26 January 2007

begone monkeytown

the folks are visiting this weekend, so i probably won't get a chance to write for a while. so here we go!

the dull ache of a slight hangover has become my general state of being recently. nothing debilitating, nothing dangerous, just a lot of parties and bartending and staying up late. it's true, i moved to new york to live out my dreams of working as an advocate for music-based health education and african development. but you know what? i'm having a lot of fun and i honestly can't imagine being able to work full time in an office right now. things are slow at red hot and look to be getting slower, but at least i'm still involved in some way.

but bartending and i are a good match. i've come a long way since barbacking in chelsea, and now i've opened the newest page of that history. i briefly mentioned that i was working at an interesting bar called monkeytown. well, interesting doesn't pay the bills. so through a connection at red hot, i've landed a job at a lower east side joint called the stanton social. as those of you whose computers will allow you to see the site will see, it's a damn swanky spot. friends who know it say it's where midtown execs take their dates to prove how cool they are by "slumming it up" in the LES. it was strange to sidestep the passed out junkie into the glittering foyer for my interview. even stranger -- albeit no longer surprising in this town -- was the complete lack of an interview. it seems like you can only get a job in the new york service industry (or most new york industries) if you know someone, but jeez, not a word and i'm training on tuesday?

i might have to rename this thing "adventures in manhattan" -- but i know better than to blog about work. right jessie?

17 January 2007


we all have our various aches and pains; some more than others, some better, some worse. some is manageable and some is chronic. hard to grit through it sometimes, other times it's a dull echo at the back of our minds. today, my friends, my pain is with me, too present to ignore and too sharp to manage.

through a painfully hilarious set of circumstances, in october of 2003, i found myself at the bottom of a staircase in berkeley california after having fallen ten feet from the balcony above. my injuries were serious, a fact compounded by my doctor's lack of concern and failure to effectively treat (or even x-ray) my mangled body. after months of struggling to get through my days teaching preschool, i threatened my doctor with a malpractice suit unless he put me in physical therapy -- he was reluctant and wanted me to take more vicodin, to which i was already addicted and through which i was only further poisoning myself. when i managed to see him, the physical therapist examined me for a few minutes and said, i am so sorry we did this to you. after a full set of body x-rays revealed an unhealed fractured tailbone and spinal disc damage, i finally began a long healing process that has included acupressure, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, reiki, hot tubs, ice, hot tubs and ice together, more physical therapy, substance-based self-medication, bed rest, and (the only one that's lasted) yoga.

as long as i do the yoga routine i've developed for myself a few times a week, i can more or less live my life pain-free. it's become difficult, though, as the lifestyle of a bartender doesn't exactly match with that of a yogi. i promise myself as i close the bar that i will get up and take care of myself, and suddenly it's noon and i'm still asleep. the last few weeks my practice has collapsed, and with the added strain of a whirlwind, less-than-24-hours trip to boston over the weekend, i've finally hit my breaking point. i came home early today hoping to take the time to take care of myself and discovered that my back was in such bad shape that i couldn't make it through most of my routine, and now i am sitting at my desk (bad) typing (bad) and wishing i wasn't in pain. i haven't completely thrown it out yet, but it's close, and i'm concerned that i have to close the bar at four am thursday and saturday night.

i guess this is just my absurdly long-winded way of saying:

my back hurts, and i don't like it.

as well as:

bartending is toxic and i'm not taking good care of myself.


man, i was drunk when i fell off that balcony.

and perhaps the lesson for today is:

do your goddamn yoga.

10 January 2007

over the top

after that last post, i got a couple of comments and calls from concerned readers. don't worry. i'm doing just fine. i think i was writing more about the feeling than actually feeling it. i was just a little upset because i made $70 on monday night and that's just not enough to get by.

09 January 2007

bartending sucks. happy new year!

and why do i say it sucks? because i love it but i'm not making any money. last night i had the worst night i've ever had behind the bar and went home with so little money i feel like i should spend all week huddled in a corner to avoid spending what little i have. it's an up and down life, i suppose, and i love working on karaoke nights, but it's just not enough, especially given that red hot has cut my hours back and my other new job at monkeytown isn't so lucrative either.

this is a terrible city to be broke.

new york can smell weakness and fear, loneliness and poverty. i've tried not to take for granted the lushness of my first nine months here, but now that i'm in some lean times, i feel the weight of this city pressing down and demanding so much. it's not like i'm in trouble or anything, i wouldn't want to worry my three readers, but i know there are so many of us who struggle to make ends meet here. and for what? to pay exorbitant rent? how many of us are truly living out our dreams here? i thought i was there for a while, working as an advocate in my field. but i seem to have lost my way. it's 1 pm and i'm still in my pjs. does anyone care? do i need to be anywhere? no. and that's a dangerous situation.

thank god i have a girlfriend who's watching out for me.

speaking of that, here's michelle. she's amazing.