Tag Archives: Brooklyn

The Beautiful and Damned

Consecutive days spent in Brooklyn: 2

Jews are the absolute worst neighbors in the world. ..Not actually, they’re pretty great, but in my new neighborhood they are definitely the least friendly ethnic group. It’s strange, these are not the “I was raised Jewish but still eat chicken nachos without guilt and go to synagogue every six months” jews that I was used to… these are “I wear a bonnet on my head at all times and will not shake hands with a woman because she isn’t my wife and that’s the only woman I can ever touch” jews. Kind, honest, modern, modest and respectful jews, who also go out of their way to pretend you don’t exist.

These jews are only the worst neighbors by comparison, as all the rest of my neighbors are pretty much kick-ass. The jews tried to hit me with their mini-vans. Not cool. The Chinese have delicious food and super cheap wash-and-fold laundry services. The Polish have *amazing* delis and tasty beer (at even tastier prices!) along with the cutest cashier-girls ever (seriously, any straight males need to start hitting the Polish deli on 8th ave for a date- so cute). They also make wonderful desserts for a ridiculously low price.

Yes, I have fallen in love with my neighborhood, aside from the jews who refuse to acknowledge my existence on the street. The neighborhood feel, the young families running around, the little asian children who always say “herro” to me every morning on their way to school, the man at the corner store we speaks to me in Arabic and every week I have to remind him that I’m not Morocan, I’m Michiganian. This last weekend I spent an entire day eating Polish desserts and drinking the world’s cheapest good beer ever in between bingeing on delivery Chinese food… so unhealthy, so cultural.

All of this has been done to in attempts to stay in Brooklyn and not make a whore-phase run to Staten Island, where the getting is good and the hot tub is better. Most friends here assert that at our age there is no shame in good sex, but my Lutheran upbringing keeps me from fully embracing the idea. Or maybe it’s less about the Lutheran upbringing and more about Professor B.

After a few weeks of casual dating with Professor B each night begins to become more emotionally revealing and gratifying. A stroll through the jewish side of my neighborhood brought us through an adorable park, over crunchy autumn leaves, past a brightly lit hockey rink, and into the truth about his terminally ill mother and my past of dealing with dying family members. We walked alongside coffee shops and he buttoned my jacket a little higher to keep me warm and revealed the story about first coming out at the age of 30 after years of dating a woman. We strolled into a local pizzaria and I filled him in about the LA-X and gave warnings about a few of the walls I’ve been known to put up. By the time it was dark and cold outside we were already in my dim room and warm in bed, where he spoke about taking it slow and admit that he was stunned at how nonchallant and friendly my roommates treated him.

We’ve spent a month slowly peeling the layers of eachother and liking what we see as each layer is shed, and all the while we’ve yet to actually sleep together. When I look at it with a little perspective, I see the whore-phase can’t be as gratifying as I would hope right now. Emotional intercourse is much more stimulating when you let yourself have it.

Oh man, that’s gay. Even for me.

So in the span of a month I’ve fallen in love with a neighborhood instead of falling for a teacher, but I’m warming to the idea of dating someone for the first time in a long time. And I’m genuinely looking forward to the weekend he wants to plan for us.

But then it occured to me that this upcoming weekend is Halloween. And Halloween is a holiday invented strictly for those in the whore-phase. It’s hard to pass that one up.

Even more difficult to pass up, Weather Man will be coming to New York and staying in my apartment for the weekend. Debauchary, a close friend and old-flame, an unofficially non-monogamous relationship… and I just bought new sheets. I’ll wash them Sunday.

Walking down the street the other day my roommate approached a young Arabic mother and her elementary school aged sun as they carried their umbrellas home. Straight Boyfriend smiled as he walked past them, but suddently stopped as both the mom and son pointed their umbrellas like guns and exclaimed “pow pow pew pew bang!” and began laughing hysterically. The least PC joke for these Brooklynites to ever make, but hilarious. I believe my love life (with the impending weekend) is much like my neighborhood: diverse, tasty, surprising, and absolutely hilarious in the worst way possible.

