Archive for August, 2005
YOU WONâ€™T LIKE ME WHEN Iâ€™Mâ€¦TOO LATE SONS-OF-BITCHES
On Monday morning, I left East Coco Beach for the Upper East Side to wait for UPS to deliver my new computer.
I got there just in time for alternate side of the street parking/street cleaning, so spent the first hour and a half double parked and listening to Poddy as I kept an eye out for the copper with the ticket writing powers.
Of course, my apartment on the UES has nothing, except shiny wooden floors, a light bulb in the bathroom, a can of tomato soup and lots and lots of cat food.
I came prepared though.
I brought my Treo, my portable DVD player, five movies, three books and speakers for my ipod.
I was ready for the day.
I finally finished â€˜The Nanny Diaries.â€™ Is it wrong that I hated Nan just enough to be rooting for Mrs. X to actually chain her to a radiator? Man, I hate the stupid writers of that book. (This will be important later.)
I listened to a couple of hours of my ipod on random shuffle â€“ man I always forget what an awesome singer Paula Abdul was. â€œTake a take another ‘nother look into his eyes/
And you will on-ly see a rep-tileâ€ Ainâ€™t that the truth.
Around four I decided to ask Karol to see if she could tell where my computer was.
â€œIt says itâ€™s â€˜On Timeâ€™
â€œBut â€˜On Timeâ€™ for whenâ€¦grrr.â€
â€œUmmâ€¦August 30th. Tomorrow.â€
â€œYeah. Itâ€™s coming tomorrow.â€
By now, the hours of surfing and playing cards on my Treo have taken the toll on the battery. Itâ€™s flashing red: â€œPower low. Recharge immediately.â€
Yeah, if only I had the charger.
I hang up with Karol and contemplate my next move. The car is parked in a spot thatâ€™s legal until Thursday â€“ so Iâ€™m not moving it.
I go downstairs and get lunch completely without the fear that UPS will come in that two minutes that I am gone from the apartment.
When I return, I decide to stay in Manhattan for the night and resume my UPS vigil first thing in the morning.
I call Karol back and make plans to stay with her and Peter.
â€œWe should do something tonight,â€ I stealthily suggest.
â€œI donâ€™t know, but since Iâ€™m staying over, it can run late.â€
â€œYouâ€™re staying over, are you?â€
â€œStay over? Sure, I can stay over.â€
Damn, I am so good.
She decides to host a poker tournament to help teach her little brother how to â€œplay poker better,â€ and gather the old crew. Especially NYC Smurfette, who is very, very old today.
My phone was really spazzing the hell out now.
â€œOKâ€¦8:30. I gotta run, my cell phone is Dyyying.â€
Not having any idea what to do with four and a half hours on a Monday afternoon, with no cell, no TV, no internet, no car, no bed, no couch, no chair, no blankets, no foodâ€¦basically, your typical stranded on a desert island nightmare.
I crossed my fingers and took a chance to one more google search on the fading Treo. I located the phone number of the New York Public Library.
â€œHi, Iâ€™m wondering what the nearest library to the UES is.â€
â€œWell, weâ€™ve got two locations near youâ€¦one is eight blocks away, the other is nine blocks away.â€
â€œLocations,â€ now the public library is Starbucks.
Okâ€¦eight blocks away it is. I ainâ€™t no hero.
I get to the steps of the library. The wrought iron fence is chained shut. This â€œlocationâ€ is closed on Mondays.
She could have mentioned that while giving me my two options.
I made it to option two in about twenty minutes.
â€œHiâ€¦can I sign up to use the computer.â€
â€œSure, I can get you in a 6:45.â€
I looked at the clock, eh I can wait an hour.
â€œOK, Iâ€™ll take it.â€
I grabbed a couple of magazines: something with Angelina and her new baby on the cover and another with â€œBuy a Home with Zero dollars down,â€ splashed on the front.
When I looked at the clock again, it said 5:12.
Ohhhâ€¦come on. The only library open in the neighborhood and time runs backwards here?
Another womanâ€¦or manâ€¦or anyone else, really, would have just walked back to the monastic apartment and returned later.
But I decided to make a mental note that, indeed, itâ€™s the little hand that denotes the hour, and find some way to amuse myself in the library.
After perusing some books in the travel aisle and wishing I had a passport, I stumbled upon â€œCitizen Girlâ€ in the â€œrecent fictionâ€ section.
Ahhhh, yes, not only did those two annoying â€œNanny Diariesâ€ girls get a book and movie deal outta that tripe, they also got to publish a second novel, the â€œfollow-up to their New York Times bestseller The Nanny Diaries.â€™
I was transfixed. I took the book off the shelf and started reading.
Ok, so this is â€œThe entry level office worker Diaries.â€
Clock check: 5:42.
Still more than an hour to go, but at least I was back in my own dimension again, with time moving steadily forward.
I plowed through TELOWD until I came to a word I didnâ€™t know. Hating these stupid women now even more, I skipped the sentence and moved on, but then I was struck with the thoughts that: 1) I am in a library, 2)with time to kill, 3) might as well â€œgrow the vocabulary.â€
And really, as you shall see, there are no better blog stories than the ones that emerge from setting a simple goal like looking up a word in a library.
â€œUmâ€¦excuse me. I need a dictionary.â€
â€œPlease see the librarian.â€
â€œUmâ€¦hi. Iâ€™m looking for a dictionary.â€
Without so much as glancing up at my shining pearly white smile of politeness, he points a finger toward the middle aisle.
I run through the familiar rows of travel books that I had poured over earlierâ€¦ahâ€¦dictionaries? Yes. What I need? No. Itâ€™s not going to do me any good to find out how to say insouciance in French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese or Arabic.
Just need to know what it means.
I return to the librarian.
â€œHiâ€¦againâ€¦I was actually looking for an English only dictionary, toâ€¦umâ€¦look up a word.â€
Now, he looks up at me.
Shit, wasnâ€™t ready, I plaster the smile quickly and stand up straight â€“seems like the librariany thing to do.
â€œYou need to go the information desk.â€
His finger, at the ready, points me in the direction of a very young woman sitting way past the computer terminals.
â€œHiâ€¦can you tell me where the dictionaries are…English ones, for wordâ€¦ lookingâ€¦ upâ€¦.â€
She walks me over the rear of the library and shows me a stand, upon which sits the grungiest, brownest, most diseased book I have ever seen in my life. It is open to Ea words.
She backs away slowly and returns to her station.
Well. I have come this far.
I walk up to the dictionary and using the sides of my fingers, flip to the Letter I.
I find my strange word and after reading all five definitions of it, I am surprised that Iâ€™d not learned the word before.
I mean, you donâ€™t get much more insouciant than Dawn Summers, let me tell you. Of course, I am so insouciant, I never bothered to learn the word to describe my insouciance. (There. Mrs. Dreitzer always said â€˜use a word three times and itâ€™s yours.â€™ So, you are all warned, you use insouciance or any derivative thereof, you owe me a quarter. Itâ€™s mine.)
I go back to my bookâ€¦the story not at all improved by my newly grown vocabulary.
As the big hand crosses the 6 on the giant clock face, I begin my staring countdown.
I watch the man standing at my computer terminal.
Hand is on the 7.
He is laughing at something on the screen.
Hand is on the 8.
I close TELOWD.
Hand is on one dash past the 8.
I put the magazines back on the rack.
I now hover directly behind the man standing at my computerâ€¦readyâ€¦toâ€¦pounceâ€¦theâ€¦veryâ€¦secondâ€¦theâ€¦.handâ€¦hitsâ€¦theâ€¦
â€œHi. I have this computer NOW!â€
â€œOhâ€¦is it 6:45?â€
â€œYes. YES IT IS.â€ Move it, grandpa.
â€œOK, I just need to print this page.â€
I glare at him long enough that he finally gives up trying to figure out the printing.
I check my site, as I always do after being away from the computer for a whileâ€¦nope, no new posts.
I log in to my emails and see a â€œNo Subjectâ€ message from Karol.
â€œI have no work late. No game.â€
Mother&@$%# Youâ€™re a temp at the largest, most nameless, faceless law firm in the history of this city, what could possibly need your working late.
