Growing up mainly in Florida, most of my clothes were short in the leg, short in the sleeve, and were made without any kind of wool or rayon or acrylic. When we moved from Peekskill, NY to Ocoee, FL I believe I was quite the sight, attending school in my long-sleeved jumper and thick stockings. That phase didn't last long.
My drawers and closets were filled with shorts and tank tops and t-shirts until I hit puberty, felt ashamed of my body, and started wearing jeans and long skirts. But for the most part, it was pretty light fare for the majority of my wardrobe. Sure, I hit 15 and everything I wore from then on-out was black, but it's not like I was running in those clothes in the sun (except on September 11, 2001 when, in the moments after the second tower fell, we had a bomb threat in the school and we all went and sat in the parking lot for three hours and, yes, I was in black pants and a black shirt with a hoodie that I took off when we ran out of the classroom (it was cold in those classrooms!)
Anyway, the only really warm clothing I had was pushed to the very back of my closet along with a jacket or two that my mom used to wear. Those items only came out mid-January, or when we would visit in New York. Which brings me to my point. Since moving to New York for college in 2003, my clothes have very very gradually shifted towards the opposite pole. It's taken 7 years for me to get to this point because I would really rather own a tank top than a sweater ANY day. Do you know how many years it was before I actually bought boots right for New York winter? 5 years. 2008 I bought my first pair of faux-fur-insulated no-slip weather-proof boots. But finally, I'm here.
The majority of my clothing is warm-weather gear: sweaters, jeans, long-sleeve shirts, scarves, SOCKS!, jackets, and coats. This has very ironically left me WANTING for summer wear. It's not like I can wear one of my 40%acrylic/15%rayon/5%lambs wool/5%angora rabbit hair sweaters (I own three of that specific chemistry) and just roll up the sleeves! I would die. New York summers are dreadful unless you've got a stock of tank tops, cotton button-downs, capris/shorts and at least 2 shirts that don't necessarily require a bra.
In an effort to make sure that I never run out of said stock with my pattern of not doing laundry, and in an effort to not lose any of these items in a drawer full of long pajama bottoms and sweaters, I've created a summer closet. I have two closets in my apartment - one in the hallway, and one in my bedroom. They're both smallish, but deep, so they can hold quite a bit.
The hall closet is currently masquerading as its own little apartment - it's got luggage, some winter clothes, some clothes that don't currently fit me, a shopping cart, some storage bins, my humidifier, shoes I don't wear, all of my reusable grocery bags and 8 shoulder bags/purses (I own 15, but 2 are at work at the moment, and 5 are scattered around the apartment). For all I know, the travelocity gnome has taken up residence there. The bedroom closet is a teeny bit smaller, but it's got two hanger rods and a shelf, so I can keep a lot in there. I've designated this as my "seasonal" closet.
Anything I can wear in the summer, it's in there; when we get to September, I'll be taking some stuff out, replacing other items, and it'll be appropriate for THAT season. It makes my mornings a little easier to deal with - I'm not digging through my dresser (which only has warmer clothes in it at the moment), I'm not layering, and everything is hanging up which means for the most part, I needn't worry about wrinkles (which is good since I own an iron, but not an ironing board) except on my new pair of navy blue pants which is a linen blend....that stuff wrinkles if you look at it funny.
How all of those 18-35-yr-olds lost their self-respect
The company for which I work has a program specifically for persons between the ages of 18 and 35. They get not terrible seats for a very cheap price. To make sure that they're not abusing the program, and that all persons using those tickets are within the age range, we require that they make their reservations by phone. I'm 25, so this is my generation. You'd think that I, and my other coworkers around the same age, would relate to these customers, that we'd feel some sort of common bond or something.
Somewhere along the line of their maturity, it seems that 90% of these persons were exposed to something that neither I, nor my coworkers, nor most of the people I know personally were ever exposed to. These callers are very easy to recognize and we usually know what they're calling for before they tell you. Almost every single one of them has this way of speaking on the phone that I can only liken to this:
except the pitch of their voices (both men AND women) is usually higher.
We're talking about people who, for some of them, are between 30 and 35 and talk like a 15 year old. These people may already have children - many of them probably have a better job than I do - and they sound like fucking morons. You can spot them in a second. The end of every phrase sounds like a question. WHY?? What did they watch, what did they see? How did they get to be this way? Annoying doesn't even begin to describe my feelings for them. They sound like they're crying. And I've met some of these people - it's not just the way they talk on the phone - they talk this way in real life.
