Monday, October 31, 2005


The Contessa wearing ratty looking fur, long dress, clenches cigarette holder in teeth, Dalmatian stuffed animal tucked under arm. Says she is Cruella DeVille, obviously, what are YOIu. Tell her, Myself. She snorts. Tell her that couldn't think of any costume that wouldn't break rules: have to be able to sit down, must not be made to look unaattractive, and must be able to breathe (and, by extension, no masks). These rules come from direct experience of unfortunate costumes, i.e. Grapes (made of balloons), The Front Page of the Newspaper, Chewbacca. The Vice-Boss comes in. Takes one look at the Contessa and says, it is too Warm to wear fur and that she should look into having it storesd so that the Moths don't get into it. The Contessa does look warm, and getting warmer, says, weakly, I'm Cruella DeVille. Vice-Boss looks confused. Goes into office, shuts door behind herself. Sigrid calls demanding to know what I've dressed as. Tell her Myself. (Feel that joke already wearing thin.) Says she is Susan Sontag (am not surprised.). She bought a wig and bleached part of it white but it turned sort of orange so she improvised with cotton--this just a small sample of monologue. Finally interrupts herself briskly, She is really calling to invite me to her house for thanksgiving. Tell her I will have to talk to Dave. New Man arrives wearing short dress, blonde wig wig and socks stuffed into chest. Looks, extremely trampy. Ask, Are you Jessica Simpson? No. Paris Hilton? No. Hillary Duff? Who? No, shakes his head, I'm just a Chick. Goes into office but leaves door open. The Contessa whispers definately straight. She says this with something like interest. For once, feel left out that haven't worn outfit.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Wake up from extremely disturbing dream involving Tom DeLay--he didn't do anything except grin like in mugshot--but feel that must go swimming to cleanse self. Hunt for Speedo. Not in (still broken) dresser or in closet as far as can tell. Recruit Dave to help with search. Jenny sniffs around in closet too. Tosses her head around playfully. Becomes very interested in something at back of closet and am briefly very afraid that has caught the scent of rodent. Pushes her way to back of closet and comes back with very very musty Speedo. Dave says that Things shouldn't go into the closet Wet, which think is highly unhelpful and unsupportive. Say in sarcastic way, Thanks for your help. Sharp words exchanged. We apologize and begin search for combination lock--much more successful. (Though have moment when can't remember combination. Fortunately, fingers remember what brain does not. Brain rarely remembers what is required of it, instead grasping on to office fedex number, which am certain will carry to grave.) Go to Paragon sports before arriving at pool. Paycheck has gone through this morning, mitigating the crisis of the bounced check, and am though able to purchase new speedo, which is very expensive for what it is--extremely small piece of black spandex--feel ashamed of self for spending money and for buying speedo, which, outside context of pool, looks sordid to the extreme.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Have another conversation about money with Dave. Conversation prompted by bounced check (mine). Performed grave miscalculation regarding when pay check will go through (Friday) and when credit card company would receive check in the mail (immediately, apparently). Dave says, Dont' worry about it. Become tinglingly aware that he is going to offer to give me allowance of some sort. Hopes dashed when, instead, offers to help come up with budget. Tell him that a budget makes me nervous. Scratches head. Says we should talk aobut both of our finances. There is no need to be nervous (feel that there is, though not sure why). Asks that I show him my bank statements and he will show me his. Agree. Go to closet to retrieve bank statements. Feel ears and face get hot. Remember that in fit of cleaning several weeks ago, threw out large stack of papers. Am fairly certain that bank statements in this pile. Tell Dave. He says that's ok, we can look on the internet for my statements. He will get his statements but Do I know where he put That Box? Ask, which box? Box in question discovered in far right bottom corner of storage locker in basement, underneath piles of other boxes full of--if judging by weight--gold bars. Return to apartment feeling dusted with mold. Jenny looks up from the couch. Sinks head back down onto paws and closes her eyes firmly. Dave and I sit down at table in kitchen. Pour wine. Analysis of Dave's bank and brokerage statements, and probing questions about trust and business reveal that though he may be very rich at some point, he currently is hardly better off than me. Am very, very disappointed. We decide to hold off on making budgets. I say that it sounds Depressing and Dave says, I think so too. This morning, try to face bad news with good humor but find self sighing. Sighing in shower, on subway, sighing on elevator to office, a large sigh while turning on computer. The Contessa asks, What's Wrong. Without meaning to, tell her everything, including very personal details about Dave's family. The Contessa, though very bad with money, has always been the picture of generosity, but says briskly, I don't know why people say that money wouldn't make us happy. We know very well that it would.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Purchasing Meeting

