excurs(un)s

Ralph Waldo Emerson coined the phrase, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

My mom has a similar saying that’s sort of a killer combo between philosophical enlightenment and Vanilla Ice’s next one-hit wonder:

“You know, Sar, life’s not about where you end up but all of the different paths you take to get there. You just gotta do you.”

I know in most scenarios this is more aptly apropos for larger life events: career changes, blossoming romances and the occasional pregnancy scare. Tonight I can confirm I successfully applied the very same life advice to everyday life.

Despite the lack of notice that it’s winter and walking 30 blocks to my apartment is not dissimilar to a Naked Mole Rat in Antarctica, I still do it. This is not for martyr-dom, people; I’m like a hamster in its wheel for 12+ hours – then the wheel breaks off the cages’ hinge but my little legs just won’t stop.

I enjoy my walk home on Third Ave. It gives me time to blow off steam from the day’s happenings; I can call family and friends and pick up dinner: frozen yogurt. Like any avenue in New York, I walk by tons of restaurants and bars; from fast food joints to three-star Michelin rated hot spots; dive bars that will probably lie about when last inspection was to the intern-infested underage clubs where the line is blurred between sweat, saliva and alcohol (word of advice: all three will wreak of booze so you’re pretty SOL).

As if someone were writing my slow-mo “international super-spy car explosion escape” or “nerd-turned-hot-girl making her big entrance at the senior prom” scene, I narrowly miss a lit cigarette flicked with an incredible trajectory by the drunk businessman slouched on a stoop shouting, “I don’t need this. Just leave me the fuck alone!” to the homeless man next to him, eyes darting either in genuine discomfort or the paranoia caused by the joint dangling from his lips. My Matrix-like sidestep lands me in the line of fire of a nearby building night cleaning crew about to start their shift and dressed to kill (but, really) in their A-line Tiffany Blue cotton knee-length dresses and trampling anyone or thing in their path. Forced off the curb and almost into an off-duty taxi, the woman outside the bar sipping her martini (martini glass, olives and all) and balancing her extinguished cig, hocks a loogie with a force that simply cannot be taught, only admired and slightly offended.

My dance celebration (not far from Rocky at the top of the stairs) from avoiding cigarette burns, being clothes lined by a line of angry women in unfortunate adult school uniforms and unwanted recipient of a saliva donor was totally necessary.

And sadly quickly derailed by the nearby vomit I danced right into.

So, Ralph. Mom. I see your precious “journey” spiel and raise you a, what I think was leftover Mexican, “destination.”

comm(un) commute

A girl likes to feel petite, no matter what her size. Sometimes, you feel your petite-est in a mans arms. Other times when you’re holding a cupcake on steroids (a la Crumbs). I’m not going anywhere important with this stream of consciousness, I just felt it important to share my current state of being – I’m looking for the kind of comfort 300 calories can offer rather than muscle. Mostly because the calories won’t talk back.

Judge me when I refill my self-serve frozen yogurt cup at no charge – people know me – you’d do it too, I just have no shame.

No shame – it’s a way of life I’m becoming acquainted to in this Big ole’ Apple. Unplanned wardrobe malfunctions (always wear cute underwear, just not granny panties; no one likes a VPL), perspiring quandaries (reaffirming why I should never own grey), and relinquishing all self restraint to lip sync when my favorite song comes on and turn it up so loud the entire subway car can feel beats they’ll never quite appreciate.

You don’t want to admit it but you’ve developed a daily routine. There are 845 ways to get to the subway, but you wind up using the same route because it gets you from A to B without obstacles. Or maybe because you’ve developed a crush with the barista at your coffee pit stop. You scope out the numero uno square inch to wait for the subway because when the car pulls up, you’re just to the left of the door, allowing passengers to exit and you’re the first one on.

Allow your subway ride to be the variable in your life of constants. Sometimes I feel like a lioness in a jungle full of fresh meat, luring young thirty-somethings in with my best Babmi stare. Other times I wonder if the suited-up men getting on at the Penn Station and Grand Central stops are enjoying the arial view of my cleavage because they’re “squished in”. Mhmm…..Sir, I know this train is packed, but this is not the pole of love – please find another square inch to grope. Oh, and ma’am? Don’t give me those dagger eyes. You think I’m vacating my seat because you’re “high priority”. I’ve got boobs, too. Not moving.

