Tuesday, January 25, 2005

"Modern snow is rubbish."

Yesterday I found myself in a funk. Perhaps it was midwinter blues or the stark realization that Valentine's Day is three weeks away. Maybe it was the fact that Republicans are going to reintroduce the Marriage Amendment in the Senate. However the likely culprit, according to Cliff Arnall of Cardiff University, is the news that January 24th is the most depressing day of the year. And wouldn't you know, I was completely fine until I read the corresponding Guardian article. I blame the UK media for planting the idea into my head in the first place.

You'd think that the arrival of my Ann Taylor Loft order would perk me up, but sadly not. At home I chose to wallow in my own misery with a couple of Negro Modellos, noting that I was not alone -- Dennise emailed to tell me that she was in the same funk, this one induced from looking at wedding dresses online. Everyone knows that is single girl self-esteem suicide.

Maybe this guy in Cardiff is onto something . . .

Anyway, I should note with some bit of jealous indignation that Jane will be in Spain and Fala will be in Texas for V-Day. In contrast, I am facing the daunting of prospect of being holed up with a bottle of gin and flirting with sticking my head in the oven.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"Chow Yun-Fat has come back to me!"

You know that old phrase, "If you let go of something and it comes back to you . . ." ? Well I'm not sure how that applies to nylon wall art depicting a Hong Kong action star.

As Jane, Fala, and I clamored in from the cold, we noticed something hanging from the ancient fire alarm. Having just returned from Kings County, we were at first bemused by the image of Chow Yun-Fat dressed à la Reservoir Dogs and holding a gun. Who hung it there? Why would someone own it in the first place? But then Jane began laughing. Yeah, it was funny. Total comedy. Or maybe it was the gin helping us into hysterics.

Mind you, this is where the story gets interesting.

The banner, Jane explained, used to belong to her ex-boyfriend. Though he now lives in Japan, his stuff lives in boxes that are stored in the loft. Still with me? Well before I moved to New York in November, my bedroom was used for extra storage that Jane and Fala had to eventually shift to make way for me. A bunch of this extra stuff, including Chow Yun-Fat, was thrown away . . . two months ago. So why was he back and hanging in the stairwell of our building?

It's one of those great mysteries of the universe.

Monday, January 17, 2005

"Welcome to the neighborhood."

From my window overlooking Bushwick, I can watch the airplanes line up like man made constellations in the night sky. They seem to dance in perfect alignment as they make their descent towards LaGuardia, lowering themselves towards my window before disappearing overhead with a distant rumble or two. Meanwhile I had managed to finish the last of my red wine with a satisfying gulp.

I'm at a point in my introduction to New York that I am starting to consider the "what next." No, I do not want to move again, but I am finally settled and now I want to start to rebuild my social networks and really truly explore this town.

Let's start with Williamsburg proper.

Yesterday was the first time I had been there during the daytime, having only been to dinner at Sea or drinks at the Brooklyn Ale House and Galapagos. Too bad that it was frigidly cold, so much that it seeped up from the pavement and froze my toes numb as I navigated the walk to Relish. The sky had that heavy look to it—the one that only seems sets in when snow is on the way.

Once seated in Relish, I warmed up with an omelette, good orange juice, and great company.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"We're going to Jackson. Go comb your hair."

Every day that goes by, I learn more and more about my new home. For instance, I discovered that the slang for subway riders is straphanger and that Yankee players are required to be clean shaven and their hair cannot touch the collar. I also discovered that you can you can order apricot ale at the Heartland Brewery & Chophouse, which is where I went last night to meet Jane, Fals, and Lex for a post work drink. Little did I know that we were out to celebrate something. Something big . . . something momentous.

As I entered the bar, cold and slightly damp from the drizzle, I spotted my friends huddled over the menu trying to figure out what food to order. Jane smiled a little too mischievously as I detached myself from my iPod, gloves, and hat. I barely had time to say hi and apologize for being late before Jane told me to look at Fala's hand. On the ring finger was a brand new Tiffany engagement ring and I squealed like a girl when I made the mental connection that Lex had finally proposed to Fala. Yayayayay!

Question is, will it be a Brooklyn wedding or a Swansea wedding?

Friday, January 07, 2005

"Stand clear of the closing doors."

Observations on the L

Army coat man is on the train again. I saw him yesterday as we boarded the Manhattan bound L train at Morgan Avenue, his green hooded head cast downward. We both grab precariously to the rail as the train lurches forward. IPod stuffed into my pocket, Kasabian is our soundtrack for this morning.

With each stop, the train fills more and more. At Grand Street, I spy tousled platinum hair and a military style coat with big brass buttons. She's tall. Scandinavian? Polish import via Greenpoint? Her boyfriend's dark hair looks dirty as opposed to made to look dirty. He kisses her when she makes pouty faces at him.

Graham Avenue . . . Lorimer Street. Change here for the G Train. We're getting closer to the epicenter of New York bohemia—Bedford Avenue. I furtively size up the other passengers, make mental notes of clothing, hairstyles, earrings, color of purses and bags, as if measuring my nascent New Yorkerness against theirs. Feeling conspicuous,
as if too conservatively dressed or radiating something indeterminably Washingtonian, I seek validation. Some girl in a turquoise Banana Republic coat has my hairstyle and I feel a little bit better about myself.

Sandwiched between adverts for Jameson and children's clothing, I can feel the heat from the person spooned against me. In any other instance, it would be an act of intimacy. Layers of clothes and propriety separate us.

Union Square. Change here for the 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R, and W trains.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

"Yes, I had a breakdown."

The Saga of the Computer

There I was struggling to carry the oversized box up Mercer Street, wondering if my arms could/would break off and how on earth I was going to get my new iMac G5 home to Brooklyn. Just minutues before, I had walked into the Apple Store on Prince Street and found the first sales clerk. Our conversation went a bit like this:

Me: [Breathlessly] "I would like to buy a computer. How do I make this happen?"

Clerk: [Long pause] "Do you know what you want?"

Me: "Yes!"

If only I could have imparted the frustration and irritation that had led me to the bustling ground floor of the Apple Store in the first place, desperately trying to spend $2000. That I had failed twice to successfully purchase the very same computer from MacMall owing to my stupid bank and such things as "available funds" and the inability to ship to my work address. That I had been trying to buy the computer for a week. Justsellmethecomputer! I wanted to scream. But I didn't.

Fast-forward to Mercer Street and my arms breaking off.

There have been rare moments while living in New York that I wished that I had a car. And ironically the only reason I had the funds to purchase said computer was from the sale of my car before moving. Faced with the daunting task of of carrying 16.83 kg (that's 37.1038 lbs) worth of computer onto a crowded L train, I did what any New Yorker would do.

I hailed a cab.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

"This is your front door??"

There is always a twinge of sadness when I pack off the last of the visitors for the airport or train station, never failing to underscore that I have all of two friends in New York.

This past weekend the number of friends in New York swelled to four as Dennise flew in from Cleveland and Kay took the train up from Washington so that we could all celebrate New Years in the Big Apple. No, there were no trips to Times Square for the ball drop, but rather a sedate food and champagne affair followed by a trip up to my roof to see the fireworks over Manhattan. You could literally hear all of New York erupt into a roar when the final moments of 2004 passed into 2005. Cars honked wildly, people shouted from their windows, and on the horizon flashes of silver light lit up the space between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

So now that Dennise and Kay are gone, I am left to my own devices once again. But hark! I have just purchased a new computer—a shining, gleaming piece of design and technology that oozes urban cool. I have just purchased a 20" iMac G5 and it will be my link to the outside world.

Hurrah! No more furtive web surfing during work hours.