lonely lovely city

lonely lovely city

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thirty Days

Is it possible to break a habit in thirty days? Well, according to author, Janet Conner, it is. Her newly released book, “Writing Down Your Soul,” is an inspiring and courageous way of changing how we think through writing a journal. As I sat in the lobby of my doctor’s office, I read a magazine with the headline on the second page, staring into my eyes in a bold yellow font right under the main glossary, “30 days to break a habit. A writers guide to happiness”

I dislike knowing that I still have habits that have not been broken. After years of reading self-help books, enrolling in Psychology classes in college, seeing multiple therapists, I am convinced that without a habit, we wouldn’t be who we are, imperfect, complicated, vulnerable, lastly human.

I am one who is constantly examining things that aren’t working; it could be a job, a certain relationship, a taxing situation that repeats itself, or a form of thought that impedes my path, whatever the case might be, most of the time, I see the grey areas of life that trap me. After I left my medical appointment, I walked out into the bitter cold and made a mental list. I want to change that. Why do I still do this? Maybe if I do it this way, I will change. And, I realized, that my habit of self-criticism was once again, seeping its way into my head. Why wasn’t I writing this as I walked?

The author went on to say how starting a journal can lead to self-empowerment and healthy feelings about one’s self. She says that taking a chunk of time that is available each day to write, in the same place, at the same time, in the same vessel so to speak, aids in the way we connect the dots in capturing the blessings and wisdom that is bestowed on us.

Its not like I don’t know this. As a writer myself, I try to take the time to outline thoughts that might not even go anywhere, thoughts that are merely rants and mindless dribble that just need to come out on the page. Most writing teachers I’ve worked with have all said that a journal is a fantastic way to channeling misguided thoughts into action. To actually see what we were thinking at that time, where we were when we wrote it, illustrates personal growth.

I was going to list some of the habits I still carry with me on this posting. But, then I thought, why? Who really needs to know? Who cares? The only person that can and should is probably me. I like how Conner suggests how continual writing can actually lead to a healthier immune system. The spewing of negative feelings on to the written screen or page can and does lead to a lighter approach to thinking. I have found myself, months after I wrote something, wondering, I wrote that? Why? Wow.

I challenge all of you who read this blog to do the same thing. Write a journal at least for a month. See how all of the thoughts we carry restrict us, knowing very well that a majority of them aren’t true. Often, I am a cynic, but I am also a hopeful optimist who believes good things happen to those who wait.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bewitched


I read an article last night about the late and beloved star of Bewitched, Elizabeth Montgomery. A tell all is to be published, revealing her contentious relationships with former co-stars, numerous marriages and affairs, substance abuse, the privileged Hollywood childhood that she apparently resented, and the distaste for the very role that garnered millions of loyal fans.

Bewitched was a staple during my youth. I'd spend short spring and summer breaks, visiting my grandparent's house with the cascading red mountains of Northern Utah in the back drop. In the afternoons, I'd sit on the maroon shag rug in the living room with a bowl of barbeque potato chips and a bowl of peanut M&M's, waiting for Bewitched. The large, wooden incased Zenith television with golden legs sat in the corner of the room with my grandfather sitting on his leather recliner in the back, always napping during commercials, usually with his glasses resting towards the base of his large nose, dispensing wide smiles when I looked over my shoulder.

Sturdy in stature, the TV functioned like an actual member of the family. It was given due respect and care. Large vases with fake flowers and bowls of plastic fruit complimented the top of the TV, along with my grandparent's wedding picture from 1934 in an antique, silver plated frame. I was transported to a different logic at 1'o clock when the opening credits rolled with that infamous instrumental ring. Montgomery sashayed on the screen with a broomstick and wiggled that nose and played with the family black cat.

The episodes didn't matter. I was just entranced with the unmistakable charm and affability of the show. In a span of a mere second, in the wiggle of a nose, people and images appeared, problems were solved, with happy endings around the corner. I enjoyed bonding with my grandfather, absorbing old reruns that still tug at my heart.

Wherever you are Ms. Montgomery, I want to thank you for creating beautiful moments that I still remember and treasure. I don't care what is written. You are and will always be a treasured star.






Sunday, November 18, 2012

Au Revoir Childhood


This week signified a turning point. Twinkies, the small, spongy cakes, filled with the unidentifiable creme center, the little bundles of sweet bliss that are presumably manufactured to survive a nuclear war, the baked goods that propelled immediate pangs of joy and guilt during a bewildering childhood, the yellow and white tubes that shielded my soul when I was bullied by jerks, are ceasing indefinitely via the closure of Hostess, the namesake responsible for some of the memories that are indelible of many American youths, much like my own.

I haven't inhaled a Twinkie since 1989. I forgot them the way an adolescent does when they leave someone close they grew up with in a neighborhood that they no longer live, but promise to stay in touch and never do. Perhaps I forgot about the Twinkie because I grew up.

I must have passed them thousands of times throughout the years, shopping in an efficient way as an adult does, making healthy and conscious choices, attempting to sever ties to all processed foods with no nutritional value. I had not given them a second thought until this Wednesday when I surfed the net. When I saw, "The End" in bold letters, a tidal wave of recollections surfaced.

I remembered how special they were to a little boy who was trying to make sense of the world and others with all of its harsh realities and their inevitable uncertainties. Why did they taste so good? Why did they comfort me? How could something so small and insignificant to most, create a rushing sensation of goodness and warmth?

