What We Do When Doing Nothing

This is redundant to anyone living anywhere in the Northeast but… This weather is turning me into a loon. Let’s see why. I can’t be outside for any more than like 5 minutes at a time. Which means I can either be at home, or inside some sort of public establishment. Public establishments inevitably costs money, which I inevitably don’t have. So I am, a, going stir-fucking crazy; and b, eating fucking constantly. So when it does ever peek up above freezing the first fucking thing I’ll have to do is buy a new bigger wardrobe. Fuck. Ordinarily I wouldn’t swear so much but things are dire here in Neille’s-going-the-fuck-crazy-locked-in-her-apartment land.

I’ve watched seven episodes of the Sopranos from season 2 which I totally liked. My only venture out today may be to go pick up the next seven (or should I wait until rent 1 rent 1 free day?). Unless of course I get called to midtown by an old boss to do some web work, which would be cool. But as the last 2 months are proving, the only sure thing when it comes to work is a warm check in my cold little hands. And maybe before it’s cashed is even speaking a little too soon.

Being shut up at home has led me to discover a headspinning number of new blogs that i’m tempted to start keeping up with regularly. Also I’m supposed to be brainstorming on my winter project and just generally deciding what the hell I’m doing with my life. Luckily my friend from Boston is coming down this weekend with an arm-load of Myers-Briggs Typology tests so some other doof can do the deciding for me. The last time I took that thing in high school I think it told me I should be a librarian and I stormed off in a huff. Also, if this is any indication, I don’t have the stamina to even finish this online test, much less set upon any sort of path for life. So fuck it.


In other news I was riveted by the WB’s High School Reunion last night. Usually I’m relatively immune to the claws of reality shows but for some reason this one got me. Maybe it was because a good friend from high school was visiting me this weekend and we did a lot of gossiping with little actual gossip. Or maybe it was because the show was like 4 hours long with what seemed like no commercials. Or maybe it was because the entire premise of this show is to get as many people to hook up as possible. Or maybe it was that they were all drunk the whole time. Who can say really? The one (perhaps indirect) benefit of reality shows is it does lead to thoughts on human nature, relationships, and possibly the coming apocalypse. So far I’ve learned that no one really changes from high school. Holly, “The Shy Girl”, regardless of her perfect boobs and stint in playboy is still quiet and nervous. “The Nerd”, Ben, is still a big nerd even though he’s a lot bigger (and rumor has it, richer). And all the popular girls are still the popular girls. “The Loner” never talks to anyone and is barely ever on camera, “The Class Clown” is the only person making any funny jokes, and “The Tall Girl” is still awkward and uncomfortable at all times. Is it that no one really changes, or maybe being around all the old high schoolers just sends everyone back into their old roles? Who can say really. What I can say is that there’s no way in hell I’m going to my high school reunion. (Uhh and also that I’ll probably be watching next week.)


Last night was one of those nights where the cell phone shaped hole in my bag was clearly ruining everything. I was supposed to meet Karen at an open bar party for the launching of something called Gum. Is Gum a magazine, a book, a website, a new flavor of Coke? Nobody knows. But Gum had an open bar from 9-11 and that fit my current criteria for leaving the house. I was late, naturally, and the train I took let me off on the opposite side of town from the bar. It was just starting to snow and in some fit of rebellion I was wearing a skirt. It’s just been so cold for so many days in a row and I was tired of wearing one of the same three pairs of pants. I did have boots on, but the rest of my lower regions were no match for the sub-zero winds.

So I finally get to the Chinatown bar to find the sidewalk outside completely mobbed with people. As usual there’s a snotty-acting, clipboard-wielding, full of shit door person lording over his 200 square foot fiefdom. I may have loudly groaned as I gazed upon this mess and offended the sensibilities of the NYU hipsters (Cleveland mall-rats a mere 2 years ago) next to me. Of course Karen is nowhere to be seen. I figure she’s already inside since I’m a good 30 minutes late, and I never actually asked if she was putting my name on the list, or if I was someone’s plus one or what. I trudged over to a pay phone and started my search for quarters and little scraps of paper I call my phone book. This requires me, tragically, to take off my gloves and by the second phone call my fingers have lost all feeling. I leave a message for Karen, I call my other friend who lives in the neighborhood, and I call another friend who’s coming into town via the Chinatown bus to see if I can meet anyone for a warm (and unfree) drink somewhere else. No one’s answering and I have to leave various messages that say very little except that I may be near you and I’m entirely unreachable.

