an urban lifestyle + travel blog by liz norment.

Category: WORDS

My Experience at the Russian + Turkish Baths in New York.

in CULTURE, WORDS
i first heard about the russian bath houses during my first year in new york. i was on a train coming back to the city from virginia. the entire northeast was in the middle of a relentless snow storm, and thus my usual 6 hour trip was on hour 10 and counting. we’d been stuck in philly for over an hour and i met a guy at the bar in the train station who was also heading to new york, and also intentionally getting drunk to pass the time. we boarded together and made plans to meet in the dining car. i had a bota full of wine, he had a bottle of dewar’s – our christmas spoils. as we sat and drank, he was a plethora of knowledge about the city. he drew me a map of manhattan and all the things i needed to know; which parks were prettiest in autumn and which ones you could consistently score drugs in, neighborhoods with the most authentic cuisine from a range of cultures and why you should use the staten island ferry (just as a free boat ride and then to turn right back around and come back, he advised). i still have this map, and the spot on it where he showed me his favorite russian bath house was. he looked at me very seriously as he described the nearly religious process of going room to room, the russian men that would beat you if you asked for it and sometimes even if you didn’t, the absolute euphoric feeling in your body after you left. he marked it on the map, and told me i have to go. then he pulled a lighter from his pocket and started burning the edges of the map and we were both laughing wildly, drunk and restless from the ride. they kicked us out of the dining car. we ran into the area between the cars to hide, laughing loudly and then he pressed his body against mine and we made out aggressively and madly all the way through new jersey.
seven years and, well, quite a few makeout sessions with strangers on trains later, i finally made it to the russian & turkish bath house. thankfully i went with someone who knew the routine, and now i will pass that knowledge off to you. the whole experience was insane and hilarious and hard and uncomfortable and then completely, corporally euphoric.
first, bring a bathing suit. honestly, i’d say a one-piece is best, but a two-piece works too. they have little cotton shorts that you can (and should) keep over your suit, and if you happen to spend the night away from home, then your uniform can simply be a borrowed sleeveless tee and just the shorts. which i kind of thought was hip. regardless of what getup you choose, go in the locker room, change, and loop the key around your wrist or ankle as if your life depended on it. trust me, you don’t want to know what they do if people lose them.
choose a pair of rubber slippers, a towel, and then go downstairs and enter into a tiled basement of different rooms and the knowledge that your dignity is far, far behind you. i arrived with my hair tossed up in a top bun, smiley and bright-eyed and mistakenly wearing mascara. within minutes i became a desperate, drowned rat.
the whole scene transports you back into history, imagining this activity in countries all over the world, a social scene. built in 1892, this is clearly the oldest activity in New York, other than drinking and lying. it all kind of felt like being at the gym, just without the working out. everyone is suffering, out of breath, wanting the activity they are doing to stop but also trying to push through it. some people talk, which usually consists of “god it’s just so hot in here.” some people just moan every so often. most just exchange eye contact that says, “are you ok? because i don’t know if i’m ok. and if i pass out, will you drag my body out of here? because i’ll drag yours.”
there are 7 rooms, i think. honestly i lost track and along with my sense of direction because when you enter one room, you take a deep breath knowing it will be the last time you can actually fill you lungs for the duration of your stay, and when you exit, all you can think about is submerging your body in the ice pool. which, as soon as you do, all you can think of is getting out of the ice pool. the room that i suppose i decided was my favorite, which i don’t know if that means it was the most tolerable or most challenging, was a stone cave that looked like part of a putt-putt course. it has tiers of wooden benches that you can’t sit on straight away because you’ll burn your buns off. literally. i saw it happen. you sit on your wet towel and every 30 seconds you force your body to walk over to a well of cold water and dump an entire bucket over your head. i was hesitant to do this at first because it looks ridiculous, just shaming yourself with a bucket of water in front of a group of strangers. it felt as dumb as the ice bucket challenge but the only charity it’s supporting is you and your own momentary survival. my hesitance quickly evaporated along with every ounce of moisture on my skin, lips, and hair. that bucket saved my life, again and again and again and again.
the steamy rooms felt like you were in confession with a large group of strangers. you felt, saw, and heard all of their sins exiting their bodies. then all of our sins hung there in a heavy cloud together as we all sat paying our public penance. everyone sits leaning over, their shoulders heavy, their breath short. just sitting and trying to continue sitting, somehow.
every so often a large man with a gold chain wanders through the rooms saying “who wants a platza!!” to which, without inquiring, i would recommend going with, “no sir, i would not like a platza today.” i saw one man being platza’d, which took place in the hot stone room, in front of everyone. he was instructed to lay down, turn over, sit up, stand up, all while being beaten with a wet rag and having water and some other liquid poured over him. it was like a public shaming, and i felt the desire to help him but of course, all i could do was muster the energy to drag my body over to the well and baptize myself every 30 seconds. he chose the platza. now he must suffer.
at some point, you carry your tired body up the steep stairs to the roof for some sun. this, again, is not a glamorous experience; you lay your body upon some old rubber mats and close your eyes and feel your heart nearly beating out of your chest from the intense environments you’ve been experiencing. men are walking around with some sort of thick white mud face masks caked on their faces, looking like mimes. mimes are walking around without any face masks, looking like men. you realize you may never leave the rubber mat. you are trapped in a glass case of corporal instability. you and the mimes.
you descend back into the basement and wander again from room to room. into the pool and immediately back out. breathing in steam and heat and sins and nothing at all. you sit in the social room between the other wet humans. everyone seems to be marginally surviving and you think, maybe, you will too.
i remember being concerned that my boobs were showing through my wet clingy man tank top or that my baggie shorts were exposing everything beneath and then immediately thinking that i should concentrate on breathing. inhale, exhale. nothing is private here, we are all exposed.
and that’s when anthony weiner walked by in a tiny speedo and started doing slow, languid ballet moves with his tiny tight leg upon the bar in front of me.
when you finally leave, putting back on your clothes and saying goodbye to the sassy little shorts and shoes, you emerge out onto 10th street and new york is still happening all around you. i kept wanting to ask people as they passed on the sidewalk – do you have any idea what is going on in there? my body felt completely cleansed and euphoric. my skin felt new. i felt grounded and displaced in the city i knew so well.
the russian & turkish baths are not only the best hangover cure i have ever experienced, they are a glimpse into an ancient history and a strange social experience you can’t find anywhere else, unless i suppose you actually do slip into the confession booth in your skivs with a bunch of strangers and steam.
also, it’s the best way to see Anthony Weiner’s wiener without giving him your phone number. because he is always, always there.
the russian and turkish baths are located at 268 east 10th st.
check the site for the schedule, because there are men-only and women-only hours in addition to the co-ed and anthony weiner hours.