Attend purchasing meeting this afternoon. Meeting in airless room with framed posters of old advertisements for school on walls. Am, as always, disappointed that no donuts provided (Question: When have donuts been part of meeting? Proportion of meetings with donuts to meetings without in extreme contrast. So extreme that meetings with donuts insignificant in fact if not in imagination. Have often noticed, however, that imagination very skillful at enlarging fantasies. Or, for that matter, Problems. Hand sneaks up to worrisome mole.) When scan room see that fellow secretaries have planned ahead and brought coffee. One person has mint tea, which also seems like a good idea. Libby enters with her own cup of Earl Grey, which have lost the taste for and therefore, don't covet. Feel comraderie with fellow secretaries. Have expectation (based entirely on optimism, not fact) that meeting will end early and that will then be able to get own coffee, or possibly Orange Spice tea and something sweet, like brownie or rugalach. The two people from purchasing distribute handouts. Handouts very clear and see that if we'd all been emailed handouts instead of meeting, I could already be eating cheese danish. The two begin presentation on new PO procedures. Presentation interrupted by middle-aged woman whith yellow teeth who says that her department has never done it that way and why do things have to change? Is agreed with by young black man who seems to be working with his gender. Believe that he is wearing a woman's top. He gets in on discussion. Everything is changing around the school. Others agree with him and expand on topic. Conversation becomes strangely personal (all changes are the fault of the purchasing, it seems) and heated. Cover notepad with stars and flowers. See that if meeting goes on much longer, doodling may turn disturbing. Feel a Unicorn coming on. We move on to actual topic of meeting, which turns out to not be an improvement. Unicorn avoided, but Troll takes its place.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Last night go with Dave to party which has tangential link to unknown (to me) charity but there is open bar with pretty drinks which drink two of, very quickly. Give self excuse that need drinks because of very trying subway, rain, umbrella experiences caused by need to get home to walk Jenny before coming back into city. Drinks warm nicely. Dave introduces me to well-known food writer, says, I've got to go talk to (mumbled and unknown name) but don't care because have many things to say to food writer about both writing and food. Food writer, unfortunately, only interested in talking about baseball, specifically, the world series and chances the white sox have. Is very, very knowlegeable and verbose on this topic. Attempt to move down stairs to lower level, but food writer follows. Attempt to turn conversation toward food. Mention how much like sausages with sauerkraut at baseball games, but food writer firmly turns conversation back to ancient and complicated history of the Sox. Get another drink and go back upstairs, followed by food writer. Wonder (thoughts not entirely hypothetical) if food writer would stop talking if threw self over railing. Feel mind disconnecting from body. Am finally rescued by Dave. We have nice late night dinner of steak frites. Bring home several bites for Jenny. At home, take Jenny for another walk. Very rainy. Dave says he feels slightly depressed. Salon seems to be doing well, but wonders if it is what he Ought to be doing. Still feeling philosophical from sunday (and perhaps a bit tipsy as well). Say that It doesn't matter as the world an illusion ayway. Dave says, What? (!) I'm just an illusion? (Once, while looking through book of buddhist aphorisms came across similar statments, i.e. world and time liquid, etc. and was shattered for rest of week so understand Dave's feeling.) Apologize. We get back to apartment very wet because Jenny very reluctant to pee. Rain not theoretical.

Note from Friend Betsey

Betsey from Seattle writes in:

Ten Ways Not to Manage an Overbearing Boss

I am surely not the first administrative assistant temperamentally unfit for the job. Adding an overbearing boss to mix has only amplified my bad habits. Learn from the best what NOT to do if you find yourself in similar inexpensively stylish shoes:

1. "Yep, All Done!"
When asked for the fifth time if I've put through that change form, I just say, "Yep All Done" and then hastily perform the task. I can't say that my boss doesn't see right through me and this can only draw more overbearing behavior.

2. Come In Late
Coming in late with an egg and cheese and large coffee in hand means I've had a good morning fitting in my own writing, jogging four times around the park down the block, mopping the kitchen floor AND washing and blow drying my hair. It also means that I haven't gotten to several things in the office that should have been done "right away". Refer to #1.

3. False Cheerfulness
This is the most common tactic employed by an underproductive assistant with an overbearing boss. An uncomfortable moment may be smoothed over, but both leave the interaction feeling contaminated.

4. Dream About Work
I'm sitting in a meeting with my Boss and my Boss's Boss. They tell me I'm going to be promoted and my new position will be one level above them. I rouse from this unusual good dream about work (bad dreams about work quite common) and arrive at the office feeling groggy yet vaguely superior. After the first coffee kicks in, I feel even lower than before.

