Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Feel the Burn

Earlier, I went to sign up at the local gym and Wonder Woman was the person who took all my information. Then she turned me over to Blackbeard the Pirate who tried to sell me on the idea of hiring a personal trainer for ten weeks.

PIRATE: Hey! First, how often have you ever worked out in a gym?
ALICE: Um...never.
PIRATE: Well, how often have you ever worked out...not in a gym?
ALICE: Never.
PIRATE: Hmm. Well, how often have you just done a little exercise?
ALICE: That would be...never.
PIRATE: Have you ever just stood in a gym?
ALICE: Only today. Hang on, though! I am sitting not standing, so the answer is...never. Are you getting the whole picture?
PIRATE: Yeah. Okay. Well, why now? Why are you in this gym?
ALICE: Oh, I don't know, really. Sometimes there are no good answers to questions, you know? For example, has anyone ever come up with an acceptable response to, Why is a raven like a writing desk? Heck, no. Let me tell you, if I knew all the answers I would lead a different life, eh?
ALICE: Never mind.

So, it was decided that I should have a trainer help me, for a little while anyway, because left on my own, I would probably just do two jumping jacks and call it a day. After that I was turned over to Beelzebub, who explained all the small print and then handed me a pen.

BEELZEBUB: Now sign here for me, sweetie. Sign here and forfeit your soul to me!
ALICE: You people do take halloween a little too seriously around here, yes?
BEELZEBUB: Just sign on the dotted line, already!

I did. I was also a bit worried that I would need to give blood to seal the deal, but Beelzebub didn't bring it up and I wasn't going to remind him. As I left, Little Red Riding Hood was standing by the door with her basket filled with candy.

Honestly! As if trying to tempt me with sweets while I was at the gym was a good thing. I didn't cave, thank you very much.

I waited until I was a block away before I looked for a drugstore to buy chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

I'm seeing the trainer on Saturday. She'll know what to do with me.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Be Still, My Heart

Well, I thought that I could get away without having to go to this year’s haunted house extravaganza in downtown New York. Last year’s experience was bad enough, but this time, I KNOW what to expect -- and it isn’t good, for the heart or the nerves. I don’t like to be scared! I don’t want to be scared! But my sister is the one who arranged this newest excursion to Psycho Clan’s 2006 production, and I can’t say no to her because…well…because it would scare me to do so. Yup. I’d rather die of fright in that haunted environment than tell my sister that I won’t do it. She wouldn’t accept it anyway.

SISTER: Well, don’t forget about tonight!
ALICE *pretending*: Forget? Oh. About what?
SISTER: Going to the Nightmare show! You forgot?
ALICE : Oh, is that tonight? Well, I’ve read that it’s so popular that it’s impossible to get tickets, so I guess we’ll have to wait until next…
SISTER: Don’t worry! I’ve already gotten them and we have to be there at 7:30. I’m so excited. Aren’t you?
ALICE: Yeah. Excited. That’s me, alright.

It doesn’t help that this show is new and improved with better ways to horrify even the most jaded New Yorker. My sister promised that afterwards, our group would go to a bar to have a drink and laugh about the experience. Maybe I can convince her that it makes more sense to go to the bar before the show. And laugh during the experience.

But, on second thought, it’ll be better to have a level head. After all, I’ve seen those movies – with lots of people around me – where some dumbass group walks through a haunted house and, believing that it’s all a joke, meet their doom because their spidey senses are not functioning. That won’t be me. Nope. I will on full alert, and if our group finds itself in a situation where all bets are off, I’m handing over my sister to the ghouls and running out of there like a bat out of hell.

Wait! What am I saying! I’m afraid of bats!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Michaelangelo Never Had to Do This

I went to stay with my friend Jane in Washington, D.C. because we were going to attend an art opening of her work. We were going to drink champagne and eat really cute food and talk to lovely artist-y people; I really wanted this.

We left an hour before we had to be there because Jane was driving and it's only fifteen minutes away. Well, we spent fifty minutes--yep, that's 50 minutes--looking for a parking spot. We were resigned but not defeated. We knew that we would find one...soon. Actually, we prayed that we would find one...soon. Then we could rush into the building, throwing kisses and laughing with everyone about the PARKING SITUATION, as the gallery manager pressed champagne flutes into our hands.

However, no spot opened up. Hmm. Plan B was for me to drop Jane off and I would park the car. Somewhere. We drove in front of the building and we saw that it was dark. What? Where's the champagne? Where's the food? Where's the lovely artist-y people? Where's the art?

Next week. That's where.

So we drove home. Not really speaking because what is there to say, except, thanks for bringing me here from New York City so we could be driving in circles for an hour. I feel rejuvenated.

Because of an accident, there was a traffic bottleneck on Jane's street; it was bumper to bumper and we were ANOTHER hour just...sitting. Then it began to rain. Yeah. Then it began to thunder. Uh huh. Then there were very bright, sharp bursts of lightening. Alrighty. Then it began to hail. Of course. I was expecting locusts but they apparently were busy somewhere else. Then the winds picked up and later we found out they were almost 50 mph gusts. I mean, where is a cellar when you need one, huh? Great! So this is how the end of the world ends for me. Stuck in a car in a traffic jam. And we were NOT going to be singing and dancing with munchkins at the end of it all. How pedestrian an ending.

Eventually, we began to move -- an inch or two. We were only five houses away from Jane's house, but 40 minutes later, we were there. We had called her husband to let him know of our troubles. He was waiting for us with a large shrimp and pesto pizza, and he had white wine and he looked a bit abashed and said that while it wasn't the gallery, he hoped that it was alright.

So here I was. Wine, food, and talk with lovely people; one of them actually an artist. And she does have art all over her house. It was perfect.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Take Two Aspirins

I am always learning on the job, every single time.

One first phone call of the day was from a patient I knew was expected to come into the office later in the afternoon. It was news to him.

PATIENT: Hey, I want to cancel my appointment for tomorrow, alright?
ALICE: Your appointment is for today.
PATIENT: No, it isn't, it's for tomorrow. I wrote it down. Here it is, yeah, it's at 2:00 on Thursday.
ALICE: Well, today IS Thursday.

Then I hear him shout to someone.

PATIENT: Ma! Did you know today was Thursday?
MA: Wha? Yeah, I did!
PATIENT: Why didn't you tell me?
MA: What am I, your mother?
PATIENT: Yeah you are! Cut it out, Ma!

