I like to ride my bike

Sat, Dec 03 2011 | 6:06pm

There were four of us in matching puffy coats, waiting for the light to change. And I was the only one on a girl's bike (lovingly categorized as “vintage”), even though there were two other girls in the group. Clouds of heat puffed out of our chapped lips, and I regretted leaving my gloves at home. The girl to my right intrigued me. She had on dark green riding pants and a black velvet riding helmet perched on her short, blonde hair. Like you wouldn't be surprised to hear her say, “No, no Mummy. No time for tea. I must mount Chauncy and rush to the office.” Except that Chauncy wasn't a gorgeous brown thoroughbred, but rather a beat up BMX bike. And yet, she rode it with grace. I wondered, was she a time traveler? I saw that the one boy in the pack was also checking her out. Perhaps he was also confused by her contradictory appearance (even her stature was different than all of ours) or maybe he thought she was pretty. And the other girl smiled at me, maybe feeling left out from the silent exchanges somehow. She was brunette. That is all I can say about her.
And then the light changed and I kicked off, thankful for the sunshine.

Bellevue Hospital on a Friday Afternoon

Sat, Dec 03 2011 | 6:06pm

The unkempt man behind me could not wait his turn. Maybe in his fifties, casually dressed, his demeanor was one of barely controlled panic. “Miss? Nurse? I need to take a sh*t. Please. Check me in for a colonic. Did you hear me? I need to take a sh*t. Let's do this, can you hurry, please?” Apparently the blood on my cheek did not warrant respect in his book, like he deserved to go first for his obvious emergency. (And later the nurses couldn't help but laugh as they recalled his brash demands, especially when they discovered that he was a patient of the hospital, had a regular doctor, and didn't need to be in the ER. Why are you even in the ER? Go back to your own team, Mr. Colonic.)
And the man to my left, not a patient but a visitor waiting patiently, stared at my cheek, clearly fascinated by the periodic dribble of blood. Sitting so close even though we had an armrest between us, the man waited until I turned to finally give him attention, and then he belched in my face.
“Sorry,” said quietly and with little conviction. Sorry? How about next time you don't burp in my face! And I know it isn't attractive when blood trickles down my face, so excuse me for using this gauze square to mop it up. Your dirty and disgusted looks at my necessary actions are unappreciated.
And then I heard a ruckus. A behemoth of a white man in sweats and unruly gray hair was causing a scene.
“Well, nurse, you just called my name, ya can see that I'm limping, and now you're asking me to sit back down. What the hell? What's next? You want me to do backflips or something? Should I backflip back to my chair? Where's your supervisor!!?” said in a Brooklyn accent. “Where's your gosh darn supervisor!! Give me a supervisor!”
And then I was admitted through the daunting double doors, see ya later suckers, I'm gonna be seen by a doc. But of course, I wasn't seen right away and of course, the doors do not discriminate so I found myself surrounded, once again.
The girl was indignant. She was an indignant New York version of my older sister, same age, same hair, and same flair for indignation. “Give me my meds. My back hurts. I have been here for hours, and I have explained my story a hundred times. I was helping my friend move her couch and I twisted my back. Yes, I was here last month and I know I need to see a specialist and I will, but it's Friday and I am in PAIN.” The doctor acknowledged her complaint, but it was apparent to those around him that he maybe doubted the authenticity of the claim. I mean, let's get serious, I am pretty sure we've all “heard that one before”. “Give me an injection, right now, so help me, Jesus! I just need a shot.”
Outside of the radiology department I felt a presence heave into the chair next to me. Large does not come close to describing this whale of a black woman who was muttering to herself, in between wheezing, in between asking me questions. And it was a feat that her gown kept her covered. “You live close? You taking a cab? You taking a cab home? Nurse? Do you have a number for a cab? Wait on First Avenue, that's all? How about you, you live close?” And I heard the nurses gossiping, complaining that she was a repeat offender, wheezing won't go away with that suit of flesh and the cigarette consumption. At this point, I could not bring myself to make eye contact, so I looked to the side. But be careful, don't make eye contact with the guy in the gurney, the one with the leg cast, the older professor looking one who I could not take seriously on account of the blue beret he had cocked on his balding head.
And I could feel his stares, his anxious eyes not leaving my face for fear that he will miss his one opportunity to engage. “Nurse? I'm awful hungry, can I get some food? Al? Can ya get me some food? I've been here all day.” And wouldn't you know it, two minutes later the nurse, “Al”, returned with a brown paper bag and dropped it on the man's lap.
“Here you go, Shakespeare.” Shakespeare. Blue beret. And the man pulled out each item, weighed it in his hand, and smiled with relish. Every item inspired a name and detailed description, like he was Adam in charge of naming the animals.
“Strawberry Jello, so much better than the banana, mmmmm. Cheese sandwich. Cheese and Mayo. Mmm, mayo on the bread. Mmmm, cheese sandwich.” The woman next to me perked up at every groan of satisfaction, like a dog spotting a nearby walker with a treat.
The moans got to the woman, and I felt her enormous behind teeter in her chair in anticipation, “Nurse? I want a sammich! Can I get a sammich? He got a sammich, can I have a sammich?” And her rocking increased in speed, and her lower lip jutted out and she kept on demanding her “sammich”. Finally, her demands were fulfilled when another nurse brought over a paper bag, apologizing that it was only cereal, but that's the best they could offer.
I dropped my concentrated efforts to avoid eye contact after nearly losing my mind with the barrage of “Sammich! Sammich!” and Shakespeare saw his chance and swooped in quickly. “Did you get in an accident?”
“Yeah, a bike accident.”
“Oh. I fell from a ten foot wall onto cement. I see you have no broken bones.” This last part said with a grin as he tapped his cheese sandwich on his leg cast. Thankfully I was spared further details by the doctor finally calling me in for my stitches. As I hobbled away, I saw Shakespeare pull a toothbrush out of his pocket and start madly brushing his extended tongue with a furious intensity.

