Monday, November 11, 2013

Demons Are Forever

 Left behind on Avenue B, the day after Halloween

Not to be a total Grumpalufagus, but I'm not that into Halloween anymore. I think it’s awesome for kids and (costume-loving) dogs, but even cats—who are naturally aligned to the magic and spirituality the day was originally about—find the manic, rusty lust let loose by those not enough in touch with their inner ghouls (i.e., the spoiled, rich white college students in my apartment complex who have to get totally sh*t-faced before they can put on their banana suits) scary in a really bad way.

(Or so Bing once said.)

What I’m actually saying is—I wish every day could be Halloween. It bums me out we deny our zombie selves, which could be, if you think about it, more pure and true than the non-zombie masks that people wear. I can still picture this woman I saw walking into the subway on Halloween just a few weeks ago, all in witchy black, her face and torso covered in glowy green paint. She was stunning and magical, like she was meant to have that color of skin and cast spells to make the 6 train faster.

So, maybe if it were Halloween a little more often, people wouldn't be so puritan and hypocritical (I still can't grok the outrage over Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, when the worst thing they did to Prince Charles was make fun of him for saying he wanted to be Camilla Parker Bowles' tampon). And maybe we wouldn't obsess over celebrities so much as a culture because our own fantasy lives would be more indulged.

And maybe some people wouldn't need to rely on alcohol drop their inhibitions, like the guy standing next to me in the NYC Marathon cheerleading section at the corner of 92nd and 1st (next year I don't stand nearby a block of bars, hello!). He'd shout out in a moronic greasy voice when any particularly curvaceous female ran by, and as the afternoon wore on he started shouting at runners who were walking, "C'mon, get moving! You're not supposed to walk in a marathon!" Honestly, you have to feel bad for a jerk like that--a drunk narcissist disconnected from the world around him. I bet he had no idea how stupid, inappropriate and mean what he said was. Missing the point, missing the richness of life and missing the joy that everyone else around him was experiencing, his zombie self so starved it's probably a serial killer right now…  Most people ignored him and I did finally tell him to shut up, but really, he should have been b*itch-slapped with the tiger paw.

A song for your zombie self:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

6 Things I Will Remember About Training for My First Marathon

Yes, I completed my first marathon on September 28! I don't often write about running because I feel like a bit of a sham, but it's weird calling myself a dancer, too, so, well…I usually just think of myself as a mover.

In any case, I trained for the Hamptons Marathon for 16 weeks and a lot of stuff happened. Here's some of what makes me smile the most:

* One of the reasons I signed up for this race was to figure out if I could make peace with my hometown, my childhood, the "me" who lived there who I sometimes dislike and pretend not to know…one of the Sunday morning group training sessions in East Hampton had us running down to 5 different beaches. Running through the fog and salty sea air, I started to feel the magic of the beautiful place where I grew up, accessing it like breathing, slowly and wholly, as I made my way through morning mist… I realized this is part of me, period the end, and no tourists or developers or stupid celebrities  who've overtaken it…or even myself!…can take that away. I'm the mist, I'm the ocean, I'm the sand and sky… it twinkles in me like a firefly.

* Maybe it was the endorphin release that sent me to some canine plane of consciousness, but about an hour and 15 minutes or so into my long runs, this weird communication thing would start happening with the dogs I'd run past. I'd notice them from hundreds of yards away and they'd turn around and smile at me. Happened on every long run. There was one English bulldog in particular, by Chelsea Piers--I wish I knew what he was saying to me, because I think it was something funny and motivational, the doggie version of Chris Farley as Matt Foley living in a van down by the river...

* Sonic memory: One of the runners at a training run in East Hampton, gloriously, unknowingly farting for about 1/2 a mile as we discussed shih tzus (One reason not to wear headphones…not to hear people farting, but to realize you are the farter…)

* My first 20-miler: Running down Madison Avenue when they closed it to traffic during Summer Streets on a gnarly hot August Saturday, listening to Prince's "Sometimes it Snows In April" on my iPod and smiling and crying at the same time because it made me think of how much I missed/love Bing.

* Stopping at the concession stand on Atlantic Beach to get water on a slimy and bright July day, and some jerk getting out of his car mumbles to himself as I pass by that you're not allowed to run on the dunes. It took me about a minute to realize he thought I was the one who'd been running on the dunes (slow to grok, I know!). Little did he know I am the dunes : )  In hindsight, I would have loved to have whupped his passive-aggressive honky @ss.

