Travel Thursday: Noo Yawk, part 4

Once back inside the studio I went to prep for the next model, leaving Lea with no idea what to do for a while. It wasn’t till she was grooving to the music that she remembered where she was, and why, and as she walked to the big room, as she liked to call it, she found herself happy to know classical music could make her feel like dancing too. . .
“Big Beethoven fan,” I explained as I watched her sway to the music.
Today’s model pretended to understand. “Yeah, I love that dog too. Wish he’d make more movies.”
I somehow managed not to strangle on that one, even kept from laughing until the gal’s first wardrobe change. Lea zoomed right up, hands playing with the buttons of her blouse. “Since I’m not being paid today,” she mused aloud, “and we’re not in private, I will only take half of my clothes off. Would you like that?” she winked.
“Half-naked, or half-clothed?”
She hooted. “Which one is the optimistic one?”
“For me? I would like you to remove the clothes on your left side.”
Oh oh. . .
She was saved from ripping up her available clothing by the arrival of the model, who hadn’t dawdled as usual, not with a better looking model in the house. . .
Lea pretended to go away, for the model’s sake, but I knew where she was, which didn’t allow me to answer all the model’s questions honestly, but on the other hand gave me plenty of opportunity for fun.
“I’m not saying I hate the way Lea looks,” the model was protesting. “All I mean is that she doesn’t have the usual look the rest of us do. I’m surprised she gets any jobs at all.”
“Lea appeals to men,” I replied simply. “Most models are chosen to appeal to women, not in a lesbian kinda way, but to make them think, ‘If I wear that, I’ll look as good as her.’ Females are simple creatures.”
By the time Lea was finished sorting through all that material, the moment was gone, so she turned and flounced out. It wasn’t till the model was taking a bathroom break that she came back, where in as airhead a voice as she could handle, asked, “Do you believe in advanced mutual compatibility on the basis of a primary initial ident?”
Since I knew this one, I gruffly replied, “When the ident has curves like yours, baby, one look’s all that’s needed.”
She tried to look surprised. “I didn’t think you’d get that.”
“Saw the same show. Have it on DVD.”
She looked smug. “So our compatibility is based on more than just primary initial ident! Yes!”
“Glad there was something, since I didn’t see anything mutual on your part.”
“I fell in love with you the moment I saw you!” she squealed.
“You were looking at my laptop!”
“Oh, yeah.” Then she winced at having said that out loud, for now she wouldn’t be able to argue it.
Fortunately the model returned, glanced at us curiously, then struck a pose. . . literally.
Grinning in relief, Lea waved at her and retreated again. . .
But unable to stand the thought we were talking about her, she was back very quickly, where she saw me struggling with a flash umbrella, two steps up on a small ladder and teetering like memories of the playground. She quickly rushed over to help steady the ladder, giving the model a baleful look; the model shrugged and went to get some water, apparently believing that her job of calling for help if necessary was now in someone else’s hands.
Bitch!
The model startled and turned around, but by this time Lea was smiling sweetly at her, so she went back to her water bottle.
Wow, a telepathic curse! I don’t know my own brain strength!
She was frightened out of her own inanities when I jumped down to land beside her, then held her steady when she squeaked. “Sorry. I’m so used to moving silently. . .”
“I noticed that last night,” she smirked when she regained her composure, licking and then chewing on my jaw for emphasis. “By the way, I thought you preferred to use less light.”
“I’d shoot you under a tree, if there are any in this damned town. Why?”
She pointed to the object he’d just been adjusting.
“Got no choice, working in a studio. As a photographer, light is my life. . . don’t start singing.”
She smiled her delight, but didn’t say anything, kept on noshing on my face, making it difficult to talk, let alone concentrate.
“Remember, photography means drawing with light.”
“I get it!” she chirped brightly.
Staying there this time, she couldn’t help but notice I didn’t talk to this model nearly as much as I had with her. She remembered what I’d said about most models being bimbos, and believed the massive compliment I’d given her, if she hadn’t believed it before.
Suddenly she heard the model say, “I don’t have an accent, I’m from Brooklyn!”
Wow, the bitch was making an attempt at a sense of humor. Too much.
“Brooklyn is not an accent. It’s a speech impediment. It’s a mouth infection.”
Lea suddenly screamed and ran out, squealing, “Don’t say mouth infection!” Howz that for a screen test, buddy?
“Now you tell me!” came my dopplering voice behind her.
Okay, that was funny. . .
“I shutter at the size of your aperture,” she purred a few minutes later, running her hand over the long lens, which was fortunately not attached to anything at the moment. She threw me a wink, just in case I didn’t know where she was coming from.
“You really AREN’T a dumb model!”
