Thursday, March 31, 2011

Leonia, NJ

        I like it here. I'm not used to suburbs for miles, but this is a unique place. 52% of Leonia and the neighboring town, Palisades Park, is Korean. I'm right next to a cemetery and just down the road is a strip of restaurants and shops. I can walk to Hannam, the Korean grocery store chain, yet they don't carry all of those silly American basics like peanut butter. I'm also only a walk away from a park on the Hudson and the George Washington Bridge to get into NYC.
        The house is really comfortable. I get to stay upstairs in the man cave with Eliott and Maxwell where writing finds itself all over the walls, and the downstairs is mostly for the folks, Miles and Marisa, so it has that family feel along with a clean kitchen. The upstairs living room is a dark royal blue and houses a magenta couch. Mambo runs around on the carpet, nibbling at areas where something may have spilled in the past.
        Max has been looking for a job too. He picked up a gig flyering houses for a couple weeks, so I go along some days (17 cents a flyer!). It's quite relaxing going for daily strolls in new towns around Jersey. I get to see everything from the Mont Clair mansions to the sketchy areas of Bloomfield. Sure, I may be pestering people with nonsense advertisements and wasting resources since they will only throw them away, but it's been sunny lately, so I just try to look on the bright side.
        I met Kenneth through Facebook, and he lives in Morris County. Over the weekend he brought me on a couple hikes. Silly me was unaware that parts of New Jersey have mountains and resemble upstate New York. That's what happens when the television shows Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Jerseylicious inform viewers about a state. Incidentally, Kenneth does pools and fireplaces and lives near the town of the housewives. He took me on a tour to see mansions much bigger than those of Mont Claire. I was aghast.
        I've decided to bake. I picked up some supplies at Hannam and learned about the oven the hard way. I burnt the bottoms of my first batch of cookies. Live and learn. I made my favorite blueberry muffins from my mom's recipe. Not the same. I'll have to add something extra.
        I like that I will be here for a while. I get to learn new social dynamics that mirror other situations, but now I have lots of time to navigate them. I like that I can start anew - a new town and new people that judge me mostly on who I am at the present, rather than any stories or experiences from the past.
        I'm looking for a server position, or perhaps I'll go out on a limb and get a job in the education industry. There are some jobs on craigslist for assistants at nursery schools. I do get a kick out of being around toddlers. Maybe the senior center down the road needs extra help. The elderly are always fun too. Whatever it is, I've realized waking up to an alarm is detrimental to my dreaming. No 9-5 for me.
        While I was staying at Acorn Community last summer, I was exposed to people who practice polyamory and a workshop discussing the whole situation. It seems so formal when I say that, but it is actually a very informal notion - the basic idea of having multiple romantic relationships, either juxtaposed or mixed. It's as simple as enjoying the company around you rather than focusing one's mind on only one person, even when he or she is not around. I thought, well, it sounds great, but not for me. I'm a one man kind of gal. Good thing things change. Now I'm basically in an open relationship - that's if I want to put a label on it. All that nasty jealousy stuff that normally happens in relationships is *poof* gone. I can be my fun, flirty self, without worry, and still come home to a bed and person to snuggle with. Or maybe I'll snuggle with someone else. Or maybe all together. Or maybe I'll sleep on the couch with only Mambo to keep me company because someone I'm not attracted to is taking my place in bed. That does sound a little dreary, but it's not like I wouldn't normally sleep alone. I've done it plenty of times, so what makes a few nights any different? Or maybe if I get lonely, I can see if Max wants to have a slumber party. It's all about enjoying people in the best way, with love.
        Ollie is a character. He does guitar and drums. He said he can teach me. He also has an adorable daughter named Chloe. He's got that loud, in-charge thing going on. He smiles a lot, which makes me smile. He can sing. I can sing. It's a fun situation. Miles and him have some bad blood, so he can't hang here, but he's a walk away, through the graveyard.
        Bobby's cool. He talks to Mambo like she's a baby. I'm glad most people enjoy Mambo's company. He also plays guitar. He comes over every once in a while for some good philosophical conversations. I get to listen and maybe chime in every once in a while with my usual, "Wait, this doesn't matter and is all metaphor anyways." Then El reassures me that it's all just for fun.
        Alex is lovely. She's originally from California and studying at culinary school over here. She works with El at the book store, and we get together every now and then. I like being surrounded by all these kind people.
        El held his first philosterbation last week. Massaging the mind with language. We went to a small venue, and with about ten other people, flirted with culture, beliefs, identity, etc. Finally we got tired of talking and tried some remote viewing. I still have to practice.
        Pig roast this weekend. El's gonna DJ with some j-pop. Dance for Japan. Surf the tsunami. Get nuclear wasted.
        I'm 18. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. Sometimes, that little voice inside my head talks about productivity and asks if I'm reflecting that. But who says I have to? I am surviving. I have great people around me. I'm discovering new things everyday. El says my presence is calming. For now, that will be my contribution to society. Lazy for not going to college? Whatever you want to call it, it feels good.