This is not okay. I just found an article on it which reinforces my belief that adults should simply NOT talk like this. And if you do, you should be ashamed. My sister used to do it, and it drove me crazy. I don't know if I ever did it, but I know that by scoring my monologues in 11th grade (marking for pauses, inflection, metre, etc. the same way that a conductor would on a piece he was conducting) made me more aware of how I was phrasing my speech...so if I had been speaking that way, the practice of analyzing the inflection in my monologues certainly fixed it. Perhaps that kind of thing should be required. This is a wonderful "documentary" on the subject:
"The New Daughter"- From my take on reading Nocturnes (pt. 2)
I'm excited because APPARENTLY this one was made into a film starring Kevin Costner (which, with me, can only mean one thing) that had a limited release by Anchor Bay last month. Now I have to find it....
This story expands on a parent's fear of a child growing up. She leaves her toys behind, she rebels, she dabbles a bit on the edge. And what she goes through is something that parents can only understand on the surface. If they try to dig any deeper, they will hit a stone wall and their understanding will begin to crumble and fade. Connolly uses his gift for folklore to explain this change as related to the stories of faeries exchanging human children for changelings. This kind of abrupt change in a pre-teen girl must be paranormal, right? Right? I appreciated the father seeing a "red flicker" in his daughter's eyes. On the surface, it appears to be merely visual, and symbolic of her changeling nature. I think it's more than that, though. It seems (in the least disgusting way possible) to refer to menstruation, something that her father would not only have trouble understanding, but of which he would (like most fathers) avoid any kind of contemplation.
It's the same as it's been since the dawn of time: girl tries to grow up. Father tries to stop her. Father blames other people when she grows up anyway. And she does, for all intents and purposes, become his new daughter. And she knows, better than anyone, that no matter how vigilant her father is, her brother will one day grow up as well. It expresses the futility of parenting. You wish to do right by your children and, because you are their parents, everything else in the world seems somewhat malicious.
Whereas the story takes place in the British Isles where the faerie hill makes sense, the film takes place in rural South Carolina (but no one sounds like they're from South Carolina), leaving the mythology of the hill to be kind of fudged. They make the argument for some kind of Native American mythology related to the mounds (which they say in the film, link many civilizations across the globe) and apparently some gods (called mound walkers) who lived within the mounds. The entire concept is explained parallel to the lifeforce of an ant colony - many workers, one queen ant, and a replacement queen ant coming to power, etc. While obviously made up, and a little silly, the mythology lends itself to certain themes within the original story that have translated to the film.
For example, the opposing forces of light and dark. Dark seems to prey on the light - attack the light, even. Dark -haired Louisa pushes the blonde bully down the stairs and seems constantly at odds with her blonde father and tow-headed brother, and her brother's blonde teacher. Her doll Molly (later replaced with creepy spider-bearing straw-doll from hell) is also blonde. Blonde hair seems to represent an ideal or a promise of childhood that is targeted and disposed of by puberty.
The red eyes of the story are gone, but it's replaced with a very creepy vision of Louisa with darkened eyelids (as if she's wearing too much eye makeup - this is how dad Kevin Costner knows that his daughter is gone), and when Louisa comes home covered in mud and crouches in the tub, there's a swirl of scarlet within the brown run-off, indicating a wound? or menstruation? or that she was raped by the scary mound people. Unfortunately, the latter seems to make the most sense for the mythology and process of the film. Yuck.
Along with the interesting chest-level shot early in the film, there's a deliberate attempt to highlight the father's metaphorical near-sightedness....with actual near-sightedness. He wears a pair of specs around his neck at all times, and I really appreciated that bit of nonsense.
Unlike the creepy pale-faced no-eyed faeries of Connolly's story, there's a human-sized threat in the film. I liken the revelation of their presence to a cross between "Lost"'s smoke monster, and the anticlimactic appearance of the green alien in the Brazilian videotape in M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs". The sound effects were boar-ish and wheezing at once. I was almost convinced that the real monster was the smoking man from the X-Files!
But then I heard it eat the nanny and grab Erik Palladino out of the police car, and I realized that William B. Davis simply was not nimble enough to pull that off. And then Kevin finds himself in the kitchen with it, and I was pretty sure it was floating. It looked like something out of the Ninja turtles cartoon series. My exact stream of consciousness response was "Is it floating? Is it a giant ant? SHIT. SHIT. WHAT THE FUCK? SHIT. It looks like an ant with Walter Cronkite's head on it! WHAT THE FUCK!" (Yes, that's transcribed from what I wrote while watching the film).
