Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Leave country - check
Do Stand-up comedy - check
Do Improv - check
Run a marathon - half check!
I ran the Staten Island Half Marathon! I finished #1 in the category of women ages 25-35 with the last name of Turnbow. Even I can't believe it! Oh yeah, and got my picture on the New York Road Runners website. The photographer said I was the best photo of the morning. But, now that I'm seeing how many pictures he took (or how many people he told that to), I'm really glad I didn't show him my boobs like was my initial reaction to such a compliment.
On the train at 5am, I was probably the only person headed outside instead of "on in" after a long night of partying. I mean hey, I party. I probably watched "When Harry Met Sally" for the 17th time the night before, and I cried JUST as hard as all you 20-somethings, locked in a bathroom, digging your way out of a K-hole.
I arrived at the Staten Island Ferry at 6am. Awaiting the 6:30 ferry departure, I noticed that among the now hundreds of marathoners arriving, I was the only one eating breakfast. Either I'm the only hypoglycemic or everyone knows something I don't. It is my first big race after all. Sure, I'd run a 5K once, but my performance was down due to the chain-smoking in the parking garage prior. So now I'm eating, because I know my blood sugar (and my inner fat kid) would have it no other way.
The sun rose at the exact moment our ferry passed the State of Liberty. It was one of those moments where you realize where you are, why you're there and the things you'll hope to see another day. It was also followed by one of those moments where you plan to invent Freedom Fry Casserole with Toby Keith blaring in the background. And then you remember that you're not white trash, and you think Oh shit! I'm about to run 13.1 miles.
Then I did. Then I went home. The end.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
For all intents and purposes, the economy does seem to be on the upswing. After all, my landlord boldly proposed a 14 percent rental increase. But somehow what's being reported isn't translating into the street, as is evident from this trash can I took a moment to talk to.
This is David. David used to have a home in the suburban area of Ridgwood, Queens, where he stood proudly outside, collecting used go-gurt wrappers and full-priced tags from H&M. Due to lay-offs, the family he worked for had to move to a smaller home in a multi family rental, where dumpsters were provided as a collective. With no where to go, David made his way into the city, where I met him: broken, desperate and with tiny rat knawings at his once pedicured base.
Well...that's either what happend or the guy who made this sign struck big, dumped it, the economy IS on the upswing and my landlord is just a dick.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
If you've never been in a New York City subway, it has a way of being even dirtier than the street. Or rather, even "dirtier" than the street. It's here I experienced what I've learned to be yet another New York right of passage.
It's not uncommon for the New York female to become immune to staring problems; wearing headphones even when the IPod is broken or having to out right ignore perposterous advances. Sitting in a corner seat on the subway, I was practicing patience with a "starer" sharing a bucket bench with me. Being the benefit-of-the-doubty-NW-girl-at-my-core that I am, I told myself he was probably just reading the emergency instructions posted behind me. We've all read the emergency instructions, overhead advertisements and gay subway poetry, avoiding all human contact as is customary of many subway commuters.
Just to make sure it was innocent, I glanced over at the man. He had his backpack on his lap and appeared to be playing with the extra fabric of his pants, reminding me of the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where the woman thought Larry David was rubbing his man parts when in fact a clothing manufacturer had provided him more fabric than was necessary for that area. I had a giggle in my head as I replayed this episode. And am again right now. Oh, Larry David.
What are the chances he is actually playing with fabric. I'll just lean over and take a quick peek. Oh...that's a dick. A wet one. Ew.
I got up from the seat, right as my subway stop approached, with an expression full of disgust. The man sitting across from us laughed more raucously than any jacker-offer witness should ever do, and said "I thought you guys were together!". YOU DID!?! I can picture it. "Hey babe, wanna do a little foreplay and jack off next to me on the train while I pretend to be fading in and out of commuter snooze? Don't worry, I'M old enough to buy the beer. Just hope your traditionalist Hindu family doesn't mind the race-mixing. Let's DO this!"
At this point, the "Jack" we'll call him, has become less sociopathically interesting than the guy who knew it was happening, assumed I liked it and couldn't be bothered to change seats. After all, Jack was enjoying the sight of an adult woman - not a child, nor a rat (it happens). Frankly, until that moment I had been feeling fat that day. With a little skip in my step, I walked away with a story. I love a story. Me and my New York love story. To be continued....
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I've never left the country before. Okay, I've been to British Columbia, but a friend once described our neighbor so accurately as "Canada: The United States Biggest State Park"
Now, I fully understand that going to Puerto Rico doesn't count as leaving the country either, but it is apart from the continental US, which is a big step in the right direction for me.
Lesson 1: BRING OUT YOUR DEAD .... Milkmen?:
The Ice cream trucks of Puerto Rico have a dull, constant bong as they stroll through the neighborhoods, during inappropriate times of dusk. Unlike American ice cream trucks, which are so cheery they nearly drive one to kill, the PR truck bell makes it sounds as if someone has already died. It nearly discourages poor, late night choices of dairy consumption. Nearly.
Lesson 2: ROAD RULES...minus all the sexy singles desperate for air time: It is LEGAL for drivers to run red lights after midnight due to increased car-jackings in secluded areas.
Lesson 3: HONKY TONK
Puerto Rican drivers are smart enough to realize that every daytime hour is technically after midnight. They also know they're way around a horn, a pot hole and a general responsibility that they stand unified in finger pointing.
Lesson 4: BLISSFUL IGNORANCE: If the Sarah McClachlan themed humane society commercial makes you want to change the channel, then don't come to Puerto Rico. A rampant population of stray cats and dogs will eat out your soul instead of your eyes ... as you'd prefer.
