My physical therapist has a big ol' smile and lots of electrocution equipment. He also has a lot of pictures of skiiers in his office (see picture above.)
As I said before, I pulled a hamstring doing some intense housework last Friday and am now seeing a physical therapist. The first question everyone asks is, "are you an athlete?" and the answer is, "No these things just happen to me."
Who would have known that physical therapy involves being electrocuted? It was pretty fun. It felt like little fishies blowing hot bubbles under my skin. Another thing, it was totally FREE! GRATIS! Maybe I unknowingly became involved in a perverted personal experiment. ehhh.... prolly not. He was very paranoid about being alone with me. He initially made me leave to return at noon because no one else was in the office and he feared and I quote, "TOO MANY LAWSUITS!"
I scooted to the inner bar where I stood above a male hipster reading poetry, a fashionista with a gold Miss Sixty purse and a Babushka. She had a bright blue scarf on her head and a scowl on her face. She looked like a lot of old ladies I've seen milling about, but this was no ordinary Babushka. This was a Babushka with a purpose! However, I want to take the time to make sure you understand what I mean by Babushka. Just because you wear a scarf on your head like this lady -->
does not make you a Babushka. This is what I call a legit Babushka.
My first reaction was, "omg I love Babushkas!! she's so legit!!" She looked nervous though and her eyes flitted around the train. She looked at a little boy being jerked around by his very irked father holding a Dunkin Donuts bag; she looked at the young fashionista, and on several occasions made eye contact with me.
Then I noticed she was holding a pamphlet that said something about a "watchtower," and we all know what that means. "Awww shit," I thought. Another crazy about to stand up and start hailing the fire and brimstone at us modern sinners. But then she started flipping through the pamphlet's pages and reading a little, so then I thought, "oh maybe one of the crazies IN the train station threw the pamphlet at her and she thinks the pictures are pretty or something."
She stayed seated in front of me for the majority of the trip until the Lorimer stop, the stop right before mine. She grasped the handle to her right to lift herself, looked to her left and as if she had been planning this the whole time, handed the watchtower pamphlet to an unknowing teenage girl three seats down with brown curly hair and an ipod, and said, "YOU WILL NEED IT. TAKE IT." She then hobbled off the train and disappeared up the stairs.
The girl took the pamphlet and fingered through the pages as if interested, which I found strange. Doesn't everyone know what these things contain and discard them quickly for fear of accidental brainwash? Well, sometimes I find their overstament entertaining and I keep em around. For example:
This is all fine and dandy, happens everyday right? However, there is one thing that keeps bothering me about this encounter:
Movers are bullies. They are big, fat, ugly, sweaty bullies. If I was in another room and had the chance to press a button releasing electric shocks into their big fat pectoral boobs, I would. Two days after they had picked up all my things from my Mother's house, being one and a half days late, which had caused her to unnecessarily miss work, the fat bastards tell me that I've gone over the allotted cubic footage.
Originally, when speaking to the contractor Lance, I was told I would be charged per pound and even if I went over some it would be 60 cents per pound. And of course we're not talking $50 or $100 over cubic footage; they want to charge me $600 more. He also insisted I had not paid for packing supplies, which I had ($150.) I emailed him the documentation, and he apologized, but soon after telling him I would not pay the additional $600, he proceeded to YELL at me and tell me he would just leave my stuff in Houston and I would not get my deposit back. This all happened while he stuttered in a thick Nigerian accent and I was at the Yankees stadium in the middle of a game on a Sunday afternoon.
And today, Labor Day, I sit at home with an iced coffee and microwaved vegetarian bean burrito in my stomach, worrying about their arrival and the drama it will entail. They called me this morning to tell me to make sure there are 7 consecutive parking spaces within 75 feet of the apartment available for the 18-wheeler because if they get a ticket for double parking while unloading, it will be my responsibility. I hope they get a ticket so I can pee on it and shove it down their throat.
Contrary to what my blog posts have been focusing on, I've been dealing with way more than heat and a lack of adequate sustenance. Lately I've been feeling like I was wiser at 17 than I am now at 22. In certain respects of course. I wonder if it's really possible to regress that extremely? The world can do so much to you-- bring out those insecurities that never manifested as a child because you were told the sky was the limit.
I was a really good dater at 17. I knew how to summon the siren within and could precisely calculate how much and what type of charm to smear on my victim. And, that's what these people were: victims, victims of my whim.
