Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Things I Learned Yesterday

I think we should discuss drug tests. Seeing as I took one yesterday and believe the entire experience could make for a good story. I mean, imagine the poor nurse. The nurse has to sit there and deal with the nervous people who are embarrassedly sneaking glances at her while maniacally downing glass after glass of water. She has to politely ask them whether they feel they can "go" now. I mean, this is all a very delicate situation. Who wants to tell the nurse that they don't yet feel able to urinate into a cup for her? I bet it's even more disconcerting for males. Because then there's the whole idea of performance upon command, to boot. I mean, are you masculine if you can't provide the nurse with the required ccs when she requests them? God, the strike to the ego! The pain! The horror! That you, a male, must uncomfortably squirm in this chair while drinking down water and waiting your required 15 minutes as it makes its way through your body. Oh, this could all potentially be quite entertaining.

Also, I am the bustop picnicker. By which I mean, if I am required to stand next to a pole for a period of 20 minutes, I'm not going to do it. No, instead I sit and decorate the grass or the pavement around me. I place my dollar seventy-five upon a sheet of paper, the coins winking in the sunlight. I take out my book, The Bourne Identity, and read, raising my eyes every few minutes to see if my bus is coming. I eat Cheez-Its. I roll up my sleeves. I play with the green grass and bask in the sun. And then my bus rolls along and I spring up, throw my backpack over my shoulder, take my fare and pleasantly get on the bus.

Then get off the bus and find another bus and frustrate my father but questioning which side of the street I am supposed to stand on. He says I have to take the bus Eastward. I have no idea where that is. I don't work with directions; I need landmarks. At this point I ask "If the bus is going to Evanston, am I okay?" and I can hear the relief in his voice and imagine him nodding fiercely on the other side of the phone, yes, yes. At this point I hibernate again, pull out the book, place my backpack behind myself and the pole (it serves as a cushion) and continue.

Finally, footwear. This is my quest for white sandals and black sandals. I am very particular when it comes to shoes. First, I like sandals. And I especially like strappy sandals, by which I mean that the straps curve up and around the front of the foot. There has to be a slim heel. I have to be able to walk in the shoe, so it can't be too high. In fact, as a rule, I never buy shoes I can't run in. (This means I can run in reasonably high heels, a remarkable feat.) Why don't I buy shoes I can't run in? If I want to be morbid, I can say it is because I can get away no matter what the circumstance. If I do not want to be morbid, I can simply say it is because I am so much in demand by my dear, darling parents and I must rush to do their bidding.

Anyway, the shoes. I have looked at every single pair of shoes in existence. I visited Nordstroms, Lord and Taylor, Macy's, DSW Shoe Outlet, Steve Madden, Aldo and Nine West. And probably more. I think I tried on over 100 pairs of sandals yesterday. And yes, some of them were very pretty, but none of them were me. Plus I dislike this new style of having the strap go around one part of the foot but leaving the other part of the foot open, strapless. I think it looks very ugly. It's also impractical.

I found one pair of shoes I liked at Macy's, but when I asked the price I found out they were $195. Right, I think.

DSW also had some nice sandals. The Steve Madden patent leather black ones were almost what I was looking for. Almost. But they didn't strap around the foot; they had a very contrived front where the straps had been woven together. In fact, rather a lot of shoes suffered from that. Aldo had a pair of sandals that almost exactly matched what I had in mind but the heel was silver and far too long. There was another pair of Nine West sandals that I liked except for the huge, clunky heels. I am not a hooker. I will not buy hooker shoes.

Why is this so difficult? I know I am very particular. I am one of those people who will go shopping ostensibly all day and who will not come home with anything. As I did yesterday, except that I bought the soundtrack of A Beautiful Mind so at least I have that now. Also, I went to my favorite place in the world, and that is the Barnes and Noble at Old Orchard.

I have been to many bookstores in New York. My bookstore of choice is the Borders on 2nd and 32nd. But none of them can compare to the truly beautiful Barnes and Noble at Old Orchard. I don't know why it is, I simply know that that is the happiest place in the world for me to be. I have gone to the mall before simply to sit in one of their oversized squashy armchairs and read all day. Of course, I have paid for this privilege. This usually takes the form of my utilizing their Barnes and Noble cafe. And of course I buy books from them, whenever the need arises. But yes. The highlight of my day at the mall (don't tell anyone) is finally walking into that Barnes and Noble, finding an armchair, smiling at the other people who are reading, and falling into my book.

