Riding in Cars With Phones

find my iphone pls

As New Yorkers, how we talk to cab drivers depends on our mood. One day you could be in a hurry, staring at Google maps obsessing over your estimated arrival time, and nothing but a “take the bridge–no! The tunnel!” is shared between you. Other days you might be chatty, in a good mood with time to kill. You offer up a nugget of information about yourself, where you’re going or how your day was, and the driver does the same. Next thing you know, you’re having a conversation, for better or for worse. Much of the time, you find yourself silent in the backseat, as though no one is even driving you at all. Frequently I have found myself at my destination, tequila on my breath, mascara running down my face, only to realize I cried the whole way there. Cabs should add a crying fee. I’d feel a lot less guilty that way.

This particular morning – at 8:15am, hungover in a Dodge Caravan and on my way to far-out Queens – I was quite verbal. Charming, really. I had information to glean.

“So, what would you do if you found someone’s cell phone in here?” I asked my driver, Javier, whose broad shoulders and buzzed head peeked around the seat-back. He seemed to be in a cheerful mood, and it was a good thing, because I was about to take him on a little adventure.

“When riders forget stuff I let them call me. They have my number because of the app, ya know. You lose your phone?”

“Yep, that’s why the request said ‘James’ when you picked me up. Had to order this car from my boyfriend’s phone.”

I laughed. The delirium from my hangover had the pleasant side effect of a sense of humor during my time of stress. It was that part of the morning-after where you don’t know if you’re still drunk or losing your mind from withdrawal symptoms. On the one hand, I wanted nothing more than to take off the ratty hoodie I was sweating in, sleep for 14 hours then shower a few times, but on the other hand, I had to track down this phone to survive. I was on a mini-mission.

“Left it in a yellow cab, though.” I leaned my head on the glass.

“Oh, a yellow cab. Well those are a different story,” Javier said in his gravelly voice. “When I used to drive cabs I’d find things all the time. We take ‘em back to the dispatch. Did you get the medallion number?”

He looked at me in the rearview as he merged onto the BQE. I shook my head.

“Young people never pay attention. Always get the medallion number,” he scolded me. I felt like he was my uncle doing me a favor, picking me up from a high school party, giving me a talking-to while still helping me cover my ass.

Instead, I was leading him on a potential wild goose chase to Flushing, where according to GPS my iphone 7+ I loved so dearly was sitting in the driveway of a single family home with 3% battery life.

“Do you remember the driver at least? What race was he? How old?”

“I can’t remember. I was pretty tipsy.” I racked my brain. “He might have been a young.”

“All right, all right. We’ll get your phone back, don’t worry.”

I cracked the window and took a deep breath of polluted air to calm my nausea. I tend to get carsick, and if given the option I’d rather take the subway. But I was racing the clock here. If my phone was really at the cab driver’s house, I had to get there before he went back out to work for the day. If he left, my phone would die shortly after. If my phone died, I might never be able to track it down.

“You said you got home late last night. What time?”

“Around midnight I think?”

“Yeah, you were probably his last ride for the night. He probably just went home. He probably drives twelve to twelve, or two to twelve. Probably owns his own cab. If you had the medallion number this would be easy.”

There was, statistically speaking, absolutely no chance of me having caught the medallion number the night before. The evening had begun, like so many of them do, as a Friday night happy hour between fed-up coworkers. One of those nights where with every glass of wine a new grievance was aired about our employer. New dirt was dug up. So while I’d intended to leave the outing before dinner and take myself home to Chinese takeout, I’d sort of forgotten that intention by drink number four, and decided to have 3 more glasses as my dinner instead.

I’ve since been told that as my colleagues and I were rounding our fourth bottle of wine, someone made a joke so uproarious that I dramatically threw my head back in laughter. I did this with such force that I fell backwards out of my chair, hitting my leg on the table and the back of my head on the concrete floor. I was kindly escorted out, and tossed in a cab with, I could only assume, my belongings in tow. Unfortunately, I was blacked out for the portion of the evening between the fall and reaching my apartment door. I blame good sauvignon blanc, a corporate credit card and/or a possible concussion.

I was able to pay for my cab with no problems, but forgot to put my giant phone, in its bright pink phone case, back into my fucking purse. When I reached my apartment, I had a moment of panic. A panic I’ve had hundreds of times before where it turned out my phone was just in the sheets or in my coat pocket or in my hand the whole time. Except this time it was not. So I got a stomach flip. A bad one. 16 ounces of sauvignon blanc and stomach acid came up right on my living room floor. I wiped up the puke, ran outside, and jumped in a cab to my boyfriend’s house. I mean, ALONE without a PHONE? I wasn’t safe.

“You young people just haven’t seen enough to really be responsible. Once you get to be my age…” Javier trailed off. There was considerable traffic on the BQE for a Saturday morning, and the sun was beating down hard for mid-February. I coughed. I could feel my throat burning still from acid reflux. My headache was ramping up, too. Javier took an exit. I don’t remember which one.

“You’re right,” I said, ashamed. “I should have known better.” And I really, really should have. I had destroyed my first iPhone three years earlier, on a vacation to Tokyo when, after a night of karaoke and highballs, I’d attempted to wash away my hangover in the tub of our Airbnb. I’d then unknowingly proceeded to flood the bathroom in 3 inches of water, where my iPhone lay drowning. I spent the rest of that vacation pissed at myself, no way to contact friends or family. I’d learned what it was like to lose my pictures, my alarm clock, a thing I’d spent hundreds on, my mode of communication, a part of me. I had mourned.

And that wasn’t the first time, either. I’d had blackberries get rained on, spilled coffee on flip phones, had more than one phone get run over by a car. I’d vowed Tokyo would be the last time I broke a phone doing something stupid, but here I was, a whole decade after my first Sanyo was crushed by the wheel of a mini-van, doing the same damn thing. Humiliation is such insult to injury when you’re already hungover.

“My stepdaughter doesn’t even have a phone right now,” Javier shared, turning on the radio to some station playing Metallica. “She’s your age.”

“No? How does she survive?” I fake chuckled, annoyed at my tone deaf attempts to make small-talk.

“Well, I bought her one and she lost it. And it’s happened to her before. So that’s it. She has to accept the consequences for now.”

“Maybe she will appreciate a phone when she buys it herself.” There I go again, feigning wisdom.

“She can’t afford one.”

I felt like a douche, and I felt for his step-daughter. And I also knew my advice probably wasn’t so true anyway. I’d spent money on my phone and still fucked up. Maybe young people just fuck up, maybe it’s what we do. Then again, I wasn’t that young anymore. I wondered how old I’d have to be before I stopped making that excuse for myself. 30?

We started up a main road, first passing big warehouses then winding up side streets between old brick high rises with teeny tiny windows. Elderly women bustled around the neighborhood with carts full of laundry and groceries, taking advantage of the beautiful morning. I’d always love going out to Queens, with its wide streets and strip malls – you can see more of the sky there. It’s an unfamiliar place, different but only slightly. Like taking a field trip off-campus.

