Friday, September 30, 2005


Word travels fast. In park this morning, word of Jenny's escape from New Orleans hot topic of conversation. In spite of earlier reticence, find self making up stories about Jenny's rescue (often find that what am first horrified by, and say will Never do, i.e. talking to others at dog run, is actually prediction of what will come to pass). Woman owner of poodle named Willy very interested in story. Respond favorably to enthusiasm, which leads to Exaggeration. See at end of story that am about to place Jenny on Roof of house she has swum to and am about to have helicopter arrive just as the flood waters threaten the peak of the rof. With significant look, Cut conversation with Willy's mother short, letting her to imagine the rest. Jennny oblivious to celebrity.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What does it mean?

Take Jenny to the park at earliest part of dawn. Park only block away, but progress very slow because of paw. When achieve park, Jenny sits down. Looks mournful. Tell her that we can't leave until she does her business. This doesn't work. Spend the next twenty minutes in park pleading with Jenny and battling fear that other dog owners will want to Talk to me. Leave unscathed, but with rock solid fear that will have to talk tomorrow. Halfway back to apartment building, Jenny sits down on pavement and Refuses to move. Carry her for rest of block. In elevator set her down on floor. While doors are closing hear sombody calling to please Hold that elevator. Neighbor (of recent train ride) enters elevator with extremely energetic pug. Begin to form thought that running into neighbor Means something. (Know very well that it doesn't.) Still do not know name of neighbor, but dog is introduced as Ralph. Jenny very cool with Ralph. Neighbor asks what happened to paw. Explain, adding that Jenny was Rescued from New Orleans. Neighbor appears to be very impressed. Bends down to talk to Jenny. Says in baby voice, How is oo foot? Jenny shows whites of eyes and growls from deepest part of throat. Blush and apologize profusely. Say, She isn't feeling well today. Neighbor stands up straight and makes very brisk departure when we reach her floor. In apartment, fix lunches. Assertion that Jenny not feeling well strongly contradicted by what appears to be botomless appetite for salami.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


On the way home last night run into neighbor on train. Know her well enough to say hello to but not well enough to remember her name. (Maggie? Molly? maybe Laura? Don't venture a guess but am comfortable sticking with You.) Realize that home quite a few stops plus several blocks of walking and wonder if we will be forced to make conversation for the whole trip. (We are.) Search brain for topic of conversation. Am carrying large bag of groceries. Ask, where do you buy food in the neighborhood? This well runs dry very quickly. Conversation shifts to restaurants in the neighborhood, the broken elevator and then the weather. It is very humid today. Yes it is. Get to subway stop. Emerge from depths. Notice that blocks to apartment building extremely long and quiet. When reach lobby of building get in elevator and Neighbor says that she needs to check her mail. She exhibits visible signs of relief on face as we part. Experience the same relief, but feelings slightly hurt that she is as glad to see the last of me as I am of her.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Vet

Much of weekend spent with Jenny at the vet. Discover in extremely unpleasant way (involving bed and chewed off bandages) that injured foot has become infected. Wound very, very grisly. Looks like swollen, pus-oozing piece of meat,(which technically, suppose it is, except, of course, meat is dead--pork not the same thing as pig--continue this train of thought for quite some time, probably to distract from vile looking--and smelling--problem at hand). First vet refers us to second Vet who advises a round of antibiotics and emergency Surgery. Surgery takes place on sunday and goes off without a hitch. Jenny stoic throughout. Receive very nasty shock in form of of bill, which would seem to indicate that she got one new kidney, at least. Dave and I agree to split the bill. Privately, worry about where the money will come from. Recall saying about not being able to get Blood from a Turnip. Dave doesn't seem concerned at all. Move travelling household to Brooklyn to take advantage of elevator in my apartment building. When move is complete, very tired and Dave grumpy but offers to cook. Immediately finds kitchen inadequate. Gripes, it would be easier if we weren't moving between two houses all the time. Say briskly, well you can stay in your apartment and I can stay in mine. This leads to long and involved discussion at end of which Dave insists that I move to his apartment because it is more convenient and in the City, and I counter that my apartment is larger and has an elevator so Jenny doesn't have to climb the stairs. (Or have to be carried up the stairs, but don't mention this as afraid it will sound self-interested. It is.) Use of Jenny in argument extremely effective. Ends discussion altogether. (Note: in arguments, use Jenny sparingly so as not to Wear Out). Dave concedes and we agree that he will move in with me. Only at this point do we see that this is a happy occasion. Very nice evening spent at our new home (my old home) eating baked chicken, vegetables, and drinking virtuously moderate amounts of cotes du rhone. Jenny, who has been given a sedative for dinner, snores.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Boss

