it would be impossible. Secondly, while you have already assured me that you're "not creepy," my suspicions are not entirely allayed.

And lastly, are you a tennis player? If not, I'd look into it. I think that might be a great way channel your impressive backhand skills towards a satisfying end.

[P.S. Please don't fillet me like a flounder.]

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Flashback Numero Dos (14 years old)

[Another flashback entry. I don't care if I'm the only person in the world amused by this. I'm not going to stop until I've run out of ways to make fun of my idiot self.

I particularly liked this entry because it proves that 1. Despite the fact that someone was threatening suicide, I still considered this a boring day, and 2. I have always been an insensitive bitch.]


November 18, 1996

Dear Journal,

So today nothing interesting happened, although AFTER school was pretty interesting. In school I didn't have to turn in my Honors English project because [my teacher] wasn't here. In regular English we had a sub. I tried to flirt with [name omitted].

Okay, now. After school. There was a literary magazine meeting, which lasted less than five minutes, and then I went outside for a while. I haven't written since a couple of days ago and in that time Ray and Laura broke up for good. Ray had been threatening to kill himself and Amanda and I were freaking out all weekend. But yesterday, Ray announced that he decided he wants to live. So I stopped worrying.

So, I get outside today and Amanda, Sue, Ashley and Dorothy are gathered around this tree, and Ray was way up on top, threatening to jump. But I knew he wouldn't, because he had already made up his mind. He just wanted attention.

So everyone is like, "tell Ray to get down out of the tree," and I'm just like, "no, Ray can live in the fucking tree for all I care!" He wouldn't say anything and Sue convinced everyone to go up in the woods and leave him alone. So we did, and I went up there where everyone was smoking and drinking and my friend's new boyfriend ADAM, the one who was going out with MARIA and then ran away with JILL and slept with her! My mother says I'm not supposed to hang out with them, but fuck it, I still will.

Anyway, when we went back down, people were all gathered around Ray, who had come back down. He was hiding inside his jacket, and some guys were trying to coax him out by telling him stupid jokes. It didn't work. When I left, nothing had happened.

Bye, Kathy

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Nostalgiattack!

Ready for a nicely looped narrative circle? Since I started working at my current job I've been going to bed at eleven o'clock or so because I have to get up at five in the morning. This situation makes me feel like I'm back in middle school--I'm once again going to bed early and getting up even earlier to jump on a big vehicle full of gossipy peers to go to a place I don't particularly love. So, to rectify the situation I've been making a really concerted effort to get out of my house in the evening and stay awake long enough to at least watch the Daily Show.

The only place to go in my town is Starbucks. I know I sound like a whiny fourteen year old kid when I say that there's only one place to go, but there truly is only one place to go after 7 pm on the three streets that make up downtown Yorktown. Anyone who's ever come to visit me knows that if you want to go out but don't want to eat chinese food (the other entertainment alternative) you'll end up sitting at Starbucks. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth; before there was a Starbucks Yorktown kids hung out either at the Texaco station or at the "track," which was then just a dirt ring.

So, I've been at Starbucks almost every night. It's not bad(ish). If I just get a cup of house blend I spend less than two dollars, and it gives me a good excuse to write, and people watch, and work on the crossword, and eavesdrop. The rest of the crowd isn't so much a coffee-drinking, book-reading, silently nosy suburban bunch, though. The rest of the population of Starbucks, on any given night, is pulled directly from the year 1995. Which (lemme just tie these loose ends up...) makes me feel like I'm in middle school.

When I say the rest of the Starbucks [Note: genius text message abbreviation I came up with for Starbucks: *$] crowd is pulled from 1995, I mean that as literally as it can be taken. The rest of the nightly crowd consists of a hive of worker bee teens wearing Jnco jeans, Airwalks (or, on dressy occasions, Doc Martens) and Operation Ivy shirts buzzing around their queen, a girl I knew and liked in my childhood. She holds court on the patio every night. I can only assume she accepts a tithe of several plastic baby barrettes, or maybe a "Best of The Offspring" mix tape in exchange for her twenty-three year old wisdom and winning charm. And maybe beer, I'm sure she'd be down to buy some of the little grungettes beer.

