Monday, December 12, 2011

men in bars

this from cadiz is terrifying. and it could happen to anyone. i know that i've nodded off a few times while driving. found myself closing my eyes. i'm so lucky that something like this has never happened to me. (and don't even get me started on how, in high school, i used to drive into the city for operas and full on change into dresses and strap on heels and put on makeup while driving on 290 west. jesus.
i was sitting at the bar at marea, getting my fusilli fix, when the man next to me started chatting with me. he was from majorca, some finance minister or something. we were talking about his island and travel in general. i'm always meeting strangers. he mentioned his wife and children, so (presumably) i wouldn't have to worry about him thinking that anything romantic would happen. about halfway through dinner he asked how old i was. then he asked if i was married. i said no. and just like that, the tone of the conversation shifted. "oh, such a shame! you need to get on that because you're getting old and need to worry about having children."
um, excuse me?
"oh, actually, i don't have to rush. i'm not interested in having children."
the look of utter shock, SHOCK registered on his face. then it softened, "oh, you'll change your mind."
"no. no, i don't think i will."
"yes, you will"
"no, i won't"
"you just don't know it yet."
"i resent you acting like you know more about my body and my life ambitions than i do."
"you're young, that's all"
"but not so young that i don't need to worry about my eggs dying, apparently."
it went on and on like this. i just reminded him that he knew nothing about me and that he could think whatever he wanted but that he was wrong. a few times he acquiesed and leaned back and in a way that was so placative and condescending he'd put his hands up in a surrender pose and say, "you're right! you're right!" and i'd say, "i know." but then he'd say, "but in 1000 years, the world will be changed by my progeny, not yours." i responded, "i'm okay with that." "but you need to continue your lineage" "i need to do no such thing."
this is a fancy restaurant. people talk in hushed tones. but i found my voice rising to the point where, having asked for my check before i'd even finished my $22 glass of sauvignon blanc, saying something to the effect of, "you're serbian and you're a man, so i get that you think you're right all the time. but this is not about you, not everything is all about you and what you want and what you think."
to a stranger. at a bar. i've known many serbian men in my lifetime and they've all been of that mold. infuriating to argue with, completely condescending. i started to write him off as just a cultural oddity. but it was frustrating all the same. there's nothing like a man, treating a woman like a silly little uninformed thing, for disagreeing with him. And here I am, racial profiling out of anger.
he kept saying, "i'm only saying this to you because i'll never see you again." and i kept thinking, "well, that's just as good a reason to NOT say this to me." and i also thought about how small this world is and that he'd sealed our fate such that i'll absolutely run into him again. maybe it'll be on a future trip to greece. maybe i'll be right back where we started, at the bar at marea.
god knows that if i see him, i'll hide.

Friday, December 09, 2011

finishing touches

just about ready to go.
have my crazy ass itinerary done with all flight numbers, transfers, entry fees, exit fees, train numbers, hotel/hostel/b&b info, restaurant reservations and just about everything else you can think of in one place.
have put some things aside: outlet converter, iphone speakers, eye mask, comfy pants for the plane, baby wipes (so so useful), altitude sickness meds
have downloaded the maps, as per my WSJ article and updated my currency converters. also added money to my skype acct so i can call the fam on christmas.
to do: add a couple movies to my ipad, figure out what clothes i'm bringing. low 60's and rainy in cuzco, sunny and high 70's in lima, high 70's with some rain in easter island and high 80's in santiago. that's just a bit all over the place to be really fucking annoying.
crazy party up in my head, you're invited!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

so sad

and hilarious.
read the reviews for: microwave for one

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the end!

first off, i want to thank cadiz and syar. both of whom did much better at achieving nablopomo than myself but both of whom were sweet enough to come here and comment regularly throughout the month. cadiz, reading how much went into your wedding exhausts me, but seeing how lovely the result, i know all the hard work was worth it and the food was KICK ASS. syar, this: "Oh the pains of being your own person, of living in your own skin, of speaking in your own voice, and declaring yourself. I am, I am, I am." was so beautiful. in fact, they've all been beautiful. i don't risk visiting actual blogs while i'm at work, so i don't comment often but know that i'm reading! and enjoying!
it's weekends like this last one that make me remember why i'd kept this place running for so long. it's not the most exciting reason and certainly not the most literary, but if i don't write some of these things down, i fear i'll forget them. my life is too nice to leave little bits forgotten by the wayside.
so, y'all, i'm firmly in the feminist rage part of "i love dick" and it's making me so angry! the first half was sort of, "i am woman, watch me falter and be crazy" and then it transforms into something like, "i'm crazy because i've been oppressed by men who consistently degrade women and fail to see them as intellectual equals" but it's not ranty because she then starts ticking off artists and their critics and each little drop fills a pail, and then another pail and then another and i'm basically at the point where i'm seeing red and wanting to scream, "fuck you!" at every man i see. however painful it was to follow her earlier behavior, and witness the failure of these films which she later sort of  admits weren't any good, to put all of this on display and just OWN it. (i guess to be perfectly honest, she owns her crazy while blaming other people for it, but that's done in a way that isn't as hypocritical as it sounds.) anyway. and kraus is just reckless with herself, physically and emotionally. anorexia is the subject of enough of her writing that it's clear she likely has issues with it herself. on top of the fact that she keeps putting herself into situations in which she's battered (i.e. chasing after dick who, very early on, is clearly an asshole and then is a jerk to her face while post-coital). she lacks any sort of instinct for self-preservation.
i think i over-suffer from self-preservation. i take very few risks in life. this means a few things. my life is generally drama-free and even-keeled. it also lacks spontaneity. i make a fool of myself so infrequently that i'm wondering what bits of character i'm missing out on.
happy end of november, folks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

