In Which There are Things More Exciting Than Sleep

Sleep and I have never gotten on all that well. When there’s anything else to do—and I do mean anything, work, play, bingeing on free documentaries—my sleep is the first to suffer, which is how I reached my current state: already exhausted on Monday and wondering how on earth I’m going to make it through the rest of the week. So much so that this is the second draft (from scratch) of this particular blog. A little too much tired and grumpy was showing in the previous iteration. But let’s go back and explore just exactly how I managed this particular little somnic coup.

As I rolled out of work on Wednesday, it was chiropractor time followed by dinner and a gossip sesh. I met one of my inimitable lady friends at a Midtown burger joint where, two pints each and a burger later, we decided it might be time to actually get our butts to dance. As I tipsily traversed the dance floor, I wondered how I ever survived Ireland of the eight rounds in two hours phenomenon. My liver declined to comment.

Having stayed out until the end of Westie night and then maybe made a quick trip to the office to run off a few more flyers on my way home (it’s surprisingly peaceful at 1am), I was already a bit behind the eight ball for Thursday and behind was nowhere I wanted to be. I started my morning with a valiant charge at my to-do list before having to run off to pick up equipment on my way to a demo day where we were showing some technology.

When I got to the venue, I found that the table map they had given us had been binned for some insane ad hoc adventure. After eventually being assigned a space, I set up and set to conducting a few last minute tests on one of our devices that I had only received the day of. It did not go well. Hence the awkward conundrum I found myself in on Skype to Ireland trying desperately to troubleshoot our technology while one of the charming organizers presented herself at my table and informed me that, despite there being a table behind me which was empty but for a label, I was going to have to pack up all of my gear and consolidate myself into half my previous space. Apparently the ad hoc system had left them with one more exhibitor than they had tables, quelle suprise. I could pretend that I was not judging, but let’s be honest, I was full of irritation and at least a little scorn as I pointed out the empty table assigned to one (absent) group and was informed that “they’re on their way”. I would like to have known how importance was assigned and who had decided that the original table assignment could not be salvaged as at least a starting point for some semblance of organization, but I digress.

Despite my delightful go ‘round with the organizational crew, the event itself was very productive and we ended our day with half our original number of flyers and a lot of interested and interesting visitors. I did not, however, rest long on my laurels. No, I packed up our booth, dropped all the gear in my apartment and headed down to Brooklyn for my literacy endeavours. After an insane day of noise and people, it was so good to just zone in and focus on one thing at a time for a while.

Just over an hour later, having wrapped up another chapter of Frindle with my student, I then headed to a nearby brewery to catch up with my workmates. It was the office happy hour and I was very grateful for some relaxed conversation and a drink. And then, it was finally time to take the train home to rest.

Somehow despite going to bed at a reasonable hour, the following day had a spectacularly farcical beginning. I forgot I was supposed to be at an off-site meeting, hustled out of the office, got there 10 minutes early, and realized I’d forgotten the thing I was meant to be showing. So I ran back, grabbed the gear, got back on the train, finally made it to the meeting, and discovered that one of the two other meeting participants had gone to the right address in the wrong borough. My partner in crime wanted to reschedule, but the fellow in the room didn’t see why we shouldn’t proceed so I showed our tech and sold our idea and suddenly was presenting it all a second time to two more, more important, stakeholders. Sometimes Fridays are just as hard as Mondays.

When I finally got out of the office, I headed home with all the best ambitions of salsa. I got as far as changing my clothes, but makeup and contacts just never happened and somehow I found myself curled up in bed watching movies instead. There are worse ways to spend a Friday.

Following my theme of chaos and muddleheadedness, I started Saturday by failing to attend two yoga classes. Yes, two. The first got cancelled just as I was heading out to grab my coffee and hop on the train so I decided to try a different one. I got all my gear, took the train to Washington Square, slurped down a smoothie, and realized that I had gotten the wrong time and the class was already half over. As compensation I decided to stroll down Broadway and indulge in a few sales. As it was nearly the end of the month, my budget kept me well and truly in check and soon enough I was back at home lazing around and gathering strength for the evening ahead. Somewhere around the time I realized that I’d only had a coffee and a smoothie, I drifted out to Williamsburg Pizza where I found myself with a slice of Sophia Loren the size of my head. It’s my favourite of their pizzas and the slices are always big but I swear this was a fifth of a pie! I sat outside to eat and was nearly blown away by the autumn wind before I gave up and scuttled back inside to while away the rest of my afternoon.

