There are 80,000 elevators in New York City

Last week at lunch a friend told me a horrific story about an elevator accident that happened in New York City. There was a man alone in the elevator, or a woman maybe, or there were a lot of people. Already we’re getting to the problem, which is that I’ve forgotten most of the details.

But now that I’m in New York City I can’t shake the feeling I had when I heard this story, and I thought going over the details again might help with closure. So I googled “elevator accident New York City.”

Never google “elevator accident New York City” when you’re in New York City.

I’ve been googling a lot of things lately, most of them elevator-related. I also googled the population of New York City, it's 8 million. 8 million people is so many people, traveling in so many elevators, and there are just bound to be so many accidents. There are accidents in New York City elevators almost every day, it seems like. You will never reach the end of the list of recent elevator accidents, it’s just a numbers problem.

But I’m a number too this week, and there are elevators everywhere, waiting to make me a statistic.

In my imagination the elevator accident is usually unnervingly fast. I’m speared by some sort of metal beam that takes me before I even have time to scream. 

But another thing to think about is a slow breakdown, where I’m trapped in the elevator with other people for minutes, hours, or days. That’s what I think every time a stranger gets on the elevator with me. 

It’s me and them now, I think, this is who I spend my last minutes with.

A woman in an enormous jacket steps on, she’s very stylish and she mouths a silent greeting, so silent that I wonder if maybe English isn’t her first language, and she doesn’t feel like revealing her accent to strangers. 

Well we’ll find out soon enough, I think, soon this elevator car will fall 40 floors and we’ll both be saying a whole lot.

I like looking at strangers’ faces in elevators because they rarely share my look of panic. It’s calming to see people who blindly assume they’re going to arrive at the floor they’ve selected on the metal wall next to us.

When I’m alone I worry most. Yesterday morning, alone in an elevator, I selected 12, and the display went from L, to 2, to 3, to 4, to CE. Are you as freaked out as I was? CE, what does that mean? CE is the button you hit on a calculator when you want to undo something. 

There was no one there to smile at me so I started a panicked monologue with the elevator display. We were still moving, but I didn't like the vibe I was getting. I thought of all the times in high school I’d recklessly cleared away a number with a thoughtless tap of the CE button. 

“NOT CE!” I whispered loudly to the display. “THE ANSWER IS 12. 12.” 

“CE.” the display kept saying, without ever pausing to take a breath. That was an elevator trip that really would have benefitted from a calm strange face to share it with.

What does CE stand for in an elevator? Do most elevators claim people with strangers or alone? Are there cameras in elevators, maybe on the ceiling? I’ve never even looked. I’m trying to stop thinking about it, at least for a while. I’ll start thinking about it again when I’m not in New York City.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Don't look at me.

I came to a coffee shop because I need to focus but then two Really Loud women sat down next to me, but I don’t mind.

They’re sitting within arms reach - so close I could easily touch them - but I didn’t look up when they sat down so I don’t know what they look like. Not looking up at theses two women is one of my greatest regrets.

“Well she’s having a lot of luck lately.” says the woman closest to me. Close enough for a very loose hug, even, the kind of hug you might give someone at the gym.

“What she does now is go to ComicCon and cosplay conventions and gives out stacks of cards that say I saw you looking at me, and that’s not ok, I’m a person.

“That. Is. So. Great.” her friend exhales slowly.

“Right? It can be hard to say out loud but people need to know, that even though we look this way, the way we look, it’s not ok to look at us."

I have never wanted to look at two people more.

I wonder if I look up at them if they will notice. And if they notice, will they give me a card.

“That’s so empowering. And important, because looking is harassment. The occult circle in Seattle had harassment problems years ago and it was terrible. It ripped the witchcraft community apart.

As they paused for a moment of silence for the Seattle witchcraft community I looked at them quickly and they look like every other person I've ever seen in my life.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Don't touch my sports bras.

I wish there were two laundry machines in our building.

If I had two laundry machines in my building I could do loads of laundry at once, or do laundry with a friend, or cut a large area rug in half and put one side in each machine. 

Last week I put laundry in the washer, and came back an hour later (not very long!) and someone had put half my wet laundry in my laundry bag and spread the other half over the top of the dryer. I don't know what your worst nightmare is but that is mine. 

I moved my laundry to the dryer and spent thirty minutes panicking before I went down to retrieve it, hoping to avoid whoever touched it and BAD NEWS. The person who had moved every sports bra I own was standing right there in the storage-facility-locker-sized room with me. It was the mean guy who likes computers. The mean guy who likes computers is usually sitting on our porch with a computer looking mean and busy.

"Oh, moving them was no problem at all," said the formerly-mean and now weirdly-nice guy who likes computers.  "The only reason I moved them is I was going to dry them for you, but then I realized maybe you wanted some of it to air dry, so I stopped moving them to the dryer and put the rest in the bag."

I said something friendly as I calculated how many seconds it would take me to get out of the laundry room.

Our laundry room has a cool feature where the cement floor dips down in a spot right in front of the dryer, so all this gross brown water pools on the floor just sitting and festering and if your hands are shaking because your neighbor is intently watching you pick up socks it’s the exact perfect place to drop each clean sock until none of them are clean at all anymore. 

