In Which Life Continues in a Torrent

Man guys, I’m so sorry, the blog schedule’s just been all over the place of late. There’s a million possible excuses, but they all come down to one common thread: goddamn I’m tired and DST did not help a bit. Yes, just this past weekend, the monstrosity that is daylight savings time snuck up behind me and stole away a whole hour of precious beautiful sleep. So I’m extra tired, extra busy, and ever so slightly closer to the my vacation in May. It’s closing in on countdown time, but first, the blog.

De rigueur, last Tuesday was a long busy day at the office which I followed up with the oh so stimulating task of grocery shopping. Does it make me too terribly boring if I own that I really did enjoy my little flounce through Hong Kong Supermarket? I left with all the fixings for fried noodles and soup, as well as a dozen bao and a packet of dessert tofu. You’d be excited too.

Come Wednesday we were staring down the barrel of another Nor’easter but there would be no snow day. Instead we would drag our sorry butts into work to watch the snow rise and the wind swirl and wait patiently through the “open as normal” notifications rolling one after another across our inboxes. At 2:30 they finally pulled the plug, but by then I was only an hour and a half from the end of my day and it didn’t seem worth it, so I rode out the rest of the afternoon and then headed to the tunnels. The joy an underground commute is that generally it’s impervious to weather. Flooding is another thing entirely but in general storms leave it unaffected, so my commute was uneventful with only a bit of a slip’n’slide from Delancey to my door where I hiked up the stairs hauled off all my gear, shoved some food in my face, and changed into dance clothes so I could head on out into the storm again.

Halfway through the second round of sidewalk slip’n’slide, I made the rather unfortunate discovery that my beloved black boots were not as water tight as expected. Once upon a time they were nigh impervious, but now it seems I’ve walked a weakness into the sole and it was sock soup for days. Because I’m resourceful and also not a classy girl, I spent my first ten minutes after arriving at dance drying my socks under a hand dryer. Like I said, I’m not a classy girl. With dry socks I enjoyed a quiet but fun night at dance and by the time we headed back out into the night the Nor’easter was gone and only the cold remained.

Thursday I skidded out of the office at the last possible moment to catch a train that carried me into the square only 10 minutes late for the talk I was trying to attend. It was part of the Text as Data series, a series of talks which I try to attend to convince my sorry butt to learn to code before I try to crawl back into the cozy, welcoming arms of linguistics research. This time the talk was considering conversational dynamics and how information flows map to rhetorical effect. The linguist in me was rapt.

Almost as soon as the Text as Data talk wrapped up, I was back out into the night heading down to the Financial District to catch a panel night hosted by a local GIS group. All of the panelists were women and their personal stories were amazing. They talked about how they seemingly slipped and fell into their careers and into a deep love of their work. One of the women was a Chinese language major who managed to be one of the first on the ground at Bloomberg (yes, that Bloomberg, the one with the terminals) before eventually landing in GIS and city agencies. Perhaps there’s hope for me yet?

On Friday I wobbled out of work and crashed into my bed to lounge about for a bit before my evening really kick off. I had all the best intentions of taking my glasses in to get the lenses replaced with my new prescription. It turns out that a Warby Parker lens replacement takes over a week and the thought of wearing contacts for a full week just seems horrific. So instead of taking my frames in for rehab, I spent the best part of my evening trawling through cheap frames online, deciding upon a pair to replace my current beloved hipster frames while they go in for a redux. After a truly silly amount of time trying frames on my photograph, I picked a pair of plain black wayfarers which, frames and add ons included, was less than $40. I have it on good authority that this particular purveyor of affordable frames is in fact half decent, but we shall see.

Having finally settled on some glasses, I popped in a pair of contacts and climbed onto the trusty old D train, Bronx-ward bound. It had been a shamefully long time since I last made it up to Yamulee but this week I had no excuse to skip it, one of the dancers from my Dublin days was in town and he was headed to Yamulee. Yes, Rui, of Wednesday practice and DJ-ing fame was in the city, so obviously I had to go.

