Who was Lazy Susan?

A Musing …

"I didn't think much of the Emperor's new clothes, but did you get a look at the Empress?!" Vintage Playboy Comic by Dedini

“I didn’t think much of the Emperor’s new clothes, but did you get a look at the Empress?!” Vintage Playboy Comic by Dedini

 

The much loved and ubiquitous rotating table, the Lazy Susan, was named after a controversial figure in French aristocracy. Although it was widely acknowledged that Louis XVI was the first king in two hundred years not to have a royal mistress, he had a ripe fetish for full bodied women. His mistress, Susanne, lived in her own private chambers that were only accessible through a secret door disguised as a mirror in the Apollo Salon. Her bedroom featured a large dining table with one armchair and the walls were adorned in madeleines and foie gras wallpaper, hand-painted by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardinof. At 530 pounds and bedridden, Susanne satisfied Louis’s desires by letting him tickle her feet with the feather of a goose.

Over the years Susanne gained more weight, reaching a whopping 610 pounds and eventually not being able to move anything but her right hand and mouth. Besotted by his “Ma Grosse Belle” (My Fat Beauty), Louis was concerned that her lack of movement might inhibit her way around the table. He promoted a secret contest for the tradespeople throughout nearby villages to make a device from where Susanne could reach all of her lunch without having to move. The winner would be sworn to secrecy and given a generous reward. 

The competition was hotly contested, with entries incorporating fishing rods and boomerangs. But in the end, Pierre Marteau, a humble carpenter from the small village of La Roche-Guyon, won the challenge – having designed a rotating wooden plate, where all Susanne needed was her index finger. Louis was so pleased with the design that he rewarded Marteau with a bag of gold coins (the equivalent of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars today) and a lifetime contract to build his winning design throughout the Palace of Versailles. The servants of the palace referred to the new rotating plate as Susanne Fainéante (Lazy Susan), and thus the name was born.

Foot notes: After the French Revolution, Marteau’s Lazy Susan design quickly spread beyond the palace walls and throughout France making him the most revered designer of his time. 

Susanne was one of the few people to survive the revolution, as she was too large to attempt an escape. Susanne was found a few years later munching her way through the wallpaper. 

FICTION 

HOT Yoga

yoga

Vintage Playboy Comic by Dink Siegel

 

“This is not a democracy! I control the door, I control the heat and I control the room! I am in control.” 

If we didn’t hate her already, we now scanned the room for sharp instruments to puncture her. She had zero percent body fat so it would have proved futile anyway. Our miniature teacher blasted us for taking too long to establish our next yoga posture. We were three quarters the way through the 90 minute class and visibly perishing in the 104 degree heat. 

“You’re not leaving, Gabriel.”

Prison.” I muttered under my breath. Gabriel had made an attempt to leave the building, but our fascist instructor was not amused. “We don’t run things like that here.” Gabriel cowardly shuffled back to his mat and collapsed in a heap. I glanced over at him as he stared with zoned-out disbelief. 

The toothpick tyrant barked contradictory instructions at us in locust pose: “I prefer you lift your leg only one inch if you can’t align your hips. Get ready and … LIFT! Point your toes. Lift your legs higher! Forty-five degrees is the minimum. Lift. Higher! High-yer!Didn’t she say one inch? I strained my leg to the ceiling while salty sweat stung my eyes.

“Open your eyes, Lucie!”

I should have made my name up at the beginning of class. Next time I’ll be Wanda.

I always fancied myself a Wanda. When I had my clothing shop I would sometimes reply to e-mails as Wanda, giving some discrepancy between myself and the business. Is that weird? Public exposure has definitely made that seem a little weird … 

By some form of miracle, I find myself in the shower, pretending to cough after letting out a suspiciously orgasmic sound in reaction the cool water, nothing has ever felt so good. Exiting, I try to find my bag amongst a sea of vaginas. They’re everywhere, covering the entire changing room like ants on candy, appearing as if by magic, from all corners of the room. 

The diverse display of female flesh is a frightening confirmation that the unbelievable bodies displayed inside the pages of Purple Fashion, actually exist. Thankfully, it’s also a reminder that there are more varieties of women’s bodies than poems by Emily Dickinson. The only access I have to nearly-naked women on a regular basis are flawless fashion models and actresses pasted on the walls of New York subway stations, it’s no wonder I find myself surprised when Natalia Vodianova doesn’t show up in the mirror. 

