A Baseball Fan for Life

By: Sue Ann

I never thought I’d enjoy watching sports. Honestly, the only sport I watch on TV is tennis. I’ve got to say though, that baseball has really grown on me lately.

I used to wear the Yankees baseball cap because it’s the only one I have. Not because I like the team. But the Yankees are actually my favorite baseball team now.

You can ask me about any member on the Yankees team: their batting average, where they were transferred from, the number of home runs they’ve hit this season, etc. And I can tell you the answer. I guess you can say I’ve spent way too much of my free time watching all the Yankees games. It’s kind of hard not to when your boyfriend is a hardcore sports fan, haha.

I used to have a really hard time remembering all the names of players on the Yankees team because there are so many of them! But I’ve come up with my own naming system. I remember Didi as Didi’s Dumplings, one of the best dumpling places near Alex’s home. Did you know that Didi’s real name is Mariekson? Yea, sounds nothing like Didi. Gleyber, because it rhymes with the word “labor” as in Labor Day. Edwin Encarnacion is a hard one to forget because he has a parrot on his shoulder (no joke) every time he hits a home run. DJ, because he has the highest batting average on the team. Point is, it’s hard to forget their names. And I guess it’s safe to say I’ve traded in Shark Tank episodes for Yankees games.

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Connection and Distance

By: Juliet Godwin

I’m someone for whom it takes a while to make real, close friends. I usually form stronger connections with people over time, but those connections are something I value above all else and crave when I don’t have them. I’m also someone who values my time spent alone, so not being with friends at every moment isn’t something that I dislike; I would even say that it’s something I need periodically. But eventually I always want to connect again.

It took me a while to make a few really close friends in high school, and in college I’ve found myself in the same situation. I know that there is nothing wrong with this; I even think it can make for the best kind of relationships if it suits you, and I value their friendship a lot. But it can be difficult when my close friends aren’t around and I want to be with people. I’ve been trying to get better at making and maintaining more casual friendships, but it’s all kind of difficult and at times lonely for me.

This summer, I haven’t gotten to spend that much time with my close friends from high school because our work schedules never seemed to line up. I’m not worried that we won’t remain friends throughout college, but I am sad that it seems like everyone in the world is with their friends but me. It’s dumb, but I guess I’m just annoyed about it having taken so long for me to make friends that I love in high school and now needing to start all over in college. Eventually I’ll have to start all over when I graduate. This isn’t to say that I won’t keep being friends with my friends now when we are apart, but we all need friends where we actually live as well. Enjoying time by myself doesn’t mean I want to be alone all of the time, after all. It’s difficult to go from seeing your best friends everyday, trapped in the same place with them for eight hours a day, five days a week, to hardly seeing them at all. Spending that much time with even the people I wasn’t close friends with created a community that I knew. I know that this will come with time in college and in every new environment I become a part of, but repeating the process is just a lot for me, I guess.

I was going to call this post “Staying in Touch” because I thought I was going to write more about staying close with friends that I used to see everyday and now live far away from, but it took a little bit of a different direction. This is just the way I’ve been feeling lately, I guess. I hope it wasn’t too depressing of a post and was maybe even a little bit relatable!

Palate Cleansers

By: Haruka and Juliet

Do you ever watch TV shows that upset you to your core? Or even a movie that you just can’t go to sleep right after? I watched GoodFellas, and it made me sick to my stomach. I had to watch something that would make me laugh right after, because I just didn’t want to sit with that movie. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by watching something like The Handmaid’s Tale, or other dark shows that I need to watch something afterward, so that it won’t negatively impact my mental health. And sometimes, you just need an hour or two in your day when you’re watching stupid videos on YouTube for no apparent reason, and then you feel completely gross later for wasting so much time. That’s how I often feel after watching YouTube videos on secrets about the Bachelor franchise. Sometimes, a palate cleanser can be too much. But sometimes, it’s just what you need. Palate cleansers don’t always have to be funny, just something that I’m not too invested in.

Anyway, this is a list of the palate cleansers that Juliet and I came up with for whenever we just need to watch something else: 

Light Comedies: 

  • Brooklyn Nine-nine
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Broad City
  • Drunk History

Youtube Videos: 

  • Hot Ones
  • FBE React videos
  • Movie trailers
  • Wired linguistics videos and other Wired videos
  • Celebrity interviews (talk show and press junket)
  • Games/other segments on talk shows
  • Dance choreography
  • Vogue beauty videos
  • Vine compilations
  • Bon Appetit channel
  • Buzzfeed Tasty videos or Buzzfeed in general
  • College Humor
  • Cut channel
  • Saturday Night Live clips
  • Music videos/covers/performances

Stand Up (Netflix Specials or YouTube Clips)

Reality TV:

  • The Bachelor franchise (The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise)
  • Are You The One? 
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Skin Wars
  • Blown Away

Shows We’ve Already Watched:

  • Bob’s Burgers (or other cartoons)
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Queer Eye
  • Old episodes of Doctor Who
  • Early Grey’s Anatomy

Procedurals: 

  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Criminal Minds
  • Elementary

Weeding Gig

I don’t often do gardening, but when I did, Mrs. New York 2019 showed up as well. 

