That Married Dude I Made Out with Last Year? SAW HIM AGAIN

Last November I met a man on a train. Let’s call him James. James and I bonded all the way from New York to Connecticut, and then we passionately made out in his car like a couple of horny high schoolers until we decided to cut the party short due to the fact that he had a wife whom — no big deal — he almost forgot to tell me about. It was a debacle, and really you should just read my entire original post about it to get the full effect before continuing, because OH MY GOD – I saw him last week.

I was stuck at the train station due to a delay and decided to treat myself to a large iced coffee to ease the pain (because large iced coffees always ease the pain — they’re a lot like Vicodin and/or puppy therapy in that way).

As I approached the Dunkin Donuts stand, I noticed that there was a man with an effortlessly strong build standing at the front of the line in sharp tan suit pants and a white T-shirt. His suit jacket and dress shirt were cradled loosely under his hot right man-arm.

I’d so hit that, I thought to myself, apparently not requiring any knowledge whatsoever of what his face looked like.

Then he turned around and our eyes met.

AND IT WAS JAMES.

We hadn’t seen each other since the night we met, so this was kind of a BFD. (That’s “big fucking deal” for those of you who actually put your educations to use and therefore don’t speak in profane teen girl abbrevs.) (Abreva?)

I immediately went into super-adrenaline mode and decided that I would just pretend I didn’t see James in front of me or that I did see him but had absolutely no idea who he was because I’m the type of person (in this imaginary scenario of me not recognizing him, that is) who just makes out with strangers on trains all the damn time and so trying to keep track of them would be like trying to keep track of the number of nipple rings at a Bear convention.

(Explanatory side note for straight people: Bears are large hairy gay men who are traditionally into body piercings and leather. And conventions, apparently.)

Our eyes met again as James stepped to the side to wait for his coffee and I moved to the front of the line. He looked nervous.

“Large iced coffee, please,” I said, trying to look as directly at the cashier as possible. “With milk only.”

I spoke loudly, immaturely hoping that the sound of my voice would initiate some kind of nostalgia or arousal or regret or why-isn’t-Nic-saying-hi-to-me?-ness (emotion of any kind, really) in James.

I wanted him to notice that my outfit was similar to the one I wore the night we met seven months ago – a button down shirt, slightly open at the chest with two chains of contrasting lengths showing (because yes, on Tuesdays I dress like the owner of a pizzeria). I also wanted him to notice that I had a bunch of new half-hippie/half-someone-who-hangs-out-on-boats bracelets on my left wrist, so I made sure to really stick out my hand as I reached forward to pay the guy behind the counter.

Why did I so desperately want James to notice everything about me?

Maybe it was just my way of acknowledging how bizarre it was that last fall we shared an intimate moment – a moment that I’ve since written and talked and thought about at length; a moment that has been the subject of blog posts and essays and bar conversations and marathon phone calls and so much else – and here we were pretending to be total strangers.

It felt rather dishonest.

But it was all either of us could bring ourselves to do, I guess. And so James and I continued to stand there in awkward silence until we each got our respective cups of fuel for the morning.

“Thanks,” I said to the DD guy.

“Have a good one,” James told him.

And then we each sped off in directions so completely opposite that anyone watching would have never known we were both going to the exact same place.

I couldn't really think of a good picture to accompany this post. So here's me squatting on a rock during a hike a few weeks ago. There's a message here somewhere, maybe.

I couldn’t really think of a good picture to accompany this post. So here’s me squatting on a rock during a hike a few weeks ago. There’s meaning here somewhere, maybe.

P.S. It just occurred to me that, when left open to interpretation, the last line of this post could totally make it sound like I was insinuating that James and I took roundabout routes to the men’s room and then gave each other blowjobs in the handicap stall or something – and I’d just like to clarify that that’s not what happened at all. I just meant that, you know, we were both commuting into the same city. There was probably some underlying metaphor there, too. I didn’t need to clarify any of this, did I?

P.P.S. How gross would it be to give a blowjob in the stall of a train station bathroom? How gross would it be to do anything that involves heavily breathing through your nose in a train station bathroom? Just, ew.

