Friday, March 21, 2014

Missy Elliot - "They Don't Wanna Fuck Wit Me"

I walk down streets littered with memories and associations. The litter blows around the streets. Swirls of memories here and there. I tread through these, newspapers blowing against my face, events from years ago on the front page: Charlie Eats Falafel at Manna After a Sad Night at Metropolitan. There are so many layers of history for me on Grand Street and I peel through them all when walking alone down the street, up the street, headphones on. I get chills, particular moments happening again with just as much force as the first time round, and yet there being the knowledge that those moments are past, gone, things that for whatever reasons you will not experience ever again, save in the form of these pickings at the scabs of nostalgia on lonely walks. Life marches on, short thing that it is. I try to reconcile the desire to hold on as much as possible to these things with the reality of time's forward march. We are going to die. I am. This is the issue we aren't addressing when we scratch at the surface of nostalgia and recall fondly past moments, but this is what we are thinking about by doing so. This is what informs that melancholy in recalling past moments. We are mourning our own future death in these recollections.

The very first apartment I rented in New York was a sublet on Grand and Manhattan. I was there for a month or so, before heading off to another sublet, before finally settling into 424 Grand Street for four years. Those years, I was really broke and I would steal all the time from the Key Food on Grand Street, would buy a few bananas for the pocket change I found around my house while I had my messenger bag stuffed with stolen groceries. Too many nights have been spent walking to Metropolitan from various apartments over these past eleven years, the walk down Grand Street to or from Metropolitan with numerous boys, maybe with a couple of men at some points. There is a restaurant I went to with Jacob. I inhabit all these moments again as I head to Gem True Value in search of a stove-top coffee maker. They apparently no longer carry this item, something I have bought at least twice from this store over the last decade. Their shelves were looking poorly stocked. I can't imagine that Gem's life is going to last much longer and more and more this world I knew eleven years ago disappears.

The Liberty on Grand Street, another massive retail space that I bought super discounted housewares at over the past eleven years in New York, shower curtains every couple months to replace moldy ones, dishwashing soap, mops, stovetop coffee makers - this Liberty is now gone, covered by scaffolding. Some massive and ugly condo complex surely will end up there because this is the march of some idea of economic progress. It's a city tight for space so something is going to get squeezed - the discount homewares stores for instance, along with the population they serve, a population that is being decimated with an unrelenting brutality and speed by the market forces of New York real estate, by rents that become more and more outrageous for anyone not making astronomical incomes.

Yesterday evening, I realized that the Daniela's diner, small, divey thing that I had been to quite a few times, especially in my first few years of New York, was gone. I once had a really awkward first date there over pancakes. I couldn't even place which storefront, which juice bar, was now occupying its former space. Time marches on. Storefronts change and change. Bars close. Some places, thank God, are still there. There is still Gran Morelos on the corner of Graham and Grand, caked in layers and layers of memories, many drunken after-hours spent there sopping up alcohol with their amazing carne enchilada burritos, some of the best, perhaps the best, in the city of New York.

I am so happy in my new apartment. It's a really beautiful and large apartment. It is on the gorgeous street, the gorgeous time capsule of small old houses, that is Powers Street. It is contiguous with these sites of my memories. I am overlapping with moments from these past years in New York each time I walk here or there. I feel at home. I feel alive.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bob Dylan - "Desolation Row"

I could hear them last night as I tried to fall asleep, a symphony of angry roaches mourning their friend I had killed earlier in the evening.

I had been enjoying a burrito from Mesa Azteca, lamenting the approaching end to our relationship, knowing that in a week I would be outside of this particular Mexican restaurant's delivery zone. There will be a new favorite burrito delivery service certainly. There is always a new love eventually. You forget what you had with that past boyfriend. You have someone new to snuggle with at night. Or you don't, and you cling to memories of how good those burritos used to be. Knowing that there are plenty of good burrito places near my new apartment didn't make the end to this relationship any less sentimental. I looked out my window admiring the view that I would soon no longer see, tried to hold on to it, these Bushwick brick houses, the roofs of which form clean lines running toward horizons, toward far off street corners, the blocks long in this neighborhood.

That's when I saw it out of the corner of my eye, a massive roach, the kind you find in Florida, some holdover from the Jurassic era. The little ones are bad enough, but these big ones produce a terror and disgust beyond reason. I grabbed the roach spray and knocked it the floor in a stream of poisonous chemicals. Cheering on death, chanting it into being, into not-being: die, die, die.

The constant battle against roaches is something I will not miss about this apartment. The roach lying on its back, squealing in pain as it died, quickly brought to an end the mourning I had been doing about what I would leave behind when I left this apartment. I don't think I have ever heard a roach make noise before - that's how big this creature was. It made some audible high-pitched noises as it convulsed. 

And because I had had too much coffee in the evening, I lay awake, weed not putting me to sleep, Benadryl not putting me to sleep, jerking off not putting me to sleep. I heard the sound of crickets or some light squeaking noise coming from somewhere. My mind soon made this sound out to be a chorus of roaches haunting me, squealing around the edge of my bed. 

I woke up this morning to quiet. I walked to the subway. Everything was beautiful, is beautiful.

Friday, March 7, 2014

"I don't know my future after this weekend. And I don't want to."

It's remarkable how much more beauty there is in the world when things are going your way. I was walking down York Street to class a couple nights ago as I do several times a week and noticed for the first time, really noticed, how insanely beautiful the windows were of this old industrial building. I was made giddy by the beauty. Joy was building on joy, scaling higher and higher.

