Thursday, August 31, 2006

End of Summer

Tell Libby that am ready for the new year of school. Am, in fact looking forward to it. Also, hate summer and feel a surge of energy in the fall. She is silent throughout speech and have the uneasy feeling that am going to be rudely awakened. Then dismiss this thought as pessimistic. Worry about and dread beginning of school. Libby asks, in shocked tone, What are you doing? Discover that am rubbing top of head with heel of hand in deranged manner. To take attention off of me, ask Libby if she is excited about the start of school. She says Yes, but she is more excited about her baby. We talk about the birth--Libby says that it is hard to worry about something little like school when the other wonderful thing is going to happen soon. Fortunately, do not share thought that it is extremely easy, nay, usual, worry about and anticipate many things large and small at once.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Begin to read book about dogs. See very quickly that Jenny's poor behavior is entirely my fault. Am not surprised. (Question: Is this a sign of low self-esteem? Or of self-knowledge and wisdom? Am reluctant to pursue this line.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Help for Jenny

Need to have hand-outs copied for meeting. Go into work study closet and happen on Billy and new work study student (young woman by the name of Summer Moon, hired, strangely, by Libby) discussing different ways to smoke. Say, Isn't there only one way to smoke? You put the cigarette in your mouth and inhale? Think am quite clever. There is a silence. Say, Oh--realizing--You mean there are lots of different ways to smoke pot. Feel several hundred years old. Hand off copying job and say briskly, I need this right away. Flee to visit the Contessa on the fourth floor. She says she is glad I came down--she has a present for me. From her bag she produces Cesar's Way, explaining that though she's always found Jenny a very fine companion, it is clear that she needs a bit of a tuneup tout de suite so that no child gets bitten. Thank her for the gift. Tell her that saw Millicent and mother in elevator last night--was thankfully without Jenny--but mother says in tight voice, I hope you got a muzzle for your dog. (Dog said though other word for crocodile.)

Monday, August 28, 2006


On way to work this morning, get off train and am trudging toward exit--air very damp and warm and have stupidly worn heavy rain boots--see five people in front of me all holding collapsible umbrellas. For some reason sight of folded up umbrellas of different colors--pink, one printed with chickens, one lime green, two black--makes me feel melancholy as though all the people had been carrying kids lunch boxes in a non-ironic manner. Feel that umbrellas are hopeful things, especially the small folded up kind. (Am not explaining this well at all--can only say that was at the time quite touched.) Am met in the lobby of school by hordes of new students, some of them very young and all of them shouting at each other boisteriously. Debate taking elevator (let one car pass as it is more full than it ought to be and certainly more full that would be comfortable in) and decide on stairs. Reach tenth floor in state of near collapse, embarassingly gasping for air. Libby asks, Are you All Right while giving me look of horror. Explain to her that was trying to avoid the crowds. She says briskly that the crowds have come to us -- The phone has been ringing off the hook. Phone continues to ring off the hook and have long string of unpleasant conversations: with three irate students (separately), with one teacher who tells me about her sciatica, with new member of the deans office who is hard of hearing and have to shout into phone and repeat self, and finally the vice-boss, who asks, Where did you put the budget from last year? Reply, Um, ah... To which she replies, Spit it out. (Later have very tart response about where I wished I'd put the budget.) During moment of calm, try to think about umbrellas again but charm of umbrellas has gone. Cynical side suggests that humans in the abstract much more likeable than in the flesh.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Jenny in Elevator

This morning get into elevator with mother and three-year old wearing what looks to be frightingly expensive dress. As am saying hello to both, the girl reaches down to Jenny's head. Jenny snarls and shows her teeth. Mother of girl snatches up her child and says, in high voice, Millicent is terrified of dogs! Millicent doesn't seem at all in distress, and in fact, says clearly, Let me down I want to pet the dog, but her mother continues to give me and Jenny murderous looks. Am, naturally, both mortified and worried. Go into apartment and tell Dave story, ending with wobbling lip and statement that I hope she doesn't bite anybody and we have to Put her Down. Dave says I'm jumping to conclusions and we will Think of Something, which, in the moment, calms me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Copy Machine

Come into work this morning to find Libby very excitedly waving papers in front of me and saying that it looks like we are at the End of our Contract (feel that this sounds Biblical). She explains that she found the contract for Minolta we are due for a new copy machine. Tell her that don't care what we get, I just want one that works. Expand on subject at length. At end of speech, throat very dry. Libby, says sardonically that she hopes a brand new machine would work. Do not harbor this hope at all but am angry with self for yet again wasting breath, time, and energy on copy machine. Think privately about all other things that spend time unhelpfully on--even just this morning: wondering if dream that the leg model won $200K in the lottery means that I will win if buy a ticket; worrying about patch of ezcema on face that appears to be growing; Global Warming; clothes (this morning especially bad--everything suddenly too short, too long, or dorky to the extreme); wishing train would come right away and walking to edge of platform to peer into tunnel in semi-compulsive manner. See that could go on for quite some time, so force self to answer long list of pending emails. Uneasy feeling remains that this too a waste of time. (Alarming and possibly existential question: what isn't a waste?)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cocktail Party

Last night, attend cocktail party at Serena's. As Dave doesn't take Jenny walking in the morning, he doesn't know Serena as well as I do--feel his statment that He couldn't pick her out of a line up with Chewbacca, both an exaggeration and nerdy. But eventually convince Dave to come. Say hopefully, It will be fun. He looks skeptical. Is more receptive when tell him that am nervous about meeting the editor and will he please come and support me. Yes he will. Have never been to Serena's house. Her furniture store is lovely, so am not surprised (only slightly jealous) to discover that she has three flooors of a brownstone, very cheerfully decorated with colorful artwork, good looking furniture, and healthy plants. Serena says she is so glad we could come, What do you want to drink? Let me introduce you to me nephew, He is a Writer Too. The nephew hunches into his cardigan, shoots me a look of deep dismay and am avoided for rest of night. After this introduction, find that glass is drained; refill. Minutes later discovery that second glass of wine has disappeared is very shocking. (Question: Am willing to admit to drinking wine in question, but have absolutely no recolecction of doing so--and would like to add that problem not limited to wine. Very often have rock solid believf that there is a sip left in coffee cup only to discover that cup bone dry. Is this optimism or forgetfullness?) Find that have become eloquent and willing to meet strangers. Parlor is now full with interesting-looking mix of people. See Dave talking to a man with a beard. Find self in conversation with very stylish woman who says she is a dress designer. We talk about shrimp (?!) and then she admires my shirt. After this boost feel that am able to talk to editor. Find Serena and ask her to point out editor. Serena offers to introduce me. Say boldly, No, I will introduce myself. Serena shrugs, she nods at a woman in the corner. Introduce self to woman who says her name is Beverly. Could have sworn Serena had said that her editor friend was named Beth, but do not like to ask if she is sure her name is Beverly. We have long conversation. In middle of conversation, Dave drops off a fresh glass of wine and raises his eyebrow to see if I need help. I give him a firm look signalling that I am handling the meeting beautifully. Beverly definately interested in book. This morning, see Serena in the park. Tell her that had very nice conversation with Bev, but that conversation ended abruptly, without an exchage of cards does she think I should follow up? Serena gives me a very strange look, asks, you talked about your book? Say stiffly, Yes, at length. Serena says she doesn't mean to laugh but it is funny. Ask, What is funny. Serena explains that the person I was talking to was not the editor, but is a Designer of gardens on terraces and rooftops. (Recall details side conversation about succulents.) Once she recovers herself from her fit of laughter, Serena says breezily, Oh well. I'll introduce you two again--or better yet, you can just email her. On own end, do not feel breezy at all, but, rather, mortified. Feel certain that will take days to recover.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Yesterday takes a turn for the better when go home to find package waiting at front desk. Excitedly unwrap package in elevator and discover drill. Bad mood threatens to return as do not care about drill. Call Dave -- he in contrast is very excited, says, oh yes! now you can put up the ironing board organizer. Do not understand and say so. He explains that if I look in the hall closet I will find a box with the aformentioned ironing board organizer inside. I do find said box. On the front of the box is a picture of a iron sitting in cradle and ironing board hanging down below. Box claims that iron does not need to be cooled off before it is placed in cradle. Become very excited at idea that ironing board and iron will have a home. Have been hit on head by falling over board many times and did not care for moment several weeks ago when was scolded by Dave for -- as he sais -- Kicking over the iron and Spilling the steam water. (Certainly did not kick.) When installing wall anchors, read directions on package and discover that job not difficult at all. (Note: Henceforth always read instructions from beginning to end.) Organizer gets screwed into anchors and project is done. Admire handiwork. Feel an almost religious calm until have uneasy feeling that this not stable behavior -- and furthermore possibly linked to childhood obsession with vacuum cleaners.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday Morning

