Tag Archives: …what just happened?

This isn’t real (Or the day I got to know a stranger’s diet too well)

Everyone who’s ever moved to NYC loves to tell newcomers that the first few months are the hardest. It gets easier, better after that. Just push through those initial few months. I guess a cliche is a cliche for a reason; this was exactly the case for me. The first couple of months were brutal- full of transition, a lack of balance, and absolutely no handle on how to run my own life. I can pinpoint the night when this all started to change..

After a stellar night out with a good friend from college, I boarded the train home  with a smile on my face, knitting in hand (yes, I knit on the subway.) Following me onto the train were two 18-22 year old boys, clearly hopped up on something. They sat across from me on the almost empty train, and we proceeded to do the one thing all New Yorkers are exceptionally good at: we completely ignored each other.

I sat in blissful exuberance, reliving my fabulous evening, and feeling my life fall into place. The sky was bluer (or would have been, if it wasn’t near to midnight), the birds were singing (or would have been, if it hadn’t been November), the conductor was skipping all stops in an effort to get me home in fifteen minutes flat (Ok…that’s a complete lie).

The boys across the aisle sat in blissful waves of semi-consciousness, munching their way through several bag of potato chips. I paid them no heed, and they were far too immersed in their snack to notice me.

About four stops from my own, I leaned down and put my knitting in my backpack. I leaned back in the seat, eyes closed, and thought to myself, “Wow. Things are really starting to look up. I think I’m finally getting the hang of this whole city-living thing. Maybe I really do like living here.”

As these pleasant and comforting thoughts settled into my consciousness, I felt a splash hit me. A continuous splash, spraying my clothing, shoes, and backpack. As I looked up, expecting to see the drugged-out boys messing around with a water bottle, another splash greeted me, hitting my hair and face. Through the flecks on my glasses, I saw one of the boys, calmly patting his friend on the back, as he proceeded to be violently sick. The boy’s hand was clamped over his own mouth, as though he thought this would cause his body to stop retching-if there’s nowhere for it to go, it’ll just not come at all. On the contrary, it came, and flew in every direction around his hand. Hence the spraying.

Now, I’m not one to swear in public. So,I was mildly surprised when I shouted, “Are you *$&^%^(&# kidding me?!” without so much as a moment of hesitation. This stirred something in the comforting friend, who proceeded to splutter, “I’m so sorry.” at me. He half-lifted his friend off the seat and onto the platform we had just arrived at. I sat, stunned, in a pool of vomit, watching as the young man continued to get sick all over the ground, and then get back into the subway car and continue throwing up.

When the train finally and mercifully pulled into my stop, I stood up stiffly, and shuffled off the subway with as much dignity as I could muster (so, not much. or none). I trudged home as quickly as possible, not meeting people’s gazes, and cursing that boy to the depths of hell, where a whole school of vomit-centered tortures would be waiting for him.

As I pulled open my apartment door, my roommate called cheerily to me in greeting, “Hey! How was your day?”

“I just got thrown up on.” I answered back in monotone, as I walked into the bathroom, sneakers, jacket and backpack still on, turned on the shower and proceeded to scrub every inch of me with dish soap and a sponge.

With the water pouring down my back, I thought to myself, “Please don’t take this as a sign, K. The timing of this means nothing. Nothing at all. It’s just a horrible, awful, freaking knee-slapper of a coincidence.”

Even as I sit here: happy, completely confident in my decision to move to NYC, and finally feeling like I have a home here, I gotta say…it’s hard to believe that when you’re pulling chunks of half-digested potato chip from your hair.

 

 

Advertisements

The Battle to End All Battles (or just to wash my underwear)

A few weeks ago, I awoke to find a note on the kitchen table from my roommate. Hastily scrawled on a piece of scrap paper were the words that were to bring war to my cozy little apt. Ugly, unrelenting, all or nothing war: The washing machine tore my blanket to shreds. I think it’s broken.

