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wellness junkie

I take the title of this entry from “Fitness Junkie“, the latest in the genre of “parody light” fiction that has been cropping up lately.  “Fitness Junkie” itself is an entertaining read, referencing and mocking the “wellness culture” of the major cities.  New York is the seeming epicenter of this right now, cranking out mini-chains and mega-chains of wellness “solutions”: cycling studios, meditation studios, juice bars.  “Fitness Junkie” skewers a lot of these trends with experiential accuracy, from Whole Foods to SoulCycle, even touching on the sober early morning rave trend.

I recognized and identified with far too many of the trends mocked in the book.  Perhaps this is because I have been on what is now termed the “wellness” bandwagon since I was nineteen, back when it was called what it really is: weight loss.  Back then, it was step classes and Fat Flush; twenty years later, it’s high end spin classes and soup diets.  It all adds up to much the same end result of cardio and reduced calories.  The only difference is now the concept of “wellness” is meant to be better for a woman’s health, by adding a layer of so-called self-care into the facade.

It’s a fucking joke.  Call the trend what it is.  This isn’t wellness, it’s just feeding women’s insecurity about their weight while telling us that we are taking care of ourselves doing it.  The wellness trend tells women that they can’t lose weight through cardio and diet alone, but have to invest more money, attention and resources into being “well” to make the cardio and diet work.  As a positive, the concept of “wellness” does include a certain mental and holistic health component, while taking some focus off meaningless scale numbers.  Still, it seems that “wellness” is now capitalizing now not only off women’s desperation to be thin, but now taking advantage of an overall insecurity that something is missing from their lives.

It’s very likely something is missing from an American woman’s life.  We live in completely unnatural environments.  We are not connected to a particular source of spirituality as we become a more secular culture.  We often eat low quality food that is packaged and sold to us.  We buy a lot of quick-fix items – fast fashion, beauty products.  All of this is draining our batteries every single day.  So when the wellness trend comes through offering something that will make us feel better and make us thinner, we’re willing to jump on it and open our wallets.

This is how something like goop gets big..and believable.  This is how Well and Good and Wanderlust and all the other wellness “brands” have become profitable.  This is how Lululemon and yoga have become ubiquitous.  We’ve combined the ongoing obsession with a woman’s weight with a promise of “feeling better” and created an entirely new monster.  An entirely new expensive monster.

I’m not immune to this, obviously.  I spent this morning in Manhattan, first at Flywheel for a spin class, then at MNDFL for a meditation class.  Flywheel is one of the new high end spinning chains that leverages perceived value to charge $30 for a class.  (I had a code for a free class)  Shoes, water and towels and help to set up the bikes are all provided.  The locker rooms have Bliss products in the showers, and a lounge area with post-workout fruit for snacks.   The bikes are all new and shiny and equipped with screens that show the exact torque and speed.  This allows for a gamified, competitive experience, as riders work to have the highest overall energy output for the class.  As a competitive person, the leaderboard aspect drives me to work harder.  It’s the overall high end experience where the perceived value comes in though, a combination of little things like shoes and water, and big things like new high-tech bikes.  It’s that kind of experience that is the hallmark of the new fitness boutiques, no matter what the workout.  It makes the participant feel a little bit like she is being treated well and taken care of, a tiny boost to her day.

 

Image result for flywheel sports bike nyc

 

Image result for mndfl living wall

I went from Flywheel to MNDFL, on the opposite side of the activity spectrum.  Instead of a high intensity, competitive cardio class, MNDFL is meditation that can be signed up for online like a fitness class.  It’s held in a lovely space in the West Village, where everything is thoughtfully, tastefully decorated, from the bamboo bookshelves to the gray couches to the living wall (above)  It’s peaceful and welcoming and serene.  Much like a high-end fitness studio, participants are welcomed, given water and/or tea, and ushered into a room with high quality equipment – in this case, custom meditation mats and hassocks instead of fancy bikes.  The sessions are 30 to 45 minutes long, and loosely focus on a specific aspect of mindfulness: emotions, energy, “lovingkindness”.   It’s a luxe setting, especially for meditation, which isn’t an activity I usually associate with material things, but gives MNDFL that boutique experience feel.  And it’s easily accessible: the teachers take the spiritual or religious specifics out of their teachings and just teach the practical aspects of meditation.

