Monday, November 30, 2009

things that are weird about thanksgiving

1) You end up discussing one topic that everyone is only casually (at best) interested in for like 3/4th of the dinner (this year: Sarah Palin).

2) At the insistence of your 10-year-old cousin, everyone around the table is typically forced to reveal "what they are thankful for." It's uncomfortable and reminds you of the beginning of summer camp. Everyone answers some variation on "friends, family, health" except for one family member with this gloating grin who attempts to spice things up ("I'm thankful for... the New York Giants").

3) EVERYONE must comment on how full they are when the meal is over. It's like somehow seen as this culturally insulting thing to the host if you don't. "Desserts, Aunt Mary?! Are you trying to make me explode!?!"

4) After the meal, everyone's sort of like "ummm, what do we do now?" About an hour after the meal, I found myself sitting in a room with my extended family watching some Paul McCartney concert on TV while my small cousins did "gymnastics" on the carpet and my mom sorted through a box of old fancy gloves (?) with her sister.

5) The next day, it's just understood that you're going to be having leftovers for dinner but everyone's kinda silently bummed about it. It's like "Oh, you know what I'm craving after eating half my weight in turkey last night?! MORE OF IT." The Friday after Thanksgiving is spent resigned to your fate, which I think why it always drags so much.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


In college, you were always walking past people you vaguely knew. It was kind of inevitable that a trip outside meant strolling past a kid who lived on your hall freshman year or that chick from section who was either named Marie or Mary. There was really nothing to do in these circumstances other than glide by with an added bounce in your step and give a quick glance up, perhaps with the slightest of smiles. If you were feeling all crazy and caffeinated, maybe a smiling head nod.

After graduating college, these sorts of "walk-bys" (yes, I am linguistically equating fatal shootings with walking past acquaintances) happen less and less. I guess sometimes I walk by a co-worker I don't really know in the office kitchen, but generally in those cases I just force a smile because people look down on people who are more Bella than Berry in the work place.

On Saturday though, I was walking down 59th St., outfitted in a giant sweatshirt, and jeans that were noticeably rolled-up at the bottom (it was raining is my excuse). I looked up and saw that a girl who I went to college with was fast approaching, sporting a fancy red trench coat.

Here are some facts about this girl:

a) We spoke once or twice freshman year, for a total of maybe four minutes. I think one of the two times was when she asked me to let her into her entryway because she had forgotten her key at her boyfriend's or something.
b) We are friends on Facebook, obv.
c) The last time I saw her was probably mid-senior year (= approx. two years ago)?

Would we stop and chat? Would I ask her about the one mutual friend I was pretty sure we had in common? Would she call me the wrong name?!

Of course, knowing me as well as y'all do, I doubt it will surprise anyone how this played out. I kept my iPod earbuds in (of course?) and did a sort of half-smile/furtive glance in her direction. In response, she smiled brightly, waved (!!??!), but did not slow her pace whatsoever and continued to just walk (I am actually kind of sure she sped up) past me.

As I descended into the subway, I was wondering about so many things, friends: Had Red Trench Coat not stopped because she was weirded out that I hadn't taken my iPod out? Was it because she really couldn't remember my name? Had she not recognized me? Or, most horrifying/probable of all... was it the rolled-up jeans?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the fall of a queen

So there's this girl who works at the Starbucks on my block who is like the Barista Wunderkind. The third or fourth time I stopped in for my morning fix (man do I hate the jargon commonly associated with coffee drinking!), before I could even open my mouth she was coolly reciting my order from her perch over by the stand where they leave your drinks. The other baristas at the register all kind of nodded their heads blankly as if it is just understood in this particular Starbucks that she is the queen.

This morning, eager to get that ole' cup of joe (ugh), I stopped in to Starbucks; as soon as the queen saw me come through the door, she was in motion. I watched rapturously as she effortlessly prepared my iced coffee, like some sort of Starbucks Fairy, her blonde hair the perfect amount of messy in her black cap. But my luscious piece of Starbucks Heaven was about to become as stale as a Starbucks bagel (hay-o!). As the queen delicately handed me my drink she paused and grinned. . . and then pointed at the iPod earbud in my right ear (I always take one earbud out when I'm in Starbucks because I am so courteous).

"What are you listening to?"

I felt as if someone had just broken into my apartment, or stolen my journal. Her seemingly innocuous question was like a MENTAL SUCKER PUNCH to my emotionally fragile self. I stammered for what seemed like ages while she KEPT HER HAND CLASPED AROUND MY DRINK, as if this was some sort of test I needed to pass to earn my FRENCH VANILLA ICED COFFEE.

In some situations I would have tried to think of the most "oh yeah, no big deal, it's just a Kraftwerk Hot Chip remix" or "you know, just some jazz I'm really into" kind of response I could come up with, but I was too shaken to even muster that sort of fibbing. Instead I just told her the truth: "Umm, it's just this, uh, indie cover of a T.I. song... that my brother sent me." I really can't even describe how IDIOTIC and TALL I felt. It was like I was in a commercial for some sort of TMI Disorder. THANK GOD SHE KNOWS MY BROTHER SENT IT TO ME.