I've heard them talking about Kurt. First name only.

Present tense.

I don't know why grunge accepted these kids into its grubby hands back in the nineties, and I understand even less why they're so unwilling to untie the flannel from their waists and embrace any of the other counter-cultural fads that have come and gone since. The oldest of their group is my age, and we were in sixth grade when Kurt Cobain died. This was not our movement.

But still, every night, there's live-action My So-Called Life dinner theater down at the Starbucks, starring girl I once carpooled with to choir practice as Rayanne Graff. And with a revolving supporting cast that drags people off the pages of my middle school year book and deposits them in my here-and-now, I'm more than a little disoriented.

This is why Kai and I found it absolutely necessary to haul out my (multi-volume) diary from that period of time. When one can't be entirely sure that they aren't being pulled face first through some space/time anomaly back into seventh-grade, it's good to revisit one's own journal to prove one is not the person one once was.

Many, many thanks one's God.

It's only through divine intervention that people live through middle school. How else can I explain becoming the (semi) rational, (marginally) functional (almost) adult I am now when roughly ten years ago I was distraught (and MORONIC) enough to write the following poem?

Feel free to laugh because I almost peed myself when I read it over, but know that if I had to read this out loud I don't know if I could do it. I should have been shot.


Untitled, January 15, 1996.

I laughed for the first time today. [Hyperbole!]
The sound shattered the silent sorrow [Alliteration!]
Like the apple from the tree of knowledge. [Biblical allusion!]
Now I can face tomorrow. [Vomit!]

The song that I saw us dancing to [BoyzIIMen.]
Played so clear on the radio.
Instead of tears, I felt myself laugh.
I felt myself let go. [I never dated this guy.]

As I laughed, and the people stared [Invented audience!]
I let go of my grip on "love" [And "sanity."]
The love that we never shared
Then a revelation came from above [With a dove. In a glove.]

A piece of me you'll always have
Because you're the first I've felt this for.
But now that I can smile again [Watching the Simpsons doesn't count.]
I'll dwell on you no more. [Lie!]

So get down off you're pedastal [sic]
Hope you've enjoyed it well.
Don't let the door hit you in the
Ass on your way to hell. [I'm seriously crying, that's so funny.]

So pack up and go

But leave the memories [Like, uh, that one and only time we talked.]
So I can look back on them and laugh [Foreshadowing?]
At how you I tried to please.

You never got to know me.
You never even tried.
You got real close to all my friends [No hyperbole. I think he dated 3.]
And so I cried and cried. [alt: "lied and lied."]

Hope you drown in my river of tears [Restraining order!]
Hope you fall from that pedestal of yours
Here's hoping that you get locked in
When I close the "[guy's name omitted]" doors.

[Worst. Poem. Ever.]

Here is my final goodbye
To you and my hopeful "we."
It's not me who missed out on you,

[all together now]

It's you who missed out on me! [Ba-zing.]

[Girl power.]

Monday, August 22, 2005

Flashback

[Note: This is an honest to God, real, actual, original journal entry I just found in one of my old diaries. Names have been omitted or changed to protect the adolescent, and it's been slightly shortened, but everything else is genuine.]

January 20, 1997

Okay, so. I just came back from the high school talent show, which was an ordeal.

The Raging Hormones [band name changed] were great, as usual. The drummer and guitar player are the coolest people. They played one song with Steve and sang two with Ruby, who has a really good voice.

Derek has a band now, with a kid from down the street. They are following in the grand tradition of his older brother and his artsy friend. They played a bunch of Oasis with too much feedback, a song by the Wallflowers, and "Yesterday," which Derek just BARELY squeaked out.

