My personal essays have been heard on National Public Radio and seen in TV Guide, Newsday, the Boston Globe, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, and many other places.
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The Other Chelsea Lowes
Somewhere in Canada is a scary, alternate-universe Chelsea Lowe. If the Amazon.ca wish list I stumbled upon this week is to be believed, the things that most terrify me seem to fascinate this other Chelsea Lowe. She wants books about home canning. Rats. Epidemiology. She wants my book, about obsessive-compulsive disorder (though she doesn't want it very much; like most of her choices, it comes in at priority three).
This is not the only other Chelsea Lowe I've encountered in my travels (read: Internet searches). There's the missionary. . .
My wants: a garage, an upstairs and at least two bathrooms, on a piece of property just large enough for the house, a tree and a birdfeeder.
His: to stay here in our city apartment. See the problem?
For years, DJ and I have been acting out our own little version of '60s sitcom "Green Acres." Only I'm playing country booster Eddie Albert to DJ's city sophisticate, Eva Gabor.
Loud noises--sirens, car horns, guttural shouting--drive me crazy. Open spaces--pastures, mountains, expanses of sky--make DJ nervous.
The first time I developed a loathing for tight spaces, crowds, insane prices and city filth, I left; found a job in New Hampshire, gave notice in New York and boom.
Now, of course, everything's harder. I'm half of a household. . .
Questions You Must Never Answer
It was a long drive to Burlington, Vermont; much longer than we expected. To pass time on the ride home, we talked. Much more than was good for us.
"If we weren't together, who would you want to sleep with?" DJ asked.
And, honestly, I heard this as, "Who would you want a relationship with?"And here, I made a ghastly mistake. I named names. Well, one...
For years, I've found myself drawn to everything French: the gorgeous language, the countryside, the obsessively fresh cuisine, the importance the French place on beauty in architecture, decor and personal appearance.
Often I wish I was French, or, at the very least, French speaking. But I'm neither. Which brings us to the French news, subtitled in English and carried on our cable service.
As a rule, I hate news, which usually consists of awful things that happen to others and will no doubt happen to me, too. Still, the news is the only French program I know of to carry subtitles regularly. (Somewhat regularly; the translations don't always appear, and, at those times, I'm lost within minutes.) So I watch, and learn.
The thing is, I haven't learned much in the way of actual language. I hope never to have to use the few words and phrases I've picked up: strike, guard dog, gang rape ("greve," "chien protectif," "viol collectif.") But I have gained a different perspective.
My first lesson was that beauty and youth aren't always one and the same. . .
Normally polite in my waking life, I'm told I morph into a Boston driver by night: veering unapologetically into the wrong lane, making inappropriate gestures and acting with a general recklessness toward those around me.
Just last night, I hear, I sat up, leaning against the wall, hands behind my head, as if resting beneath a shade tree. Later, prone, I kicked my feet straight up into the air. D. said, "You looked like you were doing Pilates." D. saw this because he's often awake at night. He's such a light sleeper, he's been known to awaken and yell, "What?" just because I looked at him. (This happens less often since he's cut down on caffeine. . .)
Our Friend, Rattus Moridae OR A Word About Rats: BLECH!
Ah, Boston! Hub of culture, higher learning and one-bedroom homes that cost more than Michael Jackson's legal defense team. But did you know that Boston is also home to more rats than Izzy "The Nut" Lubrano's address book? Rats flourish in coastal areas because they have no natural enemies. On the other hand, they don't have many friends, either. . .
Of course I've heard of sex on the first date–-but rarely on the first date you've ever had. Clearly, my brother was making up for lost time.
He wrote home exuberantly: "I tell you this will change my whole life around now. More showers for me. I will have sex more often."
Not the kind of letter I'd have written to my parents, but then, I wasn't thirty-six and mentally retarded. . .
Crazy In Love
At the restaurant, conversation turns to vanity Googling. "I'm Googling myself under the table right now!" DJ announces, to the delighted laughter of our guests. All evening, he entertains us with hilarious riffs, pitch-perfect mimicry and outsized stories.
I've told him he doesn't have to be "on," just pleasant. Or at least polite. (DJ often says he "hates people," and at times, this is obvious.) But this man knows only extremes.
Next day, one of our friends calls to thank us for the evening and enthuses, "DJ was in such a good mood last night!" He wasn't. (He rarely is.) He's just learned, with effort, how to fake it. . .