That S&!t cray.

Tuesday was officially the weirdest day of my life.

Okay maybe that’s a generalization. I mean, it probably doesn’t beat the traditional weird factor, like that time a dude in the Flatiron wearing a feather headdress followed me for 5 blocks while quacking. Or that time in college I woke up in my roommate’s bed alone without pants and minus a phone. Or any of the times I accidentally got on an empty subway train (non-NYers: unless you’re at the very first stop for a train, NEVER. TRUST. EMPTY. SUBWAYS.). And back to Tuesday, aside from a quick stop at my lovely friend M’s place to play dogwalker, I didn’t stray from my normal routine of wake up, yoga, work, go home, yoga, sleep. But looking at the events pragmatically, between the hours of 8am and 8pm that day, a lot of freaking weird things happened to me.

Truth be told, I’ve been in a strange mood for the last few weeks. It’s like a combination of nostalgia and trepidation, a heady mix of the past, present and future. Maybe it’s that my birthday is in two weeks, which means summer is over; maybe it’s remembering the tumultuous nature of my life last fall. Maybe it’s that I’m only a few months away from celebrating my one-year anniversary as single LB, spotlighting how much someone and some things can change in a year and then again, how much can stay the same. Maybe it’s something strange in how the stars are aligned or maybe it’s something else entirely. It’s been an odd few weeks though, all of which culminated on Tuesday into one of the weirdest days I’ve had in 2014. Unfortunately, I can only go into so many details, bound by a self-imposed code that some things here stay cryptic, but just to be clear: that shit was cray.

In just twelve hours on Tuesday, I was confronted in a variety of ways with a few very distinct aspects of my life: high school, college, early New York, this past spring and the past three weeks. Pieces of my story that I’ve long stopped thinking about suddenly surfaced with a gasping breath, parts of my life I thought I wanted to keep private had a request to go public, and the realization that the wall I’ve tried to build around myself in the past four months isn’t as strong as I want it to be; this was all wrapped into those 12 hours, leaving me simultaneously very amused and very overwhelmed. Combined with a setback at the office which put my confidence into a tailspin, and here I am, two days later, still feeling weird.

A few weeks ago someone told me that weird doesn’t have to mean bad. “It’s like caviar,” he said. “Caviar is freaking weird, but it’s also pretty good.” Normally I would have considered all of this weirdness to be the epitome of the Bad, putting me into the kind of tailspin I can’t pull out of without more time, something I have in short supply only these days. But Caviar has a point above: all things considered, the weird things were also kind of good. It’s nice to think or hear you might be on someone’s mind, even if (or especially) you haven’t thought about that person in a long time. It was funny that everything happened in such a short (yet infinitely long) period of time. But honestly, it was really weird to have so many ridiculous scenarios present themselves within twelve hours, rather than spread out over a few days to save time for a glass of wine or two with M in between, allowing us the chance to obsess and overanalyze.

I keep setting these “deadlines” in my life, an idea of when things will finally stop moving at lightspeed and finally start making sense. First it was after Austin in July (nope), then it was early August (nope) and recently it’s been September, which is turning into another big Nope. I feel like my life has been weird since May, filled with things I wasn’t expecting, then things I can’t explain, then situations I can’t crawl out of, and finally back to things I’m not expecting. I don’t see anything calming down in the near future, as I have defined plans every single weekend through mid-October. Maybe these past few months are a lesson in the mixed caviar of life, taking it for the weirdness and the goodness it brings to myself and my character, and maybe I’ll stop waiting for things to make sense. After all, it wouldn’t be a very interesting blog if, at the end of the day, I didn’t sometimes have to shake my head at my circumstances, and sigh a big “That shit cray.”

