Archive | January, 2011

Dear New Yorker Readers

31 Jan

Dear New Yorker Readers,

You know when you’re at a friend’s house, say for a dinner party, and the wine is flowing, and you’re all discussing the rise of the use of live objects— cats, dogs, gerbils, plants, donkeys painted to look like zebras, actual zebras— in light installations, particularly in some regions in rural France, which seems random but is totally attributable to a short reference found in Madame Bovary and the following rivalry between Paris and the rest of France for artistic dominion?

And it’s totally awkward, because none of you know anything about what you’re talking about, so you transition to talk about Justin Bieber’s new album and its likely philosophical impacts on seminal teenage texts such as The Catcher in the Rye and its near British equivalent (seriously, it’s so typical that American readers haven’t heard of this, much less read it) The Rachel Papers.

And at some point in the evening, you all realize— you educated, talented, interesting folk with families and love lives (well, some of you) and worthwhile jobs (well, a few of you) and snappy comebacks (with that one notable exception)— that YOU’RE ALL JUST TALKING YOUR WAY THROUGH THE LATEST NEW YORKER AND PRETENDING THAT YOU’RE NOT.

Tell me, how does it feel?  Hot, like fondue and shame?  Or bone-chilling, like a palette cleansing scoop of fig and pear gelato between courses?

And isn’t it tricky to all find an issue that you’ve all read in common, since New Yorker readers are on average 3-37 issues behind?  WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE SPOILS THE NEW ONE FOR YOU?

Love you!



Dear Engineers

27 Jan

Dear Engineers,

You'd think engineers would be good at this.

You seem so FUN and yet survey says you are not.  Let me start by saying this: one of my mom’s favorite things to do is suggest that I, or my sister, or my friend, or that neighbor’s granddaughter, or that girl in the grocery store, should go hang out in the college libraries of male-dominated fields in order to meet men.

Her: Why don’t you go study in the engineering library?

Me: Why would I do that?

Her: Well you’re sure to meet a nice boy there!

Me: Excuse me?

Her: You know that something like 78% of engineers are still men.

Me: You know I don’t study in the library, right?  Any library?

Her: Sooo if you want to meet a nice, smart boy, you just have to put yourself where they can see you.  Engineers are great!

Me: They are? Are you sure?  Who do you know who’s an engineer?

My sister: She probably wouldn’t meet any engineers, actually.  They’re notorious for being awkward in social situations.

Her: Your boyfriend’s an engineer.

My sister: Yeah, and even he says engineers have terrible social skills.  He doesn’t know what to say to them half the time.

Her: Your roommate’s an engineer.

My sister: Yeah, and he says engineers are impossible to talk to, too.

Her: But they’re smart and hardworking!  They invent things!

Me: I don’t think we have an engineering library.  I think we just have the one library.

Her: Well, is there an engineering building on campus?  Don’t you want to meet a nice boy?

Me: No.

Her: Your Uncle Bill is an engineer!  He’s lots of fun!

Uncle Bill: Engineers?  Those guys?  That I work with?  No.  They’re no fun.

Although…clearly we know one fun engineer in every group.  And engineers do fun things!  Like make subway station stairs into a giant piano keyboard!  An insane amount of work, just to find out if they could get more people to take the stairs than the escalator.

…Work they did at night, probably on the weekend, and that required hours hunched over a laptop and in a garage, surrounding by their engineering friends, work that probably included testing pitch according to different people’s weights and at least 17 trips to Home Depot on Friday night and precise calculation of word problems: “If 2,000 commuters step on 20 piano keys within the hours of 7-9 and 5-7, and the temperature is 41 degrees, then…,” work that kept them so focused they looked at their shoes while they walked and they slept through that friend’s dinner party on Sunday and…

I just don’t understand why engineers have trouble talking to girls.



Dear Awesome Facebook Status Updates

24 Jan

Dear Awesome Facebook Status Updates,

I’ve done some serious facebook bashing/mocking/whathaveyou in the past but I don’t think I’ve given full credit to the awesomeness that good facebook status updates deserve.  Someone should make a flip calendar out of these gems.  Case in point:


Followed by a friend’s helpful suggestion to leave a note inside for a potential future soulmate.

BRILLIANT. Would that not be the best ‘how we met’ story ever?  And for once Facebook would be partially responsible for bringing people together NOT in a creepy stalker way.

