well, this is my last day in New York. I just woke up from the most bizarre dream. No, my dreams are getting more and more fucked up as I approach the big move. This one had me staying in a hotel in Thailand (?) and James Earl Jones and Dick Cheney were both staying there too. There was a community bathroom and I saw both of them naked getting out of the shower. And they both had pierced scrotums. JEJ had dangling earrings of Ganesh hanging from his balls.
The other night, I was boarding the airplane to Louisiana, but the door was really tiny and my ass couldn't fit through and I got stuck. I felt really claustrophobic and freaked out, then woke up. Also, I dreamed I was at a party with my boyfriend and we got in a fight and I slapped him across the face. Then ran away but got chased down the hall by a patron of the party (an older lady) who yanked my pants down and sharply spanked my on the ass. I assume these are anxiety dreams. I mean, this is a bit of a life-altering plunge I'm about to take, yes? I mean, who am I if I'm not the saucy NYC girl blogger with the sassy five year old? It will take me a little bit of time to figure out where I fit down south, but I'm confident I will.
Those dreams, though. I am surprised I'm not dreaming about how the fuck I'm gonna travel across the country later today with a small child and two freaked out cats.
Hi, y'all. As most of you know, I'm relocating from NYC to the deep south, and this whole tearing-up-of-the-urban-roots is taking place in about a week. A week!
I have been so busy wrapping up my freelance job, packing up my crap (sweaters and snow boots going in storage at mom's, kick ass!) and drinking heavily that I have hardly had a minute to stop and think about what I'm really doing.
I will probably start a new blog once I'm settled with lots of funny (sad? pointless? retarded?) anecdotes about what it's like being a transplanted NY girl living in the wilds of southern Louisiana.
What should I call it? I need help, you guys. Give me some ideas for titles.
Anyway, as I was waiting in line at Starbucks this morning, and a girl with a headset walked up and down the line of itchy, undercaffeinated city folk taking drink orders, I thought, goddamn, I am so not gonna miss this. Really, I'm not. I have told my boyfriend repeatedly that the drive-thru Starbucks alone is worth the move to Baton Rouge, and I meant it.
I will miss a lot of things about my beloved city, though. I won't lie. I just can't think of them right now. Let me get through this Venti iced coffee and I'll blog more about that later.
So...the adventure continues...stay with me, folks. This is just the beginning...
I'm all hopped up on Dunkin', folks...what is it about humidity and the reek of steaming asphalt that makes me crave giant doses of iced french vanilla with half and half and two Splendas? And of course I get an immediate brain freeze/artificial-sweetener-tumor-induced headache, but it's so, so worth it.
So Lil and I had her yearly dental check up this morning, and I sat there slack jawed and drooling with shock while the sweet, gentle-voiced dentist went over her x-rays and told me basically that my kid's teeth are rotting out of her head.
And we're basically vegetarian. And I keep sugar to a real minimum. Yeah, she likes gum, but we both chew orbit pink, which, though packed with ingredients I can't pronounce that produce golf ball-sized nodules in lab rats, doesn't contain any actual sugar.
And I'm good about dental hygiene. I am. I make sure Lily brushes her teeth with the goddamned American-Dental-Association-recommended motorized toothbrush in the shape of a bloated Cinderella at least two times a day (ok, at least once, but we really try for two).
So, what the hell's going on here?
So I gave it some thought, and I think I figured out the likely culprit: breastfeeding.
Sonofabitch. I'd heard stories about the sugar in breast milk affecting baby teeth if little'uns were permitted to nurse on-demand all night long for long stretches. And I spent two straight years in a state of of sleep-deprived, borderline psychosis because my kid loved to nurse, and I wanted a happy and healthy kid who was securely attached to her mama. I went to La Leche League meetings and am a huge proponent of breastmilk being the healthiest way to nourish babies and toddlers. I even went to the nurse-in they had in front of the ABC building a few years ago, when that C-U-Next-Tuesday Elizabich Hasselblech said she wasn't going to nurse her baby and Barbara Walters nodded, saying, "I get so uncomfowtable when I see a mothew nuwsing in pubwic!" I sat on the sidewalk in midtown, amidst all my crunchy momrades (I just made that up! Get it?) and yanked my feedbags out of my dress to make a stand that nourishing a hungry baby in public is not offensive or disgusting!!!
And yet...here I am in cavity city.
I wouldn't have traded Lily's upbringing for anything, and I definitely agree with a lot of the principles of attachment parenting. Lily rode all over NYC in a sling and/or backpack from the time she was born, slept next to me, was permitted unrestricted access to my all-night titty bar for years. Her babyhood was happy and the connection we share is probably very much due to the bonding we did during her infancy.
Now, clearly this pic was photoshopped for the purpose of eliciting a giggle, but for me, it conjured some heavy, stashed-in-the-attic sense memories of an irrational phobia I used to have, and it was positively chilling for me. Positively chilling.
I used to be afraid of swimming in my pool as a kid and being chased by a great white shark while I did laps. No, seriously. My hyperactive kid-imagination actually convinced me that it was possible for a helicopter to fly over the pool overnight and 'drop in' a great white shark (why? hell if I know), which would then sit at the murky pool bottom, hiding and waiting for me to dive in for my morning swim. This thought paralyzed me for months, and eventually I would only go swimming if someone else was there too, say, like my little sister. Because that meant the shark would get her first, and that was more than okay by me.
Of course, my fear of great whites came from the movie "Jaws". I mean, I wasn't allowed to see it, but I clearly remember being freaked out by the movie poster and the cover of the book, which my mom had, with the naked girl cruising along the surface of the water at dusk while a monstrous, mountain-sized shark lurked just below, ready to chomp her in half with its giant, knifelike teeth.
Thinking back, I realize that most of the illogical, weird kid-fears I had were spawned from movies I wasn't allowed to see but somehow either managed to watch or find out enough about to scare the crap out of myself. Hell, some of those movies I probably shouldn't even be watching now.
For example, When I was 9 I was staying over at a friend's house, whose mother was way Jesusy and thought somehow it might be appropriate to allow two little girls to watch "The Excorcist" (edited for TV, but still). This was, I can only assume, the mom's way of warning us of what might happen should we fail to meet the standards expected of good Christ-loving children(luckily, she never knew about how we used to practice kissing in her daughter's room, or about the raunchy scenarios we acted out with our barbies). After the movie, I asked the woman if kids could actually get possessed by the devil, and she said, very solemnly, "Well. I really, really hope not."
Also, though I never watched "Silent Night, Deadly Night", I think I must've seen it at the video store, and the image of the guy in the Santa suit holding the knife, and the blood all over the snow, had me convinced me that my whole family was going to be brutally slaughtered while coming home on Christmas Eve. I remember praying in the car all the way home from church that we would be spared this horrible butchery, because the idea of never getting to open my toys the next morning was practically too much for me to stomach.
I was also constantly convinced that my loyal black lab had rabies. Every time the temperature topped 80 degrees and she started panting in the back yard, I'd yelp for my mom to come and check to see if she was foaming at the mouth. Thanks, Stephen King.
So, needless to say, I won't be showing Lily any frightening movies any time soon. If she has half the imagination I had at her age (and I suspect it's even wilder), I'll be opening a door to years and years of mental torture, and I'm probably doing that well enough on my own without any help from scary movies.
So tell me, guys, what irrational fear did YOU have as a kid???
I think I'm just too hippy-dippy and free-spiritish (read: lazy as fuck) to keep to a schedule of posting a photo a day.
BUT. This project has made me realize that I need to pay more attention to this blog. And I intend to. So sometimes I'll post silly pictures, sometimes I'll write stuff. And when I don't feel like it, well, I just won't. You can always find me spouting off bullshit on Twitter and Facebook if you're really interested. Which...well, let's just leave that one open-ended.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I love you, Ferrtileblog. You're like my neglected little sister who was fun to play with when no kids my age were around, but who got thoughtlessly tossed aside like a stinky sock when the cool older chick down the block came to play Charlie's Angels With No Shirts On in my backyard. Always dependable. Always present and ready for a game of barbies. I will try not to take you for granted as much.
I've been having crazy dreams lately. Mostly I think because I'm preparing for a big move from the city in which I've dwelled for the last 9 years -- from the apartment my daughter was born in, from my friends and family and favorite liquor store -- and planning to defect to the hothouse tropics of Southern Suburbia. I'm all Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and mint juleps and afternoon siestas like Scarlett O'Hara. More on this topic to come, of course, as plans unfold.
Mostly my nightly sleeps have been fraught with terrifying scenarios where I am lost in a mall/subway station/high school and late for something. Or I'm about to take a final exam in a subject I've never studied. Or go on stage to star in a play I've never rehearsed. I fake it fairly well, but basically I can't fool anyone and feel as transparent as saran wrap.
I've had enough therapy to understand that these dreams are simply my anxiety over making a big change, working itself out in my subconscious.
They still suck, though, and make me wake up feeling all bloaty and sweat-filled.
I was taking pictures of myself in the bathroom again (to post on facebook? To avoid the monster hair/toothpaste/phlegm/god-knows-what-else clog in the sink?), and I thought you'd like this. All two of you who still read this blog.
Thoughts? Abandon 365? Keep going? I dunno...it's kinda fun...
When I was little my mother made up a bedtime song that she used to sing to us, to the tune of "Springtime For Hitler", called "Bedtime for Babies". I didn't know who Mel Brooks was at the time, so I didn't find anything funny about the song at all. Quite the opposite, in fact; the tune made me so unbearably sad that I used to run and hide under the kitchen table and sob. I'm still not sure why the song itself upset me so much. Just like I can't explain why "Bohemian Rhapsody" made me freak out so hard in the back seat of the car one night my dad had to pull over and have me breathe into a paper bag. The song scared me, I dunno. It made me think of dark things. I thought maybe The Exorcist was singing it or something. A child's mind is a bizarre thing indeed.
Anyway, I'm not sure what brought that up. Maybe it was this pic I took tonight of Lily and the cat at bedtime, and how my city bedtime routine is so different for my kid than my mom's was for us in the sweet, suffocating quietude of 1980's suburbia. Lily crashed out in my bed tonight under the open window and had a street lamp for a night light. And her lullaby was the hard thunk-thunk-thunk base of some asshole playing 'Rumpshaker' in his parked car in front of our building.
Hi Guys! OK, I was doing so well with my 365 project and then I totally fell down on the job (and on my face. Drunk).
Sorry I wronged you.
But I'm back. And celebrating July 4th in Southern Louisiana, a place I never in a million years thought I'd be spending any July 4th, ever, but as it's looking more and more likely, a place where I'll be spending many July 4ths going forward.
And, as it turns out, you can buy fireworks here in bulk like it's Costco.
So, happy 4th to all my lovelies, and here's hoping I don't blow any fingers off.
Hello, Mother lode.
Badass firecracker, that's me.
Apparently Britney Spears has her own fireworks, as well. I bet they're slutty and prone to psychotic outbursts.
I spied this strange pile of banana skins by a garbage can on my way to work this morning. Either a gorilla was walking up Madison Avenue and missed the trash, or someone wants me to fall on my ass while tossing out my coffee cup.
Lily has reached that age where her childlike curiosity leads her to ceremoniously disrobe all of her toys, even the ones with no discernible genitalia (which, I kind of hope, is most of them). She tore the britches off poor Animal with the fervor of a starving dog with a bone, then left him in a lurid heap on her bed like a washed up, schlumpy porn star.
I'd like to say that I have no memory of doing this myself as a child, but I distinctly remember a Disney World trip at around Lil's age when my cousin Simeon and I each got a Pinnochio doll, and engaged in a dead heat race to see who could strip him of his lederhosen first.
I snapped this picture carefully because this is from the cranky old Italian ladies' garden around the corner. They're two sisters who spend most of their time going to church, wiping tomato sauce on the aprons covering their housecoats and growing, ironically, some of the most exotic and gorgeous flowers I've ever seen, much less in Queens, NY.
But they're grumpy as hell. One in particular reminds me of the witch from Rapunzel, who made the man promise to give his first born daughter to her for stealing radishes. It wouldn't surprise me if she whacked me on the wrists with a wooden spoon for taking a picture of her garden.
Anyway, it had just rained, and I thought the leaves looked cool.
Maybe some of you have been wondering why this blog is covered in cobwebs lately. Probably you're not, but hell, maybe you are. Fact is, I post even less often than I have sex, so I'm falling down on the job, obviously.
I want to blog more. But since they upped my medication I can't seem to focus on anything.
So. I decided to take some of the pressure off myself and start a PROJECT 365.
Well, for one thing I'm hoping it'll light a fire under my arse to be a teensy bit creative each day. Also, I need a fun project. A diversion, if you will.
So, here goes.
PROJECT 365 DAY 1
Amazing myself that I can put on a pout despite the fact that I am positively rotting inside from lack of sleep and a summer cold. Kill me. Please. Someone.
This is the most impractical shoe I have ever seen.
My favorite thing to wear in the summer is BOOTS! Yeeeeeah! I love to coat my ankles and the tops of my feet in non-breathable suede. And thanks, shoe designer, for adding an open-toe to this fashion disaster so that the puddles of feet sweat have a place to runoff, instead of just stagnating inside my bootie/flipflop.
I like trends. I read Womens Wear Daily (sometimes. Ok, not that often), but I draw the line at this. This is ...insane.
I remember when I first moved to New York City almost ten years ago, I was kind of overwhelmed by how attractive, shiny and fashion-focused everyone seemed. I busted my ass (and credit card, HA!) buying slashed-price designer fashions at Loehman's and TJ Maxx and using my sewing machine to alter hot thrift-store pieces I snagged so that I could feel sophisticated and hip on a budget, while working a slave-wage-payin' publishing job in Chelsea.
It sort of worked. The trying to look good, I mean. Some days were a hit, others, I cringed when I saw my slouching reflection in a store window, wondering if perhaps I'd dressed myself that morning in a fit of hysterical blindness.
However, and this is the honest truth (from the mid-30's sage who's life experience can benefit you, young reader!) ...over time I began to realize that even if you're wearing hottest trend of the season (ie skinny jeans...oh, you hateful fashion 'staple'), if you aren't comfy in your own skin, you're just not gonna look good.
And that's the truth, Ruth.
Here's my goddamned question, though: Why does it take growing older to grow wiser? How come I couldn't feel this good about my looks when I actually didn't have crow's feet and thighs that kissed each other when I walked around the village? Huh? Huh?
It's not freaking fair. But still, it's ok.
I was thinking about all the freaky things I used to wear when I had my first job at 22. I had a pair of pink and black wool bell-bottoms that looked amazing with my polyester button-down shirt and manic-panic'ed burgundy hair.
My only leftover cutting-edge fashion accessory now is a nose ring and a messy ponytail. But it's cool.
I guess when you think about the steel toed Doc Martens I used to wear (my dad would chortle, "Don't you need a prescription to wear orthopedic shoes? Waka Waka!"), the sandal bootie isn't really that bad. But still.
I will not be wearing that crap this summer. Bet on it.
As a single parent with a freelancer's inconsistent (ie spasmodic and well-below-the-poverty-line) income, I get panicky with the slightest upset of our stone-clad school routine. Quite simply, if mama don't go to work, mama don't get paid. And if Mama don't get paid, well, there are just so many creative recipes you can come up with for canned cat food, get me?
