The Park Avenue MacBook Blues

(Note: This was started a loooong time ago, after my computer crashed in March.)

Within the first twelve hours that I was reunited with my computer, I watched one episode of the new season of House of Cards, the first two episodes of Black Mirror (if you have any inclinations whatsoever toward The Twilight Zone, find Black Mirror on Netflix NOW), and four YouTube videos. I downloaded five songs and sent six emails.

Despite overworking my computer’s RAM–that’s a thing, right?–I’ve been treating my computer as though it is a loved one who has just returned from an intensive care unit, showering it with excessive care, coddling it in such a way that I haven’t cared for it since…well, spring of 2010, when I first received it as a graduation gift. I am aware that in a couple of weeks I will probably forget that my computer was ever in danger of being gone forever, and take it for granted as I’d grown accustomed to doing before our separation that fateful Wednesday morning at Grand Central Station.

As promised, I will recount the details of that trip.

I woke up bright and early so I could make my early morning Genius Bar appointment. I got on one crowded subway to Manhattan, then transferred onto an even more crowded uptown subway to Grand Central. Straddled between my legs was my bag, in order to make room for the other less patient individuals who couldn’t wait for the next 4 or 5 train that was undoubtedly coming right behind that one. Someone’s face was in my armpit, and a man in a business seat was squinting at me a little more than I would have liked, but none of it really mattered because I had a writing submission due in a few days and I had no idea what the fate of my laptop would be.

A few minutes later I found myself in Grand Central. It was weird being surrounded by people hustling and bustling to go someplace else while I was already at my final destination. I pushed my way past indecisive walkers, oblivious tourists taking pictures, and a lot of men in suits who didn’t have time to squint at me because they were rushing to their respective skyscraper offices. I climbed the (marble?) stairs up to, then past, the glowing fruit that sits on every MacBook computer–a low-hanging sun in the sky of unknown possibility that is the Apple Store.

“I have an appointment,” I mumbled to the greeter in the blue shirt waiting at the top of the stairs.

He cheerfully gave me some directions, complete with some helpful pointing. He looked content.

I wanted to be that content.

Minutes later I found myself sitting at the Genius Bar, heart pounding. On my right, a couple of stools down, sat an older gentleman whose tech dude was schooling him on all things iCloud. I could have used that tutorial session, but I zoned out most of the specifics of their discussion–except for the fact that this older gentleman had a working computer and I did not.

Their conversation was painfully jovial, but listening to it did leave me feeling rather hopeful. The enthusiastic tech dude, whose name was something common like Andrew or William, promised the man that if he ever needed to come back he could just ask for him because he was the only tech dude named Andrew/William in the entire Grand Central Apple Store. Wow, right? You’da thunk we were at a bar, they were so friendly.

I waited a few moments longer for my own appointment to begin. Finally, a young guy behind the bar came up to me. He looked at me expectantly. I blinked back.

“Hi,” I finally said. “How are you?” This confused me. It wasn’t my job to make him feel comfortable, but our staring contest was super awkward and I wanted to get the ball rolling.

The silent tech dude muttered something, then asked how he could help me. He wasn’t as friendly as Andrew/William. I felt swindled. After a few more exchanges he disappeared with my laptop.

I felt even more swindled when another giant tech dude came up and called out his own interpretation of my name. “How can I help you today?” Tall Tech Dude asked once I made my presence known. He was equally cheerily–even more so–than Andrew/William, and a thousand times more cheery than Silent Tech Dude. I wished I’d had him from the start.

“Actually, someone already–”

Andrew/William excused himself from his cocktail conversation beside us conversation long enough to tell Tall Tech Dude that Silent Tech Dude had already taken my computer. Tall Tech Dude looked as baffled as I did, then disappeared in the direction of my laptop.

Even more stressed–Apple needs to get their s*** together, I was thinking–I looked over at another situation occurring on my left.The guy who was on my side of the Genius Bar was having problems with his hard drive. His tech dude (who was very attractive, I might add) didn’t sound cheery. His voice was grim. The computer’s data might all be lost. It would cost xxx amount of money. They’d have to hold on to his computer for an x amount of time.

It didn’t hit me until then that I, too, might be in that same position. Suddenly I didn’t feel like I was at the Genius Bar but was instead in a hospital waiting room. The idea that my laptop would be held on to had never crossed my mind; suddenly, I realized that that could be me–computer-less–in a few minutes.

Prior to my computer dying on me, I’d already been having issues with the charging equipment (read: part of the cord was frayed to the wire, and that gray rectangle metal piece that inserts into the charging port would often stay in the charging port even when I pulled the rest of the cord out. In short, my cord was one big ball of plastic packing tape). So when I arrived to my workshop that evening and my computer refused to charge whatsoever, I was mildly miffed but not totally surprised. We’d made it through five years of stormy weather so far–surely, the problem would work itself out.

Apparently, though, the literal stormy weather that was occurring outside the night my laptop died had managed to find itself into my charger port. Alas, my MacBook had reached its (temporary) end.

Tall Tech Dude came back. Five minutes later I was walking out of Grand Central Station, both my physical load and my head much lighter.

As childish as it sounds, I felt like I was about to cry. Tears brimmed my eyes as I wondered how much money I could afford to spend on my laptop should the problem be deemed something more serious once it had been sent out. I wondered how many hours I would have to spend in the blasted New School library, how much time it would take me to finish my writing submission that I’d already started and hadn’t backed up recently. Stupid. Everything was just stupid.

I was about to exit the doors onto 42nd Street, reaching for my phone so I could call my mom and cry it out, when a Brooklyn-accented man said beside me, “Age before beauty!”

I mustered the best smile I could muster. “Thanks,” I said, sniffing. He was an old man, maybe in his late sixties, nearly my height, stout. He was red-faced, an aspect even more prominent due to the fact that the little hair he did have was snow white. He was dressed in a business suit and carried a briefcase that knocked against my right leg.

“I like your hat,” he said to me, a big grin on his face.

“Oh, thank you,” I said through tears.

“What’s your name? Let’s be friends! Where are you headed?” He linked his arm in mine.

Normally, in situations such as these, I will fabricate some kind of name and some kind of location that is conveniently a few feet away, so I will not have to talk to a stranger very long. But by this point, on this sunny Wednesday morning in Manhattan, all of my mental energy had gone toward realizing how screwed I would be if my computer decided to die on me then. For forever.

I told the old man my name, and that I was heading to the Starbucks on 29th and Park.

What a coincidence! He was walking to 32nd and Park. We might as well be walking partners.

He was a bit weird at first–he kissed my hand in that charming way that suitors tend to do when they intend to be charming–and I eventually did end up un-linking my arm from his, because I didn’t want to look like one of those sugar babies you see shamelessly walking down Park Avenue with an older dude who is filthy rich. (At least, I feel like that’s something one would see. I can’t say I ever have.) But we discovered that we had odd things in common–his wife lived right outside Hamden, and she had studied at The New School many, many years ago.

The walk might have lasted ten minutes or so, but the man and I chatted for roughly half of it. The other half we tread in silence, one of us speaking every now and then to make a comment or an observation.

After I “dropped him off” at his no-doubt fancy shmancy office, he gave me a farewell hug. I felt as though everyone was staring at us because we were an odd couple, me in my jeans and my Keds and my scarf, him in his business suit and old age. But I also didn’t care. I appreciated not having had to spend that walk downtown on my cell phone but instead enjoying the city around me, in all of its wonderful, random glory.

The man wished me luck with my computer. “Everything will work out,” he promised me with a smile. “You seem like a very intelligent young lady. Good things will come your way.” I couldn’t help but think of my library friend when he gave me a wink and headed into his building.

Once I arrived at my own destination of Starbucks, I did end up calling my mother. But the first thing that came out of my mouth wasn’t about my laptop or my writing assignment or how terrible I thought my life was at the moment. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “You will not believe what just happened…”

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Ginger Candy

Last week I made a new friend at the Bushwick branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

It was a Tuesday afternoon, and it was my first time visiting the library in my own neighborhood. (I’m surprised it took so long–it’s rather convenient, and there are outlets at every single table, and it’s very neat, and relatively quiet. And a seven minute walk away as opposed to a nearly hour-long subway ride to the main Brooklyn Library. But I digress.)

I don’t know this woman’s name or where she lives, but I do know she is quite old, very little, and walks with a cane. She is Asian, but I am not sure where she is from. When I first met her she was bundled from head to foot and her glistening, smooth cheeks were touched with cold.

“Aren’t you hot?” she asked as she plopped down in the seat diagonal from mine, catching me off guard before I understood. I was still wearing my fuzzy brown head wrap–a wrap that I have convinced myself, due to the icy wind that has essentially worn me down to the core for the past few weeks, also doubles as a fashionable headband. Very rarely do I take it off. I think I have even started basing my outfits around this one fuzzy brown head wrap, consciously or not. The winter struggle is real.

I shook my head no, that I wasn’t too hot, then smiled, trying to get back into what I was working on. She giggled and began to unwrap herself, muttering brightly to no one in particular.

Feeling I hadn’t said enough in my reply, I added: “Just wait–you come in feeling very hot, but after sitting for a while, it gets very cold.” I gestured “hot” and “cold” with my hands, partly because I was trying to keep my voice low, and partly because I wasn’t sure if she understood what I meant.

A few seconds later she popped open one of the library’s loaner laptops that a lanky high school kid (if he was maybe fifteen years-old, am I old enough to call him a kid?) with a hi-top fade had carried over for her. She’d thanked him profusely, bowing her head as if he’d carried her across the library.

The high-schooler had simply grinned at her bashfully. It was nothing at all, I’m six feet tall, he seemed to say, but she’d kept thanking him even after he had already returned to wherever he had been when this little woman had voiced her concern about transporting her laptop to a table.

After this first interaction about being cold, part of me wondered if she would be a chatty person. And I will admit that I was somewhat frustrated–in the nicest way possible–that I wouldn’t be able to do what I needed to do because she would keep speaking to me.

I was partly right about the chatty part, but the frustration part quickly faded away. The woman spoke to me a few times. Once was about the Love Chapel Hill sticker on my laptop (she liked the way the word LOVE looked, but I don’t know if she knew of the place in particular). Another time, she spoke to me for assistance.

“Can you help me?” she half-whispered, half-sang. In rough English she explained she was trying to figure out how long it would take her to walk to a particular address in Brooklyn. She turned her loaner laptop around to face me.

Google Maps filled the screen, but that was all about all I could decipher. The rest was freckled with what I was 90% sure were Korean characters. I hesitated, then told her I would look the addresses up in my own computer.

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Living “The Dream”? How I spent MLK Day

Yesterday, after talking to Mom for a while about miscellaneous topics, I scolded her for going to a casino instead of seeing Selma on MLK Day.

“Ma! You’re a terrible black person,” I joked, taking a bite out of my hotdog. I had stopped into Five Guys because I had just had a nice meeting with an advisor and was feeling good about myself. “And casinos, no less. How could you?!”

We laughed—of course I didn’t actually believe she was a terrible black person—and then I admitted that I hadn’t spent my MLK day any better. Upon waking up that Monday morning, I derped around on my computer for a bit. I ended up on YouTube.

I’m perfectly sure that I’d intended to search for the “I Have a Dream” speech; instead, I was distracted by the “Epic Rap Battles in History” in my suggested videos and suddenly I found myself watching Cleopatra vs. Marilyn Monroe (I still think Cleo went too far by dissing Marilyn’s failed battle with barbiturates). Then Stephen King vs. Edgar Allen Poe, and then the first rap battle I ever saw and the one that will always be my personal favorite, William Shakespeare vs. Dr. Seuss (Seuss definitely won, even if the Cat in the Hat did the dirty work for him).

I considered clicking on the Martin Luther King vs. Gandhi ERB, but decided against it. For some reason, that just didn’t feel right, especially on MLK day.

Then, I watched a few minutes of “My Wife and Kids.” I haven’t had the guts to watch “The Cosby Show,” like I used to from time to time online. But “My Wife and Kids” didn’t do much for me either, so I turned it off and decided to order Mexican food.

The whole walk to Café Los Arcos, I felt a nagging sense of guilt tugging at my wallet. As the man handed me my food and I thanked him, telling him to have a great day, I couldn’t help but feel like he was judging me.

Shouldn’t you be eating soul food or something? I heard him say. It was in my head, of course, but the fact that I had ordered quesadillas, not fried chicken, on MLK day—which I enjoyed while watching a full episode of “Gilmore Girls,” not “Girlfriends”—troubled me. Continue reading

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To Fall in Love With Anyone, Don’t Do This

Wednesday, January 7, 2014. 6:25 am. I’m warm and snug in my bed, in a stage of blissful, content sleep. The elated feeling that I have can only be compared with one that might come from, say, walking down the summer streets of Paris while holding the hands of a giant human-sized chunk of brie and an equally giant chunk of fresh French bread. That’s how into my sleep I am. I don’t mind that cheese and bread have hands, because I am happy and warm and fuzzy.

And then my alarm goes off and suddenly I’m wondering why I am awake. And not in Paris hanging out with brie and baguette.

As badly as I want to swipe snooze and roll over, I know that if I don’t leave my apartment within the next 35 minutes to head to Park Slope I will most likely be late to work. 6:25 am is not normally early for me, but I’d spent most of the previous night researching sex toys and sexy lingerie for my most recent freelance assignment. It beat writing about funeral homes, which was the last assignment I’d chosen.

For a split second, in those first few minutes of cajoling myself to get out of bed, I questioned why I had opted to quit one stable job that allowed me to sleep until eight in order to work two or three jobs at a time that sometimes started as early as 7:30 am and ended as late as 9 pm. It was the first time of 2015 I would wonder this, and probably not the last. But the knowledge that I would be done by two and have the rest of the day to myself was enough to get me moving.

Once I managed to pull some clothes on, toss a Carolina Alumni hat on top of my head, and break out into a morning that was still too dark for my liking, I was finally feeling like something of an awake human being. By the time I got on the L, I was maybe 50% of a functioning person. I felt like I was a whopping 75% of a functioning person by the time I got off to transfer for the G–enough, apparently, for me to whip out Kitty Genovese The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America1.

I hopped on the G. It took a couple of stops but I found a seat, next to a slouched over man who didn’t smell too great. So when the majority of passengers got off at a major stop (Hoyt-Shermalackalacka, or Hoyt-Schermerhorn, as more adept Brooklynites pronounce it), I low-key switched seats, opting for a window seat by a corner. I still had half of my ride left, and about 15% until I felt like I was a complete functioning person.

My butt had barely murmured “hello” to the bright orange plastic seat I’d decided to plant myself in before the young man taking a seat in the subway seat perpendicular to mine started talking to me.

I couldn’t hear him at first–or was I ignoring him? it was too early for conversation–so I continued reading.

He muttered something else. Cursing myself for not wearing headphones and seeming like I actually couldn’t hear anything, I peered up at him behind the binding of my library book, allowing the brim of my baseball cap to cover as much of my face as it possibly could. The guy stared at me anyway.

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Sixty-thousand four hundred and eighty minutes. How do you measure six weeks?

A lot can happen in six weeks.

In fact, I am so overwhelmed by how much I should probably write on these last six weeks that with each word I type I take pause (cough, stall) to reflect. When I come up with nothing, I take a hearty bite of my rice and beans that sits on the left side of this computer. Then I type a few letters, pause, reflect, rinse, repeat.

So how do I start? Well, I suppose I can begin by saying that I made red beans and rice from scratch a couple of nights ago. They are delicious.

All food aside, I will also say that the Changing of the Calendars Ceremony has officially occurred. It took me three days, but a 2015 calendar — an I Love Lucy themed one once again, of course — has finally replaced the old one.

I was somewhat alarmed at how gleeful I was as I unwrapped it from its thin plastic packaging. I mean, you’d think that by the time I owned the entire DVD series, read numerous biographies, and had at least four or five different Lucy calendars in my life, the buzz would wear off. But it didn’t. I was excited to put it on my wall, because It’s a huge contrast from my 2014 I Love Lucy calendar.

Last year, the scenes for each month had been in their classic black-and white-format. This year, the scenes are filled with playful bursts of color. Lucy as Marilyn Monroe, Lucy as Superman, Lucy as a showgirl in a top heavy headdress…every scene is depicted in bold colors, and tastefully at that. None of that washed out mumbo jumbo that the colorized episodes always seem to have.

Behind each scene of Lucy being ridiculous is a bright, vibrant pastel color that reminds me of one of Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe diptychs.

I’m hoping this pop artsy calendar is a sign that 2015 will be a refreshing change from last year. 2014 was fantastic–graduation, grad school acceptance, moving to Brooklyn–but I’m feeling like things will get even more exciting.

So far, in the first three days of this year, I have already reconnected with old friends over fun, crazy/sketchy karaoke in Koreatown. I’ve connected with new friends. I’ve learned to accept the G train, flaws and all. I’ve worked 22 hours at my new job. I’ve started Junot Diaz’s Drown. I discovered an awesome Panera in Brooklyn; in fact, I have only left Brooklyn once so far in the new year, something I feel strangely proud of. I also had the amusement (only amusing because I was in and out before it got so bad) of finally witnessing a line that didn’t just wrap through every single aisle of Trader Joe’s, but formed along the outside of the actual building. And all three of my faithful readers out there will recall how life-and-death Paneras in this area can be.

Big things are happening to me already in 2015, I tell you. Big things.

The last six weeks have been even more satisfying. I finally left a job that had been slowly eating my brain, bite by bite, bit by bit. One day, I woke up and realized I was killing myself for reasons that weren’t good enough. Okay, well, having money to eat/pay rent/go out was good reason. But I realized that I wasn’t happy with what I’d accomplished in the last five months. I felt like I hadn’t put nearly as much effort into my writing because by the time I got home all I wanted to do was unwind. I used work as my excuse for watching Netflix instead of writing.

This is probably the first time I will ever publicly admit this, but in many cases, writing doesn’t help me unwind. At least, the kind of writing that I feel like people would actually want to read doesn’t help me unwind. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. It was hard enough learning how to be okay with letting people read what I’ve written, and accepting criticism. But even after that, it’s really hard work trying to compel people, with words, to see and feel things the same bizarre way that I do. When it doesn’t work, it’s painfully frustrating. It’s painfully embarrassing, too.

So you can imagine my frustration when I looked around my bedroom, saw the things I had bought with money from my first job in NYC–my dresser, my wardrobe, my space heater, my phone case, books, my metro card…and felt like I’d sold out. For what? A little bit of heat?

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Falling Furniture

Somewhere in between having the frame of my massive wardrobe fall on both of my feet and lugging a space heater on an uptown 2 train, adulthood really sunk in.

Which is kind of funny. Not the bruising-my-left-foot-and-breaking-the-skin-on-my-right-toe part (although let it be known that my father burst out laughing when I told him and, after reminding my mother of the time I almost literally broke my foot moving a heavy desk in my Medieval Lit class around this same time in 2011, she giggled too). It’s funny because by now, adulthood has already made its presence known in many little ways that would make one think I would notice it sooner: paying my own rent; worrying about finding doctors in NYC who take my insurance ( “Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield” sounds like a knock off of the “real thing”); turning twenty-two and having to work all day and then go to class afterward (yes, I just linked to my own blog).

Even still, writhing around my kitchen floor, hammering things in here and there, and scrutinizing the instructions while I had rather been cuddling in my bed watching I Love Lucy made me feel so “old” (and I use that term loosely). That whole doing things you have to do instead of doing things you want to do has never felt so real. This time last year I had two jobs while also going to school, but my responsibilities weren’t nearly as exhausting. When holidays came, I would be able to take two, three weeks off work. The coffee shop had plenty of baristas in rotation; Campus Rec shut down like everything else at UNC.

Now, not only can I not really take off that much time at once–I’ve yet to accrue any vacation time yet, anyway–I can’t really afford to. Because I’m going to need to, you know, pay for rent. And bills. And $5.00 loaves of bread. And beer.

Similarly, I couldn’t lie in my bed watching TV because eventually this wardrobe needed to happen. It wasn’t like one of my class projects that my mom would inevitably help me out with and excite me about once I’d lost interest1. My dad wasn’t there, either, to make it all look like a piece of cake.

On the other hand, a trip to the New York Public Library yesterday made me feel super young (mostly because I felt super inexperienced). I went to play around with microfilm for a bit, not really grasping what that meant. In the process, I learned that the archive room and the microfilm room are two very different things, and I learned that getting a library card is really easy. Once the security guard guided me in the right direction, and once I’d arrived in the right room, and once I’d received the so “helpful” information from an unsmiling librarian that the New York Daily News microfilm was “all the way in the back, on a self-serve basis,” I realized that I hadn’t really prepared for any of the actual research I’d been planning to do.

I knew what I wanted to find: the April 7, 1996 issue of the New York Daily News, in which my dad and I appear in a photograph that’s framed by a description of his court case against Golf Digest.

I didn't feel like taking the time to figure out the printer. I'll save that process for a whole 'nother day.

