in which i talk about nothing

When you're single you wake up in the morning alone quite often.  When you wake up in the morning alone quite often you are fairly quiet and routinized. unless, of course, a friend calls you in the morning and as you answer the phone you realize you can't talk.  This happened a few months ago when I came down with a really bad case of I-have-no-voice-yet-my-job-requires-my-voice-throat-thing.  When I told a friend that I really didn't know how bad my voice was until I got to work, she was surprised.  "You don't talk in the morning?" she quipped, confused.  "Who did you want me to talk to?"  I replied to her-married-self.  "You don't talk to yourself?  I do a lot of self talk."  "Um, no," was my raspy answer. 
Do people do this?  Do you talk to yourself in the morning?  If you had no one to roll over to and ask for a morning kiss or announce the annoyance of their snoring the previous night, would you just talk to the wall?  I wouldn't.  I don't.  I get up, put on the coffee, do bathroom things, get dressed, fix coffee and lunch and goodby.  There is no chat time with the silverware, no fluffing the pillows ego with ohs and ahs.  I don't even respond when Matt Lauer says absurd things like claiming that VA Tech. should have locked down the campus after the first two shootings.  Hindsight Mr. Carmen Sandiego is 20/20. 
And so, this morning I awoke not knowing that I had a frog in my throat.  It's gone now- left behind is post nasal drip (yummy!), but I'm still wondering if I should create a morning song routine or a one minute monologue.  Maybe I should do scales or tell my-single-self "I'm good enough, smart enough, and doggonit people like me!"

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with friends you get oreos

I’m housesitting. It seems in the recent past I’ve become the single girl who house and baby-sits. I knew a girl like me when I was 25, she was 32, I didn’t like the look of her life- working to be a teacher and paying her debts by housesitting and babysitting. Even if she did housesit for some famously rich people, I didn’t like the look of that aspect of her life. And yet…

My friend L. and her husband live -in my mind- in Egypt. It takes 30 minutes, $1.25 in tolls and a lot of gas to get to their house. And my life- is in the city. (I’ve told L. this so if she reads it she’ll know I still love her). It is soul sucking to drive this far away from humanity. And yet, humanity is creeping toward them. They have everything you’re cheesed out, chain store heart could want. You name it (TGIFridays) they’ve (Barnes and Noble) got (Babies R Us) it (Outback).

I hate the one main road aspect of suburbs, the endless traffic, the siding, the siding, the siding, the Wal-Mart, the siding and the utter uncityness of it all. In my perfect world, there would be city and there were be country and suburbs would not exist. My perfect world does not exist- yet.

What’s strange about house-sitting for your friends is that you know this person very well, might have even slept over before, but now, their house is yours. You pretend that the deer head in the living room is your deer head. Wait, no, actually you don’t. You watch TV nonstop because their 42-inch TV with surround sound seems better than your 32 inch TV with surround sound. Plus they have On Demand and so you have to watch like 10 movies before they get back.

And you eat their food. As a food lover, this part is fun. Except L. does not really “cook” and therefore there is nothing to “work” with in her kitchen. Even though I’m single, my fridge is packed with things, ready at any moment to host a dinner party (even though I never do). L.’s fridge on the other hand has a cheese drawer with a Costco amount of processed cheese (for the dog), pre-shredded cheese and some deli meat (ham I believe). There is also some flat ginger ale, yogurt, pudding cups, applesauce cups, beer, a few potatoes, half a red pepper, a bag a carrots, a questionable cucumber and a door of condiments. (Did I mention that I love L. because I do, I love her). What can I do with this stuff? I could make something. I could, but that would require opening things that have not been opened and using all of something that there is only one of. That is the thing about housesitting, you get to eat the food, but there are rules about it. So, I’ve feasted on eggs and toast (forgot the eggs in the fridge list) and Oreos. The one good thing L. does is stock Oreos in a cookie jar (because she doesn’t really bake either) and I am now addicted to Oreos.

It’s strange to have a friend whom you adore and with whom you’ve shared many a meal and yet their kitchen essentials look nothing like your kitchen essentials. And so I wonder how it is that we are friends at all. Maybe it’s that I feed her, literally, and she feeds me, emotionally. Somehow, somewhere there is balance. There always is, or at least there’s Oreos.

