Carding Connecticut Muffin

Wow, in my trials, I have discovered that white middle-aged and elderly people are really really not into being asked who they are here to see when you open your front door and greet them in the vestibule with the question. We’ve had multiple thefts in our building in the past two months, and subsequently received several letters from the board requesting that we ask strangers who they are visiting at the door before letting them in. Ouch. This might be code for “grill all brown people who aren’t dressed to the nines” and I’m not into it, but because there have been all these thefts, and honestly I think I unknowingly let this guy in once who wound up relentlessly stealing from the building (according to video footage), I’ve reluctantly decided that i will agree to grill…but everyone and in equal measure.

This sucks though. I hated it when I used to be grilled for looking like a derelict. For years, nobody recognized Spencer and me when they opened that fuckin door and we were basically instructed to show our papers and wear gold stars strapped to our arms next time, just because we obviously don’t bathe frequently and have English-type teeth, and because we don’t wear beige fleece vests, poofy stupid cotton scarves with herringbone patterns draped around how goitry necks in a sort of tortured this-will-look-like-I-tried manner, and Tevas with tube socks, because the keys to Subarus aren’t sticking out of our back pockets, we’ve been carded at the door…I’ve had doors slammed in my face, I work very hard at being nice to every schmuck who lives in my building, helping people with heavy packages (the more annoying the resident, the heavier are their bags of seventy white linen candles from West Elm. I smile toothfully at their forlorn children, I’m all jazz hands and gingivitis for these children as they weep for lost legos and fallen fig newtons. I work hard to keep my horror tucked away, but it’s always trying to hammer its way out of the closet and into the lobby.

And so when i ask a seventy year old  Jewish lady with a cup of Connecticut Muffin coffee who she intends to see, and she tells me to go fuck myself, i take barely appropriately articulated exception…and it so happens that the annoying resident she was intending to see is Barbara with the neon pink off-gassing yoga mat, Barbara with the bursitis, Barbara with the bad breath, with the the whining upon leaving the building about every impending weather system she might encounter: If it’s muggy, my thumb starts throbbing, they said sun later but this antibiotic makes me photosensitive, they said clouds but my D3 is in the gutter, I hate the way the sleet feels against my fungal infection, Barbara had JUST complained at the annual shareholders meeting that every stranger should be grilled because of all of these illegal airbnb guests, and that same Barbara later chews me out for grilling Connecticut Muffin at the door, so I call her a racist, she calls me arrogant, I laugh arrogantly, she trips on the freshly waxed terrazzo, I help her up, she grudgingly thanks me, and the super’s unattended dog pees beneath the mailboxes.


 

erin exhausted

Photograph by the brilliant Erin Albrecht. The header photograph at top is a signature Erin Albrecht image. Words cannot express how much I adore this woman and her output. Lots of her stuff is this unique blend of ironic and utterly forthright, and the blend is really clarifying/gist-defining.

A Budding Friendship

Today, while gardening in front of my building, this elderly neighbor of mine started chatting me up and we grew afraid together of the weeds that were clawing at the building’s foundation. Then I told her it was a relief that she initiated this lovely, anxiety-begetting conversation with me as I’d always thought she’d hated me, to which she replied that she’d just had a stroke when I’d first moved into the building and her face was permanently paralyzed which accounted for her lack of a greeting and also her speech impediment, mainly what she called “fricative simplification.” To cheer her, I said that consonants were over-rated… but she didn’t smile at that comment… but you see, I now knew she couldn’t smile, so I decided that she was pleased all the same. She then made me study her lack of expression while she said extremely disturbing things. I said “i see what you mean” because I felt she needed me to say that.

She invited me up to her apartment and offered me a Tom Collins. I asked her to say more disturbing things sans any expression and she did. I giggled when she said “A rat ate my face” and I heard her laugh consonantlessly, though I didn’t see it. When she took a beta blocker, I asked if I could score one and she gave me an entire outdated bottle of Propranolol and sent me on my way. I think I’m in love.


 

spencer flute and dina by Luz

Photograph of my adorable husband, Spencer Bewley and me by virtuoso Luz Gallardo. If it’s not clear, there’s no firm connection between these images and the text preceding, except when there is…Contact me if this formula of text, then incommensurate egoistic image gets annoying…but don’t contact me trollishly, cause my cousin-in-law is the periodontist of an FBI agent, who can have you hung by your testicles in a meat locker in Sheepshead Bay if you troll me…even if you use a fake identity; he will follow your fake identity to its conclusion, and string you up by the fascia of your gonads if you troll me.

