A 15-minute nap, I will wake up, and it will be a new day, I tell myself. All I need is 15 minutes of peace, this is sufficient, to feel fresh and prepared to take on the world.
When I talk to my friends in the Midwest, I hear how un-relatable and disconnected I sound. Listening to my own voice possessed by the spirit of New York City. “Well, after I got off work in Carroll Gardens, I took the F to the M to Delancey Essex, walked to Metrograph, and got tickets to see the re-release of Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue, which Chloe Sevigny and Natasha Lyonne produced. The show didn’t start for an hour, so I sat in Seward Park and stalked Amalia Ulman’s letterboxd profile. I thought Metrograph’s atmosphere was kind of stuffy and pretentious, I much prefer the DIY B-movie aesthetic of Film Noir in Greenpoint.” What am I saying? Six months ago, all of these words would have been meaningless and empty to me. Why am I compelled to relay such trivial and dull information to friends of mine, who have no interest in the comparative value of different art house theaters in the city, and are only listening because they are nice.
People who enjoy their life, enjoy their life. The Dunning Kruger effect is a hypothetical cognitive bias stating that people with low ability at a task over-estimate their own ability, and that people with high ability at a task underestimate their own ability. I would say it’s because I care about others and want to help them, Barr said. But it’s mostly because I’ve never had a social life, so what else do I have to do? I don’t need to trust the science. I believe in love. 3,4 Methylenedioxyamphetamine is an empathogen-enactogen, psychostimulant, and psychedelic drug of the amphetamine family that is encountered mainly as a recreational drug. It’s 2012— I don’t know I’m autistic yet.
On Thanksgiving Eve, I tell myself that it’s a stupid holiday, meant for surbanites and trads. I go to a bar in LES, drink 2 vodka sodas, speak Spanish, and take half a tab of sassafras. The next day, I go to work, serotonin depleted, homesick, and cry for 8 hours. At least I made time and a half. On the train home, a man sees me upset, tells me he hopes I feel better, and asks me who died.
There are plenty of good days, too. The sun is warm, and I meander purposelessly. I’m the only living person in this city. I am a motherfucking dandy. I am the one girl in New York consumed by the spirit of flaneurism. I offer up my body, my eyes, and my feet to the silly street-walker. I am him now. I need a bowler hat and a cane. I go to a diner alone, sit in a half-sized booth, and eat a cesar salad. The dark formica table designed for one is too small to fit my bowl and my laptop. My things crowd. I listen gingerly in on the conversation of the two men running the place. They speak to each other in Greek and English. Fox News plays on the TV overhead, discussing President Biden’s decision to boycott the Beijing Olympics. In English, one man asks the other, “What is happening to this country?”. A better question perhaps is what isn’t happening to this country? From my perspective, a half-sized diner table full of my things facing the street in Brooklyn Heights, I sense serenity could be achieved from deprivation, denial, and lack, decidedly not from gain.
The biggest culture shock moving from the Midwest to the City has been: the amount of obscene wealth dangled so openly in front of my face. Hung there, as if I wouldn’t even consider taking it. I grew up in a place where slinging a Telfar bag across your body comes across at best as out of context. A designer bag is meant to be hoarded in your bedroom, maybe because such a culturally irrelevant and decrepit place as the Ohio River Valley does not deserve to be graced by fine leather and chic design. Wealth is something which feels foreign to me, and I fundamentally misunderstand.
All of my friends have job offers or boyfriends, or both. I have my art, and my twitter.
I saw an ex-friend of mine in Prospect Park. I defended my territory by journaling on a grassy green hill, unbothered by his presence. My eyes and hands focused on the page, but my mind tuned into his voice, listening to him show his students a magic trick. He conjures a penny from his pocket and makes it disappear, then reappear in the ear of one of the children. Their tiny voices oooh and aaah. “How does it work?” they plead him. “It works from the magic of Halloween”. When he finally leaves, I stay for a moment, reveling in my victory. The Park is mine, more mine than his right now because now I am here, and he isn't. Then I feel infused with a sudden burst of energy, and get up from my seat to skip down the wooded path. Like I said, a motherfucking dandy.