Recently in Narrative Category
This is rare time where I can say without hesitation that life is pretty damned good. Sure, I'm entering the wild eyed pressured phase of my thesis and am still struggling to keep my brain totally focused. And most things aren't totally perfect. But, I'm turning 30 on Wednesday and going to Europe on Thursday and feel happy and settled and inspired and healthy and hopeful. The lack of complaints on so many fronts blows the things I could complain about out of the water. It's a really nice feeling. Over the years, I've always thought about what kind of tattoo I would get if I could swallow my fear of needles long enough to get inked. I had a phase where the phoenix rising from the ashes was it, then a black cat in honor of my neurotic girl. But the one thing that has stuck is just a simple writing of the word Excelsior. It means ever upward (actually, higher) in Latin (which I took for 5 years a million years ago) and is the New York state motto. It seems like it would be a nice tribute to the strange turns this life has taken over the years and that it has been getting better going on. Maybe I need to just pop a Xanax and make it happen. My trip next week is a 12 day combined do over of Paris and first journey to Berlin. I'm curious to see what Paris will be like not agonizing over every Euro spent and able to do whatever I want. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of the people I hung with over the summer and explore some new places too. The dream to move there is still chugging along, so scouting out some prospects is also on the agenda. It's harder for me to pick up and go haphazardly because working at a bar or tourist spot would probably barely be enough for me to pay my bills there and also take care of my student loan bills that are about to be due very soon. I want to figure out a way to work it out though. Berlin is a mecca of people I know, so I'm definitely interested in exploring that too. Two Brooklyn friends moved there in the past year, so I want to chill with them and see what the place is all about. My one guaranteed destination is Berghain and besides that, just plan to wander and soak it all about. PrincessNella and I are meeting up and exploring it together, so that should be hijinks galore. Happy early birthday to me and hopefully many more.
A wallet is never just a wallet.
He revealed himself as fundamentally on a different wavelength with the whole episode. I had left in half asleep panic, looking in vain for my scarf and sadly resigned to never see it again. I love that scarf. The most sentimental souvenir from my long summer journey. It reminds me of sunshine and blazing my own trail alone. The two times I've thought I've lost it have both ended up being disastrous days for me. It's my good luck charm. If I believed in that sort of thing.
But this is about the wallet. Abandoned in the couch cushions despite my knowledge. It had led me there that night, promising fun but also prepared to go into battle. Sometimes you can sit and talk to someone you feel like you know so well and suddenly realize that you are strangers to each other. I kept my poker face on and accidentally sat my wallet down before the last acquiescence. It ruined my chance to go out the way I had planned.
I stood at the diner counter the next day and reached in my bag to pay for my order and found nothing. I stepped out to text to ask him to search for it, swallowing my pride. He was responsive and I settled in for the day, hoping to have it all resolved soon.
Yet I waited for
days. I tried not to push even though how do you live without your
wallet? Money, cards, ID, and Metrocard held hostage. I spent time at
home stewing as he made every excuse under the sun to delay the
return. If I had balls, he would've had me by them. Nothing to do but
Until Day 3 when
another flimsy excuse pushed me towards the edge of my false
relaxation. I don't want to argue, I just want to get it back, I
wrote. He wrote back
with vitriol I had never seen. I
was pretending to be blameless? Ungrateful? Making his life
miserable? While he was holding everything that made me a functional
person in his hands? Some people aren't worth shit. I'm
sorry you feel that way, I just want this over with.
I marched across Brooklyn in the ice and snow to get my wallet and even said thank you. Then walked away without another one word. Some people aren't worth your breath. I was whole again. I even found the scarf a few days later. It may be just a scarf and I'm learning to stop losing my head over things.
I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around that in a month's time, I'll have done a whole year of grad school. April is shaping up to be the busiest month so far. Last week was a bit shit as the motivation fell out of my life in a big way. All I wanted to do was avoid work and feel free and daydream about the money I could be making soon or strolling through Paris (if the damned school doesn't cancel the program like I've heard grumblings about,..). My mind was everywhere at once and taking that time for total irresponsibility had me working twice as hard this week.