I think it was the freshness and base of the package. Aromatic and familiar, I'd hold it up to my nose and lay it aside, eventually squeezing it, just making sure it would return to its original form. It was there without fail in my packed brown paper lunch bag, nearly perched above my sandwich, potato chips, and small carton of milk. The Twinkie was much like a friend that knows and loves, that could never leave your side.

That afternoon after the announcement following the abrupt eradication of this beloved good, I ran errands and went to the gym, paying a surprise visit to the market. Located next on the corner of the bread aisle, I saw a horizontal row of Hostess baked goods. Ding Dongs and cupcakes and fruit pies all stood beside one another in unison with an unwavering loyalty to their subsequent counterparts.

When I examined the shelves, there were two boxes left on the very bottom, all the way in the back, almost as if they were hiding. I bent down and grabbed one along with my 2% greek yogurt and Multi-grain cheerios that were neatly placed in a tiny wire basket. I went home and took a Twinkie out before everything else was put away, as if it was the end of the world. I stood there, wiping away the creme from my lips, ashamed I'd wrecked my diet. I went through two under a few minutes. Delicious as ever, it was if I were transported to my childhood, lost in a world of treats, without obligations or responsibilities.

In the quiet of my kitchen, neatly tucked away in my upper cabinet, lies three fourths of a box that remains. I am saving each and every one until I can't fight off the temptation any longer of having something sweet and sentimental near by. Sadly, I can no longer march to the store and see its package, and smell it, and squeeze it, as I did when I was younger. R.I.P Hostess. I am indebted with gratitude and will never forget the endearing and unforgettable relationship we shared.




Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday On The Hudson


There seems to be that last sunny day in fall where it feels like summer, where the weather tricks you into believing that shorts and flip flops will suffice. I didn't do that, but I saw plenty of people who did on this balmy October afternoon. The bright sun and crisp blue sky felt like a big hug from mother nature.

After my workout at the gym, I fled from the confines of the east village. I headed west with a bag of Scandinavian candy ($12.99 a pound I might add) and a plastic cup of mint iced tea. I walked on Christopher and made my way to the Hudson. It reminded me of my mid twenties when I first moved to NYC in 2000.

During my youth, I couldn't imagine not staying in the west village where every crevice and each street corner felt safe and familiar, where I felt like I was in the center of the universe. It was the quintessential spot for a young, gay man like myself who was struggling to belong. I would roam the streets at night with friends and imagine what it would be like to live in the rows of tony, red bricked townhouses, with their perfect flower boxes and window shutters. My favorites were always Jane, Bank, and west 10th. I recalled thinking that I would be fortunate enough to live in an overpriced, box shaped apartment, and write like Edith Horton and Mark Twain.

I remember being so comfortable then, seen by many, those in my community mainly, feeling like I could assimilate anywhere within those tight streets that crisscrossed into one another. I was like everyone else, I was normal. After twelve years of residing in three boroughs, being in nine apartments, living with inconsiderate, immature, smelly, loud flat mates, dating part-time and temporary lovers, plowing through friendships that came, stayed, and went, employed at more jobs than I care to admit, my loyalty to this beloved neighborhood has faded, and I don't know why. It is painful reminder of how letting go of something, even when you are not aware of it, can effect you.

Much has shifted from my earlier days. The last time I was on Christopher was a few years ago when I had a bad date with a guy I met online. Some of the bars are still there, yet a majority of the bakeries and restaurants I used to frequent have been obliterated and replaced with upscale boutiques and salons and designer food shops.

All of it became so foreign, scary, so overwhelming as I marched through the crowds on each block today as I tried to avoid the obvious and giddy tourists with their paper folded maps as they pointed to Magnolia and Marc Jacobs, as if it was their first time seeing the Louvre. I was determined to see the rippled currents of the Atlantic and breathe in the salted sky, anything of what it was like when I first arrived here, and how this nook in Manhattan meant everything in my life at that time.

The parks have been transformed into beacons of hope for the residents who live nearby. Long gone are the deserted paths where you wouldn't be caught dead past a certain hour. It's all dust. Million dollar, modern sky scrapers dominate the west side highway with newly minted, miraculous piers that stand with their sturdiness and chrome benches along with the large, sterile public bathrooms. After reading a magazine and checking email, I sat on a bench, took pictures, and watched the sun set behind New Jersey with couples canoodling, droves of people from behind the bench, scantly clad, running for life, out of breath, listening to their iPhones, as if they were at a marathon.

I reminisced as each ray of the sun came down, pining for that last bit of indian summer while listening to music on my mobile device. I have to believe that these changes are in fact good, and how the memories of this pivotal time in my life are mine alone, and how they make me the man I am today. And how above anything else, I need to adhere to the subsequent changes that lie ahead, no matter where they wait.





Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dad In The City

I spent some time this afternoon in a tiny park on the lower east side. It has this massive basketball court and baseball field with a beautiful row of trees that trickle down to SoHo. I usually sit at this bench in front of a gated playground and think with a drink and snack in hand. It is one of my sacred spaces in Manhattan where I go alone to just be. Today was nothing short of beautiful as the wind roared. The sky grew darker as the leaves fell peacefully. A perfect autumn day in the northeast.

After an hour of working on a project, I looked up and began to watch a family. Two little girls, presumably sisters, played together with a stuffed panda doll. They fought shortly thereafter. A handsome, confident tall man appeared out of nowhere and calmed them down with a hug and kiss for each.

