Feb 28, 2005


There is a spider in my house.

I thought it through, and I believe I am responsible for this turn of events. I disrupted the spider community, aka Spider Village, that had been established off in the corner of my apartment in what was referred to as Unincorporated Junk Town (also Junk Park or Junk Square). I was fully aware of the population of spiders in that corner. Likewise, they knew that I was as far away as possible, at a minimum distance of about two feet. Usually much more. And it was ok. Nobody ever crossed the borders. We had an unspoken understanding. We maintained a peaceful tolerance. But then I made the mistake of getting rid of that TV and all of the adjacent junk. I realize that the spiders had to go find other places to live. And I understand it was a tumultuous time for them. But I thought when I said, Spiders: go outside! Or, at least, please, go live in the stairwell.. that they felt that this was a reasonable request. Because I never saw or heard from any of them afterward.

Until now. That is. Until yesterday afternoon at approximately three fifteen.

I understand that this is quite alarming, but, please, do not call the police. I contacted the authorities late last night, and the agents that were dispatched to my residence have already briefed me on several methods I can employ to cope with the situation. And, I have to say that after a lot of breathing into a paper bag and the liberal application of vodka, I think I've got it under control.

Still, I'm afraid that this is only the beginning of a much bigger problem.

The reason I say this is that the spider has built not a web, but what can only be described as a cocoon around itself. And my instincts tell me that this is not good. Everything about this cocoon suggests permanency. This is bad. I look at the cocoon and all I can imagine is that, at some point yesterday afternoon, the spider arrived at the decision to stay. Stay. Right there. Near my bathroom door. For the duration of some undisclosed event, or for purposes that are beyond my understanding.

Actually, I'm not going to lie to you. A few things have already crossed my mind. I can hardly bring myself to write this. But, think about it. Why do creatures set up house?
Yes. I think this is going to get much worse.

I was told to continue to document any changes, as I had already jotted down quite a few notes before the detectives arrived. I now check the spider on an hourly basis. And, as I'm sure you can imagine, this is not a pleasant project. The whole thing is most disturbing.

Feb 24, 2005


Tonight I waited on some Russian mobsters. This doesn't really matter. But I haven't posted anything in a while. And I finally got some real sleep. And I feel like I just woke up and realized that I've been writing in a blog for a few months. Months.

As one would expect, the Russian mobsters like their vodka. And they like their vodka served warm in these small straight up and down glasses that we don't have where I work. But that's ok. They'll drink their vodka out of the wrong kind of glasses, too (hey, just like me) which is good for them, and for me, I guess, as I'm supposed to care if my customers are happy and drinking and remaining on the premises. But, to be honest, I don't worry about it that much. I figure if I do my job, and I'm pleasant, and the vodka's warm and everything, it'll be ok.

I like the Russian mob. So much better than that other mob. But, lets face it, the Mafia is not really the Mafia anymore. Most of the mobsters I know aren't Italian. Most mobsters I know aren't even mobsters so much as they are supposed friends of mobsters, or supposed cousins of mobsters. But the Russian mob is Russian. Period. Criminals. Yes. Pure and simple. They're old-school. They've retained their integrity, which is really refreshing in this day and age.

I asked Sergei if I could work for him. He said no. Actually he said, you are working for me.. right now. He laughed as he said this. I saw that Sergei thinks he owns me like he owns so many people. So I laughed at this, too. Because he's wrong. I said, Sergei, you think you own me, don't you? He nodded. So I paused and said to him in a mock whisper, Sergei, you know, you don't own me.. and you never will. And I added something really smart-assed in Russian for his ears only, and then I smiled and lifted an eyebrow. And then, just to demonstrate how much Sergei doesn't own me, I (cleaned his ashtray, removed all the empty glasses off of his table, asked everyone if they were doing ok, and) walked away. Slowly away.

I have to say that sometimes when I'm bored or upset I tend to get myself into trouble.

