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Excerpt from Verified Purchase by Jessamyn Hope

Verified Purchase by Jessamyn Hope

Excerpt

 

MATING IN CAPTIVITY: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence (Paperback)

 Impossible Read — Literally
Reviewed in the United States on March 30, 2020
Verified Purchase

My wife and I were doing perfectly fine — a perfectly happy couple —
before the coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, we simply haven’t handled it
well, being cooped up together in an apartment with only two small rooms,
namely a bedroom barely big enough for a bed, and the other room, aka the
TV-kitchen-dining-room-and-now-home-office. It doesn’t help that these
cramped quarters are suffused with bleakness, especially at night, overlooking 
as they do Bleecker Street, normally a source of so much light and
noise with all the honking cars and the tourists shouting their way in and
out of the famous bars and restaurants. Now the windows connect us to a
deathly still scene. Streetlights illuminate empty sidewalks, traffic lights blink
for no cars, and every establishment is shuttered. For sixteen days neither one
of us has left these two rooms, so is it any wonder that we’re slightly irritable
with one another? Unfortunately, like a feedback loop from hell, our biggest
bone of contention is whether or not to leave these rooms. My wife wants
to go for a nightly stroll, and I don’t want her to. I don’t want her riding up
and down an elevator shared by four hundred other people so she can be the
only jerk out there, flaneuring the streets. The authorities have begged us to
not leave our homes unless it’s absolutely essential, because over a thousand
New Yorkers are dying a day, so many the morgues cannot handle it, and
freezer trucks are humming outside hospitals — but, wouldn’t you know,
this only makes my wife want to go out more. Among the places she wants
to stroll past is St. Vincent’s (or whatever that hospital is called now), so she
can see history with her own eyes. Frankly, I know my wife, and she would love,
on some level, to witness a cadaver being carried to a freezer truck. That’s
how close she’s willing to flirt with COVID. Our fights have reached such a
pitch that we would do couples counseling, but we aren’t comfortable doing
such a thing on Zoom. (In full disclosure, I can hear her correcting, “You
aren’t comfortable.”) So, I bought this book — not a “save your marriage”
book, because my wife and I are nowhere near divorce — just a book that
might help. MATING IN CAPTIVITY appeared on many “couples therapy” lists 
and seemed apropos, seeing as we are currently in genuine captivity and 
haven’t  been mating. The reason I give this book one star, however, is 
because I could not read it. The print is too small. I don’t know what the 
designer was thinking making the font so miniscule. This book was literally 
unreadable.

One person found this helpful.

 

HYPER-HERBAL DEFEND — New for 2020! — Emergency C Immune
with Zinc — Best Immune Defense All-Natural Immunity Booster with
Elderberries, L-Glutamine, Echinacea, Turmeric, Vitamin C and E

 One pill a day or two? Who knows?
Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2020
Verified Purchase

This is the third review I am leaving in a matter of weeks to complain about
the type on a bottle or tube. Yes, it is dawning on me that I may require
reading glasses — oddly, no one ever warns you that reading glasses are in
your future. I had always assumed some people came to need them, some
didn’t; but the truth is everyone needs them by their mid-forties. This
means many Americans have trouble reading print of a certain size — indeed, 
more have trouble than don’t — and so here is the question: Why
then does HYPER-HERBAL DEFEND and every other company make the
print on their products a size most Americans cannot read? I could understand 
tiny print on the instructions for skateboards, but immune booster
pills? Fiber gummies? My wife couldn’t read the print on a bottle of fiber
gummies and, well, don’t ask me how that went in our small apartment
with its one cubbyhole bathroom. For years she has lobbied to move to
Brooklyn, where we could afford more space, but this smell assault apparently 
wasn’t a pressure tactic but merely due to illegibly teeny type causing
the consumption of too many gummies. Please stop making the majority of
your customers feel defective. It is ageist. It is, both in form and function, a
micro-aggression.

1080 people found this helpful. 

