Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dentist Again

Go up to see dentist so that he can adjust bonding on teeth. Am alarmed to see that assistant is dressed in black scrubs and a witch's hat. Dentist himself, thankfully, in traditional white attire.

Monday, October 30, 2006


On Saturday, stop by the New Man's apartment to borrow book from the Contessa. Through no fault of own, hours later end up at party in DUMBO dressed as geisha--kimono, little lips, mascara, and rainboots. Am glad that can wear normal clothes under kimono and am told by 2 absolute strangers that am pretty, so feel that costume, a success. Dave fashioned into a Poodle. Persian lamb coat, nose painted black, cotton ball ears glued to a headband. Dave less happy.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Attend launch of poetry magazine last night, Harp & Altar. Am coerced into going by the Contessa who promises that attendees won't be Dusty as is usual at poetry events but rather stylish. Before reading and party have glass of wine with Dave, the Contessa , and the New Man in attempt to arrive at party late so as to miss the readings. Dave says he doesn't understand, isn't the point to listen the readings? Yes, the Contessa says firmly, and orders a cheese plate. When arrive at party, door blocked by very drunk young man. Teeth purple. Clears throat and spits, asks where we are going. Building seems abandonded but he assures us that the party is going on--he says strangely, There are a lot of people, but it's not like they erected an alter for the Devil. (Have image of We follow--young man's gait unsteady and he stops several times to clear throat and spit some more (a hobby? Is so drunk he can't tell inside from outside?) Party in old Williamsburg warehouse building that makes me recall (not exactly fondly) time spent living in drafty old lofts and behavior of party guests who thought nothing of stubbing out cigarette on livingroom floor. Understand spitting, etc., but do not by any stretch agree with. Once reach party our guide disappears and have unsettling thought that he was a Ghost. Naturally, keep thought to self--would not like to ask others if they saw him and be told no. Party fun. Run into several people who haven't seen for years--two gladly, and one who once kissed and have been apprehsive about ever seeing again. (Apprehension justified and conversation needs to be cut short by walking away mid sentence.) After party, take car service home. Dave very quiet, but sighs often. Ask what is wrong? Hair, he says glumly. Hair is unfulfilling. He sort of fell into it--he had a talent and he pursued it, but he doesn't think he actually Likes it. Ask about business prospects--how about selling a product line--Is that Inspiring? There are more sigghs. That isn't exactly helping the world, is it, he asks. Assure him that hair matters quite a bit. He says, Yes, of course, but he can't deal with it anymore. He thinks he might sell his salon and write poetry for a while. What do I think? Have sudden unsupportive image of eating only rice and beans and never buyng any new clothes again, not to mention never purchasing an apartment or tiny cabin upstate. If he wants to write, couldn't he write a book about hair? Talk about the famous people who's who see him. No, he shakes his head, He could not.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Very uninspiring afternoon spent at dentist's office to have two cavities filled. Dentist professional and kind, but even after being corrected, persists in calling me Fred. i.e. We're just going to put this tongue guard in here, Fred. Attempt to writhe away from insertion of sharp metal disk which slices into soft flesh under tongue. Dentist asks, Is that pinching, Fred? Feel that Pinching is an interesting choice of gerund. If tongue and jaw not numb, and guard not in mouth, would suggest "cutting" as more accurate. For rest of procedure, veer between wanting to have hysterical giggles (physically impossible and thus all the more attractive) and intense fear that am choking on certainly toxic mixture of dentistry solvents and saliva. When get back to office, Libby has large stack of secretary applications for me to go through and says that Today our lesson is on the phone system. Jaw and tongue still not all that they should be, so slur and drool explanation that today not best day to have to have to speak out loud. Fritz, you are so funny, Libby says, and laughs mirthlessly. Can tell that she thinks I am being difficult.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Note: Receive deepy embarassing email this morning, the gist of which was I ought to pay more attention to rules of grammar. And spelling. Went back to fix post from yesterday, which did have some glaring problems. Wish that could promise that will never happen again, but would be very wary of such a committment.