I should explain that as I'm trying to write this thing about the Russian mob I'm listening to some internet radio which is currently playing a lot of Jefferson Airplane (don't you want somebody to love.. dooon't you need somebody to love.. you better find somebody to love..), and I'm sorry, the two just don't mix. Not really my choice of music, either. I don't remember how it came about that I'm listening to classic rock, but I don't want to stop and put on a CD or something, so I'm trying to write through this music, instead of stopping and switching. I'm working against this music. And it's not working.

Feb 11, 2005

my plant, at home and doing ok

I have been waiting seven years for one of my plants to decide whether it's going to fight for it's life or finally die. It's been threatening to die for a very long time. And, it's disconcerting, I'm pretty good with plants. I've had this plant for eleven or twelve years. It's a large plant. I've given it vitamins, new soil, better sources of light. I make a point to breathe on it. I even talk on the phone right near it, so that it might further benefit from my breathing on it. Not to suggest that I don't talk directly to my plants. I do. I tell them how they're doing, like, Oh, look you're sprouting, that's great.. or sometimes, Oh, no what's happening to you..? As well as, I love you, please don't die.. That kind of thing.

And I've dusted it's leaves, as I do with my other plants. At one point, I moved this plant around from window to window three or four times a day, just to insure that it got the best light possible. I did this for years. I even dried it out a couple of times. Gave it a week of no attention at all followed by lots of attention. Finally, I arranged all of my other plants around the dying plant. I thought this community of thriving plants might somehow lend a sense of solidarity, or support to my dying plant that might strengthen its will to live. And no. Nothing. And, I should mention, the fact that everything started to go down hill right around the time I got a kitten is not lost on me.

The kitten is, for all practical purposes, innocent of any foul play. She never messes with the plant. Not in any obvious way. Still, I've always sensed some tension between the kitten and the plant. Most likely, the kitten has been sending the plant bad vibes all of these years. It's something she would do. She has many reasons to be bitter, and I can see how she would take it out on the plant instead of me. It's displaced aggression. Or it's passive aggressive. In either case, I know the way the kitten operates, and believe me, she can be jealous and quite petty. Still, the plant did seem to improve for about a year. And I moved a couple of times during all of this. And it always adjusted.

But, now, there's no denying it. The plant is sparse. And becoming sparser. And people have made comments about the plant. Their insinuation being that I've murdered it, or that there's some kind of Munchausen by Proxy deal going on between me and my plant. Which really upsets me, because they have no idea what lengths I've gone to to make this plant happy. So, finally, about a week ago, I was feeling heartless, and I took the plant out to the garbage. I was trying to get rid of things.

It all started when I threw out this broken TV that had been sitting in the middle of my desk/dollhouse/drawing table area for a few months. I left the TV in the middle of the room for so long that, I admit, I got used to it being there. But last week I hit my shin on it for the thousandth time, and it was as if I finally woke up or something. My whole sleep-walking-through-life, not caring that the TV is always in my way thing: I snapped right out of it. I became appropriately disgusted, and went into a mode where the TV and everything, EVERYTHING had to go. I said, This TV is ruining my life! And the TV (not as heavy as I remembered it, though it might have been a product of sheer adrenaline) went out into the garbage. But not before I attached a post-it note with something to the effect of: This TV is 100% broken! scribbled on it. I've noticed other people doing this, and it's good to go ahead and label most of the garbage these days, anyways (sorry, just garbage, refuse, dirt: no browsing please) otherwise in the morning you will be greeted by the horror of yesterday's garbage strewn all over the side yard (by the thoughtless, non tidy, non conscientious garbage enthusiasts).

So the TV went out. The way of garbage. Out of my life. At last. Among a few other things. And then I looked over at the plant. There it was. 90% dead. It must have known that it was next. I had to do this sort of rotely, though. I could feel myself taking it down the stairs and everything, but it was like it was someone else doing it. My mind wasn't ok with this. And so the plant was placed outside by the odd collection of items by the garbage, though, seriously, my memory of this incident is a little sketchy.

