Thursday, May 31, 2007
I became a step-mother.
You can approach this very delicate position in life a few ways... they are his kids, you see them rarely, you don't get involved, they are the bane of your existence, take away time from your new spouse, money from your pocket, create chaos in your new life, when your own children come along, there is trouble there...the list is endless.
It's one reason more second marriages fail than first ones.
I went into it the way I go into most things in my life...I jumped than looked around. I married a family, not just a man. Let him deal with the ex, although I did my fair share of that...and her husband! Oy! That's a book in itself... he wanted nothing to do with those kids once they had their own... again, a book in itself, and there is a nice bed in hell where he rests now.
I married a man who had two children, the Slumlord, so named because he owns more than one home...the second bought to give his sister a place to settle and have her child, and MissH.
She was two when we married... one when we started to date. She had these big blue eyes and curly blonde hair and a huge mouth. Huge. Like her dad, you never offer MissH a bite of anything, or you are left with nothing.
I used to stand and rock her to sleep, holding her close.. she had speech problems, ones no one would address, so, the wicked step-mother took her and had her tested. I was cursed roundly by her mother...it was worth it. She got the therapy she needed, and finally, and the age of three, she was able to talk enough that you could understand her.
I felt this way...they never came for visitation, they came home. I never spoke about their mother in a negative way...well, I slipped on occasion, but, it was home they came to... they shared rooms with their siblings, they had their clothes, they were treated no differently. Life went on, only in two houses. I refused to let guilt step in. Your parents are divorced? Big deal, so are mine.
She called me 'Mom' from the age of three.. and if you ask about her mom, she will talk about me. Their natural mother gave up custody when she was ten, and didn't see them for five years.. see the step-father comment...so, I guess that's what I became.
She has a big booming laugh, worries about everyone, has a head like a rock, can cuss like a sailor. I worry about her, we all do...and now she carries my first grandchild. She asked, "What do you want to be called?" and in my complete weirded out of being that old, I suggested 'Miss Quin'.
That didn't fly.
We settled on Nonnie. I wanted MawMaw... it's not done in Denver.
She has a mouth that holds a smile that goes on forever...it is surrounded by masses of tiny dimples. She is short, the shortest of my babies...next to TheInvestment and his 6'5"ness, she almost disappears. She has grown into a good woman, who will take over my reins eventually...but, for awhile...oh, for awhile, she was my wild child.
I remember at one point, every man she dated was arrested for something. I said, "Do you go to the Post Office and pick them off the wall?" She had no self-esteem... her search for a man to love her for her was long. She is beautiful, but thought the way to get a man was to be flashy and trashy, and that is how she was treated.
It took her to realise she was a woman, and beautiful inside and out to change her. I still worry about her, but, she's settled now, focused on her life, on her baby, on being a good mother.
She adored her siblings when they arrived...and HRH was her personal toy. She was my little girl always, I simply can't remember not having her, to the point I went into a guilt rant once, and said...
"All those hours of lab..."
She cut me short..."Mom, wrong kid."
No, I didn't labour to have her, we laboured other ways, to build our relationship as parents and children do...
She is not bone of my bone, nor blood of my blood, she was not born beneath my heart, but, in it.
Happy Birthday, Miss H.
I love you forever.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I can say now I fully plan on cheating, and ending it with something I saw on cajunboy's site, that moved me when I first saw it aired, and moved me again today.... I'm not always original.
What are they thinking?
I loves me my tourists. What else would we talk about? Who would support our City, causing us to otherwise have to pay ridiculous amounts for food in a port city? For clothing in a place that is run by an underground sweatshop system? To be bled dry for rent for a place that would normally be called a closet? Oh, right...we do those things anyway....but, without our tourists, it would be even worse.. so, respect the tourists.
Still, I watch them, and what comes to my mind is, "What are they thinking?". In particular, I love the French tourists. They hate us to begin with, and I often feel they come to visit just so they can go back and sneer about how we are. "Oh, I was in New York, and I was able to buy French food, and it was shit." "They don't let you smoke inside!" "You should see it, no places to go to the toilet on the street!"
Today, as we did a quick walk before the heat and humidity set in, a French couple walked past us pushing a baby carriage. How did I know they were French? They were both smoking, blowing it down on the baby to get him used to the nicotine, and they sneered at me. I heard the word "Merde", so, I was pretty sure they were French. The smoking thing amazes me there, so casual..even the kids smoke, it seems. In the hotels in France, they leave a chocolate and a Galois on your pillow when they turn down the bed at night.
One of my favourite things about New York is delivery. I've stated this a number of times, and will continue to extol the virtues of having things delivered, not to mention the exciting varieties of food here. In the land of Utes, it was front page news when IHOP opened. This is a state where a staple food is called 'funeral potatoes', and yes, Utah leads the world in Jell-O consumption.
Yesterday, I decided I deserved a meal, and waded through the 4,762 menus in the menu drawer.
None of them were standard.... and not even this woman, raised in the City of the Big Easy, where we suck crawfish heads and put blue crab fat on a cracker and eat it...could get excited over some of the options offered.
- Chicken feet with chinese mushroom casserole..umm, no
- Pork belly and liver, steamed with rice....ummm, no
- Marinated frogs.....no
- Fishhead soup....yum!
- Chicken and chinese fungus...I really don't want to think about it.
I settled on tangerine chicken and a few other things... leftovers are good.
Dialing the number, I settle in to give my order... forgetting no one speaks English and that it's a holiday.
On a holiday, if I owned an eating establishment in New York, I'd put ON extra delivery staff... not let them take a vacation. And, why not hire a person who speaks English if you have an establishment that DELIVERS??? The first three places weren't delivering to my area. Finally, I found a place that would...
"What you want order?"
"Hi, yes, I'd like to place a delivery order... I live at blah blah."
"Yes, we deliver, where you live?"
"At blah blah, Apt blah...buzzer "
"What apartment number?"
"Blah" Maybe if I'd stopped saying blah, and given a real number, it would have sped up the process.
"Anyway, the buzzer is..."
"What you buzzer number?"
"Blah...I'd like a #12D, please, with fried rice and a #2"
"What you want?"
"Um, #12D with fried rice and a #2"
"You want white or fried rice?"
"So, you want #12B.."
"No, D...D like DOG"
"B like bog?"
Bog?? Who uses bog to give alpha codes??
"D like David..." I'm cut off while she yells out the order and my address.
"So sorry, we not delivering there."
That's it....I'm tired of accents and bad delivery options. Damn them all.
I pull out the local menu for bar-b-que. I'm going to have a hamburger, with cheese AND fries, and that is that.
I dial the number.... and a Chinese accent says, "What you want order?"
I gave up, and had cereal and milk for supper. It's not bad if you don't mind the expiration date on the cereal is a little old.
I can sublet this place for up to another four months.
I don't want to... so, if any of you know of a place, email me, please.
I loved this when it came out, loved it again seeing it today. This is about the dreamers, the ones that took a chance... the crazy ones... everyone, every day... take your chance. Believe.
The Crazy Ones
Thanks for reading.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Good news is, I realised the air conditioner works. Really, really works.
I've one more night here, then, back to the Bronx...
Good news is, um.... moving on...
Last night's gathering was loud and crowded and I couldn't hear names.
Good news is, I did meet some folk, they were funny... and I had a lovely time.
Our morning stroll was short, the humidity is heavy, and the dogs suffer in the heat, even with summer cuts.
Good news is, we had the park to ourselves, even the tiny park by the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, no honking cars, CrazyGuyWhoPoosInPublic has moved to his summer home in the Hamptons.
I have one more table to sort out, at least two hours of organising.
Good news is, it's by the wonderfully cool air conditioner and I can watch 'Sargent York' while I work.
I've lost yet another earring.
Good news is, I can add it to my collection of one earrings, in case I ever pierce my nose.
I fell asleep on the sofa. With three dogs.
Good news is, it's nice to wake up to smiling faces, even if they are dog faces.
It's quiet, I treated myself to a bagel with lox and cream cheese, and haven't brushed my teeth since eating it.
Sometimes, you live on the edge.
Down the street came three Marines, in uniform. Oohrah! They looked in, and said, "Damn, Navy got here first, we can't go in." We urged them...okay, I urged them...to go on, they were MARINES damnit! A sailor came out, you could see them pointedly ignoring each other... we laughed about it, and made comments that my Jarhead should wear his uniform when he comes into town on the 10th to see me.
I tried to get Oob to take him on the town, and imagined the lovely wedding they would have. I think the words 'oblivious matchmaker' came to mind.
Then, she looked over and said, "They are all so young." and I said, "Young blood spills as easily as old."
America has opened 1,000 new graves since last Memorial Day. Think of that. A thousand young lives, and that's not counting the innocent civilians killed nor the thousands of soldiers maimed, physically and mentally and emotionally by this stupid piece of shit going on in a fabricated war.
