The Year I Set Myself on Fire

Greetings from The Overlook where I have been in a mad dash to finish my second book, a psych thriller code-named Project G. It’s sweltering out—like Do The Right Thing hot.

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July is the hardest month to stay in love with Manhattan. It’s like year nine of marriage when you really wish he’d just effing clean out the garage (for once) so that you can shoehorn the car in a hair from all of his unfinished manuscripts before it’s the depths of the Arctic winter again. But anytime you so much as even hint at this frog of a task, he starts yelling like Jerry Stiller from Seinfeld. July is usually a time of blatant abjection where all of the city’s humanity shows itself in its boldest, most disturbing hues. Especially on the subway, which is no great shakes right now as I’m sure you’ve all seen. A carnivalesque, pheromone-based mating ritual to be sure!

That said, the city does try its best (above ground) to make things fabulous with arts and culture. Opera practically comes to your stoop with F’Rosé popsicles. Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is the tailgate of the century.

I barely look at my phone, email or social media these days, but then suddenly, out of nowhere, I’ll get a crazy text from Ed saying, “Holy Crapdazzle! Turn on the telly… The world’s a shit-fire!” And so I do, and I’ll see something horrid like a nuclear Cheeto wrestling a logo, which will somehow remind me of the time I set myself on fire 20-odd years ago in grad school. It was the worst. I was living down in the East Village in this tiny 4th-floor walk-up apartment where it used to actually rain through the ceiling whenever my upstairs neighbor took a shower–making so that I actually had to take a brolly in the shower to take my own proper (clean) shower. I was under the most intense deadlines and What. An. Idiot. I was making both tea and coffee at the same time. For some reason, I needed both, and I leaned over the lit burner to grab the sugar (or something) in my highly flammable Wal-mart flannel shirt. “Hmmm, that’s an odd color flame: purple and green” I observed. “Then, holy shit! That’s me on fire!” Pat, pat, pat. Tries to blow it out (big mistake). Forgets the whole “Stop, drop and roll” exercise from 2nd grades and run screaming from your apartment into the grubby hallway, your cheap shirt now almost fully engulfed in flames, only to rip it off like The Hulk and inadvertently show off your latest, most experimental bra choice to all of your scary neighbors.

That’s the world right now. If only Chris Christie could have done like French and worn dark socks with sandals to sunbathe. Then while you could never excuse him, at least you could laugh at him. Come on Christie… you f*ckwad, either DO the right thing… or be the girl on the right.

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Hold on tight, Lovelies.  And don’t lean over any open flames. xoxo – GG

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