Sunday, December 13, 2009

What we wouldn't have if all men who cheated, quit life

The be all end all of chic-flicks (Titanic/James Cameron)
Sarah Connor (Terminator I & II/James Cameron)
The overuse of the phrase "I'll be back" (Terminator/James Cameron)
Irish Catholic charm and wit (JFK)
Ability to be led through the Great Depression, ok well we don't have that anyway (FDR)
Joe the Plumber (John McCain)
The overuse of the phrase "Your fired" (Donald Trump)
A combover worse than your father's (Donald Trump)
Hot Princes/Realization that royalty still exists (Prince Charles)
The Shawshank Redemption, well a good version (Morgan Freeman)

Monday, November 30, 2009

That's what wings are for

One fine snowy morning in Northern New Jersey I was prepping for school at my grandparent’s house. My mother had to be at work early so she would typically unload me down the street so my grandpa (Poppy) could drop me at school, on his way to work. It was particularly snowy that day, so Poppy headed out to warm the car and shovel a walkway, so my little self wouldn’t be encrusted with white powder. He was in and out the back door and I was chiter-chattering with my grandma (Gram) in the kitchen.Sufficient time had passed so I headed out to go forth and buckle myself in. Teetering on the ice I had my eyes locked on the ground to prepare myself for my next step. Nearing the car something caught my eye. There was something red on a land of white and in being my nosey self I headed straight for it. Getting up close to inspect I screamed!

“Gram! Gram! EW!”I picked up the bloody sanitary napkin, how awfully disgusting, and ran inside to show what was emptied onto their yard.

“Gram! Look what I found in the driveway! It’s a MAXI PAD!”

She bellied over with laughter as I stood confused with a maxi pad stuck to my right mitten.

“Isn’t that disgusting? Some lady threw it away on your driveway!” I presumed.

She laughed even harder, with tears squirting from her eyes, as Poppy appeared from the back door. His eyes went wide! The maxi pad was still waving in the air and I was suddenly embarrassed. Had Poppy thought it was mine!? I was only eight! He raced over, steaming mad and grabbed it from my tiny paw.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” I was frightened, he was a large fellow.

He stomped out of the house, got in the car, waiting for me in silence. Gram was regaining her breath. I was horrified.

“Am I in trouble?"

" Oh, heavens no, I am! Your Grandfather came in before to tell me he has hemorrhoids so he borrowed one of my sanitary napkins. Except he had no idea he needed to fasten it so he was alerting me that it dropped from his pants somewhere around the house. Unfortunately you found it! But don’t be worry you’re in no trouble at all. At least you found it and not a neighbor!”

I had no idea which was worse. But I meekly walked to the car, got in and fastened my seat belt. We drove in complete silence.

All I wanted to say was perhaps next time he should use a tampon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Folding chairs don't solve problems

Pop music regrettably overtook my life in middle school. I was certain that something within me would magnetize some sort of musical talent and allow me to step forth in my dreams of performing. Unfortunately no such luck occurred and I was stuck with this lifeless dream. Although I could not carry a tune, not even a half of one, I still was up for any opportunity to sing in front of a crowd. I played saxophone (tried) and one day our “band” was singing in front of grades K-8, I was thrilled at any chance to release melodic vocals instead of brass honks.

In 6th grade I was pulled out of public school and placed into a private Catholic place of education and musically this was quite the culture shock. In my previous public establishment we sang such tunes as “I’ll Be There For You” by the Rembrandts and “Bitch" by Meredith Brooks, so you can imagine my confusion when I was more mature singing less mature songs such as “Down On The Mountain” and “Glory To God In The Highest.

