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J______ P____ has been my boss twice at the same job. She was promoted once, decided she didn’t want the stress, then later decided she wanted the stress. She moved out here from Ohio because she’s a fashionable lady who likes fashionable things. After this interview we talked about the search to find our spouses—people who are more talented, attractive and perhaps even capable than we are—who will love us because we may not be as good as them but we make them great. We met up at Calle Ocho where we drank copious amounts of sangria and then met up with her friend K__ at a bar and then I went to work. Work was lame.

C: Who’s your favorite Sesame Street character?
J: Snuffleupagus. Who’s yours?
C: Uh, it’s a tie between Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster.
J: I like Cookie Monster.
C: I don’t like how they decided to make him the Fruit Monster or something…because the kids aren’t eating right or something.
J: Yeah, that’s gay. Um, I like Snuffleupagus because she has long, pretty eyelashes.
C: [Laughs]
J: She’s so dopey.
C: She’s droopy and she has pretty…
J: Dopey. She’s cute.
C: Do you have a favorite band?
J: Band? [Pauses] What’s my favorite band. Does Mariah Carey count?
C: Mariah Carey. Sure, I’ll allow it. [We’ve talked about this before so I said:] I should have known. What’s your favorite movie?
J: Two.
C: You have two?
J: Eighty percent of the time, Pretty Woman; twenty percent of the time, Scarface.
C: You have to be pissed off…
J: I mean, I love Scarface, but to be in the mood to watch it over and over and over again…it’s probably only twenty percent of the time.
C: You have to be furious with someone…
J: Yeah, or just…
C: High on cocaine.
J: …just not in a girly movie kind of mood.
C: Ok. Is there anything you love unconditionally?
J: My brothers and sisters. And my Mom. But not my Dads. [Laughs]
C: Neither of them?
J: No. [Laughs] No, I love them unconditionally—but more my brothers and sisters.
C: And what is your favorite thing about New York?
J: Everything.
C: That’s a simple answer. Can you…extrapolate on that maybe? Maybe…the bars? Maybe…the boys? Maybe…how your dads aren’t here?
[Both laugh]
J: I think my favorite part about New York is that you never know who you’re going to meet or who you’re going to run into. You can have experiences in New York that you can’t have anywhere else in the world. Opportunities come and strike you, opportunities that you can’t find in Cincinnati, Ohio or in Texas.
[Both Laugh]
J: It’s just never going to happen somewhere else.
C: It’s a small world, too. There’s eight million people here and I run into people I know without planning it all the time. It’s always, “Holy shit! I know you!”
J: Yesterday, I had lunch with a guy who owns a clothing company and an advertising agency. I thought, “Perfect: two things that you can offer me a job in.”
[Both Laugh]
[I believe I later referred to showing boobs as part of networking. Although we both found it humorous at the time, I think I regret that.]

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I don’t really remember when I met B____ d__ C_______; however, I think it’s entirely possible my first memories of her are arguments with her about my celibacy. Regardless, about two months ago her boyfriend, another fellow Holy Cross alum, came up to visit and I spent a day with the both of them. During that time we discussed important things like how being considered a good conversationalist usually revolves around listening and asking the right questions that get the speaker to keep talking—that is, not really doing much talking yourself. And they are great conversationalists. I thoroughly enjoyed that day because I got to make them laugh all day. My adoration for their combined powers aside, we chatted about how great her mom’s legs are, how Holy Cross won’t give up its Jesuit identity to join the Ivy League and the difference between “player” and “douche.”

B: Hi, D_____.
Chris: [laughs] You’ll be fine if you just pretend it’s not there. Promise. So who’s your favorite Sesame Street character?
B: I really like Grover because he doesn’t use contractions.
Chris: [laughs, amazed by the reasoning] That’s really it?
B: He’s also very affectionate.
Chris: He likes being scratched on the tummy.
B: Yeah. I also like that book—The Monster at the End of this Book—because he didn’t realize it was him.
Chris: Oh my. It was sort of a surprise ending.
B: For him. For him.
Chris. Oh my, I don’t know if that’s entirely that good, though.
B: Is that a bad answer?
Chris: That sounds scary. No, no, that’s not a bad answer. It’s just…
B: [laughs]
Chris: …it sounds scary for him.
B: It was really scary for him.
Chris: Did he recover?
B: He was scared during the entire book, like “Did you read the title? There’s a monster at the end of the book!”
Chris: Oh, Grover.
B: Then he realizes, “Oh! It’s me! I’m the monster!”
Chris: So then everything turned out okay?
B: Yeah, it turned out okay.
Chris: Oh, okay. I was worried he had self-esteem issues until the last page.
B: No, he realized it was just him and it was fine.
Chris: Well, that’s good.
B: Yeah.
Chris: Do you have a favorite band?
B: Yes. This is kind of a cliché answer. Oh God. Ugh. I really like Led Zeppelin.
Chris: No one’s said that yet.
B: Is it okay I said that? No one’s said that yet?
Chris: That’s my favorite band, actually. So good.
B: That’s my favorite band. I’ll go through all these phases like, “Oh man, The Bravery. They really feel me.” Or “Oh man…some other band that’s current right now.”
Chris: “I’m super into Weezy right now but…aww, no.”
B: “Oh man, Justin Beiber band…”
Chris: [guffaws]
B: No? Okay. It all just comes back to Led Zeppelin and I think that’s just beautiful.
Chris: Most music does, though.
B: I get tired of music so much, but I can’t get tired of them.
Chris: Yeah—sometimes there’ll be a phase where you’ll move away from them but you’ll always come back.
B: You always come back.