Now, the story ends pretty eerily - the daughter has changed, the father lives in constant fear, he holds onto his son (until he inevitably grows up). But the film takes it a few steps further and past the realm of any kind of examination of parenting society. Kevin tells the son to stay in the house and wait for the police and tell them to call (divorced) Mommy. Kevin (who conveniently has dead cop Erik Palladino's car (and arsenal?) at his disposal runs to the mound and follows the tunnel and carries his daughter's body out, only to be chased by creepy golum-ant-walter-cronkite-kraken-looking things. Then his "daughter" begs him to stop but he sees the too-much-makeup look and knows it's not her, so he seals the hole and blows the mound up.
We see this through the eyes of the son who's left the house and now stands framed by the fence in the yard. He sees the explosion, and we watch as his eyes go from upset to hopeful. He obviously sees a figure in the distance. He says "dad?" and we hear a twig snap, a hint of a smoking man wheeze, and then we see a creepy golum kraken monster a few feet behind him AND THAT'S IT.
WHAT?!?! What happened to the very human study of puberty, the father and daughter always being at odds, a father's need to protect his son? Where did it go? GOLUM KRAKEN WALTER CRONKITE!!
Tar spots occur when the intelligent awareness of a need to repave the city streets of New York collides disastrously with the fervent desire to get said repaving done ASAP! (in the last two weeks of May). Rule of thumb for the city of New York - we will have a 90+° day at some point in the last week of May. I guess today wouldn't have been SO bad if it weren't so sticky. Flip flops sticking to your feet, clothes sticking to your skin, long earrings swinging and getting stuck to your neck, as if you turned on a vacuum sealer on the inside of your pores.
On a day like this, you get a freshly paved spot of road that sits in the sunlight from about 10am to 4pm and right about at noon, the tar begins to melt again. It hasn't been able to bake and cool and settle appropriately. It just liquefies, and you end up with a tar spot which most people seem to be able to avoid. But put that very sunny piece of road just south of Times Square, and it's kind of a different story. (Just outside of my bank, they not only had tar spots, but they had just painted the top of this fire hydrant and some poles that surround it....I wasn't paying attention and I stepped to the side to check something before entering the bank and I ended up with warm silver paint on my jeans. See? It could happen to anyone.)
When I left my bank this afternoon, I was crossing the street to the Duane Reade when I realized the man who'd been walking next to me wasn't there anymore. As I stepped onto the curb I turned around and realized he had stepped right into a very wet tar spot and his sneaker was actually stuck to the street. His friend had to grab his arm and pull to help him out of it. And puddle man was irate about his sneaker! He started bitching about the bottom of his shoe and waah waah wahh....I would have been more upset about being stuck in the middle of the street, yeah?!?
Hopefully it'll be a little cooler tomorrow and it will (if all predictions come true) rain tomorrow and cool the earth, the asphalt, the tar and save another pair of shoes (which I'm sure someone will wear and ruin in the rain.)
Maybe it's the Girl Scout in me...or maybe the camper...or just the Floridian (I know, I know, how many people did she eat!?!?!)....but I love a citronella candle. For one thing, mosquitoes hate 'em. And I hate mosquitoes. For another, there's no gross smell that you get from some fancy candles. Don't mistake me - I like some fancy candles. But some of them are just downright WRONG.
For me, citronella candles make for a sign of summer that makes me wanna eat BBQ and jump in the ocean and watch fireworks. It brings back some wonderful memories from Girl Scout camp (well, before I was fired), and I wish I was back at the lake, lying on the dock (before the lake became infested with alligators), watching the stars while the river otters poked their heads out of the water to see what we were (they've probably been eaten by said alligators).
Here's one of my citronella candles (they come in a pack of 3 from cvs in cute little metal buckets) with my tomato plant on the right, and my basil and garlic on the left. My windowsill is a veritable pizza seasoning station.
The end of LOST
Maybe I'm one of the few - I'm not sure, because I haven't seen any scientific opinion polling - but I loved the end of LOST. I've heard some people say that they feel like they've wasted their time on the show, I've heard others say that the end was a cop-out, I even read an article right after the finale aired (in the New York Times) that obviously just missed the point entirely. I thought it was perfect.
