FOURTEEN.

Yesterday afternoon I had a meeting at our midtown offices and as I got out of the subway just a few blocks north of Times Square, it occurred to me that it was the first time I’d been in that heavily touristed zone since the Paris terror attacks two weeks ago. I don’t know why it popped into my head, but it did, and as I walked the rainy blocks from the subway to my office, I found myself thinking unusually deep thoughts about the city, the country, about safety.  I’ve been asked a lot, especially after things like Charlie Hebdo, like the Batalclan, like the Boston Marathon, if I feel scared living in New York City, as surely we’re next in line for a horrific attack. My answer is always no. Mainly because if I’m going to die in a terror attack, I’ll die in a terror attack and that’ll suck, sure, but so would dying from cancer or MS or being crushed by a piano falling out the window of a tall building. But the other answer is to question why I should feel more afraid here in this big city than I might in any small town or suburb across the country where people are actually being violently murdered in schools, churches, office parks, movie theaters and other seemingly safe spaces - every. single. day. 

THAT terrifies me.

And all the while I was walking and thinking, thinking and walking, fourteen innocent people (FOURTEEN!!!) were gunned down at a Christmas party at a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. A place of refuge for some of the weakest among us. Fourteen. This is after three killed in Colorado just days before and nine in Oregon in October and nine in Charleston in June and on and on and on. And no one changed their Facebook profile picture to the San Bernardino County Seal or tweeted #prayersforsanbernardino. Why? Are we desensitized? Maybe. I know I’m not.

 

I AM scared. I’m terrified! I’m afraid when my mom goes to the mall in rural Pennsylvania. I’m afraid when I walk onto a college campus. I’m afraid to have kids, to bring up children in a world where they’ll have mandatory intruder drills in kindergarten, because we’ve decided as a society to treat the potential slaughter of innocent individuals as a terrifying but unstoppable inevitability, on par with fires and tornadoes.

What the actual fuck.

Are we just supposed to hid under our desks, hope the storm blows us over? 

I don’t have any answers, obviously, if I did I’d be in Washington right now, fixing things. I’m not suggesting we take everyone’s guns away. I grew up in an area where huntin’ was such a major part of the culture that schools were always closed the Monday after Thanksgiving for the first day of deer season. I’ve had venison jerky. That stuff’s delicious. I understand and respect that for many people, responsible (!) gun ownership is a way of life. I get that. It just makes me so angry that out of, I don’t know, fear or stubbornness or something we can’t even get it together enough to consider the possibility of maybe looking into finding a solution. There has to be an answer - there has to - and we need to look for it. If we can spend eleventytrazillion dollars defending ourselves against the threat of international terror, we can at least drop a buck or two to try to protect ourselves from the monsters prowling around right here at home.

We have to.

I don’t know what my point is in writing this, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir for most of you and I don't really think our country's leaders are looking to infrequently updated humor blogs for political suggestions (but if they are, hey dudes!)...I just couldn’t sleep last night for laying awake worrying on this and it felt like something I needed to talk about. I just went online to try to find a link to share for people to write their legislator on gun violence and first hit that came up on Google was from December 2012. THREE YEARS have passed and we’re still banging the same drum and now I’m feeling even more frustrated than I was before.

Here are a few resources, if you’re interested: https://www.change.org/p/congress-stop-blocking-gun-violence-research?source_location=trending_petitions_home_page&algorithm=curated_trending

How are you feeling about all of this? Does it scare you too? Make you angry? I can’t be alone!


Thanks for reading, if you did. I know this isn’t really my usual territory. I promise I’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming of food spills and poop stories soon but, well, for now I’m just not feeling very funny. 

BUT! I don't want to end this all gloom and doom. I know it feels like dark days lately but I really really do still believe there's a lot of good out there. Let's find it together. 

Hugs, guys!! 

xx Liz

Another Awkward Week [7.17.15]

HI! It's Friday!  A to the m to the EN. How was everyone's week? Mine was actually kind of stressful and no bueno. Blah. I woke up this morning to the sun shining and birds chirping and said "Liz! Today is a new day! Chin UP!" and then I got this breakfast wrap from Pret a Manger and it came in this weird cardboard package thing and when I tried to open it, learned that it had like, melted and was now stuck to the cardboard but I already bought it and was hungry so I basically just ate cardboard for breakfast (fiber!) soooooo the chin upping is turning into a real workout but I'm going for it. 

FRIDAY. 

Ok! Without further ado, one very rambly look at what was keeping it awkward this week...

As you know, I love city life and one of my favorite things is the car free culture. I am like, fully and knowingly self righteous about how much I walk. It baffles me to go home to the 'burbs and hop in the car to drive under a mile to CVS.  I know suburbs and towns don't have the infrastructures in place to allow this to be possible for most people outside of urban centers and that makes me super sad but also, keeping it real, makes me super snobby. 

Sometimes it's just fun to feel morally superior to people, OK? I dare you to pretend you're an innocent in this arena!

