Lost & Found

Fun fact: a switchblade against your throat is a really fast way to sober up.

I live uptown in a peaceful little nook of Washington Heights. We are not the tourist destination of New York City, we’re not even on the double decker tour bus map. Seriously, those maps curve off at 135th St, there’s some water, and then boom, Yankee Stadium. We are that geographically irrelevant. So the people in my neighborhood actually live there. I know my neighbors. I know the shop owners in the area and they know me. It’s crazy, but people do things in my neighborhood like say, “good morning.” I love my safe quiet corner of this island.

A few years back, my husband went out town and I’d have the place to myself for a week. That first night he was away I made plans to do whatever the hell I wanted. I met up with friends for a few of liters of vodka.

At the end of the night, I poured myself out of a cab and teetered to the front door of my building. I noticed a man walking behind me and since there’s not a damn thing to do in my neighborhood, he was likely a neighbor I hadn’t met yet.

I did the polite neighborly thing and held the door for him. He smiled warmly and thanked me and I wandered over to the mailboxes. While crouched down, doing the one-eye drunk thing trying to get the damn key into the hole, I suddenly felt the weight of someone on my back and cold metal against my neck. It was my neighbor, or as it turned out, some stranger I willingly invited into my building.  As he pressed me against the wall and tugged at my purse, I thought you’re barkin up the wrong tree, I never carry cash. My wallet had a smattering of gift cards from the previous Christmas and whopping eleven dollars.

I had lived in the city for fifteen years at that point and expected eventually I’d get mugged. It can happen to anyone, but physically I’m not a small human being so I envisioned being like those women you see on elevator footage who flip their attacker over onto the ground. Makes perfect sense because I have absolutely zero training in martial arts. Instead, I was completely submissive and handed over everything.

I spent the night at the local precinct where a small army of cops questioned me. I could tell they knew I had been drinking, so I felt like this was my fault. Eventually around 6am they said I was free to go and drove me home.

In the coming weeks, I replaced my purse and my wallet. My phone, my driver’s license, insurance card, credit card, debit card, bought new stamps, lipstick, chapstick, travel toothbrush, sunglasses, started fresh with the punch card from my favorite coffee place, new Metrocard, new work ID. The whole thing cost me much more than the $11 that guy got away with. It changed my relationship, my husband now wanted to know where I was and if I was safe. I felt like he was treating me like a child, but he was just so scared it would happen again. I now looked over my shoulder, never fully at ease. It cost me my sense of trust in my neighborhood, in my home.

A year passed, I got home one night and found an envelope shoved under my front door. Inside was a rotted weather-beaten driver’s license. I could barely make it out, the address was completely worn away, but the face on that license was mine. And the note inside said, Sarah Sweeney if you still live here, call us at this number.

I freaked out, pacing my living room trying to think of why someone would contact me like this. If there’s a Mugger Playbook this was the ultimate long game! He got his initial $11 and Old Navy gift card and now he’s checking my address to get $11 more dollars and perchance a gift card to… Banana?

But, I called the number because I mean, c’mon.

A middle aged sounding guy picked-up.
Hi, um, you left my driver’s license?

He handed the phone to someone else in the room and this confident tiny voice got on, “Hello?! Are you Sarah Sweeney? I’m Danielle! Me and my sister found your purse in the woods!! It was gross we left it there, but we have your wallet! Are you OK? Is it really you?!”

I could tell she was jumping up and down as she spoke.

She and her younger sister made a proper excavation project of my wallet, carefully unfolding wet receipts and bits of paper that endured the elements for the last year, drying them, and piecing together the clues to find me and return my wallet and everything inside. I was completely awestruck. They were giving me a sense of relief. They were giving me closure.

I asked her, “how can I repay you?”
“Hang on!” She pulled the phone away and conferenced with her sister; I then pulled the phone away from my ear because all I heard was the piercing sound of “ICE CREAM!!!!!”

Twenty minutes later, I was at their door. I handed over a bag of ice cream, half a dozen flavors. And these two little girls handed over my wallet and a renewed sense of humanity.

The contents of my wallet including, yes, my Barbie License to Have Fun. Shut up.
The contents of my wallet including, yes, my Barbie License to Have Fun card. Shut up.

[I told this story on 8/25/16 at The Moth in Harlem’s National Black Theater.]

