Monday, July 21, 2008

Quote of the Day

{When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.} ~Chinese Proverb

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hot and Heavy

About 2 years ago I was in the laundromat across the stinky street from our apartment. This place is pretty close to hell, not to belittle all of the people who have legitimately suffered in this world, but suffice it to say that I hate it. They have no air conditioning and when I am by the dryers I am nervous something is going to go up in flames its so hot. There are little pieces of lint flying in the air, there is no room to move around, and people are ruthless with their clothes, they will remove your stuff in an instant if you are not there guarding it. The heat back there seems to amp up the tension too.

Also, they hate me there.

So 2 years ago, I tried to open the washer when my clothes were done. I pulled and I pulled on the rusty old crusty door, and then it broke. A little piece of metal went tumbling on to the tile floor and the woman who works there started telling me off in Spanish. Since then I have avoided the place. But its the closest one to our house, so I drop off my laundry instead. I just dont want to think about it, or look them in the eye.

Today I took the day off and decided to do a few loads, I was feeling domestic, productive and well adjusted. So I get in there, the woman who hates me is in there in full effect. I get some definite dirty looks, and then she starts speaking to her colleague about me in Spanish. I gingerly maneuver my way around the place, smiling awkwardly at everyone I look at, trying not to make a stir, trying to act repentant and reformed, knowing they have their eyes on me.

One of my washers was almost done, but there were no available dryers in sight, which reminded my why the logistics of laundry just really get to me, the whole production just sucks the goddamn life out of me. Then one of my washers finished, so I get the clothes out and someone offers me a dryer that already has money on it, I was so surprised and felt like well maybe this isnt so bad after all. Then I try to take my cart down this little ramp they have and there is a small boy of about 3 or 4 occupying it and rolling a little can of vienna franks down the ramp and enjoying himself immensely. I smile and say excuse me and feel almost charmed by the place.

Then my other load is done in the washer. I try to open the door and I pull and I pull and then I hear the man who works there say to me in broken english that I have to wait for the light to go off on the washer before I open the door. I didnt break anything this time, but I just feel so fucking defeated and stupid. I know they know I am the idiot who broke the door two years ago, then I had to go and confirm my identity by doing the same exact thing again after two years.

And as I sit here and write this I still have to go back and get my clothes out of the dryer...but after that...never, *ever* again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Palimpsest Oven

“And each time it heated up, it smelled of a thousand meals”, my brother said to describe his oven, which had not been cleaned in almost forever. He then went on to describe the lengths that he had gone to to clean it, resorting to a humble straight edged blade as the most effective tool. This got me thinking, and not about cleaning my oven, but about this concept of layers over time.

I learned this word Palimpsest, which describes a manuscript that is written on and then scraped away and then written on again. These manuscripts were often made of parchment and were used as far back as the sixth century. There is residue over time of the thousand words that it once said. I have never seen one of these in person, although I imagine them rich, muddled, and interesting.

I love this idea of layers, of re-use of the same surface, of accumulation, of transformation, of stories told.

This week I went to have a blood test and as they were taking my blood I wondered what story my blood would tell. It made me uneasy that my blood knows stories about me that I will never know. But then I felt comfort in this idea of it retaining information that it has gathered over time and I thought again of the oven, maybe he should not have cleaned it. Maybe the smells it emitted could have solved a mystery or something.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Something Cool

Today I had a doctors appointment and after I emerged from my visit I decided to get gelato, in a cone. Almost every time I came back from the doctors office when I was little, my Mom and I used to stop at Carvel for a small chocolate cone with rainbow sprinkles. It always made me feel good, even if I had asthma, and it was Mom approved, which made it even better.

It was hot out today. As I walked from the counter where I got my cone, over to pay, some coffee flavored gelato dripped onto my foot. I had sandals on. It was cool and strange and landed at the highest point on my foot and then quickly swooshed down to my sandal. I was helpless. Had a cone in one hand and my money in the other, looking sufficiently kid-like and awkward in the process.

Then I walked back to the bus and enjoyed my cone thouroughy as I walked down the street. But I forgot about my foot and never wiped it off.