I discovered the new Pantha du Prince album the other day and I've been happily rocking it, especially the song above. It's definitely struck a nerve.
I've been examining recently my feelings about the program. For a long stretch, I hated it. Last semester (and 2009 in general) was all about life upheaval and I really did end in December wanting to quit. My program can be very alienating because it seems like there's a culture in place where you're expected to give up everything else you have going on to hang out on the floor and exclusively with program people. With the exception of a friend or two, I just didn't click with anyone there and instead of running headfirst into it, I stepped back and carved out my own path. It hasn't made me the most popular 1st year, but at 29, I'd rather have a life I can happily call my own than be miserable trying to fit in. And this semester has felt different as I've followed my own passions more to take some non-typical classes and create a schedule and life balance I feel happy with. I might scream if another person asks me if I'm a part-time student, but I feel like the intellectual satisfaction I've had lately really keeps me from giving a shit what the average fellow program person thinks.
I'm at the point where I can always think of something else that I would like to have that I don't (a bigger apartment, being able to avoid the end of the semester poverty, a nice guy to indulge me in my nerdy talk), but the abject misery I felt as a cog in the corporate world is one thing I do not miss. It feels nice to smile and laugh and mean it. And I wouldn't trade making it out of the last crazy few years well-adjusted for anything else.
Not so long ago, I was known as a pack rat. (And a slob.) It was one of those things that developed gradually over time. Cleaning in my room was always the chore I hated the most. I never had the attention span to sift through things I liked and weed out what was less worthy of being at a visible place to grab when the mood hit me...whenever that might be. In some dark days of my youth, the maelstrom look of my room was a secret organization method for me to see immediately what had changed when I had my back turned. Back then, things had the habit of mysteriously disappearing and it gave me a little piece of mind to be able to visually confirm what I still had or had to chalk up to my "faulty recollection" of having it in the first place.
In adulthood, the mess became attributed to sheer lack of time and attention. In the past few years, home is probably the place I spend the least amount of time. My desk isn't so neat, but it's contained in a way that my bedroom floor never could be said to be. It's easy to forget dishes in the sink or laundry on the floor when you only see it for a few hours between sleep and leaving. As this year has unfolded jaggedly, the mess has gotten worse. But finally, I found an interesting solution to the clutter problem: moving.
I've been working up my way to this for a long time. For many of the past six months, I've been stuck with my head in the sand as shit got insane around me. I've been the queen of bad decisions. (Or maybe it was perfectly logical to let a barely working ex-dealer and felon move in with me and coast for a month or two before I woke the fuck up? Yeah, I didn't so either.) After spending 3 and half years here, this apartment means a lot more to me than just a place I've kept all my shit. It's the longest place I've lived straight since I was 14. And it's also filled with a colossal amount of garbage. My M3 conference pass from '05? Trash. The piles and piles of magazines I've gotten in the mail and never read? On the curb. Random dinner receipts and old flyers to shows I didn't even attend? Out of here.
What surprises me the most is how good it feels to reduce the clutter so much. Not to say that largely moving myself doesn't have a bunch to do with it, but where in the past I would've held on to everything "just in case," I have to curb my instinct to pick up everything and toss it. The new place is a lot smaller and most of the garbage I've been spreading around 5 rooms just doesn't need to go there. And that is a very good thing. Streamlining FTW.
I had a bizarre run to close out the year. I've been mostly keeping my head down guy wise for a long while, especially when I had the cast on and self-deprecatingly noted that a girl with a hobble probably wasn't high on anyone's priority list. I couldn't even dance with that thing on...nor for a fair amount of months afterwards. It's only been the past month or so that I've really been feeling consistently close to my old self again and still I'm at about 85% with some fun physical therapy sessions to do. Exciting stuff I know.
Anyways, just before the ankle blew out, I adopted this bar I've alluded to in my spare posting as my non-local local where I can perch, drink, and pass the time in peace. That peace last a few months before strangely enough the randoms got used to my face and I became fair game. I was good about fending off advances and became this weird yet friendly untouchable barfly. I made friends and finally allowed myself to have crushes and it was all humming along until one night.
