I have this one defining moment that I always refer to as ‘the most humbling experience of my life.’ Funny, as I get older and my humbling moments are compounding themselves into a rather lenghty list. One of these days I’ll tell you all about the big gay rugby auction. Only in NY…but back to this story.
A few years back, I was taking a trip to Acapulco with my BF. I thought I would spice the whole thing up by going in for a wax. You know, a waaaax. You knowwww…for the hair. Down there. Alright, we all on board now?
I had the appointment at the Aveda salon. Nice, clean, fresh smelling. Everyone speaken English (this has become a very important telling sort of distinction in my story telling these days). They placed me in the waterfall room, candles lit, soft music playing, gave me tea and told me to relax. It wasn’t hard. I did.
A soft spoken woman came to get me and lead me to the wax room. She gave me privacy and told me to change into these little disposable cotten panties that were on the table. Cute! The lights were somewhat low, the ambiance serene. I was getting myself psyched up. ‘I can do this. I can do this.’ Now I can be all for a little rough housing in the boudoir, but the idea of dropping hot wax down there, only to tear it off with a strip of cloth moments later is so far out in S&M left field, I can’t even fathom it. So my trained wax tech enters the room and chats with me. I’m nervous. She knows. Then she starts pawing around down there, touchin hairs, making faces and I am now too pleased. I’m paying her to claw at me and belittle my region with looks of disgust? I hadn’t gardened down there in like 2 weeks!! I was going crazy! I knew it was bad, but her reaction was a bit much. I could feel my face warming with the heat of judgement. I was so embarrassed.
Turns out, I hadn’t let it grow out long enough! Ick! I asked her to do my legs (not long enough) and various other parts of my bod. We couldn’t even do my brows cause I’m an uber plucker. So, I left a bit furry, not quite hairy enough for removal, but with a whole new complex: I have a hair removal addiction.
Fast forward to…couple days ago. I’ve spent a couple months now drilling everyone I know about bikini waxing, Brazillian waxing (uh-uh. no way am I ready to go there) the pain, the fear, how drunk I can be to just get myself in the door without them kicking me out. I had heard good things about this salon in my neighborhood. Heard it was pretty cheap too. (PS: in the future, whenever looking to invite people near your lady bits with hot wax and cloth strip, rippy offey things, do not allow money to play a factor. Just an FYI. Go all out. Shuck out the big bucks.)
So I hop off the train one stop before mine and decide to just look into it. I don’t have to commit to a thing! I step into the nail/massage/facial/wax/UPS shipping outlet/vegetable stand/flu shot distributer salon. I mean it. They did everything. And all in little tiny rooms off to the sides. Hmm. Tiny little Asian woman #1 hops up from the tips she’s applying and shouts/asks ‘what I want, what I want’. Uhh, I ask for the menu, she gestures to the entire freakin wall o’ options and I ask about waxing. (gestures and misunderstandings, quizzical looks) Bikini. Ah, I got her now. She leads me back and I assume she’s giving me a tour of their state of the art facilities. Yeah, you guys get it, don’t you? I had just made an appointment. For right now.
She ushers me into a tiny room, with a table thing, sliding door (does not close all the way, thank you very much. Yes, I see you out there painting nails) and a high wattage, could heat Pluto to it’s frozen core, heat lamp, er, lighting scheme. I was feeling a little exposed, but I didn’t know the half of it yet. I really didn’t know what I was doing there. Was someone coming to give me a pep talk, discuss how it all works and set me up with an appointment? I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there on the table. Fully clothed. Silly rabbit.
Asian woman #2 (aka, my wax tech) lands in the room (and I use ‘wax tech’ loosely as I have come to believe this woman may have done her training on chickens) and starts yanking on my pants. Hey, hey, hey! We’re rounding first and heading to second, ok, ok. I’m cool. Let me help you with that. When she starts yanking at my panties and checking things out down there, I realize that my standards to hair removal are a bit high and I suddenly feel cold, afraid and alone. I sniffle. There is no tea. There is no waterfall room. No paper disposable panties. Instead, I’m sweating to death in this chamber of waxing hell with this woman yanking down my skivvies and smacking my ass to boost me up on the table. Then she stares at my legs and makes a comment (something to the effect of) them being very long. Super. Thanks for turning your attention there.
I wasn’t certain if she had understood my instructions of where to go with this and where to clearly STAY AWAY FROM. She sort of nodded and muttered, but it wasn’t quite the same as hearing ‘yes, I understand that you do not want me to scar that which is most important to you in your small shallow world, and I will thusly avoid that area.’ I was stiff as a board, ready to bolt from the room and cling to the first nail painter I saw, throwing her out in front of me. I was also trying to bear in mind that if bolting happened, I would have to maintain a safe crotch distance from people/things/children/pets so as not to glue them to the wax that would surely still be attached. Deep breath in….and…well that wasn’t SO bad. I mean she was slapping it on and ripping it off so quick that I barely had time to register, whoah! yikes! There’s third base! Woo-hoo! Can’t say she wasn’t thorough.
So, I left, slightly bow legged, and no longer happy with the underwear choice, but otherwise feeling as though I had just become a woman. Again. Or for the first time. Not the current issue.
I’m recovering and doing fine. Enjoying the view and dying for a slip and slide. The funny thing is, I kind of miss Asian woman #2. She never calls. She never writes. She never even told me her name. I wonder if she’s thinking about me too…
Alright. Another ‘will not miss once I leave NYC’ coming up here.
