Well, I'm on the Acela Express between New York and Boston. The extra $82 I'm paying over the Chinatown bus is worth every penny to me while in my weakened state. Must... fight... sickness...
My 4-6 hours of "work after work" continues to be a daily occurance, regardless of whether I go out for my regular social fix or not. But the bulk of my short-term responsibilities have been taken care of.
After speaking with Steve Drogin about the "typical" audience for a Boston Sea Rovers talk (I'm speaking on Sunday morning), I've catered the slides to a novice crowd, some of whom may never have taken a camera underwater. Steve also told me that most presenters were a coat & tie. A "coat & tie" in my world means a suit, and since I have no casual suits, I will be wearing a formal black, pin-striped suit during my presentation. I conveniently forgot to bring appropriate shoes, so things may get crazy. After Sunday morning, I will be completely stress free, ready to devote my leisure hours to "only" three tasks: spending time with friends, working on Wetpixel, and hopefully playing some chamber music with local musicians (wanna play, New Yorkers?).
On Monday I moved up to the Upper West Side, into a building which hints at an effort to provide superficial class; there's a little turn-around out front, the doorman spins the revolving door when I approach, and the building has a name. However, the turn-around is only wide enough for a single car, the halls radiate the worn texture of an older hotel, and it's still loud, even on the 14th floor.
My roommates are nice, but are very different than I am. They're both in their mid-20s, and are definitely more perky and social. But it's nice to live with people who are different. We congregate in the space between, and then retreat behind closed doors, hitting "resume" on real life. We have plans to go out to eat sometime: a "family outing," one of them called it.
(Unrelated) Hey! We're stopped in Stamford, Ct. I can't tell you how many times I called up non-Californian service folk (bills, mail-order, etc.) and had them say, "Stamford, Connecticut?"
No. Not Stamford.
Thank God Caller-ID has become ubiquitous since then. You people who block Caller-ID -- I'll almost never pick up unless the originatitng number shows up on my phone.
Work is not so bad. I'm enjoying my project, and I sit alone in a cube with a window, so I can enjoy the privacy up on there the 21st floor. Every few hours I stare out in between the buildings and look at whatever body of land it is out there on the other side of the water. I read somewhere that I'm supposed to focus on something far away to give my eyes a periodic break.
My mobile phone doesn't work well at work. It's just as well, because I always have guilt when I blab away in the company of other people. I sometimes sit with a guy who talks loudly on the phone (always topics unrelated to work) every time he is in the cube with me. I don't get it. These people are everywhere.
For example, right now there's a guy adjacent to me who is talking loudly into his phone (the Nokia with the ridiculous, impossible-to-use circular keypad):
"Hi, Mike! It's Scott!"
I don't care, Scott. We're in the "Quiet Car." Please shut up.
One thing I like about New York is that everyone is relatively young, especially in the area where I was staying earlier (Pat's place, in Nolita). And people are attractive and stylish, which is nice. I've found that attractive women I don't know are wrapped in a strange abstraction these days. They're like these cute... things (I mean that in the most non-derrogatory way possible) walking around. I went through four months in New York during the summer of 2002, during which I met exactly zero strangers. The few people I met were introduced through someone I already knew well. Funny that being in crowds can actually enhance loneliness.
Luckily, I have a lot of friends here. Being alone in New York would be really bad for people like me, who are stuck between introversion and extroversion. I have a constant urge to be social, but I will almost never be social without some sort of catalyst.
A quick reminder for myself is below. It helps me to see lists of names. That's why I like services like Orkut.
People in New York to hang out with:
Joechang, Pat Suh, Tony Lu & Ai-jen Poo, Peter & Karine Kim, Victor Wishna, Jeremy Desmon, Lindsay Picard, Claire Bryant, Meredith Yayanos, Rebecca Cohen, Jen Shyu, Jenn Chang, Jamie Knox, David Katz, Judy Fong, Justin Kestler, Isaac Krauss, Nick Tackett, Tiffany Kuo
People I need to meet up with (strangers, or transient):
Jason Heller (lunch, next week), Giles Shaxted (visit), Heidi Hau (visit), Vienna Teng (visit), Wendy and Shiloh (visit), Livia Sohn, Joe (Beneath the Sea?)