After Alice, patient, and Ma get all this sorted out, the phone rings again. It's from a young woman who wanted to leave a message for one of the doctors. Apparently she had forgotten to tell the doctor about one long-standing problem she has been having for weeks.

It seems that every morning at 5 a.m., this patient wakes up burning hot. So hot that she is sizzling. So hot that she wakes up her boyfriend.

HOT PATIENT: So, what do you think this is?
ALICE: I can't answer that, I really don't know.
HOT PATIENT: Well, you know, my boyfriend always says, why are you so freakin' hot?
ALICE: And he doesn't mean it in the good sense.
HOT PATIENT: Yeah! Exactly!
ALICE: Well, I'll leave a note for the doctor and...
HOT PATIENT: Wait, I haven't finished telling you.
ALICE: There's more?
HOT PATIENT: Yeah, I am so hot that I jump up from the bed and tear off my clothes.

At this point, I wanted to ask something along the lines of, and does hot sex ensue?

But, I am at the doctor's office and I do have to maintain a professional demeanor, and why is the boyfriend annoyed?

I promised Hot Patient that I would leave an EXPLICIT note for the doctor and moved on to another call. Apparently, people are asking for me by name because...well, I don't know why they want to talk to me.

This third patient starts out with a lowered voice.

THIRD PATIENT: Hi, sweetheart. You know, I feel like I can confide in you.
ALICE: Oh, well, please don't feel...like that.
THIRD PATIENT: Oh, no, sweetheart, it's important that a patient feel comfortable and I do. But, listen, I seem to have a problem with going.
ALICE: Going? Where?
THIRD PATIENT: You know. To the potty.
THIRD PATIENT: Yeah, sweetheart, sometimes it seems like it's stuck. You know, in there. And no matter what I do, it won't come out.

Well, I never wanted to be a doctor. And now I really know why.

THIRD PATIENT: Sweetheart. My late grandma had a recipe for this. She told people in her village who had this problem to swallow a tablespoon of oil. Wait a bit. Try again. That's all. Do you think I should do this?

I promised Third Patient that I would leave an EXPLICIT note for the doctor.

Yes, yes, I am learning plenty on the job.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Double Indemnity

The medical transcriptionist came to the office to pick up the latest batch of files she has to...well, transcribe. Her name is Marjorie and I was in for a surprise when she arrived. Her manner of dress, her long wavy dark hair, her makeup, her dominant jewelry, and her demeanor suggested film noir.

Why, even the office lost its colors and became a world of grey, black, and white. The venetian blinds on the windows were drawn and closed, which is amazing because the windows don’t have blinds.

Marjorie walked in languidly and I think that the doctor said to us:

DR: She has the look of a dame who spells trouble, with a lower case “t”. She could make men murder from love and then pay the price.

But maybe I misheard.

Anyway, Marjorie did not have a sultry voice; it was rather worn and raspy, as if she had spent too many years smoking and…um…well, doing other things that annoy the throat.

She only had eyes for the male doctor in the group, and he smiled and gave her the files and smiled some more.

When she left, she stopped to smooth out her stockings and didn’t even say goodbye. I think the doctor said to us:

DR: I didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman.

But maybe I misheard.

Now that I think of it, that probably is a line from some movie. Yeah. I’m sure of it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sticks and Stones

A friend had been at an LSAT class in the neighborhood, so she stopped by the apartment afterwards late last night. I am always happy to see Dana because we can talk and laugh about anything and everything. This is how she started the conversation:

DANA: My mother is a liar, and a whore.

We heard about the liar part…something to do with money that her mother had said she didn’t have but really did. But Deacon and I were waiting to hear about the other part; Dana, however, didn’t continue.

ALICE: So…um…what about her being a whore?
DEACON: Yeah! How did you figure that?
DANA: Oh, she is such a liar.
ALICE: But that doesn’t make her a whore, you know.
DANA: Yeah. But that’s what I want to call her. Because she’s a liar.
ALICE: I see.

So my logical friend then started talking about her ex-boyfriend, Tate. She had phoned him recently, after not speaking for over a month. She told us that she missed him terribly and that she needed to see him.

ALICE: Well, when are you two meeting again?
DANA: Oh, I can’t see him until I lose ten pounds!
ALICE: What?
DANA: Yeah, I gained ten pounds since he last saw me and I don’t want him to see me fat!
ALICE: But, that could take some time, and Tate will think that you aren't interested. Just having a texting relationship is not…satisfying, no? And you are NOT fat.
DANA: Do you have any cookies?

Right before she left, Dana looked at herself in the mirror.

DANA: Ugh. I’m so fat. I’m a whore. I’m a fat whore.

I think that for her birthday, I will buy a dictionary for Dana.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Went Out to Buy Milk, but...

I was with Val all day yesterday. We had been walking around and had decided to visit a tiny store that only sold headwear and accessories. Val was seriously shopping for a hat but I was just playing around, trying on different ones on and running over to her and speaking in the voice of the character that would have worn such a hat. So I was Rocky--Bullwinkle's squirrel friend--Sherlock Holmes, Nanook, a 40's flapper, and a jockey, among others.

We were laughing and the owner of the shop was staring at us, displeased that we were not showing the proper reverence for the "toppers".

The last hat Val tried on was really cute and it looked great on her. A man standing next to us looked at Val and said that in that hat she reminded him of a certain celebrity.

ALICE: Oh. Who?
MAN: What's her name. You know. The one with the eyelashes.
VAL: You don't mean Liza Minelli, do you?
MAN: YEAH! That's her!

Val doesn't look even remotely like Liza. She doesn't even want to look like her. Remotely or not. She was rather insulted and decided not to buy the hat.

VAL: Why does that fool think I look like her?
ALICE: Oh, maybe because of the spikey eyelashes you wear?
VAL: Yeah. Or maybe because of the dependence I have on drugs and alcohol.
ALICE: Or maybe, just maybe, it's because of your unbridled need to be married to a gay man who makes a very good punching bag. Or so he says.

We were still laughing loudly as we headed for the door. The owner of the shop cleared her throat and caught our attention. She's probably going to say, have a good afternoon, I thought.

OWNER: Thank you, ladies, for visiting.

But she couldn't keep the fuck you and never come here again tone out of her voice.

So. We didn't belong in that store. We were contrite, really we were. Then we decided to go to another store where we really didn't belong: Prada.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mutant Power!

