Monday, January 27, 2014

One of the More Orderly Ways of Learning Every Member of Your Social Circle’s Favorite Color

If you’ve maintained the same personal email account for more than 10 years, try spending up to 30 minutes re-reading the multi-paragraph notes you sent and received a decade ago. What began as a search for a photo someone once shared with me turned into going back over some truly captivating stuff.

More importantly, remember getting these kinds of mass emails? (I updated my answers today, taking everything very seriously):
FWD: Copy (not forward) this entire email and paste it onto a new email that you'll send.
Change all of the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people, including the person that sent it to you. The theory is that you'll learn a lot of little-known facts about your friends. You might be surprised with some of the things you learn about people you think you know...
1. IF YOU COULD BUILD A HOUSE ANYWHERE WHERE WOULD IT BE? Central Vermont
2. FAVORITE PIECE OF CLOTHING? Duke sweatpants
3. FAVORITE PHYSICAL FEATURE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX? Smile
4. THE LAST CD YOU BOUGHT? Couldn’t say, but I do know the first cassette tape I ever bought was the Beach Boys Greatest Hits.
5. WHERE'S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE PLACE TO BE? Gynecological exam
6. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO BE MASSAGED? Shoulders
7. WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT, STRONG IN MIND OR STRONG IN BODY? Mind
8. WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? It varies.
9. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE? Coffee grinder
10. WHAT MAKES YOU REALLY ANGRY? You mean who makes me really angry? The unreliable ones, for starters.
11. IF YOU COULD PLAY AN INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Violin
12. FAVORITE COLOR? Lavender
13. FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK? George Kelly’s Santa Christina and Her Sled Dogs. My favorite adult book is Albert Camus’ The Stranger. Last year, BuzzFeed released a“28 Favorite Books That Are Huge Red Flags” list, declaring that “People who like The Stranger are the human equivalent of asking the question ‘So What?’ to everything you say as a way of proving a point. It’s obnoxious and we have an unwritten social code not to do it.”
14. THE ONE PERSON FROM YOUR PAST YOU WISH YOU COULD GO BACK AND TALK TO? My third-favorite uncle.
I used to hate finding these types of emails in my inbox. Now I just wish people would email more than they text.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Repa(i)rations

As of this writing, my wristwatch and waterproof ankle boots (boots truly made for long-distance, high-intensity, all-terrain, conquering-Kilimanjaro walking) are in the shop. I assumed the boots would get left overnight, but since when is an Anne Klein watch, in need of a new battery, treated as an in-patient?

In June, I will have lived in my current, Gentrification-Gone-Wild neighborhood for seven years. I usually still get watches, shoes, and bags fixed in one of my old neighborhoods, where I lived for one year, at a mom-and-pop (or, more accurately, a pop-and-pop) shop that has declined to give itself a name - there’s just a Watch Repair/Shoe Repair shingle hanging above a hole in the wall. I’ve continued to travel there for repairs out of loyalty toward, and comfort with, the two crabby, yet kind, pops who rule the den. The slightly younger pop and I are so comfortable with each other that neither of us will show a single sign of embarrassment if he’s pulling his pants back on after hearing me schlep through the door. They perk up when I thank and compliment them in Russian, and once wouldn’t hear of charging me for another job, impeccably done.    

The problem is that I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I can’t burden myself with running basic errands outside of my residential or professional turfs. The other day, I took my boots to a shoe repair “lab,” which also dabbles in watches, around the corner from where I now live. I was charged twice as much as I’m used to and formed no insta-rapport with the laboratory technicians. I don’t trust them.

As penance for cheating on my downtown pops, forfeiting quality and/or care for convenience, this week I’m bringing them a 14-year-old handbag (that I tote around on an almost daily basis; that’s been on its last threads for years and was about to get thrown out) for a tune-up. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lena's Latest Fan

The TV in my apartment doesn’t get much action. An acquaintance, who would have otherwise thrown it out, handed it over to me a few years ago. I fold and stack textiles on top of its cable box. The DVD player doesn’t work. I’m not in the market for anything newer, bigger, or flatter.  

