Thursday, March 22, 2007

because it can't hurt and maybe they will respond and save me from being a chicken

In the past two issues of The New Yorker, I have come across mistakes in the magazine, or what, at the least, I perceived to be mistakes. I mention this for two reasons: one, to confirm that they are actually mistakes since both are a bit questionable and could actually be the intended word choices, and; two, if they are, in fact, mistakes, I would like to mention that I am in between jobs currently, that my last job was as a copy editor, and that I have always desired to be employed in that same position at The New Yorker.

In last week’s issue, the Style Issue of March 19, within Jonathan Lethem’s story, “Lucky Alan,” there appears this passage on p. 108: “And Zwelish sometimes lets his guard down and complained, obscurely, about ‘modern urban women.’ He’d only gloss the topic, and Blondy didn’t press the sore point. Zwelish seemed to know how vulnerable Zwelish wanted to get.” Now, it could be that that last sentence is correct and as the author intended, but it seems a bit too cloyingly metaphysical in comparison to the rest of the tone of the story, which is, for the most part, more muted in those explorations. It appears that that last sentence should read: “Blondy seemed to know how vulnerable Zwelish wanted to get.” That follows logically from Blondy not pressing the sore point, his knowing how vulnerable Zwelish wanted to get.

In Alec Wilkinson’s “Anything Pink Goes,” a profile of Jimmy Webb, in this week’s issue, Wilkinson, in reference to Webb’s numerous pairs of custom-made Agatha Blois jeans, refers to them as “his signal extravagance,” (p. 45). Again, this very well could be the author’s intended word choice, but the phrase seems clunky, especially as it is so similar to the far more commonly said “single extravagance.” I am not necessarily sure how these jeans constitute the single extravagance of a man who has bleached hair, who wears “stacks of heavy silver bracelets,” and who wears “a silver heart surrounded by thorns” around his neck. However, I am even less sure how the jeans would constitute his signal extravagance, am not even sure what that particular phrase would mean.

Again, I would just like to know for the sake of my own curiosity whether these two perceived mistakes are actually ones, or whether they are the intended meanings of the writers. If it is the former, I again mention that I am currently looking for work and would be an excellent addition to your magazine’s proofreading or copy editing staff. Should you also think so, attached is a copy of my resume.

Charlie Quiroz

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

cluck cluck

Though I don't have a scanner and the picture is a bit blurry from trying to take a picture of it, this image, blurry as it is, still I think is enough to convey what it is my new job is. They have cut back my hours in half there since they axed the bunny and now I have to share my original hours with the person who was to be the bunny. The job is less fun in many ways than I thought it would be and fun in ways I had not predicted. I didn't know that the outfit would be so encompassing. I somehow imagined that in a cute chicken outfit I would somehow meet the love of my life at this store. It does not appear that that is to happen. Also the novelty of wearing this outfit wears off in two minutes, as soon as the hotness of the thing begins to become unbearable. There is a fan in the head, but that fan does nothing to mitigate the heat exhaustion when the sun is shining through the window that I am sitting in and kid after kid hops into my lap. I have also held dogs in my lap, teenage girls, and have given tight hugs to cute homosexuals. I smiled in this outfit ear to ear all day long even though no one could see this smiling. I couldn't help it. Some of these kids are so cute and that is the thing I forgot, how amazing children can be. But man, the head is also heavy and my neck hurts something awful right now. I am not sure if I am going to be able to stick this job out for the full six weeks. If it is still as painful after a couple more days, I will probably tell the temp agency I need a full-time job. I could say more and surely will but right now my neck hurts too much for this.

Monday, March 19, 2007

my neighborhood changing

Grand and Keap, NE corner:

August 7, 2006

October 9, 2006

March 19, 2007

Grand and Keap, SW corner:

August 7, 2006

October 9, 2006

March 19, 2007

Keap and Hope, SE corner:

August 7, 2006

October 9, 2006

March 19, 2007

463 Grand Street:

August 7, 2006

October 9, 2006

March 19, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Last night, I fell in love with this man:

He sang a song about fucking chickens that was amazing. He has a boyfriend. There has been hail and freezing rain all day long.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

There is good news to offset the bad news, seemingly proof that things will always somehow work out for me, that, since having quit my job, money and work opportunities somehow appear when I need them to. First the bad news: I did not get that editorial assistant position that I really wanted. I got a letter in the mail from them today, and even before opening it I knew, it having the same glow of rejection that letters from some colleges used to have. I knew they would have called me if I had gotten the job and so it was not terribly shocking to open it up and confirm my suspicisons that I did not get the job.