Look Up

In the past month or so, I’ve spent a lot of time in my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H’s apartment, such as the infamous jumpsuit weekend and last week’s trip back in time. Since I live approximately a thousand miles away (approximately) from their beautiful FiDi building, I try to travel there in the afternoons with everything I might need for the evenings, like extra clothes and accessories. Unfortunately, as a highly responsible person, I have a tendency to leave said extras there, so by this time last week I had quite a lot of stuff in their guest room, ranging from sunglasses to a bathing suit to my entire gift bag from Jazz Age. Most of the things left there weren’t immediately necessary for me to have, but eventually, I reached a point where I did the unthinkable: I left my headphones there.

Headphones, for most people, are a nice tool for distraction during a workout, or maybe something to use while laying on the beach. For a New Yorker, and me especially, they are pretty much everything. EVERYTHING. If I’m not having a direct, face-to-face conversation with someone, my headphones are in: on the subway, walking to and from the subway, office, apartment, talking on the phone while cleaning and cooking, while working, while working out and more. And I’m not the only one, especially not in New York. If you look around the streets or the subway, inevitably you’ll see more people with headphones than without, using them to watch a movie, listen to a song or sometimes just to block out the rabble around us. The way I see it, we use them as a way to space out while surrounded by strangers, getting lost in our own world.

There’s something to be said about looking up from such a distraction, to be sure. In the week without my headphones, I’ve seen some really amazing things on the subway, like an old woman thanking a soldier in uniform and offering him her seat, teenagers giggling to each other and talking about who’s in what class for the upcoming school year, and couples silently leaning into each other after a long day at work.  In the streets, I’ve heard and seen more performers, noticed stores I haven’t in the past and managed not to plow into the paparazzi waiting outside an Equinox to grab a sweaty photo of whoever exciting was in there. And back in the spring, I had a brush with what could have been love after taking a chance on taking out my headphones on the subway in the mornings. So I can agree that sometimes it’s good to disconnect from certain distractions, since you never know who might be distracted by you.

Thing is, though, much as I enjoy wrapping myself in the interesting lives of strangers around me, I think having time to yourself is key. While I’m fortunate enough to live alone and spend a good majority of my days talking to myself and my cat, the silent subway contemplation and walking around the city alone, lost in the same Spotify playlist, are some of my favorite times of the day. I like getting lost in my own thoughts and watching the people around me do the same. I’m not worried about whether I should get off the couch and clean the stack of mail that’s steadily growing next to the flowers I should probably throw out; I’m not mentally running through what needs to get done at the office the next day as busy season rears its ugly head again. I’m just enjoying the music, alone with my thoughts, blocking everyone else out around me, relishing that small piece of my day, whether it’s the forty minutes it takes to get from the Heights to the West Village, or the ten minute walk from my apartment to my lovely friend M’s place.

I managed to get to R and H’s place by Friday last week, as I enjoyed the day off, and practically ripped through the bag with all my other missing possessions until I found my precious headphones, immediately putting them on and turning on my favorite Spotify list. I had just about six blissful, wonderful hours with my headphones before promptly forgetting them on New Jersey Transit as a friend and I made our way to East Rutherford for the Jets/Giants preseason game. Spending an early morning train ride to Connecticut the next day with no distractions put me in a mood, draining positivity and excitement as I realized the girl next to me was not turning her own music down and I’d be listening to her blurry beats for the entirety of the trip. I looked up in frustration briefly and saw a toddler and her dad playing some kind of game on the iPhone, her delighted squeals making him smile, making me smile in turn. I suppose at the end of the day in all things, it’s nice to be distracted and insulated by your own thoughts and music, blocking out the world with small white earbuds. But every once in a while, whether on a crowded morning subway or imagining the future, it doesn’t hurt to look up.

Friendly Conversations: Deux

There is nothing quite like a day off from work, especially leading into yet another 6-week stretch of insanity. I’ll be taking the next few days to hang out in Connecticut by the pool and get ahead here so I don’t go MIA once I’m working all the time. In the meantime, here’s another edition of my life, via Friendly Conversations.

