Lisa Birnbach's Five Things That Make Life Better on Feb. 1, 2019
By Lisa Birnbach
Hello friends and countrymen. How are you faring in this polar vortex? Are you staying warm? Staying indoors? Getting cabin fever? Binging? Sometimes Mother Nature needs to rear her head and remind us that above all, she is in charge. And she is. We are at her mercy. So let’s not get in her way, and accept what she has offered. Or get on a plane and fly someplace warm while our TSA workers are back on the job. 1) My new pajamas. I recently bought them online and they have jumped to the head of the line. You know how clothes can do that sometimes? A new favorite surprises you. These are made by Eberjey, and though I thought they would feel more like cotton flannel, they are poly- modal, which means they hold their shape better. (But they are not natural. I wonder if they make something like this in all cotton?) It’s not easy to find a short-sleeved top with long pajama pants. (I’ve tried; I know.) 2. City mapper app. Don’t laugh, but growing up in New York in the 1970’s (yes, I’m old) I never took the subway. I took the bus (which was like watching paint dry; in other words s l o w). Citymapper is great for me; it estimates how long every option will take, how many calories you will burn for each (in an Uber? Not too many), and they even tell you which subway exit to use in case of rain. But they won me when they estimated how long a trip would take by jetpack. It makes me laugh every time I use the app. I loved Stophop, but I think this is even better. And I just learned they have apps for other cities as well — Boston, Philadelphia, London, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Copenhagen, and more! I never hear anyone talk about City Mapper, but I think it’s great. 3.) Flannel-lined jeans. I bought them for my fella, and made myself a little jealous in the process. Please let me explain. I don’t mind the winter if it’s moderately sunny and I’m properly and warmly dressed. I am a person who wears long silk underwear for much of this season. But getting undressed at the gym and wherever else I get undressed — (none of your beeswax) — and dressed in the winter is such a long and exhausting drag. Lined jeans make so much sense. I ordered mine from “Old Reliable” — L.L. Bean. I didn’t even open the package until today, when the wind-chill made New York feel like -5 degrees Fahrenheit. They are great. I’ll wear them again tomorrow. Men, women, and children can get lined pants — lined in flannel or fleece from many places. Everyone in the Midwest should buy lined pants and long underwear and then when you’re all toasty and warm, resolve to not go outside until your thermometer shows a balmy +7. Okay? 4) . “Gatz,” The Elevator Repair Company’s 8 hour production of (the entirety) of The Great Gatsby. I missed this when it was first produced at The Public Theater, but my Exhibit learned it was coming to Skirball Center, the performing arts venue at NYU. The lights go up on an office, one from the 1980s — large ugly computer monitors and hard drive boxes, ugly file cabinets, the sound of a constant whoosh of traffic through the doors. Eventually, when an office worker has trouble starting his computer, he pulls out a copy of “The Great Gatsby,” and reads it. Word for word. Eventually his co-workers become Daisy and Tom, Jordan, Muriel, and Jay Gatsby. There are several intermissions, including a 90 minute dinner break, but it’s almost worse breaking the spell and going out to find food. Though the set remains fixed, within short order, you think you’re seeing Gatsby’s estate in East Egg, or Myrtle’s squalid apartment, or Nick’s modest house. It is an extraordinary experience. The best part is the evocative writing of F. Scott Fitzgerald. No co-writers, no rewriters. 5) . Majorities may come and majorities may go, but Robert Mueller, deliberate and calm, is reviewing all his files and depositions. Slow and steady wins the day. And now, The Five Things that Make Life Better for E. Jean Carroll!! 1) Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. A little trick E. Jean learned from a former boyfriend who was an Olympic swimmer. Vaseline protects the skin and she slathers her face and body in it year round. It would explain her good skin. 2) . Ezekiel Bread, Genesis 1:29 bread. It’s all organic and alive! Filled with sprouted seeds of all kinds. It’s a “seed cake,” as was mentioned in the work of Jane Austen. Ms. Carroll spreads hers with organic peanut butter. Find it in the freezer section of your grocery store. 3) . Hey ladies, who doesn’t appreciate their hair color? E. Jean’s favorite is Feria by L’Oreal. She likes their conditioner. 4) Her Pellet Stove. This is a new one for me, a small home stove (with chimney) that .burns pellets of compressed saw dust, that would be otherwise be trash. This little stove heats Carroll’s entire cabin, is much cheaper than her wood stove, and is better for the environment. 5) A three way tie: The Good Place, a welcome part of E. Jean’s evening. She watches one episode before retiring for the evening. “A show about ethics!” Anthony Powell’s superb set of t2 novels, Dance to the Music of Time, which she listened to on audio. “You’re in for 3 delightful months, I promise you. But she broke the tie with her absolute favorite for Number 5: Nancy Pelosi! “She’s firm!” Stay warm, no seriously — stay warm and act natural!