A Story In So Many Words (#5: 100) – “Use Your Noodle”

That's using your noodle!
Every Sunday when Cintra visited her grandparents, she’d find her grandmother in the kitchen stirring a pot of noodles. Egg noodles, for soup. Macaroni, for a cheesy casserole. Spaghetti, for her favorite meatball dish. No matter what kind, Cintra would fish one out and slurp it through her lips.
One day she heard her grandmother exclaim, “That’s using your noodle!” She peeked into the kitchen. There stood her grandfather, hatless for once, head bent over the pot, and her grandmother scraping linguini from his scalp into the boiling water.
That night, Cintra feigned a stomach ache and ate oatmeal instead.

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#1: 100 – “Food For Thought”
#2: 100 – “Mammu”
#3: 100 – “In A Pickle”
#4: 102 – “Meet Me”

Not Just Another Day

There is a certain stretch of Sixth Avenue that I use quite frequently. This morning, I saw this there:

For Betty Tapekanakis For Betty Tapekanakis
I remember the day she was killed. And every time I pass the spot where it happened — and other times when I’m nowhere near Sixth Avenue — I remember that day.
I did not know her. But I remember her anyway.

What You Don’t Know

What you don’t know, little guy on the uptown “D”, is that I’m wondering if you’re a miniature businessman or some doofy kid on his way home from a downtown school for precocious mini-Wall Streeters. Your subtly striped midnight blue pants (half of a suit, it appears) and dark blue shirt sans tie, big boy black lace-up shoes, sturdy briefcase, neatly combed short light brown hair and very thin wire glasses (they look “flexi”!) could lend themselves to either identity. I don’t know what you are. Boy? Man? Beast?
Peter Parker?
In profile, little man boy, you resemble Tobey Maguire. Yes, you do. Your somewhat pouty lips. Your almond eyes and flirty eyelashes. Your hair, so well-groomed. Your mild manner.
What you don’t know, little Mr. Peter Parker Tobey Maguire In Profile, is that for several stops I’ve been amusing myself by picturing you in the full Spider-Man getup, complete with webby wrists. Hanging upside-down, like in the movie, kissing that chilly ingenue. (But I haven’t gone so far as to picture her as me.)
What you don’t know is that you shouldn’t turn to your left and let me see you from an angle other than your profile, because when you do, you look nothing like Tobey Maguire and everything like 16-year-old Josh Goldbluth on his way uptown to visit his Aunt Selma for a Tuesday afternoon game of rummikub.
P.S. It’s cute how, when we both stand to get off the subway at 72nd Street, you look up at me all shyly, astonished that I am literally half a foot taller than you. (I know you wish you had webby wrists so you could scale me.)

No Eye Don’t

For the kathousajillionth to the nth power time: No. No, people, no. No. I do not watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Or any other “reality” shows. Stop asking me.
I could not care less about it if I tried. I don’t care to get all wrapped up in two-dimensional “reality” when I have the real thing in vivid 3-D just outside my front door. And, actually, on this side too.
Yes, it’s true that I was quite attached to this season of American Idol, but after all was said and sung and done, who the hell cares about Ruben and Clay? The people in my real life — even the ones on the bus who prattle on about whether they want to get off the crosstown 72 at 66th and Fifth or 66th and Madison — interest me much much more.

(S)Top This!

“I get five, six hours of sleep, max,” he says.
“That’s nothing,” she says. “I get four. On a good night.”
“I only need three,” another girl says. “Even on the weekends.”
“I pull all-nighters at least twice a week,” another guy says. “And some days all I need is a nap in my office after lunch. If I even take lunch.”
When did it become all the rage to brag about a lack of sleep? When did it turn into a competition? When did sleep become the new diet?
“I only had a bowl of cereal this morning and a small hamburger patty, no bun, for lunch. For dinner, it’ll be popcorn (94% fat-free).”
“I think I had a baked potato, plain, somewhere around noon, and the olive from my partner’s martini during the late meeting. Dinner, if I even have it, will probably be a salad.”
“Oh my god. I haven’t eaten since Tuesday. Except for Swedish fish. Does that count?”
What’s next? What other basic human need are people going to strive to deprive themselves of, and then feel self-righteous to brag about? Shelter?
“I had a great pre-war two-bedroom with a dining alcove on Central Park West, but now I live in Midtown in a studio apartment the size of an Old Navy dressing room.”
“Really? I had a cozy one-bedroom with a working fireplace in Gramercy Park, but now I crouch in the ill-lit, rat-infested hallway of my ex-boyfriend’s condemned Chinatown tenement!”
“I’m moving out of my Tribeca loft with private keyed elevator, exposed brick walls, random-width plank floors, walk-in closets, and stainless steel kitchen, into the ladies lounge at Saks —”
“Ooooh, nice!”
“— I mean the ladies room in Washington Square Park.”
Who’s the winner, losers?

Street Treat

Go on. Go to town. Amuse yourself. Make all sorts of limp jokes based on words that appear on the signs, i.e., “honk” and “yield”. Work in the word “penal”. Incorporate “$350” somewhere, in a reference to the cost of services rendered. Whatever. I don’t care. I have a headache.


A few days ago, while putting on my watch, I suddenly realized I didn’t know how to work its clasp anymore. A huge question mark floated above my head (it was actually dangling on a very thin, almost invisible wire — I don’t go in for fancy computer-generated effects) for the hour it took me to figure it out. Once the watch was secured on my wrist (that’s where I’m wearing it these days), I promptly forgot.
That same day, I was confronted with the word “miniseries” (it came out of nowhere, I tell you) and didn’t know how to pronounce it. I was pronouncing it as “mih-NIH-suh-reez” in front of mixed company for twenty minutes until I finally got it right.
Then I became all too aware of my own respiration. For the rest of the day (it wasn’t even noon yet!), I had to actively tell myself to inhale and then exhale. And then repeat the cycle. And repeat it again. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseam. I became paranoid that I wouldn’t be able to do it while sleeping.
I haven’t removed my watch since then. Or stopped monitoring my breathing. The latter kind of makes it hard to keep pronouncing “miniseries” properly, but I figure I can’t have everything. (Including sleep.)


Smirky Cat

You are bored tonight. Admit it.
Know how you can stop being bored? (Other than that.) (Beast.)
You can draw me somethin’.
All the cool bored kids are doing it.
You’re cool too. Aren’t you?