Chris: [Sighs] So much talent.
B: Mmmm.
Chris: So what’s your favorite album, then?
B: II.
Chris: Gaaa, I always have a hard time choosing between II or IV.
B: Me too! II or IV. I like the concept of IV—you know, no name, no title, just some symbols.
Chris: Ugh, classic.
B: But the thing is; II has “What is and What Should Never be,” II has “Heartbreaker.” So it’s like…can you really…
Chris: “Moby Dick.”
B: Yeah.
Chris: Classic. [groaning noises to indicate level of awesome]
B: [similar groaning noises to indicate matched level of appreciation]
Chris: Well, we should move on. We’re getting too excited. What’s your favorite movie?
B: Let me think. I also go through phases with movies. I can’t say I have one favorite movie.
Chris: Could you maybe do a Top Three or a Top Five?
B: Yeah. I’ll give you a Top Three. Um…
Chris: Cinderella. Right?
B: No. No, there’s nothing animated.
Chris: [laughs]
B: Can a trilogy count as one?
Chris: I’ll let it happen this time.
B: Okay. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Chris: It’s just a nine hour movie. You don’t have the whole story if you don’t have the whole thing.
B: You don’t. And also, if you watch the extended editions, which I definitely…
Chris: Did you?
B: …don’t own—I mean, I do—it’s more like 14 hours.
Chris: [laughs] Wait, how many times have you lost 14 hours of your life to that movie?
B: [laughs anxiously] So many.
Chris: [laughs] Oh my god.
B: I don’t know. Okay, I was a huge loser in high school [excellent transition to]…uh, Heathers…and I would say Mean Girls because I quote it a lot—I quote it a lot. But I don’t know if I would say it’s my favorite movie. I could always watch it, but…
Chris: Well, because you have a wide-set…[laughs]
B: [laughs] It’s not my fault …
[Laughter, regain their composure.]
B: But I might say, Everything is Illuminated.
Chris: Everything is…Ohhh, with, um…
B: With Elijah Wood.
Chris: ….is it Safran Foer who wrote that book?
B: Yeah.
Chris: I was surprised there was a huge shift in that movie:
B: Yeah, I was really surprised.
Chris: very funny and very, very sad in the end. Whew. Emotional rollercoaster.
B: That might have been one of the only times I liked the movie more than I liked the book.
Chris: Oh, really?
B: Yeah.
Chris: Because I haven’t read the book.
B: I’ll bring it in some time…to…here.
Chris: To here?
B: The city.
Chris: I want to go to there.
B: I have it in Connecticut. I want to go to there. I spent the entire morning watching 30 Rock reruns in bed, by the way. I was like, “Well, no brunch plans. I’ve got until 1:30.”
Chris: [laughs] Then you saw the one from Thursday [Season 4, Episode 14, “Future Husband”], right?
B: I haven’t finished it yet.
Chris: When she was like, “He could wear a thumb ring.” [gestures to his left thumb] “Whoops…”
B: [guffaws] I was thinking that. I was thinking that.
Chris: It felt so weird. I was like, “Come on, what’s terrible about that?”
B: [laughs] “Cool Runnings, man.” I loved—I loved it—, “Bobsled.”
Chris: When the lady in the office actually said it, I was like, “C’mon. I work with so many Jamaicans—no one ever says, ‘bobsled.’ You’re killing me.”
B: They’re not real Jamaicans.
Chris: And real Jamaicans just wanna ride bobsleds all the time and fix teeth?
[Extensive laughter, cool down lap.]
Chris: Is there anything you love unconditionally? [quietly] 30 Rock?
B: My dogs.
Chris: How many?
B: Just two.
Chris: And they’re both in Connecticut, right?
B: Yeah, they’re both in Connecticut. And my little sister.
Chris: Unconditionally?
B: Unconditionally. She pisses me off so much, but I kind of have to. I feel like moms are a given, so I’m not going to say that.
Chris: Oh yeah, that’s come up…
B: I’m not even going to say that. I’m not going to say my mom.
Chris: Great thighs or not.
B: Or Jesus. Those are just a given. [laughs] Great thighs or not. No, my little sister…and the city of London.
Chris: You did spend quite a bit of time there.
B: Fun times. [Pauses. Mutual friend and fellow Holy Cross alum] K___ R_____ is moving to London.
Chris: What is she going to be doing there?
B: She’s working for Reuters for a year, apparently.
Chris: Really? [thinking of his resume, how he’s interviewing someone in his spare time, perplexed she got this job] Does she…do…journalism…stuff?
B: I know she went to UMass for [her masters in] Environmental Studies, right?
Chris: That sounds about right. [It is.] It’s weird…weird.
B: I don’t know. I just hear these things and just tell them to you.
Chris: Just get jealous about…[how she’s in journalism without any experience I can think of]
B: …how she gets to go to London. I just wanna send her an email like, “Bitch, here are places you need to go.
Chris: [finding the word, “bitch,” humorous in this context, laughs] “Watcha back because I’mma show up and leave you dead in a trash can.” [Neither a real threat nor realistic.]
B: I…nope! That’s just you. That’s just you. [laughs]
Chris: [laughs] Okay, good. Alright then, what’s your favorite thing about New York?
B: Is that a real question?
Chris: That is a real question. I made a terrible transition but that is one of the questions.
B: Okay. I like that the subway’s open 24 hours.
Chris: Very convenient.
B: In London, it closes at 12:30 or 1, but bars and stuff stayed open. There were 24-hour buses and usually, I’d be taking the bus home anyway because one of the stops was in front of my house.
Chris: I think the subways in Boston close at like 2.
