About Exile on Pain Street

It's Mrs. Wife (who has requested complete anonymity), two daughters and myself. And two smart cats.

How to enjoy unemployment

[Note: I didn’t lose my job. This is from 1994. A bit risqué but I sanitized it.]

bins

January 11, 1994

I haven’t worked for over a month and am falling behind on the bills. I wrote a letter to the student loan vampires and asked for a six-month reprieve. I threw the utility and phone bills in the garbage. I made the minimum payment on the credit cards but I have to pay the rent IN FULL. I went to an interview today and have five more lined up. They made me take a typing test. 65 words per minute with two errors. Champion.

I visited Ann. It was 10:00 at night on Sunday and bitterly cold so I took a cab uptown. $7. That son-of-a-bitch came off the FDR, turned onto Third Avenue and drove right past Laura’s apartment. I craned my neck out the window to see if her light was on and was desperately looking for her on the sidewalk.

Ann keeps a case of Veuve Clicquot in the spare bedroom and she’s always got a few cold so we popped a cork, took our clothes off, got into bed and watched reruns of Get Smart, House of Buggin’ and The George Carlin Show.

I always feel kind of bad when a woman goes down on me. That can’t possibly be any fun, can it? I don’t feel bad enough to stop them. It takes very little to bring Ann to complete and full satisfaction. It often occurs more than once. I don’t take any credit for this. She is so in tune with her body that she’s able to practically do it all on her own. Sometimes, the glorious event occurs before we take our clothes off. Good for her! There was an unusually large wet spot. I slept on the edge of the bed and woke up with a sore back.

The next morning I was going to launch a new assault but my breath was bouncing up off the mattress and back into my face. It was so horrific that I lost interest. Ann tried to coax me but I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I stank. That reminds me…Laura used to leave in the morning without brushing her teeth. And she smoked! I can’t abide by poor dental hygiene but I miss her terribly.

Ann made a pot of tea and some whole wheat toast with raspberry preserves. She put a little honey in the tea. It was good. I confirmed my interview with Prudential Bache. Ann was in the kitchen rinsing our tea cups. I walked up behind her and put my hands under her T-shirt. I told her I wanted her and she shouted, “OKAY!” and said it with such unintended glee that we both laughed. We stumbled into the bedroom and did it. We laid there for a bit and then I got up and washed. It was the first time I had to wash my genitals prior to an interview.

I went to that David + Amy Sedaris play in the East Village by myself last week. Today, The New York Times gave it a good review. That guy is on his way. The Times said he’s developed a cult following. Can you believe it! It said he’s a “social satirist” and that’s an accurate description of what I remember him being like. I went to the library and read his pieces in Harper’s and they seemed like elaborate diary entries. Is that a type of writing? Maybe I can do that?

~~~~~~~~~~

Adieu to summer. Summer is the coldest month. My office and commuting buses are like meat lockers. My bride keeps the house thermostat set to Pluto. Here are some bugs courtesy of my iPhone.

Hot moth love.

Butterflies are beautiful from a distance.

Pollen party in my backyard.

The whites are a bit hot in this pic but I don’t know how to fix that.

Game of Thrones dragon.

Picture this

My last post was VERBOSE. 900+ words. Highly unusual. As penance, I will rely mainly on photos for this post. Also, I have the August lazies. And I am growing weary of the sound of my own voice. But I’m still having fun taking pics so I’ll stick with that.

~~~~~~~~~~

I packed-up the fam and hauled them to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in western Mass. I had to drag the daughters. One insinuated it was a selfish act. That it’s something only I was interested in. Nice.

The museum is a group of old, repurposed warehouses and factories. The vast spaces allow for big-piece installations. It’s exhausting. But not in the way a teenager is exhausting. This is more exhilarating. Seen here is a small sampling of what’s on display. It’s a two-day visit, easy. I include the daughters for scale.

Liz Glynn’s three caves are constructed from shipping pallets.

Inside each is a different sensation; touch, smell and sound. One had hanging strips of black, thick felt. One contained bottles with different fragrances. This was sound. A turntable with albums.

There’s a huge Sol LeWitt retrospective. I’ve been indifferent about his work over the years but I found this very satisfying.

The exhibit occupies a historic mill.

I’m like a parrot. I like bright colors and shiny objects.

There’s a fantastic virtual reality piece by Laurie Anderson. It takes a few minutes to acclimate yourself with the controls and the goings-on but once mastered it really takes you to a different consciousness.

James Turrell is one of my favorites. Right up there with Rothko and Vinny van G and the rest. His medium is light. Here are two of the nine installations on display.

Jenny Holzer’s Ribs. It’s kind of like a news zipper.

Spender Finch’s Cosmic Latte was designed specifically for this space.

~~~~~~~~~~

After Mass we visited a county fair outside of Cleveland. It’s a genu-wine slice of rural life. Just look at these two sleeping angels. Adorable. Too bad for them they’re delicious in over a dozen different recipes.

I don’t know what this creature is. My friend Carolyn said she thinks she saw it in a David Cronenberg movie and I think that’s possible. I wouldn’t eat it, that’s for sure.

This bad boy won a second-place ribbon. Was the competition for most hideous cancerous growth?

There was some racist memorabilia in the 4-H pavilion. What if you’re a little kid and you see this? Wouldn’t it stay with you for a long time?

The King at the county fair in the heat of summer. If this won’t put a smile on your puss, nothing will. Thangkewverrmuch.

Meet the fried gator lady. She’s super-friendly with the same grin as that beheaded gator. I love fried gator.

~~~~~~~~~~

I wish had the wherewithal to make a gif of fire coming out of his mouth.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot?

bins

January 5, 1994

I was alone on New Year’s Eve. The thought of being by myself was so painful I went to Times Square. Spending New Year’s Eve alone in Times Square is pathetic. When people ask what I did, I tell them I went with a friends and got separated in the crowd. It’s a lie.

I stood there alone in a pen for over three hours. Nobody said a word to me. I was surrounded by 200,000 happy people but felt unwanted. I teared-up a few times. It was 25 degrees outside. At 9:30 I went to a payphone and called the apartment to see if anyone left a New Year’s message on the answering machine. Hoping for a message that I knew wouldn’t be there.

I looked across the street and saw a big party on the second floor of a hotel. I watched it for quite a while. People were dancing and drinking. There was a giant wall of glass that afforded them a fantastic view of the street, the ball and the commoners. The women were all very, very pretty. The men were terrible dancers. One girl danced in front of the window, as if for the crowd below. She had long blonde hair, wore a baseball cap and cutoff jeans with black spandex. At one point, a guy came up from behind, threw his arms around her and they embraced. They kissed for a long time. How do I get to be that guy? How do I get to be anyone but me?

On New Year’s Day I went to Klinger and Fun’s Day-1 party. I called to say I’d be a little late and Klinger said, “Well, don’t come after 6:00 because Fun and I are going to the movies.” It was Fun’s crowd. I like them. A couple of interesting gay guys. Ray. Some girl from Philadelphia. Mostly strangers. I know how to work a crowd. I had them all laughing. Fun kept pulling me aside and pointing out the available women.

Mimi walked in. A while back, she told Klinger not to mention my name. I’m still not sure what I did. It hurts. I liked her. She was with her boyfriend, a good-looking artist who has a flat in Chelsea and a house in the Hamptons. Apparently, there’s trouble in paradise. Klinger told me she can’t stand the sight of him and wants to move out. He’s dull and only talks about himself and his work. Artists. You know what you’re getting.

She walked up to me and we talked for a while. She looked great and wasn’t the least bit hostile. It was nice. She asked me if I was still writing and I got woozy. She always made me want to try harder. Or at all.

On the way out Fun followed me into the hallway to give me further intelligence on the single girls. I told her about Mimi—things that Klinger doesn’t know about how mad I was for her. She said, “Well, you never know what can happen.” I’m tired of hearing that from well-meaning people. I know what can happen. Nothing. Fun said she’d gather some phone numbers and call me but I can’t think of anything that’d be a bigger waste of her time.

I went to the Upper East Side after work yesterday to visit Ann. I was wearing my jacket and tie. She handed me a cordial as soon as I walked in the door like we’re fucking Ozzie and Harriette. We made out for a while. She’s absolutely daring and will do anything sexually but she’s germ phobic and doesn’t want my finger inside her. When my hand probes the inside of her thigh, she clenches up. “Tongues and cocks only, please,” she says. I have to vigorously wash my hands before the festivities can begin.

She took my hand and walked me over to the baby grand by the window. I asked her why the shade was drawn. It’s such a great view. She said some guy walked up to her on the street and said he watches her from across the way through binoculars. She sat on the piano bench and undid my pants. I said we should go to bed and she thought that was a pretty good idea. We left a trail of clothing from the piano to the bedroom, like in the movies.

We got under the covers and it was nice. She always shaves her legs when she suspects I’m coming over. We rolled around like two puppies. She likes when I spend time kissing her nipples. She said not everybody does that. For all her expertise, she doesn’t kiss well. She’s amazing and acrobatic but she can’t kiss. Her mouth is too stiff. Laura could kiss. I miss her.

She ducked under the covers and continued where she left off in the living room. I picked her up (she’s light) and set her down for the main event. She had a tremendous, noisy orgasm in fairly short order. I can always tell when it’s authentic and when it’s for my benefit. Her body both confirms and betrays her. Just before le grand finale, she gets kind of quiet and closes her eyes, like she’s concentrating. Her body tenses and she squeezes me with her legs and yells. Her chest flushes red. I asked her if she was okay and she said she hadn’t had sex in a week and it had built-up. Wow, a whole week. Imagine that. What an amateur.

~~~~~~~~~~

There are strict house rules. Under no circumstances are the cats allowed on the bed. So, of course…

Old man, look at my life

I just had a birthday. I won’t reveal my age because I’m hung up on it. Don’t laugh. Some people vape. Some follow the Kardashian’s exploits. I’m hung up on my age. None of it makes sense.

There are more years behind me than in front of me. This leads to an inordinate amount of introspection. Too much! I was dealt a weak hand early on but I played it pretty well. Instead of celebrating that, I choose to focus on my missed opportunities and failings. All I’ve ever been is an office drone. My aspirations never went beyond paying the rent. Why didn’t I have a hunger for something greater? And, please, I’m not fishing for compliments. It’s my birthday vent. Indulge me.

I was on my lunch hour walking up Seventh Ave. A pretty girl was walking towards me in the opposite direction. When we passed, she quickly looked away, as if she’d seen a hideous, old sea monster that just crawled out of the East River. When I was a young man and new to the city, girls would occasionally lock eyes for just an extra beat or two. The briefest of moments. Message received both times.

One box I never thought I’d tick was offspring. I didn’t think I had the emotional or financial capacity. But it’s worked out okay so far. I’m tempted to say I’m a better father to my girls that mine was to me, but that’s setting the bar artificially low.

15 years later, my hair is white. She’s taller and doesn’t require a dribble bib.

~~~~~~~~~~

I don’t work for The New York Times but I work in their world headquarters. It’s a lovely building designed by the charmingly-named architect Renzo Piano. He also designed the new Whitney Museum of Art in the meatpacking district and The Shard in London. It’s a pleasure to walk in every morning, but the bathrooms are too small and inconveniently located. The neighborhood, 40th St. and 8th Ave., is gloomy. The first one is his fault. Not the second one.

It’s a high-profile building. There are often protests outside and a police presence. Trump paid a few visits during the presidential campaign. Needless to say, he hasn’t been back since. I’ve seen James Comey and Juliette Binoche in the lobby. The day of the Capital Gazette shootings, the building was surrounded by paramilitary troops.

The building has a cracker jack security apparatus. Nobody can sneak by these proud sentinels.

Unless there’s a good Abbott and Costello movie on.

Look who’s back. Right on schedule. We see them every summer.

I’m on a very high floor. They roost near the top of the building to survey their kingdom.

They come up to teach their young how to hunt. Yesterday, while sitting at my desk, I saw two shadows dart past my window, moving straight down. Attack mode. Note that both legs are banded.

My friend did me one better. He looked out his window and saw a falcon on the fire escape across the way eating a rat that was still fighting for its life. The Circle of Life!

~~~~~~~~~~

The reflection is *not* water. It’s my glass patio table top. I didn’t see it until after I’d taken the pic. Another happy accident.

Are you going to have children?

…it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. That is unacceptable.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand

This, when she was asked whether or not she intended to have children.

It’s the Neanderthal in me but I make no apologies. It’s WOKE to say businesses have no right to ask women if they plan to have children. But here’s the reality of it.

My colleague had a baby last December. She took off from December through April, all while drawing partial salary. She came back in May, waited ten days, collected her annual bonus and promptly quit. She had no intention of ever coming back, just stuffing her pockets with money and running. They held her position and we absorbed all her duties in the interim, which was a big, fat, drag. She screwed the company and her colleagues over pretty thoroughly.

My bride did the same thing. She took three months’ maternity leave and resigned the day it expired. I had a fit. It’s perfectly legal but it shows a moral bankruptcy. I just had dinner with a friend who manages a team of lawyers. He said one of his charges is up front about it. She’s going to get pregnant, take her full maternity leave and then quit to be a full-time mommy.

Spare me any lectures about what’s acceptable to ask unless you’ve been on the receiving end of the new mommy whip.

It’s entirely her business,”
Ex-Prime Minister Bill English

No, it isn’t. Nobody is entitled to extort money from a company and double their colleague’s workload. If you plan on returning, fine. But if you have no intention, do the honorable thing.

~~~~~~~~~

We spent Father’s Day at the racetrack. I taught my 11-year old how to box a trifecta. It’s a useful skill. She already knows to stand on 16 if the dealer is showing a 2-6. Soon it’ll be time to show her the sucker bets on a craps table.

Sports betting is now legal in New Jersey and the track has a sports book. Do you know what a cooler is? A cooler is a mythical figure employed by casinos to throw water on a hot game. Their bad luck is so pervasive that casino management sends them over to sit at a table if the house starts losing too much money. I’m kind of a cooler when it comes to sports betting. I can tank a team’s entire season with one bet.

I put $10 on the Yankees to win the World Series. I hate the Yankees and always have. As of today, they’re one of, if not the, most powerful teams in baseball. But with my Dementor’s kiss, they’ll be lucky if they make the playoffs. Play ball.

~~~~~~~~~~

An unusual perspective of the Flatiron building. The offices in the point have irregular spaces that aren’t very workable. This is my bride’s favorite building from an architectural standpoint. I like it, too.

Chelsea graffiti.

~~~~~~~~~~

Pablo Picasso
Le Repos (Marie-Thérèse)
Oil on canvas, 1932
Est: $10,000,000-15,000,000
Sold for $11,562,500

I post a lot of jokey art so I thought I’d post something I admire for a change. $11.5M can be put to better use but this has a beautiful simplicity and gentle flow to it. The red and green play off of each other nicely. She was Picasso’s secret lover.

~~~~~~~~~~

The boredom of Alice.