You are browsing the archive for 2006 March.

Excited. And Then Not.

March 26, 2006 in Uncategorized

Snow storm now; quite a lot of it this time. Outside, everything covered – cars doing their best to skate across the snow-blanketed roads. Last night, a total of three people in my scope of vision delighted me by falling on their bums. Sushi with Anish at Sushi Lounge on Avenue A, in the old neighborhood, and then some TV watching at his nearby pad. Anish has DVR, a phenomenon that I am still getting used to each time I see it. Dealing with TiVos has been traumatic enough – what is this DVR? Strange, beautiful – we watched two episodes of Scrubs he had taped and the best thing – real, howling, uncontrollable laughter – pealed from my lips. Scrubs can always bring it for me – I haven’t watched the show in months and months due to the demands of my job(s). If an episode involves a dance number, chances are I will be very happy. Donald Faison – airbanding to “Poison” – was excellent. Always such a pleasure to see actors breaking out the triple threat …

… over our sushi, I told Anish that I’ve been thinking.

“I’m stuck,” I said. “Stagnant. Underachieving. I’ve been unhappy at work now for a while but I don’t feel qualified to do anything else.”

“So then what?” he asked.

“Well, I’ll tell you what I’ve been thinking,” I said. “I think I need a break. From New York.”

“Yeah? How long?”

“I don’t know … a couple of years?”

“Wow.”

“I know.”

“Where would you go? What would you do?”

Good question. But the thought was fresh and, as such, untainted.

At home, I began to look up TEFL jobs. I’d like to work abroad, continue making money, and as Pete says, the quickest, easiest way to do that abroad is to teach English. I don’t mind quick. I don’t mind easy right now. What I do mind is what I’m seeing on the internet – 4K to teach English in Argentina for 3 months? You have to pay in order to work? What the heck? Where on earth would I come up with that much money?

And then:

Heifer! My back shot up straight. Heifer! What about Heifer? I couldn’t bring her with me – it would be cruel, selfish – what does a cat need to do in Tanzania (for I’d already thought of living in Tanzania)? Ridiculous. Plane trips to Buenos Aires (I’d also thought of Argentina)? No. Cruel. But how to leave her behind? With who? Absolutely no strangers – she must stay with a trusted friend who would understand that I would come back for her in a couple of years. But who? Who would take her? And a couple of years without my Little Miss Tiger Stripes?

I sat, slumped, in a heap of glum. Naive, I thought. Always so naive. Of course it wasn’t as easy as just picking up and leaving. Money. Money, when I scrape by each month.

So I started pecking at the usual job sites – mediabistro, monster, Craig’s List. Applying to jobs – frustrating, so frustrating, seeing that there is little I’m qualified for.

Grad school? Again, money.

Volunteering? Money.

It is a frustrating thing to think, for the first time in years, “Yes!” … and then to sit down to a reality of “No.”

Odds and Ends

March 19, 2006 in Uncategorized

Listening to Lucio Battisti and Rino Gaetano. As always. The songs make me think of Rome. Doug, one of my favorite coworkers, took a leave of absence recently and I found myself asking his friend how the leave of absence worked – had he used all of his vacation days? What was left when he returned? It appears that he does use up all of his vacation days and forfeit pay for at least one of the weeks he’s away. Sounds fair to me, although I should love to take a leave of absence, return and still have vacation days. Dream on, Liv.

Rome. I wrote practically nothing about my European trip, though it invaded me. Gamboling in Paris with Chucky et Sparrow, becoming hopelessly lost in Rome, clutching my fist around my pocketbook as I had $35 to last me from France to Rome. In France, there were many crepes, much croque monsieur, a few steaks, many frites. Moules figured in there as well – a delight. In Rome, there were gnocchi and bucatini and foccaccia. And trains. So many trains, the jingle played at French train stations forever burned into my brain. Journal writing. Graffiti. Prowling the farmacie. Gazing up at monuments and turning my map various directions in Rome to figure out where the hell I was. Evading the strange old man in Montreuil-sur-Mer. Flirting with the mime at La Fontana di Trevi.

The items I bought in France and Italy are rapidly vanishing – I finished my fluffy cotton rounds the other day, my Dop apricot body wash a week earlier. The bastoncini Nonna Nella insisted I take home with me grow slightly moldy on my shelf.

