Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Encounters of the Urban Kind

One of the best parts about living in urbanity is the free entertainment that you encounter every time you leave the confines of your own home. Today I want to highlight a few of the folks that made me smile recently in this concrete jungle.

# 1. The disgruntled employee at a favorite neighborhood bakery who, when asked if she could cut a pastry in half for us, informed us rudely: "It's 50 cents extra." In response to our incredulous stares, she retorted, "It's just the cost of labor." Our quick mental calculations revealed that we had just met the most well-paid bakery employee of all time. Privileged to know you, ma'am. Forget this lawyer thing, I'm going to go serve cupcakes for 8 hours/day and retire early.

# 2. The skipster* cruising down the middle of the street at 10:00 pm, stopping under a street lamp to check his hand-drawn map for directions. You don't see that kind of well-rounded authenticity every day.

# 3. The guy in a multi-colored wig, red cape, and knee-high red pleather boots excitedly clambering off and on a stone wall in the park as his friends pretended to ignore him. "Calm down dude... I thought you were going to be a chill clown this time."

# 4. The tourist that, as my husband and I were stretching after a morning run, screamed over to us, "TIME!" Cue incredulous stares. He repeated, with increasing notes of hysteria, "TIME! RIGHT NOW!" After finally realizing that this was his primitive way of inquiring about the current time, we replied, "We don't know." To which he snarled, "Oh really - like you have NOOOO idea." As if I was actually carrying a gigantic pocket-watch in my spandex running outfit but was simply refusing to check it for him. Move along, Captain Grammar.

#5. The man that served us delicious vegan treats from his food truck while wearing a chicken suit. Now that's my kind of irony.

*This has always been my name for skateboarding hipsters. I just Googled this term to see if I actually came up with an original word, and found the most delightful dictionary definition I have ever encountered. Urban Dictionary's definition of a skipster: "a person who is hip, but not too hip to skip." No need for me to perfect my boarding skills - I've been a skipster all along!

Until next time...


Monday, September 16, 2013

Those Noxious Fumes Are Just My Jellies

Remember these, ladies?


As a child of the 80s, summer didn't officially arrive until my mom took me to the nearest Walmart/Target/Payless Shoe Source for the annual trip to get a new pair of toxic plastic kicks. Great deliberation ensued in the aisles - glitter? iridescent? neon? For the first few weeks of summer I proudly pranced around showing off my haute couture before the neon inevitably faded from sun and sand.

It was a sad day when I discovered that my foot had attained womanhood and could no longer be crammed into a child's size 13 jelly. 

Even through college, I faithfully purchased every form of footwear that was a jelly-derivative: platform jelly flip-flops, clear plastic Melissa tennisshoes... A few years back I even found a pair of jellylike t- strap heels in Hong Kong. But none of those closely resembled the style of the jellies I had so happily sported in my childhood. Until this year. 

Imagine my delight when I discovered that jellies were back: call them hipster, call them ridiculous, but I just wanted to call them mine. Again. 

Because I pretend to be a hipster, support anything "made in USA," and also enjoy a good laugh from time to time, I always peruse new American Apparel fashions. When I saw that they were selling a glittery jelly shoe that was made completely from recycled plastic, I couldn't type in my credit card info fast enough.

I had selected the free Pony Express shipping, which gave me about 2 weeks (seriously where were these shoes coming from) to remind my husband daily of how deliriously excited I was about the arrival of a remnant from my childhood. At the time, I was in the midst of studying for the bar exam, so I needed any bright spot of happiness.

When my husband walked in the door one day after work and announced that he was holding an American Apparel package, I ran to greet him, shrieking with delight. (This actually had nothing to do with the jellies, I always greet my husband this way.)

Yet I knew even before I ripped into the package that something was terribly wrong. This thin, limp envelope couldn't possibly contain...

A pair of extra, extra large purple thong underwear. 

And an invoice. 

Addressed to Ralph. In West Virginia.*

I had Ralph's underthings. And he had MY JELLIES. 

His panty size seemed to indicate that he wouldn't be able to fit into my size 6 jellies, but you just never know. Some bodybuilders have very dainty feet.

