Best Story of the Week…December 27

It’s Christmas Eve. I’m standing on the corner across from Whole Foods deciding if I have the tolerance to go in or not, knowing, it will be crawling with cooks and guests of theirs bringing dessert.

I think, perhaps my modest needs can wait.

Already missing three green lights, a construction worker, the type you could see running out of a burning building with a kid under each arm, has been standing near me eating a variety of edibles. A big guy in coveralls with a hardhat strapped to his waist, it’s as if he has an endless buffet set up in those massive, industrial pockets. After a sandwich, some type of cheese and an apple that crunches like an axe, he pulls out a lavish pastry.

I guess I’m staring because he stops, displaying dimples that I can swear, wink, and says, “Wanna split it?”

I’m rarely at a loss for words nor surprised at anything that I encounter, but he had me, as I burst out laughing and say, “It’s okay. You’re obviously very hungry.”

And he says, “Nah, it’s just a snack.”  🙂

SB

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Posted in Culture, food, humanity, humor, New York City, writing | Tagged , , | 41 Comments

Decking the Halls

I first wrote this overly sweet, soppy, schmaltzy piece that even made me sick about the miracle of Christmas.

Well, screw that, and Jane I’ll apologize beforehand. Jane’s an angel who will no doubt get the best suite in heaven for all her good works on earth. If I’m lucky, I’ll be working in Housekeeping, making beds.

See, I’m open, since there very well might be a heaven with a Ritz Hotel and valet parking. Ya just never know.

Frankly, I’m worn out from the drum roll, the monetary expectations, and the beggars on every corner, and I’m not talking about those truly in need. I’m speaking of the professional hustlers who cry on cue like mama dolls Mattel makes. I had one, Chatty Kathy. She cried, cooed and pooped by pulling a string in the back of her head.

I’ve learned to look at their footwear, a dead giveaway to their scam. If I don’t see at least one toe sticking out, I’m unmoved. So Bah Humbug, with a cherry on top.

I want to add how fucking tired I am of Donald Trump who has become a source of embarrassment as far as I’m concerned. Balls to your wall Donald. How bout feeding kids in the Ozarks.

I’m also sick of all this annual, false piety crap. Those who are shits all year round but put their game face on for midnight mass where the smell of scotch rivals the incense.   Showing up on Christmas and Easter make them good Christians, at least on paper, as well as their check.

So what if he beats his wife, has three mistresses and a gay house boy he calls his holistic adviser. That 1000 bucks after all will come in handy. God makes exceptions for deep pockets remember.

You know who I feel bad for? The Pope who, as front man, has to clean up all the clerical messes his holy little elves have left. My heart sinks in this area since most of the Catholics I know refuse to talk about it, as if it’s merely a rumor. I think allowing priests to marry might help, but who asked me?

I wrote to my friend Hal in Connecticut who’s one of the happiest, well adjusted souls I know, who’s probably going to a movie and then out for Chinese food. It’s one of the reasons I want to be Jewish.

To Dim Sum and then sum.

So don’t forget to deck those fucking halls, even if you go broke doing it.  images.jpeg

Santa’s little vixen.

 

 

Posted in creative writing, Culture, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 42 Comments

Love in the Afternoon

I wish this meant, I’ve been canoodling from 2 till 4, but alas, it’s just the title of my favorite Audrey Hepburn film, and where I took my blog name, athingirl, from.

Gary Cooper, who plays the naughty millionaire, Frank Flannagan, in the very beginning, as she’s leaving his suite at The Ritz in Paris, when she says, I heard you were totally no good, after he tries to woo her into coming back, answers…how bout I’ll try to be good, and you try to make it, thin girl.  images.jpeg I paraphrased a bit, but you get the gist.

He keeps calling her that, since she won’t tell him her name, the coquette she always played so well…

You know who I am Mr. Flannagan, I’m the girl in the afternoon.

I love this little exchange too

Frank Flannagan: Everything about you is perfect.

Thin Girl: I’m too thin! And my ears stick out, and my teeth are crooked and my neck’s much too long.

Frank Flannagan: Maybe so, but I love the way it all hangs together. [they kiss] images-2.jpeg

The other thing I’ve stolen, is whenever she appears a bit teary eyed says, soot, it’s only soot. images-3.jpeg

I’ve been weeping a lot lately for a number of reasons, personal and otherwise. I cry for our government in such sad shambles leaving me and my fellow citizens, more than monumentally confused.

The homeless taking to the streets setting up house on corners and in doorways, some with kids, many with dogs who loyally stand by, friends till the end.

I cry for me and my many losses, wishing I could knock on Mimi’s door to enjoy her warm company, or call Liz in Arizona to remember old times. Both have gone to their rest they more than deserved being two of the kindest, noblest souls I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.

