Friday, January 31, 2014

i heart chocolate chips

"do you still cry? i mean tears when you are sad." - the six-year-old i babysit, to me, while i was putting his pajamas on him


snow, glass, mirror

snow, leaves, cigarette butts

styrofoam, string, snow

"circa  december two thousand eleven"


when you ask someone in new york city for tips on how to find an apartment, they will invariably begin their advice with the phrase, “well, we got really lucky…”

my roommates and i did not get really lucky.

we start looking in march for an april-turned-may-turned-june move-in date. thousands of dirty, window-less, “true” three bedroom apartments later, i am sitting on the first floor of a six-story walk up.  i’m holding a daisy and weeping.  i am weeping because it is raining and for the last three months my nourishing relationship with my best friend with has become a torrent of guarantor information, skeezy craig’s list profiles, and broker-fee atm withdrawals.  i am weeping because i had sex with a boy the night before, and when i asked him if he wanted to get together soon he said that we would have to “play it by ear.”  i am weeping because i am twenty-years-old and the only way i can respond to any outside stimulus is to weep.  i am weeping because, sitting in that stairwell, after seeing a true true three-bedroom apartment with a window in each room and an awkwardly long, charmingly yellow hallway at it’s entrance, i have finally found a home. 

two-one-two avenue b is a “my-first-new-york-city-apartment” apartment.  it is the size of a casket.  there are exposed wires running up and down the stairway railings.  these wires conceivably connect to some sort of electrical source, but that is hard to believe since there are only two working light bulbs in the apartment.  the sink is perpetually clogged, the floors can’t stay clean.  it is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.  the landlord is an enormous man that wears his button-down shirts unbuttoned so you can spy his unruly chest hairs jostling out near his collar when you go in to ask him to repaint the chipped ceiling even though you know he will tell you that he will and then won’t.  the rent is too damn high.

objectively speaking, the apartment is a dive.  but we don’t see that.  because we are on our own in new york city and we are in college and we are not living in dorms and we can smoke weed and play music and have sex in a tiny apartment where it is impossible to do any of these things without the other two residents smelling or hearing or smelling.

we have three keys—one for the for the front door of the building that is always unlocked, one for the door to the apartment which is always jammed, and one for the mailbox which is always empty.  even though we are living in the adult world for the first time in our “my-first-new-york-city-apartment,” we are still children and don’t receive medical bills or jury duty notices—only the occasional care package from my mom, full of homemade granola that i triumphantly run up the one flight of stairs to apartment four to show my roommates before we open a bottle of wine at two o’clock in the afternoon. in here, it’s always summer.  even winter is summer. 

the neighborhood is in transition.  the mom and pop bike shop sits uncomfortably next to a high-rise luxury condominium complex with over sized windows.  our deteriorating building sits across the street from both.  my roommates and i sit on the fire escape and smoke weed and watch with our early-twenty-something eyes the late-twenty-something’s who live in those condos walk around behind their over sized windows. we watch them watch television with their serious significant others, and cook meals using more than three ingredients, and have intermediate level sex unlike the three of us who are still beginners.  next to the luxury condos are housing projects and next to the projects is a subway sandwich shop.

it is a week after i moved into two-one-two avenue b, apartment four, new york, new york, one-zero-zero-zero-nine.  it is evening and i am really alone in the apartment for the first time.  i light incense that i bought from the mosque around the corner and sit by myself in my room on my twin bed that i have because my room is only big enough for a twin bed and also because I am still a child and so have no need for anything larger.  i am playing my ukulele.  holding such a small object in such a small space makes me feel enormous.  i am learning how to play some james taylor songs because that is what my mother used to play when we went on car trips when i was growing up.  i am going home soon to visit and i know it will make her happy if i can play them.  i am practicing my ukulele alone in my tiny apartment and i hear loud noises coming outside.  i peek my head out of my first-story window and i see that everyone on the street has stopped to see what the noise was.  the corner of thirteenth street and avenue b is silent and still and looks like an old photograph.  we all stay frozen and breathe for a moment, as if we can better asses the situation through our lungs.  a minute or so of this pause elapses and the noise begins again.  this time it is repeats itself several times over, and i can hear that it is gunshots.  i pull my head back inside my bedroom as the shooting continues.  i press myself against my twin-sized bed.  the shooting stops.  i hear sirens as the police and ambulance race to the scene.  my building is near a police and fire station.  i have learned in a week how to distinguish between nonchalant cat-stuck-in-a-tree sirens and more serious ones.  these sirens are serious. i lie still in my bed and let their repetitious shrieks flow in and out of my ears as i turn off the light fall asleep.


--


i was looking through some old files on my computer, and i came across an video clip i took of an ex-partner sleeping.  that is an odd thing to delete and an odd thing not to delete.


--


i am trying to embrace the asymmetry of my face.

--



if you listen to too much bjork in a day, you turn into bjork.










Wednesday, January 29, 2014

home is wherever i'm with few

"can we move to that table by the window?  the woman at the table behind us looks like the kind of woman who will be speaking too much." - an actual man, talking to me about an actual woman


what is worse than cold french fries?


cold poop.


a glass of winter rosé


quick! everyone learn how to help yourself!




