Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm ready to live on a Farm

That's all. That's it. Had a date with a psychologist at the Coffee Roasting Plant on Orchard and then went next door to some Austrian place. Strange. Two hours felt like four. Time stood still. And yet, I'm not quite sure he knows much about me. I put this in the category (yet again): I'd go on a second date if he asked, but not feeling overwhelmed or excited.

Again, my repeated exposure theory. Sounds like flashing someone, but really, it's just that internet dates don't work well for me because I need to meet someone repeatedly before feeling anything for them and vice versa. So why go? Good question!

Where's my farm?

I love my gumpion too.

Where to begin? I'm writing this blog from my old LES apartment. My dog and I lasted one full week before receiving a certified letter from the coop referring to the dog forthwith heretofore albeit referred to as "The Dog" making it clear that The Dog would need to vacate the building. As if! I can only compare this to our beloved old block in PDX where neighborhood children would frolic, skipping down teh block holding hands and calling out "Hello A" to my furry baby who was manning the window, growling at old ladies zooming by on Jazzies.

So, whether I stay or return to Portland here I am subletting my old place again. 8 people are scheduled to check it out, which means half will show, I predicted. But so far, everyone has been here. Some prospective tenants reveal a little too much, as in one guy who I thought was a touch hyper and said he was in recovery. Fine. Just don't tell me.

But, onto other realms: dates. Met N. for drinks at Sycamore. She always picks great places, and soon this will be her neighborhood. 2 glasses of Prosecco and shared some hard pretzels with people at the bar. Apparently, pretzels are a commodity at bars. I liked the little flower shop in front and I like this strip in Ditmas Park. N. and I discussed a rather pervasive problem in NYC: Whiney Little Bitches. That's you, people! Men! So, as a good friend in Portland asked me recently: how are the men in NY compared to Portland? Can't say I'm impressed, seems like a bunch of hot messes here. I can't say I've really experienced the WLB syndrome yet myself, but I agree it is out there.

1) Date with T. Day date, fine. Met at The Strand and walked his dog to dog run at Union Square. He looked maybe 5-10 yrs older than his photo. But nice, nonetheless. At one point he flung the leash in the air, t o play with his dog, and the metal part HIT MY HEAD. I tried not to scream, OW! But he saw the look on my face and I was rubbing my head.

Injury Number One (more to come)

2) New Year's Day. Wake up feeling semi-awful. Two text messages from T. One, indecipherable, done at like at 2am. Next one, "J. love your gumpion." I texted my brother: hey, what's gumpion? He explained that with iphones it's easy to make a mistake like that and he prob meant gumption.

I love my gumpion too.

3) After drinks with N. we went to visit my husband (he just doesn't know it yet) at Castello Plan. Ben Neeejrigurjoepweoieuthjqgfosda - some Danish type of name. Who wouldn't want to marry a man who brings you pumpkin gnooci, some crazy ass mushroom cheese plate and a wine I now forget but from Washington state of course. It's so small and well lit in there.

4) My brother's girlfriend told me over dinner that she had to tell me something and she would tell me after she finished her glass of wine. She finishes one. She finishes two. Finally, I remind her, thinking naively hey maybe it'll be some good news. Why? Why do I have this pollyanna take on life. Is it ever good news? Ever? Nope and not this time either. In a city with over how many singletons? Turns out that years ago she went on a date with Israeli guy. Not the end of the world. But when you start think that she went out with him and now goes out with my brother and i went out with him...well, it's just a small, incestuous circle.

5) Had two dates with a hipster who owns two bars in Brooklyn. I'm looking to meet someone and bring him back to Portland. He - ridiculously - wants to meet a woman and bring her to Colorado. Whatever, buddy. Get a clue!

6) Coffee date today with a psychologist. He is probably totally screwed up.

7) Going back to my night out with N. last night. After leaving her I walked back to the subway stop, and on my my slipped on some ice. My wallet and cell flew up and out of my purse. I got myself together, looked both ways - good nobody laughing, acknowledging, helping, fine, let's all pretend that didn't happen. But then I walked right past the subway (3 glasses of wine), luckily a guy with an MTA jacket pointed me in the proper direction and it was only like 9:30.

Injury Number 2.