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because words sometimes say enough

After a week away, a week of suspended reality, it was difficult to come back to the harsh truth of a daily routine, of people depending on you, of your absolute grown-upness. And all day on Monday the only thing I could think of was that picture window in Brooklyn on that rainy last day, the late flight, the typical New Yorker in my southern town who couldn’t get a taxi at 3am, my father’s 70th birthday and my nieces, my nieces and nephew. Then I heard the news of college kids being shot, but it didn’t register. I had copies to make, a schedule to keep. And then I did listen and I watched as the whole world of news came to my backdoor. My first reaction was to shoe them away, to tell them that this was a Virginia ordeal, a tragedy we needed to take care of, to understand. And yet I wanted to know all the facts. I’m sure it’s how Columbine felt, like the world was looking at something only you knew about, a little pristine part of earth secluded from the real world. It’s like a prying eye you didn’t expect, an unwelcome guest in a time where you barely know up from down. Virginia Tech. will always be to me what is has been, a huge school in my hometown’s backyard, a rival college, a school with unfortunate school colors. Except now, I plan to wear orange on Friday because we are all Virginians. We are all human. We have all lost something.

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thinking inside the city

I thought you had to be hard to live in New York, like you had to come here with grit already under your nails. You don't. People here are soft, filtered around the edges like any other place. I’ve had more doors opened for me in New York than I would ever in Virginia. There is a collective spirit here, a bond that automatically links everyone. It is the decision, the absolute resolve, to be alone in a sea of people. That decision of isolation, ironically, is the link- because New York is isolating. So vast, so filled, and yet you can end your day with emptiness in your heart.

"It’s because you don't have really deep relationships here. You have a lot of friends, but the connections are not the same," say the 20 something girls sitting in a pub listening to friends play Irish music. I would argue that what they say isn't true. The closeness they talk of- that exists in college, on common halls, in shared rooms. It doesn't happen outside New York either because of the paring off, the coupling that is inevitable. First you have a friend and you are close and can sometimes finish each other's sentences then that friend gets married - step one in the distance between you. Then that married friend has children - step two in the distance between you. You see your friend, you still love her, but there are now complications, messiness, and babysitters to arrange. And there you are, single and wanting a big city to get lost in, to decidedly be isolated inside of. So, this closeness that New Yorkers want so badly. It isn't an anomaly that is only lacking in Gotham. It happens everywhere. It just looks different.

Maybe you do have to be hard to live here, but that grit under your fingernails is really just grit in your heart. And maybe I have that and that is why I love this place, love this city, with it's noise and brittleness and it's softness, just around the edges, like the Hudson and East River rounding the edges of the hard land.

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it's like i work

in Brooklyn. To the office i went, trudging through rain and about 30 blocks (I got off on the wrong subway stop). Soaked and tired I landed on the top floor of brick exposed, old building almost under the Manhattan bridge with big sky windows that look out on the Hudson and Manhattan. How Becca has never described her daily view boggles me a bit. I could just live here. And I'm sure people do. These would be called studios, loft style, one room, impossibly trendy and city-like. There's even a loft, for- the bedroom, i would guess.

I could do this. Well, for today I could. I'm sure the office life, even the chilled, laid back open office style of this office would get old and even that sky line, that amazing view would wear away at some point and only be a blip in the back of your mind, a calling card of a busy life over your shoulder. Then again, this environment breathes of importance and new life, like having no walls, no cubicles, means you are like a 60's era campaign headquarters where battles are fought, men in button down shirts with no ties pound on desks in excitement of defeating some conservative monster agenda.

So, I'm sitting here, in Brooklyn, in an office and I don't want to go out. I'm done. New York has done it's thing for me. I've left some things still on the to do list, but that's how I leave a city, with something undone, so that I will return to un-undo them. And I will be here again, in all these exact places. Hopefully sooner than you or I even think.

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with no umbrella in her hand

It’s raining in Brooklyn today. I needed a rainy day. I’m tired. The city has worn me out a bit, in a good way.

I saw two musicals yesterday. The first, The Drowsy Chaperone, was a high profile Broadway production. I sat beside a couple on my right and an older lady on my left. The left hand lady slept through most of the show, bobbing her overly made up and big blond head and snoring now and then. She was the quintessential New York old lady who goes to matinees every now and then as her hobby. Before her nap (read: before the show started) she rummaged in her purse for decades, filed her nails and blew her nose. I wanted a shower after sitting beside her. New York is dirty and you are onslaught with miniscule debris constantly, but I think the left hand lady gave me a day’s dose of New York slime in 5 minutes.

