Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 63)

When we lived in Washington, DC. I took pottery classes at a studio in Adam’s Morgan. I studied with Jill Hinckley and threw pottery like this, this and this. I wasn’t great at it, but I loved doing it and while there I met some of the greatest people.

One of the people I met was an organic farmer named Mike. He was a sweetheart. I adored this man. He and I became close friends. He had a great big heart. I loved spending time with him.

Right before we moved to San Francisco, Mike gave us the most spectacular going away gift. It was a small vase he threw at Hinckely. It was fired out back during one of our Raku sessions. If I remember correctly, he used horse hair (taken from a local farmer) to create the most intriguing affect on its smooth sides. The piece was amazing—all of his pieces were amazing—but this one was particularly special, I think.

It was probably one of the nicest items we owned. I was so proud of that vase, whenever we moved cross-country, I wrapped it up and took it with us in the car instead of packing it away with everything else. I showed it off at home. It was always on display, albeit, at higher heights for all reasons feline.

(Trying to guess where this story ends is probably a no brainer.)

On Sunday, Murray simply had to get to the very top of the bookshelf like Tucker had. In doing so, his fat ass knocked the vase to the floor, shattering it into a million pieces. I was in the shower and heard the smash occur.

“WHAT WAS THAT!?” I yelled.

Tobyjoe came in to tell me what had happened. We were a little heartbroken.

I don’t like to get attached to non-living things because of this very reason. With cats around, you’re kind of a fool to. And now that we have a toddler, that notion became twofold. It’s better to just assume everything intangible will eventually die. It’s just a matter of when and how that end should occur.

But saying goodbye to this item stung. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

I did not raise a hand at Murray (I don’t do that to any of my cats), nor did I yell at him (I do yell at them sometimes). He knows nothing of his mistake. And I think the noise it made was punishment enough for a creature with such intense hearing.

But I’m sharing this with you today (on Murray’s day of all days) because as I watched Tobyjoe sweep the remaining pieces into the trash can, something became very clear to me: I must really love this cat because I was unbelievably attached to that vase.

I didn’t even yell at him.

(And Mike, should you ever read this, I am so very sorry. Both Toby and I have actually mourned the loss of your gift. I thought about glueing it back together, I even thought about trying to make a mosaic out of it, but to no avail. We miss it, Mike. And would love to buy a replacement.)

Moving Pictures.

The year was 1998. I was living in Washington, D.C. in a small, one bedroom apartment on 16th Street. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 2 years. In less than 24 hours, our apartment was nearly emptied. I was living alone for the first time in my life.

Missy and I decided to go away for the weekend and visit our alma matter in order to spend some valuable time reminiscing with people around a keg. It was during that trip, I decided that to buy a massive, 2-ton television set.

I met Toshiba at Sears.

The TV weighed a lot. So the strong men working for Sears helped us get it into the back of the car. I never once thought about how Missy and I would get it into my apartment back in D.C. The building had an elevator, but how would we get it to the elevator? And then how would we get it to my door? And then how would we get it onto the TV stand? These were not questions I thought about until much later when we pulled up to my apartment building.

“How are the two of us going to get this out of the car and into your building?” Missy asked.

“Great question.” I said. “Maybe we can do it?”

Missy looked skeptical.

But we managed. Somehow we got it out of the car. I have no idea how. After that we rolled the box from door-to-door hoping the styrofoam casing would protect it. We rolled it onto the elevator, down the hallway on the 4th floor, and then rolled it right through the front door. And with every last bit of our strength, we hoisted it onto the pedestal.

All I had to do was never, ever leave.

In 1999 I began dating a guy whom I had been friends with for well over a year. And while our friendship may have lasted indefinitely; our romantic relationship ignited, sparked, exploded, smoldered and then fell to the ground in a heap of black ash in less than 5 months. Our main goal at that time was entrusting ourselves with the task of not trusting one another. That was imperative, and a relationship destined for failure.

But he did have the same TV and used to joke that the only reason I got mine was to one-up him because mine was like an inch larger. TV Envy, is what he called it.

We broke up. And it was tumultuous. It was harrowing. And I decided one night for no reason whatsoever that I was going to move to New York City.

Just like that.