5. Flask In The Desk/Champagne At The Birthday Party
I have yet to resort to keeping a vanilla bottle in my file drawer but even articulating this idea makes me realize how easy it would be to slip down that slope. I am not a stranger to the extra glass of champagne at the office birthday party and the happy insouciance that follows.

6. Create A Thinly Veiled Blog
Though intensely satisfying not only for the creator but also for other under-employeds in the office, this public character study of one's superiors can only end in tears.

7. Become obsessed with cooking
Dream while in work of all of the wonderful things to cook and eat after work. Other interests fall by the wayside as one dreams of the immediate sensual gratification of cooking and eating steak bearnaise and petites pois a la francaise.

8. Feverishly e-mail significant other
Also along the lines of instant gratification, a daily stream of e-mails from the work account to one's beloved is dangerous. Thankfully the only e-mail I ever sent to my boss instead of my husband had to do with my other obsession. "How about cauliflower curry tonight?" I should have learned my lesson, but I haven't.

9. Make Piles
Pile making only gives one's desk the appearance of being well ordered. I'm surely not fooling my boss by stacking all of the unfinished change forms and unchecked reports on top of each other. Unspoken office rules keep her from peeking.

10. Love Your Neighbor
Having a witty friend share one's wall-less cubicle can be a blessing, when the boss is especially anxious the two of you can shoot knowing looks and e-mail back and forth. The old concern comes up – is one's sneakiness really horribly transparent?

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Wall is the Door

This weekend go to workshop led by Bhagavan Das. Das tells story of the man (no memory whatsoever name of man and internet searches on this topic extremely frustrating) who brought Buddhism to Tibet. Will call him First Rimpoche. First Rimpoche had very irritating assistant who everybody couldn't stand. One day, somebody had the courage to ask First Rimpoche why he kept the a-hole around. FR says, Oh him, he's my greatest teacher. He helps me practice how to love. After class am energized by story. Resolve to attempt to apply lesson to own life. This morning, dress in sweater and courdory coat, exactly perfect combination for brisky fall weather. First chance to try out new way of looking at world presents self on train. In tunnel between Brooklyn & Manhattan, very pale child leans off seat and pukes quietly on floor. Puddle small, but very, very smelly. Eyes water but stand ground despite mass exodus of fellow humans to other end of car. After about 2 minutes come to conclusion that am not violating spirit of teaching to move away from puke. Walking to work, revise position. See that change of position extremely self-serving. Ought to have helped kid out or at least offered word of sympathy to father, who held kid close to him but pretended that nobody had thrown up despite strong evidence to the contrary. Strike one against self, but am cheered to think that work will be own best teacher. In middle of morning, vice-boss, while grabbing for stapler on the Contessa's desk, knocks spider plant off Contessa's onto floor. Squints at plant and dirt on floor. Mutters, Strange. Walks toward office. Both the contessa and I frozen in chairs. Work study student Susan (wearing very sharp little outfit) says in shocked tone, Ms. Vice boss (although, naturally using her real last name) you can't just make a mess and then walk away. Feel extremely tense moment coming on. Instead, Vice-Boss crouches down and with bare hand scoops dirt from floor into pot. Does not seem mortified at all, but does decent job of cleaning up all by herself (am still paralyized, as is the contessa). Vice-boss plant on the Contessa's desk and says in approximation of sincerity, Sorry about that. Estimation of Susan rises.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Dinner in Peru

When get up, Jenny apprently not anxious to go outside (drizzly and gray) because she and Dave, also sleeping remain completely covered by comforter and pillows. Would not like to be so completely covered up as it would make feel chokey, but Dave and Jenny (thankfully for them) not me. Make coffee, sit in front of computer. Open file. Find scrap of paper next to computer. Draw portrait of Jenny, which though technically not perfect, captures her spirit exactly. Here is where my talent lies. Think about taking a drawing class. Look online at classes at SVA and Parsons. Come to grim conclusion that if hadn't bought shoes, could afford class. Dismay at general and specific behavior threatens to paralyize. Take medicinal gulp of coffee. Coffee extremely good, much improved by new regimen of half-and-half instituted by Dave. Coffee enables self to begin to think about dinner scene. First though, experience feeling that am yanking out eye lash hairs one by one. Also coome to terms with fact that what had though was just pimple under mole is, in fact, melanoma. Thoughts continue in similar vein until am struck with feeling that am extremely lucky and shouldn't complain, even to self (have no expectation that thie example of clarity of thought will continue). Begin work. Become busy with problem at hand, namely, how to make it clear that when Judy and the Professor were young they were lovers. Write the superficial conversation covering up the unspoken flirtation (but also the memory of Judy leaving college to have an abortion--or so she told the Professor, who wasn't a professor then, but another student.)There is the conversation about the dig at the camp in Peru. There is the passing of the plates,the pouring of the coffee by the guides, and, as it is Adelita's birthday, the bringing out of the birthday Flan. (Is it possible to have flan if no refrigeration? Will pretend that flan chilled with ice hacked off from glacier. Note: find out of glacier near camp, or if mountain stream could be used instead.) At exact moment when feel have exhausted mental reserves, Jenny emerges from bedroom, puts paw on leg to signal that she would like to go for walk now. We do.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Contessa Consoles

