Monday, June 30, 2008

Never Take An Urban Hike In Heels

As a young worker of NYC, there are certain things I have given up in exchange for comfort. About a year ago and just starting out, I wore heels all the time. And I mean as in I walked to work (where at the time would be a hot 6 avenues or so) and then wore them for the remainder of the day. In my mind, I was miserable, but what was the alternative? To wear SNEAKERS with my fun spring dress? Oh no, no no no.

Alas, I have wised up along the way and traded my heels in for uggs & moccasins in the winter (ha I know, don't say anything) and now I live in flip-flops. Sometimes I'll sneak a pair of fun high-wedge sandals, but after last Wednesday, they may also be retired.

Geraldine, my brother's friend Kyle, & I arranged to go have happy hour because we all work in Midtown and well, come on, who doesn't love happy hour? Between the three of us, I'm all the way up on 54th and Madison, Gerald on 42nd and Broadway, & Kyle on 33rd and 7th (something like that). We agreed at this place Kyle picked out (god bless his 22 year old little heart. At first, when he recommended a place, I assumed it would be a dive..sorry Kyle. I knew myself at 22 and she liked cheap drinks, which evidently equalled cheap vodka.)

But he introduced us to an un-tapped resource. All I have to say is: Good crowd. $3.50 mixed drinks (and I'm talking like decent hard liquors) and CHINESE food. Oh it was amazing. Needless to say the happy hour crossed over to happy night.

The smart thing to do at the time was walk myself down to Geraldine's office and then together we'd go to the place where we were meeting Kyle. Stupid me, I guess I over-estimated my abilities in wedge sandals thinking, "oh no no, it'll be fine. You always wear heels".

Wrong. 5 avenues up and 12 streets down, my feet started to sweat (I know, something you don't want to here about, but sorry. It's summer. Sue me). And I started slipping around in my sandals. But not too badly....

So I scooped up Geraldine and together we walked along, chatting it up about this and that and all the while I was slipping, like tripping all over the sidewalk, as if I was drunk. Like a sloppy stupid all day drunkity drunk.

The first trip we laughed.

The second, again "haha, what is wrong with you"?

The third, "Ok Kristine! ENOUGH! Seriously"!!

Then the fourth.

We continued to walk and laugh at my falling misfortunes and then there I went AGAIN. On a child. In a stroller.

Yes. I fell into a child who was just taking a nice afternoon walk with it's Nanny. As I fell through the air, I felt someone pulling me forward, in attempts to save the child, who at the time looked at me like a deer in headlights (I'm sure it was more like - what the hell is wrong with this girl). I thought it was Geraldine coming to my rescue, but no. Just some random guy, I'm assuming coming up from behind for a free body feel-up. Awesome.

So luckily, the child was surprisingly cool, or else he or she was a New Yorker who expected the unexpected. I would say it's Nanny was the more upset one of the two.

Hence. The moral of the story. Do not walk around the city in the summer in heels. You're only asking to fall onto children in strollers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Wednesday Double Take

In the magical land of Midtown, where there are literally three million places to get a sandwich, who in their right mind would think, "hmm maybe I'll go to DUANE READE and pick something up for and some raisins..."

Oh that's right. It was the sweaty balding-middle-aged-businessman (I know, the very best) in front of me in line about an hour ago.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Character Storm

I always assumed that everyone had random strangers approach them for conversation. I'll be just minding my own business, reading Harry Potter or chattering away with E on the train and the person next to me/us needs to exchange life details. Or sometimes it's the person standing beside me at the cross walk, asking how my day is and why I appear to be in such a good mood. E has informed me that it isn't the norm and apparently the weirdos just come after me.

I thought maybe it was just in my head until Saturday rolled around. Or it could be that Red Bank is the breeding grounds for the friendly. I worked at Siam Garden that particular day (it's a restaurant I have worked at off & on for years. Every so often I'll go in for extra cash) so took the train into Red Bank kinda early with the intentions of walking around and basking in the sun for a bit. As I stepped off the train, I noticed a guy staring at me. Whatever. People stare, no big deal. While I walked and thought about where to go first, was abruptly interrupted by random dude from train, waving his hands trying to get my attention.