This past year, I've been disentangled by choice. The situation with the boy in itself didn't mess me up, just the fallout and a few years of self-directed bad feelings. It was important for me to focus on getting my shit together without dumb distractions and I did it. Besides it was tiring on the soul to basically date the same guy with a different skin over and over again with the results constantly ending up the same degree of suck. You begin to wonder if the problem isn't with you at a certain point and I think it was, so I (hopefully) fixed it. Still, I wasn't quite in the nunnery and there was a brief moment where I got genuinely geeked over this new kid I met over the summer. It was nice to be with someone unafraid to be smart and literary and the long buried English nerd in me rejoiced at the possibility of coming out of cold storage. Didn't quite pan out, but I was happy for the widening of the criteria besides the old vague template.
But, the one that boiled over was straight out of my typical mold. He reminds me especially now of this kid I liked for a few angsty months in high school: musical, wears too much black and punk attire, long hair, and masking the issues with manic behavior and wit. It built over months and I got drawn into this strange push and pull thing and soon it was visible from space that we liked each other. Still, I tried to resist it all because at this point in my life, I don't see the point in doing all the old habits over when the end result is always the same. I don't feel like being as careless with my feelings as I used to be.
Unfortunately for me, I'm a sucker for a major declaration. After a long night perched at the bar leading to an after party at some random's loft, he cornered me mid drink pour with "I like you. I know you like me. Don't you? So what are we dancing around this for? What are we going to do about it?" And I said "nothing because I don't think it's right for me." And he pressed me for reasons and I halfheartedly spoke of work, being busy, and just not being in the game and he smiled at my hollow words and ignored them. We woke up together the next morning in his freezing apartment with me fully clothed including hoodie, minus shoes. As the day was heading into the next one, he formally asked me out and I think I finally started to silence the little cynic in me.
That was a waste. We had talked briefly about getting together after work (for me) early in the week and I was in charge of planning. I threw some ideas out there and realized they'd fallen into the abyss soon enough. So, imagine my surprise to see him strolling in the bar and walk up to me nonchalantly after blowing me off. I asked him to explain himself and he said he'd been on a four day bender and didn't mean to let me down. I coldly responded that there had been a window open with me that was now closed and he slunk away. Only to return a few minutes later if I wanted to hang out and watch a movie. I gave him a funny look, but spontaneously agreed because I wanted to see if I could get a less ridiculous excuse out of him.
Not quite. But, I did get a load of emo and it turned me off him for good. It reminded me of what I'd taken the break for. I just don't really have it in me to play doormat for some vaguely self-destructive narcissist anymore. Especially since eating all the shit doesn't do much in terms of having a good relationship or an especially lasting one. I called him on his pity party and countered with my own set of problems and the fact that some days it took all my energy just to feel okay, so I didn't have it in me to prop someone else up also. "God...who hurt you?" he said as if I was the messed up one. Wouldn't be him, that's for sure.
Over the holidays without work or much to do, I was a professional barfly and all that crap made hanging out at the bar tense for a bit. It was water under the bridge as far as I was concerned, mission aborted before it got out of hand, but he was acting very funny for a while there. One night, I had way too much to drink and let my mouth run (poor blackout ruined the memory for me), but from what I gather, it wasn't very nice, but at least deflated some of the excess ridiculousness. An uneasy truce has been called, but the place is kinda ruined for me. I'm glad all that time off grew me some backbone at least. Not so long ago, I would've glossed over the blow off as him being sweetly misunderstood. Nowadays, it correctly pegged him as a jerkface and he got the cane. Life's really just too short for that crap.
Happy New Year! I've basically been a sicky mess since then. I was on vacation for about a week and a half leading up to it and started the wild run early, so once it was time to go back to work, my body conked out on me.
New Year's Eve is a bit of a blur for me. 2007 was a pretty insane year and I was happy to see the tail end of it. I spent the early part of the day scrambling to finish off shopping and cleaning and getting things done and failing miserably. And just when I thought I had enough to preoccupy me, yet another bombshell. '07 was the year of "aww fuck, what's next?" I was never allowed to get too comfortable before a seismic shift came along to stir up everything. It sucked, but I think I'm a better person on the other side.
