Monday, October 29, 2007

Spanish Harlem | Harvard Grads | Giving Birth | Married Men

My New Hood

I moved to 104th and Lexington. That's right; Spanish Harlem. And I love it.

Dave came to look at the place with me a few weeks ago, then called me the next day, on his way to the airport, to tell me he didn't feel comfortable with the neighborhood.
"But babe, who can think about rape and robbery and guns at a time like this? I mean, a one-bedroom plus office for $1,650? That's absolutely unheard of!"

Plus, I saw some business guys, wearing actual suits, walking down the street here. They've become part of my sales pitch for the area. That, and the fact that the deli across the street from me sells coffee, eggs and begetables. Conversations go like this:

"So, where's your new place?"
"104th and Lex."
"Oh, the barrio!"
"Yeah, there are business men there now."

Some other interchangeable elements in this pitch are:

-2 blocks from a good neighborhood.
-Great Mexican restaurant. (A Mexican girl I work with assured me that "even white people from Manhattan go there.")
-The guy who lived here before me was a Harvard Grad and, coincidentally, one of my firm's clients.*
-The neighborhood has character. (And cheese enchiladas with mole!)

My secret weapon is to tell people, excitedly, that, "I moved to the hood!" You know, really own it like Gwen Stefani owns her inherent dorkiness. "Golly, I'm just a big dork." I can't believe people buy this shit. Hers. Mine.

All in all, life is good right now. I see Dave in 11 days. My obscene workload will cease to exist after the 14th. I take two weeks off in December. My best friend Lauren just had a baby. My sister's supposed to go into labor tomorrow. Everybody's doing it, yo. But I don't have any desire to get knocked up right now. Writing a book has to be close enough to giving birth. On that note, I turn in my proposal to the agent in a few days (for real this time). The agent has introduced me to an editor at [big pub company] who he wants me to work with (now we just have to figure out how to break the news to her. Hmmm....). I dig that he has faith in me, though. I'm not sure why that is. Everything I've turned in to him has been pure shit. But I'll keep working on it as long as he's willing to read it. If all else fails, I'll move to Chicago to be with Dave. Not that being with Dave is a consolation prize...being in Chicago is. I love it here. I know, I know: Things you've heard a million times for $500?

Oh yeah, a married guy is trying to sleep with me. Long story, but I can summarize it nicely with this abridged email exchange from today:

Him: "You're all business today."
Me: "It's always been all business. You're a married man; I'm a taken chick. End of story."
Him: "Oh, I just meant that your email was very efficient."

I told some of my guy friends about this and their collective, immediate response was: "You must have been flirting with him."

But no! I mean, unless I was unknowingly speaking in double entendres (where, "Glad to be working with you again" = "I really want you to bend me over the couch and ram me."), this guy was coming up with it on his own. The funniest part about all of this, is that I think my boss overheard me saying I was going to dinner with him (this was before I realized he was trying to bed me). All of the sudden, she can't stop talking about this guy's family.
Oh goodness, now I'm the office whore. Let's hope it doesn't affect my Christmas bonus now, k?

*The Harvard grad left piss and pubic hair all over the toilet, floor, bathtub, fridge.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Skeeze is Engaged. My Thoughts on Marriage & Weddings

The Skeeze has wanted to ask his girlfriend to marry him for a while now. He's been plotting his approach (ring hidden in book like a revolver in a Bible); the timing (October); the place (the only decent restaurant in Grenada, where she lives); all that. The Skeeze is going to be a family man.

I don't know what Skeeze's plans are for a wedding, but I can't stand the thought of the traditional ceremony. My reasons for not wanting to have a wedding might not be those typically responsible for making people detest the thought of marriage. I don't mind the commitment; I don't have "commitment issues" (I really hate when chicks say this, by the way. "I have commitment issues, bla." Please shut up. You're just insecure and afraid he's not interested in you. Chances are, you're right.) I don't mind being with one guy the rest of my life. The peen is the peen, ya know? And, I don't fear getting bored. Mostly because boredom is inevitable. I just want to find a cool person to get bored with (Oh, even more than I hate when people say they have commitment issues, I really hate when people say, "Well, just find someone who doesn't bore you." This is usually followed by, "find someone who's active," as if hiking and bike riding are going to cure eternal boredom. I mean, I love french fries with cheese, gravy and ranch smothered all over them, but if I ate them every day, I'd get sick of them. Same thing.)

