Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Not Such a Bad Day After All

The highlights reel:

- alarm at 9:30 feels like vacation
- rolling down the windows
- being pleasantly surprised
- wearing blue jeans and a sweatshirt
- kids and books
- more kids, yelling barely intelligible but hilarious insults at professional athletes
- asking dumb questions and being made fun of...but getting answers
- winning 2-1 in the 9th
- enough warm clothes to be just the right amount of cozy
- "He sounds cute."
- a walk in the night air (without getting mugged)
- ridiculous, awesome friends

**(People might think blogs are written for the readers, but that is perhaps a lie.)

Wishful Thinking

I wish I could make the mail arrive faster.
I wish I could rearrange geography.
I wish I could fix the things that upset my friends. I wish I could do more to help.
I wish I could see the future, just for a second.
I wish I would get a check in the mail for a million dollars, tax free.
I wish I could park my car for more than fifteen minutes, anywhere, without worrying about getting ticketed or towed.
I wish I didn't hate how I spend half my waking hours.
I wish I could worry less about everything and everyone.
I wish people could and would just say things, without all the complications.
I wish the weather could be perfect more than three days a year.
I wish my phone wasn't starting to suck just a little.
I wish I could spend more time with the people that matter to me.
I wish the places where I feel truly safe were places I could stay and not just pass through.
I wish there was less waiting.
I wish I was too busy with all the good stuff....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

They Say Good Things Come in Threes

...though I don't know who "they" are, and I'm pretty sure They weren't talking about jobs. This is unfortunate since, as of this week, I will be working three jobs.

It's likely (for various reasons - other than the obvious, actually) that this situation will not last terribly long, or at least not in its current incarnation. But for the moment, I am once again in the land of three jobs. I've been here before. I remember the lack of sleep. I remember being in a constant late of late-for-something-ness. I remember thinking that cold pop tarts out of a vending machine constituted a satisfactory meal, when I didn't have the time or energy for anything else.

I remember knowing that the insanity was worthwhile because of what it was allowing me to do that I so desperately wanted (at the time) to do. I remember carrying ridiculous amounts of stuff and clothing with me everywhere I went, so I'd be prepared for everything from early morning through mid-afternoon into late at night with a vast array of people to see and tasks to accomplish. I remember vowing I'd never again have more than one job at any given time. (Okay, maaayyybe two.)

So here I find myself again: the pages of my pocket calendar look like little war zones. I already spend much of my time wondering how soon I get to go back to sleep, the answer to which is always "not soon enough." And this time none of the three jobs is The One I Really Like. No, this time all three are just to support something else that might, hopefully, eventually, make this all seem worthwhile.

"Then why," you might say, "if you're SO busy, are you spending time writing this blog about it when you could instead be sleeping (or possibly doing something else remotely important)?" Well.... what fun is being overworked, underpaid, and overtired if you can't at least get on the internet and complain about it? I mean, isn't that what blogs are for?

Now that I think about it, maybe it's actually sneezes that They say come in threes....

Friday, April 25, 2008


Sometimes you go out on a Wednesday night and don't get to sleep until 3am, even though you have to be somewhere at 9:30am on Thursday. Sometimes that leaves you tired enough to actually fall asleep facedown on the awful shag carpet in your living room in the middle of the afternoon. Sometimes you still go out that night, but vow that you'll go home early and get to bed since you have work at 8:30 Friday morning. But sometimes someone buys you just one drink, and you stay up until 2am doing nothing - laughing - anyway. And sometimes it's really worth it. Sometimes it's exactly what you need.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Missing Pieces

Lately I seem to see a lot of young men missing limbs, all around town. Is it just me?

I wonder if they'd say we're winning...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pickup Truck of Death

The last time I was on a bicycle was several years ago (much to my roommate's chagrin). My friend was last on a bicycle at least ten years ago. That is, until yesterday, when we decided to ride twenty miles - ten out, ten back - on bikes we dug out of the basement, one of which ostensibly fit her and one that was blatantly too small for me. We crammed the bikes in the back of the car, drove to the parking lot, donned our dusty helmets, and congratulated ourselves heartily on making it from the car all the way to the beginning of the path.