Last night Vicky and Harry came over to “hang out.” As soon as they arrived, Vicky turned on the television and began watching some forensic science style of show. This kind of visit is difficult because Vicky seems to only want to speak in tongues during her programs: psst, shush, tsk, shh, SHUSH! Even during commercials; she does NOT want anyone talking to her. Nope. No interruptions or interactions, or you get the talk that only snakes can understand.

Except for one thing.

A few minutes into the program, she falls asleep. As does Harry. Why do they visit? I guess they need the rest.

Last year, they both came to spend some days with me in Washington, D.C. and I couldn't wait to see them. Once they arrived, they asked to go sightsee at the Smithsonian Museum. They begged—begged—me to agree to see a 20-minute show in the planetarium; it cost $8.00 each. I was skeptical that they really wanted to see this but they insisted.

So, $24.00 later, we were seated. I was in the middle, Harry to my left and Vicky to my right. The lights dimmed and this absolutely fabulous show of night sky with stars and planets and moons zooming across assaulted the senses. Loudly. Laurence Fishburne was the narrator and during a spectacular look at the canyons on Mars, I said to my friends, "How nice that Morpheus is speaking to us about space." I looked at Harry and saw that he was...sleeping. I looked at Vicky and saw that she was...sleeping.

After 15 more minutes and $16.00 worth of sleep, the show was over.

Apparently, just being near me is a great soporific event. Why, that could be my superpower! Think of the possibilities. Anywhere hostilities break out, send me. Oh, yeah. Although the sounds of war would be loud and clear, they would be something like this: Zzzzzzz.

Friday, October 20, 2006


The end of the week is always an extremely hectic time in the office because patients seem to wait until Fridays before it occurs to them to get prescription refills. They also try to lure the doctors to the phone to make allowances for them after they are informed that an appointment won't be available for a month or so. When they can't get the doctor to take the call, they want to shoot the breeze with us and ask questions that only a doctor could--and should--answer.

PATIENT: Listen, sweetheart, I know the doctor can't come to the phone but have you ever heard of this procedure: a needle is stuck in one's throat. This is for a thyroid test. Have you ever heard of this? Hah?
ALICE *not wanting to think about this*: Only on CSI.

So I was losing my mind trying to keep up with the patients who were on hold on the phone when the very last number that had been free, rang. It was my office mate's boyfriend. When told that she was stuck on a long conversation with a woman who spoke Ukrainian, the boyfriend was surprised.

BOYFRIEND: But Joanie doesn't speak Ukrainian.
ALICE: Don't we know it.

After hanging up with the boyfriend, the phone rang again. This time it was the mother. I got worried because I thought something was wrong at her home, so I slipped a note to her and she handed me the phone and went to speak to her mom. It was alright because even though I don't speak Ukrainian either, the woman was shouting and complaining about the doctor and the insurance company so I didn't need to say a word.

When Joanie came back and took the phone from me, I asked her if everything was alright.

JOANIE: Oh, yeah. It's just that my mom had to tell me about the woman who sells me cigarettes.
ALICE: What do you mean?
JOANIE: Well, I buy boxes of cigarettes from this woman who gets them...shall we say, cheaper...on the internet. My mom was calling to say that the woman was arrested last night at the Bingo parlor. That's all.
ALICE: Arrested? At the Bingo parlor?
JOANIE: Yeah. That's where she sells them. I think the Bingo manager sold her out.
ALICE: Well, what are you going to do now? For cigarettes, I mean.
JOANIE: No biggie. She'll be back on Sunday.
ALICE: Won't she stay away from the Bingo parlor now that she's been arrested there?
JOANIE: Nah. She'll be back. Hey, do you smoke?
JOANIE: Well, if you ever decide to, let me know. I can get them for you wholesale.

The Ukrainian woman had stopped shouting and the only words that we had understood were: doctor, bad, stupid, why, never, in mother tongue, and do it now.

Joanie and I entertained ourselves for a little bit rearranging the words to form this kernel of brilliance: Stupid, bad, doctor! Why it? Now never do tongue in mother.

Yes, yes. That was part of my day. A big part.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"A Tree is Known by its Fruit”

It is now that time when my family unit spends too many moments talking about where to meet for Thanksgiving. So far, it has never been quick and easy conversations, but rather fraught with the emotional agitation that brands family members who know that despite it all, they will never get kicked out of the group, no matter how much they fuss. Well, so far, anyway.

One memorable year, my mother was on the phone and she was not happy to learn that we wanted to go to my sister’s in Brooklyn for the dinner.

MOTHER: What? No! I had this planned for ages and you all have to come here.
ALICE: Well, wouldn’t you like to take a rest and be waited on hand and foot…
MOTHER: Not if it’s Brooklyn! I don’t want to be on the road with all that traffic.
ALICE: Well, it will be harder on everyone else to go to you.
MOTHER: NO! You will all come home. We will sit down to a lovely dinner that I am cooking—and you should be grateful that I’m doing this at all. You know that I can’t cook. We will be together like the loving family that we are and WE WILL BE HAPPY AND ENJOY OURSELVES! GOT IT?

Well, Matt Groening certainly knew what he was talking about when he said, families are about love overcoming emotional torture.

This year, particularly, everyone is where everyone else is not. The D.C. family members want the New York contingent to travel there. The New York contingent wants the D.C. ones to come here. And the New Jersey member, who is my mother, now doesn’t care where it’s held as long as someone comes and gets her.

I don’t know why, but I am usually the one who is chosen to speak to everyone and get them to sign on the dotted line. I hate being the go-between because in my family one DOES shoot the messenger.

So the family members have now begun to call.

FM#1: Where are we having Thanksgiving? I hope you're going to say at my place because that’s how it has to be.
ALICE: Well, I thought that we might…
FM#1: NO! Whatever you’re going to say, no! I missed out last year on being with the family and I can’t travel this year, so I want to have you all here.
ALICE: Well, let me find out from the others.
FM#2: What? No, it has to be here. I can’t travel there. It must be here.

Today, Deacon and I were discussing this and I was lamenting that this year some feelings might get hurt because I can’t figure out a way that would satisfy everyone. And mind you, we are not speaking about organizing dozens of people. No sir. Just eight. I told him that we might have to stay in New York with my mother. The D.C. three will have to be together, as will the Ithaca two. I also told Deacon that I was putting off having to relay this bit of news to the family.

DEACON: Yeah, I feel for you. They are a prickly bunch.

