Wednesday, June 23, 2010

can I tell you something nasty?

Something really gross that will make you squirm.

To get home from my new job, I take the R train one stop to Union Square and then change to the N. I go to the very last car on the N train, because one time when I was in that car I ran into H. coming home, and since then I always hope to run into him again. So, I stand and wait for the N at the end of the platform, and at the end of the platform is a mystery door. A few days ago while staring blankly at that door I spotted a nasty rat pop out from underneath! Yuck. But a rat in the subway is hardly a special occasion in NYC, so I didn't really think much of it, but made a mental note to not stand too close to the Rat Door.

A few days later I was back on the platform staring at that door, and out popped 2 rats. Ew. Two rats in one place! Rats sure like that Rat Door.

Yesterday evening as I made my commute I decided to spend the entire time I waited on the platform staring at the Rat Door. Oh. My. God. Guess how many rats popped out of that nasty door of hell?!?! FIVE. FIVE RATS. I have never seen that many subway rats in one place, and on the platform! My previous record was four rats on one platform.

Rats have a place in the world: and that place is on the subway tracks. I have no problem with them when they know their place, but when they're on the platform I find them quite offensive.

Tonight, I took my place on the platform and watched that door. 3 rats out, 2 rats in. They might have been the same rats, I can't identify them. As I stared and squirmed, and inched away without taking my eyes off the door, a subway janitor passed me with a trolley full of garbage bags and headed for Rat Door. Oh. My. God. That is a subway garbage room: a rat dining hall. I became worried that when he opened that door a parade of well-fed nasty vermin would come spilling out, rubbing their full bellies and picking their teeth with a toothpick.

I stepped back a few more feet and watched. The subway janitor even looked apprehensive about approaching the Rat Door. Shivers. He pushed the door open, looked suspiciousli inside - without goin g in - and threw his garbage bags in there. The subway janitor wouldn't even go in that room. I wouldn't go in that room unless I had some air-tight space-suit on. Ugh.

Why do I stand near that door and watch it when I know what nasty lies behind it? I don't know. Probably for the same reason that my favorite book about NYC, and possibly my favorite non-fiction book ever, is the wildly disgusting Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants, by Robert Sullivan.

 Shiver me timbers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the troublesome N and other adventures

It wasn't like the credenza was the end. I've just been a bit lazy about writing.

Now, where to start? Since I last wrote, I left my former job, and then had a week of being a housewife. You'd think I would have taken the time to write during that week of unemployment, but I was so busy watching hours and hours of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Busy times, see. I also found time to do some laundry, make a fancy mushroomtastic lasagna, spend a day with an old friend and change my name.

If you're ever in a position where you may want to change your name, my advice is DON'T. What a ridiculous experience. Or, I should say - if you live in New York City and you're getting married and thinking about taking your husband's last name, but maybe you're still a bit unsure? Just do it when you get your marriage license. There's a box you tick to change your name on the day you get married. This is the easier and cheaper way to do it. I didn't do that, and now I'm about $200 poorer and have lost hours of my life.

First of all, you have to go to the courts to change it. And when they say "courts", they mean you will sit in a court for hours while actual court cases are happening and wait for a judge to approve your name change. But it doesn't even start there. The first day I went (this is in Brooklyn, by the way, since I read its faster if you do it in Brooklyn), I arrived at the clerk's office about 3pm with all my papers downloaded directly from the weird robo-program the city has set up, all notarized, money in hand. Turns out that, even though the clerk is open until 5pm, you can only change your name until 2pm. Blah. But more annoying, the animated characters on the city's website who tell you how to change your name don't mention that if you're taking your spouse's name you have to have his consent, and that consent has to be notarized too. Also, you have to bring a bill to show your address, and make copies of all your forms. So, the website doesn't even tell you fully what you need. Double blah. So, a few days later I went back, notarized forms, money and copies in hand. I filed my papers with the clerk, and was sent down to another floor to pay the cashier, and back up to the clerk to stamp some things, and then I was sent to court. Now, I had arrived at 9am, as soon as they opened, filed everything and paid within 20 minutes, and arrived in the court by 9:30, only to learn that the judge doesn't arrive in court until 10:30. So, even though the name changes are done between 9am and 5pm, there is no point in arriving before 10:30 because the judge doesn't get on the bench until 10:30! So, I sat and waited in a court full of people and lawyers for an hour until the judge arrived. But all those other people in the court had been called to court for real court cases. The roll call told me there were 32 cases that day (though not everyone had showed up) and I sat through 3 hours of cases waiting for the judge to approve my name change. And she did. And it wasn't over. After she approved my name change, I had to go back to the clerk's desk and file my papers again. And it still wasn't over. My name change wasn't official until I published my change of name in a paper, received an affadavit of publication from the newspaper, and went back to the desk to file that. So, my change of name was published a week later in the Brooklyn Eagle (which I had to pay for), and I finally, officially, had a name name this past Friday. If I had checked off that stupid box when I got my marriage license I wouldn't have had to do anything, and it would have been free. But now I have a new name!

With a new name is a new signature. Have you ever thought about this? The signature you've always had is no longer your name. I've been practicing the new signature, and the new last name starts with N. The troublesome N. I can't make it look smooth and natural. Every time I sign my new name I have to very slowly write the last name because it hasn't become natural to me. It's getting better though.

In other news, I started a new job yesterday. New name, new job. That is all. Is that a good excuse for two weeks of silence?
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