My office is one block from FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology), so I walk through their ‘campus’ (it’s just this one block) from the train to my building. And, well, I’m afraid. You guys know I have this whole ‘getting older’ issue. I am simply leaving behind my young ways (for example, I only go out and get ragingly schonkered on average of once a month these days. I know. Dragging these old bones home at 6am requires a whole hell of a lot more recovery time than it used to, so I’ve had to tame things up a bit. All the other times I just get mildly schnockered, leave the raging at home for another day) and part of that has to do with fashion. Slave to the trends no more!!! I have now fully embraced ‘classic’ which more accurately translates to ‘purchasing basic items that last longer than one season and with a longer shelf life than a Forever21 outfit can offer, ie: can handle being washed more than once.’
But for that one block through the FIT campus, I relive my youth (missing are the Banarama cassettes and Bon Jovi jean jackets, but it’s close). That simple walk makes me a little afraid and shaky inside (NO, I am not hungover. Not this time anyway. I used up my one wild party evening earlier this month. still recovering from that one) when I see sweater dresses (ladies, they’re only flattering on one type of figure. the no figure: no hips, no chest, no ass. You cannot have any sort of shape and get away with this tube o’ fabric), a t-shirt and leggings that are being passed off as AN ENTIRE OUTFIT, and UGGS. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THE UGGS?
Ok. Fine. They exist and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about that now. But I hate them. They seem to have gone from ‘uber trendy celebrity gear’ to ‘just slap these things on in any given situation, weather type, and age group, and they’re great for moms, too.’ Haven’t you seen the mom’s at the airport? All dolled up in their sweatsuit, pant legs tucked in, proudly displaying the back tag that alerts us all to the hip, trendiness of said mom? But, I digress…
We can forgive the moms for their transgressions, they’re moms. It’s what they do. If it comes down to Uggs or a fanny pack, I’ll help my mom tuck her sweats into the poofy, rounded toe glory that is an Ugg. But the tragically young, hip and trendy? The fashion students for crying out loud? They wear them with dresses, jeans, shorts, in rain, and 84˚weather (last week). Even in 77˚ weather, as it is here today. All I can think when I see this is the level of swamp foot that has to be pooling up in the bottom of that space boot. And these are the ones who will be setting the trends, designing the runways, dressing Vogue. *le sigh*
As I troll through, I always try to seek out the one that might dress for me. I long to find a girl whose handbag isn’t bedazzled and the size of a German Shephard and who doesn’t think that 60 denier tights are the same things as pants, but alas, I don’t think she is to be found here.
Maybe J. Crew and Banana have their training facilities elsewhere? Somewhere on a farm in Connecticut or Maine? Free from the influence of the Ugg? I can only hope.
So, in keeping with my pledge, I want to further inform you all as to what about NYC will leave me wanting and what can stay the hell here. I’ve decided to tackle the big one first: The Subway.
The good old MTA. My beloved N,W line (the one that goes out to Astoria and ends there. Our own private chariot. Sorta.) Seeing as how it is currently the only transportation I can afford, I will mostly miss it. I won’t have a car when I get back home (make note of this, dear beloved friends of mine. Remember that kid in high school who never had a car and was always bumming a ride even if they had nowhere of importance/significance to go, yet they wanted you to be available to simply, I don’t know, just drive around and listen to music? Well, yeah, “Hi, nice to meet you.”) But, it is sort of creepy too. Imagine if you were driving your car around and every red light you came to, people got in and out of the car. These people don’t know you and they don’t care about your car. At all. So there’s that.
There is a bit of luxury to the old subway, believe it or not. It’s super fun to have the train just pull right up to where you are standing, the doors are opened for you, no exertion necessary and whisks you off to lands near and far. You can lounge, reading, sipping on coffee or other beverage of choice, while you zoom under rivers and tunnels, eventually placing you to the stop of your choosing. It’s magic, really. And it only costs 2 bucks. Not bad.
But then again, let’s remember that that’s a very idealized version of a ride to work. But, when leaving something behind, don’t you find that you often romanticize the good, forgetting the bad?
Now, let’s look at what I simply WILL NOT miss about the subway. Hmmm. Let’s see if I can come up with something here…umm, right. They are filthy. They’ve definitely added a couple of new trains which look nice, but the effect is still the same: human beings are disgusting and the taint of human gross can never be chemically, industrially, or otherwise removed once introduced into the world. And while many folks manage to sip beverages, eat food and otherwise LICK THE HANDRAILS (really, that’s what it’s like) on the old germ express, I am barely even able to open my mouth sometimes to speak for fear of the nasty that could potentialy fly in.
Now, I am not a germaphobe. I’ve seen those folks: they wear gloves and wrap their arms around the poles (because the crook of your arm is a germ free zone), pull jacket sleeves down over hands, or (the real champions) those who choose to stand, not touch anything, and sway and lurch with the train. But, while I’m cautious, I manage to hold the rails and just remember to wash up once I arrive at my destination. Not too difficult.
I understand where the fear comes from, though. I’ve seen people plop their drooley, oozing, sticky little monsters, I mean, lovely, darling, little those-who-shall-inherit-the-earth children down on the seats and watched them leak all over everything.
But that’s not the worst. Once I saw a woman, broad daylight, sitting on the train with a plastic, grocery store bag in her hand that she continually dipped her head into. It took me a minute to catch on. Yup. She was puking into it. Often. How wonderful.
