I got my hair cut yesterday at Astor Place after getting off work, thinking I might have a job interview on Monday afternoon and knowing that I probably would have had no time to get it done other than yesterday, the haircut, the trimming up of hairs around my ears in an attempt to make myself seem well-groomed, the type of person you would want to hire to work in your establishment. I was walking up Broadway toward the L train home and feeling really alive in a way I hadn't in a while, that I was on the cusp of change.
I walked past Grace Church, a thing I have done countless times in the many years I have lived in this city. I used to work a block north of it at the Strand bookstore for a couple years and this has been a church that I have always admired, thought was this beautiful old church that had survived time, tall buildings built up all around this church's plot of land. I have always wanted to go inside this church. This has been on my to-do list for years. I have walked past this church innumerable times and each time I have thought how soon I should stop inside to actually look at the inside at the church. A simple thing, a task of a few minutes I have always put off despite my desire to see this church. Yesterday, when I thought how I should soon pop in to look at the church, I realized the laziness and the silliness of my behavior. I walked back to the church, pushed open the very heavy door and finally saw the inside of this church. It has gorgeous high ceilings, lovely stained glass windows, and that heavy weight of incense, shadows, and quiet that have the ability to make you slow down and attempt to show respect with your suddenly renewed sense of decorum. The church is also in serious need of some refurbishment. Most of the painted walls are peeling and uncared for.
I left the church not five minutes later and could not believe that it had taken me so long to look at the inside of this church I used to walk past daily for years. There was that, and then there was also the feeling, even more pronounced, that change was possible, that I held it within my hands, that I could make choices to do things or I could keep talking about how I am going to do them soon. One is walking past a church wondering what the inside looks like. The other is stopping inside to see what the church's interior looks like. I stopped inside Grace Church finally and the decision felt momentous. I was aware that in the narrative version of my life that this was a metaphor. Perhaps conscious of that, constantly trying to construct a narrative for my life, that is why I stopped in on this day, a couple days before the end of the year, bringing about change to coincide with this change in the years.
Once home, I got an email asking me if I could actually come in today instead of Monday for an interview, that she wanted to interview me as soon as possible and to introduce me to a few people. It's another hotel job, working with someone who used to be my boss before. Despite my stated desire to escape the world of hotels, it is at least escaping my current one, the one that I have been at far too long, three years now. I became quite giddy about the thought of change, a thing that has been absent for my life for a couple years now, steady with the same boyfriend, apartment, and job for a couple years, feeling too settled. Throw that rug up into the air and let the furniture resettle. Maybe the room will look nicer. The dust will be cleared at least.
I went with Jacob to MoMA after receiving this email to see Melancholia. I am sure I bored Jacob with my inability to quit talking about these developments, me thinking them through out loud. The movie quieted these thoughts and concerns for its duration. I really dislike Lars von Trier and imagined that I was going to really dislike this movie as well. The first half of the movie was awful to sit through. His misanthropic worldview combined with his tendency toward cruelty and melodrama was really making me itch with anger. Quite a few people started to leave. I wanted to join them. I wondered why it was that I continued to see this director's films when there hasn't been one I have liked, that they always leave me very angry. But then the second half of the movie happened and I was so happy that I had toughed it out. It's actually a very gorgeous film that gets at the terror of death and what it means to exist for a brief short period of time in this massive universe in a way that I don't think I've ever seen another film tackle. The movie wrestles with these terrifying truths about life that used to make cry and give me panic attacks when I thought about them restless in my bed at night as a child. It is a fucking scary, scary thing to contemplate that this is it.
I have learned to stop thinking about it because things like this happen: I am starting to get a panic attack again now. But the second half of this film really is beautiful and terrifying and honest about what life means in a way that art normally shies away from for good reason. I left the theater really in awe of what I had just seen and very surprised that this was a von Trier movie that was so good and delicate. I am not sure the film should work. The structure and concept seem clunky when I think about them in the abstract, but it all comes together in this very poignant and engrossing way.
Grace Church and this film had similar effects, effects that aren't entirely definable - vague feelings of joy and sadness brought about by the mysteries time and the universe present.
My job interview went pretty good today. I am fairly certain I could be hired at this hotel to do front desk/concierge stuff, though what I had hoped for was something sales related or managerial. The hourly pay would be less than what I make now but there would probably be more in tips, there would be more chances than I have now of moving up to another job, and there would be the very great benefit of working somewhere new, seeing new faces, seeing a different part of town every day, and knowing that I am still capable of change. The place is still a construction site and it was cool to be able to walk through it and see these unfinished spaces, to wear a hard hat. I'm supposed to go back next week and talk with the general manager. 2012 is happening in just a little over 24 hours, a new year. I am really going to try my best to actually make it one, to make it new.