Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In Redux: An Open Letter To Automatic Doors That Do Not Open Automatically When I Approach

Recently, I submitted this open letter to McSweeney's about an ongoing problem--automatic doors and me and the fact that they do not open when I approach.  My piece saw the same fate that most writing does.  Rejection.  However, I've got to thank McSweeney's because the rejection was actually personalized.  The rejector apologized for passing and then sweetly stated, "here’s hoping the doors get your message eventually."

What's the message?  Here's the letter so you can see for yourself.

Dear Automatic Doors:

I have only one simple question: why don’t you open when I walk up to you?

More and more frequently in recent months, I find myself dreading the walk-up to a set of you doors that have an electronic eye attached to motion detectors to make you open. More and more frequently, I stand in front of you and nothing happens. Actually, that's not true. What happens is I stand in front of you and you remain closed. Then I don't know what to do.

Sometimes I take one step back and then forward again. You do not open.

Sometimes I shuffle side to side. You do not open.

Sometimes I step aside and wait for someone else to exit or enter so I can slip through, ninja-style. You open, but begrudgingly. Apparently, you also have something against ninjas.

Sometimes I relent and walk away as you remain closed.

I have yet to flail my arms around, direct my face at the camera, and shout, “Hey, let me in! I only need a banana and some Kleenex!” I’ve been on the verge of doing so, but it may look ridiculous. Then again, I look kinda ridiculous standing in front of closed doors, watching longingly through the glass at the happy shoppers with their carts, hoping that you'll open. And I also look kinda ridiculous doing the hokey-pokey-sidewalk-shuffle.

And again, I probably look ridiculous walking up to a set of closed doors, waiting, and then walking away for a reason not apparent to anyone else around—those innocents, unaware of our unspoken standoff that you have begun.

I'm not talking about one particular set of you. This refusal of entry has occurred in many places: at CVS, at work, in supermarkets, at several places in Denver. It’s as if you have a national network through which you’ve sent out an APB with a screenshot of me in half a side-shuffle with the caption: Do Not Open Up For This Little Woman No Matter What Movement She Makes.

At first, I thought that was the reason: maybe I'm not tall enough. I contemplated getting stilts or a pogo stick. I contemplated taking up with the Harlem Globetrotters, begging them via Instagram to accompany me wherever I go just in case I need to go from the outside world into a building. 

Before making these circus-like purchases and borderline-sane requests, I realized, no, it can’t be my 4 foot 10 inch frame. Adults in wheelchairs for whom some of you doors are specifically installed (like the one at work at the top of the wheelchair ramp) can get you to open without a problem.

I’ve also seen many small children, 4 foot 10 and under, who like motion detectors. They can make you open and close and open and close and open and close and open and close. You seem to actually enjoy the game although store managers and moms do not find it as entertaining.

So while I would like to think that no one and nothing in this world could possibly hate me aside from several students who failed that one semester of comp and perhaps a waiter in Denver, I’m beginning to realize that you might not like me. If that’s the case, I would really like to know why, so that I could make it up to you and you could open for me again. And yes, I realize, I look kinda ridiculous asking automatic doors to have a sit down and hug it out, but what’s more ridiculous is pushing a shopping cart up to the local A&P and waiting there until someone else decides it’s time to get some milk.

I’ll be awaiting your reply. Out in the parking lot.

Hopefully yours,

The doors?  Have not gotten my message.  Within days, the pesky automatic door in the S building on campus closed on me.  You know how automatic doors usually pop back open immediately upon striking something?  Yes, well, this one did not.  It bumped into me, I jostled back and forth, and then, and THEN, it hit me again.  I shit you not.  Just one more ram into me for old time's sake.  I stumbled out of the doorway unharmed save the embarrassment of semi-animate non-rational objects getting the better of me, a human being with several advanced degrees and a career in higher ed. 

Clearly, this is McSweeney's fault.  Clearly.

So no, they haven't gotten the message, at least not up until eventually now. I suppose I'll keep waiting. Outside. Still.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Green Fest 2015

Because Groupon had discounted tix and because I like festivals that have booths that give things away, Eddie and I went to the Green Festival.  And I got free stuff.  And in an unprecedented turn of events, we also bought things.  Wow!

Basically, the booths were made up of organic and green-grown food and drink products, solar and wind powered companies, and some clothing, accessory, and home boutiques.  Everything was all about reduce, reuse, recycle.  Also, there were some random things like newspapers and car contests because they helped fill up the smaller room of the Jacob Javitz Center.

I don't know how the mask wound up off-center. I could see fine.  No one told me.

I think this is a chair.  A happy chair.

Very happy to be at the Green Festival

I got a sticker when Eddie bought some pumpkin seeds!

I did not like this at all.

This man is sitting in his own personalized sauna.

