After you’ve been single for a while, and the only reason you leave your apartment is to buy more Lean Cuisines, you start to realize just how significant your daily interactions become. Community is essential, something you can default to: a network of relationships that are effortless to maintain. The only requirement is that that you keep doing what you already do, and frequenting the places you normally visit. It’s really a beautiful thing.
For example, I’m pretty tight with my cashier at Walgreens. We say “what’s up” when I walk in. And, I have loads of friends at the gym–whenever I show up there they smile and say, “haven’t seen you in a while” when they swipe my card. The people at Intelligentsia know I take my iced coffee with ice without me even saying anything — just a little perk of being a good neighbor. And the homeless guy on the corner, we keep a watchful eye on one another: I keep tabs each time he falls off the wagon, and he gives me shamed looks when he sees me on my second ice cream cone of the day.
I may be single, but I’m not alone.
But my Boo is an entirely different relationship. Boo [Radley] is a transvestite who lives alone in my apartment building and never looks up. I can only assume this is an attempt to hide her ginormous Adam’s apple. She wears immaculate white Keds and has poofy black hair, which she sometimes covers with a felt hat.
I once tried to hold the front door for her when she was getting her mail from the mailbox. She just slowly turned her head sideways, looked at me with vacant brown eyes, and shook her head. I ran upstairs and locked the door.
This morning I saw Boo outside. There is something terrifying about bumping into her in closed spaces like the elevator, but there is something even scarier about seeing her in the wild. I could only assume she had left her apartment to kill someone, so I ducked around the corner and sped up to catch the #135.
As the bus opened its doors, I saw Boo turn the corner, with her chin tucked to her neck and her unmistakable shuffle. For the first time, I felt bad for the tranny. But then, she cackled in my direction, jammed her finger up her nose, and scampered down the alley.
Maybe we could be friends, after all.
Growing up, women are always told to “put on a happy face.” But if you ask me, when it comes to the workplace, it’s simply gone too far. See my recent exchange below:
I saw that you hadn’t booked meeting space for our 11am tomorrow. Can you go ahead and book that when you get a sec?
Got your note. Sure, I can book the meeting room. That should be the easy part, after I did the whole deck for our presentation
JK. It was really easy to do once I got the data to upload. Attached is the 5th and final version.
Thanks so much! I don’t think I saw that invite come through yet. Unless it came through and I didn’t see it? I don’t know sometimes my email is wonky. Anyway, just let me know if you need any help setting it up, Outlook can be kind of complicated.
Amanda. I haven’t had time to send the Outlook invite yet, because I’ve been busy replying to all your emails I will send it as soon as you stop flooding my inbox JK
Inez, sometimes I can’t tell if you’re annoyed or just being your hilarious self! THANKS SO MUCH for booking the room. And for leading the presentation. I think it’s good that you’re presenting it because this way people won’t wonder if the only thing you do around here is update Facebook and flirt with Tony.
LOL! Now YOU’RE the hilarious one. Tony from SHIPPING? No way! I just had to send a FedEx today. Besides I would never move in on your type. I saw the way you were all over him at the holiday party. Remember when you said “Now there’s a First Class Package!” and asked him to do a body shot? Amanda, you are so funny!
Inez, that’s pretty typical. I think you are alluding to me being a slut and that’s just not appropriate for work. I am going to have to report this conversation to HR. It may wind up jeopardizing both our relationship and your job, but that’s probably not a problem for you since you seem to move on to new friends so quickly, and because you probably just want to work for Facebook anyway, since you spend all your time on it.
I agree. Being a slut IS inappropriate for work. When you report me to HR, please also notify them that all the conference rooms are booked.
SFiasco: Damn you for making me look at hot apartment guy’s Facebook profile today. Which one is he?
Me: The hot one! Second from the right.
Me: I TOLD YOU
SFiasco: I just got pregnant looking at him.
Me: with twins.
SFiasco: Duh. That’s too much man for just one embryo. Ugh, why was I crazy on the phone with him? fml.
Me: How old is he?
SFiasco: Stalker survey says … Graduated in 2010, so 22 unless he “helped on the farm for a few years” or was held back because of a tractor-induced brain injury.