[A couple of kids] have a band. They sang the Counting Crows and sounded okay, since the Counting Crows are whiny and flat. They tried to do a Mighty Mighty Bosstones song -- and it SUCKED and it went on FOREVER.

[A girl] tap danced, and Brian and Andy rapped. We were subjected to John's naked stomach.

Matt [some kid I didn't actually know] had apparently broken up with his [longtime girlfriend] Lisa. He got up on stage, claiming he had a joke to tell. He went up to the mic, and said "I know a lot of girls and guys have broken up, but I would just like to say that LISA IS THE BIGGEST LIAR IN THE WORLD."

Everyone went postal, and when they were looking for jokes later on to fill time, he said something ELSE about Lisa. He was escorted off the stage by Mr. Roberts, and Lisa stormed out shortly after.

Finally, the cheerleaders got up there in tightass pants and tiny shirts, and clapped and sang back-up to some senior guy singing "Respect." They couldn't even clap on beat. All of a sudden, The Raging Hormones bust on stage and started dancing and moshing--they are so cool.

-Kathy

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Please Accept This Token of My Esteem.

Do yourself a favor and listen to this. I'm my fourteenth repeat or so and it's still making me smile.

Bubble Bobble + Buddy Holly + "Sixteen Candles" =
Mixel Pixel - "At the Arcade"

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Piracy-een Better Days

For some (namely the Kennedys) Cape Cod is home to afternoon highballs, sunset walks on the private beach, leisurely rounds of golf, and lobsters hauled in, cooked, and eaten bibless. For my family, our summer trips to Cape Cod were less about enjoying the American Camelot and more about buying off-price ramen and early holiday wrapping paper at the Christmas Tree Shoppe, sucking down Slush Puppies to stave off heat stroke with brain freeze, and complaining about the stuck in delicate regions. I'm willing to bet a Kennedy has never even uttered the phrase "buttcrack"--not while walking the shore, definitely not while dunking lobster meat in drawn butter, and most certainly not while teeing off.

Our golf? Miniature and pirate-themed. (Suck them highballs!)

So maybe none of us will ever hold public office, but I highly doubt that J.F., R.F., or Ted Kennedy could hold a candle to our total domination of Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf. I'm not just talking about the front course, either. I mean we could kick some serious booty on both the Captain Kidd and Blackbeard courses. Tee? Iron? Par? What? You can seriously suck it if you think playing on a big mowed field is anything to be proud of. I sunk my (fuschia) ball in two strokes on a pirate ship.

Of course by "our total domination," what I mean is "excellent mini-golf performances by the rest of my family that offset my complete inability to hit a golf ball in a straight line, except when it needs to curve." It became pretty clear that by four of five holes into Blackbeard's Revenge I wasn't going to be heading off to the PGA tour anytime soon. It was the first year I was golfing against two fully grown brothers. My father has always been an excellent putt-putter who regularly kicks our asses, so I usually count on coming in second at best. Until this year, though, I could also count on at least one little brothers' partially matured hand-eye coordination to prevent me from totally bringing up the rear.

My mother had decided to skip out on pirate adventure golf this year, though I can't imagine why. Putting a neon golf ball on astroturf with a borrowed club under food-colored waterfalls in a leaky paper mache cave with sea chanteys playing on a loop is how all the haves unwind. Brad was a little less than thrilled to hit the mini-links as well, but I think once he was solidly pummeling me by the third hole the spirit of Blackbeard got the better of him.

We were a sight. Between groups of khaki shorts wearing, polo shirt sporting, accurate score keeping, decent, god-fearing golfing vacationers was my family: Chris threatening to murder the next person to make fun of his lavender golf ball (he insisted it was gray), Mike with a half-smoked Marlboro hanging out of his mouth, my father doing the "pirate voice" and trying to convince us not to swear loud enough for nearby pre-schoolers to hear, Brad wearing sunglasses on a hazy day and looking entirely too hip to even stand near so many people wearing L.L. Bean, and me, wearing several too many belts and scarves, desperately swatting a golf ball bent on not going wherever it was supposed to.

