A Stroppy Harridan…

A toast, a toast… it was finally snowing-ish. Or it was yesterday morning in Central Park. (Pic courtesy of Alex Di Stasi)

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Yes, Decima… promised to be a stroppy harridan of a storm…

I bet you’re wondering what that is because I certainly was when my BFF and criminal service animal, Ed, proclaimed me nothing but one at a recent birthday lunch. A fine how-do-you-do…

I’ll confess, my first guess was stroppy harridan: a variant of some hipster-nonsense Christmas cocktail, one that involves artisanal singing… Wassail, wassail… and whatnot. (Thinking about it now, all cocktails should involve singing. We should make it a rule, like diplomatic protocol. Singing keeps drunk people in Mary Poppins mode and prevents them from morphing into a sea of Archie Bunkers, amIright? And we’ve had more than enough Archie this past year. Electors, how about a write-in on Monday…Vote Julie Andrews!)

Breaking it down… “stroppy”… I quite liked. It means irascible and/or easily annoyed. That’s definitely me when lacking actual REM sleep. You know, the kind of deep slumber you get in the early, early mornings, the kind that is fevered and awash in vivid, storied dreams that play out like a Daphne du Maurier novel–complete with Mrs. Danvers lurking. The Victorians referred to it as the “second sleep” and apparently it went away with the invention of the electric light bulb… Damn you, Edison. For me, it’s always SUCH a fortifying sleep that… upon waking, I immediately race into the kitchen with a new musical or book idea, which I then frantically, nonsensically attempt to explain to the dog as I fumble with the coffee-making while he listens politely, trying ever so earnestly not to pee…

“Harridan” seems like a fancy version of a religious ne’er-do-well or someone with an implausible haircut, like Boris Johnson. In fact, it’s a grumpy old woman from the French for old horse. Charming.

I’m not sure what merited this whimsical moniker. Honestly, I don’t think Ed knew what it was either, and for the record, I was super cheery and decidedly un-horse-like given it was my birthday. But right as I left the restaurant, I ran smack into one of those very serious New York City joggers, you know… the kind who runs even when it’s rul cold out. He was wrapped in tinfoil like a baked potato with a ski mask. We were flirting distance apart, trying to avoid each other so naturally, “See-something-say-something” took hold, and I called him a stroppy harridan… to which he replied, “You bet your sweet ass I am!”

And what can I say… it was the quintessential Manhattan moment: a term nobody knows, uttered in an instance of grouchy, unanticipated physical disruption that could have resulted in conflict, but instead resulted in Seinfeldian intimacy. It’s what makes this place, this place.

So, a toast, a toast… To the stroppy harridans, the difficult-sweet people, and storms…

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Keep singing and enjoy the holiday mayhem… I have a book to finish, but lovelies you are my favorite procrastination. Have a day that means something 🙂

xoxo – gg

P.S. If you need to avoid your family for hours upon hours of wrapping or just general brooding… I highly recommend Netflix’s new thriller The OA

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One comment

  1. Jac · December 18

    Happy Birthday, have the best ever!!
    Harridan is one of my favorite appellations followed closely by Harpie. And whereas stroppy modifies harridan perfectly it is absolutely wrong for harpie. I’m in need of ajectival help. So I’m sending my last S.O.S. of the year (after the one to the Electoral College) for a good word.

    Like

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