Sunday, January 30, 2005


I went to my old apartment today to pick up some mail and it made me miss my garden. As I stood outside the front door, waiting for Stephen to give me my mail I wondered what it must look like now. Covered in snow, of course, but I wonder if the new tenant trimmed back the grape vines for the winter, or if she fixed that one stone on the patio that was lose. I wonder if she'll like the bulbs I planted at the end of last summer; whether she'll think of the woman who must have put all those seeds in the ground for her spring garden. I wonder if she'll look at the azalea and marvel at its color the way I did when it first bloomed. It's heart breaking to know I'll never be able to go back.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

It's the imperfections that make one perfect, right?

Everyone has their own weird behaviors that only the closet people to them know about. Lots of them are embarrassing, some of them funny, most of them things we'd prefer to keep to ourselves. Since I am on a new kick of introspection and personal growth I've decided expose five of my bizarre idiosyncratic behaviors to the public (the 5 or so people who may stumble across this blog) in the hope that with identification I can move towards recovery. Isn't the first step admitting you have a problem?

#1. I make wishes all the time, on just about everything, sometimes hundreds of times a day. I wish on the last drags of cigarettes, I wish on stars (even if I know they're planets), I make a wish when the clasp of my necklace reaches the charm, I wish on eyelashes (I think there might be a relation to this and behavior #3), and when its really something important, something that I truly want, I'll just close my eyes for a second an wish on nothing with all my might

#2. I smell everything--if I can't directly smell it I'll touch it and then smell my fingers. This is probably one of the most pronounced (and uncontrollable) habits I have--just about everyone I know has seen me with my hands by my nose--maybe they didn't realize at the time what I was doing, but spend enough time with me and you'll catch on quickly

#3. I pull out my eyelashes--I have no idea why, it just feels good, like scratching an itch. There is actually a disorder in which people pull out eyelashes and eyebrows called Trichtilomania and my mom has tried on several occasions to get me to go "get help"

#4. I have a thing about rubbing my thumb and pointer finger together. I do it all the time, especially when I'm nervous. Sometimes I combine this habit with behavior # 2

#5. I sing and talk to myself almost constantly. I'd like to think that this is common behavior; that everyone has an inner dialog and songs that they sing, but I'm told that no, the majority of people go through life in blissful silence. The songs change daily, although there are 3 that have been in constant rotation for the past year or so. One thing that I find myself saying to myself all the time that I've never actually said out loud to anyone is "buck up, kid!" I have no idea where I heard it, but I think I'm stuck with it

I feel as though I could go on--there are dozens of other things I do that I'm not sure are normal (do you count your steps when you walk?) but I think that's enough growth for one night.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Ode to Maud Gonne

Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern?
Why, what could she have done, being what she is?

Meg Redux

Kim says I should tell you the rest of the Meg Ranous wallet story. She says the funniest part is the part I left out--the part when I actually did try to return the wallet to the Ranous household. What I neglected to mention is that 3 days after swiping it from the closet, I took the wallet out from under the radiator and put it in my lunch box. At the time I was still carrying around my red plastic Star Wars lunch box (it would be another two years before Tony Congilaro and Doug Bell would make fun of me in front of the entire cafeteria for still carrying Luke, Leia and Hans, and I would throw it in the dumpster behind school) and I carried it around with me all day at school, every hour getting more and more nevous about going over to the Ranous' house and trying to figure out some way to return the wallet with out getting caught. I hadn't spent the four dollars, even though at that time in my life I was mildly obsessed with HoHo's but never had any money to buy them at lunch time. When 3:00 finally hit and I met Meg and Molly outside by the swings, I was positively sick with guilt and worry. My hands were clammy and I remember walking with my head down the entire way to their house, feet dragging, racking my brain for a way out of the situation. When we got to their house, we ate some cheetoes and M&Ms and went down to the basement to play Super Mario Brothers. I lost myself in the game and relaxed, forgetting the real reason I had come. As it got close to 6:00 and my designated leaving time for dinner, I remembered the wallet. I tried to think of a way to open the lunch box, get out the wallet, bring it up stairs and put it back in the closet with out Molly or Meg seeing me do it. It seemed impossible and so I decided just to take it back home and put it back under the radiator and there it stayed.