Well, how about that. My family tree is a cactus.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Reading Lessons

I was in one of those mini marts that one finds in the rest stops along the New Jersey Turnpike. I had bought the usual assortment of junk that one needs to stay awake from fatigue and boredom. While waiting for my driving companion to find me, I was looking at the paperbacks on sale. There was not much of a selection. In fact the titles were not new ones at all! Here are three that were right next to each other:

1. He's Just Not That Into You
2. There is No Prince Charming
3. Living Successfully with Screwed-Up People

Later that afternoon, I was in a grocery store with my sister and we were marching along looking for the things that were on her list. Just those things. I, on the other hand, am the sort of shopper who goes up one aisle and down the other, stopping to look at this and that, reading whatever product catches my attenton...sometimes murmuring things such as wow, no kidding, it really does this?

It's not that I don't follow a list. I guess it's just that I want a trip to the grocery store to be...AN EVENT. Something not so routine.

Anyway, as my sister and I were finishing with her list, we were coming upon a little girl who was holding open a children's book and obviously pretending to be reading. As we approached we heard this little girl say in a singsong lisp, and so the beautiful princess married the handsome prince and they lived happily ever after!

As we passed the little girl, my sister muttered, "And so the lie continues."

ALICE: WHAT! You mean that there really aren't Prince Charmings who are totally into us and have us live in castles with people who have their heads screwed on right?
SISTER: Is there such a thing as a Santa Claus?
ALICE: WHAT! There is no Santa Claus?
SISTER: Oh, grow up!
ALICE: WHAT! Haven't you ever read Peter Pan?

Well...um...to paraphrase Douglas Adams, there was a point to this story. But I've quite forgotten it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sentence First – Verdict After

I was trying to help Deacon with an online purchase from a computer store. We were using my credit card because…well, it just needed to be done this way. Anyway, the amount WAS rather larger than my usual purchasing practice, but still well within the realm of possibility. The transaction was completed and one second passed. I went to say something when my cell phone began to ring.

DEACON: Ha! It’s probably your credit card company saying, “What the…”
ALICE *running downstairs to answer it*: Ha, yourself! They can’t be that fast and anyway, why would they be calling to find out if my card was stolen. As if I were some deadbeat who could never buy a computer with my own card!

Yes, it was the company. Seconds after the purchase. It must have gone like this:

COMPANY SNOOP: HANG ON! I see activity on Alice’s card. Oh my God! It’s a computer sale!
SUPERVISOR: What! This card must have been stolen. Definitely. Alice doesn’t spend money like that. She’s not capable of it. She’s a…deadbeat…you know.
COMPANY SNOOP: Well, she does have a job now. Sort of. It doesn’t pay much, but it IS a job. And we all have been waiting a long time for her to find one.
SUPERVISOR: Yeah, I know. It’s been years.

So, I was subjected to a range of questions to verify that it really was me, Alice, on the phone and that it really was me, Alice, who had used the card. There were too many rapid-fire questions. All we needed was a rectangular table, handcuffs on my wrists, and a very bright light assaulting my eyes.

DISEMBODIED VOICE: What is your mother’s maiden name? Where did you work before you got this low paying, part-time job? How do you expect to pay bills with a part-time salary? What are the names, ranks, and serial numbers of anyone you have ever known? How much wood can a woodchuck chuck…?

I did my best. I almost confessed to the crime but, eventually, the person helping me found me not guilty and let me go free.

I am grateful, truly, that the credit card people spend hours trawling the waters of fraud. Yes, I am.

I am also astounded that they work in nanoseconds. Truly.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Wedding Scenario

To keep your marriage brimming, 
With love in the wedding cup, 
Whenever you're wrong, admit it; 
Whenever you're right, shut up.

--Ogden Nash

I attended a friend's wedding yesterday. It's her second marriage and it was an Irish gathering with laughter, stories, food, and set dancing. Lots of set dancing. We were seated at a table that included two people who introduced themselves as Randy and Vane. Ah, a lovely and amusing adjectival couple.

Before all that, there was mass at the church. When it came time for communion and drinking the wine part, it seemed that only the people seated on the groom's side lined up to partake.

LOLLY: Hey! How come WE don't get any of the hooch?
ALICE: Ssh! For starters you haven't been to confession. Ever. Secondly, you've never been baptized. More importantly you're Jewish.

He was mollified when I reminded him that he could get bread and wine at the reception. Then I told him that I didn't go up to the altar because, after all, I haven't been to confession in a long, long--make that long to the tenth power--time. Some of the friends I keep aren't good role models, either. For example, I found out recently that Pepper had gone to see a Dwight Yoakum show at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, which she said looked to be in a converted church. The seats were even pews. But, before she sat down, she had STOLEN the show poster out of the sandwich-board display.

Now I know that in the Ethical Culture there are no rules, per se, just "expectations" on how to act in a given situation. But I'm sure they don't expect thievery.

Hello, Hell. Here I come AND I'm bringing friends.

Back to the reception. The bride is the daughter of very dear family friends. The father of the bride had died last year. He had been a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He also had been a conscientious, capable, and trustworthy employee. His job was what ultimately killed him. The nature of his work many years ago had exposed him to copious amounts of asbestos, and there had been nothing the doctors could do to keep his lungs from sharing space with grapefruit-sized tumors. His widow was there and said that she wanted to talk to me about him.

WIDOW: I have to tell you something really important about Mack. I talk to him every night.
ALICE: Oh. Of course you talk to him...in your prayers, right?
WIDOW: No. He comes to visit me--he's invisible so no one else knows he's there-- and he told me wonderful news!
ALICE: Uh, okay, what is it?
WIDOW: Mack is God. And he's given me a choice.
ALICE: About?
WIDOW: He said that I could be the queen of heaven if I want. But I can't be married to him, then. Or I could join him in heaven and stay married to him, but I can't be the queen.
ALICE: Hmm. Difficult choice, that.
WIDOW: He is sending a bucket tomorrow night for me to use.
ALICE: What?
WIDOW *nodding vigorously*: I have to sit in the bucket and I will be pulled straight up to heaven where Mack is waiting for me. So I have to know what to do. What should I do?

Well, for all the years she has been a family friend, I have known her to behave like an absolute diva. But she was so charming and amusing in her diva-ness that we all forgave her behavior and loved her despite it. I knew how to advise her.

ALICE: Well, I think you won't be happy unless you are the queen!
WIDOW *nodding slowly*: Yes, yes. That's what I'm thinking.
ALICE: And you would get to see Mack anyway.
WIDOW: There is that.