Having bought a thirty-day deal on Living Social, I leave my forth session of Bikrim Yoga on a high. Skin glowing, hair shinier and I’m inspired to have wild sockeye salmon and blueberries for supper. Pint-sized Yoga Dictator aside, things could be a lot worse. 

MJ

 Moonwalk Musing Awful stuff. Vile actually – smelly, sticky, invasive. I chased after some kids I was babysitting with a bottle of sunscreen over the weekend. They literally ran away from me as I tried to spray them like flies. I spend most of my day like a lunatic, armed and dangerous, with lotion, green beans and toothbrushes … this musing runs strangely parallel to married life … 

Worse Than Death

Comic

I dedicate today’s blog post to Robbin Williams, a man who followed his heart and generously shared his great talent with integrity. It’s often not until somebody dies that we sit up and pay attention to the pain and insecurities that we all suffer from. I am reminded today to share as much love and compassion as I can give. Rest in peace Mister Robbin Williams. 


I was riding in our residential elevator on Sunday with two girls. They were mid to early twenties, wearing nice tops and sensible shorts.

One girl sighed “I don’t want to go to work tomorrow.”

“Me neither.” Girl 2 replied.

“Don’t go then.” They spun around, as I repeated, “Just don’t go to work tomorrow!” Giggling, they exited the elevator and walked through the large glass doors to the sunshine outside. 

I like to think they spent their Monday at Coney Island, whirling around the Ferris wheel, in hysterical laughter on the rollercoaster and stuffing their mouths with cotton candy. I imagined the girls making their way through slices of pie at an old pizzeria and dancing until dawn with mobsters at a Russian nightclub. Under the train tracks at Brighton Beach, they gain inspiration for a future art collection or novel or hit sitcom starring Kristen Schaal. 

Spending a day amongst endless corporate cubicles, sounds as exciting as a trip to the dentist. Part of my soul shrivels up raisin-like, at the mere thought of a life in a grey box. 

I’ve waded through one too many “workstations” (human factories) – a staple on every corporate menu with an employee list over ten. Individually decorated with framed photos of loved ones and greeting cards, cage-like cubbyholes pervade the vast space, while workers chat on phones, tap keyboards and pick at baked food items. 

Manicured fashion employees in pencil skirts and ballet flats perch on the edge of their swiveling office chairs, while health insurance salespeople spill over theirs like muffin batter, and I witness a fate worse than death. Souls sit waiting to be struck by lightening or a falling meteor, perhaps a job offer from God asking to help choose the weather for tonight’s King Lear performance in Central Park.

I would survive three hours max, by which point I would have transmuted into something akin to the polar bear who withered at the Auckland Zoo; gone mad with loneliness and a life sentence. As a little girl I watched his green-colored fur body, pacing back and forth and back and forth and back and forth in his painted white concrete prison, his eyes radiating as much life as a discarded sim-card. Sessions with a top therapist in Manhattan might have helped temporarily, but a trip to the arctic would have certainly been a more fruitful choice. 

Picture 7Moonwalk Musing There is little that’s more enjoyable than eating fruit naked in summer outside: a tricky goal while living in Manhattan, unless you’re fortunate enough to have access to a private garden and don’t mind a multitude of onlookers from apartments across the way. I curl inside my window sill with a large slice of watermelon and pink rain falls seventeen floors below me on toy cars and ant-sized people.

The Season of Stripes

stripes

“We’ll take this one!” Vintage Playboy comic by Dink Siegel

It was hideous.

A floor length dress with colorful diagonal stripes, meeting at the center on a base of black stretch fabric. It was like licorice allsorts violently under attack by lines of vicious molars. 

I had designed the candy ensemble for my (now closed) clothing boutique a decade or so ago. I hid the dresses in the trunk of my car, hoping they would somehow vaporize into thin air. But whenever I went to retrieve a second pair of shoes or remove the build up of takeaway coffee cups, the dresses were there, eying me from the back of the car like menacing school children ready to bully their latest victim.

We were heading into the great recession of the naughties and the awful dresses reminded me of my stupidity, my great lack of talent and what seemed like a cursed relationship with money. My guilty conscious got the better of me and I decided to hang one dress in the shop …

It sold within the hour.

I surreptitiously slid a second one on the end of a clothing rack, and boom! It flew out the door faster than the first.

