City Living

The Bar Next Door

January 17, 2013

When apartment hunting back in the fall, my fiancé and I fell in love with the neighborhood we currently live in. It’s convenient, it’s quiet, it’s lovely. Most of the apartments were well out of our price range so on a sunny October Saturday, when we stumbled across a newly renovated apartment on the 2nd floor of an adorable walk up at a price we could afford, we were all, YES PLEASE NOW?

We hesitated a little bit because the building shares a wall with a quaint looking old bar that advertises live music.

“How loud is the sound?” we asked the landlord.

“It can float in through the windows in the summer on the weekends,” he admitted. “It’s a little annoying.”

“Hmmmmm,” we thought.

We weighed our options.

Cons: the bar in the summer

Pros: large (by NYC standards) apartment, washer/dryer downstairs (I have never had laundry in my building, ever), newly renovated kitchen, central heat/AC, affordable rent, neighborhood we love…

WE WENT FOR IT, OBVIOUSLY.

And here is where we can all laugh and laugh at how adorable we were to TRUST A NEW YORK CITY LANDLORD! OH! SO CUTE! Also, we were born yesterday!

I have yet to write about it but we moved (or were set to move) in the middle of Hurricane Sandy. Due to the storm, the basement of our new building flooded which fried the boiler which left us without hot water for a bit. This is important to my very thrilling story I am telling you because the bar also flooded and was in a worse state than our building, so they were closed down for nearly a month.

In that time, we unpacked our lives and attempted to settle into our new home.

Then towards the end of November, after pictures were hung on the walls and all the boxes had been emptied, after we had become accustomed to our new little sweet home, the bar opened for business and we heard it: loud, thumping bass coming from next door.

“Is that…?” asked my fiancé.

“IS THIS HAPPENING?” I screamed at no one.

We called 311 to file a noise complaint.

We walked next door to see if the bar could turn down the music because, let me also say it was a Monday night at 11:30.

The bartender blinked and responded “Uh, it’s live music. Also, this is a bar.”

THANK YOU, SIR!

You can rinse and repeat this scenario for most Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings from November-present moment.

A few times, I was met with warm reception from a female bartender who immediately adjusted the volume level and allowed me to get some sleep.

Usually though, we were met with the male bartender who repeated his mantra, “It’s a bar.”

And blamed us for living next door.

Om, shanti, my friend! xoxoxo~*~*~*~*~*laura~*~*~*~*xoxoxo

Bar patrons also loved when me or my fiancé showed up in our pajamas begging them to turn down the music. (Which, admittedly, if I were drunk, I would also probably find hilarious.) More than once, a random drunk dude would offer their opinion.

“WHO MOVES NEXTTOABAR ANAWAH?” they would slur.

This is probably one of the worst ways to respond to a person in crisis, in case you were wondering. What you want to do when someone stays up all night listening to a Brazilian jazz flutest next door and then has to drag their ass to work the next day, is to shame them for moving there in the first place, making sure they feel maximum stupidity for trusting the landlord.

Kisses, drunk dude! ENJOY YOUR COORS LIGHT! ~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~XOXO LAURA HERE IS A CLOWN FACE FOR YOU *<:o) So, you can see we have been living in...less than optimal conditions. My fiancé suffers from insomnia to begin with so this has really helped with that, AND BY HELPED I MEAN NOT AT ALL IN THE SLIGHTEST. The bar has been unhelpful, the cops sent by 311 have been useless, most likely because the bar IS a very old awesome dive bar and when the cops show up they just order a beer and hang out and ignore the fact that we asked them to PLEASE HELP US TURN THE MUSIC DOWN. We have measured (and recorded) the volume levels in our home when the music is playing. It has reached 90 decibels at its worst. (Legal limit in a residence is 40 so, thank you for breaking the law! We love it!) The highlight of this experience was one evening when a familiar voice was strumming on a guitar playing songs I knew the words to. Me: Um. Pretty sure my ex-boyfriend is playing in the bar tonight. My fiancé: ????????????? Me: Yeah. That's. Wait. Let me check the schedule on their website. Yes. My ex-boyfriend is playing music in the bar tonight. OMG I LOVE THIS SONG! My fiancé: The weirdest thing that ever happened is happening right now. Two weeks ago, after we were kept up on a Saturday night to the thumping beats of a 90's R&B cover band named "No Biggity" (who were, admittedly, REALLY good), we looked at each other and decided we could no longer stay in our apartment and lead healthy lives. We had reached rock bottom that night, our very lowest point, laying wide awake in bed attempting to suppress our rage when the familiar strains of Lisa Loeb wafted into our bedroom. "You say," I began to sing along. "I only hear what I--" "STOP," snapped my fiancé. "DON'T BE A TRAITOR." It was true. We were past the point of singing along. It was time to move. To my credit, I only cried one time after we decided the next day to break our lease. The idea of packing and moving and unpacking in a 2 month span is enough to break anyone down. Not to mention, I was already pretty raw living almost daily on interrupted sleep and felt heartbroken considering the fact that my fiancé proposed to me in our apartment and I was already quite attached. The landlords have not taken kindly to us asking to leave, despite the fact that we have significant proof that the apartment is uninhabitable. So it's been fun to simultaneously be threatened AND get accused of lying! As luck would have it, a friend of mine is renting out his place a few blocks away and though it's smaller and more expensive, we've decided to take it. The movers come tomorrow and just like that, life shifts yet again. It's been...a little traumatic, to say the least. I've been pretty stressed with my new job and my anxiety has increased like crazy over the past few months due to a lot of life adjustments. Add to that the uncertainty of WHERE ON EARTH IS MY HOME??? and things have been a little rough. But one of the reasons I am marrying the guy I am marrying is because when tough things come up - hurricanes, anxiety, cover bands playing R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)" - he steps up and he holds my hand and we instantly become a somewhat seamless team. So every night this week, we've been packing boxes and running them over to the new place in my car. We get take out and we sit among the mess of our soon-to-be old apartment and we tell each other that in a few days, we'll have some peace and quiet and we'll create a new home and everything will be fine. And it will. And so, as No Biggity advised a few weeks ago, as our walls shook with every thump of the bass, we are doin' it and doin' it and doin' it well. Amen.

