Thursday, February 20, 2014

End-of-Winter Misery Round-Up



Once upon a time, it was almost Christmas. Do you remember how good you were feeling back then? I sure don’t! When I try to imagine a time during which I romanticized snow, seasonal alcoholic beverages, fabulous winter fashion, and days spent curled up in bed watching movies or reading, I find myself at a complete loss. The dream is dead. I’m so cold that the divine prospect of me in short shorts sweating my tits off at a rooftop concert in ninety-degree heat seems like a fucking pipe dream. It’s all over. We’re doomed to a life of ducking out of the wind and huddling in a miserable cocoon of our own making. My cocoon sucks! It is the product of the most punishing winter I have seen in my eight years of living in the state of New York. It is so goddamn freezing that my life has been reduced to various sequences of survival techniques that make me feel more and more savage by the day. Come with me, if you dare, for a day in my S.A.D. winter life. Here's how I do:


EVERY (OTHER) WEEKDAY MORNING: BATTLING MY NEIGHBORS FOR HOT WATER
I used to get up at 7:35 a.m. on days where I needed to shower before work. Those days are long gone. I learned the hard way that the hot water in my building sucks and that if you snooze you lose. I now get up at 7:00 to steal the hot water from everybody else. It’s not so bad because this way I’ve been getting to work earlier and I don’t have to worry about running into anybody I know on the train, but what I wouldn’t give for those extra thirty-five minutes! In the summer I can take a cold shower and it is the most refreshing thing, it’s like I’m EXCITED to get up early and get in there. Nowadays I feel terrified to step into liquid because the bathroom is cold and the prospect of running out of hot water when I haven’t even STARTED conditioning my hair makes me want to shit my pants. The thing that REALLY sucks, though, is that even if your shower is piping hot, you will get cold all over again when you turn the water off. Your drafty bathroom will lash your wet, naked flesh with goosebumps. You cannot win. Basically, everything is painful right now. The cold fucking HURTS!


EVERY WEEKDAY NO MATTER WHAT: LAYERING THE SAME LAYERS UNDER THE SAME THREE SHITTY FLANNEL SHIRTS
Remember what I was saying about being excited about winter fashion? It’s over. I want to throw every sweater, every wool sock, all of my flannel and both pairs of my winter boots into the fire. Basically I have been dressing like a fucking MAN for the past three months because girly clothes are inherently freezing. My cutoff shorts sometimes surface when I am digging around for a pair of clean jeans and I curse the day that the sun's warmth ever kissed my pale, pasty skin! Why can’t New York be in Florida! Or Southern California! Someplace “balmy,” even though that word gives me the creeps. Why did "god" or whoever bestow this curse upon me of not wanting to live anywhere but here? These are things to think about while throwing on a third layer.


EVERY WEEKNIGHT NO MATTER WHAT: BINGE-WATCHING A BUNCH OF NERDY PARANORMAL TV SHOWS
X-Files, Walking Dead, Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks: Take me away to a fantastic realm! Entertain me while I order way too much food off of Seamless and justify it all by being like, “oh well I’m hibernating and it’s okay if I get fat because the fat will keep me warm and I don’t even care how my body looks anymore because it’s hidden underneath all of these layers of man clothes.” Scare the shit out of me! Spirit me away to a place both wonderful and strange. Where I am right now is not wonderful, nor is it strange! It is just COLD and DARK, and I live in the night- only the night. I'm in THE BLACK LODGE. Please, Paranormal TV Shows, take me away from the Black Lodge. The truth is out there, I want to believe!


EVERY WEEKEND WITHOUT FAIL: GETTING FUCKING WASTED
During the week I need to take it super-easy and sleep a lot so I won’t want to kill myself when I have to wake up super-early to take what may or may not be a hot shower. The early mornings make me want to do very little at night, and this makes for an uneventful, extremely non-social week. When the weekend comes, I am suffering from cabin fever. Not having plans to see people on the weekend feels like the kiss of death. The monotony is so great that I will proceed to overschedule myself, hit up way more social functions than seems humanly possible, and of course DRINK WAY TOO MUCH. I have been going off the rails. I justify this behavior by saying that these short days are meant for drinking away, that it is OK to be wild and violent against one’s own body, and by promising myself that I will do better next year. Revising my winter behavior is, at this point, futile. What's done is done, and things will be better when I can wear cuffed jeans and my lace-up Vans with no socks and my favorite tee shirt- which, by the way, I am currently wearing underneath my favorite sweater that I now hate.


EVERY NIGHT EVER: WAKING UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WHEN THE SPACE HEATER TURNS OFF
This is the worst. In my room I am always freezing because I am lucky enough to have two beautiful windows. In the warm months I leave ‘em open and it feels like being in a treehouse or on a porch. You can sit up in bed and drink coffee and watch the branches of the trees on my block tossing in the wind. In the winter, I pay the price. The draft from my windows gives me cold hands and cold feet and hard nips. My space heater is about to eat shit. It has gotten considerably more rattle-y since I started REALLY running that fucker at the beginning of January. There’s a timer on it, and I set it to run for three hours when I go to sleep. I always wake up when it switches off. The lullaby of its annoying rattling ends, and I wake up when it is so late and so dark, and everything feels scary because I am always waking up from a horrible nightmare that has no doubt been brought on by too much freaky TV. This is the loneliest hour. I am never more aware of where I am and how cold it is than when the timer goes off. I lie in bed and think about my dream and curl my toes around my comforter. The white noise is replaced by silence, and I get that thought that everybody thinks in the dead of winter: It will never get warm again.

***

BOO HOO! Terrible, I know. Summer is the time for sulking, fall is the time for brooding, and winter is the time for misery. Whenever daylight savings time begins, I always feel strangely excited for this misery, and I have always failed to understand why. In the beginning it is exciting: it's like the cold and the dark provide an excuse for melodrama, for sloth, for terrible decisions. At the end, it's as old and crusty as the hybrid piles of snow and garbage lining your street. I suppose extreme sadness and recklessness are just cheap rushes that winter is the most willing to accommodate. What more can we do except wait for it all to be over?

By the time you read this, I will be on my way to catch a plane out of JFK. The freak warm spell will hit while I am away, but I like to think that by the time I get back most of the ice will have melted and that the rotten thaw of spring will have begun. Misery will give way to wistfulness, because wistfulness is the fairest of all the forms of anguish, and spring is the fairest of all the seasons. 

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Concert Hazards: A Guide


Ah, "going to shows". So worth blowing money on, and so many fabulous ones to go to this fall! Some stuff I’m excited for includes Chelsea Wolfe on Friday the 13th (perfect), Clinic at Glasslands next Tuesday, the Frankie Rose release at Bowery Ballroom, and the Pendu showcase at Europa. All of this is wonderful. But do you know what is not wonderful? CONCERT HAZARDS. They can be night ruiners: people ODin' (electric zoo-yikes), creepers creepin', jacked-up alt bros knockin' fools to the floor! These are all things that any seasoned concert-goer will (hopefully) avoid, but what about the littler things, the less-serious things? These less-serious things are unfortunately kind of unavoidable. Here are a few of them:

1. CELL PHONE PHOTOGRAPHERS
Okay, so I gotta own up to something: on labor day weekend I took a picture of Liars performing at MoMa PS 1 with my phone. I felt like kind of a bitchass, but not really, because I didn't spend like ten minutes composing my ultimately-shitty concert picture. I raised my arm, pointed my phone in the direction of the stage, snapped a picture, and waited until AFTER the show to post it on Instagram. The whole thing took maybe two seconds. I feel like this is acceptable behavior. Get in and get out, as they say.

