Friday, August 26, 2011

Come on, Irene

Eleven years ago I experienced my first taste of worldwide pandemonium in the days leading up to the anticipated Y2K disaster. Do you guys remember that?  How scientists and analysts and mainly the news media were convinced that our computers would all freak out and the world would revert to chaos, cholera, and covered wagons?  I think even at the time, as 7th grader, I wasn't that worried about it.
The event came and went with a fizzle, and we all entered the new millenium unscathed.


That is, until months later while poking around in the garage for a bike helmet, I pulled back a tarp to reveal two, high density polyethylene tubs.  Peeling back one of the lids, I was floored to find them stocked full of cans of baked beans, space blankets, flares, jugs of water, yards of rope, a first aid-kit, flashlights, batteries... basically all the stuff that we'd been required as children to stuff into 1-gallon Ziplock bags and store at school in event of emergency.  We called them our "earthquake kits" but in retrospect, they might as well have been called, "panic kits" because in order to bust into those things... one would have to be in dire straits.  But right there in my own garage it appeared my dad had assembled one very real "earthquake kit".  As my dad can fairly be diagnosed with Everyday Hero Syndrome, this might not surprise you, but at the time, it surprised me:  this man was the pillar of logical and rational thought in my world.  If he had bought into the Y2K fear mongering to the extent that he'd been forward-thinking enough to be prepared, then who was I to argue that?  It shook me a bit.

Not enough to pay heed to any further doomsayers, however - we've survived multiple predicted raptures by now, and no tidal wave has wiped out the state of Oregon yet, so I really try not to buy into that stuff.  Which brings us to present day, in New York City.

I wake up late with the sun in my face to the alarm on my cell phone and a missed call from my Uncle Bob in Atlanta.  I figure it is his second attempt at trying to get ahold of me to wish me a happy birthday and don't listen to his voicemail until I am out the door on my way to the bus, so I'm a little surprised when his message is, essentially, "there is talk of evacuating the island of Manhattan, let me buy you a plane ticket to come down and stay with us here in Atlanta."

And for the first time in my life, I start to worry about a naturally occurring predicted catastrophe.
It doesn't help that one of my best friends/neighbor/co-worker Katie LOVES The Weather Channel and can pretty much recite to you the ten-day weather forecast at any given moment, which she does on the bus on the way to work. 

Once at the office, there is a sort of low-level murmur about the news - each of us speculating and asking aloud what everyone else is planning to do.  Mason declares the entire news media to be "full of shit" and predicts that this whole storm is going to be a "kittycat meow-fest".  But a growing kernel of intuitive doubt starts to grow inside me as I scan news websites and read the texts and emails that are coming in, all tinged with a bit of lighthearted snarky New York attitude.

One article tells me to"fill my bathtub to the brim with water", in case we need to use it for water pressure in the toilet tank.  Um, sorry: my bathtub is gross.  Who takes baths in New York?  Our tub looks like a slightly tamer version of the one in Buffalo Bill's basement.

A comparative t-chart starts circulating on Facebook:
A co-worker sends a link to an article on the psyches of people who refuse to evacuate impending natural disasters.  I note that there are two categories missing: Stubborn New Yorkers, and Those Of Us Who Are Lazy.
I think I fall somewhere in the middle as I have made no moves to flee to Atlanta... but all of a sudden, I make up my mind:  As a single young woman living in one of the most intense cities in the world, I would rather be prepared than not.  I drop whatever I am doing at my desk and march down to the pharmacy in our building to "buy supplies."

What, exactly, I am preparing for starts to get a little hazy.  From the looks of my rapidly filling basket it could either be
a) a camping trip (deck of cards, beef jerky)  -or-

b) a "let's stay inside and get baked" college party (pack of lighters, scented candles, brownie mix)

I find myself in the canned food aisle with a similarly dressed Midtown Manhattan professional.  We stand, heads cocked, quizzically scanning the labels for anything that doesn't look like dog food.

