No Sleep In Brooklyn: Insomnia Returns

I haven’t had regular insomnia since I was a junior in college living in a weird boarding house and not seeing any friends because they had all turned 21 and gone into bars and never come out of them. As of 1 month ago, sleeplessness is back. Some observations:

Time Moves in Mysterious Ways: Hours pass during which you are not sure if you have slept, because while you feel certain you’ve been awake the whole time, you can’t remember the time passing. Somehow you pass 2 hours just laying there doing nothing, which you would never be able to do during daytime. Think this is like meditation, then think no, this like meditation’s devil twin.

Denial: Refuse to get up and spend sleepless time wisely because can’t believe can’t sleep. Look at phone, even though have been avoiding phone due to clock and also something you read about how looking at screens can keep you up, not yet realizing that you ARE up. Briefly consider seizing moment and watching sunrise from roof, then think who gives fuck about new day, and also still holding out hope for sleep.

False Promise: Moments when feel like going to fall asleep but then don’t. The usual signals of coming sleep — yawning, suddenly having a Musketeer walk into your thoughts — don’t mean anything.

Positioning: Move head to bottom of bed for change of scenery, convinced change of scenery will make body forget about sleep troubles and maybe finally sleep. Get up and go lay down in absent roommate’s bed, think briefly that this it, but this not it.

Dread/Fear: Not being able to sleep weirdly scary. Sure that everyone else in world is sleeping soundly. You alone are awake and will always be awake and also alone. You may never sleep again and may die from it like that guy you learned about in Psych 101. The real fear that sleeplessness will ruin the following day, and then also the useless fear that this fear will keep you up more.

The Reckoning: You finally gather the courage to look at the clock and your worst fears are confirmed when you see that it’s 3:30, but then you think, at least it’s not 4:30, but then suddenly it is 4:30 and your worst worst fears — that weren’t even really fears because they were too terrifying to consider — are confirmed.

Math: If I fall asleep now, and wake up at 7, I’ll still have 2.5 hours of sleep, which is 1.5 hours longer than my normal nap, which should be sufficient to at least feel okay tomorrow, but if I push my wakeup time back to 7:30, then I would have 3 whole hours of sleep, but that’s only if I fall asleep this instant, which there is a 0% likelihood of happening.

Drugs: Google “benadryl overdose” to make sure it’s okay to take 6 at once. Learn that while people do take benadryl to commit suicide, it must require more than 25 pills, because they took 25 and are still posting on this benadryl overdose message board.

Homeopathy: Take hot shower at 3am. Then take shot of whiskey. While this is not necessarily good idea, it is at least idea. Suddenly, remember how tired crying makes you. Get back into bed and try to make self cry. Find that not able to cry on cue. Dreams of becoming famous dramatic actress dashed along with dreams of being able to sleep. Feel like this is saddest moment of life. Then do actually cry. Drapes are starting to lighten as sun comes up. There is rooster in backyard? Never knew.

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The long weekend is the loneliest number

People like to go on and on about how great weekends are, when really weekends can be pretty lonely. Especially long weekends. Especially in New York. What makes New York weekends so lonely is how much importance people place on them, as though they don’t happen every single week of your life.

Whereas a New Yorker will pretty much grab a drink with any idiot during the week, the weekends are reserved for only the most prized in their social circle. You won’t know if you fall into this category until the weekend actually arrives, because New Yorkers don’t like to commit to any plans until they’ve made sure there aren’t any better plans. It’s just like when I was in middle school and no one would tell me which Y2K party they were going to, because how do you decide where to spend your last night on Earth? And where was Ben Arnold going to be?? That’s how people in New York feel about weekends — like each one may be the last Y2K party they ever attend with Ben Arnold.

So, it’s lonely, but it’s not because you don’t have any plans. There are more than enough plans to go around, way more than enough. You’ve already given a not-very-firm commitment to three plans, none of which you are going to go to, since by the time they roll around you’ll be too hungover from staying up way too late with the people you really wanted to make plans with in the first place. This is the catch 22 of plans: the only good ones are the ones that weren’t. Everyone in New York knows this, which is why they try not to make plans in the first place. In fact, the only real purpose plans serve in New York City is to give you something to think about during the week. As soon as Friday rolls around, all plans are immediately dispensed with and everyone just hangs out with whoever they hung out with last weekend.