But, as always, there are those who cross the line. I do not understand people who will hold their glowing phones in the air for one minute-plus, which, in cell-phone-picture-taking land, is an eternity. It's like, look, I know that you are "killing it on Vine" or whatever, but don't you think you could maybe, I don't know, watch the show?! Also, I don't know if you know this, but you are ruining the show for other people. Your phone is in my line of vision. Your phone is BLOCKING MY VIEW OF WESLEY EISOLD.
Why would you do this to me? Deplorable. Unforgivable. (Good God, what a handsome man!)

2. DOOR PEOPLE
Why do they hate me? All the time it's like I get this super "fresh" attitude. Normally I am in support of "fresh" attitudes. I am not one of those people who complains about how the people at Beacon's Closet or whatever are soooo mean. I am not afraid of shop girls, I am not afraid of bartenders, and I am not afraid of goth-y artisan jewelry makers at the flea market. It's the door people who scare me. The Silent Barn door people are the scariest. 285 comes in a close second. Over the Fourth of July I had purchased two tickets for the Gigawatts festival, one for myself and my one for my good college friend, Ben. We entered the courtyard outside the venue and I told the door girls that I had two tix reserved under my name.

“Aw, really?” one of the girls said disparagingly, like I was some fresh-off-the-boat person who didn’t know anything about anything around here. It was just another way of saying “oh how cute, she reserved tickets for the big cool concert. ” Ugh! Why is that shit necessary! I don’t know. Maybe it’s good that door people are often dicks because somebody needs to be mean to all these vanilla bastards who are ruining everything for everyone. But shouldn’t they at least be civil to me, a non-bitchass? Whatever. I ain’t special and neither is anybody else. Bring on the death stares, I guess? Speaking of door drama, check it out:

3. THINKING THAT YOU ARE ON THE LIST WHEN YOU ARE NOT (SRRY!)
Huh??? The shock, the embarrassment, the forking over of your money to the door person who hates you! After she stamps your wrist with a little black star you walk into the venue, shamed, disgraced... and dang mad! What is the meaning of this! When you are romantically involved with somebody and they do not put you on the list even when you say that you are “almost positive” you're going make it... I have no words. And then you stand in the crowd and all of the other band girlfriends got in for free and you didn’t and it’s like, fuck. It’s not even about being out seven bucks (b.f.d.). I should be on the list- not just the guest list, but your list! I should be number one on your list of favorite people. In a case like this, not being on the list is a hazard that lingers far after the show has ended.

Oh well, some things are not meant to be. There are other shows, other people. I’m cool with not being on any list right now. Nothing beats the thrill of racing against the clock to purchase tickets to a show that is about to sell out! But anyway, let’s end this list of concert hazards on a crass and maybe humorous note...

4. DIY VENUE BATHROOMS
Last year I bought tickets to see Magik Markers and Psychic Ills at 285. However, I couldn't go because I think a pipe burst and shit was raining everywhere? Obviously, the show was subsequently cancelled. Which reminds me: I heard a rumor that a certain promoter claims to have reached inside "the throne" at 285 way back in the day to remove the turd that was clogging the toilet WITH HIS OWN BARE HANDS.

Hahahahahaha. Luckily I have never witnessed anything akin to the above situations. Normally it goes a little something like this: there is never toilet paper. There is never soap. There are never paper towels. You will wait in a long-ass line for the one bathroom in the whole place and you will be on the verge of peeing your pants. When the dude in front of you exits the bathroom you burst in there "like a bat out of hell" and slam the door behind you, barely having time to fumble with the shitty little lock on the door knob. After you finally get to go, you will wash your hands and wipe them on your jeans and and stare helplessly at all the beer cans on the back of the toilet seat. Which one of them is yours? Fuck it, you say, and you grab a beer that you are pretty sure is yours and hope for the best. then you hurry back out and hope that nobody hates you for taking too long (did I take too long? Or was that like, normal speed?) or thinks you spilled beer all over yourself because there are dark wet spots on your jeans.

As you can see, I get really stressed out about using the bathroom at these kind of things. Sometimes I will just walk up to the roof but that's kinda nasty and disrespectful to the intrepid maniacs who are letting hundreds of people get fucked up and listen to live music in their freaking house, so I try to keep that behavior to a minimum.

You know what, I would like to retract one of the above statements. Sometimes there is soap, but when I say “soap” I mean a bunch of water that somebody poured into an empty softsoap bottle and shook up a bunch of times in the true DIY spirit. However, nothing is more DIY than digging shit out of a toilet with your own two hands. Bravo, bravo.

***
It’s amazing how one little annoyance can tinge your evening with a dull sense of disappointment. After spending all day getting ready and painting your nails and planning your outfit like it was the prom while blasting the new album with the new songs that you can’t fucking wait to hear- it hurts when something happens to make the whole thing not-so-fun. Usually these little things are easy to brush off, but sometimes that withering look stays with you and the cell phone auteurs make you feel depressed for your generation and you hate all those people in the bathroom line who are staring at you because you didn't piss fast enough. What to do? I’ll tell you what not to do: DON’T be a Debbie Downer and harsh everybody’s vibe. That is a concert hazard in itself. Suck it up, try to ignore whatever petty trifles are pissing you off and just enjoy the show. Remember how you were counting down the days? Remember how you were in such a great mood on the day of the show at your shitty job? Don’t forget that. Here you are. There is loud music playing. Later in your life you can tell people that you saw them live and that they were fantastic.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

SULKING: Yr Doing It Wrong

(via)
If fall is the time for brooding, summer is the time for sulking. Summer does not feel like summer anymore and everybody is bummed out. Aside from the sadness that accompanies summer's end, it is easy to be bummed in the summer, I'm guessing because everybody is drinking too much and not really paying attention to anything real and is suspended in a frivolous fantasy world that will suddenly disappear for nine months? Yeah yeah yeah, I guess I had fun, but full disclosure: for me, this summer sucked. I will not go into detail as to why- romantic disappointments, mainly- but I will say this: I have mastered the art of the sulk. I have sulked all over town and now you can, too! Quick, before time runs out: have yourself a sulk before you wrap yourself up in fabric to brood when it's cold again. Here is how ya do:

1. GET A GIANT ICED COFFEE, CHAIN SMOKE, AND DON'T YOU DARE TAKE THOSE SUNGLASSES OFF
like this girl, only it's summer and there are no dogs and she's miserable
Sit in a public place. It helps if you are wearing mostly black. If you run out of your giant iced coffee, go get another giant iced coffee. It is very important that the coffee is iced because it will allow you to consume the coffee at an alarming rate. The goal is to feel as crazy as possible while pouting like you've never pouted before. Sometimes resorting to the most college-like behavior feels super-good when you are feeling bad. You may even want to bring a slim, depressing volume of poetry with you.