Both Flywheel and MNDFL are excellent representations of the wellness trend: they provide an experience, a functional physical or mental workout, and are priced in such a way that the perceived value is high enough to make them profitable.  At the end of each class, the respective instructors told the room that the class we just did was a form of self care, and emphasized that we should all be proud of ourselves for coming out on a Sunday morning when we could be doing other, less challenging things.  Each class ended in an emphasis that participants should “feel good” about what they did.  That’s what the wellness trend also suggests, that “feeling good” is worth the price tag.  It tries to tell us that losing weight is secondary to that self-care and positivity…and then it has to call wait, no, come back!  You will still lose weight!

But for all this feel-good and positivity, none of the wellness classes really teach a way to connect with the activity so that the participants can develop and build the skill outside of that setting.  Each requires me to come into their studio to “feel good”  In a way,  MNDFL is to religious based meditation what Flywheel is to actual bike riding: it is an easily done practice, but doesn’t create a complete vision or genuine connection to the activity.  MNDFL isn’t actual spirituality, but it works to calm the brain.  Flywheel isn’t actual biking, but it works to burn the calories.  They are what they are.

I’m not immune to the wellness trend, but I am cognizant of it.  I went into Flywheel today because I wanted to physically train to ride faster on a rainy day.  I went into MNDFL because it helps me with my own meditation practice to do it in a guided fashion in class once in a while. And I do look at the calorie count on my bike and think, wow, I burned 800 calories, that’s almost a quarter pound of fat!  Then I remember: I train for strength and ability, not to lose weight.

And that’s what’s wrong with the wellness trend.  The wellness trend doesn’t teach us to train.  It teaches us to go into a class and buy a temporary wellness fix, with a false goal of feeling better and a real goal of being skinnier.   It’s addictive and completely justifiable as “taking care of oneself”.  It doesn’t teach us to care for ourselves as much as it teaches us to rely on instructors to tell us how to perform self-care.  It’s addictive because it makes us feel better on multiple levels, like we’re getting skinnier and we’re being nice to ourselves.  It makes us dependent on these high priced activities to achieve an exercise high or a meditation calm.   The wellness trend makes us junkies.

gender equality, sitcom style

“Funny”, in females, is not portrayed in American media as a desirable trait.  It’s something reserved for the sidekick or the comic relief wing-girl, not something for the romantic lead.  I have often believed that girls are encouraged to keep their hilarity within the confines of what’s still considered cute: witty banter, not full on vulgar humor.  There have been women who have gone outside of this mold as comedians, from Joan Rivers to Sarah Silverman, but they are an exception.  Comedy, whether vulgar or smart, can be constricted to gender roles.

Recently, there has been a sort of paradigm shift in how women are portraying themselves in television.   They didn’t come here to play “cute”  They came here to laugh, and they are all out of f’s to give if people do not like it.  There are sitcoms now with female leads that are far from charming, who are not polished, who are just going to go with their characters and all the vulgarity that comes from it.  Now, we have Julia Louis-Dreyfus making statements like, “I just got Brit-fucked by that balloon animal,” and Ilana on Broad City saying, “I am so hard right now,” Now we are getting somewhere in allowing women to put their energy into being hilarious, and not asking them to make sure it stays “cute”.

Fifteen years ago, the closest thing we had to a show where women just went for that kind of bawdiness was Sex and the City – and that was only because Kim Cattrall is an amazing comic actress.  Still, the show felt it had to represent all the areas of the female psyche, so it gave us the traditional female elements and their shocked reactions along with the less traditional characters and their shocking statements.  When Samantha talked about Richard’s “long, pink, perfect dick”, there was a reaction from half the characters where they were somehow still shocked at her crudeness.  Those reactions are there to provide empathy to the poor shocked audience, to show an acceptable reaction to a woman making a sexually explicit statement.  Now, we have episodes of Broad City where Ilana says, “I think I’m just craving pink dick,” and her friend doesn’t even blink.  And just the way she says it, and the way it’s accepted, makes it NBD.  That is what I’m looking for: a universe where hilarity and comedy can come from anyone, and not be defined by their gender.

I often wonder if this is an actual generational gap. Is it that the generation of fifteen years ago felt constrained to these traditional gender roles?  I think that is what frustrates me the most about that mentality when I re-watch Sex & the City.  It was a groundbreaking show for the time, but it still frustrates me how much it adheres to traditional female archetypes, especially since it is essentially conceived and developed by men.

And now we have sitcoms with flawed female leads!  Look at 30 Rock, a show I’m shocked not only was made, but that ran for as long as it did.  Or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a total phenomenon based on a woman whose behavior is completely out of touch with social expectations.  Or Parks and Rec. It’s not “ladylike” behavior.  It’s just funny behavior.  We have hundreds of shows where brassy, bossy, bawdy behavior is taken for granted when it’s done by guys.  Now we finally have a handful where it’s done by women, and in the universe they live in, it’s totally OK.

I love that we are finally getting to shows that do not feel like they need to map characters to traditional female roles.  It’s no longer required to put a Charlotte in, or to channel Helen Lovejoy in a sort of Greek chorus.  This is where something like Two Broke Girls fails: it has a traditionally female character to be shocked by her smartass friend.  It still has a traditional female gender role to balance out, and tell us that we should be leery of this kind of unladylike behavior.

It’s the shows where a character can behave based on who they are, regardless of their gender role, and have it be accepted in that universe that I’m fascinated by.  Otherwise, having a “cute” girl who’s programmed to react in socially appropriate ways just makes the “funny girl” seem like she’s there for comic relief.  Having a person just be hilarious, without anyone reacting based on gender stereotypes, is what I really love about this next generation of female comedy.  I hope the next seasons of all these sitcoms I’m so into can keep it rolling to remind us that our gender restrictions can no longer keep us from being equally bawdy and hilarious.

 

 

the year of creativity: part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about how I suspect creativity is something missing from my life that will make me more consistently happy

I do not describe myself as a creative person.  I have no aesthetic sense.  I write, but it is mostly in this blog post format.  (I also write essays that I post on Medium)  I took a lot of music classes as a child (piano lessons for years, band nerd) but didn’t keep it up as an adult.  I sing loudly but worry I am off key.  I do not dress in a way that is expressive on a day to day basis.  I do not create.  

There is, however, something unique about the way my brain lights up when I bring something into reality that sounds or feels the same way it does in my head.  I get this professionally sometimes when I talk about marketing plans.  It’s the same light up, synapses firing feeling I get when I hit a piano chord on a difficult key change I’ve been playing.  When I hit the synth line bridge in “Are Friends Electric”? (F7/D7/G7/C7) or the bass line in “Temple of Love”, and I heard the sound under my hands match that in my head, my brain lit up.  When I describe a feeling or explain something in a blog post, the same thing fires.  There is something immensely gratifying in translating my brain into reality.  (Also to singing along to Sisters of Mercy, especially if I can get my husband to play the bass while I play the guitar riff on piano)

Taking that a step further: I love being able read a piece of music and shape it with my own emotions and inflections.  I love writing: I go into a trance writing, seeking the words to express myself.  It’s not extraordinary creativity, it’s not creating something entirely new.  Rather, it is shaping something that was already in existence, but in a way that dovetails with me and my brain.

I may have underestimated creativity or my need for it.  I have been overly pragmatic and tried to focus all my energy into the material things I thought would make me consistently happy, and I don’t think that’s the answer.  I don’t think that’s the best use of my light, so to speak.  I am, after all, made of goddam stardust, and I am almost halfway through my time of having a soul attached to my physical body Earth, and perhaps crashing through on pragmatism and material priorities alone isn’t enough.  Not that I need to disdain the practical world, more that I just don’t need to push the non-practical, the non-productive creative part of my nature, to the back of my brain until I can retire and work with it.