One by one the stripy dresses escaped, as if magic from the shop floor, replaced by green notes in the cash register and I realized that this was no fluke. I was mystified. While my favorite dresses of hand embroidery and silk finesse remained like untouched virgins, the stripy dress was climaxing.

My mother dropped by after a tap-dancing class, delivering takeaway soya lattes to the shop girls. We told her about the stripy dress phenomenon and as a devoted trend follower, she declared to us a major revelation: “It’s no surprise – stripes are in.” Then she took a stripy number for herself.

It was undeniable. I began to see stripes everywhere! They bedecked the cover of Vogue, the ‘Who Wore it Best’ (or worst or whatever) pages, stripes were on shoes and in sandwiches, on book covers and billboards. I had accidentally found myself profiting from the 2008 zeitgeist.

Fashion is far beyond clothes, and art is far beyond form. I often consider time and why things work when they do, why some things take off into popular culture, while other works of genius go unnoticed. Would the Mona Lisa hang stoically in the Louvre if painted in 1998? And who could have predicted kale’s glamorous comeback after decades of obscurity? Garnished with truffle oil and squid ink, renditions of this Brassica oleracea play a starring role on every self respecting New York restaurant menu. 

 

Picture 7

Moonwalk Musing If I could choose a great fashion to reign in 2014, it would be the disappearance of cell phones – back to the landline for long chats with girlfriends over tea. I could go undisturbed for days at a time. No one to tell me “you’re so hard to get hold of” and “why didn’t you text me back?” and “pay your bill online”. No being sucked into the evil time vortex of FB and Instagram and tweets of #foodporn and #nofilter #selfies. I could have conversations in elevators, rather than watch people watching their gadgets. People would be brighter and better informed – forced to read the NY Times and Virginia Wolfe rather than play games with virtual colored balls on the subway. 

Miss Understood

Understand

“Say six!” It was Bastille Day, and by complete accident we walked into the middle of Brooklyn debauchery at the center of Park Slope. With my sober eyes, the line to the bathroom was a confusing jumble of oddly clothed nationalities, all of who appeared to be sloshed on the sponsored Picard cocktails from outside. “Say it. Say thsix!” Slurred a scantily clad camp Frenchman somewhat aggressively, explaining that this is how one could tell the difference between Australian and New Zealanders. “SEX.” I replied in my most animated American accent. He wobbled, squinted at me confused and wandered off.

Through the years my vocabulary has become a like a mixed bag of lollies (or candy, as you wish). I wander around Greenwich Village feeling like an antiquated New Yorker, but when I hear the word ‘panties’ being used describe little girls underwear, my worldview comes crashing down like thunder. Where I come from, panties kind of means the same thing as it does here, only it’s reserved for pornography and risqué sexual encounters … not all that appropriate for six year olds. Half a decade living in Manhattan, and I still can’t say ‘panties’ with a straight face. 

Rather often, most noticeably when positioned in the middle of a two-syllable word, the ‘T’ consonant in New York is frequently on vacation.

While visiting from New Zealand my mum (mom) and I were ordering lunch in a little coffee shop on 85th Street. She asked for “Two waters, please”, but judging by the confused reaction of the barista, she may as well have meowed. 

She tried again, “Two waters. Wort-ters …”

The order still did not compute and it seemed to cause more confusion than before. A raging thespian, my mother was only too happy to offer her rendition on a Noo Yawk accent: “Wa_da …” She offered, tilting her head and squinting an eye in anticipation, curious to see how well the imaginary audition went.

A look of revelation washed over the barista’s rosy face, “Oh! Waada!” she exclaimed, clearing thinking – why didn’t you say so? Two glasses of water swiftly arrived on the counter, and concluded that my mother’s exaggerated accent could land her a part in 42nd Street on Broadway. 

The most amusing of all American phrases must undoubtedly be ‘fanny pack’, giving new meaning of where to store your trail-mix while hiking through the Catskill mountains. 

Picture 7Moonwalk Musing If I could live anywhere, I would live in a tree-house in Central Park. I would host tea parties with embroidered napkins and my finest teacups filled to the brim with chai masala. Squirrels would be my guests and over carrot muffins we would discuss whether peanuts are really nuts or legumes, and review Shakespeare in the Park in springtime.

 

 

 

Strange Things Men Said

Or more accurately – Things Strange Men Said

Men

The guy waiting behind me in line for the Ladies Room at a bar: “That was really quick. You’re a pusher.” Simply delightful.