B: No, they close at 12:30 or 1 or something like that. Which means the bars close at 2. Which I think is silly, you know? In London, sometimes you could just wait and keep on going out until the tube reopened and just get back on and go home. You can’t do that in some other places. And I like that the Met is suggested pay.
Chris: Oh, yeah.
B: I like that a lot.
Chris: I tend to just pay $10.
B: Really? Because I do a dollar.
Chris: You do a dollar? I already have enough of a hard time paying $10.
B: Don’t. No. That’s…that’s silly.
Chris: That was even when I wasn’t even a student. Now I have a student card…
B: I have a student ID, too, I just throw a dollar. I’m like, “Here. Five. Give me five tickets.”
Chris: [laughs] You throw a dollar at them?
B: “Here’s 50 cents. Me and the rest of this line.” They get so much funding. They have ridiculous paychecks. The Met does not need our money.
Chris: I was even thinking about becoming a member.
B: You could if you want to, but there’s nothing…well, it’s cool because you get invited to other things.
Chris: And then you get free entrances.
B: Free entrances you could just pay a cent for.
Chris: But I didn’t have that information about how much they’re getting paid up until the last couple of seconds, so…I always felt bad if I didn’t pay at least $10.
B: Think about it this way: a lot of the tourists don’t know that either; they almost always pay the suggested price.
Chris: $20.
B: And the Met is New York’s most popular…
Chris: Museum?
B: No.
Chris: Tourist Destination?
B: Tourist Destination. So if you think about how many people who visit the Met, they don’t really need the resident’s money.
Chris: I guess you’re right. I already pay enough taxes.
B: Exactly. I mean, the Victoria and Albert Museum was like ten minutes from my house. I used to just go there—all museums are free—
Chris: Yeah, my sister told me about that.
B: I would just go there and hang out. Whenever I was bored or when I was sad I would just go and see my friends: the paintings.
Chris: [laughs] “See my friends: the paintings.”
B: The spoons. But here…
Chris: “Hey guys, how ya been since last week? What’s Up?”
B: If I wanna go to the Frick and say “What Up?” to my favorite Constable, I have to pay $5 to do so. That’s stupid. That’s why I love the Met.
Chris: One of the other things I love about the Met is how ridiculously large it is. I’ve lost entire days and not even seen an entire wing…
B: Have you ever been into Visible Storage?
Chris: [searching his memory…] Yes, actually.
B: Isn’t it the best place ever?
Chris: Oh my god.
B: You know how the American Wing is closed for renovation?
Chris: Yep.
B: My friends and I were trying to find the American Wing, realized it was closed, so we decided to just go to Visible Storage, see some cool paintings. Guess who was there without her frame? John Singer Sargent’s Madame X.
Chris: Really?
B: We sat in front of it for like an hour, just crying. Crying.
Chris: [laughs]
B: Usually it’s so high up, you can’t get too close to it. We were like this close to Madame [motions no more than two inches with both hands]…Oh my god it was beautiful. There was only a piece of plexiglass separating us.
Chris: [still laughing] Highlight of the year, then.
B: Highlight of my life. I guess until I get married or have kids, but right now, that’s it.
Chris: Top Ten. Top Two. Top One.
B: Top One. For now.
Chris: What am I talking about? Well, I guess that’s about it…

I met up with C_____ L_ at Bubby’s in Tribecca because in New Jersey, C_____’s home and favorite state, “bubbies” are synonymous with “boobies.” I had planned on declaring, “Show me your bubbies!” upon my entrance, but something felt Catholic-Churchy about doing it with all the toddlers around. Seeing as our friendship runs about five years long now, I mentioned my intention to interview her and we spent the entire time talking about everything else, forgetting the interview completely. We set up an interview in Hoboken—her current New York Jersey Compromise—and chatted in her apartment to the point that I was a little worried we were both going to forget about the interview again. We went to lunch, admired Hoboken’s quaintness and, after lunch, C____ revealed that this was her first time being interviewed instead of interviewing; she’s way better at journalism than I am and has done cool things like publish her work in magazines she didn’t found with me and two of our friends, or like meet President Obama. I, however, have published most of my work in this blog and in the journal we founded and only met my (Texas) Senator once (in high school)—no photo, just a lasting impression of douche-ness. At any rate, I was surprised the interview happened in Piccolo Roma instead of in a Starbucks, but the location didn’t seem to be the real issue at hand: she was visibly uncomfortable while interviewing so I didn’t ask the hard questions like, “So then if you love New Jersey so much, then why don’t just marry it? Show me your bubbies!!!”

Chris: Who’s your favorite Sesame Street character?
C: I love Grover. He’s blue and underrepresented.
Chris: They spend too much time on Elmo.
C: Which means maybe they’re conservative.
Chris: What?
C: You know, the red one over the blue one.
Chris: Oh, I see.
C: He had the one skit that I loved when I was little. My Mom said I would just sit and laugh at it the whole time.
Chris: You don’t remember what the skit was?
C: Something about over an under…or through.
Chris: That was a running thing you would just die for?
C: Yeah. When I was little. So I love Grover.
Chris: Do you have a favorite band?
C: Right now or of all time?
Chris: I’m leaning towards all time.
C: I don’t know.
Chris: Then if you don’t know all time, what about right now?
C: Okay, I’ve always loved Weezer, but I don’t know if I’d say they’re the all time best band in the entire world.
Chris: You’re just a huge fan of Raditude?
C: Yeah.
Chris: Are you being sarcastic?
C: No, I just love Rivers Cuomo. Now…I don’t know. I listen to Pandora a lot, so whatever shows up. I like to listen to things that will relax me. Matt Nathanson…
Chris: Enya?
