I just got a note from fucking LIVEJOURNAL that they were about to delete an account that I had no idea I had! I only had two entries on it and I hadn’t signed in for over two years. The two entries were from May 2005. I already had THIS blog in May 2005, so I don’t really know why I started a second one. It’s called “heartNY.” Maybe I was…I don’t know…specifically trying to write it as, like, a tourism blog, or something? I have no idea.
It’s embarrassing to read these, the way it’s embarrassing to read anything you wrote more than six months ago. I’m pretty sure I’m more interesting now than I was then, though. Or at least I write better about the same old boring stuff.
In the eight years since these were written, I have gotten three new jobs, one new computer, at least one new boyfriend, two cats, two turtles, one tattoo and two piercings, had four short stories published, moved away from and then back to New York, tried absinthe for the first time, went to a black-tie ball at a senator’s house, been to three Lady Gaga shows, visited two whole other separate countries, learned to sew my own clothes, swam with the Polar Bear Club, and bought a motherfucking juicer. Among other things. That’s not bad, right? Not bad.
Wednesday, May 11th, 2005
How to Buy a Louis Vuitton
How to buy a Louis Vuitton purse:
Louis Vuitton is on 57th Street between Madison and 5th. Dress appropriately or the doorman will look at you funny. Bring $1600.
Chinatown is one of my very favorite parts of the city. It’s a ridiculous tourist haven, but I think that’s fun, too. I like tourist traps. “I Heart NY” shirts are six for $10, and statues of fighting monkeys and Buddhist monks wearing i-pods are $15. And the smells are what get to me: one single block will take you from roast duck to dog shit to street vendor donuts to raw fish. Frankly, it’s mostly raw fish, though. And where else can you get a Fendi purse, a Burberry scarf, and a Tiffany’s heart pendant silver bracelet all in the same store and all for under $60?
But we know what we’re really here for. The Louis Vuitton. You can get them at any tourist trap – by the Statue of Liberty, near the park, Times Square – but they’re cheapest and most reliably easy to find in Chinatown. I went there yesterday to get a white bowling ball bag with colored letters for someone’s birthday.
There are a few different ways to find an LV in Chinatown:
Sometimes there are guys standing around with giant cardboard boxes covered with tarps, looking bored and disinterested. I’ve never actually bought from one of these guys, but they’re the same guys who sell in Times Square and the Statue, so I assume they’re expensive. Anyway, I haven’t seen them down there lately – maybe the cops have been getting after them?
Then there are the guys who sort of stand on a sidewalk and mumble: “Louis Louis Louis Louis….” Now, there’s a distinction here, because sometimes Chinese women do this, too. I’m not talking about them. These guys are tough-looking and, you know, guys. Not Chinese women. Anyway, if you go up to one of them, they’ll hand you what looks like a page out of a catalogue, and probably try to make you hide it behind a newspaper so cops don’t see it, and you point to the one you want. Don’t go to these guys. They’re WAY too expensive. My personal theory is that, what with the super-secretive schtick, they’re trying to make you think that these are REAL LVs, but stolen. They’re not. They’re fakes just like all the others, they just cost three times as much.
If you run into a Chinese woman mumbling “Louis Louis Louis,” she’s okay to go to. She’ll lead you a block and half away, to a tiny little doorway, and up a dirty tiny little staircase, and into a tiny dirty little locked room. You think you’re going to get raped and mugged and murdered, and I can’t guarantee that you won’t. But if you do manage to survive, she’ll take you into a little room with a bunch of purses hanging on the walls. For a big LV, she’ll start you out at $50. If you’re very lucky, she might go down to $30, but personally, I’d say $35 or $40 is basically a decent price, if you’re really that desperate to have the exact same purse as every other woman on the F train. A little LV shouldn’t cost you more than $20. Other brands, like Fendi or Chanel or Burberry, will cost you slightly less than LV.
