the laundromat (take two)

i complained about discussed the laundromat once before on this blog. if you’ve read that post, you’ll have a very clear understanding as to why i hate it as much as i do. regardless, tonight’s post has very little do with that place. the laundromat was merely a vessel this evening, a vessel that steered me in the direction of the Cable Car Museum. this museum is half a block from my house. one of my roommates once counted how many steps our front door is from that museum and i believe the count was one hundred and eighty one (if memory serves).

this probably explains why tourists flock to our particular street corner(s). that and the fact that the cable car stops directly outside of my front door (literally). it is the stop for Chinatown. at this stop they yell, “this stop, Chinatown, two blocks, straight ahead” and point in the direction of Grant street, east of Powell street by exactly two blocks. i really don’t mind tourism and sightseeing and the like. but when you are barely awake at eight something in the morning and heading for work, the last thing you feel like dealing with is a gaggle of strangers/tourists on your doorstep (a.k.a. sidewalk outside of your apartment). it’s not always crowded, but i swear on some grave somewhere that whenever i am grumpy/excessively sleepy/or something all around blah, that’s when the crowd is gathered on the sidewalk outside of my building.

they stand there like a herd of cattle, looking around for instructions from other people (or maybe the heavens?) to tell them what to do next, regardless of the fact that the man on the cable car pointed, very obviously, in one direction towards Chinatown while yelling, “two blocks, straight ahead!” my roommate’s bay windows overlook this very fiasco which is why i know it so well. we love to watch from his windows and admire the lost people below. my former roommate would sometimes interject during this moment of silence, when they had just disembarked from the cable car, and yell once again “CHINATOWN! TWO BLOCKS! STRAIGHT AHEAD!” with his thick Italian accent. and we’d all bend over in stitches from laughing so hard. the poor tourists below looked at us like we were vermon, which would only make us laugh harder. i suppose it was one small way we could retaliate against the crowds on the sidewalk and the non-stop clanging of the cable car bells at weird hours of the night.

so, this evening, i was at the god forsaken laundromat throwing my clothes into one of the dryers. i had a large pair of headphones on while i was listening to the soundtrack from the movie Amelie. if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand why i was inspired to do what i did next (and if you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading this immediately and watch it now).

i walked across the street to the Cable Car Museum. it was closed, but some of the old and very aged windows were not. and some of the lights inside were still on. and the machines were still pumping their gears. i watched from the outside, mesmerized by the mechanical workings going on within. it felt as if i were staring at a beating heart – watching all those valves and springs work in unison to pump the necessary gases and liquids and what-have-yous to where they needed to be in order to keep things running smoothly. my face lit up and i felt a smile grow on my lips. i knew what i had to do.

i ran home, feeling inspired.

i went to my desk and, using a ballpoint pen, wrote a simple note (in a bold hand written cursive font) on a piece of white paper. it read,

“love and let love.”

i ran back to the Cable Car Museum and placed this note in one of the open windows, next to an old can of soda sitting on the same window sill. upon that note i placed a small white plastic sheep (maybe one inch tall). i hope that someone finds that tomorrow and smiles. i think i might just keep going back there every week to deliver kind messages. i don’t see why not.

jessi

 

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run, forrest, run. & “a.”

i have a little venting to do about the gym.

i rode horses for sixteen years. going to the barn has always been my gym. fresh air and the smell of leather. not to mention a twelve hundred pound animal between your legs. if you are like me, this is your idea of heaven.

when i lived in new york city, i joined a gym and would do something that would make me sweat about five times a week. i hated it (well, exercise itself feels great, but it’s the process that i hate). i hate gyms. i hate running in circles. i hate treadmills and elliptical trainers even more – they are just glorified hamster wheels in my opinion. how unsatisfying is it to run for twenty minutes solid and arrive nowhere ? there are mirrors everywhere that only remind you of why you are there in the first place. but you also get a glimpse and (usually a strong) smell of all the other people there who are sweating it out. some may be regulars, some may be obsessive, and some may just feel really guilty about the cheeseburger they ate for lunch that day. and is it just me ? or do they seem to play The Food Network all the time at the gym ? the more i think about it, the more i think that i hate the gym just as much as i hate the laundromat.

