Friday, October 12, 2012


It's dawning on me that this new practice is more pressure than the Never Done project was, because I didn't have to enjoy all the new things I was doing—I just needed to have never done them before. It's sobering to discover how few things actually bring me joy, and how hard it is to work one of them into a day. I have discovered that something might bring me joy (reading a great novel) but not if I'm reading it on a crowded subway. Still, I do read great novels on crowded subways, because it makes the crowded subway ride better, but it doesn't bring it up to the level of joy. So then that means that the whole point of the practice is to get away from the crowded subways (and my desk and other responsibilities) long enough to do something in a place that I do enjoy.

I didn't do a great job of it yesterday, but here's what I did do. I had a bunch of postcards for my new social justice Jewish performance festival I needed to bring around to synagogues, but also had a lot of work to do at my desk, so I kept putting it off, which really means I kept doing other work that also needed to get done. Then something very frustrating happened, and I decided to go take those cards around. The first drop was successful, but the second (and as it turned out, third and fourth) turned out to be unnecessary. Someone else had already done it, but hadn't told me.

As I was went along 67th Street, I was thinking if there was a way to turn this work walk into a pure selfish joy walk. I went past Lincoln Center, and saw an ad for their behind-the-scenes series of Broadway-bound musicals, and remembered that I have been meaning, for literally 5 years, to subscribe to Encores! at City Center. I stopped by the box office to subscribe about a month ago, and they told me I had to call—but then I got too busy with moving and the rest of life to do it. But the poster reminded me, and so I picked up the phone and called while I walked.

The end of the story is that I finally got my own tickets to a series that always makes me happy. I love love love love love love love old musicals, and there are tons of them I don't know, and I love love love love love love it that Encores! puts forgotten shows back up on stage. I mean, I didn't even know there was a Superman musical! Most of the time when I go to see an Encores! production, I am shocked that I recognize so many songs, when I didn't think I knew anything about the show. It's surprising how many wonderful songs come from forgotten musicals.

So the end of the story is that I finally got my own tickets to a series that always makes me happy. Getting there wasn't so sweet. The guy on the phone made it a point to tell me that 1) there are people who have been subscribing for 30 years who have better seats than I will, and 2) they will have seniority over me when they want to get new seats, and 3) it's good that I'm subscribing now because in 30 years, I might have a chance to get a slightly better seat.  Oh, New York. Only you can suck while being great, and talk about how much you suck while being great, and simultaneously try to convince people that if they just stick around 30 more years, and if they're lucky, you might not suck quite so much. But we put up with you because you're so great, right? I mean, you're really so great! I mean, you keep telling us how great you are, so you must be SO GREAT!


  1. 1) we should go to Marie's Crisis sometime.
    2) From a cheesy article in Whole Living magazine "Psychiatrist John Sharp, who specializes in treating addiction and attention deficit disorder, among other psychiatric conditions, believes that novelty seeking offers a way to stay actively engaged with life over the long haul. 'Happiness isn't being cheerful all the time,' he says. 'It's being interested in things -- finding out more about something, learning how to appreciate something better, incorporating something new that fits in with what you already have.'

    1. So did you just happen to be flipping through Whole Living, or did you google how to be happy?

      Marie's Crisis! I've never been!