My Queens Extravaganza

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The station where it happened

As I stated last week, things have been going pretty well for me at work. I don’t leave past 8pm these days because, for various reasons that have added up, I’ve become integral to the department. But overall, everything right now is good! But, as I have also stated on this blog, things have not always been this great — this was particularly true right before I left for Christmas vacation last year, when I had royally screwed up on something. It was a one off mistake, but it was a very large one, and I was feeling awful about it.

This is an important detail, because when I am feeling insecure at work, I feel insecure in pretty much everything else I do. Which brings us to a Saturday in December, the weekend before Sara and I left for Australia, where our story starts.

My friend Jackson Bird was hosting his annual holiday party at his place in Queens. This is probably the only time when I ever get to Queens throughout the year because it is quite far from Hoboken. The journey on this cold christmasy weekend was made even longer because the only trains that could take us to Manhattan from Hoboken were downtown near the World Train Center, making our journey approximately an hour and a half long. Yay for public transit! So Sara, and our friends Taekia and Megan got our shit together and trekked out to Astoria.

The party itself was awesome. Jackson is a great host and there was wine and good food and company. We also had a fantastic conversation with the other party guests about how awesome the Fast and the Furious franchise is. Everything was going so well!

Did this last? Of course not! By the time we decided to leave, it was around 1am and I was pretty drunk. White wine will do that to you. While at Jackson’s I remember grabbing my purse and jacket and getting to the train station. But at this point, everything starts blur. I remember arriving at the 30th Ave station and waiting for the train, but after that, nothing. It wasn’t until we got to the World Train Center that I started to get my shit together — and realized that my purse was no where to be found.

I immediately started to panic. I had lost all my possesstions because I was drunk and dumb! I was a terrible human being that no one should trust!  I was drunk yelling this all to Sara (who was appropriately alarmed) as I walked through the train trying to see if I had left my purse there (instead of finding it, a homeless man yelled at me, apologizing for his vomit – welcome to New York). It soon became clear that I had not left my purse on the train, and that it was either back at Jackson’s, at the 30 Ave station subway stop, or in the ether. And I got really mad at myself. I thought about all the shit I would have to go through if my purse was really stolen or gone. I felt like shit. I luckily still had my phone, but all my cards and keys and everything would be lost forever. I sobbed about how I couldn’t do anything right, not my job or in my personal life. Being drunk will do that to you.

Megan, who was traveling with Sara and I, offered me her metro card and then promptly left (as she should have!) while Sara tried to calm me down. As it was 2:30 in the morning, she was very much in the camp of me going home and trying to figure out what happened to my purse the next day. But I was adamant. I needed to at least try to find my purse and damn it! no one was going to stop me. I was gonna fix this. So Sara let me go, making me promise I would keep her in the loop.

So I got an uber (It was truly a #blessing that I hadn’t lost my phone) and went all the way back to Queens. Though I was still kinda drunk, I was focused and was able to find my way back to the 30th Ave station. I went down and had a look, but no luck — my purse was no where to be found. So I went to the station manager’s window, just to see if someone had picked it up (knowing my luck was minimal). She offered to make a few calls, so I waited.

The next moment is when everything started turning around for me. The station manager called me over — my purse had been found! It was in a police station in Briarwood, Queens and I could pick it up that night. Halle-fucking-lujah. Briarwood was another 7 stops away on the F train, so I hauled my ass to the boonies of Queens in search of salvation. I arrived at the police station and explained my situation. They went into the back and pulled out purse! I almost cried I was so happy! This never happens! Surely this means God loves me!

At this point my phone was at 6% battery but I called Sara (who was playing along at home) to tell her of my success (I also put her on speaker phone so the entire station could hear our conversation — I think I was the the cutest drunk girl the police had encountered that night). At this point, it was about 4 in the morning. I established that nothing had been taken from my purse, signed a piece of paper saying I had picked it up, and then asked when the next F train to Manhattan (seeing as an uber from Queens to Hoboken would’ve cost me like a thousand dollars). The policeman who was helping me, looked at the schedule and said, “actually there’s one arriving now.” I grabbed my purse and ran and caught the train. I got out around 50th street in Manhattan and immediately got an uber. $50 dollars later, at approximately 5 in the morning, I walked into my room in Hoboken and collapsed on my bed.

Long story short, I paid about $75 worth in ubers and a whole night of my time to get my purse back so I wouldn’t have to be inconvenienced by canceling cards and getting new keys. I felt something had finally gone my way and that the universe was willing to be nice to me, as long as I was willing to cough up the goods. Was it worth it? Sure, why not.

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Love Your Disruptions

IMG_1449On my birthday this year, Kelly pointed out in her birthday message that I am “always down for an adventure provided at some point sleep and food are in the equation,” and while I’ve always wanted to be a spontaneous, adventurous person, I have to admit that’s not entirely the case.

I’ve said this before, I’m sure, but I’m a creature of habit. My mom always used to point this out at the end of the summer, when I had started getting irritable and lazy. I needed the routine of school back. Every time I’ve moved to a new place, I feel loose and unsettled and anxious until I can make my bed and my lunch and my own coffee, and I know what the next few days are going to look like. I like adventures, sure, but I need something to come back to that makes sense, and I always pack granola bars and water.

Sleep and I have always had a contentious relationship (hence this blog) so its less that I need sleep in my adventures and more that I need to come back to my routine afterwards so I have a chance of making up for all of that sleep I lost while I was romping around…wherever I was.

