“the green thing”

an anecdote that found its way to my inbox:

 

“In line at the grocery store, a cashier told the elderly woman checking out that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

“That’s our problem today,” the cashier responded. “The former generation
did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over—so they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in their day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts—wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady was right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV and/or radio in the house—not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a hankerchief, not a screen the size of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she was right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a disposable cup or plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor when the blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24 hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?”

comedy crack

ie, a zillion megan amram tweets, in reverse chronological order

 

missed connection

“I saw you on the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Q train.

I was wearing a blue-striped t-shirt and a pair of maroon pants. You were wearing a vintage red skirt and a smart white blouse. We both wore glasses. I guess we still do.

You got on at DeKalb and sat across from me and we made eye contact, briefly. I fell in love with you a little bit, in that stupid way where you completely make up a fictional version of the person you’re looking at and fall in love with that person. But still I think there was something there.

Several times we looked at each other and then looked away. I tried to think of something to say to you — maybe pretend I didn’t know where I was going and ask you for directions or say something nice about your boot-shaped earrings, or just say, “Hot day.” It all seemed so stupid.

At one point, I caught you staring at me and you immediately averted your eyes. You pulled a book out of your bag and started reading it — a biography of Lyndon Johnson — but I noticed you never once turned a page.

My stop was Union Square, but at Union Square I decided to stay on, rationalizing that I could just as easily transfer to the 7 at 42nd Street, but then I didn’t get off at 42nd Street either. You must have missed your stop as well, because when we got all the way to the end of the line at Ditmars, we both just sat there in the car, waiting.

I cocked my head at you inquisitively. You shrugged and held up your book as if that was the reason.

Still I said nothing.

We took the train all the way back down — down through Astoria, across the East River, weaving through midtown, from Times Square to Herald Square to Union Square, under SoHo and Chinatown, up across the bridge back into Brooklyn, past Barclays and Prospect Park, past Flatbush and Midwood and Sheepshead Bay, all the way to Coney Island. And when we got to Coney Island, I knew I had to say something.

Still I said nothing.

And so we went back up.

Up and down the Q line, over and over. We caught the rush hour crowds and then saw them thin out again. We watched the sun set over Manhattan as we crossed the East River. I gave myself deadlines: I’ll talk to her before Newkirk; I’ll talk to her before Canal. Still I remained silent.

For months we sat on the train saying nothing to each other. We survived on bags of skittles sold to us by kids raising money for their basketball teams. We must have heard a million mariachi bands, had our faces nearly kicked in by a hundred thousand break dancers. I gave money to the beggars until I ran out of singles. When the train went above ground I’d get text messages and voicemails (“Where are you? What happened? Are you okay?”) until my phone ran out of battery.

I’ll talk to her before daybreak; I’ll talk to her before Tuesday. The longer I waited, the harder it got. What could I possibly say to you now, now that we’ve passed this same station for the hundredth time? Maybe if I could go back to the first time the Q switched over to the local R line for the weekend, I could have said, “Well, this is inconvenient,” but I couldn’t very well say it now, could I? I would kick myself for days after every time you sneezed — why hadn’t I said “Bless You”? That tiny gesture could have been enough to pivot us into a conversation, but here in stupid silence still we sat.

There were nights when we were the only two souls in the car, perhaps even on the whole train, and even then I felt self-conscious about bothering you. She’s reading her book, I thought, she doesn’t want to talk to me. Still, there were moments when I felt a connection. Someone would shout something crazy about Jesus and we’d immediately look at each other to register our reactions. A couple of teenagers would exit, holding hands, and we’d both think: Young Love.

For sixty years, we sat in that car, just barely pretending not to notice each other. I got to know you so well, if only peripherally. I memorized the folds of your body, the contours of your face, the patterns of your breath. I saw you cry once after you’d glanced at a neighbor’s newspaper. I wondered if you were crying about something specific, or just the general passage of time, so unnoticeable until suddenly noticeable. I wanted to comfort you, wrap my arms around you, assure you I knew everything would be fine, but it felt too familiar; I stayed glued to my seat.