Javier and I struck a deal that once we reached my destination, he’d keep my Lyft “meter” running and wait for me while I rang the doorbell. If, say, no one answered and he drove away, I’d have to find a ride home with no phone in the middle of random Flushing. Or worse, what if someone did answer the door but he was a MURDERER? I wouldn’t be able to evade him, not in this physical state. Javier agreed. We pulled up to the house where, sure enough, there was a cab parked right out front. Javier stood guard outside the Dodge while I approached on foot.

I rang the doorbell. I rang it a couple times. It was evil of me, honestly. If some stranger rang my doorbell at 9am on a Saturday because of some dumb mistake they made, I’d…well I’d probably be nice to their face because confrontation is intimidating, but I would be very much nonplussed under the surface.

An old woman opened the door, just a crack at first, and I explained my situation. She went upstairs to get her husband, who she said was still sleeping (I’m an asshole!) and he came downstairs in his pajamas and slippers. He was not young, but in his 60s or 70s, and white, with an accent. Maybe Russian. I’d might as well never seen him in my life.

“Yeah, I’ve got your phone here,” he said, shuffling past me and down the front walkway to his cab. He reached in, opened the glove compartment, and there it was. My beautiful iPhone 7+. Unscathed but for battery life and a few minor scratches. I thanked him, probably should have tipped him a little extra but it didn’t occur to me at the time, and then turned back to Javier.

“I GOT IT!” I cheered, waving my phone. I skipped back to the Dodge where we exchanged high-fives, and then slumped into the backseat again, relieved.

As we drove off, I could feel my body submitting to the pain of the hangover. I could finally relax now and let it take me.

“So,” Javier peered at me in the rearview again. “Did you catch his medallion number?”

“Uh-uh,” I mumbled, barely listening, my head now buried in my notifications. “You wouldn’t happen to have an iPhone charger, would you?”

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Tokyo Story

tokyo318Sarah at the top of Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Tokyo

By my 25th birthday on September 15, 2014, I had been working hard at a job that wasn’t right–right for my career trajectory or right for me emotionally–for about seven months. But on that day it didn’t bother me, because I was 7,000 miles away.

For what was, I believe, a much deserved paid vacation, I decided to visit the city that I had always considered most exciting. Similar to the way nearly every American white girl puts Paris on a pedestal, I have always adored Tokyo and thought of it as a place where I might “find myself.” I had a little money saved, just enough to buy the tickets and still maybe have some spending money at the bottom of the barrel. So one day in late summer, via iMessage of course, I proposed to my long time friend Sarah aka Cousler aka Cousler8 that we visit together over my birthday week. I hadn’t really spent much quality time with Sarah in the last five years, but I knew that she loved the city and when I say I always wanted to visit, I mean I always wanted to visit with her. She was thrilled at the idea, as I’d hoped.

So we put in our requests for days off. I bought a the Lonely Planet guide to Tokyo and highlighted the shit out of it. Even though we could barely get in touch with one another to buy the tickets with our completely opposite work schedules (and Sarah’s signature unreachability) we somehow managed to snag two round trip seats to Tokyo Narita Airport on Delta airlines, for $1,000 each. It was the exact amount we could afford, and the lowest price we’d seen in about a month of lurking Kayak.

Although no stranger to air travel, I had only been out of the country once before. Having failed to locate my passport (did I lose it in the fire that burnt down my college residence in 2010? Is it buried somewhere beneath a heap of Lifetouch photos in the back of my childhood closet? I’ve resigned myself to ignorance) I rushed around town on my days off, procuring the necessary forms of identification, while astonishing and dismaying myself with my inability to master the basic functions of a photocopier. I didn’t believe this was all really happening until I received my passport in the mail. I take that back – to this day I am not 100% certain any of this really happened. It’s now been a month since I returned from the trip, and some details are hazy, like trying to recall a dream, so to make it easier for me and for you I will tell the story of my journey one day at a time. For more photos (many, many more) peep the links to my Flickr and Instagram in the sidebar.

Day 1: #TokyoForever #ByeUSA
In an effort to not spend the nearly 24 hours door to door by our lonesome, Sarah flew to meet me in NY the day before departure. She arrived while I was still at work, and still unpacked for that matter, so we only had time for a few hugs that evening before she fell asleep on my couch watching The Killing and I piled my life into a TJ Maxx suitcase (it’s amazing) in a full-on state of panic. I packed every colorful item I owned, every bold patterned anything. I was prepared to serve a NYC meets Harajuku look every day I was to be there. I packed my big ass camera that I never use into my Victoria’s Secret backpack, put my pink Sharper Image luggage tags on my two bags and slept for five hours. The next morning I said goodbye to James, who’d be staying in Ridgewood that week to take care of the cats for me. Sarah and I ate sandwiches in the $80 cab ride to Newark Airport.

As soon as we got there, I spent $40 more on a memory foam neck pillow. I’m telling you this because it ended up being the best $40 I ever spent. I suggest you all buy one, even if you’re not traveling. My greatest aspiration is that one day everything I own will be memory foam. My clothing, my TV, my refrigerator. My car. Cutlery. Ah, that’s when I’ll know I’ve made it. Anyway-

Our first flight was no big deal. We had a short layover in the very sexy (no sarcasm) Minneapolis/St.Paul airport, then boarded a for the 10 hour haul to Tokyo. I was mentally prepared because I had flown Delta recently, and I knew there would be S-I-C-K entertainment options in the back of the seat in front of me. The main problem was I already had a post-nasal drip that would not quit, and it was soon to be exacerbated. On that flight, I probably watched 5 movies and slept for a total of 20 minutes. Sarah was out for a good bit and I would have been very jealous were it not for the KUSH-ASS memory foam supporting my lower back, and the unlimited beverage service that kept me pretty much wasted the entire time.

Day 2 – Tita Chu and Her Generous Boo
After walking through the bizarrely deserted customs area, and waiting by the wrong baggage claim for about a half hour, we met Sarah’s Aunt, Tita Chu and her husband, whose name I do not remember, so I will call him Tito. He and I didn’t communicate much other than nods and smiles, since the only language he speaks is Japanese. Did I mention I don’t know any Japanese? Doesn’t matter. I should still know his name.

How do I describe Tita Chu? Tita Chu is a hilarious Filipino woman, about 5’2″ and gorgeous with a shoulder length haircut. Tita Chu has the cackle of a witch, if that witch was also your favorite friend to take to the mall. She has the greatest and most effective side-eye I have ever seen. Tita Chu tells it like it is. She wears 4 inch heels 24/7, except in the apartment, when we all wear slippers. God I love slippers. I never realized how gross bare feet were until I was exposed to slipper culture.