I found out I got this internship this summer that I really wanted. I will be doing copywriting for this awesome ad agency. For months, I have been waiting to hear about this, hoping I would get it. A couple days ago, I received word, an email, saying that I had gotten it. This means that finally after about five years of working in the hotel industry, something that was never planned and was never meant to be a career, there is an end date in sight. Most likely, I will no longer be working in a hotel by June, which makes me so incredibly happy. 

My plan is not definite and nothing is guaranteed. There are a lot of question marks and that feels really good. It has been quite a while since I haven't known what I would be doing in a couple months. I like this uncertainty. There is a thrill to it that I haven't felt in years. I am going to quit this job and work a barely paid internship, living off whatever savings I can accrue in the next couple months, as well as my mom's kindness, who has offered to loan me money if I need it. There is the lack of any job after this internship, of having given up this nice hotel job that works so well with my school schedule. The plan, if something so based on hope can be called a plan, is that I will do this internship this summer, be insanely amazing, and find a job straight from there so that I don't have to go back to school and so that I don't have to ask my job if they might re-hire me. 

I am jumping and it feels great.

The other great news I received this week is that I got the apartment that I really wanted. Diego and I signed the lease today.

Everything in New York looks so fucking beautiful right now is what I am trying to say.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


A couple months ago, my landlord told me he wanted me to move out of the building by April because he wanted to try to sell the building and it would be easier to do so without tenants in it.

Today, I got a voicemail from him:

"Please call me back. I have an apartment for you. Nice apartment for you. On the first floor. Almost the same money. Please call me back. 516-XXX-XXXX. Thank you. This is Spiro."

My brain nearly exploded when I listened to that.

I didn't call him back then because I was too furious. Also I had an apartment that I really wanted to see. It's a dream come true, especially after some of the other stuff we have looked at it. It's huge. It has a backyard. It's on a really cute street. It's two blocks from the Grand Street stop. It has closets. It has a seafoam green kitchen. I paid a deposit on it, but the landlord still has to approve our application.

I didn't yell at my landlord when I called him back, didn't even ask what the hell is going on, just told him I was moving in with a friend elsewhere, that I had already found an apartment

Now, I need this to be true.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Gillian Welch - "I Dream a Highway"

I was in the back of a Jeep and I watched his hands grasp the wheel, steer me, guide me. They were nice hands, fingernails trimmed, fingers of a nice long length.

Earlier, I had found myself standing up straighter when I met him, this tall, handsome guy. I was instantly smitten in a way I haven't felt in a while. It was weird.

He was the guy showing us apartments.

Diego and I started our hunt for apartments today, an exercise that has so far made me very depressed about moving and about finding something nice. I called this ad on Craigslist about this two bedroom off the Montrose stop, the stop both of had been hoping to live off of, but which is seeming far and far less likely to happen, that it is seeming very likely that we will be perhaps living somewhere off the J train instead.

Anyways, I am getting distracted here from what I originally started writing about, the realtor that showed us this apartment off the Montrose stop, Jacob. I thought it was weird to be calling a person named Jacob to inquire about an apartment off the Montrose stop, given that I lived with my ex-boyfriend Jacob off the Montrose stop - there seemed to be too much symmetry of some sorts in that.

He's so beautiful. I felt nervous, awkward, not beautiful. I was nursing this never-dying cold that has been roiling at a slow boil for the past week now, making me feel vaguely disgusting 24/7. I was also lugging around a backpack full of stuff from work for ad school that I had been doing earlier in the morning. What I am trying to say is that I was not feeling real cute, not at all.

The apartment he showed us was really cute, or at least I thought so. It was on a vibrant stretch of Graham Avenue by the J train. Diego was not having it though. Nope, he said, I think after maybe ten seconds. The bedrooms were tiny, tiny things and Diego is looking for a huge, huge room to make costumes in. Luckily, our dreamboat realtor, had a car and wanted to show us another place.

I sat in the backseat, cause I again I was not feeling real cute, and watched this guy's hands hold the wheel, listened to him talk about his job, about New York, about apartments, about the winter weather.

He showed us another apartment that Diego didn't like. And then we had an appointment with someone else to be shown another apartment. It was time to part with Jacob. I just wanted him to show us anything, even the apartment he wanted to show us off the Gates J stop. If he was selling it, I was buying it.

He told us he would hang around the neighborhood and grab a bite to eat while his other colleague showed us this apartment we had already made an appointment to see, that he could show us this Gates apartment after, just to text him and let him know. For some reason, exhaustion, sickness, and the admitting to each other that we didn't want to live off the Gates stop, we texted him back and told him we were going to pass on checking out the other apartment.

He texted me a couple times later asking if railroads are totally out of the picture and saying that if he found anything else he would contact us. And I stood on the street, giddy that a realtor was texting me about apartments, imagining that it could potentially mean something more than that, me saying, yes, please, if you hear of anything let us know. Telling him it was nice meeting him. Losing my mind outside the Associated (or as I like to call it Ass O' CIA Ted), I looked at my phone and thought about how I might ever get to be with this person, whether that would ever happen, whether any feeling that this is some charming, friendly likable person might not instead just be a work persona, what he does to close sales, that this person might actually totally hate me.

I want to get over my sickness. I want Jacob to find some apartments that both Diego and I like. I want to lie in bed with Jacob eventually in this new apartment and look at his face and lace my fingers in those I saw steering us around Brooklyn today.