I weep for my old neighborhood that now looks like an abandoned movie set they’re about to tear down. Stores I frequented for years are now empty, their windows covered with clapboard and beware of rat poison signs.

You’d think watching an old movie made in 1957, would sadden me further, yet it doesn’t, uplifting my spirits instead. The innocence of Audrey who was all but 28, and Coop who told his agent, he was much too old to play opposite her, yet did, and somehow it worked, especially in the final frame when she’s weeping and says, don’t worry Mr. Flannagan, I’ll be alright, it’s only soot, as he gently swoops her off the platform as the train leaves the station.  Unknown.jpeg

So whenever someone says, Susannah, you look sad. Have you been crying?

I say, oh don’t be silly. It’s soot, it’s only soot.

SB

 

 

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The Biggest Story of the Week…December 21

I’m on 86th and Third, waiting for the light to change.

A cab pulls up. The door swings open, but all I see are two legs the size of sequoias, hanging off the seat.

I peek in to find a very large man more or less, stuck, unable to get out.

My first reaction is to offer my hand, he ignores, focusing on nothing particular as if he’s trying to figure out what to do. I realize too late, the last thing he’d want, is for a woman to help him.

The driver and I look at each other, while the crosstown bus pulls up unable to pass. Now there’s a crowd gaping, making it all so much worse for this poor, obese fellow who’s still stuck.

There’s another heavyset man who panhandles on the corner, so I wave to him, motioning to please come over.

He does, swiftly waddling up the block like the chubby cavalry.

He sees immediately what the problem is, so he hands me his coffee can filled with change, leans down and says to the man, “We’s got this bro—don’t you worra’,” before grabbing him by his middle, squeezing his sides like a greased girdle, gently easing him out.

Imagine the Jaws of Life if they were attached to a middle-aged black man.

They shake hands before the man takes flight, the rescuer, reclaiming his coffee can, returning to his corner. The cabbie and bus go on their way, and the street commences, like a frozen film clip that had gotten jammed in the machine.

As for me, considering the circumstances, thinks it best to skip lunch.

Just another tale, in the Naked City.

SB

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Jack the Zipper

Animals will never cease to amaze or entertain me.

We have a new doggie in the neighborhood. A German Shepherd puppy called Jack, and is he ka-utte.

You don’t see many Shepherds in these parts, never a popular breed. A former friend said, it’s because they’re Hitler dogs and attacked kids in the south during the Civil Rights Movement.

Yeah well, they’re also rescue dogs in many cases and companions for the blind and handicapped.

Now you might understand why we’re not friends anymore, but back to Jack.

He looks like a Jack, long and lean, a glimmer in his eye as if he’s about to make a pass.

He’s already walking like a man, fast as he can, as if he’s running the Kentucky Derby, however, he also has a fondness that involves, in my case, my old jeans. He tries to unzip them, the little sex maniac he’s destined to become.

Of course, I laugh along with his mother who’s Polish and the size of a bakery, but today, he managed to pull it right down causing my baggy, historical pants, that if could only talk, would be saying, we’ve seen this all before.

Al, the doorman, the only one I like, came running to help me, to remove Jack from my fly, if you will, since he just wouldn’t let go. Imagine me, on the pavement, my rear in partial view being sans culottes, since I was just making a quick coffee run. He was so undone by this, Al, not Jack, that I ended up comforting him.

“Now now Al, he’s just a puppy,” as his mistress yelled at him in Polish.

“Ah, he’s Polish,” Al said, “now it makes sense.”

Neither Jack nor his mom caught the slur, I’m happy to report as I finally zipped back up.

“What’s that Jack? Do I wanna come over and have a drink later? Sorry, maybe when I know you a little better.”

How do you say WOOF, in German?  Unknown.jpeg

🙂   SB

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Pollyanna Flips

I love to give…from the heart, when it opens in truth towards another. But alas, it’s that time of year when those have tos, rear their cocky, cheeky, entitled heads.

We get a letter every December first, stating, how many years the building men have all been here, as my friend Ed so eloquently put it…though who really gives a shit?

Certainly not I.

I know it doesn’t sound like old, benevolent me, but it’s just my response, an Uzi to the head feeling more like a mugging than generous gesture.

I prefer selecting those who make a quiet, unassuming difference in my life, like my sushi man who always makes me a fresh quinoa roll whenever he sees me. I never ask for him to do this, so it’s nice to be treated with such kind regard.

Then there’s the fruit man on the corner who not only gives me credit, but will put a surprise avocado in my bag. They’ll both get nice, warm socks.

