Nu Yawk!

     Okey dokey. I have been trying to stop saying that since I moved to New York 6 years ago, but at this late date I honestly realize that I’m only going to triumph over it when I am thinking about it, when I’m not stressed in the least. Habits are like that, deep furrows in the architecture of the brain, and they leap out when you are pressed. I have been pressed lately– absolutely awed by the incredible opposites of experience that exist in New York.

     I figured out somewhere in May that 2/3 of my patients are freelancers of some sort, and it has affected the way I do everything. Everything being business. Freelance encompasses a whole range of employment– Non-profits, Non-Governmental Organizations,graphic designers, journeyman, and people who are doing the hard work for companies— employed for years but with no job security. I have had to decide thoroughly what my policies are for cancellations in all its forms. Usually, a 24 hour policy works… but… does that apply if the person is cancelling because they have to stay at work (trying to stave off layoff), or if they get work for the first time in weeks, or if a project runs overtime?  I have been evaluating this on a case-by-case basis– no one gets off it they overslept, but it has still required more phone calling and texting (by far) than I am comfortable with. Also, every week, 2 or 3 people lose their jobs. It is hard for me to see them traumatized with repetitive thoughts and insomnia. I feel such love for them. I am the one who says, “You did everything right”, because they did, and the irresponsibility of a chosen few brought our whole economy down. I have a friend from Iceland, where the renagade investment bankers were called “The New Vikings”, who has lost absolutely everything because the banks are now insolvent. I don’t know what to say.

     So, I work. I use this medicine. Sometimes it is to fill in the holes, and sometimes it is to bolster the Qi. For people who like that kind of thing, I talk about how acupuncture can lower stress hormones, and I name them. It is wierd to walk home from work because there are movies filming all over my neighborhood–truly, it feels like I’m in walking in some other sundown reality. They act like it is sacred, people with clipboards wanting you to walk on the other side of the street—- and I absolutely agree creativity is important. But it is so removed from what is happening all around me. There is even a movie filming beneath my apartment. It involves a lot of wailing, but I don’t know what is is about. My neighbor apologized, but he had to rent out the space because he doesn’t have work, and they pay well to use it (no companies want to rent my apartment because we only have a futon).

 Tonight, a free movie on the waterfront that everyone was looking forward to was cancelled, because (I heard) President Obama was passing through on the East River. I watched everyone walk by the clinic, and everyone walk home, bummed out. I want Obama to be safe, truly, but I was going to go to the movie when I closed today, too.

   The best advice I’ve heard yet, is “invest in your neighborhood”. Since I posted about bee-keeping, I’ve discovered that 3 other people near me are keeping bees on their rooftops, and I was so happy to hear that. I may just break the law to save the bees. I am more active in my community garden this year than ever before, and I will have vegetables (and pesto!) to can in the fall. 

    I saw 20 patients today, not including 2 soon-to-be babies, so I can say WorkSong is solvent. But I feel much like when I first read about the Iran-Contra (problem? issue? scandal?) in Hustler magazine years ago— Is this right? Is this America? Are things going to be okay?-

Please forgive me if this comes out a bit incoherent. I thought about it for days, couldn’t figure out what to say, and the “Nu Yawk!” title only occured to me because someone pooped on the doorstep of the clinic a few weeks ago. That is not an allusion to something, but what actually happened. It was yucky, but I figure, things are tough all over.

Isobeau Trybula
Author: Isobeau Trybula

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  1. aren’t you in fort greene, bklyn?

    hi fellow brooklynite!  you too might start calling youself one instead of “nu yawk”er once you’ve lived here a few more years 😉  (yup, i’m an urban provencial for sure.)

    it’s interesting hearing about your folks.  i’m getting ready to work community-style in my home in september and doing housecalls in the meantime for lack of space, but the people i’m treating are dealing with the same circumstances.  i’ve got two folks no longer able to afford their meds and dealing with a lot of anxiety and physical pain.

    i’ve also been excited about the bees!  (though i don’t have a rooftop i can use legally.)  there are community groups that hook up people interested in beekeeping with folks with roof / garden space.  i’m also wondering if once beekeeping becomes legal we might be able to have hives in some community gardens 🙂 

    do you know these folks?

    i find that nyc in general is such an intense living experience for people that didn’t grow up here, even someone like you who’s been here for years already.  and the filming thing is so much a part of the way the city is commodified for mass consumption in a way that never completely and truly represents it. i find that it promotes disasscociation sometimes.  weird shit.

    speaking of which, i’m sorry about the shit on your doorstep – that’s an unusual and disturbing thing (in nyc, too!)

    i’m glad your people have you in these rough times.  much support & good energy to you all *

    “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” – June Jordan

  2. Hi Isobeau


    sorry you had to contend with poop in your doorstep, nevertheless, it gave me a good laugh, a nice way to start a friday!  

     And I thought about the folks coming for tx’s who are losing their jobs, its so easy to get caught up in thinking, why aren’t people coming to MY clinic, I must not be doing a good enough job, or MY place isn’t on the right street, or I don’t have a fancy sign.  Thanks for the reality check.  

    I feel really grateful to be working every week, growing, helping a few folks feel better, working really hard sometimes, and long hours, and feeling tired, but having flexible time, and deep relaxation, outside of the rat race that work can be for a lot of people.  

    I think about my dad now and then, when he was alive, he had a home business, he was a watch maker.  Sometimes, I feel a bit fearful that I’m turning out like him in that, he lived from day to day, and didn’t plan very well for the future.  

    Since leaving my 9 to 5 job 8 years ago, I’ve been basically a lot happier but I have yet to provide for myself the kind of benefits package I left behind, that represented security.  I have learned to be braver, live more simply, feel more grateful, etc.  But providing for myself by buying insurance, tucking away for retirement, etc, eats at me constantly, as a thing that I’ve fallen short of succeeding in doing.  

    Just to get the time to do the research is a challenge, let alone to spend the money.  I’d love to hear how other self employed acupuncture folk are taking care of these matters for themselves…  

  3. sorry to be so grouchy…

    about Obama’s visit cancelling the movie. He gave a tremendously inspiring speech at the NAACP, thanking all those who came before, and making everyone teary. I was generally exhausted, which is when I act like a heel.

    Bonny, I’m not yet flush with retirement planning, and it causes me anxiety. I want to do all this business stuff right, but I come from people who have really struggled, so I don’t have much of an idea of where to begin. I walked to work a few days ago thinking, “Now, exactly what would an accountant do for me?” I know I need to find people who can help me do these things, but I’m scared. I’ve spent years trying to get good at acupuncture, filling my head entirely with that, and before CA I really never thought of owning a business. I really thought that someone else would understand what a great idea CA was, and I’d just work for them. But I didn’t want to wait that long. If schools have a failing, it’s that they present it as all you have to do is graduate, and all the other things will magically take care of themselves. I guess they might if you started working for the school, but that represents about 4 jobs…. No one even helps with the whole rigamarole of applying for a license.Hmm, I guess I’m still a little grouchy, but I hope I didn’t sound flippant that WorkSong is doing well. I’m so grateful, I’m having a party for our patients tomorrow. We’re getting a deep-fried cajun turkey!

  4. hey anytime you need a break

    hey anytime you need a break from the “City”craziness, come on up to the Adirondacks for a weekend-Less movie crews, more mountains!  That goes for all you City-ites…