Lolly interrupts and asks what we're talking about.

WIDOW: Oh, well, you see...

I jump in quickly.

ALICE: Oh, nothing really, just about job opportunities.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Best Served Cold

Deacon has two very pampered cats, Frisky and Fatty. He didn't want to deal with the soiled litter issue, so he bought them a Litter-Robot which is an automatic self-cleaning litter box. It's an enclosed dome-like structure that has a large waste drawer; the only thing Deacon does is change a bag every few days. No poop ever touches his hands.

Except the day it broke. While waiting for the replacement part, Deacon had put a kitchen plastic bag inside a cardboard box, filled it with litter and introduced the kitties to their new "bathroom." They hated it --and us-- and really, REALLY, used it. Just to show us that they were willing to play...er...dirty until they got back their private and very high tech facility. Deacon would pretend that he couldn't see the mess, but it was see-able as well as smell-able so I took on the job of cleaning out the box. God, it was messy and no matter how many times I cleaned it out, the cats would go as soon as fresh litter filled the box. They looked at me as if saying, "See? We will make BIG messes as a protest against this pedestrian potty."

So, yesterday, before I left for work, I had to clean the box again. I could swear that Frisky and Fatty were sneering at me as they ate breakfast.

Of course, I was running 23 minutes behind schedule. Once I reached the building, I saw that the front door was decorated with decals of black cats. I knew that in honor of Friday, the 13th, Joanie was bringing a special treat to the office for us to share. At least I had that to look forward to before the patients would arrive. So I entered the office and Joanie, Liz, and the doctors were waiting for me. The treat? Well, it looked like a kitty litter box--a well-used kitty litter box--placed on the entertainment section of the newspaper.

ALICE: Uh. Uh. Uh.
LIZ: Isn't it great ? It's a kitty litter cake!
ALICE: Yes. Yes it is, isn't it?
DR. #1: It's really delicious.
DR.#2: Never mind what it looks like, you'll enjoy it.
ALICE: It looks like...poop...lots of poop.
JOANIE *laughing delightedly*: Yeah! I really tried to make it look like the real thing. See? This here is German chocolate cake mixed with white cake and vanilla pudding. That over there are vanilla sandwich cookies, some mixed with green food coloring. And THOSE are melted tootsie rolls. Here try it.

She picked up a serving with a real pooper scooper, managing to get the tootsie roll turd that was hanging over the edge of the litter pan. I took the plate from her and stared at the concoction. I could see green specks embedded in the shit...er...tootsie roll.

I. Just. Couldn't.

ALICE: Uh. I think I'll pass on this...um...dessert.
JOANIE: What? You don't want any?
ALICE: NO! I mean... no thanks. As it turns out, I already had some this morning.

Friday, October 13, 2006

"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense"

Oh wait. That's how it's been so far.

The alarm clock in my room is relatively new and--just like the White Rabbit's watch--it doesn't show the correct time. It's not two days slow, though, just 23 minutes behind schedule. No matter what I do, I can't get the minute hand to move to the proper number. I suppose the only way to fix it is in the tool box, though I have looked and Deacon does not own a mallet.

So every morning, I try to remember that I don't have 23 extra minutes to faff around the apartment while watching the Today show. I do miss Katie Couric, by the way.

Yesterday, I was running so late that I was dashing through the park and surrounding streets, not really that attentive to whether the lights were actually green... until I saw a city bus coming from the left. I didn't want to be involved in an urban version of running with the bulls, so I stopped. Of course, the bus had the light so I wasn't being accomodating, just not eager to be flattened.

As the bus stopped in front of me to pick up passengers, I looked at the people seated by the windows. They all had similar expressions of resignation, not the look of happy tourists eager to explore a new city but, rather, the condemned demeanor of workers headed for...well...work. Then I saw her. A woman with a rather thin face, slightly protuding top teeth, and short hair with wispy ends that were fanned out from under a grey oversized top hat. She was smiling at me and winked.

When I finally arrived at the office, Joanie was waiting for me...with a cup of tea. She knows that I prefer Earl Grey in the morning rather than the dregs of coffee the doctors drink, but she has never made tea before.

I sat down, drinking my tea and thinking about the woman on the bus. I should have looked to see if there had been a 10/6 on the side of the hat.

Nuh uh. Not with the prices in New York City.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Total Perspective Vortex

Overheard at a coffee shop in the West Village early this morning.

CUSTOMER#1: Hey, Georgie, wadda think about that plane crashing into that apartment buiding yesterday. Scary, huh?
GEORGIE: Yeah, when I heard about it I was, like, holy crap, here we go again, ya know?
CUSTOMER#1: I know it! I couldn't believe it.
GEORGIE: Yeah, me too. Here we thought it was a suicidal terrorist. Who knew it would turn out to be a Yankee pitcher.
CUSTOMER#1: Yeah. Who knew?

The two men were quiet for a minute and then apparently decided to change the subject.

CUSTOMER #1: Hey, the Yankees suck. Big time.
GEORGIE: Yeah, that they do.

After spending a few hours in the office, the last patient comes up to my desk and I notice that he seems to be feigning confusion. He is 76 years old and he stands over me -- hovering -- not speaking, just breathing heavily and contorting his face in a pantomine of violent thinking. I thought of that line from Douglas Adams: "His eyes seemed to be popping out of his head. He wasn't certain if this was because they were trying to see more clearly, or if they simply wanted to leave at this point."

ALICE: Alright. How can I help you?
PATIENT: I need a prescription. Tell the doctor that I need a prescription for... what's it called? You know. What's the name of that medicine for men? On those commercials?
ALICE: I'm sure I don't know.
PATIENT: Yeah, you do. You know. The one for men.

Then he plasters an "aha" look on his face, as if he just managed to comandeer the brain cells to the right track.

PATIENT: You know. The one for sex.
ALICE: I see. Do you mean viagra?
ALICE: I'll make a note of it for the doctor.
PATIENT: Wait. Tell him that I don't want the bottle with 50 pills. I want 100.
ALICE: I bet you do.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Self-Inflicted Nonsense

My office mate, Joanie, was waiting for me to arrive. She was pacing and frowning.

