Our original plans and our actual night turned out to be two separate things, but I believe in letting go while traveling because the flow is so much better than a strict itinerary. One of my traveling companions is a girl named Coral and we were all amused by the novelty of the idea of going to a place called the Coral Room she found in her guide book. This guidebook and the internet search I did failed to mention that the Coral Room has been closed for about three years. That's a bit of an over site, one that left us wandering around looking for a place that didn't exist only to wander into a place that was still in business and for good reason. Billy Mark's looked pretty standard from the outside and inside was pretty standard too, but the bar's namesakes (tow born and bred new york brothers named Billy and Mark) where what made it so great. We sit down and order a drink to use the bathroom and pick the bartender's brain about the Coral Room which at this point we still think exists, upon finding out it doesn't we were left to hang out in Billy Mark's till we could come up with a Plan B. We talk for a bit and then the bartender starts asking us questions: "where are we from, what are our plans for our visit to the city, etc." The great part was that this guy had a way of putting everything in perspective, but the great thing was it was a true new york perspective, not a guidebook one. We talked sports, we talked stuff we absolutely had to do while we were in town, we talked about politics with a handsome cab driver who is trying to make use of his Political Science degree by fighting for cabbie rights (this being really amusing because Coral's boyfriend Pat also graduated with a P.S. degree and is now working as a landscaper). The more we sat there, the more a part of the real New York I felt and it was almost as if we'd passed the test that most tourists fail and were being offered a unique experience. Three drinks each later we were pretty hungry so we end up taking Billy's suggestion of a diner a few blocks down (the amusing part about this suggestion being when he said "DO NOT go into the Cheyenne, walk the two extra blocks, that place is shit"). Billy was now our New York bartender and guide of choice.
The diner we did end up at had plenty of signs outside boasting that it was "voted new yorks best diner" so we knew Billy hadn't steered us wrong. I mean they had an ad for Flight of the Conchords outside the bathroom, obviously this place had taste. The sweet potato fries alone were worth it and I was nice and full as we walked back to the subway to get back to our apartment.
While I have intentions of returning to refin what I write here later and add commentary and intrigue and lots of other great things, for the moment, while I am still here in this city that never sleeps (except on Sunday because all the liquor stores are closed and Times Square even looked almost empty at 2 A.M.) my intentions are to record as much as possible for the sake of my memory which has a tendency to fail me at the worst possible times. And that was the longest run on sentence I could think to preface this with.
Night One, 11:59 - Tucson International Airport
The trip seemed to have an auspcious beginning when our JetBlue redeye flight was delayed at least an hour and a half. But despite this we were still in high spirits as we boarded the plane. After the novelty of in flight tv screens behind the back of every chair wore off, we all tried our best to sleep in the most uncomfortable position ever imagined ... sitting upright. Our seats didn't recline, I was stuck in the middle seat (because on the flight back I'll have the window seat for fairness) and the women two might right who's entire family was sitting across the row kept harping on about how horrible her said family was. And how dare I take up my half of the arm rest, oh boy did she huff and puff about that so I'd be sure to know she did not approve. I maybe got a totall of two hours of sleep when you combined the little bits and pieces where I was finally able to nod off only to be awoken by the crick in my neck or some other bodily malady. Finally two hours late and a little worse for wear we landed at JFK Airport to begin our trek to the island of Manhattan and the horrible start that would await us there.
Day One - Subways, Times Square and the renter from Hell
I am being awfully negative so far but that is because the first parts of our trip were pretty bad. We thought we were in for a long nine days, however I promise things turn around so I don't have to feel like the bringer of bad news. The negative part about our first morning here was that after a long overnight flight were we got hardly and sleep we would have loved to find a clean apartment waiting for us as we were promised so we could at least try to regain some lost sleep and then start fresh. This was not to be because the women we are renting from is looking for a good flogging when we are done here. We decided to rent an apartment because it seemed cheaper in the long run and we might have a better chance of getting the undilluted NYC experience that way. And while run down apartments may be the undilluted version, we at least expected her to wash the sheets like she promised. We all cautiously took our naps anyway, because after having to lug our luggage (an object who's name is no longer lost on me) around for some extra time till she could finally deign to meet us we were all dead tired. (Note: the only reason we had horribly overpriced soup, salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden despite having sworn not to give in to the crappy chains while in New York is because we just needed somewhere to sit with our luggage for two hours and it was caddy corner to our apartment which is right of the touristy hell that is times square)
Upon waking is when things actually start to look up. After a nap in questionable sheets you do everything you can to try to forget things by distracting yourself however possible. We were ready to get out and see some of the city. I think it's safe to say that architecture is a big draw for this group so one of our first destinations was to be the Flatiron Building. This building is even better in person than in the pictures of art history books. The city itself is better in person for that matter because you really don't understand the true scale of all the skyscrapers and narrow one way streets until you are standing right under them staring up in awe. I don't mean to be overly sentimental or anything, but honestely awe is the only word for it so I'll stick with that and damn the consequences. I think jealousy really sets in when I see such well excecuted building strategies for the sake of housing the most people in the smallest place possible. I despise the sprawl of the desert I come from so in comparison I can't help but romanticize things just a little bit. This is the New York City of the movies which until now is my only frame of reference. There was also an amusing encounter with some young asian tourists with whom we ended up in a long game of you take our picture we'll take your picture too that warrants mentioning so I won't forget how cute it was.
