Oh, the places I’ve peed

As a woman with a freakishly small bladder, life can sometimes be a challenge if I am far from home when nature calls me. Fortunately, I’m not a princess about where I relieve myself.  I’ve peed behind LA dumpsters, and in the bushes at Dolores Park on New Years eve while fireworks exploded over my head. I’ve peed behind mausoleums in the cemetery, braved a zillion reeking port-a-johns, and once, I even peed in a mountain dew bottle, on a long stretch of Arizona highway that had zero gas stations or hospitable looking cacti to duck behind.

However, since having a small bladder is a fact of life for me, I can choose to either see it as a curse, or an adventure, and after peeing in some really strange and disgusting bathrooms in New  York, I have now decided to see it as an adventure. After all, it’s exciting to find a bathroom where you have to literally climb over a garbage can to get to the toilet! It’s a marvel when you gaze into a new  toilet and see something that looks like a half digested shrimp floating in the bowl. And my last night in New York, I had the privilege of experiencing some of the more special toilets in my life.

After meditating on what I wanted my last 24 hours in NYC to look like, I decided that what I most wanted to do was have some cocktails in Manhattan, and people watch. The museums  I’ve seen are great and all, and all the food I’ve had was outstanding, but what I most loved doing during my trip was sitting and watching these strange underwater creatures flutter back and forth. Some of them fancy. Some ragged. Some may have been superheroes or mutants. And of course, many of them were big, swarthy,  and deliciously hairy.

I also wanted to walk back across a bridge, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and say a slow sunset goodbye to the pulsing, electrical NYC ganglion that has both delighted and befuddled me over the last week. How is it that a city that is loud,  graffitti-fucked , and smells like rotten hot-dogs can retain such an aura of romance? Damned if I know, but I was bewitched by its siren song.

Our first stop on my last night in NYC  was a Russian bar in the Lower East Side, called Pravda.  It’s in an underground cave-like place–perhaps not the best place for people watching, but a good place to get out of the sweltering heat and enjoy a cold drink. After about 16 seconds, I had to get up and pee. Generally, my strategy is to wander around the establishment opening up random doors with hopes of finding a toilet which often leads to waitstaff  either showing me the way or scolding me for opening the broom closet. After wandering around,  I found what looked to be the restroom (hey, it had a toilet AND  a sink!), and I dropped my pants and TCB.

As I peed, I  delighted in the fact that Pravda took extra care in designing the bathroom to look like an old soviet era torture chamber. There was a strange burnt-metal storage bin jutting into the room. And some doors on the other side of the room, which likely led to either a gulag or an icy room containing a single magical bottle of vodka. I also noticed a dusty office phone from the 80’s, taped to the wall. Who would be calling a bathroom? “Hello, Rita? I’d like to report a 4 on the Bristol Stool Scale. Fluffy, but dense. Please hold my calls until after 3 until my Immodium AD kicks in. Thank you.”

is this a bathroom?
is this a bathroom?

Later on, my friend Messy got up to use the bathroom. When she returned she said “Okay-I’m not entirely positive that was an actual bathroom. Did you notice the toilet had a baby seat toilet cover, and a weird dangerous looking pole dangling down from the ceiling?”

After a few more minutes, I got up to pee again. Before I entered, I noticed something distressing: The top half of the door was locked, but the lower half was open. (Yes, the door was in two  separate parts). As I began to duck under the locked half of the door, I heard a loud voice: “Do you need help with something?” It was the bartender.

“Yeah, I’m just trying to get into the bathroom,” I said.

“That’s not the bathroom,” he said.

“Oh. But I peed in there before,” I laughed.

“I know. Bathroom’s upstairs.”

And so I made my way up some windy stairs to a small, red-lit bathroom. It was much more hospitable, but not nearly as fun as the gulag bathroom.

Not the Bathroom
Not the Bathroom
the bathroom
the bathroom

Our next stop was Arlene’s Grocery. A few years back, and old office client asked me if I’d ever been to Arlene’s Grocery in NYC.