It was a bit of a strange night at Yamulee, they had Italian guests and seemed a bit more interested in hanging out and partying than dancing, but it was so good to see Rui and to get a little re-up of that painfully rare Dublin On2. I hadn’t realize how much I’d missed it! That’s probably one of the most exciting things about social dance. Like languages and dialects, each dance is different, and each is danced differently in every place you find it. I may never be a true polyglot in linguistic terms, but I can communicate with dancers from all over the world.

After a few hours of dance, I climbed back onto a D train down to the Lower East Side. It was a long sleepy ride home but I made it and fell face first into bed to try to get a few hours of sleep before morning.

Though I wanted nothing more than to sleep the day away, the morning saw me schlepping to Brooklyn Heights for a day of learning from the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYCEM). It was four hours of class split by an hour of lunch in which we learned about the basics of emergency management, the operations of NYCEM, the work of NYCEM’s Logistics team, and the role of logistics in emergency management. Much as I would probably have a heart attack within my first few years of working there, I feel like I would be very well utilized in an emergency management logistics team–nothing like intense panic to make me cool as a cucumber and ferociously efficient and effective. I can’t imagine that it would be good for me or that I would ever actually do it, but I feel like it would suit my viciously analytical and efficiency focused work persona. It will sit on a back burner beside all of my other passing career inspirations.

After my day of education, I headed into Midtown to meet Jessie for pre-dance dinner. Jessie managed to track down a slightly divey and totally delicious little Turkish place just around the corner from dance. It was pure heaven. We ate baba ghanoush and kibbeh and drank ayran and beautiful turkish tea and just as it was time to order dessert, the third musketeer, Patrick rolled up to share some cinnamon coated milk custard and pistachio baklava. Can we talk about ambrosia? Because that was totally it and so dangerously close to dance. If I get fat on Turkish food, at least it will be supporting the lovely Instanbullu who served us.

Dance was a standard Saturday out at westie but with the added bonus that halfway through my commute, DST kicked in and I lost an hour of my life and my sleep. Is the word devastated too dramatic?

The next morning, I peeled myself out of bed, cleaned the apartment, did my laundry, and dragged my exhausted carcass to contemporary via bagel and schmear. It was a sub, but god was it beautiful! I was, as always, a bit of an uncoordinated awkward panda, but I learned and I worked and for now, for me, that’s what’s most important. One of my friends was absolutely killing it though. It just seemed to suit his movement so well and he just attacked it! I know such talented people here!

After contemporary, we crossed town to Grand Central Terminal to catch Metro North out to White Plains to put some practice on our west coast swing. It was very productive and only a little bit nerve wracking. Most of the folks I was practicing were well above me in terms of competitive rank and sheer skill, but who better to learn with, I guess! Two hours of practice later, we headed back to the city. Once in the city, the trains were a hot mess and the weather was baltic. So, with a dying phone, I decided to work some MTA Magic. Normally the return from the GCT would include a 12 minute walk through the cold, but normally wasn’t an option (because the MTA loves us so much), so I hopped off Metro North in Harlem, jumped a 5 train south with a slightly ragged looking cockatoo, changed to an F train at Lex 59/63 with only three short blocks of walking out in the cold, and in an entirely reasonable amount of time was safely home under my quilt. The transit obsession in this city is real, valuable, and totally valid. I rewarded myself with pizza and the resulting tummy ache.

Monday was another busy in the office as we ramp up for our big data collection this weekend. After work I wandered up to the Square to take in another panel conversation. This one was focussed on the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and justice but ultimately was a discussion of how science can make the world a better place not so much through technology but through knowledge and improved understanding. It was right up my alley.

Today after another long grind at work, I popped off to the neighbourhood brewery with a colleague who is headed off to greener (or at least less fenced) pastures. We had pizza and beers and you’ll be so proud of me, I chose the pizza without cheese. It was lucky that the cheese-less pizza was the one with all the fanciest, most exciting veggies. After several hours of chatting about life, the universe, and everything, I wished her luck and headed home to write to all of you. And that’s where you find me now, obsessively watching Chopped and tap tap tapping away. It’s not such a bad life all in all.

The Salsa Girl


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