Thursday, June 28, 2007

Too Hot

Brain has shut itself down and is thinking only of naps.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Run in

Have lunch with the Contessa at diner today. Am not at all hungry because of heat, so order only glass of ice water and navy bean soup--the Contessa says she's not hungry either, so she gets a milkshake and a side of fries--try to tell her that that combo will lead to a sugar and fat rush and subsequent crash, which causes her to give me a murderous look and then to shove fistful of fries into her mouth all at once. I, she tells me in unhinged voice, am very upset about running into the New Man on the train this morning. Apologize and ask what happened. Nothing, she says, except that she met his new fiancee. !!? Yes, she says, and then I spit on them. Don't believe that for a second and she is then forced to admit that she wished she'd spat on them. Conversation takes strange turn and we discuss what would have happened if she had. Very dramatic and exciting scene is conjured up and at end of conversation the Contessa says the strange thing is that she isn't really that upset. Ask, not at all? Not at all, she firmly replies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kind Words

In park this morning, see Serena. Make assiduous attempt to avoid her as have had for the past few weeks because don't want to tell her bad news, but Jenny (dogs may be off leash before 9 a.m.) runs toward her a speed never before exhibited. Tell self that this is nothing wrong with facing the Truth. Walk toward Serena at extremely slow pace. Tell her that her editor friend didn't like book. She replies briskly that she never liked friend much and that she always thought friend was a bit dumb. This makes me feel much better in the moment, but unfortunately does not hold up well on further examination.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Zoo

Susan and Oliver are both pleased to discover this morning (I am less pleased) that they are both ferret owners. Try to escape conversation, but don't want to be rude and now brain is crammed with uselss knowledge about Tootie (Susan's ferret--is this racist?) and Big Jim (Oliver's). Also learn that: 1. Ferrets like to eat chicken soup or gravy when sick. 2. Ferrets can be trained to use a litter box. Am not shocked to learn that Oliver's ferret hasn't mastered chore, while Susan's has. 3. A female is called a Jill, a male a Hob, and a youngster a Kit. Don't know why can't pull self away from conversation, but stand riveted in front of Oliver's desk and listen him and Susan trade cute ferret stories, most involving being surprised by a ferret that suddenly jumps out from a hiding place to play--also learn that can tell a ferret wants to play when it jumps around and hisses. (Question, Doesn't that mean it's mad? is met with derision.) Ask Oliver how Bridget gets along with Big Jim. Oliver claims that Bridget Likes Big Jim, and besides, there's lots of other animals around, so they all have to get along. What kind of other animals? The fish, the iguana. The tarantulas. They used to have a baby alligator, but then... Begin to think that Oliver's apartment must be exactly like a small version of the Central Park Zoo, and hope never to be invited over. Like animals, but not in cages, and do not think it is amusing to be surprised by weasel. Naturally, keep thoughts to self as am glad that Oliver and Susan have finally found common ground.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Have trying night of dreams featuring the Vice-Boss, at one point having to tell her (I am once again her assistant) that I can't turn in an expense report for sailboat rental. Why not? she asks. Shouldn't we at least try? When get to work, call to tell her about. She gasps--she hasn't turned in an expense report for it yet, but the Vice-Boss did just take off for a sail on a friend's boat in the Mediterranean. Feel extremely satisfied and admit to the Contessa that have always felt self a little bit psychic. The Contessa has hysterics at other end of phone. Fit lasts so long that seriously consider hanging up. She finally collects herself enough to say that she was kidding about the boat, but that she would like to test me on my psychic abilities. With quiet dignity, tell her that I don't want to play games. She asks, What color shirt am I wearing? Blue, I say, and it's not a shirt, it's a dress. The Contessa says that the hairs on the back of her neck are standing up and that I must have seen her on the street before. Don't wish to be caught up in Joke again, so say goodbye.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Discouraging Morning

Yesterday on whim purchase white low-rise Converse sneakers and am very pleased. Less pleased this morning when discover that feet look exactly like yachts. Ask Dave if he thinks shoes look long and pointy. There is a long pause. Then he says, They just look a little too clean--they just need to get messed up a bit. In moment accept this as truth. It is raining when leave apartment for work and am glad for opportunity to muddy up shoes. Rest of body also gets wet. On way to work, reward self with iced coffee (because have brought lunch), and then stop by bank to get quarters--laundry situation even more dire than usual. There is no line at bank and get quarters without hitch. As am leaving, juggling rolls or quarters, iced coffee, wallet, bag, notice that linoleum is very slippery and then in next second find self on the ground. Guard asks, Are you all right sir? Attempt to get up and also gather belongings at same time--task made much more difficult because one roll of quarters has split open. Am helped by guard and anonymous others, anonymous because am blushing furiously and fix eyes on stray quarters so as not to meet anyone's eye. It is only when leave bank that notice that right shoe squishy with coffee. Stop by J. Crew to look in mirror to see if shoe looks smaller. It doesn't and go to office feeling dejected. Susan is more or less understanding. The same can not be said for Oliver says he's been thinking about the Constitution, What were you two talking about? Now feel frivolous and damp.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Air Sickness

