Claudia Sternbach

Claudia Sternbach
Santa Cruz and New York, CA and NY, USA
April 23
Memoir Journal
Claudia Sternbach is the Editorial Board Chair of Memoir Journal and Editor in Chief of their celebrated publication Memoir (and). She has also worked as a columnist and feature writer for more than fifteen years, and has written often for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner. She has been published in Redbook Magazine as well as several anthologies. Her first memoir, "Now Breathe" was published by Whiteaker Press in 1999. Her latest memoir "Reading Lips, a Memoir of Kisses" will be published by Unbridled Books in Spring 2011. When she is not in the office, Claudia may be found dividing her time between her two hometowns: Santa Cruz, CA and New York, NY.


Claudia Sternbach's Links

JULY 17, 2012 12:16PM

Easy Picking

Rate: 1 Flag

They got me. My guard was down and they pounced.

I had had one of "those" days. I am in New York City where I spend most of my summer every year. We are enjoying our fourth heat wave of the season. I do not complain about said heat. I only mention it in passing. In any case, I sat down at my desk and began to work when my computer, my life line to all things I need, went dark. Remained dark.

I begged it to come back to life. It refused. I tried using other electrical outlets as if that would solve the problem. It did not. I closed it up. Opened it up. Closed it again. But it was as if it had a mind of its own and had decided it was owed a vacation in the Hamptons and had jumped on the bus headed to the shore.

Denial works only so long. I loaded up the cranky beast and got on the subway headed for Grand Central Terminal where there is an Apple store. I looked at the bright side. Visitors come from all over the world to stand in Grand Central and gaze up at the clock. The beautiful ceiling. The architecture. And now they may also get their computers doctored when necessary.

A very helpful young man pushed buttons, clicked, shut down and started up and in the time it would take me to polish off a half dozen oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar I was up and running. Two hours after leaving my desk I was back at it.

Then I noticed my phone had been very quiet. Putting on my glasses I looked carefully at the screen. It stated I had no service. I elevatored down to the first floor and stepped outside. No service. On the corner, in the heat, no service. Two blocks away, still nothing. I went in search of an AT&T store. The sidewalks were shimmering. I wondered if sweat had clogged my phone.

There were two people ahead of me in line. We each were experiencing the same silence. A lovely man wearing a turban fixed each of our phones, shrugging. It happens sometimes, he said.

By late afternoon I had gotten very little work done. I was to meet a friend to see the newest Woody Allen film at the theater across the street from Bloomingdales. I was early. I stepped inside the store.

This is where they got me. I was low hanging fruit and they plucked me like an over ripe kumquat.

Had a hard day, one of the young women asked.

Let me give you some pampering, another offered.

Oh please. I have run through this obstacle course before. I am a part time New Yorker. So why, oh why, did I plop my ass in the chair they offered. Why did I listen as they told me how cute I was? How nice? How much I deserved some special treatment at this point in my day. In my life.

I blame Apple. I blame AT&T. I blame the heat. I wish I could blame the tequila but I hadn't yet had even a sip. That came soon after, however. As I showed my friend Linda all the new beauty products on which I had just spent a week's salary.

Other than the stunned and guilty look on my face, I believe I never looked lovelier.

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