P.P.P.S. No judgment, though, if train-station-bathroom-blowjobs are your thing! To each his own.

P.P.P.P.S. But still I probably wouldn’t share a drink with you.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Unless that drink was a vodka gimlet. Or a Guinness. Or a White Russian. Or a jalapeño margarita. You know what? Never mind.

 

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I’m a Fast Pedestrian with Angry Thoughts, but at the End of the Day I’m Spiritual So It’s All Good

One of the things I advertise on my OkCupid profile is the fact that I can walk really fast through crowded urban streets.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 8.24.16 PMIt’s not that I’ve ever been particularly proud of this ability – frankly, there are many other, more important things that I can do well – but “walking briskly in New York City” was really the only answer I could think of for that question that didn’t make me sound like a pretentious douche bag who looks in the mirror on an hourly basis and probably has a pet name for his penis. Because that’s nobody’s type.

(Although now that I think about it, I have been involved with or know more than a few of those kinds of dudes. And they never seem to run into any problems getting laid. So maybe I’m wrong and that’s actually everybody’s type?)

(Holy shit. I think I just figured out why I’m single.)

(Hold on…)

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 9.04.04 PMOkay, I’m ready for all the men to want me now.

(Side note: While the above answer is of course a joke, I did have to change my real-life profile to that for about twenty seconds in order to secure the screen shot. And it was the most anxious, frightening, and uncomfortable – and yet oddly invigorating? – twenty seconds of my life.)

Moving on.

Wait, where was I going with all of this anyways?

Oh, slow people. So I started writing this post from my seat on the commuter train, because basically I had to zigzag my way through an army of molasses-paced pod people at Grand Central Station to get there, and it was so fucking annoying because everyone loves to walk in every which direction while being all “I’m slow and I wear mittens” while I’m just internally like, “ARGH! GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THE TALL GUY THROUGH SO HE CAN GO HOME AND DRINK WINE AND GOOGLE LYRICS TO NINETIES POP BALLADS AND FANTASIZE ABOUT BEING FRIENDS WITH OPRAH AND VENT ABOUT HOW SLOW YOU ARE ON HIS BLOG.”

But then I started writing, and then that whole OkCupid introduction turned into a way more involved tangent than I had originally intended it to be, and so by the time I was ready to get into how enraging slow people are, the frustration had worn off and my desire to angrily rant was (mostly) diminished. And then I reminded myself that having to deal with dawdling pedestrians is small. fucking. potatoes compared to the real issues in the world (potato famines, for instance), and we are all cut from the same divine thread of oneness and so really I need to be spreading love and light to everyone — even people with shorter legs than me.

Wow. I’m pretty sure this entire post just turned into like, a deep lesson in perspective, love, forgiveness, and the Golden Rule, all at the same time. You’re welcome for the wisdom.

Now move.

 

Tell Me Again Why We’re All So Competitive?

My daily morning journey typically consists of the following three checkpoints: Gym, train station, work. (Think GTL but with less sunburn risk and more general real-world bleakness.)

My gym (which is actually just a workout room conveniently located in my low-rise apartment building – which, yes, I realize has everything to do with my forthcoming complaint) is about the size of an airplane bathroom. So when there are more than a couple residents in it at the same time, the competition for machines is fierce. Like, RuPaul’s-Drag-Race-with-a-side-of-Scar-from-The-Lion-King fierce.

And then there’s the Metro-North train, which I take from Connecticut into New York City. I start out standing amidst a sea of fellow commuters on the platform, all of us solitarily minding our own business – maybe even bopping our heads along to whatever motivational morning music happens to be blasting through our headphones on any given weekday (angsty female country for me, please!) – but then the train shows up and the scene turns into the freakin’ Hunger Games as everyone tries to push and shove their way inside first to snag a coveted three-seater.

And then there’s work, which… Well. I work in Manhattan. Enough said.

And so I don’t mean to sound whiny, but seriously – why? I get that there are only so many machines in a gym, and only so many seats on a train, but I can’t help but sense that all of this speaks to a much larger issue at hand.

