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Monday, March 26, 2007


Yesterday, Mark found 'the perfect Mini Cooper parking spot' across the street from this apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

He backed in, then worked his way back and forth and back and forth, knocking against the neighboring bumpers and laughing maniacally, until he was wedged in between two cars. When he was finished, there were only a couple inches behind us and in front. I felt like I'd watched someone lying on the floor, struggling into a pair of jeans just out of the dryer.

I got out and surveyed the situation. The car behind us was hemmed in, with only a couple inches of breathing room on each end. I shook my head. 'Yknow, if I owned that car, I'd be kind of pissed. How's he supposed to get out?'

We went upstairs. Mark sat looking out the window at his car, and I could see him thinking about it. Finally he went downstairs and again inched himself back and forth and back and forth, until he was out of the space.

Bad karma avoided.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

Fame and Fortune

Yesterday I received a note from the managing editor of New York Press, congratulating me. Fear would be published in next week’s issue, in the New York Stories section. I wouldn’t be paid anything, but my words would be handed out at subway stations citywide, along with the morning news.

A few hours later, I went to a meeting of a writing group I belong to. I hadn’t been to a meeting in months, and of the twenty-some people, I knew only three or four. During introductions, I announced that an essay about my New York-induced paranoia would be published, and that the whole city would know how crazy I was.

That drew laughter and applause. It also got me thinking. Would I really want everyone to know that I can be a little nuts? Of course, everyone in New York is a little nuts. But would I really want to put that in writing? What would the neighbors think? What would happen to the property values in Park Slope?

Incidentally, Mark and I played Lotto last week, when the pot reached 300 million dollars. Besides deciding what I’d buy (an apartment in Paris, lots of shoes, Costa Rica), I tried figuring out how I could collect the money without anyone knowing. That’s the thing about publicity: good news or bad, once people know, it’s out of your hands. People could flock to your door or run away, and there wouldn’t be a thing you could do.

So I decided to publish under a pseudonym.

I didn’t have time to think of a name for my openly paranoid self. I chose ‘Nancy Boyd’, which Edna St. Vincent Millay called herself in the 1920's, when her stories were published in Vanity Fair. This was an homage to my friend Nancy, who chose her own nickname after Nancy Sinatra. The pseudo Nancy listens to a song sung by the real Nancy to deal with her horrible breakup.

So Nancy, the Nancy who is open about her nuttiness, will have her day in print next week. I’ll be happy for her.


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Freak Show

Real dialogue overheard at the office:

Guy 1: My great uncle's daughter choked on a chicken bone one night at dinner. His daughter passed out and died right in front of him.

Can you imagine that? That must be horrible. Your child is hurt and you can do nothing to save her.

So in my family we're paranoid about choking. I always tell my daughter to chew her food.

Guy 2: My cousin hung himself with a belt. So in my family, we're paranoid about belts.