Packed Up.

October 15, 2012

Welp.

Tomorrow I am vacating the apartment I’ve lived in for seven and a half years.

The apartment I’ve lived in for almost the entire decade of my twenties.

I spent my childhood growing up in a house with my family. And then I moved out and grew up even more in this apartment because oh, twenties, you are tumultuous. All the turmoil that came with this decade (which, let’s be honest I am more than happy to leave behind for good in about six months), was worked out and through on the third floor of a little family house on a tree-lined street in Queens.

I can’t seem to articulate all that I’m feeling about leaving. And with me, as you can imagine, I AM FEELING QUITE A LOT.

Above all, I am excited about creating a new home for myself with a person I love like crazy. I feel so grateful for that. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure I ever believed such a person would come along, though my twenties were filled with hope that he would.

I don’t feel apprehensive about sharing a space with my boyfriend at all. I’ve been warned by multiple people that “you don’t really know a person until you live with them” and that may be true but I’m not buying it. Not really.

I don’t know everything about him, I doubt I ever will. But I know the basics by now about how we operate. And for me, that is enough and it is beautiful and loving and when it’s not, we figure it out so I’m actually thrilled at the opportunity to learn even more about him. This leads to learning more about me and how I react and handle things and all of it is so, so good.

(The basic dynamic of us sharing a space are this in case you’re curious:

Me, who shared a room with a sibling from age 0-18: DON’T YOU WANT TO BE CLOSE TO ME? ALL THE TIME? COME HERE, JUST FOR A SECOND, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, LET’S HANG OUT! ISN’T THIS FUN? LET’S TALK SOME MORE! TALK TALK TALK HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGS!

Him, who always had his own room: Um, I love you a lot and appreciate your energy but can I sit over here for a little while by myself? Then I’ll be right back. Thank you!

Scene.)

Anyway, I’m not worried.

I’m excited.

But it’s bittersweet.

I haven’t really heard a lot of people talking about some of the grief that arises when big life changes occur, particularly when the change is romantic in nature. I’m used to being fed the idea that a partner will complete you and make you happy and you never have to worry again!

Thankfully, I met my boyfriend after I learned that none of those things are true. In fact, I think I met him partly because I stopped waiting for someone to complete me, make me happy, give me things. I worked on completing myself. Making myself happy. Giving myself what I needed instead of relying on someone else to do so.

So, there is excitement. But there is also a little bit of grief at the things I’m leaving behind, mostly the home that I’ve known for so long.

The kitchen where I’ve baked countless cupcakes, a million dinners (all involving pasta of some sort), cursing the 1950’s oven that has a habit of just ceasing to work whenever it feels like it. The dining room where I cooked Alayna so many Friday night dinners when she was engaged to the man who is now her husband, drinking wine, sharing the chocolate bars I kept in the freezer.

The living room where many a guest has crashed on the sofa. The blizzard that kept me and Troy inside for an entire weekend, we baked cornbread and sat on the couch watching movies. Attempting to put up a Christmas tree by myself. Realizing I bought two different colored sets of twinkling lights. Walking with Alayna to CVS to exchange them, cupping hot To Go mugs full of spiked cider.

The bedroom where I sleep, all by myself, occasionally getting scared when I realize no one else is home. The shape of my closet door in the dark. The window facing the backyard open in the summer, the muffled sounds of voices talking and laughing late into the night. The sheets I bought from Pottery Barn, one of my first expensive grown up purchases.

Moving my car each week for street cleaning.

How I can parallel park like nobody’s business because of that.

Steve at the bagel shop who boxes in his spare time.

Felix who knows how I like my egg sandwich.

Jennifer who does my dry cleaning and laughs every time she punches my last name into the computer because what kind of name is that?!

The park I’ve weaved through while out for a run. The pavement where I fell and sprained my ankle and knee. The cabbie who drove me home because I couldn’t walk.

The chimes drifting up from the church a few blocks away on Sundays. The Greek Orthodox priests who lead a solemn parade around the neighborhood on Good Friday at midnight. The Italians who close down the main street for a weekend every summer to have a street fair. The Greeks who get jealous and close down a similar street the very next weekend, not to be outdone. The Muslims during Ramadan who lay out their prayer mats on the pavement every evening, too many of them to fit inside the mosque, nodding quietly at me as I gingerly step around them on my way home.

The Thai place.

The trains rushing over the Hellgate bridge.

The man at the liquor store who, according to his business card, is named “Prince Ali”.

When I showered with a roach.

When my roommate fried a rat in his car.

When we had a mouse or five.

When I lived with the most hilarious girl ever.

When the crazy guy next door shot his ex-wife and step-daughter”, when the guy downstairs left his motorcycle running and nearly killed us all with carbon monoxide, when the other guy downstairs got so drunk he passed out in the street in front of the building and three gorgeous firemen rang our doorbell at 6 in the morning to identify him. How my roommate and I cursed the fact that we were in our pajamas then because did you see those firemen?! Yowza.

Mostly though, the rooms, the walls of my apartment standing strong when I got a callback, when I didn’t get the job, when I got up early for auditions, when I hated auditioning, when I lost my job, when I cleaned my room on a Saturday morning blasting 80’s music, when I broke up with someone, when I cried so hard I thought I would never stop wishing desperately for any kind of comfort at all, when I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe, when I realized the value of friendship and love and gratitude.

My beautiful crazy wonderful home.

I am going to miss it and all the people that went with it oh so very much.

Transition

October 2, 2012

When I moved into my current three bedroom apartment in Astoria with two friends from college, I didn’t think I would be staying very long. I had plans to be an actor and I assumed I would book work easily and I would have to sublet while I worked out of town and then maybe I would move because New Yorkers are always moving and landlords jack the rent up, etc.

That was May 2005.

Then one roommate left, a subletter came in (she became my best friend, Alayna), another roommate left, another friend from college came in (sweet Troy, who stayed for 6 years), subletter, new roommate, subletter, moving out, moving in, around and around we go, apartment carousel.

Today is October 2012.

I am the last man standing.

I am moving out of my apartment next week.

Troy, the first friend I made in college, finally moved out this past spring and once that happened, the apartment stopped feeling like home. I’m friendly with my two current roommates but not close and I’d walk in the door and find no one was there to hear about my day and commiserate or make me laugh or show me a YouTube link or share a meal or light a candle and shake me up a cocktail.

I hadn’t realized, I guess, that my sense of home had more to do with a person and less to do with the physical space.

Ever since the spring, I’ve been itching to pack up and move on, to begin a new chapter. Specifically, with the person who feels the most like home to me.

Next week, I am doing just that.

My boyfriend and I are moving into our own new little home, just a few minutes away, in Long Island City.

We’ve been apartment hunting over the past month, each weekend dragging ourselves to neighborhoods everywhere, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens. We’d see a few places, then take a stroll around, then sit at a local bar and scribble on napkins, what we liked, what we didn’t, what our priorities were, what our money situation would have to be to make it happen.

In case you didn’t know, the rental market in New York City right now is the worst it’s ever been with a whopping 1% of all city apartments available for rent. ONE PERCENT!!! A lot of what we saw was overpriced and small (for example, a one bedroom on Avenue D across from the projects going for $2,900 HA HA HA KILL ME NOW!)

At one point my boyfriend wondered aloud, “Does EVERY kid with a trust fund move here!?”

Yes, yes they do.

Long Island City was the first neighborhood we looked at and we left a little disappointed because we loved it so much (amazing commute to the city, gorgeous views of Manhattan skyline, adorable shops and restaurants) but couldn’t afford the rent in the new high rise buildings that have taken over. (My boyfriend dubbed it Dubai. Everything is shiny!)

As luck would have it, this past Saturday we found a fantastic apartment in an older building there, second floor walk up, new kitchen and hardwood floors. It’s the coziest place on a beautiful street and it is so perfect for us that I’ve been holding my breath just in case the landlord changes his mind and yanks it away.

For now, it’s ours.

And so I leave you now, as I attempt to clean out my living space where I have accumulated um, all the things! over the past seven and a half years.

You guys, I still have CD’s. BROADWAY CD’s.

COMPACT DISCS OF SHOWTUNES!!!

Also a DVD of Edward Scissorhands.

(ANY TAKERS???)

Also, here’s a card I found in my closet from my best friend JK for my birthday one year:

Also, here’s my headshot from 2003:

ALSO YOU GUYS I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

Monday Morning

December 6, 2011

Yesterday, the usual calm and quiet on my street were pierced by the sound of gunshots as the man next door, upset about the finalizing of his divorce shot his ex-wife and her daughter inside their apartment.

The Roommate and I were already out of the house when it happened, sometime before 9 am. Our other roommate was home and awoke to the shots firing from the gun. Around 11, I had a voicemail from a reporter from the Post asking about the shooting on my street and a simultaneous text from The Roommate asking to please call him, something had happened on our block.

At noon, I sat and watched footage on my phone of police cars lining my street and bodies being wheeled out on stretchers, miraculously still alive, my apartment in full view.

I was due back in Astoria from Manhattan around 3 pm but couldn’t bring myself to go home, even though the shooter had been taken into custody by then. I wandered around the city in a daze, thinking of all the possibilities. All of the what ifs. Wrong place at the wrong time. My roommate leaving for work, the scent of his cologne trailing behind him. Me heading out of the house, the apartment door shutting with its familiar slam. How close we might have come to running smack into a man with a loaded gun who would soon storm the stairs next door. Their apartment and our apartment share a wall as the buildings on my street are all connected. What if what if what if.

I went to a yoga class and struggled in the first few poses as the instructor asked us to check in with our bodies and I thought, my body. My. Body. I was stunned that it was still breathing. I was overcome by the fact that it might not be. I thought about my neighbor, an older woman I’ve surely seen taking out the trash on occasion. Her daughter, she must be the one who often starts the car in the driveway. She is in her 20’s. I cried through most of the class.

I let myself in to my boyfriend’s apartment. I put on music so I wouldn’t feel alone. I took a shower. He walked in a few hours later with a pizza and open arms and I clung to him, inhaling the smell of his shoulder. I didn’t want to let go.

Astoria, where I live, is an incredibly safe New York City neighborhood. Old Greek and Italian ladies saunter along the sidewalks, on their way to get cheeses and fish and bread for dinner. They’ve been living here since the 50’s. In the summer, their husbands all sit on lawn chairs and smoke cigarettes and drink espresso and eat Greek pastries. There’s a daycare on the corner and the children often walk by my apartment, all in a line on their way to the park, giggling and pointing at squirrels. I go jogging all the time, at all hours of the day and have never felt the slightest bit afraid. The man who owns the bagel store lives a few houses down. I see the Spanish women who work at the laundromat shopping in the supermarket. We are a secure, safe, sweet community.

And yet.

A shooting.

Right next door to me, right through the wall.

It makes me wonder how a man like that can get his hands on a gun.

It makes me wonder how he could feel that he had no alternative but to shoot his ex-wife and daughter in the head on a cloudy Monday morning inside their own home.

It makes me wonder why he felt he had no other choice, why he had no one else to help him, why why why how.

It makes me cry in yoga class to feel my muscles stretching and to connect with my breath because you just never know, do you?

You don’t.

My neighborhood. My home. I’ve been there for over six and a half years.

And there are blood stains next door.

And I just cannot take that.

Tuesday Night

November 17, 2011

Just when I think my blog is old enough and boring enough to shut down because my life is really not that interesting or amusing and I’m not sure what I would write on here THE END FOREVER, the world raises an eyebrow and is all, OH REALLY? And gives me some really good material.

Like this past Tuesday night, for example.

I left my apartment around 11 in the morning that day for a long babysitting shift and I heard something in my garage as I was leaving.

(I live on the top floor of a family rowhouse in Queens which means there’s only three floors and a private garage which I am only explaining because New York City is not all fancy elevator doorman buildings full of people who look like Patrick Dempsey and I don’t want there to be any confusion about why there is a two car GARAGE in my apartment building. It’s because it’s not really an apartment building. My God, that was boring.)

It sounded like a car was running in there but I dismissed the idea because I was running late and why would a car be running in a closed garage, someone probably just got home, oooo something bright and shiny I NEED A CUP OF COFFEE! And I went on my merry way.

(It should also be stated that because it costs one thousand million dollars to live here, people in Queens do crazy things like rent out parking spaces in their garage. Therefore, I do not actually know the people who keep vehicles in the little garage because they do not live in my house.)

I had plans to meet Alayna and Sylvi for dinner after I babysat and wasn’t planning on stopping home in between but during the course of the afternoon, something tragic happened: the zipper on my boot broke. IT JUST BROKE! And wouldn’t zip up! CAN YOU IMAGINE IT? So I had to borrow a pair of shoes from the mom I work for except she wears a size smaller than me so the only thing that fit was a pair of her black crocs.

Black crocs, that is, with one single tiny decoration charm punched through one of the holes that says MOMS ROCK.

I cheerfully sported these, ROCKED THEM OUT IN FACT, with a pair of skinny black jeans which made me look…like a clown? I guess? A clown who thinks moms rock? Which, I mean, they do? My feet just looked so large and ridiculous. You might think I would rise above how I looked and just get on the subway to meet my friends for dinner but you guys, I COULD NOT GO THROUGH WITH IT. And in my defense, I was not far from home so I decided to pop in, change shoes and head out.

As I approached my house, I heard it: the distinct rumbling of a key in the ignition, in my garage.

WHAT? COME ON.

At this point, it was nearly 7:00 at night.

I opened the door and was hit in the face with the smell of exhaust in the hallway.

That’s also about the time I heard the bleating of the carbon monoxide detector going off on the third floor. (Which my roommate installed: HIGH FIVE!)

I took a deep breath, propped the front door open for circulation and dialed 911, staying outside because WHAT IS HAPPENING EVERYONE!?!?!?!?

I informed the lady on the other end of 911 that there was a vehicle running in my garage and I did not have keys to the garage and could not get in and TOXIC FUMES RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

She said she would dispatch a cop car and hung up.

Within three minutes, someone else from 911 called me back (which is so freaky, to have 911 calling YOU. It was all I could do not to pick up the phone and just scream as loud as I could. Just for fun! Just making sure my tax dollars are being put to good use!) and this woman, in my opinion, should probably not be working as a 911 operator.

“Hi, did you just call 911?”

“Yes.”

“There’s a problem in a garage?”

“Yes. There’s a vehicle running in my garage which is locked and I can’t get in.”

“Whose vehicle is it?”

“I…don’t know. Someone who keeps a vehicle in my garage?”

“So this is a parking garage?”

“What? No. This is the garage of a private family home.”

“How many people are in the garage?”

“No one is in the garage that I know of.”

“Did you look?”

“I CANNOT GET IN.”

“What else is in the garage?”

!!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS? YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS UP.

At least, I cannot. This is my real life.

The best question she asked me was “Did you call the fire department?”

I completely blanked out for a second thinking WHAT ON EARTH IS THE NUMBER FOR THE FIRE DEPARTMENT?

It’s 911. In case you didn’t know.

“No!” I sputtered. “I called YOU! Was I supposed to call some other number for the fire department?!”

“Nope,” replied the operator. “This is the number. I’ll call them for you and have them come by to check it out too.”

WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING, 911 OPERATOR OF LINGUISTIC MYSTERY!???

Pretty soon, two cops showed up and together we all waited for the fire department.

Luckily enough, only one other person in my building was home and she hadn’t been there long. She said she had smelled the exhaust but her apartment had smelled fine so she went in. She came out when she heard my alarm going off upstairs and THANK GOD, what I’m saying is I probably saved her life. No big deal, you guys.

One of the cops thought he was awesome so he kept asking me what I thought was going on in the garage.

I should state that the thought had already crossed my mind, VERY EARLY ON, that there are few reasons to put your keys in your car and rev it up in a locked garage. One reason, actually. And that would be to take your own life. So as I am remaining calm and collected and dialing numbers and talking to 911 operators who have no idea what is going on, there is an undercurrent of fear in my brain, a steady monologue of WHAT IF that keeps wondering if when we finally open the garage, there is going to be a car running and also a dead body.

“So, you think some guy’s dead in there?” asked the cop.

“I don’t know.”

“YOU GOTTA HAVE A HUNCH, LADY. YOU THINK SOMETHIN IS UP? WHY ELSE WOULD THAT CAR BE RUNNIN’?”

“UM. I DO NOT KNOW.”

“YOU THINK THIS IS SOME CSI SHIT???”

What. On. Earth.

By the way, NYPD cops actually talk like the ones on Law & Order. He called me lady. And also, what is this guy’s problem!? Was he accusing me of murdering someone and covering it up like a suicide? BECAUSE I FELT INTERROGATED! And I did not have a lawyer present.

“He was probably just flirting with you,” suggested my roommate later.

Oh. Is that how you flirt? You scream that I must have a hunch about a possible dead body in a garage, all CSI shit?

Sexy.

Also, I should mention that all night I was wearing my MOMS ROCK Crocs! So, that made me feel very alluring.

Not one but TWO fire trucks then showed up in front of the house and a very important fireman with a big hat came up to me and was all, YOU HAVE A KEY TO THE GARAGE? and I said no, I did not, my landlord moved to California awhile ago and…

He didn’t stick around to listen as he burst into my apartment and hacked down a door with an axe.

As you do.

A few dozen firemen stormed the apartment taking carbon monoxide readings while a few others opened the large garage door and what did we find?

Not a dead body, thank God. And actually not even a car.

Just a motorcycle.

With the keys in the ignition, of course, running like there was no tomorrow.

Some idiot WHO DRIVES A MOTORCYCLE decided to leave that motorcycle running in the closed garage and just took off for the day! THANK YOU SIR!!!

I was pretty annoyed but mostly relieved because no dead bodies, etc. etc.

And none of the other crap I thought might be inside was actually inside.

PICTURE TIME.

WHAT WAS ACTUALLY IN THE GARAGE:

WHAT I THOUGHT I WAS IN THE GARAGE:

Anyway. PHEW, AMIRITE?

Basically we stood outside for an hour or so while some really attractive firemen stormed into our apartment with fans and aired it out.

Turns out a concerning level of carbon monoxide is around 30.

The reading in my apartment?

500.

The reading in the garage and the hallway next to it?

900.

The motorcycle had been running so long that the carbon monoxide had obviously leaked to neighboring apartments. No one was hurt and I can’t really stop thinking about what would’ve happened if someone was home at my house during the day, as I often am, taking a nap or tapping away at her laptop.

I’m so grateful for our carbon monoxide detectors (though who on earth thought I would ever need them?) and I also feel a little confidence boost in myself. I may cry easily at commercials but damn if I don’t keep my head on straight in an emergency and call 911 and do whatever I need to do. That’s a good thing, right?

And now, I am going to find the guy who owns that motorcycle and kill him.

OH HO HO JUST KIDDING.

I am going to give him a stern talking to. And see what I can do about evicting him from our garage.

Yeah?

Yeah.

Thank you ever so much, FDNY! I hope I don’t need you back here anytime soon.

Love,

Laura

Sick Days

October 28, 2011

Where have I been, you guys?

Guess!

Sunbathing in a tropical climate?

Eloping with a very wealthy financier?

Learning how to Irish step dance?

If you guessed ‘In bed, dying of consumption’, GUESS WHAT? YOU WIN.

Consumption is one of many of my father’s favorite ‘old days’ diseases that he busts out whenever any of us are feeling bad.

“YOUR MUTHA’S NOT FEELING WELL. MUST BE DIVERTICULITIS.”

This was all hilarious until my grandmother came down with ACTUAL diverticulitis a few years ago.

She was fine.

And then it was even funnier.

Apparently some of dad’s diseases still exist.

Just like consumption.

Which I got last Saturday out of the blue.

I was in the middle of working out, took a sip of water and thought ‘Hm, that’s a sore throat’ and by the time I got home I just stared vacantly at a wall and told my boyfriend I was pretty sure death was imminent and BAM, there it was. Fever. Chills. Sore muscles. Sore throat. Sore everything.

IT WAS THE FLU, YOU GUYS!

At least I’m kind of sure that’s what it was/is. BECAUSE I STILL HAVE IT! A week later. It has knocked me out in a way that I was just not expecting. I’m a relatively healthy human being who maybe gets the occasional cold so no matter what illness it is, I always give it 2-3 days and I’ll be brand new, right?

Seven days and counting…

I was stuck at my boyfriend’s place from Saturday until Wednesday, feeling too sick to go home. And I’m using ‘stuck’ loosely because do you know how awesome it is to have someone else bring you Theraflu, three types of soup, various juices and then a chocolate milkshake when they walk in the door from work because your throat hurts?

Geez.

Let it be said that I spent lots of time weeping at his generosity and mumbling things about the true meaning of love and self-sacrifice and…I blame the fever.

ALSO! Because he is awesome, my boyfriend has a Roku which streams Netflix directly to the television so I watched more TV in two days than I have all year. (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS! GREATEST SHOW EVER, RIGHT GUYS? Don’t spoil anything for me, I’m on season three.)

Sadly, most of the time I felt so sick the glare of the television wasn’t even worth it and I sort of drifted in and out of sleep wondering if I had meningitis because that there is some scary stuff and I never got vaccinated and what if my life is over? Right here? Right now?

Deeeeep.

I finally left my boyfriend’s apartment on Wednesday (not dead! yes!) to get some fresh air and to head back home to Queens.

On Thursday morning I woke up and walked out the door to move my car which is a weird thing you have to do in New York City and I stood in the middle of the street staring at where my car was supposed to be wondering if I was still asleep because…what is happening? My car has disappeared? In its place was a yellow taxi cab.

The owner of the cab was walking toward me, about to move his car so I asked him if anything had happened over the past few days while I’d been gone.

“What?”

“Uh, my car? It was…right there. And now…it is gone. So…?”

“OH, THE TV!” he shouted. “THEY FILM THE TV HERE! THEY POST SIGN TO MOVE CARS OR THEY TOW IT!”

Greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

I called ‘311’ and gave the lady my license plate number, my head pounding, my nose stuffy, standing outside wandering the streets of Astoria in the RAIN because I like to paint the most pathetic picture imaginable whenever I can and the woman on the phone said she had no record of my car being taken away.

“Did you call the precinct?” she asked me.

“AM I IN TROUBLE?”

“No, baby girl, sometimes with movie shoots, they’ll just tow your car around the block to get it out of the way. If you call them, they might know where it is.”

Then she transferred me to my local precinct and I talked to an actual cop which made me nervous EVEN THOUGH I AM INNOCENT and sure enough, he gave me the address of my car which was parked three blocks away.

Is that not the weirdest thing ever?

Law & Order: SVU comes to my street, shuts it down to film (WHICH I AM DEVASTATED TO HAVE MISSED!) and the cops just tow my car for free and put a big sticker on it that tells other cops not to ticket it or tow it for 48 hours because NOT MY FAULT! DETECTIVE STABLER NEEDED TO SOLVE A CHILD MOLESTATION CRIME!

What!?

In the end, I still have the flu, the remnants being an awful pounding headache every night at 7 am (someone explain this to me?), a stuffy nose, some delicious post-nasal drip and the desire to eat lots and lots of Halloween candy.

But I found my car! And I hope I get better soon. I’m just not used to being so…sick?

WHICH SHOULD HUMBLE ME.

But instead makes me angry.

Of course.

Alright, guys.

Have a healthy weekend! I hear we’re supposed to get some snow tomorrow! I BET THAT WILL BE GREAT FOR MY COLD!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The end.

Wouldn’t You Like To Live Here Too?

October 18, 2011

I’ve been really stressed out lately. It’s a culmination of things – still being unemployed, not sure what my next steps should be, tightening up things financially, getting really into hot sauce for the first time in my life and then standing in the grocery aisle wondering which hot sauce to buy because what on earth, how many brands of hot sauce do they MAKE!?

You know, usual stuff.

I was pushed over the edge Saturday afternoon while walking up 2nd Avenue talking to Alayna on my phone.

A girl my age who seemed perfectly normal walked up to me and asked me if I had a dollar or two to spare.

Now, I try to make a habit of giving money to people who ask me but I live in New York City and I just cannot give it to everyone and unfortunately right now, I really can’t spare much so I politely said, ‘Sorry! I can’t help you’. And proceeded to keep walking.

And so did the girl.

Who followed right behind me.

Leaning over my shoulder and yelling.

DO YOU HAVE A SOUL?

I…what?

DO YOU HAVE A HEART?

She kept yelling while I awkwardly asked if Alayna could hold on one second, I’m being verbally accosted by a girl who is obviously on some kind of drugs! Yay!

DO YOU HAVE A PERSONALITY??? she screeched.

At this point, I decided that it wouldn’t be all that weird if she then pulled out a knife and started stabbing me so I quickly crossed the street in an effort to get away from her and she just stood there staring after me screaming about what a huge bitch I was to anyone who would listen.

In the middle of the afternoon on Saturday. In broad daylight.

I…

Guys?

That was like, IT for me.

THE END.

I’d pretty much been walking around all week like a depressed zombie, an exhausted and exposed raw nerve and then psycho girl gets all up in my business screaming about how I don’t have a soul or a heart or a personality.

NONE OF THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE, RIGHT GUYS?

I almost prefer the cracked out gentleman who walked up to me a few weeks ago and eerily whispered, “I’m going to kill her”.

GO RIGHT AHEAD, BUDDY.

This stuff ain’t personal. It’s New York City. It’s just that, my God, I can’t ESCAPE it sometimes. You walk out your apartment onto the street and there is just no buffer from anyone, really. And mostly I like that! Diversity, guys! RIGHT? ME! YOU! THE DRUG ADDICTS! JUST HANGING OUT!

