#2033| No Ticket No Taco!

2019-10-07_11-16-36

los tacos no. 1, times square

when you live in a new country you suddenly become extremely defensive of your homeland which otherwise regularly frustrates and inspires affection in you, as with all familial relationships, but one thing I must say is that after tussling with multiple, multiple people here re: food (what the grand heck is general tso chicken?! or singapore noodles? I must tell you now it does not exist except outside of singapore and is the sort of thing we look upon as a sort of litmus test for: are you a sucker or not?), i must admit that two things and only two thus far have thoroughly impressed me. One: bagels, a doughy contraption I previously regarded as a pointlessly lumpy ball of carbohydrates. But I now live around the corner from the best bagels in new york city and when i first bit into their freshly baked warm sesame bagel with cream cheese i nearly whimpered and cried mama. Two: Tacos, and specifically, Los Tacos NUMBA ONE, which melody recommended, which is located opposite the HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD theater, which you keep not winning lottery tickets to, which really annoys you, which is not the point, the point is this taco shop, which requires a half hour queue, which has a secret menu cheese shell item that costs three extra dollars, which they dont tell you about, which shocks you upon receipt of the bill, and again when you take a bite, for it is wonderful, amazing, all the words, and over too soon. And the day after you first experience LOS TACOS NUMBER ONE you march to the gym and sign up for a monthly membership and you think alright i suppose all that fuss was worth it after all.
x
Jem

#2031 | The measure of a month

It feels like both a lifetime and barely the first axis of an inhale but the truth is it has only been a month (already been a month) since I moved to New York, where in no order of priority I have:

1. Started school

2. Created the hole of silence wherein my first two weeks reside – which I will one day have to unpick, I know

3. Went into the wine shop only one time and declared loudly (dramatically!) “I have had a long day, and i want something cheap and good.”

4. Replied to the man who tried to sway me in favor of the forty dollar bottle (then you should treat yourself, girl!) definitively, confrontationally, firmly – “I am a broke student and your country is making me hemorrhage money, show me the cheapest bottle that you would still actually drink!”

5. (Please.) Always affixing the concession after, after the act.

6. Went through eight housemates (some of whom overlap) and two houses.

7. Assassinated eleven goldfish but only in my mind’s invention.

8. Took the uber of a famous-ass youtuber and told him i disapproved of his pranks, then realised how old i sounded, had a minor crisis, shut up, all in the backseat of the uber. Stared out at the skyline in silence. Thought to myself: well, that’s that on that.

9. Turned twenty seven!!!!!!

10. Over the legendary momofuku noodles which I must admit do live up to the ~hype~, interviewed Tash which I am happy about, shot his portrait which I am also happy about. Good lighting and good conversation and good noodles! Interview is up on the Columbia Journal.

11. Bought one zillion second hand things to construct the semblance of a living space

12. Made myself responsible for four houseplants, was given another two. We will see.

13. Read eleven books and wrote none.

14. Sigh.

15. Did I procrastinate?

16. Went 48 hours without talking at one point, which is a minor miracle for me. After that I started talking to myself (not unusual).

17. Felt very attacked when in a lecture, Joshua Cohen when debating the first vs third person said: “If a character talks to themselves all the time, they’d be like, totally crazy!”

18. All of you talk to yourselves too.

19. Tried and failed to get some logistical matters in Singapore settled. Honestly the biggest pain of moving is probably the minor administrative details that slide like grains of dirt under the raw skin of relocation, only to resurface in itches; irritations under scabs, pressing upwards demanding attention, threatening inflammation.

20. Still, I chose this.

x
Jem

#2030 | Some observations about New York so far

1. The back of most toilet doors dont have bag hooks 🙁

2. So many dogs

3. It is possible to be attacked by spiderman in Central Park with a PMD and have your arm broken as a result, which is exactly what happened to my housemate last week.

4. People don’t like, but still use, Amazon here

5. So many gyms. So many pasta shops.

6. Today I asked someone what Adderall was after getting caught up with the Caroline Calloway drama, and she was so shocked she said: “oh my god, I cannot believe I just heard someone say that sentence what is Adderall”

7. Suddenly I understand why everyone keeps asking me – are you using any substances – and I understand that it is not personal, and that I, for the most part, pass as painstakingly regular.

8. Where are all the cats, I asked, and someone told me, this is a city, if a cat went on the streets it would die immediately. I heard this and in my minds eye I saw the four cats that live in my void deck back home and the seventeen that live on my street and I knew that it is not the abstract city that kills cats, it is New York City, which consumes the independent street felines, for it is only the ones on a leash, or reared to venture only as far as the fire escape, that make it out alive.

x
Jem

#2028 | (It’s been waiting for me)

Untitled

Mid flight – SIN-SFO/SFO-NYC

Here I am in transit at San Francisco Airport, waiting for my flight to New York, which will then propel me headfirst into a dream which has been a decade in the making. When I first said, at 18, that I’d move to New York some day, everyone dismissed it as the words of a young dreamer. At 23 I said again I would move there within five years and people were amused at the conviction of someone who could not possibly know what she was declaring. Occasionally I catch echoes of the same sentiment in myself, and know that I might have eye-rolled my 18-year-old self too. I have reminded myself many times over the last few years not to laugh off the airy dreams of younger girls. I hold the naïveté of hopefulness in both hands and blow on it.

But it is not New York the physical space that I seek but the heterotopias of my mind. I want to stand at the cross junctions of metropolitan chaos and watch it collide with the literary heartbeat of the city. I want to watch the ways a people can be both chained and set free by ideals. There are things I know I am looking for and things that I can sense but cannot yet name. I am starting at my dream school in my dream city and I cannot help but wonder if I have reached the dream version of myself that deserves these things yet? Probably not. And so I am excited but also nervous and afraid. But yet here I am in San Francisco Airport, waiting.

I know it may not be what I imagined; I know the New York in my head has formed out of half-impressions from a nostalgic age. I know it may not be all I’ve dreamed of. But the difference between that dream and my reality is what I find myself searching for. In that space between realities I will make my own. And then we shall see.

x
Jem

#2027| equality or fomo?

Untitled

If a marriage is a partnership then how is it that it is always the man who exerts himself jumping through loops and performing feats of love to win the hand of the woman, who is indeed a woman, and not chattel to be bought or haggled over –

Anyway I also proposed to Shane.

x
Jem