A day before I was scheduled to move, I asked a friend of mine—a very strong friend of mine—if he’d help. I told him I’d buy him dinner, drinks, and give him a place to stay. I’d even pay for his train ticket to get back to D.C. He agreed.

Getting the TV into the truck at the DC end wasn’t difficult for him at all. He simply had to lift it up once, move it to the cart we had borrowed from U-Haul, and then lift it onto the truck. I helped. But barely.

I hadn’t thought to tell him about having to get it up the three flights of stair once we got to Brooklyn.

When we pulled onto my new street, it was already after 8 PM. And it was raining. We hustled and moved everything we could upstairs as fast as we could. The rain steadied as we began to wobble. I had hit that point during a move where giving up seems probable. I began leaving boxes and items on the street for passersby.

“How are we going to get the TV up three flights of stairs?” Todd asked me scratching his head.

“Us?” I answered stupidly.

“Are you kidding me?” He looked shocked. And he should have been. I couldn’t even hold the TV set let alone bring it up three flights of stairs.

“Missy and I rolled it into my DC apartment. Maybe we could do that?”

“UP the stairs? Roll it? Are you fucking crazy?”

I stood in the rain and kicked at nothing with my feet. I felt stupid in my new city. What was I thinking? Breaking up with him was a great move, but uprooting everything and moving to a new city was not the best way to be alone.

Todd went to the truck and got the TV out onto the sidewalk. The rain fell down onto its plastic casing. I didn’t care.

He lifted the TV up the three steps that led to the front door and stopped. “I can’t do this alone. There’s just no way.” He was out of breath.

We waited on the stoop in front of two propped open doors, which tossed 40 watt foyer light at us as the rain continued to fall. We were to meet friends for dinner in less than an hour. I was starving, cold and damp. I was tired from moving and driving all day. And it was suddenly becoming very clear to me that I had just uprooted my entire life—TV and all—and moved to New York City.

And that’s when I made up my mind. We had to breakup. This was going to be my third break up in 1 year.

“Let’s just leave it here. The fucking thing is too heavy. I hate how heavy it is. I don’t need a TV. I definitely don’t need that TV. I’m going to be too busy here and I can’t afford cable. Just leave it. Let it be somebody else’s problem. I’m sick of it.”

Just as I was getting to the meat of my sermon about how the TV and I weren’t meant to be together and that the TV and I never got along anyway, a 7-foot tall, muscular monster of a man walked up to the stoop.

“Can I help you?” The man said. He was German. “Looks like you could use help some.”

“You sure you want to do that? She’s on the third floor!” Todd answered.

“Not is problem.” He assured us. “It’s rain. Let’s go.”

And just like that, the gentle German giant and a friend named Todd brought the TV and I back together again.

That night we joked about whether or not our German was real.

(It’s been 8 years and I’m still not sure.)

On a day in September of 2001 I witnessed the worst day of my life so far. A month later (to the day) I met the man of my dreams. He and I were inseparable. We watched movies from my love seat. The first movie we ever watched together was “You Can Count On Me”.

We knew each other for three weeks before deciding to move into a loft together. The loft was roughly 4 blocks from that apartment, but it was zoned commercial and was on the fourth floor. There was a freight elevator but the hallways were long (almost a block from door to door).

I hired movers.

Moving day arrived. Three men showed up in a big white truck. One of the men was knee high to a grasshopper, Jamaican and dark as night. He was by no means someone I’d call muscular. The other two were much bigger in size. I worried about the smaller man. I worried about him right up until I watched him carry that TV set on his shoulders by himself down three flights of stair.

“He’s a fucking beast!” Said a taller man.

When we got to the loft, he carried it up into the freight elevator and then down the long hallway and into our loft.

I suggested twice that he be careful, that his back would surely break beneath that TV. He said, “Oh, you seely gurl, muh grandmummy could carry this TeeVee.” And he had a mighty chuckle. As did I.

I have for years wondered what would one day separate the two of us, take that TV down once and for all. After 2001 it moved back to DC and then again to another apartment in DC. In 2004 it was boxed up by movers and loaded into a wooden Door-to-Door Mover’s storage bin. It made it to San Francisco three weeks later unharmed.