"I wonder if I even have a can opener in my kitchen...?" she muses.

They are already sold out of flashlights.  I buy batteries anyway for a flashlight I don't have- honestly because I think subconsciously, "hmm. valuable for trade and barter."

$89 later I am back in the office.  I anticipate my arrival will be met with good-natured teasing.  It's not: it invokes an air of fear.
"Were there any candles left?"
"Did you see if they had any coolers?  I think I need a cooler."

I accompany some sellers on a client lunch and at this point, Irene is the only thing I can think about.  My adrenaline is rushing. I am making mental lists in my head.
I totally freak out our clients - 4 young women also living in Manhattan, away from their parents for the first time.
They start to make lists.
We all start to get email alerts on our phones:  "MTA to shut down all public transportation Saturday at noon!"  "No trains will be running!" "Evacuation and anticipated flood zone map"

When we say goodbye after lunch, we all nervously laugh and wish one another a safe weekend. "See you on the other side! Ha ha."

On the way back to the office, I stop by an ATM to withdraw some cash- it's out of service.  I immediately assume that means it's already out of cash, and walk a block to the next one, quickening my pace.  I withdraw a large wad of $20s and surreptitiously stuff them into my wallet and return to work where I find it very hard to concentrate.
I keep humming the few bars I know of  that one song that goes, "Here I am!/ ROCK ME LIKE A HURRICANE" and am embarrassed that it is literally all I can think about.

So okay, let's be logical about this: what's the worst thing that can happen?  We lose power and have to read and play games and sleep and generally unplug for a while?  Totally fine. Fun, even.

Winds get crazy and knock out one of our windows?  Unfortunate, sure, but, not life threatening.


But you want to know what really scares me, though?  What's really got me worried?


The people.
Specifically, the neurotic, power-hungry, narcissistic people among whom I currently live everyday on this island, except now, IN PANIC MODE.



The post-Katrina looting in New Orleans, a bastion of Southern Hospitality, was bad?  Lets see what happens when an 86 year old Jewish woman and a cab driver from Calcutta go head to head over a can of beans at the Fairway on 86th street.

Dennis Hopper in Waterworld will look like a "kittycat meow-fest" compared to the characters who are going to come out of the woodwork here when Irene unleashes her PMS all over this city (hint: probably closer to Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet).  She's going to bring the bitchslap, but New Yorkers are going to get their claws out and it is not going to be pretty.

All we can do now is sit, and wait, and hope to God that come Monday, this was another Y2K.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go home to clean the bathtub.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rash of Untimely Male Deaths Make Women Feel Better About Themselves

(New York) In an unsettling turn of events, young men in New York City are disappearing.

"They're dropping like flies, out there!" Laura H., Assistant Technical Designer, lamented with a hint a panic in her voice.  Laura moved to Manhattan about a year ago, and lives on the Upper East Side with two other young women in their twenties, whose attentions are similarly held rapt by these bewildering disappearances.

According to the 2010 Census, there are 8,175,133 people living in the city of New York.  Of that, 1,585,873 live in Manhattan, so this publication is confident in assuming that about 50% of that number, 793,000 are male.
But the figure is rapidly decreasing.  Mayor Bloomberg was not available for comment, but it's clear that city officials are mystified by this development, and have no clues as to where these men have gone.

But ask any young woman, and she will tell you with no reservations where their counterparts are:
they're dead.

"Oh, he died. Absolutely. No question," Jessica S., Assistant Merchandiser at Saks 5th Avenue, says, with no trace of irony.  "I mean, it's really the only logical explanation.  I met Michael a few weeks ago, and we really hit it off.  We went to a Yankees game, he paid for everything - he texted me during the work week, said he wanted to see me over the weekend... things were really clicking.  He said-" she pauses, a glimmer in her eye.  "He said he 'really likes' me...and then... it was like, he vanished into thin air.  Nothing.  He was gone."

Jessica hasn't heard from Michael in eight days.  She assured us she enlisted her friends and roommates to patrol the internet to check on all lifelines.  There has been no movement on his Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, or GooglePlus accounts. 

"He died." Jessica says resolutely. When questioned about proof, in the form of say, an obituary, she dismisses it with a shake of her head. "Of course we checked.  Did we find anything?  No.  It's because they can't keep up with all the... disappearances.  It's happening all over the city.  I don't know a girl who HASN'T lost someone."

Amanda P., Assistant Media Planner, has been living in Murray Hill for a little over a year, and confirms the startling trend.  She met Chris O'Shaunnesey last month at a pub crawl in the East Village, and the two started dating. "We had this really great connection," she says wistfully. "Like, he checked all the boxes, you know?  We both don't like mushrooms, his dad works in real estate just like my dad...we both LOVE Bon Iver... you know. Like, the real stuff.  Anyway, we were hanging out like, once a week - getting a drink after work, meeting up on the weekends with our friends, and he was so sweet."

Then, tragedy struck.

"We made plans - like, actual SET plans - to go to Long Beach one Saturday.  He texted me the Thursday before saying how excited he was to get to spend time with me, and that 'work had been crazy' and so he was looking forward to it... by Friday night I hadn't heard from him and he hadn't responded to my last text, so I called him, and..nothing. I got his voicemail.  Still no word from him by Saturday, so I went to the train station anyway, thinking maybe he'd like, lost his phone. Or something."
Amanda sat at the station until 1:45 PM when she finally realized that something was wrong.
"And then it hit me.  He totally died.  That was really the only explanation."

Respected Manhattan institution of research on dating and relationships, HBO Series Sex and the City, brought this issue to the forefront with the episode "Frenemies" (2000) wherein Miranda is stood up on a date.  She calls his home number to give him what-for and finds out that he has, in fact, died.
In what should have been cited as the singular most damaging influence on young women possibly ever, ahead of beef hormones and Bratz dolls, this episode has come to life, in the minds of the maidens of Manhattan.

"This phenomenon has really opened  my eyes, and given me some perspective," says Kate M. who works as a Jr. Financial Analyst. "I mean, I now believe in ghosts.  This guy Kyle I was seeing... I was pretty sure he was The One, you know?  And after like, our fourth date, he just dropped off the face of the earth.  I took his passing pretty hard, but, found comfort a few weeks later knowing he was still here," she says, hand pressed emphatically to her heart.  "It was the craziest thing, but I could have sworn I saw him at a Cafe Metro on Lexington the other day, near where his office was.  This tall blonde guy came in alone around lunch time, and I was like, 'Ohmigosh! It's him!' but then I remembered, obvi, that it COULDN'T be.  So, it's just nice to know that like, he's okay, and-" with a sad smile, she says, " And I'm gonna be okay."



With that kind of self-confidence, we have no doubt that she will, in fact, be okay.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's unsettling to sign someone else's name.

The letters feel foreign, your pen a drunken wanderer, navigating the new bends blindly - "just along for the ride!" your hand would say.
A normally fluid line of loops is halting; the formal curves off by just enough that only you can recognize the forgery.

I usually have, to be perfectly frank with you, pretty lovely handwriting.

Honed in honors classes requiring copious notes, guided by an inherent artist's appreciation for the aesthetically pleasing, this is no accident: it has been as much a deliberately acquired skill as typing fast, or whistling with my fingers.

But I find myself on a hardwood floor at midnight on a Tuesday, relentlessly scribbling someone else's name into the veritable city of books amongst which I am sitting, over and over and over. It is a conscious and exacting task, and I am anxious, because I can't make the slant consistent. I can't coerce the rounds of the letters to be as round as I want them to be. I can't control the pen as well as I'd like to. I can't get the name to cooperate.
It looks forced.

