Friday, August 16, 2002

I recently took a fashion magazine quiz entitled, "Are you too obsessed with losing weight?" One question asked was, "Do you think all your problems would be solved if you could just lose ten pounds?"

I answered yes.

Last month, I lost ten pounds, and my life has never been better. I got a good job at a large company in the field I want to work in, I have been enjoying a healthy dating and sex life, and all my clothes that used to be tight and uncomfortable now fit perfect and look great on me.

In addition, I won the lottery, I was given a car by a relative who passed away, and I found out my father is gay, which explains a lot.

So it turns out, I did lose 10 pounds, and as a result, all my problems are gone. Now I just have to figure out how to get off the speed.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Last night I performed stand up at a place called "COZ" in the lower east side. Tightly snuggled in between the oh-so popular "Industry" and the chic, fashionable eatery, "Cafe", Coz's well-deserved traffic gets scoffed away by it's two neighboring hot spots. Upstairs is a big snaking bar that no one ever seems to be sitting at, and then downstairs, a rec room set up with mismatched chairs, tables in wood and metal, and trippy art work. The light is dim and unforgiving, the audience is generally sparse and a little drunk, the walls are laced with strips of color and fabric in confusing synchronicity. In other words, this is the PERFECT place for a comedy show to go down.

If you've never been to a comedy show in New York City, realize, there are two kinds. The shows that take place at the big clubs - Caroline's, The Comedy Cellar, Stand Up New York - these clubs showcase up and coming tv comedians. These young charmers are bright, witty, attractive comedians with some half-assed credits and possibly, sit-com potential. Eyes full of hope. All that shit. Maybe Jerry Seinfeld will pop in? Or maybe Tony Rock, Chris Rock's brother! Or maybe the show will consist of 'regular' comedians who have somehow managed to get 'into' the club by doing favors for the management, handing out flyers on the street, or just hanging around long enough for the booker to hear them say something clever more than once and realize, they aren't going to go away any time soon. These people are in it to win it.

Then there are the other kind of show, type B, let's call them. These shows take place in basements, in rec rooms, in bars, in the buffet rooms in the back of restaurants, in the large unused utility closet at the neighborhood event center, and just about anywhere else you can set up a mic stand. The spots are run by comedians who don't have the energy, wherewithall, juice to be persistent with the club bookers. Or maybe they do work at a club, a few clubs, even, and also just want to run a 'room of their own.'

This is Coz.

The line up tonight consists of 9 or 10 comedians, of which I am one. Also on the list are Nick Kroll, member of Improv Group "Littleman," Roger Hailes, who helps to coordinate and hosts the Monday Night "Bringer Show" at the Boston Comedy Club in the West Village and also writes for the MTV show, "I Bet You Will," Liz Laufer who has studied Meisner with Joanna Beckson, performs in every show she can get herself involved with, and waitresses part-time at Ruby Foo's, Allegra Barnett, who used to go to clown school with MTV's Jackass and traveled with the circus. There are at least 8 others who I can't remember, I don't care to mention, or I refuse to acknowledge as comedians. The host is Alan Corey, a good friend of mine who has been doing comedy for somewhere in between one and two years. He is a tall, skinny man with a pronounced adam's apple. "I saved a girl from being raped last night," he told the bored audience, 75% comedians. "I convinced her to say yes." That joke always makes me laugh.

I decide to try something new tonight. I want to talk about how I got attacked by a crazy person last Friday. (See "Attacked In My Car," two blog entries down.) Alan calls me to the stage and I begin - "This has been a hard week for me." No one seems sympathetic. "I got fired from my nanny job on Thursday." True story. "I deserved it. I was sticking cotton balls in the kid's mouths when they cried." Pause. Chuckle. Someone's chair squeaked. "And they weren't even sanitary." Ho, hum. Next? "So, I got attacked in my car last week." True story, again. "This guy smashed my window out and hit me in the face." Should we believe her? After all she 'is' a 'comedian.' "I was shocked, because I've never been hit in the face before by a man I wasn't dating." Oh, Jesus. Should we laugh? Is she serious? The poor girl. I continue on, fearlessly. "I called 911, and I might as well have been calling Pizza Hut." Responding.....wait, I heard laughter! "They put me on hold. I'm dancing to the Bee Gees while the guy is getting away." Nothing. I didn't have much faith in that one, anyway. I switch gears to some old stand-bys, or "Delfino Favorites" as I like to call them. "I'm from Maine. Has anyone ever been to Maine?" EVERYONE has been to Maine. OK, not a typical response. I'm gonna go with the flow. "There's nothing to do in Maine. After school, we used to play spin the bottle, every day at my friend's house. And I hated playing because I'd never get to kiss the kid I wanted to kiss. I'd always end up having to kiss my best friend's dad." I am making these people sick. And I am enjoying it just a little too much.