My plant looked so sad out there by the TV. I had to turn around and, no matter what, not look back. I got upstairs, and mopped the part of the floor where it once stood and tried not to think about it. But it kept nagging at me. Then, the next morning I went out, and on my way back, there it was. I felt as guilty as I would have had it had been a pet that I abandoned. It was around fifty degrees out during this period. So everytime I walked past I saw not my garbage, not a frozen plant, not a dead plant, but my plant, 10% alive, looking thirsty, pathetic, standing there quietly, not understanding it's fate, and seeming to say, It's scary out here.. why are you doing this to me..? Please bring me back inside.. I'll be good this time.. It was awful. This went on for a couple of days.

The garbage is taken away on Tuesdays, and it was now already Monday. I felt like such a lowlife. When I went to go get a cab to go to work that night, I was again confronted by my sad, abandoned plant. And it was starting to get colder out. And it was rumored that it might snow overnight. It was the eleventh hour. I walked three blocks, got a cab, and heard myself asking the driver if I could make two stops. He drove me back to my building, and waited while I carried my 10% alive plant back up to my apartment. I gave it some warm water with plant food and put it near the window. My cat came bounding into the room, stopped dead in her tracks, and looked at me incredulously.

I told the plant I was sorry, and I promised I would never put it out by the garbage again, that if it was going to die, it would die at home, and I vowed to do whatever it takes to make it the lush, wonderful happy plant that it once was. When I got back into the cab, the driver had the good sense not to ask me any questions. So now, a week later, I'm able to report that the plant is pretty much the same. I dare say more like 12% alive. We'll see. I still haven't let myself off the hook about any of this, though. That may take some time.

Next week: why the Japanese evergreen was moved to another window..

Feb 5, 2005

fake questions answered

Certain parts of this story have been fictionalized:

I was crouched down behind a Honda for about a half an hour yesterday. It was due to my avoidance of this woman, who was walking her dog. She lives in my building, and she's always trying to sell me something, or make me join me something, or tell me something, or become friends. I feel that I've finally gotten my avoidance of her down pat. I can absolutely sense if she's in the laundry room, for instance, before ever stepping out of my apartment. This is good. But, I guess it doesn't work when I'm out doors. Because I was completely caught off guard. I looked up, saw her running around with her dog, and had this reflex to quickly hide behind the nearest object, which just so happened to be a Honda. And, I kept looking up through the windows to see if she was ever going back inside. I was thinking as loudly as I could, just go back inside.. just go back inside.. the dog is fine.. go back inside. This became my mantra. And I tried pushing her back into the apartment building with my eyes, which, it turns out, doesn't work. Finally I sat down. It was gloppy. Not too cold. But even if it were warm out, I don't really want to be sitting on the curb up against somebody's car. And now I couldn't just pop up and walk over like everything's fine. That would be weird. And she was close by, too. I could hear her talking to herself and to her dog. I would have even opted to have that conversation with her now. It would have been better than this. She might not want to talk to me anymore, though. Seeing that I've been hiding behind a Honda, and everything. And that would be fine. Still, I sat there. Pride, you know. And a need to finish a project to completion kind of thing. How long does it take to walk a dog? I got out my phone to see what time it was, and right then it rang. Real loud. I answered just to make it stop. It was my boss. He asked me about a million questions in order to update my information so that he could send me my tax stuff. He kept saying, What? Because I was whispering, which was clearly annoying him. I hated this situation. I hate any situation where my boss has to wonder what is up with me. And it's all my fault. I was the one who asked him the other day where my tax stuff was. And I only asked him about this because there was this horrible silence that I was trying to fill, as he was just standing there watching me make drinks. It was really unnerving. I wanted to make it like I wasn't being observed, as I was, but that this was something more like a conversation. I did this for me and for him. To take the pressure off of everyone. So I asked this fake question. And now, two days later, he was addressing my question. Seriously, it couldn't have been at a worse time..