Saturday, January 31, 2004

My friend LK and I have been best friends since high school, which is more years ago than I care to recall.

She wrote me a letter yesterday complaining about broken pipes and no hot water, pilot lights going out, etc. She apologized for complaining; just needed to get it off her chest.

I swear, she is so adorable. She thinks that is complaining.

From the Letter I wrote LK today:

I have officially missed all the deadlines for Master's programs starting fall of 2005. So I’m not getting out of this horrid employment situation anytime soon.

I am so desperate to get out of this soul-sucking, stress-elevating, life-eating job. I have been very close to simply shoving my belongings into a $50/month storage cube downtown and moving back to IL with my parents, so I can live rent-free for awhile, get out of debt, and try to start my life over again. But... I can't bring myself to leave. I love my apartment and my neighborhood and my friends and my life here too much. So... I just keep plugging away. I'm still applying for jobs... but I'm getting absolutely nothing, no feedback, no responses, etc. Right now I just see another year of my life sliding away while I continue to scrape by, living a fraction of life at a time. Every time I think I can't take much more of this, I blink my eyes and another 6 months has gone by. Thinking positively, I can take much more than I ever imagined. Thinking more commonly, years are passing. No career. No family. Nothing that I own really worth anything. Nothing to show for my 8 years in New York... Life experience? I can't eat that, drive it, sleep under it, or pay bills with it. So far, my obituary reads: "The only remarkable thing about this woman's life was that she lived 8 years in New York and never once attended the Village Halloween parade."

I have struggled with the "F" word for years, ever since I stopped auditioning. I've never been able to reconcile my personal small comforts and ongoing search for fulfillment with my fears that I've disappointed others, that I let people down by abandoning the arts, that I have basically become a loser. I fight all the time to not feel that everyone sees me as a flighty drifter who's blown everything she's ever tried. There's a part of me that sees myself that way, because I'm so disappointed and disillusioned.

The dissolution of the company I used to work for has rocked my world more than I can say. For most people in New York it was September 11th that made them feel unsafe, that nothing was permanent, not home, family, love, nothing. For me, it was the sale of my company. I had finally found the perfect job, with one of the longest-standing, well-established "empire" companies in the world... destroyed by one greedy man who sold people's livelihoods, ruined retirement plans, and ended careers, so he could (try to) hang out with movie stars. I counted my lucky stars that the company he sold us to hired me. At the time, any job seemed better than no job at all.

I have been trapped at the job I have now ever since. I never imagined things would be this bad.

I hope that filthy elitist wanna-be never gets a good night's sleep for the rest of his life.

In case you're wondering, the "F" word is "Failure."

Also struggling with the disillusionment of a man who seemed to enjoy making me blissfully happy, and then abruptly stopped once we were engaged, a husband who left me fend for myself all the time, a marriage that I became desperate to escape, which I had once seen as a safe haven... My marriage was, absolutely, the biggest disappointment of my life. I have never tried so hard to make something work and felt so sabotaged. I gained 30 pounds being with that unhealthy, gluttonous man. I don't trust anything a man says to me anymore, because they all say the same things in the beginning. I want very much to be married again, and to have a child, but don't know how on Earth I will ever feel satisfied or fulfilled. I want too much.

I thank the gods for my ability to be in touch with my emotions and not be afraid of them. I feel entitled to my feelings, and not afraid to write about them or talk about them. I am honest, and I believe I am realistic about how to go about living what’s left of this life. I try very hard every day to recognize that I am still , by many people’s estimation, young. I manage. I am paying down debt, meeting living expenses, being as good a friend as I would like to have, and learning how to date again. I go to church and moon circles and constantly have "How is everybody" sessions with close friends, long conversations, etc. I know I am not the only person with disappointments, disillusionment, and a many-times taped-back-together heart. It helps to laugh with friends over coffee about that.

I still eat well and am proud of that. I don't shop anymore, because I really believe I don't need anything. I have begun to ask for more things, and usually am glad I did. I appear to have survived something huge.

2003 was a year to recover. Hopefully 2004 will be a year to rebuild.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

From Nicole to Kat to Zenchick to me...

The idea here is you copy all these, bold the ones you have in common with me and write new statements where my statements aren't true for you.

Isn't it great how many of us love our cats?

I have never owned a car, and don’t plan to anytime soon.
I love all bookstores.
I love the smell of cooking.
I love writing notebooks.
My kitty is the cutest thing ever.
I love it when I get some free time, with absolutely no obligation other than sitting and being alone in my own thoughts.
I like making lists.
I love to snuggle.