"to play"


do you ever care for the emotional experiences of inanimate objects?

this afternoon at the restaurant, i was stocking ramikins with sugar packets at the end of a busy lunch shift.  yellows packets full of splenda, pinks of sweet-and-low, browns of turbinado, and whites full of refined granulated sugar--all to be tucked in equal proportion in individual ramikins before being placed on clean tables the next morning to accompany the coffees of the breakfast rush.   i am standing behind a chest-high counter in the back of the restaurant.  i am compiling each neopolitan rainbow by methodical rote, pulling handfuls of like-colored packets from a wicker basket holding an orgy of yellow-pink-brown-whites in dissaray.

three quarters of the way through, the line of precisely filled ramikins extends almost across the whole length of the counter; the bottom of the wicker basket becomes visible in patches beneath the thinning pool of disorganized sugar.

someone in the kitchen calls my name.  i turn my body and knock the wicker basket off the counter.  i pick up the basket and several sugar packets remain on the kitchen floor--two pinks, a white, and a yellow.

i kneel to rescue the fallen packets.  i return to standing with the two pinks, white, and yellow in my left hand.  i am unsure who witnessed the incident.  assuming it did not go entirely unnoticed, i stand holding the sugar packets, contemplating how best to move forward.  my manager is a man who once told me that my tendency of very occasionally scratching my cheek when it itched "said a lot about my character."  he is a man who values cleanliness above humanness.  everything inside of me knows that his gaze would demand i discard the soiled packets.  yet, to deprive these few sugars of their opportunity to fulfill their destiny--to eliminate any hope of them sleeping gently in line with their like-colored brothers and sisters before being awoken one by one to sweeten a virgin cup of coffee on a fresh breakfast table--seems villanous.  particularly so because these sugars have been marked as unuseable by no fault of their own.

standing there at the back of the restaurant, holding the now unuseable sugar packets, i am the elementary-schooler who was picked last for kickball.  i am the middle-schooler without a date to the dance.  i am the high school senior who still rides the bus and the college freshman who has never gotten drunk by his second semester.  i am the young adult who was left by his first love via a phone call at one o'clock in the morning on valentine's days.  i am still the young adult who was left by his first love via a phone call at one o'clock in the morning on valentine's day, so i organize the disabled sugars in line with their untouched peers and place them in a ramikin to await their journey the following morning.

it is audadious for any person to say with absolute certantity that there is or is not a higher power.  but still, the thought of something larger concerned about the happiness of things smaller, and commited to providing every chance for those smaller things to fulfill their desitnies, is comforting. "we don't get to choose what or whom we love.  we just don't get to choose."

--


i have this cut in the middle of my right palm.  it looks sort of like a small stigmata, which can only mean one thing...



i swear i jump but never do

"male.  middle eastern/indian/latin american/mediterranean.  early twenties." - a casting notice, sent to me, that is as confused about itself as i am.


this girl is on fire.

"a bitter pill"

today
while waiting for the train
i looked forward to the day
when i've experienced enough change
to know that variation is a constant.

the train was delayed
like it was the day before
and like,
(i'm sure)
it would be delayed tomorrow.

how measured;
the process of noticing pattern.

--



i reformatted my resume.  what an arbitrary form by which to articulate who you are, a resume.  



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

love on top

"that is why people have kids--so they can leave their mark on the world.  but they still die and their marks die, too." - my little sister, on families




what does this mechanism do?



"on feeling deserving of love"



two unremarkable women come into my restaurant and sit unremarkably at a table for two.  they are both wearing beige.  one has her hair pulled back in a tight, unremarkable bun, and the other’s hair is so unremarkable that i don’t remember it well enough to describe.  they catch my eye because they are sitting down to eat at eleven thirty when everyone else comes in around twelve fifteen.  but if the most remarkable thing about you is that you eat lunch forty-five minutes earlier than everyone else, you can’t be too remarkable.

i unremarkably walk over to them, unremarkably take their order, and, after an unremarkable amount of time passes, bring them their entrees without remark. i can’t hear what they are talking about, but i’m sure it’s not anything too remarkable.  they can’t tell what i’m thinking about, but i’m sure they’re sure that, whatever it is, it is not very remarkable either.

because the two unremarkable women come in to eat forty-five minutes before everyone else, by the time their plates are clean in front of them the rest of the restaurant is packed.  i don’t have a moment to notice when they are done, so a busser clears their table.  all is this is very unremarkable.  as i am unremarkably taking orders from my other unremarkable tables, i walk by the two women.  they are sitting across from each other with what is now an empty table between them.  i notice that, with the newfound freedom that a clear table allows, the two women have reached their hands across to meet in the center.  the woman with the tight bun is holding the hands of the other woman in her own, and is stroking the backs of them gently with her thumbs.  they are both staring into each other’s eyes.  they are laughing in that stifled way that people laugh when they want whatever is funny to remain between them—as if other people knowing would rob the occurrence of its value.