[Note: I have to strategically place Dave's name in every post now. He skims these things for his name. If he doesn't see it, he doesn't read. Totally sounds like something I would do.]

All of that said, the reason why I don't want to get married is because I think the dresses are ugly and weddings are annoying. They take too long to plan. They stress people out. Your guests don't really want to be there. And, they're greedy affairs ("Look at me in my funny-lookin' dress." "Take pictures of me with the disposable camera I've put on the table in order to bypass hiring a professional photographer." "Buy me presents at this website." "Travel across the country, take days off work, get a hotel room AND pay $200 for a seafoam green satin dress that you're never going to wear again.") I have a new policy: I don't go to weddings. Please don't invite me. I don't want to be in your wedding party.

Of course, I've grandfathered Skeeze's wedding in. I'll be in attendance. I kind of have to; I'm his best man. If I ever have a wedding (and I won't), the Skeeze will be my maid of honor.

Enough about that, though. I'm in New Orleans right now. It's 3 am and for some reason I decided to make coffee. Even more, I drank it. Now I'm half delirious, half wired, sitting in my room listening to that Lipton/Actor's Studio guy talk about having sex with Barbara Walters on Conan. If there are any two people in the world who I don't want to imagine having sex, it's them. Together. I really need to get out more. [Dave]

[Why is it that hotel rooms don't automatically come with toothbrushes? This place has a "shoe mitt" but no toothbrush. Hmmm...]

I've never been here before and at first glance, this city is great. I can't wait to take it for a test run tomorrow. I'm a little ashamed that this is my first time here. [Dave bla, bla, bla] My new travel policy is US cities only. At least for this year. I keep traveling out of the country, hoping I'm going to have an amazing time, but no. I always run into some kind of roadblock. Language barriers. Transportation annoyances. The global trend of American hatred. The dollar's dwindling status. All of that. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

When Dave and I were in Rio last year, we wondered why we traveled 10 hours to go to the beach (with bad food) when we could have just gone to Miami. Brazil's beautiful but San Diego and Laguna Beach have spots that put it to shame. You get the point. I might even be rationalizing about something. So complicated. Strategic Dave placement.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm so busy; Zadie Smith at The New Yorker Festival

Some girl at my job quit and I'm the only one in the office who knows how to run her account. I'm not annoyed because I'm missing out on my particularly thrilling social life; I'm annoyed that I'm doing twice the work at the same pay.

All week I've been dying to write about how I went to see Zadie Smith read at The New Yorker Festival.

Obviously Dave fell asleep. Meanwhile, I was the sap tearing up in the third row. I would have probably been better off amongst 12-year olds at a Justin Timberlake concert. When Dave woke up, he looked over me and said, "Are you crying? Are you serious?" Then he started laughing at me. Zadie's my favorite author, so it was bound to happen.

She read from a novel she's working on. To be honest, I couldn't understand her British accent for a good three minutes. Then I adapted to it. She warned us that she wouldn't be reading anything funny and she didn't. Her work has matured and it's good, but how could it ever get any better than:

While he slipped in and out of consciousness, the position of the planets, the music of the spheres, the flap of a tiger moth's diaphanous wings in Central Africa, and a whole bunch of other stuff that Makes Shit Happen had decided it was second-chance time for Archie. -WHITE TEETH

I've always loved that sentence.

I hauled in all three of her novels--hardbacks--and had her sign them. Zadie was a bit pissed off at me when she saw the condition of her books (torn, chewed, a cover put on upside other words, well read). I told her that my cousin's cats gnawed on them. She pressed me for answers, "I have a dog that doesn't even do that." I explained that these weren't normal cats. All of this was only seconds after she said that her Tampax was sticking to her ass. She was a classy broad. Plus, she dug my name. I was a bit confused by the fact that she said "ass" instead of "arse," though. Hearing an English person say arse is about as humorous as it gets.

In other news, I met with the author of Stopless yesterday and she was great. I'm also going to New Orleans next weekend (as in, not this weekend but the next) and I'm meeting with two authors there as well. I fell into these ones through work. I'll name names later and write more about Wanda Lee Robinson asap. If you haven't already read Stopless, you're missing out.

I'm finally turning in my proposal and six chapters after this weekend. Thank God. I'm so sick of looking at this crap.

Back soon with updates. Hopefully good ones.