The morning of the performance my twelve-year-old body was feeling less than stellar. I opted out from my daily bowl of cereal and glass of OJ and went right to school to prepare, I was not missing this. We entered the gymnasium and boy was it hot. My itchy multi-wool-blend sweater was not helping and God help you if you took it off, (I learned this equaled a fast pass to detention). The singing began and I was giving it my all when I quickly was at a loss for fresh air. Trying to lean against the wall behind me for stability the glares of the five year olds were becoming much too blurry for me to bear. For presumably ten seconds I passed out during the chorus “Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth” and by the time they reached the next verse a long stream of vomit exited my mouth without cover. The midgets in the front section freaked out shouting “EW’s” and "GROSS’s" but magically my talented chorus associates kept on with the beat and I was ushered off stage. I turned around, completely confused, embarrassed and baffled by what had just happened and noticed my music teacher covering the pile of barf with a folding chair. I’m sure that would deplete the gut wrenching smell. I was sent off with a fellow student to walk me to the bathroom when here it came again, “I don’t feel goo…”. Again a lava like flow exited my mouth, shockingly considering the lack of sustenance in my belly. The aroma was so tremendous that the poor tween soul aiding me, threw up in her cupped hands. What a shit show. We both v-lined it to the bathroom. A few moments later an old nun found us in our own stalls and she rushed (well shuffled) us to the nurse’s office where our mother’s were called. On the most embarrassing day of my life thus far I was more than happy to have a fellow puking partner.

The anticipation of the next school day was brutal, I wanted to wear a disguise to avoid the teases and jokes. Luck was on my side when this day arrived, by 11AM a fellow classmate slipped in the bathroom, hit his head and shattered his glasses. Success.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

“I’m fine, hoarder are you?”

A knock at the door.

It’s that damn neighbor of mine; I hate it when she comes over. Since the day I moved in she’s been dying to see what I’ve done with the place. Could she possibly expect something lavish? Doubtful. She knows. She must know.

I answered by opening the door a crack and speaking through the screen. She wanted to borrow a cup of sugar, now we all know she didn’t need sugar but I complied like the wonderful person I am. Of course I shut the door (and locked it) while I escaped to the kitchen and returned with a plastic cup full of sugar.

My days are becoming significantly lonelier by the minute. Not lonely enough to talk to the neighbor witch, but lonely enough. Sometimes I can hardly bare it. I had a cat once but she ran away. Not even an animal can bare the thought of me. I have family but they have their own lives, respectively so. I see them, sometimes, for holidays; mainly depending on when I’m invited. They love me though, mostly because they don’t know me.

I run an eBay store from my home. I venture out at times, visiting second hand stores and Salvation Army’s for trunks and trinkets to sell. As long as I know I can double my money I’ll buy it. Sometimes I’ll buy it simply because it will bring more joy staring at me day in and day out.

I’ve made quite the living thus far with my virtual store. My feedback scores are astronomical; I love the kind things sellers say about me. Sometimes I’ll even check in to see how they are enjoying their new treasure, or perhaps hear about the excitement on a loved one’s face when they passed it off as a present. I print each one out and scotch tape them on my wall in front of my computer, to remind me of how happy I make others.

The next morning I was woken up by the telephone ring, a rare sound. It was my niece, Jane and she was in town meeting a client about five minutes from where I live and wanted to grab some lunch.

“Wonderful!” I exclaimed.
“I’ll meet you at the café at 1! See you soon, love you!” I signed off.

I rushed to my room singingly and picked out an outfit to press. Soon thereafter I showered and dolled myself up, this was to be a glorious day!

There she was at the café just in the knick of time.

“Hello, doll!”
“Aunt Carol! It’s been too long, wonderful to see you!”

We chit chatted and she filled me in on the family gossip and what extracurricular activities the kids were involved with these days. The sour subject of the holiday season arose and she was mentioning that they were going to her husband’s side, she asked if I had plans and hesitantly I shook my head. Of course being the kind soul that she is she invited me, with pity to tag along. I politely declined I would never impose like that.

We finished our delicious lunch and she kindly picked up the check and explained that she still had about three hours to kill.

“You know, Aunt Carol, I’ve never seen your home! Why don’t we go there for a cup of tea?”
“Oh, uh, no sweetie I haven’t cleaned yet this week”
“Don’t be silly! We’re family, I don’t care about that”
“No, no let’s just get some tea here then”
“Well, I suppose, I really do not mind a mess though I have kids”
“I said no”

I lost my temper a bit; my quick response took her off guard. I’m terrible; she couldn’t stomach to see where I live. How I live. It’s my private sanctuary, for my eyes only. I hope I didn’t spike her curiosity, I hope.

The rest of the afternoon was quit enjoyable and we parted ways, promising to do this again soon.