* On a bunch of Monday nights toward the end of training, I'd run with my friend Hope in Central Park. Before meeting her, I'd go into a candy store on Madison Ave. to get Gatorade, where there was a resident kitty who had his own cubby. One evening in early September, I noticed a little glittery hot pink scooter parked outside with pink unicorns and ribbons tied to it. When I went in, a little girl (clearly the scooter owner) was sitting on the floor with the candy cat, saying goodbye to him because she was going away for Labor Day and wouldn't see him for a while. The cat was totally in love, licking her and letting her pet him. I hear they remodeled and candy cat doesn't have a cubicle anymore, so I'm thinking of getting him a kitty bed and just sort of leaving it there. Pink, of course. : )

If I'm running in a race, with a group or with someone else…I don't like to listen to music. But by myself, it's fun to listen to  crappy 70s and 80s songs and full-length albums. Here's the first song on one I listened to a lot this past summer:

Monday, September 2, 2013

She, Shells, Sanctuary

Recently I was asked to provide a photo of myself as a baby for a group birthday card, along with a one-line riddle offering a clue to whom the person in the picture is. If you've never done anything like this before, you should try it.

I couldn't find a baby picture (trust me, I looked like Archie Bunker in a white lacy blanket), but what I did find was way more than "that'll do."

Student of cats, turtles and the forces with which flowers bloom...

Maybe my turtle friend, or his turtle daughter, is still around, and maybe I'll finally catch up to him when I run the race at the end of this month : )

Monday, August 26, 2013

Meezer Monday: I'm OK, You're Sort of OK

Every day last week I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I'm beginning to think that maybe it's just easier to sleep that way with the apparently ginormous stick that's up my @ss. It hasn't been an easy summer and there are several contributing factors, but it's as if the switch has been flipped from "Angry? Cry and hate yourself!" to "Angry? Take the more mature route and make faces at people on the street." Srsly. It's like there's this ugly, small-hearted crone inside me that shouts out, "What the eff are you looking at?" 

I'm ashamed to say that's no lie. I was running past the garage in my apartment complex the other day when some random attendant inside called out, "Good morning!" He got rewarded with an expletive that burbled out like I was on an audition for the head-spinning scene in whatever that movie is. (Maybe that's a bad example--I didn't know the guy, I wasn't looking in his direction, and I was about 50 feet away from him. Call me a grinch, but I feel that he should MHOB. You think he says "good morning" to the guys running by?)

You see what I mean about that ginormous stick?! Why should I care if some Howdy Doody says "good morning?" I wish people were nicer to each other! He may have been a lug-headed busy body, but at least he didn't slam the door in my face or look past me as if I were invisible, like half the people in New York.

But the worst part of leaking and saying rotten stuff to random strangers?! It makes you feel really bad. And I really believe there's no excuse for being rude to anyone--in any situation. You always have the option of walking away and saying nothing (unless, of course, you have swallowed a small-hearted crone who shouts out "F*ck" like I have). So here I have been feeling like such an amateur human being, and guess who doesn't seem to mind? Who loves me even when I'm a jerk, when I don't wanna love myself?


The behaviorists would say it's not love, of course. But I'm not sure they've done much research in this one particular stinky arena, so heck, I'm gonna anthropomorphize. And overshare a little bit, too.

This summer I've been training for a marathon, so my weekends have been taken up with what is known as the long, slow run. But don't let that Robert Frost-y name fool you--on occasion they've been miserable, sweat-filled 4-hour affairs that  revolve around public bathrooms and easy access to Gatorade.

But it never fails. He always does it. When I come staggering in to the apartment, red-faced and dripping with sweat, there's Lorenzo, waking up from his nap and ready to join me for stretching on the rug. I remember the day he started doing it. He was watching me very intently as I used the foam roller, and then HE started rolling, tentatively at first, on his back. It was like, OMG, this cat's a freakin' genius.

As we stretch out, at some point he wanders over and sticks his nose in my underarm, nips me and then hits the floor, rolling on his back like he's been sniffing catnip. He doesn't care I had to take a 5-minute break at Mile 10. He doesn't care that half the city passed me (those freaking dads in running strollers, for gawd's sake!). Not only does he accept me for smelling bad, he revels in it. It's equal parts embarrassing and endearing, but honestly, I can't think of a better example of someone accepting you for who you are, even when you can't accept who you are. And trust me, its not nearly as gross as the story an ad rep once told me about the dog who was obsessed with her underwear drawer.

