Death. It’s finally arrived and it’s dripping, no sliding off my bedroom walls and there’s nothing I can do but shut my eyes and pretend that ultimately it’s all a state of mind. But that of course is easier said and done.
It’s a quarter past 4 in the morning and I resolve that today and probably for the balance of the week, my life, nay, my existence has been forever inexplicably changed. To be sure the air conditioner refuses to work, so I have been forced to use a whinny white fan that has the capacity to spin at ferocious speeds. But to be honest, all it is doing is spinning lots of hot air against the sallow bedsheets. Such as you must appreciate is my lot. Or perhaps our collective lot.
For the 20 odd years I have called NYC home, July and August have been the most dreaded and arduous months of the year. But I could also say that about January, February, March and half of April. Which barely leaves a New Yorker half the year to enjoy their city. But that is the secret and allure of NYC. It’s a city of extremities. A city of full of rich benefactors, a city full of penniless artists migrants trying to make it. A city full of all the most interesting people in the world and sometimes the most damn loneliest city in the world. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise any of us it’s also a city with some of the bitterest coldest weather and of course like now the most tawdry hot weather imaginable. But that my dears has always been the way the pendulum works in a place like the North East United States.
I get out of the bed, no need for clothes, the sweat dripping off my body doesn’t care for them. Reach for some cigarettes (as if this will remedy the existential woe) and realize that I have run out. Put on my bedroom slippers, a maniacal colored shirt and some ripped shorts and head out to the desolate beat outside by bedroom awning.
And yet I am not the only one. Outside the kids are hustling in topless silhouettes, chain smoking, regaling tales and sipping frosty sodas from the bootleg deli that I am currently heading to.
What the hell. Give me a beer and a pack of smokes. And there I am sitting on some sidewalk slinking the beer (yes, I know I am one day going to get a ticket for being such an ostentatious prick) watching the world go by.
The shirtless crack dealer hustling, the hos drifting past me and the young sorority girls returning boozed up back to their one shot deal apartments of making it in NYC.
The air itself a stench of a bitch. Infused with cat urine, the street’s litter and the deep sigh of chagrined souls who are just looking for a moment’s respite. But this is our lot. It’s what we have to work against or with.
I finally rise and begin the dreary shuffle in my bedroom slippers back to my sweltering apartment. And as I do I look at the kids who you would never imagine playing out this late at night and think to myself- how ironic that what we can’t stand about this city, it’s limitations, is sometimes what inspires us to death defying feats. And now I finally toss the beer bottle onto the sidewalk, smashing it into a million pieces- my solitary act of defiance at a world that will remain defiant at no matter what we may think or feel towards it. So much for getting any more sleep tonight…