Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Geography Redux

Geography. The Moriarty to my Sherlock. The Q to my Picard. The... Kanye to my Swift? It got away from me. 

I love maps and motion and naming capitals. I breathe easiest on moving trains and flying planes and highway lanes. (And if that's not a song lyric, it definitely should be. Looking at you, Swift.) I don't know why. It's not that I feel exceptionally untethered in those moments. That would imply I feel tethered when stationary. I don't. I'm not sure I've ever felt particularly anchored to a single geographical location. I certainly don't right now. Part of me loves that.

And part of me hates it. Hates. I hate distance. I hate geography. I hate that my friends and family are in England and Boston and Indiana and the next room over and everywhere in between. Being untethered is... maddening. I think I'm ready for some kind of anchor (or tether- I realize I have a lot of metaphors going here), but I haven't the faintest idea what it's going to look like or where I'm going to put it down. At 8:00 am, after a couple cups of coffee, it's thrilling. At 3:00 am after a couple drinks, it's horrifying.

This is why I feel like an alewife.

Wait, what?

This renewed interest I have in my dumb little corner of Internet inanity (this blog) got me thinking about the last place I was inspired to write: a nondescript office in Cambridge, MA. It's out by Alewife, the end of the Red Line and the only T-Station that doesn't exclusively use Helvetica in its signage (which, I'm proud to say, I noticed well before I read the Wikipedia article). I never thought much about the word "alewife," apart from occasionally pronouncing it "al-uh-'wiff-uh" in my head for fun (and subsequently getting this song stuck in my head). I had no idea, until last week, that the "alewife" is actually a type of fish. And it might be my new spirit animal. 

At first glance, it might not be the best fish to choose as a spirit animal. I mean, a fish isn't a great spirit animal to begin with. But this dude is particularly boring. Basically just your standard gray, coastal Atlantic fish. Apparently, it got the name "alewife" because it has a relatively large chestal region, which, since you can hardly say fish have chests (mermaids being the obvious exception), we can more safely refer to as a "general front area." I guess some colonial perv thought this slightly larger than average "front area" resembled the stereotypically plentiful bosom of a tavern proprietress. Sure.

Among its other less-than-desirable qualities (an above average chest being less-than-desirable only in this narrow context), is its penchant for invading. Back in the day, hordes of alewives swam their way into the Great Lakes, where they became a bit of a menace to the existing marine society. You know who else once left the East Coast for the Great Lakes region (and may or may not have become a menace)? Me

On the East Coast, the alewife's turf has historically stretched from Nova Scotia to North Carolina. Man made annoyances going back as far as the building of dams in the 1600s have caused their numbers to dwindle and their territory to shrink, but reintroduction efforts seem to be a major priority for... people who do that kind of thing. That's why it was a big deal when an alewife was spotted in the Bronx River a few years back. (Incidentally, I don't know who Stephen Paul DeVillo is, but his "Bronx River Stories" on the site I just linked to are excellent little nuggets of information.) A bar has since opened in Long Island City called Alewife. Apparently it's a Mecca of craft beer. You know who lives in New York and loves beer? Me.

The alewife also likes motion. In the spring, it leaves the ocean to spawn in freshwater rivers and streams. And it's sophisticated. In Canada, it's known as a gaspereau. "Gasp" as in "gasp for" and "eau" as in water. Because fish gasp for water, obviously. (I'm an expert in pretend francophonic etymology.) You know who else likes water? Me. (I.)

I know, a sloppy metaphor all around. In fact, the title of this post should be "Sloppy Metaphors." But the point is, I'm adopting the alewife as my spirit animal. Or at least my spirit fish. In some ways, I aspire to be like them; gray, scaly, and often used as bait. Just kidding. I like that they're also struggling with their geography, but they keep swimming along, unconcerned. (I don't think that's presumptuous. Fish barely have brains, right?) They seem scrappy. And I like the symmetry of an Alewife in Boston and an Alewife in New York. 

So... who wants to have a beer with me in Long Island City? 


Friday, January 10, 2014

The Desk Chair II: The New York Chair: Park Avenue

Welp, I didn't manage a single post in 2013. Which is especially hilarious because I seem to remember a New Year's Resolution that was something along the lines of "write a little every day." Ha! Best laid plans of mice and... dumb ladies.

You'd think a lot would have changed since November, 2012. I'm afraid I must report, as I tilt my head quizzically and look skyward, a lot has happened, but very little has changed. Hmm. If this were a blog about feelings, that might give me pause. (And then I'd be all, "How am I going to accomplish anything with these paws?!?") But this isn't a blog about feelings, thank goodness. I hesitate to even say "blog," really. "Blogs" are for sad people. But I need a forum to express myself. My genius needs an outlet. My words must be given life- sweet, digital life!

Just kidding. I think I speak for every loser who occasionally writes something on the Internet when I say I do it because I'm probably a little too self-involved and like feeling cool and smart in the eyes of the four or five people who read it. (There might be a sixth person, but that person probably thinks I'm an idiot.) So here we are.

I suppose one thing has changed since last I wrote. Geography. It has to be said: temping in New York is a lot more fun than temping in Boston. I feel this way for several reasons, all of which would make me sound like an unsophisticated rube if I were to elaborate. That being said, allow me to elaborate on what might be the most rube-ish of them all: my obsession with New York City food delivery.

You guys. The food world is your oyster. You dream it, they make it, a dude gets on a bike* and brings it to your face. This morning I felt like a latte and a hearty oatmeal (well, I felt like a girl who wanted a latte and a hearty oatmeal) and 20 minutes later it was in front of me. And we're not talking Quaker. Real oatmeal with fresh blueberries, almonds, honey, and a splash of whole milk. Could I have made it myself? Sure. But I hadn't. So $8.00 (with the latte, including tip, no delivery fee) felt like a perfectly reasonable price to pay to get my day started right. And did I ever!

Okay, I know you can get food delivered in any city. I can practically hear my Boston friends saying, "We have Seamless, too! We can order from places! You think you're better than me??" But the selection, you guys. The selection! Not only that, but a lot of these offices let you order whatever you want through their corporate account. A free lunch. The menu? All of New York.

*There is a downside. There can be no light without the dark. It's this: I'm pretty sure one of these bike delivery guys is going to kill me. Midtown Manhattan swarms with them at lunch time. And they are NOT to be trifled with. It seems inevitable that one will strike me. The food will go flying from his insulated pack. It will be tragic and beautiful and happen in slow motion. Does that happen in Premium Rush? I never saw it. Pretty sure it's not about Joseph Gordon- Levitt delivering food, though.

And just like that, it's 4:30 and I need to wrap things up. Guess this won't be one of those posts with "content." Look for that in 2015.