A loss of modesty, a loss of pride

Its been a interesting few days. On Friday I lost absolutely all of my modesty for an hour and a half and on Monday I lost a good portion of my pride, hopefully not forever. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other, but it is interesting that these two events happened so closely to one another. Friday I got completely naked and let a stranger rub just about every inch of my body. Don't worry, she was a professional and yes, she did use hot oil. Then on Monday I got turned down for a job that I applied for last month and had convinced myself that I really wanted. The publisher called me around 10 AM and said I wasn't a good fit for the job. He was nice enough, even telling me how much he personally liked me and hoped that another position would open up that I was more suited to, but it was still a wound to the old ego. Now my pride is too wounded to apply for another job so I guess I'm going to have to sick it out here for a while and pretend to do work while I write blog entries.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Don't let the bed bugs bite

I dreamt last night that I was waching myself sleep. I was in a white room, under white covers, my head resting on a white pillow. I watched myself for a little while before turning my back and walking away.

Monday, January 24, 2005

"Some people can only dream of dreaming up books of your nothingness"

My friend Kim wrote that to me today. I sent her a self-pitying email and included the link to my blog so she could check it out. And wouldn't you know it, in typical Kim fashion she wrote back a super sweet and sensitive note and listed some great things that have happened to me that I sometimes forget to think about. She's really the best kind of friend a girl could hope to have.

Friday, January 21, 2005

I'm sorry, Meg Ranous

When I was seven years old I stole a wallet from Meg Ranous. She was the younger sister of my friend Molly and I used to go over to their house everyday after school. They had Nintendo and were allowed to eat junk food and lived right down the street from me on Sagamore Drive. Meg was two years younger than Molly and I and we used to torment her on a fairly regular basis. On this particular day we had finished our ritual ice cream sundaes and had just started playing blind man's bluff, a marco/polo kind of game favored by upstate New York girls . I was hiding in Meg's closet when this fancy little Care Bears wallet caught my eye. It was bright yellow corduroy and had all the Care Bears stiched on to it--Cheer Bear with his rainbow stomach, Good Luck Bear with his four leaf clover, Harmony Bear in a beautiful shade of lavender...I wanted this wallet of furry friends like I'd never wanted anything before. The fact that there was four dollars inside the wallet only made it more attractive to me and before I knew it my hot little hand had grabbed it from the shelf and shoved it into my sock. I left the closet and ended the game, wanting to get out of the house before anyone notice the awkward bulge around my ankle. When I got to my house I ran upstairs to my room, so excited to examine my new prized possession in the light. I closed the door and pulled the wallet out of my sock and rubbed my fingers across the fuzzy little bears. I think I probably even hugged it to my chest and did a little dance (something I still do today when I get a new prized possession). I counted the money again and thought about the candy I'd be able to get with this small fortune--visions of the bulk food section of Wegmans filled my head. Then unexpectedly, sometime around dinner, I started to feel guilty. I thought of little Meg going to her closet and searching for her wallet and not finding it where she knew she had left it. As the night wore on, I started to get almost panicked thinking about the terrible thing I had done. As I lay in bed with the wallet hidden under my pillow, I resolved to get rid of it. Maybe I would throw it in some bushes on the way to school, maybe I'd bury it in the backyard, maybe I even try to return it the next time I went to the Ranous house. That night I slid the wallet behind the radiator in my room, thinking it was a good hiding spot until I figured out how to get rid of the evidence of my transgression. Eleven years later as I cleaned my room in preparation for leaving for college I found the wallet, still in the same space behind the radiator, still with four dollars in it. I took out the money and threw the wallet into a garbage bag along with hundreds of other trinkets from my childhood that had lost their value to me. I never told anyone about that wallet, but I still think about Meg Ranous often and feel guilty for having stolen from her. I'm sorry, Meg.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hannibal Lector on my mind

Gnomes live in my basement. Well, I guess technically it's not my basement since I live in an apartment building, but they live down there none the less. I've never actually seen one of them, but they bang on my pipes all day long. I guess in theory it could just be a regular, normal sized person banging on the pipes, but I prefer to think of little mischievous men in red hats and long beards tormenting me late at night. My friends say its just bad alignment of the steam pipes, or that I just need to call the super to let the excess air out of the radiators, but they're wrong. These are no ordinary creaks and rattles from old piping, this is a concerted banging with purpose and intent. There's no way steam can be so malicious. I got scared the other day that maybe it wasn't gnomes, that maybe there was some person trapped in the basement and the only way they had to call out for help was to clang their handcuffs against the piping they were chained to as hard as they could. But then I realized I was thinking crazy--no one was Buffalo Bill's prisoner down there--it was just some gnomes having a little fun as they waited for winter to pass so they could go back out to the garden.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The things you can learn from Law and Order

