Monthly Archives: September 2009

Wise Guys

It seems as though I’m always claiming to be in the midst of a life crisis on here.  And that’s because I am.  But mostly in a good way.  It’s kind of like the growing pains phase that kids go through during their spurts.  Sure, it hurts…but once you’re on the other side, you’re going to be like seven feet tall!  You’ll be able to see your house from here.

Mental growing pains just might be even more uncomfortable.  Coming of age pains.  It’s like having a fire in your belly but not knowing where to focus that energy.  The steam engine is raring to go, but the engineers have yet to lay the tracks.  Everyday you’re like, “Get to fuckin’ work, engineers!”  And they just stare blankly back at you.  Because you haven’t given them the blueprint.  They can’t do shit until you decide where you’re going.

Okay, that’s enough of that.  All I’m getting at is that there’s an interview with Jane Campion, the director of Bright Star, in this week’s edition of the A.V. Club.  She had some things to say about John Keats’ idea of “negative capability” — “the idea that great artists accept that not everything can be resolved.”  Here’s what the bespectacled woman said:

…that idea that great men have a way of managing to stand within doubt and uncertainties, mysteries, without irritably searching after fact or reason…  And I think it’s a very helpful thought.  Because there is that sort of feeling that people don’t know what to do with gaps in their lives.  It’s a scary notion, but actually, if you can stand in space just for a little while, a new door will open, or you’ll be able to see in the dark after a while.  You’ll adjust.

Thanks Jane.  Thanks John. 

It’s a liberating idea.  And it holds true for me.  The more I try to force myself to see where I should be headed, the less clear I become.  But if I let go, accept where I am, take deep breaths…signs start to appear.  And pretty soon the train will leave the station.  I think…

3am Subway Commute: White Girl Edition

The thing is, I’m usually the only girl on the train at this hour, white or otherwise.  Still, it was surprising and uncomfortable to me that I got this territorial feeling when she entered the car.  She hadn’t done anything.  But…then she did do some things.  And my initial reaction felt semi-warranted.  She didn’t do me wrong personally–she did the whole 3am train wrong.  And that right there is reason to fight.

If we’d dualed it out, I would’ve reasoned that I’d been there first, so, “That’s my hunched over drunk man in the corner.  And that suspicious puddle near the door is mine, too!”  She may’ve countered that she had a stronger core section from doing Pilates DVDs daily and could easily take me down.  In case you’d like to visualize this dual, she was dressed like this:  

And in comparison, I was dressed something like this: 

After being in the train car for one stop, the scantily-clad girl pulled a move that’s not so unusual–she decided to move to another car.  It doesn’t really matter why she came to this decision. I wasn’t offended by that. (Though I did feel a bit rejected.) The part I did judge was her execution of this decision. There’s an etiquette to 3am subway riding, and she didn’t follow it. If you decide to move to another car, the key is to do it quickly so as not to (1) Hold up the entire train when the conductor waits for you, or (2) End up having to take the next train when the conductor decides not to wait for you at all.  It used to be that you didn’t need to go outside the train to move between cars, but then they enacted this:

So, fine.  She was a bit slow moving to the next car.  Only that’s not my point.  Just before she entered the next car, she decided THAT one wasn’t good enough for her either, so then she scampered over to the next next car.  That means she had to scurry about 70 feet!  Her strappy sandals clip-clopped along the platform as the train was held up. 

In a sort of reflex, I clicked my tongue and shook my head.  I regret judging her, sort of.  But it was also this wonderful moment of solidarity because I noticed that the man across the aisle from me was doing the same exact thing.  We got it.  We were like members of a bowling league scoffing at the guy stepping up for and taking his turn even though the guy in the lane next to him was just about to take his first steps and lower and pull back his ball!  We were golfers wishing that the big group of elderly men on Hole 3 would let us play through!  We were (one more) the theater-goers who had been waiting months and months (ever since finishing the novel) to see The Time Traveler’s Wife, only to have to endure snickering and saliva-exchanging  noises from the back row.

All that said, I don’t aspire to be one of those ranting, judging everyone and everything just for the sake of having a bitchy opinion bloggers.  That’s not me.  But this time it just had to be done.  This white girl, of all the white girls, needed to be told (however indirectly): “Get your act together!”  In other words, wear the hot pants with the hot pink corset-y thing if it makes you happy.  Glare at we modest subway riders like we may at any second strap you and your sandaled feet down and have our dirty way with you.  Just don’t hold us up!  These people just pulled doubles at their places of employment.  They’re burnt out.  They’re tired.  And they gotta do it all again tomorrow!  All they want to do is get home as quickly as possible, climb into bed, and maybe, if they’re lucky and can stay awake long enough, have their way with their equally exhausted spouses. 

