Saturday, February 28, 2009


Living in New York City, you quickly become accustomed to strange folk. You'll be sitting on the subway with your friend and there's a girl in a green cardigan in front of you who'll start thrusting against one of the poles, her iPod loud enough so you can hear the blasting T-Pain track she is mouthing the words to. You might look up for a split second, but sometimes not even that. "Where was I?" you'll say to your friend.

Last week I was in a doctor's office and this older woman wearing a fur hat and dark lipstick asked the nurse if she could have a copy of her hand x-ray. "If you pay $15," the nurse said, and then asked: "Why do you want it?" "I want it..." she glanced at me as if to decide whether or not I could hear such secrets, "... because I want to make a purse out of it." The nurse sighed. "Well, it'll be a $15 purse, then." This caused Natasha (that's her name, I've decided) to flutter off, muttering something unintelligible. The nurse looked at me and we both shrugged.

Somewhere along the way, living in the city, one becomes desensitized to that sort of overt strangeness. It's the subtle stuff that trips us up. Today, this guy who looked like a cross between the "I'm a PC" guy in the Mac ads and a L.L. Bean catalogue model walked into the subway. His face was kind of rugged/dorky-cute, and his loafers were adorably mismatched with his khakis.... and then I noticed he was smiling sort of oddly and shuffling a deck of cards. I watched him mechanically shuffle for about ten seconds before he swiftly cut the deck, resumed shuffling and I could watch no longer. When we got to the next stop (which wasn't mine), I actually got out of the subway and went into a different car.

In my new car, I held onto the rail with my sleeve to avoid touching it with my palm.

Friday, February 20, 2009


My online attention span goes down by the week. It's kind of pathetic. (I am so part of my generation.) I realized the other day that I have developed a little rubric in my head for what I will accept/endure when it comes to the online sphere and what gets the COMMAND+W.

1) If the article is broken up into more than 3 pages, COMMAND+W. (When I open one of those 10-part New York Times Magazine stories, I feel like what I imagine those little kids on that Nickelodeon Guts show felt like when they stood at the bottom of the Agrocrag.)

2) If the Youtube video is longer than 3 minutes (4, if I'm feeling unusually cheery), COMMAND+W.

3) If the blog post is longer than 5 paragraphs, COMMAND+W.

4) If it's a slideshow that prompts you to click on "Next Photo," COMMAND+W.

5) If the Facebook "Note"... exists, COMMAND+W.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

i hate almonds

It's easy to hate something when you've never tried it.

I'm always doing it. I'm like "I hate almonds" when guess what I have never tried them. I used to think it was a pride thing, something about how twentysomethings are always so worried about the pride and the image and how they would rather just say they hate something than admit they haven't tried it. (Note how I try to make my personal idiosyncrasies indicative of some greater "twentysomethings" trend to ease my anxieties...)

This weekend I was at this bar and the group of people I was with decided we were going to play darts. I was annoyed because I have always hated darts, hated the idea of darts, especially hated the people I envision as being the kind of people who would play darts on a Saturday night at the bar. You know, the girls with the jeans that are tight in all the wrong places and the guys who haven't shaved in a few days and who high five a lot. Not to mention the game itself is semi-violent and mostly-pointless = what a great combination! This is all to say I had never tried darts before which is why I had developed all these reasons why it was the worst thing ever invented. (This is how we work. I could write similar paragraphs about beer pong or the Lord of the Rings books or kids I went to college with but never spoke to.)

Of course, I played the darts - I didn't have a choice - and the people I was with taught me how to keep score and nagged me to try harder when I "wasn't trying." And it was fine. I got a bullseye so that was cool.

You think I am going to say that it wasn't so bad and there's going to be one of those morals, where I tell you in some roundabout way that I learned that we shouldn't knock things until we've tried them. But no. I'm not going to say that. Because playing darts wasn't that great. And because what I actually learned is that our instincts about what we're going to like are usually pretty good, that if I'm going to be annoying and come up with some theory about pride, a better one would be that if us twentysomethings go into something thinking that we are going to hate it, chances are we probably will... and that I'm never trying almonds.

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Oh! Ummm, it's... you know, you know! She has a weird name, right? I wanna say... Meredith something?"