Rumsfeld is a war criminal. Bush should be ripped out of office. There is no single good reason we should be there... and you look at those young faces, bright with hope of pulling, out for a drink, in their beautiful uniforms....
We left early, the three of us... others were still inside, interesting people all. The noise got to me, and to be honest, the young servicemen.
My Jarhead is on a ship right now, learning to do his job there, so when he ships out in July, he's ready to serve his country.
He'll be here for five days or so, visit his dad, then head out. He's ready, he says... suck it up, Mom. Suck it up.
A friend said, "He'll be safe where he is." and my reply stays the same, "Can you get me a written promise from God?".
They are young, they have great promise, they head off to a place that will change them. Wish them well, smile at them, buy them a drink. Hate the war, respect the warrior... look at those baby faces... and say a prayer.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Oblivious~oblivious(p): (followed by `to' or `of') lacking conscious awareness of (from Princeton.edu)
As you can see, the Princeton online dictionary has my photo next to this definition...because I am the walking visual of the word, OBLIVIOUS.
I walk in front of delivery men on bicycles. I do not believe they are saying, "Have a nice day!" in Mandarin. There are times I stroll, sure I can outwalk the bigass buses that barrel down 6th Avenue while dragging two dogs that do not want to leave the park. Somehow, I don't believe that horn being held down or the woman screaming, "OH, GOD, THEY ARE GOING TO BE KILLED!!", is talking about me. When I drive, I do not make eye contact with other drivers...this way, any hand gestures or words mouthed do not count, and I always do a little wave when I cut someone off as if this negates my blind spot, which in my case is most of the freeway. I told a friend once that I'm pretty sure I'm popular in L.A., as I'd perfected the U-turn, yelling out the window, "I DON'T LIVE HERE, I'M LOST!" and doing the little wave as they let me know I'm #1 in their driving book. My children will not drive with me. All of them are bad drivers, with the exception of The Investment. I've been known, as I've mentioned before, to knock myself out on set pieces. I didn't mention I was walking out of the shop and went right into it. I've walked into and down open stairwells. I say, "What?" quite a bit, in a variety of tones. Most of the time, it's surprised.
Keeping this in mind, it isn't a shock with what happened today.
While getting ready to meet up with some folk...and that will be talked about later....I was walking about the loft in my partial underwear.
I do this on occasion...coming out of the shower with a towel on, getting coffee ready...getting up in the morning... you've got the picture. Well, not the real picture, and this is a good thing. Oob and Bee, I'm not.
The loft living room has an alcove attached and since I've worked here, it had big bookshelves and a curtain that blocked it off from the living room, and that was that.
In my semi dressed state, even on this high floor, I'm careful to keep the curtains drawn on the front and bedroom windows....you see this coming, don't you?
Today, while getting ready to meet up with some folk (and I had a good time)... I suddenly realised...the bookcase had been removed last Monday. I know this because I've been re-organising stuff in it all week. Yeah. Gone. Curtain, too. Big open window. No longer an alcove, but, part of the living room. Big window with no curtains on it yet. All week while I've been here. Looks onto an office building next door.
I'm either real popular, or, I've caused people to want to blind their mind's eye with a needle.
I realised I'm a putz.
The email was sent, I sounded like some idiot, it's done. I'm in a good place now, and there is this nice guy I talk to quite a bit... he's funny and good and decent and he answers the phone and he keeps in touch and he doesn't play games..well, none I'll discuss here.
If you can't be friends with people you had feelings for, it's a shame...even my ex, whom I used to put the gris gris on... and I speak now and can laugh and talk about things. We're not buddies, we never will be, but, I know I can count on him if I need to...and he's the same. He was very supportive of my coming here, and when I was ill... he was checking on me all the time. Trust me, we had the divorce from hell...so, things can change.
Emails are sent, and perhaps it's the universe and it's way of letting me clear my head and soul for new places in life.
We walk the path set for us, I believe... people placed there for a reason, some we should stay with, some we should let go of... and we don't always make the right decision. It's free will.
Do I believe in love? I'm not sure. But, I believe in hope. That lovely Trojan horse hope. It sucks us in every time.
I'm willing to open it up again.... at some point.
While strolling the streets yesterday, enjoying my last days here in downtown, pretending I didn't have a shopping bag in my hand, and later...walking the dogs, chatting with the guys over at the Grand while they (the dogs, not the guys) drank from the water bar there...during all of that time, I was noticing the various garb worn by my fellow New Yorker's now that the heat is on.
I'm sure a few were tourists...the ones with the cameras and the wallets showing in their back pockets and the guy walking on Canal with his kids who had, I kid you not, a wad of cash in his hand as he counted it to hand some to them. I've seen this happen before, and it always astounds me. I felt compelled to say, "Sir, you are on Canal Street in New York City...and there are some people looking at that money... you might want to not do what you are doing here and now."
His reply? "Fuck off."
Ah! The milk of human kindness. The big mouth of me.
Back to summer clothing.
I am pale. Not the point of translucent skin girl at the Apple store. She looked as if she'd lived under a rock all of her life. You could see her veins. You could see the blood moving in her veins. It wasn't a pretty pale, it was...lab rat weird. I am pale...when my levels are low, I get paler...some mornings, I wake up, look down on my white sheets, and say in a Ronald Regan voice, "Where's the rest of me??". Then I see my red polish on my pedicured toes and calm down.
Point one...do not wear white if you have white skin. It's not pretty. I'm not saying a white blouse or a cute white top. I'm talking white shorts or capri's. I almost said pedal pushers, but, I'm trying to catch up to the times. It doesn't work. You see yourself from your internal point of view. We are seeing the other side. Trust us.
Point two...do not wear high heels if you can't walk in them. Do not wear open toed or open heeled shoes of any kind if you have not had a pedicure in the last two weeks, minimum. The pedicure is your friend. This goes for men, too. If your S.O. is scratching their legs on your heels, your nasty, cracked, ugly heels... it's time to cough up the money and get a pedicure. Being celibate for the (kids...skip a few lines) eight or so years I have, you find something to do...it was either tatting or pedicures...it took me years to remember how to cast off in knitting, resulting in the eight-foot long scarf...so, pedicures was the way to go. It is ew to see long, yellow toenails on either sex in open toed sandals, heels that are tearing the inside lining of the shoe or gross feet of any kind. Few of us have nice feet to begin with... show what you have with some thought for the viewing public.
Point three...new styles are so comfy looking, cool, serene. The leggings, the flowing tops, the short sleeves, the cap sleeves, the no sleeves. Fine if you are a size that can handle it. Better if you are an age that can handle it. No woman my age should be in something her daughter should wear. It's like being Lindsay Lohan's mom and saying, "I've got a new idea for double dating!". No. No. And no again. When your under arm continues to move after you've stopped waving...three quarter length sleeve. If you have to lie down to button those jeans and they've already got lycra in them? Go to a bigger size. Go two sizes bigger. If your shirt is so tight, we can see your stretch marks? Embrace the billowing shirts this season. I do not want to see any pants on anyone that lets me know your sex without looking at your face. Accept your age, your body type and get over the fact you cannot wear that cute white top with the lace. I did.
Point four...just because it's on the catwalk and you can afford it doesn't mean it's nice looking and you should wear it. Jus' saying is all.
Point five....if you wear shorts....don't let them ride up your inner thigh. Please. Again, this is both sexes. Really, please.
Point six....accessories are great. Less is more, remember that.
Point seven...purses. What in the hell are you carrying in those monsters?? A spare boyfriend?
Point eight...undergarments. Get a good fitting bra. Not one that makes you have four breasts... not one that undersupports you. Large bresticles are one way to attract men...it's nature's way. Still, when you are briskly walking on step seven, and your breasticles are re-bounding from step two...you need support. They do not need to hang out on the sides, either. They are meant to be up front.... and above your waistline.
I'm done. Like I have to room to talk about fashion...ha! Anyone who meets/knows me will see this. I have in my closet jeans, linen or cotton trousers and skirts, cotton tops and a silk dress. I wear ballet flats and cowboy boots. My jewelry consists of my dad's wedding ring on my thumb, a watch, a necklace and my gold earrings. I used to wear pearl earrings.... sadly, I lost one in Brooklyn. A fashion icon I'm not.
From my point of view, I look presentable. I won't stop traffic, but, I won't curdle milk, either. Staying away from reflective surfaces keeps me thinking that way.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Sometimes, I write letters to vent what is in my heart/soul... you know, the ones you tear up? These days, we do emails.
I had written one, one of many I've written, that I always hit 'delete', feeling better, knowing my scattered emotions and long felt held forth heart words are said, if not delivered.
So, it's written... I'm feeling solid...getting ready to delete, as always... I'm moving the mouse up to hit delete....
...at this point, it was all slow motion. I often type sitting on a bar chair, my feet propped up on the other, my little computer on my lap... they are called laptops, aren't they? S l o w l y I moved the little arrow thing to the delete part of the email page. S l o w l y the pit bull moves from a four legged stance to putting his feet on my.....laptop. I watch in horror as the computer says "message sent".
The one time I actually put the address in the email, the ONE time! Sweetmotherofgod. Jesusmaryandjosephandallthesaintsinutah.
Now, we curse slow connections. We shout when letters are lost that we need to have go somewhere. We are furious when a wireless suddenly goes away....yes, it was a stolen wireless, still, he should have left it on longer.
This time, when I am frantically hitting the STOP button, it flies off with the ease of George Bush sending young people off to Iraq to spread democracy at the cost of their lives.
I may have to change my name and/or see if the convent in Greece is still taking novices. What do you do? Write another letter and say, "Gee, you know that mail I just sent? Well, ignore it, the dog sent it."
It's Memorial Day, a three day shopping frenzy is on...sales everywhere. You've set yourself a budget, one you must stick with, especially with the financial mess that was created by others.
Walking down the street, steadfast in your resolve to go to Lots-for-Less to return something, you walk with mental blinders...
It is an easy thing, not hard like the "I won't email him anymore." or the "Don't have the piece of lemon pound cake with a Coke Zero." kind of thing.
Did I mention the email thing?
I'm walking. I'm avoiding. I'm hot. It's humid. If I had the decent hair of a non-I've-set-off-a-Geiger-counter person, I'd look great with the curls. As it is, it's okay.ish. It's hot, it's humid. Even the fleet's boys in white look limp.
The uniforms.... I'm not thinking about anything else.
And, the stores have their signs.... "BUY TWO, GET ONE FREE!!! 30% OFF! 40% OFF!! FELL OFF THE BACK OF A TRUCK!!" I saw a NYPD officer shopping there while her partner watched the car.
Even the "Buy two get two off the back of a truck and we'll carry them to your house with no tip or delivery charge" didn't sway me.
Here's how they get you....
You are sweltering, even in cotton, even in capri pants... you walk past a store, the doors are open...and....
Cold air hits you like a blast of, well, cold air.
"Come inside!", it says. "You don't have to buy anything. Just relax, walk around...touch the pretty things. Get cooled off. We don't want to pressure you...just slide in and look while you feel the cold air circulate around your poor, overheated body."
I'm sure there is somewhere I can wear this black cotton top with the cute buttons. After all, it was 40% off.
Friday, May 25, 2007
No charge would hold, no music was in my ears... I stopped cold in the middle of my walk, and did what I do with everything that quits working.
I shook it.
This did not help matters one single bit.
Therefore, I went to the Apple store, signed in, ran a bunch of errands, and came back at my appointed time. There was a woman waiting with me...she had translucent skin. I was fascinated by it, and finally had to go watch the demo of Apple's scriptwriting softwear before she worried I was some perv (I was patting myself down again, looking for my phone/glasses/nano).
Paul, a delightful young man who helped me 45 minutes after my appointment time...shook his head.
"I'm sorry, but, it's a goner." Actually, he said, "I'm sorry, but, it seems your nano no longer has any functionality." I liked my version better.
"Noooooooo!", I gasped, clutching my chest and thus finding my glasses. "Why, Paul, why? It was so young. I only had it a few months!"
Paul gently patted my hand. His shirt said 'Genius'. I knew Paul would give me the technical reason for my nano's demise, and I'd pretend to understand. I put on my "I understand" face I wear when the IBMchild (the eldest) starts to discuss his work. I'm still not sure what he does...something with computers and design stuff. I smile and nod and think about what I would have named streets if I'd have gotten my dream job as a child, naming streets in a sub-division.
I saw Paul's mouth moving, and focused on him, and not on 'Walkthis Way' for the Rock-n-Roll Subdivision I had created in my head.
The 'Genius' said, "It's not working."
"Yes, Paul, that's why I'm here. I told you that, that even the cute battery thing doesn't show up."
"Did you drop it in water or something?"
"No, I really only managed to make it work a few times. When we are done here, can you help me with the phone?"
Paul looked pained.
He did some work on a company Apple, and gave me one to play with. It confused me, so, I moved the mouse around, and went back to watching the screenwriting demo.
"Good news! We can replace it for free."
"Oh my heck!" Sometimes, I forget to curse. "How long to engrave it again?"
"Oh, we just give you one without the engraving."
"No engraving. Just the nano. And, you'll have to have one of our colours."
That's the last I remember. I could hear sounds and see lights... but, none of it made sense. My red nano, with "as long as i'm living, my mommy you'll be" not engraved on it???
WERE THEY MAD???
No, this was unacceptable.
"How long to get an exact replacement, Paul?", I asked while another employee fanned me and someone fetched me water. "HOW LONG, PAUL??"
"Um, two weeks?"
It was deal or no deal... I took the call from the booth. Paul was a gem, and I was getting what I wanted. He did make me leave his laptop behind.
I could hear faint cheering as I left the 'Genius' (my ass) center, the nano and a shipping box in hand.
It may be a month before I'm loaded up and ready again, but, I'll be able to run my thumb over those words...and that, my friends, is the important part.
FOOD ON THE STREETS, II
I've discovered the Cart on Lafayette.... fried rice and chicken... I'm not going to question if it is or isn't chicken... on a stick. Two dollars. Everything is a dollar per item, except the eggrolls, which are three for a dollar, and chicken wings are two for a dollar.
They are all fried in the same vat of fat. This adds a certain pique flavour to your food by the end of the day, which is when I tend to purchase my supper, making me popular on the train. Sometimes, I switch out the rice for rice noodles... I'm daring that way.
I don't want to think about the ingredients, much like the tamales, it's something you push to the back of your mind as you consume your meal... still, it's tasty, filling and dead ass cheap.
Blogsurfing, my morning ritual with my newly acquired coffee making talents, was started, a comment or two made, and then I was off on an errand.
I returned to continue, as all habits must be done before real things can continue. Lo and behold, one of my favourite journals is now invitation only... and I'm not invited, in spite of dual linkage. With my natural paranoia...I'm the one who thinks I'm the murderer in those murder mystery games, even when I know full well I'm not....I presume I've offended. I go over my overly mothering posts and emails. Nope. I did make an anon comment, overly mothering, and admitted to it in an email. Nope. I can't sit and fret. I will, but, that's silly. So, one link on my list of links will take you nowhere. Shame, it was a clever little journal.
Next, I discover that an issue that was eating at me for the past week, something so huge it was going to cut my living in New York to moving back to the land of Utes, something I thought was fixed, reared it's head at the 11th hour. It may not be resolved after all. I may, indeed, find that my days in this city I've grown part of are over. I've cried for an hour, done what I can to mend it, scrambled to resolve things from far away, fielding calls from two sides of the US, and now wait.
A play I saw last week has kept me in emotional chaos, bringing up old wounds from childhood and reminding me why I've cut myself from two brothers to one. Why I have limited contact with my mother.
I'm a Neil LaBute fan. I've had the pleasure of seeing a few of his works on stage, and in being in a limited directors cut of another.
Last week, I saw In a Dark, Dark House down on Christopher Street.
You can look up the actors and the plot online... it's a typical LaBute...no intermission, three acts...around 90 minutes. And, since there is a twist or two, I won't be telling much about what happens.
For me, what happened was crying. Quite a bit of silent crying. I watched pieces of me scatter across the stage. Two siblings, one the Golden Child, one...well, one not so beloved. Interaction, seeking of acceptance, lurching through life, sharp wit and words that cut the air. His best work? No...I always think each new piece is his best, but, since I know the next will top it...I have to say no. Riveting? Yes. Intense? Oh, yes. As always, there is an ending that lets you draw your own conclusions, as he loves to do. We all wondered in Wrecks, what did Ed Carr say to JoJo when she was dying. What four words did he whisper to the woman he claimed was the greatest love of all times, yet, he spent his life keeping a lie to retain that love? In that play, in this one, in all LaBute's work, the underlying bedrock is love. How we seek it, how we react to it, how we reject it...what we will do for it, how we throw it away. Man's inability to understand this emotion, this word that is second only to cancer as the scariest word we know. This work, however, touched me in personal ways.... times like this, I wish I had connections so I could talk to this playwright, and ask, "What was in your head? In your heart? What drove you?"
With this hovering over me, under me, with missing my support system, with suddenly feeling I've hurt someone I don't know, with the fear I may lose my dream here.... even with mastering my coffee pot, with the words I read from people who post that mean a great deal, with the emails I send back and forth, the dogs who hover over me, knowing something is wrong...one of them sitting here keeping my feet very clean as I type... I have this achy part that won't go away.
Someone asked on another journal what happens to people who give their lives to take care of people.... you end up looking around going, "What do I do now? There is no one to touch."
But, you know, like the lady with the green eyes said, "Tomorrow is another day.".
