Archive | March, 2011

A Six-Cup Kind of Day

30 Mar

Everyday is a coffee day for me, but some days just require a bit more caffeination. I was never a coffee drinker until I graduated college, which is when most of my bad habits seemed to expose themselves (See also: making rash decisions, having mental breakdowns, listening to Top 40 radio). And since I’ve started my new job, I’ve tried to relegate myself to drinking coffee in the mornings on my drive to work, which mostly leads to me spilling coffee all over myself and blotting the drips off my pants. I’m really not a morning person.

Despite the fact that I don’t get a paid lunch break or any health benefits, my office has invested in a free, fully stocked coffee station in the kitchenette, which I have already frequented three times today. I’ve sampled the Kona, French Vanilla, and Hazelnut blends so far, and I still have the entire coffee continent of South America delve into.  Five more hours and it’ll be time to switch to decaf!

It hasn’t helped that my sister is home for spring break and I’ve been staying up past my normal bed time of 10:30 (I’m a 22-year-old grandma). It also hasn’t helped that traffic has been a beast this week, despite the lack of rain, snow, or a single cloud in the sky. The culmination of the later nights and my exhausting mornings has me in full slug mode. And since taking a nap isn’t really a viable option, I’ll just plug in the central IV and pray for the shakes.

My Free Time Has Become Less Intelligent

29 Mar

Yesterday was a sad day for me–The New York Times subscription plan started. Because I hate paying for things, I haven’t signed up for the $15 full access fee and am now relegated to a meager 20 articles a month. In my prime, I was whipping through 20+ articles A DAY. Plus photo slide shows!

My love for the New York Times is deep. On my way to work, I typically do penance in front of the building, which is directly across from the Port Authority. Amid the cigarette smoke and mayhem, I pray that someday I can darken their door. Sometimes, I will leave the homepage up just to stare at, hoping the quality of writing will be absorbed through the computer and into my brain. The Times was the reason behind my choice in career–an essay and photo spread on the night shift at New York’s popular museums cemented my almost obsessive passion for the paper and an undying desire to write for their magazine.

But the past two days have been difficult as I’ve had to actually think through my choice of reading material. Headlines are out–I can read that elsewhere. But the features! Oooo the features! And the magazine! And the travel section! And the weddings and celebrations! Where else can I read about Upper East Side cotillions, fantasize about 36 hours in Bali, and read incredibly pretentious theater reviews?

This is not something I’m used to. I click through the Times in such a pell-mell fashion I hardly know what or why I chose something. But now, it’s a process. Plus, today I clicked on an article and it was only half a page long! I feel cheated.

Why are you doing this to me, New York Times? Could it be you’re trying to secure your future so that one day there could quite possibly be a job for me?? Could you be attempting to color the hair on The Gray Lady and save it from a slow and painful death?? In that case, credit cards out people!! A round of subscriptions for all!

I’m Actually Thinking Some Rational Thoughts

25 Mar

I’m about three weeks into serious apartment hunting, and it’s been quite an experience. My first foray started out a bit rocky, (recall cigarette smoke, Axl Rose) and since then, I’ve seen a few more places but haven’t been completely sold. You’d think I’d be so desperate to find a place that I’d live in a cardboard box if it meant I could chop my commute in half, but the minute I start inching towards the reality of actually making a decision, a strange thing happens to my brain: I begin to think rationally.

Rational is not the first word I would use to describe myself, but when faced with real life and its enormous expense, I start thinking things like “Is it really necessary to have an apartment when you have a place to live already?” or “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to wait until you’re hired on full-time instead of being freelance?” and “What about your car?” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when I know I’ve gone crazy. When my car suddenly becomes something important to me.

But my rational thoughts have a point. Sure, it’s inconvenient to spend five hours of my day trapped on a New Jersey Transit bus, but what else would I be doing with my time? As much as I say I want to learn to play cello, or take an evening French class, would I really do it? And as much as I hate my car (with a fiery, burning passion) I still spent a significant chunk of change on it, and leaving it to rot in my parents driveway–while satisfying–seems like a waste of money. Plus, monthly rent money could go towards more vacations, the new camera I’ve been eying, or a nicer apartment in the future.

Could it be that I’m not only thinking rationally, but like an actual adult???

Why I Hate Boredom

24 Mar

The past two weeks have slowed down from the manic pace of my first weeks here, finally sputtering to a complete halt. I’ve spent the past few days living in deja vu: endless New York Times reading (while it’s still free), endless Facebook-ing, and endless paranoia that I will never be successful at anything I ever do. Aaannnddd I’m over-dramatic.

Yes, for me, boredom=crippling insecurity. With nothing else to occupy it, my mind floats into “life-failure” territory, and all the things I was sure of when I was busier–or had less time to think about–come waltzing back in, ready to upend the confidence I reached along with a staggering ability to multi-task. Now, my multi-tasking consists of drinking my fifth cup of tea while texting my sister at the same time.

But shouldn’t I be changing the world at this point? I mean, I’ve already been here A MONTH.