I shop because it is necessary, an obligation. Sure, I like shoes and clothes and jewelery- especially jewelery. But I really don't want to go to Old Orchard to buy shoes or to find clothes, even though I do it, even though I spend all day running around to every single store in existence in an attempt to find a pair of the perfect black sandals.

No. I go to Old Orchard because I want to hang out at Barnes and Noble, which is my happy place.

I bet you have a happy place, too. It's probably your secret. Maybe it's the beach or a particular friend's house or a niche beneath a bridge. I don't know. But this one's mine. And if you ever want to find me in Chicago, odds are that when I'm not working or sleeping or reading or writing or watching movies or hanging out with friends, I'm at Old Orchard at Barnes and Noble, curled up in an armchair, sneaking looks over the top of my book at the friendly old man who is checking out his gardening magazine or the woman who is enjoying her romance novel. And I feel close to them without knowing them, and to be surrounded by people who have so many possibilities to them, who could be anyone, and who are all reading, to be sitting in this nice armchair that is really big enough to be a bed (a small one, but I could definitely sleep there), to hear the music or tune it out as you choose, to sample a drink or Godiva chocolate from the cafe; yes, this is my mini-heaven. It is small, it is pleasant, it is simple- it is mine.

Happy places are good.

Then my dad picked me up and we went fruit-shopping and meat-shopping and it was all good.

That all having been said, have a wonderful Shavuot!


Anonymous said...

try zappos.com for sandals. i love their website for shoes! and i'm picky as well!

Erachet said...

"Why don't I buy shoes I can't run in? If I want to be morbid, I can say it is because I can get away no matter what the circumstance."

You know what's weird? I think that way often. I don't like to be dressed uncomfortably, even beyond just shoes, because what if I somehow ended up stranded on a deserted island? What if I need to run away from someone? What if someone comes flying through my window and takes me away on a flying ship?

Isn't it odd to think like that? I've never told this to anyone before. *Shudders*

Anonymous said...

I see we both like to hang out at the same name bookstore, only that it is in different states. I never go to midtown and if I do go to a stone it is the one near Lincoln Square across from Tower records. I boycott Borders completely because I am paranoid about big brother cameras everywhere on every endcap and every shelf recording everything I browse. BN generally has none or very few. I am nowhere near Chicago and I have only been there once. Beautiful architecture but not my kind of place. I am small town/country person, that is where I am the happiest. If you want to find me, I did suggest once where to go for Shabbat but even there I rarely go, maybe once a month. If you are persistent and God grants, you may find me.

Hag Sameach!

P.S. I am against drug test and they are an invasion of privacy and personal freedom. I have always refused to submit to them (because I don't use them and I resent a culture that breeds faithlessness and lack of trust in people) but I recognize that in today's world they are necessary. I will not work in a place that requires them.

haKiruv said...

"I am not a hooker. I will not buy hooker shoes."

That's a funny post. Erachet's comment made me laugh, too. I feel the same way about shoes. I bought a pair of Columbia sandals that fit perfectly. Let us readers know whether you passed your drug test or not. Chag Sameach.

Anonymous said...

I feel like some pathetic Jimmy Swaggert but I do have to confess my sins. Something really bad happened to me by a member(s) of my community which profoundly touched my soul. It was an unexpected experience for me. I did a lot of soul searching and key word web searching about it. That is why I found your blog. I thought you had some connection to people in my community. I never expose myself to anyone but the only reason I did was because I wanted to influence you through your blog and for you to positively indirectly influence the people that gave me such grief. I really wanted to shine light on the darkness that is in my (Jewish) community which I have approached with deep love only to regret my outreach and to resent my roots because of them. But I also wanted answers to my long ago unanswered questions which I asked some people and none have had the guts, the will, or the knowledge to answer them. It has for a while now caused quite a storm in my soul when all this would have passed by quitely had some people simply acted with love and respect for me as a human being and a Jew. Instead I have gotten and still get a lot of run around. The community or some people in it are hiding or doing something unkosher. I don't know what it is but I sure can feel the weight of it. I do have some guesses to what it is. But I know I never would have been hurt or touched so profoundly if the Jews in my community were clean and doing things kosher. And if love and respect were stronger than just hollow rules.

I see now that you have no connection to this (community) whatsoever even indirectly.