He wore a pair of black running shorts with a grey hooded sweater. He looked like he could be in his early forties with buzzed grey hair and lines under his eyes. I don't know what it was, but he seemed like a man with a heart and a good head on his shoulders. His little daughters were screaming, "daddy, daddy, she hit me." Both pointed fingers to the other while two other little boys ran to him with a soccer ball. He began to play with them, throwing the ball back, unaffected by the loud sibling banter as he multi-tasked. This was a father who was at ease and who loved every bit of it. Another boy came from the swings and played with the dad and the little brother. There must have been five children at his side. He didn't lose it once.

The nanny came by and tended to the little girls while the dad laughed and threw ball with his sons. "Come on Dad, throw harder." It was a sweet moment. I felt like a spectator who shouldn't have gawked. It was like I didn't deserve to watch. I immediately thought of a palm reading I had a couple of weeks ago. One of things said to me was that I was meant to be a husband and father of two children. I sat there dumbfounded.

As a single gay man in NY, I am not sure how this could happen. I love children, but as far as I am concerned, my adorable nephews are probably the closest things I have to my own brood. I don't know if that psychic was rattling my chain or being authentic. When I walked home that night, I couldn't help think of it. Could I be a father and a husband? Would it bring me happiness and joy and make my life worth living more?

I still don't know. But, what I do know is that I like stability and when others need me. I can't even begin to imagine the responsibilities surrounded with being a father and how it is a role in life that never ceases. Perhaps I am an idealist, but it is a role I think I could do if I had to. In fact, I would probably be good at it.

The older I get, I realize how important it is to share yourself with someone, to place someone else first, other than yourself. While I hold myself to be fiercely independent, I am also a romantic who wants to share my life and time with those who count. Perhaps this entails a husband and a child, a nuclear family formed out of unconditional love, something that was not present in my own childhood.

As I tried to return to my project, I looked up again. He sat there on the ground, hugging his children, paying attention to them. It was an impressive sight. Here I even didn't know this man and I could feel his devotion by the way he looked and interacted. As I left, I tried to imagine a little child, calling me dad, looking up to me for advice, for care, for love, for food, for attention, for everything really. I got a little sad and scared, but I also didn't ward off the idea, something I probably wouldn't have done a year ago. Until my prince charming comes along and wants the same things, I will settle for the fuzzy, unrealistic notion of being a father, including the ultimate and silly fortune that was bestowed upon me. For now, I'll leave it to fate.




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Essential list

A good friend recently compiled a list while on vacation to Maine. It was the forty things to do before you're forty list. On the way home after our Spanish dinner in Brooklyn, I thought about this list with all of its absurdities and uncertainties as I rode the L train back into the city. I looked at a handsome couple holding hands, with the young woman's head on her boyfriend's broad shoulder, their hands intertwined, his eyes gazing onto the plastic white wall with its endless stream of advertisements above me. They appeared happy and connected with the occasional, long one minute kiss. They were content with one another, with their non-verbal communication saying everything about this hefty devotion for one another.

It made me think how beautiful it is to be in the moment and do things that we love, to surround ourselves with others who matter, who we love as well. Then, I thought, I am one year older than my friend. I've got about two and half years until turning 40 happens to me.

40 is my scary age. For some it is the mid forties or even the fifties. For me, 40 seems to become the moment in which I am no longer a young person. I know, it sounds crazy and negative and self-defeatist, but in my mind, its true. I look at my parents when they were 40 and it seemed so far, so foreign, so old, so not me, that I would never have to deal with it for a long, long, long time.

And, yet, in a couple of years, it will arrive, if I am so lucky.

I have yet to fully write this list. It calls for such an emotional upheaval, a mental preparation where I not only say it aloud, but do it. That is what this list is for, to actually commit to each and every one of them.

What I also love about this list is that it dares me to be imaginative and brave. If there's one thing about me is that I thrive on limits. It provides a safety net, a deadline in which I have to meet. It could be credit card that needs to be paid off or an article that needs to be written for work, or it could just be a obligation that I need to honor, or a medical appointment that I have to submit my time towards. Whatever the case may be, I seem to respond to limits. It keeps me in check and creates a corridor of balance on this crazy island I call home. But, how safer can I be? I am getting bored with routines and cycling the same social and physical circles. I need something that will foster a spark within. This list just might do the trick. Who knows? Stay tuned.

As far as the inconsistency of the writing for this platform, I've required a bit of distance from the written word to just be and live without having to write something for someone who is supposed to read but rarely does. The break has been kind of nice and peaceful, but now I want to get back out into the world again with my stories and thoughts. I hope that you will join me with these new, impending waves, and to believe in my work once more, and to understand that even if we don't know each other, we are connected in some unexplained way, to learn and grow, and to share.




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chelsea

I stopped in my favorite bakery in the West Village around three. As I walked in, I saw Chelsea Clinton and a blonde assailant to my left, a friend rather who was besides her. They were standing up and talking closely. Chelsea, beautiful as ever, was in the throws of a intimate conversation. I am always first to notice other's fashion choices. And this political heiress didn't disappoint. I would say she was in a dark blue ensemble, lets just call it a suit with a patterned creme shirt. Her high heels were made of a velvet material, with just the right amount of make-up, and straightened, blonde hair, thicker than you can imagine, that went past her shoulders, probably five inches or so.

I seemed to get all of this in a span of five seconds.

