The signs of aging

One day you’re happily playing in the sandbox, and then the next you get called out as being outside a target demographic.. I guess this is what aging is all about.

Enjoying the freedom of a car in suburban America, I once again decided to celebrate consumerism at the mall by buying some more stuff I don’t need. In my desperate search for white jeans, I ventured into American Eagle, as I was hoping for a store where winter has not completely set in yet. And here I must note that I really cannot understand why the styles in the stores switch so much from August to September. It’s not like there’s any winter in Austin except for one cold week in February which is in like 5 months from now. Oh well.

As I was saying, I went to AE, and asked the sales guy for advice on which size I should get since I normally don’t shop there (soon, we will know why…).  “Do your sizes generally run bigger or smaller than average?” innocently asked him this little girl. And then came the answer I was definitely not ready for: “Well, our target demographic is normally teenage girls from 12 to 19, and thus our clothes are catered towards that body type” (i.e. clearly not you, said his scornful gaze).  “This should fit, but might be too snug for you”. I really wanted to give him a piece of my mind at that point, but I figured I should hold off because he won’t get it in any case. Anyways, the stupid jeans fit just fine, and when I tried another shirt whose size was Small, it was huge on me. Take that!!  I wanted to go back to that guy and tell him that he is right in that I don’t fit in his target demographic sizes. Clearly, that is because teenage girls are f— F-A-T.

Then, when I was at Teavana, the sales guy there recommended me some tea, one of whose merits was that it’s great for kids since it’s caffeine-free. And I don’t think he was referring to me.

The chain of the above events made me reassess my own demographic classification. I went on to buy some clip-on earrings and signed up for a cooking class at Williams Sonoma. The results of which will be reported in the future.. something to look forward to.

At any rate, today was a great day that happily commenced at a new coffee shop I’ve discovered (Opa!) where I enjoyed some real (!!!) coffee and live music a-la the Band Perry.

In the Big House

On my one day trip to Houston to visit the Brazilian consulate, I also met a good friend from college days, who recently got married and moved to a new house. The house was just beautiful, and about 20 times bigger than any pathetic little apartment I had ever had in New York. I had forgotten about the living opportunities Texas suburbia can offer to people of my age and income level. It lets them be adults and have appropriate space to store and accumulate more possessions. I loved the house, and especially the huge kitchen (I have a thing for kitchens, despite hardly ever cooking) but it mostly made me feel claustrophobic, funny enough. I got used to minimizing the amount of stuff I have, optimizing usage of little closet areas, stacking things up as much as possible, throwing away half of what I have, every time I moved.  Imagining having a house like this made me anxious. What would I do with all this space? The space was closing on me..

I don’t think I could handle it. I will have to change so many behavior patterns. Having to drive everywhere made me so tired in the past few days – I completely forgot about my life being this way. I think I will stick to big cities and crappy apartments, at least of a while.


On the way back from Houston, I saw maybe 100 BBQ houses. I guess it’s a Texas thing 🙂 Going to take coastal (East & West) visitors to one of those today. I also decided to be adventurous and stop at a random small town truck stop for a snack break. A watery coffee and a donut later, I am happy to report that I am still alive.

Contemplative Sunday

I remember back when I used to work (yes, this was such a  long time ago), the worst time of the week was not Monday morning or Wednesday afternoon, but Sunday evening. Those were the times when I would sit there and think  about the tough week awaiting ahead for me, brood over my self-perceived problems and bathe in self-pity (this Adele who I recently discovered can provide a good background music for this mood). Now, that I am a free spirit, Sunday  night is actually great because it is full of anticipation towards a lively week , full of changes and new opportunities that cannot arise during the week.  A new appreciation has been gained towards Sunday nights. At least for the meantime.

A few days ago, the AC in my house broke down. With 36C or 98F in the shade, this sure was not fun. I lay there half dead on the couch, watching the dog in liquid state half dead on the floor, worrying about the technician dying outside while fixing the thing when I really started to miss NYC. True, the heat on the subway platform kills, everywhere is crowded and dirty but at least one has so many great places to escape the craziness and enjoy the amazing summer. I started fantasizing about a perfect day in the city.

My day in NYC

I would wake up in the morning (not too early, of course). Walk to Aroma Espresso Bar on 72nd and Amsterdam for a great brunch of eggs, vegetables and their amazing bread. Then I would walk through the park, not missing the Sheep Meadow and maybe walk by one of the lakes, perhaps stop over to take some pictures or read my book. Then I would take the train to Prince Street and roam around Soho. Then drift to Thompson and go to Hiroko’s Place which I discovered last summer when all my other favorite coffee shops in the area closed down all of the sudden.  I took a real liking to this place as I went there just a couple of months after visiting Tokyo which I absolutely loved. The waiters at Hiroko’s are Japanese, dressed in chic-schoolgirl style. They even greet you with a “irashaimase” when you enter the place. Most of the customers are normally authentic Japanese as well. I don’t know if they might be tourists. The menu is kind of strange for me at least, as they serve proper food and The bookshelf at the cafe is full of Japanese magazines I obviously cannot understand. All and all – I look like I don’t fit in at all at this place and this is part of what makes it cool. I can pretend I am in Japan while I am sitting on a little white couch and reading my book in the heart of Soho.

The selection of great coffee shops is one of the things I miss the most about NYC lifestyle.

So after spending a couple of hours at Hiroko’s, I would meet a friend and we’ll go roam around some more, maybe window shopping, maybe visit some street market. The evening will commence with a dinner at one of my favorite places such as Twelve Chairs or Gigino’s in Tribeca. Or  maybe we will go to a concert, an off- Broadway show, Night at the Museum and finish with some great Salsa vibe at Oliva’s in Lower East Side.

Oh my lovely Manhattan, how I miss thou!!

p.s. this post has been written after a prolonged exposure to Starbucks coffee and should be read keeping in mind the resulting relative instability of the writer.