Public Transportation System

photo credit: funny-pictures-blog.com

surro(un)dings

Mama Halle always told me to watch where I’m going. She also told me not to hold it in. I had a fear of missing out on all things fun.

New York City is full of dingbats and weirdos – and I love it. Nothing you say, do or wear is too much because while you’re taking pictures of an LL Bean boot for a client in Times Square, the naked cowboy next to you is high-fiving the giant Elmo for a picture taken by Buzz Lightyear.

Last weekend, I was given the task of photographing a single LL Bean rain boot in an iconic NYC setting for an upcoming anniversary event. I made a point to go to Grand Central Station, Times Square, the High Line and the Chrysler Building. Really embracing my inner photog, I, among others, caught myself whispering, “That’s right, give it to me. Let me see what you’ve got” in a British accent because my subconscious is English.

Don’t worry, it was endearingly strange, not keep-at-least-5-feet-from-my-children-at-all-times strange.

Guilty of being one of the worst walking texters of our generation, I’m weaving my way home through part of Chelsea – editing, retouching, applying filters, texting – sort of looking at the sidewalk through my phone and —

GGGSSSHHHHPPFFF (that’s the phonetic spelling of a water balloon breaking on your head from 4 stories high).

I’m momentarily paralyzed with my arms in the air like Paul Pierce SWEARING he didn’t commit the foul. I look up and start yapping my head off like the wet dog that I am, only drawing more attention to me. A bystander asked me if I wasokay and if I was hurt. Puzzled, I look myself up and down and respond,

“Some asshole just water ballooned me. This only happens in nauseatingly flirtatious scenes in non-fictional Rom-Com’s or at an elementary school Spring picnics.”

Completely void of all sympathy, the man side-steps and walks away.

At $21/hr, I’m absolutely submitting 9 hours of overtime.

Here’s my favorite shot of the boot giving me some attitude in the big city:

20120627-093413.jpg

(un)qualified

I don’t camp. My definition of “camping” is pitching a tent in my backyard, filling an air mattress whose dimensions are greater than the tent itself and am within walking distance to a life-size cooler — my fridge. My mom tried “camping” with me once with my stepdad and me. She had to go pee 45 minutes later.

She never came back.

My reasons against camping are much more legitimate. I’m cool with roughing it: not showering for a couple days (less foreign than I’d like to admit), cooking beans from a can over an open flame (that’s a thing, right?). Hikings cool, too, I guess. As long as I don’t have to skin anything alive or eat what I kill.

It comes down to bugs. It’s SO minuscule I know but I HATE bugs — bugs that fly, swim, crawl – 6 legs, 8 legs. Shit, I don’t care if the damn thing smells like a basket of roses and is a Grade A cuddler. If one of its little legs even brushes my arm hair, that son of a bitch won’t know what flicked it.

THE FIELD GOAL FOR THE WIN, AND IT’S GOOD!

New York, as I’ve quickly learned, has its own bug and rodent issues. They don’t give a hootie and the blowfish if you’re paying $900 or $900K a month. They dig the city life, too, and they’re livin’ rent free.

Returning from a late dinner with a friend on Sunday, I finally got a chance to unwind and prepare for a new week. Like a glass of warm milk to a toddler, after a couple beers, I was ready to drift into a heavy slumber on the futon at my interim domicile.

I announce my arrival to no answer, only assuming my family friend whose place it is already went to sleep. Pants at my ankles, the door opens and I hear, “Oh, Sarah! I’m so glad you’re home.” ….resume pants. She walks out in a towel saying, “I’ve got the worst itch on the one spot on my back I can’t reach.” She waited up for me to scratch her back? She couldn’t bear scratch against a wall?

“My friend took a picture, and I think it might be a tick.”

o.

“I’ve been Googling symptoms and various types of ticks. Could you just look at it and see if it looks like a tick or if it’s just a bug bite? See look, I enlarged the picture my friend took and you can see the legs and the head sort of but I think it’s a little under the skin. I was like 10 minutes away from going to the ER.”

“Oh…..You know, I’m really not a bug person. Um, I don’t really –” 

“I just need to know if it’s a tick, it’s so damn itchy.”

You mean Satan’s 6-legged suckling offspring? “Nope….not a bug bite. Definitely a tick.”

Hey, awkward silence! Where’ve you been these past few weeks, you sly devil, you.

Now, on a list of things I’d never do unless under horse tranquilizers, picking a tick off someone else’s body monkey-style is top 5, easy. But the woman is letting me live in her apartment for three weeks, I’m not going to make her go to the ER when I’m, um, conscious.

“Do you want me to try and, like….pick, er, get it off? Big shock but I’ve never done something like this before so hopefully your pain tolerance is high.”

I’m full of conviction, confidence and positive reinforcement, what can I say?

“OH, that’d be great. Here, I have some tweezers; a couple in case one pair aren’t sharp enough. So I read on Google that all you have to do is pull it straight out. And make sure you get all the legs. There can’t be any left because we don’t know if it’s carrying Lymes disease.”

“k.”

15 minutes later and a few years visibly shaved off my face I did, in fact, de-tick her. Suddenly brimming with confidence I told her she should probably go to the doctor anyway because it seems there might be some puss and swelling, “plus I’m not sure I got the entire head and I don’t want to be the blame for any infectious diseases.”

“Damn tweezers. I need to get a sharper pair. Do you wanna try the kitchen knife to dig it out?”

Do you wanna watch my head connect with the kitchen tile?

cross-country flying f(un)

No stranger to flying cross-country, I’m quite keen on red-eyes when I travel west to east. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to lose 3 hours of my life, I’d rather be sleeping. Bearing that in mind, why I still dress to impress is beyond me.

The issue with most airlines is they don’t always offer direct flights so you wind up sitting laying over in a terminal in god knows what airport (likely Chicago or Atlanta) at 4:11 in the morning and you look (and feel) like a strung-out homeless man due to lack of sleep, and greasy hair from the head rest. Plus, Starbucks isn’t open.

Leaving my childhood home for New York, I knew it was going to be difficult to sleep on this flight form the pure, unadulterated excitement about my big move into the professional working work in fuh-reakin New York Citay. I stake my claim in seat 18C (god bless advance seating selection in online check-in), an aisle seat because I prefer the option to easily get up and out of my seat than sleep easier against the window, which vibrates and makes your head bounce anyway. And whoever requests the middle seat who clearly checked in at the kiosk is shit out of luck – I’m not giving them the armrest just because they got stuck riding bitch seat…should’ve check it earlier, guy.

First to sit down, I don’t put my seatbelt on (classic rookie mistake) in anticipation of lord knows who’s about to grace me with their presence. Remembering seat numbers is a god given gift that only I must attain because everyone always looks from their ticket, to me to the number above my head like they’re sure I misread my ticket and am in their seat.

A foreign family approaches my area. Using my acute language sensing power, I narrow my options to Dutch or German. The mother walks to my row, pointing at the window seat managing “there, please (pronounced po-leece)” while her husband and daughter hang back a few rows up. I felt a pang of guilt, almost offering the rest of her family to trade my seats for theirs so they could sit together when my super sharp language sensing powers detect more foreigners around me…..I am suddenly aware that I am the 1%. At least 5 rows deep, both in front and behind me are Dutch, possibly German tourists.

Excuse me, stewardesses? Yes, I’d like 3 Xanax, please. Do you take Visa?

When the stewardess announces we’ve hit 10,000 and all approved electronic devices that can be found in the pamphlet in the seat pocket in front of us can be used, the fine fellow next to me unleashes his seatbelt in a Hulk-like manner. In one swift movement, he’s kneeling next to me, using my armrest for balance (naturally) and chatting with his female riding bitch seat in my row.

I don’t know where the damn beverage service is but I need a stiff drink like 4 days ago because these two have lost any and all awareness that I exist. Hoping the conversation will be quick, I realize how wrong I am when the mans arms relocate to my thigh and the middle armrest. ALL I WANT IS TO BE IN MY OWN FANTASY WORLD READING 50 SHADES OF GREYmy Christian Grey is not a stout, unshaven, capri-wearing, paperboy-cap-donning, double-hoop-earring wearing Dutch or possibly German.

I know the European culture is less concerned about spatial awareness, but there was zero acknowledgement of my existence.

I have no idea how much time passed I’d fallen asleep with his arm in my lap. I admit, I am a fan of body contact, and clearly I was desperate for some.