When everybody around you starts to think you are a psycho, you have done your job. There are only so many iced coffees and cigarettes one can consume in whatever window of time you have allotted yourself for this ultimately unproductive activity. You must now suck it up and go do whatever it is you need to do next in your day. If you are like me, when you are walking or taking the train you like to listen to music. You need mood music. so:

2. MAKE A BUMMER JAM PLAYLIST
Some choice bummer jams of this summer have been Pharmakon's Abandon, deafheaven's Sunbather, and Boards of Canada's Tomorrow's Harvest. Listening to Pharmakon on your morning commute is an experience, people. Yes, perhaps I am setting myself up to be in a bad mood all day, but I firmly believe that if one is to get the sulk out of one's system, one must commit to the sulk completely. Once it takes hold of you and gives you a squeeze it will slowly let go of you again. Let yourself be squeezed. Let yourself be consumed by the terrifying, visceral musical stylings of Margaret Chardiet:



PERFECT. Sulking music should always be furiously slow-burning and sexy, NOT self-pitying. That is not my kind of sulk. Basically, don't listen to any namby-pamby bullshit like this:



FUK DAT.

3. SPEND MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE ON SHIT YOU DON'T NEED
Because summer is the time for FUN, right!? Whatever. Nothing says "I don't give a fuck" like dropping too much money at (if you are me) Beacon's Closet. I like tearing through racks of clothes and pulling out shit I would never ordinarily wear and then taking an armload of garments into the dressing room. The unfazed, nihilistic shopping addict is a role I like to play sometimes. It feels good to immerse oneself in the melodrama of overspending. Yes, it's true: when the sulk is over you are like "oh fuck I have to pay rent," but then you are like "oh well lesson learned but it was worth it because LOOK AT MY SHIT."


So, you know, pick your poison, but for me it's vintage clothes. After purchasing said clothes, I like to put 'em on and "go out on the town". It ain't a sulk without booze. See next:

4. ONLY DRINK COCKTAILS WHEN YOU GO OUT
(tom cruise in cocktail: wayyyyy too happy)
To me, there is always something very somber-seeming about complex, difficult-to-make cocktails. I'm not talking about trash-ass cocktails, I'm talking about finely crafted works of art, here. The Narrows makes a concoction called Caulfield's Dream that is my sulking cocktail of choice. Delicious moodiness in a shallow, elegant glass. And, as a plus, it is named after the patron saint of sulking, Holden Caulfield. Perfecto!

Again, money I do not have on shit I do not need. Just don't get TOO toasted- that usually ends in crying spells or fits of rage or (god forbid) barf. You do not need that. If you play your cards right, sulking can be a very sophisticated form of suffering. You need to keep it chill.

5.  PUT ON A CRAZY OUTFIT, WALK SOMEWHERE YOU'VE NEVER BEEN BEFORE, PRETEND LIKE YOU'RE RUNNING AWAY

The sulk gets old eventually, and you want it to go away. In your life, you are doing everything right: you are showing up to work on time, the bills are paid, nobody is angry at you and you've been eating lots of healthy shit instead of a bunch of junk. WHY IS THE SULK CLINGING TO ME, you may ask. I don't know. Sometimes you need to shake it off.

Last weekend I needed groceries. I wanted the sulk gone, I was tired, I wished I could be somebody else so that this would just STOP HAPPENING TO ME. I went through my closet and put on my red Hare Krishna-lookin' dress. Hair up, sunglasses on, here we go, off to Valentino's, a grocery store in a part of Ridgewood I hadn't yet been to. I knew I would not run into anybody I knew. That's why I love Ridgewood. Here, nobody wants to be seen, I don't want to be seen. Like I said before, Ridgewood is a magical forest realm. It felt good to push deeper into that forest, to recede from the places that were the sources of my troubles, to travel incognito, to pretend to be another person while pretending to run away.

At Valentino's, I picked out some peaches and some plums, some pasta and some sauce, a loaf of bread and all the rest. I pretended I was in the country and that I would be taking all of these things to my cottage, where I would stand in my kitchen and prepare myself a meal. In this life I lived in solitude, and there were no boys to cry over and no night ruining-ly shitty parties, no terrible morning commutes and no depressing account balances. I put the most pastoral products possible into my basket, which I imagined to be an actual basket instead of a red plastic shopping basket. I paid for my things and headed home back down the woodland path, also known as Woodbine Street.

I came home to my railroad apartment and changed into my regular clothes. Incognito clothes are very exhausting to wear and it feels good to put on your normal clothes because in the end it feels better to be yourself instead of somebody else. After I'd changed, I put on Soundtracks For the Blind and got to work on dinner. It felt like a moment in time like any other, and that's when I knew that the sulk was finally lifting. Sure, I wasn't OVERJOYED with life, but it was the first time in a long time that everything didn't feel completely awful. I think that going incognito and pretending to run away is a good way to give yourself a shake. It's like going through a wormhole. You tumble into another life and then crawl back into your own, transformed somehow and feeling lucky that it's just you, that this is your life and this is your house. If things can be so lovely in the body of the person you just pretended to be, why shouldn't they be just as good in your own?

It ain't all bad, I suppose.

***

Well, Labor Day weekend is upon us. Like I said before, it wasn't the greatest of summers, but I am letting myself enjoy what's left of it. I feel very good right now, actually: it all came to me on the train upstate to my friend's house. Everything out the window was so gorgeous, and the feeling of not caring whether what's-his-name or who's-his-face ever called me again was luxurious. I realized that even though summer is basically over, I have a lot to look forward to: Liars at PS 1 this weekend, some last-minute house party bangers, maybe one last psycho beach journey at dawn. And hot dogs: have I eaten a hot dog at all this summer? Or a popsicle? There's so much left to do. I'm willing to cram it all in, I think.

But, as you know, everything is up and down. Bad moods come and go. For now I'm enjoying being in a good mood, but when the next bad one comes I'll say BRING ON THE BROOD!

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Red Hook Ikea Love Test


Two years ago, I went to the Red Hook Ikea for the very first time. I took the water taxi, I sat on the upper deck and let the wind mess up my hair while I tried to not to think about my most recent failed romance.  I needed a rug, a nightstand, and a lamp to put on top of the nightstand. After obsessively visiting Ikea's website and telling myself that I should really go out there one of these days, I was finally doing it, I was disembarking from the water taxi and entering Ikea and trying to find my way through its labyrinthine interior. I knew the exact products I wanted. It didn't take me long to find them. I impluse-bought a couple of ice cube trays that made ice in the shape of hearts. 

When I got home, I assembled the nightstand. It was the first time I had ever assembled furniture. I was shocked that I didn't fuck it up and a little sad that there wasn't a boyfriend present to help me in case I did. I put the lamp on top of the nightstand and the rug on the floor beside it. I sat on the rug and and drank white wine from a jar with little heart-shaped ice cubes floating at the surface. I was fine, I knew this, but I felt jealous of all the couples I'd seen in Ikea. I wanted to be like them, I wanted to go to Ikea with somebody I loved and not by myself. Being at Ikea with your boyfriend seemed like heaven. Why couldn't I be in heaven? Why the fuck was I still single when my ex-boyfriend was already on his second girlfriend since we'd broken up? The whole thing made me want to drink even more wine with heart-shaped ice cubes.

Fast forward: it's two years after my first trip to Ikea, and I'm wandering the aisles with my new boyfriend, the first real boyfriend I'd had in 2 1/2 years. It was great, except in my heart I knew it wasn't working, was never going to work, but how could it not work when we were here in Ikea together! Maybe everything will be okay, I told myself, how could everything not be okay? Clearly we are on another level because we are here, we are at Ikea and he is helping me shop for a dresser and he will help me assemble it, right? I lied and lied and lied to myself and when we were in the checkout line I said thank you for coming with me baby, and obviously we were supposed to kiss but he only kissed me because I was offering my lips to him. It should have been obvious, it should have been instinctual, but he was gone, he'd been gone, and I could see it- but again, how could this be when we were in Ikea

I paid and we wheeled the shopping cart into the parking lot. One of the boxes was too heavy for me to lift but he said come on, you're strong, you can lift it. I thought about the time when we were getting out of a cab in front of my house right before Hurricane Sandy and I had all of this shit that I'd bought at Duane Reade so that we wouldn't starve or be without light in case everything got all fucked up. I was struggling to get out of the cab and there were cars waiting behind us honking at me to hurry up and the whole time my boyfriend was just standing there not doing anything. "You know, you could help her!" said one of guys in one of the cars. It was humiliating. Why couldn't my boyfriend take one of my bags? Why couldn't he help me load a box into his car while we were at Ikea? Why couldn't he help me carry it to my apartment building when we finally got there?

"You know," I said, "this is a man's job."

Let me pause here. I'm sorry, but when you are a woman and there is a heavy object that needs lifting and there is a man present, IT IS A MAN'S JOB. Yes, if I REALLY wanted to, I could lug that box up the stairs, but it would take forever, and why should I have to do this when there is a perfectly capable man beside me who can cut the time it takes to do this task in half?  I believe in gender equality, but I also believe that a man should make a woman feel like a woman and a woman should make a man feel like a man. My boyfriend didn't get it and I was too exhausted to try to explain it to him. I was so angry, but I still wanted it to work. I wanted things to change, I wanted him to change, I wanted him to lift, or at least help lift, my fucking heavy Ikea box up the goddamn stairs!

Once the boxes were deposited in my room, we drank a glass of water in the kitchen and then drove back to South Brooklyn. We went to a show our friend was playing and fought on the way home. It made me feel terrible the next day, but the thought of finally having a dresser buoyed my spirits. It had been almost a month since I'd moved into my new apartment and I was still living out of a suitcase. When I  got home, I set to work on assembling the dresser. Since assembling my nightstand two years prior, I'd put together a couch and a bookshelf. The dresser was the most complicated thing I'd attempted, but I was confident that I could do it.

Except I couldn't do it. Something had gone horribly wrong and I couldn't figure out what it was. None of the drawers would close and it was a catastrophe. I pored over the instructions but none of them made any sense. I texted my boyfriend about it and my obvious distress did not faze him. There was no offer to come over the next day to take a look at it, only half-hearted reassurances that I could do it, that everything would be just fine. I knew that I could figure it out, but I didn't want to figure it out on my own, I wanted a partner who would be in the room with me, somebody who was on my team! I ended up drinking too much and crying myself to sleep that night. This is so fucked, I thought. This is so not how it should be.

The next morning I phoned in my outfit (default plaid shirt with jeans and slip-on k-mart shoes) and held a paper towel full of heart-shaped ice over my eyes to make them look less puffy, to make myself look less tired. At work I was completely checked out. I ignored everything I was supposed to be giving a fuck about. Midway through the morning I got a text from my boyfriend. He obviously felt guilty that he'd abandoned me the night before, that he hadn't offered me anything and hadn't provided me with any sort of solace. I asked him if he would please, please, please help me with my dresser and he said of course but then I asked him if he would come over later and he said he was just going to "lay low" that night and that's when I said that's it, I'm sick of this shit, we need to talk and you will meet me in the park after work so that we can talk. I was furious for the rest of the day, and when we broke up that night I felt insane, I felt relieved and devastated and awesome and awful all at the same time. I stopped at The Narrows on my way home to buy myself a fancy comfort cocktail. I wrote in my journal and then left so I could call him one last time to tell him that I loved him. When I hung up I felt like a fool on the corner of Morgan and Harrison, smoking and crying and whatnot. When I'd composed myself as best I could, I got on the train to go home.

At home, there it was: TARVA, i.e. this hulking object in my room that didn't work and that I couldn't fix. I was sad that the life my now-ex-boyfriend and I had shared together was gone, but there was something about that dresser that was infinitely more troubling. My clothes were everywhere. I didn't feel like a person: I felt like a pile. I wished, I wished, I wished that sometimes somebody could just explain things!

A week went by. I was sad. My roommate offered to help me smash the dresser. The idea was enticing, but there was still a part of me that wanted to save it. One day after work I came home and sat on my bed and stared at the dresser. I'd bought it with my own money, and I'd assembled it, however poorly, with my own hands. I realized that I didn't want to give up, that the dresser didn't have to be a monument for my ill-fated relationship if I didn't want it to be. I picked up the directions and stopped caring that I was on my own. I was surprised to find that I figured out where I'd gone wrong relatively quickly: I'd installed the runners on the drawers incorrectly. I was too excited about having figured out the problem to think about any of my unrealized visions of ikea-level domestic bliss.

I took apart the drawers and put them back together again. The speed at which I'd fixed the problem was astounding. One by one, the drawers slid into place exactly as they were supposed to. Holy shit, I'd pulled it off! I'd known that I could do it all along, but it was so difficult to acknowledge that I would have to do it the way I'd done it before, that I was back where I'd started: alone. It wasn't what I had planned, but as I started folding my clothes, I knew it was the right thing. I unearthed shirts that I'd thought I'd lost in the move and socks that were missing their partners. I lovingly folded my sacred, precious vintage dress collection. Everything that was down came up again. I could finally see my floor.

When all of my clothes were finally put away, I fixed myself a celebratory gin and tonic complete with little heart-shaped ice cubes. My room finally looked like my room, and I started to feel a little bit like me again. I drank to the fact that though my relationship didn't survive Ikea, I did.

i did it!

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Shittiest Apartment Ever

August, 2010. There I was, back in New York City after living at home for the better part of my first year of postgrad. I had convinced a crazy artist lady to let me sublet her $700 per-month studio apartment. No way! WAY. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. No roommates! Freedom to walk around in the nude! Loud sex! Eating hot pockets on the couch while watching Sex and the City free of judgement! I was "living the dream." I thought that this was pretty much the best apartment situation I could ever hope to have in New York.

Except it wasn't. The price was right, but everything else was wrong, wrong, WRONG!!! Let me lay it all out for you:

1. IT WAS LOCATED IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY...
("you live where?")
The apartment was at the very bottom of Crown Heights, so far at the bottom that it wasn't even Crown Heights anymore and I had to tell people it was Crown Heights just so they would know what the fuck I was talking about. (The neighborhood is actually called Wingate.) A few days after I arrived back in the city, I told one of my friends where I was living, which was a ten minute walk from the Sterling Street 2/5 and the Kingston Avenue 3.

She took a long, bored drag of her cigarette. "I don't know what those things are," she said.

As you all know, I love to walk. but when that walk entails me trying to get to the subway in a timely manner so I can avoid getting fired from the Strand for lateness because I haven't been inducted into the gosh-dang union yet, it's not fun. You know what else isn't fun? Carrying Trader Joe's bags for that long in 90 degree heat. Or opening the door to find that it snowed three feet while you were asleep and having absolutely no choice but go to work (once again: still not in the union). At least I was "feeling the burn" from trudging through all that snow. Tres inconvenient.

