Ordinary People*

Do you like toppings?

Last Friday, as my boyfriend, David, and I walked from Cucina de Pesce in the East Village to meet up with some friends at Swift, I noticed some adorable dogs out on a walk. One was an English bulldog, and the other was a French bulldog pup. It was too much. I almost cried.

“Oh, look at those guys,” I whined, tapping David on the shoulder. As he turned, saying something like “Awwwww, puppiieeessss!” I looked up at the owner. It was John Legend.

“David, that’s John Legend,” I said out of the corner of my mouth, hoping Johnny wouldn’t hear my excitement. He didn’t believe me at first, but after he tore his eyes away from the pups he confirmed.

“Oh, yeah. That’s definitely John Legend.”

David tried to get his attention by loudly stating how cute the dogs were several times and in various ways. John Legend couldn’t have cared less. One very smart girl stood close enough that the French b-dog pup began to lick her toes. Johnny looked down and laughed. David and I were so jealous. I could have slapped her.

Suddenly, a wave of courage came over me, and David and I followed John Legend for about a block as he walked up East 4th Street. I had devised a plan.

“Where is that ice cream place?” I asked far louder than necessary. I looked at David and winked.

“Yeah,” he said just as loudly, but visibly confused. “Where?”

“Are y’all looking for some sweet ice cream?” John Legend asked.

“Yes!” we said, almost in unison and with a questionable level of enthusiasm.

“Well, I’ve got some delicious ice cream at my place,” he said. “And look, we’re right here.” He pointed up to a high-rise building made entirely of gold and silk. “Come on.”

I pushed David out of the way and ran behind John Legend as he walked through the front door, greeting the doorman with a sing-songy “Good Evening, Mr. Doorman.”

John and I stepped onto the elevator, but David came running up, just as the doors were closing (CAT scan results reveal that he only fractured his radius). I rolled my eyes. There were 18 numbered buttons, and then one with John Legend’s face on it. He pushed that one, obviously. Oddly, the elevator didn’t seem to move. We were just…there.

The doors opened directly to his apartment, which was what one might call “chic” or perhaps “swanky.” Smooth jazz was playing (was it always playing?), there were several stainless steel surfaces, and it smelled like ginger peach, if that’s even a thing.

“Make yourselves comfortable,” he said, popping open a bottle of Moscato.

“Oh no,” I said. “We’re just here for the ice cream.”

“I know,” he replied, pouring the Moscato into the dog bowls. “Now, where were we?”

He opened the freezer and pulled out an entire shelf of gourmet ice creams. I fainted. When I came to, I was sitting on a white leather sofa, with a bowl cookies and cream and a dog on my lap. I looked at David, who was eating a black cherry ice cream and letting the dog lick it off his spoon. When I looked at him with my David! face, he just shrugged and let the dog keep licking.

As I enjoyed my ice cream (it was like each cookie was handmade with the finest dark chocolate, just for me!), John played his baby grand and sang”Ordinary People.” This is the life, I thought as the French bulldog hopped from my lap to get more ice cream from the kitchen. He carried in a pint of oatmeal cookie chunk–which is my jam–on a tray strapped to his back, then stumbled away (puppies really can’t handle a nice rosé).

I only finished half of the container, because everything in moderation. I gave David a tap on the shoulder (the dog was now holding the spoon, and David was licking the ice cream).

“What now?” I whispered, not wanting to interrupt the end of the song where John goes, take it slo-o-o-ow, sl-o-o-ow. 

“We do whatever Johnny says.” I nodded in agreement. My mother had told me this ever since I was a little girl, along with Y.O.L.O. We waited for Johnny to say something, but he didn’t.

“Well?” I said, after what seemed like minutes of silence.

“Well?” came a voice from the corner. We all turned around. It was Chrissy Teigen, John’s model girlfriend.

“Model,” I growled under my breath (it’s a reflex). She was wearing a white, lace negligee. I grabbed David, who was now drooling. We walked to the door without saying anything, stepped onto the elevator, and I threw up deuces, just to be sassy.

Before we knew it, David and I were at a bar on East 4th, laughing with our friends. But for the rest of the night, I swear I smelled a little like ginger peach.

*Due to some confusion, I must tell you that half of this is not true (the half that seems absolutely ridiculous).

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It’s a Piz-za Cake

Last night, I found myself at a party for a film that I did not see. My boyfriend, David, was also there (don’t worry, he didn’t see it either). We got separated for a while before we had the desire to see each other again. He texted me.