P.S. The next time you encounter a nasty human being who asks you "What the eff are you looking at?," know it's nothing personal. He or she is probably stressed out and feeling vulnerable.

Not my favorite by these guys, but it sho nuff gets the point across:

The last and only time I listened to this song was during my senior year in college, fall semester. I was in Greece, and they played this every week at a club called Rebound. Pretty sure the patrons thought we were stupid Americans.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight

Readers of this blog will understand my surprise when, on a recent visit to my parents' house, I went to check on the Multiple Marys tableau in what was once my childhood bedroom and found neither hide nor, uh, habit of them. Nothing. In their place were a few additional Jesus figures I hadn't seen before, flanked by a proportionately Godzilla-sized ceramic dachshund.

"What did you do with the Marys?" I immediately questioned my sister, brother, mom and dad, who were seated line-up style in the livingroom. Silence. They shook their heads like they had no idea what I was talking about.

"And they weren't Marys anyway--they were Saint Theresas," I told them. The only reason I knew that was because I was gently corrected by a friend when I posted the photo on Facebook. She, clearly having paid way better attention in Catholic school than I had, knew that Saint Theresa was often depicted with flowers, which were (I think) miraculously transformed from a loaf of bread she kept under her cloak (I think the word is scapular, but no--that sounds like something you put in your mouth when they take dental X-rays). I did a search but couldn't find a reference to the loaf of bread anywhere, but that's a handy party trick indeed, especially if you forgot to pick up something on the way.

(I know--that's probably totally sacrilegious and I'll have to, like, buy a 10-pack of indulgences to make up for it.)

In any case, I soon teased out that another of my sisters had likely removed the St.Theresas when she was preparing the room for visitors the weekend before. I looked around, but couldn't find where she stashed them, or what inspired the new installation shown in the photo above--Christ on the cross sandwiched in between 2 large chickens made out of tiny shells. I took some artistic license actually, and left out the outermost figures (Hummel figurines, one the "Chimney Sweep") on either side of the chickens and--though I'm not sure there this was intentionally part of the grouping, but they were symmetrically placed at far left and far right--two white Thermos bottles.

WTF. Just….WTF?!

I'm pretty sure my sister didn't mean it this way because she makes a lot of fried chicken, but I immediately interpreted this particular grouping as a statement about the suffering of birds in factory farms. When I was about 5 or 6, we'd often pass by a duck farm in Southampton and I was thrilled whenever we drove that way--I GOT TO SEE DUCKS!!!--until the day I figured out why they were there. They were going to die because people were going to eat them. I can still remember sitting in the back of the car (a burgundy Cutlass Supreme) and my heart expanding and breaking and then closing as the scene I'd always looked forward to turned into something… undoubtedly, all-the-way, no-going-back bad.

It took me years to fully make the connection between my ducks and my, or anyone's, decision of what to eat. I'm not sure exactly when I learned that people could be vegetarian or not eat Spaghetti-Os or whatever. I'm pretty sure I thought everyone everywhere (mostly) ate the same things (except at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, where THEY FREAKIN' SAILED DOWN A DRINKABLE CHOCOLATE RIVER!). When I finally figured out it was indeed possible to be a person who doesn't eat ducks, it wasn't really any earth-shattering discovery--more like I'd already decided long ago in the Cutlass Supreme, only I hadn't really known what I was deciding.

And what about my old room and the Two Chickens for Jesus? The only thing that remains of me in the room is the Woody Allen switchplate, which is hidden behind a desk. It looks like someone tried to remove it, but those screws aren't going anywhere unless they rip the whole thing out of the wall. And incidentally, one of my favorite articles I ever wrote was about a therapy chicken named Ruby who worked with traumatized kids. She did get a special award and flew to New York (on a plane, of course) to receive it, but I wanted to honor her here.

For you, girl, and for my ducks too: a musical composition that sometimes takes a short flight and then settles in, and this art installation of great tho inadvertent import. And the chicken equivalent of a river of drinkable chocolate, though I'm not sure what that would be.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday Sidewalk Surfin': I Can't Control My Fingers, I Can't Control My Toes

 While getting my ticket for the bus this morning, I noticed a random fingernail on the ground that appears to be painted the exact shade as my toes--"Hey DJ Play That Song."

