Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: life (page 2 of 7)

The Sacrifice

I walked outside and it was pouring cold rain.   My sneakers from the West Coast, white, clean and virginal, were no match for the harsh New York City downpour, and within minutes of my first step from the safety of my home, my shoes were stained and my mismatched socks were soaking wet.    A car honked.   An old man in a yarmulke almost fell over from the force of the wind.   A black girl screamed motherfucker.   A broken umbrella sat on the curb, discarded like a drunken one night stand.   There was a cacophony of voices and alarms and traffic, like a symphony orchestra from a mental ward.    A woman wearing a burka and a raincoat stood outside the new bank, like a statue.   Only her eyes were visible, but they told an unhappy story.   Water fell down, steam floated up, thunder cracked, the subway rumbled.    It was as God above and the Devil below were having a fist fight and New York was frightfully and violently alive from the energy, like a living breathing animal.   All I could think about was entering the Colombian Diner and ordering a strong cup of their darkest coffee, then taking the tall, skinny waitress on the table, and fucking her hard, not caring about the other customers or the cheap coffee mug crashing to the floor, breaking into fine pieces.   And she would love it.   And then I would cry — a cry of happy and sad.   But of course, this was in my mind.   This was not real.    To actualize my thoughts, I would need to follow my ancestors, so I prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, asking Him for a full life.   Why couldn’t every day be as powerful, as full of mystery and passion, as today?    The rain stopped and He replied.   He said Yes.   Yes, yes, yes!   BUT — he warned, and I knew there was going to be a “but”– BUT, he said, I would be forever blind to the magic and power of the world around me unless I showed him a sign, made a covenant with Him, to appreciate all that He has given me.   And that is when I deleted Twitter and Facebook from my iPhone.   I placed my phone in my coat pocket, pulled the zipper closed, and continued on, my five senses at my side.

I Am Not a Medicine Cabinet Snoop

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I was going through my usual Sunday blog reading, which has pretty much replaced my former reading of the New York Times Sunday Magazine, and one of the main reasons my IQ has been falling steadily, when I came across this interesting meme on Three Boys, One Mommy!, which happens to be the least-likely named blog for anything I could imagine myself reading six months ago. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to really DO this meme. I will ignore it, much like I do most memes; it just intrigued me. In this new meme, you are supposed to take a photo of the inside your medicine cabinet, because as the blogger herself writes, “Open door or not, I always snoop in medicine cabinets and I fully expect my guests to peek.”

Very interesting. I’m a very nosy guy, and I love to snoop around people’s private stuff. If I am in your home, I will take note of your furniture, your books, and your preferred brands of breakfast cereal. I love to look into the bedrooms of other people. Is it overly-neat? Is it romantic? What does this room tell me about the sexual perversities of this person or this couple? Are any of the walls painted red? When I visit your home, my mind will be all over the place, wondering about your interior life and trying to know the “real” you? I know you try to cheat, and manipulate your guest by displaying a copy of “Architectural Digest” on the coffee table, but what magazines do you have in the bathroom? That tells me what you REALLY read. Hmmm… Reader’s Digest, with a bookmark at “America’s Favorite Unfunny and G-rated Jokes!” That is the real you.

But there is one part of your secretive life that is safe from my prying — your medicine cabinet. I have NEVER looked into anyone’s medicine cabinet? Honestly. Why would I want to? Assuming that Three Boys, One Mommy is not a drug addict, and that her interest in medicine cabinets is the norm, WHY do people look into medicine cabinets? I cannot come up with a good reason. Is it a girly thing, so you can see what cosmetic brands are used? Are you searching for condoms? Do you want to make sure I use deodorant? Are you one of the Walmart Mommybloggers doing marketing research as part of your job? Are you worried that the host might be a psychopath and before you eat their roast beef dinner that they cooked, you are double-checking that they aren’t on some serious type of drug for mental illness?

As usual, I come late to the latest trend, much like I did with the iphone. When you come to my home, are you LOOKING into my medicine cabinet? What are you looking for? Are you judging me on my brand of razor blades? I’m not even sure what is in my medicine cabinet. I need to go look after I write this up. What does that say about me? I’m just telling you — next time I am in your home, I am taking a photo of the inside of your medicine cabinet with my iphone and sending it to Facebook.

New Administration

Department of Defense

I am back in New York.

Secretary of State

I will be attending Blogher in July.

Press Secretary

I bought an iPhone.

