Monday, December 20, 2010

Encounters of the strange kind

Why do public restrooms look like nuclear holocaust victims?  It’s amazing how many women aren’t properly potty trained.  Unfortunately I’m never home and I pee often.  There is nothing like a public toilet to remind you that human nature is filthy when no one is watching.  
Once I had a really unsettling experience in a public bathroom late at night.  I thought I was alone and I had just unzipped my jeans when the stall next to me whispered, “Are you mentally ill?” and dissolved back into complete silence. I knew that I wasn’t but my neighbor clearly was.  No one was around, and for a second I thought that I was going to die right there on the pee stained floor, next to someone’s used tampon, murdered by a lunatic.
I’ve always been terrified by encounters with the mentally ill.  Nothing is more disturbing or hopeless than a lost mind.  My fear began with Betty, a woman who wandered the neighborhood in a potato sack shaped dress and smiled at everyone in the kind of disconnected way that made you think she just returned to earth after being abducted by Martians.  Her greasy hair and the sad looking flowers all over her sad looking dress haunted me for years.  To this day when someone on the subway gets up and starts to preach about seeing Jesus at breakfast I want to pee my pants.  On rare occasions you can’t help but laugh if the situation is too ridiculous to feel sad.  Once I stood next to a man who was coaching the other men on the true nature of father’s day.  He was wearing a blonde wig and encouraging the male passengers to do the same, suggesting that for the holiday they borrow their wives undergarments and have themselves a real nice party.  “Don’t be ashamed,” he comforted them, “you dress yourself up real nice in them silky drawers, stand up and say, world here I am!” I would’ve loved to be on that guest list.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mama told me growing up is hard but she didn't say it sucks more than Jenna Jameson at career peak

I have been a great sinner since at 4 I poured my mother’s French perfume onto my father’s Persian rug and found the whole act of it much more titillating than keeping my hands to myself.  I have never asked why?  It’s always been why not?  The only why I ever asked myself was why being bad felt so good.
I think a couple of months ago I finally repented.  Being young and stupid was fun while it lasted but the jig is up.  I knew one day I would get too old for foolishness but it crept up on me like a perv in a dark alley. 
The truth is people have started calling me m’am.  For my self esteem, it’s a crisis of BP oil spill proportions.  The problem is I’m not cut out for a 9 to 5.  After my parents died I lost the ability to see any meaning in office work or the higher purpose in taking abuse from your boss.  I’ve developed an intense fear of shuffling someone else’s papers in front of a fax machine for the rest of my life.  If you are a trader and getting on the floor every morning to you is what a fix is to a junkie in withdrawal, that’s a whole different story.  You love it, you live it and you breathe it.  I have no such talents.  All I have ever amounted to was a miserable office assistant.  What really used to offend me was that people acted like I should have been kissing their feet for giving me the once in a lifetime opportunity to keep their files organized and fill up the coffee machine. 
In my opinion office politics and hierarchies are worse and crueler than middle school.  I once got fired because my male boss developed a habit of obsessively winking at me every morning.  The queen of the office began feeling like she was losing her underling to forces she couldn’t control and so off I went.  As if I personally asked him to please undress me daily with his shifty eyes. With unemployment so high, what is that word employers use to describe employees?  I’ve heard “disposable” and “replaceable”, like you are a Gillette razor blade and not a human being that needs to eat.

Sometimes I dream so hard about being a writer.  I travel the world.  I walk around ancient Greek ruins, visit tribes in Africa and eat falafel in Lebanon.  Of course someone pays me to write about it all so that I never have to stop.  Of course I’ve already received the national book award for my bestselling novel back home and now someone uses it as an escape the same way I’ve used my favorite books.  I picture it so clearly I almost believe it but not enough to forget that I’m broke and bills won’t leave my mailbox alone.  Still I persist with my delusions every day, food for my struggling soul and all.  How, how do I get there for real?  From here?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Elevators (and how they relate to social inequality)

What really bugs me is the way people behave in elevators.  It’s like an alternate universe where they lose all understanding of how to function properly in a crowded society.  They go to extremes, either imposing on your personal space with a nervous “it’s cold out there huh?” or sidestep into a corner and stare at the ceiling so you wouldn’t get any inkling to strike up a conversation.
I’ve noticed that people who are snobs in the general society take it up a notch in elevators just so you wouldn’t get any funny ideas that since you happen to be in tight quarters for a minute together you are in any way equal to the likes of them.  I notice a great deal of that elevator snobbery going on in Adrian’s building.  The residents are beings who fancy themselves New Yorkers but often hail from the suburbs of Connecticut.  They always live in Manhattan and see the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island as distant lands made to accommodate common trash, human and otherwise.  They generally have no idea that you can’t buy the privilege of being a real New Yorker with a doorman and a big crystal chandelier in the lobby.  You can’t get authentic New York Flavor in Midtown like you can in the Queens, Brooklyn or Bronx and it’s free too!
There’s this one girl from the 12th floor who gives off bitch fumes from every cell of her body.  The effect is so overwhelming it’s enough to make you lose all faith in the inherent goodness of people.  Maybe she can smell Queens on me and can’t help being disgusted.  I can see that to her all people are like different foods on the same plate that can’t touch each other or her head might explode.  The problem is this city is like a big bowl of stew with mystery ingredients all floating and mixing together, no one knows what the recipe is or where the hell it came from.  And I know that she feels bad that I don’t live in her fancy building but I feel bad for her that she does.  Funny how that works.
I get the joy of NYC from other things than carpeted hallways in my building.  I get a little bit from dreaming about winning the lotto with the Pakistani owner of the corner bodega.  And a little bit from Guido Johhny over at the 7-11 who hurls his orange body towards the door every time he spies a frequent female customer with an enthusiastic, “EY THERE SHE IS! Looking beautiful!  Gorgeous! Where ya been eh?!”  And sometimes if I’m lucky Jose at the deli might give me a big cookie on the house.  It’s a twisted world where such things are free but some people pay to avoid them.  How so very sad for them.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Sometimes I entertain myself with the thought if it wasn’t such a damn sin punishable by life in prison would I have the balls to kill Joey for being the piece of shit that he is?  No one would really miss the overgrown, dirty, selfish oaf.  Even his mom thinks he is a drag.  The only social subculture that would miss him is the dope dealers.  The junk pusher over in the South Bronx probably wouldn’t be able to afford Christmas presents for his kid without Joey’s help.  That would be sad indeed especially since the kid works for his dad full time without knowing it, carrying dope hidden in little toys in case senior gets busted.  He deserves a lot for Christmas…like a new father who doesn’t use him as a drug mule.
I kid though.  I may be a bit wicked (especially to myself) but I’m no murderer.  I’m just itching to do something that would hurt him bad but he’s so thick one of those prehistoric looking giant lizards from Australia.  Maybe I’ll kill him with kindness, isn’t that what nice God fearing folk would say?  Who the hell thought of the phrase “kill them with kindness” anyway? Obviously that idiot has been getting killed with kindness his entire life because if someone shit all over him even once he wouldn’t be saying that.
I would probably have reached some sort of divine forgiveness people preach is necessary to move on if I wasn’t still legally living with Joey seeing how I’m a broke orphan.  It’s all fine and great to preach forgiving your enemies but when they’re still eating your food and leaving their dirty socks in inappropriate places it’s pretty much impossible.  It’s a good thing that I can avoid seeing Joey in the flesh by going to Adrian’s but it’s a bad thing that Adrian has a roommate who has never done anything bad to me but I can’t help vehemently disliking.  Maybe it’s subconscious and it’s because he prevents me from being able to scatter tubes of lip gloss and hair products wherever I please, I really don’t know.
I understand that the theory of gravity can be applied to life, what goes up must come down and all that.  But for once I would like the universe to bend the rules a little and make something go my way without a single glitch or drawback.  If you can only make that happen dear universe I would gladly tolerate your bitchiness for the rest of my life with a smile.