The first time I heard about the dreary concept of a “scarcity mentality,” I was watching a conversation between Marianne Williamson and Oprah on Super Soul Sunday, in which they talked about pie. (Metaphorically, mostly. I think?) You see, pies are cut into slices, of which there can only be so many, and so if someone else gets a slice, then we might not get a slice for ourselves, and so therefore – thanks to pie – we are all conditioned to be in competition with everyone for everything.

Fun!

Except not, because exhaustion. (And disappointment. And detachment. And disenchantment. And… I could keep going with the D-words, really, but I’ll stop now before I get carried away and spiral into what Mariah Carey would call a “woe-is-me diva on a tangent moment.”)

So back to Super Soul. Marianne and Oprah eventually got to talking about how the rules that exist for physical things (like pie) don’t necessarily hold true when applied on a spiritual level. Which means that, on a spiritual level, we can ALL. HAVE. PIE. We can even have multiples slices of pie! We can have multiple pies! (If you’re into that kind of thing.) It doesn’t matter.

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You get a pie! You get a pie! YOU get a pie! (Also, a doughnut, it seems.)

When I watched this conversation for the first time, it resonated deeply. I felt liberated, like a lifetime of restrictive thoughts and dead weight had been lifted off my shoulders. This means I can let go of my irrational fear that all the authors in all the land are going to publish their (subpar) books before I do! I proclaimed to myself. There’s room for us all!

But then I kept running into roadblocks on my path to publication, which forced me to recognize that I always seem to love new age wisdom when things are going my way – but then bitterly return to Self-Pity Central once something (a literary rejection, for instance) comes along and screws with my plans.

Still, though, one has no choice but to recover and continue growing. And as I get older, I can feel the moments of self-pity lessening in both frequency and intensity. I can feel myself getting more and more confident in the fact that there is an infinite amount of pie – if we just have the right perception of it.

In other words, the pie probably isn’t the thing we need to compete for. I mean, how many times do we learn this? Me, I competed against a lot of people to get into a super-selective graduate program four years ago – and I got in! And? It didn’t make all my problems go away. Then I competed against a lot of people to get an internship at a hip television network – and I got it! And? It didn’t make all my problems go away. Then I competed against even more people to turn that internship into a full-time job – and I got it! And? It totally made my problems disappear once and for all. LOL — kidding. It actually created a cute little army of brand new ones.

And so it seems that the task isn’t to get consumed with competition for the things we think we need to complete us (be it a treadmill, seat on the train, job, or book deal), but rather to redefine what the pie is in the first place. Is it something that other people – “decision-makers” – have the power to control for us? Or is it something that we can control and generate from within? Does it require external validation? Or just a little self-love?

Some combination of all of the above?

Frankly, I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. But the one thing I do know for sure is that whatever it is, it’s not going anywhere. And we don’t have to compete with anyone to get it.

 

Commuter Chaos on the Metro-North Akin to the Titanic (Or Not)

Because I live in the Northeast and therefore operate under the assumption that the world revolves around the tiny little bubble that is the tri-state area, I’d like to go ahead and assume you are aware of the train situation going on between Connecticut and New York City right now.

But if my assumption is wrong and you actually are unaware, then:

  1. Can we trade lives? I’d love to not have to be in a tumultuous, codependent, and borderline abusive relationship with care about the Metro-North Railroad for once in my adult life.
  2. All you really need to know is that there was like… an issue. Or something. I actually don’t really know what the situation is myself; all I know is that there are very few trains running.

Though I stayed home for two out of the first three days of “COMMUTER CHAOS,” I did go into the city last Thursday. And needless to say, it was a bit of an odyssey.

After learning via the news that the early rush hour trains were a disaster, I decided to adopt a wait-until-the-rush-is-over-and-just-take-a-later-train strategy. (My need for sleep, coffee, a quick workout, some “me time,” and a bagel also factored into this decision, but that’s neither here nor there.)

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You can’t really tell here, but even the ticket machine was freaking out.