2. THE CRAZY ART LADY WAS LEGIT, OUT-OF-CONTROL, BATSHIT CRAZY
 illeana douglas has nothing on this woman
First, there was really bad "art" all over the walls. It was all like, "cool-looking" sticks that were painted and tacked above the couch, above the bed... Wherever. In the bathroom there was a "cool-looking" stick "statue" sitting on the back of the toilet. IT WAS A FUCKING STICK STUCK IN A BLOCK OF PLASTER. My friend came over one night and accidentally broke the statue. It was hilarious. What was not so hilarious, however, was when I finally moved out and she came home and discovered the broken statue (which i had neglected to tell her about) and threatened to charge me SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS for that piece of crap because that's how she makes her living, by selling sticks encased in plaster to discerning patrons of the arts. I said no way, Jose and got away with only paying for some teflon pans that I "scratched up and destroyed." (As if!)

She didn't have a vacuum but wanted me to sweep her carpeted floor. It was absurd. Obviously, like any sane person would do (or in this case, would not do), I did not sweep the carpet.  When she came back she said that the carpet looked like "it hadn't been swept in months." Also she said that if the drain in the bathroom ever got clogged I could just pour a can of coke down there and it would solve the problem because obviously coke is the same thing as acid. Well, I didn't sweep the carpet and I gleefully bought Drano to take care of the clog. 

Needless to say, she screamed at me about all of this shit over the phone when I finally moved out. 

3. A MOUSE RAN ACROSS MY FACE WHILE I WAS IN BED
(an example of what i was dealing with)
This was the cherry on top of the fucking cake. I feel like this woman knew that she had a mouse problem but didn't tell me about it. Why, why, why??? I struggle with this question to this very day.

It all started one evening in the early fall when I was watching tv and drinking a beer and having a grand old time. Then I saw the mouse. Whatever, I thought. I've lived places where there's a mouse or two afoot, and as long as we mind one another's business then I really don't care that they're there. But then something awful happened: the mouse ran into a glue trap that the crazy art lady had placed underneath the radiator. I didn't know what to do. I was horrified. I called my mom and had a nervous breakdown. That poor little mousey, I thought. I could hear my stepfather making fun of me in the background and my mom put the phone down and said, "this is not funny! there is a dying animal in her apartment!" In the end, the mouse ended up getting itself out of the trap, which was a relief. That sense of relief, however, was to be short-lived.

I saw that mouse running around on a daily basis. But then there was another mouse. Then there was a third mouse. There would be, like, two mice (haha I almost wrote "mouses" LOL) running around the living room at the same damn time. Oh, did I mention that my bed was one of those beds where you sleep on THE FLOOR??? I went insane. I bought it all: steel wool, snap traps, glue traps... They were all over my apartment. These mice were diabolical. They ate the peanut butter off the snap traps. They pulled themselves out of the glue traps with their incredible strength. Eventually, I killed two of them. Now there was only one left. the worst one. The most evil mouse of all.

I was trying to sleep. It was going NUTS all over my apartment. Sleep evaded me, despite the fact that I'd taken, oh, I don't know, three xanax pills? The clock struck three. I prayed to god to let sleep come to me and turned off the light. I lay there, frozen, listening to every little rustling noise that may or may not have been caused by a mouse. Then, I heard that dreaded sound coming from behind my pillow. I sighed. The inevitable was finally happening.

That is a fucking mouse, I thought.

It sure was! It crawled across my neck (okay so it wasn't my face- sorry). I screamed and flung the covers off me, sending the mouse flying across the room. It ran into the closet and I leapt out of bed, filled with murderous rage. I rearranged every single trap in my apartment around the closet so that the little bastard would finally meet his maker. Then I got back into bed and waited.

And then do you know what happened? I got it. I heard it run out of the closet and then stop abruptly. I threw on the light and there it was, mired in a glue trap. Halle-fuckin'-lujah! But now what? I wasn't about to put it out of it's misery (or, more appropriately, MY misery)  by hitting it with a frying pan or something. I decided the best course of action would be to use one of the "cool-looking" sticks to place the glue trap in a large saucepan. I carried the pan downstairs and out of the building. The neighbors' trash can was missing its lid so without thinking I just flung the mouse into it. Only it didn't quite make it: the glue trap ended up getting stuck to the rim of the trash can. By that point, I'd had quite enough and went upstairs. I went to bed and never saw another mouse at that apartment ever again.
***
Well, that's it. My worst apartment ever. I've had a few years to think about this, and I realize now that though the apartment had treated me badly, I had also been bad to the apartment. I let things fall into disrepair: the wardrobe rack that collapsed under the weight of all my clothes, the filthy carpet, the clog in the drain. I sucked at paying the bills on time. The ghosts of all my rebound fucks and almost-boyfriends filled the place with a distinct sadness that I felt awful leaving behind- out of everything I did, this, I think, is what I feel the worst about.

Sometimes I wonder if the apartment would have been better if I hadn't been so angry and sad about what was going on in my life at the time. Had I not experienced my first catastrophic break-up days before I was scheduled to fly back to new york, I would have been better to my body and better to my home- thus, everything might have been not-so-terrible, right?

Then I remember the mice. And then I say, "oh, right. nevermind."

At least I got to walk by this everyday:

(via)

Sweet.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Would Do Anything for Love, But I Won't Do That: My Beef with Brooklyn Boys

(image via the l magazine)
I've dated/"hung out with" my share of jerks here in the borough of Brooklyn. However, I do not feel jaded or cynical about the whole dating/"hanging out" situation that exists here. "You'll never find love here," my friends say. "They're all insane."

I do not believe this! Yes, the amount of insane men that live here is...well, insane. But I think that maybe we've been going about this thing the wrong way. Maybe we need to redraw our boundaries, to make a new set of rules for ourselves. In order to distinguish the winners from the lunatics, we should take into account the area-specific things in addition to the usual things. Thus, I have come up with a list of things that I absolutely refuse to do for a brooklyn boy, no matter how cute/smokin' hot he may be.

1. I WILL NOT HAUL YOUR GEAR BACK TO YOUR REHEARSAL SPACE
I'm sorry, but this is not my problem. I came to watch you play at Death by Audio and your set was good and all but in the end it's your gear and I'm your lady friend, NOT your groupie-mule. A real man will haul that shit himself because he has sexy muscles with which to lift heavy things. I don't mind stopping at the rehearsal space with you, but from now on? I'm waiting in the car and I'm not lifting a finger.

2. I WILL NOT FOLLOW YOUR ASS AROUND THIS BAR/WAREHOUSE PARTY/WHATEVER WHILE YOU TALK TO THE 7849384938 PEOPLE WHO KNOW YOU BECAUSE YOU NEVER LEAVE BUSHWICK AND YOU'RE JUST THAT POPULAR AROUND HERE
Umm, this is really boring. Can we please have sex now?

3. I WILL NOT HANG OUT WITH YOU IF YOU DO SMACK
(no offense, d)
What the fuck is going on with everybody doing the big H again? I guess it has something to do with the whole early-nineties thing being back in vogue? Well, guys, while your self-destructive tendencies are unfortunately kind of sexy, in the end I'm not going to waste my time with any dude who "only does it once a month." You know why? Because once a month turns into once a week and once a week turns into once a day and before you know it you're at a shady pawn shop in the shittiest part of bushwick arguing with the employees to give you back your camera that your stupid ex-boyfriend pawned for 100 measly bucks.* I hope those drugs were worth it, asshole. 

Also, if you're going to break up with me, please do not do heroin beforehand. K THNX BYE

(*this is a true story- though it's not my story to tell.)

4. I WILL NOT HANG OUT WITH YOU IF YOU LIVE IN SOUTH BROOKLYN AND MAKE ME SLEEP AT YOUR HOUSE EVERY SINGLE TIME WE HANG OUT
Going into Manhattan sucks, even if I'm not leaving whatever subway station I need to walk through in order to transfer to whatever train I need to take to get to your house. I also don't like going to Broadway Junction to transfer because you know why? I've OD'd on it. I've had to use it SO MANY TIMES in order to hang out with you. How about you come up here once in a while? Do you understand the trials I go through to spend time with you? If we live in completely different neighborhoods off of completely different train lines, It is inevitable that somebody must be inconvenienced. It's not right that the inconvenience should always fall on me.

Also, I do not roll out of bed magically looking fly. Sometimes I need access to the following things: my shampoo, my conditioner, the stuff I put in my hair while it's drying, my blow dryer, my flat iron (for my bangs), my face wash, my moisturizer, and my makeup. As you can imagine, this is too much shit to put into my bag. I'm fine with staying with you and throwing some bare essentials in there so I can look presentable at work the next day, but it would be nice to stay at my house every once in a while and shower in the comfort of my own home.

You know what, forget it. This wasn't meant to be. Next!

5. I WILL NOT STAY INSIDE WITH YOU EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND...
...when there is so much cool shit to do here.

***

Let's be real here: Brooklyn chicks are some of the most beautiful, smart, and hilarious women in the world. We are adventurous, ridiculous, and fucking FUN. Guys, you are a bunch of spoiled brats. Perhaps you think that you can pay no mind to how you treat the fabulous women you are surrounded by on a daily basis because hey, if you get bored of one of them, there's always another equally-hot one to be found, right? Well, here's a news flash: we're onto you, and you're not as smooth as you think. 

As for you awesome brooklyn guys who I'm SURE are out there: give your not-so-awesome friends a talking-to! You all are too cute to be assholes.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Whose Bar Is It, Anyway?


I've only had one person ever tell me to "stay out of my bar." The bar was Harefield Road, and the person who told me this was a girl who was upset over the fact that I'd gone on one (1) (uno) (terrible) date with her ex-boyfriend. What's even lamer is that she didn't even say it to my face. She had a mutual friend forward this brand-new information along to me. I was also informed by said friend that this woman would fight me if she ever saw me in person. Well, none of those things happened: I love Harefield Road and I go there most weekends for brunch. I was never attacked by this woman, either.

"My bar." What makes a bar "yours"? It's silly, and we know it's silly, yet we say it, or at least think it, anyway. There are two ways to delude oneself into believing that a bar is "yours":

1. "I'M THERE ALL THE TIME!"

You stop in after work and stay for a couple beers. You get to know the regulars and you are on first name basis with the bartenders. It feels just like a big living room filled with a bunch of friendly semi-toasted people with whom you'd never associate outside of this setting. If you're there often enough, people will know where to find you. They'll know that you're at "your" bar. Except, as I've stated before, it's not your bar. All you're doing is sitting there getting loaded! The worst thing is running into somebody who really doesn't like you in "their" bar. You know what, I don't care if I come into "your" bar and you're there giving me the death stare and thinking that you're really teaching me a lesson by not talking to me. Chill, bro.

A few years ago I dated a guy who was a bar regular- and a full-blown alcoholic. It was bad news. I knew that I shouldn't be hanging around him, but he was an ex-model and oh-so handsome and I just couldn't tear myself away from him. Soon I became a regular in the bar, too, and shit hit the fan. We were wasted all the time. We had a horrible fight when we broke up. He said mean things to me and I slapped him. "Get out of here, Randall," he said. "Just go, get out!" I was devastated and I felt like a monster. I pleaded with him to stop saying the things he was saying and to not tell the bouncer to kick me out but then he said, "fine, I'll leave." and he was gone. It was awful. That's when I realized: you should never be in a bar all the time. Once a bar becomes "yours" in this way, it's time to get the fuck out of the bar. At that point, the bar doesn't belong to you: you belong to the bar.

From that incident forth, whenever I went to that bar with my friends, all of the regulars would glare at me. At first I felt very uncomfortable, but as I started getting closer with my current group of friends, the regulars receded from my life and their presence stopped mattering. The regulars have since disbanded. The man I dated is sober now, I think. Once in a while I'll drop in to unwind from work and write in my journal. When I do, I sit in the seat I used to sit in when we were together. It makes me sad to think about everything that happened, but it feels satisfying to think that I'm a little wiser than I was back then.

Ah, romantic entanglements. Once you throw a bar into the mix, anything can happen! This brings me to the next rationalization of bar ownership:

2. "I TOOK SOMEBODY THERE ON A DATE AND WE BROKE UP AND SINCE THE BAR IS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD AND SINCE IT WAS MY IDEA TO GO THERE THEN OF COURSE I GET TO KEEP IT, RIGHT?

Okay, so you went on a date. It doesn't even have to be a romantic date. It could be a friend date. You and the other person perhaps frequented this bar on a regular basis once your relationship began to flourish. But then it all went to shit, and now you are both wondering: who gets to keep the bar? 

I ran into a guy I just broke up with at a bar this past weekend. I knew it was going to happen sooner rather than later because that little strip on Wyckoff Avenue off of the Jefferson stop is TINY and there are only so many neighborhood bars to go to. (Plus a friend of his is a bartender there and if there's one thing that friends of bartenders love, it's free drinks.) We only live two stops apart, but the bar is definitely more in his neck of the woods than mine. We both party in Bushwick, so shouldn't any bar around here be fair game? But then again, we went on our first date at this bar. I'd never been there before. Should I stop going there just because he started going there first? Then there's the whole bartender friend thing. I like the bartender friend. I do not feel awkward seeing him. But does he feel awkward seeing me? Does he think I'm stalking my ex? Does he think to himself, what is she doing here? 

All of these things were on my mind upon going back to the bar for the first time since we broke up. I was having a cocktail with my girl Kelly, and we thought we were home free. But then he appeared. Out of fucking NOWHERE. Seeing him for the first time since it ended was awkward as fuck and it made me sad. It was a night-ruiner, but I steeled myself and resolved that I would not lose this bar in the divorce! Those margaritas? That rad mac and cheese dish? Yeah, I don't think so. Get used to it, yo. Move over, I'm not going anywhere. I do suppose that the laws of bar ownership dictate that this bar is his for the keeping, but, like I've been saying, the laws of bar ownership are bullshit. This is a public space, y'all!

I guess running into somebody you don't really want to run into is part of the risk you take when you refuse to relinquish a bar you once shared. However, we are all adults, and as time goes on things gradually get less awkward. One day maybe you won't even care or notice that the other person is there. Maybe you'll even have a drink and shoot the shit with them for a while. But there is a more complicated element to sharing a bar with someone, and that is the memory of you being there with that person. Maybe you made out all night at the dark end of the bar or played drunk scrabble or crammed into the photobooth to take stupid pictures, or maybe you had a horrible fight at that table right over there, the table you will never ever ever sit at again because of all the awful vibes emanating from it. These kinds of things make me very wistful. Returning to the bar sometimes feels like returning to a crime scene. Some of these memories always make me want to come back to the scene. At times, some of them also make me want to run away.

***

In the end, nothing good can really come of claiming a bar as one's territory. It only makes things weird and awful. Instead of "owning" a bar, we should just love it. It's nobody's bar but it's here for everyone, and aren't we all just trying to have a good time? Cheers to that! Now drink up, fools.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fast Food Disasters: When Hunger, Drunkenness, and Despair Collide


On monday night I was so hungry and toasted and tired and angry that I went to McDonald's. I "ate my feelings." I even got bacon on my Quarter Pounder. I ate it on my stoop despite the fact that it was raining a little. I sat there and shoved a burger and fries into my face. I didn't even care that maybe my food was getting wet. It was a fast food disaster. A minor fast food disaster, but a fast food disaster nonetheless.

You may be wondering what the difference is between simply eating fast food and having a fast food disaster. Well, I'll tell you. Whenever you are on the go during your busy day and only have time to pop into whatever eating establishment is closest and most convenient to get a quick bite, that is no disaster. To be sure, you are committing an act of violence upon your body by ingesting this food. Sorry, as awful as it sounds, it's the truth. However, there is nothing nihilistic and/or inherently ridiculous about what you have just done. A fast food eating experience is elevated into a disaster when the following elements come together:

1. INTOXICATION
You normally don't eat fast food, but now you want fast food really, really, really badly because you are WASTED and it seems like a great idea because you are hungry. Really, really, really hungry. Which brings me to the next element:

2. STARVATION
You wouldn't feel this way if you had eaten a proper meal before going to all those bars you just went to. You would have been able to afford to do both were you not working a shitty job, and you wouldn't feel so shitty about your shitty job if you hadn't been working there for as long as you had. Hence:

3. DESPAIR
Nothing matters, guys. Let's get two Big Macs and a giant dolphin tank-sized cup of Sprite. I don't even care how fat and/or constipated this will make me feel in the morning.

There you have it: the trifecta of badness. Prepare yourself, for you are about to embark onto some epic meal time shit.  I think that fast food disasters are the eating equivalent to binge drinking. The glee with which you will devour your food will disturb you in the morning. But, as is the case with many wild nights, it will also make you laugh your ass off. Or could it be that are we laughing to keep from crying?

I first recognized that fast food disasters were an actual thing right after Hurricane Sandy hit. As you recall, there was no subway service for a few days and we had to take the bus everywhere. Which is fine- I love the bus. But that's neither here nor there. The point is, I'd been drinking for hours with some friends of mine in South Williamsburg. The fucked-up nature of the storm and all of the havoc it wreaked drove us to drink, but we also overindulged because we were all going completely stir-crazy. When the night finally wound down, I walked to Borinquen Place to get the B60 bus home. That's when I saw it: The golden arches. That's when I realized: I am fucking HUNGRY and goddammit, I refuse to dip back into the vat of homemade lentil soup that i've been subsisting on for the past two days. 

So, I went inside and ordered food. I didn't go too crazy: I got a double cheeseburger and jammed out of there. I walked to the bus stop and what do you know, there's the B60! There's the B60... and it's pulling away. NOOOOO I thought, and I ran like a bastard. Busses are slow, right? They are hulking, lumbering pieces of machinery. Surely I could sprint five blocks or whatever ridiculous short distance that the average bus travels before it stops again.

Well, as you can guess, I wasn't as capable of this as I thought. I almost made it, but then it pulled away again. Undeterred, I kept running, hoping to catch it at the next stop. Again: failure. I gave up. I sat on a stoop with my burger. Before I bit into it, I took a moment to reflect on my life. I had just drunkenly run after a bus with a sack of fast food in my hand. Something about it seemed/seems very gross to me. I need to make some changes, I thought, sinking my teeth into my delicious/terrible/delicious burger.

Predictably, those changes I planned on making did not end up happening. A few months later, after drunk shopping at Brooklyn Night Bazaar and paying a visit to a friend off the Gates stop on the J, starvation set in. I was with my best girl, Kelly. We wanted fried chicken but fried chicken was nowhere to be found. Hark: in the distance we saw a- you guessed it- MCDONALD'S FRANCHISE. Jesus Christ, they are everywhere and I am doomed. Anyway, we approached this reprehensible mecca of crap and were devastated to discover that they were only serving people who were getting drive-through. Even though we knew it would be fruitless, we walked up to the microphone and tried to get somebody's attention. Of course, we were ignored. "Now what?" we wondered. But not for long: a green SUV pulled up beside us. The driver's window rolled down and a guy leaned out and asked us what we wanted. He offered to order it for us from his car so we could eat. Kelly and I high-fived and told the dude what we wanted. We gave him our money and hung out next to the car while he pulled up to the necessary windows.

As we waited for our food, K and I both agreed on something: this was the stupidest thing we had ever done.

While we were in line, a group of gay dudes approached us on foot. They were also hungry and about to have a fast food disaster that was on another level (you'll see what I mean momentarily). "How did you guys do that?" they asked. "We tried to order but nobody paid attention to us."

We explained to them that they needed to find somebody in a car to help them out as we had done. They were like, "okay," and went to the back of the line to wait for somebody to pull up. Meanwhile, Kelly and I got our food, thanked our guardian angel, and sat down on the curb next to a giant dumpster. Yeah: a dumpster. We reiterated to one another that this was, by far, the dumbest thing we'd ever done. Then we dove into our 20-piece Chicken McNuggets/Double Cheeseburger/large Coke/large fries with a level of gusto that some might find unsettling.

In the middle of gorging on all this shit, we spied the gay dudes walking across the parking lot towards us. The guy who was the most wasted was leading the pack. "Please!" he called, "there is nobody pulling up to the window! I'm so hungry!"

"Ummm-"

"PLEASE JUST LET ME HAVE A FRENCH FRY! JUST ONE FRENCH FRY! PLEASE, JUST ONE!"

"No way, get your own!" said Kelly. "We worked hard for these fries!"

The dude was pleading and pleading as his friends began leading him away and mouthing apologies to us behind his back. The despair was palpable. I suppose we could have given him a french fry but quite frankly it kind of freaked us out how desperate he was. Like I said before, these dudes had fallen into a fast food disaster that had eclipsed our own. The only thing worse than eating a shit-ton of fast food while wasted is not eating ANY fast food while wasted and hating life because of it. Getting led away by your friends has got to be the cherry on top of the whole thing. Oh well. I suppose they probably didn't feel as shitty as we did the next morning. I had to go to work. Needless to say, it proved to be a rough shift.

Luckily, these are the only two (three?) fast food disasters of this caliber that I have experienced. It is getting dicey, though. I live right next to a twenty-four hour McDonald's. I have been going through this phase where I suck at going to the grocery store. As you can see, this is a recipe for a fast food disaster. It is up to me to stop the cycle. Today i dropped forty bucks at Food Bazaar in the hope that I will stop being lazy and get back into the habit of making my own meals in the comfort of my own home. When I wake up in the morning after having been out late the night before, I sometimes feel badly about the things I've done: kicking over traffic cones, falling down, sending hostile text messages, flirting with people I wouldn't normally flirt with, breaking things, losing things- all of this does not happen often, and when it does I get over it fairly quickly, but it still feels kind of shitty to think about for the first half of the day. I am still young, and I feel that I am not doing anything wrong. However, if I can eliminate something that makes me feel gross in the morning, I think it's worth it. Instant gratification proves not to be so gratifying in the end, and how much longer would it actually take for me to just get my ass home and make a sandwich? I'm happy to say that I did as much last night. Not bad for three in the morning, I'd say. 

