Thursday, December 27, 2012

How I ended up buying a haircut on the street

So I went going to the Union Square fair to buy Christmas presents for my family, as I do. When I got to Union Square it was extremely crowded, almost too crowded even for me. There was this guy standing on the corner looking around the crowd in almost a searching/questing/questioning manner, sort of slowly turning around in circles as though looking for someone to help. As I passed him he said, “Is anyone here from New York?” So of course, I immediately said, “Oh—I am!” Because from the way he was acting I assumed that what he really needed was directions as he seemed lost.

Well it turns out he did NOT need directions, no. It turns out he was a sales guy who was desperate to sell me a haircut. I have gotten myself into this type of situation before, the type of situation in which someone really wants to sell me something/pitch me something and what I should say is, “Sorry not interested,” and quickly walk away like EVERY OTHER PERSON ON THE PLANET. Except I don’t walk away quickly because I feel bad and he just wants to tell me about this haircut and really is that too much to ask that I give him five minutes of my time? So instead I sort of stayed and listened to this guy (Quin) give his spiel for a minute. But then as I’m standing there and he’s talking, I realize that I’m actually being very rude, wasting his time when I don’t intend to purchase anything. That’s when the panic starts to set in and I try to untangle myself from the situation only to find that I’ve sunk way, way too deep into the hole.

Hmm. This has definitely happened before. Too many times.

So anyway, Quin starts really giving me the VERY hard sell. He’s been working it for about ten minutes or more, while I’m getting increasingly shifty and looking for an escape route. I start pulling out every excuse in the book, and he starts pulling out every solution. First I tell him that I don’t buy things on the street, to which he’s like "Oh but we use the same card system that any of these vendors at the union square fair use it’s totes legit.” And then I’m like “yeah but I really like to read reviews of products before I buy them.” And he’s like "OH I can get reviews for you right now on my phone see here they are, all of them fabulous.” And then I’m like “$70 is a lot of money for me, I’m quite poor." And he’s like “ok, make it $35.”

At that point, I gave up. I was like “Dude. You win. You are working so hard. You got me. I will buy your $35 haircut.” And I did. As I got out my wallet, I told him that the only reason I decided to buy is because he gave that sell 110% and he just plain earned it.

Then after I paid, he was all “So, where are you from?? Not the city, surely.” And I was all, “no, no. This is where I’m from.” and he said, “But you’re so……. Nice….” (oh, you mean innocent and na├»ve and no actual New Yorker would buy your stupid haircut?  Yeah.) and I said “I know, I get that a lot. But the high school I went to was two blocks east of here and the apartment I grew up in is four blocks south of here.” He said, surprised, “So this is actually your hood.” “Yup. This is my hood. I just turned out nice I guess.”


But whatever. I am going to use this haircut. I made an appointment for this evening. And also, $35 dollars for a haircut in New York is a legitimate good deal. So maybe it was a win-win? I guess we will know tonight...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Full of Holiday Spirit

... Not.

I know I haven't written much this month. I feel bad about it. But nothing I've been thinking about recently has been remotely in the light and humorous nature of my blog, in fact quite the opposite.

For the past four days my mind has been consumed with the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary. The murder of 20 children and 6 adults.

I don't have anything to say about this, really, except that I'm sad. I keep thinking of the 20 sets of parents in the moment when they learned they lost their child. Then I keep choking. Merely imagining what they're going through makes me feel literally out of control with anguish and grief, and the reality can only possibly be worse.

The strange thing is that my life will go on. Already today my chest hurts a little less than it did on Friday. This grief didn't happen to me, and as a result it probably won't weigh that heavily on my life. That's just the nature of the beast.

I feel sad about this too.

There are families for whom that simply is not true. They will never move on. They will always carry this with them, heavily.

I am thinking of them today. I am thinking of them as hard as I can.

I really will write about Christmas. Tomorrow. I promise.

But this, first:

“I held her close for only a short time, but after she was gone, I'd see her smile on the face of a perfect stranger and I knew she would be there with me all the rest of my days.”
Brian Andreas, Strange Dreams - Collected Stories & Drawings

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last week I went to a meet up that I found on (Yes, even though I have a boyfriend I still do internet dating). I have been wanting to meet more young people who share my interests, so one day, on a whim, I logged onto a computer and googled how. I joined groups that looked interesting to me and signed on to get notifications of their upcoming events. And then! I went to one. I met the people.  It was so, so incredibly invigorating.  

But, perhaps my favorite part, I met this one kid (I'm using the term "kid" very loosely in this case) who is a professional classical pianist – like, FOR A LIVING. I asked him if he knew my favorite Beethoven Sonata (no. 21, Waldstein) and he did, BY HEART. He knew it by heart. I asked him if I told him I had a piano would he play it for me right now? AND HE SAID HE WOULD. And that's how he ended up in a cab headed downtown with me and my boyfriend.
You are probably thinking, "uhh... Jane? Might you be a little bit crazy?" And the answer is.... Maybe. I can't rule out the possibility.
But ALSO a professional concert pianist gave my family a private performance in which he absolutely rocked. The SHIT. Out of my favorite, favorite piece of music.