Libby very busy today getting ready for her departure. After lunch she comes into office and explains to me--in very simple sentences and many steps--how the mailing list data base system works. Tell her curtly that have, in fact, used computer before. Attempt to show her that know how to addd name to list. Unfortunately, while demonstrating skills, manage to make entire column of last names disappear. Libby asks, Do you know how to make the column come back? Tell her that all will be resolved if click on Undo. Computer, maddeningly, says Can't Undo. Berate the computer sharply while Libby rolls her eyes. Have rarely felt closer to murder--but would have a hard time deciding whether the computer or the pregnant lady would get it first. This last thought shocks me and quickly rein self in. Ask Libby as nicely as can manage how she would fix problem. She shows me. Function keys are involved, but beyond that, could not say. Libby seems to pick up on lack of skill, but not lack of interest. She offers to give me daily tutorials until she leaves. Thank her.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Can I talk to you? Libby asks, striding into my office and scooting chair a bit to close to knee. Say, Come right in, make yourself at home. She does not get my attempt at humor and instead says that She's the sort of person who once she decides something she just goes ahead and does it (have often observed this behavior.) Tell her to go on. Am very surprised to see that she has tears in her eyes. Lean forward and ask, What's wrong? She has decided to quit because she doesn't think she can fulfill her duties adeqetly. Tell her that of course she will take time off to have her baby and as long afterward as she needs, but that we would miss her very much if she left. (have strange feeling about word "we." She shakes her head firmly, No no. She is giving her two week notice and she Won't be coming back. Am thrown into intersting emotional space during intevening minutes. Am sad that she is going, elated that will never have to debate relative merits of White Out brands, and am also in a panic about how to find new person who is even half as capable as Libby. Libby herself seems releived. Having accomplished her mission, Libby sweeps efficiently out of office. Call the Contessa. The Contessa says she understands perfectly my predicament. She will take away one Headache (which hadn't even thought of)--she will organize the going away party.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


After very trying interlude at the Apple store in Soho this morning (Do not wish to relive experience except to say that computer technicians often needlessly brusque.) But have lovely walk back to school. See policeman on horse. Horse weaves around orange cones placed in a line on side of street. Have sudden intense wish to be horse policeman. Do not care for uniforms generally, but boots very hansom and horse looks neither mean nor slovenly. (Later, the Contessa reminds me that Those horses are trained to walk on top of protestors and the cop is the one who tells them to do it.) pass through washington square park which is decorated with masses of fake bushes, trees and there are large cranes all over the place, including one crane holding up a car-sized balloon. Am enchanted and wish that there were always huge balloons in park. Deduce that movie is being filmed--when get to Fifth Avenue, see long string of very filthy cars and wonder if they are part of set or not. Experience very unpleasant moment when am not sure what is real and what isn't, but then think about big balloon and horse and am happy again. Tell Libby about balloon which is a mistake because she says with no sense of wonder or curiosity, in flat tone, Those are for lighting movies at night.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Changing Fashions

