— ace reporting from the nytimes
I knew I was a 67.5 year old white lady and that 32 year old is lying through her bleached teeth. “Does not stress about life’s little problems?” Be real.
I hate looking at myself through the mirror of targeted ads.
there are worse things than
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothin worse
than too late.
-hank charles bukowski
Thank you, Miss Rumphius.
Today I had to have an anesthetized procedure and am beyond delighted to report that I spent the entire duration of that unawakened state in a dream which combined the worlds of Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco and Barcelona.
I am deliriously beside myself, reliving the now fleeting highlights of my dream and the foggy memories of my attempting to explain Whit Stillman’s oeuvre to the kind nurse who woke me and patiently pretended to listen as she wheeled me back to my room. “See, there’s this guy Whit Stillman. He wrote and made this series called “The Yuppy Trilogy.” I don’t remember the rest of what I said to her and yet I was so focused on coherently retelling my experience that I also have no memory of the wheelchair ride itself.
That same nurse has now asked me to stop writing and hold my pinky finger still. There’s a device connected to it so I really have to must stop writing, she said. But can’t she see I’m writing? I guess I don’t mind. I look very dainty with my finger extended, wearing an open smock and lying in a hospital gurney here, and there, over to my right, is my shortest digit, extended.
Oh, I’d give anything to hear Claire say, “Chalupa,” right now.
I’d always thought Chloe Sevigny was dreamy, but didin’t realize myself capable of so literal an interpretation.
The nurse just told me that it is really time to go. Drink. Ginger Ale and Apple Juice. Those are my choices. This is my life. But what’s a diet soda going to do for me? Nutritionally, that is.
Today I commemorate the one year anniversary of leaving “Wait, Wait” by reposting the final blog post I wrote for the show even though it kind of feels weird to do so:
Sadly, as the seasons come and go, so too must interns. I know I’ll miss working at “Wait, Wait.” I’ll miss refusing to participate in Sandwich Mondays and having to ask Carl to read the egregiously odd voicemails some listeners write for themselves. I’ll miss holding fifteen minute interviews with the Bluff The Listener experts when all I need is a 10-second clip of them confirming their unlikely story. “So, Officer Lemley, how do the other guys in the precinct react to your dressing up like a leprechaun on traffic duty?” (an actual question I once posed to Officer Michael Lemley, a cop with a passion for pedestrian safety, mostly because I was sincerely interested in his unique, holiday-themed law enforcement techniques, but also because what NPR intern doesn’t pretend to be Terry Gross when she finds herself alone in a sound booth for a few blissful minutes every week?) I’ll miss Mike and Ian’s genre-bending, scene-oriented high-fives (stayed tuned to How To Do Everything blog for more on this), and I’ll miss bits like when Peter expressed his doubts about covering last week’s Sasquatch story.
Peter: But Sasquatch doesn’t exist. How can anyone know what to test for? How can you believe this? How do you know?
Ian: Because I interned for him.
Peter: You interned for Big Foot?
Mike (assuming a growling Big Foot voice): Ian, fax this over to the Lochness
Monster and Yeti for me. And get me a non-fat frappachino on your way back from lunch. Please.
The dialog speaks for itself. It’s been great. But before I sign off for good, I have a confession to make. It begins with Mike Danforth’s silver mug, a small stainless steel cup he uses everyday and carries with him around the office, to meetings, to the bathroom, and the like. It’s his token mug. In fact, I’ve never seen him use any other, and on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, he left it on the office’s kitchenette counter unattended.
I had been working on the show for a little over two months at that point and when I saw the mug, I recognized it for the opportunity it was. I had to do something to it, but the only accomplices nearby were the sparse leftover dry goods in the cabinets above our microwave station. And then I saw it. A red and tan plastic Carnation INSTA Blend cylinder of dehydrated milk dating back to the late nineties tucked behind twenty-odd packages of similarly forgotten red pepper flakes. I took the container from its shelf and dumped the powder into Mike’s mug. Guided more by reflex than thought, I poured in ready-to-serve tea water to make the formula dissolve, and soon found myself holding an eerily warm, milky substance that was so weird I briefly considered abandoning the whole shenanigan. But there’s a fine line between being weird and being funny, and if anyone likes to tread it, it’s the people who work at NPR, so I left the filled cup on the counter where I found it and went back to my desk.
A half hour later, Mike came in, holding his mug. I was wearing headphones but turned the volume down so that I could listen to his reaction without having to look up and give myself away.
“Someone put milk in my cup.” Mike announced. His tone was equal parts confusion, amusement, and disgust. “This is so weird.”
Emily got up to take a look. She too voiced concern tinged with amusement. “Maybe it was an accident?” she offered.
“It’s too weird,” Mike replied. “I just don’t get it. Someone put milk in my cup. Who would do this to someone else’s mug?”
Peter and Eva and Ian got up to peer into the cup as well. “Gross,” they said.
Based on their collective comments, I gathered that the mixture had cooled but did not convincingly resemble normal, chilled milk, either. Gross, indeed.