We finished Blackbeard's Mini-Golf course with four decent scores and one unbelievably high one (all recorded with Blackbeard's Tiny Pencil) on our scorecard. From there, we enjoyed Blackbeard's Gift and Novelty Shop filled with authentic pirate booty like Blackbeard's Shellacked Blowfish Wearing Little Sombreros.

I'm glad to see Cape Cod is doing its part to keep its history of fearsome piracy alive and well. I may have come in last place but the reward of hitting Blackbeard's Well-Maintained Public Restroom was enough for me, especially in conjunction with the sign imploring all of his marauding, thieving employees to wash their landlubbin' hands.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Pole Dance of the Stars

I suppose the purpose of a vacation is to relax, but it's a very specific kind of relaxation one gets at 17 Spruce Gate Drive. The crustiest of the upper crust tend to relax by polar methods. Some choose to stay at luxury hotels in the most cosmopolitan cities, specifically the kind of hotel that heaps on amenities like massages and free iPods and separate suites for pets. On the other end of the spectrum are the affluent vacationers who choose to retreat to the remotest of tropical isles for a week, a month, or however long it is you get when you're paying with a credit card named for an element beyond gold or platinum on the periodic table. You know, the ones that only exist for nanoseconds under experimental conditions.

The beach cabin my family rents in Cape Cod is an interesting combination of the two. Rustic remoteness asserts itself in the form of sheetless mattresses and ant traps under the beds, though the visitor is still afforded the high class luxury of twelve TV channels--three of which are home shopping, one of which is religious in nature, and another of which is community broadcasting.

Mornings during last week's vacation were slow to start. Aside from the general inability of anyone besides my parents to get themself out of bed before ten o'clock, there was one (indoor) shower to be shared by the entire house. As six people who had spent more than eight hours under sweaty blankets in breezeless, un-air-conditioned bedrooms, we all took our sweet time when we finally got our turn. However, this left five people at any given time with one television and approximately three viable channels for their entertainment.

Not that we are television dependent or anything, but, you know. We're American. We need our flashing pictures and laugh tracks to get us going.

Every morning, Good Morning America and the Today Show rolled to a close with one of my brothers still in the shower. Those of us already scrubbed and dressed were left stranded on the last island of morning programming before the vast and unswimmable ocean of afternoon soaps: the Jerry Springer show.

I remember watching the Jerry Springer show while home sick from school or during middle school summer vacations. It's safe to say it was never a classy production. I recall "KKK Family Thanksgiving," complete with a food fight so fierce I'm not entirely positive there's enough Clorox in the world to bleach those hoods back to lynchin' white. There also a number of episodes exploring the taboo romance that can grow betwixt a mother and son, or son and daughter, or father and uncle, or any other pimply, webfooted combination one can make in the swampy shallows of a gene pool.

But back then Jerry Springer wasn't the trash TV archetype he has since become. His ratings were low and there was still a caught-masturbating-shame associated with even intimating you had watched his program. At some point he exploded into popularity and though I can't possibly explain why, I believe the phenomenon was akin to the way a bacterial colony can increase its population exponentially under the right conditions.

I haven't seen the Jerry Springer Show more than once or twice since my home sick, Strep throat days. Though I had previously thought it impossible, the show has gotten trashier. Like, I mean, seriously trashy. It's so easy and so trite to rag on Jerry, but I don't think people have truly watched this show evolve since it became the go-to joke. I admire the minds behind this latest incarnation of the Jerry Springer show because they have an uncanny ability to turn criticism into a marketing point.

"They might as well have a stripper pole on stage," cry the critics.

"Uh...guys...maybe? I think that might...I mean, I could rig something up out of PVC pipe for like fifteen dollars," says the producer.

"Those guests will fight at the drop of a hat! They're like trained seals," scream the censors.

"We'll ring a bell and they'll come out swinging, even if they're in mid-sentence," answers the producer.