although a scene of two people who seem to be in love quietly sharing an early lunch together is very unremarkable, it stirs me to remark.  that morning, i awoke to an empty inbox, expecting to have received a response to a message i had written to an ex-partner the night before.  the message i had written to an ex-partner the night before was in response to a message he had written to me a week earlier, asking me if i would like to get together for a meal.  receiving that message a week earlier was very remarkable.   previous to that message, we had not corresponded for what felt like years but was probably more like nine months.  so after remarkably being invited to a meal by an ex-partner, remarkably deliberating for a week whether or not to respond, remarkably deciding to respond, and then remarkably not receiving any response to my response, a scene of two people who seem to be in love quietly sharing an early lunch together struck me as something very remarkable, indeed.

later, the two lovers would leave the restaurant without my noticing.  they would forget to take their credit card out of the generic black checkbook i had left for them on their table.  i would notice this and run out of the restaurant to find them.  i would run to the corner of hudson and charlton.  across hudson street, i would see them walking hand-in-hand toward sixth avenue—already almost two blocks away.  i would stand frozen on the corner of hudson and charlton, deliberating whether or not to move.  i would decide to move.  i would run across three lanes of traffic on hudson street to reach them before they walked out of sight.  i would be honked at by two taxis and an access-a-ride van.  i would run the almost two blocks they had walked to catch up to them.  i would shout to them as i approached, and they would turn around in confusion.  i would tell them that they forgot their credit card.  they would laugh embarrassedly and with astonishment upon receiving what they didn’t know they lost.  i would smile.  i would say it was no problem.

thoughts about the remarkability of two lovers quietly sharing an early lunch together swim in my head as i float around the restaurant checking on the rest of my tables.


--


i sweat so much today!  how come some days you sweat more than other days?



Monday, January 27, 2014

you used to be my favorite color

"the belly's hunger gives no clue as to the complexity of cuisine." - gayle rubin, on humans' capacity to innovate sexual practices

















there are abandoned rubber bands everywhere.


"a musing on happiness"


i watch my dog stand under the kitchen table at dinner time, desperately appealing for any scrap of food, and i wonder if i want anything as much as he wants something to eat.

i watch the boys i babysit writhe in agony when their parents tell them that they are not allowed to use the internet, and i wonder if i love anything as much as they love ipads.

i watch flamboyantly dressed older women flood out of evangelical churches in crown heights on sundays, and i wonder if believe in anything as much as they believe in the importance of wearing giant hats that are the same color as their dress suits.

i watch my therapist frantically grab for his phone when he gets an unexpected call during our session, and i wonder if i would do anything for someone the way he would do anything for his children.

i watch sean white submerge himself in bathtubs full of ice to help his body heal before the olympic trials, and i wonder if i am as resolute about anything as he is about snowboarding.

i also wonder how he works out his upper body, whether he is a little curious, and how i could go about soliciting sex with him.

--

i love doing the dishes.  i wish i could stay home all day and just do dishes.





Sunday, January 26, 2014

all this snow is getting in my scrambeled eggs


"my life is my message" - mahatma gandhi



is there such a thing as a free shuttle?



someone is not going to get very far without this.



"unoriginal thoughts that people express as if they were original"



if a movie is going to be three hours long, it needs to be great.

i can't believe all this rain! we need it though... (in dry places)

could we split the check evenly on two cards?

i can't believe it's already (fill in date)!

i like it when it's big but not scary big.

everything happens for a reason...


--


today, i was the odd person out at a social gathering.  the person who organized it noticed this and came over to talk to me.  what an important moment



Saturday, January 25, 2014

what about me?

"i do like st. germaine." - a woman at my restaurant, trying to live up to gender stereotypes 



strange bedfellows.


sorry, everyone who is in my phone contacts



"my ideal physical type"

i like the kind of guy
who looks like a republican
(if he were wearing different clothes).

--


i have done my homework, and "yorgos" is the best brand of store-bought hummus out there. this is not an opinion



Friday, January 24, 2014

breaking cycles

"love is love no matter what." - the six-year-old i babysit, when his eight-year-old brother said that he was gay



how badly do you want it?



"can't hold us down"


an unromantic insight into humanity:
burning your mouth
on hot tea
on a freezing day.


--


today, i had to explain to a child learning how to read that the 'gh' in the word 'laugh' is pronounced 'f'. when you explain that out loud, it really doesn't make any sense.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

masturb8

"i keep hearing about wisdom teeth--i've never really heard a positive story." - a pessimistic high schooler, who still has his wisdom teeth


you can't have any of these beautiful things!


scary building in crown heights!