Another time a train pulled up and when the doors opened, people darted off and shot into the next car up. huh. That was weird. We all piled on and had just begun to settle in our seats when I noticed people rushing past me and pushing through the doors between the trains. I looked to the back of the train where a man with an angry ‘you are bothering me’ look on his face, was squatted down in front of the door to the other train. Taking a dump. So true. Couldn’t make it up if I tried. What could I do, I bolted with the rest of my compadres in ‘fear of dumpitude.’ The train car we all piled into was full and the folks on it gave us that ‘you should have known, poor bastards’ look. Super duper.
But it’s really about the iPods, folks. I hate them and now stare at the little ear bud chords, longing to strangle some people with them. I mean, really, why am I being invited into your Celine Dion love fest that should only be happening in your ears, yet is managing to find it’s way to mine? Why must it be so loud? I’m reading a book and managing to keep it to myself. Would it be ok if I turned and started screaming the paragraphs outloud to you? Cause if that’s the trade, I’m up for it. I’ll run out and buy a copy of some gay porn that I can introduce you to. But I think we may all know how I feel about iPods already, so nuff said.
Last week of front door service!
So, that happened.
I have been going through this weird, unbelieveable roommate situation that is finally coming to a conclusion. We have now all gotten booted out, due to my roommates making my landlord nuts about the whole situation, and I’m moving back to my hometown.
Don’t for a second think that it’s because of that psychotic, homewrecking, alcoholic, wanna-be Italian grandmother (she’s about 3 seconds from covering the place in doilies. I kid you not. I wake up every morning, fearful that I will walk out of my room, and she’ll be standing there in her mom jeans, hand on hip, glasses on the chain around her neck-she owns all of these things-and scream at me, ‘When you gonna find nice boy and seetle down?’ as she pushes a bowl of oatmeal in my hand and proceeds to finish putting plastic on the furniture) of a roomie I have. Or her silly cronnie either. Ok, so I haven’t blogged about her yet, so here’s a quick rundown:
*very religious, has had conversations with me about the sanctity of marriage, having kids, loving one person, in the eyes of god, yadda, yadda
*Brings a married man home in the wee hours of the morn to her boudoir, lights out, candles on, crappy, mournful Italian music plays until he leaves, conveniently, before we get up. After all, he does have a wife and kids to go home to.
*studied geology in college. Even went so far as to study it in grad school, which she will brag about. Often. Yet, is a secretary/waitress. And not for a geologist or a geologisty restaurant either.
*discusses (at great length) how global warming is just a platform for political candidates and is not a real threat, recycling is unnecessary and wrong, except for countries like Italy (again with the Italy shit. It never stops. She’s from Baltimore, ok?) which are small and have a greater need to recycle, while big (landmass wise) countries like the US can simply pile their trash up in, say, Idaho (no, you da ho) and leave it at that, since it would take more energy to recycle it than it is worth. I’m pretty creative, but even I can’t make this shit up. I actually had this very conversation with her.
There are a whole other host of issues with Crazy McBeal over there, BUT, not the point. The point is, I’m going home. NYC is big and exciting and fast and crowded and kind of confusing and can be real lonely if you don’t come out here with some sort of network of folks. I’ve met some great people and had some amazing times, but the last time I went home, I got the heart flip flop landing in my home city. Tiny little airport that it is, while coming back here was just like, eh. (not the Canadian ‘eh’, just the breathy sort of half hearted utterance of a sy-lable)
But, I’m thrilled to be going back. I have already secured a new place (the rent of which is less than half of what I’m paying here), I’m lining up some freelance work, talked with a guy, who I online stalked to find contact info, who works with independent films in the area and hopefully can work part time in a boookstore. AND, I will be living across the street from the absolute bestest, late, late, late night pizza, greasy, we-will-deep-fry-anything joint. So much for that healthy, weight losing, working out thing I had going. It was fun while it lasted. Come on, I’m 30 now, isn’t a size 6 sort of ridiculous at this point? Really, what am I an Olsen twin? I think not! Beer and fried goodies please!!
So, my next several posts, will be my farewell to the city. What I will miss, what I will gain. What I most definitely will not miss, and the boys I made out with along the way.
Again, a little late on this post, but we’ll get there!
I went back home for Labor Day. Some wonderful friends decided that we needed to get our college friends together for a little reunion. Oh yeah, we were all in a sorority together. Let the ‘drunk’, I mean ‘good’, times roll! :)
We were quite the group of chicks in college. We could flip cup the basketball team under the table, inhale a buffet table of snacks and goodies and still look gorgeous and fantastic. And on top of that, these are some of the most intelligent, driven women I have ever met in my life.
So, being a year (some 2) years out of school, we have accountants, a girl with a national magazine, one with the Lt. Governor of IL, law school students, world traveler/teacher (oh yeah, she’s that good) and several other ladies that have gone on to lead successful, important careers and make amazing life choices.
But man, can these girls drink.
Since I’m from the city we went to school in, I had some family to visit and thought I would plan effectively so that I would make it through the weekend. We had:
drinking/fish fry on Friday night
booze cruise Saturday morning
out/drinking Saturday evening
I thought I would be smart. I bowed out of the booze cruise that was scheduled for Saturday AM to visit some family and cruise the city (I had my mom’s car which offers a freedom I haven’t felt in NYC.) I just wanted to reminisce a bit and ‘save’ myself for the evening ahead. Nothing prepares you properly for a drunk, sorority girl reunion. Nothing.
