Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Blogging on a bus

Last time I was on a coach the only excitement was a family pack of Chewits and the opportunity to make eyes at the boy in 5th form I fancied.

How times have changed in the last twenty  fifteen  ten years.

I am currently on the Bolt Bus on the way to Washington with my Mother writing this blog using wi-fi. That just blows my teeny tiny girl mind. Where is it even coming from? Heaven?

Unfortunately we are sat right at the front like a pair of Nannas. I tell Mother that everyone knows the cool people always sit at the back of the bus, but she says I don't really want to be next to the loo and smell wee for four and a half hours just to look good. Beside, she reminds me-I am at the age now where I should be more concerned with under eye wrinkles and pension plans than still trying to pretend I'm 25. And then she makes me put my seatbelt on.

I am ignoring her and going into Facebook and Twitter overload, as if I can inhale youth through the screen via the online updates of others decades younger than me.

The Bolt bus is not being entirely true to it's moniker. The North East United States is being lashed by a monsoon so we're driving pretty slowly, rather than bolting. At this rate we'll be lucky to get there while Obama is still in The Oval Office.

Still, props to the Bolt, which gains more points for legroom that it loses for being bright orange. It's much as I imagine the Megabus could be, if they took that fat twat in a hat off the side of the coach and employed drivers who weren't alcoholic ex cons.

When it comes to the wi-fi, Time Warner could take a lesson from The Bolt Bus. If they can get the internet right on a bus travelling 50 MPH North on the motorway, could you please try harder in my apartment, which stays in the same place?


Sunday, 28 March 2010

Murder, death, Kiehls

The American comes home earlier this week and tells me he spent an entire subway ride staring at a girl's arse. Before I clip him over the head, he explains it's not because it was peachy and desirable, but because she was wearing the wrong style of jeans for her figure.

My husband is now a raging metrosexual and it's all my fault.

When we met back in 2006 he used Axe underarm deodorant, the American equivalent of Lynx-(under International Law chav body sprays require single syllable names with an 'x' in them). He wore nylon sportswear, some days head to toe, until I pointed out this wasn't the most suitable fabric for someone of such manly build living in the heat of L.A. So I got him some linen shirts. He had never used moisturiser, or eye cream, so I got him some of those too.  I was just in time, there were fine lines appearing.

Three years later and he's dropped 40 pounds, insists on using the entire Kiehls Facial Fuel range and won't step out without 'product' in his hair. He has rejected all but natural fabrics and he even plans his wardrobes ahead of time.

"What are these?" I enquire picking up a pink trainer from a pile of new purchases.
"They're my new spring sneakers honnneeee"
"You don't need trainers."
"No, I do, cos they are spring sneakers."
"What is wrong with your winter ones, or the summer ones you have in storage?"
"I needed some in lighter colours to take me into Spring!"

Need. The man says 'need'.  The fashion obsessive's classic get out of jail card. I didn't want it. I needed it. The pupil learns fast.  And the talk of seasons,  not just summer and winter, but Spring and Autumn too. This is how far down the rabbit hole we've gone.

Living in the West Village has likely aided his transformation from hairy Alpha male to groomed gay. Saturdays on Greenwich Avenue are like an Armani catwalk. If I owned any, I could polish my silverware in the glow from the local men's skin.

When I complain that he has taken things too far he says "You made me honneee." like he's some kind of reverse Frankenstein creation who has manlicures.

I guess none of this matters, as long as he doesn't start looking better than me?

But then the passport photos happen:

I am in a scruffy camera shop on W14th street staring open mouthed at the third attempt at my portrait. That cannot be me. The camera must be on a setting that makes everyone look like a 250 pound moustached convict who's just had a stroke.

The American looks good. Like, really good. Great even. If I was to be mean, I'd say at worst he looked like an applicant for the new series of Jersey Shore, but I would still say he was chanelling Mike 'The Situation' which is the one all the girls all fancy. At best though, and to give him dues, he looks...really good looking... kind of... smoldering even... like an actor.

"Honnneee, look at me! Look how good I look!"
''Fuck off" I snap at him
"Seriously, I'm hot."
"Let me see yours honneee?"
There is hysterical laughter as he snaps it away from me "You don't look that bad."
"I look like a 250 pound escaped mental patient."
"Aww, well I love you baby."
"Piss off. How the fuck do you look that good in yours?"
"I did a look."
"A look!"
"What kind of look? Like Blue Steel or something?" I mock.
"Smirking drugs bust actually." he says, without a trace of irony.
"Jesus Christ."
"I can show you how to do it if you like?"

Stop. Right. There. Show me? SHOW ME? I invented the pout. The pose is mine. I was an amateur teen model for god's sake! In Cardiff! If I had been able to lay off the cakes I could have gone far. Me and Campbell and Crawford would have been besties.

I pay the bemused photo man $18 for photos that will never be used and stomp off in search of a British style photo booth that let's you do multiple attempts for a fiver. 

Show me how to look good?

When the pupil thinks they can teach the master things have gone too far.


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Paging Dr Love...

On the issue of finding hot, eligible men- I am not quite sure what was up with those four women from the long running New York based HBO TV show. The one that we... never dare speak it's name... since it sold out with the saccharin big screen version. 

Anyway, they should have just hung out on 7th Avenue between W13th and 12th. There are more hot male doctors on that block than you can shake a tongue depression stick at and it's only a stone's throw away from The Pleasure Chest. It's just good planning to have your future love and a great sex shop within walking distance.

Specifically the places to frequent are Subway Sandwiches and Duane Reade. Always docs in there from St Vincents, wearing scrubs, no doubt fresh from saving the lives of babies and dealing with multiple G.S.W's.

It's too late for me girls and boys. I married a man who works in media accounting. The only thing he saves is budget costs on a PDF.

I suggest you get yourself a $5 footlong and a pack of Advil and go meet your future husband.

April 20th UPDATE.

As an addendum to this post St Vincent's closed shortly after I wrote this. Now I cannot walk by for fear I placed some hot doctor arse curse on it.  Aside from the sadness for NY's singles, the hospital has been a major part of the community in the West Village for 160 years. Efforts are now underway to try and save it.

It would also make The American happy, his general paranoia was eased by having a hospital on our doorstep.

Say a little prayer for St Vincents and all it's doctors, whether they are hot or not.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Shitshine day

On Thursday New York basked in a freakish 70 degree March heatwave and out came the inevitable display of flesh. Stoops burst to life with lovers and smokers and The American and I strolled leisurely down to Union Square and felt the first heat of the year on our faces.

Then I saw a man trying to do a poo on the street.

I didn't spot it at first, at least I didn't catch what he was trying to do. I saw him from the other end of W16th street because he looked as if he was trying sit down on an invisible chair. Some kind of performance art I wondered? He was wobbling around a lot, so sitting on his make believe chair was quite hard.

It's not until I'm next to him that I see it's not so much a chair, than a throne the guy needs. Or a potty even. He is fiddling with his jeans zip when it hits me.

"Jesus Christ." I say under my breath to The American ''That man is trying to do a poo on the pavement."
"Gross." he says and walks on dismissively without looking back.
"Honey, look!" and I point back down the street.
"Emma, I don't want to look."
"No, you have to! Check him out, he can't even get his pants down."
"I am not looking!"
"Well I am."
"You are going to stand here and watch a man shit on the street?"
"You're grosser than he is"
"Just look! There's no poo yet, he hasn't even got his jeans off." 
"He probably went already in his pants."
"Oh. I feel bad for him now."
"Why are you still watching him then?
"Because... It is morbidly fascinating."
"Watch away, I'm going to get cigarettes."

He dives into the nearest deli and I stay outside to watch poo man. He is still trying to sit on his imaginary toilet. I wonder what you have to be drinking to think there's a loo right in the middle of the pavement.

I raise my head up to the sun, push my glasses back onto my head and breathe in the sun.  I hear a loud rattle and look right to see a lady coming up 5th avenue dragging a giant sack with hundreds of empty soda cans in. She stops right in front of me.

"Hey honey! I love your top!" she enthuses to me.
"Where'd ya get it sweetie?"
"Oh, in the UK."

And then she clatters off down fifth with her bag of cans, each one worth a few cents rebate.

