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Monday, December 19, 2011

A Totally Radical Christmas for Jaded New Yorkers

Jaded New Yorker (noun): A resident of New York City (or the surrounding area) who has seen it all and is therefore unfazed by any sight, sound, or smell he/she may encounter. 
(Antonym: Overly Excited Tourist)

One of the greatest assets NYC has to offer is the jaded New Yorker. JNYs are fascinating creatures to behold--they don't even blink when passing a man with a cat on his head, a homeless man peeing on the sidewalk in broad daylight, or a Naked Cowgirl (a topless grandma with a guitar not quite big enough to cover her saggy skin) singing to people who can't quite look away in Times Square. New York City is like a giant Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum. It's insane what you can watch happening outside. But nothing can get this breed of urbanites to slow down on their race to the subway. I often marvel more at the JNYs than at the spectacle they're ignoring.

I get to see the JNYs firsthand when I film videos with my 80s dance troupe. Yes, you read that correctly. I belong to an 80s dance troupe that is changing the world one body roll at a time. Under the strict supervision of Deb and Ted Spangles, the Spangles Dance Company aims to bring back awesome moves and attitude and outfits from the 80s. We were even featured on America's Got Talent last year.

We film amazing music videos at various locations in midtown Manhattan. At least, until the cops kick us out. With blue eyeshadow, giant mall bangs, and sequin legwarmers, we make quite a spectacle of ourselves, and we often draw crowds of Overly Excited Tourists, who are pleasantly baffled that group dance numbers happen so unexpectedly on NYC sidewalks. You can almost see them trying to remember every detail to tell their neighbors in Iowa.

However, the Jaded New Yorkers could care less. They barely glance in our direction as they travel speedily to wherever they have to be in such a hurry. I love watching their blank stares in the background of the Spangles videos. We can high kick in their faces and they don't even flinch. I can't say I blame them. I know exactly how long it takes me to get where I need to be in the city, and I often get agitated if anything slows down my carefully timed travels. After 10 years here, I wouldn't say that I stop to watch oddities I see on the streets, but I do slow down when I pass a group of fast-talking breakdancers. Or a woman who has never cut her hair playing a musical saw. And when I see a drunk passed out in his own puke on the subway stairs, I always check to see if he's breathing. It seems like the charitable thing to do--especially around the holidays

And on that pleasant note, please enjoy the Spangles latest video: It's The Weather Girls (of "It's Raining Men" fame) singing a tune that sounds exactly like "It's Raining Men," but with the words "Santa" and "Christmas" in it. And if you like what you see, learn more at www.SpanglesDanceCompany.com.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Target & Me

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love me some Target. It's a gloriously giant store filled with shockingly cute clothes (still mad I missed the whole Missoni event), adorably retro thank you cards (I buy a box every time I go there), and reasonably-priced household goods (where else would I get my economy-sized natural tears eye drops?).
Given this shower of Target love, you can imagine how thrilled I was when a Target opened up in Queens. Before that, I was forced to get my suburban fix at the 34th Street Kmart, where shelves are empty, employees are scarce, lighting is bad, lines are long, and you can never find what you need--only a whole lotta crap you don't want.

But I digress. Back to the glory of Target. If a billboard on the Cross-Bronx Expressway is to be believed, there is now a Target in all five boroughs (I've been to three of them), and they share a common element that is not found in any suburban Target I've seen. Wanna know what it is? Okay, okay, I'll tell you.

IT'S A SHOPPING CART ESCALATOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Confused? I'll explain. Targets in New York don't have the luxury of space, so they're built UP instead of OUT. Because there are multiple floors, the red-clad Target folk want to make sure you can drag your shopping cart (piled with stuff you just HAVE to have) up and down between floors. Since an elevator wouldn't be able to accommodate the masses, some crazy genius designed an escalator that runs in tandem with the regular escalator. You simply push your cart on the cart escalator, hop on the people escalator, and grab your cart when you step off. It's brilliant, I tell you. BRILLIANT!!!!

Please enjoy this impromptu video my cousin and I made to demonstrate the awesomeness of the shopping cart escalator.  Note: No giant stuffed dogs were harmed in the filming of this video.



(Okay, so I read what I just wrote, and it seems that my excitement over this rather trivial invention borders on psychotic. But after years of seeing it in action, it still thrills me. Like a little kid with bubbles, I just can't get enough.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

FreshDirect is My Hero!!!


 FreshDirect is a magical, magical thing.

For those of you who are scratching your heads and wondering what I'm talking about, I'll explain. FreshDirect is an online grocery store. You can select your groceries online and they'll be brought to your doorstep the very next day!

There are several outstanding things about this service--you can get fat without leaving the house, you can run errands in your pajamas, and you won't get those annoying wrinkly marks on your arms from carrying plastic bags from the store. But the most brilliant part about FreshDirect for those city dwellers who don't live in elevator buildings is this: The delivery people will climb every single step and bring groceries right into your apartment. This means that there's no need to lug 50 pounds of flour, milk, and eggs up to the fifth floor! It's a food pyramid miracle!!!


But FreshDirect isn't all hearts and flowers. There are some drawbacks. First of all, it's no Wegmans. But nothing is, really, so we can just move on from that one. Secondly, the entirety of your neighborhood grocery store isn't available to you online, and the items that are available are priced slightly higher than other grocery stores. Sometimes there are only one or two varieties of a particular item to choose from, and there are no generic or store brands. For example, until very recently, I was unable to purchase my beloved Sunkist orange soda through FreshDirect. And they still don't have squeezable Welch's jelly. But as I've learned on HGTV's Property Brothers (my new favorite show!), if your checklist is too long, you'll never find what you're looking for.

Now let's go back to that part about FreshDirect carrying my groceries all the way up my 97 steps. It truly is a wondrous thing. But is that convenience worth the higher prices? I ended up with this compromise: I use FreshDirect to purchase canned goods, soda, frozen food, and other annoyingly heavy items. I'd rather pay a little more to have someone else do the heavy lifting on those. Other than that, I shop at the grocery store.

I'd love to go crazy and order hundreds of dollars of FreshDirect supplies in one fell swoop, but the unfortunate thing is that no one in Manhattan has storage. Thus, I order just enough to fill my (one) cupboard, my sections of the fridge and the freezer, and my under-the-bed food crate. (It's true. I really have one.)

