The trouble was, Goblin kept

The trouble was, Goblin kept knocking off her devil horns. They were tied to the middle of her head, between her ears, with a thick cord, and she was able to dislodge it easily. Her sinister black cape, too, would fall askew and end up as a sinister black bib, which is fine for a lobster dinner but not for her grand Halloween march around Central Park.

So Rob stayed up until two o’clock in the morning sewing the devil horns to a sinister black sock, which he had trimmed to fit around Goblin’s head and neck, with holes for the ears. The cape was knotted directly to the collar of her harness and draped nicely around the hook to which the leash attaches. Our little devil dog was ready for action, and this morning, at the crack of 11:30 (when we dragged ourselves out of bed), we were off!

Walking a Boston terrier named Goblin as she is dressed up like the devil was certainly an experience. Our trio was greeted in equal measure by pedestrians who squealed “Isn’t that cute!” and gruff New Yorkers who did not bat an eye as the spawn of hell barreled down on them. I was hoping someone would say, “What a great Halloween costume!” so I could reply, “Today is Halloween?” We had to stop repeatedly to adjust horns and cape, which became disheveled in the eternal hunt for squirrels, but all in all, it was a successful outing.

She will revive her outfit for Joe’s party tonight, and she cannot wait. Joe’s dog is only dressing as a dinosaur, which are extinct, while Goblin gets to go as the shaper of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. In other words, she is alive and kicking has job security for another two years.


Once, when we were teenagers,

Once, when we were teenagers, Tiffany and I went to King’s Dominion with a group of friends and played some of the carnival games. At one of the booths, when the attendant was not looking, Tiffany jumped up on the counter and did a funny dance.

Years later, I went to King’s Dominion with another group of friends. While some went on a big roller coaster, Viki and I went into the recording studio and created a song called “Don’t Worry, Per Jambeck,” an ode to an eccentric college classmate who looked like a cross between a German shepherd and Harrison Ford.

I do not believe I have been to King’s Dominion since.


Well, yesterday I drank some

Well, yesterday I drank some contaminated tomato juice, and then I got sick, sick, sick. I am largely better now, except I now have some suspicious body aches that lead me to think I was kidnapped by aliens who decided, just for grins, to insert broken glass into my head and neck. As if that wasn’t enough, I have gone through a pack of light bulbs in my Ikea lamp today. They keep burning out, but only when I am not looking, which suggests either the aliens are at it again or else that really was ectoplasm I found in my medicine cabinet a few days ago (thanks to which, incidentally, I no longer have any medicine that may help me in the house, since I had to throw all of the contents away).

I was going to work all day. I have many deadlines. But instead, I have found comfort in old episodes of “Designing Women,” which, while they have not eased my pain, have provoked in me an entirely artificial southern accent and a penchant for righteous harangues that have left Goblin’s little bat ears glowing red. (Do not confuse these with her devil ears.)

And to top it all off, when I dragged myself out of bed to take her for her morning walk, I ran into a perky neighbor couple whom I have seen four days in a row. This would ordinarily not perturb me overmuch, except they are the sort of people who live to point out things like that. “Wow, we’ve seen you three times in three days!” “Jeepers! Four times now!” I have the uncomfortable idea that if we make it to five, they are going hire caterers and a band to commemorate the occasion.
I am cranky and alone. Somebody come and cook me dinner or take me to tea.


What do you get when

What do you get when you cross two gay men, two lesbians, two pumpkins, and two episodes of “Trading Spaces”?

My Saturday night.

Rob and I went over to Tiffany and Jennifer’s for dinner and to carve jack-o’-lanterns, and they showed us the classic lesbian “Trading Spaces” episode in which Hildi glued a bunch of hay to the wall. (I strongly suspect my mother did not see that episode, or else her living room would have a startling new motif by now.) We also saw the current episode, in which Kia mixed her metaphors and created a Hindu harem, complete with a bed, suspended from the ceiling, posing as a flying carpet. This for the couple who did not want a theme room, especially one centered around a “dance of the seven veils.”


