Monday, September 25, 2006

Not Dead...

...just exhausted. Apartment hunting has eaten my head, my life, my will to exist. It looks like it may be settled today, though. Fingers, toes, eyes crossed.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Now I'm Drownin'...in the Floo-hoo-hooood

T minus one day until I turn two dozen, which is an excellent number of bagels, but an unexciting number of years. It's not twenty-five. It's not twenty-one. It's not grown up, but it's most certainly not young, as I am reminded every Saturday night at MisShapes when some punk kid with Sparks tongue reminds me that they're still in high school.

For my twenty-fourth birthday, I have thus far received a loan. Being debt-free is so passe. The only way to move out of my shitterific neighborhood and get a new apartment was to politely ask Wachovia for use of a couple thousand dollars, a proposal they reluctantly accepted. We were married this morning via fax and the honeymoon will last for the next sixty blissful, penniless months. Rather than dwell on the absurd interest rate I was given due to my "lack of credit" or "some bullshit like that," I would like to think of this loan as a birthday present to my twenty-nine year old self, who will enjoy breaking even financially at midnight on September the 14th.

Even Godiva can't make a truffle that sweet.

I'll turn twenty-four tonight at Stolen Transmission, my favorite party of the week for many reasons, but not insignificantly because it gets darker inside the Annex by the week, which gives me the freedom to go out without doing things like washing my hair or face or putting on makeup or turning the shirt with the stain inside out.

I used to really believe that whatever you were doing the second you turned a new age (or the moment the ball lit up the numerals of a new year on Dick Clark's countdown) would determine the character of the next 365 days. I think I've written about this before, but on New Year's I would put on lipgloss, brush my hair, pop my favorite Bon Jovi ballad into my Walkman, and press play at precisely 12:00, pretty positive that my efforts would result in a year's worth of Sweet Valley caliber romance.

It's just now that I realize I could've been right in my thinking that these moment-long milestones could predict a year. Sitting in my parents' house in my pajamas wearing lip gloss and thinking about how cool it would be to make out with the guy advanced fucking algebra (I see your dorky and I raise you a TOTAL NERD) was, indeed, how I spent most of middle and high school.

It looks like I'll turn twenty-four in the basement of a bar so dark no one will notice the weird, basically impossible deodorant stain on the collar of my jacket. (It was early, I misfired.) It's nothing to write home about, but it could be a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Have You Any Dreams You'd Like to Sell?

I work in one of those modernish offices that eschews cubicles in favor of an "open" floor plan. Except we still have plenty of offices and a weird layout, so the result is something like long rows of cattle stalls, each fitted with a built in desk and waist-high partitions, separated from other rows by big chunks of traditional office. Looking down along my row I can see the entire assistant caste. Everyone with a corporate card sits invisibly behind a door, surrounded by four real walls.

There's no lunch room, either. At around one I can look down my row to see everyone chewing and staring at their screens, bovinely bored with a gob full of Au Bon Cud. I can hear, very faintly, the Goo Goo Dolls issuing tinnily forth from the computer speakers of a girl five desks down the line. And, first thing in the morning, when I sit down and fumble around on the ground for the diabolically flat power button to my computer, and turn my head to the left so I don't squash my face on my desk while I doing so, the first thing I see is the guy who had an awkwardly romantic guest spot in my dream last night.

I've been dreaming like crazy lately, and apparently indiscriminately. I didn't think I'd thought about this particular row-mate twice, but it seems that he's buried deep enough in my stupid head to make him my seat partner on the school bus of a field trip I've never taken, with people I haven't seen in years, to a campsite I've never visited.

We shared a bunk. We've spoken once.

Looking at this guy all day feels dishonest. It's like I know a secret about him, or like I overheard a really scandalous rumor and it's all I can think about when I see him. I want to tap him on the shoulder every time I walk to the printer and spill my dirty, subconscious guts. "Hey, remember me? I gave you that ISBN that one time? Yeah, well, the other night we went camping, and one thing lead to another...just thought you should know. Also, do you have packing tape? Thanks."

I've been sleeping with the television off, which is a rarity for me. For as long as I've had a TV in my bedroom, I've only been able to sleep if I can see a flickering blue light on the other side of my eyelids. It's easy to have vivid dreams if you're dozing during reruns of the Cosby show; it's not unreasonable for Phylicia Rashad to make a cameo appearance in your second-grade dance recital when she's actually lecturing Theo across your bedroom.

But in a completely dark bedroom, the co-workers and old classmates and dead relatives and bizarre, once visited locales that appear in your dreams are entirely of your own making. Which makes it all the more awkward to pick up your print outs next to your R.E.M.-state guest star.

I actually passed Phylicia Rashad the other day on the street, on the fifth anniversary of September 11th, on my way to the large corporate headquarters of the company that owns my publishing house, a fifteen block trip I was being paid to make on a really gorgeous fall day. She was wearing a silk outfit that tied like a kimono, all black, with a dragon embroidered on the back. She was alone.

This one time, in the middle of September, I was paid to take a walk through downtown New York City, to deliver some books to an office, and wait at a crosswalk next to Mrs. Huxtible, wearing a kimono, looking serene, like she would probably give me a hug if I asked her.

For serious, for real, someone pinch the fuck out of me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Close Encounters of the Newspapery Kind

This is the story of the most exciting thing that ever happened to me with a boy, though on a normal scale of one to ten on the romance-o-meter this ranks about a .5.

It happened on Saturday night, when Brad made the Misshapes-to-Movida trek and I headed instead to the deli on Varick for the newspaper. It was after one, the early edition was on the rack, and it's about that time every weekend when I add the entire Times to the list of club-inappropriate things in my too-large bag. An umbrella, Post-Its, the power cord to my computer, an annotated copy of Moby Dick; these are the things the come with me for a night on the town. The Sunday paper is actually a step in a cooler direction.

I arrived with a friend on a mission to get hot water for tea, but somewhere between my stop at the ATM and her tiny purchase we were separated by a big group of kids deliberating near the pre-packaged pastry. There was a guy who looked sort of committed to purchasing something, so I stepped behind him and asked if he was actually waiting on line.

"Uh, yeah? No. I mean...well, I'm not sure." I assured him there was no pressure, but that it would probably behoove the both of us if he went with his gut. He chose the line, he asked what I was buying, and then he grabbed my paper and threw it up on the counter with his Red Bull and gum. I thanked him, realized he was really cute, got embarrassed, offered him the sections of my paper I didn't want, he declined, though he said if he wasn't drunk and on his way to a club he would've accepted, then he introduced himself, then we parted ways, then we met up again down at the end of the block, he said my name, and that was the last I saw of him.

To be specific, that was all anyone saw of him. No one witnessed our exchange, no one saw him later on in the night, and no one recognized his name or my description.

My occupation for the last two years has been to find on the internet whatever stupid thing people want me to find, though nominally I am supposed to be editorially assisting. I have found heaps of personal information about the most reclusive retirees. I have found absurd medical facts. If something is on the internet and I want to find it, I will find it.

Three days of searching later, this boy does not exist. Which means, of course, that he was my guardian angel, my fairy godfather of the Book Review. On the fourth or so telling of the story, to Brad in the car on the way home, he suggested that he flew away. Not because he was actually a heavenly seraph, but because Red Bull gives you wings.

Wings!

That's the evidence, the big clue, along with the unbroken twenty dollar bill in my wallet like the Indian feather next to that guy's bed in the Nelson video with the shaman that starts off in sepia and ends up in totally rocking color, but then goes back to sepia when the dude wakes up, but with the FEATHER as PROOF that NELSON ACTUALLY REACHED THROUGH TIME AND SPACE TO RESCUE HIM FROM THE TYRANNY OF HIS PARENTS. It is comforting that my fairytale guardian is a hot hipster, because this at least proves heaven is someplace I want to be. Listening to harp jams for all eternity never really appealed to me, but doing the crossword with some mythical hot guy does.

Like, a LOT.
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