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

The Great Earthquake of 2011

Five years ago today, a devastating earthquake overtook the northeast. Tens of lives were briefly effected. At the time of the event, I was up on a ladder painting my living room from a pale blue to a pale green. Both colors, I would learn in the coming weeks, were a mistake. I had a late lunch in my pj’s and bits of Benjamin Moore’s Apple Blossom smeared on my knees. I flipped on the local news channel, NY1 and was aghast to learn I had unknowingly survived the natural disaster.

290385_10150345854502429_6353300_o

Let’s take a look back on the updates I posted back then:

Six out of seven NY1 viewers own a chandelier; four out of five believe in ghosts.

Another shaken victim was ironing when the quake occurred. She unplugged the iron and turned on the tv. She thanks god for her survival.

While playing Halo on his xbox, one young man had to press pause because he experienced dizziness. #earthquake

Watching the news and hearing the harrowing tales of victims across the city. One woman was applying her make-up when it happened!

Based on NY1 viewer response of those whom experienced the earthquake from their bed, I can deduce the unemployment rate of NYC is at 93%.

This Just In: 87-year-old Ed Koch is OK. I repeat, Ed Koch is OK.*
*Ed Koch was NYC’s mayor from 1978-1989. He passed away in 2013. His death was not directly related to the earthquake of 2011.

Marie of Staten Island assumed there was an opossum under her bed. Thankfully it was only a raccoon. #WTFStatenIsland?

NY1 reports that Delia of New Dorp was awoken from her nap. Truly, only time will heal a tragedy this great.

#neverforget

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

The Law Offices of Paranoia & Sons*

 

One of my first jobs was at a certain daytime talk show famous for their paternity tests. Working there was depressing; it sucked the soul from me. But thankfully, it forced me pursue what I really wanted: voiceover acting. Consider this, I could look like any morbidly obese pajama-wearing tranny with a dozen baby daddy possibilities and still make a paycheck in the “Industry” so as long as my voice sounded nice. Perfect. So I began looking through the most reputable place where I could certainly find an honest job. I’m sure you’re all thinking the same thing my 22-year-old self was, Craigslist!

I found a listing right away; a startup company wanting to record on-hold messages, the “thank you for holding, your call is important to us…” I thought great! I can do that. I replied to the ad and got a response immediately! It was a guy named Charles who wrote, “I like what I hear, my friend’s apartment has a sound studio. Would you like to come by next week to record?” In retrospect, I was likely the only thing he heard but I didn’t care! I was on top of the world! I felt great… until I told another human being.

My office friend Dave was a reasonable grown-up to me, his thirty to my twenty-two gave him all sorts of life experience. So when he repeated back, “OK, you met a guy on Craigslist who wants to take you to his friend’s apartment that has a sound-proof room? Wait, don’t tell me, I know the name of this movie.” Fine. I hadn’t considered any of the repercussions, namely the high potential of cold-blooded murder.

In the days leading up to the “recording session,” it became a joke around the office. “It’ll be a meat locker with a bunch of frozen voiceover actresses, Sarah!” Naturally, all of this wove into my brain and I began to realize this probably was an elaborate ruse to lure idiot Craigslisters into their kill room. Nevertheless, my 22-year-old-self was willing to risk death because this is what New Yorkers do, right? They take risks! … Right?

I decided if this turned out to be the worst decision I ever made, I didn’t want to become a cold case murder opened for decades. I wanted to ensure my mother had closure. So I concocted a brilliant plan: if I was mangled and dismembered, the police would have a hard time identifying me UNLESS I left them a clue. Naturally, I wrote my social security number in very small print hidden on my thigh. You’re welcome NYPD! Now you’ll piece together the puzzle that is my chopped up body. Brilliant! [I majored in communications, cut me some slack.]

Recording session day finally arrived and I met Charles at his friend’s apartment building. Charles turned out to be a middle-aged little Irish guy. Not just short, but little. If this went down badly, I thought, maybe I could take ’em. We shook hands and he turned to the glass door behind him at street level and invited me into his friend’s “apartment,” which was by no means an apartment. Instead, it was a vacant storefront. I felt the panic start to rise in my chest but followed him inside anyway.

Charles locked the door behind him and said in his Irish lilt, “won’t you head down to the basement? That’s where the studio is.” And of course it’s in the goddamn basement. My pulse began to quicken. Leave, leave, leave! I told myself. Ohh but I was a trusting young thing and kept going.

