she's writing a novel

a lot of her writing tends to be tongue-in-cheek. this is because she grew up in an evangelical tradition which was more concerned about where else she might be putting her tongue.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Do I know you?

Today was one of those rare days where i broke routine. Instead of my usual trek back to the apartment after work, where I tend to hole up for the duration of the evening, I headed back to the gym for a yoga class. At one point I had reached an intermediate level...but since the accident involving the arm there has been no yoga for me. And this class was not..beginner or relapsed-returner friendly. There will be no standing on my head! I can't even stand on one foot. And all that would have been fine -- really, for I have no pride-- but the yoga teacher put it simply...on crack. If you were looking for someone to guide you through a mentally-cleansing, emotionally-soothing sort of workout--say, yoga--this would be the last person on earth you would recruit. To wit: Loud, abrasive voice - check. Inappropriate comments accompanied by obnoxious laugh - check. Distracting rolls of fat hanging over waistband of spandex leotard - check. Even so, abysmal though my effort was, it was sufficiently encouraging in that, afterwards, I felt fantastic in the way that only a yoga workout makes you feel.

So I took myself to a movie! The nice thing about the Ritz, besides the fact that they tend to play the only decent movies in release, is that it is a theater where it is not only not unusual to go solo, but entirely appropriate to do so. Because really, Ritz-goers are entirely sympathetic to your plight: "Yeah, I couldn't get anyone else to come to this windmill documentary with me either. But I love windmills...I had to see this!" Then there are the tragically hip, who come alone to be seen angsty...and alone. It doesn't matter the movie, as long as it's obscure and makes them seem mysterious and complicated based on their desire to see something so inexplicable. And finally, there are the culturally inquisitive. They don't know what the hell they came to see, just that their intellectual and cultural superiors think its great. And unlike the cultural aspirers, they tend to be honest about their opionion. This can be annoying; like when they fail to appreciate the subtleties of a good film and so decide to provide their own ignorant critical commentary for the duration of the movie. It can also be refreshing; these can be the only Ritz-goers willing to stand up and say "WTF" at the end of a real piece of over-hyped trash. The overally-liberally-educated tend to be too willing to concede that, perhaps, yes, there is some lasting value, some genuine contribution made by the fecal matter we just wintnessed on wide screen.

After the film I made my way to the subway where I did not encounter but observed a former acquaintence, a college classmate. She is a do-gooder somewhere in the city. She was writing something on a napkin and didn't look up at anyone. I doubt she is a writer. Writers never write on napkins. PLEASE. This is a myth. And I'm not saying that just because, when drunk or optimistic, I will tell people I am a writer and so therefore I know these things. What I'm saying is, people who write on napkins are A. people who desparately want to believe that they are a writer or B. people who desparately want others to believe that they are a writer. A napkin is conspicuous and inconvienent. It is never convienent to write on a napkin; this whole idea that you write on a napkin because you were struck with inspiration and the only thing handy was a paper napkin is an invention. In a society where paper napkins are ubiquitous, paper is more so. And if you are a writer, you've figured out by now that inspiration strikes you at odd, unfortunate times, and you're better off just carrying a damn notebook around because if you inadvertantly blow your nose again on one of the most beautiful lines of poetry ever written in this lanugage or any other....well, you might just have to kill yourself.

All that to say, the paper napkin is the accessory of the faux writer. Beware. Writers are lame enough to begin you really want to waste your time with fake ones?

Continuing my story...said acquaintence either ignored or failed to notice me. I made no effort to jolt acquaintence out of faux-writing. I will only flag down an acquaintence if it either: A. serves some sort of personal agenda (this person is hot, saying hello makes me look good to the person I am with; this person owes me money, time to reconnect, etc.) or if B. they are a genuinely interesting acquaintence. Which acquaintences can be. In fact, many of them are, but only because you haven't gotten to know them. They are mysterious and exciting with vague possibility. If you got to know them they would be as boring as almost everybody else you know too well. Which is why acquaintences are an important, but peripheral spice of life... but you'll have to wait for the complete installment of my philosophy of acquaintences. Forthcoming.

In any case, this story ends abruptly, with both of us getting on a train, and then me getting off the train a few stops later in the part of the city where the upwardly-aspring live, and her staying on the train to go to the part of the city where the do-gooders live. I used to live there.