C: [Unfazed] Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, things like that.
Chris: What’s your favorite movie?
C: I’ve never thought about these kind of questions. I’m not kidding you. [Pause] Well…overall Love Actually is my favorite movie. But…no, that’s it. Love Actually.
Chris: Is there anything you love unconditionally?
C: People? Things?
Chris: Whatever you love unconditionally. Books? [Yes, I think I knew the upcoming answer in advance.]
C: I mean, I love my grandmother.
Chris: I’ll accept that.
C: Um…I love my book collection. There’s this one picture of my grandparents that I have that I’ll never get rid of. It’s on their wedding day and they’re walking out of the church and everyone’s throwing things at them.
Chris: Flowers and…
C: Yeah, but they’re all immigrants, standing on the side in big boots and headwraps and they’re all Italian. So…
Chris: [Laughs] Do you like this picture because your family is gangsters?
C: Pretty much. It’s like the Mafia.
Chris: It’s not the romance?
C: Well, I found the picture in my grandmother’s dresser and it was in between scarves, by itself. I showed it to my grandmother like, “Why is this here?” She was like, “You can have it. I don’t need it.” So I framed it and now it’s in my room. I love that picture.
Chris: What’s your favorite thing about New York?
C: The fact that everything’s there. You could be like, “I wanna go to see a Tim Burton exhibit at the MoMA, then go get a cupcake, then walk around the park—or nine different parks—, then go to the library.”
Chris: You gotta plan out the library thing because they tend to close a little earlier than MoMA…
C: Right, then I’d got to the library first [laughs], and then you have to carry the books. You’d have to stop home every once in a while.
Chris: Maybe library, home then MoMA, then cupcakes and Central Park.
C: Right. So…yeah, everything’s there.
Chris: Was that so hard?
C: That’s it?!?!?!?

K___ E____ lives with Episode 1, K____ M_____. For the better part of a year and even after what I declared a masterful Thank-You note, K___ and I didn’t seem to talk much. No Facebook friendship, no “Oh, hey! It’s been a while! What’s up?” at get-togethers. Nothing. It took some reflection on my part to realize I’d definitely talked shit about her while she was in the room New Year’s Day 2009. So I sat down and crafted a masterful Apology note. Next thing you know, we’ve scheduled an interview at the Silver Moon Bakery, which, although it does have some excellent offerings like King Cake and lavender cookies, does not have seats. So, once again, we found a nearby Starbucks. Miss E_____ loves history, has excellent taste in books (at the time she was carrying around a copy of Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and prepped by reading Episode 1. Her answers were generally surprisingly quick, but the more we talked, the more I came to realize that the quickness was not just the preparation but also the very good chance that she’s much smarter than I am as well as a better New Yorker.

Chris: Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?
K: Ernie. I loved Ernie so much when I was younger I wanted to name my younger brother after him.
Chris: You had the option to name…
K: My parents asked; they said, “What do you want to name him?” and I said, “Ernie.”
Chris: Wow, that is a lot of power.
K: Unfortunately, he was not named Ernie.
Chris: Well…did they go with Bert?
K: I wish.
[Both laugh]
Chris: So why just Ernie and not Bert and Ernie?
K: I have no idea. I think Ernie was just more all over the place. I identify with that. He’s kooky and lovable.
Chris: He’s definitely the cooler and crazier one while Bert is sort of conservative and uptight.
K: I wanted to name my brother Ernie, so every year for his birthday I tell him, “You could have been Ernie. Earnest E_____.”
Chris: [Laughs] What’d he turn out to be?
K: D__ E_____. D__ E_____ was born on Christmas Eve.
Chris: It’s…so much more alliterative.
K: I know! He’s very much into literature now, all this post-apocalyptic stuff at Holy Cross.
Chris: [Laughs, thinking about how he’s into literature and post-apocalyptic stuff but not at Holy Cross] The strangest thing…Alright, um, what is your favorite movie?
K: [Pauses] I have many.
Chris: Top 3?
K: Probably my most favorite recent move is The Darjeeling Limited.
Chris: That was an excellent movie. Wes Anderson and [Mumbling] uh, assorted characters…[Confidence regained] I really loved the cinematography. Beautiful.
K: I also liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Chris: Right, Jim Carrey. Classic. Hilarious. Well…
K: No…
Chris: Romantic…
K: Yeah, I was going to say, “Hilarious?”
Chris: Okay, it’s not laugh-out-loud, uproarious, but it is a little…
K: It’s a little dark.
Chris: Some black humor.
K: Let’s see…I can’t watch chick flicks. I can’t watch scary movies. I just like the ones that make you think.
Chris: I can’t stand scary movies.
K: I will be up until three in the morning watching Disney movies.
Chris: I have to put a put a blanket up over my neck so the vampires won’t get me.
K: So no Twilight for you?
Chris: With Twilight, I just find it childish. It’s not Harry Potter, so it’s not cool. [Yes, I’m aware of the irony of this statement.]
K: Watch what you say to one of my roommates about that.
Chris: I tend to avoid discussing all things I dislike with girls since most of the things I don’t like are just Twilight and Lady Gaga.
K: I don’t think you can hate on Lady Gaga too much.
Chris: We don’t have to fight about it, it’s just…I don’t agree with everything she does.
K: Being in PR, though, I see it from a different perspective.
Chris: Right. She makes…
K: She gets her name in the press.