There are rats outside my apartment. I think they live in the abandoned parking lot next door, but they come around to the front of my building every night. Sometimes when I'm in bed I can hear them squealing and screaming--it's really one of the most disturbing sounds I've ever heard. Two nights ago I went outside around midnight and there were three rats on the sidewalk in front of the stairs poking around the garbage. They didn't run as I approached them and to be honest, for a minute there I thought they might jump on me. I thought about something I saw on law and order special victims unit a few weeks--Ice-T was searching a bodega for a missing Asian child prostitute and said that there are eight rats for every person in New York City. It freaked me out that somewhere close there were five more rats with my name on them. I started getting really paranoid that they were all sitting in the shadows, waiting for me to come down the stairs so they could eat me, so I turned around and went back inside and decided I really didn't want those petridge farm cookies anyway.

It's a nice night to drown in

I had a dream last night that I was drowning. I wasn't in pain and I wasn't scared, I was just deep in the sea and knew that I wasn't ever going to see the surface again. It was dark all around me and I was weightless in the water. I opened my mouth and tasted salt water and closed my eyes as I started to sink. When I reached the bottom my feet hit soft sand and I woke up alone and cold in my bed.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Where were you hit?

So I've been thinking, I don't think it was really very fair of me to say nothing ever happens to me--I got hit by a taxi once--that was something. I was walking to meet Joshua after work, minding my own business and singing to myself under my breath and telling myself to be sure not to move my mouth too much because people would think (know!) I was crazy. This was before I got my ipod, so I was singing to myself pretty much all the time. So there I was, on a crosswalk, the little white walking man clearly illuminated on the sign when I saw this cab make a very quick left turn into the crosswalk. I distinctly remember thinking fuck, he's not going to stop... and the having the bumper ram into my shins and flying across the hood and falling into the street. I laid there dazed for a bit and the guy got out of his cab--actually he didn't really get out, he just kind of opened the door and leaned to see if I was moving. I sat up and starting yelling at him and slowly stood, dusting myself off and inspecting the damage. Out of nowhere this guy on the street ran over and gave me a pen. "Get his license number," he said. I took the pen and wrote down his license plate number on the back of a manuscript I had in my bad, my hand bleeding and shaking uncontrollably as I tried to focus. I looked up and the man was gone, probably scared off by the cab driver who by this time was out of the cab and yelling at me to get in the back of his cab, saying that I needed to go to the hospital. All I could think about as he approached me was an image of him driving me to the east river, murdering me in the back seat and dumping my strangled body into the water so he could avoid reporting the accident to the cops. I declined his invitation and took off, not knowing which direction I was headed, but moving as fast as I could to get to a well lit area. About 20 minutes later I showed up at Josh's work, wide eyed and disheveled. I must have said something like "I just got hit by a car!" because the next thing I knew he had called the cops and was taking me to an ambulance down stairs. After getting a clean bill of health from the hospital and a prescription for some pretty intense pain killers, Josh called a cab and took me home. It was something, alright.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Nothing ever happens to me

I've decided to start a blog--I figure everyone else is doing it, why not me? Of course, nothing ever really happens to me, so I suppose I'll either have to invent things to write about or become shamelessly self absorbed and write about my everyday boring, inured life. This, however, is a true story: When I was walking to work this morning I saw a man with a voice box (you know, one of those things that people with no vocal chords press against their throat and it makes that weird, scary computerized voice?) yelling at this pretty young thing. She was probably my age, maybe a bit younger. She had on a skirt and some black stockings and a black puffy coat. He was this middle aged, skinny Latino guy with baggy jeans and a dirty backwards Buffalo Bills hat, the kind of guy who if he leered at you on the subway, you wouldn't hesitate to change cars at the next stop. He was walking next to her, getting in her face and yelling at her in Spanish. She kept her eyes straight ahead, but it was obvious that they knew each other, that they had some kind of relationship and she was sick of it. I wondered if she was walking out on him; if she had finally gotten sick of listening to someone call her a puta in a voice that wasn't even human. Now my Spanish is far from fluent, but he was saying some pretty fucked up and mean, nasty shit to her but she kept right on walking down the street, head high and eventually he backed off, still yelling with the voice box up against his throat. It was the strangest thing.