The Great Stacy and Her Apartment Makeover Update

They said it would take three days. It’s been five. AND they’ve been working on one room only (the bedroom) AND actual painting hasn’t even begun. Ah well. I’m hoping against hope that they finish the bedroom and the bathroom today. Hell, I did the bathroom in a day myself in 2008, although at the time I called painting it myself “The Baddest Bad Idea I’ve Ever Had.” The room is so small and the ceiling so high that maneuvering and reaching everywhere was exhausting.

I’m having my final oral surgery tomorrow. If those two rooms were done I could put my apartment back to normal for a day and recuperate in relative comfort. I’m dreading this surgery. I’ve just got nothing left, pain-tolerance and brave-front wise. Sigh. Once more into the breach.

Easter Parade New York City 2013 vs 2012

I was just browsing Gothamist and the photographs they have there of this years Easter Parade down 5th Avenue when I spotted a couple of familiar faces. First, this guy and his dogs. I was sure I took his picture last year and sure enough …

Easter Parade, New York City, 2013

I did! I’m so glad his dogs are still with us. Notice how all three of them got nice new hats.

Easter Parade, 5th Avenue, 2012

Then there was this couple. I was sure I had taken their picture last year too …

Easter Parade, New York City, 2013

And once again, I had! Still looking fabulous, you two. Both of the pictures from this year were taken by Tod Seelie, and I have to concede, his pictures are better than mine. I love how his photographs look up the street and take in Fifth Avenue. It gives them life, and drama, and majesty. Mine definitely look ordinary in comparison. (Must try harder.) (Actually, you’ll probably see me copying the looking-up-the-street thing. The Humans of New York guy prefers that angle as well.)

Oh God, I just visited Seelie’s blog and his photographs are freaking mind-blowingingly amazing. He is so talented. They are breathtaking, Seriously. You to look. Here is the link again.

Easter Parade, 5th Avenue, 2012

Culture Shock

I just read this Times article about a six year old girl in Afghanistan who is being given in marriage to another family in order to clear her father’s debt. (The Times just updated their website to say that a group led by an American lawyer has paid the debt.)

The article brought me back to an afternoon in the 1980’s, when I was working as a telecommunications analyst in the corporate telecommunications department of the Mobil Corporation. I was the only female in the department.

One afternoon a woman was brought to my office. She was my age and I forget what country she came from, but it was some country in the Arab world that Mobil was doing business with. She must have been the wife of one of the oil executives who had come to New York for a meeting.

I am sure that her husband and the head of corporate telecommunications had no idea of what would happen when they dropped her off with me. In terms of women’s rights, the men at Mobil (my immediate supervisor aside, who was great) were kinda stuck in the 1950’s. They probably thought, “She’s a woman, Stacy’s a woman, they have lots in common. Because, you know, like, they’re women.”

Within seconds of their closing the door behind them, we went at each other and we didn’t stop until they came to get her an hour or so later. I barely said hello before she started challenging my feminist ways. I was gentler with her than I normally would have been, mostly because she was terribly defensive and it seemed to me that deep down, she didn’t believe what she was saying. She wasn’t wearing a burka, and she was clearly educated. Also, I was aware that I had been asked to play host and I was in a very awkward position. I didn’t want to offend her.

Her main argument was that she had a nice life and she was always taken care of and protected and didn’t want for anything. To her I was this sad, untaken-care-of woman, fending for herself. I said, you’re not a child, and fine if this is what you want, but you should have a choice and you’d be surprised how great it feels to take care of yourself, to make your own money and to be in charge of everything in your life. Bottom line, each of us saw the other’s life as sad.

After reading this article though, I realize it never occurred to me to make the argument that she was the wife of a wealthy oil executive, and that the wives and daughters of the poor were not faring as well. (Not that we’ve conquered gender discrimination, or that the women in poor families here don’t have troubles too.)

I’d love to see this woman now, to see if we’d have any better luck communicating, instead of just pitying each other. We were both very young. My position, however, is unchanged.

This is a banjo player that I came across in Union Square.