I wanna teach a class to this. Living room yoga this weekend, anyone?
I wanna teach a class to this. Living room yoga this weekend, anyone?
This might be my best playlist yet. @AllisonKinney47—professional opinion?
And it was awesome. He had the audience at Write Club eating out of the palm of his hand, the bastard. Read his essay, and then LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST. Do it. Do it because it will make you feel good. It goes well with bourbon, but then, what doesn’t? Without further ado, the brilliant genius Jay Hansbrough, with his take on women:
AT about three am this morning I was sitting in an office chair beside the bed in my apartment. I was nervous, about this very performance in fact, and I was coping with my anxiety the best way I could: by sitting perfectly still and staring with these crazy, hate-filled, Gary Busey eyes, at my opponent while she was sleeping.
My back got sore after a while and so I pressed my bare toes into the scuffed, laminate-shedding hardwoods alongside our bed. I levered my torso into the back of the chair and released the small plastic handle beneath the seat to achieve recline as I wondered how much word-count mileage I might wring from gratuitous descriptions in my Write Club piece.
My opponent was lying on her side with her back toward the middle of the bed, and, upon reaching the point of full recline, my eyes had drawn nearly parallel to hers, our noses a mere four inches apart. Ambient light crept in from the bedroom’s alley-facing window, rendering her features in the cool marine palette of early morning. She looked absolutely stunning, like a beautiful object of some kind that I’d like to own and maybe sell some day.
Because that’s just how my brain works, mmkay? Jay and I squared off against each other for last month’s Write Club, and now you lucky folks get to read our pieces. First up, here’s my take on why Adam created Eve in the first place. I called it, “Men in the Garden.”
The trouble began in the slums. At first, it was grumblings, just complaints over drinks in the public parks. “We have no personal space,” the men said to each other. “It’s getting so loud,” they said.
This so accurately describes my life this week, which leads me to believe I should just shut up and write a musical.
I read for Write Club Unplugged last night, a romantic candlelit affair at Atlanta’s Goat Farm Arts Center. It was freezing in there! But the crowd was great, and the readers were delightful, and a good time was had by all. The next Write Club event, which you’re now obligated to attend because you’re reading this and I said so, is at 9 p.m. on Dec. 12 at the Highland Inn Ballroom.
Onward! Here’s the thing I read last night.
I cut the line outside the building at 230 Fifth, where shivering wannabes in tight jersey knits are teetering in their spiky platforms, leaning into the building’s marble facade. I power past them in my hideous business casual outfit from H&M.
The bouncer is two feet taller than I am. He looks at me, furrows his brow, checks his list, checks my I.D., checks my face, checks the list again. I’m not wearing any makeup, I haven’t showered, and I’ve been wearing this outfit for two days. I bought it at lunch yesterday. That I’m still wearing these clothes is fine because no one noticed, and anyway who has time to go all the way back to Crown Heights.
He nods, and I smirk as I brush past him and into the express elevator, which whisks me to the 20th floor.
The elevator’s swift upward thrust gives me a giddy, lightheaded sensation that feels a lot like making it. I’m glad the rest of the team isn’t with me, because I know I’m not going to be able to hide how stunned I am by the interior of this bar, and God, being impressed by anything is just the worst when you’re in New York.
The gold doors slide silently open into another marble lobby, this one with mirrored walls that make it seem much wider than it is. The hostess, signaled by the man below, recognizes me immediately as her next guest.
“You’re with Bloomberg, miss?” she asks, her head cocking slightly, her voice lilting upward as her mouth pinches at the corners in a little smile. She sees it, my awe, and I smile back. What the hell, right?
“Yes. The traders.”
She nods. “Follow me. Have, uh, you visited us before?”
She’s giving me a tour but I’m not listening. It’s not hard to figure out where the bar is at a bar, or where the bathrooms are, but the place is visually arresting. There are wide, low, curving couches and a thick plush carpet in the dark lounge. One of the couches is shaped like lips. You can see the skyline through the darkly tinted windows, huge and partially hidden behind white velvet curtains.