But this week I was fucked. Fucked, I say! The school nurse called me to come pick up my kid because she was itching with ringworm (we both got it from the filthy kitten), and though this localized, common fungal infection (everyone can get it! Not just poor people!!!) was no longer contagious, I figured I'd better not argue because I really don't need Child Protective Services coming by and judging my mothering abilities when they see the state of my domicile.
So, during our quarantine in the apartment (which I somehow managed to clean during a Hannah Montana marathon) Lily and I cooked up an epic game of Barbies that sucked up a good part of the afternoon.
When I play with Barbies I can't help but shudder with relief that I have a little girl and not a boy. I could never, ever muster the same enthusiasm for toy trains or baseball cards that I do for Barbie and her entourage of Kens, Skippers, and more-cheaply manufactured cousins with names like "Benign Girl" and "Vogue Fashion Princess", whose bodies are crappily assembled and coated in lead paint, but still fit into the same hooker clothes made for the authentic Mattel brand.
I delight in brushing out the tangles of knotted Barbie hair, and the pulling of tiny clothes over stubborn rubber legs (why haven't they done something about that? smooth, hard plastic would be soooo much easier, am I right??), I even like slipping teeny shoes onto Barbie's ridiculously weensy feet, though it does conjur a terrible memory of once finding a spider in a Barbie shoe when I was six and freaking out so hard I almost threw up.
Lily is tough on her Barbies like I used to be. She keeps them naked, thrown together in a bin, their feet gnawed on and hair clotted with god knows what because they have spent too much time in a backpack or under the couch or floating in the bath tub. She is abusive as hell to them, but still maintains a loyalty to these dolls that I have to respect. It makes my little mom heart thump with a nostalgic pride.
With my Barbies, I eventually gave up and chopped all their tangly locks off. I then graduated to ballpoint pen eyeliner and lipstick and punk rocker earrings, which I fashioned out of pilfered straight pins stuck right into Barbie's tough plastic ears.
Eventually, my pre-pubescent urges lead me to the inevitable sex-play grind-a-thon of naked Barbie and Ken (or Shaun Cassidy or Donnie Osmond), and to make the scenario more realistic I took tiny bits of chewed Big Red gum and made nipples for Barbie's impossibly conelike, immovable breasts.
Somehow, this helped.
It's difficult for a mother to picture her daughter locked behind a bedroom door and ignoring calls for dinner while she mashes two dolls together in an attempt to work through pre-teen horniness, but I guess it's inevitable.
And I guess Barbie and Ken are better specimens for sexual experimentation than, say, the next door neighbor or some little douchebag on the school bus.
I don't particularly care for lying to my kid. Like, if Lily asks me straight out if there is a Santa Claus, I am not going to tell her that yes, some grizzly old fucker is able to haul his fat ass around the world in one night and drop off stuff you can get at the neighborhood Target to every child who's been good that year. I can't say that with a straight face. Instead, I'll smooth Lily's hair and kiss her forehead and try and turn the question around (a solid, well-practiced tactic of passive-aggressive parents everywhere), as in, "Well, Sweetie, it's a wonderful thing to believe in. What do you think?"
This lets Mama off the hook, because I know Lily's candy-colored, hyper, 5 year old brain can't focus on the question long enough to really decide what she believes, and she's already moved on to the next thing ("Do you think he'll bring me a Bratz doll anyway, even though you think they look like trampy Barbies?")
Anyway, lying isn't my favorite thing to do. Sometimes stretching the truth is necessary, though. Like in the case of the loss of Lily's first wiggly baby tooth, which she yanked out while watching "Little House" and ran to show me with blood dribbling down her chin, I told a little fib. I helped her place the dainty little nub, almost like a doll's tooth, in the special "Toothfairy Tin" her grandmother gave her, and we stuck it under her pillow.
Then, viola! Next morning, when the tooth was gone and a folded-up dollar bill was in its place, I, with my giddy mommish tendency to cherish these once-in-a-lifetime moments, was as surprised and joyful as she was that the tooth fairy had actually visited. (I also mused that probably "A dollar was a special treat for the first tooth, and maybe the tooth fairy would be bringing nice, shiny quarters from here on in").
This morning, however, I told a flat-out lie.
See, last night around bed time, the cats were making a fuss about something in the hall. I flipped on the light, and there on the floor, curled up in a fetal ball, was a teeny baby mouse. Aaaah, shit. That's what I said, too. Loud enough, unfortunately, for a certain someone to hear me over the whirrrrr whirrrr of her Cinderella electric toothbrush, and Lil came running to see what I was cussing my face off about.
She watched in horror as I coaxed the not-yet-dead victim into a tupperware container and deposited him on the windowsill right outside the kitchen.
"I bet he'll be fine in a few minutes...just in shock," I smiled and gave Lily a hug. When we got into bed we talked about how Baby Mouse would find his way back to his his warm nest where Mommy and Daddy Mouse would take care of him and nurse him back to heath with mouse tea and lots of kisses. Sigh. Lil said she wanted to check on him first thing in the morning, and if he'd disappeared, that meant he was alright.
So, after the kid drifted off to sleep, I made my way into the kitchen to get a drink. I checked on the sill and there was Baby Mouse, in the exact position I'd plopped him, very much no longer alive. I saw as I glanced closer that his little ear had been torn and his stomach was starting to leak out from underneath him.
So, I made a decision, and this might make me a shitty person or a good mother, I still haven't decided.
I reached out the window and gave Baby Mouse a gentle, one-finger flick down, down, down to the great street below.
Then I drank a double bloody mary with extra tabasco.
This morning, Lily bolted out of bed and skidded into the kitchen. Bleary eyed and slurping coffee, I barely realized what she was doing when she came and bounced, thrilled, onto my lap. "He's GONE! He's GONE! He's okay! The mouse went home to his family!"
I smiled. I nodded and said, "Yep, he must have. He's gonna be fine." Then I hugged my daughter close and made a tiny contrition to the great judger above (whomever that might be) for this teeny transgression.
I have been too busy to write much lately, but I will take time to photoshop a picture of my kitten next to that Lord of The Rings guy. I promise I am not gonna turn into one of those bloggers who only writes about her cats. I hope.
That shit's funny though.
I need a kick start on blogging here. Who has an idea of a topic for me to write about?
Well, this has been quite a week. I don't have long to write, because I need to resume the patrolling of Lily and our new Kitten, Nugget, to be sure he remains alive and not squished to death, as she cannot seem to stop carrying the little guy around like a baby and putting him in baskets like he's her own personal baby doll ("Stop checking on me, mom! You woke him up! He's FINE!").
See, we had to put our elderly cat friend, Cleo, to sleep this week (my brave parents did the actual deed), and at 17 she was ready and went peacefully.
We realized though, that we really liked having two cats, so I located this very interesting organization online that traps, neuters and releases feral cats in NYC. The older woman I talked to on the phone was adorable if not a little too friendly (I learned all about her recent hysterectomy during our first phone call)... I imagine she spends a lot of time with her cats.
We met her at a residential house in Queens in which there was a basement containing about 50 feral cats in cages and their babies. Holy shit! She catches these kitties, spays and neuters them, and tries to adopt their babies out to good homes. I was impressed.
We picked out this little guy, and brought him home in a car service, where he barfed all over me and crawled up my neck onto my shoulder while our driver, a Bengali gentleman, kept asking me out for a light Indian dinner and a Bollywood movie ("Tomorrow?" "No. Thank you. I'm not interested." "Monday? You work Monday?" "Thank you, no. I'm really not interested in going out with you." "I'll call you Monday then.")