RDFT: Hey! Don't I know you! Kristine right? KRISTINE! You dated PAUL!

Me: Paul? PAUL. Hmmm, Paul Paul Paul. OHHHH ok. Yes I did date Paul. Like SIX years ago (side note in my mind: how in god's green earth did he remember me? I didn't remember him. )

RDFT: It's me, GUY!!

Me: Ohhhhh right right, Guy. Well...... how have you been?

Guy goes into his life, how he's been working for a pool installation company for the past 4 years, how he lives down near the shore, how he doesn't drive and only takes the train, and so on. Then he asked what's new with me and my life, which I thought was stupid because it's not as if he ever knew about it before hand. Unless Paul told him. But then again, he did remember me, so maybe he also remembered my life.... hmmm. I wonder. Well, through the pointless conversation, the only thing I was really interested in was: how was Paul doing anyway? You know, the actual link to Guy & I.

Guy: Well, Paul and I aren't friends anymore. We uhh... drifted apart. He went away to school at the New School (to which I interrupted with a -----oooh! Does he live in the City...of course I was envisioning a reunion special with Paul).

"No no no", said Guy, "he is back living in Colts Neck....I think. I mean we don't really talk anymore."

As we walked along, talked about the beach and the weekend, all very ladi-blah. Finally, we reached our fork in the road, so I said, "well nice to see you? Have a good day."

I had a feeling he'd ask me for my number. Not to toot my own horn, but sometimes you can feel that vibe. And I was correct.

G: Well here, gimme your number, we can hangout or go to the beach sometime.

Me: I don't live here. I don't know when.....(stalling)

G: Come on! your going to be down one time or another and I'll come up to visit you in the city!!

At this stage it's clear: I'm guessing
a) he doesn't get girls to talk to him as long as I did, which was basically due to the fact that he was walking in my direction. He thought conversation = long lasting relationship.

b) if he only intended on us hanging out once or twice, it was clearly just a ladi-dah sex thing. Um I was not attracted to him and had no desire in pursuing anything. PLUS isn't it wierd that I dated someone he was once close with...And whom I would love to run into ....hmmm I don't like the sounds of Guy.

So about 2-4 minutes of me protesting to give him my number, I said fine. FINE. I asked him if he had a phone to put my number in and he replied with, "well.....I don't have a phone right now, so I'll probably call you from a pay phone, if that's OK with you.."

What did I say you wonder?

WHAT? Are you a pimp! Homeless?? Who uses pay phone any more. They are disease breeders! (bleh)

I've gotten two phone calls since from an unknown number and a message. How does it ALWAYS work that the ones you never want to hear from think you two are soul mates and the ones you pray to the good lord to hear from magically disappear?

ANYWAY, I walked away and started laughing to myself. It was all too much: between the train, the payphone, and Paul-friend citing, I had to call E (who never called me back, thanks alot)

Afterwards, I went to Zebu for gelato (omg amazing amazing) and decide to go browse through some stores. While in a shop, the girl who worked there called me out and exclaimed that she's always wanted a tattoo on her foot, how lately it had been a shark, always wanted to see one and then I came in having it!

From here we got into a nice little Q & A about tattoos (which I love to talk about anyway) and where to go. This type of random character chatter is the kind I enjoy. It was cute because she was younger (maybe 18 or so) and genuinely excited. I wanted to hug her and take her under my wing.

The following day, E & I were heading to Panerra to work on some writing and I told her about my day and then---- WEIRD. The man behind us engaged himself in our conversation and then felt the need to talk about his weekend, his boat, where he lived and so on. 10 minutes later, I have his card in my hand and can't help but be amused and grateful. What's better for the girl that loves character than for them to love her too?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shuffle Run Thursday

In case you haven't noticed, I love characters dearly and am lucky enough to attract pah-lenty of them in my normal day to day life. As time goes by, I have almost become immuned to the unexpected, but certainly do not take it for granted. Oh no no. I love them all.

