Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why death I think is no parenthesis

I walked past a dead girl today.

I don't actually know if she was dead. But she lay unmoving with eyes closed as paramedics held a yellow plastic sheet above her to protect her from the rain. They lifted an orange board from the ambulance, but other than that showed no particular sense of urgency. No one checked vitals or performed CPR. The leather bag still looped on her shoulder showed that she, like me, had been on her way to work. She was only one block from the metro.

The street was closed to cars, but pedestrians were still free to move between points A and B on the sidewalks to either side. As I neared, I strained my neck hard in the opposite direction at first in a conspicuous display of nonchalance and attempted privacy-giving. I held out as long as I could but finally, like anyone, I had to look. I was almost relieved. There was a heap on the ground, that was all; a pile of clothing. Someone had lost their laundry in the street. But then it was a person. Then it was a female person, a woman, with brown curly hair and a leather bag. I continued walking and passed a woman with two small skipping children traveling the opposite direction on the sidewalk, on their way to school, somewhere between points A and B. I wanted to say, you might not want to go that way, it is not for children to see. But then again there was no blood, no gore; just a woman lying strangely crumpled in the street. My tongue failed me in the end and I said nothing, and who was I to decide, anyway, what other people's children may or may not see?

I don't know what happened to that woman minutes before I got there. If she collapsed or was hit, if she lived or died. It's not the first time I've been a reluctant witness to human tragedy from the relative non-safety of a city sidewalk. As always it leaves me shaken, questioning, and I wonder if I am more afraid of life than of death. Between points A and B there is so much little much little much little time to fill.  

And then it's one step off of the sidewalk and then...           

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why my blogging future depends on you

I hope you all didn't think that last post was my swan song to blogging or anything. You know I can't quit you. Especially not now when I need your heeeelllllllp, Internet, I need heeeeeeeeeeeee (*breathes*) eeeeellllllllp!

Ahem. I mean, I need your advice, you tech-savvy, intelligent people of the Internet, you. So. Over the course of the last three and a half years, my laptop has been not-so-slowly falling apart, piece by cheapo piece. First, the sound card abruptly burnt out, which I was able to fix by purchasing an external sound card and plugging speakers into it. The ethernet port doesn't work, which, I figured, who cares, I'll just use wireless, right? Then last weekend my wireless suddenly stopped working. Rendering me...Internetless. (I'll hold for gasps of horror.) (If I hadn't recently invested in a smart phone I might actually have died.) Best Buy guy's diagnosis: the wireless card was fried, but I could stop-gap it by purchasing (yes) an external wireless adapter. So, now I have an external sound card plugged into one USB port and an external wireless adapter plugged into another USB port, and given that the last USB port (guess what) doesn't work, I am running out of USB ports. Also, given the chunkiness of both of these plug-ins, they won't fit side-by-side, and they also won't fit in the other port while the power cord is plugged in, and my computer only has about 45 minutes of juice once it's unplugged, which means I can have either sound and power, or Internet and sound, get the idea. As I'm sure you can imagine, this is severely cramping my style. 

Clearly, it is time for a new laptop. So my question for you, Internet, is what the hell kind of laptop should I get? Obviously, due to all of the above, I will never get another HP. I will also not get a Mac, because, you know, I am not made of money. What can I get in the six-ish hundred range that is well-built and reliable (and pretty) and will not crap out on me the second the warranty runs out?

Leave your helpful piece of advice in the comments and you could find yourself the winner of a lovely laptop-shaped paperweight! Don't delay, act today!           

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why this blog is about to get all kinds of boring

"I have a confession to make," he said over dinner. "I've read your blog."

I had known this was a possibility ever since I had accidentally revealed my secret blogging identity to his friends a few weeks earlier in a moment of drunken provocation. (The first rule of secret blog is you do not talk about secret blog! Duh!) Still though, I had hoped that this moment would come later rather than sooner.

"How much have you read?" I asked him, stricken. 