Friday was sort of the ‘mellow’ night. We still got pretty happy on drink, but it was more of a controlled imbibing than the free for all we would feel on Saturday. As I drove around Saturday AM, I was pretty sure I needed a nap. Damn, I can feel the ‘getting older’ sinking into my bones. It is sucking the life force out of me. No nap was in store for me, though, as I had made a hair appointment for Saturday afternoon so that I would avoid the trés expensive NYC haircut. I felt so smart. When I called for the appointment, she said that cuts were from $35 on up. I made the appointment and asked what that stylist charged. $40. I asked for a $35 stylist. Cheap does not pay off, my friends.
I cringed as she lobbed off the first chunk of hair, but went along because I didn’t want to make her skittish and unsure of herself. It was like trying to befriend a squirrel.,”I just want to be friends. Please don’t give me rabies. Help me, help you.” So I went along with it. I was a bit tired and trusted her professionalism. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Remember in the Brady Bunch movie how the dad always designed houses that looked exactly like their house? I had that chick. Except it was with hair. And her hair was mullet in nature. I had watched her pick it out as I was waiting (yes, a pick. I know, I know, the screaming alarms going off that I mildly shrugged off) It was sort of the trendy sorta hipster mullet that doesn’t quite have the double wide trailer, truck up on blocks in the yard look to it, but the mechanics are still sheer mullet.
But she tried to pull it off in that way that stylists often do. The ‘length’ assurance. As she patted my new layers down (I told her layers didn’t work on me, but like the non-English speaking stylist I had that one time, these sorts of statements don’t translate so well. Apparently it’s not a language barrier, it’s a layer-doesn’t-work vs. stylist barrier) she yanked on the bottom layer, illustrating to me ‘See? You still have your length!’ Right. Just because what used to be the full length of my entire head of hair has now been reduced to a handful of strands that pop out from underneath ‘the party in the back’, does NOT mean you have maintained the former integrity of the length I had.
So I walk my urban mullet out the door and tell myself not to cry. We’ll drink soon to forget. I meet up with the girls, fresh from the booze cruise, with some pitchers and burgers on a patio. Nice. I went in for a pitcher (of Miller Lite, I might add. Can I get a woot-woot! They don’t have good old Lite here in the city. This is Bud town) and the bartender only wanted $6 from me for it! I was floored. Six bucks will get you ‘A’ beer here. Maybe.
We hit up our old stomping grounds that night, already a bit warmed up and ready to go. It was a little harder to organize flip cup this time around. Was the get drunk quick novelty gone? The goofy tables the bar had ‘upgraded’ to didn’t help, but we put forth a good effort and managed to make it til bar time! :)
We cuted it up for Sunday brunch. We were hurting a bit, but played it off reasonably well. Sort of. Once the waiter brought our friend a carafe of water with foot long straws in it, everyone knew we had some hydration issues. But the rest of us made it through a couple of cocktails, then dragged our feet all the way back to my friends place where we proceeded to lay around on various pieces of furniture and areas of the floor. The only attention we afforded Pirates of the Caribbean and Goonies, was keeping our eyes open. A little bit.
It was an amazing weekend. My friends are wonderful, incredible individuals. The flight home was interesting. As we descended on NYC, I tugged on my urban mullet and felt sad. I miss how I called my mom on Saturday afternoon and went over to her place. Just like that. To have a random all nighter, watch movies and reminisce.
I miss home…
But more on that to come!
Baseball is a big deal here in NY. You have the Mets, the Yankees and the thousands of spastic fans between the two. And I am not kidding in the least when I say that what happens on the baseball diamonds greatly affects the atmosphere of the city. Allow me to illustrate me point.
I tried to get into the baseball thing here. I’ve been to Mets games. They’re fun. But I think all baseball games are fun. You sit in a seat while people walk around and serve you beer and food. Right in your seat! It’s pretty much a genius set up. But I just can’t get as into it as people here tend to get. Earlier in the season, the Mets had a tough loss and I was told, in a whisper, at work to avoid our boss because he was really upset that day because of it. I was stunned. I’m from Milwaukee and a Brewers fan. But I’m pretty sure we do it differently. It may be because we tailgate (They don’t do that here. At all. Isn’t that weird?) so the game just sort of becomes a different venue for drinking and getting together. Half the time we don’t even make it into the game, finishing up our brats and beer, listening to the radio and hooting when we hear a roar from the stadium. That doesn’t make us lessor fans, we’re there, showing solidarity and that’s pretty good. Win or lose, we still have a six pack to finish. It’s just a different perspective. However, this is what happens when the Mets lose:
Let’s first bear in mind that the Mets stadium is in Queens, where I live, so the folks here have really made the Mets the Queens team. They’re sort of seen as the underdogs who are playing stick ball on a dirt field next to the Yanks who have clean uniforms and real bats. Sorta like the kids in ‘The Sandlot’ (For-ever. For-ever. For-ever. Those of you who get that are my favorites.) So when something happens with the Mets, Queens feels it pretty strongly.
Now, our landlord has had some problems with the Neighbor (now to be known as: RN, or ‘Roid Neighbor) on several occasions (not Old Man River. This guy is on the other side.) It’s a drainage issue. Our landlord needs to run rain water out to the street, since the boys backyard is concrete and their basement bedrooms will flood, so he’s come up with several solutions. He attached plastic pipes to the gutters and ran them along the fence that separates the properties, to the back of the yard. Away from both buildings. RN reaches under the fence and pulls the pipes apart. I would like to point out that this shortens the pipe and allows the water to run closer to the buildings, instead of running it further away. This guy is already way up there on the genius meter.
