Tag Archives: NYC

Every Damn Year

I move every year. Sometimes for price reasons, for neighborhood reasons, sometimes to flee infestations, to flee singlehood, to flee relationships. Sometimes it is roommates doing these things and my end of the lease is collateral damage. Changing position within the city feels like the natural extension of the shifting social currents that have been pushing me through to adulthood over the past decade.

I am famous for moving. One of the books I’m trying to get rid of is signed by the author with a cheerful note commenting that the two times said author met me, I’d been in the middle of moving. I’ve published essays about it. So it feels logical that, in my mother’s words, I’d be “pretty good at it by now.”

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Goodbye to all this.

One of the things I know from moving all the time is that in the week before a move, you stay up all night. Having spent most of the daylight hours procrastinating by reading through your old bank statements and being mesmerized by the Blue Planet DVDs you put in for background noise, nighttime is the right time for packing. You also stay up all night with that roving anxiety that is your physical self reacting to imminent change. That too.

One of the obsessive insomniac motifs keeping me company this week is how I am about to experience a dramatic loss of street cred. Explanation:

Item 1: I am moving from New York to Los Angeles shortly.

Item 2: I have lived in New York for ten years.

Item 3: I have never been to Los Angeles.
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All the trappings of modern life

Here is a list of housewares and furniture I have accrued over the past 8 years:

  • 3 sofas
  • 3 beds (twin, queen, full)
  • 5 bookshelves
  • hundreds of books
  • 2 comfy chairs
  • 2 kitchen islands
  • 3 clothes bureaus
  • Countless dishes, cookware and other thingamabobs

Here are the things I currently have:

  • bed
  • footstool
  • bookshelf
  • about 35 books
  • set of wine glasses
  • 3 plates and a bowl

You’re welcome, curb-hunters of the world! It’s moving time again.

Review: The Ask

The AskThe Ask by Sam LipsyteMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Ask evoked bouts of uncontrolled laughter and wincing during my daily commutes from my apartment in Astoria to my fundraising job in Manhattan. Why all the wincing? Because Milo, Lipsyte’s lovably unlikeable protagonist, is a mediocre development officer who lives in Astoria and works in Manhattan. This book is a caricature of class, professional and neighborhood relations that skewers the conceits of every demographic it presents.

It is clear that Lipsyte admires the rare person who works hard, has clear expectations, puts forth their best. But he does not fill his book with such people. Instead we have the nebbishes, the whiners, Gen-Xers coming of age in midlife, struggling to find affordable daycare and still maintain their edge. Coddled Milennials spout profanity and expect approval, taking their ambition and paperwork home with them to chicken wire cages in old Bushwick warehouses. The unconscionable privilege of the privileged, the righteous, tragic anger of the non-privileged, and the comical failure of those who squander their privilege.

There are a lot of ideas in The Ask, and you can pick and choose from them. For the most part, Lipsyte’s rapid, wit-infused dialog makes up for in fun what it lacks in believability. Those of us steeped in Joss Wheedon-speak should have no problem with this. Milo is stomach-turning at times, I did get tired of hearing his sexual inclinations to each and every woman he encountered, but it’s forgivable. We’re rooting for him by the end. For all its wild parody this book is spot on in its characterizations, and extremely enjoyable.

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