Tag Archives: New York

A Tale of Two Cities

Days Since Leaving New York: 92

Pussy is a total turn off.

I think that’s been a fact in my life for years now, but never moreso than lately- when my roommate, BYOB, brought home a new cat to celebrate her new relationship with an old friend. I doubt the relationship will last, but the cat- that cunt will still be in my apartment for months. She’s super tiny and super cute, which makes it all the harder to hate her. When she was born there were a few berthing problems and as a result she has some scratches on her cornea which limit her vision…. we named her Leela.

leela-futurama So while the adorably near sighted mini-beast careens through my apartment and antogonizes the cat that we already had (Suki, an unassuming but shed-tastic cat), BYOB chooses to slather it with love whenever her boyfriend du jour is unavailable. The newest quagmire BYOB has waded into is with a friend of 5 years, and now that the relationship has gotten physical they’re both under the belief that it is likely a perfect emotional match as well. They’ve yet to date but they’re picking wedding dates. Not really, but they’re moving so fast before even discussing what they’re doing that even going on a date would feel cataclysmic. Not that it’s currently a problem, this new boy would first have to dump his current girlfriend to start dating BYOB. So they’re in limbo, too far into a relationship that has yet to start and stuck in a relationship that’s too inconvenient to end. Meanwhile, my greatest concern is that the cat still hasn’t mastered the litter box concept.

I ought to change her name to BYO-Boy Problems, because that is currently the only thing she is capable of discussing. If we’re not talking about her new pussy then we’re talking about who’s in her old one. Ugh. Fortunately I have a burgeoning work relationship to keep me afloat, a newly formed love affair with Tilly. Working with Tilly is exactly like working with a Chucky doll from Child’s Play- though she looks adorable, you can rest assured that 100% of the time she will do the completely inappropriate thing. I’m in love.

tilly Along with Tilly, I still have Weather Man and Georgia Ann to calm my nerves as I settle into the new home, which after these last few months is beginning to feel like a real home instead of a temporary hostel. I’ve finally purchased sheets, a light for my room, found a place to put my clothes, and  even reassembled my broken doorknob (kind of). After nearly six months in New York I have a home. Now all I need is a few boys to help wreck it.

And that’s exactly what happened. Only a few days before his anticipated arrival in New York I phoned Weather Man. Instead of a happy reconnection with someone how has become one of my best friends, I found myself hours into a drawn out argument with someone who has become one of my only ex’s. Not quite sure how that happened or when it happened, but as the conversation about emotions and betrayal and abandonment (and ultimately symantics) escalated, it was clear that this was not too friend’s merely feeling combatitive. After a year of watching Weather Man put himself together following a terrible break up I was fearful of watching him get his heart broken agian. To prevent his heart break at my own hands, I shut him out of mine completely. Try pulling at that thread in one conversation.

One cell phone battery and a large bowl of macaroni ‘n cheese later, we were better off for having gotten into the emotional slugfest. Strange how fights have to break out before I allow myself to say the most loving things. Being loving can mean doing harsh things, and sometimes harsh conversations actually provoke the most loving responses. It makes sense, boiling water yields soft macaroni, right? Maybe I’m just hungry for more of that mac n cheese…

Meanwhile, Georgia Ann and I celebrated the existence of my new sheets by fleeing them and heading into Manhattan to catch a Mirah concert. The Highline Ballroom looked sparce when we first arrived and listened to No Kids (a surprisingly fun batch of nerdy kids with electronic instruments and a River’s Cuomo fashion sense). By the time Mirah took the stage the place was packed with a strangely diverse group of hardcore lezzies and softcore indie kids, young and old, who just wanted to listen to her soft voice and a guitar. It was the best 15 dollars I’ve spent in the city to date.

dc After saying goodbye to Georgia Ann I got a call from a dear college friend who enthusiastically informed me that she had moved to DC, to the exact niehgborhood I had spent months living in. During the hour long ride home I thought about my conversation with Weather Man, about my goals for this city, and about whether or not my time in NYC is becoming a failure. In only three months in DC I had met a fantastic group of friends that I still care about, reluctantly gotten into the most serious relationship I’ve encountered in years, been offered an incredible first job, found a city that felt like home, and scored a posh apartment (albeit with a pedophile, but still, sliding glass doors).