Also, it’s time I admit that I get most of my weather, sports, and world news from Facebook.  Although I have to admit, the world seems eerily focused on Seattle weather, Husky sports, and non-profit and literary news, in a way that doesn’t quite match my weather here in San Diego, these “Chargers” and “Steelers” and “Saints” other people talk about, and this lack of funding / complete apathy towards non-profits and literature I hear exists in this country—

but I only leave my house to go to used bookstores or to go to Whole Foods , so my bubble isn’t really burst when I get off my computer…isolation and selective exposure work both ways, people!  Don’t let the Tea Partiers have it all to themselves!  Make it your own! Run for office on a platform that people actually care about education and words and art and starvation and health care!  People will call you delusional.  They’ll say you don’t know the statistics, that you’re imbalanced.  Don’t listen!  Put poems on your websites and refuse to take them down!  Insist they make sense!

I assume everyone else’s FB is filled with status updates about the Huskies and avant-garde feminist poetry, too?  Non?

Also, without Facebook Status Updates and link sharing, how else would I find beautiful websites, such as Fuck Yeah! Ryan Gosling ?  And such beautiful articles as You Should Date An Illiterate Girl ?

My point is, my friend with the recalled poetry books may meet her soulmate through FB, or possibly through the note she’s going to leave in the book— which is old-fashioned and charming and something our grandmothers might have done and FB is completely unnecessary to the process and such opportunities are why Kindles are trying to destroy the world by killing our chances at reproduction— or maybe not.

But either way, Facebook: the new, updated, expanded vision of the old lady peering out her kitchen windows into the house next door, down the street, over the hill, across the city, judging and shaking her head and smiling when those two crazy kids finally video chat in person after months of “liking” each other’s status updates.  OH LOVE.  YOU SO CRAZY.



Dear People Standing in Line with Me

19 Jan

Dear People Standing in Line with Me,


I know I look like magic will happen if you can only touch my tempting hair, back, and hips, and I’m not saying that it won’t, but IT DOESN’T WORK WITH STRANGERS IN LINES at the airport, grocery store, Rite-Aid, or movie theater.

So back the hell up, keep your hands at your sides, and lower your voice.  Unless you’re telling a juicy story, then I want to hear it.  Speak up and use names.

Don’t make me start carrying a hula hoop in order to demonstrate the proper boundaries of personal space in public places.  I’ll do it, I swear.


Dear Changing Astrological Signs

14 Jan

Dear Changing Astrological Signs,

So I did some highly accurate and technical research last night, cross-referenced the major characteristics of the astrological signs, added 10, divided by 9.3, drank some sort of magical potion (I think it had vodka in it) and discovered that we’re all:

  • stubborn
  • loyal
  • practical yet mysterious
  • secretly want to be swept off our feet
  • and we’re all dreamers.

I also found that my server last night has no interest in astrological signs, because her boyfriend is into “all things space,” so he’s got “space” covered if they’re ever on Family Feud, so she’s concentrating her energies elsewhere. Smart girl.

Also, her mom, her cousin, and her brother will be on her team, and while she does not watch the show (LIAR), two out of the ten times she has, women have shouted various technical names for parts of male genitalia (“penis” in response to “What part of the body do men realize has changed by the time they reach age 40?” and “scrotum” in response to “At every annual exam, the doctor checks this”).

Seriously, whose first instinct is to shout “penis” on national television?  I mean, certainly many dream of such a thing; however, I feel it would be one of those situations where you would more likely go: ummm shoot there’s something…I wanted to…so funny…what would be funny if I shouted it…EARLOBE!  …Damn.

It was a very informative night.

And the advertising industry should really look into hiring astrologers, because of their fantastic ability to make things seem extremely individualized– hey that does sound like me! –while keeping them vague and general enough that everyone thinks it applies to them– wait, that sounds like you too?

I CAN’T BELIEVE WHEN WE’RE ALL STUBBORN WHEN WE WANT SOMETHING AND WE ALL WANT LOVE.  And that people take me more seriously when I present myself well, and I just feel more confident when I look good, and I can find clothes that fit me and it’s not shallow to take care of myself!

Oh wait, those are the lessons from What Not to Wear.

Sigh.  There’s wisdom everywhere.


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