the dirty dozen, part four: fin

10 new york, she is like a fancy european cheese: her footiness is detectable at low temperatures (fall and winter), but it's when she sits around and has a chance to warm up that you really get a feeling for the funk she can perpetrate. i'm talking about the celebrated smells of summer, mostly, but we're learning that the funk can be palpable, too: poor joe has been waking up with various combinations of sinus headaches and phlegmy coughs since june, and i've been feeling a little foggy in the AM myself. it sucks, but i figured we were doomed to pay the price of superpolluted city living (we're not about to close the bedroom window overnight: it would get way too stuffy in there*). cue the 'duh' moment, when i read a coworker's blog post about the life-altering air purifier she bought to tackle her fiancé's asthma. it worked for him, predictably, but she started waking up feeling like a million bucks. a fancy airway makeover for the non-asthmatic, you say? from a space-saving beetlejuice-esque pod that activates our dorky design receptors? i asked the coworker if her paean to her purifier was sincere and aye, she said, it's been worth every penny - so a little white 'henry' is now on its way to us. here's hoping the splurge is worth it.

11 according to walk score, san francisco is the most walkable large city in the US. to quote the excellent tara ariano,
I don't want to start, like, an East Coast/West Coast rumble, but IN NO WAY is San Francisco a more walkable city than New York. With all those goddamn hills, it's barely a more driveable city than New York! The last time we were there, I swear we drove up a hill that you couldn't walk unless you had a harness and a spotter. Bullshit.
hee. apparently the "walkability" index considers factors like population density and ignores things like elevation (which, as i discovered in san francisco in the months i made regular trips to the nearest supermarket on foot, via lombard street, is rather key). the city by the bay is cuter (and smells a lot better) than new york, but more walkable? i'm unconvinced.

12 so, the nancy pelosi Q&A in harper’s bazaar: like her look in the opener, both powersuitastic (the armani top) and a little Gypsy Queen of Congress (the trailing bill blass skirt). i think she handled the inevitable beauty regimen and shopping questions well, and struck a few nice strong notes (on sexism and how she'd like to be remembered). i’m kind of fixated on this exchange:
HB: In your book [Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters], you write about not cooking.

NP: My daughter Alexandra once told me, “Mother, you’re a pioneer. Now hardly anybody cooks, but you were one of the first to stop.” After 20 years of cooking, I started to appreciate the value of other people’s work. So I would, say, go get a duck in Chinatown. I always had the salad and set the table, but I didn’t have to clean the pots.
a substantive quote about cooking – about not cooking! – from one of the most powerful women in america, and it’s completely inoffensive! really: the little hyperdomestic part of my brain that worries about such things actively tried to be offended by it, and no go. hats off to the pelosi press team: there’s hope for lady dems yet.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 do you use a purifier (or a humidifier, or an atmosphere-altering-fill-in-the-blank)?

02 what are the must-haves in a walkability algorithm? should, say, weather be a factor? how about neighborhood safety? hell, how about odor?

03 how much cooking goes on at your place?

*vaguely related: "why i hate summer," a chord-striking essay by rachel shukert. i love her lines about the heat, which "brings a unique blend of fury and lethargy -- I feel like I could murder someone, and be totally indifferent if they killed me back."


valya said...

01 nope. yay, suburbia!

02 sidewalks, safety, proximity to desirable destination (park, coffee shop). we were thrilled when a starbucks opened within walking distance -- a 20-minute jaunt. yay, suburbia!

03 more than ever, actually. as long as "cooking" means "using store-bought rotisserie chicken and frozen vegetables in creative pasta dishes."

do we get bonus points for growing our own lettuce and herbs? yay, suburbia!

lauren said...

yay suburbia indeed, V. you'd think that after growing up in southern california (where feeling like you've got a hole in your chest after playing a soccer game in the smog is the norm), i'd be used to funky air - but this is a special kind of funky. the purifier arrived at my cube in a HUGE box a few hours ago, so i'll rhinoceros-ant it home from the ladymag tonight and see what happens. c'mon, henry!

uncle paul said...

A few months ago I caved and went for an air purifier that migrates around the house; Berkeley smells lovely out of doors but our place has a slight unkillable must-funk, especially in winter when you want to leave the doors shut. Then I discovered that putting the air purifier in the bathroom compensates for my periodic laziness about the catbox.

Right now we are living in the El Raval district of Barcelona (Arabic for "smells like pee"), because it is the affordable; most of the city has nicer marine air and rates high on the walkability index if you discount the crowds of young Brits in "Spanish Sex Instructor" T-shirts.