The Contessa calls upstairs to tell me that the Vice-Boss is in her office right now and You will never guess what she is wearing. Try to guess: Uggs? Hair extensions? No. She is wearing the newly fashionable skinny jeans. Ask in horror, How does she look? The Contessa says, Since she's so skinny now from her gym addiction and the no drinking and probably uses the old finger now and then after lunch, she's looking skeletal, so if you can't see her face she at least fits into the jeans and really from the back doesn't look as horrible as she could. The Contessa sucks in her breath and then apologizes for nastiness. Absolve her. We move away from specific example of Vice-Boss and talk about the general alarming popularity of skinny jeans. Many of the very young children around school wear the skinny pants, with either Converse high tops or slip on Vans and do not think that it is at all attractive. On the other hand, when wearing own jeans which have slight flare at bottom (believe proper term is boot cut) feel that have stepped right out of time machine from the 70s. Admit to the Contessa that even though skinny jeans definately ill advised, am afraid that am bound to get some, and soon. Am also sorry to admit that even though have sworn to self otherwise in years past would not even discount possibility of ending up with black version of skinny jeans. Me too! says the Contessa. We discuss advisability of doing so. Several important questions raised: would we look like we were Trying too Hard? (likely) Would we look Fat? (We wouldn't be fat, the Contessa clarifies, it is just that to wear thinkgs like that you have to be in the brief window in your early twenties when the baby fat has melted off and before the adult fat has started to settle in.) Would it Look like We were Trying to be Young? This last question defeats us. Get off phone feeling slightly depressed. Would like to think that interest in the current fashion and willingness to go along with same indicates a an admirable flexebility. Like a reed bending in the wind. Conscience nips this train of thought and am forced to face facts. Am more sheep than reed. Do, (rallying) remember, however, that draw firm line at new fad of suit vests worn without jackets.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Yesterday meet with the Contessa to talk about draft of book. First of all, she says, she Loves it. Parts very scary, parts funny, and she couldn't help turning the pages. Am pleased with self and feel that when go hom will find check waiting in mailbox. Am glad that we can just enjoy ourselves now. Even think about ordering second espresso (but only if heart stops beating quite so quickly.) The Contessa clears her throat. She may have a few suggestions, tiny ones. Say, Go ahead. Take out notebook and pen. The Contessa says she imagines it can be tidied up no time at all. Ask, In a week or so? The Contessa will not commit to a week even when pressed. Mood becomes black. The Contessa forges ahead. She does not think the flashbacks work (Easy to take care of, snip, snip! she says in a cheerful voice) and also the Judy character seems not quite as finely drawn as I might wish. Maybe revisit her. Also, the chonology of the thing seems a bit off--can everythign happen as fast as it does? For example, how long does it take Mold to grow? Reply briskly, mold can grow very fast. The Contessa says, now don't get discouraged--I also Marked Up your manuscript to fix typos and the like. On subway home sigh again and again. Along with book on improving concentration, really ought to find book on taking criticism well.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Teaching very detrimental to nutrition. In morning wake up nervous about class and eat 2 piece of toast slatered thick with peanut butter (organic) and apricot-lime jam. For lunch have left over kale and three slices of sharp cheddar cheese. Make discovery that slicing cheese very thin renders it more delicious and so have another 50 slices to see if theory holds true. It does. Make firm plan with self to eat only fruit for mid-afternoon snack. Plan derailed when am coming back from library, crossing washington square park, and am drawn by supernatural force to Hot Dog stand. In crisp voice ask for A Hot Dog with Mustard and Sauerkraut, please. The vendor replies, would you like a Jumbo or a regular. Am tempted by Jumbo but refrain and am very proud of self for restraint. Purchase and consume pathetically small hot dog in four bites. Before class, for dinner have slice of pizza. At time, think that pizza practically healthy--this version has slices of red onion and bell pepper pieces. (Note: Never eat such pungent things right before class again. Does not help with the nerves when forced to try to talk without exhaling and causes horror that students will talk about their teacher who has Onion breath, recalling memory of utter disdain felt by myself and classmates for math teacher in 8th grade, Mr. Mushkin, who had a dandruff problem. Second note: purchase tea tree oil shampoo.) After class go home. Dave asks Are you hungry? No I am not. Nevertheless, sit self down on couch with hunk of cheese, knife, large bag of yellow corn chips and half bottle of wine. When go to bed, tell self that Tomorrow is Another Day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


After plane crash yesterday do not care for Libby's persistent and unhelpful questions. It's just like 9/11, isn't it? Doesn't it bring back memories? How do we know it is a small plane? The FBI lies. Later she gets of the telephone and says grimly that her mother (in Wisconsin) has heard (from who?) that the plane crashed very close to Rockefeller University Hospital and there are Concerns about radioacitve material. Ask her if she would like a coffee, I am going out. Be Careful, she says. See the Contessa on the elevator, also very excited. Tell her about Libby's behavior--she doesn't want to be like that does she? No, the Contessa answers sharply, but her apartment(1/3 share inheritance from the boss)is also on 72nd street and she'd like to go see if things are ok. Am sorry for my flip tone, apologize, and perhaps show a bit more concern than actually feel. The Contessa calls from the apartment and said the crash is Miles away, she can't even smell the smoke so You can stop worrying. Guiltily realize that already have long since stopped (so did Libby once she discovered it was a baseball player. Take high moral road and tell her sports stars are people too. She looks unconvinced.) Poor attention span very worrisome and think that ought to do exercises for concentration. How would one search for such a book with such exercises? Moments later, find self rooting around in office refrigerator clutching barely expired container of peach yogurt. Libby is standing over me. Ask Libby if it is hers. No it is not. Tell her that feel that just had one of those Ambien-caused middle-of-the-night episodes in which people eat cigarette milkshakes, sticks of butter, etc. ha ha. Libby not amused.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Strange Behavior

