Saturday, May 26, 2007

Girlhood in Pennyslvania

Midnight and cut grass and the silver sliver of the moon. Fireflies and campfires and don’t you know what it feels like when the buttercup is under your chin and all you can smell is honey?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Street

…is on fire. But the fire is underground, causing smoke to pour out of the manhole covers and drift up over the sidewalks and past apartment windows. It’s quite like the special effects in movies about New York. You know, the scenes in which well-dressed couples hail cabs on damp nighttime streets dotted with billowing clouds of smoke, and you always think: Where is that smoke coming from? Why are the manholes always smoking in New York?

Well, it’s because that at any given moment, some part of the underbelly of Manhattan is burning.

In the movies, though, the smoke always looks exotic and industrial, and you never think about the rest of it, like how the air is tinged with something acrid and electric. Or how there is some bad shit going on underground which causes cops and firemen to gather around and stare curiously into the manholes and pedestrians to quicken their step as they pass.

You also never think about how the underground fire might cause other problems, like, say, melting your water main, which causes the water company to show up in the middle of the night and turn off your water and begin jack hammering in the street.

Which means that when you wake up in the morning, ill-rested from all of the jack hammering, and you walk into the bathroom and turn on the faucet, you will be unpleasantly surprised to find that you have no water at all, which presents a problem in terms of showing up for work looking properly groomed.

Happy Thursday.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Nothing Special

One of the strangest (and scariest) things about sharing a life together is how easy it becomes to forget to connect with each other. Life is busy. Workdays are long. Evenings are short, and so are tempers (well, at least mine is). And in our miniscule apartment, we've practically mastered the art of tuning one another out, a skill that's both necessary and frightening.

During the past several weeks, spiceboy has been catering various events with his fabulous cousin, and I've been busy with work and battling a terrible cold. Evenings, I've been coming home from work and crashing with hardly a word. Weekends, spiceboy has been working fourteen hour days. So we haven't had a lot of quality time together.

Today, though, we found ourselves at home, no work for spiceboy, no cold for me, and the day stretching out before us. This afternoon, we took a stroll over to Central Park, and sat at Bethesda Fountain, where the people watching is good. We shared a Scooter Crunch and leaned our shoulders together while Betty flirted with three Italian women sitting next to us. They asked her name, and when I told them, they fussed over her, rubbing her ears and her haunches and saying, "Ciao, Betty!" After they left we held hands and kissed in the bright sunlight. Music seemed to be coming from every corner of the park and lifting up into the air, drums and guitars and singing, and in that rush of music and sunlight and movement, I could feel the blah of the last few weeks melting away, and I buried my face in spiceboy's neck and breathed in his smell, soapy and warm and familiar.

Then spiceboy looked up at the sky, where dark clouds were gathering. "Uh-oh," he said. It grew darker as we walked between Fifth and Madison. Between Third and Second, it started raining even harder, and as we waited for the light to change at Second, it began to pour. We scooted out onto the avenue, and when it was free of traffic, we ran for it.

The air was warm and the raindrops were huge and and we yelled and laughed and raced one another down the slick sidewalks, past the stinky Beach, past the smiling doorman and the old ladies with their large umbrellas, until we arrived on our own doorstep, soaked and thrilled and out of breath.

It was nothing special, but it was everything.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

This Is What A Relationship Looks Like From The Inside

Me (in bed, sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose): I wish I could breathe through my nose.

spiceboy: You should try this thing I saw on Oprah. It will help you breathe.

Me: You watch Oprah? Really?

spiceboy (casually ignoring Oprah comment): This guy had this amazing machine that cleans out your nose. It was like a nose enema. We can give you a nose enema!

Me: Great, but we don't have the machine, so we can't do it.

spiceboy (eyes lighting up with excitement): We could use a teapot!

Me (reaching for another tissue): You want me to stick our teapot up my nose?

spiceboy: Sure!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

To The Man With The Large Rolling Suitcase on Third Avenue

I appreciate your fast pace, Large Rolling Suitcase Man, and I also appreciate that you’re in a hurry to get to wherever it is you’re going. But you’re at a disadvantage, you see, because unlike normal pedestrians who are hurrying down the sidewalk, you are hurrying down the sidewalk with a large rolling suitcase.

Though this should inhibit you from walking as quickly as others around you, you rush on, undaunted. You won’t even break your pace for the steep curbs. Instead, you actually gain speed as you approach the curb and launch your large rolling suitcase off of it, and it teeters and wobbles alarmingly from side to side when its plastic wheels hit the ground, causing various passersby to jump out of the way for fear of being knocked over.