This whole plan clusterfuck is the main reason why being in a couple in New York is far superior to being in a single. Couples are the only New Yorkers who never have to worry about weekend plans since the default mode of a couple is to have plans with each other — even if these plans are as non-specific as “be by each other’s side in several different locations.” Couples love the weekends and they should. Some say that the best way to see New York is by bike and some say it’s on foot and some say other things that are simply ridiculous, but the truth is the best way to see the city is while holding someone’s hand. If that makes you sad, I’ll remind you that you didn’t move here to be happy, but to get an entry level position in publishing.

If you’re not so lucky as to be at The Highline with your significant other, the weekend can become a time of lonely agitation. This hopped up sadness is a more emotional form of ADD. Your mind is filled with things to do, but you can’t decide on anything, because it all requires several steps and you don’t want to do any of it anyway. You end up running from your apartment in Bushwick to Prospect Park for no reason, except that it’s something to do. Unfortunately, once there, you find that everyone is involved in a barbecue except for you, which makes you sad even though none of the barbecues look like barbecues you’d like to attend, and you actually don’t like barbecues anyway, you’ve just decided. Barbecues are just a lot of standing around wondering if you need to ask for a hot dog or if they’ll put out a plate of them all at once. Your reward for finally getting a hot dog is sidling up to a group of strangers, taking a deep breath and saying, “What a NICE day!” You’ll do this over and over again until someone lights you on fire.

By the time you show up to work on Tuesday, having done a few plans, skipped a few plans and been generally unhappy the whole time, you’re starting to really look forward to the structure of the work week and, of course, the weekend ahead.

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you are here to be swallowed up.

One false move is all you need to start thinking seriously about leaving New York, since everyone arrives with the idea of leaving already firmly implanted in their minds. They don’t really expect it to go well, so that when it doesn’t they immediately start thinking about getting out. One day your friend seems to be doing okay and the next you’re at their goodbye party and they’re moving to Saskatchewan. New York goodbye parties always feel like celebrating a failure, partly because the guests — people who are staying in New York — have to think of leaving New York as a failure in order to justify staying. It’s also because the person leaving probably thinks of it as a failure, unless they truly hated New York, in which case they are just relieved and elated like I was when I left Boston after one hateful year.

The truth is that where you live doesn’t really matter in terms of happiness, since a place is just a place and can’t do anything personal to you. This is especially true if you are someone I know, since all we do anyway is move in a triangle from San Francisco to New York to L.A. or in the opposite order with the same result, which is to eventually get tired of moving and settle down wherever the last place was and hopefully it is San Francisco, so when you have enough money to move to Sonoma you’ll be nearby already.

In AA they call moving around to try to change your life, “seeking the geographical cure.” They say it doesn’t work since wherever you go, there you are, and in my experience this is both true and not true. Moving, like traveling or almost being hit by a car or breaking up with someone will almost always have the effect of snapping you to attention, at least initially, which is sometimes all you need to change your perspective. It’s like a juice cleanse: you aren’t going to do it forever, but feeling better for 3 days can have the effect of making you want to keep feeling better.

Of course it is exactly this temporariness that makes the juice cleanse completely unappealing to me, since the only things I want to do are the ones which once started must be stuck with forever. So that you have to spend ages agonizing over whether or not to do it, and therefore never have to do anything. It’s why I’ve been intermittently obsessed with the idea of getting a tattoo for nearly ten years, but have never done it and never will, since at the end of the day I find tattoos terminally embarrassing and the act of telling a stranger you want him to stab a line from “Cat’s Cradle” into your arm more embarrassing still.

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If You See A Suspicious Package On The Platform Or Train

No one wants to ride the subway with someone they know. When you ride the subway with a friend — or God help you an acquaintance — you have to talk to them. The problem with this is that since no one else is talking, they’re listening to you talk and wishing you would be quiet. No one has ever overheard a conversation and thought, “Wow those people sound smart.” Also, it’s a lot harder to get a seat if you have two people because you have to find two seats together, and if there’s only one the other person will be like, “No, you sit there,” and you will, but you’ll feel bad the whole time because they have to stand and you have to look at them from below. Then if you’re getting off at different stops you have to say goodbye on the subway in front of people so that the goodbye is likely rushed and not very heartfelt. This is particularly unfortunate if it’s the end of a date. There’s no worse way to end a romantic interlude than a subway hug as someone rushes off at the Lorimer stop.

