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Tag Archives: New York City

I’m coming back home tomorrow, to 14th Street

There are a few things they don’t tell you when you start working in a newsroom.

First off, it looks NOTHING like this. NO ONE WEARS TIES!

First off, it looks NOTHING like this. NO ONE WEARS TIES!

They don’t tell you you’ll probably be scraping by, pay-wise.

They don’t tell you that your work doesn’t exactly end when you leave the building.

They don’t tell you your news-brain will get turned on and you are always thinking news news NEWS. Do we need this? If so, only on the website, or in the paper? Does it need to hit social media immediately or can it wait a bit? Is it going to cause a rash of insane comments on social media, and do we have someone who can police those for the next few hours? Did we already have this yesterday? What do you MEAN, we covered this last week? Are you sure? Then why does the local news have it today as if it’s new? Is this on one of the feeds we can use? No, Buzzfeed isn’t reputable. No, we can’t use that. No, seriously, I mean it, stop that.

They don’t tell you that you’ll be really, REALLY tired. Like, almost all the time. It’s amazing any newsing gets done with how tired the staff of our news organizations are.

They also don’t tell you, however, you will love this job so much you don’t MIND the above. That you’ll work those extra minutes that add up to extra hours and not even notice you’ve done it. That you work through the exhaustion. (Especially on election night, which never, ever ends. I might still be working last election night, is how long that night lasts.) That the news part of your brain being turned on all the time is actually something you’ll like. That your teeny-tiny paycheck’s tough to handle, but since you’re working insane hours, when would you have time to spend that money, anyway? Mostly you’re spending it on fast food and your cell phone bill anyway.

You kind of put your head down and work and work and work, and then on your days off sometimes you work from a distance and try to run a few errands and sleep and sleep and sleeeeep. You kind of forget there’s an outside world except you see it a little on television. It looks nice. There’s sunshine and people seem to fall in love a lot there. How do they find the time? It’s utterly perplexing.

HOWEVER! Sometimes a magical thing comes up that reminds me that there is, surprisingly enough, life outside of work! And I can take advantage of it! Yes! IT IS TRUE!

Many moons ago, when I was just a baby blogger, I came across the lovely Lisa, who was (and remains) one of the funniest people I’d ever (virtually) met. She introduced me to many other amazing bloggers and we were quite the little blogging community, for a while, until the world moved on (as it does, especially on the internet, which tends to move faster than you’d think.)

However, we have kept in touch and have had many good times over on Twitter and on the Book of Faces and I did warn her once that I was going to come visit her in Texas via hopping a train, as if I was a hobo, with a bindle over one shoulder and probably a hat with a patch on it. I have always wanted to visit Texas, where things are supposedly bigger, and in some places weirder, even though sometimes the politics there scare me.

Me & my hobo lifestyle, yo.

Last week, Lisa sent me a message that she’d be in New York City soon. Well! This is MUCH better and less-likely to end in me being stabmurdered than me hopping a hobo train! So after some finagling (ok, finagling really just involved me asking my wonderful supervisor, “Can I have this date off?” and her saying, “You got it!” because my coworkers are the best EVER) I am set and prepared to meet Lisa in REALLY REAL LIFE. Eeee!

I have, stupidly, moved a zillion miles away from New York City. I moved in exactly the wrong direction. It used to take me a little under 3 hours to get there; now it will take me about 6. My options are a long drive and a reasonable train ride or a short drive and a VERY LONG bus ride. There are pros and cons to each of these options. I have about a month to decide which of them I’ll choose, so I’m not rushing that yet. It’s not like it matters, because at the end will be Lisa!

We have already decided there will be many shenanigans, no matter what we decide to do while we are there. We’ve known each other virtually for…oh, almost three and a half years now? It’s high time for some face-time shenanigans. We will be bringing Andreas along in spirit, because the only thing that could make this trip better would be having Andreas along for the ride. Lisa thought maybe he could create a wormhole and travel to New York to be with us with that since he is, after all, Lucy’s Football’s Science Fellow, but I’ve asked and he said it wasn’t feasable. SIGH, SCIENCE! Letting us all down!

One should never go too far without one's Science Fellow. Who knows when you'd need to science? Without him there, you'd be bereft!

One should never go too far without one’s Science Fellow. Who knows when you’d need to science? Without him there, you’d be bereft! (Also, having spent substantial time with Andreas over the last couple of years, I can tell you he is one of the best humans in the world…but he’ll deny that because he is also VERY humble.)