Yesterday, my cupboard was as bare as Mother Hubbard's. And now, thanks to FreshDirect, I could host a twelve-person dinner party.

If I had a dining room, that is.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Iroquois Summer

There is nothing--absolutely nothing--like a gorgeous upstate Indian summer day.

Wait a minute...are you still allowed to say "Indian summer"? It doesn't seem very PC to me. Especially on the tail end of the drive to change high school mascots that may be offensive to Native Americans. (Example: The logo for the Canandaigua Braves used to be the profile of an Indian Brave. It's now Native American wampum. Or a Native American belt. Or something indistinguishable but Native American-esque.)

Regardless, a warm fall day may be delightful in Manhattan, but it is truly breathtaking in the Finger Lakes.





Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And the Wegmans empire grows...

It's happening, people. Wegmans has invaded Massachusetts!



As a former Wegmans employee and a former resident of Massachusetts, I am filled with pride by this announcement. I mean, hey, I did love me some Stop & Shop when I lived in Chestnut Hill, but it's just not the same. Their store brands were only average. The prepared foods were nothing to write home about. There was no bulk candy section.

But now that Wegmans has opened the doors to a new store (with "employees twisting and turning their hands, legs and torsos to spell out Wegmans, just as the Village People did with their hit song, 'YMCA.'"), Massachusetts will never be the same.

To read more about my warm and fuzzy Wegmans feelings, click here.

P.S. Massachusetts, I'm totes jeal.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Streets of New York


A Walk Through the Streets of New York City:

* The lovable Richard Kind emerging from an upper west side deli at 9am.

* The dreamboatish James Marsden emerging from Justin Timberlake's restaurant, Southern Hospitality, in a perfectly worn t-shirt and a Yankees hat. And yes, ladies, he looked every bit as handsome as he does on screen.

* Maria Menunous filming a segment for Extra just north of Times Square. And yes, fellas, she looks every bit as gorgeous as she does on screen. (For your sake, dear readers, I dropped my pretense of being a too-cool-to-care New Yorker and snapped some pictures.)

                                 

* Gentlemen in their underwear in the Washington Square fountain wrestling at midnight on Saturday while a crowd of drunken fans cheers them on in some sort of impromptu bizarro version of Fight Club.


A Walk Through the Streets of Any Upstate Town:

* Crickets chirping.

* People walking their dogs.

* Ummm...

Actually, in a number of upstate towns, you're lucky if you even have a sidewalk. I've toured small towns all across the country and often walked a mile or two on the side of the highway to get to an Applebee's or a Dollar General. When you don't have a car, you don't have many other options. (Case in point: the single taxi in my hometown shuts down operations at 8pm. On Fridays.)

Fascinatingly, I've found that if you're the lone walker on a street, drivers will actually pull over and ask if you need a ride! I was floored the first time that happened. I mean, it's not 1958. What if I was a psychokiller? I don't exactly look like a psychokiller, but psychokillers never look like psychokillers. Or so I'm told. I, of course, never got into a strange car because I was always afraid that the driver was a psychokiller. You never can tell.

My most amusing walking-on-the-highway experience occurred in rural Pennsylvania. Very rural Pennsylvania. The town had one traffic light, no pizza delivery, and no residents of ethnic origin. (According to the last census, all 700 residents identified themselves as being Caucasian.) I was taking the short 15-minute walk on the side of a county road to get to the theater. It was a lovely summer evening and I was already in sight of the theater when a car slowed down next to me. I had the following conversation with the female driver.

Driver: "Hon, do you need a ride?"
Me: "Me? Oh, no thank you. I'm fine."
Driver: "You sure? I'd be happy to drop you off someplace."
Me: "Oh, I'm fine. I'm just heading down the street."
Driver: "Really. I can take you anywhere you need to go. I really think you should get in the car."
Me: "I'm just walking to the theater. It's right there. See it?"
Driver: "Then why don't you let me drop you off there?"
Me: "No, thank you. I really am fine. Thanks so much! Bye!"

As she pulled away, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was missing something in that odd series of events. Then it occurred to me: my backpack, walking in the dirt on the side of the road, the motherly tone in her voice, her look of concern and sympathetic head tilt. She totally thought I had walked out of some sort of abusive relationship! I could see the whole thing clearly--she envisioned me getting in a fight, throwing clothes in my backpack, and heading out on the highway on the way to a friend's house. The whole thing smacked of Lifetime Movie Network programming. Suddenly, I felt like I had a whole secret identity. I wouldn't want to be a battered girlfriend, and I don't mean to make light of the whole situation, but it seemed like a really interesting acting exercise. And sure enough, I saw her drive by to check on me as I headed in to the theater. I gave a feeble yet feisty wave, as if to say, "I may have fallen on hard times, but I'm sure I'll get through it."

So fascinating things can happen when you take a walk--wherever you may be!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/10...9/12, 9/13, 9/14

"We will never forget."

As a New Yorker who experienced 9/11 firsthand, you'd think I'd want to write down every detail to share with you. But I don't.

The thing is: I'd prefer to forget.

I want to forget the horrific day I watched through the picture windows of my Soho office as a plane flew into a tall building, causing an explosion I had only seen in movies. I want to forget that trains stopped running, virtually trapping me in Manhattan. I want to forget the droves of business people marching uptown, covered in dust from the knee down. I want to forget the hours I couldn't contact my parents to let them know I was okay. I want to forget the way I jumped every time I heard a plane fly overhead. And I want to forget the feeling that every choice I made throughout the day was a life or death decision.

Writing those words makes me feel incredibly selfish because in the grand scheme of things, I got off easy. I don't know anyone who died that day. But even so, the day stays with me. If I could, I'd skip right over it--from 9/10 to 9/12--the same way hotels sometimes skip the 13th floor. I don't mean to negate the tragedy or the heroism of it all, but I'm tired of remembering how helpless and vulnerable we can be. I want to go back to the days before we had to take our shoes off at the airport.

It's not that I don't want to remember--I'd just prefer to forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Seth Meyers Poured Me a Drink



New York City and I celebrated Fashion's Night Out yesterday. It's the one evening of the year when fancy stores not only throw open their doors to all manner of NYC riffraff—they actually reward you for coming in and putting your grubby little mitts all over their high-end merchandise. Now, Fashion's Night Out—or FNO—is a catchy little title, but the night could also be called the following:

FSFS: Fancy Stores—Free Snacks!
S&C: Shop & Chug!
PPDMOFS: Poor People's Delight—Miles of Free Stuff!
SIFBDIF: Shopping is Fun, But Drinking is Funner!