I didn’t feel like taking the time to figure out the printer. I’ll save that process for a whole ‘nother day.

What I didn’t really know was that a) I was going to need a library card (just kidding–after fleeing from the microfilm room to get one, thinking I needed one to start the machine, I found out I actually didn’t need one at the time–glad I got one though.) I also learned that b) I was going to have to use an antiquated contraption in order to make the microfilm translate into anything useful. Choking on my pride–I’d just put together a wardrobe and bought a space heater, for Pete’s sake!–I YouTubed, Wiki-ed, Googled, just about AskJeeves-ed how to use a microfilm reader. I didn’t want to ask for help.

But the thing is, a lot of the microfilm readers I found online were fancy hi-tech ones. The ones that were open at the NYPLL were old ones, ones that I suspect had been there since the 1960s. So fiddling around with my phone while helpers (who didn’t include the unsmiling man) sat about fifteen feet away started to feel pretty counterproductive pretty fast. Once I finally broke down and had someone help me load the machine, it was smooth sailing.

Needless to say, I will definitely be back there. Considering how much I like old things, I can’t believe it took me that long. After I found the article on my dad, I perused through a New York Times article from 1898 about a failed train robbery. Story ideas, any one?

So that’s that. A wardrobe, a space heater (it even came with a remote!), AND microfilm research. Feeling like a pro. By the way, I still haven’t finished putting my wardrobe together yet. I literally need to put the drawer in and I’m done, but life just moves so fast…

1I’m remembering specifically drawing a picture of my pediatrician’s office, sometime around the time that incredibly diverse Rodgers & Hammerstein Cinderella premiered during The Wonderful World of Disney. By the way, I read that Keke Palmer is playing Cinderella in the first Broadway production that has had a black Cinderella. Is that rad or what? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtxPGAyESDA

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“You don’t know about me/ But I’ll bet you want to”

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The baristas wished me a happy birthday on my cup AND spelled my name right.

In the weeks and days leading up to my birthday, I had multiple discussions with friends and family about how I didn’t quite feel anything about turning twenty-two — besides the fact that I could sing one of my favorite songs from Taylor Swift’s Red album with an element of veracity (minus the fact that I don’t dress like a hipster). Oh, and not feel that air of judgment — imagined or not — when people hear my age. That whole twenty-one stigma is real.

What I was supposed to feel, I’m not quite sure. Like New Year’s Eve, birthdays are those kinds of things that cause – force? — you to reflect on who you’ve become in the last year, where you are in life, and where you aren’t. I can certainly say that this time last year I had no idea I would be living in Brooklyn let alone doing grad school (a revelation that didn’t come to me until the end of 2013). One year (and a few days) ago I was working two jobs, gleefully writing papers on Alfred Hitchcock movies (yikes, my inner nerd is showing), and milking undergrad life for all that it was worth.

I was also buying groceries at a much cheaper price, at a grocery store whose checkout lines didn’t resemble one of Dante’s circles from hell, didn’t need workers holding picket signs to tell you — as soon as you walked in — that the line began, coincidentally, there, where you walked in, and didn’t make you decide that perhaps you should just turn around and not eat dinner that night, or ever again.

(You, the reader, are probably confused by the above sentence. What’s more, it would probably get torn apart in my writing workshop. But the conveyance of the terror that is shopping at the Union Square Trader Joe’s does not allow pretty sentences. If you don’t believe me, there’s a Buzzfeed article about this very thing.)

Oh, Harris Teeter. The comforting Davis Library to my confusing New School library. The $1.00 Rice-A-Roni to my $1.70 Rice-A-Ron. The fresh air to my cramped city air. How I miss shopping your shelves like it was my job, getting to know your employees, and knowing where everything was. How I miss your wide open spaces; your nooks of reasonably priced vegetables  and crannies of even more so reasonably priced spirits. With you, I could meander at my leisure to the sounds of Hall and Oates, all the while not having to worry about being run over by an aggressive shopper whose aggression is completely understandable because affordable grocery stores in NYC are hard to come by.

Before I let this go to a dark place — whoops, too late? — I will address what this post was originally supposed to address, and bring up the birthdays I’ve celebrated in the last couple of years. Friends at school who may have experienced them with me may look back with me in fondness, and I will even permit you a chuckle or two (see: blow job shot incident).

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