Friday, May 20, 2005

I Love You, Maura B. Jacobson

In 1990, I had this grandiose idea that I would move to Manhattan. New York, not Kansas.

See, I'd always sorta had a secret crush on NYC. I have no explanation for it. I was born on the east coast, but waaaay south of New York. I didn't know anyone at that time that lived in New York. But I did watch a lot of movies, and goddammit if that didn't look like the place where *everything happens*.

Now, as luck would have it, my friend Cathy was from New Jersey...Parsippany, to be exact. And she invited me to join her for a long weekend out there. SO, after I peeled myself from the ceiling, I packed a bag and we flew out, to the loving arms of her incredible mom and the mom's equally incredible boyfriend (who looked a lot like W.C. Fields).

We spent a bit of time in New Jersey. Doing what...?...I really can't recall. I just remember that everywhere we went, we had to take a highway. What, no local roads? Nope, the highway. Curious, that. I think we went to a beach? One day?

But the Friday we were there, the mom and boyfriend took us to The City. Oh. My. God! It was sososo everything I thought, so much grander, and by that I mean bigger, loud and hectic. The subway was cleaner than I thought. (Of course it was daytime and the biggest threat we encountered were clumps of stockbrokers crowding the platform...don't push ME, Armpitstain!) Cans of soda came with straws? Oh! They're sanitary! Well aren't you all so bloody clever!

You know when you go someplace and you just feel like you're home, even though you've never been there? I felt like that there. Like the burner in me got turned to low simmer and the blood in my veins was bubbling those little bubble dances. I had a hard time eating at the fancy-schmancy restaurant because I was too damn excited and wanted to see it all. We walked down Wall Street and grinned at the businessfolk chain-smoking and yammering at each other. We stood in line for an hour to go to the top of the World Trade Center, and we stayed there in the whipping breezes for a long time. I took pictures. I'm sad and crushed sitting here, typing, realizing I can never take my kids up there, realizing how innocent that was. That night, we drove back to New Jersey, and I just wanted to yell at my hosts, "On second thought, you can just pull over right here and let me out...I'm staying!"

Why didn't I move?

Coupla reasons. First, I doubted my ability to make a living there. Second, there was this guy. (STUPID GIRL!) Yeah, this guy I met there and things happened when I got back from vacation, and then things didn't happen, and then I got fed up, and then I got a raise at my job, then I started doing local theatre, and things just got away from me.

But that does NOT mean that I still don't love the place.

Soon after returning, I subscribed to New York Magazine. Have ever since. Not that I'm trying to get y'all to buy it, but you really should, it's just exactly what a midwestern girl needs to keep the fire stoked. Living vicariously through periodicals, I know, how pathetic is that?!?!


As much as I love the articles, and the gossip, and the endless reviews of "Spamalot" and NY music and how to make a lovely dish of fiddleheads, what makes me grab the magazine like a starving dog grabs a bone, is located on the very last page.

The Crossword.

Maura B. Jacobson, I love you. I don't know how you do it. You always make me feel smart, and by that I mean pop-culture and useless trivia smart and paid-attention-in-school smart. Each week there's a different theme, and it thrills my geeky heart to no end to get the first one and go...A-HA!!! THAT'S what she's doing! I work like manic on that thing, whenever I get a spare minute or two. (I relish the Saturdays when I can sit down and do the entire puzzle at once! Oh, sweet hey-soos!) I can generally complete the thing, and when I can't, when I don't know the, like, supreme ruler of outer Mongolia, I just fudge it. I mean, it's not a test, fer cryin'!

Today I'm home with a sick boy-child, who, unfortunately, threw up at school 20 minutes after I left him this morning. He's fine, he's itching to play computer games and Playstation (and the Mean Mom just repeats, in her get-well mantra, "No! You must rest! Your last soccer game is tomorrow morning! Want some Vernors? A banana? Go to sleep!"). ((Vernors, BTW, is our local ginger ale, and I can't drink any other kind.))

I was gonna blog about something totally else, which can so wait, and was just about to stick the Title up above, when the mailman dropped his load (no, not SHOT his load, ya pervs), through the mail slot. The cat went crazy, of course, cause she was sleeping under there, and I scooped up the carnage to find, dated May 23, 2005:

New York!
Sohn on the Straight Girl Crush.
Andersen on Salvaging Ground Zero.
Robert Kolker on a Mafia Family Reunion
Worrying About a Real-Estate Crash.
Neighborhoods Ranked by Risk.
Is Your Apt. Like a Dot-Com Stock?

And I, of course, tore back the back page to sweet sweet Maura. "Tennis, Anyone?" Yeah, baby, you're so sweet to think of me. Later, when the Mean Mom is locked in the cellar, and the Nice Mom lets sick-boy play on the computer (okay I'll cave much, much later in the day), I'll have a lovely time with Maura and my favorite blue Bic.

Life. Is. Good!


At 1:29 PM, Blogger jo(e) said...

The thing about New York City is that it really is like no other city. I have a sister who lives on the upper east side of Manhattan, and I love to visit her.

I love the adrenaline that goes through my veins when I'm in the city, but I don't think I could live there. The fast pace would get to me after a while.

I subscribe to the New Yorker for my New York City snob fix.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Sergei C. said...

Is that your breast? Having a little cheesecake with your puzzle, eh?

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Maine said...

I grew up there. And unless a relative dies, I will never return. I'm in the "It's not what it used to be" camp.

Too many tourists moved in and brought their preconceived notions of what the city was supposed to be with them, and now, surprise, that's what its become. Pretty sucky and no longer home...

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Okapi said...

I can only relate this to London. Coming from the rarefied atmosphere of Scotland, London is intoxicating to me. Sadly, "Time Out" (London entertainment guide) is the only publication I can think of that would allow me to reminisce, and it loses it's edge after 500 odd miles.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Rose said...

I loves me some Vernor's. :)

At 8:06 PM, Blogger Orange said...

Sister girlfriend! Crosswords! I love 'em. But one a week ain't enough for me. I have the hunger. I must feed the beast at least four puzzles a day. Sometimes ten.

Maura made one of the puzzles at the crossword tournament. She did well by me. Got trophies to prove it, in fact.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

jo(e): I'm so used to living in 'middle-sized midwestern city' now that NYC does seem a little much for me. Plus, the rent there? Gar!!!

Sergei: re. can have a little nibble later....

Maine: Good thing I didn't move there, 'cause then I'd be one of the tourists you'd be cussin' out. I want nuthin' more than to please my Maine man (shuh, not the first time you've heard that, huh?)!

Okapi: London is other place I've been to that feels like home. I miss the fish and chips...ooh, do I.

Rose: where are you? What's your blog, lady?

Orange: YES! I was gonna mention you in the post today and got distracted. You are the queen! Four! Ten! Wow! (I'm am bowing at your feet.) I know what you mean, I finished the NYMag one today whilst the boy-child was on the computer (yes, I caved), and now I'm jones-in' big time for another one. Urgh. What puzzles do you do? I should say, what puzzles would you recommend?

At 8:58 PM, Blogger chaudes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:59 PM, Blogger chaudes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger chaudes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger chaudes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Pisser said...

Those puzzles kick my ass. You are smarter than the av-er-age bear, missy!

Your kiddo didn't throw up in front of any other kids, did he...? Because I still remember the name of the boy in 8th grade who couldn't quite make it out the door...poor thing. He will always be The Guy Who Puked on Mrs. ___'s Room Floor (don't remember the teacher's name...weird!)

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

Oh Pisser, yes...yes...well, no. It wasn't his regular 2nd grade class. He's in a Before School program, and he puked in front of them. Grch! When I got him home he was pretty freaked about puking in front the peerage, but then he got all thoughtful and said, "Ya know, other kids puked in there before!" And I reminded him that, since the Before room was also the lunch room, it wasn't the LAST time someone would puke in there. (And if he goes to college and drinks like his parents used to, it won't be the last time he pukes in front of his peerage...but of course I couldn't tell him THAT...not yet!)

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

To My Blogger Friends: Beware comments from 'chaudes'...above 4 deleted comments from that name were link to porn site. What? GO AWAY.

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Rose said...


I'm in Oklahoma right now, but I spent 23 years in Arizona, where the Vernor's flows like... Canada Dry. So, I'm familiar with the product. Hubba, hubba.

We're a military family (couple, no kids at least for now) and just got transferred to Oklahoma in September of last year. I'm adjusting. Oklahoma. Urgh.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Orange said...

Mona, if you want the best puzzles with the least effort and expense, you gotta get 'em online. Fork over about $40 to the New York Times for their Premium Puzzles service (, and you can get the NYT puzzles the night before publication. You can do them online (competing against others), on screen (but offline), or on paper. To do them offline/on paper, you have to download the app Across Lite from the NYT site.

Then you can go to Will Johnson's Puzzle Pointers page ( to easily access (mostly in Across Lite form) the equally great puzzles from the New York Sun (M-F only), as well as the decent puzzles from the LA Times and Houston Chronicle (both daily). There are also Sunday-sized weekend puzzles from the Wall St. Journal, LA Weekly, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Washington Post.

This may cut into your TV viewing time, however.

P.S. Am I a geek or what?

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Orange said...

P.P.S. Tell us about this "straight girl crush" article, will ya?

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous said...

In my view one and all should browse on this.


Post a Comment

<< Home