I have always been fascinated by malls.
My first job, at age 14, was at a women's clothing store called Brooks Fashion in the Stamford Mall. For $5.50 an hour I learned the intricacies of the retail business, which my extroverted personality seemed well-suited for. I also discovered the rotating merry band of pranksters who made their living in the climate-controlled building. People who work in retail can be a quirky bunch, and more often than not have made a wrong turn or two in life. To a high school student, though, they are the epitome of cool. Or just creepy.
My favorite was a guy named Mike who worked at the Foot Locker on the fourth floor. I was 15 when I met him, and he was easily 25. When he saw that I liked a particular brand of Timberlands, but couldn't quite afford them at the time, he suggested Layaway. If I paid a little each week, in just a month I would have my boots. Yes, he made a sale, but it also gave him a reason to hit on me every time I came in to put $20 towards my shoes. I have never put anything on Layaway since.
Over the years I did time in several other stores. I spent two years at Tape World, a music store which was lined with cassette tapes. When I was bored, I would alphabatize the place, section by section. Except classical. I never went near classical. During one Christmas break in college I worked at Victoria's Secret and helped clueless men pick out bras and lacy underthings for their wives, girlfriends and misstresses.
On my first day a man walked in and asked me for help. He said he wanted to buy a bra for his wife. I was all of 20 at the time, and perhaps a little too eager to please. I asked what size his wife was and he replied, "Oh, she's a chesty gal. Kinda like you." Other men referred to their wives breasts as "handfuls" while others lit up when I showed them options in thongs. It was a great job.
Last night found me at the Stamford Mall again, this time looking for a deal on some new running shoes. The place has changed a lot over the year. Brooks Fashions is now BeBe, Tape World is the Limited Too, but Victoria's Secret is still up and running.
My favorite time to be in a mall is when no one else is there: early in the moring when the stores first open or on a Tuesday night when the staff is just futzing around and waiting to punch out. Perhaps this is why I gt a $170 pair of sneakers for $116. The ones I wanted, which were on sale, didn't come in my size. Instead, the sales guy gave me a pair of the new Nike 360s for $116. We bonded talking about our herniated discs. He may need surgery. Let's hope he doesn't.
Other people are obsessed with malls like me. Kevin Smith made Mallrats in 1995. Scenes From a Mall was shot in the Stamford Mall and in 1990 I auditioned to be an extra. Valley Girl has some great scenes inside a mall as does Fast Times from Ridgemount High.
See, malls are awesome. Now point me tot he nearest Orange Julius.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
In L.A. this weekend at the Regent Showcase on La Brea and Beverly there are also some special screenings:
Friday - 7:30 - Premiere Party -- Everyone is invited and free drink tickets will be given with admission.
Saturday - 7:30 - Q&A with Russell after the show.
Details can be found on the website.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
'Twas a good weekend, all through the city
From West 56th Street and down to the Delancey.
GOOD magazine threw a party in midtown
Then I hopped over to a show so I could get down.
A ex-student of mine plays the drums in a band.
So I paid my eight bucks and acted like a fan.
Saturday brought a five-mile run,
It's a pain in the ass but I like it when it's done.
Later that night I had drinks with some peeps,
Jen Carnahan and Jill...old skool from Day 3!
That was our dorm our first year at 'Cuse
It was co-ed and crazy, all right it was a zoo.
After too many vodkas I hopped in a cab
I was light headed and tired but the evening was fab.
Now I'm tucked away in a house in the 'burbs
Just me and the cats, my little piles of fur.
There is work to do and there are novels to write
And hopes to enjoy further great nights.
Good times, ladies. Good times.
I was reading Sundays Styles today and I came across Anna David's piece in the Modern Love column. What caught my eye was the title of her upcoming book, Party Girl. There have been many creative projects named Party Girl, and so I found her website to learn more about the book.