People like to complain about the subway, but the truth is it’s mainly enjoyable — at least for those who aren’t extremely claustrophobic or obsessed with being productive all the time. It’s like an airplane before they got WiFi and people started using them as offices.

You’re moving, literally, between one activity and the other, and there’s nothing you can do to make this transition faster or slower. Briefly cut off from communication, incoming texts are forced to be “sent as text message.” The sender wonders if you are underground.

In yoga they say that the transition between one move and the next is as important as the moves themselves, which could make you think differently about how you spend your subway. There aren’t a lot of options. You might read, which is a great way to spend the ride, you might write in a notebook or practice your answers for a job interview. You might listen to music and stare straight ahead at the blackness speeding by, which is punctuated occasionally by a bare bulb and poorly drawn graffiti. You may be passed by another train, which is a treat, because watching the people in the other train as they go by, only a few feet away but somehow on an entirely different plane, feels like seeing yourself from outside your body. You might feel like this is an illustration of something you already knew about life, but would find difficult to put into words. It’s a little bit deep, which is more than you might expect from the subway but shouldn’t be.

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We Took All The Drugs So You Don’t Have To*

Dear Editor:

I’m out with my friend Amy, and we just had a great idea for a column that Magazine might be really be interested in. It’s called “We Took The Drugs So You Don’t Have To.*” 

This column would appeal to anyone who can read and has ever been interested in what it feels like to have their life go from normal to way better to basically over in one 8 hour period. (It would also appeal to Sydney and Dan who missed out on the drugs tonight when we took them and pretended to go to the bathroom but actually left. sorry!!)  

Everyone loves drugs or hates them or is like, “Is it okay to take three ibuprofen?” but not all of these people are willing or able to experience drugs since a lot of them have jobs or blood disorders or children who are like, “I’m hungry, why aren’t you home?” They can’t just be going out to after hours clubs until 7am with a guy named Cheeto, but we can and literally are right now.

Depending on what’s going on with us, the column could run once a week or once or never. The basic structure would be to start with a goal like “fun” or “transcendence” and end with a lesson like, “You should never take meth at a bowling alley.” The middle part would be descriptions of what’s going (holy fuck jeff is here) and realizations like, “This is what life is ABOUT Amy!”

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Amy & Jane

*and also can’t because they’re gone. 

Sent from my iPhone

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Read IT ALL here

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I always think when I get a headache or a weird bruise it means I might have cancer. This is called canceritis not to be confused with cancer which is called cancer. Canceritis is not deadly, but can be annoying. It presents as a desire for your cancer to happen already so you can get it over with or die, either way moving on with your life.

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14 Other Life Hacks

  1. Save your knuckles by using a screwdriver to punch a hole in a wall. 
  2. Put the soda tab in the can. When you’ve drunk everything in there, the tab will rattle and you’ll know there’s no more soda.
  3. Tell your boyfriend you want to be in an open relationship. When he says he does too, break up with him.
  4. Cut the top off a shampoo bottle. Pour the shampoo in the trash, and fill the now empty bottle with flowers. Instant vase. 
  5. Use an empty toilet paper roll to know when it’s time to buy new toilet paper.
  6. Fill an ice cube tray with arsenic. Never fight with your roommates again. 
  7. Use a can opener to open a can. 
  8. Turn your cupcake tray over so you don’t eat any more cupcakes.
  9. Use nail polish to divide your socks into socks and not socks
  10. Instead of opening a banana at the stem, throw it away and eat an apple. 
  11. If you need to leave your seat at the bar, put a coaster over your drink so it will be physically impossible for someone to steal your boyfriend.
  12. Drill holes in the bottom of your garbage can so liquid doesn’t get trapped in there.
  13. Chew on a bread bag clip instead of eating bread.
  14. Differentiate between electronics cords by looking at them.
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From NYT’s Social Q’s

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The End of Courtship?: A Close Reading

I recently read an article in The New York Times called “The End of Courtship?” The premise was that dating in New York sucks because 20-something men are too cowardly, horny, sought after, and dumb to ask women on proper dates or work at relationships. (It’s no wonder that women, like the one in the picture, are renting out entire bars so they can text these dudes. They sound like cool dudes.) The author, Alex Williams, interviewed several sexually and textually frustrated (!!) 20-something women to find out just what is going on in the Millenial courtship revolution. Let’s take a look.

Maybe if girls didn’t rent out bars so they could be alone with their phones they would be going on more dates.

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