I sighed. “Is it a grocery store run by an 80 year old woman named Arlene?” I asked, picturing a charming lady with a dowagers hump tottering over to show someone where to find tomato paste, while dispensing homespun wisdom from the 40’s.

“No,” said my old client. “Arlene’s Grocery is this really cool rock and roll club!”

“Wait. Something cool and hip is named after me?” I asked, shocked. After all, the only things bearing my name are usually 80 year old women, or 8 year old Chinese girls in San Francisco.

Well, we went there. And it really was cool and hip!

arlenes-entrance

I sat down for a pint of Arlene’s Ale, which was almost as delicious as drinking my own urine, filtered through a sieve of wildflowers and funfetti birthday cake. After a few minutes, I made the face which indicates I need to find a restroom.

the i have to pee face.
the i have to pee face.

I then made my way to a bathroom WITH MY ACTUAL NAME ON IT! For someone with a bladder the size of a guinea pigs, this is like receiving a hallelujah chorus from a universe of angels.

a bathroom just for me
a bathroom just for me
the colorful entrance to the pee stalls, at Arlene's Grocery
the colorful entrance to the pee stalls, at Arlene’s Grocery

Speaking of hallelujah choruses…. While I was peeing in my bathroom, there were two chicks standing at the sink  discussing what sounded like a night of karaoke.

“okay, because I’ve got a cold, I wanna keep Wonderwall on the mellow side,” said one chick. “Okay, how you wanna do it?” asked the other chick. And then, they  started rehearsing the song. In harmony!

“Maybeeeeeee…..you’re gonna be the one that saves meeeeee.” How awesome!

When I returned from the bathroom beaming, Messy asked, flippantly:  “How was Arlene’s bathroom. Did you get a live concert accompaniment to your peeing?”

“Actually, yes!” I said. “Bitches were singing in harmony while I peed. Truly the best bathroom experience ever.”

After we finished our beer, we made our way to the Wiliamsburg bridge, where I had my dreamy slow-fade sunset goodbye to Manhattan.

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So pretty! So gross. So glittering. So full of garbage and sirens and graffiti. And such a good time.

And now, I’m back to sleepy old Oakland-jetlagged, 3 pounds heavier, and chock-ful of good memories.

I’m also considering launching a career as a bathroom correspondent. Thoughts?

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Museumgasm

For those of you who have been pounding your heads on your fists, cursing god and the universe wondering WHY I still haven’t gone to any dang museums since I’ve been out to this city-just chill. I saw some shit.

On Wednesday, I went to the Brookyn Museum, which is right up the street from Sam’s house. It was rad. Everytime I go to a mueum, or read an actual book, or do ANYTHING that is not looking at cat videos on youtube, I always vow to do more of this thing. Then I never do.

Anyway, some highlights from this museum: The Vagina Plate Room which was an entire giant diningroom set with fancy, ceramic vaginally decorated plates, belonging to famous historical figues or dieties throughout time. Here is emily dickinsens lacy baloney flaps:

victorian minora
victorian minora

There was also a player piano embedded in a tree, ontop of some dirt.
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At one point, while I was standing and staring at some old paintings, impressed I could see the ACTUAL BRUSH STROKES, contemplating what it might be like to live as a fancy women of Oldentimes, this dude says “Excuse me ma’am. Could you stand over here?”

My first thought was he was a guard. I’d admittedly been vering too close to the pile of quilted skateboards, in the previous room, and had already been warned by the guards. Perhaps i was unintentionally rubbing myself on the oldentimes paintings-SOMETIMES I KNOW NOT WHAT I DO.

Then, I saw that the dude had a camera. My next thought was “Oh, he wants to take my picture!”

“Right here?” I smiled, offering him my best angle.

“Yeah, right there.  I just want you out of the frame for my video.”

Then the dickweed shoots a panoramic video of the Oldtimey painting room, so he can go home and relive this magical shakey, panoramic moments with other people who don’t actually give a shit because they weren’t actually there and it would be easier to just look up Georgia O’Keefe online and not have to squint at grandpas video.

