Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Night Out

Guy at the bar: can I buy you a drink?
Me: Maybe
Guy: What would you like?
Me: Just cranberry juice
Guy: Are you pregnant?
Me: Not yet
Guy looking awkward and startled.
End of interaction 

My friend Serena convinced me to go out with her to a singles event at a bar near Time Square. I don't think I've gone to a bar or a club since I started law school two years ago and I rarely went out even before then. I can't remember the last time I felt so self conscious over the way I was dressed.

The event was a bust but at least it got us out. We took a short walk to Time Square before Serena took the PATH home. As for me, I didn't feel like getting all made up for nothing. It took a while for me to remember the one bar connection I made when I moved to the city. He couldn't meet up with me last night but told me to use Leila's name to get into the VIP Room. So I did. For exactly 8 minutes.

I got all kinds of cat calls on the way there. Guys screaming from car windows, stopping me on the street. I remember at least one guy asked if he could touch my butt. It's a stark contrast from the lack of attention I get in my daily environment (except occasionally I notice people check out my behind as I run in the park). None of it bothers me, nor do I find it flattering.

The bar/club scene is not for me, nor am I missing out on anything. It's like trying to smoke cigarettes after years of working at a tobacco factory. Whatever it is I long for doesn't exist in those places. I know because I've been there and done that.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Too Right for the Left

The great thing about living in NYC is the myriad of events that take place here on a daily basis. The Left Forum took place at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, including1300 speakers and 400 events. It doesn't take an anarchist conference for me to know that I'm too right for the left (and too left for the right). But when the opportunity presented itself I couldn't resist but to be the right-est person at the conference. Unfamiliar with many of the topics from Palestinian issues to neoliberalism, I decided to check out a couple of the seminars. Although the one on online activism was borderline interesting, the talk on 21st Century warfare was a huge disappointment. There's nothing worse than people intentionally spewing false information for politics. I walked out of the room after the first speaker and found respite on the roof lawn. It was a beautiful day. Just because we live in politics doesn't mean I should let it drive more of my life than it already does.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Here Comes the Train

9 am to 9pm. Time flew. No time for lunch. No time for a cup of tea, which was good since I had no time to go to the bathroom either. I thrive on new challenges. We'll have to see how long this one last.

The view of Park Ave from above is equality breathtaking at all hours of the day. It was already dark by the time we stepped out of the office building. We walked to the Lexington station together in a light drizzle, tired, but still in good spirits. We had worked on a rush project together in the afternoon. It was actually a very enjoyable experience.

The station was full. We joined the wait. Someone sung their rendition of Here Comes the Sun. When the E finally came the lyric changed to, "here comes the train, here comes the train, and it's going downtown, train, train, train, here it comes..."

Exhausted, I still made dinner. Now to bed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First Day

Partner: How were your finals?
Me: Great! I answered with a huge grin on my face.
P: Great?
M: Yes.
P: They were great?
M: Yes, they were great.

The office is simple. One floor of an office building in midtown east with one side looking up Park Ave and the other looking down to Grand Central. The wide white doors with large glass panels for each office remind me of ocean side cottages on Cape Cod.  I share an center office with the another intern. We have no windows but at least no one is staring us down in one of those fishbowl open office setting that has swept the nation. My unfortunate access to a Keurig is offset by my lack of break time to actually access it, thus saving more things to be added to the landfill. 

I took sometime to clean my work station and assemble a tariff book. I'm one of those old school nerds addicted to the tactile feel of paper. There's certain kind of satisfaction in literally getting my fingers under the right numbers. Perhaps the only way to feel the things they represent a world away.

Monday, May 18, 2015


I arrived at 2am last night and got up at 7:30am to have breakfast with grandpa.

I've been thinking about you. How you were like when you were here. What you saw. What you ate. What you thought of this place. I don't know anyone else who's been here (other than that guy I ran into while kayaking on the Hudson on the UWS last summer. He and his ex wife adopted a daughter from Hunan. What wonderful people.).

I don't know how in this day and age someone could just disappear without a trace. Perhaps that speaks to the fragility of our relationships these days. Two people could share the most intimate thoughts at one moment and be completely gone from each other the next.

Sometimes I wonder if I was made to live in this era. Mom said I've always been a sensitive child. She could tell even when I was an infant. That's why she was so protective of me. What mother wouldn't protect her child. But the longer I live the more I realize what she meant. I didn't know I needed to be protected.