well, nablopomo almost over

and i admit i mostly slacked through it.

i do, however, want to take some time to write up my past weekend for posterity.

i left work early (6pm) on wednesday and met some friends for a drink while i waited for a man with a van to pick up a friend's old dresser. mine had been broken for months and none of the drawers closed properly so it was a sign from above when he casually asked if i knew anyone who'd want it.
it was cold out and i hadn't worn a warm enough jacket so i borrowed an ithaca zip hoodie to head to the bar. as i'm standing on the corner, i see a horse and carriage trotting past. those horses always break my heart because it's a rough job and they mostly don't get treated well. i'm in the middle of this thought when the man driving the cart, a full-bellied, santa claus looking man hollers, "IIIIIITHAAAACAAAAA IISSSS GOOOOOOORGEOUS" as he drives by. it makes me chuckle and then i look around to see who else heard it and see several people on the street looking at me with confusion in their eyes. i retell this story to my friends at the bar. the guy doesn't know i went to ithaca and thinks i think the man was calling me gorgeous, and not just calling out ithaca's town motto.

quick dinner and back to my friend's place where the movers showed up on time. they were lovely. chipper, funny, genuinely nice guys. i rode up in the truck with them and we talked about the city (they were both born and raised there). the driver, an older asian guy kept making jokes about being single and how they'd moved some furniture for three girls earlier and had invited himself over for thanksgiving dinner. i wondered who he was actually going to eat dinner with, hopefully loved ones. the other guy had been laid off from a job a few months ago and started moving things to make ends meet. it's a constant reminder of how lucky i am to have a job and to have so many opportunities in front of me so often. most the other movers i called were charging a two hour minimum or were quoting $125 for the job of moving a free dresser. these guy charged $50 and promised to be done in under and hour and they were. I gave them $100 even. they said i made their night. that had been my goal.

i had this cough coming on so didnt' make any real plans for the weekend, a dinner here and there. i slept in most of thursday and sat myself in front of my humidifier and made myself cups of tea and put on a face mask and really exfoliated in the shower and shaved and put a hot oil masque in my hair and bathed myself in lotion afterwards and it was really the most luxurious thing i'd done for myself in as long as i can remember. stopped at dirk's for appetizers and then over to jane and richards for thanksgiving dinner. they had 16 this year, all the usual suspects. except that one guy brought a friend who'd moved here from kurdistan, he'd been working as a translator for reuters and they arranged for him to get a us student visa, a spot at columbia journalism school, and a guaranteed full time job once he graduated. we spent a lot of time talking about the middle east, which mostly meant me being embarrassed for the one guy who thinks he knows everything and kept saying really ignorant and foolish things, even though the man was extremely smart (he was a supreme court clerk for justice brennan, one of the best justice's there ever was), it's just that maybe he's used to acting like his opinion was the word of god and maybe when you're ruminating on the middle east, we're never going to understand the nuances as someone who was raised there, whose father died fighting there, etc.

as i left the dinner, there was an available cab stopped at the light on the other side of the street. i darted across and into his car. he'd thought he had his off duty light on, as he was planning on heading home for food. i insisted on getting out immediately but he'd have none of it. it was the father of him who wouldn't let this girl out of the car to fend for herself on a thanksgiving night. his daughter had just graduated from tulane. he had been a television producer for a local news station. he got laid off about a year ago and was close to retirement age but just not secure enough financially to stop working altogether. he found a garage in queens the let their cabs for 105 a day, plus $40 in gas. we talked about where we'd been, where we lived. we talked about ithaca. i mentioned that my friends thought i was crazy for moving all the way uptown because "they all have fancy places downtown" and he laughed heartily, but at first i wasn't sure what. "oh, your accent when you say fancy! it's so great!" but it was said in the warmest, most fatherly way possible. for all the interractions i have with cabbies, this was, by far, my favorite. i felt like a better person for having met him.

