Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Pop, Little Stevie Wonder and JFK

Last weekend, right after Karen told a story about a lost fig, I told Anna that Stevie Wonder had been burning up my headphones for two entire weeks. Stevie has an extremely large catalog. I also mentioned that my friend Michael Goodson inspired this motown marathon. To which Anna replied, "Of course he did." Apparently Michael Goodson has been behind a lot of noteworthy pursuits.

At grandma's house, I slouch over my computer at the dining room table getting bitch-slapped by the Google Play registration application. I turn on some music. My tinny little computer speakers kick out the middle of a Stevie song. Instantly, my pop, who perches on a chair in the livingroom, says, "Little Stevie Wonder, Fingertips Part 2, 1963, 3 minutes and 13 seconds in length."

Pop's well known to rattle off long lists of random facts, but seriously what the fuck? This is the question I pose.

Pop says that when he was in college, living in a house he called the Sugar Shack, he would go up in this little room and shine a UV lamp on his face. Every day for three minutes, doctor's orders. He had oily skin, you see. Instead of bothering with a watch to time the exposure, he plopped down the needle on the Fingertips vinyl 45. This is why he is so intimate with the song and its duration.

But one day, right after he turned off Stevie and his lamp and turned on the radio, the news reported JFK had been shot. That's how he knows the year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stranded on the Sidewalk on Veterans Day

At Swedish Club on Saturday, I mistakenly ordered a shot of whiskey in a pint of Guinness. Obviously, I don't speak Irish Pub. Nonetheless, I felt like Alexander Skarsgård's grandmother. Every day, that feisty bitch rolls her wheelchair to the farmers market and puts down a couple shots of Fernet-Branca with a beer chaser. Not mixed together though, so I'm clearly rougher.

I got into a conversation about charts and graphs. No Saturday night is complete without a little chat chat about curves. I wanted to say something about outliers. I do not know how to say outliers in Swedish. I resorted to my old trick, make up a word and hope for the best. I went with "ute" (out) + "liggare" (someone lying). Unfortunately, uteliggare means "homeless person" in Swedish. Everyone became sensationally confused and that was the end of that. I went back to figuring out how to get whisky with nothing else in the glass.

Little did I know at the time, but the whole uteliggare incident was foreshadowing. For Monday. When I had the misfortune to discover that my Midtown Office was unexpectedly closed: The New York Public Library, it turns out, shuts down on Veterans Day. I was left out on the street with 5 hours of work to do before a customer meeting and no where to go. Luckily, I've spent half my career wandering around on Midtown sidewalks, so I snapped into immediate action.

I practically sprinted up to that new public space in Lincoln Center. It's a death fight for juice out there on the streets. Only the speediest vagabonds get electrical outlets. I'm snappy when it counts, so I enjoyed a full power situation, until I had to go to the bathroom. The tinier the tank, the faster you lose your squat. People with PCs ask nearby tables to watch their shit while they tinkle. People with Macs do not. Que sera sera.
Midtown. Few Electrical Outlets per Capita.
After that, I was on the move. My discarded options included:

  • The atrium in the Millennium Hotel (Haven't gone there since someone told me they have an on-call Suicide Squad to clean up jumper body parts)

  • The Birch Coffee in the Ace Hotel (wifi and outlets in that little upstairs library, but it's all the way down on 29th, and I'm too lazy to go all the way there. Plus the outlet is kind of in a closet so your cord dangles like a clothesline over moppy hipster heads. Stressful.)

  • The Amtrak Lounge at Penn Station (wifi and 4 outlets if you know where to find them, but you have to march in there like a mofo ticket holder).

In the end, I went over to the Helmsley and hung out in a burgundy striped wing chair on the second floor. There are really fancy cloth handtowels in the ladies lounge, FYI. That's how I like to roll.

At the appointed hour, I headed to my first meeting. Lisa takes me into her office, closes her door and tells me she would rather not talk about business today. She would rather eat chocolate and talk about her husband and how she hid the remote inside the couch cushion and every time he sits down, the TV changes channels or switches to blu-ray and he can't figure out why.

I said, sure. You're the customer. Just sign my purchase order and we can talk about whatever you want, and we can eat as much chocolate as you have smashed in that desk drawer. Also can I charge up my computer while I'm in here.