“By VIP. Hurry I have Cairo.”

My first thought was who let you near the VIP section? My second thought was Cairo? Is this a new recreational drug that I somehow don’t know about, or did you just conquer the city of Cairo, like we’d always dreamed?! My third thought was punctuation! Hurry comma I have Cairo.

Anywho, I hurried to the VIP section, because I thought that maybe Cairo meant chicken. I was close. It meant cake. But not just any old cake…pizza cake. Wow, you may be thinking. That’s the best news. Well, sort of.

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If you see it as a pizza it looks gross. If you see it as a cake it looks gross.

Apparently there was something in the movie about pizza cake, but neither of us had seen it, so we had no appreciation for the joke. We do, however, have a general appreciation for cake, and luckily someone working in the VIP area slipped David a slice of the coveted pizza cake. (By the way, the only thing that differentiated this space from the rest of the party was that they had the pizza cake, and nothing screams “exclusive” like a cake decorated as a pizza…I’m sure there was something else “very important” back there.)

David and I noshed on the cake for a few seconds, before realizing that it was 85% icing. We’re talking like three inches deep of butter frosting, for real. He set the plate of rejected scraps onto the high table we were leaning on. Suddenly a voice came from behind us.

“You done?” asked a middle aged gentleman.

“Yeah,” said David, “it’s all sugar though.”

“Whatever,” said the guy as he picked up the chunk of solidified fatty-sugs, biting into it like a sandwich.

David and I made this face at one another 😐 The man proceeded to finish off our remnants.

“Wow,” I said directly to the man’s face, because he clearly wasn’t the kind of person who gave a D.

Now, I have some strange eating habits, I’ll admit, but there are two specific problems I had with this fellow.

1. He willingly ate a Moleskine notebook sized chunk of icing with fake pepperonis on top. Was he six? There was tons of food at this party. Tasty food. But no, this fool was wasting his time on a nasty, leftover clump of sugar.

2. HE ASKED IF WE WERE DONE. This man had never seen either of us before, and he was presumably not homeless or hungry. He was at a party that required a ticket to get in. That is just something you don’t do. Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to turn to the table next to me, while dining at a restaurant, and ask, “are  you not gonna finish your bread basket?” Like 14 times. But I don’t. Because that’s strange, I don’t know them, and I’m at a restaurant. I’ll get my own damn food.

We were telling the story of this strangey dude five minutes later, but when we looked around, he was nowhere to be found. My best guess was that he was passed out in a bathroom stall.

The moral of the story is this: don’t be an adult who goes to parties and begs others for their gross leftovers unless you like blog posts written about you.

Family Matters Part II

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That’s us, there in the front.

I’d gotten us all tickets to go on a boat cruise around Manhattan on Friday at noon (although I bought the tickets through Living Social, and the cruise proved to be a bit janky. My bad). We left in plenty of time to get everyone to the boat on time and without injury. As we sat on the docked boat that was decorated like your uncle’s den (you know the uncle), my cousin started to feel sick. Little to our knowledge, she’d never been on a boat (and I’m pretty sure she is completely unaware of the 2009 sensation “I’m On a Boat”). I assured her that once the boat got moving, the swaying would stop. I was wrong. As the rest of us listened to a sick remix of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “We Found Love” on the roof deck, while soaking in rays and enjoying the breeze, my cousin puked in the tiny cabin toilet. Again, my bad. But the important thing is that we all had a great time. 

By the time we docked and made our way to the bus, everyone was starving for lunch. My uncle’s wife’s eyes grew large as we drove past a Burlington on 23rd, but the rest of us ignored her, looked at our phones. Finally, we got off, where my cousin treated herself to a hot dog AND  a slice of pepperoni pizza. Always a good post-vom meal. 

While the rest of the group rummaged through the garment district, filling giant garbage bags with purses, jewelry, and other miscellaneous nonsense, my mother and I split and went to MoMA (everyone else was like, who? Art? Blah!). By the time we returned, most of our party was in debt. It was time for dinner. 

We made our way to a delicious Chinese restaurant in Midtown. I knew it would be authentic upon walking in and seeing that the majority of diners were Chinese. There were  a few white couples here and there. We were the only black people there, but believe you me, we made a splash. 