"bailing a friend out of the cold"


do you know what there isn't?  any good, universal advice on how to get coffee with someone that you used to be in a relationship with.

there is a fair amount of good, universal advice out there for when you get dumped.  people say things like, "there are plenty of other fish in the sea," or "it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," or any number of proverbs that could fit comfortably on the string-end of a teabag.  even the term "dumped" is a subtle form of good, universal advice, because it drives home the point that whoever did the dumping cares about you as much as they care about their shit--which can be a helpful thing to think about sometimes.

i imagine that there is a fair amount of good, universal advice out there for when you are doing the dumping, although i can't say for sure because i've never needed to call upon those reserves.  i imagine that some of those proverbs are the same ones as those that are tied to the string-end of teabags that you use when you get dumped--which seems unfair.  (can't we have anything?)

but when you're heading into the coliseum that is getting coffee with someone that you used to be in a relationship with, there is very little wisdom from the ancestors to draw upon.  this is particularly true if you are the david in the "david and goliath" story, which is to say the small one, which is to say the one who got dumped, which is to say the shit.

in that sense, when you are getting coffee with someone that you used to be in a relationship with, it is important to remember that you are not shit--even if you got dumped.  people dump things that aren't shit everyday, and lots of people do things with shit that isn't dumping.  also, order a tea.

--



i feel as though my place of work should pay for my "dr. scholls corn removers", because the corn on my right pinkie toe is a direct result of my means of employment.  could my "dr. schools corn removers" be covered by obamacare?  is there someone who can help me with this?


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

planting seeds

"human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights." - the kid i babysit, while watching the sisterhood of the traveling pants two




 school bus under snow



 birthday cake under snow



 paper under snow



person under snow



"i've fallen and i can't get up"


if someone
asked me
the last place i would want to run into someone
that i didn't want to run into,
i would answer (without hesitation),
in line
to check-out
at whole foods.

--


its difficult, when taking muffins out of the oven, not to wish that they were cupcakes.


--


i accidentally watched a documentary about the one child policy in china before i went to sleep last night.  sweet dreams!





Tuesday, January 21, 2014

peace be with you

"well, tomorrow you get to wear your pajamas to school." - a mother, to her son, the day before the best day of his life




how it feels to be single me.


"pretty hurts"


monday.
evening.
martin luther king day.
new york city.
manhattan.
east village.
fourth avenue.
think coffee.
waiting.
(with a glass of red).
for a friend.
(what do you call a person who you've had sex with a half dozen times but never gone out for a drink with?)

--


your life is what you do every day.






Monday, January 20, 2014

what is sex negativity?

"you're not a nerd." - an old professor, to me, over a glass of wine


        
                    chicken blood.


"the boy who cried human rights violation"


A shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, "Human Rights Violation! Human Rights Violation!" and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains.
     The Human Rights Violation, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: "Pray, do come and help me; the Human Rights Violation is killing the sheep"; but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Human Rights Violation, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.
     There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

--

raise your hand if your shoulder hurts!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

white people like white people.

"The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men. It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds and bad deeds. Men are just men--it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone--the nobles man in the world or the most wicked--has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward god." - gregory david roberts



vomit.



"alejandro's name is not really alejandro"



working at a restaurant means working under the constant threat of being yelled at.  being yelled at by customers for food taking too long, being yelled at by managers for customers’ food taking too long, being yelled at by cooks for asking why your customers’ food is taking too long.   it is a relatively high stress environment (at least compared to emergency rooms or fire departments), and, for some reason, everyone’s coping mechanism is rage. (also, everything is your fault).

being yelled at by a customer or manager or cook feels awful.  you know that you shouldn’t care.  because, after all, it’s just food.  and if those people really needed their meal to appear in front of them quickly without any chance of imperfection, they would have stayed home and made it themselves.  and, if you are like most servers, delivering strangers food isn’t something you really want to be that good at, anyway.  but still, being yelled at makes you feel inadequate—and stressed out for fear that this time, it will cost you’re your job.  (it never does, which means you get to stick around long enough to be yelled at the next day).

it is a friday night, which means a busy weekend crowd, which means a high volume of orders, which means a large margin of error, which means a considerable chance of being yelled at.  i’m on edge because my body has learned to always be on edge in restaurants, even when i am in one to eat which makes dating hard.  there is a constant flow of people pushing through the door.  as soon as one table is cleared, it is immediately re-sat with fresh hungry faces.  the crowd of customers standing at the bar waiting to eat refuses to dwindle.

by complete chance, i am not making any mistakes.  more importantly, the kitchen isn’t making any mistakes, the management isn’t making any mistakes, and the customers are all drinking, so no one is yelling at me.  the hours pass relatively painlessly because it is so busy.  by the time the crowds clear out and i have a moment to use the restroom (check my phone), it is ten thirty—a half hour until close.

a party of two saunters into the now nearly empty restaurant.  everyone hates them, simply because they happen to be hungry so close to the hour where we can shut the doors.  because of this, they get impecable service—sat, watered, drinks, food, all in minutes.  everyone wants to get them out as soon as possible.

the late-comers order a bowl of soup and a plate of vegetables.  it arrives quickly and, by ten fifty, they are sitting in front of two mostly full dishes—having already nibbled for a few minutes before throwing in the towel.  i go in for the kill.

“would you like me to box these up for you?”

the late-comers nod their heads and i feel like i’ve just had sex with an angel—complete joy.  they will be out by eleven and i will get home at a reasonable hour.

i go into the back area to box up their meal.  another server is occupying the boxing area, refilling ketchup bottles.  so i go back to the dining room with the mostly full dishes and place them on the service station—a counter where we keep the computer, clean dishes, bus bins, and stolen beverages.  i can box them up out there because the restaurant is so empty.

i return to the boxing area to retrieve the boxing accoutrements.  when i arrive back at the service station five seconds later to pack up the food, i see alejandro, the busboy, finish clearing the mostly full dishes into the bus bin.  my stomach petrifies and falls out of my body through my asshole. 

why did i leave those plates there?  used plates on the service station always means “finished.”  the restaurant is empty, managers are swimming around like sharks looking for someone to  yell at.  the kitchen closes in five minutes.  the only two people in the restaurant are waiting expectantly ten feet away from me.  this is one hundred percent my fault. 

my body freezes in the way that animals’ bodies freeze when they have been caught by a predator—a rush of adrenaline paralyzes the muscles to keep them from feeling pain as they are eaten alive.

alejandro notices my distress.

alejandro is a mexican busboy.  we are not close like he is close with the other busboys or i am with the other servers.  this is not because he is mexican or a busboy, or because i am not mexican or a server.  it is because the servers and i became close through commiserating about our love lives, and the busboys seem to have gotten close through making fun of the servers in front of our faces. (also, the language barrier).

alejandro notices my distress and without hesitation, mumbles to me, “what was it?”  i tell him what it was and he runs back to the kitchen.  i follow him like a duckling trying not to get separated from its mother on land.  alejandro calls over to the chef and the two communicate in clipped spanish for a few seconds.  the chef turns around, yells something to the line cooks, and resumes cleaning the stove.  alejandro returns to the dining room to stack clean glasses at the service station.  i walk to the edge of the kitchen—where it meets the dining room—and stand. 

two minutes later, i hear a bell.  i walk over to the shelf where the prepared food waits to be ran to the tables.  i see a fresh bowl of soup and a plate of vegetables packed in separate boxes in a plastic to-go bag. 

i feel like i have just had sex with two angles, and we are all sure enough about our sexual health status that we don’t have to use condoms—complete complete joy. 

i bring the food to the customers in what has ended up being an appropriate amount of time.  i tell them that i am sorry for the delay (to cover my ass), and they smile to put me at ease and get me to go away.  i bring them their check.  they pay, they leave, i breathe, and i find alejandro.   he is stacking clean glasses at the service station.

i want to show him how grateful i am for his random act of kindness.  i want to buy him a drink, or take him out for pedicures, or go thrift shopping with him at the brooklyn flea, or do any of the things that i do to show the people I love that I love them. 

i start by saying thank you in a way so sincere that it trumps the sincerity in which i would have thanked my mother for birthing me were i able to speak as a newborn.  i do owe him my life—or at least my shitty restaurant job.  he smiles, says that i am welcome, and tells me not to do it again. 


alejandro returns to stacking glasses.  i start to count our cash tips.  the managers continue to swim around—hungry. 

--


why is american cheese called "american cheese"?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

you can't see me when you're pushing me away

"your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. and could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; and you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. and you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief. much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity: for his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the unseen" - kahlil gibran


i woke up like dis.



"hai-moo"

a dollar fifty
for a half gallon of milk:
what does the cow get?

--


yoga is healthy because it is healthy to look at the world upside down from time to time.


Friday, January 17, 2014

walking home in manhattan means you get pizza!

"you're too nice and too loyal." - the kid that i babysit, to me



karl is hogging all of the wood.


scrabble doesn't understand me!


"when you wonder what your next day is going to be like"


i am sitting at a round table in a diner on the upper west side--between a twelve-year-old boy talking about greek mythology and a mom-year-old mom talking about health insurance. it is a rare moment when my body's literal location amd my mind's metaphoric exisistential crisis-du-jour can be expressed by the same image.

i was charged with picking the kid i babysit up from school on a half-day.  his mom told me to take him out to lunch afterward, which i didn't know was code for, "go to the diner where all the kids and their moms go on half-days."  

my kid insists that we sit at at a table with his two best friends and thier moms.  on my left, the boys are talking about super mario and jello.  on my right, the moms are talking about planning ski vacations and afterschool programs.  i am equally uninterested and incapable of entering either conversation--and seemingly unwelcome in both. 

--


"you learn something screw everyday"


there was a time in my life
when i would
without question
take a cab home after i had mediocre sex.
that time is no longer.

--


today, for the first time, i thought about how fucked up it is that we have multiple pronouns to refer to female authority figures based on their marital status (ms./mz/mrs.), and only one for men regardless of their marital status (mr.).

--


whether or not your refridgerator door beeps when you keep it open is a sign of your class.  


Thursday, January 16, 2014

we'll always be your sugar

"bodies are so smart.  if they notice something isn't being used, they'll use it for something else." - my roommate's physical therapist, on the atrophying of the muscles in her injured leg




cute shoes, stranger on the subway!



