So far it looks like my first experience as a semi-airbnb host (yes, totally illegal for renters–don't get me evicted) went smoothly. The only trauma detected upon my arrival on Christmas day was a yellowish splat of bird shit on the outside of my living room window, which is odd because there aren't any perches for birds and I don't know how a bird could've flung its poo sideways in that manner. I'm not sure if I can even reach that spot on my window from the inside of my apartment without a long brush of sorts.
(Actually, there was a trauma with my bedding. I didn't expect the guests to strip the sheets off the bed themselves before leaving and I have a gross stain that won't scrub off my bedbug-resistant mattress pad, and obviously they saw it. I spent hours making the apartment appear sterile and spotless before heading out, so that looked like a glaring omission.)
I also experienced a Christmas miracle so grand that I posted it on Facebook (I've been favoring Facebook lately and souring on Twitter). Maybe five months ago I found the missing loop to my Chinese knockoff Kate Spade necklace that I bought last December and fell apart in June. It was on the floor beneath my dining table so I put it on top of the table and promptly forgot about it until vigorously sponging one day and it flew off, made a sharp click indicating that it hit the ground, and then disappeared once again. Just before going to Dubai I gave up and looked for a cheaper necklace at Target with a similar loop to plunder and instead found a handy little replacement set with hoops of varying sizes and metal finishes and thought that was the holiday miracle. But while scrambling to re-clean the house before Christmas guests, a glint caught my eye in the coat closet when pulling out the vacuum cleaner. Yes, the loop.
Though my lease isn't up until the end of March and that seems like a million months away, I already received my renewal notice, which I guess is normal. Don't ask me what I'm going to do unless you want to piss me off. 2013 disappeared like that. No resolution.
I mostly shun taking tons of photos of myself, but don't get why anyone would care about selfies. Documentation is fun. I don't have a lot of photos from the pre-digital era. I'm not exaggerating when I say that only have 12 or so from the first time I ever went to Asia in 2003. I now wish I had more. Last Saturday when I was homeless for a night I stayed at a friend's in the neighborhood who moved to NYC from Portland six months after I did. We went through a grocery bag of photos, mostly late '90s/early '00s, developed from disposable cameras. It's less about nostalgia than perspective.
Of course we looked younger, but it's not even about that (really, at a certain point, every day is the best you'll ever look, no improving only declining, and yet no one appreciates this fleeting beauty in the moment) because it's not so much that you look better (well, maybe skin-wise) just different. And you don't know anything yet. I don't know anything now about 56.
Mostly we looked fresh off the boat, all of our clothing ill-fitting, baggy, too short, imbalanced proportions, poly-blends, cords, velour, fake fur, pleather, a mixture of Ross, Marshall's and thrift store finds. Much of this is just a product of the era and the enormous-soled chunky shoes, high-contrast coloring that's all dark hair and pale skin (to be fair, my natural coloring) enhanced by dark matte lips. Almost 100% everyone I know now from then has gone lighter, if not blonde, from black, dark brown and auburn toasty colors. Can't you always guess a '98-'02 Law and Order by Mariska Hargitay's high-contrast hair and make-up? I would also cite the glittery make-up, except that I still wear glittery make-up on occasion. I don't wear full-on elaborate blends of bold eye shadow as much, though.
My apartment looks bombed out. I look like a squatter. Or more a late '80s indie boy in this specific instance. It also cost $2,410 less than I'm paying now. Once again, no nostalgia. That mattress on the floor was the only furniture I had and it was left behind by the family of five who previously occupied the one-bedroom. Do note the shoebox filled with nail polish on the floor. Priorities.
The more representative photo showing the destroyed wood floor, missing chunks, multi-colored, got lost after being tossed back into the grocery bag. I was sitting in the living room on some folded up bedding left behind from a houseguest that had borrowed it from the first Brooklyn apartment he visited. That was my chair. I also had a boom box, Mac propped up on a cardboard box and a 13" TV that were shipped to me.
I only took two photos with me. Fresh Pond Road, my Queens subway station for two years. Even though I know Ridgewood has finally hit it big with youngsters, I'm fairly certain that the influx is clustered around Myrtle-Wycoff and Seneca Ave. still not quite yet infiltrating the Archie Bunker enclave that I got sucked into.
There were some good holiday ones, though. Timely. A nice batch from the 1999 Christmas that started at a midtown T.G.I. Friday's led to Kokie's, an infamous part of old Willimsburg (to me–I want to hate on those who consider 2005 to be old Williamsburg but obviously 1999 wasn't old to those who arrived sooner) and then a party where an Escher calendar was given as a gift and I couldn't stop ragging on it. The guy who said, "Kristy really doesn't like Escher" fourteen years ago showed up on Tinder the morning after we went through these photos. I did not swipe right.
The photo I should've snagged was from my first NYE at a nondescript Union Square bar where I couldn't afford the $60 cover charge (the friend I crashed with last weekend paid) because that may have been my peak attractiveness, not an unreasonable thing to believe at 26 when even if you're a little plump it's cancelled out by youthfulness (this will pick up again post-menopause because plumpness does help an old face look less wan).
So many memories are false, though. I can remember everything I was wearing from the cheap shimmery sleeveless cowl neck from New York & Co, weird black wedges in an iridescent material from Rainbow that Henry Thomas' double called "nurse shoes" and a pearlescent silver-blue eye shadow, high lacquer cherry red lip gloss and rainbow glitter Jane nail polish. I still have the eye shadow and nail polish. The gloss was just thrown last year in my '90s purge.
What I didn't remember was that I had made out with a mutual friend of a friend. It's on film. Neither of us was interested in each other, but I was making a stink about kissing someone on NYE. In my mind, it was just a drunken rambling, "who wants to make out?" that led to nothing, but there's a photo and I saw it last weekend. The guy I was kissing was interested in another friend's intern at the party who was a teenager living with her parents in NJ. She has a wikipedia page. He didn't know she was a teenager. I still thought it was gross.
I'm currently wearing week-old glitter-encrusted nail polish, as I type. The difference between now and 1998 is that I probably won't bother doing something fresh for New Year's Eve. However chipped this self-manicure gets between now and Tuesday night, it will have to suffice.
Now I'm lazy and spoiled. That's a good thing. My friends are now all old-schoolers with great rent and lots of compromises. I don't want to have to go to the kitchen to use the only sink in the apartment or schlep to a laundromat. And I would die before getting a roommate. A movie called This is 40 set in Brooklyn rather than LA would be sad, sad, cautionary tale, indeed.
So, I close out 2013 as a lonely snob with high expectations, a poor memory, little to show for my time on earth, a dearth of photos, a luxurious apartment I can barely afford, and a shitload of really old make-up. See you in 2014.