Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cigarette Cravings

So near the end of the semester, I bought a pack of cigarettes.

It was an awkward exchange. I walked into the Mobil gas station store and asked for a lighter and a pack of American Spirits. 

"Ok," the guy said, and he didn't move. 

We stared at each other for about ten seconds and then I asked, "What?"

"What color?" 

"Oh," I said, pretending to know what that meant. I peered over the counter and I saw the yellow pack first so I said "Yellow." I got a matching yellow lighter, showed him my ID, and left the store.


My friend Cleveland and I walked back to campus. 

Cleveland: "Well, are you going to smoke one?" 

I tried. I put the cigarette in my mouth and tried to light it. 

Cleveland: "You need to suck in. God, you're an idiot, do you want me to do it? ...Okay fine." 

I finally lit it. I held it between my fingers and sucked. 

Cleveland: "You're holding it too far on the tips of your fingers. The second knuckle. You want it here, on the second knuckle. Oh my god, you are the worst." 

I sucked a couple more times. Cleveland gave me a look. 

Cleveland: "You know... I don't even think you are actually inhaling anything. I think you're just holding it in your mouth. You see, the point of a cigarette is to get the smoke in your lungs." 

Me: "But I have asthma." 

Cleveland: "You are an idiot." 

I eventually got it right. I inhaled and it hurt but I kept on doing it anyway. 

Cleveland: "Do you feel cool yet?" 

Me: "The coolest." 

My friend Chicago and I smoked a cigarette from that pack at midnight every night for the last week of school. We'd take a break from doing homework and sit outside and smoke. 

Acquaintance: "Whoa, Connor, you smoke?" 

Chicago answered for me: "Nah, just for conference week. It'll be a tradition." 

Acquaintance: "Oh. Haha, I was about to say, shit man, I thought Sarah Lawrence had finally gotten to you." 

After a week finished the pack and vowed that we would not touch a cigarette again until conference time next year. 

But now I get cigarette cravings. I don't think it's chemical, there are just moments when I think "God, a cigarette would be great right now. That's exactly what I need." They are very strong feelings, noticeably so. So much that I text Chicago (who is now currently back in Chicago) asking "Are you getting these cigarette cravings?" 

"No, I'm fine! Haven't touched one since we finished the pack!" 

I told a friend from my psych class and she said that once she smoked a whole pack of cigarettes, one after the other in front of her boyfriend, just to prove to him that the addiction was psychological. 

"I was fine. Didn't get addicted. But since you smoked it when you were in a stressful time, you're always gonna have that association," she said. 

I enjoy smoking cigarettes. Ideally I'd like to smoke casually, maybe once a month if the situation arises. But I can't buy cigarettes because I can't afford them, and I shouldn't buy cigarettes because I promised I wouldn't. 

But it doesn't stop me from getting cravings. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Late Night Intruder

I found this poster in the Savage Drive.  IncreĆ­ble.
So I've been going through piles of trash on campus to furnish my apartment, and I have to say it's been pretty successful. I got a bunch of pasta that will feed me until my next paycheck, I got a bookshelf, a comfy zebra chair, and many other things. My friend Hawaii lent me a Tempurpedic mattress cover, which has made it extremely difficult to get up to write this post. My house is pretty fly. And I'm working on getting it to look even fly-er.

Mi cuarto.

Mi cartel. 
 SO. Fun story.

It's 9:00pm. I'm in my room putting on pants because I'm about to go upstairs and make smoothies with my friends, when I hear rustling in my common room (pictured above, the photo with the red exit sign). I walk into the room and there is a small, old woman rummaging in my closet.

Me: "Um... hello?"

[The woman looks up.]

Woman: "Do you live here?"

Me: "Um... yes."

Woman: "Are you supposed to be living here?"

Me: "Um... yes."

Woman: "Oh... well, I'm your neighbor."

And then she leaves.