Danny, the mailman, who’s always late, apologizing as he drops things like the Mad Hatter of letters with a smile that could melt ice, will also get a gift…a little money, a pair of gloves.

Jose, the coffee cart fella, bestowing that complimentary donut when one’s having a bad day, he’ll get a John Lennon T-shirt who is, come to find out, to borrow language from Lincoln, his beau ideal.

Their humility and honest attempts at doing their best opens my heart, where the men here truly do not. They all have summer homes and brand new cars, a union that protects them no matter what they do. Paid vacations, and in the super’s case, a free apartment, attitude you can cut with a cleaver, plus top-of-the-line wages

Maybe they should be giving me an envelope.

Mother Teresa said, none of us can do great things, but that we can do small things with great love. I’m with her. Trouble here is, if I baked cookies or gave Starbucks cards, my hot water might be turned off.  I’m bettin’ they all sport tattoos that say…

CASH ONLY.

I love to give, from the heart, that’s beating in Yuletide protest.

Pollyanna, drunk at the bank.   unnamed.gif

 

 

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Where We Met

Whenever I find myself in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Great Hall, I think of Bill. It’s where we went on our first date, the room that launched a romance.

We were leaving after spending an hour or so talking in the American Wing that then, was like a sanctuary rather then the noisy, invasive place it’s become since putting in a cafe that rivals any at Epcot.

Damn those mercenary powers that be, alas, having more respect for a buck than the humble price of peace.

But back to Bill, who was shy that night, quiet yet content. It surprised me really considering who he was. In hindsight, it may have been the most attractive thing about him, his innate humility minus swagger or strut.

We sat on Shaker-like benches, also long gone, facing Central Park at dusk, the trees seeming to waltz for our benefit. My clarity of the evening surprises me since I can barely remember last night, but its colors longingly loom like a favorite landscape.

Me in a little Audrey dress wanting so much to please since he left the evening up to me. Would he be disappointed or bored at the Met?

Will I turn him off as fast as I turned him on?

Underestimating him, as well as myself, he thanked me repeatedly for taking him there.

He was so polite not to mention sexy in his black Levis. A red button-down beneath the black raincoat his mom bought him. Boots clicking on the overly polished parquet floor.

As we were about to head for the front doors facing fifth like curtains that were about to open, despite the crowd, despite anything at all, he swung me around ever so gently for a long, first kiss.

Whenever I find myself in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Great Hall, I think of Bill. It’s where we went on our first date, the room that launched a romance.

William Melvin Hicks would have been 57 years-old today.

(1961-1994)

Happy Birthday Willie.

Miss you.

Love, Susannah

 

 

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Best Story of the Week…Nanny and the Thin Girl

I truly don’t look for trouble, but sometimes trouble finds me, like a homing pigeon coming in for a landing.

It’s cold. People are bundled like Eskimos, so I ask you, why a 3 year-old is shivering in her stroller without mittens nor gloves while her babysitter, a young woman of color with nails the length of a bread stick, is on her phone talking a mile a minute in some Islandese while this little kid takes it like a trooper?

I can only guess it’s because she’s used to being cold and uncomfortable not yet realizing, she has rights.

Don’t worry honey, Norma Rae’s got this.

“Excuse me, “I say, remembering to pause and breathe deeply so I don’t kill her.

After reluctantly covering the phone with one of her well manicured mitts says, “Yayz’, what eez’ it?”

“Looks to me this baby is pretty cold. Doesn’t she have mittens?” Now the kid, who looks like a Dickens character in a pink parka, stares up at me knowing she now has a lawyer, or hit man, in her corner.

“She ez’ fon…and ahs on the phone, to Antigua?”

Yes, you’ve guessed it, Norma lost it.

“I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE TALKING TO NEPTUNE. I ADVISE YOU TO GET OFF THAT PHONE NOW OR I’M CALLING CHILD SERVICES.”

Yes I know. If I may quote Abraham Lincoln, the bottom fell outta’ the tub.

To say she went off on me would not do the statement justice. Just then, on cue, two policemen come out of Starbucks.

“OFFICA’ THIS WHOH-MAN IS HARASSIN’ ME.”

Before I could suit up, one of the cops who, I’m now madly in love with says, “How come this kid isn’t dressed enough. It’s freezin’ out here?”

Did he already hear my altercation with her, or has the almighty interrupted his shopping to make a cameo?

“He bent down after handing his coffee to his partner to hold the little girl’s hands ever so gently before saying, ‘Where are her gloves? Her hands are ice cold.”

Now Nanny, who might be doin’ 5 to ten at the Women’s House of Detention knew she was in deep shit.

“We left quick…had to bring her brotha’ ta’ school. I fagot’ to take dem.”

