Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Life and Times of a Cautious Pedestrian

I don't like to cross the street unless there is a crosswalk. I don't like to cross the crosswalk when a stern, pixelated hand is strongly suggesting that I had better not. How stupid would I feel if I got hit by car, or even almost hit by a car? I'd prefer my demise to come in the form of something more dignified than being squashed under tires, mangled in a metal grille, or splattered against a windshield. And what's the rush anyhow? I can wait two minutes for the light to change and it probably won't alter the trajectory of my day too drastically. It's an exercise in patience to not cross the street when there is obviously, logically, absolutely no car coming but I would rather improve my patience than form habits that might someday render me paralyzed, dead, or worse yet slightly cross-eyed. 

I live in New York City now which means that I have to ignore my street crossing preferences most the the time. Any New Yorkers with whom I might be roaming the streets typically have  no patience for waiting for lights or for walking a half a block out of the way to a cross walk when there is a perfectly reasonable break in traffic to dash across. So I have to shelve my discomfort and buck up when I'm in a group but when left to my own devices I still prefer to play it safe. I walk fairly quickly and I'm small so I can weave in and out of foot traffic without causing too much trouble. You'll often find me standing at the head of a swarm of Asian tourists, with one foot in the street and one on the sidewalk, poised and determined like a general about to bring a very confused army into a very small battle.

I work in the Financial District and I was living in Brooklyn in the summer of 2012 so I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge on several occasions. I figured since I was by myself I wouldn't have too much trouble getting around the tourists and traveling at my preferred speed. Unfortunately there is a logic vacuum that exists within 100 yards of any internationally renowned landmark and the Brooklyn Bridge is no exception despite its status as an functioning bridge in one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the western world. One German girl was sitting on the white line that separates the walking lane from the bike lane so her friend could take pictures-and not just one or two-this was a full blown photo shoot. I don't mind telling you that she was rather corpulent and my sympathy had she suddenly broken through the wooden planks and plummeted into the cars below would have 

It is important to note for those of you not acquainted with the Brooklyn Bridge that the bikers in the bike lane mean business. There are a few spare tourists teetering along but for the most part these are people who bike to and from work. I should also mention that I've only actually been on the bridge twice and I've done exactly no research so my assumptions shouldn't be as statements of truth. A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at 6:00 PM on a balmy summer's eve is by no means a leisurely affair. Unless, that is, you only have your own interests at heart and are either too stupid or too arrogant to acknowledge the present danger and general mayhem you insight when walking five abreast, wandering into the bike lane (or forcing other people to do so in order to pass you), stopping suddenly, insisting on having your professional wedding photos taken when the bridge is at its most crowded, or letting your brood of small children scatter like sentient marbles. 

I think I might walk more than a lot of people since I A) don't drive (planning to start soon maybe if I can find a decent affordable a class!) B) hate NYC busses (I would try to work through this but I'm actually prone to motion sickness and I think it's best for everyone if I don't) and c) would rather walk a few extra blocks than transfer from one subway line to another. Several of the heels on my more comfortable fancy shoes have been worn away to the metal or plastic core. You can tell that I walk with my ankles rolled a bit to the inside because the wear on the heels is set at a noticeable angle. With all the walking that I do, though, I haven't actually adjusted to the New York cross-when-you-can method of bipedal locomotion. That's not to say I don't do it- I just don't ever feel quite at ease with it and I don't think I ever will. We'll see.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It Sucks To Be Me: A Narrative Advisory Against Sub-Leasing

On Friday, Dec 7th 2012 at 6:15 PM I arrived home to my apartment in Brooklyn to find a troubling state of affairs. There was an eviction notice for the lease holder (I had a sub-lease so she's not actually the landlord so I'll just refer to her as L.H from now on) on the door and the locks had been changed. Hmmm. That's new. The eviction notice was dated 12/06 and said that she had 6 days to vacate. I knocked on the door. I tried calling L.H. No response. I also texted and emailed and with each message my undertones expressed an increasing level of frantic rage that she probably missed entirely because  A)English is not her first language, B) she is generally oblivious, and c) she might be on cocaine (more on that later). I tried calling the City Marshall whose number was on the notice. It was Friday night though so my chances of speaking to anyone in any kind of official position were limited at best. I read the notice a few times. Despite the extreme information deficit I was operating under I was pretty sure that whoever changed the locks was definitely not supposed to do that yet. So I called the cops.  I spoke to an officer who told me this was not the Police's jurisdiction. To be specific I yelled at an officer who explained to me that this was no the Police's jurisdiction. I was, perhaps, slightly unhinged at this point. I tried knocking again and cursed myself for not having my roommates' numbers in my phone.

I sat on the stairs and wept quietly for a minute or two before switching gears very rapidly into full-on pissed as HELL mode. I couldn't think of anything else to do for a few minutes so I just paced in circles and tried not to throw up. Had my roommates already been hauled out? Would all of my belongings be ransacked. Was it maybe all a hoax and had my roommates just stolen everything I own, changed the locks and left town? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? I called my boyfriend and left a shaky voiced, cryptic, and undoubtably disturbing voicemail.

An undetermined amount of time later L.H came thundering down the stairs. Apparently she had been upstairs in another apartment and just now got my messages. She was angry and seemed genuinely surprised. She thought it had something to do with one of the recent sub-leasers who was Swiss and had, according to her, been sending her weird emails so she had asked him to find a new place and get out. Again, this was all coming from her and most of what she says makes no sense so it was all very difficult to follow. It seemed unlikely on the surface though. All I really cared about was getting into the apartment so I could see if my stuff was still there.

We called a locksmith and, despite the eviction notice, somehow convinced him to open the door. While he was drilling to door the Swiss sub-letter came to the door and a melee of high-volume accusations began. I remained very quiet and, making no sudden movements, slithered past the argument and went to my room, leaving the bewildered locksmith behind. Everything was still there. Things looked normal. Nothing was condemned or boarded up.

Meanwhile, L.H was still convinced that the Swisserd(as he will now be known) was behind the eviction. At some point the cops were summoned. While they were explaining that this entire situation was really fucked up but not technically a legal matter, one of my other roommates came home. based on her account, and  of the Swisserd's (who I'm still not sure can be trusted), here is what happened while I was at work that day that induced the current state of affairs:

The real landlord came and said L.H had not been paying rent. She claims this is not true and that her only outstanding debt is for a different apartment that is the basis of a current lawsuit regarding bedbugs. The building manager tells the roommates who were home that L.H is an alcoholic and a coke head. This part was not mentioned while L.H was present but relayed to me later. The landlord says the eviction doesn't actually take effect for 6 days but that "we" (the sub-leasers) could change the locks ourselves to protect our belongings from L.H. For the record I had been in the apartment almost 4 months and never had any of my belongings gone missing so I'm fairly sure the building manager was either slightly racist or was trying to manipulate the situation to his favor by playing us against her. He also said that although this sub-lease was approved by him, it wasn't actually licensed by the City Marshall's office and therefor our sub-lease contracts did not protect us from evictions directed at L.H. He was planning on resolving the matter in court and getting the apartment back under his full stewardship and then we could potentially take over the lease. So they changed the locks, but couldn't tell me because no one had my number. I am aware that this part of the complications is my fault, or, all of our faults but I'm the only one who got fucked by our lack of communication.

The building owner had been there sometime in the mid morning on Friday, but he was observantly Jewish and lived in Williamsburg so there was no hope of getting in touch with him on Friday at 7:00 PM. The best thing we could do is have the locksmith, who luckily did not get arrested and who had been very patiently waiting out this entire ordeal to be paid, put on yet another lock, and hand out the two keys that come with it to L.H and one of the roommates.