Your large rolling suitcase and your long, urgent strides seem to be taking up the entire sidewalk, and the other pedestrians note your frustrated sighs as you jostle for position, pushing yourself and your large rolling suitcase to the front of the crowds waiting for the light to change, uncaring of whose knees you graze, whose briefcases you bump, whose toes you nearly run over. It’s clear that the only thing that matters to you is getting your large rolling suitcase safely to its destination.

When you finally dart suddenly into the lobby of a very tall building along Third Avenue, causing your suitcase to tip up on one wheel, I can feel a palpable relief among the crowds walking along, like a sudden change in air pressure. A woman mutters under her breath, “Thank God,” and I silently agree.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Proof I Am A Loser

It's Friday afternoon, and an entire weekend spreads out before me. The weather is finally warm, and everyone is strutting around their pretty spring clothes and fresh spring haircuts.

I should be making plans to perch at an outdoor cafe and watch the sky grow pink and then purple and then black over Manhattan while the ice melts in my drink and the breeze blows against the back of my neck.

But the season finale of The Ghost Whisperer is on tonight, and how can I pass up my last chance to see Jennifer Love Hewitt don a wide variety of cleavage-bearing party dresses and chase lost spirits back to the other side?

I can't do it.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Food, A Love Story

The First Meal We Cooked Together

It was December 30th, and I sat on a small step stool in the kitchen in your apartment in Polish Hill. Outside, it was very cold. Inside, your apartment was drafty. I kept my sweater on and you moved about the kitchen, grabbing pots and pans, taking ingredients out of the refrigerator. You were throwing a dinner party the next day, to which I was not invited.

You popped the cork in a bottle of red wine, poured me a glass, poured one for yourself.

From the refrigerator, you removed a small package, wrapped in white butcher paper, which crackled as you opened it up, held it for me to see. “It’s pate,” you said, and I nodded as though I knew what this was.

It was a brownish-gray ingot, and completely unappetizing. I sipped my wine.

You toasted a piece of bread, cut it into triangular slices, and placed a piece of the pate on it, like a pat of butter. I regarded it for a long moment, then I popped it into my mouth. The texture was like velvet and sandpaper, the taste like nothing I'd ever experienced before, like mushrooms and mud and wild sex, and for the first time, I understood the true meaning of the word “nuance.” I wanted more immediately, but was not sure that my tongue could stand it again so soon.

Outside on the black velvet hillsides, the streetlamps dotted the winding roads like pieces of topaz, and the water on the streets turned to ice, and I finished my glass of wine and you poured me another, and I knew that I should leave. Instead, I had another piece of pate on toast, and regarded you as you moved about the kitchen, mixed ground meat in a large metal bowl with your hands, and broke an egg into it. In the background, the tv was on, and I tried to look natural there on the stepstool in your kitchen, careful not to let my eyes strain toward your unmade bed, where the covers were exactly where you had kicked them off earlier in the day.

Then you used a mallet and pounded the beef into a thin strip, and I spread the ground meat mixture over it, and you rolled it carefully, and I was aware of my fingers, sticky and cold with raw egg and flecks of beef, and your lips, stained red with wine.

Next, we constructed the dessert, a crème caramel. I emptied the containers of cream into the saucepan, and turned the heat on low. “Keep stirring,” you said, stirring the sugar and water together in another pan. Later, you showed me how to temper cream into the egg, and once the creme caramels were setting in the refrigerator and the counters were wiped clean, I slept in your bed again, and took careful note the next morning of the pattern the sheets left as I kicked them aside the and made my way toward home.


The First Meal We Ate Together

It was February, just before Valentine’s Day. You were standing at the your kitchen counter. I was sitting on my step stool. Outside, it was snowing a little.

“Do you like grilled Rachels?” you asked, reaching into the refrigerator and pulling out ingredients.

“Is that like a Reuben sandwich?” I asked, and you nodded, artfully laying slices of thick-cut pastrami across pieces of bread.

“You’ll like this,” you said.

“Maybe,” I said. “But I don’t really like lunch meat unless it’s sliced very thin.”

“Well,” you said, brushing your hands against your thighs, sending breadcrumbs flying. “If that’s how you really feel, then this relationship is never going to work out.”

And then you grinned at me and leaned down down down to where I was perched on the stool, and you kissed me.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


the pull of the television is so strong...

tell me who will get voted off of IDOL!

and why my thighs are TOO BIG!

and why i'm obviously bloated from IBS

and how it's highly likely that i have HPV because girls who have SEX get CANCER

and why my TAMPONS are inadequate protection against LEAKAGE

and why my teeth are not WHITE enough

and with a faux smile, report to me from your perch on the 11 o'clock news why i'm a BAD MOM when I to go back to work after CHILDBIRTH

you can keep talking, but i've already turned you off.

i think i'd rather to listen to something else for awhile.