Thursday, May 24, 2007
A real film...a low budget, indy short...still, a real film. It's what I came here to do, to have a chance working in films...on both sides of the camera.
The director/writer is taking a chance with me...everyone else is long time experienced in the production side of the industry, working with the names. Me? I'm theater sliding over into the other side of this business. I answered her ad, she interviewed me along with other script supervisors with resumes that had more than non paid, hand held camera, filmed in the director's friend's apartments films. Where I did more of AD work than script supervision work.
She sent me her script, a beautiful little number, Scar, at the same time someone else sent me a script asking me to just time it. Her call to me came when I'd read his script, and was in a hurry to catch the train.
"Hi, Quin, this is K...so, did you time the script?"
"Yeah.. it's a good piece of work. I was surprised, considering the title. I love where you went with it."
"What's our timing? The AD is worried on the action sequences."
Without adjusting my mental files, I grabbed the number of the last figure I wrote down in my book,
"I got 90 minutes."
Dead silence. Crickets chirping.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I timed it twice. I think you can shave some time off in the action, but, you've got a lot of..."
She broke in, her voice high and breathless, "For a short???"
I realised my error and started to laugh, standing in the middle of the sidewalk.
"Oh, K! I gave you R's timing! Your script is just at 20 minutes."
That sealed our friendship and working relationship on this project, that we now call the 90 Minute Short.
Today, we met up, went over the script in it's 8th revision, and covered the times one more, well, time. I'm going to work with FX, which is going to be a first..hell, who am I kidding, all of this will be a first. It was funny, her editor asked her if I was looking at this from a stage point of view before he knew that was my background, and was pleased when she told him how I started.
I'm scared to death, I can't wait for filming to begin at the end of June. We shoot in Brooklyn...two nights, two day turnaround, two days. I am not giving up my day job, so, I'll be dead. Two more films that have SAG actors, as this does, and I'm union qualified. Then, I can give up my day job...maybe.
I didn't think I'd get the break. The class is short, because this is a learn as you go kind of thing... there are the basics, then, you find your own way what you have to do. I watch films along the lines of LOTR with it's multiple cameras, where you still usually have only one script supervisor or Company of Men, where the camera stayed steady for pretty much the entire film, and I'm wondering if I can do this... it's so different from stage management work. There, you block, you set it up, and that's that. No continuity problems, no meshing of film.
Here, I'm responsible for making sure that the film editor has what he needs to put it together as one seamless flow.
I heard an actor, a rising to big places actor, say in a class for film acting that you should get along with crews on film sets...but, if you don't, it's okay. They will always make sure you look good, that you are lit well, that your scenes stay in if you shine in them. That it is the actor who is out there putting themselves in front, making the effort.
I remember thinking, "Don't tell them that. Piss off a cinematographer, and you aren't lit perfectly. Make the film editor feel like a schmuck, and your good scene is on the floor. Treat the script supervisor like she is nothing, and she decides what scene is printed. And the sound guy hears everything. If anyone knows who is and who isn't, it's a crew."
I'm meandering here...my script is coffee stained, covered with pencil markings. I've walked the paces of the actors, know the lines by heart, have jumped over the sofa to time them jumping a fence, heard a police car on the way home from the train racing with lights on, and hit my stopwatch because I needed that kind of a time. My coloured pens are ready, so is my Polaroid.
My only stipulation to K was, I get half the swag at Sundance...she agreed. Works for me.
Let it be known, I am not an electric fancy pot coffee gal, I still used a percolator at home, and grew up with a drip pot. I have been drinking coffee, or the children's version of coffee-milk, since I was, oh....a year old or so. Caffeine doesn't bother me...I don't have to have coffee every morning, I drink tea when I'm in the U.K....I just like the taste of coffee.
Therefore, I took the aforementioned HH's advice, and tried the pot.
I worked it as one would a drip pot. What did I know? I put the grounds in, poured boiling water in the top compartment, sat down with my script and waited for it to drain through.
Two hours later, I had...nothing.
I then took the contraption apart, and looked it over.
"Ah-HA!", I said to myself.
My self answered, "What?"
"It's a cute little percolator. Now, this is clever."
And, I filled the bottom with water, and put it back together, put it on the open flame, and set it going.
Five minutes later, I had coffee.
All over the stove, the floor, the walls. It just spurted and splattered everywhere. I had around 2.3 ounces to drink. Yum.
Today, I used the big pot here at the loft. I was careful. I measured in slow, precise spoonfuls. I set a low flame. I hovered. When it perked, I turned off the heat, and removed it.
YES! QUIN MAKES COFFEE! QUIN HAS BLACK PERFECT COFFEE!!
I poured it into a cup, added sugar and opened the 'fridge to get the milk... I am from New Orleans...I don't drink it black.
No milk. Well, none without lumps.
I can either dress, put a hat on and schlep to the deli when I have a script I need to re-time...fuck it, lets be honest, I have journals to read and I'd have to brush my teeth, and I'm saving my pennies for Sunday....or, there is a can of Redi-Whip.
I don't know why, I don't want to know why.
I went for the Redi-Whip.
It has a unique flavour, slightly sweetish, and not my cup of, well, coffee. The main thrust is...
Quin made coffee. And, there are always little shops where you can 'borrow' creamers.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Out the loft windows, I can see fireworks... real fireworks, scattering over the New York City sky...framing the tall buildings. I've no idea the reason or the location, however, it's a lovely thing to sit and watch for ten minutes before Sayid and I get back to our struggle to stay together.
In fact, I could have sat with the fireworks for a good hour, and left 'Lost', well... lost.
Not the newly re-decorated flat. Not the dogs sitting, waiting...that's all the time.
No, I looked down, and my feet were odd.
I was raised by my maw maw, who had skin so soft and sweet smelling... and she would take me outside and say, "Do you see that dirt? How dry it is? The sun will do that to your skin. Go put a hat on.".
And, thus, in my childhood, I was the only kid around who wore a baseball cap to shield my skin. I never tanned in my life. Ever. When sunblock came out, I made a novena of thanks. My friends sat in the sun, I was a shade gal. As we sit here, I'm waiting for my SPF70 to sink in. My hands, arms, face and neck are covered with the stuff, even in winter, before I step out of the house.
I never thought of my feet.
With the arrival of spring, I've gone from cowboy boots every day, to flats.
The tops of my feet are.....tan. I have the whitest legs and toes around, and the tops of my feet are....tan.
Yes, indeed. I'd write more, but, a)it's self-indulgent and b) I have to put sunblock on my feet.
I didn't think it would cause much of a difference in my life, to be honest... I'd made a conscious choice to move here, to quit my old job, to walk away from something I helped create from the bottom up.
I didn't think I'd feel an ache.
I do....deep and solid.
In 2001, I was asked to join a board to create a theater festival in the town I lived in. There was already a large one in place, ours was to be a start up, small budget ($60K), one paid actor, no pay for anyone else. If you work in theater, you know this is how it goes.
Our first season was one set, different set pieces, same cast in rep, two set crew folk...I dragged HRH in to help... and we were off. We did The Odd Couple as one of the shows, the most heavily propped show in the business....on a set so far down on the apron, we couldn't lower the curtain. I did the set changes, along with propping, crewing, and a plethora of other things. We created a set change that went from Scene One to Scene Two with three of us in maid's aprons to the tune of Can-Can, and we cleared the stage at lights to half in 70 seconds.
We had applause every night for our set change.
When I left, we had a fully paid cast and crew and designers, three plays and multiple sets. booya. Without a woman who is the Director of the Board, it wouldn't be possible. She believes in the dream, and made sure things were done if I asked.
Every summer, as Production Manager, and two summers as Stage Manager (once for two plays in the same season)in addition to my PM job, I started in October....picking up Designers, hiring Directors, working with the Artistic Director and founder of the Festival. We struggled to raise money, our budget was larger every year.
Auditions in February and March...I learned to cast, taught by an amazing Artistic Director, we even picked up Equity once. That was a feather in our caps. An expensive one, but...and he was a charm.
But, what I loved was that first day of production, of putting my key in the theater door, opening it up, and smelling....theater. House lights up...I'm home.
Fresh and new and ready for us to create. Walking the stage, alone for a half hour to set up where I'd have my 'office', usually a table in the green room. Looking at the shop that didn't have a sink, glancing up to the booth that was so badly built, stage managers had to sit on a table and put their heads out the window to hear. Walking to the edge of the stage, and I could hear the audience, settling in, waiting.
In the next six weeks, the air was filled with the smell of lumber, paint, glue...rehearsal halls were scheduled to the last second, props run back and forth, lost at times, actors running lines in hallways.... tempers frayed. Costume designers creating amazing bits from pins and running seams and, yes, hot glue. Saws, hammers, lighting designers on catwalks, sound designers running sound WAY TOO LOUD... heaven.