Wedding fun and while swimming in ocean am shocked and delighted to see three dolphins swimming only 20 yards away. Fun comes to crashing halt as plane is landing, doing lots of vigorous banking and dropping. Ascertain location of barf bag and then have to look quickly away. Try usual anti-airsickness methods--fixing attention on SkyMall, pretending that legs reach all the way to the ground (this makes things worse), Deep Breathing. While am waiting for luggage in the baggage return, Dave says, It's too bad you have to start and end every trip feeling terrible. Am afraid if talk will puke, so can only nod miserably and think privately to self that metaphor could be easily extended to all other parts of life. Have only recently become aware that not everybody has trouble with beginnings and endings.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Am going away today for wedding. Will know hardly anybody at wedding, but am very interested in big Southern wedding (being held on small island off coast of South Carolina at family manse), especially since this is the third this friend has had and she is only one year older than me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Yesterday, console self by fixing attention on eBay. Lose out on Ib-Kofod Larsen chair, flame Le Creuset saucepan, large peppermill, and (thankfully) pea green Heywood-Wakefield lounge chair, but win pair of Dux danish modern chairs, sleek and low, and perfect for our living room. (Will not be sad to see the last of hideously slipcovered wing chair found on the street 5 years ago.) Dave less certain. He doesn't think that the chairs will fit. I assure him they will. He says We'll have to Wait and See. At this, become undone. There is a very trying period of about 20 minutes during which snuffle and Dave tries to comfort me and Jenny licks my hand, but I am very unhappy nevertheless. Afterward, though, Dave says he's sure we can find room for the chairs and that I am a very good shopper. This complement (?) strangely makes me feel all better. Later on, when am lying in bed trying to go to sleep, have long thought process about moods--how they change so quickly and how one should remember that this is true but one never does.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Receive unexpected email from editor--have not mentioned it here, but sent her newest draft several months ago and since didn't hear back, somehow had fixed in head that would hear back at some future date, i.e. never today, but maybe tomorrow. So when see email pop up on screen, feel that have taken time machine to tomorrow. Click on message. Have salty taste in mouth. The Editor writes (more or less) that she is sorry, but she has to Pass. (Suffer moment of confusion as to what the passing refers to--brain only suggests unhelpfully, pass the salt! pass gas! pass out!) She is sure that book will find a home. Wish shared her confidence.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cats and Dogs

Oliver shares revelation he had over the weekend that Cats are creepy because they have smaller heads compared to their bodies than dogs, he was stoned when he came to this conclusion, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. Susan makes vociferous counter argument, mostly resting on mere existence of her 2 cats, one named Tybalt and the other Maid Marian. (Feel that there is a Renaissance fair in her past.) She has pictures. Aren't they cute? she asks? No, Oliver says, they have small heads too. Susan counters that dogs may have bigger heads, but that their brains obviously don't fill up the whole space. This goes on long enough that begin to wonder if there is flirting going on. Shut door to office so that don't get distracted and too interested in the affairs of others.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Next week begins summer schedule of Fridays off, but Cindy Stevens away today and again in charge. Yesterday had stern talk with Oliver, telling him that no matter what his girlfriend said, he was not to bring Bridget to work again. He asked, But what if I don't have time to go back to Brooklyn before I go to the train. Remind him what happened last week. Oliver rolls his eyes. Susan and I got over that. She doesn't care if I bring Bridget. Find this highly unlikely, but later hear Susan telling Oliver a joke: Did you hear about the fire at the circus? What circus? Oliver asks. Was it an Animal Circus? My girlfriend says they abuse the animals. Susan says, I'm telling a joke. Oliver laughs, I knew that. Start over. Did you hear about the fire at the circus? Oliver replies, um, no. Hear Susan exhale sharply--you're supposed to ask, no, what fire? No, what fire? Oliver asks. It was in tents, Susan replies triumphantly. Hear both laughing. Can't say am similarly moved.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Money Changes Everything II

