By Gabby Noone.
I’ve been awake for like 20 minutes, but I don’t want to get up. Homer Simpson saying, “I’m just a big toasty cinnamon bun, I never want to leave this bed!” keeps replaying in my head. I pull the comforter from over my head and look out the window to see it’s dark and rainy outside. I think about how my bedding is starting to get on my nerves. It’s very Target’s version of Anthropologie. I have a floral comforter and blanket and polka dot sheets. Everything is very much my taste when I was 17, but now I’m 21 and a little less into looking like a human vintage scrapbook so, in a weird way, I kinda feel like I’m wearing clothes that don’t quite suit me anymore every time I go to bed. I still live in a dorm and move to a new room every year, so it doesn’t feel worth it to spend money on new bed stuff until I graduate and hopefully get to sleep in something bigger than a twin-size bed.
I am still in bed. I wonder why I’m so tired today because I didn’t even go out last night, then I remember, Oh, right it’s because I stayed up until 3 AM looking at mini backpacks online and didn’t even find one that met my budget and style standards.
I finally pull myself out of bed because I need to be ready to leave by noon to meet up with Brittany. Yesterday, I was talking to her and complained about how I was going to keep this journal today, yet had nothing exciting planned. It’s spring break, so a lot of my friends have gone home and I don’t have my usual massive amount of school work to tackle. She asks me if I wanted to come with her to the Kings Plaza mall, situated at the very edge of Brooklyn, because she got a gift card for a store that is only located there. I told her yes because malls are where I thrive, plus I like suburban Brooklyn a lot but don’t really ever have any reasons to go there. It reminds me a lot of Northeast Philly near where I grew up and that’s comforting to me.
After I do all the boring logistical parts of getting ready (washing my face, brushing my teeth, etc.), I put some water in my electric kettle to make coffee. Brittany mentioned something about us getting crepes before going to the mall, but I feel too hungry to wait, so I make breakfast. I don’t understand people who skip breakfast. Hunger pains wake me up everyday. Breakfast is honestly my favorite part of the day and what I think about the most, so the following portion of my journal will be extremely long-winded and a bit unnecessary.
I really want to be end up as one of those extremely old women who attributes their lifespan to avoiding men and eating the same simple thing, like one hard boiled egg or plain oats, for breakfast every day. I’ve been eating basically the same thing for breakfast most days for the last year, but it doesn’t sound as cool. I have plain yogurt, some sort of whole grain flaky cereal, frozen mixed berries, and a drizzle of honey. For awhile it was plain 0% greek yogurt, which is like the Rolls Royce of yogurts if you ask me, but I realized it costs so much more per ounce than regular yogurt. As an incentive for myself, I decided I can only again buy it once I’ve achieved a major milestone in my life, like written a book or something. So today I’m eating full-fat plain yogurt topped with Ezekiel cereal, which is so good because it’s all the crunch of granola without the cloying sweetness and its made of sprouted grains that are very good for you. I’m thankful to last night me, who remembered to pour some frozen berries into a jar and put it in the fridge so they’d defrost overnight. The worst is when I forget to do that, because then I have to microwave the berries and then tiny blueberries and raspberries start to get hot while meanwhile a hunk of strawberry remains frozen. Then it makes my yogurt warm, and warm yogurt is terrifying.
Once the water boils, I round up the parts of my Aeropress from the dish rack, put it together, and add a scoop of coffee to it. I pour the water in, stir it up, then press down. As I make the coffee, “Animal” by Maroon 5 starts inexplicably playing in my head and I’m mad about it. I’ve never willingly listened to this song. I hate Adam Levine and I think he sounds like Nigel Thornberry, of the Nickelodeon cartoon The Wild Thornberries, when he sings. The Aeropress is kinda labor intensive, so I feel a bit like an old timey woman churning butter or something everytime I make coffee. But it’s such an affordable mechanism and makes the best tasting coffee and just enough for one person! Big Keurig is lying to us all. I wish more people knew about Aeropresses. I only found out about it via a Yahoo answers page when I Googled “best way to make coffee for one without Keurig.”
I add some So Delicious brand hazelnut flavored coconut milk creamer to my coffee. It’s like healthy-ish Coffee Mate. This is my favorite way to drink coffee. Regular milk and coffee grosses me out. Don’t bother with the original or french vanilla varieties of So Delicious, they’re gross. I probably shouldn’t say that because it seems like half the time I go to buy it, hazelnut is sold out but the two lousy flavors are fully stocked.