The set up of the cafe is awkward. The line begins right where the kitchen ends. Don't ask. As I stood in line behind another couple, I took yet another glance. Since I like to refer to myself as a sophisticated New Yorker, I tend not to stare. I've had my share of celebrity run ins with living here and LA LA Land. Whether I have waited on them, or met them, or seen them walk in my neighborhood, I just go on. Whatever. Something was different about this encounter though.

Since I don't care much for politics, I am not sure why I cared? Perhaps it is because her father was one of the most kick ass presidents this country has ever had, or perhaps it had something to do with her mother being the Secretary of State, the indelible, Hillary Rodam Clinton. Or maybe it just had something to do with curiosity and envy, believing her life is slightly better than mine.

Its strange to think how small this world is and how we are all connected. In a tiny obscure cafe on W.3rd street, I run into a well known woman whose parents changed the world.

When I was a senior in high school, I remember watching her dancing on the stage when her father won the election, braces, kinky hair, the infamous grin, and pale, youthful skin, taking front center as she posed for the world. Fast forward twenty years later and we are all grown up and moving on with our lives.

There was something special and random about that moment today. I paid for my item and proceeded to leave. I could hear random tidbits about an up coming appointment as I pushed the door. That's all I got. I loved how others walked in and made nothing of it. I like that about NYC. It is one of the places where you can just be whomever you are and be whomever you are with and no one cares. After all, this isn't LA. No one really gives a shit that much who you are here. And, just like that I was off to mail something and go about my business. Just another day in lower Manhattan.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quitting

I wonder if anyone reads, or even remembers what this blog was intended to be about, let alone cares about the words that come out of my mind. I have not written in a couple of weeks and it appears as though that I am running out of steam. I used to pour my heart into this. Now, it seems like drudgery.

I have been thinking about transformations. The kind that require a dismissal of behaviors and routines and approaches to decisions. Last night as I was heavily ensconced with Fifty Shades of Grey on my Iphone, I thought about what it might be like to quit Facebook.

I am befuddled as to why certain people that I have not been in contact with for years, others who I am not that interested in speaking with are still on my FB page, posing as interested parties with their invites and tags and random thoughts, when in fact, they are remnants from my past. Why should I care about Facebook if not to hear my own self ruminate about what I like or don't? What purpose does it create other than to get updates of how fabulous my so called friends' lives are and the things and people in them. I shake my head, partly in disgust, but also in amusement that is monopolizes much of my precious time, and yet leads to nothing significant or monumental.

I googled quitting Facebook this morning as I ate my greek strawberry yogurt with my air conditioner blasting in my direction. I wonder if I pressed the delete button would anyone would notice. At this stage in life, I think I know who my true friends are. I know they are just a click or a call away. I keep thinking about the notion of FB and what it implied if I left. Would my life be richer or less dramatic?

Last year, I surrendered my cable service at the advice of a friend. A week ago, I deleted all of my dating profiles online and have chosen (for now) to address the dating scene and what not in a natural whatever kind of way. Both have so far shifted my life in a productive way. So, what would be so terrible about not caring and pressing delete on my FB account? I have tried to do it a few times, but can't bring myself to commit to the action.

Its like I am afraid of not being in touch with others the old fashioned way, letters and emails and actual phone calls. I know, it might seem that I am regressing, knowing all too well that I need to let this go and make a solid decision accordingly.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Remembering Etan

One of things I remember as a little boy was my daily breakfast before a long day at school. I would get up with my brother, half asleep, and stumble into the bathroom to shower. I was the grouchy sibling who had no tolerance for early rising. I would get dressed and walk into the kitchen with my book bag and head for the counter. My mother would have a pot of coffee brewing with a white and red carton of milk nearby. I would grab the milk and pour it into a bowl of cereal, sitting at our circular wooden table. The first image to most of my mornings was the cover of missing children on the back of the milk cartons.

Every day had a different set of missing children. There would be faces of them with their dates of birth, cities of origin, where they were last seen, height, weight, and contact information surrounding their disappearance. I felt sad for those who couldn't have the chance to play with their cat like I did or how their parents couldn't make them chicken soup and cinnamon toast when they were sick like mine did or how they wouldn't be able to attend birthday parties and get gifts and cake. I recall the word, MISSING, in bold, black letters and how permanent it seemed that most would never be found. There was one image of a little boy who I recall quite well. His name was Etan Patz, a six year old kid from Manhattan. Every year, his face was on the back of that carton. It haunted me. His smile with his front teeth showing and how small his little frame was.

I can't keep Etan Patz out of my head. Every time I see his precious face online or on a newspaper as of late, I feel a ripple in my stomach, imagining how he met his fate against the hands of an malevolent, psychopathic monster, how helpless he was, and what it must have been like for his family to lose someone so close and dear to their hearts in such in indescribable way. I am solely certain that the worst crime any human can commit is that against of a child.

Its hard to imagine that just a few blocks away in SoHo, this little boy vanished thirty-three years ago yesterday. And, how his murderer finally came forward on the same day of his death. I want to take this time to reflect on his passing and the other children in the world who were taken and never returned. While I am not a parent, I am an Uncle. I see the beauty and innocence of all children, especially, my nephews--how beautiful and pure they both are and how protective I feel towards them.

I want to extend my thoughts and heart to the Patz family and how his passing impacted my life.