After six months in New York I barely have bed sheets. I rent an apartment wedged between unfriendly ultra-convservatives and ESL Chinese families, a job in a cubicle next to a woman who believes Sarah Palin is a god, a close friend who cannot be trusted if a bottle of wine is within arms reach, a roommate who cannot stop talking about the ridiculous boy problems she creates, a fledgling casual dating relationship with a man who teaches special ed, and a city that still feels closed off in many ways. I thought I was saving Weather Man from hurt when I closed my emotions off to him, but perhaps when I turned my back on Washington DC I left a large part of my resiliency and charm behind me.

Of course the fifteen minute walk from the subway to the apartment was made in the rain late at night. Of course BYOB wanted to talk about her latest web-chatting catastrophe with the boy when I arrived home. And of course I found myself sitting in my room wondering if I was worse at finding my own way than the blind kitten curled up next to me. That bitch.

[i abdicated, now i’m just a prince without a land. my subjects all adored me but for this i had them banned]

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]

The Merchant of Venice

Day 59

There are approximately 13 million Jews worldwide. Most of them currently work in television.

I discovered these facts when walking down the street with my NYC accomplice JAP, a lovely LA girl with family money and challah to spare. 13 million is a staggeringly low number, it seems like there are more than that in New York alone, but she informed me of these statistics the other day as we strolled down 14th street and talked about how we were under-represented minorities in our fellowship. Only two Jews out of 30 students in a New York based media fellowship. Thats pretty surprising, come to think of it. Even more shocking, our fellowship only includes two gays… it’s television in New York! How is that possible? Under represented, certainly.

Now, exactly where all the homosexuals have disappeared to I’m not sure, but I’ve found all my Hebrew friends sitting right under my stubby-little-gentile nose. Of the 6 interns who work on my floor at *B& television network in Manhattan, 5 of them are jewish. FIVE! That’s a disproportionately large number considering there are only five of them left in the entire state of Wyoming. Turns out three of them all earned their internships through family connections with some higher-ups at the network. I’ve heard the Jews run Hollywood, but apparently they also run primetime television as well. The best part, none of them are even practicing Jews. Oye! So that’s why the descendents of David are underrepresented in my fellowship- they’re already working in television through family connections! Lucky schmucks. As an Irish Lutheran, I’ve got culture envy.

Not to worry, as the universe launched me some gay reinforcements in the form of my friend Weather Man, a former media professional who now dapples in internet technology. After a year of “friendship” and more than a few ups and downs, it seems as if the tectonic plates of our relationship have precariously balanced themselves for a brief time, allowing for a quake free weekend of boys’ nights out and the kind of conversation that can only be shared with a true friend. And anxiety. Lots of that.

Once before I was described as emotionally unavailable, which is funny because I’m perhaps the most available person in the world (except for my emotions). So as Weather Man began his torrent of “I love you”s and “I can’t stand being away”, I couldn’t help but think of anything besides being away. His loving grip became like a vice and I envisioned the concept of emotional claustraphobia, feeling your stomach and throat constrict- the more sweet his words were the more dizzy and overwhelmed I felt. What was supposed to be sweet and beautiful became dreaded and nauseating, which pretty much makes him the verbal equivalent of Janice Dickinson (eek!). But I have strong feelings for Weather Man… and I love Janice Dickinson… so what’s causing me to react to this intimacy the same way that guy reacted when he drank from the wrong cup in the old-school Indian Jones movie?

Word vomit.

That’s what makes me so queezy. I’m fine feeling these emotions for someone and perfectly comfortable knowing that he may feel something even stronger for me, but I just don’t need to hear about it constantly, bubbling out his lips like a fountain or raining down like the storm cells he used to forecast. If anything, I just prefer to talk about the warm front. Emotions aren’t scary, it’s the windy words that accompany them that make the thunder storm so noisy and frightening. But how do you tell someone that you cannot tolerate their emotional word vomit (hopefully not through a blog…  super eek)?

Fortunately many events that rescued me from the poems and soliloquies (moderate eek). Most notably the introduction of two of Weather Man’s close friends, who shall be dubbed Rick & Steve. They friendly and have settled in Manhattan as well. Unfortunately, they heard quite a bit about me (again, word vomit) before we met, so my introduction was followed with a knowing smile and a standard “Oh, you’re Burkeman” as if to say “so, you’re the face to the name I’ve been judging for the last year”. Greeeeat.

