Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The New York Times: But Will It Make You Happy?
I made it its own paragraph is how much I'd recommend it. I'm very easily swayed by this type of argument against stuff: oh, I will throw out all my spoons (silver, get it, an allusion) and live a romantic bohemian lifestyle where all I need are my friends and my dog and my love and water when I go to bars and then I will kayak and hike mountains and pay off my bajillion dollar student loans in two years and live in New Zealand.
So, in those golden, hazy, few weeks ago when the world was new and I was young and New York was alive, I threw out a lot of stuff.
Then you start grad school (day two counts, okay). Then you just get all Curious George about the state of your affairs which is honestly a very stupid thing to do and go through your credit cards, your bank accounts, your student loans, and the money your wonderful parents loaned you for rent but has disappeared into groceries because you have to start a fridge all over, a metrocard, cab fares from places that look fine in the daytime but get Law and Order-y at night, laundry, a sweater, bus tickets, dog food for your beloved dog you would never regret for all the loan-debt forgiveness in the world, window blinds, notebooks, a haircut for the hair equivalent of a snaggle-tooth you keep on your head daily and textbooks, and you're like oh shit. This city has eaten all my money. There is no money.
Then you climb up to your mini-loft you use for storage for all that unnecessary stuff you threw away and have a little quiet anxiety attack.
I, and is everyone on the planet so at least we have something in common, am absolutely panic-stricken at the thought of being poor. Like beyond poor actually because you owe the Department of Education about a third of a large house. BUT. Butbutbut. I'm inviting you along on my attempt to not have hyperventilating freak outs in an empty bathtub or dusty loft (or the cold, hard, empty place of your choosing) when you have to face the fact that you have absolutely no money. And that you live in a city where "you can have anything all the time" and "it never sleeps" and "is the best city in the world" (thanks, I get it, rub it in).
This inevitably leads to the facing of other fears that subsequently are no longer scary because you are desperate, including:
-selling your beloved books you've amassed through a buyback service online for pennies on the dollar, and subsequently selling your main safety blanket for your intelligence (i.e. LOOK AT ALL MY BOOKS, I'VE READ THEM).
-not getting enough sleep in order to churn out those charming freelance articles which are your only source of income, which could logically lead to worse anxiety about everything and probably will (see the cycle there, I do).
Those are the main two. But still. At the same time, I'm not going to lie: my list-making and brain-storming has lead to a lot of -ing-ings, and generally, ing-ings (which could, I guess, be calling "being smart and doing valuable things with your life instead of mindlessly buying things and saying you owe it to yourself to not go more in debt") feel kind of satisfying.
Monday, August 30, 2010
WHY IS SHE STILL LOOKING OVER is this a race? Is that what you want, a race? FINE LET'S DANCE.Five minutes later, I'm the better person cause it takes two to tango and I'm Buddha and I quit.
I was talking out my gym habits with my boyfriend, various insecurities, why people feel the need to be soooooo competitive on gym equipment when they already have firm, supple asses; how much I love the pop punk and TOP-40 channels on those little tvs in front of my treadmill and how the person who invented those tvs should be awarded a Nobel for making my life better; how sometimes I get so into those wacky Beyonce videos I want to start dancing and mumble-singing.
Matt put the pieces together quickly.
Matt: "Do you do those things?"
Me: "Yeah I guess sometimes I just get so into the musi-"
Matt: "That would explain why people stare at you then."
This only heightened my anxiety about others judging my treadmill activities. Until today.
Myself, I says, TODAY WE RUN. WE MAKE UP FOR SIX DAYS SPENT WATCHING WHEEL OF FORTUNE WHILE CRAFTING DREAMS OF $12,400 AND A NEW NISSAN. I hang my towel over the the front-part that tells me how far and fast I'm going, and I tuned into "modern contemporary" (I'm not kidding) for about five songs and just ran. Yes, okay, I put the treadmill speed like .2 slower than normal cause I was serious about not walking.
So 20 minutes later I get all cocky and am like soooo excited to see my 3.6 miles (I got fixated on that number for whatever reason, 3.6 would be acceptable and cause an easy and un-sweaty victory of the proposed 7 ).
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. 1.6 miles?!?! So then I'm all, YOU TRICKED ME. SCREW YOU GYM, SCREW YOU HOT CHICKS ON STAIRMASTERS FOR TWENTY MINUTES THAT IS SUPERHUMAN, SCREW YOU TREADMILL, SCREW YOU BEYONCE.
