An early century woman with a distaste for the mid-century modern. Let them eat mid-century modern! A taste for the tasteless! Clean edges, light wood, bold colors with neutral tones, (breathily) geometric symmetry … mcm stands neither completely minimalistic nor ornate but nonetheless pleasing to the masses. Its ubiquity calms the young professional in the wild, easing the transition from home to the office to coffee shop to home to the grave. Who decided all rooms must dress the same?
Once again I confront an unfurnished bedroom. 4 blank walls, 2 closets, 1 street-facing window with a view of the recycling, a wood floor and high ceilings, a small jack n’ jill sink that connects to my new roommate’s room. Completely blank and aspiring to be adorned. I know I will soon let this room down as I have many before.
2 doors down the hall is the hippest bathroom you’ve ever seen. Covered in black and white tiles, the tiny bathroom houses a pie-slice shaped shower with a slightly opaque curved sliding door. Inside rests my almost-empty shampoo bottle and recently-purchased shaving cream that caused a brief but intense internal dialogue about my preference for name brands. The bathroom is so poorly designed.
Every day, I redesign the small bathroom in my head. One day the sink sits next to the shower, the next day, they sit on opposite ends of the room. Each iteration, something still feels misplaced.
This time, I imagine a rectangular shower covering half the bathroom. Luxurious and impractical, the showerhead hangs from the ceiling, leaving the impression of falling rain.
Back in the existing room, I brush my teeth and apply face cream as I stare at my reflection. Maintaining eye contact, I step back into the shower and wonder if I look better from farther away. Setting aside the thought, I pull off a few squares of one ply toilet paper, blow my nose, wash my hands with Aesop soap, and return to the rhythms of everyday life
In the dead of winter on an empty New England beach, a middle-aged woman without shoes circles around me with an inexplicable fervor. She walks quickly but without direction, every few minutes forging a new looping trail. Intentional and aimless. Hugging the edge, she is careful to avoid the water and instead walks on the part of the sand that was recently underwater but now sits free from the ocean’s touch. Despite the cold, she seems unbothered, even delighted, as her bare feet leave soft imprints on the wet sand.
I, on the other hand, am covered. i’m bundled in a new scarf and old jacket that I found in my childhood bedroom last week. My untied, dirty sneakers stand between me and the cold sand. Only fifty yards away, my airpods lie dead on the passenger’s seat of my parents prius along with some vegetables I bought at the Gloucester Shaws. Im making a carrot soup tonight.
I feel lonely today for the first time in weeks. I was expecting it, though, and I’m greeting it with the hospitality due an old friend. There’s something comforting about any familiar feeling. The past few weeks had gone by with too much ease...the thrill of romantic attraction and intrigue of a new year trip quieted otherwise resounding noises. it feels good to be back.
Later that week, I drive alone to a doctor’s appointment an hour and a half away. The examination room is small and cold and the vertical vinyl blinds barely conceal me as I undress and change into the patient gown. A doctor ive never met with a slight russian accent and short hair conducts a full-body skin exam and then freezes two warts with liquid nitrogen. The pain is sharp and prolonged and thrilling and im tempted to ask for more
11:30 PM on McAllister street, a crowd of 20-somethings up for air from the basement. a boy I met a few weeks ago turns to me and in an almost whisper says, I have depression.
Oh, what revelation
An ode to half moon bay, to part time work, to Waylon jin, to fresh crab cakes on the oceanfront, to the closed ritz carlton, to the openness of youth…to waning youth. they say you cant be 20 on sugar mountain but where can you be when youre 24?
Driving with the windows closed and the air on, the windows open and the air on, the air off. a seamless transition from the coastal highway to the interstate, except when I narrowly missed a turn and confronted the glares of a car full of strangers. I didn't mind the glares as much as I thought I would. At Sutro baths Waylon asked a woman with a huge camera to take a picture of us. Repositioned twice with the sun in our squinting faces, we smiled as she took a zoomed in photo that could have been taken anywhere. Somewhere a teen on instagram shed a tear.
The initial nerves of spending a day alone together faded quickly. Concerns over topics of conversation were soon replaced with laughs and long stories you only earn by asking. I felt satisfied. Not particularly alive or proud or profound…but satisfied.
fled the east coast rigidity
beckoned by the familiar promise
of an unfamiliar land
walking through the fields
beyond cesar chavez boulevard
he said i remind him of the saic
cracked iphone and twice worn socks
nails bitten down
to muse among the unamused
how i dread to be perceived
Im in San Francisco. And im also addicted to candy corn. I dont think the two ideas are related.
I got here now almost four weeks ago. It's strange to think of the afternoon I arrived. Everything felt so unfamiliar. I searched directions to a whole foods and blindly followed google maps having no concept at all for where I was going. Turns out it was on Haight street.
San Francisco (or Frisco as the locals call it) is very different from the east coast. I keep talking to former coworkers -- one coworker messaged me a full month after I quit saying he just realized i left the bank and had thought i had extended covid symptoms-- and they ask how frisco is and i keep repeating how it feels so much smaller and more laid back and how you could really be a part of a community here. But I dont even know where i developed that impression and besides im not even sure what kind of community i would be a part of.
Definitely part of the lonely women community but i think that exists everywhere. And it's really hard to get the group to come together.
Time out here feels more like college time. Like time moves more slowly but maybe less vividly. Life is (maybe?) less about your job. People are still fatm to tell you where they went to college... but they still do things like take weeknight classes or go to pickup soccer out in Berkeley. I went to pickup soccer in Berkeley. I was there kicking the ball with random Berkeley people and had this moment where I wondered how in the world I ended up here. How am I just here with these people i dont know playing soccer and getting dinner and just being. It felt like I had put on someone else's shoes and just stepped into their life.
Every time i talk to my mom on the phone she keeps asking me if im "smoking out in california." Last call I asked her to not bring that question up on every phone call to which she responded: what about every third call?
I was sitting in Washington Square park this past weekend waiting for my parents to come pick me up from New York to drive home 200 miles with the windows open going 70mph on the highway so that they didnt catch the covid I had recently contracted. Normally, I would have carried out the rest of quarantine in my apartment except I dont have an apartment anymore. I transferred the remainder of my lease to a nice girl named Sam who set up in 24 hours a room that is already much more decorated and efficient than what I had set up in 15 months. I'm not really one for room decoration in general. Each room I have lived in has been barren -- without enough to even be called minimalist. I think the initial blankness of the room has always been overwhelming. I worry over how all the decor will fit together in the end and so instead of doing anything I eventually just let the walls sit empty.
Back to sitting in Washington Sq Park: it was move in day for NYU undergrads. People wearing purple lanyards covered the park talking in groups and trying skate tricks on the smaller, more private circles that sit on both sides of the fountain. My one goal this month is to complete a single, perfect ollie. I kept looking at the students and trying to gauge how much older I look than they do. I think the answer is probably a lot. But I felt close enough to feel the freshness of a new school year and the excitement that comes with it. The school year brings no promises except for the promise of difference -- an experience not necessarily better but distinct from that of last semester. Adult life is harder to distinguish.
walking through greenwich village on a late winter wednesday. i weave through people, passing by the local ice cream parlor, the market square, and the opera house, and a Cadillac. i turn east on Bleecker and head to one of the few remaining well-kept secrets in new york: cvs. I walk inside, pick up a sparkling water and my birth control prescription, head to the counter and reach towards my purse. The cashier stops me! your currency wont work here, she says. we dont accept that form of payment.
and suddenly i know what she means and how i must pay. Youth. Youth is the only currency.