I thought it was whimsical at first, but actually it's kinda creepy and familial, like this fingernail is a long lost stepbrother from a bad Lifetime movie. You go through something life-changing or win the lottery or something, and a few days later he mysteriously shows up at your door, bringing cookies he made with peanut oil, when everyone knows you have a nut allergy. Even though you couldn't possibly be able to give him what he needs, because he's a lone fingernail and you, well, you're 5 toenails.

Update, June 23: I wasn't sure how unusual it was to find a random fingernail on the ground painted the exact same color as one's most recent pedicure--but when I shared this story with a friend, she assured me it was  unusual indeed. At that point I tried to describe how I felt about the rogue nail. I couldn't quite put my finger (yuk yuk) on what made me so upset by its appearance, but it's almost like Sartre's Being and Nothingness, the main gist of which I am about to completely butcher. (Fair warning, this is gonna be like the freakin' Hello Kitty version of Existentialism.)

True free conciousness--which is what we all, or at least I, sometimes want--is no-thing-ness--being free of the subjectivity of others. In this case, the nail, by virtue of its being the color of Hey DJ Play That Song, aligned itself with me (or, uh, my feet), unbidden, taking away my "center of the universeness." Like, crap man, I'm not the only DJ Play That Song out there and I thought I was. And hey, by the way it feels so good and perfect to be the only one because then you don't have to think about all your own crap and what a mess you are because...there's no. one. to. compare.! You're the only one in the race so you gotta win. But the rogue pinky ruins all that. So all of a sudden you're like, what must I prove to, or what do I owe, this nail, whose existence I hadn't planned on? Get it away from me and my toes!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mother Marys, Come to Me

Full disclosure: It feels kind of wrong for me to be writing this. But kind of right, too. Just know that I'm not dissing Mary, okay?

The other night I slept in the room I had as a child--my personal space from when I was about 5 to the time I left for New York City after college. I actually can't remember much about it, which is sort of sad knowing I have such a good memory, but there are little bits that stick out.

When I was 7-8ish, I had a blue and green striped blanket that doubled as the ocean and pasture for my Breyer horses (well, actually I think I only had one), and when I was about 10, I hung my  baseball cap collection from the windows. My favorite was the snazzy black and yellow Pittsburgh Pirates one, with the green and gold Oakland As a close second. I also had a knick-knack shelf where I displayed my little porcelain figurines, a sizable number of which were raccoons. I can't remember how anything looked toward the end of my reign, but I know I had the bed positioned catty-cornered, gulping up the small space, but in a positive feng-shui sort of way. I was never much for hanging stuff up, preferring four blank walls--a greater surface area to absorb my teenage histrionics (i was a big sobber), I figure.

So, after I left, my parents turned my room into an office and, uh, redecorated, as you can see in the above photo. "What is that??!" I asked my sister the other night, pointing to the myriad Marys.

If you haven't guessed, my family is super Catholic. And to be fair, my sister totally knew this was a little over the top--it turns out the mother of a friend of my brother's had the plastic Marys and didn't want to throw them out so found a good home for them…ours. Like they'd ever turn away Mary, you know? Even multiple ones in wee plastic form.

Anyway, a couple things tripped me up as I surveyed the scene. For one, it's sort of implied here that 7 plastic Marys are better than 1, even though, as far as I know, there was only one Mary in real life. And then it seemed that the giant Jesus was like the queen bee, and the little Marys were the drones. And there sure are a bunch of other religions w/males at the head--what's up with that?! And then I thought--could they all be from a backgammon set?

And you can't see them in this photo, but to the right of the Marys are several dog figurines, each one the equivalent in size of about 3 Marys. It's almost like they're two teams matched up against each other, but that doesn't seem a fair fight. 'Cause you know the Marys would totally kick some canine a$$, you know?

Kind of perfect that I used to play this:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Abs of Still

Me and Lorenzo, we've been working on our cores lately. Here he is after his daily mutilating of the rug--his tummy a whorling dervish all zebra'd and cowlicked and chocolate-chipped, sweetly Seussian despite the fact I had to throw the rug out soon after this photo was taken. (Upon removal of the rug, he immediately started using the cat scratcher. Like, immediately, as in "Where ya been all my life?")

Anyway, my point is… his belly. He's not one of those trickster cats who baits-and-switches, displaying the stomach in an attempt to get you to pet it, only to grab your unsuspecting hand and filet it with his front claws… No, he really just likes to hang out like this, spread out like a flounder, and I get the sense when he's doing it he's content and at ease and maybe even…recharging his powerhouse (that's what they call your core in Pilates).