 

OOH-LA-LA Reading Glasses for Women and Men —
(Flexible and Lightweight) Plastic, Fun, Stylish, Tiger Print

 shnazzy, indestructible 
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020
Verified Purchase

I noticed trouble reading for the first time about five months ago. It was
actually the last day I worked before COVID closed my studio. I am (was?)
a coach at a *boutique tumbling school* (picture Cirque de soleil lessons
for rich tweens) and I suddenly couldn’t read my stopwatch. Because my
husband obviously needed readers too, I bought two of these. Sure, we could
wear more staid glasses like the ones I almost bought in Bloomingdales
(Stage 2 re-opening, Yaaaay!!) But then I was like if you have to age, why not
make it fun, right? Like what’s the alternative?? I just thought it would be
funny if we had matching tiger-print glasses, so while he was on the couch
holding his papers as far away from his face as possible, I gave him his pair
while wearing my own and cried “TWINSIES!” Normally I wouldn’t tell
Amazon what happened next, but I saw what my husband for no good reason
told the world in his review of an immune booster and he doesn’t even use a
nickname like I do, so in short, my husband went TOTALLY BALLISTIC!!!
He took the glasses and tried to break them in two, but he couldn’t!!! Because
their amazingly BENDY! His face got all red and in frustration like a 2 year
old child, he threw the glasses at the wall, screaming he wished I’d never left
Toronto. He said I was proof that not all Canadians are polite and considerate
hahahaha, like those are his words (*I’M* not polite?!) while he’s violently
stomping on the glasses. Bit of an overreaction, eh? But the glasses . . . they
survived it all!! So five stars for being spiffy AND totally unbreakable!!!!

1502 people found this helpful

 

NIOSH Certified Makrite 9500-N95 Pre-Formed Cone Particulate
Respirator Mask, M/L Size (Case of 240 Masks) — Prioritized for organizations on 
the front lines responding to COVID-19

 Nowhere else to turn
Reviewed in the United States on June 25, 2020

No, this is not a verified purchase. I never had these masks. No one can get
these masks. So why am I reviewing a product that was never in my possession?

It’s pathetic, I know, but I simply have nowhere else to turn. It’s been months
since I’ve seen a friend, not that I have an especially close one. I’ve never had
a “best friend” in adulthood — aside from my wife. It’s been decades since I
telephoned someone just to talk and don’t know anyone’s number by heart
anymore — again, aside from my wife’s. And I’m not on social media, but
even if I were, would I really post such a thing for people who know me?
Would I really make my status update: “My wife couldn’t care less if I died”?

[SIDE NOTE: I’m rereading this “review” before hitting submit, and I find
my divulgence here worse than pathetic, and yet had I known when I started
writing that an Amazon review could be up to 5,000 words, I would’ve cried
into this glass for much, much longer.]

The very morning retail stores reopened, my wife hurried off and spent
hours in Sephora, the Nike flagship store, CB2, and Bloomingdale’s. When
she claimed she had gone to that last store (Bloomie’s, as she calls it, her 
favorite store) for me, to buy me a pair of reading glasses, I am embarrassed 
to say that I had a meltdown. A bona fide crackup.

I hesitate to mention 9/11. Maybe it’s in my head that people don’t want it
brought up, that it makes them roll their eyes and think ‘not that again,’ but
that event is pertinent here, having happened only one month after I met
my wife. Olivia. I remember those minutes I first met Ollie better than any
other minutes in my life. I was returning to the building where I was an office 
temp, a magnificent art-deco building on Broadway, not far from the
towers, which had this spectacular vaulted foyer of marble and brass that
made me feel important, despite my lowly status. In the end that temp job 
as a proofreader at a pharmaceutical company became my career (I’m now
senior medical copyeditor), but on that hot August day I was still a twenty-
something aspiring novelist when Ollie plowed into me. Yes, plowed into
me, like a scene from a screwball rom-com — one of those rom-coms Ollie
would later tease me for liking as much as I do. I had just stepped off the 
sidewalk to cross Broadway, carrying a book (fittingly: Syd Field’s “Screenplay”)
and the baked potato I bought every lunch hour, when she came torpedoing
down the street on her rollerblades, and I just couldn’t jump back in time.
My potato and book went flying as she bounced off me and landed on her
bum — that was the charming word she used as she sprung right back up
and brushed it off. “No prob,” she said, “I land on my bum for a living.” She
explained that she had recently moved here because — and, boy, did this
make my head spin with excitement — she was a stuntwoman. Having been
a gymnast in her childhood, she had parlayed those skills into doing stunts
for all the American productions filming in Toronto, and before long she was
in such demand that work brought her to New York City.

I know it is no longer politic to say so, to admit how much her beauty was
behind my attraction, but — what can I say? — it was not only her being
a stuntwoman that made me lightheaded, but that she had the body to go
with it. I could barely think straight in the presence of those shapely legs
balanced on the lime-green rollerblades; the skintight blue biker shorts; the
long brown braids hanging out of the helmet; the thick lashes around her
golden-brown eyes. After getting her number, I watched her race off toward
Bowling Green, so stupidly and beautifully uncareful. Within the space of
one block, she dodged a pothole, cut in front of a yellow cab, and zipped past
a truck, expertly ducking her head just in time to avoid its sideview mirror.
When she flew around the corner and out of sight, part of my heart followed
her. Not all of me reentered the office building that day. Some of me was
carried off by Ollie on her rollerblades.