“Where does this little one live because we’re takin’ her home.”

Despite my leanings to slug her, my heart opened to Nanny’s panic, who went from tribal leader to cleaning the hut without PASSING GO.

“Officer,” I purred, like I was 25 again, “maybe you can just drive them home with a warning and not, you know…

“Tell the baby’s mom her kid should have someone more responsible?”

Oh God did I love him, me and my libido that made a quick trip in from Miami.

I smiled as he still held onto the kid’s little fingers who was as enamored with him as I was, but alas, younger, so I knew I didn’t stand a chance.

I watched his partner put the stroller in the back of the police car while he held the little girl as if she were his own.

“Looks as if you’ve had experience,” I said, while Nanny stood by, bristling.

“Three, the oldest 11.”

I smiled, squeezing his arm hard as a rolling pin before he gave Nanny back her charge, not letting her forget for one second, who was in charge, as they drove away, leaving me without an ending.

SB

 

Posted in creative writing, Culture, Family, Health, humanity, humor, inspiration, kids, Love, men, New York City, parents, Starbucks, words | Tagged , , , , | 48 Comments

Run For Your Life

I run most mornings, and have since my 20s. I ran when few did, remembering being stopped in Italy by the police to find out what exactly I was running from.

“Signorina, who is’a chaz’ing yooo’?”

I’m convinced it’s one of the reasons my body has held up, since it does best in what I call, fitness flight. And one’s immune system toughens when you brave the elements, sparring with Mother Nature despite her many mood swings.

Farmers are rarely sick since they’re outdoors all the time, hardy and healthy, like our second president, John Adams, who came from a farming family. His son, our 6th, John Quincy, swam in the Chesapeake every day while in office, didn’t matter what the temperature was.

He lived to be 81, and his dad, 91, during a time 60 was considered old age.

Harry Truman fast walked daily before it was fashionable, in loafers no less, while the Secret Service tried keeping up. Imagine how fast, Give ’em hell Harry, would have been in a pair of Nikes.

Lincoln, all 6’3 and then some, loved a good stroll, to stretch those lanky legs no doubt.

U.S. Grant also, when he was president, preferred getting around by foot after his 4 years in the Civil War, marching, when he wasn’t perched on his horse, Cincinnati, that is.

JFK, as we know, enjoyed a good swim, usually in the company of naked, nubile women, providing Jackie wasn’t around of course. It was the same pool FDR enjoyed, a gift in 1933 courtesy of a fund raiser by the New York Daily News knowing swimming was good for his struggle with Polio. It was why when Nixon had it drained with a floor built over it for a bowling alley, the country moaned. It’s still there though, peeking beneath the years of its many incarnations.

Teddy boxed.

Ike played golf.

How did we go from me running, to leaders of the free world sparring and putting?

Hell if I know, but it’s interesting, now isn’t it?

SB

 

Posted in History, humanity, humor, media, Politics, readng, Sports, travel, writing | Tagged , , , , | 33 Comments

Best Story of the Week…December 7

There’s a new paperboy on my corner after the old one got a better job, who was at least smart enough to wait inside Starbucks for his paper delivery.

This new fella, however, much shyer, stoically stands outside shivering until the truck pulls up barely at a complete stop, before hurling the bundled New York Times and Post onto the curb.

Picture a sniper shooting, with papers.

It’s been so cold, so one can’t help but to notice him out there under dressed, underpaid, just so commuters can grab a pulp rag en route to work.

When I asked Manuel, why he didn’t wear gloves he said, he can’t make change in them.

Despite understanding, it bothered me that the least these commuters could do was provide exact change. The New York Post a buck and a half, the Times $2.50, and it’s the Upper East Side remember, so a tip wouldn’t hurt either.

The next day I saw him, it was freezing. It had dropped to 18 during the night, so at 6 a.m. before dawn, it was frigid out there, but there he was, waiting, jumping from foot to foot trying to stay warm.

I had a pair of old, ratty fingerless gloves under my mittens, so I gave them to him, explaining, his fingers would still be free to handle money.

“Please take them,” I said, when he hesitated, “please!”

A day or so later, he called to me from across the street.

When I went over, with a big smile, he showed me he was indeed wearing the gloves, that somehow now had green threading along each finger.

“Thank you Miss, thank you. I loove them so much.”

On closer examination, I saw he had sewn them where they were torn and frayed, making them his own.

I can’t say how much this affected me, these cheap 3 dollar gloves I bought from a street vendor, now had such worth to this sweet and noble soul.

Put a lump in my throat, for the rest of that early, you could see your breath, morning as the sun brightly came up. images-1.jpeg

SB

 

 

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