The Contessa says that she is going to visit the Boss and asks would I like to go. Say yes, very quickly before have thought things through. Feel that this is the kind response but also feel that trip to see boss will be Depressing. Say so to the Contessa. She says, Don't be dumb, which makes feel both angry at the Contessa and like am a bad person. We take train to upper east side. Instead of talking, worry about all the inconsiderate, mean, stingy, hard hearted things have ever done. Evidentally quite a few. We get to apartment. The Boss sitting up in living room, but nurse in evidence in kitchen. On side table see glass of water with the kind of straw that bends. Straw arouses feelings of sadness. The Boss says, I can't get up to offer you a drink, but get something from the liquor cabinet. Don't know where cabinet is, but the Contessa does. She holds up a bottle of wine and a bottle of Scotch, raises one eyebrow. Think that four in the afternoon is far too early for Scotch so point at the wine. Boss drinks water from straw. The Contessa pours three glasses of wine. The Boss says, none for me, but I can have this. Pulls marijuana pipe out of pocket in pajama top. Says, It's medical. Proceedes to smoke. Passes pipe to the Contessa. Drink wine quickly. When it comes time for me to smoke, refuse pipe on grounds that it makes me Worry. Extremely painful and strange number of minutes during which am peer pressured by Boss and the Contessa to smoke. Phrase, It's medical, repeated many many times. Fifteen minutes later, am lying on floor gasping for breath because of Boss's extremely funny and nasty imitation of the Vice-Boss's interviewing style. He hitches up his pajama pant leg and drinks from imaginary vanilla bottle. Have very pleasant time. Only later when on train downtown do traditional paranoid thoughts creep into Brain. Attempt to read magazine nonchalantly, but feel that the lady holdindg the hand of the girl in pigtails Knows.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Jenny wakes me up at five this morning, wanting to go outdoors. Because of injured paw, must be carried down (and, naturally, up) the four flights of stairs. She is surprisingly solid dog for being so small. Doesn't seem to care for the sidewalk much and right after she does her business, gives a longing look at the door to the apartment building. We ascend. Feel that Jenny not an aristocratic enough name for this dog. Since up so early, take look at murder mystery. Discover that it hasn't written itself. To the contrary appears to have atrophied. Drink first full cup of coffee since the stomach sickness and attack murder mystery with vigor. Also tidy up credenza which hold's Dave's mail and give the bathroom a quick scrub. Feeling full of virtue, make sandwiches for self and Dave, so that we don't Waste money. Jenny very interested in food preparation. Demands and receives a piece of cheese. Scold her for being bad, but in baby voice so she doesn't get scared.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


At end of today's meeting (purpose unknown) discover that have drawn extremely disturbing Maiden Warrior of Death image. Rip out of notebook and dispose of in hallway trash can.

Doing Something

Late yesterday evening, back in the office after the Vice-Boss's Discussions With Artists Series (at which she showed too much leg and dropped names), receive second phone call from Dave who says that he has someobody new he'd like to introduce me to. Do not like the sound of that and say so snappishly, add, I Hate meeting new people (put in terrible mood by event, but shouldn't take out on Dave and should apologize, but don't. Question: Why do we prevent ourselves from doing the things we know we should do?). Dave does not take up invitation to squabble and says he will see me soon. This makes angrier. On way to Dave's am nearly run down by bicycle delivery man going the wrong way down a one way street, in deli drop bottle of mineral water which on impact explodes into thousands of pieces of green glass and causing one elderly woman to scream and another to say in a hard-bitten tone, It happens to all of us. Arrive at Dave's in worse mood than before. Open door with own key. Dave on couch holding Beagle. Says, Her name is Jenny. She was rescued from New Orleans. Jenny not a young gal, right paw is bandaged. Has extremely endearing and heartbreaking limp which is exhibited when she makes her way across the room to greet me. Discover she has very deep and intelligent eyes. Fall in love instantly, evaporating bad mood.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Dave calls and says we should do Something. Agree wholeheartedly. Inwardly have grave fear that Dave will suggest that we go down to New Orleans or that we give up one of our apartments for refugees. Put uncharitable thoughts out of head,and brace self for suggestion. Dave says he already sent a check for a couple hundred (A couple meaning two? How? Own contribution totaled $20 and felt very extravagant. No longer.) but would like to do More. I can think of many things we could do, but none that I am actually willing to step up for. Dave says Hmm. and then Oh. and then I'll call you back.

