Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As Good As It Gets?

On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn disaster, the gay rights movement is facing a ho-hum moment.

The President hasn't yet lived up to any of his campaign promises to that community, but that didn't stop gay rights leaders (we should really be calling them civil rights leaders) from attending a White House ceremony to commemorate the day. Sure, there was a little bit of an outcry, but Obama wasn't left standing alone in a room or anything.

The New York Times ran a front-page Style article on Sunday profiling a few straight dudes who are friends with gay dudes. The Times' profiled gay men included a drama and dance teacher and an ice-skating instructor--because it couldn't find any CPAs? The point of the article was supposed to be that in an I Love You, Man age, men could finally accept each other, regardless of sexual orientation, without tension. But if that was the case, the reporter wouldn't have included awkward scenarios each of these man-couples have found themselves in: "princess" references, demands that one "not be so queer." It's more like the assumption that this is as good as it gets.

The most tolerant, the article points out, are men in the military. Take that, Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I was at the Pride Parade in San Francisco this weekend, where the theme was "To Form a More Perfect Union..." and the organizers admitted the crowds were tamer than in years past. The most incredible parade participants weren't the trannies and mostly-naked City Car Share employees. They were the elderly couples riding in pedicabs, holding signs indicating how long they'd been together. (The highest number I saw was 38 years.)

And, really, there was no way to make a more extreme statement than that--because in a year when California's Prop 8 was followed by a midwestern state allowing gay marriage, and the election of an open-minded President was followed by silence from his White House, and being a gay man with a straight friend who calls you "princess" is a step forward, really, what can this movement do but sit back and wait to be considered normal?

Friday, June 26, 2009


Many of you know that part of my time off is being spent pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor, which is still nameless and kind of a blob of an elaborate plan right now, but is giving me insights into what I want out of life and how I think about work and how much time I can kill on the internet.

Mostly, I've been reading theknot.com.

Everyone of my generation who knows any woman who's gotten married has heard of The Knot, because the first thing most engaged women do is go online and figure out how they're going to throw what will probably be the biggest gala event she'll ever put her name on. And, in addition to it being fancy, it also has to be unforgettable for every single guest. (The word at Delinda's wedding was that no one wanted to be the next to get married, because not only did she and Josh have an art museum, but they also had an ocean view, the hottest day of the year, a photo booth with full Mexican wrestler costumes, sparklers, an 80s cover band, AND someone had to be taken away in an ambulance. And therefore, in that group of friends, no one has dared get married for the last two years. It's just too much pressure.)

So, anyway, I've been reading The Knot, and I can see why people are addicted to it. First of all, it tells you right off the bat that you stand to fail at this task. In fact, the very first article on the "Planning Basics" page is "Brides' Biggest Wedding Regrets." You're going to pick the wrong bridesmaids or the wrong veil ("55+ Veil Ideas!"), your Future Intended (there's a whole other language on this site) is going to get mad if your wedding bands don't match his watch, and every future in-law has either a drinking problem or a whiny kid who's going to ruin the ceremony.

But if you're on The Knot, you have bigger problems. First of all, it's almost impossible to escape its grasp. To view anything of substance (a relative term), you have to give the site your wedding date. "Mine" is this October, and my inbox is blowing up with purchases I should be handling right now. I've consoled several brides who input their wedding dates, for real, watched The Knot generate a checklist of what needed to be accomplished and how far out each task should be handled, and then burst into tears. I think I'm popular as a bridesmaid because of my absolute disdain for people who ruin all the fun of your wedding by making you stress about it.

But I couldn't believe this story: One of the most popular features on The Knot is the chat boards, where brides-to-be (grooms never seem to worry about these things) post their worries and their stories and their bargains for all their virtual friends to see. It's basically a way to enjoy your planning without wearing out your friends. But SOMEONE told me the other day that she got out of the chats when she kept seeing brides sign back in to report that other members of the chat rooms had shown up at their weddings...once, it seems, to steal the cocktail napkins.

Oh, hell no.

