today i got a fed ex package from nyc. as i am totally unaccustomed to receiving gifts on valentine's day- even when i have a boyfriend- i was a little surprised at its arrival. i figured it was some pantone books or something & almost disregarded it completely. i looked at the sender... 'sarah jessica parker' & i snickered to myself a bit as i struggled (a LOT i might add- it was all but welded shut) to open the box. inside: another box & a card with a slightly scary old man on the front. inside it read- well i won't go into that- but it was in very UN sarah jessica parker penmanship & it made me laugh out loud, unrestrained & in a manner i have not laughed in quite some time. as i snickered & snorted i eyed the box & thought about a text message i got the night before concerning a certain 'found object' on the streets of new york.
'NO... he wouldn't?'
and so i giggled some more & timidly peered beneath the lid. keep in mind that my co-workers are not used to hearing anything even remotely girlish or gleeful emerge from my mouth, nor had they ever seen a package from sarah jessica parker ('that heather, she REALLY DOES know everybody') so all eyes were on me...
all it took was the slightest lifting of the lid & it hit me. that beautiful, buttery smell.
i squealed. i actually let out a full on mermaid at a slumber party squeal. this of course terrified my on-lookers completely: heather does not squeal. there's a first for everything & today was my day for squealing- i'm sure they will never look upon me the same again & it may actually make it into the company newsletter.
without hesitation i ripped open the top & there before my eyes sat 4 of the loveliest cupcakes on the western seaboard. and not just ANY sugary confection: these were from magnolia my beloved bakery in new york city. i have been dreaming of them since i left & have worried, many a lonely night, that i may never ingest one again. but no, there they were, heavenly little creatures- only slightly banged & smooshed from their 2815 mile journey.
i ate only one: the duchess blue (our wedding color-in case you forgot). i was buzzing from the sugar for the rest of the afternoon. it was wonderful. tonight i plan to eat the others while in the bathtub.
thank you sarah jessica parker. i think it goes without saying you are most definitely 'as cool, as smart & as tasteful' as i am.... all you lack are my fabulous breasts- & that my boy, is as it should be.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
nothing says hot mama like a canvas tote (monogrammed even) full of cat food & six-pack of cupcakes on a friday night. i just made my weekend night trip to safeway- 236 steps away from my house. i like the store on friday nights. it's full of drunks buying booze trying to pick up 20 year olds who look like hookers but think their knock-off louis vuittons make them sophisticated. safeway on a friday or saturday is psychology 101 taught by geraldo rivera at its best. i guess armistead maupin wasn't kidding when his character connie told mary ann singleton that 'safeway is the hottest spot to pick up a date' in the opening pages of '28 barbary lane'... that place sees a lot of action & i'm always under dressed by being completely over dressed.
as i was loading my basket full of friskies armistead popped into my head... & with it the one person i will always equate with my first reading (& future love of) mr. armistead maupin: thomas elmlund. he wasn't in my life for very long- one of those short, totally haphazard friendships that started with each of us sitting at our window overlooking broadway smoking a cigarette. when you're hanging over the side of a building 10 stories above the street & look over to find someone else sitting 5 feet away- well naturally- conversation is inevitable & within the hour we were both dangling out of my window- dropping things on the heads of people waiting to get into the chi-chi restaurant 150' below. and for one very good summer- that was our window. it's so funny to remember that period in my life- i was paving the path for total life annihilation pas deux- but that summer had its share of sweet, beautifully endearing moments. i miss those months more than all the rockstars, actors, drugs & extravagant debaucheries of life that would follow in the next decade put together.
thomas was my comrade in arms for a good deal of illicit behavior back in the beginning - but he was also my sweet little blond swede who had as many boy problems as i did & loved- rather than felt uncomfortable with the knowledge- that underneath my greasy jeans & oil paint stained hands- i was a smart, classy lady with impeccable taste. (his words not mine- i swear)
and while we saw each other in some rather ugly situations, we were both responsible for some of the most innocent & enjoyable times either of us had known. it was together that we learned of safeway's seedier side. not through personal experience however; we lived in manhatten, not san francisco & to the best of my knowledge the food emporium has never been much of a meat market unless you were actually shopping for pork tenderloins that came from a pig. besides- we were teenagers & poor ones at that. we didn't go to proper grocery stores- everything we needed- pizza & 40's- could be bought at the corner bodega.. & if you wanted shitty coke or a block of hash all you had to do was buy a jesus candle & the guy behind the counter knew what you wanted.
we discovered armistead & the sexually deviant behavior of san franciscan shoppers circa 1976 in the soldiers & sailors monument in riverside park (itself a bevy of illicit behavior that was more san francisco bath house than food mart- but we tended to stay out of the bushes). on sweltering july & august nights, when our little bodies had undergone too much new york night life & our bank accounts were empty, we entertained ourselves in a much more innocent manner: we climbed up into the rotunda of our monument & read to each other: 28 barbary lane being the perfect vehicle because it was originally printed as a serial in the san francisco chronicle & was therefore broken into perfect little chunks to be passed back & forth.
there was no 'grand geek plan' to find a nice war monument in which to hide away & read aloud. in truth, we were notorious for breaking into & climbing through, in, under & above most of new yorks architectural & engineering playgrounds & one night when our apartments were unbearably hot we decided to christen 'soldiers & sailors' our veranda. what began as me reading him a funny little passage that had made me giggle turned into a nightly affair- even when our bank accounts were full again-the city could wait- this was more fun than any vip room at some club. and so we would climb into our little castle, crack a beer & pick up where we had left off the night before.
corny you say... HELL YES it was corny. it's probably one of the dorkiest things i have ever done (excluding of course my childhood fondness for faking epileptic seizures during dinner or my habit of wearing my father's wing tips at the age of 11) but it is by far one of the fondest memories of my long, rather action packed 9 years in manhatten. it was that book alone that made me want to move west. i'm a born & bred east coaster- we hate californians- they're stupid & have no fashion sense at all... but i fell in love with san francisco having never laid eyes on it. i dreamed of shopping at a safeway full of gay men in tight chinos & rugby shirts, having an affair with my rich advertising boss and going to bath-houses full of strangers covered in baby oil. (it sounded like a good place to people watch???)
it would take me 15 years to get here. in the interim- i met dozens of gay men every where from cbgb's to the metropolitan opera & in all states of attire- though fortunately never in tight chinos, had romantic trists with several of the most eligible & sought after men in the country & for lack of a public bath-house that met my hygiene requirements- made a make-shift one of my own- albeit with patrons who were my friends not paying strangers off the street... mostly we just ate fancy dinners while sitting around the tub talking & drinking. (nothing beats finding a loft that used to be a sweat shop/whore house- complete with asian soaking tubs & bars in every room-gotta love that new york real estate.)
by the time i moved to california all that was left was the elusive safeway & the secrets it held.... & i have to say- while it's mildly entertaining to watch insipid drunks from time to time- it lacks that 'anything goes as long as you're wearing short shorts & tube socks' charm that flourished in san francisco during the disco inferno.
nothing is ever what you hope it will be. much to my disappointment- 28 barbary lane doesn't exist, or barbary lane for that matter, but at least there really is an 'end up' & somewhere out in the world, though god only knows where, there is a sweet blond swede named thomas- who for one summer kept me from killing myself or getting killed- despite the fact that we spent most nights in one of the most dangerous parks in the city- reading.