15 January 2011
More random notes on moment to moment encounters, NYC 2011
1) 14th St Subway:
Me: 6 foot blonde balancing unwieldy packages: three just-purchased enormous duffel bags. a copy of "Fortean Times", and a Marc Jacobs suede couture purse with python insets, a recent gift that would look a lot more impressive if I hadn't tripped over the cat and drenched it in soymilk. -The purse, that is. The cat was fine, dammit.-Anyway.
A youngish man is holding the official begging paper coffee cup and chanting "I need fifty cents. I need 50 cents." So I stop, wrestle with my bags, and give him a couple of dollars.
His transformation from "downtrodden" to "raffish" is immediate and startling. And very funny. He grins at me and says cockily, "Hey, where you been! I ben thinkin about you all week!"
I grin back. Say "And yet you never call."
He says: "I been busy, girl! You ain't the only one, you know! I got demands on my time!" He looks me up and down. Then says "I know you know what I'm talkin about."
"I might", I say demurely, and pick up my bags, and go.
In the background, I can hear him-remorphed into "downtrodden" but for business purposes only, I now know--droning "I need fifty cents. I need fifty cents." As I turn the corner, I look back at him. He waves, and yells "You call me now! Be waitin!"
I grin and, like the Cheshire cat, vanish simultaneously.
Life is always great.
2) Manicure, Village NYC
Lilyana is doing my nails. We are on intimate buddy terms, because she's my waxing/mani-pedi/All-Around-Girl-Maintenance sorceress, and she's Ukrainian (I'm half Uke), and, as usual, we're talking about cooking secrets, her kids and my love life.
"So.." she says, picking up my nailcolor choice (deep russet) and eying it critically,then nodding approval and setting it down, "So I tried the chicken feet in the soup, and oh my God what flavor!"
I said "I know right?" -We have been discussing how to optimize Great Chicken Soup recipes, in a friendly competetive way, for weeks now. I recommended buying chicken feet in Chinatown--the stores are easy to recognize, they're the ones with the chickens in wheelchairs picketing outside--and using them in the first boil. THEN REMOVING THEM. They're terrifying.
She filed my nail then squinted at it. "Round, yes? But oh my God, I can never again! My daughter, she came home from school early! She said "what are you making and she saw..."
"Uh-oh", I said. This was not going to end nicely.
"Yes! She saw the feet! And they were going like THIS"-she made a "praying hands" gesture, deftly incorporating the nail file-"and I was like, oh my God this looks like somehing scary!-and she screamed! Just like this!" Lilyana let out an explanatory screamlet, much to the surprise of the other customers, and continued.."and she ran into her room! She closed the door "BOOM" ljust like that."
"Yeah" i said, "but she's what, 16? When ISN'T she slamming a door?"
"So, the soup taste good, but I'm the only one who eat it." She frowned at a recalcitrant cuticle. "You should sleep with Vaseline and plastic wrap and gloves."
I must have looked startled, because she said impatiently, "For HANDS. You know. So what good is how delicious the soup is if nobody eat it?"
I said "That sounds like a life lesson, not just a cooking tip. Very wise."
She finished trimphantly, "So now I just put onion inside chicken boil THAT way! With cloves! Three." She inspected my hand happily. She had won this week's cooking contest with me. "Nice color! I like. Also? parsley."
Lost again. I said "What?"
"Parsley! You know! In chicken. Use whole chicken and nobody notices feet! Put parsley in your bottom!"
"Okay" I said weakly.
"Also remember Vaseline." She put my hands down and said "All done." briskly.
"Right. Vaseline and parsley. Onion. Got it. Yikes."'
"Good", she said. "Now stay in dryer. Why you always have to go, I don't know. Your nails get..." she searched for the word, then brightened as she found it..."Ding-ed! You know .." she gestured with her own small perfectly manicured hands..""ding".."ding"..then..nails look bed again. So what's the point??This time you stay longer this time. Stop dinging. Sit."
And she was right.
No hurry? No "ding"ing.
Another valuable life lesson.
Don't "ding" yourself. (The world does it to you often enough, without you contributing.) Very very wise. -No, really!
A friend was teling me that I seem much more, um, "rooted in my chakras" these days. I teach yoga, so I knew what she meant, but couldn't help the smartass "What?" response.
"Yeah", she said, wisely ignoring me. "That two years you were living in that duplex.."
I sighed. "The one for which i now wish I had been more openly grateful and ecstatic about? THAT duplex? Nature's most perfect apartment? Sigh."
"Yeah. Anyway. But you weren't yourself. You were being too..you know too crown chakra, too much. Like all the time."
I must have looked inquizitive. She went on "You were doing so many readings for that guy's career and for everyone. It kept you in the crown chakra. You're supposed to VISIT other dimensions to get spiritual information. Not move INTO one...I mean, you got all disconnected from your other chakras. You're not SUPPOSED to live in one chakra. You're supposed to spread it around a bit."
"Hmm. But that one was rent controlled. It was a nice dimension, too. Lots of unicorns. " I offered.
"Nope. You paid. Not in MONEY. But you paid a LOT. You got too chaotic. I never saw you like that before. OR now."
I remained silent, remembering the fireplace, the huge kitchen, my vintage copper Jello molds hanging on the walls...
"Snap out of it. it wasn't THAT great You'll have better. But when you were on President Street five years-you know when you were married to the painter guy--you were totally on top of stuff. That place was always neat and pretty organized. The chaotic thing isn't you. Not really."
"Not anymore," I agreed thinking of how I'd spent the day cleaning. "If something's really out of place I get antsy."
She pointed at me. "YES! ExACTly! Now! You're all better! But that last year, you were like...like..." then a lightbulb went on.."like one of the Collyer Brothers."
"Not THAT bad," I protested. The Collyers were two brothers, rich compulsive hoarders, who never, ever threw ANYTHING out, and eventually died in an indoor "old newspaper pile"avalanche in their 1920's Fifth Ave mansion. Which event was a nine days wonder in NYC.
It's true that when does spiritual exercises/work/practics, it's vital to go there..but remember to COME BACK occasionally, if only to do the damn dishes. Our spiritual practices are supposed o ENHANCE our real lives. Not replace them.
And so: have to leave now to be early for next appointment.- Really.
Toldja I was fixed.