At this point the situation is somewhat resolved in that I was fairly certain that I don't have to leave either right now or in 6 days and I was no longer worried that all of my belongings were gone a. Still, I was feeling unreconciably rattled so I loaded up some valuables and some clothes and headed uptown to my boyfriend's place. He had to work very early the next day but very graciously stayed up to let me in and endured my half-crazed, extremely snippish mood. I did my best to go to sleep because I knew there was nothing I could really do until the next day but my insides were knotted and all I could do is sweat and grind my teeth.

Saturday morning I woke up knowing only one thing: No matter what happens I need to get out of there even if I am allowed to stay until the end of the month and beyond. I set up some appointments to go look at short term leases, which luckily are readily available due to the upcoming winter break at schools like Columbia and NYU. I felt better with each productive step I took towards living elsewhere but I still had to go back to Brooklyn to see if I could get a key for the new lock and remove any remaining valuables from my room.
Here is what my day looked like on Saturday, December 8th 2012:
8:00 AM: Wake up. Send a bunch of emails to people looking for short term sub-leasers.
9:00 AM: Take the 2 train from 96th street to Franklin street in Brooklyn where I get the shuttle to Prospect Park...this is not the fastest way to get to where I live but it is the easiest.
10:00: Call L.H, whose phone is apparently off. Knock on the door of the apartment she told me to meet her at to no answer.
10:30: Knock at my apartment. Maybe someone's home. Success!
Swisserd opens the door and we chat for a moment about the current state of affairs. He is weird and racist. "Well, the landlord, he's a Jew, so he only cares about "this" (rubs fingers together to indicate money)- In reference to why we might be allowed to stay as long as he gets the rent. It is hard for me to find an apartment because people just see a foreigner. They can't tell the difference between someone from Africa and someone from a wealthy country like mine. Fuck this guy. Seriously. At this point I am more than resolved to only live in a place where I choose my roommates from now on.
10:30-11:00 Pack up another bag and my TV, which is only 22" and in a flatscreen but isn't exactly a joy to carry on the subway for an hour.
11-12:00: Head back uptown. This time I take the Q to 42nd and transfer to the C because it's raining by this point and I need to get the subway that brings my closest to where my boyfriend lives. Anyone who has ever done this transfer with a heavy load will know why I included this bit of information. It is indoors but it is very long, and very uphill.
 12:00-2:15  I think I kind of blacked out from stress during these hours but I at least made a couple of appointments to see some apartments. and my boyfriend ordered us lunch which is good because I hadn't actually eaten a meal since lunch on Friday and I was too stressed to know whether or not I was hungry.
2:15: Earlier in the week I ordered special Hanukkah donuts from a Bakery on 77th and Lexington so I had to go pick them up. It is still raining and both the crosstown bus and the 6 train are very crowded, but I make it home safely at around 3:15.
3:15-5:00 Partial decompression
5:00 Went to see a place.
The day didn't end here but the part of my day that was uniquely stressful sort of tapered off. Dinner was made. Hanukkah was celebrated. Everyone is very kind to me because they are kind people and because I probably looked deranged and potentially hazardous.

Today is Sunday and I have been back at the scene of the crime packing all of my clothes into the two suitcases I still have stashed on top of the wardrobe I paid $200 for and spent a whole day building that I will probably have to leave behind. I still don't actually know when I HAVE to be out of here but I know I want it to be asap. The short-term sublet I'm looking at is from a Columbia student on the UWS in a very soothing part of town. It starts in 10 days and as long as nothing else unexpected happens I think I should be able to get out of here fairly painlessly...if you don't count the half-month of recent I'll be eating as well as my security deposit. If you're feeling a little bummed out by this story please watch the following video. I'm trying to have a sense of humor while I sort this all out.

I don't work until noon tomorrow but I am thoroughly exhausted and although I feel much better than I did two nights ago I have the vague sense that nothing is going to be normal or easy for a while and I might just have to deal with that.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Knowing the Un-constructed Self

If you notice me sitting alone and pursing my lips with the air of far away thought, chances are I am either doing it on purpose because I want you to think I'm a thoughtful person, or I'm imagining myself doing a song and dance routine to "When I'm 64" at a famous actor's 32nd Birthday. I don't know which actor it is and at the end of this scenario his handlers give me a check and I go home without ever meeting him. Everyone agrees that I am adorable and many people try to hire me for future events and possibly a Disney pilot but I refuse because, like all truly humble talents, I am not interested in the Show Business lifestyle. I just did it this once as a favor.

This is not a fantasy. It is not an unfulfilled dream. I do not enjoy dancing by myself in front of others and although I do enjoy singing this is actually entirely unrelated. This is not something I want for myself. The imagining of this event just pleases me, and like all things that please me it dominates my inner world entirely and with very little warning. This is not the kind of thing that I would ever mention to anyone in conversation and I do not feel that it defines or even reflects my personality in any meaningful way. I bring it up because I feel it is my bloggerly duty to expose my low-stakes secrets for the sake of discussion.

 When no one is paying attention to me I usually am thinking about the people I care about or I am thinking responsible thoughts like what do I need to accomplish today? or what do I want for myself in the long run? or even occasionally what do people think of me? These are self-aware thoughts that I think when I am actively engaging in my own life and in the world around me. These are the thoughts thought by the version of myself that I choose to send out into the world. However, when I stop paying attention to myself and let my brain do what it wants, I am usually thinking things that would look and sound like complete nonsense to anyone other than me.  These kinds of thoughts are hard to keep track of because like dreams, I can usually only process them retroactively.

This is all just a fancy way to discuss what happens when we "space out", but I think it would be really fascinating if we could accurately expose these sides of ourselves to each other. It's impossible, though, because in even beginning to discuss these kinds of thoughts we are actively sanitizing them and re-working them to make sense to someone else. The description of my kitchy little vignette isn't really accurate. It can't be. It's never really exactly the same and it's not like I'm closing my eyes and thoughtfully imagining the details of the event. It just pops into my head and there it is. The bit about about it being a 32 year old actor's birthday party came in later versions and as stupid as it sounds I can't edit that out. It's in there and it will stay that way until something changes. It's also not the only thing that ever pops in. I happen to remember it because its recurring and it can sometimes be triggered by  the song coming on my ipod in shuffle mode. I'm pretty sure I also spend a lot of time thinking that I must remember words in Spanish that I learned while watching Pan's Labyrinth. If I actually end up remember any they do not stick.

Thinking about this kind of thing for too long makes me a little squeamish and like my brain might suck itself into a vortex of some kind so I'm going to stop now.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

When My Heart Finds Harry Connick Jr.

Most people do not share my enthusiasm for Harry Connick, Jr. When I bring him up in conversations about music people tend to look at me a little sideways, like I've just admitted to having a puppet fetish. People think of him as the Christmas guy, or that guy who kind of sounds like Frank Sinatra. I'm not going to launch into my whole thing about why he's great but I will say that I have 4 or 5 of his non-holiday albums, some of which are albums of Jazz standards, some of which are original compositions in which he sounds approximately nothing like Frank Sinatra and I enjoy them thoroughly and un-ironically.  Furthermore, I generally appreciate his existence as a human being. I even went to see him on Broadway in "On Clear Day You Can See Forever" despite its very tepid reviews. Anyway, his career and his pretty, pretty face are not what I'm trying to write about today. It is less than a week before thanksgiving which means that soon I can start listening to Holiday music, specifically my HCJ albums which, besides the Ella Fitzgerald classics, are pretty much the best  seasonal schmaltz out there. I am looking forward to getting drunk in flannel pajamas and listening to all of "When My Heart Finds Christmas" in my parents basement as I struggle to wrap oddly shaped boxes in fancy looking but very cheap wrapping paper that I will inevitably buy on a whim at TJMaxx.

HCJ is like my own personal Santa Claus (an idea which was never encouraged in my house except when my parents needed to evade the "did you get me that____ that I asked for??" question). Although I listen to him year round there is a certain nostalgia specifically surrounding his Holiday music that I find comforting. For people with more of an anchor in tradition I can imagine this is how they feel about angels and mangers and shit. Keep in mind here that I'm not even vaguely Christian in any meaningful sense of the word. My family celebrates both Xmas and Hanukah (spelling varies so I'm going with one that looks most reasonable to me) in my house because Holidays are actually a lot of fun when no one makes you go to Church or read out loud in Hebrew and I suppose we figure "why the hell not?". For more thoughts on why we need Holidays in the winter you can refer to my post "Important Dates in February"

I'm pretty much done talking about this now so I will leave you with a couple links to just a song via youtube and video of a live performance. I usually hold off until after Thanksgiving but I'm going to make an exception here. The second video has a little chatting at the beginning because his charm and good looks add to the total experience.

1- Must Have Been Ol' Santa Live version of same song:
2- Please Come Home For Christmas (Live)
3- A song that is usually unbearable, done better by HCJ.

P.S Mariah Carey and her ONE stupid song can suck a dick.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tipsy Face Making

Well, It's official. I've run out of things to write about.

Not really. To be honest I was really pleased with how I did my makeup and hair tonight and usually I'm too lazy to really do it at all so I went ahead and indulged my vanity and made today a photo blog.

Without further blathering, I present An evening with Emma: In Pictures.

Hi! Good to see you! You had a rough day? Ok. I'm listening.

I've stopped listening because I noticed myself in the mirror.

Can we pause for a second? I'm really excited about my new gloves. True story. 
Ok... I see you're really intent on discussing your issues here.
 I'm trying to listen but not...quite...getting there.

Can we talk about my gloves some more?

No? OK fine. Whatever.

I'm just going to think about something I like while you talk.


I want some cheese.

You have some cheese??!!

I'm so stoked.

Can I have some? Please?

In the kitchen? On the other side of the house?

Can you go get it?

Thaaaaank you.

 Oh fuck you. This is SWISS cheese.

Who the hell keeps swiss cheese as a snack?

OK I GUESS Swiss can be OK.

But I expected more from you.

Now I realized I'm really hungry.


Are you sure you don't have like some fresh Mozz. on you?

Oh...we were talking about YOU?. Was it important?

Ok OK. Go on.

Mmmmhmm...yup....riiiight. OMG yeah...totally....

What was that about wine?

You have some?

 Rosé? Yeah um, I think I'm gonna get going. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Some Final Political JibberJabber (100th Post!)

Please excuse me while I purge my mind of all political musings so I can go back to not writing about politics at all for the next 3 years. 

We had a Presidential election recently. A lot of people are happy with the result. A lot of people are not, and those people are in full swing curmudgeon mode. Apparently I have some Republican friends on facebook and I'm seeing a lot of harsh language. "We're fucked!"... "There goes the economy"... "The liberals don't realize that they're celebrating their own demise"... "America died today". I'm sure there would have been equally stupid and hyperbolic statements made if the vote had gone the other way (for that matter, there were some pretty stupid and hyperbolic things said in favor of the outcome. I may have let a few rip myself). I get it. There is equal camaraderie in celebration and lament. When your guy loses you feel like a loser so you'll probably be quick to cover lost ground by predicting future failures of the other side so when the time comes (and it always does in one way or the other) you can feel superior again. Or you actually believe that whoever is in charge is personally responsible for everything that has gone wrong in the last four years or will go wrong in the next four. Because you're a mega dum dum.

 No one gets to have everything they want from the American Government. We're too big and too diverse for that to ever be a reality. I feel bad that there are people who truly believe that God is going to destroy America because we elected Obama. I mean, I wish everyone who thinks that way would just GTFO already and go manage their own affairs in a corn field somewhere, but its kind of adorable how terrified and angry they are. I want to stick a pacifier in their mouths and put them down for a nap. Being backwards and ignorant doesn't make your emotions any less real.  I wish there was a place for those people where they could feel safe from the wrath of a disappointed* God. I imagine that the possibility of being smote at any moment is a really scary reality to live with.  I mean lets be honest I basically do exactly what I want every single god damn day A)because I just don't give a fuck and B) my general agenda pretty much lines up with things that are legal and don't interfere with anyone elses business. I get that what SOME people want to do is run around screaming at everyone trying to get them to understand that we're going to hell if we don't shape up. That's basically not allowed. I mean, it is, freedom of speech and all,  but if that's how you're spending your time the whole "pursuit of happiness" bit of being an American is kind of bust. Pursuit of not going to hell is probably a joyless undertaking when you have several hundred million godless heathens mucking up your chances.

Religious fanaticism aside I understand that a lot of people actually believe that a Republican President was the only way to get the economy back on track** and were willing to overlook social issues that they might have otherwise swung left on. They might have been right. We'll never really know.  I have observed though that many Republicans start taking a hard party line earlier on in life because their parents don't employ the same "find your own way" tactics as often liberal parents. So you get these creepy, baby faced, suit clad young republicans yammering on about business interests. Not to say that the liberal youths don't spout their own fair share of bullshit but it's harder to picture their daddy's hand up their butts while they're doing it.  I lost track of this thought.  Something about  deeply ingrained ideology not being the same thing as clairvoyance.

I could be completely off about this but this year I feel like the more reasonable right wingers were straining a little to fully back their candidate. This is the party of Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum. Romney really was the corn kernel in that pile of turds. More than ever it was just an issue of we DON'T want Obama. Fair enough. I just don't believe that anyone  actually LIKED Romney as in...yeah man he's just a really solid guy. I trust and respect him on a personal level***. He kept adjusting his stance and flashing that shit-eating grin and it must have been disconcerting for someone trying to find a foothold in the shifting landscape of GOP politics. Obama can be kind of a drip sometimes but the man has swagger and his supporters support the CRAP out of him. From what I remember, which isn't much ( I was 16 and had bigger fish to fry), John Kerry had a similar ick factor to Romney's going on in his campaign. Icky guys finish last.

Social media is notoriously inflammatory and we could probably all benefit from taking a moment to ponder the cyclical nature of government so we're not all horribly disappointed and disproportionally excited four years from now when we're exactly back where we started. I really hope that doesn't happen but as long as the Rick Santorums of the world still garner support we're going to have a lot of push back on any attempts at making social progress stick. He's managed to convince his minions that not forcing other people to adhere to Christian doctrine is somehow an attack on their religious freedom. He might be a wizard and that is some serious shit. So let's just take a breather and remember that no matter who won the election we can't, and won't, get exactly what we want and even if we do there's probably going to be a whole lot of very sneaky and unsettling things going on among the people we have chosen to run our country. Also the middle east. That shit is crazy and we should all be worried. Also Europe. And probably Russia too. South America seems OK maybe? Except for the drug violence. I don't know. We're all going to melt in the fire rain anyway.

* A disappointed God is much scarier than an angry one.
**Personally I think it's abortions. Lots and lots of abortions. And mandatory anal intercourse.
*** I actually do hear this a lot about Obama from people more politically active than I am

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Disasters Of Varying Degree

Today is Thursday, October 25th I have a full day to myself. I  worked the previous ten days in a row so I could get home to Vermont for a few days. I took four days off because I thought I might need Thursday and Sunday as full travel days if I was going to take the train. I was able to get a ride up Friday morning though so today is a free day to do some laundry, unwind, and generally get my shit together.

I woke up at 8 AM ready to deal with ten days of laundry. I had a plan. 2 hours for laundry and then off to Target to buy some sort of fancy device to clean the wood floors in my apartment and maybe a small dresser to store the clothes I planned on bringing back from Vermont. This is going to be my most efficient laundry excursion EVER I thought as I separated my delicates. I'm even going to do two separate loads so my tights don't get all tangles up in my jeans.

 I loaded my giant bag of normal laundry on one shoulder and my satchel of underpants on the other and I headed out the door, confident in the fact that I had two bags worth of weight on my shoulders which  meant that I had my purse with me and am ready to go. Obviously.

My laundromat is right across the street from my apartment but the crosswalk situation is insufficient to say the least.  I wait for a break in the traffic and sprint across, leaving a trail of socks behind me. No time to go back. I get through the doors of SUPERWASH and quickly claim one 3 load washer and one 1 load washer. I  recently put $20 on my laundry card so I'm feeling rich as far as laundry funds go.  I load the washers. I reach to my side to get my wallet out of my purse. But there is no purse at my side. In a panic I search the floor but I knew in my gut what I had done. I left my purse in my room. Which meant that I don't have my keys, wallet, phone, work pass, or my little note card where I have important numbers written in case I lose my phone. 

My first instinct is to run back to my apartment and bang on the door for a while even though I know no one is home. Then I run back to the laundromat and frantically search through anything with a pocket to see if I can find any cash. Fruitless. I consider throwing up. A small thought passes through my head.  I am never getting back inside. Things will never be OK again. I shake it off and review my options. I can go sit in front of my apartment until someone comes home. For 8 hours. I can walk to work in Manhattan and see if they'll let me in so I can use my computer. But you need an ID to get a guest pass. And it's 6 miles away.

My main concern is that I am supposed to go to my boyfriend's place in Manhattan tonight with all of my stuff for the weekend in Vermont and right now I'm not sure when I'll be able to do that. I need to get in touch with him, and hopefully with my landlord as well so I could find out when I can get back into my apartment. Just as I begin weighing the meditative benefits of sitting in one spot for eight hours it occurs to me that the Brooklyn Public Library is somewhere at the top of Prospect Park not far from me up Flatbush Avenue. I'm pretty sure.  

I start running and continue to do so for what is probably only a 1/2 mile but feels like 2. Luckily I'm wearing workout clothes, as I tend to do on Laundry day, but I am wearing no makeup and had no way to tie my hair back. The weather is compliant but on the chilly side so by the time I reach the Library my face is blotchy read and my hair is slicked back with the kind of sweat that can only be excreted during panicked sprinting. 
Good news! There are free computers with internet!
Complication: You need a library card. I don't have one.
Good News! You can get one on site!
Complication: You need an ID.
Good News! You can buy a guest pass for $2.
Complication: I have no money. The ornery slag behind the counter is not sympathetic. I understand her position but I am reasonably distraught. I go outside and sit on the elaborate stoop next to a tiny, pointless fountain.  I am presently enraged at its very existence. I cry a little for lack of a better idea. I remember that there are real homeless people and decide to pull it together. I reluctantly slump back down Flatbush Ave, dragging my feet and humming "empty chairs and empty tables" from Les Mis, which feels appropriate. It isn't.

There's still no one home. I shuffle down from my third floor walk up for the third time today. I  have no idea what time it is. Could be 10 AM could be 3 PM. I've been operating in a state of Emergency and have completely lost track of time. I get back downstairs and just stand outside of my apartment for a few minutes. I realize that I left my laundry sort of strewn in front of my chosen machines so I decide to check on it. Still there. No one seems to be complaining. I notice that is internet offered on a computer in the corner. $1 for 10 minutes! No Change. Cash only. I just need to get some money and everything will be OK, I think. I still have no wallet, no ID, and no phone on which to call a friend (though to be honest I probably wouldn't call anyone. I'm a wimp like that). Maybe, if armed with enough information, the bank will give me some of my money. I know there's a TD around here somewhere. I do everything by direct deposit but I could have sworn I saw one right near the park on...Prospect Park South? Southwest? Ocean Ave? Definitely near one of the corners.

By shear intuition and force of will I find a TD Bank. I end up walking almost the entire parameter of the park but I eventually get there, even stickier and blotchier than I was at the Library. I have my social  Security Number! I know my last five purchases! I even know that somewhere in my account number there is a 9 and probably a 7! The teller shrugs and lets me withdraw $20. I even get a free key chain. I decide that instead of going back to the Library for free internet I'm going to use the pay internet at the Laundromat so I can also do my laundry, which has now been sitting in a pile in front of the washers for several hours. Not a frugal decision, but a logical one, I think. After all I still don't know when I'll be able to get into my apartment. Might as well get something done. First though, I need a McChicken sandwich ASAP. Because I live in a neighborhood which I lovingly refer to as hood-adjacent, there is a McDonalds right next to my laundromat (as well as a Popeye's, Wendy's, Dunkin' Donuts,  and BurgerKing). I inhale my sandwich and use their bathroom which luckily is a normal public restroom and not one of those get-the-key-from-the-manager-and-navigate-a-series-of-complicated-locks situations. I cry a little more for no specific reason.

I scrap my idea of doing two separate loads. I have limited funds now, so it all (barely) goes into one double-load washer. I determine that it is only 1 PM (seriously?)  and set about writing as many emails as possible in a ten minute span to maximize my dollars. My boyfriend gets back to me quickly. My landlord eventually (three dollars  later to be exact) does and lets me know I can get back in at 5:30 and that she will meet me.

I switch my laundry into the dryer and I wait. I watch public access news which is mostly just warnings about a Hurricane that's supposed to be hitting next week. I fold my laundry very slowly and carefully. I wait some more. Finally it's 5:30 so I head over to my apartment building. The front door, which has been broken since I moved in, has apparently been fixed since I last checked earlier today. Now not only am I locked out of my apartment, but out of the whole building. I sit on my laundry bag and sulk. It occurs to me that my landlord might have thought I meant that I was locked out of the building and will be meeting me down here. But now a nice lady is offering to let me in as she leaves. I can go put my stuff my the door and then check back down here every few minutes. If she goes to the door she'll see my stuff and assume I'm near by. It's going to be OK.

An hour later, after dozens of trips up and down three flights of stairs, I have given up and taken up residence on the landing in front of my apartment. I can hear through the door to my apartment that someone is trying to buzz up.  I hop up and run down stairs and open the door to my surprised roommate who obviously wasn't expecting a live person to open the door. "Good timing! I'm locked out too!" She looked even more baffled. "Of the apartment, I mean. Did laundry today. Left my purse. Landlord never showed up to let me in". I don't know my roommate very well and she's not sure how to respond to my manic demeanor.  It doesn't matter though because within minutes I am INSIDE my apartment hugging my purse and laughing like a deranged child. (It turns out my landlord thought we were meeting in the laundromat and left a key at the desk. She's cool. No hate).

I quickly gather my belongings and head uptown to meet my boyfriend and next morning we drive to Vermont and have a lovely, relaxing weekend. I realize that my horrible stressful day really wasn't so bad. Everything is going to be OOOOKay!

In the car on our way back to NYC we hear on the radio that subways will be shutting down at 7 PM in preparation for the coming storm so we decide to go straight to his place instead of bringing me to Brooklyn so I wouldn't get stuck there alone.

Five days later, exactly a week after I spent the day locked out of my apartment I am still in Manhattan because I literally can't get to Brooklyn at all because of flood damage and general hurricane induced metropolitan chaos. Not mine, but entire neighborhoods are under water or have been destroyed by fire. Lower Manhattan (where I work) has no power. I've been working from home, watching disaster television and cringing at the horrible scenes of destruction. It is a legitimate disaster. The moral of the story here is that if you lock yourself out of your apartment and get too dramatic about it your city will probably be destroyed by a Hurricane just to make you feel guilty. I'm thinking of having my keys surgically attached to my body.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

An Invitation To Steal My Laundry

I like the idea of simplifying my style and in turn simplifying my life. My job is not fancy and simplicity can be really fucking badass when done correctly. If I had a lot of financial freedom maybe I would donate my entire wardrobe to charity* (excluding exercise and lounge clothes). I would buy a few pairs of dark wash Levis, a bunch of soft v neck T-shirts, some tank tops, some long sleeved T's (I'm thinking Uniqlo for all of this) and any necessary warm weather layers. Good boots, a few pairs of awesome sneakers, and a real leather jacket would be essential to this plan so the sum total would rack up pretty quick. I would buy dresses and shorts and fancy things as I need them as the weather changes and for events and whatnot.

One might argue that I could easily just reduce my current wardrobe down to staple items and donate everything else. For those of you who don't know me, though, the type of style listed above would be a pretty radical departure from my usual habit of being either entirely overdressed for most situations or dressed in a manner that makes me look completely insane. I can't look at what I have and willfully give any of it away. It would have to be everything all at once or else I'd never be able to do it. Furthermore I don't have a lot of sensible basics in my wardrobe that aren't cheap crap from Old Navy that only hold up because I wear them so infrequently. I have about 5 pairs of jeans but none of them are nice enough to build a whole vibe around. The replacement wardrobe would have to be NECESSARY or else I could never rationalize the purchase and I'd end up coming to work in athletic gear every day, which would only work if my co-workers promised to nominate me for What Not To Wear.

Here's the thing: I have a $250 gift card to Macy's that I won at work so I think I could actually pull this off aside from the boots and sneakers. I just don't think I can let my weird little wardrobe go. It's kind of irreplaceable in a discontinued due to lack of popularity kind of way. Then again, nothing I own was particularly expensive or unique. I have some cool designer pieces that I found in thrift stores or on sale but a lot of them are ill-fitting or actually a size too big and I do intend on losing some weight (eventually) so I might as well get rid of them now. My thrift habit has also left me with an annoyingly high ratio of items that are dry-clean only. I've never been to a dry cleaner and I don't intend to start now. Most of these items have a weird smell from the at-home dry cleaning kits I've subjected them to. I wouldn't mind making a point of not owning ANY dry clean only items form here on out. I need to come to terms with the fact that I'm just not fancy enough. A related snag to my plan is that I think it's kind of a dick move to donate dry-clean only items to charity. I would try to sell them to a consignment shop like Second Time Around but...that's where I bought them to begin with and I doubt I'd get much for them.

 I typically put off doing my laundry as long as possible so on any given laundry day a solid 85% of my wardrobe is out of commission. Right now my laundromat is literally across the street from my apartment and where I used to sit there with a book for the full 2.5 hour process with my foot on my cart and my eye on the machine, I now go back to my apartment and watch things on Hulu. I'm hoping that one of these days the dryer will catch on fire or my laundry will be accidentally carted off by someone else or that it will be straight up stolen by some rad chick who's been eyeballing' my duds.

*Nina if you're reading this I can't give them to you because then I'll still see them when I come home and it would just be too hard. It's nothing personal. It has to be charity.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Existential Backlash of Building a Wardrobe

First, a series of pictures:

These are boxes from Ikea. Inside are the components of my new wardrobe.
Below: My old wardrobe

Before starting the project. I am...less than stoked.

Before building begins I need to make some floor space. The solution is visually disturbing.

There just isn't enough space.


 What my bed looks like on a good day.
Gettin' organized.


An organized wardrobe makes getting dressed fun. Excuse the bras.

So I built a wardrobe. My room finally looks like a reasonably organized young adult lives there. So now what? For the last three months I've spent most of my free time finding an apartment, moving in and out of various spaces, keeping track of my shit and slowly collecting the necessary components of a comfortable life. Now I'm kind of done with that, which feels profoundly weird.  I'm collected and comfortable albeit a little short on cash thanks to all of the trips to Ikea and security deposits and the alarming rate at which I destroy socks, tights, and the soles of my shoes. But the thing is when I finished my wardrobe and went about reorganizing everything I felt  that I had everything I need. I'm simultaneously thrilled and slightly unnerved by the fact that I can relax and go about the business of living. I'm not new anymore. I'm not worried about what comes next. I'm free to spend my free time skulking around Prospect Park looking for hip famous people and work on my tan (this is a joke. I don't get tan). To be honest I still haven't found a doctor or a dentist or changed my residency or the address on my checks so I'm not fully, technically, or even remotely done establishing myself in New York, but that will all get done. In the meantime I'm having a little bit of trouble processing meaning in my life now that I'm settled. That sounds serious but it's just a dramatic way of saying that I need to work on my social life. So call me if you know me and you live in Brooklyn because I really don't know what to do with myself. I don't have much money to spend on outings but I can help you build things from Ikea.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Things I Know Nothing About: Some Thoughts On Poor People

This post is going to get potentially offensive real fast so just roll with it and keep in mind I am in no position of power whatsoever so all of my stupid opinions have very little, if any impact on the world around me. So if you find yourself enraged by the content of my musings just keep in mind that your anger isn't doing anything except raising your blood pressure so just chill out and go eat some frozen yogurt or something. Also I'm aware that I'm a giant hypocrite so there's really no need to dwell on that.


I hate politics. I really do. Choosing the lesser of two evils is an exhausting process and I really don't believe that either party is working in favor of my well-being. While I know that serving the overall well-being of the country is supposed to be the point of Democracy, I really just can't be bothered to wade through the bog of absolute horse-shit that is campaign politics if none of it is going to help or hurt me that much anyway. See, I believe that our country is already a massive sack of crap so I don't really see how it could get any worse. That being said, I don't think its all that bad right now. Yeah the economy is shitty, yeah a bunch of old religious bastards are trying to fuck with Women's health issues, and yeeeeah we need to do a better job at not letting greedy assholes get away with their nonsense. Those problems aren't going anywhere. Neither Obama nor Romney nor the reanimated corpse of JFK are going to fix any of that. I'm upset by the current state of Politics but I'm not actually worried. So that's how I feel about that. The reason I bring this up is because I'd like to discuss one particularly disturbing dynamic in the current Presidential campaign. I figured this could use a little preface about my political beliefs so it doesn't seem like this post is an angle towards one party over the other.
It makes me nauseous when rich politicians imply that poor people are long suffering souls who could have a better life if only the [opposing political party] weren't making decisions. Sometimes poor people are people who got the shit end of the stick and yes there are vicious cycles that keep poor people poor and make it very difficult to change one's station in life. However, some poor people are not as well off as they could be because they spend their extra money on TVs and Video games instead of saving for education and building their credit. I know its not fucking fair to judge poor people for buying what better off people can easily afford but, shit, not every person who is having a hard go of things is a single mother whose husband died in 9-11 (not that I think THAT'S an excuse for anything at this point) and not everyone making minimum wage should be pandered to and treated like everything they do is noble. Having more kids than you can afford is not noble. Buying three packs of cigarettes a day pretty much negates any claim that you might have been able to make that the government is responsible for your problems. Not educating your god damn kids about sex because of your religion is not a choice that you are entitled to. It's a failure. You're failing your children, failing your community, and failing the country.  I'm starting to sound a little elitish (not elitist mind you) and bitchy but my point is actually that poor people do not need to be treated like martyrs because the ones who really are noble are probably also smart enough to know when they're being lied to and the rest of them would benefit much more from a hefty dose of reality. I'd like for candidates to say more often that the road to a better economy isn't going to be easy on a personal level. Lower taxes, higher taxes, more jobs, less jobs, its still up to the individual to keep their life on track. Then again, Politicians can't support personal financial responsibility because they want people to buy shit so it looks like the economy is improving. Everyone being in debt and not being able to afford to send their kids to decent schools isn't really an improvement...but whatever. Not pulling in the wages you'd like? Buy a Kindle and go eat a steak with your excess cash this month. It's the American thing to do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Today on my way home from work a bad thing happened. At a major subway transfer hub (Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn) a few train lines weren't able to stop. I didn't stick around to get the details but it definitely wasn't announced which meant that it was the duty of a few bewildered MTA employees with megaphones to disperse this information. People stood around in a big stupid mass, unable to comprehend the disruption to their daily routine. They were angry. They were hot. They were not moving and collectively they didn't smell very good. I was walking the corridor between the 2-3 and the B-Q when I saw the mass, heard the announcement, and turned around. I was only two miles from home and it was a pretty nice day out so I knew that my best bet was just going to be to walk through Prospect Park (listen to me...I know where things are now kind of!). Before I could walk two feet a new mass of people had filled in behind me. I tucked my elbows in front of me and shouldered my way between two mildly obese individuals whose humanity I didn't fully register as they were both about a foot taller than I am and I couldn't see their faces. Well one of these behemoths, who was probably already enraged and confused because she was going to actually have to WALK somewhere didn't appreciate my little maneuver so she gave jabbed me in the back with her doughy elbow  as I passed. Maybe I was being a little too assertive but what I was doing was much closer to wriggling than shoving and I can confidently say that she was just a dumb lazy bitch (DLB from here on out). Fuck her. I hope she never made it home and is still standing in the train station gargling protestations at the MTA employees.