i know plenty of people who love going to the gym. more power to them. i admire them one hundred percent, seriously. perhaps if i lifted weights and reveled in my own self reflection, i’d like the gym, too. i’ll never forget this tiny gym i joined in new york city on 14th street. i went there about five times a week to stretch, do crunches, and run one or two miles. my two strongest memories are as follows ::

1. the old ladies gathered in the ladies locker room about twice a week. they would sit together, naked, chatting about their lives, their days. they were all well over sixty years old. i never stared at them, but when you are amongst a flock of older ladies in a tiny locker room whilst you are changing, you’ll catch a glimpse of the naked bodies surrounding you. their bodies were old, worn, and sagged. but beautiful. so beautiful. what made them so beautiful was not the bodies themselves, but their complete comfort with themselves. sure, their breasts hung at strange and low angles, they had more fat on their bodies than the average girl would ever consider appropriate, but they just sat around talking to each other as if they were fully clothed, with nothing to hide, no secrets. so, i applaud them. and their self comfort. and lack of low self esteem. those ladies completely rule as far as i’m concerned.

2. a gentleman who must have been around fifty years old – give or take. he always came to the gym dressed in short shorts – black spandex. hugging and “exaggerating” every part of his male form from the waist down. he wore a tight white “wife beater” tank and on his head an american flag bandana. he’d flex his muscles into the mirrors and admire himself. he was never the sort to look at the girls in the gym (which is refreshing, because having those over-confident males stare at you while you are breaking a sweat on the treadmill is entirely disgusting). he would arrive, do his thing, and leave. and i always considered him awesome because of it.

oh, the gym. if you go to a gym and like it, keep going. more power to you. if you are like me, you will cancel your gym membership and begin jogging on the streets for free. the perk being that it is free, the non-perk being that i have a bad back which hates running on pavement and i have apparently even worse ankles that hate the unavoidable hills that this city forces you to climb or descend when going for a run. but i’ve become addicted to running. i haven’t run for forty eight hours because of a terrible blister on my right heel and a cold i just came down with this morning. i want to run so badly right now, but i know that doing so will only cause my ankles further harm. and as for my head cold ? it’s left me so exhausted, i shouldn’t be exerting any energy right now unless it is towards health and a good night of sleep.

running on the streets of san francisco has been so rewarding. i’ve seen more of the city in the past two weeks than i have in the year that i have lived here. and i happen to run at strange times. i will fall to sleep early and rise at 4:30am feeling restless. and run. run down the middle of streets that are usually crowded with cars and people during the “normal” hours of the day, but at 4:30am, they are empty and feel like nothing short of a meditation session. so i wear my pink sneakers. and i feel like Mr. Gump. i just can’t wait to run. maybe i’m running away from something i’m feeling. or maybe i’m running towards something. it really doesn’t matter because all i know is that it feels damn good either way. 

as for “a.” there is a small deli downstairs from my apartment run by a very sweet family. the mother and father are always there and i almost always see their son, who i’ll call “A,” because he’s there doing his homework after school (i usually only get there after work). in the last week, he’s started selling his paintings. he’s about nine years old and does theses fantastic drawings which he prices anywhere from 5 cents to 50 cents. i am now the proud owner of four of them ::

 

i love life. it has a funny way of working itself out.

these drawings make my heart smile and sing so loudly that i’d be surprised if you couldn’t hear it by now.

jessi

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happy anniversary, pig. (a post i hope you read).

it’s been about three weeks since i last posted on here. part of me would like to apologize for my absence, but a larger part of me knows that that would be silly. silly because in the last few weeks i’ve made some significant changes in my life. not as in, i started eating salad instead of cheeseburgers at lunch, but more like saving myself changes. it’s taken up all of my time, which is good. writing on my blog was the least of my worries. it was, quite simply, not a priority. but i do admit that i’ve missed it.

i’m going to begin this post (which i expect to be ridiculously long, be forewarned) with a dialogue from one of my favorite movies, Girl, Interrupted. it’s a beautiful film. it may be a bit trite at times and over dramatized, but it’s a film that has always spoken to me because the main character, Susanna, played by Winona Ryder, is someone i have always felt close to.