Tell the Contessa about my Regret. She says, Don't worry, at the Barney's warehouse sale at the end of the summer. I bought a little pink fake fur cape. Says grimly, I'm still waiting for the occasion to wear that.

Real Person Modeling

Remember that at any moment Alex going to call and tell where to go to have picture taken for lots of money. Think about what "very well paid" actually means. Would think that it means more than five hundred dollars. Though as am real person and not professional, probably less than five thousand. Thoughts progress to the point that at lunch decide that need new shoes very badly. Have spent months and months window shopping--to be honest, not ony staying on the street side of the glass, but actually going inside the store to take closer, disdainful, look at product on display, disapproving of all current shoes for sale (toes too pointy, or too square, too bulbous) and then thinking about how small the bank account is and how don't really need new shoes, nor want them, and then leaving store feeling extremely Virtuous. Today, go into store on Fifth Avenue. Merchandise shimmers on racks. Store clearly touched by the divine. Gods of shopping have smiled down on endeavor and given blessing. (In truth, gods have dealt mortal blow to sanity.) In no time at all, have selected shoes (wingtip boots made of extremely soft leather), new tie (for what I'm not sure), two pairs of coloful socks. In the middle of the fever, congratulate self on not buying shockingly expensive boxer shorts even though care very much for the pattern of the cloth. Note miniscule sign next to cash register that says Only Store Exchanges up to 15 days after purchase. Small, clear, bell rings in head, but ignore, firmly. Emerge onto street, laden with treasure. Have forgotten what it feels like to spend a lot of money all at once. Feels very very good. Call up Dave and tell him of purchases. Says, good, you needed new shoes. What are they like? Describe. After talking to Dave, the Contessa comes back from lunch. Show her purchases. Is very excited. At about four, spell disappates. Recognize what have done, with horror. Did not need new shoes, not to mention new tie, or anything else that can only be taken back for store credit. Mood not improved when receive email from Alex that says Job has been canceled but that the casting director has my picture. Also, I might think about sending another picture, perhaps not so brightly lit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


At work, the contessa asks what ever happened with Jenny? Say, Nothing, she get to stay with us. The contessa says, I thought you were worried she was going to have to go back to her real owners. Do not care for her choice of words. Get hot. She says, Don't get upset, just tell me what actually hapepened. Say, Nothing happened. Nobody claimed her. (Brain provides graphic images of fate of Jenny's former guardians. Living in shelters, dead. Or abandoning Jenny and driving in BMW to live with rich relatives in Baton Rouge, glad to be rid of the Dog. Get angry at these imaginary people.) Admit that was formerly very worried about Jenny, but am no longer. To self admit that though have no specific worry one will surely surface.

Coral Reefs

First thing this morning, before coffee, read about catostrophic die-off of coral reefs in South African waters. Article concludes with unhappy prediction about future. This coupled with story about Wilma, "largest Atlantic storm ever" send Jenny and me to park in state of severe worry. Jenny, of course, not worried. Until we cross the path of extremely husky squirrel and Jenny tries to hide between legs (mine). In striking contrast, squirrel absolutely unbothered by our presence. Squirrel not only obese, but missing tail, which lends rugged appearance. Have always thought that tail necessary for balance, but perhaps this squirrel no longer Climbs. Adaptation of maimed squirrel brings back Fear of changing worlds. Serena waves from across the park but doesn't come over. Jenny tries to go home. Fear rises like Wave. Repeat to self, Life is Suffering, Life is Suffering obsessive way that the Buddha would surely disapprove of. But after recitation, feel much better, able to appreciate unseasonably warm weather, whatever its cause.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Vice-Boss perches on edge of desk in (apparent) imitation of New Man. How are things, she asks. The Contessa typing email furiously in attempt to look busy. Am certain that is sending me an email calculated to make me laugh. The Vice-Boss looks at me piercingly. Asks, How is your Writing? This conversation far down on list of topics would like to discuss with anybody, especially Vice-Boss (Mystery has taken surprising turn--somehow it became necessary to delve into childhoods of main--as well as several tangential--characters. This morning's subject concerned guide's reminiscences of her grandmother--involved chickens). Appears that what Vice Boss wants to talk about is how best to rearrange the office. Thinks that those book cases ought to go over there and that my desk and the Contessa's desks shoul dbe separated by those filing cabinets. I should go directly in front of the New Man's office and the Contessa should go in front of Her's. Then we can get chairs so that people wait in front of the proper office. Am not sure who is going to wait since all meetings take place outside of the office anyway, but agree. The Vice-Boss full of other ideas, which she elaborates on. Message pops up on screen, She Drinks Blood. Capacity for finding humor in situation gone.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Monday Afternoon