I love when someone clearly knows something that they perceive as being kind of embarrassing to know (i.e. In response to someone asking…. "Who was that guy actor in Into the Blue, you know, that movie with Jessica Alba?" "Who sang that 'I'm a Bitch, I'm a Lover' song again?" "What was the name of the guy that Juliet was sleeping with?" ) so they stumble and stutter a bit and then eventually say the answer all hesitantly, as if they're asking a question.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

yearning for the aftermath

In TV shows and movies of all kinds and of all qualities, there is a certain kind of scene that happens all the time that seriously irks me. These scenes typically begin with two characters meeting up in some sort of familiar location... a coffee shop, a living room, an airport terminal, an office... and having some sort of dramatic exchange. You know, a guy confesses his love to the girl he's been best friends with forever or some chick tells her ex-boyfriend she's pregnant or an evil lawyer informs an unsuspecting beauty he's her father. THEN, after the shocking news, just like that, the camera cuts away and we're on to a different scene.

But who the frak can focus on the new scene?! I'm all caught up wondering what happened after the camera cut away, when the two characters who were in the same restaurant/beach/taxi talking to one another had to, you know, keep interacting.

Two characters will meet up for lunch. They'll order their food and the girl will say "I have something to tell you" and look off into space and then there's a beat and she goes "I'm pregnant" and the guy's like "I don't think I'm ready for this" (I got a natural knack for dialogue, eh?) and she'll start crying and then - BAM - the camera cuts away and that's it. But, literal ole' me, I'm all yelling at my TV because IRL (= "in real life," for those of you who aren't 14-year-old girls), the two would have to wait for their food to come, eat their meal, ask the waitress for the bill, figure out how they're splitting the check, say their awkward goodbyes. That's probably a minimum of like thirty more minutes after the camera cut away that they are going to have talk after their whole melodramatic baby drama back-and-forth.

Inexplicable time travel? No problem. A couple that shares a half-sibling? Hit me. An affair between a woman and a dead man? Oh yeah, baby. JUST STOP CUTTING AWAY AFTER THE BIG CONFRONTATION!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

a parenthetical problem

Sometimes, I feel like I Text & Type more than I Eat & Talk.

(Hah. Actually, even though I totally started that sentence thinking it was going to be one of those "Sometimes I think this CRAZY THING is true, though obviously it's not ACTUALLY true, it just SEEMS that way because of what I'm ABOUT TO TELL YOU" opening sentences... now that I think about it, it's probably an accurate statement, like if you actually counted up the minutes. Weird. Where do I go from here?)

Every day we spend all this time crafting texts and e-mails and Facebook messages (hmm, this was kind of a weird place to go) and there are just so many little things that repeatedly make me want to throw my Digg into a Twitter and beat the Flickr out of it.

(Warning: this example, which represents just one of the many typing quandaries I run into daily, may seem totally minor and bizarre to you. But let me tell you, you have no idea how often this singular issue weighs down on me.... actually, if you have ever met me or ever read anything on this blog, you probably do.)

Way more often than I really can comprehend, I want to end parenthetical phrases that end sentences with smiley/frowning faces. Now, I know I am kind of being brave here, since owning up to a predilection for emoticons is like defending Tom Cruise or admitting your homepage is - it can be your truth, but no one should ever know. Whatevs, I like smiley faces. BUT when you want to put one at the end of a parenthetical, it's just the most frustrating, unsolvable mess.

Let's take a look:

- I'll come find you after Jonah leaves (since I know you don't want to see him since the whole Frisbee incident :-))

You see this and think "Josh made an awkward typo - our friendship is over" or you you see this and giggle and think "that looks like a smiley with a double-chin." This won't do.

- I'll come find you after Jonah leaves (since I know you don't want to see him since the whole Frisbee incident :-)

Now it looks like I am stupid and forgot I was writing in parentheses. OR - and this is the real reason I just can never bring myself to send an e-mail with this in it -- it could be interpreted that I'm trying to be cute and just like turning my end parenthesis into a smiley face because it's my thing and because it's nifty and because I think I can do that. And there is nothing worse, friends, than being construed as the kind of person who would be into that.

- I'll come find you after Jonah leaves (since I know you don't want to see him since the whole Frisbee incident :-) )

This is passable, I guess, but really just not visually appealing at all. I like can't even focus on the sentence because my eyes are fixed on that weird and surprisingly prominent gap between the emoticon's "mouth" and the parenthesis.

And don't get me started on sad faces:

- Yeah, it was so good to see you last weekend (even though after you left, I lost my wallet on the subway :-()