We considered riding the whole trail - 22 miles each direction - but once we found ourselves stopping every mile or two we changed our minds. It turns out that resting all of your bodyweight on, essentially, the top of a narrow pole is extremely uncomfortable. As in, I'm very much still sore in very inconvenient places, and probably will be for several days.

Fortunately we managed to avoid meeting motorized death at any of the road crossings, and were mostly able to ride side by side so as to hear each other's snarky comments and jokes along the way.

The weather was beautiful, the picnic lunch by the hard-to-find lake was chilly but nice... and I won't be getting back on a bike for at least another five years.

But a weekend out of town, with sunshine and fresh air and really good (completely uncomplicated) company is the best cure for almost any ill...or for many ills at once. It doesn't actually solve the problems, it just makes them seem a lot less problematic. Or, at the very least, it gives you a respite from thinking about them, worrying about them, being sad about them, trying to solve them.

Find a friend to visit or put a tent in your trunk and go. Now. Go.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

I want to go down to 3rd and Lindsley and run into all the people I used to see at the Lounge. I want a spicy chocolate chocolate chip cookie from Fido after dinner at Diva. I want two homes and a private plane.

I want to tell my friends that I’m not really leaving, I’ll just have a slightly longer drive to meet up with them. I want to believe that there will be no sense of loss, just a geographical redistribution. I want to say that I know it won’t be easy, but what’s (and who’s) important won’t change. I don’t know how it’ll work, I just know that it will.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That's Just Like a Vacation, Right?

Apologies for being MIA for more than a whole week! A dreadful sin in the blogosphere, I know. My excuse is that I was out of town, and too busy taking in a new city to sit back and reflect on much of anything. Now that I'm home I can share a few thoughts about (or inspired by) the trip:

  • Southwest Airlines is lovely, but the way to "like where you sit" is NOT to "sit where you like." Give your sloganeers a pat on the back, and then find some other way of boarding people quickly without screwing us over. Thanks.
  • Any city that has a coffee shop that serves a spicy vegan chocolate chocolate chip cookie (and a really good cup of coffee) is okay by me.
  • Trees are nice. Grass is nice, too.
  • A lake can be almost like an ocean, if you don't swallow any of it, and if you ignore the fact that you can see the other side.
  • Long Island is REALLY big.
  • I like nice people.
  • I want a tiny house with its very own vegetation, within walking distance of civilization.
  • Major corporations are the devil, but small-ish chains that make a strange city feel more like home might not be quite so bad.
  • Motels are the most miserable places on earth. The free wireless access is necessary so the guests don't all drown themselves in the indefinably sketchy swimming pool.
    Time should be allowed, in life, for both varieties of vacations: the kind where you go somewhere new and run around like crazy trying to Maximize Your Time, and the kind where you go somewhere - probably somewhere familiar - and just become as much like a piece of furniture as possible for some amount of time. People call the first a vacation, but after trying to See And Do an entire city in 2.5 days, I'm really not sure it should count.

* photo(s) to be posted very soon *

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ways to spend a quiet Friday in the office

  • Watch videos of people you know doing stupid things. (Hot sauce, anyone?)
  • Read online articles that are actually interesting but would probably get you in trouble for looking at inappropriate web pages. (
  • Read John Mayer's blog. (He is both intelligent and self-deprecating. <3)
  • Play Scrabulous until the internet breaks and you have to restart your computer.
  • Check the weather reports in all the cities you'd rather be in than the one where you are.
  • Browse Craigslist for apartments you won't rent, jobs you won't apply for, and stuff you won't buy .... and think about how great it would be if you had those jobs with the attendant salaries, which would let you buy that stuff and live in one of those apartments.
  • Change your AIM/gchat status message at least once an hour.
  • Take off your boot and fix your sock that's scrunched up, then take off your other boot and adjust your other sock just for the sake of symmetry.
  • Eat a delicious PBJ on rye at 10am and think bitterly of your friend who is probably just waking up and thinking about maybe going to work... or maybe not....
  • Write blog entries.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

On the Spot

Over dinner, recently, one of my friends turned to another and said "not to put you on the spot, but...." and proceeded to suggest that the second friend do his impression of me.