Me: hahahaha. confession: he may actually be the reason you’re living in your new apartment building … but he’s a VERY, VERY good reason.
Me: Ok, so I have to write a post for tomorrow, but my draft is bordering on pathetic. I’m venting about spooning with a gassy rescue dog who grinds his teeth. I don’t know how much more of this readers can take.
SFiasco: That’s not bad. I woke up hugging my laptop last night. I almost ruined the screen with drool.
Me: oh god.
SFiasco: P.S. Did I tell you the best part of my call yesterday with corn-fed? I was trying to pick my unit over the phone and we kept debating the dumb $400 they’re making me pay in pro-rated rent for the week I’m not even there. He justified it by saying “but, think what you’re getting. we’ll be here for you to talk to all the time.” Given the number of times I’d called him this week, I thought he might be joking … do they have sarcasm in Iowa?
Me: Nope. Dude, you guys are so gonna bang!
SFiasco: Don’t dip your nub in the apartment ink.
Me: 1) What’s a nub? 2) That’s EXACTLY how a porn movie starts.
SFiasco: I’m not banging my 22-year-old building sales guy.
Me: Whatever, I dated the cafeteria guy in my old office. We met when he catered our holiday party. What can I say? I have a thing for uniforms.
SFiasco: #disaster. Dude, why don’t you just post our gchats on the blog?
Me: That’s the best thing you’ve ever said.
This dog is:
D. All of the above
If you answered D, congratulations! You are correct!
Let me explain. I agreed to dog sit this week for Honu while he and his boyfriend are in Kauai on vacation. They are really good friends and I love this dog, so it was a no-brainer. Plus, I rationalized, now I have an excuse to hang out at the lake three times a day and flirt with all the single dog owners who are clearly: 1) responsible, 2) nurturing, and 3) not homeless. Not only that, dogs are a perfect guy magnet. I was dizzy with the prospect of all the conversations I’d be having.
“Isn’t she? I’m just dog-sitting. That’s just the kind of friend I am…”
“Looks like my Fido here may be in love. I should probably get your number.”
And then, we’d walk our dogs to the lake where he’d propose.
So needless to say, I was really excited for my first weekend with Wags. I wore an adorable sundress for our first walk. I made sure she wore her cutest collar (the green one, not the Pittsburgh Steelers one, lest potential suitors think I’m a lesbian). I even brought a book and a tennis ball, to extend our stay, and thus my chances of meeting someone.
But Wags, it seems, is broken. The only thing that happened was that one mother yanked her kid off the sidewalk to let us pass (dog racist) and after 20 minutes at the park, a 3-legged dog finally got the nerve to run up and sniff her butt. His owner was overweight and married, and a far cry from the golden retriever-owning hotties who wanted nothing to do with us.
After 30 minutes I took matters into my own hands. I threw Wags’ tennis ball past a group of guys playing soccer. Wags took off at full force, and I followed. When I got there she turned to me and dropped the ball.
“Good girl, Wagsy!” I said. The hot guys on the side-lines had seen her heroic catch and release, and were now craning their necks to check out her owner.
Then, in a move I’ve come to recognize only too well, Wags started sniffing the ground around a water bottle. Oh God no, please no. I locked eyes with cute guy on the side-line. He smiled. And just as I smiled back, Wags squatted and proceeded to take a giant crap.
I don’t care who you are, fetching dog shit is not hot. Even US Magazine knows it. Stars are “Just Like Us” at the grocery store, drinking coffee, and getting parking tickets, but I dare you to find a star who’s “Just Like Us” with a blue baggy on her hand. Never. It’s about as sexy as an upper lip wax.
I love Wags, and I want the best for her. And it’s for her intestinal health that I think she should go the rest of the week off-solids. We’ll just call it a cleanse.