When I reach my hand into my pockets, I touch the remaining Metro tickets I stored there. Inside the pocket, I jiggle them around, enjoy their smoothness, enjoying having them there. I want more tickets, from different places.

MUST get my Italian citizenship. I am itchy, antsy, and feel more and more that change is good. Though I once vowed to never leave New York, I am craving flight. Long-term flight. Moving to Europe seems like the most logical thing – with Italian citizenship I could work real jobs – most logically in the UK so I could stay within my career field – and I’d have access to many other countries as well, including Africa, to cram in the most experiences possible. But what job? How is the market in the UK, even? I need more information.

Google This, Meathead!

March 16, 2006 in Uncategorized

An email in my inbox today from last night’s date:

Hi -

Hope you had a decent time last night. Just wanted to apologize for my pushiness at the end of the evening. Not to make excuses, but I’m not often out that late on a weeknight, and I guess I wasn’t thinking very clearly. I really enjoyed meeting you and I hope you can look past my ungentlemanly conduct and perhaps join me for a drink again some time next week.

(Said “pushiness” and “ungentlemanly conduct” refers to – among other things – slamming a cab door in my face when I refused to go home with him)

potential responses:

1) How about … NO!

2) Thanks for the apology, but the drink won’t be necessary. Glad you enjoyed your three martinis and pint of beer, though!

3) No

4) No

5) Hell no

Bah. I’m going to go make cupcakes.

it’s no longer quite the springtime of my life…

March 14, 2006 in Uncategorized

… yet, the birthday was lovely – just lovely. A handsome bouquet of bright splashy pink and orange gerberas and a beautiful bouquet of dusky purple, yellow-tongued freesia combined to form a dazzling centerpiece for my squat living room table, though they wilt slightly days after the fact. Add to them the single white and red roses – once fresh from a door-to-door salesman – that mingle solemnly on the bar amongst the glinting liquor bottles. There were hollered conversations about the implications of wearing high heels and Amaretto grown watery from the melting rocks within; wearily given up for a bubbly bottle of Moretti. Ah. Lovely. The apartment is neat but lived-in, as my feeling that someone my age is too old to live in a sty weighs on my shoulders.

My cousin Ximena wrote:

Hi! I hope you have a Happy B-day! … My family is o.k. the kids are great, Alejandro is so tall and big … it just made me feel old, I guess I am…. I hope very much that you read this mail, and I wish you the best ever! How many years it is? You’re old too.

My brother, Diego, says:

You’re going to try to review a play with Alec Baldwin in it? He’s old. The press release here says the play is about young people – how come he’s in it? Oh, well. You should have plenty to talk about.

There is file that won’t download and the necessity of cable phone/internet/TV presses me to practically dash off a pleading email to my roommates at once. A new bottle of “lemon grove” fragrance oil on the nightstand wafts tart and clean throughout the room. A heavy strand of clackety brushed silver beads sits around my neck – a gift from Gia. Nearly 60 degrees outside, yet work has kept me indoors, though I consider ditching my room in half an hour to take in the remnants of the day. Yellow cake mix and chocolate frosting wait, pleading, in the cupboard yet remain untouched. Lucio Battisti croons as always.

Over Indian food at the office, I told my friend, Greg, that I grow antsy, that I crave flightchangenewcontinents, that I feel boxed, and that now, when I open the door to leave, Heifer darts out into the hall, looking back at me, but not budging from her roost until I shepherd her back inside and scold her for such foolishness. Said Greg: “Maybe Heifer’s trying to tell you that she wants to be someplace else, too.”

I was stilled. It’s hard to argue with logic.

There was a time – shortly after I returned (or before I left?) from Europe in 2005 – that I mapped out a brilliant schedule for my days, the high point of which was “writing time”, from 4:30 to 7:00. Said “writing time” has only taken place perhaps once or twice, which is a shame. the sloth borne of working 5 nights a week until 2 or 3 in the morning and the resulting insomnia clamps me to my bed, fingers listlessly picking out keys to type to friends or pitch play review ideas. This must cease. 26 and barely anything to show for it; my juvenile dreams of becoming a wunderkind – my determination 20 years ago to learn to type since I planned to become an “author” – shot.