I am not kidding you when I say I cried a little, I love this piece so much. And he played it with so much feeling and intensity. I wasn’t crying tears of sadness, obviously, but for overwhelming power of music and the men who create it.  

You should listen to this piece right now: Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 21. It changes my life every time I hear it. It’s that good.

Monday, December 10, 2012


My household celebrated Chanukah over the weekend. In typical fashion, I of course mean that we ate a ton of delicious food, in this case all of it fried.

Did we play dradle? No, we did not. Did we dance the hora? ..... Don't be ridiculous. Did we light the menorah? Uhm, yes but only barely. Apparently I am the only one who actually knows the prayer.

BUT we did eat an obnoxious number of latkas. And my uncle, of Thanksgiving fame, made us jelly donuts from scratch. He made the latkas from scratch too. I ate too much of both. Nothing I put into my mouth hadn't been fried. And in the midst of this starch fest, my youngest cousin said to me, "this is my favorite kind of meal: no obligatory salad." Amen.

Oh, and as for me vs. my youngest cousin round 2: the ultimate eating challenge? I totally kicked her ass. I ate at least double the number of latkas she did. And probably triple the number of jelly donuts. My official place as Champion Overeater in the family has been restored. Phew.

Wait... Is that a good thing?.....

Yes, yes it is.

I'm pretty sure this is what it means to be Jewish.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How I feel about being 23

Today, while I was at work working, my BFF emailed me this question: "Contemplating:
if someone told you they could accurately predict your future but you had to pick one thing they would predict about, what would you pick? would you want to know at all?"
The truth is, I think about this a lot. In my head, I want to know how my story ends all the time. I want to know all the time what I will make of myself. And I worry all the time that I'll be disappointed by my life and feel that I wasn't able to fulfill my potential (or maybe that my potential wasn't able to fulfill me). I try to combat this anxiety by planning and planning and planning, but all my plans can't really give me control over my future. There are so many elements that go into making a future and making a life: hard work and stamina, certainly, but also circumstance and luck.
Sometimes I feel that my own ambition (and impatience, and passion) will overwhelm me and I will never exceed it, or even satisfy it. I can sort of see where I want to go, partially, but even if I feel like I'm running as fast as I can, I still don't know if I will ever get there. In fact, I think one of my personal life lessons is to be more appreciative and accepting of the beginning or the middle parts of a journey, and to maybe even enjoy the middle parts: to stop running, take a deep breath, and just be where I am.
So, yes, I worry all the time whether or not I will be OK with my own outcome, but would I want to know the answer if someone could tell me? What if the answer is no?
In the end, I don't think I could ask a question because I think one of my personal life lessons is to learn how to stop asking.
For me, this is what it feels like to be 23.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blog! I've neglected you.

I feel terrible about this. The truth is, I had the flu (or if not the flu, then a flu-like illness that wiped me out for an entire week)... And! then! when I didn't have the flu anymore, I still didn't post anything... because I'm a terrible blog keeper.

You may be disappointed to learn that this blog is not the only person/thing I've neglected:

Humphrey is like: my god! Why have your forsaken me!

Readers of my blog are like: oh my god. you still haven't thrown that pumpkin out? Do you also leave your christmas lights up well past new years? 

You will be happy to know that I do NOT leave my Christmas lights up for any indecent length of time.... but that is mostly because I don't put Christmas lights up in the first place. Phew. 

And yes, I will throw Humphrey away. For the past.. months... I couldn't bring myself to. But now that his face is sinking into itself, it really is for the best that I put him out of his misery.


Other things I'm thinking about these days: How wonderful it is to have a 60 degree day in December. How the Strand rare books section is my new favorite place on earth and it was there that I found a book of old slang and learned the word "absquatulate" (which is my new favorite word!). How the Caribbean is 80 degrees and sunny every single day and I want to go there. How much I love the Union Square Holiday Fair even though it is too crowded and one time someone pick pocketed me and took all my money ($60!). How delicious hot chocolate tastes on a cold day. How Christmas is just around the corner (and yes I know I'm Jewish. Whatever, I still celebrate Christmas. As far as I'm concerned, it's an American holiday).

And lastly: how good it is to hang out with old friends. Sometimes, when I think of socializing, I think "that sounds like a lot of work." I know this probably makes me sound weird and abnormal. But, then, whenever I see my friends, I remember how wonderful it is to feel like you're relating to someone else, that you're sharing an experience with someone else, that someone else can tell you something interesting or make you laugh. And I always, without fail, feel so rejuvenated afterwards. I must keep that note for myself for later.