(In case you missed it: Part Un)

On workplace decorum
Me: I just don’t understand why there’s no chocolate around me
(2 minutes later)
Coworker: [walks to desk and dumps a massive bag of candy]
Me: … is it more inappropriate to start crying or kiss you?

On Sunday morning selfies
Friend: You’re naked in that snapchat, aren’t you.
Me: I’m too hungover for clothes.

On my date-ability (cameo by C)

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On life with little miss
Coworker: Good lord, what did you do to your arm?!
Me: Decided to adopt a cat three years ago.

On viral social media trends

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Sexting.

Recently a former coworker and I were laughing over drinks and comparing tales of dating life, me recalling the origin of some interesting injuries and her sharing anecdotes of the perils of online dating. Despite using the “respectable” apps, like Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel, she still managed to land a dud every once in a while, like a recent someone, who spent exactly 4 days charming her on text, saying how much he couldn’t wait to meet her, and then after they met, pulling a total 180. “A 180? Like he stopped responding?” I asked, curiosity piqued. “Ugh, worse,” she sighed. “Unsolicited dick pic.”

wait wut.

wait wut.

Believe me or don’t (I don’t care), but to be perfectly honest, I’m not really a fan of sexting. Maybe it’s a lack of experience, because I’m not on any online dating sites and therefore haven’t received an unsolicited dick pic, but despite all the other ridiculous single stereotypes I have experienced, sexting just isn’t my thing. Look, obviously I can understand the appeal: it’s quick, and easy, and a good way to confirm that the person you’ve been creeping on OKCupid (is that still relevant?) actually matches his profile pic. But there’s no mystery, no intrigue, to sending someone a naked selfie; everything’s just out there, no effort. Couple that with a gripping paranoia that I wouldn’t have control over what happened to the photo once it was in someone else’s hands, and in my opinion that’s just too much anxiety for a blurry frame of half a boob, or a mirror shot where anything interesting is blocked by the flash. Again, I’m not speaking from single life experience here. I don’t have stories of sexting gone right or wrong, because I don’t really have any sexting stories period. But from where I’m standing, I don’t really get it.

There’s something to be said about the instant gratification of this day and age. You can beat your friend at trivia with a simple Google search on a phone, buy way too many clothes on Hautelook while on a 5 minute break from work (<– what? not me), and yes, share a shot of your goodies without leaving your couch. I love the immediacy of our culture to an extent, the wealth of knowledge and information you can access with a swipe on a glass screen, and how easy it is to stay connected to people, across the room, across the state or even across the ocean. In certain situations, the immediacy is thrilling; planning a last-minute date on the fly, ordering delivery anything from your couch when you’re too hung over to move, planning your next vacation with someone while a hundred miles apart. But in situations like sexting, it takes away from the thrill of the chase, the wild anticipation of not knowing something unless you work for it, not having something without putting in the effort.

I much prefer the slow burn of words on a phone, the lag time in between texts, like you’ve spent time on your response, the modern idea of waiting for a letter in the mail. The implicit understanding of what you really mean when you’re talking about working out, or asking questions about exactly how far I can bend in yoga. Agonizing over whether it’s too soon to respond, enjoying the idea that he might be checking, and rechecking, and rechecking his phone, the way you do after finally sending that message to him. A conversation that has nothing to do with anything, but it causes you to smile when you read, and reread, and reread; the strategic use of emojis make everything look silly and sexy all at once. Reading a long conversation and trying to imagine the voice on the other end, and then rereading it trying to paint a picture of where that person is and whether you’re still on his mind.

Granted it’s not “sexting” in the “traditional” sense of the word, as traditional as technology that’s barely two decades old can be. And all things considered, in most aspects of my life, “patience” is a foreign concept. Maybe it’s just a weird personality shift as I’m slowly approaching my birthday in a few weeks, getting accustomed to the idea that birthdays are now becoming synonymous with “actually getting old” (and to think I used to complain about 23). I’m sure someday I’ll have to revisit this post, revising with my own horrifying story or …. well let’s just say “or.” At this particular moment though, the slow burn is enough for me for now.