There are so many liberal artsy ways to attack the Jerry Springer show. It's racist. It's sexist. It stereotypes based on sexuality and class. It exploits its guests for cheap laughs and its audience by staging many of the situations it explores. This is all pretty much a given for anyone who has ever heard the first two lines of the "I have a dream" speech, or even know the chorus of "I'm Every Woman" by Whitney Houston.

The entertaining part of watching Jerry Springer this past week wasn't in dissecting it for a future dissertation, but rather in watching my parents watch Jerry Springer. They're a little loopy. I say this with the utmost love. But, you know, the weirdest things set them off. The first time my dad heard the audience break into the GET ON THE POLE! chant was enough to send him into his Ricky Ricardo laugh until the next commercial break (inevitably comprised of slip and fall law firm or sixteen month technical institute ads). My mother clucked her tongue at the exploitation of poor, uneducated people, but lost her breath laughing at the unwed teenage mother flashing her pale ass to the audience.

I suppose the moral of the story is that the Jerry Springer show brings people together in feeling superior to southern people who draw on their eyebrows. It also facilitates the difficult conversations one dreads having with ones parents. If it wasn't for Jerry Springer, I would never have been able to tell my mother that I am heartily disappointed she never wrapped her cooch around a pole on national television when I was in high school. Then I would've had a date to the prom, Mom.

Oh, what could have been.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back in Black

Just as my left foot hit its usual waiting spot on the Cortlandt Metro-North platform this morning (in front of the payphone, past the benches, exactly where the door to the second car stops) the automated conductor crackled out of the PA to announce my train was running "Approximately. Twenty. Minutes. Late." He didn't apologize for my inconvenience like the robotic subway announcer does when I'm stuck in a tunnel for half an hour, but I'll assume that deep down in his electronic heart he felt ever so slightly sad about bearing such irritating news.

Most of the businessmen on the platform flailed their briefcases around in a gesture that was meant to signify frustration but looked more like some kind of interpretive swim dance about drowning in their fucked up Monday morning schedules. On any other morning I would've been just as pissed off, but the extra half hour before I had to get on the train today felt like a thirty-minute extension of my weeklong vacation. Well, maybe not that good, since I had to spend it standing on a platform watching the chemical plant next door, but at the very least it felt like I won a stay of execution.

I've been riding in style during the last week--chauffeured through the railway-adjacent stripclub district on an accidental trip through Worcester, Massachusetts, cycling to the beach on a school bus yellow seventies Schwinn, and returning home to New York watching Indiana Jones in my parents' huge kid-haulin' van. The train is a far cry from traveling planetarium-style reclined with a bag of salt water taffy big enough to last through all of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I did enjoy a whole row of train seats to myself this morning, which is the first-class way to ride sub-coach public transportation. But it was still craptastically adult.

The best way to remember what it felt like to be a kid is to take a family vacation. I don't care whether you camped in the backyard with your mom or took the helicopter to your house in the Hamptons, you will feel like a child the minute you cede control of your summertime itinerary to your family. When a trip to the A&W for chili cheese fries means the whole family has to pile into the car (and consequently feign carsickness to avoid sitting in the "wayback"), everyone not driving is a kid. Specifically, a ten year old antsy kid with sand in his shorts who wants iceee creeeaaaam, Mo-oo-oooooom. Despite the fact that I earn a paycheck, know what FICA stands for, and contribute dutifully to the Social Security pool, I spent the last week trucking around in a family van and asking my dad for quarters to use the pirate fortune-telling machine.

Though my computer was with me during vacation, a mishap with some sunblock and my USB ports made me a little afraid to turn the bastard on until it had a couple of days to dry out. No blogging was done, but my plan is to catch up this week with a different vacation topic every day. Today was my warm-up entry about transportation. See?

I'm thinking we might do Mini-Golf Tuesday, then Talk Show Watching with My Parents Wednesday, followed by Provincetown Thursday and Free-for-All Friday (with a focus on Dorky Guys from High School who Turn Out to Be Hot). That's the plan, at least. I have pictures to post, too.