Not that far-fetched, given the theory behind the Crane exercise, which I've been doing for the past week, as prescribed by my kick-ass Pilates teacher. As outlined by Dr. Stephen Chang in The Book of Internal Exercises, it's pretty easy--lie on your back and rub your stomach clockwise from the center, spiraling out "until the upper and lower limits of the stomach and abdomen are being rubbed." Oh, and then counterclockwise, but the most important component is the "visualization of heat and energy filling the lower part of the body." The effects supposedly vary, says Dr. Chang, from reduction of fat and relief from constipation to curing insomnia.

So, y'all know I eat this stuff up--give me something, anything, you can't see to believe in, and I'll believe in it. I mean, wouldn't YOU rather imagine waves of energy shooting off you fingers and lighting a fire in your abdomen to remove extra fecal matter ("Go on, shove off!") than, say, have a bunch of enemas?

Yup, I thought so! In any case, so far I've been enjoying the Crane. (I know, I know, it's like cranes don't even have stomachs, but when they bend their legs and tuck their limbs under themselves they're constantly stimulating their abdomens, hence the name). At first I felt all squirmy about it (do not do this after eating a bag of popcorn), but I'm finding it calming and centering.  It's the kind of thing that's so soothing, in fact, you could  find yourself absentmindedly doing it in public.

As for Lorenzo, well, he clearly has Tummy Pride, and major Butt Pride, too. Just last week he showed up right before the beginning of the big remote monthly meeting with my department, Skyping his entire ass (plus some extras) in front of the video camera on my Mac for all to see. Not that any Pilates teacher would recommend that, even if you're a cat.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hugh & Eye

The day after Easter, and chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs and jelly beans are all 50% off. I passed this dirty old Peep, ears chewed off & marshmallow-graying, stuck to the pavement outside of the CVS on 88th Street, and I had to take a picture. It was sad in that way you feel bad for unwanted things, but looked a little whacked-out, too, like a psycho-bunny high on its own sugary, spongy supply.

So all that got me thinking about …Hugh Hefner. Like, what is that man’s deal? Clearly, he’s some kind of genius, but it's so deceptively simple, isn't it? He’s lead a honky revolution out of the most primal desire for "big, bulbous bags of fat." No different, really, than Frank Perdue pushing his oven stuffer roasters, or Tom Carvel and Fudgy the Whale.

(Wow. They are a potent triumvirate, aren't they?)

I sound really cranky. Sorry. I think I'm pissed off because writing this called to mind that awful article on breast evolution--did they have to say "drooping bags of fat" for cripes' sake? Something about it was sort of insulting to anyone with boobs.

You know what I say? It's time for everything, not just breasts, to evolve. Frank Perdue, no one in the United States, dear lost land of overconsumption, needs to be stuffing their entire oven with *anything*-- especially not factory-farmed chickens. Hugh, you are way too smart and, yes, progressive, to be even seven-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon linked to Kendra Wilkinson and her narcissistic behavior in--OK, yes I admit i watch this stuff--the new celebrity diving competition "Splash" (how could ANYONE be bitchy to Greg Louganis?!).

And who here wants a slice of Tofudgy the Whale?!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wait, Loss

I'm still thinking about Manuela, the pet red-footed tortoise who was found after 30 years. Seems her family was cleaning out their upstairs storage room this past January and took a bag of trash to the curb when a neighbor noticed Manuela, crawling around in an old box with a turntable to keep her company.

Never mind that all the online articles that reported this story referred to the reptile as both "he" and "she," or that this weird family had piled stuff in bags in 1982 and never touched them again, until now--what really matters is…what was Manuela thinking all that time? They surmised she survived on termites, but… did time go slow and floaty all lava lamplike? Or am I just thinking that because turtles seem to move and think in a way that one chelonian minute = one human hour? And OMG, not that she could exactly operate the turntable, but what 1 side of 1 album could YOU listen to for 30 years? (I love you, George, but what if you got stuck with, say, side 5 or 6 of "All Things Must Pass"? You'd have to listen to a crazy party over and over where you love all the guests but ultimately had to be there… But all you are is here…and "here" is in a box for 30 years…)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the turtles in the reservoir in Central Park, those red-eared sliders whom people buy as pets and then wind up dumping… They've been there, way down deep, all winter. Maybe they problem-solve and do a group turtle think, planning for the spring to come. Maybe they don't do much, softly jostled to awareness only if something juicy's happening on the roof…Like, did they hear the loafy, oafy echo echo echo of that buffoon who tried to walk across the not-frozen-all-the-way ice in early February? He fell through and a bunch of firemen had to come rescue him, as the rest of us who happened to be in the park that day watched… I wish all of them down there a safe journey back…or maybe it's the other way around--that being above the surface is the dreamier dreamworld.