And then I saw this, posted in a chat room that, up to this point, had been happily chatting about what it means if your fiance gets a new job right before the wedding:

"I have this friend who's perpetually single. I try to sympathize with her, and support her when she's got a new crush, but behind her back, I laugh at her for only going for guys who are way out of her league."

And that's when I had to close my computer. Because it's one thing to write off The Knot as a site only for people who are massively excited about getting hitched. And I'm OK with reading the thoughts of people who are giddily in love and celebrating that with things that are color-coordinated. But if you're both stressed about napkin rings AND just happy to find someone who's "in your league," it's going to take a lot of work on my end not to stage an intervention.

On a TOTALLY UNRELATED note, happy anniversary, Lindi and Jeff.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We elect you because of what you say about tax breaks

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford had a strange, unscripted news conference today, at which he admitted to cheating on his wife. In Argentina. Like, yesterday.

While he was at it, he basically acknowledged the end of his political future, not resigning from office, but at least resigning as head of the Republican Governors.

He’d been missing for a few days... as in, REALLY no one knew where he was, not even his staff. Not even his wife. Then they all decided he was probably somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, writing, because that was a logical explanation. Then they said he’d be coming home early, because of all this brouhaha about his disappearance. Thanks a lot for ruining his vacation.

And, as far as I can tell, it was said brouhaha that led him to confess his affair. So far as I can tell, no one had brought up the affair. No one had accused him of doing anything particularly sneaky during his away time. The only thing that was suspicious at all was the fact that he didn’t tell anyone where he was going. In fact, I’d be willing to say that if he had just said, “I’ll be in Argentina next week, visiting an old friend,” today’s events would have never transpired.

Instead, he flew back and told everyone where he was and what he’d been doing. He was the kid who blurts out everything he did while his parents are away, either out of fear they’ll find out later or because he just couldn’t live with the guilt. I mean, he JUST GOT BACK.

This all comes, of course, on the heels of the Jon and Kate debacle, which took months to unfold and left me a little bit stunned and feeling hollow every time I see photos of the family or TV footage. (You know, cable channels beyond Bravo are now running full shows about the family. Jon & Kate: Is It Too Late? was on again last night, and I was like, yeah, I think we already know the answer....)

I know I’m supposed to be laughing at the people who are taking the divorce of Jon and Kate personally. But this is reality TV at its most real, right? While most of the reality crap achieves a perfect arc (a dinner party to which you’ve invited your enemy, who is also the final cast member of the show, concludes with The Confession We’ve Been Waiting for All Season), this couple announced a divorce three episodes into a 40-episode season. Any friend or family member would, at this point, stop extending joint dinner invitations, sending anniversary cards or giving Christmas presents addressed to both of them at this point. But America is no caring friend, and Bravo is no landlord who’s going to let you break the lease because of extenuating personal circumstance. The Gosselins have another 37 episodes to go in their contract — the same contract that affords them that house, with the same cable network that pushes promotional opportunities their way so all their kids can get new playhouses.

All this sympathy for the Gosselins, because we held them to a higher standard. This is what they get.

And all this hoopla over Mark Sanford, because we “held him to a higher standard.” This is what he gets.

The saddest part of the Gosselin saga, I think, is that they have to stay on TV.

The saddest part of the Sanford saga is the idea that this should at all affect his career. South Carolina has enough problems, and, yes, having him as governor is one of them. But not because he has a mistress.

I kind of highly doubt many people in South Carolina get a pit in their stomach when they think about the end of Mark Sanford’s marriage and what it must be doing to his family.

And now that the dichotomy’s been shoved in our faces, why not just acknowledge that politicians cheating on their wives doesn’t affect us in the slightest?

The reason I have a blog

This entry is about the best day at City Hall.

I noticed a couple watching me as I walked to the bathroom outside the office one day, and when I was on my way out, one of them stopped me to ask if I might be willing to be the witness to their wedding, in one hour. They had arrived from Berlin the day before and immediately made an appointment to be married, but hadn't realized that you need to find someone to take pictures--it's required by law, so as to capture the glory of City Hall.