(Nothing as lascivious as Brad's documentation of the outdoor shower at Herbie's house, but, you know, what is?)

Like the Bible Foretold...

...the prodigal blogger returns. Working on a real post.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Happy Trails to You / Until We Meet Again

I know that my blogging has fallen off in frequency in recent weeks, and I blamed summer, and laziness, and I believe at one point I also blamed it on some kind of weird Peter Pan complex related to blackouts. Now, at least, I have an actual excuse.

Ladies and gents and everything in betweens, I'm a-goin' on vacation. Tonight Brad and I depart Yorktown Heights for a cosmpolitan five day jaunt in Cape Cod. We'll be jet-setting it--taking the private plane to Nantucket for the afternoon, hobnobbing with the cream of the social crop, taking tea on the veranda, snubbing the "new money."

I mean, seriously, Mitzi, who do they think they are? They think they can trashify an establishment like Pirate's Cove Adventure Mini Golf with their Louis Vuitton bags and think I'll abide it? I've been putt-putting here since before they built the Blackbeard's Revenge course!

Maybe I'm exaggerating slightly. My family used to go to Cape Cod for one week every summer until I started looking at colleges, and every single year we rented the same little cottage from an old retired fireman who used to work with my dad. Herbie's house is located about a half mile from the beach in Harwichport, Massachusetts, and also in 1962. The interior of the house hasn't changed for as long as I've been going there and I love every bit of it, from the decorative shell sculptures to the embroidered mushroom artwork on the walls of my bedroom. When I was seven, everything at Herbie's house was mystifying and exciting. Rice in the salt shaker? How weird! What a gas! I love vacation!

I haven't been there in something like eight or nine years, though, and I'm thrilled to go back. However, being that the house is located in 1962, it's got little to offer in the way of wireless internet. I'm bringing my laptop with me and I intend on keeping track of my week, so I'll bring the blogging pain when I get back. Nary an open fly, touristy fanny pack, or crab-shaped hat will escape my hawklike eye.

So until Sunday I wish you all the best of weeks and I'll eat a mussel for each and every one of you. Everytime I suck a bivalve from its shell, I'll think of you.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Ye Old Mill

I'm not writing about this to make light of it, but I'm fascinated by this story of a seven-year-old who died on Ye Old Mill at Playland amusement park. Eerie just barely begins to describe a mother putting a kindergartener on dark water ride by himself and finding he didn't come back out the other end.

Creepier still is the ride itself, which I remember vividly from an eighth grade field trip. Mildred E. Strang Middle School rewarded all of its graduating students for three years of controlled chaos completed by bussing them down to Playland for one blissful, sunburned May day. Playland was built in the 1920s and looks much the same as it did then. The park's claim to fame was that the fortuneteller scenes from the movie Big were filmed there, a movie that remains only on the tips of those tongues accustomed to justifying a trip to such a rinky-dink destination. Instead of rides with more loops than a box of Cheerios, the most daring attraction at Playland is the tame wooden Dragon Coaster which sheds toothpicks from its most rickety joints.

One of the other original rides still operating is Ye Old Mill, which was creepy in that no one seemed to know why the ride existed at all. It was neither a tunnel of love nor a haunted house. Riders boarded boats propelled on a conveyer belt through a two foot river and entered a dark tunnel decorated with mannequins, terrifying only because they weren't meant to be. The ride was slow, there were no dips or splashes, and you emerged from the other end of the tunnel slightly unsettled and three ride tickets poorer.

It's the little details of the story that creep me out. It's broadly and obviously tragic that a kid died at the amusement park, but why was he on the ride alone? How did he manage to get under a boat, when there's not enough room for a kid between the boat and the edges of the channel? The boats are only a couple feet apart, so what about all the other people on the ride? Why was there no film in the video camera that records the ride's interior? I know for a fact that there used to be, and I suspect that was how Kai and a cute kid named Stefan were caught spitting in the water during their eighth grade trip and got ye old booted off Ye Old Mill.