What I also didn’t realize until I actually arrived in Japan is that I am far too big for everything in the country. Immediately upon entering Tita Chu’s minimalist apartment in Ryogoku, my arms were hitting Sarah’s family members in the face and knocking over Charmmy Kitty figurines. My suitcase was the size of Tita Chu herself. It took an unreasonable amount of generosity from her, then, to let us stay at her apartment for our first night in the city. It worked out pretty well since we immediately collapsed into Sarah’s cousin’s bed of stuffed animals and slept for 11 hours. It was 7 PM.

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Day 3 – Culture Shock or Cold Medicine?
The next morning I awoke at the crack of dawn with a terrible sinus headache. Luckily Tita Chu wakes up as early as we do when we’re 13 hours ahead of schedule, and she gave me a packet of Japanese cold medicine. I have no idea what was in it, but I do know that it worked. That plus a humongous Filipino breakfast and I was feeling high as hell. I don’t think it was even 8 AM by the time we decided to go explore the neighborhood, and being that it was a Sunday morning, we were told nothing would be open. But it was a beautiful day, and we were antsy, so we set out on our first adventure.

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The view from Tita Chu’s apartment

One of the first things I noticed about Tokyo was, despite crowded streets and sidewalks, how quiet everything is. I’m used to being one of the loudest people everywhere I go, but this was different. No horns were honking, no sirens blaring. And there was no litter anywhere. This was especially confusing since there didn’t seem to be any public trash receptacles anywhere either. We quickly realized that in Japan, you own your garbage. People just abide by the social contract there. You also very seldom see homeless people. It makes NYC look like a war zone.

Down the street from Tita Chu’s, we found a mall that was set to open at 10 AM. In the hour before, teens crowded around the entrance and waited for the doors to open. Waiting in line for things to open is another thing I saw a lot in Tokyo that I don’t really see here that often. I guess people just wake up on the weekends with a plan to hit the arcade, and they are so serious about it that they will literally sit on the sidewalk for an hour to be one of the first inside. I personally hate to wait for anything. This is one of my most American qualities.

We waited at the Starbucks next to the mall. If you’re wondering, Starbucks in Japan is exactly like Starbucks in America, except the menu is in both Japanese and English, the “small” size is really, really small, and there is no free wifi. I know because I figured out very quickly how to ask for a “wifi password” using my own fucked up version of sign language. When the mall opened, I was surprised at how much it looked exactly like an American mall. A lot of the clothes, though Japanese labels, were imitations of distinctly American and British styles. Burgundy plaid skirts and creeper-style loafers were in about half the stores we saw. I would quickly come to learn that the most common looks for girls in Tokyo under 30 are: Punk, Ivy League, Barbie Doll, and American Early 90s. What I’m trying to say is that everyone and everything looked great. But if I wanted to buy a pair of shoes, I was shit out of luck. When I tried on a pair of sky-high wedges and I could barely squeeze my feet in them, I motioned to the sales girl for a bigger size. She covered her mouth and giggled. I’d just tried on their biggest size.

Then it was time for our first Japanese bite. It was a little hard to choose where to go because everything looked so delicious and we had no idea what any of it was. We settled for a little ramen spot where you order from a touch screen vending machine, which then prints you a ticket to hand to your server. It was kind of brilliant, since we knew the only way we could order anything was by pointing at pictures anyway.

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Later that day, while still cracked out on cold medicine and feeling like I was in an alternate universe, Tita Chu and Tito took us to the Edo-Tokyo museum. The Edo period in Japanese history is between 1603 and 1868, which I already knew a little bit about from Ninja Turtles III. The museum tells the history of the Geisha and the tradition of Kabuki, and had original paintings by iconic Japanese artists like Hokusai.

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Afterwards, we traveled to our apartment in Roppongi, which we’d conveniently reserved on Airbnb a week prior for 65 dollars a night. On the way, we watched music videos on an iPhone propped to the dashboard of Tito’s car. Sarah and I had been talking about how much we love that catchy song “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit.  It wasn’t until the music video came on during our drive through the city that we realized it’s actually about Japan. I pretty much get goosebumps and cry every time I hear it now, officially making me the cheesiest person that’s ever lived.

That night, we bought bottles of sake and Japanese whiskey and tried to turn up. So far we’d been too weak to do it, and I really wanted that to change. But jet lag is no joke – I fell asleep in a plate of overpriced dumplings that night while ringing in my birthday at a restaurant in Roppongi Hills.

Day 4 – Kawaii Overload
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The next morning it was officially my birthday in Japan, so I set out to do all the things I’d always dreamed of, like going to a sushi bar, a cat cafe and shopping in Shibuya. Unfortunately I woke up at 6 AM again, this time with screaming back pain, and felt compelled to do two hours of yoga in the middle of our tiny apartment, next to a kitchenette sink that smelled a little (a lot) like poo. I had time to contemplate age and what it meant to be another year older and where I wanted to go in life. September 15 in Japan is actually Respect for the Aged Day, funny enough. So I tried to show myself some of that respect.

That afternoon, after dressing myself up like an adult child, we walked from a sushi bar in Roppongi Hills through Ebisu to Nyafe Melange, a cat cafe. I will let the following photos speak for themselves.

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When you arrive at the cat cafe, the girls at the front desk ask you to wash your hands and then you pay the entry fee. Admission comes with a drink, and is charged by the half hour with the option to purchase a “snack” for the cats. The snack is a small tupperware filled with katsuobushi, or bonito flakes, which are dried fermented fish flakes used in Japanese cuisine. The cats go NUTS over these, and it’s good that we bought them because they pretty much just sleep and ignore you unless you have food (same). I also noticed that most of the patrons were petting the cats in a way I had never seen before. Instead of dragging the palm of their hand across the back or rubbing the butt, they were patting the butt at the base of the tail over and over. I came home and tried the butt-pat with Kosmo and it was a major hit. Try it on your cat!

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From there we walked up Meiji-Dori to Shibuya crossing. Again, the sheer number of people that manage to coexist in one space blows my mind. Maybe it was because I was a tourist, but this equivalent of Times Square in Tokyo was nowhere near as repulsive and unwelcoming as its New York counterpart. I think it’s just because foot traffic in Japan is so cooperative. In NYC people just stand around clogging up sidewalks and waiting to get hit by cabs. Oh, America.

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That’s when we entered Shibuya 109. It’s basically a friggin skyscraper full of fashion stores for Japanese babes, and we were in shock. I wanted to buy everything and take pictures of everyone. I’m kicking myself now because I was so distracted I barely took any photos while I was inside. While the target market for many of the stores was a slightly younger girl, I did find a pretty awesome store with over the top hip hop gear called Baby Shoop. The mascot of Baby Shoop is the silhouette of a woman with an afro, and their slogan is “Black for Life.” A little cultural appropriation is tolerated in Tokyo, from what I could tell. I found a huge fuzzy sweater and the woman who checked me out had a deep tan, a grill and door-knocker earrings, not unlike a Japanese Kreayshawn. When I told her I was from New York she broke into a grin of familiarity. Fashion girls in Tokyo fucking love Brooklyn. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I technically live in Queens.

