Archive | August, 2011

Here Comes the Story of the Hurricane

31 Aug

Being a New York resident, I feel it only necessary to do the obligatory Hurricane Irene blogpost.  For lack of a better, more adventurous and thrilling tale of survival, I will now proceed to give you a rundown of my mundane weekend spent cooped up in a small New York City apartment with a few friends and a shitload of alcohol:

Saturday, 11 AM:  Wake up with slight hangover due to previous night’s escapades.  Look out window and survey the scene.  Eerily quiet and desolate for New York, yet also surprisingly lively considering the doomsday flags they have featured on the 5-day forecast on TV.

12 PM:  Brunch.  After walking a few blocks west in morbid humidity, we arrive at the restaurant, only to discover it’s even hotter inside.  I do not handle heat well, as is obvious from my frequent menopausal tendencies.  Upon being seated, I quickly strip off my rainboots and socks.  No shoes, no shirt, no service?  Lies.

Makeshift Bar...not too shabby

1:30 PM:  Wander back to the apartment, stopping at CVS and the liquor store to pick up last minute emergency supplies for the weekend: crayons, sketch paper, molding clay, sparkling wine, 3 bottles St. Germain Elderflower liquor, brandy, peach schnapps.  I know, I know, something seems wrong here.  But don’t worry, we already had the 3 bottles of vodka and bottles of red, white and rose wine sitting patiently at home, along with a trusty set of playing cards.

2:00 PM:  Catch the end of Definitely, Maybe, followed by the end of Failure to Launch.

2:30 PM:  Begin process of soaking watermelon with vodka.  This proved difficult, but we managed and boy, did that watermelon have an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

3:30 PM:  DVR The Proposal.

4:00 PM:  Order Chinese delivery.  Bake large cookie cake.  Begin preparations for Sangria.

Every time is a good time for sangria

4:15 PM:  Cheers!

4:30 PM:  Find Wet Hot American Summer DVD.  Watch Wet Hot American Summer.  Quote entire movie while eating wonton soup and cold sesame noodles with peanut butter.

6:00 PM:  Remove air conditioners from windows in preparation for hurricane, despite there still not being any rainfall.

6:01 PM:  Hot and strategically placing fans throughout apartment.

6:05 PM:  Realizing that removing AC was terrible idea, and that we have no way of getting the units back in the windows.  Wonderful.  Hot, sweaty, and wonderful.  Quickly change into shorts.

6:30 PM:  Watch The Proposal, commercial free.  Thank you DVR.

6:45 PM:  Eat cookie cake.  Mmmmm.

7:20 PM:  Crayon sketching begins.  Amid rainbows and stick figures, a few frustrated artists are born.

8:30 PM:  Begin making requests for Danna and the molding clay.  The Apt 2C Zoo officially opens its doors.  Rather than making molding clay a group activity, we realize that we prefer to bark orders at one person.  Make me a bicycle, clown!

Leo the Lion, Nelson the Elephant, Teeny the Pig, Kenneth the Koala, and Mehanata the Whale

10:00 PM:  Break out the cards and play Asshole.  Eventually realize we are not playing Asshole and instead are actually playing Bullshit.  Spend 10 minutes trying to remember and piece together rules for Asshole.  Play Asshole.

11:00 PM:  Missy decides to brave the storm and walk home.  We wish her well on her journey, hoping she doesn’t get blown away.  It is now pouring rain and the wind is picking up, but she is brave and armed with wellies, hooded waterproof jacket, and umbrella.  Pretty much a white, Jewish Al Roker.

11:30 PM:  Shower and attempt to not feel like a gluttonous slug of a human being.  Shower makes me clean, yet proves unsuccessful in every other aspect.

12:30 PM:  Place fan directly next to face, blowing at high speed, and collapse atop my bed.  Drift off into sleep hoping the city is not floating out to sea sans power and cable the next morning.

Sunday, 10 AM:  Wake up.  Lights are working.  Clock is working.  News is playing in the living room.  We are still alive!  Quickly realize it is no longer raining.  Seriously?

10:20 AM:  Eat bowl of cereal.

11:00 AM:  Take a walk.  It feels amazing outside, despite a slight spitting of rain.  Everything is closed and boarded/taped up.  Streets are not empty, but quite quiet for a Sunday in New York.  Bagel place is packed with line out the door, naturally.

12:00 PM:  Jen heads home to shower and run.  I take a nap on the couch.  Danna does arts and crafts.  I wake up an hour or so later to decorative artwork displayed on our fridge and the vodka watermelon now carved with roses.

2:00 PM:  Jen returns.  We cut into the watermelon and proceed to muddle the fruit despite not having a proper muddler.  We use our fingers and the bottom of the St. Germain bottle.  Pretty crafty, eh?  Concoct watermelon cocktails with vodka watermelon, watermelon water, and St. Germain.  So unbelievably yummy and refreshing.

Fresh watermelon cocktail

2:30 PM:  Watch The Switch.  Surprisingly better than expected.  It is now quite beautiful outside.  It is a disaster area within the apartment.  Slight confusion all around.

4:00 PM:  Eat leftovers from brunch the day before and polish off cold sesame noodles.

5:00 PM:  Play Egyptian Ratscrew.  Competitive personalities reveal themselves.  Eventually stop playing this game.

6:30 PM:  Make dinner.  Realize I have not drank any water all day.  Realize I have spent all weekend eating terrible food and watching 2nd rate television.  Continue eating dinner, flip through channels.

Sunday evening/night:  Watch VMA’s.  Lady Gaga is a dude now, Adele is awesome, Beyonce is preggers.  Check MTA website and learn that subways will in fact be running as of 6 AM Monday morning.  Accept that Monday will be a work day as usual.  Go to bed.

All in all, a pretty standard weekend, except that instead of eating, drinking, and socializing at legitimate establishments throughout the city, I sat around in sweats while sweating my ass off and partook in all these activities in the comfort of my own home.  Plus, I got to scratch a few titles off my bad-rom-coms-I-never-wanted-to-pay-money-for-but-at-some-point-wanted-to-see list.  So thanks, Irene, for a lovely, boring, food-filled, alcohol-driven, hot mess of a weekend.

Hey there Fellas

25 Aug

This one’s for the guys.  With September on the horizon, Fall fashion is suddenly upon us.  Not sure how to incorporate this season’s top trends from the magazines into your realistic, everyday wardrobe?  Hop over to Reality Chic and check out my latest post on Men’s Fashion for a few tips on that very subject HERE

Could You Spare a Moment of Your Time?

21 Aug

As I approached the subway entrance she came into sight.  I was heading straight toward her with no defense, nothing I could do to stop the inevitable.  The brightly colored pamphlet in her hand, I was helpless against her cheery early-morning smile and well-rehearsed speech just waiting to be unloaded onto my already annoyed ears.  As I walked closer, I tried to look away, maintain eye contact straight ahead, avoiding her at all costs.  I tried to pick up the pace, act like I had somewhere important to be (I did actually…it’s called work).  I tried to position myself awkwardly close to the person in front of me so that she could not possibly target both of us, thus throwing him into the fire and getting away unburned (and without a pamphlet).  I was mere inches away from her now, and very much aware that no one that had come before me had escaped her grasp.  My body tensed and I made a lunge for the subway stairs leading underground, waiting for her spiel to be unleashed upon me.  I was in the thick of it now, right in her line of fire.  Shit.  Shit.  Shit.  No way out.  And then, miraculously, I was past her, without so much as a hello or excuse me.  She had skipped me altogether, for which, yes, I was grateful.  Yet once beyond her, I could hear as she lured the middle-aged man behind me into her invisible flyer lair, and then the lady behind him, and the one behind her.  The words “Special Election” floated through the air as I made my way underground, and I was suddenly completely aware of what had happened.

I look young, due mostly to my height, or lack thereof.  And my work environment is pretty casual, so on a normal basis I am not jazzed up to the nines at 9 AM, polished to perfection with heels to boot.  I do not, however, consider myself to look younger than 18, and thus it quickly became very clear that this woman skipped me simply due to my age, and the voting tendencies within my age group.  She ignored me completely, assuming that as a young individual, I most likely don’t care about politics and wouldn’t be voting in any special election that was important enough to her to be flyering to the ignorant masses at 8:45.  I understand that MTV’s Rock the Vote campaigns, among others, haven’t always been the most successful, but I also know that young people today do care about the government, and do want their voices heard.  For every person my age that could give two shits about voting, there’s another who cares immensely.  You never know which one you are going to encounter, dear pamphlet lady, so who are you to discriminate and discern who gets the pamphlet?

Am I a registered voter in the state of New York?  No.  Would I most likely have thrown the pamphlet away without so much as skimming the title?  Probably.  But she didn’t know that.  As far as she was concerned, there was just enough of a chance for me to throw away the pamphlet as the 45-year-old woman two people back from me on the sidewalk.  When you sign up to annoy pedestrians and hand out unwanted papers to people rushing to get to work before their morning cup of coffee, you sign up to target everyone on the pavement, regardless of race, gender, and age.  This is America, goddammit, and we all deserve the chance to push your hand away and tell you we’re not interested.  If that’s not why our ancestors sailed to this great country, then I honestly can’t say why any of us are here.

Next time I see that lady on the corner, if she ignores me again, perhaps I’ll pivot and ask her directly for one of those dearly important pamphlets of hers, just to prove a point and shake up her outdated notions about the jaded American youth of today.  I’d like to see her face when I approach her, and not the other way around.  And then of course I’ll throw the pamphlet away once I turn the corner, and then proceed to pummel people on my way down the stairs to make my train.  I do have places to be, after all.  Clearly I have no time to waste on pamphlet ladies and whatever causes they have to share with me.  Unless of course we’re talking about saving the rainforests.  Now that’s a cause worth a pamphlet grab.

Summer Style Tips

18 Aug

This isn’t exactly a brand spankin’ new post, but I have a feeling you (whoever “you” are) will survive.  I’ve just branched out and am now currently a RealityChicBlog.com style blogger.  Once a week you’ll be getting tips from me in the style department, starting with today’s post about keeping your cool in the hot summer sun (and arctic office AC).  So click your way to Reality Chic every Thursday for the latest and greatest from Yours Truly (as well as a few other awesome writers I have a feeling you’ll enjoy).  Having trouble getting started?  Try clicking right…. HERE

Minimum Coverage

15 Aug

I shoved my way towards the bar and claimed a piece of the counter as my own, planting my right elbow down like a flag on the liquid-spotted wood.  I waited the obligatory amount of time before garnering the bartender’s attention and then, upon getting the slight raise of chin punctuated with attitude signaling me to order, I placed my request.

“Whisky ginger ale?”

She whisked herself away, filled the glass with ice, poured from high above the amber alcohol, and then hosed the drink down with the soda, placing a lime wedge on the rim before flinging the drink my way, all the while acting like she had much better things to do.  She most likely mumbled the price, but the music was loud and the shouting from the crowd was louder, so I simply cocked my wrist, credit card in hand, waiting for her to take the plastic and make the transaction.

“Open or closed?”  My bartender asked in one of the best April Ludgate impersonations I’ve ever witnessed.

“Closed.”

“There’s a $20 minimum.”  Spot on April again…has she been practicing?

And thus began the all too familiar dance that occurs millions of times at millions of bars every night in New York City and across the United States.  Young singletons waltz into a bar without cash, place down a drink order and a card, and deal with the minimums and costs involved.  When the bartender inevitably tells us there’s a minimum, we oblige by keeping the card open or offering to buy the first round for a friend or two.  This ends not only in our losing much hard-earned money on overpriced drinks made with cheap liquor, but also losing our sobriety and getting much drunker than planned.  There’s nothing we can do about this, of course, and so we sign our bank accounts away and drink down our paychecks.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t feel like wasting my money on an extra drink I didn’t want and a hangover I could’ve prevented.  It was already after 2 AM, and I only wanted one drink, thank you very much.  Fortunately for me, however, I had recently read that it is actually illegal (yes, ILLEGAL) for any establishment in New York City to put a minimum on a credit card.  I am 95% sure that 95% of people living in New York City do not know this, and I am also 99% sure that 100% of bars take full advantage of our ignorance of this little-known law.  Unfortunately for the snotty bartender holding my credit card, I was in the 5% that wasn’t going to let her get away with this bullshit any longer.

“It’s actually illegal in New York City to have a minimum on credit cards,” I informed her.

“Umm, yeah, there’s an ATM outside.”  Now she was really starting to piss me off.