Frankly, I was just flattered. I mean, of all the people who had to pee that hour, they thought I was the most respectable! They wouldn't mind having me in their photos! I looked like I might have a signature that would look good on their marriage certificate!

Because I'm not a heartless wench, and because I was already thinking I might have a blog and that this might make a great entry, I agreed, and an hour later met them at our designated place, carrying everything I thought they might need for their wedding. Having not much time to prepare for my duties as a best man/maid of honor/photographer to two German strangers, and, furthermore, having only the supplies on hand that I could find in the desk of the aide I was filling in for, this meant I brought along a camera, my Chapstick and some gum.

Torsten and Sonja seemed shocked that I'd shown up, and right on time. I felt pretty bad for them, because they were obviously nervous, and on our walk over to the Clerk's office they were trying really hard to chat with me in their second language. If you combine the confusion of filling out paperwork in English with fitting your European address onto the American forms with explaining Germany's unemployment system to your curious witness, you're in for a pretty stressful day.

But I'll say this: If you're looking for a quick wedding and a good photo opportunity, San Francisco's City Hall is the way to go. First of all, all the other couples waiting seem like a fun group. No bridezillas, lots of kids, some really extreme outfits and a kind of general air of "We just saved $20k!" (The bathrooms at City Hall on Fridays, by the way, contain some of the best people-watching you'll ever do. It's pretty routine to see women change into bridal gowns in front of the sinks. What's most fascinating is the number of women who don't account for needing a new bra to accommodate their strapless, backless dresses. The most common stage of undress I've walked in on is definitely the dress-on-but-unzipped, cramming-the-bra-straps-down-the-bodice stage.) (Sonja was wearing the type of dress you pack when you're going on vacation to California and plan to do a lot of walking around.)

Second, you can choose any location in the building to get married. (I wonder if the third floor was available the day the shirtless firefighters were doing their calendar shoot?) I thought Torsten and Sonja would have spent more time scoping this out--after all, they'd come this far. But maybe it just didn't matter that much to them. They had agreed to get married after 12 years of dating and nine years of living in the same building (but not the same flat--why give up personal space?, she argued, which I think is totally fair and I'd subscribe to if I didn't like Adam's taste in furniture and cooking so much, and if he wasn't amenable to watching all my terrible TV shows with me, and if he didn't smell so good almost all the time). The tipping point, Sonja told me, had been that Torsten had suggested a vacation to California, and she had decided that it should be a honeymoon. Therefore, they should just get married as soon as they got here. That seemed OK to him. And I guess the staircase at City Hall was OK to them, too.

The ceremony itself was pretty laid-back. The guy who was assigned to officiate that day was lost, or something, so some other dude showed up and kind of shrugged the whole thing off, like the City and County of San Francisco routinely loses staff and someone else has to pick up the robe and knock out a couple of weddings. We all headed over to the stairs, nicely asked the last couple who had already gotten married and was still taking pictures to get out of the way, and the five-minute ceremony kicked off.

The thing you don't realize about the wedding vows is how gramatically messy and antiquated they are. It's pretty apparent, though, when you listen to a German repeat, kind of quizzically, "I thee wed..." Oh, shit, what did I just agree to? The OTHER thing that was awesome about the wedding was the little detail of Sonja's right hand--she doesn't have one. The officiant ACTUALLY SAID, "Please join hands...I mean, hand." Luckily, that set both the bride and groom off giggling, which saved me from the shame of being the only one.

Torsten and Sonja didn't send me any photos of the actual wedding (which I guess would be kind of weird, since we still can't really say we know each other), but they did send me this one. They also invited me out for drinks to celebrate (I went back to work, instead) and stopped by to see me on their last day in California. I feel like I'm a really important part of their life, but, you know, that's probably temporary. After all, as Torsten wrote me in an e mail, "Faster that we were thinking we came back to the usual days in Berlin and the daily routine has catched us."

And sometimes the daily routine catches me...but it's nice when it does so as an unexpected wedding.

Monday, June 22, 2009

In which mustaches are examined

Google: "How to have fun with mustaches"

This Wikipedia entry is crap. Obviously written by a bunch of cowboys.

What if one is aiming for a more highbrow stache?

Healthy living is slightly more fun with facial hair, but something is still missing...

Let's go to the library.

Perhaps a villain?

Villains are so easily distracted by pretty ladies. And their booze.

And mustaches are like magnets for each other...especially in San Francisco. VILLAIN DISTRACTED! Mustaches can again live in harmony!

HUZZAH! Bring out the lutes, and other celebratory instruments of the land!

This entry brought to you by Elizabeth Peterson, the United States Postal Service, and a most delightful housewarming present.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Acceptable baby mama behavior - airplane version

I went to visit San Diego last weekend, which is to say, I went to hang out with nine babies and their parents for three days. Especially if you’re friends with a group of young mothers, you learn pretty quickly to be careful about judging how they raise their children, and, if you have no children yourself, your reaction should always be to SHUT UP whenever anyone offers advice or criticism. And because the directives fly fast and furious towards and around the parents of newborns, as far as I can tell, the only way to survive the first couple of years is to just ignore everyone around you.

So while I was all prepared to be the non-judgmental friend once I landed in San Diego, something happened on the plane ride there: I realized that NONE of my friends could possibly be as bad as this woman, sitting next to me with her two-year-old.

Acceptable: Reading books to your baby, quietly, to keep him occupied.
Unacceptable: Singing the books to your baby.

Acceptable: Asking for a specific drink for your baby.
Unacceptable: Refusing to participate in the trash collection at the end of the flight because he “needs to eat all his ice.”

Acceptable: Apologizing to your neighbor when your toddler throws a hardcover book at her face.
Unacceptable: Giving the book back to the toddler.

Acceptable: Playing a DVD for your baby.
Unacceptable: Singing along to the Barney DVD (by the way, this woman was my age, and I thought our generation came of age in the “Barney is stupid” phase—haven’t we moved on to something more hip? Or at least retro-chic, like Sesame Street?) and refusing to turn the machine off as the plane is preparing to land, because “he’s watching it.”

Acceptable: Breastfeeding
Unacceptable: Breastfeeding the same child who had been chomping on ice the whole flight and just ate a handful of peanuts.
(Lindi’s response to this, by the way, was, “What if the baby chokes on the nuts while it’s drinking?” which wasn’t exactly why I brought it up.)

So there you have it. I hope every single one of my friends takes the attitude of this woman—screw it all, because you’re going to be judged regardless of the decisions you make as a mother. And, frankly, this woman was only really being judged by the childless bitch sitting next to her, and, really, what does that matter? To all my newer mommies: Screw them all. Your kids are going to turn out fine.

But if you breastfeed to the point that there’s a chance your kid could bite your nipple off, my judgment won’t be silent.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Celebrities: They're Just Like Us!

From another recent People headline:
Chris Brown had an entourage of three bodyguards when he descended on Blade Lounge in Miami’s Fontainebleau and upped the number to five bodyguards when he headed to Liv nightclub later the same night. /NYP 10
I’ve been thinking about this one for a couple of days. If I ever ended up in a situation in which I felt like I was in physical danger, and for some reason STILL felt like hitting the clubs, who would I bring with me? I think I’ve got a pretty solid list:

Lola, Delinda 1. Delinda. She’s been to known to get bat-shit crazy over injustice. See her blog post about the smackdown laid upon Washington Mutual. She’s also taken to court a landlord who tried to take the cost of lightbulbs out of her security deposit—and that was before she passed the California bar. Remember that scene in Legally Blonde when Elle puts on her glasses and spouts out legal jargon to save the dog? Well, that’s kind of like Delinda…but then tack on the intimidation factor of dented shins and missing toenails from playing hard-core soccer. Anyone who’s willing to lose a body part over an inflated piece of rubber is obviously a maddog, and one to be on your side in a barfight.

Russell2. Russell. I should first point out that Russell is ALSO a lawyer, and about to start clerking in the Supreme Court of Texas. He was president of his law school class. He owns more than one suit. But, damn, you get him around a bar and talk some smack and the next thing you know, he’s throwing beers at you! EVEN IF YOU’RE A GIRL! And then starting Facebook wars! And then probably suing you! And once you’ve been punished physically, socially and legally, what’s even left? It’s not gonna be your pride, because when he’s done, he’ll steal your girlfriend.

