Wicked Witch of Park Slope

•September 1, 2008 • 5 Comments

It all started with me feeling obligated to go out because I bothered to get dressed on a Saturday. It ended with ABC News footage of me crying and calling people names.

New Yorkers like privacy. It’s bad enough that strangers—usually smelly and crass—obtrude in our physical space on the subway and sidewalks and shops every day. (Once a man fell asleep on my shoulder on a subway over the East River. The other day, a band groupie started bouncing her hefty posterior an inch from my coffee shop table.) When I go out, I expect some personal bubbles to remain unbroken. I may have to be touched, but I don’t want to be talked to, hit on, troubled, disturbed, or have my equilibrium in any way mussed.

So when I purchased my coffee and rugelach, climbed up on my stool and opened my book in a quiet Park Slope coffee shop, I expected my personal peace to remain at least partly intact.

To read the rest, go to Patrol Magazine.


McCain, Barack and 30 Rock

•August 31, 2008 • 1 Comment

There’s only enough time in the day to choose between watching last season’s comedy shows online and reading the news. Of course, I choose 30 Rock – an NBC show about insecure, work-driven variety show producer Liz Lemon and her boss Jack Donaghy.

Liz (Tina Fey) is the “godless, glassy-eyed Clintonista.” Jack (Alec Baldwin) is the Reaganite who is dating Condoleeza Rice. It’s the same political head-butting without all the pontification – the racial guilt and gender angst of the swinging American voter, told in a way that shows it’s really all ridiculous.

To read the rest, go to The Curator, the new online magazine for the International Arts Movement.

Dear American Airlines:

•August 20, 2008 • 8 Comments

I have a very small suggestion.  If I am to be charged for the privilege of taking my luggage on your plane, it would be nice to have it waiting for me when I get off your plane.  And if not waiting for me then, it would be nice to receive it less than 48 hours after arriving at my destination.

You see, it’s been two days since your plane took me to Newark (not New York) at 1:10 AM (not 10:40 PM), at which time I discovered you had not bothered to reroute my luggage as well as my flight.  I went to bed at 4:30 AM and slept fitfully and rose early, hoping you’d knock on my door to return my several hundred dollars worth of clothes, shoes, makeup, and hair-styling implements.  Your website said I’d receive the luggage within six hours of 4:00 PM.  I sat in my apartment all that day, waiting.  I sat in my apartment all through the night, waiting.  I bypassed my run in the park while I waited.   I could not pick up my roommate’s Effing Cat while I waited, so I left her to bite and claw at the hand of the girl taking care of her.

The next day, approximately 14 hours after you promised he would arrive, the first cretin you sent buzzed my door.  When I came down to collect my luggage, he discovered that he had neglected to bring it along!  After much sluggish poking about, the first cretin promised you would send another — brighter than he — before 5:00 PM, when I was supposed to leave to pick up my roommate’s Effing Cat.

I suppose I should be impressed that the first cretin you sent knew how to buzz doors, because the second cretin didn’t know how.  Perhaps the first cretin also forgot to pass along my apartment number.  Or perhaps the clear directions on the front of the door were too complicated for the second man’s cretin  brain.  Instead of buzzing, the second cretin called me repeatedly — on my phone, which was dead, because the charger was in the suitcase you seem to have problems getting to me.

So I waited.  In the interim, I ingested thousands of calories out of sheer boredom, again foregoing my body-and-soul-cleansing run in the hope you’d show up.  I started thinking too much out of boredom, and thus underwent yet another career crisis.  I paced alone in that empty apartment, wearing my last pair of clean underwear and pajamas, looking like hell and questioning my talent and calling and meaning in life — all because your first cretin could not count and your second could not buzz someone’s door.

I despaired.  I sent my mother an email with the words “SCREW THEM.”  (Yes, meaning you.) I went out and bought a new charger.  I took a subway to the Upper East Side to pick up Effing Cat.  I came back and went out to buy Effing Cat litter and food.  Effing Cat caught the note of despair and meditated ending it all with a jump out the window.  I called you up on the phone and was icy and frigid and nasty and cold.  (“Christian icy?” my mother asks.  No.  Heathen icy in fact.)

And so the second cretin returned hours later, and I signed for my luggage exactly 48 hours after it should have arrived.  Thanks for your “safe, dependable and friendly air transportation.”  I can see that my “safety, comfort and convenience” and emotional health and Urban Outfitter outfits are your “most important concerns.” It’s nice to have underwear and hair implements once again.



How the geeks get the girls

•June 30, 2008 • 4 Comments

Geeks are like the knight in shining armor to today’s damsel in distress, but they take the “charm” out of Prince Charming.

I ask a simple question: “I think my computer is dying because I keep getting this blue screen every time I open up iTunes and then this thing that says SMART but I don’t know how to back up my data, and is a millibyte bigger or smaller than a gigabyte, and if my computer crashes forever and I lose my livelihood do you think it’d be faster to die of starvation or a broken heart?”  And every time a stream of technobabble bursts forth as they wave their slender arms towards items smaller than my lip gloss tube and more expensive than my whole month’s rent.