That's not even close to the worst part. The worst part was the dense mass of people who did figure out that they would in fact have to leave the building but were having a hard time reconciling their want to be outside with the fact that we wouldn't all be able to fit out the door at the same time. The mass, which I would liken to the flow of glacial ice except with sticky human flesh and hair extensions where ice and rocks should be. It could have been moving faster, but not that much faster so the most unbearable part of the whole experience were the loud twats behind me who kept squawking loudly that everyone needed to walk faster and kept shoving me into the hairy little guy in an undershirt in front of me. The DLB I might be able to pardon for ignorance and for the fact that she actually might have keeled over if she had tried to waddle the 8 blocks to the next station. These ladies though...I literally hope they got run over by cars. Note that I said GOT run over by cars, not "I hope they GET run over by cars". The difference is that I can't control something that already happened so I won't feel bad at all even I somehow find out that they did perish beneath the wheels of a miada but if I wished their future demise then I would feel a little bit responsible should something happen. Either way they are both absolutely the WORST.

The good news is that I had a very pleasant walk in the park and now I'm a JAZZ gig at a TEA lounge on a WEEKNIGHT. Granted, I don't have to work tomorrow so don't get too impressed at how good I am at staying up late.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Misplaced Trust and the Fallacy of Celebrity Expertise

Just because a person is a proven expert in a subject and generally a trust-worthy individual doesn't mean that all of their opinions are valid or important.  Why does anyone care what Anthony Bourdain or Tavi Gevinson think about music? Being a food expert or a fashion blogger doesn't really qualify you as an authority on anything other than food or fashion. But Tavi's blog includes her monthly playlists and Anthony Bourdain is constantly tweeting his caustic opinions on music. I'd posit that they might both be the kind of people who do a fair amount of research about bands and the like and Bourdain at least has some years under his belt but they are pretty obviously only out to validate their own opinions rather than potentially challenge them. Of course for every one person who asks "why should we care what he or she thinks about music?" there are a hundred people thinking "I want to know what he or she thinks about music!". It's natural and I do it all the time but I've been thinking about how weird it is that we put our trust so willingly into the hands of people who have no credentials whatsoever.

Actors and super-famous musicians are probably the last people on earth that anyone should ever listen to when it comes to anything. First of all most of these people are barely experts at the thing they're famous for. A good portion of our most famous actors are really just professionally good looking people who somehow faked their way on screen. Who knows how much the average pop star actually knows about music. Half of these people are in their late teens or early twenties, never finished high school, and have never had a normal social life. They have millions of dollars and personal trainers. Even if they are talented their lives are not fit models for the average person unless you aspire to literally do exactly what they do. So Blake Lively is a vegan (I think I've heard that) and Angelina Jolie only shampoos once every month (I made that up but I'd believe it). First of all Blake Lively is just...terrible. Second of all even if she weren't her eating habits are just like every other stupid fucking shrubs eating habits in that they are HERS and she is not a NUTRITIONIST. Just like Angelina Jolie isn't a hairdresser or whatever else it is she seems to feel so self-important about. She's an actress. Her life experience is 80% irrelevant to the average person.

I'm really writing this to make myself feel better because sometimes it upsets me when celebrities I like express opinions about random things that don't line up with my own. I can only hope that someone out there really trusts my opinion and really feels that celebrity opinions ARE valid and that they're crying about it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Where's My Gold Star, Already?

 Everyone I work with is at least 3 years older than I am. If I were a real adult I probably wouldn't think of a 27 year old as being considerably older than I am. I find myself wondering though why no one has praised me yet for being such a big, smart girl every time I do something right at work. Never mind the fact that none of them necessarily know how old I am, or that even if they did 24 isn't exactly an age at which a person is impressive just because they don't burn the office to the ground every time they login to their computer. In fact, a lot of 24 year olds have been working since they were 16 and didn't spend four years at college learning how to feel superior without actually accomplishing anything and really are world-wearied workmen.  I know this.  Yet still if I successfully close a sale and I feel like I've had an especially good conversation with a client I tend to perk up and look around after I hang up to see if maybe anyone was listening and if they would like to pat me on the head or perhaps give me some kind of crown that I might  wear for an hour or so.

This never happens. What does happen is that I make more money than I would have otherwise, which is good. But nobody else is particularly happy for me when I do this except for maybe my manager because my success is his success. But that's the same for everyone. My being 24 has no bearing on how happy my manager is if I do something right. My manager is a super nice guy and all, but I'm new, which means that I am empirically much worse at my job than everyone else and I take up a lot more of his time with stupid little questions. It's his job to be encouraging  but I have the distinct impression that he would very much like to hit the fast forward button to when he doesn't have deal with me bopping over to his desk every 20 minutes and making my "I'm about to annoy you face" at him.

When conversing with my co-workers I reference the fact that I just moved to New York more than I probably should. When I first started I had literally JUST moved here- was living in a hotel in fact- but now I've been here for over a month and my helpless bumpkin act probably isn't cute anymore if it ever was to begin with. I'm a little self-conscious about how little I know about things here. The truth is that I could be going out more and making more of an effort to get acquainted with my surroundings but I just get so tired and even when I do want to go exploring I'm not sure where to start. And when I do explore it's the last thing I want to discuss with anyone because every conversation would start like "Hey I went to _______ this weekend !" and people would be like yeah...ok.

When I do know things I get too excited about talking about them and once again I expect for people to be impressed when really they have no reason to be. Nobody cares that I know which trains I can transfer to at Jay street. I don't even care that I know that. But I catch myself clinging to these small triumphs and dropping them not at all discreetly into conversation. It's tacky and I need to stop.

I am aware that in my last post I said I wasn't going to write about work and I just kind of did. Oh well. Now they know. Maybe one of them will bring me a crown as a gift.

Monday, June 25, 2012

After a Month in New York City.

I've been in New York for almost a month now. I've slept in four different beds and I feel a bit like I've been through hyper-space without having eaten enough peanuts first but I am otherwise doing quite well, thank you for wondering.