As I walked down the dark narrow staircase I could hear the sound Dave’s voice, “they won’t even have a microphone, Sarah.” I reached the bottom step and at that moment began having trouble breathing. As I got my bearings I saw the sound studio at the far end of the basement. Not unlike this so-called “apartment” this was not a sound studio at all. It was a storage space. A storage space with concrete walls and a door 10” thick. Charles followed behind me and ushered me into and the little room. As I looked around, to my horror I quickly realized… no microphone, no equipment, no nothing. Just a damp barren room with a mishmash of tools hanging on the wall. Charles spoke in his singsong accent, “my sound guy is running late. Have a seat then and we can practice for a while.” Thanks for humoring me, Charlie. I really appreciate that.

I sat alone with Charles under the single light bulb hanging from the ceiling of the kill room for what seemed like eternity when an older man peeked in through the door. I thought, I get it now, you’re the killer and Charles is the Craigslist mastermind. He introduced himself as Dave Berkowitz and confidently held up his recording equipment. It was a 1990’s cassette player with a red record button on top. This was either the lowest-budget production or their murder microphone was already rented out. Two against one, my odds were nil. I decided I’d have a fighting chance if I didn’t lead on that I knew their game. Despite my inevitable untimely death, I politely recorded their “You’ve reached the Law offices of Fucking Terrified and Sons…” What better time to mind your manners than when you know you have minutes to live.

I worked up the courage to take a shot at freedom checking my watch, “oh, gosh! My lunch hour is over, I need to get back.” The two of them slowly raised their eyes from their scripts and exchanged a long silent look. The older man simply gave Charles a nod. Oh god, I thought, this is it. It’s over and I’ve walked right into this. What have I done with my life? Charles then spoke, “Off you go, then. We can pick up next week” and before I knew it I was outside on the street again unharmed, unscathed, and intact. I practically sprinted back to work, my heart leaping out of my chest finally catching my breath again.

I’m grateful basement-recording jobs for law firms torn out of the phone book didn’t become my norm. And I wish I could tell you my twenty-two year old self didn’t make more potentially dangerous decisions, but in this case, I’m happy I lived to tell the tale.

*This story was performed before a live audience on May 7, 2012 at the Magnet Theater hosted by Adam Wade. It won the Moth StorySLAM on May12, 2016 when told at the Housing Works Bookstore in NYC hosted by Dan Kennedy.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

Tell It To The Moth

Last night I took a shot at the Moth. Are you guys familiar with The Moth? It’s a global storytelling collective with shows, competitions, and a podcast. Last night’s show, held at the Housing Works Bookstore on Crosby St. in Manhattan, featured none other than yours truly.

The theme of the evening was Escape and if you’re an avid reader of this blog, then you’re well aware of the bizarre circumstances I have found myself in over the years. The Moth StorySLAM show was recently featured on HBO’s Girls so the line was wrapped around the block when I arrived. My friend Richard came along as moral support. He also promised that if I absolutely bombed, he wouldn’t tell a soul. I worked up the courage and threw my name in the Moth hat. And by “hat” I mean canvas totebag, but who’s counting?

episode-52-1024

Ten people are selected to share their story on stage and at the end of the show, through some statistical miracle, I heard the host say, “next up, Sarah Sweeney.” I got up on stage and told my tale of Escape. That glorious voiceover job I booked off Craigslist when I was twenty-two. You know, the one that recorded in the basement of the vacant storefront in midtown? Yeah. I’m smarter now, promise.

A fabulously tall woman named Angela snapped this photo and posted it on Instagram which I found later that night as I searched my name in hopes of the AP breaking a news story about the best creepiest Moth story ever told.

IMG_5008

It went really well. So well, in fact, that when the judges tallied up the scores and announced the winner; it was me. I called my mom on my walk home from the subway to tell her the good news. I don’t think she’s ever been prouder. To be fair, it’s been a while since she got to play her Beaming Mom Card.

IMG_5010
As a “Moth StorySLAM Champion,” it’s a thrill to now be listed among the annals of storytellers like Adam Wade, Ophira Eisenberg, and Carrie Brownstein. Now cross your fingers it lands on their podcast. I’d love for you to hear it.

 

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

Acknowledge the Bears

You only have to spend a little bit of time on the subway to know mental health should be a major priority in this country. Some days, a person playing a game on their phone with the sound cranked up to eleven is enough to make me want to murder them and their entire family. And technically, I’m sane.