I think and feel very highly of you and I regret what I have done.

I do hope that good and positive things do come out of this.

I asked for help in this matter and over 35 Christians have stepped forward to help me and pray for me but not a single Jew has done a single thing for in the same way as these Christians have who are all complete total strangers to me. But I felt their love and prayers.

Chana, I believe and always have believed in the love you described about Jewish people but I rarely if ever find it. My life experience with Jews has mostly been the painful opposite.

Chana said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am glad you realize that I have done nothing to harm you or hurt you in any way. No, I do not appear to be part of your community but I wish you a joyous and happy holiday and a wonderful Shavuot, and I very much hope that you experience the love of the Jewish community that I both know and believe to exist.

Have a truly wonderful evening and be well.

No regrets are necessary.

Anonymous said...

My feeling tells me that you are neither in Chicago nor in NYC but that you are within 10 miles of me.
I wonder if I am right?

Anonymous said...

I have tears in my eyes as I am typing this. I had a difficult evening as I relived my pain and my hurt in my heart and in my mind. I was so very angry.

Just now I picked up my bible and I opened it; By the grace of God I landed on the page with this verse:
1 Samuel 2:1-10 with the title - Hannah's Prayer. Certainly, I was not praying for guidance, but in the verse it seems to have responded to my dilemma. And it comes right after Ruth - the real dilemma burdening my heart and soul. As if God was telling me that you are praying for me. Then, I remembered your kind words from yesterday. I don't know what to say. Thank you. Thank for the warmth of your heart and also your kind prayers. Now my eyes have fallen on verse 1 Samuel 3:3, another message for me.

I wish you the same as have for me. You are a rare exception. I will say Amen to all your good prayers.

Chana said...

Dear Anonymous,

I know what it's like to be angry. You say you are angry and having a difficult time of it. You feel hurt by your community. This is what you've mentioned before.

No, I'm not 10 miles from you, but this is why the blogs are helpful. Because no matter where I am or where you are, there are people out here who are willing to listen and are glad to know you and who want to help if they can.

If you'd like, we can continue this more privately; you can email me if you wish. Email's in my profile.

Be well.

M.R. said...

But Chana, why did you need the drug test? Or must I read all of the wonderous back-posts that you evilly wrote during finals if I want to find out?

Chana said...

I'm working this summer; it's a formality. Can't work unless I pass the drug test.

Anonymous said...

The anger passed when I opened the bible found 'Hannah's Prayer' like a thunderstorm with showers passes and the sun comes out once more. Human feelings can be much like the weather. Many people live their lives without weather or completely shelter from weather. I don't call that life at all. I sense in your offer, not the willingness to reach out and understand but rather the culture of 'getting help' and 'physcology', etc. to help me 'cope' with my 'difficulties'. That is not the kind of help humans need in any weather storm. What people really need in difficult moments is prayer, truth, love, and compassion. They don't need their hands held but rather a word of strength to help them rise up again. Regardless, I think that has occured and that was why I mentioned it in the last post. The tears I mentioned were not of sadness but of joy from devine providence and deliverence. I hope you recognized that.

I would like to take you up on your offer but I would like to use it on a more positive note.

You mentioned that you do not date yet. I would suggest to you that you remove the details of this post that mention where you can be found. That I think comes across as an invitation. I don't really see any difference between formal dating and having anonymous dialog with random strangers online. If you are serious about guarding your virtues by not dating, then I would ask you and recommend to you that you guard yourself more carefully online as every exchange with any individual does create a 'relationship' of the souls.

You are a highly intelligent and wise person for an 18 year old. I would really like you to remain same way when you become 28 or 38 but I think your blog and your present course will lead you down a slippery slope. I was much the same way at 18, the only difference was that my thinking was private and unknown to the world and I think that was a protection and a blessing to me.

the only way i know said...

oh my gosh!
Barnes and Noble is my happy place too! I know exactly what you mean as you sit near people reading.. feeling close to them without knowing them at all...
it's my favourite stop when I come into NY.
A very special place for me.

This whole post was sunny and entertaining!

Scraps said...

I loved the Borders on 2nd Ave when I was in Stern. I was there so often that I got to know the staff in my favorite department, and we're actually still friends to this day! :)

I am also fairly particular about my shoes. I dislike most of the styles now, which is frustrating because my current shoes are falling apart and I really need new ones, but I can't find any that I like.