[so just lick your lips, these are the goods times that you’ll miss]

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In Search of Lost Time

Days without an update: 18

Wow, time flies when you’re on drugs. At least I think that’s the case for my opioid addict boss, Hundo, who didn’t realize that it was no longer August. He was blind-sided by the Jewish New Year and took off for the holiday, leaving me a few work days without visiting every Duane Reade in the city. Happy New Year!

I haven’t behaved much better than (allegedly) Hundo has, with my alcoholism lapsing into black outs all over the city. Thus the lack of updates, time for both blackouts and recovery is all my social calendar can handle.

About a week ago I cleared time in my social calendar to meet with Georgia Ann, Times Square and a few other friends that I’d been neglecting. We all met at El Rey Del Sol on 14th and enjoyed ourselves, along with a pitcher of margaritas. Part way through the evening we began to notice that the seasons were slowly changing from summer to fall, that we’re all becoming more accustomed to the city, and that the guys sitting behind me were very attractive.

Ten minutes later I had become BFF with Carlos and whatever the other guy’s name was, and found my conversation at their table leading very promising places. My gaggle of friends decided to move on to Flannery’s (love it) and I decided to stick around for ten more minutes and a cigarette (which is practically unveiled code for “let me seal the deal first”).

The next thing I know, its 6:30 in the morning and I’m on the E train in Queens. No cell phone, no iPod, and no idea how this all happened.

After only an hour and a half of sleep in Harlem, the Harem awakens me and informs me that moving day is upon us, just like autumn weather and the winter of my discontent. I pushed through a brutal headache and managed to drag my roomies belongings down the steps of our fifth floor walk-up and into the moving truck before nearly passing out on a subway train to our new home in Brooklyn. Unfortunately surviving one headache meant sucumbing to a new one- Straight Boyfriend’s bed was too big for our staircase and could not be pushed up the one flight of steps into our new (huge and awesome) apartment.

There was a brief moment when I pulled the box springs over my head that I worried I might faint, but when Straight Boyfriend literally threw his bed and I caught it by the loose fabric and pulled it over our second story balcony everything turned out ok. Then I immediately collapsed on our new couch, physically exhausted from moving and mentally not quite sure what happened the evening before.

Eventually the clues fell into place- my friends had called all night because I had simply disappeared (though I lost my phone and couldn’t call them), my hangover never included the slightest twinge of nausea, my memory lapsed for an epic 8 hour span, my bar tab never increased during the night, and I only had two drinks of the margaritas…. at 9 pm! That does not explain feeling entirely out of your own body at noon the next day.

Too confused and perturbed to venture out on Saturday, I chatted with a friend over mimosas and goat-cheese omlettes about my night. The conclusion: rohypnol. Perhaps GHB. Either way, fantastic.

Less than a year in a city and I already can’t remember the boys I’m going home with.

Jokes aside, the entire event does shake your confidence. Nothing of the evening was out of the ordinary, nothing incredibly dangerous or unwise, just incredibly bad luck and the complete ignorance/naivety of a midwesterner attempting to meet new people and have some margaritas. The strange marks on my arm have healed, I’ve retrieved my phone after a lengthy time out of touch, and my friends have forgiven me for disappearing. I have all my money, I am disease free, I was not forced to ingest anything illegal, and I wasn’t sold into black market slavery (that would RUIN my night). I am pretty lucky for all of that, though. The next few weeks have brought a sense of normalty, and the new apartment is coming along nicely. I’m *this close* to buying a real bed! Party.

It’s a shame for the boys though, I would’ve spent the night without the drugs. Bummer.

[everything it seems i like is a little bit sweeter, a little bit fatter, a little bit harmful for me]

The Fuck-Up

Day 100!

New York City kicks ass and, not surprisingly, no city kicks your ass quite like New York. The good days are great, and the bad days are so frustrating that you find yourself considering the benefits of someplace remote like Russia or the Northwest Territories or even Jersey. My bad luck in the past few days is actually karmic retribution for poisoning my body with booze and no sleep lately.

The weekend went well enough, with my good friend Trivial Pursuit visiting from Chicago to destroy my liver. After a hard night of partying in Brooklyn and waking up in a cramped trough full of lesbians (don’t ask), I drank my day away with Trivial Pursuit and learned of all her continuing boy problems. She has a knack for choosing losers who seem like assholes but can be quite charming when alone… or at least that’s the story she gave. This time around a combination of pizza at four am and a discussion about indie pop music left her near tears. Apparently Trivial Pursuit’s latest widget is a member of the Hush Sound, an altogether wonderful Chicago band that clearly has good taste in women. The tears kept flowing as I heard stories about tour buses and love triangles, of course in my mind the entire scene was scored with the song “Honey” being played over and over again and all the characters were actors from Almost Famous. Brilliant! I’m told most of the band is very nice. Still, it’s hard to believe when the smartest girl you know is balling her eyes out on top of a perfectly good piece of drunkenly purchased Fat Sal’s.

After an entirely too early brunch meeting with Trivial Pursuit on Sunday we parted ways and I sat in my new Harlemn-centric apartment until receiving fortuitous news from my roommate, Straight Boyfriend, who had stumbled upon free tickets to the fucking US OPEN FINALS and happened to remember how I loved tennis. More than I even love nicknames! I even got to call Georgia Ann and rub it in her face that she wasn’t at Arthur Ashe while I was drinking vodka tonics (on a Sunday, thus the karmic retribution) and getting ready to see Serena kick Jelena Jankovich’s ass… then I called Georgia Ann back just to invite her, as yet another ticket was available. The entire experience was more incredible than I had thought; cheap food and fantastic seats shared with good friends and a great match up. I gave the over-under that Serena would take it in two sets, while a friend bet me a few drinks that Jankovich would take it in three. Georgia Ann was in a state of euphoria the entire time and never put her camera down, as we each yelled at the umpire whenever we felt it was appropriate. And somehow I accidentally ate a strangers entire bucket of waffle fries. Not quite sure how that mix up occured, but it was a tasty one!

By the way, Serena Williams and vodka-tonics were the evenings winners.

The next morning my body began exacting its revenge. After more than 3 months of constant social misadventuring and exploring a new section of the world known was Manhattan, my body has finally given out. Then again, it could have more to do with the fact that I’ve survived on four hours of sleep every night for over a week and drank 11 out of the last 14 evenings. That last statistic doesn’t bode well.

Needless to say, when I woke up I felt like I had lodged two golfballs in my throat (and not in a sexy way). Five hours after waking up I still didn’t feel like I had woken up at all, and the excess coffee that I chugged to catch a quick buzz proved to only wake up my slumbering intestines, which meant running to the floor below me to purge my alcohol saturated gullet (no one on that floor can recognize my fabulously scuffed up shoes). I survived the day at work and immediately went to my apartment where I could relax in peace, alternating between mini-marathons of Family Guy and the bathroom. Glamorous.

Turns out being sick in New York is just as dreadful as anywhere else. Only with people in the way. Which leads me to my next bout of bad luck-

Dear Bryant Park- please get out of my way. Your fashion week is likely fabulous (and accessorized with too many zippers) but you attract hordes of crowds who know nothing about fashion and instead far too much about Carrie Bradshaw, thus the bitchy gawker girls in Bryant Park who stand in my way while I go to work. Don’t these women have real jobs? And why doesn’t the city give you a complimentary battering-ram when you move here? I forgot about my bus ticket to DC this weekend, which might be emotionally damaging, but it will be nice to walk in a city without the urge use a flame thrower against the slow-moving public.

On yet another day of being ill while in the office (Office Illin’ as it has been dubbed by Steen) I discovered that I am quickly climbing the ranks among the more long term assistants at the company. Also, I discovered the new Jenny Lewis album doesn’t come out until September 23… the internet lied to me. I want the damn album now! I also want my lunch hour back, Barnes and Noble! Anyway-back to work. After the Jenny Lewis lunch time disappointment I got to meet a few clients from Seattle and had my first opportunity to swear at an assistant on the phone! It’s like being Ari Gold only with much uglier clients. And I don’t have my own Lloyd. I am Lloyd… sad. My toughest boss even complimented me today, and as we both put in a little bit of time after 5 o’clock it seemed for the first time that I was sure my no-shouldered boss liked me. He handed me a personal order he had sold and asked me to imput it as he grabbed his coat to go, and even stuck around a few minutes to talk, socially.

And that’s when I cost the company $52,000 in 30 seconds.

The mistake seems to be irreversible and no one is sure how it happened, but at 5:15 it became clear that I destroyed two orders that are (were?) each worth 27-thousand dollars. My boss, who’s comission went up in smoke, was not happy. Our friendship, coincidentally up in smoke, quickly devolved. The next 30 minutes were spent with my boss angrily trying to fix my mistake as I scurried about grabbing papers and making phone calls. He yelled “Lloyd!” and I scuttled my gay ass into his office for yet another assistant-like task. Fucking up paper work, pissing of the boss, all things I dread. Combine that with occasionally disappearing to the 21st floor to go to the bathroom… wreched.

US Open induced sickness, 3 months of over-extended exhaustion finally taking it’s toll, Bryant Park fashion gawkers, the great Jenny Lewis lunch time disappointment, a pending weekend in DC, and a 30 second mistake that may cost twice my salary. This is all Jelena Jankovich’s double-fault.

[why must I spend my time filling up my life with facts and figures that never add up anyway? they never add up anyway]

Fight Club

Days back in Michigan: 5

My computer blew up. Ass.

Home is an extremely bizarre place. There are entire fields of grass for absolutely no reason. There are stars at night… STARS?!?! And you can hear crickets when you’re trying to sleep on the couch of your entirely uncomfortable living room couch (not to mention that the house is without air conditioning). It’s kinda nice, though.

Needless to say, I am back in Michigan for a week before heading back out to the city. In a few short days the new job begins. Exciting! Until then, baseball games and Dominicans and ice cream and Project Runway. In that order. It is a far cry from the life I grew to love in New York, which culminated with Burkeman (yay!) and Dude Mathews drunkenly hailing a cab to La Guardia at 5 am. Bars in New York close at 4, so staying up the extra hour at a diner was no problem. Finding my ID in my bags while drunk in line to pass security, that was a bigger problem. When I tripped and fell in the Detroit airport during my layover I realized perhaps I should’ve slept a little before arriving home. Nothing says “you fucked up” quite like eating shit in the middle of a magazine store in an airport. Note to self: drinking on a flight is great. Drinking for six hours and then catching a flight- not so great. On the upside, the crying baby next to me on the flight stood no chance against my binge-drinking coma. I slept like that baby should’ve. However, that only lasted a half hour before arriving home, where my family was mildly horrified that I reaked of Jameson and hadn’t bathed in a few days. New York turns scion into a slob.

There is one large change between home and the city that I’m not adjusting to very well, I admit- my computer. Its on the fritz and cannot be revived until I am back in Manhattan. Only problem, I might not be going back to Manhattan…

While walking home on a Sunday evening Straight Boyfriend (of the Harlem Harem, a group I recently elected to live with) ran into three large men on the street. Well, he didn’t run into them so much as their fists. Multiple times. The attack is believed to have been racially motivated, as Straight Boyfriend is a large white Alaskan dude in the middle of a largely Dominican section of Harlem, but his attackers weren’t Dominican.

Forunately the incident was stopped before it could become to brutal, but he does have some bruising on his face and a severely broken desire to remain in Harlem. Thus the Harlem Harem may soon become the Brooklyn Brigade. It will be a journey.

Oh, and Weather Man will be back in the city when I arrive on Saturday. AND I’m living with the Femme Fellows in Hoboken for the month of August. And work, the first day of the rest of my life, starts on Monday (same day as Drag Queen Bingo).

It’s about to get very interesting.

[we are adventuring, we are adventurers]

The Beautiful Room is Empty

Day 16

 There is a business man in Brooklyn who is walking down the street who is touching himself, hands down the pants, elbow deep. And he’s not just readjusting, he is going at it full throttle, and no one else is phased by this. I know this because I went to Brooklyn yesterday, unintentionally, when I became absorbed in a book I was reading and accidentally took the 1 train much much past my street. I’m pretty sure the universe is pulling me towards Brooklyn, each day there is a more clear sign, and the idea of centering myself here in New York is an appealing one. Over the weekend at the Nu Yorican poetry slam, which was awesome, the dominant part of the crowd was from Brooklyn, and none of them seemed to be touching themselves. Hmm. However, the cafe did help re-establish my purposes for coming here, or at least re-affirm them. With all the people and traffic and freedom to get away with anything (including public urination, read on) it is easy to forget why you’re here. After a delicious dinner and a French Toast Ale (soooo good) or two at a local brewery, a friend and I rushed off to catch the opening round of the poetry slam. While hailing a cab my friend could not stop freaking out, about being late for the slam and missing a poem and disappointing our friends who would already be there and about if we left a big enough tip at the brewery and if we had enough cash for the taxi and everything in between. Finally, as we sat in the back of the surprisingly clean taxi, I was able to calm him down. He just hailed his first taxi in Manhattan, polished off some top-drawer fish ‘n chips, washed it down with a local draft, and is now comfortably whisking through traffic to watch a friend win a poetry contest at a well known cafe… It doesn’t get any more real than that. From Bummblefuck, Kentucky, he’s made it here. Everyone needs a little reality check sometimes.

Then again, I lie. A lot. Life is like a poker game, and I’ve been called on a bluff or two in my time. Not that it won’t keep me from doing it again, but I’m more conservative about it, and I’m getting rid of most of my tells. My friend PokerJew, however, is not quite at good at the life skill of bluffing. He met a girl over the weekend and (mindlessly) decided to introduce himself as a 23 year old graduate who works for Spark, instead of a 20 year old who interns for Spark. Mind you, he goes to a great school and has a prestigious internship, so lying was probably a bad choice. Regardless, this girl threw in her chips and they got to chatting- she’s 25 and working at her dad’s company. …Or at least that was her bluff. After the flop, it appears that both of them are about to call… that is, without the poker metaphore, she’s about to realize he is actually 20 and he’s already discovered that she is a fairly wealthy Greek shipping heiress. …My, how we play our hands close to our chest before the reveal. He’s looked her up on Forbes, and is now trying to take her out on a classy date. She thinks he’s 23, but when his ID doesn’t get him into a swanky joint (or bluff-friendly dive bar), he’s going to have a little ‘splaining to do.

See, poker is a spectator sport. People watching on Broadway is practically as good as seeing a play. Only with more gratifying tears.

 As if all of these little episodes haven’t convinced me that (one) Brooklyn is pretty ok, afterall, and (two) that I should keep my focus while in Manhattan, a day spent enjoying a street fair followed by a night trip to Chinatown helped reinforce the ideas. I polished off some sesame noodles and began talking with a friend who’s done a lot of bizarre video work (like shooting under-water births and scoring them to original music). It seems my friend who’s spent time professionally capturing life (in aquatics) has had the same problem I have of keeping focused with all these damn tasty distractions. Steve Zizzou and I walked through Little Italy and gorged on gelato as we discussed on honest passion for media, for success, for moving to a city and really making something of ourselves. We made jokes about where we would be in 10 years, her having been deported and making documentaries from Columbia, me drinking and pill-popping my days away, a la Valley of the Dolls, under the roof of a much wealthier and older man. But it was in jest, as we both knew we were digging our heels into this island, or at least our dreams for it. But achievement and debauchary don’t have to be mutually exclusive, success can come along with spoonfulls of gelato and poetry on Saturday nights, it can be balanced with trains in Brooklyn and noodles in Chinatown, but it does depend on personal resolution. I think I’ve already reached the point in my summer where I can say I’ve become resolute. I’ll be staying in New York, dating and eating and drinking and working and job searching and drinking and apartment hunting and talking and watching and drinking- whether I have everything else in place or not. I will be here.

Inspired by our gelato and resolution that we bought in Little Italy, we decided to further indulge our international appetites and make the night a little Irish. And Russian. And Mexican. And whatever rum is… Pirate. It was a multicultural buffet. As we wander-stumbled back to our apartment the feeling of our earlier conversation combined with our current drinks converged, and we couldn’t have been more full of life. At least it felt like life… it was actually pee, though. I’m told those get confused a lot. Next thing I know I am so full of life that I think I’m about to die, so I find a conveniently dark street and pretend I’m camping. Only then I realize, this is not that dark of a street. Suddenly there are people walking towards me, as I’m one handedly attempting to desaturate my body, and enough sobriety kicks in to provide shame. At this point it’s too late to cut off the stream (it stings, bitches) and I’m too embarassed to just stand in front of on-coming foot traffic, so I walk behind a car and continue to walk behind it as people come closer. However, walking around the car quickly means being in the street, and next thing I know I’m draining life all over on-coming taxis. I zipped so fast I nearly hung myself.

After all of that time spent being appauled about the nonchallance everyone had about the Brooklyn stroker, I find the shoe is now on the other foot. Or that the hand is on the other… yeah. The point being, perhaps settling into New York means learning to (one) focus, (two) suspend some judgement, and (three) go to the bathroom before walking 20 some blocks.

Still, after giving a pep talk in the taxi on Friday on the way to poetry, and a prolonged drink-fueled pep talk on Saturday night, I was pumped about everything New York had to offer. On Monday I made more advances at work (already discussing possible long term employment) and got a great set of interviews lined up at various media firms in the city. Hooray! On the way home I was able to talk with Dr Mario, my longtime friend and roommate who is still residing in Bummblefuck, Ohio, to finish up a vary impressive pharmacy degree and play video games. Considering we’ve been close friends for just short of a decade (even though he consistently makes better decisions than I do), his seperation anxiety has been lower than I expected it to be. Upon returning from Europe he waited almost a day before calling me. I walked home from work and chatted with him for quite some time before I had to (unfortunately) cut our conversation short. Promising to call back one of my favorite friends, I hung up to field a text from Mary Jane (one of my new favorites), who wanted to have dinner and a bottle of white at a nearby Indian restaurant. The food was overpriced, but light, and the sub-par coffee kept me from having too many glasses before settling down for the night. But if we didn’t get our moneys-worth in tastiness, we definitely did in atmosphere; it’s hard to be upset with spacious seating on an open verandana on a highly trafficked street. I’m glad she suggested the place.

I was even more pleased to discover Mary Jane hadn’t suggested the place at all. Instead, Cute Clerk had mentioned to her that she visit this location to avoid getting rained on (which we did, fortunately). Upon returning to our place I was suprised to see Cute Clerk working on a Monday (he only works Sundays, as I’ve dutifully noticed), but thanked him for his Monday dinner recommendation. It turns out Cute Clerk has a name of his own. He also has a phone number. Both are currently saved in my phone (just saving one of them wouldn’t be useful). Considering the gay learning curve isn’t always kind to those of us who didn’t date for four years (I lived in Bummblefuck, after all), I’m surprised how quickly the learning curve can be conquered. I suppose conquering a curve is easier if you’re bent.

Another strong day at work and it seems like everything is falling into place for a little while. Nothing is settled, but it is falling. Work is going well, interviews are lined up, phone numbers are saved, friends are being made, and I already had dinner plans for the night- dinner and casual conversations with a few sales people at a major computer company that’s expanding into television… I’m not feeling creative so we’ll just call them Goodle. At any rate, the conversation at Boogel couldn’t’ve been more interesting, and when they loaded us with free Clif bars and walked us past they’re ball pit (yes, the employee break room has a ball pit), I was pretty convinced that my re-found sense of purpose and resolution in the city could lead to my own personal ball pit o’ success someday (or at least the money to afford my own Clif bars). Building a professional life and a social life here can’t be that hard.

Walking past the ball pit I decided to check my phone. Last call- Cute Clerk, which means I didn’t miss any during dinner. But the call before that- Dr Mario. I never called him back! I was so busy with my over-priced Indian ambiance dinners and Goodle visits and Cute Clerks that I couldn’t even remember we had talked …My first pangs of New York guilt. Worse, Goodle guilt. I should’ve called. A reluctant wunderkind can apply himself at work and achieve wildly, but keeping friends to play with in the ball pit of success isn’t so easy.

[in chinatown, hungover, you showed me just what i could do]