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Category Archives: Moments of Hilarity
You’ve no doubt discovered the “Shit ____ Say” meme by now, and it is utterly hilarious. Combine the Shit New Yorkers Say video with this one, and you have me. (Minus the spirulina, yuck.)
I’m now all installed in my new apartment, but the transition didn’t go quite well as planned.
I was crashing on my friend Dinah’s place about ten blocks north of what would be my new apartment while I apartment searched. I had packed so quickly that I had about two month’s worth of clothing plus all my food piled in a corner of her room. So when the time came to move all my stuff out and down to my new digs, it was an affair.
It took me two trips to get all my stuff from one apartment to the other. Please don’t judge me for taking a taxi! It was difficult enough as it was. After the second trip, Dinah helped me haul my stuff into the tiny courtyard. I placed one reusable grocery bag filled with various comestibles on top of a suitcase. It was pretty heavy, filled with antique jars of flours, seeds, grains, and nuts. I turned to unlock the front door, and I heard Dinah, yelp, “Oh sh–!” and then a crash.
I turned to find the suitcase sideways on the ground and the grocery bag vomiting its contents onto the sidewalk right smack in the center of the little gated entrance. I poked the bag with my toe and heard the tinkle of broken glass. A viscous flow of agave nectar bridged the lip of the bag, flowing out over top of the quinoa flour and sesame seeds. It was a big, big bottle of agave nectar. I had bought the economy size but had never gotten around to actually using any of it, and now it was all over the sidewalk, creating a sticky glue.
“Oh my God, I don’t even know what to do with this!” waving my hands about ineffectively, staring at the situation in front of me. “Seriously …. what do I do? Dinah. Help.” I was half laughing, have freaking out.
“OK, OK,” said. “Give me that bag,” she instructed, taking one of my duffel. “I’ll take some of this stuff upstairs. Just wait here, OK? Is your apartment in the front or the back?”
“Back,” I told her, handing her the keys. She let herself in and I moved over to the bag to attempt a cleanup, but immediately sliced the webbing between my fingers open. I popped up and called out, “Dinah! Help me!” but she already inside the door and just cheerfully waved on her way up the stairs.
So there I was, standing in my little courtyard, with agave nectar and quinoa flour smeared on my hands, plus some sesame seeds, and dripping blood all over the steps. I was staring at the bag trying to figure out what to do when I heard one half of a couple walking toward me say something. I gave them a hapless look that I hoped communicated, “Leave me alone.”
“Oh, she didn’t see it,” the boyfriend said. I gave him a questioning look.
“The baby rat,” he said.
Great. This kept getting better and better. They continued on their way and Dinah came hustling out the front door. “Oh my God, they even put spices on the counter for you!!” I looked at her weird. I mean, my apartment came furnished, but I didn’t remember there being spices. I lifted my hand to show her, and she squeaked with horror. She gave me another bag that she had unloaded onto the kitchen counter upstairs to put my hand in so I wouldn’t drip everywhere, and we managed to cart everything else up the three flights of steps, with me carrying stuff over my arms instead of holding the straps. Dinah started trying to open the door at the top of the stairs.
“Um, Dinah, that isn’t my apartment.”
“Yes, it is. I put all your stuff in there.”
“It is not. That is my apartment.” I pointed to the other door at the end of the hallway. “Oh crap,” she said. “Well, your stuff is inside there!”
“Get it out!” I cried. She continued to cram her key in the lock to no avail. We finally gave up on that, and got all my stuff inside my own apartment. “Whoops,” I said, looking out the window. “My apartment is in the front, not the back. My bad.”
So I wrote a note out on the back of a receipt for my neighbor. “Hi, this is your neighbor, Alden. There was a mishap and half of my stuff is now inside your apartment. Here’s my number, call me and I will come retrieve it.” And I stuck it on her door. I also put some honey on my cut and put a band-aid on it.
When Dinah and I came back out the front door, my landlord was out front with her husband trying to scoop the mess into a dustbin. I apologized profusely, but she waved me off and said she had a hose she could wash it away with.
Well, my neighbor did not come home that night, nor the next. Finally, on Saturday night I got a call at 11pm, while I was with some friends. “Uh, hi. I think I’m your neighbor? And your stuff is in my apartment?”
“Oh my God! Hi! I’m so sorry, yeah, my stuff is in there. It was a mistake, just dump it in the hallway and I’ll grab it when I get back.” Meanwhile, I was making cut-it-out motions to my friends, who were all giggling and laughing.
