Friday, November 19, 2010

Portrait of a marriage

Over a bottle of Chianti at dinner last week...

Mister: I walked past a lady and farted today but I think she thought it was her baby.

Chan: You framed a baby for your fart?

Mister: Yeah. I think I totally pulled it off.

Chan: You farted. On a baby.

Mister: He totally deserved it.

Ah, love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I love quick time march.

 The real love of my life.

The Mister and I are on a serious budget right now. We are attempting to erase some sins of the past and also to learn the value of a dollar. If you live in or near New York, the value of a dollar is approximately $0.14. The exchange rate is horrendous. This has translated into a real crackdown and re-evaluation of priorities in the Chan household.

This is putting a serious cramp in my style as I walk around the city drooling over the boots and bags and flats and stretchy pants I can’t have. I can’t have stretchy pants anyway even if I can afford them (see previous post re: English muffins, butter, and the eating of said deliciousness by me), but that is neither here nor there when I’m busy coveting. I EL to the O-V-E fall clothes and I know J.Crew is sending me all of these e-mails full of heather grey felted jackets and hounds tooth menswear hats and tall cognac leather boots because they know I’m not allowed to go shopping and they get off on taunting me.

Confession - I only own 1 pair of pants that is truly appropriate for work. I haven’t done any serious shopping in nigh on 2 years. Part of this is the money thing, but the rest is due to the fact that I gained a considerable amount of weight after I started my current job. It was a combination of quitting smoking and going from a fairly active lifestyle in a country where drunken bicycle riding was my main mode of transport to sitting at a desk or in a car or on my couch about 98% of the time that did it. Confession 2 - I’m an indoor girl. The amount of physical activity I engaged in when I lived in Japan was almost entirely of necessity. If it were up to me, I’d have a team of oiled men carrying me Cleopatra style from room to room. Could we *please* all step on the same foot at the same time!

So here I was with my ass parked in a cubicle all day and I found that my pants were suddenly squeezing a little bit. More than a little bit. Ok, where do you buy maternity pants because this is getting serious. And while the smart thing to do would have been to go to the gym and maybe cut back on the Chocolate Chip Frappuccinos, (mmmmm…) I instead went into an intense period of denial and started wearing exclusively empire waist dresses. Not my finest hour.

I eventually lost the weight I gained and more with the help of some grueling workouts, an approaching wedding, and the intense months of sleep deprivation associated with housebreaking a dog. I celebrated by donating or tossing all of my larger sized clothes and treating myself to a small summer shopping spree. The thing is, in my excitement I bought several pairs of capris and jeans in size “You’re joking, right?” That’s what it said on the tag. Although I think it’s some kind of trick tag because lately it looks more like it says “HA!”

So now here I am, Miss One-Pair-Of-Pants. I seem to have settled somewhere in the middle where my body is comfortable but like Alice I'm suddenly too big or too small for everything. It seems that the only time I actually fit into size "Yeah, right!" was 9th grade and that actual day when I did a little turn in the dressing room and made my husband tell me how awesome my ass looked.

It did look awesome, I swear.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Two wheels. No sense.

The epitome of style

When The Mister and I moved to Japan, one of the very first things we did, after exclaiming over the beer vending machines and accidentally buying a bottle of “Pocari Sweat” thinking it was water, was pony up ¥6000 (Around $60 bucks) to get us a pair of used bicycles. These were not fancy bicycles with things like “speeds” or “brakes” that “worked”. They were rusted and worn, they had functional baskets and the seats were made of some space age super-hard plastic that had the ability to reduce your butt to one giant callus. These were hard workin’ blue collar bikes that got you from A to B, and helped you get your groceries home.

Our first apartment was at the top of an enormous hill and it was always such a rush heading into town, rocketing down that hill at the speed of light with no way to stop except to sacrifice your body or be hit by a train. The freedom! The exhilaration! The abject fear!