Suddenly the world of the show (and actually some of the real world...I do let these things sometimes influence my philosophical viewpoint) made sense. The way that they chose to stagger the ending - having (without revealing TOO much for anyone who hasn't seen it) each group of persons figure it out individually instead of trying to explain it all at once - it was beautiful.
True, I felt like a teeeeeny bit at the end there was a little cheesy and little too, shall we say, Catholic(?) for my tastes when it comes to a show that has so promoted secularism, the balance and the symmetry made up for it it. There was a silvery fin de siècle feel about it all. I can't think of the last television show that felt so contained and yet so epic. And I don't know that we'll see anything like it again any time soon. Honestly, anything that cropped up sooner rather than later that also felt like Lost would probably suffer the fate of one who expects to stand in the embers and not get burned by the flame.
Kind of like the guy in the middle of the road in the tar spot. Watch where you're going.
PS - it's Fleet Week. Hollaaaaaaaaa.
Okay, so that goes without saying, really, I mean...it was a Florida public school and the fact that I made out with any kind of basic knowledge of anything should be a credit to the individual teachers, as well as my own passion for learning (since, if either I or my teachers had gone by the recommended curriculum of the day, I would have never made it back out of Florida). But still, I feel like I was gypped.
In my high school (which was, and still is, an arts magnet school), the theatre kids had English and Theatre classes back to back so as to keep certain lessons and certain projects in tandem and consistent. As a result, sometimes the lines between fact and literary fiction would get a little blurred. And it's not as if our 11th grade American History teacher did anything to help that. I've said this before - some of those teachers didn't know anything outside of the basic curriculum, so we got screwed.
Anyway, in our theatre-oriented English class we read a ton of New England drama/poetry (in preparation for our annual trip) and we read The Crucible by Arthur Miller (which takes the facts of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, runs them through a rinse cycle, and lays them out flat to dry into a metaphor for the McCarthy hearings). (Prior to that, I had read Kathryn Lasky's Beyond the Burning Time which explores a lot of the themes that are historically established in Boyer and Nissenbaum's history, but I had read it as summer reading prior to freshman year of high school so there was a test on it, but it was never discussed). That same year, we took the annual bus ride up to the north east, visited Walden Pond, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Salem, Mass.
Even modern day Salem seems to be in on the trickery. They have the name, so they have the fame - even though Salem Village (where the drama really took place) eventually became Danvers, Mass with just a little bit of overlap into Salem Town. And in the spirit of capitalizing on their witch-themed merchandise and ghost tours, they don't really tell you any different. They don't mention that most of the turmoil leading up to the accusations came from a split in the community - half wanting to maintain their membership in Salem Town and explore their commercial options, half wanting to segregate themselves and become independent of the very town that now hosts explosions of tourism every Halloween season.
Don't get me wrong - I love Salem. I've been back since that high school trip, and I've loved every second of it. I've done the ghost tours, I've shopped the mystical shops, I love the atmosphere that town has in October. But I feel like knowing what I SHOULD have known then, I'm disappointed. I'm excited to go again having all of this information and revisiting my experiential opinion of the place, but I wish I had had the real history, before.
Boyer and Nissenbaum have done their research. The book may be a few decades old, but with a topic that's now over 300 years old, a few decades doesn't make a lot of difference. Their exploration into the financial logistics of Salem Village's situation in the 17th century is a little boring at times, but their explanation of the divisions within the community between the Putnams and the Porters, on the side for or against Rev. Parris, and between Village and Town is remarkable. Sometimes I have to kick myself to remind me that people actually kept personal records in the 1600s and they had some of the same problems we have today (and not wholly plebeian, as I so often mistakenly think).
The facts are good, but on that same token, Boyer and Nissenbaum seem to lay aside any concerns from the religious standpoint. In the 17th century, with religion being the way it was, witchcraft was a scientific plausibility. Forget the social aspect of it - the idea of a witch/wizard/devil appearing in specter form to a victim was a rational concept! It wasn't JUST the socioeconomic situation that drove these trials to the head that they reached, it was the belief that such things could truly be.
Today, you need a video camera and a television or a projector with a screen to accomplish what the "afflicted" claimed they saw in 1692. Throw in the pinching and tormenting, and you just need to actually be present, screw technology. But that seems to be left out of Boyer and Nissenbaum's scope of understanding. They leave out half of the psychological impetus and that, to me, makes it an incomplete narrative. Seems to me, if you're going to lay a claim of understanding of the "social origins" of anything, it shouldn't just be the monetary end of that understanding.