The Vice-Boss

The Vice-Boss exhibits a new interest in others, first manifested by noting in meeting that the Contessa looks tired. The Contessa takes exception to this (later complains, why when I've just had my hair cut does everyone think to ask me What's Wrong? Would like to say that question most likely arises because particular shade of blonde not flattering on the Contessa, but bite tongue as same opionion has been in spirit of helpfulness offered before, to disastrous results.) The Vice-Boss moves on to me. Gives disconcerting look up and down and with feel that spell has been cast on me, am suddenly convinced that fly is open, middle button on shirt has popped off, causing Roll to protrude, and that still have jam on face from breakfast. She says You are looking very healthy, have you fallen in love or something? Feel chill down spine and decide to keep Dave to myself so as to protect from evil eye. She turns to the New man , says You are doing a very good job. She goes on for quite a while, in this same vein, making it clear that regardless of the job he is doing, she resents him quite a bit. The New Man still not afraid of Eye (the Contessa is chewing nervously at a hank of her hair and I am trying (unsuccessfully) not to examine my face with my fingers). The New Man says, well, I'm glad everyone is back and happy. He mimes elbowing the Vice-Boss in the ribs--Says, looks like they fed you there. Vice-Boss very angry.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Become much closer to Dave than ever thought possible this weekend. Saturday spent prone, and sweaty, but not for any romantic reasons. At noon, Dave says his stomach feels funny. At twelve fifteen, find self lying on Dave's bed with pillow over head. Say that feel achey. Twelve thirty finds us both in the bathroom reenacting end of pie eating contest scene in Stand By Me, except that vomit not blue. Dave and I very solicitous toward each other in the immediate aftermath of each trip to the bathroom, when suddenly feel Much Better. After one such deceptive moment, take trip to Deli for supplies. Dave and I have spent all day urging each other to drink Something. Finally think that seltzer and apple juice sounds nice. Put on strange outfit. Make mistake of looking in mirror, very disheartening experience, sickness not favorable to looks. When make it downstairs, get caught in torrential rain storm. Drenched to skin. Can't decide if rain feels very good or very bad. When get back to apartment, Dave says I am Brave, which makes me feel so. On Sunday we begin to think about eating. Dave spreads peanut butter on crackers, but the smell of this sends me to bedroom for self-defensive nap. Feel much better today, but am determined never to let another Boca soy sausage pass lips.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Toner Anon

New Student Worker Susan given task of making copies. Hear machine functioning properly . Settle into task of purging mailing list of dead addresses. Hear scream from copy room. Go back to see Susan's dress covered with toner. She says, I thought I knew how to replace the toner. As it is clear that she didn't, don't say anything, but apologize to her, say, I should have shown you how to do it. Many fruitless minutes spent apologizing to each other. At conclusion of discussion, send Susan home and make copies myself.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Student Worker

The Contessa makes the astonishing claim that she likes the humidity. Says that it makes her face feel moisturized and healthy. When she delivers this pronouncement, have just arrived from the subway. When got off train, brain provides unoriginal thought that platform feels just like oven. Street feels better for a couple of seconds until full weight of humidity hits, causing sweat to trickle down face and body in very unbecoming way. Explain all this to the Contessa. But she stands by her original claim. Says, No, really, she likes it. Later, the Contessa has to go to the podiatrist. Ask her for What. She refuses to answer question but blushes. Persist in line of questioning until she admits to Warts. Says in grim tones that Justin has them too and she’s afraid she caught them from him. She says she wonders what else he's given her. Ask, are things not going so well with you too? She says, they are going fine (which means they are not) and walks briskly out of the office. When she gets back from podiatrist says that she would like to revise her opinion of humidity. Will I please look at her face and see if that is a pimple on her nose and a whole cluster on her forehead? I assure her that she is being paranoid. She says that whoever invented courderoy pants ought to be shot. Conversation interrupted by appearance of young woman arriving for interview. Wants position of Student Worker. Has, despite heat, dressed up for interview, which is makes me both want to give her the job on the spot (barring any overly suspicious behavior) because Student wearing skirt, silk blouse and pearls with hair swept up in dramatic twist, and looking like the humidity actually has improved her face, but it may be that she is only twenty. Says she enjoys making copies. Think this is highly unlikely, but know that own behavior in interviews less than completely truthful. Student named Susan. The contessa nods at me and I nod at her. The contessa says, Susan, When can you start?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Receive alumni magazine in the mail yesteday. Lead article asks question "Are We Toast?" in relation to global warming. In rare show of extreme restraint keep self from reading article. But know sequence of events when get home: 1. read article (standing up), very quickly. 2. Feel terrified. 3. Have bad dreams about people drowning.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Audio Visual Department