Clad in $20 Tahari flats from TJ Maxx and a dress from the little girls' section of Target, I caught up with my cousin and her friend after work and we ventured into the throng of shoppers on Fifth Avenue. We knew we were in for a special night when we reached Lacoste and encountered a red carpet and a polo shirt that would have fit the Ghostbusters’ Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. We asked a couple of people behind the velvet rope what they were waiting for, and they said, "Foster the People is playing here tonight." Now I will completely admit that I can name more Gershwin tunes than current chart-toppers, but it just so happens that I love Foster the People and their jaunty little tune about shooting kids on a playground to steal their sneakers, so I was thrilled.

We didn't end up waiting for the concert because they were scheduled to appear "sometime between 6pm and 11pm," but we did hit a slew of other stores. Check out the list below and take copious notes for your mandatory trip to FNO next year.

Michael Kors—This was our first stop...and our most disappointing. We were lured in by the promise of free denim Michael Kors bags, but there were none to be found. We saw the bags later, and since they looked like my acid-washed jeans from eighth grade, I didn't think we missed much.

Banana Republic—We got carded and had white wine in sticky glasses. I chose to ignore the stickiness in light of the freeness. They also had bruschetta and prosciutto-wrapped melon. The bruschetta was average. Since I'm a strict pepperoni/bacon/hot dog eater, I didn't try the prosciutto, but I hear it wasn't that great.

Cole Haan—Snoozefest. Nothing was going on other than a contest to win a pair of free shoes for every month of the year. But since the snooty door person gave us—and our shoes—the once-over when we walked in, we left immediately after filling out our entry forms and taking one of their chocolate brown felt-tip pens. We deserved it. We felt judged.

Fendi—We totally hit the jackpot here! They were pouring Veuve Cliquot like it was going out of style, which their handbags certainly are not. To pass the time while getting as many refills as possible, we played The Price is Right with their overpriced merchandise. Then we took a picture in front of a fancy green screen that made it look like we were in a golden tunnel with "Fendi" written all over the walls. They gave us each a copy, which we plan to destroy immediately because the picture was not flattering. At all.

Tommy Hilfiger—Probably my favorite of the night. Why? A choice of regular champagne or rosé, plus grilled pineapple with herbs on it AND bruschetta with ricotta, honey, and citrus. I would have stayed there forever, but there are only so many places you can move to in the store while pretending to look at clothes. It gets embarrassing after a while.

Elizabeth Arden—We should have gone in here because they were giving away cute Red Door purse mirrors, but there were four creepy models dressed in white chiffon ghost costumes in front of the door. I couldn’t deal with that nonsense.

Diesel—Hated it. We left two seconds after we walked in. Didn't see any freebies, and the salespeople up front were totally banging their gavels. (That means they were judging us. Get it?)

Swarovski on Fifth—Two delicious Lindt chocolates made stopping in totally worth it. I'm pretty sure you were only supposed to have one. 

Zara—I don't get this store. It's like H&M but waaaaay more expensive. Though based on their wine and delicious buttery breadsticks (which they made funky by standing them straight up in a square vase filled with decorative beads), I might give the store another go in the future.

Henri Bendel—A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad crowd. People were pushy and annoying and they were only giving away flavored water. But since we were only using the store for its bathroom, we got our money’s worth.

Tiffany's—Nothing was going on in the store, but someone was giving away what looked like ice cream sandwich pops on the corner outside. Disappointingly, they had an Oreo cream center instead of an ice cream center, but I can't quibble with free food. I'm not sure who was sponsoring the cart because the pops only said, "Love" on them and not the name of a store. Someone must have been asleep at the marketing desk.

Coach—In one of the high points of the evening, Seth Meyers was behind the makeshift bar at Coach. The bar was backed up because he was a very lazy bartender. Too much chatting and picture taking. More booze, less schmooze, Seth! Plus, they had the nerve to run out of glasses. But some very wet (Ewwww!) glasses became available, and Seth asked, "Who wants a glass of white wine?" I actually shouted, "Me!" and raised my hand like a third grader. That was after taking several stalker-like photos of him, of course. (See below.) I'm not sure what came over me. I mean, I do love Seth Meyers because he's a comedy-writing genius, but it's not like he's Justin Timberlake. I guess the tipsier I get, the creepier I get. Anyway, Seth graciously handed me my glass with a brilliant smile. I'm pretty sure I giggled.

Chanel—They were giving free manicures with their two new barf-inducing shades of blue but were just closing up shop. Sigh.

Swarovski on Madison—Yes, we did indeed hit up not one, but two, locations of this store full of animal-shaped glass knick-knacks. Why did we go to the second location? Champagne and red velvet cupcakes, obvi!

Ann Taylor—This store was an odd one to end with, but it was on the way to the subway, so we stopped in for more free champagne. Which we didn't need, seeing as we were grinding with the suit jackets at that point. Actually, I was the one who was grinding. My cousin was ballroom dancing with her suit jacket. Though I don't think it's our fault. The DJ was really good. We were practically forced to dance. By ourselves. In a store full of appropriate work attire.

***** 
In the end, I see the beauty of the event—it gets poor folk like me into fancy stores to drool over the merch. But the downfall is that poor folk like me can't afford the merch so instead we greedily grab free booze, destroying the merch with our drool and our bruschetta-coated little fingers. 

When I woke up with a champagne headache this morning, I asked my cousin, “Why on earth didn’t we just say no to our 65th glass of champagne last night?” Her response: “Because we live in Manhattan. Draft beer is $8 a pint in this town.”

I can't wait 'til next year.






Monday, August 29, 2011

$5 Hurricane

The worst part about being trapped in Manhattan in an emergency situation...is being trapped in Manhattan in an emergency situation.

Okay, so I semi-stole that from an iPhone ad campaign, but the principle totally applies here.

I'm no stranger to Manhattan emergencies. I've survived 9/11, two blackouts, and various incapacitating snowstorms. New Yorkers are a hearty breed--they're not phased by much. But when we're sucker punched with an emergency, panic sets in and one of two things happen--people calmly take stock of the situation at hand and make informed decisions...or they flail about, making bad choices that exacerbate the issue.

I ended up doing both things this weekend. I happened to be in Boston visiting my sister and spent most of Friday entirely convinced that Hurricane Irene would be nothing more than a passing shower. I laughed at the commotion, expecting the whole thing to be like Maryland closing schools because of an inch of snow. I was scheduled to return to NYC on Saturday, but my New York friends' Facebook updates started getting jittery. And the subway closing announcement was made. And Broadway shows were canceled. I did exactly what I planned not to do. I panicked.

At that point, I had no idea what to do. I was too far away to feel the pulse of the city, and without the connection, I felt like my air supply had been cut off. Should I return to Manhattan (which I REALLY wanted to do) and go with my gut feeling that everything would be okay? Or should I take the safe route by staying in Boston and re-wearing the two outfits I brought in my backpack until Megabus was able to safely bring me back home again?

In the end, I chose to stay in Boston, and here's why: The last place I want to be in an emergency is on an island with millions of people and only a couple of exit options. It's a concept that's difficult to understand if you live in the 'burbs and have a car. Cars make you mobile. So even if droves of people descend upon your neighborhood supermarket and buy all the flashlights and batteries, chances are that you can drive around until you find what you need. Similarly, if your area suddenly happens to be in the path of, say, an incredibly destructive hurricane, chances are that you can drive to your aunt's house in Albany or your sister's place in Utica. That's not possible on an island fueled by public transportation. If Irene took a turn for the worse and all of Manhattan was ordered to evacuate, there would be no way for everyone to leave.  Especially if the Holland Tunnel and the subways weren't running. It's kind of like in the movies when a submarine floods and the commander decides contain the water by sealing the door, even though his best friend is trapped on the other side. I didn't want to be one of the Manhattanites left to drown after they sealed off the city. So I stayed in Boston.

(And by the time I decided to return, all the buses were canceled anyway.)

Thanks to the hospitality of my sister and her husband, I ended up having a delightful Irene weekend. I went to my first driving range in the pouring rain, explored the marvels and mysteries of Jordan's Furniture, and celebrated the Feast of St. Anthony in the North End. This all seems much more interesting than being confined to my apartment in a rainstorm. But I must say (now that everyone I know is safe and dry) that I feel like I bailed on my city. I ditched my worn old doll for a shiny new Barbie. I feel ashamed for taking the easy way out.

But you know, I'll take lobstahhhh over emergency ration canned goods any day of the week.



My Irene Weekend:
                                                                Lobster traps at Marblehead, MA


                                                                       St. Anthony's Feast in The North End


                                                                An animatronic big green monster eating a Yankee
                                                                at Jordan's Furniture

AAAAAAAAnd back in New York City:
                                                                       Empty shelves at a Queens store

                                                                       What to do with all your canned goods?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back That Thang Up

A fascinating phenomenon occasionally occurs on 8th Avenue between 34th and 42nd Streets. It's called People Who Purposely Wheel Their Wheelchairs Backward and Cause Chaos With Every Turn of the Wheel.

This happens. I've seen it. Multiple times.

The first time it happened, I was shocked. I was walking up 8th Ave at a crisp pace when I spotted a wheelchair on the sidewalk in front of me. Just as I started making an arc to pass it, I realized that it wasn't moving slowly with the traffic--it was moving against it. And quickly. Towards me. I barely had time to jump out of the way. After the chair zoomed by, I immediately turned my head to follow the path of destruction--people were jumping out of the way, yelping, ooo-ing, tsk-ing, cursing, and staring. The woman in the wheelchair did not seem phased, nor did she look behind her. She was putting all her might into the task at hand--wheeling backward as fast as possible for no apparent reason.

At the time, I chalked it up to something I had learned when I spent a month in grand jury duty: a relatively large amount of drugs are sold on 8th Ave outside the McDonald's that advertises McDonuts. (I also learned what a glassine envelope is. And that crack is more reasonably priced than I would have guessed.) But even so, I can't imagine how many drugs you'd need to think that blindly wheeling yourself backward would be an entertaining way to pass the afternoon. 

Wheeling backward this woman did, though. I saw this shockingly handi-capable mischief-maker wheeling herself backward on the avenue again and again. Luckily, I was ready for her and had no problem jumping out of the way. I was not prepared, however, for the sight of her wheeling backward through traffic while crossing the street! I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and stared like a tourist at The Today Show. As if that wasn't enough, I later saw a second person--a man--wheeling himself backward along those same 8th Ave sidewalks. Is this behavior contagious? Did he see her and think it looked like a good time? Do they buy their crack from the same dealer?

Readers, I cannot answer these questions, and I cannot make sense of this occurrence. Can you? Have you spotted a backward-wheeler? This is one NYC trend I hope does not catch on in the suburbs.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Let's Go to the Movies!


"I'm at the movies."
Pause.
"I SAID I'm at the movies!"
Longer pause.
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding."
Exasperated pause.
"MY. BIG. FAT. GREEK. WEDDIIIIIIIING!!!"

Sometimes bad movie behavior occurs next to good people. A rather large woman to my left whisper-screamed the above conversation into her cell phone at a theater on 42nd Street in the summer of 2002, which is also known as The Summer I Decided to Soak Up Air Conditioning at Movie Theaters Instead of Buying an Air Conditioner For My Bedroom. As you can imagine, I entered the theater feeling hot and bothered, and listening to the chatterbox yapping to my left didn't help matters any. Unfortunately, the theater was completely packed, and since I thought she might sit on me if I informed her that the majority of the audience would appreciate it if she hung up the phone, I moved to the only other available seat. In the third row.

You see, the general rule of thumb in Manhattan is as follows: If you decide to do something—anything—chances are that at least 2,000 people have thought of the same idea. Thus, the movie going experience is significantly more difficult than it is in the suburbs.

As a high school student, I would roll into the movie theater parking lot in one of my parents' matching Taurus station wagons, clutching the ticket I bought for $4.25 with my Wegmans employee discount, about two minutes before showtime. I would find an empty row of seats, which generally wasn't difficult. I could put my feet up on the seat in front of me, place my coat on the seat next to me, and generally stretch out, knowing I had at least a three-seat radius to myself.

In Manhattan, however, you can take the subway early to show up an hour before previews with your $13.50 in hand, and still be shut out of a movie. This happened to me twice with Angels & Demons. (I know, I know...I'm not sure why I cared enough about Angels & Demons to try twice.) You can buy your ticket online to be assured of a spot, of course, but because movie tickets are so astronomically expensive, my staunch bargain-hunting brain won't allow me to pay the extra $1.50 surcharge. Even if you manage to get to the theater early enough to score a ticket, you must arrive a good half hour early to score a seat. And don't even dream that the seat next to you will be empty—that'll never happen.

If you've arrived early, purchased a ticket, and found the perfect seat, you're still subjected to the very vocal whims of a host of New Yorkers. I'm not sure why they enjoy commenting on whatever action is happening on screen, but comment they do. And loudly. At times, it feels like being at a live taping of The Maury Povich Show. For example, when the trailer for Tangled appeared before some romcom I was seeing, the dude behind me, who had obviously been dragged there by his girlfriend, yelled, "Daaaaaauuuumnnn! That little girl's hair is looooooooong!"

Actually, my most perfect movie going experience happened when I went to see
Tangled several months later. A friend and I went to a tiny theater that was so far east it was practically in the East River. It was a weekday at 2pm. And for two magical hours, we were the only people in the theater! I felt like Annie when Daddy Warbucks took her to see Camille at Radio City. It was heaven.

I'm fairly certain that was a one in a million experience.

Given that movie going in the city isn’t quite the same magical experience that it is in the suburbs, why do we go at all? Well, my cousin and I went to see Crazy, Stupid, Love. this weekend. Though we were surrounded by people on all sides, it happened to be a respectful crowd. On the escalator ride out of the theater (movie theaters in NYC are tall, not wide), she looked out the giant window onto insane, noisy 42nd Street and said, “Oh! I totally forgot we were in New York.”

And that, my friends, is why we go to the movies.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Local Store Makes Good

I'm not sure if you're aware (well, if you're reading this blog, you're probably totally aware), but Wegmans is famous. Way famous. Like, prime time famous.

Don't believe me? Check this out:





That's right--Wegmans was the special guest star on The Office. Jim carries a Wegmans Shoppers Club card! If you remember my previous blog, you'll know that this isn't the first time Wegmans has played a role on the popular sitcom.

According to Syracuse.com, no agreement exists between the show and the greatest superstore on earth. Rather, the Scranton, PA branch of Wegmans simply provides set pieces as needed to create a sense of authenticity on the set.

The Dunder Mifflin paper company may be getting a new boss next season, but I truly hope they keep shopping at the same store.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Almighty Butter Lamb

It's Easter Sunday, which can only mean one thing--the return of the Butter Lamb.


For those of you who've never heard about this magical holiday creature, let me back up and explain. A Butter Lamb is butter molded into the shape of a lamb, decorated with peppercorn eyes and a red ribbon necktie. It also has a red plastic "Alleluia!" flag sticking out of its butt. Kind of like the religious springtime version of Frosty the Snowman. The Butter Lamb is apparently a Polish Catholic tradition (shocking that it ended up at a table full of EYE-talians!) with its roots in Buffalo. The Broadway Market began selling Butter Lambs to herald the beginning of spring, and the tradition has continued for years and years.


Picture it--you're sitting around the dinner table with a soft hunk of Italian bread in your hand. You want to smother your bread in butter because butter is so obviously better than margarine. You reach toward the butter, knife in hand...and carve a giant slice from the Butter Lamb's right flank.

Weird, right?

 

I totally understand that lambs are symbols for both spring and Easter, but who on earth decided that spring/Easter needs to be represented by animal-shaped butter? In essence, we are taking something that comes from one animal and molding it in the shape of another animal. It's kind of like molding a ham into the shape of a goat. Wouldn't it make more sense to remain true to butter's milky origin and create a Butter Calf instead? Wait--were there cows wandering around Jerusalem in 33 A.D.? There must have been, since a fatted one was slaughtered in honor of the Prodigal Son's return. So why isn't there a fattening Butter Calf on my family's Easter table?

That being said, I love the Butter Lamb specifically for its nonsensical weirdness. I mean, how many other foods do you eat that remind you to rejoice? Alleluia, Butter Lamb! Alleluia! I truly rejoice in the Butter Lamb's arrival every Easter and I mourn its loss when the butter is gone and only the peppercorn eyeballs remain.
Farewell, sweet Butter Lamb! I'll see you next April! 
    

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Seat's Taken:" A Guide to Getting Your Own Seat on the Bus

I’ve ridden many a bus in my day. And I’m not talking the M11. I’m talking long distance, people. Greyhound, Greyhound Neon, Adirondack, Trailways, Bolt Bus, Megabus, Fung Wah, Lucky Star. You name it—I’ve ridden them all.

As if riding that many buses isn’t unfortunate enough, I also fit the profile of an ideal seatmate: a diminutive, English-speaking, non-smelly food eating female old enough not to pee my pants…and young enough not to pee my pants.

It’s a problem.

Until I wised up, I always ended up sharing my seat on the bus, even though almost everyone else got a solo seat. What’s so bad about that? I’ll tell you what’s so bad about that. Sharing means you can’t put your feet up on the seat next to you. You can’t curl up into a little ball and lay across both seats. You can’t make phone calls with any degree of privacy. Your seatmate can see what you’re reading, listening to, watching, and eating. You run the risk of being trapped in a pointless conversation with a stranger. For HOURS. And as always seems to happen, your seatmate will take up all of his seat AND half of yours.

Though it sounds terribly mean, I made the conscious decision to keep people away for my own personal comfort.  I mean, I would never actually tell anyone they can’t sit with me, Forrest Gump-style (see below). That’s rude. If the bus is full, I will obviously share. But in most cases, I look at it this way: There are 44ish seats on a bus.  If 10 people end up with solo seats, why shouldn’t one of those people be me?



The easy way to get your own seat is to talk to yourself, or develop a tick, or foam at the mouth. But you don’t want everyone to think you just escaped from Bellevue. Being subtly selfish is totally the way to go. After all, bad seats shouldn't happen to good people. So here’s a quick acronym to remember:  ALONE.

ADD SPACE
         However big you are, increase the boundaries of your personal space.  This could mean putting your bag on the seat next to you, lying down across the two seats, or stretching your legs to the side.  Anything to make it seem that you require a lot of space.  This tip is key for smaller-than-average people.  

LEFT SIDE
         Because most people are right-handed, they veer toward the right as they walk toward the back of the bus. Always choose a seat on the left side. Ideally, choose a seat in the middle of the left side.  You want to sit far enough back so that you won’t be the first open seat, but close enough that people will pass you by because they’re still hopeful for better prospects further back. 