Lindsay Bozanich
Lindsay Bozanich
Lindsay Bozanich

I want each scrawled, constructed inscription to be perfect for her.
For the letters to stand proud, and funny and well-formed and striking, like Linds herself.

Lindsay Bozanich
Lindsay Bozanich

I start in all capital letters- boldly declaring ownership and defying the indoctrined taboo of "writing in books" from which we were discouraged during library class in elementary school. Criss-cross applesauce, seated in rows, quietly reverent of the magic of books.

I knew it would hum like this; that a soothing rhythm would develop: grab a stack of books, crack the cover, tattoo the upper left corner (Lindsay Bozanich, Lindsay Bozanich), appraise the form and figure of it, close the book and place it to the side; repeat.

We punctuate the melody of pen on paper with soft color commentary.
"Oh, have you read the other one by this author? I can't remember the title, but, it was good."
"Gosh, I haven't read this one in a long time."
But mostly, we are silently intent on diminishing the stacks around us, lulled by the music I put on.

When I'd suggested we tackle this, I anticipated it would go this way: two young women, learning to look death in the face and proceed boldly in its imminence. I am as new at this as my hands are at signing a strange permutation of letters. This idea? It was the best I could do, but I am starting to feel the sense of phony marionetting that the pen in my hand probably would if it could feel.
Lindsay Bozanich Lindsay Bozanich Lindsay Bozanich

I booked this trip a few months back, when Linds first started chemotherapy. Despite it being my only trip back home since Christmas, I made it very clear that the visit would be about spending time with her. A young, busy, social, accomplished woman's routine of self-defining activities interrupted indefinitely to pump her body full of toxic poisons would probably welcome a visit from a close friend. I couldn't wait to come and see her in person, try to be there for her and let her know she can count on me. I wanted to, per my friend Mickey's lexicon, "bring the sunshine."

Once with her, somewhat taken aback (surprised in a fully and wholly altruistic, positive way) by how healthy she looks, how resilient she is, how she's still my sasshole of a role model, confidante, and friend - I still felt compelled, or, actually, longed to "make a difference" and "help" her in place of empty platitudes.

Especially after reading a beautiful blog post she penned while sitting with me at a coffee house in northwest Portland, wherein she gently chastised those of us who want to "help" but still aren't willing to dig in where it counts- the hard parts. The "what if I die?" parts. The "if I go, I want this song at my service, but don't call it a funeral, please" parts, anxiously seeking reassurance that no one be allowed to wear black at such an occasion.

So, at her insistence, I step into those shadows.
Surrounded by her books, her most valued tangible manifestation of a legacy, I asked where they would go if she does. And then, to imprint her record of ownership of all these useful, interesting, rich pieces (which she has sought out, owned, loved, bought, received; drawn and learned from), I suggest we write her name in every last one.
(Lindsay Bozanich Linsday Bozanich Lindsay Bozanich)

I want the L to lead the way for the rest of the letters; for the B to convey all the boldness and ambition of the woman it initializes. I want it to be pretty. I want it to last.

In the event that she doesn't make it, but the books do, I want a lonely person thirty years from now to pick up this well-loved copy of a story and feel comforted, knowing they are in good company with "Lindsay Bozanich"- that holding a hand-me-down from such an strong and inspiring woman would somehow impart them with strength and inspiration by simple proximity to her possessions.
I want this person to sense that they have stumbled upon a valuable artifact that is only a singular element of a rich and real history.

Lindsay Bozanich
Lindsay Bozanich
Lindsay Bozanich
Lindsay Bozanich

I am acutely aware that Linds might not be as into this as I am. That she might not be as into the song we are listening to, into this experience I engineered into existence.
It is also now clear that it is not Lindsay who is benefitting fom this book tour- but rather, this is for me.
It's so I don't have to feel so helpless as she loses her hair, and her breasts, and yes, maybe, possibly, even her life.