One of the downsides of the impeccably orderly and on-time train system in Japan is that it only runs from 5am until about midnight. Generally you were forced to make a night of it if your evening was going to extend past the witching hour and you were further than walking distance from home. I was a bit of a party animal back then – staying up until 11, sometimes even 11:30! PM! Even with my wild ways, nights out were typically over well before the sun came up. There are only so many choruses of “Hungry Like the Wolf” a girl can stand before bedtime. Besides, staying up until 5am always required drinking until 5am if I intended to stay awake (separated entirely from my intention to stay ALIVE) and I had already had the experience of being on the early morning train as everyone is headed out to work while I’m trying not to vomit in a stranger’s briefcase. The bicycles changed all that. They opened up a whole new world of staying out moderately late. I know, I'm a rebel.

This is how I learned about the true Japanese National Pastime. Baseball? you ask. Pachinko? Selling strange things out of vending machines? Those are all great guesses but the answer is no, my friend. Let me introduce you to the sensation that’s sweeping the nation (of Japan, that is).

Drunken Bike Riding.

You heard it here first, folks.

Now I know plenty of people are going to tell you that this is Very Bad And Dangerous Behavior, but I’m here to tell you the truth. IT’S SO! MUCH! FUN! Look at the facts – drunkenness? Fun!! Bike Riding? Fun!! So by the transitive property or the pythagorean theorem or something, there is no way that this could be bad. And anyway, aside from the time I ran over that vagrant* no one ever got hurt. We did however pop wheelies, scream and shout, ride on each other’s pegs (Hi, I’m 11) and cause the kind of general mayhem that made me finally understand why the locals looked so fearful every time they were trapped in a subway car with one of us.

Were those some of my dumber escapades? Oh yes. But good lord were they fun. And as we all know (from experience – don’t lie) smart and fun don’t always live in the same place.

*Absolutely 100% true story.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reflections on an Icon

 The light of heaven shines down on the unsuspecting 
heathens of New York City

On my way through Grand Central yesterday on a whim I ran up the stairs to look out over the scene in the main terminal. It’s an icon, this place. Somewhere that most people will only ever see in movies, and I get to walk through it every single day. Most of the time I have my face buried in a book or I’m busy tapping away at my cell phone, but for reasons that are beyond my control I don’t know just how many more times I’m going to have the chance to walk through that echoing hall. I wanted to take a minute to reflect and really be in the space instead of just passing through in a hurry, rushing to catch my train which would be leaving in 10 minutes if it weren’t CANCELLED AGAIN.

These are my reflections.

Mmmm…. goldfish.*

Did you ever notice how goldfish stick in your teeth?

Man, those people are standing right in front of me for this picture. I am definitely going to be in this picture.

I just wish I could get these goldfish out of my teeth.

She definitely just got a picture of me picking goldfish out of my teeth.

A Bond Villain just stopped right in front of me to check his train schedule and/or assemble the detonator to a bomb he intends to use to blow up a train carrying some important government agent. Seriously - you should see this guy! Enormous shaved head, suspicious looking metal briefcase, trench coat with the collar standing up around his massive angry pockmarked face. He is DEFINITELY up to something.

At least he’s blocking me from these people taking another picture.

There are still goldfish in my teeth.

I wonder if I should attempt to thwart the Bond Villain’s plans. Maybe I should karate chop him. Or I guess I could just wait patiently until he inevitably starts monologuing in a Russian accent about where he hid the bomb and how I’ll Never Stop Him Now!

I wonder how many tourists now have pictures with me in the background picking goldfish out of my teeth.

Guesstimate: A Lot.


*They have goldfish in the office. The perfect heading to the train snack. Except, I don’t know if I mentioned they stick in your teeth.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mr. Charlie goes to school

 Plotting his next felony

We signed the dog up for obedience classes starting next week. He's got some minor doggy problems - jumping on unsuspecting children, cursing out the poodle up the block, 2 counts of breaking & entering and an attempted carjacking. I keep telling myself that it's because he's still young or it's just a breed thing. But I think the truth is, my dog is an asshole.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised - look who his parents are.

For me one of the unfortunate side effects of dog ownership was being forced to actually meet all the people in my neighborhood I’ve spent these last 3 years purposely avoiding. I was happy in my little apartment cocoon, snarling at the neighbors and throwing garbage at the local children from the upstairs window on Halloween. The dog changed all that. I was forced outside, into the cold cruel world. And as mentioned in a previous post, I am almost always under-dressed for the coldness. And the cruelness, for that matter. There is no ice breaker quite like literally running into the man you’ve lived next door to for 3 years and never spoken a word to as you chase your dog down the street in a robe and wellies with a Breathe Right strip hanging off your face. Hey - Mr. Jones, is it? Good to see you again! But there’s no way back from there. Once the neighbor has seen your bare ass you can’t just nod to each other in the morning and pretend it didn’t happen.