I am guessing it will be at least two months before I step into that Starbucks again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a goddess, a model... and dry cleaning guy

Living in NYC is strange. Even though I technically live within like a 20-minute subway ride of pretty much everyone I know, I still see most of my friends way less the following crop of characters, each of whom has emerged as a pretty significant presence in my life. Of course, even though I see these folks like once or twice a week, I don't even know their names (= so New York right now).

1. Salad Goddess. Most of my lunch breaks are spent across the street from my office at this small, sterile deli place. I whip through the make-your-own-salad line without a word (the guy knows my order by heart - cute, right?) and then I bring my concoction over to the check-out area. There are two lines: one belongs to Salad Goddess - a cheery plum of a woman - and the other to Evil Bland Chick. Even though EBC will typically have no one in her line, I always wait in Goddess', which is kind of awkward because EBC will like look up at me exasperatedly. "I might as well give up!" she says with her eyes.... and she's right, she should. Because SG is on a different level. First of all, SG always deducts $.90 from my salad cost. I have NO IDEA why, but it's just always been the case and I obv have never asked for an explanation -- don't shoot a gift horse in the mouth, is what people are always saying (but which I never say because I am always worried I have it slightly off). SG and I have wonderful and inane convos marked by constant SMILING as she pushes buttons on the register:

Me: "Nice weather, huh?"
SG: "At least it's a Tuesday"
Me: "Seriously! When will this week end?"
SG: "Right, so chilly!"

Seriously the two weeks she was out visiting her family in Brazil I went somewhere else for lunch because I just couldn't deal.

2. Model Runner. Literally EVERY TIME I have gone to the gym in the past three months, this preternaturally attractive guy has been running on the fourth treadmill from the end. It doesn't matter which night of the week I go or at what time, he's always there, dressed in the same garb: black baseball cap, white V-neck t-shirt, short black shorts, iPhone attached to bicep. Despite all the seemingly toolish elements of this gym attire, he manages to look like a hundred times cooler than anyone else you have every seen. (The first time I saw him I BBMed my roommate: "I am pretty sure the guy running next to me is a Calvin Klein model" to which she responded "Touch him!" which somehow seemed totally appropriate at the time.) ANYWAY, the other day, MR picked up my towel for me when it fell off the side of the treadmill and kind of gave me a head nod (I'm pretty sure this interaction is the gym equivalent of a Facebook poke) and now we have a kind of head nod thing going on. I'm hoping this all pays off when I see pictures of him on Perez Hilton squiring Leighton Meester around town or something and then can use our bond for my PERSONAL GAIN.

3. Dry Cleaning Guy. This guy may be my fave. He's like 27 and has this improbable set of braces and he kind of seems like a hybrid between your 10-year-old cousin and an owl. He calls me "Joshy" which is like typically the #1 way to get me to act icy toward you but for some reason in this case is endearing. He is always acting all paternal ("How far are you going to have to carry these heavy shirts?!" "Long day at work?"). Once he asked me why I hadn't been in for a while and I kind of stammered like a schoolgirl and then he was like "We've been pinning for you." (Yes, "pin-ning" instead of "pie-ning," and the "we" referred to him and the old Asian man who has never said a word who leers in the back amongst the clothing). Once I came in and Air Supply was blasting over the speakers. I kind of did an imperceptible "well, that's weird" look and he just shrugged. "It's the only CD I've got, Joshy."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

things i should really try to stop doing (but def won't)

1) Deciding which bottle of wine to buy based on how "cool" the design is.

2) Using the construction "It's not that I'm trying to say she's Adjective X, but she's kind of, you know, Toned-Down-Version-of-Adjective X." (I always mean that she's Adjective X.)

3) Telling people the "hilarious" story of how I dramatically failed my first driver's license test... while I am driving them.

4) Sending e-mails that begin with "Heyo!"

5) Watching Grey's Anatomy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

bettering the world one wall post at a time

There really are no updates/adjustments to Facebook that don't irreparably shake the foundation of how we social network the fabric of life. And since I am basically a Facebook beat reporter when it comes down to it, I feel it my duty to cover the serious ramifications of this latest change.

For one thing, now that the news feed (which previously just served as essentially a Twitter-style list of Facebook status updates) now includes errrything (new friendships, event RSVPs, new group affiliations, etc.), your friends' more embarrassing Facebook habits have now become readily apparent. One of my friends confirmed she was attending five events in a rapid-fire 3:34am spree Saturday night... DRUNK MUCH OMG?!?! Another became a fan of so many embarrassing groups Sunday afternoon (i.e. Ashlee Simpson and Equinox). Serious social networking suicide going on, you guys.

More amusingly, Facebook has decided it will now take on the role of your mother ("Hey, do you still keep up with that really nice girl... you know, she always wore those big sweaters?") and is suggesting Facebook friends whom you might want to "reconnect" with. For me, these people have rotated between a co-worker I see every day, a girl who went to high school with someone I am no longer friends with, and my father. It's too bad that whatever algorithms they're using here aren't being applied to like build spaceships and break secret codes -- share the wealth, you Facebook guys!

And the phrasing!! "Help make Facebook better for her"?!?! I could get behind "Distract her from work" or "Reference an inside joke that neither of you will remember in two weeks." But this just seems like an over promise.