Coney Island

This week has been a scorcher so we decided that since we are close to the coast, we would take advantage of Coney Island. Little did we know that all of New York had the same idea. The adventure started on the train ride there.

Sitting on the N for eight stops, Ai and I soon figured out that we will be featured in the back of a reality TV production. We cleverly named the show “Chorney Island” as we watched meatheads do pull-ups on the bars and Guidettes twirl on the poles with Grade-A film equipment capturing their every move.

When we finally made it to the station, we pushed through the crowd and tried to find a vacant square inch of the beach. I trampled half of the people in front of us when Ai spotted a shady spot under the boardwalk. We soon found out how shady it was.

After fanning out our towels and sitting next to quiet hippies and a Latina familia, the “Worst Parents in America” rolled into town with their cooler of self-medication. When their child accidentally ripped the Styrofoam cooler, the woman showed us her parenting skills through racial obscenities and hints at child abuse. Here are some of her best:

“–, I dare you to cry. If you do, I will slap the — out of you.”

“Don’t make me get up. If you do, –, you are going to regret it.”

“I am going to beat you until you can’t breathe.”

“You never do anything right. You are going to turn out to be a bigger criminal than your father. Maybe I can get my — from you.”

All the while, the Latina children were having a blast digging the biggest hole next to Ai and I that I had ever seen. All six of them vanished within fifteen minutes of digging, with tosses of sand spewing out like a sprinkler in an even rotation. We were about to jump in there with them for protection.

After an awesome grease-filled lunch that didn’t consist of hotdogs, we went to hop back on the train when we met our long-lost best friend – the NYPD.

Ironically, they were all hanging out by a donut shop. However, there was one outcast officer that was manning the subway turnstiles. He was in a bitter mood, probably because none of his colleagues invited him to Donut Time.

As we pulled to the side of him to put our shirts back on, the officer decided to yell at me as I had my shirt in hand.

“Ma’am!” he said in the most disgusted voice I had ever heard someone talk to me in.

“Yes!” I said cheerfully, naïve to the fact that I was getting reprimanded.

“Put some clothes on!”

He said it like I was the most hideous person on the beach. Like I was a monster.

I stared blankly at him and opened my arms in disbelief. “I am.” Literally, my shirt was in my hand and my bag was at my feet. “It was too crowded on the boardwalk so we came in here.”

He proceeded to give me a lesson in “decency” and didn’t stop complaining about my exposure until I got on the train.

I checked to see if I was having a Janet Jackson nip-slip or had a wedgie I wasn’t aware of (that’s impossible, by the way). However, everything was in its rightful home.

Can I just state that my bikini had the most coverage on the beach that I looked like a marm. There was a pregnant lady using her belly as a floatation device and a man whose dragon tattoos were covering more of his no-noes than his speedo.

A million comebacks went through my mind as I pulled my shirt and shorts on.

“I guess I’m not the only one with sand in their vagina today.”

“Oh, I’m sorry officer, I must be blinding you.”

“You are right, my ankles are too much.”

“Your friends are around the corner stuffing their faces like… pigs.”

I didn’t say a word though. After picking up my bag, I turned to him and smiled. “Have a great day.”

He looked back at me like he had soiled himself.

You can make me self-conscious about my glow-in-the-dark skin, my clothes being eight years old, and my solar-powered forehead. However, the last thing you can insinuate is that I’m a disgusting cow. I had more class than 99.9% of the people on the beach today. My bikini was tied so tight around my neck I was choking and walking like the Hunchback of Nortedame.

Come on, this is the girl who hates wearing white shirts because her bra might show through. Decency is not a lesson I need. In fact, I think a course in “How to Let Loose” is more appropriate.

“I’m sorry I’m so beautiful,” I complained to Ai, bitterly throwing my crap down on the train. “That you have to yell at me to get me to acknowledge your presence.”

“Amen, sister,” a girl shouted from the other end of the train as she lifted a drunken finger towards the police.

“See,” Ai said, sitting beside me. “Brooklyn has your back. And at least you know you have something in common with the police for future reference. You both run on Dunkin.”

Touché, Ai, you sarcastic twit. Touché.