8) When i first arrived to NY, a man followed me out of the subway. At first I was totally annoyed and stopped walking. I hate it when someone has to be on my heels like that. Get away! But he stopped me and said excuse me and said I just think you're beautiful and I know this is a long shot but I wrote my number down if oyu ever want to go on a date.

I had just returned to NY and when I told Y. this story she was like: yeah, it's that just arrived thing, you've not been beaten down by NY. Not, gee you're lovely and that's flattering. But you know what, I think she's right. This city is hard and I'm left wondering...

What did I do with that guy's number?

Monday, January 17, 2011

All We Are is Trash in the Wind

A. was all wound up, barking and growling late in the afternoon yesterday. Hopped onto the chair. Put her snout to the window. Grrrrrrrrrr! Trash bags caught in tree limbs.

One bag freed itself and was sailing through the air and then floating up and falling down. I watched her eyes follow it across the sky. It must have looked like a live thing.

She'd spied what every New Yorker is familiar seeing, but was all new to her.

The International House of Dating

Have you ever moved back to your old apartment? It's strange thing. I lived here (on the LES) for four years before moving to Portland. I didn't yet have my dog. I was in a relationship (it was torturous, but that's not to say I don't miss the torture). I had not yet lived in Pacific Northwest. I had been in NYC ten years, since I was 21, really much of my adult life.

Let's just say I wasn't thrilled about returning. I wanted to be in Brooklyn, near my friends and near Prospect Park. But after shopping around, I couldn't find much out there and without a job I was hesitant to sign a new lease.

No dogs are allowed in this building. So each time A. lets out a chickeny little bark - baH! - I try to quiet her down. She receives a glob of peanut butter each time she perks her ears and does not bark. And all the same noises are here: the old bag in the apartment above, who may be 200 years old and doesn't ever leave. I hear her every foot step. But I'm listening to music to drown it out and so A. will sleep. Her little beady eyes are finally closed. Someone sent me music by Hello Saferide & it's good, while my computer was opening it as an attachment, out popped itunes where 365 albums live. Hadn't realized that had been transferred from my old laptop. Nice!

Onto the skinny. Dates:

The Israeli guy is in the mix. A morose fellow. Had a nice dinner, talked about love. He's not been in a long relationship. He was honest and direct and I like this. But the cultural impasse may be too great. He spoke of not wanting to come to the LES because it was out of the way from where he was and I was headed west anyway. Shouldn't you WANT to go out of your way for a date? Dude, get a clue. It told him so and he did.

French man. Two dates. Between date one and date two there were at least a dozen texts and a couple of phone calls, all initiated by him. But I drank two IPAs with him after a movie and felt downright drunk for five minutes and then ill all the next day. The worst of all worlds. We had an odd conversation about romantic relationships whereby I found myself asking: have you ever cheated on someone? Of course he had. Why would I ask such a question?

Since there was no text the next day, I assume he was not interested, so I sent him an email suggesting friendship and he was on the same page. But I am left with the question of what are men expecting a date to be like? I feel like I fall short of whatever those expectations are and especially if the guy is looking to settle down, they have impossible standards. And if when we talk about other people, we're really talking about ourselves...maybe I'm the one with impossible standards?

No, scratch that. I think the dilemma for me is that it takes a long time yo get to know the layers people have, and in the dating game it seems there needs to be an immediate fix.

So, The International House of Dating is closing its doors. That was brief.

Took A. for a big run in East River Park this morning, where she found an empty baseball field. She rolled all over the snow, snout first, barked at passing ship, met furry friends, and got lots of compliments from strangers and even treats from a construction worker. I had been so worried about how she'd react to the city. But she loves it: she chases pigeons and the streets are lined with trash and pizza.

Maybe Aggy's my soul-mate?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vinegar Removes Salt Stains

A pride of cats. A pack of wolves. A herd of deer. I've learned a few things lately. Upon entering the mini-park near my parents' house, A. spied a herd of deer. Not one, not two, not ten, but more than five. Of course she was off-leash and for a solid few seconds she moved fast, as fast as a butterball shape or keg-with-feet, really, can move. And the deer stood still then turned, galloped back into the forest on their ridiculously long, spindly legs.

