Monthly Archives: May 2009

And another month has passed.

The month of May has always been close to my heart. My mom’s maiden name is May. My eldest brother was born in May. And, you know, flowers are nice.

Three weeks ago I went into one of those fast-food breakfast chains, bought a bagel with cream cheese and a medium hazelnut coffee, and then rushed back onto the street to catch a subway and a train out of the city. As usual, I was completely lost in my head. More than likely a little hungover. Slightly worried about missing my train. And drifting back and forth between allowing the universe to guide me wherever it sees fit and completely freaking out in an effort to figure out what to do with my life.

Anyway, I wandered onto the sidewalk, paper bag and styrofoam cup in hand. I waited at the curb for the red hand to turn to a white stick figure, at which time I would follow my fellow Queens pedestrians across the blacktop. As I stood there distracted, I heard a man yelling out behind me. It was obvious, for some reason, that the yelling was meant to get my attention. “MISS! HELLO, HELLO! MISS!” He was so frantic and excited, as though I’d just missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity, or you know, dropped an earring or something. So I turned to see a man waving and smiling at me as he leaned out of a convenience store window.

At the time I just thought, “Hmm. Men are so strange.” Which is probably a thought I have a good two to three times a day. I didn’t particularly recognize the man, so I just assumed he was a bored stranger in the middle of a 14-hour shift who was cat-calling to pass the time.

Have I mentioned how much I love cats?

Have I mentioned how much I love cats?

About a week later, train out of the city successfully caught, and then train back into the city also caught–I walked out of my apartment building on a mission to buy toilet paper at the 99 Cent Store next to the Strip Club. To get there, I had to pass the stoop next to my apartment building on which a middle-aged man sits each night. We small talk, chit-chat–you know, like real neighbors. He asks me when I’m doing laundry next. I ask him what kind of beer is in his brown bag. Put simply: we bond.

That particular night, though, I really didn’t have time to shoot the proverbial shit. The 99 Cent Store was about to close, the Strip Club was about to open, and yeah. Toilet paper was at a premium. So when I gave a distracted “Hello,” and continued walking, I was not in the mood to deal with his, “HELLO! MISS, MISS! HELLO!” But he was just so excited, so frantic, that I stopped.

And it was then that I learned my neighbor with the nightly stoop-sitting ways is the very same man who works at the convenience store next to the fast-food breakfast joint. He told me that his co-workers saw the whole ordeal. Heard him announce, “I know that girl!”, only to have that girl turn away and cross the street, her eyes showing no signs of recognition.

I apologized profusely. Our non-English-speaking super also leaned on the stoop, his head cocked, his lips curled into a perplexed smile. My neighbor shrugged off my apologies and said, “Next time you’ll know. You can have a soda on me.”

Five minutes later, toilet paper in hand, I walked by my neighbor and my super again. We all smiled in recognition at each other, but I already knew that I would likely never take my neighbor up on his free soda offer. I headed towards my own stoop, anticipating entering my bathroom where I’d replace the old roll with the new roll. My super waved. I waved back. My neighbor held up his brown paper bag, and in a one-sided toast, exclaimed, “Goodbye, Miss! Goodbye!”

Hey, Mr. President. Sup?

Not all of us have our own personal physician.

Not all of us have our own personal physicians, chefs, and trainers. Just sayin.

Every few days or so I receive an e-mail from the Obama Administration. They put me on their mailing list after I registered to vote via one of their campaign drives. Most of the e-mails ask recipients to donate money for some cause or another, which I’m not exactly in the position to do. Today’s e-mail didn’t ask for donations (right away), it asked simply for a signature and a story.

The chance to finally reform our nation’s health care system is here. While Congress moves rapidly to produce a detailed plan, I have made it clear that real reform must uphold three core principles — it must reduce costs, guarantee choice, and ensure quality care for every American.

As we know, challenging the status quo will not be easy. Its defenders will claim our goals are too big, that we should once again settle for half measures and empty talk. Left unanswered, these voices of doubt might yet again derail the comprehensive reform we so badly need. That’s where you come in.

When our opponents spread fear and confusion about the changes we seek, your support for these core principles will show clarity and resolve. When the lobbyists for the status quo tell Congress to hold back, your personal story will give them the courage to press forward. 

So share my personal story I did, and boy oh boy was it cathartic!  Everyone loves to vent, but venting is so much more fun when there’s the (extremely) off chance that the President of the United States might read your ramblings:

 I will be personally reviewing many of these signatures and stories. If you speak up now, your voice will make a difference.

Perhaps Barack, over a cigarette one of these nights, will read my rant. It ended up having a sort of middle school essay competition feel to it, but gosh darnit I don’t care. I meant nearly every word:
 


I’ve been out of college for one year. One month after I graduated, as is the case with many, I was no longer eligible to be a benefactor of my parent’s health insurance. Today I attended my friends’ college graduation ceremony. There were inspirational words imparted, hollers of celebration, but sobering the atmosphere were the harsh economic realities each speaker acknowledged the graduates would face. And despite having a one year headstart of sorts on this year’s graduates, I couldn’t help feeling that my own career and financial situation is no better off. It’s not only been one year since I graduated, with high honors, from college–it’s been one year since I had my teeth cleaned; one year since visiting my doctor; one year with no pap smear or professional breast exam from my gynecologist.