JAMES from Best Buy #1: “Well I could run a diagnostic to see if your SMART 1065982359872395872 processer bulb is running on maximum gigahertz wattage or if it’ll explode in your face without warning and embed all the function keys into your brain.  But you’ll have to let me father your firstborn child.”

CHRISTIAN from Best Buy #2: “Your computer may be possessed by the devil but we’re really not sure.  A full diagnostic will cost you $5236.74.  Then you can pay $7165.43 and have it shipped to the Vatican to be put on a six-month long waiting list for the professional exorcism covered by your excellent warranty.  Or I could just fix it myself for $15,000!”

I have no idea what the heck they’re saying but they brook no opposition. Paul from Best Buy nearly sold me a brand-new model, not-yet-on-the-shelves HP DV 2195 on the spot.  Jamal from Office Max had only 15.4 inch screens and convinced me that “no one” wants anything smaller. Harold from Staples forced me to buy an external drive for $79.99 (plus a $9.99 warranty), despite my feeble insistence that I really only needed to transfer a few gigabytes of music and the precious 10 pages worth of the half dozen books that I’ve started. (I snuck back the next day to return it and bought a jump drive instead, which didn’t work until I realized I was putting it in upside down.)

Do they see me walk in looking crestfallen and lost and do they say, “Here’s a girl who is not only astonishingly stupid but also emotionally vulnerable and thus easy prey!” Can I trust him?  Is he lying to me?  When he swears on his Bluetooth he would never sell me a crappy computer, can I really believe him?  I have no way of knowing so I search their eyes deeply to gauge their sincerity and when I see emptiness there I say, Well I’ll probably look around and maybe come back a little bit later I guess, and stumble out in a blur of tears.

In the meantime my computer may explode without warning and embed all the function keys into my brain.  Or I may marry James and start having his technobabbling little geek babies.

Wedding cake equality II

•June 26, 2008 • 1 Comment

I already pondered a lesbian wedding cake topped with two bride-ducks, but now that homosexual marriage is legal in California, I find more to baffle me.

I guess I thought gay men had impeccable taste, which is why you might want one for a best friend or as Sarah Bird writes in Salon, “a son who would tell me that the bias cut emphasized my saddlebag thighs …  that the tiniest bit of white on the upper lids would open up my eyes and make me look 10 years younger.”  So why is a French bulldog’s smashed visage marring the otherwise lovely confection above?

The cake above looks familiar … like maybe it’s the setting for a Disney princess movie in which Cinderella ends up with Drizella — an ending some have always known Disney was covertly pushing.

And is the rainbow of buttercream flowers spilling over this cake a bit garish?  Maybe it’s me.


•June 25, 2008 • 1 Comment

I try to think about childbirth as little as possible.  I’m happy to make babies.  I’m happy to raise babies.  But actually pushing babies out of my body sounds as jolly as a picnic in Guantanamo Bay.

Other people seem to enjoy it however, so much so that they share all their childbirth pictures on Facebook, where I’m compelled to look through them since they’re sitting right there and I have lots more pressing matters I’d rather not tend to.

I’m ambivalent about this practice (and of course it’s a matter on which one should take a firm stand).  Pictures of clean and dry babies in the arms of beatific mothers are one thing.  (All for it!)  But pictures of slime-covered babies with their umbilical cords dangling and tiny dicks waving may be another.  On the one hand, I’m devoted to technology and will surely blog eloquently about my child’s first hiccup.  On the other hand, I know newborns who have their own Facebook accounts and are tagged in 500 more pictures than I am.

I’m imagining these newborns 13 years from now, suddenly finding their prepubescent young friends making comments on all of the bath shots their mom tagged 10 years ago.  I willingly put my life on the web for all to see, but if these tiny beings had a voice they might ask their mommies not to record every diaper change for posterity.  Everyone’s a celebrity now, and as any tween star could inform you, nude internet pictures can be difficult for celebrities to erase.

My Lysol Cloud Epiphany

•June 17, 2008 • 2 Comments

Adulthood means scrubbing a toilet of your own free will.

This epiphany came to me as I stooped on my knees scrubbing months worth of gunk from my first real apartment, after I realized that this was the very first time in my life I’d taken Lysol in hand and cleaned a bathroom without anyone pressuring me to do so.

I’ve cleaned toilets under parental duress and at housemate urgings. I’ve applied my roommate’s toxic homemade bleach cocktail to bathtubs before room inspections while my brain cells slowly choked from the fumes and died. But this was the first time I’d seen something dirty, said “This is my job because this is my home,” and cleaned it without anyone suggesting I do so.

There’s a moment when adulthood hits you and you realize that you have, for perhaps the first time in your life, made a mature, adult decision with no external coercion at all. For those who clean toilets freely and embrace responsibility at a tender age, the moment may be different, and it may come before the age of 23 and sooner than a year after graduating from college. …

To read the rest, click here.