I appreciate the art and credibility of good coffee. I mean good coffee, particularly coffee that does not come with orange and pink straws and enough sugar to bake an entire cake with (I think we all know what I’m talking about). There are certain personas and demographic of people who are good enough to like good coffee and I am not one of them. I TRY extremely hard to like the bitter, raw stuff but when my coffee looks orange (which probably means real and not artificial) I get grossed out. I work at a coffee shop that sells the good stuff. A barista stands behind what is called the “bar” and has fast hands that shave off extra coffee grounds from a metal thingy and then put another metal thing on something else, grind something and create a beautiful heart design out of foam (believe it or not those are the EXACT instructions they give you when you train to be a barista) I wish I was as cool as the people who drink good coffee, they all have perfect little nose rings, or sketchbooks with intricate drawings of office supplies, or a pixie cut that I could NEVER pull off without looking like I was in an all Jewish boys school production of “Peter Pan” (DID SOMEBODY SAY TANGENT) I crave to be in this club/cult but I also crave caramel swirls from Dunkin Donuts.
Along with the people I work with being a part of the good coffee club/cult they are also some of the funniest people I have ever met. Starting a new job is tough but trying to ease your way into an already established group of people who were all born ten years before you is even harder. I am not a shy person and that is why being shy annoys me so much because I want to smack myself in the face and say, “This isn’t you!! You’re loud! You’re almost obnoxious at points!! SAY SOMETHING.” I have finally gotten up the courage to contribute to conversations with witty lines, and today I hit the jackpot. A woman came in and apologized for asking when her bagel was going to be ready the previous day. She explained she was waiting for a ride and her rudeness was out of character. I honestly didn’t remember this woman but I told her it was no problem. After she left one of my coworkers said, “Did you give her a bitch face?” and with a straight face I replied, “I just gave her my resting face so I guess so.” He ERUPTED with laughter and turned to everyone behind the counter chanting, “ZOE’S IN THE CLUB.” I thought that might have been one of the lamest jokes I had ever made, but apparently it earned my entry into the club. It was a resting bitch face joke…how original.
I may not ever be in the good coffee club/cult but I was granted access another club.
Today is national coffee day.
I have been here twenty days.
From any angle of my face,I either look like my mom or my dad. I have my dad’s full lips and my mom’s goya bean shaped nostrils. When people would tell me I looked like my dad he would always say, “Just add a beard!” I used to get irritated when I would hear the same one liner told to coworker after coworker. In Hannaford when I was younger a woman came up to my mom and I and said, “She looks just like you!” Apparently, I got EXTREMELY disturbed by this and made quite the hissy fit. When my mom asked me what was wrong I replied, “I don’t want people to say I look like you,” she asked me what I would prefer and I said, “there goes that funky girl.” Although I’m sure people on the streets of Boston don’t turn to each other and go, “wow look how gosh darn funky that girl is.” Something that DOES happen on the streets of Boston is catcalling which is a whole blog post in itself. There is one “catcaller” in particular who sits on a stoop next to my building. Each day he murmurs something in Spanish to me. I have been told I look Spanish before, but since being in the city, almost every day my ethnicity has been questioned or brought up. At work, one of my coworkers asked if I had any pictures from my quinceanera and then later commented how I would look like a “chola” with a hairnet on.
Although it would be extremely cool to be from another culture, I am NOT Spanish and I never will be. Something about my mother’s Hungarian roots and my father’s German genes mesh together and make someone who apparently resembles a Spanish human being. I’m going to be honest I don’t really see it.
I have always liked looking like my parents even though it does grind my gears when facebook automatically tags me as my mother. I will always have my dad’s dimples and my mom’s piano playing fingers (that have been put to no good use). Who the hell knows where my curly hair comes from, that’s a real puzzler.
