Friday, December 23, 2005

End of Strike

Yesterday, walk into city with Dave. Walk thoroughly pleasant. Stop for dumplings in Chinatown and shop for shoes, furniture, lighting fixtures, and apartments in soho. Manage, miraculously, to escape without having made any purchases. Sun shining. As parting with Dave, remind that school is providing bus at 5 p.m., which we will be able to take home to Brooklyn. Get to bus stop fifteen minutes early. at five bus hasn't arrived, but as there is lots of traffic, expect it any minute. Dave says, Are you Sure the bus is going to be here. Answer briskly, Don't be impatient. At five thirty we try to a cab to Brooklyn. One driver laughs and the other squeals off without a word. would be very angry, but can't feel legs. Kear self repeating inanely to Dave, That Must Be It, meaning any large vehicle approaching corner. At six we decide to go to the Cedar Tavern to get drinks and a Bite and to Try for the 7:30 bus. Can feel hot air coming out of register, but inside of body icy cold so leave all clothes on, including hat and scarf. Hands blue. When burger arrives, warm hands over meat. Dave calls me Boxcar Fritz which do not (at the time) find amusing. Say in what am ashamed to not is mournful tone, What Are We Going to Do? Dave takes matters into his own hands. We take taxi to base of Manhattan bridge. Get out of warm cab. Attempt to complain, but Dave says firmly We Aren't Goning to Do That. Am impressed with his firmness, but annoyed, so walk quickly, which warms self up, and gets us across bridge faster. When get home, feel as though have undergone transformative experience (though not sure how have transformed.) Like much else in life, today it is as if strike never happened.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Day at Home

Yesterday, receive telephone call at 8 a.m. Am, for once, happy at work on book. Annoyed, answer phone with brisk (and in retrospect, very rude) What. It is the Vice-Boss. Spill coffee all over lap. Yelp. Explain problem of coffee to the Vice-Boss. She seems less than unconcerned. Want to tell her that have sustained third degree burns which will likely require surgery, but, naturally, don't. Vice-boss says that I am not to walk in to work today. It is too cold. Say O. (Had intended to call in sick.) Day spent taking Jenny on walks--now that Jenny has booties and Jacket, wants to be outside all the time whether or no she has business to do. Later in afternoon, convince Dave to go see movie with me. Only movie Syriana, which enjoy very much, but worry that will have bad dreams. Later, 3:30 a.m., do have bad dreams. Dreams involve Paris being bombed from Destroyers in the seine. Wake up in a cold sweat at 3:30 and stay alertly awake until 6, worrying about holiday trip to Dave's mother's house.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Like many others today, see that (Would gladly call in sick, but office is hosting fund raising luncheon and the Contessa and I are required to Check People In. Have strong suspicion that checking in will also include the taking of coats which makes feel demeaned) Dave says that he had already planned to say home to Take Care of Things. Decide that he is vague becuase he means to get together my Christmas presents. Say, have fun! Bundle up. Weather sunny. Ask cop at corner of Tillary and Flatbush, in clear view of Manhattan bridge whether or not pedestrians are allowed to cross Bridge. Says he Doesn't Know, I could try the Brooklyn Bridge. This makes me very angry. Do not want to walk across Brooklyn Bridge--very inconvenient on both sides of river. Walk briskly down Flatbush until reach next cop who points way to pedestrian path. Way, strangely, requires the jumping of short fence, but other pedestrians doing the same. Last time walked across Brooklyn Bridge, boardwalk full of French people and tourists dodging bicycles. Weather balmy. See that Manhattan Bridge aptly named--unlike wide open spaciousness of Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan cramped, dirty, full of exhaust, yet More Convenient. Am inordinantly pleased at how have made analogies of the bridges. At top of hill, abandon self-satisfaction and take on alarm because face appears to have become numb. Rest of body roasting, but Fristbite clearly in advanced stages. Now understand why Postal Workers sometimes wear sinister looking masks that cover all of face but eyes. Wonder if will lose all of nose or just tip. Forget out numbness and genmneral frostbite when reach Chinatown. Chinatown picturesque and full of good smells. Prawns very very cheap and entertain idea that will buy some to take home for later. On way to office have ample time to come up with equally prepostorous ideas (will buy Co-op loft on Lafayette St. on the side nearer to Chinatown, will pop into Prada store and buy suit, will puchase and eat Hot Dog, will get companion dog for Jenny, have flash about ending of mystery book, see that book will be done by end of January and will be well rewarded for it, etc. etc.)

