“Very Real Things a 20-Something Girl Beside Me at the Nail Salon Said Out Loud to Her Friends”—
1. Sometimes Instagram is just too much. Like, I get it. You’re into tulle right now. You don’t need to remind me with ten straight pictures.
2. You know what I just learned? On my iPhone? I can name my folders using emoji. So, like, all my food delivery services and stuff are now marked with the little box of French fries.
3 You know what I’m craving sooooo bad right now? Ezekiel bread! Like, I want that right this second, like, an open-face on Ezekiel with just, like, some cucumber slices or something. Ezekiel is the shit.
4. My iPhone wallpaper is so boring. It’s just a Pantone color that I’ll totally end up changing to another Pantone color later.
5. Let’s go to the hat store and try on some hats! I really want to try on hats, you guys! My boyfriend totally hates me but, you know, we’ve hooked up for a year and it’s not like Loving Hats is something new.
6. I need to go to the gym tonight but the only people who are there on Friday night are those Weird Gym People, you know, the ones who are like crawling up and down the Stairmaster and sweating all over. I don’t trust people who enjoy their own sweat.
7. Yeah, this is my L.A.M.B. jacket. Do you know what L.A.M.B. means? It’s Love, Angel, Music and Babies. I get the first part but I’m not sure about the Babies. That doesn’t seem to fit with, like, the aesthetic but I guess Gwen does have, like, three or four kids, so maybe that’s it.
8. [Her friend tries to get her attention by saying ‘Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.’] YES! I remember reading that in middle school. All the girls read that book and all the guys had to read something else about Boy Puberty.
9. [‘Such Great Heights’ by the Postal Service comes on] I. LOVE. THIS. SONG. It’s so middle school, right? This was every single relationship, this and that Beatles song about being two lost souls in a fishbowl or whatever.
10. I’m terrified that there’s a vault somewhere with everyone’s Snapchat pictures. And, like, they’re all alphabetized or something. A friend of a friend knows that guy, the Snapchat guy, and she says he’s a total brat.
1. So I’m in New York for the next few weeks, networking and reconnecting and using other words that make me sound like the douchiest possible LinkedIn profile, staring pensively out a different set of windows at a different row of buildings than I normally see. I hope that I look pensive to anyone watching from the sidewalk, but I know that my default facial expression is Mild Confusion, like I’m always listening to someone giving me an insanely complex set of driving directions.
2. ANYWAY. I’m here until early April, renting an apartment from an author I’ve liked for a long time. Her novels neatly line the shelves, her name san-serifed beneath titles translated into several languages that I can’t speak (which is every language other than English and Prog Rock). A picture of her latest is pasted to the front door of a local bookstore and there are extra paperback copies boxed in the closet, organized and ISBN-ed proof that she’s, you know, DONE something.
That’s the downside to keeping my career1 entirely on The Internet. I don’t have anything tangible to show for it, not without an active wifi connection. I can’t casually pull a paperback out of my bag and drop it onto the table at parties (not that novelists typically do this, although I’d sort of believe that Malcolm Gladwell might) so the best I could do is to corner someone by the guacamole, shoving my Twitter feed in their face and shouting ‘NO, LOOK AT THIS! DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THAT TIME I WAS RETWEETED BY PETER FRAMPTON?” I’m superfun, obviously.
1Honestly though? Caling it a career right now—or even referring to myself a writer—feels slightly dishonest, like trying to convince someone that your poorly stitched Canal Street knockoff is the real thing. I hope this feeling goes away.
3a. ANYWAY x 2. I’m staying in Williamsburg and—Frampton Comes Alive!2—stereotypes save time. On my second day, I had no idea whether I was on the right subway platform until I realized that if I just follow the people with the dumbest possible accessories, I’ll end up in Brooklyn. So if you have a pinwheel hat, a portable 8-track player or a small owl in a cage, I’m gonna be right behind you as you board that J train.
2 Can we please make this a popular expression of surprise? Like, “Frampton Comes Alive, I’m not pregnant!”
3b. “Do you want to board the J Train?” is totally my new pickup line.
4. “Can you hear your neighbors all the time?” was the first thing one of my friends asked me, like the walls in my apartment were going to be thinner than store brand lunchmeat. (The walls in my apartment are thinner than store brand lunchmeat.) My only set of neighbors speak in hushed voices, their French (?) accents barely audible over the clicking of their heels on the concrete floors. Whether it’s because they sound like the last disc in a Rosetta Stone lesson or because apparently THEY don’t dress like Kevin Arnold’s less successful sibling, I’ve decided that they’re sleek and elegant, all silk jumpsuits and distractingly sharp cheekbones. They’re in and out of their silverware drawer a lot, probably pulling out highly specialized utensils like a prawn sculptor or radish macerator or a fork that didn’t come in a plastic packet with their last takeout order.
Also, I’m now terrified of opening my own silverware drawer. I don’t want to disturb them.
5. On Monday, I went to the Beatles exhibition at the New York Library for the Performing Arts. It was a carefully curated collection but I went in through the exit door and walked through the entire thing backwards: it was like they bought razors, ditched the Maharishi and became increasingly wholesome as things went on. There was an assortment of recognizable guitars and carefully typed tour riders (a popular request was detergent) but the highlight was a thirty minute videotaped interview with their longtime recording engineer, Geoff Emerick. I sat in front of the screen, head tilted sideways like a spaniel in a Snausages commercial, listening to him talk about tape loops and technique (“John said he wanted it to sound like the Dalai Lama shouting from a mountaintop a hundred miles away,” he said—and I sort of paraphrased—about “Tomorrow Never Knows.”) It was the best half an hour I’d spent in forever.
Emerick said that EMI turned him down the first time he applied for a job there, but later ended up scoring that gig because there was an opening and nobody else could (or wanted to) fill it. I’m trying to pull some kind of Life Lesson from that, but mainly it just makes me wish I’d been a recording engineer in the mid-to-late sixties.
“Prince doesn’t hear Ravel when he wants to make love to his woman. He hears drums and shit.”—Miles Davis, according to a quote on the back cover of Prince: Shockadelica, a book I saw in the Oslo airport. At the current exchange rate, that ordinary looking hardback would’ve been close to sixty American bills, but I spent the nine hour flight home wishing I’d dropped it in front of the cashier and swiped my Visa card.
1) I cannot believe that enough people would get down to Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’ for it to warrant its own stereotype.
2) Who are those people? That song doesn’t suggest sex as much as it suggests really unsafe roleplay, possibly involving an unsanctioned steeplechase.
3) No one knows what a steelo is, Ginuwine. NO ONE.
4) If you do plan to get down on Valentine’s Day, I strongly suggest “I Got the Hots” by the Soft Boys. That’s what I listened to as I had a surprisingly tender makeout session with a cup of Soup for One.