Lily and I camped in her room and watched Little House on the Prairie DVDs while Nugget, our newest friend, jumped around and snuggled and got to know us. Poor Sea Monkey was barred from the room (this kitten is tiny, and I didn't want him thinking he was a toy), but they have officially met this morning and seem to be getting along ok.
I realize that you've probably had a tough life. I do. And I'm sorry for that one leg of yours that is significantly shorter than the other makes you walk with a limp. I'm sorry that your malformed foot doesn't quite fit in your sneaker and that it takes you longer than the average crazy person to make it down the middle of the aisle during your nightly canvassing of the rush-hour 7 train.
But I have a bit of advice for you, red-shirt wearing, hostile beggar. When trying to garner empathy from your fellow commuters (and collect gin money), it's best not to threaten to kick our asses if we don't give you change.
When you pulled your shirt up to show us the deeply-grooved scars on your back, and that short Mexican guy snickered, he was only doing so out of discomfort. I don't think that calling him an Oompa-Loompa-Looking-Motherfucker really added anything to the mounting tension you created by being both hostile and vulnerable at once, concurrently begging for money and telling us we are all assholes.
If I might, perhaps I can offer you a bit of advice, sir. Maybe take a trip to Times Square and watch how the more polished, seasoned spare-change solicitors do it. I think the best course of action is: 1. Enter train at a stop. 2. Briskly walk the aisle giving spiel about how you're living in a shelter but trying to get a job. 3. Ask politely for extra change. 4. Tell us God Bless. 5. Exit at next stop so as to not to create discomfort among fellow passengers, and try again in the next car.
I think that's really what works.
Here's what doesn't work:
Standing in the middle of the train, stop after stop after stop, shouting expletives with your shirt hiked up over your head, calling your fellow riders 'Foolios'.
It just makes you look silly.
Just a little friendly advice, sir. Food for thought, if you will.
My parents are retired English teachers, and they actually read my blog. I know. I don't understand it either.
I come from a family of big readers and grammar savants; in fact, I'm the only person in my immediate family without a graduate degree. Because really, you don't need a Masters to excel in WiseAssery.
Still, I like that my parents read the blog, even if they do give me crap about some of the content. They don't believe anyone should be censored, even though I know they secretly hope some day I will start to curb my rancid tongue and maybe talk about my vagina a little less.
I really appreciate my parents' open-mindedness with regard to reading and writing, though. As far back as I can remember, my sister and I were always allowed to read whatever we wanted. As long as we were reading something, my parents didn't care if it was the back of the cereal box or an Archie comic or Jackie Collins; they just wanted us to love the process of reading as much as they did. And we both inhale books like giant piles of uncut cocaine.
When I was maybe eleven or so, my mother picked up Judy Blume's Forever at a rummage sale and tucked it away in a corner shelf of our living room library and told me that I could read it "When I was a little older and ready".
Why not just dangle a salt lick just out of reach of my giant, panting animal tongue? Of course I snuck that book into my bedroom whenever I had a chance and dog eared every page (especially the ones where the guy introduced his girlfriend to his penis, whom he named "Ralph", omg), sharing it with friends and even sneaking it into school a couple of times. I was cool as shit because I had that book. It was my golden ticket; I used it as a bargaining chip to get invited to slumber parties. Of course, after I fell asleep the popular girls took it and read it under by flashlight after dunking my hand in warm water to get me to pee my sleeping bag. But I digress.
I think by the time Mom asked me if I felt 'ready' to read the book, I'd memorized the sex parts so thoroughly I could recite them. I'm pretty sure I did.
Anyway, the point is, I have really cool parents. I don't think I tell them that enough. Thanks, mis padres, for your unconditional acceptance and understanding when it comes to the unpredictable (yet endearing!) antics of your errant elder child.
Happy Mother's Day, Mamacita. And Hey, Dad. Nice to see you too.
I was traveling this weekend and was startled/entertained/confused by the number of people I encountered in various airports across America (because I'm a jet-setter, doncha know...actually, no. I just buy my tickets on Priceline and cannot afford a direct flight anywhere so I get to see the insides of various airports as I run to connecting gates spilling my Starbucks all over me) sporting this look.
Now, come on, people. Really?
When my plane descended into Laguardia, I launched into a mini-sneezing fit because recirculated air always makes my nostrils itchy, and the woman next to me was practically turning herself inside out trying to avoid sharing any breathing air with me in such a confined space. I gently wiped my nose, put my hand over hers and patted it, saying, "Don't worry. I think the meds I'm taking have made me less (cough, cough) contagious." Then I planted a big, wet french mouthkiss on her.
I'm not trying to make less of this potential pandemic (okay, yes, I am), but I do think people are overreacting just a weensy bit here.
I found this website that actually sells "Swine Flu Masks". Click here if you want some of that shit, but warning...limit three per customer! So, you and your husband and child are safe. But your baby is shit out of luck.
But you can buy some of these instead.
Hey, get an extra one for your babysitter and see what kind of long-term damage you can inflict on your child's emotional development while keeping him all Swine and Dandy and flu-free!
I will be SO PISSED if they end up closing the Queens County schools because of this swine flu bullshit. Mostly because having a kid at home will keep me from enjoying my newest favorite pastime, watching trashy TV at the gym.
I don't have cable, so I inhale the rot-yer-brain crap that's shown on the workout-vision TV sets that are conveniently built into the machines at my gym. This is amazing to me. You simply plug in your headphones and you have access to reality TV, soaps and about 9 different court shows. I don't know if I love working out now, or if I just spend an extra 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer because I just HAVE to see how that paternity test came out on Judge Hatchett. Either way, my ass thanks you.
Have you guys ever seen Steve Wilkos? I love this guy! I think I am having the same kind of weird masochistic sexual fixation on him that I had on the meat cart guy near the playground in my neighborhood; he's big, bald, sweaty, unabashedly masculine, and looks like he'd smell like a steak kebab. He flips over chairs when he gets pissed at the irresponsible babymamas on his show, but he's also tender and sweet with, say, the gangbanger who kicked his pregnant girlfriend in the belly, but really, really wants help to get out of the thug life, ya know?
It's really engaging. I can't get enough.
Even though a lot of moms go to my gym, I think I'm probably the only woman crying on the treadmill because I'm so moved by the transformation of a teen prostitute or because I've seen justice given to the woman who sued over the $200 faulty weave that made her very hair fall out of her head.
Thank you, Fitness Center, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, (and I apologize to you folks, for so many reasons...but really, what the hell is wrong with you people anyway?!) you might recall me blogging about my weird-ass dreams. Recently I wrote a whole wastebasketful of nonsense about a recurring nighmare in which I have the painful urge to the pee and can only find filthy, feces-encrusted public toilets available for my use. Oh, and I'm also usually barefoot.
Last night's dream, though...I don't know WHERE that came from. I did drink a stoopid amount of pink champagne at a friend's birthday party and then go home and stuff microwave popcorn in my face while watching repeats of Grey's Anatomy, but I am not sure why I dreamed that Lily and I went on a vacation and had to share our hotel bed with two full-grown female lions.
The lions were tame(ish) and liked to cuddle, but shit, they were still fucking gigantic bloodthirsty jungle cats with claws specifically designed to tear flesh away from bone. And this thought plagued me as I crawled into bed with my child. Maybe it's all the Christian the Lion stuff I am seeing on the internet. I think they just wrote a book about that guy. Anyway.
So, it gets weirder. I'd also forgotten to pack any clothes for the trip, but my aunt was kind enough to supply me with an adult-sized Mickey Mouse bathing suit. But stuck inside the crotch was a used menstrual pad, filled with blood, and I couldn't seem to remove it.