Lesson learned: Lock your door! I had been leaving it ajar just in case my friends want to drop in, but it seems that the other tenants in this building beat them to it.

Four more days until I get my paycheck, which will be a Godsend. I have a grand total of $1.46 right now, and I'll have to make it last until Friday. I made $44 on Amazon last week though (that won't be transferred to my bank account until Friday), by selling my old textbooks. One of my friends was flabbergasted at how easy it was to sell stuff online, so he sold all the clothing he didn't want on eBay these past couple days. Still not satisfied, he then rummaged through the piles of trash outside the dorms and found textbooks and sold them as well. He has made $70 the last time I check on him. That's enough to buy two of these:


I have never publicly worn a tank top, but I am told it's going to be raging hot this summer so I might as well start. And if I'm going to start, I might as well go all the way and get this one.

That's about it. Until we met again, I'll be trying to make pasta correctly. The past two times I have spilled the pasta all over the floor. Thankfully, it was free Salvage Drive pasta, but in my present situation, I can't afford to spill any more.

Peace and love.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Juggling and Swing in NYC

Today, woke up at 8am, got a hearty breakfast sandwich, and began volunteer work at Archives. I love this job. When I am not doing data entry, Abby and Sarah (the SLC Archivists) show me how the archival organizational system works, and I get a bunch of ideas for how I am going to create a filing system in my room over the summer. I got a bunch of filing crates from the Salvage Drive (stuff SLC students had thrown away upon moving out) and once I get another paycheck I am going to buy hanging folders to fill them.

After Archives, ate lunch with Ned, Zac, and Nick, then work at College Events. And then at four thirty, took my juggling equipment down to the train station and went to Manhattan for the Bryant Park Juggling Club!

I spent two hours in Bryant Park juggling with other jugglers. I learned some incredible new tricks and I made several friends. I loved it and I definitely want to go back. The park was packed with people, many who stopped to take photos or to ask how to juggle. We gave simple lessons and people tried it out of they had time. I met a man who tried to get me to join his origami club.

"There's this guy who does origami and juggles. You should check him out," the guy tells me. "He's a good friend of mine. His name is Jeremy Shafer. Are you into origami?"

Me: "Yeah, I read a great book, 'Origami to Astonish and Amuse' is by far the best origami book I ever read. If anything, that's the one that got me into folding."

The guy waves his hands in the air. "That's Jeremy Shafer! Jeremy Shafer wrote that book! He told me it was a doozy to get published. He said that his editor's notes primarily were post its on every other page that said, 'are you being serious?' He's a great guy."

Small world. Big city. Or maybe hobbies like juggling and origami are just bound to collide.

I learned how to "ultimate juggle" (six balls, two people, every throw is a pass) which impressed everyone. I felt incredible. I definitely want to go back.

Afterwards, met up with Arizona to eat pizza in the city and then to go swing dancing. On Sunday we paid $40 for a four-hour swing lesson, and with that package is free dance practice in the city every Tuesday at nine. So, we stopped in.

Swing music was playing, people were dancing. I realized two things. 1) Arizona and I were the youngest people there. 2) I had forgotten how to swing dance.

I have been practicing swing dance almost every Saturday for the past two months, and in this room I was overwhelmed and I couldn't even remember basic steps. I danced with Arizona then told her that I had to sit down. I sat alone and watched, and unfortunately when you are at a swing venue, sitting alone is an invitation to dance. I tried to look busy on my phone, but an older woman came up to me and asked if I would like to dance.

"Sure! But I'm a beginner. I don't know... anything," I said.

"Do you know basic steps?" she asked.

"... yes."

"Then let's do that!"

I danced with her and another woman that night, along with Arizona, and all of them were incredibly understanding and patient. I think when each song ended I told my dance partner "thank you for being understanding and patient."

When we left, I made a promise to take some more lessons and to gain confidence, so I can return to Tuesday night swing and actually lead, instead of having kind, older women whisper instructions in my ear.