Then I got to work and changed into my closed toed shoes for the lab and I noticed a wet patch on my sandal. I immediately thought I had had a blister that burst or that I was bleeding brown liquid or something. I frantically touched my foot and saw a dark mark on my foot where the sandal strap had been, which must indicate that I am dying of course. But, then I remembered the gelato on my foot and I felt silly for jumping to all of those wild conclusions. And it was nice to know that it was just something cool and a little bit sticky.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Expectations of Experience

We could not hear each other talk. I had to repeat myself at least three times which made what I had to say seem tedious and unimportant. We had wandered into a sushi place that had live music, a band called The Blues Buddha was playing. Now, dont get me wrong, they were pretty good, but I just wasnt in the mood.

I read a quote the other day that said something like {if the music is too loud, then you are too old}, and that is how I felt. My husband and I are not really that old, but in the last few months I have just felt like I am winding down. Cant stay up too late, dont enjoy loud music, Joe even called the police because of too many fireworks on the 4th of July. And as I lay in bed I heard him refer to them as {explosives}. I wasnt sure what had gotten into him, the man who asks in stores if they sell those sneakers with wheels on them for adults.

But thats not the story I want to tell. As we ate sushi and yelled across the table we were talking about New York City and how if I leave in the next few years, I will not ever have felt that I truly experienced it. In New York there is an underground to the underground and I know I have not even scratched the damn surface. I am not amazingly wealthy and seeing that New York, or very poor and experiencing it that way. I am not very old, or young, I dont like things too harsh or too cushy. Which brought me to my next idea.

What truly constitutes experiencing something? seeing it? feeling it? When you experience the Grand Canyon, for example, although I have never been, don’t you just drive for miles and then get out of the car and take pictures and talk about how it looks like a painting? and is that experiencing it? and, as for New York, is riding the subway, walking around with your ipod, gawking at the prices of everything, sitting in dirty parks, hearing loud noises, walking and walking, carrying heavy awkward packages for blocks, having a chatty cab driver, seeing a rat or a roach, smelling garbage, is that expereincing it? Have I really experienced it? There is more to it I think, Joe says there is not, and I am not sure where that leaves me. All of my senses have been bombarded by New York, but I still feel as though I have lived as a ghost here, but maybe thats just what this city wants you to feel.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Coca Cola Ad

This is a Coke advertisement that ran in movie theatres a few years ago.

I have always loved it.

Click on title above for link and Happy 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You are invited.

With the exception of my brother Dan, everyone in my family hates parties, no matter what the occasion. A baby's first birthday, a graduation party, heaven help us if its a wedding, an engagement party, family reunion, 70th Birthday, you name it. When an invitation arrives in the mail at my parents house, its treated like a jury duty summons, a letter from the IRS or a stink bomb. Sighs are heard for miles around, how-can-we-get-out-of-this schemes start percolating immediately, dread builds. I have grown to accept and mimic this party hating mentality, to the point where I thought it was only right to dread my own wedding, to a man I am wildly in love with, because that is just what you do.

The other evening we were at a friends wedding and the father of the bride was giving his speech. I don't know these people all that well and I would imagine that my distance encouraged my ephipany along. As the sea of "your so specials", "I love yous" and "were just so happy for yous" rose around us, it finally hit me. Like a brick of RSVP cards falling from the sky. It had been a coping mechanism of all of us, to sit in the corner making snide comments about the lack of eloquence in a wedding speech, or laugh at an awkward dancer. But not this time.

This time was different, because I realized that this was a very important day in the lives of everyone around us and even though they were giving in to the wedding machine, saying the same hackneyed phrases over and over, that this was it. It was like some mystery to life had been finally been revealed to me, I felt a lightness and then an uncharateristic warmth in the place where my heart should be located. Now maybe I am just growing soft in my old age, but I'll take it.

Life should be a series of celebrations for things, no matter how insignificant and this, my friends, is all there really is. Because what else do you really have to do that day, because you will never fondly remember sifting through the pile of junk mail, or channel surfing, or making a ham sandwich with swiss, like you did instead of going to the party. If you cant celebrate with others, even if it involves cake thats too sweet, weak paper plates, terrible wine in plastic cups, bad jokes and a few awkward moments, you are just really missing out.