I pouted for another mile but then that Fall Out Boy song came on with the line from Closer (which makes me be all "ooooo I know where that line is from" and shiver with superiority whenever I hear it) and the monkey and Kimmy K in the music video...and I just snapped. From the humiliation inflicted upon me by my treadmill, to the judge-y chicks in really nice-looking spandex who rarely sweat which seems unfair, to the musical equivalent of black-tar heroin coursing through my veins, my brain just snapped.
From now on, Chad is me and I am Chad and no hot girl with a unnatural, and, I might add, frankly unnerving, ability to climb stairs can make me feel bad.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Rabies, stinging creatures, rape, murder, bankruptcy, the X-Files, the rural south, "zombies" (the designated term for the old women who wander the Upper East Side unsure of their own existence on either side of the life spectrum i.e. "am I dead or alive I will just put on more eyeliner and this wig and find out"), terrorism, anthrax, any sort of disease in general, heroin, the wooden spoons you get from ice cream from an ice cream truck, Joe Biden, cockroaches (guughhh).
Rabies, any group situation in which you are a loner (including but not limited to: parties, gatherings, meetings), "fun icebreaker facts" about yourself because you are either a) too shy, b) a jerk, first dates, second dates, that date where you're unsure if you're supposed to make out or not and you don't really want to but you do kind of like them, break-ups, telling someone they've made you unhappy (including but not limited to: bad friends, bad hairdressers, bad manicurists, bad graduate advisers).
[LIFE-BETTERING THAT REQUIRES YOU TO DO SHIT FIRST]
Marathons, accepting awards gracefully, telling someone they've made you unhappy, auditions, speaking up in class, attending events on your own, being aggressively kind, calling people during normal business hours so you might actually have to talk to them instead of just leaving them messages at 11:00pm and hoping when they call you back you don't have to pick up, interviews, first outings with potential new friends, first classes, standing up for something, trying new things in general, being genuine.
Yes, on some of these I cheated because I know I'm doing them tomorrow, and some I blatantly will not face either out of impossibility or pointlessness (i.e. Joe Biden or cockroaches, both of which are skeevy and I refuse to consort with). But that's a start.
Friday, August 27, 2010
The only real reward you get for facing your fear of small talk with hairdressers because you’re afraid of asking inadvertently personal and inappropriate questions (when does “so where do you live?” turn weird? Why when I’m brave enough to timidly point out a nice shoe I think is pretty in the Vogue on my lap, the universe/my new hairdresser only rewards me with “mm”?) is orange hair and three extra unwanted inches cut off?
LESSON LEARNED, UNIVERSE.
For the record, I think I’m a FANTASTIC neighbor. I’m from New England, so I promise to never bother you with friendliness or hospitality and I get paranoid every three seconds and turn the volume down on my Bravo marathons in case I’m bothering anyone but then have to alternately turn it back up again cause I’m borderline deaf thanks to pop punk.
So, I moved into this apartment in New York a few weeks ago. Since that time:
a) we may or may not have slept a bit late ONCE and then my boyfriend may or may not have tried to take him out for a walk and he may or may not have peed in the hallway cause his poor little bladder was exploding due to his inattentive and horrible parents. In his defense, my cohabitant dis-robed his upper half to wipe up the pee. Cut to three hours later when there’s a note on the FRONT DOOR OF THE BUILDING explaining how whoever let their dog “urinate” in the front hallway is a horrible person and they need to be conscious of others having to walk through “urine.” Finished with a “Thank You! “
b) My cohabitant slammed into a chair doing something I don’t remember at like midnight. Three minutes later, the Neighbors From Down Below (get it, like HELL) knock on our ceiling all like, “hey you inconsiderate f-ers with jackhammers, can you please stop dancing in your cement galoshes all night with your elephants you’ve been keeping us up for hours and we have really important jobs in the morning like ruling the United States.”
c) We got up early to walk our PTSD dog and receive a note from the N.F.D.B. on our door for all people in the apartment building to view on their way to get groceries or be good neighbors or whatever about how we’re so loud and terrible and we are no longer allowed to wear shoes in our apartment. Ever.
I scampered downstairs in tightly-laced sneakers to scrub the front hallway with Lysol crouched down in racer’s position to bolt down to the basement if I thought I heard someone coming. I was so distraught over the potential that the N.F.D.B. sit at dinner and discuss what a jerk I am that I had some wine and posted a well-crafted apology note w/ wine stain on their door. Things like this send me into tailspins that go on for hours. I mumble all the potential, horrible conversations between me and some angry neighbor in the shower.
