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I am...a New Yorker
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Monday, January 6, 2003
That Girl
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Talking...
With a woman in my building about her alma mater, an academic option that would me very big changes for me. She said from the time she met me, she could see me there. At the time, she had no idea that I was already applying for admission. It might be just the thing for me.

Reading...
Articles on Anne Frank's suspected betrayers and Jews shunning brit mila (circumcision).

Catching...
Myself saying things like "oy vey" and "it's a mitzvah!" almost as frequently as "Ay Dios mio!"

Missing...
Internet access while at R's. Perhaps it's a good thing, but it made me feel really isolated.

Watching...
Ghost World, which is the first thing I've liked with Steve Buscemi, besides The Wedding Singer. The Seymour character was so great, so real, so imperfect and contradictory. I wasn't sure I understood where Enid was coming from, despite her age, let alone where she was going.

Renting...
The Big Bird Cage on DVD a women-in-prison movie with Pam Grier, which I very much look forward to tonight.

Eating...
Pizza and so-so take out Mexican. At least the beans were refried, sort of, though I'd never eat at a Chevy's in San Francisco, with the abundance of taquerias. Not that there's any dearth of them in NYC, but no hay Mexicanos.

Walking...
From the sofa to the bathroom and fridge. R's place, I often forget, has a soporific effect on me.

Vowing...
To get out more, but still fearing the financial repercussions of the slightest expenditure.

I am...enjoying living like a person for a few weeks while cat-sitting for R. He's driving up and down the West Coast, and will stay at the hotel I used to work at in San Francisco beginning tonight. How I wish I could visit the City and recharge for a few days.

Nevertheless, R's is a vacation from the building where I live and keep my stuff. I don't miss the woman who sneers at us when we walk in, who refuses to buzz us in. I don't miss the selfish, moronic residents who litter in the halls and elevators, who take food but don't eat it (thus leaving little for those of us who have jobs and arrive near the end of meal times). Nor do I miss the man on the serving line who is too busy calling me "baby" and oogling me to notice what I asked to have on my plate.

I haven't taken great advantage of R's as yet. I'd like to have a dinner party, if I can get more than 2 people to commit to the same date at the same time. R's is also where I tend to get lucky, so let's hope the pad does its tricks, so I can do mine.

It also shortens and simplifies my commute to a dozen or so downtown and 4 crosstown blocks on the M104 (because I was carrying my laptop today), or two stops on the 1, 9 and a crosstown train ride, about 10 minutes total. My regular commute isn't so bad, but it can take up to 30 minutes to get out of my building (one elevator has been out since Friday and two aren't even enough on regular days for 300+ people on 17 floors). Even when both elevators are working, often one or both are taken up by a maid who has to stop at every floor on the way down.

If I've ordered a lunch the day before, the line could take 10 minutes or more. For some reason, we must claim our bag lunches by getting into the breakfast line in the dining room (basement), while everyone is getting eggs to order. This is another of the procedures that makes no sense whatsoever to me, especially since there is someone at a register just outside the cafeteria, who could easily hand out lunches. This would be easier than for the cooks to walk 12 feet away from the stove and hunt for the right bag.

When it's not quite so cold, I don't mind taking the stairs, but in my full-length winter coat, the odds of falling at some point in 11 flights is pretty high. At any rate, it's a joy to get out of the building in a few minutes morning, noon or night. The doorman at R's is a nice bonus, though not necessary. I enjoy his company, actually and heck, I see him more often than I do R.

I also enjoy cuddling with the cat when he's so inclined. I even fed him some shrimp parmesan I debreaded last night. He wraps himself around my ankles when I feed him; it reminds me of how uberGeek M used to call his cat an "attention whore" when she'd stay on my lap for hours of petting. If for no other reason, the idea of having a cat and a kitchen makes me want to have my own place again all the more.

Soon, I hope to be a gypsy no more.

. . .

Maybe the lack of Internet access just makes me realize how isolated I am here. New York continues to kick my ass. I don't have a lot of friends here to begin with and some stretches of time are more social than others.

A few weeks ago, I was juggling plans with K, R, T, M and seeing a couple of men. Now K has me on ice, R is on the West Coast for 12 days, T is unemployed and not much for socializing, M went from calling everyday to not at all, and I can barely remember the men.

It's been that way here, though perhaps I'm remembering SF too fondly. Jamie is married and grew up here, so he has more friends and family in NYC than anyone I know. He's very busy, though he still manages to make time for me more often than just about anyone. L's father is sick and her social life is limited by this. I last saw her on Thanksgiving and she cooked me dinner after a nerd boy broke up with me from the pay phone in the psych ward (still in his jammies, no doubt).

One of my coworkers who I spent a lot of time with was fired. We were looking for an apartment together about a week before. It's only lucky we didn't sign the lease. The other one got married to a guy she knew for a month and is no longer a person, but a couple. We can't have dinner or do anything without her husband there. Nor is there a conversation in which she doesn't rhapsodize about her wonderful, perfect husband or her married bliss ("I can't be unhappy, I'm married!").

I hate to say I'm waiting for her to come back to reality, but I am. Her husband seems nice enough, but marriage isn't the solution to all life's problems. (Though I, for one, resent the way two-income families have raised rents in major cities, making it impossible for single women outside the major professions to survive).

Another coworker I'm close to is in Israel for a couple of weeks. I keep her in my prayers, such as they are. I look forward to her safe return and our next dinner and a movie evening.

Then there is Tiny, Mighty K. She came into my life when so many others were going out. She often says she loves me and just wants the best for me. However, she is increasingly negative. The things she says about a former friend in the building, the staff, everyone she encounters, I can hardly stand the negativity anymore. It makes me wonder what she says behind my back.

At dinner on Saturday, I asked her to stop the litany of what shit so-and-so was. It was really ruining my digestion. She has a great heart in there somewhere, but the bile is winning out just now. There are people I genuinely enjoy who won't sit with me at meals because they cannot take her ranting. She and I have shared many of the same disappointments this year, so I understand her frustrations. I'm having trouble bridging the gap between looking for better opportunities for myself and commiserating with her. I only recently realized that commiserating and "misery" have the same roots.

. . .

P.S. I was half an hour late for work this morning because of a bomb scare near Grand Central and several avenue lengths of 42nd Street was blocked off. Iím really not sure how much more of this shit I can take. Maybe Iím just not hard enough to be a New Yorker, love this town though I do.

[Next entry: "Cold and Alone"]
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