The lawn always opens at 5, Movies will begin at sundown (usually between 8 and 9pm)
Mon 6/21 - Goldfinger
The third James Bond movie has it all: Sean Connery, a catchy theme song, ingenious gadgets, scary villains, an iconic Bond girl, and a hair-raising climax inside Fort Knox. Honor Blackman achieves cinematic immortality as Pussy Galore. (1964) 111 Min. (MGM)
Mon 6/28 - Carousel
Shiftless carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Gordon MacRae) returns from purgatory to right some wrongs in this musical of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway smash. Shirley Jones co-stars as the woman who makes Billy want to change his ways. (1956) 128 Min. CinemaScope (Twentieth Century Fox)
Mon 7/5 - The French Connection
Gene Hackman won an Oscar for his portrayal of Popeye Doyle, a profane NYC narcotics cop obsessed with stopping an international drug ring. Much of the action was filmed in NYC, including the greatest car/subway chase of all time. (1971) 104 Min. (Twentieth Century Fox)
Mon 7/12 - My Man Godfrey
Socialite Carole Lombard hires tramp William Powell as her wealthy family's butler. Not quite what he seems to be, Powell ends up teaching her frenetic household valuable life lessons. A wonderful mix of crazy screwball comedy and trenchant Depression-era social commentary. (1936) 95 Min. (Universal)
Mon 7/19 - The China Syndrome
Ambitious TV reporter (Jane Fonda) and her radical cameraman (Michael Douglas) work to expose the cover-up of an accident at a nuclear plant, aided by an earnest shift supervisor (Jack Lemmon). Prophetically released just two weeks before the real-life disaster at Three Mile Island. (1979) 123 Min. (Sony/Columbia)
Mon 7/26 - Monty Python and the Holy Grail
A huge hit that introduced many throughout the world to the Python troupe's insanely funny characters including King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the taunting Frenchmen, Knights who say "Ni!", shrubbery, and one nasty rabbit. (1975) 90 Min. (Python [Monty] Pictures)
Mon 8/2 - Rosemary's Baby
Roman Polanski's satanic shocker still packs a punch. Winsome Mia Farrow is married to a selfish actor (John Cassavetes) who will do just about anything to land a role. Ruth Gordon and Ralph Bellamy lend creepy support, as does the Dakota apartment building. (1968) 136 min. (Paramount)
Mon 8/9 - The Goodbye Girl
Struggling NYC actor Richard Dreyfuss unhappily shares an apartment with an unemployed dancer (Marsha Mason) and her precocious 10-year-old daughter. Neil Simon's romantic comedy testament of just how the ones we grow to love drive us crazy. (1977) 110 Min. (Warner Bros.)
Mon 8/16 - Twelve Angry Men
Henry Fonda is the lone holdout on a jury deliberating a murder trial on a hot summer day in NYC. A stellar cast of character actors lends superb support as jurors initially convinced that the accused is guilty. Can Fonda persuade them otherwise? Sidney Lumet's first directorial masterpiece. (1957) 95 Min. (MGM)
Mon 8/23 - Bonnie & Clyde
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are the two most attractive bank robbers ever to rampage across the Midwest. The supporting cast includes Estelle Parsons (who won an Oscar), and Michael J. Pollard as the gang's none-too-bright accomplice. One of the most influential movies of the 1960's. (1967) 111 Min. (Warner Bros.)
This epistolary novel revolves around art-school-dropout Misty Marie Kleinman Wilmot and her fated existence among the chipped paint facades of Waytansea Island, located somewhere, it seems, in New Jersey. Appropriate for a hellish existence, New Jersey. There, she has been baited and lured, and now she hangs on the line as her life, and her previous lives, flash before her/our eyes.
The novel is not without merit. It’s intelligent and colorful and, if nothing else, proves that someone’s done their painting homework. But anything written in (even semi-) second person (i.e. addressing the reader as a character) as this is, can be jarring, unnerving and uncomfortable. It was like having an anxiety attack for three days straight.
