Friday, August 25, 2006

Another Month Passes

Does anyone here watch Youtube regularly? I've decided it's freaker than Facebook. If you're looking for what made me really start thinking about this, delve into the videscapades of Lonelygirl15 and Danielbeast, which are now being documented by...the New York Times?


Yesterday at work, when one of those "rare" occasions of boredom passed me, I read almost my entire old livejournal...including comment posts. What really struck me was how much I posted after my freshman year of college and how many comments I received, lots from Kim, Heather, Bryan, Matt, Ryan, Jessie, Barrak, and others. I only now realize that in order to convince myself that college still existed that summer and that it hadn't had some wonderful dream, I needed to update my livejournal to stay connected (and, most likely, update facebook every other hour).

The weird thing is that now most of my lj friends either don't have accounts or don't update anymore, and well, neither do I. Sitting at work yesterday, I tried evaluating what that meant. That I'm more mature? That I have less time on my hands? That I don't need that conection to college because I know it's there? Or that I am convinced I've become detached from college in the last few months?

I feel somewhat isolated; and whether that's because I'm very different than many of my "acquaintances/friends" at Northwestern, or because I started dating my best friend (there's a fast route to self-containment), or because I up and moved to New York for six months, I don't know. Regardless, it leaves me feeling like when I go back for the last two quarters of college, I want to make the most of it, not lose touch with my friends, not let "classwork" get me down and just generally be happy.

For the meantime, however, I'm here in New York and I am enjoying it. I'm not out doing some of the crazy things that some of my friends are this summer, but that's okay because I needed to have this "unpaid internship" experience. I do love the feeling of getting off the subway at Rock Center and weaving through crowds on Sixth Avenue. I feel part of something much bigger than myself, and we all know that's a good feeling. I am looking forward to the magazine internship switch from T to YL in the coming weeks. Something fresh is in order for the fall.

To those of you from home who may or may not read this, thanks for inquiring about my house and my family. My parents put the house on the market about ten days ago and are hoping to sell soon. This will be a big process as we have loads of antique furniture which will probably not fit either spacially or decoratively in whatever house my parents buy. Yeah, it's stressful on my family and on me (it's hard to be in New York, uprooted from Northwestern, and know that at the same time, your home is being sold), but I guess this is all part of growing up.

As usual, I've wasted the morning and early afternoon hours of my Friday lounging around, exploring ridiculous websites and watching TV, so I should go venture into the city and do something fun.


Monday, August 21, 2006


New York has a funny way of making me feel very alone in a city of 8 million.

Of course, it doesn't help that the idea of my boyfriend returning to Chicago consumes me, the other interns at T have left, my house back in Ohio is now on the market and J gets scheduled to work nearly every day I have off... but still...

I finally accomplished two typical New York moments in one day last week. On Thursday, I left work early and attended a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. One cab ride and one hot-dog stand stop later, I witnessed the glory that is Gnarls Barkley at Central Park's Summerstage.

I have never been at a concert with so many pot-smoking hipsters who don't like to move to music; hell, I'm from Chicago and I haven't even seen what I saw on Thursday. Dressed in torn jersey skirts, skinny jeans from Juicy Couture and face-consuming sunglasses, they came in throngs. The group in front of me, comprised of three girls and a guy who all looked about high school age but were passing for older with pot in hand, particularly caught my attention. One of the girls, who J insisted looked like Lindsay Lohan (except, in my opinion, cuter and with a better fake blonde on her hairs) sat down half-way through the opener and started reading "InStyle." The lone Alpha male devolved to an Upsilon somewhere between his neverending foot shuffles and continuous puff-inhale-cough-cough-cough's of the pot.

I don't know why, but back in Chicago I had built up New York--an unknown then--to some sort of chic-level where waify people cooly wafted through life with nonchalance and ease. How wrong I was. Maybe it's the summer heat, but I feel more pressure to look good going out for groceries or just to read in the park than I ever have before. My couture should include: a wrap-around dress (white, for me), bangly earrings--brightly colored, corresponding (but not exactly-the-same!) brightly-colored necklaces in multitudious strings, sandals that wrap up the ankle (these I don't have) or a pair of low-heels (sensible with colors!), and DO NOT FORGET--a wide-belt somewhere between the waist and hips. The formula is almost too easy.