Anna seems to have several interesting projects on tap, including a group blog (grog) about debut novels in 2007. Good stuff all around.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Last night I was wandering around Union Square, as I often am. I was headed home and I passed the Virgin Mega store. Inside, I heard music of the rock variety and realized that Jesse Malin was doing an in-store performance. Hurrah!
I got into Jesse Malin back in 2003 when he realeased "The Fine Art of Self-Destruction." It's the kind of album that really speaks to a 26-year-old. I've been on team Malin ever since. He's got a new album out called "Glitter in the Gutter." He played songs from it last night, but also did "Wendy" which is my most fave song of his.
It's little things like this that make it seem impossible for me to ever leave New York. I say that because I got my lease renewel forms yesterday as well. Yes, the property manager wants me to stick around. The rent is going to be raised from $1,315 to a more accurate market value of $1,410. Looks like it's me and the bugs again, at least for another year.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Yesterday afternoon I picked up my old laptop from the guy who was fixing it. This was my old school, 1997 laptop that had a lot of my *important* data on it. And by important data, I mean half finished novels and journal entries from 2003.
The guy at the store took all the important stuff off the computer and put it on two CDs for me. This was a bit of a surprise, because I didn't think that I had quite so many failed writing projects.
He told me that in some random section of the computer, that clearly I was never aware of, he found hundreds of music files. There were so many he had to put them on a separate CD. I took the CDs home and checked them out, and sure enough there is practically the entire Beatles and Rolling Stone catalogue, not to mention Claption, JJ Cale, Fleetwood Mack...you name it. I was practically squealing with glee last night.
Some selections are questionable, though, such as the Celine Dion songs and the Shania Twain. The computer was given to me in 2003 by a relative who had taken it back from someone who worked for their company. They were going to throw it away until I intervened and promised to give it a good home. The guy it used to belong to was a family man in his 40s, which would explain all the Dire Straits. It does not, however, explain the Faith Hill.
Unrelated: I'm writing this from Mud Cafe in the East Village, and I am seated next to two bookish, 30-something hipsters who are clearly on a first date. (Perhaps they met on Nerve.com?) The woman went to Yale and the guy went to some school in Boulder, Colorado. The woman is actually making fun of people who are Geminis. This, from a woman who went to Yale.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Last night I was talking with a friend who lives in D.C. She had just broken it off with a guy she had been dating for about a month. This guy was very tall and handsome, and for the most part was a functioning member of society. Sure, he had a slight flatulence problem, but what guy doesn't?
My friend called Game Over one night when they were coming home from a movie. They had just seen Zodiac. As she and the boyfriend were pulling off the exit ramp, the guy pulled the car over to try to pick up a hitch hiker. Even better, the stranger was on my friend's side of the car. When the boyfriend rolled down the window, the stranger asked for some cash, which the boyfriend said he didn't have. Then they drove away.
On the way home my friend ripped the boyfriend a new one, saying that no one in their right mind would ever stop to pick up a hitch hiker, and certainly not after they had just seen Zodiac. Also, the hitch hiker was on my friend's side of the car, and what kind of a guy would put a woman in danger like that?
The boyfriend tried to defend himself by saying that back in Alabama, where he is from, people always help out others like that. Perhaps the Alabama part is all we need to know about this guy. (That, and the flatulence problem.)
I love dealbreaker stories. If you have one, please feel free to let me know.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
This afternoon I got a voice mail from my friend Julie, who lives down in Orlando. It was strange, especially since Julie never calls me unless she is trying to set up a meeting for when she is in town. She's a very efficient friend that way, never clogging up my day with pointless phone calls or e-mail forwards. This is one of the many reaons why Julie stays in the Inner Circle. (Or Circle of Trust, if you're nasty.)
In true La Pauline fashion I started blabbering on about my running schedule and how Doug is away, blah, blah and then, out of left field, I said, "Hey. Are you pregnant?"
Julie was quiet for a beat. "That's a very interesting question. Why did you ask that?"
A woman who is not pregnant does not answer the "Are you pregnant" question that way. I knew my anwser. I jumped up and down. It was good news, indeed. She is due in September.