Susanna :: “I didn’t try to kill myself. I was just trying to make the shit stop.”

Therapist :: “You swallowed a bottle of advil with a bottle of vodka..”

Susanna :: “I had a headache.”

one year ago yesterday, i arrived in San Francisco. when i moved here, i was broken and lost. i was a complete mess, though my actions and demeanor reflected anything but. my eyes may have told a different story, but no one ever called me on it.

i was drinking more alcohol than i could admit to anyone, much less to myself. i was taking a variety of drugs that would disappoint any parent. i was full of lies and self-loathing. i lied about my substance abuse and my depression and my anxiety. i listened to a lot of sad music and though i’d landed a great job just three weeks after moving here, in my spare time i locked myself in my room to write and paint. and i was really only successful in either when i’d plied myself with a cocktail of substances. just enough to “make the shit stop.” it was hard, near impossible, to be creative when my sober mind wandered to the darkest of dark places.

to some, this may come as a complete surprise (i’m an amazing liar and actress as it turns out). to others, this probably explains a lot.

i was happy to leave Seattle, that much was true. but my decision to move here was complex. for one, i committed a cardinal sin. i broke my own rule : never move or stay anywhere for anyone. it was not my only my reason for relocating, but it was the biggest – though i denied it at the time.

before i’d left seattle, i had experienced two grand mal seizures. i experienced not one, but two, terrible tragedies – having to attend two open casket funerals in the space of one week. they both occurred after my decision to move south, but i think in many ways they were the nail in the coffin (apologies for the pun) that confirmed and prompted my choice to get the hell out of Seattle. it was a place full of sadness and memories i wanted to leave behind and i really couldn’t have left fast enough.

since my arrival in this beautiful city, i’ve had a tumultuous year. drugs and alcohol certainly do not help one who’s making an attempt to “get their shit together.” neither does lying about it – to others or oneself.

my arrival here was both abrupt and sudden, to say the least. back in Seattle, i’d left behind friends, family, horse back riding (which still, to this day, remains an unkept promise to myself to rekindle down here in horse country), my job, my home. life as i once knew it was over. it was gone. i faced that well known blank slate that we all speak so fondly of. i may have been excited, but i was terrified more than anything else. and alone, very alone. and given that hindsight is 20/20, i knew full well that my continued abuse of substances would only gain momentum down here. i knew that because relocating is stressful for anyone. but there was more.

i knew and realized that any sign of an unraveling (particularly with the boy, which happened only three weeks after my move here, but do NOT blame him for any of this), would lead me to less control over myself. i knew it would spur me to further harm myself, which i did. ten fold. i have scars, both physical and emotional, that still bring me to tears. when i moved here, i was holding onto a thread. after my arrival, that thread much closer resembled that of a delicate thread a spider draws when making a web. i was holding onto nothing, essentially . i considered suicide more than once. i wanted to get away from not just the city, but also myself. the drugs and alcohol were merely symptoms of a far deeper distress and internal battle i’d been having with myself for years.

add denial to this and i promise you a full blown recipe for disaster.

i went about my job and my life. i continued to drink and abuse drugs. i fell deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. for the past year, i have felt like Alice. eating one cookie after another, in an attempt to find myself out of this nightmare i’d found myself in. a nightmare that i had created. i could blame my childhood. my parents. my this or my that. but i can’t. and i no longer can blame myself. i am in the process of forgiving myself. i made mistakes. many of them. the last three years have been chaos for me and i did the best that i could, even though my “best” involved nothing but self harm.

so i sit here today, at the same computer. sober. sad. and admitting the fact that i need help. i have needed help for well over ten years, but my pride (and other things i will not mention) had me convinced that i was OKAY and that i could “do it on my own.” nothing could be farther from the truth. i need help and i’m finally getting it. so, if you don’t hear from me in a while – it’s because of that.

for once, i’m going to put myself first. and Year of the Pig Studio can wait. we’ll both be better off because of it.

jessi

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return to sender.