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That evening we ate at a three story hot dog stand in the middle of Shibuya, essentially a Japanese Crif Dogs, while watching a video performance by the Black Eyed Peas from 2005. Somehow Tokyo manages to be simultaneously futuristic, traditional, and just barely irrelevant.

When we got home, Sarah went out for snacks and came back with bags full of goodies, including a potato cake that she put a candle in, and sang me happy birthday.

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Day 5 – Adventures in Harajuku
The next day we had a breakfast of Curry Cup o’ Noodles before taking the train to Harajuku, because we hadn’t shopped enough already. There we found more eye-popping street cuties and a store called Spinns, which pretty much had everything we could ever want – including an adorable sales girl Yuming, who we wanted as a best friend. There is an obsession in Harajuku with American vintage clothes and toys from the 80s and 90s, and Spinns is very much on this tip. Almost every item was pastel and covered in faux fur or feathers. The walls were lined in unpackaged Malibu Barbies I recognized from my childhood. Another store called Wego decorated with spray painted old TVs and troll dolls. I was right at home…more than I even realized. This store, like many others, had racks upon racks of vintage clothing imported from the United States. I even found old UNC and NC State sweatshirts in the men’s section. It was too weird.

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After spending half our money and wearing our feet to the bone, we hit up a place called Kiddyland. It’s a four-story toy store with a Star Wars section, a Studio Ghibli section, a Nintendo section, and entire floors dedicated to Snoopy and Hello Kitty. I was in heaven, although I’d already learned by now that toys are EXPENSIVE in Tokyo (and everywhere. Being a mom must be so annoying) All I wanted was a reasonably priced Pikachu, and for some reason that was very hard to find. But I had already found some adorable socks, so I was pretty happy.

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We comforted ourselves with some Thai curry, then stopped by the weird beauty garage on our way out of Harajuku to pick up some hair dye. Sarah had been talking about going purple, and because I was an expert (i.e – a receptionist at a hair salon) I offered to do it for her. We used Quis Quis Devil’s Trick hair color in lavender, because that’s all we could find. When we got back to the apartment, flavored Asahis in hand, we put the color on the blonde ends of Sarah’s hair and left it on for 30 minutes. Because Devil’s Trick is essentially just a temporary gloss, all it did was cancel out the yellow tones and make her hair look normal. She was not particularly fond of that.
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Day 6 – Temples, Towers and Being Tourists

Being on foot in one of the biggest cities in the world can take a lot out of you, so we took it slow on Wednesday and decided to keep it local for the day. Luckily there are plenty of things to do and see in Roppongi and the surrounding areas. It was a cloudy day, and we appreciated this. The weather in mid-September Tokyo is much like the weather in mid-September New York: beautiful by night, and just a little hotter than you might prefer by day.

After guzzling our carton of iced coffee that we bought at the corner store and washing our clothes in the tiny, microwave sized washing machine (why aren’t these popular in the US? I could fit it in my bedroom and do my laundry every day instead of once a stinky month), we marched up the hill to Chinese Cafe 8 for some greasy cashew chicken. Upon arrival we were more than a little bit confused by the decor, but we took it with a grain of salt (and lots of MSG…mmm)

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Zojo-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Shiba, which is just a short walk from Roppongi. The grounds are lush and mystical, even if they do partially overlap with a hotel and golf course. On the steps of the temple we could hear people chanting inside. The most amazing moment, though, was when the only stray cat I’d seen in Tokyo emerged from the bushes and sat next to me on the temple steps. I felt like I was in a Murakami novel.
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Just across the street from Zojo-ji is the Tokyo Tower, the iconic Eiffel Tower-inspired observation tower that’s nearly 1,100 feet high. I have a pretty serious fear of heights so I got a little freaked out in the elevator (I’m a loser, I know) but I will say it was the smoothest ride up I’d ever felt. The view from the top is breathtaking and doesn’t even feel real.
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On our way back to Roppongi we walked through Roppongi Hills, a gigantic skyscraping complex with luxury retail, condos, offices, restaurants, BMW dealerships…basically everything rich people need to survive without leaving their neighborhood. We’d walked through it almost every day so far, but this time we stumbled into a record release concert for a boy band called 2 PM, complete with thousands of screaming teenagers. I thought Directioners were serious, but the teens are not kidding about their boybands in Tokyo.
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The inside of Gonpachi

“Legend” has it that Quentin Tarantino got his inspiration for the set of the Crazy 88 fight scene in Kill Bill Vol.1 from the layout of a Roppongi restaurant called Gonpachi, so naturally it is a major tourist attraction, and naturally we succumbed. The inside of the restaurant was similar to the movie, although not nearly as grand or badass. And the food could be described as “aight.” Still, it was fun to overhear dumb conversations between other tourists and get to peep the open kitchen, complete with a yakitori grill. The best thing about traveling with Sarah is that she’s a cook, and it seems like she knows everything there is to know about food. After all, the dining in Tokyo is, like, 60% of its appeal. If the experience at Gonpachi taught me anything, it’s that the quality of a Japanese restaurant is usually inversely proportional to the percentage of white people inside. Roppongi is known as the “foreigner’s neighborhood,” so most of the spots are A) really expensive and B) crawling with rich people, jet-setters, and Japanese-American teens attending English speaking schools. That night at Muse nightclub, we drank cocktails while eavesdropping on two American college girls cry about their roommates. It was glamorous.

Day 7 – Delicious Mistakes
The next day started off pretty damn slowly. We knew we wanted to go to the Tsukiji fish market at some point, and this seemed like the best day, even though we woke up long after the infamous auction ended. Still, we figured the market would be operational all day, so we headed over there in the early afternoon. When we arrived it was a ghost town, and we could tell it would have been really amazing had we just gotten there a few hours earlier. Luckily we found a sushi restaurant right in the middle of the market that was just barely still open. Even though I could tell we were annoying them a little bit with our American straggler vibe, they still gave us the best sushi of our lives. Everyone was a happy camper.
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From there we headed back to Shibuya for more shopping. Most of the day was sucked away by a 7-story gift store called Loft, which has everything you ever wanted, a gift for everyone you know, and things you never even knew existed. Once we’d finally eased our guilt by finally buying gifts for all our loved ones, it was time for karaoke.