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another Long Walk


"my favorite thing is to go where i've never been."
-diane arbus

Last summer I went on a walk. Originally, it was my intention to walk from the apartment building I lived in at the time to another building, one that I almost lived in. The reason I didn't end up living in this building is because the roof was caving in, as we discovered on the day we signed the lease. It was very rainy that day and there was water cascading down the staircase when my almost-roommates entered the building. (We never spoke to one another again after the debacle was resolved.) I decided to take a walk over there to reflect on the whole episode, maybe take some pictures and file them away for a future piece of writing.

It took me about twenty minutes to walk to the building. I found, to my disappointment, that the sight of the building did not rouse any significant emotion in me. I took some photographs and it all felt completely perfunctory, completely arbitrary. It was very hot that day, but it was dry heat, and the wind was hot, too, and it felt good. I didn't want to go home. I wanted to see more than this building, to which I never managed to attach myself in any significant way. I decided to keep walking and to keep taking pictures. The possibility of me getting lost was real because I did not have an iPhone back then and plus my sense of direction is not always so good. But, I suppose one's sense of adventure sometimes prevails over one's sense of direction.

I walked all the way from Wilson avenue to Bedford avenue. All told, it took me about three hours, what with stopping to take pictures and also to drink a beer at Bodega. I wasn't entirely sure that I knew the way, but I found the way. It was all very significant for me, but even now I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it was the thrill of finally fully realizing where I was and how to get to where I wanted to go. One half of it was based on what I knew, the other on intuition. Whatever, it's the subject for another post. What I want to talk about in THIS post is my latest long walk.

On saturday I woke up X-TREMELY hungover and for some reason I thought it would be a great idea to get a giant iced coffee and a Double Cheeseburger from McDonald's for breakfast (???????????). After that I watched several hours of Arrested Development on Netflix, and then I decided to take a nap. After my nap, I was like, "okay, this is getting ridiculous." I wanted to take a walk, but I didn't want to go on the same walk I'd gone on last summer. I wanted to walk somewhere I'd never walked before. I decided to walk to where Newtown Creek begins (ends?) in Bushwick. I packed up my camera and my smokes and began my journey from my new home in Ridgewood. HIT IT:

This is in Ridgewood, somewhere on Cypress Avenue. It has occured to me that I should be taking notes as to exactly where I shot all of these things. Anyway, I wanted to get a better angle on this tasteful garden decoration but I heard somebody open the door and I got scared and ran away.




Still in Ridgewood. 


Super kewl sign for a bar that is no more. I wish somebody could reopen it and restore the sign but that would equal more white people which would equal shittier rent so oh well.

(*not actually johnson avenue)

Eventually Cypress Avenue turned into Johnson Avenue. The tree-lined street gave way to a vast corridor of lofts and warehouses. I've never extensively walked down Johnson Avenue before. Crossing the street was stressing me out because there are like, huge trucks everywhere:



Well, these trucks are parked. But you get the idea: THEY'RE EVERYWHERE and they can't wait to to try to RUN YOU OVER.

I like graffiti on trucks because it's the closest thing to subway art that we'll ever see in this city right now. Having said this, I must admit that I am not a huge enthusiast of street art. However, whenever I'm walking around with my camera I always feel that I can't NOT take pictures of it when i see it. 






After traipsing down Johnson, I had to make a left on Varick Street, which smelled like unholy garbage. It was very desolate. I decided that it might be a good idea to take my headphones off, despite the fact that I was walking around in broad daylight. Perhaps a bit overly cautious, but whatever. Anyway, it would be a while before I actually saw newtown creek. Until I hit Metropolitan Avenue, the entire left side of the street was a "no trespassing" zone. The Department of Sanitation had a monopoly on that shit.

Walking down Varick was not so interesting. Not much to be seen besides sanitation vehicles, mostly-empty parking lots, and a bunch of industrial-looking buildings that obscured the view of the creek. These were the only two things of immediate interest on Varick Street:

1. THIS SICK SET-UP

Nothin' like some indoor furniture parked all up in an outdoor setting. I support this.

2. THIS DEAD RAT

It scared the shit out of me. I had just finished taking the preceding picture when I turned around to go on my way. As it turned out, there was a rat sitting directly in my path. I almost screamed (I hate them so much), but then I realized it was dead and instead of screaming I was just like, "oh my god!" I did what any sane human being does when confronted with a dead animal: I took a thousand pictures of it. I kept having to inch closer to the rat to get a better shot. Some guy drove by on his bike and probably thought I was a psycho. Even though the rat was dead I was still afraid of it.  Every time a car drove by the flies went crazy. Look how bloated that thing is! Gross. I think it was a boy rat.

Anyway, I walked and walked and walked and walked and I began to think that I was in the wrong place and would never see Newtown Creek. But then I reached Metropolitan Avenue.




BOOM. There it was. I was kind of disappointed to find that the Gowanus Canal is way smellier. Whatever. North Brooklyn wins in so many more ways.


Newtown Creek: not much to see in the end. I was not even very psyched about possibly becoming radioactive because I probably already am, having dated a dude who lives in Gowanus. Radioactivity: OVER. LAME. Next!

Speaking of next... what was next? I was "helluv" hungry. I decided that the only thing that could save me was a Mother's burger. But first...


Haha. Just kidding! Can you imagine!?*

(*Contrary to what the above statement may imply, the author admits to having been to pumps and enjoying herself kinda sorta a lot-a.)

Anyway.

On my way to Mother's I saw a potted plant on top of a minivan.


A mechanic wanted to be a photo star.


And I found out who to call whenever I need A REAL GOOD PLUMBER.


I was simply famished by the time I got to Mother's! I ordered a veggie burger and a Mexican Coke. I applauded myself for not ordering beer. When I was sufficiently sated, I thought about how I'd get home. The thought of riding the subway sounded repulsive to me. The previous day was so rainy and it was too beautiful outside to possibly go underground. Even though I knew my feet/legs would hurt by the end, I decided to walk back to Ridgewood.

So, I walked all the way home, all along that path. Metropolitan to Humboldt to Grand to Bushwick to Siegel to Bogart to Flushing to Wyckoff. I like walking down Siegel Street because I like to pretend I'm in another state. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm in Indiana.

(*this is from last year's long walk)

The last thing of interest I came upon was a Harley Davidson rally at Cobra Club:



Why didn't I go inside!? I vow to never overlook another Bushwick Harley Davidson rally EVER AGAIN, cross my heart and hope to die.

And then I turned onto St. Nicholas and walked the rest of the way home.

I always feel the need to close out any piece of nonfiction writing with some big lesson about life, but the only thing I have to say about all of this is that WALKING IS AWESOME and that you should walk as long and as far as you possibly can whenever you can. Walk someplace you have never been before! It will be worth it, even if the only interesting thing you happen upon is a rat carcass. You can get some real good thinking done on a long walk, don't you know.

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