Next, our landlord busted up the concrete at the back of the lot and ran a plastic pipe, away from RN’s place, for it to run out to the street. RN was not happy again. He plugged up the pipe. He claims that the water then floods his basement. Which it would do either way. The water just needs to be redirected.
A week ago Sunday, I was visiting with the boys downstairs, watching football, having some beers and chatting with the folks who wander into the revolving door of the their apartment. It was about 8pm, we were sitting outside, a couple of guys strumming on guitars. And just regular guitars, not amped up, electric guitars (I’m sure there’s a word for those, just don’t know what it is) when I noticed someone on the other side of the fence. It’s a double gate fence that has green stuff threaded through it so you can semi see through. RN has a lock on the fence and the boys decided that they didn’t enjoy him having sole control over when he can get in and out of their backyard without having an option of their own. So they wrapped a thick, bike chain around the base of the fence with their own lock on it. It was the best thing they ever did. Let’s see why.
I was having a conversation with one of the boys and told him about the someone on the other side of the fence. We watched him sort of wander back and forth for a bit, wondering if he would complain about the music. Finally my friend gives a ‘hey man, what’s up’ and RN mutters a ‘hey’ back. Ok. We’re fine. Huh.
Friend goes toward the fence, to check the food on the grill and RN says that he wants to talk to him about the drainage issue. Uh-oh. I hear friend say that RN needs to talk to the landlord since they just rent here and I hear RN instigating the issue further. I went in to get the other roommate and tell him what’s going on outside. I thought he should know. He goes out, gets involved, and at one point says: ‘What the fuck do you want us to do about it?’ and RN loses it. He starts screaming at Roommate not to swear, he doesn’t appreciate cursing, why is he saying these things to him, he’s gonna kick his butt, and a flurry of other such statements. Then he starts climbing the fence, trying to get at Roommate. Thank god there’s barbed wire at the top and he didn’t get very far. Not through lack of trying.
Roommate goes back inside and I followed, apologizing that I told him to go back out there. I had no idea it would get like that. As we’re inside, we hear a loud ‘Dooooong! Doooooong!’ coming from outside. It’s the sound of reverberating metal pipe. Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser. People start running inside and I peek out the door to see RN beating the fence with (what we later learned to be) a wooden bench. He broke the lock and was trying to squeeze his fat ‘roid head through the fence, which is now only being held closed by the bike chain at the bottom. (see? Told you it’d come into play!) RN is threatening everyone’s lives and totally had that ‘Wendy, I’m gonna bash your brains in!’ The Shining/Jack Nicholson look on his face. So, a bunch of us are on our phones, calling the police and telling them to get out here.
I went to the front door of our building, looking for the police so we can let them in and I notice this big guy walking towards me. Then I notice another big guy come around the corner, stalking towards me. It was Roid Neighbor and his Roid friend. I slam the door closed and run into the apartment and tell them not to answer the buzzer that’s ringing off the wall. Isn’t that just enough to make you hate someone? Incessantly playing out a long toned tune on the buzzer?
Anyway, the police show up, talk to the residents and we listen to RN try to explain why the fence is broken. From his side. We didn’t see him anymore that night, but I check in on the downstairs boys often cause I don’t trust a roid head.
But as it turns out, the episode occurred right after the Mets lost their biggest, most crushing defeat that booted them out of the running for the World Series and may have cost their long time coach his job.
(NOTE: I began writing this several weeks ago. Who says procrastination dies after college?)
I haven’t written lately, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, clutching your computers, refreshing, refreshing, refreshing, ‘WHEN??!?’ you scream into the wan evening air, yearning for a new post. My mom was here and then I left town and they keep expecting me to work for some reason. Anyway, here is the first in a few…
So, my mom came into town for a visit. Bear in mind many things as we get into this: 1) she has never been to NYC. 2) This is her first flight in a good 10 years. 3) All things outside of a Midwest suburb, ie: grass (my astroturf on the balcony did NOT count), chatty, friendly neighbors (our neighbor threatened us and our tikki torches with a garden hose) and bodega free neighborhoods (ours is downstairs and specializes in Mexican goods), are to be considered a ‘ghetto.’ Right. And we’re off.
I couldn’t get out of work quite when I wanted, so that I could be there at the airport to greet her. Her darling, angelic, only child. Instead, her realistic, spastic, basketcase of a kid, made a frantic call on her way to the bank, before getting on the subway to begin the trek out to her place in Queens. (Yeah. Not Manhattan. Screw you too.) And this is all after her plane had landed.
I explained to her that she needed to get in line at the taxi stand, tell them where she was going and sit back and relax. Thank god I had a demented, speed freak, train conductor cause we tore through the underbelly of Manhattan and shot out into Queens in record time. I called to check in on her and let her know I was minutes away. I asked where they were and she said they were going too fast for her to see the street signs. Awesome. And super. I asked if the driver knew where he was going based on the address she had given him. She mumbled that she wasn’t sure. I asked what happened when she gave him the address and she said she wasn’t sure because he was speakin something she couldn’t decipher (my folk are suited quite fine to the non-descrept midwestern accent and not much else) and, out of fear of looking silly, didn’t want to inquire further. Aww. In’t she sweet?
From a block away, I see her step out, line up her bags on the sidewalk and spin around in a tight, slow circle. Hmm. I couldn’t get a read on that. So, I rush up, hug her, sniffle at the sheer joy of having her here on my turf and drag her luggage upstairs.