Shopping in the Subway

Shopping on the Subway

So, I have come up with a checklist that will find you an ideal mate while you commute to and from the city. This happened after I realized that multitasking was huge for NYC commuters, but as someone who isn’t a tablet whore, I had to put a North Carolinian spin on it. It goes like this:

Step One: Pop in your iPod and put on your sunglasses. Stand at the back of a train looking forward for best results.

Step Two: Start weeding out your potentials (about 30 per cart). Throw out any guy who doesn’t give up his seat for a pregnant woman.

Step Three: Throw out any guy who thinks it’s cool to share his music with the rest of the train, or use this time to do his cardio training between the seats.

Step Four: Throw out any guy who is flexing his muscles even when the train is stationary.

Step Five: Throw out any guy who carries a compact mirror, even if he is dressed in Armani and wearing an expensive Rolex.

Step Six: Throw out any guy who is playing a Gameboy and has the sound effects turned all the way up. Now I know why my dad wanted to kill me on long road trips.

Step Seven: Always throw out any guy with a blue tooth.  Really, buddy, we are in the subway. You aren’t fooling anyone when you are talking to yourself.

Step Eight: Listen to the woman chuckling next to you as she reads what you write in your notebook.

Step Nine: Throw out guys who obviously spend more time shaping their beard than dressing themselves. You will need to use the bathroom too in the morning.

Step Ten: Throw out any guy dressed better then you. He’s probably headed to Christopher Street.

Step Eleven: Throw out the guy using the reflection in the window as a stealthy way to check you out.

Oh, well, the one potential just got off. Time to start again.

Step One: Throw out any female who puts on her makeup on the train. She obviously doesn’t have good time management skills.

Step Two: Throw out any female who thinks its alright to show you her lingerie or nipples through her sheer clothes.

Step Three: Throw out any female who allows her daughter to practice being a stripper on the poles while taking her to school.

Step Four: Throw out any female who obviously spends more money on her appearance than on her health. She’s a gold digger if overpriced makeup takes priority over DayQuil.

Step Five: Throw out any female who holds onto the handrails with a tissue. Her IQ is obviously not high enough to know that germs can and will climb over, under, and on top of that “barrier.”

Step Six: Throw out any female who thinks going over the Brooklyn Bridge is the time to call up her roommate and complain about how there was no cream cheese left in the refrigerator this morning for the whole cart to hear.

Step Seven: Throw out any female who has permanent Myspace duck lips. No need to say more since it’s 2012.

Step Eight: Throw out any female who is still drunk from the night before… on a Monday.

Well, that takes out 99.9% of New York women. I guess you are just screwed. Have a great day!

Tribute to Chicago

Last night as I was going through my computer looking at all of my old resumes and files, I came across something I had written after visiting Chicago and being blasted on Twitter by a big digital ad man for sending him a resume, as if I was unworthy of his time. I probably was, but hey – shoot me for trying, right? This industry is all about “go big or go home,” as I’ve been told on multiple occasions.

But after being rejected by many of his kind last October, I started pondering what I was doing wrong, and then Pinball Wizard by the Who played on Pandora.

And my genius showed, for all of three minutes. As embarrassed as I am to show this, I think it should go down in history as one of those few moments where I was inspired to write something positive even in the worst of circumstances.

Pinball Wizard Parody

Ever since I was a young girl,
I’ve bounced thoughts off the wall.
From New York down to NC
I thought I’d seen it all.
But I ain’t seen nothing like it when I saw it last fall.
That city Chicago has my name on every wall.

It stands like a statue
Remembered for its Bean.
Decorated with ingenuity
Begging for a scene.
An ad man’s intuition
Shines through the snowfall.
As I await his one personal phone call.

He’s an ad CD, there has to be a twist
A way to be noticed without being dismissed.
How do you think they do it?
I don’t know.
What makes them so good?

Ain’t got art direction
Can’t draw or paint, just spell.
Don’t see in pretty colors
Just in words that sell.
A fan of wordplay, giving it her all
This girl strives to learn from the best of them all.

Even though my chances are slim
I just handed my resume to him.

Even on a good day
He can beat my best.
His disciples lead him in
And he just does the rest.
He got crazy persuasion skills
He always stands up tall
Portfolio in hand, I’m ready to play hardball.

Making a Stank at the Bank

Adult Realization #1: Banks suck.

This epiphany hit as soon as I found myself paying $10 for a piece of paper, right after spending $7 for another debt card and being told I couldn’t open a savings account without paying $300.

I’ll recap right before it gets interesting for time’s sake.

Jill vs. Capitalism: Take 1

“That bank check,” I told the teller, “Better be made of gold.”

The teller started to laugh.

“No?” I said, rearing back. “Well then, is God going to come down and personally hand it to me?”

Is it ironic that I recall my mother telling me just yesterday that I needed to assume the role of “Warrior Bitch?” It seems this was my big debut.

The teller, looking up from his computer and shifting in his chair, eyed me like I had brought a knife to a gun fight. Silly me for thinking the 99% could stand up for themselves.

“Ma’am,” he spat, the word in which you know that everything that comes after it is a sham. “You have to pay the fee because you don’t have a savings account with us.”

In other words, I wasn’t a premiere customer as my grandmother would say.

“That’s right, because you already charge me an arm and leg for everything else,” I said. “I buy hair clips made of more plastic than your debit cards at the dollar store!”

“That’s nice, ma’am,” the guy said, continuing to type. “I hope you don’t lose those too.”

Oh no, my mind swelled. He didn’t.

“Where do you get off charging people for trying to manage their money wisely?” I said, taking a step towards the counter. “Three hundred dollars to open a savings account? Better yet, how can you sit behind that counter and defend what your employer is doing to the public?”

“Ma’am,” he said. I was ready to punch him if he said it one more time. “I understand you trying to find a loophole in our system, I really do, but you can’t get the full benefits of the bank without a savings account. What I recommend is-”

“Sign me up,” I said, slamming my fist on the counter. “If I can get my check for free, sign me up.”

“Well, see, now the problem is that you have a direct deposit going into your savings account,” the teller said. Oh, there it is – the catch. “If you want to receive the perks of the bank, you have to have your direct deposit go into your checking account.”

“I don’t want it there,” I said, boiling over. “As you dutifully pointed out a minute ago, I sometimes happen to lose my debit card, of which I don’t want my full paycheck going to some scumbag on the street.”

“Well, our call-in system makes it easy to transfer funds,” he said.

“Every two weeks? That isn’t easy!” I said. “I set it up this way because it is convenient for me – the customer.”

“Well, how about a money market?” he said. “Our interest rates-”

“All interest rates are shit right now,” I said. The entire bank’s contents crippled with silence. “Let’s just be honest. Are you capable of that?”

“That is true, but with ­$________” – and yes, he said the number out loud for everyone to hear – “It’s significant enough.”

I bowed my face into my palm for a moment of silence.

Now all of New York City knows what I have in my account. Hopefully the Telephone Game doesn’t reach the ears of whoever is hoarding my debit card like Golem.

My precious….

Through gritted teeth, I told him that he better write me the check so fast, it ignites in flames. He proceeded to write the wrong number and asked to charge me another $10 as if it was my fault. I had gotten so worked up by that time that a supervisor came over and generously decided to give me “the second check for free out of courtesy.”

Oh, thank you, I feel so special.

It seems life has been handing me blood-boiling scenario after scenario. The list of demons keeps growing: NYPD, brokers, and now banks.

If Occupy Wall Street ever occupies a bank, I will be the first one there with a flamethrower in hand, revolting Ms.-Bush-and-Tush style to make the headlines. I heard somewhere that sex sells. However, I’m scared to think of how they will screw me over in that scenario.

The Week From Hell

It’s been a great week. I’ve been so busy, I didn’t even see it fly by.

I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just start with Monday where I woke up with fifteen bug bites – mosquito and spider alike. The mountain air that has oxygenated my veins for fifteen years makes me more tasty than the typical New Yorker, despite their baths in perfume. P&G stock has probably skyrocketed after all of the cortisone cream I have bought.

Just giving you a heads up if you could use the extra cash like I could.

On Tuesday, I signed my life and bank account away to a broker at 7am in the morning. He asked me why I didn’t look happier. “Are you not a morning person?” You are only scratching the surface on that answer, buddy. But we’ve already been down the road of why brokers suck, so I will spare the re-hash. My Italian half is tempting me, but I will refrain.

