Cats and Laundry

One of our cats loves freshly laundered clothing.

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Thank You, MTA

The MTA is now using their announcement system to remind people to wash their hands and get their flu shots as it’s a terrible flu season. Although I do appreciate the reminder, I find the MTA asking its passengers to wash their hands, is frankly, hilarious.

I am riding a two train right now and it’s filthy. Something spilled on the floor and it was attempted to be moped up at some point. There are chalky streaks all over the floor, making the floor gritty under my shoes. The whole train smells faintly of feces as it normally does this time of year and we all just sit here and put up with it.

So, yes, MTA. I will wash my hands once I arrive at my destination because your trains are nasty. But let me assure you, it’s not because of the flu.

Why Now?

Every week I listen to the Hidden Brain podcast produced by NPR. It uses psychology to look at current events and how implicit bias affects us all.

As a woman and someone who worked as an actor on and off for 10-years, I found myself compelled to share this week’s episode rather than prattling on about something else today.

From Hidden Brain’s site:

Nearly a quarter-century ago, a group of women accused a prominent playwright of sexual misconduct. A Boston newspaper published allegations of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and forced kissing. For the most part, the complaints went nowhere.

In 2017, more women came forward with accusations. This time, everybody listened.

On this episode of Hidden Brain, we explore the story through the lens of social science and ask, “Why Now?”

What has changed in our minds and in our culture so that allegations of sexual harassment and assault are being taken so much more seriously than they were in prior decades?

A note for listeners: This story includes descriptions of sexual harassment and assault. It may not be suitable for all listeners.

You can find the podcast HERE

This is How I Die – Part 3

The screaming grew louder and louder. Not everyone could hear it over Fina Estampa, but two women on the top riser could. They turned around and saw the soprano, red-faced, head to head with the overnight guard. Screaming bloody murder, pointing her finger at him and grabbing her neck with the other hand like she was choking.

The overnight guard was an elderly black man and it was unclear if the situation was about to unfold as most horror films do, where he would be the first victim. But luckily for him, she spun off into a back room and she continued to scream and bang things against the wall.

It was silent for a moment but then she came racing back into the church with a vengeance. Screaming, gasping for air, and stomping her feet on the floor. No one paid her any mind, like how you might treat a two-year-old throwing a tantrum.

Just another one of her episodes.

Her growls and gasps got louder as she turned towards the 81-year-old conductor. The soprano crept toward her, like a cat on the prowl.

That’s when it hit me. This is how I die.

Well, maybe this is how our conductor dies, but I was more worried about myself.

In an instant, I had it all figured out. It was going to be one of those church shootings that end up on the news. A homegrown terrorist attack that everyone mourns but does nothing about.

The headline would read: Loner Woman Kills 30 in Church Massacre.

They would show all of our pictures in the paper. Tell stories about how wonderful we were. Even the meanest of the bunch would have their praises shouted.

People would leave flowers outside the church. Family members from all over the country would gather and say, enough is enough. Stop the gun violence! Cuomo would stand with the despondent survivors while de Blasio asked for change.

The possessed soprano’s neighbors would be on the news explaining that they had no idea that she was capable of this. “She always kept to herself, but she didn’t seem dangerous. Although there was that one summer we kept seeing dead animals in her backyard. That was weird.”

They would find out that this woman was on some sort of medication that had the side-effect of homicidal ideations and her overbearing mother pushed her over the edge.

I stopped singing as she reached the conductor and yelled in her face, “I can’t breathe. I have an allergic rash!”

The conductor stopped, looked at all of us, sighed and said, “Can someone please help her?”

One of the altos took her in the back room to comfort her.

Just another one of her episodes.

Everyone was annoyed.

What the fuck?

The woman next to me asked, “What could possibly have given her an allergic rash? We are in a church after hours. No flowers. No incense. Nothing.”

The overnight guard had used some citrus scented cleaner somewhere in the church that threw this woman into a frenzy and he was to blame for her almost dying. I figure, if you have issues such as killer rashes from orange cleansers, you should most likely be prepared at all times.

I was happy that I evaded death that evening and I learned two things in the process:

1. I have been stressed that this concert may not go well but in the grand scheme of things, who cares? We could all be dead tomorrow because of citrus cleaners.

2. Someone should bring citrus scents to ward off this soprano at every rehearsal. She isn’t good for morale.

Plus her performance clearly outshined ours that night.

It’s a risk we simply can’t take again.

This is How I Die – Part 2

BANG!

BANG!

BANG!

The alto peeked out the octagonal window and saw an angry bespectacled face smooshed up against the glass. She cracked the door to see who it was.

It was the damn piccolo player.

This guy is quite the character. He is always late and looks like a cross between an old Vermonter and a disheveled guy from Bay Ridge. His uniform is navy cargo pants, black boots, wide navy suspenders, a t-shirt that always seems to be untucked where his belly hangs down, and he dons a pinky ring that catches the light as he plays.

Despite his appearance, when he puts that piccolo to his mouth, magic happens.

He rushed into the church and ran up to the conductor. He said, “I am sorry I am late.”, to which she coldly replied, “So am I.”

The piccolo player quickly unpacked his instrument and tuned it with the piano. Then they all started in on the song. Their first attempt was quite successful and the intermission demarkation had been reached so it was time for a break. The choir, ever impatient, started shouting, “we need to take a break!” “Please let us sit down!”

The break was announced and the choir scattered themselves around the church to rest. A small group of people ventured off to use the dark restroom. The break was uneventful until the grumpiest alto started shouting across the church at a soprano who was talking incredibly loud, “SARAH SHUT UP! SARAH BE QUIET! SARAH SHHHHUUUTTT UPPPP!”

That was when it was determined that the break was over.

It was now time to reassemble on the risers and to sing the tangos with the bandoneon player. As if they hadn’t just had a break, a bunch of the men sat down on the risers, too lazy to stand for the tango solo. The sound was like a herd of cattle banging up against a steel door.

The bandoneon player stretched his instrument and filled it with air and he began playing.

His nimble fingers flew across the buttons as he squeezed and pulled his instrument producing a sound that can only be described as “old world.”

As the music grew faster, a few people spotted the soprano at the back of the church, clutching her chest and falling against the wall. She stood up, fell again, and more people caught on. Someone muttered, “looks like she is having another one of her episodes.”

Episodes?

This woman barely spoke to anyone. She always carried her mobile phone in a huge crocheted pouch that she wore around her neck. She lived with her parents and was around 30-years old. She never made eye contact with anyone and avoided conversation.

Now she was gasping for air and clutching her chest, while her phone pouch swung back and forth in a hypnotic manner. If she needed 9-1-1, all she needed to do was reach in her pouch and make the call. But, she just reeled around and around, making an ungodly noise.

As the music continued, she got closer and closer to the risers, falling into the rows of pews that she passed. Her eyes possessed. Her voice ragged as she gasped.

She disappeared behind the choir but the music continued.

That’s when the screaming started…

To be continued.