By Corinne Flax
January 30, 2006
Global Warming Got My Refrigerator
It's not unseasonably warm outside today, it's unseasonably hot. Dressed in a hoody and jeans I was sweating. Weather like this makes me feel uneasy. I imagine all of the trees and plants waking up because they think it's spring, when in actuality spring is months away. It's not even February yet, but it feels like April. What I'm scared of is a cold front moving in and decimating all the poor little trees and plants. Already you can see buds beginning to swell, and it won't be long before there are little tiny green shoots popping up all over the place.
Speaking of things being too warm, our refrigerator mysteriously broke. The light inside the refrigerator still works perfectly, but the refrigeration aspect just doesn't exist anymore. My sister noticed this fact because her juice wasn't cold yesterday. She then proceeded to get very stressed out, because there was about seven pounds of wild salmon that she caught in Alaska in the freezer. Personally I have never become emotionally attached to a piece of frozen flesh before, but I can understand her feelings.
We got the Franz super to come up and look at the refrigerator, and he was able to corroborate our theory: the refrigerator was and is broken. He then said 'I don't like to fix refrigerators' and suggested that we call the management company and get them to get us a new fridge. Of course you can imagine how long that's probably going to take....forever! Meanwhile the frozen salmon has been temporarily lodged in the apartment below us. Thank god I have friends who smoke cigarettes, or I would never have met our neighbors on the roof, talked to them, and been able to keep frozen fish in their freezer.
That's actually one of the things that I miss the most about smoking cigarettes, the social aspect. How many times do smokers bum cigarettes or lights from complete strangers? How many conversations start over a cigarette? When I was at Drew they had a whole smoking section in the cafeteria, and that was where I met most of my friends. Half the people who ate in there didn't even smoke cigarettes, they just enjoyed the social scene of the smoking room.
Of course I am not saying cigarettes are good, far from it. Quitting cigarettes was one of the best things I ever did for myself. Every time I climb up several flights of stairs, bike up a big hill, or think about how much a pack costs these days I thank my lucky stars it was so easy for me to quit. Despite this I still see the allure of smoking. Now that I've moved to Manhattan, a city that can be called a smokers city despite the ban in bars and restaurants, I feel surrounded by smoke all the time. Almost all of my friends smoke, except for those who have recently given it up, and a lot of the time I end up going outside with them when they have cigarettes. This allows me to keep up the social side of smoking without actually having to smoke cigarettes, a real win-win situation.
January 26, 2006
Pigeons Eating Chicken And R. Kelly In The Closet
One thing you notice if you walk around Harlem enough is that there are a lot of fried chicken joints. There's a giant KFC with a walk by window, several Popeyes, JFK Fried Chicken, Crown Royal Fried Chicken, Mama's Friend Chicken and Pizza, and so many more I can' remember all of their names. The end result of all this fried chicken is that some fried chicken gets thrown away. Sometimes these pieces of discarded fried chicken end up lieing in the middle of the street. Pigeons come and eat the breading off of the pieces of discarded fried chicken. There is nothing like the of a bunch of pigeons pecking away at a drumstick to make you feel strange.
Also you have to wonder, what changes has so much fried chicken wrought in the pigeon population of Harlem? There are pigeons all over Manhattan, you see flocks of them everywhere. I think it is safe to say that in Harlem the pigeons eat more fried chicken than in most other parts of the city. As we all know fried chicken is not a healthy food. I wonder if the pigeons up here have high blood pressure.
In other news I went to Old Navy today because I've been feeling this urge to buy clothing and I have a gift certificate. The Old Navy on 125th street has some of the nicest sales attendants I've ever met. They were incredibly polite, made good eye contact, and seemed to be happy about their jobs. I spent a lot of time last night talking about customer service and what it means to enjoy your job even when it drives you crazy. The reason for all the shop talk was that I had drinks with my new assistant manager Gwen, who happens to be my roommate from college, or rather one of my roommates.
I've been hanging out in NYC for so long that I didn't really think anything would change now that I live here. Or at least I couldn't have told you what exactly would be different, if anything was. Now that I'm in the thick of it there is one huge difference; I can do things by myself. What I mean by this is that I'm not spending the weekend with a friend anymore, I live here. I can leave whenever I want and return to my house, my quiet house and my luxurious bed.
Eventually Gwen and I ended up at her friend's place in Williamsburg, where we watched a movie. The movie that I watched in Williamsburg was R. Kelly's 'In the Closet' which is probably one of the strangest pieces of film out there. The entire film was like a sped up soap opera all about marital infidelity. There is even a midget in the movie, a midget who is making love to a woman named Bridget! What could be better than that? Gwen didn't like it at all, but to me it was a wonderful experience, especially because I've seen the South Park episode where they make fun of it. This is the website where you can check out the R. Kelly lyrics. http://www.anysonglyrics.com If R. Kelly was Pete Townsend this would be his 'Tommy'. This is where you can see the South Park spoof http://www.southparkstudios.com
I highly suggest that people look into the both the spoof and the original 'In The Closet', it's amusement potential holds no bounds.
