I haven't written anything in a long time, so I haven't had a chance to thank you all for all of the support, all of the concern, and all of the kind messages. It really means a lot, especially then.

Since then, I've gotten a new job, moved into a new apartment in a brownstone on Jones Street, still in the West Village, between Bleeker and W. 4th. I've decided on a new career, and have a new boyfriend.

A lot of things change in New York City, which would not be significant if they did not also stay so much the same. Typically, when one opens a new chapter in life, it is accompanied with a change in scenery or acquaintance-- something linear, clean cut, like t approaching infinity.

The procession of time reminds me of a curtain in a theatre that has fallen off the rod into a pile on the floor, intersected with objects that pierce multiple folds of the cloth like long steel needles . You travel along the cloth in some vector of x, y, when you randomly come across one of those needles, and the past hits you like a sack of bricks-- you don't just remember, because of course you remember. It's like that object, smell, or sound suddenly robs you of the time that's passed.

Like Marcel Proust's most famous tea-soaked madeline in Á la Recherche de Temps Perdu, the past is often hidden in some everyday material object which we never suspect when we merely think about them, but reveal themselves when experienced. As for the object, it usually depends on chance whether we ever come upon it or not. Lately I've been coming across these more and more.

I was in my boyfriend's shower in his apartment on 9th street and university place, and borrowed some of his camphor-scented facial scrub. Suddenly I was 14, painfully shy, in Pasadena, using the same facial scrub, as it had just come out that year. At the time I was pining after a certain tennis-playing, Australian-accented neighbor. I never even got up the nerve to speak to him.

4 months ago I was a man-killer. I finally dispatched a certain Brazilian ambassador's son. I never did get to see his Rio or the official residence Palacio Pereda. His uncle was assassinated 2 weeks ago (Jan, 2002)

The week after that, I went to Whiskey Blue, a lounge at Union Square in the W Hotel that always attracts the cosmopolite gold-digger women from the midwest or Queens, attempting to find rich investment bankers so that they can quit their marketing jobs or move out of their studio apartments. One can usually tell these women by their wearing of the cheapest of the expensive designer clothes, so painfully of-the-minute. So they can move up a notch to the more expensive expensive designer clothes and get a white picket fence house in Connecticut, or a brilliant Cinderella story with a fabulous wedding in East Hampton.

I was there with 2 of my investment-banker friends from UBS and CSFB, sooner or later this group of 3 women zeroed in on our de-rigeur graduation-gift-from-daddy rolex watches and initiated a conversation with them. In crowded-bar loud conversations like this it is usually a matter of under 2 minutes before they cut to the chase. "So, what do you do for a living?" (How much money do you make?) Without missing a beat, my friend from CSFB (the man in tower 2 that has been relocated to 23rd street) replied, "Well, she's unemployed, he's unemployed, but I just got a great job as a sandwich maker downtown.."

And he goes on to ramble about the great upside opportunities, and the synergy and stakeholder value that he is creating. "Right now I am the turkey guy..the sandwich comes down the conveyer belt and I put the turkey on it. Maybe in a few years they'll promote me to the guy who actually wraps the sandwiches." Of course the women hang around for a few minutes after that, because they are unsure of whether he is serious or if he is just fucking them around. In the first case out of a sense of pity, in the second case maybe an attempt to save face.

Of course he is just fucking them around, and for a second I feel a twinge of pity: they found the target, launched conversation, yet targets pretended to be sandwich makers. So then I went home, alone, in my designer shoes to my studio apartment. Skipped breakfast the next morning, because I was too lazy to cook and too poor to go out or order in. Such are the decisions of independence.

It's like the Manhattan in Sex in the City, but actually fucking having to live in it.

That was my 20-second train of thought, the proverbial 'needle' through the velvet upon using that camphoor-scented face wash. (and if that use of the word 'proverbial' sounds a little pretentious, dear reader...I am well aware of it;) Anyway, so I'm in this man's shower.

He is a '98 double major from Penn, in double E from SEAS and management from The Wharton School. He looks somewhat like Matthew Broderick, only taller and younger, maybe from the 'Ferris Bueller' days. He's a wearer of french-cuff shirts with monogrammed cufflinks and hair that always sticks up. Knows every Doctor Who episode and Maxwell's laws by heart, but can still take him out and cut in front of everybody in the line at Lotus. Rescuer of kittens and procurer of crucial study materials at the last hour. There's really very little else I can say without getting all emotional.. You know how it is.

Speaking of The Wharton School, I do not attend it, which is probably bad for my chosen future career (awkward segue, I know). I've decided to go into strategy consulting, more specifically, McKinsey. Known as simply 'The Firm' long before the Grisham novel of the same name. They're looking for people with 'raw mental horsepower', polish, and persuasive people skills, with a desire to take over the world. I determined that it would not be wise to embark upon a graduate degree without a better picture of what I want in life. The interview process is grueling, and I can't get in without using contacts, but I think I can cut it. It's not what you know but who you know-- or rather, what you know is taken for granted, who you know is the differentiator. I do have the contacts, but all I have to worry about is measuring up. I've always had a tendency to be unable to deal with failure. This time I must not fail-- but in this economy, it's difficult.

Last night, it was raining in Manhattan, and I was leaving town at 5:30 AM. The wind whipped the dirty rain into my mouth, rendering useless my non-waterproof tweed hat. It reminded me of the 5:30 AMs of when I was cox of men's crew up on the East River-meets-the-Bronx, with the debris-filled whitecaps flushing into the Long Island Sound. One would see the sun barely rising behind the Throgs Neck Bridge, gleaming off the World Trade Center and the Chrysler building like golden monuments to stability, constant monuments to us in the wave-tossed shell.

But such is life.