I feel strongly that constantly having to get in the car to get anywhere is one of the things I like the least and that is why I love New York City the MOSTEST EVER except not lately because just leave me alone everyone, I need to go meditate in the middle of a field for like, a week.

Oof.

SO THAT’S WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON WITH ME!

Sincerely,

Laura
No Soul, No Heart, No Personality
xoxoxo

Do You Have A Sec For Awkward Confrontation?

September 14, 2011

On any given day, on any given busy New York City street, I am stopped regularly by people who want my money people who want to change the world.

“Do you have a second for Children International?” some eager fresh out of college kid asks me.

I’m supposed to say yes and then they will energetically recite some schpiel about why Children International is amazing and I can sign up to give them money every day for the rest of my life! Awesome!

“Sorry!” I say instead and sometimes the volunteer (do they get paid to do this?) waves and says thanks and sometimes I’m subjected to a few more tries as they frantically call after me down the street.

“It’ll only take a second! I know you want to help! YOU’VE GOT A GREAT SMILE!!!”

Well thank you sir, I think that’s true but I have no interest in saving the children.

Well I do, of course but I can’t save everyone and money is tight and I’M SORRRRYYYYY.

Often, my guilt gets the better of me and I feel horrible for blocks because I didn’t have a minute to stop for Gay Rights. I felt so bad in fact about dismissing this specific cause that I actually turned around one time after declining and gave a thumbs up shouting “I’M IN A RUSH BUT I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!” reassuring the volunteer (who was most likely not even gay himself) that I was no homophobe! Not me! Me? I’m just busy!!! Love the gays though! Smooches!

While these people are mostly nice about it, wishing me well and moving on, sometimes stuff just gets weird. This past weekend in Chicago, someone stopped me and my boyfriend wanting to know if we had a second for Greenpeace. We didn’t. And as we were walking away, the guy just yelled out “WELL. YOU BOTH LOOK LIKE AN AD FOR LENSCRAFTERS!!!”

Well. We both wear glasses so that is very observant of you, my good man. But are you complimenting us? Or is that a weird dig trying to make us hate ourselves enough to turn around and donate some money? “YOU’RE RIGHT! WE DO WEAR FANCY DESIGNER GLASSES! WE SHOULD GIVE MONEY TO GREENPEACE!!!”

I…hm.

My friend Sylvi told me a few months ago that whenever people stop her, she just goes, “Sorry! I’m pregnant!” and they immediately back off and go SORRY!!!

???

How does this work?

People just give pregnant women a break as a general rule? She’s not showing yet so maybe they think she’s feeling too queasy to stop? Or they’re okay giving her a pass because pregnant people can’t be expected to donate money to worthy causes, SHE’S GOT DIAPERS TO BUY. ?!!?!?

All I have to do is use the pregnancy card and I stop getting badgered by sweet looking people in matching t-shirts supporting a worthy cause!?

Sylvi insists it works. Every time. And thus, I finally got up the gumption to give it a try with a perky girl who got all up in my face with an EXCUSE ME, MA’AM DO YOU HAVE A SECOND FOR–

And I blurted out SORRY, I’M PREGNANT without bothering to hear what cause she was supporting.

Guess what specific organization makes the ‘Sorry, I’m pregnant!’ excuse completely awkward?

Planned Parenthood, that’s who.

Because….now that volunteer is confused. She said Planned Parenthood, I confessed a pregnancy to her out of nowhere so she stares at me, mouth agape like OH CRAP as if I am going to grab her and beg her for an abortion right there on the street.

And then it’s like oh my God! No! I’m not coming to you for help with my pregnancy! I mean, it’s a fake pregnancy! I’m not actually pregnant! I just don’t like being harassed on the street! I have three nickels in my bag, hold on one second. NO REALLY TAKE THE NICKELS. You can’t? OKAY. I REALLY HAVE TO GO.

Ahem.

The moral of the story boys and girls is don’t tell lies.

Not even tiny white pregnancy lies to strangers trying to take your cash.

Carry on.

Summertime in NYC

July 6, 2011

Our bathtub has been backed up. It tends to do this because I don’t know if you know this about me but hair falls out of my head at an alarming rate. I mean, I’m not concerned. It’s always been this way. If you hang out with me for any period of time, you are guaranteed to find long blonde hair in places YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. It’s a wonder I have a full head of hair on my head because there seems to be just…so much of it everywhere else.

A few weeks ago, I found more than one strand of it IN THE REFRIGERATOR.

Anyway, as such, the drain has a tendency to clog in the bathroom, despite me being vigilant about it. The point is that when I got in the shower on Saturday morning, the tub started to fill up a few inches and I made a mental note to go buy some Drano or something. Then I got back to the matter at hand: my glorious, relaxing Saturday morning shower. I had just worked out and I had nowhere immediately to go and both of my roommates were gone for the weekend so I just took my sweet time. 

Oh! Wonderful smelling shampoo!

Oh! Soap made of figs!

Oh! Bath water that’s up to my ankles, isn’t that funn–

HOLY SHIT THAT IS A COCKROACH SWIMMING AT MY FEET AEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

You guys?

There was a cockroach swimming with me in the tub.

Alayna later told me it was probably a water bug after I described to her how large it was. (The size of my palm, if you’re wondering. And no, that’s not an exaggeration.)

It was the biggest version of WHATEVER THE HELL IT WAS that I had ever seen.

And hey! You might not know about me losing hair at a super fast rate so you also might not know this but here it is: I am rather weak in spirit when it comes to bugs.

