Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pigeon Holes

Oftentimes, living in New York City feels like this, roughly a pigeon house.

To say that New York City apartments are small is an overstated understatement. My own apartment is my little pigeon hole. Regardless, it has been home for so long that I cannot imagine being anywhere else. It is the antithesis of how I have lived since childhood. My parent’s house is so big that whenever relatives or very close friends from abroad came home they often roomed and boarded with us.

There are four units per floor in my building and it is five stories high. Most of the occupants are either single or couples. I think. I hardly see anyone of them anyway. They are young with the mean age probably being in the mid-30s and I know most by face except for a few with whom I may have exchanged some pleasantries once in a while.

The guy who lives on the ground floor is a serial dater and I know that he loves to cook for his lady loves and that he owns a motorcycle. He has posted several times on the common bulletin board an appeal to those living upstairs not to throw their cigarette butts onto his garden. I am assuming he is obsessive neurotic. He seems quite nice though so I wonder why he has never settled down. Oh yes, this is New York. No one settles.

Next door to me is a Japanese girl who has very heavy footsteps despite her diminutive size. On my first year in the apartment, my boyfriend surprised me with my first fresh Christmas tree – the fresh fir smell, bright ornaments, blinking lights and shedding needles included. It was a thoughtful gift but when I was leaving for my yearly holiday home, I knocked on her door and asked her is she was interested to take over ownership. She was joyful and together we dragged the whole tree to her apartment. It became all hers to enjoy, and then eventually to clear the post-holiday carcass and all the way down two flights of steps.
I know she had a boyfriend for a while and often spent night with him in his apartment. She’d come home, walk around the apartment a lot in her heels and then leave around 10PM. Lately, I’ve noticed she has been staying in and would even leave in the morning about the same time I am. I guess they’ve split up.

A few months ago my boyfriend got to know the lady who lives upstairs from me. She had let him into the building when he still did not have a key to my apartment and realizing he would need to wait for me outside on the corridor (he assumed I was out with friends), offered him access to the fire escape stairs from her window. When I saw her in the laundry area in the basement a few days ago, she asked me about him and casually mentioned that she hardly sees him in the building anymore (eh, he has his own flat). The protocol on how to deal with nosy neighbors is diplomacy; usually because you never know when you might need them eventually. On knowing this, my man's ego is of course feeling 9 feet tall. I have made sure he has keys though.

Across the hall every morning I’d hear the woman talking on the phone in Hebrew so I know she is Jewish. Next door to her is a Latino man who has just moved in, very quiet who came with just a suitcase and is just slowly furnishing. Upstairs in one of the apartments is another bachelor – tall and dapper. The rest are just faces.

I think it is plain luck that with such a tight living condition, my neighbors are people who are respectful and courteous. We are a peaceful bunch and whoever tries to change that eventually move out sooner than later. It is a nice place to hang your hat at the end of the day. Albeit a small one. But no, these characters that share the same address as I (except for the door number) are not my family. We are just land here to peck and nap.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ready, Set, Summer!

It was not a really bad winter season but like the tropical girl that I am, I am just glad that we have reached that mark in the calendar that unofficially says we are almost in summer mode.
The beaches in the New York - New Jersey coasts are open, the exodus to the Hamptons has resumed and yes, the sailors are roaming the streets of the city again - it is Memorial Day weekend!

It is a three-day weekend and I have promised to tune out of the internet for the length of it. A promise I had not been very good at keeping since although the puter had been offline for a while, my Blackberry is pretty much connected to what matters to me - emails and Facebook, included. =)

I have spent the first days of the weekend in the city, enjoying the mild weather and mingling last night with a batch of vacationing friends of friends. It is of course a welcome break from the intensity and insanity of work from which I have fulfilled my promise to completely disconnect.

Tonight I fly out of the city for three days of genuine beach vacation and will be back hopefully by Wednesday evening - if complicated flights eventually work. Til then I have lined up some stories to upload at timed intervals (yes, it is a new Blogger feature!!! woopee!!!).

Til then, enjoy the promise of the summer and better days.

(Pictures are from my Cape May album at Flickr)

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Life in a Vacuum, The Next Blogs

It has happened. Someone has finally come forward to hit me on back of my head to make me realize that my blog entries have become BLAH. A fact I have already come to know, of course.

“….what the f*** happened to your writing style? You used to be able to express your rants and raves so well it dragged your reader to the flow of your emotions. …” he wrote.

True. So what happened? I guess with the realization that a lot of people now go back to my blog to see what is going on in my life I have become more self-conscious. I have never really intended to make my blog a newsletter of my love life or the eventual lack thereof. Neither do I feel comfortable having people close to me read my thoughts and realize what is going on with my relationships with friends or family or even the romantic type. These are many things that of course I have hoped I can share through my blog because I can verbally compose them very well. Yet I try to be sensitive to those who can be directly affected by such entries. I’m sure eventually people will come to be more conscious when they are around me because they know I will blog about it. Trust me, I try to scare my first dates with warnings that “I will write about this on my blog tomorrow….” and it is a guarantee that they will label me as that “psychotic chick”. Always behind my back, of course, because I tend to never see them again =)

“….a good blogger must live in a vacuum….” Al3x have twittered.

I agree. The best blog entries are those that can put ink onto paper as thoughts flow. Unfortunately, my life is not a vacuum. Being Filipino, I come from a people that tend to be very onion skinned about criticisms or unsolicited advise. Friends and friends of friends do visit my blog occasionally. Sigh, same with my family and even at this age, I do subscribe to a certain level of approval from them because yes, that is what we do because it is in our culture.

So fine, I will try to be less conscious of what I write and try not to self-sensor myself so much. That is as much as I can promise. Let's try to make it more interesting then....

With that, I hope you stick with me for some of the next few entries that will bring you back onto reflections of my life and what goes around me. And yes, part of making it interesting is dragging some of you into it.

I hope you continue to keep me informed about how you feel my next few entries are measuring up. And I’m a big girl, I can take the best criticisms.