Sunday, April 30, 2006

Today's Random Catcall

"What's up, shorty, you need a body guard?"

I Live in a Slum So You Don't Have To

My new hobby is advising people who are looking at apartments in my building to go live in a cardboard box in front of Bowery Mission instead. The other day, a perfectly lovely young lady, clearly an NYU student (I don't know how you can tell, but you can tell) stopped me in the hallway to ask me if I liked living here.

"Sure," I said. "I mean, the neighborhood is great. Well, not the neighborhood, exactly. Cuz this street sucks. But a couple blocks north, or a couple blocks east -- anywhere where you're not smack next to the cheesiest nightclub in Manhattan -- it's great. Also, there's no laundry here. Oh! And a hobo shit in the hall. Did you know the front door was broken for TWO YEARS? Well, it was. And I heard a girl got raped in the stairwell a few years back, but it was much more ghet' around here then. You know what? Don't live here. I'm serious. I'm moving to Brooklyn. Or maybe up the street. You should, too. Anyway -- moving."

She backed away slowly and smiled. Probably that was a lot of info for someone who didn't seem to speak a lot of English, but I like to help.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Ask Not What Your Smash Can Do For You

So, I'm moving. Probably to Brooklyn. The rent situation is out of control, and also, I'm tired of living in a little teeny box. Anyone who has a lead on a decent place should write me e-mej-ja-mo. I will be forever grateful.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Laundry Day

You know you're wearing your laundry day outfit when the workmen outside your building avert their eyes when you walk by.

In other news, my friend Eric reports that he saw a woman get whistled at by a dude who was driving a school bus today. How great is that? Makes me want to go out and buy a cuter outfit.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Mrs. Piddlington: Hello?

Me: Loaf.

Mrs. Piddlington: What?

I had meatloaf for dinner.

Mrs. Piddlington: OK.

Like, a LOT of meatloaf.

Mrs. Piddlington: O-kay...


Mrs. Piddlington: I'm just glad you're happy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Allergies Erg

My allergies are so bad, I'm pretty sure I actually have cholera. Just thought you should know, in case posting ends abruptly.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Better than

It's pretty clear to me that if I ever want a boyfriend again, all I need to do is stand outside my door and one will appear. It might not be the one I want, but still: men are milling about on my stoop, waiting for single ladies.

This evening, I got home in the rain and stood for a moment on my step to have a smoke before going inside. Two men were standing under the awning, smoking and waiting for the line to clear at the nightclub next door.

One of them noticed me and looked up. "Hey, how ya doing?"

"Fine. You?"

"Fine. You going home?"


"Your husband waiting for you?"

That threw me off for a second.

"Um. I have a boyfriend."

"You been together a long time?"

No fool, I: "A year."

"Are you in love?"

"Yes. Yes, we are." I ground out my cigarette. This, eventually, is why I'll quit entirely. Anyone will speak to you when you're smoking.

"You have a problem with dating black guys?"

"Uh. No."

"Is this guy black?"

"Uh. No?"

"A year, you said? Shit. If it was three months or something, I'd have a try."

I laughed and dug out my keys. The bouncer next door is huge and burly, and smiles at me when I go by. Otherwise, maybe I wouldn't have stopped. But now I was maybe a little nervous.

"Are you going to marry him?"

"Yes. Yes, I think I will."

He shook his head. "Shit. Everyone is getting married."

I smiled politely and let myself into the building.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Who Says You Never Meet Your Neighbors?

I think my neighbor just tried to introduce himself. I couldn't tell, because he was mumbling and leaning against his door. In fact, if he hadn't had a key, I would have thought he was the Hallway Pooper. But he had a key, so probably not. Unless it was an inside job! Man! My life is full of drama.

Seriously, though, I felt a little bad for Drunken Neighbor Dude. I'm sure I was giving him that look that you give to people when they're so drunk they might actually be speaking a foreign language. And any time that's happened to me, I always wanted to slap the person speaking to me. Like, there you are, in your head, away from the drunkenness that's taken over your body, and all you can think is, why is this person speaking slowly? What's with the raised eyebrows? I understand! I get what you're saying. And then you start to speak and you sound like Sloth. It's all very perplexing.

I hope Drunken Neighbor remembered to drink water before he went to bed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The Mouse claims that I am "weaksauce" because I sometimes need to go to bed before, say THREE O'CLOCK IN THE DAMN MORNING. Because I am nothing if not proud, I offer the following rebuttal:

1) I have many projects. It's true that some of them involve rearranging my paperwork and organizing my earrings, but they're still important. Others involve writing. Mostly checks. (Kidding!)

