Memories of spring
March 28, 2002 +

It's first getting nice outside and elementary school is cool and full of fresh air from the open windows and just a little muggy. I'm wearing a T-shirt and jeans and no jacket and my bookbag is light. After school I walk with Ross and Kim and Matt down Blackstone Drive until Ross turns left to go to his house and I turn right and cut behind the redheaded kids' yard to go home. I drop off my bag and get on my bicycle and zoom over to Boulderwood Drive to talk to Matt and flirt with Kim some more. Then Kim and Matt go inside and I head back to my house where I eat microwave popcorn and play in the basement until dinner.


Bachelorhood makes me fat, sleepy and irresponsible
March 21, 2002 +

People are somehow surprised when I tell them I sleep at my girlfriend's place almost every night. "Do you really?" they ask, as though no man in his right mind who has his own apartment would suffer the intense rigors of nestling into bed next to a beautiful and snuggle-happy woman. Heaven forbid.

There's a health factor, too. Bring me down to Union Square on a weeknight and I eat a normal dinner, watch a little TV, get a good night's sleep. Which is nice. Because if you leave me in my apartment alone, I wind up eating Chinese food at 8:00 and again at 11, and having dessert both times, and sitting at the computer in my underwear until 2:41 in the morning doing work I really should have gotten done before I plunked myself on the couch to watch the late-night "Seinfeld" rerun.

Tonight the ladyfriend is sleeping over my place. Thank goodness. At least I was motivated to make my bed this morning.


March 18, 2002 +

"Shining Star" was a Top Ten hit for the Manhattans in 1980. The Manhattans, a quintet from New Jersey, recorded melodic soul ballads for decades, and "Shining Star" was their last big hit. It came in at No. 22 for the year 1980, just ahead of the Commodores' "Still."

"Shining Star" was playing over the in-house stereo system at New World Coffee on Avenue of the Americas and 12th Street at 7 p.m. Monday night when a pair of men in fedoras began arguing over the authors of the song. The Chi-Lites it is not.

These are the curios that grab one's attention when one pokes one's nose into others' conversations. Thank you, gentlemen, for helping a lone soul pass an empty half hour.

"Baby Come Back," by Player, was the background music at the Korean deli on Fifth Avenue and 13th Street. ...


Memories of Paris: Third in a series.
March 13, 2002 +

"Parlez-vous englais?" David asked in his best terrible French.

The two women stopped; the one nearer him, the pretty one, the white one, the thin one, the one who spoke English, at least outwardly, answered him. "Yes, I do, what can I help you with?"

"Can I buy tickets at this station for the RER B or just the Metro?"

"Yes, you can buy RER tickets here," she answered. Then, with a glance at her friend, she continued, "Come, we will show you."

David and the two women were just inside the entrance to the Les Halles metro station. Amy stood a few paces back, still in the sun. The women took a few steps. David didn't follow. English-speaker turned around and insisted. Opportunity glinted in her eye, but David decided to go anyway, and Amy went too, the four of them into the RER/Metro station, boyfriend and girlfriend each lugging a 35-pound suitcase down the stairs behind their new "friends."

At the entrance, Amy made a beeline for the billeterie; after all, they were there to buy their tickets, then head back outside for half an hour, until the Petit Bateau opened and Amy could do some final Parisian shopping. But the French women had other plans. They talked briefly in French, then turned back to the couple from America. "Buy your ticket for the RER," the English-speaker said, "and we will take you to the train."

The fine line that separates friendliness from insistence, crossed atop the stairs into the metro station, was now all but erased. David didn't bite. "Actually," he said, in all truth, "we're not taking the train until later, but thank you anyway."

Another quick exchange in French, and English-speaker said, "We will wait for you, then."

The time to get out was passing fast. David didn't wait for a third chance. "Amy, give me your suitcase," he said. Amy still stood by the billeterie, waiting to get tickets from the machine.

"Why?" she asked.

"Amy," he repeated, more firmly, "please give me your suitcase."

"But let's just buy our tickets," she replied. "That's why we're here—"

"Really, it's okay," English-speaking French woman interjected.

"Amy." David repeated himself once more, trying hard to get his point across to his girlfriend without revealing that he wanted to grab her by the neck and race up the stairs, without revealing to the French women that he was annoyed and angered and he could see deeply into their hopeful eyes and he was more than a little bit afraid. "Give me your bag."

Amy came toward him a bit, tentatively but far enough, and he grabbed her suitcase and said, "Go." in a deep, serious tone. She headed for the metro exit. He followed her out, urging her quietly and continually to move it move it move it, until they were up the stairs and back out in the sunlight and away from the entrance to the station, the quasi-friendly calls of the French women fading until they realized the Americans knew better after all.

David and Amy hung a left and slipped into the mall at Les Halles, disappearing into a Petit Bateau the minute it opened. Amy bought some cute nightgowns and a cardigan before they headed back into the metro, using a different entrance. They purchased tickets from the billeterie, found the RER B, and boarded quickly and carefully, settling into seats after the Gare du Nord stop. They tinkered with their bags and let their breathing return to normal as the train took them safely toward the airport, toward home.