You know it, he knows it, your ass knows it, and you can be damn sure the dog knows it and he and the cats will have a good laugh about it later.

Friday, November 5, 2010


 Mama needs her special medicine!

I've been reading mommy-blogs lately. This is even weirder than my normal weird as I'm about 99.9% sure that I don't want to have kids. It's sort of like my lesbian roommate who loved watching gay porn. She didn't want to be involved in it, but found it completely fascinating in an icky, morbidly curious, watch-it-from-behind-your-hands sort of way.

This is just like that, but with less amyl nitrate.

I just love all the judgment that goes along with anything having to do with babies. Watching moms scream at and berate each other is better than even the best episode of Jersey Shore - better than the one where Vinny called Angelina "Trash Bags" for the whole show and then they smashed! And who knew there were so many ways to ruin a kid's life? You did/did not give your child a pacifier? RUINING THEIR LIFE! You did/did not breastfeed? LIFE! RUINED! You let you child cry for more than 5 minutes? LIFE RUINER! You went and comforted your child as soon as they made a peep? Well, you can imagine how RUINED their LIFE will be now!

When I was a kid, my parents had to resort to much more obvious ways of ruining my life. Like grounding me from age 11 until last week. Or embarrassing me publicly by breathing or existing in my presence during my entire high school career.

I think the real life ruiner might be the fact that all of these kids clearly have insane people for mothers.

I've also been reading some really great and inspiring stories at and, and for a second I started to rethink my No Babies policy. I was like hey - this lady did it - TWICE! She loves her kids and she's even still a person.

And then she started talking about how she hadn't slept for more than 2 consecutive hours in over 3 months and my ovaries packed up their shit and moved to Buenos Aires and just left a note that said


Thursday, November 4, 2010


 Grrr. Arrrgh.

Fall in the NY Metro area usually means a few days of crisp weather and crunching through leaves and a lot of rain. This is an area where it rains for days at a time. It’s the earth’s way of preparing us for the sun’s absence for the next 3 months. They might as well just ship out guns to the whole tri state area as soon as November hits.

The weather report on days like this shouldn’t even bother with how many inches of precipitation we’re supposed to get or what the temperature will be. A more useful report would look like this:

Monday, partly cloudy.

Tuesday – Thursday, THE TRAINS WILL BE LATE. All of them. Yes, yours too.

It doesn’t matter to me though because late trains are the least of my worries on days like this. You see I was born with a crippling disease called curly hair. Imagine lightening bolts and thunder cracking when you read that. And maybe Count von Count is in the background too. THREE! THREE FLYAWAYS! AH AH AH!

I never watch the weather so I’m usually dressed for whatever the weather was yesterday or for whatever temperature it is inside my house. You’ll find me out on the reservation walking Charlie in February in shorts and a sweatshirt because that’s what I was wearing in the living room, so WHY SHOULD IT BE ANY DIFFERENT HERE? But I always know the second I wake up if it’s raining because my hair looks like I’ve been sleeping attached to a Van de Graaff generator. If I was smart I’d just call in dead to work on days like this and go right back to bed until the sun comes back out. But instead I usually fight the losing battle with the hairdryer and my Chi straightener and then take bets on how long it will take for my hair to grow large enough to devour the unlucky person sitting next to me on the train or run for senate on a platform of Universal Conditioner. Internet, I have a confession. My hair is a socialist.

A few years ago the company sent us on a golf outing and while we were getting our first lesson this freak storm came out of nowhere and drenched us. My hair, my traitorous hair which I had worked on for an hour before leaving the hotel room, went from pin straight to a mass of Little Orphan Annie curls in the span of 45 seconds. Give me a sandy dog and a song about Sunshine and you wouldn’t know the difference aside from the murderous gleam in my eye as I searched the grounds for anything resembling a hat. You see that maniac trying to hide her Ronald McDonald hair underneath a piece of birch bark? Flee from her, lest the curls be contagious!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wedded Bliss

This means I have to start paying
for my own car insurance.

I went to a wedding this weekend – my third in 4 months including my own, effectively doubling the number of weddings I’ve attended. I only really count 4 of them though because I was too young to drink at the first two and does anything count when you’re not drunk enough to really enjoy it?

I was nervous about being under pressure in the bridal party because my own wedding was pretty stressful and just a whirlwind of smiling and “Oh my God I’m so glad you came!”. But this wedding was perfect. I was the HSBoH which meant I didn’t have to schmooze anyone or give a speech or do anything really except show up in my pretty dress, smile for pictures, make sure the bride got drunk and make a fool of myself in the photo booth. It’s way more fun when you’re not in the white dress. You don’t have to worry about whether everyone is dancing or enjoying the food. You don’t have to pretend you care that all those people showed up when all you really wanted to say was JUST HAND OVER THE CHECK GRANDPA! You don’t have to worry that the photographer you paid $5,000 to is going to catch you standing in your white dress smelling your own armpit and post pictures of it on her blog. Not that my own wedding wasn't spectacular. But everything is always better when someone else is paying.

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Maz.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To die by your side, well the pleasure the privilege is mine.

This is the picture I bring to the groomer 
when I take Charlie for a haircut.

Every Saturday I get to shun the NJ Transit rail system and enjoy a blissful 40 minute commute in my car. No one shoves me or shoulder checks me as I am about to get in the door. There are no strangers in my car who cough or sneeze or pick their noses next to me. My husband does all of these things, but at least he has the courtesy to warn me and roll down the window when he farts. This little bit of solitude - it’s like a little piece of heaven that makes it worth the odd Tuesday-Saturday work-week.

My only real complaint is the appalling lack of decent radio stations in the New York area. You basically have a choice of Top 40 Crap, Easy Listening Top 40 Crap, House Music Crap, or NPR. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some NPR. But sometimes I just want to listen to some good old fashioned rock music written post-1960.

I used to work for a company that required me to travel a lot in rented cars through podunk middle-of-nowhere sections of Alabama and Kentucky and I was always chancing upon the most amazing contemporary rock stations. I'm talking about sections of the country entirely populated by cows, where every billboard was authored by God. I’d be in the rental car fiddling with the dial and it would scroll through Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Country Music, Jesus, Jesus, THE SMITHS! Jesus, Jesus, NPR, Country Music, RADIOHEAD B-SIDES! And then I’d come back home to New York, this supposed bastian of rock and roll and coolness and the best I’d be able to find was the newest Staind single on K-Rock.*

Recently New York got a real alt-rock station when K-Rock folded and was turned into The Worst Radio Station Ever. Go ahead and tune to 92.3, but I will not be held responsible for your brain leaking out of your head or any associated dry cleaning costs. And while WRXP still plays the occasional Staind single (How the hell DID we wind up like this?) I can forgive them for it when I hear Morrissey reminding me that he is human and he needs to be loved. Just like anybody else does.

*No offense to all you Staind fans – I know you’re just too stupid and uncultured to know any better.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Make your own damn salad.

 Can I have some extra dressing? A little more... keep going... 
Dammit, just give that thing to me. I'll do it myself!

When I got a job in New York I was excited at all of the opportunities for exciting lunches I knew would be coming my way. I spent a good amount of my working life at the mall, which surprisingly did not offer a great deal of gastronomical inspiration. There was always the difficult choice between Wendy’s and Chick-Fil-A, or a mall gyro from Greek Delight! if I was feeling really adventurous. The exclamation point is supposed to make you excited about the fact that it will give you diarrhea EVERY TIME YOU EAT IT.

So here I am, at my fancy-pants job in the big city. I have lunch hours and the possibilities are endless. And by possibilities I mean make-your-own-salad bars. And by endless I mean FUCKING ENDLESS. How can the 3 block radius around my office support seven hundred different make-your-own-salad restaurants? And how many salads can I make myself before I just lose it on the guy behind the counter?

For $14.00 US I shouldn’t have to make my own salad. I shouldn’t even have to order the damn thing. Chick peas? Turkey squares? I don’t fucking know dude! Put whatever you think I want in there, but God help you if you’re wrong. And when I finish eating it, it should clean off my desk and then watch the phones for me so I can take an extra 20 minutes at the gym.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life & Style

Sorry - I don't have any change. 

Walking through New York City can sometimes feel like flipping through a fashion magazine edited by a crackhead. Every day I see impossibly skinny chic girls wearing outfits that only impossibly skinny chic girls can wear. Impossibly skinny chic girls in their layers of gauzy drapey shirts and scarves and stretchy pants and super soft leather above-the-knee boots and Chloe bags big enough to double as a 4 man tent. They waft through the streets on light breezes because girls that skinny and chic don’t need to waste their energy walking. I watch these girls float by and think about how I always wanted a pair of skinny jeans tucked into boots just so. But skinny jeans are not for girls with hips or girls who for example just ate an English muffin dripping with butter and then swore they were going to Be Good for the rest of the day but instead came into the office and immediately ate a plate of apple crisp that was mostly crisp because they hate cooked apples. Just for example.

On the other side of the coin, you get the hilarity that is the New York City trend-whore. Not to be confused with the New York City regular-whore, and since they sometimes dress (and act) almost exactly alike this can be a tough call. You’ll know the trend-whore when you see her schlepping through Grand Central wearing those slouchy saggy 80s pants that are back now (God knows why), ankle boots with a wedge heel, a sequined shirt, a giant belt just below her massive bosom, a sweater/cape/jacket thing (you know what I’m talking about), and a fedora. She’s dressed almost exactly like the homeless lady who just asked me for half of my sandwich. The only difference is that the homeless lady has to wear all her clothes at once BECAUSE SHE’S HOMELESS.

New York. The only city that can absolutely crush your self esteem only to completely revive it moments later. At least this place keeps you on your toes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lesson learned

Today I watched about a year's worth of episodes of 16 and Pregnant. I learned a few things:

  • A Southern accent makes your chances of teen pregnancy rise exponentially.
  • Teenagers should not legally have any right to name children. It's sort of the same thing as letting your 5 year old name your dog. Only the dog never has to grow up and explain to its friends at school why its mother named it Nevaeh.

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Open Letter

Dear Fellow Sufferers of the NJ Transit Rail System,

It appears we've all done something terrible in another life to be subjected to this 5th circle of hell known as the NJ-NYC commute. Fares are going up, service is practically non-existent, and it's a rare day when you don't have to stand the whole way to Penn Station or share your seat with 6 cackling teenagers. I'd like to present you all with a few suggestions to making the train ride more bearable. More like the 3rd circle of hell, reserved for Creed fans and people who wear stretch pants with shirts that don't cover their asses. So without further ado...

  • If you're going to listen to your iPod, even with headphones, you still need to keep the volume at a reasonable level. Why even bother wearing headphones if your music is so loud it feels like it's coming from INSIDE MY BRAIN?? Also, that song sucks.
  • Bring a tissue. No one wants to listen to you sniffle for 35 minutes straight. 
  • Do not perform grooming activities that are normally reserved for the bathroom. I get the makeup application, but there should be no plucking, clipping, or tweezing of any kind happening. You are in public, for Christ's sake! And if one of those eyebrow hairs lands on my purse, so help me God lady, I will pull the emergency brake and toss your ass out of this car into the Meadowlands with Jimmy Hoffa!
  • If you plan to bring your baby on an 8am commuter train, that bottle better be laced with NARCOTICS.
  • Don't talk to me about politics.
  • Don't talk to me about the weather.
  • Yes, the train is late. Again. Don't talk to me about that either.
  • Just don't fucking talk to me.
  • If you are under the age of 16 or can't keep yourself from saying the word "like" as, like, every other, like, word, your fellow passengers have the right to staple your face shut for the duration of the trip.
  • If the train is packed, your bag does not get its own seat. Don't make me ask you to move it or I will jump you like a high school girl with her eyebrows painted on and hoop earrings with her name in them.
If we can all follow these few simple rules, I'm sure it will bring goodwill and cheer to all commuters.

Or at least I won't have to bring an M-16 on the train and spray anyone's brains on the nice new seats of the double decker.

    Commuter Chan

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Other News...

  • This underwear advertised itself as "No More Wedgies". Hanes is writing checks my ass can’t cash.
  • You know you have good coworkers when you can give directions like “Whatever it is, it needs to be the other thing.” And they can turn that into action. You also know that maybe instead of teaching ESL you should have been taking it.

Professor Charlesley T. Wetbeard III

Monday night I sent the Mister off to the Jets game with his brother. He was out getting soaked in a torrential downpour, so it was just me and the Professor and the cast of Jersey Shore all night. Hooray for Fios DVR! I was totally engrossed in the Snookie/Angelina brawl and the Professor, having no respect whatsoever for whether or not Snookie really was "Done", was pacing around the apartment in the Time-To-Pee pattern. Not to be confused with the Take-Me-To-The-Dog-Park pattern or the I'm-Eating-Q-Tips-From-The-Bathroom-Garbage pattern. Gross Charlie.

I was watching him pace and also watching the monsoon outside and just hoping he could hold it for a few more minutes until the storm died. But he came over to me and put his head in my lap and whined a little high pitched whine which is the Charlie version of crossing his legs and grabbing his crotch with both hands and saying "I gotta go nooooooow!" So I got up and put on my rain boots and my coat and put on his leash and gave him my best stern look to let him know this is Business Time, and not Smell Every Blade of Grass on the Planet Individually Time and out we went into the monsoon.

Charlie needs complete silence to poop. He's easily distracted so he can only poop in the backyard in an atmosphere of reverent concentration. God forbid the neighbor is in his yard mowing the lawn, or the lab behind our house is outside. He cannot possibly poop because OH MY GOD DID YOU SEE THAT LEAF IT'S SO INTERESTING I MUST SMELL IT FOR 20 MINUTES!!! I never use that many exclamation points but Charlie has no restraint. He can't spell for shit either.

The monsoon was not providing the church-like environment necessary to facilitate a Charlie poop, not by a long shot. There was rain tap-tap-tapping on the tin roof of the shed and acorns falling from the tree and leaves blowing everywhere begging to be chased or at least stared at and willed to leap into his mouth. After 10 freezing soaking minutes of begging the dog to poop... just one poop? I know you have to go you're the one who begged to come out in this you bastard WHY WON'T YOU POOP?! I finally gave up and brought him back inside where he immediately resumed pacing and whining. This continued for 3 HOURS. 3 hours, and not a single poop was had. And by then it was past my bedtime and folks, let me tell you you don't want to know me past my bedtime.

When the Mister finally came home, I believe my head spun around 2 or 3 times as I thrust the leash at him and the voice of satan came out of my mouth and said "Make him POOP!" as a chorus of demons swelled behind me. It was intense. And that sulfur smell is still in the curtains.

The next morning Charlie was up bright and early as usual. Totally unfazed by the marathon of not pooping and climbing the back stairs until 2am. I dragged myself out of bed after letting him scratch-scratch at the floor of the crate until my brains started to leak from my ears and took him out. And he pooped! Like it was not big deal. Like I hadn't been begging him to do it for hours the day before. WHATEVER CHARLIE. I brought him back in and went straight back to bed. I was just falling back into a delicious warm sleep when I heard a huge commotion downstairs and someone called my name.

I poked my head out of the bedroom and there, on the back stairs, was my landlord holding the Professor by the neck with one of the cats following close behind. She was decidedly Not Happy. Charlie, however, was SO EXCITED OH MY GOD! He was making new friends! He had claimed the uncharted land of the basement for puppies! As I was putting the pieces together I realized that in my haze I must not have shut the door completely behind me when I brought him inside.

My dog then yanked the door open and committed a B&E through the landlord's cat door, terrorized her cat, rifled through her garbage, and leapt into her bed. My landlord's bed. At my apartment where the lease specifically states NO DOGS. My landlord who, after we came home with a dog and promised "You won't even know he's here!", kindly allowed him to stay.

I guess this was his attempt at gratitude.

In other news, if anyone has a room for rent and their lease allows dogs and cats and madness, I think we might be looking.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wedding Weekend

Commuter Chan is the Matron of Honor in a wedding next week. I hate that term, Matron of Honor. Why don't they just call it Old Hag of Honor or Hideous Sexless Beast of Honor?

Anyihateanyonesweddingthatisntmine, there was some confusion over beds and who was sleeping where and sharing hotel rooms, so I e-mailed the Maid of Honor (such a superior title, BTW. Maybe I'll get a divorce before the wedding so no one calls me matron.) to see what the sharing situation would be like.

CC (or HSBoH) - Is there room for the Mister or are there other girls staying with us?

MoH - We can all share on Friday night. The room has two double beds. Just as long as I don't hear gross sounds...

CC - We're married so by law we can't make gross sounds anymore. Except for the farting. MY GOD THE FARTING!

MoH - That's what I was referring to. Also, the quiet weeping.

Well I can't make any promises about that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Commuter Chan Travels: Konnichiwa, Kommuters

When I lived in Japan I was constantly amazed at the speed and efficiency with which the whole country seemed to operate. Everything was always precisely on time. Never early, never late. Especially the trains. People had told me about this, but to see it in person… you could literally set your watch by the trains in Japan. Every day at the train or subway station people would get to the platform and line up in neat rows at the spot where the doors were going to open (marked with cheerful pink squares on the ground) and wait silently. Then the train would pull up to the exact right spot – to the centimeter! Everyone would walk onto the immaculate train cars in their straight lines, and the trains would whisk everyone away in a speedy (but not too speedy – there’s a schedule here, people!) and orderly fashion.

When I first started I was always incredibly nervous about being late. Japan is a society of On Time People and I’ve been a Thirty Minutes Late Person my entire life. In the beginning I would leave 20 minutes early to make the 4 minute bike ride and 3 minute walk into the subway station. This might not seem like a big deal to you. You’re probably saying, “Well duh – of course you’d leave in a few minutes more than it actually takes to get to a place.” But for a Thirty Minutes Late Person, this is pretty much the most difficult thing on the planet.

So every Friday I’d leave my apartment at 3:00. I’d ride my bike to Dobutsuen-Mae station to jump on the Midosuji line to Nakamozu where I taught. I’d wave and say “Konnichiwa!” to the trannys on my block, and maybe even stop at AM/PM for a delicious rice ball filled with… what is that? I thought this was tuna! And I’d ride the long escalator down into the train station. I’d buy my little ticket and stroll onto the platform to stand in a straight line like those little French girls in the Madeline stories. And at exactly 3:19, just like it was supposed to, the train would show up and we’d all file on as I tried to look as inconspicuous as possible even though I was a head taller than every other woman there.

That lasted for about a month. And slowly my 30 Minutes Lateness began to creep up. I started leaving the house at 3:03. And then 3:07. And then 3:11. And finally I wasn’t riding my bike through town waving to the trannys anymore. I was flying like a banshee, pushing that creaky little bike with the basket to speeds approaching the sound barrier. Mowing down oba-sans and narrowly avoiding getting smashed by cars as I looked the wrong way AGAIN when I crossed the street. I would run down the long escalator, taking the stairs two at a time, crash into the ticket machine and shout at it impatiently as I paid my 290 yen. I would run frantically to the platform flailing and cursing as I heard the train pull up at 3:19 like it did every day and leap spectacularly through the doors just as they were closing only to collapse in a very un-Japanese heap, wheezing, spluttering, but safe! I call that year my Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Lateness. 

On the Train: Day 614

This morning I sat down behind a guy who was reading the dictionary. A big red hard cover dictionary. Not Webster’s even – some no-name store brand dictionary he probably bought at Target that claims to have all the same ingredients as Webster’s, but leaves out words like “baleen” and “herculean” because it figures if you couldn’t be bothered to buy a real name brand dictionary you probably won’t even notice. I could understand if he was writing or reading something and using the dictionary for help, or if he was 7 and about to compete in a spelling bee, but instead he was a 30-something guy in a suit on an NJ Transit commuter train reading a DICTIONARY.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dog Days

I bought a puppy because I'm a moron. Is there really any other reason you'd buy a puppy? I mean the cuteness, sure. But that's a good reason to visit a puppy. Only a masochist would buy one. Would wake up one morning and say "Man, I just feel like I'm getting too much rest and relaxation these days. I don't spend nearly enough time half awake cleaning poop off of a furious struggling demon as it attempts to gnaw my arm off. I'm just looking to turn my life upside down and have everything I do dictated by the toilet schedule of a small furry creature". That's me. I'm that guy.