Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Unexpected Conversation #986


Well? Hm.


Last night (this morning) at 3 a.m., after putting the magazine to bed and awfully ready to put my wobbly old self to bed, I headed out of the office. On my way through the lobby, I passed a maintenance man whom I'd never seen before.

"Good night," I said.

"Hey, baby," he said.

I walked a few more paces, and then I heard:

"WAIT A MINUTE. What are you doing?"

I turned to him. "I'm going home. Long day."

He looked mystified. "Now, look. You can't even be 30 yet, right?"

Oh, bless him. "I'm going to be 34 next week. But thank you!"

He nodded to me in appreciation. (A note: This has been happening to me a lot lately, and I can't tell you how grateful I am. All the old friends with whom I've recently reunited on Facebook who've said I haven't changed since high school, strangers on the train, my coworkers who've asked me if I was 25, the manicurist who scowled at me two weeks ago while asking me to take off my wedding ring because she thought I was 19 and too young to be hitched ... I salute you. I'm feeling this next birthday in my achy, achy bones, and your love has lifted me higher. Of course, my theory for all this is that it's not that I look so young naturally, but that I still dress like a college student.)


"Come here," he said, gesturing me toward him. I stood next to him. "Listen: the next time you're here because they," he gestured to the ceiling, i.e. upstairs to my office, "keep you here and you're working late at night and exhausting your natural self, here's what you gotta do. The next time you have a day off or you take a vacation, and you better take a vacation, you walk around naked. I don't care how you do it. Whether you get out of the shower or what, sit your natural self down and watch TV, eat a meal [pantomimes eating soup, mayhaps], whatever, you do it. Just do it naked."

I played along. "What makes you think I don't do that already?" I said.

He chuckled. And then: "And while you're doing that, take your natural self over to your couch and sit down and fart, and if it smells, look up at God and say thank you."

Hm. Not sure how to respond to that one.

"How did I do?" he asked. He meant as a comedian. And I, his gassy audience.

"Excellent, sir," I said. He shook my hand and introduced himself. I introduced myself and went home. When I climbed into bed almost 45 minutes later, a half-asleep Josh asked what time it was.

"3:38," I said.


"A guy with a dustpan on a stick just told me to thank God if my fart is smelly."

Whoosh, his eyes opened fast. "WHAT???"

"Such a weird day. 'Night."

On a totally different note, who's with me: Sex and the City, most unnecessary film ever? Discuss.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

The Women

Here is an example of when being a crackhead does not work in your favor:

Last night, Tatum O'Neal got arrested for buying drugs. She pulled the whole, "Do you know who I am?" bit, then said she's researching a role as a crackhead. But here's the thing: Tatum O'Neal's history with drug abuse has been well documented, even by the actress herself. So, um, then, wouldn't her life have been research for the role? "So yeah, I'm studying how to be a crackhead for a movie, because being a crackhead in real life didn't really prepare me for this challenge and I want to, um, explore my art." How Method.

It's not like anybody is expected to think clearly while they're buying crack, but really, that was the worst excuse ever. But truly, when it comes down to it, this story is very sad. She was clean for a while. Relapses are heartbreaking because for a while there was hope, and then ... there isn't. Not for a while, anyway.


This weekend was crappy and also delightful:

Stephanie was supposed to come to town for her second attempt in the past year to see Duran Duran — or, as she's taken to calling them, Nick Rhodes & The Others — but for the second time in the past year, her plans were thwarted. (First time: She made it to New York for the band's show on Broadway, but the morning of the concert, the stagehands went on strike and it was canceled. This time: sick husband. "He better have ebola, for me to miss this," she said.)

I slept. And slept and slept and slept and slept. For the first time in months.

With Stephanie in Boston and Stacy — with whom I see Nick Rhodes & The Others as often as possible — in San Francisco, and the fact that the show was in Central Park and it was pouring rain outside, I was totally unmotivated to go at all, never mind find someone to go with me. (A note on this: I have no problem going to concerts by myself. I do it all the time. With certain bands and certain levels of fandom, you sometimes want to go with people who are just as maniacal about the music as you are. Then there are the times when you feel more generous with your fandom and want to bring someone along who isn't as stalker-y as you are but is open-minded. I just wasn't feeling maniacal about anything that night.) I sat on the couch until the last possible minute moaning, "Am I lame if I stay home?"

Stacy, in true BFF form, took on the laziness-intervention I asked her to stage for me and successfully talked me into going. "Oh, I've been there," she said. "You've seen them a million times. You don't want to get out of bed. You're exhausted and antisocial and you feel blah. But also? Even a bad Duran show is a great Duran show, so you know you'll have an awesome time, and if you find out there was a Finn moment and you missed it, you'll kick yourself." Then she asked me what song I most wanted to hear, and I said "Hold Back the Rain." "Oh, and it's pouring outside? They'll for sure play that!" she said.

They didn't play "Hold Back the Rain." In the rain! Whatever!

Concerts really are so much more fun when you're wet.

Except when everyone puts up their umbrellas and you can't see anything.

But then the sky clears and people collapse their umbrellas, and everything was smashing. The weather even made the band more human, as evidenced by the fact that the humidity made Nick Rhodes's hair frizz.

I discovered yesterday while making dinner for some friends that a) despite certain efforts to enjoy cooking, I still stress out like a freak while doing it; and b) this does not bring out the softer side of my temper. This conversation happened:

ME: [looking forlornly at a recipe that called for 4-ounce pieces of chicken when the packages of chicken breasts I had were calculated in pounds] Josh, please help me figure this out. I don't do math and my brain is fried. Should I cut these pieces in half or in thirds?
JOSH: [walks over to help] Well, first of all, you're using the wrong knife.
ME: [glaring at him] I didn't ask if I was using the right knife. I asked you to do the math. I can't do the math.
JOSH: But you asked for my help.

This did not go over well. Compounded by the fact that I was completely intimidated by cooking for a group of foodies when I am, unfortunately, not one, and I'm completely insecure in the kitchen, this was not my best moment.

1. I apologized.
2. I realized that I can make pieces of chicken as big or as small as I please.
3. Dinner came out fine. I sort of surprised myself, to be honest, because I got so frustrated that I gave up on using recipes and just threw stuff together and it became something somewhat edible. I've never trusted my cooking instincts, which is why I'm better at baking (specific instructions + specific measurements = good), so the fact that I cobbled together a main course largely on instinct was very reassuring. And if it was terrible, my friends were gracious and complimentary as always, so they left me none the wiser, which is another reason why they're awesome.
4. The company was splendid. Most weeks, I meet up with a group of girlfriends for what we call Dames of Sunday Night. We all bring food to someone's apartment and then watch films from the '30s, '40s and '50s, movies with fast-talking, sharp-dressing broads, very Rosalind Russell. Speaking of whom, last night's flick was The Women. So good.

My brother-in-law does not have ebola.

Honestly, people? Ridiculous.

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