Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekend Update (and it really is about to be Saturday night live)

I’ve recently put my literary landmark and bookstore quests on hold.  Part of me grieves for the loss of this brief exploratory chapter of my New York life, but never fear, intrepid readers; it will resurface – hopefully when the weather warms and the days lengthen. This moratorium results from developing a schedule: I now have a (pseudo-)job to occupy my hours, and I’m finding other weekly commitments to add to the schedule for Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.* And those are just the standing commitments.

Having a weekly schedule gives me a stronger impression of rootedness in the city.  I go to work during the week, then I plan events for nights…or I go to a class at the Y, a very mundane local-y way to spend an evening, no? Last night, I’m happy to say that, at least a little bit, I initiated my first New York gathering.  I suggested a trip to the independent theater, and the final group consisted of two of the girls I knew when I moved here, a guy who was a friend of theirs in college, and one of my coworkers.  Could I be getting comfortable enough to allow the social engineering strand of my personality to resurface??  Well, let’s not get too hasty.

Afterwards, in a stunning feat of indecision (“What do you want to do?” “I’m up for whatever.”  “I could be persuaded to do whatever.”  “Whatever you want to do.”  “Whichever way we go is fine.”  “You choose.”  “It doesn’t matter.” “Right or left?” “Left or right?”  “What do you want to do?”), we found our way to a nearby, nondescript bar (literally, I think the sign was a letter-size chalkboard above the door) and had a few drinks.  For some reason, I found myself in a surprisingly upbeat, chatty mood, which I think can only be the result of feeling comfortable even though I had never before spent time with two of my companions. In that calm, mundane Friday night kind of way, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

And what better to follow a “mundane” New York night than with what I perceive to be more “New York” than the historic landmarks: brunch?  I met my friend Sarah for brunch at Cafeteria, a trendy, almost-touristy spot in Chelsea which, I’m told (by Sarah), was featured in a Sex and the City episode.  It’s certainly not one of those “you have to be in the know” places because everyone seems to know about it, but that doesn’t necessarily make it less of a destination. We split a spinach salad, we split a country flatbread dish, and we split a delightful conversation about ourselves, our friends, men, relationships, New York (wait, were we in that episode of Sex and the City?).  We did not, however, split our brunch cocktails.

(I regret to say that I did not take any photos; I am determined to improve in that area.)

So the great literary adventures may be paused temporarily, but I think I like the prospect of everyday life adventures, too.  Perhaps a mixture will suffice?

(Of course, the fact that I find any of this worthy of commentary probably speaks to the fact that I don’t really live here, at least not yet; if I did, the aforementioned events would be second nature and the social activities forgettable. But that’s the benefit of being a newbie.)

*On a personal note, I wonder why I am so quick to fill my schedule.  Perhaps I have more energy than I give myself credit for; perhaps I am just too averse to spending time alone.  To be sure, this scheduling tendency reveals my inability to find satisfaction with my current situation (whatever it may be).  One month I’m complaining about grading, grading, grading all the time and the next I’m whining about being bored, bored, bored.  The ascertainable difference, I feel, is that my time as a teacher occurred while I had established relationships and social events in which I could participate or organize, but the grading kept me from them.** In my New York weeks of “freedom,” I had plenty of time to find interesting things to do, but once darkness rolled around, the few friends I had upon arrival lived too far away or were busy recovering from the workday, and stores and shops closed early, and since darkness rolls around in the 5 o’clock hour…this limited me.  And I can only stare at the pink walls of my small room for so long.
Essentially, it comes down to supply and demand, that age-old economic concept of which I only know the basics but will still attempt to use to provide a fitting analogy: the more one works, the less free time one has, so the more one relishes the thought and, at times, the experience of having nothing to do. However, as our deficient human nature would have it, when this hardworker actually has free time, his/her conditioning to keep busy often prevents enjoyment of time off, which leads to self-induced busy work and even more grumbling.

**There were certainly other issues with grading, and I’m not saying that I dearly miss it.  Or really miss it at all.  But I do miss students and teaching.***

***Wait a tic, this is my blog, not my personal journal…apologies.


  1. Leah, this is Dad. Sounds like you are having fun. Chelsea, Michigan is where my company got its name, Chelsea. It is a very nice town with a great place to eat called the Common Grill.

    Love the writing!

  2. Leah,

    I love you...I love your writing...I love your honesty and your adventuresome spirit!!! YOU go girl!!