I almost never wear makeup
I had braces for most of my childhood and adolescence.
I wear glasses
I hope to go to grad school within the next couple of years
I am an only child
I have never been to china.
I love foreign films
English was one of my best subjects in school.
Morgan Llewellyn is my favorite author.
I've had two surgeries.
I love bubblebaths.
I love my family.
I hope to get married some day.
I love candle holders.

I sew very well without a machine.
I love to read.
I own a Gateway.
Whiskey is my alcohol of choice
I have very dry skin in the winter.
I love to sleep in.
I would enjoy a vacation to someplace warm.
I like to people watch.
I think some things about me have been the same since I was born.
I'm in a fabulous mood.
I need to do more yoga.

I wish I had could afford to add HBO to my cable bill
I wish I knew how to knit.
I love to dress sexy but often feel too self-conscious to do so.
I fantasize about painting murals on my walls, but I don’t have the time.
I love to sleep.
I love to eat.
I have a love-hate thing with my town.
I want to have children someday.

I love to sing.
Sometimes I hate my belly.
I love my friends very much

I believe our dreams are keys to our unconscious thoughts.
I am learning how to love myself.
I am learning how to love others, and to let others love me.
Hot cocoa is excellent.
I want to go back to the mountains.
I like to write.

I hope I get a new job this year

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

For all of you self-professed internet big mouths, God love ya, I have successfully enabled comments. I guess that $600 HTML class I took at the New School was worth something after all.
In the year 2000, I had a dream that shocked me so much, I woke up in sweats, couldn't get back to sleep, and I obsessed over it for months. I wrote it down as a prose piece, and here it is:

The Asian Food Store

I dreamed I was home, in our hometown Asian Food Store, and there you were, in the condiment aisle. Your long, ratty blonde ponytail hung halfway down your back as you frowned at the row of bottles. I stared. Little strands of hair clung to your face. Your small hands, rough and calloused, picked up a jar of yellow miso. Your face was red and shiny from the heat and your lips parted slightly, breathing through your mouth. You licked your lower lip as you read the miso jar label. Suddenly I felt your hands on me, sliding up the sides of my torso, rough and warm and strong. I stared at the miso jar, feeling what it felt, your hands on my skin, and I gasped for breath. My bag of rice noodles rattled in my hand.

You looked up and saw me. You said nothing. I said “Hi.”

You said “Hi.” I stared dumbly, wishing my toes weren’t showing through my sandals, that I’d washed my hair that morning, that I was anywhere but here.

You said, “How are you?” To that, I said, “How are you?” You said, “Good, I’m good.” More silence. I tried to smile. “What are you doing in town?” you said. “Visiting,” I said.

Then we just looked at each other. I could see your eyes swirling, maybe ten or twelve different shades of blue, brightening and fading like tiny ocean pools. You seemed to be processing seeing me, how I looked, how I seemed to be, turning over in your mind what might be best to say next, whether to get the hell out before we embarrassed each other somehow. I could see all those questions churning behind your eyes, just as they were all churning behind the deep plowed-earth brown of my own eyes. The whole universe faded away, except you and I, and the things our eyes said to each other. Gradually, gently, my eyes followed yours, flowing over me like a warm shower, until they came to rest on my left hand, and they took in my wedding rings, blazing in the sunlight streaming in the windows of the shop.

Smiling brightly, you raised your eyebrows in appreciation, looked into my eyes, and said “Congratulations.”

I froze. My breathing stopped. I think the whole world stopped. Something exploded outside, a tire or engine or maybe my left ventricle. I dropped my rice noodles. I didn’t hear them crunch to the ground.

“It’s great seeing you,” I finally said.

The July air around me thickened hot and foul as I turned and walked out of the store. I don’t know what you did then. I just walked down the street, toward my car, the world whizzing past me on either side. I didn’t hear traffic. My ears throbbed with pulsing blood, drowning out the world. I thought I might combust. All I heard was your voice echoing, “Congratulations.”

I woke up.

Did you call after me? Did I stop halfway there and come back to talk more? Did we have coffee and conversation for a while? Or did we just have a conversation in the parking lot?

What does it matter anyway? I’m awake, you’re gone, and I’m married.

Now, it's 2004.
(To be Cont'd)
I am chagrined to see that my Blog listing on NYC Bloggers has a typo in it.

In other news, I will be SIGNING MY NEW LEASE TOMORROW!!!
Joyous blogging will result! Start cleaning your glasses now, folks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I had such drama over the last two weeks. Basically, I was involved in a frantic search for a new roommate. I sent emails out to my friends BEGGING them to email their friends.