“Thanks.” She had to work to freeze the smile.
“Although you’re the one with the aperture, babe.
She was probably right in thinking flouncing away again was the only response she could give. I didn’t see her again. . . until she got hungry, at which point I took her along to a business meeting I was scheduled for, knowing there was a good chance she could distract the other guy. . .
Worst of all possible worlds, the restaurant didn’t have a convenient subway stop nearby, which meant it was easier to. . . gasp! Walk!
“I want to be an actress!” she suddenly cried.
“There’s a shock. Thankfully you’re not like that around me.” Hadn’t she already said this? I couldn’t remember, and right now I had to concentrate on remembering the best route to the restaurant.
“The reason I bring this up again is because we are passing just a block away from a place where I’d really like to work.”
I made sure of the street we were on; nope, not close to Broadway. A good sign.
“It’s called Don’t Tell Mama.”
“Hmmm, I like where this is going. So you wanted to be a stripper/comedienne before I brought it up?”
“Not like that, sicko. Some might call it a cabaret, but it’s not like that either. It’s just a whole bunch of incredibly talented, struggling actors.”
“Waiting for someone to figure out how incredibly talented they are?”
“Exactly! The place is standing room only with a line out the door, spilling onto the street. Audience mem­bers sing, and even the bartenders perform. If you get there after 10 P.M., you’ll be listening from the outside, so get there early.”
“I wasn’t planning on going.”
“Not even to see me?”
“You’re not there. . . yet,” I quickly added to save my life.
“I want so much to play there!” she whined.
Perhaps she wanted to show her thespian range, or maybe she was just too thrilled to be getting a free meal at such a ritzy place and didn’t want to mess it up, but either way she was far more calm as we were seated. Squire Harry, as I referred to the Brit I would be parlaying with, was already there, but he pretended to be a gentleman by rushing over to kiss her hand and seat her.
“I work in the Empire State Edifice,” Squire Harry told her after a throat clearing, hoping that would impress her.
“That must cost a lot,” she replied between gulps of her soft drink, having ignored the alcohol offered. More than it’s worth, was the implication in her tone.
Well, at least she knew what an edifice was, he mused. But then, he knew my taste did not run toward bimbos.
I couldn’t resist sweetly asking, “Is your office next to the Nappy-Time place?”
Squire was spared from having to ask what the hell I was talking about–he hated having to admit he didn’t know something–as the waitress came to take our order. When that was done, he boomed a non sequitur, “Ah, I love New York.”
“Living in New York is worse than boot camp. Trust me, I know.”
“You can’t tell me it’s worse than El Ay.”
“I can tell you, and I will. Here’s easy proof. There aren’t even ten thousand cops in El Ay. Chicago has over thirteen grand. But NYC has more than forty triple O. What does that tell you?”
Squire’s usual reply would be an automatic “It tells me nothing!” but he knew better than to try that with me, under any circumstances but especially today. So he went with, “And yet you never see one around when you need him.”
“Next time something happens to you, make sure you’re in a donut shop.”
“I have people who get my donuts,” Harry complained, but found that didn’t impress the girl. Okay, something a little more moneyed, he thought. “I was at a fundraiser the other night, I don’t remember what for, but it sure raised a lot of money, I’m told. Had some big politicos speaking, and the police chief was there too. He went on and on in a verbal monologue–sorry, that’s an oxymoron– about how citizens have to help the police, even the rich ones like us. It was quite pathetic. Yeah fine, here’s a check, now shut up and get out.”
Lea glanced over at me, wondering which way I’d go with that; she thought of at least five avenues of attack.
“Verbal monologue is not an oxymoron; it’s a redundancy. Written monologue would be an oxymoron.”
Okay, six.
“And did you write him a check?” she asked sweetly.
“Of course not!” he snorted. “Who knows what he would have done with it!”
By the time we were done eating and she’d gone to the restroom, I’d gotten everything I could have hoped out of the negotiations, and more. Squire Harry didn’t seem put out, so maybe he would have given more, but I was more than happy with the results.
“Everything copasetic?” Lea asked mock-brightly when she returned.
“You’re a student of history too?” I grinned.
“I stude all over the map,” she giggled.
“Ahem, yes. Excuse me. My turn for the little boys’ room.”
“I like our euphemism better,” she told Squire as he stood up. That got a smile out of him as he made his way through the tables, thinking a woman couldn’t be a bimbo if she knew what a euphemism was. . .
Suddenly she threw her arms around my neck and kissed me, murmuring, “How’d I do? Distract him enough?”
Since I hadn’t told her about that, I couldn’t help but be impressed. “I could give you 15% and still come out on top, so yeah.”
“Yay! Amsterdam here we come!”

