Monday, April 21, 2008

One month

I no longer think about her every moment. I no longer walk around in a daze. I no longer look like a train wreck. But....the world is moving on around me and I need to stop.

30 years. 30 years of hugs, unconditional love, kisses, affection. I no longer think of her every day like I used to. Just images here and there. Her smile. Her upcountry accent. Her fingers, bent by men who had no right to call themselves men. Her cooking. Her blue eyes. Her presence. Her apartment. Her little metal box which was inscribed "from the "night school" of survivors, 1949." I don't think about those last months except for one moment: When she was laying in bed and talking. She hardly ever talked about the camps or the deportation. But that day, she did. She told me how, in the village where she was born and lived her whole life, they showed up and rounded up all the Jews. Put them on the trains. And as the Jews were prodded with machine guns, their so-called neighbors and friends gathered around on both sides and cheered. They threw rotten eggs. They cackled. And then she looked at me, raised a finger and said "But I don't hate them. And I don't hate Christians." Because that's who she was.

And the kids she spent her life doting on got together with their dipshit father and decided to rob her blind as she lay dying. Classy huh?

One month. I need that month so I can go away. So I can be in a place where no one else is. So I can cry and scream and throw things. So I can get all that out of my system and then lay back, close my eyes and dream of her.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I hate money

One time I saw this guy on the upper west side of manhattan. He had on a stained blue coat. A long, dirty, white beard billowed around him as he pushed a shopping cart, laden with garbage bags. And as I saw him, it hit me that I could be that guy.

I didn't know him. I didn't know if he drank, or did drugs, or was mentally ill. Or if he simply gave up on modern society. But if he did- I can understand.

My grandmother, after a lifetime of savings (and reparations for the Holocaust) scrimped together somewhere around thirty thousand dollars- a fortune in eastern Europe. She had visions of diving it equally between her two daughters and three grandsons. It was not to be. Her daughter died of cancer, leaving behind a drunken fool of a widower, a semi-literate anti-Semite whom I once considered beating to a pulp after he told my grandmother that Hitler didn't do enough. He helped raise one son who is a functional alcoholic and another who is blessedly oblivious to his surroundings. And together, they decided to steal every last cent as she lay on her deathbed.

I don't want to be like the guy with the shopping cart. But honestly, I can understand where he might be coming from. We are all mercenaries. Relationships are usually an exchange. Here, if someone speaks to me, chances are better than 2:1 that they want something. Once, when I was talking on gmail messenger, my father asked me "How much time do you spend on that and what do you get out of it?" I don't blame him. It's what's expected.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yes, yes, but tell me something I didn't know

Why Beautiful Women Marry Less Attractive Men

Jeanna Bryner
LiveScience Staff Writer

Choice quote: "Men are very sensitive to women's attractiveness. Women seem to be sensitive to men's height and salary," said Ariely, who was not involved in the recent study."


Add to that the pearl of wisdom imparted by a divorced lawyer in Lake Charles ("women want you to be mean to them") and you got the makings of true marital bliss.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Next stop: Minneapolis

The asiatown express, barrelling away on rickety tracks towards a hazy doctorate has taken a few detours lately. When invited to speak at a conference in Madison, Wisconsin, the minor matter of cost was neglected. Just as well since Madison does not, as I had already mentioned, draw me in. Still, so much of this business is about making connections and being noticed that I am constantly looking for new opportunities. Well that and I'm a ham. My next projected stop, well outside of the Borscht Belt, is (probably gobbobly) Minneapolis. I've never been there but next to Chicago it's probably the biggest city in the midwest and sounds like a nice time. The mall of America is there and y'all know how incredibly greedy and materialistic I am.

Speaking of being greedy and materialistic, I squeezed 300 bucks from the SGA for this noble cause, but paypal buttons are your friend. Really.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

It's official: We're all dogs looking for a bone

I went clubbing last night. This was at the invitation of a friend, a construction worker from the Bahamas. Laffy's swankiest (ahem) nightspot is a lounge on the edge of downtown called KaBoom or KaBamBa or some such thing. The cover was six bucks- more than the five that others charge because it's swanky, right?

I had on a white dress shirt and black pants (had to sit through a hemorrhoid-inducing presentation that day on how people should actually talk to other people and how we can help them do this: only in America can someone parlay that advice into a career) so I was, yanno, swanky. My hair was at its Jewfroiest. And yes, that's an asiatown word. Anyhoo, after entering, I got a text that my friend was upstairs. He was sitting in the corner, drinking. Then he wandered to another corner and drank some more. A lass came by with vials of stuff and asked if I wanted any which inspired my wittiest line of the night "No, but I'll have you if you'd like." My comic material exhausted, I caught up with Bahamarama and his friends who were trying to talk to four black girls. Trying to talk to someone is of course no easy task. I had seen warmer ice cubes. (Can ice cubes be described as hot?) Gamely, I tried my sweet-innocent thingie but these ladies were not the sort I imagined who would like clever lines. They were the sort who were hot, knew they were hot and wanted to spend the night rejecting others as a way of flaunting the power of their hotness. Prince could have pulled up in a little red corvette and they would have ignored him on principle. Eventually, after much sighing and eye rolling, they left in a stream of ice water. As we speak, they are likely complaining that all men are dogs.

Which is sort of true. As a rule, I never go out to a club or bar or whatever with women on my mind. The more you push for something the less likely you are to get it so I try to go out dreaming of swanky tiles and flashy lights. Still, the theory goes, you got some boys, you got some girls, you got a recipe for a good time. What you got, at least in this town, is a bunch of girls dancing with each other and comparing purses as boys sullenly stand by and drink. i decided to jump into the fray and join maybe three other guys on the dancefloor. Asiatown on the dancefloor is NOT a pretty sight. Nevertheless, i had a nice enough time until I tried my "game" (I don't actually have one- how about being myself? Is that a game?) and a lass, whom I have known for 45 seconds, asked me how I would like to go shoe shopping with her.


After about an hour and a half, I decided that the marathon non communication was enough for the night. As I texted Bahama this he dropped the following wisdom:

"Why so early"
"Tired of rejection"
"Me too but its part of the game"

Asiatown don't play. Afterwards, I went home and called my godfather who reacted to the shoe shopping offer by saying that she was worse than a hooker. True. At least with a hooker you know what you're getting into. Not that I would know mind you. So anyway, Asiatown went. Asiatown saw. Asiatown learned again about something for something. Asiatown took his marbles and went home. Asiatown is darned proud.

Asiatown has enough shoes.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Paying respects

My aunt died last year and my grandmother died last month. Since they (and I) are Jewish and my grandmother was religious (she sent me a book of illustrated bibles right away after Communism ended) I want to pay my respects to both. When in New York, I usually go to the Carlebach Shul on W. 79th so when I manage to get there I'll be able to do so and ask the Rabbi say Kiddush. It's not closure (there is nothing like that) but it's...something I guess. Remember the way they may want to be remembered. And my Lady friend, who has been surprising me in all sorts of wonderful ways over the past 15 months has agreed to be there with me. She's not Jewish but I don't care. She means a lot and it's something I have to do. I'm glad she agreed to share in it.