Human Behavior

One of the most interesting things about doing NaNoWriMo is that it’s given me a rare view into how effing crazy we human types all are – crazy and jealous.

Here’s the thing: Anything you write in a month’s time probably won’t be winning the National Book Award. At best, you’ll wind up with a mess with potential, and that’s all I’m hoping for. The most important thing is keep writing. I’m a little behind right now, but I’ve got more than 25,000 words, which is the most I’ve written on a single project since my senior thesis.

Anyhoo, I’m pretty proud of myself. This apparently is enraging to some people, because you would not believe some of the comments I’ve gotten so far.

Some of them are to be expected, given the context. My ex, for example, listened to my synopsis and said, “It sounds like it could be more than readable.” When I said, jokingly, I’d choose to take that as a compliment, he said, “Yes, it is. A cautious, measured compliment.” But hey, that’s pretty good for an ex, right? Just you wait.

Friday night, a boy I’ve never dated informed me that my subject was one of the most written-about of its kind. He then asked me who I thought would play my main character in the movie, and laughed and laughed.

Last week, a friend of mine asked me if I was still writing the damn thing, when I’d be done with it, and whether I thought it was any good, anyway.

It’s not just me, either: Members of my writing group are reporting similar pissiness from their near and dear. One guy says a friend of his asked him if all he did now was write in pretentious coffee shops, so that other people could see him.

I’m honestly a little flabbergasted at the hostility. It’s not like any of us have book deals. For me, writing a book has long been something on my Big List of Things to Do Before I Kick Off. Because I’m reasonable, I never specified “write a good book” or “write a book that sells a gagillion copies and becomes a New York Times Best Seller.”

My point is that my ambitions are somewhat humble, and therefore, anyone who wants to do what I’m doing, can. Anyone can write a book. All they have to do is commit to writing a couple thousand words on the same subject.


Mom Loves That Angelina Jolie

Ma Smash: Oh her. She’s so homely, I just don’t understand.

Me: She’s gotten very thin, it’s true.

Ma Smash: Terrible legs. They’re like sticks. And she has those big, whorey lips for giving blow jobs, for more money.


Ma Smash: For anyone! Anyone! Boy, girl, she doesn’t care. Anyone who wants one, gets one.

Hypochrondriac Has a Check-up

So, as you know, I’m a little crazy. This is part of my charm, and generally, I don’t let it bother me. I sort of enjoy it, to be honest. Very rarely, these days, am I actually troubled over my hypochondria. It’s more like a joke on me, and I’m in on it.

Sometimes, though, something happens and I have a bad moment. Take, for example, the phone call I received this evening:

“Jen, this is Dr. Blah-blah-blah. I got your lab results back, and I’d like to speak to you. Please call me back as soon as possible at 212-UR-SCRWD.”

I was out at dinner with my friend Laura when this call came in, and I behaved very calmly and maturely.

“I’m obviously dying,” I informed Laura.

“Oh dear,” she said, taking a bite of jalapeno popper.

“That was the doctor. She was calling with my lab results. I’m pretty sure she wanted to let me know that I currently have more strains of HIV than they’ve seen in a single person since Patient Zero.”

“I bet you’re anemic,” Laura said. “That’s usually what it is when they call me about my labs. Why don’t you call her back?”

So I did. By this time, the office was technically closed, but as I’ve previously stated, I’m insane, so I made the attending physician – you know, the one who’s there for actual emergencies – check to see if my doc was still there.

“Is this for your child?” she asked mildly, prior to putting me on hold to search for my doctor. Clearly, this kind of hysteria is usually associated in the office with mothers of sickly children.

“Is it my what? What? No! No, it’s me. It’s me and SHE WANTS TO TALK TO ME ABOUT MY LABS.”

“Oh. Um, hang on a moment.”

My doctor came to the phone, because she’s awesome, and because, I suspect, she’s used to crazy people. She works at a practice that incorporates alternate healing with western medicine, and she’s in New York, so I’m sure I’m not the only nut she sees.

“Ah, yes, OK, your labs,” she said. “Cholesterol normal. Liver, kidney, thyroid function, all normal. Vitamin B-12, normal. Iron, good. This is strange, though: You are anemic.”

Effing Laura. I should save my copay and just see her.

I Am a Terrible Person

Family Guy quote left for Coworker Dennis (a fellow WriMo):

“How you uh, how you comin’ on that novel you’re working on? Huh? Got a a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Got a, got a nice little story you’re working on there? Your big novel you’ve been working on for three years? Huh? Got a, got a compelling protagonist? Yeah? Got a obstacle for him to overcome? Huh? Got a story brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? Yeah, talking about that three years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah? No, no, you deserve some time off.”

Pipe Dreams

Me: Well, you know, all these grandkids you’re gonna have might be loud. Maybe when we get our palatial estate by the beach, we should have me and Mrs. P in one house and you and Dad in another.

Ma Smash:
Oh, I’ll be deaf as a haddock. It won’t matter.

Me: A … haddock?

Ma Smash: Yup.

Me: How deaf is a haddock exactly?

Ma Smash:
Oh, totally deaf. They have no ears. Go take a peek. I’ll wait.

Yes, good idea. I’ll go take a peek at the many haddock I have on hand.

Ma Smash:
Go ask the neighbors. Norwegians love fish!

NaNoWriMo Is Turning Me Into a Crank

The neighbors are cooking something that smells for all the world like parakeet droppings. I’m starting to really hope that I’m having a stroke instead, because otherwise, those poor souls really shouldn’t be allowed to cook for themselves.

I did see other humans today, you’ll be happy to hear. (Do these posts seem at all like messages in a bottle to you? They seem that way to me.) Anyway, I went out to brunch with a few friends, and then, purely by accident, we wound up going to an open house.

Open houses are a neighborhood pastime, everything that can be condo-ized having been in the past five to ten years. This one was at the top of a rickety five-floor walk-up on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, which is where we keep the restaurants. The view was tremendous, and the place itself was quite nice, long walk up notwithstanding. The only thing that wigged me out was that there was what appeared to be a bricked up doorway in the living room.

“That is obviously the doorway to hell,” I told the Mouse, while he was wincing at some supposedly offensive blond-wood cabinets.

“There was a fire years ago,” he said. “In the ’80s. Maybe they bricked it up then.”

“How do you know?”

“On the other side of that wall exactly is my Mom’s apartment. I grew up like five feet from where we’re standing now.”

“Oh my God! You should buy it! Wait – would she be freaked or psyched?”

“Psyched. She’d bust that door right on down and make it one big apartment.”

The Mouse sounded less than thrilled about that, so I don’t imagine he’ll be buying the place.