Ex-boyfriend when I didn’t feel well: “Maybe you have your period.” I think I would know. 

Ex-boss when trying to improve sales at a high-end department store: “You have assets. Stand at the front of the store.” As a teenager, I actually did what he said. 

Electrician, after asking my age: “You look really good for thirty-two.” How should one look at thirty-two? 

American friend I made while traveling: “You have tits like a fat girl but on a good body.” Why thank you, how very eloquent.

Different ex-boss whose friend called work and I picked up: “Are you horny?”
Me: “Not anymore.” 

Ex-boyfriend: “It’s not the beer that makes someone fat, it’s all the pizza afterwards.”

Random guy on the street in New York: “You got an ass like a black girl.” 

A takeout delivery guy on 49th Street: “Hhhhhhssssssssssss …..”
Me: “Are you really hissing at me?” Suddenly embarrassed, he walked faster. 

Yoga teacher in India when discussing how parents should interact with each other in front of their children: “What’s wrong with slapping?” He did however have a problem with kissing. 

Family member when talking about the lady-boys of Bangkok: “They’re better looking than real women.” My male role model.

Same yoga teacher when talking about sex before marriage: “Without marriage, what’s to stop someone from just taking [sex] whenever they want?” I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of rape.

Republican friend of an ex-boss: “We’ll be the laughing stock of the world if gay marriage passes in America.” Then he said it was likely to cause World War III with the Middle East. 

 

Picture 7Moonwalk Musing I have been purring down the phone like a cat lately. Everyday I receive a multitude of spam calls on the landline – salespeople calling about upgrading our phone account, political campaigns, insurance companies and menopause packages. Rather than my usual reactions, which include pressing the button twice to cut the ringing short or asking them how they have my number and suggesting that they find a more rewarding career path … I instead to decided to purr like a cat.

That’s right, I pick up the phone, roll my tongue and produce a long “PPPRRRRRRrrrrrrrr……” Satisfying for us both, if I may be so bold. 

 

Ladies Who Linger

books

Sometimes I find myself waiting in tedious bathroom lines for years. Centuries wade past as precious moments of my life go by wasted, while loo-goers piss with the immediacy of dial up.

Perhaps they’re redecorating, switching the position of the wall mirror with the imitation Salvador Dali print, and placing the soap dispenser on the left side, rather than the right. 

As I stand in line I think about going back to my seat to continue a riveting conversation about the Koon’s exhibit over Syrah, but with each minute that goes by, I reassure myself they will emerge at any moment. I watch the clock hanging on the wall as the menacing second-hand ticks by . . . evaluate a cabinet of fresh vegan cookies, smile at waiters as they wander past me, then past me again, and then (somewhat embarrassingly) past me again. 

I can be in and out of a public bathroom in thirty seconds. I’ve counted – more than once. With people waiting, I can make it even faster. I’m fierce WC competition, although sadly it feels like nobody else is playing the game.

Out of the many competitions I have never entered, this one I could win. I’m certain of that. I have all the skills necessary: a yogi, multi-tasker, and dress-wearer. With time to spare I would generously change an empty paper roll and wipe down the sink.

Having made my way through life in various ladies rooms with upmost acceleration, it seems a shame that prize money is awarded to body builders and show cats when I possess such great talent.

What are they doing in there? I wonder. Did they die of cryptosporidiosis or have they moved in – setting up camp with a wood burning fire, reclining in an armchair with a full-bodied, oak noted Cabernet Sauvignon and reading the six-volume autobiographical novel by Knausgård?

At some point they will emerge with the nonchalance of an oblivious visitor who has overstayed their welcome. Meanwhile babies have been born at Mt Sinai and my potential conversation has disappeared into the ethers … As I dart towards the lavatory, lost time becomes as surreal as on Dali’s melting clock which is now positioned stoically above the towelettes. 

 

Picture 7Moonwalk Musing Do dogs know how elevators work?

 

HOS2

kids

Babes

“Schizoid behavior is a pretty common thing in children. It’s accepted, because all we adults have this unspoken agreement that children are lunatics.”
― Stephen King

The lowest moment came when he called me into the bathroom, my vision violated by a small white bottom held open by two tiny hands, as he asked me to wipe him clean. Surely a four-year-old can wipe his own bum, I know two-year-olds with more nous … Perhaps he can smell my fear and lack of experience, as potent as the little turd he has created, buoyant in the bowl next to us. I feel suspiciously like he is milking me for all he can get. “Can I call you back?” My phone call is cut short as I dubiously scrunch up a piece of loo paper and erase the small mess between his bottom cheeks.