The show starts I complete darkness with the narrator introducing the show. And from the second I heard his voice I was in love. The voice was a little high for a man, but something in it was familiar and warm. I couldn’t place my automatic fondness for this man, hadn’t recognized his name on the program, hadn’t placed his face. But, I wouldn’t have. It’s been years, decades even. I was in middle school probably and he was my dream man. For any girl who’s ever breathed in the girly air of the 80’s and was jealous of the red-headed Anne (with an “e”) you’ll understand why I was so easily in love with the narrator’s voice because it was Gil .

The second musical was Gutenberg! The Musical! at which my cousin Rebecca works. It was hilarious and wonderful and in a tiny theatre where you can feel the subway underneath you as the show goes on. I loved it and hope that it continues to run for longer and longer stretches. “A musical about a man who invented the printing press?” I know, but it’s got everything a musical needs and they’ll tell you so. If you are in NYC you should go and it’s in a great location in the Village near Magnolia Bakery, Sushi Samba, Tasti-D-Lite, and few other places you’ll love.

Today, this rainy, cold day is my last in New York, this town I love. I have not key to leave the apartment and partly I don’t want to. I’m tired and ready for home, but sometimes I wish this was that place.

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in a good way

I could live here and be here and be happy. Thanks Becs!

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i heart

I woke up today in New York City- Williamsburg, Brooklyn to be exact. It’s quiet here, really quiet. It almost doesn’t feel like New York except that I know there is a subway stop around the corner as well as a something that looks like a chop shop. Otherwise, the neighborhood is quaint- you could raise a family here it seems.

Today I plan to do a whole lot of whatever. I came with no agenda simply because I love New York and I want the city to guide my moves. The Guggenheim is calling (because I’ve never been there) and so is the Apple store. Of course it is. It’s the Big Apple.

Don’t worry. I’ve got my camera.

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an easter miracle

Yesterday I woke up to snow- everywhere. It had beautifully fallen and stayed on almost every surface. And it was cold outside. I called it an Easter miracle, snow in Virginia in April not having happened for 24 years. I was six when the last snow came and I remember it. I still wish for a snow in April, a freak little thing when spring lets you know it’s not completely let go of it’s winter coat strings.

The snow yesterday was nice, if short lived, and coated roofs and trees. The trees were the strangest, freshly sprouted with bud and yellow pollen- a white coating of snow was out of place. I played with my nieces and nephews, throwing snow balls and making snow angels. It was perfect snowball snow, the kind that packs so easily and firmly and can hurt when it hits.

By 4 o’clock when I finally got to my errands started it was gone, like it had never been there. I’ve been hoping for snow since November. Hoping would not be the correct word- more like longing, gritting my teeth and praying for it to happen. It took ‘til Easter for my wish to come true. EASTER. And then it was gone. Maybe it wasn’t a miracle, maybe it was tease, an in-your-face from nature to me. Whatever it was, it was beautiful and magical and perfectly peaceful, like every snow should be, like every snow is.

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pulling my leg

“This is gonna sound really weird,” I said, “but I requested the one who pulled my leg a lot.”

“You told me you liked that before,” she responded without a hint of strangeness.

“It’s my favorite part. I look forward to it the whole time.”

We were going for a full spa day including facials, massages and pedicures and when I told my best friend that I had requested a certain masseuse, the previous conversation occurred. She told me that I should request more leg pulling if it really was my favorite, but I said I couldn’t. “How can you say, ‘I really like it when you pull my legs.’ It just sounds weird,” I told her. And kinky and I believe massages are anything but kinky.

The spa day was a thirtieth year treat for the two of us. I had gotten a 2 for 1 special and thought that the best birthday present for my best friend would be one that I could enjoy too. And I did. A lot. I even think I fell asleep a little and I may have snored. My apologies to my sweet, leg pulling masseuse for that one. I’m sure I’m not the first.

“Did you ask her to pull your leg?” PK asked when we were through and heading in for the decallusing of our feet.

“No,” I simply said. “I just couldn’t, but I did enjoy it when she did.”

I was worn out. The toxins must have been revving through my body for months because that massage made me go home and fall asleep for several hours and my poor best friend was stuck in my house watching Marie Antoinette while I snored even though no one was pulling my leg.

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