Posts tagged the peoples improv theater
Posts tagged the peoples improv theater
This recent presidential election highlighted an intense divide in our nation.
It is now more clear than ever that some people are Democrats, some people are Republicans, some people are vampires and some people are humans who love them.
But the one thing we can agree on across the political and mythical spectrum is that everyone enjoys a good bowl of soup.*
This is why 3-7 nights out of the week you can find me at the Hale & Hearty Soup on 23rd and Madison, taking up an obscene amount of window-seats with a hoarder’s cocktail of bags, coats and empty soup containers, dunking my chicken salad sandwich into a jumbo container of Tomato Cheddar soup with a fervor that can only be described as “NSFW.”
My neighborhood Hale & Hearty Soup is like Cheers! where everybody knows your name, only here absolutely no one knows who you are or gives a sh*t about you, and there is a surly Hispanic teen named Marco whose sole purpose, it seems, is to remind you of this.
The scenes of sexual tension between me and the aforementioned Marco usually go something like this:
Me: Hey there! How’s it going?
Marco: (surly and wearing a hairnet in silence, staring ahead)
Me: So what’s good today?
Marco: (dead eyes, more silence, more staring, thrusts hand at board)
Me: Alright! I think I’ll try a sample of the loaded baked potato! Sounds cheesy!
Marco: (removes lid from vat of soup and slams it down, throws ladle into liquid, slops soup into a tiny plastic cup and skids it across the counter at me)
Me: (catching cup) Woo! Looks good today. (sips) I’ll take a large one of this please! This’ll get the juices flowing for my writing today!
Marco: (rolls eyes and speaks flatly) 7-grain or sourdough
Me: Sorry, what?
Marco: (annoyed) I said, 7-grain or sourdough
Me: Oh, both please!
Marco: (looks me up and down and tosses both breads on counter with disgust)
Me: Thanks bro! (goes for fist bump)
Marco: (systematically denies fist bump and shifts entire body away from me)
Despite this particular love-hate relationship, there is a striking sense of camaraderie among soup-lovers. It seems that hot, savory, liquid truly transcends race, gender, age and sexual preference.
As if to prove this, at the present moment this Hale & Hearty crew* consists of: a serial-killer-esque man in a a trench coat silently watching his Asian girlfriend eat soup in the studious and determined way of someone plotting how to murder their next victim, a 20-something blonde woman in post-workout gear pawing at her lentil soup, and a small Indian child in a stroller screaming for his mother.
As I sit, staring at them from my window perch, with traces of Tomato Cheddar around my mouth, looking out the window at trash bags piled outside on the sidewalk, the dog with three legs, and the woman who looks like she bathed with a can of tuna, I am overwhelmed with a sense of hope and unity for our country.
It reminds me of Obama’s famous speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 where he said, “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there are people who like soup and then there are people who are idiots.”
So I sit back, comforted by the fact that I am that small Indian child, I am that creepy white dude, I am that … Ok I am not that girl in workout gear.
JUST EAT THE FOOD
*For vampires, that’s blood soup.
*As I call them. I got us jackets but no one wears them.
Hello old friends!
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while.
Perhaps you assumed that I had finally contracted Type II Diabetes and had died face down in a child’s birthday cake somewhere.
But guess what?
I’m back, baby
And I just put some delicious nachos in the microwave…
Let’s do this
So, the reason for my departure isn’t that I’ve been busy, or overwhelmed with success, or lost my sh*t like that KONY 2012 guy who ran around screaming and masturbating on the streets of San Diego.*
I’ve just been lazy
Eating for me has recently become less of a source of humor, than a crippling and systematic assault on my metabolism and well-being.
Right now I’m hunched over my computer in a dirty bathrobe simultaneously ordering delivery from two different Chinese food restaurants.*
I haven’t gone grocery shopping for four months, and have recently taken to ordering double lunches and double dinners so that my refrigerator now resembles the bomb shelter of a neurotic, indecisive, salt addict.
In order to feed the monster, I’ve perfected a way to cheat the delivery.com system so that I get 25% off each time.
Surprisingly, people aren’t as impressed with this as I thought they would be…
THE SCENE: House party, two twenty-something girls standing at the table next to the chips and dip
Me: Mmm… Love these Naked chips, right?
Cute Girl in Jumper: Oh my god! Obsessed! They’re the best.
Me: (quietly) So I like to eat alone in my bed off of my stomach sometimes…
Cute Girl in Jumper: Sorry, what?
