But I can’t stop looking

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Photo Credit — Raw2Jpeg / FreeIMG

When did the skin under my chin turn into pink crepe paper? And those lines on either side of my mouth? They make my mouth look like a ventriloquist’s dummy’s mouth. Clack!

Like most of the rest of the world, I spend entirely too much time on Zoom. And by too much, I’m talking roughly four hours a week. Too damned much time spent in a Hollywood Square, peering at the other squares and — it has to be said — watching myself. I don’t like that I do it but then I don’t like the way my tongue absolutely refuses to leave a twitchy tooth alone either. …

Our staycation at The Warwick

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Photo Credit — AleXander Hirka / Front entrance of the Warwick Hotel in midtown Manhattan / Used with permission

For once the thoughts that ambushed me at 3 am were not the usual catastrophic nightmares. I was wide awake on the morning of January 6 (remember? Yeah, that day) and instead of poring over Georgia’s election results or making timely sacrifices to the gods to ensure a smooth certification of the Electoral College’s votes, I was formulating a brilliant plan.

Ok, perhaps I should have paused to consider those sacrifices but I can only do so much, and sometimes Congress has to pull up its britches and get the work done. This clearly was not one of those times.

Anyway. …

Better question: Why NOT me?

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Photo Credit — Storm talk / Oakfield, Wisconsin tornado — 1996 / Wikimedia Commons

In 2003 I found myself in excruciating pain, spiking fevers of 102 and higher, and catheterized in Bellevue Hospital next to a dying ward-mate. I had started my first decent-paying job that was kinda-sorta in my field and signed the lease on my very own rent-stabilized one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan six months earlier. Laying there, unable to move and shivering through a mini-withdrawal from three days of a blissed-out morphine holiday, I realized I was going to lose it all and could conceivably be saddled with a chronic autoimmune disorder that was never going to go away.

My reaction? The time-honored wail of the indignant and frightened: Why ME???

Maybe I’m doing it wrong?

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Photo Credit — hannahlmyers / Pixabay

I’m not the world’s most avid digital consumer but I have been on the widely reviled Book of Faces since 2004. Until I found it useful in promoting my writing, however, social media wasn’t that interesting. I only joined the shrieking masses on Twitter about a year ago. By participating in the ever-popular writers’ lifts there I’ve accumulated just under 900 followers. The number fluctuates as, I suppose, people decide I’m no fun or something. I post my weekly newsletter there and “like” just about anything Nina Turner says (Hello, Somebody!). Otherwise, meh.

Oh, and Instagram? What is that about?

But I am as strung out as anyone when it comes to our digital gizmos. I marvel when Neil, my BFF, leaves the apartment without his phone and he does that a lot. Not me. I pat myself down before I leave the apartment and recite: keys, money, bus pass, phone (to which I’ve now added hand sanitizer and mask). Then if I do manage to walk out without my phone, I go back. …

For the unlimited Metrocard…for me, anyway

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Photo Credit — The author / small sample of New York Transit MetroCards

Somewhere in this apartment I know I’ve still got one or two subway tokens. They were still in use to ride the subways when I arrived in New York City from Cleveland, Ohio, on 23 December 2000, although I seldom bought them (Peter, however, refused to use anything else and remained bitter to the end of his days when tokens were eliminated in 2003). Instead, I almost immediately opted for the unlimited 30-day transit card. I think they cost something like $70 then which was rich for my blood.

But worth every penny given that I lived in Inwood, worked in Brooklyn Heights, and went to school in Morningside Heights. …

The Coin of the Realm

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Photo Credit — TCY / 3 rue du Bourbonnais in Vichy where Simone Weil spent the summer of 1940 / Wikimedia Commons

If you haven’t met, allow me to introduce you to the philosopher and political activist, Simone Weil. In addition to her posthumously appreciated philosophical writings, the woman was a walking fountain of astonishingly apt aphorisms (isn’t alliteration fun?). Unlike Mademoiselle Weil who was very serious indeed.

Here’s the one that’s lodged in one of my more accessible files:

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

We all crave attention and, at the same time, are often surprisingly stingy with it. So many of our shared miseries would be soothed by some attention. Stand in any grocery store line for more than ten minutes and you’ll see little kids desperately trying to get the attention of whatever adult is ignoring them. Perhaps you’re different, but I often feel like that whining eight-year-old pulling on Mom’s arm and insisting over and over that we learned about how oxygen and hydrogen make water in school today. Mom?

What do you mean, she can’t live forever?

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JJ as Dowager Empress of Le Frontenac / Photo by author

“She’s getting pretty chunky, you know. You really should wean her off the dry kibble and establish regular mealtimes.”

That’s what I’d get from the veterinarian every time I took JJ over for whatever was going on at the time. At one point my chunky little street rescue was weighing in at 16 pounds. I recounted our war to abide by the vet’s edict in this piece:

In a word: we lost. Ok, right. That’s two words.

Here are two more: I capitulated.

The girl is coming up on 16 and that’s a good stretch for any cat (yes, my old girl, Puss, who I brought to New York in 2000 lived to be 22 but who knows what deals she made with what gods to manage that). Let JJ enjoy what she enjoys which is having a few bites of kibble whenever she wants and 18 hours of napping a day. …

But only up to a point and by my rules

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Image Credit — PIRO4D / Pixabay

I charged into writing on a certain unnamed platform with everything I had about two years ago. And, yes, I’m re-upping for another year. But this year I’m dancing to my own tunes and only when I feel like dancing.

See, at first, I went along with what all the experts said in those remarkably same-same type articles. I gagged with boredom reading that crap but I put on my big girl cowboy boots and gave it my best shot. And to my complete and utter shock, some of that garbage worked. I seemed to be hitting my stride, not killing it, but easily enough making it into the sacred seven percent (or is it filthy five percent? …

Keeps the Reader

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Photo Credit — Jarek Tuszyński / Wikimedia Commons

The Google assures me that it was Robert Frost who dropped this pearl: “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader”.

Actually, the whole quote is “No tears for the writer, no tears for the reader; no surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader”. I can recall only one story that I wrote with tears streaming down my face. That story got savaged in workshop, so I’m hesitant to ascribe too much credence to that part of Robert’s maxim. …

Our 840 acres of backyard

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Photo Credit — AleXander Hirka / 106th Street and Central Park West / Photo used with permission

We didn’t believe it until we got up Thursday morning and saw it with our own eyes. Snow! Lots and lots of snow! It’s been years since we’ve had a proper snowfall in the city (thanks a pantload, global climate catastrophe). This snowfall even had a name: Gail. Cute.

Last year we managed to get roughly five inches of snow all winter. Boring! Thursday morning we woke up to over ten inches in Central Park. And aren’t we the luckiest living two blocks from the park? We bundled up and were out of the door before 10 am — roughly 6 am for you non-nocturnal types — while it was still snowing. Insider tip: masks are awesome in the snow. …


Remington Write

Writing because I can’t not write. Twitter: @RemingtonWrite or Email me at: Remington.Write@gmail.com https://remingtonwrite.blogspot.com/

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