Since the invoice listed his contact information, I debated briefly about cutting out the middle man and emailing Ralph directly to cut a deal: "Listen we both have what the other wants- let's just take care of this like adults..." But stalkers can be pesky and you just never know what you're going to get when you strike up correspondence with a stranger who wears purple panties and knows your home address. 

No judgment here though on Ralph's choice of skivvies. I'm sure that many of my male acquaintances and relatives wear similar undergarments. And perhaps the purple wasn't even for Ralph. He may have lovingly placed the order for his love interest rather than himself. Although this particular purchase was rather utilitarian for a gift. Just purple. Just cotton. Just one. 

I also considered sending him a message from an anonymous email account saying "I know about the purple panties."  Just for funsies. (Now who sounds like the creepy stalker?) In the end, I decided against torturing poor ol' Ralph and chose to frantically call American Apparel customer service. 

Naturally, the jellies that had gone to Ralph were the last in my size in the warehouse, and every store in North America had to be scoured to locate another pair. After several more weeks of waiting, I finally received a package containing the long-anticipated, nostalgic, sparkly t-strap jellies that were identical to a pair I had worn in my tender  youth. 

They reeked. 

Apparently recycled plastic smells so very carcinogenic.

Tearfully, I banished my new acquisition to purgatory in our half bath which doubles as a storage space (city living!) to let them "air out."

It's September. My jellies only smell faintly toxic now. And so, I broke tradition and began sporting jellies at the END of the summer. Or rather, the beginning of fall. I plan to wear socks with them during the autumn months. Perhaps Christmas stockings in December. 

I worked too hard for these to wait until next summer. 

I wonder how Ralph is wearing his pair. Of jellies. What were you thinking??

*This story is 100% true but I changed name & location of dear Ralph to protect the innocent panty-shoppers everywhere.

**I believe that "panty" is one of the top 5 grossest words. I am truly horrified that I have sacrificed my principles and used this word merely for comedic relief. It's a fitting punishment that I have to see this word plastered across my own blog - I shudder every time. And yet I just can't bring myself to delete it. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

To Monocle or Not to Monocle

Is this really a serious question?

Sure, Warby Parker, I'll humor you and do the "at-home try-on" just to be sure, but ... we both know where this is going.

My precious...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stan's Got Cojones

I'm back after one successful day of blogging (and by successful, I mean that I'm truly humbled that the spam bots found my blog so quickly). Thank you to the two "people" in Serbia who actually viewed my blog entry from yesterday - I'm going to pretend that we are now international penpals and that you are not a robot/evil person trying to steal my identity. Maybe we can talk about doing a house exchange for the holidays.

I'd like to dedicate this post to Stan. He's the gargantuan spider who lived comfortably outside my window this summer. During my months of studying for the bar exam, it was just Stan and me. Every.single. day.

A wolf pack of two.*

I had to name him so that I wouldn't gag every time I gazed out the window and his gigantic furry body blocked my beautiful view. (And I do mean "block" - he's really that large.) Personification always helps make something (or someone) less awful and annoying. That's probably why the first parents decided to name their kids instead of just assigning them a number. And so, I named the eight-legged beast "Stan" and a Charlotte's-Web-ian friendship was born.

I suppose I did need a friend to keep me from going completely crazy as I studied in isolation for 12 hours a day. I would have preferred a friend that didn't make my skin crawl (although let's face it, we've all got a couple of those anyway). But beggars can't be choosers...it was either Stan or the dry cleaning woman downstairs who only speaks English to me to ask "When you have baby."I can only handle that a few dozen times a day, so - heyyyyy Stan.

Let's back up a moment: I reside in urbanity on a high floor of a high rise building. When I first moved here, I told myself that insects and arachnids would never be present in my home again because they simply wouldn't be able to crawl up to this altitude. Like many philosophers, I chose to ignore logic and scientific research when crafting my theory.

The first week of our first summer here crushed my flimsy hypothesis. Apparently, the swashbuckling explorer spiders balloon onto high rise balconies and rooftops at the first hint of warm weather, and immediately set up small villages to which all of their lazier spider relatives casually immigrate throughout the remainder of the summer. In an abstract sense, this is incredible. In a real sense, this is devastating to a girl who doesn't care for spiders. After witnessing the invasion, I immediately returned the 57 varieties of herbs I had obtained for my planned vertical garden and refused to set foot on the balcony for the remainder of the summer. Less dramatically, my husband adopted a "we can live together" attitude, and nonchalantly grilled burgers and brats as spiders hung inches above his head. I always knew he was brave, but THAT - that was something.