I designed one pumpkin to look like an alien (Tiffany was the model), and Rob’s looked adorable, if slightly grumpy.

Jenn’s cat tried to bite us, and then we came home.


If you saw my original

If you saw my original posts from Thursday and Friday, consider yourself lucky. In a move I did not expect to make (or expect ever to repeat), I erased half of the first and all of the second. The deleted material was political in nature and depressed me to the extent that I do not want to see it every time I view my own blog. So, for that reason, the changes were made.

Moving right along…

Although one would not know it from what I actually posted, yesterday was Boyfriend Day. Rob and I cleared our busy schedules to spend a full day together doing fun things (instead of our typical pattern of seeing each other only at night when we are worn out and ready to collapse in front of the television). This was the first of (I hope) many Boyfriend Days.

We went to see Frida, a film I have awaited for years. It is the story of my favorite painter, Frida Kahlo, and her myriad tragedies and triumphs. Several years ago, Viki and I went to Frida’s home in Mexico City (on the same day, we also toured Trotsky’s home and saw La niñera y el presidente, a movie released in the English-speaking world as The Beautician and the Beast). Frida was pretty good; the audience at Lincoln Square was a bit saucy during the opening commercials, and the middle-aged male human in front of us kept reclining his seat into our knees.

After a late lunch at Burritoville, we enjoyed a leisurely coffee at Drip and a long walk in Central Park with Goblin. It was the first time this season she wore her little coat, and she looked like a model on a catwalk. Coat, cape, or devil ears, this dog can really strut her stuff.


Two fun things happened today.

Two fun things happened today.

The first is that I made a new friend. Carolyn is in membership sales at my gym. We’ve had some great conversations since I joined, and I thought it would be nice to know each other better. After a friendly and tasty meal, we went to the Avventura shop to browse at some lovely glass and ceramics.

The second is that I learned how to levitate. Rob and I were so freaked out by some of the magic performed by David Blaine on his recent TV show that we copied down a web address from a magic video commercial to learn the secret. At the site, one can, for a small fee, download short QuickTime movies that explain the secrets. So I did it, and now I really know how to levitate, although I can only get a couple of inches off the ground at this point. Perhaps by the weekend, I can really catch some air.


They saw us coming. Goblin

They saw us coming.

Goblin and I began our familiar foray into other people’s inboxes this morning, but all of our usual haunts suffered from web glitches that left them impervious to plunder. Desperate for new material (since no one ever writes to us), we headed over to the Elder Wisdom Circle and were overjoyed to find that site loading correctly. Of course, the caliber of questions is somewhat lower than we habitués of Miss Manners and Ann Landers are accustomed to, but one suffers through in the name of righteousness.

I have this friend. He is really cool and lately he has been acting kind of weird around me. Today he hugged me and he pushed me off the sidewalk, so he thought I was pulling away and he said oh i see how it is I dont like you either. I saw him pulling up his pants before going to bowl and then he came over to me and said you always see me doing something funny and never when I am serious. Do you think he likes me?

David responds:
You do not give your age, but I find myself desperately hoping that you and your friend are ten years old, the oldest age for which the sort of childish antics you describe are remotely appropriate. However, knowing the populace as I do, I suspect you are thirty-eight and divorced with two kids of your own.

Either way, my response is the same.

If he hugs you forcefully from out of the blue and allows you find him with his pants down, he probably likes you. How do you think I met Rob, after all?

Goblin responds:

Like like like! I like that word! It sounds like lick.

*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

I like to lick!

Daddy says no licking but then I catch him licking Uncle Bobby. Daddy says it’s not the same but I think it is. Daddy caught me licking something off the sidewalk and he made me stop. It was macaroni and cheese.

Cheese cheese cheese!


Oh yeah, advice: If he hugs you forcefully from out of the blue and allows you to find him with his pants down he probably likes you. How do you think I met Uncle Bobby after all?