I turn back to the line. Maybe I’ll give it a chance. I glance impatiently at my watch: 10 PM on the nose. I’ll give it 15 or 20 minutes I decide. I’m behind a group of college students for sure. I pull on my headphones to prevent accidental eavesdropping. In the meantime I’ve downloaded a few really interesting songs from Cody ChesnuTT cause I won tickets to his show with Bobby Blue Bland at BAM on Saturday from Flavorpill. Which, as a sidenote, I totally can’t believe cause I’ve never won anything, ever. Not even a raffle. Anyway, I really like a couple of the tracks and am happy to freeze my ass off while listening to him instead of stupid college kid jokes. (I know I’m being judgmental and mean, it’s just one of those nights). After what felt like 20 minutes I took a second glance at my watch: 10:03 PM. There is no way I can wait in this line any longer. Not only cause I’m cold and pissed at being at the mercy of some dude with a clipboard which most likely doesn’t have my name on it anyway. But also because if I ever do get in, I have to spend the evening with this line full of jokers. It’s been a whole 4 minutes and I’ve thrown in the towel.

I’m back at the pay phone deciding what to do with my evening. It’s lightly and prettily snowing and I even have makeup on so I can’t go back to brooklyn without giving something else a try. On my way over to the bar, a bouncer/greeter/some guy outside another bar completely uncharacteristically stopped me and invited me in the the gallery opening that was going on inside. I was a little shocked to see someone trying to get people in, instead of keeping people out. I could do that except it’s not on the way to the closer F train I already know I’m taking home. Instead I make a snap decision to go to Good World which has decent DJs and usually open stools at the bar, and is a few blocks away. I leave more messages saying, “I’m here – come meet me if you get this message in the next hour.” Again, fingers frozen.

In the bar the music’s decent and the bartender is nice. There’s a couple making out next me. I have a moment of terror when I think I see this guy I went out with a couple times this summer. Relief when I realize (or just convince myself) it’s not him. Near the end of my first beer this older lady climbs up next to me and starts talking to me about all sorts of random stuff. First New York rents, then Bessie Smith, then pot vs. hash, then a few conspiracy theories about tobacco companies, then Norweigian democracy, wrapping up at female circumcision, at which point, after contributing maybe a dozen words, I knew I had to leave. It was an abrupt exit but there was no telling where this conversation was gonna go and I just wasn’t ready for anymore.

Highlight of the evening: Walking (half dancing) through freshly fallen snow in Cuyler-Gore Park on the way home.

Bookshelf of Lost Dreams

I’m thinking maybe it’s that times article just linked to about the unusually greyness of this winter in nyc is giving license to my previous blahs to become all out blues. Maybe it’s that I can’t help feeling completely lost at sea in my so-called professional life. Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not that I *want* to work or anything, it’s more that the general purposelessness is hard to muscle through everyday. I narrowly avoided a third existential crisis today by pulling out all the books from my bookshelf that I either never read or never finished, and moved them to the new bookshelf I put up yesterday.

The new bookshelf is right in the front room. It’s one of the first things you see when you walk into the apartment. From a feng shui point of view this is a very important spot. It sets the tone for the all the chi in the apartment. Now I haven’t decided if having to face three shelves of unfinished books is going to be a good impetus for reading all of them (and not running up my credit card at the bookstore), or if I’ll walk in and twice a day be reminded that I’ve been 150 pages away from finishing Gravity’s Rainbow for over four years and the thought of reading one more page is impossible to bear. What do you think: Is it a noble goal to finish all the books you started (or bought on a whim and then put aside indefinitely), or should one just accept that some things just weren’t meant to be?

And why is it that I feel slightly guilty about having books in my shelf that I haven’t finished. Like I’m claiming to have read things I haven’t. Like I’m pretending to be smarter than I really am. Like it’s a big scam to the world. Like the world is making weekly visits my bookshelf anyway.

Right now I’m alternating between A Theory of Semiotics that dear Steve from Seattle, WA sent over and The Black Book which I borrowed from my mom (which I also happened to give her for her birthday last year) and i can’t quite get into. And then I’m playing with the idea of taking a stab at something on the Bookshelf of Lost Dreams. In the spirit of inter-activity let’s let you the readers decide. Following is a partial list of the contents of my unfinished books bookshelf. Vote early. Vote often.

Clear Winter Days

Ok fuck it all. Why haven’t I been writing a single scrap of a thing more interesting than truck tires? It’s this rule I made awhile back to avoid two subjects: work and specific people. I avoid work for all the obvious reasons. Rephrasing, the obvious one reason: getting fired. And even barring the old drying up and withering away of paychecks, explaining to confused coworkers why I’m a weirdo that likes to write about what i snacked on at the last party has grown too tedious.