Thank you letter

Sun, Nov 27 2011 | 9:09pm

This is a thank you letter to you. And you. And Me. And you. You make me laugh so hard my cheeks ache. You understand me. You write me letters. You are so thoughtful. You appreciate me. You listened to me when I babbled. You listen to me. You take me seriously. You don't let me take myself too seriously. You humble me, but in a way that makes me a better person. You have helped me overcome silly inhibitions. You remind me that I am pretty. You make me write. You are loyal. Your hugs are the best. You love me, even when I don't love myself. You go with me to church. You pray for me. You let me pray for you. You call me and leave the sweetest voicemails. You knock my socks off. You are beautiful. You are my therapizer. You love my sister, my family. So, thank you. I am blessed in this life with so many things, but it is the people around me that form my world. I am so thankful.

Dating in 2011: Facebook is the Devil

Sun, Nov 27 2011 | 9:09pm

I resisted Facebook for a long time. I remember using words like “lame” and “trendy” and “not gonna last” when my friends first started peer pressuring me to join. But then, I caved. And now, I post photos on Fbook on a regular basis, and I love looking at friends' photos, and I certainly am entertained by the ridiculous comments that my hilarious friends post on my photos. But. But! Facebook is of a certain strain of evil that is weaved into our world so deftly it is disguised as fun. One obvious element is the fact that it can be (and is for most) a total time suck. That's a topic for another day, don't even get me started on it now, people. But when it comes to dating, Fbook is potentially the worst outlet to turn to, and can cause multiple kinks and bruises to all parties who get sucked into the Fbook vortex. Our mothers never had to deal with the complicities involved in easily accessible cyber stalking. Shooot, not even our older sisters were exposed to this strange side of dating! But here we are, single women, trying to be the mature, better person and fight our desire to stalk our current love interest. And if I resist the urge, I also have to instruct my gal pals to refrain from gleaning what they can from what's available. But what to do when information is broadcasted for all to see? I “friend” you, photos are posted here and there (not even by me, but what can you do, my friends and I love to take pics) and you are obsessed with “checking in”. My friends find it amusing that you check me in at every coffee shop, lunch place, bar, and concert we go to, even though I am not necessarily a fan of the whole four square thing. And I go along with it, half the time don't even notice that you're doing it, and I shake it off. But then I notice over the weekend that you have checked in with someone else. You two are at an Italian place for dinner, followed by a show downtown. I don't even have to pry for this information, it is blasted on my screen and of course the walls of my friends that you have also “friended” (such a friendly guy you are!). And maybe she is a buddy, you obviously have many, and of course we aren't exclusive anyway, and no I am not going to click on her name to dig deeper. So I ignore it, all part of that “being the bigger person” I strive for, and I try not to overanalyze. And then I see that a day after we've hung out, you two are hitting the town all day and night. And what's that? Breakfast the next day, looks like you were able to sleep in a little bit, good for you, for both of you. And then off to the movies, catching that flick we had talked about seeing together, but maybe you'd forgotten or maybe you like to see movies twice or maybe you just didn't care. And it's a weird feeling to feel physical pain when the slap in the face is metaphorical. And maybe I shouldn't criminalize Fbook when perhaps you are the one to blame, but I can't help but wonder if I should just cancel it completely.