Oh, that as-of-always-untitled novel that creeps, creeps, creeps …

It has come to my attention that the proper way to name an enduring work of fiction is to make a reference to an earlier work of enduring fiction.

Case in point:

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway, from “Meditation XVII – No Man is an Island” by John Donne: “…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act V, Scene i: “Miranda: How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that has such people in’t!”

The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act V, scene v: “Macbeth: It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh, from TS Eliot’s The Wasteland: “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

Let’s see what I can come up with:

Morning: Excellent and Fair, from William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice: “This was not judgment day – only morning. Morning: excellent and fair”. Living in the unnamed aftermath – living as a victim when there never was a tragedy. Finding solace in reality. A coming-of-age story that isn’t about a shy, precocious or brilliant child but the intrinsically damaged adult they became. An epistolary novel.

The Raw Material of Divinity, from Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native: “Eustacia Vye was the raw material of a divinity”. One woman’s lifelong struggle with crippling, poisonous self-hatred and her constant utter failure to train herself to become what she considers to be a good person. A comedy.

Mortals on the Ground, from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act IV, scene i: “Titania: Come my lord, and in our flight tell me how it came this night that I sleeping here was found with these mortals on the ground.” Perhaps an alternate title for The Raw Material of Divinity.

Hard, Gem-like Flame, Walter Pater’s Studies in the History of the Renaissance: “How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy. To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.” A study of wretched ingratitude. An anti-heroine, a piano bar, and utter failure.

or:

Juices Like Wine, from Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf: “Mouth is alive, juices like wine, and I’m hungry like the wolf”. A supermarket counter bodice ripper set in 19th century Provence, narrated by the village priest who provides moral commentary and sexual advice for maidens. The lovers only go out at night; the lean and hungry type; the sight and the sound, they’re lost and they’re found; first sweet as grapes, the bitter as dregs …

Talcum Powder on the Letter, from The Monkees’ Randy Scouse Git: “There’s talcum powder on the letter and the birthday boy is there.” A mystery set in the 1930′s against a backdrop of train travel in Europe. The action begins in Ventimiglia, nestled on the Italy/France border. A servant boy delivers a very strange letter to traveling businessman Pietro Puglia in a foccacceria – written in special ink, the words will not form unless he dusts the page with talc. Insulted by the stupidity of this ruse, Pietro ignores the notes and letters that begin to follow him wherever he goes, delivered by increasingly snot-nosed urchins, until he realizes that his daughter, Teresa, hasn’t replied to his letters in weeks.

Godawful Small Affair, from David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”: “It’s a godawful small affair to the girl with the mousy hair”. On the folly of melodrama and anxiety; a hypochondriac in London can’t stop living her life as though she were in an apocalpytic film. Perhaps an alternate name for this blog.

The Right Kind of Sinner, from Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker”: “You’re the right kind of sinner to release my inner fantasy, the invincible winner and you know that you were born to be … you’re a heartbreaker.” Also a supermarket bodice ripper, set in the 1950s. Motorcycles. More Catholics. Sister Dymphna is a beautiful novice who does her charity work in shelters and schools. Because she is beautiful, she has to field many come-ons from would-be lusty habit chasers. No one ever manages to melt her steely facade … until she begins to help run a soup kitchen. Guilt. Ecstasy. Release. Sweat-stained pages. Gulp.

Butter Pie, Butter Pie, from Wings’ “Uncle Albert”: “Butter pie? Butter pie! The butter wouldn’t melt so we put it in the pie”. A children’s book about a little boy named Peter who refuses to be like all the little other kids. He manages to alienate all of the kids on his block and in his class. He’s not misunderstood, however – the other kids understand him completely; he really does think he’s better than they are. He changes his name to Butter Pie, dyes his hair pink and fakes a British accent. The other kids ignore him. Butter Pie realizes that it’s no fun being different if people don’t notice and that without the other kids’ favor, he ceases to exist. Maybe not a children’s book.

the wind keens and keens outside….

Sotto il Segno Dei Pesci

March 10, 2006 in Uncategorized

My 26th sees me trying to decide between the blue cloisonne pendant and the green cloisonne pendant while hastily basting the rent seam of my pinstriped pencil skirt back together with dental floss before dinner ….

Steadily older … whether or not “wiser” figures in is open to interpretation. I will tell you, however, that the dental floss is working beautifully. take note.