Neptune + Trenton x Love

Went to Asbury Park last night with Christina, to meet Kim, who would be joined by Mary, to see Jungwoong and Germain perform for Victoria, who works in DC but lives in Neptune, and was introduced to me by Kim when asked if I knew any interesting Asian American experimental performance artists.

Christina and I left Philadelphia at 4pm to beat traffic, which along with the weather, cooperated sublimely. We arrived quite early and ended up at a low rooftop bar. I was blown away somewhat, at the levels of Summer Beach Jersey Tan Tattoo Looks surrounding us. The pour on my drink was so astonishingly deep that Christina ordered it on her second round except her pour wasn’t quite as deep, prompting her to say “apparently they don’t like me as much as you.”

We ordered some snacks, all vegetarian. This is a growing trait amidst my peers, and I’m learning to read the room. Our hot waiter brings us napkins and forks. Mary opens hers and gleefully laughs. Inside the fold is a pink Post-It note that reads:

I <3 You

Christina and I are followed home after the performance by an outrageously beautiful moon. We talk about work, and essentially about love. I know how ridiculously corny this is going to sound but we actually talked about how important it is to express love in the workplace. We talked about love as the sound of laughter in an office. The love we need to share with peers and our artists, the kind we deserve to mete more generously with hardened colleagues, the kind of love that keeps each of us tethered to the rhythm of life. Unselfish love. The kind that never divides, but multiplies. We also talked about the dangers of love. I shared the story of an old colleague from a design agency who worked 10-14 hour days alongside the executive creative director, as his number 2. After a decade of burnout levels of work, she fell in love with the ECD, convinced herself they were in a relationship one day, and then suddenly went into a mild psychosis, losing weight, behaving maniacally, and culminating in a nervous breakdown that ended her career at the agency.

We pass through Trenton on 195 and are blasted with the brightest red neon sign, with the dimensions of dystopian propaganda.


Christina says “whoa! OK Trenton. We see you.” I say that the sign has strong ex-girlfriend energy. We laugh and fake an intervention dialogue for our girlfriend, Trenton. Are you OK? You know, maybe you shouldn’t respond to his texts anymore. Here, wipe off your mascara. Poor Trenton. I hope she gets over him.

Someone should connect the Post-It to the Neon.