The room is enormous, and you have to appreciate here that it’s probably the biggest open space I’ve seen in six weeks. I’ve been in New York now since early June.
We climb a small staircase to the terrace, one of the finest rooftop gardens in the city. The sun glints off lush plants and the sunglasses of the city’s financial elite, bankers and publicists, mostly men in suits whose skin won’t feel the benefit of the vitamin D beaming down on them from above. They’re drinking.
The hostess and I wind through the unreasonably tropical trees, her heels clicking on the granite tiles, to our party: 15 or so journalists and traders. The stocks team. I take a seat.
Burns gets up and moves into the chair next to mine. He points at two silver vases dripping condensation in the heat.
“Vodka or gin?” he asks.
“Belvedere or Grey Goose?”
I look around the group. There are 8 silver vases on stands, each with at least one bottle sticking out of it. Holy hell. So much for going home early tonight.
“Belvedere,” I say. “And soda. None of that cranberry shit.”
“We ordered food,” he says. “You should eat some. Jesus, you’ve gotten skinny.”
Burns is Jeff Burns, the team’s options reporter, who has taken me under his wing. He’s my friend and protector, guiding me through the rough waters of drinking and drinking the Kool-Aid at the world’s largest journalism organization. Also, we tip each other off whenever there’s free edamame on the sixth floor.
Burns is the sole proprietor of knowledge about one of the most obscure markets covered by the entire organization, a fact which seals the necessity of his employment there. The VIX is his market, and it’s a sinister one: it measures volatility, the fear and uncertainty in the world’s transactions.
Burns is introducing me to somebody. I should pay attention.
The man in the white golf shirt with the red cheeks is sweating and extending his hand to me, so I shake it, though I was daydreaming and didn’t catch his name.
Mr. Redface is talking to me about the markets. The famous analyst Dick Bove had published a report that morning saying that Wachovia Corp., the nation’s fourth largest bank, would go under. Washington Mutual was another bank in a tough position, he’d said. Don’t invest in bank stock, he’d said.
I knew all this because I wrote the stories about it, from 6:30 a.m. until just a few moments ago, in standard Bloomberg style, which is: What happened, why it happened, the size and scope of the parties involved, what was at stake, a quote from an authority on the subject, and details, if any were completely necessary.
Mr. Redface is talking to me about the bets he made this morning, in the impending volatility of bank stocks, and didn’t I agree that he was making the smart decision.
“Look,” I said, “you guys have been calling the end of the world all summer.”
I didn’t know that we were two months away from customers panicking and withdrawing a collective $17 billion from WaMu before the government could stop them. Nobody on that rooftop knew we were eight months away from the bottom of a long, slow crash, when the worth placed on every financial bet would reach an all-time low and money would screech to a halt. Most of the traders in our little circle would be wiped out, though less in the bread-line kind of way they would all make it seem when they were interviewed by us on the news.
Redface is appropriately miffed at my skepticism, and goes on to explain his reasoning, as though he needs the approval of a 22-year-old intern.
“You know something? You’re a smart kid. I should get your business card,” Redface slurs around a tongue as thick as the curtains inside. Christ, these old men are pathetic.
“I don’t have one yet,” I lie to him. “I’m too new here.”
I sink back into my chair and observe the world swimming around me, the handshakes and the belly laughs at dumb jokes. The crowd starts to thin out as the liquor bottles empty. Burns leans into my shoulder.
“Look behind you,” he whispers loudly.
I turn in my chair. I’m only halfway around when I freeze. It’s the Empire State Building. Its lights are the illumination for this patio.
My eyes are wide, but my back is to the party and anyway, at this point, I don’t care.
“It’s so big,” I say to anyone.
“I know, right?” Burns says.
The reporters and traders are murmuring at each other. We all say words that relate to finance and news, each of us dropping names and citing tangential events, pretending to connect dots. We call this journalism, but it’s dirtier and more human than that: It’s an eagerness to impress. We are all very smart. We are all getting drunk. The sun is going down.
Without looking at him I reach out my glass, he reaches out his, and we clink them together, a toast to the top of the world.
Mah new favorite song