Anyway, this experience put me into a foul mood-I had many shitty internal dialogues which I won’t share. Basically, instead of just being angry at the dickweed, I pictured myself standing next to the Oldtimey painting, gurgling and muttering about brush strokes, absently scratching my bug bites,  and the old dude thinking “This would make a GREAT panoramic video for my asshole friends if this fat inbred looking chick would just MOVE OUT OF FRAME.”

I know it’s crazy. But it’s MY crazy!

The point is, after that experience, I decided  unless it’s someone’s dying wish (and I’ll require a note from their doctor) , I am NOT going to move out of their fucking photo frame if they ask. I’m going to just stand there and admire the scenery. Because it’s all I ever  want to do.

Also, for those  wondering “Did she see the statue of liberty yet???” Why yes. I did. She actually followed ME to the Brooklyn Art Museum parking lot:

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After the Brooklyn Museum, I had plans to thank my travel guides for all of their guidance, generosity and good company, by making them a batch of my famous Midwestern Eye-Talian spaghetti and meatballs.

Unfortunately, heated debates during dinner led to hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Plus, my meatballs were way too spicy for my guests to fully enjoy. So, this part of the trip was definitely the low part (so far! I’ve still got 24 hours left to totally destoy everyting!)

The next day, I declared as an unofficial day of quietude, meaning, let’s not talk about last night (unless you really need to) and give the butthurt feelings  a buffer zone of hot sandwiches, and bat skeletons at the natural history museum.

Barbara Streisand, at Katz Deli.
Barbara Streisand, at Katz Deli.
totes adorbs
totes adorbs
a dick  wearing a bonnet!  (okay, okay it's a mushroom)
a dick wearing a bonnet! (okay, okay it’s a mushroom)

After the natural history museum, we layed down in Central Park for a spell. The air felt heavy, like it was gonna drop a load.

“you know what would make this trip extra special and cool?” I asked sam.  A THUNDERSTORM!”

“My apple watch says there is a 50 percent chance of that.”

“I’ll take those odds.”

We made our way back to Brooklyn. I think Sam and I were both feeling a little weary. When this happens to me, I want nothing more than to sit at a cafe and disappear into my sketchbook. Fortunately, Sam is of a similar nature, so we grabbed our art supplies and went to a bar up the street and sketched.

After about half and hour guess what? It started STORMING! like with lightning and heavy rain! Even though I bought an overpriced umbrella from a CVS, and actually had it with me, I kinda wanted to get wet. So, without any protection I barebacked the elements two blocks up the street to our restaurant. When will I ever see rain again? Should I carefully wring myself out into a discarded coffee cup, freeze it and take it back to droughty-ass Oakland?

stormy weather
stormy weather

Cheerful thoughts. It’s my last 24 hours in New York! I’m now going to fuel up on some breakfast, and try to generate a vision for what I want my last hours to look like.

Help I’m Alive

It’s been a wizz- bang bling-o-rama couple of days out here! New York is treating me like italian mafia princess high royalty, and spewing her toxic jewels right into my lap. And I’m loving every minute of it.

victoy smile, after my first successful solo trip on the subway.
victoy smile, after my first successful solo trip on the subway.

Even though they were on my Monday/Tuesday list of things to do, I stiill haven’t hit the Met or the MOMA. Mainly because it would involve leaving the house before 4:00 PM, and I just can’t with that. It’s the heat. The smells. It’s too much in the direct light of lunch time. I’m sure I’m missing amazing shit. Classical pieces I’ll never see anywhere else. Things that would wow and inspire. And I’m sure I’m missing also some awesome lunch time sandwich experiences.  But the thought of waking before noon to go to a museum and then sweating  into a greasy sandwich and eating my own sweat only to sweat it out again, but  with pastrami fumes added. Nope. No can do.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been spending my days laying mostly inert on Sam’s couch while he’s at work, because even the act of sitting up causes my glasses to steam up. So, I lounge. Read. Listen to noises outside. Drag my oily bones to get a bagel. And then, at aout 4:00 PM, I psyche myself up for another foray into the Manhattan wilderness.

