Once upon a time–before Instagram and a decent camera on my phone, basically–I used to list here what I cooked. For this I was rightfully mocked, but today I feel a huge urge to resurrect the ritual. Because it was the kind of quiet November Monday that only could be brightened by indoor activities, and in the absence of a lover (the recent absence, no less) I dove into my book again–finally finally!– and then poured a glass of red and cooked so beautifully–pork roasted with smoked salt, chili pepper, hot paprika, and garlic; brussels sprouts roasted with thyme and more garlic– that I would fall in love with myself were I not already hopelessly hitched to this wagon. As I stirred and sliced and chopped, I thought of what a friend once said to me while I was learning to fuck and eat with relish. “Instant sex will never be better than the kind you have to peel and cook.” Oh, how we make do on these long cold nights.
This is a blunt story–which of mine are not?– and it probably deserves to live somewhere besides a blog post. But as is so often the case, I will begin writing it to the audience that exists in my head when I write here–namely, sensitive, smart, and roughly my generation, at least psychospiritually.
Four years ago I began a battle to establish my apartment’s rent stabilization. I’d moved into the building in 2002, a few months after September 11 had dashed my dreams of being a wife and a mother (a separate post; a separate book, really). There was a markedly different group of tenants because back then third stop on the L Train did not mean hipster. It meant working-class families of mostly Italian, Dominican, and Puerto Rican descent. I was the only woman on the block living alone–definitely the only blond wannabe writer from Boston. Mostly I got along with everyone–oh, there was the time I got in a fight with a mafia princess over a parking space and her father came after me with a baseball bat screaming YOU FKING WHORE-but having grown up in Newton’s The Lake I knew how to hold my ground. Sort of. Continue Reading →
My grandmother Alice was an exceptional woman. Though she received very little formal education she was an autodidact par excellence and well-versed on topics ranging from train engineering to transcendentalism. But what I loved most about her was her great equanimity. Though she lived most of her life in an especially intolerant corner of Massachusetts and died in the Reagan 1980s, she was brilliantly open-hearted when it came to matters of race, sexuality, religion, gender, class. Her only true bias was against Presbytarians, whom, for whatever reason, she found ridiculous. When I’d ask about that, she’d shrug. “Everyone has a bias,” she’d say, “and that’s mine.” Well, I’ll be super super honest. When it come to dating, my only true bias is against vegans. As far as I’m concerned, a romantic connection that works on many levels is so rare that it’s ridiculous to rule anyone out on the basis of gender or age (within the realm of decency) or race or class or physical type.* But I will never date a vegan again. Life is too short to maw impossible burgers when there’s sirloin to be had.
*I have my preferences, but that’s for a different post.