One thing that always gets people out of work early is a well priced happy hour in New York. However, “well priced” and “happy hour” seem to mean different things to different businesses, especially in the Flatiron area where things tend to be pricey in general. Tonight, I met with my colleague and then two friends for dinner at Casa Neta, a new chic Mexican spot that opened, and the “Happy Hour” was $10 margaritas and $8 beers. Well, that’s what the website said. Then, you go to the bar, and you find out that the $10 margarita only applies to the classic margarita, not the flavored ones, and in my excitement I ordered one hibiscus margarita, then one mexcal margarita. And the bartender didn’t say a word about the pricing until the check came. And when I did order a classic margarita when my friends arrived and we had a table, the drink never came until 45 minutes later, when I had to remind the waiter I ordered it. This place was bullshit.
My head has spent the last week being a bit muddled. There have been highs and lows, but mostly conflicting thoughts. And when that tends to happen, Ed tends to show up out of nowhere in his sneaky, subtle ways.
In my dream, he was sitting at the dining room table having a passive aggressive argument about the house with our father. Our father didn’t want to address him directly (which was usual behavior), so he made indirect comments that were obviously meant for Ed. Ed muttered negative things under his breath, which no one could hear or make out other than me. I sat there silently, which was also the norm in my dreams.
Muddled subconscious really means I will just have more conflicting and uneasy dreams with my parents, which inevitably include Ed.
Last week, I met a good friend, and we chatted about attractions felt to others while in serious relationships. She said that she and her partner were fairly open about these attractions, even though they aren’t considered conventional things to discuss or be open about. They even know a number of seemingly happy couples in “open” relationships where they either either together or married, and they and their partners sleep with other people. I’m not sure I could personally get on board with this (the mere idea of Chris having sex with someone else makes me want to claw someone’s face out), but I don’t see why society needs to judge other couples who are in agreement about this and are open about their external relationships from each other. What I’m genuinely curious about is whether the people who participate in open marriages are truly not jealous and are open to their partners being amorous and loving other people.
And then of course, Chris reminds me that the definition of marriage has evolved significantly over the last several decades. Now, for the first time ever, gay people can marry. People can divorce and be open about it, and there’s not as large of a stigma around it as before. I’m meeting more and more people in their late 20s and early 30s who are divorced, and I don’t really care. No one else does, either. Women are working outside of the home, and it’s considered completely normal and even expected, and with their higher level of earning power and independence from their husbands, they are leaving unhappy marriages when before, they didn’t have the option to do that, otherwise they’d be destitute and without a penny. Monogamy is really a religious idea that came from the Bible – devotion to your husband or wife until the end of your lives together. But I don’t think that many people think about that; we’ve been taught since we were children that we will get married and live happily ever after with one person one day.
The only very practical fear I’d have over open marriage is well, exposure to diseases. It wouldn’t be good to give chlamydia or gonorrhea to your married partner, would it? The other question I’d have is, what’s really my threshold for jealousy? You never really know until it’s truly tested in reality.
We finally received the results for Chris’s parents and brother’s DNA via 23andMe, and we shared their logins and information today. The funniest thing from these results is that there is actually Northwestern European and Jewish lineage on his parents’ side. The Jewish lineage comes from his mother, while the Northwestern European lineage comes from his dad’s side. It’s really amazing what a vial full of your spit can reveal to you.
The lineage goes back over four to six generations, too far for any of us to know of any of these people or have photos or any types of mementos of them. But this actually makes me quite sad. People oftentimes say when they procreate that they want their name or their blood line to carry on, but does that really matter at the end of the day when you yourself are long forgotten? Why does that matter when you are long gone and forgotten, and your photo albums have either been destroyed, recycled, or simply diminished because as we all know, paper doesn’t last forever?
This reminded me of Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite writers, and a quote he once had in a book that my friend recently shared with me again: “If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.” But the depressing thing here is, the “you” in this quote will eventually die, which means, everyone at the end will be dead and forgotten. We will all be forgotten.
We had a somewhat early evening show in the West Village tonight, so I decided to go downtown with my laptop to do some work at a coffee shop while waiting for Chris to come back from his work trip. I have a very long and full Yelp bookmark list, which includes not just restaurants and bars, but also interesting coffee shops throughout the city, and I know I will likely never get through any or even all of them given that every single time I try going, I fail. These shops, no matter what time of the day or what day of the week I try to go, are almost always full. If they are not full of laptop workers, they have poor acoustics and are extremely loud, meaning that they are pretty much impossible place to get any real work done. I sadly ended up at a Starbucks on Hudson. At least I had my own table to work at.
That’s the thing about New York. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood or what time of day or week. It’s not just the trendy restaurants and bars that have queues. Even the cute and innovative cafes have waits.
Years ago when interviewing for jobs, I was told by pretty much every single male friend I trusted that they’d advise against a woman wearing her engagement and/or wedding band during a job interview. It didn’t matter whether the people conducting the interviews were male or female; it would be better to not give any sign or mention that you’re either in a serious relationship, engaged, or married.