Now, yes, I know this is New York, and there are services like Craig's List and Apartment Finders, but I have been burned. Or rather, I should say, I know too many people who have been burned. I have heard so many stories about the psychotic roommates people got stuck living with because of those websites. People who have good apartments in decent neighborhoods, who seem like great people... until you move in and discover all the dirty little secrets that are, underneath it all, the reason why this person needed to entice complete strangers to live with them in the first place.

So - the internet was OUT. Ditto with posting flyers with little tear-off sheets in public places. I have ONE MONTH until my roommate moves out. If I can't find someone to co-sign a new lease with me, I'm either going to have to move - and I DO NOT WANT TO MOVE - or get involved in some kind of tenant right's case, which I don't think anybody would choose to get involved in. So. Fast, Furious, and Focused search for a new roomie.

I sent emails to something like 20 or thirty people. They told two friends. And they told two friends. And so on, and so on, and so on...

The responses I got:

1. An aspiring actress, sort of, who's going to be a student at Eugene Lang College in the city starting... actually, she didn't say when she'd be starting. For the last few years, she's been "pursuing acting" in California. As of now, she has no job. However, she has "managerial restaurant experience" and is confident of her ability to secure a well-paying restaurant job.

I thought that was an oxymoron.

Anyway, not exactly what I'd call a Landlord's wet dream. Oh, did I mention that she's in her mid-thirties? I'm in my early thirties and I think I would have shot myself long ago if my professional career consisted of 1000 failed auditions, 2 or 3 acting jobs that didn't make me rich or famous, and some "managerial restaurant experience." But that's just me.

2. A displaced 9/11 resident. Now this was an amazing story. This woman, in her early 40's, was the Vice President of some company or other, with international interests, when the planes hit the towers and destroyed, quite literally, her entire New York life. Her job, her apartment, gone in the blink of an eye. She is lucky to be alive. She has been living with her mother in Vermont ever since. Speaking to her on the phone, she sounds very well-adjusted. She has probably had some good therapy and family/friend support. She has gotten as "over it" as a person can, and is ready to move on with her life. She is ready to return to New York.

The problem is, that, for the last 4 years, she's been basically floating, as one must in these situations. I was truly moved and inspired by her story. However, right now, for someone looking to sign a lease, she is, in her words, a risk. Currently, she's waiting tables. No shit. From the VP of a Global Company to a Waitress. War sucks.

I wish things were different, but the bottom line is, like our hard-working actress friend above, she's just not a landlord's ideal tenant. Not only that, I also had to ask myself very seriously if I wanted to a) live with someone 10 years older than me, or b) live with someone who clearly has... things to work out. I just don't know if I could take that much potential drama... This is SO hypocritical of me, since I am, after all, a basket case myself, and a holy-rolling drama queen. I guess I need to be the Unquiet Queen in residence.

Also, she's in Vermont. She can't even get down to see the place until Sunday. It could be rented by then!

3. One of my best friends, who is a musician, albeit a very good, reasonably successful one, who I found out hasn't filed tax returns in 3 years. (WHAT?) She can't get a letter of employment, since she's self-employed. And no tax returns. Which equals, in my landlord's eyes, no lease.

4. Another friend, who has been unable to live in her own apartment for 6 months, since her idiot superintendent - and then a scam of an "Environmental Cleaning Company" - put so much toxic chemicals into the ventilation systems in her place that she took a deep breath one day and wound up in the hospital. This is a woman who is highly allerigic to all kinds of chemicals. They've rendered her place unliveable. So, for the last 6 months, she's been staying at various friend's places, a few weeks here, a few weeks there. She needs a place to live, and she's got pots of money saved up from years past.

Now, this is another person I really feel for. As a fellow allergy sufferer, I sort of know what she's going through, though I've never experienced anything that severe. However, this woman is also over 10 years older than me, and has been living alone for years. How would that work? Lots of questionable potential personality conflicts...

It turns out that she really prefers to live alone anyway. So I don't have to worry about saying no. And I hope she sues the pants off that Cleaning company and her building owner who lets an incompetent super pour bleach into the ventilation system.

5. Jenn, from Park Slope. "I reeeeeally love Brooklyn. But I like the Upper West Side too!" This gal would have been just about perfect. She had a sold sales job with a publishing company - likely made plenty more money than me. She loves cats. She was nice on the phone, sounded very healthy. Maybe a bit too perky. But hey, maybe she'd lighten me up, God know I need it.

Well, the Upper West Side was her SECOND choice neighrborhood. She turned me down, without even seeing my apartment, in favor of a place in Park Slope. She has a boyfriend who lives there. How could I compete.