Heading out for the day I considered getting off the subway one stop early to avoid the sexually verbal wrath of a guy racing up and down the train car. He shouted, among other things, for everyone to individually suck his dick. If you are planning a trip to New York, don’t fret, subway fare has indeed increased recently, but not blowjob-expensive. He was bonkers enough that, in an extremely rare moment, I did not feel safe despite the dozens of other riders. I rationalized staying onboard until my actual destination because surely if anything happened, a good person would step in and help right away, right?

Cut to my return home several hours later during rush hour. A massively large man entered the train car; his head skimming the ceiling as he ducked in and cozied up next to me. He wedged himself in the middle seat and perched in such a way that I had enough room: an infrequent courtesy from someone of his size to be aware of the proportionately tiny person next to him. His knees and feet naturally protruded halfway across the width of the car. In general, unusually tall people fascinate me. I have an Australian friend who is a lanky 6’4”; an absolute delight if you’re ever looking for him in a crowd or need him to reach something for you upstairs. On the subway, in contrast, no thanks. You people rub against me and take up all the room. All of it!

Once the giant settled, I returned to my book while he peacefully read his tiny-by-comparison newspaper. Until we hit 59th Street. For those of you outside of New York, the uptown A runs express from 59th Street to 125th Street, which takes about eight minutes. Passengers boarded, the doors closed, the quiet murmur of two hundred commuters shoved into the steel canister resumed. And suddenly:

“Get your hands out my face! Get your hands out my face!” belligerent screaming began. Two women on the crowded train skirmishing over the lack of allotted space. Someone’s foot was stepped on or the like. Initially, no one batted an eyelash until it just didn’t stop.

The desperately aggressive screaming escalated. The women moved from shouting to threats and soon onto shoving. And no one did any damn thing. Young men, mostly, gathered around them like it was a high school cafeteria. They took video and instigated, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” And allowed this violence to unfold without intervening. 

For a heroic nanosecond I thought, I’ll get up and help calm these ladies down, but then I remembered I can’t even deal with a paper cut, so this felt out of my realm of comfort. And really, rationalizing with people in such a state is futile, at least with my level of negotiation experience.

Once on a trip to Washington State, my husband and I went hiking on Tiger Mountain. His sister, who we were in town visiting, dropped us off at the base by the trail. “Just follow the path and you’ll be fine,” and if we got lost, “there’d be plenty of other hikers to lead us back on track.” As we progressed higher and farther the path felt more like the road not taken. We made a wrong turn somewhere and who could tell when? Our cell phones no longer had service, we had packed one granola bar each, and at that point we started thinking about bears. Do bears, like me, enjoy eating granola bars more than people? Where were the other hikers to lead us down the right path? It was late-morning on a Wednesday; there were no other hikers. The other hikers were at their cool Seattle tech jobs.

We walked in silence, in part to avoid drawing attention to ourselves from said unseen bears; and also to contain our morbid fear of getting mauled by a bear or bears.

We reached a waterfall and rapids where the bridge had been dismantled. Our conversation returned as our plight became more dire and ridiculous. My husband Jon, a city boy through and through, joked that he didn’t know the wilderness. “I can reason with a crack addict with a knife. But a bear? No, ma’am!” And this subway catfight situation seemed similar to reasoning with a couple of crazy bears.

Ten years ago it would have felt like a basic posturing. Two disenfranchised angry young women who need to shout and shove one another in a show of dominance or whatever physical fighting does to satisfy people. Now, however, with the countless incidents of gun violence, people felt uncomfortable. Including me.

It’s about eight minutes from station to station, which led to eight minutes of collectively thinking please may no one have a gun, please may no one have a gun.

My heart pounded as the women’s threats and the Fight! Fight! chanting grew louder. I gave up my seat to file towards the back of the car away from the shitshow with the other reasonable people. The young guys snagged the empty seats to stand on for a better view.  From afar, I watched my giant pretend to ignore the hubbub behind his newspaper until he let his head drop with a tired sigh as though his impressive size burdens him into playing bouncer more often than he’d like. He closed his tiny newspaper and ambled down the car easily parting the sea of bloodthirsty passengers.  

I couldn’t see the women over the masses of people, some hanging on the poles and perched up high on the seats, but when he reached the women everything fell silent. He leaned over and quietly spoke to them just as the train pulled into 125th St. The two exited the car together looking far more civil than I’d ever expect. And my giant? He vanished with the crowd exiting at the stop.

Politeness goes a long way; a simple “excuse me” might have saved this from happening. But above all kindness. Doesn’t kindness towards one another feel completely lost amid our not-so-human nature lately? If we spent more time noticing those around us; noticing so many people who probably just need to be heard and understood and acknowledged, how many arguments could we prevent? How many bears can we reason with just by noticing one another and acknowledging that we’re all wandering aimlessly through the woods together?

