Personal Intrusi(un)

I think I can speak for the wider non-gender specific audience when I say I’ve been told a lot of things in my life “are a privilege, not a right”. Examples that immediately come to mind are: driving, voting, enlisting, pet ownership and rhinoplasty.

But I believe many of us overlook the luxury of privacy. It’s perceived as a right by most but I say nay – this state of being is, too, a privilege.

Making a conscious effort never to assume, I think (most of) my fellow females out there can best relate to this statement. Now, I make this statement very loosely, but in my experience both in real life as well as scripted television and film, men are less inclined to give a shit if, say, another dude walks in on him getting changed/showering/watching porn.

Growing up a soccer player and a dancer taught me to be fairly lackadaisical about privacy but I also have to draw the line at some point, you know? I think it’s only fair to say I’d prefer not to have someone walk in on me eating a pint of ice cream from the container balancing on my stomach and wearing my action-getting-repellent granny panties.

I mean sure, marvel all you want at my balancing act, it’s my attire which I’m less than eager to have you bear witness to.

Fair Warning (again, I say this generally): A stranger of the female sex can sometimes cause temporary emotional disturbance/discomfort and/or confidence imbalance. The sidewalk is oft not place to force interaction with an UF (unidentified female), but is simply a moment to steal a quick glance at an outfit, purse, maybe shoes; do your best to avoid eye contact and continue on your merry way.

But(!) the bathroom, on the most surprising of other hands, does not fall under the same category as the above. Rather, it is a place where females can take refuge with one another. Remember the Seinfeld episode when Elaine runs out of toilet paper and asks her neighboring stall-mate to spare a square? Not so! I find there is a sense of unity between women in the bathroom; a place to escape forgettable first dates, creepy bar dudes, reapply and sometimes a place to snag a free mint after that pickle juice martini that didn’t stand a chance (don’t knock it ’till you try it, I promise).

I cannot say the same about dressing rooms. We wait in line with added pounds of fabric (avg 5-15 lbs) on top of our purse (avg 1-6 lbs) and usually in someones way because they JUST CAN’T WAIT(!) for that blouse you’ve been soooo inconveniently blocking for 45 seconds.

The dressing room is a sanctuary and after a painstaking 15 minute wait, we expect zero interruption besides the occasional “is anyone in here?” No ma’am, we just stuck a pair of mannequin feet in there to fuck with your head a little.

Taking refuge, I’m yes-ing and no-ing my items when I feel a brief tickle across the top of my foot. Eh, probably a dust bunny. But in the mirror I become acutely aware first by the Sketchers Shape-Ups then by the Swiffer duster in the dressing room next to me. I’m not sure how that brush could have been an accident – she had to fully extended her arm engage contact. The cleaning woman simply figured she’d cover all rooms in one fowl swoop and my dressing room was just next on the list. No need to wait for me to leave – a waste of precious time! Wanting to see how far she would go, I remained still. She continued to swiffer. Under the mirror, behind the chair, between and around my feet but very considerately never making contact again. The first time was a sloppy mistake on her end never again to be repeated.

I shall forever call her The Swiftiest of Cleaners.

Oh and since we’re on the fast track to becoming best friends, might I suggest burning those shoes? Additionally, I’m interpreting this as an I’d-like-to-clean-your-apartment-for-free olive branch.

a sense of urg(un)cy

Thankfully, I’ve avoided any life-altering diseases, surgeries, infections and wardrobe malfunctions. When I was a wee one though, I was inflicted with, but not limited to: jaundice (a flattering yellowish tint), chicken pox (twice), pink eye (tri-yearly for about four years) and random unidentified bodily rashes.

So when the doctor told me – more so my mother – I had a UTI, my nine-year-old self was obviously unfazed and unconcerned. There were meds to quickly diffuse the issue. The root of the cause was because I “didn’t want to miss a damn thing.” I wanted to be in the thick of the action – who could blame me? So peeing hurt a little more than usual; a small price to pay.

Fast forward 14 years – cue: Reality Check – I can now successfully manage my restroom to anti-action-missing ratio; a self-taught accomplishment but an issue many struggle with to this day.

These days, leaving work usually means walking home well after dark and subway rides with New York’s finest pieces of work, all while keeping my tote bag tight under my arm to be used as my D-Lineman blocking drill tool. Stepping off the escalator, I cut the corner tight to find my usual waiting spot, knowing I’m right where the subway doors will open, when a small Hispanic man whizzes by me and clips my right shoulder. Contact was made since my bag is always perched on my left shoulder.

An adoptee of the hands-in-the-air-”Hey Asshole” move, I turn on my heels to initiate arm-flailing and instead come face to face with the same small man: junk out, taking a whiz and just looking. All at me. Guy: at least aim toward the tracks, the mice, the “Please Stay Behind the Yellow Line” line, WHATEVER.

For a small fellow, he had some serious arc, though.