friday was another day of reading and steaming. i finished my new yorkers and started in, in earnest, on i love dick. syar, you need to read this. eileen myles does the forward, if that's any indication. the hardest part about reading this has been traveling with it, as i feel like i have to hide the cover when i read it in public places. that's a lie. the hardest part is stopping myself from judging. this reads like fiction, because who is this neurotic? who is this unaware? but this is real, and it's raw and it's fascinating. and for a while i understood the fiction of dick. the projection that they were putting upon this man who has barely appeared in person in this novel as far as halfway through. it feels like a game. it feels like a game to dick too. but to kraus, it's the furthest thing. so i find myself saying, "chris! stop! you don't even know this man!" and then they meet and he says the same thing to her. dick and i are on the same page. and i want to say that it's not about him, that he's the vehicle through which a new creative side of her blossoms. but it IS about him to her, and this isn't creativity really for her, it's obsession and insecurity and falling apart at the seams. there's a satisfaction in watching her stumble to a new level of self-awareness. there's a raw honesty here that i feel in my gut. and, every time i finish another section, i feel a kind of fearlessness. something like, "chris kraus did X, which was crazy. whatever crazy thing i'm thinking of really isn't so bad." and it's things like returning to restaurant bar to chat up the hunky chef. something that i'd ordinarily be too shy to do but seems downright submissive in comparison. but most of all, this memoir is brave. it's also really satisfying to those who like to nose through other people's things. i love the references to people's comments about the manuscript that she then inserts into the manuscript ("when Y read this part, she said it wasn't true").

tertulia with colin for dinner. though they normally have 2 hour waits it was downright serene on this holiday weekend. a winter ale was deeply, subtlely sweet. this place wasn't wholly different from boqueria. it was a cozier, warmer version. the food was one notch more sophisticated, a hair more intense. it was all lovely. aziz ansari sat next to us, though without dave chang and james murphy, unfortunately.

pilates in the morning. a 1pm showing of phililp glass' satyagraha. this was an opera in sanskrit with no subtitles. occasionally a translation would be projected onto the stage. this production is amazing. it felt similiar to william kentridge's "the nose" in setting. i wouldn't be surprised if the same person designed it though i'm too lazy to look it up right now. and in this opera, nothing happens. it's "about" ghandi's time in south africa, loosely. it's about persecution, and oppression. the music is stunning and the movement is slow and the result is that i was forced, for 4 hours, to sit and contemplate injustices throughout history. this opera gives you the time and the space in which to contemplate, generally, while providing imagery that is strong and brave. you sense the "we shall overcome" in the cast of characters who carry on through their hardships. it is a brave production, a gamble that pays off.

went home, showered and did a load of laundry and then came back downtown to see a friend's brother perform at UCB. it was a competition between six teams of three. a few weren't great, a few were awesome. my friend's brother came in third place, due to a coin toss, which broke our hearts a little but they're fairly new at this so they were happy to have almost nearly moved into the next round.
pilates again on sunday with a civilized brunch at the members's dining room at the met. their islamic art wing had recently opened and we took a careful stroll through after brunch. taking in persian rugs, illuminated manuscripts, handpainted indian fabrics.

dinner at casa mono with erika, sitting in front of the hunky chef. she's moving to chicago and is checking things off her bucket list. newly engaged, her ring is the biggest i think i've ever seen. i'd be terrified to leave the house with it. grilled calamari over a salad of fennel and grapefruit, grilled razor clams with a parsley garlic oil, seared duck breast over sweet potato, goat cheese croquettes. the wine was delicious, i didn't take down the name. the chef, under a full beard, had dimples. he had a quiet confidence and started chatting with us only towards the end of our meal but there was this spark in his eyes. and so i consider heading back and trying to get a bar seat right in front of him again but the sensible part of me says things like, "that's kind of stalky." and "he has a night schedule, so inconvenient!" and "but you're not that interested in dating!"

and then i pick up "i love dick" and consider going anyway.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pillowcases weren't dry. I'm a genius, I think. T-shirt fits perfectly.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


though i do consider myself something of an expert at packing for travel, this trip is already a tad knotty.
for a while i've been traveling to sunny/dusty/dirty spots where flip flops and shorts served me well. toss in a maxi dress, a swim suit and sarong and i'm good to go.
this trip. oh, i'm so annoyed already. i'll need sneakers, a sine qua non, for all the walking/climbing/hiking. gross. how bulky and annoying are sneakers? AND i'll need to be prepared for rain, so i'm bringing a poncho and maybe an umbrella (but probably not).
and then i'll have a few days in cosmopolitain lima and santiago where everyone will be on their teeny spiked heels and so i might as well try, slightly, to not look like a dumpy american. so i'll need to pack one dress non-cotton and pair of heels.
i'll be checking the weather in the days before i leave but still, thinking i'll be cutting it close.
(and as always, bring detergent to wash a few items as needed over the course of two weeks.)