[Does this all seem kind of desperate? It is. This presidential election upsets me. Are there that many people who still feel African Americans should be slaves? That Muslims should be forced out of the country based on their religion? Who believe a woman doesn’t have a right to make choices about her own body? I have my choice candidate who I firmly believe to be the best for all of us. All of us who don’t own private jets, that is.]

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

Metrofloss

When you’re older than twenty-eight and maybe married, there ain’t nothing like a younger man chatting you up at a party. No, wait. There’s nothing like two younger men chatting you up at a party… while your husband obliviously sips scotch ten feet away. Only on rare occasions will the sparkly metal on my left hand and the 6’ tall bearded guy attached to my hip go unnoticed.

At a barbecue in San Diego, my brother-in-law Ben threw a party and invited us while we were in town on vacation. Ben also invited every person he’d ever met including some of the neighborhood kids who had grown up into young college guys.

My husband and I parted ways to mingle amongst the crowd and in short, I felt awkward. At this party, filled with California beach people, I could not have the typical New Yorker conversations. I couldn’t ask what kind of rent they pay on a five-bedroom triplex with a pool overlooking the ocean, much less their dorm room. That seemed rude. I know the California equivalent for complaining about the subway is whining about the highway (or expressways? See, I don’t know). I’d get spotted immediately as my attempts at blending would be like wearing Groucho Marx glasses and asking, “How about that four-hundred-and-five boulevard, hmm?”

As a means to busy myself, I offered to help clear away some empty bottles. My sister-in-law suggested I bring a few dishes over to the kitchen for Jason & Luke* to take care of. Behold, 20-year-old college guys. And they took a shine to me right away. Don’t get me wrong, I had no more intentions than acting coy and politely laughing at Dylan & Brandon’s* dated references to Borat. But I felt pretty cute, so color me fucking flattered, Reader.

*I never actually got their probably-adorable names.

Thanks to a couple beers, I was starting to feel comfortable in my skin again, save for one minor discomfort: the tiny piece of steak wedged between my teeth. I have this nook in my lower right jaw where food bits lodge themselves. And in a public setting, how often is floss on hand? It’s become a joke between the aforementioned 6’ tall bearded guy and me. After minutes of trying to subtly dislodge it with my tongue while keeping up light chitchat with Ian & Austin, I gave up and turned to my husband across the room.

Floss, please,” I requested cutely.

And without a word he approached pulling out his wallet to hand me his New York City subway Metrocard. When bent just so, it slips past the canine tooth harboring the assailing strand of rib eye.

That’s the nice thing about being married to a guy who’s on the same acceptance level of germs.

I will not, for example, sit on a subway seat with even a drop of unknown moisture, but I will eat a Cadbury Mini Egg that has touched the sidewalk for longer than five seconds.

I use handkerchiefs, so on a cold day I’m walking around with a pocketful of dried snot on a bit of linen. But, lip balm in the little tin is horrific to me. Where have your fingers been all day? And then you dip your paw into goo and smear it all over your mouth? That’s the anatomic loading dock for bacteria.

OK, but believe me: I am aware this Metrocard floss tactic may seem moderately icky to a citizen of a first world nation. But calm down, it’s the non-swipe side!

The whole process took a nanosecond. And I returned my husband’s Metrocard in a flash. But alas, despite turning away to perform this makeshift flossing technique sparing the twinkling youthful eyes of Nat and Brian, they knew exactly how I completed my steakectomy. They were utterly disgusted and immediately lost all interest in my sans-steak existence. Feminine mystique now vanished, I was back to making small talk about the #5 freeway with strangers who jog for a living.

[Author’s note: I initially drafted this story five years ago and promise I have reeled in my absolutely disgusting habits when in public places. Please clap?]

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

The Antique Percolator

Some months ago my coffeemaker died. I had had it for seven whole years, so I thought that was pretty good and I haven’t found an ideal replacement yet. Since, I’ve been buying a cup from the gourmet market around the corner, ironically the cheapest coffee in the neighborhood: any size at $1.08 before 11am, their dyslexic version of happy hour. Overtime $1.08 adds up, so I planned to make a shopping trip specifically to hunt for a new one when I remembered I had held onto, mostly for sentimental reasons, my grandmother’s General Electric 12-cup percolator.

