Thursday, January 27, 2011

'poultry in motion'

Every once in a while you'll be having a conversation and someone will ask "Do you remember what life was like before the internet?" (or a variation like "Remember when we had to CALL EACH OTHER to make plans?" or "Isn't it funny how, before Facebook, we didn't know anyone's birthday? LOL!"). I generally find that sort of "conversation starter" vaguely irritating because there's really no response you can give other than some form of "Yes! I do! Ha ha! Those times were before these times."

But for some reason whenever someone does evoke pre-internet days, I ALWAYS immediately recall the same memory from about ten years ago. My brother and I were staying up late on a Friday night watching "Chicken Run" on VHS in my parents' bedroom. I remember thinking the movie was going to be so lame (I was in the midst of my "ornery and discontented" phase). Yet Sam and I, improbably, ended up loving it so much that, as soon as it ended, we rewound it and watched the entire movie a second time, writing down our favorite lines on a pad of paper as it played. I remember presenting the eight or nine page document to my parents later as if it was a sculpture I had chiseled out of marble or something.

I guess the internet was sort of around in 2000 or 2001 or whenever this was, and I'm not entirely sure why THIS is the one anecdote I associate with the notion of a pre-internet life, but I suppose the whole thing - the repeat viewing, the handwritten list, the sense of embarking on a project with an utter lack of skepticism or self-consciousness - just strikes me as belonging to a completely different era.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

thoughts re: friends

1. I've noticed that whenever I'm in conversation with a "new" friend, I will almost always do one of the following: go on for too long about someone we both know in a way that makes me feel regretful when I think about it later; reveal an overly personal detail after a perceived lull (a lull which, in its multiple beats, seems "make-or-break" somehow); indicate strong feelings about an issue I really do not care about at all.

2. I rarely feel closer to a friend than when I call her because there's something I just desperately need to tell her, and she picks up and says "Hi, I'm actually at lunch with Fran right now so I can't talk" but I say "OK, but..." and I blurt out whatever the news is and she squeals in this muted way and says "Ohmigod, I'll call you later."

3. I realized the other day that, in a good number of my friendships (especially the more recently formed ones), there's often some sort of weird incident or circumstance between us - which occurred before we became close - that just always goes undiscussed, no matter how many times I see the person or how intimate the friendship becomes. Maybe I know she unfriended me on Facebook sophomore year only to re-friend me a year later (with a "how were we not friends before??" message); maybe we sat near each other in a lecture for a whole semester without ever talking before we were friends; whatever it is, I'll occasionally wonder if it's hidden away in her mental attic, too, or if this is something only I am aware of.

Monday, January 17, 2011

things that happened this weekend

- I watched the music video for Jessica Simpson's "Take My Breath Away" twice.

- The coffee shop I go to changed its wireless password from "ilovesheepalot" to the (moderately disturbing, I feel) "sheeplove."

- I stared at this picture of Mila Kunis and Jon Hamm for about seven minutes (no exaggeration) at about 2 a.m. on Friday night. I then went to brush my teeth and managed to snap my toothbrush in half while brushing (note: I've never heard of that happening to anyone ever). It just snapped. I can only assume there was some sort of energy buildup/release going on there.

- My feet got so cold in my apartment Saturday afternoon that I put on athletic, white socks over dress socks. That night, at a bar, I remembered that I was wearing two pairs of socks and did this little widening smirk thing with the lower half of my face that thankfully no one noticed.

- A homeless man called out at me "Hey, Max, any change?" and I was so taken aback by his just, I dunno, taking a chance and calling me "Max" that I stopped walking for a second. In retrospect, I'm wondering if maybe he actually said "man" or "hombre" (?) or "snacks" or something.

- The place I had dinner Saturday night had a page in its menu titled "White Wine in a Box" which was just a written parody of "Dick in a Box" that for some reason was about Lindsay Lohan.

- I found myself at a 80s-themed dance party Saturday night at which this guy started talking to my friend Marissa (who is a dancer). After a minute or two, he turned to me (I was basically just standing there bobbing my head and swaying slightly, hunching over to seem less tall) and asked earnestly, "Oh, are you a dancer, too?" (oh also, I was holding a giant coat). I was so amused that I couldn't even form a response so I just half nodded as if I couldn't hear what he was saying.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

insulation frustration

When I got back from Boston after the holidays, I was informed by my roommate that, in my absence, the superintendent had "insulated" the windows in our bedrooms. Now, as best I could tell upon examination, this "insulating" had consisted of his hastily duct taping some plastic wrap in our window bays, but I was still pleased considering my bedroom had been awfully chilly since early December.

Well, it is now about a week since I returned to New York, and I ain't so pleased anymore.

Here's the thing: while it is marginally warmer in my bedroom post-insulation, the plastic wrap is taped in such a way that it makes this crinkly, popping noise in its natural resting state. The best way I can describe the noise is "dysfunctional popcorn machine." And there's no pattern to the "popping" whatsoever: five minutes of silence will be followed by 45 seconds of an origami bird having a seizure.

About three times a night, I have half-lucid fantasies of tearing off my bedsheets, standing up in bed, ripping off the plastic sheet triumphantly, and then happily dissipating into Alex Mack-style goo in my bed, finally able to fall asleep. Once I woke up in the morning so sure that I had torn down the "insulation" during the throes of my slumber that when I heard the popping as I got dressed I thought I had gone mad and was stuck with this noise for life.

I feel like I am trapped in a miserable "Would You Rather?" game: would you rather be freezing cold but able to sleep in silence or be comfortably warm but woken up about three times a night and driven to near-insanity by the grumbles of the plastic monster?

Of course, I could probably tear down the plastic and construct a makeshift "insulation" of stuffed animals or avocados or whatever, but the masochist in me is loving this continual source of agony.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

boy with a beaded necklace

When I was home in Boston for the holidays I found this necklace sitting in a ceramic bowl I made for my mother for Valentine's Day or something when I was like 12. When I was in middle school, I used to think this necklace was the "flyest" accessory imaginable. Whenever there was some kind of big event (like a dance or a party or one of those "winter festival" things), I would always be sure to "rock" this necklace (after applying a squirt, or seven, of Abercrombie "Fierce" cologne).

I put on the necklace last week when I found it and, sure, it was funny in the obvious "look at this idiotic thing I used to think was super cool" way. But, after providing that initial giggle, it struck me more profoundly as a reminder that probably everything I think is awesome now - the clothes, the slang, the neckwear - will seem utterly, laughably lame in ten or fifteen years time.

I actually found that thought sort of comforting though, freeing even. There's really no reason to take anything in our lives too seriously: in ten years, you'll come across it in a ceramic bowl and thank god you're not as young as you used to be.