Late in the day feel scalp prickle with heat. Remember that have forgotten to ask for the Audio Visual department to bring microphones and slide projector to first panel of year. Requests must be made online one week in advance. If one tries (and have, of course) to submit request with less than a week's notice, the website flashes Denied in large letters. Tell the Contessa about lapse. Her face falls. Says, Oh No. Say, Oh yes, grimly. Contessa becomes brisk. There's nothing to be done but go talk to Bunny (head of AV). The Contessa bravely volunteers to talk to Bunny herself but seems extremely relieved when I say that It is my Fault, so I should be the one to Go. She says good luck. Think, but am not certain, that she mutters under her breath, You'll need it. Walk down the stairs telling self not to be Afraid. Have worked here for five years. In wildy optimistic train of thought, come to the conclusion that Bunny and I are friends . She has scratched my back and I have hers (not literally). Bunny a forty-five-year-old AV tech who keeps Cats and wears baby doll dresses. Have spent many minutes (which felt like Weeks) admiring pictures of cats. Am almost positive that she once said that she has twelve in her apartment in Chelsea. Prepare self for introduction to new picture. Open door, say Hi to Bunny in bright tone. Bunny says, I wondered when you'd be down here. Ask, you knew we had an event ? Says No, which is clearly a lie. Bunny turns back on me. Makes great show of leafing through stack of printed out requests, says, we are very busy. Look around room, hoping (for first time) that will see new picture of Cat to exclaim over. Say, Look at this cute cat! That Muffin seems very smart. He IS smart, says Bunny, turning around. Am very glad that Muffin correct name of cat because only know two of the twelve names--Muffin and Kathy Griffin and can't talk about a cat Kathy Griffin with a straight face or at all. Picture of Muffin only tip of proverbial iceberg. Half an hour later emerge from AV department feeling covered in cat hair but triumphant, Bunny's minion following behind me loaded down with equiptment.

Friday, September 09, 2005

End of Conversation

The Contessa says that if the Vice-Boss is picked up, she, the Contessa, will Testify against her.


The Contessa emerges from the Vice-Boss's office looking grim. Says, I have to start planning for Our trip to Europe. Ask, What's wrong with that? In head, picture forms of charming European restaurant, cozy and warm the waiter tops off the glass of wine. Later, go to bed under fluffy duvet and read Book. The Contessa says, did you hear what I was saying? What were you saying? She thinks that to save money we ought to share a room. What if she snores? You know I can't stand snoring or her. If she snores I may have to smother her with a pillow. Say, now you are just trying to be funny. The Contessa smiles, maybe the trip will be fun. Say, well, whatever you do, make sure you buy cheese and nuts at the market. You know that she'll starve you. The Contessa says, it wouldn't hurt to lose a few pounds anyway. Feel that she is putting a good face on things so don't try to discourage her, but inside think that trip with vice-boss an extremely bad idea. Must not be Negative. Hear self ask, what will you do if she Shoplifts?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Copy Machine

Day spent making copies for the Vice-Boss. Copy machine extremely cooperative and doesn't jam once. Finish job and bring to Vice-Boss's office. She leafs through packet. Makes Hmm noise. Says briskly, Well you're going to hate me, but this was the packet for last year. Do hate her but say, No not at all.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Return

The Vice-Boss comes back to the office today. She looks extremely fit, tanned and her cheecks seem to have filled in, which makes her look much less terrifying. Also, she has bitten down her nails, eliminating her most frightening feature. She has presents for me and the Contessa, for me a coffee mug that says the word Arizona surrounded by a drawing of sand, a cactus and a sombrero. The Contessa receives pen which has the same motif as my mug except that there is a man who gets naked when you turn the pen upside down. We stare at our gifts, stunned, I can feel that the Contessa thinks the same thing that I do--that the Vice Boss may look better, but she still has her Habit, despite the residential Therapy. We have a meeting (no donuts) in which everyone behaves, but I can see the New Man itching to use his machine on the Vice Boss. Do not wish the New Man to use the fart machine anymore, but do want to see expression on Vice-Boss's face when inevitable moment occurs. Spend most of meeting fantasizing about this moment. Fantasy comes to rousing end in which the New Man and Vice-Boss yell at each other and threaten violence. I call Security and save the day, receiving the Service Excellence Award at the Convocation ceremony tomorrow. Award carries a cash prize of $1000. Am rudely wrenched from my fantasy by the Vice-Boss's question, Will I do her copies. Mumble in the affirmative.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Continuity & Change