On Tuesday evening, I met Messy to walk the High-Line–an old railroad track converted into a walking trail through  the lower West Side of Manhattan. A fantastic mixture of old redbrick (I’m nuts about redbrick and brown stone) buildings, and new construction–mixed with overgrown weeds and flowers and railroad skeletons. While I was there, I experienced my VERY FIRST NEW YORK MUGGING while soaking my feet in a  strange puddle. This evil little muppet tried to jack one of my Gizehs

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Which leads me to a few points: First of all, while out here,  I’ve witnessed virtually ZERO crime, muggings, shivvings, or even rageful Danny DeVito characters shaking their fists at eachother yelling “Move outta my way already, dickweed!”  I haven’t had one person be rude to me–in fact, everyone I’ve encountered has been friendly and helpful. While I’m grateful for kindness, I also feel a little let down. Where are these rude new yorkers I always hear about? Are they somewhere with the rude French people (who I never found while in France, years ago)? Also, why have I not seen ANY rats? I mean, the garbage is piled in the streets, like an all you can eat buffet. WHERE ARE THE RATS.

I plied Messy with some questions: “Messy–I’ve heard about how unsafe and violent it is here, and so far, I’ve felt completely at ease (minus the freaking out over poop graffiti). What gives?”

“New York is actually really safe,” she says. “The majority of the violence that happens here is cops beating up on black people.” I then  remembered our arrival to Coney Island on the 4th, and seeing entire military squadrons of cops standing around the party-goers, most of whom were not white and all of whom appeared to be just having a good time and wanting to eat hotdogs on the beach like everyone else. Sigh.

the high-line
the high-line

Anyway, after the High-line I met Sam for dinner. We had some time to kill before our comedy show, so we sat

down by the Hudson River waterfront, where all the romantic gays were sprawled out on the grass. I made a mental note to one day return to this scene with some sort of romantic person of my own–because even though it’s smelly and hot and loud, New York is one of the most romantic places I’ve been to. Complex, challenging, humerous,  full of surprises–in a sense, my ideal lover.

the view from the hudson river
the view from the hudson river

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We finished the evening at the Upright Citizens Brigade and saw some okay stand-up.

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Yesterday, I went to Washington Square park and sat around the big fountain watching people splashing around. I did not participate–mostly because I was worried about getting a fungal rot of some sort and I’m already nursing some open blister wounds.   North Oakland has turned me into a pansy, I guess. The Bay Area in general, though it’s also dirty compared to Seattle, or Minneapolis for instance) , is home to many nervous helicopter parents who follow their kids around with an arenal of bleachy wipes. (this according to my friends Bill and Kelly who have two toddlers they let muck about in filth while other parents look on in n horror). Still, I appreciate the fact that nobody seems to care they live in a huge garbage dump–maybe everyone here is part toxic-avenger.

After the fountain, I decided to hit Greenwich Village via Bleecker street. In my olden days of beatnickobsession, I remember Bleecker to be an often referenced street, so I hoped to see something of those old days. Some book stores, or old motherfuckers scribbling in notebooks. Unfortunately, it was just a buncha stuck-up botiques.  Having safely identified the restaurant I was to meet Sam and Messy at, I decided just to get myself lost on purpose and take some side streets  And that’s when my freaky deja vus kicked in. Everything along these side streets seemed eerily familiar. Though it was hot, I got a chill. My hair stood on end. At some point, a woman standing in a store front said “Would you like a lotion sample?” “sure,” I said. And guess what the lotion was? I shit you not!

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The feeling was so strong I had to find a place to sit down for a bit. I found a coffee shop with air conditioning and collected myself. The song in the coffee shop was Metric’s “Help I’m Alive” which was playing on repeat. Man. What the hell is dejas vus, anyway? I mean, isn’t every dense city sort of similar to another one? Had I seen these streets in a movie, or was I truly experiencing a supernatural event? I’ll never know.

