Cheap Thrills

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This coming Saturday is my half birthday. Six months from that day I will turn 25, and though I see the flaws in weighing the value of my life in relationship to my age (“nothin but a number” and whatnot), I still allow my choices to be influenced by a timeline, however vague. Like, such as, my decision to not be poor anymore, leave thankless production grunt work behind, and take a full time job in the Hair and Beauty Industry. Along with that new job comes a higher budget, and higher standards for standards of living. On March 1 I put in my 30 days notice at The Chokey (my current place) and IF ALL GOES WELL I will find a studio in my area (that is, MY VERY OWN APARTMENT to share with Kos & Gon, of course) for the low low price of a lot of my money per month. A risk, I know, but one I am willing to take because I’m tired and I need my space, and in the words of Soo-Jin on Girls a couple episodes ago, “We’re old ladies. It’s gross.”

So far the search has been something of an emotional roller coaster. Starting last weekend I spent every minute of my free time (with the exception of some events you’ll hear about in a minute) scouring craigslist and various realty websites for the perfect property. And then…I found it. A studio in Ridgewood smack on the nose of my budget, totally renovated with a swaggy kitchen and brand new appliances, not too far from the trains or my current neighborhood on a quiet residential street. I was beyond excited. I could already see it: cute little dinner parties with my friends sitting on bar stools eating corn on the cob or some shit, Kos n Gonny basking in the sunlight from my gigantic bay windows, having enough space to put the litterbox more than 6 inches from where I sleep at night…It honestly seemed too good to be true. I spent the week frantically trying to get in touch with listing agents and brokers from the realty company so I could set an appointment to view the place, and even walked to the realty offices in Bed-Stuy in 25 degree weather one night after work to preemptively fill out an application, put down a (thankfully refundable) deposit, and take the studio off the market. On the Friday before my viewing I was on the verge of snappingย Office Spaceย style on the printer/scanner at work as I tried to copy and email the closing agent all my past rent check receipts, pay stubs, letters of employment and guarantor information. I wasn’t about to let this apartment slip between my fingers. If you’ve ever looked for a place to live in the New York area, you know how stressful the process can be. I’m not flat out admitting that I’ve even considered going all FoFiles Arsenic Style on lease holders in my area and then fully exercising my squatters rights…but I’m not denying it either.

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Then Saturday happened. It was the day I’d been waiting for. I had an appointment to visit the apartment at 1 that afternoon, so Hannah and Winston met me at my place at 12:40 to make the 20 minute walk up to Ridgewood and seal the deal. It was a beautiful day, 50 degrees and sunny, the first of its kind this season. And I had a spring in my step. As we walked up Bleecker Street and crossed from Brooklyn to Queens, the Bushwick noise just fell away. Suddenly I was in a quaint tree-lined neighborhood and my head was in the clouds. I could swear I heard birds chirping, “Welcome Kathryn! Welcome to your home!”

When the landlords, a nice couple and their two adorable youngsters, opened the front door to the building, I was like “This couldn’t possibly be more charming.” Then I saw the room. It was just like the pictures. Better, even. Everything was brand spanken new and clean. I’m pretty sure the tub was audibly beckoning me to sit in it, or maybe I was having auditory hallucinations brought on by overwhelming idealism. The nice man even said, “We’ll be painting before you move in so choose any color you like.” Say whaaat? Why do I have so many choices? Why doesn’t this feel seedy and dirty and rip-offy like every other time I’ve ever looked at an apartment in my life? Is this a trick?

That’s when I remembered I had one question left to ask.

“Oh yeah, I meant to mention, I have a cat.” (I didn’t say two cats because they are basically the same and I didn’t want to make this more difficult for myself).

Suddenly my ears were brought back to reality. The couple spoke my fate in unison.

“Oh no. No pets allowed. No exceptions.”

W-wha? My heart sank like the Tower of Terror ride at Disney World. No exceptions? What if I pay extra? What if I give you my first born?

Apparently the woman is deathly allergic, and though I had a hard time understanding her broken English, I could make out the word “hospital” in her explanation of dander-related symptoms. I was actually holding back tears. And then I got sassy.

“Well it didn’t say that on the website orrr I wouldn’t have come all the way out here [anxious laughter] [eye-roll].” I pursed my lips as my broker apologized, and hung my head all the way down Wyckoff to the taco factory to eat my feelings and guzzle a Mexican Coke or two. It helped.
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The worst part was breaking the news to all my friends to whom I’d prematurely bragged about my future digs. I should have known better.
IMG_6448So I’m back on the prowl. I have a showing of my second choice today at 6:30, which would still be pretty great. But I’m not getting my hopes up. We Virgos tend to lose our shit when things don’t go as planned (but my dreamy Pisces moon gets me in trouble every time…sigh).

The last few weeks haven’t been all work and no play. For instance, I found out how good the show Scandal is and promptly watched the whole first season on Netflix.ย I think subconsciously, or maybe consciously, I was looking for something to pick up whereย House of Cards left off, so I chose another drama about wack-ass politicians and the mistresses and journalists they victimize (and vice versa). If you’re late like me, the basic premise is Olivia Pope (played by the hypnotizing Kerry Washington) leads a group of renegade attorneys in solving/handling/covering up the District’s most salacious political scandals, blah blah blah, drama ensues. I wouldn’t go in expecting the sophisticated dialogue and plot intricacies of the Kevin Spacey vehicle, but if you’re looking for the compelling melodrama of Shonda Rhimes’ other hitย Grey’s Anatomyย with a dash of legal jargon spelled out for you in layperson’s terms, well hey! That’s what this is! (In the pilot one of the characters in the ensemble boldly declares to the team’s skittish newcomer ย “Olivia Pope does not cry!” Olivia Pope then proceeds to cry in every following episode. That sort of thing.)

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Belting “Torn” with bestie Moe Dabbagh has been a major highlight of Pisces Season

As far as weekends go, I’ve been making a concerted effort to get out more despite the weather being mostly unfriendly these last few weeks and how sore my legs have been after 10 hour workdays. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my real life hang sesh and subsequent overdose of Twitterfriend young @J_Face. A few weekends ago I was bombarded by iMessages from J in a group chat imploring–nay–commanding us to hang out with them. Because I’d been waiting for this day since birth and I also hadn’t done anything fun outside the confines of my bedsheets in a week or so, I agreed to meet them for some day drinking and a some fun touristy activities. After we met up in south BedStuy, we hit up a Dunkin Donuts for some stealth mixers (“We’ll take a coke. No, not a bottle a fountain coke. Okay well can you give us a cup? No, a plastic cup. Fine, we’ll take a styrofoam coffee cup whatever thanks have a good day! Jesus.”) we managed to find our way to the Brooklyn Bridge right at sunset, something I think every New York resident is supposed to have done at some point. I hadn’t yet, as the BK Bridge is located between one neighborhood I never go to and another I’m only ever in to see my gynecologist.

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I find I appreciate my city more and have the most fun when visitors are in town. The daily grind can be pretty exhausting, and the romance of the city can be dampened by how stressful and loud it is to live here. Commutes, especially in the winter, are dealt with rather than enjoyed. If you’re pinching pennies like me, going out to eat can hardly be justified (unless you’re also delusional like me, and think to yourself ย “I deserve a burrito today” about five times a week, just for getting out of bed). But when a guest is in town, I get an excuse to hit up a famous Chinatown restaurant while drunk at 7pm, so that’s what we did. But not before stumbling into a Joe’s Shanghai-adjacent cocktail bar and spending our weight in gold doubloons on two Pacificos and two shots of tequila. That night we went Bushwick barhopping, where we met up with Winston and Hannah who were drunk off their asses but displaying it in opposite ways: Winston fell asleep at Bizarre Bar. Hannah stayed out with us, heckling a shitty DJ at the afterhours spot until 6 am. We spent the next day eating Popeye’s, watching FoFiles, and sleeping on the couch.

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The following Tuesday, after wearing platforms to work like an idiot, I was somehow convinced to further destroy my feet by attending a Shaggy concert with Reid and Jesse at the Brooklyn Bowl. Reid and I waited in the frigid winds to buy door tickets while talking amongst ourselves about how much we hate the cold and waiting in lines and we didn’t even like Shaggy that much. But I was doing it for the story, and because I said I would, so we paid for our tickets and one single beer each that we nursed over the period of an hour and half. Then this moment happened, and we left. We were out by 11 pm. It felt like a success.

Later that week, having not yet gotten my first paycheck, I was relishing the freer things in life. Like getting my hair dyed black at work and drinking coworker-funded margaritas. Then Friday arrived, and I knew I had to go out even though I was scraping the bottom of my piggy bank. I knew it would be worth it, though. Tall Pat was having his birthday party in one of those rented karaoke rooms in Korea Town. I’d never been to one before and it turns out they are MEGA-KUSH. I guzzled a 7 dollar bottle of champagne, lost my earmuffs, found my earmuffs, lost my mind, then lost my phone…and didn’t notice until I made it home.

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Luckily Austin, a sweet new friend, found my phone and returned it to Reid who returned it to me a couple days later. In the meantime I sat in my room watching Scandal and talking to no one except my boyfriend on Facebook chat. It was kind of a luxury to be semi-disconnected. That is, until Oscar time rolled around and I was like, if I can’t livetweet this I will kill myself 100%. Part of growing up is getting your priorities straight, am I right?

Another week went by and I dragged myself out to the clurb to make an appearance out of what felt like necessity at the time. The event last Friday was *Shallow,* at Baby’s All Right, hosted by Ariel Max, Kelp Sea, Sarah Glenn and Bunny Von Lau. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to say hey to some babes I hadn’t seen in a while, and to see the homie Brian Whateverer aka Whatever 21 DJ, which was everything I anticipated. I even got to see Ms Fitz who greeted me with side-eye and a hug, saying “Are you wearing ugg boots in the club?” (I was, and shamelessly. Normcore may be dying but I’m just doing me. To be fair I was also wearing a Baby Phat bikini top, a mesh sweater, and a paisley scarf du-rag situation. I need to go shopping?). What I hadn’t anticipated was bumping into longtime homies Be Words and Megan McDearman, two lovely people I really don’t see enough. I had the unexpected pleasure of talking to Yung Be about my struggle to become more outgoing while she bought me beers and called me out for being a closet shy person. It was motivating. Of course, I still couldn’t manage to stay out all night, and I shared a cab with Reid back to Bushwick with heavy eyes around 2 am.

So maybe I’m contradicting myself. Trying to make more friends while also attempting to shut the world out and live alone in a studio apartment? Is that what I really want? Will that even work? There’s some Christian saying that goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” I don’t believe in God, but as I sit here before my next apartment showing, nervously sweating into my uggs, I realize, timeline or not, I’m basically just winging it. And yeah, I guess it is kinda funny.