The life and times of an ethnically ambiguous little lady.

Friday, March 30, 2007

How to Ruin a Girl's Day in Two Seconds

I realize that I don't look particularly intimidating, but that doesn't mean that I enjoy advice from strangers. I was walking down the street yesterday and a guy on the street says to me "don't look so sad. It can't be that bad."

I have a couple issues with that comment. First of all, I wasn't aware that I looked sad. I like to think that I look distinguished, or intelligent, or hell, even pretty. That's just my face.

Secondly, what if what I'm thinking about is that bad? What if I had an accident and I am unable to smile? What if my dog just died? What if I just lost my job and then was robbed at gunpoint? What if I caught a whiff of something that reminded me of a wistful memory?

And lastly, why is my face any of your business? I don't go up to homeless people and say, "don't look sad, homeless man. It can't be that bad! I mean, sure, you don't have a home, but at least you have those cats!" Or "don't look so happy, ma'm. Your shoes completely clash with your outfit."

I think the policy is: my face, my business. Besides, frowning burns more calories then smiling. Maybe I'm just on a diet.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Life and Death in 24 Hours

Maybe you think this is a dramatic title. Well let me tell you, that's not even how dramatic it actually is, as this all took place in about 6 hours. This is the screenplay that was my yesterday. [Stage direction: Reader jumps into time machine.]

It started with an e-mail about one of my best friends. She's pregnant with her first child. She's excited and the mama bear of our group. But regardless of how nurturing she may be, her baby-to-be doesn't seem to see things the same way. Over the last seven months, she's been in the hospital four different times for dehydration. She even managed to lose 16 pounds at one point because she couldn't keep any food down. I couldn't lose 16 pounds if I had a tapeworm.

She went back into the hospital a few days ago because she was having contractions, and she's not due for another two months. When I talked to her she seemed so calm that I was calm, too. She was like "either I’ll be able to carry it to term or we'll have it naturally, early. But the baby will be okay." Maybe that's the beauty of drugs, but still, I felt better after talking to her. See? That's the nurturing part.

Then I get the email. She's having a c-section at 4 p.m. Ah, a c-section isn't natural?! And when I call them a few hours later, freaking out, they have a little almost-four pound baby boy.

"The baby and Mom are healthy," her hubby said. And when he said "mom" I got all kinds of verklempt. My two good friends--people with whom I have been falling-down drunk, who I watched do the worm at their wedding reception, who I've known before they were even dating each other--are now parents. [Cue “Circle of Life” music.]

Cut to twenty minutes after I get the news.

I'm in Times Square. My assignment? To interview people on the street about what they call their or their girlfriend's period. Why, you ask? For a new monthly show called "The Monthly Show with Aunt Flo." (See my schedule for details. It’s March 21 at 8 P.M.!) We tried this first in Astoria, Queens, and the problem was that no one spoke English. (I'm not being racist, that's what happened.) But in Times Square, it’s different; the masses want some camera time.

The jackpot was when we asked two aspiring rappers our question. "I call it man's frustration," one of the guys said.

I wondered if maybe it wasn't a little frustrating for the lady, too. He did not seem to agree. "No, it's a man's frustration. I wrote a song called 'Man's Frustration.' Wanna hear it?"

And indeed I did. And then he dropped a hot sixteen on the subject of periods. I kid you not, a rap song, fit to be our theme. It was kind of magical.

Cut to the west village.

I was heading there after my Times Square adventure to cram some comedy in at the Village Lantern. The show was going on as usual and in the middle of someone's set we hear gunshots. That's right, gunshots. And not one or two, like ten.

And everyone was very freaked out. Someone was actually worried the gunman would come down the stairs to where we were and start shooting. I thought that was ridiculous, I mean, if a shooter is stupid enough to break up a comedy show, and think the person onstage won't call him out, then he needs to get out of the house more often (for many reasons).

Turns out it was a huge ordeal. Four wounded. Two auxilary cops dead. We come out to look and there's a body nearby. That's right. This is not "Law & Order" people, this is life in the big city. It was literally a zoo. (

All in all, one very hectic day. I think I need to get out of the city for a bit.

[Fade out. Play a few bars of “Man’s Frustration.”]

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Friday, March 02, 2007

New York Moment # 497

I heard the train pulling into my enormously long station yesterday morning and I knew what I had to do. After all, the G train is only 4 cars and stops in the middle of the platform. And who knows when it will come again?

You would think I was used to this: I almost do it on a daily basis.

I sighed, squared my shoulders, adjusted my multiple bags that made me resemble a pack horse, and took off.

But today wasn't every day. For one, I was wearing a skirt. And I was also wearing a pair of little kitten heels, which, while comfortable, are not meant for wind sprints.

But I ran. And I was pretty sure I could make it. That is, until one of my shoes decided not to cooperate and down I crashed. But this was not a little slip and fall: this was a wind knocked out of me, legs all over the place, skirt over my head kind of fall. It was dramatic enough that a woman running for the train behind me actually stopped to see if I was okay.

"Are you all right? That was an ugly fall," she said, panting while still jogging in place.

"I'm fine," I said. "There's no hope for me making the train, but you go. Run! Save yourself!"

And off she sprinted.

And I quickly brushed myself off as Jay-Z had taught me and tried to make the train. And surprisingly I did, limping to the finish line like I had just completed a triathlon.

The train conductor looked at me and smiled. "Good morning," he said. I couldn't figure out if he was just a happy guy, had seen me fall, or had actually viewed my underwear as my skirt had ridden so high. Frankly, any of these things could make for an entertaining morning.

"Is it?" I asked, as I shuffled onto the train and plopped down into the nearest seat. I may have made the train, but I felt like I lost the race. Of course, maybe that's because no one runs a race in heels.

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