  1. I agree with EL... your presence is calming.

  2. NJ does get a lot of flak and usually when people think of Jersey it's involving the shore, Atlantic City, all the diners, and the smell. Not many realize that the state is home to 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

  3. Here is an interesting essay by Aldous Huxley mentioning "Complex Marriage":

  4. you have yer whole life in fron f you. love yourself and have fun. i wish i had learned to waitress as a young person.

  5. why the fuck do you have a blog?! are you so self-centered that even when you're not doing anything important that you have to share even that with everyone? Get off your high horse and grow up. stop pretending like you are championing some cause, because you're not. You're just doing whatever you can to avoid being an adult.

  6. Dear Erica The Explorer,

    I was just exposed to your graduation speech. Your blog is now in my bookmarks.

    It appears that the commenter before me is envious of your lifestyle and has some sort of view of an adult that probably includes bars, shackles and guards.

    You have broken free from the prison most people put themselves in. Growing up is often referred to as if one has to put their dream aside and dawn stripped clothing and accept a prison cell. Don't do it! I didn't and I won't. I'm 49, married, 3 kids. I still get yelled at for not taking the "Drone Road". Sometimes its harder but its a whole lot more fun!

    Just reading your stories and your perspective makes me think that maybe you value your youth and yourself enough not to prostitute it for a quick trip to some people's perverted paradigm of "adulthood".

    I'm just happy that I found your speech. I'm going to shove it at every educator that I can (...and thats a bunch!)

    Good luck! Be safe! God Bless!

  7. It appears that the commentor before me is just as delusional as Erica. My view of being an adult is not a stupid methaphor for prison, it actually involves going to college and double majoring in political science and public justice so that I may one day make a true change in the world, which is exactly what I'm doing. On a side note, Erica's speech was nothing short of a greivous insult to myself and the others that sufferred through it and more proof that she is a pontificating attention whore.

  8. "On a side note, Erica's speech was nothing short of a greivous insult to myself and the others that sufferred through it and more proof that she is a pontificating attention whore."

    Double major in public justice and political science? Wow! And you have the audacity to call Erica an attention whore? Oh, no, you're right. You'll just become a burnt out, corrupt relic by the time you're my age and screw every single constituent or client that you represent. ...and probably call it "social justice" or hide it behind some other bleeding liberal term. You make me puke.

    No one made you "suffer through it". You are doing it for profit. Oh, yeah, you may have high hopes now but when you realize its all for naught you will become bitter that you can't leave it all behind because by the time you realize you've let the system send you down the wrong path you will be too entrenched to leave. Your anger will then turn to corruption as you screw a sheople populace attempting to FORCE them to follow moronic paths such as yourself. You'll make it difficult to be an Erica The Explorer. You'll try to form society into something that requires the hell you've put yourself through. I've met people like you. I know how they think and I don't like it.

    Get over yourself.

    ...and alternatively, screw you. In 6 months a handful of manure will be worth more than both of your degrees. YOU are wasting your time. You are wasting your life being spoon fed information when you could actually be out learning about life. You are not criticizing Erica because you think she's an attention whole. No! You're insanely jealous. HAHAHAHAHA! The rest of us laugh at you.

    Don't you have studying to do? You chose your path. She's choosing hers. Go study while she learns. See ya. My life, 30 years ago was more like Erica's, though I didn't travel.

    I waited until later to go to school. The system tried to shove me here and shove me there. I would have none of it. Now I make 70K a year and I absolutely love what I do. Had I let the system choose for me, my life would have been mediocre at best. Now, instead, I've got a two year tech degree and I outperform, out think and out do nearly every person I have ever met in the field. In my opinion, because of the constraints of their brainwashing, they're still learning to walk while I'm running. In fact, I see a big education as a big ball and chain to drag around. If thats what you want, good luck. Just don't expect the rest of us to want it and don't try and make the world so you have to have extended indoctrination center stays like yours to make a living.

    Get a life, don't let the system feed it to you.

  9. I think everyone should wait tables at some point in is an experience that will help you grow and learn. It's been 13 years since I worked as a waitress. I will never, ever forget it....ever.

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  10. wow, who ever wrote that really long comment needs to grow up. You're having an argument over the internet, telling your entire life story to some kid who probably doesn't give two shits. I can tell just from reading that comment that you are clearly more childish than that other person.

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