Somewhere around page 200 I decided that I didn’t completely hate it, that it wasn’t just some sadistic need to be reading that kept me doing so, that there was something of me in it relating to the art. But as I reached the last few chapters, that vicious self-serving need to just finish the damn book took the wheel again. By the end, I felt like Peter Wilmot, sitting alone, gas tank empty, engine exhausted, poisoned by prose-y sleeping pills and fumes.
But the real kicker came when the story seemed over. On the last page of the book, Palahniuk does exactly what I loathe, exactly what Porter Grand did with Little Women and Werewolves by including the fictionalized publisher’s letter and exhibiting the novel as a previous version by Alcott. It’s a cop-out. Palahniuk’s work is far too intelligent to sink to that kind of nonsense. Better to end on an anxious high than sink in the finale with that kind of kick in the head that makes the psychological and kind of horrifying tone of the novel feel trivial and dull like hard plastic.
Unlike those two Austen works (published by Quirk), Little Women and Werewolves comes to us from Del Rey (an imprint of Random House) and is co-written by new author Porter Grand. While the werewolf gimmick works well within the confines of the sometimes homely and blasé source material, I have the same complaint about it that I had for the two Austen mashups; there is an all-around serious lack of irony that seems necessary in horror films and yet does not appear in these novels. Amanda Grange's Mr. Darcy, Vampyre had ample irony, but it lacked a good enough story to make that irony worth the trouble.
In all three of these mashups, the gimmick is included in the main story within the first sentence. I get it. You need a hook. I accept that. But the title should do that. I would appreciate this book so much more if the characters didn't start off talking about their book's particular affliction as if they've never done so before. In Little Women and Werewolves, their full-moon-challenged canine friends have been around for quite some time. It seems almost lazy to bring it up on page one if page one has nothing to do with the horror.
Grand, in this case, has included a fictional letter prior the story's text from a publisher by the name of Mandrake Wells to Louisa May Alcott. It hints that the story we're going to read is in fact a "lost manuscript" of Alcott's, a version of Little Women before the final edit. I hate it when authors do that. I know it's in the spirit of fun, but I just think it's rude. Granted, history tells us that Alcott had an affinity for the gothic novel and for the more fantastical end of fiction. But the highly sexualized presence of the werewolves seems unlikely for Alcott. Example a) the scene where Jo spots Laurie through the window, example b) the scene were Laurie fulfills the condition that Amy made for their getting married, example c) Beth and Mr. Laurence's relationship.
The author here has set her book apart from the Quirk mashups in one other kind of a peculiar way. With Austen, we were talking about Zombies and Sea Monsters, both of which are just that; they are constantly that which horrifies. In these cases, they're an everyday problem, or at least it's made so by putting London in an underwater dome. *sigh* But with werewolves, they're only really a problem on the night of the full moon. Sure, the stigma continues to be there, but it's been made clear that the upper classes (and most of Europe) have accepted that anyone could be or become a werewolf, and that they're only dangerous for 12 (12.37) nights per year. And even then, most of them are overly conscious of their behavior and they will only kill when they absolutely must (or, apparently for some kind of revenge).
The real monsters in this book would appear to be "The Brigade," an army of leather- and metal-covered men whose goal is to discover and kill werewolves and their sympathizers. However, they are pretty consistently arresting and murdering non-werewolves and an array of persons who may or may not be sympathetic to the lycanthrope society. If they were truly doing their job correctly, then by the end of the book everyone would be dead. Unfortunately for them, their presence is mostly laughable and Alcott's characters both survive and thrive, as she meant them to.
Little Women and Werewolves
By Louisa May Alcott and Porter Grand
(May 4, 2010)
When I answered the phone, she asked for one specific person from that department - the person who's been the bane of many existences for several years now, the person who's actually gone so far as to forge letters from some of our customers, and still manages to keep their job. This is a person who works on commission. They're the "nicest person in the world" because they're selling something. They want you to buy something so that they can reap the benefits. Well, in this case, the customer wanted something that a commissioned employee couldn't sell, so it came to me.
I was happy to sell this woman a ticket, but she was using a discount and she wanted something specific for seating - she wanted something that we would not have in the period of time she wanted to go. I tried to explain this in the simplest and choicest terms possible without saying "don't buy tickets", but even that didn't seem to be getting through. Inevitably, it got to the point where I was only repeating myself, saying "I'm sorry, we don't have what you're looking for." Several times. I offered to check other dates, but that wasn't happening.