And there I was at 11:30 on New Year's Eve, surprising myself by wearing a party dress. I'd been wrangling with it since the dressing room the day before, still wondering if it wasn't just a bit too short. It was fine in the front and sorta in the back as long as I didn't bend over or sit down or something useful. And unlike some crazies I saw later in the night, I had tights to keep it all from being a little too drafty and indecent. To cap off a year I'd spent transforming away from minimalist and preferring to be unnoticed, I went with big hair and earrings and loved my reflection. I swilled cheap champagne and danced for the passively observing cat and waited for PrincessNella's call and just felt totally relieved. I had made it through the loss of the hell job, being so sick and weak for a while there that I could barely get out of bed, all the dumb entanglements, and the horrible potential move to something like happiness and (partial) stability for the first time in forever. I buckled down and suffered, but I did it. I earned my fucking adult tag.
Midnight was me and PN and champagne and fireworks from the park. We just listened to music and kicked it for a while before we rallied to go out. Studio B was the destination for the second year, but this time, we didn't kick around that long before she was off home and I was en route to the still patchy part of my night. But, I hear I was quite the dancer and I even made a friend to go off to another party with. Beforehand, I'd made an appointment to get cable installed on New Year's Day, so imagine how unamused the cable guy was to hear me pleading for him to come back later with a techno background since I still wasn't home at 11am. I stumbled out in the light feeling like a degenerate soon after, but still missed him because he called back while I was in the passed out part of my day. Good times. I even got a food delivery from Ms. Mommy with the affirmation that yes, my dress was too short. But hell, it looks different without tights is my final word on it.
I don't really have any formal resolutions this year. Besides maybe be as good to people as they are to me, do the right thing, and curb the dickheads in my life. And stay healthy, but that's more of a wish. I've already discovered that's not much under my control. Oh, and I guess to write more here too, but I can't make any promises.
Friday night, I had time to kill between rushing happily from work (oh what a long day that was!) and tentative plans I made with Banana. I wrestled with going home to grab dinner and drop stuff off, but I made a trip to Target for some cheap gloves and then wandered down to Dumbo for a nostalgia trip.
Strolling down hill from Sands, I got hit by a memory wave. The first time I'd gone there and I ended up on a very long walk from Hoyt because I didn't follow the boy's directions. How I made the trek from the bus every morning on the way to work. How the giant condo building went from a lot to scaffolding and glass to this lit up thing casting a wide shadow. I really gaped at the new drugstore at the base. The only one in the whole neighborhood. I was even tempted to buy something because I was so amazed. I passed one of the guys from the deli I used to buy my ham, egg, and cheese on a roll. He asked me where I'd been and I said I worked in Midtown now, but was popping in for old times' sake. We exchanged goodbyes and I said thank you, it's nice to be remembered and we shared a smile before walking in opposite directions.
I slid up to the bar to order. The bartender is newish, but I've seen her in there the past couple of random trips that way. I ordered a hot toddy and found myself in conversation with one of the old timers before sitting on the bench and letting my hands and body warm from the liquid. An after work crew had taken over most of the back and I smiled at the memories of being one of them. Later sitting at the bar, I met the owner for the first time and told him that the place meant a lot to me over the years. I had some weird flashback to drinking in there with the boy and having our knees touch sending all sorts of currents through me. It's funny that it's taken so long to actually allow myself to have good associations to him again. Maybe I am really putting that shit behind me.
I strolled out of there, 2 toddys down and happy. I wandered over to that place I go nowadays and chatted with the friends there for a while. It's changing before my eyes too: serving food, a party bar writeup in a local magazine, and now a wall knocked down to make it bigger. I'm trying to encourage myself to not be weird and emo because it's dumb to be nostalgic over...last week. I've been getting frustrated there because the last prospect to get me excited in a while has gone MIA and tracking him down through the connections is a bit overly complicated. It's making me a little wistful which annoys me. But it's just not as fun to drink hot toddys alone.
Saturday, I actually tried to change that and met a new friend over drinks in the Slope. I've been trying to hang out more this way lately. I guess I'm getting a little burned out on spending an hour trying to get home from the bar. We ended up making friends at the bar and helped compile the crazy/jerk scale for men and women. The worst for a woman's behavior were being Cameron Diaz in Vanilla Sky, Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, or Lorena Bobbitt. For guys, sleeping with your friend, sleeping with a relative and/or a man, and leaving a pregnant woman shit out of luck. The normal baseline for a person was a 2. The sociologist in me was interested that the woman's list was called crazy and every number after 5 had something to do with violent acts (a drink in the face, which I'm not familiar with at all, was a 3) and the rest with temper/jealous issues. The men's list all boiled down to cheating and/or majorly screwing you over. I got it posed to me earlier where would prolonged deception about paternity go on the women's list. I gave it 9, a 7 if the truth comes out early. It was an interesting way to pass the time.
This weekend I was very proud of myself for relaxing to the point of ridiculousness. Saturday until about 8pm was spent either in or very close to bed and today wasn't much better. I'm super well rested for a change. It was so worth it.
Most exciting news of the week for me: Soft Circle is opening up for The Sea and Cake at Warsaw. Yes!
My site is still kinda broken. This post is dated from when I started scribbling in it, but is definitely not today. In case you care, the cast thing has become less devastating as time has passed. I'm less bandaged (even though both feet are in the act now) and am back to wearing regularish shoes. It's gonna be a while before I can slip on anything with some height, though if you see me semi-normally, you know that's about par for the course except I can't if I wanted to. Instead, my stupid knee is the hobbling culprit. Oh the good times! My mother wasn't kidding when she said you fall apart rapidly after 25.
Life at the new mothership is pretty rad so far. Minus my hideous ID photo in which I'm frozen for posterity as a bewildered 12-year old with a fat neck. I've been obsessing over that quite a bit.And also last.fm which I just got my shit together and joined. (Please ignore the random Goo Goo Dolls songs sprinkled in. Thanks.)
And now for a story: some weeks ago, I went to see the Battles show at the Seaport. It was one of the few summer early Fridays I had managed to take advantage of and I'd had a nice nap at home before coming back out. I spent most of the show squeezed against a storefront while random packs of tourists went back and forth from booze cruises and the Water Taxi, but I had a pretty good viewing angle and the sound was great. After the show, I wandered further downtown away from the mass hipster stampedes and had a nice burrito at Chipotle before grabbing the J.
Across the aisle were some drunkie girls that seemed like a bit clueless college girls and at Fulton, this random dude got on. From the start, he made me uncomfortable practically boring a hole into my head with his eyes. I was sure not to make eye contact and not squirm. But when he responded to the drunkies' goodbye at Bowery with "goodbye you stupid sluts!," dude got upgraded to crazy fast.
The teenager across from me eyed him nervously out of the corner of the eye. New York kids' reactions are always along the lines of "is this motherfucker gonna lose it or what?" and it reinforced my feelings of uneasiness. A pretty woman on a date sat next to me and chatted with her guy and the man across eyed us both like steaks on a plate. She got off at Marcy and he whispered something in her direction before sitting down next to me.
I dug up courage somewhere and eyed the side of his head icily as he made a production of removing his headphones to talk to me. He turned to me and said "are you going to keep looking at me like that?"
"Yes," I replied, in a stronger voice than I expected.
"Because I'm wondering why you're sitting next to me."
"It's a public transportation, sweetheart," oozed the bastard.
"Okay, that's fine. I'll move then." And I got up to wander halfway down the car. Sometimes I wonder what's the point of being in the conductor's car if it doesn't make you feel an ounce safer.
He eyed me the whole time I walked and stood in the doorway and then when I sat at Lorimer. I refused to look and when I rushed off at Flushing, my heart beating in my ears drowned out what he yelled after me. I walked to the newest non-local local eying the sidewalk behind me every other step. Sometimes people are crazy and you'll never know what they'll do. My night was ruined from there. I haven't taken that train since.