Of Course I’m Green, I’m Growing*

Photo of me a sloppy second because I ate the salad pasta too quickly to capture it.

You can tell I’m at an impasse with my book because I’m writing to you my cooking and colors have gotten downright baroque, especially while I’m upstate, where the greens are so fresh they’re muddy. Any drive I take entails my pulling off the road to fetch fresh eggs and sun-warmed strawberries from a farmstand, treasures like a chartreuse tee and sky-blue bowl from a yard sale. So, uh, dinner tonight? What I call salad pasta–a bowl of penne and fresh herb pesto topped with peppery greens dressed with horseradish and ginger vinegar and chopped in with mint, chives, parsley, garlic scapes, strawberries (why not?) and, oy vey ist mir, smoked trout. It was pretty good but then again only strong flavors are registering to my still-sinusy sinuses. Ah, and my costume? The lady wore green–a kelly-green shawl K ferried back from his overseas adventure wrapped around a lime sarong from a street fair. As I said: baroque. But that’s the beauty of living and working alone. If you’re lucky, you can tailor to your exact specifications, which matter even when they don’t because attention is love, and love is how we grow. Really, it’s the only way.

*and other lost Erma Bombeck titles.

Schmucks of the Universe (Parenthetically Speaking)

Exhibit A: Gonzo spacecrone neckgear

So I’ve been having one of Those Weeks (years, but who’s counting?). Lots of luck but not all of it good. To wit, this week I am in Hudson (good) staying with Grace and Daisy the Dog (good) but still have this cruddy summer cold (bad).

Today I went out for sick-lady supplies and stopped at Salvation Army because the one up here is le bomb (good). In there for two dollars I find this absolutely gonzo gorgeous necklace–like, it looks like decorative weaponry for a space crone superheroine (good). I walk out on cloud 9 but as soon as I turn on my car the CHECK ENGINE light starts flashing and Minerva the Wonder Hyundai starts shaking (bad). God’ll get you for that, Walter, I thought, subbing in “vanity” for “Walter” (Maude reference) and nodding at the Legend (who loved that phrase). I run into the tire store down the road to ask where I should bring my car and instead one of the young fellas working there plugs a diagnostic tool into my car and announces (I shit you not), “Not all your cylinders are firing.” (All hail this metaphor called 2019 Lisa.)

So he tells me to go buy sparkplugs around the corner and that he’ll fix my car when he’s done his J-O-B (good). I fetch the gear, leaf through a detective novel, realize they sold me the wrong gear (bad), go back to exchange it, realize I left my glasses at the shop counter (bad), go back again to find the manager wielding them with a smile (good), and talk to my therapist (I am a New Yorker/hear me whine). When he finishes his shift this kind young person replaces all my sparkplugs and, upon assessing that two coils are also busted, walks us over

Exhibit B: In addition to finding broken sparkplugs and coils beneath my car hood this new friend found a hatched egg. NATURE WINS.

to his buddy’s store where, as many jokes are exchanged and a tiny child dances in a tee shirt reading MY FAVORITE COLOR IS RAINBOW, we get the coils at cost (not retail price, good) and so by now I’ve gotten to know the staff at three autobody stores in Hudson and they’re all lovely dudes, gruff with sweet eyes, like the guys I knew growing up in the Lake. And then, well, he fixed my car. For free. Afterward I got us dinner and now we’re friends. I’m not using his name here because everyone might want him to fix their car for free and I worry he’s so nice he’d do it. But my point and I did have one (to quote mid-career Ellen Degeneris) is that my luck ended up being GOOOD. On the other hand, I’m starting to think: “Luck, schmuck.” As in: This isn’t luck, this is life, and we’re all in it together.

Sox and the City, Baseball Caps and the Shitty

Kristen Schiele, 2019

As soon I finished my block of intuition readings yesterday, my immune system 100 percent hit the wall. My clients were lovely, but with Mercury in Cancer during Gemini season, people are projecting their big emotions rather rather than filtering them. You can’t walk down the street without tripping over a weepy, explosive confrontation. The effect is toxic.

Word to the wise: All projection but astral projection is ill-advised. Eh, film projection is all right, too.

Being sick this time of year is miserable. It’s also discombobulating, because these should be halcyon days. NYC has so few blocks of decent weather that when they arrive you want to call in happy to every obligation hanging over your head. Instead all I’ve been able to do on this sunny, clear Sunday is writhe on my bed, feverish and clogged up. Oy vey, I moan.

Question: When a writer’s whining in her apartment and no one’s there to hear it, is she really whining? Answer: Oy vey, yes.

And sola dwellers must fend for themselves, no matter how they’re ailing. So this morning I put on a schmata–no point in combing my hair–and hobbled down to Whole Foods for the sort of provisions that might miraculously restore my health, or at least not worsen it. Usually I stave off my Whole Paycheck crabbiness with good deals on free-range chicken (and Fairway). But the number of white guys in baseball caps and expensive footgear who bumped into me because they were fiddling with their phones while wandering up the aisle– not looking up, not soldiering bags, JUST LETTING THE LITTLE WOMEN BY THEIR SIDES DO THE ACTUAL FORAGING–was simply mind-boggling. Okay, the number was three but, oy vey, that’s a lot given that it was only 8 am and it’s 2019. Here they were, taking up space but in no way interacting with it, let alone improving it.

The metaphor loomed.

Here’s the thing. I’ve lived in Williamsburg off and on since the 1990s, and while that may mean “entitled hipster” to you, for long-time residents it means community and hustle. Certainly the one thing it’s never meant in all its generations of immigration and creative gentrification is dumb dickocracy.

Until now.

So did any of these forever frat boys excuse themselves when they bumped into me? No, they looked up annoyed, as in WHO DIDN’T GET OUT OF MY WAY? Maybe if I’d been feeling stronger I would given them the ole Rosmaniac pushback but today their ugly arrogance just made me sad– as did the plastic-encased cut flowers and the prohibitively expensive organic food and the older woman I spotted in the dairy aisle carefully counting the change in her purse.

Part of me thought, why is she shopping here if she’s so strapped? Then I remembered you could say the same of me and maybe she also needed healthy food without venturing out of the neighborhood. So I tuned into her, and was immediately stuck between her rock and hard place, walls closing in on all sides like I was in the Star Wars garbage compactor.

Oh, don’t mind me. I’m feeling everything and everybody–an occupational hazard when my defenses are down–and the truth is few of us are having a very good time even though it’s the prettiest spring I can remember. Our world isn’t just changing. t’s crashing down, and the saddest part is the rude white dudes unapologetically running everyone down in their lane.

I write all this and then remember the ten episodes of The L Word I watched in the last 24 hours. (What can I say? It’s Sox and the City for this sickie.) Though the series only ended 10 years ago, the queer community has come a long way, baby. I pray someday soon those lane-crashers will be forced to catch up.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy