Although I’m slightly less spiritual than a tube sock, as I was returning to my Upper West Side garret at Magic Hour after another productive day of clock watching on company time, I looked up at the sky and saw this holy card-style cloud formation.
It was the type of cloud-cluster that begs for a soprano singing choir soundtrack as a gigantic Supreme Being hand emerges with a pointed index finger.
This finger is pointing out what – the end is near, the end is far, the end has corporate sponsorship so now it’s negotiable and under contract? Yet this being Manhattan, a more realistic soundtrack when those clouds part would be wailing sirens as that hand emerges, quickly upturns and flips the bird at the Jaded New Yorkers down below muttering in unison at the insult:
Jaded New Yorkers: Now I’ve seen everything!
After snapping my trademark crummy pictures of the mystical cloud formation, my thoughts drifted in the direction of my other recent encounters with life’s mysteries small and pointless.
For example, every year, no matter what the holiday, my building has some pleasant reminder of the event.
This past Friday, I encountered my landlady in the subway station that’s three blocks south from my home base. In a cheerful tone I declared:
Me: That’s a lovely lily we have in the lobby!
She looked at me with an expression that translates as follows:
My Landlady: Who the hell are you?
Then, she walked away. I’ve been renting an apartment in her 18-unit brownstone for almost 30 years. Possibly I’m being overly sensitive, but one would think there would be a glimmer of recognition that I’m her tenant by now.
My landlady’s inability to distinguish me from the Town Loon aside, I’ve entered my annual spring funk. My birthday is approaching soon and friends and family are frequently reminding me about it. Over the weekend my father called and bleated enthusiastically:
My Father: I can’t believe you’re gonna be (ickity) four! How did that happen?
Me: (Ickity) four happens next year! Right now, this minute, I’m still (ickity) two!
[Insert awkward pause here.]
My Father: At least you’ve never been fat.
That’s true but as my metabolism downshifts, I’m not feeling as svelte as I used to. I’m developing a bit of a paunch and from certain angles in states of undress, I’m looking marsupial. I know I need to exercise more and it would also behoove me to eat less crap and guzzle less beer. Over the weekend, I wanted potato chips, but I decided to get the 40% reduced fat variety and limit myself to the recommended serving of just 20 chips, but who ever eats such a puny amount, much less buys the reduced fat version?
To psyche myself into doing so, I reasoned that I must think as if I’m lost in the woods and I’m obligated to make these rations last to survive.
Then I thought:
Me (thinking): Who am I kidding? I’m in an apartment in the heart of Manhattan and I want to pound a high octane beer with these chips.
Yet, I practiced some restraint as I proceeded to inhale my 20 chips in one gulp like an anteater on steroids. Thanks to my remarkable willpower combined with Mad Men being the only show worth watching on TV, I have yet to chow down the rest of the bag.
Last week at work, after finishing a 16-ounce tea chased with a 10-ounce cup of water, this flood of hydration nearly ruptured my bladder.
Fortunately, I could easily win Olympic gold if there was a competition for hightailing from my office to the bathroom in breaking the sound barrier time. I switched on the light and saw an orchid, a gift to my boss, Elsbeth, soaking in the sink.
Tortured, I raced back to my office and announced to my superior:
Me: Your orchid is soaking in the sink!
Elsbeth: Oh! I put it there!
Me (screaming inside my head): Why are you doing this to me when I need to take a piss worthy of a herd of farm animals?
Me (speaking through gritted teeth): I figured.
Remarkably, Elsbeth heard the earlier unasked question. She moved the orchid quickly solving at least one more of my life’s pointless mysteries. Now the orchid is sitting on the sink.