After a Thai dinner, the three of us headed over to the Gotham Comedy club to see some more cheap standup–most of which was unfortunately men who’s schtick consisted of sexually harassing very young women sitting in the front rows. (“Are your nipples pierced? Are they like, more sensitive now?” etc etc. I guess being on stage gives you an open invitation to objectivy who’s ever around.) After the first two comedians the host said “You may have seen this guy playing around town…give it up for LOUIS CK!!!”

What the….Surely this is a joke??? But no. IT REALLY WAS LOUIS CK!! Literally 50 feet from me. He was doing a set of some new jokes he’s trying out, and brought his notebook. Some of it was good, some was not so good, but fucking A man. LOUIS CK. After his set, I went to the bathrooms and on my way out, I saw him standing up against the bar, alone, drinking a beer. For a split second he MADE EYE CONTACT WITH ME. I feel like the comedy gods just jizzed a rainbow on my face.

Special times, people!

More fun to come.

Hello Wall.

In the Midwest, we have a saying. “I think you’re having a little too much fun over there.” This is because, in the Midwest you are alotted one teeny piece of rootbeer barrel -sized fun a day. Any less, and you’re a certified downer. any more, and you’re a certified character (pronounced keer-ehk-terr) and in need of guarded observation, lest you spin off into something resembling actual joy.

I think this is why, after three days of non-stop fun and celebration, and especially after a multitude of beers the night before,  I have finally hit my wall. I have a fun hangover.

My plan this morning was to ride into Soho with Sam, on his way to work, and spend the afternoon gazing in storefronts, nibbling snacks, gawking around and dodging giant piles of garbage. Instead, I woke up dead. I had barely enough energy to pull down my chonies to take a wizz. “Sorry Sam, I don’t think I’ll make to Soho with you this morning.  I’ll have to meet you there later.”

After a few hours of recovery,  I still  could not rally. I decided, instead, to call in sick,  to my vacation.  At least this afternoon. After all, it’s MY VACATION. If I want to spend every day of it parked on the couch in my undershorts scratching my mosquito bites and listening to the neighbors argue, so be it.  There is absolutely no reason to force continuous fun and merriment on myself–especially a high-strung hungover introvert.

Anyway. For those keeping tabs on my shenanigans: Yesterday, I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. The performance was amazing. Times Square, not so much.

Hedwig!
Hedwig!
Too much!
Too much!

“What happened to all the hot people?” I asked Sam at one point, frowning at the  hordes of pale bloated humanoids, harumphing around in tevas and socks.

“These are mostly tourists,” He said.

“So, what you’re saying is, the hot people mostly live in Brooklyn?”

“Mostly. But in Soho there’s lots of people who think they’re hot. So at least there’s that.”

After Hedwig, we  drank wine, and ate expensive Pizza at Roberta’s (In Bushwick). They have a flaccid dick driftwood clock worth mentioning:

Flaccid dick clock at Roberta's Pizza
Flaccid dick clock at Roberta’s Pizza

I then went to the Gotham City Lounge to meet up with an old film school friend and his boyfriend.

Gotham City Lounge bathroom
Gotham City Lounge bathroom

This was the beginning of a series of a million happy beers, which ended in me taking a cab back to Sam’s house (a trip I barely remember taking) and waking up dead.

I’m currently psyching myself up for my first SOLO subway trip to Manhattan. I’m meeting Messy there, and we’re gonna walk the hi-line. Afterwards, I’ll be meeting Sam for dinner and some stand up comedy show in Chelsea.

Good lord. More fun to be had. Gotta pace myself. Gotta break the wall of fun!

Hotties, Hotdogs and Freaks

I’m not exactly a patriotic person. I’ve never swelled with American pride–in fact, I often go completely flaccid with american shame, because most of the time, at least to me, America looks and behaves like a  spoiled teenager who refuses to go through puberty already, and just grow up.