So this year, I am making it a point to be more creative and see what it feels like when I get something out of my brain and into existence. That steampunk novel idea that’s been rattling around in my brain?  Let’s get that onto paper (or rather, Google Drive).  I am pretty sure I am writing a derivative of Perdido Street Station, without as much actual talent or research or skill.  It is still my bad steampunk novel  and my world to build and visualize and live in (and I have realized that I can’t even write a goddamn escapist fantasy novel without a class war in it) and I will get it out of my brain one way or another.  I’ve decided that rather than scooping my brain out is probably not as good an idea as it is to just take a writing class so I’m doing that through my alma mater

Oh, and I got a piano over the holiday so I can resume plunking out Bach preludes as part of the Royal Conservatory series.  I love preludes! And fugues!  I like pieces that work on a theme in classical music and shift slightly each time.  I also really like Baroque music, and I had forgotten exactly how much I liked it until I spent a few days practicing Little Prelude in C Minor.

I am a little worried about trying to fit in Creativity among everything else going on.  After all, I am up late just writing this (I’m telling myself it’s psychologically healthy to do so). The writing class I signed up for calls for 4 – 6 hours a week.  Playing the piano is usually play for 30 – 45 minutes of practice. But that’s the time I was spending watching TV or reading books by other people.  Which was valid,  but I have decided that watching TV and making fun of SNL with Paul is just not as much of a priority right now.

I am slightly anxious how I can fit in dedicated creative time and gym time and cooking/house management, and launch Wallabout Bay (my new Scout troop) and manage 5th Brooklyn and help with Attrition Coalition and do well enough at my job to get access to the kind of growth in it that will make me happy and  be a wife and mother…it’s a lot of and this and this and this, and all of it makes me feel slightly crazy overwhelmed.

I tell myself I’ll know soon enough.  If dedicating time and energy to creativity is actually what is going to make me happy, I’ll prioritize it.  If it doesn’t, I won’t.  At least I won’t be telling myself that it’s not worth the time anymore. At least I won’t be telling myself that I don’t deserve to be creative, or that I can’t justify taking the time for it.  At some point, I have to say, yes, I will do this.  I will practice my crafts.  And I may not be great at creating, but it lights my brain up in a way that makes me happy and may even make me better in other parts of my life.  And that in itself is something.

it’s Remembrance Day

Dear Dad,

It’s been eight years today since you died, today, on Remembrance Day.  My memory of this day and its ceremony belongs to you: it is the minute of silence at the War Memorial in Oak Bay, where you thanked the veterans of the Second World War for fighting for you and your country.  It was not lost on us how much this day meant to you because of how you, your community, and your country were threatened by that war, and how much it meant to you that so many people were brave enough to fight.

Dad, I have thought of you so much this past election season.  You went into the hospital for your last stroke just before Barack Obama took office, before he defeated John McCain.  You called McCain, a “doddering old fool” and cheerfully remarked that Sarah Palin “had nice legs but nothing else going for her” (OK, a tad sexist, but true).  You would have appreciated watching the Obama presidency and the intellectualism he brought back to America.  You would have enjoyed watching FOX News lose their minds over Obama for eight years so you could have called their talking heads “bloody lunatics”, and you would have really loved the eight years of Daily Show and Colbert Report coverage that followed.  (I’m sorry to tell you Stephen Colbert is now David Letterman’s replacement and no longer the genius satirist you appreciated so much.)

I’m not sure if you would still be able to mock and chuckle at what has happened here this week.  It is too frightening and too serious.  I was sad you weren’t here to make fun of Trump throughout this election season, but I think you would stop laughing and be horrified at his legitimate election this week.  I think you would say that all of America had finally proven itself crazy, and that it was time for me to come back home to Canada.  I can almost hear you, telling me not to stay here, not with Paul (who you loved) and Ben (who you were so proud of).  I think you would see parallels to Hitler’s Germany, and be afraid for me.

Dad, it isn’t time for me to come home yet.  You also taught me to stand up for the little guy, even if it meant going to a fight.  You believed in the English colonialism and imperialism, but you also believed in equality and English moral decency for everyone once they were colonized (Again, kind of imperialist, but better than judging on skin color).  I remember how you had an equal rights hiring policy, how you judged people by their work ethic, not their heritage.  I believe you would be shocked and aghast at the hate crimes that are already springing up in America after the election, but you wouldn’t want me to turn my back on people I could help.

When the Germans started their attack on the Jews, no one came to help my people then.  Not the English, not the Canadians.  The Americans turned Jews away.  Dad, you never really accepted what that meant to me or my mother or our family.  You had a lot of respect for those who fought, but you never thought it was a huge deal that no-one from the Anglo Saxon countries came to help the Jews.  I realize that the Battle of Britain was going on for years and England was kind of busy, but even after you defended the homeland, no one tried to bomb or shut down the concentration camps.  Six million Jews died, six million people like me, like my son – well educated, apartment dwelling Western European Jews, many my distant kin in Austria and the Ukraine.

Dad, I realize that the English suffered during the Wars, and that you spent your childhood hiding from German bombings, even in the far North of England. But that is a Boys Own Adventure Story compared to what happened to the Jews.

I am facing an America that has accelerated its usual racism and is now speeding towards something that is more akin to Nazi Germany.  Swastikas are springing up, the Klan is celebrating – and all of this because the country legitimately elected a man who legitimized racism and prejudice.  Dad, it’s frightening, even for me, a half-Jew living in New York City.  Conservative America was disturbing but we could still make fun of it. This is too scary to even mock.  You would have been upset if you were here to see Stephen Colbert breaking down on air, in shock at the election results.  And Trump’s America isn’t coming for the Jews…but they are coming for someone.  And just because it isn’t me or mine doesn’t mean I can hide from it.

You taught me to stand and fight for what was right and that holding on to good old fashioned English morality was important.  Being Jewish teaches me that I have a responsibility to be vigilant against prejudice, and to stand up for those I see being tormented unfairly.  These two things together mean that I can’t leave America yet.

I’m scared though, Dad – scared that New York will suffer an attack, a bombing, a Blitz. I’m scared for my friends – my friends who are visibly not Caucasian, my friends who are LGBTQ.  I’m even more scared that Canada will follow the UK and US down this crazy path, and there will be no safe place anywhere anymore.

As scared as I am, I will have to hold the line and fight.  I will not go quietly into that good night, I will rage at the dying of the light.  A Dylan Thomas poem you loved, which is about death, but could also be about giving in to despair and hopelessness.

Dad,  I wish, more than anything else, that I could still talk to you.  I think you’d still be trying to convince me to come home, but I also think you’d understand why I felt I had to stay and fight – and you’d probably blame my mother’s side of the family (“You must get this from your mother and her Vietnam War protesting” you said, when I went to DC to protest the Iraq War).  But as much as I get my strong conviction for civil liberties from my mother, I also got the need to always do what’s right from you.

You said it was up to us to stand up for the little guy.  I will not only stand up, but I will stand with all who need me to.  And I will teach Ben to stand up with me.

Dad, I remember and honor your memory today.  I will say the yartzheit for you tonight, as I have since you died.  And while I’m in services, I will also pray for the same kind of strength that it took for each and every soldier to fight in each in every war.  We must remember and honor those who fought for our freedom, and fight ourselves to preserve it.  You taught me that too.

-Jillian

 

dear lungs: I am sorry I took you for granted

Two weeks ago, I didn’t feel well.  I had night sweats and chills; I was tired and achy.  I wrote it off to sunburn and overexertion.

Then I realized I had an actual fever on Wednesday the 10th.  Did I stop moving?  Of course not.  My laptop was at the office, and it was a dear friend’s birthday Friday, so I kept going in, figuring it was a summer cold that would go away soon enough.

Saturday the 13th though, I could barely move.  My throat was too sore and swollen to swallow, so I took myself down to the nearest CityMD to check for strep.  (It wasn’t).  The doctor suggested bed rest, so I went home, and did just that, skipping the Pride Parade and then staying home and out of the office Monday and Wednesday that week.

Then, Wednesday night, I couldn’t breathe properly.  And back to CityMD we went, Paul driving me this time.  I wheezed and gasped a bit, and was eventually prescribed an inhaler and more bed rest.  Which I took.  Well, mostly – I went to the final Scout meeting on Thursday night, and threw my son’s birthday on Saturday morning.

But now, every time I do something, I’m exhausted and wheezing again the next day.  It’s horrible.  I’m trapped at home, too weak to cook or clean (although I did manage to sift through all the 5th Brooklyn finances today).  I can’t go outside, and today was BEAUTIFUL outside.  I’ve been missing work, missing friends’ birthdays, missing EVERYTHING.  Moving around at all – even to pick up the living room – gets me out of breath.  It’s horrible, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

I realize, I’m lucky to only be sick short term.  But right now, I just want my life back.  I want to be able to move again, to leave the house, to go to work, to be able to pick back up everything I usually do.  I can’t even go to the park with my son, much less get on with my career, with my exercise routine, with my entire life.  I’m so frustrated and out of hope that this will ever stop, that I’ll ever be able to pick my life back up again.

I’m sorry I took my own mobility and fitness for granted; sorry I assumed I would always be healthy and able to move around as much as I wanted.  Now, I can’t breathe well enough to manage anything, and I’m permanently exhausted as a result.   I just want to be able to move around the city again, to enjoy the summer, to be able to live the life I built…that I’m worried will crumble from neglect now that I can’t tend to it.

This is a mess of self-pity; I realize that.  I’ll see a pulminologist on Tuesday, and hopefully get something stronger to fix the problem, whether it’s walking pneumonia or bronchitis or something else.  I’m supposed to fly to Canada in five days though, and if I can’t breathe now, how will I survive that trip?

I feel like I’m physically broken – I know I pushed myself too far, that I took my health for granted.  I won’t make the mistake again, I’ll listen next time I have to slow down because I don’t feel well.  Because right now, this physical slowdown is starting to spread to my brain, and it’s turning to despair that I’ll ever get my life back enough to be at a point where I have a speed to slow down from.

#tbt: march 26th, 2005 post-party postmortem

Oh, the days at Casa Mar Vista…

So, 2005: I was twenty-six.  I lived in a West LA house with two housemates, with a dozen friends in the immediate area of the Westside.  I had mostly settled into Los Angeles, and had cut back on drinking and related silliness.  I say cut back, not cut out entirely, because I apparently still managed to wear bunny ears at our A-B-C-D Birthday / Easter Party.

So the next day wasn’t pretty, but it could have been uglier, as described in this recap

seven year anniversary :: copper

This weekend, Paul and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  We have been married now for seven years, together in total for nine. This year, we chose to celebrate on two successive nights and include Ben on the first evening, at dinner.  We went to Saul at the Brooklyn Museum, which is right by our new home, for the last night of Restaurant Week.  And then Saturday, we went out dancing until far too late, and left Ben sleeping at home under the care of Aunt Z.

Dinner at Saul was good – not extraordinary, but certainly enjoyable.  The dishes were good, but all had that slightly refrigerated taste that comes from a lot of advance mass prep.  I’m not sure how to describe it: it’s sort of the taste you get when you know a lot of your dish was prepped in advance and more assembled than cooked to order.  But it was still a very nice restaurant, in a beautiful museum, with good food.  And Ben LOVED it.

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I was especially proud when he ordered flawlessly off the prix fixe menu: “For my appetizer, I would like the crudo of big eye tuna.  For my entree, I would like the seared branzino over winter vegetables.   For my dessert, I would like the poached pear”  (We asked if he just wanted to try the octopus appetizer he had been looking forward to, but he was more interested in the prix fixe menu so he could eat more fish).  And he certainly enjoyed his dinner: he ate every scrap of the tuna crudo, all the fish and most of the vegetables from the branzino (the vegetables were cooked in fish stock so he liked them too)…but then turned down the poached pear because it had “too much cinnamon”.  Chef Saul, the tiny restaurant critic has spoken, and he thinks you overspiced the poaching mix.