To change subjects:

I have (another) interview today, and I guess you could say I'm nervous for it. More than anything, though, I'm just tired of going on interviews. Between my summer blahs, my employment blues, and the ninety-plus degrees outside, it's a smidge difficult to pile on the interview appropriate layers and hustle uptown with an ever sweatier folder of resumes in hand.
This is not to say I'm not excited about the position I'm looking at. From what I can gather it would be so "up my alley" I might get pregnant, and I would gladly sweat in a sweater and button-down and incredibly dowdy brown pleated skirt for a shot at landing it. It's a different kind of a gig, but one that I think might be really interesting. This new job is the delightful combination of being a little off the figurative beaten path and being a literal hell of a lot closer to Grand Central than my current position. I could shave an hour off my commute time every day, which in and of itself was worth applying.

We'll see, though, we'll see. The number of things that can silently irritate an interviewer into passing me (you, anyone) up is terrifying. My HR rep might violently hate visible, kind of emo hand tattoos, or people who wear glasses, or people who forgot to put earrings in only one set of earholes this morning. My interviewer might hate the fact that I say "eether" instead of "eyether."

I might hate the fact that she's a bitch, but that's neither here nor there.

I suppose it works in the opposite direction as well. Maybe we will both have FeriaTM French Roast hair. Maybe my interviewer will have a soft spot for in pointy flats with Converse All-Stars obviously shoved in her bag.

Maybe he'll be a superhot dude and I can finally, finally begin sleeping my way to the top.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Revenge of the Craigslist Personals (Pt. 3ish)

Here they are, the cream of today's crop, the very best of Craigslist male-for-female personal ad headlines:

Surrender to Randomness!
Skittles! The Magna Carta! Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony! Dagwood and Blondie! O Randomness, to thee I doff my cap.

hustle-bustle, twiddle-pops, WHERE did i put those bright green MOPS?!
You know, sir, if you were willing to bat for the other team, I have a certain fan of randomness you might really hit it off with.

Longing to FEEL!
Paraplegic seeks sensation in lower limbs.

IS THERE ONE REAL WOMAN Attractive, Sexy with A HEART ON Long Island
I don't know about anyone else, but this lady's got A HEART-ON for YOU, buddy.

YOUR EXPECTATIONS Are To High So We Remain ALONE
The rumors are true. The common adage says the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but this guy is employing the little known fact that a woman can't resist being told she is aiming "to" high, and should instead shoot for the middle-aged and grammatically challenged. And probably smelly.

What Color Is The Sky In Your World?
Is it blue? Is it a giant dome of delicate robin's egg? Is it a brilliant cerulean at noon? Is it a lapis lazuli at twilight? You better enjoy it now, whatever it is, because all you're gonna be seeing if you answer this ad is the trunk of my car and then a whole lotta black.

embarassed that i love fat chicks
Easter season is a permaboner for this SWM who just can't get enough rotund newborn poultry! I jerk off to Peeps! I'm so ashamed! ISO woman willing to wear chicken suit and cluck.

GUY LOOKING FOR AN Asian girl for Dancing@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
That's what they'll put in his obituary, anyway--the poor guy clearly died at the keyboard and landed on the @.

Handsome Businessman Needs Oral...You're turned on by Idea and Need $
You like this idea...you're very turned on...your job is unfulfilling and you can't make your rent this month...you love to give blow jobs...you're getting very sleepy...

Beginner runner AND a silly-billy?
Schmoopy-woopy seeks wittwe girly-pants of his dweams to smooch and cuddle till she can't help but pukey-wukey on his adult-sized footie pajamas.

Want a thong?
That's right, to get a little metaphorical, ladies, this box of crappy cereal comes with an undie prize! Date me, wedge cotton up your butt for free! You love thongs! You're getting very sleepy!