I work during the day in an office and it is pretty typical. Cubes and conference rooms and coffee and phones ringing and no, the phone is never for me, but for the five sales reps that sit behind me and sell ads all day. If there is the slight chance that someone is calling for me, it is either my mom, Chia, or Hen.

After hearing horror stories from my friend Nina about how terrible one of her last office jobs was, I was petrified entering the office workforce. I'm the type of person who has no problem being alone if I don't find anyone I really click with. That may appear to be isolating and weird, which may be true. But thats me. What can you do? In present situation, I lucked out where everyone has been super welcoming and while they are all good friends, seem happy to include whoever. There isn't really anyone who I loathe or get really angry with when I see them. And to top it off, we have a few characters in the office and that is where this blog is leading to, in case you were wondering : )

By far my favorite characters in the office include:

The Cowboy: He works in my cubicle island, has the greatest Texas accent, and wears Levi's and cowboy boots.

Hushpuppy: Yes he wears hush puppies. I've seen so far white and brownish-beige ones. And he is usually decked out in the best colorful and coordinated outfits, very Stanford Blanche from Sex & The City. He's great

Oh, you know what, there is one person that makes me cringe...and that would be"The Mystery Cougher". He isn't full time here at the office and usually works from home. The only reason I dislike his presence is because he coughs all day long. And it's one of those explosive coughs thats coming from the bottom of his feet. Oh its the worst. And while on the phone, he punches his desk (I'm assuming in the heat of passion or just being so engrossed in what he's trying to sell)! Fine fine, punch away, except, OH THAT'S RIGHT, he sits at the cube behind me and by his punching, causes my entire desk to shake. I seriously want to cry when he comes in because it just means that he will be shaking my desk for the entire day.

The best office character though is Shuffle-Runner, and yes you guessed it, he does not walk. I don't know if he is capable of doing so, but shuffle runs all through the office. You always know where he is by the sweet sound of, how do you explain it, hmm, as if someone was rubbing a balloon on a carpet. Everytime he run along, I can't help but wonder how many electric shocks he gets once he eventually gets back to his desk

He is the type of person who enjoys weird conversations, but is also a frantic whisperer, so you end up just laughing and saying, "oh hhhaa yeah, right, oh yeah I know I know..haha right right, ok good bye".

Last Thursday, I was in the media room making thousands of copies when all of a sudden, who shuffles in to make copies... yeah you guessed it! Shuffle Runner! We get into a conversation about tattoos because I have some and he mumbled/whispered something about making his own.

SR: Well I have enough scars to consider them to be a tattoo

KC: Oh? Why? What does that mean?

SR: Well one time I was snorkeling in Belize...

KC: (I'm assuming here is when I formed a "oooo lucky, why haven't I gone snorkeling in Belize face/pout)

SR:....when out of nowhere a boat pulled up to where we were snorkeling...

SR: ....and they dumped some garbage on me....

KC: (WHAT!!!!)

SR: And then a shark came and mistook me for garbage and bit me.

KC: WHAT THE HELL (while dropping all thousand papers onto the floor). How are you still standing here!! How did you get the shark away??

SR: Welll everyone I was swimming with left me because they didn't want to get bit too.


So he continued about two more minutes of this story, which included details such as "two hundred stitches" and "ripping through my shoulder like butter", and I had enough and sprinted to my desk to tell anyone I was chatting with mid-day about this random story.

Unanswered questions:

a) How did he survive? I mean how do you get away from a shark? That just mind-boggles me.

b) How do you stay friends with people when they leave you in the mercy of a shark?

c) How does getting bit by a shark have anything to do with getting tattoos?

d) How did I not hear this story SOONER!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Word Of The Day Is Harry Potter!

A long time ago, when Harry Potter was still brand new to the world, I made a vow to myself to never get included in the HP hoopla-craze. How could I, a well read and maybe 22 year old or so at the time, ever like a book that children too loved? I would laugh at the people over the years who dressed up as their favorite characters for the new book release parties and movie premieres. Haha not me. No no nevvvver.