Department of Treasury

I will be focusing on making more money.

Department of Interior

I will start dating, so hopefully soon I will be naked in bed, getting unlimited access to an attractive woman’s department of interior.

Oh, yeah, I’m happy about President Obama, too.

Confidence

If you read the truly popular and influential blogs, you will notice a distinctive voice coming from each blogger and a confidence in their words.  These writers never mention the names of run-of-the-mill bloggers as friends, only other important bloggers — and usually by their first names, as if everyone in the world should know their first name, like Oprah.  These bloggers have a hundred projects going on, just to remind you of their busy schedule.    I eat that stuff up.   I learn from it.  In the competitive field of blogging, where there are hundreds of thousands of writers each competing for attention, it is important to present an image of strength.  If you announce yourself as important, even if you’re a scrawny guy who usually gets sand kicked in his face, then the world starts following.  No one wants to see the emperor without his clothes.  People respect leadership.  We all want President-Elect Obama to stand in front of America and say to the American public that he will solve all of our domestic and international problems.  No one wants him to step in front of the podium at the press conference and say, “Uh, I’m not really sure what the f**k we’re going to do about Pakistan.  Why do you think I’m sending Hillary there?”  That would not be presidential.

I like blogging and I enjoy writing, so I feel the need to make believe that I know what I am doing here on “Citizen of the Month,” partly to fool you into coming back, and also to make you feel safe getting involved in blog activities like the Holiday Concert.  I am not a born impresario.   The trick is to ACT confident, or else you would be too afraid to trust me with your squeaky singing of “Jingle Bells.”

I try to be open with you, but I’m afraid of getting down and dirty with “emotional stuff” here on this blog.  I’m not sure you want it.  I see all the other blogs that you love and admire.  You seem to want a blogger with a sense of confidence.  Maybe it gives you something to shoot for.  Am I wrong?  Sometimes, a new blogger will make a comment on my blog, and I will immediately email her back.   And then something odd happens.  I seem to lose this person’s respect for me, as if I showed my cards too early in the game.

“Jeez… and I thought he was an important blogger.” I can hear the person saying.  “Dooce would never email me.  If he is emailing me, that must mean that he isn’t… that important… shit… why I am reading his stupid blog anyway!”

OK, enough… let’s get to the point of this post.  There’s something about this online life that is depressing to me.   I wish I could say it was because you were a bunch of assholes, cause then it would be easier.   The truth is — most of you seem like really cool people.  It is just these tiny little moments of interaction that I have with some of you each day makes me sad.  Recently, I have NOT been READING my favorite blogs because I get this “what’s the point” feeling the minute I click on the link.

“I’m never going to know this person in real life.” I think.  “It’s just frustrating.”

I guess I am feeling a little lonely here in New York. And who wants to admit that?  That’s like showing your cards.

Blogging is easier when you have a significant other, or a demanding family life, because they bring you back to reality by demanding you take out the garbage.  The trouble begins when you forget that blogging is really just about WRITING and not an alternative, equally-satisfying way to connect to other people.  You cannot touch a computer byte.

New York City is a special place, especially on the busy streets of Manhattan.  I love to walk down the crowded avenues, people-watching, letting all the energy wash over my body.  That is how the Internet should be.  It is a vibrant virtual city, with unlimited neighborhoods of information, stories, and drama.  But to enjoy it, you need to have a strong sense of self, to separate yourself from the information overload of the masses, to walk with a sense of belonging.   If you think too much about the others all around you, and your place among the mob, you lose your sense of self.  You start to judge yourself, wondering if you are good as the businessman in the tailored suit.  You begin to see yourself as small, as one of the other twelve million other suckers with the same unfulfilled dreams.  What do I have special to say?  Why should anyone give a shit?  HE is the important one… the one everyone knows.  The one on Page Six of the New York Post.  The one who who knows the other important people by their FIRST names.

New York is especially horrendous when you have a lonely heart.  The crowds lose their romance.  It is not like a movie at all, with the horse-drawn carriages, Central Park, and Gershwin.  When you are yearning for love in a large city, each passer-by becomes a possibility for human contact, but it rarely happens.  The pace of the city is too fast.  You take a quick glance at a fashionable woman, and all you can see is her face, her clothes, and the posture of her walk.  Sure, sometimes you can catch the title of the book that she is gripping.  Or the brand of purse.  But what does this tell you about her?  Not much.  Is she even reading the book in reality or just carrying the latest non-fiction best-seller for show?   Is the purse from Bloomingdale’s or is it a knock-off that she bought in Chinatown?   You have to be satisfied with your limited amount of superficial contact with this individual, because she’s already passed.  And there’s no time to fret.  Every second there is another potentially interesting person walking by, and then whoosh, she is never to be seen again.

