“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”—Anaïs Nin (via hdteo)
Do you take pleasure in checking the mail, or has it become a chore?
It depends on the mail.
Email: I check this with compulsion. It is not pleasure, it is not annoyance. It is compulsion. I must always check my email. Be it work or personal, I must check my mail at all hours of the day. I may receive an Urban Outfitters mail (deleted) an email from Michelle Obama (deleted) or an email from my parents (read, and eventually returned in kind). It could be a funny link from a friend or a coupon from my roommate. Or it could be the GOOP newsletter. But it is not a chore. It is never a chore. If I ceased to check my email, I may cease to live.
Mail-mail: You know, the kind you get from the post office. This is pleasure. I have always had this sneaking suspicion that something truly great would arrive in my mailbox one day. As a kid, I always checked the mailbox on the way in from school. I would retrieve my dad’s copy of Time or maybe even my copy of Nickelodeon magazine that was languishing there. In my early Internet days, I made penpals with a kid named Jason in Indiana and we exchanged letters and postcards from all over the country for a summer as he traveled around. He may have been an early Internet predator but he included very convincing of pictures of him and his dad in the Painted Desert or wherever. Plus I am still alive and unraped. SO WHO KNOWS.
Nickelodeon Magazine eventually turned into YM which turned into Mademoiselle, which eventually turned into my current subscriptions of Time Out New York and The New Yorker. I’m very typical like that. The New Yorker comes on Mondays and Time Out New York comes on Wednesdays. I particularly take pleasure in those days, but there are postcards and letters from friends which always make my heart skip a beat a little bit. My mom also really loves sending letters in the mail along with financial statements that still mistakenly get sent to my parents’ address in California. So, yes, I still take pleasure in the mail. I love mail. I love communication of all kinds, for the most part.
Vermont has ice cream and beer in mega quantities. Why did nobody tell me this before? Everything is ice cream and beer. You check into your hotel and they give you a root beer float except without the root. Ice cream and beer. All day all I have been doing is gorging myself on Ben & Jerry’s triple caramel chunk and Magic Hat #9. Oh my god you guys. Ice cream and beer. Forever. Everything is white and pristine everywhere you look. When you die you don’t actually go up into the great beyond, you go to Vermont.
“My guidebook told me that this was Dublin, otherwise known as Dubh Linn, otherwise known as Black Pool. Because it used to be used as a pool.”—Here’s some writing I did last night while under the influence of Tylenol PM. Just wanted to show you guys how extremely talented I am.
If you ever want to feel like you’re in a mid-’90s romantic comedy set in New York, listen to this song on your way home from work. Look in a few windows. See a few trinkets that remind you of someone. Sigh wistfully. Look across the street at a boy. Look away. Take out your umbrella when it begins to rain. It’s a red umbrella. Of course it is. You’ll look like such the quirky, set-upon heroine and your soundtrack will match. It won’t even be Saturday and you’ll sigh and everything will be so perfectly sad you could just die. When you put the key to your apartment building in the door, it will catch. Try a little harder. It will work this time.
Put on a bittersweet yet scrappy smile and live to tell another day.
I went to get a massage today. My roommate and I had already decided that we wanted to get massages today, so when we peered outside and noticed that it was raining, we were undeterred.
I walked there by myself over the banks of snow, which are gray and brown and light brown and sometimes yellow and sometimes white. They are white in the parks that are surrounded by bars where only a few people go. It makes me wonder what Manhattan would have looked like back in the day if there weren’t salt trucks and shovels and paved roads. The other day I was sitting at a bus stop waiting and I was pelted by a truck with a wave of rock salt. It was lighter than I thought it would be but it still felt like a baptism. Hello, New York. You have bathed me with salt. I am now yours.
But now it was raining. Different from snow, a little more annoying because the wetness is immediate. I clomped down the street in my snow boots, which I have been told makes me look like I belong on Hoth or in Alaska or Siberia or something, but I find myself more comfortable in this weather than other people who are wearing galoshes. It is fun to walk into puddles like they ain’t no thang. Look at me! Look at me in the puddles!
But I had a place to go to and a time at which I had to be there. The massage parlor’s name is Fishion, which is like Fashion but with an “i”. Or it’s like the fashionable fish district. There are a lot of places you can go with a name like Fishion. They decided to make it into a massage parlor. Fair enough.
They say it’s at the border between Chinatown and NoLiTa, but really it’s just Chinatown. I checked the address on my phone and found a little cave down an alley that was covered with green astroturf, which was soggy and wet and puddled. A sign on the door said, “LEGITIMATE MASSAGE ONLY,” which made me feel good that I was going into a LEGITIMATE MASSAGE place, and bad that they felt the need to make the distinction. I announced myself and said I was waiting for my friend to arrive. As soon as she did, they whisked me inside a small room. A little woman with a smiling face greeted me happily and then left the room, closing the door behind her.
I stared at the chair, the table, and a small shelf unit that held baby oil and vasoline. Another sign on the door blared, “FOR FULL MASSAGE ALL PATRONS KEEP UNDERWEAR ON,” which was a signal that all other clothing should be off.
Again, fair enough.
There was a blanket so I wrapped myself and sat on the table. “Okay?” she asked from outside the room. “Okay,” I said.
She came in. “Lie down. Face down.” I did so, keeping myself wrapped in the blanket.
She immediately began to unwrap me. “Tight,” she said. “Too tight. Very tight!” Loosely she draped the blanket over me. “First time?” she asked.
"Mmmhm," I mumbled. This was a lie. I have had massages before, but I always freeze and forget the protocol. I never know how to react when I am waiting for anybody in a room with all of my clothing off. This pseudo-stage fright applies for all areas, including:
My own bedroom
Do I sit on the chair? Do I sit on the table? Do I smile? Do I not smile? Am I supposed to act like this is normal? What, exactly, is the protocol for waiting for somebody when you are wearing little-to-no clothing?
I feel that it’s better to act like it’s my first time all the time to lower expectations and then raise them once it’s established that I am not completely incapable.
So, yes. I lied to her. I lied to my Chinese masseuse lady. It wasn’t my first time, but damn, I hope it meant as much to her as it did to me.
If you’ve never had a Shiatsu massage by a professional, let me tell you: it hurts. It hurts like hell. This was a combined accupressure/shiatsu deal wherein I expect to be going through hell for at least a couple days, starting tomorrow morning. My back felt like it was filled with Legos and she was going through and smashing them, one-by-one, with the palms of her hands. I was that tense and she was that good.
She took turns at my skull, my temple, my back, my ass!, my legs, and finished by turning my hands into Jello. By the time I dressed and extracted the $30 out of my pocket (a steal!), I could barely move my fingers. She wrote her name on a card in blue ink: CoCo. I tucked it away in my wallet for the future.
I had just been put through 45 minutes of hell, but I can’t wait to go back. CoCo, you’re a magnificent woman. Don’t ever change.
“Still, despite the gifts, I was perpetually broke. I couldn’t figure it out: On Monday nights, I’d be dining at some of the best, most expensive restaurants in Manhattan, and on Tuesday morning, my refrigerator was empty.”—Being a serial mistress sounds a lot like being an entertainment reporter in LA.
It had been a long, tough day for Dimitri. Cold as usual. A blistering sort of cold that made you feel like your blood would freeze over just thinking about it. He was tired. So very tired. As premier of the Soviet Union, he…
I had the best time in the whole world writing this. I hope you have as much fun reading it? Is that a douchey thing to say? I don’t care.