Friday night story

So, Saturday night an irish guy tried to pick me up by singing and complimenting me, which was entertaining, but my Friday night bar experience was, in many ways, more educational. My attorney and I went out to a few bars, and at the last place we went, she met this cool-seeming guy and started chatting with him. I am an excellent wingperson, so I started talking to his friend, to give Horowitz time to work her magic. Anyway, his friend was pretty stoned, fairly young, and determined to get me to come home with him.

STONED GUY: C’mon home with me. C’mon. We’ll smoke some mad weed.

ME: Oooh, tempting. But no.

SG: Oh c’mon. Oh c’mon. Oh c’mon. Listen. Listen. Listenlistenlistenlisten. You’re really pretty, okay? And you should just go come back to my place. And smoke weed.

ME: Um, no.SG: Whyyyy? Whyyyy? Whyyyy? Oh COME ON. Listen…

And so on. The evening culminated in him forcing his phone number on me and then telling me that in his opinion, my lipstick was too bright. The hell? That kind of talk gets no one laid, buddy.Anyway, my point is that I’ve noticed some interesting trends in guys’ approaches in bars. A year or two ago, they were trying to give you their e-mail addresses, or get yours. This was good, because it was less threatening that trying to get your phone number, so it probably worked a good bit of the time. Unfortunately, it must not have helped them to achieve their ultimate goal, or something, because now, they’re just flat out trying to get you to come home with them. My friend Matt, who has a girlfriend and has my e-mail address and is not trying to get me to come home with him, has suggested that Maxim must’ve had an article lately on this new approach, suggesting that guys just go for the gusto. It’s all very interesting, and when I write my book, I will help you all to understand this and many other fascinating urban dating phenomena.

A typical Boston night out

An irish guy tried to pick me up last night by telling me that I looked very attractive with my glasses on, and by singing me “Whiskey in the Jar.” I didn’t tell him that as a lifelong Boston-area resident, the latter tactic has been tried on me about once a month since puberty and I’m now immune. Also, he wasn’t terribly cute. But I must say, I enjoyed the attention.

IRISH GUY: You must know, you’re very attractive. Especially with the glasses.

ME: Oh, you start.

IRISH GUY: Let’s see you with ’em off. Oh, lord! My heart! You’re even lovelier without ’em.

ME: (Taking them away from him and putting them back on.) Yes, yes. They’re for your protection.

And so on.

Jane has a fight with her jacket

Winter needs to end, and here’s how I know: My one friend Jane is fighting a pitched battle against her own coat.

The coat in question is long, down to Jane’s ankles, and quilted, and puffy, and huge. Jane bought the coat because she was tired of complaining about being freezing all the time. With this coat, she thought, she could wait for the bus to work, hail cabs outside of bars, and wait outside people’s apartments while they looked for their pants, without having to do that jiggedy up-and-down “I have to pee” dance of coldness that all New Englanders have perfected over the years.

And it worked. At first.

Jane and I would go out, she in her big puffy coat, me in my green vinyl car-seat trench, and she’d be warm as toast and somewhat disdainful while I did my dance.

“But I love this coat. It looks so cool,” I’d tell her.

“No one looks cool doing that dance thing,” she said.

But then, the coat turned on her. One day, quite recently, while getting ready for work, Jane went to her closet to put on her coat, and burst into tears.

“I can’t take it anymore,” she said. “It’s so fucking HEAVY. It’s BREAKING MY BACK.”

Because I don’t believe in insulting your intelligence, I’ll just tell you flat out: that coat had metamorphasized from an innocent article of clothing into a full-blown metaphor. It had become twenty pounds of goose down, and a bad case of spring fever.

Christ on us all

I have never been religious in the commonly accepted sense of the word. I have my own spiritual beliefs, sure, but I have enough sense to keep them to myself, and I’ve never been one to bandy God’s name about as if he just stopped by to borrow some CDs or something. On the other hand, I don’t believe in sacred cows, if you’ll allow me to mix mystical metaphors for a mo’. Whatever else I believe, I’ll tell you this: I’m pretty sure the Big Guy has a sense of humor.

