normalcy is coursing through my veins
Monday, April 30, 2001
Okay, so those last two were a little information report-y. But a few people who I'm only in sporadic contact with told me that they like reading my weblog to find out what's going on with me. So I guess an info report every once in a while is alright, right?

The first day goes like this: I wake up. At 7:30 a.m. A full hour before my alarm usually goes off (I have been spoiled by that 10 am start time, sigh). I have to wait for the shower. There are no coffee filters. And no soy milk. I am grateful that I have already packed my bag the night before. It is sunny and the walk to the train station is calming. The train is waiting when I get there. I sip iced hazelnut coffee (courtesy of L cafe) as I ride to Union Square. I am making good time. I will probably get there 15 minutes early. As soon as I think that, the N train stops for a 'sick passenger.' (I always wonder exactly what that means...and how stopping in the middle of an underground tunnel is going to help). We are delayed nearly 25 minutes, and I am suddenly going to be quite late for orientation. (Somehow, this does not stress me out at all. I have been eerily calm the past couple of days). 3 hours of HR spiels...blah blah insurance...blah blah 401k...blah blah corporate lingo...blah blah blah. I really wish I had eaten breakfast. All the boring talk in the comfy chairs makes me sleepy. They give me a dictionary. I like dictionaries. Then it's over and I get to leave Times Square and head east, dictionary in hand. When I get to my desk, it's time to leave for lunch. I eat on the front steps of the enormous midtown building I now work in. I read a few pages of Lethem. I watch people. A man in an expensive suit tells me I look pretty. I can't decide whether it's nice or just high-class harassment. I take the elevator to the third floor and use my new electronic access card to set the scary automated revolving doors in motion. They don't move quite fast enough, and I think about how one day I am going to trip over my own feet and fall over and the doors are just going to keep revolving. This makes me laugh. I chat with my new bosses. I make a few copies. I messenger something. I write a couple of emails. I read McSweeneys. Dave Eggers' editor walks by while I am reading it and invites me to a party following the reading tonight, but it has been weeks and weeks since I have a night to myself, so I tell her 'Next time.' I am given a manuscript to look over at home this evening. My bosses tell me they are taking me to lunch tomorrow. I like lunch. I record my voice mail's 'external greeting.' I re-record the 'external greeting.' Three times. I check my hotmail account. Again. I yawn. I say 'Goodnight everyone.' I go home and eat falafel.

This was how the weekend went:

Friday was the last day at the old job. I somehow ended up being there after most everyone else had gone home. I (of course) put off the packing up of my things until the last possible moment...I managed to avoid the goodbye festivities I feared were going to be required of me (I think Rebecca saw how exhausted I looked, took pity on me, and nixed the post-work drinks plans, whew) and simply had a yummy lunch at Mayrose with M.

Then there were other people's plans for me. Many cell phone messages from Stewy and Sour, who were planning a celebratory dinner for me, but hadn't filled me in on the plans. And then Fairweather was in town unexpectedly, and all I really wanted to do was meet up with her and drink wine and smoke cigarettes, but that was not to be. Instead, there were train delays and too-greasy noodles and then the truly bizarre Danielson Famile show, which started off novel and entertaining, and ended up being just a little grating. Sour's description of them as the Partridge Family meets the Pixies was fairly apt, I think.

Saturday was FAO Schwartz (sp.?)!!! I was so in the mood to go play with toys. Fairweather and I spent much time in the Hello Kitty section, hunting for Kerokeroppi...There seemed to be a shortage, though I did get a fun new mechanical pencil to take with me for my first day on the job. And then I got this nifty Powerpuff Girls watch. I went looking for a keychain, but all the Bubbles ones were gone (guess she's not just my favorite, huh?), so then I had to get the watch instead. It plays cartoons!!!! And says things like, "Sorry guys, I have to go save the world and stuff!" I love it love it love it! (Sorry, I'm a little exclamation-y today).

