Archive for January, 2009

I Love NY!

January 31, 2009

Yesterday morning on my way to work I had one of those fabulous moments when NY feels a little more personal, a little more intimate, and a little more accessible. I was running a little late (well, late by my terms… I still got to work 15-20 min early) and rushing along the platform at Bleecker, where I was going to take the 6 train up to the office. I look up and – can you believe it? – Magda, one of my closest friends in NY, is standing right there! These are my favorite moments in life in NY. All of a sudden the sometimes overwhelmingly impersonal, vast feeling of the city melts away and you have an opportunity to really connect with someone you know in a chance encounter. Love it. 🙂

When I first moved to NY, back in 2004, I filled much of my time by wandering random parts of the city. I was roaming around FIT, when I saw this sleek, glamorous silhouette approaching me, adorned in a flowing shirt dress and the most fantastic heels I have ever seen in my life. That’s when it hit me – I’m really in NY! Only here can I semi-regularly see men who are more stylish and glamorous than I can ever hope to be… The reason this comes up now is that on my way home last night, I passed two beautiful women on the sidewalk, dressed up to the nines and ready for a Friday night on the town. Legs that I would kill for, perfectly styled hair, and immaculately applied make-up… yep, you’ve got it – once they got closer, I could see that they were men. Haha. Such is life in the city!

On a side note, I got the most incredible compliment from my friend Carrie this morning. Carrie is Canadian, currently living in Australia. She’s adventurous, and exciting, and lives the life I dream about – working on cruise ships, moving to another country, traveling like crazy. She asked if I had heard about the job in Australia, deemed the Best Job in the World (I have, it’s http://www.islandreefjob.com, and I only have 22 days left to apply!) What absolutely thrilled me, is that Carrie went on to say that I would be “sooooooo perfect” for that job, and after she read my blog, it dawned on her that I would be great for it. SO EXCITING! As soon as I heard about it, I started thinking “Oh my goodness, they totally created this with me in mind!” but it’s completely different to have someone else tell you that you’d be great at it. 🙂 Thanks Carrie! You made my day!

For those of you who are not aware, the tourism department in Australia has set up a competition/mass application process for a 6-month position as an island caretaker in the Great Barrier Reef region. Primary duties include: snorkeling around the reef and exploring all the islands have to offer, updating a weekly blog about your discoveries and experiences, participating in interviews with the media, cleaning the pool that they give you for your private use, and doing occasional mail runs. Umm… that has ME written all over it! So I need to get my act together, do some research, and find a digital camera and a competent friend/cameraperson to help me put together my 60 second video submission! Any takers? 🙂

The Deterioration of American Journalism

January 29, 2009

Before my rant, I’d like to mention that someone read my story about the homeless man on the train last night and pointed out that it’s not always that the other passengers feel they are above the person, it’s frequently also a possibility that seeing a person in such a state is a reminder of their own fragility. This statement is perhaps even more relevant recently, given the country’s current economic condition and the fact that numerous people who never thought twice about money and had what they considered to be well-paid, secure jobs have lost their careers and even their homes.

Speaking of the current economic condition of the country… let me begin my rant against American pseudo-journalism. Since when is “stox” EVER appropriate to use in a headline about the stock market. Really?! NY Daily News seems to have made it a habit of using “sez” instead of “says,” and numerous other examples of this ridiculous deterioration of the American language and the integrity of American journalism can be found in newspapers, magazines, and in “credible” news websites across the country. The general acceptance of text and IM pseudo-language is bad enough in general cultural terms, does it really have to infiltrate the news??

On a related note, a few years ago I had one specific moment when I realized that American news coverage – even from previously credible sources of reasonably high integrity – had hit a low point when I was watching CNN one day and there was a “Breaking News!” flash, interrupting the current programming on serious conflicts around the world, telling the world with absolute urgency about the latest antics of… Britney Spears. (UGH! Just thinking about it still makes me cringe!) Does Britney having a breakdown and shaving her head really take precedence over the tens of thousands of people dying of famine, disease, and in violent conflicts worldwide?? *sigh*

The news material itself recently has been upsetting in a very different way. Today at work, my co-worker Pam and I were discussing the California family who was found dead in their home, after the mother and father had both lost their jobs. The father apparently shot his wife and five children, then himself. According to the letters he left behind, he and his wife has discussed it, and decided that murder-suicide would be their best option and they did not want to leave their children behind to be raised by others. Which makes me wonder, how extensive was this discussion? Did they really consider all the options available to them, all the help programs, all the lower-paying jobs in the meantime, all the state and federal programs… did they really weigh all their options before choosing death? And at what point in the discussion does killing everyone seem like a viable option? I feel that there must be some kind of mental predisposition within those who choose such a violent end over life. It is truly astounding to me. To not only kill themselves, but to take others with them. 

