Sunday, September 30, 2007

A cab ride in Providence

It was my own fault for not having any cash on me (what else is new?), but when I asked the hotel doorman if he could get me a cab who took credit cards, he said yes, so how was I supposed to know I was going to end up riding with bipolar Robert DeNiro?
"There's too many things to do," the driver said and then muttered it again several times softly, Rainman-style, as he looked for the paperwork he needed to complete a credit card transaction. "There's too many things to do. We'll do this when we get there." This was fine with me, since we had been in the car for about two minutes and he was swerving all over the road, looking for some specific piece of paper. His eyes glanced at the traffic ahead less often than they focused on the front seat or the sun visor, where his receipts and notes from 1972 to now were clipped together in little bunches. Somewhere in those bunches was a pertinent piece of paper and we were close to running off the road in order to find it.
"Here, you fill this out," he said, passing the receipt book back to me. "Just put the credit card number and expiration date on the top there."
I am good at following instructions, so I did this and passed it back to him.
"Did you do this?" he asked, looking at the paper and then back at me (oh god, watch the road.)
"Uh, yes."
"You did that perfectly." he said, and I might have been flattered except remember that we are talking about me having written my credit card number on a piece of paper. Clearly, the bar for impressing this guy was low.
"Oh. Thanks."
Pleased that we had gotten this far, he then called cab driver headquarters and yelled the following conversation into the phone:

"I have a credit card transaction to do!"

"I haven't said anything yet. How can I not make sense?"

"I have the fare in the car now. Going to the airport."

"You're gonna do it for me right now. DO IT FOR ME."

[reads the number] "Well, it is all right because we have an under...He's a shithead! He's a shithead, that's what's wrong with him!"

[calmer] "Do you have an authorization number?"

"Oh, you want me to read the numbers again?" [At this point, we nearly run into the guardrail. I hate this man.]

[Looks back at me] "Can you believe this?" [It's possible I made a noise in response, but I might have been too busy clutching the door handle and wondering what it feels like to fly out of a cab.]

The conversation continued much like this, until we somehow ended up at the airport, where I gave him a tip, do not ask me why. He handed me my bag and said "Thank you, dear," as though we had just passed a pleasant 20 minutes chatting about his grandchildren and our hopes for the future instead of nearly getting killed on a highway in Rhode Island.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wisdom is all around us

Here is what a tea bag said to me this morning: Dignity and tranquility last forever. I like this particular tea, Yogi Tea, not just because it talks to me, but also because it gives specific advice. This afternoon, it told me to be proud of who I am. It’s nice when something wise—like tea—takes the time to send you a personal message. I’d like to also be able to ask it questions, but life doesn’t work that way.
Nina and I went to a yoga class last night. It was the first time I have been in months and it’s an intermediate/advanced class, so that’s not necessarily a good thing. When everyone else was rising into their headstand with ease, I was spastically shooting my legs in the air, hoping some spiritual super-being would lift them up for me. Nina says she was just looking around at everyone else. The teacher was endlessly entertaining; he adds extra syllables to all of his words, which mostly has a calming effect, but sometimes makes me want to giggle. “EEN-a-HALE…” he will announce, striding around the room in his bright purple shorts. “And EX-a-HALE.” Then he’ll tell us to sit down on our blocks until we can feel our buttocks blossoming beneath us. To illustrate, he will grab the back of his shorts and happily massage his butt for us.
He is all about us opening our hearts up. I like this. But while I was trying to blossom my butt and open my heart, the woman in front of Nina kept making little moaning noises. I found it distracting and I realize I forgot to ask Nina if it bothered her, too. First of all, there were the noises she was making: like erotic sighs at certain points and then more like snorts of annoyance. And then there was the fact that she wasn’t doing all the poses—occasionally she would just flip into some random position, lie there and moan. I’m not sure she was even een-a-haling when she was supposed to. Also, she was wearing bright red lipstick. I just thought that was odd.
After class, I went home and ate a piece of cold pizza and drank a glass of wine. I debated whether this was un-yogi-like and if I should be continuing the 90-minute detox we’d just been through by drinking water and eating vegetables. But then I figured that if I was making a mistake, I would hear about it the next day from my tea bag, and as you know, my tea bag told me I’m all good.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Help me help myself

Fall is upon us, which means only one thing. I need new clothes. Sadly, seasonal wardrobes don't just offer themselves up, so I also need funding. I am open to ideas. The concept of having some sort of financial backer with whom I trade other favors is likely out of the question, since Rob, while sweet--and certainly generous, staunchly refuses to be my sugar daddy. He encourages behaviors like "having a job" and "paying off debt."
The idea here is that I am trying to save money and be responsible. But I think I'm actually becoming slightly crazy and more than a little materialistic. I have started to treat the retail stores in Soho more like museums than viable places to purchase goods. Ooohhh, classic skinny black work pants at Theory. Don't touch, just admire. This appreciation occasionally turns into hostility. I hate you, adorable brown boots on I hope you burst into flame before anyone can buy you.
OK, obviously this is massive exaggeration, but the true part is that if anyone wants to give me money to buy a new wardrobe, I have favors to trade. I make a mean apple crisp and I will totally cut your hair.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Try keeping a cat in one place while you are poking it with a needle

Seriously. Try it. Then you will know what I go through twice a week with Smokey, the cat who is occasionally possessed by demons, usually at night when I’m trying to sleep. Smokey is Rob’s cat, but I claim him as well because the actual definition of ownership is struggling to get a cat into a tiny carrier, walking it to the vet while it screams, protecting it from your other cat who thinks it smells weird and attacks it when it returns home and exits the carrier, feeding it, cleaning up after it, holding it at night because it thinks it is a teddy bear, and yes, administering an IV drip for it while singing to distract it.

Don’t feel too sorry for Smokey. Despite being nearly 16 years old, he usually behaves like a kitten on crack, running through the apartment at top speed to get to…another room. And then running back again. Oddly, though they eat the same food every day, he is nearly 10 pounds lighter than our other cat, Emma, but this doesn’t stop him from trying to fight her for domination of various pieces of furniture. He eventually wins by pushing her big body off of things.

About a year ago, Smokey was diagnosed with kidney disease, which is why we have to shoot him up with subcutaneous fluids. And by we, I mean I. Rob tried it for awhile, but the result was usually Smokey streaking out of the kitchen and Rob yelling profanities, while trying to stop the IV bag from leaking all over the place. He was perfectly fine with handing over the responsibility. And Smokey knows when it’s going to happen. He will suddenly disappear and I have to go find him in one of his hiding places and drag him out of it. It’s tons of fun. Even better, Emma has become comfortable enough with the process that she will come into the kitchen while it’s happening in order to mock Smokey. So, while I’m trying to hold him still and keep a needle in between his spindly cat shoulders, I also have to swat her away with my free hand to get her to give us our privacy.
When Rob goes out of town, for some strange reason, Smokey feels the need to crawl back and forth across me while I am trying to sleep and the only way to get him to stop this is to put an arm around him and let him sleep with me. I am actually getting used to this, which is just bizarre, though this week he would not lie still and I finally had to kick him out of the room. He proceeded to cry on the other side of the door for 30 minutes until I let him back in again because he was DRIVING ME INSANE. Rob chooses to use stories like this as examples of what kind of parent I will be (a lax enabler who can’t enforce rules.) His interactions with Smokey usually involve throwing the cat into the air and letting him land on the bed, twirling him around and then fake-punching him. I use these as examples of what kind of parent he will be (in fact not a parent, but another child.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

O.J. Simpson: no smooth criminal

I don't even know what to say about O.J. Simpson. Except that if I were him, and I had gotten away with murder, I would probably refrain from participating in any future activities that might get me locked in prison for life. I don't know, take up gardening. Or see how long you can hold your breath.
Even though it's O.J. and he's clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer, this story is extra weird. O.J. is accused of committing 10 felonies. Among them, suspicion of assault and robbery with a deadly weapon (though most of the people involved seem to agree that O.J. was not in possession of a weapon.) Oh, and kidnapping, because he and his crew went into a hotel room and said that no one could leave. (This definitely means that I could be accused of kidnapping the guests at my spanish fiesta party last year. But, in my defense, I fed them tasty snacks while they were my prisoners.) All so he could get back some of his memorabilia. Dude. Buy it on EBay.
This story is from the Canadian Press (why not?) and I especially enjoyed the line:
"You can't rob something that is yours," Galanter (O.J.'s lawyer) said. Good luck getting O.J. off the hook, sir. After that, you can repeat fifth grade.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Being sick really ruins a sick day

I was home sick today, which makes me feel hostile. Staying home sick is only fun if you are not actually sick. But I was. So now I am nicely drugged and full of the soup that Rob brought home for me, and I am like the worst sick person ever because all I want is a glass of wine.
Rob and I went to see Ben Harper on Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall. We met up with Krista and Danielle for drinks before the show and, as usual, missed any kind of opening act there might have been. No matter. The show was fun. Ben Harper is at his best when he's playing the slide guitar or rocking out gospel-style. I find some of his other stuff bland, but there was a nice mix of Ben-ness. He did excellent covers of Use me Up by Bill Withers and Masters of War by Bob Dylan. I could really feel his anger on the latter, even from our cheap seats in the second mezzanine.
At one point, I left to use the bathroom and as I made my way down the hall, some guy did a full handspring and, upon landing (I give it a 10 because I definitely couldn't have done it: not a good way to rate things) declared, "You see? That's what I'm talking about!" And then some woman, who had just exited the bathroom and seemed uninvolved, yelled back "Fuckin-A right it is!" And I was confused at how I had somehow ended up at Cirque de Soleil.

