Zoe Dolan

@zoedolan

What I Would Have Missed in April 2018

“Maybe — just maybe — it’s not over yet.”

What’s going on here and where’s the Intro/Table of Contents?

On Sunday, April 22, 2018, I would have missed the most incredible experience of my life.

Of course my main parachute would open up to a line twist on my very first unattached skydive! What I would have missed — though I didn’t even realize it until after I’d landed — is how I went into dealing with that situation in accordance with my training from the day before by spinning myself around and pedaling my legs, and then, once I was straightened out, going straight into a canopy control check. It did not even occur to me that I had a problem — all alone — 5,000 above the ground. What a sense of calm. The other thing I would have missed about that jump — although, again, it didn’t catch up with me, or, rather, I didn’t catch up with it, until later — was the communion I experienced with my instructors and the cameraman. Wow I felt our minds connected as we plummeted at terminal velocity toward the earth. How extraordinary. The closest thing I think I’ve ever known has been working on legal briefs with One Of My First Trial Mentors — shooting drafts back and forth through the ether and then gaping each time I got to see his mind work. And maybe sex. Fuck yeah: I got to fly!

On Monday, April 23, 2018, I would have missed what my first unattached skydive has taught me as the experience settles in: I can do, but am also powerless over, more than I ever imagined.

On Tuesday, April 24, I would have missed feeling the jets of a nice warm spa on the bottom of my feet — and trying to remember what it might be like to be touched by a man.

On Wednesday, April 25, 2018, I would have missed admitting to Mom that I might like to have more of a personal life because maybe this step of verbalization will help me open up to that possibility. I also would have missed going to sleep on the heated marble floor at the spa for an hour after a relatively full day of work in which I got to collaborate with a colleague on trial strategy. Oh, yes — I don’t think I would’ve wanted to leave life without having received the next installment of One Of My First Trial Mentors’ personal writing project — in which he gave my character the very name I had just been thinking, not 36 hours prior to his email, that I really long to have chosen for myself 16 years ago: Willow. (But, then, of course, Zoe had its own moment — when I discovered it means “life” in Greek — and, sure enough, my name has, in the end, led to a life I would not want to have never lived.)

On Thursday, April 26, 2018, I would have missed a soft day. I know you feel me. I also would have missed fucking around and having some fun on Twitter.

But, you know, kinda getting at a point or two, as well.

I would miss expressing myself for realz.

If I had not been here on this earth for Friday, April 27, 2018, I would have missed chatting in Arabic with a group of sexy Qataris at the drop zone and doing exploding fist bumps with one another before we jumped out of an airplane two-and-a-half miles above the ground for my AFF Level 2 skydive. Oh wait — some of it did not happen on this earth. Hoo-rah.

On Saturday, April 28, 2018, I would have missed jumping out of an airplane three times. On the first skydive, I was able to complete four 90-degree turns in sync with the Irish instructor who, when I asked him last week if he’d read James Joyce so that I could make an allusion to snowfall in Dublin, replied that he’d tried starting Ulysses a few times but found Finnegan’s Wake “much more accessible.” He told me I’d done “an almost textbook Level 3” jump and I felt very proud. I spun out of control on my second jump — Level 4 — and took off my sneakers and got ready to leave the drop zone forever. But then Mohammed the Smiling Qatari told me not to give up: when I said that I’d fucked up each portion of the jump (exit, freefall, deployment and landing), he responded that, if I quit then, I’d fuck that part up, too. And so I bandaged up my hand and got on the next available plane and completed the best dive of my course so far. I freefell — stable — for the entire time once my instructor released me. Oh my God did I squeal about that one when I got a flyable canopy overhead. I would miss becoming a new person — more humble, but less afraid.

On Sunday, April 29, 2018, I would have missed a killer orgasm while I was dilating. Of all the personal maintenance pains I could have, I suppose that one is a real boon. Meanwhile, I came to wonder whether the breakthrough I experienced in midair on my second Level 4 attempt comprised a molting of the anhedonia that has held me back from touching life’s pleasures for so long.

On Monday, April 30, 2018, what I probably would have missed more than being upgraded to first class for my flight to New York was realizing that I missed being with people in the main cabin. I do not mean to sound ungrateful but it felt very strange to be waited on while so many others were not — and to lose out on making eye contact with men as I usually do when walking the aisle on my way to the bathroom at the back of the plane for another bottle of water or whatever. I almost hate to say it because recent adventures in Southern California have reminded me how much I love it there — but, if we are being honest, I would have missed my taxi turning onto the crazy and cute East Village block where I have hung onto this little apartment for the past eleven years.