I suppose I am not saying that much that is interesting in this post, but I am tired afterall and who knows, I might need to plan an outfit for Chicago next summer, when the New York 2006 trends hit the Midwest.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

The New York City Super

I have discovered another breed of being--The New York City Super.

The NYCS is not concerned with his job or the welfare of those he might otherwise save from jammed doors, frozen heaters or malfunctioning ovens. When his phone rings, he scans calls, recognizes tenants' numbers and silences the call. When he schedules appointments, he arrives no earlier than 45 minutes late, if at all. Upon his much-sought-after arrival, he wields WD-40 like Arthur's sword, leaving your apartment in a filmy layer of grease.

The NYCS is a force to be reckoned with.

This is my latest New York discovery. Last Sunday, after a relaxing afternoon in the Central Park sun, I returned home to discover our door no longer responded to my key. I twisted, pushed, pulled and yanked until I slumped against the wall in defeat, surreptitiously removed my bikini top from underneath my T-shirt and resigned to finally starting The Kite Runner, which had sat in my bag for over a week basically untouched.

When I could no longer take the saccharine Sunni and Shi'a allegorical friendship of Amir and Hassan, I stood up once more, gave the door one more try and, somehow, got into the apartment. J was already on his way home from work, having asked to leave early to help me get in or find a locksmith. While I waited for his return, dreading that he would be frustrated that I had already gotten through the door, I hopped in the shower which I had been dreaming of since I had left the park nearly an hour and a half before.

Now, really, as NYCS horror stories go, that's not all that bad. J and I figured a way to switch the automatic lock off and used the deadbolt to enter and exit our apartment with no incident--until yesterday.

As we gathered our stuff to go sailing in Larchmont, NY with J's cousin, Nick, we left the apartment, somehow switching the automatic lock back on as we exited. We realized this mistake almost immediately after it happened and started making the appropriate calls. First, Megan, from who we are subletting. Then, Curtis, our NYCS. Finally, Julie, J's sister, to see if "worst came to worst" we could somehow find our way to her Brooklyn apartment for a night's rest.

Fortunately, as our day wore on, we scheduled an appointment with Curtis (with Megan's help) at 11 pm, right about the time we expected to return from Larchmont. Despite all the wine we had drank and the lengthy trainride down to Grand Central (as opposed to the 125th and East River stop which J wanted so badly to get off at), we made it back to our apartment by 11:05. With no Curtis in sight, we tried the door and discovered he had been by earlier in the day to force the door open with the master key. Shocking. It didn't make much sense for Curtis to be coming back by, to maybe prove he had done his job or spray the WD-40 once more for good measure. But we decided to wait for him, pushing back our bedtime for the sup'. J called him twice while we waited, once when he was fifteen minutes late, again when he was a half hour tardy. Finally, at 11:45, I called from my line, which I figured he would not recognize and thus ignore, and demanded he come right away. He, it turned out, was downstairs, on his way in the building.

Curtis looked about what I had imagined Curtis Jackson would look like. Gruff, with acne scars and a patchy beard, his hair picked out to a small 'fro and shoved under a baseball hat. He wore what looked like a standard super uniform, mess pants and a button down shirt of a uniform blue that suggested prison or military service. He showed us what we already knew about the automatic lock and then went on to spray the lock box with his precious WD-40. The lock, he guessed, was probably not broken, probably just sticky. Thanks to my recently-gleaned This Old House skills, I knew he was wrong. The box had already come out of the door once, and I had screwed it back in. That spring inside the lock box had definitely come off its track or broken somehow else. Regardless, the lock box doesn't need a greasing-down; it needs to be replaced.

Curtis seemed a little surprised that a tenant would be talking at all about the anatomy of the door, let alone that it would be the chick who'd pipe up and tell him how she'd already fixed the door once. I blessed This Old House as he left us alone, promising to tell them that it did need replacing and it would be done Monday.

We let him know we'd give him a call on Monday, given that we'll probably not hear from him.


Tuesday, August 1, 2006


I've been bad about really letting you know what's going on in New York, so let me actually tell you. Let's start fresh, shall we?

I'm in New York! I've never been here before, and based on first impressions, don't know if I'll ever come back. But I'll give this city some time. I have yet to do so many things, I have no right to judge yet...

...and here we are in August. I'm still in New York. The furthest away from the city I've gotten was 44th St. and 4th Ave. in Brooklyn. I'm being patient with New York, but I'm not impressed yet. Granted, I'm a self-confessed cynic and Chicago-snob, so New York is playing to the tough crowd in me.

