Thursday, June 30, 2005

How to tell when a very tall man is coming on to you:

1. He stands WAY too close. So close, in fact, that you need to tilt up your head and roll your eyes up so as not to strain your neck.
2. He presses his business card firmly into your palm, reiterating that if you have any more questions or needs. ANY questions or needs - you should call him.
3. His voice lowers and smooths - becomes vaguely Barry Whitesque in it's timbre. And he speaks softly so you have to lean in closer.
4. He is so incredibly obvious about it that even you get it - you who don't get it at any other time, usually causing your girlfriend to elbow you later and demand "What the hell was that?!"

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cuidado, chinches!

I was recently called to task by a colleague for using the word urbanity innappropriately.

Pft. Says her.

When I use the word, I am often bemoaning it's lack in my everyday life - like when I say I live in Ann Arbor and hunger deeply for urbanity.

No. It does not mean metropolitan, it means polished. I meant to use the word with all of its ensuing judgements about rural and urban lifestyles...principally that in no self-respecting town of any polished consequence, can you no longer purchase dinner after 9:00pm.

Hence, *urbanity* and the lack thereof.

However, I have, this week, been exposed to the seamy and sordid underbelly reflecting the horror of living so intimately with so many different people.



I don't think I've ever been so grossed out in all of my life - high point of which was when I popped one.

One of my housemates, a pasty, sugar-consuming, peroxide blond from Indiana, brought them with her from a recent hotel stay in Maryland. Proceded to infect her bed, and cause a huge kafuffle, involving the disposal of two couches, a mattress, inumerable pillows, and a full-house spray of residual insecticides which caused me to dream of tornados all last night. This housemate refused to help clean up, complained about having to put her stuff in plastic bags, and refuses to wash or dry her clothes on hot - as she is afraid to ruin them. She, the infector, has been singularly unhelpful with the entire process.

Luckily, the bugs never came up to our floor, and we are doing our best to make sure they stay that way. I, sweet as I am, have yet to recieve a single bite, thank god, and am being outrageously careful and clean about the entire business.

The couches are out on the patio - and in the hopes that they do not get recycled by some unsuspecting garbage-pickers (I know we have strapped at least three garbage couches onto the car roof), I have put signs on them - "Warning, Bedbugs!"

I thought for a moment, went back inside and made more signs, this time in spanish.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

To Touch You

I can't help it - I touch people. I think I always have, but recently, in this city jammed full of people, I can't get enough.
Nobody's yelled, nobody's jerked away, but then again, nobody else does it. Italian men with traveling backpacks ask me for directions to M street and I touch them gently on the arm, unified as we are in geographic ignorance.

Buses are the worst for me - I'm a secret bus cuddler. Not necessarily with my body or my hands, but with my eyes.

Somehow, plugged into the beanPod, I allow my lazy eyes to roam and rest, taking in details that are not mine to know: the curl of hair against a nape, the spread of toes for balance, the huddle of a shoulder to define personal space. How I love humanity.

I am aware, of course, that left stranded on an island with 95% of these people, I would remorselessly kill them for my own survival (not for food, you see, but because they were so exceedingly annoying).

However, anonymously on the bus, I am allowed to open small doors and plug into this subsurface humanity. I look at grizzled jaws and dead, soft eyes and think: once you were loved, once you were cherished, and here you are in this tall, square world where no one knows your name anymore - how did your mother love you, can I see the mark of it on your skin? Do you remember a time when life was soft and round and you were safe, safe, safe?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The wheels on the bus

I now have a lovely little bus ride - from Georgetown to the White House and back again each day. I try to stay up front as long as I can, watching the traffic and the people and the embassies and the magnolias. I have Nick Drake playing - one song that makes me smile and smile and smile.

The thing is, the busses get so crowded, and they jerk around so - they're no place for the unsure-footed. Usually this isn't a problem, since 80% of the commuting population are earnest young interns in ties or sweater sets (me among them, I guess).

This evening, I got on the bus a little late, and as we rolled through a financial-looking district, old men in rumpled suits and square leather briefcases made their way about half-back. They looked tired and hot, and way past retirement age, and I my heart sank a little at their situation. I always assume the worst, you know, about a person's life.

One of the men, a small gentleman with withered hands was given a seat by a willowy brunette wearing "business" casual slung low about her hips. The girls standing in front of me rolled their eyes at one another and complained loudly about the rude people who did not give over seats to older busriders. They chewed on this for awhile, complaining to one another and tilting their heads pertly this way and that.

Unbelievably, when a seat vacated near them, they practically dove for it, basically under the arm of the other white-haired fellow, round and flushed and with a billowing, wrinkled suit. He was a very large man, and he tried to hold onto two bars to keep his balance. I was a few seats behind him, but hopped up and quietly reached over to tap his shoulder. He took the seat gratefully.

As the bus emptied out, the young interns watched him with sad watery eyes, and, inexplicably glanced at me, as if I knew something about aging, having reached across to touch this alien form in their midst.

"I could never," their expressions begged, "I could never be old and fat and alone on a bus with young uncaring children. Could I? I will always be young, I will always be beautiful, I will always have my life curling out before me with untold promises and safe, sure paths."

"Thank you," he whispered at me as he settled next to a young man wearing a borrowed shirt.

"It's my pleasure," I said and turned my face towards him and smiled with my mouth and my eyes.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Intimacy issues

Please note:

Sharing IPods is not always a good idea.

An aquaintance and I were recently working together and noticed that we had the tell-tale white wires in our ears and were rocking out as we prepped 400 bags for an event. As excited as we both were about our new and fabulous machines (and me just having recieved the BeanPod last week), we giddily decided to exchange music for a half hour as we worked.

As I said...not such a good idea.

You think that you can deal with other people's music - but it's different when it's in your head and it's never ending pop. Within 15 minutes, he turned to me and said quietly "Want to change back?" and I couldn't get the shit out of my head fast enough.

Friday, June 10, 2005

31 Things

31. My yahoo news account is set to ping me anytime a story involving giant squid comes up. Happens a lot recently.

30. I have a collection of mixers and aprons. Things that remind me not of femininity, but of domesticity.

29. Once I tried to teach a cat to waltz. It was a measured success.

28. One summer I watched the movie Auntie Mame twice a day, every day.

27. For a while, I strung along 4 to 5 prison pen pals.

26. I really prefer to swim naked.

25. I feel I should be able to control time better than I do now.

24. I believe I can control time a little bit already.

23. For a while, I hallucinated that I was hearing marching bands.

22. I once pickled 50 pounds of beets over four days.

21. I didn't go out drinking on my 21st birthday.

20. I fell for Alexis the minute I saw her from across the dining room at Smith.

19. When I was 19, I took a riverboat trip up the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. I convinced the boatman to swim with me, and I thought I was being totally non-sexual because I kept my underwear on.

18. I wet the bed until I was 18 years old.

17. I wore my hair as "mold" to my high school graduation. I painted it yellow-green, and pinned red beads on stalks (fruiting bodies) all over.

16. I crashed the first car my parents ever let me drive. For no good reason. I still get a sinking feeling when I think about it.

15. I played various versions of Ultima all through my childhood and adolescence. Until they stopped making it for Apple. My mom, sister and I though that the "gelatinous cube" was the scariest damn thing.

14. I spent a lot of my youth wandering around our hundred-acre woods, touching suspicious stumps and yelling into the air, demanding entry to the world I felt was just out of my reach - If only I could find the right door in/out.

13. I wore overalls exclusively for about four years of my life.

12. I was in a pretty yucky bike accident, where I was sorta unconscious for hours. I haven't felt safe on a bike since.

11. I never wore shoes in the summer, and I would leave greasy black footprints where ever I walked.

10. I love, love, love to dance the Hokey Pokey.

9. I used to get Poison Ivy on my face from kissing my dog's belly.

8. I'm the youngest in my family...and I am a typical, typical little sister. I have a very fluid understanding of "other people's things," and I believe that food always tastes better if it's off someone else's plate.

7. Sometimes I see things in slow motion.

6. I'm kind of a libertarian.

5. I was the only Jew in my school (except for my sisters) and my teachers would try to get me to do reports on Chanukah.

4. We had to dress up as someone famous in third grade - I dressed up as Harpo Marx, but I broke my bike horn before I even got to school. Excessive honking.

3. My greatest wish is that I lived closer to my family. Difficult, because my family members don't live close to each other.

2. I thought I'd have a kid by now.

1. Celebrating Shanukah has changed the way I feel about my life.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Secret Animalistic Self

So, Alexis got back last week from DC. She'd been there for six weeks, leaving me in charge of myself, the animals, the house, the neighborly relations, and our grass-covered postage stamps (front and back). Left with this sort of free reign, I reverted to a more animalistic, natural, sociopathic sort of lifestyle...

This included:

Reducing my daily activities to one of three options: Running, Drinking, Recovering (from running, drinking, or the vacillation between the two) - Oh, and saving the Shire

Not cleaning the house.

Ignoring the dogs.

Taking ridiculous numbers of baths.

Therefore, the Thursday before my girl's arrival found me madly vacuuming, straightening, and generally attempting to attain some semblance of respectable solidity. All was going quite swimmingly (except the inevitable breaks for Lavendar Sea-Salt Soaks) until I parked myself in front of the sink to wash a mountain of dishes. It's not that there were a threatening number of dishes, or that they were outrageously dirty - it's that the pile consisted solely of every cup in the house and EVERY KNIFE.

I ask you...what in God's name had I been doing for six weeks with only cups and knives. I have no recollection of it.

Horrible, horrible images come to mind of unwitting vampiric rites (I would be the vampire to neatly slice an artery and catch the resultant dinner in a Pokemon glass) or warm late-night carnal sacrifices consumed bent low over a kitchen sink.

I looked around the kitchen for smears of blood.

And wondered what the neighbors had seen...good thing the Dogwood bushes are higher this year.

Honestly, it's been a week, and I cannot figure out what I was doing with all of those knives, and nothing else. Perhaps it's just that I'm living my true Viking Meadhall lifestyle, with only a Tankard and a rusty blade to sustain me. Good thing the Wench came home - it's unclear where I would have gone a'pillaging next.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

4 Things learned before 9:12am, 5 days before a 31st birthday

1. Live Dixieland Jazz is the best running music ever. Ever. Just as you are rounding out the first mile, and you keep getting passed by 7-year-olds, and the sun is hot and the road seems long...Dixieland Jazz will make it all okay.

2. Don't accept gatorade on the hoof.

3. You know all that stupid cheering at you see being done from the sidelines at races? That feels inexplicably good. I mean, so good it sends chills down my back.

4. No matter what, you can find the strength to keep your head up and run through the finish line.