Archive for October 24th, 2007

Internal Tourette’s

Things I thought but Didn’t say out loud today at work:

Oh God, not you.

You drink too much, I can tell by your nose.

I was hoping you would GET OUT OF MY WAY!

You’re sitting on it (and other things I learned while traveling)

Who among the vast swath of greasy humanity does NOT know that, on an airplane, your seat doubles as a flotation device??? In case your airplane crashdives smoothly into a body of water and mysteriously floats long enough for you to remove the seat and walk outside? Well, it appears I shared a plane with that one person whose ears never heard and brain never retained that crucial and useless detail. After an uneventful car trip from my hometown to the airport with KPdaddy and KPstepmommy, I plunk down in a tiny commuter plane for my trip to New York Shitty as LB so neutrally calls it. A middle-aged woman behind me calls out to the stewardess who’s standing at the opposite end of the plane: “Where’s my flotation device? Where’s my flotation device? I can’t remember!!” She’s so panicked that I’m afraid I’m going to have to pull my oxygen mask down and service myself before helping her. The stewar–sorry, flight attendant saunters down the isle. She’s hovering around 55 and has long dyed orange hair and is chewing nicotine gum (at least it’s nicotine gum in my fantasy). You just know she takes aerobic pole-dancing classes for fun with her girlfriends. Anyhooters, I digress. The flight attendant saunters up to the panicked passenger and says rather tersely with a New York accent: “You’re sitting on it, sweetie, but we ain’t gonna need it.” Well, that’s just cocky (and accurate) enough that I look around for some wood to knock but airplanes are no longer made of wood it seems, so I just knock my number 2 pencil against my inner thigh. Mostly because it feels good. But that’s another (albeit titillating) digression. After reading an entertaining, but outdated, but still accurate essay about how Britney Spears is the perfect symbol of Americanness in Chuck Klosterman’s Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade Of Curious People And Dangerous Ideas, I look up and I’m in NYShitty.

Because I’m a badass traveler I walk off the plane with my one tightly packed backpack which contains all my belongings and some key handy travel implements: a fork, a knife, a coffee mug, 8 pairs of sexy underwear, a water bottle, and some shiny trinkets to trade with the natives. In mere seconds, I’m out the front door of Laguardia and immediately a woman surrenders her taxi to me. I know it probably just looked like she was already getting out of the taxi to go into the airport, but I’m sure she was intentionally surrendering it because I’m rather physically imposing. They don’t call me the KP for nothing.

I get in and the cabdriver sounds and appears to be from somewhere in Africa, though I don’t manage to find out where because I’m never sure when he’s talking to me, to himself, another driver, the taxi HQ, or to his Bluetooth earpiece. I awkwardly start and then abort a half-dozen conversations when it becomes apparent he’s talking to one of the other parties. He’s never not talking. He mentions as soon as I get in that the taxidrivers are on strike. As he’s driving away. The fact that he’s driving and apparently on strike confuses my brain so much, which is already a little muddled from the high-altitude depressurization process, that I smile and nod. I ask him what the strike is about, and he says “I’ll see you later.” I realize he’s talking to someone on Bluetooth, but he hangs up and says, “The city of New York wants to require us to have GPS and credit card machines in our cars. That way, the city can calculate its taxes exactly. I have no problem with the GPS because I have nothing to hide. I do have a problem with the drivers having to pay the 5% transaction fees on the credit cards.” I do not understand why he’s driving today and not striking, despite my best efforts to clarify. His accent is very thick and all the windows are down. He’s agitated at the stalled traffic on the expressway because he has to be in “motherfucking Bronx at one thirty.”

Just then a car pulls alongside us and a man looks across at my cab driver, waves his fist and says “Shame on you! Shame on you!” My cab driver looks across at him, laughs, and says “What? What? No speak English– What?” The man who appears to be Middle-Eastern continues to shout “Shame on you” until my cabdriver shouts back to him with the nastiest delight, “If we’d had GPS in Boston your brother Mohammed Atta would never have gotten that bomb.”

