Posted by Elliot Steingart
With each passing day my hair gets grayer and my jokes, cornier. I accept this transformation as an inevitable fact of life. I'm slowly turning into my father. Spending time with my dad is a study in who I will become.
I waited for my dad to come out of the bathroom at a local coffee shop. He was in there so long my coffee turned decafeinnated. All I could hear was the steady hum of the hand dryer.
“What took you so long?” I asked
“I had to dry my hands,” he said.
Most people can poop in less than time than it takes my dad to dry his hands. Forget if a line is formed to use the one stall bathroom. They will wait for my dad to blow dry his hands. Then they will wait for my dad to figure out where to return the bathroom key.
We sat on bench outside the coffee shop smiling at a Boston Terrier. My dad stood up and extended his espresso underneath the Boston Terrier's nose.
“Want some coffee?” he asked.
The dog's owner looked up at my dad. His eyes modeled his dog's, big and brown, nearly forming an underbite of his own. “Dogs don't need caffeine,” he barked at my dad.
Back home my mom and I sat watching “We Bought a Zoo.” During the film's emotional climax when Matt Damon's son pleads for his father's love, my dad interrupts the scene to share that “The peppermill was invented in 1842” along with other tidbits from a forwarded email.
“We are trying to watch the movie,” I told him politely.
When Matt Damon finally saved the zoo I learned that my dad earned 19 points in Words with Friends.
My parents friends Suzie and Steve came over for a drink before dinner. My dad prepared his signature dirty martinis with a splash of lime juice and poured Steve a shot of Patron Silver. Earlier in the day I gave the bottle to my dad.
“Is Patron Silver any good?” I asked.
“It's shit,” he said. “Anejo is the good one.”
“You're welcome,” I said.
Steve enjoyed the Patron, at least. We finished our drinks, and put on our coats to walk outside. “I'm going to pull out,” shared my dad. “I should have done that 30 years ago,” he added.
At the African restaurant my dad ordered the appetizers. All at the table expressed interest in the Samosas.
“How big are the somosas?” I asked.
The waiter signaled with his hands the same signal that is used to describe someone with a small penis. “Only this big,” he said.
“Ok, let's order two for the table,” my dad told the waiter.
In this scenario the five of us would each get one corner of a three inch somosa. Even the waiter laughed. We finished all ten somosas that we ordered.
At breakfast I asked my dad about which of his new friends he likes the best. He likes Steve because he likes to drink and he likes Richard because he likes opera and computers. I wonder what Steve and Richard say about my dad.
"I like Marc because he feeds Boston Terriers espresso."
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March 8, 2013 | 4:59 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
I am moving down the hall into the apartment of a 91 year old woman who recently passed away. I am sad she died, but it was for a good cause.
My landlord told me she lived in the unit for 30 years.
"She had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital,” my landlord told me.
“Oh,” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that. I used to see her in the hall.”
I would hold the door open for her and she would glare at me. One time a Mercedes filled with old ladies dropped her off. She looked happy as she waved goodbye. When she saw me she made a face because I took too long to find my key to open the door.
“Yes, life happens,” said my landlord. “What can ya do?”
What could I do, but ask about a dishwasher.
“Yes, all new appliances,” she said.
She was not ready to show me the unit because her family needed time to clear out her belongings. I know it was hard for my mom and my aunt to clear out my grandma’s apartment after she died. It was nice of management to allow the extra time. More time for them to clean.
I haven’t told the guy who lives next door that I am moving in. I saw him in the elevator on New Year’s Eve bundled up in warm clothes.
“What do you have planned for the big night?” I asked holding my girlfriend’s hand.
“I’m going to the beach and taking some time to reflect.”
I still don't know what to say to him. I'll think of something once I move in. With my neighbors, I usually go with "shhh."
Moving into a one bedroom will make a difference in my relationship. A studio apartment gets hard for us. When we get in a fight there are barely enough doors to slam.
It's a little weird for me to know the person who lived there probably died there. I guess you have to die somewhere. It's also weird someone will move into my apartment. Yes, it's small, but it's a good unit with lots of nice memories over the past year--the time my mom wanted to know why I was hanging mirrors over my bed, the time the mirror almost fell on my mom, etc.
Though it would be fun to see how the next tenant redecorates my old place, I'm not going to be the guy who knocks on the door, like a cocky sophomore visiting his freshman dorm. Let's hope the same goes for the dead lady. May her spirit rid itself quickly. Spirit Clear.
March 1, 2013 | 3:25 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
I am obsessed with names. Since 8th grade I have kept a Great Name List; a partial list is here: http://greatnamelist.wordpress.com/
Most of the names on the list are hockey stars like Alex Pietrengelo, Marty St. Louis, Corey Conacher, the Canisius College, Golden Griffin. I enjoy repeating names and using various intonations when I pronounce a great name like Jason POMINville, or Pat LAAAAFontaine!
Most of the time it is obvious why a name is great. Take Gil Garcetti, for example. There is a bold, alliterative power to the name Gil Garcetti. He sounds like someone who would put you behind bars which he did a lot of as Los Angeles’ 40th District Attorney. Gil has a son named Eric Garcetti who is running for mayor of Los Angeles.
To go along with his great name, Mr. Garcetti has the clean cut Danny Tanner like image well suited for a mayoral candidate. For the last twelve years Eric Garcetti has served on the LA City Council, spending six of those years as city council president. Representing District 13, Garcetti has helped clean up parts of Hollywood and revitalize East Side neighborhoods like Echo Park and Atwater Village.
I walk down Los Feliz streets like Commonwealth and Talmadge and see the light blue “Eric Garcetti for Mayor” lawn signs. People with lawns support Eric Garcetti as do many others, like the Armenian National Committee of America—Western Region, the Honorable, Dikran Tevrizian, and Jimmy Kimmel. Despite these ringing endorsements and the support of the LA Times, Garcetti has his detractors.
Garcetti is embroiled in allegations that his family’s financial connections in a Beverly Hills oil drilling scandal have jeopardized the well being of neighborhood children. Others say the council president is partially to blame for Los Angeles’s current fiscal troubles. My own Aunt Janice in a recent email told me to vote for Wendy Greuel. HATERS!!
As the LA Times points out, Garcetti might not be the perfect candidate, but his political experience and suave deal making position him as the front runner. I stand with Garcetti in support for extending Metro rails to the West Side, building a football stadium in downtown Los Angeles and creating new tech jobs in Silicon Beach.
I am endorsing Eric Garcetti so the name Garcetti remains relevant long after his time as mayor. If Tom Bradley has his own terminal at LAX, Eric Garcetti needs a terminal at Burbank. We could easily transform The Getty Center into the Garcetti Center. First, let's elect Eric Garcetti mayor.