The Internet can be like that.  Thousands walking by.  I guess the only solution is to start tripping people.

Change

There has been a lot of talk lately about CHANGE.  Voting for Obama is for Change.   Yom Kippur is this week — a time for change.   Fall is about change.   The leaves have already started to change colors in New England.   Overnight, the dress code went from t-shirts to sweaters.
 
I need to embrace change.  My fear of change is one of my biggest faults.  Sophia and I cannot live in limbo-land forever.  It is frustrating for both of us.  Man cannot live without woman for long.  It is one of the few Biblical statements based on fact.  Look at Adam.  He had the wondrous Garden of Eden and the first human Penis – the prototype – and still it wasn’t enough for him.

“WHAT do I do with it, brainiac?” Adam asked God in a sarcastic tone.
  
God did not like Adam’s pissy attitude.
 
“No problem,” said the Big Prankster, ” I will give you a Wo-man!  Good luck, sucker!”

Within days of Eve’s arrival, Adam was so pussywhipped that he was doing her bidding.

“Eat this Apple,” said Eve.

“What for?” asked Adam.

Eve removed the fig leaf covering her nakedness.
 
“F*ck!” said the dumb-as-shit Adam, as he bit the apple.  “You always win.”

It is hard being alone.  OK, I did tell you about that one sexy email experience that I had a few weeks ago.   We did have another encounter after that, but I need her approval before I write about it.  But it was more depressing than fun.   What’s the point of virtual sex?  More frustration?
 
“Seriously…” I said to nice girl who I don’t really know, “Why would we want to send sexy emails to each other.  We live thousands of miles apart.  We’re not going to hook up in real life.  We don’t even know each other.  It’s just going to make us feel lonelier!”

“I love it!” she said.  “There is something so sexy about frustration, a fantasy that can never be fulfilled.”

WTF?  I could hear God laughing at me, just as he once did with Adam.  You wanted Wo-man, you are stuck with her, sucker!  

Last night, I watched Now, Voyager, starring Bette Davis, on the Turner Classics channel.  This is the famous film where Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes in his mouth and hands over.  He does this not once, but about fifteen times in the course of the story.   I’ve seen this film many times and always found it a corny, melodramatic girl-flick.    But have I officially changed?  Have I become an adult who enjoys crap like this?  I was completely taken in with the story about marriage, commitment, secret love, and lust.   For the first time, I UNDERSTOOD THE STORY!   No wonder I am having such a hard time writing a script about two single guys trying to get laid.  I’m not that person anymore.  I have joined the ranks of  adult “complications” where the getting “laid” is not the goal anymore.  I’ve already gotten laid, and I know what happens afterwards.   It is Wo-man!  The apple is never free.  They are trouble.  Thanks a lot, God! 

What was I talking about in this post anyway?  Oh right, change.  You see, I can’t even stay focused on talking about “change.”  I avoid it by chatting about Adam and Eve and Adam’s penis.  Let’s get back to the point. 

I need to embrace change. 

I came to New York to embrace change.  But so far, I have failed.   All that happened was that I got into another rut, another routine.  

For example, every day I take a walk, but it is always the same path, always encountering the exact same individuals. 

My Daily Walk by Neil Kramer

I leave my mother’s apartment building.   As I step out, I run into Juan, the building’s effective but hated super.  Juan works hard for the building and takes great pride in his work, but so much so, that he thinks he owns the place.   He treats the tenants — his employers — like shit.   He yells at them for walking in the lobby after he washes the floor.  God help you if you take a short-cut across the lawn.  He sees you with his third eye.

“Get off the grass, you jerk.  I just cut it!” he bellows.

In August, I got stuck in the elevator for fifteen minutes.  It was an unsettling experience.  When he finally “rescued” me, he blamed ME for taking the elevator.

“Kramer, didn’t you know this elevator had a problem?  You’re wasting my time!  I have work to do.”

“How was I supposed to know that?” I answered, still dizzy.  “There’s no sign on the wall.”

“I’ve been telling people all week.   You need to listen!  Don’t they listen in California, or are you too busy drinking margaritas by the pool with Tom Cruise?”