Weather beautiful this morning, and coffee tasty, but when open up computer to begin work, and glance at what have written over weekend, am appalled. As am leaving apartment, Dave asks, What's wrong? Sign and say, Nothing. Run into the Contessa in front of work. She is beaming and says that she is Excited about moving in with the New Man. Not nervous at all anymore. Of course, she will have to replace his towels, but that is easy enough -- she stops herself -- What's wrong? Again sigh and say, Nothing. In office, Libby announces that she's gotten over her morning sickness and feels fan-tas-tic! Asks, How was your weekend!? Say, Fine, in tight voice. Shut door to office and feel like monster.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Am taking out toolbox from under kitchen sink so that can hang up lithograph purchased in New Mexico when discover that pipe is leaking at brisk rate. Call Dave over. Am 99 percent certain that leak caused by rough handling of tool box -- hole in exact position that corner of tool box previously rested -- so try to make joke about What a Way to Start the Morning! Dave not amused, face very grim. An hour later, after several trip to the hardware store and after pressing the Super into service, pipe is replaced and am very relieved. Dave is still unhappy. He gestures at the space under the sink, says, How long has it been since this has been cleaned out? Answer self evident: A long time. How long? asks Dave. Calculate in head that has not been cleaned since moved in, but embarassed to say so. This is a terrible mess he says (it is, but feelings hurt anyway.) He unearths heaps of bags -- plastic, paper with ribbon handles, paper with rope handles, thousands the narrow scarlet plastic bags from the wine store -- also a sack of cactus potting soil (!), a small broom and dustpan, a mouse trap (thankfully no mouse attached), can of oven cleaner, can of spray adhesive, glass bottles saved for recycling since 2001, Indian Cookboook, and 2 cans of cat food. Help by making many trips to the trash chute. When come back after tenth trip, see that space is all cleaned out and that Dave is on floor scrubbing with rag. He says a curse word. Urge him to smile--We are Almost Done! Dave says tightly, he would smile, but he has just kneeled on a piece of broken glass. Apologize and treat wound with Neosporin. On way to work, feel that morning very uninspiring and made less so by neighbor on one side who coughs tubucularly and woman on other who persists in playing extremely loud game on her telephone. All is forgotten when get to work to receive email from the Contessa which says, in its entirety, We are moving in together. For split second am afraid that she means to move into my apartment and feel that we will be very cramped indeed, but quickly see that she means that she and the New Man will cohabitate. Call her immediately. She confirms. She is moving out of her apartment at the end of the month and into his, Gulp. Assure her that she will be Fine.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Serena in the Park

Run into Serena in the park. She says she was just thinking about me--feel like need to wheel around and leave park immediately in strange sort of embarassment--unfortunately legs do not work, nor does mouth. Serena doesn't seem to notice, goes on, says that she thought of me because she saw her friend the editor and wondered if I'd ever sent the editor anything of my book. Mouth works, but tongue extremely dry and palms damp--say, merely, No, which takes a lot of effort. Inwardly, am very upset with self about not finishing book, not Following Through, for time in young twenties when turned down paid internship at prestigous magazine because wanted to travel, for general laziness in regards to sitting self down in front of computer, when hear Serena saying, Great, it's set. I'm having Beth (can only assume that this is the editor) over for wine and snacks next week. Wednesday? (With horror, feel self nodding.) Wednesday. You two will love each other. Feel that this is very unlikely, but don't say so as am afraid will sound as strange as feel.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Vice-Boss Falters

The Contessa calls to ask if I want to hear the gossip. Am sorry to report that am so excited. Call comes as an interruptionto an extended trying conversation with Libby about office supplies--she wants me to give my Official Approval for her purchases and is not satisfied by my honest and heartfelt assertion that she can buy whatever she wants and that she can forge my name if she need to sign something--she maintains that this is Wrong and begin to feel that I am being accused of something--a feeling which do not care for and which will undoubtedly wake me up at three in the morning for furious brain activity--so call from the Contessa welcome indeed. Say, Yes I want to hear the gossip! and in excitement knock jade plant off desk. Tell self that will clean it up after hear news. The Contessa says that the vice-boss has been behaving so strangely (stealing the copy paper, also it has been warm outside, but--in the Contessa's words--there is no reason for a Woman Her Age to wear hot pants, even if they are made by Prada and the Contessa says that she's smelled cigarette smoke seeping out from under the door on more than one occasion)--beg the Contessa to please get to the dirt -- she says, Anyhoo, the reason she's been acting up is that her husband left her for his secretary -- how tired is that? The Contessa asks rhetorically. Without thinking ask, aren't you the secretary dating the boss? The Contessa replies in chilly tones, The two things have nothing to do with each other. Hurridly ask how she found out about the vice-boss. The Contessa sighs. Says, she called me into her office to ask if I thought she was pretty. And then she cried. Ask, Did you have to hug? No, the contessa says in a horrified voice, I kept the desk between us at all times. She adds, we did share a cigarette though. She asks, Do you think what I'm doing with the New Man is creepy? Ask her as gently as possible -- What are you doing? She replies, I think I'm falling in love with him. Isn't that weird?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

