Archive for July 2008

It Only Takes Three Stops To Know Someone   1 comment

There are only three stops between the LES (Lower East Side) and 14th Street, where I’m currently residing. Over the last six weeks, in the chaotic, fashionista, sometimes gay, sometimes unfriendly city of New York, I’ve had several of what I call the “three stop conversations” with a few women.
This involves me saying: (a) a quick hello (b) asking how long they’ve been waiting for the train.
The question is usually serious, and I have no ulterior motives. But the commonality with my “three stop convos” is that the women are always cute. Tonight I met a cute girl of ambiguous ethnicity named Hannah.
She had a quick wit, clear bronze skin, and said she taught English as a second language for a living. I had just returned from a terrible Karaoke session.
For those who don’t know, I’m a Karaoke junkie. Karaoke for me, is like heroin for Nikki Stix in his heyday in the 80’s.
Well… not really. Karaoke night at a bar called Piano’s is my Monday night outlet. I go there not to immerse myself in a Bon Jovi song, or let go of myself through performance. I go there to escape. I watch people dancing, singing and enjoying themselves as they pretend to be the Beastie Boys, Alice Cooper or Lil’ John. Most of the time I sit near the bar, sipping on a glass of water, and follow the flashing strobe lights with lazy eyes. I always put no less than two songs into the mix, but I always hear one picked. I don’t think the DJ dislikes me, but Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” is always a better Karaoke crowd pick than say… “Angel” by Shaggy.
So this is where I’m coming from. A slow Karaoke night, where for the sixth week in a row I sit, watching people. The song I performed was “I’m Blue” by Eiffel 65. After performing that song, I realize I’m getting older. EVERYBODY knew this song by heart in 1997, or 1998, whenever the song was an international hit. It was only today that I realize that was oh just…. TEN YEARS AGO.
So after sitting around idly on my stool, I decided to leave. I was hoping that a song I wanted, “Faith” by Limp Bizkit would be played, but alas it was not to be. Socially defeated by New York for what seemed like the millionth time, I headed home. I’ve been cock-blocked, phone-blocked, coke-blocked and now Karaoke-blocked.
At the train station is where I met Hannah. She was cute; about five foot four, with what seemed like Latino or Italian features, but she said she was neither. I was too tired to try and figure it out. She had golden skin, a nose that suggested a background not completely Caucasian, but I’m no anthropologist. “I like being racially ambiguous.” She said with a nice smile.
I gave her a weak smile in return. I could tell that she had a nice personality. She had a quick wit, used the “F” word with no reservation (but in perfect context) and seemed genuinely interested that I was a writer. Usually when I tell people I’m a writer, they immediately say “who do you work for?”. This time, when I said I was a writer, she replied with two raised eyebrows. It felt good, even for a moment.
Then I realized, I’m on the train with her. Earlier on the subway platform, seconds after asking her about how long she had been waiting on the train, I heard the rattle of the F train approaching. This created a situation. From the Lower East Side (2nd Avenue) stop to 14th St took no more than four minutes on average. If the train operator was hemorrhaging coffee, this could be three minutes.
In 1.5 minutes, I found out her name was Hannah. By minute three she was asking me:” What’s your name again?”. I didn’t mind. I can’t count the number of situations like this I’ve been in. I took a risk.
“I’ve had a few of these ‘three stop’ conversations before.” I told her. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
She looked on me with surprise and said no. (Actually every question I asked her seemed to warrant a sort of incredulous (though slightly muted) response).
I told her I don’t normally ask girls if they have a boyfriend. This is very true. Half the time, girls I meet have boyfriends and are extremely shady about it. Since I had 45 seconds left to talk to miss Hannah, I said why not cut to the chase. The train started to slow, and I saw ugly white tiles and columns flashing past through the train windows.
14th Street.
“So do you want to hang out sometime?” I said. Between minutes two and three and I said she was “interesting” a few times, played a slight game or two, and found out that she was a world traveler. Unfortunately, I didn’t get enough time to tell her that I travel a bit myself (though at some point earlier in the night I helped two Roaming Italians try and find a nice bar). At this point I handed her my card.
No one ever e-mails me when I give them my card. But you never know. Maybe Hannah will break the mold, maybe she’ll hop off the train and say, “Hrm, maybe I should acknowledge my curiosity regarding this tall, interesting writer fellow I had ‘three stop’ conversation on the train with.”
But that never happens. What happens is I go home, go to sleep and wake up. At some point the next day, I might remember Hannah, I might not. Its not that the meeting wasn’t important or meaningful (she WAS cute). But I’ve been in this situation dozens of times.