This is Week Two | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in LIFESTYLE, WORDS
a weekly journal of my new freelance life. 
they should teach more about personal finance in school. they should warn you about the dangers of credit cards in this country instead of encouraging them, nearly forcing them down your throat when you’re at your most financially vulnerable, requiring them for all the the major steps of your life… at which point they will simply serve as flagrant signs of your requisite irresponsibility. they should tell you to budget.
but then, maybe they did. maybe i just didn’t listen. and maybe i’m still confident that every dollar of debt that i have accumulated has been part of an experience, traveling, dining, learning, growing.
and, ok, more than a few times buying food for number one (the cat. obviously).
i’m in a financial crisis. i saved up no money before i quit my job, and well… let’s just say i left myself in a not-so-comfortable situation. however, if i’d waited for that comfort, i would have never left the job. i often subscribe to the push-the-bird-out-of-the-nest method, and this nest was not in the money tree.
i’m kind of thinking it was a cork tree, given where a lot of my monies go.
i had that all-too familiar feeling today, the one where you feel like you are truly at the very end of your rope and then somehow the rope extends and you end up deeper and even more helpless than you were when you thought you were at the end.
this feeling brought me back to a particular moment when i was living in madrid. a moment when everything came crashing down. i was dead broke, and more heartbroken then i had ever been at the time. i was lost, emotionally. and at least a bit turned around physically. i sat down on the curb by myself and tried to get a grip. i sat and stared up at a streetlight. i took a deep breath, then quite a few more. i decided at that moment that i had a choice. there was absolutely no clear answer, no obvious path. no way out. and i realized that there wasn’t going to be, but i had to keep going. somehow, something would get figured out. there would be an answer. there would, right streetlight? i implored. right??
it reminded me of one of my favorite songs, a recreation of augustin lara’s farolito sung by natalia lafourcade. farolito, a song sung to a streetlight, that ignited and illuminated the same desperation i felt.
farolito, que alumbra apenas la calle desierata
cuantas noches me has visto, llorando, llamar a su puerta?
sin llevarme mas que una cancion, un pedazo de mi corazon?
  