Arriving home I immediately got into my robe and slippers and hoped on the computer to check how this weeks eBay items were doing while turning on the evening news. My television was from a garage sale but its only defect was the volume was broken, so it was deafening. I’m hard of hearing anyway so it wasn’t the worst that could happen.

I stepped into the kitchen for a moment and upon my return someone was standing in the doorway, I screamed.

“What are you doing here!? Get out, get out!”
“Aunt Carole, I, I, I’m sorry I knocked...”
“NOW PLEASE LEAVE NOW” My panic was unreal. I couldn’t believe what I had let happen, I always lock the door, shut the shades. I was pushing her out, pushing her, pushing her.
“You forgot your scarf Aunt Carol, I was trying to be nice”
“Nice wouldn’t be barging into my home!”
“I knocked…”

Her face read utter shell shock.

I dropped to my knees, the jig is up, I’m so ashamed, so very ashamed. I was having a panic attack, a non-rarity, and begged Jane to grab my medicine out of the bathroom; I may as well let it all hang out at this point. It took her some time to return.

“Sorry, I, I couldn’t find it. Here let me get you a glass of water.”
“No, no, no”

I took the pill and chewed it, to ensure I would feel its effects immediately.

I soon calmed down, moved some clutter off the couch and had a seat with Jane.

She put her hand on my knee.

“It’s going to be ok you know? I’ll help you. It’ll be fine. I’ll hire someone to come in and help you clean up”
“No, please no, everything is in place for my store”
“I know but you can’t live like this, you’re going to have infestations if you don’t already”
“I don’t know, I don’t know, I try not to pay attention”
“The stench is overwhelming, you don’t want to get in trouble do you? They cease houses for habits like these”
“Don’t you think I know that?! I usually lock the door so I can live in peace!”

I startled her again.

“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to snap, I didn’t want you to have to see me like this.”
“I understand. Why don’t you come with me and I’ll check you into a hotel, this way I can have someone come in and do an estimation tomorrow.”
“This is my home, don’t you see? I mustn’t abandon it.”
“You’ll be back this is only temporary Aunt Carol, then you can’t live luxuriously!”
“I appreciate your confidence butt I am not going anywhere”
“Suit yourself but I’m not letting this be. I’ll be by in the morning and we’ll start organizing things, hopefully I can hire a cleaning crew.”

I said nothing. Mostly because she can say whatever she pleases, I knew no one would touch my things.

Jane left and I immediately began peeling the piles of old rubbish to pack up my most delicate and sentimental of treasures, those thieves wouldn’t touch a thing! I began labeling each box with words only I could understand. As I reached a point where I could see the carpet in my living room I moved to the kitchen.

I sorted through the piles upon piles of papers stacked throughout and tucked away the pictures, tax forms, copies of my will, etc. Under the piles I found an old box of my favorite cereal, I would save that for the morning.

I worked and worked and worked, when done piling up the boxes in my hallway, I loved having this barricade of my things protecting me, I felt safe. Very safe. My Grandma’s jewels were in a shoebox I found under my bed, glorious!

It took me all night to gather my most wanted list. I had a total of 143 boxes; thankfully I had piles of them in the basement for such situations. One by one I moved the boxes into the shed in my backyard.

It was now 9AM Jane would be here any minute. I securely locked the shed, changed my clothes to make it appear I hadn’t been doing hard labor all night and put on a pot of coffee for the cleaners.

She arrived as expected with a van and the look on her face was priceless as she entered. I heard one cleaner whisper to another, “We’ve seen worse”. I bet they did; now little Jane looks like a liar.

“Why Aunt Carol where is everything”
“Oh sweetie I was so upset last night that I got rid of everything myself. My neighbor helped me and her husband took it all down to the dumpster with his pick up early this morning”
“I’m so proud, just wonderful!”

She hugged me, and I felt satisfied and alive.

I allowed the cleaning crew to go about their tasks, who wouldn’t like a good sprucing up, and Jane and I went to the same café for some brunch. Post brunch Jane took me shopping for new things since she was so proud of me for parting with the old.

Hours later we returned and everything was spick and span! Carpets were cleaned, walls were washed, bathroom bleached. I was pleased and proud to call this place my home.

I thanked Jane a million times over and agreed to go with her to her husband’s family for the holidays. Why not, right?