when you live in a city, particularly in an apartment with three roommates, you get used to people constantly coming and going, moving in and moving out. i’ve lived here for under a year and have already had two people move out and two new people move in. not to mention one more person who lives above us and four people who live below us.

what i am most curious about (and entirely dumfounded by) is why exactly people do not know how to properly change their address with the united states postal service. it’s not rocket science. i consider myself to be quite lazy when it comes to anything paperwork-ey, but notifying the u.s.p.s. of a change of address is incredibly simple and truth be told ? i’d like to get all of my mail forwarded to me because there are bills to pay and correspondences to respond to. and i, personally, would rather not deal with the hassle that comes with not receiving one’s mail.

that said, in any given week, we receive quite a bit of mail at our apartment. four people live here. we receive about three or four pieces of mail a day. we are lucky if one of those pieces of mail is actually addressed to someone who lives here. most of the time the mail that is addressed for previous tenants is trash worthy. bank stuff. weird mail offers. magazines not worth reading. and the like. but every once in a while we receive a gem. these are my favorites so far ::

short and sweet

this came from new york, new york. it’s a real photograph with a neon star sc(r)otch taped to it.

amazing illustration No. 1

amazing illustration No. 2

the third installment from “Cal.” only this time it’s ended with “timidly, Cal.” curious.

we used to have them on our fridge, but my roommates have since decided they are trash, so that means i get to keep them all to myself. the last thing i would like to share today is a piece of fortune cookie wisdom i received last night ::

win.

and with that, i invite you to go forth and conquer the day, keeping your eyes peeled for any water lilies along the way.

jessi

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life is beautiful.

i have this terrible habit of getting down on myself (many of you can probably relate). i never feel quite right. or good enough. or something. and before i go on, this is not a plea for sympathy. i’m just laying down the this-is-what’s-up-with-me-now bullsh*t.

i awoke this morning after a somewhat interrupted night of sleep feeling tired, disoriented, and headache-y. this happens pretty often. i either have a hard time falling asleep before 2:30am or i’ll fall asleep quickly and rise at 4:00am unable to fall back to sleep. during this period of sleeplessness my wheels turn fast and hard. any and everything somewhat disturbing or depressing in my life (past or present) rears its ugly head and spins through my brain on repeat. the best way to solve this problem, i have found, is by playing endless games of solitaire on my phone until my eyelids are too heavy to keep them open. it actually works pretty well.

so this morning, i once again found myself feeling the lack of sleep hangover. i rarely drink caffeine. but today, like many days of late, i found myself looking for toothpicks to keep my eyes propped open. so i nursed a small cup of coffee (that i didn’t even finish). i love coffee, but due to the fact that i am hypoglycemic, caffeine only makes my symptoms worse. regular coffee drinkers will experience some amount of shakiness due to the caffeine flowing through their bloodstream. i, on the other hand, will experience a shakiness so severe that i feel nauseated. i become sweaty and dizzy and disoriented and grumpy, on the verge of blacking out. it is only when i find a piece of sugar (usually in the form of fruit – bananas being my first choice) that these ailments begin to subside. it doesn’t even matter if i’ve chugged a protein shake or a good breakfast prior to that half cup of weak coffee, my symptoms will rise to the surface. being from seattle, i feel somewhat ashamed that i can’t stomach real (caffeinated, that is) coffee. so be it, i stick to decaf when i can afford to.

so this morning i did something i haven’t done in a few years. even though i awoke tired and uncomfortable, i made the decision to look at myself in the mirror and say, “life is beautiful. i will have an amazing day.” did i believe myself entirely ? no, not really. but just the act of saying this to myself outloud was enough to dress myself for work, walk/crutch to work, and feel a sense of confidence i haven’t felt in years.