Six months later it was loaded into a big wooden container once again and then shipped back to a slightly larger railroad apartment in Brooklyn where it has lived ever since.

My 10-year-old Toshiba died sometime late Sunday night. The last thing it saw was a member of the Colts fumble a football. I was in bed at the time. I heard Tobyjoe mutter a few OHMYGODS! at the TV. He then shut it down for the night. The next morning it projected nothing more than a thin white line.

Tobyjoe beat it a couple of times and it was able spit out one final image before taking its last breath. It projected a weather map of the United States.

NowBlowPoMe: The Forgotten City?

I understand why people move to New York. I moved here at age 27 because I always loved it. I decided to move to New York when I was a kid and my father took us to our first ever Yankee game. He drove us right through Harlem so he could teach us a lesson and show us just how good we had it. “Not everyone lives as comfortably as you do, kids.” In reality I think he was lost. I remember riding the subway convinced that I looked more like a New Yorker if I didn’t hold onto the bars. Only tourists need to hold onto the subway bars. I actually believed that. I believed that after living in New York for a while, you figured out how to ride the subways without having to hold on.

New York was where I wanted to live. Always.

I lived in Washington, DC before. Twice, even. I moved from State College to Washington, DC. Then, I moved back to State College, back to DC, to New York City, back to DC, to San Francisco and the back to New York. Writing that down sounds perfectly insane. But I can assure you that each move made sense. For example, the first time I moved to DC was for a job that wasn’t what I signed up for. I worked there for a little over a month before calling a quits. My apartment building was depressing and bug-ridden, and so I headed back to State College with my tail between my legs. (Back then, my life kind of looked like that Ben Fold’s Five song “Steven’s Last Night in Town.”)

But We thought he was gone
And now he's come back again
last week it was funny
now the jokes wearing thin
cuz everyone knows now
that every night now
will be Steven's last night in town

DC stuck the second time because my boyfriend at the time and I did it correctly; we lived in an apartment building in the city and one that wasn’t a housing project for those on house arrest.

Toby and I left New York because we were pretty messed up over what we saw on September 11th. I know that DC isn’t exactly off the radar where terrorist attacks are concerned, but it was a change of scenery for us and were therefore able to heal quicker.

Anyway, we’ve been here for three years and we’re at the point (again) where we want to leave (again). This time we’re going about it the right way, i.e.. slowly. And we’re talking about moving to Boston or New Jersey. We’ve even discussed moving to Providence with TobyJoe commuting to Boston every day. (Is that an insane idea?)

Truth be told, we’re looking for that perfect place to live. A place where we can raise Emory without running into too much trouble, whether it be something simple like subjecting him to incessant horrific language, or something a lot more serious like high pollution, or a murder rate every New Yorker tries to ignore. We want somewhere fairly safe. But we also want him to have the ability to grow up around art and culture. (I come from an art background. I really do put a lot of stock in the arts.) We want a backyard filled with fireflies not drunk and dying polish men. We want a garden fed with uncontaminated ground water as well as public transportation.

We’re readying ourself to move again. And we’re looking for the “Forgotten City”. The city on the East coast that isn’t riddled with murder or pollution. The city on the East coast with excellent public schools and affordable housing. We want to settle down and raise our son safely. Why does that seem so hard to do right now?


Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), where one writes every day for the month of November, which is easier said than done.

Heather and Derek, The Papa, Snakes on a Babe, and Bonnie Prince Billy.

Tobyjoe and I met up with Heather and Derek yesterday for brunch at the Coffee Shop on Union Square. What was supposed to be just a brunch ended up with a visit to the Beard Papa, the Leica gallery, and a ride on both the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island. Coney Island is the only place I can think of where a guy can make money by allowing babes to wear his pet snake. I felt a little bad for the snake, actually.

Heather had had the Bearded goodness before. (That is not meant to be dirty.) And I can’t be sure, but I think she may have clapped when we came upon it. We had to partake. I had the chocolate one. Word of advice: Don’t breath in when you take bite. I inhaled a bunch of chocolate powder and came close to choking. I’m not sure if I should thank her for introducing us to the Beard Papa or kick her ass. Sweet jesus, they’re good.

