Monthly Archives: December 2005
And after all that, the ice cream maker and/or bread maker that E.S. bought me did not arrive in time for the holiday. But neither did my gift for him, so we’ve agreed to postpone the exchange of gifts.
In the meantime, here is the stocking that he bafflingly claims is more than enough of a present for him:
And I’m terribly sorry to inflict this Christmas photo of my dog A. on you, but I really have no choice:
God only knows what she’ll decide to do for New Year’s Eve.
Followed by this conversation, from last night:
E.S.: My parents are coming into town tomorrow, and I want to show them the new house and the neighborhood. If you need to get together with your collaborator, why don’t you do it while we go to Brooklyn?
FAUSTUS: Actually, I think we’ll write on Monday, and tomorrow when you’re in Crown Heights I’ll go to the knitting store to learn the stitch I need to finish your Christmas stocking.
E.S.: That’s not an acceptable option.
FAUSTUS: Why not?
E.S.: Because you should be spending time with me.
FAUSTUS: But I need to finish your present.
E.S.: I don’t want a present. I want you.
FAUSTUS: I don’t believe this.
E.S.: Your love is the only present I need.
FAUSTUS: What planet are you from?
Seriously, what planet is he from?
Plus, when I got to the knitting store, which is an hour away from my apartment, I realized that I’d forgotten to bring the necessary yarn with me.
Since we started dating, E.S. has wanted me to express my feelings, even when they are unpleasant. He says things like, “I want you to be you, not to squelch your natural impulses just because you think they’ll upset me.”
I don’t know where he came up with such a repugnant idea–probably the same place he got the ridiculous notion that I look better without product in my hair–but in order to punish him I have been taking him at his word. This leads to conversations like the following.
E.S.: So, since we’re buying a house, can we talk about Christmas presents?
FAUSTUS: What about them?
E.S.: Well, I know you want a bread maker or an ice cream maker–
FAUSTUS: A bread maker and/or an ice cream maker.
E.S. –a bread maker and/or an ice cream maker, but it doesn’t seem to be the right time to buy house-type things.
FAUSTUS (raising an eyebrow): Oh?
E.S.: I mean, I know you want to start playing with them right away, but the practical side of me says it would be better to wait until . . .
FAUSTUS: Until what? Until I break up with you?
E.S.: You’re such a brat.
FAUSTUS: You told me not to squelch my natural impulses just because I think they’ll upset you.
FAUSTUS: So it’s your fault I’m a brat.
E.S.: About this bread maker–
FAUSTUS: Bread and/or ice cream maker.
E.S.: That’s it. I’m giving you one disposable razor.
E.S.: Merry Christmas!
FAUSTUS: I hate you.
I am dealing with the New York City transit strike by having gone to Chicago before it started. True, Chicago is very, very cold, but I bought a down jacket and boots before I left, so I am toasty and have access to working public transportation.
Everyone in Chicago talks funny. I mean, they really do talk like people talk when they’re imitating Chicago accents. I always assumed that was made up, but it’s not.
What is made up is the idea that people in Chicago, because they talk funny, are also all fresh-faced and naive and innocent. In fact, they are just as annoying and awful as people in New York. Yesterday I had a fifty-minute ride on public transportation, and the annoying girl sitting five feet behind me would not shut the fuck up in her funny accent. “Don’t you feel powerful?” she asked her companion loudly. “I feel so powerful. Like I could just kill somebody.” I wished E.S. were with me, so he could diagnose her. She said it again about twenty minutes later. “Don’t you feel powerful? I feel so powerful. Like I could just kill somebody.”
Me, too, I wanted to say. But to do so would have required unfastening the hood contraption on my jacket that keeps my face from freezing off by allowing only my eyes to peek out from inside its shadowy depths, so instead I held my tongue.
Welcome to the Search for Love in Manhattan, v. 2.0.
In a comment on the last post, anapestic asked if this is what you get when you sell your soul or what happens when they come to collect. The answer can be found in the full version of the illustration on the left-hand side of this page, by David Michael Friend:
Everyone who lives in New York and hasn’t already seen it should immediately get tickets to Striking 12, a glorious adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” by the band Groovelily and Tony-Award-winning bookwriter (and my occasional collaborator) Rachel Sheinkin. The most enjoyable evening I’ve spent in the theater in a while. It closes this Friday, so don’t delay.
And yes, the new house is in pretty much the same neighborhood as the old one. So there may be an ancient Indian burial ground in my future yet.
Except the mortgage fell through, so we’re buying this non-HUD-foreclosed house instead:
On the one hand, it is not on the site of the former Kings County Penitentiary.
On the other hand, it has ceilings.
So we’re probably coming out ahead in the end.
Actually, according to E.S.’s further researches, our new neighborhood was in all likelihood occupied long ago by the Canarsie Indians.
Which means that we may very well be buying a house built on an ancient Indian burial ground.
An ancient Indian burial ground and the site of the former Kings County Penitentiary.
Talk about an embarrassment of riches.
E.S. called me the other day, breathless with excitement after having spent an evening online researching the neighborhood we’ll be moving into. “Guess what used to be where our house is now!” he burst out. “It’s the best thing that could possibly have been there.”
“An ancient Indian burial ground,” I said immediately.
There was silence on the other end of the line. “No,” he said. “I guess it’s the second-best thing that could possibly have been there.”
“A lunatic asylum,” I answered.
A longer silence. “The third-best thing,” he said, through obviously gritted teeth. I am actually terrible at guessing games, and I couldn’t come up with anything else. When I admitted this, his voice filled with an almost palpable glee–no mean feat given that we were communicating telephonically–and he said, “the land where our house is used to be occupied by the Kings County Penitentiary.”
“Oh, my God,” I said, and melted. I took a moment to collect myself. “Now the next important question we need to answer is: who was the most famous resident of the penitentiary?”
He was clearly offended. “What do you take me for? Of course I already looked it up. Her name was Polly Frisch, and she was sent to the penitentiary after she poisoned her husband, his two children, and her own child by putting arsenic on their bread and butter.”
“I love you,” I said.
“She was eventually pardoned by the governor and released. Her fame was almost immediately eclipsed by that of another murderess named Lizzie Borden.”
Since that day, my mind has been filled with fantasies of opening a café on the first floor (previously occupied by the Gospel Light Church, Inc.) called Polly’s, or perhaps Polly’s Pastries. It will be just like the café that Dallas Roberts and Colin Farrell opened in A Home at the End of the World, except that E.S. and I will have sex with each other and we will sell bread and butter both with and without arsenic.