Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Peeing in Public

Last night I PEED in public. It was dark, but still... The bathrooms at Suburban Station were closed and my train was 10 minutes late, so by the time I reached my stop, I had been holding it for over an hour. The 8 minute walk to my car was agonizing. Only a 5 minute car ride and then RELIEF. 9pm--I reached my car, got inside and turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. Try again. Nothing again. And again. 

No worries. I'll go to one of the shops/restaurants/gas stations near the parking lot. The Sunoco, Chinese restaurant, pizza place and pharmacy were all CLOSED, even though their signs said they were supposed to be OPEN until 9:30pm. 

I call my husband--once. twice. three times. no answer. HE NEVER ANSWERS WHEN IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT. I start the 30 minute walk home. After 5 minutes, I'm in agony. Men pee outside all the time--against trees, bushes, walls, behind car doors. What is the big deal? I should be able to pee if I need to. I find the nearest yard with bushes. The exterior and interior house lights are on and I briefly debate whether to risk getting caught. The desperate adventurer in me does the yogi squat. Miraculously I manage to avoid peeing on my shoes or pants or brief case. 

My children think this is hysterical. My son--mom, I don't want anyone seeing your butt. My daughter--mom, if they do see your butt, I don't want anyone to know that you are my mom. I'm a bit insulted. My butt is fine. 

p.s. no the picture is not me. it's a woman in bulgaria. i'm a bit envious, because she's mastered the art of peeing while standing. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Death, Puke & Passive Aggressive Family Dynamics

Sometimes (ok, most of the time) I get sick of having to clean-up after everyone else. Most of you know that I am domestically challenged. Cleaning doesn't relieve stress or give me a high. In fact, I try to avoid it much like I avoid liver--at all costs. However, my family members don't respect this. If they truly loved me, they would not only clean-up after themselves, but me as well. Are you all snickering yet? My house is decorated in what I fondly (and sometimes embarrassingly) call 'Post-Katrina' decor. 

If you were a fly or a stink bug residing in my house, here is a sample of typical daily conversation. Mom, the cat puked. Well, why don't you clean it up? Why should I clean it up? Well, you saw it first, and it is your cat. Mom, I'm not cleaning it up. That's disgusting. It will make me puke. Why should I clean it up? Because you are the mom and it's your job. 

This is the kind of remark that sends me over the edge. You know-- that murderous, I'm going to punish you for the rest of your life or at least until you can learn to not be a sexist, chauvenist, piglet. However, I'm told that this is improper parenting and may even be considered abusive. I personally believe that allowing your son to grow up to be a sexist piglet is not only abusive, but should be punished by death. I think I'm in the minority, considering how many sexist piglets reside not only in my son's school, but full-grown man pigs in Philadelphia as well as the greater United States. 

I digress. The story that best illustrates our dysfunctional, passive-aggressive family dynamic concerns a dead thing and my son's cat. The cat doing what cats do brings home dead things and leaves them by the sliding glass door. A few months ago, I decided to leave the dead thing (a mole) to see how long it would take someone to either throw it away or give it a proper burial. I'm still waiting. The dead thing doesn't seem to bother anyone else, but me. It now blends in with the patio and has lost all of its bodily fluids. I figure if I wait long enough, it will turn into a skeleton and I can make art with it. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stink Bug Invasion

My son asked me the other day why God made stink bugs. I SO wanted to reply that God has an inner sadist who likes to torture us. However, one cannot say such things to an 11 year-old, who still lives in a very literal world. I might permanently scar his young mind. So instead I gave the psychotherapist response--
I don't know, why do YOU think God made stink bugs? This is a lame-ass response and he immediately sees right through my trick. That's NOT an answer. 

Forget about the Year of the Ox (Chinese calendar).  It is the year of the stinkbug. Did you know that "The brown marmorated stink bug, an insect not previously seen on our continent, has apparently been accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania?"   They are native to China, Japan, Korea & Taiwan. Makes you wonder how they managed to travel to Pennsylvania.  Remember the Old Testament plagues of locusts and gnats? Hmmm...mighty suspicious. Supposedly they only appear during warmer periods in fall and spring. However they seem to be an equal opportunity season pest in my household. 