There was a dance performance and then a salad, and then a lot of margaritas and some crazy conversations. G and her friends are a ton o' fun. I like people who can get drunk and talk about Jeanette Winterson, cheesy music, tactics for avoiding harassment on the street, the overzealous moaning yoga woman, and the ways that we are all constantly rebuilding ourselves...all in the same breath.

Sunday was sunglass shopping (Suddenly I crave nice sunglasses? How did this happen?) and a low-key dinner and then blissful (and was the night before my new job started, cut me some slack) sleep...

Friday, April 27, 2001
For some odd reason, I woke up this morning with "Feliz Navidad" in my head. Weird.

Thursday, April 26, 2001
"Don't act broken
even if you're broken.
It's just one of those things..."

I think maybe going to the Knitting Factory to listen to Chris Mills sing sad songs last night might not have been the best idea. It's sort of embarrassing how, when I'm sad, even the cheesiest sentiments move me practically to tears.

From an email from my friend Jules, who may like ellipses just as much as I do:
"anyway - i met dave eggers last night and i know you said you saw him once so i wanted to tell you about it... he did a book reading at syracuse and afterwards i talked to him for a bit... actually - funny story... in the book there's a part that says if you are one of the first 200 people to read the book and can prove you read the book he'll give you $5... well, i had taken pics of me reading the book for this purpose over the summer but never sent them to him... so i took them with me last night and asked if that offer still stood... he said yes, i whipped out the pics and he whipped out his wallet. he only had canadian money so he gave me $15 bucks... it was funny... anyway, just wanted to share that story with you.... "

Last night I was entering the downtown 1/9 platform in the station at 14th street, following the maze of tunnels underground from the L :

As I walk past the entrance, I notice a man and woman standing at the turnstile. The man is trying to run his Metrocard through the reader and it isn't working. He mutters, "Fuck you, please swipe again," and pushes it through a second time, more violently than the first. It still doesn't work. The woman, who is standing right behind him, no card in hand, says "See, that's god telling you not to leave." Her voice is thin, desperate. The man swipes his card one last time and it goes through. I think to myself, "Guess god changed his almighty mind." It takes me a minute to realize exactly how cruel that thought is.

So I walk down the stairs and the man is walking right behind me. He doesn't look back, but I do. She's still standing there, but has moved away from the turnstile now. She is behind the black bars right in front of the stairs, peering out from behind a mop of dyed-blonde hair. Her eyes are trained on his back.

Then we're both on the platform, the man and I. I stop right at the bottom of the steps, because I don't have the energy to keep moving. He keeps walking. Slow, measured steps. A guy sits playing guitar on the uptown side. His voice is echoing all around. He is singing "How Sweet It is (To be Loved by You)."

I am waiting at the edge, toes firmly planted on that yellow, textured surface that covers the foot or so before the drop-off. I glance back up the stairs, where the woman still waits. She has her hands wrapped around the bars on either side of her face, her head poking through the opening. I am sure she can't hear the guitar guy singing, and I think this is probably better. Then, she begins to sing her own song. Her voice is not entirely unpleasant, but it breaks now and again, notes slipping. I cannot make out all the words, but their sentiment is clear. Some slow R&B song from the top 40 radio. He's the only one, she doesn't know what she'll do without him. "How Sweet It Is" has ended, the guitar man has broken into "Let's Get it On." I am close enough to the steps that I hear both songs at equal volume. They sound terrible together.

The man keeps walking, as far down the platform as possible. I think for a moment that he might just walk off the edge, but he just leans back against a pole and shakes his head, more embarrassed than sad.

I keep turning my head back and forth. Others look straight ahead in that detached manner I have come to accept as the normal state of being. The woman never once seems as though she is about to buy a fare and come barrelling down the stairs toward the man. She just stands painfully still, her singing not so much competing with the other music as existing in another realm.

I stand there in the middle of the dischord, teetering on the verge, dizzied by all the sound. And then the train comes and drowns out all the music in a rush of noise, and I am so grateful I want to cry.

Tuesday, April 24, 2001
And by the way, I did not burn myself on purpose. I am not one of these people who believes in a good first-nice-day sunburn to start off the tanning season. It was simply an accident, the product of an outdoor brunch on a surprisingly sunny Sunday afternoon. I know that my skin only has two shades, casper white and lobster red, and I am perfectly content with the former. From now on, there will be a tube of sunscreen in whatever bag I happen to be carrying that day, I swear.

I am sunburned (or is it burnt??). Just my back and shoulders, but it is a bad enough burn that it still hurts to move three days after. I have been wearing tank tops in an effort to make sure as little fabric as possible makes contact with my skin. This has the adverse side effect of exposing my reddened skin to everyone who walks by, which would be fine if it weren't for the endless commenting. They say things like, "Oh my god, do you know how burned you are?" It makes me want to feign awe, turn around in shock as if I hadn't noticed, and thank them profusely for pointing it out to me. Worse yet are those who feel the need to touch my burned shoulders in addition to commenting. Here's a hint: That does not feel good! (not to mention the fact that most of them don't know me well enough to be touching my shoulders anyway). Lately, I wish people would just not talk to me.

"Wanna disco? Wanna see me disco?"

Saturday, April 21, 2001
I'm having that feeling like this city is making me crazy again. This is something I go back and forth about every now and again. In the end, I always decide it is not so much the city as it is whatever is going on in my head. It's just that it makes such an easy excuse...

Does anyone want to tell me what I should get my mother for her birthday (which, mind you, was on Thursday)? I am feeling like a bad daughter because nothing is coming to mind. I think it's just a little sad that it is so much easier to buy things for my friends than my family. I mean, I've been trying lately (with my family, that is), but we really just don't know each other that well at all....

Blah blah blah, babble babble....

Thursday, April 19, 2001
Writing here is making me feel boring lately....sigh.

So I took a sick day from work today, despite the fact that I am not sick. And I don't even feel guilty about it. Not one bit. This is a breakthrough really. My current job is almost over and I have grown to loathe it, and yet I have continued to feel some sort of twisted sense of obligation. No more (she says decisively, proudly wearing her pajamas well past noon).

Tuesday, April 17, 2001
Will someone please tell everyone here that I am not an HR expert? Pretty please? With sugar on top?

I have been listening to my walkman as I travel around the city these days. Partly this is because I have recently rediscovered the joy of mix tapes. I know, I know, I'm behind the times, and I should be listening to mix CDs and all, but for now it's tapes.

The strange thing about walking around with headphones on is that I have become increasingly aware of both how dependent on sound cues I am and how easily I am able to function on autopilot. Like this morning, waiting at the Bedford L stop. Usually, I hear the train before anything else, but today, I felt the air current change, then I saw it, then I heard it as it was right in front of me (I listen to my music too loud). Also, when I am listening to music, I am not paying as much attention to everything around me. I think I really need to not be paying so much attention to my surroundings these days, as I have found them exceedingly irritating and/or anxiety-inducing. But the scary thing is that I am so lost in my personal soundtrack that I can't remember getting from one place to another, I'm just suddenly there. And I'm there faster than usual too. This is great, but I'm afraid that at some point something (a careening cab, for instance) is going to interrupt the autopilot mode and I'm going to be in trouble.

So maybe it's time to go back to a soundtrack-free trip to work...sigh.

Monday, April 16, 2001
Lately, we have been playing a lot of Yahtzee in my apartment. My roommates and I don't play all six rounds like you're supposed to. We treat each round like a separate game. We usually have the attention span for about two, tops. The roommates get a little rowdy when they play. They yell and make challenges and stuff. Our favorite thing to do is to imitate the the kid on the box lid. He has one hand pressed to his forehead as though checking himself for fever. His other arm is extended, reaching outward. There is a look of almost painful joy on his face. So when we get the roll we're looking for, sometimes we stand up and make this gesture in tribute, yelling out "Yahtzee!" as if it were a battle cry.
And then again, sometimes we don't...

I meant to post earlier. I didn't do anything except instant message and write email today anyway, so you'd think I would have been able to find a minute to write something interesting here...

