end scene


Too crazy of a week this past week, starting with my logistical nightmare materializing on Monday as we realized we had bought the wrong RENFE tickets to go back to Madrid, then tried in vain to find other tickets for the same day at the train station, then rented a stick-shift from the Hertz kiosk. Our car broke down 100km outside Madrid. When we were driving down from Madrid to Cadiz, I had sat on this thought for several hours before deciding to share it, too afraid of manifesting the scenario: Ever since Juhi mentioned The Stranger upon her arrival in Madrid in relation to the concept of "people going crazy and doing dumb shit because of the heat," I had this dread about something going wrong while we were in transit, like our car getting a flat tire, and needing to stand in the sweltering 100+ degree heat while we were stranded waiting for a tow truck that would never arrive. Now that the stuff of my anxieties was coming to fruition I actually felt quite okay, like none of it was that bad--worst case scenario, we get a hotel in Cadiz or we sleep in the car, plus Claudia was such a competent traveler that I trusted implicitly that she would figure a way out. It reminded me of how, in an interview about Melancholia, Lars von Trier said there was some study that showed that depressed people are actually quite calm in catastrophic situations because they're used to expecting the worst; I felt no worries as we played Botticelli on the dirt field at the side of the highway and tried to locate the Big Dipper in the night sky. We got back to Madrid at 2am and stuffed our faces with Uber Eats doner while watching Fleabag, and when I woke up the next day at 9am I stayed up through the rest of the day until my 6am flight, working frantically to accommodate everything I had been neglecting for the past two weeks. Wednesday was all flying, I had booked my flight to get home in the afternoon and spend the evening celebrating Olive's birthday but two flight delays (no surprise from Aer Lingus) made this impossible. I got home at 11pm, showered, and immediately plugged in my monitor to implement the CX for our hackathon project, my sole (and also the most visually important) responsibility. Thursday night Alec and I met up to book swap before going to Robby and Alexa's birthday dinner. I roused myself from my desk to scribble a goodbye note on a postcard of the Mesquita ("church mosque church mosque," he called it) and slip it inside the front cover of the copy of Anna Karenina he had lent me. He had brought both my (Claudia's) copy of The Idiot and his extra copy of War & Peace. "It needs a home :)" he had texted me, making me realize that he really was leaving, how grateful I was that we had become close enough that his absence would be felt and that I would be sad to feel it. We ran into a couple of his friends around Dimes Square who were also going to the birthday dinner, and when we walked inside the restaurant I was a little overwhelmed, I really didn't know that many people there and was glad to see Dana and Emma, the only other familiar faces. I gave Alexa a hug, her hair looked really good. Eventually, Jake, Sam, Shereen, and Amol ("my archnemesis," as I jokingly refer to him with Alec) trickled in, and after some general mingling we all found our seats. Jake and I were both overstimulated by the noise to the point of losing our appetites, and instead we discussed his upcoming Eurotrip and periodically would agree to chug the rest of our drinks (red wine, then some fruity rosemary cocktail)--clink our glasses then down the remnants in two glugs. [9/25 - this part is redacted now sorry] Katie came over on Friday and we spent nearly the whole work day together. When I opened the door I felt a jolt at seeing her face in real life for the first time in months, and we sat and ate spinach and feta kolaches that she picked up from the bakery a block away with the coffee and apricot rugelachs I got from downstairs. It feels so good to have a friend where your closeness is manifest in their comfort in navigating through your space, like when they walk in and immediately grab a glass for water from one of your kitchen cabinets or get up unprompted to get paper towels. "Sorry it's so messy," I said, surveying my things cluttered across every surface. "I hate to tell you this Amy," Katie responded, "but it always looks like this in here." Throughout the day we alternated between working, napping, and sitting on the couch together watching Alone—“I’m bored," she complained, both of us laughing at her childish side coming out--and when she left to hang out in WSP with Mike I thought again about how lucky I was to have this kind of friendship where we have so much fun spending unstructured time together, as opposed to the usual friendships in which, as Claudia pointed out, you often feel weirdly formal whenever you have them over ("I bought a whole fish to make dinner for some of my law school friends"). Saturday I woke up at 7am and texted Claudia and Inhae, who were awake in their respective time zones. Ran some errands in my platform rainbow sandals, luxuriated in walking slowly for a change, toasting in the early afternoon heat, before realizing that I had completely lost track of time and needed to get to Taylor's goodbye lunch. Taylor is moving to Chicago and, as a result of having lived with his parents since graduation in order to save money despite working in finance, is looking for an apartment for the first time in his life, which is absurd. Felt pretty dull at lunch, was put out at spending $30 on arroz con pollo when Casa Adela could do it better for $10 and was utterly disinterested in any discussion of investment banking. It was the same bittersweet feeling that I'd had at a recent dinner where I realized that the friends I've known for longer in NYC (i.e. since the beginning of college) are the ones I feel most alienated from, with the exception of Billy, Ashwin, Jay, and Olive. Went to Ruffian with Billy and Olive, where I told them about bird vs. horse then we discussed whether sexual tension/crush vibes can possibly be one-sided. Emma joined for this part of the conversation, which was running into my scheduled call with Catherine, and she told us about her whirlwind romance that began within an hour of her leaving Good Room on Thursday night. She grabbed iced coffees, pleasantly cinnamon-y, for us from the cafe next door before calling a Lyft for her and I to go to Alec's spontaneous rooftop goodbye party. On our way upstairs we ran into Dana and Drew, who were using the bathroom in Alec's apartment, and we agreed on going to Public Records that night. Dana, with her flowing long red hair, is beautiful in a glamorous Old Hollywood way, and I feel a maybe-irrational affinity towards her because of how thoughtful and enthusiastic she is every time I see her. "I feel like we've never really gotten to hang out even though we keep running into each other," she observed, and she invited me to meet up at her place before PR. When we got up to the roof, I said my second goodbye to Alec of the extended weekend, then quickly left to call Catherine, texted my crush a bit about seeing him later at PR. Catherine was sitting in a coffeeshop in the Marina and we debriefed on friendships and Spain and the mood in SF, I imagined her later that night at the beach while the streetlamps gleamed hazily in the fog, felt like that was the right vibe. Worked for a bit, then went to Dana's, where I sat on her bed while she got ready and we talked about architecture and techno and Beijing. I felt like I was hanging out with an older sister, and it made me miss when Catherine and I used to get ready to go out together. [9/25 - this part is redacted too] "I have no idea how to talk to you anymore," I had confessed, and right after we hooked up I felt the unease of not knowing how to proceed from here, I guess we'll have to see how it plays out... Thank God neither he nor his friends/our mutual friends know what this blog is called, and I hope he never reads this.