My unique perspective on the Almighty was not appreciated when I was growing up. My Mom, while not precisely churchy, was a big believer in Old Skool Jesus. (You know: the one in the Kangols and the fat-lace Pumas. “Jesus Krist — K’s for the Kaaangols that I wear…”) My best friend and partner in crime while I was growing up was Jewish, and so not overly impressed with Jesus and his entourage. So it was only natural, given our innate silliness, and my disrespectful ‘tude, and her non-Christ-oriented background, that we would offend my mother’s sensibilities at some point.

It started innocently enough, as many ’80s highjinks did, with “Crocodile Dundee.” Sarah and I were sitting around my livingroom, watching “Crocodile Dundee” on our VCR for about the hundredth time and feeling bored, when she remarked, “This movie is boring. Christ on this movie.”

I looked up from my enormous bowl of popcorn and said, “Christ on the what? That doesn’t make any sense. That’s not even the right way you’re supposed to swear.”

“Why not?” Sarah said. And so it started.

The scene changed, and we were looking at a cityscape. “Christ on that building!” I said.

“Christ on that bus!”

“Christ on that hooker and her plastic bust!”

“What if Christ really did come down-“

“-on a cross!”


“And smashed everything!”


“Christ on YOU!”

We were in sacrilegious hysterics.Finally, my Mom came in and asked what was so funny. Being a total idiot, I told her.The rictus of false mirth that stole over her face then is best described, not seen. It took years off my life, I’ll tell you.

“Jennifer, can you come in the kitchen for a minute.” I followed her into the other room. Ten feet away, by the way. Sarah could hear everything.

Her voice dropped to a hiss as soon as we were alone. “I think you’re treading on mighty thin ice, missy,” she said.

“Why? Because we made a joke?”

“A joke about JESUS. If I were you…I’d be a little nervous, that’s all.”

“What about Sarah? Is she treading on thin ice?”

“Sarah is Jewish.”

“So it doesn’t count? That’s ridiculous. Either it’s wrong for both of us, or it’s wrong for neither.”

The conversation ended shortly after that, but despite my sassiness, I didn’t have the heart for the joke any more. I was nervous about that thin ice, and my immortal soul, and a Jesus who might not like my sense of humor…and I still am. But here’s the thing…I still can’t resist. Christ on you!

More ruminations on the car

I have automotive hypochondria. Whenever I’m feeling anxious about anything, which is most of the time, I hear strange sounds coming from my car. Metal on metal sounds. Expensive, life-threatening kinds of sounds. If you’re driving with me, be forewarned: at some point, I will ask you if you “hear that.” You will not hear what I hear. Our conversation will go like this:

ME: Do you hear that noise?

YOU: What noise?

ME: That sort of…grindy noise.

YOU: I don’t hear any noise.

ME: It’s almost more of a screech. Maybe it’s a belt or something. Here, let me turn down the radio.

YOU: I don’t…hey, that’s my favorite song.

ME: Shh, listen. This could be important.

This one time, though, I asked my friend Kate if she “heard that”, and she said yes, and I got really mad and told her that there was nothing wrong with my car, and she was a crazy person, and that I didn’t have any money anyway and what did she expect me to do about it? I think I had PMS or something. Anyway, she apologized, like you do when crazy people act crazy, and then a month later my wheel fell off. No word of a lie, dude.

Sad but true things: Automotive series

So, my car shit the bed this weekend, and I had to have it towed to the shop and I was without wheels and totally reliant on Boston’s sad, sad excuse for public transportation all weekend long. I got it back yesterday. It works now, as it should after 500 BUCKS worth of repairs. Unfortuately, during the night someone sideswiped it out in front of my house and now it has a gash in the side.