i had a headache for the better part of the day and the only thing that sounded even remotely appealing to me was my bed. my bed is a single mattress on the floor and yet it still sounded like the best place in the world for the eight hours i was at work. so i continued to tell myself that i was fantastic all day long. i even reached a point where i believed it – despite the physical and emotional discomfort i was experiencing. walking around work, walking to work, walking to lunch, walking home. i kept reciting to myself that life is beautiful. for the first time since i lived in new york, i paused many times during these slow walks just to admire my surroundings. the small moments that we overlook regularly because we are far too concerned with getting where we are going to do whatever it is we plan to do when we get there. so i paused, many times over. i was late back from my hour lunch break for this very reason. i was too busy admiring the “mundane” around me. and hell, losing a few minutes off my paycheck for some self love is completely worth it in my opinion.

i admired the sky. the sunshine. the fog that rolled in after work. the everything. i’ve had a rough couple of years. i really have. and i finally need to admit that and be okay with that. i think my rough couple of years all started in october of 2009 when a close family friend of mine was murdered in cold blood. this was followed by a series of unfortunate events. i’m coming up on the two year anniversary of this awful tragedy and feel as if i am finally finding some peace in my life and, more importantly, within myself. that’s pretty cool.

so, yeah. life is beautiful. if you or i don’t believe it now or today, i am certain that someday we will. with that, i have two of my favorite quotes to share with you ::

“everything will be okay in the end. and if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.”

“just don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”

[nikon 35 mm. 2010.]

jessi

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marie antoinette and captain cool.

i recently wrote a post about the fish who live in a tank at the art store where i work.

i just learned the names of the fish that existed before i was first hired there (around nine months ago).

the fish have been named as follows ::

Liberace

Bob Ross

Iggy Pop

Sargent Pepper

Sheena (from a song by The Ramones)

Lady Gaga

Michael Jackson

Larry (for reasons i cannot disclose)

celebrity names, yes – with the exception of Larry. only Liberace and Michael Jackson remain. since my last post about this fish tank, we lost another member of our aquatic family. we lost Larry the snail. my co-worker went to clean the tank one day only to discover that Larry the snail was no longer there. his shell was, but his body was missing. given Liberace’s past behavior, we have hereby assumed that she ate Larry. she must have sucked him up whole, in one bite, like a piece of sushi. had she thrown him from the tank (like we assume she had done with Lady Gaga), Larry would have very likely met the same fate as Lady Gaga. that fate being the sole of my shoe, stepping and slipping and crushing the soul on the floor.

today i am writing about two more celebrity named people i have just recently met. actual people, not fish.

marie antoinette is a lady who cruises around north beach. she may or may not be homeless. she’s told me that she is, but due to the cleanliness of her clothing and the new looking shopping bags that i’ve seen her cart around, i’m unsure. i ran into her tonight on my way home. she recognized me and had even remembered my name – which i had not expected. she’s harmless. she’s kind. she talks a lot, maybe too much. but she’s very sweet and well intentioned. tonight, she was walking towards me. i still have a crutch under one arm and she was wearing a neck brace. she stopped to give me a high five. a “we’re both crippled!” high five. she remembered my name, once again claimed she was homeless, and shoved this poster into my arms. this poster is old. a silk screened poster of a show that Elvis Presley once played here in san francisco. i stared at it long and hard, lifting my jaw from the pavement. “where.. where.. where did you.. uh.. find this ?”

apparently she got it from a friend, who got it from another friend, and so on. i know silk screens. i may not be an expert in antiques, but this poster looks like the real deal, like an original. i asked her over and over again if she was sure she wanted to give it to me. she said that she had no use for it and insisted that i take it. i couldn’t turn it down. she asked for “a couple bucks,” which i gave her, and she moved along. when i got home, i investigated this poster and its origins. and i actually think this thing is from 1969, the date on the poster. awesome ? YES.

and now for Captain Cool. no, it’s not the name of a celebrity, but i think he’s kind of a celebrity here in north beach. i think he may have suffered from throat cancer. or something close. he’s got one of those voice boxes that requires him to press some flesh covered button on his throat to speak. he wears tiny round wire framed black lens sunglasses, a tall top hat, a velvet coat, and tall leather boots that reach the top of his knees. yes, he is just as amazing as he sounds.