I’m not sure anyone would consider a coffee maker something to feel sentimental towards, but I have so many memories of waking up after sleepovers at my grandparents’ house and hearing that percolator do its thing. Vivid, in fact, is the memory of throwing my legs over the side of the deep blue sofa bed in their den, careful to avoid the metal mechanism for fear of losing a finger, and running through the living room into their sunny kitchen. The percolator would trill away while my grandfather at the stove made soon-to-be-burned abstract Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes with my grandmother cleaning up behind him (At lunch, she’d make soon-to-be-burned grilled cheeses and him going over their stocks with a fine tooth comb at their hickory kitchen table.)

After breakfast, they’d clean up together; her washing and him meticulously drying and putting away the dishes and the pan where the pancakes were crisped not fifteen minutes ago. They’d finish the washing up, pour another round into their cups with saucers and adjourn to the living room by the great sliding glass door that looked onto the 4th hole of their condominium’s golf course. He would read the newspaper and she would get a decent portion of the crossword puzzle completed before one of them would exchange their coffee cup with the binoculars and proceed to spy on neighbors playing golf.

“Maida is out there again, Bill.”

That golf-hungry Maida.

“Ooh, Bill, she’s with Sophie,” my Peeping Tom grandmother would note.

And the mornings would proceed quietly like this with only the telling of newspaper headlines, golf gossip, and the clinking of their coffee cups.

This morning, I reached the top shelf to take her old percolator out for a spin. It had that film of stickiness that things in the kitchen get when they haven’t been used in years. I disregarded it and began making sense of its internal parts. It doesn’t have any buttons; no automatic shut-off, no programmable timer, no self-cleaner, and none of that single-use throwaway wasteful K-cup crap. Just plain and simple on and off. Having used a drip-coffee maker all of my adult life, the long metal stem and set-up seemed foreign to me. I crossed my fingers when pouring water into the carafe and grounds into the metal filter basket that perched atop the stem, wondering how the water would reach the coffee. It felt good not having a paper filter to throw away at the end of it all. I attached the adaptor, and without hesitation, the little orange light brightened and that old coffee pot got to work making the perfect cup of hot coffee.

It astounds me to think I was impressed by my coffeemaker functioning for seven whole years. Yet, if my math is right, that makes this silver percolator three decades old. If only things were still made that way, built to last.

Meanwhile, my grandmother turned ninety last summer and the women at her assisted living home call her The Dictionary; she’s the only one who can still remember anything. Built to last, indeed.

***
Dear Reader,
You probably noticed this post is accompanied by the voice of yours truly. In the comments section below, please let me know if you love this idea or find it completely self-indulgent.
Thanks as always for tuning in.
xoxoSarah

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

Keep Your Mitts to Yourself

When’s the last time you unwillingly had someone’s potbelly in your face? For me, it was 8:30am this morning on the subway heading downtown for a quickie doctor’s appointment. Fret not, I’ll live.

Rush hour is the pits and even pittier underground smashed up against your fellow man. Especially if that fellow man has no understanding of personal space. Yeah, it’s crowded, that’s what rush hour is all about, but not so crowded that someone’s beer globe needs to be inches from my nose. Tummy-to-face did mean I had a seat, so hey, silver linings.

The assailant was a man-child in his late thirties with a full beard, spectacles, and pants too thin and too tight for a.) the cold weather or b.) primetime television. But alas, I was not the injured party here.

Cue: Silent Victim.

A young man dressed in a navy wool pea coat sat crumpled up next to me in his seat, making himself as small as possible like a good human being on a train bursting at the seams.

On a crowded train where no seats are available, a standee typically holds onto the horizontal pole over the heads of the blessed seated folks. While it provides balance for the standee, it also forces them to hunch slightly over the seated peeps. We’ve all been there, it’s all acceptable.

But let’s go back to Potbelly. Guy had a pair of Man-Mittens. And not just mittens, but mittens attached to a long string that threaded up one sleeve and down the other connecting to the second mitten, like a goddamn toddler.

mittens-hanging_2

Perhaps his nights out swilling PBR and snorting coke lost him one too many gloves and he decided to cash in for added cold-weather security? I’ll never know the answer to my sweeping accusations.