Tonight I was making steak and braised cucumbers and once again reaffirming my competent, life-loving womanhood when I set the fire alarm off on our approximate Notre Dame height ceiling. PANIC MODE EMILY DO ALL THESE THINGS AT ONCE:
a) Screech like a harpy coming off a meth binge while waving both my arms so fast it’s like that pencil trick where you’re like “whoa, it looks bendy!” so Matt understands I need him to sprint to get on a kitchen chair and jump to hit the button because the neighbors are gathering their pitchforks;
b) Frantically wave my personal fan at the kitchen which was ill-advised because turning a fan on a lit burner leads to a lot of surprising and excess fire but at this point in my brain the neighbors are calling the rental company to demand we be kicked out of the building tomorrow at 7:30 pm to be blinded and wander the desert like Rapunzel’s prince and all our possessions burned and our dog publicly humiliated in townsquare, put in the stocks and then hanged;
c) Use my shaking un-fanned hand to grab the closest spoon and corkscrew and jab all the food to beg it to please stop smoking because I am forever The Worst Neighbor and Person Of All Time until the planet explodes in 100 years.
It’s been an hour and a half and nothing has happened. I may be the Worst Neighbor and Person Of All Time but I don’t…actually…feel…different. Which feels good. On the other hand, this could logically also mean I was already the Worst Neighbor and Person Of All Time. Which feels sucks.
Did I face a fear?
RUMOR OF SPENCER PIMPING OUT HEIDI TO DO A GIRL-ON-GIRL SEXY NUDEY TAPE WITH ONE TWIN FROM GIRLS NEXT DOOR, THE SECOND VERSION THAT DIDN’T LAST VERY LONG PRESUMABLY CAUSE THE TWINS WERE SO WEIRD AND KIND OF BORING AT THE SAME TIME?!
I need to stop watching e! news. Screw the mug on this one.
In a cab the other day, I saw a bunch of runners wearing sweet running clothes looking svelte and hot running along the east river. It was so sunny and pleasant and looked like this handy picture I found.
And so, self, I says, we will do this one day. Although there are a whole host of scary things to be encountered including but not limited to:
1. It’s the East River. Ever watched any episode of Law and Order? Yeah. Me too.
2. I’m a woman. I hate that this has to be even considered when I think about doing things I want to do, but what if what if what if?
3. How the hell do I even enter said path? Do people just naturally know these facts, or do they wander around like me, trying to look like I’m running into every tiny park I see hoping for an opening and pretending I just wanted to add some extra mileage?
4. Why are the fences so short?
5. What if the driver of a car flips his lid and decides he wants to drive over those dinky fences into the river and tomato-faced me is caught in his rage-filled crosshairs?
However, the heart-palpitatingly boring (it’s possible) prospect of running on a treadmill for another minute trumped all fears. Also, I have one pair of fancy running leggings I save for occasions like this to trick the other runners into mistaking me for one of them. I donned them, and finally found an entrance. It’s at the end of my street.
I will say this: you do not run on this when it is remotely nighttime. That being said, it was mostly lovely, albeit a bit confusing and I had to wander around midtown with a where’d-my-river-go? sad face on for a little bit before giving up and returning home. I had to check a prominently displayed map to do so. This also meant I got to confront my permanent and un-reversable repulsion to EVER looking like a tourist. Even when I am a tourist. BUT IN THIS CASE I AM NOT and there was so much sweat and shame.
Also, I like the way the East River smells which I think signals I have a olfactory disorder.
Eggs are absolutely delicious. If there is a good argument against eggs, I’m not interested and therefore it doesn’t exist. poof.
I’ve always known eggs are awesome, but after my first viewing of Julie and Julia on the loveseat by my onesies last night, I was inspired to take the culinary bull by the horns: self, I says, tomorrow you will make Eggs Benedict from scratch for the first time ever because Julia Child was a complete b.a. AND YOU CAN BE TO! If that bland Julie character with the unfortunate haircut could do it, piece of cake.
Here’s where it gets complicated: I was SO excited to make Eggs Benedict this morning, I leaped out of bed at 10:00 (unusual), dragged the dog down the stairs, encouraged him to poop on our front stoop, and didn’t bother changing out of my jammies to confidently stride to the grocery store. These completed eggs would define me as a new woman like Julie and like Julia; I would be adventurous, out of the rut of my sometimes seemingly mapped-out and potentially boring and uneventful and eventually forgotten life once the planet explodes in like 100 years; I would be independent, goal-oriented, a strong woman.