However, it’s hard to be the center of attention when you’re at a gay sports bar with a midget. Which I was. The friendly little person was a friend of Rick & Steve’s, and was a charming conversationalist even if he couldn’t see over the bar. The pint-sized pib-squeak of a homosexual may have been my saving grace, as engaging him in conversation kept me from being further judged by Weather Man’s friends (who’re still undecided if they should hate me and chase me with torches or love me and douse me with alcohol). I led them by example and doused myself with alcohol while chatting with the friendly little person, who turned out to be the most conversationally competent guy in the bar. By the end of the night Rick & Steve seemed to warm up to me and we even set a faux-dinner date for August when “life calms down” a bit.

Escaping the world of gay bars (which is uncommon for my time here in New York), I returned to the familiar territory of dive bars and met with my standard crew at McKenna’s for our LAST WEEKEND AS A GROUP. Tragic. McKenna’s low prices and stiff drinks quickly inspired the group to find a dance floor at Flannery’s… which just happened to be playing 80s music all night. By the time I got to Flannery’s the entire mess was on the dance floor and Take On Me was already in queue. Whatser Name was bopping around and on the prowl for boys, Times Square was doing the twist, Georgia Ann was going wild and shouting about calories, Stretch Armstrong was buying shots and the rest of the crew was breaking it down like the media nerds we are.

How could I resist?

Pouring myself into bed at 6 in the morning is always an exhausting experience, but with Weather Man in tow it was both physically and emotionally exhausting. It was hard to tell if the morning was going to bring word vomit or the real thing. That’s the danger of bingeing all weekend.

[there’s a gentleman who’s not so gentle cuz he’s too generous with his chit and his chat]

The Master and Margarita

Day 13

Richie Rich lost his brown-rimmed Gucci sunglasses, which is pretty much the worst tragedy to occur in the history of man. Just so you know. Fortunately, his former co-chair of the croquet club from his prep school days bought him some passable Ray Bans. …I’m not kidding! This is exactly what’s taking place in my apartment. He also refuses to leave the apartment while it’s hot out because “New York will still be there when it’s cool” and has Whole Foods delivering food here later today. This kid is lucky I’ve just had multiple mimosas, otherwise my disgust would be visible.

The stories begin to get richer and the characters deeper as we settle into the summer. For example- objects in NYC are older than they appear. Sure, the subway system functions very well for it’s age and a few ultra-modern buildings exist, but most everything here is way older than you think. Never has this been more true as when the entire group went out to celebrate a birthday at a nearby Mexican restaurant. The food didn’t look appealing so I passed it up and instead obtained my daily calories through some viciously strong margaritas. Don’t judge. After everyone catches their buzz (or pretends to) it is decided that everyone will reveal an embarassing story about themselves as an ice breaker. The game is funny but benign for quite some time until Mormonzo (of course) stands up and starts telling a story about getting beaten up that was only mildly funny. Then, just to provide a reference date for the story he says, “yeah, that was when I was in 8th grade, about 14 years ago.”

Wait. What? Yeah, it turns out Mormonzo is in this program (mostly populated by graduates or grad school students) and is actually 28. That stalled the embarassing story game as everyone needed time to push through the margarita buzz to do a little bit of math. 28 years old and still ridiculously awkward. That’s tragic.

The group recouperated a few days later with a blurry game of “I Never” (or “Never Have I Ever” for Jersey kids) over at McKenna’s Pub, which has the best happy hour of all time. The game definitely peeled off the innocent veneer so many people had laquered on, revealing that pretty much everyone involved in the broadcast/media community has given or received oral sex in a public place. Classy. I definitively came out the loser, sipping to such top-drawer phrases as “I never messed around with a TA” which provoked more than a few questions.  But please, Burkeman does not mess around and tell. It’s tacky. Despite the group proving my lack of good judgement, I have been saintly since arriving to New York. I’d like to think of myself as a reformed drinking drugging hedonistic (solely because of boredom) gay man. Of mixed race…. who’s vegetarian… and Buddhist. Ok, so I don’t fit into a demographic easily, but the point to focus on is the “reformed” part of the drinking and drugs here. I have a running bet about how long it’ll take before I become unreformed. It’s me versus New York City, and thus far I happen to be winning (minus the drinking, but that doesn’t count in New York!). I’ve also revaluated my relationships with a few people in the group, solely based upon drinking experience (which is the true way to gauge friendship) and have slowly begun to fall in love with a beer swilling girl who enjoys cheap pubs and happy hours just as much as I do. I cannot be positive, but I believe Hard Coors may be a good drinking buddy for the weeknights when sobriety is just too much effort.