Allison3. Allison. This one grew up in a multi-colored house with multi-colored siblings in a land of peace and rainbows and happiness: Cambridge, Mass. She’s all lovey-dovey and researches plants for a living and just adores the world and living things. She’ll also talk shit to a firefighter. I have watched this woman, in a bikini top and grass skirt, refuse medical treatment, scale a bunk bed for safety, and tuck herself in whilst the firefighters were still in the room. To top it all off, she then announced that she was ready to be snuggled.

Richie 4. Richard “Ricky” “Richie” Coffin. I’d just put him in between me and my predator, and Ricky would give him a big grin. If that doesn’t diffuse the situation, Ricky would exhibit that his socks exactly match his shirt. A close examination would give the rest of us plenty of time to escape.*

*Said close examination would yield conclusive evidence that the match is uncanny.

Monday, June 8, 2009

An Open Letter to a Real Housewife

Dear Jacqueline,

Honey, I just can’t let you go on like this. The way these women manipulate you is just sickening me, and I think it’s time that someone told you to your 39-year-old baby face that you’re the only worthwhile one of the bunch, and the only one who doesn’t stand a solid chance of getting sucker-punched in the bubbies on her next venture outside Franklin Lakes.

You know they all think they’re better than you, right? They’re just fighting over you because as you go, America goes. After all, you’re the only one in the bunch with a husband who doesn’t have an arrest record. Teresa might have her “French chateau” made entirely of onyx and marble, but, sweetheart, that was built with blood money—a contractor with a stay-at-home wife couldn’t keep up with that house payment…at least, not while he’s keeping her in those wigs and her and all her girls in spray tans, especially not with Gia SO HOT right now. And while her hubby’s probably telling her that his weekly HGH shipment is coming out of some separate fund, trust me: It’s the reason her showerheads aren’t made of diamonds. Paid for in cash, of course. Because the economy’s tanked.

And I know you’re afraid of Dina—we all are. But I’m fairly certain we could take her down if we all banded together. She seems to fear two things: 1) Getting skinned and worn as a pelt by Danielle, and 2) Catching the clap at a water park, overseas. (Does any country besides America create water parks?) I’m sure we could use both of these to our advantage, although, truth be told, Danielle herself is pretty much the scariest thing I can think of.

No, no, honey, I wasn’t implying that I BELIEVE that Danielle’s a kidnapper and a stripper or an escort or whatever’s revealed in that book, which I wish your friends would hold facing toward the camera with a little more purpose. I just mean, well, her eyebrows bear a striking resemblance to the look of the stigmata, and her love handles are every skinny woman’s nightmare, and her “workout shorts” are, I believe, actually panties. But I know she has a good heart. After all, she let her “boyfriend” tell her that he was 26, and she “believed” him. And she offered him sex, not only in a public place, but ALSO on reality TV! And I’m sure she would have been willing to give him the naked pictures she took of herself on her phone to send to her anonymous phone sex partner…but, then again, she gave those to you, the first time you met, so maybe that doesn’t count.

The point is, girl, if you want to be friends with Danielle, you can’t let your scary family keep you away. I mean, do you REALLY want to spend the holidays with Caroline and your nieces and nephews? One of them wants to be a cosmetologist but won’t touch hair on anyone else’s body; one of them wants to open a joint strip club/car wash (“When the girls aren’t on the pole, they can be washing cars!”); the third is called a “douche” for reading books and, you know, shit like that. I know it’s Big Mamma’s House and all, but really, between you and me, was Caroline included on the show just so the wrap party could be held at the Brownstone?

I just couldn’t stay quiet any longer. Jacquie, honey, you’re too good for this. You have the tallest hair of all of them, I DO believe you when you say you haven’t Botoxed, and, well, I know I’m not supposed to know this yet, but…you’re pregnant. No, really! I hate to say it, but going back to Vegas might be the right move.