Julie is literally the fourth or fifth friend of mine (that I know of) who is going to have a baby this year. Most of these friends are Jewish, so I have a lot of brisses and other such events to look forward to. Baby showers are great, but I hear that brisses are catered better. I'm looking forward to them all.
Over in the extended adolescence that is my life, (Weddings? Babies? Ha!) I'm training for a 10K. I guess there really isn't all that much to train for since it's only 6.2 miles, but I'm taking it seriously. Today I hit the gym and ran 4.14 miles, so I've got a few to go. I hate running on treadmills and luckily the weather is warming up in my favor.
See you at the finish line.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The first rule of Housewifery: Get out of bed before 11:00 AM. This was my first sin on Monday. I usually only sleep late on weekends, but Le Doug has the greatest bed in the history of mattresses, and when I woke up Mozart was asleep next to my head. How is that not heaven?
I spent most of the afternoon writing and editing a large piece and even sent it out, which made me feel accomplished. I have another such project today, which means I shouldn't lurk on the Inernet too much longer. When all the writing was done yesterday I went out for a five-mile jog, all the way down to the beach. It pretty much wiped me out, but I'm glad I cleared five miles. Next stop: a 10K.
I've been watching a lot of movies at night, mostly to decompress from the running. This past weekend I saw Jesus Camp, which was one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. Please put it on your Netflix queue toute suite. It's scary and mind-boggling to see otherwise logical people defend things like Intelligent Design and claim that science doesn't prove anything.
I also caught Ghosts of Abu Ghraib on HBO last night. It covers the whole case in an hour an half, with some of the actual prison guards and other soldiers talking about what went on. Yes, you see the same images over and over again, but these film makers make them seem fresh. Try to catch it if you can.
Monday, March 12, 2007
While Le Doug is business tripping I'll be out here in Old Greenwich through Thursday. Under normal circumstances I woud loathe so much time out in the 'burbs, but today I realized that if I'm going to 'burb it for a few days, I'm going full-throttle. For the next few days I will be La Pauline, Greenwich Housewife. I'll be feeding the cats, cleaning the house and going to the gym ad nauseum. Maybe I'll even have lunch on the Avenue a few times.
I already achieved some goals. I went for my first outdoor run of the 2007 season, which means readers can expect periodic diatribes about how poorly everyone in Greenwich drives and how no one is looking out for joggers and pedestrians. I also returned all the bottles and cans that were lying around the house and garage and made $7.95, which I put towards groceries. At the Food Emporium I only bought things on sale and, thanks to my savings card and the returned bottles, I got $34 worth of groceries for $19.98. Isn't being a pseudo-housewife fun?
Maybe not fun, but there are a million ways to exert my creativity. Tomorrow I will tackle the bathrooms and vacuum a few rooms. If I'm feeling bold, I may even wash some towels.
If you're in the area, ring my bell. I seem to have a lot of free time on my hands.
Here is this past week's column on The Simon about a New Yorker's fear of moving.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Not that any of you noticed, but I've been in hiding for about five days. On Friday afternoon I came down with a nasty flu, complete with weapons-grade fever. I could barely walk and I was sensitive to light. Somehow I got myself to Grand Central Station and onto an express train to Greenwich, where I became Le Doug's problem for a few days. I'm one of those people who becomes cranky and whiney when she is sick.
You may not know that Le Doug is actually Dr. Doug, with a Ph.D in economics. Numbers may be his forte, but he's got a pretty good bedside manner. He stocked the house with Gatorade and Theraflu and on Saturday afternoon fetched me little Italian pastries to keep me happy and my blood sugar up. He didn't even make me sleep on the couch when I was coughing all night and scared the cats out of the room.
I'm am still only running at about 80%, which is leaps and bounds above Friday afternoon's productivity. That said, I have a lot to do. I lost a good five days worth of writing and I haven't been to the gym in a fortnight. There is work to be done.