So: yes. For the most part, I couldn’t be happier to be an underpaid, overworked employee of the best newspaper in Northern New York* (*fine, I might be a little biased, but I’m also right.) But it’s also nice (better than nice) to have a little life to look forward to after this very long, very slow-death winter is close to over with. New York City in the spring is filled with singular magic. It couldn’t be more perfect for meeting one of the most magical people I know.

Happy weekend, people. May you all have happy thoughts and wonderful friends and favorite places to pull you through long, gray, seemingly endless winters.

Oh – and shenanigans. May you always, always have shenanigans. Or what’s it all about, otherwise?

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On that singular day

I saw Greg Louganis dive in St. Louis
in 1984. Oh, the way he folded and
unfolded in the air. We all gasped
when he split the surface and disappeared.
But he rose up in a shimmering swath
of bubbles, unbounded joy.

Seventeen years later, a man steps out
through the lattice of a skyscraper and
folds himself into a breathtaking pike.
An anonymous diver, abandoning his
day job. Maybe you’ve seen the
photograph? A single body falling, white
oxford full and fluttering, like a peony,
blowsy, on that singular day.

–“The Diver,” Christine Hartzler

Today I am in my late twenties again.

Today I am waking up early in my town in the American southwest to the sound of people shouting on my apartment complex balcony. It is a day I can sleep in. I am working the late shift. I am not pleased to wake up to people shouting this early in the morning. I go out on the balcony and glare at them. They don’t seem to notice. Or care. Even though I’m in my pajamas and my hair is quite fearsome.

Today I am realizing there’s no point in going back to sleep and I might as well run some errands since I have the morning free.

Today I get ready without turning on the television or the radio.

Today I run errands while listening to a tape I have in the car. It’s a Hole kind of day. Courtney Love screams me around town.

Today I still don’t turn on the radio.

Today I get to my old job to help out a little since I’m up early. It is a thing I do, sometimes.

Today I walk in the door and there are people in a tangled knot around the small television in the lobby. The sound is low. No one’s at the front desk.

Today I ask one of my old coworkers what was going on.

Today she turns to me and says, “Two planes flew into the World Trade Center” and her eyes are holes in her face.

Today I ask her, “An accident? There was an accident?”

Today she says, “No. No, Amy, I don’t think so. I think it was on purpose.”

Today I stand in a crowd of people, strangers and friends alike, and we are all as one. Today we watch the television in the lobby and it grows to the size of a movie screen. Today we watch the towers fall. Today we watch news reports come in about the Pentagon. Today we watch news reports come in about a field in Pennsylvania.

Today our hands are over our eyes and our mouths. Today we are sobbing but not making a sound. Today we are praying. Today we are smelling autumn coming in through the propped-open doors of the lobby and we are running through the list of people we know in New York City and we are wondering if they also smelled this autumn morning and we are thinking, were they there? Oh, please, oh, no, oh, God, were they there?

Today I go broken and empty to my afternoon shift at work. My coworker is from Pennsylvania. I am from New York. We are barely holding it together. We are inches from screaming. We are being held together with fraying rubber bands and sheer adrenaline.

Today our boss decides we are not paying enough attention to our job and makes us turn off the television that presides with its cold unfeeling stare over the lobby.

Today we take turns shaking and vomiting and weeping in the bathroom where the clients and our boss can’t see us.

Today I get home from work and turn on the television and watch the ticker of the dead crawl along the bottom of the screen. The channel I’m watching tells the ages of those on the planes. One of the dead is just a baby. I’m having trouble breathing. Functioning. I’m watching the towers fall on endless repeat. I’m watching men leap from windows with a sort of corrupted grace. I am watching survivors painted gray with ashes stream over and over from the city I love so much. I am shaking. I am curled upon myself like a lost child. I am trying to count the dead in the ticker and I keep losing count and it seems very important, somehow, that I know how many of them there were. That each of them are counted. That each of them get given a name; that each of them get given their due.

Today, when my next-door-neighbor comes home, she asks me how I am.

Today, I tell her, “I don’t want to live in this world right now. The good got lost today.”

Today I live all of this all over again. Today and next year and the year after that; every today, I am the person I was on that day.

Today the towers fall, and they fall, and they fall; every today they fall.


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