Then there came a point where I became the victim. I switched to some type of moral romantic philosophy where true love was real and if I was genuine enough with guys, then the right one would find me-- like I was some type of honorable magnet. Whatever. Of course that never happened, and I just attracted douchebags, and fell for all sorts of obvious Casanovas. This was coupled with my extreme affection for sad love songs and cigarettes.
Dating, love and romance are games. Growing into an adult, I failed to realize that the game would never change; you have to be selective about what cards you deal. Chance is not your friend in the realm of "love." I don't have endless experience, but I'd like to think I learn from my mistakes. It's time to stop falling for the glamour and retreat to an earlier command of knowledge.
New York City has the promise of everything I wished to have in a love partner: the poetry, the creativity, the do-gooders, the socially aware, the street cred and the skinny nerds with big personalities. But I came here on my terms, and that's where I'll stay.
After holding my breath to pass the kitchen that smells like a garbage disposal, then inhaling as I passed the neighbor's marijuana-infused hallway, I emerged on the sunny sidewalk. At first refreshing but soon an ugly mess of sweat and anger. My goal was to find a cafe that would feed me pancakes and free internet. I walked into Willburg Cafe where I had eaten brunch two weeks before and ordered the buttermilk pancakes adorned with fresh fruit.
I've had good Thai food here, like 6 times. Thai is Thai I guess, and curry is curry. Squid red curry, mixed seafood red curry, spicy shrimp yellow curry etc. I really do love curry. Good Indian food also, and of course amazing pizza, but breakfast, my favorite meal of the day (!) has bombed consistently. How do you screw up eggs? Tell me, please. What I would give for a bean taco from Taquitos, or even a breakfast plate from Austin Java. I thought I could count on pancakes, but I was so completely wrong. 60 percent of my meals here have been fruity pebbles and more recently, corn flakes. Well, and of course coffee. This is going to cause me to indulge in culinary feats.
I'm sure some would point to my recent transition to pescatarianism as the issue, but I don't really believe that. There are tons of meatless options here; the meat dishes probably suck just as bad as the meatless. PANCAKES? COME ON! Sorry, I'm still a little perturbed.
Look what the heat and food-anger made me write earlier:
"So let's start off with how miserable I am. I think I like to be miserable because I find myself feeling this way often. Maybe it's just that I need specific things to be comfortable like good food and air conditioning. Right now my eyes hurt and it smells like food smoke and i hate everything! I just want to do work and write and catch up on reading. Where do I go?! LIBRARY! YES YES YES! However, that means I have to travel in the hot sun, and OH WAIT-- it's Sunday, the library is closed. I HATE YOU LIBRARY BITCHES! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE AN OPEN FORUM FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME! "
It made me curse library workers! Now, you know I'm upset.
Sometimes it just feels like you have no options and the world is so small, but then you go to the park and everything gets better. The park or www.LOLcats.com
I went to the MOMA Saturday and walked around for 3 hours. That is an amazing museum, and since I'm a Pratt student, my admission was free! I saw so many extremely famous pieces I'd studied in art history classes. They even had works from the Tres Grandes, the famous Mexican muralists Rivera, Orozco and Siquieros. They had two Frida's, a Rufino Tamayo, the freakin Van Gogh that everyone had in their college dorm, Andy Warhol's super famous wall of various flavored soup cans, tons of Picassos and just so much beautiful stuff.
This one work showing an ostrich hiding his head in the sand to avoid the world reminded me of myself. It's easy to want to shy away from the world here. Everything is new and everything is weird, and you're forced to comply or you die. I wanted this though. I wanted to be altogether removed from my comfort zone, maybe one day I'll just want to be comfortable, but for now, I need a daily challenge. If I don't get it, my spirit really will die.
I pattered through the building listening to Robyn and Lazerproof, detaching myself from the worthless peeps of the "museum people." They're some of the most obnoxious groups to encounter, especially the fanny-packed loudmouth females that feel it's their place to touch the pieces and express their dim interpretations out loud. I promise I'm not a snob. But seriously! This lady with a baseball hat and pink fanny pack shoved her french-fried finger on several framed photographs part of a work showing the various modes of black exploitation in America, which made it worse. And these weren't light points to the photos either; they were made in such a way that her french-tipped fingers curled on the glass. I stared at her in amazement.
