[clever title]

i have a question...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Overheard at Work: the Fantasy Edition

So I got a job.

After nearly 4 months of diligently looking and probably 50+ applications, the very first in-person interview I snagged is where I will be working ended up getting hired.

I'll be a manager at a well-known museum in Los Angeles.

And my head is kind of spinning from the reality of the offer. I guess I really live in LA now.

My friend also pointed out this means my blog reports may be very different than they used to be.

For instance,

Colleague A: Do you have the gift baskets ready?
or
Me: No, 19 year old intern, you cannot be late again.
or
Colleague B: Um, that's really pushing the boundary of work-appropriate attire.
or
Colleague C: Mindy Kaling, this is Annie, our new manager.
or
Colleague D: I need the Van Gogh, NOW.
or
Me: Goddamn it, where's the free citrus vodka?
or
Me: Sir, you're going to have to leave. You are too drunk.
or
Me: Beyonce is on her way.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

[clever title] Turns 9

For the New Year, I bought myself Start Where You Are: a Journal of Self-Exploration.

It feels important, in this time of unemployment and hermitage, to be reflective about where I am. I like the idea of not judging my place in life, even though it’s hard for me. I like the idea of taking stock from this day forward, of challenging myself to consider my dreams and ambitions and thoughts of where I want my life to be now and where I want it to go next.

***
Today, my blog is 9.

I don’t write in it as much as I would like.

It’s changed forms a bunch of times since I started.

These days, I have Twitter and Facebook and Instagram to put down my quick “thoughts of the day” or observations about pop culture.

I’m not working right now, so I’m not collecting hilarious quotes from my team or the kids I worked with.

I don’t even write personal essays that often anymore.

But, I’ve been doing this blogging thing since I was a 23 year old college grad, living in Brooklyn.

Now I’m an unemployed 32 year old, living in Los Angeles.

That’s about as far away from where I started as I can get.

So here I start again, from right where I am.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Things About Living Alone

1. When the trash is full, it's full of my trash! So I don't even really mind emptying it.
2. Same with the shower drain catcher.
3. I am exceedingly organized. Everything has its place and everything goes back in its place after being used.
4. My bed is for sleeping. When I was living in Boston, my bed was my office, my dining room, my den, and my bed. Now, I make it every morning and it stays beautifully made like a piece of art until I crawl into it at the end of the day.
5. My dining room is my desk. Partly this is because I don't yet have a desk chair (they are EXPENSIVE) and partly it's because my computer is my TV.
6. Having two nightstands and a queen sized bed makes me feel like an adult.
7. Also a living room rug.
8. And brand new towels.
9. And an entry way table for my keys and grocery bags and laundry money.
10. And a full fruit basket on my dining room table.
11. I listen to music constantly, especially when in the bathroom.
12. Sometimes I inadvertently make myself cry by listening to Disney songs in the shower. But that's OK because I LIVE ALONE.
13. Every unexpected noise is an intruder. Even when it's just the bagels falling off my shelf.
14. When I have a nightmare or am scared in the middle of the night, there are no people around to make me feel safer. (To be clear, this has happened exactly twice in over three months.)
15. I spent legitimately over an hour deciding which soap dispenser to get for my bathroom. It was a serious design decision. (I went with yellow and gray chevrons.)
16. For some reason, my laundry piles up way more since I've been living alone. I did four loads of laundry yesterday. I don't think I've ever done four loads of laundry in my entire life.
17. Decorating for the holidays consisted of hanging icicle lights in my living room and placing a tiny table top tree on my coffee table. And that was perfect.
18. I never thought I would but I have a toilet-seat-cover-down apartment.
19. Also, no shoes in the house.
20. One person makes far less trash, dirt, and dirty dishes than I ever expected.
21. Sometimes a girl just needs an extra phone charger for the living room.
22. I get most of my work done lying on the chaise portion of my couch.
23. Drinking is fun, even when you live alone.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of 2015

MOVIES
Wild
The LEGO Movie
Begin Again
The Theory of Everything
Show 'Em What You're Made Of
Interstellar
Magic Mike XXL
Home
Straight Outta Compton
Sicario
How to Dance in Ohio
The Martian
August: Osage County
The Good Dinosaur
Beginners
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BOOKS
The Longest Date: Life as a Wife by Cindy Chupack
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Paper Towns by John Green
The Friend Who Got Away edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappel
Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons
Sweet and Vicious by Richard Schickler
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
With This Heart by R.S. Grey
Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow
Don't Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche
Sounds Like Me by Sara Bareilles
Dirty by Megan Hart

