Sunday, August 31, 2008

I think I forgot something.

Today is Josh and my five-year wedding anniversary. To be honest, we've always put more weight on the anniversary of our first date, which we are cheesy enough to still celebrate — that one will be nine years this October. I've never done anything for nine years. Ever. We just feel that the actual act of meeting was more significant than a big ol' shebang. Our wedding was lovely, but like pretty much anybody else's wedding, it wasn't really ours and sort of got away from us. The ceremony was really kind of amazing, the honeymoon was the best vacation anyone has ever been on and I don't care what you say or where you've been, but we felt we could sort of take or leave the reception. I suppose it was more fun because we put less pressure on it, but anyway, blah blah blah. It's an anniversary so I'm thinking about it right now, but that doesn't mean I have to make you think about it. Sorry about that.

Anyway, now that everybody's working and things are moving along, we can finally exchange gifts again, so we decided to use the Traditional Gift list (you know, first year = paper, that kind of thing). Wouldn't you know it, the five-year material is ... wood. (Heh. I said wood.) I did end up finding him something stellar — a pen with a piece of original wood seating from the original 1923 Yankee Stadium embedded in the back of it — but the only thing I know about what he got me is that he couldn't have it delivered to his office because he couldn't transport it on the subway. "Did you buy me a totem pole?" I said. "Maybe," he said. It's a good thing we have a backyard.

Here's a list of things about me that Josh should find annoying but he somehow finds charming:

1. I have this OCD checking-disorder kind of thing. It takes me at least a minute and a half to set my alarm clock every night because I follow this ritual that drives me crazy but I can't stop doing it. It involves visualization and patterns and what-not, and if the minute on the clock changes while I'm doing it, I have to start over. While I'm doing this, Josh cannot speak to me or talk at all for any reason, and he can't touch me. Also, the checking disorder extends to outside of our home, so at least three times each time we're walking around the city, I make him stop in his path so I can go through my purse to make sure everything that should be in my wallet is in there.

2. Along those lines, I have this intricate, specific visualization process that I go through whenever we have Special Marital Times that serves as a superstitious ward against pregnancy, even though I'm on the Pill. (I think I'm most looking forward to trying to get pregnant just so I can stop with the damn ritual.) I have to lie down and none of my body parts can be touching any of my other body parts, and I have to stay still in silence until I finish. This takes a considerable amount of time, and during those minutes, Josh can neither speak to me nor touch me. This can sometimes be a problem, as after we have Special Marital Times, he sometimes wants to, I don't know, talk about nothing or joke around or something. Which is another reason why he's a keeper. Also: I'm a freak.

3. I very rarely offer a smooth segue from one topic to the next. Conversations can often go like this:

ME: I found shoes today for my dress for your cousin's thing.
JOSH: Are they hot?
ME: Yeah, they're really cute.
JOSH: I like it when you get hot shoes.
ME: He really lets himself go when he's not on tour.
JOSH: Wait, what? Who? What tour?
ME: Simon Le Bon. He looks terrible.
JOSH: You really have to stop doing that.
ME: I think that's the same Speedo he wore in the "Rio" video.

4. I don't cut my food properly. I don't serrate it; I sort of push it apart with the knife. It's neater that way (!!!) but it doesn't make for easy slicing. For some reason, Josh finds this endearing.

5. I remind him of appointments, house stuff, trips and errands at least five times before they are done, even if I don't have to. ("Who says I don't find that annoying?" he just said.) All I'm saying with this one is, he forgets this stuff a lot, OK?

6. When we've been out and come back home, I never reach for my keys at the front door. His are always conveniently tucked in his pocket, while mine are inevitably hiding in the farthest recesses of whatever bag I'm carrying. So even if he's schlepping more stuff, I make him open the door so I don't have to dig out my keys. I even annoy myself with this one. I'm perfectly capable of retrieving my own keys. I am codependent.

7. No matter how lethargic I've been during any given day, I often get really hyper just as we go to bed. This involves much singing of songs I make up on the spot that don't necessarily make sense but they have to rhyme. While I am doing this, Josh is usually trying to watch TV or, you know, sleep. I don't stop singing until I make him laugh (despite himself), and once he does, I yell, "I win!" and then go to sleep as if that's the most reasonable thing to do once you're in bed.

Holy hell, I'm annoying.