On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, I would have missed looking up at the tree that has bloomed in front of my apartment every spring since I moved in. On my way home from the Baths in the evening, I would have missed all of Tompkins Square Park filled with the aroma of flowers. I stood on a bench and closed my eyes and buried my face in flowers — right after I received a message from the Energetic Young Man I wrote about on July 27, who said Thank you to me because, he explained, he really needed to read something like this project.

On Wednesday, May 2, 2018, I would have missed lying down for a moment in the park on my way home from the gym and looking up at such a blue sky.

And, on my way back from GNC — because it was such a beautiful afternoon that I manufactured an errand to do — I would have missed being startled by a work of graffiti literally glittering on a building wall.

Later on, once again passing through the park — this time on my way home from the Baths following a fancy lawyer event in midtown (where I got to do my post-subway bathroom change into an evening dress and stilettos from yoga pants and 5-toed shoes) — I would have missed one of those warm, incredible New York nights that I love, embroidered with blossoms.

On Thursday, May 3, 2018, I would have missed attending the EDCON (an Ethereum development-focused) conference in Toronto and meeting a bunch of crypto friends from Twitter in person. I also would have introducing myself to one of the Ethereum luminaries I’ve followed from time to time with Hi, I’m Zoe — to which he responded, Dolan?! Whoa. I also would have missed the surprise from having not quite expected such deliciousness from that Indian-Thai dish I had for dinner in an empty side-street basement restaurant. Tastebudtaking (like breathtaking, only for food) should be a word.

On Friday, May 4, 2018, I would have missed watching Love, Simon, and — other than the ubiquity of cell phones — recognizing the same America that I first came out in 25 years ago. Human beings are generally very empathetic and understanding of others — probably far more than we give ourselves credit for. The nostalgia that overcame me strangely resembled sensations I experienced throughout the day at EDCON, as I got to connect with people who share this dream of a slightly improved iteration of the world in Web 3.0. I know that the 1990s were a truly extraordinary moment to come of age in — my God, the Internet was just unfurling — yet I can’t shake the premonition that what’s coming next will blow everything right out of the water. I would miss this horribly pleasurable pang of wishing I were now starting out, so that — as selfish as it sounds — I might have a few more years to see where the world will go.

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, I would have missed a quick dip into the Royal Ontario Museum before watching a demo of the Aragon Project that involved creating a DAO in less than one minute(!) — and then heading back home to New York.

On Sunday, May 6, 2018, I would have missed a whole bunch of things I could write about — sleeping in until after 6:00 a.m., an orgasm, euphoria during dance class, reading all through a cloudy and pensive afternoon, seeing friends at the Baths and trying a new shrimp shumai dish at my fave sushi restaurant afterward — but I think what I really want to re-experience as I write this morning is the look in that Young Programmer’s beautiful brown eyes as I found myself interrupting his questions about my crypto work to say: You know, you are stunningly good-looking, upon which he gazed down at my nipples and then back up again and replied: And you’re very beautiful. Someone had poured water to cool the thermometer a minute or two prior, so steam was billowing all around as we sat there contemplating one another for several seconds before the conversation recommenced.

On Monday, May 7, 2018, I would have missed walking — on my way to and from the subway to visit clients in jail — through the East Village, which — factoring in various stints in Chicago, Guatemala, Egypt, Brooklyn, Harlem, Egypt (again), Syria, Egypt (yet again!), Central California, San Francisco, the Netherlands, Egypt (one more time!), Los Angeles, and tons of other places in between — has been home ever since my first apartment over on 11th between B and C in 1996.

I also would have missed a phone call — replete with a lunch invite — from a man I never would have imagined. You just never know what’s going to happen.

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, I would have missed such a brimming day of work on crypto matters, receiving my fourteenth and fifteenth retainers paid in crypto (within like ten minutes of each other, incidentally), live-tweeting a court hearing on a crypto case over in Brooklyn, and seeing some friends at the Baths. In the sauna, I’d have missed a guy sitting on the floor share with me that, because of something I apparently said a few months ago, he is quitting his job and starting a new endeavor which he is — and his eyes glimmered at this point — very excited about. Also, it was just a flat out beautiful spring day here in New York City.