Friday, January 13, 2006

a new rung on the corporate ladder

First thing Monday morning, they sacked a guy who started at the company in July. I think it was amicable. And by amicable I mean, at the time of his firing they hadn't yet discovered the magnitude of his capacity for error, and so he left on a shrug and a "sorry" instead of through the hail of
obscenties that would come later. He was, to put it gently, a flaming moron, a billboard for stupid -- a man who lowered the average IQ of any collective just by entering the room.
An email was circulated, informing the staff that so-and-so had "left us." This is one of those dear corporate phrases whose gentle suggestion allows for rampant speculation among employees. We all know that "left us" translates roughly to "had about 15 minutes to clean out his desk before security was on its way up to escort him out of the building."
Then everyone waits for an"all clear" so that we can start pooling together at cublicle edges and gossip.
And as is this case with most things in life - law of nature really - one fool's misfortune was another's gain. In this instance, I was the winning fool. About an hour after the "he left us" email circulated, I received another email informing me that my annual review had been moved up from the end of the month one hour. Being the clever type, I was able to put a few things together. So at the end of my glowing review, it was no surprise that I was being given a decent raise and a promotion.

I am no longer "assistant" anything.

Make your own damn copies.

only the strong survive...only the brave wear spandex

The gym was clogged with new year's resolutions today. On a typical weekday or holiday at 1:30 in the afternoon, there won't be more than a half-dozen of us or so. Today, there were dozens and dozens. The line of elliptical macines, usually empty and still, was today a row of flailing limbs. While it's heartwarming and all to see so many people setting out to do something good for themselves, I'm kind of looking forward to, oh, the third week of January. When the resolvers have gone back to their old ways, and there is no one at all on the treadmills next to me, much less a woman reeking of cheap perfume on one side of me and a guy spraying droplets of sweat on the other. But I will say it feels nice to see the expression on the new kid's faces when, after finishing a three mile run at a steady clip, I jump off the treadmill only to climb on the elliptical and set a pace double their's for the next twenty minutes or so. And then do a round of weights. And leave, smiling. Because I used to be the one wheezing after two minutes of jogging, the one soaked in sweat and red in the face after ten minutes of anything.And it's nice to know that, a New Year's two years ago, I decided I needed to make a change for the better. And I have.

2005: blink and you missed it

past year, in sum: -got a job in the city with a publisher. -moved to a cute, ramshackle 1-bedroom in west philly. -adopted a calico cat with big green eyes and an insatiable need to cuddle. named her Matilda. -received my very first gas bill; subsequently shivered through the winter of 2005. -lost illusions of being the next Nigella or Martha; rediscovered my childhood culinary joys - frozen pizza, frozen burritos, and cold cereal. maybe when i have a real kitchen.... -unwittingly answered an internet personal ad -met The Russian -realized that working in publishing does not require writing or thinking. it involved sending files to India and retrieving the files India sends back -gave up Jesus for Lent -missed school terribly -did not read any good books. -saw Star Wars episode 3. -started working out with unnatural regularity. i now run 4 miles a day, 5 days a week, over my lunch hour. -developed abs and a clear complexion -had my car broken into. a few clothes and my gym bag stolen. i was so naive and suburban i don't leave anything in the back seat of my car except a sign that says "steal this, fucker." kidding! i don't want to incite anything. the sign says "Please don't steal this, fucker." -rode the razor's edge of broke with panache. -said NO to drugs -stopped wearing underwear -caught up on the rated R movies from the early nineties that my parent's wouldn't let me watch back then -went to my 5-year class reunion; drank too much, danced a little, passed up an opportunity for a 3way. -got sick with respiratory infections. again and again. -mastered parallel parking -finally got over that terrible habit of picking the dry skin on my hands. they look beautiful now. -enjoyed lazy summer Sundays in Manhattan with the Russian Lover. discovered that i really like new york. -turned 24. -came no closer to discovering my calling in life. resolved that money is not a terrible thing to strive for; resolved to strive for a lot of money. -avoided writing for fear of failure. thought a lot about the things i would write if i was writing. -decided not to renew lease in cute, ramshackle one bedroom; weathered the crazy ranting of lazy slumlord; fled to the Russian lover with Matilda and a suitcase. I am presently waiting for the results of my annual review at the publisher; a promotion and attendant raise are in order. After the results I will consider my prospects for the coming year. In other words, "Should I stay or should I go?" It is probably high time for a career change...already. So...that's the story. Want the juicy details? Get in touch.