Because of this, 4th of July has never been a holiday I go out of my way to celebrate. But yesterday I learned, there is one place in the united states that was born and bred to host the best 4th of July celebration in the country: Coney Island, New York.  For only there can you fully embrace everything America does best: Hotdogs, Hotties, and Freaks.

We started off at the side show, which featured sword swallowing, fire eating, shoving nails into noses, the Sam, stretchy man of the west, Messy the three-footed hasid, and Orangina the citrus queen:

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After the side show, we sallied forth for hotdogs. Have I mentioned that NYC is teeming with attractive people? And that in the summer, these attractive people walk around in very little clothing? Not only was everyone attractive, but nobody seemed puke wasted, bro-ey, rapey, or trying to light their beer farts on fire–which is partly why I try to avoid 4th of July celebrations in general. The kids were festive, but well behaved. Adults were chill. And for an amusement park dense with people, this was beyond impressive-after all, this is New York, isn’t everyone supposed to be rude here? Why is everyone smiling at me? (Likely because my boobs were hanging out of my onesie)

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At one point, my friend Messy said “I wonder where all the white people go for the 4th?” I then realized we pale ones were in the minority here at Coney Island. It was the first time that had ever happened to me, and I gotta say,  it was rad.

We walked around the boardwalk. Messy wanted to play the squirt gun game, and so we stopped to do that.  The man running the game appeared to be either intensely intoxicated or had such a severe speech impediment, that nobody who was lined up to play had any idea what was going on, or when the game would begin.

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After the squirty game, we visited Zoltar the magical gypsy, who delivered a life-inspiring message from the astral planes:

“The crystal gazer has wonderful things in store for you. A dear one will return from a long trip and your whole life will be different. Your patience is about to be rewarded. Despair not, I say for your days of despair will soon be over. Your calm spirit, and good sense will see you through all emergencies.

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We watched the fireworks from the beach. Afterward, I said “Man, this is the best 4th of July party ever. The only thing that would make this night even more perfect, after circus freaks, hotdogs and hotties,  is a spontaneous dance party” -fortunately, the gods of zoltar delivered exactly that!!  As we were walking back to the subway, two women were dancing up the street to a salsa groove, and we joined them.

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It was the best 4th of July ever!  Yay America!

I’m so digging the everthing about Here.

My Fat Apple Cherry

Oofda!

Well, yesterday I thought I  had plans to pop my Manhattan cherry with my friend Messy. In my mind, we were going to start  off our romantic evening with some dumplings in Brooklyn, and then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan as the sun was setting. Understand that I’ve been dreaming about Manhattan my whole life. I’ve watched Moonstruck approximately 87 times, and was at one point in my life, obsessively into the beat poety scene of New York in the 50’s.   One time, I even had a night dream that I was a hasidic new york jew in the 1930’s, with the magical ability to float around in libraries. Because I’ve been dreaming about visiting New York all my life, I felt it was important to make my first entry to the throbbing, sparking, filthy ganglia that is Manhattan  as meaningful, slow, and romantic as possible. Special.

However, yesterday afternoon I got a text from Messy: “I’m at Riis beach, and probably going to be a little late. Can we just meet at Vanessa’s Dumplings? It’s in Chinatown, Manhattan.”

This sent me into a mild logistics spin.  First of all, it would mean walking across the bridge alone. Who wants to lose their virginity alone? Only losers. Second of all, I’d have to find my way to a specific restaurant once I arrived in Manhattan, and I am the type of  person who, armed with several forms of GPS, and with the voice of god shouting down orders from a cloud, could still wind up myseriously in Fremont. And this is in my own neighborhood back home.

Not wanting to engage in a flurry of confusing text messages with Messy, about our obvious miscommunicaation of plans, I explained the situation to Sam.

“Well, I can walk you across the bridge” he said. “then once you get to the other side, I’ll help you map how to get to the restaurant.”

Sam is a good friend.