Life at work is fairly good, I’ve conquered the first few tasks and at this point I’m legally not allowed to talk about the work I do… Yeah. I can say that the software I learned during my first week costs 42k a month to keep… wow. I’m in the “information business” more than anything, according to my boss. Honestly, the interviews I have set up with other industry figures are also very promising, so my professional life is in a good place (for now). I suspected my boss of being a drag queen for a brief time, but I put those thoughts aside when she told me about her love of Jersey and yogurt. Drag queens don’t do Jersey. I’ve also weaseled in with a few other people in the department who’ve become fond of me during this first week, largely because they all enjoyed my story about waking up covered in blood. BTW, that mystery was solved! I sleep right next to the air conditioner, which frequently wakes me up because it is freezing but I don’t dare turn it off lest Richie Rich have a tantrum and throw one of his Keds (he has a low heat tolerance and I high tantrum potential). At any rate, apparently I sometimes turn the air conditioner off while in-between the waking and sleeping state, which I can never account for in the morning. The other day I casually turned the air conditioner onto fan (because the Republicunt can’t distinguish the sound difference if you just turn the fan on) and immediately hurt my finger. Upon inspection I discovered three very large shards of glass next to the regular controls. That’s how I cut my finger open. All that blood and hoopla was just because my roommate cannot tolerate a room above 65 degrees. I think he owes me something to make it even. A quarter pint of blood would make us just about square.

I could waste time mentioning all the great places we’ve been and the great things we’ve done, but those were all sober moments, so I’ll avoid it. Regardless, there’s a sweet international candy store, a badass poetry cafe with a slam poetry contest that one of my friends rocked last night, french toast beer (just one), Vietnamese dinners, Ukranian mimosas (just two!), Dumpling Man, Red Mango, and a homeless man named Meth Mouth who’re all part of the Burkeman New York Tour. But why talk about all that when I can talk about the world’s least favorite blond kid…

Mormonzo’s insatiable appetite for making people look at the ground and say “anyway…” did not end there.  A few days later the entire group of media kids was invited to the headquarters of a major news / political entity for a mixer with industry bigwigs and a chance to nab a few more worthwhile business cards (and free drinks to fend off this heat wave!). Everyone calmly introduced themselves to a group, but Mormonzo had to be the stand out. The memorable kid. Or… that guy. Now, you must imagine a deceptively old religious fanatic holding a microphone, but I think just writing his script is sufficiently uncomfortable. – Taps microphone – “Aloha!” The crowd does not react. “Alooooooha!” The unamused crowd responds with an “aloha” that is so unenthused you would think that Hawaii had the cultural appeal of a potato. “Yes, aloha! I’m having a great time enjoying all the heat here in Hawaii.” Smattering of socially kind laughter. “Yes, it’s great in Hawaii. Of course I haven’t gotten leid yet, but I look forward to it.”

Silence. Shock. I may’ve blushed a little.

Our group director was, again, mortified. There’s no fixing that one. I think he’s been banned from introducing himself at this point.

Mormonzo shouldn’t be the only one with tragic decisions while in New York, though, and quickly a few of us followed up with ridiculously awkward moments of our own. A fine one arrived when Preacher Man revealed that he was actually 25, and then asked me if I could get him a job at the network I was working with, as he didn’t like his network. Um, no. I can’t, and I don’t want to. We’re too different to work in the same area- you’re a biggoted faux baptist, and the only thing I discriminate against is half-proof drinks. However, this entire conversation was taking place in front of Preacher Man’s boss, the man who happens to be the national president of sales for a major television network (I’ll give a hint, the middle initial is B). Attempting to distance myself from Preacher Man, I go speak with his boss, who I’m hoping to arrange an interview with despite our rocky start- I spoke with him a week ago at a cable network’s brunch, where a slip of the tongue led me to swearing at him.