I've run into scene pieces and knocked myself out. I've fallen down open stairwells and have the broken fingers and rebuilt shoulder to show for it. I've had my knee rebuilt. I've had to dash down three flights of stairs, run backstage, have the actors throw clothes on me, and ring a doorbell for ONE line, because at the end of a play, the playwright decided to put in a character that was only mentioned throughout the play. Why hire an actor when you can have the stage manager play the part for free?
I've helped move set pieces that the designer decided to put two feet off the ground...some were on smart caster's, some were on no caster will be left behind. With us up to a three show season, and enormous sets, we had a map on the wall, and moved the scenery like you do those little plastic puzzles around. Our TD was a genius, with a calm manner that kept things going. We bolted and had different spikes on the floor for each show, and with shared platforms, had to make sure we had them turned the right way. Glow tape was everywhere. Actors, crew, we all pushed and shoved and laughed...and...
The land of Utes never heard so much cursing.
The lighting designers were the best. We did God's Favorite once, and the lightening scene was so spectacular, people jumped. Of course, the fireplace fell on a tech, but, she didn't make a sound as she lay there under the piece until the curtain fell.
It was my home. I never walked though without stopping to thank anyone who was there, because with a starting company, many people work for little or nothing. I was there 15 hours a day, sometimes sleeping on a piece of set furniture. The first year, all of my home furniture was ON stage. I've made friends I'll never forget, I've had times that stay with me and still make me laugh. I've had arguments with designers, directors, and threatened an actor with a sharp pencil.
I wasn't joking when I did it. Do NOT fuck with me when I'm calling a show.
The season...things right, things wrong. Telling the house manager to hold the house, because a door knob fell off. Putting the last bit of paint on a second before they walk in... again, the hot glue gun going to put on a button that falls off seconds before an actor is to wear the costume.
But, theater...I love film, don't get me wrong...but, once you see it, you see it. Theater, it's never the same, ever. I watch every rehearsal, fitting in between keeping track of money and budgets and helping with building and all the other stuff. Tech week, oh, that's great fun! You work 18 hours a day, setting cues and the actors have to hold while you re-adjust, I've worked a show where I got my sound cues 35 minutes before we opened. That is why theater is so breath taking. It is never the same, ever. Ever. A rehearsal, a performance.... you get something different every time you see it...it will astound you with it's brilliance or it's plodding. The actors drag lines, and you can drive a truck through them...so, you have to nudge them without incurring hostility. They are so sparkling, and you have tears as you tear into the dressing room to dance. They feed from the audience, and the audience feeds from them.
In the beginning, we had one show with an audience of 15. It was one of our best shows...they laughed, and cheered, and the cast fed on it like kids on candy.
Last night, closing night...we strike three shows one after another. Done by midnight, dressing rooms cleaned, props boxed, costumes noted and put away. Sets torn down, I'm kept away from power tools. They make excuses to keep me away...sending me to other things. I pass out paychecks, we hug. I make my final speech, again thanking everyone for their work. I always cry. In the end, it's the crew and the cast. They make the magic. They are amazing and wonderful and this year I know who is working and I will not be there for it, knowing that, I sobbed.
I make a last sweep through. Stand again at the edge of the stage, look over the empty seats...hear the audience echoed back to me.
House lights out.
My key turns the lock in the door...we're done.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
- I miss my children, of course.
- Sunday films, when everyone was at church, and we worshipped at the Cinema 8, where admission was $4.25, and a bigassbucketofpopcorn with a free refill, two large drinks and a box of milkduds was $10. Can't ask for more than that. Even first run, top rated films were walk in easy.
- My friends. All of them, from Mrs. S, who taught me to can (didn't know I could do that, did you?), and always, ALWAYS makes me laugh to the SisterWife, MN, the SisterWife's husband...to M who gives the best haircuts in town, to K that keeps the Festival running. Everyone else that was part of my daily life, who knew me by sight, the people that I'd stop and talk to on the street after years of living there, of being part of the town fabric. It's tough losing that network. I was one of my doctor's first patients, I mean, my chart is in two digits. It's nice to know you can call, and yes, he'd make a house call for me. JD, a realtor who is a friend, who will clear her book to help me out.. and this woman is not just any small town realtor. She's second in the nation...and there when you ask.
- The air. It's so clear there, from my back deck, you can see for 100 miles to the next range of mountains. We sit at 5100 feet, on the edge of a park... it's clear and clean and beautiful. Crisp in the fall, so sharp, you can taste it.
- The night sky. You can see stars, filling the sky. Orion moves across my backyard sky with the seasons... one of his belt stars a birthday gift to a friend. Hard to wrap, but, easy to find. Last summer, the town lost power for four hours in the middle of the night. The ChosenOne, all 6'5" of him, woke me up and and he pulled himself up on the roof, leaving me on the deck, where I love to lie and look up at the only thing greater than we are. We sat there, wrapped in down blankets, watching the sky that was so full of stars, it hurt your eyes. Shooting stars streamed overhead. You could see the colours of the stars for once, red and blue... some had green tinged edges. Millions of stars...all for us to enjoy. I cried.
- The ease of getting around. We have, I believe, 18 stoplights. Yes, 18. You grow annoyed when it takes 15 minutes to get from Carl, Jr's. on the north end of town to WalMart on the south. Sad, innit?
- I miss my backyard. It is a huge lot, around 1/3 an acre, most of it rock and trees and a small patch of grass. The lawn part is surrounded by huge, tall lilac bushes...blooming now, filling the air. My roses will be budding now, in the front garden, there is a wild rose bush, around 6 ft across, it bursts into bloom for around two weeks, then it's done...but, oh!, when it blooms!
- My front fence. Silly, eh? But, one of the reasons I bought my house was my fence. It's an antique that the first owner had put in...it's iron, and has spikes on the top, and the gate squeaks no matter what you do...so, when I was in bed, in that silent place where you are asleep, but, not asleep...waiting for your children... I'd hear the gate when they came home, know they were safe, and drift to the deep part of sleep.
- People who say, "Oh, just take a left at the Mormon church."...which one? It's like saying take a left at Starbuck's here in the City...especially at Astor Place.
- The friends of my children...who have always, unfailingly been polite and kind and decent. My goldenboy, his wife, the ChosenOne's roommates, not a one has ever been a shitheel. We've been lucky.
Yeah... I love it here....sometimes, especially now, when I normally would be doing other things...things I'll get to later... I miss the land of Utes.
I miss Orion.
Let me think here....hmmm...headless turkeys and being locked up behind three doors in the Bronx or an 11th floor loft in Tribeca?
It was a hard choice, as always.
But, I sucked it up, went home, packed in around 2.35 minutes and am now happily surrounded by the dogs and the sounds of Broadway drifting up through the windows. For a week, at least, I can enjoy New York during the spring. I can walk the streets and visit the parks and relax. I can order in and get food that has meat I reconise and do actual live in New York City things.
I'm so excited, I'd swoon if I didn't think I'd hurt myself.
It was a great train ride here and back... with the pure excitement of knowing I wasn't going to have to take my life in my hands on the walk home, I paid attention to my surroundings again. A nice guy sat next to me, showing me the item he'd purchased for his fiancee for DR Mother's Day. It was a camera for her laptop that swivels to follow you around when you move.
"You should get one." he said. "That way, you can keep in touch with friends and family."
I pondered that for a moment. Do I want a camera that clicks on when I turn on my laptop? Do I want to deal with making sure my hair is not in a tangle of curls on one side of my head with smudges of mascara under my eyes? What if I'm just in a tshirt? I still remember the day my daughter, HRH, walked in my room as I was getting out of the shower. The mirror on my dresser caught the reflection of me in the bathroom mirror. All I heard was a horrified "GASP!"
We never discussed it, which is best, I think.
Nah, they know what I look like...let them soften that memory and not damage it with reality.
He went on to tell me he was a security guard, and wanted to be a Marine...but, when he wanted to enlist, his son had just been born, and he knew they'd ship him right over, so, he didn't join. We ended up chatting for some time before he left on 177th. Nice kid. He shook my hand, and told me Happy Mother's Day.
The trip back here contained a few...different is a good word...riders. Cardinal HolyShit got on a stop after mine. He was dressed in the full robes of cheap satin, deep red. It was somewhat like a hooker version of a Catholic Cardinal. There was the cute Cardinal hat, a clever purse, and bare feet. He blessed us all when he got on, then sat next to me. I was waiting for him to drop silver dimes, since Limbo is gone now, and there is no further use for them. Usually, I change the train at 125th...when he got up to leave, I stayed put.
There are always other stations.
Grand Central was pretty quiet at 10P. Only two bu..homeless folk sleeping away. After speaking to a MTA employee, I found out I never had to change trains... I can stay on the 4 the entire trip, and save three blocks of walking in the future. woot.
