It Hardly Matters

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ten Thoughts While Swiffer WetJet®-ting my Kitchen Floor the Day After my Holiday Party

1. “This sucks balls.”

2. “I’m waiting 45 minutes to text him back so he’ll know that I’m busy and am not about to rearrange my schedule for his nonsense.”

3. “When I’m done I’m going to watch that 'Dick in a Box' video again. Shit is hilarious!”

4. “I wonder if my grandmother already has a Swiffer WetJet®.”

5. “I don’t remember serving figs.”

6. “If he doesn’t text me back immediately after I text him back, I’m never texting him again.”

7. “OK, who left their Santa condom under the oven?”

8. “I don’t remember puking, but I’m not ruling myself out.”

9. “‘Step One: Cut a hole in a box.’ Baa-haa! Genius.”

10. “I love my Swiffer WetJet®.”

Happy holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

First Sight

I finally got one. A missed connection.

I've been trolling the craigslist missed connections for at least seven years. For those unfamiliar, it's a public forum where the lonely souls of the city can post cryptic notes for random strangers they pass on Eighth Avenue or stand next to in line at the Best Buy in White Plains in the hopes that they will rekindle their 30-second relationship over drinks on the Lower East Side. They go something like this: " You were wearing a blue top walking to dunkin donuts & back - m4w - 38 ". And they are wonderful.

I say that I semi-obsessively peruse MCs (the preferred abbreviation for posters) out of some innate voyeuristic tendency, or to see what the kids are up to (there is a high percentage of posts from the Williamsburg hipster set, which was more entertaining before Craig or whoever created a new section called "rants and raves" where all of the raging debates over whether or not Asian men do it better or the best remedy for athlete's foot now live, separate from the usual "saw you on the L train - m4w 24"), but deep down, I'm looking for a post for me. From that guy at brunch who looked at me twice as he sopped up hollandaise sauce with the nub of his biscuit. From the guy in the deli buying Pocky and olives who said "pardon" as he brushed past me. From that guy on the train reading Lolita who lifted his eyes from the page, disguising his outright lust for me by pretending to ponder poor Double H's dilemma.

Scrolling through the posts, I find myself morphing into the "red head on Graham Avenue - m4w 31." My hair does look reddish in certain lights. Certain reddish lights. Of which there are several on Graham Avenue, if you happen to know the street. I was riding the LIRR wearing a blue beret and tights yesterday, right? (Answer: no, not in a million years.) That's what makes MCs so addictive: the posts are so random and unspecific that you just feel like you have to get one someday. After all of the eye contact with strangers I've participated in over the last seven years, I deserve one, damn it.

So. Here's the story. I was reading Philip Larkin's Collected Poems on the G train two Sundays ago, traveling to Brooklyn Heights from Williamsburg. Just before the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop, I closed my book and looked up and to my right at a blondish man wearing a black winter hat and a black pea coat. Cute, and sort of smiling at me. My face contorted into kind of a death mask and I looked down, busying myself with putting Phil back into my bag. I looked up again. He was still smiling, this time a bit wider, but still no teeth. I smiled with my eyes only, then leapt from my seat and jumped off the train (I had to transfer, I swear). Once I landed safely on the platform, I glanced back into the car I had just left. A broad grin from the smiler. Since he was at a safe distance, sealed into the train car, I responded with a real smile, teeth and eyes and everything (which feels wholly unnatural anywhere on the MTA, but that's neither here nor there). His train pulled away and my face resumed its normal masklike status.

Cut to Monday morning. I checked my nine email accounts, my horoscope, the New York Times. Then I checked craigslist. There it was, like a shiny penny on a cracked mud-gray sidewalk: "On the G train Sunday night - m4w 28". Click. What unfurled before my misty eyes was Philip Larkin's "First Sight," and one other sentence: "I was wearing a black coat and a black hat." I was in love. I was the lamb in the snow.

We emailed; we met. On the Lower East Side. He was a coffee connoisseur (read: snob), a curiously staunch defender of the west coast (we talked about San Francisco and apparently he was offended by the fact that I didn't love it as much as he did, or something), and was moving to LA in two weeks. This last nugget confused me: why make a highly romantic overture to a complete stranger just before you are moving 3,000 miles away from said stranger? I figured it was to get laid, which insulted me and my romantic sensibilities. Lamb in the snow, people!

I left the date, underwhelmed and drunk and definitely not in love with this guy. But I was still in love with the way we met. So despite the outcome of this story, later this afternoon, when I go to the deli in my blue beret, I'll eye-smile at my future husband as he reaches for a hunk of mozzarella or a bundle of fresh basil, then run home and check missed connections.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Shits and Giggles

At this very moment, there is a large man wearing headphones making grunting noises standing in front of me picking a wedgie out of his khakis. Seriously.

OK, so I've been really, really, trying to stay in my house for the past couple of days to get some work done, and to save money. I had an auspicious start: I stayed in the house from Wednesday night until about 40 minutes ago (please, I beg you, don't ask me if I got a lot of work done). But after two days of so-called self-discipline, I started to lose it. Caged animal syndrome. I had to get out. Of course, it's like 12 degrees outside today, which doesn't make for the best strolling weather. But despite the potential discomfort of 40-mile-an-hour wind, I pulled on nine layers of clothing, grabbed my computer, and headed to the cafe for a change of scenery.

I arrived, pissed off partially because of the cold and mostly because of the lack of stimulation. But I felt a good mood peeking through, ready to embrace the familiar cafe: tunes of the 70s streaming through the speakers, laconic yet sweet waitresses, a $3 bagel with cream cheese. Calm, lovely, not too stimulating, but way more stimulating than my room. Nothing wrong with that.

But then the grunting man. The sounds he emits every 23 seconds are shivery, consonantless, reminiscent of something you might hear coming from a bathroom stall in a restaurant that serves a particularly heavy brunch. I think he's wearing headphones so he doesn't have to listen to himself. But I have no headphones. I'm two tables over (he moved back to his seat), typing like a madwoman, shoulders clenched, face furrowed and closed. Why did my goddamn headphones have to die two days ago? I think to make me listen to this dude. To punish me for spending $3 (plus tip), for blogging instead of doing work, for being in a bad mood.

I don't know what's wrong with this man. I feel sorry for him. I also feel sorry for me. But I can guarantee that he and I both came here for the same reason. To get out for a bit before we head home again, to that empty place where no matter how much noise you make, no one hears.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Joy of Writing

Today in conference with my new writing mentor, I figured out that writing is like breaking open your skull and your chest and stabbing whatever's inside. Repeatedly. She didn't articulate this; I came up with it all by myself.

Being a writer is a mirthful blend of stress headaches, weeping fits, cable TV, and a dash of drinking alone. Oh, and we can't forget the constant self-flagellation, burgeoning narcissism, and pathetic praise-clamoring that occurs on a daily basis. Attractive.

Christmas is coming. I have to send cards. Buy gifts with my zero money. Be jolly. Decorate. Go to parties. Look fabulous. All that, and write. How can I possibly do both?