Then, of course, there is the ain't-got-no-reservations, I'm-100%-happy-to-be Waiting, a la Elmer:


Does the 4 seconds he has to wait to have the ball thrown feel like 30 years? And if you felt such gloriously excellent in-the-moment expectation, would you mind waiting that long anyway?

Slow or fast, slow or fast. Oh yeah, oh yeah.

Then there's the waiting you hear wax-and-waning off Bryan Ferry's voice in this next one.. you know, the delicious histrionic kind from which tiny poems slip and drip and gasp…

Random P.S. Those reading who are looking for love, take note--don't discount the power of that song. This sucker lured me into a crappy relationship a long time ago that ended in 11 forgotten boa constrictors and being banned from using the bathroom and having to pee on the beach instead, made even more enjoyable with a UTI. Yup, that powerful. Good luck, and don't leave your snake at home. And for that matter, make sure you know where your turtle is.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

365 Days Without Bing

A year ago today, I said goodbye to the cat of my heart, my furry soulmate who always seemed person-sized to me, despite him being a low-riding short shorty with half a tail. His body was failing, and though I knew from working with the animal communicator that he wanted to make the transition on his own, we'd agreed that I would step in if he were at all suffering.

That morning he was, and I quickly-on-radar made arrangements at the emergency vet down the street. I also called my friend M. and asked her what mantra would be an appropriate send-off for my little loyal, royal meezer. Not only did she sing it to me so I could sing it to him, she recorded it and sent me the file so I wouldn't forget the tune. Bing told the animal communicator that he had been chanting for lifetimes, so I knew this would be important. It was the shri ram mantra, often chanted as a blessing before meals, so it just made sense… heaven, or whatever you wanna call it, has gotta be like a spiritual all-you-can-eat buffet, you know?

This morning, a big, giant year later, I pinned Bing's photo to my race bib and headed out to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to run in the (bing!) Cherry Tree 10-Miler. I'm a newbie runner, and I wouldn't say I necessarily *like* running, but I won't even entertain thoughts that go in that direction--I just keep showing up and putting in the miles. Race start was 10, and it's a good thing I got to Brooklyn at 9 because I got panickingly lost en route. At one point I jaywalked across the street because I knew the entrance to the park was in that general direction. From the side of the street I'd just left, I hear someone yelling at me…

"You're racist. A f*cking racist bitch…you know that?"

WHOA! I was stunned. I looked to see a young black guy, late teens or so, matching my pace as we walked forward.

"What are you talking about?" I yell back.

"You saw me coming and crossed the street. Racist bitch."

"I did not--I'm LOST!"

"I hope you die, you racist."

I am not the type to get into it with people who go all wonky and loose-canon on the street, and certainly I had a right to be pissed off/scared, but the whole thing was sort of ridiculous and odd and head-shaking, and I was more concerned about finding my way. So I asked the next guy I saw on my side of the street for directions; my 1-second assessment of him as a nice person was spot-on, as he took the time to explain that I was indeed far off from where I needed to be, but showed me one way to get there. As I turned around I ran right into the dude who called me racist, who must have followed me across the street when I was asking for directions.

"Are you lost, miss?" Without sarcasm or attitude. I thought: WTF!?! It's a big, albeit unstable, teddy bear.

"I TOLD YOU, YES! ! I'm trying to get to 16th Street and Prospect Park West."

"Do you like black men?"

"What?! I like everybody!" (Yeah, I did say that with an exclamation at the end.)

"Do you want to have sex then?"

If there's one thing I DO like, it's absurdity. In those 3 seconds you get to figure out what's going on in a situation, I realized how almost-silly this was. For one, he was like 18, and his bark was clearly way worse than his bite. And I wasn't getting the feeling this was really about race. I did not feel any fear or anger, but I also knew he wouldn't apologize or anything. He seemed to me equally sensitive and angry, looking for or maybe expecting trouble, and clearly had some, uh, communication challenges…  )

"No! I have a race at 10 AM." (See how ridiculous the conversation was? Like if I didn't have a race, I'd actually consider it!)