Chris: Exactly, she is a PR machine, she’s really doing a great job for herself, her music, her career, her albums, her visuals…she’s got it all encapsulated. She’s doing a great job, but I’m not going to go out and buy the album. But that’s just me. [That is, I don’t like her, but I don’t hate her—I get my fill of her every time I’m listening to someone else’s iPod]
K: [Possibly disgusted by Chris’ willful ignorance and “Not a Gaga Fan” bandwagon membership] If I had to pick another movie, it would be Roman Holiday.
Chris: Oh! I still haven’t seen that one. Cary Grant?
K: No, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. It’s okay [that you haven’t seen it].
Chris: They’re riding around on a Vespa, right?
K: Yes, that’s one of the scenes. It’s a classy movie.
Chris: Classy broad for a classy movie.
[Both laugh]
K: When I see modern chick flicks, I’m just like, “Oh, God.”
Chris: Have you seen Definitely, Maybe?
K: I’ve seen parts of it. I’ve heard that would be one I could get behind.
Chris: I watched When in Rome and I found it to be…
K: [Scrunches face in disgust]
Chris: Yeah, that’s the face I had when I came out. I feel like a lot of chick flicks these days are overly gushy and romantic and just…cheesy.
K: I need something smart. Did you ever take the film class at Holy Cross? I can’t remember his name now…
Chris: I didn’t take it.
K: He just made me love films. I took it my last semester of Holy Cross. It gave me a new perspective about movies.
Chris: Have you seen All about Eve?
K: No.
Chris: Well, that’s my favorite movie. It’s basically just all dialogue and it’s all about movies and…Eve.
K: Wasn’t that a remake?
Chris: [Perplexed] No. Not that I know of. There was a remake? Uh, it’s from like…the thirties…black and white…uh…
K: I’ll have to look this up.
Chris: It’s very, very good. You like smart movies—it’s whip-crack smart. Almost even a little diabolical. Lemme see here…Do you have a favorite band?
K: I really like Kings of Leon.
Chris: Excellent choice.
K: I got turned on to them two Novembers ago and I haven’t stopped.
Chris: With the…was it their third album?
K: They’re on their fourth, I believe.
Chris: Right, they’re on their fourth, but which song was it…
K: Current favorite is “Fans.”
Chris: Third album, Because of the Times.
K: Yep, “Ragoo,” and “True Love Way.”
Chris: “Ragoo” has a little piece of my heart…like, forever.
K: Really? [Laughs] I also like, on their fourth album, “Manhattan.”
Chris: Yeah, that one grew on me. I was really there for the first four songs and then “Manhattan” would come on and I would be like, “Weeeeeelllll, alright. I’ll give you a listen.”
K: [Laughs] I do have to say, and I think my favorite part of the last album—and I can’t remember the name—on their last song…
Together: “Cold Desert.”
K: Yep, just how it cuts back and they do a kind of encore.
Chris: [Laughs]
K: [Smiling] I love it, I love those guys. I’m so happy they won Grammies.
Chris: Did you get to see them when they came to Madison Square Garden?
K: No, I really just started to get turned on to them before Madison Square Garden and I was going to buy tickets, but, at the end of July, I got laid off.
Chris: [Inhales sharply]
K: Had to kind of cut back on my funds. You know, maybe pay rent.
Chris: I hear that’s pretty important. I also hear it’s pretty expensive [from Episode 1].
K: Maybe eat.
Chris: I was going to go, but I was working. I did have a friend who went and he was saying that their actual encore was…you know…
K: “Cold Desert?”
Chris: Phenomenal. No, no, no, it wasn’t “Cold Desert,” but it was…the drummer comes out on stage, shotguns a beer, throws the can against the wall and just starts playing. I think he said it was “Use Somebody.” Starts the drumbeat and then everyone comes back out…
K: I love those guys—I think they’re great. I’m so glad they came around; our generation needs someone like that. We can’t rely on U2 forever.
[Both Laugh]
K: Because they’re gonna die.
Chris: Well, I mean…
K: Eventually.
Chris: Not in our hearts.
K: No, not in our hearts.
Chris: Just in real life.
K: We need someone kind of…
Chris: Youthful?
K: Mmhmm.
Chris: Southern?
K: Americans would be nice. I also like Muse, but…
Chris: Oh. Oh, my; excellent decision.
K: My other favorite is probably David Gray.
Chris: My goodness, you’ve stumped me. I don’t…
K: He’s more folk.
Chris: Is he like…Okay. Is it acoustic guitar…
K: Yeah. You’ve heard the song.
Chris: …singer/songwriter…
K: Yeah. “Babylon.”
Chris: Oh, okay. I know who you’re talking about.
K: I saw him in concert in Boston a couple months ago. Really good.
Chris: I know the song, I don’t really know him, his whole oeuvre.
K: No, that’s okay. I have a younger brother who’s into music and he’ll give me bands and I just…[motions, “It’s all over my head.”]
Chris: Yeah, I have a younger sister and it happens all the time. Is there anything you love unconditionally?
K: I’m so glad I read your blog beforehand so I could prepare for these.
[Both laugh]
Chris: The warm-up lap.
K: I have to say—besides the obvious—probably wintergreen mints. I don’t know why.
Chris: That’s an interesting pick.
K: Like, the wintergreen Lifesavers. I just find them delicious and even though they give me a stomach ache, I’ll still go back to them.
Chris: They give you a stomach ache?
K: After eating bag or so.
Chris: Whoa, slow down.
K: That or milk. I’ll always love milk, too.
Chris: So, maybe a tie? Or…one more than the other?
K: I drink like a gallon a week.
Chris: Me, probably like half a week. For a while, I was trying to get quarts…slow down
K: Nope, I need it.
Chris: It’s pretty important for breakfast, lunch, cooking…
K: I need it for everything. If I come back from a run then I’ll go water, but after a while, I’m like, “Oh, this’ll quench my thirst.”