January 25, 2006
After I write this I'm walking over to Pathmark and buying groceries, something I'm looking forward to. Compared to most of my friends who live in New York my sister and I keep a full refrigerator. I've never had a whole refrigerator to fill up, and I find it exciting. Living with other roommates has meant choosing a section and sticking to it, but since my sister and I are closer than most roommates we look at our refrigerator as a house project. Here I sit in a neighborhood renowned for fantastic food, in a city known for it's fabulous restaurants, just weeks away from restaurant week, and I can't wait to make stir-fry later. Of course money is an issue too since I'd rather spend my extra dough on going out after dinner then going out for dinner.
Aside from cooking I've been going to classes. It's my second week of classes and I find myself continually humbled by my class mates and my teachers, not that they're doing it on purpose. Nothing could be farther from the Bank Street credo then making students feel small. It's just that there's so much to learn, so much to take in, and I find myself staring around wide eyed, the words 'moon calf' echoing hollowly in my mind. Even worse sometimes I tune out completely realizing twenty minutes later that while I contemplated something trivial class was going on without me. One thing that I wasn't expecting is the size of my classes. I think I assumed I would be in classes of twenty or less, but each class is filled up to its maximum capacity of thirty people. This contributes to my anxieties, and makes for some tights classrooms.
Tonight I go back to the class that I am still on the wait list for. I was going to just give up and only take two classes this semester, but my sister has convinced me that I need to be persistent. I thought that I was being persistent, but apparently persistence takes more then what I was giving. Some part of me just wants my advisor to take care of everything for me and that certainly isn't going to happen. It's a hard adjustment not only going back to school but doing at as a full fledged adult, which isn't all that surprising. Despite my best intentions there is a part of me that doesn't want to be in school, and would rather just be able to work and hang out with my friends. This part of me is a little immature.
This past weekend we had our house warming party. I don't know how many people showed up, but Anthony said he counted 50 people in the living room, although that seems like an awful lot. Another friend said to me at the party 'good turn out, shows you've got a lot of love.' At the time I thought it was a somewhat snarky comment, as if love could be measured by social commitments. Looking back I don't think it actually was meant in a snarky way, and I think there was a lot of love on Saturday night. My sister had a friend who came down all the way from Chicago and three of my friends came down from Massachusetts. It was fun walking around the city with them, showing them different things that I see every day. For the first time I was the New Yorker, and that felt wonderful. One thing I noticed was that they walked a lot slower then me, which made me feel citified.
The word snarky, by the way, means sneakily negative.
January 18, 2006
First Week Woes
Two days of classes have gone by like so much water under the bridge, and I am over-whelmed. There is so much work for me to do, and I am confused as to exactly where the time to do all of this work is supposed to come from. As I sit here typing away at a desk that I purchased and built despite my lack of building expertise I know that there are lots of seemingly insurmountable obstacles that can be surmounted. Also, I am now for the very first time aware that the word surmounted is a word, and that I am not entirely sure what it means. Another such word is pedagogical which is used about 7 times in the first essay I've started reading for school. Don't even make me think about the two reaction papers I'm supposed to write.
It's not really surprising that there's lots of readings and lots of writing, after all I am a matriculated student now. By the end of the program I will have come up with some sort of thesis which I will have to defend in front of a jury of my peers. I knew all of this when I decided to pursue this course of study, but it still seems very scary right now. My sister is also having some scholastic woes. Her Japanese class is really hard and it's driving her somewhat insane. Luckily not so insane that she forgot to make dinner tonight. At least at the end of my day there was a friendly face and a bowl of ravioli and so I have to admit, I am a very lucky girl.
What it really comes down to is that I am used to not having anything to worry abut besides work. When you come right down to it making lattes isn't exactly rocket science. Sure my job is tiring and physically stressful, but I could do it in my sleep. I've gone into work and had my head in the clouds the whole time, gone in when I'd had no sleep the night before, gone in with terrible hang overs, and it never mattered. Under no circumstances do I make better or worse drink, never have I been so tired I forgot how to make change or mop the floor. I might not have smiled as widely or as honestly, but I was still smiling and giving the customers what they wanted. That just isn't going to fly at school. My teachers don't want lip service, they want in depth analysis and clear reflection on experiences.
Most of the other people in my classes have been teaching for at least a year already. I have never been a teacher. Most of the people in my class know what 'Word Work' is. Today I found out it is part of the No Child Left Behind plan. Everyone else knew what it was, but I didn't, I had to raise my hand and ask. You know what though...I didn't feel stupid for asking, at least not to stupid. I'm realizing that despite how I might feel they didn't let me into Bank Street by accident. Truthfully most of the time I feel like some crummy gutter punk coffee bitch with a little bit of smarts and whole lot of mouth. Despite these feelings there must be more to me than that, otherwise I'm never going to be able to get where I want to be in life. Therefore I must not have gotten into school by accident, they must have seen qualities in me that I like to blind myself to. So the only thing for me to do is work hard and try and balance things out as best I can. I just hope that I do a good job.
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