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Rachface Logic

It’s garbage day in Queens and it smells like sour milk outside.  It’s July and it’s hot.  It’s a Monday, only I’m not at work like I should be because I took a sick day, only I’m not sick.  Just tired.

In the morning I went to pick up a package from the post office.  I waited in line for half an hour and they had sent my package back.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath so I wouldn’t get excessively frustrated like I tend to do.  Walking back home down I street I’d never been on before, I realize two things

1)    I love Astoria, and

2)    I have to leave New York.

I’ve been dreaming up exit strategies and googling statistics about other cities.  Mostly things like “cheaper cities than New York” and “city with highest concentration of  non-douchey men.”  All of them seem so far away which is a tempting thought but a bitter reality.  I found that out last year when I moved to Los Angeles.  At this time last year I had packed up my car and driven home.  Four days in the car alone not eating or sleeping, just driving.  My car broke down twice.  Once in Fruita, Colorado, the second somewhere in Iowa.  In the motel rooms I discovered Celebrity Ghost Stories, a glorious gem of a basic cable show that fed my sleep-deprived, stress-ridden state like hot soup on a winter’s day.  I digress.  When I got home I collapsed on the carpet in my living room and flapped my arms and legs as if I were making snow angels.

I’m trying to pretend things are better than they really are today.  It’s easy because I’m not a work, which is currently the biggest cause of strife.  Post-grad life crises and all that.  I have a month until I turn twenty-three and the disappointment caused by my current circumstances is overwhelming, at times even paralyzing.  The mornings are easier than the nights.

But nobody likes a sad girl.  That’s why my beloved Winona Ryder has faded into obscurity after that whole shoplifting debacle.

I’ve been relying heavily on sarcasm and a flimsy sense of humor.

My roommate, Abby, has the day off, too.  We brainstorm things to do.  We land on painting the living room.  We decide on a light orange, very light, like almost a peachy…whatever.  We walk to the Home Depot, 15 blocks in the sweltering heat muttering prayers for a breeze under our breaths.  We pick out the paint, the brushes, the tape, the spackle to fix the holes.  We walk back those 15 blocks with the bags and a gallon of paint each.  We collapse onto the floor in the living room.  If it were carpet instead of hardwood I would flap my arms and legs as if I were making snow angels.

I finish taping off the ceiling when the landlord decides he doesn’t want us to paint.  I assume it’s because he’s conservative and we’re two young women.  It’s like I have a superpower or something; I smell sexism!  I get to a level 7 upset about the wasted money because my problems are always written in dollar signs.  Abby gets to a level 6 upset about not getting our apartment painted and looking nice.  She had a vision of drinking a bottle of white wine in our “orange sherbet” living room at 10 o’clock tonight.  Expectation…reality.  We choose to laugh about it so we don’t cry about it.  About our ugly walls.  About our inability to change them, or anything for that matter.

I say, “I need to be positive so I don’t kill myself.”

She replies, “So dramatic.  Dramatic, dramatic.”

So I go, “Yeah, well.”

We decide to watch a scary movie.  I pick my favorite scary movie, The Orphanage, a Spanish horror film that makes it impossible for me to sleep without a nightlight (yes, I still have one, no, I don’t care that you’re judging me).  While watching it Abby clutches the blanket, the cat.  I have an epiphany…we should have watched a more light-hearted movie.  This was not a rational, well thought-out decision.  This was rash!  Much like the painting.  When the credits roll, Abby looks at me,

“Well, that was sad.  And disturbing.”

I say, “Did you like it?”

She said, “I would have liked it better in a room with orange sherbet walls.”

I laugh, “The real tragedy here isn’t about those dead people, it’s the fact that our walls are not the color of a fruity and delicious frozen treat!”

We go into our separate bedrooms and the reality of returning to work hits me like a Keanu Reeves driven bus.  The unpleasantness of responsibility reattaching itself to my brain cells like little leaches.  I’m dramatic.  Though really, my job is unpleasant.

There are many things wrong here.