“Fine, whatever, keep it open.  But this is illegal and I can report you to the Better Business Bureau,” I retorted.  Thank God I already had my drink, or I would definitely have been drinking a whiskey ginger ale with a splash of loogie or dishwater.  Obviously I wasn’t going to call any Bureau of Better Business, but if she was going to win in getting me to keep my card open, I was at least going to have a good comeback.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you, a good comeback works.  When in doubt, just act confident and call the bluff with a solid comeback.  Quick delivery is key as well.  Before I knew what was happening, she swiped my card, printed the receipt for my one under-$20 drink, and silently handed me back my card along with a pen before fleeing the scene and attending – I use that word loosely in her case – to another patron.  I reveled in my small triumph over bars on behalf of broke 20-somethings everywhere, and then still added in an undeserved gratuity for my challenger.  I always try to be the better person in these situations.

I spent the rest of the night elated and proud of myself, dancing the night away in celebration of my victory.  Sure, if that bitch ever sees me again I probably won’t want to drink whatever she’s serving, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.  After all, there are millions of watering holes in Manhattan, and I’m fairly certain she doesn’t have the means or the mental capacity to spread the word about me fast enough.  So watch out bartenders of New York City: I’m using my credit card, and there’s nothing you can do about it!

Let’s Trash the Trash Bags, Shall We?

4 Aug

Earlier this week I saw a topless woman waltzing down the sidewalk on my way back from lunch.  She wore mom jeans, a blonde curly afro wig, a drawn on mustache, and a large camera hanging around her neck flopping atop her bare chest.  Yes, she garnered a raised eyebrow or two, but for the most part, people just kept walking on by, myself included.

In New York City, everyone fits in for no other reason than because everyone stands out.  It’s the one city where it’s not unusual to see a topless woman, a life-sized Elmo, a runway model, a fabulously fashionable gay man, a corporate prepster, a too-cool hipster, an old man in suspenders and straw hat, and a homeless person in a one-block radius.  In New York, you can be who you want to be, dress how you want to dress, and do as you please without anyone giving you a second look.  Everything is fair game, and everything and everyone blends in.  Except for those damned garbage bags.

I understand that tourism is part on New York culture, and it’s part of what makes New York what it is.  Hey, if it wasn’t for tourists, how would that ginormous Applebee’s or the Olive Garden in Times Square stay afloat?  Who would be waiting in the wraparound line to submit their names to the ticket lottery to see Wicked (yes, I tried to get Wicked tickets today and yes, I’m 92% positive my friend and I were the only locals in the massive clump)?  Tourists are a natural part of the city, that I get, but there’s one thing I just cannot comprehend: the bright yellow garbage bags masquerading as rain coats.

What person shoves his or her head through a tiny whole with a hood in an oversized piece of yellow plastic and thinks, “Yep, I definitely look like a New Yorker now”?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actual New Yorker in Manhattan wear one of these things.  Most New Yorkers reserve their garbage bags for when a blizzard strikes and all trash gets backed up, rather than waste them frivolously in a light drizzle.  Is it too much to ask to take the money you would spend on this abomination of outerwear and put it towards a cheap Duane Reade umbrella?  Is it so hard to simply wear your normal clothing in the rain and huddle under said umbrella?  After all, a little rain never killed anybody (please, don’t be a smartass and try to call to my attention monsoons and hurricanes…you and I both know I’m not talking about such extreme weather conditions, and if I was, the trusty yellow garbage bag wouldn’t do a lick of good).  Perhaps if you were wearing a handmade piece from Alexander McQueen’s final living collection, I could understand.  But I can promise that the rain will not ruin your I Heart NY shirts and Hollister cut offs.  It will probably ruin your Forever21 sundress, but that’s what happens when you pay $12.95 for a dry-clean-only dress, so deal with it.  When a person struts through the streets of Midtown in a yellow saran wrap frock, they scream, “I just got off the tour bus straight from Kansas or Kentucky or Bumblefuck, USA where I am currently dating my relative.  I’m so excited to get a picture in front of the M&M store!”

I don’t mean to offend those of you from Kansas or Kentucky or Bumblefuck, nor do I mean to offend those of you engaging in incestuous relationships.  I’m sorry for lumping you in with the garbage-bag-wearers, but I’m simply trying to make a larger point.  There are many ways to protect yourself in the rain in New York City, and there are many ways to assimilate into city culture and appear like a local.  If a topless woman with a drawn on mustache can do it, so can the rest of us.  I’ll forgive the studying of maps in public or the standing in the middle of a crowded sidewalk trying to figure out where to go.  I was once a tourist in many different cities, after all, so I know how it is.  But I tried to keep my Northface & Ugg outfits to a minimum, and did my best to dress as the native city-dwellers in an attempt to better understand their culture.  Like that old saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.”  So walk around in a banana suit, go topless, wear head to toe spandex, emulate that impossibly unrealistic outfit you saw in Vogue, or pull out your vintage 10-speed Schwinn and ride around in jean shorts and Toms shoes.  This is New York City, land of endless opportunities.