She finally told me that I was the worst person at our company that she'd ever spoken to and that she hoped someone was listening (our calls get recorded sometimes....they weren't today...and even if they were, it would be proof of her insanity and nothing else). I did my best with what she gave me - specific dates and a discount and specific seats - it just wasn't going to happen. And I apologized over and over that the seats we had weren't what she wanted, and I was as patient with her as anyone could have been - sure, I've been known to lose my cool, but that didn't happen here. She was just so used to working with people who are trying to essentially con her with kindness, that she couldn't handle fact, nice as I was. She was so adapted to being lied to and promised impossibilities, that she took offense to the truth.
It makes me reflect a little bit on what exactly people are expecting when they call. Are they so coddled by Macy's cashiers and hotel concierge and Cheesecake Factory waitresses that they can't handle something NOT being done for them the way they want it to happen? I mean it's insane. I don't live in that world. I have a decent amount of discomfort when it comes to calling in orders for anything - my sister and I used to fight over who should call in the Pizza Hut order, but I still do it and I still manage to get what I need done without being completely exasperated (except when I'm on the phone with Dell tech support, but that's to be expected). I can't take offense to what this lady said to me about being "the worst" because it's obvious that she lives in a cushiony world of illusion (where she'll have to imagine this production for which she now has no tickets).
Pride & Prejudice (the graphic novel - Marvel) by Jane Austen, adapted by Nancy Butler & Hugo Petrus
My fellow commuters began getting visibly antsy around minute 10. When we hit minute 15 or so, an announcement was finally made: “Good day, ladies and gentlemen, this is your conductor speaking, may I have your attention. We are currently being held due to train traffic ahead of us. We do anticipate moving along shortly. Thank you for your attention, and for your patience.” Nice conductor right? Pleasant. And lying. At minute 25, “Good day, ladies and gentlemen, this is your conductor speaking, thank you for your attention. We are being held at this time by the dispatcher due to a passenger injury at 14th street. We should be moving along shortly. Thank you again, ladies and gentlemen.” The car was suddenly flooded in toothy exhalation, as if I was surrounded by large hissing snakes clad in t-shirts and flip flops. I seemed to be the only person in the car who didn’t feel inconvenienced. It was noon. I was already late for work. I had already called the office to say I might be a few minutes late – any extension of that period would be explained and forgiven later.
I wondered how serious said “injury” was that it halted service. And I wondered why everyone around me seemed to have a beef with an unknown passenger, with an unknown injury. They seemed concerned only with where they needed to be. At about minute 30 we moved. Slowly. By the time we got to 86th Street it had to be minute 35 or 40. The doors opened, but the tension remained bottled within the confines of our car as if we’d been vacuum-sealed to the tracks. A minute or two later, an announcement on the platform: “Your attention please. Due to an earlier incident, Number 4, 5 and 6 trains are not running in either direction. As an alternative take the number [inadible] bus…” Panic. Exhale. Half of the population exited the car and ran up the stairs. Not me. They hadn’t ordered us off of the train. No announcement had been made on the train itself. Me and 40 of my comrades waited it out.
Finally, the announcement at minute 45: “Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please, due to a passenger injury at 14th street, the last stop on this train will be 42nd Street Grand Central. To continue downtown, please transfer at 42nd Street to a shuttle train, or the number 7, and take a west side train to your destination. Again the last stop on this train will be 42nd Street Grand Central.” Panic. Inhale. The doors close. By now, I think most everyone has concluded with me that the person on 14th street must be dead….either that, or something worse has happened…an explosion? A suspicious package? The foot clan? Where are the Ninja Turtles when you need them?
15 minutes or so later we’ve arrived on the uptown platform at Grand Central. Everyone who got off the train seemed to have an air of calm about them. Somehow taking away the choice of riding the 5 train due to a potential death has calmed the world down. Grand Central is in its regular buzz, but something is different. The swarm of commuters heading to the shuttle is immense. The group exiting the train from the west side is even more so. They step off of the shuttle and into the fluorescent light of the platform, shading their eyes as if they’ve just arrived in a new unknown world. These would be the folks who got stranded at 14th Street and had to take a train to Times Square to get here. Many of them have probably never seen this end of the shuttle terminal. And on this platform where north-bound and south-bound have met, there’s a universal feeling of sensitive acknowledgement of what has happened. Someone probably died. Gone are the muttering, sneering, hissing commuters who’ve been inconvenienced. It feels almost like a memorial service…for someone you never met. There’s no anger, only silence.
