Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sharing and Caring

Sarie is visiting for the holidays. She is trying to convince me to move from Deacon's apartment, and live with Tina, who is looking for a roommate. Tina has an apartment in midtown NY...she also has an ENORMOUS dog. I like dogs but this one is too big. The story is that many years ago, Tina went to buy a puppy -- a chihuahua, actually.

However, once she locked eyes with this other cute puppy, she was hooked. It turned out that said cute, little, puppy grew up to be an ENGLISH MASTIFF. It's huge and it's mouth spews out streams of slobber, just like Fang in the Harry Potter movies. As a matter of fact, Tina has baskets of rags throughout the apartment. She calls them slobber rags and uses them to clean whatever the dog soiled with his Lovely.

SARIE: Don't worry about the dog; he doesn't slobber all the time.
ALICE: Oh? It sure looks like it.
SARIE: No. It will be fine, you'll see.
ALICE: Another thing. When I went to visit them, the apartment smelled, too much dog.
SARIE: Pshaw. That was because Tina hadn't been cleaning in a while.
ALICE: What? So you think I would enjoy being with a roommate who doesn't clean?
SARIE: Don't judge. She hasn't been cleaning because she's depressed.
ALICE: What? So you think I would enjoy being with a roommate who doesn't clean her dog's slobber AND is depressed? Why would that be a good situation for me?
SARIE: Well, she thinks you're fun and wants to hang out with you. It's not all bad. I mean she likes to go out and oh yes, she would sit around at night with you sharing a bottle of wine. That would be cool, no?

Well, I guess I've had worse offers, so I am considering it. But then, an image comes to mind of me -- being an excellent roommate -- walking the dog AND using a big ole garden shovel to scoop the poop.

Now a chihuahua! THAT would have been a no brainer.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

This Little Piggy

So, Alice here had three hours of sleep before it was time to return to work. Deacon had a holiday gathering last night and his friends brought their friends and so on and so forth. So it was a very late night -- or, rather, an extremely early morning.

It's not so bad arriving to work with a hangover. Really. It gives one a unique perspective on the mundane. And my office mates decided that the only way to shake off the boozetastic lethargy was to drink more. So, yep, that's what we did at lunch...finished off the eggnog -- without the doctors.

All was well; I was feeling better and alert and I was rushing to finish the day's paperwork. Then Office Mate #1 came running into my room to pick up some files.

OFFICE MATE #1: MAN! I have to be in turbo mode right now. I mean, the pig is high and I still have to get the blood.

Apparently, it isn't enough to know how to use a computer in this office -- even though we don't have a computer in this office. It seems not to matter whether one knows how to unjam belligerent copy machines. No. As far as I can tell, other duties as assigned apparently include some sort of sacrificial experience. Which I don't have -- yet.

So I decided not to worry about my office mate, a high pig, or blood. After all, I had to locate a file, which turns out to have been stored in the bathroom. I climbed into the tub and found it after five minutes.

I'm really good that way. Not for nothing, but that should count for something.

Yes, I am going to sleep very early tonight. Why do you ask?

If it had grown up,' she said to herself, 'it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.

--Alice in Wonderland

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Spending Quality Time

EGGNOG! That's the best way to get through a workday -- well at my office, anyway.

Office mate #2 brought in a big ole container of the stuff, which she had made just before she came to work.

Office mate #1 broke out the little cups used for urine samples-- yeah, pretty ugh, I know -- and we did a taste test. It was POTENT. Just like we needed it to be.

Office mate #1 offered some to the doctors and one accepted and the other declined. When she saw that we were laughing and a little too happy, she acted alarmed.

DOCTOR #2: I hope there is no alcohol in that eggnog!
OFFICE MATE #2: What! How can eggnog not have alcohol?
OFFICE MATE #1: Is it even called eggnog if it doesn't have the booze?
ALICE: Yeah, it would just be an egg float--or something.

Doctor #1 is very proud that he knows a lot about...a lot. So after taking seconds, he decided to impart some wisdom to us.

DOCTOR #1: You know eggnog is a shortened form for what was originally called "egg and grog in a noggin".

ALL OF US: Yeah, o.k. No more for you.

Then, it was time to stop the nogging because patients started arriving. As a matter of fact a couple was sitting in the waiting room -- holding hands.

OFFICE MATE #1: Alice, you don't know them but they are the sweetest lovebirds.
OFFICE MATE #2: Yeah, I love them.
ALICE: Oh, are they both here to see the doctor?
OFFICE MATE #1: Yes. You see, the woman is taking steps to change her gender; she will be the man.
OFFICE MATE #2: And her boyfriend wants to change his gender; he knows that he IS a woman.
ALICE: But...
OFFICE MATES #1 AND #2: Yeah, don't even worry about it.