Just please, leave the garbage bags at home.

Benchmarks

1 Aug

As per usual, I was running late.  I had plans to meet a few friends for brunch on a recent Sunday at 12:30 PM and, of course, was rushing out of my apartment with only minutes to spare before the clock struck half past noon.  I live uptown, the restaurant is on the Lower East Side…you do the math.  So I power-walked to the subway station, darting through meandering pedestrians while simultaneously looking up the best subway routes and times on my phone.  iPhone kept telling me to take the 4/5 down to Brooklyn Bridge and transfer to the J.  I did not want to do this.  Due to a prior experience at that stop, I found the J confusing and stress-inducing.  Don’t ask why, I honestly don’t remember.  So I did some scrutinizing on the tiny little google map and discovered I could take the 6 to Bleecker and transfer to the F.  Much better.

I reached my station, hurried down the stairs, swiped my card and pummeled through the turnstile, only to wait in the dead air and deathly heat underground.  Naturally I began sweating profusely and instantly, as I am a menopausal woman in a 24-year-old’s body.  I quickly realized, thanks in part to the neon tape roping off the lower level, that all trains were running on the local track, meaning I could take the 4, the 5, or the 6 to Bleecker.  As I slowly began melting into Alex Mack on the platform, I tried checking my phone, hoping that the schedule was still up.  It was not, and seeing as how there is no cell phone service underground, I simply had to wait and pray that a train would come quickly.  It was already 12:30 PM, and I had made it six blocks towards my destination, which was over 95 blocks away.  Wonderful.

A 4 train in all of its air-conditioned compartment glory finally arrived, and I boarded, shoved my way into a seat, and waited.  About every seven seconds, I glanced up at the clock, trying to decipher just exactly how late I would be.  When you’re sitting on a local train that must make over a dozen stops before reaching your desired one, that’s a lot of glances up at the stagnant electronic clock.  I sat tight, basked in the cool air, and kept glancing, hoping to the subway gods that the train would just get there already…and fast.

Apparently these subway gods do exist, because at Union Square, a conductor announced something through the muffled microphone that cut in and out every other second.  Straining my ears to listen, I understood enough to realize they were switching the 4 to an express at Union Square, and the next stop would now be Brooklyn Bridge.  As everyone else around me began to panic a bit, frantically trying to locate the correct dots on the subway map to figure out when to get off, I quietly thanked Steve Jobs for continuously telling me to take the J.  Clearly, I was very unhappy about this change of direction.  However, I was extremely thankful to Mr. Jobs for making me appear like an easy breezy local in the sea of tourists and un-savvy subway riders.  I smiled a smug little smile, happy that I didn’t have to look at a map or stress out over how I was going to find an alternate way to get to brunch.

We pulled into the Brooklyn Bridge station and I lunged out of the train and onto the platform.  I was off, and on a mission to make it to the J train and brunch before my friends disowned me forever.  As I rushed to make the transfer, I felt a little vibration in my purse.  What?  Could it be?  Cell phone service?  I rummaged through my bag, located my phone, noted the text from my friend wondering where I was, and ran down the stairs to the J train track.  By this point it was already past 1 PM, and I didn’t have a second to spare.  Let me say, for someone who hates being late, I seem to be really great at doing it.

Seeing as how the train wasn’t coming, I contemplated just hailing a cab.  I then had a plan.  I would run up the stairs to the land of cell phone service, check the subway schedule to see when the next train would come, and then, depending on my results, would either wait for the train or take a cab.  I quickly started hauling ass back up the stairs, cell phone in hand.

That’s when I heard it.  The trickle that became louder and faster.  The sound of liquid against wrought iron or metal.  Was someone spilling something?  Before I could put two and two together, I turned in the direction of the sound and found myself standing inches from a woman, pants pulled forward, squatting and peeing on the stairwell, for all the world, and specifically my now-scratched out eyes, to see.  While freaking out internally, I calmly pivoted, turned back in the direction of the platform, and shuffled my way back down the stairs to wait and pray very impatiently for the next train.

That was the day this fine city inaugurated me as a true New Yorker.

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