Thursday, April 22, 2010

Turning it on -- on the W train

Yesterday I went out for drinks with my long-lost high school friend, K. I think the last time we saw each other was graduation day...but that didn't even matter. We picked up right where we left off, filled in the blanks for the last few years and laughed for hours. Two blood-orange mimosas, one glass of white wine, one mini avocado salad with chicken, and one photo-booth session later we said "Adieu" and I sprinted to the subway. I don't know why but when I'm drunk tipsy I am determined to walk like I am not drunk tipsy so I speed walk. I am convinced that then no one will know that I am on the edge of falling flat on my face.....sadly, I tend to negate my efforts as I talk loudly on my cellphone while crossing the street and almost getting run over by a cab......but I digress.

As I caught the W train at Union Square, all I could think about was the $5 foot-long BLT that I was going to reward myself with once I got off at my stop in Astoria.While my mouth watered, I took out my book, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, and made myself comfortable with my feet up in that "two-seater" seat on the subway. You know which one I'm talking about right? The one you are supposed to give to handicapped, preggers or old people. Well the train was not full at all so I had that MTA loveseat all to myself.

Clearly, they know exactly what I'm talking about
 I tried to read a chapter or two and then realized my buzzed brain could not really appreciate the Austen dramatics and I happily slipped it back into my bag. Mmmm....$5 foot-long.

"Just so you know, that book you were just reading? It's bullshit."

Broken out of my reverie I stared back at the not at all cute manchild gentleman sitting across from me. I smiled politely back and asked,

Me: Why?

Dave W Train Debate Jane Austen (as saved into my phone): Jane Austen? She creates these men that don't exist.

Me: I know that some men are douchebags but some are gentlemen.

DWTDJA: You're wrong there.

Me: What, you're all gentlemen? (skeptical eyebrow raise/pursed lips)

DWTDJA: No. We're all douchebags.

Me: (drunk giggle) Oh, well. I mean, isn't that what books are for though? To create these worlds that allow you to be whimsically naive?

(Inner thought - Are you drunk too? I mean, only a drunk guy would say this type of shit right?)

DWTDJA: I don't know. I guess. I don't really read books like those, I'm more into Kurt Vonnegut (oh God)...

Me: I like Kurt Vonnegut.

DWTDJA: But these books make girls expect some guy to come and save them. Like when it's raining some guy is going to come and put his expensive coat over a puddle for you to swoon and walk over. Why can't you just walk around?

Me: (nervous drunk laughter) I know guys don't really do that. But it's nice to be whimsy sometimes (yes, second time I used the word "whim" in different a way).

DWTDJA: (Looks around) I guess...Oh man. Look what you made me do now (joking?). I think I've missed my stop.

Me: Where were you supposed to get off?

DWTDJA: Queensboro. I have to take the 7.

Me: Oh...that's the next stop. See I didn't do nothing.

DWTDJA: (As we approach Queensboro Plaza) Well, I should probably give you my number, you know, just in case you ever want to discuss literature more.

Me: (Oh God) Okay (internal shrug)

If only this guy had been cute -- I would totally call him back. Wouldn't that be an adorable meet-cute?

Oh, Jane. Who would have thought coming home on a Wednesday night on the W train would involve some peaked interest in your literature and my reading selection?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Laziness Revisited

These past couple of weeks have been insane. My roommate and I have been getting up at 6 a.m. to go to the gym and I've been super busy at work. I've also been doing some freelance transcribing on the side which ensures that I stay at my office well after 5p.m. Basically, I've been taking a huge bite out of real-life adulthood.

At the end of March, after a few days of incessant gorging, Roommate and I made a pact to start going to the gym at least three times a week. Obviously we want to be fit....but if you're like me, you need a goal to help kick-start your health habit. So - I am attending a wedding in May and I'm a bridesmaid in August - let's just say the little fat girl inside of me was like "Hey, fatty! Yeah, you. Don't look behind you to see if I'm talking to someone else. Listen: We Are On HIGH ALERT!" The healthy me thinks -- This is great. I will go to the gym at least 3x a week. This will make me fit and make me feel good. The traumatized fatty thinks -- You do not want to be the fat bridesmaid. Spanx will not help you. Get your ass in gear.

(Clearly I envision my friend K -the bride- placing a "me-as-your-bridesmaid" picture on her mantle where all her friends and family can see and scoff at it. In this scenario it is just me though...I don't know where she plans on putting her own wedding picture....but I know I'm going on the mantle.)

Anyway, I have been energetically exhausted and definitely have not had much time to read.

Why not just throw a book in my gym bag? You know, kill two birds with one sweaty stone? You don't know how many times I've tried.

Taking the book with my to the gym? Piece of fat-free, sugar-free cake. Reading it while at the gym....not so much.

In college, I used to try reading my homework at the gym; a failed attempt every time. I either read the article/book on the bike and didn't mustering up a bead of sweat OR I bounced about doing harder cardio and kept re-reading the same sentence/paragraph over and over. I've even tried reading magazines, but all the jostling of the elliptical or treadmill makes me nauseous and gives me a headache. I guess it makes sense, trying to mix my most guilty pleasure with my most dreaded pleasure. I could try working out to a book-on-tape -- but I envision myself staring off into the distance while on a machine, falling victim to the book's plot instead of running off the rogue chocolates I ate the night before.

Hopefully my work load will lighten up in time for the weekend and I can catch up on some much needed reading time and DVR unloading. And maybe even add in a gym visit at some point....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Love means not ever having to say you're sorry."

