Monday, February 24, 2014

Shocking things I saw today....

So living in New York City, working in Times Square, you're bound to see things that the average person from my mid-west upbringing would never imagine they would see. Although I take into consideration that some of the people I see may be mentally disturbed, or have some other medical issue (bless their soul) some of the stuff I witness still doesn't make sense and leaves me utterly baffled.

FOR example, this morning while walking into the little cafe near my work to get my friday sandwich, a man cradling a literal wad of cash walked into the cafe. I looked at him obviously like he was going to mug me and tuck my money into his wad and sing it to sleep. He casually walked past me, walked up to the cop in the store, turned around, and walked out and down the street... never to be seen again. What the hell did I just see.

First of all, where's the money from? Second of all, why are you flaunting your wad baby? Third of all, why did you enter the store in the first place if you weren't even going to buy anything? I know that this may seem subtle and uneventful but try and put yourself in my position on a sunny Friday morning, confronted by a dirty man with a neatly organized fat stack of cash, just, ya know, meandering around. I've shared my experiences with the two people who have read my blog before, my mom and the (assumingly) Russian woman/stranger who just put me in one of her Google circles, but I can't stress enough how often these things happen.

Some of the time they are slightly funny and slightly tragic, like the man on the subway in the batman mini dress, but most of the time they strike this imagination of mine that may just as well be the most active imagination in the world.

That same day, before I saw money cradle man, I was walking to the subway in Williamsburg. On the off chance that someone besides my beautiful mother reads this, Williamsburg is a very hipster area in Brooklyn*. This slightly normal woman with ripped jeans and a bearable singing voice was belting out an Evanescence song. Of course my first thought was judgmental and along the lines of, "She definitely does NOT live or belong in hipster Williamsburg singing that song." And then, a few minutes later when I had time to think on the rush hour train--sandwiched between someone who didn't brush their teeth and an edgy chick who shoves everyone else a little too far in so she doesn't have to wait the 120 seconds for the next train, might I add--I started to judge myself, too.

I knew that song. It was Evanescence, and I remember when that song would come on the TV when I was younger I was mesmerized and couldn't stop listening to it. I couldn't stop judging my younger, former self for delighting so much in such a sad, yet beautiful, song sung by a rather goth looking band.

I have learned, therefore, to keep looking around and notice the things around me. I am constantly entertained by people of the city and their fascinating mannerisms and confidence. This is the perfect city to entertain an active imagination.

*They just put a Dunkin' Donuts into a very prominent corner in Williamsburg and the plaid brigade was none too happy, if that gives you a better description of the area

Balancing act...

Today's an inspirational one... getttttt ready.

So for those of you recent post-graduates who spent some time after college searching around for a suitable career, you know that this time was perfectly spent finding new ways to entertain yourself. Whether it was picking up a new hobby, learning how to be more intelligent with $3 crossword books, swapping your car for jogging shoes as a viable mode of transportation, or teaching your cat new tricks (don't knock it until you try it), you became an honest master of distraction.

Here's the thing about that, once you get used to being a non-genius, yet equally interesting version of Demitri Martin, once you obtain a full time job, those great qualities you picked up due to lack of activity, which made you super rad, fall to the wayside. This is an adjustment period. Suddenly grocery shopping is an option instead of a necessity, things like emails turn into a chore rather than exciting electronic packages tied up with imaginary bows, filled with fashion tips and stories from your college roommates, and your cat is more fun to cuddle with and relax than something that challenges your skill and tests just how patient you can actually be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT complaining about having a job, along with which comes a large occupation of my time. I'm however proposing a new view point: instead of thinking how sad it is that your time no longer is disposable, but look at this new time restraint as the next level of the challenge of life. You know, level 1 wasn't hard.... level 2, while you're actively looking for a job, maybe working part time, gets a little more difficult. Level 3, when you have a full time job, has arrived, guys. Get a good stretch in and get ready for the challenge. Important piece of advice before getting to far into the Rainbow Road: you'll fail. You won't make all of your goals every day (for those of you that do, way to go).

