Monday, September 29, 2008

The B train is for Beatles.

In the spirit of things just getting weirder by the second with my fellow New Yorkers — is it the financial tsunami? the hullabaloo over the upcoming election? the embracing of six-inch heels by fashionistas citywide? — I rode the subway the other night with two buskers, a father-and-son team, who were playing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" using only an acoustic guitar and a kazoo.

And with that, I bid you g'nite.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Grande Schmuck

I promise to write a post in which I'm not complaining about something. After this one.

Saturday night I was participating in the New American Pastime (TM) — killing an hour at Starbucks — before meeting my friend Mara for dinner and a swank-ay pah-tay. I commandeered my own table, and a student took the one to my right. So there we were, me reading a New York magazine exposé on the flailing book-publishing industry, him thumbing through a packet of law-school mishegos.

And in walked the Worst Parent Ever.

Worst Parent Ever (WPE) planted himself two tables to the right of Focused Law Student (FLS). He unpacked his laptop, put it on the table, and sat in the booth seat against the wall. He haphazardly unpacked his child, a boy of about 6 or 7. The boy had with him a deck of trading cards, sort of like Pokémon cards but not Pokémon. WPE began typing away on his laptop, and within minutes, his kid was meandering around the joint.

The boy wandered over to FLS's table, onto which he began dealing his cards, spreading them out and moving FLS's papers to make room for his game. He didn't say anything to FLS, he just dealt his cards and moved stuff around. FLS clearly didn't feel that he could discipline someone else's kid — a touchy predicament, to be sure — so he looked to WPE for help. WPE sat at his table, watching his kid invade the space of a total stranger, and did nothing.

Let it be said that WPE was also Sensitive Ponytail Man. With his sensitive ponytail, he was wearing a woven pullover like the one I bought in Estes Park, Colorado, in 1989, when I spent the summer camping around the western U.S. via a crappy green bus and wearing polypropylene hiking socks and hanging my garbage in trees so bears wouldn't raid my tent.

(Note: The above paragraph is 100 percent, honest-to-god true.)

In any case, FLS's glances to WPE were for naught. Unable to figure out what to do with this child who was taking up more and more space on his table, he picked up his coffee and took a sip.

Big mistake.

The boy quickly dealt two cards where FLS's grande lattewhatever had been and left no more free surface for FLS to set his drink back down. FLS once again looked over to WPE for help, and I sat up and shot WPE some bitchface as well. I held my hands out as if to say, "Come on!" Finally, WPE exercised what I'm sure was his version of taking control of the situation and, without getting up from his seat, said, "Hey, Michael, why don't you come back over here, man?"

Michael ignored WPE.

"Mike! Hey, Mike! He's studying, man! Leave him alone!"

Michael kept playing. He didn't even react. But still, WPE did not get up to pull his child away. He kept shouting across Starbucks to his son, but never deigned to alight from his pleather throne.

Michael continued nudging FLS's papers over to the point where they almost fell off the table. Frustrated, FLS started gathering his belongings. Seeing this, WPE finally came over to the table and tried to pull Michael away, but the kid was having none of it and struggled for about five seconds before WPE gave up and let him go. Five seconds. That was it. WPE threw in the towel before the kid could even let out a yelp.

"Look, I'll just go," said FLS.

Now, at this point, what do you think most parents would do?

a) Pull Michael away, even if there's an ugly, kicking, slobbering scene, to ensure FLS keeps his table and can continue to study
b) Pull Michael away, even if there's an ugly, kicking, slobbering scene, and buy FLS a coffee, with apologies
c) Offer to switch tables so FLS could study in peace without disturbing Michael's card game
d) Remove self, laptop, and Michael from the premises until Michael was ready to play without disturbing patrons
e) Nothing

See if you can guess which one WPE was.

"Look, I'll just go," said FLS.

"Hey, thanks, man!" said WPE.

I'll repeat that, because I don't think I read it right the first time:

"Hey, thanks, man!"

And FLS threw all his stuff into a bag and began to scooch out of his seat.

"You can have my table," I said to FLS, shooting WPE a glare. "I'm leaving. It's OK."