When I got home, I searched and scoured the internet for mention of the event. The only one I could find was on the City Blog of the Times website – not the MTA website, not the NYC website, not blogs, not twitter, nothing. A person died and no one wants to talk about it.
While I still can’t get through quite a few of them, there are shining examples with more than passable literary merit that I’ve had the good fortune to stumble upon. One of these in particular, which I feel like I should have read some time ago, is Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis which recounts her childhood from the years 1979-1983 in Iran during the revolution. Her cast of characters includes herself, her parents, her maid and her grandmother, and a carousel of political-prisoner-uncles and neighbors. It’s a story about socio-political structure, and about war, but most importantly it is about freedom.
When I was in school—in history classes—our education was limited to x number of years. “World History” in my high school ended in World War I. “American History” in the same school ended in the Korean War. My Western History class in college ended sometime during the Reagan administration. My college American History course ended somewhere around FDR. All of that being said, none of my classes were focused on what was happening in Persia once we got around about to Charlamagne in 1066. Iran was never mentioned as Iran, let alone the revolution happening there. Even the Iranian hostage crisis – the first time I heard of that was on one of the anniversaries of their release, on television.
My education thus far – especially my Florida education – was biased toward America every step of the way. Very few allowances were made for America being wrong in what they did. Thanks, FOX News. In similar fashion, young Marji witnesses the discrepancies between what is reported and what truly happens. In this way, her testimony is a reflection of both the Iranian experience as well as the universal experience. Her fiery response to being subjugated as a woman bears the same two-sided reflection. Her honesty is what makes the piece so unique, so superb.
It is this honesty that gives her narration its edge – she does not shy away from the pain and the death. She does not deny her reader the grim light of the true experience. The amusing and singularly “comic” aspect of the comic-book format allows her to balance the images in our mind with her somewhat humorous illustration of a body that has been cut into pieces. All this made even more approachable and comic by the presence of an illustrated Karl-Marx-like God who feeds young Marji’s conscious need for affirmation in her pursuit of feminine freedom and fame.
Free for All: Joe Papp, The Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told, by Kenneth Turan (and Joseph Papp), OR In Memory of Lawrence Sacharow
And I see him everywhere – perhaps not as often as I used to, in the first year after he died. But I still see him. Constantly. It's terrible to know that someone who mentored you so ardently is no longer there to do so, and yet you can see them wherever you go...and they ignore you because...it's not really them.
I picked up this book hoping that it would enable some kind of mind blowing catharsis, that it would let me let go, both of Larry and of what I consider a silly attachment that I have to this thing called theatre. In a funny way, I think it's done its job. I was all set to write a real review of the book and talk about the way that it seems to peter out in the end, painted with huge primary-colored strokes as opposed to the 265-color detail of the first several chapters. And I was all set to comment on the use of collage - the way the interviews are textually collaged into the body of the book to create the history. And I was all set to harp on not having this book as a reference when I was writing my awful awful awful papers. But those things don't matter when I consider the real reasons for having it in my collection. Reading about Joe again has left me weeping - a little bit for the success of the NYSF, and a little bit for the memories, and a lot for the passion that reminds me so much of Larry.
It's funny because this book has absolutely nothing to do with Larry Sacharow. After all, it was Peter Brook who believed in Jerzy Grotowski, and who did the epic Mahabharata (it was by Larry's insistence that Ratan Thiyam came to Fordham to direct The Blind Age which is similar in structure and story). And yet, it kind of has everything to do with Larry Sacharow. He was a revolutionary, a fighter, an inspiration. And having that idea come back to me by riding on Joe Papp's coat tails...it is cathartic. And, in a way, it brings a sort of peace.
1. The library in Beauty and the Beast
2. The way a Tomato Plant smells
3. Lightning and Thunder
4. Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese
5. Hilarious zombie movies that not only star Jeffrey Combs, but have a terrible music video to go with them, to boot.
6. (I don't care if they're smelly, I love) Garlic & Onions
7. Rainbow Brite and the color kids
8. Yellow Accessories
9. Coral Reefs
10. Blue Glass
11. Jane Austen
12. Central Park Ramble
13. pretending to conduct while walking
14. the cello
15. Diet Coke
16. splashing in puddles
18. Malibu rum
20. flip flops
21. "It Takes Two"
22. Old musty books
23. Marine Mammals
24. Jaws...with Dutch subtitles. Who ring di mig?
25. National Geographic