He watches her as he walks by

September 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

He watches her as he walks by, with one eyebrow angled upward while the matching side of his mouth slowly curls up to follow. He glides up the steps to his office, giddy at having just caught a glimpse of her with that befuddled expression on her face which he looks forward to seeing every morning. Sitting down to his desk, his thoughts wander as his computer loads.

How long after I get in does she usually get coffee? Fifteen minutes? He glances at the time but vows to get some work done before he gets distracted again.

He goes about his business, carrying on as a jovial fellow, searching for amusing little snippets of life between the monotony of his work. But every few minutes his mind drifts back to her.

Her hair yesterday, that braid…I hope she’s wearing those tight jeans today, the ones she rolls up at the ankle because they’re much too long for her…I wish I could remember that really great pun I made up last night, she’d really like that one…

She started about a month ago. Their first conversation was innocent enough. She said she had just moved to a new neighborhood and was excited about trying out all the local spots. He told her he had moved to his neighborhood for the food. They talked about pets, walking to the train in the winter, bird watching. It was a nice welcome-to-the-office kind of conversation.

Not long after, she began stopping by his desk to ask him questions. They were working on similar projects and he always seemed to have the time to get her what she needed.

What does your shirt say?

September 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yep, still easier to write than to say out loud.

Sometimes, the internet is wrong

September 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Which I learned today, when I walked down a quiet Brooklyn street and rang the doorbell of an unassuming brownstone. A heavy-set bespectacled man wearing paint-splattered khakis laboriously opened the door.

He doesn’t look quite like a yoga instructor, I thought to myself.

“Hi, uh, is there a 12 o’clock yoga class here today?”

He laughed. Not hard, but in a situation like this, a laugh is a laugh. “Nope, hasn’t been yoga here for years. Sorry.”

“Oh, ok, thanks, no problem. Thanks. Bye.”

Aside from the awkward/mildly embarrassing encounter and the waste of my time (though, really, I had nothing else to do, so this is a minor point), I find myself mostly confounded by my unquestioning loyalty to the internet.

I Googled “Yoga Bushwick”, looked through all the entries on the first page, found one that had a class during the timeframe I was looking for, Google mapped the address and directions from my apartment, and set an alarm ensuring I would be up in time. Never once did I stop and think “Hey, lady, maybe you should call just to make sure.” Why on earth would I do that? The internet said it, it’s true, dammit.

Well, this was a swift kick in my yoga-deprived ass. A reminder (or first introduction to the concept) that the internet is not always right.

So, with that, I now solemnly swear to remember this the next time I go frolicking around town looking for the perfect yoga studio/restaurant/bar/museum/coffee shop/theater/book store/thrift store/grocery store…

Jeez. That’s a lot of phone calls.

What would Miss Manners say?

September 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tonight I was confronted with a digital question that I thought a lot about and still haven’t resolved. Here’s how it came about:

I read a really great article in the Village Voice and decided to share my thoughts about it with Twitter.

I read the article in the newspaper. The actual, tangible, ink-gets-on-your-fingers newspaper. I was on the train when I decided it was time to tell the world how I felt about the article. I follow @villagevoice and gave them the appropraite shout out. I do not follow the reporter, and since I was on my mobile phone, I didn’t take the extra effort to find him and mention him in the tweet (the contact line at the end of the article listed his email address but not his Twitter handle). But, this was not my dilemma so I digress.

Since I had read the article in the print paper, it didn’t seem natural to me to go to the Village Voice website, find the article, copy the link and paste it in my tweet. I figured I had offered enough context in my tweet that people would know how to find the article if they wanted it. Someone I didn’t know @ replied me to ask for the link. Here’s where I got stuck. First I thought “Awesome, someone read my tweet!” then I thought, “hmmm, I could go to the Village Voice website, find the article, copy the link and paste it in my @reply, or, he could go to the Village Voice website, find the article and read it.” The latter seemed more like the shortest distance between the two points (especially because I was on my mobile phone), so I responded that I had read the print article so I didn’t have the link but that it shouldn’t be hard to find on the Village Voice website.