“what it’s like to bake a pie crust”


if you are baking pie, and you aren’t making your own pie crust, you’re not really baking pie.  you’re baking half a pie.  baking a pie crust is not that difficult and the only ingredients a basic crust requires are things that you probably already have in your house.  my mom says that using a store-bought pie crust is the same.  it’s not.

baking a pie crust is all about setting yourself up for success. 

to start, be sure to make a double recipe (a one-point-five-times recipe is actually better, but i was trying to avoid having to figure out a way to articulate that fraction).  if you make a single recipe, you are going to roll it out and realize that it is not big enough to fill the pie pan.  there is nothing you can do to fix this problem once you have it, so avoid falling into this trap by making more than enough dough.  now, why don’t pie crust recipes account for this and make a single serving of pie crust the quantity of a one-point-five-times recipe?  no one knows for sure.  i think that it is because the authors of pie crust recipes want you to fail so you get frustrated and vow to only use store-bought pie crusts in the future (because the authors of pie crust recipes have ties to the store-bought pie crust conglomerate). 

in any case, the recipe you are using may tell you to use both butter and vegetable shortening in your pie crust.  you can use butter in place of the shortening. i usually do this, because i have no idea what vegetable shortening is, and instead of educating myself so i feel more comfortable using it, i just use more butter.  plus butter is cheaper and doesn’t have the word “vegetable” in it, which is not a word i love to associate with pie crust.

you’ll probably be asked to mix together some flour, sugar, and salt, then add the tablespoons of butter (and “vegetable shortening”).  it will stay to mix it until the dough forms together and resembles crumbles the size of large peas. you will think to yourself that this will never happen, because the butter (and “vegetable shortening”) is so hard and the dry ingredients are so much like sand.  you will also think that you don’t have much of point of reference for what a large pea looks like.  this is the part of the recipe where you will surprise yourself: the dough will form together, and you will accurately identify the point at which the clumps resemble the size of large peas! you just will. 

the recipe will the probably to tell you to add a few tablespoons of ice cold water to make the large peas form together into one big dough ball.  you will think that there is no possible way that a few tablespoons of water could unite so many large pea-shaped clumps into one dough ball, but it will.  you will also ask yourself why the water has to be ice cold, but this is a waste of energy because no one in the history of world has ever or will ever know the answer to this question.

after you add the tiniest possible amount of ice water and the large pea clumps form a large dough ball in the bowl, you’ll take it out, wrap it in some parchment paper, and chill the it so that it is easier to roll.  the recipe will probably tell you to chill the dough for at least an hour.  you’ll want to do it for a little less than an hour, because an hour is an annoying amount of time to wait.  you really should wait at least an hour, but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t wait the full amount of time, because no one in the history of the world has ever or will ever wait a whole hour for the dough to chill.  when about thirty-eight minutes has elapsed and you decide that you can’t take it anymore, you’ll take the dough out and place it on a flat surface that is dusted with flour.  it is as this point that you will start to roll out the dough and think that you should have waited the whole hour because the dough will be a little too sticky to work with.  you’ll tell yourself that, next time, you’ll wait the whole hour.  but next time you won’t.  you’ll probably put a little extra flour on the dough to make it less sticky.  this is something of band-aid solution—it will make the dough less sticky in the present but will affect the consistency a bit once it is baked.  luckily, you are making a homemade pie crust where as everyone else in the world buys them from the store.  this means that, even though the consistency of your crust will be a little off, no one will say anything because they will be so impressed that you made it at all.

on the note of people: after you roll out the pie dough so that it is about an eighth of an inch thick (which, again, you will think you’ll have an impossible time estimating), and you pick it up off the flat work surface and place it into the pie tin (which is the most terrifying and exciting thing that a human has ever done), and you cut away the excess pie crust that is hanging off the edge of the pie tin (which you will be happy that you have because you made a one-point-five-times recipe), you get to fold the edges of the crust so that they make those pretty little wave things that all the pictures of pie crusts on google image have.  this is the most fun part of the process.  it is fun because you will naturally be able to make these waves with your fingers.  you’ll think to yourself that you wont be able to make them look exactly like they do on google image because you’ve never done it before, but your fingers will naturally know how to do it. it really isn’t difficult.  it is also the most fun part of the process because, more than anything else, those little waves things are the things that people are most impressed by when you display your pie crust.  if you are making a pie crust, you are probably doing it in the service of some group of people.  and if you are doing it in the service of some group of people, you are going to want positive affirmation.  (the need for positive affirmation from groups of people is a human thing, not a pie crust thing).  these little wave things are your key to positive affirmation! 

if you screw up the little waves things, don’t worry.  people will still be impressed by your pie crust.  but, without a doubt, they will be less impressed than if you didn’t screw up the little wave things.  however, if it is your first time making a pie crust and you screw up the little wave things, you’ll have no point of reference for how impressed the group of people would have been if you didn’t screw them up, so it shouldn’t be too upsetting.  and anyway, as i’ve mentioned, it’s really pretty natural and easy, so i doubt you’ll mess it up.  and, as i’ve also mentioned, you are already winning because you didn’t buy your crust from a store.

