Monday, October 13, 2014

city of serendipity


Columbus day has been full of fun little moments:
like running into a friend from high school on the 66th street subway platform. In a city of eight million people, how does that happen?

Fun Moment Example B could be when I almost saved the recipe my sister sent me for "Simple Scones" in the "Sexual Health" bookmark folder (that's not an exciting folder. It only features articles like this.) instead of the Recipes folder.
Lord, what fools we mortals be.
[My bookmark folders are a disaster, with little-to-know organization, featuring folders with titles like: JOBS!!, Tangled/Augie [??], Choir_Grant, Truth & Reconciliation Committee, DRAMA GAMES, Europe, Pope, NYC_Church, BookstoRead.]


Fun Moment Number 3: these happen a lot. It's when you suddenly remember a definitive statement you made in the past that has been proved entirely wrong, or entirely true. I'm not sure which is more fun. But it's always amusing. For example: I remember one of the many reasons my sister paraded out to try to convince me to apply to Notre Dame was that Notre Dame's student body is 55% male, 45% female (or 53% male, 47% female, whatever it's shifted to now). Not only did she do that, she would point out that a school I was considering had an "unfavorable" female to male student ratio. 60% female, 40% male? She would say. Subtext: How will you ever find a boyfriend in that Sea of Harpies?

I exaggerate slightly, of course, as always, but my wily older sister indeed knew how to speak to high school Renée's heart. And High School Renée's heart would pitter-patter at the thought of a campus full of fresh-faced young collegiate men, ready to sweep her off her feet. I thought of this one Sunday morning after Mass, as I walked down Broadway double-fisting Dunkin Donuts, enjoying the sweet, lazy bustle of the city on a Sunday morning.
And I laughed out loud.
One: because high school Renée's priorities were slightly different than current Renée's priorities.
Second: because it is so incredible and marvelous how differently we can think with four or five years of formation, education, and the most excellent teacher of experience molding our plastic opinions into something completely different than they were before. 
Lord, what fools we mortals be.

Another fun moment: I have developed this extremely bad habit: I sketch people. But with words, not with charcoal and sketch pad. So, if I'm in the subway, and there's a sad woman chugging red bull in sexy stilettos sitting forlornly in the seat right across from me, I'm not gonna not copy down everything I notice about her, and make up a story to go with it. It has become almost a reflex to take a cursory inventory of the subway car as I step in it, wondering what stories I am stepping into, and will never know. The City is such an enabler of people-watching and people-sketching. It's far too easy here--interesting people pop out of every sidewalk crack and bodega awning, just begging to be noticed. 

For example: these women next to me in Starbucks are discussing the unfortunate Taylor, their poor roommate, who "has a good heart", but, unfortunately for her: "she's short, ugly and fat." 
[Shoat. These young women are not pulling any punches here. I hope my food baby from the cookie cake I stuffed my face with last night has flattened out a bit. Or at least I hope they don't notice it. I shudder to think about what they would say. Look at that short, mousy girl with that ridiculous, janky little macbook from 2010! It looks like she ate an elephant for lunch!! titter titter titter.
"And, you know what else I don't like about Taylor? She's from Tennessee. Even though I'm from Tennessee, but I don't really like anyone else from Tennessee." [SO many questions about this statement. I am dying to see how sharing that sentiment with Taylor herself might play out: Taylor, there's only room enough for one girl from Tennessee in this here city, and it's me. Where, oh logic, is now thy sting?]
"Also, you know why Renée doesn't like Taylor very much? [wait. what? A character named Renée is in this soap opera story? Oh I am tuning in now, lady with the floral waffle-print long underwear pants] 
blah blah blah stories of weekend adventures with Taylor and Renée. Including this great little sound bite: 
"When I first met Renée, I thought: Oh I'm going to hate this b****, but actually, she's really nice." 
[oh, that's so charming. Although I'm not the Renée in question, I accept the backhanded compliment on behalf of my name-sister. ]
Their tales include lots of making out, lots of gentlemen getting tangled up in multiple young ladies' love lives, lots of debauchery, lots of girls gone wild moments. These girls are 500% too racy to be sitting in a Starbucks on Madison Avenue at six pm on Monday. And not just any Monday but Columbus Day. What do the racy young youth do on Columbus Day? On July 4th, they shoot off fireworks and wear stars-and-stripes printed beachwear and drink lots of Miller Lite. On Halloween, they wear as few clothes as possible, and lots of make-up, and drink all sorts of strange potions. On Christmas, they sit in their parents' living rooms and nurse their pumpkin spice hangovers. But Columbus Day lacks any sort of imagination or possibilities of holiday-themed antics: it is a fruitless holiday, left-over from an older, steadier generation.
But it's chock full of fun moments.


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