Category Archives: Tails

Cat in Crown Frights!

I gave up my apartment in “East” Williamsburg at the end of July and fled town for a month. With the wind in my hair and my hands on the wheel, I spun my way westward, across the United States, in a flurry of friends, family, and wasabi peas.

I slept on a loveseat on the outskirts of Nashville TN. I sunbathed poolside at the Virgin River Motel and Casino in Mesquite Nevada. I wound my way up the California coast and spent a week in the bay, going to nude beaches, getting free passes to JCC yoga classes and hanging out at the Anarchist bookshop.

Now where do I find myself?

Deep in Crown Heights, where I feel the weight of my identity all too keenly. I, my friends, am an YWFAG:

Young White Female Agent of Gentrification

Last Wednesday evening, in typical YWFAG fashion I decided that I needed to get out of the house, go to a coffee shop, write, drink some herbal tea and glance at plaid shirted, twenty-something boys with scruff.

So I did a google search for “coffee shops in crown heights, open late.”

The first hit was the Yelp listing posted by another YWFAG.

“Sarah Jo “SJ” M. says:
Looking for OPEN LATE coffee shops in Prospect / Crown Heights, or a goup of people to put pressure on the non-late-night shops already in existence! Anyone interested??”

Here is a sampling of the responses “Sarah Jo” received:

Mike “Sexy Beast” S. says:
Sarah look at the crime statistics for those areas. That will explain why they close so early.

Peter “I was being facetious” D. says:
Crown heights and late night = stupid

But fazed, I was not. The last comment from the thoughtful Young Yelper self titled “John “stone crazy” Q” was –

“It looks like Outpost on Fulton St is open late too, that’s a bit closer to you.”

An outpost was exactly what I was looking for.

Outpost
1. A small military camp or position at some distance from the main force, used esp. as a guard against surprise attack.
2. A remote part of a country or empire.

So I decided to go.

The only problem was, it was a twenty-minute walk away. By the time I got there, my nerves were so jangled I had to order not one, but two glasses of wine.

As I drank and hacked away at my keyboard, I surveyed the selection of eligible gentlemen at the cafe. I was exceptionally uninspired. The most entertaining café sitter of the evening was an elderly hassidic gentleman who kept ordering orange juice and ogling female patrons.

At 10 o’clock I decided I better get home before I was groped/licked etc. by a passerby. I walked to the nearest bus stop. But the arrival sign had been smashed and from what I could make out from the schedule, I’d have to wait on the corner of Bergen and Washington for twenty minutes in the dark. Walking seemed like the preferable option.

After just five minutes of walking, a man started following me, addressing me in all too endearing terms. He was trailing me for about two yards before I turned around and hissed at him with intensity,

“What do you want?”

That showed him! He shuffled away in a hurry.

I crossed the street and trundled on, at a faster pace. To my dismay, less than two minutes later, I found myself approaching the silhouette of a figure hunched under a subway bridge who appeared to be – GASP –

Taking a shit on the sidewalk.

Good GRIEF.

He looked up and saw me swerving across the street.

“Sorry Miss! I couldn’t hold it in any longer!”

“Oh that’s fine! No problem!” I called. “Really!”

REALLY.

When I slipped the key into the lock and closed the door to the apartment, I couldn’t believe it. I was alive?

MeKnow How Now
1. Get some brass knuckles

Epilogue: 3 Fatally Shot in Brooklyn; 2 Officers Are Wounded

Rosie (the Cat)

Hostess Cat: Death by Rolls

I quit the restaurant job last week. Tuesday was my last day, and yet, strangely, it felt like every other day at the host stand: Painful feet. Boredome. Elicit trips to the busboy closet to stuff rolls in mouth. 20 minutes cursing on the subway platform. You know, hell.

What did I gain from the experience? 5 pounds.

What did I lose? The ability to wear pants.

A Google image search of the word “hostess” basically describes, in pictorial form, what this job entails:

If only they had let me:
a) play with a football at the stand
b) wear a nightgown like the lovely lady to above.