It's so I can prove to her and to myself that I am a good enough friend that I am willing to confront her mortality with her. To be there for her in a capacity for which she has bluntly and rawly expressed a deep need.

So this isn't about helping Lindsay, I see. This act, specifically, is her way of humoring me - of leading me into a place where we can stand face to face in tears and say, "I might die" and "I know. Are you scared?" and for her to say any and everything she needs to, without me flinching.

I write your name again and again.
Because okay, if we're going to go there, if this vile illness steals away the rest of your years and your books are your progeny, sent off into the world bearing your name and traces of your being, if I know anything about the way this world works, I will run into those books for the rest of my time here. Not haunted by them, but predictably and consistently our paths will cross.
And I want to greet them as old friends in your place, and I will be really, really upset if my handwriting looks bad.

Lindsay Bozanich
Lindsay Bozanich
Lindsay Bozanich

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stand up for real jokes

Note to self, and all other secretly aspiring stand-up comics in hiding

I went to a comedy show Saturday night.  Turns out, cliches aren't funny, so when doing a stand-up routine, feel free to never again speak, or speak of, the following:

1. "Justin Bieber" is not, in itself, a punchline.  Same goes for "Sarah Palin." Try harder.

2.  "THE SUBWAY" and stories thereof cannot sustain an entire stand-up routine, as true as all your numerous observations and frustrations may be.

3.  We get it - Ed Hardy shirts are awful, and so are the people who wear them. ...Good one.

4.  Old women: not funny when you're vulgar.  It just makes everyone want to cry in discomfort, which isn't why must of us go to comedy clubs.

5.  Jews are typically bad at sports, gay men like interior decorating, women's breasts sag as they age -  Let's evolve our self-deprecatory material, people.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Reminder to GO + DO

Gingerlocks sent me this little tidbit yesterday, which her boss had sent out to the office: 
Having a few blogs, a seldom-used Twitter, and a well-worn Facebook account, and now working in the online media industry... I have to admit I'm part of the problem.  (A real and true problem, by the way, in my opinion).  The first, more obvious part of the problem is that being a creative often doesn't pay very well, and there is money in advertising - not a lot for creatives, I understand, but, still more than other options (just ask the dudes who paint on cardboard in the subway stations).
  Then, part of what's going on is that this digital age allows us to express so easily and quickly without benefiting from Thee Process, or truly putting a lot of thought into what it is we're expressing. In fact, I'm doing it right now - I'm at work, in between emails - so while Banksy has a point, there is true art being created and I like that we can all share it. 
The solution to this perceived problem, I would think, is that access to all of this shared/reblogged/reposted information would inspire further creativity. 

Some things that got me fired up this week to go do me:







There is a ground floor space on the corner of 47th and Lexington, near my office, with windows for walls that often acts as a sort of pop-up gallery space.  None of the art installations have really caught my eye the past few months, so I was surprised to walk by one morning this week and see it transformed into a sort of modern lounge all focused around one central piece: a ping pong table.

Then last night, I walked by on my way to the gym and people were playing ping pong on the table, with provided paddles and balls.  Because of the glass structure of the space, it essentially framed the action inside as an active art installation.  Such a cool thing to witness on my daily commute!
(After I wrote all that I Googled around for the name and address of the space - turns out, yep, that's exactly what it is: The LAB Gallery for installation and performance art).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Soundtracks




Download the full The Weeknd mixtape here.

Download the full Frank Ocean mixtape here.

Best song to listen to at work on repeat... not that I do that, or anything.



And of course, this vid (not for the squeamish) for which about a thousand of its 5 mil + views I am fairly certain I am responsible:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moulting

Same silly stuff here, just needed some cosmetic surgery to keep up with my own aging process.

While the reasons that I started this process (almost three years ago!) might no longer be a factor, there's all kinds of new reasons to continue to see where it goes.

