Monday, December 29, 2014: Temping, Blogging, Hungry and Halves

I’m temping this week in a quiet office; I am filling in for the vacationing receptionist. It’s a beautiful day here in NYC: it’s New Year’s week so the city, or at least the office workforce city, is more calm and unpeopled than usual.

I haven’t blogged at all in the past month, even though I have so much on tap, in draft form, to post about my neighborhood, about racism, about my family, about food I love, about being alive and getting older. I’ve still been flirting with the Master Cleanse: not quite fully committed, which is typical of me, in so many ways. But I have been working out more, doing my crazy Bound Lotus yoga routine and fairing very well in keeping my ice cream consumption in check. I actually have a half pint leftover in my freezer right now (Bourbon Pecan Praline, limited edition Haagen Dazs: double thumbs up), evidence that I can actually from time to time be a normal person who doesn’t snort up a whole pint in one sitting.

In this office where I am temping, I can’t log into my Gmail account via their desktop nor can I even post anything on Twitter or Instagram on my iPhone, so shame on me for not having my own wireless access. I can, at least, check my email on my phone so I don’t feel like a total Flintstone but I am a lil itchy to post pics from this phat 32nd floor sunny view: I can see so far into Jersey, I bet I could almost make out Ohio but I’ll have to wait until the workday is over to attack the rest of my social media. Yet somehow, happily, I can connect to WordPress here, which I guess these guys don’t view as social media or as a site of general-screw-offedness, so that’s awesome. The universe is thusly directing me towards bloggage: onward!

It’s lunchtime, I’m hungry and there’s no free office food but that really is another blessing. It’s not the worst thing in the world if my broke large butt can’t scarf down Luna Bars I didn’t pay for. I am very happy instead to be sitting at the dreaded receptionist desk, writing and getting paid for just being here. My broke large butt serves a purpose if only by existing to these gentle folk who’ve hired me for this week so I shall choose to feel touched and lucky. Plus I have all those limes at home, just waiting to be squeezed, waiting to be used for the purpose of cleaning me out, giving me a recharge, challenging me to fight my laziness. Being hungry is good for me.

And I am lazy. I hate to admit that. I’m complacent. I’m content when stuff isn’t great. I’m fine if things don’t work out or if I fail or if I lose. I busy myself with delusions that the next great thing is around the corner and I distract myself by walking to the waterfront at Gantry Plaza State Park, taking pictures of Manhattan at sunset, thinking I am contributing something to my future by posting photos of pink skies on Instagram, by taking long walks, by just existing. Sort of like my being in this office right now. In my heart of hearts, half of me thinks I deserve more than I am willing to work for, which is absurd. Whether it’s my own arrogance or how I was raised or the insane comfort I have known on this planet as a white, educated American, this half of me has a slanted, almost collapsed view as every year sees more and more of my innate drive being chipped away by my laziness and complacency. I never got married or had kids because of my inertia. That, and my ridiculous theory that something better is always looking for me so I shouldn’t make any drastic moves; I should just sit tight and wait for the grand reward to fall from the pink sky. This is the half of me I need to leave behind: this is the half of me that doesn’t live in the truth.

The other half of me is much darker but also more urgently poised, more alive really. This other half is the half that knows I am quite mediocre and isn’t surprised when someone is mean or rude to me; this is the half that is insecure, on the edge, alone, a little muddied. This half of me is angry, wants more, feels frustrated by the first half’s yawning slothfulness: this half can’t believe what the other half does or thinks. This half is sick of rolling through the other half’s life, with bits of ice cream and Thai food flying off the crooked, squarish wheels of its apparatus.

This second half is where my energy lives despite the fact that my self-hatred has planted a few nubby roots: this second half cares deeply, feels deeply. It is irritated: things count to it. It’s not satisfied. It’s yelling at me. It’s hungry. And it doesn’t want ice cream.