Then on Wednesday, our search application partners eSearch Vision and our client Svetka Vodka came in to pay us visits. I sat through endless meetings about Bieber, which turned into Charles roping me into the conversation by the strings of my internship. He called it his “sales reassurance policy” seeing as we have been neglecting clients, mostly Svetka, because Bieber is launching his fragrance in June (if he doesn’t go to jail for assault, that is).  After sharing my Bieb stories about why I think he’s the biggest brat, I won their hearts and was required to go out to dinner and drinks after work.

At dinner, I kept sharing stories. I didn’t know my agony was going to be this humorous or interesting. Justin and Charles later said it was the most they had ever heard me talk. But while I was talking, the most embarrassing thing happened that I will never live down. The waiter, “bless his heart,” poured everyone else wine except me at the table because he thought I was underage.

You know how awkward that is to realize when someone, your client, wants to toast in your honor?

That wasn’t the last we saw alcohol that night though. Let me tell you, a liquor company loves to drink liquor.

I was so glad that I ordered the nastiest drink on the menu. I nursed that bad boy all night long, wincing every time the chili pepper met my tongue through the straw. I got up to leave at ten, thinking that was late, and got thrown back in a chair. Playing the “I’m little and helpless against the crazies on the train” card, I got Joe to walk me back to the subway.

The next day, I got to hear all about the shenanigans after I left.  Apparently if you work for a liquor company, the rules of being an adult don’t apply. Svetka members got kicked out of bar after bar. I bit my tongue thinking that maybe I’m the one with the problem – that I don’t know how to let lose or have fun. But I think breaking glasses in a fit of rage and showing everyone in a bar your giblets is a little much.

Let’s just say that now, I have an interesting expectation for my birthday vacation to California. For all I know, public nudity could be common place over there because of the heat.

Saturday ended my week with a bang, where I finished writing another novel before riding the train from Grand Central to Riverdale to host a wedding shower for extra cash. I now know specifically why I want to elope if get married at all.

To a Bridezilla, it’s not mixed veggies, it’s “crutate.” At least I can say I learned something.

It was a fun but hectic week. Hopefully the ones to come will let me breathe a little more. But judging by the homeless man next to me on the C train, it doesn’t look promising.

The Hands of God

Yesterday marked the day I got my first professional massage, and let me say I now believe that every woman should be touched the way I was touched last night.

I remember vaguely the room I was in and the words in the Korean music playing above my head. I just recall drifting off to a happy place as my face got ground into the massaging table’s hole. My back popped fifty times, hands rubbed oil on every part of my body except my no-no’s, and I had to keep slurping my spit back into my mouth every five seconds.

It was heavenly – all one hour and a half of it. Sitting up was the best part. As the masseuse put our shoes back on our feet, she took a deep look at Ai’s face. I thought she was going to kiss him. I was too relaxed to care either way.

“Are you Korean?” she spat. I just started hysterically laughing, as if I was plastered and coming off of a weekend binge.

“Why is that so funny?” my masseuse said, laughing as well.

“Because she could have guessed anything but that and been right.”

What was even better was that the couple’s package came with so much more than just the massage. Actually, it led you up perfectly to that grand finale.

As soon as you walk in the door, they hand you a disposable bathing suit that isn’t meant to fit shrimps like us. You end up running to each station holding them up by the sides and hoping neighboring couples didn’t get a view from the gaping hole in the front.

I just told Ai to tell anyone who looked: “Yeah, that’s what you used to look like when you were 23.”

After a mandatory scrub down with herbal-hippie lotions and potions, you are tossed in a dungeon that reminds you of Hell. It’s lit up red, sweltering hot, and you sweat out all of the sins your body has been holding for however long it has been since your last visit – I had 22 years of them to confess.

Stepping out dazed and confused from dehydration, you are given water and tossed into a steam room that dries you instantaneously through its foggy maze. I relate it to purgatory. You are so drained from Hell, purgatory seems like a step up with its atmosphere smelling of herbal tea. Who knew forgiveness tasted like lemons?

Next, you get to marinate in a Jacuzzi tub that blows bubbles in all the wrong places if you are five-foot-one. After finding your sweet spot, you get to indulge with fresh fruit that they cut in to cool shapes, like birds and boats.

After a few Asian jokes and the typical, “Oh, it’s so pretty I don’t want to eat it!” you devour your entire plate. The complimentary champagne to wash it down probably added to my prior explained hysteria.

And then you get let in the pearly gates and are ushered to lay down by two goddesses with magical hands. You lose yourself two minutes in, and don’t come back to consciousness for another eighty-eight. Its nirvana, samsara, bliss, heavenly, enlightenment – whatever you want to call it. It’s ah-ma-zing.

And then you realize while riding the subway back home with two couples screaming at each other and a toddler thumping its head against the seat in a temper tantrum, that you woke up a new person. Nothing bothers you. In fact, today is the best day of your life.

Today is the day your life starts anew. Those crappy Astoria apartments are a thing of the past. Brokers are suddenly amusing to think about. And a trip to California is right around the corner.

Sweating my ass off earlier prepared me for that “LA B-day Vacay.” Are you loving that use of alliteration as much as I am?

Life is hard, especially when trying to find a place to live in the city. But then you get over it, as Mrs. Farrar once told my AP class.

She never told me getting over it could feel this good.

Queens Spills the Beans

The second most evil creatures in NYC are brokers, right behind the NYPD. These demons roam the city in decadent attire and extravagant rides. They don’t care who you are, what you are looking for, or even if you have the means to support yourself for what they are trying to (up) sell you.

All they care about is getting paid.

Let me put this into perspective. These aren’t your typical car salesmen that don’t shut up. These are people that do barely anything and get paid more than the average American.

I obviously choose the wrong profession.

A city broker is the middle man who gets paid for doing the work any normal human being who isn’t lazy and incompetent could do on their own (thank you internet and Craigslist). He takes the credit for finding you the apartment even though technically you found the landlord’s online listing, but proceeds to ask for your first month’s rent amount for his services.

He gets paid in the thousands to just open a door for you so that you can look at it.

On top of his charge, you are expected to pay the security deposit and one month’s rent to your landlord. That all equals to three month’s rent the first month you move in if you go through a broker.

Furthermore, the broker doesn’t answer his phone the first ten times, sends you on a wild goose chase to find him, and then lets you in to view the apartment by yourself so that he can double team and help another inquirer five blocks down the road.

No car salesmen tactics that make it seem like “the one for you.” No personalization. Nothing.

Why you ask? Because in the city, the demand is so high for living that losing one potential buyer is like dropping pennies on the ground to brokers.

While I viewed the “newly renovated” Astoria apartment that somehow still smelled like feces, I did the math in my head. With the lowest rent in NYC being around $1,000 in Harlem and Flatbush, an independent broker only has to lock in six leases per month to make $72,000 annually. Now factor in the million dollar condos and representing better areas in the city like the Financial District and Central Park. This was about the point my head exploded clean off of my neck.

These people are rolling in the dough for little to no effort.

Sure, your phone is going off all the time. You are meeting with client after client. And you probably have had to take a million trips to the bank after signing your name ten thousand times on all of the leases you have accrued.

Aw, my heart bleeds for you. That Bugatti Veyron probably can’t make it into the city from Queens on one tank of gas to deposit your commission checks.

Literally, it can’t. Look it up. It gets 8 miles to the gallon in the city. It only goes to show that looks don’t come with brains, even when talking about cars.

At least they aren’t false advertising – it’s all in their name. Brokers will make you broke. I keep reminding myself that you have to see the bad to know what the good looks like. Queens is definitely not our borough. I am sure that my dream place is right around the corner. I just haven’t found it yet. There has to be such a thing as a spacious, rodent free place. If not, I find it hard to believe that people of stature live in this city.

A Lil’ Lovin’ While Clubbin’

As another one of our adventures to check off of our to-do list, Ai and I decided to go clubbing and get the full effect of NYC nightlife.

As we pulled on our dress clothes, we were less than enthused. It was already 11pm and after moving to the city, we’ve become old people who watch Netflix until 10 and then surrender to the warmth of our beds.

But in the city that never sleeps, this night was nothing short of entertaining.

As soon as we got on the subway, we realized we were the only ones sober.  A couple tried to sell their homemade incense while we crossed into Manhattan until the husband surrendered to the cart’s intoxication. “Guys, we got vanilla flavored, chocolate flavored all for a dollar…. Man, all of you are drunk as Hell….”

There was a guy hoarding a life-sized M&M that he had stolen from the M&M Store. There were women who found sitting down a challenge. And there was an executive drinking straight liquor out of a brown paper bag.