One day, in the middle of the afternoon, you stood up as the train pulled into Queensboro Plaza. It was difficult for you, this simple task of standing up, you hadn’t done it in sixty years. Holding onto the rails, you managed to get yourself to the door. You hesitated briefly there, perhaps waiting for me to say something, giving me one last chance to stop you, but rather than spit out a lifetime of suppressed almost-conversations I said nothing, and I watched you slip out between the closing sliding doors.

It took me a few more stops before I realized you were really gone. I kept waiting for you to reenter the subway car, sit down next to me, rest your head on my shoulder. Nothing would be said. Nothing would need to be said.

When the train returned to Queensboro Plaza, I craned my neck as we entered the station. Perhaps you were there, on the platform, still waiting. Perhaps I would see you, smiling and bright, your long gray hair waving in the wind from the oncoming train.

But no, you were gone. And I realized most likely I would never see you again. And I thought about how amazing it is that you can know somebody for sixty years and yet still not really know that person at all.

I stayed on the train until it got to Union Square, at which point I got off and transferred to the L.”

 

original post here

a dinner party

emily just finished a huge project at work so we threw a surprise dinner party for her—

colorful letters on computer paper, with stamps and drawings and colored with rainbow chalk, strung together on twine to say “congratulations emily” and hung across my living room. flowers in mason jars and scotch bottles. a huge multicolored mylar parrot we named bernie, “laying” a blue farmers market egg in a brown bag nest. a moleskine with a bookmark stamped with emily’s name and a heart that alex and i made with our thumbprints. the coffee table set with candles and flowers and and mugs of lavender rooibos tea and a pitcher of lemon water with party straws that looked like peppermint sticks, and cushions from the couch to use as seating.

there were no leftovers.

it was a perfect night, full of love and warmth and caring and belonging and joy and gratitude.

(and a killer soundtrack.)

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the menu:

spring mix, roasted lemon brussel sprouts, toasted pumpkin seeds, chia cider vinaigrette.

wild king salmon pan seared and finished in the oven, with some delicious mystery rub that matt concocted, and sliced avocados.

steamed artichokes with a dipping sauce of grapeseed oil, minced garlic, minced basil, salt and lemon juice.

cold cucumber soup: chopped cucumber marinated with leeks, garlic, lemon juice, dill and salt and pureed with chicken stock, finished with grapeseed oil.

dinner party: a soundtrack

i let itunes shuffle and here is the magic it produced:

 

the equals — baby come back

ed askew — my love is a red, red rose (live, 1970)

hoots and hellmouth — the ache

sonic youth — sacred trixter

waterstrider — let them stare

moon king — appel

fatty acid — sax rush

gaby moreno — que voy a hacer

slava — file

johan blomgren — california sundown

sonia montez — learning to sing

sleeping at last — snow

jamaica — i think i like u 2

andy morris — wasteland

mister loveless – nineties children

the weeknd – lonely star

public enemy — everything (ft gerald albright & sheila brody)

sean bones — here now

yellow ostrich — mary

jeff buckley — last goodbye

pale seas — sleeping

pepper rabbit — older brother

hoots and hellmouth — ocean open wide #daytrotter

emperor x — rural pakistan

primo and hopeton – loving and kind

suckers — a mind i knew

terry malts — nauseous #daytrotter

great lake swimmers — changing colours

hotfox — the dollar theatre

jill sobule — sweetheart

borrowed beams of light — half life

yo la tengo — the point of it

the sea and cake — covers

father john misty — hollywood forever cemetery sing

quiet man — she stayed home

dave matthews band — crash into me [yes this happened, now please stop laughing]

TAB the band — she said no (i love you)

japanther — come back home #daytrotter

brother pacific — bite the bullet

sonny & the sandwitches — throw my ashes from this pier when i die

sun kil moon — sunshine in chicago

little ruckus — promise land

REM — pop song 89

maps & atlases — israeli caves

john holt — you must believe me

“Who Is the Patti Smith of Lena Dunham’s Generation?”

answered in user comments

 

The Good:

“There is no such thing as a modern Patti Smith.”

“So the millennial generation is now just being referred to as Lena Dunham’s generation? I dissent.”

“I figured the point of Patti Smith was that there was only one Patti Smith.”

 

The Bad:

“Grimes.”

“Ke$ha.”

“St. Vincent?”

 

The Ugly:

Miley Cyrus: “HER LYRICS SPEAK TO ME.”

#comedianmeals