Monday, July 27, 2009

Chronicles of Life in the Big Bad Apple

Upon popular request, I am working on a book of my life, but in the meantime, I've wrapped it up in to blog form. So the new blog is about some of my "adventures" specifically on living in New York and on public transportation in New York City.

I dug through my myspace blog archive to share some of my favorite (!??) stories:

April 28, 2008 - Monday

I almost died today.

I was on the 6 train going uptown to an appointment at 11 this morning.

So at 14th Street, the 4/5 train is there, so people inevitably get off to transfer over across the platform. (In case you aren't familiar with the NYC Subway system, the 4/5 run express from 14th to 42nd Street, meaning they don't stop at all the other stops.)

It is pouring down rain outside, and there are puddles everywhere. As I'm walking across the platform, I slide in a puddle of water. I fall onto the ground and my right leg goes into the gap between the subway and the platform. So now I am on the ground and my leg is stuck between the subway and the platform. My left leg is on the platform, but bent at this weird angle.

Images of Boxing Helena flashed before my eyes. Would I function without my right leg? Would I ever get a date again? Would I be confined to a wheelchair? How would I get up the steps of my apartment? And will I ever be able to wear my pretty dresses again? I like my legs. They're my favorite body part. I am starting to lose my breathe.

As I'm beginning to panic, the doors of the train begin to shut.

Crap, crap, crap.

This is not good. Not good at all. This means the train is going to leave the station and take my leg along with it.

There were people on the train, but with the doors shut, there is nothing they can do to pull me out. I think the only other people on the platform are too far away to see what's going on and/or to know that I need help. (All this time, I am trying not to cry, or yelp, or panic.)

I am going to be on the cover of AMNY as the girl who falls into the subway tracks.

My worst fear has become realized.

Stand clear of the closing doors!! exclaims the jolly recorded message.

Bastards! Where am I going to go???

Somehow a surge of adrenaline came over me, because I pulled my stuck leg out of the gap.

And now it hurts like no tomorrow. I am bruised and bloody I'll be ashamed if anyone sees my leg. But then again, I guess I can't take the very thought of *having* a leg for granted. Bruised and bloody is better than no leg at all.

October 18, 2007 - Thursday

Somebody today asked me how I'm feeling.
"Like shit" I replied...."there's plaster falling down from my ceiling!"

The obnoxious neighbors have moved from their apartment upstairs
But the Management has decided to rennovate and do some repairs...

So the dust falls down on me from the vent
So they can renovate that apartment and raise up the rent!

The real estate market is a scam in New York City,
And all my neighbors suck, especially the "Ol Bitty"

She lives below me and likes to complain
My shower broke and down came the rain....

She said something in Spanish and pounded on my door,
I yelled "Uno momento, por favore!"

Out of the shower, towel wrapped around
I answered the door and the Ol' Bitty frowned.

"La agua, mucho problemo!" she exlaimed
I rolled my eyes....the wrong one has been blamed.

I said back to her "Go to the Super, I am no plumber!"
But this 'Ol Bitty couldn't be any dumber.

So my misery comes from above and below
I hate this apartment, but I've nowhere to go!

Tonight in my bed I'd like to watch the Tribe win the pennant
But instead, I'll go to get drunk, I'm an unhappy tennant.

So if you need to find this Unhappy Brunette
I'll be out looking for someone else to sublet.


September 25, 2007 - Tuesday

So as you may know if you're an avid reader of my blog, I have little sunlight and a view of a dank courtyard.

Across from my bathroom window is a window of some lazy man's bedroom. It never fails, he is *always* there in bed sleeping. Morning when I wake up. Night when I get home. All day during the weekend. I think all he ever does is lie in bed and watch TV.

And he never has pants on. I only see balls and legs. (Gross, I know.) His face is yet to be seen.

It's kinda like "the ugly naked guy" on Friends meets the faceless neighbor on the other side of the fence in Home Improvement.

I see it much much clearer in person, but there he is in the upper window just to the left of the pipe.

August 8, 2007 - Wednesday

Never fails. Every summer there is either a black-out, a subway crisis, or a flood. And it always happens on the hottest day in the city.

Today it took me 3 and a half hours to get to work. But all these crazy things happened on the way....

1) They kick us off the A train at 168th street. I get onto the 1 train an lo and behold I see this guy I know, Cesar!

2) Cesar and I take the 1 until 137th Street and we get kicked off THAT train.

3) We find a cab and share it with like five other people. Cesar even loaned me cab fare since I had no cash....awwww...

4) The cab is going to the east side, which is out of the way for me. So I get out at 52nd Street.

5) I find my friend Holly who happens to be in that vicinity too. Holly and I walk from 52nd Street to Tribeca. (This is about four miles I believe).

6) We stop for breakfast on the way.

7) For some reason I wore my comfortable shoes today. I usually wear my heels, but today I had packed them in my bag to change into (I had no idea the trains were this messed up).

8) I get to work around 10:30 AM and I realize some people didn't come until 2:00 PM because of this disaster. Turns out every single subway in the city was messed up. Man! I could have milked this for a lot longer!!! Too bad I'm an honest employee......


July 27, 2007 - Friday

First a little bit of background before we get to my blog:

Herd behavior describes how individuals in a group can act together without planned direction. The term pertains to the behavior of animals in herds, flocks, and schools, and to human conduct during activities such as stock market bubbles and crashes, street demonstrations, sporting events, episodes of mob violence and even everyday decision making, judgement and opinion forming. A group of animals fleeing a predator shows the nature of herd behavior. In the often cited article "Geometry For The Selfish Herd," evolutionary biologist WD Hamilton said each individual group member reduces the danger to itself by moving as close as possible to the center of the fleeing group. Thus the herd appears to act as a unit in moving together, but its function emerges from the uncoordinated behavior of self-seeking individuals.