The American comes out of the deli, Malboro already in his mouth.

"A bag lady just told me she liked my top." I say.
"Cool!" he mutters, clearly not listening.
"Hello? A bag lady just complimented me on my top!"
"And that's bothered you more than that guy taking a shit on the street?"
I nod.
"You're a real New Yorker now honey."


For obvious reasons this blog has been somewhat difficult to pictorilise. So here is a picture of my new beloved Liberty London for Target lamp, to take your minds off poo. 



Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Overexcite at the museum

Under the category of 'Spontaneous Sunday activity' The American and I are at The Natural History Museum.

We are in the queue arguing over the admission fee. He wants to pay the 'suggested' donation of $16, I want to pay a dollar.

''But why pay more when you don't have to?" I protest.
"This is not the way I want to budget Emma, ripping of the Natural History Museum."
"It's not ripping them off, it's a suggested entry! They they are suggesting that we don't have to pay loads of money. You can pay what you like!"
"No. They are suggesting we pay sixteen bucks each."
"Why spend money we don't have to?"
"Well, we'll have to spend more anyway, as I want to do an exhibition. If we just do a suggested donation we don't get to go into any exhibitions."
"I'm fine with that. I just want to see the Gorillas and stuff."'
"We're paying the full rate Emma."
"I'm freelance! There should be a special rate."

Turns out there's a dizzying array of entry options, when you factor the exhibitions in. Suddenly it's gone up from $16 to $24 and we have to make a quick decision on which one we want to see. I grumpily vote for Journey to the Stars (because it looks like the least boring option). He votes for The Silk Road.

"The Silk Road? Seriously?" I protest
"Yeah, that is like totally interesting."
"How? What is there to say? Men in The East travel on camels through the desert, it's really hot, they trade silk-The End!"
"Fine! Stars it is then." he concedes, probably to distract me from the fact he is handing over 50 bucks to the guy at the desk.
''Next time why don't you tip him 20 percent too!" I shout as I stomp off. 


20 minutes later and I am standing in the Hall of Biodiversity in front of the guard who's next to the roped off entrance to The Hall of Ocean Life.

"Hi, when do the fishies re-open?" I ask cheerfully

Silence, accompanied by a menacing stare. God, I need to get in there. There is a giant whale hanging temptingly from the ceiling in the distance and I want to stroke it.

''Excuse me, I say, with authority this time "When do the fish re-open?"
He looks up.
"I dunno."
"You don't know?"
"Nope." he shrugs
'Right, well is there someone who does know?
"Listen, they're like...doin' some stuff in there right? So I can't call it."
"Great, so you just don't even want to guess?"
Another shrug is all I get in response.


We are in The Hall of Biodiversity. I admit that I don't really know what Biodiversity is. The American claims he does, so I ask him and he says:

"It's like...lots of different life and...like... lives and stuff"

Hmmm. I try and read this more in depth description but he talks and it interrupts the voice in my head:

This becomes a feature of our trip, The American imparts his knowledge without it being requested while I try and read the information on the brass plates. Then I try reading out loud to indicate that his talking means I can't concentrate. He doesn't get the hint and becomes especially feverish when we are in the North American Mammals hall and there are lots of native Alaskan animals. He lived there for 3 years and takes great pride in telling me how he once woke up to see an Alaskan moose grazing outside his window.

I don't know much about Alaska, aside from the fact that Sarah Palin lives there and online shops are always at pains to stress they will not deliver there (or Puerto Rico) but now I can add another fact to my arsenal: They have a lot of animals there with really big antlers. There are lots of antler animals in the museum generally. To be honest, I think they totally overdid it on the antlers.

We head off for the Asian and African animals halls via the dinosaur bones in the regal main entrance.  The American explains how the tall one with a long neck and a small head was a vegetarian. He tells me that the ladder-like neck allowed him to munch the leaves out of the trees.

"Like a giraffe!" I say.

I tell him that I reckon that this particular dinosaur must have evolved into the giraffe, which I think is quite an intelligent comment, but The American cracks up and says "You don't know shit."