Friday, March 23, 2012

3 glasses, a designer cup and counting

Over the past, I don't know, let's say two weeks, I have broken three wine glasses and a designer cup. Just a few minutes ago as I reached for something, my lovely, tall wine glass fell to the floor in a mili second. It seemed secure on the counter, but it didn't stand a chance as it was headed for my floor. A hundred pieces went all over, into my shoes and probably under the refrigerator and beside the garbage can. I wonder if my nerves are shot for stress or if I am searching for a distraction? Or, perhaps unconsciously, I want to buy new things for my apartment? What is wrong here?

Transformations are taking shape. The loss of my father for one and how I am dealing with grief. The soon to be end of my undergraduate existence. The search for a writing career and other jobs in between. Moreover, the acceptance of age, seeing as I just celebrated yet another birthday in the thirty something bracket. It now makes sense. My nerves are on edge and I am lashing out on my belongings. If I could write a note to all four of them, I would extend my deepest apologies. Sounds corny right that I am apologizing to objects that can't talk?

The wine glasses were a gift from my employer for Christmas that I received over a year ago. While I no longer work for them, I kept it because they were fancy, crystal stemmed glasses that made my wine look luscious.

The danish cup I purchased at a modern houseware shop. It was the tiniest cup, probably something a toddler would drink juice out of. It was multi-colored, striped and beautiful. It stood above the sink in the bathroom and was used for rinsing out after I brushed my teeth. I bought it for thirty bucks. Its life span: two years. The other two glasses were broken while cleaning them under the sink with my slippery hands, covered with bubbles of grapefruit dishwashing detergent. Oh, and I forgot about the elegant, white, squared bowl that I used for cereal and ice cream. That went straight for the floor too the other day as I tried to dry it with a towel.

I am realizing not to get too attached towards materials, even as much as I love certain things. Humans are different story, but the things that make up my home or anyone's home for that matter are just stuff. As I picked up the shattered pieces with a dustpan and broom, I wasn't pissed this time. I don't know. I guess I don't care. There are just more important things to get upset over than broken glass. Perhaps a visit to Crate and Barel is in the works. Great. More money spent on something that will probably brake again. I should disregard the latter and opt for a vacation instead.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fishbowl

Last week, I read an article about Jennifer Aniston. In her own words she equated living in NYC to being in a fishbowl. Evidently, the enormity of one's own celebrity is a bit much on the island of Manhattan. For someone with fame, fortune, beauty, and the hot Justin Theroux as a boyfriend, I guess she still isn't happy. I am not judging her. I am still a fan of her work. I actually see the validity of her statement. In the interview she expresses how small and contained Manhattan is and how you are interfaced with the same situations with the same influx of people, hovering at you, watching and prodding to see what your next move is.

I often ask myself why have I stayed so long and what is it that keeps me here considering the struggle has been long winded and uncertain. I get bored easily and tire of my routine. The route I take to classes or the restaurants I choose to eat are secondary. Even the other places I frequent, it all seems more of the same thing. I am not sure whether to take this as a part of life everyone goes through or just a part of my life I need to change before I become more jaded, even if that is possible.

When I think of a fishbowl, I think of entrapment. A parameter that doesn't offer much options. When I look at a fishbowl, I tend to think that while the fish are indeed crammed into this small world, they are content and happy, probably because they don't know any better. That is what I think of here. New York is like that fishbowl. Where we are all in the same bowl, swimming towards something and then re-routing our focus and going in another direction but in a contained amount of space

Manhattan is indeed that fishbowl in that we are convinced that if we have left the bowl, we would die, incapable of breathing because we don't know what else is on the other side. Perhaps it is good or even scary.

Aniston's comment made me think about how small our worlds are here in the city. As mammoth as it might seem to some, I often feel like I can't breathe, imagining a different existence where I can roam and still be in the immersed in the urbane, but somehow have additional room to calm down and be normal. I get where she is coming from.

But, how does someone who knows the layout of the land with having already lived here before not understand that is what NY is all about. The fishbowl idea is something I can't let go of. I love it here, but even I, often feel the weight of pressure and the assimilation of our yearning to integrate with one another to the point of exhaustion. How do we overcome this notion and still remain here, unhinged by the stress and demands of city living? To be continued.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Onward and upward....

Yesterday, I left my beautiful, heavy Diesel watch at the gym by mistake. I was near my flat when I adjusted my left cuff and realized something was missing. I called the front desk, recalling the exact time I purchased it with happiness and pride three years ago in the sticky summer. Why did I have to use locker number 165? Five minutes later, the lovely receptionist returned to the line and said it was not found. I knew. Someone saw and took it. In this town, no one can turn down an expensive watch.

Five minutes later, I stumbled into the corner market for a banana and a gallon of milk. I accidently walked into a young lady and said I was sorry even though she ran into me. She was disheveled with stains all over and hair that had not been combed in days, almost like an untamed, gigantic bee hive. When I made the purchase, her boyfriend waited at the door. He approached me and stood closer and looked like he was going to pound my forehead. Just think Rebel Without a Cause during the driveway scene where James Dean is surrounded by towering baboons. Not pretty. This man smelled like urine and waited for an immediate response, ready for a brawl.

"Are you f*****g with my girl?" he asked. His nose hairs popped out, all one hundred of them along with his nose ring. I thought about one of those random NY moments when someone takes out a weapon and attacks the other for the silliest reason. They get maimed or killed. I've never been in this situation. I like my teeth and face just the way they are. I apologized like an idiot, feeling like I was back in high school, surrounded by jocks and bullies who thought they were all that and two bags of chips.

