Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I have loved you for so long

You are beautiful and powerful, strong and righteous.

But, Wonder Woman, I have to be honest with you... I may have a new crush.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In Which I Submit some Strongly Worded Letters

Dear Weather.com,
I know I live in a place that is too cold when I get excited about a 40 degree day that may (or may not) happen in two to three days.
Also, what is up with the new layout? Different is bad; we fear change.

Balls on you, weather.com. Balls, I say.
A Misplaced Florida Cracker

Dear 30 Rock,
I know I am late to this game, but is there an episode of your show in which Alec Baldwin is not laugh-out-loud delicious? If there is, I don't want to know about it.

Dear Students-from-Last-Semester-who-are-Concerned-about-their-Final-Grades:
I wish that you had thought about this during the fall/early winter. Checking on your grades, visiting office hours, completing assignments--these are just some suggestions I have for your next few years in college. Sometimes, preemptive strikes are best.
Dr. James

Dear Future Landlords,
I hope you are not as bat-shit crazy as my current landlords. It will make for less exciting stories, I know, but I am willing to make that sacrifice, if you are.
A Tenant with Too Many Books

Dear Schnapps,
This place just isn't the same without you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Poetry Night at the McGurkens, Part One

It's the beginning of the decade, and I'm moving again. Sigh. I have too many books. And too many shoes. And too many martini glasses. Wait, wait. Scratch that--there is no such thing as too many martini glasses. Who knows when a thirsty visitor might stop by, desperate for a cold, tall libation? I was raised right, after all. I am, despite all efforts to the contrary, indomitably hospitable.

I have not written consistently in this blog for a while now--it was a busy semester. But I miss writing. So I am going to start again. It might not be in this blog, I'm sorry to say. I am working on a couple of projects right now that deserve some attention. But today, I am going to tell you a story, seeing as how it's the new decade and all.

Poetry Night at the McGurkens*

This tale begins with a traumatic move and ends with a mysterious disappearance. In April of 2009, I moved from a comfortable, one-bedroom apartment in Queens to another comfortable one-bedroom apartment in Queens. But here's the twist: this one was already occupied (inside and out).

My then-roommate and I were trying to save money. Turns out there are more important things than cash--like being friends with someone and not living on top of them. And not moving into a house occupied by landlords from space. Today, I am going to tell you about the landlords. I will save the roommate drama for another post (hope, hope).

Character DevelopmentThere are (I think) three to four people living in the apartment above my head.

The Father: I write the rent check to The Patriarch of the family. He is an old, retired Irish NY cop, and he looks a bit like this:
But whiter and with more watery eyes.

The Matriarch: The wife is small and round and has a voice like the trolls from Fraggle Rock. Also. She has been known to wear t-shirts that say "Alpha Bitch."

Peter: He is tall, like his father. And super loud like his mother. He smokes many different kinds of things--on the porch, of course, and works odd jobs around the neighborhood. Once, he was kicked out of our local watering hole for (a) being a douche and (b) carrying some sort of knife. Fun guy. Sometimes, he knocks on my door and asks for $20.

Moist Man: He is rumored to be a soon-to-be-ex-husband of one of the McGurkens' daughters. He is perpetually damp. Even in the winter--which can't be good for his health and might explain the monstrous cough from which he suffers. He lives in the basement of the house and in a brown van that is parked on the street. It seems to be some sort of time-share arrangement.

In the summer, they sit on the porch (right in front of my bedroom windows), screaming at each other and any poor sod who happens to wander by. They seem to have two levels of volume--very loud and 10 decibels above pain. They are very unkind to one another--abrasive, short, and abusive, but they love animals and have a menagerie of sorts. At times, The Patriarch walks up to three dogs at a time--allowing them to poop freely on other people's lawns.

The Matriarch has serious mobility problems. She rides around the neighborhood on one of those wheel-chair scooters with a red flag streaming from the back, and she is always eating Tums, which lend her an air of frothing-at-the-mouth rabidity. Her mobility issues are part of the reason for my upcoming move, but I will get to that in the next installment of Poetry Night at the McGurkens: The Case of the Unhoused Dentures.

*Names have been changed to protect the demented/innocent.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Remembering Accidentals

In 1996, I was drinking buttery nipples and Miller Lite (I know!) with some friends from school when one of them said to me, "Hey, James! Do you want a cat?" I was deliciously tipsy and feeling magnanimous, so I said, "Sure."

The next day, I met this scrawny, ugly, angry little thing that was going to be moving in with me. Rob, Amanda, Lisa, and I spent some time discussing the name of this mangy animal--I wanted to call her Buttery Nipple, in honor of our original coming-together, but we thought that might be awkward. So we settled on Schnapps.

Over the last thirteen years, Schnapps and I got close. And I mean, Super Ridiculous close. I wanted her to be an outside cat, but she decided that would not work. I thought she should not attack my visiting friends and family. She, however, was a fan of the secret-ninja-hand-nibble, and she scared the dickens out of poor Ed many times.

She moved with me to several cities in North Carolina and several apartments in Austin, Texas. She saw me through three different degrees, numerous writing panics, illnesses, disappearances, and heartaches. I dragged her into houses filled with dogs (whose main idea of entertainment involved biting her on the face and flinging her across the linoleum tile), out of a marriage filled with crushing desperation and expectation, and after the hope of a New Start in a Big New City.

Last weekend, she disappeared. And she has not come back. Pretty soon, I will be moving again, and I will have to do something with her little food bowl. Right now, though, I'm going to leave it alone for a little while longer.

She is the most beautiful cat I have ever seen, my favorite familiar, and one of the best accidental companions I have ever had. I will miss her.