I remember the day last year when I called my doctor’s office to cancel an upcoming appointment. It had been scheduled before my insurance ran out, but because the day of that appointment was less than a year since my previous one, I would have had to pay, regardless. I explained this to the receptionist who asked me when I wanted to reschedule the appointment for. But I’ve yet to reschedule that appointment. She asked, “What will you do?” And one year later, I still don’t know the answer.

It’s not as though I’m not working, not striving, not trying my hardest each and every day to build a strong future for myself. The summer after I graduated I interned at the Library of Congress. I was, for three months, an employee of the United States Government, and I’ve never felt so inspired.

When I finished the internship, though, the realities of the job market became clear. It took me months to secure the position I now hold. And while I’m lucky to be working, I’m also lucky if, after paying my rent, I can afford a few groceries–never mind a few prescriptions or a few cosign payments.

Still, I feel fortunate. My story is similar to countless recent college graduates and will be the story of ones to come. But my story doesn’t include battling a life-threatening illness or a condition that requires constant treatment. I’ve felt healthy this past year. But should something happen…I don’t know what I’ll do. And I have no way of knowing, despite feeling healthy, that I actually am healthy.


The speaker at the graduation ceremony I went to today was this guy. Yeah. The Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations. And while he was wildly interesting with stories about coups de tat, strapping dynomite to his chest, and dinner parties at Barbara Walters’ house…I couldn’t help thinking, doesn’t Heraldo Muñoz have something much more important to do?

Why is it so hard to embed things on WordPress?

I must be inept. But Stephen Colbert is so completely not inept it’s ridiculous. His scalding examination of Richard Branson’s attempts to prove his manhood made my week.

There was a profile of Stephen Colbert published somewhere in which he said that sometimes he the man agrees with the views of his character–this clip seems like that kind of instance.

Scare Tactics

Newspaper copy of late that would add fuel to the fire of my mom’s sentiment that I should “move home immediately” because my life, in New York City, is in grave danger:

The next time you have a coughing fit, it might not be the common cold, but the air you are breathing, at least according to a recent report issued by the American Lung Association.

The 10th annual State of the Air Report, released on April 29, found that Queens, along with the Bronx and Manhattan, are the dirtiest counties in the state for particle pollution.  The study states that 12.5 million New Yorkers reside in counties where the air pollution can endanger lives. –Bad air days: Queens fails a pollution test,” Queens Chronicle

The city is polluted?!  I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…  But this paragraph would really horrify the parental:

Astrology and Tarot cards are my favorite divinatory tools, but I also get a lot of use out of magnetic poetry kits, boxes full of evocative words and symbols in the form of refrigerator magnets.  Sometimes, I’ll close my eyes, beam a question out into the ethers, and pluck a few magnets at random from one of my poetry kits.  I just did that for you. ‘What are the keys to unlocking the enormous reserves of energy that are potentiall available for Aries folks right now?’ I asked.  Here’s the message that came: ‘swooping orgasms & laughing tears.’ (Or it could also be arranged this way: ‘laughing orgasms & swooping tears.’) –Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology, for the week of Apr. 22-28

I bring these articles up because I do have a bit of a cough.  And moving home in the somewhat near future is a possibility.  (Which tends to complicate orgasms, both swooping and laughing ones.)

A list that, in theory, should have 29 items, but only has 9.

Yesterday was my parents’ 29th wedding anniversary.  According to AnniversaryIdeas.com that means I should have given them…furniture.  Yup.  In honor of your nearly three decades–here’s an ottoman. 

I always forget about their anniversary.  Any reference to the occasion didn’t come up for at least 15 minutes into my conversation with my mom yesterday.  It went something like:

Me: So, it’s pretty rainy today.

Mom: Yeah.  It was a much prettier day 29 years ago when I got married.

In an attempt to attone for forgetting, I will now compile a list (Sesame Street style) of noteworthy things having to do with the number 29.  Here goes. 

  1. The age of my roommate’s new boyfriend.
  2. The number of suspected Somali pirates that Russia detained, as reported by CNN on April 29th.  That’s right.  Two 29s in one.
  3. An amendment to the NOAA’s Fishery Management Plan related to the Grouper and Tilefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program in the Gulf of Mexico.
  4. The year in which Dick Clark was born.  (Though born is probably not the best word for it.)
  5. The amount of times you must enter into monogomous marriages in order to tie world record holder Glynn Wolf.

    This may or may not be a photo of Linda Essex, wife 29.

    This may or may not be a photo of Linda Essex, wife 29.

  6. A New York congressional district that this man represents.

    A New York congressional district that this man represents.

  7. The weeks it will take for your fetus to look like this.

    The weeks it will take for your fetus to look like this.

  8. A city I will likely never visit.

     

  9. A shopping mall in Boulder, CO with supposed job openings at Gymboree, LensCrafters, Mad Greens, Men’s Wearhouse, U.S. Bank, and Vitamin Shoppe. No word on relocation assistance.

 

Update on item eight on this list, 29 Palms, California, via UrbanDictionary.com:

“A place in the middle of nowhere California full of nothing but Marines, crackheads, Asians and desert rats (also known as ‘Cougars,’ ‘Desert Yetis’ and ‘That bitch that gave me the clap.’) Generally avoided by anyone that has any semblence of a life, and loathed by most that live there. Often subjected to high winds which will hopefully cover it in sand one day.

Person 1: “What the hell is that smell?”
Person 2: “That’s just Twentynine Palms.”

On that note, Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!!!!!!