It has come to my attention that I need to blog. I've been away on vacation for the last week and writing was not in the forefront of my mind. Ok, I was mildly inspired whence I was looking at Youtube videos of Chris Rock musing about Tossed Salads, but I couldn't quite conjure anything that would be acceptable for the masses. If you google 'Chris Rock' with 'Tossed Salad', you'll see why. But do so with caution.
Oh, but I had forgotten what an interesting experience it is to travel sans adult partner with your five year old child. That's actually not true; I've never even done it. I have little to compare with this experience, in fact.
I can only draw upon one excursion, lifetimes ago, when our family was still intact, and we traveled to South America on a film shoot. Lily was a little more than two. My DVD player crapped out about halfway through the flight and the Benadryl I'd administered on the knowing urges of my jet-setting mother friends had the opposite of the desired effect, in that it made the kid hyper as hell. She spent a good part of the flight bouncing in her seat, kicking the shit out of her tray table and attempting to run down the aisle to bust in on First Class. Eventually she melted down and vomited all over herself and me, and a during our ear-popping descent, a helpful passenger offered her a stick of Juicy Fruit, thereby igniting the kid's lifelong obsession with gum.
All this was happening as her father was seated in the back of the plane among other film crew members, engaged in 'meetings' or something. It should be noted that at this time I was still trying to convince myself and everyone else how important my husband was, to our family and to the world at large. So important, in fact, that hey, we got this free trip to South America and all I have to do is sit with the kid on my lap the whole flight and not complain! Small price to pay for the experience, right? Right? Wrong.
But I digress.
Now my child is older and, presumably, more mature and will as a result be a more companionable travel comrade, I'm thinking. And I have to say, I was right for the most part.
It was Lily who sat pretzel-legged and unperturbed, watching "Hannah Montana" on my ipod when our tiny plane hit a patch of turbulence. I began to believe in magical creatures, swearing that a giant must have mistaken us for a toy plane and was punching at the sides of our vessel in a crude attempt to amuse himself. I was acutely aware of the thin membrane separating us from The Other Side—this being imminent death—and felt certain that every passenger had drawn the same number in the game of life upon boarding. The jig was up. Game over. What a way to go.
Lily was completely unfazed as I watched, from the unfortunate vantage point of our front-row seats, as the steward scrambled to his perch, quizzically located right next to the cabin door/escape hatch, and fastened his seat belt, then proceeded to hoist two mystery straps over his shoulders which I was sure were attached to a parachute. Son of a bitch, I thought. He's gonna totally ditch. He's gonna jump out of the plane and I'm going to die holding an empty peanut bag and cup of bloody mary mix.
But that didn't happen.
Eventually we sailed through the rough patch and the bile in my throat slipped back down to my stomach and all was well. And I realized that the most frightening thing about the experience wasn't the turbulence itself, because I've been on bumpy flights on my own before and never really minded. It isn't my chosen way to go, but I'll ride down in a fiery fuselage if it is my fate. I'll suck on the free oxygen and clutch my passport, so they can identify me later. I'm not really afraid to die.
What freaked me out was that I was on this plane with my child. With Lily, who has yet to experience much of the world and to whom I have sworn, by the very nature of our mother-child bond, to protect and keep alive at all costs.
And it's funny because she didn't even notice my panic, my racing mind, the fact that I was stricken and terrified and smearing the passenger window with my sweat-soaked palms, in an attempt to somehow control what was going on around us, to protect her from harm.
Yet another example of how motherhood is a total ruse, how completely unfair the whole thing is. But I guess, you know, that's alright with me.
Tonight we wrote a letter to the Easter Bunny, instructing him to please take the stinky pink and blue and lavender eggs sitting in the basket on the kitchen table and hide them "in a place where no one will find them" (this was Lily's request).
We left him a plate of baby carrots and a handful of Puffins cereal and I reminded her that EB would only come if she went to sleep early.
Then she asked, "Mama, how is the Easter Bunny gonna get in our house?"
This is a question I hate. Living in an apartment in New York City doesn't really allow for working within the framework of the Santa-coming-down-the-chimney scenario, or the Easter Bunny hopping in from...wherever he hops in from. All our holiday characters climb in the window from the fire escape like cat burglars and it doesn't exactly enhance the fantasy.
So I gestured toward the kitchen window. "I left it open a crack, so he could get in that way, see?"
Lily was horrified. She hopped up from the kitchen stool and promptly removed all the little plastic Princess statues from the window sill and transported them into her room.
When she came back I was smiling. "Is that so the Easter Bunny will have an easier time getting into the house, baby?" I asked.
She shook her head. "No. It's so he doesn't steal them."
I bit my lip. "Honey, he isn't going to steal your toys."
"Well, what if he does? What if he comes in the window and takes all my candy? Should we hide everything?"
Christ, Almighty. So I spent the next 20 minutes explaining that just because the Easter Bunny comes in through the kitchen window like a convicted felon, it doesn't mean he's gonna steal our stuff.
But getting her to sleep totally sucked, because every creak or cat mewl she heard had her convinced that the Easter Bunny was arriving ahead of schedule to make off with her Barbie Trans Am or Polly Pocket cruise ship.
It rained like a bastard yesterday. God, it was endless. I stood outside waiting for the bus under the awning of our building AND holding an umbrella. And still I got soaked. Don't wear clogs in the rain, guys. Just don't.
So around 6 pm the sun sort of started peeking out and Lily and I decided to go for a walk and get a scooter pie.
And, of course, stop at the thrift store to see our friend Hope and so Lil could try and score a free crappy stuffed animal or dirty barbie or old heinous purse.
I have a history of bringing strays home. Not just men, but also animals too.
When I was about 19 and away at college, my suitemates and I thought it would be a good idea to get a kitten. This was after the rabbit debacle the previous spring ('Cadbury', bought around Easter and existing in my dorm room beneath crudely fashioned cage of a milk crate, shitting little nuggets everywhere and thumping his goddamned feet 24 hours a day, ended up the size of a large cat and 'escaping' from a hutch in my parents backyard that summer, before being transported by my Grammy Alice to a 'farm' upstate).
So we went to the pet store and picked out the frailest, most needy-looking kitten in the place. She had a drippy eye and sneezed nonstop. Of course this is the animal for me, I thought. Of course it is.
To make it up to our Jamaican suitemate, whom we did not consult on this purchase and who hated the us, we let her name the kitten. She called her "Nesta", after Bob Marley.
Well. Nesta did fine in our little suite until we had a fire drill. My friend Keri stuffed kitty in her parka and we ran outside, gathering near the building until we were told we could go back. Our RA came over to talk to us, and, oops, little Nesta popped her head out of Keri's coat to say Hi.
That was the end of the cat in the dorm, see.
So, Grammy Alice saved my ass again. She took the kitten and kept her as her own. She renamed her Cleo (for Cleopatra, as she was a gorgeous gold and black), and played with her ("She loves it when you put her in a paper shopping bag and swing it around! She just goes crazy!"), and loved that cat right up until the she died. Alice, that is. She lay in a hospice bed in front of her big window, slipping away from us, and we held her hand and told her it was okay to let go. And Cleo curled up in a ball at the foot of the bed, seemingly bereft. Devastated. Alice died last month at the age of 94. Cleo was 17.
Actually, I should say Cleo is 17. That cat is as old as fuck and still kicking.
And now she's living with me. I had promised Grammy Alice months ago, when my aunt and mother were dangling the assisted living carrot in front of her, that I would take Cleo and care for her when she moved out of her apartment. And I kept my promise, even though my lovely grandmother slipped away before she got to the assisted living 'sunset' of her life. Probably best.
So, Cleo came to me a few weeks ago, skinny, disoriented, pissed off and traumatized. She hid behind Lily's bed for about a week, coming out only to eat and poop and hiss at Sea Monkey, who was absolutely entranced by her.
