Wednesday, June 28, 2006


For the second time in as many months, I lost my ATM card at THE SAME ATM branch of my bank. I think it's because at this branch's particular machines, I don't SWIPE the card; the machine actually EATS it, and then I forget to take it after the machine ever so politely (and silently) spits it back out. Or: I'm losing my mind.

Last time this happened I realized later that day, when I checked my wallet, that I'd lost the card. I called my bank in a panic to cancel the card, and found out that no one had tried to charge anything with it. Phew! Close call!

THIS time, however, I had NO IDEA I'd lost the card until my bank called very early in the morning to report "suspicious activity". It was only when I checked my wallet and saw that the card was gone did I realize that, yup, I'd left it at that bad-luck ATM and someone had taken it. And USED it!

What was the "suspicious activity" that made my bank think "Oh! This CAN'T be Megan making all these charges! It's just NOT LIKE HER!"?

I believe it was popcorn, candy, and slushies.

When I spoke--drenched in the anxious, early morning sweat that comes with waking up to bad news--to the Bank's Lost-or-Stolen Fraud Guy on the phone, he gave me a rundown of recent purchases.

First, my card went to the movies. Which makes sense, because the ATM where I lost it is basically across the street from a giant UA Theater. There, my card was used to buy about $60 worth of tickets and gift passes. This is something I would NEVER do, but the charges were authorized.

So where did the activity become "suspicious"? The concession stand. See, if you know me, you know that I NEVER BUY CONCESSIONS at the movies. They're so GROSSLY overpriced! I prefer to sneak in my own candy and drinks; I carry a bag the size of a bag-lady's anyway; generally, it's for gym clothes and my computer, but, on occasion, it is a cover for my personal stash of movie junk food. I mean, who REALLY pays $4.00 for a fountain soda or $3.75 for Reese's Pieces? BESIDES billionaires and dummies?!

But actually, yesterday, "me" DID pay those prices! "Me" and my card spent about FIFTY DOLLARS on concessions! FIFTY DOLLARS! Oh, my bank KNOWS me! It knows me GOOD! 'Cause that's the point where it started to go, "Hold on now...This looks like FRAUD!"

I love that my bank knows that I have NEVER spent, and NEVER WOULD spend, $50 on movie snacks. Just a glance at my recent statements would tell you all you need to know about me: I love monthly metro-cards, Trader Joe's, St. Mark's Bookshop, Anthropologie, Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, the Kiehls-Sephora bifecta, and the occasional dinner out. At the movies, I spend the $10.75 on the ticket and THAT'S IT. If it's movie night, then maybe there'll be a charge at a Duane Reade or CVS, for the cost of some candy and a soda. But I am basically a creature of habit, and my habits don't include Doing It Up at the concession stand.

But maybe they should.

Because after I'd stopped having a coronary over my lost card by confirming its cancellation and learning that my bank would cover the fraudulant charges (which, so far, are at about $300 including TWO monthly metro-cards and a Macy's shopping spree), I thought about whoever had used it.

And I realized that whatever little damage was done, someone out there had had an AWESOME afternoon/evening! Maybe this person took their friends to the movies and was like, "Hey, let's get some slushies and popcorn and candy. Let's go ALL THE WAY! Want some $5 nachos?! Hell yeah! Get 'em!" At some point last night, while I was doing my thing, unaware that my card was gone, some strangers sat in an air-conditioned theater, watching a movie (hopefully with a B story involving karmic consequences) accompanied by an abundance of tasty treats! I bet they got a slushy, something I deny myself the pleasure of enjoying because of its cost. So I think I'll start buying overpriced slushies. They are DELICIOUS! I like to mix the blue color and the red color (let's be honest, those aren't FLAVORS you're drinking; they're just COLORS). Yeah: yummy treats, no matter the cost. It's one thing to be thrifty: quite another to cheap out on good time experiences.

Some pleasures are just worth the price. Even if it's someone else's pleasure. And I don't have to pay.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I have a man in my life. Actually, I have The Man in my life. I call him The Man because I don't know his name and also because he is The Man from whom I get one of my favorite things: ice-cream.