Thursday, November 13, 2014: SigNotUre and Initials

I GOT MY new SAG/AFTRA membership card in the mail today. It’s always an issue when I have to write my brontosaurus signature on the back of any new plastic card, membership, credit or otherwise. I end up practicing on the back of a piece of paper I’ve already lined up for shredding: on it, I execute my signature several times, ’til it flows easily out of me, so I won’t blow it on the actual SAG membership card, which of course I’ve done in the past and such action has left scars.

My signature has been a source of ridicule from my family for years. Yes, it is illegible, unlike the signatures of my mother with her gorgeously chubby and curvy script, cleanly spelling out her name or of my sister Helen, whose linear, elegant, black piano-key-esque autograph almost echoes written music on white paper.

But I, the only other female in our family, have an unfeminine wipe of a signature: I start my first name, penning its capital C as coming out of the gate like some sort of tidal wave rising over the spewed-out snake of its subsequent letters, the whole word projectiled out, like old used beer. Other than the screaming C, the first letter, all the other characters in my first name aren’t even close to being recognizable as actual letters.

I open my last name with a huge whirl of an M, and then end with the cushion I create out of the Y’s under-loop, it being the very last letter of my name. In between these two curlicues, these two statement letters M and Y, like as had been with my first name, there is just a mess of a field, no comprehensible letters, instead an inky flat plane.

I’m good at framing, as I try to do with my photos, so my signature has a commanding beginning, a distinct middle and a rolled-up end. You could sit on my signature’s end, that loop, it’s solid, final and large.

My signature is three points: the first letter C, then that M followed by the Y. More like a drawing, three points, not writing. Three defining pops, three distinguishable forms.  The rest is road, flat ink, not distinguishable, not legible.

“No one can tell what your name is.” My mother squints when she sees me sign anything.

“Ugh, I’m aware you feel that way, Mom. But my name is already printed on the card, so they can tell my name.”

Because this,” I continue, pointing to the signature, while my quick glance confirms what I’ve written still looks like a scritchy map, “This is how I write my name and this is what it’s always looked like, Mom, for years.  For years.  It’s not going to change.”

My indecipherable signature is certainly consistent, so if you are the cashier who’s checking to see if what I’ve scrawled on the receipt matches what’s been inked on the back of my Amazon Points Visa Card, you’ll see it’s got to be me who signed both. My signature may be a mess, but it’s a unique and consistent mess and those three loops are hard to replicate.

And isn’t that really the most important part of a signature, most specifically as a means of identification, like a fingerprint: doesn’t it all come down to consistency? The name of the game must be regularity of product execution: your signature must always look the same every time you scratch it out. And mine always does look the same: every time I wrist out my autograph, my hand always swings out those same arcs, knowing those same sweeps: the camber never loses any humps. Even those practiced autographs for my SAG card, soon shredded, were still consistent, still had those main characteristics.

The electronic signature at the grocery check-out seems especially sensitive to these characteristics, those loops; I smash and splatter the plastic pen in circles against the blue screen after having said “credit” to the sweet pea who’s packing my bags at the Food Bazaar; I swirl out my signature.

No electronic screen has ever had any problem with my signature I keep meaning to tell my mother.

 

HOUSE OF DVF on E! is not to be missed simply because of Madame Diller herself, the shining, leeeeeeegendary Diane Von Furstenberg.

Miss DVF has spent decades not just designing dresses, hunnay, but also teaching my gender how to make it all look easy; when I was 12, I devoured the first edition of her 1976 bestseller The Book of Beauty, which I copped from the Book of the Month Club; at the time, I was shapeless, inflamed but very hopeful.  She offered hints on eating well, managing stress, taking off makeup, putting it back on.  I’ve been acquainted with all that is Furstenbergilicousness since back in the day, girl.

And Miss Diana alone is enough for me to watch this show: she enters a room like liquid gold, a contented grin never far from her wide-eyed and high-cheekboned kind face; her honeyed skin stretches her long neck and smooth shoulders, she is more dancer than grandma, always wearing a dress.

Easy to watch.