People You Don’t Meet in The Suburbs

No one has Supers in the suburbs.  I’m not sure anyone in my neighborhood knows what a Super is.  They probably all lived in the city at one time or another, but have had to had most of their memory erased so they can endure extremely sub-par bagels, banal conversations about boats, and wearing the same dreary, yet doubtless expensive “mommy uniform” around town.  Regardless, they do not remember ever having a Super, trust me.  And if they did, no one would talk about it. It’s just not done.

My first ever big-girl apartment was a first floor studio in Astoria, Queens.  Sound glamorous? Well, it was in spitting distance to both an all-night chicken place AND a weird Greek ramshackle gambling parlor – so yes, it was.  My Super was a woman in her 60’s named Dragita.  I’m not sure where she was from, but she knew everyone on the block and would literally yell nonsense at them all day long.  Her most endearing quirk was her way of nonchalantly telling a truly insane anecdote, as innocently as talking about a trip to the grocers.  In my first few weeks of living there, Dragita let me know all about the time her son watched Jesus Christ wrestle the Devil in the alley where we put our recycling.  She also keyed me in to the fact that there are so many one-winged pigeons in the neighborhood because there was a rising population of people practicing Voodoo.

I was a young girl in her 20s living alone in a questionably safe apartment with huge windows on the sidewalk level, so I think she thought I wanted her to look out for me.  In actuality, I’m fairly tough and just wanted to be left alone, but I don’t think she was terribly popular on the block so she and I let her feel like she was looking out for me.  She called me “movie star” and always asked if I was feeling ok.  One time, she offered me a bite right of out the block of cheese she was eating from her hand.  Even after she let me know it was “very expensive, imported from Croatia, ” I still said no.  Though I did appreciate the gesture.

Once I got over the constant fear of some drunken prankster pushing my A/C into my living room/bedroom, I really, really loved that place.  And I do miss Dragita.  She is not the type of person you meet out in the suburbs.

Musings of a working mom

I am the wife to a stay-at-home Dad. That means not only do I have mom guilt, I have wife guilt. That’s double guilt, and it’s a lot and it results in me just thinking about them both all day long. The whole situation leaves me with a lot of questions that will never get answered.

I wonder what the living room is going to look like when I get home.

Why is this sticky?

Damn this meeting’s running late. Do you think they’ll notice if I just leave?

Why are there 12 plastic golf balls under the radiator?

How many “doctor’s appointments” have we had this past month? I’m tired and need to sleep in.

How many times has my “train been late” this past month? I’m tired and need to sleep in.

Tamara’s in from Philly for the day! I wonder if she can meet me at 7:45am, lunch from 12:15 to 12:28 (I have a 12:30), or a drink at 5:20 to 5:45. Really want to see her, but can’t miss bath time.

When did this rubber ducky get in my purse?

What are they eating for lunch? What am I eating for lunch? Wait, it’s 4:00, should I just skip lunch?

Did I actually tell my husband to turn the slow cooker on? Do I need to tell him to turn things on?

There’s a lot of playing cards around – I see one under the bed, sticking out of a desk drawer… is my two year old learning to play poker?

Are they thinking about me? Are they talking about me?

Does my husband think of me as me when I’m not there? Or just thinking about mommy not being there?

I wonder if anyone can see the Mickey Mouse racecar tattoo through my tights.

A New Threat to Our Fair City

There’s a huge danger affecting me getting to work safely and on time.  It’s a threat no one is talking about and is truly mind boggling.

Everyday I see several (yes, SEVERAL) people Facetiming while walking the sidewalks of New York City.  WHAT??? You have to walk.  Carefully. Light conversations with someone else I’m fine with.  But FaceTime? This place is chaotic and dangerous enough already.

Kinda zoning out while walking in this city is a thing of the past.

Subway comments

People feel like they can make comments to moms with babies in public.

I overheard the following comment while waiting for the subway this morning.

“Do you think it’s safe to have him strapped to your body like that? You really should have a baby that small in a stroller.”

I turned around and saw an average middle-aged woman (clearly a lunatic) with a huge, fake smile talking to a 30-somethingish woman with her small infant in an Ergo carrier.  This mom was obviously on her way to work, probably dropping her kid off at daycare, and pretty clearly had her shit together.  She sort of just smiled back, and made some jovial, generic conversation about babies, commuting, blah, blah, blah.

For anyone not familiar with the nightmarish task of navigating the NYC subways with a baby, take my word for it – it’s terrible.  They are a steaming, hot mess.  A hellish crowded maze.   They claim there are elevators but there are no elevators, and they say a train is one station away but there are no trains.  Everyone is late and mad and half insane.  The process of commuting is 10,000 times harder with an infant.

Today, this poor woman was just trying to get to the damn daycare so she could get to her office on time.  Trust me, strapping that kid to your body is the absolute best way to go.  But that is not the point.

Why would anyone say anything to this mom? She wasn’t doing anything unsafe.  My question is, why say anything?  She was clearly the type of person who needs to talk to someone. You know, like the type of blowhard you see in the gym locker room and avoid making eye contact with because they are just dying to tell you something about their neighbor or the news or some train repairs or complain about the guy at the front desk.  These people who love the sound of their own voices and think their opinions are very, very valuable.  And correct.  Well, lunatic lady on the subway, you are not correct. In fact, that nice, working mom is a saint for not telling you off in a moment of blind rage.  I’ve seen much much worse for less serious social offenses out there on the subway platforms.

For any middle-aged, crazy advice givers who feel like imparting their wisdom to strangers who happen to be new mothers, or mothers of any age,  or women of any age, please keep it to yourself.  WE. DON’T. CARE.  Me having a baby in public does not give you the right to give me your opinion.