She pulled out and I waved from my screen door until she was out of sight.

Adrenaline poured through me, unaware that I hadn’t slept in two days, and I raced to shed. I merely broke the lock trying to open it and smelled the air of my neatly packaged treasures. I raced the boxes one by one into the house, unaware at first that my nosey neighbor was eyeballing me from her porch, quite curiously.

With each box reentering it’s home I dumped them upside down in to piles in their respective rooms. It was night again and a day later my home was joyous again! But this time clean.

I poured myself a cold glass of lemonade and had a seat on my fresh scented barcalounger, smiling satisfied, admiring my friends, my accomplishments and fortune.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ambien, Shmambien

I had been taking Ambien for a few months now and had finally had a tight grasp on how to avoid its ridiculous side effects (uh, duh sleep I know). Not only did I need a prescribed narcotic to fall asleep but my television on as well. I became in the habit of taking the pill an hour into whatever obnoxious movie I was watching and being well into dreamland by the end.

One night I was an hour into “Kalifornia” when I routinely got up and took my life saving medication. I plopped back in bed, snuggled up and after twenty minutes or so I was fast asleep.

An amount of time unbeknownst to me passed and I was slightly startled by the continuous screaming of Kings of Leon next to my ear. Somehow figuring out it was my cell phone, I answered.

“What? Are you alright?” Confused and half asleep.
“It’s your Uncle, it’s not good your Aunt and I are on our way to pick you up. We left in a rush and are still in our work clothes and haven’t had dinner so can you pack us a bag? He’s at Scranton hospital and they’re expecting 4 feet so we won’t be going anywhere”
“Ok Ok, where are you”
“Five minutes away”

I apparently then stopped talking, but didn’t hang up.

The next thing I remember was waking up to my Mom and Aunt getting in the car with blue scrubs on.

I apparently went right to sleep once I got in the car the night before and wouldn’t budge when we arrived at our destination. Six hours later they were coming back from intensive care.

“Did you scrub in on his surgery or something”
“Fuck you jerk” My Aunt is unlike any other.
“What did I do? Sorry I was sleeping I…”
“Who cares about that, what were you on crack!? We took the bag out wanting to change out of our work clothes only to find a white undershirt, two thongs, a carton of orange juice and a box of cereal"
"Well I can explain the white t-shirt, I was watching Kalifornia"
"How the fuck does that explain your lack of brain cells!?"

I actually found this quite amusing, knowing the zombie like side effects of this potent drug. They for one did not but thanks to a cute little nurse they were supplied with proper lounge attire, which I would later steal from my Mom’s drawer and wear to bed for years to come. If you think about it I complied with their requests, an outfit and some food. Well, if we were on Venice Beach maybe.

Oh, and my Uncle is just fine, thanks for asking.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.

The movie forum that is. I was on my way to a midnight screening, alone, of an undisclosed biopic (don’t want to embarrass myself too much here considering what’s to come) when I felt two quick vibrations in my right coat pocket. Figuring it was someone obnoxious, I ignored it for a few blocks. Dying of wonderment I whipped out my Blackberry Pearl. It was my ex, the ex I’ve been in love with for merely half of my adult life. Our tumultuous relationship ended on a sour note but we have since made peace so I was quite pleased with his text asking how city life was treating me. Great! I exclaimed. Soon before long he started going on and on about his job hunt, typical, very typical. So I listened and encouraged the banter, once a year is allowed I assumed.

I’m not quite sure how the conversation went but in my attempt to share this moment with you I’ll repeat exactly how it sounds in my head.

“So I can’t apply there unless I’m an NY resident, blahblah, apartment hunting, blahblah, no money, blahblah, idea, blahblah, we should get engaged.” A beat.

Suddenly my heart dropped out of my anus and I couldn’t breath. I sat down in the middle of the sidewalk, in the middle of West Houston, and caught my breath wishing I had brought a brown bag along for such emergencies. Was he kidding? Should I make a joke back? Should I call my Mom? My Grandma? Tell her the news? Where would we live? I’d have to get a more stable job. Start saving for our child’s college fund.

That. Was what was going through my sick, sick mind?