Time hop

I sat on our blanket on Saturday afternoon, twirling the parasol from my gift bag, which also included a wooden fan and season 4 on Boardwalk Empire on DVD, sipping on a delicious cocktail of St. Germain, gin, lime and mint, drinking in the lazy afternoon of costumes and follies. It was a beautiful sunny day, just hot enough to give me an almost-sunburn but not so hot as to make the day spent outside unbearable, especially when wearing a jazz era costume, complete with headpiece and lots of pearls. My partner-in-crime R, her Scot H, my dearest K and I were at the bi-annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island, a full afternoon surrounded by jazz music, vintage accessories, delicious food and more.

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Aside from some minor fights over the parasol and a hot debate with strangers about whether they’d stolen our blankets, it was a relaxing and enjoyable day, both uneventful and filled with activities. There aren’t too many stories to tell, as most of the day was spent enjoying each other’s company, a steady stream of drinks, music and food keeping our conversation company. At one point we all went up to the big dance floor and laughed for an entire song, trying to match our steps and figure out who was taking the lead, before stepping back to watch a follies show that truly felt like a time warp, surrounded by thousands of people dressed up for the occasion. There’s much to be said about an escape from the city on the weekends, a chance to explore the varied offerings available within a quick ferry ride. It’s so easy to ignore the call to wake up early and make a day of something outside of drunk brunch or a walk through Central Park, but mid-afternoon, watching a burlesque tap performance on a set straight out of Boardwalk Empire (except literally, it was), I’m very, very glad we did.

The day rapidly descended into debauchery after getting back to the city that evening, because apparently my solution to 5 hours of downtime before going out is “whiskey.” Currently my entire jazz-age ensemble is in the growing pile of things I’ve left at R and H’s apartment, joining my headphones, sunglasses, swimsuit, cover-up and a pair of shoes. Sadly, my bejeweled headpiece never made it home, struck down somewhere between Sixth Ward and a long ride home. Exhausted from a long day and a late night, I spent the entire Sunday laying on my couch, first unable and then unwilling to move, in dire need to a full day to rest and recover from life in general in the past few weeks.  A simple weekend in some ways, and enormously complicated in others, it was, in its own way, perfect. And a little bit of perfect was exactly what I needed.

Gettin’ by.

“You’re doin’ what we all doin, baby. You’re gettin’ by.”

Like most single 20-somethings, I’m in a pretty serious relationship with Netflix. Sometimes I pretend I’m watching the “acceptable” things, like documentaries and House of Cards, but if I’m being honest, more often than not I’m cycling through some kind of terrible 90s movie or a show I’ve seen before, most likely multiple times. I know there’s a whole world of new choices on there and I should explore beyond Clueless and Dawson’s Creek, but there’s a comfort in having words, images, stories that I know playing on loop to the backdrop of what sometimes feels like every night. Lately, I’ve been watching Weeds for the second well third let’s just say I’ve seen it before, when that line popped up in season one. I paused for a minute and sat with those words, wrote them down so I could see them in my own hand, said them out loud so I could hear what it meant coming from me. They’ve stuck with me this week, and I’m still trying to figure out why.

If I take a step back and look at my life as a big picture, there’s really only one way to describe it: pretty fucking great. I live on my own in a one-bedroom in New York City. I’ve risen swiftly through the ranks of my profession and I’m currently with a company that encourages continued growth and learning. I can stretch and bend in some pretty impressive shapes after only a few months teaching myself yoga. I spent seven weekends this summer traveling to places near and far, and my plans for the rest of the summer involve carefree relaxing with the people I love the most. And yes, that is a fair bit of humblebragging because I don’t want to play the next thought as a woe is me. I have no use for pity because at the end of the day, things are going pretty okay for me and that’s more than some people can say.

