I’m sorry, cab drivers, for walking on June nights wearing shorts or a dress to meet my friends at a bar. I realize feminine clothing must mean I’m a damsel who wants you to save me from the distress of a peaceful walk during the time of night where I don’t start perspiring as soon as I leave the house. I’m sorry if I live in a neighborhood where no one wears shorts or skirts longer than mid-thigh. I usually flip off cab drivers when they try to give me an unsolicited ride, or put together a choice string of obscenities. But one night, a stealth cabbie attacked. I was a two blocks out of my apartment, walking not too far from the BQE off-ramp. I saw several cars out of my peripheral. One came from out of nowhere, driving way slower than the rest. The car pulled up right next to me, and said, “Hey.”
“NO,” I yelled. He kept driving next to me.
“NO,” I yelled again. He wouldn’t go away. I turned my head slightly, preparing to yell again, this time slightly turning my head. The car was not yellow and didn’t resemble any sort of Lincoln. It was some kind of newer Honda/Hyundai/Saturn, and the driver was leaning over his passenger seat to lower his head to see me out of his passenger window. His symmetrical payot ringlets bounced in front of his full beard and he wore a white shirt under a black suit jacket. Holding some kind of book in his hand, I’m pretty sure in Hebrew, he crouched down his head lower and asked me, “Hey, where you going?”
“Far, far away from you,” I yelled, keeping my head straightforward. He continued to mutter and drive slowly next to me for about ten more feet, I kept storming down block. A second after he drove off, I stopped dead in my cowboy boots and said, “eeeeeeww,” out loud.
If not covering my hair with a wig and wearing skirts above my ankle make me a tainted harlot to someone, I guess they could confuse me for a hooker if while I was clad in my gold cowboy boots, halter top and short shorts. But I can’t ever understand masking my inner scumbag with any sort of pious exterior.
…means there’s more room for giant rock candy in Tacoma, Washington.
Dear L Train,
I gave you two dollars. I could’ve bought taco. I could’ve bought a pack of gum. I could’ve bought a 40. I could’ve bought a laser beam ring from a vending machine. But instead, I gave you my money because you could drive me two stops from Manhattan to my house. I was patient with you when you ran slow, because I knew you’d at least get there. As you approached my stop, I was dreaming of the shower I was going to take, thinking about how I’d be in bed soon and get some sleep before reporting to Snoopy in a few short hours. You kept approaching at the same crawl, I stood up when I saw a sign for Lorimer street, and you sped up halfway through the platform.
You did not stop. You did not open your doors. You kept accelerating, then slowing down, then speeding up. I gave up my dream of a timely shower and felt like I was in that river scene in the original Willy Wonka, then I started singing “Going up the rails on a crazy train…” in my head. The other passengers kept swearing and hoping.
But you failed us.
Apparently, I was supposed to understand your garbled, mechanical voice as you pulled into Brooklyn at Bedford Avenue saying that was the last stop until you let me out nine full stops in from Manhattan so I could hear a twelve year old girl with a nine year old’s voice make out with her boyfriend and talk about their moms waking them up. She had hickeys all over her neck. If there had been a bucket drummer anywhere near me, I would’ve shanked him with whatever I could find. Instead, I waited 20 minutes for another train that didn’t even run express stops.
I want my two dollars back.
And breakfast foods bury the dead.
Oddly enough, the bin of piranhas didn’t even have a Sharpie on cardboard warning.
In early high school, my dad told me three ways to tell if I was at a good party:
1. Windows are throbbing from the music being too loud.
2. There is at least one dog running through the house.
3. There are people passed out on the woodpile.
Sadly, by the time I started going to parties that would end in splinters in the face, woodpiles were out of vogue. (Even growing up in Oregon). It’s taken me years to come up with a list of possible modern equivalents for number three. My list so far is: dining room (or basement) dance party, at least one of your friends thinking they are in a different building than reality (i.e. convincing self you are in a cottage as opposed to a tiny apartment), noise complaints from up or down neighbor (passive aggressive notes get double points), or peeing outside due to no hope for using the bathroom.
I may need to expand the number of the modern list. But I do know that every time I see a dog at a party, I pet him in between his ears and think, “I’m at a good party.”
She wanted to be a “pretty mom.” She wanted people to find out her kids were in kindergarten and second grade and say, “I can’t believe you’re old enough to have an eight-year-old.” Her skin was smooth and her hair healthy and she always wore sundresses with big straw hats. But not old lady at the beach type get-ups, more like the kind that say, “I read the fashion section of Vogue and Oprah for my casual summer ideas.”
For being as calm and reserved as she seemed to be, her kids were rowdy. But I did like her daughters. Whenever the three of them came to the restaurant I was working at, it was in the dead hours of the afternoon. The girls would come up to the counter, spin on the stools and tell me stories about monsters that turned people into pies. Talking to Izzie and Christa was considerably more entertaining than talking to my ghetto fashionista co-worker about shoes or colored jeans. Pretty mom liked to pretend Izzie and Christa’s stool spinning bothered her, but she’d simply passively tell them to come sit back down from the comfort of her booth.
One day, Pretty mom actually stopped at the counter on her way back from the bathroom to ask the girls to sit back down. I busted out my no-fail trick with children: I told Izzie that if she went and sat back down, I would bring her some crayons. Izzie’s eyes lit up. Pretty mom rolled hers and said, “Oh are you a baby?” Christa got really excited too and asked me, “Can I color too?!” Pretty mom said, “Oh I have two babies?” I said nothing, but thought, “OH lady, your kids are getting the big box of crayons.” When I brought the 24-pack of Crayolas to the table, Pretty mom said looked at the girls sheepishly and apologized for them. I looked at her and said, “Hey, I’m 23 and I still color.”
I watched the girls color. I thought about visiting family in Texas when I was in middle school, the trip when my sisters and I convinced our second cousins to get kids menus at restaurants and color with us. Every time I waited on Pretty mom after that, I brought out the crayons for Bella and Rosie. My mom didn’t teach me much about being pretty or dressing up, but she taught me a lot about coloring.
Note: I know the technical “big box” is the 64 pack, but the 24 pack in my possession was the big box compared to my other option of a seven pack of crayons.