Monday, August 25, 2008
one of my favorite episodes of seinfeld is the one titled "the opposite," in which george decides that he should do the opposite of what his instincts tell him because his instincts are always wrong. when i first watched it i remember thinking that it wasn't such a bad idea, especially for somebody like me, whose instincts are not wrong per se, but often repressed due to nuisances like insecurity and shyness. when dustin and i arrived in texas for our vacation, the realization that we were not in new york anymore was strangely terrifying: "oh my god," dustin said, "what the hell are we doing here? i'm a fucking jew from new york."
yes, culture shock had indeed set in, even before we had set foot off the plane. for months i had been ingrained in my new york mindset, which was decidedly misanthropic and hypersensitive. though i had been to the west many times before, this time i was at a complete loss. i felt as though i had forgotten how to exist in any place other than new york. it had me feeling a bit depressed for most of my time away, and for the first time, i started to worry about what will happen to me after graduation. after this year, i believe my time in new york will be done. while i was out west, i decided to try my best to do "the opposite." it was surprisingly harder than george costanza made it seem. i tried to adopt a sort of west coast sensibility, and while i do know that things like that take time, i felt that it was something that would be good for me. my new york self fretted over every comment that could be construed as hurtful and offensive while my west coast self told me to relax and take the joke. i know that people's problems don't just magically disappear, but basically what i'm saying is that i really, really want to move to california. i never thought that i would get tired of new york, but i just feel like i'm wasting my youth here.
ANYWAY. my documentation of my trip did not extend past austin (the REAL trip started in california, my friends), but after the jump i have included some of my journal entries from our time there. on my next post, i'll try to sum up act two: california.
so, i have been in austin, tx, for the past six hours. i am insanely tired, having only gotten three hrs. of sleep last night. i can't decide if i like it here or not. sometimes i think i really do, but then other times i think that i absolutely could never live here. when we began our descent into AUS, i suddenly felt really scared, almost as though i had no idea what i had gotten myself into, if that makes sense. so far, being here is strange. it's weird to see andrew, ben, kristen, and meg apart from the new york landscape.
so far, austin is (as i said before) really weird. we've already run into leslie, who is apparently a homeless transvestite who once ran for mayor? anyway, he's a local celebrity. we saw him at this austin "hotspot" called bauldin creek that serves really great vegetarian food. it was pretty good, but the staff def. had major attitude. the woman who took my and dustin's order was hella rude. she was one of those people who don't shave their armpits or legs and makes a really big deal about it and wears sleeveless shirts and short shorts every single day on principle. it's like, okay, we GET it. anyway, she asked me if i wanted a corn or flour tortilla with my chorizo taco. me, having gotten almost NO sleep the night before, told her that cornflour sounded just fine to me. "no," she said firmly, "it's either CORN. or FLOUR."
"um... okay, i guess i'll do corn," i stammered, too exhausted to think of a real zinger, let alone act like the bitch i felt like being to her.
"we were up really early today," dustin explained as i stared into the day-old muffins in embarrassment.
"oh," she said, loudly closing the change drawer of the register. "how'd THAT work out for you?"
she plunked dustin's change into his open hand, a few wrinkled bills and three delectable quarters. dustin eyed the change, and then the tip jar, and then the bitch who had so unpleasantly taken our order. without removing his eyes from her, dustin closed his fist around the change and stuffed it into his pocket.
today dustin, ben and i went to meg's house and sat on the porch while meg packed her things inside. we made polite conversation with her hipster roommate who had moved to austin from williamsburg. he kept talking about how he imagined that new york in the seventies was just so cool and all this other romanticized stuff. meg had this old lighter that she was giving to andrew that was in the shape of a guitar, and when you lit it a bunch of tiny lights would go off up and down the neck. when the roommate asked if there was a lighter around, i offered him the guitar, but he refused in his "too cool" way. when we asked him about spider house (another austin hotspot) he was quite dismissive, claiming that it was "too cool for it's own good." (even though he probably goes there like every night.) he was completely foppish in that really annoying, really williamsburg-ish way. to top it all off, a few moments later a car filled with hipsters pulled up in front of the house, two girls and a guy. the guy loudly proclaimed to the roommate that he had just purchased a new pair of jeans and a righteous brothers tape. i felt completely nauseated at his self-congratulation. and for what? a fucking "ironic" tape and a pair of nut huggers? THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS, PEOPLE!
anyway, they all went inside, leaving me, dustin and ben to ourselves. it was really fucking hot. as we were sitting, ben was playing with meg's mini-synthesizer and these two little babies started crawling around in the driveway next door. i couldn't believe that these babies, who were probably only about a year old, were just crawling around on that scorching pavement on their bare hands and knees like it was their living room floor. with the melodies emanating from the synthesizer, it was very surreal.
earlier today andrew, ben, dustin and i helped meg pack up her truck. she had these two car chargers for some random cell phones in the cab, and dustin and andrew started dueling with them like that schoolgirl in kill bill, gogo:
it was HILARIOUS.
later on we went to thrift town and goodwill. andrew bought a remote control car. when we got home, he pried the plastic car part away from the wheels and the motor and attached in its place a paper mache head that had been a part of his first grade halloween costume. he said that he and his mom had made it together, and that she was happy to make it with him because "it was the first year that i didn't want to be the devil." i don't exactly remember what the costume with the head was supposed to be, but i do remember andrew saying that the head was supposed to resemble his own. he attached the head to the motor by stretching black tape over the forehead and connecting it below the wheels. he proceeded to race it around the patio, thoroughly freaking out the cats.
Posted by RANDALL at 7:54 PM