Preordainment

I realized last night that both my last and first names aren’t particulalry intuitive to everyone or nearly anyone from a pronunciation perspective. and sometimes when one name is, the other isn’t. It’s pronounced Dee-nuh Sigh-den. You can still call me whatever you want within and without reason. My first name means “to judge” and “to be judged” in Hebrew, [what a lot in life, that is, to be oscillating from one to the other… if at the same time, do they cancel each other out? based on casual observation and judgement of myself, i’d say NOPE]. Dina is also a weirdly lazy version of a name of a woman in the bible who gets brutally raped, and is implicitly blamed for both that rape [she went out alone] and [thus] the war it incites, so i’m not particularly attached to it, and I’m dismayed by my parents’ choice there.

My last name means silk in German (I think cause jews were named for their jobs and that side were tailors, in fact my great-grandfather made a dress for Rose Kennedy…which she returned, complaining it had too many darts, they fought when she refused to pay him and she told him to “go fuck a clown under the George Washington Bridge!” [which had just been built] before kissing her crucifix pendant…but I digress. but Seiden also means “any of several parasitic vines, of the genus Cuscuta, having small white flowers but no leaves” and this for some reason makes me think of the flower equivalent of a clingy-to-the-point-of-leechy thalidomide baby, and that makes me sorrowful, so I’m not precious about my last name either.

At the risk of serving to confuse, this is not how you pronounce my name, but Armstrong’s version of “Dinah” was my mother’s inspiration, or so she tells me:

Louis Armstrong “Dinah” 1933


cropped sweating erinI am purposely sweating and fitlhy, it wasn’t inadvertant. Photograph by Erin Albrecht.

Mistaken Identity

Spencer and I just went to Keyfood, and he said he wanted to stay out in the parking lot to take a few drags from his electric cigarette. I picked up some pickles and a defiled avocado and rushed to pay so that Spence wouldn’t be annoyed waiting as he is wont to be. On my way out, a girl who collects carts raced in and told the manager that a woman had just fallen and to call 911. The manager dialed frantically.  I dashed out to help, and yet there wasn’t anyone in the parking lot but Spence, puffing on his stupid little vape. I asked if a woman had just fallen, and he said no, but that, coincidentally, he had just farted, and the fart sounded exactly like an elderly woman crying out while falling.

The Runner Up

I bumped into my neighbor today in the elevator. She’s the second most annoying person in my building. he once threatened to dethrone the racist Aspergerian champion, the one with bursitis and bad breath, here’s how:

it was three years ago at 3pm, and i was late to a doctor’s appointment. i ran down to my car to find that another car was double-parked abutting my car, blocking me in. Someone had obviously forgotten to move the car when alternate went off two hours earlier, so i looked to see if there was the customary “if you need to move your car, call 917-…-….” note on the dash and thankfully there was. I dialed the number, with a mixture of relief, annoyance, and concern for the person who had neglected to repark, maybe something terrible had happened…but then i hear the relaxed voice of the second most annoying person in my building. I should have known it was she, by her annoying teal green Mercury Sable, afflicted with hideous bumper rash that was only partially hidden beneath a dogeared “Support our Troops” ribbon, the “Tr” of which had completely worn off so it seemed to say “Support our oops.” All these trappings are sooo this annoying neighbor. I tell her she forgot to repark her car and she hollers “Oh fudge!” She tells me she’ll be right down and apologizes for the inconvenience, then explains that her cousin Phyllis had called with the results of a biopsy, it was just a calcification, but by the end of the call, she’d forgotten to move the car. I shut shit down with “No worries, see you in a second.”

I turn on the radio, catching one of the more annoying episodes of Radiolab on WNYC, I think it was about how this one kind of snail farts to seduce potential mates but winds up attracted to its own scent and jerking off in a corner, and how that is akin to how prosecutors offer overly punitive plea deals that are more appealing to themselves than to the defense attorneys, or was it how pharmaceutical reps become addicted to the drugs they shill? Whatever the case, the quirkiness of the sound mix was overbearing, and Robert Krulwich, needlessly aggressive in that adorable way of his…but where was I? My neighbor takes twenty-eight minutes to get to her car. By this point, I’m thoroughly pissed off, and overly smiley to disguise my annoyance. She apologizes again as she approaches, she says “sorry it took me so long, it’s just I clogged the toilet right as i was leaving and had to get Nelson up to plunge cause the bellow on my own plunger tore from the pressure.” I lose the smile, bite my lip and stare into the distance, as I reflexively visualize the scale, smell, color, weight, texture, and exact location of this woman’s turd. I find the words “I hope you tipped him.” She scoffs “You don’t tip people to do their jobs.” And that’s when i became the culprit.