Since college graduation I have moved no fewer than 16 times. (I’ll admit, at this point I’ve lost exact count.) In fact, it’s fair to say that if there is anything I truly excel at, it’s moving. At any given time, in any given apartment, I sleep easy knowing that under my couch are six collapsed moving boxes, inside my winter chest I’ve nestled three rolls of bubble wrap, and inside my kitchen pantry I have stashed rows of foam plate sleeves. I know someday I’ll be glad I have these. In my daydreams someone with a big cardboard check shows up to my door with TV crews. “Congratulations! You have won the chance at a million dollars—all you need to do is vacate your apartment in 24 hours and it’s yours!” I would not panic, I’d calmly slip into a well-rehearsed routine, and proceed to win a million bucks.
I don’t think hoarding packing materials is a bad thing. My grandpa was known to steal bread rolls off of white linen tables and stuff them in his cardigan sweater pockets. The moving box doesn’t fall far from the truck: in my family, these are the things we hold on to.
So, it’s no coincidence that anytime any one of my friends needs to move I’m the first strategist they call. Most recently it was a friend in San Francisco who is planning to move to Chicago in two weeks. She needed to sign a place on Saturday, and in her absence, I was deployed. Only, it didn’t really go like that. On Thursday night I was cc’d on an email to Jacob, her leasing agent. “Hi Jacob! Thanks so much for agreeing to show apartments without me present. My friend will meet you and make the decision for me. She has no plans this weekend so just go ahead and give her a ring to coordinate.”
I did not reply. On Friday I woke up to the following email:
Subject: Team Jacob
Thank you SOOOOOOO much for looking at apartments on Saturday for me. I think you’re going to love Jacob. By his emails I can tell he’s really hot and single. I probably am introducing you to your future husband, so thanks again, and you’re welcome.
I got up early on Saturday for my day of apartment hunting in 95 degree heat. I decided to wear something cute to meet my apartment-leasing suitor—something funky, yet classy. I wore a see-through tank top with a black bra, a white mini skirt and black bangle bracelets. I arrived at 12:59 (one minute early to show I mean business) and I met Jacob. He wore a mustard yellow button-down shirt that was drenched in back sweat. He carried a fake leather briefcase with no documents inside. He did not take off his sunglasses when I entered the building, he just picked up his cell phone to call Laurel, the property manager, to let her know we had arrived.
I texted my friend to let her know I was officially on Team Edward, and then texted my dad to tell him to stop bubble wrapping my dowry.
When Laurel emerged through the pristine glass doors, with a neck full of olive-sized pearls, I immediately questioned my attire. While my Material Girl look was a show stopper in the Gold Coast, it may just have cost my friend the apartment. Laurel was kind enough not to stare at my black bra and showed me all of the features of the apartment including the lovely faux wood paneling in the kitchenette.
My friend had sent me a laundry list of requirements: sunlight, laundry in building, roof deck pool, workout facility, 24 hour door man … and on, and on. But she left out some very important criteria. As Jacob toured me through apartments two and three I made sure to take copious mental notes. If I was going to be spending much of my time visiting her, helping her move, and acclimate to Chicago life, there may as well be hot guys in the building. This, I decided, was a fair broker’s fee.
And then, at 3pm we hit the goldmine. Location: Old Town. We were met by a 6’2″, All-American, corn-fed, football-playing young buck named Steve, who would be giving us a tour of the unit.
“Now Steve,” I said stepping into the sunlight in the rental office to ensure proper tank top transparency, “It is essential that I have a place with 24 hour maintenance.”
“Absolutely!” Steve said, revealing his perfect white teeth in a dimpled smile. “I live in the building, and I’m here every day.”
I imagined coming over to visit my friend in the winter, bumping into Steve, and joining him for long talks by the dual fire place in the “community lounge” while she took way too long to get ready (a point I’d make sure to mention, so that Steve would know that while I dress like a material girl, I’m really quite low maintenance). We’d talk about what it was like to grow up in a small town in Illinois and how he’d never met someone from Maine before, and then I’d regale him with tales of all the exotic places I’ve been, like Nova Scotia.
“Thank you, Steve. I believe this place is perfect.”
“Don’t you want to see inside?”
“Nope. I have a strong intuition about these types of things.”
You should know that last week my parents finally got the grandchild they’ve been waiting for. There’s a new cuddly object of affection in the house who is keeping my parents up all night, and his name is Wilson.