Dozens.

After a while you get desensitized to the nature of quick socializing, or even lengthy ones. If people don’t call you back, no feeling is there. If you meet the cute girl at the train station and nothing happens, you don’t feel that sense of regret you did ten years ago. You wake up, go to work and forget about it.
Being an adult is essentially being a zombie; its acknowledging the most base of your human emotions, compressed into the fragile paradigm of what we call reality.
However, I could be totally wrong. Hannah could shoot me an e-mail and shatter my newly developed outlook forever. Some random message in my inbox could prove to me that the odds aren’t always against me.
Sadly, I’m not a soothsayer. But I know the outcome. I’ll never get an e-mail from her. She, like dozens of women before her, will have my card somewhere in a purse, under a book or a bed, or safely ensconced in the confines of a garbage can near their residence. Then I, somewhere, will go to sleep, wake up, and go to work.

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Posted July 22, 2008 by marcusbird in Uncategorized

The Constantly Contiguous Conflict   2 comments

I’m listening to Christina Aguilera’s “Hurt” over my office’s Itunes shared network. I’m not sure if this is a sign of depression, of the slow recession of my testes into my stomach. But I’m sure it means something.

Yesterday I watched Home Alone 2: Lost In New York for what was probably the 18th time in my life. I watched it for two reasons. One, I’ve never watched the movie IN New York, (which is pretty cool in itself) and secondly, I wanted to revisit that nice, quiet place we like to call our childhood.

The trappings of adult life are really all people say its cracked up to be. Flaky people, taxes, sexual frustration, shattered dreams, bad fast food and being hit by automobiles. Its all there folks, scattered amidst the chaos of what we like to call “daily life”.

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Time itself seems to be flying. This year is shooting faster than a premature ejaculate in bed with Megan Fox.

.Events from a few weeks ago seem like years ago, and the events of a few months ago feel like a world away. I’ve sat on a street side in Berlin saying to myself, “Did I really mess with that chick? And read some Pulitzer prize winning literature on her bedside table the next morning? “
Sadly, no one can answer that question but me. But I don’t’ think I’m depressed. Or even lonely for that matter. My mental state is a mixture of uncertainty and the sense of impending doom that comes with realizing not only am I (again) in a densely populated city trying to “find” myself, but it looks like we are possibly headed to World war 3.

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World wars, those are things I don’t like to think about. That involves interrupted food supplies, no more traveling over seas, shoddy internet, and more Hollywood movies based on wars.
I was sitting on a rooftop on early Sunday morning discussing what I’ve labeled the “contiguous plight” with a few cool people I’ve been hangin with. My friend explained it in a few words. “In such a densely populated area, “ she bega. “With so many people pushing to be the best at everything, a lot of people are thinking short term.” I nodded. “People are saying to themselves, I’ll be here for maybe a year, two years tops, and then I’m out. I don’t need any relationships, I don’t need anything more than the occasional hookup. So its not easy to find people who are rooted in New York, who have a vested interest in a future in the city.”
I agreed with that statement. But that wasn’t just NY. It sounded like DC all over again. If Chicago is the city of Angels, DC is the city of flakes. An overwhelming number of the people in DC aren’t from Dc, and will be in the city for only a few years. Its all short-term, high-ambition drivel that keeps on churnin.
Does me knowing this make it easier to integrate elsewhere? I say nay. Like most people I desire the basic things. Food, a good movie and a girlfriend with enough of a sleazy side to keep my attention from week to week (with the occasional introspective thought tossed in the mix for good measure).

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But honestly, at the end of the day that’s what we want folks. A wife that will bang us mentally and physically, a few kids to live vicariously through and a house big enough to house all of you and your egos.
It’s a bit sad when all I have to look forward to is the release of the upcoming will-be-megahit, Dark Knight.
In the last few weeks I’ve been tempted to write some very juicy blogs involving a few cute foreigners. Australians gilrs, English girls, Irish women and the occasional Bostonian.

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But at the end of the day its me sitting here typing away for what? A strange document of my social activities? I don’t know. Let’s hope Batman can tingle my spine make me chase after my dreams too.

.Don’t call me Marcus, you can call me Bruce.

Make it so Numba One [monk’s Abbey]   Leave a comment

I’ve been searching for inspiration lately, and no I didn’t find it in the face of a beautiful woman.

