Lost in Manhattan: Gelato & an Idea

, by Zoë Gulliksen

         Last Wednesday I invited my friend to Meg 1 to grab gelato at a place between our apartments on the Upper West Side. I had met Meg the same way I met most of my friends: off of Twitter. A while back I was searching tweets to see if other people were also hearing an “explosion” in my neighborhood. Meg was one of the fellow tweeters who thought it was an alien invasion. Like most friendships, we bonded over mutual fear that we would soon die at the hand of body snatchers.

Along with alien invasions, we soon discovered a shared love of Ally McBeal, fear of adult life, and frozen treats. At this most recent dessert trip, after a quick catch up on each other’s adventures (mine adopting a cat off the gayest black man in Harlem, hers of the woes of working as a secretary at Columbia), the conversation turned to my latest Internet endeavors.

She told me that she read my blog post about not being able to find something to write about. Admittedly, this is not a topic easily discussed with me. I hate getting writing advice from people, especially those who have no background in writing. Granted, Meg was qualified to give advice since she is a fellow writer, but more of the nonfiction/history variation. Still, I was not one easily open to hearing what I “ought” to be doing with my life.

However, she provided a good argument. I knew what I wanted to write about but I was too scared to. I wanted to write about life: life in New York City, life as a girl living on her own for the first time, and a life where I didn’t have a single idea what to do with myself. I want to be open and talk about matters that are important to me, but I don’t feel comfortable with people knowing such intricate details about my life.

Also, writing about myself gets to be rather boring. It’s not a thrilling because I’m myself every goddman day. What I want to do is write about life around me. What I did want to do was write about other people’s adventures, but I haven't know exactly how to approach that. This is an idea I was tinkering with for months.

I don’t want to be Gossip Girl, spreading the dirt on people I knew. That was cruel, childish, and tragically boring. That was when Meg offered up herself. She said that I could write about her adventures, a stenographer of sorts. If something interesting happened she would relay the story and I could post it online with my own added commentary.

She found this appealing because 1.) She was too lazy to do it herself and 2.) She signed a contract at work saying she wouldn’t discuss her workplace online. However, there isn’t clause saying that I can’t, under a pseudonym of course. I did admit that Meg had an appealing life for this sort of project: she was very much a New York girl in her earlier twenties everyone could relate to and yet had a side of trouble. Last year, during her final semester at Columbia, she had a minor affair with her history professor whom she was still in love with. He was the reason she now worked at the college, even though he currently doesn’t pay her much attention besides the occasional Snapchat.

Meg then also suggested that I talk to her former college roommate Olivia, whom I’ve met a couple of times. Olivia, on the opposite spectrum, did not have a job of any sort. She was pretty much Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman' post Richard Gere climbing up her fire escape. Meaning: she didn’t have to have a job because the gorgeous men who slept with her paid for her rent and clothes and all she had to do was stay beautiful and thin. I, on the other hand, couldn’t do either on my own.

I also suggested that I talk to my friend Henry, who loved men so much that he saw the fourth 'Twilight' movie in theaters four times, for “the visuals alone”.  He could provide the gay point of view to my discussions on life even better than Lady Gaga herself.

Still, I wasn’t exactly convinced.

Meg: It would be much better than the crap on that fat girl’s show
Me: You mean Lena Dunham?”
Meg: Yes.
Me: You really thought about this, haven’t you?
Meg: It was a boring day at work; nobody tried to steal my coffee.
Me: Nobody is going to want to read this.
Meg: We’ll see. 

1 All names have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved. Under no circumstances will I reveal their personal information, including Twitter handles and photos of mentioned individuals.


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