Now I am missing the Mandy Patinkin appearance that I was so looking forward to, but I am somewhat mollified by the fact that I saw Wallace Shawn (inconceivable!) walking down the street yet again yesterday. As usual, I only stared.
I apologize if this post is incoherent. As I said, I am drugged.

Friday, September 14, 2007

An email exchange with Krista

From the top down.

Subject: Copy edit, por favor?

Krista: hey, thanks! you rock the party that rocks the party. or, wait, is it you rock the body that rocks the party? hm. weird. seriously, i love you for helping me. i am SO psyched for tomorrow. danielle got here this morning and it was so good to see her. she walked me half-way to work ;)

are you going to matt k's book thing on monday? i'm going to go because when i told him i was wavering, i got the phone call. basically he's using me for [Note: had to delete this part. Deal with your curiosity. It's not sexual. If it was sexual, I would have left it in.] that's cool, he can keep on using me...till he use(s) me up.

what are you up to tonight? we're doing happy hour on the roof top of the delancy in the les. trying to get hannah to come but she just keeps me hanging on.

let me know!

hey, did you realize that i put a little clip of a song in each of the above paragraphs. freakin genius.

Sarah: You are such a weirdo.
Matt’s thing on Monday is the 2nd book event I have on Monday PLUS Monday is supposed to be pilates night. But, since Mandy Patinkin is going to be there (Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.) I might go. The other event, however, is across the street from my apt at the Half King. So.
Gabby is in town for the w/e, which I now think I may have forgotten to tell you. We are going to a comedy club at the insanely ridiculous hour of 6pm because a friend of hers is performing. We will most def call you afterwards to see what’s happening. Also, my friend Andre is in town and we need to meet him for a drink. It is so exhausting being beautiful and popular.

Krista: i had no idea that mandy patinkin is also inigo montoya and now everything has changed. i will be there with my copy of the princess bride and will reveal to him that he is and has always been my only true love.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Italy goes on pasta strike

I knew there was a good reason why I ate half a pound of penne with pesto the other night! It wasn't because I had exhausted so much energy working out and needed the fuel, because the last time I went to the gym I walked around it like a zombie, curiously touching the machines and lying on a towel looking at the weights. I did ride one of the bikes, but after 10 minutes at the lowest resistance possible I decided that I would rather go get a drink of water and a new towel. To lie on. Doing nothing. It was a really worthwhile gym experience.
So it wasn't for that reason that I devoured the pasta. And it wasn't because my body was feeling the need for more carbs, since I graciously fed it bread and breadlike snacks all day long.
Why, then, would I stuff myself until I literally felt like I might explode and wondered if it had, in fact, not been such a good idea? It was because I am Italian and my super Italian powers sensed (just sensed!) that the people of Italy were being asked to do the unthinkable--give up pasta for one entire day. No eating it, no buying it, no thinking about it. Hmmm...they probably were allowed to think about it. But that's not the point. Because of recent price hikes, they had to forego the food of their forefathers and I, clueing into their pain, was simply doing what seemed right. I was eating pasta for my people. A lot of pasta.
Here's the story.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Death by thermostat

Why must office buildings be freezing cold in the summer? It’s rainy and humid outside, so I am a sweaty, wet mess* by the time I get to work, having opened and closed my umbrella seven times for mini-showers while balancing my coffee cup and trying not to listen to even a small part of some of the crappy songs that are oddly on my IPod (um, Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood? I suspected that Grammy 07 album was a bad idea.) My toes are wet and muddy because I am wearing flip flops instead of rain boots like the smart people who walk next to me. As I open the door to my building, an icy blast of air conditioning hits me. It feels good for 1.5 seconds and then I am shivering in the elevator until I get to my desk where I have 4 sweaters, 3 of which I put on immediately. I try to brush the street off my feet before putting on real shoes, see how many times I can wrap my legs around each other, and then I just sit there for a few seconds, thinking mean thoughts in my head.
In winter, this whole experience will be reversed, when I slide through ice on my way to the jungle-hot office, take off my coat, sweaters, and boots and sit at the desk in what is probably an inappropriate tank top, pulling a sweater over my shoulders and cleavage anytime someone approaches. Like a total spaz.
I used to live in San Francisco, where there are also temperature differentials. But in San Francisco, the key is layering. In New York, the key is working from home.

*This reminds me of how my friend Natascha used to order gyros in college after the bars had closed. “Um,” she would say, squinting at the big slabs of lamb and extending one finger towards them, “Can I get some of that sweaty, wet meat?” I would shake my head in embarrassment, and she would wrinkle her nose as though someone else had called the gyros a gross name and the whole process disgusted her. And then she would eat the entire plate.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My mom wrote a song

My parents were in town this weekend and it's the first time I've seen them since Rob and I got engaged. The night they arrived, the four of us were sitting in the living room drinking a bottle of wine and talking about our plans for the weekend (Drive somewhere? Walk somewhere? Take a boat ride somewhere? We are creative) when my mom lost her cool and started singing a song she wrote called “I’m Gonna Have a Son-in-Law.”

I’m Gonna Have a Son-in-Law
(Repeat until your daughter walks over to you and says “You’re really going to have to stop that.”)

To be fair, the wedding discussions were not over-the-top or annoying. Although this was in large part because we had food in our mouths the entire weekend and it was hard to talk.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I know, I look normal

I really enjoy painting my nails. I like doing it, not so much because having pretty, manicured hands is appealing to me, but because I like to methodically pick it off the next day. This is embarrassing. I have left pink/red/purple/white polish bits in my boss's office, in conference rooms, on the subway, in bed, and on this computer keyboard. Nervous habit.
So this week, I decided that I was going to get a manicure and NOT PICK IT OFF. I went to the place next door to my office because it costs a whopping $7.50 to get my nails done. This was also kind of an emergency because I had made it through half of the "Your Villa or Mine?" O.P.I polish I had put on the night before and had then come to what can only be considered a nail color stand still. No more polish would come off easily. I didn't have the bottle with me to slyly repaint the chipped parts. Solution? Cheap manicure.
So I actually had nails when I walked into the little shop. I am not tall, but I towered over the tiny Peruvian woman who led me to an open chair. Distracted by that fact, the soap opera on the single television in the room, and the wall of mirrors I was facing, I didn't really notice when the little woman began shearing off all of my nails. I think I became aware of it somewhere in the middle of the first hand, but I was so surprised that the best I could do was say feebly, "Oh, you're just kind of cutting them all off..."
She looked up and gave me an enormous smile and she was so cute that I couldn't even be angry. She just seemed incredibly happy to be chopping off my nails and turning them into little stubs and I figured that they do grow back, so I let her paint them a light pink color that O.P.I. calls "A Peony for Your Thoughts."
It's been almost 48 hours. It's still on. I don't have the heart to pick at the stubs. Perhaps this was my answer.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ah, the end of wedding season

Rob and I capped off our wild wedding season with a twofer on Sunday. Wedding Five was a small, lovely ceremony in midtown. We had to leave after the group photo (with bubbles) and before the trifecta of receptions (high tea, happy hour, dinner) in order to get to Wedding Six, which was on a boat circling Manhattan. It probably sounds exhausting to attend two weddings in one day, but it was actually pretty fun. My fabulous friend Cameron, the bride at Wedding Six, shimmied down the aisle to the Nina Simone song "Feeling Good" which was hilarious and awesome. As we passed the Statue of Liberty, the DJ cued up "New York, New York"--mostly because the groom threatened a mutiny against cheesiness if he played the Star Spangled Banner, which I guess is what they normally do.
You know you have a good wedding table when, instead of toasting the happy couple, you clink your glasses and yell "Team 17!"
I can say with confidence that we had a great time at all our weddings this summer, and we are sad that we missed Wedding Four because the airlines are lame and afraid of little things like electrical storms. Whatever. Also, we're seriously considering eloping.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I think I burn calories just watching sports

Yesterday morning Rob rubbed his hands together like a man hatching an evil plan and announced "Today is a sports smorgasbord." And it was true. We watched a billion college football games, the U.S. Open, some baseball, and even a little pre-Olympic basketball. Rob went for a bike ride in the middle of all of this and although I told him I was going running, I was fast asleep on the couch when he returned. Sports smorgasbords make me tired.
Today the U.S. Open is back on our TV and we're watching Serena Williams play Marion Bartoli. They just showed footage of Serena's calf injury from Wimbledon and I'm sorry, I'm sure it hurts, but unless she just got shot or there's a baby coming out of her leg, this reaction seems a bit melodramatic.