Then today, as I headed home from the library, two men, a couple, walked right into me. Clearly, there was more than adequate space for all of us. Yet, they made it a point walking into my left side, almost pushing my body onto first avenue and eleventh with their tiny shoulders. They laughed like children and walked with their heads in the air as if they were on a fashion runway. I yelled back and they still kept going. Bitches.

NYC is a grand place. I say it all the time. I am proud to live and be here, for now. But, it also has a way of kicking you in the ass and biting very hard if you don't pay attention. I am in no position to complain. I have a stylish roof over my head, close friends I adore, a few dollars in the bank, and a future. I was still visibly upset walking away. When I returned home, I surfed the internet and found an article about Jon Hamm and his new film. I don't know what it is about him, but anytime I see a picture, all of my problems fade. He is one of the most handsome men on this planet. Wherever you are Mr.Hamm, thank you for making my night.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Domestic solipsism....

The other night I couldn't sleep. Snuggled under my egyptian cotton sheets at around 1 am, I came across this NY Times article about the art of living on one's own and the benefits it reaps. It states there is personal freedom in having your own space. Even NY Mag wrote an article referring to the NY Times bit. (The highlighted words are actual links to the readings)

I've lived alone without roommates for eight years in NYC. While rough patches took place, I wouldn't change it. The freeing part is being your own boss and adhering to your style, hence the word, your. Can't get enough of that word. I had dreams when I first came to NY as a twenty-five year old boy from Los Angeles. The thought of signing my own lease, cleaning out the space, buying the items that represented personal taste on my terms was like a dream I thought that wouldn't present itself. After I don't know, say five years, I moved into my first home by myself in Brooklyn. Then, five years later, I relocated back to Manhattan, with another pad in the East Village. Fast forward two years later, still single, alone, and in the East Village. Alive and well.

I don't what it is, but the thought of entering four painted walls without the impingement of others is priceless. Countless times, I mentioned how overwhelming NYC becomes. What makes it easier? The apartment factor. All of us in the urban pool deserve an adequate space that is ours and ours alone. I don't care if it is three hundred square feet or a three bedroom palace near Astor and Broadway, you need your own nook in the world. I call it a fortress really.

Incense is always placed in a tiny vase in my bedroom, along with a couple bottles of red wine stored on the kitchen counter and a bag of candy in a jar that was once used as a chemistry set, proudly displayed on a bookshelf near the diary of Anne Frank. Oh, I can't forget about the organic, scented bubble bath I buy that soothes my muscles. I know, I am quirky. But, I've been able to live rather successful on my own. The true issue, as the article suggests is the threat of having other people come into your life or your space who endanger your routine or setup. It implies that while the upside is independence, the subsequent downside is becoming set in one's own ways, incapable of making concessions for others, mostly, intimate personal relationships.

If I had to carve out an existence I wanted, it would include a loving partner that I shared my life with. I am not one of those people who would cast someone out of my home or life for not picking up their socks are leaving dishes in the sink or even forgetting to put the cap on the toothpaste. Just like many, love overrides the aesthetics, in most cases. I would probably roll my eyes, sigh, and kindly ask them to not to do it again.

But, I am a little worried. How do I maintain this sense of self-sufficiency while remaining open to other men that can enter my circle and add value to my defined sense of order? I need to let the walls come down just enough for someone to see how beautiful I can make their home look and feel. Until such a time arises, I will hold my own, as I've been doing. Just not as much, or hard.




Monday, February 20, 2012

Seemingly so....

I often wonder if the life of a celebrity is better.

Here are the some of the good things I see when referring to one.....

1. They have fame.
2. They have wealth.(Supposedly)
3. They have enormous pools of fans.
4. They have access to resources that most of us can only dream of.
5. They seem to have endless perks.

This is the downside.....

1. They have little or no privacy.
2. Almost everything they do or say is magnified for the world to see.
3. There are greater expectations for them to perform and exceed.
4. A few are lonely and misunderstood and lost in a world of addiction.

These are just some of my observations about the notion surrounding celebrity. Many I am assuming, myself included, hold on to this grand idea that if I become famous, I'll be okay. I will get the things I need and want in order to achieve fulfillment, or maybe, receive some sort of validation of who I am.

I can't help think of Whitney Houston. She was such an iconic, multi-faceted, talented, powerful, intelligent, and beautiful woman who seemingly had it all. Or so we thought. I remember as a young boy dancing to,"I want to dance with somebody," or "How will I know." I used to think she must have an amazing life full of joy and love and success. I am sure she did to a large extent. But, deep within, I think she was lost and lonely and misunderstood, and most of all, unhappy. Perhaps there were too many people to appease, or too many unrealistic images to uphold?

Another article that caught my eye pertains to George Clooney. He comes across as the man that has it all. Classic looks. Charm. Fame. Wealth. A sustainable career. Droves of fans. Creative film projects. The list goes on. What struck me as surprising was his lack of confidence when describing what he has achieved. Here's a man that I could only dream of being, and he's somewhat discontent with this existence. He discusses loneliness and how things are not what they seem in the entertainment community.

Not only did I think it was a brave admission to make about being lonely, but how he isn't quite in love with it all. It almost feels he's advocating for a linear life towards choosing to be within one's own terms, not based on the assumption of what others expect of you.

Everything we see on the net is about celebrity. Their lives are for us to see. What they wear, what they think, what they do, who they do it with, where and when they do it, what they eat and purchase, whey they live, who is in their personal affairs, and of course, what upcoming projects they are committed to. With the advent of the technology, celebrities are unavoidable.

