Late August Lessons

I am convinced that real New Yorkers leave the city during the last two weeks of August. My office is eerily quiet, and almost everyone in my group is on vacation until the Tuesday after Labor Day.
Only the lowly dregs like me are here to hold down the fort while everyone else is away on vacation.
The dregs and the mobs of foreigners and tourists are left to wander the streets.
My bus broke down this morning at 23rd Street, and I had to schlep it all the way up to 52nd. And because I’m so brilliant and sharp-thinking in the morning, I figured I’d get in extra exercise by walking the thirty or so blocks uptown to my office.
By the time I got to work, my blouse was drenched, and my trousers were sticking to my legs. I don’t keep a spare suit in my office, so I was forced to let my clothes dry on me.
Lovely way to start the day, don’t you think?
Good thing I remembered to put on deodorant this morning. And can I just vouch for the effectiveness of my deodorant – it didn’t fail me! My pits were nice and dry.

It’s just a shame that they don’t make antiperspirant for your back.

Lessons learned today:

  • Realize that most decisions made in the early morning hours are not necessarily the most intelligent
  • Keep spare clothing and underwear in my office
  • Take public transportation, especially when it’s during the most humid days of the season

And they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Summer and Feet

We had our first day of 90 degree weather yesterday.

I’m actually not a big fan of summer. I can withstand the heat and humidity, but the thing that I hate the most about summer is… feet. I hate feet. I have something equivalent to an anti-fetish of feet.

Summer brings about the shedding of clothes, and then comes the shedding of shoes and socks. Bare feet.

And heat and humidity only serve to exacerbate the smells of the city: hot garbage, animal waste, dirty sewer water, and sweaty feet.

I am nauseous just thinking about it.

If people are going to bare their feet in flip-flops or sandals that accentuate long worm-like toes or stubby Vienna sausage-like appendages, please, please, for the love of God, clean your feet! It’s bad enough that I have to look at your gnarled, crusty, crumby toes – I don’t want to be able to smell them either!

Have mercy on a foot-phobic girl.

G, meanwhile, eats feet.

(G at 4 months)


“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

Unwanted Admission

I was angry for a long time. Years, possibly. I knew she had stolen my Immaculate Collection cd. I mean, I saw it in her box of cds. When I confronted her about it, she denied ever taking it.

“I bought it. That’s not yours,”
she said.

“I don’t understand,” I countered. Last week you didn’t have the cd, and now you do, and mine is missing all of a sudden? I know that’s mine.”

“It’s not yours.”

(source: Google images)

That was that. She had a tone of finality in her voice. I didn’t have the energy to argue with her anymore. It was just a stupid cd. But damn, it was my favorite cd. I seethed about it for a long time but never bothered to confront her about it again.

Years later, she got very sick. Cancer. She fought hard for her life. I didn’t think she would ever succumb to it. When a priest came to give her Last Rites, she was defiant and refused to take it.

A day before she died, I was at the hospital. From out of nowhere, she turned to me and said, “I want you to know – your Immaculate Collection cd – I did take it from you. I’m sorry. I loved that cd and wanted it for myself. I’m sorry I lied to you, but I did take it. It’s in my room. You can take it back from me.”

I felt my heart breaking inside. Ripping into little shreds.

I was angry, not because she did in fact steal my cd, but because she decided to finally come clean about it. I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want a deathbed confession. I wanted her to keep lying and deny that she had stolen my precious cd. I remembered some saying about people making peace with themselves and with those they have wronged right before they died.

I could feel her slipping. I felt the fight coming out of her. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

I refused to accept her confession. “No, I don’t want to take it. That one is yours. You have to get better so you can buy me my own cd.”

“The cd is in the closet. Inside the box with all of my other cds. You can have your cd back.”

She died the next night.

Later, when we were going through her things, I came across the cd. I didn’t take it back. I left it in the box along with her other belongings.

For a long time I believed that she would still be alive if she never made peace with me.

I wish that I told her that I would have let her steal anything of mine if only she would never leave my life.

“Why, I did not know we had quarreled.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, when asked by his aunt if he had made his peace with God