The good news: I have a job for the next six weeks, getting paid 18 dollars an hour(!) to be dressed as a Peep-like chick for the Easter season at M*rc J*cobs. Uh, yeah. It sounds totally bonkers and I am so excited like you would not (or, if you knew me well, probably would) believe. I start on Monday.

rejoice o young man in thy youth

Yesterday, I walked past the 92nd Street Y and outside engraved on the building is the phrase, "Rejoice O Young Man In Thy Youth." The phrase struck me as too appropriate, too perfect, for my life as of late, that perhaps I might even be doing a little too much rejoicing in my youth. But to do so, to rejoice in this thing and be alive and with peers and out and about amongst people is such a thrilling thing, so thrilling that any alternatives seem boring in comparison. I got stoned in the morning and went up to the Bronx Zoo with Brian and Gabriel. There were amazing animals there and the effect of the warm weather upon my mood was amazing, and fantasies about what a summer might hold were never too far beneath the surface of my thoughts. Then because the idea of coming home, of domesticity and its perceived tedium (perceived when fun and social activity is wanted), seemed terrible, we went to this bizarre fashion show of people wearing chef jackets. There was free champagne and cheese, and the free booze only intensified my desire for fun, as well as that of Gabriel's, and after the fashion show, we wandered around Chelsea, looking for someone to invite us up to their apartment for drinks. We found one such guy. He lived on the 34th floor of this building. The three of us split two bottles of wine, listened to bad music, and talked about sex, which led to a desire for it on the part of our host. Because I wouldn't have sex with just him alone, because I wanted a threesome, we were politely kicked out. Then Mr. Black's and the Cock. There were boys there, some of whom I really wanted to sleep with, some of whom I have slept with. And the night ended with a strawberry-banana drink. And I am so happy with my body and its physical presence in this often thrilling world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"this desire had been satisfied"

Chapter 10 of Section 2 ends with Anna Karenina's husband recognizing in the tone of Anna's voice that she is lost to him, that her attention is elsewhere, that it is with Vronsky, and he can tell by the falseness in her voice in trying to ask her about the subject. There are two lines of ellipses following this chapter, two very pregnant lines of ellipses that hint at so many things, namely the consummation of Anna's affair, which happens wordless in those lines of dots, and then Chapter 11 picks up in that post-coital moment between Anna and her affair, Vronsky, concluding the first sentence of that chapter with: "this desire had been satisfied."

Those two lines, those lines of dots, two short lines in an 800 page book, struck me as so terribly beautiful, so fraught with meaning upon meaning. Obviously, there are the perhaps either tactful reasons or the ones of bowing to censorship standards that could be the reasons for the dots. But were that the case, the dots wouldn't even be necessary; there simply could be the break from one chapter to the next. The dots though explicitly call attention to the absence of something there, and it could be an artful way of calling attention to the lack of sexual depictions, or the dots could also represent the silence between the two, Anna and husband, the distance being created by Anna's refusal to be sincere with her husband.

Whichever the case, probably the both of them (and many other things actually), the dots are strikingly dramatic for a man, Tolstoy, who seems like he was never short for words to say. The dots, perhaps a white flag to the literary gods that not everything can be captured in words, that some experiences, the romantic and sexual ones in particular, those feelings of ecstasy, are always just a bit beyond the grasp of the person trying to put the thing into words, that perhaps not everything should be transcribed, that there is something not only tactful about not doing so, but that also by not talking about certain experiences the experience and the thing itself isn't diluted or sidelined by a failing attempt (and it is always a failing attempt) to recapture the thing, to put something beyond words into them - thus, these two lines of dots.

Knowing this, admitting this thing, you might think that in this instance, I should or would do the same and not try to tell about this experience I had yesterday, but instead just put two lines of ellipses down here and leave it to your imagination. But I am not that person and I have never been. I have always gotten too much pleasure from trying to record the thing, to try to get at the things that this life offers me, its pleasures and slights, and to not only try to come to a fuller understanding of the sources of these emotions, tracing them back, but tracing them from one to the next also, looking for patterns and the lack of them, those instances of beauty in what I might otherwise consider non-instances of the thing, to look a second time, to look closer, and realize things I might not have seen the first time I watched the movie.

But get to the point, you are saying (or at least I am, as I do have to go an interview in a short period of time), get to the thing you are building up toward and spare us these justifications and these attempts to try to place your tawdry life into a more meaningful framework. And okay, I say, okay, okay, I won't dispute that line of reasoning, and will instead just get to it, will say that yesterday in the afternoon, I went over to a boy's house in Greenpoint and finally, finally got fucked in the ass. There are your two lines of dots.