Chris: I can’t re-hydrate with milk. It reminds me of college when I wasn’t drinking, I was playing lacrosse, I was on the team…and there was a drink-up.
K: Oh my God, I remember this.
Chris: I was the milk guy.
K: [Laughs] I remember hearing about this.
Chris: As a result, sports and milk…not friends.
K: Oh, I know that. But after you eat something really salty…
Chris: [Laughs] Do you ever add anything to your milk? Strawberry milk? Chocolate milk?
K: I’ll do chocolate milk, but that’s it.
Chris: [Flummoxed] No strawberry milk?
K: No strawberry. My mom grew up in Rhode Island so everything is coffee. When we were younger, we were eating coffee ice cream (when it wasn’t popular). She loves coffee, coffee milk, coffee milkshakes, so my mom would probably add coffee syrup to our milks but we wouldn’t notice.
Chris: [Awed] I…coffee syrup? [It sounds glorious. Want.]
K: I guess it’s a Rhode Island thing.
Chris: I wouldn’t say it sounds like a local thing, but it’s very…different [i.e., awesome].
[Both laugh]
Chris: I prefer my coffee to taste like my coffee ice cream.
K: Yes. Although sometimes you just really need something strong in the morning.
Chris: Yeah, particularly when you have to be at Victoria’s Secret to work.
K: Yep, or Anne Taylor and you’re supposed to be nice and sit there going, “Yes, let me take all your shit…”
[Both laugh]
K: “…while you sit there and scream at me.”
Chris: Yeah, the most frustrating thing about working in the service industry is how often I’m belittled or treated like a dumbass.
K: I just wanna throw a hanger at you but I can’t.
Chris: It’s frustrating that I have a bachelor’s degree…
K: …from a good college…
Chris: …and I’m getting yelled at by someone who [speaks to me as if they] might not have graduated from high school.
K: Yeah, it’s quite unfortunate, but I do think everyone should work in retail once in their lives because a) it humbles you and b) it teaches you how to sell quickly, how to think on your feet. You can only engage someone for two minutes. What they wanna hear; they hear.
Chris: It’s also made me realize that there’s only so much I can do to sell to them. It’s made me reconsider what’s important to different people. Many times when people come in, they’re coming in for what they want. Besides, I’m just a dude in a lingerie store. I can’t force this stuff down their throat.
K: We’re having that trouble right now. We downgraded a little and the new manager’s kinda pushing us, but we can’t force the customers to buy. It’s also interesting seeing this—as the new store opened—because it was an excellent example of what not to do in marketing.
Chris: [Laughs]
K: This new store was not promoted, wasn’t marketed (nobody in the neighborhood really knew what was going on); and now we’re not selling much. I’m like, let’s think about this: “A) We’re selling spring clothes in the middle of winter. B) Nobody really knew about this. C) Your clientele who used to come in all the time…isn’t coming in.”
Chris: Punxsutawney Phil said six more weeks of winter…shoulda known. [Laughs]
K: It baffles me, but I see it as a “this is what you don’t do.”
Chris: I think that’s one of the more important things I’m learning: there are so many things I can’t control.
K: Mmhmm.
Chris: I can see all these things happening, but the only thing I can do is tell my superior. I’m not in the PR department. I’m not managing.
K: [Laughs] I love it though when they start to consult me on the quality of the designs. I’m like, “Yes, corporate comes here all the time and asks me—what do they say to you?”
Chris: [Laughs, pauses for coffee] Oh, corporate.
K: I do have to say, though, one great thing about working in the store is it made New York more home to me. I would have just relied on the Holy Cross Bubble in New York. Wherever my friends moved, I would have moved.
Chris: Oh yeah.
K: It’s definitely grounded me a little more. I’ve met different people.
Chris: Yeah, the Holy Cross Bubble is so weird. For New Year’s I went to Boston and the Holy Cross people tended not to do much talking with the non-Holy Cross people…sort of insular.
K: I know some people infiltrate the group, but…I tried to explain it to a friend who went to a different college and just moved here: “Well, I kind of stay.”
Chris: “I have my friends.”
K: “And then other Holy Cross people will come in from out of town …do we accept them?
[Both laugh]
Chris: “They’re foreigners. They don’t know their way around.”
K: “I know we once knew each other…”
Chris: “Do we have to hold their hands?”
K: I have a disclaimer when friends visit—I love it when they do—but I am not going to Times Square. You go there on your own.
Chris: “That’s your thing. I’ve had my fun there…”
K: Oh God, I don’t even go there.
Chris: [Laughs] Well, that actually makes for a good…
K: Segue?
Chris: Transition. Yes, segue. Better word. What’s your favorite thing about New York?
K: [Gathers her thoughts] I think I have two favorite things about New York: that I can get on the subway and get off in a new place I don’t know anything about and learn about that neighborhood…
Chris: Oh, God yes.
K: …and when I see New York in movies, TV, pictures (of the Empire State Building, downtown, so on) and I get to think, “Oh. That’s my place.” Everything in New York is personalized; I love my social life.
Chris: So it’s totally accessibility and culture?
K: I moved to New York and I told my parents, “Five years and I’ll move back to Boston.” But I think it’ going to be more like ten.
Chris: I was terrified of coming here.
K: Really?
Chris: Everybody was always like, “Everything’s so big, there’s so many people, so many things are going to happen,” and then, after about two months, I realized, “I kinda think I wanna stay here the rest of my life.”
K: After a month I think I realized. For the first six months, all I was doing was getting on the subway, going to work and coming home. It wasn’t too bad, but I love it. Every interview I go on, I tell them, “I love it here. I like my social life.”