But there are those moments, the nights alone, the meals alone, where it just feels empty. I’ll struggle to find things to say here that aren’t whiny or boring, I’ll hear a bit of feedback from a client that feels like a personal attack. I’ll try to find something to do after work only to remember that my entire group is out of town and also I’m broke till payday. Just this week, a stranger almost knocked me over in the subway and yelled at me for getting in his way, and there was a dead cockroach on the landing 2 floors below me when I left my apartment this morning. I’ve slept in twice this week instead of getting up to do yoga, something I never do anymore, and then berated myself all day that my lazy ass can’t get out of bed at its normal hour, and then I was cranky because I hadn’t stretched. Times like this make it feel like things are slipping out of my control; all I want to do is move forward and I keep getting pushed back.

So in the midst of all the good with all the bad, I had to think about the line above. Is that what we’re all doing? Between constantly battling being completely broke and trying not to go broke, straddling the line between single and confused, finding something you might actually want, only to remember you can’t have it, at least not now, there’s much to be said about getting by. To say you’re “getting by” sounds like you’re coasting, dancing on the edge of easy but never venturing too far into the hard. Getting by should be the kiddie coaster at an amusement park, slow slopes and manageable speeds, not these rickety highs and lows like the old wooden coaster, the kind that makes your head spin and your ears ring, first enthusiasm then adrenaline, and then nausea. Sometimes I think I’m thriving in the chaos and bad times; sometimes I think I’m just surviving, waiting for someone to rescue me from whatever it is I can’t handle. But I guess, in a sense, you could say I’m gettin’ by.

Yesterday I sat at my desk trying to focus on a big project, feeling my thoughts and attention span seep out of my ears like slow honey, coating everything in fatigue and indecision and a sticky-sweet desire to call time out on my life. I felt the quick buzz of my phone and saw a very welcome text, part of a conversation I keep thinking is going to end, but to my surprise and smiles, it doesn’t. It had been a long week, and a tough week, and for a second I thought I might be drowning. But a quick, pick-me-up chat in the morning (afternoon?) put a little color in my cheeks and brought me back to the task at hand. I finished out the night, and went home to a blissfully empty apartment, relishing the chance to turn on the rest of Weeds and settle in with a glass of wine, content to be alone. Maybe it’s not an easy ride all the time, or any time, but every once on a while, there’s something to be said about gettin’ by.

Wait and See

“Okay so I’m not going to Red Hook anymore.
Do you want to day drink somewhere?
Wait we should go to Fort Tryon!! I’ll bring the wine!!
Or maybe let’s do your rooftop, I haven’t been to FiDi in forever!!
I’ll still bring the wine. Unless you want to bring the wine?
I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T HANDLE MYSELF.”

That is a quick snapshot of Gchats I rapid-fired at my fashionista C on Friday afternoon while discussing our weekend plans. Praise grilled cheesus she’s used to my stream-of-consciousness way of communicating, because the poor thing came back to her desk after maybe 4 minutes, only to see no less than 12 different chats from me trying to plan our Saturday. Up until Friday, it had been SEVEN. FULL. WEEKS. since I’d had a weekend where I could do whatever I wanted, and I legitimately could not handle the blissful, amazing, wonderful chance to choose my adventures for the next 72 hours. The initial weekend plan was simple: dinner at my favorite restaurant in the Meatpacking on Friday, followed by a lazy Saturday, and ending with a lazy Sunday. I anticipated lots of sleeping and cleaning, and lots of people-free time in my apartment. Instead, I spent the weekend in exclusively jumpsuits and rompers, going out two nights in a row with everyone I haven’t seen in weeks, definitely not cleaning and really definitely not sleeping.