little street lamp, barely lighting up this deserted street,
how many nights have you seen me weeping, calling at her door
without wanting to bring her more than a song, than a piece of my heart?
it represents the calming presence of the light when all that is felt is misery and despair, perhaps so deep that the singer doesn’t even realize.
how many nights have you seen me? 
the farolito is a light, and also a beacon, providing a sense of vision and balance. a hope on a deserted street and in an empty heart where there seems to be none at all.
streetlights in new york often feel like a beacon, of safety and security, and perhaps of companionship on deserted streets or those that are overcrowded, where we find ourselves surrounded, yet alone.
the street i just moved on to in brooklyn is completey shrowded by a thick canopy of trees that are so charming during the day, but they block out all light from the farolitos at night, and have forced me to take notice and memorize the location of the most forboding potholes during the day, so that at night i can safely navigate my way home without compromising the wheels on my beloved 1960s schwinn.
so this, this is week 2. equal parts desperate and seeking a beacon of hope, a sense of calm, an inhale, an answer. or at least a steady presence to ask.
and also knowing that i need to have confidence in what i’ve learned during times of doubt, blindness, uncertainty so far to guide me through this dark and innavigable path.

This Is Week One.

in WORDS
A JOURNAL.
i have become my own experiment. here i chronicle the weeks and how i will navigate this new life, in the most honest way possible.

I read a quote recently that said “anywhere can be a prison if you make it one” and the honesty of those words pissed me off but also stuck with me. so often we create boundaries, walls, gates, limitations, in so many areas of our lives. we do this emotionally, professionally, creatively. we are capable of so somuch more than we allow ourselves to be. anytime I doubt that I watch this and feel alive and invigorated and deliberate and afraid of nothing.

last week I quit my job. I found myself on my first day of “freedom” feeling completely unhinged, trying not to panic. I tried to write but the words wouldn’t come. I tried to workoutbut it didn’t feel productive enough. I wrote a to-do list and accomplished nothing on it but “buy TP”. I found myself at the grocery store standing on the meat aisle, thinking that we need different meats. none of these felt right. there must be others? have we thought of others?? i just stood there, ironically paralyzed among the once living and now sterilely packaged products, not knowing what to do next.

the very freedom I’d been craving became debilitating, and I found myself somehow imprisoned again, by fear.
with all of the preachy “follow your dreams!” “live your best life!” posts that i shove down your throats, I have finally followed my own advice. I am now my own experiment. so stick with me and follow along, I guarantee this will get interesting.

Brooklyn, I’m trying
to break free of these walls
to live without fear
to be so much more.

week one
felt weak. My first day on my own I expected the energy I had and felt and embodied the days I’d lied about being sick, running around with a rambunctious fever, feeling and seeing and doing ferociously. instead i found myself in a rare hungover state, standing immobile on the meet aisle, wondering why we hadn’t come up with different meats by now. none of these met my expectations or could even meet me where I was, directionless and hungry.
I was unhinged.
I stopped making to-do lists that only made me feel incompetent and unnacomplished
I realized I was breaking habits and staryijng new ones.
I gave myself a break.
I slept more.
I prioritized meditation.
I made my space better and more inspiring but left when I found myself allowing organization to bleed into satisfaction.
I left the house.
I came back and cleaned the backyard.
I planted herbs.
I unpacked boxes.
I did my laundry, I spoke Spanish with everyone in the laundromat.
I threw myself into the family in the laundromat.
I came out displaced and rinsed clean.
I inhaled. I slowed down.
i went to the doctor’s office on my last day of insurance. under “occupation // employer” i started writing “digital strategist // justin alexander” but i’m not. i scratched through it and started to write “bartender…” but that is not me either. i drew a line through it and proudly wrote “writer // self-employed.” wiht a strong period at the end. i stared at it. that’s what i am, that’s why i’m here. i walked my papers up to the desk and sat back down, satisfied and swimming in the — that permission gives you when i was called back up. “ma’am, your position and employer don’t match what we have on file with your insurance.”
sonofabitch.
i was told i’m healthy and don’t look close to 30, which means that 30 is old.
i recognized that my time is my own, ever single minute.
i stopped working at the wine bar and was accepted beautifully and unexpectedly into a restaurant family that will become my own.
i accepted a tequila shot in celebration of my first shift.
i felt warm.
I’ve been drinking less because a day of incompetence is now unacceptable.
I’m deliberate.
I’m deliberate and afraid of nothing.
And this is week one.
<3L.

