6.21.2004

asking for money; good clean fun

I just started work as an editor/money manipulator for an independent magazine with a moderate distribution, a sarcastic editorial tone, and a liberal bent. This probably doesn't come as a shock to anybody who knows me in the slightest, but the kicker of this particular Very Cool Job is that the magazine in question is Jewish. Or, rather, is geared at Jewish people. As such, a large part of my responsibilities as money manipulator is the asking of money from other people. Today I spent most of the afternoon on the phone with synagogues all over the country, in theory asking for funds but in practice having a prolonged out-of-body experience in which I watched in horrified fascination as my voice rose a half-octave with every phonecall I made (I think it had to do in part with the chipper smile I was wearing on behalf of sounding peppy and upbeat), culminating in a squeak so profoundly high-pitched that a synagogue secretary (named Mary. They are all named Mary. This is something I entirely fail to understand) in San Antonio, TX (a place where I was unaware Jews had infiltrated) was forced to ask me to repeat "hello" six times. Once my voice descended into the range of human hearing, I botched the pitch and was hung up upon.

In more encouraging news, I have decided to start compiling a list of the best places in Manhattan to use the bathroom. This is inspired in equal parts by my previous post to this site, the book "The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms" by J.P.Dunleavy, and my general loathing of public facilities. Thus,

Good Clean Fun, installment the first
The women's restroom at the main branch of the New York Public Library, on the reading room floor (is it 3?).
Clearly a bathroom that has not been renovated in three quarters of a century, it is nonetheless (or possibly to be expected) a wonderful place of heavy porcelain sinks, dark wood framings, and muddled plaster walls. Almost manly, in this bathroom you can feel the age of the building, and can imagine your grandmothers reapplying lipstick in the mirror before going back to the reading room to stare across the green-shaded lamps at the man who will become your grandfather. It is always - always - cold. If you were four years old and couldn't sleep because your covers were too hot, you would go to this bathroom and lie down on the floor. If Gertrude Stein were alive and had to pee, she would use this bathroom. And then write an indecipherable poem about it, which others would declare brilliant. There is soft toilet paper, and the soap smells like almonds.
Bonus points: if necessary, there is ample reading material on hand.