Asian and African Mammals are a bit 'seen one you seen them all' so it turns out. Predictably there's elephants in both. I insist on leaning over the velvet rope to stroke some hide and The American tells me off.

Then it's time for the stars thing and I am worrying it's going to be really boring and long and a bit like Techniquest in Cardiff. You know, one of those teachy preachy experiences ''Oww yeah, science is fun boys and girls! Now watch my bow tie light up powered by these 16 Hamsters in a cage!"

Hundreds of us stand in line for a giant white dome, that looks like the Epcot centre in Florida.

We file into a humongous circular cinema with a domed ceiling at least a 100 ft high. Whoopi Goldberg's voice booms out as a giant panorama of Central park in the summer sunshine spans 360 degrees around the screen. The American and I look at each other and mouth "WOW".

The arena goes dark and planet Earth appears at the top of the dome and then drops down from the sky. Comets and other planets pop up and move across the dome and flashes of light come right at you. Hundreds of stars rain down from the ceiling and Whoopi talks about supernovas and auroras as they dance around in front of us. I can't stop oww-ing and arr-ing and am squeezing The American's hand in wonderment.

I begin to have all these unexpected existential thoughts about who or what I am in this vast existence. This is the Universe and I am a teeny tiny me in comparison. Whoopi asks us all to concentrate on a star and stare at it and watch what happens. I fix intently on the brightest one I can find. I stare and stare and tears start to prick at my eyes. It makes me remember how Dad and I used to do the same thing when I was a kid. How we would gaze up, necks crained at the inky black sky and look for the brightest star. Then he would say that star was mine.

Two fat tears roll down each cheek because I miss him but I try and hold it in, like you do in the cinema at a sad film. When the lights come up I feel silly, like people will think I've been crying about the stars.  I hurry outside the dome and find a bench to compose myself on. The American follows and comes and gives me big bear hugs.

"Wanna go to the giftshop honey?" he asks gently
*Sniff, sob* "Oh...yes please." *sniff sniff sob* "Can we go see the Gorillas too?'
"Sure honey."
*Sniff sniff* "Will you let me take a picture of you beating your chest next to them?"
"Of course honey."
*Sniff, sniff sob* "Thanks. Love you."
"Love you too honey."


Friday, 5 March 2010

The Golden Arches of 6th Avenue


My local Mcdonalds is the scariest place on the block.

There's always lots of men in front of it wearing baggy jeans and walking around in circles. They swing one arm down in front of them, really low, like monkies. I don't know what they're all doing-hanging out there, but it looks dodgy. I don't pay $RIDCULOUS a month to deal with that nonsense in my hood, so I just scurry faster when walking past.

However, motherhood will make you take risks you never thought possible. So when The Teenager wants a Mcdonalds hot fudge ice cream sundae to distract her from the abject misery of missing The Boy-I have to brave it. Rather me than her.

Outside The Golden Arches is scary…inside it's Baghdad. I run in and order six sundaes on the basis that the rest can go in the freezer and I won't have to come back again. I wrestle considerably with the fact this means the fudge sauce won't be hot anymore.

Next to me at the counter is a skinny homeless guy with no teeth questioning the Mcdonald's girl

"How much a Quarterpounder?"
"How much a Quarterpounder with tax?"
"How much... fries?"
"How much fries with tax?"
"How much a…hamburger?"
"How much a hamburger…with tax?"
"Hmm…" he says ponderously, in response to her robotic answers and eye rolling.  He scrambles in his pocket for change and starts counting through it. I can see a palm full of brown coins. I think I notice him because he is neither scary or aggressive, he seems quite...happy.

He smiles at the Mcdonalds lady and then mooches over to some girls next to me. They dive straight in:
"Maaaaan, don't you come near me, don't you be asking me for no money. Back up Mr. Back up!"
"Hey, I don't want your money" he says calmy "I'm just trying to buy some food."

Oh God. Here I am watching my six ice cream sundaes get made, looking like a greedy cow and this man just wants some dinner. OK-I'm going to buy him a meal, I'll even supersize it. I go into my purse and there is no more cash in there and I've left my cards at home. Shit. Shit. Ok, I could just give him an ice cream sundae? It's not the most nutritious of dinners, but it's better that eating out of a bin? And he has no teeth, so ice cream might be a good choice?

But by this point the manager, who looks about 15, has begun the process of throwing him out. I'm not quite sure on what basis and clearly neither does he as he laughs protesting:

''I'm a daaaamn customer!"

To be fair, he was only getting the prices. The exact prices. New York sales tax is a bastard.

Oh crap. Do I still offer him the sundae now? Is that even more humiliating than being thrown out of a Mcdonalds? What I really want to do is offer him the ice cream and flee, cos I don't want to converse with him.

I turn around and he is half way out of the door and the woman serving me is only just bagging up my sundaes. I grab them and run out onto the street to find him. He's talking to himself and staggering down the block lighting a cigarette.

"Money for fags but no money for food! " I can hear my Mother say.

I ignore her imaginary nag and follow him down the block holding a single hot fudge sundae aloft.

"Come back!" I shout, but I realise I am still having an internal dialogue, so the words don't come out.

He is moving pretty fast for a man who unlikely has anywhere to be. I break into a run. And then I stop myself. I am running after a homeless man with a hot fudge sundae.

I come to a stop on the street and people whizz by me on the pavement. Standing still is the worse thing you can do in Manhattan. You get pushed and shoved and tutted at loudly. The Empire state blinks green like a gremlin in the distance-which strikes me as a funny colour. The man disappears into the crowd and my moment is gone.

My ice cream is starting to melt.


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Where's Naomi?

Is it 20 years of constant hunger that's made Naomi Campbell so bloody angry?

As I write, the supermodel is 'on the run' in Manhattan after supposedly socking her limo driver in the head. New Yorkers will empathise. I want to smack cabbies in the head most days, especially when they insist on getting the cross street before you've even sat your arse down in the back seat.

So where is Naomi right now? Where do you go when you're the world's first Supermodel fugitive? I suggest the following:

1) In a branch of Foot Locker-finding some more suitable shoes for being on the run. She can't leg it from the cops in Prada platforms.
2) TopShop in SoHo-Every good fugitive needs a new outfit. Naomi could get a little slice of home and some leggings from the Tall section of the British high street favourite.
3) Natural History Museum-at the cavemen exhibit asking them why displays of anger were acceptable in their day, but so frowned upon now.
4)A branch of Crumbs Bakery-They have the biggest and best cupcakes in NYC. Even supermodels need to comfort eat in times of stress.
5)On a train to Queens. No one will look for her in the boroughs surely?

Oh poor Naomi. We shouldn't judge her, she's just a down to earth Laaandan gal who got pulled into all this glitz and glam craziness from an early age innit? She don't know no betta'. All she really wants to do is help the people in Haiti and Chile too. I don't want them to suffer anymore than they already have, so if you're reading this Naomi, you can come and hide out in my apartment-I have Rescue Remedy.

Just don't even think about losing your shit with me-I'm a Cardiff girl-we fight back.


Monday, 1 March 2010

A letter to UPS

Dear UPS,

I accept *adopts ominous voice* EMERGENCY CONDITIONS BEYOND UPS' CONTROL meant you were unable to deliver my parcel of sale goodies from Urban Outfitters in the depths of Friday's Snowmageddon.

I even understood the use of the seemingly over dramatic EMERGENCY CONDITIONS BEYOND UPS' CONTROL after The Teenager explained that lots of your delivery drivers are volunteer firemen when there is a raging blizzard. She watches a lot of NY1.

I even admired the EMERGENCY CONDITIONS BEYOND UPS' CONTROL message on your parcel tracker- as there was correct use of the apostrophe, which is as rare as it is admirable these days, especially when an 's' is involved.

What I cannot accept however is that your parcel tracker still says EMERGENCY CONDITIONS BEYOND UPS' CONTROL 3 days later. What is your excuse now UPS? And why isn't it on your website? The snow has melted and the sun is now shining. New York has moved on, why haven't you?

Just send a bloke in a brown shirt and a electronic signing device with my stuff yeah? Please do it today before it rains or snows or some other heinous act of god/EMERGENCY CONDITIONS BEYOND UPS' CONTROL occurs.

Many thanks,

Frustrated of the West Village



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