OPEN BAGS
         People tend to like calm seatmates. To get that solo seat, open your bags and rifle through your stuff. Pretend you’re looking for something, nothing, anything. The idea is to give the impression that you’ll be restless the entire bus ride, making you a terrible seat partner.

NEVER LOOK
         Eye contact is the kiss of death. NEVER make eye contact with the people who are walking down the aisle and looking for seats. People will try to catch your eye for permission to sit down. Don’t give it to them. Absorb yourself in reading, or playing with your iPod, or talking on the phone. ANYTHING to keep your eyes downcast.

EAT!
         Don’t be afraid to make yourself momentarily seem like an undesirable human being. One way to really drive this point home is to eat while people are loading the bus. I’ve found that the best thing to pull out is a Subway sandwich. The paper has just the right amount of crinkle so that it makes noise, but it’s not so obnoxious that people will complain. The idea is to give the impression that you’ve been starving for hours and this is the first chance you’ve had to eat something. No one can fault you for that. And people will give you your space out of politeness…and the desire to keep mayonnaise from accidentally plopping on their clothes.

Add space
L
eft side
O
pen bags
N
ever look
E
at!

Now that I have given you the secrets to getting your own seat on the bus, I caution you to use these secrets wisely. If you know the bus is going to be full, there’s nothing you can do—you’ll have to share a seat. But if ten minutes of pretending to be annoying can get you a four-hour ride with a seat to spare, then for heaven’s sake go forth, my friends, and be as temporarily annoying as possible!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Urban Updater

I wanted to update you on a couple of fronts.

First of all, I just spent several glorious days upstate, where I was shocked to see snow on the ground. And not just a little bit--sometimes a LOT. I spent a ton of time uploading old family photos (which I fully enjoyed!).  If you're a true fan of my blog, you may remember my Halloween post, which mentioned the most amazing Halloween costume ever, my Care Bear costume, created with love by my creative and competitive mother. I mentioned that my costume won second place in our town's costume contest, but apparently it only captured a bronze. Take a look and tell me--just TELL me--that this isn't a first place costume!

Secondly, you may recall my struggle with a particular bridal shower gift in my last post. Yes, I'm talking about the coffee maker that seemed to double in size and weight every five minutes. Well, as you know, I managed to get the thing home, but that was only half the battle. I still had to get it all the way across town to the bridal shower.

I wasn't sure the best way to transport the gift, especially since the bag from Bed, Bath, & Beyond bit the dust on my journey home. In the end, I threw in the towel, shoved the gift in a giant black garbage bag, and took a cab.



On the way to Alice's Tea Cup, it occurred to me that whatever trouble it took me to get the present to the shower, it would take the bride-to-be the exact same amount of trouble getting the giant box home. But you know what? It ain't my problem. I dropped that thing on the gift table and washed my hands of it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Field of Suburban Dreams

If beauty is pain, then Manhattan should be on the cover of People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People issue.

The Big Apple took a giant bite outta me twice this weekend. I went to a 10am dance audition on Friday morning, even though I had given myself whiplash at an audition the morning before. I have this bad habit of not warming up before auditions and paying the price afterward. Anyway, this particular audition was pretty brutal. It was abnormally long and included two giant flamenco-style lunges. By the end of the 75 minutes, I couldn't breathe and both my neck and my quads hated me. But I'm not complaining about the audition or about my poor warm-up skills. My complaint is the fact that after all of that dancing, I still had to walk 10 blocks home and hike up 97 stairs before I could finally get to my ice pack.

Now, I understand that there aren't a lot of dance auditions in the suburbs, but I'm sure that many people go to the gym and may sometimes work out just a tad harder than usual. This was that same feeling. The difference is that in the suburbs, a post-workout routine would probably include settling into a plush car seat and stopping at Taco Bell on the way home. At least, that’s what I would do. The only additional physical effort would be leaning far enough out of the driver's seat to be heard by the drive-thru sound system. In my case,  my brain had to give my feet specific instructions about hitting the pavement one at a time or else I would have made no forward movement.

Other than a throbbing right quad, my injuries--caused by self-inflicted idiocy--had pretty much cleared up by Saturday morning, when I journeyed to Bed, Bath, & Beyond to pick up a bridal shower gift. A friend and I agreed to co-purchase a coffeemaker, and since I lived closer to the store, I volunteered to make the trip. It never occurred to me that a medium-sized coffeemaker would be contained in such a monstrous box. And somehow, after being swaddled in complementary gift packaging (Thank you, BBB!), it seemed five pounds heavier and five inches wider than before.

Since I am used to lugging things around the city (as you may have read in previous postings), I thought that even though the 20-block walk home would be an uncomfortable one, I could probably make it. Well, that thought flew out the window within a half a block. The giant bag that housed the giant coffeemaker barely cleared the ground by an inch, and that was only if I leaned to the left while holding the bag in my right hand. Since my frugal/hearty little soul couldn't stand to give in and take a taxi, I waited for the bus. Luckily, I didn't have to wait long, but the box was too big to put on my lap or underneath my seat. So I put it on the floor next to me, which essentially blocked the entire aisle, causing people who passed by to tiptoe around it and curse me under their breath. I just gave them bright, unconcerned smiles and said, "So sorry about that!" while secretly seething inside. I thought I was home free when I got off the bus, which (thankfully!) stops right across the street from my apartment...but of course the bag broke while I was jaywalking to get to my side of the block. I had to awkwardly clutch the bag while making sure cars weren't about to flatten the both of us. 


And I still had 97 steps to contend with.

Once again, I was left feeling completely jealous of suburbanites. If only I could have thrown that coffeemaker into the trunk of my minivan and called it a day. How wonderful it must be to select a shower gift based on your taste, her registry, price, and availability without once considering weight and portability! What must that be like? I'm sure people who live in the 'burbs have other obstacles to contend with, but in my urban head, things seem so easy out there. I picture legions of women shopping for shower gifts in Donna Reed-style outfits and heels, daintily setting them in their cars, then using the extra time and energy they have from not carrying and and not walking to skip with joy around the parking lot. If I ever come face to face with such a person, I imagine this Field of Dreams-style conversation would ensue:

  
"Is this heaven?"

"No, it's the suburbs."