I think it helps that Josh has a bit of the OCD himself. Whenever he has to pack to go somewhere, he stands in front of me and repeats over and over the list of items he needs and then asks me if he's forgotten anything. It doesn't matter what I'm doing at the time, I have to stop and sit in audience to his listmaking. If I suggest something that I didn't hear him say (or if I wasn't listening carefully, which is probably more accurate), he heaves a sigh and says, "I already said that," and then starts over. He does this at least three times until he's able to close his bags and call it a day.

So he gets it.

In five years of wedded blis(ters), it's a miracle we're able to go anywhere at all.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baby's got the bends.

My sister Stephanie is due with her first baby, a boy, on October 2. So Stephanie is very, very pregnant. Stephanie is also a huge Radiohead fan. So what do you do when Radiohead is playing a concert venue on a weeknight an hour away from where you live and you're almost nine months pregnant? Why, you go, and damn to hell anyone who tries to stop you.

The concert was last night. She was accompanied by her husband, whose name is Josh (I know!). This morning, she sent the following e-mail, which I loved.

Josh got totally kick ass seats and we arrived about 5 minutes before they came on stage. We get to our seats and I look next to me and there's totally another pregnant woman next to me. Either that or she'd just given birth. [Ed. note: Probably still pregnant. If she already gave birth but still looked pregnant, she had the baby extremely recently. That woman ain't going to a Radiohead concert, I don't care what kind of superfan she is. Unless she has the greatest support system ever, which, in that case, sign me up.] Anyway, I didn't ask her if she was pregnant, because I know better [Ed. note: I cannot stress this enough, dear readers. Unless you see the baby crowning in a woman's crotch, NEVER ask her if she's pregnant. Unless the fetus falls out of her vagina onto your feet, keep your opinions and assumptions in your noggin, please. Thank you.], but I felt that there were knowing glances exchanged between her husband and me. Plus she pat her belly a lot.

Anyway, about 20 minutes into the concert some 20 year old tube-topped chippy barrels her way into the row in front of us with her 2 Abercrombie & Fitch wannabe boyfriends. She looks behind her and then yells out, "Oh great! I'm in the pregnant section!"

Oh no she di'int!

So, for like a second, I felt old and lame. I felt like one of those old people you see at a concert and then wonder about — why do they like this band? Why are they here? Do they know any of their music?

And then I realized — I was the least lame person there. 8 1/2 months pregnant and I came right from a full day at work — now that's dedication my friends. I waddled my ass through a sea of stoners who only know the song "Creep" and do not appreciate the artistic genius of The Bends — I'm so NOT lame.

And then I proceeded to out sing and out air drum that snotty little bitch during every. fucking. song.


When I was still living in Detroit, I went with my friend Mark and his sister, SueAnn, to the 89X Birthday Bash. It was one of those basic radio station festivals with a lineup of six bands or so. The only ones who I remember being there were Soul Coughing, Sloan and the headliner, Beck. It was 1997, I think.

Anyway, I had this mad crush on Mark at the time, so I tried to look all cute for the show, but looking back on it now I realize my shirt was truly heinous so I don't blame him for not reciprocating my affections. We're still good friends and I love his wife, and she would never wear anything so unsightly, so he clearly has good judgment. The shirt was this bold blue and purple floral disaster. Mark was wearing the Cute Boy's Uniform: a J. Crew roll-neck sweater. I don't remember what SueAnn was wearing (a long-sleeved T-shirt with a North Face–type of lightweight pullover, maybe?), but suffice it to say, we did not fit in with the sea of combat-booted, tattooed, pink-haired rebels. We were very clearly the oldest fans there.

I remember leaning over to Mark and saying, "Isn't it something that all these people got tattoos and dyed their hair purple and are wearing their goth makeup to look and feel different from each other, but they all look exactly the same and we're the ones who stand out like sore thumbs?"

So the concert starts, all is well. We were sort of toward the back, so when Beck came on, SueAnn moved to the front, closer to the stage. Mark, who's 6-foot-2, wanted a better view, so he moved toward the middle of the heap. Now, I'm 5-foot-3, and in every single instance of attending a standing-room-only concert in my entire life, I end up stuck behind someone who's at least 8-foot-4 and just as wide as he is tall. I'm short, so no spot is a good spot for me. It's just the way it is, so I navigate myself through elbows and what-not. Sometimes I get a better view of the show from the rear of the space, where there's a large gaping empty hole in front of me. (That whole sentence was dirty.) So I stayed put for two reasons: 1) I could see Beck from where I was standing and didn't want to lose my sight line; and 2) I was annoyed that Mark left me standing there alone instead of slyly brushing up against me and then professing his undying love, so I huffed and puffed and decided not to follow him. I stood in my little bratty spot, my place of petulance, and started to look around. And lo and behold, to my left was a New Cute Boy. Hello, New Cute Boy! Despite my heinous shirt, he seemed to think I was cute too, so we kind of made eyes at each other for a couple songs. I thought, OK, Mark's gonna play that way? I'm gonna flirt. (Mark wasn't playing anything. He just wanted a better view of the show. But I decided he was playing games. Ahh, the thought patterns of the romantically deluded.)