Okay so, I’m ready to buy some butter and a whisk, right, and then: I am overcome with the overwhelming urge to drop all my parsley and Michael Cera-run home (this is the only time I’ve ever wished to be Michael Cera and it will never happen again, promise). If I actually tried to make these Eggs Benedict that would signal the start of my new strong womanhood where I would be the type to do more than make her graduate school department run out of red wine at cocktail parties (that’s a whole other story). And by trying, then, logically, I could fail. And like all people who say they “do” comedy , I probably would. And so, we can logically follow this minute failure to a larger failure of womanhood:
Neurosis and near paralysis causal of the equation Eggs Benedict=Womanhood.
So, I did something that scared me and risked my romantic vision of new selfhood. Mostly because the Upper East Side wants to charge me $21 for whisks, eggs and butter. I made hollandaise sauce from scratch (two. full. sticks. of. butter.) I fried some weirdo ham that I still don’t understand because it’s too fat to be ham but tastes like ham. AND. AND AND AND. I poached not one, but two eggs. Which is just like hard-boiling an egg but doing it to an egg that’s naked and vulnerable.
SO WHAT HAPPENED? The hollandaise sauce tasted like two sticks of melted butter, and the poached eggs barely made it through their ordeal to come out shaped like midget Quasimodos. But here’s what I like about cooking: it doesn’t fucking matter if it’s perfect. It’s busy, dirty hands rushing around and a brain planning ahead and an instant feeling of competence you don’t get many other places. So come over and I’ll make you super-awesome-mediocre-if-not-bad-Womanhoodly Eggs Benedict.
I would like to begin with a Brief History of My Athleticism. It is a many varied story, with twist and turns and failure and triumph; however, and if they made a movie out of it, it would be nothing like Bend It Like Beckham, and not because of the obvious.
Let’s begin by sport:
In third grade, I absolutely killed at soccer. I wore shorts to school every day with a proud ADIDAS on the bottoms, and stashed my lip gloss in my training bra, which soccer allowed me to refer to as a “sports bra” for anyone curious. At recess, I was the only girl who was allowed to play with all the boys once they learned I made a fantastic goalie and didn’t cry when I got hit in the face. (I did. Just in private in my fort ten minutes later. It seriously hurts to take a soccer ball to the face.) I was going to try out for the fabled Phantoms team, the best private team you could be on as a kid, because their jackets were kick ass: blue, red, white (patriotic) with a PHANTOM playing SOCCER on the back (supernatural meets sporty).
This brief stardom as New Hampshire’s premier girl goalie ended before it began because my mom realized she didn’t own a minivan and didn’t want to shuttle me to practice constantly.
GRADE: A+ for effort, F for ultimate failure.
Who knows why I took up field hockey in eighth grade (probably my first interest in butts, which I’ll get to later), but I bought a stick and wore a kilt and unlike every other foray into sports in gym thus far, in which I was often taken out due to complete ineptness, I succeeded. I was shooting at nets and dribbling around ankles and trotting to corners and the whole thing. I loved team sports for a few, brief months.
Then I skipped a year due to a paralyzing fear of high school, and went back to it sophomore year only to find I had gone through the final agonizing push of puberty. Also I popped my hip out.
My mother is a yoga teacher. She’s strong, lean, capable. Why not me too? This worked very well for awhile; I’d leave each Ashtanga class junior year of high school relaxed, feeling centered and strong. Then I just…stopped.
The Andersons have a running joke about their insistence to avoid everything that makes them healthy, happy, and not addicted to something. Why not me too?
I ran cross country in fifth grade because my Uncle Bob and my father had both been fantastic runners. (WHY NOT ME TOO.) I wore black socks to practice, and each meet my coaches would gently tell my mother that sometimes the slowest runners, with the hardest work, could become like all the other kids too. Unlike those other suckers, however, I am a creature of habit.
This began my career as a runner going the approximate speed of a grandmother riding a tortoise. However, this has been the one sport that has stuck. as I struggle through each excruciatingly slow and embarrassingly sweaty run ending in tomato-face, I wonder: why on earth am I still doing this? Why does anyone who sucks so bad at something still do it? Why?
Because I want an ass, that’s why.
And so, in one of my first and potentially biggest attempts to do something scary, I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon. It’s fucking expensive. Like I could’ve adopted a fully spayed or neutered kitten who’s up-to-date with their shots instead of signing up for this. But what’s scarier than running a race that killed the first runner to complete it on the spot?