Chris: “I like being here. I like my friends here. I like being here.”
K: I tell them that. I also tell them, “I’m not leaving New York. I’m here for a while. I have a stable group of friends here.”
Chris: That’s the weird thing for me (if going home was to happen), it would just be friends from high school. Where’s the Holy Cross Bubble and how am I going to live without it?
K: That was hard for me because my parents live 15 minutes away from Holy Cross and I went to school in Worcester even though we live in a town outside. Even during the summers, I hung out with Holy Cross people because people stayed around. I don’t really keep in touch with high school friends; I have one really great friend that I became better friends with after high school, but if I go back, I won’t really have anyone from Holy Cross to hang out with. What would I do?
Chris: It seems like there’s a diaspora.
K: Thankfully, yeah.
Chris: Like everyone wants to…not live with their parents.
K: Where are your parents…where are you from?
Chris: I’m from Texas, they’re from here…I don’t know, they went where their industry took them, just as I [am making an attempt to].
K: Interesting.
Chris: I should end this, shouldn’t I?
K: That was the five questions?
Chris: That was it, yeah.
K: Wow.

K____ and I went to the same school, a place where I might have seen her no more than once. She was Pre-Med and lived in dorms we both avoided and off-campus on a somewhat secluded street—two major reasons our paths didn’t cross—and took last year off to make sure she definitely wanted to attend Columbia to get her Masters in Public Health. She’s almost the definitive portrait of a Holy Cross girl: a Catholic Massachusetts native whose favorite Beatles songs are both on Rubber Soul (“Norwegian Wood” and “In My Life”) and the oldest daughter of a cop. After what I have to be bold and declare a masterful Thank-You note for the Halloween party she and her two roommates threw, we became Facebook friends. I realized I didn’t really know her that well, I reached out and we agreed to meet in a Le Pan Quotidien only to leave for a Starbucks across the street. Oddly enough, the barista there was good friends with a friend of mine from Holy Cross who had also never met K____. K____ talked a big game about being intimidated by my recorder but was just as amiable when I put it away.

Chris: Who’s your favorite Sesame Street character?
K: Ooohh… I always liked Snuffleupagus. He was my favorite. Although I felt a little bad for Oscar. Just because…
Chris: Because he was so unhappy?
K: And also, I feel like everyone didn’t like him. That made me like him. You know what I mean?
Chris: That’s kind of weird. He totally went out of his way to make everyone hate him.
K: But I think he had some deep-seated anger. Maybe he had a tough childhood. You don’t know. He lives in trash.
Chris: He lives a trashcan; it’s not an ideal environment. I don’t mean to trash talk Crown Heights too much, but…
K: [Laughs]
Chris: Okay, Favorite Movie?
K: I’d have to go with Forest Gump.
Chris: Really? Did not see that coming. Is it because life is like a box of chocolates? Or…
K: Yeah, or, kinda like a feather floating on the breeze as he also says.
Chris: It’s not because, uh…you love your momma so much?
K: Also that and…leg braces.
Chris: You had braces?
K: No.
Chris: Oh, God. I was gonna say, that sounds fairly traumatic. At least it was in the movie…Run!!
K: [Laughs]
Chris: Alright, Favorite Band?
K: That’s harder. I like a lot of bands.
Chris: Yeah, I foresee this question being very difficult for most people. “Oh, I like everything.”
K: It kind of depends on my mood, but I think overall, I have to go with U2.
Chris: Really? The older stuff, the newer stuff…the middle?
K: I like “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
Chris: Off of Joshua Tree?
K: [Lights up] Yeah! Joshua Tree—that’s the album I have.
Chris: That’s sort of like their undisputed classic…
K: Yeah, I like stereotypical U2.
Chris: So then do you have the new stuff, like the last album?
K: No, I don’t.
Chris: Oh, hmmm…
K: I think I like specific songs more than I like actual bands.
Chris: Oh, you’re not really there for the whole album experience?
K: Well, I do like their whole album, that one…but…
Chris: In general, you mean.
K: Yes. Generally speaking about bands, I tend not to follow every album of a specific band.
Chris: So you don’t have all of the Lady Gaga albums? Just the singles.
K: No. Unfortunately, no. I used to have all the *NSYNC albums.
Chris: [Thoroughly shocked] Oh really.
K: Yes.
Chris: This isn’t embarrassing for you.
K: Yeah…I shouldn’t have mentioned that because it’s recorded.
Chris: [Laughs]
K: But…it’s true, I did have all the *NSYNC albums. Even the European editions.
Chris: Oh my god.
K: There was an article when I was in eight grade—my best friend and I were so obsessed with *NSYNC that the local newspaper interviewed us and our parents about our obsession. My room was covered with *NSYNC.
Chris: You had the posters…
K: Wall to wall.
Chris: Tickets…T-Shirts…
K: Oh yeah. I had a hat that said *NSYNC.
Chris: Really? That’s…interesting.
K: [Laughs]
Chris: So did you keep up with Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez?
K: Well, I decided when I was about 15, I went through my “I’m gonna grow up, I’m so mature now” stage, so I gave all my albums, all my stuff to my younger neighbor. Everything’s gone. And I kinda wish I still had it.
Chris: I figure you probably lost a piece of your heart.
K: It was a piece of my heart.
Chris: It’s tearing out your heart, isn’t it?
K: [Laughs] It is. I want it back.
Chris: Do you keep in touch with that girl?
K: No. She probably doesn’t even have it anymore.
Chris: She probably gave it to someone younger.
K: Probably.