And so, with began our journey across the bridge–along with throngs of tourists with selfie sticks. Sam, walking with his usual mongoose scamper, and me, like an Oakland Bumpkin with my head in the air going “wow wow WOWWWWWWW” every two minutes.

“we haven’t even gone like, 1/4 of the way across the bridge” he said. “It gets even better.”

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As I got closer and closer to Manhattan, my stupor grew into a mild sort of terror. How would I…Take in this….this BEAST. Here I was, getting ready to lose my virginity to a guy with a thousand foot dick. And as i got closer and closer to Manhattan, I began to wonder if I should have brought condoms and rubber gloves. Maybe some bleachy wipes.  Because this thousand foot dick also appeared to be crawling with some strange sort of disease. But a disease i kinda wanted to catch. Catch my drift?

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“Okay, here’s your route to the restaurant. It’s not that far from here. You can do it.” said Sam.

And then, I was alone in Manhattan.  With my travel guide on his way back to Brooklyn, I could no longer be a bumpkin saying “wow, dude. Fuckin statue of liberty man!” If I was frightened or unsure of myself, I couldn’t SHOW it. I had to adopt the gait and look of someone who knows what the fuck is going on.

I bravely made my way up Lafayette, into Chinatown, where the smell of old fish, poop, and kimchi cuffed me in the face. Garbage was piled up in the street. There were potholes, and random broke-ass parts of sidewalks and streets,  graffiti everywhere. Even though my GPS was leading me to my destination, I was still terrified I would get lost and end up in a dumpster somewhere, on a bed of rotting peking duck carcasses. But at last, I made it to Vanessa’s dumplings. Safe and sound.  Look at me!

It was so great to catch up with my old friend Messy. She was a little hurt that Sam took my brooklyn bridge cherry, but hey, misunderstandings happen, and no harm done.

Before we left, I had to use the bathroom at Vanessa’s. It seems like every 4th of July for the past two years I’ve had to experience a horrific bathroom scenario. Last year, it was because I got a text from an old co-worker who, whenever I hear from him, I have to poop. (he has that effect on me)  And so I had to stop at the mcdonalds at 24th/Mission to take care of business. I thought that bathroom was the grossest bathroom I’d ever seen- until I used the toilet at Vanessa’s. The entire thing was graffiti BUT SOME OF THE GRAFFITI WAS POOP.

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The view, from Vanessa’s Dumplings

After dumplings, we walked back through the fragrant streets of the lowe r east side, and got back on the subway to Brooklyn, which, turns out, is a freakishly clean and tranquil place compared to where we just were.  We had cocktails on Sam’s balcony, and went to a place up the street called “Art Cafe” where they have sparkly tablecloths, candles, and homemade infusion syrups cocktails. (Side note: every single customer service experience I’ve had since I’ve arrived has been top notch) I sipped a watermelon fizz while Rocky IV played on a building above my head. I felt strange,  otherrworldly, and wondered  if I’d gotten pregnant or a dose of the clap from this monster dick fat apple city.

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I’ve got three blisters on my feet, 13 mosquito bites, and I’m having a blast.

Happy 4th, everyone!

The Red Balloon

So I’m here, in Brooklyn New Fucking York! Land of a thousand brownstone brick buildings and gaslights. Old stomping grounds of my favorite writer, and social commentator  Henry Miller. And home to seemingly endless swaths of attractive, partially clothed people.

I’m on vacation. I’ve never been to New York City before. Hi!

My flight over was mostly unremarkable, except for the hot Argentinian couple making out in the seats next to me. Actually, I’m pretty sure they’re the same couple who has plagued me on the last few flights I’ve been on.

I won’t lie. When this happens, I always feel the urge to rise up and strike the suckface couple with some kind of insult. Something clever, like “get a room!”  or “PUH-LEEZ.”

But along with this irrationally violent urge, comes another voice, struggling to be heard among the din of cliche insults. It says “Hey, little buddy. Why such a downer? These two attractive people are just showing their love for eachother! They are not murdering, littering,  or stealing your iphone. They are just kissing! With tongue. And groping in an NC17 way. What if it was you? What if you were in love? It could be you someday! Would you want some bitter, rageful spinster thinking evil things about you? No? Well, stop!”

