Friday, December 12, 2008

takeoffs and landings

I hate flying. I’m not scared of landing gear malfunction or airplane tuna or any such expected potential traveling mishap- I’m just too fucking ADD for it. My legs are too long and bambi-esque to be cramped into such a space for 5 hours, and I have to resist the urge to annoy the surrounding passengers with inane chit chat and or queries regarding whether or not they are going to finish their roasted nuts. Not to mention, this particular journey was garnished with the proverbial cherry atop my shit sundae with the fact that I nearly missed my plane and then upon arriving to aisle 11 discovering a chick wearing NYU sweats had stolen my window seat. I didn’t say anything, which I know isn’t very New York, but I just didn’t have the energy to bother. I made sure to conspicuously crane my neck over her to see out the window as we were taking off and I’m considering feigning barfing into the complimentary bag later for a cheap laugh later on. God damn planes. I eagerly look forward to the day that teleportation is available to laypeople. We have a iPhone that can do everything but perform [a successful] open heart surgery, why can’t we fax me from coast to coast? This isn’t the warp five I was expecting by the end of the two-thousands.

Ow. Ear popping.

This trip has been a wild ride, to say the least. On the emotional side, as well. I knew as I was crossing the threshold of my front door before dawn with my ridiculously heavy land laughably over packed luggage in San Francisco 9 days ago, that there was no way that I would return the same. I felt like I was leaving San Francisco for home. And I brought enough clothing to fill a considerably good sized thrift store, and enough hair product to erect a three foot winehouse beehive. I don’t know how I’m ever going to manage to downsize the massive amounts of shit that I’ve accumulated over the past quarter decade… how am I going to give up the amazing vintage gumball machine that I found on Steiner street a few weeks ago? What will become of my golden unicorn lamp from a gypsy garage sale? How am I going to get Rufus on a plane? These are all bridges I suppose I’ll burn when I get to them.

Boston was impressively historical, with its ostentatious brick buildings sprawling as far as the eye can see. You can’t throw a baked bean there without hitting 3 plaques explaining the significance of a particular, average looking cobblestone. East coast men are different in general, but Boston men are particularly meaty. Meaty in the sense as though they’re just bred to be built like professional wrestlers and have only ever cried at Red Sox games in their entire lives. (And they’ll beat your ass into carpaccio if you bring it up.) The accent tickles my fancy but I would be hard pressed to try and imitate it with my west coast California drawl. I'd liken it to sound sort of like a valley girl with down syndrome.

The subway system in Boston is called the T and it’s the oldest railway system in the United States. It certainly shows in that as soon as it starts putting down the line you feel like a pebble in a the only maraca in the congo line at a quinceanera. If you prefer your brain to be shaken and not stirred, then the T is the transportation for you.

My first night in town, Stephanie showed me around to the local watering holes, one of them being the Burren in Somerville. Somerville is just outside city limits in Cambridge and very quaint, home to yuppies, fluffy dogs the color of snow, and those who enjoy living near a metropolis where Benjamin Franklin once partied but don’t want to deal with the hustle and bustle. The Burren reminded me an awful lot of a dingy dive in SF called Amnesia, only bigger and frequented by average joe Massachusetts-ites instead of art faggy vegans with sideways hair and nut hugger jeans. Needless to say I was instantly charmed, as an open mic unfolded before my very eyes and the progression of men took the stage to sing their hand penned folk songs inspired by femme fatales of Christmases past. Stephanie and I took a shine to a redhead named Noah with heartbreakingly kind eyes that implied that he may have actually been incapable of acting the least bit disingenuously. He came over the next evening at midnight and chatted with us over hot toddies and goldfish crackers, and then sang us to sleep.

Much of the trip to MA was spent discussing the grown up conundrum of home and whether hanging your hat means anything to the integrity of where it is. Stephanie and I have been friends for a decade, and seen each other through the gamut of young adulthood, both of us traversing through emotionally destructive territory and discovering ourselves. Ourselves without our parents, ourselves without school, ourselves as we now specifically define and design them. Since we were 13, Stephanie and I have been the ying and yang of a pair of young ladies. I was always the outlandish, gregarious, brash one, and she in turn was outgoing but much more shy and calculating, and wary of “real world” issues. When she was protesting environmentalist causes (one of them being the great Tuna Strike of 2000), I was concerned more with fantasizing about getting a big break as a movie star and running away to exotic locales with the cabana boy of one of the trophy wives I babysat for. Stephanie always had a boyfriend, and I was always single. Stephanie went to college when I dropped out to become a San Francisco DJ and proceeded to garner a drug habit and a relationship so undeniably doomed that it would’ve made a perfect premise for a black romantic comedy. Steph never went longer than a week without seeing her parents and I was spending months at a time consciously avoiding mine. We were two blondes from opposite broken molds.

None of this is to say that one road traveled was necessarily better than the other. 3 months ago after graduating from State, she threw all of her belongings into storage and high tailed it for Boston, knowing all of one person there, and having lived within 45 miles of her hometown her entire life. If someone familiar had to guess which one of us pulled such a stunt, they’d undoubtedly guess wrong. I’m in awe of the bravery it takes to uproot and explore, but I’m starting to realize that making huge changes may just be exactly the favor I owe to myself.

Last night we splashed through the torrential downpour in Soho, wool coats soaked to the quick and coasting on a fortuitous happy hour high. We feasted on cupcakes from the famous Magnolia Bakery and then meandered around, starry eyed and with wind burned faces. The west village was gleaming, awash with cold rain and old New York charm. I nearly lost my right arm to a subway car that slammed down on my hand over and over for at least a minute or two before a couple of good samaritans came to my rescue pried the doors open. (I wasn’t worried. If Beyonce can have a bionic arm, I can too.) Afterwards, we met up with Chris and his roommate for our last night huzzah, who took us to a mindblowingly scrumptious steak dinner in Green Point and showered us with champagne and affection. Again, east coast men (even the ones who are made and not born) seem to bear a chivalrous sensibility that I’ve not been privy to thus far.

I woke up this morning to the sound of Steph’s boots clacking around on the concrete floors of the loft on Kent St., and quickly started to remember some of the debauched moments from the previous night. The first of which was the sharpie wars whose red battle scars I still bear after not being able to exfoliate them away. I pondered what it would be like to be able to speak to pre-teen Stephanie and Christina and tell them of the adventures in New York city that we would someday have. Outlandish claims like black presidents, working several jobs to pay our astronomical rents, that my boobs (formerly nicknamed “mosquito bites” by a certain Zane Hawley) would be huge, someday. I’d have been incredulous, to be sure.

New York- what wonderful uncharted territory. I can’t wait to get back.

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