Me: (hyperventilating) Like just after work! Ha! It’s not weird! Ha! Like I’m not spending all day alone in my apartment!!! I love daylight!! Anyway, Delivery.com. You know them right?? So, they have all these points, I’ve redeemed a lot of them and gotten mugs and stuff! But the other day I found this great way to save money on…. Wait, where are you going?
And so the story goes…
JUST EAT THE FOOD
*Alright, that was me.
*In other words: it’s your typical Monday night.
So maybe I’m not eating it right, but in all of my yogurt-consuming experiences I have never:
Commercials make yogurt seem like a party drug for women:
The scene: two women are sitting on a couch in their apartment
Cheryl: Becky have you tried this new Xtra Fantasy Cream yogurt from Yoplait?
Becky: No girl! Tell me about it!
Cheryl: Well, this kind is xtra luxurious and xtra decadent. It’s like you’re eating a cheesecake at a fancy restaurant, but then you wake up and you’re really just sitting in your cubicle eating low-cal yogurt out of a plastic container!
Becky: Ooh that’s just what I need girl!
They both laugh and stare at each other. The camera pans out while they spoon yogurt into each others mouths and the voice over goes, “Xtra Fantasy Cream yogurt from Yoplait, for bi-curious women everywhere.”
When I eat yogurt, the process goes something like this:
Step 1: I’m at the grocery store and decide to round out my purchases with some “health food” so I pick up a container of YoCrunch, the kind with the chocolate candies in packet on the top. (Baby steps)
Step 2: The next day at work I proudly brandish it on my desk saying, “Yep. Eating healthy today, guys. Watchin’ my figure, you know,” to no one in particular.
Step 3: At lunchtime I lunge at the container with my nails attempting to pierce the foil cover but it does not move.
Step 4: I claw at it for five minutes to no avail, rage slowly building inside of me.
Step 5: Panic mode sets in and I lose it, stabbing the foil with a fork.
Step 6: A final stab sends a mix of chocolate candies and yogurt flying all over my desk.
Step 7: I drink down the yogurt greedily and am done in two seconds feeling unsatisfied.
Step 8: My co-worker walks by and stares at the pools of yogurt on my desk, “Oh it’s… I just.. It’s not what you think…” I say before they turn away.
Step 9: I am alone, feeling like a pervert and I’m still hungry.
Step 10: Time to order Delivery.com
JUST EAT THE FOOD
*That’s what bacon is for
Here’s the thing:
I’m biologically female.*
But there are a few things I don’t understand about commercials geared towards women.
You know the ones, I’m talking about:
The scene: A white mom wearing a matching sweater set and sensible slacks sits at the kitchen table drinking tea when a stampede of teenagers roll in carrying hockey sticks, soccer balls and a crow-bar screaming and lunging on the carpet.
“Kids! Can you just…” she calls after them.
“Oh well,” she chuckles, shaking her head cheerfully while reaching down to procure a swiffer.
In an instant she cleans up the mess they’ve made, wipes her brow and high-fives a cartoon character while the kids run behind her in the background and f**k up the carpet again.
In reality, that situation would go like this:
The scene: A tired, frazzled, bloated middle-aged woman with no bra and sweatpants is lying on the couch watching QVC and eating Little Debbies, when a team of filthy teenagers run in front of her on the carpet,
“Oh HELL no!” she yells, launching up off the sofa, Little Debbie wrappers flying everywhere, “Tommy! Get your ass back here! I WILL F**KING END YOU!”
The camera pans out with her chasing after them with the swiffer screaming, “Not on my watch motherf**ker!”
That’s real life for you.
JUST EAT THE FOOD
*I did a quick-check in the shower the other day, and I’m pretty sure.
Editor’s Note: Since I posted this, multiple people have informed me that it is “platanos” not “plantanos.” I’m leaving this in as a prime example of my whiteness. Maybe this was why the waitress smiled at me when I asked for more…
My boyfriend, James, lives in Harlem and every night he eats at a little chicken and rice restaurant down the street from his apartment.
It’s $5 for a whole plate of food, and he speaks about it with the reverence that devout Catholics have for Jesus or the excitement that Kristen Bell feels when a “sloth is near”*
I went there with him the other day, and it went something like this:
(We walk in, greeted by a smiling Dominican woman behind the counter)
Woman: (to James) Hola papi! Lookin’ good! How are you?
James: I’m great, darlin! Got that ill mondongo today?
