Wednesday, March 4, 2009

no sleep 'til

I haven't written anything since I got here except subway directions on the backs of receipts-- and that seems very fitting, very appropriate for the speed at which everything in new york goes. the words sprawl through my mind at paces far too fast to capture all the time when I'm walking around the city, and before I get back home to my new apartment underground, safely shrouded by concrete walls from the freezing cold, they've been replaced by a barrage of sensory overloads. I'm scattered, but in a way I've dreamed of, a brand of lost that sings to my fears in lullabies and to my hopes in missives of blind faith.

the plane took off at 9:30am on the 24th and the one salty, fat tear that I shed rolled inconspicuously down my cheek to land behind my earlobe like a secret. during the five and a half hour flight, I consumed four bloody marys, one valium (in several chunks), and a bag of m&ms. upon landing I retrieved my bags and left jfk to catch a cab to brooklyn whose driver seemed not to know how to control his basic motor skills, let alone navigate the labyrinth of streets in brooklyn that are laid in a haphazard maze that appears slapped together at best. it'd be a lot easier to get around here without ending up astray from my desired route and talking to strangers (some friendlier than others, but all of them intuitively know I'm from california) if I had an iphone, but I feel like that's cheating. magellan didn't need an iphone. then again, magellan probably didn't need pepper spray or a metrocard, either.

the first two nights I was here with jay and he did his best to give me a head start on getting to know the neighborhood, and on what was to be my first night alone I went out to savala's in on bedford to see an old bartender fracquaintance who always greets me with warmth, a one liner, and a shot. every bar in this city has got considerable competition because of this guy; I'm considering starting a petition to get him a raise. the bar wasn't too crowded, it was an oldies night with a svelte lady dj whose boyfriend was keeping a very watchful eye on the creepy geezer that kept returning to her booth to "make requests". I struck up a conversation with the boy nearest to me at the bar who was engaged in a game of dice, and he had no interest in chatting about anything other than giving me some hard to follow, drunk directions on how to play the game.

"I may just spectate," I said, "my luck is shot."

"don't be silly, this has nothing to do with luck." he grabbed my hands and closed them over the dice, and even gave me a little shake to boot.

"so it's strategy?"

"not really." he replied. I furrowed my eyebrows.

"karma?" I asked, lifting a finger from my clasped hands to blow inside for luck. I'd seen this in gambling movies.

"someone else has to blow on them."

"you've got a gift for educating," I said, knowing he wasn't listening but rather intently anticipating my next roll, so I did. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, so I waited for reactions to prompt my next move. luckily my roll deferred to the next competitor, so I excused myself to the other end of the bar to try my luck over there. I struck up conversations with a few more friendly faces and decided that I ought to go home early (1:30 being the case, since every bar here stays open 'til four) and got lost on my way back to the subway station. upon asking a young man passing by for directions, he obliged willingly and as I turned to go in the opposite direction, offered to buy me a drink. this good samaritan, a good looking 2nd generation polish chap ended up later directing me to his bed after what I remember as a blur to be not a terrible amount of persuasion. I'd have ridden on a gargoyle into the bowels of hell if someone promised me a box of spicy cheez its and someone to spoon me would be waiting on the other side.

in the morning I woke up with a start and found myself staring at a swirling brown water stain on the ceiling, and every immediate following moment brought a new revelation. a, I was not at home. b, someone was sleeping behind me with an arm slung around my waist. and most importantly, c, that my cable knit sweater tights were still on. (three cheers for hosiery, the chastity belt of our time.) my fidgeting woke up my new friend, ironically enough sharing a namesake with my ex, and I asked him where we were, and he replied, "bushwick."

what the fuck is a bushwick? I thought. I sat up and started hastily putting on my clothes and brooklyn jon tried to convince me to stay, declaring unwarranted sweet nothings at a volume such things should delivered with an ear nibble to a receptive party, and not to a girl who is running for your door with one pant leg on. I noted the lord of the rings fan memorabilia and comic books littered throughout the room and couldn't help but chuckle to myself. I got picked by up a tolkien geek trying to find my subway stop. (oh, if only orlando could see me now.)

the following afternoon I spent feathering my nest back on the homestead and pounding pint glass after pint glass of tap water that I am suspect might eventually kill me faster than the booze will after watching some terrible "truth is out there" youtube someone sent me about brooklyn being a giant toxic waste dump. chris came by to check out my new apartment and we sat on my couch filing through old photographs and tickling each other's brains. after a dinner at bonita with the talented mr. kreuger that was mostly comprised of tequila and salsa (both delicious) we hopped a car back to chris' waterfront loft and stayed up late talking of the puzzle pieces that molded us into the hot messes destined for greatness that we are. I can't retrace every step that led me to the precipice from which I just leapt, but the freefall I'm in is exhilarating, and rewarded every time I catch a glimpse of the city skyline. that night I stayed up hours after him just staring at it over the hudson, watching the high rises jockeying for position.

after a week and a half, I've found that I now never leave home without mace, a flask of whiskey, gloves, maps, and my ipod. riding on the subway is still giving me miniature heart attacks from time to time, even if I study my impending route with the conviction of a princeton scholar at crunch time, I worry that I'll somehow end up in harlem at 3am wearing a "Mug Me" sandwich board. (if neuroses were like pokemon, I've undoubtedly caught them all.) also, for a rather klutzy gal, I've picked up the kill-or-be-killed attitude that you must have on the train to survive. even me, someone who has trouble standing still without tripping, has developed a startling matrix-esque ability to dodge obstacles hurtling towards you in the form of people that are moving either entirely too fast or maddeningly slow. getting out of union square station during rush hour, I become The One; my shoulders shift and weave out of the way in a fluid motion that would make a greased weasel jealous. I am a cog in the new york city wheel. I even have a bruise on my thigh from the turnstile bar.

1 comment:

sarahsarahsarah said...

"I'm scattered, but in a way I've dreamed of, a brand of lost that sings to my fears in lullabies and to my hopes in missives of blind faith."

and this is why you should be a writer. you are my idol. keep makin' it happen! xo ~ sarah