5 Vignettes

  • The man’s cane made a distinctive tap when he walked, and she always knew it was him without having to look up from her book. The tapping sound had a rattle to it — like there was a broken part.
  • Despite her formidable dry spells, when death was near, she could write. Fear would make her find the words.
  • There were plenty of spaces available in the lot, but for some reason, she took a long time deciding where to park. When she finally pulled into a spot, she exited her car feeling frustrated.
  • She mused that the bookstore employee looked like an insect stripped of its wings. When walking quickly down an aisle, he seemed to be retreating to a crevice. His glasses had thick lenses, and his hair was greasy. His body was undernourished.
  • She no longer felt or looked fat once she put on her yoga pants. She wished she had eaten the spaghetti while wearing them instead of her jeans, which were beyond snug. With her yoga pants on now, she did not feel bad about eating so much pasta, and in fact, she craved more.

12 ways to seem intelligent

  1. Even though you might be half-witted, strive to use the word “repartee” when possible.
  2. Practice your chronic regurgitation of facts and opinions in the mirror to add an element of authenticity.
  3. If nothing else, avoid reading genre fiction in view of highbrow crowds.
  4. If you happen to meet someone named Margot, seize the opportunity and point out the connection to the love interest in Nabokov’s “Laughter in the Dark.”
  5. Drop the name Dostoevsky into a conversation—then spell it if necessary; spell necessary, as well.
  6. In fact, mention any canonical Russian author or classical composer and be ready with at least one example of their work, cited from your Google search.
  7. Familiarize yourself with the term “de rigueur.” It is always fashionable.
  8. Let on that you listen to podcasts instead of audiobooks — particularly podcasts made possible in part by grants and foundations.
  9. Plant a lived-in copy of a recent New York Times edition in a conspicuous spot in your home when you’re expecting guests.
  10. Hang out at Whole Foods Market. If using the restroom there, choose the hand dryer over the towel dispenser — and then quip, “When in Rome,” to any and all bystanders.
  11. Throw on a pair of Izipizi readers and eat some vegan pho.
  12. Know the difference between veganism and vegetarianism. Show off by explaining this to any clueless carnivores.

15 things I’d eat right now

Meatballs with marinara sauce and melted provolone; Cannoli; Dried figs; Raw clams; Steak fries; Fried fish with mashed potatoes and green beans with a lemon wedge on the side; Crispy focaccia with thinly sliced tomato, seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic and basil; Fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce; Lobster mac and cheese; Pork fried rice; Hot apple crumb pie with a scoop of vanilla; Popcorn; Eggplant parm panini; Rice and refried beans; Homemade potato salad.

7 quick truths

  1. No one who truly likes to read would organize books based on their color.
  2. Those who use the term “It’s all good” are most likely masochists. This is perhaps a result of institutionalization.
  3. If you’re the type who backs into a parking space, then you are not living in the now. Practice presence and pull in front first.
  4. Sentences of doom many times start with, “By the way.”
  5. “By the way” is a passive-aggressive conversation segue.
  6. When innocently uttered, “By the way” is just lazy or tactless.
  7. The phrase also can be perceived as conversational efficiency.

On personal solubility

I’ve pinned a button onto my jacket that denotes me as soluble. Pure and simple. It’s a blue button with white text.

  • I’ve a high potential for condensation. I feel I could dissolve like salt in warm water.
  • In an argument, I can disintegrate into clumps like acrylic in an acetone bath.
  • Don’t ever wet me or expose me to sudden cold. I need to acclimate to avoid eventual evaporation.
  • When I think of soluble, I recall the Wicked Witch of the West withering. I think of candle wax burning.
  • If I had it my way, I would rather not leave this Earth in water form. I would prefer to splatter into fiery sparks.
  • Or else become a genie fog that curls into a porcelain lamp like a plume of vape smoke traveling back inside your mouth.
  • Or drift past the Milky Way into the starry spray of the multiverse.

things to think about

  • Gertrude Stein’s bookstore (Shakespeare and Company)
  • what Gertrude Stein and Agnes Martin have in common
  • Doll’s shoes
  • Salvadore Dali’s shoes
  • Tender Buttons
  • press and hold
  • what Ray Carver and Ernest Hemingway have in common
  • what Charles Bukowski and Ernest Hemingway have in common
  • what Charles Bukowski has in common with Gertrude Stein

gender u.

  • How to sneeze like a femme
  • The gender of sneezing
  • Sneezing like a princess
  • How to sneeze like a cat
  • How to hock a loogie in a demure way
  • The feminine way to fart
  • What to do with your arms when you’re sitting
  • What to do with your hands when you’re in a relaxed position
  • The belch of a woman
  • Feet flat on the floor vs. leg crossed