So each and every day on the subway I play this game. (Well, *some* days, when I'm not sleeping or reading...) It is a game about group dynamics.

Basically what I do is pretend that my subway car crashed onto a tropical island. (Okay humor me here!) I look around and pick out the team leaders, the people who would panic, the people who would be natural care-takers, the people who would build the strongest forts, the people who would fish and hunt, the people who are lazy, the lovebirds who are removed from the group, etc. How do I do this? Easy. Observation.

Observation is an interesting thing. You can tell so much by observing a person's body language, the way they dress, the way they style their hair, their eye contact, the way they smell, etc.

NOW.....that being said, I work very hard not to judge people just based on appearances. I think that's the oxymoron of society. We form opinions about people and we are often wrong. One cannot know Everything about a person based solely on observation. And often, we pre-judge before the observation process or we leave out a vital part of information that we need. For instance, I do not interview or talk to these people on the subway, so I am missing some majorly important information. So I just have to play my silly little game based on what I see or hear.

On the subway car this morning, I picked myself as the smart, level-headed one who calms the panicked people. I picked a guy with strong buff arms as the "Jack" (Do you guys watch "Lost"? Although, I think Jack is a natural leader, I do think he's a bit of a pompous know-it-all and I think he would get on my nerves.) I picked a frail looking older woman in frumpy clothing as one of the "panicked" women. I picked a girl with pink hair and distant eyes as the one who strays from the herd. I picked the woman with the Prada bag and obnoxious perfume and perfectly coiffed hair as the prudish beeeotch who wants nothing to do with the herd. I picked the tall handsome man with the ipod and the amazing cologne, swaying to the beat of his songs of the one whose tent *I* would want to share......

Then in my mind I set up scenarios on the island. Like how these people would go about gathering food and setting up shelter. Who would bond with whom. Who would steal the food. Who would do absolutely nothing. Who would stray from the group. And so on and so forth. It's a forty minute subway ride. People do get on and off, so my game is a little skewed, but fun nonehteless. Sometimes I do this game with my myspace friends' list as well.

No wonder I always liked sociology so much.....

July 26, 2007 - Thursday

This morning I woke up in the gorgeous Bay Ridge neighborhood in Brooklyn. Maura and I had dinner and drank wine and laughed and shared funny stories last night. A little background on Maura-- we had at one point dated the same person (who shall remain nameless to protect his privacy, although I'm sure everyone pretty much knows and I'm pretty sure he doesn't care if I share the story anyhow. It's okay, right Ralph?) ...... So at any of the stories Maura and I shared went a lil' something like this:

Maura: Several years ago I dated this guy who was a cop and he lived in Brooklyn with his parents.
Laurie: For real? So did I.....except he moved to Staten Island. Chris A^!)**@. Sweet guy.
Maura: Wait a minute. Did he have a mustache? Was he a "housing" cop?
Laurie: Ummm.....Italian? Grew up in Bensonhurst? MrTn2104 on AIM?
Maura: Holy Shit, Laurie! We dated two of the same guys!
Laurie: That was in 2001. Sweet guy. Just no spark. Met him on
Maura: I did too!!! Just tell me you never dated Brad the Lawyer....
Laurie: Umm......Brad the lawyer in West Village with the Golden Retriever?
Maura: Brad the lawyer in West Village with the Golden Retriever, Jewish, last name T@*&*($*&
Laurie: Is this even POSSIBLE in a city of 8.5 million people, that we would have not one, not two, but THREE men in common?
Maura: Just goes to prove that there are more men than women in this world.

Crazy, right? I guess it makes sense. We both have blue eyes, long hair (although Maura's is blonder than mine), counseling backgrounds, and similar sense of humor. And honestly, is a small world. Mary and I signed up for it once at the same time and we got a lot of the same people. Now I want to get in touch with Chris A. He was sweet, but there wasn't the chemistry necessary to maintain a relationship. I do think he had an easy-going personality though, and would get a kick out of this. Maura heard from Brad T. within the last six months, so I think we should let him know too. I thought he was kinda pompous and perverted, but I still think it would be funny to let him know about this synchronicty.

So this morning I treked it from the bottom of Brooklyn to the top of Manhattan (took an hour and a half on three different subway lines). This morning I renewed my lease (just one more lousy year in that place) and discovered that my rent is only going up $27, not $36, which isn't tooooo bad (although rent increases still suck). I was walking through Inwood to the Management Company and I realized "Inwood really isn't so bad." It's actually quite pretty when there aren't a bunch of icky men making vulgar comments to me in Spanish. There are trees and parks and sunshine and birds. It's just *my* street that is bad. The rest of the neighborhood is great. (Although parking really sucks there). But it only takes me 40 minutes to get to work by subway.

So I decided to wave, wink, and smile back to anyone who waved, whistled or "Hi Mami"ed me today. Construction workers, garbage men, hoodlams, homeless people, truck drivers, etc. It was fun. I don't think they know how to respond when a woman actually responds back. But they did smile back at me , albeit with a kind of blank/amazed expression on their faces. So from now on I think I'm going to be flattered instead of being irritated when slimebags whistle. I mean, it must mean that I'm not *that* grossly obese or ugly. So I am now turning it into something that makes me feel good.

And I also feel immensely amused that Maura and I dated three of the same men in a city of 8.5 million of them.