JOANIE: Oh, good, you're here!
ALICE: Is something wrong?
JOANIE: No. Yes. Well, perhaps.
ALICE: Well, you've covered all the bases. What is the calamity of the day?
JOANIE; You know that Meatloaf song? The one called Two out of Three Ain't Bad?
ALICE: Of course. What about it?
JOANIE: Well, it was just on and I'm sad. I mean, she wants him, she needs him, but she's never gonna love him? I mean, why the fuck not? That song always distressed me.
ALICE *not knowing what to say*: Well, maybe she changed her mind and Meatloaf never updated the song.
JOANIE *happier*: Yeah, maybe.

The doctor is away for several days attending a conference in Arizona. He telephoned to let me know his number at the hotel. I asked him many truly important questions, such as, what is the name of the hotel? He seemed reluctant to tell me. He pretended he didn't hear me when I persisted in asking him.

DR: Er, it's a Sheraton...
ALICE: *wondering why he hadn't wanted to say*: O.K.
DR: ...Wild Horse Resort.
ALICE: Excuse me?
DR: It's the Sheraton Wild Horse Resort.
ALICE: You're at the Wild Horse? Attending a conference?

Now this doctor is very...unwild...in nature, so I just had this image of him sitting primly among a group of drink-crazed physicians who are yahooing and wearing cowboy hats as they try to lasso each other to a post.

DR *primly*: Well, the meetings are serious.
ALICE: I'll bet.
DR: So! Is there anything important you want to tell me about the office?

Yeah, I thought to myself, there is. You should computerize the records, have a smackdown with some of those hostile patients, and make sure we don't have six-year-old boxes of chocolates sitting in the refrigerator. But I didn't say this because, you know. I tried to think of something important and interesting, but there really wasn't anything to tell. Unless he, too, was pissed off by the woman who didn't love Meatloaf.

I felt the same way I used to feel whenever I was forced to go to confession. I always felt I never had done anything that would warrant an absolution from Father Tom. But I didn't want to disappoint, so I would make things up.

ALICE: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession. These are my sins. Well, let's see. I disobeyed my mother, um, three times; I hit my sister, many, many times. And, of yes, I didn't do my math homework. Once.

Jeez, why didn't I ever think of really, really, BIG sins. Go out in a blaze of...evil.

FATHER TOM: Well, my child, your penance is to say ten Hail Mary's and one Our Father.

Then he absolved me of my terrible, terrible, going-to-hell-surely sins and I went to the altar to fulfill the punishment.

I always felt so much better.

Yeah, I know. I lied. Frequently -- to a priest, no less. I mean THAT would have constituted a big, old black sin right there, not the tiny boring morsels I was offering him.

Why didn't I just tell him? Come clean? Throw myself at his mercy? I mean what was the worse that could have happened? More Hail Mary's? O.k. tons more Hail Mary's. Washing the classroom floors -- for the rest of my life? Ten smacks with a ruler? Uh, yeah. I forgot that one.

Well, I guess that I subscribed to the Oscar Wilde dictum that, "there is no sin except stupidity."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Three Bottles of Wine

There were six of us at dinner last night. It was an Italian restaurant in the East Village and we were waiting at the bar for seats outside in the garden. Mule's girlfriend was in charge of choosing the wine and she chose well. It was a bottle of ... it was red, that's all I really know. Deacon doesn't do wine, so five of us were sharing three bottles. Yeah, I know. After working very hard on a project for school, Mule was eager to relax and break out the cigar. We knew there was no smoking in the restaurant, but since we were going to be outside, we figured that it wouldn't be a problem. Until, that is, Mule decided to ask the bartender and was told that he couldn't smoke it.

MULE: But, dude, it's a CUBAN!
BARTENDER: Sorry, no. This is, after all, an ITALIAN restaurant.

Yeah, that didn't make sense to us, either.

The food came and the women in the group talked about what all women talk about when they've had two bottles of wine on an empty stomach: sex.

The subject of nuns and sex education came up. Okay, I brought it up. We were laughing about the first time we were told about what happens between a man and a woman.

ALICE: Well, our Sex Ed teacher was Sister Regina. She only said one thing to the girls: Never, never, never, let a boy touch your breasts because then you will get pregnant! She said only one thing to the boys: Never, never, never touch a girl's breast; she will get pregnant!
MULE'S GIRLFRIEND: Well, in my Catholic school, we were shown, The Miracle of Life. When I came home, my mom asked me if I saw it, I said yes and she said good. That was the discussion.
FRIEND #1: I saw the Miracle of Life, too. That's all.
FRIEND #2: My mother WAS a Sex Ed teacher and she couldn't wait until I was old enough to tell me all about it. As a matter of fact, she didn't wait. I was seven years old and she said that she just had to tell me something important. She interrupted me in the middle of my playing with my dolls. When she told me--quite excitedly-- about sex, she asked me if I had any questions. I said that I did. She was so proud and asked me what I wanted to know. I looked at her with a frown and said, Do you know where my Barbie is?
MULE: My parents still think that I don't have sex yet. And I'm in graduate school! They say that I'm still a "good boy."

Deacon wasn't adding anything to the conversation. Maybe because I was sitting right there next to him.

Friend #2 continued telling us about her mother's job as a sex educator in a Middle School setting. She loved her job, even though talking about sex to soon-to-be-unrepressed thirteen year olds was not the easiest assignment.

Especially since her name was Mrs. Weener.

Monday, October 09, 2006

No Ice Time

My work colleague was explaining to me her belief that it is not a good idea to drink wine without adding ice.  She said that diluting it helps prevent the most annoying side effect that always, well...affects...me.  She even wrote a formula for me to remember: wine minus ice equals drunkenness, or W - I = D.  Her formula for the other was: wine plus ice equals drunkenness...but  much, much later, or W + I = DbMML. Wow. Remember when we all had to study algebra and grumble about it, asking each other, are we EVER going to have to use this when we're adults? Well, yeah.

So while walking to work, I was feeling pretty cheerful. I cut across Washington Square Park and then walked down Tenth Street and saw ahead of me a landscaper finishing up his watering of the flowers that were planted in the front yard of a brownstone. He was sweeping up some clippings and had placed the water hose on the iron fence. I don't know why, but when I passed the spot, the hose fell off the fence and landed on the handle. So I and another passerby were sprayed by a heavy mist of water. My hair. My trousers. My blouse.

The landscaper cursed and ran over and started hitting the handle with the broom. Hmmm, I thought, that's an unique way to turn off the water. Of course, all he managed to do was to cause the hose to gyrate wildly, all the while spraying water at us. I asked him to stop beating it with a broom and just bend down and turn the damn thing off.