Monday, December 19, 2005


On entering elevator this morning, hear woman say to man, You Can't just Treat the Symptom, you need to Treat the Cause. Think, approvingly, that she is talking about racisim or similar. Woman continues, It is Fine to replace the rubber mat with a carpet (see now that she is not talking about big social issue, but, elevator we are currently in and become more interested) -- goes on, The first time somebody pees on the floor, the carpet will be ruined. The carpet is not a Long Term Solution, she says firmly. Very much agree. The mind reels. Wonder (hope) that when she says Somebody, that she means a dog. Jenny once guilty of aforementioned crime, but only because deranged Jack Russell from fifth floor tried to bite Jenny's ear which naturally, made Jenny upset.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Low Blood Sugar

Eat very small breakfast in anticipation of Dean's Party this afternoon. Have never, personally eaten more than three mouthfulls of food at party , but for some reason, have convinced self that this time will try the Ham and the jerked chicken. At eleven a.m. admit to the Contessa that am a Little Hungry (am in truth having violent thoughts about throwing self under train but at time am unable to connect woeful state with empty stomach). The Contessa says she would like a Small Snack. Suggest bananas. The Contessa makes a face and says what about a Burger? Diner downstairs puts cheese on both sides of hand-formed patty. Burger also comes with cole slaw which at least has cabbage in it, but think it a stretch to classify burger as anything other than gluttonous. Gobble snack. Food makes feel much better and am very glad (later) at party for having such foresight--warming trays of pigs in blanket and mini quiches set out, all looking extremely nasty and exactly like ideal breeding ground for bacteria--warm, moist, and in space between hot dog and Blanket, dark.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Dear Jenny understandably reluctant to leave lobby of building (temperature allegedly 20 degrees) but am tired of carrying her the one block to park so pull on her leash firmly. She begins to wheeze in very alarming way. Worried, take her back upstairs. Dave also concerned, but in bed, says, what did you do? Don't like his tone. Think of several sharp responses. Jenny still wheezing. Dave says, We'd better Take her to the Vet. Jenny has stopped wheezing and is settling down onto her bed. Dave says, She Must Really be Sick if she wants to go back to bed. Jenny sighs in what to me seems contented way, tucks nose under leg. Looks very surprised when Dave wraps her in blanket and we take care service to vet. Call office from outside vet's office. The contessa sympathetic. Makes Hmm noise. Says that maybe Jenny needs a coat. Say briskly, Jenny is a dog. She has a coat. The Contessa says, Yes, but she can't Layer. When go back into lobby, Jenny wheezing again. Feel guilty for doubting her. Get taken into examination room. Vet unconcerned in maddening way of all doctors everywhere. Says he can't find anything wrong. Has she been under any stress? Say, She doesn't seem to like to touch her feet to the pavement. Glare at her. She yawns in extremely cute way, which charms the vet. On vet's suggestion, go to pet store. Purchase fleece coat and booties for enourmous amount of money. Do not think that Jenny will look dignified at all, but when take on experimental walk, she prances on sidewalk.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Holiday Eating

Libby brings down gingerbread cookes made from Recipe in The Times last week. Do not recall recipe. Libby explains in way that makes it clear that she thinks I am practically illiterate. Behind LIbby, the Contessa rolls her eyes and makes crazy circle with index finger. Have to pinch inside of thigh violently so that don't get giggles. Libby explains that special Times gingerbread Recipe calls for bacon fat instead of butter. Try not to pre-judge cookie, but firt bite reveals that for self, bacon and ginger an unhappy and unnatural combination. Feel strongly that a cookie shouldn't taste porky. Would like to spit cookie out into trash but am prevented by rules of polite behavior. Eat rest of cookie very quickly, without chewing. Counter littered with gifts of sweet things presented by friends from other floors. To cleanse palate, gobble down three fat slices of stollen, half of lemon bar (split with the Contessa), half of another lemon bar (again split with the Contessa). The Contessa says she is so nervous for her date tonight with Phil (don't care for the name which reminds me of the verb, but, naturally, keep thought to self). Says she is so nervous that she can't eat At All--this assertion directly contradicted by the way she is cramming cranberry bread (from Molly in dean's office) into mouth while wondering out loud what she is going to wear tonight and whether or not she should get a hair cut beforehand.