Huh??? Here I am witnessing the sort of outrageously racist, nonsensical thinking that is no doubt responsible for the endgame state of our civilization. Then my cabdriver says to me, “Those Arabs just don’t want the GPS because they’re all cheating, sharing medallion numbers because they all look the same. If they don’t like the new way, why don’t they just do something else?” Wow. I had no idea there are African immigrants in the neo-conservative movement. Here I am, a white DAR, in the middle of the sort of open conflict I’d only read about. And what the fuck do I know about what either of these guys has to deal with on a daily basis being from Africa and the Middle East. I found myself definitely siding with the striking Middle Eastern cabdriver, but the African cabdriver held my life in his hands so I said nothing more. He even got lost trying to deliver me to my friends’ apartment in Williamsburg and seemed angry at me for not knowing where the neighborhood was more specifically. Even though I told him I’m not from here and I’ve never been there.

Hooper Street in Williamsburg is pretty gritty and working class and, thankfully, not hip or clean or fully gentrified. I’m sure it will be in about 3 months. Come enjoy those colorful ethnic Dominicans while you can!

Okay, I’ve now spent the better part of an afternoon of my vacation writing about my vacation. I’d better get off the computer and back out there vacating so I have something to write about later. Miss you, LB and IC and OneStarWatt and Caved and ….


During the Silence…..

Family Visits. Birthday Psychosis. New Baby Birthing. Jet Set to New York.

Over the weekend the insolent child turned 3. All the Grandparents arrived to whip her into a frenzy of glee and over-stimulation. A dash of brat was thrown in for good measure. Really though, how could a kid avoid it? She was positively drunk with power . All that love! All that pride! All those high-pitched lovey voices! Finally the plan was complete!

O.K. it wasn’t that bad. She is a perfectly charming tyrant. We cranked it into high gear on the day by having a party with 8 million guests and their squirmy weird little offspring. This ,of course, was the Kingpin’s doing, though she likes to say it is Wistar’s fault. So committing what most people would consider a suicidal act, we headed to a public park to host an frighteningly well attended 3 year old’s party. We loaded up Tables and Blankets and paints and face paints and drinks and snacks and pumpkins(?!) and paper and chairs and enough cake to wreak havoc on the homes of most of the town’s Montessori mummies. The cake, F yer I, was chocolate,vanilla and cherry with a Halloween scene. KP received explicit instructions from the insolent child on that front. It was a beautiful day. They laughed, they cried, they played in the water like tiny well heeled river nymphs. Some got hurt. Most painted something or someone. The IC announced it was “her day”. They kissed etc. etc. Really, tres cute! Stank helped me serenade the IC, much to her dismay. Then we all got sugar headaches and went home………. well that is what we should have done. Instead, we went to the grand unit’s new pied a terre to open all the presents. It was a frenzy of technicolour pressie delights. Each one being ripped open the second the last hit the floor. None more delightful than the brand new pink ballet outfit complete with tutu. After we managed to eat, we dragged IC out the door and home. After a quick story, one REALLY pathetic bedtime song, I collapsed on the floor. The IC had several more minutes worth of energy before finally giving in.  After a brief overview of life and all it’s lessons, KP and I abandoned Grandma KP and hit the road over the mountain to watch Stank play music. In the very same town where we were rockin’ out, our friend was busy trying to get a baby born. As it turns out, a tiny baby girl was born just as we were heading back home. The next morning KP headed out to New York Shitty and IC headed off to the grandparents with the in town flat. AH! Rest and relaxation! Then this morning KP calls from NY to give me the heads up that Granny needs to come get something the IC needs for school. No problem, I’m up a bit early but now I have the chance to get the goods out on the front porch for Granny.This way I can create a “no muss, no fuss” hand off. I carefully hide the ashtray I had so boldly left out the night before and leave the booty on the porch. Done and done, as we say. Uh huh, a little bit later I am on the back porch drinking my coffee and smoking a cigarette when who should appear around the corner of the house? Granny! I helpfully offer that what she needs is ready on the front porch. “Oh? there was more? O.k. I’ll let you in. Oh? you have a key? Oh good”. Totally busted and ambushed I get on with my day. The rest is the usual except KP is roaming round the city and I think the cat might have a bladder infection. Onward!