I was there until 2 in the morning, so one would think multi-purpose apparel would be condoned. However, it was not.

I could not sleep when my circadian rhythm said, “SLEEP!”
I could not sit when my lower back said, “GODDAMMIT!”
I could not read when my mind read, “VACANCY.”

WHAT, my friends, are the perks of being a hostess?

(silence in the cyber-sphere)

This cat is flat on her back, and has forsaken the ROLL of hostess. Never again my friends. Never again.

Rosie (the Cat)

MeKnowHowNow

1. You know the aphorism, “You are what you eat?” Well it’s true.

CAT on WHEELs

This is me driving around New York: I am vaguely alarmed. Vigilant. Fearful of crushing the pedestrians swerving into traffic. Pedestrians that talk into cell phones / eat peanuts / drag their children down the sidewalk – all at the same time. Bicyclists who seem to think it is totally ok to swerve in and out of Broadway traffic and J-bike – a more dangerous form of the J-walk. I wish I had such freedoms. But behind the wheel, a cat feels great responsibility.

You can read the guilt on my face: guilt for being issued a driver’s license in the first place. I remember the day well. The test took place in Yonkers, NY. My coach was a generously proportioned individual in a Dickies onesy, with short, greasy grey hair. I don’t recall whether the person was male or female, but it was of little consequence at the time. This person was not a person, they were a DRIVING INSTRUCTOR. And a nice one at that  – when I did a miserable job trying to parallel park, they taught me how. (Align your passenger-side rearview mirror with the driver’s side rearview mirror of the other vehicle and reverse straight back before hitting a sharp turn, and then straighten out again.) Magic. The whole thing lasted ten minutes, max.

I PASSed!

But of course, that had no relation to whether I was a competent driver or not, which I wasn’t. And clearly, the higher license-issuing-powers that be had no idea who I was, because when I got my license in the mail, instead of reading Rose L. duPont Gender: F, it read Rose L. duPont Gender: M. Perhaps the instructor felt it would do me good to go through the world as a male for awhile? Maybe they thought I would have more confidence parallel parking if I identified as a male?Whatever the reason, I accepted it. I didn’t get my license changed for two years. And when I finally sent it in to get corrected, they sent a new one back to me that read:

Rose L. duPont Gender: M.

So I figured, what the hell.

Anyway, for the past eight months or so I’ve been working as a PA on documentary film shoots, and every shoot day, I wake up thinking, “how on earth did I manage to get this job – a job comprised of two of my least favorite things to do in the world:”

1) Driving in New York.

2) Driving in New York.

And yet, and YET, I look so darn cool doing it.

After a few months driving around New York, I’ve learned how to:

1. Flirt parking garage owners into discounts (and yes, even if your license says you’re a male, you can come up with great results.)

2. How to scream nasty insults at unruly pedestrians.

3. How to use the accelerator and the break. And the blinker. And ahhh – the windshield wipers.

Rosie (the Cat)

Morning Menace: Cats Carrying Coffee

Have you ever spilled black coffee on the floor, or some other surface not including your tongue? If you have, you know that “black” coffee isn’t actually black. It’s reddish-brown.

And yes, I am going there:

“BLACK COFFEE” is what is commonly described as a MISNOMER.

(and a thrilling google image search term:)

I am not deeply invested in the way our culture mislabels beverages. I only bring it up because when I spilled my coffee on Tuesday morning,

I THOUGHT I WAS GUSHING BLOOD.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 8:37 AM:

I was wobbling down Lorimer Street on my way to work in a menacing pair of high heels, an up-do, and my roommate’s super trendy, baggy, burnt-chocolate coat, humming along to my fave new artist, OhLand. In my hand, I was carrying a steaming mug of “BLACK” coffee I had been unable to finish at breakfast.

I stomped down the subway staircase with grace, trailing a well dressed young gentleman with an adorable, “German School Boy” look. Mmmm! Life was good.