I had originally intended

I had originally intended to sit in bed, watch sitcoms from TiVo, and eat peanut butter from the jar from sunup to sundown. Things were proceeding according to plan, when I suddenly reached the limits of my ability to watch Bea Arthur. This was a shock because I had no idea there were limits to my ability to watch Bea Arthur.

But there I was.

I took my homeopathic remedy and decided to go Rollerblading in the park. I have not gone Rollerblading for fun since I broke up with Erich five years ago. I improvised a skating costume, dug my wrist and knee pads out of the closet, and was on my way. It was fun but perilous, as everyone else in Manhattan seemed to have a similar idea. But I am an old pro at dodging skaters, bikers, pedestrians, cars, and dogs, and I emerged unscathed. I have actually only fallen once while Rollerblading, and that was in the middle of a busy intersection in Bethesda, Maryland. Boy, did I blush that day.

Today, I zoomed up roads and down trails, down past Strawberry Fields and even past the Metropolitan museum on the (gasp!) East Side! (Everyone who has accused me of never leaving the UWS now has information to the contrary!) I zipped past jazz bands, fire eaters, and a group of senior citizens taking folk dancing lessons; I stopped for a while at Cleopatra’s Needle, a four thousand-year-old Egyptian obelisk, for some contemplation and to brainstorm a project I am working on. Then I came home across the Great Lawn.

Now I will turn on TiVo and see if I can stand another “Golden Girls.”

Who says I am not adventurous?


I spent much of today

I spent much of today with my friend John, who was on a day trip from Baltimore. We had a lunch at a sushi restaurant near my house, and he found a roach in his miso soup. I dislike miso soup, so I did not have any, thank goodness. The waiter was very embarrassed and brought us a free Sapporo beer and a free cone of raw fish, which I left to John. I also dislike raw fish. Their avocado rolls, however, were heavenly, and I tried not to imagine what, besides avocados, might have been crawling around in there. From lunch, we rode down to SoHo to see the Apple Store. Diligent readers will remember I also took my visiting friend Bryan to the Apple Store.

Visit me in New York, see the Apple Store. I do not make the rules.

I love SoHo, but I dislike everyone who goes there (unless their destination is the Apple Store, which has a glass staircase and permanent protection from my rage).

To annoy me, John referred to Houston Street (the “Ho” in “SoHo”) as Hyoo-ston (like the Texas city) instead of House-ton (like a home that weighs two thousand pounds). That he succeeded in annoying me goes to show either how much of a New Yorker I have become or how annoying he can be when he puts his mind to it.

Later, Joe and I went to see Transporter (a most delightfully awful movie) and for coffee at Starbucks.

Then I came home.


Wednesday was an unusual day.

Wednesday was an unusual day. I awakened early to find a sort of brownish liquid dripping out of my bathroom medicine cabinet. Upon investigation, nothing inside appeared to be broken or leaking, so I dragged Rob out of bed to get his opinion. He did not know what it could be, either. Maybe, I suggested, it is ectoplasm.

It was not.

The building maintenance man later told me that the people upstairs had had some sort of overflow in their bathroom, and it had dripped down through the wall into my cabinet. Given the color of the water, I was not anxious to discover what sort of overflow it was. Instead, I threw everything it had touched into the trash and doused the bathroom in bleach. Oh, joy. I would have been happier with ectoplasm.

Later, Rob and I met a client for a late dinner (which cost me $170!!!) and came back to watch a show we had TiVoed from earlier in the day: “That’s My Baby” on Animal Planet. This episode focused on a crazy woman who had bred her female Boston terrier and held a wedding ceremony in which eight Boston terriers dressed up in formalwear. The female then gave birth to three “legitimate” puppies by Caesarian section. When they started crying, Goblin, who had been chewing on a bone and ignoring everything, jumped up, ran across the room, and began sniffing around the television set. She has never paid the remotest amount of attention to the television before. Where are the babies?!?!?!

My little spayed dog was so interested in the babies that Rob and I ourselves started to cry. Later, Rob filed Goblin’s nails with an emery board.