I ended up returning with some stupid joke and he complimented the jokes with serious statements furthering confirmation that this was real. I would only need to change my electrical bills to his name, take some pictures with him and his family, keep some of his stuff at my place, etc. I was actually going along without question. What is my problem? This is a guy who ruined my life, cheated on me, spread high school rumors about me and I was plain ol’ following him like a lovesick puppy dog. The kicker in this situation is he has a girlfriend, a serious one at that, the love of his life that I was never able to match up in my years of trying, whom he had since gotten back together with. This was going to be quite the challenge.

A few weeks went by and I hadn’t heard from him so I presumed his idea had subsided.

Of course hours after this thought I receive a phone call from non-other.

There’s a good chance I got the job!
That’s so great! ←Not what I was really thinking. Air began to quickly escape from my lungs.
So are you ok what with we talked about last week? I just have to prove residency at this point.
Sure, yeah that should be fine. ←WHAT!?!?!
Great! So why don’t I come in the city later and we can have dinner and figure out the logistics.
That sounds perfect, I’ll be home by 6.
Cool, be there a little after. See you later.

I hung up the phone and thought I was about to throw up everywhere. I quickly called me mother to ask her what to do (even though some demon inside me decided already, and used my mouth to communicate that). Needless to say she was less than thrilled. There was a lot of sighing and belittling basically no advice so I was still left with this proposal dinner tonight and no light at the end of the tunnel.

He arrived right on time and I had picked up some Chinese and a bottle of wine (for me) hoping it to look as unromantic as possible. He came with a bag of clothes and some old photos of us.

I don’t really understand this part. I can’t imagine that they would break into “your home” to check and see if your underwear were in a drawer.
It’s just in case really.

He made himself right at home; opening closing drawers, squashing in his sweatshirts, placing frames around my room. I’d have to hide them once he left for my own sanity.

He left me instructions on how to switch everything over to his name, like I was some class A moron, and I did so the next day. He left some money so I could pay the first few months of rent in exchange for the favor. It felt kind of dirty in a way, is this some new age form of prostitution?

I began feeling happy and bright each morning, in a twisted way, almost in a fairy tale that I was in love and engaged. He bought me a ring (sent it UPS, romantic, eh?) and I wore it everyday gladly accepting compliments and cheers of congratulations. Ladies would ask who the lucky man is and I would gladly say he was a firefighter for the FDNY leaving them squealing and whispering how they fantasize about fireman. Me too! I would shout.

He settled in his job and I went along with him to his first work gathering. He was the perfect gentleman, guiding me along with his hand on the small of my back, opening doors, and pulling out chairs. The best part was hearing him say “This is my fiancé, Caitlin” and I would blush and gladly shake their hands. I gossiped with the other wives and told them how happy we were, they asked if we’d have kids right away and I told them we would wait until we were thirty. We were to have a June wedding! And everything was all arranged and I happily invited them to the wedding with an invitation to follow.

Ok, it got out of hand. Fantasyland is a nice place to visit but not to stay. He was still with his girlfriend and finally found a cheap place in Queens to live in so he thanked me for all my help and that was it. Sent me back to my lonely little life, leaving me with an unsentimental engagement ring and this story to tell my (“our”, ha-ha, ok bad joke) grandkids.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Never buy a home that has a toilet in the kitchen.

Never buy a home that has a toilet in the kitchen.

One may think this is common knowledge, while others may know it is simply something one must deal with if you want to live (cheaply(-ish)) in Manhattan. For a mere grand a month you can have a lovely 10x14 studio equipped with the essentials within less than spitting distance from one another! Who needs walls?!

Anywho, I was 23 and had been saving up to rent my very own studio in downtown Manhattan. Here, I thought, would be peace much like the high heavens, leaving me to write day in and day out, without bother. After hunting endlessly on craigslist and going to numerous open houses I finally stumbled upon, what appeared to be, the best of the best for the price range I was looking to be in.

To sum it up I saw the studio, hated it, didn’t understand how anyone could possibly live like that, but took it anyway. I’d rather have my own bathroom than share a communal. I thought. Ew.