Wilson is some kind of gourmet dog–a golden poo, or a doodlecocker. I’m not sure exactly, but I do know that my parents spent months on a waiting list to adopt this miniature, hypoallergenic home-wrecker.
Last night my sister and I received the following email:
I thought I should send along the proper vocabulary to use with Wilson before your next visit. Consistency is everything and perhaps if I had practiced that principle that with you both things might have turned out differently.
“Leave it”– applies to untying shoelaces, pulling at the rugs, taking things off tabletops, chewing shoes, eating the newspaper, emptying the wastebaskets, etc. This is to be said in a firm, no nonsense tone of voice.
“ComeWilson” –this is used to get him out of the street, to get him into the house, to distract him from digging up the perennials, etc. Tone of voice is upbeat, excited, as in it is an exciting thing for him to do what you are asking. He gets a treat for this.
“Go Potty”— I know, he doesn’t actually sit on the toilet, but this term if better than “do-business”, “go pee”, “go poopy”, etc. The latter two require understanding of the difference between pee and poop, and frankly I don’t give a damn as long as it isn’t done in the house. Tone of voice somewhat urgent here, like you don’t have all day to wait. Gets a treat every time, even when he fakes it.
“Sit” — an essential command to keep him from running away when you try to grab him. Always gets a treat for this .
“No bite”—applies to nearly everything that comes within his range of sight right now, so master this command before you set foot in the door. This includes your hands, elbows, clothing, your bedding, all furniture legs, rugs, and anything not tied down. Tone of voice here is sharp, quick, authoritative.
I was also told that Wilson will be starting puppy kindergarten next week. I can only assume this is because my mother senses he’s on the verge of mastering all of her pedestrian commands, and that his active brain is hungry for more. My hope is that puppy kindergarten will teach him the fundamentals that will give him the leg-up on an Ivy League canine education, where he will crack under the pressure, lose several years to pot, and eventually find himself and start a volunteer program to service displaced squirrels.
My mom also shared her plans to bring Wilson into Fetch (one of three local pet stores, but the one with the most caché) in the hopes that they will want to feature him in some of their promotional materials. (We once had a golden retriever who, on one serendipitous morning run, was “scouted” by L.L. Bean photographers in the midst of a photo shoot. Our pooch made the catalog, catapulting its owners into a glorious anonymous fame, now immortalized in the full-page parka ad that hangs on our refrigerator.)
When I asked for a photo of this prodigy puppy with striking good looks who is cunning enough to “fake it” for treats, she sent me this:
I took one look at this doggy Baby Bjorn and I knew my mother had completely lost her mind. I was horrified until I realized that somehow, in his puppy-genius way, Wilson has managed to hit “snooze” on my mother’s grandparental biological clock. To which I reply in a calm, authoritative tone: “Sit, Mother…Stay.”
I’ve been pretty quiet these days. I’ve been side-lined lately due to a sudden onset of Disasteritis. Turns out my diet (in particular my rejection of leafy greens) has caused me to become severely fatigued.
When my doctor called to tell me that my iron levels were a good 55 points below normal, I was shocked. “But that’s impossible!” I gasped, “I have at least 4 blue cheese-stuffed olives a week!”
Apparently that’s not enough. Which reluctantly has gotten me back in the kitchen. So, my dear Disasters, today I am bringing you yet another helpful recipe, that is quick, easy and chock-full of nutrients:
Lean Cuisine with Energy Boosts
Step 1 Purchase ingredients from local Walgreens:
You know your cuisine is lean, but is it packed with nutrients? Not yet!
Gingerly add Vitamin C, Iron, Fish Oil and a tablet that says “Hair, Skin, Nails” (this is the holy trinity: if you have to skimp, do not skimp here).
Step 3 Cook on high heat for approximately 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Careful, it’s hot!
Step 4 Voila! You’re done. Let cool, turn on Jersey Shore, and serve with a martini.
Note: When I feel as though I’m steps away from scurvy, sometimes I add a secret ingredient–the extra 1-2 punch my body needs:
Drink for two, prenatal vitamins for one, that’s what I always say!
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