Somehow stating the time brought him back to a reality closer to mine, because he told me it was 9:25 and I'd better hurry, then proceeded to give me perfect and very detailed directions to the race start. I thanked him and told him it wasn't nice that he called me a racist. After some more mumblings and grumblings about having sex, he continued on his way.

What does this have to do with Bing? I'm really not sure. But I think it has something to do with being a peaceful warrior. Bing was such a love--the minute I sat down, he glued himself to my side, and he and Derrick were constantly cuddling--but strong, too. He'd greet everyone who came to the house, and never complained or got cranky with all the vet treatments and surgeries he went through in the last 18 months of his life. A lesser cat could/would not have withstood that. And looking back at that strange interaction today, I think it went the way it did because he didn't expect me to have the reaction I did. I didn't return his anger, and I wasn't scared. I'm rarely that "neutral," but today I was strong in myself and that negative energy just bounced off me. I would think peaceful warriors are all about deflecting that sh*t, too.

P.S. I just made it to race start at 9:57 and really enjoyed the run. : )

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meezer Monday: Being & Binglessness

We're somewhere in between Bing's birthday and the anniversary of a year without him, and I've been thinking a lot about what to write here. I'm pretty sure that some may think this/I is/am nuts, but, well, it feels like truth to me. No apologies.

Bing was young when I started working with an animal communicator, and two of the first things she told me was he often felt lonely when I was at work and he rearranged the energy in the apartment every day. Who wouldn't want a cat who does that? Because he was so naturally contemplative, and because I'll believe in any idea that's beautiful enough, she suggested I do the following meditative exercise with him. I was to imagine Bing's energy, and then imagine my energy separately, and then these 2 energies coming together. Pretty standard visualization stuff, 'cept one of the main characters was a Siamese cat with half-a-tail. So I gave it a try, and I can't remember how or when I tweaked the exercise to include elaborate tableaux, like me and Bing atop an ancient stone maze, looking down at a snowscape alit with flame-red trees…  In a summer forest, on a path leading to a big baby bay… That didn't always happen, and I never forced it, but it became a sort of go-to exercise when I was away from home, on a trip or something, and missed him.

Since he died, I find myself doing this exercise a whole lot more. It's a lot harder, but I think that's cause it's a-whole-nother ballgame--he's not in a cat body, but something strong yet elusive in my heart. Every once in awhile, I'll be meditating and he just sort of appears in that every/nothingness, distinctly different than the way a standard-issue memory or thought pops up… you can almost hear the air twinkle, and it's like, "Oh, hey, Bing." It's him. And then I'll try to do the exercise and see what happens. Sometimes the thoughts go fast and nowhere, or I try too hard and it's just me writing the story, not in it. But a few times--just a rare few over the past year--it's this different state that redefines time and space and place, and it's game on--me and Bing, Bing and me.

Like a couple weeks ago, he and I were running fast and joyfully on a trail of very hard-packed snow, but we were both the same kind of animal--dogs, or wolves maybe, definitely canines. It's like I could almost smell the wet wild woofness.  And before that, he was sailing a silent mountain through a star-lit sea of clouds, like a captain slowly, so slowly, navigating a ship through the ocean … It's not like he's the Siamese-shaped Bing I knew… he's Binger than that Bing. It's hard for my human brain to imagine what contains his energy, or rather, what his energy is contained in. How can a light body remain the same for more than a moonbeam… Is it the shape of a bucket? A flower? A  sped-up, time-bending hour?

And if by any chance light bodies have tails, I like to imagine that his is still bobbed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

LessWords Wednesday: Holy Rollers

It's true what they say, that New York City pulls 180s like a crazy mofo--one block can be completely different from the one next to it, and that one's completely different from the next one over. Like, after the snowfall last Saturday night, all the cars on my street were captioned with what you see here (that's a little heart symbol, if it's not really clear in the pic). Over on 21st Street, however, the back windows of 13--count 'em, 13--cars were decorated with cartoon-like depictions of a flaccid phallus.*

* Not sure, but I think that may be like saying someone has stick-straight curly hair.

I am lately obsessed with this next song. If you do click and play, I strongly recommend ignoring the images completely--the only other versions I could find on YouTube were either covers made in people's basements or distorted with 25 seconds of crazy hymn-ish music at the beginning to fool the copyright bots. This one has lots of Hallmark-white Jesuses and Marys instead, but hey, a beggar can't be a chooser. But perhaps a beggar should make her own YouTube videos.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The 12 Lays of Christmas, Part III

The sanitation department hasn't picked up all the Christmas trees that are lining the sidewalks, so I figure I still have time to finish this series, my holiday homage to young love--past years of crushes, ridonkulous encounters and hopefully, maybe, some sweet and impish bits to counter the lame moves (mostly on my part).

