Category Archives: blogathon

Naming in New York #2

In Naming in New York #1, I mentioned districts, counties, and capitalization. In this part, I’ll be covering three other irritations that tourists must deal with from natives.

First, the tendency to call the same piece of land different things depending on one’s immediate location. “Where is Long Island?” Think it’s not a trick question? It is, and I’ll tell you why. Traditionally, “Long Island” is the land east of Queens and Brooklyn made up of Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York. But it gets tricky because, technically speaking, Queens and Brooklyn (B&Q) are on Long Island, so sometimes when someone in Manhattan is giving directions, she’ll say, “Head out to Long Island” and actually mean B&Q. But, when a person in Brooklyn or Queens is giving directions, he’ll consider himself to be in part of New York City, not “on Long Island” and will say, “Now, head out to Long Island” and mean everything east of B&Q, not everything east of Manhattan, which includes B&Q.

It gets even more confusing for someone who doesn’t know the area when a native says “Yeah, it’s in Long Island City” because that means the city/neighborhood/district in Queens County, not “Long Island” at all. Likewise, East New York is a district on one of the eastern-most points in Brooklyn, and West New York is actually in New Jersey—not New York City at all. When someone outside the City (say, in Philadelphia or Los Angeles or even Albany) says “the City”, she means all five boroughs of New York City, but when she’s in the City and says “the City”, she means Manhattan only.

It’s easy to tell when you’re overhearing a native or a tourist when they talk about the subway system because tourists use the colors (“We’re trying to find the red line” which always requires further clarification for anyone trying to help them) and natives use letters and numbers, as appropriate (“I’ve gotta catch the D line home, so I’ll see you tomorrow.”) Each letter or number has only one color, but each color has multiple letters or numbers. For example, the “red lines” are the 1, 2, and 3 subway lines and are also sometimes referred to as “the Broadway line” because it runs along Broadway in Manhattan. (The “green lines” are 4/5/6 and are also called “the Lexington Ave. line” for the same reason. And etc.) This can be especially confusing because the “yellow lines” (N/Q/R/W) are also sometimes called “the Broadway line” (though they run along a different part of Broadway). Therefore, the D line is always orange, but the trains on the orange line are not always the D (other “orange line” trains are B/F/V).

Finally, there’s a secret code in New York that confuses tourists when they first arrive. Natives are in the habit of referring to landmarks by their subway stop. For example, whereas everyone else would call it Times Square—and New Yorkers do, too, intermittently—natives called it “42nd Street” much more often. Penn Station, where Amtrak and New Jersey Transit train lines are docked, is “34th Street” and Coney Island is “Stillwell Ave.” Union Square, in Manhattan, is “14th Street” and City Hall is “Chambers Street.”

Be careful, though, because while “42nd Street” usually means Times Square, it can also mean Port Authority or Grand Central Station, depending on which train you’re riding.

Confusing, isn’t it? I could go on and on (as you’ve noticed, I’m sure), but I’m already behind for my next post. So, on with it!

Tattoo ideas

Tattoo ideas

The last couple of posts have been somewhat of a downer, even for me, so I’m changing it up to a topic that makes me happy. Tattoos!

I’m pro-tattoo. Even though I already have a couple myself, I’m always thinking of new ideas. I think about my designs for a long time before committing because it’s something that’s going to last until I die. But, that said, it’s still fun to think about, in any case!

Here are some of my current ideas.

the dawn is coming (click for larger version)
the dawn is coming

donnachaidh
donnachaidh

heart support/TWLOHA
heart support/TWLOHA

to be continued
to be continued

I also have another one that’s too complicated for me to explain here, but I’m trying to get my sister (she’s an artist) to draw it so I can see what it may look like. I’m hopeful!

What do you think? Yay/nay?

If you fall back into my life

Dear Abuser,

It was only one time, but it was one time too many. I knew you. We dated. I loved you. That didn’t stop you from doing what you did that night in December 2006. I remember. Don’t think I’ll ever forget. I have not forgiven you or turned the other cheek.

It happened and you said you’d do anything to be my friend again. I had stipulation: that you stop drinking. I know you. You wouldn’t have done what you did if you’d been sober. Maybe you’d have thought about it, I don’t know, but you wouldn’t have done it. But you were drunk and you did it, and I couldn’t stop you. It was the first time in my life I was really afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get away. You were stronger than me, bigger than me. I liked that about you when we dated; it made me feel safe. Not anymore.

Now I know what it’s like to be literally forced to do something against my will.

You said you don’t remember what happened. That means you drank so much that you blacked out. That was my one condition for forgiveness: that you stopped drinking. But I told you what happened, and you said I was exaggerating. You said that you’d never do something like that to anyone, much less me. You said you wouldn’t stop drinking just because I was over-reacting. You could hold your liquor and you were sure that you’d have remembered something like that.

But now, now I’m the only one who really knows what happened, if what you say is true and you really don’t remember. I cut ties with you shortly thereafter because what I told you happened actually did happen, whether you believe me or not. I know what you did. I remember.

If you fall back into my life, I hope you look at me and think about the friendship you could’ve had, the friendship you did have. You denied what you did, but I know the truth. I hope you suffer.

I know what you did. I remember. My body remembers. I hope I have the courage someday to name you and let the pieces fall where they may. If I were a stronger person, I’d give you a Chelsea grin. You deserve it, but I don’t want people to pity you.

Sincerely,
V.E.

What the psych ward taught me

With my parents’ support, I admitted myself to a psychiatric ward in July 2004. I wasn’t there very long, but it left a lasting impact on the way I view “crazy” people.

I’m not crazy. At least, I don’t fit into the “she needs to be locked up because she hears voices” or “she’s psychotic and about to kill someone” crazy mold. I spent my time away from the other patients while I was there. I wasn’t running around trying to get out or screaming that “they” were coming to get me.

And actually, most of the other people there weren’t, either. It’s nothing like in the movies, and thank heavens for that, right? Admittedly, there were some characters who tried to draw on the walls and talked to people only they could see, but for the most part, the inpatients in that hospital were more like me.

I was admitted as a 5150—in L.A. that means “danger to self and others”—and when I left, I was given a prescription for Ativan PRN. I had a panic attack one night and my parents took me to the hospital. I’m glad my mom was there; she was basically my nurse advocate. She knew the lingo and didn’t take kindly to the social worker disbelieving me. (There were no cuts on my arms, so why should he believe me when I said I was afraid I was going to hurt myself?)

The following Autumn, while I was back at school, I started cutting. I engaged in other self-destructive behaviors. I didn’t want anyone to not believe me again.

The nurses and doctors running the hospital where I was an inpatient were tired, bitter, and suspicious. The patients were primarily decent people who just couldn’t get a handle on one part of their lives. I couldn’t see myself not hurting myself (and later, I did hurt myself), but I wasn’t classically crazy. I was just depressed. Suicidally depressed, which is in itself a form of insanity, but it wasn’t the kind you think of when you think of the psych ward.

I learned enough to know that I never want to go back.

Checking in at midnight

Whew! It’s 18 hours down and only 6 to go. I’m really struggling, so it would help to know that someone’s out there reading these posts, even if they are relatively short. I’m kinda not feeling so hot, but I want to be able to finish what I start.

So tired…. gah!

I also need four more ideas for journal entries… something silly (or at least upbeat) so that I don’t get all depressed or something in the last three hours. Leave suggestions on this entry and I’ll see what I can do!

Maybe another poem?

Colorguard

I keep having dreams about Colorguard. (Well, not last night, obviously, or tonight, because I’m in this thon thingy.) George, my coach from high school is there, and I’m spinning flags and rifles like I actually know what I’m doing. It’s been on my mind a lot lately because I really miss it.

(In case you don’t know Colorguard, check out WGI [Sport of the Arts!] and DCI [Marching Music’s Major League].)