Sunday, October 31, 2010

Feeling Strangely Sane

I am writing in a desperate attempt to fit in one more post before October officially ends. Strangely, today I would normally be hungover, makeup smudged, fishnets torn, wings bent, flowers crumpled, wand lost. I would be a sad little fairy trudging home after a night of treating and tricking myself into believing that Halloween could somehow last forever. This year was different. I didn't have a Halloween. I didn't even plan a costume. My favorite holiday of the year, where I get to play dress up as an adult, and I gave it up for my family...and for the country, of course. But really, it was for my mom. As I said, "I did it for the love of mom and country."

For months my mother has been talking about the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in DC, led by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I hadn't been that gung ho about going in the first place, but I agreed to so long ago that it seemed unnecessarily cruel to back out at the last minute...even after my train was three hours delayed and I had to take a miserable bus for five hours to get home, having had very little sleep two nights in a row, dealing with the insanity of every form of public transportation... But I made it. And it was worth it.

It was incredibly refreshing to stand in the middle of the amazing Mall on a beautiful day, surrounded by gorgeous architecture, immersed in comedy and music, and chatting and laughing along with
thousands of other like-minded (and unlike-minded) individuals. I still can't quite believe that yesterday I saw the Roots, John Legend, Cat Stevens (aka Yusef Islam), Ozzy Osbourne, the OJs, Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples, and Tony Bennett (singing "America the Beautiful") all in one day, on one stage... I don't have the energy to turn this into a political rant, so I'm not going to. I'm just going to say that it made me proud to be American, proud to be among those with a sense of humor and a liberal attitude, and proud to be able to say, "I was there," whatever that will mean in 10, 20, or 50 years. Or on Nov. 2nd. Or on Nov. 2nd in two years...

What made it even more worthwhile was that at the very end of the rally I ran into a very dear friend of mine, purely by chance. My mom's cousin was passing out buttons, he happened to receive one, and that made him pause long enough to recognize my mom and for me to spot him and for us to hug and yell and for him to introduce me to his adorable new girlfriend. While we didn't get to hang out for nearly long enough, it was amazing to realize that in a crowd of thousands, in a big world filled with crazy people, you can still reconnect with someone you know and love. We both expressed, "Well of course YOU would be here today..." and it made me realize why we were friends in the first place. What an awesome place to reconnect.

Yesterday and today I saw so many great Halloween costumes, and I was definitely jealous... But I think that what I did was far more valuable than dressing up and getting drunk again, like I do every year. Hell, there's always next year. Instead, I helped my little sister throw together a costume from my old dress ups and she became a little gypsy in a skirt I used to wear myself, complete with a peasant shirt and scarves and red lipstick. Sadly, I couldn't stick around long enough to take her trick-or-treating around our little town. My own, grownup life called and I had to follow it back to NYC. I'm going to be sensible and go to bed, so I can get ready for a busy week of work.

Growing up sucks. Having to miss Halloween sucks even more. But what doesn't suck is spending time with the people you love the most, in a crowd of thousands who have ideas and thoughts and outlooks that you agree with, running into an amazing person who you realize you miss and really ought to go visit, and then returning to the lovely little life you've carved out for yourself with someone you really love. I will be a drunken fairy next year, I promise. This year, I'm just me. But I feel so much more connected with people like myself, now that I know that so many of them exist. God bless America.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ladies I Like

Every day I say to myself, "I am going to be a good little blogger and write something that isn't nostalgic, nonsensical, pseudo-philosophical drivel and I will not write a goddamn two billion word essay, I will just write a few lines of non-rambling, interesting material and put pretty pictures in it and people will want to read it and then they will think what a good little writer I am." And then I don't write anything. And then when I do, it becomes a nostalgic, nonsensical, pseudo-philosophical diatribe about water or noise or boots. LAME. No one wants to read that crap, but I'll just keep writing it anyway.

So instead, here is a list of a few bloggers I admire. They are all women, and their blogs are pretty ridiculously girly, so if you're a boy and don't like this stuff, go away. I am listing six, because that is my favorite number. Three ladies I know personally and three I do not. But I think they're ALL awesome.

1. The Lake Effect: This lovely lady has been one of my besties since we were adorable, obnoxious, zit-ridden, insecure pre-teens. Now we're grown up and we're not pre-teens anymore, but mostly we're the same. Only that she is a good blogger, and I am not. Also she lives in Chicago, which is totally lame, because I only get to see her last weekend! That was awesome. Hey Rach, you should move back to NYC! I miss you. Anyway, read her blog, because I love her with all my heart and you should, too.