Do you think they have a better life? Are their problems trivial? Would you want to follow in the footsteps of one? And, more importantly, what makes one? How does one make the segue from a normal person to a star. Comments please...










Friday, February 17, 2012

Ready. Set. Go?

There's this guy at the gym I fancy. I've seen him for months, if not for the past year, working out besides me. We're usually dripping in sweat on the precor machines, immersed into our own worlds while listening to our ipods. We've exchanged the occasional mutual gaze, or as I call it, the I am checking you out, but I don't care about it look. You know, its the thing we do when we want to show our interest in someone, but never quite pursue it. I don't know what it is about this mystery man, but whenever I am near, I feel a knot in my stomach. Its like I am a school girl with a mad crush who does nothing to illicit action.

I gather he's around my age, well nestled into this thirties, short just like me, no six pack, just like me, but cute as hell with a killer smile. If I stand correct, he might even have brown eyes, just like me too. I know he's checked me out because as soon as I look to him when he looks at me, he turns away. So, this dude has gotta be gay, right?

In my last posting, I mentioned running into my former boss and therapist within a mere two days of one another. So, it makes no surprise that when I hit the treadmill or the weight room, he's front and center. My schedule at the gym varies depending on classes and other commitments. Sometimes, I visit in the mornings and others in the afternoon. He's also there at the same times as I am like clockwork. Is this a coincidence?

Today in the back of the gym as I grabbed a stretch mat, he came from behind and grabbed one at the same time. He said I should go. But, I insisted he get first pick. As I waited, he took another mat and handed it to me and smiled. It was the killer smile I was referring to earlier. It sounds sophomoric, but I enjoyed that moment. I kept thinking how chivalrous it was. I noticed no ring on that hand of his as well.

Many guys have broken my heart. I internalize those rejections and believe there's something wrong with my physicality, the way I dress, the way I didn't say something right, or what I didn't do to garner his interest. I don't want to be one of these people who doesn't take chances based on what their past has presented them. The older I become, its challenging to dismantle the taint that dictates how undesirable or unworthy we once deemed ourselves to be. In this perplexing planet, there must be someone out there who matches with us. At least, that is what I am telling myself.

What's the worst that could happen if I approach him and he scoffs at the thought of having a coffee? He could say no. Which is fine. Neither of us owes each other anything. Or, playing it on a positive note, he could say, sure. The point is to take that chance and see what happens. I am ready to some degree. I am set on getting my love life on track again. I am just not so certain about the go part.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weird week....

A few days ago heading to class, I ran into my former boss. It was interesting. We were both cordial and exchanged niceties. Then, yesterday, I ran into my former therapist. I saw her a couple of times in my neighborhood, but just casually nodded, dashing for nearest street corner. So, when I crossed the street en route to my gym this time, I couldn't help but stop. Our conversation was brief, with me doing most of the catching up. She looked good and relaxed. Again, it was just as awkward as the run in with my boss, but a bit more personal.

What is it about NYC? Why do we have to run into that a specific individual at a specific point and time? This is after all, a borough of 3 million? Why now? My former boss and therapist in a span of two days? Weird.

I am beginning to understand that situations such as this are not circumstantial. They are meant to be. How can one interaction with someone who contributed to your history illicit such a reaction? I am still not sure what the meaning behind this is, but I am leaning towards kismet, you know that thing called fate that is unexplainable, but readily available. Why at that time, on that block, in that moment, did I run into them? Closure.

I really didn't get closure with either of them when our relationships ended. This was probably another sign towards taking care of unfinished business. As I parted ways, I left feeling sad, but glad that I was afforded the ability to exchange pleasantries. For a long time, she was instrumental in some of the changes I weaved into my own personal existence. But again, bear with me, why for the life of me on the island of Manhattan, as dense and populated at it is, would I have these chance encounters?

I keep banging my head, marveling at the opportunities that are thrown at me, or us I should say, in order to move on. NYC embodies this mysterious power in that it forces us to confront our past, even when we are not ready to. If I was back in Los Angeles, I might have not had the gift of running into them seeing as people there are ordained by their cars. Since people rarely walk in that town, God love them, why would they have to run into people from their past?

The thing about NYC is that it forces all of us who chose to stay here to deal with people, mostly situations, that some might find uncomfortable. Manhattan isn't a large mecca, it is a small pool of fish, people from our pasts, that ruminate and linger and eventually swim back to us till we deal with our own messes. Its almost like every action leading up to the decision we make of when to grab our keys and take certain streets, there are reasons for things that are beyond our control, down to the exact second. BAM. Here you go. Take this and that. BAM. This is how life goes sometimes.

It also doesn't help that I am facing another birthday on Thursday, which only signifies I am getting older in spite of ample amounts of denial. Finally, a new week is upon me. Hopefully, its more celebratory and less awkward.







Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eleven years young....

I have been asked to repost my story of how and when I moved to NYC by a fellow blogger, Julie Jones, who maintains, fillmeupnyc. So here it goes...

I keep track of the day I moved to New York City. November 1, 2000. I know, I am a dork. I was a bright-eyed, naive, young man who had just spent four, long years in Los Angeles. I had transported myself with two suitcases, $2000, one contact, no friends, and a nauseous foundation.

I rented a room for $500 in the top floor of a bed and breakfast in Staten Island. I'd take the ferry every day on the murky, frozen atlantic and commute to my corporate job in Midtown. During breaks, I would go out and and ponder and gawk around all the towering skyscrapers, listening to the sirens and cab drivers screaming, and take in the smells that seemed so foreign to a west coast transplant--a kid basically--who was in the middle of mid-twenties panic.