Spring (mental) Cleaning | Guided Meditations

in WORDS

let’s go into this new season with clear minds and hearts. a friend of mine recently spoke of meditation as feeling like you’ve thrown a house party and realizing you know none of the guests. we let so many thoughts passively infiltrate our minds that it feels like they become us, they control us, they occupy our space and grind up on each other inappropriately and leave red solo cups of stale beer on every single surface. let’s be deliberate about taking control and clearing that shit out. never meditated? start with these guided meditations and show those unwanted house guests the door.

all words and meditations below are from the enlightened gabby bernstein, shared with me by the lovely @hannahea88

enjoy.

 

The first meditation helps you tap into compassion. Learn how to dissolve all boundaries and clear space to attract love. Enjoy the Compassion Meditation.

My second meditation will help you make decisions with ease. Do you struggle with making the right choice? This practice will help you trust your intuition. Press play and enjoy the Decision Making Meditation.

The third meditation is going to rock your world! Are you ready to learn how to attract what you want into your life? This meditation will help you use creative visualization to cultivate a powerful energy that will make you a magnet for what you desire. Enjoy my Creative Visualization Meditation.

The final meditation will help you own your purpose. I often hear people say, “I don’t know how to find my purpose.” I believe it’s the opposite. Your purpose will find you! Practice this meditation and clear space for your purpose to come forth.

You Are a Lightworker Meditation.

 

 

<3L.

Rebel with a Cause | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in WORDS

I recently come across this piece in the Atlantic through my dear homies at the new stand and the title immediately grabbed my attention. “The Case for the Rebel,” Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, a teacher, talks about the inconvenience of the class clown, the trouble maker. Noting that over the years, although they gave her more grey hairs than anyone else, it was always the rebels that were the idea makers because they challenged the status quo. They were fearless and bold. Just as her colleagues, she noted, would “often intentionally break rules if it means a better education for the students in their classroom” [which of course recalls one of the greatest films ever made] yet didn’t recognize that the students who were doing the same thing were punished.

“Most teachers,” she said,  “noted that self-control and cooperation were the most important indicators of school success,” rewarding the so-called soft skills. This is the educational system we grew up in, and the workplaces to which we now sell our souls. Follow the rules. Fit the mold. Graciously accept this 2% raise because you’re lucky to have a job. Work late so they think you’re important. Leave your dignity at the door, you’ll get it back with your retirement package… you know, when you lack the audacity and energy to use it properly.
This piece gave me hope because this has always been me. A rebel with a cause, I’d like to think. Even now as an “adult”, I really fucking love getting in trouble. I crave mischief. I kept thinking this would fade with age, that the thrill of sneaking out of the house would dissipate once I no longer had a curfew. That petty theft would wane into no theft at all once I could fully comprehend the risk. That marijuana would simply be a gateway to not being tempted by drugs anymore. That a harmless game of spin the bottle would be the closest I ever got to cheating on someone.
If anything, this temptation has increased with age. If you don’t have a house to sneak out of, rules to disobey, class to skip, a fake ID to test…. you find edgier and more dangerous ways to cause trouble. When my dad told me that he held the record for streaking, “five dates in five days! never been beat.” I didn’t see it as a weird dad college story, I saw it as a challenge. I knocked it out of the park, streaking five states in one day, and I’m pretty sure that’s never been beat. (And yes, that is a challenge.) I showed up for a wedding last summer with paint still lingering in the creases of my fingernails. “Crafting?” someone asked. “No, I was tagging something at 4am this morning.” I was almost not allowed back in the country because I had a warrant out for my arrest for not paying a ticket I got for drinking a beer on the street because I thought the ticket was dumb. Still do. Still drinkin’ on the street.
I read this piece and finally I felt like my mischief wasn’t met with a disappointed stare from my mother as she picked up the phone and realized it was my teacher calling, again. Defiance should be encouraged. And no, I am not campaigning for complete anarchy here so everyone stop rolling your eyes. I’m just saying that the system only works because we buy into it. We were founded as a nation of rebels. Back then, the system didn’t work and so we stopped buying into it. Historically, we have always been encouraged by “troublemakers” who turn into leaders because no one is hanging onto the coat tails or following in the wake of a meek, compliant, nervous follower. Seek defiance. Shake things up. Because we’re meant for more than petty rules and mindless busy work.

The rebels in the world are often the ones who change it the most.