However, my male friends all said that male minds, though consciously knowing it’s wrong to discriminate against someone who is married or engaged, their subconscious mind is a completely different thing. One of my male friends, who was single at that time, said to me, “Yvonne, just take it off before you walk in.” He said he really didn’t want to admit it, but the smartest choice would be to not wear your engagement ring. He was speaking from the perspective of a single and looking man, someone who may subconsciously be looking to hire someone who could have the potential to be his future mate. All my hopeful ideas about how society has progressed were shattered. This is one of my most progressive friends giving me this advice. He doesn’t even trust himself, and he especially doesn’t trust prospective (male) employers considering me to be part of their workforce.
I shared these depressing thoughts with my friend, who at the time was working and living in Singapore. She responded by saying it was far worse in Asia because there, it’s actually legal to point blank ask your job candidates during interviews if they are engaged, married, have children, or expect to have children soon. There’s no law banning it from being asked.
What is worse, the conscious or the subconscious? They are both evil.
With the recent news about the engineer Susan Fowler’s appalling experience and departure from Uber, I couldn’t help but feel disgusted at the technology industry in general, as well as how poorly human resources departments I’ve personally encountered have handled touchy and controversial experiences that have been reported. It makes me angry that even in HR, where there tends to be a lot of women leading the team across companies I’ve seen, women cannot even help or support other women. Women, no matter how hard they work, are considered women before they are whatever their job titles are. And confident women are hardly considered a good thing in a male-dominated environment like the technology industry; there’s a very, very fine line between exuding confidence and being perceived as “arrogant” for women in the workplace. And it really bothers me to think about it because I’m positive that is how I have been perceived in the past (in fact, someone on Glassdoor wrote a twisted review of his interview experience with me, which was half wrong factually and also accused me of being arrogant in my position and discussion). If I’m speaking to a prospective employee or in an interview representing myself, chances are that I’m going to be commanding respect and attention with the tone of my voice and how I’m speaking about whatever the topic is. But after almost nine years in this industry, I’ve only met a handful of women who do this. What that means is that people in general around me are not used to women exuding this level of self-respect and confidence, and instead perceive me as being arrogant.
It would be so much simpler and easier to be a man in the technology industry. Like the protesters at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. had signs of, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.” But the worst part about the example for me I’ve given above is… it’s oftentimes that women do not support women, not just that men aren’t supporting women.
I woke up this weekend to look up at the framed photos of my brother on my wall, and I wondered why he hadn’t come to visit me in my dreams for a while. As Chris has noted, my dreams of him have evolved over the last few years. In the year after his death, we had all these scenes of him committing suicide in different ways, of fighting with my parents or telling me he was sorry that he left me. He insisted he still loved me and cared about me, but he had to leave. Gradually, the dreams have become better. Sometimes, he’d appear out of nowhere, and I’d run up to him and throw my arms around him, hugging him tightly and yelling how happy I was to see him again. Nowadays, in the last few months when I have seen him, we’re just doing ordinary things together: walking, talking, eating, watching TV. On Saturday night, I dreamt we were just sitting at a table while eating sesame noodles I made for us together. We said nothing to each other. All I heard was our chewing and the smacking of chopsticks against our bowls.
I’ll never quite be at peace with him gone, but as the years go by, I think I am more at peace with the fact that he is at peace, even if I cannot physically see him again.
Tonight, I decided to finally put the Tahitian vanilla bean my friend got me to good use by adding it and its scraped seeds into a banana pudding with pistachio crumble recipe that has long been on my list of things to make. I had been saving these Tahitian vanilla beans for years now, properly storing them and deciding they would be best to use in a custard or pudding of some sort. This pudding shattered all my dreams; it came out mealy, completely unlike a custard, and really just tasted like pureed bananas with some vanilla flavoring added to it. Even the pistachio crumble turned out brown, with the taste of sugar and butter completely overshadowing the delicate pistachio flavor.
You win some, and then you lose some. I hope the next time I use one of these vanilla beans that I will win. This stuff ain’t cheap.
Chris is trying to pack as many theater shows as he can into our winter, so today, we went to see Mope, a play at the Ensemble Studio Theater about the LA porn industry and the “losers” called “mopes” in it. The play was quite sad, actually, as it depicted a very sexist and ignorant white man who helps his black male friend get into the porn industry, and this friend ends up becoming far more successful than he is. He blames his failures on being a white man in an industry where white men are not appreciated enough because their penises are not as large as black men’s, and apparently we all know that everyone wants to see a big black penis in porn. He claims that black men are taking away the white men’s roles in the porn industry, and it has nothing to do with his talent or ability that he hasn’t done well for himself.
This made me sad because it reminded me of all the white Trump voters who claim that immigrants and people of color are taking away their jobs, that there’s an attack on white people in this country. This country is a country of immigrants, so what makes a white person feel more entitled to any job than an immigrant or child of immigrants, or someone who doesn’t have white skin? Trevor, the main white character of this show, would definitely have voted for Trump. What a mope.