Once I left the office on Friday, I met C for a quick drink at her place before heading across the street to my partner-in-crime R’s rooftop, where more drinks awaited with H the Scot and his brother. The night rapidly descended in to a blur of smiles and PLDs, daring H’s brother to eat the chili peppers at Spice Market, dancing in tall heels until I split one of my toenails and abusing the photo booth at Iron Horse, pictures of C, R and I laughing, laughing, laughing the whole time. I woke up on the floor of R and H’s place the next morning (oops) to find that H had accidentally thrown out my contacts, so I looked like a picture-perfect Saturday morning, as I desperately tried to find a cab home, practically blind and still in my heels. Upon arriving home, I quickly threw on a bathing suit, grabbed a hat and left again, back to C’s roof to meet up with the same group and soak up the sunshine I’d been missing in all my weekends running around. Public transit was not in my favor that day and in the almost 90 minutes it took to get from the Heights to FiDi, I found the invincible “I’m feeling okay!” mood from the morning was quickly turning into “everything in and around my body hurts and oh god please don’t let me throw up on this train.”

I assumed I’d be heading home after the rooftop for said cleaning/no-human time, but within a few minutes of my rooftop nap, I discovered there was a plan in place for that night: all of us were to meet up with my lovely friend M and her N for another round of dinner and West Village antics. Obviously I hadn’t brought more than a bathing suit with me and I was pretty sure the hangover from the night before wasn’t getting better – plus, I hadn’t been out out two nights in a row in I can’t even remember how long. I protested for a minute, playing the “I think I’m dying!” card, and “I have nothing to wear!,” but a few jibes from H’s brother convinced me to rally. Three hours later, after quick stop at Century 21, a nap on R’s couch while watching golf, and two very large containers of coconut water, I was at about 80 percent, enough to convince me I could do it. As the night descended into margaritas, Catchphrase and kamikazes, a pit stop at my lovely Village Tavern and a final round at Fiddlesticks, I was so happy that I didn’t want the night to end, the blur of shots and smiles and two perfect nights to welcome me back to the city. When I’d finally hit my limit of the sticky Fiddlesticks floors, I hopped in a car with M and N, drunk on a perfect weekend and that last Magic Hat, thrilled to be headed to my own bed for the first Saturday in almost two months.

The theme for the whole weekend, from the first drinks on Friday till I laid my tired and bruised self in bed on Sunday, was that much as it’s nice to understand and plan things, sometimes the best course of action is to wait and see. It’s nice to think ahead, know and anticipate certain futures, but whether you’re deciding something as immediate as where to go after getting kicked out of Village Tavern (which totally didn’t happen) or something as distant as where you might be in say, April, the future will be what it will be, and trying to plan ahead won’t always help. Now that the insanity of my summer has calmed down significantly, I’m looking ahead to a few months with only a few concrete plans, a veritable cornucopia of weekends where I can do whatever, whenever, and wherever I want.

Snow White in the Heights

“Heeey, white girl.”

Tuesday morning while walking to the subway for work, I was fumbling with my phone trying to find a good song on Spotify, when a man walked past and said that to me. I knew immediately that this was one of two things: one, he wanted to let me know I dropped something and/or my dress was tucked in my underwear (… which has NEVER happened before); or two: he was trying to hit on me. I checked my dress (totally fine), kept my eyes ahead and continued walking, and when he didn’t catch up to give me something I’d dropped, I knew it was a catcall.

Truth time: sometimes I don’t mind the catcall. Saying that out loud makes me sound anti-feminist and old-fashioned, I know, but there are instances where catcalls don’t bother me. It’s like men hitting on you in a bar. It’s not always welcome, and it’s not always well-done, but sometimes it’s enough to make you crack a smile and politely walk away, no harm, no foul. The best example is my relationship with the boys that hang out on my block. My ‘hood boys have been fascinated by me since day one, the only white girl on the entire block, and despite knowing my name, they frequently insist on calling me Snow White, like a nickname initiation to their circle.  My boys look out for me, always making sure that I’m okay and I’m safe, and they always, always hit on me. Always. Literally, every time they see me. “Yo Snow White, you wearin’ that dress I like today!” “Hey girl, you get prettier every time I see you.” “Ay rubia, como estas mami.”

