Showtime

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Forty-five minutes until midnight.

The young man with the Alvy Singer glasses and the hair and innocence of Marty McFly chooses a seat in the exact center of the Art Deco theater. Followed closely behind him is a woman with the mischievous eyebrow of Scarlet O’Hara and a bag of popcorn in her hands. They sit in the near-empty room with their faces turned to each other, whispering. The lights are dim and the seats are red and plush. Golden sculptures of Greek gods look down on them from the walls. “Abilene” coos over the speakers. The flirtation is there and the mood is set.

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Sharp!

Just after sunrise, on what would become a sweltering June day, I walked briskly past unopened venders at Tokyo’s Tsujiki Market searching for the place where my friend Paul and I could sign up to watch the infamous five o’clock-in-the-morning tuna auction. At an unassuming street corner, a man in uniform, who later would with a bow, graciously refuse having his photograph taken, shook his head and said “Sold out.” The man allowed no time for the disappointment to set in; he quickly handed me a map to help us navigate the rest of the market and looked around for the next group of tourists he could turn away. I scanned the map for a few minutes before realizing it was entirely in Japanese, and remembered I can’t read Japanese.

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The Girl Who Loves The Boy Who Loves Clutter

Sue and ben

The sign promises “Free Stuff” and our brisk walk is put on hold so Ben can rummage through someone else’s crap on the side of the road. He seeks treasures in these boxes but I do not join him as he browses. I throw the word hoarder at him but he chooses to let it bounce off him and he walks away from the pile with a new book, trinket, or toy in his hand and he offers me his other.

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The Truth About My Marathons

I am not a runner but I have signed up for two marathons.  It is my sister Caroline who is the runner of the family.  We live in different cities so I monitor her progress on her Facebook page: a trophy wall, essentially.  Her statuses boast times from her latest races and friends post congratulatory messages. Her pictures show her at the finish line, her thin brown hair sitting atop her head in a tousled, sweaty bun and her mouth set in a proud smile.  Caroline tells me that I could be a runner too — I just need to commit.

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After Girls, Revisiting Tiny Furniture.

A girl is in her kitchen. She is hopeful, but ultimately unconcerned, that her t-shirt will cover her plump, round bottom. Her sister and mother seem overwhelmed by her return home. In her absence, they have fallen into a certain serene way of living that her late-nights, laziness and near-naked lower half seem to disrupt.

The scenario, while it sounds a lot like Lena Dunham’s film Tiny Furniture, is actually what moving back home was like for me. So when I saw the film version of my life while living it, I was agog.

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Going Home

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Seated on the main street of Warren, Rhode Island, rightly named Main Street, is The Coffee Depot. It is the only cafe in this small town – unless you include the three Dunkin’ Donuts– and is run by my mother. The cafe is a small town gem; an espresso bar housed with a La Marzacco espresso machine with a wide array of artisanal breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies. It is spacious, painted warm shades of topaz and chocolate-brown, the floors are polished hardwood, the counters topped with copper, and the paneling and bookshelves are deep mahogany. The ceilings are high and the painted piping that protrudes seems to be there for aesthetic purposes rather than functionality. Paintings and photographs adorn the walls, an uncensored outlet for amateur artists that change monthly.

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Forget the iPhone, Let’s Candle Gaze

Photo Credit: Kayla Hood

My mother is a yogi, a natural contortionist with an appetite that obeys Ayurveda doctrine. When I was in high school, I thought it was embarrassing. I brought friends home and instead of allowing us to turn on the television or huddle around our family computer, she’d turn off the lights, light a sole candle, place it in the middle of the floor, and ask us to sit with her and gaze at the flame. My friends loved Mary, she was unlike their own embarrassing mothers, so they were happy to candle gaze for the night. I was more resistant.

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Let There Never Be A Last Picture Show

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I am tired of the multiplex. The chairs may be comfortable but the experience as a whole is not. There is no warmth. No friendliness. On a Friday evening, ticket lines loop around the lobby, no seat is left empty and still the experience is lonely, solitary business. We avoid each others’ elbows on armrests, we are irritated by someone’s ‘excuse mes’ on the way to the bathroom, and we shoot furious glares at those responsible for the accidental kicking of one’s seat. Post-film banter with fellow moviegoers is non-existent. It is as if we go to the theater thinking we are headed to our living room and are distraught when we find a naked fat man on our sofa.

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