I carefully carry my breakfast bounty (my coffee mug and a glass of water in my hands, the bowl of yogurt wedged in my elbow) to my room. I eat breakfast at my desk as I start to get ready. I can’t get ready without TV playing in the background, but I try to avoid watching new shows because I’m too distracted and want to give them the attention they deserve. I used to get up early before elementary school and haul my clothes and hair supplies to the living room, so I could watch reruns of A Different World and The Nanny. Lately, I’m into watching YouTube beauty tutorials and hauls or cooking shows. Today I watch an old episode of Nigella Feasts called “Breakfast All Hours.” Nigella Lawson is my favorite cooking personality. She’s so honest and funny and seriously knows what she’s talking about. I love Martha Stewart and Ina Garten, but they cannot hang. Like, I feel like if I talked to them about subjects other than cooking, they’d be kinda humorless and probably say something super offensive.
I put on my makeup, which is the fun part of getting ready. I rarely have a no makeup day, even when I’m not going anywhere, just because I love the feeling of brushing foundation on my face and carefully applying eyeliner. I’ve recently been trying out bronzer to contour my cheekbones and I’m not sure if it looks great or like I’ve got dirt smudged on my cheeks but so far no one has said it looks weird so I’m sticking with it.
I get up and microwave my coffee. In the thirty seconds it heats up, I run my eyebrow brush under the kitchen faucets and dip it into my brow powder. It works so much better when its wet.
As I flat-iron my hair, my roommate Allegra rolls over in her bed and asks me if I’m still going to the mall.
“You should wear a tiara to the mall so you can be Princess of The Mall,” she suggests and then pulls her comforter over her head.
I still need to put on real clothes, but I get distracted by looking at pictures of Pamela Anderson walking a red carpet with her 18-year-old son. The website keeps emphasizing that he’s 18 and I wonder if the person who wrote it had a hard time grappling with their attraction to him.
I know it’ll take me an hour to get to Ditmas Park, where Brittany lives, so I text her as I walk to the train and say I’ll probably be there more like 1:10, rather than 1 which we agreed on earlier. In reality, I know it’ll be more like 1:20. I don’t know why I lie to myself about this.
The 1 trains is so crowded today and smells distinctly of spit. I get off at 96th st and transfer to the 3.
I transfer to the Q at Times Square. Even though it’s a pain, whenever I transfer at Times Square I think about how child me would be so jazzed that I’m basically living the plot of Muppets in Manhattan all the time. I text Brittany to tell her I’m running late while I wait for the train, emphasizing my guilt with a hands over eyes monkey emoji. But she assures me she has all afternoon free.
While I wait for Brittany outside of Dunkin Donuts at Newkirk Plaza, a woman with her two granddaughters yells, “Now, look at this lady’s coat! That’s a nice coat!” Then I realize she is talking about me, wow! She asks me what my leopard coat is made of and I tell her it’s fake. She tells me to have a good weekend. Women who compliment one another in public are so important. Brittany arrives a moment later and she too is wearing a leopard coat!
We go the crepe restaurant and its basically empty. I order a ratatouille-filled crepe, but I’m told they’re out of ratatouille, so I get order one with mozzarella, tomato, and basil instead. I also get a coffee, but then regret it because as usual it’s not as good my coffee with hazelnut creamer at home. I think they used smoked mozzarella in the crepe, which is nice, but the whole thing has a weird oily quality that isn’t sitting right with me.
We stop into a bodega to buy water bottles before we walk to the bus because the crepes made us super thirsty. As we walk, Brittany and I discuss how we would like to meet Justin Bieber in a casual non-professional setting one day and how we’re super confident this will happen.
The bus that was supposed to take us all the way to Kings Plaza stops, like, 10 minutes short of it. So we get on another bus. I’m kinda nervous my Metrocard will run out on the way home and I will become a Bus Diva trying to rifle coins out of my purse.
Finally we are the mall! The smell of Cinnabon envelops us upon arrival. This mall reminds me a lot of Roosevelt Mall in Philly, in that it has Macy’s and a bunch of stores that sell wholesale clubwear. We go into Rainbow and are awestruck by a full sweatsuit set made entirely of lace.
At Forever 21, I contemplate buying a white pleather backpack, but decide against it because it’s bigger than I’d like. Why are backpacks wreaking so much havoc in my life?
We take a variety of photos in the store, including one of a sweatshirt that reads “PUPPIES LOVE ME” that we send to our friend Estelle, because puppies love her. Brittany takes a mirror pic of us in our matching coats and I’ve got to say, my cheekbones look phenomenal. The bronzer is working!
We’re lured into a store called “2 Cute,” but its contents are deeply depressing and we’re realize we, in fact, are too cute for 2 Cute.
