I took my mom to Jamaica for Thanksgiving 2010. And Thanksgiving 2010 just happened to be my 29th birthday, too, so you can imagine my excitement when, standing at the registration desk of the Grand Palladium, fully prepared to guzzle a half dozen bright pink drinks from some spigot, any spigot, a handsome, tall, tanned gentleman approached me and said, “Hey my buddies and I are going down to the pool bar. Wanna drop off your luggage and meet us for a ‘Welcome to Jamaica drink?’” Why yes, yes sexy stranger, yes I do want to do that. See you downstairs in 15, Vacation Boyfriend.
While I was completely hypnotized watching my clothes spin round and round in the 25¢ dryer, I glanced around long enough to count 22 signs plastering the walls of my laundromat. A few signs are hand-written, but most appear to be professionally designed and printed, making all the typos even more impressive. And this isn’t a large space so it’s an unusually high volume of signs barking negative instructions at me about things I’m not allowed to do. For every sign in English, there’s a Spanish equivalent. Whatever language, this business speaks fluent Asshole and I love it.
Yesterday was my 8 year New York-iversary and it is shocking to think I’ve been a resident of this beautiful, disgusting, thrilling, infuriating place for the same amount of time I spent in high school and college combined.
Most days I feel like I’m a visitor here and that it’s all just a temporary set-up. That I’m just passing through. That we are all just passing through. New York feels like it’s on a short loan to me until the day arrives when I’ll come to my senses and realize what a meal should actually cost or how big an apartment $2,000 a month can actually get you.
(House, the correct answer is an entire house.)
- When you completely and totally shock yourself by screaming “GO FUCK YOURSELF!” to a bicycle delivery guy who nearly plows you over in the crosswalk - and then laugh because apparently you’re now one of those over-the-top angry people who tell other people to go fuck themselves.
- When you have a really bad day where nothing goes right so you charge a $4 box of Milk Duds on your credit card at Duane Reade and climb in bed at a ridiculously early hour like 6:30pm and just weep while stuffing chocolate balls in your mouth (pause) and then weep harder because eating candy while crying is just not a good look, at all. Then you go to sleep.
(Note: The first and last because there are a million better topics about which to write.)
Yesterday my boyfriend and I were walking in my neighborhood when he casually, innocuously said, “Are those new jeans?” and immediately my mind flew to 10 different places. Well what is that supposed to mean, ‘are those new?!’ Do they look too new? Are they the wrong color? Brand? Do they make my ass look even bigger? Hi, I’m a lunatic.
The spring of 1996 changed my life forever. In the best possible way.
Growing up, I made a ritual of sorting through my parents’ junk mail that they left in a pile on the kitchen counter. Every week we’d get a Publisher’s Clearing House ad and I would poke out the tiny perforated stickers of my preferred magazines and line them all up in their designated spots on the return sheet before my dad would inevitably tell me no, we wouldn’t be sending it back in – even though we clearly just won $1 Million Dollars.
I so distinctly remember opening one particular piece of mail that said “12 CDS for 1 penny!” I looked through the long list of options and checkmarked my dozen selections, just certain my parents would say no to this endeavor as well. But I really really really wanted to cash in on this deal and ended up sneaking the envelope into the mailbox without anyone noticing. Thus began my years-long relationship with BMG Music Club.
I just did a Google Image search for “The truth about being a woman” and among the results were:
- an XL pair of sweatpants
- Sojournor Truth
- Betty White
- botox injections
- a Nicolas Cage meme
This was not as helpful as I expected.
My 87-year-old grandpa recently said something so profound that it’s been on my mind ever since, snippets of half-formed thoughts floating around my brain about the idea of woman-ness. What does being a woman mean at this point in history? What does it mean to me?
When I first moved to Manhattan and lived in a shithole on 82nd and 1st, my best friend from college moved into a 5th floor walkup about a dozen blocks north of me, so we were constantly rotating in and out of one another’s place. Andrea and I made plans to meet at my apartment one summer Sunday in 2007…when things got weird.
There was an orange rolling around on the floor of the 6 train today.
Back and forth from one end to the other, bouncing off of feet and backpacks and luggage. From 59th street to Union Square, it pinballed the length of the train car, occasionally getting stuck in a crevice for several minutes before the train’s forward movement inevitably jostled it back into action. Suspicious eyes were glued to the stealth round orb and I giggled as every single person dodged the orange like it was an explosive device or a rabid animal and not a delicious citrus treat. Grown men were actually cowering against the doors as it rolled by. People seated would lift their feet in anticipation as they warily watched it lurch towards them.
He lives in a Brooklyn brownstone and a loft in the West Village and an Upper East side studio and a public housing unit in the Bronx. God is everywhere. I see him every day, all over New York City.