Friend 2 clearly did feel put on the spot. I was quite surprised that I'm worthy of being impersonated at all; I was nervous about what this impression might reveal about how these friends perceive me, on the one hand, but on the other hand was silently daring Friend 2 to do go ahead and do it and risk offending me. He decided to go ahead because, as he later explained, that was the only way to show me it 'wasn't bad.'

Well, I have yet to decide whether or not it was 'bad'. It was an impression of me leaving a voicemail - I'm well aware that I leave ridiculous voicemails, because I hate phones and hate leaving messages, but I didn't realize I sounded quite that ridiculous. The (brief) performance seemed up to par as far as the rest of the table was concerned. I was also amused, partly by the impersonation but perhaps even more so by Friend 2's concern that he'd insulted me. When I decide, I'll let him know.

He should rest assured, though, that it will always be (at most) secondary to the infamous "oh my god! You look like a GIRL!!" Isn't it funny when you start to find out what your friends really think of you?

29 Horses

Why is competence too much to ask? And why are we expected to be polite to people who can't manage it?

Imagine the following: you arrive at a club to see a band play, and discover that no music will be heard any time soon because the sound guy has thrown up his hands in despair at the "broken" sound system. Apparently no one can figure out how to fix it, and no one thought to tell the bands about it beforehand. But no one is yelling, or even speaking firmly-but-kindly to the sound guy or any other staff member at the club about what appears to be a fiasco in the making. Finally one of the band members steps up and gets things working, and ends up running sound the whole night - all the while being perfectly nice to the people whose jobs he's doing.

Imagine further: one of the musicians that gets on stage before the band you came to see would be more plausible as a character on SNL than as a real person. The songs are bad, the complete lack of charisma or presence of any kind is almost hard to believe. The only things that make it bearable are your friends making snarky comments on either side of you and the guy across the room miming hanging himself. And yet, when this poor girl asks the room "should I play one more, or should I be done?" the meager crowd pauses, understandably, but then assures her that she should indeed play one more.

I'm all for being nice - I think being a genuinely nice person is a great thing. But is this being nice, or is this politeness-out-of-obligation actually the opposite? Is it nice to tell this girl to go on making a fool of herself so we can spend another three and a half minutes making fun of her? Are we doing her any favors by prolonging and reinforcing her delusion that she should, in fact, continue to get up on stages and make these noises for anyone too polite to leave the room? Wouldn't we all be better off - her not least - if we just came out and said that no one liked it?
Think about it. By being polite, we are 1. lying, 2. giving ourselves further opportunity to mock her, 3. setting her up for untold future mockery from future audiences.

And the sound guy: our being polite to him pretty well screws over all future bands who'll be stuck with his incompetence potentially ruining their performances. It might not be as detrimental to him as our similar behavior is to the poor girl who thinks she's a songwriter, but we're really not doing him any favors by letting him continue to be terrible at his job.
Since being polite rather than nice is clearly a bad choice, what does the alternative look like? If we're genuine and straightforward, what sorts of crazy things will happen? Well, maybe the incompetent sound guy will get fired. And maybe the bad songwriter will give up and find another profession. And maybe some guy (or girl) who's been busting his (or her) ass reading books and taking classes and learning from friends how to run sound will get hired instead. And maybe some kid who's been playing the amazing songs he's written on streetcorners and in subway stations will get a chance to take the stage.

"What happens to the incompetents?" you ask. Shouldn't we give them a break? Well, maybe the guy who couldn't run sound will decide that he really wants to learn, and he'll go take a class somewhere and figure it out before he gets himself hired at another sketchy club. And maybe the terrible songwriter will discover that she's actually excellent at writing pretentious greeting cards, and will have a very successful career. And maybe, just maybe, we'll all end up better off.

Because really, who knows how many horses until the end of the world?