2. A Day in the Life: Another one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world, this girl is amazing in every way, shape, and form. She actually writes on her blog every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and her posts are actually useful and helpful and things that you want to read. They're short, they have pictures, and they get straight to the point. Whether she's waxing poetic about nail polish or voicing her concern for low-income mothers, she always has something good to say. Also we took shots of Jager last night and then stuffed our faces with chocolate, so if that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will.

3. Sweeter Salt: We went to college together and don't know each other very well, because we really only met after we graduated, but we have a weird boyfriend stalker issue in common so that means she's awesome. I just discovered that she had a blog this morning. Thanks, Facebook! And though she's only been blogging since June, her blog is consistent, interesting, has a purpose, and has great pictures. Also, she is apparently good at creating tasty food and cute outfits, two things women love, so if you're a woman, you should read it. And if you're a man, you should read it anyway because then you'll figure out what women like: Eating. Looking pretty. Done. Ok that sounds shallow, we really like other stuff like books, too, but work with me, people. And yes, that's a picture of a pug dressed as a lobster.

Ok now these ladies I do not know one bit, but I kind of feel like I do. Weird.

1. Hyperbole and a Half: I started reading this a few months ago at Rachel's suggestion, but within a week I had gone through every post EVER and now I've read most of them at least twice. She creates ridiculously amazing cartoons with some low-res Paint-type program
and They. Are. HILARIOUS. I wait with bated breath every week, drooling with anticipation for her next post. She doesn't post as often as I wish she would, seeing as her fan following is ridiculously huge and hungry for more hilarious cartoons, but it's probably because her posts are always really long and detailed and well thought out and FUCKING RIDICULOUS. I can't even explain to you how many times I've doubled over laughing and my boyfriend starts to hate me with a mad fiery passion because he's trying to study. It happens a lot. Way too often, really. I like her because she is a semi-irresponsible young adult (like me!) who has cool pet rats and two dogs (unlike me, sadly) and has serious ADHD (again, unlike me, not so sadly) but lives with her boyfriend in squalor (just like me!!) and so I like her. A lot.

2. Dear Baby: I've been following her for more than a year, which is crazy. This lovely lady has another blog as well, Stay Forever Sunday, which is also great, but I first heard of her through this baby blog, which she started writing when she found out she was pregnant.
Weird, I know. I usually wouldn't be into something like this, seeing as I am in no rush to have children and if I had one it would probably run away, but I creepily love her and read her blog religiously. She is basically the pretty, popular cheerleader who grew up to be really amazing and awesome and has a super hot, tatted up musician hubby and the most adorable baby you've ever seen in your life, and even though you want to hate her because she pretty much seems perfect, you can't because she's just so gosh darn cute. Everything she wears is adorable, everything she does with her family is adorable, I pretty much agree with everything she writes, and I wish that someday I will be a ridiculous MILF like her. I probably will not, because I never have been and never will be this pretty or cool, but I can dream, can't I? She might get your biological clock ticking sometimes and her posts can sometimes tug at your heartstrings a little too much, but mostly she just seems really nice and dear Lord that baby is cute.

3. Apocalypstick:I literally found her the other day (thanks again,
Facebook!) and now I'm obsessed. She is from L.A., a city I have no desire to live in or even visit, but somehow, I am intrigued by her. She's hilarious, opinionated, fashionable, self-deprecating, gorgeous, vulnerable, andseems a little crazy. I like this. We have next to nothing in common, except for a serious case of Quarter Life Existential Crisis (QLEC, it's really awful and someone should find a cure), but that's ok. She makes me laugh. I haven't gone through every post yet, because I just haven't had time, but since I have nothing to do until brunch tomorrow, I will probably just veg out and read through her archives. Everything I've read so far I've loved. LOVED. This morning I was LOLing (not a joke, I really was) at her Fashion and the Shining post. My other serious affliction, Study Buddy Boyfriend (SBB, which requires a cure called "graduation") then reared its ugly head and I had to click away because I was laughing too loudly.

On a side note, here are a few other blogs of people who are awesome, but my following of them doesn't make any sense at all. The list continues...

7. What I Wore: A fashion blog, which is weird because I'm not really into fasion at all. But I've followed her since (almost) the beginning and though I never take her fashion tips because I'm lazy, she is seriously amazing.