The Hermit

Sun, Nov 20 2011 | 1:01pm

And there is a little man (do not call him a gnome, he is not a gnome, he is merely small) who sits on a stool next to a rock and three trees. There used to be four trees, but that man, that little man that some do not take seriously because to some stature means everything, that man felled the fourth tree in order to construct the stool he now uses. He used to sit on the rock but boy did that bruise his bum. And what this man does best is this man harrumphs. Do you know the word? Picture the man with his grizzly, gray beard that blends into the Einstein homage of hair on his head that doesn't really have a hairline as the hair trickles down the collar of his shirt down his back all the way to his short, stubby legs. The man's white shirt is as tight as his bushy chest hair will let it be, and his grey sweats used to be sweatpants but he long ago cut them into shorts. Why did he cut them? Ask him yourself, I sure as heck don't know. Maybe it was hot one day, maybe the pants were creating rats' nests out of his leg hair, maybe he read a fashion magazine that detailed instructions on how to turn last year's clothes into this year's it fashion. That is not the point. The point is that the man perches on his hand crafted (bumpy) stool and he chortles and he snorts and he sighs and he rests his chin in his hand and glares not silently but with an accompanying, hard to decipher noise.
It's simple. The man is tired of sitting on the stool. He is tired of being ignored (And who are you kidding, anyway, you and he both know you can never go a few days without thinking of him so why this show of ignorance). He is not the type of character to start hopping on the stool, waving his arms wildly. He is certainly not going to vie, for goodness' sake. And so he waits, arms crossed, he waits, leg kicking, he waits, teeth grinding. He waits for you to let him out, let him in, let him take over. Maybe tomorrow.

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Excerpt from a Love Letter to my Best Friend

Sun, Nov 20 2011 | 1:01pm

Ok, and so you were here, in my city, in my new home (although you never did end up seeing my home and yes I told you I was disappointed because I was but that doesn't mean I should have told you so loudly with that look in my eyes) and I saw you walking my streets. Did it feel large and overwhelming or large and magnetizing or was it just plain big? And on one hand it was amazing having you here, my brother with me in this new place, my brother hugging me and crushing my broken bones with the embrace I have missed. And yet. Every time we parted, if only for a short period, my boots would get heavier. I mourned your departure after your first hour here, and I felt the unfairness of it all oppressing me and the guilt and the loss. For someone who claims to love their family so much, I wonder why I have left so many of them. You are my family and forgive me if I wanted more. I did not get enough. And yes, I become a petulant child when it comes to our “us” and no, I do not really know why, but I am stamping my foot and I am crying with balled fists wondering why I did not get more. I almost entitled this post “excerpt from a love letter written to my best friend's husband”, but that would be demeaning. And sure, I have no problem barraging you with insults (I sure do love that photo where I am tugging your huge, squishy ears, and did that ridiculous zit finally go away?) but hurling insults is not the same as actually insulting you. And so what if people do not understand our relationship or a grown woman writing to a grown, married man, because I don't really understand it but I adore it and I adore you and I wait.