However, with the exchange already in place, I strolled onto the 6, and sat down next to Courtney, who was going home from a party...her last one since Tribeca Festival. She was an independent producer and director, and we had a great time talking film, people, and Lindsay Lohen. I was so tickled to pass on the blind item from Cajun, without mentioning names or sources. She is working on a project to bring back roller-derby as a reality show. Everyone has a project, it seems.
We exchanged numbers, and another contact was made. It's all about contacts in this business... even so, she was a hoot, I laughed a great deal, and it made the ride down shorter and worth the trouble.
So, I'm here... I'm free for a week of my usual work routine... a paid holiday if you will. I'll putter about, re-decorate, re-organise, be thankful to work for the woman I work for... and enjoy the city I've moved to...
Right now, I'm going to watch the Soprano's. I heard a rumour Meadow dies by the end of the season.
A little rooster told me so.
Hello, my name is Quin. Not really, but, I'll answer to it.
When my children were born, the nurses would mix up the little baby cribs, because they thought it was funny to watch me point out the wrong baby.
I have visual memory issues.
There, Jarhead, happy now? I put the yellow bunny in your crib, didn't I? I found you after that, didn't I? We only dropped you once out of the Moses basket, and when the lady pointed it out, Dad went back and picked you up, didn't he? It was your sister, HRH, we locked in the van.
That's what happens when you are the youngest of five. Then, she told the entire damn class about it at show and tell.
Like we meant to leave her there. I mean, we did remember. Well, your granddad did the first time, but, she was like, six days old, and we weren't used to her yet. The second time, we got her out.
We never forgot or did anything with TheInvestment. But, we did plan him. The rest of you will get over it, or should with all the money we've spent on therapy. It's not like we left you at gas stations... except that one time with...
Monday, May 21, 2007
Lately, I've grown attached to a few fellow journaler's. (is that a word?)
I find myself checking to see if they are getting sleep or how their date went or if people are being crass or if they are spilling the beans about certain television programs before I watch them.
It's not an addiction... I'm Mother Henning.
Now, it's not as if I'd wouldn't go out with any of these people and enjoy myself, waving smoke away from my face while I stood outside and laughed and talked. It's not as if I wouldn't drink and get that silly serious conversation you get into, where you know you solve the world's problems, then fall over laughing. It's not as if I wouldn't cook the best meatballs and red gravy they ever tasted if asked. I see them as potential friends.
I also see them as surrogate people for me to worry about. Not children...I have enough of those, and can barely remember their names. Sometimes, I can't remember what they look like, and have been known to walk past them at events... if you don't believe me, ask. More than once, I've walked into a crowded venue, scanning the rows, and will hear, "Ummm, Mom?", to find I've stepped past their seated or standing bodies in my search for them... sometimes saying, "Excuse me." as I did so.
Mother of the year, I'm not.
I am someone who worries, though. I am best at being concerned for people I care about. I like to make soup and say, "There, there" and mean it. I protect those who wiggle their way into my space. A friend of mine says I walk on the passenger car on the train of life, living in a private car where no one can touch me, but, worried about everyone else on the train.
They were right.
Here I am, in New York City....all my old worry about folk 1200 miles away... and I've got this empty space. I'm not all metal and glass... I'm too green for that. No, I'm not an earth mother...please, have you seen those shoes? I need someone to watch over.
Walking to a beat only we can hear....heads moving unconsciously, sometimes lips forming words.. in a worse case scenario, someone gives voice on the train, forgetting or not caring that only they are hearing the rhythm and back beat they sing so, um, beautifully to.
We are everywhere. Mine is bright red, with a sweet quote etched on the back that I say every time I talk to my children. When I am missing them while I listen to this gift I received, I run my fingers over the words, and they feel closer.
The Nano. Great-Grandchild of the Walkman, that beast that if you fell on it while skiing, would leave a bruise that lasted seven years, tops.
What is on your iPod nano?
Walking music? Rhythm of the Saints is my favourite when I'm walking with the dogs. Song I don't need to hear when I'm feeling I'll never be kissed again? Fields of Gold with Eva Cassidy singing...tears the fabric of my being. If I'm in a beyond sauntering mood... Long Black Veil with the Chieftains. A little John Prine to make you think or smile with... Elvis Costello to give a good mood. The right classics to listen to at the museum.
And, to just stroll along with, perhaps mutter the words into the air...to be dreamy with, to sigh with... to feel romantic with.... oh, can he can sing a love song!
Good-night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.
The Sexual Life of Catherine M.~ sucked. And in her case, literally. I love good erotica. This wasn't. This was barely passable. Here is a woman who proclaims her deepest desire, her addiction is to be in orgies, yet, goes on to say how she will lie passively while being boinked by dozens of men. At one point, I started singing, "I've had thousands of men, again and again..."
I seriously read the first two chapters, then played Gracie Allen, read the last chapter...and skipped from the middle towards the section that worked best for me. I'm not sure how her female parts haven't just plopped out on a Paris sidewalk somewhere. She should take a hint from all those men who reach for their crotches making sure everything is there, and check once in awhile. I give this book an ewww.
Water for Elephants~almost done, wait until Wednesday.
The Terror~ hey, it's a huge book, and I'm busy. Give me some time! I've got good expectations...so far, so good. I like Dan Simmons, he's from the town the kids grew up in, and used to dash about in a little red sportscar. I don't like all of his work, this one has my hopes up.
Next on my list is the aforementioned, helped me stop the chirping smoke alarm from hell, Princessess: The Daughters of George III.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
We spent the day spring cleaning.
I'd forgotten how much I hate spring cleaning.
We pulled out every shelf, emptied the closets, the drawers, the office, and put it back together. Everything was washed, dried with lavender, folded and put away. I got to alphabetise things, and do the closet in colour order.
It was almost better than....than.... chocolate.
You thought I was going to say sex, didn't you? Ha!
Like I know.
Two things about the day weren't so great: cleaning the windows, and losing my storage for my big rug and my first piece of dumpster diving, the table shown above.
The windows...ah! the windows. I've never seen so much filth. I did the usual vinegar and water and newspaper thing. Works a charm, to be honest. The insides sparkled...to the point, you could really see how bad the outside was.
We stood and pondered and sipped coffee.
The phone rang, and she did business while I decided to clean the outside as best I could.
There I was, sitting on the ledge of an 11th floor flat, hanging on to the sturdy... I hoped...frame, reaching up to wash and then dry these stupid fucking windows... and it's not even my flat! The results, however, are divine... as long as you don't raise the blinds more than 14.32 inches. Above that, and it's just yucky. Below that, though.. they sparkle.
ter six hours, and sushi, I was done for....gathering up my stored items... a huge damn rug and my beloved bedside table, I was ready for home. She offered to pay for a cab, and I didn't een look for a gypsy...no, I went Yello Cab. Ohhhhh.....
I hike downstairs, dragging my aloot...remembering why I've not moved it before now.
NOone stops on Broadway. Over to Church. The cabs fly by…bastards. I schlep down to 6th. They stop there….four in a row.
“Where you going?” I’ve exchanged
I’ve not seen such looks of horror since (children, stop reading Mom’s journal now, and scroll down two lines) my mother found my birth control pills when I was 19.
Finally, Sinjia took pity, slammed on his brakes, and took me on. I had to load the stuff into the trunk… “I have a bad back,” Yeah, well, I have a fused neck and cancer, Jack….and we were off. He had no idea where we were going, and kept calling for directions.
Understand, after my meds wear off, my memory goes. It’s why I write everything down in my red book… which I’d left at home. At this point in time, I honestly didn’t know my address. I knew the street, but, not the number.
There we were, a cab driver with no idea beyond the basics of English or the borough limits of the
He called a friend who did a MapQuest… I know this because I made out the words “MapQuest” and he talked us though. I found the Papaya place, yelled “TURN HERE!” and saw the turkey altar, knowing we were home.
He gave me long enough to pull my stuff out for the five flight walk up, didn’t give me my receipt, and glared at the very generous tip.
“Lady, you crazy living here!”
Gee, ya think?
Friday, May 18, 2007
They are usually cheap, they know fast routes, and you negotiate your fare before you get in...so, if you have some idea of where you are going, you can get a decent rate. I've gone from the UWS to Tribeca for $15. They are bigger, the trunks are huge, and they are more willing to talk...usually not to you, they live on their cell phone chattering in some language sometimes known only to 627 other people in the world, all of them driving gypsy cabs...and if it's not another cab driver, it's their wives. Most of the conversations with the last group are held in a loud, angry voice.
Since my return from L.A. a week ago, I've had the occasion to use two gypsy cabs... a high percentage considering I'm a train kinda gal.
The first one was to take me from Wash Heights to my new location here in the Bronx. I had taken the 'A' up to the Heights, and slept for the morning, went to work, took the 'A' back, packed two suitcases, grabbed some bags, and schlepped them up to 180th to get a cab... before I reached that location, a gypsy found me. He was a big Russian in a big towncar. "Lady, you need a cab?"
