New York City, the super-awesome city, sometimes has some really sucky moments. An old girlfriend of mine was convinced that she and I would get out of the city one day and live a happy life in the country. Well I don’t see her anymore, but chances are it probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway. I love this city too much to leave it. But there are just some things about this place that anger me to no end.
When I was in high school, I used to frequent St. Marks Place on a regular basis. I used to buy records at Sounds, shop at St. Marks Comics, stare at all the bongs in the numerous headshops, stare at all the cool toys in Love Saves The Day (the coolest place in St. Marks) and take in the culture that hung out there, the graffiti, the people with purple hair, the things that made St. Marks what it was. There was an underground sensibility to it.
Then I shipped off to college and I went less and less. For the first time in a while I had traveled back there (I had gone to visit one of those many headshops I stood outside of as a kid) and I almost had a heart attack at what I saw. It was a commercial wasteland. The Starbucks had always been there, but the whole scene just gave off a completely different vibe. It sickened me to see all the chik specialty shops that sprouted there. It was tantamount to having your favorite band, the one whose career you had followed since the beginning, premiering a music video on MTV.
In the movie "Clerks", there is a scene the two main characters Dante Hicks and Randal Graves are talking about how much they hate their jobs. “This job would be great” says Graves, the paragon of all things slacker, “if it wasn’t for the customers”. That statement, with all its poignancy, pretty much describes my sentiments about how I feel about the people in this city. Not to offend my fellow BrooWaha New York readers and writers, but the people in this city really piss me off. And they’re one of the things I hate most about this city.
At the risk of coming off like a bigoted prick, I’m going to list off the various things that people in this city do that really get under my skin. And let me say, that by no means am I not guilty of doing these things myself, it sometimes takes a hypocrite to notice all the hypocrisy. And with that, let’s begin.
Starting off lightly, you know what people kind of bother me, the folks that bring their laptops with them to Starbucks, so everyone can watch them working. You can tell that these folks are doing it purposely, because they have a tendency to sit right next to the window so that passers by could see them and go “Wow, that hip cat is drinking coffee while typing on their MacBook. They must really be important.” I can’t say that I hate these people, it just sort of irks me. Whatever, they’re not that much of a nuisance. However there is another group of freaks who really get on my nerves.
People who text in the street. You can’t fine one street in the city without seeing one of these jackoffs walking around with their so called “smartphones” buried in their face as they walk around the streets as if the email they are responding to is more important than say, watching where they’re going. It’s gotten so bad that laws have had to have been passed to ban the act of texting while crossing the street. Some moron gets plowed by a car because they were too busy typing to look both ways before crossing the street, to this I say good. One less idiot I have to potentially wait in line behind. One less jackass breathing my air. Some buffoon hits a kid because he was texting while driving? They should be stoned in public. What really chaffs me about these goons is their sense of self importance. It happens to me at least 3 times a week. I’ll be walking on the sidewalk behind some jerk in a black business suit who naturally, is making out with his little hand held device, when all of a sudden he just stops walking, thereby disrupting the flow pf pedestrian traffic and causing my blood pressure to rise a few points. Much of my angst towards people is derived from the self indulgence of my fellow citizens.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was riding the uptown 1 train, headed towards Riverdale to pick up some…supplies. The train stopped at 86th street and kept going. A young woman came into the car from another car. She looked very young, and she was one of this wonderful city’s many homeless individuals. “Umm excuse me,” she addressed the passengers in a voice similar to that of a timid child, “my name is Meredith and I don’t have a home. I’m not really sure how I got to where I am right now, but I really need your help.” Not one person even raised their head to look at her. She was invisible, just another straggler looking for a break. At this point Meredith is crying and in between her sobs, you can just barely make out the words “Someone? Anyone?”. She repeated this a few more times before resigning and moving to another car. As she walked by me she looked me in the eyes and part of me died. I gave her five dollars and asked her if she smoked cigarettes
“I used to, but I haven’t really had the chance to buy any.” She rolled her eyes.
“Oh, right.” I said.
We both laughed a little, and I gave her the pack of cigarettes which contained three. It was only when I had gotten home later that day that I realized that she probably didn’t have a lighter and I felt like a schmuck.
People who ride the subways regularly are used to seeing the so called homeless. They’re the ones who claim that their house caught fire, and now they and their two kids (aged 7 and 11) are now out on the streets. Usually the ages of their children change several times throughout the telling of their sad tale. Now they may be telling the truth, but the fact that they fudge the facts up to their own story up really plants the seeds of doubt (I mean how does one start off with four kids in the beginning, and then end the story with two?). They are the ones who create a stereotype of homeless people in our subconscious. And this is why when a girl like Meredith boards the train and asks us for our help, that everybody raises the volumes on their iPods. This is why when there is a old man in a wheelchair rolling from car to car with a huge undressed open sore the size of a baseball on his foot, everyone stares at the floor. “It’s a strange world.” Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, “Some people get rich, and others eat shit and die.”
In order to not end this article on such a down note, here’s one more thing that peeves me. I use North Fork Bank to hold my money. They seem to have a branch pretty much everywhere in the city. But for some reason, whenever I need one, they are never there. What’s up with that NFB?