(they both break out in a chorus of laughter)
Woman: (laughing) Oh you!
Me: (hovering in the background in my puffy coat, laughing loudly, clearly confused) HA! HA! Right??
Both: (stop laughing and look at me as if I had just farted)
James: (pause) So anyway… Can I get the lunch special?
At this point, I feel like I should mention something to you.
Alright, borderline translucent…
And I don’t just mean skin color. I’m talking country-club going, khaki-wearing, socks with sandals white.
If I was a genre of music I would be smooth jazz.
I used to try to pretend I wasn’t as white. I went tanning, dyed my hair dark brown, and wore hoop earrings. But it just felt weird, like that time Christina Aguilera was brunette and did a music video with Lil’ Kim*
I wish my life was like one of those Old Navy commercials with the black dad and Asian mom and Native American children all dancing in the sunlight, throwing snowballs and wearing knit hats.
But alas, I am sorely, painfully, Caucasian.
James is white too. But I don’t think anyone has ever told him this, and sometimes I literally have no idea what he is saying.
The other day we were walking down the street and he pulled me aside whispering, “Yo, everyone be sleepin’ on Harlem son.”
“Yeah, son…” I whispered back, “They mad tired!”
Judging by the sad look on his face, I feel like this wasn’t the correct response.
Back to restaurant: at that point I wanted to yell, “Hey! I can dig it! Chicken is the ill na na!” but I restrained myself and instead climbed onto one of high stools on the counter with my hands in my lap, like a five year-old waiting for din din.
James quickly ordered two lunch specials. As the waitresses were dancing to the radio, flirting with the regular customers and dipping ladles into different spicy sauces, I sat there tapping my foot to the beat in my J. Crew turtleneck.
Then it came: a heaping plate of morro rice, kidney beans, plantanos and roasted chicken breast with crispy skin glistening.
It was over. I dove in, forsaking all cutlery, face in the plate, eating bite after bite of delicious chicken with rice, kidney beans, and plantanos.
I alternated between James’s plate and my own, stealing his chicken skin, to which he promptly responded, “What the f**k son??”
“Sorry daughter!”, I joked. He didn’t laugh, but I know he liked it.
Then with crazy eyes and chicken grease on my face, I grunted to the woman with maroon hair behind the counter, “More plantanos please!” She gave me a nod and spooned six extra fried plantains on my plate and smiled. We finally understood each other.
“Food is colorblind”, I thought, downing a 22 of Budweiser.
Then a second thought came to mind, “This beer tastes like sh*t.”
JUST EAT THE FOOD
*This is actually really cute: http://youtu.be/t5jw3T3Jy70
* Still not sure what the f**k that was about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg8QgUIKXHw
Here’s the scenario:
You’re out at dinner with a friend.
You’re excited to eat a real meal because let’s face it, you can only order delivery from Zen Palate so many times before the delivery man just laughs in your face when you open the door.
“HAHA! Oh miss! You again!”, he smiles.
“Yes, ‘me again,’” you growl, hastily pulling the bag of Chinese food back into your lair.
The exchange is quick and filled with guilt, like a crackhead getting his next fix.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You got those good dumplings tonight?”, you whisper, scratching your neck furiously. “Give ‘em to me! Here’s $5! Now scram!”
This is troubling.
But back to the scenario:
You sit down to a lovely white tablecloth setting with your friend Tammy/Holly/Krystal and look at the menu. “Pork belly! Duck confit! Perfect!” you think. You like this place. You commend yourself for having chosen such an excellent restaurant and feel proud of yourself for 3.2 seconds before the waiter comes over and asks,
“Would you ladies like bottled water or tap?’”
Now this bothers you for a few reasons:
A.) You know he can just look at your stained shirt, crumpled jeans and H&M shoes and deduce the answer to that question himself.
B.) When you do finally mutter, “Tap works,” the waiter looks at you as if you’d just said: “Oh boy! You be fancy folk! I kin just go an’ suck on the faucet behin the barn, like I do at Pa’s house!”*
He quickly brings you your “poor people” water, and begins to take your order.
It is at this moment that Tammy/Holly/Krystal f**king does the unthinkable,
“And what would you like, Miss?”
“Oh! Me?”, she says, as if surprised he would even ask. “I’ll just have a side salad! I’m not that hungry.” and then turns to look at you.
“WHAT??!!! Who the f**k are you?”, you’re screaming in your head, a frozen smile cast over your face.
Now when you order a “real person” meal*, you look like an obese monster. Like, “Hide your kids! I might eat them too!”