The “Board of Directors” of the co-op has tried to fire Juan from his job, but he is PART OF THE UNION, which means they have to come up with some legitimate reason to dump him.   Unfortunately, he does an excellent job and is a great super.  What can they say to the union – that they want to fire him because he is rude and obnoxious?   This is New York!   The supers have more power than the tenants!

OK, back to my daily walk.

My next encounter is with Eleanor, a retired woman who sits on the benches in the courtyard between the “A” and “B” buildings of the co-op.   We live in the “A” building.  Eleanor lives in the “B” building.  Her husband has been in a wheelchair since his stroke, so the best they can do for getting out of the house is sitting outside, watching everyone walk by.    My mother also plays Mah Jongg with her on Tuesday night.

Now my regular readers have read a lot about my mother.  You all seem to “love” her.   You think she is fun.    She is fun.  She is also cool enough to read my blog every day.    But she is private.   She would never keep a blog.  When I asked her if everyone at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux had seen the pictures of her retirement party that I had posted, she said no.  She revealed to me – for the first time ever — that she never told most of her co-workers about my blog.    

“Why not?”  I asked.  “Because of the cursing?  The sex talk?”

“Nah,” she said.

“So, what’s the problem?”

“It is none of their business to know about you and Sophia.”

I learned something new.  My mother has not been forthcoming with her some of her friends about our separation.

“Are you ashamed?” I asked.

“No, of course not.   You should hear about some of their screwed up kids?  Divorced, in rehab, Scientologists… you’re pretty normal in comparison.”

But it bothered me that my mother was hiding the truth, especially with those in the apartment building.   But then, I realized – so was I!   My mother was right… why does everyone need to know your business?!    There are a lot of yentas in my building, always prying for personal information.  Whenever I meet one of these yentas in the elevator, I freeze up, knowing  that she is going to grill me like an attorney questioning a witness on “Law and Order?”

“How’s your beautiful wife — Sophia?”  one yenta asked recently.

“She’s doing fine.”

“Is she in New York with you?”

“No, she’s in LA, working.”

“You’ve been in New York a few months now, haven’t you?”

“Yes.”

“You must miss each other.”

“Yes.”

“Will she be coming here soon?”

Luckily, I live on the first floor, so my elevator ride is a short one.

“That’s my floor!” I shouted as I jump off.

“Send my regards to your beautiful wife, Sophia!’ 

There are some days that I take the stairs, just to avoid meeting these yentas.

I eventually convinced my mother to tell her friends at her weekly Mah Jongg game.    After all, if they are truly her “friends,” they are not going to mock her or think she did a crappy job as a mother.    I am separated.  I didn’t rob a bank.

Eleanor, the woman who sits in the back with her husband in the wheel chair, is one of those who knows the real story about why I am in New York.   After all, how long can I really be “visiting” for?  But good intentions have bad results.  Since then,  I cannot walk past Eleanor without her calling me over for one of her “helpful” lectures about marriage and relationships.

“I have been married for fifty one years,” she told me a few weeks ago, her husband nodding in the background.  “And let me tell you, it hasn’t always been easy.    But it wasn’t until about five years ago that I truly understood what marriage is all about… what makes a marriage work.  It was all because I read a book.  You must read this book.    This book changed my life.  I don’t know if you ever heard of it, but it is called… “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”  Have you read this book?”

I have read this book and thought it was hogwash, so I lied.

“I haven’t read it.   But I have heard of it.  It is about how men and women are different.”

“Exactly.   After reading this book, everything about men and women became clear to me.  This book is as important as the Old Testament.  Let me give you an example of why.    A husband and wife are getting dressed to go to a Temple function.  Everyone who’s anyone is going to be there.  The husband says, “Let’s get going.  We’re going to be late.”  The wife is busy putting on her make-up, wanting to look her best.   The wife asks, “How do I look?”  The husband says, “Fine.  Now, let’s go.”  And then the wife is upset at her husband for the rest of the night because he said she was looking “fine” and not “beautiful.”  “What did I say?” asks the husband.    He doesn’t get it.   That’s because he is from Mars and she is from Venus.  You are from Mars.  Your wife is from Venus.  Always remember that.”

Frankly, I think a big problem with my marriage is that I’m from Venus and she’s from Mars, but I kept that to myself.

Every day, every time I take my walk, she is sitting on the bench with her husband, waiting for me.

“Did you read the book yet?” she asks.