Let me start with a little background. We moved into our fabulous new apt with the knowledge that we would no longer have to drag our unmentionables out into the cold, cruel streets of New York in order to clean them. We would never again have to drag bags of freshly-pressed clothes up four flights of stairs. No elevator? No problem! We were also blessed with a combo washer dryer (much like New Englanders are blessed with below-zero temperatures in the winter.) This one little box of a machine washes and dries your clothes. In the same compartment. No, really. It does. Or is supposed to.

I found it curious that when we signed the lease, the realtor said no fewer than 17 times, “The hookup is the management company’s responsibility, but the maintenance of the machine is yours.” Hm. Strange that this point was so important to make. But, mere weeks later, standing with a bucket of towels and a user’s manual I found online clutched in my hands, I realized that it wasn’t strange at all. It was genius.  Sauron, Darth Vader, fill-in-your-own-favorite-bad-guy-worthy genius.

About a week after finding that note, I broke into my “time to do laundry” underwear. You know the ones- the stuff you bury deep in the bottom of your sock drawer in the hopes that no one will ever find it. Faced with five of the unsexiest pieces of clothing ever known to man and the decision between going to a laundromat or calling a plumber, I made the most intelligent choice. The obvious one. Fix it myself.

 

I was pretty sure the blanket had clogged the machine. Why not run it once without clothes in it to unclog it? Brilliant idea! So simple! I can do that! I happily put a little detergent in, hit start, and sat down to enjoy a cup of tea. The calm before the storm. I went back into the bathroom and was met with the ominous sight of a water and suds filled window. Lovely. My roommates both at work, I was left to sort it out on my own. I had found a how-to manual on the maker’s website, and realized that no one had ever cleaned out the filter. It’s probably just clogged! I bet if I clean it, all of the water will drain immediately. (There are moments in your life that you look back on your decisions and imagine a world where time travel is possible. Not so you can change it. No. So you can go back to that moment and bitch-slap the hell out of your past self just to get even.) The filter was located at the bottom of the machine. I carefully began to unscrew it, and was stopped by a geyser of water hitting me in the face. Dripping with suds and half-dissolved pieces of blanket, I quickly closed the filter, and spent a good ten minutes staring at the machine, willing the water to evaporate. After this inexplicably did not work, I  began the arduous process I fondly like to call: holding-a-1-billion-lb-machine-at-a-forty-five-degree-angle-with-one-hand-while-scooping-sudsy,-blanket-filled-water-out-with-a-travel-coffee-mug-into-a-tupperware-container-and-getting-the-entire-bathroom-soaked-in-the-process. After thoroughly cleaning out every nook, cranny, and filter, I ran the machine again, confident in my plumbing skills. I was a powerful, resourceful, independent college graduate! I could do anything! I…shouldn’t have started the machine again. It quickly filled without even the slightest hint of draining. And so it went, and has gone, for about two weeks now. But will I call a plumber? No. I will fix this myself.

…that’s actually a lie. I’m most likely going to call a plumber. Especially after my roommates and I thought the tub was clogged, poured a whole bottle of Drano into it, and then realized that the bathtub drain switch was on. It just seems that, after that, a professional is probably a solid choice.

The Haunting

So, subletting in the city has been great so far. I’ve been incredibly lucky with my roommates and the rooms I’ve found. However, I’m already starting to feel like I want a place of my own-somewhere I don’t have to move out of in a month. So, when a friend of mine offered to look with me, I immediately and enthusiastically said yes.

Which leads me to a few nights ago. My friend (let’s call her CW), had found a really cheap apt on Craig’s List that she was looking at that night. I decided to come along. It would probably be nothing, but worth taking a chance, right?

She told me where to meet her, and I blanched. It was the same block my ex lived on. After a few deep breaths, I thought, you know what? Oh well. I’m fine. And he sleeps all day anyway. This is fine. When I got to the meeting place, CW said the only six words that could possibly make this any more uncomfortable: “Guess what building we’re going to?” That’s right. We would be looking at apartments not only on the same block as my ex, but in the same building. Fantastic.