Potbelly gripped the horizontal bar with his bare fist allowing his baby-finger-warmies to dangle directly in front of Navy Pea Coat man’s face. From 145th St. to 59th, the mitten consistently grazed Pea Coat’s hair. I stared at the grimy-looking mitten swaying with the movement of the train in utter amazement that Pea Coat not so much as cleared his throat with disdain. He looked vaguely annoyed to have this oblivious idiot’s big boy glove swing in front of him, but didn’t say a damn thing. Not even when Potbelly used the hanging knitted wool to quickly liberate a piece of food from his teeth. I would have drawn the line right the fuck there. Or, let’s be honest, the second that mitten came within millimeters of my T-zone.

Potbelly’s other hand was also keeping busy, I noticed as he rolled a large fingernail clipping between his thumb and forefinger like a lucky rabbit’s foot. At this moment I hated every fiber of this man-child’s being and fantasized choking him with his own mitten string.

CZn6fr2WYAAl5i2.jpg-large

Pea Coat and I exited at the same station together and it bothered me that he didn’t speak up for justice. Did he just not care? Was he fearful Potbelly would react poorly? Is he an oblivious ass as well and this was fair game? Am I overly sensitive to people’s rude discourteous behavior? I couldn’t help myself. I needed to know.

“That dude’s mitten in your face, what a douche,” I said, keeping cool, containing my real question of WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY ANYTHING?!
“Ugh! You saw that! I mean hello do you not see your dirty mitten touching my hair?”

Victims of social injustices live in silence everyday. Speaking out on their behalf, I ask you to do your part. Keep your filthy mitts to yourself.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

The Vile Guide to Preserving Our Planet

Happy Christmas, Readers! It’s seventy-goddamn-two degrees in New York right now. That ain’t right. Oh sure, plenty of people are rejoicing in the glory of all this warmth. Men, women, and children, walking the streets in their bathing suits opening up fire hydrants to play in.

I feel differently. This is alarming and terrifying.

I feel passionate about the environment and do my best to consciously live Green. I want to share a few notes on little things I’ve seen lately and my feelings on the topic:

Littering makes me want to commit murder. Clean and tidy bloodless murder. This isn’t 1956, how are there still people incapable of finding a wastebasket?

trash

Support the troops? That’s awesome. Take a military shower. Two minutes? Less? Whatever it is, shorten your shower time. You’re probably not that dirty.

Or are you the asshole who “needs” two showers a day? More? Do you work in a coal mine? Are you a prostitute? I don’t think so, asshole. This isn’t China, you germaphobe. There aren’t guys outside with a vacuum cleaner making bricks of smog.

Brush your teeth with the water running? You should be punched point blank in the molars for your egregious indifference.

Or do you run your dishwasher and washing machine with just a few items inside? What the fuck is wrong with you? Where do you think all that water comes from?

Worse, do you use a bath towel once and throw it in the hamper because it’s now “dirty”? Yes, dirty with your ignorance. Are you unaware of the purpose of showers?

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.20.12 PM

Gotta have that cute $7 top from H&M? Fuck that. Disposable clothing and it’s weight upon the environment, not to mention textile industries in developing nations is monstrous. Save your money to buy quality clothes that will last years.

People who expect plastic bags for every single purchase. The expectation has become so engrained in cashiers that they will bag a toothpick. Or my favorite, double bagging. Are you purchasing loose razor blades? No!

Buy one of these right now: http://www.envirosax.com (they’re having a sale, buy a bunch and give them to your careless friends). These reusable bags weigh nothing, yet carry up to 44lbs, and consume zero space in your purse or your big stupid car.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.17.10 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.18.28 PM

Here’s a blurb from their site about the impact of plastic bags upon our environment:

 “One-use plastic bags & bottles take years to photo-degrade, they clog drains, cause flooding, pollute rivers, streams and oceans, kill animals and destroy plant life. There exists a ‘plastic island’ approximately 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast made up of 9 billion pounds of plastic garbage and it’s reported to be growing.” http://www.envirosax.com/about-us/

Did you catch that? Let me reiterate: a “Plastic Island” the size of my home state RHODE ISLAND.

Poland Spring? Dasani? Aquafina? Whatever your wasteful landfill-clogging brand is, get a goddamn glass and reuse it. Over and over and over again.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.19.59 PM

Grossed out by your tap water? How ironic. Pick up a Brita Pitcher and know that one filter makes your tap water taste like liquid magic AND you’re keeping 300 plastic bottles out of the landfill. https://www.brita.com/filter-for-good/

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 11.53.52 AMNeed the air conditioner flipped on in November because you feel hot? Maybe you feel hot because you “need” the fucking air conditioning on in November! Take your pants off!