Quit your day job. We were not made to mindlessly enter numbers into excel spreadsheets that ultimately add up to a paycheck’s worth of hours spent working toward someone else’s dream. And hey, some people are totally fine with doing this type of work, and that is fantastic, and even enviable. To be satisfied in complacency isn’t something to look down upon. But if you were born with this fire in your heart, do something unexpected.
Buy a one way ticket. Shake up your lifestyle. Because if you don’t do it now, when will you? Go. Go now. Don’t wait for everything to line up perfectly before you commit. Don’t wait to be financially secured. Don’t wait for the perfect time in your life to go because that time will never come. Don’t ask people for advice because they will likely discourage you. Just go.
Do what they don’t want you to do. Because they only thing that has ever really culminated into is a fresh new crop of “they’s” anyway. Move up the corporate ladder, where every rung is well-worn! Get to the top and then look down, satisfied! Because this, of course, is success!

“I recently heard on the radio a state legislator speaking of the importance of developing “soft skills” for the workforce. He elaborated on the merits of understanding the importance of a firm handshake, showing up 10 minutes early, and being a “team player.” As I listened to him, I thought these were admirable traits—traits that my own father tried desperately to instill in me, which I generally ignored—but they were mostly values held by an older generation.”

Seek defiance, because you’ve come a long way, baby. Don’t stop now.
Oh, and get into some fucking trouble. Be a rebel with a cause, a mission, an unwavering belief that you’re meant for something more. And if you’re trying to find ways to get involved in some trouble… well… I’m accepting applications.

 

On Being A “Blogger” | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in WORDS
being a blogger never appealed to me, because it felt a bit soulless. isn’t a blog just one long-winded advertising platform? i didn’t see myself shamelessly representing products, curating lists with click-baity headlines, in reality i knew i was more of a writer than anything else.
and then i read this. garance dore is a photographer turned blogger, who is also a killer writer. ok and i’m underplaying this. she’s one of the best in the biz and what i learned from her is that you can have a blog and have it still convey your real voice, your thoughts, your words, your soul. when i came across this stunning post describing her grandmother’s funeral in morocco, it changed everything for me. i can have a space that is purely mine, whatever i want it to be.
read this by garance and let it move you, above everything else, to give you the confidence that what you create is yours alone. it need not fit into any mold or represent anyone else’s ideas or views of what it should be. you have created something where there was nothing before, so let it start by meaning something to you,

i cannot wait to see what you create.

<3L.

Put the Cart Before the Horse | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in WORDS
I think intentional is where our hearts best exist. with good intention, bursting out of our chests and beating with a forward motion and refusing to calm, to hush, to settle.
I’ve been thinking so much recently about the necessary ridicule of putting the cart before the horse.
Put your intention actively and forcibly before your action and movement. leap and the net will appear. Go confidently in the direction that you’ve setting towards with little to no preparation. Your willingness begets opportunity. Your determination will be a hand outstretched, a finger beckoning, a confident wink and a smile, that yes, yes, this is your next move. Just keep stepping before you see the path.
I’ve been lost within the folds of jim carrey’s success story since I heard it. he believed in his own success so much, daring himself to believe, with no official reason or plan and even less money in his bank account. He wrote himself a check for $10 million dated 5 years in the future and folded it up in his wallet. The knowledge of that challenge, the understanding of that requirement, the onset of that date, altered every move and thought and even hesitation just enough… that within 5 years he had the lead in ace ventura series, the mask, liar liar, and was billing $20 million per film.
What we could accomplish with just a little secret, an impenetrable intention, folded deliberately into our pocket.
A cart placed illogically before the horse.
Write yourself a check with way too many zeroes. Book a one way flight with no plan. Self-publish your novel. Choose a relentless accountability partner. Dare yourself and take bets against your accomplishments. Do not rest.
a horse before a cart is bridled and submissive. switch it around, start living the life you’ve been planning and move confidently into the future, and don’t look back.
nothing but a stubborn horse back there anyway.

<3L.

the seventh haiku.

in haikus, WORDS

apparent, when undone

how quickly our lives become

four walls and one roof.

 

 

things proven true this week – moving is a bitch, and haikus provide order among chaos, poetry upon boxes, beauty amidst pain, and inspiration to conquer writers block,… especially on tuesdays. this one written while negotiating my life into cardboard boxes, secured with packaging tape and a plea for gentle handling.