G told me the other day that when she reads my weblog she feels like she is doing something she shouldn't. This intrigues me. It also interests me because I have been thinking/talking about this whole concept of a public journal. I mean, that's sort of what this is, after all, a journal. But these postings are not the same kind of entries I would write if I thought that no one were ever ever going to read them. In part (obviously), this i because there are things I just don't want to share with anyone who might come across this page. But more than that, there is a sort of pressure to be funny or witty or interesting in some way that everyday life just isn't sometimes. Or is it? I mean, a lot of what I write here is fairly mundane, but is at least somewhat interesting to me. This is my problem with writing sometimes, I assume just because it is interesting to me that it is just plain interesting, when in fact it may only be fascinating to me because it is about me (yes, I realize that's rather self-absorbed). So I guess the challenge is to make the everyday interesting, which is a good writerly task and all, but sometimes I'm either just not up to it or unable to separate myself enough, I guess.

Will someone tell me if I'm boring them? (You have to forgive me, I took too many theory classes in college and it fucked me all up).

Friday, April 13, 2001
I just gave my notice, yay!!!!!!!!!

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the office this morning and it was only ten a.m. (I had assumed it was much later...). Lately, I have been preparing to leave this job. I deleted a ton of old files (and somehow managed to delete all of my Outlook contacts and personal folders in the process--I never said I was particularly computer-savvy). Today I am cleaning out desk drawers. It's a good Friday morning activity. It feels satisfying to throw things away.

Last night I (finally!) wrote my review. No more hiding from Susan (yesterday, I was contemplating cowering under my desk when she walked by). Then there was hanging out with leeep. We ate olives and made dinner and watched 'House of Yes.' Despite the fact that he owns a ton of movies I haven't already seen, I wanted to watch something familiar. It was nice.

And now I just realized I get paid today, yay!

Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Yesterday there was a bus ride back to New York. Strange things often happen on bus rides--there was the man with the pet rat on the way to London, the woman with the bandage on her throat on the way home from Albany (She told me, without my having to ask, that the injury was the result of "a bad deal." Her only luggage consisted of a beeper and a pack of Newport Menthols)...There are more I'm forgetting, I'm sure.

This time it started before I even got on the bus. A guy named Mike started chatting me up, seemingly oblivious to the fact that my head was buried in a magazine. My responses were curt, but he asked for my phone number anyway (despite the fact that we live in different cities). When I told him he couldn't have my number, he was offended. His response: "I don't get it. I'm a nice guy, I'm white, and I speak English pretty good...what's the problem?" The problem just might be that you're using those as your selling points, Mike...

Sunday, April 08, 2001
There isn't much to say. I am perfecting the long-forgotten art of sleeping this weekend. Also, the arts of couch-sprawling and video-watching--today I watched 'What Lies Beneath' (ehhh...) and 'Bring it On' (aw, yeah). Now, if only this manuscript would read itself...

Saturday, April 07, 2001
Mmmmm, birthday cake.

My mom has this cake she makes. She made it for every birthday party I can remember having as a girl. All fluffy white, with homemade frosting in whatever color my brother or I requested that year. And then another one, plain white and covered in coconut, for the grownups (although I always ate the coconut kind too). They have something sort of like it at the Magnolia Bakery, but it's not quite the same...Anyway, she made it for my brother (he chose blue). It is on the kitchen table and I am home to eat it, so I have been cutting myself slivers of it ever since I arrived this afternoon.

Did I already say mmmm?

I am at my parents' house upstate for the weekend. I was supposed to be there yesterday, but then there was too much work and the buying of my brother's birthday present, and then the traffic...I got out and walked the last few blocks because I knew it would be faster, but I still missed the bus. And it shouldn't have been that big a deal. A twenty dollar car ride just to turn around and take the train back to where I came from sucks, but it isn't really a a major crisis. Maybe it's because I have been working too hard, maybe it's because I haven't been sleeping enough, I'm not sure, but somehow trying to travel yesterday turned into a breakdown...and let me tell you, Port Authority is not the place for such things...or maybe it is, maybe that's just it, because there I was, freaking out, and people went right on begging me for change or asking me for cigarettes or wondering if I could give them directions. These are the moments when I hate and love the city the most, for the same reason: that people here will let you be crazy or miserable or upset without batting an eye. This is both liberating and completely disheartening.

