07.15.23 [on the J train]

i joined the dubious sorority of generations of salty cooperators before me in writing to our building's management board this week, after treadmill adventure #475 in which the dude next to me in our janky old exercise room–on a work call the whole time!–set his incline to everest and grabbed the front of the machine so that it could haul him up the faux hill. i'd walk a parade in matching outfits with this pet peeve; i'd serve it little portions of my own dinner on one of the wedgwood dessert dishes i've hoarded on thrift store walks, would get a memorial tattoo for it if it was capable of dying. hauls like his are bad for him, bad for the machine, bad for me–a 'mill belt loosened thus will eventually start skipping and propel another user facefirst into the control panel, depriving her of her teeth and like maybe causing brain injury? in much more help-me-help-you terms i explained that in my message and offered some bracing national statistics about treadmill injuries, along with assorted pleasantries about how much we love our digs and the building's amenities. all true! our apartment rules and i'll be beside myself when the waters take it in the end times!

so i had a missed call from the president when i got up the next morning that i returned with a voicemail, and in the afternoon i got an email about how i was right and how's this wording for a sign for the gym? i sent praise and friendly tweaks; "stand by for greatness," said they, and scene.

talking about interactions with one's co-op board is probably up there with describing one's dreams,* but hear me out: ours is historically and notoriously resistant to feedback (our annual meetings are like jerry springer flash-forwards, or they were before i stopped attending them), and that last dare i say playful response shocked the shit out of me. i'm not surprised they responded to my note, it was a very good note, but the kicky denouement illustrated what i have started to think of as the mcconaughey principle, or the efficacy of the invitation to participate in cool. this is probably covered more eloquently in getting to yes, but i haven't read it since high school, so: i benefit regularly if not consistently from asking people in various persuasive episodes to join me in my correct and mutually beneficial thinking. i sort of did this back when i was a research chief and a big part of my job was explaining to writers and editors that they were wrong, but it's oakier now, and super-dry correction isn't my kink these days. it works so often! wild!

this might be a riff too far, but i think there's an echo of this in the way that most strangers are really nice to me. there's lots of privilege wrapped up in that, and sinister/shitty reasons why it's advantageous to treat middle-aged, upper-middle-class white women well, but i also think my particular look (multiple visible tattoos and piercings, frequently-vivid hair, punky brewster fits) kind of inspires people to comment on those things or engage with me in a way that implicates them in harmless whimsy. my elderly neighbors in particular love this kind of thing so, so much, internets. we all get to participate in a teal pixie cut and a checkered skort set! take care of yourself, and each other.

*the other night i had an intricate dream about an old-timey western that was also a soap opera set in the titular town of QUARRELWOOD and i might write some imaginary episode recaps for it.


Ray Davis said...

I started thinking it might be fun to visit Quarrelwood, but then I realized: I'VE BEEN THERE ALL ALONG!

lauren said...

i KNEW your evil twin hadn't taken over the saloon after we 'lost' you to consumption!