So the buzz didn't last all afternoon -- as I had hoped. An hour, and probably 6,000 calories later, we were all back to a pre-inebriated state. Pity.

But there's enough left over for tomorrow, if we want to share some again.

Hmm. Well, is the pope...well, you know the rest.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blameless in NY

Alice has finally fallen before the power of a severe cold. She put up the good fight but the cold brought in a reinforcement. Deacon's newest Warm Body has been coming over...too much...yeah, I m saying it, and she has always been sick. I mean in the congested, coughing, germ-y sense. But Deacon does not believe that Warm Body is the culprit.

DEACON: Oh, come on! Why is she to blame for your illness?
ALICE: No reason. I mean, I'm sure it doesn't count that every time she's here, she's coughing out green gunk.
DEACON: Well, that doesn't mean that she passed on the germs, right?
ALICE: Or that she's the only one I know who is sick right now...
DEACON: That doesn't mean anything...
ALICE: ...Or that I suspect that she has been using my toothbrush and my towel...
DEACON: Now, I think you just have it in for her. She's not sick. She told me she's o.k.
ALICE: Or how about that she always says, I'm so sick, instead of hello.
DEACON: Oh, she's just trying to be amusing.

Is it true love? No. It's just an annoying example of a sentiment expressed in a song which had these lyrics: If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

Oh wait! Warm Body is here. Again.

WARM BODY: Gah! I'm sick! I've been sick since September!

Alice looks to Deacon who is busy trying to find the cold medicine.

Alice just hopes that she can convince Deacon to insist that the next Warm Body after this one pass a medical exam from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

One Never Knows

Charlie is one of my building's doormen. He is affable and it is very easy to spend an hour chatting with him. One morning he had stopped me and we had a long talk, love, the pursuit of happiness. You know, the usual.

Charlie has been divorced for two years and was telling me about the new woman in his life. She is very special to him, he said, but if it came to choosing to keep a date with her or rushing to his ex-wife's house to take care of his two children, he wouldn't hesitate to do the daddy thing. His girlfriend is seemingly understanding. So far.

CHARLIE: After all, what woman wants to be number two, or three, or whatever in a guy's life?
ALICE: Well, she knows that you are a good father and if the kids need you to drop everything, she probably is happy that you are such a hands-on parent.
CHARLIE: Yeah, she's cool that way. And very secure. I really like her.

Charlie then told me a story about a long-ago tenant who was socially awkward and finally--at 42 years of age--spent a night with a woman.

No comment.

CHARLIE: Yeah, check this out! He met her one week. The next week he slept with her...
ALICE: How do you know this?
CHARLIE: He told me. He used to tell me everything. You know, doormen are like bartenders or therapists. Without the booze or the couch, of course.
ALICE: Yeah, I figured...
CHARLIE: Anyhoo, a few months later, he told me that she was pregnant and was taking him to court for child support. She didn't want to get married. She actually hated his guts! But he was very rich and she just wanted a piece of the money.
ALICE: Well. She slept with him just to get pregnant and get him to support her and the kid?
CHARLIE: Don't look so surprised! Don't be so naive! A lot of women would do that.
ALICE: I don't think that I could just...sleep with someone I loathed for money. I mean...
CHARLIE: Yeah, you probably are the type that believes in passion, romance, and
ALICE: Well, some sort of love!
CHARLIE: Good luck, baby. You could probably do a lot of things if you had to.
ALICE: No. For example, I could never eat those revolting wormy things that those people swallow for money on that television show.
CHARLIE: You wouldn't eat crap for lots of money?
CHARLIE: Well, I guess then that you really wouldn't sleep with someone that you didn't care about. It would be...
ALICE: Like eating worms! Yeah, just like that.
CHARLIE: You're weird!
ALICE: No kidding!

Then, for some curious reason, as I rode the elevator to the apartment, I kept on hearing this little refrain in my head: Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms...

Well, I do remember that I tasted a deep-fried cicada once. But I did have a feeling of affection for it. Yeah, I did.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Clearly Obscure

One of the more unpleasant tasks at work is filing. It would be alright if the patients' charts were computerized but the doctor has been following the same system for forty years and it's been working fine, thank us very much!

System? As far as I can tell, if one needs to find a file one can:

1. Look in this pile over here;
2. Look in that pile over there;
3. Look in those piles under here and there in the doctor's examining room;
4. Forget about it and make an new file.

So, whenever I or my co-workers find a file--on the very first try--it is always a bit of a celebration for us. Yes, I know, we're lame and stupid. But you take your successes wherever you can get them, at least in this office.

The other day co-worker #1 was frustrated. She had been looking for a file for ten minutes and she had been here, there, everywhere. As she has been doing for the last couple of weeks, she was loudly commenting that she needed to find a job in a normal office.