Plus, as a good reminder tonight that while we can all adapt and evolve into better people in different places... it took me all of six months in the busiest metropolis in the country to run into someone from my high school at the gym.

The world is small - I don't know why I keep expecting to live in a bigger, limitless one. And while our pasts don't determine our futures, they certainly have a part in defining who we are... so instead of running from them all the time, I think it's okay to acknowledge that they're there and let them kick it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Am I in an Abusive Relationship?

We fight, I cry, we make up.
I get pummeled, and I go running right back into trouble, face first, only to catch the next hit square on the bridge of my nose.
Self-preservation kicks in, I withdraw. I am slowly wooed back into the lull of routine, of surprise pleasantries, the ease of lowered expectations.
I catch one in the teeth.

It's less domestic, more urban, I'd say: I'm in an abusive relationship with New York City.

I've been calling it love/hate but it's getting more complicated than that. Love/hate is surface and simple. There is a psychological cycle to abuse.

How can a city itself pummel you and beat you down? You'd only ask that if you haven't lived in a place like this. But I'm starting to suspect it's the effect of millions of people sharing the same resources- an age old problem, really. There's a whole hell of a lot of us living on this peninsula fighting for the same jobs, the same spot on the Downtown 6 train in the morning, the same men, the same taxis when it rains. And beyond resources, it's a place where Everyone Else's choices have a direct and definite impact on your own life.

I feel like I'm constantly battling to define, to carve out, to defend. And when everyone else is doing that, too, inevitably, there is a strain on resources and you win some, but you lose more.
It's why one of my roommates is about to have her fifth job since getting here last summer. It's why you can be running perfectly on time for work and with the decision of one train conductor who is "momentarily holding the train," be fifteen minutes late.
It's why you can go on six dates, but only really like the one who chooses not to call you back. Concerts sell out in minutes.
One woman decides she wants to watch CSPAN in the morning at the gym and changes the channel away from Reg and Kel.
It's why I can get hired full-time and have a great phone call with the President of the company, but then see Hugh Jackman at the batting cages over the weekend and remember that he makes a bazillion more dollars than I do.

Constant contact with humans equals constant comparison: I can love my outfit when I walk out the door and by the time I get to 77th, wish I were wearing my heeled boots instead because that girl looks SO CUTE.

It's exhausting. And just when I think I have things under control- a routine formed to keep my sanity- it implodes. All of a sudden, I'm working 50 hour weeks because of the needs of other humans and their choices to stay and work later affect MY time.
Or I just want PRALINE FRO YO and 16 Handles decided out of SIXTEEN DIFFERENT HANDLES PRALINE JUST ISN'T GONNA CUT IT THIS WEEK.

But as in any cycle, some days... some days the sun just feels so good on my face in the morning on my walk to the train, and it lights up the space between the buildings on the East River, you know?
Some days, the chocolate chip cookies at City Bakery are so melty, and so chewy, I can't be mad. Or like today, there was a spot for me on the train and it pulled in just as I swiped my card in the turnstile. And while everyone else in the office gets to be in Tahoe for a sales training, I had time to fill out my NCAA Basketball bracket. And even though someone else's choice affected me - that little blue text message light refused to shine on my phone, today - all it takes is one more victory than the loss column to make it worth it.
To want to stay.
To want to do better tomorrow.
To be willing to take one on the chin sometimes.

To get out of an abusive relationship requires a steeliness of one's will, a commitment of one's confidence. That's when you can look eye to eye and say, "You don't scare me anymore. I am better than this." and then take positive steps to reconstruct a better experience for yourself; to build a foundation that won't waver in the wake of whatever the day holds.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scatterstories

The hype of Attention Defecit Disorder and its prevalence in my generation/beyond used to annoy me. There was no way all these kids were afflicted with the same issue - they just aren't disciplined enough to concentrate, I would think.

But now, I'm on board with the notion that it's a symptom of our byte-sized, Facebook status-compartmentalized, 140 character at a time, smart phone, smarter search, society. This is nothing new to the experts- it's just that I'm realizing I'm not immune to it.