I hesitantly climbed the all-too familiar stairs, half-hoping the apartment would be awful with no windows, closets, or plumbing. And then, I stepped into a beautiful hallway. Which led to four pretty, spacious rooms. That all had decent-sized closets. And windows. I walked through the rather large living room, looking for the “but” factor, and being shocked when I couldn’t locate it. CW and I looked through every room, our eyes growing wider with each step. The apartment was incredible. Perfect size, way underpriced, willing to let us move in later than they were originally asking…I was sold.

…and then I remembered. Right. Him. I joked with CW for a few minutes about the uncomfortableness of the whole situation, and then decided that the apartment was too perfect not to at least talk to him about it. So I called him, knowing full well that this whole thing was a bad idea, but praying that he would  laugh and say, “K, you’re being silly. This is not a big deal at all. I mean, we’ll hardly see each other. And I have enough positive feelings about you left that I will be happy to say hello. And if I see you with another guy, I’ll say a little cheer for you in my head and maybe even give him a high-five. And don’t worry about seeing me with another girl because I’ve miraculously decided to never date again. Ever.” Or “K, this is fine. We’ll never see each other- I’ll dig a hole through my wall, and enter and exit my apartment that way. ” Or maybe even, “Actually, it’s funny you bring that up. I’m moving in a month.”

That, as you might have guessed, is not at all what happened.

Highlights from the conversation:

-Yeah, I don’t like it.

-It would really blur the lines.

-[insert awkward joke about bumping into future love interests here.]

-I’m sure you could find another apartment.

-…but it’s your decision.

Thank you, sir, for saying all of the things I was hoping you would negate for me. In the end, though, I’m glad that I talked to him about it. It pulled me back to reality. Because living in the same building as your ex would be awful. Even if the apartment is perfect. It would be like the relationship was haunting you. Every time you walked into the building. And I’m not in the market for that sort of living arrangement.

Any opinions? What would you have done?

Kicking and Screaming. Thrifty-style.

About two weeks before I moved to NYC, my dad informed me that he would be buying me a pepper spray ring, and that I would wear it whenever I was walking

Attractive, I know.

alone at night. (If you don’t know what these are, they are little rectangular “rings” that have a switch on the side- flip the switch, pepper spray shoots out of your jewelry. Into someone’s eye, hopefully.) I said, that’s nice of you, I love you, but no. (Really, they’re that ugly.) I guess he took my comment to heart because about a week later, he handed me an Ila Dusk. This is a British invention (where pepper spray is illegal) that is supposed to serve as a stylish way to protect yourself. The device looks like a charm you attach to your purse. Pull out the chain at the bottom of the charm, though, and a 130-decible female scream erupts out of the accessory, effectively screaming for you if you have been struck dumb. This, I could live with. I hooked it to my purse and forgot all about it.

Until a few days ago. I was shopping at a thrift store in my neighborhood, searching for flannel shirts for my new serving job. It was a small store, cramped and packed to the brim.  As I was exiting the dressing room, I bumped into a banner and knocked it off of its nail. (Thank you, 10 + years of ballet for my excessive amount of grace and poise. ) I whipped around, bent down and quickly picked up the banner. As soon as I touched it, the thing started screaming at me. Loudly. For no apparent reason. My first thought was, “Wow, they put an alarm on a banner? Maybe it’s an antique…” I hung it back on its nail, hoping this would quiet the screaming…but nope. The banner continued to shriek at me. At this point, I had managed to garner every shopper’s attention. My cheeks began to burn as I stared hopelessly at the stupid piece of fabric, looking for some sort of hidden button or lever, anything that could get it to stop shrieking. That’s about the time I started to realize…the screaming was coming from me. Sort of. I looked down, and there, hanging on the outside of my purse was the Ila Dusk. And it was missing it’s chain.

