If you've ever fantasized about cursing a mug of hot tea for not being sufficiently caffeinated to keep you productively awake at your desk on a cold winter afternoon in Manhattan, shoving yourself away from that desk with enough force to swivel your chair, and then flopping onto your bed-like sofa, perchance to nap, perhaps with a cat, while dressed in squishy plush pink, black, and white Hello Kitty pajama bottoms and a violet chenille sweater "tipped" with chartreuse that you've had for maybe 20 years, today is your lucky day to live vicariously though a real live New Yorker.
Wake me when I should give a flying fuck or fig leaf about how Justin Bieber was Photoshopped in the Calvin Klein underwear ads to look more beefy and "hung" than he really is, even though (despite being a colossal jackass and brat) his body looks terrific as it is, and every female model or celebrity from here to eternity in any ad anywhere for the past 14 titzillion years hasn't been airbrushed, color-corrected, manipulated, squished, elongated, erased, slimmed-down, plumped-up, and Photoshopped to the point where, when confronted with an image of them unadulterated, we think, "Girl needs some work."
A decade ago I lived in a "Classic 6" in a posh doorman building a bit higher on the Upper West Side. Before my then-boyfriend and I moved in, as I was getting out of the chauffeured car with my real estate agent, I spied Richard Dreyfuss entering the building. Turned out he lived there, which delighted me to no end. I also learned that Judy Collins lived there. Can you believe that not once did I think of ringing her bell, waiting for her to say, "Who is it?" and then responding, "The clowns. Should I send them in?"
Straight out of a Nora Ephron movie, it is, the way I meet you in the laundromat, and the way you run home and bring me warm homemade cornbread in between stages of the laundry process, the way I surprise you by showing up at the museum where you're leading a tour and you look over and smile at me like we already share cute secrets, the way you invite me for dinner and you have this groovy apartment with all sorts of artifacts and books and all the food you've made is really good, and oh, that cake.
I suppose even your attempt to kiss me as I was on my way out was very Nora Ephron. Billy Crystal would have been impressed with the awkward hug that morphed into an even more awkward attempt at a kiss, which I immediately rebuffed. And then an email exchange where I reiterated my lack of interest "that way", your pretending that was okay, and me avoiding the laundromat on Sundays at all costs, even hand-washing clothes at home instead. And me cursing you for your insistence on ignoring the washer/dryer in your apartment in favor of the laundromat.
* * *
Time passes, and we email a bit. In a rare magnanimous mood, I accept his invitation to a restaurant. I make sure he knows it's not a date, but he still swings by to pick me up, arriving in an oversized sweater that he later tells me his mother made for him a million years ago, which I find endearing in spite of myself. After dinner, he tries to hold my hand, I remind him I'm not interested (hey, chump, I even paid my own way), and I cannot get home quickly enough. What would Meg Ryan do?
Meg Ryan probably would've padded around her multi-room apartment in adorable man-style pajamas, quietly cursing the jerk's audacity before getting into a big Anthropologie-outfitted bed along with a dog who took up more than his side of it. Maybe she would have written the would-be loser Lothario a scathing email and saved it in her drafts folder and deleted it the next morning. But I'm not Meg Ryan, so I wrote that email and sent it immediately. And he responded in a way that would only be found in the deleted scenes on the DVD. Nora Ephron be damned.
Dearest Gentlewoman on the Uptown 3:
Those two slovenly, slouchy, snickering trash-talking females (I refuse to call them "women"), old enough to be the mothers of any grandchildren you may have, who harangued you when you politely took a seat next to one of them, who said to keep your fat ass off of them, to not sit your old ass on their laps, and who continued to badger you, have no idea how lucky they were that you gave it back calmly and firmly when they deserved fists in their faces that would have silenced them for good.
When you said, in a voice reminiscent of Maya Angelou, "If I'm old, as you said I am, don't you think I deserve respect?" you deserved an Emmy, a Tony, an Oscar, and a People's Choice Award.
When you rose to leave at Times Square, I knew I had leave too even though that wasn't my stop. I had to dash after you, tap you on the shoulder, and tell you you're my hero and gab with you for a while.
The man accompanying you said I just made your day. And ohhh, you made mine.
Yeah,yeah, yeah, Happy New Year. But did *you* dream Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa lent you their car to drive home from Alabama and you didn't realize until you got lost in Sarasota Springs Little Village, Florida, just beyond the Kentucky border, that the car wasn't equipped with GPS?