Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I'm a 27 year old journalist and I live in the East Village. I've lived here since September of '99 after going to college in North Carolina. I grew up in Alabama.
Three For Thee
1. What's the best and worst part of being Elizabeth Spiers?
The best part: My first name is "Mary" but I go by my middle name and my last name is (apparently) unpronounceable. So when telemarketers call and ask for "Mary Spears", I know to tell them that she recently died in an unfortunate incident involving two elephants and a hand grenade.
The worst part: the stress of having to manage the enormous sums of money I make as a freelance journalist. I mean, seriously--these publications are all like, "we'll pay you $10 a word. We insist!" and I'm all, "No, really, I can't. I have far too much money already and it would force Goldman Sachs' private client services group to upgrade their systems (again!) just to accomodate the extra zeroes in my account balance line." I had to fire my yacht captain for the second time this month--can you believe it?
2. You spent much of your life in the culture-poor, NASCAR-rich states of Alabama and North Carolina. Did you ever go to Talladega to watch some four-wide action or summer at the Gulf Coast's "Alabamptons"?
I spent my summers with the family in pre-MTV Spring Break Panama City, Florida. "(Take me down to) Panama City, where the overfried sea bass is all you can eat and every strip bar sits next to a Christian retreat." I spent winters on church trips in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (home of Dolly Parton's amusement park, "Dollywood.")
3. You're a first year law student picked to be on a reputable writer's legal defense team in his case against the State of New York for jury tampering charges. What line of defense would you advise to your professor/head lawyer for the client? And would you sleep with him (yes, the professor) for an 'A'?
In this case, I'd advise my client to plead insanity, because as they say, the truth is the best defense. If you look at my college transcripts you'll notice that getting A's in classes wasn't much of a priority for me. But I do have a weakness for older men. (Oh hell, I'd have probably slept with him, regardless.)
What's your New York motto?
"New York is really just temporary for me. I feel like I'll only be here another year or so. No, really. I mean it this time. I'm serious."
Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if you're that type.
I got yelled at by Bill O'Reilly at a party for Peter Jennings a few months ago. I don't remember what I said to provoke the yelling, but I got the distinct feeling that I was, for once, using my powers for good instead of evil.
Describe that low, low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
You say that like there was only one. Until fairly recently, I'd been having that moment at least twice a week for the last three or four years. (It comes with the freelancing territory.) Those moments typically involved ramen dinners, tear stained bank statements, and the creation of monumental amounts of bad short fiction.
What's the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
I have a t-shirt somewhere that says "Duke University, Class of 1999" and I think it cost me approximately $120,000.
Where do you summer?
Well, last summer I spent the weekends in front of my laptop building pro-forma models for startups. It was very exciting. Sometimes I even got to use an aggressive discount rate. These people who go to the beach or some fucking ski resort for vacation? I don't know what they're thinking! Sure, a day of fun in the sun is nice, but there's nothing more exhilarating than getting that Excel macro just right...
What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
I ran into a palm tree while drunk-driving a Segway. No, wait. That was Miami. I'm sorry--all these non-New York places sort of run together.
Of all the movies made about (or highly associated with) New York, what role would you have liked to be cast in?
I would have liked to have been Marshall McLuhan playing Marshall McLuhan in "Annie Hall."
If you could change one thing about New York, what would it be?
I'd physically move it a few latitudes south. Adjacent to Cuba, perhaps.
Photo credit: Uncle Grambo of Whatevs.org