Jane T. writes:
I find a door in my apartment that leads to a new wing of my very expensive, very small Manhattan apartment. Suddenly, my expensive apartment is a total steal, quite large, and big enough to actually stay forever, whereas currently we joke about eventually putting a baby in a closet.
Now that Ask Polly has moved from The Awl to The Cut, I guess I’ve started reading The Cut.
Which is how I found out that there’s a man on Craigslist selling one ticket to Lena Dunham’s October 21 book reading at the Brooklyn Academy of Music… for $900.
Let’s back that up. Lena Dunham’s book Not That Kind of A Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” releases on September 30. The book tour—which The Cut described as “sort of a combination Q&A, concert, and episode of Girls“—is essentially sold out. As Gawker notes, there is “a thriving market for Dunham tickets across the country,” including this gentleman who is selling his $38 ticket to Dunham’s NYC performance for the hoped-for price of $900.
It gets better.
My family has many unwritten rules. The second most important is: do not open the door if the doorbell rings only once. In our family, if the doorbell only rings once, you were either a salesperson or a canvasser. And salespersons and canvassers are liars and thieves.
My mother came to this conclusion shortly after she first immigrated to Canada; two scam artists pretending to work for the government tried to enter our home. Looking back, this is probably why I couldn’t make it as a (sort of) con artist, selling chocolates on the mean streets of southwestern Ontario. READ MORE
I have a checking account with Simple, and now that we’ve combined finances it is my “fun money” account. My tagline for them is basically, “Simple: not as bad as most banks, but still a bank, ok?”
We haven’t had much room in our budget for fun recently, so when I got stuck in an insane loop trying to link our main, Chase account to my Simple account (“No accounts linked.” “That account has already been linked.”) I gave up.
I could send money TO Chase but I couldn’t send money FROM Chase to Simple. She can reach me, but I can’t get to her.
So of course instead of calling some damned Chase representative to resolve this, whenever we’ve had some extra money, I just write myself a check and deposit it in my Simple account using my phone. It worked fine. READ MORE
Chiara Atik has written a very convincing ode to cool women who who eschew smart phones. They flirt without emojis and move about the world without announcing their place in it or taking photos of particularly apt graffiti.
A flip phone represents the ultimate luxury: inaccessibility. The most alluring thing about people with flip phones is the vote of confidence they are giving themselves (and their social lives) by not giving people a 24/7 way to reach them, across multiple platforms. It’s like they have an innate trust that the people who really want to talk to them will seek them out, will still want to talk to them three hours after sending an email. They can go off the radar without worrying that people will forget about them while they’re gone. And by not tweeting, Facebooking, and Foursquaring their whereabouts, they’re leaving their everyday lives open to interpretation. As if at any given moment, they’re probably doing something much cooler than we are.
By the end of this essay I was almost ready to throw my phone in the nearest sewer. I say almost because I spent the past weekend with my flip phone-carrying mother, who recently walked into a river with her iPhone in her pocket on a camping trip. Um, do you guys remember what texting with a flip phone is like — hitting every number button like 3x to get the letter you want? Tiny screen? No photos? READ MORE
Around these parts, we like to poke fun sometimes at prestigious prizes that come with very little money attached. Because, like, thanks for that Pulitzer but I still gotta eat, you know? Maybe Pawn Stars will give me something for it. Gee, a Fields Medal, huh? Greaaaat. If only I could afford childcare so I could get back to the lab.
The MacArthur Foundation understands. Its “genius grants,” which it gives out once a year, are actual, substantial, maybe life-changing amounts of money ($625,000!). Best of all, they are a SURPRISE. No one applies to be a genius. They work hard and do their thing and get by and then one day someone shows up with a giant check.
Pamela Long, 71, an independent scholar based in Washington, works from home and almost never answers her phone. So when she received an e-mail from the MacArthur Foundation asking her to call, she thought it was for an interview about someone else who had been nominated. Then she was told she had won. In the days that followed, her initial reaction — shock — slowly gave way to relief.
As a historian not affiliated with a university, she never knows how she will afford to do her work — research on the science and technology of 15th- and 16th-century Europe — from year to year. So far she has supported herself through grants. “But I don’t think you can get a grant every year for the rest of your entire life,” she said on a video call from Rome, where she is studying archival material for a book tentatively titled “Engineering the Eternal City.”
* Thanks for that, Bec
Turns out, people were ready for this jelly. “All the Single Ladies” sold out! My co-producer Calamity Chang and I didn’t just break even—we made some money, too. At the end of the night, I video-chatted with my boyfriend in LA to show him my wig and makeup, gently made it rain in my living room, and stumbled into bed. Within 24 hours, I was thinking the same thing I do when I turn in a piece of writing: “That was fun. Glad it’s over. What’s next?”
Even on the cab ride to the show, I worried we might have 15 people in the audience. I’d received some random emails from strangers Saturday afternoon inquiring about advance tickets and seating. Still, you never know. I maintain that NYC is the flake capital of the world, and many of my friends didn’t show up for various reasons. I’d have been pissed if all these awesome strangers hadn’t come to the rescue. I don’t know how they found out about Beylesque, though some people mentioned The Billfold and one person follows my pet tortoise on Instagram. At some point in the evening, I realized that we’d run out of chairs and a few guys were standing. One friend did a headcount of 78 people! The venue’s capacity is technically 75, but no matter. Calamity and I were over the moon. READ MORE