Apparently, life was TOO good.

As I approached the subway turnstyle, I realized that getting my subway pass out of my wallet was going to be a difficult feat. iPod still blaring, I stuck the mug underneath my arm, and began struggling with every zipper in my bag. Meanwhile, the adorable “German School Boy” was negotiating entry with the turnstyle to my left, but it was not letting him through. He looked my way. OI. He wanted me to move.

“Find your wallet, find your wallet – go – go – go.”

I pretended to concentrate on my bag, when he said something to me. “I’m sorry,” I said (probably too loudly, in an attempt to overcome the deafening music.) When I looked up into his crystal-blue, aryan eyes, I found he wasn’t staring back. He was pointing down, at my coat. Following his slender Germanic finger with my gaze, I found:

HORRORS!

reddish-brown fluid gushing from my mid-section!

I WAS SHOT!

Or maybe I was spilling the entire contents of my mug on the subway floor.

I looked back at him in panic. I still couldn’t quite hear him, but according to my lip reading skills, it appears he said, “Aw, that sucks,” whilst smiling at me.

Liquid pooled around my feet. Whatever he said, it was definitely coffee, and the boy was definitely cute.

At that moment, my fingers alighted on my subway pass. “Oh Darn!” I said as I swiped through, giggling. “Woops!” I looked back, gave him my cutest “I might be a clutz, but I’m still cute!” smile and dashed for the train.

Maybe he wants to date me?

This Tail is full of Tips:

1. If you use those coffee-carrying mugs, be sure to get the kind with effective tops.

2. German School Boys are perceptive.

3. If you put milk in your coffee, you may avoid calamity.

Rosie (the Cat)

 

One Fat & Frustrated Cat

January is the WORST month of the year, mostly because EVERYONE feels fat. Particularly post-collegiate cats. So if you are a post-festive, SAD cat, this tail might resonate:

One Fat & Frustrated Cat

You’ve gained a few pounds over Christmas / Hanukkah / New Years / Kwanza, and you’ve decided that *one* of your New Years resolutions is to lose that 5, 10, 15, 20 pounds, and get fit!

Low and behold, less than two weeks into the New Year and you find yourself trudging home at eight o’clock in the bitter cold, enervated and yearning for some Cabernet Sauvignon and 70% Dark Chocolate. Collapsing at your kitchen table you think, “What the hell! I deserve it! I never see the light of day, and I don’t have a boyfriend! So. WHO CARES.”

One chocolate bar, one wine bottle and several chunks of cheese later, you are lying on your back groaning in agony. You hadn’t meant to! Your stomach feels as though it might burst, your eyes are heavy, and, and, and, YOU ARE FAT.

You probably feel like this:

In order to combat this terrible downward spiral, you decide to join a gym. But see, you’re poor. So you join the YMCA. The catch? It is still 52 dollars a month, smelly, and overcrowded.

The first day you go, you are dismayed to find the place a-crawl with people.  After wandering down the maze of  a staircase to the ladies locker room, struggling to change into your sports gear as modestly as possible, traveling back up the stairs to the machine room, and finally pulling open the door, you are greeted by a blast of hot, sour body odor, and the whir of a thousand sweaty limbs shuffling together against the grain. Gross! When you go to the sign up board, you realize you are going to have to wait at least a half an hour to get on a machine. Impossible!

SOUND FAMILIAR? Might as well go home and run up and down your stairs a few times.

There has to be a remedy! There must! But what?!!?

Tips to Temper the Terror of this Common Tail:

1. When you want to drink the entire bottle of wine, try drinking diet ginger ale and herbal tea instead.
2. Just go to sleep. If you sleep, you can’t eat!
3. Find yourself a man-friend. In the bar, or on the subway. Men-friends are extremely distracting. (Don’t know how to find one? Never fear. Cat-o the Cat will post a column shortly on how a cat is actually supposed to find a male companion in this cold, hard city we call home. To be Continued….!)

Rosie (the Cat)