Alex, friend from movie emails. Asks, Would you like to be a real person model for a day--it would pay Very Well. Would very much like to be paid very well. Am intrigued by term real. Would never again be an extra (far too real and pay Very Bad) but would willing participate in movie or television show in which got to wear costume, i.e. Monster, alien, or knight, so real not exactly an enticement. On other hand, circumstance of proposition matches up exactly with long term fantasy. While living in New York have been, at some point each day, been filled certainty that today is day that will be Discovered. Discovered for what, am not sure, but Feeling (when it hits) causes to sit up a bit straighter on the subway; if reading book, try to look both smart and attractive (accomplished by relaxing Forehead and widening eyes); while walking down street, assume facial expression of (for instance, this morning) Fall insouciance (similar to smart and attractive look, but with a dash of schoolboy exuberance). Write to Alex, where and when? Alex writes back. Do you have any pictures of yourself you could email me? Have one picture in online brochure for department. Day picture taken very rainy and hair resembles oily, dead squirrel. Tell the Contessa about email and dilemma about pictures. She says, Let's borrow Libby's camera. The Contessa goes upstairs. Feel creeping shame that she will tell Libby what camera needed for and that Libby will consider me (justifiably) Vain. When the contessa comes back, ask her in panicked tones if she Told Libby. Says, Of course not. I told her we needed it to take pictures of our desks so that we knew where things belong. Ask, She believed you? The Contessa nods, I'm sorry to say she did. Feel deep respect and love for the Contessa. In the courtyard, she has me pose in front of stand of aspens. Takes several pictures. The Contessa dexterously smoking throughout. Looks at her handiwork. Frowns. Says, briskly, Let's try that again. Ask to see the pictures. The contessa says says firmly, no need for that, we'll just delete them. Insist that need to see what went wrong so can fix next time around. The Contessa relents and hands camera over. Lights new cigarette. Look at pictures. Facial expressions very upsetting. The Contesa says lets try another background. This we do. Upstairs in the office, choose picture in which look least nervous. Send to Alex. She writes back. Great! I'll let you know. Am filled with regret.

Monday Morning

Susan suffers another mishap with copy machine--cry for help takes form of string of bad words (pearls and impressive outfit on day of Susan's interview apparently deceptive--unsure whether meant to deceive or merely taught that one Dresses Up for interviews. If this the case, then deception condoned by society and Susan herself not at fault. Wish, strongly, that could pursue train of thought about deception and its causes instead of having to see what has gone wrong with the copy machine.) Go back to copier room investigate. Says in exited tone that she knows I don't like to deal with the copy machine so was trying to load the toner herself. Alleges that she watched me very carefully last time. Not carefully enough--toner on floor and down side of machine. Susan unscathed but so apologetic that begin to feel light headed. Susan rushes off to bathroom. Comes back with wads of moistened paper towels from bathroom. Proceeds to wipe down side of machine. Attempts same on carpet. Efforts produce black paste. Walk back to desk. Appreciate the term snap, as in, he was fine until one day he snapped. Not surprising that office the most popular site of "snapping." The Contessa arrives from downstairs--has settle into a grim schedule of cigarette breaks on the half hour. She looks gray. Tell her about toner. She says, shh. I think I might be sick. Stares fixedly at spider plant on her desk.

Friday, October 14, 2005


The Contessa returns from the bathroom. Eyes very puffy. Declares, I am not going to cry anymore. Given mood swings of the past two days think this very optimistic. Says, I'm going to take up smoking instead. Tell her that think this very bad idea. It sounds self destructive. The Contessa replies, So, arms crossed on chest, in manner of 14-year-old. Tense moment broken up by arrival of Libby, who is beside herself with how Office Depot glue sticks she just received are defective. Says that she is going to write a Letter. Somehow makes this sound like she is going to personally go to the corporate headquarters and slit people's throats. Am very impressed. The Contessa says, It is just a (vulgar word)gluestick. Get over it. Libby sucks her teeth. She and the Contessa share murderous looks, but it is clear to everyone involved that The Contessa is the least stable of the two (today). When Libby leaves, the Contessa says, Well I'm going to go buy a pack of ciggies. Do you want one? For years, we took frequent cigarette breaks together in the courtyard. Invitation brings back semi-pleasant memories of Youth. But also brings back memories of feeling poisoned. Say, You know that smoking is self-destructive behavior, right? The Contessa replies, We are all going to die anyway. Which, though unarguably true, think very unhappily put. Decide to stay out of the Contessa's way for the rest of the afternoon.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Maintenence Men