I think it all started at my last job, where I was confronted with the sit-in-front-of-a-computer-for-8+-hours-a-day lifestyle. When you're staring at this screen, it's so easy to open more and more windows, to search for more and more things, to work on more and more at once... until you realize you've been Alt+Tabbing between windows for ten minutes, or logging back into Facebook for no apparent reason - kind of like that feeling where you walk into a room and forget what you went in there to get.

Thus, in the last few years it's been more of a struggle to enjoy reading a full book, and it takes a concerted effort to disconnect - the first few hours or days are anxiety ridden and I'm still jumpy, but then I adjust back to my natural state of unpluggedness.

This new job is also mostly computer based, and is faster paced- so the constant clicking, typing, searching, opening, responding, and scrolling gets to be a way of life, and not just actions at work. I also blame the overstimulation of New York City for this. It's been more pronounced here, for me- this inability to sit still or calm down or focus- so I'm trying to be more deliberate and thoughtful in my actions. Keeping a self-reflective record has always been important to me and since I apparently don't have the patience to do so with a pen these days, I feel like I need to recommit to doing it here.

I attempted Healthy February again this year: I made it to February 4th without a beer. Thanks, office. Being only human, there was really no way I could turn down Friday Afternoon Beer Pong in our break room. But physically, I rejoined a gym and have been diligent in going - so much so, that I shattered a false perception of myself and have rebranded this girl as a "morning person": if I sleep in my gym clothes and am in bed at a reasonable hour, turns out, I LOVE going to the gym before work.

Perks include:
-Being awake when I get to the office
-Already feeling productive, alert, and less sluggish
-Not having to split bathroom time with the roommates
- Fresh towels I don't have to clean, free Q-tips, razors, and body lotion
- Getting to catch Regis and Kelly's opening monologue while I get ready
-A 5 minute walk to work once I'm all ready, instead of a 10 minute dash to the subway->stuffy subway ride-> 5 minute dash to office as I sweat off my makeup and inevitably screw up my hair

And the best part? It frees up other time, which, as you can see by the following chart, is limited these days:



We'll spare you the "OMG YOU NEED TO WATCH THE WIRE IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN IT IT'S THE BEST SHOW IN TELEVISION HISTORY" rant, as true as that all is, and just leave you with this important breakout:



Other non-sequiters:
- Went to DC for the first time a few weekends ago. Only had time to walk the entirety of The Mall (in the very windy, very sunshiney day, to pay my respects to the monuments Washington and Lincoln, as well as the WWII and Vietnam Memorials), get two great brunches, catch up with college friends, and explore the Newseum (which was fascinating and beautiful! A museum about news media!)

- Have succumbed to nail-polish mania. Get manicures once a week.

- Still miss home, but the sickness part of missing it has subsided somewhat. I've been shoveling sugar free fro-yo from 16 Handles into that empty spot - that, coupled with the knowledge that my mama and aunt will be in NYC for a week at the end of the month has helped considerably.

- Need book recommendations. Just ordered a Miranda July book of short stories at the suggestion of The Dance Fighter - anyone else??

And lastly, most importantly - I am so, so proud of my friends.
  • I've got a sorority sister skiing all 27 Colorado Ski Resorts in 8 days to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. Please support her here: http://www.skibumpsfightlumps.org/index.html
  • I've got a best friend actually battling breast cancer at the age of 28. Even before her diagnosis, we were writing each other weekly emails ("The Tuesday Seven", wherein we'd include 7 random bullet points about our weeks without each other) that manage to either always make me laugh or cry, without fail. Usually both. Read about how she's kicking its ass in her witty, honest voice here.
  • The Dance Fighter moved to Amsterdam to pursue a dream. Another sorority sister is moving to London this fall. Gingerlocks just got hired full time at a production studio in Portland doing great work with clients like Nike.