I did my usual high pitched shrill yell, passed down from millions of generations of pissed off Jewish women who have found various portions of their homes destroyed by children and spouses: a broken tile, a cracked window.

Lucky for us, A. stopped mid-run. She is an excellent listener. My dad and I were pleased. That incident has been about the most excitement my heart has had in months. Here is a brief run down of recent events/thoughts though:

1) I have gone on 5 consecutive dates with the same man. Including New Year's Eve. Mazel tov! I like him, but I don't know if I like-like him. He is Israeli but after all my kavetching, I'm not sure if I'm ready to wear his pin, or does he wear my pin? I don't remember.

2) I have three apartment options come February, when it rains, sometimes it just rains all day (Portland version). One option came from my hair stylist. See? It always pays to get your hair done nice. And now, mine is back to a chestnut brunette instead of fly-girl orange. And as B. said, when you put out the feelers...

3) Very little to no job options based in NYC. This is annoying, frustrating, embarrassing, depressing, and I'm hoping a part of the learning/growing theme of this blog entry. When I'm wildly successful, perhaps this experience will help add to my character & spirit and I'll look back on it and say, "Gee, remember when nobody wanted to hire me and now look at me? Look at me! Towel boy? Would you refresh my Amaretto Sour please? And two maraschino cherries this time. Chop. Chop."

I'm picturing Sunset Blvd, Gloria Swanson.


One of the highlights of the move was my stay in Ft. Greene Brooklyn for five days. Listen, I know horrible things happened during this blizzard but for me, it was my first time alone in months. MY FIRST TIME ALONE IN MONTHS. A shangri-la. And when my brother called to say they'd be a day late because their flight was delayed in the midwest? I did my best not to break out in song and dance until after I hung up, then flung myself wildly upon various pieces of furniture and rolled around. Of course I missed my dog, but that meant I could watch the next 13-30 episodes of In Treatment.

That one night I ventured out was a mistake. An old colleague and friend generously offered to meet me at No. 7 (restaurant). Brave lady. From my brother's apartment it's a mere 4 block walk but she had to take the subway from Atlantic Center. I certainly did not have all my snow gear, to which my brother told me later - that's the survivor's first move? Look through the stuff in the apartment? Everyone knows that.

I did not. And by the time I arrived at the restaurant my glasses were snowed over, the ends of my hair dripping wet and my toe tips, numb. My Calvin Klein leather boots had acquired ugly, little trills of white salt stain lines that would only worsen in the next few days. Later, I would learn: vinegar removes salt my dad would say, like a charm. Or in Bronx-accent speak, chahm.

Anyway, I asked the people outside, smoking under the scaffolding, where I am? They laughed at me. Then with me. Inside, with the heat on full blast, my glasses steamed immediately. Eye-wear was useless! Why had I never had my eyeballs operated upon? But no, I couldn't do it! Plus, everything was a lovely, dimly lit ball of color. How beautiful the world is when you can't see the edges! Oh, there was my friend at the bar at least it looked like her: her sleek, black hair in two perfect, glossy, straight stripes, her red sweater looking ironed, and her coat...dry! How did she pull that off?

We ate...what did we eat? I remember fried broccoli. Yum! I remember red wine. I remember walking home alone in that snow, the wind smacking against my face. I remember it was dark. I was wearing my mother's cool looking, 25 year old leather, unlined driving gloves. My old, crappy, plaid, thin scarf that I bought in Soho on the street maybe a decade ago - I'd draped it across my face. Useless. The only thing I wore that was helpful was, as an NYC lady can tell puffy coat! Like wearing a down comforter with arms cut out. Also, something I bought on the street, only in Chinatown.

The wind was so strong that by the time I made it to the front door of the brownstone (after heisting my body weight up the snow-filled stairs, clutching at the banister, picture a crazy angle, like my upper torso because of the wind, leaning back, while my legs are inching forward), I was out of breath. In fact, on the street, my breath caught several times, trapped in my chest. My hands were pink, near red, shaking, shivering cold and because of that, it took a long time to locate the key and actually get the key in the lock.

Once I got in the first door, there was a second door requiring a different key. And once I got through those two doors, there was a flight of stairs, and yet another door, the front door to the apartment, which needed another key. Procured!

Once inside, I'd tell people it wasn't so bad, really, it was sort of beautiful.