Friday, April 27, 2007

Fairy Tales on the MTA

There are many things that annoy, irritate, and infuriate me about riding the subway:

  • Being able to hear someone‚Äôs music through their headphones
  • When people sitting in the middle seat don't move over once an end seat becomes available
  • Smelling people's disgusting food
  • Crazy people who smell
  • Crazy people who proselytize
  • People who sell things--whether it's batteries, candy, or themselves by begging, breakdancing or singing (the worst!)
  • People who squish themselves into seats they don't fit into
  • When people don't let the departing passengers off first, instead pushing their way onto the train

But my biggest pet peeve about riding the subway? When people don't give up their seats for eldery, disabled or pregnant subway riders. And when they don't give up their seats for eldery, disabled, pregnant women? Indefensible.

When someone enters the train with even a limp or a cane, a swollen belly, or a wrinkled face, I'm up and out of my seat. I stand when teen-agers don't, when men pretend they cannot see, and when other women pretend that standing is not their responsibility.

I don't want you to think that I stand because I'm an especially moral person. I'm not pretending that I'm better than anyone or that I'm a humanist (I think most people know that I'm not). What I am is surperstitious, in a way. I'm steeped in fairy-tale upbringing. What do I mean by that?

I used to love fairy tales--the gory ones about step-sisters cutting off their ankles in order to stuff them into shoes; the romantic ones about sleeping princes being awakened by The Kiss; the magical ones about a giant's golden hairs; but most of all, the ones about reward and retribution. My favorite stories featured witches disguised as hags who would test the virtue of the heroine. When the protagonist would overlook the hag's ugliness or scariness and share her bread or beer or cheese, the hag would reveal herself and reward the heroine with clues for her quest, diamonds or wishes.

What do fairy tales have to do with my commute? I'm always waiting, always on the look-out for my opportunity to prove myself. Who is that old lady, really? The man with the limp--when I get up for him will he know I'm worthy of his powers?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why I hate Brooklyn

There are many reasons why I get annoyed at my new borough (babies! so many babies! the 40-60 min train ride instead of walking to work), but I think the most irritating thing about Brooklyn is store hours. Case in point: As I was walking back from the gym tonight (go me) I passed a vintage store. The hours? Mon-Wed "By chance." By chance? I'm not impressed by your whimsy. You own a store--you should keep it open, not close it when you "run out of food" (thank you, pizza place down the street).

You'd think the gym would make me less cranky. Well, you'd be wrong.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Moms are So Smart

I'm at the age where I'm finally able to appreciate my mom, rather than rebel against her/ be annoyed at her/need things from her. And although I've noticed that I'm channeling her words and mannerisms more and more, I'm not yet just like my mother.
Which wouldn't be such a bad thing since sometimes she's so smart.

A girl I was friends with in high school and college called me in August to tell me she was getting married. Although at one point we were good friends (and were each other's introduction to Sapphism) since we both moved after college (she to the West Coast, me to the East), we had mostly lost touch. Over the past 7 years, we've talked maybe a half-dozen times and we've seen each other 3 times--once when I was in L.A. to appear on Judge Judy, once when I was in L.A. for business, and once when she came to visit me in NY.

I was happy to hear that she was getting married, but I didn't really expect to be invited to the wedding. Fast forward a few months. When she called me in February, I was surprised to hear from her, but happy to chat. After about a minute, she got to the point. She was calling to see if I would be her maid of honor. Maid of honor! I didn't think I was going to be invited to the wedding, let along be asked to be in it. And maid of honor? Maid of honor! I'm my sister's maid of honor, and expect that to be the last time I act in that particular role. I was so flustered that I accepted, but when we got off the phone a few minutes later, I started thinking about what my commitment actually meant.

It meant going to L.A. which, in turn meant buying 2 plane tickets (one for the boyfriend and one for me), renting a car, and renting a hotel room. It meant buying a dress I could never wear again. And it meant being in someone's wedding who I hardly knew anymore.

I had to get out of it, but without hurting her feelings. How? My friends suggested telling her I couldn't afford it or didn't feel comfortable making that commitment. No.

Mom to the rescue! "Just tell her you've already commited to hosting your sister's shower," Mom suggested. "You can just fudge a little and pretend that they're the same weekend." Brilliant! My sister's shower is the last weekend in April and I'll be in KC for it. My friend doesn't need to know that they're not really the same weekend.

My mom is so smart. But the weird thing is that so is her mother. When I talked to my grandmother a few days later, I told her about the wedding I had been asked to be in. "You know what you should say," she told me, " you should pretend that your sister's shower is the same weekend."

"Um, yeah, did you talk to my mom about that?" I asked, a little confused.

"No, why?"

"'Cause she had the exact same suggestion!"

"Oh! It's true," she said, " we all turn into our mothers!"