PS When your daughter says you’re “just like the mom from Mean Girls,” SHE means it as a compliment, but…well, you should work on that.

Headlines, June 8

Through some complicated connection, Adam receives People magazine’s headlines via e mail every morning. I’m rarely sure what’s more baffling: what celebrities manage to get themselves into, or what People finds the need to cover. From recent days:

Bingo-game organizer Richelle Olson has sued Sacha Baron Cohen claiming a dust up with his Bruno character left her in a wheelchair. Olson says she was assaulted by Cohen and three cameramen who crashed the bingo night she was officiating. /DN 16
What’s more embarrassing: Being a victim of Sacha Baron Cohen’s ambush, or appearing in national press identified as a “bingo-game organizer”? I hope, for this woman’s sake, that she’s at least 75 years old. Otherwise, that’s just mortifying.

Ralph and Karen Guastaferro, who appeared on a 2008 episode of “Wife Swap,” appear to be in legal trouble. FBI and IRS agents raided their suburban Buffalo home on Tuesday. It is not known what the agents were looking for. /NYP 80
What poor intern dredged this up? Because I hardly think the paparazzi are camped out on the lawn on the Guastaferros’ home, waiting for the house of cards to fall. You know when you read the gossip and think, “Geez, I must be getting old. I don’t recognize any of these names”? MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT CELEBRITIES AFTER ALL.

Heather Mills told her fans via Twitter, “Two teenager boys rescued me and my leg today.” The former wife of Paul McCartney lost the artificial limb when she slipped on milk. /DN 23
Where the hell was Heather Mills with milk on the floor? Who drinks milk in public? Was she in a school cafeteria? How does this not merit further explanation? And did her fake leg just snap off? Horrifying.

Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag tried to quit “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” twice in the first two days of filming claiming they’d been stuck with C-listers. Whined Heidi: “I wish they got some real celebrities, like K-Fed.” /DN 19
I have no words.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Woman on the street, watching a tiny handbag-sized dog pass by on a leash:

“Shit, that cat has a butt like a dog!”


My last period of funemployment was wasted in a sea of afternoon marathons of Jon & Kate Plus 8 and Rock of Love Charm School (the good season, with Sharon Osbourne; none of this feud crap that’s currently on…which, by the way, I think Ricki Lake is handling remarkably well). While I’m certainly pleased that I had that time to catch up to the rest of the country in reality TV viewership, THIS time will be different. THIS time, I’m going to accomplish things—mainly stuff that I haven’t had time to do after work…mostly because that’s when I now watch my reality TV.

And since the end of unemployment coincided with a move, it’s a perfect time to consider this the beginning of a new lifestyle…one that’s organized, driven, goal-oriented, and something to be envied. I mean, who wouldn’t want to take time off work in their mid-20s? I didn’t even have to have a baby to do it! (I do, however, need to sell my car for cash money, something I was planning on doing anyway, and am counting on a tax refund when I finally get around to actually filing.)

The apartment is, of course, the most visible manifestation of my master plan, and since I’m now home so much more than Adam, it makes sense that 1) I’m bugged more by the fact that the whole place isn’t yet in order, and 2) It probably should fall to me to get most of our life’s possessions put away. Here’s the thing, though. When I left Boston for Denver over a year ago, everything I owned fit into my little Corolla. Adam was in a similar situation—he’d taken one Explorer’s worth of belongings to Denver. We had a sparse existence, and I don’t ever once remember saying, “Geez, what I couldn’t do with my milk foamer right now.”

It wasn’t that I was surprised when Adam rolled up to our new Berkeley apartment in December with a moving van full of things he had opted not to bring to Denver, but now needed to get out of storage in North Carolina. Grown-ups DO typically own stuff. And it’s not like that van was full of puppets (although there were some). It was packed with dishes and linens and DVD players and artificial Christmas trees—all things we use, and we use together, but…well, it’s not my stuff. And while most of it had a happy home in our Berkeley “storage unit” (a corner of the bathroom), now we’re at the top of three flights of stairs and have a utopian vision of having one of those cute little living rooms you see in Pottery Barn catalogs, where everything has a place and anything that’s not carefully filed away on a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf has been purposefully left out to indicate that we’re not uptight at all, and have led very interesting lives, and, really, we didn’t MEAN to leave that thank-you note from John Edwards out on the coffee table. We’re not sure how that ended up there. How embarrassing.

