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Sloane Crosley

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Brits and Americans have hundreds of different phrases for the same thing. Luckily, it’s usually a source of amusement rather than frustration. A flashlight by any other name is still a torch. My personal favourite is ’fairy lights,’ which we boringly refer to as ’Christmas lights.’



In New York, if you weigh under 200 pounds and decline so much as a cookie at a co-worker’s party, women will flock to your side, assuring you of your appealing physique. This is how skittish we are about the dangers of anorexia and the pressures of body image.



The reason that war is such a fascinating subject for writers is because it’s a revealer. Put a bunch of people in an adrenaline-fuelled, life-or-death situation and their fundamental behaviours are exposed, the scrim is taken away and the motivations behind each personality come out to play.



It’s funny. People often compare me to other humor essayists. They’re usually quite nice comparisons I will accept those gladly. But I am always sort of appalled at the idea of being lumped with other, more chick-y female writers. And the truth is probably that neither comparison is accurate.



The truth is, I wrote a novel when I was 23. It’s hideously bad. Truly rotten.



Air travel is the safest form of travel aside from walking even then, the chances of being hit by a public bus at 30,000 feet are remarkably slim. I also have no problem with confined spaces. Or heights. What I am afraid of is speed.



Personal technology has given us the freedom of being able to do whatever we want - and in the case of celebrities and athletes, whomever they want. But it can also serve as a humiliation jetpack.



My mother is a special education teacher but also an artist, and my father an advertising executive. They are about as wacky as you can get without being alcoholics.



My grandmother was a kind of Scarsdale, New York, society woman, best known in her day as the author of the 1959 book ’Growing Your Own Way: An Informal Guide for Teen-Agers’ - this despite being a person whose parenting style made Joan Crawford’s wire hangers look like pool noodles.



If I go into a sandwich shop or anywhere that features ’Today’s specials’ on a chalkboard more than 10 feet away, I have to ask for a printed menu. I smile at people I don’t know on the street and ignore those I do. When at home, I often find myself grabbing my ’back-up’ glasses to search for the better-loved pair I have left on top of my dresser.



The year most of my high school friends and I got our driver’s permits, the coolest thing one could do was stand outside after school and twirl one’s car keys like a lifeguard whistle. That jingling sound meant freedom and power.



Ah, the power of two. There’s nothing quite like it. Especially when it comes to paying utility bills, parenting, cooking elaborate meals, purchasing a grown-up bed, jumping rope and lifting heavy machinery. The world favours pairs. Who wants to waste the wood building an ark for singletons?



A pet store is a celebration of dogs’ existence and an explosion of options. About cats, a pet store seems to say, ’Here, we couldn’t think of anything else.’ Cats are the Hanukkah of the animal world in this way. They are feted quietly and happily by a minority, but there’s only so much hoopla applicable to them.



Ah, the power of two. There’s nothing quite like it. Especially when it comes to paying utility bills, parenting, cooking elaborate meals, purchasing a grown-up bed, jumping rope and lifting heavy machinery. The world favours pairs. Who wants to waste the wood building an ark for singletons?



My grandmother was a kind of Scarsdale, New York, society woman, best known in her day as the author of the 1959 book ’Growing Your Own Way: An Informal Guide for Teen-Agers’ - this despite being a person whose parenting style made Joan Crawford’s wire hangers look like pool noodles.



My personality, when tasked with creating meals, goes something like this: Is there a way we can make this more difficult? Because let’s do that. I don’t mean to complicate things. It’s just - why buy pre-packaged potato salad when you can spend your morning boiling potatoes and flipping out because there’s no dill in the house?



I like to try to do a little work before I do anything in the morning, even if it’s a paragraph.



The year most of my high school friends and I got our driver’s permits, the coolest thing one could do was stand outside after school and twirl one’s car keys like a lifeguard whistle. That jingling sound meant freedom and power.



The Queen of Crafts herself, Martha Stewart, and I have the same birthday. I prefer to think it’s the glue-gun wielding, perfect-tart-producing Martha and not the copper pan-throwing, jail-going Martha. But I suppose if I am going to share a calendar square with some of Martha, I have to share it with all of Martha.



I’m a summer baby, so I usually have my birthday as a good summer memory.



Since graduation, I have measured time in 4-by-5-inch pieces of paper, four days on the left and three on the right. Every social engagement, interview, reading, flight, doctor’s appointment, birthday and dry-cleaning reminder has been handwritten between metal loops.



You can’t possibly fathom the ins and outs of a prepubescent beauty treatment until you’ve felt the strange but exhilarating tingle of a cottage-cheese-and-Pop-Rocks facial.



There’s already a marriage clock, a career clock, a biological clock. Sometimes being a woman feels like standing in the lobby of a hotel, looking at the dials depicting every time zone in the world behind the front desk - except they all apply to you, and all at once.



I was diagnosed with a severe temporal spatial deficit, a learning disability that means I have zero spatial relations skills. It was official: I was a genius trapped in an idiot’s body.



It’s funny. People often compare me to other humor essayists. They’re usually quite nice comparisons I will accept those gladly. But I am always sort of appalled at the idea of being lumped with other, more chick-y female writers. And the truth is probably that neither comparison is accurate.



I think a lot of humor is about distracting yourself. Pretend you’re not trying to make it funny. Because for some reason the effort to be funny smells like sulphur in our culture.



I hope to one day co-sign a lease with another person but, well, it doesn’t plague me that I have yet to do so. Put it this way: I’ve never had to violently tug at my own pillow at 2 A.M. to get myself to stop snoring.



If I go into a sandwich shop or anywhere that features ’Today’s specials’ on a chalkboard more than 10 feet away, I have to ask for a printed menu. I smile at people I don’t know on the street and ignore those I do. When at home, I often find myself grabbing my ’back-up’ glasses to search for the better-loved pair I have left on top of my dresser.



Like most citizens of popular and international urban centres, I don’t take advantage of the cultural opportunities. Perhaps this comes from growing up in suburbia. Home is where you eat, sleep, read, watch television and ignore your parents. It is not where you go to the ballet and then attend a heated panel discussion about it afterwards.



The hardest thing is spending twelve hours a day accommodating the rest of the world, then going home at night and criticizing it. I would be curious about what I’d write if I didn’t have to worry about offending.