There's nothing better than a cabbie who really, really knows the west village.
Puma's are for lame chelsea queens
There are juice freaks and pill freak and everybody's a freak...what we all need is a glass of downers or something.
--east village toilet graffitti
How To Work Better, faxed from a friend's office. By Peter Fischli and David Weiss.
I'm going to give this to everyone I know, particularly the people I encounter through my work.
For myself, the ones I need reminding most are #6, #8, and #9. And #3. Duh.
"The Talmud says, If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?"
From a sweet eulogy of Maureen Dowd's mother.
"She was venerable without any of the fuss of venerability; worldly, but thoroughly incorruptible; hilarious, but ruthlessly in earnest; unexpected, but magnificently consistent; wicked, but good. She could be skeptical and sentimental in the very same moment. She set things right just by being in the midst of them."
The moon, just over the horizon, Fire Island Pines, just now.
In February of last year a friend had lunch with me. I was blue because my relationship seemed stuck. Fights, those difficult ones where the arguments are circular and impenetrable, showed up everywhere. He listened, but was clearly uninterested in the minutiae of he-said, he-said. He ignored that part and just gave me some wonderful advice:
What would your relationship look like if you thought of yourself as 100% responsible, instead of 50% responsible?
Of course, he did not mean that the relationship would work if only I was working on it. He was simply coaching me to give everything to the relationship, even during its rough spots, even when I'm hurt, beyond all other considerations, and to see what happened. To let go of being right.
I had a difficult time remembering his advice the next day, so I wrote myself a list, an email I sent to myself, which I kept in my inbox at the office, at home, and on my Blackberry 7230:
Subject: Two Reminders
1. I am strong, and can accomplish anything I want.
2. I am responsible for making my relationship work.
I found incredible consolation in this message after a few weeks. I would read it every day, and ask myself if I'd lived up to it. Some days was a resounding yes, and I'd ask myself if I could be more. Some days a resounding no, and I'd clean up a mess or two and ask myself if I could do more. Some days a big wha? and then there was work to do. It is a great course corrector. After a while, our relationship deepened, flowered, became more dynamic, and a lot of fun.
The day, the night, shows us that we are not static pictures, like all those billions of images we post of ourselves on our internet profiles. We are clouds of emotions, needs, impressions, desires, and intentions. Always there, but not defined edges. When one mist is dispersed, another emerges, a form that is present, but never clearly distinguished. End of metaphor.
After a while, something emerged. There was a piece of the message missing. I knew #2 by instinct, #1 I remembered most of the time, and then, pause in my head, something else. Ellipsis. I've been reminded of it very recently, and it's astounding how it affects me. It's part of myself I didn't know was even there, probably because it was buried under trying to look good, having no personal power, or not articulating my feelings. And so, on the ferry, with the clear atmosphere of the Great South Bay puffing on my forehead and ears, I changed the memo to myself to Three Reminders:
3. I have more than enough for everyone, everywhere, all the time.
I've been referring to it frequently for the last few hours, because I'm still getting the hang of it.
I am watching an early episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The production and writing are flavored with the same 60s sci-fi bombast that the original series did. Yet also the same uncanny images (naked people frozen to death in an icy lounge), and lots of earnest, workable acting. Even the costumes are 60s wacky with an 80s tailor.
I can watch these episodes over and over, with an adolescent's excitement. Like the original series, Next Generation was focused on the things that make us human. A utopian society, where money was rendered obsolete, and people were motivated to better themselves simply for the satisfaction of self-betterment, was primary. Blowing shit up was secondary. The phaser was a tool, just like the tricorder. There was peace in the galaxy.
What's bugged me since the last episode of Next Generation is that all the post-Roddenberry series have had one or another of the elements of what I liked about Star Trek eliminated.
DS9 wasn't set on a starship. Not even a starbase, but some ghetto base over a poor, super-boring planet. And average acting, sleepy writing, no plot, and a really sleepy theme song (dudes, majestic is not Star Trek).
Voyager wasn't set in the Federation. Always separated from the advanced society that we here with our stupid terrorism and stupid terrorism-preventing wars can only dream of. And horrible actors, horrible writing, the plot was always the same (we're trying to get home!) and a really sleepy theme song.
Enterprise didn't have phasers, tricorders, or any Federation. And they didn't like the transporter. In short, none of the cool shit that made Star Trek fun. That brings us to two shows with no Federation. I suppose they thought that it would make for dramatic interest. It did not. Also, there seemed to be a non-stop war going on, and lots of fighting. The show was not about peace. And horrible actors (and I used to think Scott Bakula was cute) except for Jolene Blalock, writing that bordered on insulting (often being more sexist than the original series was in 1966), lame plots (no Federation = no fun), and a revolting easy-listening theme song.
So I just watch the old episodes over and over. Thank god for Spike TV.
Oh, and I want a type II phaser for my birthday.
And I was all set to retire my "Free Leah" t-shirt for a "Free Lil' Kim" t-shirt. Turns out everyone's going to jail. Free Judith!
The only thing better than having a Jamba Juice near my office would be having it delivered.
Woe to the man who forgets hair product for a long weekend on Fire Island. Woe.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.