I’m not sure what it is, but hot weather seems to draw New York City grandmothers outside. It’s strange, really—it’s kind of like moths to a flame. It’s amazing how many of them you’ll see outside in their housecoat-like dresses, pushing (usually) empty carts along, looking like they’re going to collapse at any moment. It may have something to do with the fact that many of them feel that air conditioning is a “luxury” or “too expensive,” even though they’re risking death, frankly, by being outside.
Learning to drive is a rite of passage that almost every teenager anticipates eagerly—most can’t wait to steal the car keys out of mom’s purse so that he or she can pick up a smattering of friends and take them out to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and awkwardly gawk at their crushes. I say “most” teenagers look forward to this because, as usual, I was the exception to the rule. I think it’s because I’m just generally ornery.
Not too long ago, I read an article in the New York Times that basically debunked the myth of travel writers leading exotic and glamorous lives, which for a long time I’d pretty stupidly assumed was full of private jets and mega-yachts by day and sparkly champagne cocktail parties by night. Apparently, the truth is that travel writers get paid next to nothing and are often inserted into dangerous, dirty or downright boring situations and locations. (Someone had to write the Fodor’s guide on Wyoming, after all.) The most horrifying part, apparently, according to the Times, was that sometimes a writer’s laptop computer will break, and they’re subsequently forced to write their notes in a notebook. “How quaint,” you’re probably thinking. I know it surprised me to learn that in this day and age, people still know how to operate pencils and paper.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays just because wearing costumes is officially sanctioned. You can dress up like just about anything, no matter how obscene or grotesque, and everyone just shrugs. For example, one time in the Greenwich Village Halloween parade (which is not so much a “parade” as it is a mass of random people wearing costumes walking down the street, as anyone can join), I saw a guy who was wearing a trench coat and a nude body stocking thing, upon which he had attached a generously-sized dildo that he had rigged with fishing line or something to… er… “raise” whenever he opened the coat. At least that’s what I choose to believe I saw.
It’s a well-known fact of life in these United States that many children, especially boys, are routinely forced by their parents to spend a week or more at some sort of summer sleep-away camp. In fact, my parents sent me to one such Bible camp one summer. I still shudder in recollection of the memory of that place.
I am the son of a minister, so the majority of my childhood is associated with events that took place in and around our church. As a high school student, since I was a huge nerd and had virtually no friends at school (I ate lunch every day in the stairwell of the music building, mainly because I was too frightened to attempt to try to interact with anyone), a big part of my high school experience included more-or-less compulsory participation in our church drama troupe, which was launched when the music minister realized that the vast majority of modern-day teenagers do not, in fact, want to sing gospel music together while wearing matching vests.