We had an absolutely fantastic time with Derek and Heather. When they got off at West 4th and we parted ways, Tobyjoe looked at me and said, “They are really nice people. I like those two.” And they are. Incidentally, Tobyjoe is heading to the geek fest known as WWDC today. He’ll be in San Francisco by sundown. They’re going to try and meet up again on the left-hand side of our nation. I am sad that I cannot make it.

This evening Missy and I are heading to Joe’s Pub to see Bonnie Prince Billy. I almost bailed when I found out the concert coincided with Tobyjoe’s absence. Everybody knows that a week without my Beaner pretty much means a week without fuel. We’ve been married for almost three years and I still don’t like being without him. I hope that feeling never goes away. I freaking love that guy.

An Incurable and Necessary Sorrow.

I woke up at 3:30 AM to the distant sound of cats fighting. We have three cats. And although one might immediately assume that the sound was coming from inside the apartment, I can assure you, the sound was not.

Earlier that day, we had ordered a bottle of wine while sitting outdoors at a cafe. I was trying to get acquainted with a new idea. He was there to read. We ordered a Chardonnay. The wine made the inside walls of my mouth meet up. “They call this a pucker,” I had thought. “What a strange word.”

Pucker

“Did you know that some people believe that feeling sorrowful is a sickness and can be cured?” I asked him without looking up from my pages.

“Yes, I do remember hearing that.” He answered without looking up from his.

The day was a little drowsy. Still the sun worked hard to be seen. For the most part, we sat in silence. There was one point where our thoughts were splintered by the sound of two feral cats. The sound came from the empty lot next to the café. I wondered if cats made their fights sound worse than they really were. A bird fled the scene by air.

The idea of sorrow being considered an illness made me feel sad. Why would anyone want to fix such a thing? Aren’t we supposed to feel sad every once and a while? These thoughts lay answerless. A lot of thoughts enter and leave my head without the partnership of an answer.

“I wonder if those same people believe happiness is an illness as well.”

I could see myself in the reflection of his dark, mirrored sunglasses. I didn’t like the way I looked. I could see the wrinkles taking root around my eyes and my lips were growing thinner by the day. Even my freckles seemed to want a break.

“You know, the Apple Store had its grand opening last Friday in mid-town. Apple is calling it its ‘Flag Ship’ store. I seem to remember the ‘Flag Ship’ store being in San Francisco when we lived there. We win. New York City always wins. Screw San Francisco.”

My ability to lean toward cattiness surprised me. I had pulled rank over another city because of a computer store as if I had given birth to New York City and San Francisco was someone’s less fortunate, less attractive child. I continued my thought in hopes of sounding less absurd.

“San Francisco would have been a wonderful city to vacation. But there was something about it that made me feel like I was standing at the edge of the planet. Had they not proven that the world was indeed round, I might imagine that it would have dropped off at San Francisco. I’m not sure why it was that I felt that way. But I did. And it didn’t seem to subside in the six months we were there. Perhaps it would have in time. I’m not sure. But there was something very end-of-the-world about it.”

“No, I know what you mean. There was something very Shel Silverstein about it. I’m pretty sure that San Francisco is where the sidewalk ends.”

I laughed. Leave it to him to lighten a conversation.

“Still, someday I hope that I will be able to put my finger on it.”

The cats howled again. One of them seemed to be losing or maybe it just had the more horrific cry.

“I wish I felt better about my career. I wish I could ask the cynical about sorrow doctors if they believe there’s a cure for stagnation. I wonder if there’s one for frustration.”

I thought about our day and the wine and how we left it there. I thought about how the sun had finally given up as we had made dinner and settled in for the night.

It was nearing 4 AM and I had been prematurely pushed awake. I hadn’t heard from the cats again, which led me to believe that they existed only in a dream. I got out of bed and poured myself a glass of water. Perhaps fluid might remind me of sleep.

I watched the cars move along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and wondered if their inhabitants had just woken up or if their headlights were leading them to chilly bed sheets. I wondered if the cabbies were beginning their shifts, or parting with their final fares, getting ready to call it a night. Or morning.

Mourning.