You know she’s just going to stare at you while you eat three full courses. And you’re a gross eater. No one wants to see that.
The waiter turns to you and asks you the same question, to which you mumble sheepishly, “Stkerrrtwo.”
“Sorry what was that ma’am?”, he repeats.
“Stakrtoooo,” you mutter, a little louder this time.
“Ma’am I can’t understand…”
“STEAK FOR TWO! I’M HAVING THE MOTHERF**KING STEAK FOR TWO!”, you shout at the top of your lungs, a wild look in your eyes, your hair sticking out in every direction.
The waiter runs off and you turn back to your friend who is now looking at you like you’re some kind of zoo animal.
“What?” you say, “I’m hungry.”
JUST EAT THE FOOD
* Honestly who actually orders bottled water at dinner? I just imagine some old British lady in a fur pantsuit like, “Daaahling! I only drink Evian made from ice-cubes hand-melted by orphans in Latvia. But do make sure they’re real orphans! I want to taste their tears!”
*Like two whole chickens, extra fixin’s, drizzled with butter
Editor’s Note: If you’re related to me or hold me in high esteem please do not continue on, as there are things I will share here with you that will make you clutch your turtlenecks and cardigans in horror.
Now that two of you are out of the way, let’s go!
It was a warm summer afternoon and I was passed out in a bra and underwear on top of my comforter with makeup smudged on my face from the past night, and empty applesauce containers scattered on the floor.
It was like any other Tuesday.
But this time was a little different. This time I sensed that I was not alone…
Now, we’ve all been there: the dreaded “Morning After.”
Who can really say?
It was at that very moment that I began to sense a presence in the bed next to me, like someone was watching my every move.
“F**k!” I whispered, grabbing my phone quickly to see who I was last talking to. The last text I sent was, “Hayyy, wat r u doin. I’m drunzzzzks.”
It was to my grandma.
I don’t even think she gets text messages.
“Whew, dodged that bullet”, I thought with shmide*
Still sensing someone next to me, I immediately went over possible escape plans in my head:
“I can pretend to be dead”
“I can say that I have an appointment to run to!”
No, I don’t look like the type of person who has appointments.
“I can just leave!”
No, it’s my apartment.
After twenty minutes of debating to how to exit, I decided to face my fears.
I attempted a seductive yawn like I imagine a sleepy Playboy Bunny would do and rolled over, instead I sounded like I was having a small stroke.
My eyes closed, fearing the worst, I reached out next to me and touched something firm and cardboard-like. Then I opened my eyes and saw it: an extra-large Papa John’s pizza box ripped down the middle like an animal had gotten into it. Pieces of crust were scattered all over the bed and remnants of marina sauce were on my face and body.
“Wow”, I thought and then said the only thing I could think to ask,
“Well was it good for you?”
JUST EAT THE FOOD
* Check out my “How To Eat A Bag of Tostitos Hint Of Lime Doritos In One Sitting” post for more on this word.
Setting: Sixth-grade cafeteria
“What are you doing?”
My best friend Jessica was staring at me with a look of disgust usually reserved for roadkill and vomit as I panted excitedly, balling up a grilled cheese sandwich in my hands and shoving it in my face, “Romggg. You gotta try this!”
“You’re such a gross eater,” she snorted, as I stared at her blankly, half of a grilled cheese sandwich hanging out of my mouth.
“Warrever…” I slurred, continuing to eat my sandwich.
It was grilled cheese day and no one was going to ruin it for me. No one.
I am a gross eater. It is my cross to bear.
I eat with my hands, nose and sometimes forehead, tossing morsel upon morsel of delicious food down my gullet. This is an especially great tactic on dates if you want someone to like “you for you.”:
GUY: “Um. You have food in your hair.”
ME: “Ohhhh, haha. Weirddd…”, I would say with feigned embarrassment, frantically eying the table for scraps.
I eat sourdough bread by scooping out the doughy middle, rolling it into a ball and slowly chewing on the yeasty goodness* leaving the carcass of hollowed out crust on whatever surface is closest to me, before raiding the fridge for cheese.
It’s an addiction.
While some little girls want dresses or Barbies, I wanted Burger King.
There’s a home video of me when I was three years-old, wearing tiger print velour overalls standing on top of a wooden fence near our house with my dad shouting,
“Come on Peachie! Who wants Burger King??”, goading me in the same tone of voice one would use when asking a dog if they want a treat.