I tell my remaining jokes all the while secretly praying for Alan to give me the signal to finish up. After what seems like 27 years, he comes through for me. I don't feel bad when I got off stage, I had some quippy 'sides,' an unplanned call back or two, and I tried out new material about something important to me. Over all, it was pretty successful. The audience is mattering less and less to me as I get more involved in this crazy business.

The next few comedians go up and have a similar go of things. A laugh here, silence there. I'm in the back laughing heartily at my friends' momentary failures and successes. But I'm not laughing with evil intentions. One rule I've picked up along the way, is, if you can make a comedian laugh, you're doing all right.

Someone told me once, "Don't hate the audience. They are here to laugh. Make them laugh. That's your job." Someone else told me, "The audience is a bunch of filthy animals. Treat them like they're animals." I like to think I'm doing a little bit of both. Who knows if I'm doing it the right way? That's the beautiful thing about this business. You don't think about it too much. It's like Wiley Coyote walking across a cloud. Everything is fine until you look down. So I learned not to look down.

Walking out, two of my friends, both comedians, were having a conversation. One said to the other, "I think I'm funnier, but you're doing art."

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Some friends took me to the Hamptons this past weekend to recover from and get my mind off having been the victim of a violent attack by a stranger in mid-town Manhattan in broad daylight. (Read prior post for the story.)

If you have never been, it is definitely worth the two and a half or three, four or even sometimes five hour drive out there. It's best to drive yourself, who wants to be stuck on a big dumb bus with a stupid name like "the Jitney" for that long? I think "Jitney" is the English people's word for crap. As in, "Blimey! Am I the only one who has to take a jitney?" Just drive your overpriced, overly extravagant, unreasonably shiny import car East on the LIE to exit 70, then look for and follow the caravan of SUV's, Mercedes, and vintage sports cars. Make sure you are driving a nice car, rent one if you have to, or else four or five drivers who actually ARE in nice cars will gang up on you and veer you off a cliff. There are no Pintos allowed in the Hamptons. En route, I saw a Lamborghini with a bumper sticker that said, "My other car is a Maserati."

There are plenty of fancy places to spend money in the Hamptons. If you have money, can get money, are made of money, know people who have and like to share their money, your parents own a money factory, or you find a sizeable sum of money in your pocket by chance, you're bound to have a great time. Fancy pants restaurants and boutiques, spas, rich people places, fru fru salons, ritzy flashy fancy doodles (that's something rich people are into), even expensive-looking dogs line the streets and are hidden in unsuspecting corners and along dark, curvy roads. I heard that the local golf course in Amagansett has an 8 year waiting list and a $40,000 a year membership fee that you even have to pay while you wait. Who said you can't find ways to spend money in the Hamptons? No one.

While all my friends got settled in and lounged in the summer share affectionately referred to as the 'gray cube' because that's what it is, I went jogging to sweat out my worries. It's really nice to go jogging around there because there is very little traffic, big challenging hills and scenic, curvy roads that lead to more hills and other curvy roads. Plus, there are lots of pretty houses to look at that you will never get to see the insides of and many fancy cars to see that you will never get to ride in. I think this way because I am what you might call an 'optimist.' It's just the way I am, don't try to change me.

Later that evening, my friends and I ate dinner at an authentic lobster shanty in Montauk on Saturday night. We waited for about an hour for a table, but it was fun, because we brought a bunch of booze, we sat on the rocks, got very drunk and waited for our name to be called. The food was good and simple. I had a 'surf and turf' - that's lobster and steak if you happen to be one of those people who doesn't eat meat or seafood. The place was employed by a bunch of Russian chicks who like to drink while they're working, then talk about you in Russian and laugh at you while you're just trying to order a friggin' dessert, even if you aren't fat or ugly.

Late Saturday night we went to the beach, made a bonfire and watched the Persied Meteor Showers. I only saw two shooting stars, but I kept falling asleep because I'd been drinking wine AND beer, and was full of hot butter and meat. My friends claimed to have seen anywhere between three and five, but all my friends are well-documented drug and alcohol abusers, so either they were seeing shooting stars or the stars were leaving trails before their eyes.

Sunday, we went to Napeague beach and sprawled out under the sun on towels, on sarongs and in chairs, merely feet away from where we'd been burning wood just hours before. The beach is free to park at, but only if you have a beach permit on your car. If you don't have a permit, that's okay, just park anyway and a nice officer will be glad to place an expensive ticket on your car where a beach permit should have been. The day was beautiful, albeit the ocean was in a foul mood. Every time I stepped in past mid-thigh, a huge wave would come and confront me with a whole bunch of attitude, then whisper something softly that sounded like a cross between "sweesh swoosh" and "get out." So I didn't swim too much, instead I worked on my tan, played travel chess and lost twice to my friend Ed, and started reading a book by Judy Blume called "Summer Sisters" because no one ever took the time to tell me I'm too old to still be reading Judy Blume.

After the beach, we went back to the gray cube and showered, packed up and headed for home. On the way, we stopped at the lovely Amagansett Farmer's Market where I bought a delicious Caprese Sandwich and a bag of grapes. They have the best produce there and really delicious, fresh food. I promise. They aren't paying me to write this. We ate on the benches at the market, then got on the road. We had a pretty uneventful trip home, with just a little bit of congestion. My friends mostly slept and lounged while I sang every word to every CD in my CD player - The Grateful Dead's American Beauty, Wyclef Jean's The Carnival, John Lennon's Imagine, The Beatles White Album, Disc 1, Crosby Stills Nash and Young's So Far, and I forget the last one.

So that was my trip to the Hamptons.

As soon as we pulled out of the Mid-town tunnel, I turned left for 2nd Ave and waited for the light to turn green. The second it turned green the car behind me began furiously jamming on the horn. I didn't get mad. I just accepted it. That's what they do here. "That's how we know we're home."
I was a victim of a violent physical attack on Friday the 9th of August.

I was driving my employer's Mitsubishi Montero down 46th St. toward 8th Avenue, talking to a friend on my cell phone. All of a sudden, a white, fat, balding man with glasses bound across the street, jay walking while traffic had a green light. I came closer to him than he felt was appropriate, so he screamed at me, in New York fashion, "Fuckin' Asshole!" I looked at him expressionless, and kept on driving. Unfortunately for me, the light turned red before I got through it. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw big fat balding man stomping over towards my car. He didn't look like he was coming over to say hi. "This is going to get ugly," I said to myself. He stood next to my window and screamed, "You fucking bitch!" I held my cell phone up and said, "I'm calling 911." He hit the window hard with his hand and screamed again. "Fuck you, you fucking bitch!" He hit the window with his hand a second time, even harder. When he did, the glass shattered every where. His hand came through the glass and hit the side of my face, hard. Before I knew it, I had a mouth full of hand and glass. Blood started dripping down onto my hands. I think I was in shock, I couldn't really feel any pain. I started screaming, "I'm being attacked!" Then I hung up on my friend, who had been on the other end of what was probably the most horrifying phone call of his life. At that point, I did dial 911, and big fat baldy started running, well actually, he was more blobbering about, kind of shuffling as quickly as he could. I yelled, "You better run," then I thought better of it, and said, "But first, you better give me some money for this broken window you fat fuck!" 911 answered the call and I followed the fat man down 46th street, yelling my location to the 911 attendant, trying to answer questions and spit out mouthfulls of blood at the same time. Fatty came clambering back towards me and so I turned around, assuming he was ready to begin round two. But instead, he turned and flobbered down an alley towards 47th street. I chased him down the alley, then slowed up and let some distance come between us before I started following him again. He went into JR's restaurant where he made a phone call on the pay phone. I stayed by the door and tried to talk to the 911 operator, who kept asking me over and over where I was when I'd told her 23 times. Blobby came stammering over towards the door so I got out of his way. He flibber flobbered across the street and I followed him. Luckily, a Times Square Safety Patrolman was standing there and I called out to him. I hung up on the 911 operator who was totally useless and told the TS Officer, "This man attacked me!" And the big fat asshole screamed, "You fuckin' bitch! You tried to run me over! She tried to run me over in her car!" The officer said, "Well, you don't have a scratch on you and her face is covered in blood. Things aren't looking so good for you."

I went with one TS Officer and got my car, which I had left parked in the middle of 46th street with my purse, money and belongings in it, the window smashed out and keys in the ignition. Luckily, it was still there and everything was intact. I looked at my face in my rear view mirror and was horrified. My chin, teeth and lips were covered in blood. There were small scratches on my cheek and a bruise on my eye brow. I looked like I'd been punched in the face by a man. And I had.

When I came back over to my car, a construction worker came over to the car and said, "You should have told us what happened! We would have beaten the shit out of that guy!" I wished I had. One thing I regret looking back was that I didn't ask anyone for help. I assumed everyone would have been too busy or scared to want to get involved, but it turns out there are really two kinds of New Yorkers: the ones who actually have pretty big hearts and the ones who smash your windows out.

The TS Officers and I waited for the actual police to arrive, who took upwards of an hour and even actually drove by a TS Officer who was frantically trying to wave them down. Very disappointing. When they did arrive, we talked about my options, and I decided not to press charges, but I wanted the fat man to pay me $300 cash on the spot for my window, and apologize. We waited for about 20 minutes for the blob to get the money, then he came over and handed it to me without even looking at me, and refused to apologize. He also demanded a receipt, which he grabbed out of my hand like it was about to be his lunch, and flibbidy doo-ed down the road, looking for someone else's window to smash.

I would like to thank the Times Square Safety Patrol men and women on the scene that day for their attention to me and my situation, especially Times Square Safety Patrolman Cooper and the lady who sat with me in my car. If the Times Square Safety Patrol hadn't been there, who knows what kind of ending this story would have? Also, I would like to thank my friend, Roger, who came down to the scene and met me, called the mean man lots of funny names and made me laugh, then drove the car and me away from the scene.

So you, the reader, may be thinking, 'fat man got off pretty much scott free, and he didn't even have to apologize'. But the fat man didn't get off scott free. Him not apologizing means that the negativity he created is still out there, fluttering around, homeless, looking for someone's face to perch itself apon. Unfortunately, negativity has a boomerang effect. Hopefully he can learn that and make good before it comes back around to collect. And it will. It always does.

As for me, I went to the beach for the weekend. I took the car which I was victimized in. I'm not going to let this ruin my city experience or make me feel vulnerable. I've decided to take the lessons I can get from this and let the rest go. This is the knowledge I feel I have gained from this and how I plan to use it:

1. I WILL BE MORE AWARE. From now on, I am going to be a more conscientious driver. I certainly will not under estimate any drivers, jay walkers or pedestrians.
2. I AM MORE INFORMED. Anyone can be crazy, especially, and even, if they are fat, white and balding.
3. I WILL PROTECT MYSELF BETTER. I plan to carry weapons in my car now. Mace in the glove compartment and some kind of stick under the seat, also things that are easily accessible from any seat. My car is going to be like a really crappy version of a spy's car. I recommend every woman do this who drives in the city.
4. I WILL ASK FOR HELP. I shouldn't have chased the fat man. I think that could have been very dangerous. In the future should something like this happen again, I will probably be more likely to ask some big strong men for help. They seem to 'like' to help, and be ready and willing to help, a woman in need.
5. I WILL BE THANKFUL FOR EVERY SUN THAT I SEE SET. I have read about and seen stories on the news like mine that ended in total tragedy. My story ends with a fat lip, a bruised eye brow, a broken window, and an intense feeling of appreciation to, and acknowledgement of, god, the universe and the powers that be.
I will be thankful for every sun that I see set.

So that's it. It's a beautiful night. I think I'm going to go for a drive.

Friday, August 9, 2002

If you're into star gazing, this is an especially good time to do it. On Monday evening, sometime between 6 and 9 pm, the Earth is expected to pass through the thickest part of the Perseid stream, an intense meteor shower. The Perseid stream is basically just debris from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet. As Monday night is estimated to be peak meteor viewing time with an opportunity to see up to ten meteors per hour, this weekend the night sky should be ripe with shooting stars. So if you happen to be in the country, at the beach or camping, don't forget to look 'up'.

It may sound kind of corny to look at the stars, but it actually makes for a very opportunistic time for boys to impress girls. Take a blanket and a six pack to the park, your back yard, your roof top, kissy point or where ever you like to take girls, and pitch her this set up.

Dude, are you into stars? I totally love watching stars. I used to look up and think to myself, someday, I'll be a rock star. Do you want a beer? Here, I'll open it for you with my teeth. (Use your teeth to open a beer, chicks totally dig that.) So I heard there's supposed to be a bitchin' meteor shower tonight. If we watch, we'll be able to see a bunch of shooting stars and stuff. Here, you can use my pants for a pillow. (Take off your pants, ball them up into a pillow.) Dude, take your pants off, too. You'll be more comfortable like that. (Girls love it when you call them dude.) Oh my god! A shooting star! Did you see it? Did you make a wish? I did. I wished that, like, we would be together forever. And that you would touch my penis. (Say the last part in your head.) Then, lean in for the kiss. A-thank you.