We seem to have settled into a routine and the two cats are tolerating each other, though occasionally I'll be jolted awake by hissing and shrieking as they startle each other on the way to the litterbox or in the wee hours of the night. And this morning Lily came in wiping her foot, saying, "I think I just stepped in Cleo barf!"
But it's par for the course, I suppose.
And I'm glad to have the chance to do this for my grandmother. It's what she would have wanted.
I happened upon a little used book store on St. Marks last week. It was a sweet little shop with colorful wooden stools scattered throughout on which were scrawled in thick black sharpie: "NOT FOR SITTING!!! WE NEED TO PLACE BOOKS ON THESE!! DON'T EVEN THINK OF SITTING HERE!!!"
Charming little out-of-the-way place. Friendly too. I was especially taken by a sign inviting me to browse their 'outdoor garden' bookery, which was actually a bunch of overstuffed metal shelves stuck outside the door, covered with a tarp. There were chimes out there though. And that was cool. If not freaking eerie on a cold March night. Like horror movie eerie.
Anyway. I damn near peed myself when I discovered an Ann Rule book I haven't yet read, and snapped that bitch right up for just $3. The book is A Fever In The Heart, (A Bestselling Story of Obsession, Manipulation and Murder!) and I'm of course savoring it each night like a sweet little snickers bar hidden under my pillow before bed.
I love true crime books. Love them. There is just something horribly, deliciously captivating about the graphic details of a crime committed by your average American boy-or-girl-next-door. One common thread I find in reading these fiestas of pain and suffering (and I've read a bunch) is that nobody ever would've ever expected it to happen. Ask any neighbor, third grade teacher, babysitter, the guy who sold the victim/perpetrator their cigarettes and whiskey, and they'll all say the same thing: "Those people? Oh, but I can't believe it. They were so nice, such good citizens, neighbors, PTA parents...I'd never have expected he would have been a serial murderer! Or that she'd have shot her children point blank in the backseat of her car! That woman? No way she'd have ever killed her husband for insurance money. I'd never have thought it possible."
Hell Yeah. That's the draw for me, for sure. The idea that anyone can commit a crime of 'passion' if driven to it under the right circumstances. A hot, dry night in the midwest, a lighted match and zip! You've set your house on fire with half its occupants asleep inside. Whoops!
And I admit it. Reading these books makes me feel just the teensiest bit better about my own life. Not that I really have much to complain about these days. But when my single mama patience runs needle-thin at the end of the day and I ask Lily just a little too gruffly if she would just eat one more bite of goddamned macaroni and cheese, I can rest assured that I'm doing a hell of a lot better than these poor saps.
Also, I'm pretty glad I don't own a gun or know anybody with ties to the mafia.
So I'm reading Lily Anastasia Krupnik, by Lois Lowry. Since I'm working from home more and am able to pick Lil up several days a week, I've discovered that there is a public library right next to her school. Sweet relief. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I tend to get palm-sweatily anxious if I don't have at least one book in rotation at all times. It keeps me from coming unglued.
I love the library. I love the overheated aisles with shelves and shelves of brand new stories. I love the musty smell of books that have passed through thousands of hands (and maybe even helped some stray scabies make the journey from your home to mine. Thanks!)...several times I've lost track of time and almost gotten to school late because I'm all sprawling with legs askew on the floor, pawing through a pile of novels to decide what to take home and what to leave behind.
I have this new thing with trying to get Lily to love all the books I loved as a little girl, but conveniently forgetting that I didn't discover a lot of these beloved paperbacks until I was at least 7 or 8 and could actually read. Of course I think Lily is smart, but having to stop and explain every concept and phrase from a Judy Blume novel to a 5 year old isn't really my idea of a rockin' good time. (I only read her Otherwise Known as Sheila The Great, which is really innocuous. It doesn't deal with periods or jerking off or mouthkissing or anything).
Anyway, last night we were laying in her bed as I read aloud from Anastasia. We came to a part about Anastasia's teacher taking off her shoes under her desk, and her corn pads being visible through her stockings. This was terribly intriguing to my child.
L: "What are corn pads, Mama?"
M: "Oh, they're just these little sticky things you put on your feet if you have...rough spots."
L: "I want some corn pads!"
M: "No, you don't. You don't need corn pads. Should we continue with the story?"
But she wouldn't let it go. She insisted that she needed corn pads and wouldn't listen to the story until I agreed to take her to the Duane Reed the next day and buy her a goddamned box of them.
Finally, we finished a chapter and she went to sleep, dreaming happily of our trip to the drugstore to buy footcare products.
And then I went into the kitchen and poured a glass of wine and planned to get some fucking Dr. Seuss books tomorrow.
Warning: this post contains copious amounts of icky. You may come away scratching yourself. Not for the faint of heart. But then, if that describes you, you wouldn't be on this blog anyway.
Hi! I'm Kristin. And I'll be your host (HA!) through this historic journey. If at any point you feel the need to throw up, I totally don't blame you.
When I was four I was a little dirt digger. I had a fun hobby of collecting ants from the back yard and placing them in my roller skate wheel. I'd place the skate on its side and then spin the wheel to give the ants a 'ride', like their own little amusement park. Sometimes the ants would fly out and I'd have to gather them and put them back in. It was my understanding that ants liked to be entertained in this way, and that I was doing something to make their mundane lives more fun. By my side was always my faithful black lab, Samantha. I have very distinct memories of sitting outside with Sam during this time, and feeding her ice pops. What I don't remember is developing ringworm. My mom said I got it probably because I was always naked running around in the grass and I hated taking baths. Some things don't change. Maybe I stepped in dog poop or even sat in it and didn't know it, because I think ringworm is spread through feces or something. I don't remember the treatment for ringworm but I remember being completely freaked out that there was actually a worm lodged under my skin. I kept squeezing the skin to try and get it to come out. I'm pretty sure it went away quite quickly though.
When I was six I got lice. Probably from some dirty kid. There's always that dirty kid in your class and I always ended up befriending that kid. What sucked about this was that I had long, tangly hair that fell to my butt almost (my mother liked to keep me looking like a fundamentalist mormon) and the toxic chemical treatment that mom force-combed through my locks until my scalp was bloody didn't work. It got so bad that I had to cut off all my hair to a shoulder-length bob. Lice was maybe the best thing, fashion-wise, that ever happened to me in childhood.
When I was about ten I was doing my homework and playing with my hair when I found a tick behind my ear. That was fucked up. I remember scratching it and thinking, gross. How did I get a fuzzy pimple back there? And why can't I pick it off? I ran downstairs and my poor mother had to deal with my hysteria. She tried everything to get it off...I think she even lit a match and tried to burn it at one point, but in the end we drowned it in rubbing alcohol and intoxicated on fumes, the fucker fell off. Mom flushed him down the toilet and I remember being nervous for a while that it would make its way back up the bowels (excuse the pun) of the septic system and bite me on the vagina.
Let's fast-forward a bit now. Remarkably, I made it through my college years without any nasty bloodsucking parasites living in my pubic hair, but when I was 25 I got married. Then I was legally bound to a parasite. Ha! Seriously though.
I went on my honeymoon to Puerto Rico. I spent the days of that week reading Ann Rice novels and baking my skin to a golden bubbly eating delicious tropical fruit. No problem, right?
Wrong. About three months later I expelled, during a (somewhat lengthy, but) routine bathroom visit, a flat worm the length of my arm. You may ask, how did you know you shit out a worm? Do you look at the toilet after you have a movement? Yes. And so do you.
I had to fish it out of the toilet with a pair of tongs (that went straight to the dumpster) and put it in a coffee can to bring in and show my doctor. Ever sat in the waiting room of your doctors office with a giant Chock Full O Nuts can between your legs? It's mildly humiliating.