The supervisor asks the Contessa and me if we would mind if his crew Shampoos the carpet during work hours. We say would mind. (Brain provides unhelpful image of hair growing out of floor, accompanied by memory of ancient tv ad from childhood which featured jingle, I'm gonna wash that grey right out of my hair.) Later, hear supervisor telling his workers, We are like the department of homeland security and Dirt is like the terorrists. We've got to strike at it before it gets us. Feel that this an alarming (and confusing) analogy, but naturally, don't say so.

Rainy Day

Susan the work study girl calls in sick with the Flu, says she hopes that we don't get it from her. The Contessa and I immediately do come down with severe illness. Compare symptoms--chills, a tickle at the back of the throat, the inside of the ears feel Funny, tiredness. We are severely sick for about an hour. At the end of the hour the Contessa asks, Do you want coffee? Say, I sure do. She says, Great, I'll give you some money. See that have been tricked, but once outside feel glad to be out in the drizzle. Am thinking about article read earlier in the morning that said that 2005 hottest year ever, etc. Panic, miraculously, kept in check.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rainy Morning

The contessa enters office this morning, throws broken umbrella to floor, with violence. Hair very wet and flat, pasted down around head. Palm of right hand bloody. Rip in left knee of wool pants. Ask, What happened in very excited--and, hope, but fear is not, deeply concerned--tone. Says, I Fell. Falling is the Least of what has happened this morning. The Contessa suffering through worst morning ever. The night before, tells Justin that It Isn't Working. He seems to think that she is just scared of committment. She says I'm not scared of committing, I just don't want to commit to you. Say, That sounds so certain--didn't even know there were problems. She says there are Big Problems. Ask (full of curiosity) what? She says that he Chews in a disgusting way and that he doesn't respect her poetry. (See how both could cause trouble.) The Contessa came to her decision to break up with Justin when, several evenings before, at dinner, he said that she would grow out of her poetry like some girls grow out of being lesbians during college. That she would figure out something more relevant to do. Contessa says that she was so shocked by his use of the word 'girls' and Every other word of that sentence, that she had to leave dinner and then not take Justin's calls or emails until she came to her decision to end things. Conversation last night drawn out and painful. There is crying on both sides. Justin apologizes about poetry, says he was being flip, but the Contessa says that she could tell he meant it. Conversation takes up whole night and then breakfast at Bubby's where the Contessa alleges she nearly murdered a two year old. She says, Clearly she doesn't want children right this second, but, maybe sometime she will. What if I don't ever get married? I could end up old and alone and Keep birds. Tell the Contessa that this is highly unoriginal train of thought and that I expect better of her. Say so with the hope that firm teasing will break her out of her funk. Instead, Bites her lip before bursting into tears.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


At park this morning, woman wearing long skirt, Beads, and linen coat and Great Dane marches up to Jenny, leans down and talks to her in baby voice, which given Jenny's past behavior with strangers think potentially embarassing for all concerned, but Jenny responds enthusiastically to advances. Woman produces similar effect on own person. Shyness evaporates and hear myself telling woman about how we adopted Jenny and that am very worried that we will have to give her back. Woman says firmly, It Will All Work Out. (Later see that conviction based on nothing, but at the time very comforting.) Woman says she owns furniture store on Greene Street and Do I know it? Do know it, and have often coveted furniture for sale within, which is approximately twice as much as would like to spend. Somehow find myself telling her about job and Mystery which (unbeknownst to me until now) is Coming Along. Meanwhile, woman's Great Dane (introduced as Harold), who sniffs Jenny in very solicitous but kind way. As we part, woman says that her name Serena. Try to think of mnemonic device such as The Calm One, but see that device could also lead to thinking name is Clara or even Alma. Device, rather than simplify things, has, as usual, done the oppositee. Fear that have no hope of remembering name. Am grimly positive that will remember to the grave that Great Dane called Harold.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The North Shore Animal League

Yesterday Dave tells me that we are actually only foster guardians for Jenny. Her picture up on a website. If she isn't claimed by October 15, then she is ours to keep. If real owners (don't care for either of those two words) contact the shelter, will have to give her back. Dave delivers news in offhanded and unworried way. Compensate for his unreasonably calm attitude by having blood rush to face, holding Jenny close to me, and saying in hysterical tone, What do you Mean? Have wrenching memories of the Beverly Clearly book Henry Huggins. Protagonist Henry (10 yrs old) finds a dog without a collar in front of grocery store. Calls dog Ribsy because of dog's underfed appearance. Henry's life much improved (as is Ribsy's who gets to eat wet dog food and raw eggs cracked on top of dry food--not own favorite but understand canine sense of delicacy very different from own). Book ends with appearance of boy who claims Ribsey his dog. Boys come up with plan to have Ribsy choose between the boys by walking an agreed upon number of paces away from each other and then having friend release Ribsy in middle. After very tense moment (drawn out with sitting down, the thumping of the tail on the sidewalk and the biting of Fleas), Ribsy ambles over to Henry. Can only hope that own story will turn out as happy. Jenny oblivious to questions about her future. In bed, both of us very restless. Jenny keeps up a vigorous nocturnal schedule of chewing and licking. I, on the other hand, have extended dream that takes place at, variously, hotel, somebody's country house, and at film festival. Meet many, many people. Do drugs that haven't touched in years as well as several that seem to have invented on the spot. Several times, manage to wake up out of dream. Listen to Jenny's grooming (not calming.) When manage to force self back to sleep, arrive at same party weekend. Throughout, Dave sleeps like proverbial rock. In morning, wake up absolutely drained and unprepared for week ahead.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Money Changes Everything

Yesterday when get home, recieve check in mail for Movie. Jenny waiting at door. Receives scratch behind ear. Kick off shoes. Set down bag, books, groceries, keys, phone. Jenny playfully takes right shoe to kitchen and hides under table. Chase her. (Paw much improved. Still does not care much for walking outside, but obviously very frisky indoors.) Think about how will spend movie check. Options include shoes (will require supplement), having prints made by aunt art school in the 70s framed (have been meaning to do for five years), new cooking Knife, or small portion of rent. Realize with a jolt that when Dave officially moves in (tomorrow), will pay half as much in rent every month. Confluence of financial, romantic, and dog good fortune makes feel rich. Later conversation with Dave erases imagined financial gains. In prior moment of delusion Declare to Dave that Am Too Old to rent U Haul (tell him long story about how last time got two parking tickets and in tense conversation with U Haul representative about dent, which was rusty and therefor clearly not made by self) and carry boxes down five flights of stairs. In so many words make it clear that many of the treasures being moved ought better to be deposited directly into Dumpster and that he will be blamed if I get Hot and sweaty. Say dramatically that will pay for movers myself. Dave not drawn into Says he will call movers and arrange. (Later have very clear and unpleasant picture of myself as tyrant in the Napoleonic mode.) Dave comes home. Has brought wine. Says he is glad that I insisted on movers. Casually mentions how much movers will cost. Choke on wine. Movers much, much more expensive than thought possible. Dave says very calmly, Don't Worry, I'll pay for it. Since very small child was taught that it is rude to ask How Much do you Make, but feel that time has come. What if Dave calm about money matters because a $10,000 balance on his credit card just doesn't bother him? He tells me that his salon started making money much sooner than he thought it would but that at any rate he'd had enough saved up to live on for a year. Asks, What are we having for dinner? The mind reels. Have never understood how anybody saves a dime, let alone enough to live on for a year. Ask (still feeling Rude) how much did you make when you worked for the big Salon. He says, Oh, about three times what I would have made if I'd finished my Ph.D. Now that financial gates have been opened, ask many, many questions about finances. At end of conversation see that have planned very badly indeed. Have no retirement accounts, no reserve fund (what is a reserve fund?), and (this is the most interesting detail gleaned from Dave) no monthly check from interest on Something my Grandparents set up. Ask, Like a trust fund? Up to this point Dave very forthcoming. At this question very nonspecific. Mumbles Yes, Sort of like a trust fund. Through no fault of my own, conversation turns to dinner (simple Thursday dinner of bean tacos) and plan of attack for Move. But throughout conversation, dinner, and far into the middle of the night, have wild fantasies about how much money there is and how best to spend it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Dean

The New Man and the Vice-Boss have meeting with Dean in Vice-Boss's office. The Contessa and I try to listen in, method of shushing each other and straining ears, decidedly not successful. What do you think they are saying? The Contessa repeats more than once. Answer very clear to her that I don't know, so don't answer. Feel desperate, gnawing curiosity. Have impulse to use plastic water glass as listening device, but image forms in head of door opening and being discovered in compromising position. Mere seconds later, door opens. Congratulate self on foresight. The Contessa and I invited into office. Experience all too familiar feeling of regretting that which I've wished for. The Dean given to wearing silk suits, Prada shoes, and Cologne. Very, very strange to see such a creature holding the Fart Machine in hand. Experience not made less strange by unfortunate use of word Buzzer, as in, Is it true that the Buzzer was used in a staff meeting? We both say yes. Do not add that machine has been used in many staff meeting, not to mention in the hallway and one, very upsetting time, in the elevator. The Contessa and I are then ejected from office. Feel extreme relief. Minutes later, Go back to wishing that in proverbial Loop.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Death of the Machine