It’s true.  I’m in an abusive relationship.  With New York City.  It hurts me.  Physically.  It exhausts me.  It puts me down.  It makes me feel too badly about myself to leave.  But when things are good here, there is nothing better.

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On Traveling to Ireland with your family:

~On United Flight 22 nonstop service to Dublin sit next to a cute boy around your age.  Immediately get flustered; unprepared for this.  Trip over your words.  When he asks you what kind of music you listen to, you forget.  Spit out, “you know, like The Rolling Stones.”  Hate yourself.  Both of your extended families will surround you on the plane complicating attempts at flirtation.  Joke about the mysterious socks on the floor in front of your seat.  About the turbulence and Tom Hanks in Cast Away.  He’ll say he’s a nerd, you can’t see it, you think he’s perfect.  He’ll tell you a little later he likes birds while he’s showing you photographs he’s taken.  This is pretty nerdy but you find it endearing.  Fall asleep and don’t pull away when his leg touches yours.  Wonder what it’d be like joining the mile high club with him.  Leaving the plane, he won’t ask for your number.  Be too shy to give it to him so you can torture yourself for the rest of the vacation (/your life) about it.

~When you rent the car from Hertz, do NOT rely on the GPS.  Driving overseas is backwards enough.  Sit in the back, let the grown-ups drive, keep a map on your lap, and only speak when sure.  Everyone over forty will be excessively irritable over the GPS debacle.  Give the GPS a name for a more satisfying effect when cursing at it ie: Jill you dumb slut it was a left!  Just follow the map and keep squinting to see signs.  There are an abundance of cyclists in Ireland.  There will be tapestries of profanity woven in honor of these cyclists.  Go around them only not on a hill or a curve.  Keep a bottle of water in the front seat and granola bars in the back.  Don’t sleep.  Stay awake and look out of the window at the fog rolling over everything, the gray consuming green.

When encountering tour busses coming down the other side of the road, do your best to mask your terror.  The driver can see your face in the rearview and it doesn’t help.

~While heading south out of Dublin stop in Bray.  The beach is more stone than sand.  Stick your hands in the Irish Sea no matter how cold.  Collect stones on the beach and put them in your pockets before spotting the sign that tells you specifically not to do so.  Laugh about this with your family for the rest of the trip.  Brand yourselves rebels.  Throw a penny into the rising tide and make a wish.  It’s stupid but that’s okay.  Look for signs of it being granted.

In a church in Cork say a prayer.  Start with something like, ah-ahem, “Dear God, lately I’ve been having my doubts, well actually, I don’t really know if I believe in you…” realize it’s not the best foot to start off on. Proceed regardless.  End with, “I try so hard to be good but sometimes I just need help.  I just need some help.”  The prayers, the signs (which you always choose see when you’re looking for them), and the wishes…they all serve a sole purpose.  To feel as though God, the Universe, whatever…that it’s out there listening…and that it’s on your side.

At dinner that night think of a Jesus joke and scribble it on a napkin.  “I don’t know about Jesus, but I like any man who can turn water into wine.”  Wonder if anyone’s ever thought of it before.  Probably.

~Kiss the Blarney stone.  Take picture pretending to jump off the Cliffs of Moher. Get a Claddaugh ring because you think the legend is sweet and wear it to show your heart is open.  Stop on every winding road to take pictures of the views.  Views that can never been done justice, not even by the human eye.  Lose track of the days.  Feel homesick for New York City and everything there but your life.  Remind yourself to savor each and every moment.  You’ll never get it back.  You may never return to Ireland.  Definitely not to the exact spot you’re in right this second.  Not ever again.  Realize that’s why people do it.  That’s why they pair off, get married, all of it; to share the lonely truths of the temporary with someone they hope is permanent.

Promise yourself to accept the temporary.  Learn to value it above all else.  Because that is really only what is promised in life.  That all is temporary.  Have this epiphany while in line at the Shannon Airport, US customs.

~On the flight home, watch Casablanca.  Just because.