I also made a wish on Yoko Ono's 'Wish Tree.' It was a selfish wish, and I told the Wish Tree it was. But ya know what? I don't feel bad about it.
No really. It's time to start focusing: 20th century art and not curly-haired guys who do yoga and wear prayer beads :D
Friday the 13th started off in Lychee, a Thai restaurant in the lower East side with dollar beers, edamame and the company of my musically-enlightened friends Mando and Emily. It ended up in some 45th floor upper Manhattan apartment dancing all-out to Bhangra and LCD Soundsystem in front of a window revealing the most amazing view of New York I've yet to see.
While at some annoying fratty bar, we met some Wall Street guy who said he knew club owners etc. Let's just say at 'Nikki' the cover for males is $30, and the drinks are slightly cheaper. Tanned girls with poofs, painted-on dresses and guys not ashamed to stare at you from head to toe. Not really my cup of tea, BUT the tall mojitos being provided by our generous host minimized the complaints.
Saturday was a recovery day until nighttime when we made our way to Williamsburg for a night of Biggie, $4 Budlight in 40 oz styrofoam cups and eventually really fun dancing at Zavala's where I think I saw the girl from the XX.
I've also gone out with my library science roommate twice, which was very fun. She's from Seattle and wants to be a prison librarian-- I told her about Emma Goldman asking for a book while in solitary confinement, being given a Bible and chunking it back. I met other librarian wannabes and we talked about Dewey's infidelity and the dorky tattoos of book call numbers they want. She also took me to this place where I met a dredlocked bass player who told me some bullshit about being a genuine synaesthetic. We agreed the number 11 is blue and the word wombat is red.
|Mickalene Thomas 'A Little Taste Outside of Love' 2007|
So Williamsburg is supposed to be Brooklyn's most poppin neighborhood, complete with a stimulating nightlife, cheap drinks, good music, beautiful people, funky design and the inundation of what everyone likes to call the "hipster." I live in East Williamsburg, which only partly lives up to the area's reputation i.e. I only encounter 5-7 fedoras on the way to the grocery store; instead, I'm greeted by freshly faded Dominicans calling me 'mami' and telling me I look beautiful :D But "the heart of Williamsburg" as they call it (rolling eyes...) is off the L train's Bedford stop, where today's story takes place.
If you're not labeled a "hipster" in these parts, you're probably striving to be. However, I want to clarify I'm not trying to be a hater. I'm all for free expression, eccentricity, displaying a unique personality through one's daily costume and defying the conformity of today's 9-5 existence, but I honestly cannot resist chuckling at the area's exaggeration and how serious it's all taken. Let me expound...
I sat in a coffee shop named 'Verb Cafe' where this bald guy in some Einstein shirt to my right would every couple minutes theatrically speak aloud some math problem, while the dude to my left had the bottom half of his head shaved and the top fashioned into a crown of points a la Basquiat
What was he doing you ask? Searching eBay for vintage sweatshirts. Yep. That's what he was doing.
Of course, Austin is also known for it's myriad of unconventional dressers. One night at a west campus party, a friend asked while observing a guy with a handlebar mustache, alarmingly short shorts and those aviator-type eyeglasses from the 80's a lot of pervert serial killers wore,
"I mean what do you think that guy really does when he goes home at night?"
Now, I know. They scour eBay for vintage sweatshirts.
I'm sorry but all this seems to be a bit contrived, scratch that, a lot contrived. I really don't think these people deserve to be called 'hipsters.' In my opinion, hipsters historically have been learned, art-appreciating people who reject bourgeoise values and have more liberal yet apathetic attitudes i.e. the poets, musicians, artists from the 50s and 60s, the beatniks. Maybe, I'm just glamorizing an era I didn't live in, and beatniks really used to spend tons of money on fashion and were just kinda faking their poetry... probably not.
I believe the masses have appropriated hipster mannerisms. Maybe I'm wrong, and the way of life, not just the trend, is being diffused throughout the upper classes, but I have a feeling that's not the case. I guess that happens with every subculture though. It's appropriated by rich kids and in turn becomes meaningless.
The Beat poets were the true hipsters, but who am I to call everybody out? And honestly, I'd much rather live around aspiring free-thinkers than Wall street drones. I mean, I have Ray Ban sunglasses too.