You would think that moving to a New City would mean that I have all kinds of things to write about but until now I've found myself at a loss for words. I don't mean that I'm so in awe of the city that I can't even talk about it. I mean that I don't know how to write about New York yet. There is such a tradition of writers in New York that I'm not sure where to start. I feel like I'm supposed to say things like I was half way between fancy street and trendy ave when I realized that I had left my Prada wallet in my OTHER Coach purse. I did leave my wallet in the wrong purse the other day, but pretty much everything I own was bought at Target or Old Navy and I have no idea where I was when I realized what I had done. There are expectations when you're writing about a certain place and I haven't figured out how-or if- what I am doing can fit into those expectations in an interesting way. Living in Vermont was moderately interesting because relatively so few people do it. In New York I'm just a person who is constantly getting lost in stupid ways and eating at too many chain restaurants.

I don't mean to give the impression that I don't find things in New York interesting. On the contrary I still find my surroundings ineffably impressive. The view from my office building in the financial district where I work is spectacular. We're on the 24th floor and from that height I have to remind myself that what I see out the window is actually there and not a giant poster. The buildings just look absurd to me. The old ones are so old and the new ones are so new and they are all so unavoidably THERE. I know that these other buildings are full of people-I can even see some of them through the windows of the closer stories- but I still think of them more as elements of a landscape than as functional, man-made structures filled with ugly carpet and janitorial staff. And don't even get me started on construction equipment.

So forgive me for not having posted sooner. I'm having a bit of trouble finding my writerly take on it all. Work has been great but I try not to write about work because I'd eventually like to befriend my co-workers and in the slim chance they might read my blog I don't want there to be any problems. I can tell you that I like my job a lot and my office is on the 24th floor. That ought to be sufficient for now.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mission Accomplished

I have officially signed and returned my job offer documents. I begin training on Wednesday May 30th in Manhattan. I still can't believe that I found a job so quickly and that I am going to be able to move to New York without going into debt or working in food service. Then again, I've kind of been planning this for almost a year so this is absolutely how things SHOULD have gone. I was just really prepared to be a brokeass failure for at least a month or so. Instead I have a job that pays well and a sublet with very normal people in a very not scary area so I can take my time finding a good place to live long term. So yeah, I'm pretty pleased with myself. You may have picked up on that in previous posts but I didn't want to gloat until those papers were signed. In my previous post I said something about how I'd be making around $200 a day. I thought about it and that will only probably be true once I start making commission (then it could be even more) which wont be for a little while. I just figured as long as I'm gloating I don't also want to exaggerate.

My bag is packed and I have folded and sorted pretty much article of clothing that I own. There are some in boxes downstairs that I'm unsure of but...theyre already in boxes and out of the way. The last things I have left to do are pack my "carry on" and decide what shoes I'm bringing with me. Part of me wants to only bring one pair of sneakers, one pair of flats, and one pair of boots and buy more if I need to but that seems irresponsible. I'll see what I can fit I guess.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Packing For Forever Or At Least Until July

This whole New York thing is happening in, oh, 5 days. As the days pass I'm sure I'll go through my stages of grieving for Vermont, but right now packing is my main concern.

Because I found a job earlier than expected (technically the results of my background check still aren't in and I haven't officially been hired, but...they told me to plan for it so I am), the first few weeks of my time in New York are going to be kind of a shit show. Originally I was going to stay at a Howard Johnson's in The Bronx for four nights and switch over to a vacation rental in BedStuy until I can move into my summer sublet which is also in Brooklyn. I realized, though, that the whole point of living at home this year was to save money so this move would be easy and so I wouldn't have to live in any super ratty places while I figure my shit out. So now that I actually do have a job I am allowing myself to stay at a Holiday Inn in Chelsea. It's a bit more expensive than the HOJOS in the Bronx but its much closer to work, less sketchy, and generally a better move, I think. I never traveled during or after college so I am simply not going to feel bad about spending 800 dollars for four nights in a hotel. I am going to let myself enjoy it. Also I am going to be working and by my calculation making about 200 dollars a day anyway. Same goes for the vacation rental, which is actually a lower nightly rate.

So everything is good...but packing for this kind of semi-transient lifestyle poses certain unique challenges. I'm taking the train down, I don't know when I'm going to be able to come back to VT and do a more thorough move and all I should really bring with me is one big suit case and one midsized work bag that will fit my laptop and some books. I'll want a decent range of clothes for loungy casual to business casual to business fancy as well as some fun going out clothes and enough workout gear to allow for the fact that laundry might be an infrequent event for a while.

The real problem isn't actually what I am bringing. It's what I'm not bringing. I've borrowed two more big suitcases and I'm going to pack one for fall and one for winter. I'm still going to have a lot of clothes that I'll either need to get rid of or find a place to stash so it isn't all in the way. A lot of it is just crap I bought on sale at Old Navy without trying on. Some of it is so crappy that I don't even really want to give it to goodwill. Some of it is nice stuff that doesn't really fit but that I might be able to sell for cash or consignment at certain thrift stores. That stuff will need to be cleaned. Some of it is dryclean only.

OK I know this isn't interesting but this is what I am dealing with right now and it's causing me stress. It will all get done but I can't seem to deal with it for more than an hour at a time. I keep saying Ill wake up early and just get it all done but...that hasn't happened yet and now I have 41/2 days to sort it all out and some of that I'm sure Ill want to be doing other things. Worst case scenario is that it doesn't get done and I'll come back later in the summer and finish. I'll have to come back once I actually move into a long term place anyway. Alright that helps. Breath. I can handle this. Aaaaand go.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Three Big Problems And Some Ubsubstantiated Theories On How To Handle Them

Aside from the anxiety that comes with finding my own personal path in life, there are also three big existential problems that occasionally infiltrate my egocentric inner monologue and leave me somewhat paralyzed. Here now, are those problems, which I think we all struggle with in one way or the other, and how I manage them when they become...problematic.

1. I and everyone I know is going to die, and we are probably going to do it by way of a prolonged deterioration of both physical and mental capacity.

Because I am a godless heathen death itself isn't actually that troubling to me. I won't exist anymore so really, my death is everyone else's problem. I do however have some pretty serious apprehensions in regards to eventually losing my memory, my sight, and my ability to function independently. It is the same problem that every single person on earth has, which does comfort me, but there is really no reconciling that anxiety when it strikes. Even more troubling is that this is also going to happen to everyone I love and in most cases I'm going to have to watch. It's all very upsetting but at the same time, I feel like a jerk whenever I worry about it because technically, dying of old age is what we all hope for, and there are a lot of people who don't make it there. Cancer is tragic. Murder is tragic. Dying of old age isn't pretty, but it is the best case scenario in its own morbid way.

I once took a course in Psychological Anthropology. In one lecture we were discussing pharmaceuticals in different cultures (and how really, alarmingly ahead of everyone else America is in the pill-popping race) and the professor brought up the eastern notion of approaching life with a "wistful melancholy" instead of expecting happiness and feeling like sadness is a failure. It's a lovely and poetic term that to me meant the idea of giving yourself permission to be at ease with life's inherent sorrow. I realized that part of the reason I feel so terrible when this issue of mortality and old age comes up is because I want to be compassionate, and somewhere wrapped up in my definition of compassion is an obligation to fully internalize other people's pain and suffering. This isn't wrong but it isn't necessarily helpful, either. Empathy is important in comforting other people so one can't shirk the issue altogether, but I don't think anyone feels any better when you fall apart in front of them no matter what the circumstance. The same goes for out of context moments of death related worry. If I start fretting about death and dying, and if that fretting turns into panic and paralyzation, I'm really not of any use to anyone, least of all myself. I guess my point is that when this issue arises, and I feel myself starting to panic about it, I try to call on "wistful melancholy". This at least calms me down and allows me to carry on with my life while still embracing the issue so it doesn't catch me off guard when this philosophical dilemma eventually manifests in a concrete way.

