Monday, November 25, 2013

Things High Up on My Thankfulness Chart Right Now

*Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album is getting turned into a Broadway musical

*Not having to deal with any airports this Thanksgiving weekend

*Bearing witness to all natural developments within the sky: rising and setting suns; rainbows; twinkling little stars; varying color schemes, cloud formations, and moon phases

*Public libraries 

*Graffiti artists  

*Unconditional love

*Conditional love whereby each party keeps his or her end of the deal

*Soft lighting

*The 12- or 13-year-old oversized hoodie I wrap around me, like a child’s special blankie, all fall and winter

*Chrissy Teigen’s tweets

*Free spirits who aren’t flakes


*The hot chocolate recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa box  
*A glass I pulled out of my cupboard that has Chinese characters etched on one side and the English translation on the other side:

Ten Ways to Good Health
Less Alcohol, More Tea
Less Meat, More Vegetables
Less Salt, More Vinegar
Less Sugar, More Fruit
Less Eating, More Chewing
Less Words, More Action
Less Greed, More Giving
Less Worry, More Sleep
Less Driving, More Walking
Less Anger, More Laughter

*Wireless bras with a little bow front and center

Monday, November 18, 2013

Further Incentive to Take My Time During Rush Hour

One Monday morning at a summer job, when I was an age that tempts many older people to refer to you as “a baby,” a co-worker I’d never seen before told me she owned the same top I was wearing and would be walking the halls in it herself on Thursday. I normally go out of my way to prevent this “We’re Twins!” extravaganza from happening, so it wasn’t great news. But I grew more preoccupied with the idea of planning a week’s worth of outfits in advance. If I did that, I figured, I wouldn’t be late for work or for play.

I signed off on every piece of clothing and jewelry I wore to work last week the night before. It didn’t get me out the door any quicker. Unless I have a meeting, or otherwise suspect that any tardiness could hold another person or system up, there are mornings when I’m not quite as punctual as I technically could be. Sometimes it’s due to reasons outside of my control: my neighbors and I were trapped inside of our building’s foyer after the inner door handle developed a dastardly mind of its own; a manhunt for an escaped prisoner delayed my train; two tied-up pit bulls excitedly encouraged me to come over for a meet-and-greet and it would have been inhumane not to pay my respects. Other days, the reasons aren’t as riveting.

(Incidentally, the older crowd still refers to me as “just a baby,” and to my face. It’s dismissive.)

Baby occasionally rides a morning train she’s nicknamed her really-pushing-the-envelope late train. Its uncrowded last car contains an older passenger who is currently her favorite person in the Tri-State Area (no need to get to know him, that could ruin everything). She gets off before he does and they exchange big, show-me-your-teeth smiles on her way out, wishing each other good days. The ritual uplifts her.

After I’ve crossed paths with certain souls more than twice, I find it impossible not to speculate about the lives they strongly lead or sadly follow. Where are they coming from? Where are they headed? Why do they look so distraught when they think no one is watching? How empowering might it feel to successfully catch the same train (same car, same seat) every day - or is the lack of variety adding to the distress? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Deliver Me from the Food Shortages, Express Lanes, and Illusions of Qualifying for Top Chef

In my first string of New York minutes, I cohabited with locals who relentlessly ordered their meals in. They would wake up or come home and get somewhat settled before picking up the phone to place an order for delivery, sometimes from eateries stationed down the street. What a bunch of lazy asses, I decided, you couldn’t pay me to live like that. We children of Started-from-the-Bottom-Now-We-Here immigrants value home-cooked meals over making bicyclists hazardously weave through buses and cars to fetch our hot food.

Fast forward to about ten years later. In the past week, I’ve called out for delivery twice, with the updated standpoint of: Bring me my dinner, and be quick about it. In fact, bring enough to last a couple of days so I have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, as I’m in no frame of mind to cook or shop for what’s missing in my kitchen. It's alarming how often someone who’s out foraging for food so much can have nothing left to nosh on. That’s the downside of high metabolisms and the upside of living in communities where it’s commonplace to drive to the grocery store and stock up with impunity, instead of having to make multiple on-foot trips, settling for as much as you can carry for five blocks. The idea of ordering groceries online and having the cargo dispatched to my doorstep hasn’t sounded nuts to me in months. Neither has the idea of sending my laundry out. I’m at the edge of my bed in suspense about what will seem normal next.   

The act of being a New Yorker, one who’s really a part of it all, can periodically sap the energy out of you, to the extent nowhere else I’ve lived has. It’s almost like being an older version of what you were in college (the last time I had meals delivered with any regularity), when you and the people tightly packed around you were up at all hours, fighting to balance the serious with the social, maturation with exploration, without burning out too soon, and the thrill of finding a free Coke at the bottom of your delivery bag can be all it takes to keep the mojo humming for another night. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Try Walking a Mile in My Mary Janes

It’s fair to say I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about how I’d answer: “If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for?” (I used to watch and read a lot of Aladdin- and Arabian Nights-related material.) Lower alcohol tolerance and at least one mob connection have long served as my first two wishes. I’ve gone back and forth with #3, but now I’ve got it: I’ll take two same-sized feet.

My feet aren’t even a simple, solid half an inch apart. They’re probably more like two-fifths or three-sevenths of an inch apart, or different widths, or whatever it means when one shoe is too tight while the other is too big, or when both shoes are too tight or too big but in completely different places. It’s why I rarely walk long distances in anything other than sneakers or Nike flip-flops (which are sneakers with a thong, have excellent traction, and won’t get nasty or squeaky in the rain) – they don’t hurt or require any painful “breaking in” trials that hardly end well. Like many women, I own more than a dozen pairs of shoes. All because when I buy a new pair it’s hit or miss, even if they feel OK in the store. Since it’s mostly a miss, at any given time I only have one pair of non-athletic shoes I can briskly walk more than 20 minutes in without blistering or cutting up my feet. At the office, I have a drawer full of nice shoes. They’re for wearing around the office. At home, I have a closet floor lined with shoes. A third of them are for in-home use or special occasions, after commuting to the special occasion in sneakers or flip-flops.  

I’ve seen a cobbler. I’ve ponied up for drugstore products designed to close gaps or ease chafing. Nothing helps for long. Shoes hate me, I hate shoes; the barer the feet, the closer to the glow of my nail polish I’ll be.