Today felt like the first day of school. I woke up at 6:00 (ha ha) and ignored my alarm just like I did in high school, and pretended the buzzing was just some annoying animal in my dream. I got ready and walked approximately 2 FEET to my new job. I feel like a grown ass woman. I mean I’m not…but hey I can pretend. Starting a new job may be one fo the most anxiety provoking things in the entire world. You feel like you have the brain of a toddler and your fat fingers are in the way of everything and somehow the simplest information sounds like jibberish German. The person training me asked me “what is the best way you learn,” which made me feel like I was in the right place. Finally, my sandwich making skills from my days at a little Italian market have come to use in the big city at a small coffee shop. We started with simple breakfast sandwiches and then eventually moved onto lunch. I only mistook turkey for ham ONCE. Something about your brain turns off when you are trying to do something so completely right. 7:00 AM suddenly turned into 1 PM and my shift was already over. It felt like the first-day jitters where you are relieved to leave your new kindergarten classroom (I’m making an awful lot of allusions to elementary school) but you are also excited to play with shaving cream and maybe be a line leader tomorrow. Just like starting Pure Barre, the first day left me discouraged but hopeful. It is scary being the youngest employee, but it also will help me mature. I’m going to do so much maturing that by the time I get to college I will be a 50- year old woman approaching menopause.
As for many girls my age, who watched The Office as awkward adolescents, Jim Halpert has always been my dream man. I don’t feel like this needs explanation? He is charming, funny, cute, witty, other synonyms. He is the PERFECT guy. When I saw a facebook event pop up on my timeline of “A talk with John Krasinski” for FREE I said sign me up. We arrived late which was a dumb idea because we could only see the tip of his red sox cap, but we could hear his voice just fine. He is just as charming as I had imagined and he gave some great one liners. He talked about his struggle to pursue acting, saying he felt like he won the lottery like everyone says when they are famous. He was completely genuine and JUST LIKE JIM. I will end on this note: Celebrities ARE better than us.
Coming back to Portsmouth yesterday felt the way going back to your elementary school cafeteria feels once you make it past the third grade. Either you grew or the tiny plastic chairs have shrunk but either way the smells are stronger and it’s hard to imagine you were ever eating your Lunchables in this small room ( to clarify I was never a kid that ate Lunchables but this is a fantasy so go with it). Portsmouth felt like my elementary school cafeteria with a better smell and better food. Coming from the stuffy city, that can sometimes make you feel like you have a thick, smoggy film on your skin after you walk down the street, Portsmouth air was quite refreshing. All I could think was how lucky I was to have had Portsmouth as the setting of my adolescence. Breaking New Grounds coffee will always top Starbucks. I don’t care how many times I’ve seen the sunset over the steeple, it will always urge me to take an Instagram. Being able to walk down Market Street and see my entire family behind the counter or above the store. Not many people get to say they grew up in a place like that. Boston is beautiful and it is different. It is like the middle school cafeteria (in NO way was my middle school cafeteria beautiful). It is terrifying and exciting and pretty soon I won’t have so much anxiety eating lunch in it. Although I love the skyline outside my window and it is breathtaking, something about that modest, white steeple gets me every time.
I apologize for my post being incredibly breif and not at all worthy last night. I was invested in Bo Burnham, eating cheesecake, and doing roomatey things. Yesterday was one of the good ones, so much so that there wasn’t really anything for me to dwell on or bitch about. I was CONNECTING instead of finishing the hat which I think is necessary. I saw my friends from home yesterday and we went to Harvard Square and explored a cafe my parents used to go to when they were young, spent WAY too much money at Urban Outfitters, got emotional in Anthropologie, and gawked at cute lil succulents. While ajusting to a new place there are rarely moments of complete comfort and ease. Yesterday I was able to let my gaurd down, not having to impress anyone or introduce myself. I was simply able to be with people who have seen me at my best and my worst and do nothing but feel completely comfortable. While we were on the Red Line (which by the WAY is so much nicer than the Orange line and I’m a bit envious) we started reminicing about highschool. Not reminicing in the way like we’re old women who are returning for our 50th reunion, but in a way that it feels like it was yesterday and how the hell is it already almost October of our first year at college. Things move fast. People move faster. We talked about our new lives and the new people we have met, but we mostly talked about home. How glad we were that we weren’t at the 5-hour choir rehearsal, but how much we missed our favorite coffee place. We started getting excited about Christmas break, when all of us would be back and would go on beach drives and stay up way too late making jokes that only we think are funny. A year ago we were starting our senior year and that seemed like a big deal. We thought we were adults then, but when I look back at the pictures, our faces seem rounder and our eyes seem wider. We look older, we act older, and it’s only been a year. You don’t keep all the friends you make in high school, its inevitable. But there are many things from high school we can keep while we’re all grown up and on the Red Line without our moms having to ask where we are. We can keep the 10-10 rehearsals, the coffee dates, the henna parties, the fights we missed in the hallway (why did I never get to see a live action cafeteria fight) the halloween parties where we played improv games because that’s onviously what cool kids do. We can keep all that for as long as we’d like. Pretty soon there will be more things to keep and we get to catch up with the people who we started everything with.