That Sneaky Creep

Receive email from the Contessa with the above subject line. Email is (naturally) about vice-boss, who the Contessa alleges has been stealing copy paper and taking it home. Ask, what do you think she does with it? Nothing good, the Contessa says firmly.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Back from Vacation

Spend lovely week in Taos with Sigrid, Baby Elizabeth, & Sigrid's husband at house of uncle of Sigrid's husband. Uncle apparently extremely rich as house is charming adobe outside of town and is extremely large with indoor pool, view of mountains, and walled garden. On morning of second day when am sitting with Sigrid, Elizabeth and Dave in patio having coffee and melon, Dave announces that We are Not Going Back to New York. Immediately join into fantasy that have Come Into Money and time is spent hiking, and sampling red enchiladas, guacamole, and fry bread. (Thankfully there are no scales in house and all mirrors are on the small side, none showing the middle of the body.) All is pleasant except for tense moment during a foosball game when Dave and Sigrid accuse each other of cheating. Unfortunately, am on Sigrid's team when the accusations fly find self backing Sigrid to the hilt. Gesture and speak in terse voice. Dave rolls his eyes and says Fine, we can havethe point. This does not make me calmer. Rather the contrary. But once game is ove, all competitive antipathy is dissolved by visit to the hot tub. Trip back to New York uneventful except for interesting incident in which woman in front of us in security line refuses to part with her $300 face cream. Feel that rule against cosmetics is silly, and would normally applaud woman's principled stand, but do not care for her high-handed tone and way that she refuses to look at TSA employee and instead looks at her diamonds. (Am sorry to report that have very cruel thought about efficacy of cream.) Imagine exciting scenario in which she is taken away in handcuffs. Instead, she is defeated when TSA manager comes over and says in impressively stern voice, Ma'am, put your lotion in this bag, right now. In New York, weather unexpectedly pleasant. In Taxi on way home open window to breathe air of city, breathe in dazed way for several minutes before a car drives past and a sheet of water comes into backseat, drenching face and hair. Dave asks Are You OK? Tell him Yes of course, but this shock rather than bravery. Inwardly, can only think of taking a shower. This morning, feel unexpected optimism on way into work and feel that the Fall Won't Be Bad. On entering, Libby informs me that one teacher has decided not to teach in the fall, another has threatened to file a grievance because of the schedule we gave her; also my computer broke and had to be take away, the copy machine is broken (naturally). She rounds out list by noting that The Chair is unreachable. The way she says it makes it sound as though he might be found half-eaten by cats. Am alarmed and ask, Did anybody call his house? She replies, He isn't in New York, is At his Place in Vermont and will be out of reach until the week after next, which -- as feel muscles between neck and shoudlers tighten -- can only admire.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Heat and the Elevator

At two the air conditioning is shut off for the building in order to Conserve energy and at three we are told to go home. Run into the Contessa outside of the building who says she didn't take the office elevator for fear that the power would go out and she Wouldn't Be Found until the power came back on. Am retroactivelly scared at prospect.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mystery Solved

Am worried about the Contessa yesterday (did not talk to over weekend--what if dead in the tub?). She calls me back to say that she took a little vacation. Ask why she didn't tell the New Man where she was going and--by the way--where is she. She is at the Boss's apartment lying down in front of a very powerful air conditioner and watching the first season of The Wire on DVD. The apartment can't be sold yet and the Boss's vulture brother and sister don't live in the city, so why not use the place? Why not indeed? Am invited up for the evening. Dave is invited too, but says that he has to take care of some work and then go walk Jenny. Bring bottle of wine. The Contessa and I order sushi and sit on the bed to watch the series and the contessa makes numerous references to the wedding and children she will have with the lead actor. She says, hungrily, that it seems like he has a dark streak. Tell her that the New Man seemed worried about her--did they have a fight? No, they did not have a fight. What happened? The Contessa shoves piece of yellow tail into her mouth, indicating that she can't talk, mouth full. Did he upset her? She shakes her head yes. How? She eats two pieces of smoked eel in quick succession. Tell her I'm going to turn off the TV so we can talk. No! she yells. She pauses the movie. There are many twists and turns to the story, but it is finally revealed that the New Man mentioned that maybe they could live together, which made the Contessa very anxious. So anxious, in fact, that she snuck out of restaurant and called the New Man from here, the Boss's place to say that she was very sorry, but she had to go to her grandmother's in Maine. Says, I can't ever talk to him again, can I? Can only tell her that the New Man told me to tell her that he missed her.