Monthly Archives: August 2010

Please forward.

I’m in the process of moving.  Well, I’m mostly done.  My roommate at my old place recommended movers to me.  They were coming for his stuff on Wednesday morning.  And they said they’d come back right after they finished to pick up my stuff.  Except…they didn’t do that.

They decided to do another job first before coming back for me.  So they left with my roommate’s stuff at 10:30 am.  And I waited around and around.  Heard nothing from anyone.  Finally at 2 pm I called the mover.  No answer.  Then I called my roommate.  Straight to voice mail.  Called the mover again.  No answer.

By this point, I started to imagine that the moving van had tumbled over a bridge.  I started to worry.  I decided to text the movers.  I’d learned that they were from Russia, though, and that they were in the States learning English.  So I wasn’t sure if they’d even be able to understand my text message.  But they did.  And they were fine.  And they showed up finally at 5:30 pm.

Oh, yeah.  So I’m mostly done moving.  But yesterday I swung by the old place to grab some odds and ends.  I threw a whole random load of stuff inside of a green laundry bag–a trashcan, some books, a full unopened can of Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee (dark roast), a green and orange winter vest jacket.  By the time I was done throwing stuff in the bag, it got kind of heavy.  But the kind of heavy where you don’t realize how heavy it is until you’ve been carrying it for a few blocks.

And I had to go straight to work from my apartment.  With this big, unwieldy bag.  And then after work, six hours later, at 2 o’clock in the morning, I had to get this bag across town (five avenues and a few blocks), onto a subway, off of a subway, onto a shuttle bus, off of a shuttle bus, and up half a block.

When I got off the shuttle bus, I was about to cross the street with my big grab bag of stuff, and I had a walk signal, but this guy on a bike didn’t know that.  And he saw another bus approaching the intersection, so he started yelling at me, “Honey, watch out!  Honey, watch out!”  But I just kept walking.  And then he realized the walk signal and it was awkward because we looked at each other and I wanted to say ‘thank you’, but I was already kind of far away. And the moment was gone.

But that was nice of him…  Even though I don’t typically like being called ‘honey’ by strangers at 2 am.

Mmmh.

The one downside to moving is that I used to get a free magazine meant for someone with my same last name. His first name is Ricardo and he lived on the 6th floor, but not anymore, so they saw my last name on the 3rd floor and gave me his mail. I’ll miss Ricardo’s mail.

Advertisements

The Corridor

It’s not glamorous.  It’s not welcoming.  It’s one of New York City’s versions of purgatory, really.  You’re not fully in the city, and you’re also a far cry from wherever you were.  It’s the underground corridor that links Seventh and Eighth Avenues inside of Pennsylvania Station. (Not to be confused with the corridor that links them under Times Square.)

It’s the first place I ever stepped foot in New York when my mom brought me here from our home in Massachusetts for my twelfth birthday.  She looked at a map of Manhattan before we left and figured we’d be able to walk no problem from Penn Station at 34th Street, up to our destination, the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 81st Street.  It is possible.  But it would’ve required fifty-five minutes of our seven-hour day trip.  Instead, a NYPD officer directed us to the A train.  My mom in that moment realized that this city (especially its underground bits) can be incredibly intimidating, and she proceeded to have a nervous breakdown.

Cut to twelve years later, I now live in the city.  And that corridor in Penn Station is, perhaps for nostalgia’s sake, one of my favorite places.  Continue reading

Eggs

I eat a lot of eggs.  And I try to buy cage-free, organic ones because that means the chickens are treated more humanely, right?  I wonder what actually constitutes as cage-free and if the quality of life quotient is in reality much higher for those chickens.   I hope it is.  But at the end of the day it’s still about the money for those companies and farms putting those eggs on the shelves, so I don’t know.

I noticed in my avid egg-eating lifestyle that sometimes shells will break really easily.  And the shells that are more brittle are always from the not as fancy cartons.  Which makes me wonder about the health and treatment of the chickens that produced them.

You know how they say that apples are less nutritious now than they were a century or something ago?   I forget why they say that, but I feel like that goes for much of the food on the market now. 

Lately I feel like everything I consume and even do day-to-day is resulting in consequences I’m not even aware of.   Consequences to natural resources and the environment, consequences to my health.  So, what’s going to happen?  How much longer can it all go on?  Salmonella outbreaks, big floods, droughts, species extinctions.  I think we’re doing some things wrong.