Skip forward to I'm guessing 2006-ish, when my friend Chiarina met & fell in love with Harry and I probably and I assume I said, "Nooooo! Why?? How??What"! And she happily stated to the world that no only was Harry Potter her favorite books series, but also her favorite movies. Chia pleaded with me to give him a chance. She would try to get me to come over her house for Harry Potter movie nights and ploy the books off onto me, saying, "just read one of them! Just try!" And I would firmly say, "nah, I don't think so, meh meh, blah blah." She wanted me to try it out before I was so hasty to judge. And now looking back, I did hate on HP for no reason. I knew nothing about the story or the characters OR how amazing and wonderful the story is.

Oh yeah, by the way, I am currently OBSESSED with Harry Potter. Yup, Chia and Jay (her bf at the time, now fiance, who also happens to be one of my close friends as well) got me to watch the movies, where I stubbornly said, "yeah, they were pretty good, FINE I'll take some books", as if doing them a favor. But once one and two were done, I HUNGERED for more.

Do you want to know what I did last night? At the height of my Harry Potter craze, I not only watched "Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban", but then I finished reading "Harry Potter & Order of The Phoenix"! And yes, both made me cry!

So now onto book 6 and then book 7, meaning the Harry Potter series will be over for me. Is it weird that this is something I fear and get deeply saddened over? That after reading the books, I feel so bad for Harry and want to give him a hug? Yes, I think its crazy too...

But we still have the new movies to look forward to.

Now the next issue is deciding who (Chia, Jay, or I) gets to dress like Harry for the next movie premier. I think I'll give them Harry if I can be Ron. Or maybe Hagrid.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Stalker Edition

Today was pretty much like any other soberly-full night slept morning. Got to the city around 8, early I know, because I had to buy a new phone (wooo, blackberry). I leisurely walked my way through the crowds of tourists in Times Square, passed by the sounds of Chris Brown singing in the Plaza, and treated myself to a flavored coffee.

But today was a little different. I was standing on the corner of 47th and Broadway, waiting for the light to change, and there he was. I haven't really been blown away by some one's beauty in a long time, so I swear, he took me completely off guard.

He was tall and surfer lean. Hot. hot hot hot. He kinda looked like Nate from "Gossip Girl", but the surfer not-so-pretty version. He casually strolled along to work, carrying a large bottle of water and broken in paperback book. So what did I do? Yeah, you guessed it. I followed him and basically lurked behind him for a good block or so.

I know, I know. What was the point of the chase? It wasn't like I was going to say anything. And what did I expect? That he would turn around and be blown away by my beauty and just NEED to know me. Turned out not only was he beautiful, but had a sick personality and awesome sense of humor? Three weeks later, we would be happily in love and planning our wedding?


Just say I did manage to get Beach Nate, it would obviously be a disaster because I'd be so intimidated by his beauty. Everytime we'd get together, I'd be super awkward, clumsy, and never making any sense..... unless I had a cocktail or two. Beach Nate would lose interest because he would not want to date a girl who only wanted to go for drinks and if he could get me to a sober function, it would be pointless because I wouldn't be capable of making a normal or complete sentence.

I swear, what a joke of a life I lead...and I say that it in the best possible way

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Free Lunch Tuesday & Why I Don't Mind So Much Being Poor

As a low-paid advertising assistant, you could only imagine how much I like free things. Lucky for me (and the rest of the NYC assistants), the city is full of promotions. May in particular was a great month for freeness. There were free coffee Wednesdays at Starbucks, in which I happily traveled to all 5 or so locations around my office for a coffee. I don't think I even needed that 3rd of 4th cup, but my brain kept on chanting , "free! Free! Go get it, it's free!". Fine, you win.

But the best, by far the best freeness was at The Volstead (54th and Lexington). To promote their lunch menu and to get us workers nearby to realize they actually had lunch there, TV decided to do FREE LUNCH Tuesdays for the entire month of May. E & I were seriously beside ourselves. I suppose we weren't really the right people to be going, considering (if you have read previous posts, you probably heard about the pathetic lunches we usually conger up) we don't go out to lunch and if so, go for the cheapness-on-the run, not sit down high-end meals. But whatever, we travel to the freeness, so finally after weeks of being turned away, got in on the last Tuesday. And it was wonderful. Seriously.