Truth is, I guess I rolled my eyes because I don’t want to be lumped in with this kind of inconsiderate behavior.  I don’t want to be seen as a 3am mostly naked white girl on the subway stereotype (who accidentally wore clothes).   I’ll come right out and say it (and this holds true for everyone): Learn some respect or take a cab.  But respect the cabbie, too.  And wear your seatbelt in cars of all kind.  Also, put a sweater on if you get cold, especially on subway platforms late at night. 

Hope you got home safe, sorry if I was harsh, I guess you weren’t that naked, but you sort of were, so I refuse to apologize for anything I said.  There.  Put that on your MetroCard and swipe it.

Voting Day Blues (and Red States)(hahah!)

The other day I woke up in the middle of the afternoon to the sounds of children yelling and screaming, and I got a little concerned that some kind of disaster had struck.  But then I realized that I live directly across the street from a public school.  It’d been summer, so this mid-afternoon commotion had been on hiatus.  But now it’s back.  In full effect.  Monday through Friday. 

This afternoon I woke more around dinner time and rather than children screaming, there were sign-wielding democrats screaming!  Primary day!  The day when public schools everywhere are transformed into polling locations!  Normally I only get out of bed to eat or relieve myself, but today I got out in an attempt to fulfill my civic duty.  It was great.  To feel like a citizen.

I threw on pants and a t-shirt and booked it out of my building.  I didn’t bother to brush my teeth or my hair–there’s no superficiality in politics, just as there’s no crying in baseball. 

Even in my disheveled state (pun intended, New York), the sign-wielders handed me a flyer and asked, “Are you going to vote?!”  And I declared, “Yes!”  And they exclaimed, “Good!”  I really felt part of something, ya know?

I have no idea what the story behind this image is.

I have no idea what the story behind this image is.

Unfortunately, upon entering the public school, I remembered that I’m registered as an Independent, so I couldn’t vote in the primary at all.  All the women behind the folding tables consoled me as I cried big, civically unfulfilled tears and they told me everything would be okay–I could come back in November.  I threw a bit of tantrum.  I said, “I hate the system!”  They nodded sympathetically and recommended I move along. 

I trudged back to my apartment building.  I was really looking forward to wearing one of these:

I’ll have what she’s having…


Nostalgia is a funny thing. It’s not rational–the things for which we become nostalgic.  Wikipedia sums up, “The term…describes a longing for the past, often in idealized form.”  Idealized form.  That makes sense.  That explains why I get nostalgic so often–I’m quite idealistic.  Take that diner there.  I only went there once.  The service wasn’t great.  I ordered a omellete and it ended up coming with both cheese and shell inside.  And not just a little bit of shell–two eggs worth of shell. It has since closed, which isn’t a huge surprise– But still I’m nostalgic for it.  I’m nostalgic for the person I went there with, the neighborhood surrounding it, and the person I was.

I tend to think that all diners should remain open regardless of their quality or their chances to pass a health inspection.  I would rather eat at a crappy diner, in a booth with a torn cushion, served by a waitress missing most of her teeth, where I will be forced to pick dried-on food out of the tines of my fork and pull a long hair out of my ice water, than eat at a chain, fast-food, or upscale restaurant.  Diners have character.  Diners are America!  Diners are pulling a double and drinking burnt coffee to get through it.  Diners are truck drivers who haven’t had a homecooked meal in months.  They’re laminated menus from which you can order breakfast at midnight just as easily as noon.  They’re miniature jukeboxes on each table.  They’re plastic cups, swivel stools, and rotating cake displays.  Diners are Keri Russell’s Waitress character declaring, “I don’t want you to save me. I don’t need to be saved.”  They’re Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally faking an orgasm.  They’re no frills.  Their doors are open, their floors are dirty, and their grills are on.

In short, diners are good.


Because I’m a lonely, sad, slob of a woman.

Love someone, indeed.

Love someone, indeed.

You know what?  Light rock favorites, as in the music played on radio stations nicknamed “The River”, “Your At Work Station” or “The Heartbeat of Detroit”, are some of my favorites.  Actually, I take that back.  The music that Delilah plays on her nightly radio show.  That’s my favorite.  Her show’s slogan?  “Love someone.”  Her entire show is kind of like the “Long Distance Dedication” segment in Casey Kasem’s weekly countdown show.  Gosh, I love that.   How good was he when he made that guest appearance on that “Saved By The Bell” episode when Lisa competes in the dance off despite her badly sprained ankle?!?!  So good.