Vodka Lover
Seeks black eye lover.

Do you LOVE Harry Potter?
I mean, heh, a lot of people love Harry Potter. But do you...love Harry Potter? I mean, like...whoo! This is awkward...but, ahem...SUCK MY BROOMSTICK! PLEASE!

I'm in the mood for SUSHI!
Really? That's so funny, because I'm totally in the mood for innuendo!

And finally, my favorite, which needs little commentary:

\/ REJUVINATING VAGINAL MASSAGE THERAPY \/

I'm willing to bet that massage is hands-free.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Rise and Shin

It's lunch. I'm enjoying a nice bowl of lentils (and then I'm going to hop out of my Birkenstocks and kick the hackey-sack around for a while) in the newly appreciated allure of my cube. Three gray armpit-high walls may not seem like much to you, but compared to my ride to work this morning it has all the safety and nurturing warmth of a marsupial pouch. Y'know, minus the mucus or whatever.

It's Monday and I was less than thrilled about once again hopping on the sad, slow pony ride that loops the scientific publishing carnival. The king size box of Nerds in my bag did bolster my spirits a little, and combined with the new purely decorative, incredibly tacky belt I was excited to wear I mustered up the go-go to actually board my train.

The Metro-North was typical: a couple of snorers, a loud talker, an unidentifiable and disturbing gurgle or two. Today, it was the subway that got me. The six train was particularly late and unusually crowded when it finally arrived, but with my wily ways I was able to cram inside and snag a pretty decent spot, albeit a standing one. People got off at 33rd street, but then jammed on again (with luggage! I mean, come on!) at 28th, leaving me smashed against the far door. When we screeched into 23rd street quite a few people got off. I took immediate advantage of my new elbow room by turning around to look for an open seat.

I didn't find a place to park my ass, but I did come face to face with a kid who thinks I am one. His name is Justin, we went to high school together, and once, at our eighth grade dance, I hauled off and kicked him square in the shins.

In my defense, my shoes weren't particularly pointy and I was defending my friend's honor. I was appointed matchmaker that night and charged with the hefty responsibility of navigating the dance floor, infiltrating the boys' side of the cafeteria, and, on behalf of my wimpy friends, requesting that certain objects of adolescent affection dance with their corresponding adolescent affection emitters. I am suave. I had several successes throughout the evening. But try as I might, I couldn't get Justin to dance even a couple of Boys II Men verses with my remaining unpaired pal.

She really liked him. She had liked him for all of middle school. I still, to this day, have a box full of notes about how much she liked him and how she might die if she couldn't sit with him on the bus on the field trip to see Guys and Dolls starring Jamie Farr.

I tried asking politely. He said no. I tried wheedling. He laughed at her. I tried the "it's only one dance!" logic. I tried coercion. I would've resorted to bribery to spare my poor friend's feelings had I been in posession of a single dollar, but I had spent everything I had on Pixi Stix and Pepsi. When he refused to even look at her after a good ten minutes of real effort on my part, I was forced to return to the estrogen side of the gym to console my friend with the fact that no, Justin didn't want to dance with her, but she shouldn't mind too much because he had a festering boil of a zit on his chin.

Ten o'clock rolled around and our parents came to pick us up. On my way out the door I saw that Justin was on the payphone. Unable to let the eighth grade come to a close with the scales of justice unbalanced, I walked up to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and punted his tibia. Presumably he was on the phone with his mother, who presumably also heard him let out his girly howl.

It was this Justin who got on the subway at 23rd street. I can't say we had much of a relationship after the dance. I'm pretty positive that he recognized me this morning, but we didn't exactly hug and shoot the shit for the rest of the ride. Instead of a Cinderella-style reunion in which my foot exactly fit the scar on his leg, we actually turned our backs to each other, pretended we were total strangers, and ignored the fact that his elbow was in my kidney until 14th street.

He jumped on an express. I looked down at my feet. I'm wearing really pointy shoes today.
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