It Was Cold
A bitter winter chill has set over the city. Ephemeral flecks of white obscure an already cloudy sky, completing the white-washing of everything under it. If I didn’t already have reason to bury myself under layers of clothing, multiple blankets, in a sub-zero bedroom poorly situated rearward, flanked by nothing but houses, ill-equipped to fend off the brutal winds, I do now. Have I been hibernating these first months of winter? Maybe it’s not so much an abeyance from social interaction, but a period of gestation. I’m the grubby, little caterpillar (not without his charm) cocooned, who’ll realize his technicolor glory come spring.
That was a satisfying stretching of the proverbial limbs. I’ve been haunting pool halls, rapping to barmaids, and finding kinky, innovative ways of keeping warm. Loosely translated, it means I’ve been staying local, as in my hood. This is an incredibly odd and novel circumstance. From as far back as I could remember, as soon as I was able to ride the trains, I’ve spent my time downtown. That to me and those of my ilk was what we considered “going out.” Staying local didn’t count for anything more than a consolation prize to not being able to rally the boys, girls, and booze to do the night properly. Since I found no sense of adventure in my local area, I couldn’t understand how others could find this elusive fun in their own backyards.
Maybe this has something to do with the neighborhood you’re from. Ethnic enclaves tend to offer little by way of vegetarian alternatives to the red meat staples (I’m not a vegetarian. It is just a metaphor). Irregardless, I could never interpret the idea of staying in walking distance as a real “plan for the night.” Until now that is.
Looking back it all makes sense. The countless nights when I couldn’t get a ride back into Queens spent on cold, above-ground platforms, trying to sink as far into myself as possible to conserve heat or the three-hour waits on desolate underground stations, occupied by no one other than myself and the colorful night crew of the MTA, who were busy hosing off the shit/piss/puke/trash/giz, all that for what? I can almost hear Lee Ving caterwauling, “I Love Living in the City.”
Staying local sounds pretty fucking good given the dreaded construction that the trains have been undergoing on weekends since god knows when. Besides, there are some definite perks to being close to home. It’s nice to not have to worry about passing out on the train and waking up on the same train only a few stops from where you got on (it’s happened more times than I care to admit). You also get to know some of the familiar faces around the neighborhood, which is the least you can do, considering you’ve lived there your whole life. I could go on but I won’t. What for? What am I trying to say?
Harangue, I say! Seethe! Rage against the dyi..n…g….of………….th.e……eh..
What the fuck am I saying!? This is New York Waste, Carajo! And it always will be…a waste, the city I mean, at least in spirit. Come to papa, roll up your sleeve and show me the tracks on your arms. I can still see the traces of dollar peep-shows on 14th St. behind Giuliani’s facelift. You haven’t changed where it counts. You’ve just been caked with poorly manufactured make-up and mummified in name brand clothing. Sure they’ve turned your bits into PG-13 family fun, but it’s not the end of our fun. Our separation could never be permanent. We’ve just needed time to get our heads on straight. Adapting is the key to survival for me, the city, and debauchery.
I’m going for a smoke on the balcony/fire escape.
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