I began to frantically search the surrounding area, employing the help of several

This is my Ila Dusk. Polka Dots. Cute. Non-threatening. Until you pull the chain. Then it’s a harpy. A wailing, bitchy harpy.

concerned shoppers, all the while keeping my thumb pressed against the speaker. Of course, 130 decibles doesn’t really stop because of a thumb, and the thing was going to keep screaming for ten minutes if I didn’t find the chain and reinsert the pin. While I searched, I kept up a constant stream of “Sorry”‘s and “It’s my personal alarm”‘s to the pretty steady flow of curious passersby. The screaming was so loud and, well, disturbing, that people were coming in off the street to see who was dying. Who was being killed. Who was having an emotional breakdown. With each person, my flailing and apologizing grew more frantic. I combed the rug with my eyes, praying for a glimmer of silver. Finally, after what felt like an eternity (and what was probably closer to a couple of minutes), I saw it. There, caught on a hanger, hung my chain. I tugged it off the hanger and reinserted the pin. A silence the likes of which I have never known filled the room, pressing in on my ear drums. My entire body was shaking. I could feel every eye on me. Of course, being the suave, quick-witted, intelligent person that I am, I had the perfect line to smooth this whole fiasco over.

“Whoops.”

Hopefully my mortifying experience saves some lives- everyone was rather interested in the device that had effectively burst their ear drums. And hey, at least I know it works, right?

How Getting Cold Feet Can Attract the NYPD.

Well, the hopeful move-in day is getting precariously close. Less than a month. And I’m starting to experience the beginning stages of about 30 different incredibly strong emotions, all vying for my attention. Currently topping the list are terror, dread, fear, anxiety, nervousness, insecurity, and an extremely persistent joy. As I was sitting at work today, amidst several teetering piles of contracts and grumbling co-workers, a memory hit me square in the face. One that I think fits my overall emotional state when it comes to NYC.

About two summers ago, I traveled to the city with a friend of mine from our acting gig in upstate New York. We had a few days off, and thought we’d go stay in her apt, eat some sushi, drink some very strong Margaritas, and watch a disturbing amount of True Blood. Now, my friend (we’ll call her the Apothecary, after her character), lived in a very nice part of the city, so I felt immediately safe and relaxed. Her roommate was in Austria for the summer; we had the whole apartment to ourselves. Girly activities ensued. It was absolutely fabulous.

The next day, the Apothecary and I are happily asleep, the AC drumming in the window, when we are jolted awakeby a knock on her door. A quick glance at my cell phone shows that it’s 7 am. Odd. Before we can react, the person knocks again- which leads to the unsettling realization that the knock is coming from right outside her bedroom door. Oh goody. We’re going to be murdered, but at least the guy is nice enough to alert us.  The door opens roughly, and in steps a cop. Holding a gun. Pointing at a space directly between the floor and where I am lying on the bed.

“Stay where you are! Put your hands above the covers! Do you live here?” 

“Yes, I do.”

” I need to see some ID.”

Before the Apothecary can so much as nod her head, a second cop enters, demanding to know if we live here. As I had been sleeping about two minutes before, and also didn’t happen to live there, I sat, petrified and absolutely silent. A great deal of scuffling around could be heard coming from the living room and the other bedroom. And just as I’m starting to think this is all a dream, yet another of NYPD’s finest enters the room. Aggressively. With a gun drawn. Delightful.

The Apothecary begins reaching for her purse in slow, measured movements; and that’s when we hear a confused female voice calling her name.

The Apothecary stands up uncertainly and walks into the living room, where the pieces start to click into place.You see, a friend of the Apothecary’s had been  watering the plants for her while she was gone. She was an EMT and worked odd hours. Her shift had just ended, and so she was coming over while she had a minute, and noticed the window was open. This made her a little confused. A tad bit concerned. Then, she arrived at the door to the apt only to find it dead-bolted. Now she was downright alarmed. And instead of calling the landlord, she called the cops. Who forced their way throw said window, knocking it out of its frame and onto the exact plant that was needing to be watered, broke the dead bolt in their hurry and confusion (apparently they never open a door from the inside), let in a few more cops, and woke up the Apothecary and I, thinking we were intruders.

Sheepish smiles and apologies were offered from the people who had, up until a few seconds ago, had their guns drawn at us. Then, the seven or so cops who had been standing around in the cramped living room trekked out the door and down the stairs, as I watched with utter disbelief.

And so, that is where I’m at. On the verge of an amazing, fun experience, but aware that I might get woken up by a bunch of gun-wielding cops. Yeah, I think that sums it up.