Fortunately, United Airlines offfers plenty of TV shows and movies to distract one and all from lustful groping couples. I watched Grand Budapest Hotel (excellent) The Wild and Wonderful Whites (about a tapdancing redneck family from Virginia) and 4 full episodes of Broad City. (And for those of you who are wondering–I’m still not a fan!  I think I’m just too old. I’m all “dude, who smokes cheeb at work? Who rolls around dentist waiting room floors? young stupid people. sigh.”)

I’m lodging with my brother-from-another-mother Sam in Brooklyn, near Prospect Park. Sam, for most of his adullt life, has lived like a migratory bird. San Francisco, then New York, then Berlin, then San Francisco, repeat repeat repeat repeat. I wasn’t sure what kind of accomodations I’d be looking at, since the whole time I’ve known Sam he’s never really unpacked his suitcases. I envisioned a mattress, and a towel. Maybe a glass of water. But what a lovely surprise, to discover Sam has now officially settled in to a lovely, spacious, clean,  grown-up 2 bedroom apartment, with furniture and garbage cans! I have my own private bedroom that opens out to a balcony. Spoiled rotten already.

I got in at about 8:00 pm last night. We had dinner at a crazy good  ramen joint up the street, and then we sat and drank wine on the balcony listening to people blow shit up for the 4th of July.

Despite my struggles with insomnia, doom and anxiety fits, I fell asleep pretty quickly–leaving the screen door open so the fresh summery air could lull me to sleep.

I woke up at 4:30 am to pee. As I was sitting on the toilet, I felt something brushing up againist my cheek. I took a wild, oafish swing at what turned out to be a helium balloon, patrolling the house at half-mast.

I layed down to sleep, and then I heard a dreaded but familiar sound: A mosquito buzzing in my ear. (For those who not be knowing-even though I grew up in the mosquito smog of the midwest, the Bay Area is mercifullly bug free, save for the occasional cockroach or house spider. ) Grumbling, I covered my ears with a sheet and tried to sleep, but I could still hear it. bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Cranky, and unable to take it anymore, I turned off the lights, vowing to hunt down the motherfucker. I searched, but I didn’t find the mosquito. I layed on the top of the sheets, in my underwear, offering my body as a living mosquito trap. A human blood bag, waiting for the landing that would end in a sniper slap.

But nothing happened. The mosquito was nowhere to be found. Perhaps new york mosquitos are too smart to fall for such an obvious ruse. Then, I thought “fuck. maybe there IS no mosquito. Maybe the mosquito is in my head. MAYBE I AM THE MOSQUITO.”

I turned off the lights again, wondering what it would be like to have to feed my children blood collected from cranky old broads. The birds were starting to wake up. Within a few minutes, a whole crackhead riot of birds was chirping.

And then, I felt it. Something landed on my arm. In the half-light I could see a speck of black. I waited for a moment, and then I struck.

After I killed the mosquito, and beat the shit out of an innocent balloon, I hoped sleep would return. But just as I was about to drift off, I heard a series of loud popping sounds from what sounded like the livingroom. Unable to make any sense of it, I thought perahps the balloon and all it’s balloon brothers (there are several in Sam’s house, leftover from some birhday party of something) committed suicide on a key hook or something. I heard Sam get up, and walk to the livingroom. Then he went back to bed. I concluded whatever it was, it was not serious. And finally, I slept.

This morning, we had lunch in Flatbush (ladies, don’t let your bush go flat).

Up next: A prospect park hangout, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and dinner in Chinatown with one of my  dear old friends Messy. (AKA Aunt Sharon) It’ll be my first trip to Manhattan, and I can’t wait to get into the swampy thick of it.

And now, I will leave you with a photo montage of the red balloon that follows me sadly around Sam’s apartment,  like an abused creature begging for an apology. I’m starting to grow fond of it now.

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