After Jenn backed out, I went into overdrive. A WEEK had gone by and NO NEW ROOMMATE!! I was desperate. I emailed all my friends AGAIN. "Please network for me!" I begged. "Don't make me turn to some psycho from the internet!"

It turns out 3 friends of mine posted ads for me in very exclusive places. One of my actress friends posted a 3x5 card on the Actor's Equity (Actos' Union) board, veiwable only by Equity members. A friend of mine who is a professor at Barnard posted a flyer with little tear-offs (I know, I know) at the Columbia U Bus station, which is clogged with well-to-do young people and the occasional professor or teacher. Another friend posted an ad on the website of a musician with a very dedicated and generally well-educated following.

From all this, I got two phone calls from people who could barely speak english. "You have apartment? Room on 95th street? Oh, somebody take? Oh, so sorry." Christ. That must have been from the Columbia U bus stop posting. Exactly the reason why I didn't want to post in public.

From the additional networking, I did get responses from 2 straight males. Sorry, but I have to draw the line there. I would love to find a Will to my Grace, but I'm not living with another straight male again until I'm married to him. And I'm still on the fence as to whether it's worth all the damn housework.

Finally I got desperate and went on Craig's List. I didn't post - I searched. I searched for a female in New York City looking to rent a place for my monthly amount.

I got one person.

She's a working professional in finance by day and writes psycho-thriller plays in her spare time. She's 25 and makes almost as much money as I do, being in finance and all. she has two mild-mannered cats. She's educated, articulate, works in the financial district, has a boyfriend... Normal. She's Normal. Oh man.

We faxed in our apartment applications today.

Craig's List. Ok. Maybe they're not ALL psychos.

And that's the story of my apartment search. I'll post again when the applications are approved.

If my landlord refuses us, I'll cry.

So, the moral of the story is, when you're looking for a roommate, be sure to say

"ISO female professional non-smoker, cat compatible, who writes psycho-thrillers in her spare time."

Sorry for the template changes, but I messed with the HTML trying to get Haloscan comments on there, and messed the whole thing up, so I have to switch templates, switch back and start all over. Maybe I'll get help this time.

Friday, January 09, 2004

I work with a friend named AR. AR has a pet parrot named Icarus. I have occasionally heard this bird referred to - affectionately - as "Icky." Perhaps it is because of this that Icarus has tried to kill AR on several occasions.

This Monday was the first Monday back to work for us. I saw my friend in the cafeteria. Or perhaps it was in the elevator. Regardless, what sticks in my memory was the fact that one side of his nose was scratched and red. A rather shocking wound. I didn't say anything or ask at the time. I thought it might embarrass him. Normally, when one is walking around with a striking wound on their face, they are feebly hoping nobody will notice, and the polite thing to do is allow them to maintain that illusion by not staring or asking about it.

I was polite for two days. On Wednesday, I saw my friend in the cafeteria. We ate lunch with our other pals ES and JC. We discussed various vacations, funny cubicle situations, and the like, until I finally asked "What happened to your nose?" AR Replied "ahh, we don't have to talk about that." "Is it something embarrasing? Did you do something to yourself?" I asked. Immediately, ES asks "Did Icarus bite you?" It turns out that this was the case.

This vicious winged creature, clearly harboring life-long issues likely related to being caged since its hatching, had, without provocation, maimed my friend. He said that he was petting his bird, letting Icarus perch on his hand, stroking the feathers lovingly, saying sweet things to the bird, when, suddenly Icarus darted forward and bit AR's left nostril, clamping down with a vengeance. According to AR, due to “A combination of superior reasoning skills, the imposition of my homo sapien brain power, and "gentle" persuasion.” He managed to free himself from his attacker, but was left with a nasty beak-shaped scrape.

This is a rather pampered bird, from the sounds of it. AR spends a good deal of time at home. He spends a little extra money on special tasty parrot food. The cage sits on a high surface, near a window, where Icarus can see out, squawk at passers by, whatever birds like to do near windows. AR spends quality time with this bird. It talks and does other typical charming happy-bird things.

Now, Icarus’s cage is on the floor of the apartment, in the corner. Instead of the fancy protein berries, he’s being fed plain old birdseed. Every time Adam walks in the door, it’s “Hello! I love you! I’m a pretty bird!” But to no avail. That bird is, frankly, in the cage.

Today he told me I should buy him lunch, since he’s the walking wounded and all. I agreed. The man was nearly maimed by a parrot.


Tuesday, January 06, 2004

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth... there is a problem with my blog, and I'm too HTML challenged to figure it out. This post here is actually a test.