After a couple more intriguing, longing glances between me and New Cute Boy, Beck starts singing a radio hit. "Devil's Haircut," maybe? Beck switches things up when he performs live; a medley here, a random interlude there. I'm not a huge, huge fan, but he's totally entertaining. (If I recall correctly, he was wearing a white suit and white top hat.) A few bars into it, New Cute Boy looks at me, opens his mouth, and leans over.

"That ith thoooo annoying!"

Uh ... "Excuse me?"

"Thith thong! I really like thith thong, but he'th not thinging it like it thoundth on the radio! I hate it when they don't thing it like how it'th on the Thee-D. Then I can't thing along with the muthic! Ugh! I hate that! Why can't he just thing it like how he thingth it on the Thee-D?!?"

Crap. Farewell, New Cute Boy. I could almost handle the lisp; I could not handle that he completely missed the point of live performance. "I don't think it's so bad. If you want to hear it like how it sounds on the CD, then just listen to the CD. I like it when they switch it up live."

"I gueth." Pause. Lean. "I'm Thawn."

??? "What?"

"Thawn. I'm Thawn. Wha'th your name?"

Oh! Sean. How's that for bad luck? "Marla."

And I slowly inched my way into the crowd, out of my sight line and into the light, if you will.

I felt old and cynical and superior, probably much like how Stephanie felt last night. The difference? Stephanie reclaimed that concert with her Thom Yorke–loving, 30-year-old impregnated self. When I went to that concert with Thawn, I was 23 and wearing an ugly shirt, dancing in place with a guy who spit all over the back of the poor fella standing in front of him. Clearly not the same thing, but similar.

The best news is, my nephew danced in vitro to Radiohead, most pointedly to "The Bends." This bodes very well for future nursery musical selections. He's all, "Barney? Whatevs." Except he won't say whatevs. I promise.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?

Here's what's happened to me so far this week:

MONDAY nights are when we close the issues at the magazine. For some reason, I haven't been sleeping at all since last Thursday or so, and I slept maybe three to four hours Sunday night tops despite my ingestion of Tylenol PM. I was basically useless in every capacity at work. However, I was wearing a very cute outfit and was told by several coworkers that I should not be in the office and should instead be yachting. I agreed.

TUESDAY I had lunch with one of my very favorite contestants from America's Next Top Model, Nnenna Agba. It is so only-in-New-York how this all came to be, but suffice to say, Nnenna is a) one of the most gracious, kind, engaging, interesting, and intelligent women I've had the pleasure to meet, and b) is so disarmingly, magnificently beautiful that we were ten minutes into our lunch before my head stopped buzzing. She's lovely and fabulous.

WEDNESDAY, after not sleeping again Tuesday night, I went to Duane Reade to drop off Josh's prescription. The pharmacist said, "Birthday?" And I said, "Seven ... Wait. ... One ... Seven ... [brain blacks out] Two. Oh. Hang on. Two. One ..." (Josh's birthday is in February.) I stood on the train platform thinking I would either pass out or throw up. This is the only time in a person's life when they welcome the stale, acrid breeze lifted by a train passing through a station. Wednesday I was also in receipt of a photo of Stacy's son, Bass, with his first friend, a stuffed bear named Pancake. I found this to be the most pleasing thing ever, and I feel confident that they will be lifelong pals and trade music and ride bikes to the drugstore together.

THURSDAY, today, I am in an uncomfortable Ambien haze in which I feel I've been dunked underwater and I'm floating up Sixth Avenue. To add to the hallucinogenic feeling, I received free candy from two Oompa-Loompas walking through my office, one of whom taught me how to take a photo with a BlackBerry. Five minutes later, I stepped aside so Yoko Ono could pass through a doorway. I am now at my desk, nibbling on my Nerds Rope, "Pop! Goes My Heart" in my head, and I have tickets to see The Police's "last ever" show at Madison Square Garden tonight, and I'm hoping Stewart Copeland hurls himself over his drum kit and beats up Sting because that would be fun and well overdue.

I need assistance in processing all of this. Your suggestions are welcome.

And Oompa-Loompa photo to come. For real.

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