succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, May 28, 2009


A kid got beat up on the muni today. Right there in front of me. Or, more accurately, behind me. What's actually more upsetting than this random act of violence is the hard and fast discovery that I am the kind of person who would try to sit there and ignore some kid getting his ass kicked. The rest of the bus hopped to, once the perpetrators got off, yelling for the bus driver to stop, describing the assailants, the direction they took off in, and grabbing napkins for the poor kid's bloody nose.

Me? I sat there, afraid to even look in the direction of the fleeing bullies. Somewhere along the line (read: in Cleveland) I learned that violence can always, and often does, escalate. I'm actually not all that afraid of getting hit with another person's fist (though I probably should be). What I'm actually afraid of is that I will intervene, or even make eye contact, and the kid will bring out a gun. It's the kind of thing that was likely to happen in Cleveland. Or at least, felt likely to happen once it happened that one time.

So my default settings are a) Be Afraid and b) violence will escalate. And it's pretty damn exhausting.

I go through phases of being less afraid. I remember walking the mile or so to Amelia's apartment off Dupont Circle that one summer in DC and feeling enough like a grubby student that I figured I was an unappealing target in a land full of suits. During the '04 election I sucked it up and knocked on doors in some fairly intimidating housing projects. But at the moment I'm at a peak of fear. I'm hoping it's just a fun artifact of general stress and upheaval (as lovely as this whole process has been, it is still stress and upheaval) and sleep deprivation and not my actual feelings toward my new city. Because I have to get over this shit and find my city legs. Agoraphobia runs in my family enough as it is, I don't need to feed that particular fire.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I really hit the ground running once the movers left and got a good four or five boxes all unpacked and put away and even got a load of dishes in the dishwasher. Then I made the mistake of sitting down to eat lunch. Now it may be naptime.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day Two

Although the air mattress squeaks every time I roll over and it slides a bit on the bamboo floor, general sleep deprivation is mostly overcoming in-ideal sleeping conditions. Plus, I ordered this bed online. Hopefully tomorrow I'll know when they can deliver it, and hopefully that day will be before I start work next Monday.

No movers today (I finally had to call and track them down to find out that they now plan to arrive tomorrow around noon - were they ever planning to tell me? or just assuming that I would avoid straying far from my apartment until they showed up?).

Other than that, day two was a smashing success. Unlike my movers, Comcast did show up when they said they would and I now have cable and (obviously) internet. The Canadians came over in the afternoon (as evidenced by adorable Liam above...what's up with my creepy, croaky laugh in the background?) and we had a lovely, if chilly, walk through the park. Then the new boss took me out for tasty Indian food. Life continues to be good.

New beginnings

Last trip to Flying Biscuit with the roommate? Check
Score free drink ticket for flight due to delays checking in? Check
Sail through security, despite last-minute purchase of one-way ticket? Check (TSA – I am highly skeptical about your algorithm for additional security checks!)
Splurge on GQ with Christian Bale on cover? Check (bonus for reminder that writing in GQ is actually quite impressive!)
Successfully arrive at new apartment? Check
Comfortably ensconced in sweats, sitting on couch enjoying pizza and beer? Check
Pleasantly surprised by thoughtful gift from old roommate? Check (“hope your new life in san Francisco is as glorious as you made mine in atlanta” Aw!)

I still don’t feel like I live here, despite unpacking two giant, over-stuffed suitcases. Then again, I pretty much always unpack and nest whenever I stay somewhere more than a day or two…eventually it will sink in that this is home and I’m not headed back to Atlanta, at least not in the immediate future.

But all in all I have to say that the bon voyage was all I could have asked for – excellent quality time with the people who matter, very little feeling of being rushed, accomplishment of all necessary errands and To Do List items, and generally satisfying feelings of closure.

Tomorrow morning the Comcast folks arrive to hook up cable and internet, and (allegedly) my movers also arrive tomorrow. The plan is to have a little Ikea shopping spree on Tuesday (thanks cohort for the gift certificate!). Perhaps by then it will sink in that I live here now.

Also, Mark Twain was right – I arrived on a record-breaking coldest day!