The Shakes

Sun, Nov 20 2011 | 1:01pm

When I was approaching my teenage years, my family got a dog. We all put our names into a hat to decide who would get the esteemed job of naming our baby black fluff ball (she was a Peki-Pom back before designer breeds became all the rage). My kid sister, abnormally obsessed with Victor Hugo's Les Miserables at such a young age, won the round and christened our new pet with the name Cosette. It wasn't long before we shortened it to Cozy, which was much more apropos for our four legged little buddy.
Cozy was a licker, and a lover, and a playful little animal. She was also a barker, sometimes a racist, and she developed a lethal brand of halitosis in her latter years. But my family loved her like family, like some people tend to do, like the kind of people that non-dog-lovers roll their eyes at and deem “strange”.
Every once in awhile, something would come over Cozy and she would start to shake or shiver uncontrollably. It was the weirdest thing, especially because it would almost always occur after she had spotted a fly on the window. Her snout would bounce back and forth, following the darting fly as it taunted her (but not really, it just wanted to get back outside). And then, all of a sudden, Cozy would remain in the same position, shaking, staring, exhibiting abnormal behavior. Sometimes she would meander over to one of us, shaking, looking to us for help while at the same time staring out into the corner of nothing. I don't remember who discovered it, or who thought to prescribe it, but there was one trick that could “snap” Cozy out of this stare. One of us would grab her, another would grab the car keys, and we would take her out to the car on the driveway, set her on our lap, then flip on the windshield wipers. Now, something you should know is that this little dog hated the windshield wipers with a passion unmatched by any other wiper hater. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought she'd been abused by windshield wipers as a puppy. Inevitably, as soon as the wipers started slashing their back and forth slash, Cozy would erupt into a fit of ferocious barking, thereby snapping herself out of her shaky reverie. We later learned that these episodes were most likely petit mal seizures, and while our prescription was not the orthodox treatment for seizures, it was at least effective.
And so the little girl sits on the corner of her bed, shivering a tiny bit, digging her fingernails into the somewhat dry palms of her hand, trying to remember the trick. Surely there is a trick, a take her outside and flip on the ol' windshield wipers trick, to snap her out of this unpleasant and hard to describe state.

Dating in 2011: All Good Things

Sun, Nov 06 2011 | 9:09pm

Alas, I have no fun stories to relay. This is good news, folks, because it means I have only been going on good dates. Lovely dinners, delicious brunches, good company, blah blah blah. No gun-toting punks with poor grammar and horrific spelling. No recent vomiting (thank God) to report, and no strange experiences to share. I know I should be happy that the dating gods have smiled on me these past couple of weeks, but I can't help but feel a little despondent that my fodder jar is so empty. And I know people like my dating blogs more than my creative writing, and no, my feelings are not hurt, and yes, I am just happy that someone reads this. So, I will continue to put myself out there, and I will share my stories. For now, the sun is shining.
Also, the photo above clearly has nothing to do with my dating life, but I just wanted to share it because it is so darn cute. Coco, Ma'amie, Abby, and Olive all went hiking with us in Cold Spring, NY. Magical.

Dating in 2011: Juggling

Sun, Nov 06 2011 | 9:09pm

I am curious about ladies who date multiple people at once. Jugglers. I mean, this is a city replete with multi-taskers, so I suppose it only makes sense that it would overlap into the dating scene. And I feel like the stereotype is that men casually balance a few gals at once, so it seems only fair that women should be able to do the same. And me? I am the queen at multi-tasking. According to my friends, sometimes it's to a fault (reading while driving). I make my lists, sometimes scrawling on tiny scraps of paper, or using my handy “notes” section on my iPhone. I stay fairly organized and on top of things. But is it too far to pencil in the dates for the week, with little footnotes to keep it all straight? What if my crumbled scrap were to fall out of my pocket in front of my Tuesday night date, and he sees my inked in plans for Thursday night? I suppose it is nothing to be ashamed of, considering I go into a date figuring the guy is probably seeing other people, as well. The way this crazy city works, it would probably work in my favor. You know, it might pique the guy's competitive streak or something silly like that. I also struggle with being too forward and forthright, blurting out blunt questions or challenges, and having no qualms about revealing my life. This does not always go over well. Sigh. Despite my confidence and experience, I am still a student.

My Sister's Heavy Boots

Sun, Nov 06 2011 | 9:09pm

And she said what she often said,
Keep Passing The Open Windows,
which is a line from one of their favorite books.
But instead of quoting something back, something like
Sorrow Floats,
which would have been fitting and a standard response between them,
The Sister let the worry creep in and said
(or yelled, it was unclear if she was talking in a normal, exasperated voice, or a slightly louder, more forceful voice)
Sister, take off the heavy boots.
Take off your heavy boots and go to bed barefoot tonight.
I cannot see you but I hear you trudging to the top
pushing a laden wheelbarrow to the edge,
dumping a pile of rocks over the precipice.
You are not seeing that the well is already full,
you are not seeing that your rocks have nowhere to go,
or that they are chipping the prettier stones, or that one of the wheels is broken and wobbly.
Sister, it is full.
Stop.
Take off the heavy boots and go to bed barefoot tonight.

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