24 February 2005

Cross-town rivals

Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea!

I went to my local liquor store ("packy" as they say) today after work and was happy to see my favorite cute guy behind the counter when I walked in. He's cute, as I might have already mentioned, and also smart, as I have more than once seen him speak fluent Russian to some of the Russian summer workers that frequent our town during the warm months. He's also funny, and knows about stuff that I like knowing about, like wine and baseball.

We always exchange a few words over my latest inebriatory purchase, usually about whatever is the latest news in baseball. We both keep obsessively current, especially during the season, and he's just one of those guys that I always love talking to.

He's also a Red Sox fan.

Not unusual this close to Fenway, but what's less de rigeur is that I'm a Yankees fan. I'm also a native New Englander, but baseball never penetrated my consciousness until I moved to Syracuse, and I happened to fall in with a bunch of Yankees fans, and they introduced me to what is now an abiding passion of mine.

I tend to be quiet and serene about my Yankee-fanness, mostly because I honestly love the game of baseball. The Yankees just happened to be the team within closest striking distance when I fell in love with the game.

So this guy and I have this great relationship where we share information and insight on our respective teams, new prospects, latest scores. It's very casual and interesting and respectful and maybe the tiniest bit flirtatious, although sometimes other patrons look on aghast as he allows himself to be seen talking as equals with someone in a Yankees cap.

Today he told me he got another job, dammit. Saturday is his last day at the packy.

Now granted, ringing up sales of tequila and lottery tickets isn't what this Russian-spouting, stats-hoarding, young cute guy should be doing for the rest of his young cute life. So I'm happy for him that he got a respectable salaried job doing some foul thing like selling insurance or God-knows-what. I was sad, but I held it together long enough to shake his hand, flash him the peace sign, and wish him well after he handed me my change.

Then, just when I reached the door to the store, I flashed him my breasts, shouted "GO YANKEES!!!" at the top of my lungs, and sprinted to my car.

Quiet. Serene.

16 February 2005


It's that day in February today.

I know that, for some arcane reason, some folks look to Groundhog Day, February 2nd, for portents of spring, but those people are no friends of mine. I set no place at my table for Puxnatawny Phil.

However, as much as I enjoy winter and all her charms, there is always one day when that seductress Spring comes sauntering softly in, with laughter in her eyes and promises in her smile. There is always that one day in February when we are all complicit in that mass delusion that the back of winter has been broken, that we'll get off easy this year, that we should start airing out our strappy little sundresses.

One glorious day when the temperature reaches 50 degrees. When birds are singing, a gentle breeze is blowing, even some buds are intemperately forming on the hyacinths. You know that day when you suddenly remember what spring smells like? Like the earth waking up, like fresh, fertile soil loosening itself from its own mortal coil, when it smells like the very word loam?

And you know, deep in your heart, that it can never last -- that this is the equivalent of that one amazing romance you had with that guy from New York City where in one weekend he sang to you in the gondola over the East River, brought you to CBGBs, treated you to late night pastries at some corner Italian pastry joint, brought you home to his fantastic little apartment in Brooklyn where you made out on his futon from which you could see the Brooklyn Bridge through the window and then made omelets in the morning while listening to Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash records and you thought yes I could do this yes I could live in New York and do this every night with this man and it will be wonderful...

And then it's over, of course, you can't live in New York, you actually hate cities after a few days, they depress you with all their grime and ugliness and poverty and anonymity, and you go back home and explain yourself to your girlfriends and they laugh and wink and say they've had that guy in New York too, everybody who's anybody has, you have to entertain that fantasy at least once, and how was he? But you know it's over and it's time to go back to work and stop living on cash advances on your VISA card at 25% interest, at about a hundred dollars a pop, withdrawals at ATMs on some darkened street corner on the lower East side when the last thing you're thinking about is paying that bill, it's all about the pastry right now, and how his lips taste on yours...

And you know winter isn't over yet. But there is that one day when you go without a jacket. You walk a little lighter and faster, the way you walk after really fun sex, and you start thinking about tank tops and miniskirts. But tomorrow it will be 28 degrees and windy and you'll have to wear your jacket again, but at least for now you will smile that secret smile as you knot up your wool scarf under your pea coat, because you are remembering that 3 am pastry in Brooklyn.

Today is that day.

10 February 2005


To: the universe

From: you know who

Re: my needs, for once, for crying out loud.

Please remit one Vespa of vintage (1964-1974) to the above address upon receipt. Black, red, and silver are preferred colors, but alternatives will be evaluated on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Applicants may report to The Shed Door, between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. Tea will be served. Dress snappy.