  • These musicians are finding their voice and killin' it:

  • Ba and Mr.Ba's business is not only booming while they live here in the city, across the country from their offices, but Ba is working on starting another high-end custom line - this time, of home goods and linens.

    And if they aren't doing this stuff, specifically, they are getting into law schools, finishing up MBAs while they hold down other jobs, traveling for fun, volunteering abroad, and always sending me the best care packages I've ever heard of.

    I am just so impressed with you all, and am blessed to know you. Thanks for being alive and never settling.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Diareading

Tonight I went to the Morgan Library (of the "JP Morgan" Morgans) for an exhibit on diaries.
It was free after 7 PM, and as a life-long diarist and now, lackadaisical blogger, I felt compelled to go.

Charlotte Brontë.
Anais Nin.
Tennessee Williams.
Albert Einstein.
Napoleon Bonaparte's surgeon, Dominique-Jean Larrey.
Walt Whitman.
Henry David Thoreau.
FDNY firefighters who survived 9/11.
John Steinbeck.

Over three centuries worth of individual history was laid bare in glass cases for me to read. Sure, all of New York and its interminable current of visitors might read them, too, but so intimate was the encounter, it felt like it could have been just for me.

Second only to a miraculous actualization of the "What dead person would you most want to have dinner with?" game, reading someone's diary is about as close as you can actually get to meeting and knowing them, I would argue (unless their diaries were meant for public consumption, and then I guess maybe they never even really knew themselves - for if not in the pages of a diary, where can one be oneself?).

One man detailed the events of the Boston Tea Party, knowing even then what a monumental and potentially historic event it was.

JP Morgan's diary, in startlingly precocious penmanship, detailed the comings and goings of his 12 year old self in a small, browned date-book, remarking that the first time the girls joined his compulsory evening dance class, he, "had a first rate time."

Larrey wrote of a horrific instance in Napoleon's ill-advised campaign into Russia, wherein tens of thousands died, including children and "mothers who deliberately followed the fate of their children." He reflected that he only survived the ordeal because people in the military knew and recognized him, and got him to safety.

Brontë spoke wistfully but not sentimentally of home as she doodled in the front page of a textbook while a teacher of English at a school that housed only one person worthy of her affection in her estimation. She stated that she was cold, and wished she were at home with her father and her sisters in front of the fire.

Williams detailed a sexual encounter - deemed it a gift from God, even - and the 9/11 records were all facts about the search and rescue process that followed the collapse of the Twin Towers. Little to no emotion evident in the writing, but the existence of the writing itself is enough to show that a man needed to express, to reflect...that he couldn't carry it all himself, and had to instead burden the pages of a small notebook, or loose leaf letterhead he happened to find at his desk.

Einstein's notebook (the page they had it turned to, at least) was all indecipherable equations.

I was most drawn to John Steinbeck's log, which he kept while in the process of writing the Grapes of Wrath. I hadn't ever thought about it before, but it made so much sense to me (as someone who writes, and struggles to write) that a writer would write about writing. If we write to shake things loose from our brains, and reassemble it in front of us in plain sight - if we write to solve problems- why would one not write to help them write?
It was so obvious to me, yet I hadn't seen anything like it before.
The entries were brief, and related his day's work: how many pages written. How he thought it was going. Things he was stuck on.
Having read, and been quite fond of the book in question, it was moving to learn that he struggled with it, and that eventually the characters he crafted helped him finish it, as he learned to lean on them and respect them, "as they are much truer and braver than I," he admitted.

A blog has more of an identity crisis than most diaries ever do. Blogs are meant for public consumption, for engagement and discourse, while unapologetically representing the opinions or voice of the author. Just as artists have sketchbooks and studies, I think most writers have diaries and journals: it houses the ugliness, the raw, the unfinished. And often times, more beauty than our finished products.

The exhibition inspired me to try to be more diligent in both arenas.