;o)

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Travel Thursday: Noo Yawk, part 3

As I had suspected, the next day was a long and boring one, both from the standpoint of the photography and because this model’s idea of conversation was. . . well, best not go there.
And the day had started out so well, when I once again got there just as the subway driver was about to pull out.
“Bad habit,” the driver warned. “Get here earlier before you miss one.”
Like there wouldn’t be another one in a few minutes. “I love to live on the edge.”
“Huh. You’re in the right city for it.”
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
“Now you’re overdoing it.”
“Not me, Shakespeare.”
“Who?”
And that pretty much ended the conversation before I could tell the rebuttal joke to the famous “Men are like streetcars” speech from some Suthin’ play: “Women are like subways: you pay to get on, and the whole ride you live in fear!”
Luckily I’d managed to snag a seat near the center before the car filled up. Heat blazed in the front while the people in the back shivered; jammed nose to elbow, clinging to metal poles, commuters stared glumly at graffiti-covered walls. And no one was brave–or stupid–enough to start a conversation. So I took out my pocket chess and started a new game, though reminding myself not to get so caught up this time; last time I’d tried it here, I’d gone three stops past my intended before I’d realized it.
All the more reason to checkmate the electronic bastard as soon as possible. . . and if that included pressing buttons to give myself a rook advantage, so be it.
And that had been the highlight of the morning, though it did get better later, when for some reason Lea showed up, even though she wasn’t scheduled to be shot again. Not that I minded, since she was both a lot more fun and finer to look at than the current model. . . or all of them.
She even had me going at one point when she fluttered her lashes all lovey-dovey and asked where I was going to take her on our honeymoon, then quickly changed it to lunch, even adding, “Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to pay for it. We can go Dutch.”
“You want to go to Amsterdam?”
Giggle. “Actually, yes, but not this weekend. We can just drive somewhere.”
I was about to tell her New York usta be called New Amsterdam, but found something better to discuss. “People drive around here?”
“Sure. I have a cousin who lives in a little town about twenty miles from the city. She lets me keep my car there.”
“You driving?”
“Sure.”
“I guess I can be persuaded. . .”
“I’m so happy you trust me.”
“You’re barely getting around to that?”
“No, I mean letting me drive. Nice to see you’re not hooked on driving like every other SoCal boy,” she grinned.
“Drivers have gotten worse in the past few years. Ever notice how much tire screeching there is nowadays? People don’t know how to brake, and they press the accelerator too hard when starting. Not big deals on their own, but indicative of low-quality skills. Nowadays you can be a perfect driver and still have less of a chance to survive than ten years ago.”
“And this isn’t a city to drive in anyways.”
“Someone joked about the four-way stops in El Ay. Here they’d be four-way wrecks.”
“Exactly! But it’s not just that. The city doesn’t want drivers here. They’d rather you pay for a taxi.”
“The politicians must get a cut. I haven’t noticed public transportation being a particularly fine experience.”
“Are you kidding?” she laughed. “Notwithstanding dirty buses, unsafe subways, and steadily rising fares, New York City is officially committed to public transportation.” She sounded like she was quoting. “Private autos are allowed, of course, but not encouraged. Doubters may examine the state of the streets or take a spin on an expressway.”
“More sinkholes than Florida.”
“Actually, those are mere potholes. They’ve just been growing for years. And forget about the parking!”
“You did that wrong.”
“Hmmm?”
“It’s actually FUHGEDDABOUTIT!”
“Nice!” She looked quite impressed. Then, pushing the issue, she tried, “I expected you to talk about how great El Ay is.”
“Everyone knows how great El Ay is. We don’t have to toot our own horn.”
“Not when I’ll be tooting it for you!” she crowed, then gulped as I grinned. “Well, not yet, anyway. Or would you prefer me to talk about my hometown?”
“As long as you do it mumbling incoherently, you can recite Moby Dick for all I care.”
“Wow, a literary reference that’s still a sexual joke! You’re hot today!”
My fingers tarantula’ed down. “Only one furnace around here. . .”
She gasped. “Oh, someone’s tossing a whole bunch of coal!”
“How old fashioned. You’re a nuke, baby.”
“Careful when I explode, then,” she just managed to sigh. . .