Come evening, I found myself somewhere in Greenwich Village at an Irish pub celebrating a birthday. We started with food and drinks but soon enough migrated back to a private room where the proliferation of westies resulted in no little bit of dancing. One of the leaders was even a Pacific Northwestie, one of those delightful creatures of stretch, ooze, and constant connection. Can you tell I miss my West Coast westies?

Sometime before 11 a subset of the party split off to head to Brooklyn. Another westie had planned a westie bombing adventure of the warehouse hiphop variety. When we arrived, I found myself, for the first time in years, queuing outside of a club. I don’t even remember the last time I queued outside of a club. It could have been in China.

When we got in, we met the rest of our crew and got down to dancing. The music was good, but the DJ? Well, I have fondly dubbed him ADDJ and it is unclear to me whether he was trying to show us every song in his collection or just incapable of playing a single song from more than 15 seconds at a time. We rode the emotional rollercoaster of “omg, I love this song!… oh. never mind, I mean, I didn’t really want to hear it, I guess…” and the rough transitions for a while before we wandered over to the other, couchier room where we got a sliver of good music but soon the DJ changed and the music too.

Despite the questionable situation on the decks, the crew I was with was so incredibly solid, we had a blast. And then all of a sudden it was 3:30am and the end of the night sharks were circling so we decided to bail out into the darkness. Just as we were leaving the venue a fight kicked up behind us. The bouncers seemed to have it under control but then one of the assailants broke free of the crowd, ran across the street to a stoop, and grabbed something tucked away, hidden in a corner. Right about then we got the heck out of there. When someone goes for a hidden weapon, it’s never worth staying around to watch. We didn’t hear anything that sounded particularly violent or weaponized, but the sounds of angry male voices and shouting bouncers followed us more than a few blocks.

15 minutes later, we were sidled up to the bar in an all night diner ordering an insane mix of breakfast food and milkshakes. I ended up with  chicken fingers and a chocolate milkshake in three glasses: one large milkshake glass covered in a small mountain of whipped cream, and two tiny glasses of overflow each capped with it’s own little swirl of white. The chicken tenders were a bit questionable, but the milkshake was delicious and the waitresses were tops! They were exactly the kind of chatty, sassy ladies that you want in an all night diner, serving jokes and food in equal measure.

Sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 I slipped through my front door and met my roommate taking off his shoes. When you’re a dance person with a nocturnal streak, a musician with a party lifestyle is the safest sort of roommate—I know he’ll never complain about how late I come in, he’s usually even later. Because my brain is perverse and my internal clock is powerful, however, I found myself awake at 9am on Sunday. I did manage to crash back into bed for another 2 hours or so but by 11:30 I was awake and looking for food. I stopped in at Essex St Market where I indulged in fresh sliced bacon, lox, avocado, vine ripened tomatoes, and a loaf of gorgeous rye. The stall where I bought the lox also had a bit of peppered bluefish and, because Essex Market is marvellous, the shopkeeper added it to my bag of marine treasure at no additional cost.

When I got home with my bags of goodies, I put on the coffee pot and started crisping bacon. Very shortly thereafter I settled down to a slice of rye with avocado and lox, another slice with avocado, tomato, and beautiful bacon, and a big ol’ cup of caffeination. It was a lazy indulgent day of doing absolutely nothing right up until it was time for another westie bombing adventure at Brother Jimmy’s. I got a bit crazy with the menu and ended up with half of a grilled mac n cheese sandwich and a delicious glass of malbec. Honestly, the sandwich had potential but the american cheese between the bread and the mac had not really melted so I was left dreaming of the cheesy carby heaven that could have been.

It was another evening of good company and relaxed dancing but we weren’t done yet. Edem and I decided to drop by a nearby salsa night for what promised to be some excellent shows. The shows were in fact delightful and the dancing was even better, but by midnight, I was exhausted and my new shoes were asserting themselves quite powerfully, so I headed for the train. I got home just before 1am and collapsed into bed—very responsible, right? Perhaps not.

Today has been a struggle. I climbed over my daily mountain of work and slid down the other side into my evening. My roommate’s Argentine friend is staying with us briefly in the middle of a backpacking adventure and today was sorting and repacking in our kitchen. There is nothing like a pile of clothes and a well used backpack to make me hungry for plane tickets and adventure. Plus, having lived on the Lower East Side for almost a year now, sleeping in a hostel is liable to seem down right peaceful!

And now I am here, after an hour and fifteen of yoga (which took me from first draft grumpy to second draft fun), working my way through the end of an avocado and tapping away to you. I’d love to stay and enhance all the stories, or maybe even proofread, but I think that perhaps the only way to survive this week will be assiduous application of sleep so I’m off to explore that possibility.

Delightfully exhausted,
the Salsa Girl


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