I honestly can’t even talk about karaoke night without getting a little sick, although the experience itself was amazing. We went to Karaoke-Kan, a tall building with floors upon floors of private rooms you can rent for your party that have microphones and little TVs with lyrics on them (and terrible accompanying video footage of American cities). You order your drinks when you rent your room. We started with 1 hour of singing and 2 whiskey highballs, which is like a whiskey ginger in a beer stein, I guess. Ten minutes before the end of your hour, they call up to your room and let you know its almost up. Of course, an hour of drunk karaoke with your best friend goes by pretty fast, so by that time we were just amped for more singing. We extended our stay by another hour and asked for more highballs and shots…and did this FOUR MORE TIMES before leaving Shibuya for the night, bringing our tab to $80 each. By now the subways were no longer running, and cabs didn’t want to pick us up. But I had us covered! I was drunk and I had a map on my data-less iPhone…I could definitely lead us home by foot! We walked for over an hour, in a direction that remains unclear, at 3 in the morning along Japan Rail tracks that were under construction. It wasn’t safe or remotely advisable, and my stubbornness was pissing Sarah off. We finally dove into a cab, and it took him more than 15 minutes to drive us home. To this day I have no idea what random part of Tokyo I so confidently led us into.
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Day 8 – Respite in Roppongi
The next morning is where the story gets dark. I awoke early with a splitting headache and what I can honestly claim as one of the worst hangovers of my entire life. My first thought – okay, third, behind barfing and crying – was to take a long shower to relieve some of the pain, so that I’d hopefully not have to run into traffic and kill myself. I’d been Whatsapp-ing James about how miserable I was, so I set my phone down by the toilet, stripped and stepped into the tiny tub. Like most Japanese shower heads, this one was detachable, so for about an hour I lay back with my knees bent aiming the hot water at the center of my forehead. By the end of it I didn’t feel much better, but I figured it was probably time to get the fuck out of the bathtub since I was as wrinkled as my vintage coach bag after a rainy Spring. When I pulled back the curtain, I lost my breath. I had flooded the entire bathroom in no less than two inches of water and completely submerged my iPhone for what had to have been at least thirty minutes. I tried my best to save it while my brain felt like it was bleeding out of my ears. The flashlight had turned off and for some reason I couldn’t shut off the phone, so it just sat there buzzing at its insides fried beyond repair. What was going to happen to all my photos? Would I even survive this hangover for long enough to figure this out? Was this the worst day of my life?

I strapped on my boots and forced myself out the door zombie-style to walk to every convenience store in Roppongi to look for rice. I finally found some (it came in a convenient 3 kilo bag!) and made my way back to the apartment, bent almost fully over at the waist, moaning and nearly puking on every tiny car and polite person I encountered. But first – I stopped in a Family Mart and spent $35 on prosciutto, croissants and assorted cheeses. I needed western food to get me through these times. To top it off, we also ordered a pepperoni pizza from a fucking Domino’s. Thank you based cheese god.

After that I slept until about 6 PM, and the only thing we did for the rest of the day was see Guardians of the Galaxy at the Roppongi Hills Movie Theater, which itself looks like a space station. I pretty much wanted to live there. Something about how miserable I felt made me homesick as fuck, and all I wanted to do was eat cheeseburgers in a strip mall and watch cable until I passed out in a California king. No such luck, but I was in fucking Japan, and I was kind of being a pussy.

Day 9 – Death by Shopping
Suddenly it was Saturday, and it was time to check out of our apartment. This meant packing our bags, putting the keys back in the mailbox and taking the train back to Tita Chu’s. We dropped off our stuff and hopped back on the subway to check out Akihabara, the neighborhood in Tokyo dedicated to all things Nerd – electronics, anime and video games. And hentai. Lots and lots of hentai. In fact, there was so much hentai that we were actually really uncomfortable, and had to leave the neighborhood for fear of seeing anymore cartoon semen. I did see some cool ass dolls though, and I finally found that stuffed Pikachu for James. We spent the rest of the day in Harajuku again, shopping until we couldn’t take it anymore. It got to a point where if I saw one more furry purse I was going to flip the fuck out. I really needed a nap.

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That night, Tita Chu made us two dinners. Beef curry and Filipino spaghetti. We ate so much that we couldn’t move, then somehow Facetimed everyone in Sarah’s family at once across in three separate countries (don’t ask me how), and watched youtube videos until we fell asleep.

Day 10 – Arigatou Gozaimasu
When it was time to leave neither of us could accept it, but we had reached tourism overload by that point and I think we really needed a return to our reality. It was tough, because back home the two of us weren’t exactly living perfect lives and had a lot of things to sort out when we got back. And, even though we’d been close friends for eight years, we’d hit that point where we just needed some time alone. As we packed our suitcases into the car, a minor spat drove us both into tears, and we rode the whole way to Narita airport without speaking. That is, until the lyrics to Tito’s new Chris Brown album had us laughing so hard that we had to make up.

Five in-flight movies later, one being the now underwhelming Lost in Translation, we arrived at the Atlanta airport. Sarah and I parted ways and I flew back to Newark, took NJ transit into the city and met James at Penn Station. I don’t think I’ve ever missed someone, or someplace, so much.

A week later, when I’d just settled back into my routine, I was laid off from my job. It came as a shock, but sometimes the universe does for you what you’re too afraid to do yourself. I have no idea where I’m headed next, but I have some idea of who I am and what I want. For now, I’m in New York, with 25 years behind me and 75 more to go. And really, there’s no place I’d rather be. (Wink)
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Renaissance or Something

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I fired my therapist. She deserved it. I had originally hired her to help me through some of the stresses of moving to a new city, spending most of my time by myself, deciding the next move in my career, coming to terms with the way my upbringing has affected my relationships, you know, the usual shit. Once a week I would show up and crack my knuckles, excited to plow through these issues and move on with my life. She’d greet me in the waiting room with a meek, insincere half-smile. “How are you?” I’d ask her casually, to which she’d always respond “I’m okay.” Then she’d sit in silence and bored disapproval while I frowned out the window at the Empire State Building and psychoanalyzed myself. Sometimes I’d pause and look her way, inviting participation. She’d lift her chin abruptly as if startled from sleep, raise her eyebrows and make some empty comment like “you should do something about that.” I always left feeling very annoyed and slightly sorry for her. Was I the only person who could manage to pick a therapist more depressed than I was?

You all know that since the beginning of August I have singlehandedly held down New York for Team Big Things, getting by on my own with the help of the internet and the 4 friends I’ve made since I moved here. Much of TBT will be moving to Brooklyn in as soon as two weeks, and I am overcome with relief. I don’t even think I will realize how much it sucked to be here without them until I finally have them back. It’s texts like these that prove I will one day be back to norm again.
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For a while I played with the idea of meeting some people on the internet, which was a bust for the most part. A few months back I made a fun OkCupid profile as a joke. I often make joke profiles on social networks I think might be dumb out of curiosity. This would explain how I got stuck with “ButtButt” as a foursquare name, “Catdookie” on instagram, and “Slutz[underscore]Taco” on OkCupid. Turns out people don’t think you are joking when you call yourself a Slutz_Taco on a dating website. They truly think you will sleep with them even if they look like a sea monster made of turds and use pick up lines like these:
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God bless these fools. Nevertheless, I could not shake my desire for new mans. And attention in general, really.