And she sends an e-mail to cancel? When last we spoke I didnâ€™t even have electricity or a cellphone, much less access to email.
I log out and decide to quickly blog, itâ€™s bad enough I have plummented to rodent status in the Ecosystem, no need to lose all readership too.
I am mid-way through a post, when a woman taps me on the shoulder.
â€œMiss, I have this machine at 7.â€
I look at the clock on the wall and indeed all hands indicate it is 7 oâ€™clock.
â€œI just got here at 6:45.â€ And no way did I just wait TWO AND A HALF HOURS for fifteen minutes on a computer.
â€œMy appointment is at 7. We get fifteen minutes.â€
I quickly save my post and log out of blogger and my mailboxes. I lingered just long enough to equal the time the old man took trying to figure out how to print. Fair is fair.
It was 7:02 and I was stranded.
Oh, how I hate the UES and all that it stands for. Sure, the ECB sucks, but there I have a bed and TWO interneted computers and a library, on my block, that gives you â€“oooh, craaaazy— half hour blocks of time on their computers.
I stomped back to my apartment building, pretty much cursing all of humanity and its Atlantic City trip canceling, stealth emailing, Dawn inconveniencingness.
Even my ipod needed charging now.
Unable to face the four-story climb up to my very empty and probably very dark apartment, I decided to sit in my car, recharge my ipod and fume.
No sooner than I had turned the key in the ignition, did a Trailblazer pull up along side my car and back up â€“ the driver readying herself to take my spot when I pulled out.
I sat there for a good five minutes before she pulled her car level to mine.
I rolled down my window.
â€œYou coming out?â€
â€œNope,â€ I said suppressing the glee. Thatâ€™s right Ms. Fancy SUV, life is disa-fucking-ppointing. I thought I would be playing poker and sleeping on a couch tonight. You thought youâ€™d miraculously found non-metered street parking. We were both wrong.
After she angrily zoomed off, it was a few minutes before another-about-to-be-disappointed motorist pulled over, getting ready to take my spot.
This one was much more patient.
It took her almost twelve minutes before she asked the $50 a day question.
â€œAre you leaving?â€
Yes. On Thursday.
After having this conversation about five more times, I was in much higher spirits. I looked at my watch â€“ it was 8 oâ€™clock. Right about the time I had planned to leave for Karolâ€™s.
Huh. I decide that since she could not have known that I got that message, I was going over there anyway. Thatâ€™s right. And thereâ€™d better be poker.
Although she also lives on the UES, the walk took a lot longer than I had anticipated, by the time I got to the driveway of her building, I needed a bed. All the bitterness now replaced with exhaustion.
I didnâ€™t really have a plan for getting in, since Karol wouldnâ€™t be there and all, but I hoped that maybe Peter was home. Or, failing that, there would be the sad sight of a sleeping Dawn on the doorstep. The first hurdle would be getting past the doorman.
He was engrossed in conversation with some kid — preseason, schme season â€“ I slipped by unnoticed. HA!
I am a genius.
I got upstairs and rang the bell.
Since I had settled on a firm â€œe-mail? what e-mail stance?â€ I couldnâ€™t very well be surprised to see her there.
I casually took off my shoes, leaving one for collateral, as I rented a pair of â€œKarol apartment shoesâ€ for a small fee, as is the custom at Che Sheinin and bowling alleys across America.
As she sprayed the rental pair with disinfectant and took my seven dollars, I saw her brother, Ron Lad, waiting on the couch.
Okâ€¦this is so â€¦Americaâ€™s Funniest Home Videos or somethingâ€¦Karol is home and there will be poker? My plan of guilt tripping for thoughtless betrayal is just not going my way.
I logged on to my e-mail, using Karolâ€™s computer (see, Gib, everythingâ€™s all friendly-likeâ€¦no bodies anywhereâ€¦) and found that after her â€œno subjectâ€, Iâ€™m working late email, there was another â€œno subjectâ€ â€œgame back onâ€ email.
I would not be denied my anger.