My most memorable stink bug story took place a few months ago. While reading on my sun porch, covered with a blanket, I noticed a stink bug. And then another. And another. And another. I brushed them off the blanket and continued to read. A few more crawled in my lap. I got up and shook the blanket. HUNDREDS OF LIVE STINK BUGS FLEW OUT OF THE BLANKET. It was like the spider scene from the Indiana Jones movie. 

As you probably know, you cannot squash a stink bug. Besides the smell, they send out a distress signal to all their stink bug friends within a 100 mile radius, who immediately come, ready for invasion. 1 squashed stink bug today, 1000 live ones tomorrow. 

My friend told me that I should suck them up in my vacuum cleaner. This seemed like a brilliant idea. I wouldn't have to squash them and their friends would be none the wiser. I admit to feeling gleeful while sucking up the little monsters with the vacuum hose. As you probably guessed, this didn't work too well. First of all, they didn't all die. Some heroically clung on like tornado survivors, crawling back out once the 'wind' died down. 

The other problem was the stink. The next time I vacuumed my house (ok I don't really vacuum). The next time someone vacuumed the house, the ENTIRE HOUSE smelled of eau de stink bug. FOR DAYS. 

My neighbor told me that she actually ate a stink bug. It was in her glass and she didn't see it. The crunch and smell gave it away. EEWWW!

So the stink bugs are back. I try to be a GREEN person. However I decided that enough was enough. They needed to DIE. So we (actually it was my husband) bombed them. My inner sadist smiled when I witnessed the stink bug holocaust. Hundreds of little bodies all doing the dead bug yoga pose. I realize that is very un-Christ like of me. And I don't care. 

Art for All & Shameless Self-Promotion

I participated in a group show in Soho last month called, A Book About Death.  A democratic show, the first 500 artists submitted 500 postcards depicting...DEATH. Right up my alley. The exhibit paid homage to Ray Johnson (founder of mail art) & Emily Harvey (whose foundation and gallery hosted the exhibit). I liked the show's concept--sharing art with the public. Each visitor could make their own 'book about death'. Free Art for All. It never hurts to have another NYC gallery line on the resume and I relish any excuse to go to NYC.

The organizer did a fabulous job promoting the exhibit on the blog. By official opening time, there were lines around the block waiting to get into the gallery. Most of my family/friends didn't get in the door. There was a videographer, who was streaming live footage directly to the blog. I was told people were logging in from China, Australia and all over Europe. 

Art & Death aficionados madly scooped up the postcards. The fact that the cards were cheap reproductions did not deter the enthusiastic crowd. No art snobs here. Even in Manhattan, people love anything that is FREE. After a couple of hours, the gallery looked ravaged. 

The scene would have been comical if it wasn't so darn HOT. People pushed and nudged, vying for the best 'cards'. The truly funny part happened later. I was waiting for a friend, who happened to be dining with the Royal Dutch family that evening. By the time he arrived at the gallery, I was alone with the organizer and one other guy. 

After brief introductions, the organizer begins grilling my friend about his job. I happened to mention that he worked on Wall Street, which piqued the organizer's interest. He bluntly asked my friend whether he was a low-level manager, or did he have any real power a.k.a. buying power. Don't you need art for your corporate offices? My friend graciously laughed and responded that he was a senior partner. Drooling, the organizer aggressively proceeded to try to sell him A MILLION DOLLAR artwork. I am so NOT kidding. I was mortified. The man had no SHAME. He even tried to tempt me with a $50,000 commission, if I convinced my friend to buy his million dollar work. The man had balls, I'll give him that. He didn't even try to start with a smaller work, let's say for a couple of grand. He went right for the big pay out. 

So much for Free Art for All. When it comes right down to it, it's all about the MONEY.