Thursday, April 05, 2001
Def Rog and I ate lunch outside today. We went to this little courtyard-type place on 28th street. It was nice and sunny. It felt a little like a college campus quad, except people sat in metal chairs instead of on the grass, and most of them were dressed in business attire. So maybe it wasn't so much like a quad after all....

I am procrastinating doing my book report. I am not good at finishing things.

I walked to work from Union Square this morning instead of taking the six. It is bee-yoo-ti-ful outside :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2001
Since someone asked me today, the title of my blog comes from House of Yes, one of my favorite movies ever. The tagline is: "Meet Jackie O. She's elegant, glamorous, and well bred. When you've got it all, you can get away with murder." Tee hee.

Last night, my mother called me on my cell phone (something she rarely does). I was walking around Williamsburg because it was nice outside and I was restless. We talked about the job I interviewed for and what I should get for my brother, whose 21st birthday is Friday. I told her I was coming to visit this weekend and she said she thought I sounded exhausted. She will buy the food she knows I like (the stuff that no one else in my parents' house will eat) after work one day this week. I will be happy not to have to decide on which place to order delivery from....

Now where was I going with this? Oh yeah, so I was walking along Berry and this man leaned toward me and said "God bless YOU' loud enough that my mother could hear him over the phone. She said, "What was that all about?" and I mumbled something about men on the street, etc. So then she asked, "What are you wearing?" This is just one thing about my mother that makes me crazy. I tell her jeans and sneakers and she says, "huh," as if she can't figure it out. It frustrates me that the first question she always asks me after I tell her about something going wrong in my life always has something to do with what I could have/should have done differently. Grrr...

Tuesday, April 03, 2001
I have bedhead. I think I like it better than my regular hair.

There is no time for anything lately. I can't remember the last time I took a full hour lunch break. I have to write a book report for a job I am applying for. I have to finish a freelance review of an AWFUL manuscript. I have to sleep, someday.

Monday, April 02, 2001
My friend Jeff is funny.

My boss just handed me manuscript to look over, with the following instructions: "Don't spill coffee on it." This is the second time in the past month or so that she has given me these instructions. I find this odd for a few reasons: 1) The first time she said it, I was not even drinking coffee (though that is not the case this morning) 2) I have never spilled coffee on anything in the nine months that I have worked here 3) She gives this as an authoritative instruction--not the sort of half-joking "be careful"-type warning you might expect, but as an actual serious part of the instructions. Is this really necessary? Why not say "Don't accidentally drop this in the trash" or "Don't throw this out the window"?

Sunday, April 01, 2001
Mel's computer, which I have borrowed for the weekend in order to do job research, makes a funny noise when it goes into screen saver mode. I think it's supposed to be the sound of ocean waves crashing against the shore, but it also sort of sounds like the sputtering noise the coffeemaker makes when it is almost out of water.

Last night was another girls' night, and it was lovely. Susie-q and Stewy and I went to Sour's apartment in Park Slope. We made dinner and drank wine. We told memorable kiss stories and giggled like we were fifteen. And then we watched Office Space, tee hee. The scene where they are wrecking the printer makes me laugh very hard.

Mmmmmm, 'Once Around the Block.' It's a Badly Drawn Boy kind of day. Perfect Sunday afternoon music. I am meeting G in an hour or so at French Roast. She is depressed and needs an omelette.

It seems like everyone I know is either really unhappy with their job or unable to find one. I feel a little like we are all just waiting, biding our time until we have the requisite number of years or whatever and can do something worthwhile career-wise. I mean, I'm sure there must be interesting jobs that also pay the bills out there....It's just that I have no idea how to find them.

I like lists.

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