As you can see, we’re well on our way to realizing that vision:

But the rest of what’s going on here isn’t yet quite up to the standard I had imagined just a week ago. I’m not going to go into detail about The List Adam’s Given The Landlord, but when was the last time YOU needed to pre-dry your clothes before putting them in the dryer? Have you ever heard the sound of a dryer falling off a washing machine?

I’m not going to lie, though. I’m pretty proud of my innovation. It’s like living on the prairie up in here. In the days of yore, ladyfolk were always finding new ways to use the hooks on their overpriced kitchen islands:

And as long as I’m busy with laundry, I’m just not going to worry about the rest of it…like the fact that it looks like a band was executed in the corner of the living room.

Friday, June 5, 2009

To co-exist

I know a lot of people like to get work done in coffee shops, but I’m finding it kind of awkward. First of all, I feel incredibly guilty about buying $1.25 worth of beverage and hanging out for several hours. At a chain like Peet’s, I don’t feel the guilt of the tiny purchase, but there you only have two hours to get your work done, and that makes me panicky and puts a crink in my neck. And regardless of where you are, there are always disruptions.

Today, there have been two of note. One was a woman who came in with her two daughters: Ariel and Jasmine. (Yes, those are their real names…unless they’re both going through a phase and have asked to be addressed as such. But the mother seemed relatively young, and my cousin’s fiancĂ©e long ago announced that she wanted to name her firstborn “Dora,” after the fish in Finding Nemo…so I really do think it’s a thing. And a sign you’re not old enough to be pumping out babies.)

Anyway, these kids proceeded to YELL through the coffee shop window across the busy street to someone they knew there. This went on for about ten minutes. At some point, a young guy sitting nearest to them took off his headphones and asked them to stop, but that only gave them pause for a couple of minutes. I’m amazed at parents who are this oblivious to the disruption their kids cause. It’s not like a crying baby in a quiet place, which just makes me feel bad for whoever’s holding it. These are five- and seven-year-olds. But no matter. The real reason I brought it up was that they’re named after Disney princesses.

And now, just a couple of minutes ago, a guy came in in full bike leathers. He didn’t buy anything, but took off his motorcycle jacket and sat down with his laptop. Then, after firing it up, he got up to continue preparing to GET STUFF DONE. I mean, you definitely can’t work in an ensemble as badass as leathers. He caught my eye first because he kicked off his boots and underneath was wearing pink pig socks, which say “Oink oink oink” all over them. That was curious, but I continued to watch because it’s not often you see someone taking off pants in public, which is what he did next. I think about this often, actually, because when you grow up in San Diego, you get used to wearing shorts towards the end of the school year but freezing all morning because of June Gloom. And while it makes sense to wear a sweatshirt, no one ever wore sweatpants over their shorts…I think because it’s awkward to take them off. It’s completely impossible to do gracefully. That’s why, in movie sex scenes, you never see a character dealing with the problem of taking off jeans.

So, anyway, this guy peels off his leather pants, which are tight enough that I’m amazed at what’s underneath: purple camouflage pants. He must have STUFFED those things in there. I wonder if he rearranged the fabric at all once he was in.

And then—THEN—he pulls out a pair of pink ballet slippers. Not the pointe kind, which would make this story better, but definitely legit ballet slippers, with the scuffed toes that differentiate them from the Nine West version. Now he’s really ready for something. Maybe it’s performance art, and he’s going to do a split on the coffeehouse floor?


He just sat down to work.

That’s his work outfit.

I can’t tell if I’m thrilled or if this is just the disappointment of the afternoon.

He did just take a sip of a Diet Coke that I swear was left on the table by the last person sitting there. Oh, my God, he just smiled at me knowingly. He can’t read this because I’m on an unsecured network, right?

I need to leave this place.