Help I’m Alive

It’s been a wizz- bang bling-o-rama couple of days out here! New York is treating me like italian mafia princess high royalty, and spewing her toxic jewels right into my lap. And I’m loving every minute of it.

victoy smile, after my first successful solo trip on the subway.
victoy smile, after my first successful solo trip on the subway.

Even though they were on my Monday/Tuesday list of things to do, I stiill haven’t hit the Met or the MOMA. Mainly because it would involve leaving the house before 4:00 PM, and I just can’t with that. It’s the heat. The smells. It’s too much in the direct light of lunch time. I’m sure I’m missing amazing shit. Classical pieces I’ll never see anywhere else. Things that would wow and inspire. And I’m sure I’m missing also some awesome lunch time sandwich experiences.  But the thought of waking before noon to go to a museum and then sweating  into a greasy sandwich and eating my own sweat only to sweat it out again, but  with pastrami fumes added. Nope. No can do.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been spending my days laying mostly inert on Sam’s couch while he’s at work, because even the act of sitting up causes my glasses to steam up. So, I lounge. Read. Listen to noises outside. Drag my oily bones to get a bagel. And then, at aout 4:00 PM, I psyche myself up for another foray into the Manhattan wilderness.

On Tuesday evening, I met Messy to walk the High-Line–an old railroad track converted into a walking trail through  the lower West Side of Manhattan. A fantastic mixture of old redbrick (I’m nuts about redbrick and brown stone) buildings, and new construction–mixed with overgrown weeds and flowers and railroad skeletons. While I was there, I experienced my VERY FIRST NEW YORK MUGGING while soaking my feet in a  strange puddle. This evil little muppet tried to jack one of my Gizehs

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Which leads me to a few points: First of all, while out here,  I’ve witnessed virtually ZERO crime, muggings, shivvings, or even rageful Danny DeVito characters shaking their fists at eachother yelling “Move outta my way already, dickweed!”  I haven’t had one person be rude to me–in fact, everyone I’ve encountered has been friendly and helpful. While I’m grateful for kindness, I also feel a little let down. Where are these rude new yorkers I always hear about? Are they somewhere with the rude French people (who I never found while in France, years ago)? Also, why have I not seen ANY rats? I mean, the garbage is piled in the streets, like an all you can eat buffet. WHERE ARE THE RATS.

I plied Messy with some questions: “Messy–I’ve heard about how unsafe and violent it is here, and so far, I’ve felt completely at ease (minus the freaking out over poop graffiti). What gives?”

“New York is actually really safe,” she says. “The majority of the violence that happens here is cops beating up on black people.” I then  remembered our arrival to Coney Island on the 4th, and seeing entire military squadrons of cops standing around the party-goers, most of whom were not white and all of whom appeared to be just having a good time and wanting to eat hotdogs on the beach like everyone else. Sigh.

the high-line
the high-line

Anyway, after the High-line I met Sam for dinner. We had some time to kill before our comedy show, so we sat

down by the Hudson River waterfront, where all the romantic gays were sprawled out on the grass. I made a mental note to one day return to this scene with some sort of romantic person of my own–because even though it’s smelly and hot and loud, New York is one of the most romantic places I’ve been to. Complex, challenging, humerous,  full of surprises–in a sense, my ideal lover.

the view from the hudson river
the view from the hudson river

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We finished the evening at the Upright Citizens Brigade and saw some okay stand-up.

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Yesterday, I went to Washington Square park and sat around the big fountain watching people splashing around. I did not participate–mostly because I was worried about getting a fungal rot of some sort and I’m already nursing some open blister wounds.   North Oakland has turned me into a pansy, I guess. The Bay Area in general, though it’s also dirty compared to Seattle, or Minneapolis for instance) , is home to many nervous helicopter parents who follow their kids around with an arenal of bleachy wipes. (this according to my friends Bill and Kelly who have two toddlers they let muck about in filth while other parents look on in n horror). Still, I appreciate the fact that nobody seems to care they live in a huge garbage dump–maybe everyone here is part toxic-avenger.

After the fountain, I decided to hit Greenwich Village via Bleecker street. In my olden days of beatnickobsession, I remember Bleecker to be an often referenced street, so I hoped to see something of those old days. Some book stores, or old motherfuckers scribbling in notebooks. Unfortunately, it was just a buncha stuck-up botiques.  Having safely identified the restaurant I was to meet Sam and Messy at, I decided just to get myself lost on purpose and take some side streets  And that’s when my freaky deja vus kicked in. Everything along these side streets seemed eerily familiar. Though it was hot, I got a chill. My hair stood on end. At some point, a woman standing in a store front said “Would you like a lotion sample?” “sure,” I said. And guess what the lotion was? I shit you not!

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The feeling was so strong I had to find a place to sit down for a bit. I found a coffee shop with air conditioning and collected myself. The song in the coffee shop was Metric’s “Help I’m Alive” which was playing on repeat. Man. What the hell is dejas vus, anyway? I mean, isn’t every dense city sort of similar to another one? Had I seen these streets in a movie, or was I truly experiencing a supernatural event? I’ll never know.

After a Thai dinner, the three of us headed over to the Gotham Comedy club to see some more cheap standup–most of which was unfortunately men who’s schtick consisted of sexually harassing very young women sitting in the front rows. (“Are your nipples pierced? Are they like, more sensitive now?” etc etc. I guess being on stage gives you an open invitation to objectivy who’s ever around.) After the first two comedians the host said “You may have seen this guy playing around town…give it up for LOUIS CK!!!”

What the….Surely this is a joke??? But no. IT REALLY WAS LOUIS CK!! Literally 50 feet from me. He was doing a set of some new jokes he’s trying out, and brought his notebook. Some of it was good, some was not so good, but fucking A man. LOUIS CK. After his set, I went to the bathrooms and on my way out, I saw him standing up against the bar, alone, drinking a beer. For a split second he MADE EYE CONTACT WITH ME. I feel like the comedy gods just jizzed a rainbow on my face.

Special times, people!

More fun to come.

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One thought on “Help I’m Alive

  1. You’re thinking about NY during Mayor Koch days. When I was a kid, you couldn’t walk 2 blocks without seeing a syringe or a rat. Back in the day we had garbage strikes and black outs, the Summer of Sam and plenty of Central Park muggings. We also had unprecedented creativity and community. Those were the good old days.

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