Saturday, March 29, 2014

Powered by the Flu

For an entire week, I have been isolated within my own space-time continuum. I have been entombed in static electricity and paper-flavored apathy. 

The flu struck me down. It attacked just like a short chick in a black & white striped shirt at a punk show: Out of the corner of your eye, you see her jump off the side of the stage near where you are, way outside the moshpit. 

You think she's skinny and harmless until she shoves like a bullet through the crowd and clips you at a weird angle. Suddenly you're wobbling off balance wondering how the fuck that just happened. 

When you're sick, day and night coalesce. At some point, I dreamed I lost my coat somewhere and was walking around in short sleeves. I wasn't super upset because I didn't really like this coat anyway. But I had no idea where I'd left the coat, and that bothered me. I had things to do, but I kept considering retracing my steps to find the coat. It was somewhere in midtown near the park. An infinite loop of this imaginary incident haunted me for days.

The nice thing about being unquestionably contagious is that no one bothers you. You create a pillow fort and you live in it. You're the Queen of your King-sized bed. You begin to packrat all manner of items and devices in towering arms-reach piles:

  • tissue boxes
  • 8 tubes of Chapstick tumbling around in your blankets so whenever your ass has a "Princess and the Pea" moment, you remember your burning lips and are pleased a remedy is so close at hand
  • A basket of single socks you think you might match up but never do
  • books your mother gave you
  • a dozen half-full glasses of water you will not drink because they are now warm and contaminated with your own germs
  • iPad, iPhone in "do not disturb" mode
  • piles of old postcards that gradually collapse and disperse and stick to your sweaty arms
  • slightly stale crackers left over from your last party
  • cough drops in a bag with a gaping vertical rip right down the middle, nestled amidst a ballooning heap of crinkled cough drop wrappers.
  • power cords, usb connectors tangles of audio cables
  • several unused remote controls for the stereo which is playing the Earth, Wind and Fire greatest hits double album at a low volume on repeat from the time your husband leaves for the office until the time he comes home and insists it needs to be turned off
  • some almonds
  • pencils and pens

Wallowing in fever, I achieved new heights as a database programmer. I was in the flow, glued in the pocket. I spent obsessed hours constructing complicated if|then logic. Then I applied short codes and tinkered with RegEx. After that, I analyzed pages of longtail keywords. Meanwhile, someone asked me to review a meeting agenda and I simply couldn't do it. I couldn't write three bullet points for a slide. Shit, I couldn't even read the slide.

When I went back to work after 5 inpatient days, I told Mitch I was like a one-trick nuclear reactor. My attention span was endless, but the circumference of a pin-prick. Rainman-style.

Mitch said that he'd just read some article about how when men come down with a man-flu, they lie like lumps and do nothing. But when women are sick, they suddenly get all focused and efficient. I couldn't find this article online, but I enjoy when science can anchor a slightly strange blog post with substance and intellectual heft.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Bubby and the Diamond Horseshoe

Last Thursday, we swanned about the Diamond Horseshoe, a grand ballroom beneath the Paramount Hotel. We wore our most courtly attire and took our repast with the Queen. The Queen of the Night

The whole affair was hotly smarmy, faintly slimy, yet oddly charming. Half the time I had no idea what was going on. 

I could imagine the show designer standing back and with lavish windmilling arms describe his vision. He would say, "This black and white umbrella balanced on a sexy man's nose surrounded by writhing trapeze artists and mud-covered jugglers ... it represents lightness and darkness. It also represents the delicate balance of life and its evanescence. It also represents a penis."

Bubby Recalls the Diamond Horseshoe

My Bubby was also at the Diamond Horseshoe. Except she was there in 1944.

"It is not the Diamond Horseshoe Club. It is just the Diamond Horseshoe. Your grandfathah was not with me when I went there. He was in the war. I went with my best friend Claire and her husband, Sackie."

"Everybody called him Sackie but his real name was Nathan Sacken. He owned the Village Vanguard. Very shrewd man but he lost everything when he became involved with the Mafia."

"We saw Milton Berle there. At the Diamond Horseshoe. He did his schtick. This was before his TV show of course. We did not have a TV back then. No one did. Except a wealthy old man on the 3rd floor of our building. He was the first to buy a television."

"I remember the room, it was round. Exquisite. The stage, it was half round. You know Barbara Walter's father owned the place. He owned other places too. Maybe the underground clubs on 69th by Fifth Avenue, but I can't remember now. Sackie knew him, Barbara Walter's father. He introduced me."

"There was a band."

"We sat in the front by the stage at the best table." 

"No no no, Bubbelah. There was no bar. This was a fancy place. The waiters, they came right to your table. I had an apricot sour."