2) This weekend, when I was preparing to go out, I found a two-inch long gray hair standing straight up from the crown of my head. Unlike my other hairs, it was perfectly straight. It looked like it had been stolen from someone else's head. My point? I'm not weaksauce. I'm just old.

3) The Mouse is very silly and shouldn't even be able to speak anyway, because he's a mouse. Mice squeak. They don't play the dozens.

4) 'Sauce you, 'saucer!

5) The end.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Enough With the Poop

People are supposed to clean up after their dogs in New York, but many have their own ideas about what that means. It's not uncommon to see newspaper lying on top of a pile of dog droppings, or a great big smear across the sidewalk, as if someone finally got tired of picking up crap and just kicked it into the gutter instead.

Today took the cake, though. Today, I was actually chased a full block down 17th street (between 7th and 8th, if you're wondering) by a brown paper bag covered in dog doo. Apparently, someone had used it to pick up Muffy's little droppings and then dropped the bag itself back onto the street. Awesome. Anyway, it blew up against my leg, and then pursued me, I swear to God, when I realized what it was and tried to escape.

My fellow travelers on 17th street had fun, at least. I'm sure the sight of me running at full tilt down the block, screaming, "Git away! POOP BAG! Ahh! Ahh! Git!" would be worth money. If only I'd had the foresight to charge.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cedric Comes Home

In a taxicab, heading east, we disagree about where, exactly, we're going:

"It's 11th, I think," the Mouse says.

"Or 10th?" (And who knows says this. Four people in a cab.)

Along the avenue, cars turn their lights on and off, squiggle into parking spots. The street lights burn bright above us. The cab stops. Craning your neck out the window, you can see where stars would be in the sky.

"This will sound weird," Cedric says, his German accent slight and charming, his English perfect. He's thinking in English: We'll discuss this later. "But New York is so beautiful."

"It doesn't sound weird," I say. Ahead of us, brake lights wink out. You can smell the cabbie's frustration. "It doesn't sound weird at all."

"11th, for sure," says the Mouse. The cabbie swerves perfectly into a space, and draws us into line.

For the Present

Soon, I will be a mature woman of 30, and as an early birthday present to myself, I've decided to stop talking, at least on a daily basis, to men with whom I was once romantically involved. Historically, I stay pals with most of my formers, but lately this practice has become unhealthy. Mostly because my formers are now dating, in many cases, women I used to babysit.

A short time ago, I was discussing this situation with a former boyfriend. He was 34, and his latest love was 19.

"What is it?" I asked him. "I mean, I find it hard to believe that women in, say, their mid-20s are that old and decrepit. Why all the teenagers all of sudden? Can't you afford a Camaro?"

"I think it's just that it's easier," he said. "Women your age are so serious."

"Because they want to get married, or because they're more settled, or what?"

"No, not just that … it's more than young women are more light-hearted. They're not so suspicious and bitter."

I thought about that for a moment. "Well, don't worry," I said, finally. "You'll take care of that."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I Heart Bettie Page

After reading this review in Salon, I'm even more excited to go see The Notorious Bettie Page. I'm a little obsessed with Bettie. I went as her for two Halloweens in a row. Halloween, of course, being the International Day of Girls Forgetting to Wear Pants.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Jennie Smash vs. The Personal Trainer: Fight!

One of the many reasons I hate working out is that it inevitably brings me into contact with that most loathsome of creatures, the personal trainer. My apologies if you are one of these people ... but you should probably drown yourself. I'm trying to think of anyone else who, in the course of their job, thinks it's OK to wander up to someone who is sweating and miserable and offer them advice. And I just can't.

Today, the trainer got me before I was sweating. (You can safely assume misery: I was at the gym.) My friend Caryn and I had just arrived at the gym, and were sitting on a mat stretching. I was trying not to groan too loudly or complain too much. Caryn was pretty happy. She's a much nicer person than I am.

The trainer came over to us, crouched down in front of me and said, "Now, ladies, you know better than that! We don't stretch when our muscles are cold!"

I grimaced at him, and in the brightest possible tone said: "I'm sorry, but I actually don't like it when people give me advice while I'm working out."

"Oh, you're one of those, are you?" (And here he gave me one of those smiles where the person's eyes stay all cold and hard and, just looking at them, you can totally understand how there are serial killers roaming among us for years and no one notices.) "Well, I'll just tell your friend ... but I'll speak up, so you can hear me too."

I'm not kidding. That's what he said.

Caryn inclined her head politely and asked him why we weren't supposed to stretch before working out.

I interrupted: "Whatever he tells you won't be true two years from now. They change their minds all the time."