*****

Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting Personal


It's funny when life turns out exactly as you planned.
When I was at home a couple of weeks ago, my brother gave a drive that could read all of my old disks from college. Wait, so I'm not very tech savvy. I have no idea whether it's "disc" or "disk." I also think they might be called "floppy" even though they're hard and not at all like the actual floppy disc/k/s that I used in computer class at St. Mary's with our Apple 2C's. 

Anyway, one of the many fascinating files I found was the personal statement I wrote for grad school. In it, along with some brown-nosing, I told grad school admissions teams that I worked in theater and wanted to study children's literature. I did so with a shoe metaphor that was extremely clever, if I do say so myself. (Bragging alert: This personal statement did get me into two schools on full scholarships.) Strangely, a number of years later, I am working in theater and children's publishing. And I'm still wearing tall shoes. Very tall.

It's quite strange how everything worked out, actually. Obviously, life threw me some curve balls along the way, and the path I took to get to this place hasn't been smooth. But the bottom line is that I set out to accomplish something and I actually accomplished it. Isn't that crazy? I'm not sure if it's the Secret or the Power or Fate or God, or a combination of all of those, but whatever it is, it worked. You know, maybe personal statements are where it's at. They force you to sit down, evaluate your life, and hoodwink important people into thinking that you're setting goals. Maybe we should be required to write personal statements every four years or so. It might really help us shape our futures.

Errr...maybe I'll start mine later. Jersey Shore is on now.


My personal statement for grad school:

     “Miss Rosanne, do you wear those shoes just because they make you look taller?” asked one of my little urchins. 
     “No Steven,” I said, “they just have thick soles.  I wear them because they keep my feet off the ground.  Shouldn’t you be on stage now?”
      When Steven ran on stage to join his other partners in crime, I really started to think about what he had been asking.  I know that he was just trying to get a laugh for his friends by poking fun at his play director, but the question seemed to have more meaning than he had ever intended.
      That summer, I was trying to make myself seem taller.  I had to put on a strong front to keep order for thirty-five active kids in the middle of their summer vacation.  Not only that, but they actually had to give a decent performance in four weeks.  Talk about pressure.  When I went home after rehearsals, I cried to my parents and asked myself why I ever took on such a huge responsibility, but every morning from nine until noon, I donned my tall shoes and became “Miss Rosanne.”
      The graduate school application process again reminds me that tall shoes are an excellent foundation.  My undergraduate work has provided me with a solid basis, lending support and security to almost any future path.  With this base under my feet, I feel that I am ready to narrow my studies from a liberal arts background to English Literature and Composition.  Even more specifically, I hope to edit, publish, or review children’s literature.  Kids, like Steven, ask some darn good questions, and books either stimulate their curiosity or add to their knowledge.
      When I was younger, I always used to fill my summer hours with books of all kinds.  As I grew, I spent the school year reading and reviewing books for my mother, an elementary school reading specialist, when she did not have time for the task.  From sixth and ninth grade, I fell into a gap between the preteen books and the adult novels.  Since I could not find any interesting reading material, I reverted back to my mom’s elementary books.  Although this neglected spot has been partially filled since then, I want to make sure that the gap is closed permanently.     
      My play went on, of course, and many community members said that it was one of the best shows in years.  Steven, my favorite little critic, suffered from several bruised toes because he chose to wear sandals.  I told him that he should get a pair of taller shoes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hazy Shade of Winter

I'd forgotten how white snow is.

I mean, I've seen snow in NYC, of course. We just had a whole snowstorm full of it. It swirled around, piled up, and ended up coating my cell phone even though it was hidden in the depths of my coat pocket. From my bedroom window, my roommate and I watched snowflakes float lazily to the ground as we laughed and pointed at people who were slipping and falling in the snow on Ninth Avenue. But I had forgotten how pure and blindingly white snow actually can be...until I went home to Canandaigua.

As I drove in the family minivan--actually, I was being driven since I haven't been behind the wheel since August and no one trusts me to drive in the winter--I passed lawns and fields and hills that were blanketed in blindingly white, sparkly bright snow. Completely smooth and untouched. The kind of snow that hurts your eyes. Basically, the snow's so bright, you have to wear shades.

The best part about this brilliantly white snow is that it stayed brilliantly white. All ten days of my trip. Sure, the two feet closest to the curb became grossly brown, and it really put a damper on my plans to trek around the outdoor outlet center. And the Wegmans parking lot was full of disgusting slush. But the snow made everything else look like a picture print by Currier and Ives.

Now that I'm back in Manhattan, I'm trying as hard as possible to keep that perfect snowy image in my head. Especially when I see city workers throwing all snow remnants into the street, hoping that cars will reduce it to slush. Which really just adds insult to injury. Not only is city snow immediately gray, it's also trampled on by millions of pedestrians and thousands of cars. The snow's beauty is completely destroyed, kind of like when Mary Poppins slums it with the chimney sweeps on the roof and gets all sooty. Only worse.

It seems as though there's a legal limit to the snow here; however, I did have one brief shining moment of snowy glory in Manhattan. Picture it: a crisp, sunny afternoon on the Radio City roof with snow up to my knees. No one had been on the roof yet (probably because it was dangerous and forbidden), so a friend and I ran and jumped and slid and made snow angels. Being from Florida, he had never made a snow angel, and being an adult, I hadn't attempted one in at least 15 years. It was thrilling.

But even that was just a tease. We had 100 square feet of snow on the roof, which is roughly the size of my parents' backyard. If you're into snow, upstate is where it's at. No contest. In short, there's simply not a more congenial spot for snowily-ever-aftering than there in upstate New York.



Friday, January 14, 2011

Mighty Mice

 Back home, our main critter problem seemed to be ants. They were everywhere. They’re just so darn tiny that they crawl in through windows and under doors and somehow always appear on the countertop when you’re trying to make peanut butter and jelly.

And every once in a very great while, a bat with a Santa Claus complex would stumble down the chimney and into my parents’ formal living room. While I screamed and hid, my mother would calmly close the pocket doors, sealing my father in the room with a pool net and steady hand.

In Manhattan, my main critter problem seems to be mice. Not rats, not roaches. Mice. And as much as I detest them, I must say that they're sometimes adorable, Jim Henson-style mice. When I’m not hating them for ruining my life, that is. I mean, they’re so cute I almost expect them to burst into song. Regardless, I obviously cannot live with mice, even if they’re of the singing variety, so they must be destroyed.