Monday, December 12, 2005

New Love

The Contessa says that she doesn't want to jinx anything, but that she thinks that she has has met the man she is going to marry. Ask, how does she know? Well, for one, at the end of the night, they didn't have sex even though she really wanted to, and--she cuts herself off--I shouldn't think she is a slut for saying something like that. Wouldn't even think of judging or criticizing and say so, sharply. (Instantly filled with regret at obvious lie.) The Contessa continues: And, She can Tell What I'm thinking (again, feel guilty--how does she know am fantasizing about dipping bacon sandwich into hot chocolate?) but I am wrong. Agree, that am very probably wrong, but what am I wrong about? Notice the contessa is flushed, with very straight back and clear eyes as though on drug, and looking a little bit like saint in Renaissance oil. This hightened state seems to have hindered hearing because she doesn't even turn around when the new man comes into office. New Man pauses at bulletin board. Try to signal that the New Man directly behind her but vision also seems to be affected, The Contessa explains, in slightly raised voice, When he gave her a kiss goodnight, she Felt something. The New Man clears his throat. The contessa blushes beet red and looks down at her desk. The Contessa says briskly, I mean I felt his wallet. The New Man, with uncharacteristic good grace scurries into his office without saying a word. The Contessa tucks her hair behind her ears, still blushing violently. Claims that she Doesn't Care what the New Man has heard. She is Happy. Ask her if this means that she is over Justin. Relies, Justin Who?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Laundry Mishap

Laundry in familiar sorry state this morning. Am forced to wear extremely ancient boxers (Brain trots down familiar path of associations, beginning with where underwear originally purchased, followed by thought about how really ought to have bought That Coat and ending in very dark place in head in which it becomes clear that all decisions at all times have been for the worst.) Attend yoga class at lunch. Once start moving, begin to hear ripping noises. Am, at first, very alarmed that pants ripping and will have to crab walk out of yoga studio so as not to flash fellow students. Check seams and see that pants (at least) in suitable order. Deduce that boxers have met demise. As am not actually showing anything, feel that will deal with ripped underwear after class. (Later, not so certain that this hippyish position either justified, or even hyegenic). Leave studio. Back at office call Dave. Tell story of the underwear in attempt to be Funny. At end of story (highly embellished and much, much longer than time actual events took)am met with silence. Ask, What is wrong? Dave says that he is Sad. He thinks that we shouldn't live this way. Agree. Say, We shoud set aside one day a week to do laundry. Or we could even take it to the wash-and-fold. Dave, says, No, It is time to Ask for Help, which sounds sinister. Says he is going to ask for a Housekeeper for Chrismas. (Brain, unhelpfully, not to mention disturbingly, provides image of having to clear out closet so that Housekeeper has a place to live.) Engage in tense conversation in which (in retrospect see that tone a bit hyperbolic) suggest that Dave wants to have a Slave. Dave takes similarly extreme position. Work ourselves around to compromise. We will have somebody in once a week to do the laundry and the heavy cleaning. Am shocked to see that have also agreed to go do Dave's mother's house (according to all stories and information gleaned from Dave himself, not a happy place) for Christmas--somehow this is tied up into asking for help. Do not think it can end well, but because loathe laundry above all else in life, do not object.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Determine to make progress on mystery this morning. Brew strong coffee, make toast (for energy), get grapes out of refrigerator and wash in collander. Eat one grape, which is firm very sweet. Sit down in front of computer. Go back to kitchen and eat many, many grapes--promise self that each grape will be the last and that after this grape, can go sit down and really get to work. At end of binge, see that collander almost empty. Feel slightly uneasy. Grapes unarguably healthy, but recall saying about too much of a good thing. Behavior also sure to have digestive reprecussions. Sit down in front of computer still feeling hungry. As writing, key element about Judy's past becomes clear, illuminating her current behavior, which is very devious. Judy has become favorite character, mostly because she is so bad. Feel that prejudice for naughtiness does not reflect well on self and spend rest of morning feeling ashamed in strange way. (Buddhist Koan: Is there such a thing as too many grapes?)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Vice boss comes in from outdoors wrapped in fur coat, fur hat of type worn by the Anna Karenina on cover of paperback. Vice-boss sheds fur, hat, cashmere cardigan. Fur coat gets flung on the Contessa's desk. The Contessa types briskly on her keyboard. Recieve email that says, I am calling PETA. Either that or having a bloody nose. The Vice-Boss stands in front of my desk with hands on hip. Says, I brought you treats. Am very excited at idea of Treat even though, given Vice-Boss's track record, treat likely to be seaweed squares or similar. Look at Vice-boss and sense that something is wrong with her. Maybe she still has another later to keep off? Realize with a jolt that has gotten a little chunky. When did this happen? Notice that she has hips all of a sudden, and her face doesn't look like the skull might poke through at any minutes. She roots through the pockets of her fur and pulls out a baggie of crumbs. Says, I know there's another in here somewhere. Retrieves half eaten bag of chocolate chocolate chip. Sets on the Contessa's desk. The Contessa says, Did you make these? (bags are clearly labled Whole Foods and feel that the Contessa is getting ready to pick a fight.) The Vice-Boss snaps, Yes, in fact, I did make them and waddles regally into her office, shutting door. For some reason, am shattered for the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Red Sweater