That said, I just finished watching season 2 of Lena Dunham’s Girls, which didn’t tickle my fancy as mightily as season 1 did because there wasn’t enough of the off-the-rails British girl or the feral tall boy. I know season 3 premiered last night, but I don’t have HBO and may not see it until a year from now. Although I’m jittery with suspense about what’s become of the Brit (I heard she landed in rehab, but for what, and where?), I’ll manage. I need a break from hipsters, the Brooklyn ones in particular.

When Girls had initially been recommended to me, I wasn’t interested. “Post-collegiate kids desperately searching for satisfying livelihoods, healthy love, and general stability in the big city? I’ve already gone on that ride, I’m past that phase. Don’t make me keep re-living a phase when I was confused and crying two-thirds of the time. Go find a 23-year-old, who likes TV, to foist this upon. Email one of my little cousins, if you dare.”

Now that I’ve watched almost all of Girls, I don’t know if 23-year-olds would totally get it, however validated the storylines might make them feel. It would be like looking into a mirror, instead of through a telescope or a set of binoculars. A 23-year-old isn’t an outsider to what’s happened to her yet, there’s no safety or clarity while you’re still trapped in the woods. A woman can understand an adult girl better than an adult girl can understand herself; and it’s a full-fledged woman who can understand she needs to hang with more people who have HBO, pronto.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Take Me Home

Two days after Christmas, my longest-running and most precious friend and I drove by our old elementary school, slowing down to study its playground area as if it were a Picasso masterpiece.  As the waves of Lake Erie did their thing behind us, I thought about how lucky we were to grow up in this environment.

I thought the same thing each time we visited our favorite lunch spot, where (for $5) I'm treated to: 1) as much sushi, shellfish, salmon, and ice cream my stomach can handle; and 2) meandering discussions such as:

"Remember the time we rode our bikes down that dark and deserted street, and Samantha's older brother and his friend trailed us in Samantha's mom's car, rolled down the passenger-side window, and silently shot us, one by one, with that huge Super Soaker before speeding away? What was that in retaliation for?"

"I mean, it could have been for a number of things...."

That thought, the environmental luckiness one, stayed with me every hour I spent on the treadmill in the rumpus room in the basement of my family compound (after so many years of small-apartment living, returning to a house where the basement has multiple rooms?), to keep me from adding "holiday weight gain" to my list of personal concerns.

These are merely a handful of reasons why I did pirouettes about the blizzard that canceled my Thursday night flight back to NYC. When I finally reached an airline rep. late Saturday afternoon, I let it be known that I would sacrifice myself for the cause:

"Don't worry about me, son, I'm not a priority case. I don't have to be rebooked right away. Save the others first," I said, while gazing out onto my snow-capped backyard and wondering whether it was too early to ask someone to pour me some wine or season my steak.

Instead of, "I'm terribly sorry miss, the earliest flight we can rebook you on isn't until three days from now," I got: "Sure, no problem, how about 11 a.m. tomorrow?"

Dammit, what?

"What about later in the day tomorrow? Like much later. Nighttime."

"Wide open. You're free to leave at 6:14, 7:14, 8:14."

So that was that, the homecoming was over. Once I got used to the idea of it being high time to head back to my second home, the city crib, I started doing pirouettes about that too.

Only they canceled my rebooked flight, after I was all packed and on my way out. I'm not landing in NYC until Tuesday, at best. I got what I asked for and don't even want it anymore. Now everyone but me is off vacation and back to business. I'm adrift.

I've run out of the Neutrogena face moisturizer I'd pumped into a Ziploc bag to get through airport security. I miss the laptop I brilliantly left behind. I miss halal carts, my other bedspread, the sound of freakshow honking. Two completely different places, two completely different regions and routines, have joint tenancy, separate but equal, within my mind and beating heart.