This was another Internet sex date, this one with another attractive peer of mine. I rode the G up to his house, listening to Prince and feeling amazing. The plan was not to have my cherry popped; there was no discussed plan. I got to his house and he was all smiles, this really cute toothy smile, and there was the briefest of hellos before making out. We exchanged blowjobs and made out a lot in his bed and he asked me if he could fuck me, and because it needed to happen at some point and there would seem to be few better times than with a really attractive stranger with Peter Bjorn & John being played on his stereo and with the sun of a beautiful day shining through his open window on to his bed, it did.

And there was a brief second of nervousness and of thinking that I couldn’t do it as he was entering me, but I squashed that fear and looked at his body over me and smiled. Obviously there is a reason that so many people like to get fucked, and now I understand it. Such a feeling, I am not sure I have ever known, and, man, what a feeling. And that is the thing I would want to get at, those particular senses I experienced, the insane pleasure that was vibrating through me and locate where exactly those points of pleasure were, and what it was that was being evoked, how it felt, to try to copy it here, but it can’t be done. I could do better to recall it in my bed now, will do so before I go to this interview, and will write the whole thing better then, will write it wordless with my hands on my own body, recalling the thing outside this thing, these parameters of language.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Jack Ruby

Yesterday, cleaning my room, I picked up all the old and new clothes all over my floor, quite a few obtained this weekend, either folding them and putting them away or putting them on a hanger and doing the same. During this process, as the floor started to slowly show itself with each item of clothing put away, underneath this mess appeared two pairs of gloves. While it is hardly warm yet, being early spring weather or perhaps late winter weather, somewhere between the two and still a bit chilly, the need for these gloves is over, or so I am hoping. And I am hoping that by deciding this, by deciding to pack them away in the back of my closet with other items of clothing I never wear, a fiat declared by packing away these relics of winter, that winter is over.

I am not quite sure what it is I am doing with myself these days, or I am and am not sure how this can sustain itself, what it is that lies around the curve of going out and partying every night, am not necessarily sure how April's rent is going to pay itself. Things are not dire but they do need to be resolved. I have a couple of paychecks coming later this week from those two jobs, both of which seem to be out of work for me for at least a bit of time. And so I have an interview at a temp agency tomorrow, a temp agency that was referred to me by this man I had really hot sex with off of Manhunt a week or so ago.

What I am really hoping for though is to get this editorial assistant position I interviewed for last week. They are interviewing people this week and there will be a second round of interviews soon and hopefully I will not only make it to that round, but win that round and get this job. This job would change my life in many ways and I am not sure I am ready for that, for resembling something closer to an adult, but I am really excited by certain aspects of it, namely the chance to work for a giant publishing group that owns the publisher I would really like to work for, and which would be fairly easy to do once I was employed by this group, or so I have heard.

I would have to reign in my drinking habits a lot and no longer go out every single night of the week. Last night, I played Trivial Pursuit and when asked who it was that shot Lee Harvey Oswald, a duh question that I knew the answer to behind the fog of a burnt out brain from drinking, I couldn't get it. Despite slapping my head, trying to revive all those things I have been sedating, numbing, the answer wouldn't come.

There also wouldn't be embarrassingly bad sex caused by me being really drunk and basically passing out after bringing this nice boy back to my house. Or there might be that, since that was the weekend, and it would be my weeknight partying habits that would have to be curtailed. Also this weekend, I won a pretty penis contest and some cash, ate a piece of strawberry shortcake that was the yummiest dessert I have had in recent memory, and danced to several songs, though the one that made me the most happy was Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know," a song that makes me totally lose my mind just about every time I hear it.

I haven't touched Tolstoy in so long, probably a week or so, have become too preoccupied with other things, these attempts, fun and magical, to touch other things, living people, not dead Russians, though I did touch a fat, middle-aged Russian in these attempts on a weeknight (in addition to a dear friend), but that probably meant more to me still than the several chapters of Tolstoy I would have read that night. Tolstoy, and really all these people on pages, these writers of words and lovely sentences, are able to touch something amazing in me and that ability continually confounds me, sometimes shocks me, usually thrills me, and yet there are so many other types of touching and I have become into those more so lately, love the pursuit of those, love flirting with other human beings, having their gaze and attention directed my way, wondering how I can translate that into the thing I want, or even wondering if this, the hint and the wafted potential of the thing, might be the actual desired thing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The plan, as loose as it was, was to work this week at The Wall Street Transcript, to apply at this temp agency that this hot man I slept with off Manhunt told me about, and to hopefully work a temp job next week and for the next several ones, saving money to hopefully go to London in late May for a trip. I had given up on applying to actual jobs, stuff labeled as careers, because I had been hoping to take a trip in a couple months and thought it would be silly to start a job I potentially cared about and then have to try to get time off right away. All boring stuff to you, I am sure, but the long and short of it is that as soon as I totally embrace this decision, telling my mom about it this afternoon, then that would be when, only an hour or so later, I would get a call for an interview tomorrow afternoon to be an editorial assistant at W.H. Freeman, working on economics textbooks.