Anyhoodle, off my soapbox! Though I think that walking and taking public transit is the way and the vision, I also acknowledge that it often creates horrific social situations by forcing so much of our lives into the public sphere. Case in point: the daily commute.

If you are driving a car to and from your job and you pass someone you work with on the highway that is NOT WEIRD. You can just wave and keep driving. But if you get on the subway and your boss is there, you are forced to make some serious decisions. Do you pretend you don't see them? Say hi and go back to your book? Talk to them for the next 30 minutes? What happens when the train pulls into the station? Are you going to walk the WHOLE WAY to the office making small talk at 8:29 AM? 

It's a nightmare.

Or if you get in the elevator on the way out at night and strike up a conversation with a colleague and then walk out of the building and realize they TOO are going to the same subway station as you do you keep walking and talking? Say goodbye and walk 2 feet behind them the whole time? 

It's all just TOO MUCH TO HANDLE sometimes. Too much. 

I continually find myself in situations where I'll exit the subway and realize that a colleague is walking just ahead of me. This should not be a problem except for the fact that I am like the world's fastest walker.

Seriously. It is a problem. I have memories of barreling through the halls of middle school, crowds parting to get out of the way. It's not like I ever have anywhere that important to go...I just walk with purpose. And the purpose is to mow down everyone in front of me. I'm always rear-ending other pedestrians on the street or forcing couples to step aside so I can plow by them. Brian hates going for walks with me because he wants to stroll romantically and I physically can't make my body go any slower than Olympic-speed power walking. It's kind of a problem but I CAN'T STOP.

I can't do it! 

Because of this, whenever I'm walking behind a coworker I KNOW that eventually I'll end up catching up to them. No matter how far they are in front of me I WILL overtake them because I am a freak of nature and that is how my body works. 

On some occasions this is someone I might actually be want to speak to, but more often than not these people lay right in that middle ground where I know them too well to just walk past them with a nod and a "good morning" but not well enough that I want to spend 5 minutes small talking with them before I've had my morning coffee. I have a number of tools in my arsenal for avoiding this, including stopping on the side of the sidewalk and pretending to read something on my phone, going half a mile out of my way on an alternate route to avoid contact, stopping to purchase food or beverages...even if I've already packed something.  

I would rather spend $7 on an overpriced egg sandwich and eat two breakfasts than find myself speed walking up behind the subrights manager and having to find some way to announce my presence which always just ends with me startling them out of their morning peace as I yelp "Oh hey Rita hey it's Liz hi I was behind you the whole time hahahaha oh do you also take the F train haha hi!"

UGH.

So long story the LONGEST this week I somehow managed to outweird even myself, taking my walking game to a whole new level. 

You may recall me discussing my former assistant Margaret, Swiftie extraordinaire and all around wonderful human. She got promoted earlier this year which is sad because she's no longer my assistant but also happy because good for her, Lean In, gurl, and also happy because now I'm not her boss and can instead try to convince her to be my BFF and hang out with me every day. Though chances of that ever happening are slimmer than slim to none after this week.

One evening this week I exited the office building to see M just a few feet ahead of me - she must have been on the elevator just before mine. I walked like a normal person (I swear!!!) behind her for a block and when we came to the corner, she crossed to the opposite side of the street. I was going to have to cross myself to get to the station and as I went to do so, I realized I would be literally walking directly into Margaret. She seemed to glance in my direction and as I crossed towards her I waved. She didn't see me but I was still plowing right towards her so I screeched "Haaaay Margaret" but she had headphones in and  didn't hear me and just kept on truckin' and I ended up literally half a foot behind her like a spooky gangly ghost stalking her every move.

We still had several block to go so I KNEW I'd overtake her at some point. She's a speedy walker herself but no one can match my moves. I thought it would be funny to take a picture of her and text it to her with a caption like "HI" because that's not creepy at all so I snapped a photo but before I could text her we came to a red light at an intersection and were forced to a stop. I decided it was time to stop lurking and tapped her on the shoulder but THAT was weird and she thought I was like a bug or something and turned around completely startled and I was like "Hi! I've been behind you the whole way, I took your picture!"

IF ONLY I had also taken a photo of the look on her face after that announcement.  

I deleted the picture and would never put it on the internet, that is so mean, but here is a fine art recreation of the moment:

stalking in fine art

The whole thing was just so weird and YES the photo might have crossed a line but if I HAD pulled off the text it would have been hilarious. Oh how we would have laughed!!! 

 For real: will someone please guide me on how to better handle these situations?1 What do you do when you're walking behind someone you know and you realize you're going to catch up to them? WHAT DO YOU DO I DON'T KNOW. I need serious help and guidance.

Screw it, I throw away all of my convictions and am now a car person. I want to be fully ensconced behind layers of tinted windows like a rap star so I can just never have to figure out how to interact with another human being.

It's better for us all!!

Ugh to the uggest.

Have a glorious weekend my fine friends. And if you hear the pitter patter of frantic footsteps behind you do not panic, it's probably just me! Taking your photo. Creepin' around. 

Ok do panic.

BYE!