Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New York The First

Oh, hello, I didn't see you there.

So, it would appear (in case you haven't heard) that I'm in New York. The Big Apple. The center of the universe. The place, really, where they make the salsa. But not that you'd know, dear reader (he arrived), because I haven't been blogging.

To quote Ani Difranco's banter on the Living In Clip album (a record I used to listen to obsessively before she cost me a week of my life and like 10 lbs), I walked around NY with my mouth hanging open for about three days. Though, honestly, that's a gross underestimation, because my mouth is, in fact, still hanging open.

But I'm jumping ahead of myself...

That's the one-way ticket.

(The first one-way ticket that I've ever purchased. There's something weirdly emotive and poetic in that, and I just chose to ignore it.)

To briefly recap the story of our protagonist thus far, for those who either are unfamiliar with it or (more likely) just really don't pay attention:

Moved from Atlanta to NYC to "pursue opportunities", which is polished and spit-shined verbiage for "job hunting". Staying with a dear friend in Astoria who, once I actually acquire enough funds for my own abode, will be repaid in spades. Not WITH spades, though, because really what kind of appreciative gift is a fucking garden tool?

Anyway-in the couple of weeks I've been here thus far, everything's happened in a bit of whirlwind rush, to the point where, having this massively-delayed blog being as, um, massively delayed, as it is, has only resulted in everything smearing and smudging in my brain and in my (poorly kept) notes, like so much fingerpaint on butcher paper. Rather than attempt to string this out and back together, I'm going to resort to getting this birthed through poorly-captioned cameraphone photos and brief anecdotes. So, basically, like my life.

To begin with, immediately upon landing in LaGuardia I splurged and took a cab (omg, a cab) from the airport to my friend's apartment in Astoria. Lest you raise an eyebrow at this extravagant indulgence for someone living on government cheese (what I call my unemployment benefits), realize: I was traveling with the single most obnoxious suitcase ever, as a result of me, stupidly, replacing a worn and battered carry-on suitcase with a suitcase even smaller than the original. In addition to that, I had my full-to-the-point-of-exploding laptop case. So a cab was beyond a luxury-it was a necessity for my own sanity.

Speaking of sanity, and the keeping/losing of it: I arrive at the apartment building in Astoria. I make it inside the first door. My mind turns off at the excitement of finally being able to put my heavy bags down. Also, lest you need reminding, at the excitement of being in New Fucking York, which is what the entire state is henceforth retitled.

I walk to the apartment door. I attempt to open it with the keys my friend had passed to me on my last New York trip. The door, my friends, the door-it does not open.

I can assure you, good folks, that that was the loudest not-opening door I've ever heard. My brain was screaming. I tried scratching at the locks, I tried running my debit card (credit card? What's that? Oh those things that mean you don't have to actually have money to buy things? Yeah, those are bad) through the side of the door, I stopped for a minute and checked my phone to see if I had the cellular number of either Jack Bauer or MacFuckingGyver (who gets a similar re-titling to the state of New Fucking York).

I called my friend whose apartment I was trying to get into. Who was at work. She, politely and calmly, apologized to me, explaining that, not being 100% sure she'd checked both keys before she gave them to me, my inability to open the apartment door was entirely her fault. I shushed her, we hung up, I spent another two hours clawing, crying and fighting the damn door to try to get in. I sliced the top of my right hand open from trying to force a key that didn't fit into a lock that didn't want it.

All together now-story of my life.

Finally, after having given up, restarted my assault on the apartment door, given up again, begun trying to read a book, and then repeated the entire scenario several times, I made a frantic phone call to a different NYC friend. After she calmed me (for the record, it took like every person I encountered that Friday to calm me, including, like, various homeless people), she told me that I was, in fact, in a safe area, and that I should leave my awfully-full suitcase, take what I needed, and go to Brooklyn, where I had plans that night. After confirming with my friend whose apartment I couldn't get into that she'd bring my suitcase and such inside later that evening, I left my suitcase outside the apartment door and took off, bloody hand and all, to go to Brooklyn.

(Does anyone else think "To Brooklyn With A Bloody Hand" would make a great album name?)

The next morning, I awoke to the most amazing revelation. A voicemail from my friend informing me that, amusingly, she'd found my suitcase, but that it was outside the wrong apartment. She gave me the benefit of the doubt-that I was obviously super-intelligent and knew which apartment I should've been trying to get into.

Obviously NOT, folks. OBVIOUSLY. NOT.

My very first night in New York, and I had spent two solid hours trying to get into the wrong apartment. Break into, actually. If whomever actually lives in that apartment had come home, they'd have had every single legal right to call the cops and have me arrested for attempted break-in.

Me, to New York: Let's be friends.

New York: Fuck. OFFfffffffffff.

The rest of the past couple of weeks has been a weird juxtaposition of insane, theme park ride-ish heights (running into Daniel "Lemony Snicket" Handler in a Starbucks) and equally insane, bipolar freakouts as a result of my inability to find a full-time job.

There was also last Friday's very, very strange and unexpected New York magazine "Arrivals" photo shoot (for new/recent arrivals to NYC), which I participated in and is sort-of online here. Excuse the fact that the quote they pulled from my written interview basically makes me look as though I'm a serious loser by trade and by choice, and also excuse the fact that the photo is basically the promotional still for my forthcoming film, "Russ Goes To Prison".

For a photo representative of that day, I much prefer this:

Yeah. New York Magazine couldn't afford real name tags that weren't mailing labels. Whatever. And whatever to the awful quote and the atrocious Nick Nolte-worthy mugshot. I haven't found a full-time job yet, I'm still imposing on the good graces of wonderful folks for a living situation, but, fact of the matter is, I am, to some extent, in an issue of New York Magazine. And, unless you're one of the two famous people who read my blog, you're not.

And, for having barely put my bag down yet? That's not too damn bad.

In terms of my recap? We'll stop there for today. There's more to come, involving fucked-up flipped-and-destroyed umbrellas, a potential mugging, and drunken DJing. But that can wait til next missive.

Now, um, about that job...


Anonymous said...

I envy you sooooooo much right now, Russ. It's painful how much I envy you and your big, shiny city.
Do keep me posted. I've always wanted to see what a typical transplant's experiences are like.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you. But, you know -setting the bar that high -- NY Magazine the first week you get there -- you are going to have to work pretty hard to outdo yourself.

Hey if you can get locked out of the wrong apartment there, you can do it anywhere!

Go, Ruster!

Keri Stevens said...

Hey, Russ,
I hear Gawker is hiring.


But seriously (and I mean seriously) clean those people's toilets. Cook for them. You can get a lot of credit in heaven with the cleaning and the cooking.

Enjoy NFY!

(Captcha is "worseses", but I don't think it means anything dire.)

RomanceWriter44 said...

LOL! Loved the blog, Russ. I've only ever been to NY twice, once when I was 16 and last year to visit my agent and editor, and I know my jaw was gaping the entire time as I walked around totally looking like a loser-tourist. I'm surprised I wasn't hit by a cab. But I loved it, and enjoy reading about all your NY experiences on Twitter and now on your blog. Good luck with job hunting!! :)