The boys know me well enough now to know that I’m never going to accept a date, and I know them well enough to know they’ll never stop asking. Yet I also know that they respect me, they respect my distance, and they have and will do anything to help me if I need it. They’ve stayed with me in the rain outside while I wait for the super to show up and fix my still-broken door, and they’ve helped me get in the building when it’s 3 a.m. and I can’t find my keys. So when one of them calls out “Girl I’d watch you run in them leggings all day,” as I leave for a run, or “Let me carry that for you, angel,” while I juggle groceries and my laptop bag in heels, I generally give them a smile and keep on my way, amused but not offended.

It felt strange that the comment earlier this week irked me in a way most of the Heights calls don’t. I get that I’m the minority in my neighborhood, surrounded by a well-entrenched Dominican community that doesn’t necessarily invite the gentrification rapidly making its way around the Heights. I get that I’m not terrible to look at, and that, to an extent, harmless catcalls are a part of Latin culture. I mean, in just the past week, I’ve been called blanca, snowflake, rubia, sweetie, sexi, mami, and of course, Snow White. Somehow, though, the white girl comment got under my skin: it wasn’t the slightly-stunned reaction of boys who aren’t used to seeing a white girl walking down the street like she lives here (because she does). It wasn’t the mostly-harmless comment of someone who sees me all the time and knows they can joke around with me like that. It was a possessive catcall, the kind you read about in all the articles trying to explain why it’s not a compliment for strangers to shout “que cuerpa, linda!” while you clutch your purse to your side and keep your head down, walking just a little faster home.

I’ve been catcalled every which way, across multiple countries and in every New York neighborhood, and I have no allusions to it ever stopping. That’s not bragging about my appearance, or the way I carry myself, but just a fact because I’m a woman. It happens to all of us, despite your skin color, hair color, what you’re wearing or where you live. It can seem like a sucky and a sexist part of life, and many times it is. It colors the rest of your day, the way you view a neighborhood or a particular location; it’s scary when men follow you and wolf-whistle repeatedly until they have your attention. I acknowledge that, and I’ve experienced that. So though I may get backlash for this next thought, here it is anyway: As scary as it can be, and as much as it shouldn’t happen, in my personal experience, it’s not always intended to be that way, and knowing when to laugh it off versus when to heighten awareness of your surroundings is just another lucky lesson that I’ve had to learn in my adult life.

I walked home Tuesday night, guard up a little higher after the strange morning encounter, and passed my boys outside the building. “Snow White!,” one called out. “You look tired girl! Bad day?”

“Just a long day, glad to be home!” I called back, fishing my keys out of my purse.

They all chimed in, “We’re glad to have you home too, beautiful.” I found my keys, made it to the door and said I’d see them later, feeling secure that if a creep came around they’d look out for me. Despite one of the boys shouting as the door closed behind me “Wanna come home with me later?,” I felt safe in their presence. The words may be scary to some, but sometimes in my neighborhood, the scary words are the ones that let you know you belong, if even just a little.

Friendly Conversations: Un

I feel like the tone of the blog has been on the darker side lately, but actually things around me have been going really well – just a little dull for published material. I’m saving the next PLD montage for a specific point later this month, so I thought I’d introduce a new semi-series across the Chronicle, something to bring the nonsense in between the heavy thoughts and wedding-related injuries. Much as I love capturing big moments across my life’s adventures, sometimes it’s the little conversation snapshots and texts that make a good day great.

grool

Presenting: Friendly Conversations.

On checking my schedule in advance
Friend: “What are you doing the weekend after your birthday?”
Me: “Best friend’s wedding in CT! Why?”
Friend: “Oh that’s right, I figured that from your blog.”

On a brainstorm meeting
Me: “Are there going to be snacks?”
Coworker: “I don’t know, do we have budget for snacks?”
Me: “WE WILL MAKE BUDGET FOR SNACKS.”

On fiscal responsibility
Me: “YES. They increased the limit on one of my credit cards!”
Friend: ‘Nice! Now you can budget for that…”
Me: “Hang on, I’m about to buy like eight rompers online.”