He laughed. (Soullessly.) "That's true! That IS true. But that's because science advances all the time and--"

"--They have no idea what they're talking about. NO IDEA." I sprung up and headed over to the elliptical trainers. Caryn trailed after me, looking at the trainer apologetically. "And since I've been working out since I was six*, I think I know what I'm doing."

Basically, I've stopped listening to anything they've "figured out" about health and exercise. Here's what you can count on, and the rest you can toss:

1) Don't do a lot when you haven't been doing anything at all, or start doing a lot more when you've only been doing a little.

2) If it hurts, stop.

3) If you do more and eat less, you'll probably lose weight.

4) Smoking is bad for you.

5) It's better to eat fresh food.

6) If you deny yourself all the time, you will go insane and eat the entire dairy section at the neighborhood bodega and they'll call the cops and by the time the cops get there, you'll be sitting in the middle of the floor in your fat pants, covered by ice cream, crying and rocking back and forth. That's just what I heard.

7) Having a drink now and then probably won't kill you. But that's a drink, Chuckie.

* Doing the Jane Fonda Workout with my Mom totally counts.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Lazy Saturday

It's raining and hailing, because the world is ending. (Don't believe me? On Wednesday, there was a blizzard. On Friday, it was warm enough to have dinner on the patio.) In response to all this, I'm staying in today. I baked cookies and ordered food and tidied up The World's Teeniest Apartment. The laundry guy came and got my unmentionables, and informed me that he was nearly killed by a hailstone while having a smoke earlier.

"It's like God's trying to kill me," he said. I would like to say, for the record, that my favorite part of getting my laundry picked up, aside from the fact that I don't have to do it myself, is that the laundry guy is really cute. Also, he has a Scottish accent.

I giggled in a terribly grown-up fashion and demured. Oh no no no, I'm sure not. Tee hee hee.

(BTW, Anonymous Meanies: This is where you comment and tell me how dumb I am for even being attracted to men, and I'm supposed to be so smart and independent and what the hell and so on. You're welcome. I live to serve.)

Monday, April 3, 2006

Residents of the LES, I Have Your Solution

Since I've moved in, I've discovered that many residents of the Lower East Side pay for their prime placement, as I do, in inconveniences like broken front doors. Apparently, it's not enough that we pay more than our parents' mortage to live in a shoebox near a decent bar. No, we are also required to endure small inconveniences like, say, hobos letting themselves into our foyer and taking a copious poo in front of the buzzer.

If you're suffering from a broken front door, say I offer a recommendation? Pull down your pants right now and take a dump by the mailboxes. This is the only way to get your front door fixed. Shortly after the Incident of Hobo Bowel Evacuation, I came home to find the following note on my front door:


Ha! Ha ha ha ha. I only asked six times. The lesson here? A pile of poo is worth a thousand words. Thank you, Hobo Superman!

Sunday, April 2, 2006

The Hobo Poop Situation

Last week was not the most delightful of my time in New York so far. I had the flu and one meeellion things to do, so I was basically hunched over my computer most of the week, in bed, feeling alternately like I was stuck in a freezer or roasting over coals, and perhaps, as I've mentioned, I also had a not-so-great attitude.

However, Friday was the kicker, because when I stepped outside of my apartment in the morning, a horrid smell assaulted my nostrils. It was shit, not to put too fine a point on it, and not that of a healthy person who eats their greens and drinks tea and meditates, either. It was sick people shit, which I think we can agree is the very worst kind.

I made my way cautiously down the stairs, the smell getting worse and worse with each step. I kept checking my shoes, peering into corners, trying my best to beware, but the trouble with bad smells is that you feel like they're getting at you anyway, even if you don't step in their source. It's like they're creeping into your pores, and also, like you're eating them.

When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I discovered the source of the problem. Some stank-ass hobo (tm the Mouse) had let himself (or herself, I suppose) into my front hall, via the broken front door, and taken a copious, corn-filled dump all over the tile. They then removed their shirt, wiped their hiney, and left it, like a filthy flag, in a crumpled heap beside the poo. Oh, and also? When they left? This person dragged the front door through their crap, leaving a FAN OF EXCREMENT behind them. I don't like to shout, but you'll have to forgive me, because it was really almost more than I could stand. I nearly turned around and went back upstairs, but I couldn't imagine calling my boss and telling her that I would have to work from home today, because of the hobo poop situation. Some people find that unprofessional, go figure.

It took me a full two and a half minutes to get around the poo and out my front door. This involved balletic leaps and leans and sidles, and a lot of barely suppressed retching. When I got outside, I checked my shoes and cuffs and pant-legs for crap, and found everything clean, but I still felt vaguely soiled for the rest of the day.

Now that, ladies and gents, is how you finish a crappy week. Ta-da!