"Sure...I'm going to blah blah in the Bronx."
He quickly calculated. "$20"
"I'll give you $10"
"Okay, lady." He stopped, put my luggage and various sundry items in the trunk, the terrier and I hopped onto the leather back seat, and we were off.
Of course, the seat belts didn't work...it's a standard for a gypsy cab, I've discovered.
I gave him directions, and with that, in his heavy Russian dialect, he started to talk about his dogs, how his wife had lost one... then, his daughter saw someone with it, and the two of them paid the guy who stole it "....much, much moneys I must work hard to pay to get dogs back. I tells them they are stupid. Man has stolen dogs. I get dogs back." He was a bad Borat, now that I think about it. He segued easily to the next dog story, and how he had to take his girlfriend's dog to the vet...hold on... his girlfriend? I listened hard. Yes..he kept talking, and it was about his girlfriend.
Okay, maybe I misunderstood the wife thing earlier, maybe he was now divorced.
The phone rang twice while he drove me....distinct rings.
Once was the wife. Once was the girlfriend. He looked back at me in the mirror and smiled his yellow toothed smile, "I must keep phone calls straight." he said, and laughed.
We are not talking Brad Pitt. We are not talking Jon Levitt. This man had skin with pores so deep, you could plant trees. The texture looked as if he washed with sandpaper....a bulbous nose, more hair spouting out of his nose and ears than on his head, and a huge paunch. I was thinking, "If he's got two on the line, and I can't get a date, I might as well go slash my wrists, fall face first and let the terrier eat me."
He fielded calls between the two women, weaving in and out of traffic, the whole time chatting with me when he wasn't on the phone.
Before I got out, he let loose the bombshell...the girlfriend and wife go to Bingo together, they pretended not to know about his arrangement.
The man must have talents I SO did not want to know about.
My second trip was the other way, from the Bronx back to Wash Heights... I had to pick up some things in order to make life a bit more comfortable in the new flat. Since my big luggage wasn't moved, and since it's beyond my abilities to move two hunking big pieces of packed stuff, I have to move bits at a time. I only had a few shirts, and needed some more, along with important things, like my credit cards and my medicines.
I flagged down a cab on Fordham, and told the driver "I need to go to 181st and Ft Washington in Manhattan... $10. Now, I only have a $100 bill, can you change that?"
"Sure, no problem."
I'd forgotten the key phrase of Russians was "Sure, no problem" for everything you ask them. "Can you fix this shoe?" "Will you be able to come out Friday?" "Do you have any whole milk?" Each question brings a nod, a pursed mouth and the phrase, "Sure, no problem.".
During the drive, he told me his life story... he was here with his wife..no girlfriend this time, thank goodness... that he was usually a driving instructor, but... sweet jesus, I still shudder at this part... but, and this sentence was said as he went on a sidewalk with two wheels around a line of stopped cars:
"I not able to instruct now the drivers, because I have 14 points against license. Friend lets me drive cab to let me pay bills. You have to have rent and eat, right?" Big laughter followed this.
14 points against his license?? And he's driving me??
I kept asking, "Where are we going? Do you know where we are? I don't reconise this area. Shouldn't you take the bridge?"
"Sure, no problem.. I know short cut." He continued to tell me of his 14 points, and how he'd get some points back soon, as we weaved back and forth in traffic, his hand never off the horn... at this point, I'd tied two sections of seat belt around my waist, and was regretting giving my St Christopher medal to a friend.
He stops, and says, "Here, missus, here is your location. You pay."
"You want 181st and Washington. Here. You are here."
"No, I said FORT Washington. I don't know where in the hell we are."
Laughter issued forth. "Oh, FORT Washington. English not so good." Of course not, you've only lived her sixteen fucking years. "I take you Ft Washington now, we go over bridge."
Oh, well, there's a good idea.
"I'm still only paying $10." I was sticking to my guns.
Careening down some road, squealing around corners, we arrived. I picked apart the square knot, scooped up the quivering terrier, and asked for change back from my hundred.
"Why you not say you have only this? I not have change."
I considered hitting him with the laptop... but, it's still working, why destroy it.
We drove to a local deli I know, and negotiated what would stay with him while I went inside for change. He wanted the laptop or the bill, I left the terrier.
I gave him a dollar tip with his $10 fare for the scenic route to my destination.
He yelled did I think that was a fair tip.... I turned around from the sidewalk and said, "Sure, no problem."
As I slipped off the books, plummeting to my wood floor, curses, books and barstool flying in all directions....the terrier never moving from her slumber, I managed to take the alarm with me, leaving wires hanging from the hole in the ceiling.
Yes, I am the ruler of the sub-let apartment.
I don't have any more, and I need one...I need it now. I woke up around 4A with the mad desire to replace the batteries... it was so intense, I could hear a voice saying, "low battery" in this tone I normally wouldn't use.
A tone accompanied with a high pitched noise. Yes, there is a high pitched sound accompanied by a computer voice emitting from the smoke alarm located on the ten foot ceiling that is located in the Bronx apartment that Quin lives in.
The super said he'd be up, ".....maybe sometime tomorrow." I think that's what he said. He may have said, "....baby borrow". I don't know. I kept pointing up and saying, "Fifth floor. Loud alarm. I'll knock it off the ceiling." He smiled and said, "....later. I don't know." or "....taters gonna blow."
Who in the world actually buys good batteries these days? Someone did, and it's in my smoke alarm....helping the voice announce it's going bad.
Shame more things didn't announce the battery was going bad before they did at a critical point.
You know... like flashlights.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I liked you lots and lots when you were on American Idol. I never voted for you, but, I didn't vote for anyone, so, don't take it personally, okay? But, I thought you were decent enough.
That was until today, when I had the unpleasant chat with your security person, Spitty.
Your bigass bus was parked on Canal, right there by West Broadway, you know where I mean. There were a few of us waiting to cross the street...and suddenly, it started to back up. It bumped one lady, who fell into another couple who yelled at the dogs and I to look out, we were going to be killed.
Being a fan of Dead Like Me, my first inclination was to look up for a falling toilet.
It was, however, the bigass bus backing up even further. We all yelled, in a polite New York fashion, "HEY, ASSHOLE!". Asshole ignored us, and kept backing up.
We crossed the street, a few of the crossers still yelling...I just crossed.
On my way back, I noticed someone walking towards the bus, so, I thought to myself, "Self, perhaps you can point out they almost hit some people." Self said, "What?"
The guy started sprinting to the bus, that had a sign on it saying, DO NOT KNOCK.
Sometimes, I pretend I don't read English.
Spitty came to the door and said, "Yeah?"
I took off my fine shades, and started in a nice way, "Earlier, y'all started backing up the bus, and there were a number of people back there... " I got that far when he leaned over and spit at my feet.
A much better writer than myself, Ms. Model herself, addressed the spitting issue and how horrid it is when men decide to expel saliva from their mouth.
He spit, and I was struck dumb. "Well, we'll just have to look out for you folk, won't we?"
"You spit." was all I could say....and suddenly my voice that has never had an accent sounded like my Momma's Mississippi slur. "You spit. Son, where were you raised?"
I'd have set the pit bull on him, but, the best he'd have done was shed white hair all over his nasty black security shirt.
"M'am...." I put my red sunglasses back on, spun on my cowboy boot heel and walked away, still speechless.
And, I couldn't even come up with a snappy retort.
I sit shamed still.
Son, where were all of you raised?
*name correctly spelled, thanks to Miss Andrea.
I'm wide awake at 6.30, trying to tell myself to sleep in... I was up late re-reading The Road (first read while waiting to go into remission) and even though I know I should get up and time this script, I want to sleep... but, noooooooo, the eyes stay shut, the body is awake.
Make the bed... Sunday is my only day to ignore it....and off to find coffee. I guess I should buy a machine to tote with my suitcases on my monthly moves, until then, it's a morning adventure.
Now, normally, I just get a cup from the pizza guy on the way to the train. He knows already how I like it, we chat, and I balance my $1 cup...a blow against the evil corporate giant... you can't FIND a Starbucks around here... the computer bag and the terrier (how you doin' anon?) I head for the train. With the new wide awake at this hour, I'm searching out coffee at a closer spot, and I found one... the deli on the corner.
The best thing there is the little group that gathers in the doorway. Same group, every morning...three women, and Flava Flav's look-alike cousin, Dinky-Dave. I'm not sure that's his name, but, it works for me. The women seem to have six words in their vocabulary, 'I', 'tolt', muthafucker', 'bitch', 'ah-huh' and one I can't understand. Oh, and girl or sista is thrown in on occasion.
Dinky-Dave has the FF glasses, the clothes, the big ass clock thing on his neck. No, really, he does. And, he has Ft Knox in his mouth. I spend my time trying not to stare at his teeth while he speaks to me.