Hopefully you all got that little bit of sarcasm. I need to get it too. It’s been a month. Just a month! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will my journalism career. I’m just completely immune to the idea of a little something called PATIENCE. But when everyday seems to present another life-changing choice, (should I drive my car off a cliff? Should I move out or live home? Should I cut bangs in my hair?) the idea of stability and anything longterm is a completely foreign concept.

I’m just not the sort of person that does well with nothing to do. Maybe I need to relax, sign up for yoga. Maybe I need to realize that they hired me for a reason and that they’re not discussing my total uselessness upstairs in the corner office. Maybe I’m just an egomaniac who needs to stop drinking so much coffee in the morning. Maybe I really just need to find something productive to do that doesn’t include the words “apartment” and “hunting.”

Things That Also Take Two and a Half Hours

22 Mar

I’ve been working at my new job for almost a month, and have thus far been unsuccessful is getting in and out of the city in less than 2 1/2 hours. There was that one solitary day when I was home in an easy one hour, 52 minutes and 47 seconds (who’s counting??), but that was because I stayed at work until almost 10 pm, and only had to sit at seven traffic lights instead of the typical 14.

This got me thinking about other things that are NOT a daily, one way commute that would also take up that kind of time:

  • Driving from New York to Philadelphia
  • Watching any of the Oscar nominated movies from this year
  • Running a marathon (if I was a professional athlete)
  • Running half of a marathon (if I decided to run one)
  • Seeing a Broadway show
  • Cooking a gourmet, three-course meal
  • Going out for a gourmet, three-course meal
  • Riding the subway from the Bronx to the bottom of Manhattan and back
  • Taking an advanced seminar class at a university
  • Driving across Rhode Island 4 times
  • Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge up to Columbus Circle
  • Flying from New York to Paris on a supersonic jet
  • Facebook stalking

Wow. Of course, maybe on a daily basis I wouldn’t be flying to Paris on a supersonic jet, but the fact that it takes THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME AS IT DOES FOR ME TO GET TO WORK IN THE MORNING is a bit mind-boggling.

A True Promotion

16 Mar

The past few weeks have been so crazy and I’ve been so preoccupied with commuting and apartment hunting and life that I’ve forgotten to share one of the best parts of my new job: MY CUBICLE!

Yes, talk about a promotion! First, it was a table top, then someone else’s desk that I borrowed overnight, and now I have my very own 4×4 cubicle to call my own! Despite the fact that I barely had a second to think last week, I still managed to scrounge up some photos to tack to the foam-core and spruce the place up! Right now, I have a lighthouse calendar (it was either that or “Houses of Faith.” Thought I’d keep it secular), some Barcelona postcards, and a New Yorker magazine cover. So very corporate! I still have to get an official pen mug, but I have so much desk space, I barely even need it!

But the pinnacle of my cubicle experience occurred last Friday. After an incredibly intense week, I walked into work to find that an official typed name tag had been slid into the plastic holder outside my space. It was like everything I had prayed for and cried over and dreamed about was suddenly justified in just a three-inch piece of poster board! If only I could remember these small joys as I’m breaking down in hysterical tears over another 10 mile traffic back up and cursing life! Well first the cubicle, and then life-control.

The Hunt

14 Mar

This weekend I officially started my apartment search. Now, I’ve been casually searching for New York City apartments since I was in 5th grade, but on Saturday, I made it official, hired a realtor and then became sufficiently horrified and depressed.

Listen, I’m not rolling in the dough, so to speak. But my budget isn’t so unrealistic as to be mocked! And yet, everyone I’ve emailed or talked to on the phone has chortled light-heartedly when I share the news of my search and my expectation that I’ll find something. The first realtor I met with didn’t even bother showing me anything within, uh, 70 blocks of the location I want to live! Then he suggested I learn Spanish, showed me five apartments all facing a dirty brick wall, told me I could always buy my own stove and then blew smoke in my face. Literally. He smoked. And blew it in my face.

Needless to say, I was less than enthused. I saw one place I liked, but wasn’t willing to risk being attacked by drug lords on my way out the door, since this was basically what happened when we left.

But surprisingly, I wasn’t too discouraged. I had decided I didn’t want to live where he ended up showing me for a variety of reasons, but actually being able to walk around and get a feel for the place set off visual alarm bells. Plus, I didn’t really feel a connection with the realtor. He was twice my age, an 80s metal head, and yea, did I mention he literally blew smoke in my face?????

Later that night, I saw another two places in the area I had originally wanted to look, and sure enough, absolutely loved it. It was convenient to subways, close to a college and a park, and had that jazzy New York feel. Unfortunately, the place he showed me was minuscule and over my budget, but at least it was in the general direction of what I’m looking for. Plus, the realtor had an affinity for Boar’s Head cheese, and pointed out every Bodega on the way, which I found more entertaining than washed-up Axl Rose references.

So it’s back to the drawing board for now, but my foray into apartment hunting was actually pretty exciting! I felt like a real grownup…looking for apartments, preparing to be poor…it’s all part of the process, right??