The next summer, my husband chucked his kum-by-ya attitude and sprayed the entire balcony with uber toxic chemicals before spider season began. The burgers may have tasted a little funny that year and I felt oddly lethargic, but hey - no spiders!!

We're back to kum-by-ya this year. Not by choice, but because we were out of town during the 72-hour window of time where it was warm enough to spray but the spiders hadn't ballooned yet. So once again, I resigned myself to the reality of the Occupy Balcony movement. I don't go out there, they don't come in here, and we just glare hatefully at each other through the glass.

Until Stan. Stan broke all of the rules. Stan decided that he didn't want to live in the kibbutz, but would prefer his own millionaire's compound away from the masses. Unlike the other spiders, who were probably sick of the congestion too, Stan had cojones.

You see, once the other spiders complete their annual daring feat of ballooning onto our balcony, they are content to sit back and drink margs for the rest of the season. They hang safely from the rails or eaves of the balcony, where they can frolic and doze, and if there's a misstep, the forgiving concrete of the balcony will catch them.

But not Stan. He set up shop from a tiny concrete overhang directly outside our living room window - and there's no railing or balcony to catch him. It's a looooooong ways down. Just thinking about it makes me get twitchy. And yet there he was, day after day, literally hanging by a thread.

During those mind-numbing days of studying for the bar, I started to see Stan as a symbol of hope - that he clearly had complete faith in his homespun web, in his God-given talents. Perhaps there was a correlation here for me in believing I could pass the bar! It was a new feeling within me when I looked at Stan - extreme revulsion, begrudging respect, and inspiration.

Is it merely a coincidence that Stan disappeared permanently from his home shortly after the bar exam? I think not! He's never even written. Sometimes I might even miss him. But then I look out onto our balcony and see his lazy cousins growing fatter by the day.

I'm not naming them.

Until next time,


*Sorry, imaginary readers, this will not be my only The Hangover reference.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Santa Socks in September

I've been suffering from analysis paralysis.

When I was in the dark days of studying for the bar exam, I obsessed over the birth of this blog. Planning an imminent blog creation gave my tortured mind a chance to escape to a happy place - an imaginary place filled with endless cups of coffee and hours of writing (for FUN, imagine that!) on my new Mac as I chuckled with glee at my wit. I set up preliminary daily reminders on my husband's phone to ensure that he would never miss a post. I couldn't wait to wake up early on the morning after the bar exam to create my very first blog entry!

It's been over a month now. And no blog posts. Not. One.

My excuse? Well, for one thing - I had forgotten how grand life is when you don't have to study 24/7! I emerged from my law school/bar exam cave of the last three years, bleary-eyed and awkward, to be reintroduced into society. My friends and family marveled at how much less annoying I was when I wasn't buried under stress and studying.

[Side note: A lot has happened since I exited the world stage three years ago. I just found out yesterday about twerking. From my husband. Who was reading a tongue-in-cheek article to me about how to educate your elderly parents about twerking, to which I replied, "What is twerking?" I don't know if I've ever seen such deep disappointment on his face. I've watched the YouTube video on "How to Twerk" a few dozen times today and I can't wait to show off my skills when he gets home.]

But I digress. In those sleepless nights of studying, when I entertained myself by creating fake blog posts in my mind, I imagined my first blog post to be shockingly witty. Problem: the part of my brain responsible for side-splitting comments apparently died in the bar exam test center. Which is why I haven't started this much-anticipated (by me, not you...) blog until now.

Today, I decided it's Now or Never. So although my post may be a little (a lot) lamer than I imagined, and my writing scene may be less idyllic than I had envisioned [1: I'm wearing Santa Clause socks - my only clean pair after just returning from a long trip through chilly and lovely Canada; 2: I have a kitchen knife and Mace on my inspirational writing desk from when the shower repairmen were here earlier today - a girl can never be too careful] - it's DONE. It can only get better, right?

I think I just realized the best part about blogging: no one is reading this, and yet I can pretend that everyone is.

Until next time (practice makes perfect),