And this DeCoster dude scares me:

American-ness

There’s a tunnel in the subway system that goes between 7th and 8th Avenues at Times Square and I have to walk it all the time.   It’s hot down there and there’s a lot of people handing out religious pamphlets.  And all along the wall of the tunnel are advertisements.  I don’t understand why really, but the same ads get repeated lots of times.  If you walk through the tunnel right now you see this advertisement about 10 times–

And y0u also see this advertisement an equal number of times–

And it’s hard because there’s nothing else to look at in the tunnel really, so you sort have no choice but to look at the ads for “The American” and American Apparel.  And then I got to thinking that by placing so many of these ads next to each other, a sort of dialogue on American-ness has been created.  The Clooney ad puts it right out there: “George Clooney is ‘The American'”.  In other words, when you look at this ad, he is the representation of all things American and man.  And then you look at the American Apparel ad and it’s this young woman and when you look there, she acts as a representation of all things American and woman.  

I don’t have the energy to make a conclusion about all this right now except to say, there’s a buttload of advertisements in New York.  And sometimes it bums me out.  Because you can’t avoid it!  And advertising people are paid to put ideas into our head about how we spend our money and I think they even put ideas into our head about other things–like what it means to be an American.  And what it means to be a man or a woman.  Or they play into what they think we think it means to be an American, etc. 

On the upside: “American Apparel faces bankruptcy as store chain unravels.”

The Downfall of the Building

I was away from my apartment building for five or six days.  Just got back late last night, and this morning I noticed some changes.  First thing, the building had two black benches outside by the front door.  They were great.  People were always using them.  There’s this one older woman who has a dog that looks even older than she is, and they sat on that bench for hours each day.  And then there’s the smokers who came outside and had a nice place to rest their lungs.  And I liked the benches, too.  One time I saw a big cockroach on the brick wall right behind one of them, so after that I got weary of sitting on the benches, but I still did and appreciated it.  But now they’re gone!  You’d never even know they were there except for one screw protruding from the concrete. 

Thing is, there’s not much reason for me to complain because I’m moving at the end of August.  I had the longest conversation I’ve ever had with the man behind the counter at the convenience store this morning and he said, “Oh no, bad news for me.  I will miss you.” 

My apartment building is nice.  It’s six floors and I live on the third floor.  And I feel bad about this–I don’t know a single one of my neighbors.  I’ve never talked to any of them.  I’ve never heard their stories.  When I moved in, one of my roommates mentioned that there’s a lot of people who have lived in the building for decades and they seem to resent the younger people, the transplants to the neighborhood.  I don’t know about that. 

OH!  But this is what I’m getting at.  So, months and months ago management posted a sign in the basement where we all do our laundry.  It read, “No Dogs Allowed in Basement! Thank you! -Management.”  And some jokester took a pen and wrote, on all three of the signs posted, “Tenants, mice, and roaches ONLY.”  And it was funny.  And someone thought it was so funny that they wrote “LOL” on one sign. 

I liked these signs because they made me feel united with my neighbors.  I felt like we could all identify with those signs.  Like it was Us versus Management.

But this morning I was walking out to the street and I noticed a handwritten sign posted on the second floor’s garbage room door.  The garbage room has a chute for trash and a big metal can to put recyclables in.  A lot of time, though, there will end up being trash on the floor of the room instead of down the chute.  And the handwritten note addressed this problem:

Yeah.  It says, “This apply to the fucking pigs that lives on this floor, throw your garbage in the chute, not on floor.  Yours nieghbors.” 

I don’t like this sign as much.  I understand being frustrated.  But come on.  This kind of sign doesn’t implore any one to care about their neighbors.  If I were someone who was neglecting the trash chute and I saw this sign, I’d be more likely to continue using the floor out of pure spite.  And the anonymous nature of the sign means that anyone could have written it.  I don’t live on the same floor as the “fucking pigs”, but still, they might see me in the elevator, or the basement, or the space outside where the benches used to be, and who’s to say I didn’t write it.  Or who’s to say I’m not one of the fucking pigs!  This sign marks the start of an Us vs. Us culture in the building instead of an Us vs. Management, and this saddens me.

Moral of this blog post is the same moral as a billboard I’ve seen around lately.  So I leave you with that–