Yeah so Wednesday, May 9, 2018 omg. I would have missed another full day — and one upon which I felt I was gliding all the while. Not only did I get to work on crypto matters, I also got to walk over the Williamsburg Bridge to and from a meeting! The temperature was in the high 60s, the sun was out, and the air was clear and beautiful over the East River, which sparkled along with the big glass buildings that have transformed the Brooklyn skyline over the decades since I lived there. I earned a little buttload of money and I think I can say I would have missed doing — but only because I enjoyed it — the work. YEAH SO. At the Baths, once again in the sauna, I’d have missed running into the guy who writes for The New Yorker — this is the one from September 11, who remembered something I had apparently said several years ago about New York and LA (“In New York I miss the love but in LA I miss getting fucked.”) — and getting to tell him about the guy on the floor the day before! This synchronicity with the male half of our species spurred me to admit, a few minutes later in the Russian Room (at this point I was chatting with the Tall Guy Getting Divorced) that I’d recently seen the Husband of a High School Friend (okay so now I’m talking about, you know, the crypto budding rock-climbing guy) post a Happy Birthday to his wife (she is, you remember, my friend of so many years, my gosh), whom he cherishes as his “favorite person in the world.” I explained that I was happy for them both — just as I was happy for One of the Loves of My Life back on February 19 because his engagement brought him such joy — but, without diminishing the love I feel for them all, I still wondered why it is that I am not someone’s favorite person in the world. Is the transsexual thing so very, very bad? Am I that repugnant? He proceeded to give me a hug — at which point I began tearing up a little, despite myself — and then he touched me more and more until the experience morphed into a full-blown massage… that ultimately migrated into the steam room as well! I have so missed a man’s hands on my body and the relief and sense of belonging that they bring. I really don’t need much — I think I can live off those fifteen minutes of touch for many, many months.

On Thursday, May 10, 2018, I would have missed walking through the park and — as this project draws to a close in just 11 days (wow that was fast) — suddenly thinking it might be a good time to go swing by my very first apartment in New York over on 11th between B and C, and, on my way, the site of Life Cafe — that now-gone East Village Original restaurant, so appropriately named for this story — where I went for juevos rancheros after I was released from a nightmare week in the hospital. By now you can guess how much I appreciate that, had I not been rescued from that little apartment after taking all those pills that one fateful night, I would have missed the last 23 years of what I can only describe as the most extraordinary dream I could never have imagined.

I sat down on the cub looking up at that window — which I used to gaze out as I wrote stories on my early generation laptop, looking down at the vacant lot across the street that has been occupied by a new housing development for many years now — and cried for quite some time.

On Friday, May 11, 2018, I would have missed a man saying Beautiful! to me as we passed one another on 14th Street. Over in Bushwick — which has changed as much as 14th Street has over the past two-and-a-half-decades — I would have missed being surprised that New York could still surprise me, right when I thought the City I so loved was gone forever.

Last year, I walked out of Ethereal — the summit sponsored by the ConsenSys, a company that does a lot of Ethereum-based work — and spun into a torrent of tears that drove me to call Jimmy and tell him I couldn’t talk to him anymore. A week later — in desperation — I began these daily entries. This year, I walked around Ethereal talking to friends I’ve met in the space about everything that’s happened over the past twelve months. I would miss feeling so lucky to have swum in this wave of sea change — knowing that, although I have no idea whether it’ll crash me into a broken neck underwater or wash me ashore on a tranquil beach, the ride will have been worth risking the unknown. Oh and I almost forgot — I’d have missed my little Twitter following surpass 2,500.

On May 12, 2018, I would have missed treating a couple of blockchain pals who were also at Ethereal — one whom I’ve known for a while and one I had just met — to lunch. Yo we ended up in a hidden-away corner booth of this cool little pub buried deep within Brooklyn. I feel so lucky to be a part of the Revolution — and yet, what I really would have missed was missing the Ethereal afterparty to join a friend of 35 years and his mother for dinner — on a whim — at a restaurant where I’d never been.

On Sunday, May 13, 2018, I would have missed making out with a Former Member of the Egyptian National Kickboxing Team. Earlier in the day, I cried in dance class because there was this guy who was really hot — like, body temperature rising hot — but then halfway through he was joined by a woman I know and so yet again I was left wondering, Why not me? Where did I go wrong? I puttered around in the apartment all afternoon enjoying the rain outside and bingeing on The Newsroom (which inspired me with the theme of people doing what they love and believe in as something that makes the world a better place for the sole reason that they love it and believe it is something that makes the world a better place). In this manner I felt better about my own life choices and where I have ended up even if it’s alone. Of course I couldn’t help but notice the Former Member of the Egyptian National Kickboxing Team at the Baths — he is a broad-shouldered, massive giant at 6’7” — but I did not recognize him until he struck up a conversation in the cold plunge and our interactions four or five or six years ago came trickling — and then flooding — back. Turns out he did not approach me back then because Another Member of the Egyptian National Team was “all over me” — which of course is true and I made out with him, too. But this one has a motorcycle and likes my ass, so there you have it — a 37-year-old hunk towered over me and made me feel good before he didn’t anymore and went home. I would have missed going to sleep thinking, Maybe — just maybe — it’s not over yet.

