My New Favorite Thing

I would not consider myself to be a wine connoisseur. I know what I like, and know what I don’t like. I know my parents like a nice bottle of shiraz, and therefore, I was raised to like it too.  I know white wine, even when appropriately chilled, makes me cringe and I will only drink it if no other alcoholic beverage is available. I know Franzia makes me want to vomit, as I was never able to “slap the bag.” I know I will never spend more than $20 on a bottle of wine. Why bother when you have so many cheap and delicious options?

“Spec’s” is a Texas chain devoted to wine, beer, cheese and gourmet snacks. It is like the mecca of appetizers and indulgences and is a weekly trip for Zack and I. Picture an entire grocery store devoted to alcohol and it’s complements. Samples include olive oil, bread, prosciutto. Heavenly. Last time I was there, this was recommended to me:

$16.98 for the equivalent of FOUR, yes, FOUR bottles of an earthy shiraz that will stay fresh on your counter for thirty days. And it tastes good. Really, really good. Go buy a box.

soundtracking

When Zack lived in ye olde Penn Tower, we used to make stir fry for dinner with the guys and blast The Band. It’s been two weeks living together and we haven’t made any stir fry, but Zack is whipping me up some of his famous buffalo chicken salad as we speak. This is what’s playing on the stereo.

In his words: “It’s LA pop/rock. Whatever.”

That’s one of the many things I love about Zack…he has absolutely no shame in loving a good, catchy pop song. You should have seen us trying to find the damn song on the internet.

“It’s Igloo and Harley,” Zack said. “Nothing’s coming up.” “Try Igloo and Harly.” “Igloo and Hartley.” “Iglu and Harley.” “No, it’s definitely Hartley.” “Maybe there’s an ampersand? Try it without the E?” “I-G-L-U & H-A-R-T-L-Y.” “Got it.”

Checking In

Yesterday I called the police when I got home from Kroger. Hyde Park and Crocker isn’t exactly the nicest corner on the block. I have been warned not to walk alone after dark- though the crime here most likely will not affect me, I should try to avoid transgendered prostitutes and homeless drug dealers when I can. At night, Zack and I can hear the foot traffic between “South Beach” and “The Ripcord” (the dance club and the leather bar, respectively) every Thursday through Sunday from our bedroom.

If you know me at all you know that I consider myself to be a pretty anxious, overly-worrisome person. I went through a phase a few summers ago after that horrible family-hostage-arson-murder that happened in Connecticut. Every time I heard a rustle or a creak or a door open after midnight I would freak the fuck out. And that was in Devon, Pennsylvania. Now I live in a major city on a drug-hustling corner and the anxiety is rough. The fact that Zack keeps a knife between the mattress and the box spring doesn’t help, surprisingly. We keep the a/c on pretty high (thank god for white noise) but Zack swears he’s heard “hey man, I’m just trying to get my dick wet!” more than once.

So anyway- there is always a strange character or two loitering on the corner. Yesterday I was on my bike (a beautiful Peugeot cruiser we craigslisted from Katy, a suburb) with a giant bag of groceries when I was approaching the corner and heard “Heyy, would you look at dat? Look at you. Look at dat! Mmhmm…” I did not make eye contact. You might think this would be no big deal- and it wouldn’t be in somewhere like Manhattan, where you are surrounded by hundreds of people at every given moment and you probably have some kind of security system hooked up in your apartment building. But it was just me, my bike, the groceries, and the dude. I rode past him, rode past my house. “Wait, girl. Wait! Come back!” I circled the block in the opposite direction and worried that the milk would spoil if I had to bike around too long. The last thing I would want is for the guy to see me walk into my house, or worse walk up to me as I was trying to get my giant cruiser into the front door.

I hid behind the Ripcord til the guy went away. Inside, I got a giant glass of water and texted Zack. “I just got called at for the first time. I thought this was a gay neighborhood? Can you come home now?” He replied, “Are you okay? You know, you can call for police about something like that.”

So I called the police. They came by and called me and asked me to come out of the house. The nice policeman told me he had found the tall, black, blue t-shirted man with stubble that I had described. Would I care to identify him?

And after all of that, I said no. After reflecting on the situation, and standing outside in broad daylight next to the police car, it seemed kind of silly.

“I’m sorry, it’s just, I got freaked out.” I told him meekly. “I just moved here.”

“Do you know what kind of neighborhood this is?”

“Yes…”

“Just be careful. If you want, keep something in your purse.”

“Mace?” I thought to myself.

“A knife,” he said.

Oy.

In other news, I’m trying really hard to make friends. Giada, Rachael, Ina and Sunny of the Food Network aren’t really cutting it, though during these days of unemployment they really inspire me to make delicious meals for dinner. That’s what friends are supposed to do though, right? Inspire, encourage, motivate? Even the Neelys are there for me (though they cook too many pork dishes for my liking.)

I try to talk to girls that look nice everywhere I go. The coffee shop (it ain’t no Webster’s), yoga class, the grocery store. How do I get people to want to be my friend without seeming creepy and weird? Help me.