Right after I sent the @ reply, I felt guilty. Should I have just searched for the link and sent it to him? Should I have included it in my tweet in the first place? Was I doing a disservice to the article by not making the link a prominent part of my post? Would the Village Voice have preferred the hits to the article page, or the increased time on their site as users navigated from the homepage to the article page?

Hyperlinks are social currency. Hell, they’re what the whole web is built on. I get it. And, ok, full disclosure, another reason I didn’t include the link was because I wanted more characters to use for my own personal commentary. I don’t exactly feel guilty for that, because that’s what I, and pretty much everyone else, use Twitter for. I do, however, feel bad if I somehow gave the Village Voice the short end of the stick. And I certainly didn’t want to annoy the dude who took the time to read my Tweet and found it interesting enough to want to actually do what I had suggested. But, I dunno. I guess I just didn’t think it was too much to ask that people take a couple extra steps to reach their destination.

So, while I continue to ponder that one, here is the link to the article I was talking about in the first place:
http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-08-31/news/9-11-the-winners-profiting-from-september-eleventh/

Frazzeled & Zainy

September 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

If I had had my wits about me, I would have given you the real explanation – the one I had spent the whole flight thinking about. I would have told you that the book is great because JD Salinger creates a world that mirrors his characters and their dilemmas with impeccable detail. I would have gone on to say that the two characters, as they throw around impossible questions about living, echo the conversations I often have with myself. I would have mentioned that most of the book is dedicated to beautifully written prose about the set-up of a room, or the expression on a face and on occassion, the descriptions will be interrupted by long episodes of dialogue – dialogue spoken by one character at a time speaking at, distinctly not with, another character. I would have gone on like this, piquing your interest, getting lost once again in the wonder and confusion of that lovely little book, had I not been so caught off guard by your question. Funny, too, since I was just telling a friend of mine how that very question would be, to me, the ultimate pick up line.

I hope the next time you pick up the book is the time you read it.

An NYT-style op ed about bananas

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

(If I were applying for a job that requested I write an op-ed about bananas curing the common cold, here’s what I would write. Would you hire me? There’s a questionnaire at the end.)

Your last cold, ever?

Remember back to the last time you had a really bad cold. You know, the one where your head was foggier than a San Francisco sun rise, your boss sent you home because you were annoying your co-workers with the constant drone of nose blowing and you were up all night tossing and turning because the congestion would migrate to a different side of your head every five minutes.

We’ve all been there, and the only way out seems to be packing as many over-the-counter medications into your system as possible until you can sleep for five days straight or muster up just enough energy to slog through the work day.

Despite an over-abundance of retroactive, half-way decent solutions to this all too common ailment, nothing ever seems to alleviate symptoms as effectively as we’d like. On top of their lackluster performance, these medications can get expensive after a week-long bout, and most of us would prefer not to pack our bodies full of chemicals that mask symptoms without really solving the problem. Even still, we’ve been told for years that there really is no cure for the common cold, though it has always been unclear who was really looking for one.

On Wednesday, it was announced that ACHOO Research, based in Princeton, New Jersey, had discovered a cure in the most unlikely of places. Bananas, they say, is the cold cure we have been dreaming of, longingly. Their research suggests that eating one banana every three hours at the first sign of a cold will completely eliminate the virus in 10 hours.

Medical research rarely comes with such a definitive timeline, but ACHOO researchers have been quietly testing their theory on monkeys in the Hawaiian Islands for the past 12 years. Ten years ago, they began holding clinical studies on humans which allowed them to pinpoint the exact time it takes for the healing effects of bananas to kick in.

Though there will be skeptics, the risks of testing this finding are non-existent. If you feel a cold setting in, head to your local supermarket for a bunch of bananas and try out the theory for yourself. Unlike any other scientific study, this one comes with no risks, no long list of potential harm and no lawyers lining up to take on malpractice cases. The worst that could happen? You will have just eaten a delicious banana for no reason.

This scientific breakthrough restores hope in the medical community’s ability to find natural cures to the most nagging ailments. In the best case, this is a huge step toward decreasing our dependence on the pharmaceutical industry and their synthetic substances to keep us well. The more societal emphasis and funding dollars we put into research projects such as ACHOO’s, funded by the National Science Foundation for all 12 years of its life, the more we will find answers to tough puzzles in the simplest places.

You looked like the picture of contentment

August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment