Earlier today, I called up my former coworker Hayley to catch up. When sales started to decline at Beer Parc, Hayley and I were let go from our midtown bartender positions, and subsequently both moved back to our respective states for the spring to try and save up for a bit before returning to the Big Apple. Oh life…
Last week, Hayley sent me an article stating that both Food Parc and Bar Basque were leaving the Eventi Hotel to make way for Jimmy Harber’s ESquared Hospitality group. You know- they’re the guys whose BLT Steak boasts the 99% and 1% Burgers. Interestingly enough, when she sent the article to our former managers and the few people still working at Food Parc, it was the first time they were hearing of their impending unemployment. Way to go China Grill. And I thought I had it bad when I had to train the delivery girl to do my job before I left. I mean, I guess I didn’t have to make her think she had a speech impediment before making her recite various lines from Pygmalion to unsuspecting customers… oops.
Hayley and I talked for nearly hour about our various experiences being home and our plans for returning to NYC. Fortunately, I do have foreseeable employment options when I return, and boy do I plan on doing things a lot differently.
I guess here is the part where I tell you that I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past year. I have, for the most part, enjoyed being home. I was able to attend my dear friend Samantha’s wedding a few weeks ago and catch up with some old friends who I had, until a few gin and tonics at the wedding bar, thought had all but forgotten me. I learned that sometimes, people really do grow up, and that its really empowering when that kid who was a jerk to you in the high school cafeteria now thinks you’re awesome for some reason- I attribute this to current differences in height and muscle mass.
After a recent conversation with my very first (and current) employer Loretta, I realized that even when you don’t want it to, the world keeps on going, and you just have to figure out a way to keep moving with it. There is no other option. I learned something else about myself after she told me this, and that is, without my own goals and the desire to keep pushing forward to the great unknown, I am drastically cheapened. This is my inherent truth because for some reason, it is my nature to endure frequent serendipity, and I feel it absolutely necessary to patch all those fantastic little pieces together until I have something truly wonderful to show for it.
With all that being said, I hope you can forgive yet another hiatus and check back for more random thoughts, interviews and video clips of songs from failed eighties musicals.
When my good friend Vanessa realized that her apartment was in evacuation zone A in lower Manhattan for a rare hurricane, she quickly procured a weekend rental in Woodstock along with gallery owner James Hendershot. The two were kind enough to invite me along to escape the storm and I was quick to accept. So with my trusty duffle, my computer bag and yoga mat, I hailed a taxi at 6 in the morning and made my way to Grand Central so I could catch one of the last trains to Poughkeepsie.
When James, Vanessa and London (Vanessa’s schnauzer) picked me up, we quickly drove up to Woodstock to stock up. The streets of the famously liberal town were flooded with paranoid New Yorkers who all decided to make a weekend vacation out of the storm. Like every other misplaced short-term refugee, we stuck out like sore thumbs. If the obvious misplacement wasn’t enough, the locals started laughing at our various purchases of firewood, organic local meats and cheeses, marshmallows, graham crackers, and of course- Hershey’s chocolate.
After garnering more stares and laughs from locals we tried to locate our weekend home with little success and varied directions. Upon arriving at our destination, I was surprised to see so much glass in our supposed “shelter” from the looming storm.
“Aren’t there an awful lot of windows here for a hurricane shelter?” asked Vanessa out loud. “I guess we’ll huddle in the doorways if something happens… isn’t that the type of thing you do in these situations?”
“Unclear” I replied.
In anticipation of the natural disaster, we did what any self-respecting adult would do and hopped in the hot tub with a bottle of Prosecco. With James napping, I caught up with Vanessa in the house’s sun room.
“I just want to make my mark on the world in a meaningful way” said the young financier. “I want to do something really special.”
“You will” I replied, “and you are.” Vanessa is currently working on an amazing project with artists and charity organizations that will come fruition in the coming months.
Already warm and verging on over heating from the alcohol and oversized bubble bath combo, we both looked out at the calm, steady shower, and- as if we were fighting for the last drop of water in a desert oasis- ran outside onto a grassy hill and let the water cool our bodies and overstimulated minds.
Hours later, we lit a fire for the purpose of a cozy winter reminder and of course, to make smores (indoors;-).
“SMORES INDOORS!” exclaimed James as he observed me and Vanessa trying to make the perfect toasted marshmallows. “I can’t believe we’re doing this!” We listened to some music a while before dosing off to the sound of rain gently tapping at the window.
The next morning I woke up to the gentle tapping of Vanessa’s hand. “The power’s out and I have no reception.” I could tell this unsettled her. With several major deals about to close, and all of her main contacts in other cities, this was not the time for a disconnect.
Although calming down and forgetting about work isn’t necessarily Vanessa’s forte, James was able to convince her that a makeshift brunch was not only possible, but would definitely cheer her up. So with the aid of a naturally ventilated sunroom, and a grill, we were able to produce a meal worthy of Sarabeth’s Sunday menu… that is, if Sarabeth’s served cowboy coffee.
The rain settled down for a while and we made our way to a local gas station to see if anyone had heard of anything from Manhattan. It was in the middle of the checkout line that Vanessa discovered phone service and decided to orchestrate a deal between LA, New York, and London.
With the confused locals making their way around the stressed out-of-towner, James checked in with his gallery manager and discovered that the storm didn’t hit Manhattan with half the severity anticipated. “What!?” yelled Vanessa “we need to get back then!” We packed the powerless home up quicker than Barbara Eden could blink horny astronauts in and out of compromising situations.
