Monday, March 31, 2008

"I'm cranky."

Maybe it was the fact that it was Monday or that there was a steady drizzle, but New York was in a collective bad mood this morning. When I got on the Q train to get to work, I spied numerous open seats and I chose one next to an old man holding a cane, a seat that was preferable to the others because it had aisle access. Mistake No. 1. As soon as I tried to sit down, the old man raised his free hand and pushed -- PUSHED! -- me away from the open seat with a vigorous shake of his head. Shocked, I merely went towards the other open seats, which I discovered were covered in subway schmutz. Mistake No. 2.

Figuring that I just wasn't meant to sit down during my commute, I settled to a position near a pole and made eye contact with a woman who had witnessed my encounter with the nasty old man. She shook her head and gave me that, "Can you believe that fucking guy??" look of sympathy. Except I think she was Russian, but rudeness obviously crosses the language barrier.

When I got the coffee shop by my office for some toast, the man next to me in line berated one of the workers behind the counter calling him a stupid idiot. Sigh. I put a dollar in the tip jar to offset everyone's surliness when it came time to pay.

Later when I ventured out for lunch, I went down to Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries for dinner tonight. Maybe my young checkout lady sensed the weight of the inauspicious day on my damp shoulders, but she cheerfully (genuinely, yes) asked how I was and how my weekend was.

"Fine," I replied and began to help her take my items out of the shopping basket.

"Oh no, you don't have to do that. Take a break!" she said as she reached for the item that I was about to take out myself. "It looks like this is one of the few moments you've gotten to take a break today."

"Yeah, I try to come here during lunch as the after work crowd is a nightmare."

"I sensed a work time shopping trip," she said buoyantly as she rung up my items. Was she flirting with me?

"Indeed. Grocery shopping is never ending. It's such a sisyphean task."

She laughed loudly over the din of shoppers. "You should know that you're the first person today to use the word sisyphean at this check out!"

"Do I win a gold star?"

"You do win my admiration. It's just a word you don't hear," she replied as she pulled over a nearby coworker and alerted him to my adept use adjectives. The news was met with a smile and I felt the nastiness of my morning melting away. "People should use the word sisyphean more often," she added.

"Thanks for making my afternoon," I answered, my mood improving. "This makes a nice contrast to getting pushed out of a subway seat by an old man."



She handed me my shopping bag. "Well I hope your day gets better!"

"Yeah except now it's back to my sisyphean job," I said and shuffled out into the rain.

"You're so beautiful. I'm going to sing you a Hall and Oates song."

In a fit, I found myself scrubbing every surface of the kitchen with green tinged cleaner on Saturday. Ms. K had complained that there was cat hair everywhere and I felt sensitive to the cleanliness of my home lest it was a reflection of myself. I took to the trash can vigorously, spraying and buffing the chrome with a wad of paper towel.

Bent over, I was well aware that Ms. K was watching me from behind. As my spectacular badonkadonk bobbed up and down with each pass of paper towel over metal, Ms. K began to pull at my pants.

"Mmmm, you should be a naked maid," she mused.

I feigned annoyance and brushed off her advance as I focused on getting the trash can sparkling clean. However I could feel my clothes slipping off in spite.

"Mmmm, I just want to take a bite out of you," she said before teeth playfully met exposed skin.

There was a long pause. Still bent over and partially naked, body anticipating the next touch, I could feel Ms. K behind me but I couldn't tell what she was doing.

"You have some toilet paper stuck in your butt."

I whipped around and saw a gleeful look on her face. Mortified, I pulled up my pants and tried to flee to the other room. She grabbed at my arms, laughing, and tried to prevent my escape.

"Don't touch me!" I protested. "I need to go die now!"

Ms. K could barely speak, her words choked by waves of laughter. We were practically wrestling in the kitchen as I tried to make my escape.

"No, baby, come here!"


I pulled free and darted into the bathroom, locking the door behind me.

"Aw," I could hear her say from the other side of the frosted glass. "I still love you."

Mortification. Let me show you it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Caution: Contents may be hot and delicious."

"Was it really necessary to devote two blog entries to bourbon?" Ms. K asked from behind the opened screen of her laptop.

"Yes. Yes it was," I replied with mock indignation.

From the other room I saw her overnight bag in the corner with its contents spilling onto the oriental rug in my bedroom. Her hair serum joined her perfume on my dresser only inches from her brush. On the nearby coffee table rested her cigarettes and lighter.

You wouldn't be mistaken in thinking that Ms. K has kinda been living with me as her stretches between going back to Pennsylvania have gotten longer and longer. It's the first time I've lived with a lover, even if in a quasi way, since 1999. Although we've been very careful to avoid any U-haul-esque behavior, her recent run of Dickensian like bad luck had made it better financially for her visits to be longer as she looks for work in New York. Basically it's costing roughly $70 in gas and tolls to go back and forth between Brooklyn and Pennsylvania, an expense that quickly adds up.

