Thursday, June 30, 2005

Strong spirit (and hands)

Seven years ago, I lived with eleven other housemates in a New York brownstone. As a newly-minted librarian with a low salary in a high-cost city, I couldn’t have asked for a better living situation. Of course we got on each other’s nerves sometimes, but for the most part, it was one long pajama party.

My friend Alexandria said that when it came to dating, being in New York was like walking into the largest candy store in the world and having no money. To cheer us up, I wrote little personals ads for everyone in the house. The ads weren't for the purposes of publication. A little morale-boost among my housemates was my intent. Since I couldn't write a personals ad for myself, Alexandria wrote one for me:

Sensuous storyteller, tea drinker and folder of all things paper seeks curious and mischievous man with strong spirit and hands. Do stuffed grape-leaves and good pesto make you weak? Come sit by my fire and I’ll tell you lovely tales.

A few months later, Bede showed up in New York. He had heard a rumor from a mutual friend that I’d always had a crush on him, and he decided to cross the country to investigate the rumor. I lured him to the rooftop of the brownstone with a bottle of Irish whiskey, a copy of Ulysses, and the story of "The Three Princes."

That week, I showed Bede the scrap of paper with the personals ad Alexandria wrote for me. Two years later, we got married.

What’s your story? (Pseudonyms are perfectly acceptable, as are tasteful embelleshments.)

8 comments:

andrew said...

The following entirely-true account was told via email from Maureen to Andrew's father, prior to her actually meeting him.

It's a funny story how I met this guy Andrew. I was in one of those ICQ "romance" chat rooms, posing as a transvestite with an eyepatch fetish, and he professed to be a pirate. We had an awesome conversation and really hit it off, but I didn't think much of it, you know? Later, in a chat room for harmonica players, I was sharing a sad story about how I lost my tongue in a horrible pet shop accident, rendering me unable to pursue my harmonica career further. Everyone was pouring on the sympathy, when one lone voice writes, "Arrr - Shiver me timbers" and I knew it was Andrew! He had recognized my syntax, though I had tried to disguise it. We exchanged numbers and met in a seedy bar, and now two restraining orders later, he's decided he can permit me to come within 50 yards of him!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Why do the novels Ghost World and Fight Club come to mind? This story has a more upbeat ending, though.:)

andrew said...

For myself, I have no idea! I hear the ending of the second is much better in print than screen, and so I've been meaning to check it out, but I've never heard of the former. Must say I'm really at a loss to figure out how the end of the latter could be better than on screen - should be a treat!

Do they mirror my life somehow? I'm looking for something the above account has in common with the movie, and not seeing it. I'm not ruling out the possibility that I could be a bit daft..

(See what I mean about my earthy friends? Not a one of them is a parent.)

andrew said...

Oh wait, of course I'm daft! Marla and the narrator met because they were both pretending to have all manner of afflictions, I remember.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Ghost World is a graphic novel that was turned into a movie starring Steve Buscemi and Thora Birch. (Thora Birch is currently the person I'd choose to play me in the film of my early life. Perhaps by the time the film gets made, she can play the OLD version of me!)

Regarding "Ghost World" Here is an article I found on Barlow Farms that I rather liked:

http://www.barlowfarms.com/index.html?cm_id=1866968

What yours and Maureen's story reminded me of was Enid and her best friend answering a personals ad and then spying upon the guy (Steve Buscemi). That's where the resemblance ends. The girls really are quite cruel, and the whole movie is painful to watch, but I liked it.

I really would love to read the account of the second part of your life. There's no hurry, but I am interested in reading it.

andrew said...

The fact that you're interested is touching enough to maybe even goad me past the monumental ... lethargy, or lack of muse, or something, that I've encountered when I've thought to get started. I will repay the honor I felt in reading yours. Perhaps I'll re-read yours? Yes, that's what I'll do, I'll print it out and read it and leave it laying around to tease at my consience and consciousness.

You know, it's eerie that you posted about a personal ad today. This morning, Mo ghost-authored this ad for a friend.
(Ooh, in looking for it just now I first came across this accolade! Go Mo!)

an said...

conscience. drat.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

I don't suppose you would be kind enough to email me what I had originally written? I can't seem to find it anywhere. I only recall that it was a pretty decent encapsulation of what went on in the past 18 years.

I think I know what you mean about the lethargy involved at the idea of writing a brief biography. I have a number of emails of quality to which I need to respond... with quality. Aiee.