If you don’t happen to run into one of these mumbling people, you can also just wander into any of the narrow stalls selling purses on Canal Street. Look around confusedly for a while, then ask somebody, “Do you have any other purses? Louis Vuitton?” If the cops are nearby or if they’re legit (and I do think that some of them are), they’ll just say no, and you’ll very politely thank them and leave and try next door. Eventually somebody will say yes. They’ll either lead you out to this same dirty tiny scary room, or they’ll bring some out to you from a back room in the stall. That’s my favorite way. I still have super pleasant memories of “Tony,” the guy who helped me pick out a purse for my mom’s birthday. He would bring out a trash bag or two full of them and hold them up and tell me, “THIS is a nice purse. This is beautiful. $50. No? Here – here, THIS is a great purse. $45.”
Act hesitant and they’ll knock whatever price they give you down five and then ten and then often fifteen dollars. Never ever take the price they first give you.
And remember – if the cops come, play tourist! “What? Oh, my! I didn’t realize these were stolen! I thought they were just fakes!” Pretend you don’t know that fakes are illegal, too. “Jeez! I had no idea! You know, we don’t really have any of these in Muskeegee.” Be vague about whether you’re referring to the purses or the Chinese people.
And please don’t pass up the little spiky fruits at the vendors that look like sea urchins. I have no idea what they cost for real people, but the vendors will sell you a single one for 50 cents. Inside, it looks and tastes pretty much like a sweet green grape. It’s not great, and it’s way too hard to get at, but they sure are neat looking. Oh, those foreigners and their spiky fruit.
Tuesday, May 17th, 2005
We Hate Our Jobs
As I was walking upstairs from the subway to the sidewalk this morning, I noticed particularly that everyone’s footsteps were in sinc. We were this big mass of people in suits and slacks and secretary sweater sets, and we were all wearing our work shoes, all walking up the stairs together, all holding each other back to the same sort of plodding pace, and our footsteps made this horrible marching noise on the stone stairs. All marching slowly off to our offices. It was unspeakably depressing.
My office gets vacuumed two or three times a week. Right after it’s done, the carpet is this uniform greyish-rose color, but a day or two later, you can see these beaten-in tracks that my shoes have made. Perfect paths from my desk chair to the copy machine to my boss’s desk and back again. Which is also somehow unspeakably depressing. I try, sometimes, to specifically walk outside those lines, but it’s so ingrained, and I think about it so infrequently, that it doesn’t really work. Copier, desk, desk, copier, desk. It’s awful.
On the subway the other day, I saw a good-looking young man in sitting, wearing a relatively nice black suit but with brown socks, sitting and reading a magazine called “Real Estate New Jersey.” Not a pamphlet, not a little scrap of an advertisement. A whole, entire, glossy magazine.
I hate my job.
This is what happens. It’s called “panty-hose time,” as in, “Well, actually, I’m a sculptor, but I’m just putting in some panty-hose time right now.” You move to New York to write poetry or become a rock star or illustrate comic books, but you end up putting in so much panty-hose time that eventually you’re not a poet or a rock star or an illustrator, you’re the Assistant Vice President of Aquisitions. Nobody wants to be the Assistant Vice President of Aquisitions when they grow up.
All of the new clothes I buy anymore are work clothes, just because that’s what I wear most of the time. I’ve got a couple of pairs of jeans and an old stock of t-shirts and that does me just fine for the two days a week that I have to dress in something besides button-down shirts and grey slacks. So I just keep buying more button-down shirts and grey slacks for the rest of the week.
Blegh. What a depressing entry.
Hmm. I’ve sat here for like ten minutes just now trying to think of something to add to make it less depressing, but I can’t think of a single thing. It’s just true – it’s depressing. Uptown fucking blows. Button down work shirts fucking blow. Making small talk in elevators and offering to get somebody a latte while you’re out and making files and alphebetizing files and taking phone messages and reminding tenants to pay rent and not wearing stupid socks and boots with your skirts and watering the plants every Friday fucking blows.
I’ll write something cheerful later. Right now I’ve got to go RSVP my boss for the New York Magazine’s Taste of New York pary and pay his bill to the Colon and Rectal Surgery Center of Manhattan.