You spend the early years of your life trying to experience shit, man. Doing anything and everything, drinking, drugging, talking to any one that will listen and listening to any one that will talk. All so your brain will be stuffed with enough interesting stuff so you can...
Spend the rest of your life home alone writing.
And, should you be successful enough to achieve that lifestyle, you'll soon be unfit for society.
I haven't regularly had to deal with a rush hour in forever. Gosh, I forgot how stressful it is. I'm used to riding trains in the middle of the day, late at night, perhaps on weekends. But those rare times I have an early meeting, or decide to head to happy hour during evening rush hour, I'm blown away by the crowd. I'm used to riding trains when the cars are empty, when I can sit, but now I'm sardined in, getting pinballed around. It's fucking miserable. I'm no longer tough enough to handle it. I'm sweating, grumpy businessmen are yelling at me, shoving me out of the way, cursing my name. No wonder everyone is already bushed by the time they arrive at work. It's almost enough to make me become--gasp!--an old fart bus rider. Life moves a little slower on the city bus and, sadly, a slower pace is all I can handle at the moment.
Nowadays, when I emerge from a subway in midtown during the middle of the day, I feel like fucking Fievel Mousekowitz, looking around and up in awe if not shock. Where did these giant buildings come from?! Why are these people walking so fast? Why is that taxi cab honking at me?! I shrink to the corner of a building, trying to hide, scared to death. Just a few years ago, I was an asshole, fit and able to deal with the daily onslaught of midtown New York. But now, after being away from it for so long, I've become a fucking rube. The only person in midtown not wearing a suit, not rushing around, not stressed. Oh wait, I am stressed, but not by the daily grind of work, but by that scary guy selling pashminas. Why did he yell at me??? Where do you want me to be walking?!?!
He yelled at me cause I look like a goddamn tourist. I'm wearing an ill-fitting t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, carrying a shoulder bag. My hair is shaggy and unkempt. I clearly don't have a job in midtown. It's hard to believe I even live in this city. I'm looking around confused, trying to figure out east from west. I'm dressed so poorly I must be a tourist. I need to ask directions. I'm so out of it I actually ask a tourist for directions myself. Luckily, he's been vacationing long enough to help me. Pathetic. Soon enough I'll be shopping at the M&M store.
I met a friend for lunch in midtown and as we were walking along 47th looking for a place to grab a bite, I kept turning his choices down: "Too busy...no, too busy...oh, I don't want to wait in that line." I had totally forgotten--EVERY lunch place in New York is jam-packed between 11:30 and 2. Of course you have to wait in a snaking line or else starve. How did I used to deal with this?! Now I just make a sandwich at home or, sadly, snack all day. But, back out in the real world, I was looking up at the sandwich menu like a rube, trying to figure out what I wanted, asking unnecessary questions (is the bread freshly baked?), every busy businessman behind me grumbling, yelling at my back, blowing by me to bark their usual orders ("#2, Sun Chips, Diet Coke!"), while I'm still trying to figure out who to order from, the only bozo in the entire deli with no desk to hurry back to.
BAD WEATHER AVOIDANCE
"Ya say it thunder-snow-icaned today? Wow, totally missed that."
"HOW?! Did you even leave the house today???"
This conversation happens far more often than I'd like. When you write, when you're self-employed, home-officed, you can avoid the bad weather. Unless I have a meeting, or I feel like jogging outside, there's not much reason to leave the house during the daylight hours. And, if I dare hear any precipitation plinking off the AC window unit, there's not a chance I'm gonna venture outside. Probably not a chance I'll even put on shoes for the day. I only know if bad weather happened if it was bad enough to become a trending topic on Twitter. (follow me on Twitter) And friends no doubt hate me for that. I hate myself for that. Dealing with bad weather and having the stories to tell about it is part of being a New Yorker.
Speaking of news, I too only know of it if it gets mentioned on Twitter or Facebook (though the only "news" on there is which one of my former high school classmates' little children took a big-girl shit this morning). I'm not really talking to people during the day, so there's no water cooler to gossip at, no place to "Did you hear about?!" current events, no location to discuss the zeitgeist. I really have no idea what people are watching on TV any more, what current events they care about, what's even going on in the world, if not my own city any more.
I'm not even sure why I live in New York nowadays.
I'm not even sure why I'm allowed to write about "society."
I'm now barely a part of it.
And you hate me for that.
I hate myself for that.
What's going on in the world?