The sadness I had been unknowingly sleeping off before I had awoken remained on my skin like the steam from a hot shower. I reminded myself of the fact that every time I wake up prematurely in the middle of the night without a punctuated reason I was usually greeted by an oppressive sadness. I knew that it would eventually go away. It always did. Nevertheless, as I stood by the window watching the people move to and from someplace unknown to me, I made a list of things I could do to be a better person come morning when I faced another shift.

(Remember birthdays and holidays even if they make people sad. Listen to him when he speaks. Stop wasting your life and stop blaming everyone else. Take better care of yourself for your body needs a break. Take better care of him. Remember that they won’t be here forever take their calls and visit them more. Stop making excuses. Please stop making excuses.)

The moon hung low in the sky just over Southern Manhattan. It was distorted by atmosphere and therefore seemed very close, close enough to touch. It had fought its way out from beneath the clouds like its light source had earlier that day. I wrapped my arms and legs around it like one might a beach ball on an ocean. I dipped my head back and watched New York City upside down, the city who houses the “Flag Ship” Apple store, the city much smarter than all the other cities, the one with imaginary, fighting cats. I hung upside down for a while, letting the blood rush to my head. I let the moon hold me in place and I bobbed up and down, floating along the heavy thoughts of all those who awoke prematurely to an incurable and necessary sorrow.

New York City Wins at Everything Weird

First there were the Mole People and now this. New York City was named the cloggiest city in all of America. Seattle was named the least cloggy.

Top 10 Clogged Cities:

  • 1. New York
  • 2. Miami/Fort Lauderdale
  • 3. Los Angeles
  • 4. Philadelphia
  • 5. Houston
  • 6. Atlanta
  • 7. Chicago
  • 8. Portland, OR
  • 9. Indianapolis
  • 10. San Francisco Bay Area

Clogs occur frequently during heavy flushing periods (obviously). Those periods take place on days like Black Friday, the day after a Thanksgiving feast, and during the halftime of a big game like the Super Bowl. Beat the wife. Take a crap. Beat the wife. Take a crap. Beat the wife. Have a beer. Take a crap.

In addition, many stopped-up toilets occur when nontraditional items are flushed, including disposable diapers, facial tissue, paper towels or napkins, cat litter, feminine-protection products and even a cell phone or iPod.

I have known TWO people now who have flushed a cell phone. (Hello, Bob.) An iPod? What the heck? Granted, I have gone to the bathroom at work while plugged into my Nano and listening to the Rachel Maddow show, but I make sure it’s secure before dropping my pants. Are people in that much of a hurry? And how are the iPods actually flushed? Why not fish them out first? Lastly, don’t people realize they swallowed the iPod in the first place?

The article goes on to say that SCOTT Brand toilet tissue helps to avoid clogged toilets. Which happens to be the toilet tissue we most use. We use it because it lasts forever and it’s cheap. But in a city where everyday life is far from comfortable, New Yorkers probably would have a hard time giving up their cushy toilet tissues. Anyway, I thought I’d share. (Thanks to Gothamist for the link.)

On Dieting, Losing Weight, and Feeling Good About Oneself.

This time last year I went on the South Beach Diet. We had just returned from vacationing down in Florida. When I put on my bathing suit, I looked like a big, mid-baked, fluffy ball of cookie dough. If that cookie dough had been tied up and then stuffed in an oven, that would have been me. I couldn’t very well avoid the pool. Not only was it 90 degrees and humid, but I love to swim. I borrowed my mother’s bathing suit. And even that one was tight not that my mother is overweight or anything. It was a rough week. I realized I was putting on weight faster than ever before and the Half Iron Man contest was taking place on the grounds where we were staying. I ate like a champ that week, stuffing myself full of pancakes, waffle, and anything beige and fluffy. I’ll take Foods That Look Like Michele for 1000.

As soon as we got off the plane at JFK, I went on a diet. And I lost about 15 pounds. I felt great.

Last September, we visited Rhode Island with Nico and George. One night, Nico cooked up some homemade mac and cheese. I blame her entirely for falling off the wagon, actually, I didn’t FALL, she kicked me. No one can turn down macaroni and cheese like that. No one.

From that point forward, I slowly stopped dieting.

For months to come, and into December, I refused to get on the scale fearing what it would read back to me. When I finally did, my fears were validated. Nearly all of the weight I had lost was back. I wasn’t at my heaviest, my heaviest was when we were in San Francisco and all I did was eat burritos, drink lemonade, and not walk, unless it was to get another burrito and some more lemonade. I was 5 pounds less than that. I had put 10 of my 15 pounds back on. I felt horrible.

I started running. That helped my self-esteem. And I’m still working out although that time has been severed, as work lately has been overly demanding. Excercise feels great, but as far as I can tell, it doesn’t shed pounds quite like dieting does. Three weeks ago, I started dieting as well.

The other night, while I was watching the Oscars, I thought about Charlize Theron and her role in Monster. She probably put on 30 pounds for that role. I’m sure if I looked hard enough, I could find out exactly how much. She slimmed up immediately following the production. I admire her for being able to bounce back so beautifully. It’s weird, but I think about that nearly every time I see her. When I was at my heaviest, I feel that my body looked like hers in the movie Monster. What a weird thing to admit about oneself. What a weird thing to fixate on.

While I realize that the job of a moviestar is to keep one’s body maintained and that most of us don’t have the luxury of working out for 2+ hours a day with a personal trainer, there must be a way to remain fit. My goal is to lose 20 pounds. My goal then is to try my hardest to keep it off. I’m five pounds lighter this week than I was three weeks ago. It’s hard. It’s frustrating, but at least it’s working, albeit slowly.

Just like with every post, I do have a few questions. If you feel like answering, please do so. Are you happy with your weight? Do you diet? Do you workout? Have you ever lost and/or gained a large amount of weight? What’s your weakness? Mine is pizza, cake, and french fries. I would love to order a pizza tonight and not regret it in the morning.

Anything goes today, people.

Scent While Dreaming.

I stood in the closet next to Soung. We looked around at her clothing. They hung from hangers, sighing. The great contrast between aged skin and aged clothing became painfully clear: One becomes wrinkled over time, and the other becomes smoother. There were shoes tucked away and a few hair ties draped around the door handle. She once walked through there, figuring out what to wear before heading out for the night. The carpeting below our feet held indentations of previous footprints. I wondered if any of them were still hers. I thought about cutting out a square of it and taking it with me as one might a fossil.

(After she died, I tried to convince myself that I had less of a right to miss her.)

Soung lifted one of the shirts from the hanger. She held it up to her nose and inhaled deeply.

I reached toward the back of the closet. While my decision seemed logical, I was most likely in search of the clothing she rarely wore and therefore would harbor no smell. And it didn’t.

Soung pulled out a sweater and then a t-shirt. We picked up faint scents, and like sleepy memories, I wasn’t sure if they were real or my memory wanted them to be. She pulled out a pair of pants, a dress shirt, a suit jacket, and a sock. Each time, we inhaled deeply, absorbing whatever we could.

………………………………

The night I found out she had died, I took the train to D.C. to be closer to Soung. We had dinner and talked. We played pool. We took a cab home at 2 AM.

“I wish I saved a voice mail. Had I known, I would have saved them all. I really want to hear her voice once more.”

“Why don’t we call her phone?” I asked.

“But what if her mom answers? It’s really late.”

“We’ll call from my phone. It’s a San Francisco number. I’ll just say I have wrong number.”

I dialed her number and it rang several times.

“Hello?” A voice on the other end sputtered to life. I hadn’t expected anyone to answer. I figured I’d receive a “Mailbox is Full” message. Before anyone heard the news, they called and called and called. Up until that moment, I had never thought about all the overflowing mailboxes, maxed out answering machines, or voicemail boxes.

I immediately panicked and hung up the phone.

It turns out; I had flipped the two last numbers. I had called a complete stranger at about 2:30 in the morning from the darkness of a D.C. cab. What do you say to that someone, that voice on the other end? I woke up a complete stranger in the middle of the night just to hear the recorded voice of my friend. That stranger will never know they answered a phone call meant for a dead person.

The living is heartbreaking sometimes.

That night, when we finally laid down to sleep, Soung told me that my side of the bed might still smell like her.

“I haven’t washed the sheets since she spent the night during the snowstorm last week.”

I took great comfort in that pillow, but we never tried to call her again.

………………………………

Soung pulled a scarf she had knitted down from its hanger. She used to knit. She wore scarves all the time. Soung inhaled deeply. I could tell immediately this one held a lot. I watched Katrina’s smell fill Soung’s face. I saw it move up into her nose and then through her cheeks, which flushed with the introduction. Her eyes began to water; she had discovered her all over again.

I wanted some. She handed me the scarf and I inhaled but not as deeply. I wanted more and more and I wanted it to last forever. It seemed like the right thing to do was to save it for others.

We moved through the closet in search of more and more of her. We picked up each piece of clothing and put it back in its place when we were finished. Oh, how I missed her.

Could this be the only thing we have left?

………………………………

I woke up sweating.

I hate forgetting. I hope that I never forget.

Public Transportation: Can We Own It?

Well, the MTA didn’t go on strike. Yet. That’s a very good thing for the city. Last night, as we watched the news people salivate over any possible new breaks, I couldn’t help but wonder. What if the MTA was owned by the public? What if the money I spent to use it meant I owned a miniscule part of it? Do you think people would care more for the system? Do you think we’d have an input on the hiring? Would we have an input in management? I really wonder what would happen.

Now, this doesn’t only apply to the MTA. It seems that public transportation (at least in the U.S.) could use some help. And some places more than others. For example, I think we could all learn something from the Metro in Washington, D.C. Once you’ve used that system it’s hard not comparing every other system to it. It’s close to perfect. (I realize, however, it doesn’t run past midnight and it’s pretty much brand new in comparison to the Subway system.) The Metro does well even with all the jumpers. The MUNI in San Francisco was a joke. I’m sorry. I have trouble seeing it any other way. The BART is great and all, but it barely covers any ground. I haven’t used the EL in Chicago (Is that what’s it’s called?) So I have no idea if it’s any good or if people use it at all. Detroit’s People Mover makes me giggle endlessly. And unless you’re going to the downtown Casino called “Greektown” I don’t see how this system is much use to anyone. From what I hear, LA doesn’t even really have public transportation. No, really. Does anyone even use it? Judging by the smog I’d guess not. I don’t know anything about Boston’s Public Transportation sytsem. Seattle was great for walkers. I know nothing about the public transportation system. I hear it’s free.

I am told London’s Underground could use a facelift and that the cushions are basically biohazards. (Plastic wipes well, England.) I only experienced the Underground while visiting. So my judgment on it probably won’t prove very reliable. I’d love to hear about it, however.

What would happen if the users owned the system?

Oh Ford.

When Toby Joe and I lived in San Francisco, I worked for Gay.com. I wasn’t there long, but I was there long enough to discover how important it is to have such a site for men and women who are gay, bisexual or transgender. I also realized how tightly knit that community is. It’s reassuring knowing there are groups out there willing to take a stand to see change.

I was a multi-media designer for Gay.com. I worked on banners ads, campaigns, and print advertisements as well. The bulk of my work, was creating Flash banner ads for the many sites that PlanetOut Inc. owned. One of my largest campaigns, was a system of flash banners for Jaguar. I worked hard on that campaign. It was one of my better pieces that came out of my time working for Gay.com.

Around the same time I worked on Jaguar, Coors Brewing Company was facing a massive backlash from the Gay community when it was discovered that a large portion of profits were being donated to anti-gay organizations such as American Family Association. I remember reading about it back then. Bars in San Francisco stopped carrying the beer. Gay and lesbian people (as well as straight supporters) took a stand and got the word out informing people to stop the consumption of all products distributed by Coors. It was a huge success. Their actions spoke in novels. Coors changed their ways and issued apologies. (I read an article back then and am currently trying to find it. As it stands, all I can find right now is this blurb. I will post more when I find more.)

Today, while listening to the Rachel Maddow Show. I learned that the American Family Association is at it again. After threatening to boycott the Ford Motor Company for advertising in gay magazines, Ford has pulled all advertising from gay magazines, online and off. My Jaguar campaign is one of the past. And I hate to break it to Ford, but if they thought a boycott from The American Family Association was bad, wait until they face one from the gay community. Alienating the gay community in order to appeal to this small, right wing group out of Mississippi will not be good for business. I think we’re going to see a pretty massive backlash over the next couple of months. And I’m curious to see how their profits shift. I’m also curious to hear what others think about this.