I tried a lot of samples, and most of them were delicious.  I tried the not-so-delicious green grassy drink that the guy claimed tasted like berries.  He tried and tried to get Eddie to sample it, so I finally did, turned to Eddie, and was like, There's no way you'd like this.  Finally, the guy stopped pestering him.  I got Eddie to try the pumpkin seeds because I knew he'd like them. After eating them, he bought a bag because they were delish. I had some marinara sauce from Michael's in Brooklyn, and now I want to go to Brooklyn to eat there.  I also tried some not so great hummus products followed by some very yummy kombucha tea.  Then I had some hemp seeds and the guy was like, Open your bag, and then he dumped lots of packets of hemp seeds into it, and was like, They're free so take a lot!  This guy?  Speaks my language.  Over at the So Milk stands, some woman was looking for something to have and everything the guy offered, she didn't like.  I don't know why she was at the stand if she didn't want any of the products, but I waited patiently so I could get a bit of free soy ice cream.   I then tried Brooklyn Dark chocolate.  I couldn't get over how good it was.  I gushed to the woman about it and she kept handing me tiny bits to sample and I kept eating them. We went back at the end to buy some bars.  I think because we actually went back as opposed to what I and others usually do--say we'll come back and then don't return-- the guy gave me an extra bar. Yeay!

When we left, I carried a big bag of free stuff, and Eddie said, I got something for free.  Then he held up a green chip that he was supposed to use to cast a vote for a group to win a grant.  Instead, he liked the chip so much that he kept it.
So proud

We made our way to get some linner (lunch/dinner) at a diner we'd passed while walking there. You'd think I wasn't in the mood to have a meal since I'd nibbled my way through the festival, but diner food is my jam. AND it was the best city diner ever, and if I want diner food in the city again, I'll go back here.

As for my free stuff:
What a score!

Free Stuff Update

Thanks, S, for inviting me!

Mmmmmm, swirl

Poetry collection courtesy of HWWP

Doing Yoga In Pajamas. In Public.

I started doing yoga secretly in my bedroom when I was 15, when I’d found a layout about five yoga poses in Sassy Magazine. The photographs were in sepia. The instructions were simple: Breathing? I could do that. Sitting? I could do that, too. Throw in a down-dog and I was rockin’ it.

Secret Yoga became part of my nightly physical fix. After Secret Dancing around to The Pointer Sister’s “Neutron Dance” in my “You Are Here” Milky Way Galaxy T-shirt, I settled into some secret cat-cow and then secret corpse pose.

What’s with the secret stuff? I was rather awkward and shy to the point of tears. Everything I did was kind of secret. What would people think of me dancing by myself? Now I was also doing this weird yoga thing that no one else I knew was doing.

Years later, I realized nothing had to be a secret....

Want more? Check out the rest of this piece entitled "Why I Go To Yoga Class In Pajamas" in elephant journal, a fun and informative website about yoga and more.

And here's what Eddie thinks is a great shot of me getting into tabletop in summer jammies

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

9 Songs We Sang As Kids That We Definitely Shouldn't Have

When I listen to the radio while driving alone and a throwback from the '80s or ‘90s comes on, I roll down the windows, turn up the volume, and yell, "This! Is! My! Jam!" Then I sing along. Loudly. You've been there. We've all been there.

The difference between singing along now versus singing along strapped into the backseat next to our siblings with our parents up front is that now, we not only pay more attention to the lyrics, but we know exactly what they mean. Then we realize that when we were young, our parents were either not listening or were simply happy we weren't beating the crap out of each other or whining about how hungry/thirsty/tired/bored we were.

Here's what we sang, and why we probably should not have....

Wanna read more?  Head on over to The Mid, a great new website that focuses on life in the messy middle.

P.S.  The title says nine songs, but there are only eight.  I have no explanation for that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Home Show

Because we own a home, Eddie and I went to the Long Island Home Show at the Coliseum.  The parking lot was packed when we got there.  This many people wanted to find deals on fertilizer and chimney sweeps?  Actually, no.  This many people we found as we finally found an open door were there for the Islander game.  We didn't have tickets, but we were able to simply walk into the Coliseum.  I suppose that's because the game was letting out.  Perfect timing on our part--we couldn't walk anywhere because of the throngs of hockey fans.  The Coliseum has no wiggle room. We found that we had to walk against the crowd to get to the escalator to get to the lower level.

The Coliseum has a lower level.  I did not know this until the moment the guard told us about it.

Once we got there, we entered the world of windows and patios and vacuum cleaners.  Almost every other booth was a solar company.  I'm interested in solar power, but this was overwhelming.  There were too many companies offering too many options.  I signed up for information from a bunch of them even though only one of them had a name I recognized.  It was that company that also made an appointment to come out to the house the next week.  I also signed up for information and made an appointment with a window company to come out in two days. 