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In a dramatic turn of events, it was the dumbness of the internet that eventually brought me together with a boothang. Snapchat, specifically. Have you ever snapchatted your phone number to someone in the middle of the night? If you haven’t, it is a great way to start a romantic rendezvous with your celebrity crush. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

If you live in New York (and maybe even if you don’t, but I can’t say for sure), you’ve probably realized that A LOT of people have been getting sick with colds and haven’t been able to shake them for up to two fucking months. I’m not saying it’s a government conspiracy (CHEMTRAILS) but it has definitely affected me quite a bit and that has definitely sucked.
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^Here is a picture of me with a 102 degree fever after I sleepwalked to the corner store and bought a shit ton of cereal.
I’ve been to the doctor 3 times in the last month and in the meantime I have been slacking on all my other appointments. My cats are due for a teeth cleaning (do other people do this?) and it’s been so long since I’ve gotten brazilian that I’m positive my Bikini Artist is going to laugh in my face the next time I hit the spa.

When I’m NOT texting my new boo and nursing an illness sometimes I go out to public locations and alter my mind. I’m not sure what actually happens at these functions besides taking selfies but what else am I trying to do really?
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It should also be mentioned that I quit my job at the salon to start working on a TV show. Before I started this new “gig” I had the privilege of dipping down to North Carolina for a bit of fun, the photos of which I will unload later. It’s too much glamour and beauty and suburbia for this particular post.

WHILE I WAS GONE it brightened up substantially around the city and I have been loving it. Honestly if you would just follow me on instagram @catdookie I wouldn’t have to repost these here and it would be far more convenient for me overall.
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Cute, right? Now that winter is officially over and life officially no longer sucks, I’ve rediscovered the fun of walking around the city aimlessly. Also I think Jadakiss lives in my neighborhood.
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My new job is fabulous and great and everything you’d expect. I even made a new BEST FRIEND to add to the collection. It really helps to have a person around for moral support while you’re ruining your manicure and eating far too much craft services. I’m not sure how long this particular job will last because the end of the season is near, so I gotta get in as much free food as possible before then. IMG_8121 IMG_7897
I actually think I may be physically addicted to terrible food at this point. My hours at work are so crazy that I don’t really have the time (or fucks) for grocery shopping, so GrubHub is essentially my livelihood. The other day I ate no less than four kinds of fried seafood out of a cardboard box, and last week I ordered Chinese THREE times, one of which was just after I had finished eating Chinese. I never regret it until I step out of bed the next morning into a pile of empty takeout boxes. Then I feel just a bit gross.

Late hours do work well, though, with the fact that I like to stay up until 5 am playing with my hair (or having sex). Hannah got a job at a new salon where she gave me a brand new cut and color, and helped me style my fun new clip-in extensions.
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If you live in the city you should definitely check out Foster Glorioso at 5 East 19th Street. It’s super gorgeous and beyond chill. Plus they have wine!
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^Here we are on our way to the FIRST bachelorette party I’d ever been to. Our friend Lisa celebrated the end of her freedom and I spent all of my fucking money on male strippers! It was fun, but they should have been tipping MY ass…like, do you even see this weave? (Truly I’m kidding, these extensions were cheap as hell and take forever to put in, so mostly I’ve been rocking my new REAL hair a la Uma in Pulp Fiction on a good day. Still though.)

Yyyyeah, I’m still broke, I’m still crazy, and I still have a dead rat in my backyard (in case you were wondering). But I have a new job and new look so like, move over. ‘Cause this is a competition, and I am here 2 win.

Life is a *Hater*

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Lately I’ve had to put an enormous amount of energy into not letting the haters affect my game. It’s unclear what I’ve even been doing with my life in the last month or so, but the struggle to remain posi is real and alive and I am more dedicated than ever.

This likely has something to do with the fact that everything has kind of blown dogs for me in the last four weeks. If things don’t steer straight for me soon, I fear I may become a hater myself.

Mercury was in retrograde for a minute there, which, for those of you that haven’t decided to arbitrarily assign significance to astrology, means that everything is supposed to be fucked up for a few weeks in the realm of communication. Decisions you make will be misinformed and contracts you sign will probably be reneged. Terrible things are supposed to happen all around, and they usually do for me. I tend to find myself on some manic binge, ending up in strange places at 5 in the morning and getting in trouble with the law. Because my life has been fantastically boring since the last time we spoke, I did not get myself into any life altering predicaments, and it was purely for lack of trying. Most of my days have been spent working my ~shit day job~ so much that all I ever want to do outside of that is shop online and play drinking games to Rookie of the Year. Of course I’ve been desperate to figure out my next move, and for a while I had a few bright options. I choose to blame the fizzling of those prospects on Mercury Retrograde and face it with the “one door closes, another opens” philosophy…because otherwise I’d just spend the rest of my life dipping french fries in my soft serve at the Burger King under the M train and feeling sorry for myself.

Because I try to always follow through with things I say I’ll do and be a “yes” person, from time to time I have decided to go out and show my face. I realize I need to meet new people, and sometimes when I do I feel great. Other times I’ve followed friends out to their somewhat intimate gatherings full of people I’ve never met where everyone asks me if I’m visiting from out of town and I fall into a k-hole of social awkwardness. Either way I usually just end up taking selfies in the bathroom.

The most exciting things that have happened in the last month are that Rainbow had a sale on crop tops, Hannah dyed my hair brown, I started walking a puppy three times a week, and I finally bought a bed. I’ve heard most Americans have them but I’ve just been sleeping on mattresses laid directly on the floor ever since I discarded my canopy bed when I was 14. The worst was a flea infested twin sized pad from my childhood bunk bed that I threw in the corner of my room and slept on for 5 months last year after I moved out of my ex’s house. The fleas were my cats’ fault, but really my fault. I still find it funny the number of one-night suitors I actually had the guts to bring back to that place, and laughable how many never complained, even with coffee cups and kitty litter everywhere. One of them even dated me for 3 months. Now, though, at the wrinkled age of 23 I try not to even have one night stands because the idea of bringing strangers into my house repulses me. I have to wonder if that’s because I’m appropriately embarrassed by the unfinished nature of my bedroom and the apparent lack of hygiene it projects or if I simply can’t stand strangers enough to commute with them back to my Bushwick apartment, or some combination of the two.

This hasn’t stopped me from giving my number to the wrong people, like the the creepy short guy that followed me home on Sunday night or the dude from Ok Cupid who offered me molly to “party” with him and his girlfriend. Needless to say I’ve changed a couple contacts in my phone to Do Not Pick Up. Somehow I have no interest in sleeping with people I don’t have “real feelings” for, and I definitely don’t have the energy to put myself such a volatile situation of sleeping with someone I actually like.

In the meantime I can’t stop getting shit from the people around me, and I’ve taken it much more personally than usual. People questioning my intelligence based on my open sexuality (I’ve always failed to see a connection between the two but apparently there is one?), women who compliment me with an insulting tone (“your boobs are so BIG”). Someone told me during sex recently that I hate my life but that I’m lying to myself (big question mark on that one) And a coworker pleasantly dispensed the info that my college major was totally useless and that’s why I’m a receptionist. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she was probably just mad because she’s 37, just went back to undergrad and recently had a nervous breakdown over writing a 2.5 page paper double spaced. Still, if these things are upsetting me it’s because I’m not 100% happy with myself, and that’s on me.