I have a minute till tomorrow and I’m not going to post in time so I will leave you with a word of how my day was. Lovely.
I have tried to write this post two times and it has been deleted so THIRD TIMES THE CHARM. When I was younger there was no one I looked up to more than my cousin. She had perfect handwriting, the cutest clothes and always told the best stories while rubbing my back. I remember saying to her “one day I’ll be as old as you” when she was sixteen. If my ten year old cousin had said this to me I would have been annoyed too and she replied, “yup but I’m always going to be older than you.” I am not making this shit up we had this conversation while playing with barbies (because obviously she had barbies and I didn’t… I had playmobil). Although I will always be younger than her, with much sloppier handwriting, today I took the T 6 stops to see her. We watched the Blair witch project, ate sushi and I didn’t sob about my parents picking me up. This is growing up.
I’m snuggled up in my bed at 7:00 tonight and I feel oh so cozy. Today is the first day of Autum, it’s still 80 degrees outside, PSL’s are $3 for a limited time only, I am content. To be completely honest today was pretty basic, almost as basic as me when I’m ordering a PSL. Nothing stood out for me except a woman on the bus who repeated the word “si” so many times I almost started hallucinating. Life is good and I’m starting to settle in like freshman year of high school when you know where things are and don’t have to dodge seniors while you waddle around like an injured turtle. I’m getting the hang of it. Along with that feeling of easiness, comes the feeling of missing home. The weird thing about becoming an adult is that saying the word home isn’t as simple as it used to be. Home used to be one address, with one bed and one kitchen and one backyard but now home has two different zipcodes (and I’m still working on trying to remember the second one). Now when I think about going home I think about my little nook. It’s weird to imagine my bed being unused, my lights being shut off and my bathroom staying clean for longer than two days. Since I am feeling a little lazy today (I CAN HAVE A LAZY DAY OKAY), I have comprised a list of things I miss about home (the other one).
- my dog my dog my dog my dog my dog my dog my dog my dog
- Beach drives along 1A
- Breaking New Grounds iced coconut coffee
- Bagel works (I’m sensing a pattern)
- Screlting in my house without feeling like I’m disturbing someone
- The notes my mom would leave me every morning on the kitchen counter in her perfect handwriting
- Bike rides
- My little toddler neighbor waddling around (I realize I’ve used the word waddling twice in this post)
- Prescott Park
- The smell of the ocean
- my dog my dog my dog my dog my dog my dog my dog my dog
I know I’m not that far away and I know none of these things are going anywhere but sometimes while I’m looking up at all the beautiful big buildings and the stunning skyline, I miss my little, white steeple and I think about how lucky I was to grow up in such a wonderful place.
Part of me feels like a recently divorced forty-year-old woman who just finished reading a self-help book about independence and falling in love with yourself when I say I took myself on a date. Taking yourself on a date is a lot easier than going on a date with another person for many reasons.
- It costs a lot less
- You can leave whenever you want
- Don’t worry about chewing with your mouth closed
- Your hair can look a little bit like shit
- No worries about who’s gonna make the first move because it’s ALWAYS YOU
I decided to take myself to the Museum of Fine Art. I haven’t been to the MFA since I was a kid and would dread walking through endless hallways with portraits of old men and chairs from the 1800s. The nice thing about going to a museum by yourself is that you don’t have to impress anyone. You don’t have to pretend you care about what the description next to a bowl says. It’s a fucking bowl. You can visit the exhibits that interest you and breeze past the European art which you don’t really care about. Another new observation I have about museums is that I love how they fluctuate in temperature and smell. I’m assuming it has to do with keeping the art preserved in a climate that suits it but it really keeps you on your toes and I am quite the fan.