Part I was funny.
Part II was a little sad.
This one is kinda mean.

6 Pimples Popping
It wasn't quite a date, but it wasn't quite not a date either… nevertheless, the first thing he did when we met up: pointed to his nose, weeklong host to what he referred to as the biggest zit he'd ever had in his entire life.

WHAT?! What's so funny? You know, I appreciated that actually. We've all been there, and It's just like Andy Warhol recommended in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975):

    When you're interested in somebody, and you think they might be interested in you, you should point out all your beauty problems and defects right away, rather than take a chance they won't notice them...On the other hand, say you have a purely temporary beauty problem—a new pimple, lackluster hair, no-sleep eyes, five extra pounds around the middle. Still, whatever it is, you should point it out...If you don't point out these things they might think that your temporary beauty problem is a permanent beauty problem...If they really do like you for yourself, they'll be willing to use their imagination to think of what you must look like without your temporary beauty problem.

The zit became the focal point of the evening, and we went on to discuss the various treatments that his friends had recommended; one suggested cover-up, but apparently the blemish was so large that make-up made it even more prominent. After dinner we went to the drugstore to find some medicine to heal the zit. I recommended an antibiotic cream, though we considered rubbing alcohol, Clearasil and calamine lotion. In the end, I can't remember what was purchased.

But you know what? The giant pustule wasn't the deal breaker--(c'mon, that happens to everyone! We talked about it as if were an old friend who came to visit and stayed way too long)--it was that he said, on a later opportune occasion, after the zit had long since gone, "Now's when I'm probably supposed to kiss you."

And didn't.

5 Effete Twins
Pickins' were slim in my high school, so when a pair of cherub-faced, super-cute tennis-playing twins joined our class junior year, it was a big deal. I thought they were beyond dreamy, but looking back, there must have been something off about them that they didn't achieve higher status, popularity-wise (not that being popular at my high school was an especially great achievement), and instead wound up having to hang out during study hall with me.

I had a mad crush on the shy one, which was just as well because I was completely inept in adolescent boy-girl relations myself. To my credit, I did have balls enough to ask him to the junior prom. He said yes, but ignored me the entire evening. Typical scenario: During the after-prom breakfast, I went to sit down next to him and he immediately got up and high-tailed it all the way across the room. I was sooo embarrassed. Was it the white cotton-cable Brooks Brothers sweater, baby pink leggings and red kitten heels I was wearing? (Don't laugh, it was the 80s.)

4 Bucking Broncs
It's the Tony Manero Syndrome--a guy with smooth moves on the dance floor has major Dionysian power. In the early days of my long-ago yet brief life as a country line dancer (I still have the silver boot medallion I won in a contest, yo), I often had to stand on the sidelines and watch since i didn't know all the dances yet. I found my eyes returning to one guy in Wranglers (yup, high rise and all--it's the cowboy way) whom I dubbed The Perfect Cowboy. Dark, mysterious, in spurs and a cowboy hat. Big belt buckle. I created a very elaborate fantasy as I watched him execute the Boot Scoot Boogie et al week after week.

I went on one, and only one, date with the Perfect Cowboy. I was very nervous, but when he showed up NOT wearing the cowboy hat and Western gear, I knew it was over. He was not a cowboy after all! I was a little crushed, even more confused, and a lot cranky. Who was this person from Connecticut who didn't come to my door riding bareback on a stallion?

We didn't have very much in common, and when he came back to my very minimal apartment, he completely ignored my white Christmas tree decorated with blue plastic seahorses (it was December) and instead asked where the TV was. (At the time, I didn't have one.) "Well," he said, pointing to the empty wall next to my tree, "what you need right here is a big flat-screen television."  It doesn't matter how good someone can do the Tush Push if you don't see eye-to-eye on home entertainment.

I don't know why I got so mad--cripes, it was not his fault he wasn't the person I was pretending he was--and to my great discredit, I was about as rude as you can get after that, not returning his calls, acting like no one's Perfect Cowgirl. I'm really sorry.

Will I redeem myself in Part IV?! I hope so!

Made it through the prom without speaking to your date? Got a zit that won't go away? This one's for you: