Aug 31, 2009

cleaning your brain



If I ever again live in an apartment with an anonymous owner, the kind who owns lots of units, all of which are filled with flimsy fridges, thin brown wall-to-wall carpeting, slanted floors, and electric stoves, I now know not to clean too thoroughly when I move out. Because when the cleaning crew comes through they will end up cleaning up grime around the faucet, the brown stuff on the shower walls (what is that stuff?), and that gunk on the oven door, no matter how clean you think you left it. 

This has been my job for the last two days, along with six other people. We were talking about what we'd leave for the cleaning crew if we were moving out and another girl said she'd leave snacks, but then she thought better of it and said she'd leave a spliff. I seem to have found myself in a coven of potheads. Maybe this is what all cleaning crews are like in Western Mass. We were taking a break, sitting on a trashy couch covered in yellow flowers the tenants had left on the porch, eating some cereal that had been left in the cupboard. I could still taste oven cleaner in my mouth. Someone asked what time it was. "4:20," the girl said. An old police code for a marijuana bust.* And the universal pothead code for saying it's time to get stoned. "I wish," she said checking her watch. "It's only 4:15." 

* Thanks to the Huffington Post and concept420.com I just learned it might have actually originated in the 70s from a group of kids who would meet to smoke pot at 4:20 every day. Concept420.com goes on to remind readers that "whether or not 4:20 p.m. is the best time of day for your first hit depends on your own body, your own needs." 

Aug 30, 2009

My great grandparents


One time I listened to a few of their old shows with some friends and 
afterward we talked like they did for hours, fast and nasally. For some 
reason this made us laugh so hard that milk came out of someone's 
nose, which I had never realized was actually possible.

She said he was the best of the bunch

Over brunch with my mother yesterday I learned that my grandmother, when she was young, dated the eldest Kennedy brother, the one who died in a plane crash in World War II. My mom said she figured they had been set up because my great grandparents were radio stars. Another time my grandmother was set up with Frank Sinatra. She was planning to make a grand entrance by walking down some grand staircase. But when he arrived he starting cursing like crazy about how she was keeping him waiting, so she stood him up. I always liked that story about her.

Celebrities seen in New York

1. Whitney Port, wearing shredded white jeans and looking sour and skinny.
2. Malcolm Gladwell, who appeared like he would have in an experimental movie, bicycling past Nancy and I right as I said, "It's so hard to know what exactly goes into being successful." Like he was the genie of odd probabilities, appearing on command just as I asked.
3. Many models, whose names some people would know but I don't. There was one with a black bob and bright red lips that was so tall and so beautiful that it was hard to even imagine we lived in the same universe. While she stood in line in front of us at S'Nice Nancy turned to me and said, "I feel short." I wondered what it would feel like, being so out of the blue beautiful that you made every woman around you feel insecure. But she ordered like anyone else, and pulled out her wallet to pay just like I did, except hers was covered in exotic reptile skin.

Aug 27, 2009

Small towns

There are lots of great things about living in a small town. You run into your friends at the bar. You run into your friends on the street. You know the guy at the video store is also a radio dj and you know that if you forget your bike somewhere, someone might actually be able to tell you where it is. You know that when it comes to deciding where to go for dinner there is a limited amount of options, and this can make life feel manageable.

But sometimes this makes life feel claustrophobic. You don't feel like running into someone you know.  Or you run into your shrink at a restaurant, or the gas station, or the coffee shop, and you like your shrink, but things start to seem just completely too small.