Saturday, Paul and I cleaned ourselves up and headed out to Manhattan.  We started with the Depeche Mode Fan Club night at Slake in Midtown, which was pretty much exactly as described: fifty extreme Depeche Mode fans in one room, and another larger space that, when we arrived, was hosting a live performance by local gloom wave artist Jennie Vee .  We had checked out Jennie Vee’s music before leaving, so we could decide whether or not to actually show up for her whole set.  Then we got distracted debating the sub-genres of shoegaze, which resulted in a highly music geeky back and forth:

ME: How is it she lists every goth band except the Cocteau Twins as influences?
PAUL: Well, what genre is she supposed to be?
ME: Her stuff is hashtagged as #nugaze
PAUL: NUGAZE IS NOT A THING
ME: Yes, it is!  Ulrich Schnauss is nugaze!  It’s like shoegaze but with more synths!

We agreed that we weren’t going leave early enough for Ms. Vee’s set – but she and her band were still on stage when we arrived.  So we went back and forth between the band and the Depeche Mode room while the Depeche Mode playing DJ got “Songs of Faith And Devotion” out of her system.  I LOVE that album, and it’s actually my favorite Depeche Mode album, but when I’m already dragging, I do prefer to be bouncing around to faster paced songs than “In Your Room”.  And I was interested when Jennie Vee started cover of “Lips Like Sugar” (very appropriate for an 80s inspired room), but as Classic Dark Tracks Re-Done By Female Singers go, it was interesting, but not a complete revamp like when Snake River Conspiracy did “Lovesong”.  Hence the wandering back and forth.

But shortly afterwards, the tempo of the evening picked up.  The 80s room went into Full Top 40 Mode (“Video Killed The Radio Star”) and the Depeche Mode room moved off into a mix of tracks from other eras (“Dream On”, “Precious”, “Everything Counts”) that moved a little faster.  So the tempo picked up, and I started moving more and waking back up.  I do love Depeche Mode, and being in a roomful of people who knew that you always wave your hands to the instrumental bridge of “Never Let Me Down Again” was a lot of fun.

Still, eventually, being at a Depeche Mode only dance party was losing its novelty for me.   I was tempted to drag Paul over to the 80s room and pretend we were at the high school reunion dance in Grosse Point Blank, but the DJ there was stuck on “Take On Me” and “Don’t You Want Me”, not Tones On Tail’s “Go”, or Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Cities In Dust”.  So we migrated a half mile over to the Windfall Lounge, which is apparently the only venue in town willing to host goth nights since the Bowery Poetry Club was gentrified out of existence.  I wanted to keep dancing at Necropolis.

The problem was that as much as I wanted to keep dancing once we arrived and checked our coats, I started threatening to fall asleep while actually still dancing to a Nitzer Ebb track.  This made me sad, because I love going out to goth club nights with Paul.  Where else are they going to play all the songs we have danced to together for the past nine years?  Even if the DJ’s on the stage aren’t playing exactly the songs we know, they are playing songs from those genres and sub-genres that make up our shared music base.  One of us will catch a song from hearing it in a club, on a mix, on Dark Wave.  It gives us a chance to keep growing the list of songs on the soundtrack of our nights out together.

But still, I had had a long day, and was tired, so we had to leave.  We came home on the Q, which was miraculously on time.  I kept myself awake by forcing Paul to listen to my recanting of the plot of “The Last American Vampire”, to which he interrupted every plot point by just saying, “No.  Stop.  That DID NOT HAPPEN.  No one wrote that.  Please tell me that wasn’t in an actual published book,” which then led to us discussing why every piece of historical fiction always has protagonists becoming best friends with historically pivotal characters until we got back to our stop…and then complaining about the cold was the only topic of conversation I was interested in.

We sent Auntie Z back home to Harlem, and passed out exhausted at 5am Daylight Savings time: the 2am hour had vanished and we were up far, far later than we should have been.  And today has been rough, just because we have learned that we can EITHER stay out late OR drink, but not BOTH. So for next year’s Pottery anniversary, now we know: load up on caffeine and make the night happen that way.

on this date in the past:

2007: faith & devotion: the marriage proposal
2
008: post-wedding recovery
2
014: six year symbol: iron