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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Oh...the crazies!

There are many times in life that reality is just so kooky that no writer could possibly invent the characters that I encounter on my various jobs here in NYC. Working at the Compusa on 5th Avenue (promoting AOL) has always been what I will refer to as an adventure, so as to cleverly conceal some of my bitter sweet feelings for it. Located in the heart of midtown, entirely too close to the Empire State building, you encounter one of 2 types of people here...the foreign folk, and the crazies. There are a lot of both in midtown, where they walk in all directions at once, none aware that there are hundreds of other human beings anywhere near them..changing their already indirect directions instantly running into you, stepping on you, keeping you contstantly on guard to dodge them, or stand your ground and run into them. Just the foreign folks, the crazies, and me. Perhaps it is best that these folks just bump into you and keep moving, for when they stop, and talk to you...you enter a world that not just anyone can handle. I talk to these people. I listen to them. Not generally on the street, but while working my various jobs. It took me a while to realize that while there shouldn't be any harm in this, they can often drain the life out of you at the same time as they tickle your brain when you realize that this is a real person standing in front of you, talking nonsense. When you stand in one place in a retail store every day or every weekend, these crazies always know where to find you again. I have met so many but right now all I can recall is yesterday. I met a filthy looking lady yesterday here at the store. She was very sweet. She was missing her two front teeth which were framed by the bright red lipstick smeared around her mouth. She had a tragically uneven skin tone, made moreso by the streaks of concealer or foundation strewn about her face. Her eyeliner appeared to have been applied heavily before her head had, perhaps, been held under water for a spell. Her hair seemed plastered to her head, with a slight frizz, and coated in some sort of glycerine-like liquid that was at some point dripping down her temples, but whose thickness had stopped it on it's way . Too thick to be sweat I wondered if she had applied glue? The topping on the cake is a toss up between the swirls of red lipstick that had somehow been spread faintly around her entire face and the numerous whiskers on her chin. She was a sight to behold. I approached her in my section without realizing all of her uniqueness, but once we began, I was involved...and had little way out. So we chatted. I learned she was an actress and she showed me her headshot and resume, a postcard sized copy of a picture she said had been taken on a cellphone, of her standing on a NY city street in front of a subway station, looking like a homeless person with bright red lipstick on. On the back was her resume, which boasted film/tv/commercial credits that my resume can't hold a candle to. Some credits were scribbled in and all was on the back of this postcard/cellphone picture. I offered to take her picture here (one of the parts of the area I am to get people to interact with). She seemed as though I caught her off-guard and she wasn't necessarily at her best, but we gave it a go. She saw the first shot and whipped out her makeup bag saying she needed to touch up her face. The first thing she grabbed was her tube of whore-red lipstick, which she not-so-expertly applied without a mirror. Instantly it began to bleed out into the lines and sweat on her face, on a path towards joining the rest of the "lipstick party" already in full swing on her forehead, cheeks and chin. Then she grabbed her foundation and swiped her finger in it and proceeded to draw lines around her face, poorly attempting at blending it while asking "do I look alright?". I can't answer that! Lying is physically painful to me. I couldn't even begin to point out all of the things that would have required fixing. The most helpful thing I could have offered would be a sponge and a bucket, but this was not an option. She was now looking in a mirror, and if she couldn't tell that she didn't look okay by seeing what I was seeing, what was the point in trying to fix it? Lastly she took out the eyeliner observing in the mirror as she rubbed the dull pencil around both eyes. "do I look alright?" she asked again, smoothing back her glue-y hair and smiling her no-front-teeth smile. "yes, yes you do." I said, pinching back my amusement and wincing at the pain for the untruth. She wasn't ever pleased with her photo, yet she had plans to go to kinkos to copy it and use it for her acting work. A few minutes later when she sat down at the public free internet computers we have here, I cringed as I watched her dirty hands smearing the left over brown foundation all over the keys and mouse. I couldn't wait until she left to wipe it down, but these computers are very popular and I never had a chance...several people cleaned it off with their own hands. Ew. Ew.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Problem areas...

Ah...the steam room, one of my my favorite havens. Yet all too often people have to come in there and repulse me. Why is that? I have already figured out that I am obviously in the minority of women who walk in there with a towel around them and leave it wrapped around themselves the entire time they are enjoying the steamy goodness. So I suppose I am the strange one here. I rarely enjoy my time in there without some older lady splaying herself on the bench in front of me, periodically rubbing her body and, if I am really lucky, loofa-ing. I am aware that I have already posted a blog about this a while back, but tonight was a special night. Tonight, after one wrinkly lady got through lounging and rubbing herself, a little indian woman with a bit of a buddha belly strolled in naked and stood in front of me. It was just she and I. She started flapping her arms around...stretching out her sore muscles...when suddenly she puts her hands on her hips and begins moving her pelvis in a circular grinding sort of motion. It was as if she were attempting to hula hoop...ever so gently...and her hand slid from her hip onto her flappy buddha belly...as she continued her strange gyrations. I'm doing alright in my own world...not entirely understanding the purpose of this, or if I should be present for it, when she turns and looks at me as she moves. I try not to make eye contact and she looks away. She stretches a bit more and a few moments later she begins this steam room dance again...and she keeps trying to look at me! Is she trying to have a magical steam room moment with me? I wrap my towel tighter around me and attempt to stay in my own world when she speaks to me. "Someone told me that this will help..." as she swirves her hips in slow circles...rubbing her buddha belly...looking for some sort of response from me. I just nod my head and try not to laugh. This happened a few more times before I finally had my fill of the therapeutic steam. Where do these people come from? Am I really the strange one here? Keeping myself modestly wrapped up in a towel? Should I be gyrating for strangers and drawing attention to my problem areas?