MUSIC
"Can't Stop Dancing" by Becky G
"Four Five Seconds" by Rihanna
Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson
"Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon
"My Silver Lining" by First Aid Kit
In a World Like This by Backstreet Boys
"The Crying Game" by Nicki Minaj ft. Jessie Ware
"Keep on Lying" by Jessie Ware
Never Gone by Backstreet Boys
"What Do You Mean?" by Justin Bieber
"Sorry" by Justin Bieber
"Acapella" by Karmin
Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording
"Till It's Gone" by Yelawolf
"Stitches" by Shawn Mendes
"Ex's and Oh's" by Elle King
"Hello" by Adele
What's Inside by Sara Bareilles
"Love Yourself" by Justin Bieber

THEATER
Dying While Black and Brown by Zaccho Dance Theatre
Hamilton on Broadway
Waitress at American Repertory Theater

Here's to a happy and healthy 2016!

Thank you, as always, for reading!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

March 29, 2007: "Consolation"

I ask how you are. Remembering that I loved you once. And maybe will again. (Or perhaps it’s that I still do. I can’t tell.)

You pause because there’s bad news. I’m never speechless, but this silences me. A silence as cold and hard and unexpected as a drop of freezing rain down my back. The one that sneaks past the layers of clothes I wear to protect myself.

I think a heartfelt “I’m so sorry” is appropriate here but it comes out like the empty cliché it is. This is a situation in which “I can’t imagine what you’re going through” feels ridiculous, heavy, useless. I don’t think they make sympathy cards for “there’s been an accident and we don’t know if he’ll live.”

I want to fix it. But we haven’t seen each other in months. And it’s never the same, even though somehow and miraculously it is.

I don’t hear from you for days; it feels like forever. I assume, then, that no news must be bad news. And it is.

It isn’t my loss but, because it is yours, it feels like mine. I can’t breathe when you tell me and I don’t expect that. Then, I don’t know what to do. Who to tell, how to say it. What to say to you. I feel far away and wish I could teleport, which I then remember is the super power you said you wish you had. I wanted Inspector Gadget’s mechanical legs. I guess both powers would allow us to get places faster. Maybe the place would be called closer to each other.

I do actually search for a “sympathy” card. (It’s a good thing they don’t make empathy cards because I don’t actually know what you’re experiencing.) I look for 10 minutes for a card that doesn’t make me think of widows in black polyester dresses, blue hair, and casseroles.

The most appropriate one I find is under the category “Thinking of You” because I am.

But that’s nothing new.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Change of Place

I have this theory, since I’ve moved so many times in my life, that the last few weeks in a place you’ve lived and struggled in are like the last few days of camp. When you’re just grateful and excited to spend time with the people you’ve been living with and everything goes perfectly and all you have is fun. It makes it particularly hard to transition out of a life that is suddenly carefree and full of love, even though you’ve decided to make a change because things have been HARD and sometimes even UNTENABLE.

But when work stress let up and suddenly everyone wanted to spend time with me and I said yes to everything and I didn’t have a care in the world besides figuring out how to get all my shit across the country and living out of a suitcase for two weeks, it was really hard to fathom leaving. And just when I was really not sure I actually did want to move, I got my feelings hurt by a boy and was sure again. It was a familiar feeling. A sign, perhaps, that Boston isn’t where my life was meant to be.

I can’t figure out if it’s better to exit a place like taking off a Band-Aid—swift and with a flourish and a short burst of pain—or if it’s better to elongate the torture into a long string of goodbyes. When I moved away from NYC in 2008, I packed in a manner of two days with a friend, S threw me a going away party and I left on a weekend, in a mad dash and with minimal drama but lots of emotional turmoil and questions. NYC had never felt like home even though it’s my hometown and I was moving basically to save my life, after a bout of depression that surprised and scared me and truly coming to terms with the fact that there was nothing for me there.