We've all heard this quote before, right? Who hasn't used it at least once in their lifetime? I know I have. Too many to count. It's from the book by Erich Segal, Love Story, which was also made into a movie in 1970.

It's the movie Thora Birch is watching when she is sitting on the roof of her house in Now and Then.

It was referenced in the movie What's Up Doc? starring Barbara Streisand (Judy) and Ryan O'Neal (Howard):

Judy: Love means never having to say you're sorry.
Howard: That's the dumbest thing I ever heard.

And John Lennon countered it when he said: "Love means having to say you're sorry every fifteen minute."

I literally read this book in a matter of hours. It was short and sentimental. Perfect for the mood I was in after reading Barbie and Ruth. It rigidly followed the drama/chick lit pattern -- witty meet-cute, love, disaster and redemption. It did not surprise me, yet I couldn't put it down.  But, what can I say? I'm a sucker for a sappy romance. It reminded me of my first high school boyfriend. You know the one I'm talking about, right? The one who promises you the world, and fills your heart with so much love you think you're going to burst. M memorized sonnets for me. Wrote me love letters. Made me his muse. Such an unforgettably great first love.

But, doesn't it feel like forever ago when we took ourselves too seriously and chalked it up to being naive and young? I think that's what I liked most about this book. I could revert back to my old ways and hope that everything would be tied up happily, unjaded and pure.

I really liked this little scene from the book. I mean, we've all experienced that inability to concentrate on anything because the person you love is in the room, or sitting next to you, right? So, enjoy:

Jenny (J): You're going to flunk out, Oliver.
We were sitting in my room on a Sunday afternoon, reading.
J: Oliver, you're gonna flunk out if you just sit there watching me study.
Oliver (O): I'm not watching you study. I'm studying.
J: Bullshit. You're looking at my legs.
O: Only once in a while. Every chapter.
J: That book has extremely short chapters.
O: Listen, you narcissistic bitch, you're not that great-looking!
J: I know. But can I help it if you think so?
I threw down my book and crossed the room to where she was sitting.
O: Jenny, for Christ's sake, how can I read John Stuart Mill when every single second I'm dying to make love to you?
She screwed up her brow and frowned.
J: Oh Oliver, wouldja please?
I was crouching by her chair. She looked back into her book.
O: Jenny --
She closed her book softly, put it down, then placed her hands on the sides of my neck.
J: Oliver -- wouldja please?
It all happened at once. Everything.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Makeover - Step One

I've been badgering C and L to help me revamp my blog for months. I go and look at all these other blogs and I eventually throw myself a pity-party, complete with cupcakes and dramatic sighs.

And it always comes down to this: 

When will my friends take cool, artsy photos of me surrounded by books, so I can use one for the header behind my blog title?
Is my blog cool enough?
Is my writing good/interesting enough?
Why don't I have photographer friends who will follow me around like paparazzi and give me fodder for my posts?

I've been virtually pacing back and forth and back and forth and today I felt an unbearable urge to really do something about it. So, I've made my first (teeny-tiny) baby step. Yes, it is just a background, but for a control freak - like myself - that is a big step.

And the best part of this being my blog is that can change it as many times as I want until I get it just right.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Barbie and Ruth

The first Barbie (1959) - Mattel, Inc.

Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie, was a bad-ass bitch. She pummeled through the toy business and broke gender and financial barriers during a time when many women were busy in the kitchen, and not in the office. I picked up Barbie and Ruth, randomly, on one of my library trips. I hadn't even heard of the book before I saw it. I'll be honest with you - I judge a book by its cover. If it catches my eye, I'll pick it up. If the back cover has an intriguing summary, no doubt it is coming with me to the checkout line. So a book about Barbie, with a smooth tiptoed Barbie foot/leg and curvy pink lettering on the front? -- Mine.

I never wanted to be Barbie. I didn't dream about having long luscious blonde locks. I was happy being a brunette and opting for Barbie's BFF Teresa whenever I went to Toy's R Us. But like any little girl, I did have Barbie-fied green-eyed monster moments.

"It takes a smart brunette to play a dumb blonde." - Marilyn Monroe

My friend C was the queen of all things Barbie. She had all the covetable items, which included: Barbie's Dream House (with elevator) and Barbie's convertible. I also remember her having tubs of Barbies. Not just one or two. She had Mattel's entire collection. A happy jumble of Skippers, Kellys, Malibu, Princess and Business Barbies. Play dates at her house consisted of lavish parties, dramatic fashion shows, intricate love triangles and so much was an imagination explosion.

And even though my parents sometimes spoiled me with toys I wanted -ALL the limited edition Spice Girl dolls- they did not indulge me with what they deemed unnecessary (ha). Stretch your creative mind as we take a walk on memory lane and look back on my Barbie "accessories". At my house, this included my white hamper as the "dreamhouse"- and one of my Dad's old slippers as Barbie's busted up hooptie. I was living the dream, people.

Maybe my experience is different from others, but like I said, I never wanted to be Barbie. I had no desire and did not dream up scenarios where I dressed up in designer wedding gowns and never got married. And maybe I'm just naive to think that a little girl's make-believe doesn't always translate into adolescent psychological turmoil. I remember having fun with my friends and then moving on to play different games. Barbie has gotten too much flack. She's too thin, she's too blond. She creates eating disorders. Blah blah blah.

Listen, if you're going to raise your eyebrows suspiciously in this plastic diva's direction, it should not be, because Mattel just created a new line of "Totally Stylin' Tattoos" (a.k.a. - tramp stamp) Barbies. I am more concerned by the fact that Barbie has been "dating" her gay brother, Ken, for the past 51 years.