“I got milked!” Mike cried, now indignant. “Someone milked me. Someone just milked me! Who would do this?”
Without meaning to or even knowing he had, Mike christened the prank devised at his own expense. And with the strength of a term coined solely to describe the aberration, I began logging all the times I milked Mike Danforth in the two and half months that followed.
March 20: “Milking” is born.
March 22: Mike leaves his mug on the conference table behind our desks. I slip the mug into my hand and bring it to the kitchen to make the milk solution without anyone seeing me. When Mike comes out to locate his mug, he sees it filled with the frothy white liquid. “Ugh. I just got milked again! But this time it’s warm! It’s like someone microwaved milk and put it in my cup. Who has time to do that?” Emily expresses more concern. “Warm?”
Ian inquires about possible suspects. Eva says something about dairy products in England. I put my headphones on and nod at my screen to make it look like I’m listening to music.
March 26: Mike is guarding his cup more than usual lately, holding it close and high to his chest to reinforce its presence. However, in a post-lunch haze, he slips up and leaves it at his desk to go record a HTDE interview with Ian and Blythe. I wait a few minutes to make sure he doesn’t come back for anything and then make my move. Fortunately the interview is short enough that the liquid is still warm when he returns. “Milked again! And it’s warm again!” He walks past me on his way to dump it out. “I just want to know who’s doing this.”
March 30: While working on my first blog post, I ask Ian if I should include milking Mike as one of the entries. “You’re the one milking Mike?” I nod. “Don’t tell anyone,” he advises. “Play it out as long as possible. And Intern?” I nod again, “I’m proud of you.”
March 31: One of the station managers stops by Mike’s cubicle and chats with him in the hall for a few minutes. I manage to take the mug and fill it up without being seen but find Mike sitting back at his desk still talking to the station manager when I return. I do a one-eighty and, hiding the concoction at my side, take a long, loop around the office to approach Mike’s desk from the opposite entrance. I place the cup on the filing cabinets close to where he was standing only a few minutes earlier and keep walking. Top that, Danny Ocean.
April 13: Today I milk Mike but get no response. Instead, Mike gets up to empty out his cup without saying a word, making the prank significantly less fun. This is too mature for even an executive producer to behave. He’s clearly discussed the situation with his wife and has been advised to ignore the infractions until they go away.
April 27: He breaks! Mike quietly walks into the desk area carrying his milked mug and pointedly dumps the milk substance into Ian’s water bottle while Ian’s away from his desk. When Ian gets back, he’s not pleased to see that he’s been milked, so I dutifully report that I saw Mike do it. Mike and Ian talk it out. Mike is not happy about being milked but Ian is not behind the milking. They take some deep breaths together so their relationship does not suffer. It’s not good to let these things fester.
May 23: It’s the last week of my internship. I get into the office early to finish some research on our Not My Job guest and see Mike’s mug as I walk past his desk. To his credit, Mike successfully ignored all milkings in the month of May. I take the cup to the kitchen area and fill it up one last time. When Mike gets in he brings his mug to the conference table where we’re about to have a meeting. “I’m still getting milked,” he says, almost to himself. Then he confides, “And it’s warm. It’s always warm.”
“Terrible,” I say. And then, because I can’t help myself, “Who do you think is doing it?”
“I honestly don’t know,” Mike says and shakes his head, leaving the mug in between us to begin the meeting.
I’m sorry to have to tell you like this, but I’m the Milker.
To Everyone at Wait, Wait,
Thank you all for everything.
Ben’s keeping his eye on the prize.
Dad: To be honest, college wasn’t that much fun for me. I really didn’t like it.
Yo: Because you drank too much?
Dad: No, I never drank too much. But I was sick a lot.
You are a Bitch.
a bee zee.
a whiny son.
Great false hope and promise
the silk of grand schemes and open hearts
carrying Daydreams of Spring,
of how it will be different this time.
You are a Bad Relationship.
You are That Cycle.
And I let you.
I listen to your first sunny days
I get built up,
an unlikely optimist
bright light and bonny.
I forget what you did last time
What you didn’t do
Who you really are
What you said
and recite instead
the kindnesses of kindergarten poetry.
I put a skirt on for you
A slip to twirl in for you
And you snow.
I let you.
You rain and hail.
Whispers reveal truth in hope
yellow, they grace the ground
You said it would be different this time.
How I believe in this.
A continuation of the people I care about video list.
Go ahead, click it.
To conquer our Wednesdays, “Digital,” by Lettie.
- chapter five: viva espana! [p. 92]
Eric gets what’s going on. He decides to do something big in order to re-motivate his favorite assistant....
- To the victor go the spoils
So, the Lagerfelds (Karl and Choupette) basically dominated ARTINFO’s “Top 25 Fashion Personalities to Follow.” Full...
- chapter three: the contract [p. 49]
Paris, January 1992
In a few months, I’ve moved up in the ranks amongst the interns. Makes sense. I know the...
- chapter three: the contract [p. 51]
I’m already picturing the next interview. Who’s up next on Caro’s list? Two young girls from Efap*, more commonly...