Sunday, June 7, 2009

(trying to) take it easy

Last week, I met my friend J. for lunch in Washington Square Park, which is slooooooooowly coming out of its interminable renovation. Parts of it are so lovely now, and I was looking forward to grabbing lunch from the Dosa Man and parking on a bench for a good long chat.

It was one of my first trips to NYC since my return from Paris, and the city really had it in for me: New York and I are just not getting along these days. On the plus side, the Dosa Man was great - not only was the Man himself friendly and charming, but the food was fab, and blissfully cheap.

On the debit side: how could I forget what a crazy magnet Wash Sq Park is? I know some of you non-New Yorkers are thinking, Wait, isn't New York in and of itself a crazy magnet? Well, yes, of course, but there's crazy, and then there's crazy. Like the guy sitting very still on a bench, letting literally dozens of pigeons roost on him and climb over him and do god knows what (*shudder*). Or the guy in fatigues, sitting very stiffly on a bench, rocking a bit from side to side, tapping his feet rapidly, and muttering, and from time to time jumping up and spitting fulsomely and at great length into the trashcan. It's hard to enjoy a pile of delicious-but-not-very-attractive Indian food in the midst of such graphic disgustingness.

And then it started to rain.

But we're tough city folk, J. and I, so we persevered. I had some more Paris stories to tell, along with a bag of chocolate-covered pralined almonds to bequeath, and J. had very encouraging news about his job search.

Now, when fellow out-of-workers tell me about their diligent and productive efforts to find work, I tend to have a series of painful twinges. My thought process goes something like this:

1. "Wow, that sounds like a great job."
2. "{Insert friend's name here} is really organized and motivated."
3. "I bet he/she will find something really soon."
4. "I wonder if I should be looking for a job."
5. "Ohmigod, what am I doing with my life???"

Zero to sixty in 3.2 seconds, max.

This time, however (maybe due to jet lag), I didn't stomp on the panic accelerator. I just thought, "That sounds like a great job, I hope J. gets it, maybe I'll have another chocolate almond."

This is either progress (i.e., I'm not letting others' ambitions determine what is right for me), or a serious problem (i.e., I'm deluded in thinking I can continue to coast along like this, or I'm too insecure to even look for a job, or I'm so lost and adrift that I don't even know where to start, or I'm lazier than even I thought). Either way, I was relieved not to be spinning out into a state of anxiety that would typically last several days.

You know, I think I'll consider that progress.


  1. Yes. It IS progress.

    And on the bright side Doonesbury might be relevant again. This Sundays one is applicable to you.


  2. The thing about the pigeon guy is that you're never really sure if he's alive or dead.

    And, I always prefer the loud crazies over the silent crazies -- since the loud ones are getting their ideas out of their heads while the silent ones with the crazy eyes are storing it up for one final blow out...

  3. ha! very good point, and a helpful tip for out-of-towners.

    Remonster: thanks for your comment, and your encouraging words, tho I'm not sure if I should be freaked out that you find a Doonesbury about homelessness applicable to my situation - yikes!