8. The Philosophie: A vegan/raw health nut and chef, which I have no interest in, but again, I like this! This blog gives lots of advice I never take but I read it anyway so at least I know what I'm doing wrong. I actually know her, but haven't seen her in years. Our parents were friends way back in the day. Hippies.

9. My Morning Chocolate: Another food blog! And I don't even like to cook. Weird again. But she's a Marylander and a great writer and we used to work together, so that automatically validates my reading of her blog.

10. What I Like: One of the first blogs I ever started following, because she is a New Yorker who is all fashionable and sophisticated in ways I can/will never be. Instead I'll live vicariously through her. But she's a really good blogger and actually posts good material.

Apparently it seems that a lot of the blogs I follow are about fashion and food, two things I generally don't give a crap about, but I guess maybe I do because I like to read about them. Maybe I should start dressing and eating better and actually be a grown up once in a while. Hmm.... Never mind about that. I'll just keep reading these blogs.

So I guess this turned into another rambling, nonsensical, two billion word post. Oops.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Sounds of Silence

I haven't posted for a while, and I really ought to try harder. I just feel as though I've had nothing to write about, though I have a million things to say. But these past few weeks I've been embracing being quiet. It started last week when Nick had a big test to study for and rather than escape the apartment like I usually do when a test is on the horizon, I just stayed home and had calm, quiet evenings with no socializing. And it was lovely. I made dinner, cleaned up, read, messed around on the computer, cuddled with the cat, and I did not talk. It was a bit frustrating at times, but overall it was strangely soothing. The quietness was something I haven't experienced in a while, something I rarely experience. I feel as though every evening, every weekend, every moment of my life is taken up by social noise, and sometimes it just has to stop.

After such a quiet week, the weekend threw me for a loop. I feel as though I talked nonstop Friday night, with some singing and drinking in between, of course... I was exhausted but I probably could have stayed up all night, blathering on and on. But on Saturday morning, I awoke to nothing but the sounds of birds and an occasional car, and the sights of sunlight and trees through the windows of my friend's home just north of the city. While I waited for everyone to wake up, I was amazed by the peacefulness. I just sat on the couch and stared out the window and drank in the silence, wondering how in the hell I would ever force myself to go back to Brooklyn. But I did. Rather than sleep on the bus, though, I stared silently out the window. I barely thought about anything, I just reveled in the sights of trees and pretty houses and the endless river and highway, and I ignored all the sounds. Once I was back in the city I was horrified by the noises and sights and people and the terrible things they were saying. Talk talk talk, chat chat chat, yell yell yell... Curse curse, blah blah, crowds crowds crowds! Shh...

While I would have gladly spent my Saturday night curled up in bed reading, I forced myself to go back out for birthday parties because I'm a good friend like that, dammit. Once again I felt as though I had entered a portal into another world, making my way on the subway to the East Village and then Union Square for one party after another, filled with laughter and talking and drinking and dancing and loud, loud, loud music. I didn't quite know what to make of it. The clatter of high heels on the pavement, the sloppy drawls of drunk college kids, the unwelcome cat calls emanating from every corner... No noise escaped my ears, it was so overpowering. I could hear people taking drags of their cigarettes. I couldn't hear myself think. I wasn't thinking, I was just acting, just moving, just going with the flow of a noisy city that didn't give me a choice, just carried me along in its tornado of sound.

Sometimes the noise of this city is overwhelming. Perhaps it's because no matter where you go, no matter how many noises you hear, now matter how many people who are talking and yelling and laughing and crying in your ear on every street and every subway car, everyone is still alone, confined in their own little worlds. We are interacting with so many different people at so many different times, and yet, we interact with no one. It's a very isolating feeling, to hear so much and see so much and still know that you're just one tiny speck among millions, all of us endlessly prattling away about next to nothing.

I'm escaping the city this weekend. There will be no cars honking, no subway announcements, no sirens, no chatter of people on the street who you don't know and you will only pass by once in your life. And if you pass them by twice you'll never know it.While there will be family and friends talking on and on, when I wake up in the morning I can have my breakfast and sit on the porch and revel in the quiet that I've been craving. And when I'm hiking, I will hear only the leaves under my feet and the wind in the trees.

I feel like I need to counter this post someday with something that praises the noise and insanity of city life. I love it, I really do. But sometimes I just need to escape into the silence. Surely you understand.