On Saturday, see Sigrid off with dry eyes. But later in the afternoon wish she lived closer or, alternatively, wish that lived in San Francisco, though if am extremely honest with self, not really. Receive call from the contessa who invites me and Dave out to Justin the director's house in Shelter Island. In rare spontaneous fit, agree, thank, pack bags and take cab to Bus stop. Take bus out to Greenport and ferry to Shelter Island. Feel nervous that will get Sea Sick, but don't. Met at ferry landing by the Contessa who is driving Justin's Jeep. Driving back to house the contessa mutters to herself and grinds gears. House rather Large and turns out to be owned by the parents of Justin who are thankfully not there for the weekend. Ask the Contessa, have you Met his parents? She says, no not yet, and no, it isn't an Issue. Which I take to mean that it is. House on pond, but close enough to walk to beach (bay.) Prefer the ocean proper, (but naturally don't say so). The water very warm (unlike Northern California and up the coast, the water of which is said to induce hypothermia in a mere 30 minutes in the water). Enjoy swimming in warm water. On rocky Beach, the contessa smokes a cigarette. Dave says that he Doesn't ever even Think of It. Later after fifteen bottles of wine apiece, notice David smoking cigareette. He says that he is getting the hang of It again. Go indoors to get water and enter into long conversation with Justin about Movie. We agree strongly with each other about many things, but afterward can't remember a thing we talked about. When go back outside again, the Contessa says she needs me to Help her with Something. When we go back inside, the Contessa hisses, Fritz, he Loves you. Say, what do you mean? I mean he Said so.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Dinner with Sigrid

Go out to dinner with Sigrid, new husband (name of Ben) and Dave. Topic of conversation at dinner is Ben, who caught an Amoeba in India. Sigrid relates symptoms in extreme scatological detail and evident glee (Sigrid studies parasites and can't help but think that she feels proud that Ben got an Amoeba of his own). Am ashamed to say that join in vomit and bowel conversation, recalling all instances of stomach trouble. Sigrid does the same. (food poisioning caused by Starbucks chicken sandwich, the time Sigrid and I at ages of four and six had projectile vomiting after eating at one-time favorite Fish restaurant, the bad time with the deviled eggs at Grandmother's, the Norwalk virus outbreak at graduate school orientation(mine), and so on.) Enjoy conversation very much. Ben alarmingly thin and eating sparingly (unsurprisingly). Even in candlelight looks Green. Sigrid, on the otherhand, looking very robust, eating half of Ben's onion soup. Dave solicitoius toward Ben, and seems unamused by stomach trouble talk Somehow, Ben is revived (perhaps after self-medicating with two large Martinis) and we End up at Karaoke. Karaoke establishment the kind where one brings one's own beer. Feel shy about own singing voice so concentrate on songs that are more chants than arias. Dave feels no such compulsion but perhaps should. Has charmingly croaky voice but attempts to sing very hard songs like I Will Always Love You and Wicked Game. Sigrid, as always, a bad influence and stay out too late and drink far too much. Feel extremely low this morning. Sigrid gets up at 5 a.m., grinds coffee and stomps around apartment in Busy way, slamming doors on way up and down to do laundry. When ask he why she has to be so loud so early in the morning, Says she has Jet Lag, in perplexed and slightly hurt tone.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Sigrid and Husband stopping in New York at end of around the world trip begun in India. Am excited to show sister around.


Fart machine recrudesces at morning meeting. New Man and friend from the Photography department spend half an hour using machine. The Contessa and I exchange looks of extreme irritation. The contessa and I send emails to each other. The Contessa: This is ridiculous, I am going down and telling the dean, right now. Me: I am going with you. Both of us know that we will do nothing of the sort, but the emails bet increasingly divorced from reality. The Contessa: What we should do is write to the President. Me: Yes we should. He would Want to know. (On the contraray, the President would probably find his day ruined if two secretaries from an obscure art institute on campus brought such a thing to his attention.) When New Man goes out to coffee, the Contessa says, Let's go break it. Am very surprised when find self out of chair and in office. The Contessa busy throwing open desk drawers and rooting through contents. Machine nowhere to be found. We come to the conclusion that New Man must keep machine on his person at all times.