ALICE: Why not?
LANDSCAPER: I don't want to get wet!

The rest of the day, while drier, was just as bizarre. Phones ringing with people needing...everything. People coming to see the doctor needing...everything. Folders and papers needing...everything.

I ended the day the way I began it: at the mercy of circumstances beyond my control.

When I said goodbye to my office mate, we looked at each other and gave each other that look. The one that said, tonight it's going to be a WID night.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tremendous Energy to be Normal

Our temporary "roommate" Mule was having a party in his downstairs bedroom last night. They were laughing, and drinking, and shouting, and slamming doors. I was trying to sleep on the sofa upstairs and it was 2:00 a.m. Then 3:00 a.m. Then at 4:00 a.m., I went to use the bathroom next to Mule's room. When I was washing my hands, a girl opens the door and just comes on in.

O.k. I'm pretty friendly but I would have thought that if I open a bathroom door in an unfamiliar apartment, and see the light on and hear water running, and know that a stranger was using the facilities, I would probably say something like, "Oh, sorry!" And wait for the person to come out. But, no. This girl just closed the door behind her and sat down to pee.

GIRL: Hi! I'm Mule's friend!
ALICE: O.K. Well, I'll just go now.
GIRL: Oh, no, don't worry. I don't mind.

But, I did. I was TIRED and I had to go to work later that morning, and I just wanted at least one minute of sleep. I went upstairs to my sleep sofa and there were two guys sitting on it. They were dressed like pirates. Very elaborately. I just looked at them and said, "Walk the plank away from here!"

"We're pirates!" they yelled to me.

"And very realistic ones. Good job. Now get out," a very grumpy Alice responded.

So finally everyone was gone -- the pirates probably left to go back to the ship. But... no surprise there...the girl stayed in Mule's room. I could hear her talking and then...not. I think she even took a pair of my pajamas to wear. I went to lie down for some sleep, at last. Except half and hour later, the alarm rang.

Of course, when I arrived at the office, I was hoping that the pace at work would not be as frenzied as it has been. Every single day. But one can hope.

Or not.

Yeah. The day was as crazy as ever, with files, phones, and patients all out of control. Before I left at the end of the day, I answered a call from a patient who was demanding to speak to the doctor.

PATIENT: Let me talk to him. It's important. He called me this morning and we spoke for about five minutes. But, I gotta tell you, I wasn't really awake, sooo I know I spoke to him but I don't remember anything he said. Or anything I said, for that matter. I want him to tell me what he told me this morning, and what I answered him. Got that?

Yeah, I got it.


When I got back to Deacon's apartment, beaten down by the lack of sleep and the lack of rationality exhibited by many at the office, including myself, Mule's Girl was sitting in my, er, his room and talking on the phone. Apparently, she's staying another night.,

There is a lesson to be learned here. What it is, I don't know.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dynamite Roommates in NYC

The young man who owns the apartment that Deacon is subletting is visiting. He is studying abroad and it was prearranged that whenever he was in town --basically just twice a year-- he could stay in his own room downstairs. Of course, Deacon agreed to this before he realized that sweet Alice was going to knock on his door with bags in hand. But Mule doesn't care that I'm here, even though I thought it best to sleep upstairs on the sofa and let him have his privacy.

He was arriving yesterday morning and I had awaken early so that I could take my things from the room and change the bedding and etc. etc. We expected him in late afternoon. At seven a.m., he walks in the door. I needed to get ready for work and dashed around trying to vacant the room; he was here too bloody early! This made me think about how a year ago, I was toying with the idea of sharing an apartment with Harry, a friend whom I adore. Some of my friends didn't approve.

KAT: Alice, dear, what happens if you two get into a tiff and then can't bear to share the same space?

I was highly amused by the word.

ALICE: A tiff? What constitutes a tiff?

KAT: You know. You fight over the toothpaste, or the messy bathroom, or the sharing of beauty products and before you know it, KABOOM! It's over.

Other friends warned that friends shouldn't share apartments because they'll get sick of each other and won't want to be in the same social settings anymore.

I thought about this logic.

ALICE: So, let me get this straight. If friends shouldn’t share, then you’re saying that my best bet is to room with an enemy.
KAT: NO! That's not what we mean.
MELENA: Yeah. If you find a roommate, and then over time become friends, that's something else because first and foremost you are roommates.

They then told me that my problem really was that I was "infatuated" with Harry and he would not be a perfect match for me.

ALICE: Oh really? What gave you that idea. The fact that he's younger? Or the fact that he's gay?

My friends hemmed. My friends hawed. I assured them that Harry would be a perfect match for me. Well, if I were way younger. And a man. And gay. Or if he were way older. Still a man. And not gay.

ALICE: Anyway, no worries. There will be no kaboom. We've already spoken about this and Harry is not keen on us being roommates.

My friends gave me a why-the-hell-not look.

ALICE: He said we would get sick of each other and it would ruin our friendship.

I admitted this sheepishly.

FRIENDS: What! Well, you would SO get sick of him first!

So here I am with Deacon, his girlfriend, and Mule. A happy little family in an apartment in New York City.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

First Steps

The news about the recent shootings at the one room Amish school house in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was horrifying. I read that the phone call alerting police to the siege took some time because a teacher had to run to a farm house to find a phone, since there wasn't one at the school. Amish custom restricts the use of such technology.

I know this firsthand; one Sunday evening, when Deacon was 11 months old, our car broke down right in front of an Amish farmhouse. Lolly was driving and my mother was in the passenger seat, while I was in the back with Deacon. Before we even had time to think, "Crap! What do we do now!" a large contingent of Amish men came running across the field. We had been told, at a lecture on the Amish ways earlier in the day, that the area we were driving through included Old Order Amish fellowships. So that meant that they followed strict rules on dress, behavior, technology, and relationships with the "English" as the outsiders are called.

Looking at the people who were coming toward us, and seeing the women who were waiting in front of the farmhouse, I just knew: we had to get help from members of the Old Order. We didn't know if they would.

When the men reached us, they said that we would have to wait until Monday for one of them to run to a neighboring farm to use a phone, since the garage was closed. I was worried. Where were we going to spend the night? We were on a rural road, Deacon was getting hungry and I did not have any extra bottles for him, and my mother was sobbing that she wanted to get home to my father because she "can't sleep well in a strange bed."