It's too late to go back now now, after I've lived the thrill of it all. I can leap off a cliff, jump out of a plane, but there's nothing more exhilarating than to put myself out there time after time, shield-less, defenseless, over the ledge, without a safety cord. That's life. That's love, the ultimate frontier. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sick in Seattle

The unplanned overnight stay because I'm deathly ill. I can't handle the thought of being sick on the 10+ hour flight and having to deal with another layover in Shanghai. Thankfully Delta is offering free hotel vouchers. Time to rest and try again tomorrow.

48-Hour Countdown after Exams

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Last Concert

When the ticket office called me a week ago about another year of subscription to the Art of the Guitar series I said I'd think about it. Going to guitar concerts is tough. Every time I go I think that's it, no more. And tonight is the perfect night for the last guitar a while.

To hear the Assads on Humphreys playing Albaniz and Granada is like swallowing love wrapped up in sentimentality soaked in nostalgia. I kept wiping away tears. And when Nadia joined them with Piazzolla I just lost it. 

Music school didn't teach me how to play. It taught me how difficult it is to master something, really master something, anything. Tonight's performance, a celebration of 50 years playing together, is the mastery of all masteries. I'm so happy to be here. 

While reading the program before the concert I noticed Humphrey and Verdery used to live at 120 W 72nd St, less than a block from my apartment. For some reason I find that endearing. Maybe it's because I have a Humphrey too. In fact, when I visited Tom at New Paltz years back, one of the Assads' guitars were in the shop. I have beautiful memories of the ranch. 

D'Rivera joined the duo on the clarinet towards the end of the program. He's such a delightful character, a comedic relief. He said how honored it was to play with the brothers on their 50th anniversary. He'd kill them if they didn't invite him. "And you know what's the problem with Yo Yo Ma? Cuban envy." 

When the concert finally ended no one wanted them to leave the stage. It was a full house, standing ovation, the loudest cheers, we sung happy birthday together. It was a moving experience. They played Farewell for the second and last encore. I closed my eyes for a second and remember playing that piece myself at the George Eastman garden. What a beautiful and memorable evening. 

I texted Nick afterwards. He sent me a picture of North Shore. I sent him a picture of me and Odair, holding hands with a giant grin on my face. "This is great!" he texted back. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Walk in the Park

Because everything looks beautiful under the right light

Monday, May 4, 2015


The first exam of the season. Are we ever ready for the things we must do?

Herlin texted me last night out of the blue asking how's school coming along. He's at MP again, as always, he likes to text me when all the tourists have retired to their hotels. I told him my exams are coming up. He said he'll ask strength for me when he goes to MP tomorrow.

And then there's Jane, who always lit a candle for me whenever I have exams. She's been doing that since I met her a year ago. At first I thought she was joking but she wasn't. I feel comforted knowing she's thinking of me. I'm no longer that tree in the forest. I forgot to remind her of my exam schedule. When I finally did texted Jane on my way to school this afternoon she replied, I know your exams are coming up so I've been preparing. It brought a smile to my face. 

We're never quit ready for the things we have to do. But that's ok. We must simply go on and do the best we can. And when we are lucky, we have people like Jane and Herlin, who cheer us on and let us know that we're not alone. Everything I achieve I attribute to those who hold me up, challenge me, believe in me, and love me even when I achieve nothing at all.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday Evening

The bravest thing I've done the day before a final exam. I danced, for hours, until the sun fell below the horizon, until the moonrise. It was the first warm day of the year. An embrace from a stranger has never felt so good. The perfect antidote to that ever present anxiety.

Sunday Morning

Saturday, May 2, 2015

No Longer Wishing

I no longer wish for a different life. I realized that when I saw a friend posting an article from Cosmo on FB about someone who gave up the corporate life for a shed on a tropical island. I used to read those articles and secretly wished it was me who got off the grid. I fantasized about different jobs, different cities, different travel destinations, etc. Those kind of daydreams didn't make me happy. They didn't inspire me. Instead, I felt trapped and discontent about everything around me and everything I was doing. Spinning out of control, I hastily moved from one job, one home, one thing to the next. The more I did the less satisfied I felt. It was a vicious cycle.

I haven't thought much about that since... well, since I got away from that office job two years ago. I guess that doesn't say much. Only time will tell. Russell Brand said "drugs and alcohol are not my problem - reality is my problem." Recovery is never over. I like the way things are not because I want them to say that way. I still dream about different things when I go to sleep at nigh. But I don't wish for a different life. If and when things happen, they will happen in this life. It's the only one I have.