On subway, in post office, in sandwich shop on way to work, notice epidemic of twitching, staring, overly loud voices, nose picking, ear digging, dandruff-head scratching--sort of behavior best kept at home. Have unpleasant realization that I am fully part of epidemic when short young man says hello to me. Jump back in abject fear. Do not care to think what face looks like as realize that know young man--he is Libby's husband (Raskolnikov) but has shaved his beard off. Proceed to say like a deranged person, You shaved! Raskolnikov not chatty at best of times and elevator ride up to office exceedingly uncomfortable. Discomfort not lessened by my insistence on talking about baby names with R. Feel that will especially regret phrase spoken by self, Collette is such a cute name!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Day in Office

Am in office with morosely loquatious teacher of shakespeare. We are not taling about shakespeare, which would at least, for me, be educational, but are, instead talking about the Health Insurance plan. How terrible it is. Rather, he is talking and I am nodding, trying to use ESP to get Libby to buzz me. She is, unsurprisingly, unreceptive to ESP command. Instead, email message from Contessa pops up with Urgent in the subject line. Click to open message. In unhelpful attempt to speed things along, say brightly to Professor, I'm sure it will all get worked out. Professor says hmm, and launches into detailed descriptino of how was treated by customer service. Like a dog. Try to read message from the Contessa while still appearing to pay attention. Message reads, I am a bad person for sending you this. The vice-boss got a chemical peel. Her face looks like hamburger and I am glad. This not very kind, nor funny, but snort and laugh in undignified manner. Very trying moment follows. The Professor says he expected as much from the insurance company, but not from the school. He has taught here for twenty years and everyone thinks he's a dog. Spend what seems like hours convincing him that we think nothing of the sort.

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Dentist

See new dentist this morning. (Never liked former dentist--waitingroom depressing and dingy, bathroom filthy, and dentist prone to violent jabbings with small metal hook. Always left leaving feeling like had been Worked On, as a car. New dentist comes highly reccomended from womanin feathered shrug who met at political party. Produced card of new dentist after we spent a solid fifteen minutes exchanging horror stories about bad dentists. After conversation, felt slightly uneasy that had been talking about Teeth with a perfect stranger and immediately had to excuse self.) Dentist's building just off Park Avenue in the fifties and extremely fancy--lobby all marble and gilt molding. Office pristine and staff friendly. Dentist also friendly though perhaps a bit of a name dropper--quite a few of his patients are very well known writers. Feel glad to be among such an illustrious crew, especially one famous Memoirist, who has impressive teeth and always reminds me of a race horse. Hygenist extremely chatty. Is very glad that weather has changed and that it isn't so humid any more. Humidity turns her into a Bush Lady. As teeth are being scraped with sharp tool, can only grimace, but am worried that hygenist is being racist. Listen carefully to everything else she has to say, but no further confirmation is forthcoming and unfortunate phrase perhaps only that. (Question: What would I do if fear was confirmed?) At end of cleaning, dentist and hygenist look at x-rays. I have two small cavities. Once the dentist leaves the room, hygenist gives a very stern lecture about Flossing. She does not mince words. At one point she actually says, These two cavities are Your Fault. It is rare that blame is so squarely placed on one's shoulders. Find it bracing, and, strangely, a relief. Make appointment to come back to have cavities filled. Am warned that as cavities on two sides of mouth, speaking will be Impossible for hours after procedure, but you can do both if you Think you can Handle It. Perverse impulse makes me take challenge. Go back to office feeling slightly stunned, but clean and well taken care of. Recount all at length to Libby. Libby says that she know of a dentist who give you Valium before every visit. Recall saying about the greenness of the grass on the other side.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Am naturally very excited about ring and engagement (once unhelpful pessimism is sent to the corner of brain) and press the Contessa for details. We get out of elevator and walk into my office. The Contessa shuts the door firmly, saying, I don't want to make Libby upset. Ask, Why would Libby get upset? The Contessa explains that she was able to agree to marry once the New Man said that he didn't want kids either. Without thinking, But is that true. The Contessa blushes. Of course its true. He just had to think about it for a bit. And then he decided that he didn't want kids either. Shutting the door on Libby suddenly makes sense--in the past week LIbby has gained approximately 50 pounds and it looks as though it is likely the baby is going to claw its way out through the stomach rather than taking the traditional downward journey. Admire ring which the Contessa says was the New Man's grandmother's. She says that she has something to admit, is it alright. Before have chance to answer, she says that I am partially to thank/blame for convincing the New Man. Me?! Yes, me and Brad Pitt. Do not understand and say so. She says that Bradd Pitt said that he wouldn't get married until Everyone could get married. Ergo, she wouldn't have kids until everyone could have kids. Can't help self from pointing out faulty logic--while an admirable stance, it is much more likely that will be able to get married than be able to conceive a child with Dave ever. The Contessa looking pleased, nods, yes, exactly. The Contessa opens the door and calls Libby in. We talk about baby names. Libby is to have a girl and favors the name Colette. Feel strongly that this sounds like a poodle, but keep thought to self.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Arrive at subway this morning and discover that wallet is missing. Have been pickpockedted, have dropped wallet down sewer, have forgotten wallet at home, have flushed down toilet, it is in my bag and I just can't find it. It is determined that it not in my bag (not before an embarassing display on street corner; curse, mutter, and rustle through bag and am not surprised when mother pushing stroller gives me the hairy eyeball.) Go back to apartment and begin the hunt for the wallet. It is not in the kitchen, on the desk, on the table in the entry. Begin to drag closets. Piles of laundry are thrown out into the hallway; become hot and depressed about state of life. Jenny thinks we are playing a game. She begins romping around with dirty laundry in her mouth. I speak to her sternly and she slinks off. Go downstairs and ask the doorman if anyone Turned In a wallet. (Note: have interesting experience of practicing speech before speaking to doorman--couldn't decide whether to say Found or Turned In; feel that this is clear example of often debilitating shyness). The doorman does not have wallet. As we are talking remember old trick of asking oneself where one last saw the thing one has lost. Remember taking out garbare and paper recycling before leaving earlier. Take elevator up to landing to investigate. Check paper recycling first--do not relish thought of sorting through trash in basement. Thankfully, discover wallet in paper recycling bin. Initial relief gives way to dismay when see that wallet is touching crusty tuna fish can and when take wallet out, smell strong odor of beer. Compose sharply worded note to fellow members of the 13th floor, drawing their attention to the signs above the bins which clearly note which is for paper and which is for glass/cans. Would like to crawl back into bed and have Jenny join me for the day (know that she would be willing, despite earlier misunderstanding) but have meeting to attend at work. Arrive at work sweaty and grumpy. Run into the Contessa in the elevator. She shows me her hand. Snap, What am I looking at? Notice vintage ring with gigantic diamond. Gape.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Political Party