We go into Spencer’s, the stoner novelty gift cousin of Hot Topic. I was deeply terrified of Spencer’s as a child and honestly I still feel terrified of it. While looking at the wall of novelty shot glasses, I see one that is a mini coffee mug that says “Turn Down For What” and joke to Brittany that I should get it to drink espresso out of. We then admire the wall of novelty flasks and discover that you can buy mini flasks devised as TAMPONS. We seriously contemplate buying them but decide against it. Finally, the wall of bachelorette party merchandise is incredibly vast. You can purchase penis shaped candles, necklaces, cake pans, tiaras, and breath mints, among other things. It almost makes up for the t-shirt they’re selling that reads, “Cool Story Now Make Me A Sandwich Bitch.”
At Icing, we notice a small poster with a black and white picture of Marilyn Monroe with a quote that reads, “I don’t want to make money, I just want to be wonderful” and could not disagree more.
Our last stop is at Bath & Body Works. Since I can’t go away for spring break, I inhale various candles and body sprays that aim to smell like vacation destinations and tropical fruity drinks. I notice they’re selling a bunch of plastic hand sanitizer holders, meant to be used on a key ring. I seriously wonder who uses them and ponder buying a bedazzled pink one.
Before we go, Brittany buys some cinnamon sugar pretzel bites at Auntie Anne’s. I notice they now have mini pretzel dogs and really want one, but my weird crepe is not sitting well in my stomach so I don’t want to eat. I buy a waterbottle at a newsstand before we catch the bus back.
I buy a ginger honey tea at a deli before I get on the Q train back to Manhattan, hoping it will settle my stomach. I’m spending more cash than usual on beverages today.
Two bros get on the Q at the Atlantic Avenue stop, holding Target bags full of fruit snacks. I wonder if they’re, like, camp counselors or something. Maybe they’re making fruit snack flavored vodka. Who knows.
As I get on the 1 train at Times Square, I notice two women who have the decorative Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer holders attached to their bags! Maybe this is like when you learn a new word and suddenly see it everywhere.
I find out the uptown 1 trains are going express from 96th st, so it will skip my stop. It’s stopped raining, so instead of taking the train uptown and getting on a downtown train, I’ll walk. I decide to call my mom and talk as I walk. I tell her about my day and she informs me she saw FAME in 1980 at the movie theatre at Kings Plaza when she’d gone to visit her cousins in Brooklyn and the mall was really in its prime.
Allegra and I were planning on getting dinner. She suggests we get Indian food, but I feel a little uneasy still from the weird crepe. I take two charcoal pills. I feel like I should eat something fibrous and neutral to soak up the weird greasiness. I make a piece of peanut butter Ezekiel toast and eat an apple. Such a sad dinner, but I feel better afterwards.
We’re sitting in the kitchen on our computers and Allegra looks up to ask what I’m doing. I shamefully tell her I’m looking at mini backpacks on ASOS. I show her a picture of a pink leather one I’m considered and we debate how it’d look with my various coats.
I decide to watch We Are The Best! on Netflix. It’s not intentional, but somehow most of my favorite movies are about girls in bands, so I think I’ll really like it.
In the middle of the movie, Allegra interrupts me to say we should go buy ice cream and I agree. I’m feeling a lot better now and want to make up for my sad dinner. I noticed Ben & Jerry’s were buy one get one free at Rite Aid this week when I was there the other day. That is an amazing deal, so we walk to Rite Aid. I realize how my day of loitering in a mall and Rite Aid is basically the agenda of a suburban teen and feel a bit concerned.
Ben & Jerry’s don’t have the buy one, get one sign next to them anymore, but we decide to check anyways. We get Milk & Cookies and Half Baked. They sound similar, but you have to take into account that one variety features baked cookies and other includes dough. Two very different textural experiences.
At the checkout, the cashier tells us they’re still buy one, get one. We are so thrilled by this success. I tell Allegra she should pay for them because she borrowed $2 from me the other day, but then I feel a little bad about it.
I change into my pajamas and finish watching the movie while I eat my ice cream. I laugh out loud so much. It’s probably the best movie I’ve seen in months.
I dance alone to Top 40 music in my room for about an hour. I am an amazing dancer when I’m alone. I’d release my incredible routines to the general public but I don’t know if they’re ready.
I get ready for bed. I poke at a blackhead on my chin with my pointer finger and it makes my artificial nail fall off! This is a good reminder that I should not pick at my face. I crawl into bed and doze off while the light is still on because my roommate is still awake.
Gabby Noone is a writer and student living in New York.