So. I got to the station at about nine in the morning, and y’all—it was bad. There were news crews and reporters lurking around every corner. People were angry and crazy and yelling at Metro-North employees with things like, “But I pay three hundred dollars a month to ride on this Godforsaken railroad!” and, “Please sir, can you just help me?”

It was all very Titanic.

Frankly, I was surprised when the Metro-North workers didn’t jump up on railings to scream “WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST, I SAY!” while a string quartet cried in the corner and Kate Winslet jumped a lifeboat because she was a total idiot in love. It’s a good thing this wasn’t actually the case, though, because if it was then I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have “pulled a Billy Zane” and grabbed the nearest orphan while jumping to the front of the line to the next Grand Central express train and demanding, “Let me in. I’M ALL SHE HAS!” — and I’m pretty sure that’d be really damaging to my karmic inventory.

Anyway. In the midst of all this drama, I heard through the grapevine (because the schedule screens were broken, because of course) that there was a train to the city leaving soon from Track 4, so I promptly made my way to the platform and stood as close to the edge as possible, because I’m that guy.

As I waited, I noticed an NBC reporter bouncing around and unsuccessfully trying to get various commuters to talk to him as they went all Christina-Aguilera-in-“Beautiful”-DON’T-LOOK-AT-ME on him and cowered into themselves. Then my eyes met with his and he declared to the crowd, “This guy looks like he wants to talk!” and I proceeded to totally prove him right.

I’m a little fuzzy on the exact exchange, but here’s how my memory of it goes:

  • Reporter: How angry are you with the MTA? Isn’t this ridiculous? The trains could be down for three weeks! Are you infuriated?
  • Nic: Um… I’m optimistic! Wait. Should I be looking at you? Or directly at the camera? Or, like, down? OR UP? AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?
  • Reporter: Just look here. [He points at a thing.] You’re optimistic, really? How is that possible? Aren’t you late to work? You must be very frustrated.
  • Nic: Well, yeah. I’m going to be late… I’ll be happy if I make it in by noon. But really I think we all just have to deal, you know? It could be worse.
  • Reporter: Thank you. [Unspoken: You and your lack of outrage bore me.]

When I finally got to work – two hours late, mind you – I marched in confidently, convinced of the fact that I was the only Connecticut commuter to brave the wild and actually attempt to come in that day. But then I went to the desk of the first commuting coworker I could think of, and he was just like, calmly typing away on his computer.

“Oh, it wasn’t so bad,” he said to me after I asked him what his deal was. “I left at six this morning and drove to White Plains, parked at an obscure lot, walked ten minutes to the station, and took the Harlem line to Grand Central. In fact, I got here early. How about you?”

I stuck twenty pins into my mental voodoo doll of him and responded, “IT WAS MADNESS. IT WAS BASICALLY THE TITANIC!” and then I went all, Where the hell were these high-strung emotions when the reporter was interviewing me? on myself, and then I had a coffee and quickly became optimistic again. Because I realized that the Titanic was actually a legitimate tragedy, and the Metro-North is just an a-hole.

I think that’s called perspective?

P.S. My interview ended up airing on the five o’clock news, but sadly, I missed it. I did talk to a few people who saw it, though, and they confirmed that I didn’t have a double chin, so I’m going to consider the whole endeavor a win.

 

 

Strangers on a Commuter Train

First of all.  I am aware of how ridiculous it is that I started this awesome blog, garnered a few awesome readers after writing a few awesome posts about my awesome summer in Nashville… and then abandoned it once my real life resumed.

That was so not the intention.

But The Apartment Hunting Debacle of 2011 happened, and that kind of took over every aspect of my life.  It also forced me to spend a month traveling between Connecticut and New York five days a week.  The daily bitch of a commute combined with my final year of grad school and an internship in the music department of a major television network has turned me into the most unreachable human alive.

The good news is that I finally found a new place in Manhattan that meets my ridiculous standards!  So I can now devote the four hours a day I have been spending in my car/on the Metro-North train daydreaming about Alexander Skarsgard naked to more important things in life — like maintaining this blog and re-watching Ally McBeal DVD’s.