To catch y'all up on what these first six weeks have been like for me, I'll ramble a bit and then copy-and-paste the short updates I've been keeping--those are a little more concrete.

I work Monday through Thursday. T and everybody else thinks I'm babysitting on Fridays, but I'm not. Generally, I'm sleeping late and eating lunch and watching the Tony Danza Show. Not really, I hate the Tony Danza Show.

On the days when I work, I get up around 8:30 and shower, primp and shove some Cheerios in my mouth before I dash down the one flight of stairs of my Harlem apartment. On Monday and Tuesday J doesn't work and it gives me something sweet to kiss back in bed before I leave.

As I walk to the subway, I focus my energy on that particular New York attitude of mild non-chalance, or more likely, aggressive indifference. I often get comments from the Harlem Old Timers who sit on their stoops or their lawn chairs that they drag onto the sidewalk--"That's my babygirl!" or, "You lookin' fine today, Mizz!" or, "That's FBI right there!" and sometimes just a "good morning." I've gotten really good at missing the subway in the morning. I have lived my life in New York by the unused white Coffeemate on our kitchen counter. 9:37 used to mean "on time" for the B-Train, but not anymore. These days, 9:37 on the Coffeemate seems to mean "oh, you just barely missed the train again!" In the last ten days, I've caught the B-Train only once or twice. No matter--nobody arrives at work til 10:10 anyway.

The morning commute is tame. I'm usually half-asleep with either a magazine, book or my iPod keeping me conscious. However absorbed I appear in said object, I am spending half my time watching my reflection in the darkened windows of the subway car. Am I, sometimes I wonder, the only person who does this? I like to watch my crossed leg bob up and down with the sway of the subway--that's something you never get to see, just like you never get to watch yourself eat.

My building is connected to the Rockefeller Center stop. I scale the stairs and escalator and prepare myself for an awkward encounter in the elevator. The Brazilian consolate is on the 21st floor of the Bank of America Building. (TOH is on the 27th.) I usually get to hear lots of Portugese which I don't understand or watch some confused traveler try to jump onto the elevator to go down when it's still going up. By the end of the ride, I'm usually with one or two other T employees who I don't know that well and we joke about the Brazilian consolate to pass the last fifteen seconds of the ride.

After a full day at work, which I usually spend in true intern fashion half-checking my mail and half-writing/researching/fact-checking, I jump back onto the B-Train and head to Harlem. J and I have been known to hit the same train while he travels back from downtown, so that's always a treat.

Living with your boyfriend when you're only 21 is interesting. I can't imagine all those kids back home in "Ah'hia" who have gotten married already. I'm still trying to keep J from joking about penises and encouraging him to clean up his video games when he's done with them, so I can't imagine trying to work out taxes and diapers with him. I suppose I feel like I'm young, but it's really fun living with John and I'm enoying it.

When we both get home, we make dinner together. J prides himself on cooking meat, so I don't usually mess with that. We have a few traditional dinners--lemon chicken, "meat mulch" (a family favorite, apparently), pasta with porkchops, pasta with butter, hamburgers, and cheese and crackers with fruit (that's my influence). We sometimes drink wine (Pinot Noir), sometimes drink beer (Sam Adams), but we both like milk (non-fat) the best. We settle in with our dinners to watch some Wheel of Fortune or throw on a Seinfeld or Arrested Development episode. Then, we exploit the rest of our Netflix subscription by watching a movie almost every night.

On the weekends when J doesn't work, we lounge in bed til 11, eat and then lounge some more. Afterward, we'll go to the park. That's a nice lifestyle. On the weekends when he does work, he gets up so early that I sleep in and then I'm sad that we're not eating lunch and lounging.

In conclusion for catching up, here is my Facebook profile's "Week-by-Week Play-by-Play of NYC" as of now:

Week 1: Welcome to New York, or alternatively, Get Shivved in the Subway If You are White and 21 Week!
Week 2: Adjustment, or alternatively, Work Gets Boring.
Week 3: Adjustment, or alternatively, Harlem Gives CC a Lesson in Tattoo Art.
Week 4: Hot-Shot in NYC, or alternatively, Get Shot in NYC
Week 5: It's a Small World Afterall, or alternatively, J's Ex Lives Across the Street From Us.
Week 6: Meeting the Neighbors, or alternatively, Your Boyfriend Leaves the Door Open and the Neighbors Walk In and You're Naked.