Tuesday’s Moleskine

Friday, June 24 2011

So much has changed in the last year – almost all of my circumstances, and a good bit of my own personality, if that’s the right word to use. Well, I’m still a bit strange and I still use humor too often and too ineloquently, I am still reserved and a touch too sensitive. I still cannot dance to save my own life, still somewhat more comfortable than is appropriate. But I’m also more likely to speak in a group than before, to initiate conversations. I am able to dance much more freely if not well in public, I now trust myself to handle life’s business, and I feel immeasurably more confident in my own appearance. My hair, my skin and posture I believe are much improved from the state they were in just ten months previous.


The major physical change to my circumstances is the big move I made – fromFloridatoNew York.


You’ll remember that I was looking into various AmeriCorps positions last summer – social service work, stipends, sometimes inclusive of housing as well, and with less experience than a normal job requires. I specifically was looking outside of Miami, outside of the whole of Florida because I had wanted to move away. I have hated Miami for a very long time, almost as long as I lived there, though it became even worse when we moved away from the beach and more inland. I was bored. I could walk nowhere and my driving was – remains – abysmal, though neither I nor my family had the money for an extra car in any case. I never was able to feel as though I fit in that city; not with my shyness, which was crippling, not with my jeans and cardigan instead of shorts, skirts, dresses. My eternal sneakers and tennis shoes instead of cute sandals and heels.


It is a little funny, that the appearance and style I was lacking inMiami– the things that left me out in the figurative cold rather by myself – I have gained them all living a thousand miles away, where it’s none of it necessary anymore. I could probably go back, really, and be comfortable – get a decent paying job, an apartment by the beach for what it costs to live in an outer borough here. I could meet people this time, walk around freely looking good and knowing it too, swimming in the beach and dancing in the clubs. It would be so much easier now, and yet the desire is not there; I think about Miami and all I can recall is how I felt all those years – waiting in the sweltering heat for a bus that would take half an hour more to arrive, dismissed by everyone around me, belittled by my family and dreaming about getting away.


And of course it’s not just an avoidance of Miami that makes me love New York City. It’s such a unique place; I don’t imagine I could achieve this level of contentedness anywhere else. By and large it feels like a Northeast city. I remember the first time I went to Baltimore, to DC, and how I loved the brick, the little houses with tiny front porches, the gray of the side-walks and the look of the city set on rolling hills. I know I’m not describing this very well, because honestly I don’t believe I am able to explain it fully; I simply like the aesthetic of an urban neighborhood in this region. Dense, staid, old.


When I get near my apartment and glance up at the building to check on my window, see the park across the street with its side-walk benches, the busy road a block down with a thousand dollar stores and cheap pizza shops – it makes me feel content. On the train I stand by the door and stare out at the landscape of theBronxfrom the windows; a setting sun, smoke, warehouses and little stores, big brick apartment buildings and wild-flowered, abandoned lots, people going about their business on the weed-cracked side-walks below. In the distance sometimes, the skyscrapers of Manhattan looking serious and gray.


The subway – that’s another thing I love, rather predictably given my lack of driving skills or car. It’s still strikes me sometimes, the care-free simplicity of simply wandering to the bus stop at whatever time with the assumption that transportation will arrive within the next five or ten minutes. New York public transportation; there’s almost not anything I can really say beyond what’s been said a million times already – it’s the best in the country. It will take you anywhere, or nearly. It’s fairly fast, even with all of the delays – I suppose some might complain about the cost but I’m given an unlimited monthly by my work so that’s no concern of mine. Although, I do often note that the monthly unlimited for transportation inMiamiis about the same price for an abysmal service in return. Even if I knew how to drive I would be loathe abandon the train – where there’s (much less, and less noticeable) traffic, where I can read or listen to music in commute, where there are no worries about whose been drinking or not, where even travelling at two, three, four in the morning I have never been in an empty train and never felt particularly unsafe.


Since I am beginning to be able to recognize when I am going on at length about something which is not especially interesting to anyone else, I’m going to cut myself off here and bring this entry to a close. A lot has certainly changed since last I updated this journal – I moved from a city I hate to one I adore, I got a new job, I met many new people. Hopefully this time I’ll be a diligent enough blogger that I get to actually write about it all.


Now, sometimes (every few fortnites or so, apparently) I actually get the urge to write something, only to find there’s no computer nearby. So I’m starting  a new segment, cleverly called “Tuesday’s Moleskine,” because I have a moleskine (it’s black and fairly ridiculous), and sometimes I need to transcibe that bitch. See: tuesday morning at the airport.


“I am currently at the gate waiting for my plane to BALTIMORE whooo-yeah!! So, at this point you may be saying out loud to your computer screen, “Tuesday, this trip is getting a little redundant. It’s hardly the first time you visit Baltimore, and I’d thank you to get a hold of your fake enthusiasm, please.” Well, that shows how much youknow, because I’m actually inordinately, inappropriately excited! Yeah! Baltimore! Totally!

 OK, to be fair a large part of that is just being away from the towering, crazystrict presence of parents who don’t make any particular distinction between twenty and thirteen years of age (not, mind you, that I feel it’s worth moving out and like, paying rent to someone, especially when I have no steady income. Life is all about figuring out your priorities, and one of my big ones is to live comfortably, as much as that’s possible. Marry up*!).