So, anyway, what do you think? Could it have been ectoplasm after all?


Today, I had to go

Today, I had to go to the doctor for my injured foot. As avid readers of this journal may recall, I twisted it two weeks ago while walking in Central Park with Goblin. It has pained me off and on (mostly on) since that time.

My doctor did not do anything for it, but then again, my doctor never seems to do much of anything. That is fine both because I adore her and because I think she would prescribe any substance at my request.

Her assistant is another matter. His name is Angel (English pronunciation, not Spanish), and he never seems to do much of anything, either, but he is much crankier about it. While I was there today, he spent the whole time muttering to himself about how badly the doctor treated him and about how “I work so hard, and all I get is negativity.” This from the same man who made a life-threatening error with my boyfriend’s prescription and who failed to send a referral to my cardiologist, the lack of which could have resulted in hundreds of dollars of out-of-pocket fees.

Anyway, the only other people I have ever seen mutter to themselves are crazy people. There was one right outside my window as I was leaving for my appointment, as a matter of fact. Someone had put an air conditioner in the trash, and he was beating it with a stick in an attempt to pry it open.

My x-rays are due back tomorrow. Wish me luck.


While with Viki in Baltimore,

While with Viki in Baltimore, we went to the mall for dinner and ended up stopping in a store called Jake’s Dog House because they had a life-sized Boston terrier statue in the window. Viki hates dogs, especially small ones, but she remained a good sport as I became entranced with the doggie Halloween costumes.

Rob had wanted Goblin to masquerade as a mad scientist, complete with lab coat, thick glasses, and unruly shock of hair. Oddly, this outfit was not available, but I called him on my cell phone to see if he might approve of a dinosaur costume. He liked the idea but asked what else they had.

“Devil ears and a pumpkin,” I said.

He requested more information on the devil ears, and we settled on that as more appropriate than anything else. “Besides,” he said, “they’ll match her cape.”

It is true that Goblin has a cape, a black one with a high collar. Doesn’t everyone? She wears it every now and again when she is in a sinister mood, and I do not think much about it. So when I mentioned this existing apparel to the cashier, I was not prepared for the reaction: “Your dog has a cape?

This from a woman who had just sold me doggie devil ears.


Martin said something interesting to

Martin said something interesting to me the other night. He had been following my blog closely since its inception, likening it to “Sex in the City” for vicarious thrills. (I know it sounds mad, given the distinct lack of thrills to date, but I am not making this up.) Then, he told me, a couple of months ago after seeing me for the first time in a while, he stopped reading my blog entirely. The magic, it seems, was gone. The bubble was burst.

Maybe I should just stop seeing people so they will continue to think I am interesting.

I wonder what is on Tivo for the foreseeable future.


I am in Baltimore. My

I am in Baltimore. My dear friend Viki needed a homosexual to help her decorate her apartment, and I got the job. We spent the better part of two days at Ikea, dodging other fag/hag duos in search of just the right shade of hot pink accessories. This is a whirlwind tour, as I have to be back in New York tomorrow afternoon.

I feel as if I have committed a drive-by beautification.

Not all of my motives were so altruistic. On Friday afternoon, I met my mother for lunch at an Indian buffet, and she took me to her warehouse store to stock up on supplies that are too expensive in Manhattan. She was generous enough to buy me forty-eight Mach 3 Turbo blades, over a hundred Clorox disinfectant wipes, two bath sheets for Goblin’s crate, and a pair of dress pants with loops too small for my belt. I also went to Target for two packs of boxer briefs and a new pair of pajama bottoms, which my friend Bill calls “lounge pants.” One time Bill came over, and I said, “Bill, why are you wearing pajamas to my house?” and he said, “They aren’t pajamas, they’re lounge pants.” I think he has also worn them to work.

They are pajamas.

Tonight, Viki and I met Martin, Philip, and my archenemy, Spuds, for coffee. Martin and Philip are as delightful and fun as can be. Spuds is a deranged madman with delusions of superiority and designs on world domination.

I wonder if he has any lounge pants.


Once again, I must clarify

Once again, I must clarify a remark I made about my boyfriend in this blog. Three days ago, I suggested that Rob might have written the anti-dog letter to an advice column, as it described some canine features that are shared by Goblin (and, in fact, by all dogs). This was an unfortunate joke. Rob, in fact, adores my dog, and vice versa. They may like each other more than they like me. I regret any misinterpretations of my boyfriend’s character my comment may have generated.

On the other hand, all of the comments about how wonderful, fascinating, and handsome he is are accurate. Case in point, last night, after cooking me a delicious dinner of lemon chicken, he took me to see Movin’ Out, a dance show on Broadway featuring the music of Billy Joel. This sweet gesture was not marred by the sad fact that it was a conceptual catastrophe. While I am not sure I am fully equipped to appreciate modern dance, the performances in this case seemed competent. (I was much more fully equipped to appreciate the tight pants on some of the male dancers.) The show itself, however, was so nebulously devised that after an eternal first act (featuring all of the Billy Joel songs I flip past on the radio), we walked out at the intermission and went to see Red Dragon on 42nd Street.

We both thought the blood, gore, and psychological trauma were more enjoyable by far.

If you take one thing from this blog entry, let it be this: Rob is wonderful, fascinating, handsome, and a friend to all animals (except possibly crocodiles, or at least the mean ones).


I had to get something

I had to get something notarized. I looked up notaries public in the yellow pages, and the only one listed on the Upper West Side was located on 57th Street, in the very same office building that houses my good friend Mark’s office. I went down there yesterday before my cardiologist appointment and found that the establishment was no longer in that building, so instead I went up to see Mark and wish him a happy birthday. Then I went to a big sale at the Gap.

After the doctor, I saw Mark again and found the new address of the notary. It is now on 72nd Street. I stopped by on the way home and found a dingy apartment building. The notary worked from home. I rode the elevator to the seventeenth floor.

The apartment was a scene out of Stephen King’s Needful Things. Almost as small as mine, it was crammed from floor to ceiling with shelves of books and oddities. I saw bones, puppets, and a ventriloquist’s dummy. The small kitchen was unusable, stacked floor to ceiling with books. I had to walk down the entry hall sideways to get through the looming and teetering shelving. An obese person would have had to find a different notary public.

The man himself, a genuine New York City Crazy Person™, had wild hair and eyes. He spoke with a visiting priest as I fished through my bag for the papers I needed notarized. The topic of their conversation (really a monologue from you-know-who) was why religious people could never be trusted in business dealings. He was, however, simultaneously attempting to convince the priest to join with him in a business venture.

Three of us filled the stuffed room to overflowing. I got my papers signed and sealed (he did not check my identification, although he did boast about being the longest-licensed notary public in the city). He said I looked familiar and asked what I did for a living. When I told him, he asked me if I had read a book about some sort of frog, which had been reviewed in a recent New Yorker. I had not. Frogs are not my cup of tea. He, however, seemed to think the New Yorker was not my cup of tea (untrue; I read it all the time) and became instantly cooler.

On the way home, enjoying the first chilly fall day after the humid mustiness of the notary’s apartment, I passed two of my neighbors on the street without seeing them. They are a lovely gay couple who live upstairs, and they challenged me later about why I had not said hello. I told them I never pay the slightest bit of attention to people on the street, and they seemed to understand.

I felt like a real New Yorker.


There is a Christmas special

There is a Christmas special starring the Smurfs in which some sort of demon is conjured, and the only way to banish it back to hell is to form a circle around it and sing a song about how “goodness makes the badness go away.” This does not work until Gargamel teams up with the Smurfs and chokes out the banal words of their insipid little melody.

Yes, I am trying to distract you from what has happened.

Goblin and I admit that we have gone foraging in other people’s emailboxes again. It is a terrible addiction, I know, one that is frowned upon by all sectors of society. We do not like to be frowned upon. We would like to turn those frowns upside down. We would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. We would like to take you to Funky Town. (We are showing our age.)

We would like to make this badness go away by providing good, world-class advice to some poor, unfortunate, ignorant soul. (We do not know what will make it “world-class” except that we have always wanted to be described in that fashion. We may not be upper class, but we are world class. Perhaps this means we are comfortable on sleeper flights to Europe and various locales in the Southern Hemisphere. Perhaps not. A certain Alitalia flight comes to mind.)


Dear Annie: I am 42 years old and have met the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. “Glen” treats me like a queen. He would do anything for me. We have not been together that long, but he asked me to move in with him, and I did. I am extremely happy except for one thing. Glen has a dog that lives in the house, and I am not handling it very well. I resent the dog so much that I am taking it out on Glen. “Rover” is spoiled, messy, stinky and thinks he owns the house. However, Glen has had him for eight years, and he loves the beast.

Last night, we had a huge disagreement, and I admitted my problem concerning Rover. Glen is willing to do anything to make our relationship work and said if it means giving up the dog, he will do it. But how can I live with myself if he gets rid of Rover? I know he would resent me forever, and I wouldn’t blame him. Glen said he could give the dog to his brother, who lives out of town.

What is the best answer here? Am I being selfish because I cannot handle this animal? I have never liked dogs in the house. No matter what, they are animals, they carry fleas, and they smell, even with regular baths. I feel terrible forcing Glen to give Rover away, and I don’t want to lose what we have. — Paducah, Ky.

David responds:

I am led to wonder if my boyfriend, Rob, has been writing to Annie’s Mailbox again. What gives him away is the line about “Rover” being spoiled, messy, stinky, and thinking he owns the house. Goblin is also spoiled, messy, and occasionally stinky, and she thinks she owns the apartment. (She is on the lease. Or on the leash. Ha ha. We have a million of them.)

Assuming this actually is someone from Paducah, Kentucky (doubtful, considering the majority of the punctuation in the letter is acceptable), here is what we recommend: Have your boyfriend build a little house in the backyard. Put a food bowl and water bowl out there, and a blanket for when it gets cold. Then pack up your belongings and move into it, because if you force Glen to get rid of Rover, you are going to be in the doghouse for sure.

Make friends with the dog, limit him to certain areas of the house, and take frequent vacations to get away from him. This is the best you can do. He was there first.

Goblin responds:

Grr grr grr!

I don’t stink! I don’t have fleas! I’m not spoiled!

*snork pant whine*

Maybe a little spoiled. Daddy dropped a Wheat Thin the other day and let me eat it. Daddy says I’m not allowed to pull on the leash but lets me chase squirrels.

Evil evil evil squirrels!

*lick lick lick lick lick*

Oh yeah, advice. You are stupid. I hope Rover eats you in the night or at least pees on you. If you are Uncle Bobby I will pee on you. If you are not I might pee on Uncle Bobby anyway.



I just came in from

I just came in from a peace protest in Central Park sponsored by a group called Not in Our Name [please visit their site at]. As at Macworld New York, it was really quite inspiring to be in a crowd of people who actually agree with me, although it was disappointing to find such a complex point of view so easily and readily distilled into slogans and platitudes. “No Blood for Oil.” “Not MY President.” “Give Peace a Chance.” My favorite was “Regime Change: America 2004.” Petitions were signed; donations were collected; the usual sorts of characters were trotted out to speak to the cheering crowd of thousands. The best speakers were Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, who did not appear as movie stars but as thoughtful and responsible citizens with a message. I think Tim Robbins should run for some office, but he probably will not.

I took my video camera so Rob and Goblin could see what they missed. Rob is in the final stretch of finishing another musical and could not come out with me, although he wanted to. Goblin is no fan of George Bush but feels that if preemptive strikes are necessary, we should first practice on the squirrels that vex her so.
She is sitting on my lap right now, eating carrots and trying to drum up international support.


I know, I know. I

I know, I know. I have been quiet of late. I would like to blame it on my injury, but that would make little sense. Tuesday, I decided to take Goblin on an extended walk in Central Park. We found a nice pine-shaded area near the Great Meadow that was filled with entrancing smells and a squirrel or three. After a sufficient amount of time (sufficient for me; Goblin would have set up housekeeping were it in her power), we headed for home.

We were walking down a grass-covered hill when, the next thing I knew, I was sprawled on the ground, one knee smeared in mud and the corresponding foot sizzling with pain. I thought I had twisted my ankle; in any case, I could put no pressure on it. Goblin looked delighted. I think she has decided to eliminate me.
I sat on a manhole cover and called Rob on my mobile phone. He was sweet. Did I want him to come and get me? No. Just to talk to me until I could figure out whether I could walk home. During the conversation, I experimented with hobbling around: possible, but not without a great deal of pain, which localized in a band around my foot, not my ankle after all. I began the trek home. Rob told me to put ice on my foot and elevate it when I got there, neither of which I did. Nonetheless, the pain faded over the next few days. I even did three miles on the treadmill yesterday. Last night, however, while giving Goblin a bath, I seem to have re-injured it by putting weight on it wrong while standing up.

Regardless of the state of my foot, and dramatic as it would be to do so (I could use the sympathy!), I cannot blame it for my lack of blogging. I have had a lot of work deadlines and errands this week.

Yesterday, fed up with it all, I took an extended break to go to the gym, and I met Joe for tea afterward. At Drip, he showed me his progress in hieroglyphs, and we decided to go across the street to paint mugs at Our Name Is Mud. This is a shop that provides objects of raw pottery that one may come in and, for an extraordinary fee, paint to one’s own specifications. They then glaze and fire them, and the objet are ready for pick-up in a week. Thursday and Friday nights are “adult nights,” and the establishment provides free wine to lubricate the gears of artistic inspiration. I painted red and orange flames on a teacup and saucer (the first in a set inspired by the elements, not by anything diabolical), and Joe worked on beautiful mug that he crafted to look like the wall of an ancient Egyptian pyramid.

It occurs to me that I mention Joe a lot, and one might get the idea that he is my only friend. He is certainly one of my dearest friends and one of the most delightful people I know, but I do have a few others. Two nights ago, I dined with Tiffany and Jeanette on the Lower East Side before going up to midtown for my friend Anna’s birthday party. It was supposed to be in a bar called Trailer Park (people have parties in bars in New York City because our apartments are so small), but it was full, so they redirected people to another bar, which was also full. After Rob and I could not find her there, we finally located her at a third bar, which was not full, but by the time we arrived, it was time for us to go home. Which is fine because I hate parties and I hate bars, and I exponentially hate parties in bars, but it was lovely to go and show my support.

If only my flaming teacup had been done then, I would have made a gift of it.


Last night, on the subway

Last night, on the subway to Joe’s apartment, I encountered a man. He was handsome, black, in his early twenties, conservatively dressed, and carrying an executive Day Timer. He was also screaming at the top of his lungs in Spanish.

“Christ loves you! Christ is the only savior!” Blah blah blah. Nothing we have not heard before. This diatribe was made only remotely appealing by its cadence and the fact that he managed to make it rhyme.

OK, so yelling in a subway car is not unusual. Encountering religious whackos is not unusual. Hearing Spanish in New York City is not unusual. Here is what struck me as a bit odd: at the end of his repetitious presentation, this yelling, Spanish-speaking religious whacko switched to accented English and announced that, should anyone want to learn more, his church would be congregating on Thursday at seven o’clock. He also gave the address in English. Anyone who spoke only Spanish, in the unlikely event that they were struck with the desire, would obviously be unable to follow through. Anyone who spoke only English would hear only the time and place and not understand why they should show up.

Thus, the entire situation was a complete waste of time for everyone but whatever insane bilingual people would find appealing the tiresome message of a screaming madman.

Last night, I lay awake imagining an entire congregation comprised of such people, plucked off mass transit only to return as rush-hour proselytizers.

And people wonder why I want to move to the moon.