Leering and slightly concerned my feet would surely receive residual spray, I merely asked, “Why, though?” Focused on me and without a word, he finished, shook, zipped and skipped up the escalator.

I almost wish he slithered off the platform and dramatically ran into the oncoming subway track’s dark abyss.

Let me teach you the ways of the ratio, little man.

Happy Val(un)tine’s Day

The first person to wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day was the homeless man who, fail not, is always going hard at some half-eaten thing he dug out of the trash and asks me how “dat fine ass is doin’ this morning”. The man is persistent and consistent, kudos.  

I came home to a used condom woven through the iron bars of my front door. 

People, I give you beyond reasonable doubt that romance truly has no monetary value.  

So, I see your roses and heart-shaped box of chocolates and raise you the daily reminders of how painfully single I am.

Ladies and gentleman, I am back.

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excurs(un)s

Ralph Waldo Emerson coined the phrase, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

My mom has a similar saying that’s sort of a killer combo between philosophical enlightenment and Vanilla Ice’s next one-hit wonder:

“You know, Sar, life’s not about where you end up but all of the different paths you take to get there. You just gotta do you.”

I know in most scenarios this is more aptly apropos for larger life events: career changes, blossoming romances and the occasional pregnancy scare. Tonight I can confirm I successfully applied the very same life advice to everyday life.

Despite the lack of notice that it’s winter and walking 30 blocks to my apartment is not dissimilar to a Naked Mole Rat in Antarctica, I still do it. This is not for martyr-dom, people; I’m like a hamster in its wheel for 12+ hours – then the wheel breaks off the cages’ hinge but my little legs just won’t stop.

I enjoy my walk home on Third Ave. It gives me time to blow off steam from the day’s happenings; I can call family and friends and pick up dinner: frozen yogurt. Like any avenue in New York, I walk by tons of restaurants and bars; from fast food joints to three-star Michelin rated hot spots; dive bars that will probably lie about when last inspection was to the intern-infested underage clubs where the line is blurred between sweat, saliva and alcohol (word of advice: all three will wreak of booze so you’re pretty SOL).

As if someone were writing my slow-mo “international super-spy car explosion escape” or “nerd-turned-hot-girl making her big entrance at the senior prom” scene, I narrowly miss a lit cigarette flicked with an incredible trajectory by the drunk businessman slouched on a stoop shouting, “I don’t need this. Just leave me the fuck alone!” to the homeless man next to him, eyes darting either in genuine discomfort or the paranoia caused by the joint dangling from his lips. My Matrix-like sidestep lands me in the line of fire of a nearby building night cleaning crew about to start their shift and dressed to kill (but, really) in their A-line Tiffany Blue cotton knee-length dresses and trampling anyone or thing in their path. Forced off the curb and almost into an off-duty taxi, the woman outside the bar sipping her martini (martini glass, olives and all) and balancing her extinguished cig, hocks a loogie with a force that simply cannot be taught, only admired and slightly offended.

My dance celebration (not far from Rocky at the top of the stairs) from avoiding cigarette burns, being clothes lined by a line of angry women in unfortunate adult school uniforms and unwanted recipient of a saliva donor was totally necessary.

And sadly quickly derailed by the nearby vomit I danced right into.

So, Ralph. Mom. I see your precious “journey” spiel and raise you a, what I think was leftover Mexican, “destination.”

homemade b(u)tterfi(n)ger mini’s

I’m really working hard at trying to figure out how to strike this happy balance between gluttony and starvation. Sugar, that coy bastard, usually stampedes any health kick I’m on. How my face hasn’t melted off from my sugar intake is honest to god beyond me. You remember the Pringles slogan, “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop”? Well the fun don’t stop ’till I pop.

This sugar “cripple” God hath bestowed on me has not, however, weaned me from my love of baking. I have learned that upon completion of a recipe, I am to immediately package and store the goods out of my reach while spiritually chanting “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and watch others enjoy the fruits of my labor. 

With all of the post-Halloween candy sales at drug stores nationwide and me to never turn down a sale (or sugar), I wanted to make something out of it – and thus, I bring you my homemade Butterfinger Mini’s. Now go get hopped up on some sugar and make some mistakes, you crazy kids!

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Homemade Butterfinger Bars

Adapted from the lovely Blue Eyed Bakers

3 cups candy corn

1 ½ cups smooth peanut butter

2 cups milk chocolate chips or chocolate candy melts, for dipping

Line an 8 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the candy corn in a glass bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between until candy is completely melted.  Add in the peanut butter and continue to stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth.

Spread the mixture into pan and let sit at room temperature until cool, about an hour.  Using a sharp knife, cut candy into 1 x 2 inch bars.

Melt chocolate chips or candy melts in the microwave, checking every 15 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Dip each bar into chocolate to coat completely.  Place on wax paper lined baking sheet to firm.  Store covered in the fridge.