Am not at all surprised this morning when promised six inches of snow fail to appear. Stick hand out window and see that weather brisk. Part of self feels familiar dread about winter while other part glas that can pretend that the seas not rising. Sad winter self decides to cheer up with newly purchased sweater. Sweater red and wooly and potentially itchy, so much find long sleeved t-shirt to wear underneath. Clean laundry at very low ebb so have to settle on shirt from dorm in college which though soft and comfortable normally wouldn't be caught dead wearing out in public. But as shirt will be hidden under sweater all day, feel that will be able to keep (clean) dirty secret to self. Subway very very hot. When riding elevator up to office, have taken off down coat and hat and am thinking, fixedly, about kicking off pants, socks and boots (but not sweater). Libby gets on elevator Says, Your sweater looks like Chrismas, how cheerful. Can think of other words for sweater. In office, the Contessa says, how Christmasy! She talks about how Pretty soon it will be time for the christmas parties. She says this with something much less than excitement. She thinks her thoughts while sit at desk thinking about time that dean's secretary (name of Molly) peer pressured me into drinking more wine spritzers than would seem to be physically possible. Only slightly tipsy, but bladder suffered permenant damage. New Man, wearing very nice suit, and toggle coat which covet very much says, Fritz, dressed for the holidays?

Monday, December 05, 2005


Awake at uninspiring hour of 4:30 a.m. to the sound of Alarm going off. Panic subsides, very slightly, when realize that alarm not in apartment. In extremely angry manner (scalp prickly and space behind eyes very hot.) Drag on pajama bottoms, t-shirt, dress boots (as easiest to put on.) Walk out into hallway into bright light of hallway. Identify door from which noise emitting. Knock on door with much less force than necessary to get anybody's attention, especially given volume of alarm (which sounds every five seconds.) Gather up courage and knock firmly. At same time, recognize alarm as Carbon Monoxide alarm. (CO often referred to, sinisterly, as the silent killer -- though not, in this case, entirely accurate.) Imagine worst (multiple versions). (Much later, see that Imagination, as always, out of proportion, very like time that while lying in bed thought that eardrum had exploded. Debated going to emergency room or not, died and buried self several times, each time sucessively more maudlin with larger audience of mourners. Woke Dave up. Told him in very serious way that in Severe Pain. Dave turned on light and said in businesslike way, Let me See. Pain, mysteriously (and embarassingly), eleminated by mere act of turning on light. Dave said, very firmly, Let's go Back and not Worry anymore. After several more minutes of panic and indignation, fell into deep sleep). Wake up Dave. Ask whether I should call 911 or not. He says that I should try 311 first. Do so. 311 says, impressively, This is an emergency call, let me connect you. 911 and fire department operators brisk and efficient (toy with idea of becoming operator.) Five minutes later, enormous firetruck pulls in front of building, sirens going and lights flashing. Several dozen firemen in full regalia storm hallway. Think that will need to use axe at very least, but most probably battering ram (small version as seen on Law & Order) to be break down door. Firemen open door with no trouble (have special key?) and turn off alarm. Ask what was the matter. Fireman says that the Unit Needed a New Battery. Looks displeased. Inside apartment, tell dave, Better Safe than Sorry. He mutters string of syllables which wish to believe is his agreement.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Potting Soil

Plants in office are, one, a spider plant (which once, Libby, rather nastily, said she mistook a monkey plant because of all of the brown fronds) and two, a potted palm. Both have seen better days, but not under my watch -- recieved plants as part of inheritance from departing associate Chair of dance department who got new job in California. Was told that plants all very hardy and easy to take care of. This did not prevent eight of originial ten from promply dropping all leaves, turning yellow, or, in one very unpleasant instance, becoming site of very vigorous mold colony. So, looking on bright side, two plants, in a way, affirming of the miracle of Life, but nevertheless often extremely guilt inducing. Spider plant suffering from plant mange and potted palm droopy, leaning to one side, and root poking out of bottom of hideous mauve plastic pot. When the Contessa hired, plants newly arrived and already starting to die. The Contessa gave one look at plants and said that she thought they needed to be repotted. She would bring potting soil. Felt instantly that self and plants in very good hands. Several weeks later catch her cheefully pouring Coke onto spider plant. Said she'd heard that coffee was good for plants so why not Coke. Unable to say why but feel certain that not good at all. Several times a week would look over at the Contessa and say in urgent tones that we Have Got to Do Something about those plants. Sloth and forgetfulness set in immeidately until next guilt induced pronouncement arrived a couple of days later. Thus, extremely shocking when the Contessa shows up at work this morning with bag of potting soil, two new terra cotta pots, pretty blue dishes from Pearl River to place under pots. The contessa pale and looks in shock too. We get to work. At end of very short period, plants in new homes, watered, and looking extremely respectable.