"There’s no way those are dry enough already," said the nice guy who likes computers.

“Well, yeah, well, somehow, somehow they are.” I said eloquently and casually, as a wet pair of jeans hit the bottom of my laundry bag and made that loud sound soaking wet jeans make.


If I were in a Meg Ryan movie I would have probably thirteen more terrible interactions with this guy before we would fall in love just in time for the end credits and then hopefully I would meet Nora Ephron on set and we'd become friends forever.

I'm not sure what movie I'm actually in, but it's the sort where I dry my laundry on my bed, sleep on a damp mattress for two nights, and completely re-arrange my schedule so I never see this person again. But it's also a movie where even my neighbors that seem mean offer to dry my laundry for me for no reason. And my socks don't smell that bad even though I dropped them in brown water. And one of my other neighbors has a cat with thumbs.

It's not a movie I'd pay to see, but if it's on Netflix it's worth checking out.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Why Being a Girl is Fine.

Here are the facts. Girls aren’t very strong or very fast and they seem scientifically worse at throwing things. No matter how many cross-fit classes I go to or push-ups I make myself do in the morning, that random homeless man who hasn’t been to the gym in ever is still going to have no problem beating me up.

We don’t make Wikipedia articles and we don’t make very much money. We have babies, and we have to sit down to pee, and if life wasn’t bad enough we have to have ten years more of it than boys. I can’t open water bottles by myself.

Being a boy seems so much better than being a girl that if I had gotten to choose, I would have chosen boy a hundred times. Unless, right when it was time to choose they handed out paper and pencils to everyone and then Leandra Medine came and sat by me and was like “Hey I’m putting down girl” and I was like “ME TOO LEANDRA MEDINE. Anything you do I’ll also do.”

Leandra Medine in sunglasses

I like that scenario because I meet Leandra Medine in it. And she sort of thinks I’m cool, right? I mean, she sits by me. We’re sort of friends in that scenario?

Anyway, I’ve made a few bad decisions but here is the good news: a list of Reasons Being a Girl is Fine.

Girls can interact with strange children.

I can walk up to anyone’s child anywhere and start talking to them, and the kid probably won’t be scared, and their parents won’t either. When boys do this everyone gets in trouble. I’m not saying I want to do this, but I can. If this doesn’t impress you, you won’t love the rest of this list.

I’m pretty sure we don’t sweat as much.

I’m not going to do any research on this, but it seems like we do. Sweat seems mostly bad. It seems a little good, so we sweat a little, but that’s all we need. Which is great news because girl deodorant always contains glitter or mango and is named after gentle birds or whispering. Win win, girls.

I'm not sure what this is for but it's called "truth or pear" and it's definitely not for sweat.

I'm not sure what this is for but it's called "truth or pear" and it's definitely not for sweat.

Girls can like anything.

Girls can say “Oh man growing up I was such a tomboy, I loved Legos and I was super into sports” and people think “This is a really cool girl.” Boys can say “Oh, I was obsessed with soap operas and dieting to give myself better skin” and, in a few years or maybe a few months it will be totally cool but society is a little behind right now. Right now girls are the ones who can like anything. Ok that’s a lame reason. But what about clothes, girls can wear boy clothes if they want. Girls have twice the clothing options. I’m trying to pad this list a bit.

We don’t go bald.

If I had to lie awake an hour worrying about balding for every hour I lie awake wording about gingivitis and osteoporosis I would never get any sleep.

Better odds of beating a shark.

Made that one up.

Lotions are ours.

You know how when you hear about to International Women’s Day and you think “cool!” and then you think “wait, does that mean all the other 364+ days are International Men’s Day?” Well, they are, but don’t worry about it, just go to the pharmacy and go to the lotion aisle: eighty different kinds of lotion and maybe three are especially for men. All the rest are ours, girls. It’s like a moisturizing version of that scene in Lion King. Sometimes I worry for a second that I have velvet instead of skin. (Three out of four people didn’t understand this sentence so I’m breaking it down: my skin is velvety soft.)

First dibs out of burning ships and buildings.

This has never come in handy before but it’s a nice-to-have.

Being a girl seems to get more fine every day.

Just 50 years ago we weren’t allowed to wear pants, and 500 years ago we were livestock. Show me a horse that’s in the senate, I’d love to see it, but until you do, I’m going to say girls have getting better best. By the time you get to the end of this list it will be more fine to be a girl than when you started. By the year 3000 it’s going to be insane. And, like I already complained about at the beginning, we live a really long time so we’ll get to hang out in more of it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

How do you afford your rock and roll lifestyle

I love when my apartment is clean but I don't mind it when it's messy and I can explain why in one word: squalor.

squalor definition

Doesn't the word "squalor" sound fancy? Like cool expensive dirty clothes mixed around on the floor with discarded feathers of exotic animals? Like buying a new apartment because you forgot your old address? Like not knowing if that's flakes of cereal in the bottom of your purse of flakes of gold? (It's flakes of cereal.)

I can read the actual definition of squalor thousand times and I still think it sounds like the fanciest thing I've ever heard.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...