Tuesday, May 31, 2011

weekend, 5/27-5/30

Friday afternoon. On our way out of "The Tree of Life," we overhear a 50-year-old man practically shout at his wife, "That's the last time I see something that Terry recommends." He then half-heartedly tries to warn people waiting for the next showing to "save their money" and see something else.

Saturday morning. I attempt to text "Lol" to Amanda, but the iPhone auto corrects it to "lollipop." It dawns on me that it's somewhat surprising (?) that "LOL-lipop" has never been a thing/punchline/meme (as far as I know, at least). Actually, maybe it's not that surprising.

Saturday afternoon. Walking on the street by myself, I wail "nooooo!" kind of loudly after accidentally archiving an e-mail on my phone. Recognize that that response is exactly the kind of thing I only find myself doing when I'm in a good mood.

Sunday morning. Get in elevator with two parents and their tween daughter. "So I am going to have a little chat with the doorman on our way out," the mom says. The daughter and father don't say anything, and then the mother exclaims, "What? The machine ate my money!" The father and daughter briefly exchange a smile behind her back.

Sunday evening. Passing movie theater, it strikes me as odd that there's never been a quirky female character in an indie romantic comedy who buys popcorn in an oversized bucket from the concession stand on her way out of a movie and then takes it with her to the park or the roller derby or wherever she and the guy are going.

Monday afternoon. On a search for extra strength Tylenol, I stop in two different Duane Reades (and a CVS!), only to find that they're all out of it. Weirdly, I find this sort of comforting, imagining all of these zombie New Yorkers traipsing around the city on fruitless journeys for Tylenol.

Monday evening: A mother tries to say goodbye to her 10-year-old son outside of Whole Foods while a babysitter type stands a few feet away. The mother keeps repeating her goodbye while her son just makes robot noises and shuffles in place, clinging to her shirt. Somehow heartbreaking.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

thoughts, two weeks after getting an iPhone

1. So I finally got an iPhone two weekends ago after years of (somewhat inexplicable) resistance. My go-to "excuse" - whenever I would be asked with disdain why I still had a Blackberry - was that I had "fat thumbs" and was worried I wouldn't be able to type quickly on a touch screen, which for some reason I would always say as if it was this hilarious punchline, and which almost always resulted in either a thumb-width "contest" with the questioner or a confused nod (both disconcerting!). Anyway, one of the great things about my now having an iPhone is that I will (hopefully) never be tempted to embarrass myself with this weird "fat thumbs" riff ever again.

2. Related, an almost-as-great thing is that now I no longer have to put up with everyone lecturing me about how much I need an iPhone/offering me their iPhone to "try"/telling me that "if only I had an iPhone, then I could easily find the best Thai restaurant within a two-block radius of our current location that is cat-friendly and only plays rap music and serves imported ale."

3. Also great: I no longer have to feel inferior and sullen whenever I see an iPhone screen shot posted on Twitter or on someone's blog. (Seriously, I think "desire to finally be able to take screen shots of my text message convos" comprised about 78% of the "what motivated me to finally get an iPhone" pie chart.)

4. But - surprise, surprise - I have some complaints. For one thing, I still, some two weeks later, sort of feel like I am slapping on a cheese board when I try to text. Or, to attempt a different metaphor (I know, topping that cheese board one is going to be TOUGH), when I'm typing on the touch screen I feel like I'm a dolphin jabbing at typewriter keys with one of its fins.

5. I'm guessing this is probably a common source of frustration (and humor, I suppose) in the "iPhone community," but the auto correct function - while sometimes "smart" and helpful - is at other times terribly frustrating. Every "like" somehow becomes a "Luke," every "you" a "toy," etc. So far, almost all of the texts I've sent have ended up reading like Google Translate results.

6. I was given the choice at the store between a white or black iPhone and decided to get a white one, assuming that was the original iPhone color... only to find out later from my brother (and everyone else I've seen since) that, in fact, white iPhones were just recently released. So now I feel especially regretful about my choice to get a black case, which basically negated any "cool" points my accidental hip choice may have earned me. I also feel like this says a lot about my observation "skills" considering all my friends have had iPhones for like the past 15 years.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"wait and ditch"

So there's this restaurant near my apartment that I've been going to pretty regularly (let's say, once or twice a month) for about a year now. It's a casual wine bar kind of place; they don't take reservations; you can get a small bowl of almonds for a few dollars, etc. A few months ago, I noticed that a new waiter had joined the stable who looked like a slightly more attractive Landry from "Friday Night Lights" (square jaw, cropped blond hair, thick glasses).

A few weeks ago, my friend and I were there for dinner and Landry was our waiter. He was polite but by no means chatty. (We asked him what his favorite sandwiches on the menu were and he answered with a series of what can only be described as shrugs.) After he cleared our entrees -- my friend and I in that "do we want that second glass of wine or not?" stage -- he returned to our table (keep it mind it was only like 8:45pm at this point) and announced, "I just wanted to let you guys know I have to leave the restaurant for the night. I'm going to give your table over to Joan... you'll be in good hands."