â€œDudeâ€¦youâ€™re emailing me? I am in an empty apartment, how was I supposed to get these?â€
â€œHow did you blog?â€
Dâ€™oh. Damn her and her evil troll logic.
Before long, Ari, NYC Smurfette, Karol, Ron Lad and I, were playing a spirited game of NLHE. The previously advertised as needing â€œto learn to play better poker,â€ Ron Lad, took the vast majority of my chips in back to back perfect slow plays of a full house and then pocket Aces against my pocket Jacks.
After he scooped up that last pot, by making a two dollar bet on the river, that I thought was suspicious because no way did that 4 of clubs helps anybodyâ€™s hand, Karol said that he should have gone all-in.
Ron Lad, completely nonplussed by the criticism, replied:
â€œWhy? Dawn is a Jew, I bet two dollars and she folds.â€ (Please send all Anti-Defamation League mail to Ron Lad P.O. Box 14 Brooklyn, NY)
Ari, then proceeded to take the rest of my chips. Sure, it took her three buy-ins to do it, but she did it.
I spent a restless night on Karolâ€™s couch, afraid I wouldnâ€™t wake up in time to get back to my apartment by UPSâ€™s 8 a.m. delivery start time. And as Karol and Peter are both ninjas, who vanish from the apartment in the morning without making so much as the sound of water running, a guest can easily oversleep.
I stayed up watching poker and then woke up in time for Robin Robertsâ€™ emotional breakdown on GMA about the devastation to her home state of Mississippi.
At around 7:30, I left the apartment, hair smooshed on one side, clothes disheveled, an inexplicable limp, and sleep still blurring my vision. Can there be a walk of shame when no sex is involved? Is it a walk of shame so long as the doorman chuckling under his breath, as you limp by, thinks it is?
I find getting a cab at 7:45 in the morning as hard as it is at night â€“Iâ€™m not even going to Brooklyn people!!! I finally nab one stopped at a red light and make it back to my place by 8:10.
No sticker! I havenâ€™t missed them.
I ball up my shirt and fall asleep on the floor.
The buzzer jolts me awake.
Well, at least I know the bell is working and that Iâ€™ll hear it even while sleeping..
I go back to sleep.
The sound of drilling wakes me next.
Up, I wash my face and resume reading TELOWD, which I borrowed from the library in protest of their fifteen minute Internet rule.
I make a mental note to send a letter to the publisher:
Dear Diary Publishers,
I too have wacky anecdotes that I could stretch into an unbearably silly book or two (or three or four.) I will happily throw an insipid, utterly forgettable love interest into the mix, as this seems to be an important element in these â€œbooks.â€ (There is a guy who folded pocket queens after the flop, that would fit nicely into this role.)
There is only one of me, so it will cost you only half of what you pay the Diary Girls. I have the next 26 days off and imagine I could get you five of these â€œbooksâ€ in that time. I have recently entered into a contract to buy a two bedroom co-op and could use that kind of cash infusion, so please let me know.
I take a break from the juicy details of life of an entry level twenty-something to watch â€˜The Interpreterâ€™ on DVD. By way of a review, this is the worst Sean Penn movie ever made. Oh, and yes, I have seen Shanghai Surprise and Fast Times.
Still no UPS.
I am hungry, but no way am I leaving,
I open the cabinetsâ€¦as tasty as some of the cat food sounds, I settle on the tomato soupâ€¦poured into a cup and warmed in the microwave, because I do not have pots or bowls.
I return to the book. Then the ipod and now back to the DVD player.
I nap, I sing, I dance around. Still no computer.
I call Karol to get the tracking number.
My cellphone is running on fumes.
It takes three calls to get the whole number.
I scribble it on a piece of paper and run downstairs to the payphone.
â€œItâ€™s scheduled to be delivered today by the end of business, maâ€™am.â€
â€œOkâ€¦and what time is that?â€
Itâ€™s only 3:15.
I run to the grocery store across the street and throw enough ingredients to make a sandwich into a basket, and arrange to have them deliver it.
I get back to the building. Still no notice or sign of UPS.
I go back to my place and take another nap.
Itâ€™s interrupted by the buzzer.
Itâ€™s only my sandwich ingredients.