after you’ve rolled out the dough and placed it in the pie tin and cut off the excess dough and made the little wave things along the edge with your fingers, it’s time to pre-bake the crust.  this step will seem like a total wild card, but you’ll learn when you bake your own pie crust that you have to bake it a little bit on it’s own before you bake it as the whole pie.  (that is a pie crust thing).  the recipe will probably tell you to place tin foil over the unbaked crust, and then put pie weights on the tin foil before you put it in the oven so the dough doesn’t bubble and stays flat while it is baking.  no one in the history of the world has ever or will ever own pie weights. (they are too unifunctional).  you can pretty much use whatever you want to stand in for them, as long as whatever it is a) heavy, b) can fit in the pie crust, and c) okay to put in a four hundred degree oven.  you’ll find that the number of things that fit all three of these criteria is surprisingly small.  i like to use uncooked sushi rice, because we always have a lot of it in my apartment for some reason, and i know that no one will miss it when it’s gone.

you bake the crust in the oven along with the tin foil and small, heavy, heat proof thing.  after about fifteen minutes, you take the pie crust out, remove the tin foil, and are ready to learn the most important and most difficult lesson that baking your own pie crust has to offer: the pie crust will look significantly worse coming out of the oven than it did going in.  before it is baked, it will be even and smooth with perfect little waved edges and no abnormal coloring.  when you take it will have sunk in some places, there will be bubbles, parts of it will be darker than other parts, some or all of the little wave things will have come unwaved.  it is an inevitable part of pie crust-baking—who knows what that pie crust is doing in the oven by itself.  alone in your kitchen, you witness the perfection of what the pie crust was and could have been, but once it has baked into the thing it will be when you present it to your group of people, it will be okay-looking at best. 

you will blame yourself—you’ll think if only you made a double recipe instead of a one-point-five-times recipe, or weren’t too creeped out to use vegetable shortening, or made the large pea-shaped clumps larger and more pea-shaped, or let the crust chill for the full hour, or was better at estimating one eighth of an inch thick, or watched at least on online tutorial about how to make little wave things, or bought real pie weights, or any number of things that the pie crust would have come out of the oven looking as beautiful as it did going in.  and you’re right—any combination of those factors are why your pie crust does not look as perfect as you want it to look.  what’s worse, you are the only one to blame.  you made the crust from scratch by yourself.  without you, that pie crust would still be flour, sugar, salt, butter, sometimes vegetable shortening, and (for some reason) ice water, set separately on a table.  it is like having a child.  it’s baked now and there is nothing left you can do to change it. now all you can do is watch it as it grows up and starts to drive, drink your alcohol, and have sex with other pie crusts.

But you can’t the let lack of absolute success get you down.  There is work to be done.  You still have the whole rest of the pie to make. 

--


today i tried to skype my roommate who is in california.  but skype wasn't working so we tried facebook video chat.  but facebook video chat wasn't working so we tried google video chat.  but google video chat wasn't working so we tried to facetime.  who knew there were so many ways to do that?


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

going forth

"u r a gem." - the mother of the kids i babysit, to me, via text message



this is an important film: groups of middle-aged white men are vastly under represented in mainstream media!



"total eclipse of the heart"


i am in a bar.
it is tuesday.
it is two thirty in the afternoon.
i am by myself.

outside, it is chilly and raining.  inside, "down under" by men at work is playing.

a year ago today, i was in a country home in connecticuit, baking bread, sitting by a fire place, reminiscing, and celebrating a one-year anniversary with an ex-partner.

today, i am killing time before work because my therapist canceled our twelve o'clock at eleven forty-five.

too far to go home--too cold and wet to be outside.  

"you're love" by the outfield comes on as i a nurse a brooklyn lager before i go serve people brooklyn lagers.

i didn't own the shoes i am wearing today a year ago.  i didn't own the pants, shirt, necklace, bracelet, scarf, or socks i am wearing today a year ago.  

i'm fairly certain that my underwear is more than a year old.

how long do most people hold onto their underwear for?

--


' recognizing that a social pathology exists within a minority group is not the same thing as imagining that the social pathology is natural to a minority group. '


--


living in a city can be so noisey!





with a new old friend

"gender equality is a myth." - beyonce knowles-carter




start 'em young


"today"



i really
really
really
really
really
really 
almost got hit by a car today.

--


for the frequency of which i think about the phrase "new york city", i never think about the original "york city". 



Monday, January 13, 2014

let it be

"in the united states, the meat industry creates more carbon emissions than the automobile industry." - science 




 not ever christmas tree gets sold.


"stop making a big deal out of the little things"



I am at work, and am straddling that line between doing okay and wanting to throw a plate of roasted beets at someone which is always my emotional state after a few hours of waiting tables.  It is a particularly taxing evening, as there are two large parties, each of twenty or so people, sitting in my section.  They have both been at the restaurant for the past two hours “for drinks and apps,” which is hell. 