My new neighbor, Asti, sounded pretty freaked out. But after I assured her that the door had firmly locked behind Dinah, and perhaps she had just not pulled it shut behind her, she said I could stop by on Sunday and grab everything.
What an auspicious start to my new living situation. Oh, well! My hand is healed, the last sticky sesame seeds have been swept out of my apartment, I did in fact get all my belonging back, and I think Asti thinks I’m not a total creeper, so all is well that ends well.
“This buster’s on his iPhone talking to his friends, picking up some cayenne pepper for his master cleanse. You’re the most annoying dude I’ve seen, bra. Could you please move? You’re right in front of the quinoa.”
About 45 minutes ago, thinking of my to-do list today, I swiped my keys off of the foyer table, and let myself out of the apartment to go downstairs to the lobby and grab my newspaper.
Newspaper secured, I walked back up the stairs and stood in front of my door, looked at the keys in my hand, looked at the lock, looked at the keys in my hand, looked at the lock, and realized with horror that I had locked myself out. The keys in my hand did not include the key needed to let myself back in the automatically locking door.
“Oh my God, isn’t this just like me,” I said aloud to no one, looking up and down the hallway for inspiration. Mike is at work, having started just last week, or else I could have just rung the bell. And unlike my old apartment, there is no kindly doorman to lend me an extra key.
I heard the sound of someone speaking inside their apartment down the hall, so I knocked on their door. A guy opened the door. He was fully dressed in a coat and hat, and peered at me with curiosity.
“Hi! Uh, I locked myself out,” I told him. “May I borrow your cell phone?” He handed me his flip phone and ushered his little girl out the door in front of him while I dialed, locking the door. This must be the guy I hear go past every morning, talking to his little girl. He was obviously leaving. I thanked the universe that I had decided last week to memorize Mike’s number, and dialed it. The little girl, Sasha, stared at me from under her knit flowered hat. The called dropped out after two rings.
“Tell you what,” the guy said. “Come down to the lobby, the service is better.”
So I walked down with them, and while I dialed he told me he was going to go get the car and pull it around. I dialed Mike’s number again, getting his voicemail.
“Hi Honey! I’m locked out! I’m wearing nothing but a pair of yoga spandex and a tank top, and I don’t know what to dooooooooo! Call me back!”
I hung up and dialed again. This time Mike answered, “Mike speaking.”
“HI! It’s me! I’m locked out! Help!”
Mike started chuckling.
“Yeah, so funny. What do I do?”
“You’ll have to get them from Brooklyn Hearth [the apartment broker],” he said. “They are the only ones who have them. Do you want their number?”
I heard him fiddling with the phone to get the contact, but by that time my neighbor was back, and in a hurry. “Honey, I have to go,” I said. “Honey. Honey, babe, I have to go, I…yeah, I’m talking to you. I have to go.” I hung up the phone and handed it to the guy.
So now I was standing in the lobby, knowing it was about 35 degrees outside, and that my only option was to walk the mile to Brooklyn Hearth and back, wearing nothing but yoga pants, a tank top, and flip flops. I stood there, brainstorming, but could find no way out of this.
I mean, it’s not like I’ll die, I thought to myself.
And then, a neighbor let herself in the vestibule door, rolling a bike by her side. I opened the second door for her, and when she and her bike were through, said, “Uh, can I ask you a really weird favor?’
“Yeah, sure!” she said. She seemed pretty amenable. She was a little bit taller than me, with a cute brown bob.
“Sooooo I locked myself out of my apartment, and I have to go to Brooklyn Hearth to get the keys.”
“Oh my gosh, do you want my jacket?”
“I mean, could I? That would be SO awesome of you.”
“Yeah, yeah! In fact, take my bike! It’s like a twenty minute walk there.”
“Really??? Oh my gosh, that would be so cool. I mean, only if you’re sure.”
“No, really, here.” She took her bike lock key off of her key chain and gave it to me, and then divested herself of her puffy coat, which happened to be the same rusty orange color as her designer bike, which had a leather seat and leather handles. I declined her offer of a hat and mittens as well, got her apartment number and name, and then rolled myself out the front door. Well, that makes it sound graceful. Have you ever tried maneuvering a bike through two heavy swing doors that are less than a bike length apart?
Anyhoo, I biked down to Cortelyou Road where Brooklyn Hearth is, and explained my situation to the lone girl working a desk. She was nice enough to believe my story, after verifying that I knew Mike’s number, and gave me the extra keys. So I’m back in the apartment. My toes are cold, and my pride is hurt, but I made it through ok.
Moral of the story? Memorize people’s numbers, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
On a normal weekday, I boarded the Q train in Brooklyn to take it into the city. With the train almost empty – rush hour being long over – I settled into a seat with a good book.
The train made its stops, and rose up out of the ground to cross the bridge. I always like to look at the cityscape at this point, so I set down my book for a moment. Across from me I saw an old, Asian grande dame, who was neatly seated with her hands folded in her well-dressed lap. Her thin hair was carefully combed into a poufy bob. She returned my gaze over her red lacquered glasses. I quickly looked back down at my book.
Three or four stops later, I looked up again to see the doors open and three young, Asian people rush on, crowding each other like preschoolers eager to get out the school doors to recess. In their jostling, they knocked a young woman trying to exit so hard on her shoulder she spun around to face backwards. Two more were right behind. As soon as they sat down adjacent to me, and facing each other across the aisle, they began to screech and yell in Chinese. The whole train, which now had plenty of passengers, stared at the obtrusive fracas.
I watched as the grande dame rose, walked over to them, and tersely said something. They slowed for only a moment, and then continued to squabble as the grand dame walked back over to sit across from me.
“They are just Chinese peasants,” she explained to the four our five people within earshot, including me. “They don’t know any better.”
My eyes widened at this. Yeah, they were annoying, but it was a shock to hear class prejudice articulated so clearly, and so deadpan.
“They are from the country. They do not know how to act in the city. They are an embarrassment.”
The people around me tsk tsked in agreement, talking about how awful it all was. The Grande Dame got up again to lecture the young Asian maenad. As the GD talked, the young girl watched her impassively, and then as soon as the GD’s back was turned, took up the fight again. The GD sat, and continued to hold court on the sheer embarrassment of being caught on a train with such uncultured, indigent country peasants.
I buried my head in my book. I wanted no part of any of this. Perhaps she was right, that they “didn’t know any better,” but wasn’t that a reason to treat them compassionately, instead of judging them? I frankly didn’t even know the answer. Should I say something?
The doors slid open again, and a Hispanic performer with a guitar walked on. The train was crowded now, with plenty of people standing and almost everyone watching the five Asians hash out their differences.
Of course, the Hispanic man was there for one thing. He hefted his guitar up, and took off strumming with spirit. “Feliz Navidad!” Strum strum strum, “Feliz Navidad!”
Everyone’s head was now swiveling between the Chinese invectives being hurled by the Asians back and forth, and the cheerful guitarist singing with spunk. Smiles crept across faces, and the chuckles took ahold. Friends elbowed each other with glee. It was sheer insanity. The train stopped to let more passengers on, who found themselves agape in a boisterous, New York, multicultural melee, the Lingua Franca of New Yorkers.
The guitarist finished his song with a flourish and the whole car burst into raucous applause and whistles. He blushed with surprised happiness, and held out his cap to the passengers who chuckled and dropped dollar bills into it. The Asians had fallen silent, no doubt confused by what had just happened.
The train stopped once again, and the guitarist got off. The doors closed behind him, and the whole train fell completely silent, except for a few murmured comments between friends. Everyone was buried in his or her smart phone games and magazines. I noticed that the Grande Dame was gone.
Two young ladies standing in front of me looked at each other. “I love New York,” one said. The other just shook her head and laughed.
I didn’t really know much about hipsters until I moved to New York, but this slick graphic summarizes them quite nicely.
Not nearly as large or crazy as the New York City Gay Pride Parade, but still pretty fun, the Brooklyn version gave my friend Jenny and I an hour of entertainment after we were done watching the US-England World Cup game.
My favorite part? The itty bitty gay sidekicks!
With all this hanging out in Brooklyn I’ve been doing lately, and the fact that I call myself a Clean Hippie, where does that put me on this spectrum? At least I don’t have pit stains, yo.
[via Laughing Squid]
My friend Anne invited me to an awesome picnic in Prospect Park – she plans to make it a monthly thing. Picnics are always great, especially one where everyone brings a childhood favorite. There was ants on a log, cream cheese and strawberry jam sandwiches, homemade bread, lemonade, and much more.