I say this all as a preface for pointing out that this spring has been, well, weirdly not like that. Whether I’ve been house sitting or traveling or making plans for the rest of the year, my routine has been, shall we say, disrupted. And I find myself in the midst of all of that insanity thinking to myself, “just get through this week, and then things will get back to normal,” or more recently “you’ll be done after May – just get through May and things will get back to normal.”

Nothing lasts forever, and time is always passing no matter what, and I’ve used this technique to get me through many, many things – presentations or meetings I’m nervous about, conversations I’m not looking forward to, excessively long plane rides, periods of uncertainty. In 24 hours it’ll be over. This time tomorrow I’ll know. Only 93 hours until I’m past this and back in my bed.

Lately though, in perhaps a kind of new year new me style, an unintended resolution and an accidental mantra, I’ve been making myself stop doing that. The point of life is not to get to the next period of calm, the next set of days where you don’t have to think too hard because you’re going to know exactly what each day is going to look like. I’ve never wanted things to be that easy, and it only occurred to me recently that it wasn’t just the comfort of my routine I was looking for, but the safety of it.

I’ve been out of my apartment almost every other weekend since the beginning of March. I’m going to Seattle this week to reunite with two of my best friends from college. My dad’s coming to town next week and I’m house sitting in TriBeCa again. I’m planning a trip to Nashville. I’m going to Vietnam in September and I’m going back to poke around Australia again over Christmas. I’ve just about used up all of my vacation days and Summer Fridays are coming up soon. It’s going to be warm and there are so many things to see and I’m going to relish these disruptions. I’m going to remember that the point is not to get past things, but to enjoy them.

 

Wanted: A Millennial who knows what the f*ck she’s doing

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I talk (write?) a lot about my job on this blog and how hard it was to get where I am today (currently on my bed, watching bob’s burgers, in a blanket burrito). But it’s not like I spent my childhood dreaming of being an agent’s assistant, or even working in publishing. My quote-unquote dream job changed fairly often as I was growing up and they all spanned a multitude of subjects.

When I was very little I wanted to be an illustrator. I always loved drawing, requesting sketch pads and crayons every Christmas. I remember one weekend, where my sister and I sat at my grandmother’s dining room table using water colors to paint, thinking that my sister was going to write books, and I was going to draw things for them. But I soon realized that my talents were never going to get any better than my third grade hand.

Once I realized this, I shifted focus. Dolphins had recently become my favorite animal and getting to spend days splashing around with them sounded like absolute bliss (reminder this was a pre blackfish world we were living in). This desire to train sea animals lasted throughout most of middle school until one day my mom took me to the Baltimore Aquarium to see an actual dolphin show (to help support my interests – thanks mom!). During the performance, one of the trainers talked about how one becomes a trainer, and listed the many books and courses one would have to read and take – and though I’m not proud of this, the  thought of all that work just to play with dolphins soured the whole process. So naturally I switched to a much more manageable career.

Not. Around the end of middle school/early high school I was reading a lot of non-fiction and was also getting into my family history. Not to mention, my immediate family and I were always into shows like The West Wing and NCIS. All of this contributed to my desire to be a spy for the CIA. My maternal grandfather had worked for the CIA and I was intrigued by international travel and the excitement of a high stakes environment. So, to once again foster support for my budding interests, my mom took me to the International Spy Museum in DC and bought me a memoir written by a former agent. But after this and my own extensive research it became apparent that a life of a spy was much harder and a lot more boring than I originally had thought. And I was slowly becoming much more interested in talking to “interesting people” than actually being an “interesting person” myself.

This was the beginning of a hope for a career in journalism. In high school I got super into music and subscribed to Rolling Stone magazine. I loved how the editors covered any topic under the sun and weren’t afraid to tout controversial ideas (this was about ten years ago when legalized weed was still a pretty controversial issue). I learned all about the history of music and politics and Hunter S. Thompson. I found new and interesting people to follow on budding social media websites. And this interest eventually led me to other quirky outlets such as McSweeny’s Quarterly Concern. All of this showed me that anything can be a story if you tell it interestingly enough. And it seemed like all the writers in these magazines got to sit down with the “most interesting people in the world” and ask them questions about why they do what they do. Nothing sounded more fascinating to me.

To this day I am still fascinated by it. Though my focus in college shifted from journalism to history, I still wanted to write and talk about interesting people and social trends. But what changed is the kinds of stories that I wanted to tell. In college I realized that I didn’t just want to be a mouth piece for something or someone else. I wanted to create something new – by myself, for myself. Once I realized I wasn’t going to pursue a journalism career, I started looking at avenues that would allow me to think about and work on stories every day. Thus when I graduated, I started to look for jobs in publishing.

Today I still don’t necessarily know what my passion is or “what I want to be when I grow up.” I know that I have always wanted to perform and draw and act and express my self visually. And I know that I have the skills and connections to navigate an industry that can be unrelenting. But I wish I wasn’t so timid about expressing my passions no matter what they are. Sometimes I am afraid that my lack commitment to any career or idea, will result in me never finding something that truly fills my soul.

But perhaps, I won’t ever need to figure that out. Barring some lack of inherent talent, I knew that if I worked hard enough, I would be capable of pursuing every career listed above – and maybe that’s all that matters.