Memories of Paris: Second in a series.
March 12, 2002 +

The last morning, they walked with their suitcases down Rue Montorgueil, where the fronts of the shops are open to the street and passers-by pick up fresh food for the day. They bought two petit baguettes and a pair of croissants and a pain au chocolat at Paul, and some butter and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot at a grocery where no one spoke English, and some bottled water at a patisserie with a beverage display. He swiped a plastic knife and some cups from a cafe where the help sneered at him for not buying anything, and then they were done shopping.

They walked to the park at Les Halles and sat in the sunlight on a stone ledge, she facing the sun, he facing her. She ate a croissant while he buttered a baguette for himself.

"I love you," she said, declaratively, then grinned.

"And I love you," he replied.

"This is a nice birthday," she mused.

"Maybe we should do this every year," he said.

"I'd like that," she replied.

They ate their breakfast in relative quiet, drinking the bottled water instead of the champagne, enjoying their last few hours in the Parisian spring air. Soon they would nearly be burgled by prostitutes in the metro.


Memories of Paris: First in a series.
March 11, 2002 +

You haven't lived—boy, you're really not ready to die—until you've seen a post-op transsexual Thai strip naked after singing "A Tisket, A Tasket" while you're digesting your satay.


Packing list
March 7, 2002 +

Notes: four days, temps 50-55 daytime, carrying bag on trains; 4 days, 3 nights on town (economize).
~ 2 sweaters
~ 1 pullover
~ 1 sweatshirt
~ 1 button-down, blazer, tie
~ 1 pair slacks
~ 1 khakis (wear to work) and 1 corduroy pants
~ 1 jeans
~ 4 T-shirts, 2 undershirts, 1 long-sleeve T
~ 6 boxer shorts, 6 pair socks
~ Black shoes and Campers
~ Sunglasses
~ Camera
~ iPod, charger (not that it will work), headphones
~ Airplane-jack headset adapter
~ Passport and concealer pouch
~ Toiletries
~ Medicines, vitamins and related
~ Beadhead, shampoo, conditioner
~ Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, two books
~ EarPlanes, earplugs
~ Streetwise map
~ eTicket confirmation of 8 p.m. flight to Paris, returning Monday



Weblog (no new windows: )

2BR apartment for rent, upper east side. I know six different people (more, probably) that have slept in this apartment. Nice place. Way up high with good views. Go for it. [3/28]

IBM Developer Works: For good usability, craft useful error messages. [3/28]

How do you know you're mainstream? Example A: The New Yorker turns your hobby into a cliché. [3/27]

This week is Passover and Good Friday and Easter Sunday and, of course, my birthday.
Happy holiday
(image from Cardhouse, who found it via Misterpants)

Did you know: In order to raise postal rate the post office has to negotiate a deal between 60 organizations. That's an awful lot of haggling, even for the government. No wonder the USPS refers to the rate hike as a "settlement." [3/22]

Interesting tinnitus news: a new training therapy patterned after procedures for amputees. Not unlike other available treatments, like the William Shatner solution, but this is more cranial and less labor-intensive (a few hours a day for a few months versus 24-7 for a year and a half). (via Boing Boing) [3/21]

Think you can decorate a room? Try your hand at Open House. My best score only gets me to "This Space Has Great Energy," a far cry from "Simply Fabulous" and "To Die For." I don't understand the nuances of the scoring. Which, I suppose, sums up my skill level at interior design. [3/19]

Help! I need birthday present ideas for myself (people are asking), large and small. Send me suggestions. I was all set to get an XM Radio system for my car until I found out you have to roof-mount the antenna, which just isn't happening on my wheels, that's for sure. What else would I dig? [3/18]

A new car! [3/13]

Flat Eric in the car.
Flat Eric in "Flat Beat."
More Flat Eric videos.
Rainbow's Zippy.

Among the things I bought in France:
~ Camper shoes: 1655 in black and tan and 1623 in dark brown. I [heart] Camper.
~ Zara: two shirts, two pants (no direct links, damned Flash site). Zara is Banana Republic with flair, and in Europe it's cheaper than shopping at the Gap.
~ For the birthday girl, hugging bears (second item).
~ Also, lots of indulgent cheeses and breads and chocolates, including some goodies from Cacao et Chocolat that made their way back to the States.

MetaTimes: Today's New York Times includes both an opinion piece from Ted Koppel on the op-ed page and an article in the business section discussing Ted Koppel's writing of his op-ed piece. [3/5]

Sunday in Manhattan.
~ EJ's Luncheonette
~ AI Friedman
~ Economy Candy
~ Fishkin Knit Wear
~ Guss' Pickles
~ Il Cantinori

Not a bad way to while away a day.

March 1 is St. David's Day. All of Wales is in a festive mood. March 29 is David Wertheimer's Day, where all of my friends will be in a festive mood, as I celebrate my birthday. Coincidence? I think not. [3/1]

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Copyright © 2002 David Wertheimer. All rights reserved.