Need the heat on in May because you’re a delicate feminine flower? Put some pants on!

pantssnow

That seemingly insignificant cardboard toilet paper roll? Put that in the paper recycling, stupid.

Are you in your own home yet eat off disposable plates? You’re an animal. An animal who likes to play make-believe “picnic”. Never buy that shit again. Buy a set of dishes, you wasteful bastard.

Own an SUV? Sucks that your commute requires off-roading. Oh, wait, it doesn’t? Compensate someplace else and trade in that oversized extension of your would-have-been-adult-sized penis.

a003566f609832e8af19478dc86cd339c9f21c44083393c01bef9cfaf6a0755a

As President Obama says, “climate change is real and it’s all our fucking fault.”

I’m paraphrasing.  He writes:

“Just about every scientist outside the White House believes climate change is real, is serious, and is accelerated by the continued release of carbon dioxide. If the prospect of melting ice caps, rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, more frequent hurricanes, more violent tornadoes, endless dust storms, decaying forests, dying coral reefs, and increases in respiratory illness and insect-born diseases – if all that doesn’t constitute a serious threat, I don’t know what does.”

PreserveThis

Recycling, conserving water, fuel, and energy aren’t difficult. Ignorance is one thing, but I’m certain everyone is aware of what they need to do to preserve our lush green Earth.

And if you just don’t care, then come with me down this darkened alleyway. I have a surprise for you.

___________________________________________________________________

Chau, LisaThe Wasteful Culture of Forever 21, H&M, and ‘Fast Fashion’. USNews.com, September 21, 2012
Rosenthal, Elizabeth‘Fast Clothes’ vs. ‘Green Clothes’. NY Times Article. January 24, 2007.
Obama, Barack. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts of Reclaiming The American Dream. Crown Publishers, 2006.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

Is That a Knife in Your Pocket or Are You Just Wishing Me a Happy Holiday?

‘Tis the season for strange men to buzz your door at all hours of the night.

Oh. That sounds scandalous. If only.

I’m skipping Christmas with my family in Rhode Island this year because, well, isn’t traveling for the holidays the worst? You know how poorly treated chickens are shoved into cages by the hundreds without room to move until they’re plump enough to have their throat slit for your shish kebobs? That’s exactly what Penn Station feels like during the holiday season. Packed to the gills with locals and tourists alike who don’t give a damn about your personal space and will happily crush your throat to reach the gate ahead of anyone the nanosecond it’s announced.

In addition to insurmountable self-generated guilt, this led to a series of packages shipped to and from Rhode Island. OK, really just from my mother to me since her entire wish list consists of books on Kindle. I plan to shop for her when I roll out of bed Christmas morning.

Last night, a Saturday night, I stayed in to make dinner and bake; and consequently eat; an entire pumpkin pie alone. It’s cool, pumpkin is a vegetable. And alone is the only way to eat an entire pie.

One third of the way through the pie, around 9:25pm, my door buzzer sounds off. Not the typical one-second buzzzz. Or your lesser implemented buzz-buzz. Instead, a seven-second hold:

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Menacing. Creepy, even.

In the split second it took for me to put down the remaining two-thirds pie to cross the room towards the buzzer, it went off again:

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I had to wait for this bastard to release the button before I could respond via the panel on my wall.

“Who is it?!”
“fezesabureo.”
“WHO?!?”
“Fezesz liverie.”

Are you or do you have a teenager? Teach them to speak with their whole fucking mouth because this gave me a bad vibe. Nonetheless, I understood this to mean FedEx, delivery.

I pressed the DOOR button to give this overzealous button-pressing marble mouth access to my apartment building, because my desire for fun mail outweighs my need for safety.

Already in my pajamas; a paper-thin NASA Space Camp t-shirt and shorts, just the wardrobe for a slain character actor in her thirties playing a high school girl; I brought my Shun paring knife with me to the door. Like a Ginsu, but available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

It’s no surprise that when he reached my apartment he rang the doorbell five times in rapid succession. I would not tolerate this tormenting OCD shit.

I opened the door a crack; it was a young guy wearing jeans and a plain black hoodie, not your typical FedEx uniform, holding an unmarked box. I gripped my 3.5” knife designed “to cut cleanly and efficiently through a multitude of foods” or human flesh if necessary.

“Are you Jonathan?” mumbling my husband’s name.
“Yes.” I replied deadpan, “I am Jonathan.”

He shoved the box through the threshold, turned, and walked away without another word.

Happy Holidays, readers.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisEmail this to someone

Observations of the Oblivious

Close
Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better