On a more uplifting note… because, well, this is a little depressing so far (sorry about that)… my friend Britton Williams (an absolutely incredible actress, teacher, entrepreneur, and all-around person) found a homeless shelter that’s interested in hosting her free workshop, KAPCAT! Through her non-profit organization (The Jeanie Bird Foundation – http://www.jeaniebird.org), Britton has created an innovative program to work with shelters that cater to families and bring in an arts program that enables the families to work together on artistic endeavors over the span of 8-12 weeks in order to bring each family closer, and for them to be able to create something together. Additionally, it gives participants a forum in which to express their stories, and to learn to communicate more effectively among themselves and with others. AMAZING project – you should definitely check it out!

Reaffirmation

January 28, 2009

Last night I had tea and scones with the fabulous Rachel McPhee at a cute little place called Alice’s Tea Cup on 81st St. If you’re ever around the UES, I highly recommend it. Anyway, we had a lot to catch up on, what with my disastrous relationship that finally came to a close, and the impending court case I need to get moving on. Sipping steaming organic ginger goodness, we discussed the shocking realization that people can be SO cruel. Which, on an intellectual level, seems obvious – all the murderers, serial killers, drug dealers, violent gang members, abusive spouses, etc. in the world. But for us, it was like the heavens caving in! Two caring, compassionate, Midwestern girls suddenly confronted with the reality that even people who seem wonderful and who you let into your little world can do you great harm.

With the drama pouring out of my mouth, singeing the air with each recounted tale of his selfish, manipulative, spiteful acts against me, Rachel perked up in a moment of inspiration – “You should totally sell your story!” Brilliant. “It would solve your money problems, and people would love this kind of story, and I would want to play you in the movie!” So simple, so inspired, so… possible? We’ll see about that. But it was strangely uplifting to have one of the most talented actresses I know exclaim that she wants to play ME in a movie! Who would have ever thought that my life could be interpreted as an interesting role?? Love it. 🙂

On my way home from work tonight, I stepped onto the train and found a place to stand. All around me, people took one look at this old man sitting in one of the seats, a plastic bag containing a throw pillow and wool blanket perched on the seat next to him, and they moved away. He wasn’t particularly smelly or anything, but people seem immediately repelled by those they consider to be homeless. He likely is homeless, his hands dry and calloused, his face lined with the deep furrows of 1,000 nights spent sleeping outside in the cold. I didn’t budge. He was about 2 feet away, looking at his reflection and carrying on a lengthy conversation with the friendly face looking back at him. In Spanish, I believe. He was emaciated, his wilted silhouette obvious even through the tattered fleece and puffy jacket. Periodically he would look across to the other side of the train car and bashfully wave to his own reflection in the window. 

There was something about this man that affected me to the core. He was oddly child-like, and yet in the moment that our eyes locked – just for an instant – I could see that he possesses the wisdom of an old soul. Despite his generally worn and unkempt appearance, the scraggly salt and pepper beard, the dirty knit cap he shifted back and forth nervously on his head… his eyes exhibited a remarkable vibrancy that nearly caught me off-guard. They were so piercing, so alert. I couldn’t move. He was completely compelling. Something about this battered, weathered old man touched me – he was still SO alive. 

Reflecting on my own situation, he made me consider the notion that if he can keep that vibrancy, that vivacity under circumstances I cannot even begin to fathom, then why do we – with so many more opportunities and material possessions – collapse in anguish over comparatively trivial matters? Why do we place ourselves so far above him that we cannot even stand near him on a train? Am I the only one who saw the inherent humanity, the sense of humor, and the desire to persevere within this man?

I cannot help but wonder what brought this man to his current circumstance. Or anyone in such a situation for that matter. I can’t imagine, as children, any of these individuals sincerely saying “I want to be homeless and struggle every day of my life and be shunned by the people around me when I grow up.” What was he like as a child? Where is he from? What were his dreams and ambitions? And what are they now? Thankfully, I know I’m not the only one who considers these things. Wherever he was going, I hope that old man got there safely.

Hello world!

January 25, 2009

My friend’s fiance once commented that my life would be great material for a sitcom. While I feel this was a bit of an overstatement, I decided to take it as a compliment and giggle about the notion that anyone might find my life even remotely interesting, let alone fascinating enough to warrant a television show. Now, the better part of a year later, I have caved to the insistence that I should start a blog to share my random experiences, travels, useless knowledge, and thoughts on life.

Naturally, much of the material for the basis of this blog has already occurred, and I will try to weave in important aspects of the backstory as they become relevant to current thoughts and events. Things that you should know up front:

I am perpetually single, and my forays into the dating world seem to frequently be met with unbelievable tales of things that simply don’t happen to normal people. My most recent “relationship” would be better set in a soap opera than reality. But, for reasons unknown to myself at present, I try to laugh it off and press on in my enduring quest for love and companionship.

I have lived in NYC off and on for 4 1/2 years now, and no matter where else I may go, I always feel compelled to come back here. It inspires me, repulses me, and has me under its spell.

I have a thousand ideas a minute, but I’m remarkably and consistently delinquent at following through on many of them. My foremost goal for the new year is to cultivate my passions and use them to feel more fulfilled in life.

Happy Reading! 🙂