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 snapping Office Space 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. I think subconsciously, or maybe consciously, I was looking for something to pick up where 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 hit Grey’s Anatomy 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  “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  “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.

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’13 til infinity

deal wit it

“I wanna blog outside today!” I thought, after waking up at the crack of 12:30 to the smell of hot piss pouring through my window. One entire tube of SPF 100+ sunscreen in my eye, one makeshift lawnchair desk and one Carrera Bakery iced coffee later, here I am frying away tearfully in an outdoor sauna of cat urine and Colt 45. In other words, I reaaally needed a thigh tan.
Now that summer is in full swing and the first hydrants have been opened on the streets of Bushwick, all bets are officially off. Of course, it’s had a bit of a rough start.  Despite the fact that it’s been raining almost every day for a fucking month and the fact that I have no real job security (I’m referring to it as “freelancing”), these past few weeks I’ve been out of control and chilling like a trust fund baby.
Towards the end of last month, when I wasn’t sitting alone in my apartment watching old Parks and Rec episodes and sucking cat hair out of the air with my dustbuster, I spent most of my time doing #dabs with my new BF, finding creative new ways to entertain ourselves sexually (being spanked with a rubber chicken and singing Unchained Melody with a penis in my mouth both come to mind). As the season was coming to a close at my job, I was also trying to balance my heavy work load with a LOT of heavy drinking. I began one particularly eventful evening by transforming my cable-friendly maxi skirt into a club-friendly mini dress after work, using a few accessories from the prop closet…including a large coffee cup of alcohol.
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As the cab approached our destination I guzzled my cup’s contents, forgetting it was mostly if not completely full of gin. I was reaching for my ID when it became clear I was about to lose my lunch, dinner and dessert, so I motioned for Talia to follow me around the corner. The next thing I knew she was watching me puke on the sidewalk as I held my own hair back and gave the thumbs up to passing cars. Afterwards I winked and strutted into the bar where I would spend the rest of my night buying beers and shots for myself, giving them away to strangers, and attempting to twerk* in Talia’s face to Lil Kim’s “Magic Stick.” I was in true form.
*note: I can’t twerk. But let’s be real. Neither can Miley.

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Finally the time had come: My Big Things were stepping off their respective megabuses to finally join me in the city. Some for the summer, some forever. Their company is invaluable to me, even though the photos from our first night together seem to indicate that I was alone, having a somewhat awful time at a Hot 97 party and what appears to be a quite excellent time at the Mcdonald’s on Delancey street.
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I had 10 days off between seasons at work and I was spending them the only way I knew how. Alcoholic smoothies in the middle of the day, shopping for accessories on Knickerbocker avenue, tanning in Central Park, sweating my ass off at Bossa Nova Club and eating 1500 calories of shitty food for every meal.

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I keep telling myself I’m going to work out this summer and lose that bit of cellulite right below my asscheeks I affectionately refer to as my Second Butt, but I can’t seem to make time for it what with all the drinking and sleeping and laying in the sun. I did, however, attempt to mix exercise with productivity by weeding my entire backyard to make it Barbecue Ready. This included a hefty amount of manual labor. I even scooped the animal carcasses off my patio once and for all, and even managed to bleach away the dark spots their bodies left on the concrete…sort of. This allowed for Patrick and I to attempt to relax in the grass on multiple occasions, only to drown ourselves in sweat. Tanning is miserable most of the time, unless of course you have Bacardi lemonade and a pizza from Tony’s.
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Before the string of nightlife bummers that was to come shortly, we managed to have one amazing night that began with, like, an artisan margarita and taco party in a gorgeous Williamsburg loft (complete in typical fashion with discussions about the state of Azealia Banks’ career and the end of last season’s GIRLS), followed by a trek to an unknown salsa bar with espresso tequila shots. This led to a bizarre stairwell discovery and ended with a refreshing banana bowl at the Marcy stop while wearing a pair of jeans as a jacket.
fab exorcistIMG_9152The risk you take when you follow the scene is that the hype and expectations for the event will outweigh any amount of fun you could possibly have. The crowd will probably be full of try-hards and there will be too many people and too long of a line and the drinks will be too expensive, and the headlining act won’t come on until four hours after you arrive. You will end up leaving early, having gotten dressed to the nines for absolutely nothing except a great selfie you took on your way to the club. The highlight of your night will be eating a Filet o’ Fish cross-legged in a gutter in the no man’s land between the West Village and Tribeca. You could end up like me the night I tried to see Lil Kim at Westgay. But, the selfie was great.
IMG_9193Our sad state of affairs continued in the form of relentless torrential downpours for the rest of the week. The only saving grace was in the form of my beloved friend Bill who had come to the city to crash for his birthday week. Patrick and I reluctantly followed him to meet some friends at a bar in the aptly named HELL’S KITCHEN. The best part of the evening was the drag show at Industry (which isn’t saying much). The second best was the sushi, I guess?
IMG_9249So as not to disrupt the theme of the week (shoddy dining and gay bars and never ending rain) the next day we went to Bay Leaf in Williamsburg. The service was terrible. The food took forever. They charged us $22 for what turned out to be a bottle of Barefoot. Then just as we were about to storm out I accidentally set a plastic bag on fire and it melted all over the table.

IMG_9262The next part of the evening was our private party in the back room of Fada complete with $5 cocktails and Winston’s beach disco set. Afterwards we braved the weather and spent the remainder of the evening drinking cheap beers at the Metropolitan, but not before I got splashed in the face by a speeding 4Runner.
IMG_9269If they were hiding it at all before, this much rain really brings out the absurdity in New Yorkers. The other day I saw homeless man washing his feet in a street puddle, which is my second most favorite homeless man moment to the time I saw a guy drop a slice of pizza on the ground and then drunkenly lie down on the sidewalk to continue eating it. Whether or not to be amused by these things is a constant moral dilemma of mine. Meanwhile, any time I see a stray cat, raining or not, I spend 45 minutes crying in an alleyway. But OH IT’S GOOD TO LAUGH AGAIN.
IMG_9282But perhaps no shitty night compares to what I dealt with last week, when I took my pink boobs and YOLO belt out to Bossa Nova for Physical Therapy and Slava. Standing under the AC unit on the crowded dance floor, my friends and I took a tiny amount of what we thought was molly.
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Turns out it was speed! I didn’t sleep for three days! It was by far one of the most nerve racking, frustrating, miserable experiences I have ever had to date, next to that time I drank two bottles of robitussin freshman year of college and I held on to the edges of my bed for 36 hours waiting for the spins to stop before Greg came and dumped me in a bathtub of ice water.
I did, however, have a beautiful morning before slipping into my amphetamine freak out.
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The following week I went back to work, 10-7 office days to prepare for next season. I dumped about 5 iced coffees per day onto my shriveling insides just to get through it, but when the week came to an end and nearly all of Team Big Things (minus a few essential members I DID NOT FORGET YOU) got together for SHADE #2 and took this beautiful family photo that will likely be my Christmas card come fall.
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This is how we chill.