Sighâ€¦well, at least Iâ€™ve got food now.
I finish TELOWD.
By way of a review, ummmâ€¦only read this book, if you are trapped in an empty apartment waiting for the UPS guy. And even thenâ€¦itâ€™s a struggle, so have other options.
I make a sandwich and start â€œGet Shorty 2â€â€¦I mean, â€œBe Cool,â€ I fall asleep twenty minutes in.
I wake up and start the movie again. This time I fall asleep thirty minutes in.
Back to the ipod.
Itâ€™s now 6:15.
I am livid.
I sit, in a state of catlike readiness, by the door.
I pack up my purse, grab the book and all the garbage I can shove into the grocery store delivery bag and bound downstairs. (Interesting fact: In TELOWD, the Diaries Girls use the word â€˜padâ€™ as a synonym for walk. As in, â€œI pad over to Guyâ€™s office.â€ I make a mental note to alert the Diary publishers that I too can make up words and use them in my novels.)
I push the front door open and see a yellow sticker on the front.
I grab the notice off the door and head to the payphone.
â€œYes maâ€™am, well our records show that delivery was attempted today at 5:30.â€
â€œBullshit. I was sitting in that apartment all fucking day. I did not leave, except to call you five hours ago to ask where my package was and the whole time I had my eye on the front door. I WANT MY PACKAGE NOW.â€
I am yelling. The patrons sitting in the â€œoutdoor cafÃ©â€ next to the phone are all staring.
I could not care less. I had not yet begun to tell him exactly what Brown Could Do For Me.
â€œNO. I WILL NOT CALM DOWN. THIS IS THE SECOND DAY OF MY LIFE WASTED WAITING FOR YOUR STUPID DELIVERY GUY. I WILL CALM DOWN WHEN YOU GIVE ME BACK MY TWO DAYS. CAN YOU DO THAT? CAUSE IF YOU CAN, JUST HEAR HOW CALM I WILL BE.â€
Oh, yeah, turning back time. Look that up in the customer care manual, motherfucker.
â€œNO. TOMORROW IS NO GOOD, I AM GOING OUT OF TOWN. WONâ€™T BE HERE ON THURSDAY EITHER. THAT IS WHY I SAT AT HOME ALL DAMN DAY.â€
He offers Friday. I think heâ€™s crying. Still, look at me not caring.
â€œFine. Friday. BUT HE BETTER BE HERE AT A SET TIME. LIKE 2:15. I AINâ€™T DOING THIS SHIT AGAIN.â€
We negotiate down to a set block of time: 2-4 p.m.
â€œOK.AND I MEAN 2-4. IF HE COMES AT 1:58 or 4:03 I WILL FREAK THE FUCK OUT AND I WILL BE CALLING RIGHT BACK TO TALK TO YOUâ€¦WHAT DID YOU SAY YOUR NAME WASâ€¦JEFFREY?â€¦JEFFREYâ€¦I WILL CALL RIGHT BACK AND ASK FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE WHAT Iâ€™LL HAVE TO SAY.
Audibly weeping now, Jeffrey bids me a good day. I slam the phone into the receiver and head for my car.
I am steaming, I take care to drive extra, extra, extra carefully. As Iâ€™ve learned from playing poker, just because one bad thing has happened, there is no need to worsen the situation by rear ending the cab stopped in the middle of the damn street and probably amputating the legs of the punk ass loser that is taking his own sweet time getting his shit out of the backseat, so that the cab can drive off and traffic can resume its natural flow.
Nope. Donâ€™t do it. Even if you really, really want to.
Feel free, however, to lean on the horn and yell obscenities at him and his young child until you finally get moving again.
Fair is Fair.
Anyhoo — Iâ€™m off to AC to see Clay Aiken. If we opt for the Vegas wedding, blogging probably wonâ€™t resume until Friday.
In the meantime, feel free to read the Clareified archives and leave nasty comments for Ari about taking my money.
KATRINA DEVASTATES LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA
If I was an asshole like Fred Phelps or Jerry Falwell, I’d assume this has something to do with their red state voting patterns.
But I’m not.