2. No matter how many friends, romantic relationships, or pets I accumulate, no matter how much I travel or how often I blog, I am only ever going to understand a tiny sliver of the human experience.

Sometimes I'll be in my room folding laundry and suddenly the rest of the world and all of the people in it feel like an abstraction that I can't ever touch. There is a distance between our innermost selves and rest of the world that we can't really cross. It's easy enough to ignore this little problem doesn't really matter and the alternative in which we can peer into each other's consciousnesses is highly unsettling as well. I suppose I'm talking about every intellectuals favorite philosophically pliable entity; that of "The Other". Really, The Other is everything which is not ourselves, but it can also be everything that is not LIKE ourselves. Anything we consider to be an extension of ourselves is with us in our definition of normal and safe and what is Other is unknowable and distinctly separate. We can enter into a conversation with The Other but we can never really cross that distance and be with them in sameness. That just really sticks in my craw. I don't want to just sit around in my little sphere of me-ness assuming that I'm right about everything. Actually, I do want that but when I think about it I don't want to want that and that fact that I do want that makes my brain hurt.

One of the reasons I became an English major is because I view literature as the ultimate record of the human experience. I don't really trust history because it has to be written by someone and one culturally chauvinistic historian can really screw with perspective. Narrative speaks for itself. A book written by a homicidal racist rapist will still reveal something about the time he was writing in. Of course those revelations are usually subjective and pose certain threats to empirical knowledge, but that's not my problem. The Other exists in the past as well and it's much easier to get to. But the past is easier to analyze. Today I feel like I am a step behind progress all the time and there are Others of all kinds out there up to shit that I know nothing about and probably never will. It's irksome.

"Solution": Move to New York City. Question: True of False: New York is a physical incarnation of cultural consciousness. Answer: I don't know but it's comforting to think that it might be. If all kinds of people from all around the world know about New York City and have some idea of what it represents, even if that idea is completely nostalgic and silly, then the idea of living there makes me feel better. I have a lot of other reasons for moving there so I'm not a complete psycho but this is part of it. I like having the option to at least close the gap between myself and Others physically, if not consciously.

*Note: I actually only think about this kind of thing like....2% of the time. After reading this I got a picture of myself swooping around Manhattan grabbing people by shoulders and just staring them in the eyes for 20 seconds and then moving on. It was hilarious but that won't happen. The Other is a good catch all term but I am aware that using it too often makes one certifiably creepy.

3. Me getting everything I want in life is possible, but my happiness is entirely irrelevant to the greater good of humanity.

A house of some kind, a husband, a baby or two, some pets, some expendable income and a decent metabolism. My idea of a contented existence is simple and I have all of the physical and socioeconomic prerequisites to assume that I will have all of these things as long as I don't fuck up at work too badly, get my face fucked up in a fire, or develop a fetish for meth addicts. Because there is no reason why I shouldn't get these things I am inspired to try my best to get them. I see a generally happy future for myself no matter what ups and downs might happen along the way. Expect the best, plan for the worst, as they say. Most people on earth don't have the luxury of adopting such a smug little attitude towards their future. I can't even comprehend the levels of suffering in the world because I honestly can't think of a bad thing that has happened to me that didn't have a silver lining of some sort. Unfortunately happiness isn't transferable. Even if I donate money to help those most in need I can't actually donate any of my high standard of living and even if I gave up that standard it wouldn't really help anyone. There's always something. I'm not an engineer or a doctor and my skills are really only useful to other people like me. My personal success is useless when it comes to making the world a better place. But most of the time this doesn't occur to me and being an activist just isn't in my future unless something really drastic changes. I'm just getting started and I want what I want and to get it I need to hoard what I have and be selfish. It's the way it's gotta be but it makes me feel pointless, which actually doesn't bother me as much as you might think, but it's a problem for me none the less.

"Solution": This one's got me pretty stumped. The best I can come up with is that because I am of mixed heritage I don't have to feel too bad about my ancestors being directly responsible for the post-colonial disaster zones which hold a lot of the worlds suffering. I may have some white guilt but at least I'm not English or Spanish or German.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dress Well And Walk With Purpose

I probably shouldn't wear my bright blue elastic ankle Victoria's Secret sweatpants out of the house when I get to New York. I probably shouldn't even bring them with me.  Bu they're so comfy and bright! Can't I be comfortable if I'm at least colorful? No. One does not move to New York City and insist of wearing sweatpants in public. I'm sure people do it. There are all kinds of people in New York and not all of them give a shit about what they're wearing. My hope for New York (for at least the first few six months or so) is that it will inspire me to be the best version of myself where I feel like a badass even when I'm not really going anywhere.  For me that's when I'm dressed well and walking with purpose. Ideally I have a caffeinated beverage in one hand and a attache case or shopping bag in the other so no one tries to hand me anything on the street. Even when I'm making a beeline to Duane Reade for tampons and pimple cream and heading straight back to the apartment to wallow I plan on wearing a blazer and proceeding as if I'm on my way to meet someone important. "Oh these? They're not for me. They're for Brooke Shields." no. I don't think Brooke Shields gets her period.

My sweatpants are actually cooler than this. The lettering is embroidered and outlined in rainbow and goes all up and down the leg. And there's a tiny silver  pocket on the butt. They are both awesome and completely heinous.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I Am Moving To New York Prior To May 30th

Pending a background check and a bit of bureaucracy I will in all likelihood  be starting my new job in NYC on May 30th. This is great! The only complication is that my sublet doesn't start til June 15thish (Actually July 1st, officially...but...I got a little lucky). So I have to find a place to live for two weeks where I have enough personal space to mentally process the stress of a new job, a new city, and an abrupt departure from Vermont. A hostel, people's couches, and tiny rooms with no closet or bureau just won't do. I have two weeks to sort it out and I have connections to fall back on and enough savings that I'll be able to foot a motel in Brooklyn if I need to for at least some of the time. I'm not worried...but I am feeling a little frantic about the whole thing. Excited, but frantic. So I need diversions in between the endless hours of scouring the internet for lodging options and obsessing over which of my clothes are taking the initial trip with me. Making lists soothes me, so here are my lists of things that I need/want/hope to do between now and May 28th (I plan on taking a bus down that morning to wherever I end up staying).


 What Needs to Get Done
Pack A Bigass suitcase with at least 2 weeks of clothing, towels, makeup, shoes, and a computer
Fix My Computer and/or Buy A New One

What Really Should Get Done
Pack up everything I'm leaving behind for now so it's not in the way
Give Away/Sell All Not-New-York-Worthy Clothes

What I'd Like To Get Done
1 Hour of Rosetta Stone Spanish Per Day
Continue with The Real Book Project
45 Minutes of Cardio Every Day

Regarding The Real Book Project

Instead of doing whatever songs I feel like, and not actually doing that very often, I will go by this alphabetical list, which is based off whatever songs first come to mind when I think of each letter. Some I've done before. Some I'll have to learn from scratch.

A-All Of Me
B- Black Coffee
C- Cry Me A River
D- Don't Explain
E- Evry Time We Say Goodbye
F-  Fly Me To The Moon
G- Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You
H- How Insensitive
I- In A Sentimental Mood
L- Lush Life
M- Misty
N- (The) Nearness of You
O- On A Slow Boat To China
P- Pennies From Heaven
Q- Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (Corcavado)
R- Round Midnight
T- There Is No Greater Love
U-Unchain My Heart (This Is the only U song in the Real Book)
W- What A Little Moonlight Can Do
X- Ha...yeah right.
Y- You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
Z- TBD...probably not gonna happen