This is okay, really, because it’s just further proof of something that I have always known — namely, that I am not meant to drive a car. I’ve never really taken to driving in a big way. When I was 16, all my friends had their license eligibility date circled in red on their calendars. Mine was crossed out in funereal black. I had no idea where my car was on the road, and I drove at 15 miles an hour. A driver’s ed teacher actually told me that I drove like a stoned person. Also, I have no sense of direction. At any given time, I can remember how to drive to about three places. If I learn a new route, I forget one of the ones I already know.

A couple years ago I read an article about Ray Bradbury that said that he had never learned to drive because all he could think about was the accidents he might cause behind the wheel. So perhaps the problem is one of too much imagination. Anyway, like horses, cars know when you don’t really like them. Mine is on strike apparently, and won’t give up until I either go broke, or until I cave in and move to a city with reliable subway systems and forget about driving altogether.

Joke of the day

Question: How many Jennies does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Answer: Just one, but it takes her twenty minutes to do it, including finding a chair to stand on and a light bulb to screw into the socket and locating the screws that hold in the light fixture w/o a light to see by. Then, of course, we must factor in time to dig those screws out of the garbage can once she accidently throws them away with the lightbulb, and a couple more minutes to frantically scrub last night’s dinner off her hands. So probably half an hour, by the time she’s done. This while trying to get ready to leave for work, which is always a balletic display of clumsiness and dropping things.

Excerpt from an actual IM conversation

Jennie_Smash: rightwing christians frighten even the baby jesus

Banjo1: jesus doesn’t like them, that’s true

Jennie_Smash: that’s what he told me

Jennie_Smash: jesus likes all the same people i like

Jennie_Smash: isn’t that GREAT?

Banjo1: YES!

Jennie_Smash: it just proves that i’m right

Banjo1: if everyone else can tell me what jesus thinks, i feel i can pitch in my own two cents

Jennie_Smash: me too

Jennie_Smash: “jesus likes flake mashed potatoes. not the real kind.”

Jennie_Smash: “jesus likes punk rock, but he hates your crappy pop rip off.”

Banjo1: and grits. he likes grits.

Jennie_Smash: oh, man. he LOVES grits. i remember the last time jesus and i were down south…

Banjo1: see. now you’re talking

Jennie_Smash: i was going to tell you about jesus and the strip club, but his people have asked me not to.

Baby boom

Christmas was full of babies. My cousin has one now, and so does one of my sister’s best friends. I feel like I haven’t seen a baby up close for awhile, having lived in this weird babyfree post-college zone for the past five years or so.

During that time, my older friends have been threatening me with the impending wind-up of my biological clock. “Just wait and see,” they’ve said. “You’ll hit age 26 or 27 and — boom! — you’ll want one.”

The thing is, I’ve never been much of a baby person. I’ve always been kind of embarrassed about it, the same way that I’m embarrassed about not really liking dogs or cats enough to deal with the annoyance of caring for a pet. It seems like a character flaw, somehow, like if I were a real woman, I’d just love cute little mammals so much that I’d have to get one for myself — a puppy, at least, if not an actual pocket-size human.

This year, however, I have noticed a small change. Horowitz pointed out to me one day as we were walking through Back Bay that I look at babies now, whereas before, people would hold up their offspring proudly and my gaze would slip right off them, like eggs on teflon. “Nice,” I’d say, nervously. “He looks just like you.”

And the mother would frown. “He looks like his daddy, actually. Don’t you look like your daddy, Ashton? Yes, you do! Here, wanna hold him?”

“Oh, dear God, no! I mean…I have a cold. Yeah. I’d hate to give it to him.”

But now, in my maturity (har, har) I will actually hold a baby if he’s handed to me. The thing is, though, the baby usually starts to cry right away. I think they know that I’m not totally in control of the situation. I mean, seriously, what’s with the wiggling? They can’t hold still? Babies are like teensy little crack addicts, or very old men. They’ve got the shimmy-shakes all the live-long day.

I still say it’s progress, my newfound willingness to hold one of the little rugrats. If they can extend the female breeding age to 50 or so, I think I might just be able to have one someday.