In the end, I was prescribed some kind of poison that tasted like baby aspirin, which killed anything that might have taken up residence in my intestines. And I haven't seen the likes of those guys since.
Which brings me to my most current brush with parasitic nastiness. I started developing what I thought initially to be a rash on my hips, legs, and boobs. It itched like a bastard, and nothing seemed to help it...not calamine lotion, not tea tree oil, not epsom salt baths, not getting drunk and trying to forget about it. My whole life became about scratching. I was like a homeless dog with incurable mange. I was actually rubbing skin off from scratching.
Scratch, scratch, scratch. It gets so you can't even think about anything else.
I finally went to the doctor and was told that I had scabies. Yes. Scabies. What almost-36 year old woman gets SCABIES?! That'd be me. I'm still not sure how I got these nasty little mites that lodge under your skin and just relentlessly bite the fuck out of you, but I'm now focused on getting rid of them. I had to coat myself and Lily last night in a toxic cream that 'must be washed off in the morning!', according to the novel of a warning label.
And so here I sit, sippin on coffee, still with the urge to scratch, but less so.
I'm hoping this is the last chapter in this here story.
Sorry about that blanky mcmystery post, guys. I wrote something, then deleted it because it was stupid, but accidentally hit 'publish'; then my computer was feeling ornery and every time I tried to go back and delete the post itself, the internetz crashed on me!
So then I said fuck it, I have better things to do. Like watch youtube videos of bedbugs.
Anyway, I assure you that my strange black hole of a post was not a philosphical experiment in headfuckery, though I am thrilled that you guys think I have enough flickering brain cells left to pull that off. Ah, if only I could give you all a soft, patronizing pat on the head for that one. Or a loving tap on the heinie. To show my great and abiding appreciation.
Anyway, I've just been busy busy busy. I cannot tell you how much time I have spent on Google this week researching bedbugs, convinced that I must have a little army of them burrowed in my mattress or light switch (they can hide in there!), or pillows or something. This research takes up so much of my time, I hardly have the energy for anything else.
I have been waking up for the last week with angry clusters of welty, itching bites all over my hips, butt and back. I don't know what the hell is going on. I changed my facebook status last week to say something like, "I hope it's just a spider bite!" and about 12 of my helpful friends commented that spider bite my ass, it sure as heck sounded like bedbugs.
Yet, a thorough search of my bed, floor, walls, bookshelves, drawers, pillows and couch revealed nothing. No indication of anything amiss. Not even bedbug larvae or a dead stray guy or anything. I did however find an overdue library book. That was nice.
So the itching continues. It's killing me. Tea Tree Oil and Caladryl are not alleviating my discomfort, but are staining my clothes and making me smell like the Whole Foods.
On the upside, the kid seems unaffected. So, maybe it's hives? eczema? Or shit, maybe it's that flesh-eating bacteria. That would be just my luck. Now that I think about it, that's probably it.
I'm lucky enough to make friends wherever I go. That's because I'm friendly and really open-minded. Also, many people frighten me. And I tend to be nice to everyone, especially when I'm afraid that being anything but will perhaps get me backhanded in the mouth or burned with a cigarette.
Case in point...
I've been spending a lot of time in the south lately.
I found myself traveling a long distance in a Louisiana taxicab yesterday in the company of a very interesting lady driver. Because she caught me at a vulnerable moment and called me 'baby', I said, "Sure! No problem!" when she asked if I minded her smoking.
Immediately I slunked down in my seat and started to roll down the window ("That one don't work, baby...here, let me put down mine...") and thought, you asshole, Kristin. What the hell did you just do? See, when it comes to carsickness, I am even worse than your nerdiest, most hayfever-prone, nearsighted, cape-wearing, drooling, sniveling second cousin. You know, the one that puked in your dad's hat on every car trip you ever took as a family? Yeah, that's me. Only I get even more nauseous and can gag on command. I've been known to groan and put my head between my legs on rides to the 7-11 down the street.
And here I am telling this woman she can smoke on an hour-long ride to the airport. Duh.
There was something charming about her though. Even in her spandex shorts and flip flops, which showed off a red chipped-off pedicure on her dracula-ish toenails. The woman was so obese her cheeks almost hid her eyes. But she was sweet. And I was having a bad day. So I needed a little sweet. I got the sense that she would invite me over to her trailer and make me ovaltine and give me fresh mint from her garden or something.
Then the inevitable happened.
We started talking about Hurricane Katrina. This poor woman's house was leveled during the storm, but she proudly announced to me that she would not take a handout from the government. "No sirree, I work for my money. Not like some people..."
I love sentences that start with, "I'm not predjudiced, but..." And this one was no different. Sigh. This lady opened her mouth and my, what a rant came tumbling out of it.
And since I'm a nice person, and tend toward passivity, I find that people feel comfortable being racist around me or something. She started talking about how the only people accepting help from FEMA were the black folks, and how they were dragging the culture of Louisiana down, and blah, blah, blah.
I wasn't feeling feisty enough to get into it with her. And plus, I know I cannot change a woman's mindset in one cab ride. So I didn't say anything. And I kind of feel bad about that now.
I got to the airport and surprisingly didn't vomit on the street as soon as I stepped out of the cab. Even though I kind of really wanted to.
Been a spotty poster lately. I'm sorry, darlings. I just feared I might've run out of things to say. Then I walked through Madison Square Park on my way to work this morning, and ping! I thought of something to tell you.
First, let me just say that the squirrels in Madison Square Park are more like little puppies than they are squirrels. You walk by a cluster of them tittering at each other on the park bench, and you make a little clucking sound at them with your tongue, and they run at you in bands of 4 or 5, eager to climb up your legs in the hopes of getting a nut or treat. It's very bizarre. You get the sense you could cradle one in your arms like a kitten if you wanted to. But as my babysitter Isabel learned when she was little, after a lot of lost blood and a rabies shot, squirrels don't really want to be grabbed and hugged.
Anyway, let me tell you about some of the things I saw in the park today, besides the squirrels, that got my rusty brain gears turning:
1. Group of zen-ish asian peoples practicing the Tai Chi in heavy coats and woolen scarves and mittens. You've got to hand it to these folks. I mean, shit. It was cold this morning. And yet, here they are, committed to their quiet, fluid, meditative movements, or whatever the hell it is they do. It was mesmerizing to watch, anyway. Which brings me to
2. Weird Robert Chambers-looking guy in preppy Irish sweater, smoking cig and watching Tai Chi people, as if he were contemplating picking one to kidnap and violate under a tree nearby. Or eat for a snack. He had an intensity in his eyes that would definitely red flag him in a bar as the guy who always carries date rape capsules his pocket.
3. Homeless man wearing coat and pants that were stuffed with newspapers (clever!) to keep him warm. He was slumped like a sleeping fat pidgeon, head tucked into his chest. On his feet were mismatched soft hospital casts...like the ones they give you when you sprain your ankle.
4. Skeletal woman jogging in a lipstick-red parka, attached via skinny rhinestone leash to an equally starved-looking poodle, wearing four doggie sneaker/slipper type things the exact same lipstick color as the woman's coat.
Now. This is what struck me. Not that it made me wanna cry or go out and start a revolution or anything, because, please, I've got enough on my plate...but, it made me stop and think for a second, is all.
There seems to be such an ever-growing gap between the haves and the have-nots in this world. I mean, here we have a man who keeps all his earthly belongings folded into filthy shopping bags and stuffed in a cart, who cannot afford shoes on his feet on a cold February morning, who's probably not had a decent meal in weeks. And jogging by in the same park at the very same moment, there's a woman who probably doesn't do much eating either, but for veeeery different reasons, and she's got enough extra money to buy on goddamned shoes for her dog.
What's that about? You don't have to answer. Or answer, if you like.
My company is hilarious. They block every site known to man where you might engage in 'social networking' (ie fun), like myspace, facebook, linked-in, and twitter, yet I can still access most of your blogs, which are nothing but filth.
This makes me scratch my head in confusion. Or it may just be the bedbugs.
Just kidding. I don't have bedbugs. Yet. But I just read that these little bloodlusting monsters are on the rise in New York. By 34%. How you end up with 34% more bedbugs in a matter of months I am not certain, but I definitely have invested in those plastic covers for the mattresses. But that's actually because Lily still pees the bed sometimes. Sigh.
Anyway. Back to the internazis at my job. Yesterday I was trying to access a link on LOTD, where I could take a quiz to see if I'm an asshole or not (thedipstop.com, it was), but it was blocked because it was characterized as 'pornography'. What the hell? Pornography?
Great. That's just great. Now not only am I forced to focus on my actual job because I can't chat with my friends on the facebook, but I'm going to be branded as a pornhound by the management too. Oh, well. I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later.
In other news, I've recently acquired a funky orange beret, which I've been rocking throughout wintry NYC. It's warm, and helps people locate me if I get lost in a crowd. However, one of my co-workers has taken to calling me Rerun, which I most assuredly don't appreciate.
I don't see it. I mean, come on. His beret was red.
Hey. Hey you, Ann Coulter. You vile, birdfaced bitch.
You and your fake tits need to recognize. Normally I dismiss your ridiculous, wildly ignorant assaults on educated America with that simple head shake I reserve for the hopeless crazies on the subway, but your recent indictment of single mamas as the cause of 'most of societal problems' is just too much.
Too much, m'lady.
Hey, hey...Ann Coulter, Have you ever been a single mother?
Oh. Well, you ought to try it. It's totally awesome. In fact, it's most women's childhood dream. I know when I was ten years old laying nightly in my pink canopy bed, contemplating what wonders my future held, I prayed relentlessly to my virgin mary nightlight that the good lord would grant me a child with an incapable disappointment of a father who bailed on his basic daily responsibilities, leaving me to do most, if not all of it, by myveryownself.
In fact, I often find myself supressing a gleeful smile that I got my very wish... especially on the nights that my daughter keeps both of us up with a hacking cough, then barfs all over my pajamas and insists upon sleeping curled up like a little turtle with her feet in my face, thereby keeping me from getting back to sleep at 4 in the morning, although I need to be up at 6 to get both of us ready for school and work.
With the exception of the Octomom, who is crazier than a bag of circus clowns, I think very few women embark upon the great journey of motherhood expecting that they will be doing it all on their own. And yet, more and more of us are. And the (growing) number of us out there are busting our asses to do it the best we can, while our babydaddies maintain active social lives, pay child support sporadically, and pop in on weekends for pizza and movies.
Curious, then, Ann Coulter, why you don't perhaps point your sharp little judgement stick at the deadbeat daddies of America, and ask why the hell more and more men are shrinking out of the picture, abandoning their obligations and getting away with it?
Actually, Ann coulter, I've a much better idea.
how's about you just take that there sharp, pointy judgement stick and stick it straight up your ass?
1. duh, there was no school on Saturday and we could sleep in, then get up and watch The Snorks in the spare bedroom while scarfing as much Crispix as we wanted without interruption (until our dad came and made us hold the giant lawn bag open while he did away with the raked leaves in our yard. I hated that.)
2. I had a huge canopy bed (and Lisa had a little twin bed...WHO was the favorite?), and on Friday nights, if we promised not to be too loud, we would sleep together in my bed and stay up late laughing and joking, sometimes till one of us peed the bed. Or until we got in a fight and I physically kicked Lisa back to her matchbox of a bedroom. I was a terrible bitch of a sister.
3. My parents would take us out to The Pancake Cottage, where I would get the Marine Boy Special (fried fish sandwich and fries) and we'd play "Playing with the queen of hearts" on the jukebox.
I have Friday Feeling today. But for other reasons. (Wiggles eyebrows).
Do any of you have Friday Feeling? I hope, for your sake, that you do. God knows you deserve it.
Oh! And here's a coffee spitter for your weekend. That's my new term. Coffee Spitter. God, I am really so down with the young people lingo.
New York is so weird. Sometimes I love living here, and sometimes it feels as though the city is a nasty schoolyard bully that steals my lunch money and then repeatedly punches me in the face until blood is running into my mouth and I am spluttering knocked-out teeth like chiclets.
Friday was one of those days. I just felt defeated and tired. A rat on a wheel, if you will. Sometimes it happens. Even to me. I know, hard to believe.
At the end of the day, I peeled through the crowd on the N train and actually scored my ass a vacant seat. Then suddenly I sniffed and sniffed. Something smelled like an old sneakers rotting in a vat of spoiled milk in rat-infested deli somewhere. Warm waves of stale, burned coffee rose up to my nostrils like cat pee on a shag carpet. What the fuck?
I grabbed my purse and realized that the smell was me. Awwwwwesome. I had purchased a brand new oversized travel mug (Ha HA! what a clever devil I was, buying a cup three times the size of a grande latte, so as to transport more caffeine than humanly possible on my morning commute, and not have to stop once for a refill! Yes! Brilliant! Snaps to me!!!) and it had dumped inside my bag, and a stream of cold, end-of-the-day coffee was peeing quietly onto my leg.
Nice. Thanks, Baby Jesus. Why, man? Why?
Anyway, regardless of the fact that I smelled like the dumpster behind the Starbucks, I was not getting up. New Yorkers fight hard for their subway seats; we have an obnoxious sense of entitlement to a hard-won ass-planting if we can score it on a rush-hour train. This is ironic of course since most of us spend our days sitting on our duffers in climate-controlled cubicles, but still. I learned how hardcore New York subway seat jockeys can be in my ninth month of pregnancy. I was still commuting to work and sometimes I could stand for an entire 25 minute ride, my jutting belly literally poking some white collar fuckwad in the Wall Street Journal that he had splayed open to better enable his hiding and pretending not to notice me.
But that night I almost did give up the seat. Because a giant boulder of a man came and stood over me.
He was terribly unfortunate-looking. He had a huge, protrusive stomach and the jowly, frog-like face of Larry Flynt, with a neck that sagged lazily over the collar of his buttoned-up shirt. Wait a second, I thought. Larry Flynt can't be on the NYC subway. He's in Washington, petitioning Obama for a porn industry bailout. Besides, he's in a wheelchair. He can't hold a wide-legged stance in my personal space on the N train. That man's legs don't even work.
Gross. This dude was most deliberately standing inside the invisible box where there's only room for me. Even on a crowded train there's still your dance space and mine. You don't need to say it, it's just what we all know. And so, like a freaky secret between just us, he stood there. And stood there. And I couldn't do anything.
Then he started clenching and unclenching a fat, purplish fist. Then he put his hand in his pocket, removed it, and poked his tummy. Then he reached down and readjusted the front of his pants. He systematically repeated these actions while I sat there, all of this happening disurbingly close to my face.
Goddamn it. Not moving, I thought. Don't care how uncomfortable you try and make me. You can't win. I win. Today is for me.
It became a dance...I watched as he took on a rhythm: clench, unclench hideous fist, place hand in pocket, take hand back out, poke belly, shift balls.
Still I would not move.
Then, inexplicably, he got tired of trying to engage me and moved on to someone else.
The train stopped at Queensboro and a flood of people migrated to the 7 train and he shifted his stance to tower over the Asian model in the stilettos and faux-Cheetah coat, which wasnt even being worn ironically. I guess he thought she was more worth the puppet show than me.
And I rode the remaining stops home, wondering...did that really just happen?