Sunday, August 19, 2012

What I know. Now.

(Wrote this on Friday, but couldn't post it until today)

You may remember this post from the very beginning of the summer. It was literally my very first day in New York, and I was panicking.

Besides "somewhere below Canada and above Georgia," I had no idea where I was-- and, let's be real-- if someone had walked up to me and told me that I actually was on the island of Fiji, I would have taken their word for it. And on top of some major location confusion, I was seriously wondering what in the world I was thinking deciding to head hot off the heels of the most intense academic quarter of my life and start a job at one of the largest fashion companies in the world all while not knowing nearly anyone else in the city in an apartment with two random roommates and a weird cat.

It was 90+ degrees out and I sat on the floor in my room (now lovingly referred to by yours truly as "The Tenement") and tried to organize my thoughts and feelings by pulling out my go-to, panic button security blanket: I wrote a list. I thought if I wrote down everything that I was sure of, it would be long enough and tall enough to shield me from the list of things that I didn't know-- a list that was involuntarily building longer and longer with every second threatening to topple over like a game of giant New York City Jenga, burrying me and my big city dreams. The fears, the facts, the weather, the smells. Seeing it on paper was going to help me know. Know anything. Or at least pretend I knew anything.

I wrote down that list. And re-read that list probably over two dozen times in the next few weeks. And then, when I knew more, I wrote a new list. And then, other lists. Lists of food that made me close my eyes, raise my eyebrows and hum with the first bite. Lists of people here that I made my friends (even if we never talked). Lists of people that even being 3,000 miles away, I could still feel their support. Lists of parks with shade. Lists of feelings. Lists of thoughts. Lists that had two things on them and lists that were pages and pages long. 3AM lists. Subway lists. Elevator lists. And even one, in a fleeting moment of vandalism, sharpie on the side of a building list.

Now. It's the end of my time here. And I know a little bit. I most definitely don't know everything, but I do know a little bit too. 

So, this is what I know now:

I was originally mistaken: I live the East Village.
{Rookie mistake}
And living in the East Village is really cool if being cool is important to you.
Which, in case you haven't caught on yet, is not super duper important to me.
Because I say things like "Super Duper"
I prefer the West Village.
Which is really cool if being surrounded by beautiful, expensive things is important to you.
Which, I don't mind admitting that I have found, is quite important to me.
The last flight of stairs to my apartment got easier to climb.
{accidental metaphor}
99% sure that the woman in 2C is a hoarder.
99% sure that the co-eds in 3D were smoking weed every moment of this entire summer.
100% sure that I am definitely allergic to caffeinated coffee.
Trust me.
It just... doesn't sit well.
When the weather forecast says 30% chance of rain, it really means 100% chance of rain.
Umbrellas are for losers.
But, if you're going to buy an umbrella like this loser, don't wait it actually starts raining and everyone jacks up the prices by $10.
Showing up to work so soaking wet that drops of water are streaming off your elbows gets you nothing other than someone glancing at you and then the window and saying "Oh, is it raining outside?"
Walking 27 minutes to work in the morning is the best way to start the day.
And the best way to end it.
I will truly miss this.
A lot.
It may have been the highlight of my summer.
And I'll miss all of my friends from that I met on the walk.
The construction workers at NYU.
The woman serving shaved ice.
The parking garage attendant on Lafayette and Astor.
The Banana Republic model on the billboard at Houston.
The lotion lady on Spring.
I am the most verbal processor of all the verbal processors in the whole entire worldsies and when there is no one to verbally process with for months and then your sister and your mom show up, this verbal processor goes a little verbal processor cray cray.
Hot, hipster carnivores, hang out at the the Meatball Shop.
Hot, hipster herbivories, hang out at Hampton Chutney.
I love New York City.
I want to live here after I graduate.
I hate New York City.
I never want to live there again.
Smiling while hailing a cab does nothing positive when it come to the relationship between you and your cabbie.
When you've misjudged traffic and maybe, perhaps are a bit behind the "Walk/Stop" crosswalk lights, keep your head down and keep walking.
Waving and mouthing "Sorry" at all the cars waiting on you just makes them a bit testier.
I can never get enough Chipotle. Ever.
I can't take personally the fact that 8/10 people quit their jobs while I was an intern.
This was not my fault.
Except maybe it was because one time, I got someone coffee and I accidentally ordered it with soy milk instead of skim milk.
I blamed it on the Barista.
It was totally me.
Sometimes, I feel loneliest when I'm with the most people.
And the feeling of empowerment comes when I am alone and the one making the decisions and walking down the streets and deciding where I was going.
I'm going to miss walking.
I don't think I'm cut out for Twitter.
I didn't get a tattoo.
Probably for the best.
Maybe not.
I already sort of regret not getting one.
Become good friends with the Trader Joe's delivery guys.
Tell them how excited you are to see them/how hungry you are when they come to the door with your food.
Sometimes, they'll throw in an extra box of Veggie Nests.
Eating pie for 7 consecutive days may have been the highlight of my summer.
There's something about a body of water against the backdrop of tall, powerful, inspiring buildings that makes me feel melancholy every time I see it.
The day they had me put my iPod on shuffle at the office was the most high stress moment of the summer.
Manicures and pedicures are so not overrated.
My Facebook statuses creatively thrive when I am in solitude.
Maybe to an overwhelmingly annoying extent.
Taking a book to a park and reading is fun, but what's even better is pretending to read and just listening in on other people conversations instead.
The Brooklyn Flea Market is amazing.
Revlon "Just Bitten Kissable" Balm Stain is the greatest thing sold at CVS pharmacies. In every color.
Sometimes it's harmless to wink at someone on the subway to see what they'll do.Sometimes it's not.
I ate everything.
I found my New York.
I learned.
I talked to myself out loud like a crazy person.
I was inspired.
I cried this summer.
I was the only person in the world who had this experience.
And I have no idea if I'll ever be able to explain what this summer meant.
Even to myself.
And I won't be able to hold on to the way I feel right now forever.
I've already started to forget things.

But, I made it through the summer.

Not only did I make it, but I thrived this summer.
I enjoyed this summer.
This summer was painful.
But this summer felt like living.
The cat's name is actually Tasha.
We never got along.
The Super Shuttle is picking me up tomorrow at 4:30 AM.

The End 


  1. So insightful, so honest...Daddy and I are so proud of your perseverance and perspective.

    Love you so much!!

  2. amazing! i love your perspective and humor. love love love.

  3. Please write a book!? I love reading Julia! Very glad you loved it and made it your own. You and your parents are brave...the 'go for it' people! Love you Pattons very much!