We started with these little pieces of toasted Italian-ish bread, topped with a spinach dip and thinly sliced pieces of steak. I have had this before at the Volstead (my friend Nina works there, so have gone a few times) and it is amazing. SO tasty. We also had tempura salmon rolls, which was ok. I don't think I'd ever order it again (and definitely not pay) but it was good to try.

Then for lunch, I had a pulled pork sandwich and E had a lobster roll. Thank you thank you Volstead! I figure we deserved to eat heartily because if you put together all the years I've been contributing to the mother company (they own Red and Downtown in Red Bank, and P.S. etc. in the city) have put out lots and lots of $$ their way. So there.

Before going to lunch that day, E sent me this link from an article in NY Times about people, like her & I, as well as many friends I have, about the 20-somethings who even though don't make alot of money, learn to make it stretch to live in this area.

I have very mixed emotions after reading this article. The idea is great. I think it is very reassuring to us low-paiders to know we aren't alone and there is still hope, even though you aren't actually raking in the money.

BUT. The people NY Times chose to profile didn't seem to be realistic. You got
(a) the girl who shipped her clothes back and forth. That is not typical. Who does that? Just her. (b) the guy who makes 60k a year and was still complaining. Um I'd be skipping back and forth to work every day if I made that much. Come on.
(c) the chick who ate peanuts for dinner and consciencely resorted to flirting for drinks? Come on sister, where's your dignity. Sure, it's always a nice perk as a girl to get a free drink. But lowering yourself to save $7-$15 (depending on what your drinking and where), your can do a lot better.

But there were some super great & realistic things stated in this article that I actually said out loud ---omg that's me.

"Some tactics have long been chronicled: sharing tiny apartments with strangers. Sharing those apartments with eight strangers. Eating cheap lunches and skipping dinners — not just to save money, but so that drinks pack more of a punch and fewer need be consumed."

So here are some of my tips to live well and work in the city, how I keep myself healthy and fed, but still have a dollar or two in my pocket.

You have to be creative and not mind eating the same things everyday. I buy a box of oatmeal every week and a half or so and make myself a pouch every morning. Lucky for me, coffee is free here at the office, so that saves a few dollars a day.

Then for a mid-morning snack, I'll usually have a big orange, which is 75 cents from the fruit man on the corner outside my building.

Lunch is peanut butter & jelly, or left overs from the night before and a bag of pretzels.

THEN dinner. I will usually go to A&P and buy bags of veggies (which usually go for a $1.50 or so), steam them, and mix it all up with tofu and steamed rice. I also have all sorts of Asian sauces (terriyaki, fish sauce, soya, sechuan, peanut sauce etc.), so when you blend it all together, you are left a nice healthy and hearty meal. Other favorite dishes include angel hair pasta topped with broccoli and chicken sauteed with garlic and olive oil, or Tom Yum soup with rice . Tom yum is an AMAZING Thai soup that is super good and pretty inexpensive to make. Ingredients include: fish sauce, lime juice, chicken broth, chili paste, lemon grass, and either shrimp, chicken, tofu...basically anything.

I live in Hoboken, which I guess compared to these people in the story is way cheaper. I live (like so many people I know) with 2 other girls in an apartment, whom I found on craigslist. Lucky for me, they are both cool and live well together.

Out & About
This is where I find my money goes through the quickest. The article is dead on when they mention "pre-gaming" before going out because it is absolutely a must. My friends and I try to look for the open bars and good happy-hour specials, where drinks will end up being way cheaper. We also look for free readings and events that we are not only interested in, but know will be serving wine & cheese.

I could go on & on, but seriously, if your a creative person and want everything that NYC has to offer, there is ALWAYS a way. Looking back, I'm sure I'll chuckle at my twenty-something self that chose to eat the same thing every single day in favor of going out all weekend instead.