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.

Friday, April 14, 2006


the russian lover just informed me that we are leaving for new york the moment i get home, for the sole reason that we like new york (and we like new york because it is not philadelphia) and so that is where we are spending our weekend instead of doing our taxes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

the long road home

The walk back from work takes about a half hour, covers 20 city blocks, and involves 22 traffic lights. On the way I pass a hospital, 4 Dunkin Donuts, 3 Stephen Starr restaurants, and 2 Starbucks (I know - only 2!). I pass the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall. I pass the people standing in front of these places taking pictures of each other, and I never pause to avoid being caught in a photo. If I did, I'd never reach Sixth St. People from Texas can give me all the dirty looks they want.
I pass a handful of people asking for handouts (I don't know if they're homeless or not). I pass a man selling umbrellas and hats, who stands there always like a dark and silent bird, watching, while the Gospel radio he plays exhorts me to praise Jesus.
I pass the Dialogue Direct recruits, who stand at corners all along Chestnut St. trying to ambush tired people hurrying home from work. They want to have nice chat with you. They stand with their heads turning in all directions, looking for people that appear relaxed and receptive. Or progressive and naïve, like themselves. Sometimes you’ll see them actually talking to someone, and the pedestrians that pass that person look on sympathetically but gratefully thanks for keeping them occupied. The male recruits use their position as an excuse to talk to women. But this is because they are unsuccessful with women to begin with, and their efforts here don’t fare much better. When I pass one, he’ll lean toward me, or maybe do a nervous hopping dance, and ask if I can talk with him a moment. I tell him no. Then he whines, “Pleeease? Just for a minute?” It reminds me of an adolescent boy asking the girl he’s making out with if he can “stick it in.” Pleeeease? Just for a second…I’ll take it right out. There are few things more pathetic then a male using that tone of voice with a woman, in any context. It makes me cringe, and walk away faster. I have since developed a deep prejudice toward people wearing navy-colored jackets and standing on street corners; I avoid them at all costs. By the time I catch sight of the front logo it might be too late, so I have to keep my distance. My apologies to all the nice, navy-colored-jacket-wearing people that I veer widely around while giving you a look that says leper!
I pass the Chestnut St. jam band, which has slowly grown from one guy with drumsticks and some pots and pans and lids and buckets, to two such guys and an old man with a trumpet. The first guy was an anomalous racket on weekends. Now the group appears to hold regular weekday evening performances. Toddlers, holding their parent’s hand and waiting to cross the street, do the universal toddler bobble dance. Tourists stop and watch. Commuters catch themselves off guard with their own smiles. But the other day, some low-budget filming of the group was going on; once low-budget liberal minded wanna-be filmmakers have embraced you, your popularity as a street performer has peaked. You’ve got another few weeks, maybe, after your moment of glory on PBS or in a student documentary film fest entry, before people start thinking shut up already. Certain behavior has an expiration date for children as far as grown-ups are concerned, and once-cute behavior becomes obnoxious after that age. It will be the same with these guys and Philadelphia's grown-ups. I suspect, however, that the toddlers will be dancing for as long as they are there playing.