several weeks ago i was in Vesuvio on my lunch break. Vesuvio is an incredibly old bar, but the reason i go there on nearly every lunch break is because you are welcome to bring your own lunch (a cheap bagel, in my case) and you don’t need to purchase alcohol. if you’re me, you buy a cheap mug of peppermint tea and spend your hour lunch break drawing or writing. i now know the staff there well enough that i rarely even pay for my tea. i throw a couple bucks down as a tip for my tea and sit in a cozy and comfortably lit booth to write or draw for around fifty minutes. it’s a wonderful way to spend a lunch break.

on one such lunch break, i was seated near Captain Cool. i’d never met him before, but had seen him there on the regular, always sipping on a pint of guiness. (i asked him his name. he said it was Patrick, but that everyone called him Captain Cool. he said there was a story to explain that, but he’d save it for another time.) i was embroidering the image of a budweiser can when he approached me. he leaned towards my table and asked me (with his voice box throat) if i was a seamstress, to which i replied, “no. no. i use embroidery like i use paint. as you can see.. this is not well cross stitched or straight.” to which he replied that he was looking for someone to sew some patches onto some jackets he has. again, i informed him that i am a sloppy seamstress. straight lines are beyond me, with or without a sewing machine.

he stared at my cross-stitching and declared, “but what you have here is perfect. i like those imperfections. that’s exactly what i would want.” so i agreed. i gave him my email address. he said he wouldn’t be needing my services for quite some time, but would be in touch when the time came. that same day, i met a friend at Vesuvio after work. Captain Cool happened to be there, i nodded at him and he nodded back at me. the next thing i know ? the waitress came to me with two shot glasses filled with whiskey. she said, “Captain Cool wanted to buy you this round.”

thanks, Captain Cool. thanks, Marie Antoinette.

you certainly know how to make a girl feel loved.

jessi

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new york, i love you.

i wasn’t born in the states, so when describing myself i call myself german. perhaps german american would be more appropriate, but slipping ‘american’ in there has never felt natural. and i have to confess, i don’t really like calling myself an american.

i know it’s the land of the free where you can pursue happiness and have the right to free speech, but when i think of americans i have this terrible image in my head of people who are greedy, selfish, and overindulgent. it’s not accurate nor is it fair. although i’ve met some people in my life who certainly fit that profile, A. it’s a mixed bag since a lot of them weren’t even american and B. i know a hell of a lot more people who are anything but. and although this country certainly has its problems, there’s a lot about america to love.

i’m talking about this today for obvious reasons. it’s the ten year mark of a horrible tragedy that occurred in my favorite city.

i’ve been stewing about my own discomfort with this for a few days and i think i have a fairly good handle on where my disdain for calling myself an american comes from. it’s a combination of things that can be traced back to my childhood.

being relocated here from germany when i was just four years old has always irked me. we moved because of my father’s job with microsoft, which is why we ended up in seattle, washington. part of me feels robbed. like america took away the german in me. it took away my first language, it took away the childhood i could have spent in germany, it took away my family. of course i have my nuclear family here in the states, but if i ever wanted to pay anyone in my extended family a visit, i’d need to go the airport and fly east for around ten hours.

if you’ve never been plucked from your country of origin and placed in another country, you may not understand this feeling of displacement and unease. and i’m not pointing fingers at my parents or anyone else. there is not a single person to be blamed for how i feel, it’s just how i feel. anyone with a similar experience would probably agree with me that the word lost describes it pretty well.

another word now comes to mind. the word home. i don’t really know where home is. part of me truly feels like i can’t call anywhere home. real home. home implies comfort, safety, and origin. i call seattle home because it’s where my immediate family is. it’s where i did most of my growing up. it’s where i have all of my memories stored. but it doesn’t feel like my “real” home. i haven’t been back to germany for well over a decade, but when i conjure up the thought of germany in my head – it feels like my real home. i don’t think i have any memories of it, but i have formulated them vicariously through the pictures i have seen of me when i was a little girl and the stories my parents have told me over the years.

going back to my previous statement about americans, i’m pretty sure the reason for those assumptions resides in the fact that i was reared in bellevue, washington. being a ‘softie’ (a child of a microsoft parent that is, yes i coined this term on my own), i grew up with wealth and wealthy people around me. this is not something i like to discuss and unless i really feel i can trust someone, i rarely mention this fact. but i guess it’s time to let the cat out of the bag.

and to call all wealthy people greedy, selfish, and overindulgent is clearly stupid because it’s just not true. however, we humans have a way of focusing on the bad and forgetting the good. for every negative there may be four positives, but we’ll still focus on that one negative. so this is me focusing on that one negative :: the memories i have of certain people i grew up around who fit this profile. some were friends (at times) and some were not. again, it’s a mixed bag. all i can say is that i have seen, first hand, what wealth can do to a person.