It was an adventure, but I found out that the inappropriate executives aren’t far and few between.

As we stepped out into the Meat Packing District, we suddenly became alive. We weren’t tired anymore. In fact, everyone and their brother was out tonight, dressed in their best. Women roamed the streets in worse than the hooker attire dad and I saw last year on our visit in an upscale lounge. Old men in mid-life crisis drove past twenty-something’s revving their lipstick-red Ferraris and blasting techno music like it was from their generation.

I felt like I was in Las Vegas without all of the lights and “Go Go Girl” flyers being flicked in my face.

As we stood in line for the club, I watched as the bouncers weeded out half of the line based on beauty and age. Seeing as we were both skinny and young, we got in with no questions asked, but before us stood a senior citizen with a cane and his twenty-something-year-old mistress.

I first thought the cane in his hand was the equivalent of a “pimp cane” from rap videos. However, after I saw that he couldn’t balance without it, I stood corrected.

I watched as he slipped five hundreds in the bouncers pocket along with the $20 cover charge for his gold-digger. The bouncer let him pass, but that wasn’t the last we saw of him.

In fact, the night went downhill pretty fast.

My face got scratched its entire length from a trophy wife’s ring as she flailed about. I collected glass in my leg from three sloppy bimbos dropping every drink they bought on the floor. When they weren’t breaking glass, they were pouring half their drinks down my back and in my shoe.

There was a point during the night where I was tempted to drink the $40 of collected liquor from my heels. Add that to my list of “How to Make It in NYC as a Cheapskate.”

But while the club played awesome music and young financial executives pretending to still be frat boys entertained me as they ordered bottle after bottle at their table, I soon felt like vomiting.

The old man, standing with his cane while his mistress grinded on him bent over, took it upon himself to slip his shaky hand under her dress.

I’m sure I don’t need to give any more detail. We are all adults here. Hell, the old man has been an adult four times over. They did everything with her returning the favor (I didn’t look long enough to judge how well that went).

I stood there petrified. It was like a train wreck. I couldn’t look away. My brain was like, “He can really still do that, but he can barely walk?” while simultaneously thinking, “I’m stuck in an amateur porno.”

We left soon after as I dabbed my leg and foot-farted with each step of my sticky shoes. The bouncer looked at me on the way out and said, “Miss, are you OK?” I told him I was fine and he proceeded to tell me that I was a horrible liar.

At least we know one person will die happy if he croaks tonight.

The next time we go clubbing, I’m going to create a shoe device that collects slipped alcohol. Also, I am investing in a pair of horse blinders from Columbus Circle. Dirty old men are everywhere. I better be careful or soon I will get sucked in to the purr of their sports cars and start finding the smell of mothballs arousing.

Maybe it’s a sign that I should hit up Times Square again to have a chat with James Deen and his trusty intern.

Facts of May

Every woman’s wedding ring here is the size of my house key.

If marijuana was taxed in NYC alone, we would cut our national debt in half.

Staring out of my work window to David Beckham’s crotch and a naked woman’s ass inspires me for Bieber’s fragrance account.

I’m slowly developing whiplash because another Jill sits on the other side of my divider.

My coworkers are all mature, responsible adults whose inside jokes do not revolve around poop or drunken conversations.

It makes your day when your old boss makes you famous, tweeting to her thousands of followers about how she didn’t receive a thank-you card from her previous intern.

Seeing a couple have everything but intercourse next to you on the subway ruins your entire morning commute.

Getting locked in your apartment keeps your survival skills in check.

It only takes New Yorkers two days to key the entire length of your Canadian housemate’s Mercedes. Someone doesn’t like hockey….

NYPD can break five laws to ticket you for violating one.

The cinema will never be the same.

Nothing’s more shocking than the moment you realize college didn’t teach you anything pertaining to your job.

My boss is full of amazing quotes, like this one: “Fear is just the smell when ignorance takes a shit.”

Opening your first paycheck after four months of working for free makes you cry hysterically at your desk as your coworkers laugh. It led me to calculate how much I made per hour over the past four months, and then I laughed so hard I continued to cry.

Turns out that the dirty hippie boyfriend of the woman I didn’t talk to in Soho three months ago is KBS+P’s chief innovations officer, aka tech nerd. Another reason to show how life likes to foreshadow itself for me. What can I say, it’s a small city!