“I’ll get it this weekend at the library.”

“You must.  You are from Mars.   She is from Venus.  Remember that.”

Only once she did try to be a matchmaker.    She has a granddaughter who is interested in television production, a “beautiful redhead” who is having trouble finding a “Jewish man with a good soul.” 

“But she’s just 22, so you are too old.” she added at the end. 

“No, she’s not,” screamed my Penis, but the muffled sound from inside my pants never reached Eleanor and her hearing aide.  Eh, her granddaughter is probably a Wo-man from Venus anyway, which does not bode well for our relationship.

Onward, with my walk.

A few blocks after meeting Eleanor, I pass another apartment complex, one for lower-income tenants.   The complex has many buildings, and looks like a typical urban housing project.   In front of one of the buildings, I always encounter Charles, a friendly tenant, working on his garden.  Charles takes great pride in caring for his flowers.   He can be interesting to talk to, but he is also mentally-challenged, so he tends to be long-winded and repetitive, going into the same details about his flowers.

“These are gladiolas,” he would say.

“Beautiful.”

“I water them a lot.”

“Do they need a lot of water?”

“Yes, that’s why I water them a lot.   I use the hose, but I have to be careful not to put it too high because then the flowers don’t like it… and the manger says I use too much water… but the flowers like the water… but not too much water…”

Sometimes I speed up as I pass, giving a quick “hello,” making believe I’m in a hurry to catch the bus.   I feel like a jerk, but so what… proof that I’m not THAT nice.

As I turn the corner, I enter an area of look-alike garden apartments, townhouses, each with two families.    All summer, at the third garden apartment from the corner, sat a little Puerto Rican girl on the lawn,  who had set up a table and was selling lemonade for five cents.   On the porch, was her grandmother, watching closely.   I found this scene very quaint.  I don’t remember anyone selling lemonade when I was a child.  It seemed very middle-American, like in a Dennis the Menace comic book, not an activity you would see in New York.

For some reason, I always said hello, but never stopped for a drink.  I think the main reason was because the grandmother gave me an evil eye whenever I approached.  It sucks being a guy nowadays.  You can’t even say hello to a little girl without being thought of as a predator.    I feared  buying a cup of lemonade, thinking the grandmother would send her German Shepherd, who was waiting inside with his black eyes, to attack.

On Friday afternoon, I took my usual walk in the neighborhood.    It was the same as every day.   I met Juan, the cranky super, Eleanor, the Men are from Mars Yenta, and Charles, the retarded gardener.      The sun had come out, giving New York one last gasp of summer before Fall took permanent residence.    As I rounded the corner, I noticed that the Puerto Rican girl was still in business.    I figured that today would be her last hurrah as the colder weather crept in, and the lemonade lovers went into hibernation.

I thought about my daily walks all summer.  Always the same.   Same path.  Same actions. 

“Whatever happened to my commitment to change?” I asked myself.   

I decided to break the pattern.  No more procrastinating.  I was going to start my change NOW.  I was going to fight my fears and have myself a lemonade before it was too late.  After a summer of passing by the little girl with just a smile, I was going to act.  This would have a domino effect on my life, creating changes everywhere as one tile fell, creating a chain reaction in my brain and in my heart.

I stepped onto the lawn and approached the little girl.

“I’ll have a cup of lemonade.” I said.

The grandmother, who was sitting on a rattan chair reading the National Enquirer, put down the paper, and leaned forward, her neck stretching outwards like that of a Bald Eagle.

As the girl poured me some of her lemonade from a plastic Tupperware pitcher into a Dixie cup, I realized that I had been reading the price wrong since day one.  It was 50 cents a cup.  The cardboard sign was folded, making me think it was just 5 cents .   50 cents for a Dixie cup of lemonade?  I thought it was a bit of a rip-off, but maybe I was living in the past.   After all, Lucy from the Peanuts used to give Psychiatric Advice for 5 cents.   Now, I bet she is $200 an hour!

But I didn’t protest.  This cup of lemonade was not to quench my thirst.  It was a symbol of change.

The little girl handed me my drink.  I handed her two quarters.  I had a tremendous urge to make some sort of traditional toast before I drank the elixir from my holy grail, the way I might before drinking wine at a wedding or at a Passover seder.    I lifted my glass to the young girl, making sure I kept my distance for the sake of the staring grandmother.

