Romantic Life Lessons, Whining

My Mother Says to Write Something Outrageous

I have a Satan voice, which first revealed itself when I had to recite French poetry in first grade (as one does). At family gatherings, I get requests for Satan and my audience still wonders where it comes from. I’ll never tell.

What neutralizes this blasphemy is that my husband Sam, who is Jewish, can speak in tongues. It’s pretty amazing. You ask for it, and it’s like the divine is speaking through him. We’re trying to find a way to monetize this.

Here are some other outrageous things I want to say on this July 4, which is not really about independence but the lack thereof:

I don’t understand people who put just a splash of milk in their coffee. Do you think one splash will significantly alter the taste or color? It doesn’t! I’ve tried it so that I can see where you weirdos are coming from.

George Clooney and Brad Pitt–just barely handsome. Never have they been hot.

The Highline is just a walkway above the ground. That’s it!

Gross: hot chocolate, beets, 90% of soups (people who love tomato soup, I don’t even know you), acorn squash, melted ice cream, untoasted whole wheat bread, and whatever tilapia is.

There’s this orange/peach color that clothing stores try to get rid of. It looks like stomach contents. Don’t convince yourself that it’s peach–it’s just barf.

Can we stop ugly-shaming Mitch McConnell? Do we need to keep talking about how hideous he is both inside and out? It’s so cliche, but let me check one more time if it’s actually true.

The worst day in New York City is SantaCon, but since we’ve moved further uptown, we don’t encounter the staggering young Santas yelling and vomiting in front of our building.

Hemingway and Laurence Olivier–overrated!

I used to have some respect for the Republican Party. My grandparents were proud Reagan voters, and I could at least understand why they loved him (though I didn’t). The GOP has changed so much in the last ten years I don’t even recognize it as anything but a fear-filled, power-hungry mass of old guys and Patrick Bateman youth. The Democrats get angry and have some brilliant minds to convey outrage, though they need an action-hero to pull it all together and make change happen. I keep waiting for that moment when the good guys to win, but they seem to go home at night and tweet.

I hated Bill Maher in my 20s and 30s. By my 40s, I started enjoying him as a pissy truth-teller–even if he’s not everyone’s truth. I agree with him 80% of the time and like that he brings educators onto his show. Most shows invite big dum dums to say the exact same things. Hey, Bill, my mom is always available, but if you talk over her, she’ll cut you.

If I had to work on Below Deck, I’d want to be third stew doing laundry the entire time because I hate boats yet adore all things related to laundry. While working for Captain Lee, Sandy, or Glenn, I would iron their clothes with unabashed giddiness.

COVID has ruined so many things, the least of which is the award show format. It was hanging by a thread before COVID due to the blinding whiteness and nostalgia for Billy Crystal. We still love movies and TV, but it is overshadowed by understandable social awkwardness and general thirst for celebrities behaving badly.

Non-cartoon talking animals in commercials and movies, not cool. Scary, in fact.

When you’re talking about pubic hair on a soda can or sexual assault at a Supreme Court justice hearing, it’s time to set the bar a little higher.

There are angels in our midst. A few weeks after my friend and I were robbed and raped at gunpoint, we started taking self-defense classes. This giant red-haired dude drove us every week and went at a snail’s pace through scary neighborhoods–scary because I was petrified to be outside at all. During our ride, he reminded us that even though this happened to us, the monsters didn’t take our souls.

You can take away women’s freedoms, money, dignity, rightful places, power, but it’ll never be enough. Enjoy your July 4th with hotdogs, parades, and waving flags. It won’t cover up the atrocities this country has inflicted upon women, people of color (which includes women), other countries, and just about anyone who comes to this country seeking a better home.

I don’t buy this holiday, but thanks for the day off!


What a Year!

And guess what? It’s not over yet (Damn you, Omicron). My favorite part of December is reviewing the last 11 months. I don’t know about you but 2021 knocked me on my ass, slightly more than 2020. This year had moments of clearing away the garbage, then different shock waves to leave one hugging a wall. I’m a deeply fortunate person, though I do battle demons now and then. This leaves me grateful for my time on earth. Here is what made 2021 noteworthy for me:

The utter joy to have a different president and VP. No president can heal the damage of the previous administration, but this one is better and makes the news boring again.

Because of above, I’ve stopped watching the news 24/7, which means lower ratings and better mental health. I realize cable news needs me, and when disaster strikes, I do return. The breaking news flashes have created a pavlovian response in me.

By March, COVID numbers got better, so perfect timing for me to house a wet sponge in my lungs. Friends, I am delighted to be alive, even though I ate too many cashews just now. What a joy to be vaccinated x 3 and not feel as if I need to get my affairs in order (although they are because you never know). For my buddy who refuses to get jabbed because of wanting to “rely on their immune system”–I too thought I was too strong to get COVID, but in March I was sucking air and not envisioning walking a block without passing out. In pandemics, you have to pull together and do right by your neighbor. When you’re helping kill off millions, you really belong on a mission to Mars.

In June, I went on a “family vacation” to the Jersey Shore! I deemed myself Snooki and spent the time filming my toes in the ocean, watching Lupin and Miranda, and going to Target. That’s what happens when you’re no longer 20 (or 30 or 40). Yes, the beach was amazing! Did I swim in the ocean? No, because Jaws and I overconfidently ordered a bikini that I didn’t actually want to wear. Also, sharks, baby sharks, jellyfish, moving things.

After finishing a novel, I took a radical and strategic step toward its progress. That’s very cryptic, I know. It made the 2021 list so it must be important to me.

July: First flight since February 2020! Did this Delta flight to Miami resurrect my painful fear of flying? Absolutely not! Even masked, how awesome to glide over the Atlantic and, after 5 episodes of Friends, swoop down into southern Florida! I got to see my adorable father-in-law and celebrate his 95th birthday.

August: Sam got a cold. CRISIS! Testing. More testing. I get the cold, too. OMG, our first colds in 18 months.

September: A deeply loved relative passed away. We are heartbroken over his loss. It still doesn’t seem real. The only happy part was how it has brought our giant family together.

In November, I participated in Nanowrimo and wrote *another* novel. Is it about my Latin teacher? Prep school? Hitchhiking? Summer camp? Vespasian? Fertility issues? Forgiveness? I have no idea, except it’s fiction and not a book of essays.

December now. I’m allegedly on vacation and now thinking it’s strange how one text can spark an idea, then get you off the couch. A few months ago, Sam and I were firm in our beliefs in how we would live. Then we received a text and might be on a new adventure. Details to come on this but here’s a hint.

This wasn’t an easy year by any means. What helped me through some difficult days (weeks) was acknowledging that “I am in hell” and “It’s bad right now.” It makes better times that much sweeter and easier to recognize, like today when I have the right number of clips to hold up my hair, I’ve just discovered Below Deck, and Sam is cooking dinner. I’m good and I hope you are, too.

Happy Holidays and may 2022 be a cake walk for us all. Oops, I said cake.