 So I’m waiting for my plane to come. It only took me, oh, twenty minutes to attract the weirdos (ok, to be fair I have taken planes, buses and so on before without attracting any weirdos at all, so I guess I’m not going to go on a whiny rant about my (probably nonexistent) ability to attract weirdos. But let’s just say that I’m very delicate looking, very thin and sinewy but rather plain looking, in terms of attractiveness, and that combination (of seeming defenselessness coupled with possible self-esteem issues) attracts a lot of weirdos a certain kind of guy. Let’s just say before I decided to Not Date the inquirers weren’t exactly Prince Charming.

So, anyway, I have just set up my laptop when a guy, a bit overweight, late thirties to late forties (can you tell I’m terrible at guessing ages?), Haitian with the heavy accent to go along, sits across from me. No problem so far. I call up my dad to ask a question, and when I hang up HaitianDude leans over and asks to borrow my cellphone.

Now, sometimes I am rather paranoid, I can admit that pretty readily. So I hesitate to answer because I am having visions of him starting to dial and then making a run for it across the airport – which I will admit makes not much sense since he’d probably be tackled by security before you can say “Hey!” But paranoia isn’t supposed to make sense, so moving on I asked first if he was calling out of state or…? No, no, he assures me, not out of state. When I ask which area code (I realize this is a bit much, but after all I wouldn’t mind answering these questions were I the one asking to use some stranger’s very expensive, new looking razor cellphone), he explains, eventually, that he’s calling Haiti. To which I said, “Oh, it’s out of country. Yes, that’s much better.” Except the much-better part was in my head. So at this point I’m about to give up the phone, despite not being very comfortable, and I ask (yes, I was full of questions, I’m a very irritating person and you probably wouldn’t want to borrow a phone from me, because I am weird about things like that) about how long he would need: five minutes, he says.

Now maybe I’m just a terrible conversationalist (maybe, ha) but this seems like an awfully long time to be on the phone. Like, that’s a whole conversation with your lawyer or dad or something, not a quick check with someone like I assumed – I mean, I was a bit taken aback because I was assuming he’d say something like “thirty seconds” or “a minute”. At this point I start hemming and hawing some more, and then Guy very nicely guesses that I really don’t want to give up the phone and says “You can say no.”

So I say, “Yeah, sorry.” And smile all apologetically and go very quickly back to my ipod and laptop, because I have the strong sensation I have been a total bitch – which frankly I don’t mind being to someone I won’t ever see again. They’ll just be like “yeah, I ran into this real bitch at the airport” and that’s the end of that. So I put on my bitch persona, complete with headphones to block out further conversation.

 All that does not make him a weirdo, frankly it makes me a bit of a weirdo, if anything. But later, when he sits right up next to me and touches my arm and says, literally, “Do you know Jesus loves you”? Yeah, that’s when he makes my weirdo list. Will now retire the word “weirdo” from this post, btw.

 I say “Yes, I know.”

And he says “Do you?”

And I was like, “Yeah, really. I really, really, know. I am Christian.” And I was tempted to fish something Catholic-y from my bag but refrained in case he would then attempt to convert me to his particular denomination. And this conversation goes on for a goddam while, too – Jesus is great, Jesus loves you, give yourself over to Jesus, yes I agree, yes I have, and so on – and maybe I would have put an end to it a bit more abruptly were I not still feeling guilty over my non-phone-lending ways. Eventually he wandered off and has accosted (or, okay, from a distance it appears to be normal conversations but you know he’s out there pimping Jesus like nobody’s business) like three people since. Also, this is why Jesus gets such a bad rap – shit representation. Christians! Be cool!

 Other stuff going on around me includes: everyone has Dunkin Donuts coffees and bagels, which makes me glad I ate a lot otherwise I’d be wasting money on terrible, overpriced donuts, and there’s the most attractive gay boy sitting in front of me. Well, okay to be fair I have no idea what he looks like from the front, but his hair is so, so beautiful, a kind of layered medium brown that waves perfectly and goes down far enough that I can barely see a bit of pale, pale neck. And he’s wearing a lovely black shirt. He is like a vampire, and totally brings out the middle-school, medium grade lust in me. Yum, such delicate shoulders. I wish he would get on the phone again so I could listen to that beautiful, lilting voice encourage someone to finish their paper. Hmmmm.



*just kidding. No, really. If I end up marrying someone more well-off than myself I’d probably end up all resentful and insecure, like I’m the asshole mechanic husband with an inferiority complex who drinks because his junior partner lawyer wife makes more than he does. It’s just terrible of me! Oh well. A girl’s got to be able to take of herself, always, even when she currently isn’t – as long the capacity to do so is there. You gotta have backup. And so on. This was a pretty long footnote.”


I never really ever got around to finishing my bloggings of last year’s trip to Baltimore, but I’m feeling good about my writing prospects this time, because

a) it’s a much longer stay, three weeks and

b) I’m spending a good part of the day doing nothing, so I actually have the time

Until later,

– Tuesday