Despite the stress of what Ms. K has had to endure recently, I have to say that it has been really nice waking up next to her in the mornings as it has been coming home to her propped up in my bed with her laptop (even if she does question the subject matter of my blog entries). She's pretty, smells nice, and is especially cute when she's sleeping. We get along great opting to spend days off in bed or walking through Prospect Park and Park Slope. The only things we fight about are who gets to cook dinner, what gets cooked for dinner, movie selection, and why my cats can't magically turn into dogs.

Hopefully all good portents, right?

(Ms. K sent me the ecard shown at the top of this entry this morning. Obviously we get along in the bedroom too.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Old man, you give those dogs another piece of my food, I'm gonna kick ya till you're dead."

All my talk of bourbon left me in want of a good Manhattan cocktail -- the good Manhattan I was denied on Saturday when a Park Slope bartender served me up an unfortunate shaken concoction of bourbon and sweet vermouth. So last night my roommate Libby and I dipped into the good stuff at home -- Hudson Valley Baby Bourbon -- and polished off the tiny bottle while watching streamed copies on her laptop of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (how apropos for Easter, yes?) and Moonstruck from a Chinese website.

When done properly a Manhattan is like a smoky elixir, dark and complex as it swirls around the glass, and I made sure to add the bitters. Libby agreed with me that a well made Manhattan is hard to come by in the city (unless you got the big bucks to frequent such places as Death & Company, Milk and Honey, or Pegu Club). So we relished the three drinks that each of us had, which probably explains why my head hurts a little this morning.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"I'll order something else."

Okay, so since I'm in the mood to kvetch . . .

Dear New York City bartenders,*

I love you all. Really. I also love bourbon and whisky. But I am concerned by the amount of you who don't know how to make a Manhattan cocktail and it makes me sad inside. It's not difficult and since we are in New York City I feel that this should be one of the cocktails you nail. It's not like I'm asking for a Mint Julep or a Rum Runner, beverages well suited for other localities. No, I'm asking for a Manhattan.

Let us review the recipe:

- 3 parts bourbon (or rye)
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- dash of Angostura bitters
- garnish with a maraschino cherry

Did you notice something? The third ingredient? Bitters. This is crucial, yet you forget to add it. What, you don't have bitters? What sort of fucking bar doesn't have bitters?? What you serve me time and again is bourbon and sweet vermouth. If I wanted bourbon and sweet vermouth I would have ordered it.

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be a douchebag. I know it's a grueling profession, but someone has to point out the obvious. And if you don't have any bitters, just do a girl a favor and warn me of the fact. I'll order something else.

* You're perfect, Rachel. J'accuse your colleagues though.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"What's a deductible?"

Bear with me for a second.

While it's easy to paint the face of America's uninsured as aged pensioners or the lowly masses toiling at the bottom of the labor chain, those without access to health care are people like Ms. K -- young, educated, and in professions that don't offer coverage. Or rather in her case, self employed. (New York Magazine wrote an excellent article a year ago about this.)

Ms. K ranks as one of the 47 million Americans who do not have health care. That's 47 million, or twice the population of Australia. This is a scandal. No, this is a fucking scandal. While other countries have managed to get it together and provide nationalized health care, we are the geniuses who value the dollar over alleviating the suffering of millions.

So what is it like to be an uninsured American? The cost of Ms. K's asthma medicine is $300 a month, not to mention the cost of pills to relieve her allergy to my cats. When she slipped on some ice recently and injured herself quite a bit, the mending was left to me as a trip to the emergency room was definitely out of the budget. (Let's hope that stabbing pain in her right rib cage goes away.) When she was horribly sick a couple months ago and staving off pneumonia, I came up with some creative ways to use my insurance to get her access to antibiotics and I let her use up an old prescription for Pseudovent.

To me health care was always something I took for granted because, well, I have it. When I recently spent nineteen hours at the hospital, the final bill came to $5,130.50. I paid nothing.

But what is it like to be gay and have a partner who is uninsured? Not that I'm looking to run off to Vegas with Ms. K, but what if we were to marry? That wouldn't solve the problem because not all health care companies offer domestic partner benefits. This is also a fucking scandal.

So there you go, both the uninsured and the gays are second class citizens in this country. Time to move to Canada.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"You must stay grounded."

I sometimes have reoccurring dreams where I am at the beach, which for me will always be the Delaware shore where I spent the summers of my childhood and teenage years. There's always a disconcerting feeling to these dreams and in this version the weathered houses along Essex Street are dilapidated or abandoned, the usually peaceful Atlantic swells angrily as it slowly devours the coastline and picks apart at wooden structures.

But one of the houses holds its ground, a house that has has withstood many a hurricane and Nor'easter since its construction in the 1920s when the area was nothing but miles and miles of barely inhabited sand dunes. Somehow the house continues to survive.

From there dream the scene switches into a room filled with people as if a lecture has just ended. As everyone disperses, I spy the lecturer, an older woman, and engage her in some conversation about chakras. I tell her that my third eye has been tingling lately and she makes a motion towards the center of my forehead. The tingling suddenly grows intense as if a swirling energy vortex has erupted. Instinctively I touch my forehead and discover that the skin has raised into a diamond like shape cluster of goose bumps. Again she makes a motion towards my third eye and prismatic color shoots along the periphery of my vision.

As I am experiencing this amazing sensation, she says, "You must stay grounded."

That's all I remember.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"I don't want to have to worry about you."

It's Monday, so how about a weekend round up to start your week.

* Of course it was inevitable that upon writing that I have been crying to strangers that I would hear from more than a couple of concerned people. Signe, an old friend from DC, called and asked, "Are you okay? I don't want to have to worry about you." Yes, I promise that I'm okay. Doesn't everyone have public breakdowns?? Oh. (At least it wasn't me crying on the F Train!)

* It was good to meet up with some old friends at the Lifer Bar on Friday evening -- good because I've been MIA recently. Sinclair, Maire, and I talked about dildos, harnesses, and the etiquette of online dating, which engendered this blog entry. Oh how I don't miss being on the front lines of dating. It's very nice to have a lady to snuggle up with in my bed.

* Because the German movie The Lives Of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) is easily one of the best movies I've seen in the last ten years, I watched it twice this weekend after having it delivered from Netflix.

* Keep sending those good vibes, people. Ms. K has had a couple of job interviews lately and if all goes well I will be seeing her more in "the Brooklyn." In fact she has a job interview tomorrow morning. And as for her car that recently got broken into and smashed up, it's in the shop and this is the rental car they gave her. Monster truck! Let the lesbian jokes begin.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Thieves! Thievery!"

The short explanation, only because it relates somewhat to the events of this morning, of why I was crying to strangers on Tuesday is that Ms. K has had a recent Dickensian like streak of gargantuan bad luck that has put a very large wrench into her plans of returning to New York City permanently. Whatever lot of misfortune you could possibly be thinking of has happened to her in the last six months. (Okay, maybe not that shark attack that you over there in Australia were thinking of. Knock on wood, right?)

I got myself into a state of tears as I was worried that these series of misadventures would suddenly get the better of my relationship with Ms. K. Sometimes fear gets the better of me because I'm human. It happens. I feel bad that she has gone through so much and I've had to learn how to be there for someone who's getting a really shitty deal from the lords of fate.

So this morning's discovery that Ms. K got her car window smashed will hopefully serve as a punctuation to a bad run of luck. The good news is that while it looks like someone was trying to steal the car -- the door was jimmied in one place and the driver's seat was moved back -- they gave up on that plan for whatever reason. Thankfully nothing was stolen* and the car was still there this morning minus the driver's side window.

As she attempted to clean up the damage, Ms. K got to meet the nice people who live on my block as they stopped by to offer their sympathy. A man sweeping the sidewalk near Ms. K's car gave her a plastic bag to put the one billion pieces of broken auto glass into. One woman gave her consolation mostly in French (there are a lot of Hatians in my neighborhood), but knew enough English to say, "Theives! Theivery!"

Yes. Yes indeed. Glass thieves.

Another woman suggested that maybe someone threw something heavy at the window.

"Maybe," Ms. K replied, "but if someone was playing a late night game of 'catch the brick' don't you think there would be something left in the car?"

Fair point.

After the cops arrived and wrote up their report, I came and helped Ms. K brush the rest of the glass off her seat -- no small feat, especially without coffee.

"At least you won't have to roll down the window when you want to smoke a cigarette," I joked. Really, all you can do is joke at this point.

So here's an idea, everyone. How about you all out there in blog reading land -- from Senegal to India, Michigan to New Zealand -- send some collective good vibes to Ms. K. Girlfriend needs it!

** Update **

Ms. K's TomTom, an annoyingly named and portable GPS system, was stolen. But ho! The thing was broken-ish and with any luck the thief (thieves!) is lost somewhere in Paramus.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"And you know what? Everything is going to be okay."

As intimate encounters with strangers go, especially in New York City, the most you can expect is a grope on a crowded subway train. In fact New Yorkers are socially ingrained to avoid intimacy -- that means no eye contact in elevators and if you're lying in street bleeding we might call 911 as we step over you. It's not that we're lacking compassion, but rather in a city of 8 million you learn to guard your personal space more than others.

That said, I had been on the verge of tears for most of yesterday afternoon. Egged on by PMS, I had been worried about something (long story) and the more I thought about it the more my mind fed into my fears. I had sniffled my way to my 3:30 pm appointment with my holistic counselor and by the time I got there, sitting on a bench in the waiting room, I was trying desperately to keep it together.

"Are you okay?" I heard someone ask.

I looked up from my seat and saw a young man sitting across from me. Despite the fact that it was 40 degrees outside, he wore flip-flops with his jeans and a short sleeve shirt under his puffy sleeveless jacket. In his right eyebrow were two silver hoops.

I should state for the record that I am not a crier, much less one who cries in public. But when the guy asked if I was okay, the tears bubbled precariously close to surface.

"Yeah," I lied through a forced smile, voice cracking. "I'll be fine."

A couple of tense minutes passed as I focused on containing my emotions, apparently not doing a very good job.

"Are you sure you're alright?" he asked leaning towards my direction.

"It's nothing."

This time the woman directly across from me weighed in. "It can't be nothing if it's got you this upset."

Oh man, how the tears started to flow.

The guy then gently pointed to the empty seat next to him and motioned me over.

I swear that at any other time and any other location this encounter would have been creepy, but when he extended his hand and said his name was Rob, I was grateful for his genuine compassion.

Rob did his best to console me, especially when I tearfully explained what had been eating at me and apologized for crying in front of a stranger. He said everything that I already knew -- don't feed into fears, everything is a gift, and everything is a learning process. Mostly I just wanted someone to tell me it was going to be okay, which he did. And when it was time for his appointment, he hugged me goodbye.

So thank you, Rob. Thanks for casting aside the no eye contact, no touching rule when you saw someone in distress. Thanks for listening to a blubbering fool of a woman. I felt much better after talking to you and you're right, everything is going to be okay.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"I know it's a butt, but whose butt is it?"

Ms. K has this thing where she really wants to take dirty photos of me. I'm not a fan of this idea because there seems to be a universal rule where naked pictures of yourself end up on the internet -- or at least viewed by a third party. It just happens; there's nothing you can do about it. That said, I allowed Ms. K to take a picture with her cellphone camera of my spectacularly naked badonkadonk -- a picture that she gleefully turned into her cellphone wallpaper.

Yes people, my white ass is my girlfriend's cellphone wallpaper.

But Rouge, you interject. What about that universal rule? Why would you tempt fate? Well I figured it was something to keep Ms. K company during those long and lonely Pennsylvanian nights when she's away from me. She's a big fan of my bandonkadonk, you know.

But . . .

Okay, you're right. I should have known better than to tempt fate. And I shouldn't have been surprised when Ms. K said this to me:

"So my mom saw your butt."

"How did she see my butt??"

"She just picked up my cellphone without asking and when she opened it and saw my wallpaper she did this thing were she looked at me over the top of her glasses and asked, 'What is this?'"

"'It's a butt,' I said. 'I know it's a butt, but whose butt is it?' she asked. Then I told her it was your butt."

I sighed a deep a long sigh that underscored the level of embarrassment I was feeling. "I told you not to show anyone!"

"I didn't show her! She showed herself!"

Ugh. My girlfriend's mom has now seen my white ass. What could be worse?

"She asked why there were holes in your butt," Ms. K continued.

(BTW, In case I die without identification, rest assured that my dead body can be identified by the moles on both of my pale pale ass cheeks.)

"Those are freckles!"

"That's what I told her! Then she took the cellphone and showed it to Keith" -- her boyfriend -- "and asked, 'Do you want a picture of my butt on your cellphone?'"

"Wait. Keith has seen my ass too?"


I gave her another deep sigh.

"But you should feel flattered," Ms. K said. "My mom is going to take a picture of Keith's butt and put it on her cellphone. You've started a trend."

There you go, people. The lesson is to never tempt fate.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"I like a woman with an arse you can park a bike in and balance a pint of beer on."

Way back when, I think it was sometime in 2006, I began to think of myself as some sort of lesbian Bridget Jones. The archetype seemed fitting. I was very single, slightly inept at dating, and hopelessly cycling through one freak of nature relationship after another while writing about it. I know the whole "modern woman on a quest for a mate" has provided fodder for many a television show, movie, and book, but I was providing a twist. A big fat gay twist.

So what happens when Bridget Jones gets into an eight month relationship? How does the archetype evolve? Is this the sequel that never gets written? (Or does get written in the case of the second Bridget Jones book. Here's to hoping that I don't end up in a Thai prison.)

Anyway it's nice at least to have someone who loves me just as I am -- even though I always spill food on me when I eat, that I'm always covered in cat hair, that I'm clumsy, and the opposite of suave.