"No, thanks," FLS said, also directing some stink-eye toward WPE, who stood there like the tooliest tool in the toolshed, watching FLS pack up before shuffling back to his own table and leaving Michael where he was. "I'm done here."

It was appalling.

I will admit that, as an armchair parent, it's all easy for me to say. Jon Stewart once did a standup bit where he talked about how he sits on his couch, drinking his beer, screaming at Olympic gymnasts to stick their landings. In my head, I was screaming for WPE to stick his landing. (I was also screaming, "Hate to break the news! Phish broke up!") But ultimately, it's not like WPE tripped on the mat and maybe dusted a judge with some chalk; he flat out wrestled the balance beam from its bolts in the floor and pummeled FLS over the head with it. Maybe Michael is a hellion and WPE is exhausted, but really, take care of your kid. At least get out of your goddamn seat and assess the situation. Apologize to the person you're responsible for uprooting. And throw all your Rusted Root concert ticket stubs into a shoebox instead of littering them all over the apartment with your homemade bongs. Gah.

If I hadn't seen a grown woman of, maybe, 30 skipping joyfully down the street 20 minutes earlier (it was a true skip, not a run that lost its steam; also, she was wearing pink culottes), I might have lost my composure. One can only handle so much weirdness in one evening.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ode to Assface

The train was crowded on my way downtown tonight, and it's a given that when the train is packed, the ratio of Displays of Bad Subway Etiquette skyrockets. It's simple math: The more people who jam themselves into a train car, the more people there are who can rub their crotches against your ass, ignore pregnant women and refuse to give them seats, keep their bodies planted in front of the doors so commuters can neither enter nor exit without a maddening forceful collision, blast whatever on their iPods, and other various boils on the behavioral butt of society.

So I was grateful to get a seat, because I could just bury my face in my Entertainment Weekly (a shockingly interesting piece on the bursting of Jessica Simpson's Grand Ole Opry cherry and similar forays into country music by pop artists) and ignore the sneezers around me who didn't cover their mouths. If I hadn't had a magazine with me, I might have picked my nose and wiped it on a pole the moment before someone was about to grab it, just to fit in.

Upon hitting the 14th Street station, the two commuters on either side of me got up and left the train. A man in a dark grey suit who had been standing in front of me proceeded to turn around with his back to me, bend over so his ass was directly in my face, pick something up, and move to the empty seat to my left, whereupon he sat, spread his legs as wide as he could, pushing me over to teeter on the ridge between the seat I had been in and the one next to it, and open his newspaper fully (instead of folding it in half or quarters, which is proper subway etiquette; takes up less space). He was totally oblivious to his egregious violation of any social code, and if you live in this city, it behooves you to have some idea of the code we all live by. Or not. Ignorance is bliss, and then everybody hates you. C'est la vie.


So I'm sitting, well, not in my seat but on the narrow between-the-seats spine that did the very opposite of containing my substantial posterior or my balance, and I'm stewing. And I start staring at him. And then I catch sight of his right hand.

There was a pink Hello Kitty Band-Aid on it.

I softened.

So then I started to think: He's in a responsible grey suit. He's carrying a briefcase. He's on his way downtown, toward the Financial District. Or he's on his way home from Midtown, where one can find many, many of the glass office buildings of the elite moneymaking set. He's reading the Business section. He's paying absolutely no mind to others around him. Holy Hell, I thought, he must work for Lehman Brothers. Or Merrill Lynch. Or AIG. Or [insert bankrupt/festering/defunct financial institution here]. And he's totally stressed out. And when he got home from work last night, he sunk into his favorite easy chair, head in his hands, bemoaning the uncertainty to come. And his four-year-old daughter tugged at her mother's shirt, and the man's wife bent down to their little girl and said, "What is it, sweetie?" And the little girl said, "Mommy, why is Daddy so sad?" And the wife looked at her forlorn husband, her heart aching for him, and said, "Daddy has a boo-boo and he can't make it better yet." And the little girl ran to the bathroom, dug out the Hello Kitty Band-Aid, and quietly tiptoed up to her father. He slowly looked up when he felt her tiny body standing next to him and said, "Hi, button." She unwrapped the bandage, put it on the top of his hand, and said, "There, Daddy. Now it's all better."

I loved this man. This man who, 30 seconds previously, pushed his ass in my face and shoved me out of my seat with the power of his right thigh.

We got to the next stop. The doors opened. He hurriedly shoved his newspaper under his arm and disembarked.

All that for one stop. And we were nowhere near any of the neighborhoods I'd decided he was going to to live the life I'd decided he lived. He probably sold watches or something and had 50 cats.

And there I'd been, creating a sad little scene that might have actually happened to an awful lot of folks in the past two days, and I got pissed all over again. Gah. Wasted sympathies: so frustrating. At least I was able to shift back onto a full seat once he left. Sitting on the ridge-thing makes your butt go numb.

It did make me recall this post, about the gorgeous Adonis with the ugly shoes and whimsical candy. How do you decide if you adore someone you don't know but who has let you down terribly with bad taste or bad manners and then makes up for it with fun accessories? Do I malign the suited fella for his space-assaulting ways, or do I love him for his cartoon Band-Aid? Maybe he did work for Lehman Brothers. Who the hell knows. I know it's surprising for me to do such a thing, but I'm really overthinking this.

So: To the man in the grey suit, if you work in the financial sector or were screwed by the financial sector and sport the Band-Aid to soothe your anxieties, you have my sincere sympathies. And if you are just a douchebag who exercises no courtesy to your fellow commuters and wears a Hello Kitty Band-Aid because you picked a mole off the top of your hand while you were watching porn, suck it. I have a bottle of lemon juice and I'm not afraid to use it.

In other news, apologies for the sparse (or, really, not at all) writing lately. I just got back from a truly excellent trip to San Francisco to meet Stacy's son, Bass, and dontcha know, I have pictures. They'll land on this here page toute de suite.

And speaking of this blog, I suppose I should say something about Sarah Palin, because everybody and their mother who has a blog has written about Sarah Palin. And I imagine there's nothing new I could say that hasn't been said, and I'm also sure you folks don't come here to read about politics (I have deduced this because you read my blog, and I have never written about politics; I is shmart). And I hate talking about politics because it makes me violently angry, which I also suppose completely conflicts with the fact that I'm writing about it at this very moment. And I've created this blog in the spirit of very few heavy things being discussed ever. In any case, it shouldn't surprise you that I'm pretty liberal and proud of it, so I guess I'll just say this: Don't vote for Sarah Palin. She's a twat.

Oh! Alan Alda is on Craig Ferguson right now! And Ferguson said "fucking cock" on air! Double attractiveness and an embrace of blue language! My hormones are going berserk. I'm unreasonably happy. May you be as well.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, September 01, 2008

New Moon on Monday

Josh gave me the very greatest anniversary gift this morning. Last night, we went out for a lovely dinner, had some very chocolatey desserts, tried to start a tradition of taking an anniversary picture of ourselves until I put the kibosh on that after deleting about six of them because I'm hugely bloated right now. All of that was very nice, but here was the gift:

I woke up at 7 this morning to do some freelance (!!!), so I was in the living room working when he crawled out of bed around 10.

"I remember my dream from last night," he said. (He never remembers his dreams.)


"I was going to a Duran Duran concert —"


" — and they had to interview me first. They were screening ticket buyers because they only wanted a high caliber of people at the concert. They had to deem me 'good enough' in order to let me in."

"Were you?"

"I don't know. But it was so weird. My ... parents were there?"

"We are an elite group, you know. Duran Duran fans. It should stay that way. A formal interviewing system would help."

"You're so judgmental."

"Not when it comes to Duran Duran. I've seen the Simon Le Bon pictures. Duran Duran can do no wrong in my eyes. Even when they look unfortunate and wear Speedos."


"I'm glad you finally went to a Duran Duran concert, honey. I bet you had the best time."

"Maybe I did."

"Of course you did."

He finallly gets it! Victory is mine! Happy anniversary to me!

Labels: ,