In contrast, leaving Boston meant saying a week of goodbyes to an entire group of people I had fought to gain and chosen to allow into my adult life. A roommate I had lived with for six of the seven years I was there, a bevy of coworkers I had toiled, bled, sweated, and cried with for five years, young people I had seen almost every day for five years—kids I had met at 7 and worked with until they were 12; teens that I had worked with in 2011 who graduated from college this past spring. Seven years is a long time to live in a place that doesn’t feel like home. I kept reminding myself that I’ve done this before and that part of the hard part of being an adult is that, if you’ve had a life that has taken you a lot of places and you’ve connected well with people in each place, your friends are scattered far and wide.

But one of the most difficult parts of extricating myself from a place is what my friend and I call “having the funeral before the death.” I found myself missing my friends while they were still around, another familiar feeling. Fearing the separation, the unknown of where our friendships would go next. Los Angeles is about as far away from Boston as possible, while staying in the continental United States. Those connections began to feel more and more precious. And saying goodbye sucks. What comes next, friends?

I spent a swift 6 hours packing up my life with my mom, confronting and then disconnecting from the seven years I had settled into that room. The evening I finally emptied out all of the furniture from my room, in anticipation of a new tenant moving in, was one of the most disorienting in the whole process. The final straw, putting my mattress, frame, and box spring on the curb, felt horrible, and I was overwhelmed with sadness and fear. What was I doing? The nagging voice that had been relatively quiet through the entire decision and packing process of my move was suddenly screaming at me. Why are you leaving a solid job and a deep and thriving community of friends? Why are you subjecting yourself to this torture? This anxious, homeless, displaced feeling? You did this to yourself. And through the caterwauling in my head, I heard another, calmer, more resolute voice: remember, you may feel anxious about being homeless now but this is just a step on the road to making a home for yourself.

***

When you decide to leave a place, every detail about it is suddenly heightened. The flat rs of the train conductor's Boston accent resonate just a little differently. You suddenly listen to the sound of wind outside your apartment and think, “Maybe I’ll miss that.”

You notice the color of the sunset and commit it to memory every night. You start counting down: how many more times will I tap my T pass to get on the train? This is the last birthday I will celebrate here. This is the last special event I’ll work and the last time I’ll plan a program season at work. The last time I’ll write a rent check to this landlord.

You notice your name on your mailbox each time you return home and think, “Somebody else’s name will be there soon.”

An unexpected rain shower followed by a rainbow is suddenly significant. You’re looking everywhere for signs that THIS IS THE RIGHT MOVE.

I’ve moved a lot in my life. Brooklyn to Cambria, CA in 1997, Cambria to Berkeley in 2001, Berkeley to New York City in 2005, New York City to San Luis Obispo, CA in 2008, San Luis Obispo to Boston in 2008.

But this move feels different. 

This move is both the most impulsive one I’ve made and the most adult.

Ultimately, I moved to Los Angeles because it was cheaper than trying to find a place to live alone in Boston. I felt unanchored there, frustrated in my work, unhappy living with roommates, ready for whatever the next chapter in my life will be about. And I am lucky and grateful to be able to now be where I have family and friends and also a great place to live. So I spent my last few weeks in Boston fantasizing about the hook I would hang my robe on. The hand soap I would buy just for me to use. My very own toothbrush holder. Hanging my mirror by my front door. Buying a brand new bed and all new bedding!

I was texting with a friend about my plans and I told her, mostly in jest, that it felt like this was a move that could make all of the fantasies about my life come true. She told me that made her cry, and I asked her why. She said I had never said anything like that about Boston. And I told her, well yeah, Boston was about WORK.

This move is about LIFE.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Overheard at Work, vol. CXXIV (the Final Volume)

On Thursday, September 24, I left my work after almost five years. This is the final installment of quotes from that amazing place--a place where a part of me will always live. I can't wait to see what my colleagues and all those wonderful kids do next.

Colleague A: Yo, you ever just loved salad?

8 year old boy, to me: I'm gonna try to play guitar now so I can ignore you.

Same 8 year old boy, as I raised my arm to point at him: Ew! Pits!

Me: Is 2003 the year you were born? I'm so old!
12 year old boy: You are old. You're from like 1874.

2nd grade boy, at his first visit: Nice place ya got here!

15 year old boy, talking about my departure: I don't cry but...I get achey.

12 year old boy: When you leave, can I have your wallet?

14 year old girl, to me: Did you guys party? I have the heart of a 21 year old.

12 year old boy: Why are you leaving? You've been here for like 700 years. How much money do you have?