We saw spas.  We saw covers for baseboard heating.  We saw fencing.  One company had an actual fencer standing with their booth, and she poked me with her epee and I was like, Yes, I get it--fencing.  We saw electric experts who were quite upset when Eddie told them that we'd just had our electric redone.  We saw lightbulbs and the salesguy told us we make a good couple and I responded, thank you but I'll come back if I want to buy your bulbs.  He said that meant I wasn't going to buy them.  Yes, very true.

Mostly, I engaged in a lot of conversation to get free candy.  But also to find out about home stuff.  We walked away with a free tote bag, some plant seeds, a chip bag clip, and a handfull of bite sized candies and lollipops. 

The window people called the next day to iron out some information they needed beforehand.  Then they told me they couldn't come if Eddie wasn't home.  Apparently, I can't make decisions.  I was like, Why did you have me make an appointment on the spot if I couldn't meet you by myself?  He was like, well let me give you an idea of an estimate.  The estimate is about the same amount I could use to put another down payment on another house that already has new windows, so that ended the potential meeting anyway.

Then the solar people called to iron out some information.  At the show, they'd looked at Google Earth for an aerial view of our house and said that we had some trees but someone would come out to see in person if they'd be a problem.  On the phone, the guy pulled up the same view and said that they wouldn't be coming out to the house because we had trees.  He said that unless I'd planned to get rid of the trees AND the neighbor's trees, I couldn't get solar.

So really, I went to the home show to get poked by a fencer and get free candy.  Worth it.  Totally.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My Other RI Vacation

Two gals on a road trip! Whoo!  My mom decided that a vacation in Newport was just what she needed as April rolled around, so while I retreated, my mom vacationed.  The trip started off with her getting into the car and not being able to get the seat back to upright.  After five minutes of sitting in the driveway and her making the seat go further back, we decided to hit the road.  We stopped only once at a rest stop in Connecticut where we were able to figure out the seat back enigma.  We were making really good time until a truck carrying tires slowed us down by almost an hour by being where it should not have been on the highway and wedging itself under an overpass and then tipping itself over and spilling tires up an off ramp.  Way to be, tire truck.  Way. To. Be.

Arriving in Newport was thrilling.  Land of mansions.  Land of history.  I'd had big plans to gallivant downtown and visit the library as soon as we got there.  Instead, we hiked it across the parking lot and dined in grand style at the Applebees.  That extra hour was a killer.

Each room has its own picture!

Newport-Middletown to be exact

No thoughts so far
Puns.  Now in napkin form.
[Sidenote: I just learned that galavant is incorrect and gallivant is correct.  I'm an English teacher.]

I left for retreating and my mom did her vacationing.  The next morning was all about free hot breakfast at 7 AM and then retreating.  I met up with my mom for lunch.  The day was wet and dreary, which is the perfect climate for fireside dining, so we serendipitously wound up at the White Horse Tavern, which has a working fireplace and a lot of history.  We've been to the White Horse in NYC, so this was a must. I was starving by the time we got there, so I chowed down on oyster crackers.  Two bags of them.  Then the entrees came and I was in food heaven.

Shrimp over risotto and butternut squash with apple slaw

Newport has the country's oldest lending library, the Redwood Library.  Since I'm a writer and avid reader, visiting seemed to be the thing I should do.  The woman behind the desk offered me many options about how to go about taking in the library, which included audio tours and a handout to figure out who's who in the portrait gallery.  Instead of doing any of that, I walked around and took in the smell.  I'm not weird.  Libraries have a certain smell to them, and I like it.

This made me want to tear and mutilate the magazines. Are people out there actually doing this?

Look up! You never know what you'll find. (I think this is the fata morgana).

Ooh, old school!

And this is why old school is outdated.

Roadside Buddha
The next day, Mom and I met up for lunch again between my writing sessions.  This time we headed to the wharf.  The day was brighter though very windy.  Windier at the wharf, of course. We settled in to eat at The Black Pearl and then checked out some of the local flavor.  And by flavor, I mean not only art, but also dessert.

We dined at places that hang maps.

Heh heh heh

If only this weren't lemon, it'd be perfect.

I want this.  Thank you.

Another pun.  They find me wherever I go.

Would have gotten chocolate had the shopkeeper been interested in selling it.  Instead, she had a loud conversation with her friend after giving a quick Hello.

Got a cookie instead and it was delicious.
Topping the day off, a mansion tour overlooking the Cliff Walk, and then a visit to Fort Adams, home of the jazz festival.  The wind got worse and almost knocked me over.  Worth it for the views.

Terrible shot but cool anchors
I also attempted to drive to the beach but all the rich people have private roads to the beach.
At least they're polite about it
The weekend was quick.  The drive home was fast.  I'm now planning an annual gal pal road trip. I suppose our trip is best summed up with this screenshot of my iPhone photo album that shows what happens when my mom takes a picture with my iPhone.
That's 8 pictures of me at the restaurant and 12 at the library. I'd posed only once for each.
A good friggin time.