As we made our way through town, we witnessed the damage caused by flooding and even had to move a tree out of the road to get by. By the time we made it to the highway, we were met by a crazed toll worker who could only scream “GO BAAAACK!” loudly without explanation. Hungry, we were forced to stop at “Johnny G’s Diner” connected to a Howard Johnson.
“Excuse me” said Vanessa to the waitress “we have these steaks in our car that will go bad if we don’t cook them do you think you could…” with a hefty tip in hand, our server quickly rushed to the kitchen and okayed Vanessa’s culinary request. While waiting for our food, we discovered that the Howard Johnson was not pet friendly. With James securing our table in a restaurant that was quickly spiking in volume due to the highway closure, Vanessa and I took our belongings (and the Zip Car) to check in at the Comfort Inn down the street.
“Why isn’t this STARTING!? ” yelled Vanessa when we hopped in the car to go back to James and our quickly cooling steaks. The car refused to start and left us with only the option of walking through a deceptively even field. As our feet sank in the muddy grass, we quickly regretted not walking a few more meters towards the PAVED road.
We walked back into a packed and smoky restaurant staffed by two waitresses who had probably only known a flow of customers as slow and regular as Jamie Lee Curtis’s bowel movements. After waiting about 45 minutes for a banana split, we effectively worked out a way to use the Howard Johnson swimming pool since our motel came unequipped with one.
Although it took over seven hours to get home the next day, we were thankful for the interesting (and blog-worthy) experience. When I returned to my neighborhood, I was bombarded with stories of the amazing Manhattan Hurricane parties that lasted all weekend long and a “you should have been here” from nearly every familiar face that I encountered, but I knew that I had a weekend that, although filled with folly, was much more exciting than I could have hoped for.
- Hello Irene! (ecollage.wordpress.com)
- Come on Irene! (kikiandlalaland.wordpress.com)
- Recent heavy rainfall adds insult to injury to towns ravaged by Hurricane Irene (nj.com)
Sator- sower, farmer, originator… of divine origin
Arepo- likely an invented proper name whose meaning is to stealthily advance
Tenet- to hold, keep or preserve; master
Opera- literally to work
Rotas- to rotate… as a wheel would.
When read as a sentence, the Rotas square seems to say something along the lines of “the farmer Arepo keeps a work of rotation”, referencing possibly the circle of life and an implication that a life full of good works are held by God. Anyways, this isn’t meant to be one of those meaning of life posts, but simply a desire to share something thought provoking and profound that one of my teachers shared in one of my classes today. Below is another spelling of the Sator square, if you wish… copy it, share it and read more about it. Have a great day!
Kate Moss once said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”… so did an acquaintance of mine who works at Gucci when he noticed my now visible weight loss of 50 pounds. “How did you do it?” he asked while sniffing an imaginary line of cocaine. Strangely, I wasn’t offended; although it took me two years to actually lose the 40 pounds I gained at university (and an additional ten) people didn’t really notice the difference until I had lost over twenty pounds. It took me a full year and those twenty pounds to realize “Hey! Diet AND exercise“… they work so well TOGETHER! Presently, I enjoy sticking to South Beach Diet‘s heart healthy guidelines… with the occasional splurge of course.
I also feel that it’s time for powerful media to stop embracing stick figures like Kate Moss as something sexy and aspirational. There’s really nothing sexy about a walking skeleton with a powder white mustache… Which brings me back to the UK Skins…. I know, I have an insatiable lust for this show and it really should calm down. In the series 1 finale of Skins, the mentally unstable and anorexic Cassie convinces one of her rehab clinic mates to leave the grounds with her for the evening. Her friend replies “What if we get hungry? There’s food out there!” I’m here to tell you to eat! Eat in moderation, Eat healthy, and eat smart. As always, too much of a good thing can be bad, or in some cases, deadly. Also… if you’re actively promoting healthy habits in your life, don’t be afraid of the occasional, or even weekly splurge. At the moment I am eating a double glazed old-fashioned style donut… and boy is it delicious!
Why is it that I find British TV’s The Secret Diary of a Call Girl to be the most relatable show on television? No, I definitely do not share professions with Belle, nor am I planning to. In fact, I wish had some sort of job to alleviate my impending doom of student loan repayment. Mind you, I have just under two years to find a job that will allow me to pay the approximate $600-800 a month in loan fees, $1,000 or so for NYC rent, and not to mention everything else that comes with being alive, e.g., health insurance, phone bills, internet, the occasional subscription to do-it-yourself/ self help magazines…. ok now maybe that’s just me, but still!
I admire Brooke Magnanti: the real author of the famous weblog Belle de Jour which inspired three books and The Secret Diary of a Call Girl television series for many reasons. Here was a woman who literally took life by the bollocks. Dr. Magnanti (yes she has a Ph. D.), now works at Bristol University using forensic science to research the effects of pesticides in children. Now why would such a smart woman resort to such seemingly disgusting means to exploit herself? Well, as she has said in many previous interviews, she blew her savings and needed to make enough money to support herself while preparing for the viva examination. The result was three or so evenings out of the week working as an “escort”, a weblog read by millions and a secret to carry for nearly a decade as she started her post-Belle life.
Dr. Brooke Magnanti a.k.a. former call girl and weblog phenomenon Belle de Jour
What I guess I’m really trying to say is that although I don’t intend to moonlight as a gay prostitute anytime soon, and boy have I been confused for one (we’ll talk about that one soon), I do plan on finding some type of unconventional employment soon so I can actually stay in this horridly expensive city when I do graduate in just over a year. And who knows, maybe we’ll be reading about a beau de jour by then