Now, anyone who has lived in NYC understands a ‘nice’ apartment versus a god-forsaken, rat infested, shithole is a pretty fine line to teeter on. It may, to the eye seem not so quite as pristine as in Sex in the City, but I have a great apartment. You can live in a closet (many do) but if it’s clean, and your closest bug/rat neighbors are not hanging out, eating dinner with you, then you get a couple big thumbs up and may even get laid in there. Now my place is large, 3 bedrooms, a kitchen I can spin around with my arms open in, view of Manhattan (Empire State AND Chrylser buildings), great balcony (not just a fire escape. I have my chairs, grill and turf out there) and completely rat and mostly bug free (I’ve seen 1 bug in the year I’ve been here. It took me a week to get over it and we had to throw the rug away that we had killed the bug on, but I feel pretty good about it now.)
Apparently I should have written this post before she got here. Mom’s did not so much agree with the ‘awesomeness’ I had told her my apartment exuded. She said it was ‘nice,’ but it was said in that slow, sort of, ‘I feel like this is what I should say so you don’t cry, but I’m really puttin on my acting skills with this one. And not very well.’ It was the way we used to refer to less than desirable girls in my sorority when you wanted to be diplomatic but clearly wanted everyone to know you totally mean the opposite.
It was a rough start to say the least. But, we walked, ate and did the requisite touristy things. I took her on ‘The Beast’ (if you ever some to NYC, go on it!) It’s a huge speed boat with green eyes and sharp teeth painted on the side. We bought the tickets and stood on line waiting as she told me over and over how she wasn’t getting on that thing. But she did. And we did. And it was fantastic! Whipping down the river at 40 mph, music blasting, and our illustrious guides threatening anyone who might be a Red Sox fan on the boat. (baseball is taken very, very seriously here. Very.)
We did a more tame tour that evening to see the city all lit up. We cruised under the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges. We had dive pizza and classy pizza. We talked and I think she wasn’t so much in awe of the city as she was with my place in it. I had to distill the idea that Sex and the City is totally realistic. You have to bust your ass to have just a fraction of what those chicks had. But, I did take her on the Sex and the City bus tour, which was fun (even though I don’t really know much about the show) but they gave us cupcakes and that was good. And some guy proposed to some girl on the steps of Carrie’s brownstone and we all pretended to care (maybe everyone else did care, but I couldn’t get over the newly proposed to girl’s choice to wear tiny short white shorts, in the rain, and these hideous strappy, white, 3 inchers to go hoofing around the city in. You can call me a bitch. I call myself a Fug Girl in training. Check my side bar. We’ll all get there one day.)
On Monday evening, I picked up a copy of NY TimeOut magazine to find something worthwhile to do. We decided stand up comedy was in order for the evening. We set off to find the bar and when we got there were told that it was a bit early for us to go in, so we stepped out, grabbed some nosh and came back a little later. We wanted good seats, dammit! We came back, and were told that the show had to be cancelled. Grr. BUT, silver lining! They have Monday night bingo! woot-woot! So we headed into that, took a seat and the real fun began.
The host was a slick haired chap with full on mustache and a circa 70’s suit. It was all very classic game show host. Then host spoke. Oh. Why that’s not a boy at all. Uh, mom, just so you know, that’s a girl up there. Don’t freak. But she was distracted by the girl that was coming around selling bingo cards. Oh, not a girl. Right. I see what’s going on here. “Um, mom, that’s a girl and that’s a boy. No. The other way around. Ok. You’re ok? Yes, please bring her another beer.”
All joking aside, we had a blast! She loved the all of it! She may have been disappointed if the hosts were the actual gender they were portraying. They were great and even gave me mom a shout out for being the Midwest Mom in the house. Aw. We ate a block of deep fried mac and cheese and fought feverishly battled for the burger bank prize. We didn’t get it. Damn. Anyway, if in NYC, go to Mo Pitkins over on Second Ave. on Monday nights for bingo. All the money they collect from the bingo cards goes to the grand prize. (We didn’t win that either. Oh well.) Super gay bingo night was mom’s favorite part of the trip.
My favorite part of the visit was on our evening cruise. A guy behind my mom stood up to take pictures with his monster telephoto lens, digital camera and my mom stood up right in front of him and clicked a picture with her disposable camera. Not only was that part great, but it was the last pic on the camera, so it went ‘click’, and then she kept thumbing the little plastic wheel in that oh so distinctive, ‘disposable camera out of pics now,’ sound. God I love her and her casual, midwestiness.
At least she didn’t wear a fanny pack.
ok, ok. I know. It’s been foreve’s and I apologize! I started writing about my Mom’s visit to the City, then I went home for a bit and now I have all these huge life decisions to make (no, the decision is not whether to spend my fortunes on a pair of Monalo’s or Jimmy Choo’s. If only I had those problems!) BUT, there is more on all of that to come. Promises! You truly deserve an update on the hair-do (more like ‘don’t’) situation. But we’ll get there…
As for right now, I am severely pissed off and need a venting spot for it. So, I got this job. And at this job I look for online outlets for projects that we work on. Simple enough. So, earlier, I emailed these folks with just a quick ‘Hey! How you doin’ type thing and suggested a few of our projects to them for possible review. Many times I hear back from people who say things like ‘This isn’t my thing, but thanks’ and that’s fine. I’m not pushing anything on anyone here. I want all to work out and be happy. I want birds to chirp, rainbows to paint the sky, the weak and feeble to be made well and dog crap on the street to magically be properly bagged and moved to a trash receptacle.
*sigh* today was not to be the day for such giddiness. Instead, the response I received was:
“Actually, none of these books are appropriate for review on [the name of the stupid blog with the stupid editor who is a jerk]. We don’t do non-fiction, particularly self-helpish stuff that caters to the Oprah set.
We get hundreds of publicity packages and requests for reviews each week and can only properly respond to those who take the time to do two minutes research into the scope and politics of the site.
Can you please remove us from your mailing list?”
Grrrr. Ok. He said ‘please’ but he also totally hocked a loogey on us as he said it. First of all, who is so crabby and jerky when someone is offered free stuff? Seriously. I could get the guy who stands outside the Duane Reade to dance a jig and sing a song for a stick of damn gum. But this guy, OH NO NONO! Who do I think I am? And what’s with the Oprah judgmental crap? She ain’t my favorite person on the whole planet, but if she can get people into reading, who am I to judge? I heard that she did this thing one time with this one book, but I’m not really sure what it was all about cause it was like a secret or something. But anyway, I came up with a properly enraged response, but, in light of my not wanting to lose my job, I cannot send it to him. :( But I can send it to all of you! :)
So here it is:
“Dear [he who shall not be named],
I, in fact, spent more than 2 minutes on the site and since you have discussion tags such as ‘Politics’ I thought that perhaps our [name of political book we have] book would be of some interest.
Furthermore, I would like to point out and quote from your own About section: ‘It is a space open to suggestion, so please write us if you have an idea,’ which is what I did. A simple ‘no’ would have sufficed if you found our titles to not be for your readership.
You will not be contacted by us in the future, but in the interest of future hardworking individuals in my position, I would suggest that you make more clear that you are only open to suggestions that fit within a constrained, pre-determined set of parameters, as this will perhaps cut down on the immense number of pitches you receive.
wishing you the best,
Granted he spelled out ‘two’ while I used ‘2’ so clearly he’s way more smarter than me is. I should have known better than to try to best a literary snob.
Wishing you all a happy day whilst I sit here practicing how to function with raised pinky and looking down on ya’ll, er, I mean you all.
I am dying to get my hair trimmed. For the last few weeks, I have wrapped myself in the delusion that I have no one to impress on the way to, at, or on the way home from work. Since all of those actions account for about 3/4 of my pathetic little existence, we are now at: GOAL achieved!! I do believe that I have not impressed a single soul in ages. whew!
Getting into the why I’m holding out will come later. For the interim, I shall delight you with the tale of how I have managed the frizzed ends crisis: the classic pony tail. Day in and day out. Sometimes I half tuck it up or add a sassy little part to it, but that’s about as wild and crazy as it’s been. I won’t cut it off because when I even entertain the notion, the voice that will not allow me to throw away clothes that no longer fit, shoes that I wouldn’t be caught dead in anymore, or books that I’ve conceded long ago will never be read, informs me not to cause ‘it’s so cute when it’s actually done and that’s handy for the once in a while that you do go ‘out-out,’ which is never as often as the times you leave the apartment for, say, laundry, work, supermarket, etc, but is still worth noting.’ And so I pony tail rally on.
And now to the ‘why’ of this little personal crises. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH IT COSTS TO GET A HAIRCUT IN THIS TOWN? My first foray into keeping up with my do came last summer, after I had been here for about 2 months. I wandered around Union Square (my ‘center of the universe.’ Yes, it’s that wonderful) looking for the suitable, lucky stylist that I would soon call my own! While I wasn’t sure where this angel of all things shiny, sharp and scissorlike was, I did now know that she was not at Vidal Sassoon ($140 for a trim) John Freida ($95) or Redken ($100). All prices relayed to me with straight faces.
Scoffing at the bourgesoise, I decided my hair diva was at the $20 joint. I mean, it’s just a trim, right? If my cat would hold the mirror straight and not bitch so much, I could do it myself! Besides, they all sorta receive the same kinda training, right? Mannequin heads, Barbie’s, what’s the difference? After my locks were already washed (read as: wetted with a spray bottle) I realized we were going to hit a few snags. My grasp of Spanish is tenuous at best, but I tried to make her my new BFF by heavily complimenting the little haircutter hip-pack she was rockin’ in the hopes that her new adoration would help her help me. But, when the only tools you employ are hand gestures, repeating words in English over and over again, annunciating the crap out of them and raising your voice, it seems that certain phrases do not translate at all, such as ‘THEY’RE BANGS,’ ‘NO LAYERS,’ and ‘DEAR SWEET JESUS, CAN YOU SHARPEN THOSE SCISSORS?’ It wasn’t a total loss, but I learned a valuable lesson that day.
So the hunt continued. In a search for Bumble and Bumble products, I found a salon tucked into an ABC home goods store (very chic) It was cute, the people were tragically hip and I decided to spring for it. I had to shame myself by inquiring into the price of a trim (big no-no in Manhatta-land. If you have to ask, you shouldn’t be there) but the guy was nice about it, so I figured that alone was worth the $75 trim I was about to get. *gulp* Did she say seventy-five dollars? You bet I did. I sucked it up, cashed in that savings bond I got for my tenth birthday (thanks Grandma!) sold a couple pints of blood and did it. I nursed that do for months. I was pretty desperate and made one additional trip back there, but I was feeling woozy from blood loss and decided that if I was going have this as an addiction, shouldn’t treatment and a support group be involved?
One day I was approached by a young girl with a business card and an offer. She said she would give me a cut for $20 at Nick Arrojo’s salon (THE GUY FROM WHAT NOT TO WEAR!!) and I signed up. That’s how I discovered that all of the good (that’s my midwest creepin up, what I mean is ‘upscale’) salons offer discounted hair treatments when their students perform them. A-ha!
After a quick internet search, I quickly realized that in order to navigate the in’s and out’s of these salons, you need to be equipped with a Dungeons and Dragons master (they have strategic planning down pat) no less than 3 calendars, 6 different colored highlighters, a few sick days from work and a box of tissues for when you get turned down. Oh yes, hair salons can turn you down. (stupid Bumble and Bumble) How’s that for an ego shot?
What’s with all the heavy artillery you ask? Well, some of the programs you have to apply for, they only hold them on certain hours of certain days, you have to be able to devote at least 3 hours of your time to the process, they are never on the weekends or after work, everybody and their grandmother tries to get into them, they only do certain styles at certain times (this week is bobs!)…but they are really reasonably priced. I did try calling the Arrojo salon to see if I could get my little chicky again, but they’ve so graduated from silly trims. To have one of their professional stylists nip the tips: between $55-$400. I couldn’t even bring myself to ask how they determine what end of the scale you’re on. And yes, she said it without the slightest hint of humor.
I stopped at the drug store this morning and bought a new supply of ponytail holders. Only cost a buck sixty-nine. HA!
So, I have been wanting to write about street meat (we’ll get to it. Waiiiit for it.) here in the city, but then I got distracted by ‘The Impossible Quiz’ (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/365143. Try it. It will make you insane, which is oh, so fun) for the past several days and with all the recent hoo-hah going on in the city, I’ve decided to talk about it instead.
So, the city was in chaos and turmoil yesterday. Was it a terrorist threat? Was security and welfare compromised? Fire, explosion, crazed Britney sighting? No. It rained. Granted, it did rain a lot, nonetheless, the insanity that ensued necessitates a ‘but still…’
It kicked off at about 4 in the AM with some serious thunder and lightning action. Now we have no AC, so I have a pretty complicated set of fannery going on in my boudoir. I have the double fan, window unit which can both suck and blow (do what you will with that) in one window and a small, rickety table fan in the other window. The thought that went into this set up was arduous and the effect (in my mind) is that if the one by my bed sucks air in, while the rickety one pulls air out, I will get a nice circulation thing happening. As I said, ‘in my mind’, which is filled with all sorts of fanciful imaginitive things. Like my relationship with Vincent D’Onofrio.
So, I slumbered in my little self-actualized wind tunnel until the cracks of thunder and lightning roused me. Now, I’m barely conscious at 9am, when I’ve been up for 3 hours already, so the 4am wake up call left me a wee bit muddled. Convinced that lighting was plotting to specifically strike the metal cage surrounding the blades of the rickety fan, I tottered over to it, turned it off and removed it from the window, barely recognizing the water pouring onto the sill and my wood floors. Also note that I turned off the fan in the window furthest from me, as opposed to the one directly above my head. Genius. Pure genius.
The storm came down hard and fast for a couple of hours but had ended by 7:30 when I left for the train. I was way early heading out, but it was already 90˚and my shower was starting to wear off.
Waiting for a train can be a lot like sitting at home on a Saturday night, desperately longing for the phone to ring with some fabulous party invite and pathetically vamping ‘what about me?’ It hurts. It feels personal. It offers ample time for the sweat to hike all the way down from your neck to your butt crack. Oh joy. But wait!! There it is! And as everyone ponies up to dash on the moment the doors open, you realize the train is empty and it’s not going to stop.
When a train finally does stop and graciously lets us on, it’s so jam packed that I wind up getting more action in two train stops than I’ve gotten in the past year. (‘How YOU doin?’ wink, wink) So, I stand on the train, some guys face at my crotch level, listening to the grunts and groans of the poor bastards by the doors as people try to bum rush and force a spot for themselves onboard at each stop. And I hadn’t had any coffee since I had run out at home so I was super pleasant. *sigh*
It took us an hour to go the distance it normally takes 15 minutes to travel. Then I had to switch trains, sit in it while it didn’t move for about 20 minutes (PS-it had no AC either, so we were pretty ripe at this point.) Finally, the train moved one stop, then kicked us out of the train the train station, basically everywhere underground. Oh darn. Since it had rained, there was water on the tracks of all the downtown trains, so they weren’t running anymore. A modern city thwarted by H2O. Goodie.
I had to walk the rest of the way to work. Not that big of a deal, but once I got there I literally had to go into the bathroom, peel my dress off, and mop off my schweaty bod. Yeah. You all want a date with me now, dontcha?
Since our trains are distinguished by letters and numbers, the MTA service update read like a bad trip down Sesame Street. I could just picture The Count (the 1 train is not running, mwuhaha, the 2 train is not running, mwahaha) and the creepy, furry puppets dancing around like they’re auditioning for The Labyrinth musical. The trip home was just as bad and involved a whole lot more shoving, pushing, wriggling, swearing, shouting, jabbing, sighing, eyerolling and ‘intellectual’ dialogue on where the money for MTA projects actually goes. One suggestion was: ‘Right down the god-damn toilet!’ I think they’re onto something there.
Through all this I learned several things:
1) your boss is so happy when everyone manages to make it in on a day like that, that she springs for lunch. (the Four Seasons does NOT deliver, btw)
2) wear a skirt with about 2 days growth on them legs when there’s the possibility of a train ride like that. It helps fend people off.
3) leave the fans and all other potential lighting hazards on. Even if it just blows out your power strip, your ‘apartment being struck by lighting’ is a pretty rock solid excuse for calling in.