The specific people reason is also easy. It’s that pretty much that no one’s happy with what you say about them. Even if you think it’s the nicest thing. And lately, I’m sitting here (and there, and there, and way over there) thinking about the new boy. That’s right, The New Boy. There’s this new boy that’s got all of me all giddy and nervous and sometimes wanting to pick a fight. And I’d like to write a long sappy funny post about the new boy. Though to be fair, he isn’t exactly new. In fact he’s the oldest boy in my repertoire. Well, oldest is misleading because he’s only a month and 7 days older than me. And that part’s misleading because he’s by no means the oldest boy I’ve ever had shaking my cocktails. But he was The First Boy a long long time ago. And it wasn’t that long ago, but it sure feels that way.

And so even with that set up I can’t think of what I ought to say about the whole thing thing. But don’t get discouraged, I can’t think of what to say to myself about it either. I never thought that it would get far enough to be considered as as a subject of blog postings. Something will materialize.

Setting that aside, today I had a few appointments in Manhattan and it was one of those days when the light just kills you: when the cold and the clouds and the intruding sun conspire to remind you why the undeserving city holds your heart in its dirty hands.

I got of the train at Union Square and started walking uptown on Broadway which was cloudy but for a brilliant light illuminating the Empire State Building. And then I looked downtown and could feel the ugly imposing world trade center missing. So the block just stretched endlessly. Which always reminds me of something I read a long ago. Something about Sartre ruminating on the grid of NYC. He said the grid was perfect for the attitude of Americans where you could look up and down 7th avenue and never see the end, where the possibilities were limitless. Unlike the narrow, winding, and dead-end streets of Europe. Now I’m second guessing if it was Sartre who said that or someone else… but either way on clear days when the avenues stretch endlessly I always think of that, even though to be honest I don’t really buy it.

Six Hours Later

From the flight to LA:

Another month, another window seat on American Airlines. Few are as loyal to their frequent flyer programs as me. Not that I have the cojones to finally spend a few of them instead of squirrelling them away like nylons in World War II. But that’s another topic all together. So now I’m on a flight from Newark to LAX. I never leave out of Newark so excitement abounds already. The ticket was a hundred dollars cheaper than the same flight out of JFK. Newark itself has been kind of entertaining so far. It’s December 24th so along with the ticket being cheaper, the airport was quiet yet festive at the same time.

Wandering the terminals was an elderly man in a red and white vertically striped suit playing Christmas music on a tricked out banjo of some sort. What made the spectacle interesting, apart from the suit, the banjo, and the old man, was that the man appeared to be an employee of the airport so he was neatly groomed and not asking anyone for any money. Though that doesn’t sound odd, it actually is. Think about it, smiling live entertainment ambling through the airport corridors just for the heck of it. It’s even a little disconcerting at first. Maybe it’s like an art party expanding to the masses. After my initial confusion I liked it. I ran into him, or more accurately his audible space, several times. Once in the Food Court; in the Borders mini-store; loitering around the J Lo magazines in RELAY. His instrument, song selections, and possibly even vocals could use improvement but otherwise I’m all for meandering airport entertainment.

The other noteworthy even is that there are two clearly straight male flight attendants that are shamelessly flirting with at least half the women on this airplane, myself included. I’m finding it really really amusing. I keep having to stifle giggles into my sweater. They both especially seem to be after this one woman sitting right in front of me. Since I ran out of batteries for my Rio within the first hour, finished both crosswords in American Way magazine, packed a magazine I had already finished by accident, and checked my book in baggage, I need the entertainment.

During the dinner service the cart was loitering in that spot for like a really long time. One of the flirty flight attendants kept making disparaging remarks about the food which was really delighting all the passengers around him. And it really might have been one of the worst airline dinners ever (the worst airline breakfast ever was later provided on the flight back to New York). I wonder if the higher ups knew what he was saying, he’d get in trouble. Clearly all the customers were happy to have someone who was at least honest about how shitty the meal was, even if he couldn’t do anything about it. He later came around with coffee and while handing me a cup declared, “Our world-famous brew” and winked. American’s cofee is especially gross, and I know it all too well. But it gives me a little jolt before landing so i suck it down anyway. It tastes kind of better with a wink though.

I couldn’t tell if either of them ended up getting anywhere with the woman in front of me. I kinda hope so.