So I don’t.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT’S JUST ME
GILES: Can you move?
BEN: Need a … a minute. She could’ve killed me.
GILES: No she couldn’t. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and … make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that… (reaches into his pocket, takes out his glasses) and still she couldn’t take a human life.
Shot of Ben listening.
GILES: She’s a hero, you see. (Giles puts his glasses on) She’s not like us.
Giles suddenly reaches down and puts his hand over Ben’s nose and mouth, holding them shut. Ben struggles weakly as Giles keeps him still.
Zweig: Marge, there’s nothing to be ashamed of here. Today, male flight attendants or “stewards” are common.
Marge: They are?
Zweig: Yes, thanks to trailblazers like your father. You might say he was a pioneer.
Marge: Yeah…you might even say he was an American hero.Zweig: Let’s not go nuts.
I’ll be the first to admit that everything I know about heroism, I’ve learned from TV. Xena, Buffy, Michael Knight, the A-Team…you know, the men and women who go that extra mile to protect the child of the single mother and beat the bad guy — never kill…ok…sometimes kill, but mostly beat the bad guy until the authorities can deal with it. They didn’t have pension plans or uniforms, just a developed sense of right and wrong and a willingness to give everything to make sure the one wins out over the other.
But even in real life there used to be something extraordinary about heroism.
Heroes were stronger, faster, braver, cleverer, tougher, yes, better than the rest us.
But somethingâ€™s changed.
I guess I could blame the local news. In search of a catchy headline they turned everyone from athletes to mangy mutts into modern-day heroes. â€˜Hero dog survives trip to the dumpâ€™ â€˜Hero toddler dials 911â€™ â€˜Hero grandma wins cookie bake off.â€™
Heaven help us if someone dies: the heroes of Columbine, 9/11, Oklahoma City â€“ oh is there any room left in the Elysian Fields?
A person doesnâ€™t become a hero because they enlist in the armed forces, if we don’t wait to see how they do when they’re done, we’d be putting laurel wreaths on Lynndie England’s head.
Nor does death a hero make, we all die. Unlikely, it’ll make my chicken shit ass a hero, even if it happens in a terrorist attack.
A hero’s death involves saving lots of people with no regard for onesself, not just dying.
It’s like we’ve forgotten the words “lucky” and “unlucky” and replaced them both with “hero” depending on the context.
“Hero survives plane crash in Peru”
“Hero killed in copter crash over Afghanistan.”
Call me crazy, and people do, but when the ordinary becomes extraordinary, we all become less than.
Ummm…he had Dr. King’s back too
AND NOW I’M IN DEBT TILL 2036
It’s time to set up a tip jar.
NOT SO RANDOM THOUGHT
It’s real easy to be all fiscally responsible when you live with your mom. I’ve had my own apartment for two days and already I’m in debt until 2007.
Let me take this opportunity to take back everything bad I ever said about credit.
Oh, and I got a plasma.
TEXAS THREATENS TO END WOMAN’S LIFE
What? No…didn’t happen?
My bad. Totally thought they were all over this kind of thing.
FREE CAT FOOD
Now, I don’t know why people actually feed cats, but the previous owner of my apartment has left like 30 cans of (what looks to me with no experience in such things) pretty high end cat food in the kitchen cabinets. Some of it was labeled “for older cats,” while some was just Organic ‘Frisky.’ Anyway, I plan to throw it away, as no cats are allowed to cross my threshold, but if you live in Brooklyn/Manhattan and want it, either for your cat or yourself, send me an email.
ON CINDY SHEEHAN
Elections are easier to win when the other side seems so deranged. But their behavior offends me as an American and as a human. They’re disgusting, tripping over themselves with glee at her protest and writing things like ‘An arrest will be a disaster for Bush. A growing crowd through the month will be a disaster for Bush. His only way out -â€“ given his refusal to meet with Cindy -â€“ is to hope that people get tired and go away.’ Their gross strategizing on the back of this woman with a dead son is a new low, even for people who make a lifestyle of hitting below the belt.
Exploiting one woman’s personal sacrifice for a political agenda is a “new low, even for people who make a lifestyle of hitting below the belt.”