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The things God made

Well, with the IKEA experience came the post IKEA experience: assembling the furniture, which delayed blogging by a week. The fact that I don’t have an internet connection in my new apartment doesn’t help much either. As you probably know, ex-boyfriend came to visit primarily to handle the masculine aspects of moving, but also to calm me down. As he knows, he has done the opposite when it comes to keeping my little studio tidy, but has saved my life otherwise. I literally could’ve died attempting to assemble my bookcase/room divider by myself, and I would’ve in my stubborn, anxious rush to be settled. Ex-boyfriend can confirm moving an obsessive compulsive neat freak takes more time and patience than either of us bargained for, especially when downsizing significantly.

This process was temporarily hindered by my new job (que celebratory music): serving at a luncheonette. “What’s a luncheonette,” the Southerners ask. A glorified IHOP, I answer with brutal (humbling) honesty. In response to the lengthy and ever-more-hopeless nature of my job search, I introduced myself to a friend of my parents who happens to own a restaurant with the same manner in which I stalked the UPS guy. My pride took a third row back seat to the demand of my rent, and I politely asked for a job a mere two seconds after introducing myself. The man took pity on me, but under the condition that I begin training immediately with one morning shift. Morning shift was an understatement; I had to arrive at 7 a.m. Not wake up…arrive. I can honestly say I do not remember the last time I arrived anywhere at 7 a.m.

My training was consistent with the restaurants I previously served at: I was continually forewarned of a menu test I never actually took and spent hours stalking unwelcoming, preoccupied trainers like a lost dog while reciting ingredients in my head worrying about this inevitably nonexistent test that was to determine my employment status. I felt right at home. In actuality I felt homesick…for Corky’s. Corky’s is the Bar BQ restaurant I worked at last summer. I attained this job on a detour from a pool day when I stopped by in mini yellow shorts and a pink tank top to grab an application. I was unexpectedly interviewed and hired on the spot and too embarrassed from my city-girl superiority complex to tell anyone I knew. When I finally got the guts to tell my loving, understanding best friend she laughed hysterically and sent me a picture text of the pig on the side of the building within the hour.

I go off on tangents when I speak aloud too. Long story short (a phrase becoming common to every blog) I fell in love with my coworkers and worked doubles every day voluntarily. Though I would blow all of this money in my first four months in New York, it made for an amazing, and more importantly hilarious, summer. (I miss you all!)

To make up for the two training shifts I underwent while ex-boyfriend fended for himself in New York for the first time we’ve been on the go from the second I got off on Friday. By on the go, I mean he watched me frantically iron my clothes and rush to the travel internship interview then waited for me in a neighboring Dunkin’ Donuts with a coffee to calm me down. His NYC experience has been more hostage-like than most tourists’, but his hostess is in a far more threatening situation called unemployment (or minor employment). No, I still haven’t found out about the interview. You’ll be the first to know.

Since then, we’ve hit the usual hotspots: Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park; my favorite eateries: Roma, Barking Dog, Supper, and Fetch (hungry Jaclyn?); and a place we could both explore for the first time: the American Museum of Natural History.

In the fall I lived three blocks east of Central Park, which put me three blocks east of Museum Mile. If I were made of money, I would’ve taken full advantage of this prime location, but to slow the diminishing of my hard-earned savings I handled my spot like a true college student: I walked and ran around the park when I could (free) and frequented the Metropolitan Museum of Art ($1). The Met stuck out because of its elaborate exterior and multiple-visit size, but the harsh reality that proves to be its main appeal is the keyword “recommended” admission fee. My good friend from the Hampton’s wasted no time warning me to look out for this tiny, italic phrase, because the Met isn’t as straightforward as myself although we share the need for funding. The Met requires only a donation for admission (in accordance with everyone’s right to see the art that’s solely found), and regardless of the cashiers’ growingly cliche judgment we consider a dollar adequate in our circumstances. (Notice when guilt arises I shift to “we” from “I”.)

Likewise, I discovered only yesterday that the Museum of Natural History had the same policy when the website revealed that encouraging italic keyword. After becoming quite familiar with the Met from several affordable visits, I was ecstatic to find an equal alternative. Plus, I instinctively thought ex-boyfriend would prefer the latter having no prior knowledge of its contents. Not surprising to Mr. Ex, I was right. There’s no other way to put it: I am obsessed with that museum.

I’m not a “little things” kind of person, it takes a lot for me to admit I’m impressed or amused mostly because I’m stubborn and am against making scenes. I’m a sucker for a good museum though, and I’ll preach about it for days after visiting. I love New York because I like being on my own and feel some extra sense of independence when no one knows where I am; I’m lost in a city of 10 million people. I felt the same way gallivanting around Europe for a summer. Similarly, I find a distinctive sense of peace and contentment in museums where I can get lost in thought and awe, and this was the place for exactly that.

The Museum of Natural History is the kind of place that forces your mouth to subconsciously fall open at every turn, where each new room hosts an exhibit you couldn’t imagine having missed. My newfound fascination with skeletons and stuffed mammals brought back memories of wanting to be an elephant when I grew up with the simultaneous belief that excavating archeology was as likely of an adult hobby as my future in dolphin training. I couldn’t put my finger on what made this museum so much more intriguing than the Met. I mean I love the Met, but I was outright giddy. I was racing the clock to see everything we could before the unjustly early 5:45 p.m. close. The difference between ex-boyfriend’s verbal reactions to this and mine were completely indicative of our personalities. Ex, from Tennessee, said things like, “Look at the schnoz on that thing,” or “What if you hit that with your car?” While I’ve been known to say, “People used to be so much smarter than we are now,” and “What if one day we’re on display like this?” Then I realized this was the first time I had seen once living creatures on display. I’ve seen zoos, and I’ve seen artwork, but these weren’t things humans made; these were the things God made. I realized there is truly nothing man can create that’s more mysterious or fascinating as what God himself created, and that is the real beauty in natural history.

Not only did we watch Night at the Museum afterward for the full effect; we’re going back tomorrow to pay more than $1 to see what we missed. We’re instantly that attracted to this museum; it was the perfect New York City day.

If it hasn’t crossed your mind, and there’s any chance you’ll follow my lead, I have to warn you that delivery-men…particularly UPS guys…typically work the same neighborhoods everyday. So I have already seen UPS guy again (twice) near home, and yes, we both remember our little run-in. It’s safe to say any future packages are coming up those stairs thanks to my temporary absence of pride.

I’ll leave you with the mental image of ex and I hauling seven IKEA boxes up four flights of stairs on the one day the elevator broke, followed by our re-assembly of the bookshelf after the first three times we attempted to hoist it up and watched it fall apart. Not only is IKEA furniture a good bargain; it comes with a unique, overwhelming sense of appreciation for what you miraculously assembled one to four times. I’m just glad I finally got my bed frame on sale.

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