Tag Archives: NYC (there)

Mixed messages

walk_or_not.jpg

I took this photo with my cell phone on Bleeker St. six months ago. Now, it’s happening all over the city. Apparently, I’m not the only one feeling ambivalent about the choices we face.

I’m not quite all right

Me in a Walgreen’s in California: Get me out of here.
Me in a Duane Reade in Manhattan: Oooo, tweezers! I definitely need those. Also, hair clips. And other things. Heavy things that will cost me extra to check my bag. Pointy Q-tips! No way!! Eeeeeee!!!

New York in Winter

So far, it’s been a trip marked by reversals. You know when you know you’re scattered and you can give the people around you a heads up, “Hey – I’m scattered. Don’t count on me to return the ball after the first bounce”? That’s not where I am. Where I am is racket back, watching the ball come over the net, I’ve got it covered and at the last minute realizing we’re playing water polo.

There are two sides to every story though, right? Same day, two stories.

Thursday: Red eye. ‘Nuf said.
Thursday – the other version: I do not die.

Friday: Feel desperately tired and overwhelmed. In an effort to regain equilibrium, walk so many miles around lower Manhattan that I practically maim myself.
Friday – the other version: Find stripey hat for $16 at Muji. Cannot stop wearing it even though it’s very possible I look deranged. Go see Mike Birbiglia (funny) and have excellent sandwich.

Saturday: Regain equilibrium. Have great dinner at Raoul’s in SoHo with friends.
Saturday – the other version: Same.

Sunday: No sleep. Equilibrium lost track of again, possibly under bed. Make plans to be in three locations at the same time with three different people. As am not able to bend laws of time/space continuum (still), spend the day making excuses on my cell phone. R leaves for Baltimore. Attend Oscar party featuring a woman I used to loathe but have not seen in several years. Turns out, I still loathe her. Some things do not change. Good to know. Lose all my Oscar bets. Go to bed at 3AM upset about not having neutralizing ray gun to take down enemies.
Sunday – the other version: Discover the French toast at 202 (squishy, tasty) and their perfect cafe au lait. See my brother, which could be fraught but isn’t. Help R with some of his work, which never happens because he is Señor Executivo and I am the one who usually needs assistance because Excel is stupid, stupid program and R is a genius. Have play time with friend’s perfect baby (after convincing said baby that I was not a kidnapper). The Academy Awards show wins Most Improved.

Monday: Finally get some sleep. Have lunch, write, scrap all plans outside a 20-block radius. Chat with David at 19 Christopher (which is not going out of business like their neighbor, Hus, thank God). Do not buy the Serge Thoraval necklace I desperately want at Destination. Nice British dude at Tea & Sympathy with ’70’s hair makes me an excellent cup of tea to go in the bitter cold. Overcome urge to buy everything at Murray’s Cheese due to personal recession incurred by leaving job. Instead, pick up red velvet cupcake at Amy’s Breads. Have more Pegu drinks with bro. (Is there any liquor in the Pisco Punch at all? Or has the sustained stress of the last month upped my tolerance for liquor somehow? Does your liver also process stress?) Have dinner with excellent friends at Stanton Social. Order everything on the menu + many cocktails. Get 25% off total bill because we rule. (Also because that is, in fact, their rule: after 9PM Mondays, 25% off.)
Monday – the other version: Same.

Tuesday: 202 breakfast. Writing. Good start. Downhill from there: go to Met, decide against Calder jewelry exhibit as being too blah to justify $20 entrance fee ($20?! I know everyone else got upset about this a long time ago, but the sticker shock has, um, stuck.) Do not buy snowglobe I wanted as, like many celebrities, it is not good looking up close and in person. Go across the Park to UWS. Lose wallet. Recover wallet. Am unable to find the hoodie I want. Go back downtown hoodie-less. Have walked self lame (again). Hurt shoulder injury due to overpurchase of heavy things like books and conditioner (don’t ask). Go to Hable, which is closing their store on Perry St. this Saturday. (So you should go now and get that cool bird lamp I didn’t buy. You’ll know which one I mean: it looks like I made it for you in shop class.) Kristen Johnston is there (and ridiculously too thin). Cannot tell if she is drunk, wildly insecure or just super annoying, but she takes up all the air in the place. Have 100 crossed wires with friend re: evening plans. Have emotional tantrum because am overtired and have had only Levain cookies and no lunch. Get very depressed. Go out anyway. Have wine with friend at Riposo 72. Lose wallet again. Am too tired to care.
Tuesday – the other version: 202. Write. Recover lost wallet (twice). Levain cookies. Find Banksy book at the Strand. Get bag at Hable. Get time with friend, despite Oscar fiasco + tangle of crossed wires + tantrum. Do not die.