To kick off my renewed blogging schedule (I’m thinking a solid once a week), I figured I would start with a story that’s been going on for about three weeks now and has joined “dark chocolate cravings” on the list of things that I think about on a bi-hourly basis.  It is called:

Nic and Lenovo-Guy: A Tragic Love Story

One rainy Monday morning a week or so ago, I was sitting quietly on the Grand Central Station-bound Metro-North train from New Haven as it made a local stop in Fairfield, where more commuters joined the party.

Up until this point, I had engaged in my usual behavior of taking up a two-seater with my book bag and an array of Dunkin Donuts breakfast items.  Strategic placement of this luggage coupled with a mildly unapproachable facial expression is usually an effective method of ensuring that no one tries to sit with me.  It’s not that I’m anti-social; I just find that it’s in everyone’s best interest to limit my interaction with other humans before 10:00 am.  I think that’s fair.

In any case, this was a particularly crowded train.  Within seconds, I was approached by a tall man in a yellow raincoat whom I tried not to look at.  However, I could no longer pretend that he didn’t exist once he said “Is anyone sitting here?” for the second time in a row.  I reluctantly responded honestly and offered him the seat.

As he removed his raincoat and placed it in the overhead bin, I got a better look at him.

Oh.  Em.  Gee.

The man who had so brazenly interrupted my morning alone time was a freakin’ dreamboat.  I’m talking lean muscle mass, flawless bone structure (sound familiar?) and great hair — all packaged in a nice three piece suit that did wonders for his totally squeezable ass.

Now that a hot professional man was sitting beside me, I suddenly became acutely aware of my every move — as if he were paying close attention and waiting for me to scratch my face in just the right way so as to signal that it was okay for him to go ahead and just start making out with me.

However, it became clear that we may not have been on the same page when I noticed from the corner of my eye that he was in fact paying no mind to my existence.  Instead, he was busily typing away on his laptop, which I couldn’t help but notice was a Lenovo. 

After mentally excusing him for using a PC, I started thinking of creative ways to initiate a conversation.  I got carried away and ended up daydreaming the following exchange:

  • Me: “Hey there.  Nice Lenovo.”
  • Him: “Oh, I’m really a Mac guy.  This is just my work computer.  By the way, I’m a wealthy investment banker.”
  • Me: “Oh, I see…”
  • Him: “I love you.  Let’s move in together and get gay-married!” (Moves in for romantic kiss.)

I’m pretty sure he was straight, but still.

Regrettably, we ended up not speaking for the entire train ride while I listened to Mariah on my headphones and he typed away on his Lenovo.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday night on the Metro-North, this time heading back to Connecticut from New York.  As per usual on rush hour evening trains, I was relaxing in a window seat trying not to acknowledge the existence of whoever it was sitting next to me as I sipped on Merlot from a plastic cup.

Yes, I drink on the train.  Usually just a couple of those mini-wine bottles, but sometimes I’ll be ghetto and have a straight up forty of Bud.  I wish I was kidding, but drinking on the train is probably the only thing that has kept me remotely sane during this whole experience.

…What?

Anyways, after a few minutes of riding side by side, I inevitably glanced in the direction of the man to my right.  And there was a Lenovo in his lap!!!  I surreptitiously scoped out the rest of him.

Verified.  It was Lenovo-Guy.

Oh.  Em.  Gee.

Of all the thousands of commuters who take the many Connecticut trains that depart from Grand Central Station every 30 minutes, somehow Lenovo-Guy and I ended up not only on the same train, but next to each other in a two-seater — again.

This was clearly a sign from God, so I decided to just go for it and strike up a conversation.  Here’s what happened:

  • Me: “So –“

He looked my way.

Silence.

Rather that follow up my “so,” with an actual question or comment, I got all nervous and awkward.  I decided to clear my throat and start fidgeting with my phone so as to indicate that I was clearly not talking to him.

He went back to his Lenovo and I kept drinking my wine, supremely embarrassed.

  • Note: this was weird, as I’m usually quite social — even around hot investment bankers.

The only thing I learned from this whole experience is that I hate Lenovo computers.  When I’m old and fat and alone with no one to love but my five cats, I will blame Lenovo and potentially take legal action.

 

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