Lesson 5: DEATH BY CHOCOLANT: Ants like chocolate. A lot. Do not leave unconsumed if your goal was to eat the whole bag. Which I've heard some people like to do. You don't know them. Shut up.
Lesson 6: THE SUN WILL COME OUT ... TOMORROW: During the rainy season, sun comes out in the morning. If you're going to head to the beach make sure you're there before 2pm. Or, like myself, learn to love the soul cleansing that comes with warm, oceanic rain.
Lesson 7: MUE MUE MUE, MUE MUE MUE... MUEVE CULO. MUEVE CULO!!: Eat what you want. The Puerto Ricans do not shy away from a junky trunk.
Lesson 8: THEY DON'T ALL EAT ALIKE: Refrain from telling the locals you left something back at the "Mexican" restaurant. (I did non-ironically, Tollemache! Don't let it happen to me in CR)
Lesson 9: MI AMIGA ME ESTA HOSPIDANDO (or whatever): If the only spanish word you know is "gracias" it'll get you by with a patient and gracious local by your side (Gracias, mi amiga Betania!).
Lesson 10: EAT, PRAY, LOVE: Cliche' is the new 30. Taking mini vacations to soul search, heal, accept, feel and all that mushy shit are totally cool with me now. I'm nothing to anyone else without my own self worth and the peace to move forward, believe and give. Careful, miserable people and general douchebaggers - I may put a smile on your face or a warmth in your heart.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Is riding a bike the only way to travel Brooklyn? I've been told so and only 19 months after moving here, I've jumped on board. Riding a bike can be dangerous business in this town, but luckily, at nearly 33 years old I've found it acceptable to be cautious. Dorky cautious. I bought a helmet - not that dorky. I relearned my arm signals for left/right - a little dorky. When I get nervous in large intersections, I get off my bike and walk it across the street in the crosswalk with my helmet still on - embrace it. In fact, one of these times I may just walk about town with just the helmet on and ask for bus directions all day.
Bike safety came to my attention in an interesting way this time around. When on a 1st date, the guy asked me if I would stay with a man I was newly dating whom was in a bike accident while not wearing a helmet. I answered without hesitation "I don't know you well enough to stick around". I've never liked vegetables and at 33 it's hard to teach an old dog a new trick. Especially when that trick's primary toy is covered in brains. And why should I expect different for myself? I don't ...wish brain damage on anyone, but mostly not on myself. P.S. we didn't go out again.
I may get scrapes. I may lose teeth. I may get both, finally possessing all the physical qualifications of a Norman Rockwell muse (see pic). But that doesn't stop me. With full-exposure of my borough ahead of me and full-exposure of my fellow subway commuters behind me (post soon to follow!) - I'm ready to take this world by the bulls balls!
That's not how the saying goes, is it.
Monday, January 11, 2010
After years of being told I was "funny", I knew that stand-up was something I really wanted to try. But like Tyra says on ANTM "just 'cuz you're the prettiest girl in high school, doesn't mean you can be a model". B-b-burn, T-Rex. But it IS true that just because you're funny doesn't mean you'd be a good comedian. But, you never know until you try and you never wonder if you just fucking do it. The only thing holding me back is my crippling stage fright. Oh, yeah ...that.
I hadn't performed in front of anyone since the 5th grade when I played Mowgli's wolf mother in my elemntary school's rendition of "The Jungle Book". I stood up there, 11 years of baby fat stuffed into my "wolf" costume (heather gray sweatsuit set) and delivered the line "Oh Mowgli, we'll miss you so". Running off stage, I knew right then and there that I would never do that again. The silence, the judgment. Sure it was the opening scene, but where was my applause? I'm 11. Dicks.
Needless to say, that 21 year promise has become the brick wall in the way of my desire to do stand-up. So how in God's name would I conquer this? I needed a supportive environment in front of a controlled audience to practice, so I signed up for an Improv class. It was just the thing I needed. So tonight (after much mirror time and a dry bit run to Seattle's own Dirty Darliene Parker), I got on an open mic stage tonight at Manhattan's Bowery Poetry Club. There were probably 30 other performers and ne'ery do an NYC open mic have people in the audience who are there to watch. For those unaware of New York's comedic underbelly, it's a tough joint. The audience usually consists of other performers waiting to get on stage themselves. And frankly, they're usually not laughing because:
1. You're not funny
2. They're thinking about their own routine
3. They envy you (not a real concern of mine) ....or don't like your shirt (also ...not a real concern of mine).
No matter which way you roll the dice, they're not laughing and your feedback is limited.
My friend Sarah was called on stage 2nd, leans over says "Ooh, I'm nervous!" and proceeds on stage. She's nervous? She's been doing stand-up for 10 years - I'm fucked. Called on stage 7th, I was happy to just have it over with. It was either perform or have a stroke. I was shaky and sweaty, yet somehow managed to spit out the jokes to mostly utter silence. With amazing support from friends and hilarious comedians Sarah Tollemache, Daniel Mahoney and Jonathon Powley, I conquered my fears and survived to bomb again someday.
Before I left, another of the nights performers, Amy Stiller (STILLER), the self-proclaimed "LaToya of the Stiller Family" (pictured), congratulated me and said I did a great job. After admiring Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara's ability to create someone who looked like BOTH of them, I was SO humbled. Someone SO funny, who was raised by true comedic Gods, thinks I'm funny - if even for a minute.
Thank you, New York, I'm having a magical time. Now, send cute boys.