Our very kind and young waiter was patient as everyone my family asked questions like, is them noodles lo mein? what do that taste like, spicy? and where am I? I don’t think he understood much English in the first place, so I took it upon myself to translate, and eventually half of them ended up with exactly what they would have ordered at home. We spun the center thing, shared fun, and had a generally lovely time. We went home to rest up for another day in the city. 

When I met up with the family on Saturday morning, I learned that my uncle had rented a van. Yes, A VAN. My uncle and his wife had decided ENOUGH with the walking! We’re gonna drive. We had 2pm tickets to Porgy and Bess that day, and so I thought we’d get there in plenty of time if we loaded into the van at 12:30. But as we made a single wrong term and found ourselves riding through the Holland Tunnel for 15 minutes, I realized we might be a little late. We only spent about 30 minutes in New Jersey (Jersey City and Hoboken–woop!) before finding ourselves stuck in two blocks of traffics in Manhattan for 45 minutes. I would have rather sprayed Windex into a knee scrape. 

Finally, we found a parking lot, I loaded four of them into a cab (sigh), and we were only 40 minutes late to the show, where my uncle promptly fell asleep. P&G got mixed reviews from the fam, but that was neither here nor there. It was time to load ourselves back in, sit in traffic for another two hours, then reward ourselves with a delicious meal at Peaches Hothouse for dinner. It was quite a crowd pleaser, and we all went to bed full and happy. 

The rest of their stay was more or less the same: shop, eat, shop, eat. Mind you, these are two hour increments. We got stuck in more traffic (I did sneak in a couple of solid naps) and got more confused. I went to the bathroom in The Disney Store at one point, while “Spoonful of Sugar: played in the background.  It was a new low. 

But that Sunday afternoon, as we finished disgusting pizza from a totally inauthentic place in Little Italy, the owner–Joe–said something very important. 

“What a beautiful family!” His shirt was unbuttoned down to his navel, his gold chain resting in a patch of chest hair. “And family is the most important thing.” 

I thought, you may be on to something, Joe. You may have killed a few guys, but you may be on to something. 

They drove me absolutely crazy, and it took me three times as long to do the things I normally did, with them around. But they were my family, and I was glad to have them here. Who cared if they wanted to go in Marshall’s and drive around in a Chrysler van? They loved and cared about me enough to visit me despite injury and health problems. They should absolutely never leave the Midwest ever again, but I was happy to have them visit me in the great borough of Brooklyn. 

And don’t forget, new blog next week. A little less ridic, but still, check it out: All My New Friends

Family Matters

It was like six times less fun when we were there.

My family came to town this past weekend, and it was a visit for the books. I always know to be prepared for a few shenanigans, but this time around there were more people and much, much more confusion. This sojourn included my mom and Aunt Dorothy (the usual suspects), as well as my uncle, his wife, and my 16 year-old cousin, who is none of these people’s child.

Before the trip even began, my uncle’s wife sent an email about how excited she was and stating that she really wanted to go to Marshall’s and Burlington Coat Factory. I almost called the whole thing off, then and there.

The first big fiasco occurred the Thursday they arrived, when we were all supposed to meet for dinner. I would leave straight from work and meet everyone at the restaurant. Simple, right? So, so wrong.

Aunt Dorothy called me from outside the Atlantic-Pacific (now Barclays…) saying that they were about to get on the train. It was the same station where I’d be getting on, but instead of wasting time to find them I told them to get on the train and meet me in the city. I was waiting near the restaurant for about 15 minutes before my uncle and his wife arrived (they had elected to take a taxi rather than rush, as my uncle had surgery on his leg and can’t move too quickly). I called and texted my mom, aunt, and cousin to no avail. Finally, about 50 minutes after our reservation time, my aunt called me. They had gotten on the right train (hooray!) but gone in the wrong direction (boo!). They actually went about seven stops in the wrong direction before anyone noticed. I thought, we’re off to a good start!

After getting deli sandwiches in lieu of a sit-down dinner, we made our way to the evening’s main event: Memphis on Broadway. I am pleased to say that the whole lot of us loved the show. We were gathering our thoughts outside the theater when a group of people taking a picture  noticed one of the cast members and waved him over.

“He was in the show,” I said, pointing to the group.

“Oh!” said Aunt Dorothy. “Maybe he’ll take a picture with US!” She smiled and raised her eyebrows, like she’d done something sneaky.

After they were finished, my aunt walked over to the group. The cast member walked right passed her, as she tapped a short black man of about 75 on the shoulder. There is no such character in the show.

