Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's so cold


Fuck you, invisible peanut gallery, it's fucking cold is how cold it is. It's recluse cold, as in it's so cold I don't go outside unless I'm scurrying from one warm indoor spot to another. I don't have cheese. I can't leave my apartment to buy cheese.

That's how cold it is. It's no-cheese cold.

I can't believe 8% of the country's population lives in this cold-ass state.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Years Resolution

I made one!

I know it's a little late, but I have trouble thinking of resolutions for the New Year because I pretty much live the way I want to. I already eat healthy and keep a clean Rachel-den. Living in New York gives me plenty of exercise and I have no desire to lose weight (I'd have to buy new bras again--what a nightmare). I could make the resolution to work more on my writing, but hell, I make that resolution every morning, and some days I meet it, some days I don't.

So what could I resolve to change about myself? What new habit could I cultivate? What old habit could I break?

The answer came to me last weekend. The BF has been out of town for the past couple of weeks, traveling to different cities to do field studies for his thesis. When he was pau, we decided to celebrate with dinner at a fancy restaurant. (We had a coupon!) The food was excellent. I got ratatouille with polenta and ate every morsel. The BF wasn't done with his meal, so I folded my hand in my lap and stared at his plate.

I stared, and stared, and stared.

"Do you want some?" he asked, cutting me a slice of chicken and putting it on the edge of my empty plate.

"No thanks, I'm stuffed," I said. "Take it back."

He went back to eating. I went back to staring at his plate.

I stared, and stared, and stared.

Suddenly I became aware of what I was doing. I was staring at his plate while he ate, and I was doing it out of habit.

"Do I stare at people's plates when they eat?" I asked him.

He paused.

There it was. That dreaded pause from your significant other, while they work out of the quantum mechanics of a question guaranteed to produce a painful answer. It's like Schrodinger's Cat. Either I'm going to be pissed that you tried to poison my cat, or I'm going to be pissed that you killed my cat.

"You can stare at my plate," he said.

Which was a great save on his part, but my resolution had come into creation in that pause. I really need to stop staring at people's fucking plates while they eat. I have no idea how or when or why I picked up this habit. But I bet other people find it creepy and weird, and as long as we're being brutally honest, I don't need any help in that area. I'm plenty creepy and weird on my own, I don't need to broadcast it quite so obviously.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Personal Space Invaders

On Saturday and Sunday, I didn't leave my apartment. Not even to take the trash down to the dumpster. (And thank you, whichever kind neighbor saw the trash bag outside my door and took it down for me.) So on Monday, when I did go out into the world, I made an inappropriate amount of eye contact with people. I think I kind of forgot that other people exist outside of myself and my friends in the computer.

But other people do exist. In fact, they exist a little too much, and need to exist somewhere outside of my personal space.

This morning, I got street harassed on my way to the subway. I had the nerve--the nerve--to say nothing to a stranger who complimented me on my dress, and he followed me across the street to the subway entrance, where he continued to shout abuse at my as I went down the stairs. First he informed me that I was rude for not responding to his compliment--yeah, buddy, I'm the rude one in this scenario--and then he told me I wasn't "that cute anyway."

That's only the first half of this story.

On my lunch hour, I usually take a book and go to another floor in my building where there are couches. You know, to unwind. So I was standing in front of the elevator, already reading my book, when someone else from my floor comes up next to me. She says hi, and I grunt. We get in the elevator together--I'm still looking down at my book--and she asks me what I'm reading.

Is a book in front of a face not the universal symbol for "leave me alone"?

Apparently not. I say, vaguely, "It's a police story." And this woman takes the book from me to turn it over and look at the cover.

Both of these things happened today. It's so astounding I have to put another one up.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Introvert's Fish Dilemma

I love living alone. I love tucking myself into my perfectly-Big Island Rachel-sized apartment, drinking tea, reading books, watching my stories, and tumbling my tumblr. I didn't leave my den yesterday, and I might not leave it today.

