Is That What I Think It Is?

For as long as I’ve worked in this building, I have been acutely aware that there is something weird about it.

Why, you might ask? Oh, any number of reasons.  Maybe it’s just because most of my other jobs have been in soaring, sparkly high-rises with newsstands in the lobby.  But it might also be the fact that every other company here seems like a front for some seamy, underworldly business. Or the elevators that, at times, fail to stop on our floor.  Or the creepy wintergreen scent that emanates from the ever-broken bathrooms.  The intense heat on one side of my desk and freezing conditions on the other.  Or the remnants in the stairwell of what is almost certainly human doody.  I can’t say for sure.

The building stands 11 stories high on an almost unremarkable block.  Said block does have a few minor claims to fame. Most notably, it was home to the sordid and kinky love nest of murdered architect Stanford White.  More recently, a celebrity chef opened a gourmet food market on the corner.  On any given Saturday night at the turn of the 21st century, you could find an insanely long line of douche bags (including Kiki and me, when I wasn’t having a panic attack) trying to get into a Sceney McScenerstein club whose name was really only suited for a nerd in the average Hebrew school class. And a few doors down from that, in the same era, was a very mellow lounge that I actually liked, owned by a famous actor.

Our company occupies three floors here.  I work – along with the rest of the Marketing, Sales, Subscriber Relations, and Business Development peeps – on the second of them.  Our space is very start-up and loft-like.  One wall is painted red, beams and exposed pipes surround us, and no one except my boss has an office or even a cubicle.  As such, there is zero privacy and we all know each other’s beeswax.  This can be irksome at times.  I’m sure my co-workers loved hearing me request a new mammogram prescription on the phone this morning.  Probably as much as I loved the fight one of my colleagues had with his mother-in-law, Myrna, over the fact that he was too short for her daughter and thus, unworthy.

But on the flip-side, everyone also knows when one of us comes across an entertaining customer, YouTube clip, Facebook argument, or stash of chocolate.  And today, we hit the jackpot.  Around noon, I noticed my marmite-lovin’ co-worker – let’s call him “Kyle” – staring quizzically out the window. He summoned me and told me to look across the street into the atelier of some sort whose intermittent flashes often cause seizures among us.

“See that thing in the window?” he asked.

At first I did not. I looked hard, but all I could make out was the back of a mirror surrounded by round vanity bulbs.  Some tripods.  A model in a bathrobe. And then …

OMFG.  Is that what I think it is?! It’s GINORMOUS! Frick on an X-rated stick!  

“Um … are you talking about that tall, hot pink cylinder thing with a slightly pointed tip?  That thing that is so big I can see it from here, clearly, unaided by binoculars?! That thing that is typically only sold behind curt…”

“Kyle” acknowledged that I had spotted what he’d spotted.

Ew! And yet, how strangely fascinating.  What the FORK was going on in that photo studio?!  We HAD to be wrong…right?  Why did I suddenly have the theme song to “Boogie Nights” in my head?

This was not a burden we could bear alone. We raced over to the Sales team for their input. They looked.

“Could it be a bottle of hairspray?” 

No. No, it could not.

“A microphone?”

Highly unlikely.

“Maybe it’s just the angle …”

It was not just the angle.

“Kyle” suggested we buy a telescope, confirm our suspicions and then return it.  I actually considered letting him, but really, it was pretty obvious even to the naked eye.

People, it was GINORMOUS. 

What kind of freakish human could even …um… accomodate … such a thing?! 

Now, I assure you, there are very few skeevy things that I will refrain from uttering, and even fewer that I have not researched heavily out of morbid curiosity.  But truly, the colossal-ness of this thing across the street was just incredible.

As we gaped, the occupants of the studio saw us staring and pointing and began to wave. I thought perhaps we should hold up a sign inquiring about the nature of the item and why it was so publicly on display.  But P. had a better idea. He opened the window and began to shout across the street, “WHY DO YOU HAVE A GIANT PINK [mentally insert word sensored by The Letter T] ON THAT TABLE?!”

The studio occupants continued to smile and wave cluelessly, much like Ollie would sit very properly, staring straight ahead and smiling with his tongue out after letting one rip.

Later in the afternoon, we noticed that “it” was gone. I prefer not to think about where it now was.

I guess we’ll never know for sure what “it” was or why it was there. I’m just going to have to assume that on top of the poop-stained stairs and potentially lethal wintergreen aroma, this building affords intimate, unobstructed views of a porn factory.

Is That What I Think It Is?

A Bowl of St. Patty’s Day

We tribesmen don't fully get the whole St. Patty's Day thing. When was the last time you spotted an observant Irish Jew?

Recently, an ex-boss and current friend told me that what I make up for in writing skill, I lack in discipline. I was appalled. I mean how dare he?! The impudence! Look how often I blog, hit the treadmill and read the whole paper on Sunday!

Or actually, uh, maybe don’t.

Conversely, how often do I Facebook stalk, turn to Wikipedia to improve my understanding of genetic diseases, review Charlie Sheen’s Twitter feed or peruse apartments we can’t afford?

You know what? Don’t answer that either.

Keith, on the other hand, is highly disciplined. He panics if his early-to-bed/early-to-rise schedule is disrupted. He works out three or four times a week even if he doesn’t feel like it. He is a food camel who can eat breakfast and then nothing else until dinner. He doesn’t do anything at work but work.

Wait bagels are a GOOD thing?!

So it wasn’t surprising last night, on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, when he expressed some concern about a 7 a.m. conference call scheduled for this morning. He told me he was thinking of doing the one-hour call from our apartment and leaving for the office right after that.

Being undisciplined, I considered that a super-smart idea. Why in the hell would you NOT do the call from the comfort of our own abode? The thought of getting up early enough to shower, shave, read up on Project X and get to work by 7 was just beyond my comprehension. But Keith seemed a bit uneasy.

“If I do that, I probably won’t make it downtown until almost 9.”

“And you definitely need to be there before 9?” I asked, wondering if I would even be awake at 9.

Keith mumbled something that sounded like, “Thoor goopin froomin looky choomins ooft.”

Thoor goopin froomin looky choomins ooft?!

I truly had no idea what he was saying.

“You’re working on a high-profile classified project with a Swedish company and you can’t tell me anything about it or you’ll have to kill me?”

His face implied that this was not, in fact, the case.

Oh well. I guess when you’re disciplined, getting to work before 9 is just an important part of your work ethic.

Or is it?!

A short while later, as Keith set his alarm, I learned that what I’d mistaken for botched Swedish – “Thoor goopin froomin looky choomins ooft” – was actually derived from old Celtic.

“I’ll just do the call from here and hope for the best,” he said with a sigh.

“Okay … but what happens at 9? Why is 9 the cut-off?”

“Nothing…It’s just that they’re giving  free boxes of Lucky Charms out at work for St. Patrick’s Day and I’m afraid they’ll run out by 9.”

Now, you may be chuckling, as I still am, or you may feel like this post comes with no literary pay-off whatsoever. But you can’t deny that Keith’s concerns were justified.  I mean really, I thank my orange stars, yellow moons, pink hearts, green clovers and yellow cushion-cut diamonds that I married a man so appreciative of sugary breakfast cereals.  Lucky Charms are, after all, not only packed with RIBOFLAVIN, but magically delicious.

A Bowl of St. Patty’s Day