Wednesday: Pack. Feel organized and self-satisfied. Leave apartment for leisurely breakfast and to write. Realize will do no such thing as have miscalculated schedule despite checking itinerary four times because that’s how I roll and am bad at math. Panic. Call car service. Car service goes to wrong address. Car service drops me at United. United says flight is with USAir (one mile away, other terminal) despite ticket having been purchased from United and stating United flight number. Miss out on together time with the shuttle lounge, which is a happy place: plugs, comfy chairs, business men who know how to travel (quietly). Have somehow permanently scratched my glasses. Arrive in Boston. Find out that R is attending a conference for the next two days. Have mini breakdown contemplating re-planning next two days.
Wednesday – the other version: Have superior latte (albeit speedy). Score rugelach at Amy’s. Catch flight. Find R. Am definitely not dead.

Trade-offs

grilledcheese.pngI’m back in New York. This is always a good thing and, in this case, it’s meant to jar me out of any anxiety incurred by leaving my corporate gig. Every silver cloud has a cloudy lining though: being in New York means I missed this year’s Grilled Cheese Invitational. I know. Right? Sucks.

(Not that I was invited. And it is an “invitational”. But maybe they sent my invitation late and it just arrived yesterday and they were holding my seat this afternoon and I wasn’t there. If that’s what happened – and it probably is – that’ll teach them to send their invitations so late.)

I read porn

Check out my pal Molly’s sophisticated taste: she reads The New Yorker and gets her New York fix. Go Molly!

I got The New Yorker for ages. It languished. I couldn’t read it fast enough and that made me feel guilty. Also, I only read bits of it. As a New Yorker and an intellectual of sorts, I feel ought to have enjoyed it as much as everyone else does. Maybe that’s because I’m 2/3 of the way through half a dozen heavyweight non-fiction books on psychology and society and I can only take so much. Also, it’s like NPR: I can only listen to that same tone for so many hours before I can’t anymore. Does that make me a bad New Yorker?

Instead, I read straight-out New York porn: New York Magazine, you are my secret honey. You even have a centerfold and I love you for that. Plus, you like sunsets and puppies and walks on the beach. No way! Me too! And yes, I read it for the articles, so get off my back.

Party People

The birthday party I attended on Thursday was for a friend I met at a wedding. In the bridal twilight over Long Island Sound, she and her husband had stood out from the mass of blazers and rep ties. He wore a lip stud, a purple shirt and shaded glasses. She wore a head scarf. She’s a professor and author and theater producer who writes and works for the rights of South Asian women. He motors around the art world in various capacities. The next time I went to New York, I called her up, we all had dinner and we’ve been fast friends ever since. That’s Story #1.

The closing party I attended on Sunday followed the final Broadway performance of Sweeney Todd (in which R’s brother starred). I’ve met one of the actresses at least half a dozen times, including at my birthday party. She squeeled when she saw us, ran over, said several things I’ve completely forgotten and squeeled away. I spied one of the producers about six feet away. He and I and R had talked at length on the opening night of the show and at the post-Tony party when all of us were somewhat drunk. He didn’t acknowledge either of us. That’s Story #2.

I have one question: what is wrong with people in the theater that they cannot be human beings unless what you can do for them is stamped on your forehead and preferrably also your T-shirt and your business card?

August in New York City

Home. And a damn hot home it is too. It’s a testament to this city that, as much as I hate heat, and I do, I love New York more. When I was a kid, I had heatstroke three times, all of them terrifying, so I kind of lost interest in all things hot, including beach vacations (which also tax my patience with lying still – I would have made a really bad Victorian bride) and summer in general. Give me spring or autumn.

Living in San Francisco has changed – or at least moved – my opinion of hot weather. The uniformity of the weather in California freaks me out. Endless days of the same half sunshine/half overcast weather grate on my nerves the way I imagine endless daylight drags on the Scandinavians. It’s like eating the same thing day after day: no matter how pleasant it seemed in the beginning, after 300 times, it’s lost all appeal.

New York in August is usually about 85 degrees and 70% humidity which make it feel like a warm bath. With your clothes on. Oddly, this adversity rarely bothers me. It’s inconvenient and you have to plan around it – don’t wear a suit to work, plan on being sticky – but I prefer it to the suffocating uniformity of San Francisco’s non-seasons which make me feel like I’m being pacified for nefarious alien purpose. (If they come, they could take California without a glitch. Seriously. No one out there?s paying any attention. Go for it.)

Not to be religious, but I think there’s something about the adversity of seasons that keeps you alert. Snow for a few months, sweltering for a little while, a few thunderstorms, falling leaves, budding leaves. They remind you that mobility and rejuvenation are essential. Mild heat and clear skies convey a sense of suspicious well-being, encouraging you to believe that all?s well, that there’s no need to press forward. Blech.