A few months in I felt it to be extremely distracting to write in the closet sized box I had rented myself. The walls were paper-thin and the toilet trickled and gulped without pause. I made my new home at the back corner of the Housing Works Book Store and jabbed away at my MacBook every weekday. I set myself a scheduled, to avoid insanity, which often occurs out of having an unstructured life (for me anyway), and usually arrived home at 5 to have my scheduled supper, typically a turkey burger or something of that nature.

One cold Fall Wednesday I became so hungry I could not bare having to wait until my clock out time, so I packed up and headed home an hour early. In sitting in a café (there was a café in the back of the book store) you may think this problem would never arise but I couldn’t afford to spend money on things like that, so I always brown bagged it in. Everyone was too stoned to care or even take notice that I never spent a dime. I hustled home to avoid the despicable wind and two stepped it up my five-floor walk up. Who needs a gym?

Entering the door I heard that damn trickle and considered breaking my own rules and eating out just to avoid that god awful sound. Opening the door I realized this was no trickle at all, it was a full-blown river. A river flowing from the ceiling. The shower was on. Someone was in my shower! (Did I forget to mention the shower hung over my cabinets and poured into a small drain into the kitchen floor? Oh, that wasn’t the part that struck you as odd?) There was a naked, fairly attractive man, soaping himself in my kitchen. Well in my bathroom. Living room. Bedroom. All the same. You’d think I’d be more disturbed by this, yell rape or fire or naked but I honestly did not panic at any point and ended up being completely curious. Initially I had one of those “I want to scream but no noise comes out” reactions, purely out of being startled, I frequently have those dreams and didn’t realize that it could actually occur. Until now, of course.

“Um, excuse me sir?” I asked in a calm manner.
“Ahhhh, oh my god, oh my god, don’t look!” He reached for my dishtowel. Covering just his parts.
“Sorry, did I interrupt?”
“Wait let me just get dressed”
“Why sure, can I make you some tea also?”
“Well…that would be lovely, thanks”

And for some reason or another I walked through his sopping soapy pool and put on a pot of water. The only drug I had had that day was caffeine.

While kitchen towel man got dressed and gathered his items I sat, without saying a word. Once ready he joined me on an adjacent stool, a mismatched stools for my high-rise “kitchen” table.

“I’m Marc by the way”
“Hello Marc, I’m Katelynn, and this is my place”
“It’s quite nice”
“Mmm, isn’t it, now might I ask what you’re doing here? The only wieners boiled in this kitchen are tofu pups”
“This may seem strange but my shower hasn’t been working…”
“Well by all means!”
“…I live next door” odd, since I’d never seen him before but I can’t say I’ve seen many since moving in “and I hear you leave and come back at the same time every day. Assuming you had a 9 to 5 I thought I’d take advantage and you’d never notice. I didn’t mean to be a creep.”
“You’re a creep, I think I’m relieved that your not a murderer or anything, although I’m not sure what’s worse considering I have to live next to you now. What did you do pick the lock?”
“No we share a fire escape, I just lift the window”
“So you’ve done this before”

He didn’t answer, just looked down. I drifted off thinking of the few times I’ve braved it on the fire escape to smoke a cigarette and realizing that the window next to mine looks directly into my neighbor’s bathroom (yes he has an actual bathroom) I always too chicken shit to look in, you know sneak a peak. Upon realization I thought I could easily get him back for this but I suppose he already did that for me and displayed what I was too afraid to look at, in my kitchen-living room-bathroom-bedroom.

The weirdest part about this whole situation is not that I avoided scolding him it’s as he was leaving, still apologizing profusely, he climbed out my window, onto the fire escape, and into his apartment. I didn’t have a lot, but I did have a door. My life is completely backwards.

The Obituary Hunter

To wake up
and stare at their faces
Is something to crave

To know they will never
breath again
Provides me with purpose

I take over their ambiance
their feelings
and beliefs

And fulfill their entity
for the remainder of my day

Tomorrow I will find
another soul to keep
in the black and white section

I call my home.

Untitled (How Very Pretentious of Me)

Don’t drop the laptop!
I repeat
I cringe.
So daring to take her out with me
On my makeshift balcony.
Helps me think.
What’s better than fresh air
Truck sounds
Dirt particles from construction underway
Under foot
Bike chains
Helps me think.
Sergeant, vagabond, keep yelling
Keep yelling I say!
Helps me think.
Helps me think.