I was in the pseudo-Catskills for the past four days. I was told that Hudson isn’t technically in the Catskills and it’s certainly not culturally. I’ve never experienced quite a concentration of ramshackle bougieness crammed into such a small area. (But then, it also reminded me if Red Hook were a town instead of a neighborhood and Van Brunt was densely filled with galleries, antique shops and smelled like essential oils and honey, and instead of projects looming there were saggy-porched buildings inhabited by lots of hanger-outers, seemingly abandoned strollers at sidewalks’ edges and multiple Islamic centers.) Etsy has an office there if you need more visual triggers.

Of course, I’m just as guilty. I went for the food, not because I love the outdoors. Based on how I was dressed in my Tinder profile pic (yeah, so I got bored quickly) I was pegged as someone visiting Hudson from Brooklyn (Queens, technically, I had to correct). Hi, I’m a human Mason jar and candy-striped paper straw atop a slate coaster. And well, my primary goal was to get out of NYC and focus and get a bunch of reading and writing done. Force myself to get it done in an airbnb lacking wifi and a television (and AC). And guess what? I absolutely did not. My one accomplishment was finally using Tinder for its god-given purpose, so there was that. I can’t believe I had to travel 120 miles to get a date rather than embark on a lame texting routine. New York is the worst. It really is.

I figured out two things. I was afraid I might be jealous of the country home, fixer- upper couple thing–I am enjoying decorating my apartment, after all–but t turns out I am so not into the holding hands, taking photos of furniture, dreaming, sharing spelt-crust pizzas lifestyle. That was a relief. And I’m not ready to be a silver-hair in drapey natural fibers, funky eyewear and handcrafted statement jewelry. I kind of already knew that but was worried that I was on the verge of crossing over to some non-negotiable other side where you’ve long fixed-up your home, now all yours, and all that’s left is filling it up artwork.

I’m feeling a little bit crazy and in love with weird things. Like ugly shoes. I want them all. I’m not even going to link to any.

And tans. I’ve been having a strange urge to get really tan and scare people, including myself. I got burned two Sundays ago using sunscreen and only sitting on the beach maybe for two hours in late afternoon sun. Now I have nose freckles, which are kind of cute but also cheek freckles close to my eyes, which just look like melasma. What is the difference between freckles and age spots?

On the Q53 ride back from the Rockaways I developed a crush on this sunburnt, blonde, messy-haired gay Ukrainian with an artfully shredded tank top and black denim cutoffs. I was drunk and we were rushing through a violent rainstorm. I took a photo of him and his friend, a chubby young woman with dirty hair who was laying sprawled, feet up, in the seat in front of me and stayed on after I got off in Elmhurst. The guy got off in Broad Channel. And no, I won’t post the pic because that’s too weird and stalkery even for me.

scs 3My obsession with sandy blondes is funny because I naively thought this was relatively new, though I know that’s not true because the guy I stalked my senior year in college (and who died last year) fit this mold, and so too the guy I tried stalking when I first moved to NYC (I sat across from him on the 6 train in roughly 2009 and he didn’t see me/pretended not to see me and I’m assuming he’s still alive but who’s to say). Zines have been creeping into my world again recently and a few weeks ago I was friended by the guy who used to do a comic called Stewie (and who appears to have just married Ashlie Atkinson, an actress I’m always excited to see pop up unexpectedly on a TV show). He posted the above pic of the third issue of The Scaredy-cat Stalker and right there in the lower left: blondes. Yes, indeed.

I’m also kind of in love with all of the simple micro tattoos as well as their crude opposite the stick and poke, and the young Berlin dads and their friends that are able to make this look effortless (as opposed to the Bushwick version, which would annoy me but even then I’m not really all that annoyed because I’m trying not to be) and cause me to wish I were born five years earlier even though that would still make me older than the cohort that can wear neck tattoos like it’s no big deal. (This story was making the rounds last week and I was glad to see online friends siding with the tattoo artist if only because a lot of ladybloggers chafe me for reasons I can’t always articulate [yes, I just said I’m actively not letting things annoy me anymore] and this is a perfect example.)

I never thought I would be that person but I’m half-inclined to just start saying I’m 37, though I guess that would mean that I’m turning 38 next month. I’ve been working behind the scenes on interviewing women for a project related to The Middle Ages and started in February and keep dragging my heels in transcribing and editing everything and reaching out to more people and I haven’t been able to figure out why I’m not moving forward and I guess it’s because I’m not ready to be almost 43. There, I just said it. I don’t want to be judged as less awesome. And I’m mad at myself for caring.

So, I’m back in NYC and back to work tomorrow back to focusing on the things I took the week off to spend time on. Now it’s summer. On that note, I’m going to leave off with the deep, life-affirming thought: if you can hang out with a stranger naked and joke about Applebee’s, you’re probably doing ok. Your criteria may differ.

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