I walked around Bushwick wide-eyed at all the characters prancing around the neighborhood with their baubles, sunglasses and fedoras. First things first, I found a market where I bought the staples: garlic hummus, hard bread, yogurt, organic low fat milk, an apple and some cereal.
Later on, I visited Cuo's, a nice coffeeshop where colorful personalities shoved their noses in laptops or books. There, I drew and dove into Craigstlist for several hours, attempting to dig out a suitable apartment. There were so many leads, but I just didn't feel prepared to make the leap. I sketched the Asian girl perched on a barstool with her back to me and wondered if anyone had ever secretly drawn me. She wore a loose black tank top that drooped down her back to reveal warm-coloured skin and she bent over her drawing with intent focus. That night I read my Emma Goldman book and fell asleep to the air conditioner fanning the crown of my head.
Monday day 2
I woke up with the motivation to tread on over to Pratt, a 45 minute walk. With my red Reebok backpack and plastic insoles, I scurried through several boroughs of Brooklyn, including a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood where the men have curled sideburns, top hats and long black coats with fur lining. The women sport quarter-sleeved sweaters, long skirts, and surprisingly trendy gold flats. I was later informed the Hasidics don't really like scantily clad women strutting their stuff around their parts. I mean, I was wearing jeans and a tank top, but even that can arouse objection I'm told. I later read, the curly-cues had petitioned their city council to remove the bike lanes in their neighborhood in order to avoid temptation to stare at the bare-legged indie waifs that ride on by.
The Pratt campus is dotted with art sculptures and places to sit. The surrounding neighborhood is quite beautiful as well. Cosby-like Brownstones and tree-lined boulevards abound. After getting two sushi rolls for $6.35 on Fulton and Washington, I attempted the subway. Of course I got lost several times, ended up double-paying because I exited instead of swallowing my pride or eating my fear (one or the other) and asking someone for directions. I really don't know how I would survive without an iphone. I probably wouldn't. I should just make my will out to Apple.
My roommates were watching PBS when I got home, something about a Northeastern home having once been a railroad car. They're cool. One guy's a furniture designer, and the other, some tattooed funny guy. The girl, well, she walks around in a Chinese silk robe and does not want to talk to me. That night I began Ezra Pound's book, 'The ABCs of Reading,' one of the many interesting books my subletter has in his room.
Tuesday day 3
I went to Manhattan. I got lost on the subway again. My goal of the trip was to stare at paintings in the MOMA, but the receptionist douche bag curtly informed me that "EVERY TUESDAY THE MUSEUM IS CLOSED." I dreamt of the many ways in which I should have called him an asshole seconds after I retreated like a hurt bunny. Either way, 5th Avenue is mind-blowing. Even if it is the center of American capitalism and the symbol for everything that's wrong with the world, Madison Avenue is inspiring if only for it's vastness, the immensity of the buildings. People made those buildings. People. Yea, we might be mere specks on this planet, insignificant ants, but people like you and me built that shit. Oh me oh my.
After uploading pics to Facebook like a madwoman in order to share my amazement, I needed food, and yes food found me. I went to a Korean salad bar. Now, for the Korean salad bar. This is how it goes: You get a box and you fill it with whatever you want. Cold foot or hot food. They got it all. You pay $7.49 per pound of whatever you choose. Amazing. Caesar salad, house salad, greek salad with large tomatoes and olives, carrot salad, crab salad (my fave!), shrimp salad, chunks of mango and almost any fruit for that matter, pasta in all shapes, sizes and colors, cold broccoli, hot broccoli, broccoli cooked with spices, cucumbers!
I love Korean salad bars :D.
Soon after, I went home using the MTA-run subway transit system efficiently and without issue.
I am very happy. This time alone is allowing me to do what I've been wanting to do but haven't been doing: to write. I have no distractions here i.e. friends. I can hear my neighbors partying like beasts next door and it sounds so fun and exciting. Social interaction mmm.... my favorite. BUT! I'm producing over here. I'm liberating the words that never come easy-- looking around at all the little animals that dot this entire room and just spilling it-- organizing my brain. The small bear figurine on the geometric wood block, the coffee cups depicting Lil Wayne and Ice Cube, the owls, the many owls, and the picture of naked women frolicking with deer and tigers; they're all accompanying me while I engage in the beautiful act of writing.