“Don’t flush it! I want to seeeeee!”

It would be an understatement to say that babysitting is a far cry from writing. Nothing could be further from the creative writing process than battling with the needs of babes. Yet somehow the juxtaposition between the lockdown to my keyboard, whilst immersed in thought-soup, and the sheer force of being pulled into the present moment with kids (poop and all) compliments both activities with intensified stark contrast. And for the record – writing and childcare are as demanding and difficult as each other. My metaphorical hat is tipped to nannies and stay-at-home parents.

Once upon a time I would bring novels and notepads with the (now laughable) assumption that I would read brilliant manuscripts by literary masters while the squirts would play happily by themselves. Instead I find myself in imaginary sword fights, cooking unwanted dinners and negotiating good behavior with dessert.

I eventually lay between equally exhausted small bodies on the colorful bed sheet printed with zooming cars and read stories of pirates and dragons and mischievous children. I reflect on these long afternoons of constant physical action that are not so different to the writing process after all. Releasing my monkey-mind and committing to the page, ultimately to embrace the creative flow, draws a parallel to these little physical monkeys who battle through the day with relentless defiance … until (like me) they eventually let go; peaceful warriors surrendering to their dreams.

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

heartsingMy Heart Sings For author interviews on NPR, the newly renovated Bowery Poetry Club on Monday evenings, New York summer … you’re here at long last! Vegetarian South Indian restaurants in Murray Hill NYC, my new desk / sewing machine

Soup

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 11.01.44 AM

I didn’t feel like eating the vegetable soup I made yesterday. It seemed old: cold celery and carrot bits floating around in the deep Le Creuset stockpot. Curry residue caked to the side. Well then, how old is soup in a can? Not as old as Warhol’s. A quick search will provide the answer: “Could be up to two years.” The soup in my refrigerator suddenly didn’t seem so bad. 

 

Picture 7Moonwalk Musing What would it be like to make love in the New York Public Library? Rather stimulating I would think … Legs spread open like pages in a book. Hammered next to Hemingway, poked by Proust … Mister Darcy running his fingers along the small of your back … 

Peanut Butter and other missing items

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I wonder why he can’t find things. 

Google tells me it’s the difference in vision between genders: Hunter / Gatherer. 

Gatherer can see many things at once: berries and babies and such, while Hunter focuses in on one single point for stalking mothering deer and wild squirrels in Prospect Park — the reason a quick perve by the Hunter is never particularly tactful. Innocent heads turn, discreet as Grand Central Station, to admire pairs of lengthy bare legs striding along Spring Street. Meanwhile, Gatherer can note shoe size and coffee brand with the mere bat of an eyelash. 

Hunters always seem to be looking for something … books, keys, peanut butter, weird tools and obscure gadgets — Gathering territory, I suppose, as I gravitate towards the missing items with the ease and grace of a bee to the blossom. I retrieve cello-tape and scissors and Chopin nocturnes and memories surface of bosses, teachers and lovers sharing the mayhem of focused eyesight. 

“Have you seen my _______?” Becomes the most commonly asked question. 

Peanut butter and strawberry jam sit patiently exposed on a shelf in the fridge but out of the visual periphery of male eyesight, each item distressingly camouflaged by its imposing neighbor. Menacing kombucha bottles and obstructive omega 3’s. Even in a studio apartment organized things appear to have gone awol. 

A real life (but more frustrating) game of Where’s Waldo begins! To the Hunter, a humble bookshelf is the New York Public Library and the refrigerator like a jungle of comestible obstacles. 

I finally understand why we have three jars of crunchy peanut butter.

 

Picture 7Moonwalk Musing If dogs ruled: everyone would have unfaltering enthusiasm. Sleep would be our definition of success. We’d stash used panties. Licking our bottoms in public would be encouraged, sniffing other’s bottoms would be a standard greeting. We’d bury our food. Then look for it later: retrieving old sandwiches, blueberry muffins and half-eaten apples from the garden or nearest park. Unbridled jumping-bounding-licking-twirling would be the acceptable way to welcome a loved-one home. 

 

 

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