“Thank you sincerely for this fine lemonade.”  I said, speaking in a pompous tone, as if I was performing in a Shakespeare play at the Old Globe.  “My I just say that this lemonade is extremely important to me today.  It is more than a cool drink on a hot day.  It is about CHANGE.”

“No change,” the little girl said, angrily.  “It is FIFTY cents.”

“I didn’t mean that.”  I muttered.

The grandmother stood up, her National Enquirer falling to the ground, her hungry dog appearing behind the screen door of her garden apartment.

“Is there anything wrong, Lizzie?” she asked.

“He paid fifty cents.   Now he wants CHANGE!”

“NO CHANGE.  NO CHANGE!” yelled the grandmother.

I wanted to explain more, but it was hopeless, and I could already see the dog salivating. I drank my lemonade, and quickly left.

Any adventure requires an obstacle, and here was mine.    Just when I made the choice to change, the forces of the status quo were striking back, telling me “NO CHANGE.  NO CHANGE!”

Well, screw you, forces of the status quo.  Just you wait!

New Chapter

As I begin this new chapter in my life, I promise to be honest and open with you, hiding nothing, although I will leave it to your imagination to figure out if I am wearing pants or not.

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Life

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Frank Hardy smashed her bedroom door open, finding her riding his brother, sweat running down her naked body.

“You… you… whore!” yelled Frank, tears falling.

Nancy Drew’s face turned red, ashamed to be caught in such an intimate position with her boyfriend’s brother, Joe Hardy.

“Let me explain, Frank,” she said as she covered her nakedness with a sheet.

“And you!” yelled Frank, pointing at his brother, Joe. “How could you do this to me? To your own brother! I knew the three of us shouldn’t be working together. I never wanted to solve “The Mystery of Life.” This was bound to have happened!”

“That’s just it. This IS the Mystery of Life.” said Nancy, putting on her glasses.

“What?!” screamed Frank.

“The Mystery of Life. It’s solved.”

Nancy Drew stood between the two brothers as she tied her hair back. These were her two lovers, two men who made her feel special in different, unique ways.

She loved Frank’s intellect and his ability to follow a clue like a bloodhound. She never felt closer to anyone than when they worked together on “Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Case of the Counterfeit Indians.”

With Joe, the relationship was more chemical, more animalistic. She would never forget the way she gave her womanhood to him on that sandy beach during “The Mystery of Makatook Island,” allowing him to dominating her like the bull from “The Treasure of the Matador,” until all resistance faded, the way the old mine collapsed in “Panic on Seagull Island.”

“What are you talking about, Nancy?” asked Frank. “How is the Mystery of Life solved?”

“Uh, I don’t get it either,” said Joe, still in bed, echoing his brother.

Nancy continued, her voice full of energy.

“We were hired to solve the Mystery of Life, and this is it. LIFE. Life goes on. You can’t hold it in your fingers or put it in a box. You can’t plan on life going your way. That’s the mystery. You can’t control LIFE. One minute you could be in love with me, and the next minute I might be in bed with your brother. Life has its ups. Life has its downs. You never know exactly what’s going to happen next. And that’s the Mystery of Life!”

Frank and Joe glanced at each other, both aware of the games women play.

“That’s utter bulls**t,” said Frank.

“I’d have to agree with my brother, Nancy, ” said Joe. “”You never know exactly what’s going to happen next?!” Seriously, who came up with THAT one?”

“I did!” said Encyclopedia Brown, throwing open the closet door, revealing himself to be naked, muscular and tanned from his last case, “Enclyclopedia Brown And the Case of the Missing Eagle.”

“C’mon, Nancykins, ” said Encyclopedia Brown, semi-aroused. “When are these two clowns gonna leave so we can continue on with our investigation?!”

P.S. — Much love and healing to fellow blogger and REAL mystery writer, Patry Francis, on her surgery today!

Say Hello to Brenda, My Therapist

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Hi, Brenda.   If it is Tuesday afternoon, this means that we are just sitting down at your computer and looking at my blog together for the first time.   This was the idea, right?  That you, as my therapist, might better understand me by exploring the world of my writing online. 

(Say hello to Brenda)

Subjects to discuss:  the ups and downs of my relationship with Sophia, being passive/being assertive, being co-dependent, my insecurity and fear of success, and my neurotic need to be people-pleasing.

I have plenty of posts on all of these subjects.

And if you start reading my archives, I want to apologize for the one post a few months ago where I said that an hour therapy session being only fifty minutes was a major rip-off.   I understand that you use those extra ten minutes to write notes (or catch the end of Oprah). 

