Sunday, January 22, 2012

Home From A Party

I've just come home from a lovely housewarming party given by two young friends of mine and am delightfully full of food and good conversation and (duh) beer.  You will understand how much I love this pair by the fact that they live in the far reaches of Brooklyn...requiring a bus, a subway, and another bus. 

However, the conversation, at one point, turned to Orthodox Jewry.  (The male side of this pair is Jewish.)  And we began talking about a very upsetting trend.

I am disturbed as HELL, as half a Jew, about what seems to be happening, not only in Israel, where an 8 year girl was recently spat upon and hounded for her perceived "immodest dress," (an 8 YEAR OLD) but here in New York,  where women in highly Orthodox neighborhoods are told that they must sit in the back of the bus...which brings us almost inevitably to Rosa Parks, and also told that they must walk on the other side of the street from men, and on and on and on.  There was a very good op-ed piece in today's paper about this.

What I find fascinating about it is that I'm a half-breed Catholic/Jew, raised in both religions, and this sounds exactly like what I was taught in Catholic school.  When I hit puberty, I began to grow a bosom (it happens) and mine was pretty impressive.  Still is, although it needs a LOT more shoring up than it used to.  I was told to wear ever larger uniform blouses, and try to find a flattening bra, because my breasts were giving boys "bad thoughts."  If I wore patent leather shoes...well, we all know that one.  We were also taught to wear a horrible thing...a Playtex rubber girdle.  The idea was that since we could barely get the thing on, no boy could get it off.  This was undeniably try dealing with sweaty rubber in August in Chicago.  It took you 20 minutes to get the damn thing off.  And my all time favorite was the nun who told us that if we had to sit on a boy's lap, we should put a telephone book down first.  Personally, I ALWAYS carry a telephone book in my purse...don't you?

However, in either religion, do you see the point here?  It's ALL OUR FAULT.  By our mere existence as women, we bring this upon ourselves.  Men are completely innocent.  In today's article (I'm sorry, I've forgotten which paper) there was a story about a wig store in an Orthodox neighbor which was forced to close, because the ultra-Orthodox announced that the faceless wigheads modeling wigs in the window were an incitement to...BAD THOUGHTS. 

Dear sweet GOD.  We are being dragged right back into the old bad days.  When I was abused by my first husband, I had to run barefoot in the snow (yeah, I know it sounds like an 18th century novel, but it's true and it happened to me), I got the cops to come with me to get my things out of the apartment, and the cops said (this was 1968), when I told them about my broken nose and permanent scars..."What did you do to him, lady?"  Well, of course.  By my very existence, I was the cause of being violently raped and beaten.

And all the conversation about how men are led by their penises and should therefore be given some sort of pass?  What is that?  Surely it can't be right that we walk innocently down the street, NOT dressed like streetwalkers, NOT hunting for a man, NOT doing a goddamn thing except trying to get home from work or a party...and goddamnit, if we are attacked, we are STILL greeted with "What did you do to him, lady?"

How on EARTH is this still going on?

Love, Wendy

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Rise In Spirits

I have just made myself feel enormously better by setting up my computer wi-fi ALL BY MYSELF.  You have to understand that while I can work computers, I have absolutely no talent for what other people consider extremely mundane tasks...such as sending a link.  I spent quite a bit of time thinking how nice it would be if I could send a friend of mine the nice picture of my cats that I took with my months...before I accidentally pressed a button and got a list of things to do that included "email photo."  So you can understand that I now feel totally invincible, and not only that, I can get rid of the damn card table that the computer is sitting on (because that's where its cord reaches) and put the computer on the dining table, where it belongs.  Then I can get the damn card table out of the middle of the living room and go on with organizing this joint.

Yay, me!

Love, Wendy

Ghosts of Apartments Past

Oh, I can't stand it.  That damn Chelsea apartment is STILL following me around causing trouble.

Tuesday of Christmas week I went over and did all the cleanup from the move...getting rid of trash, sweeping floors, cleaning the icebox, washing the floors.  Now it seems that I didn't do enough for them. 

Now, as we all know, I'm a total neophyte when it comes to apartments in this particular century.  I've only had four since I moved back to NY in 1972, and two of those were in the same building.  Now, when I left the second one in that building in the '70s, I just told them I was leaving and left.  Nobody said a word to me.  When I left the third apartment, they were trying to get us out because they were going to renovate and turn the thing into a coop building, so nobody cared about the apartment (which was a good thing, since it was really old and shabby).  In both cases, I hasten to add, I left the apartment just as I left the Chelsea apartment...clean, swept, etc.  Then we bought the house, and when we sold that, they were going to gut renovate the thing, and anyway they had us bring the cleaning and fumigation people in.

So I have absolutely no experience of leaving an apaartment which seems to be under new rules.  The lease I had tells me that normal wear and tear is fine.  Dan (son of the owner), tells me that the stove is covered in grease and they probably have to buy a new stove (they should buy a new stove because that one is crap, but it hasn't got anything to do with grease and anyway I cleaned it) and that I should have taken all the picture hangers out of the walls and spackled and painted.  Done WHAT?  Since when is the outgoing tenant intended to repaint the apartment?  This would make sense to me if I had painted a wall black or something like that, but surely hanging pictures is "normal wear and tear," isn't it?  And according to Dan, there were marks on walls.  Well, yes...if you put furniture against walls, it may well leave a mark.  Again, surely this is normal wear and tear?

So now they're going after my security deposit, and I'm just furious...not to mention frightened for no reason whatsoever.  It's just that Dan and his mother Maria frighten me anyway, because of the whole eviction thing and all (I was never comfortable in that apartment because I always thought they were going to burst in the door wanting to inspect it).  I mean, there's no reason for me to be frightened of them...other than taking my money, they can't do a damn thing to me...but they're such a creepy pair.

I'm going to spit tacks for a while.


Love, Wendy