We both mumbled some variation of "Oh, okay, thanks" and looked at each other uncertainly.

About thirty minutes later (we had gone for that second glass), on my way back to our table from the bathroom, I bumped right into Landry in the back of the restaurant. He was carrying a few plates on his way into the kitchen.

"Oh.... um, you're still here?" I said.
"I thought you were leaving though...?" (The only explanation I have for my uncharacteristically confrontational behavior here is that I guess I felt sort of offended/perplexed that he had apparently lied to us about leaving for the night.)

He looked at me for a few seconds -- and for a moment I thought he might slap me (I wish I knew why my brain works as it does) -- but instead he just sort of shrugged and said, "What can I say? I just can't get myself to leave this place!"

My friend and I spent the next ten minutes at our table deliberating possible explanations for the mid-meal ditch. Had he just not liked us (we had, somewhat annoyingly, made a production of asking him how to correctly pronounce the restaurant's name)? Had we not ordered enough to make waiting around for the tip worth his while? Had he been planning to meet some girl/dude for a date, only to have received a "can't make it" text on his way out, at which point he felt too awkward to then return to our table?

After we signed the check, I asked Joan, who had been perfectly adequate, what had happened to "our first waiter."

"If only I knew," she said. My friend and I both nodded familiarly, as if Landry were a relative who, despite everyone's whispered hopes, was just never able to get his act together.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I've found there are a few daydreams that I return to with some frequency. There's one in which I'm sitting by a pool with Blake Lively and she gets some text message and she reads it out loud and we break out in a fit of giggles. And I have another one in which I'm doing really good skateboarding stuff: just like astoundingly coordinated maneuvers on one of those half-pipes.

But the one I return to the most often involves this spaceship-y control room with five monitors playing different video feeds: the kind of room where the goon security guard gets knocked out by the superhero's sidekick in a movie. Anyway, in this particular daydream, I get to sit in the chair and the five monitors in front of me are each playing a different scene, representing the five moments that would most rupture my understanding of my life, incidents that would force me to re-contextualize everything about my relationships. We're talking on the level of seeing a loved one in the midst of an ongoing affair, or seeing your best friend steal something valuable from your house five years ago. (For some reason I always imagine these scenes would be "negative" moments, but I suppose they could be "happy/sentimental" reveals, too, like seeing your mother's secret art studio where she's been painting landscapes for years without telling anyone about it.)

Sometimes I contemplate what would actually be playing on my feeds, but, truly, just the idea of this room is what gets me completely elated - and also frustrated, I guess (but in the "gahhhh I wish this were a real thing" good way). I imagine getting off a subway car one day and taking a wrong turn and ending up there. Some attendant in knight's armor will hand me a Capri-Sun and direct me to the chair and each screen will illuminate one by one. I'll cover my eyes and watch through a slit in my fingers at first, like I did throughout "No Country for Old Men," overcome with anticipation at how everything is about to change.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the wrong floor

I returned to my apartment with a few bags the other afternoon, on one of those days when it's too hot to wear a winter coat but too cold to wear a fleecy thing so everyone outside is uncomfortable temperature-wise. I had just stopped by this cafe near my apartment where I once spotted butternut squash apple cider soup but which has mysteriously been out of said soup every time I've returned to look for it since. I got off the elevator and, as I walked to my door, a father and his baby son passed me going in the opposite direction.

The baby sort of squawked at me as it walked past and I said something like "hi baby" (I tend to treat small children as if they are farm animals -- "you're cute but stay at least two feet away from me"). I got to my door and turned to catch another glimpse of the baby and suddenly realized the door was not opening. I jammed the key repeatedly, trying not to make too much of a commotion, but had no luck. I looked up and, to my horror, realized I was on the 16th floor instead of the 11th and had therefore been trying desperately to get into the wrong apartment. Meanwhile, I was aware of Baby staring at me as Dad scrolled on his iPhone. And somehow Baby's glare made me feel infinitely more panicked and embarrassed.

I thought about explaining my error to them, but it seemed like I was too far gone at this point. I had tried to open this door about seven times. Who doesn't notice they're at the wrong door for seven tries? And this was a guy I could potentially be seeing in the elevator for years to come -- did I really want him thinking I was some space cadet who just moseys around trying his key in various doors and seeing what happens?

At that moment, the dad turned to look at me, probably having just come to the realization that I had been standing in front of this door for about a minute without having successfully entered the apartment.

At a loss, I whipped my Blackberry out of my pocket and held it to my ear (years of fake-texting to avoid awkward situations have clearly had an effect on my instincts)... but I couldn't bring myself to actually say anything. I just stared ahead at the door, holding my Blackberry to my ear with clenched fingers, waiting for Baby and Dad to get on the elevator. Thankfully this happened about ten, long seconds later, at which point I just dropped my bags on the carpet of the 16th floor and exhaled.