That was a joke.   I wasn’t being passive-aggressive.   Really.   You’re great.  

Will We Reach 300 Interviews?

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I hate to make this blog ALL Interviews ALL the time, especially when I just put up such a fabulous post of passive-aggressive spam poetry, but I have been getting quite a few questions via email about the Great Interview Experiment.  I was going to just email everyone involved, but I figured just writing a post was easier.  So, let me make just one last public announcement.  Don’t think of this as a real post, but as a informational one.   (hey, it’s like my first ad!)   I’d like to keep the blog focused on the usual nonsense.   Sophia, my Talking Penis, my mother, my therapist, and the other usual blog characters are getting jealous.

That said, I hope you’re getting to read some of the interviews.   If I forget to add you to the “completed” list, just tell me.  I have a feeling that the one person getting the most out of this is … ME.  I love being introduced to new people and learning more about old friends.   I even emailed a few of you telling her how much closer I felt to you after learning more about your life.  I’ve been “blogging” with some of you for the longest time, and was always too shy to ask you about basic biographical stuff!   Now, I have someone else doing the dirty work.

If you forget who you are supposed to interview, I keep on updating the list.  I know a few of you have to drop out because of time constraints (or giving birth!).  Please email me (at neilochka at yahoo) or just contact the other two people in your interview “chain.”   If you are stuck without an interviewer or interviewee, or if they haven’t gotten back to you within a week, email me and I’ll give you new partners.  If there are some of you who would like to INTERVIEW someone, but not be interviewed yourself, please email me or comment, because we will probably need a few pitch-hitters.  Remember, I can just keep the interview process going, so you can always join up at some future time.

I hope everyone is having fun, and feeling like you are part of a community (even if it is a community of self-obsessed ego-maniacal nudniks who love themselves too much)

To join the Great Interview Experiment, sign up in the comments of the original post, not here.  Thanks.

Next Week in Therapy

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I’m sitting across from Brenda, my therapist. 

Therapist:  So, how did you feel about i?

Neil:  I was a little upset at her.

Therapist:  So what did you do?

Neil:  I withdrew.  I went into my room and wrote.  That made me feel better.  I think I do that too much.  I did that as a kid a lot.  I was an only child.  I always felt most comfortable just sitting around writing something.

Therapist:  What did you write last night?

Neil:  I wrote a silly blog post titled “If I Was Married to Hellga of American Gladiators.”

Therapist:  Hmm…

Neil:  Although no one reading it would know, I was probably venting about Sophia…

Therapist:  So, writing this blog is an important outlet for you.

Neil:  I suppose so.

Therapist:  Maybe it is a form of therapy for you.  A way for you to think about things.  What do you mostly write about?

Neil:  All different things.  Mostly funny things.  About Sophia.  I’ve even written about you. I mean not real stuff.  Well, sort of real.  I use different names for you, and your image has changed as time has gone on.  In the beginning, I made you into a hot babe therapist.  Once I wrote about being distracted because your legs were showing. 

Therapist:  Really?

Neil:  Yeah.  Silly stuff.  But you do have nice legs.  Jesus, I can’t believe I’m telling my therapist that she has nice legs.  Sorry.

Therapist:  It’s OK.

Neil:  But I’ve also written more serious stuff about therapy, like that I’m not an “adult” yet.

Therapist:  I’ve never done this with another client, but your blog seems a large part of your life.  Your fantasy life.  Do you think it would be a good idea if I read your blog?

Neil:  Oh, I was under the assumption that you had been reading it.  I even wrote about that.

Therapist:  No, I wouldn’t read it unless you asked me too.  Do you want me to?

Neil:  Sure.  Why not?

Therapist:  I don’t know too much about blogs?  How do people find you? 

Neil:  It’s sort of complicated.

Therapist:  Do a lot of people come to the blog?

Neil:  Well, it depends.  Right now I have a lot of people coming because I’m hosting this interview thing where people interview each other, but I have no idea how many of them are actually READING aything I write.

Therapist:  Let’s make next week a special one.  We’ll sit by the computer together and you’ll show me some of what you write on your blog.  I want you to show me things that can best help me understand you better.  Let’s make your blog part of therapy, since it seems to already be like that.  Or print out five posts that you want me to read.

Neil:  OK, but you DO realize I’m going to write about this on my blog tonight?

Therapist:  I have no doubt.

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