On Monday, May 14, 2018, I would have missed tears stinging my eyes as I walked through the park on my way to the gym thinking about how much this project — born of desperation, remember — has given me. I also would have missed spending a day engaged with work. As hopeless as going up against The Man always seems, the process nevertheless charges me with the hope that someday, somehow, things might get a little better. At the Coin Center Annual Dinner, I’d have missed hugging so many of the people I’ve gotten to know (virtually) through CryptoTwitter over the past year — and getting to sit at the front and center table — how did that happen?! — for some funny speeches. My God it feels lovely to be a part of a movement that likes to laugh at shit.

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018, I would have missed walking outside into the sun and heat — something I do so love here in New York because it feels relaxing to toss on some flip-flops for a trip to the grocery store — quite unexpectedly. I also would have missed appearing in court and calling out a judge who seems to do whatever law enforcement wants her to, and massaging my thought through some work that reminds me how much I have gotten to learn and do over the last year in crypto. I would have missed meeting a couple more CryptoTwitter folks at the Hilton where Consensus is happening and then walking through a rainy city I adore on my way to the Baths and then eating sushi at my usual spot. Throughout it all, I want to remember, I’d have missed the people I interacted with — for it is those connections, I think, that keep my heart beating.

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, I would have missed another day brimming with people (following a reasonably productive work day, to boot!). I would have missed lunch with a Sexy Crypto Lawyer friend who gave me that special feeling of comfort that wells up when I’m with someone I just like being around even if I don’t know why — and also getting to see criminal defense lawyer friends, some of whom I’ve known for many years now, at this continuing legal education thing we all usually go to every year — and finally a private party hosted by this crypto project I’ve been following over the past year. In the subtly lit, out-of-the-way spot the team unearthed in… the Garment district? (whatever happened to the Garment District, anyway?), I would have missed getting snagged by a Beautiful And Very Tall Young Man whom I met at Ethereal, and sinking into a luscious couch together to talk about the critical moments in our lives when we fell down the Rabbit Hole. Goodness his eyes were entrancing and his lips so perfect and watchable as he spoke and my gaze roved across that faint brown end-of-the-day stubble dusting the flawless peach-white skin taut over his nicely angled chin and jawline. Fuck. Anyway, speaking of the Garment District, on a street in the 30s I’d have missed looking up — I do that more now because of this project — and wondering who on earth goes shopping up here:

On Thursday, May 17, 2018, I would have missed the sheer joy of seeing a legal memo on crypto come together and a breakthrough in a federal appeal that’s been eating at me. No matter what I say, and how I often feel hopeless and fed up, I do so love the majesty of law. I also would have missed the taste of sake kama and a spicy tuna roll at my trusty sushi joint after the Baths — again, what pleasure the taste buds can give!

On Friday, May 18, 2018, I would have missed standing up on behalf of an indigent client to an intellectually dishonest, morally lacking, lazy and cowardly federal judge intent on coddling the government and cleaning up its lies — all while endeavoring to steer the case straight into a conviction. No matter what happens, I will have put up a fight. There is a record of it. I would miss feeling proud of that fact and looking forward to plotting more litigation to advance the client’s interests and protect his rights, and to continue exposing the sham that our system of justice has degraded into. Also, on the way to jail later, I would have missed an extraordinary public art exhibit on Houston Street that made me skip a breath.

On Saturday, May 19, 2018, I would have missed getting to sit in 1A for my flight back to Los Angeles, and, on the runway at JFK, looking out the window to see a moment that captured so precisely how I feel as this project draws to a close.

On Sunday, May 20, 2018, I would have missed flying my first 360-degree turn in freefall and deploying my main canopy at 4,500 feet for the first time — 1,000 feet lower than I have been pulling at until now. And then I would have missed hanging out around the drop zone and talking to people I’ve already gotten to know a little, making new friends all afternoon.

I had big ideas to ensure a bang-up final entry for Monday, May 21, 2018. First I was going to head over to the Middle East so I could spend the day in a place that has meaning me. Then I was thinking I might stay in New York and… do what I ended up writing about on May 10, instead (visiting my former apartment). Then I thought perhaps I’ll have dinner with Jimmy at our vegan spot on Sunset in Echo Park — but he’s on a trip out of the country for a while. So, I scheduled a skydive, hoping to maybe finish up my AFF course on this special anniversary… until cloudy pensive weather kept everyone on the ground. Well. I ended up staying in LA and working quietly from home — in what turned out to be a very full day. And thus things wound to a close in service of others, earning a living, and endeavoring to defend the Constitution of the United States in a federal criminal appeal and further development and adoption and progress in the very space that caught me and rebounded me back into life: crypto.

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On Monday, May 22, 2018, I would have missed the first day of what I would have missed next…

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If this project speaks to you, please feel free to donate in crypto. Thank you for reading.

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