Have strange, upside-down universe lunch with the Contessa during which she complains about how broke she is. Her investments took a hit yesterday. Ask sourly whether or not she finally has her inheritance, whether or not she is now in possession of a one bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side, and whether or not she just got a promotion and thus makes more money. That is all true, she says, but she doesn't feel like she has any money at all. Ask her if she'd like me to take up a collection. She throws a soggy french fry at me, which the waitress sees, giving us both a look, and feel guilty by association. (Question: When don't I feel guilty?) The Contessa apologizes and then grandly offers to buy my lunch, which is an absolute first--actually first time that she offers and has the money, not first time she offers. Neither of us want to go back to work and it is a fantastically beautiful day, so we walk toward the river and the Contessa says that if she ever complains about money again, I have her heartfelt permission to stab her with a fork. Tell her that don't care to do such a thing, but she insists. Think, as am standing on West 11th and Bleeker, that will probably never again in life stand on this corner and promise to (the punishment has been made more extreme by the Contessa) stab the fork in her eyeballs if she ever cries poor again. Whence gratitude?! she asks. After promise, we buy each other ice cream cones from the Magnolia Bakery, and privately practice gratitude on walk back to work.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Ride elevator with Jenny and new neighbor Stephen who complained about howling. Stephen very frosty, even when Jenny sits down in front of him, cocks one ear and offers her paw to shake with him. When he doesn't accept her paw, Jenny--to my mind--very dejectedly draws it down to the ground. Know that Jenny's feelings are dog feelings and dogs don't feel rejection in the same way that we do, so feel rejected for her. Thankfully, in park, see Serena and tell her story of elevator. She gasps and then leans down to say, You deserve better, don't you, you sweet pooch. Jenny wriggles. You deserve better too, she says to me. Feel that this is the nicest thing anybody has said to me for a very long time, and perhaps ever.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Have meeting with Susan, Oliver, and Cindy Stevens to Smooth things over. Progress seems to be being made until Susan shares story about how she once threw a tape dispenser at a co-worker. He Had it Coming. There is an tense moment of quiet before Cindy Stevens says, well, Susan I'm sure that won't happen ever again, right? Cover up awkwardness by taking orders for trip to the Donut Pub. (Oliver wants a cream filled donut, Susan, surprisingly, wants sprinkles, and Cindy Stevens says that she likes any and all kind of donuts and to please not tell her when the donuts arrive.) On walk over, see darling 2 year old sitting on young father's shoulders, picture of sweetness. Do not really mean to listen to conversation, but while waiting for light hear father ask, You know how you have ballet class later? Yes, the little girl does remember. Well, the father continues, You have to promise not to get pissy with daddy, or you won't be able to go to ballet. Do you promise? Little girl makes vague noises of assent but does not commit one way or the other. (Why should she? Best to keep one's options open.) Feel, piously, that there is bad behavior all around one today. Good thing one is pretty perfect.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Oliver--don't know why--decides to play joke on Susan. While I am in a meeting, he lets himself into my office and, calls her, 3 times, pretending to be Head of Security for the school. He says that there has been a rash of purse burglaries in the school. Could she please check to see if she has her purse. She does not have her purse. She does not have her purse because Oliver took it with him into my office. Susan files a report over the phone. The second time Oliver says that a purse, minus the wallet, was found in a trash can. Could she identify the purse over the phone? She does so. There is a pause and then Oliver tells her, I'm sorry ma'am, I guess we found somebody else's purse. The third time he calls, he tells her that her purse has been found--identified by her earlier description--but that there were also Marijuana cigarettes found in it. Susan says, those aren't mine, I don't even smoke pot. Tell it to the judge, lady, at which Susan finally becomes suspicious. I arrive on the scene as Susan is yelling at Oliver and clutching pen in violent manner. Story is related to me by both parties. Susan very red in the face while she tells her part and Oliver seems to be attempting to be attempting to keep a straight face, but can't. Feel that he should know that the periodic fits of snorting a wheezing are not helping his case. Subject of union representative recrudesces.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Sigrid calls me at work to say that she is worried that Elizabeth doesn't know who I am and if I don't make more of an effort to see my one and only niece, and if her in-laws are a bigger part of Elizabeth's life because they happen to live closer, and if because of proximity they manage to turn her into an uptight little socialite, it won't be her fault. Why don't I come visit San Francisco? Don't I want to come? And why don't I bring Dave, too? Elizabeth will need a haircut by then. Think this is a very odd way of making a person feel welcome, but book a flight for late July anyway.