"Enough to know that you always make that face when you find out that someone has read your blog."

He said that, while he thoroughly enjoyed reading it, both he and his friend agreed that in order to give me the space to do what it is that I do here, they wouldn't be doing any further reading. Nevertheless, I am sure you can understand my need to proceed blogging with caution from this point onward. Suffice it to say, I kissed a boy (and I liked it...)

And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why I ♥ Valentine's Day parties

Internet, last weekend I did something I had never in my adult life done before. 

I threw a party.

I know! Thirty-one years old and this was my very first time playing hostess. I'm pretty sure the last party I was involved in as anything other than guest was my 18th birthday party, and really, other than inviting all of my friends and acquaintances, I had very little to do with the hosting or planning of that event. You see, a long time ago in the twentieth century, in a land not so very far away, some friends of my parents graciously let me hold my birthday party on their rambling estate. They had an algae-green pool, volleyball nets, a ramshackle old barn with basketball hoops and rusty wheelchairs, a garage with a ping pong table, boom box and board games, and a musty cellar with a pool table, tiny old television, and a first-edition Atari, which was so retro it was just at the point of becoming cool again (plus, other people's toys are always more fun than your own). These grandparent-aged gentle-people then graciously retired to their own quarters, saying, "You don't want to hang out with the old folks." (Even though we totally would have hung out with the old folks.) Basically it was the best party ever. My first ever grown-up party would have a lot to live up to. 

But, with Valentine's Day providing a convenient excuse to deck my walls in streamers and hearts, and my sister and her friend acting as handy little helpers, my apartment was transformed into a pink and red wonderland:   

Do not dismay, for there are three more walls to my apartment, and lo, they were all covered in foam hearts. It was truly a sight to behold.

To refresh us, I made champagne punch, spinach and artichoke dip, meatballs, and gougèresAnd? My good friend Erin made an appearance, the only guest in attendance who was also present at my 18th birthday party, all those years ago. That makes me happy. (You should definitely click on that link, by the way, if you want to reminisce about one of my wildest experiences, and which, depending on your wildness threshold is not actually that wild, which if you are new to this blog should tell you something my relative level of (non)wildness.) 

Also making me happy?  

What's that, you ask? A mallard? Or should I say...a decorative wooden water fowl??? It may not be a swan, but it sure did crack me up. And to think I was worried about revealing my secret blogging identity to my neighbors. (Thanks for the housewarming gift, neighbors!)  

Hope your Valentine's Day was just ducky, Internet.     

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why people who live in glass houses...should really invest in bullet-proof glass

Don't deal drugs, kids. Or live near people who do.
I woke up this morning unsure if I was hearing knocking on my front door, and still half asleep, was not entirely motivated to find out. A little while later I got up, showered, and checked my email. There was one from my neighbor, checking in to make sure I was still alive (I'm paraphrasing) after last night's "incident." I was unaware of an incident, but upon venturing out of my apartment found the building's glass front door had been shattered and a bullet hole shot clean through the center. The corresponding bullet had lodged in the wall across the lobby mere feet from my own front door. 

My parents? Are scheduled to arrive for a visit tomorrow. Their timing, as usual, is impeccable. It's like they have a nose for this kind of thing. I'm sure they'll be totally calm and understanding about it, if by "calm" you mean "the opposite of calm" and by "understanding" you mean "they will never, ever let me hear the end of it."

"You're going to get shot," my dad dourly predicted last summer in an effort to dissuade me from moving to the city. So you can see why it is of the utmost importance that they never, ever find out about this. Good lord. I need excuses, people. Do I let them come and try to explain it away, somehow? My friend Stephen says to tell them it's from a baseball. (A baseball?) Do I suddenly become too sick for a visit? My sister says no, they are really looking forward to coming, and it will be fine. Fine, she says! You don't give them enough credit, she says! (I know what's really going on here, which is that she wants the house to herself for a few hours, and so I don't know if she can be trusted.)

Internet, what would you do?