The drunker the people in the two large parties get, the less they care how full their water glasses are, so I sneak away to check on another table of two who has just sat down in my section.  It is a blonde woman who looks about my mother’s age, and man who looks a decade or so older than her.  Their relationship isn’t easily surmizable, which puts me on edge. 

The woman asks to taste a few different kinds of red wine.  I take this as a personal insult—as if my description of them each as either “full-bodied”, “medium-bodied”, or “not full-bodied” was not specific enough for her to make a choice.  I bring her the samples, she chooses the cabernet, and when I return with a glass I see that her and the older gentleman are barely talking because he almost comatose.  I decide that she must be either his caretaker or his trophy wife.   The diagnosis relaxes me as I start to take their food order.

“So tell me.  The salmon that you have—is it farm-raised or wild?”

I want to tell her that our rivers and oceans are being over-fished, and aquacultures are raping the environment, so if she “cares” enough about anything to be concerned about the way that the animal she is about to eat has landed on her plate, she would be better off not eating it all.

Instead, I tell her it is farm-raised. She seems disappointed.

“Oh okay.  Do you know if it was farm-raised in South America, or in ocean pens?”

I tell her I have no idea.  She asks me to ask the chef.

“He’s not going to lie to you, right?”

I tell her that the main chef is not working, and the man in charge that evening barely speaks any English.  He is going to look at me like I am crazy when I go interrupt his work to ask him this question.  So no, he is not going to lie to me.  And you are not going to get any answer by me running this errand for you, but I will go do it if it will make you feel better.

As I’m walking to the kitchen, I pass by my manager.  I ask him if our farm-raised salmon is farm-raised in South America or in ocean pens.  He looks at me like I’m crazy, which I expected.

“It’s definitely not farm-raised in South America.  Alaska? Maybe Alaska.  Definitely not South America.  I have no idea.”

I know he has no idea.  I know that his guess of “Alaska” was only out of association.  I know despite the fact that he used the word “definitely”, it may be farm-raised in South America.  No one in this restaurant has ever cared about this before.  Armed with nothing, I return to the table of two to share what I have learned.

She laughs when I tell her that we think the salmon is from Alaska, and I laugh with her because I have found that laughing at the same time as someone is a good way to get them to like you.  She finishes laughing.

“There are no salmon farms in Alaska.”

I tell her that Alaska is the largest state in the country, and that maybe there are some salmon farms there that she doesn’t know about.  She doesn’t hear me and begins to order.

“He will have the bratwurst.  I will have the grilled chicken with asparagus.   We’ll share the crab cakes to start.  And an order of grilled salmon to-go—for my dog.”

--

i love luna bars. i hope i don't turn into the moon!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

there are dead christmas trees everywhere!

"i'm going to kill you.  i'm going to kill you.  i'm going to kill you." - a man right outside my apartment, to me, during what was my first human interaction of the day



and are also gay



"how uncomfortable it can feel, to be somewhere unfamiliar"


the winter has chapped my lips,
especially the bottom
which is torn in the middle
and my favorite of the two;
it hurts to smile and eat citrus.

--


' poets are a strange crowd.  when everyone else is happy, the poets can say things that are discouraging.  when everyone else is sorrowful, the poets can laugh and dance.  but when the nation is in danger they must drown themselves and let their deaths be a warning in the name of truth. ' 


--


today, as i was walking to my friend's apartment, i was imagining what memories would flash before my eyes if i were to die in that moment.  i'm not sure that this is a very constructive excercise.



are you my mother?

"misery aquaints a man with strange bedfellows." - william shakespeare, to me, during a conversatin we had at prett about my sex life



boogie board, don't boogie board



"you're no angel either, baby"



i remember spending an unremarkable afternoon with you last january.  maybe we ate or got coffee or went shopping for lube together, but i know we split up at bleeker and bowery.  i was going downtown to work at my restaurant and you were headed to the train to go home.  we said goodbye--we probably kissed because we kissed then--and parted ways.  i went south, you west.

i made it about five blocks to houston street before a wall of anxiety knocked me over and i knew that i needed to see you.  like the feeling i got when i was five-years-old and lost my mom on my first and only trip to walmart.  without realizing or consenting, i had become violently alone in a busy aisle full of foreign objects.

i turned around and ran north up bowery.  i got to bleeker where we had separated and took off west in the direction you were walking when you left me.  i remember that day you were wearing a bright red hat or coat or bag becuase i remember frantically scannig the overcast street for something bright red to identify you by.  

up 
over 
down 
over 
back 
across 
back
down 
over 
up 
down
across.

my eyes only fell upon browns and greys and blacks as i began to slow my pace.  you must have turned on a cross street, or maybe you already made it onto the train.

my heart felt like a balloon full of wet sand.  you had disappeared.  and by this point i was running late for work.  i turned around and started back east on bleeker.  i turned south onto bowery toward my restaurant. the feeling aloneness was still sharp, but i knew it would be dulled when we met up at your apartment that evening.

we did, and it was.  


--


today, a woman at work ordered a vegan hotdog to take home to her puppy.  so i've decided to change careers and am going to pursue becoming a puppy.