6 July 2007...11:05 am

Maintenance

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What I have been missing.

I left for Dutchess County on Monday night, arguably as part of a futile exercise to re-learn this country, but in reality not that at all.  It was dark when we arrived, so I didn’t see the heavy, damp branches hanging over the front door or the new pool lining or Elvis’s Prius with the mouse nest in the engine until the next morning.  I forgot the dress I’d been intending to wear for the July 3rd party, but said party was at a country club and Jean told me that her mother had said “preppies disapprove of over-dressing.”

And then there was the party, there were soft puppies and tough, smelly big dogs, Nina Simone and tall frosty can of Mets label (?) Budweiser and, late last night just before the storm hit, a fat trout hanging off the end of Wyndham’s fishing pole.

Max and Jean and I left acutely early this morning, and as we were bearing down on Manhattan, everything looked enormous.  I yelped about Mary’s exit in Riverdale but then just blinked at the Harlem River and Inwood and even the apartments that line the Palisades, for pete’s sake, because even they were stunning.  The cathedral near Barnard and a cupola-ed mausoleum that I’d never even noticed before were like arcane treasures hidden among the Upper West Side woods.  We gaped up at the Trump buildings and Jean said “it’s like they built an entire city while we were gone.”

We parked on Jane Street and I walked Max east to the 8th Avenue L stop.  I’d been awake since 5:15 drinking really tender, country coffee, and was feeling desperate for a bathroom.  Fortunately, I have committed to memory a large percentage of the five boroughs’ Starsbuck for precisely that reason.  I crossed 7th and walked past a cluster of unaccountably chic middle schoolers slurping down coffee & cream, took up a post in line behind a genial-enough looking man, and I waited.The thing about allowing ones urinary tract to become completely dependent on Starsbuck is that homeless folks and early morning drunkards have usually done that, too.  Genial-enough and I were motionless.

I squinted at the iBook G4 screen in front of me.  A tired-eyed woman in sweatpants and a fat charm bracelet was typing like I do, in furious, clattering bursts that are interrupted by periods of silence, eye rubbing and hair twirling.  When I was in Dutchess County with the people who I love, it was unnecessary and irrelevant to think about (a) chick lit or (b) whether I am, in fact, smarter than just about everyone around.  That stopped being the case at approximately 8:14 this morning.

The cursor blinked, and sweatpants pressed backspace.  She seemed to have a good, Salinger-esque page down, but the spelling, I guess, was tricky.  She thought about it.…high maintenance ence… The eternal question!  To be high maintenance or high maintenence?? But really, it shouldn’t have been too much of a problem.  The plot was undoubtedly solid, and the main character seemed consistent.  I would even hazard a guess that it was an autobiographical piece.The literary crescendo came at the end of the document, the declamatory dialogue for which every other line had been mere preparation: “I am not a stupid girl.  I AM NOT A STUPID GIRL.”

I waited several more minutes and the bathroom remained unvacated.  But as I walked back onto the street, my bladder and bowels felt better, somehow.  I was back.  Achy, incredulous, and maybe just beginning to feel hungover in the hot morning sun.

1 Comment

  • blowupyourtv

    ..that was highly enjoyable. I love your blog like a homeless person loves a Starsbuck bathroom.


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