I make my way over to the intimidating and vaguely weird salesman and put my beer down on the table to avoid nervously sipping it the entire time. He does the same, which lets me know I made a wise decision. Good for me. He asks me about my first day at a rival network, which is encouraging because he remembers where I’m working. All things that are good. Until I gesture just a little too emphatically, because I was finishing my second beer in about 30 minutes and having skipped dinner (again) because apparently the media mega-mogul throwing our cocktail party didn’t believe in vegetarian food. I blame this on him, it’s always the media’s fault! Regardless, my large gesture sends my beer clear across the tiny table and directly into the lap of the network executive. And not just a little bit, the whole thing. Down the suit jacket, on the shirt, across the tie, and on the pants. I immediately lung not for a napkin, but for my beer, which I grab and sip before retreating to another table to grab napkins.

The whole series of events happened so quickly that few people observed the blunder, but when waitresses converged on the pres sales extraordinare the entire room stopped to see what was causing a stir. There I was, next to a major network executive, patting his suit jacket dry with a wadded napkin in one hand and half a beer in the other. At this point the soggy salesman looks at me and says “you need to learn how to hold onto a cocktail even if bumped into, that’s when you’ve made it in the sales business.” With that he grabs his beer and walks away, leaving me the awkward center of attention. I suppose there’s no use crying over spilt beer.

Yeah, Mormonzo might be 28, but he didn’t test the Scotch guard on a prospective employer’s suit. Richie Rich lost his sunglasses, I lost my dignity. Well, shit.

[you’re so cute when you’re slurring your speech, but they’re closing the bar and they want us to leave]

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]

Das- Spalt!

Day 4

I drunkenly dropped a watermelon outside my apartment door. It split. There will be no clear winner in the seed spitting contest. I should find a mop. Manhattan treats me right.

Brave New World

Day -2

Dominican baseball player currently lives in my room; a fact my family was rather vague about until I came home a week ago. Not that sleeping in my unfinished basement isn’t glamorous (the shabby-chic kitty litter box is catty-corner from my couch/bed), but I can’t say I was expecting my last two weeks of life in the midwest to be spent watching Ninja Warrior on a fold-out couch that’s older than I am. Regardless, the jugador rummaging through my dresser drawers doesn’t bother me as long as I’m not expected to translate Spanish conversation to my monoglot mother during breakfast, which is why I decided not to leave my subteranean bomb shelter of a basement until after 11 each morning. In fact, this is a completely normal turn of events. Hosting the gypsy family for Thanksgiving dinner was fairly standard. The “my mom went into a coma on the beach, again” stories have become fun anecdotes at this point. My friends barely batted an eye when I told them about the time I woke up at the Pentagon. In math randomness is a pattern.

However, all of the family induced predicta-crazy is about to end. Before graduating from my univer$ity I was fortunate to nail down a two month gig with a major television network, so in a few days I’ll be shipping out of the midwest and into Manhattan. I choose to believe once immersed in the city, I will stop getting into this kind of trouble…

I spent tonight soaking up my hometown the only way possible, coffee and hot fudge sundaes at 2 in the morning at the only all night diner in town. Before coming home to discover I’d been replaced by the Dominican (who is relentlessly nice), I spent the last four years at a small university in an Ohio village. Being a black gay buddhist vegetarian liberal in red state territory wasn’t the best geographic decision I’ve ever made, so I essentially spent the last four years fitting into my parochial university much the way Dolly the sheep would fit in at Trader Joe’s. Still, I have some great memories and some damn good blacked-out psuedo recollections of college life that I will sorely miss.

Still, four years in a village has driven me to take up residence in the West Village. After a chat with my Korea Going Blonde friend who is taking off to teach English in South Korea for the next year, it was decided that our coffee-and-sundae fueled banter must continue despite the hemispheres and low-income salaries that will seperate us. This blog will not just provide e-chat fodder for KGB, but will stand as a somewhat trustworthy narrator’s recollection of how a reluctant wunderkind tries to live up to his potential for once.

[if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere]