Thursday, December 29, 2005

I love tourists, but some just need to be shot in the head.

I cannot express how crowded it is around my building this week. We are located in tourist central. There are hoards of people crawling through Times Square mindlessly gawking up at all the shining advertisements and flickering lights. There are masses of people congregating at Rockefeller Center, once again staring at the twinkle of the Christmas tree above. I understand that tourists are integral to the city's economy. I understand that many of them come from places that don't have buildings as tall or sights as glitsy as ours. I appreciate that they want to visit this lovely city. I am a fellow traveller and I understand what it is like to be in a new place and want to make the most of the experience. There are just some things that I cannot tolerate.

I do not appreciate when tourists just stand in the middle of the sidewalk and loiter. I especially hate it when the tourist in front of me stops short for no particular reason at all. Why, oh why, do tourists think it's ok to take a picture anywhere they please? I suppose tourists only bother me for one reason. I know where I'm going and they get in my way. They make a walk that should only be 5 minutes into a 15 minute stress fest.

Tourists, listen up! New Yorkers get a bad rap for being rude. Perhaps it is because we have no qualms about mauling you over when you stand in our way. We mean nothing by this seemingly aggressive act. Really. It's just our natural instinct taking over. There is one simple solution to this misunderstanding. Whenever you want to stop walking, MOVE TO THE SIDE and GET OUT OF MY WAY! I implore you, please move to the side so that I can get to where I want to be. Point and stare all you want, but stop delaying my trip because you're on a leisurely stroll. I'm going somewhere and you're in my way so I will do whatever I need to do to get through the crowd, even if that means moving you to the side, where you should have been in the first place. So please, do not make my natural instincts appear and move to the side so I no longer have to shove you out of the way. I take no pleasure in this. I don't even notice half the time so please move to the side and let me through.

At least I can garner some humor from the tourists almost getting run over by cabbies because they don't know how to cross the street.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Let it go...

During finals and midterms in high school, my gym teacher would have us do a relaxation exercise. We'd lie down on the floor and she'd instruct is to tighten muscles in a particular part of our body and then tell us to "let it go" when it was time to release the pressure. Surprisingly, it actually worked, but I never took the time to do it on my own.

Unfortunately, years later, I still have not yet learned to relax. Instead, I've mastered being tense and holding onto things that upset me.

My company's holiday party is the first event where I can enjoy myself since I don't have to work all evening. My shift is over early enough to allow me to participate in the flawless evening. The decor has transformed the space into a winter wonderland. The band is fantastic; their covers are played just as the original bands and artists intended. It seems as if the song selection is determined by the iPod of a music fanatic set to random. Songs cater to everyone's taste. The food is traditional with a witty twist. Beer and wine is flowing. Because I like my coworkers, the company is grand as well. Everything seems to be going right. By now, I should be wary of having too much fun because that is precisely the moment when the tension of the past returns, but I am fooled by the festivities.

The impeccability of the evening continues as I get ready to leave. I have just enough wine and feel just lonely enough to dig through my bag, find my Blackberry, and call him. Of course he doesn't pick up. Why would he? He's never there when I miss him anyway. Minutes after I get into the car my Blackberry starts to vibrate. It's him! We chat for a bit. Then I find myself accusing him of not wanting to speak to me anymore. He tells me it's not that he doesn't want to talk to me. It's just that I leave him angry text messages. I let the comment go for the rest of the conversation, but true to form, let it bother me. We hang up. It keeps eating at me. Let the texting begin:

Me: I haven't sent angry text messages in a while
Him: I guess. But one day you're mad and the next day you're not.
Me: Internally I suppose. You free tomorrow night?

Blah blah blah - we end up making plans to have drinks at his place the next night.

While I'm at work the next afternoon I get a text on my cell phone and my Blackberry - He just found out that he has to have dinner with a client that night. He proposes that we meet up next week. I tell him to inform me when and I'll check my calendar. No response. The next day I text and ask him how dinner went. No response. Saturday, on another late night drunken text against my better judgement, I ask, "I don't understand why me being mad at you sometimes even matters to you." Surprisingly he responds, "Of course it does. I wouldn't want that!" Sunday I ask him if we're still on for this week. No response. It just so happens that I've been tired and sick so I really haven't had time or energy to deal with him. The moment I have a tinge of energy I use it to text him (completely sober this time) saying, "For someone who doesn't want to anger me you sure do it often. Thanks for ignoring me and blowing me off yet again."

He's completely infuriating! I hate it when he ignores me. Few things eat at me more. Why can't he just be constant?! Pick one. Choose to speak with me or choose to ignore me. Is that so difficult? I, of course, can choose to stop contacting him as well, but like I said I still haven't learned how to just let it go. I can't let go of the memories. I can't let go of missing him. I can't let go of all the ways he's taken care of me even though he's told me that he cares about me, but doesn't love me anymore.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

one, two, three strikes - you're out!

It's day three of the MTA strike and lucky for me my boss is understanding and let me work from home today (and tomorrow too!). This move just makes sense. She knows I'm not feeling well and with the strike it's a pain to get into and out of the office. Plus, it's the week before Christmas and now that the children's holiday parties have been cancelled there's really nothing to do at the office. Everyone who has vacation days is taking them. Everyone who's in the office is not doing much.

Thank goodness my boss is nice. Other people are stuck coming in for the rest of the week (though I don't have much pity for those that live in close proximity to the office and can walk 20 blocks to work. Yes, it's cold outside, but I'd have to walk that far plus take a bus in).

Just for the record, I am not in favor of this strike. It strengthens the union, but hurts the employees - the very people that unions are supposed to protect. Each of them loses two days pay for each day they are on strike. Plus, they're fined $25,000 as well if I'm not mistaken. I don't like the idea of being told to strike. Call for people to walk out, but don't order them not to work and make it socially unacceptable for them to cross the line and make them suffer these hardships without a choice. Choosing to do something and being ordered to do something are two totally different things.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I have not had time to post. We had just about a badillion holiday parties to work last week. On Friday I got home and crashed. I passed out, completely forgot I had a Christmas party to go to. Whoops.

About two weeks ago we had another set of newbies in my department. I was pleasantly surprised. All three were down to earth and I could see myself hanging out with the new girls. So on Saturday, despite not feeling well, I decided to go to my new coworker's (aka. "Joy") Christmas party. She and her two roommates had invited their friends over for a cocktail party. I was really glad I went. First of all, her apartment was very quaint - it resembles the future apartment I have envisioned for myself. Besides that, it was nice to be surrounded by people who didn't have any preconceived notions about me. I fluttered from conversation to conversation. I was comfortable even though I only knew three others who had attended. I was even comfortable after two of those three people had left. I felt like I was in my element. I didn't feel out of place even though I was surrounded by strangers. I felt attractive, even though no one tried to hit on me (the fact that I felt attractive is even more surprising because there was a person that I was interested in and he didn't ask me for my number as I had hoped). I chatted up a storm and Joy later told me that her friends had thought I was really nice. Granted, this was all based on a first impression, but at least it reassures me that I'm not completely socially inept.

I am unreasonably harsh when judging my own social aptitude. Sometimes I think I'm congenial and social. Other times I think I'm standoffish and not talkative enough. Of course, this insecurity stems from another insecurity - that men aren't attracted to me. I've come to terms with my physical appearance. I consider myself somewhat attractive. I only think I'm ugly on very bad days. Otherwise I carry myself with confidence. Despite this, I still question my personality even though the people I come across seem to enjoy my company.

I need to learn to just be myself and accept myself as such instead of trying to keep reaching my "better" self. Always seeking perfection is a frustrating, neverending chase.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Working Stiff

As a member of corporate America, I don't mind being required to wear a suit to work everyday. At the beginning it was expensive to accumulate a good number so that I could rotate on a daily basis. After a few months, however I've amassed enough to get me through a few weeks. It feels completely natural to wear heels, pants or a skirt, and a jacket, especially in this atmosphere.

Once the atmosphere changes, however, so does my outlook on the clothes I wear. We had a reception at Dream Lounge for an employee hoilday party. The bar was very hip and trendy; I wasn't a fan of neither the lounge's nor the hotel's take on this image. The lounge had bold stripes on the wall that continued on the floor and the ceiling. It was waaay too psychadelic for my taste, but once the lights were dimmed and the candles were lit it was a bit more toned down. The hotel lobby had nude sketches on the walls, mirrors, metal, dark wood, and this huge cylindrical fish tank - totally random and not aesthetically pleasing at all. Making me feel even more stiff were the cocktail waitresses and bartenders - jeans, Uggs, short skirts, tiny tops, knee high boots, etc. Much more "casual" than I could ever be at work.

Eek! Scary

It just makes me wonder what life would be like right now if I had decided to work at a boutique hotel firm either as a front desk agent or a salesperson. I'd be able to wear comfy or cool clothes to work, but would I be happy? Would the job fit me as well as this one does? Would my hours be just as long?

Second guessing my decisions is in my nature, but in this case it's really unnecessary. I'm happy where I am.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Over the Hill

I visited my friends at school on Friday. I had dinner with two of my closest friends at our favorite restaurant in Queens. Whenever the three of us want to go out to dinner this is our usual. It's nice. It's familiar. I miss them when they're not around. Around them I feel completely normal. They are truly my peers. I respect their opinion even when they're chastising me for texting him on Friday during work. Even when they tell me that I should just ignore him when he contacts me out of the blue. Even when they show me their own weaknesses and concerns. Even when they have their own frustrations and challenges to face.

Afterwards we went to a fraternity party. A year ago I would have had a really good time. Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy myself because of the group of people I went with, but I still felt like a fish out of water. Everyone else seemed so young, naive, and sheltered. They lived within the confines of college and their plans were limited to final exams and parties. They had no broader vision.

I know I'm not old. I'm 21. I should be a senior in college now. Except I did that last year and now I feel old despite what my age is.

Monday, December 05, 2005

One is the Loneliest Number

I went back to my college this weekend for my sorority's semi-formal. For some reason, it didn't occur to me to bring a date. That in and of itself hardly bothers me though. I did, afterall, go to my senior prom alone with no qualms.

It was fun seeing everyone again. Since most of my friends are set to graduate this coming May, it was just like old times.

Afterwards we rented a party bus to celebrate two birthdays. I wasn't bothered that everyone was paired up until we boarded the bus. We drove around the city, made a few stops here and there. With each stop I got more and more sullen. Perhaps it was my drunken state (actually, I'm almost positive that it was because of my drunken state), but I threw caution to the wind and I texted him. Mind you, I was doing really well. I hadn't contacted him in over a month. I had even said goodbye. I truly thought we'd never see each other again even though I didn't want that to be the case. We texted back and forth:

me: What's up?
him: I'm out. How about you?
me: In the city with my friends. In the village.
him: I saw you on west 4th.
me: You wanna meet up?
him: Can't tonight. But maybe tomorrow.

I didn't respond to him after that. I figured that was the end of the conversation until I received another text:

him: Actually @ home now
me: Too late. Maybe next week.
him: Rough. Found a better offer?
me: No. Just missed your chance tonight. Weather's getting bad.

And that was the end of that. I have no idea why I torture myself like this. I know he's no longer interested in me. We stopped officially dating ages ago. We can't seem to find our way to becoming "just friends." Yet, I'm still having the hardest time letting go.

Meanwhile, when he told me that he didn't want to see me I felt the need to contact this guy. It wasn't even because I wanted to see him. I just wanted a replacement after he said that he didn't want to spend time with me. I should just delete the new guy's phone number because I don't really ever want to see him. He's just a back-up. Someone to bolster my ego when he deflates it.

Why do I continue to want to spend time with him? He doesn't reciprocate my feelings. It defies logic.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Being sober can actually be fun!

I came home today in a huff. I had heard some disappointing news at work (not work related) and I began to blame the world for all my problems. The last thing I wanted to do was be on Staten Island. I felt stifled. I was getting a serious case of cabin fever. I just needed to get away from my house. Thank goodness I had made plans with Jackie.

I was worried my spirits would not allow me to be personable, but I didn't want to waste a perfectly good night of catching up with a good friend. So I went and hoped I could control my pissy mood.

I'm so glad that we decided not to meet at a bar. I am certain that if I had alcohol in my system this evening I would not have been very good company. Alcohol only enhances the mood I am in. Since I was in a shit mood when I got home I would have been in an even shittier mood with each drink I had. We sat. We chatted. We laughed. I felt better. All without getting drunk.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


After completing 18 years of schooling I have collected nearly as many yearbooks. In nearly every single one, someone has written the letters "K.I.T." - keep in touch. As the years have passed it has gotten more and more difficult to follow through with my friends and former friends' request. Ever since I've graduated I've become more accutely aware of this.

After graduating from high school, my friends and I dispersed to colleges throughout the east. Some friends, who were truly amusing, brilliant, and jovial, I quickly lost touch with when I didn't have a daily lunch break to reuinte us. College classes, activities, social networks, and internships ate up my time and I failed to find a moment to dial, e-mail or IM. Others I contacted dilligently because they were my closest and dearest friends, my mental and emotional strongholds during a period when I couldn't be one for myself. Without them I wouldn't be where I am today, but as time has passed we had forged our own paths and, in two unfortunate cases, chose to alienate ourselves from one another. That leaves me with the remainder of my friends.

I'm on a quest to learn how to reconstruct the chains of friendship that have become brittle or broken these past few years. There are people who I really wish I had continued to speak to during my college years, but failed to. I want to contact them and see if they still have the same characteristcs that drew me to them originally. Or maybe I'll find that they have new traits that will peak my interest. This is a mission that I began last night by IMing someone I haven't really sat down and talked to in years.

There are friends that I have been meeting up with every few months. I want to make a commitment to make sure that this continues because I value their friendship, input, and perspective. I miss them when they are not around.

This whole pursuit causes a bit of trepidation for me though. When you deal with people who are close to you, you also deal with your heart. There have been instances in my past where friends had taken advantage of me and when I have taken advantage of some of my friends. I've been hurt and I have hurt others. I am sure that these situations were not created intentionally. I now attribute them to our immaturity and inability to recognize the situation as exploitive. I'd like to make amends with them one day, but in the meantime I fear that my well intentions will be abused. I refuse to let my own paranoia debilitate me though.

All these plans are well and good, but the true test is whether I actually follow through. I'm still trying to find a balance here at work. Events happen all the time - days, nights, weekends. In fact, I was at work for a mini-conference at 6:30 a.m. today. Busy weeks zap me of all my energy. Throw in the fact that I have to commute one and a half to two hours each way on a typical day and I can barely find enough time for my own peace of mind. The true challenge lies in being able to find time for family, friends, work, and myself.