I’ve been in the mood for really sappy music lately.  And as of tonight I’m really digging sappy music in Spanish:

It resonates in this whole new, visceral way. 

P.S. I’ve never used the word “visceral” before.  How did I do?

It’s Tuesday–time to Labor and then watch young stars with blossoming drug and alcohol problems hump.

One of my favorite things about being alive is meeting other people who are alive and finding out what it is about life, their life in particular, that inspires them to continue living it.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem as though there’s much at all that’s inspiring them to continue living  it, and that’s sad. 

Two nights ago I met a really, legitimately sad looking man.  I’d seen him on the subway on my way home from work once or twice, but I’d never talked to him.  He has this distinctive look about him–extremely curly (Kenny G curly) gray-white hair down to his shoulders, gray-white stubble on his face, and some kind of red splotch surrounding one eyebrow.  He looks interesting.  But more than anything, he looks sad.

Anyway, he struck up a conversation with me.  But he did it in a pretty awkward way–he posed a question to me, waited for my response, and then revealed that he had known the answer to the question all along.  It was along the lines of, “Hey, do you have any idea what time it is?” Then upon hearing me apologetically say I did not, he responded, “Because I do! It’s five minutes ’til noon!”  And then he delved into an in-depth history of time itself, followed by an explanation of the process of watchmaking, and finished it off with some personal anecdotes about his experiences relating to the time-space continuum. 

It was sort of like that. 

I’m not sure where I’m going with this.  I guess I’m just thinking about how it’s great when people reach out to other people.  It’s nice when strangers become acquaintances and acquaintances become friends.  Even if it’s only on Facebook.

In other news, the new “Melrose Place” is starting today.  And along with Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, they’ve got these inspired taglines!  One reads, “Tuesdays are a bitch.”  Another goes, “Tuesday’s the new hump day.”  And another still, “Ménage à Tues.” Provocative, eh? I’m pretty sure that if I watch this show I will learn things (sexual, lewd, nasty, terrible things) that I have no business learning–and I’m an adult.

Still, part of me is curious.  Also, I noticed that the Greek love interest from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is in the cast, so it’s pretty guaranteed that I’ll tune in.  At least once.  At which time I will learn all about bitches, humping, and threesomes involving bitches, humping, and (a desperate woman can only hope) this Adonis:

Have you seen my pants?

Of Mice and Put Together Men

Note: I apologize for the title…I couldn’t help it.

There are these restaurants that I walk by on my way to and from work.  They’re on Park Avenue.  They’re expensive, trendy happy hour hang outs for professionally dressed people.  Nothing against professionally dressed people, but professional dress gets me down.  I don’t feel like myself when I’m in interview/stuffy workplace attire.  I feel like a mediocre presentation.  A facade that doesn’t tell the truth about its interior. 

Anyway, I guess the truth is, these restaurants and their patrons intrigue me.  They are places I would never choose to spend my money or time in, yet a gaggle of people do.  What is their deal?  Don’t they get exhausted maintaining the put together image these establishments require?  Don’t they get tired of being worldly, cultured, and sophisticated?  Don’t they ever just want to drink PBRs and sit on questionable toilet seats?

A few weeks ago when I was leaving work, I saw one of these worldly, cultured, sophisticated creatures leaving one of these trendy restaurants.  The restaurant was Dos Caminos and the creature was:

Constantine Maroulis of "American Idol" and now "Rock of Ages" fame.

Constantine Maroulis of "American Idol" and now "Rock of Ages" fame.

He rushed into a chauffeured black SUV with a gaggle of adoring women.  Which, you know, is good for him and stuff.  He must feel like a real rock star.  Rock stars only hang out at the trendiest of places, right?  I don’t know.  I don’t have strong feelings about Constantine Maroulis,  BUT, I do have strong feelings about another creature I saw in the very same restaurant two nights ago: 


I know I’ve established my love for pigeons time and again, but I don’t know if I’ve said nearly as much about my love for mice.  I honestly think they’re wonderful.  And I just love that Dos Caminos has them.  What can ya do?  Mice, roaches, unpleasant sidewalk odors–these things make up the city experience! … But I can’t imagine the typical Dos Caminos patron not being outraged at knowing their fancy happy hour, first date destination is also a favorite spot for vermin.