Attend political party at apartment of friends of Dave's. Friens apparently extremely rich as apartment on nicest street in Tribeca, guarded by doorman who has all guests' names at door and who seems disinclined to let us in. (Privately feel that this is the fault of my shoes, which have suddenly taken an a bedraggled appearance.) Finally gain admittance to party. Immedately run into Hilary who says that I was Funny in my audition. (!?) Would like to press for details, but tongue refuses to work. Thankfully, Hilary squeezes my forearm and says she'd Catch up With Me Later. Both she and I know that this untruthful. Take glass of wine from passing waiter. Become interested in appetizers, extremely small canapes, actually bite sized, very unlike inferior school hors d'ouvres which usually require gnawing meat off a large stick that then must be carried around for rest of party. Eating and drinking is interupted by speaker phone call from a famous political blogger who tells us how to vote and who to sent our money to. All of the candidates we are urged to support are outside of New York. There is an Us and Them dynamic assumed, Them, being Repblicans, and Us, Being Democrats. Am a Democrat, but do feel life-long, and unwelcome, feeling of desire never to be part of a group. Sternly tell self that party in Tribeca nothing like Little League. Woman behind me, in her early thirties, but wearing high heeled boots, black dress, and feathered shrug asks How much can we give out of state candidates? Is it the usual $2,000 limit? Turn around to nod at her and say, to my horror, What a good question! Quickly turn back around again before am called upon to produce checkbook as Federal Election Commission limits unfortunately much higher than own account will allow. Rest of party very pleasant and am glad to be Doing Something politically; but at end of evening, as eat fifth miniscule BLT and reach for chocolate souffle the size of a puffed up nickel, feel that could do more.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Life of the Artist

Yesterday am unreasonably upstet that do not get call back for role. Sigh and feel dejected while preparing dinnner with Dave. He asks What is wrong. Tell him. He says, but you don't even like acting. Tell him that this may be true, but that also don't like feeling rejected. Dave says vaugely, You have to put yourself Out There. Tell him that as far as am concerned will keep self hidden from now on. He says, What about your book? Become tearful.