The New Man in alarmingly high spirits this morning. Attempts high fives on entrance to office. Unfortunately for him, both the Contessa and I bad at sports and Afraid of behavior associated with sports. I at least try to meet the New Man's hand--instead of solid clap we produce unsatisfying pat. Trying to high five the Contessa meets with even less success. The Contessa looks at the wall and blushes until the New Man lowers his hand. Feel extreme embarassment for all of us. Embarassment still not worn off when attend weekly meeting. During meeting, Vice-Boss eats Kiwi fruits in very obsessive manner. She cuts each fruit in two and then scoops out flesh with spoon. Would not have noticed way she is eating except for the fact that she eats about fifteen in a row, with much repulsive smacking of the lips. (Later, the Contessa says that she's lucky if she doesn't get the Runs.)Meeting concerns trip to Europe which is fast approaching. Have temporary panic whn realize that Contessa will be gone for a whole week. Last time she was gone for a week, became fast friends with Libby, which made feel nervous and inadequete and led to excessive use of the labeling machine. Was very glad when the Contessa returned. Am lost in memories of the week of Libby when noise of fart emanates from the Vice-Boss's chair. The New Man, with shocked expression on face, says Whoa. Next several minutes very tense. Vice-boss Asks, Why would you do that to me? Then she Cries. The New Man says It was Just a joke, somehow refusing to apologize. The Contessa, with great presence, leaves the office and brings back Kleenex, which the Vice-Boss makes ample use of. Wish that could say was helpful at all. Instead, feel paralysis spread across body and into face. Meeting is declared over, but as both Vice-Boss and New Man hide in offices for rest of afternoon, have exact feeling of witnessing parents fight. The Contessa and I whisper to each other. The Contessa says that she Can't believe how Grown People behave. Agree with her strongly, but quietly.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


This morning, put on polo shirt which starts out at perfectly acceptable length. But when enter building, notice with very severe alarm that in door reflection shirt now looks exactly like crop top. Discuss phenomenon of Turning with the Contessa. The contessa agrees, heatedly, that there is nothing worse than figuring out what to wear in the morning and being more or less satisfied--not an easy task considering that None of us have washers or dryers in our apartments and drycleaning costs and arm and a leg--and then having outfit turn on you. Don't I remember when she wore Jeans during the heat wave? Or that linen peasant shirt? Or the Smelly tweed? Topic not theoretical or limited to bad summer choices. The contessa contends that I'd Better go Buy Something.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Perfectly beautiful weekend ruined by packing. Dave gives notice to his landlord. Landlord ecstatic (usual mood of landlord is whatever mood it is that makes somebody neglect to paint and clean building in the hope that rent stabilized tenants move out) and says that as far as he is concerned Dave can move out next weekend. Both of us very busy this week so all packing must be done by Sunday night. Have strong personal feelings that moves best accompanied by severe purge of accumulated junk. Discover vast collection of boxes of what am compelled to call trash, including notebooks from college and graduate school, stack of old The Onion issues, box full of receipts from 1999, multiple shoeboxes of cassette tapes. Ask, Why don't we just Throw it All Away? Dave extremely upset about this. Try to difuse situation by making flippant remark. Say that All we Really Need is a bowl, spoon and mat each. Books we can get from the Library. Dave takes exception. Says that I would feel differently if this was my stuff. (In cold light of next day, see his point.) Become agitated. Say, If you haven't opened it for five years then you probably won't ever again. Dave Says, just as firmly, I might Need it. Say, Need It for what? We have our first real Fight, which involves yelling and brandishing of packing tape. (Thankfully, Jenny in Brooklyn.) Accuse Dave of holding on to past, especially memory of old boyfriend (Charles) who was somehow both a Monster and a Bore. I, in turn am charged with being Cold. We expand on positions. Much much later feel that need to go out of the living room so that don't Cry. Go to bathroom. Wash hands and face. Worry that move an extremely bad idea. When emerge, Dave has prepared glass of ice water for me. Says he is Sorry. Do the same. Both say that we didn't mean a word what we said. (Why then, did we say it?) At end of day, several boxes thrown away, but know for certain fact that vast majority have been placed in the To Move pile. Forsee much energy still to be expended trying to Reason with Dave.