RULES I HAVE BROKEN THIS WEEK
1. Never give to those people collecting for charity on the street.
Usually, my policy is to ask someone to send me something in the mail so I can read up on it and send in my 22 cents or whatever. I have a knee-jerk reaction against chirpy, clean-cut, Up With People college types who work for fundraising/focus groups stopping me on the NYC streets to ask if I’ve got a minute. Okay, first of all, no. I don’t. That is because I live in NYC and am usually in a rush thanks to the MTA whose slogan should be changed from “THE MTA: Going Your Way!” to “THE MTA: Going Your Way–If Your Way Involves the Most Inconvenient Route Possible with Lots of Track Work and Delays.” Don’t get me started on the F train. I might get a facial tic. But anyway, the fact is they don’t want “a minute of my time.” No, these escapees from a Disney cruise ship want twenty minutes of my time and a credit card. But I must have had a weak moment. Because there in the Au Bon Pain (what was in the veggie soup?) I signed up to take care of a small child who deserves a chance in this life while I’m also teaching his mother to fish because it takes a village to eat not just for a day but forever and isn’t that a good feeling. So now I’m a credit card foster mother, in a sense. By the way, that strange mark on my forehead is actually the word “sucker.” I’ve been rubbing all day but it’s still there.
2. You have to eat a green vegetable at least once a day.
It’s a sound policy that seems to unite red state-blue state moms. And yet, I can tell you that my child has not had a green vegetable all week. Well, he ate something green last night but I think that was probably some mold on the reheated Kraft Mac N Cheese I served. He also had a green apple lollipop. Does that count? Thank god we spent quality time watching “Teen Titans” together, debating the merits of Beast Boy versus Raven. And really, why shouldn’t he grow up just like me, able to recite verbatim whole Calgon commercials. Sigh. Okay, broccoli and books tonight.
3. I will never wear a poncho again.
When I was eight, and macrame was all the rage, my mother, who really should have had a Crafts 12-step program I swear, grew tired of painting my furniture in day glo colors with daisies and weird Holly Hobby creatures on the side who scared me at night. She grew bored with making macrame plant hangers that my brother and I nearly hanged ourselves on if we came tearing into the living room too fast. Her decoupage phase was coming to an end and thankfully because I think I’ve got permanent, lasting brain damage from the fumes coming out of our garage. No, instead she turned her crafty little fingers to fashion. The horror, the horror. Somewhere in a shoebox are pictures of me in rare sartorial splendor: A patriotic, red-white-and-blue dress with matching boots. A to-the-ankle Little House on the Prairie dress complete with apron and–I would not lie to you–bonnet-sized hair ribbon. But the prize among these jewels was the handmade-with-love, or hostility masquerading as love, OLIVE GREEN and TURD BROWN crocheted poncho…with yarn fringe. It’s okay. Give yourself a minute. Breathe. You’re amongst friends. The scary picture will go away in a moment. Oh, who am I kidding–that horrible image is now seared upon your retinas for life!!!! So you can understand my, uh, reluctance to go with the poncho trend. I’d walk through Old Navy and have PTSD flashbacks, writing on the floor by a perfectly modern poncho going, “It burns! It burns!” Wednesday, the curse was lifted. I succumbed in Ann Taylor where I bought a beautiful, fine-gauge black poncho…with silk fringe. I love it. Let the healing begin.
4. I will not babble at strangers.
I have this weird affliction. When I meet new people or people I admire or I’m in a new social situation, I tend to have an unfortunate tendency to babble like a Vegas lounge act in hell. I don’t mean to. It’s just that I get so nervous I feel like I might vomit, cry or fart or all three at once. I’ve been working to curb that, keeping my hands wrapped around my shaking knees while getting out a well-modulated and not at all spastic, “Why, that’s very interesting…” But yesterday, I had a lunch with some Random House people and a buyer from B&N, Joe Monti. Now, I kept hearing how cool Joe is, what a nice guy, etc. So of course, I became A BLITHERING IDIOT. I was like Woody Woodpecker on crack, I swear. Robin Williams would have come over to my table and said, “Hey, you know, you might want to calm down…” At least I didn’t snort when I laughed. Well, more than once. Twice. It didn’t help that I was drinking iced tea like it was the last beverage I’d ever get. Caffeine. Not a great idea in that state. The good news is that Joe was a total sweetie and every bit as great as people said and we bonded over our love of Jonathan Carroll and urban fantasy and he gave me a copy of Holly Black’s newest, VALIANT, which I started reading on the train and all I want to do is hole up and read it straight through. Sooo good. I also got to see my beloved editor, Wendy Loggia, and meet my new publicist, the delightful Kathy Dunn, and meet a new friend, Becky Green. And once I came down from my iced tea-and-nerves buzz, I think I was semi-normal and people stopped moving the cutlery away from me.
5. I can resist eating the entire box of Girl Scout Caramel De-Lites cookies.
No, I can’t.
6. I will never–never, ever, ever own anything recorded by ABBA. We all have our principles.
I don’t know how Dancing Queen ended up on my iPod. I swear. Steve Job pixies came and put it there, I am telling you. Also, Waterloo and S.O.S. It’s a plot for world domination. Safeguard your iPods. Don’t give in. For the love of God, don’t give in! You have been warned.
7. I will never eat pork again.
I sort of ate a BLT the other day. I vowed after seeing Babe that I would lay off the pork products for life. I mean who wants to feel like they are eating some of their favorite literary characters of all time–Babe, Wilbur, Otis, Olivia–with one measly strip? I suppose I could think Orwellian Animal Farm thoughts and not feel guilty but no, I am off the bacon. I must repent. Forgive me, Babe, I know not what I do.
8. I will not use Clorox 2 All Fabric Bleach.
I know. This is my own weird little rule, born of the fact that I hate doing laundry and don’t want to turn it into something I care about. I resent spending time in domestic labor. You can imagine me in my little beret and revolutionary t-shirt, holding laundry by my fingertips and sounding strangely French, “I weeell not enjoy zees BOURGEOIS washing of zee clothes. I spit at domesticity, ptwah!” Meanwhile, my t-shirts look like crap. So I broke down, added a cup of it, and darned if my whole wash didn’t come out looking like new! Now I suppose I will have to invent a French revolutionary character who uses the Clorox 2 because it is a valuable tool in the fight against the establishment. Yeah, I’ll work on that.
9. I do not have time to waste watching cheesy TV movies of the week.
These were, of course, a staple of my youth along with TV dinners and pirated copies of Teenbeat magazine that I only bought to make fun of–do you hear?? Sigh. But now, I am sooooo past all that, doncha know. I could have looked the other way when I saw the ads on NBC touting “Revelations–the end days are here.” Sure, I laughed to myself and thought, yeah, the end days of some genius programming execs less-than-stellar career. So who do you think could have made me reach for the remote to program the show on my DVR? Who do you think could have made me antsy to get my kid to bed early, to lie and tell him it was nearly 9:00 when it was really only 8:15? Who do you think could have guided my hand to play back that unbelievably ridiculous show and watch every single eye rollingly bad second of it? Could it have been….SATAN???? If this show isn’t a sign of the coming Apocalypse, I don’t know what is. Oy vey, Maria.
10. I will not read any more about Britney Spears.
Wow, a craving for fried chicken and hamburgers, huh? I just knew she was pregnant and not telling, that little minx!
I’m off to make new rules to replace the old ones. How about, I Absolutely Will Not Watch the Second Half of Revelations? What? What’s that Satan? No, don’t set the DVR! Please, Evil One, don’t do it….