Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rev Your Minivan

I live in the fashion capital of the world, yet I found myself shopping at the local mall for a wedding dress (on the day of the wedding.) I ran into two of my best friends there (Alissa and Gretch), which was delightful and also very fitting that all three of us would be racing around Macy's at 11am.

My spatial reasoning skills have gotten totally skewed - I can understand city blocks perfectly, and how to walk places and/or take the train. But let me loose in a giant mall, and I'm clueless. It feels exactly like a (team Edward) corn maze.

At one point, my mom and I lost each other and she had to tell one of the sales clerks what I look like. I can only imagine the conversation:

"Excuse me, but I can't find my daughter."

"Oh no! What does she look like?"

"She has a blond ponytail and a romper. She just woke up from a nap, and is probably playing dress up somewhere."

"How old is she?"


Lesson #31 in moving to a big city (and when visiting much smaller ones): Hold on to your spatial reasoning skills and figure out how to make sense of non cities, especially in exotic locations like suburban malls.

Giant megastores (Costo, Meijer) are basically their own cities with a totally different set up, ones in which I've forgotten how to navigate. My advice is to try to imagine the mall as a series of city grids and neighborhoods: the Panda Express and food court as Chinatown, which borders on Little Italy, the series of discount leather stores. Need to get home? Simply hop on the nearest 6 train stop, the closest mall exit where you've parked your car. (I won't even tackle how much I don't know how to drive anymore - I can only handle trying to not get lost inside the 'burbs.)

This works within store perimeters as well; I have to make mental notes of where I am, because there simply aren't any identifiers. I've become so accustomed to street intersections guiding me through the city, that when I'm in a large space with no wifi phone connection, I'm literally lost. Therefore, a few mental notes will take you a long way (as in: Cathlin, you walked in by the swimsuit collection. Remember how much you hate shopping for suits? Then remember that's where you parked.)

My mom and I did have a blissful reunion, but I wasn't allowed any dessert due to my misbehavior. Once I master mapping out mental grids, I'll be eating vegan cake by the pound.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends
when you pass them at night under the silvery, silvery citibank lights
arm in arm in arm and eyes and eyes glazing under
oh you wouldn’t want an angel watching over you
surprise, surprise they wouldn’t wannna watch
another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults
- Mistaken for Strangers, the National

According to this site, my closest celeb match is either Sarah Michelle Gellar or Scarlett Johannson (oh dear God, one can dream). Their database must be really small, because in real life I'm more accustomed to comparisons with less attractive, but quirky celebs like that girl from the Ting Tings or Peggy from Mad Men. I'm totally cool with that, as I'd rather be thought of as quirkiness tends to persist, whereas girlish good looks fade. Also, I'd gladly exchange closets with either of them.

You can imagine my surprise when Thursday, a man on the elevator mistook me for Lindsay Lohan, the prison bound heroine. After getting a better look at me, and my shocked face, he realized I wasn't the lovable hellion, but told me about his mistake anyway. I immediately realized I need to lay off the drugs, and that 'heroin chic' is so Kate Moss circa '95.

All joking aside, this incident got me thinking about the notion of celebrity, and how much I would hate to be one. Just the one person giving me extra attention made me want to crawl into a hole.

Luckily, NYC isn't a place that gives much heed to celebrities (besides my elevator friend, an anomaly of sorts).

Lesson #30: If you're into celebrities, you probably shouldn't move here. And if you do, you should learn to play it cool like (almost) all of us. Seriously, I don't think New Yorkers care about seeing celebs - maybe because our egos get in the way, or maybe our hearts are two sizes too small.

The plus side is that celebrities probably view this city as an oasis, as they can largely go unnoticed. In LA, people visit looking explicitly for celebs, like a zoo for the beautiful and exotic. It seems that the really interesting ones always settle for the east coast anyway (Woody Allen, Heath Ledger - my old neighbor, Lou Reed)

Now please indulge me for a minute - even though I'd never say anything or react to seeing them, I still would like to gush about a few of the celebrities I've seen. I've only lived here a few months, so give me a break (not like an acting break or anything. Unless you're looking for someone that does a mean Moonwalk, because I can easily fit that bill.)

-Ed Westwick at LGA, while he was arguing with Jessica Szohr (he also had on purple pants, which he pulled off nicely)
-Willem Dafoe in the West village, while I was walking to see Fantastic Mr Fox (he's in it)
-Kyra Sedgwick, in an elevator, while our team discussed celebrity diets. She laughed quietly to herself while the rest of us were mortified.
-Molly Shannon in Chelsea Market, just being Molly Shannon
-Parker Posey at our cafeteria, drinking ginger ale

Those were some of the more interesting "run ins" I've had, if you can call them that. Which you really can't, since I acted the same way around them as I would any others. But inside, I had a few internal battles. Wouldn't Molly Shannon love to know how amazing 'Year of the Dog' was?? Couldn't I discuss Ed Westwick's accent with, well, HIM??

No, because now I understand how accosted celebs must feel and wouldn't want to put them through that. But seriously, if I ever see Craig Finn sitting alone at the bar, I'm buying both of us shots. I'll just pretend I don't know who he is and am simply into middle aged academic hipsters. OK, back to reality - this In Touch isn't going to read itself.