There is always going to be someone hating you for who you are or who they decide you are. Out of fear, out of jealousy, or purely for the fun of it. Negativity is a fucking contagion, and you should never let the fact that someone hates their life mean you have to hate yours too. I’m constantly encountering women who hate other women for being sexual, or for being confident, or because of a man. Women who backwardly find threatening the outspokenness of another. People who are nauseated by other people’s success. People who offer career connections in exchange for sexual favors (a thing I naively thought only happened in movies like Legally Blonde). I try not to let it affect me, but about half the time it does.

Fine, so I’m still figuring out my reason for getting up in the morning. But I’m still going to do it. You can’t go through life believing you’re as trashy or as stupid or as sad as people say. If you want to be better, be better. But don’t allow yourself to be shamed.

My career and my love life may remain virtually nonexistent, but I’m still holding on to my posi vibes and taking my chances. Even if I fuck up royally and it feels like a kick in the gut, at least I know I’m trying. After all, you are the only one who can make yourself feel truly awful. No one else. And isn’t that nice?

“Omg! Welcome to New York!”

OOPS. SORRY EVERYONE. I’ve been so busy being fabulous and terrible and wonderful and stupid in my new city that I haven’t been keeping you updated with all the debauchery. But after spending the last three hours drinking those little Keurig coffee pods by Emeril Lagasse called “BIG EASY BOLD/BIG EASY INTENSE” and making a list of everything I can remember from the last ten or so days, I am ready to introduce you to my New York life~~~

The first few days that I spent in the city were with my doting mother, who offered to help me move six suitcases into my fourth-floor walk-up in Greenpoint out of the kindness of her southern heart (I will share pictures of this adorable treehouse with everyone in the near future). After bickering and shopping and watching lifetime movies in my mom’s hotel, I started the kickass internship where I work three days a week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am to 5 pm that magazine receives my undivided attention and effort. I love it. It’s the best. But what happens outside of those hours is a totally different story and, you know, is somewhat lacking in responsibility and professionalism.

When Patrick finally arrived in the city I had just finished dinner with my mother at Five Leaves and after worrying and panicing (unnecessarily) about her ability to navigate back to her hotel via subway, P and I walked to Williamsburg to do…something. Something we could afford that wasn’t a waste of time. So we started with what we knew best: buying forties and Four Lokos and stealthily drinking them on a street corner. I got turned away from the first bodega for sighing loudly at the cashier who refused to acknowledge my existence. Luckily there are 379 bodegas on that block of Metropolitan alone and I was holding a shitty fruit punch Four Loko in just about thirty seconds. He really taught me!

We thought about going to that skee ball place but for whatever reason we decided to just stand next to a dumpster across the street from it and drink while loudly talking shit. Seemed more appropriate. For those of you who don’t know, Fruit Punch is by far the worst flavor of Four Loko. Like, we’re talking Robitussin meets battery acid sprinkled with Comet bleach and lit on fire. I never exaggerate. Since the Year of the Loko in 2009 it has been my theory that drinking the poison is at least 80% mental, and that just holding the empty can is enough to send your mind into a frenzy of bliss and mental retardation. With that in mind, I alternated gulps with watering a small tree in front of an apartment building. I’m not sure what Four Loko does to trees, but I bet it took a huge dump the next morning.

Walking in circles around the neighborhood for a few hours was pretty boring, and dancing in front of intimidating beautiful lesbians carrying knives at the Metropolitan was not thrilling enough to keep us around, so we ended up venturing back to my place. On the way I made friends with this egg.

We awoke the next morning and promptly started tanning on my amazing roof, sans sunscreen or speakers or common sense. We consumed a twelve-pack of canned Rolling Rock (it was on SALE) between the two of us, and after texting our friend Bradford while he was hard at work at BET (maybe you’ve heard of it idk) I decided to put on my kewl new discount DKNY sandals and walk to Crif Dogs. By this time we were pretty zonked, our sunburns–and maybe the beer and marijuana–had lulled us into a lucid dream where munchies ruled over any other impulse. I got my veggie dog and made a replica of Mt. Rushmore out of tater tots, which made up for the blood pooling in the back of my shoes from my shitty awesome sandal straps.

(^this guy)

That night we stuck to another thing we knew best which was getting into Le Bain. Thursday nights are “ZigZag,” which to me appeared just like regular Le Bain with more naked people in the hot tub and a lot of early 00’s r&b. I met a cute asian chick who got us free vodka shots by making out with the bartender. She was later “dismissed” for collapsing on the velvet rope by the DJ booth via drunkenness. Sadly, I never got her name. I met a very nice French guy. We quickly found our way around the language barrier but that night I slept on the Upper West Side in Patrick’s bed.

Are you still following along? Great. Just checking.

So we arrive at Friday morning/afternoon and I go to meet my mother for lunch dressed like a hooker and smelling like chlorine, my tangled pink hair obscuring most of my face. It may have made a small scene and been NAGL for a lunch date with my mother in Greenwich Village but my mom ~understands me~ and I have never been known to miss a free meal. In fact, even after showering and changing into a hot outfit for the LE1F show at the Tribeca Grand with Reid, we ended up getting rained on and (almost) ruining our looks completely. I’m not going to tell you the brand of dress that I was wearing but it did look somewhat like this Herve Leger bandage dress. However, I did not look like a SIMS character.

That was the night I met my new friend Skye and got near-molested by some stranger who couldn’t open his eyes. I’d say I was striking a good balance so far.

It wasn’t until Saturday night that I started to realize how strange of a place NYC can be. Reid, Patrick and I ate dinner that day in the adorable Chelsea Market (brought to you by Pinterest) and ended up dining next to Ron Livingston. “Hey, isn’t that guy from a movie? That guy’s totally in something,” Reid announced. I then had to brief them all via text message about seasons 5 and 6 of Sex and the City and remind them of the movie Office Space, complete with quotes. I couldn’t actually see him because he was sitting behind a ficus or something. But I did watch him casually exit the restaurant with his equally sullen girlfriend or wife or agent or something. What a Berger.

My first roof party in Chelsea was up next, a BYOB event where we stood casually drinking cheap beer and listening to slightly older, much more gainfully employed gay men talking about where they’ve “summered.” We received a lot of side-eye because Reid and I were both dressed as pirates  (of course) until everyone got drunk enough to admit that they loved us and offer us free shit. After that we ended up at some bar in Chinatown that looked like a tiki hut with a Michelle Williams type go-go dancing under what may have been a fake/real/non-existent palm tree. I didn’t really know what was going on, and I knew even less after our 7-person cab ride to a a huge loft party in an undisclosed location filled with gaudy, fabulous ratchet partypeople with undisclosed identities. I vaguely remember swaying with Patrick against a giant wall with video projecting on my face. Needless to say we went to Ihop post-party and I did not wake up at home.

By Sunday it became very clear that the weekend was not going to end, and somehow I wasn’t running out of energy. We headed to a private party at the Standard that was filled with fabulous, amazing try-hards and some fabulous, amazing born-that-ways. You can smell the “care too much” on some people in this city, which is fine. At least they look good? In general the party was mostly glamorous which made it all the more appropriate to eat chips and hummus from my purse in the ballroom across from nightlife legend Sophia Lamar. Of course we received dirty looks from everyone else in the room but Sophia, who proceeded to rub icing from someone’s birthday cake on her lips like a gloss and wave at us from the other end of the couch. This night, like every night, was an oddly perfect cocktail of the near-embarrassment and all-around fabulousness that I have grown addicted to. Later, I attempted to sit on the couch, but the two leather units separated beneath me and I fell on my ass in front of everyone. The room went silent, so naturally I got up and did a few curtsies. Sophia the Badass mouthed to me “you broke the couch!” to which I responded, “THE COUCH BROKE ME.” I would have been mortified if I could muster a fuck.

After spending money we did’t have on a few gin and tonics, Patrick and I were picked up by our very own zazzy named James, a delightful British impresario who treated us to glasses of champagne and with whom we formed the collective SAF (single as fuck) based on the shedding of commitment we both had before moving to the city. We then proceded to spend the rest of the night twirling and giving face, and met loads of indispensable friends whose names I’ll never remember. After taking a taste of Le Bain and innumerable glasses of champagne, I separated from the group and fell asleep on the subway going the wrong direction. I ended up sucking it up and taking a cab to my mother’s hotel like a little girl, waking up the next morning and rushing home with ten minutes to change before work.

Of course I made it. I always do. All in all it’s been a delightful mix of luxe pleasure cruises and near-death experiences (I only threw up in one take-out box!). Keeping up with this bipolar city is already exhausting, but you live to work and you live to play, and whatever time you have left after that you spend power-napping in the bathroom.

It might not feel good, but you know, it can be done. And really, it must.

x0x0, Kat st. Kat, ~SAF~

New York City, or, How Am I Not Dead Yet


Greetings fellow disasters! It looks like Mother Nature reads my blog and decided to bump up our medium-shitty weather to nearly 70 degrees and sunny as hell. My life is taking a similar turn; I got a job offer this morning, I lost five pounds, and things may or may not be improving in my relationship department (details to be divulged at a later date). Since I’ve spent the last four weeks feeling sorry for myself that none of these things had happened yet, I let one of the most fabulously disastrous times of my life go undocumented.

Team Big Things Does NYC (Dec 28-Jan 2).

It began as a simple road trip with a few broke friends; Bradford, Austin, Bill, Patrick and myself all crammed in a Jeep, with five cans of beans, three handles of liquor and about 50 packets of Ramen. I spent most of the ride up stoned and praying we didn’t flip over speeding through toll booths at 90 mph. When we finally arrived in Williamsburg to stay with our ever-so-generous hosts and cohorts Beth and Linnea, I was apparently overcome with exhaustion and/or narcolepsy; after a brief stint taking pictures of ourselves at Metropolitan (a location where I spent 20 minutes looking for my lost jacket that I never even wore), I was dragged by my cunt-ourage to…somewhere. It may have been a fabulous party at a fabulous gay bar with fabulous DJs. However, I was able to have just about this much fun:

So there’s that.

Now, normally I would give an account of what happened in the daytime at any point during this trip. And I promise, I was awake for some of those hours. But somehow my memory refuses to serve, probably given the central line of cheap liquor and THC I received during the trip, and all the time that has passed since. Suffice it to say that I was probably hungover and yelling at people on the street, singing Azaelia Banks a cappella or stealing hats from Topshop. Whatever. Moving on.

As far as I can recall, the next night was spent in the basement of Santos Party House, trying to pretend we weren’t the most amazing people in the room and that the drinks weren’t thirteen dollars. This proved to be very difficult, but after a certain number of cocktails I was able to twirl regardless. Later that night, Patrick met up with someone from Grindr at some random corner on Lafayette, only to approach with our entire crew and reject him on the spot. This was one of the weirder, more anti-climactic nights of the trip. I fell asleep with these 80/20 shoes on.

On night #3, Moe (my publicist and an all-around great guy) surprised everyone with a cameo appearance, bringing only his weekender and a sequined bow tie. We somehow managed to work our 9-person, almost entirely male crew into Le Bain, and even though I was wearing my velvet bustier and was too drunk to spell my name, my flirtatious advances somehow got rejected by the bartender. Feeling sad for about 0.0o1 minutes (I really wanted a free drink), I proceeded to assist Patrick in making out with a straight guy and spent 20 minutes searching for my lost phone. I ended up finding it in my boobs later on, but in all the bustle Moe and I made our way to security and they gave us some garlic knots. Worth it? I think so. The rest of the night was spent eating pizza in alleyways and consorting with the beautiful people at Brooklyn’s Sugarland.

 

And then came the big night.

New Year’s Eve in the city is always, of course, a huge deal and despite my millions of visits I had somehow never experienced it. No one I knew was super interested in Dick Clark’s Smeagol impersonation (god bless him), so our plan was to hit up the annual throwdown at the  Schinasi Mansion on the Upper West Side. This classy joint is one of the few and well respected free-standing mansions in NYC, flips for about 15 mil, and looks a little something like this on a good day.

 

After spending the entirety of December 31st drinking the cheapest handle one can locate in the 212 (Bacardi Coconut, it’s fucking good), and assembling head-to-toe metallic ensembles for the evening, our crowd (which now included my younger sister Kedrin, her two beautiful friends, and the adorably tux-clad Connor and Matt) rocked a subway car back and forth at 11:30 pm screaming “NINETEEN NINETY TWELVE!” into the faces of unassuming, innocent strangers who were headed for third shift.

5…4…3…2…1

I blacked out shortly thereafter.

Apparently, this is what the Schinasi Mansion looked like on New Year’s Eve.

  

According to what is now urban legend regarding that night, someone fell and broke their neck down those stairs just before we arrived in the wake of the ambulance. I took *something* that did not sit well with my stomach and spent the next few hours throwing up for the first time since 2010. In the middle of a crowd of girls who could only have hailed from Hamilton House itself, Moe fell asleep on someone, Austin danced in the streets for passing cab drivers, and Bradford took a bite out of a martini glass.

Beth, bless her heart, took care of us all.

Sure, I was kicked out of the party between five and ten times. Yes, I couldn’t walk down steps for a week because of the bruises on my legs. Okay, fine, I went a too far yet again and publicly humiliated myself like I always do. But I’d say the evening went almost exactly as planned (with the exception of falling asleep in the back of a cab and never making it to the party at Verboten I had deeply desired to attend).

For a split second, we were lost in the chaos of the capital of the world, turning everything we touched into a pile of feathers, glitter and blood.

And a split second later, as if nothing had happened, we were gone.