I’m going to be completely honest. I do not understand all art. I am open to finding out about abstract pieces but sometimes even after reading the card next to the work I am still doubting whether or not even the artist knows what they are talking about. This probably sounds completely ignorant and I know a canvas covered in red paint symbolizes much more than what the eye sees but part of me feels like a five-year-old could make it. Also, back to the topic of bowls. Why is it that in EVERY museum I go to there is a room dedicated to bowls? I am not interested.
One of the exhibits in contemporary art was titled “UH-OH” and showcased the work of Frances Stark. The exhibition encouraged the viewer to “look deeper, think harder and listen more carefully.” I had never seen Stark’s work before which is a combination of drawings, text, video. In the 100 works presented in her collection she experiments with “self-examination- sustained meditation on what she’s reading, making consuming, doing- comes reflection on literature, music, architecture, art…ya da ya da ya da” (Clarification it did not say ya da ya da ya da on the little card before the entrance) I think it was quite the coincidence that I found Stark’s exhibit because she used what was around her to give her inspiration like I have been doing with my observations of the city. I also enjoyed the title “UH-OH” because in my head I can only hear it being said by a toddler who has just shit himself. The title was inspired by, “A simple response to a complicated problem” which I quite liked.
My favorite piece in Stark’s collection was an image of a girl (I’m assuming is Frances) holding a piece of paper that says “Why should you not be able to assemble yourself and write?” For so long I have been avoiding writing because the idea of writing something shitty terrifies me. Recently I have assembled myself each day to write a post which has been the only order in my life.
It was a good first date. We will probably go out again.
I am cutting it close on my due date of the day as I am approaching midnight. I mean I’m my own teacher and I assigned my own due date so I can do whatever I want, but I need some STRUCTURE in my life. Today my mom visited me which is such a strange sentence to say. It’s a weird concept that I no longer am glued to her with a maternal paste. I just typed maternal paste and kind of threw up in my mouth a little bit. We had lunch on Newbury street and she helped me set up new bedding because she is still my mom and I am not completely an adult yet. Tonight we saw Sunday in The Park With George at the Huntington Theatre Company. I don’t want this to turn into a synopsis and I don’t want this to turn into an analysis so I am simply going to produce a stream of consciousness. First of all, If I didn’t think I loved musical theatre before, I am definitely reassured now. It is interesting how seeing one piece of work can give you a better perspective on another. After seeing this production I can see Lin Manuel Miranda’s madness and his inspiration from Sondheim. Alright, let’s all just agree that Sondheim is a God and there is no word in the English language grand enough to encompass his creations. Sunday in The Park With George is almost two different musicals between the first and second act much like Into the Woods. There as a song called “Finishing the Hat” where George the painter is working his creativity to fatigue as he focuses on minute details of a hat. He makes a hat where there never was a hat, something Lin Manuel Miranda refers to often. Every artist has the anxiety they will not be able to complete this hat, that the hat will blow away in the wind or be distorted before they can complete it. Perhaps that is why I am typing so fast. My dad and I were similar in this way. George reminded me of him and his fixation and OCD. Sometimes while artists are connecting on a different level they fail to connect in a dimension others can recognize. They try so hard to present human emotion through art, they fail to actually live it. George is constantly saying “connect”. He knows he is absent and distracted but he cannot reach connection because of this hat literally hanging over his head.
In the second act of the musical there is a song called “Move On.” George and Dot sing this together and I interpreted it as George accepting something he’d lost because he did not give it enough attention and moving on to create something new. I might have interpreted it this way because that is something I am starting to do in my own life. After my dad passed away there has been hesitancy in moving on and enjoying the new connections of life and creating new art. As I have begun to move on I have become more present and connected with him more than I even did when he was alive. Through every word I write, I am reminded of the joy in his face that would form when I would read a rough draft of a piece I was passionate about. He would watch me as I made hats where there never were hats, and he keeps watching me while coaxing me to move on.