[listen]

i moved to new york city in two thousand and three. almost exactly two years after the towers had fallen. i moved there in august. i lived in a very cramped cozy apartment with my best friend. when september eleventh rolled around, we went to our rooftop at dusk. i’m not sure if they still do this, but when i lived there they would shine two spotlights directly into the sky from where the two towers once stood. from our rooftop, we had a perfect unblocked view of those spotlights. i’ll never forget it. i remember feeling like i’d really missed out on something. had they still been standing, we would have seen them perfectly from our little patio.

if you’ve ever lived in new york, you’ll likely understand this sort of territorial feeling you have about the city. when you ever hear people talking about how “pushy” or “aggressive” new yorkers are, you’re blood will boil like mine does. new york has this connotation of being always and forever fast paced and abrasive. a lot of people i know claim that it’s a place they like to visit but they would never ever live there because of the city and its inhabitants “attitude.”

if you ask me ? i don’t have any memory of this “attitude” that so many people speak of. there were no more pushy or aggressive people in new york than there have been anywhere else that i have lived or visited. in fact, i think i’ve met more kind and friendly people there than anywhere else. new yorkers will do anything to help you out. i remember needing help on several occasions and people were all too willing to lend a hand.

i’ll never forget the time i was walking to my commencement ceremony at school. it was a warm day in may. i was wearing rubber flip flops and running a little late as i bolted down 13th street towards school. in typical new york weather fashion, it suddenly began to pour warm muggy rain. i had just crossed broadway when my flat flip flops slid on a well paved piece of sidewalk. it was a textbook perfect cartoon fall. my feet went in the air in front of my face, my umbrella went flying, and i landed hard, slamming both elbows on the sidewalk. my backpack had, thankfully, broken the fall for my back, but that in turn meant my elbows took the brunt of it. i hit the ground so hard that my vision went completely black.

i couldn’t move my arms and i was blinking and blinking and all i could see was black. it is still, to this day, one of the scariest experiences i have ever had. so i sat there, temporarily blinded, on the sidewalk, in the pouring rain, at the corner of one of the busiest intersections in manhattan. what happened next completely surprised me.

a stranger, who i couldn’t even see, pulled me under some scaffolding about ten feet away to get me out of the rain. my vision slowly returned to me and i realized that there were at least six people gathered around me asking me if i was ok and one of them brought me my umbrella (i still have that umbrella). i said i was, but that i couldn’t use my arms. i hadn’t broken any bones (as it turns out), but i think my elbows had locked and pain was coursing through my arms. so a very kind man asked if he could do anything for me. i wanted to call a friend and get into a cab, but i didn’t have the ability to do either. so i asked him if he could call my friend devin, instructing him as to where my phone was in my backpack.

at this point, i was pretty sure that this man was just going to steal my cell phone. but he didn’t. he found my friend’s number, hit the call button, and placed the phone between my shoulder and ear. he stayed with me until i was off the phone, put the phone back in my backpack, and proceeded to hail me a cab and give me a ten dollar bill. to the new yorkers that helped me out that day, thank you.

that is what i think of when i think of new york. i think of kind people. and when i think of new york, i also feel like it’s the closest i’ve ever come to feeling like my real home. maybe that’s because it’s closer to europe than the west coast, but i think it has a lot more to do with the city and the fine people who live there.

my heart goes out to all those who were struck by this tragedy ten years ago today. to their friends, their families, their co-workers, their what have yous. you are an amazing group of human beings who have single handedly renewed my faith in the human race and moreover, being an american.

[tattered. 35mm film shot on my manual nikon in new york city.]

jessi

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