It’s not the highlight of the event,  but that does make me chuckle a bit.

But that’s not how the story started. That’s what I found out (and I find it quite wonderful) at the very end of my experience. 

The scholarship that I was awarded to do the internship has a requirement – give some attention and time to one volunteer community service at the location we are at. No other prescriptions. The area we can to apply it is absolutely up to us and our creative fluids that race along our veins.

Since I am in New York City, volunteering opportunities, as everything else, abound. All you need to do is really want to help, and a bit of googling. 

So, my volunteering choice fell on the City Tutors where I am a literacy tutor. I chose it because I looked for something connected to education, and because, on a larger point, I  love teaching. And if I can teach people reading and writing that I myself find to be miracles of this life, that’s even better. I won’t go into detail on this one.. Maybe next time. 

But…

In addition to the City Tutors, I wanted to do something that would take me outdoors and will cover me in paint, dirt, dust, whatever. Carpenting would do as well.

And theeeeen… 

I found Hunter’s Point Parks Conservancy on Volunteermatch.com.  At the weekend, in the scorching July heat, we planted ourselves at a park on Long Island to pull the weeds out of the ground, made mountains out of them, soon to be collected and composted. And tried to stay hydrated. 

While doing that, you somehow end up talking to people around you, who try to help the city every week or so. They come from all kinds of walks of life, students, tourists, bank workers, housewives, a journalist, who brought his kids with him, just to give some love to the city and have some bonding time with them. You learn that people do care. They want to give that piece of the NYC puzzle a little gentle stroke of care, to show that a person can make an impact, even if is just going to take a few hours a week and several drops of sweat.

And we did make an impact. The patch we took care of did look better! 

“The “Catch” “

At the end of the session, we started taking photos in our beautiful uniforms (they always remind me of a highlighter), and then one volunteer pulled out a sash that ran “MRS. NEW YORK 2019.”

And that’s so so wonderful! That’s what I loved seeing! She really is Mrs. New York, loving the city she lives is and not just from the distance or verbally, but actually puts on those gloves and shows what it’s like to really care!

Mrs. New York 2019

So, if you’re ready for a helpful adventure, you know what to do! 😉

Brought by wind. In the street.

In our office, there is an expression “Outdoor cat”/“Indoor cat.” It was introduced to us by Dana, so that’s who the expression’s mom is. At least to me. 

I should confess. I am a sheer, extremely, and unapologetically outdoor cat. More of a dog, to be honest, or a seagull, but let’s concentrate on the adjective for a moment. 

I love being outside, with a special compartment on my “love-shelf” carved for walking. Like Rafael loved his brushes, like Gauguin loved Tahiti, like seagulls love French fries (hear a distant caw of approval from a seagull now), like…you name it. I irrevocably adore walking. I often walk to work, walk home after work, walk to a new place and explore it by walking, walk just for the sake of walking. That’s what I do to recalibrate, as a meditation, as a hobby, as a pick-me-up treat. And I exercise it daily. And more often than not, I don’t wear any headphones or anything that blocks the sounds. 

The reason for that is quite simple. There’s something magical in the whisper of the streets, the mishmash of sounds it offers (some people call it a cacophony, but that’s very far from the way I would define it,) random words, sentences, pieces of conversations. I love when they are absolutely torn out of the context. That particularshape of them lets me think they are like a Rubik’s cube and I try to restore the context in my head.

Let me give you an example. The last one that really caught my attention was “If at the end of the day you love someone, that’s already something, you know.” I heard it as I walked out of the 34th street/ Penn Station subway, at about 10 am. Yesterday. Which means it was a Monday morning. 

What would make a person talk about it on a Monday morning? Were they discussing the weekend events? A situation that shakes their souls on a daily basis? Is abovementioned love mutual?  Did the girl who uttered those words mean that it’s a good thing because the person can love – as a matter of fact (you know, some people are emotionally unavailable, so it can be something to pinpoint), or that he had something like a candlelight to warm next to, even if the day was stormy. Was the person who it was addressed to comforted by this thought? Was he angry and ready to shove the feeling as far as possible? Or decided to cup his palms around it, like a dome, not letting inclement weather touch it?

I don’t know. And never will. 