It is what I want to be doing, just not where I want to be, but I would love to get this job, would love to have a salary and health benefits and paid vacations. My dream job has for the past couple of years been to be doing the same thing at FSG, both of which are subsidiaries of the same publisher. I have sent a couple of resumes to FSG over the past couple years, never to hear anything from them.

This phone call has thrown plans into question, made me question them, and I don't know what it is I should be doing, even what it is I want to be doing. And so I listened to Bowie at the Beeb, an album I haven't heard in years and which I love so much still, still am hit in the right spots by these live recordings in a way that studio recordings are never able to come close to. I listened to that and cleaned my room and picked out an outfit appropriate to wear to an interview, an interview which I don't even know the address of because the woman told me she was going to email it to me, and, whoops, never did so. I also bought a Mega Millions ticket tonight and there were these thoughts of $380 million thrown into the mix of already unshapely thoughts, making the questions of perhaps greater scale, asking about my life as is, what a dream life would/should be, and what it is, that constant question, that I want to be doing with myself, and whether I have both the talent and the will to be capable of doing so.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

one singular sensation

Anna Arkadyevna read and understood, but it was unpleasant for her to read, that is, to follow the reflection of other people’s lives. She wanted too much to live herself. When she read about the heroine of the novel taking care of a sick man, she wanted to walk with inaudible steps round the sick man’s room; when she read about a Member of Parliament making a speech, she wanted to make that speech; when she read about how Lady Mary rode to hounds, teasing her sister-in-law and surprising everyone with her courage, she wanted to do it herself. But there was nothing to do, and so, fingering the smooth knife with her small hands, she forced herself to read. (100)

I read this passage early yesterday in Anna Karenina while lying out in the sunshine on my roof, thinking similar things to the sentiments of this character, thinking that, yes, this is why I am moving a bit slowly through this book, why I don’t read as much as I should be doing so, and why I write even less so, why, in fact, it is that I fall far short in some ways of the expectations I have for myself, and why in other ways I am so incredibly happy. It is because the idea of reading, of immersing myself in the story of this and that person, seems like such a less thrilling option than the alternatives that have been presenting themselves to me this past week, that being the company of a close friend seeking out the company of others, of being out on these city streets and going from place to place, finding half smoked cigarettes on the ground and smoking them, drinking coffee or energy drinks or consuming diet pills, and then finding things, hopefully free things, to drink, and then when the stars are really aligning, good music will be playing and dancing will be happening, and I will see cute boys that I want to make out with and I will try to do so, nine times out of ten failing to do so, but that pursuit and living, even if just for brief moments, with the potential of these things within reach, things both unimaginable and imaginable, is enough to counter that low probability and the inevitable disappointment at the end of the night when I am opening the door to my apartment alone.

Not that I was living a monastic life before quitting my job, but this past month has been a nonstop vacation, of pursuing fun in every possible corner, every possible night. I have been working so incredibly little, working so incredibly little in every sense of the phrase, meaning both with respect to the type of work that leads to monetary gain and the type that leads to other types, a deeper sense of self-satisfaction perhaps. This week though, I am going to get back into the habit of vaguely resembling a life centered around normal office hours as I will be working at the copyediting job this week while my old boss is out of town. And the following week will hopefully involve me working temp jobs, even the shitty ones offered to me before, as I intend to save up money to take a trip in a couple of months.

Yesterday, for a brief few hours in the morning and early afternoon, the weather was sunny and approaching sixty degrees, this before it got cloudy and the temperature dropped in the mid-afternoon, and I made it my goal to get out there in that sunshine and take it in. Lying on my rooftop, I did so, and with a joy mirroring that joy of being in the company of cute boys and there being that imagined potential bliss, the knowledge that it could possibly be around the corner with the right words, was how I felt in that sun, so thrilled about the sunshine of spring and the warmth that is so close, approaching. And, today, it is cloudy again, chilly again, but there is the knowledge of things to come that makes this joy persistent. There is that knowledge of the cyclical nature of seasons. There is that and so many other things.