He has a cocker spaniel mix named Bubbles. He called her Bubbles because she farts all the time. He didn't have to tell me about the farts. The air around Bubbles is ripe. Since he stands by the counter, you order your coffee in this manner: standing outside, you take a deep breath, dash past the cursing Fates, and speaking quickly, say, "Onelargecoffeeonesugarcreamthankyouverymuch" give them a dollar and back towards the door.
At this point, DD will move towards the terrier and I to see how we are. "How you doing my fine thing?"
"Oh, just fine, thanks."
The Fates turn, too. "Sista, isn't this a fine day. I tolt that bitch if that muthafucker came to my house, I'd kill his ass... and you know what he did?"
"Umm.. did he come over?"
"NO!! Muthafucka went to that bitch's house instead. I'm tolt him, I'm gonna kill his ass. Bitchass fucka."
DD at this point is standing by me flirting. "So, my fine lady, what are you doin' today?" Bubbles lets go with a particularly Olympic quality fart. DD is impervious to the cloud that rises from her rear end. The terrier backs away.
"What? Oh, yes, work. I'm going to work."
The guy behind the counter finds this vastly amusing, and calls out, "Mamiii, your coffee is here."
I wade though clouds of Bubbles, curse words, cheap aftershave and brush the dangling clock to grab my coffee and retrace my steps.
Exiting, I hear, "I'm going to that mutha's house and if that bitch is there, dey both gonna die."
"Ah-huh, I hear dat, sista."
Sweet Mother of God.
Monday, May 14, 2007
There is this woman, I've no idea what her name is... we communicate by me saying "Dos" (yes, I've added another word to my vocabulary) and her saying "Quatro dollars"....and we exchange money for the best tamales I've ever put into this mouth, ever.
They are wrapped in banana leaves, then in foil...you get them still hot, with the masa just the right texture, and the meat..whatever it is, I didn't ask... is flavoured so that you wish you'd bought more than dos.
I always remember the story my dad told of the tamale store in Monroe, Louisiana when he was a kid... he'd get his paycheque from delivering papers, and take a dollar to buy a bakers dozen, eating one on the way home. They were closed down when it was discovered they were buying dead horses. He maintained they were the best tamales, ever. Of course, he also ate dog in Korea...so, he wasn't too picky.
She asks if I want the picante... and gives me a sly grin...I can barely get the regular ones down. I eat them with a quart of milk to coat my throat... my stomach asks me what in the hell I'm doing, my lips burn, and I know I'll be burping all evening.
It's SO worth every single bite.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
My kids all checked in, with a variety of times in between calls...one told me he'd failed to get a card, but, go to the store, find the card I liked the best, put it in an envelope, open the envelope, pretend he'd signed it, and there I was...a card from him!
I've never had a Mother's Day away from all of my kids...oh, one or two, but, never all of them. Eldest daughter is ready to pop... the only one missing from the photo attached, taken two years ago. Jarhead is getting things together before coming here in June, the Tall one is going to start a new job...the Boy is still my nerd, and HRH is studying for finals, her smile in her voice when she talks to me.
I miss all of them, their laughs, their bad jokes... the Tall one tricked HRH into seeing 28 Days later, something I'd have been there for...both of us screaming at the gore. Ah, fun times!
I made the call to my mom, timing it for exactly 15 minutes... and a longer one to my loved Aunt. C is better, and we'll have a long catch up conversation tomorrow, so, that helped the day be a good one. I scored a paying script supervision job...no low pay indie job, a real one. woot.
Still...no kids, and the mamiiii's of the neighborhood don't really make up for it... I've had Chinese food two days in a row, mango sherbert, and two bottles of lemonade.
Nothing like missing family to make your food consumption go up and get weird.
Love you, kids... love you forever, like you for always.. as long as I'm living, my babies you'll be.
The red eye earns it's name for many reasons...the main one being, well, you have red eyes. Try as you might, you can't really sleep, your body is trying to re-adjust to east coast time, you take some kind of sleeping aid and in the back of your weary mind, you think, "I can't sleep, I have to work!" so, you never fall to a full sleep...plus, there is that concern of snoring...and sleep drool.
A friend of mine once met a great guy in first class on the red eye from LA to NYC...they chatted, flirted, discussed meeting up, had a drink or two, even exchanged saliva and she drifted off, her head falling over onto his very expensive suit coat that he'd not yet removed. Upon arrival, she felt him not in a gentle way, nudging her to move.
She was unable to easily do so...seems she'd drooled during her snoring session that had started somewhere over Denver. Mixing vodka and her sleeping pill was a no-no. She'd drooled over his shoulder and down the front of his suit. Did I mention it was very, very expensive? She had to peel her face off of the fabric, the entire time muttering apologies and offering her card to pay for the cleaning...
Needless to say, the date never happened, nor did he take her up on the cleaning. I believe she said the air was rather frosty around him, and she sat in her seat until the clean up crew boarded.
Where was I? Oh, yes.. the flight.
It started to go poorly when I was ticketed, had the flight changed, talked to countless United personnel, all of them cooing over the terrier, all of them looking at my boarding and ticketing information.... and then was stopped by the Wicked Rulekeeper of the West; Raoul.
"Excuse me, where is the dog's luggage marker?"
"What?" I tend to say 'what' quite a bit in life.
"The luggage marker? The one they gave you to show you paid the $85 for the dog to fly."
"I wasn't given a marker. I paid the money at JFK, and I walked on"
"Ohhhhhhhh...well, that was one way. You have to pay again."
"What?" (see what I mean?)
"You have to pay again."
"The woman told me it was round trip."
"No, it is one way."
"You mean, she's carry on luggage, I've talked to at least three people who have looked at my itinerary, who've played with her, the woman who changed my stuff at JFK and charged me then and told me it was a round trip fare... all of them were wrong, and you are collecting my $85 AGAIN???"
"Only if you want to fly home." The bastard had the nerve to smirk.
There went the cab ride home.
We had a spare seat between us, and a Guido in front of me on the trip home. I am quickly becoming a real New York person, as the Guido was rude, had on all the Guido paraphernalia, and was all I've read they are on certain blogs that will remain nameless *coughCAJUNBOYcough*
Making the 'A' train as it arrived was a blessing... I only had to go to 181st, up to the old flat, sleep for three hours, then, back down to Tribeca, work, back up to 181st, get the keys for the new place, take a cab with my suitcases that were left because my new landlord had moved the big cases and settle in.
The car had four people in it, counting myself. I was on the long seat, towards the front of the car.. this is important. On the little short seat by the front door was a woman and her companion... I settled in, put on my wonderful vintage red raybans and closed my eyes...no people watching for this woman.
I looked up to see the woman bent over me the way a parent bends over a child, with that same look...
"You may not realise it, but, this train will soon fill with commuters, it's the 7A train, and, your dog may get nervous. Perhaps you should put it in the case."
"Oh, I appreciate your kindness (I actually did) but, she's a train dog..she rides it every day. See? (she was already asleep on my lap). She's been in the case for over five hours, and needs to be out so she can stretch. But, thank you." I smiled...glasses on, I settled back.
She didn't go away.
"To be honest, I'm nervous with your dog out."
"I'm nervous. I'm worried she might get violent."
"Ummm. you are a good, what, 10-15 feet away? The dog is sleeping. I promise, if she gets upset, I'll put her away. Thanks again." Glasses back on.
She stood her ground.
And raised her voice... understand, the dog never moved.
"THIS IS AGAINST THE LAW!!! IF YOU DOG GOES CRAZY AND BITES ME, I COULD SUE YOU!!"
"First off, I've checked, she can sit on my lap. Secondly, if you sue, I hope you wear a size 8 1/2, because all you will get is 25 pairs of shoes."
"YOU ARE A LAW BREAKER!!! YOU SHOULD BE ARRESTED!!!! THIS IS DISGUSTING!!!"
By now, we've picked up other passengers, who are listening. The terrier has opened one eye.
And I've had it. I stared hard, and didn't raise my voice, but, I did project it.
"Lady, rape is against the law. Molesting children is against the law. Electing George Bush and letting our young men and women die in Iraq is most definitely disgusting. If you think that my ten pound dog sleeping on my lap is the worst thing you can be upset about, your priorities are fucked up. Go sit down, and worry about something that has a huge impact on society, like people who tear the tags off of their pillows and mattresses."
She backed off...her boyfriend yelled... "SHUT UP, YOU!!"
I said, "Fuck...and, let me think about it...hmmmm...yesss.... oh, right...you." Glare done, glasses on, terrier still snoozing...I think I won.
This means I've lived in three of five boroughs, met a Guido, been called mamiii, and had an altercation on the train.
Oh, yeah, and my big cases didn't get moved, so, I have to take the 4 down, switch over to the A, go uptown to the old place, and move one at a time, bringing them back here, where I pull them up five flights of stairs.
Ich bin ein New Yorker....or in my hood, it's Soy un Nuevo Yorker.