But what I know for sure is that I’ll keep tinkering with those snippets, because … that’s what I like. It’s fun to walk and come up with a new solution. To give it a new twist, to see what way it will go if an extra detail is added. It’s fun to create the worlds of stories, sparked by a single line, word, sound. It’s a creative process. On my own, street-walk-born terms. 

S.W.A.G. or Gotham Icebreaker!

Have you watched the film The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants? That’s the movie in which a group of friends believes in magical powers of their pants. Not all of them. Just one particular pair that they send to each other by post, hoping to dress their lives into miracles. 

I am not the one who ascribes magical features to objects. No trust in superstitions, as well. Like…I don’t have a special talisman pen I take to exams, I don’t wear a lucky pin on my jacket, I don’t rub monuments asking for the fulfillment of dreams. None of that.

No, no. I do believe in the powers of the universe that send us cues along the way, stopping or nudging us in everyday life. That’s something you won’t be able talk me out of.

But objects.. Come on now. 

Just to set the story, people often talk to me in the shops, subways, and streets. Everywhere. They smile, say something nice and then, sometimes, it turns into a memorable conversation. I am not new to that. It’s more common to me than going home on the subway and not having a small talk with a stranger.

But then…

Lately I started wearing Gotham Writers’ t-shirt. It’s a blue one, with Gotham Writers inscription on it. Really. Nothing specifically noticeable about it.

Except that for some reason, the number of interactions I have with random people tripled, if not “the-word-we-use-when-a-number-multiplies-by-seven.” And I must say, the quality of those conversations escalated as well (in literary way.) People look at the t-shirt, they smile, and then the fun starts. 

They ask me if I am a writer, about genres I prefer, work with, hate, genres  they like, their latest finds in literature. Some people ask me questions about Gotham. Some people just use it as a starter for a conversation and then tell me stories about their writing life. They ask me how my day is going, if I saw Lion King, if I think whether cold seats on the subway are good or bad thing, and many other.

And I love it. The city just turns into a massive social space. In a flash mob style.

Huh, who are those people who say that New York can be lonely sometimes? 

JOMO: What Does It Mean?

FOMO is the fear of missing out. You are afraid that you’ll miss out on the conversation the next day, or you won’t get the inside jokes. Social media can often exacerbate FOMO. When we scroll through Instagram posts, or watch stories from the same events, it makes you compare your own life to others. Your friend is traveling while you are stuck at work yet again. Or you are working on the weekend while your friends are out having brunch together. Seeing clips of your friend’s highlight reel on social media does increase that feeling like you are missing out on something. Or that your life should be better. Although you really shouldn’t compare your life to someone else’s based on what they post on Instagram, because it is indeed a highlight reel, but I digress. 

The fear of missing out can also come from just wanting to fit in. I remember when I first started working at my summer camp at 16, and I always wanted to stay up at night talking with my fellow counselors, discussing our campers, and our lives in general. We played pranks on people who fell asleep first, or played many games with a deck of cards. I never wanted to be the one to go to bed early because I didn’t want to miss out on anything the next day. If my friends were laughing about something, I wanted to be in on the joke, too. My fear of missing out caused me to stay up so late every night, and I couldn’t function well the next day. I fell asleep during the day while I was with my campers. I was short with them or didn’t want to interact with them as much and only wanted to be with my friends, even though I wasn’t there to make friends. I was there to work. Because I wasn’t sleeping well and taking care of myself, I often got sick. My FOMO really messed up my health. 

I recently came across the term JOMO. The joy of missing out. That is about being present and feeling content about where you are at in your life. This is a great state of mind to be in, but the phrase joy of missing out implies that you are still comparing yourself to what is happening around you. You feel joy because you are not a part of something. When I was working at my summer camp at 18, I went right to bed at midnight, even though my friends were still hanging out. I never felt like I was missing out on something, nor did I feel joy in missing out on hearing the events from the night before. When I went back to summer camp for staff training a month ago, I felt the same way when I headed back to the cabin when the day was done. I just enjoyed my time alone, and didn’t think about the other people. I understood that I needed time to myself to fill out my habit tracker, or read a little to come back to myself, and go to bed at a relatively normal time so that I can function like a human the next day. I felt present and felt content about what I was doing but I never felt the actual joy of missing out. 

If I feel like this, I don’t really know if what I am actually feeling is JOMO. Why, then, is it called the joy of missing out? Is it just to find an equivalent to its opposite, FOMO? I just don’t know if feeling joy in missing out on something implies that you are being present and feel content about where you’re at in your life. Doesn’t it imply that you are comparing your life to another person’s again? Isn’t that what you’re not supposed to be doing? What does JOMO really mean? What do you think?