Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Can Swim the English Channel in January

So last night I went to a nice launch party for my friend Tom, a very good reporter and writer who just finished off a book that you really should buy about the dirty, dirty diamond industry. It was at the Bubble Lounge, and the caviar and champagne flowed freely. Of course, nothing's ever REALLY free and last night was no different, because the party was sponsored by MediaBistro, for which Tom teaches on occasion. (Disclaimer: I have written for MediaBistro.)

Any writer or editor who's been in New York longer than half an hour knows it's best to avoid MB parties. They're all the same -- they attract people who are really unhappy at work and are so, so desperate to find a new job that they're willing to throw themselves at strangers -- who likely can't help them anyway as they're all in the same, pathetic boat -- whilst downing $14 cosmopolitans and dodging the MB photographer so their boss won't know they're on the prowl. Many MB party conversations go like the one I had last night.

[Small, twitchy man to me]: Hi, I'm Herbert.
me: Hi, Herbert.
[man squints at name/affiliation tag on my chest]
Herbert: Oh, you work for TIME WARNER, what do you do there??! Are they hiring?
me: [thinking, don't you read about the layoffs on Gawker? shit, man!] Uh, nothing really, I just do some part time fact checking for the research department; I only said I work for them because you're supposed to be a full-time staffer to be at this party, even though this book party is for a close friend of mine. Whatever.
Herbert (dejected): Oh.

[Herbert smashes champagne flute on nearby table.]
[Herbert pokes sharp end of flute's stem into jugular.]
[Herbert falls to floor.]
[Laurel Touby runs over, wraps feather boa around Herbert's bloody, severed, suicidal neck and drags him out by a noose to the Bubble Lounge's dumpster.]

And, scene.

Anyway, despite the fact that I had to wear a stupid nametag and deal with Herbert after desperate Herbert, it was a great party because it brought together some kind of disaparate friend groups of mine, namely my former and totally amazing colleagues from the WSJ and a decent turnout of former Blacktable editors and writers. Whee!

One of my most entertaining friends is still at the WSJ, and while I don't spend 10 hours a day with him like I used to, I still see him every few weeks or so. He reads this silly blog and so he's been following the fascinating and hair-raising tale of my widening behind, which grows exponentially larger with each post (or at least I'd have you believe that...). So the first thing he said to me last night was, "You look great! And here I was expecting to see Erin the Hutt, what with all your whining about being fat on your blog." (My friend is really just too kind -- I was simply wearing a forgiving skirt.) It was at this point that I realized why I, I and the people who have the misfortune of seeing me naked are the only ones who are cognizant of my 10-pound weight gain: it's well distributed! I explained to him that for the first time in my life, I had BACK FAT.

"You know, I just thought of this," I said to J., "It's not like my ass is just getting fatter, or my tits are just getting bigger (even though both are true); this time I'm getting fat all over -- it's like I'm wearing a WETSUIT of fat!"

I'm like an adolescent seal; I could probably float leisurely across the ocean without shivering.

As I stood there contemplating the visuals of a fat wetsuit, I also started to tell people about my impending hiatus from New York. Starting in late June, I'm going to go live in Colorado for awhile, probably for around five weeks or so. I'll work on my freelance projects during the day, and on nights and weekends, I'll climb, hike, camp and let the sweet scent of fir trees envelope my hair with their juniper-y goodness. I will probably also shop in outlet stores, attend a megachurch and eat at a Cheesecake Factory, but let's not talk about that part.

Anyway, I was telling my friend Will (you should buy his books, too!), who is a fellow Midwestern transplant, about my plan. Will has always thought I've had one noncommital foot over the border when it comes to New York (although, as I'll explain later, that's not really true). We talked about my plans for a little bit, and then he started to twitter. What??? I demanded. He said, "Well, Greg and I have this joke about you."

First, some background. Greg is a mutual friend of ours who is also a Midwestern defector. But unlike Will or me, he has drunk long and deep of the New York Kool-Aid (which, by the way, tastes of matzoh and taxi tailpipe). He's never going back; he eschews the flyovers with a disgust normally reserved for baby rapists. And apparently, he likes to tell Will that Will doesn't really live in New York. To which Will responds, I live in New York, I just live in the Midwestern embassy in New York.

So ANYWAY, apparently the joke about me is that if Will is living in the Midwest embassy in New York, I am on the roof, waving my arms and trying to get a helicopter to rescue me and get me the hell outta dodge.

NOW. That's NOT really true. If there's any embassy I'd want to be associated with, it would be the "Nature Embassy," within whose walls I could breathe fresh air and climb trees -- THAT'S what I miss about living outside New York, not the Midwest itself. I love New York in many ways, and while my relationship with it is tumultuous, and I bitch about it incessantly, it's the longest love affair I've had with any place. Like taking a break from a love affair, I'm not sure yet what this departure from my city means. Is it a trial separation? Are we just "on the break"? Will it make me love it more, or will it make me realize I wouldn't miss it at all if I wasn't around it?

I guess that time will tell. Either way, my helicopter is going to drop me back in the city come August, as I have contractual obligations to fulfill for work and because my lease isn't up. So never fear. I'll be back to my bitchy ways before you even realize I've gone.


Blogger Krissi said...

Nice! You put into words exactly how I feel about this place.

5:22 PM  

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