“Excuse me! Can you take a picture with us?”

The man was game, but I whispered in her ear that this was the wrong man. She promptly walked away, grabbing the actual cast member. He proved to be very nice and made the mistake of telling us that his parent were from Missouri. This launched a full scale conversation. I’m not sure how it ended, but I recall him saying goodbye, and five second later he was nowhere to be found.

Now, at 10:30, it was finally dinnertime (because deli sandwiches are just a little snik snack). What looks good, what looks good? Bubba Gump Shrimp Co? Yes. That is where we went. The meal was unextraordinary. No one got hurt or offended, and though the food was terrible, this was all I could ask for.

On the way to the train back to Brooklyn, we made a pit stop at Walgreen’s. My cousin shopped for lip gloss while my aunt fished around for a refreshing drink. My aunt was more successful than my cousin, flaunting her drink on the train, until she noticed the label…Neurogasm. The drink’s tagline is “Passion in Every Bottle.” Hot. The back label also explains that the drink “helps support the pleasure response,” “provides playful energy,” and allows you to have “more enjoyment…day or night, or even later at night.” My aunt is a 60-something Jehovah’s Witness, so the fact that she accidentally bought this sex-making drink because of the low calorie count is awesome. She refused to finish it, as the rest of us doubled over in laughter.

Eventually we made it back to the train station where they would have just a 10 minute walk (sigh) to their hotel. Night one: fin. On to the next one…

Part II coming tomorrow.

And a brand new blog coming next week: http://allmynewfriends.wordpress.com/

Planet Fatness

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Thanks Bestwaytoloseweight24.com for having this image ready for me.

Planet Fitness is fine. I pay $10 a month for $10 worth of gym. They have machines, and mats,and bathrooms that are sometimes not flooded. But the most surprising thing about Planet Fitness just might be there food incentives. The first Monday of every month is Pizza Night, and the second Tuesday of the month is Bagel Morning.

Now, I’m more than fine with bagel morning, despite the indifference with which the staff treats it. You see, they buy about two dozen bagels and two crates of coffeee at a time, and the table is frequently empty for up to 30 minutes before anyone even goes out to get more from the Dunkin Donuts across the street. Lazy! Once on a first Tuesday immediately following a first Monday, I walked in to find NO bagels or coffee on the table. I knew it, I thought. They forgot, because yesterday was Pizza Monday! But don’t worry. By the time I left there was a full table of bagels (I may have said something to the girl at the front desk on my way in…).

I’m fine with Bagel Tuesday’s, because a bagel does not have to be unhealthy. They always get a variety, and I always go for the multigrain. It makes me feel indifferent about myself. I pour a dib-dab of coffee, and I’m on my way. Breakfast done.

But I have a bone to pick with Pizza Monday’s. First of all, the gym reeks of pizza as soon as you walk in.  If there’s anything that makes me not want to work out, it’s the smell of Papa John’s. This brings me to my second point: the pizza is from Papa John’s. And it’s just plain cheese. This is a gym. The least they could do would be to serve decent pizza with whole wheat crust or, I don’t know, veggies. But no, they serve the type of pizza they show in health text books with a circle and X through it.

People generally go to a gym to maintain or improve their weight and/or health. But I really think some people at Planet Fitness pay the $10 a month to come every 30 days for all you can eat Papa J’s. Yesterday, I saw a man eating a giant slice in one of the massages chairs, eyes closed, just loving life.

It’s interesting to note those that choose to eat pizza on Pizza Monday’s. Guys of all shapes and sizes ALWAYS eat the pizza, as it is a well-known fact that guys can eat without fear of weight fluctuation. But the only women I ever see eating the pizza are the big girls, the ones who just joined and are trying to drop a few.  I’ll admit I had a slice on my first Pizza Monday, but every time since I just remind myself that I’ll die if I eat the pizza (this tactic has worked for me so far).

I think it’s really unfair of Planet Fitness to dole out pizza so frequently, fully knowing that many people there are struggling with their weight. It’s like going to Planned Parenthood only to find that they’re hosting a dancehall party and invited Channing Tatum and Simon Rex. Ok, I guess, but this seems like a bad idea. And it’s not even good pizza. Simon Rex? Oh, ok. 

Planet Fitness, if you’re reading this, change your ways. Maybe give away granola bars or fruit every once and again. If not, some of your members gon’ get pregnant.