After awhile you'll notice which goals that are part of each level will change. You know when you were young and your mom said, "There are plenty of fish in the sea," the life is your sea, babe. These fish are all different sizes, some long, some short, and you don't have to have all of the fish at once. Instead, focus on one or two to begin with and work consciously on those. Reflect every day on how you did. Anecdote: if you think you're amazing and can complete all of these goals right off the bat, all at once, chances are you're setting yourself up for failure.

Good luck to you goal makers, goal achievers, and anyone who takes advice from a sage 24 year-old living in New York who is happily sauntering her way through life.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Return to the subway

I don't know how I did it, but I forgot all about the subway situation in NYC while I was gone.. Don't get me wrong, I think that public transportation is a great way to travel, it's good for the environment, and good for you wallet, but in a city of 5.4 million riders a day on one of the oldest subway systems in the world, you notice some things.

Today on my way home, in particular, I noticed a man dressed in a batman outfit. Normally it wouldn't phase me as there are many workers in Times Square that dress up as movie characters for their job. However, this man was literally dressed in his costume, his pot bell protruding out of his dress and a rather high thigh flash was happening. To add to the drama of wearing a Batman suit, he yelled, "Yeah baby" a few times between each stop, making sure to stare at passengers and lick his lips, and shouted the stops along with the MTA announcer. I apologize if there was something "wrong" with this man, but you have to take the good with the bad and see the humor and sarcasm in life, regardless of the situation.

The icing on the cake was "Friendly Rick" the General Contractor who sat down next to me and said, "Die Fledermaus must be in down," with a flashy smile. Thanks for the input and funny joke, Rick, but if this creepy Batman dude comes tunneling over here, I'm expecting you to throw yourself in front of me to protect me. Thanks! (Yes, my sass has returned and my coldness meter is dropping a little since being back, and I love it)

After transferring trains, I was waiting for the next train and noticed a woman in front of me with a rather large pony tail and silver thumb ring. The thumb ring, okay I get, I used to wear one because a cool Native American was selling them and I just had to have it. The pony tail, however, is another story. This is the point where I stop blaming Pony Tail Polly, and get angry with her friends. Polly's friends, please advise her on a new hair do. For example, I know that my hair looks rediculous in a pony tail because my hair is pin straight and my head is far too small for my body. Thus, a pony tail isn't my most flattering do. So, here's to my cynicism about long-haired-pony-tail-wearers and to hoping their friends step it up and suggest a change.

The most precious thing I noticed on the subway was actually a Con Ed worker. He was resting his eyes, or something, and held a notebook in his hands. Being incredibly nosey and curious, I stared at his notebook until I realized that it said "SAFETY" on the front in bubble letter that had been colored in. Little things that I notice, like that, always make me imagine what the person's story is. Where did he come from? Did he drawn in the letters or did someone he love? How long of a shift does he work? After mulling over these questions a wave of gratitude strikes me. This man sitting across from me on the subway is working hard to ensure the city-dwellers have heat, hot water, electricity, etc. and I'm thankful for him.

I finally deboarded the train once arriving in my temporary town of Williamsburg. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Williamsburg, it is essentially just a huge neighborhood almost entirely filled with hipsters. For those of your unfamiliar with the term "hipster", it is a person who spends far too much time looking for vintage clothing, trying to be an original, skateboarding, smoking American Spirit cigarettes, eating vegan food, drinking PRB, any or all of the above, and believes he/she is (here's the kicker) first person to have behaved in that manner, believe those beliefs, or create that certain thing. No one else did that, they were the first. The issue therein being that they all believe that. In true tandem with the quote, "If everyone's different, nobody is," their lives are mocked, in turn, but those the hipsters mock. It's a big circle of mockery and it works. I'm not saying "Don't Feed the Hipsters", some of them are delightful human beings, but the chances are the more you feed their egos, the skinnier their jeans will get.

However crowded, smelly, hot, cold, creepy, etc. the subway is, it always provides me with an entire rotation of emotions by the time I get off--IF I'm paying attention.