Tag Archives: LA-X

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]


In Cold Blood

Day 8

A prominent media celebrity made me promise that I wouldn’t write about him or anything he said last Monday, so I, Burkeman, am keeping that solemn and totally unnecessary oath. The last seven days have been spent chumming with pretty much every star in the New York media constellation, and that star’s producer, too. Lots of interviews and meet-n-greets and other ridiculous things of that nature. Its lovely and exhausting. 13.5 hours spent with premiere cable networks can really drain you. Major producers and financers, top notch production teams, news celebrities, network presidents, and even a chick who had a movie written about her; all of which we’ve been sworn not to blah-blah-blog about. Damn. However, all of these networking and work-place climbing shenanigans include group interaction, meaning that the 30 strangers who gathered here a week ago are already forming alliances and plotting eachothers’ deathes.

Only seven days in, it’s too early to judge the roommates. But why let that stop me now? Upon arriving last week I was greated by a boy who is either Richie Rich himself or just wearing his skin. Within minutes of meeting he was telling me all about the important people his father is friends with and whatnot. I stared at his boat shoes while he told me about his excitement to go on the McCain-jet and at this point it occured to me that Burkeman and the Republicunt will never be friends. Still, I can listen to his boyhood stories about Connecticut and pretend I’m sipping ice tea in the Catskills with his WASP-y crew. I bet he rows crew, honestly. Still, he’s a nice guy.

While I debated wether or not Richie Rich’s sister had a debutante coming-out ball on her 18th birthday I was joined by our newest roommate. Clad in Men’s Express and trendy brand name glasses, our LA raised roommate managed to make it all the way to New York (not to mention up the elevator) with his acoustic guitar as one of his checked bags. The new roommate, Dude Mathews Band, is actually a really nice guy. A fellow vegetarian and a fellow Fellow in my program (Richie Rich is independently interning with a mega PR firm), Dude Mathews has proven to be a lot of fun, largely because we’re the only socially functioning alcoholics in the group. That is to say, there is left over eggplant parmigiana and beer in our refrigerator, exclusively. My original opinions of him changed dramatically, even though he is as ridiculously worked-out and model-esque as anyone else who deserves guitar-playing meat-head heckling.

The rest of the 30 kids are each beginning to develop personalities, as well. I have quite a few personal favorites, including roommate Dude Mathews, but a few dark horses are revealing themselves to be… least favorites. The pre-arrival odds-on favorite, Mormonzo, took out a slow start out of the gate and now instead of chasing the rabbit is busy awkwardly making moves on uninterested lady horses. But the lady horses treat him like tomorrow’s glue. Oh, it’s sad to watch. Mormonzo went with me to the Rilo Kiley show on Tuesday, which was fucking sweet, I might add. Plus, last minute Whatser Name was able to snag a ticket, too. The three of us trampled our way through the streets of New York (pretending I knew exactly where we were going, while secretly just following the desperate indie kids who’s years of smoking have made them too slow to out walk me), and arrived at Terminal 5 in time to catch the second opening band. They weren’t Rilo Kiley, so I’m not concerned with them. However, Jenny Lewis/Blake Sennet and company put on one hell of a show. It was bizarre, in the middle of the crowd and a pretty small venue I couldn’t help but think about how incredibly close I was to the band, yet so incredibly far. Regardless, they jostled most ideas out of my head as they blazed through a few songs without even saying a word, then taking the time to talk with the audience and whatnot. It’s hard to pick an all out highlight- I Never, Better Son/Daughter, Silver Lining (they had giant ballons full of silver confetti when they popped!)- a lot of songs stood out. Oddly enough, I think it was Ripchord that somehow got the most life when being performed live versus on the CD. Another big highlight was the fact that Mormonzo’s 40 dollar ticket was purchased weeks ago, so when he paid me back I suddenly had lots of concert beer money. What’s a boy to do?

While we’re happily waiting for the band to take the stage, Mormonzo turns to me and Whatser Name (another of my new favorites) and asks “How much did you guys have in student loans?” What the hell? I suppose thats not too weird, but it just kept expanding (along with my beer tab). By the end he was telling us about the size of the roads in Utah being dictated by Brigham Young or some shit… I was busy drinking the alcohol he’s too pious to sip.

Mormonzo upped his antics even a bit more at a meeting we had with an extremely prominent advertising agency, which was kind enough to set aside a team of five executives and let us simply talk to them for two hours. Mormonzo swoops in with “Can you tell us about one campaign that totally failed?” The room was vaguely silent and incredibly uncomfortable… it wasn’t a bad question to ask, just asked in a manner so begrudgingly tactless that the advertisers were caught a little flat footed. They began to spin an answer about campaigns that “under perform” when a cell phone begins chirping inappropriately. As the advertisers ignore it and stumble their way through the awkward question, Mormonzo actually gets his phone out of his bag, stands up, walks to the door and says “this is my internship, sorry” and waves the advertisers off like he’s Paris Hilton brushing off the cameraman for Fabulous Life Of… Yeah, it was that uncomfortable. Our group leader was mortified, rightfully so, and the advertisers waited for Mormonzo to shut the door before immediately mocking him in front of the entire 29 remaining audience members. I love New Yorkers.

The idea that New Yorkers are angry and mean is a total myth, they’re just angry and direct. People in the city are incredibly willing to talk to you about anything you ask, and will (normally) give (almost) flawless directions when asked. However, New Yorkers are all on a mission to survive the day as fast as possible, and it’s best you don’t interrupt that mission lest you get stabbed (or sent to Jersey). Getting lost in the city, not that scary. Not knowing what kind of bagel you want when you’re next in line on Tuesday morning, the most terrifying event of my life.

Not that I’ve gotten lost often, the grid here is incredibly convenient unless you’re below it… then it’s impossible for newbies to get around. The lost moments last for about 2 minutes until you reach the next block, then the helpful numbers tell you where to go. Everything I needed to know about New York navigation I could’ve learned from Sesame Street (almost). However, drinking nights are an entirely different story. After meeting up with some old friends on Saturday night for a b-day bash (and more than a few drinks), I patted myself on the back for making my first real friends in the city and wander-stumbled back to my place in the Village. Just then, I get a call from the now long-distance-friend who used to be the no-distance-boyfriend who now lives in Los Angeles (and refuses to acknowledge the time-zone differences between us). Pretending to be plenty calm and sober, I proceed to have a semi-memorable cross country conversation and a few bottles of water before saying goodnight to the LA-X and retiring to bed. Overall, a good night.

Richie Rich, however, is a big fan of overall good mornings. I am not. He refuses to close our blinds, so every morning at 5:30 I wake up with the sunrise, the gorgeous mother fucking early sunrise. I’m not happy about that fact. Today was a bit different. The excess booze helped me sleep until about 10 in the morning. However, when I woke up Richie Rich was just looking at me, horrified. Considering this was a kid who cordially asked me to remove my Mexican restaurant watermelon, I figured he was just freaking out because I slept in a John Edwards t-shirt. Unfortunately, his befuddled shock had nothing to do with my now-vintage campaign shirt. I shook myself out of the morning haze to discover that I was surrounded with blood. Patches of dried blood all over my desk, on my chair, on my headphones, on my clothes, bed, and even smeared across my cell phone. It was a lot like Johnny Depp’s death scene in Nightmare on Elm Street.

Mildly frightened and not entirely unamused, I inspected my body and found that I had somehow cut my finger open during the night. How the hell do you cut your finger in the middle of the night? And what prompted me to bleed everywhere without knowing? The answer to both of these questions is likely “alcohol”… or perhaps “finger-vampires”… but one is much more likely than the other. I think that best describes my experience in New York so far. I’m so close but so far from Rilo Kiley and from building a life in the city, and I can have a great evening out with friends but I’ll always wake up wondering how I’ve gotten into such a mess. A lovely, roommate horrifying, somewhat self-destructive and entertaining mess.

[And it’s bad news, i don’t care I like you]