She’s standing there scrutinizing her key chain and then mutters to herself “Tip him?” Then she storms over to her car but just after she starts it, she notices a ticket in the window. She rolls down her window and tries to grab the ticket, but she can’t reach it, then is forced to get out to take it from under her windshield wiper. She braces herself against the side of her car as if the rage might blow her over, then she looks at me and screams “Did you call the police?” I scream back “What??? NO!!!” Without using words, I wildly gesticulate the following: “The point is that I’m stuck here because you’re there. Just leave!” She smiles sheepishly and sings “I don’t know what I was thinking!” Then she gets in her car again and finally drives away.

We’ve hated each other ever since while enduring a continuous exchange of hurtful pleasantries. But much to what i assume would be her chagrin, she wasn’t able to accede to the throne because of the racism espoused by Bursitis the next week. Back to the original thrust: we stood in the elevator today, she asked where I was coming from, I said from a visit with my 105 year old grandmother, and she cheerfully said “Oh, God bless!” and as i held the door for her, I said “I’m pretty sure my grandmother’s painful overexistence is proof of the absence of God, or at least God’s curse. She said “What kind of thing is that to say?” as she rolled her cart over my red suede boot


Craig LaCourt

Photograph by Craig LaCourt at the recently extinct Red Hook Bait and Tackle Bar.

You’ve Got the Right Moron

I hate when people say “if you read one thing today, read this.” Who reads just one thing a day, even if you’re a moron? There are menus, sale prices, dosage instructions to ignore, we’re on the computer all fuckin day, there’s the foggy, splooge-covered text to consider, describing what Cassie does in her spare time when not fingering herself in her nursing uniform, cereal boxes, there are detours, ambiguous facial expressions, traffic signals, bogus superdelegate precounts, cat shit textures, swollen lymph nodes, we’re reading all day long, trying to tease or wrest out meaning. Hence, if you ignore one thing today, it should be the most egregious form of a  deceptive premise.


 

performaha-97556.jpg

Photograph by Luz Gullardo. From Performa several years ago. I got reemed for this performance by the curator, and I should have used the vaseline to self-soothe.

Throughline for a Cymbalta Commercial?

In the middle of the night, when my husband’s insanely loud notification tone went off four times within thirty minutes but he wouldn’t turn it lower even though it kept waking me, I told him I wanted to suffocate him and then chop his body into little pieces so that I could apportion fragments of him into a bunch of Cafe Bustello coffee cans, and then drive overland to South America and feed the bits to endangered sloths. I guess it’s time to go back on medication?


erin eyes back.jpg

Photo by Erin Albrecht.

My Shame is Not A Pity

I  had lost my phone, but was worried about getting a new one for fear of losing all 216 unread messages i anticipated people had sent me in the last week. Today, sure enough, I did find my phone and I called out to Spence all sing-songy: “Spe-ence, I found my pho-one and now i can fire it up and read all of the 427 annoying messages people have presumably been sending me!” and Spence was all “Whatever, do you want a baked spud?” And i was all “be happier for meeeee, i found my pho-one!” And as i charge up my phone, i’m muttering verbal-fryishly: “He’s never happy enough for me…” but still I’m just stoked about reading all of my 1674 messages, while worrying about eye strain and the repetitive stress syndrome triggered from replying to all 30,434 messages…but come to find there are all of four messages on my phone: one from Chase, generously notifying me that my checking account balance is low, and one from Cricket, quirkily nudging me to update my credit card expiration date.

I’m still psyched I found it, cause there was a really unflattering naked photo on there that I sent to Spence last year while he was on tour with the Super Furry Animals, in which my breasts look just like dachshund ears, so i was really hoping that particular image didn’t get into the wrong paws…although after sharing this with you, impressions of what that photo would depict are in the wrong minds. And actually, i’m just thankful for healthy breasts, daschshund-earish or otherwise…and anyway, dachshunds have beautiful ears…and anyway, there’s a lid for every pot…an ear for every ditty… a mouth for every clitty…and a shame is not a pity…Or whatever summation suits your fancy.


Luz Spencer and DinaMy husband Spence and me. Photograph by stellar Luz Gallardo.