I’m not bothered by small spiders or flies or other small harmless things.

But when I see a cockroach? Or some other kind of centipedey thing that crawls really fast across my kitchen floor?

I jump. Miles into the air. And I do run screaming.

So you can imagine my reaction when I realized A BUG THE SIZE OF TEXAS WAS SWIMMING ON MY BARE FEET.

I screamed. Loud.

And jumped out of the shower. JUUUUUUMPED. It hit me then that no one else was around to help me take care of the problem so I did the most useful thing I could think of:

I just stood naked on the bathmat, staring at the struggling bug in the water and screamed. And screamed.

Then I realized I had to be a freaking grown up and stop yelling at something that was admittedly much smaller than me.

I don’t know what it is about bugs like that that make me freak out. I said above that little harmless bugs don’t bother me. But that’s implying that a cockroach or water bug or WHATEVER *is* harmful to me, as a human. And…it’s not. In fact, it was drowning in my bath water and was at my mercy. So what is all the jumping and screaming about? What exactly do I think that bug is going to do to me?

The answer should be obvious:

It’s going to suddenly multiply, millions of them will race toward me and crawl up my entire body and then they’re going to lay eggs in all my orifices and the babies will eat my brain.

I mean, I think I can speak for all of us when I say this, amirite??

ANYWAY. 

I realized I better freaking get it together so I threw on a towel and tried to calm myself.

I stared at the Loch Ness monster in my bathtub and realized it was no longer moving.

Did it drown? Can it swim?

I forced myself to look closely at it. It looked like a hugeass beetle.

I used to save little beetles from my cousin Tom’s pool. I would pick them up on my finger, feel their little legs on my skin, place them gently out of harm’s way.

YOU’RE JUST A BIG BEETLE, I screamed to no one in particular.

A BIG BEETLE A BIG BEETLE A BIG BEETLE OHMYHELL I CANNOT DO THIS.

I called my friend JK who is the same person I called a few years ago when a cockroach CRAWLED ACROSS MY BED.

Let’s not talk about that story, okay? I’m crying just thinking about it.

CAN A LOCH NESS MONSTER DROWN? I demand to know.

JK: What? 

Me: Oh, sorry. A COCKROACH. A HUGE SPINY BEETLE THING TRIED TO EAT MY BRAINS IN THE SHOWER AND IT’S STILL THERE, IS IT DEAD?

JK: What?

Me: I have a cockroach in my bathtub. It’s not moving.

JK: Dude, those things can’t swim.

Me: THEN WHY WOULD IT TAKE A SHOWER?

JK: That probably wasn’t its original intention.

Me: Ugh, not only is it ugly, it’s freaking stupid.

JK: Dude.

Me: Okay. I just don’t want to be tricked if it isn’t dead but it hasn’t moved in like, a really long time.

JK: Are you just sitting there watching it?

Me: Yes. I don’t know why. It’s seriously the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.

JK: Poke it with something.

Me: YOU POKE IT.

JK: I AM NOT THERE.

Me: Fine. I’ll poke it. But if it’s dead, how do I get it out of there? The idea of even putting it in a paper towel is making me insane.

JK: Put it in a dust pan! Drop it in the toilet. 

Me: YOU ARE A GENIUS.

JK: It’s kind of an obvious thing.

Me: WELL IT WASN’T TO ME.

JK: Okay.

Me: THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME FROM LOCH NESS.

JK: Alright. Lemme know how it goes.

Me: DUDE THIS THING IS SO GROSS, LIKE SO BIG, DO YOU WANT ME TO TAKE A PICTURE OF IT AND SEND IT TO YOU?

JK: I have to go.

So, that’s what happened. The monster was indeed dead. I was sort of grateful he drowned which…I gotta say is terrible. But I didn’t have to kill it. So I felt better. I got him into a dustpan and sent him on his merry way.

And then I set my apartment ablaze with gasoline because there’s no way I can keep living here.

OH, JUST KIDDING.

But it did take me an unusually long time to get in the shower the next morning. I scanned the entire area for suspicious activity. I turned the lights on in the bathroom, ran the water before getting in, I banged some pots and pans.

(WHAT? Can roaches hear? WHY AM I CRAZY? WHAT DID I THINK THAT MIGHT ACCOMPLISH?)

Anyway, I was able to take a shower without screaming so, that’s progress, you know?

I usually spot about three unusually disgusting bugs every summer so one down, two to go.

I’ll keep you posted. God knows, I will.

This Is My Life, Part #9,385,742

January 14, 2011

The plan was to meet my friend Lindsay for a glass or two of Prosecco, run an errand and make it to bed early.

Funny then how I found myself in a cab at 2:00 in the morning, sharing the backseat with a wedding dress that wasn’t mine.

The dress kept wanting to slide to the floor and even though it was in a garment bag and perfectly safe, I got nervous so I reached over to pull the seat belt over it and buckled it in properly.

The cabbie caught my eye in the rearview mirror.

“I JUST NEED TO KEEP THIS SAFE,” I said. “IT’S NOT MINE.”

He nodded and was silent for the rest of the drive.

And so it goes. Occasionally, you start out your evening in a perfectly normal way and then things spiral and you end up a bit drunk, sharing a cab with an inanimate object that you buckled in for safety purposes.

There’s just something about New York City and all its many possibilities.

There’s something about me too, I think.

I’m not special or anything but mostly I just really really like how my life is turning out.

(c) gansv1846