Arizona and I left early and got tea. It was a full day, and now I am back in my dorm, eating Triscuts and Naked Mango Juice, and not wearing a shirt.

Cheers!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Free Stuff and Sob Coughs!

My friend Langston looked into a dumpster and found a Playstation 3. We all screamed like children, and he ran back to his room to see if it work. It did, for the most part, he's bringing it in for maintenance and repair, but the fact remains that he just got a three hundred dollar piece of equipment out of the TRASH.

Why? It's move out day!

People have been throwing out legitimate GOLD because they are moving out of their dormrooms this week.  I got an ottoman, a set of pots and pans, glasses, plates, a collapsable table, a cuisinart, a beanbag chair, a rug, bed risers, and much more FOR FREE (either through the equivalent of dumpster diving or generous friends).

OTTOMAN!
"But Connor, why are you getting all this stuff? Shouldn't YOU be throwing away your PS3 as well? Aren't you going home?"

Nope! I am living in the Sarah Lawrence apartments for $250 a month, working a 9-5 office job by day and cooking my own meals by night. I am so excited about this. My family is mailing me a couple recipe magazines, and I've been calculating my expenses to see how I can feasibly spend $30 a week on groceries (my mother says that it definitely can be done).

However, the idea of living on my own make me almost throw up at the beginning of the week. I had a housing meeting to discuss what living on campus would be like during the summer ("Pay your rent!") and when I left, I was dizzy and nauseous. I went to the Pub and found Kinsman there.

"Hey man, how are you?"

"Dizzy and nauseous."

I told him that I was worried that I wasn't going to make enough money to survive this summer and all of this other stuff, and eventually he just held me and I cried in his arms. I use the term "crying" loosely. It was more like controlled sob-coughs. And I did about five of them until I felt better.

We talked about money and he showed me that not only would I be able to make enough money to feed myself, I may even have enough left over to fly home in August.

I have great friends. He patted my back and sent me on my way.

GOALS FOR THIS SUMMER:
  • Re-establish my writing habit. 
  • Learn to swing-dance. 
  • Survive. 
  • Juggle with NYU students every Thursday! 
  • Archives! 

ARCHIVES! 
So, I've been wanting to work for Sarah Lawrence Archives all year. I stopped in at least five times asking if there were any job openings and unfortunately there weren't. I took it as a sign and gave up. But then I went to visit my sister at Syracuse and I sat in on her Information Technology course and I fell in love. I came back to Sarah Lawrence, went to Archives and said, "You know, I'd be just as happy doing volunteer work for you." 

They were supportive and skeptical. 

"What exactly about archives do you like?" they asked. 

"Well, I love organizing things. I clean obsessively, I make calendars for people, and I like arranging information in ways that make sense."

"Hm. I mean, we like organizing too but... it's weird to see it in students." 

They gave me the job, and I went in for my first day Friday (yesterday). They had me do data entry work all day and when I came out they eyed me closely. 

Archives: "How was that? Did you hate it?" 

Me: "Um... no, it was fine." 

Archives: "But you want a different job now, right?" 

Me: "Um... no. I want to come back." 

They seemed convinced that I hated data entry no matter how many times I told them that it was fine (for what it's worth, data entry isn't enthralling work but I can do it happily) and they shrugged their shoulders and told me to come back in and they'd teach me how to do other archives things. 

I am legitimately excited. They proposed that I do a research project about Sarah Lawrence just to get familiar with how their system works, so I've been writing down ideas in my notebook and daydreaming about going through the records to write an awesome essay. 

MY LIFE. 

That's about it. You will definitely hear more about my life from the Bronxville Bachelor Pad (aka "The Kitchen"). I have nicknamed my new living space "The Kitchen", because for the past two years I wanted to live somewhere with a kitchen, and now the time has finally come. I move in this coming Friday, and once I am all settled, this song will play: 

Hasta luego!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Spring Formal 2013 - aka The Ugly Man

Allergies. Even when you look good. 
8:35pm
Seattle and I are in Hill House, waiting for security to come over because Seattle locked his keys and his wallet inside his room, and he will be needing his keys and ID later tonight when Spring Formal ends. So, to pass the time, we tell each other anti-jokes.

9:07pm
I am in the Pub and sad. Mercury works in the Pub, so he and I sit and chat while I drink water and try and figure out how not to be sad. All of my friends are out getting drunk, and I decide that it wouldn't be a good idea to join them because it would just make me sadder. So, instead, I eat crackers with Mercury and we talk about all the girl problems I've had throughout the school year.

9:20pm 
Chicago's room. Chicago has a big red chair that I've never seen before.

"Is this new?"

"Yeah! They were getting rid of it at Heimbold. So I carried it on my head to my room. It's a loveseat."

"Gross."

"No, that's what it's called. It's a loveseat."

Chicago is playing 80's music to get himself in the zone for the 80's themed Spring Formal. I am not digging it.

"Can we put on some rap? Is there any eighties rap?"

Chicago googles "80s rap music" and we listen.

"Wow. This sucks."

We listen to contemporary rap music instead and get pumped.

10:05pm
I am under the tent on the North Lawn. There is a DJ and flashing lights. I make my rounds and say hello to everyone I know. Chicago says "Look, no one's into it yet," pointing to the dance floor, "c'mon, let's be the first ones to get into it." I take off my blazer, put it on a chair, walk to the dance floor, decide that I am self-conscious of my forearms, get my blazer, and go back to the dance floor.

The rest of the night 
I didn't want to be sad. I took extra precautions not to be sad tonight. I went to the gym and swam for thirty minutes and did push ups to get endorphins and a little extra positive body-image. But on the dance floor, I was dancing and every time I saw an attractive girl I hid immediately.

I read a quote once, "There is nothing uglier than a fearful man."

Tonight, I decided to be the ugly man. And it turned out to be an excellent decision.

In general, I push myself to be as courageous as possible. I notice when I am afraid of something, and then push myself to do it. Last week, I introduced myself to someone new. Cold. And it was terrifying. In acting class, my professor is always pushing us to step out of our comfort zones, which has resulted in me kissing some of my classmates during scenes. It's emotionally exhausting.

I had a lot of opportunities to be courageous tonight, and for the sake of my mental health, I opted not too.
For most of the night I danced alone. Whenever I felt uncomfortable, I closed my eyes. I danced with some girls but once I started second guessing myself I immediately left and wove myself to a different part of the dance floor.

There were great moments. Swing dancing with Arizona, wylin' out to rap music (FINALLY [it was contemporary]) with Virginia.

However, the best moment for me was pretending I was dancing with someone when I wasn't. I was an excellent lead.

Epilogue 
After the formal, I went into the Pub and there was a kid passed out in one of the booths. Security came and woke him up and had him go through some basic coherency tests to make sure he didn't need to go to the hospital. My friend Bronx and I watched from a different booth.

Bronx: "I can't believe what I'm seeing right now. He is a mess."

(the kid mumbled to the security guard "I know, I know... I know this tie is a little crooked...")

Bronx looked at me.

Bronx: "Why are you here?"

Me: "You know I enjoy your company."

Bronx: "Mmmhmm. I remember the first time I asked you for an ass grab."

Bronx is gay, and a good portion of our conversations are about how he wishes I was too.

Me: "Why do I continue hanging out with you? It's just sexual harassment. All the time."

Bronx: "You like it. You keep coming back because you like getting compliments from me."

Me: "This is true. But I guess that's why we're great friends. It's because we're not afraid to be real with each other."

Bronx: "I just want sex."

Me: "You're the best."

We hugged and I walked back to my room. The security guards wrote the kid a ticket, and he wobbled away with his girlfriend.

All in all, I was a coward tonight, and I embraced it. I'll be courageous on Monday or something.