CO-WORKER#2: What constitutes a normal office?
CO-WORKER#1: You know! A place where one can hit a few keys on the computer and information pops up immediately and...wait, hold on! Oh my God, I found it!

After a few seconds of happiness, we got back to the serious matter at hand. Co-worker#1 was thinking about breaking up with her boyfriend of ten years. She had expected him to put a ring on her finger by now, but this is what he tells her: He likes the way things are. He's comfortable. He's content. He's not getting married. Maybe soon, but not yet. He can't find a good reason to commit himself at this moment. Maybe soon, but not yet.

I didn't know what to say to her so I followed co-worker#2's lead and joined her in murmuring what, apparently, co-worker#1 wanted to hear: oh, we're so sorry that you are sad after being mistreated by that man...for so many years. You deserve better.

Co-worker#1 thanked us for our undivided support. We paused for a few seconds to mourn the possible demise of affair. Co-worker#1 then looked at us and smiled.

CO-WORKER#1: But, hey, things are not so bad. I found the Parker file!

I really need to find another place to work. Soon.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Reductio Ad Nauseum

`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'

--Alice in Wonderland

I went out for shampoo this morning and ended up spending several hours shopping for the holidays. I really didn't want to shop today; I just wanted--needed--shampoo.

But I passed a store and thought about the person who would love a gift from that very place, so I went inside. This lead to thinking about other people and other "insides" and before I knew it, I returned to Deacon's apartment laden with packages. And frustrated -- no shampoo.

Before I left the apartment this morning I had gone upstairs to make coffee and noticed...once again...that Deacon's cats had left a mess of throw-up. There were two rubber bands and one small square of cellophane mixed in with the yuck. I usually just clean these messes but I also noticed a certain opened feminine "product" that was lying on the wood floor with its short string seemingly pointing to the cat's gifts.

Now Frisky and Fatty are girl cats but...

So the latest warm body to grace Deacon's room is just a bit too comfortable and free-spirited for my sensibilities. Someone else had once mentioned this person's proclivity to leaving such things around the place. So I just decided to let all the girls just clean up after themselves. Which is how I found myself forgetting the shampoo. I guess that I had received one too many presents this morning and subconsciously felt that it really was better to give than to receive. This morning anyway.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Just Needed A Greek Chorus

Deacon was expecting a visitor from the past, a young man of Greek heritage who was eager to rekindle a friendship that had existed about five years ago. We had always called him Adam, though he was born a George. When the doorman announced his arrival, he said that a "Jason" was coming upstairs.

Anyway, Adam/George/Jason hadn't changed much, although he was now the father of a two-year-old daughter. After sharing a pizza, we decided at midnight to go to a bar in the East Village where a friend of a friend was having a birthday celebration. We arrive and it is PACKED with people. Adam/George/Jason doesn't look comfortable but I stay with him as we stand flattened against a wall, as the press of people make it difficult for us to follow Deacon to the bar. We wait for him to come back with drinks.

Birthday Girl and friends miraculously find me and I introduce everyone to Adam/George/Jason. Then they disperse...some to go outside to smoke, others to the bar to replenish their drinks. We wait for Deacon.

Adam/George/Jason is muttering under his breath.

A/G/J: I'm too old for this.
ALICE: For what? Being at a bar?
A/G/J: Yeah, it's too crowded and noisy and...not fun.
ALICE: We just got here. We'll find a place to sit and have our drinks and talk to the friends.
A/G/J: Yeah. Sounds good.

I see that Birthday Girl is coming back inside, her friends are following her, and Deacon has appeared with drinks in hand. We find seats at the bar and everything is now cozy except... Adam/George/Jason is gone.

We think that he went outside. No. We think that he's in the men's room. No. Wherever Deacon looks, no Adam/George/Jason. He doesn't answer his phone or his text message.

We stay at the bar for a while and when it is time to leave, Deacon does one last look around the place, in case his friend was playing a rather perverse game of hide-and-seek. But -- nothing. No Adam. No George. No Jason. We have misplaced all three.

He was supposed to have spent the night with us at the apartment, but when I arrived there, I saw that his car was gone. I can only surmise that his unhappiness at being at the bar caused him to go loco and run away, without saying goodbye. It has been three days, and Deacon has not been able to reach him.

All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances...

Last night, Harry and some friends were visiting and Deacon was telling them the baffling story of Adam/George/Jason. Harry was very tired and he was sporting a rather odd haircut.

ALICE: Did you have your hair cut because the job demanded it?
HARRY: My friend cut it. I know it's uneven.
ALICE: Why did you let a friend do that?
HARRY: Well, you see, we got drunk and were fooling around and things got hot and heavy, so he cut my hair.

So. Here we have it. One friend doesn't know how to say goodbye. The other one doesn't seem to know that hot and heavy should lead to an "s" word -- and it certainly isn't scissors.