On friendly pets
Me: “I just found these things for cats that cover their nails so they can’t draw blood!! I should get them for little miss!”
T: “You realize you’d have to get those on her, right?”
Mama B: “Do they have covers for her teeth?”

On personal hygiene at 3 p.m.
Coworker: LB, did you have salsa for lunch? I think there’s some in your hair.
Me: What? No, I haven’t had salsa since breakf.. I mean lunch. Yup. Lunch.

Yes ma’am

This weekend marked the sixth and final consecutive weekend that I was away from my apartment, following the trips to CT and Texas, and two weekends helping out friends by watching their dogs while they had fun somewhere else. My lovely friend M, her N, my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H were lucky enough to have tickets for Lolla in Chicago this weekend, and asked me months ago if I wouldn’t mind camping at M and N’s for a few days to watch their dogs. At the time, I had no idea the insanity of travel that my July would become, so I quickly agreed. I have to admit, as I left the office for M’s place on Thursday, I was feeling a little defeated. I missed my apartment. I missed little miss. And much as I love their dogs, I really, really just wanted some time to myself.

texts

People keep asking me if I’m getting paid for helping out all these weekends and weekdays, since it seems all I do is dogsit lately. I wouldn’t dream of asking or wanting D&D, M or R to pay me for doing them a favor. First, they’re all fantastic about stocking the fridge, and everyone buys me Salsa Sun Chips, which is enough to keep me happy for the 45 minutes it takes to inhale the entire bag. And taking a few days to take care of my fur nieces and nephew is so much fun. I love walking around with the dogs, snuggling with them at night, and giving them all the love they wouldn’t get if they only had a dog walker stop by twice a day. Beyond that, I like to think I’m the type of person who would do anything for my friends. I’m not selfless per se, as anyone who’s met me knows I have a tendency to interrupt stories with off-topic musings, and will ask repeatedly if someone thinks I look cute, especially when I already know that I do. But I would do anything for my friends if they needed me to, from booking a waxing appointment on-the-go when the other can’t get into the UniK mobile site, to sacrificing a weekend making bad decisions to stay home with the pups.

It’s a strength and a weakness that I have a hard time saying no to people. Along with the standard pros/cons of being a “yes” person, like taking initiative vs. taking on more than you can handle, this particular personality trait means I’m almost always willing to give someone a second chance, wanting to believe all the “this time” promises, a big Yes to a new beginning. It’s part of who I am, that I don’t want to give up on people, want to see and believe the best of the words that can seduce me with a single syllable. Yet it puts me in compromising positions from time to time, like agreeing to attend more than one birthday party on a Saturday and believing my landlord when he promises “this time” he’ll fix the door properly (STILL BROKEN). As seen the past few weekends, saying yes all the time can be overwhelming and exhausting; memories of lazy Sunday afternoons sleeping on my couch and cleaning while catching up on Netflix seem distant. I wouldn’t change my past six weekends for anything, but the self-inflicted burden of being a Yes Girl can weigh heavily after enough time.

Sunday morning in M’s apartment I was roaming the living room for a laundry card when I came across a thick envelope. Curious, and obviously nosy, I turned it over to see “For LB – don’t open till Sunday, k? Love R&H and M&N.” I probably would have ripped it open if I’d found it Friday (sorry guys, but… I mean come on), so I loved that I didn’t know it existed until they wanted me to. Inside was a gift certificate for a day at a beautiful Midtown spa, a treat I never would have purchased for myself but desperately, desperately need. I started to tear up a little, so shocked by the gesture that was completely unnecessary but so thoughtful. I didn’t need, or expect, or even want anything from them, save for that extra bag of Sun Chips and a thank you, but the little recognition was such a huge way to start the month. It’s exhausting to be the Yes Girl, the default dogsitter, the backup babysitter and the one who wants to believe that This Time is the last. But looking forward to four blissful weekends of me time, it feels worth it after all.