Thank you.

07 February 2005

By the sweat of my brow

Today I went to see my shiny new accountant to celebrate Tax Season '05, tally up my points for the last year, and see what I won. Last year having been my very first year as a full-time (to use the term very loosely) freelancer, I was all a-quiver with anticipation, I can tell you.

We sat there for about an hour amid the fake wood panelling that is apparently required by the American Association of Professional Hand-Holders With Tax Forms and Adding Machines, trying to come up with more deductions. Alas, my work is alarmingly low-tech. If you can believe it, my main tools are, in fact, a red pencil, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener. It gets more exciting (and expensive!) when it's time to ship the great knocking piles of literary genius back to the publishers, because then I can factor in mileage to the UPS store, cost of postage, the celebratory bottle of tequila I buy on the way home after finishing each job...

But alas, my so-called business has almost no expenses. My overhead is almost underfoot, which is pretty hysterical when I remember my last business, which was owning an enormous nightclub/bar/live music venue, and involved nothing but overhead.

Fortunately, to balance out the fact that I spent a laughably miniscule amount of money in support of my business, I managed to earn an even more hysterically tiny amount in income. So everybody's happy. No profit, no problem.

I'm gonna hang that on my office wall.

After my idyll with my beautiful CPA who takes care of everything and makes it all ok, I went to the library to check out some books with pretty pictures of gardens and flowers and stuff, because the snow around here is driving me bat-nutzo-crazy. While I was at our charming little village library, I quickly scanned the New Releases shelf, and found...

The First Book I Ever Edited For Pay.

In its finished version, all pretty and wrapped up in its protective plastic. Of course I had to check it out of the library. Of course I have to read it and make sure I didn't miss anything. Of course I'm all teary and tremulous about it. Of course I'm retarded -- it's not like I wrote the damn thing you know.

Look! There! See?! That comma... I did that.

I love my job.

03 February 2005

A time to heal

At the Laundromat today:

My sojourn in this purgatory of dry heat, humming machines, and mumbling strangers is almost at an end, as I am at the folding table with my warm, soft clothes in front of me. Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia. I hate doing laundry. But somehow, because I work from home, many if not all of these odious household chores have somehow devolved onto me. But that is a rant of a different color. Whoa there. Steady now. Got a story to tell.

There's an alarmingly large woman pacing around my folding table -- she's about 6'2" and definitely 300 pounds if she's an ounce. She has a cap of tightly curled iron-gray hair, is probably about 50 years old, and is cussing up a storm. Seems she hates doing laundry too. Seems this isn't even her laundry. Doesn't seem right, you know?

I avoid eye contact.

The little Brazilian guy at the other end of the table isn't so lucky, though. She catches his eye and starts raising her voice, like he's the evil mastermind himself who conned her into doing someone else's laundry! He starts to cringe into the corner, and it's clear he doesn't understand much English. I want to catch his eye and tell him the lady is unintelligible even in English, but he's mesmerized by her hulking form, and now she has him cornered. Just when I think he's going to take evasive action by sprinting through her legs, she stops. Abruptly. Mid-harangue.

"Hey!" she murmurs, all niceness now.

(he flinches)

"Hey! Aren't you from Florida? ' Cause I've been to Florida, and I saw you there! You know? You understand? Florida?"

(he raises his hands, palms skyward, and shakes his head, his eyes pleading.)

(She starts to move away, eying him warily now.) "Well, I don't remember your name now, but it'll come to me! Any minute now!!"

And so on.

Shortly thereafter she is joined by a friend, a diminutive woman (about 4'11", maybe 100 pounds) of about the same age and hairstyle, dressed from head to toe in camo. Little woman notices little Brazilian man, elbows large woman, and begins a pestering discussion with her about whether or not large woman thinks he is cute.

Huh? Huh? Doncha? Cuz I do! He's hot! Mmmm-mmmm! Smokin'!

Large woman keeps bashfully brushing her off, hushing her and brusquely urging her to check on the damn clothes in the goddamn dryer, they're her goddamn clothes, goddammit.

Nah, they're heavy, I don't gotta check. They're heavy. More time. He's cute, huh?

Large woman has finally had enough. She turns fully around to face her friend, which happens to be the direction of the rest of the busy laundromat, puts her hands on her hips, and bellows:


Everyone freezes. Most of us decide we've folded enough for one day, and really, didn't we read somewhere that wrinkles are in vogue these days? and I think I left my car running oops gotta go.