After several roommates, insufferable commutes on thousands of subway rides, unpleasant exchanges with strange people, dozens of jobs I hated, droves of horrendous dates (don't ask about Tony) or the umpteen times I fell on my ass, thinking I'd never get on my feet again and move forward, I kept going. So many dark moments have risen, yet, I go on like nothing happened. There is something nourishing about living in NYC in that one is allowed, if not granted the opportunity to re-invent themselves whenever and wherever they want. If a neighborhood, job, or relationship isn't working, you pick up and transition by moving to another borough, creating a whole different path with a interesting set of friends.

So many moments I've said out aloud as I've walked into a puddle of water on a dirty street or getting pushed out of the way by oblivious party kids on my block, that I can't wait to leave. But, then I get up in the next morning, revived, thinking, I can't imagine living elsewhere. In my humble opinion, NYC is the only livable city in America.

I look back eleven years later and question the progress I've made along with the personal success I've tasted. Much of what I thought I'd do or who I'd become didn't happen. But, the parts of myself that I thought never would surface, did, in bountiful ways. I feel stronger, mature, more content and comfortable in my skin. I stuck it out even if I was down to my last dollar. My intuition is growing. Perhaps, I sound trite. Whatever.

Some people ask where I am from. Originally, I mention, with reluctance, that I am from Nevada. But, I then preface it with saying I am a New Yorker. I feel I've at least earned that after being around for over a decade. At least that is what Carrie Bradshaw said in the third season of SATC. "It has been said one can truly call themselves a New Yorker when they have been there more than ten years."

I often wonder what keeps me here. Its not like I am ensconced in what I imagined I'd achieve. A lot of what we all crave forms as you plan it. Whether that pertains to a relationship or career or even state of mind, I think all of us go out there, well at least some of us, and attempt to demand more.

I don't question if I can't make it. I can and I have. If I were to move to another mecca, I wouldn't worry about survival. I think in staying so long without much of a support system, I've acquired life skills. What makes you stay in a city like New York for so long?




Sunday, January 15, 2012

When life happens

I posted a brief mention about the recent passing of my father just a few days ago. But, after less than 24 hours, I took it down. It seemed insensitive, possibly rash, to write about him suddenly.

When my father died on Christmas three weeks ago, I was in a state of shock. As I flew three thousand miles out west to be reunited with relatives not seen in almost twenty-years, it was surreal, but familiar, almost like I had just seen them the other day.

The three and half days I spent out west shifted my perspective about expectations and grudges. I know, it may sound strange, perhaps overtly dramatic. But, I feel lighter and relieved because I am empowered to think and act differently. There were so many things about him I didn't know. The friendships he maintained since his childhood, his marriage to his new wife after the divorce to my mother, the things he did before he even met my mother and had my brother and me, and all of the remnants he held onto throughout the duration of his life. I was astonished because I didn't know him at all.

When I walked into his apartment, I could smell him. His personal scent was something I had forgotten until I entered. It was manly as always, distinctive, but impossible to describe. Even though he was gone, I could inhale this last part of him.

I stood there with my cousin and went through his valuables. Both walls clocks, one from the living room and the other right next to me were heard loudly. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Time was passing. I opened the drawers to his packed desk and discovered things I had remembered about the way he kept the order of his belongings. Cluttered and tidy. My father was a hoarder and had this manner of doing something so organized, yet so quirky.

He would take the tops of shaving cream bottles and the empty cans of tuna fish and put loose coins and paper clips in them. This is what I remembered when I was a little boy and this is exactly how it was when I stood as a grown man opening the third top drawer with a antique silver handle. I carefully examined each of the cans and discovered how they were labeled. Whether it be nickels or pieces of gum or even the syringes for his insulin, he labeled it with a piece of paper, the writing in black ink, followed by a massive strips of tape protecting the label itself.

I went to his closet and found suits from the 80's and 90's, staples from my own childhood. My cousin and I stood in his bedroom and commiserated. Since he was her Uncle, they shared an even stronger bond, more intact than my connection to him. As she mentioned things about his other life, I nodded and felt ambivalent. What I realized as we were speaking was in that of our rift and misconnection as father and son, here was a man who loved and accepted me. I could talk to him like he was right there. Our relationship was easier now.

Of course there is more to that and the many more moments that followed, including his memorial service and funeral, but I am choosing to keep that private. The one thing I took from that solitary moment as I sifted through his stuff was the misguided anger and resentment for lack of sustaining a solid bond with him that didn't matter anymore. Life was happening around me. I was reuniting with long lost relatives, gaining closure on such a personal subject, and experiencing an open heart again.

For those that know me, most would say that I am a planner. I plan everything from excursions to upcoming films to dental appointments months away to cities I plan on visiting down to the exact dates. I plan. That's what I do. But, what I need to do more of is being in the present and taking in every minute in between. That is probably what my dad would have wanted me to do. Being happy.

This was something I struggled with for years until three weeks ago. The way in which I set out to carve my life has changed. I still have my goals and dreams. I am just not so freaked out about my future or the tiny details I tend to obsess over. I have my dad to thank for that. Seeing him once more was an invaluable gift. It brought me closer to those that matter and it drove me faster to my core and the expectations I put on myself.

Dad, wherever you are, I extend peace and gratitude. I love you.