A few weeks later, I was at my desk when there was a rumbling — a rumbling
like the tip of Manhattan Island was breaking off — everything shook, and
the lights cut out. I had noticed while biking to work the fire raging out of
one of the towers, but had chalked it up to a faulty wire in a coffee or Xerox
machine. I biked over the papers and photos that had fluttered out of the
tower without ever considering not continuing onto work. It never occurred
to me that it could be anything as terrible as a bomb, because I was young
and American, and that’s the way young Americans at that time felt about the
world. But now my boss was running past in the dark, screaming that a tower
was coming down.

Since I had no way to see what the rest of world was watching on television,
I pictured the top floors falling off like a ball of ice cream from a cone, 
splattering onto the city, so I joined all the people rushing down the stairs and
collecting in the lobby. We all crowded in that magnificent lobby, unsure
what to do, staring through the fancy brass and glass doors at a blizzard of
white dust. It was only then that I heard about the airplanes. When the dust
began to fill the foyer — or maybe when I began to think “What would Ollie
do?” — I charged out of the lobby and into the whiteness outside. A minute
later, another rumbling shook the world, and I curled into a ball against the
sidewalk, very close to where Ollie had collided into me, and felt the debris
of the second tower pattering against my back.

After that, it was impossible to see: parked cars, the baked-potato stall, other
people appeared as shadows in the dust. I’m not sure how long it took me to
get out of the cloud, but I wish I could say that I hurried. I really wish I could
say that I hadn’t been so young and stupid and taken my time getting out of
there, that I hadn’t run up and down Wall Street and Liberty Street, but I did,
because not only was it mesmerizing to witness the world transformed so
abruptly, but I kept thinking, “God, I can’t wait to describe this to Ollie!” I’m
afraid I even thought: “She is going to be so jealous of this.”

In the days after 9/11, when the smoke was still visible from anywhere in
the city, including the streets around Ollie’s apartment in Brooklyn, I have
to admit I wasn’t only devastated. Yes, I was sad and angry, and, yes, I felt a
renewed devotion to my native city; and Ollie, too, was sad and angry, and
felt that living through this crisis had fast-tracked her to being a true New
Yorker; but most of our attention was on each other. On some level, my 
wandering through the dust, the hole in the skyline, the missing-person posters
taped all over town were just the most exciting backdrop for our falling in
love.

But now I’m older and well aware that disasters aren’t things that happen
only to other people and in other countries. Now I read about how the cancers 
caused by the chemicals in the dust can take twenty years to develop,
and I worry. I imagine the microscopic splinters of asbestos from the towers
lodged in my lungs, inflaming the surrounding cells, and I fear I wouldn’t do
well with a respiratory virus. I’m afraid the odds of sidestepping two historical 
calamities aren’t good. In plain English, I’m scared. I’m very, very scared.
And it hurts that my wife responds to this fear with a spiel about “weighing
the risks and benefits,” insisting I have a far greater chance of getting killed
by a speeding taxi than by her picking up COVID from an alfresco brunch
with her friend Barbara. That’s all very fine, but everyone knows — especially 
her, she built her career on it — that risk and the perception of risk aren’t the 
same thing. And I’ve explained to her that I’m not afraid of dying as much as 
I’m afraid of dying from taking an unworthwhile risk; I’m afraid of spending 
my last days alive thinking, I’m dying now because of a trip to Bloomingdale’s.

When at last I got up the courage to tell Ollie that I was beginning to worry
that COVID might ruin us, to my surprise she laughed. A sad sort of laugh.
Then she said COVID wasn’t to blame for our discord. The pandemic, she
sneered, was just the most exciting backdrop for our falling out of love.

Those words — God, it hurt to hear them. But once my wife said the worst
aloud, I knew she was right. For a year or so I had felt so strange and irritable
and didn’t know why, but now I understand it’s because I’m whole again.
Painfully whole. That part of me she had rollerbladed off with nineteen years
ago, I have it back. 

 

To read more of "Verified Purchase" order your copy of issue 293 today! 

 

Comments

Fun and clever story. Also, I asked my friends and my wife, they verified that I am fun and clever, too. I'm pretty much a 5 star

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