What I’ve Learned Recently

What I’ve Learned Recently

I learned that if you want an eternal tube of toothpaste, just buy the worst charcoal toothpaste you can find. It will hardly foam, it will leave your sink and your toothbrush black and weirdly greasy, it won’t freshen your breath by much, and no matter how many months and months you use it, it will never ever run out. Ever. Money saving hack, so you’re welcome for that.

I learned I’m not a huge fan of being thought pregnant. One man approached me in the subway as I leaned against the wall, slouching in my high-waisted top, and when I didn’t want to buy what he was selling, he thought perhaps I’d want to buy it for my baby. Neat. Perhaps adding a run to my leaving-the-house excursions wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

I learned that I am a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s works. His books sat on my shelf for a very long time before I really got into them, but I’m on the second one now and finding it fascinating. It’s called “Outliers” and it’s all about why certain people are wildly successful and others are not. The research shows that it’s a lot more chance, such as your birth date, than you would believe, so I guess if you want to birth successful hockey players, plan accordingly, guys. Even long-forgotten culture, such as the ancient Scotch Irish herding culture the Appalachian folk inherited and the Chinese rice paddy culture Chinese-American immigrants have in their past, play a huge part in how good people are at things like math and family feuds and flying airplanes.

I learned that libraries exist which scarcely have any books. Take, for instance, my library just a few blocks from my house. It’s a large, airy, and spacious building with tall reading rooms filled with light and a big computer lab with lots of convenient tables and a large movie section… and hardly any books. I’ve hunted on three floors and only found a few measly aisles. Am I the only one a little befuddled by this? Is it weird that my library in redneck Mocksville had a better book selection than my one in NYC?

I learned that working a job where you’re sick on your stomach from the stress of it is simply not worth it. Having money is nice; having a stomach lining is better. And in the same vein, I found that working from home really is pretty great as I suspected it would be, although not leaving the house for two solid days should probably be avoided in the future. New Year’s resolution: at least step outside every single day.

I learned that calling myself a writer does not get any easier. Maybe once I’ve published a book or made it into the Huffington Post (ha. ha. ha.) I’ll feel legitimate enough to call myself a writer, but given what some well-known authors say, I have my doubts. I mean, I can’t even parallel park, so I’m pretty sure I’m not even a proper adult, much less a legit writer. Does anyone else feel this way? Can any other adult in America also not parallel park? Solidarity, please. (It appears I could learn how here, for a pamphlet costing only $50.99. I have some questions.)

I learned that rain in NYC is no joke. Your umbrella will flip at the most inconvenient moments and your favorite one will certainly break. You will at some point be splashed by a passing vehicle as you stand safely on the sidewalk, and whenever you forget to check the forecast and leave your umbrella at home, it will inevitably rain, leaving you to walk eight blocks in the downpour with rivulets running down the inside of your shirt and small waterfalls off the tips of your elbows. Also, that will be the day you chose to wear suede shoes, because life is like that.

I learned that by and large, the thrift stores in NYC suck. They are understocked and overpriced, and while they have some nice items, I’m not paying $60 for a used coat when I can buy an equally nice one new, thank you very much. Given the year I spent working next to a well-stocked and cheap Goodwill and stuffing my closets from it, it’s probably just as well. My theory on their suckage is that they have to charge too much to pay rent here to make it work. Also, It’s a lot more work donating items here than just having your trash service pick them up for you, so I imagine a lot more things just end up in the landfill.

I learned that I would happily eat chocolate chip cookies every week for research. I did an investigation to find the best chocolate chip cookie in the city, eating perhaps one-tenth of a percent of the best options, if that. Within my very limited data compilation, I found the very best ones to come from Levain, a crowded little shop on the Upper West Side with customers spilling out the door and the most delicious smells emanating from within. I sampled two, the chocolate chip walnut, and the dark chocolate peanut butter chip, and I wish I could eat them every day for the rest of my life. Maybe this kind of research is what brought about the pregnancy question… hmm. The cookies were somehow chewy and crispy and soft all at once, almost under-baked in the center but perfectly done on the edges, thick and craggy and full of every kind of texture you’d want in a cookie. And the flavors are unbeatable; I may go into a reverie shortly if I don’t change the subject.

I learned that apparently my bed slopes downhill and I’ve been sleeping with my feet up in the air. I would change it, but I literally just moved my bed and it is so. much. work. At least I don’t have to wonder why my back is in such tremendous knots that it hurts just to move. (Update: don’t feel sorry for me, I wrangled the bed around into the uphill position and I really cannot wait to go to bed tonight.)

What about you- what have you been learning?


A Year Ago:

What Writer’s Block is Like

Nannying in Queens

Two Years Ago:

What It’s Like Working Rent-To-Own Customer Service

Three Years Ago:

Book List 2016

2016 In Review

Complaining About the Weather, or, Stop Being a Wuss

Four Years Ago:

The Best (and Worst) of 2015 Books

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6 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned Recently

  1. I don’t parallel park either. The question is not if I can, the question is if I want to. I don’t.
    I messed up when I had to do it for my driving test, and the officer yelled at me. I’ve often said that the only reason he passed me was because he saw with certainty that I would never, ever do it again. And yes, people roll their eyes at my refusal to do it, me being a city dweller and all, but I get along just fine, thank-you very much.
    PS. I also don’t drive standard vehicles, and don’t intend to ever learn.

  2. I have not performed one parallel park since my licensing road test 11 years ago, and I do not intend to do another the rest of my natural life.

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