Chris: I had a similar phase. I decided I didn’t like rap anymore. I sold off, like… my Jay-Z album.
K: Oh no!
Chris: And of course, I went back and bought it again because I was like, “Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking; I obviously love this music.”
K: It’s weird: you wanna deny everything you once were. You can’t just change that quickly.
Chris: Being grown up means you change your musical taste. That’s not how it works
K: [Laughs] Yeah. I’m gonna defy myself. I’m gonna stop liking everything I used to like.
Chris: [Laughs] Obviously, I can’t like it anymore. That would be…unrealistic. Umm…Is there anything—and this one I foresee as being very difficult for a lot of people.
K: [Steeling herself] Oh God.
Chris: Get super excited.
K: Okay.
Chris: Is there anything you love…unconditionally?
K: [Puzzled] Um… unconditionally…
Chris: Lemme give you an example. I think maybe the closest I can get is high fives…
K: Okay. So it doesn’t even have to be something.
Chris: Oh yeah, no, it doesn’t have to be like, “Oh, I’ll love my Mom forever,” (because that’s obvious) but you probably could do that…
K: Unconditionally…I will love…
Chris: [Quietly] Lady Gaga.
K: [Not listening] It’s very difficult. I think I would say…It’s hard to say, “unconditionally.” You couldn’t even really say it for a high five. What if someone high fives you too hard?
Chris: Exactly, a bad high five. You miss, you have to do it over again…
K: I think I would say, maybe, chocolate chip cookies. But, see, that’s not necessarily unconditional.
Chris: They can still get burned.
K: Right, they can be burned, they can be filled with salmonella if they’re undercooked.
Chris: Is that true?!? I didn’t know salmonella…
K: In eggs. Raw eggs.
Chris: I’m going to have to cook my cookies better from now on.
K: Although raw cookie dough is really good.
Chris: I went to this place called Levain Bakery last week, like on 74th, where it’s basically just a big raw cookie.
K: That was featured on Throwdown! with Bobby Flay.
Chris: Rightfully so.
K: Did you know that, or are you just going along with me?
Chris: I actually don’t have a TV. So I have no idea…I’ve heard of Bobby Flay.
K: That’s really crappy.
Chris: I like it. I get all of the comedy I need from Hulu.
K: That’s true. Do you watch Glee? That’s the only thing I watch on Hulu.
Chris: No, I tried to get my sister into that because every girl, apparently, ever, loves that.
K: Every girl plus V____.
Chris: Oh, right, well, he’s an honorary member.
[Both laugh…silence]
Chris: So do you love Glee unconditionally?
K: Oohh! Sometimes, yes, but sometimes I get annoyed with certain characters. But I don’t think there’s anything that’s…I think part of loving something is that, even when it goes wrong, you still love it.
Chris: Right, that’s the foundation of a good relationship, isn’t it?
K: Yeah! So, like with chocolate chip cookies, even if they’re burnt, I don’t hold it against them; I know next time they’ll be better.
Chris: [Laughs] It’s not your fault, cookie: walk it off. Your brothers and sisters will be fine.
K: [Laughs]
Chris: What’s your favorite thing about New York?
K: This is incredibly cliché, but I really love the parks in New York.
Chris: That’s not too cliché.
K: I am a dog walker. I walk a dog twice a day, four days of the week.
Chris: How’d you find out about this?
K: On Columbia’s employment website. He’s a Columbia grad. He had posted that he needed a dog walker and he pays $15 a walk. It’s Monday through Thursday.
Chris: You have to curb and everything? That’s the least exciting part, isn’t it?
K: Yeah, I have to clean up after the dog, which kinda stinks [Yes, I found this pun hilarious at the time, but I somehow managed to keep from laughing], but I get to hang out with a dog that’s not mine. It’s great. And so I go to the park like everyday. And I love it.
Chris: Everyday? Like seven days a week?
K: Well, Monday through Thursday I have to—because of the dog—and then, usually, I go running.
Chris: Are you running through the park?
K: Yes.
Chris: Wow, I just go on the treadmill in my apartment complex.
K: Yeah, I’m really broke.
Chris: I have that problem.
K: Actually, I’m beyond broke: I’m in debt because of school.
Chris: That happens.
K: I try to avoid paying for gym memberships.
Chris: I don’t…the gym in my apartment complex is…
K: It comes with it?
Chris: Yeah.
K: We have a gym in ours but you have to pay extra.
Chris: I thought I heard S____ mention that you might have to pay, but I didn’t realize you actually had to pay.
K: We actually have to pay.
Chris: Which is definitely lame.
K: Yeah, incredibly lame. I don’t understand—we’re paying a lot for rent.
Chris: I know, right? Why wouldn’t you get to just go downstairs?
K: And it’s not cheap. She bought a membership and it’s not that cheap. I thought it would be maybe 15 bucks a month or something, but it’s maybe 30—or maybe even more than that, actually. 30’s not even that bad.
Chris: Either way, not so good.
K: I wasn’t into it. I’d rather just freeze outside.
Chris: Layer up, pretend you’re walking a dog.
K: It makes me feel kind of tough.
Chris: Like a champion.
K: If I’m running through snow, I know that I’m hardcore.
Chris: [Laughs] You have hardcore cred?
K: Yeah.
Chris: Alright, well, if you had the opportunity to fuck with the Wu-Tang Clan, would you?
K: [Baffled]
Chris: I’m just kidding! That’s not a question.
K: [Laughs] I started thinking about it like, “Hmmmm…”
Chris: [Laughs] Like, “Hmmm…I might take on the RZA…” Here, I’ll put this down…

Snuffleupagus