I’ve been floating in between that head space most artistic people reach at some point in their lives. In inevitable top o’ the mountain. We hear the sonorous voice that could be any number of black actors ask us that question: “What are you doing?”

(if aforementioned sonorous voice said “What is real?” then it would be Laurence Fishburne. He was also Mr. deep voice in Fantastic Four two. Betcha didn’t know that!)

My only achievement this week was completely frightening a cute girl in a bookstore named Abby. There she was, walking around with a cute yellow bag, looking for books. There I was, looking for a new book to read with a great excuse to say hello. I’ll scratch the details, but the conversation ended with me asking for her opinion on something. Not her number.

She reminded me that this city is a place for artists. She’s the third girl i’ve met who works in an art gallery, but the first who actually looks like a piece of art. She reminded me of a little porcelain doll. The kind that have organs, and studied Art History in North Carolina. Yes, I frightened her, with my high-energy Jamaican wit and obvious comfort with myself. That ladies and single reader of this blog, is the most frightening thing to a woman, the idea that a man is comfortable with himself. Especially if he isn’t forty-something and flush with mutual funds and crazy levels of disposable income.

Frightening miss A didn’t bother me that much. I was actually glad I frightened her in some ways. I was glad that I came off a little too happy, too endearing, because the truth is I haven’t felt like that in days. I was experience what my friends and i like to call “frownzing”.

Frownsing: (adj. frown-zing) the act of, or activities related to frowning. Contemplating life, being generally jaded, or driven to watch porn. Facilitates lower states of energy, higher solitary presence at movie theatres and the Taco Bell line. Watching Sex and the City.

So not only was I happy to have met a cutie like Abby, I was happy to scare her away. It justified in my mind that my reality was doing the right thing. I was projecting an air of confidence I didn’t have, even if the cute girl who works at the art gallery MIGHT have given me her number if i had just turned down the man-juice a notch.

Randomly, but not coincidentally, after I left the book store carefully protecting my copy of Lost World, I leaned against a wall and started talking to my friend on the phone. We were talking about the usual madness. Women, success, money, not having either of the three, you know the deal. At some point, Abby walked past–wearing a black shawl or something–but it was her. I saw her look at me, then look forward.

I made no attempt to say hello, or “de-man-ize” myself by saying. “Hey Abby!”. I could just as easily do that by shouting “Hey Abbot!” for no reason, and i’d draw more stares. Abby walked off into the distance, reasonably tall and attractive, gone to probably manically paint in some studio apartment somewhere. Then I turned around and resumed my conversation.

The abbey thing reminds me of something. One of the key features of New York is women, women women. In fact this phenomenon can become a little bit annoying. Not the fact that the city is filled with beauties, but the fact that they walk so bloody fast. By the time you stop a girl to say hello, she’s half a block away. Its that bad.

In the last few days, I’ve been sharing my apartment with super-author Michael Crichton. He’s been in my bed, on my floor and once or twice in my bathroom. I’ve been reading a few of his books. I just read Next and Jurassic Park, and I grabbed Lost World yesterday. I’m not sure if I’m the laziest book reader ever–I don’t like searching through books hoping i don’t find a lemon–or if I’m just in a dinosaur/genetics mode right now. Either way, I need to feed my mind so I can start up my writing process. I need to kick start myself like an aging guitarist needs coke before a show. I need that high.

I think six to eight good books should get me writing again. Earlier this year, I read about fifteen or twenty books in the month of January, and not only did I write some of my most interesting blogs, but I was writing constantly. Ideas came from the depth of my insides, and spilled onto my keyboard into MS word and on dozens of tiny scraps of paper. I need that again. Time to contribute to the creative commons. I can “frownz” later

On a side note, this “scary” side of myself is pretty humorous. I went to a bar on Monday night and some girl started talking to me. A few minutes later the shortest Asian guy i’ve ever seen pats me on the back and tries to tell me to lay off the chick. (I didn’t even know her name). I didn’t find the event funny until two days later, when I remember some random dude asking me about his Russian friend who was visiting town. “You can see where i’m going with this right?” he says to me. It was hilarious. Not only was he cock-blocking me from a girl who’s name I didn’t know. But he was also being semi-threating about this girl, who spoke to ME and whom I didn’t even remember.

.Maybe I really am scary

.Maybe I walk into places and people wonder who the f*ck is this maverick come to steal and impregnate our women! On Karaoke night nonetheless.

I wish.

Cheers to better days and less cock-blocking from dudes.

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