At the mention of “Burger King” my eyes widened to twice their normal size and I started yelling wild jibberish and scooting my butt at record speed along the wooden railing to meet him until my mom came out yelling,
“Paul! What are you making her do?! Peach! Get down from there!”
But I just keep motoring on towards glory and that glorious BK paper crown.*
So gross eaters of the world, embrace it. Who cares if you always seem to get milkshake in your beard? Or your hands always smell like garlic? Or the sight of you eating lunch makes people physically sick?
You’re enjoying one of the best parts of life! Delicious, terribly unhealthy food.
JUST EAT THE FOOD
*Realizing that “yeasty” and “goodness” should never be used next to each other in a sentence. Keeping it in.
*Just spoke to my dad on the phone this morning and confirmed this story saying, “That explains a lot” and breaking in a fit of laughter. Five minutes later, he stopped laughing and ended the conversation with, “Alright kiddo! Well hope you’re going to the gym!” Thanks, Dad.
The reviews are in, my good friends!
I smell success!
Or I might just be smelling my own body as I haven’t showered since I started this blog and I’m running on pure adrenaline!*
But seriously, thank you for the support and the nice comments. I really do appreciate it. Otherwise all this snarkiness would just bottle up inside me and I’d end up a bitter, weathered alcoholic in a robe eating two-day old lo-mein out of the carton. (too late!)
But for real, I love you. I am IN love with you.
JUST EAT THE FOOD
*This may or may not be true. I actually can’t remember the last time I showered. Get over it.
I live in New York City and see weird sh*t everyday.
It takes a lot to shock me. But on my way to work, this ad did just that:
It’s Tropicana’s new NYC ad campaign. In case you couldn’t see, the arrow is pointing to a bottle of orange juice.
So here’s the thing, Tropicana. I have never seen two ex-boyfriends on the subway train at the same time. EVER. I ride the subway at least four times a day. And I’ve dated at least 7 million people in this city.
(I know. The numbers don’t add up. It’s weird.)
But seriously, what are they trying to say with this ad? “Hey ladies! Thirsty? Drink this OJ and forget about those mistakes you made your sophomore year of college!”
I just imagine some guy named Jeb at Tropicana Corporate like, “Now if there’s one thing I know about promiscuous women, it’s that they LOVE juice. Right? Right?” And everyone around the conference table nodding in agreement, “Sluts sure do love citrus, Sir!”
If you ever DID see two of your ex-boyfriends on the same train, in what scenario would a carton of orange juice make it better?
I can picture it now:
Jenny enters the train.
Things are going well until she notices Bill, and Dan! Oh no! Not one, but two of her ex-boyfriends!
Jenny reaches in her purse, struggling to find her savior: that smushed up carton of orange juice she bought at the bodega yesterday. She attacks the little papery envelope with her nails but can’t tear it apart. People on the train start to stare. “Got it!” she yells triumphantly holding the carton above her head like a golden chalice.
At that moment Bill notices her and comes over, “Hey Jenny! How have you been?” he says.
Terror washes over here face. “Nuh uh!” she blurts, guzzling from the carton, eyes closed tight, shaking her head from side to side. Little beads of perspiration forming on her brow.
“Ummm… Ok?”, Bill mutters and backs away, instantly reminded of why they broke up in the first place.*
Just then ex-boyfriend #2 Dan saunters over. “Yo Jen!” he says. “Crazy to bump into you! What’s going on?” But Jenny just closes her eyes even tighter and starts humming to herself “Narrrrr, narrrr”, sucking down that tiny carton of orange juice like her life depends on it.
“Jen WTF is wrong with you? Is there even any juice left? The carton is empty!” he blurts.
“Narrrr narr” she mumbles frantically, tipping back what is now an empty carton.
“23rd street!” the conductor calls out and Jenny walks off of the train.
“Thanks Tropicana!” she beams giving the thumbs up to a non-existent camera behind the garbage can.
If I saw two of my ex-boyfriends on the train I would introduce them to each other and then sit in awkward silence, waiting to see who cracks first.
I have no problem with uncomfortable situations. In fact, I thrive on them as vampires thrive on blood.*
So come at me, ex-boyfriends of the world. I’ll bring my OJ. It’s gonna go down.
JUST EAT THE FOOD
* She’s f**king crazy (great clip on this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N007irODH9s )
*I know this is true because I read it in Twilight, a great little series by Stephanie Meyer. You should check it out if you haven’t heard of it. I think it’s gonna be big.