Well, we stayed there, at that farm. The men led us to the women, who took one look at Deacon and took him from my arms. The next thing I knew, they had milked a cow, washed out his bottle, and had him seated in Grandma's arms happily drinking away. I was gratified, but also worried because he had never had unpasteurized milk before and I didn't know if that was going to be a bad thing.

This Amish family welcomed us into their home without hesitation, and at the dinner table we all talked and laughed and tried to ask each other questions that would quell the curiosity we each harbored about the other.

The head of the household looked at Lolly and asked him his religion.

LOLLY: I am Jewish.
HOH: Ah, you are a Hebrew!

The food was plentiful, but bland because no spices were used (including salt). There was a big bowl of what looked like mashed potatoes and Lolly was helping himself, putting two hearty scoops on his plate. I noticed that our hosts were staring at him bemusedly, and then at each other.

ALICE: Um, sorry. Is there something we are doing wrong?
HOH *laughing*: Oh, no. It's just that we have never seen anyone who loves butter so much.

We all went to bed early because on a farm, everyone gets up with the rooster. We spent Monday morning helping. Lolly went to the fields to pick watermelons that would be sold later in the day at a roadside stand for tourists. My mother and I were cleaning in the kitchen. Deacon was with the many daughters of the house who cooed over him, played with him, and carried him around.

Toward the end of the day, the car business had been sorted out and we were getting ready to leave. We were standing in the kitchen and Grandma came in carrying Deacon. She looked at me and smiled, and then placed him on the floor. I was going to tell her that he didn't walk yet, but I saw that Deacon was standing and I was surprised into silence. Then, right before us all, Deacon put one foot in front of the other and slowly walked over to me and held up his arms to be picked up. Grandma laughed and clapped her hands.

GRANDMA: There! He's walking! Now you will remember us. You will remember that Deacon took his very first steps in an Amish kitchen, in Grandma's kitchen.

So much kindness from strangers. Their life is one of devotion to the teachings of Jesus, devoid of violence and fear -- until it was brought to a tiny one room schoolhouse.

And from what I have read, the people from this community are still turning to their religious beliefs to help them through this: it has been reported that all the people in Nickel Mines want to forgive the man who committed the murders of the young school girls, and while reaching out to their neighbors who have lost their children, they also want to reach out to his family.

So today, while I read the papers, I remembered. Deacon took his first steps in an Amish kitchen. In Grandma's kitchen.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

There's No Business Like...

I went out yesterday morning and when I returned four hours later, I found that my street had been transformed into a movie set. Oh, I thought to myself, another movie is being filmed. Another f@#$%^& movie. But I just wanted to get to the apartment so I didn't stop to gawk as other people were doing. Traffic was stopped on the surrounding streets and cars were honking. Buses were honking. Taxis were honking. Even people who didn't have vehicles were honking. Well, it sounded like it anyway. I was walking quickly when I was stopped by a young man who waved a small orange flag in my face.

YOUNG MAN: Miss, you can't walk down this street. Thank you.
ALICE: Sorry, no can do, I want...
YOUNG MAN: MISS! This street is closed to pedestrians. PLEASE!
ALICE: Look, I live in that apartment building there. So I will walk down this street because as far as I can see, no filming is happening at the moment, so I'll just dash in and that will be that.

My logic was impeccable, apparently, so he let me go.

I was stopped three more times. How much do these little orange-flag-waving minions earn, anyway? It seems like fun. You get to boss people around with an air of fast paced authority, AND you get to wave little orange flags . I mean, just think of the power.

When I almost reach the front door of my apartment, another flag waver is blocking the door. I look at him and start to tell him that I just want to go inside, when I hear a bellow from across the street: GET THOSE PEOPLE AWAY FROM THIS AREA, NOW!

Well, there weren't "those" people in the area. Just me. Is Megaphone Guy insinuating that I'm as big as a house? That my one little body looks like a crowd, a herd of bison, from across the street?

Fortunately, the doorman came to my rescue; he opened the door, grabbed my hand and pulled me inside.

DOORMAN: We're prisoners here, Alice.
ALICE: Gah! It's always something, isn't it?
DOORMAN: Well, it's a big budget movie, you know. It's gonna be called I am Legend. It's a remake of the Omega Man. Remember that movie from the 70's? The one that Charleston Heston was in?
ALICE: Oh, wow, another remake. Hollywood is really firing up those brain cells.
DOORMAN: It stars Will Smith, you know.

I kept on hearing all the pissed-off drivers honking non-stop, and I could see the impenetrable traffic bottleneck through the glass doors. Plus I could hear Megaphone Guy shrieking orders.

ALICE: Will Smith, eh? Well, when it's over, I hope that he remembers how to do that deneuralizing thingy. Or he could ask Harry Potter how to obliviate.

DOORMAN: Yeah, whatever...

So when I reach the apartment, Deacon is home and I tell him about the stuff happening outside.

DEACON: Oh, I was wondering what all that noise was about. I heard honking, and yelling. Someone yelling. So you were making friends out there,..
ALICE: Yeah, right.

Two hours later, I am seated at the kitchen table when I see that an orange cherry picker is bringing a guy up just outside my window. I mean, I am on the 8th floor and there are many apartments in this building, but Cherry Picker Guy has to park himself right in front of my very eyes. He's talking on the phone and bright lights are illuminating his workspace. This is what I'm wondering: What if Cherry Picker Guy has to go to the bathroom? What if he's hungry; he can see me cooking dinner. What are the etiquette rules in this situation, huh?

Well, maybe he just doesn't see me. Yeah, maybe. But then, he looks over and catches my eye and smiles and waves.

It's going to be a long night.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Simians Among Us

Was walking yesterday morning to the post office. Passed the place where all the mail trucks are parked, and saw a group of mailmen just standing around talking. I am in deep reverie when one of the men disengages from his little group and stands in front of me.

MAILMAN: It's the hot latin blood in you, isn't it?

I am startled out of my walking/doze and look at this man carefully. He is redheaded, beefy, flushed. I decide that just for once in my life, I am not going to get involved in crazy conversations. The other men are laughing and grunting. I feel as if I should point to myself and say something like, "Me, Jane." But I move around Mr. Beef and keep walking.

"HEY!" I hear as I reach for the post office door. "AIN'T YOU GONNA ANSWER?"

ALICE: Uh. It's the 0.15 blood alcohol level in you, isn't it?"

I leave them snickering and grunting. And probably pounding their chests. And checking each other for parasites.

Love in the jungle. How did Dian Fossey do it...