let’s stay until the sun goes down and talk about records, drink until we’re drunk - don’t worry, we are young. we’ll talk about what’s important, like your favorite dashboard song, your favorite film of last year and where our lives went wrong. don’t worry about the weather or how cold it is outside. i promise to make this better if you stay with me tonight. we’ll listen to american football, sing along to “never meant”. i’ll hold your hand til you are sleeping. i’m so glad that I spent tonight with you.
#1 samiam fan = me
the five bearded guys of bushwick
b and i had a lot of drinks at duckduck the night prior. we commiserated over damaged hearts and mistrust of men. but we knew we were accomplished girls who were above neediness. i felt happy and empowered, but acknowledged that i was irrevocably jaded about romance.
i overslept the next morning and power-walked to the morgan L stop. i hate hearing the train pass just as i’m swiping my metrocard so i feel the pressure to increase my power-walking speed at exponential rates inversely related to my distance from the subway station.
it was a sunny, glorious day and outside of brooklyn’s natural sat five bearded hipsters in their loafers, slim shorts and oxfords, all lined up across a bench, leisurely eating their breakfasts. i found it very wonderfully picturesque and succumbed to my enchantment with the “quintessential bushwick” that they projected, sparing the 30-second breach in my commute to snap a photo worthy of instagram.
then i jetted. but as the world seems to work in these types of situations, the L train pulled away from the platform just as i reached it. no worries though - AM trains tend to arrive mere minutes apart. but as luck would have it, on this particular morning, the wait for the next train was an extended eternity. upwards of fifteen, twenty minutes, i’d say. “fucking figures,” i thought to myself.
the train did nothing to help my impending severe tardiness. after meekly inching past montrose, it came to a complete halt, stuck in the dark, wireless deadzone between stations, no fucking way out. fifteen minutes in a packed car and we had moved two stations. my eyes started to wander, weaving in and out around the backpacks, necks, shoulders and elbows crammed around me.
a boy across the car caught my eye and i think i caught his. he was pretty nondescript, a brunette in a white tee shirt but he looked familiar. with a lack of anywhere else to direct my attention, i searched the depths of my memory, wondering where i might have known him from. we spent a portion of the time mutually glancing at each other, perhaps waiting for the other person to speak. still stuck underground in a vacuum where time and room to breathe were starting to feel irrelevant, it dawned on me. i’d distantly had my eye on this boy at a party one month prior.
"have we met before?" we uttered at the same time. we both referenced the party immediately, as though we’d pinpointed our acquaintance at the exact same moment. i couldn’t help but think it felt a bit cosmic and i stumbled over my words terribly but somehow managed to let a conversation ensue.
when the train finally passed the bedford stop and started to cross the east river, i expressed my concern that we’d be stuck underground all day - and much worse, enveloped by a body of water. he said that’d be a good thing, an opportunity to excuse ourselves of all the day’s responsibilities. we began to talk of all the less-enticing obligations we were glad to be rid of, of the crazy hustle and bustle of new york city going on while we we secretly hid in a train car underwater mere meters away, laughing about it.
it seemed that at the moment that i started to truly fantasize that the L train would be stuck underground for the rest of the day, it started to move.
when the train pulled into 1st ave, the reality that i was 2 hours late for work hit me and i told him i had better get to.
"i’m getting out too," he said.
my phone exploded with missed messages from work. but here i was, on an intensely beautiful summer day, with a cute boy by my side and every single physical reaction telling me that i should be with him and not in the office. i told work about the train but said it might still be a bit before i could make it in.
we got iced tea and went for a leisurely walk around the east village.
less than 12 hours prior, my life had been at a standstill. i did not expect i’d be embracing time so shortly thereafter. it’s a feeling too intoxicating to shake. and by the grace of some god, it continued. the following weekend felt like a fairy tale and, in the most romanticized version of this story that floats around in the back of my mind, those five bearded guys were some semblance of my seven dwarves. my fairy godmothers.
moral: live comfortably knowing that 9/10 guys in bushwick looks like that. and that the only thing reliable about the L train is its unreliability.
the plight of being a teenage girl
- me: also, why do you have a sailor suit
- mh: I bought it when I was 15 at an antique store because I was weird and lonely
- mh: it's an actual US Navy Sea Cadet suit with some dead guy's name sewn in
this past friday, i had a typical “only in new york” kind of night. this is the kind of night where you have every intention of being low key and getting home at a reasonable hour…and then end up doing the complete opposite.
i was well on my way home from an art gallery at around 11 - but i get intercepted and the next thing i know, i’m drunk and stoned, hanging out in some bushwick performance space in the upstairs of a warehouse, illegally inhabited by eight 20-somethings whom i’ve never met before. we’re passing around cheap wine, taking swigs straight from the bottle. then we move it to someone’s birthday party at a nearby bar. there’s dj’s and everyone is dancing and i’m making out in a photobooth with a guy i just met. the party has this enids-a-couple-years-ago kind of vibe and lo and behold, all the skater kids that used to hang out at enids in 2011 are there. we reunite and dance and it’s all sorts of fun. then i find out my cousin is there too. our social paths never cross so this night has become even more of a rare gem. then i’ve wandered to a 24-hour laundromat, wasting all the dollars i have on a coin bulldozer game. then it’s almost daylight and i’m hosting a new-to-the-world, aspiring musician type at my apartment and he’s playing guitar and singing - all-out performing - while i sit there and smoke weed and think, “life ain’t so bad”. the next morning we smoke a bowl and grab a late breakfast and our server - likely also stoned out of her mind - keeps telling us how awesome we are. she bakes brownies and shares them with us. everyone is laughing a lot the entire time.
then i realize i have 30 minutes to pick up my laundry, shower, pack and get on my way to catch a flight. in a huge rush, the only way to do it.
i wasn’t really feeling a rush though. i walked away from a night which, on paper, should have induced a “new york i love you!” kind of high, with little more than overwhelming ambivalence.
but that’s why we’re here, right? to seek out all the new and unique experiences that new york has to offer. i have that - oh boy, do i have that. in fact, i have nothing BUT that.
because before i came here, i had money. i had a boyfriend. i had a job that was just that: a job, not a pervasive pressure to always be doing more. but i didn’t have experiences. i had a very boring life and often thought that i might have been on a straight path to dying.
put a negative sign in front of whatever amount of money i had pre-new york and that’s about how much i have now. as for dating, new york has been pretty generous to me, to that point that i’m always too selfishly anticipating “the next best thing” to bother to get to know any one person too well. job-wise…i have a decent job in a creative field that i would have been overjoyed with “when i was boring” but i also live in a place where there’s too much going on and having only one answer to the question “what do you do?” is frowned upon.
so basically i’ve given up all the things conventionally necessary for a happy life - money, a boyfriend, a satisfying occupation - in pursuit of a life full of new york moments, one right after the other. it’s been pretty exhilarating and at times i have felt more alive than ever before in my stupid jaded life.
i believe that the purpose of living in new york is to have those experiences. but if i don’t care for them much anymore, that doesn’t leave me with much else…so what’s keeping me here? and what comes next?