I may, however, kill myself with sweet, delicious oily salmon.

On Xmas day, Daddio called me and asked, "Did you get the salmon I sent you? I mailed to your office."

Oh. Oh no. OH NO!

Fish... mailed to my office... which is closed for two weeks for the holidays. The folks in the mail room will never speak to me again.

Fortunately, it was vacuum-sealed hard smoked salmon, so it was still good when I got back to the office on January 2. Also, our mail guy assured me that the mail room is familiar with the stink of rotting care-package food, especially when the boxes are addressed to the international students. (Considering how many Korean scholars we have, I imagine there have been some memorable incidents with kimchi.) (Wait, is that racist?)

The instructions on the box said that the salmon would keep at room temperature until it was opened, at which point it should be refrigerated and eaten within five days. I had it in my mind for about a week that I would save the salmon for a special occasion, that such a bounty should be shared with friends in a safe and loving environment with soft Motown music in the background.

Then I remembered that I never have anyone over and decided to just eat all the salmon myself.

I opened the package yesterday and I'm slowly, very slowly and carefully, working my way through it. I have to pace myself, because it's really salty and oily and has the potential to upset the delicate equilibrium of my ecosystem, in terms of both my body and my habitat. I can't spill a drop of the salmon liquid on the floor or my rug, or else the whole apartment will stink of fish until spring. And as for what will happen it I get too much of it inside of me--well, let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Did you know that the Girl Scouts offers a fashion and makeup badge? Actually, I think now they call it the science of style badge, which is cool, because hurray science and it's important to know how much lead you're swallowing with your lipstick.

So much lead.
I didn't earn my fashion and makeup badge. My first Girl Scout leader was a pro-body hair hippie and my second leader was more interested in giving me the skills--or lack thereof--to burn $200 worth of bras last Xmas. Neither of them ever gave the troupe the option of spending the afternoon at the Liberty House makeup counter, learning how to bring out the color in our eyes.

I've gone through periods of my life where I'm anti-makeup. I just got through a five-year stretch of not wearing any except for weddings, conferences and ballets, because I don't think it's fair that women are judged on their appearances by every sticky mouthbreather on the G train. My body isn't public property. If you don't like the way it looks, you can go screw--I don't exist to give men something pleasing to look at.

In Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel, "Persepolis," she talks about life as a woman in Iran under a repressive theocracy. "The regime had understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself, 'Are my trousers long enough? Is my veil in place? Can my makeup be seen? Are they going to whip me?' No longer asks herself, 'Where is my freedom of thought? Where is my freedom of speech? My life, is it livable? What's going on in the political prisons?'"

To paraphrase: People who have to think about stupid shit aren't free to think about important shit. So no makeup for Big Island Rachel. I have important shit to think about.

Of course, that's only about half the time. The other half of the time, I realize that I'm constantly thinking about monumentally stupid shit--Batman, cats, eggs for brunch, how dumb squirrels are, the angle of the slope of my apartment floor, Star Trek puns, where my Avengers tshirt went, why I didn't finish that ebook before it expired when I'd been on the waiting list for six months, that time in kindergarten I made my friend cry, what brand of Scotch my tumblr-pal in New Zealand drinks--and honestly, I can take 5 minutes out of all that to put some damn eyeliner on.

I'll revisit "Persepolis," as one does with the stories that really stick with you, and I'll notice that Satrapi herself was desperate for the freedom to wear makeup, fashionable clothing, or even just a pair of red socks to school. Her oppression didn't come from the veil itself--it came from her lack of choice of whether she could wear the veil or not.

And then the pendulum swings back the other way. Yes, Big Island Rachel, you don't have to wear makeup if you don't want to.

So... do you want to?

BAM! New lipstick. Red as the blood of my enemies. Also, it kind of smells like cake frosting when it goes on.

The New Year is off to a great start.