Our landlord (who is japanese woman with a german last name even though she is married to a japanese man which is a conundrum we're still trying to figure out) only left us one set of keys. Since we don't think very highly of someone who pretends we haven't paid her when we have NUMEROUS times and then fails to make good on any of her promises, we had no qualms about making a second set so we wouldn't be stuck in our group of four the whole time. As luck would have it we happened upon a Home Depot in the middle of a shopping district that was multiple levels and had this contraption that helped you get your cart up and down stairs while you rode the escalator that we all found horribly amusing. This is just another of the key differences between the building style here and our putrid western sprawl. With our second set of keys things were looking up and we were starting to feel more optimistic. It was time for a trek to Grays Papaya hot dogs to try the stuff that dreams are made of: the recession special. Two hot dogs with saurkraut and a papaya drink later we were ready to head home, wash our sheets and wash our bad morning off with a long shower.
Next Entry: Night Two - Acccidental Meetings and the Diner from Heaven
i need somewhere to vent about a few things relating to my so called "higher education". i have found myself generally opposed to the four year college system as half time wasting and only partially edifying, but my gripes are more narrowly suited. art education, seems useful and sometimes even noble (a bit) but a degree from my university in this subject is nothing more than a soul killer. not only are most of my core classes taught by grad students, but those that are taught by professors (bar one) are nothing more than a self gratifying romp in repetition. this will probably mean nothing to anyone who will glance past this but i need to lay down a few beliefs I have about art to renew my faith in it.
-art is not sacred.
-art is for everyone in some capacity.
-art history and art are intertwined.
-famous artists are only famous by accident. there is no such thing as high art.
-pop art died with andy warhol, get over it.
-contemporary art is more about bullshit than talent.
i think that will keep me going for awhile.
p.s. i am alive if you can believe that.
I am amused by people sometimes for the smallest nuances about them. For instance, at present I am sitting in a public university computer lab. There is a man-boy (can't really make out his age) sitting in the far left back corner of the room. He has a high pitched voice that gets higher when he is feeling very emphatic and something about the exact pitch just screams of nerd. Now don't get me wrong... I love a good nerdy boy, but there are those who are far to fixated on the wrong things. He is on a cell phone and seems to be dictating a paper on a story that pertains to a character known as "Matilda". I don't think he is refering the classic childrens story by Roald Dahl, rather his story involves an oft mentioned but mysterious necklace.... a devious husband who lies and forces Matilda to do his bidding... and a dwelling. Okay, now I am convinced that he is perhaps writing some very mediocre short story. "Oh, oh, oh! The duality of the necklaces..." Man, talk about a cliffhanger to shout across the room. Now I will never know about the duality of the necklaces because he petered off. I don't know why I am so enthralled in his conversation... I am almost more intrigued as to why he is writing this over the phone with someone. Who could the mystery caller be? Is it the dud or the stud?! You decided.
As for the rest of the less non sequitur bits of my life right now I don't know where to begin or what parts won't bore. I've been painting a lot. It is the only part of my homework which I am motivated to do. I think I was really needing an outlet right now. Yesterday is the most eventful my life has been for weeks. I got caught in the rain, got soaked, and got in a minor car accident all in the same two hour period. Perhaps I was paying penance (karma caught up to me) for some earlier misdeeds, but the horrible thing is I can't think for the life of me what I've done badly recently. I've been pretty mediocre in everything. Go to school, come home, do homework..... REPEAT. I will post pictures soon of the painting I've been doing once I bother to take my camera in with me. That is the life of me right now.
And as for the corner nerd, he just called the caller "mom". This is just too perfect to be true. I don't feel so bad about things right now. After all it could be worse.
Art 280 - Painting I - Mondays and Wednesdays from 11-1:50. Sounds simple doesn't it? Buy your paints, buy your brushes, stretch your canvases tight. Wrong!!! You try shoving a 4'x4' peice of sound board into your sub compact car. It aint working so well. We had to tie it to the roof just to get it home and now my dad has to take a half day just to help me get it down to the university since I need his car. I am miffed. It really bothers me when professors go on a power trip of this sort to the point of denying all rational thought for the sake of their own whims. I really didn't have the time or the patience for this... especially since tomorrow = my day of hell. Every Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. I will be studious, I will be in class on time, I will...... aww who am I kidding. I will be a wreck, I will be sleeping through my Gen Eds, I will kill someone who crosses me in traffic, I will probably justify skipping class just to go paint. The Marisa you know now will not be the Marisa you find before you at the end of this semester. I will be stretched so thin you can use me as turpentine. (I thought I'd make a really bad painting joke in keeping with the theme of this whole rant.)
I've been feeling very alone recently. Not because I don't have people around me that I care for... not that I don't have friends. But each of them only gets me in a certain way or only understands a certain aspect. I know it's asking a lot, but recently I've been wishing for someone who got me completely. It would be so comforting, such a relief. We spend a great majority of our lives looking for that person and I don't think everyone finds them. I'm just to idealistic to settle for what is offered up to me right now however and so I go on drifting and watching everyone wondering if the next person I meet could be them.
On a side note: I think that despite a few scenes or moments I may have left out, "Garden State" is an excellent film. I appreciate the fact that Zach Braff wrote it, directed it, starred in it, and produced the soundtrack. Even if it was the worst movie ever made at least he had a vision and he took it through to the final step. I have a lot of respect for people who finish their creative projects because I so rarely do myself and yet I have so many things I'd like to finish. The visuals in this film are very good, especially at evoking emotion and are coupled perfectly with the music of the film. So yes, I recommend you all go see it.