It was about half an hour later when we managed to continue the conversation.
“I hate New York. It’s one of my least favorite places, and that includes central Africa.”
“Truthfully, I don’t like New York either,” she demurred. “In case I haven’t told you yet, I’m from Chicago. But I think that, if you have the chance, and you weren’t lucky enough to be born in New York, you should spend at least a year of your life in the city.”
“Why?”
“Because living in New York teaches you to be street­wise; you may not always know where to go, but you soon learn where not to go, in New York, and for that matter, everywhere else.”
“That’s hardly a reason,” I scoffed. “Places like that all over. Even in Chicago. Even in San Diego, or Phoenix, or Dallas or anywhere.”
“But people from there aren’t very streetwise.”
“Here’s the dif. In those cities I named, and a lot more, it happens in certain parts of the cities. But it holds for ALL of New York. Which proves my point.”
“Proves mine too,” she smirked. “Here you can’t just stay in the good areas, because there aren’t any. You’re forced to learn.”
Not knowing why we were bothering with such a topic, I gave her my best fake smile and told her, “You’re the best Lea ever!”
“I should be more flattered by that than I actually am,” she mused. “Maybe because the only other one I’ve heard of was in Star Wars.”
“If you ever decide to move to El Ay, you can stay with me for a whole month!”
“Oh boy! Who needs the lottery?”
“That sarcasm means you’re going to have to cook the whole month.”
“But you’ve seen what a good shopper I am!”
“Too expensive. Besides, if you’re out shopping all day, you won’t be able to find a place of your own. I did say only one month.”
“Silly, I wasn’t planning to move. It was just a vacation idea.”
“Ah. Looks like my ego got ahead of me. So now I’ll have to do something to make you reconsider your reason. . .”
“You really want me living with you, then?” Again she did the fluttering eyelashes thing, so I gave up right then and there.

After lunch we heard the subway driver announce “Happy holidays!” over the P.A.
“Does that seem as weird to you?” I asked Lea.
Shrug. “First time for everything, I guess. You haven’t told me if you like my outfit.”
I’d snagged a seat, but for some reason she stayed up and was now swaying around a pole, seemingly unconsciously. “Having seen you nude, I don’t see how any clothes can improve on Nature.”
“You’re just saying that,” she replied placidly.
“I mean it. With your body, you could be a stripper/comedienne.”
She frowned doubtfully, but still managed to look cute. “Sounds like two different crowds.”
“Not around here.”
“Don’t start that again.” She tossed me her purse and did a swing around the pole. Luckily there weren’t many people around to complain, though the male half wouldn’t have argued as their eyes bugged out.
“This reminds me of a train I was on, I think in Vancouver. There was a sign that said, ‘Ladies, the poles are here for your protection. No dancing!’”
“Ha! Love it. I’ve heard great things about Vancouver, but that might be the best.” Lacking any more inspiration, she came back to where I was sitting, but I directed her further on. “Bad throw. Your purse is somewhere over there. Did you know that it’s against the law in this state to throw a ball at someone’s head for fun?”
She frantically searched for her purse, then was relieved enough, on finding it intact, to say, “Even a snowball? Damn!”
“Don’t worry, you can still throw it out of maliciousness.”
“Oh, good!”
I watched from the safety of the escalator as she took the stairs like she was running through tires on a football practice field. It was both a funny sight as well as an erotic one, for one moment she seemed all elbows and the next you saw all her curvy glory. . .
Since she’d been self-powering, she got to the top first, and was puffing and reading a flier when I finally arrived. “Check this out. I thought this was the city that never sleeps.”
I checked. The piece of paper told me of a new venture opening up on some floor of the Empire State Building, specifically for naps.
“Naps? What is this, pre-school?”
Resisting saying I sounded like a Noo Yawkah, she giggled, “Perhaps they’re trying to market the siesta.”
She held my hand to lead me while enabling me to read: High above the bustling streets, honking taxicabs and crowded sidewalks, we offer just what you need: a 20-minute nap. Stressed-out customers arrive in a quiet, darkened room filled with futuristic chairs, or “napping pods,” where they can pay $14 for their snooze.
“’Power’ nap?” I snorted. “That is the most overused word in marketing today. And pods? Fifties sci-fi movie!”
White noise machines block out whispered conversation at the front desk. Sleepers stretch out in the reclining seats, which resemble plush dentists’ chairs, with blankets covering their legs and music piped into headphones.
“No way you can sleep in a dentist’s chair, unless they give you knockout gas.”
After 20 minutes, the sleeping pod wakes up the customer with a combination of vibrations and light. Nappers are encouraged to sleep just 20 minutes because a longer session tends to leave them more groggy than refreshed. “It’s the closest thing to your bed,” one satisfied customer said. “It’s either this, or the top of a table in a coffee shop with your head down.”
“You buy that?” she grinned.
Shrug. “Sell it as a trend and everyone will flock to it. When I feel sleepy today, and I know I will because you kept me up all night, let’s go into my office and have sex. Won’t cost you anything.”
She sighed. “I’ve always dreamed of having a boss like you!”

;o)

Poetry Tuesday: The Exeter Book

My fave part from the ninth century epic.

Clothes make no sound when I tread ground
Or dwell in dwellings or disturb the flow.
And lofty air and gear at times
Above men’s towns will lift me:
Brisk breezes bear me far and then
My frettings loudly rush and ring
Above the people and most clearly sing
When I forth-fare on air
And feel and know
No fold, no flow.

;o)

Travel Theme: Blossom

So spring has definitely sprung, though around here it already feels like the middle of summer. Flowers seem to be on the mind of the fearless leader of the Ailsa Travel Blogging Network. . . or else she has a fascination for that ancient sitcom featuring that offbeat girl who dressed. . . well, she was the inspiration for fugly.com, let’s leave it at that.
So yes, almost–ALMOST–put up a photo of Mayim Bialik. . . and yes, I had to google her name, though I could have left it at Amy Farrah Fowler. . .

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

;o)

The Nature of Expectation

I’ve always said “expect” is a dirty word; this keeps me from assumptions and jumping to conclusions, among other things. But even an expectation can go both ways. For example, when I was in college and I went in for a test, the same result could bring out a different emotion, depending on the expectation: if you went in expecting an A, and you got a C, you’d be disappointed, but if you went in expecting an F and got that same C, you’d be elated.

So, Wednesday I went to the orthopedic surgeon so he could read my knee MRIs and tell me what was up. This was the first time I’d really gotten the chance to have them looked at, and though the original injury happened years ago, not just that one but both have been giving me problems for the last half year or so. As though my subconscious was also on the no-expectation bandwagon, it never occurred to me that it might be arthritis or something similar; it had to be an injury.
When I came out of the office I was more relieved than delighted to find out I wouldn’t need surgery, and a few weeks of therapy should handle the problem. I haven’t been on a cycle for almost 7 years now, but if the therapy works—no expectation—I am definitely mounting up again, though if it’s 102 degrees in May who knows what the summer will bring.
Or maybe I’ll get an exercise bike instead. . . got a lot of Netflix to catch up on. . .

;o)