<3L.

jefferson stop

Familiar Nemesis | A Straphanger’s Tale

in WORDS

the train slows to a halt and i notice the dingy tiles brighten momentarily in the tunnel before it is consumed by darkness again. an obtrusive, automated voice audibly forces me from my literary concentration.

i look up to see the doors slide open, a familiar body enters.

subtly i tilt my head down, welcome my hair as it frees itself from behind my ear and falls in front of  my face. hide me, i silently implore.

i shuffle to adjust to the oncoming passengers, pleading for privacy as i continue to read the words on the page.

but his presence is undeniable. he has somehow sidled right there next to me, despite the densely packed crowd of commuters. despite my efforts at inconspicuousness. despite my persistent and optimistic desires.

his grip nearly resting on mine as we both cling to the pole. his scent familiar, and the feeling that overcame me inevitable and consuming. at once as i stare up finally into his familiar face.

discontent, why must you always find me?

the train lurches to a halt and the doors open and we all pour out like maggots from a busted trash bag and he and i walk, together. our steps in perfect unison. my shoulders hanging heavy in defeat.

and i wonder, in vain, how long he plans to stay this time.

A Coffee and Some Thoughts | Brooklyn, I’m trying.

in WORDS
coffee is poetry, coffee is light. coffee makes me want to be a better person, every morning. coffee is stability, when you desperately need it and offers no judgements as it approaches your bleary eyes and shameless grin that isn’t doing a very good job at covering up your sins from last night. “don’t worry,” coffee says. “let me get to work.” i have all of these thoughts about coffee and then i have more coffee and then more thoughts about coffee so i had a feeling that a quick search for “coffee” in my evernote would come up with some gems. here i have collected them for you, in no particular order.  take an consumer as you please. sit and sip and settle in. sweeten it if it feels too harsh. or if you;’re not quite ready, that’s ok. it will be here awaiting your first sip.

 

from the summer of 2012.
on unemployment and coffee…
There is a certain reverence that my coffee consumption now affords. No longer free and limitless- how much will I take? And when will I take it? And each cup leaves me thinking, tangibly – “I wish I had fifteen more”.

 

30 nov 2015
Brooklyn I’m trying… to hold on to my roots
I spent the last 5 days at home in Virginia for the holidays. when I boarded the crowded northbound train on Sunday, I sat beside a well dressed man tapping away ferociously on his laptop. I sensed his discomfort as I attempted to pull my laptop out of my overstuffed travelers backpack, clothing items barely gracing his defined space. I set up my workspace and hesitantly asked him to plug in my charger. I got up to pay a visit to the cafe car and asked him if he wanted a coffee- surprised, his countenance immediately softened as he smiled and politely declined my offer with gratitude. As we pulled in to we arrived in New York penn station he told me to enjoy my stay in New York!.. a city where I’ve lived for 5 years and proudly call home. And I realized that it was likely not my lack of all-black uniform not my inefficient packing abilities but my kindness that led him to the conclusion that I was not from here. And after 5 years, this is something I strive to hold onto daily. well that, of course, and preferring my coffee with a little added charm.

 

sometime in 2016.

I love being overly nice to my barista. The relationship here feels like more than just business, the exchanges warm and light. A gentle understanding created when he knows I’m dependent on him to get me through my day, to make me feel better. Zi show him appreciation.

Even if I don’t go in, I wave at him as I pass on my bike. We share light conversation about our weekends, about business, about the days baked goods selection and the ever-changing neighborhood.
as he is Argentinian, I recently asked him, playfully, if he could teach me to tango. he said no. I laughed and said ok and scooted along to the creamer station. as I was leaving, he handed me a piece of paper- “I will learn tango and teach you,” as a rare smile spread over his normally serious countenance.
shit.
I can’t call him. because I have probably been into that coffee shop with 5 different men in the past month of weekends. and he knows that! but if I call out of politeness and then we meet up and I slowly let it fade, u cannot go in there anymore. he’ll have questions, he’ll be angry.
 i won’t call. i’ll just play it cool. he must know the tango thing was just me, talking, as i was getting my coffee. searching for a (moment, glimmer) of connection before shuffling onto the subway and behind my desk. every interaction is an opportunity.
that’s how we southerners get ourselves into pickles up here.
the next time i went in, my coffee was free. he grabbed my hand across the counter. “i was thinking yesterday, about how lovely you are. and it made me start to cry liz. do you want to come upstate with me?”
i have switched coffee spots. and given up on my tango dreams. and never forgiven him for either of these inconveniences.

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