MOUSE #1: Die Hard Mouse
In my first NYC apartment, I lived with a lovely girl named Erica Kane. Seriously. She was even requested to attend the Rosie O’Donnell Show when Susan Lucci was a guest. Anyway, we saw a mouse in the apartment and set out glue traps accordingly. When I came home from work, I saw that the glue trap was now the home of a half-dead mouse.  Though squeaking, flailing, or just plain determination, that little guy had wiggled that glue trap into the middle of the kitchen floor on his way out of the apartment. (I use the word “kitchen” lightly. It was more of a short hallway with cupboards on one side.)

I wanted to vomit. I obviously did not want the mouse in the house, but I couldn’t think of a way to dispose of it without actually getting near it. So I fled. Like the coward I am. I stayed out of the apartment for hours, and when I returned, the mouse was nowhere to be seen. Erica never mentioned it. As the lease holder, I assume she was afraid that the sight of a mouse would freak me out (as it did), and she wanted to make sure I didn’t pick up and move out. Not because she liked me that much, you see. She just didn’t want to go through the hassle of finding a new non-psycho roommate. 

Yippee ki yay, little mousie!

MOUSE #2: The 40-Minute Mouse
Since I had so cleverly gotten away with shoving mouse disposal duty on poor Erica, I assumed I was in the clear. Wrong. We had set out a just-in-case glue trap, and I later found it in roughly the same position it had been in the first time. Luckily, this mouse wasn’t moving.

Since I was 24-years-old, and therefore a grown-up, I didn’t want to shirk my duty a second time. So I did what any grown-up would do. I called my dad to cry a little bit and beg for ideas for getting the mouse out of the house with a minimum of contact. Of course, my father wasn’t home. And neither was my Sicilian grandfather, who wastes nothing and probably would’ve told me 63 uses for a mouse carcass before disposing of the remains. Luckily, my Uncle Peter was home and suggested throwing a paper towel over the mouse to obscure it from sight. That helped immensely

My main goal was to remain as far away from the actual creature as possible, so I put the top of a large pizza box on the floor and used a broom to sweep the paper towel-covered glue trap onto the cardboard. That way I could pick up the cardboard, keeping my fingers far away from the glue trap and the mouse itself.

But it squeaked! IT’S ALIVE! THE MOUSE WAS ALIVE!!!

After squealing, dropping everything, and running to my room to hide, I took several calming breaths and returned to the kitchen to finish the job. After a couple more false starts, I was able to sweep the glue trap onto the cardboard and dump the whole thing in a garbage bag, which I brought down to the curb. The whole disposal process took 40 minutes.

Immediately following, I used at least half a bar of soap to rid my hands of mouse germs that I was certain must have traveled over the cardboard and on my skin.

MOUSE #3: Big Top Mouse
I thought mice were ground creatures. Not so. When I was calmly lying in bed, I watched a mouse run all the way up the doorjamb of my closet door, disappearing from view on the other side. Needless to say, I sealed the closet door and wore the same clothes for three days.

MOUSE #4: Poor, Unfortunate Mouse
I once had a super named Ray who had a silent sidekick whose name I can’t recall. It was kind of a Penn and Teller type situation, necessitated by Penn’s (or is it Teller’s?) lack of English vocabulary. But he was a sweet, sweet man who was always smiling.

One day, Penn was fixing something in my room while I was sitting on my bed and playing on the computer. I felt odd being in my bedroom with a strange man, but I would have felt odder leaving the room and giving a strange man free reign in my room. Suddenly, Penn sat up straight, looked at me, and said, “Mouse?”

I nodded to him, then proceeded to babble about the tiny baby mouse I had seen running down the hall before realizing that I was using so many unfamiliar words that his eyes glazed over and he had stopped listening.

“I kill?” he said.

“Yes, please,” I answered.

Everything went back to normal for a few moments, until—BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

I glanced over to see Penn thumping the floor with an upside-down broom. That’s right, folks. He was using the top end of the broom like a spear to squash the poor baby mouse into a pulp. But of course, you can't just spear a running mouse. Previous to that, he saw the little guy run by and swatted it back and forth between his hands to disorient it. I was watching a homicidal mouse murdering maniac at work. He stopped, bent down, and looked at me with pride shining in his eyes. I inadvertently began to lean over to see the damage. “No look,” he said, waving his hand in front of my face. “You no look.”

After hiding my eyes while he removed the flattened mouse, he came back in and said, “A’ home, I keeeell snake. 50 snake. In basement.” He held his hands open twice as wide as his stocky body. “Theeeees beeeg.”

My mouth dropped open. I’m not sure horror was the reaction he was going for. It seemed that some sort of admiring response was in order. So I gave him the damsel in distress act, thanked him for his help, ushered him out the door, washed the floor, and threw away the broom.

MOUSE #5: The WB Mouse
One cozy winter evening, I turned off the lights and settled into bed to watch an episode of Felicity. Which is the best college angsty show that ever was, in case you’re curious. Anyway, I was completely enjoying the romantic tension between Felicity, a sweater-loving do-gooder; Noel, the brainiac Boggle champ; and Ben, the broodingly hot slacker. Then, I glanced to my left…and saw a mouse sitting perfectly still on my other pillow, staring at the screen and enjoying the show with me!

I screamed and sat up, inadvertently flipping the mouse’s pillow over in the process. I suspected that the mouse was hiding under the pillow, and I knew I had just one chance to catch it. I stared at the pillow, plotting my next move. I didn’t have a next move. Before I knew it, my hand yanked the other pillow. I was hoping to come up with a brilliant last second plan, but brilliance escaped me. And so did the mouse. I had no idea where it went, so I did what anyone would do: I stripped all the sheets from my bed, laid on my mattress pad with every light blazing, watched two seasons of Felicity, and stared at the clock until morning.


By 2006, I had become somewhat accustomed to seeing the occasional mouse in my apartment. Seems like it’s just a hazard of living in New York. I am completely aware that people all over the country have mice in their homes, but I’m guessing their mouse problems don’t increase because the laundromat downstairs is being turned to a Thai restaurant.

My feelings about mice can be wrapped up in something my doctor said when she broke the news that I had a roach allergy. “But I’ve only lived here for a year,” I protested. “I’ve never even seen a roach!” She said, “Oh, they’re there. If you live in Manhattan, they’re in your walls. Even in the nicest building in the city. They’re there. They’re always there. They’re everywhere.”