The Man is a relative stranger, and I am a relative stranger to him, even though we see each other fairly often! I don't want to be strangers, but neither one of us is doing anything to remedy our anonymity, so I suppose it won't change. I never stray from what I want to order; my preference is consistent, but each time I go to this ice-cream man I must order as if it's the first time I've ever been. It's as if he's never seen me before, and I have to reintroduce myself and say, "Pistachio hot fudge with whipped cream, no sprinkles." I'm not offended that he doesn't remember me -- actually, that's a lie! -- of course, vainly, I wish that he would. I wish I made enough of an impression on him that I could just walk in and he'd KNOW what to give me. That's asking a lot from a guy who gives out ice-cream all day long, but why shouldn't I ask a lot? I'm one of his best customers! That should entitle me to a little extra, right? Some familiarity? A "personal touch?" But no. Of course not. In the world of commerce, as I've come to know it, no one is ever entitled to anything. The Good Feeling is just A Bonus when money, or ice-cream, is changing hands.

I keep going to The Man both because I love his cheap sundaes and also because I'm hoping that one day he will know what I want. But The Man will never ever know what I want, even though what I want stays the same. It's because knowing what I want isn't INTERESTING to him! And I thought a pistachio hot fudge sundae with whipped cream no sprinkles was FASCINATING STUFF! I want to believe that out of all the people he serves, no one else is ordering what I'm ordering, which somehow makes my order special. This is called DELUSION. But I can't help it! The Man is Tops in my book, so I want to be Tops in HIS.

Oh, harumph! He probably doesn't even have a book! But, ah, at least he has ice-cream.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


It's the rare manicure that will inspire a food craving, but it happened to me today!

Some backstory: one of my favorite things to do on the weekends is check out the Young Designers Market on Mulberry Street; held in the the gym of a church, it's like a really cool flea-market for independent fashion and accessories designers. I usually have luck there; this past winter I bought an adorable hand-knitted hat (lost on the subway) and gold pin of a horse (also lost!). And today I bought the best thing yet: The World's Most Fun Manicure!

I walked by a table I had never seen before, one that was showing the most amazing nail-tips I have ever seen. They were basically Kimora Lee Press-On Nails. Decorated with crystals, pearls, lace (!) and glitter, these nails would make a pre-teen girl flip out. And me, as I am basically the world's oldest 12-year-old. I've seriously never seen so much sparkly bling: it was GLORIOUS!

The artist responsible for this awesome nail beauty was a young Japanese woman named Fumi. I complimented her work and asked her how much a set cost. She said it depended on how much crystal she used, because it was real Swarovski. You know what that means: The Good Stuff! So I said, "What can you do for me for $20?" And she said, "Oh, a lot!" Which was the correct answer, and not a lie, because my nails are fucking GORGEOUS you guys! It took about an hour for her to paint and glue pearls, crystals, goldie-dots, and glitter onto my short nails (I didn't get fake tips). Because the manicure took so long, Fumi and I had a lot of time to talk and get to know each other. Which we did. I found out that she's from Tokyo, a city I've been obsessed with visiting for about 3 years because I love Japanese culture, and, especially, Japanese FOOD. Fumi said that big-time nail decoration was big-time Big in Tokyo, but hadn't really taken off in Mainstream America. Yet. I told her I would do everything in my power to make sure it became popular, because really, something so beautiful should be. In exchange, Fumi told me all the really good Japanese restaurants to try in my neighborhood. Which was awesome, because her two favorites, Kenka and Oh Taisho! are MY two favorites! "Cheap beer, cheap cheap!" she said, and I was like, "You know it, sister!"

And then my manicure was done, and I took about 20 of Fumi's cards to pass out to friends, and I told her I would probably need to see her at least once a week until she moved back to Tokyo at the end of August. And then I left and went IMMEDIATELY to JAS mart to purchase two salmon onigiri (filled triangles of sticky rice papered with seaweed), which I ate with my bare, and barely-legal-cause-they're-so-beautiful, hands. And now all I want to do is raise $1.50 glasses of Sapporo at Kenka and shout, "Fumi-san wa TOTALLY ichiban!" So I gotta go. I gotta go do just that.