Visit New York City
It’s another day and I’m in New York City for work. This place is the type of shithole that would frustrate me into an early grave granted I couldn’t find the words to describe it. A small job contract led me here, not desire. Looking out the window of this cafe makes me nauseous. The entire city makes me nauseous. I can feel my skin crawling with the germs of not just any kind of people, but New Yorkers — a special level of bad. I space out. Thrown into my own head, I’m searching for anything else to feel.
I’d like to live in the 1990s. Not the actual 1990s, but the one that my generation and others have made up. We imagined this version of it, so heavily romanticized for decades in conversation and movies; music and art. Many of us were born just short of experiencing it, and because of that, we rebuilt it in our heads forever onwards. Capitalism was a friend, Kurt Cobain fueled already mounting angst among high school kids, and the racial divide just didn’t seem to exist. Honestly, I don’t give a shit about that last part. Whether or not any of what! said is true is irrelevant, because it’s our vision, and so it becomes true. It’s our recollection of “back then,” and you couldn’t change it even if you tried. People do try, all the time. Bitter children of the true 90s always twitching to correct the vision, like schoolmarms or war veterans or something. They never win. Our vision, not theirs.
We’ll push on, tying flannels around our waists, ripping holes into pairs of ill-fitting jeans. We’ll knock things down in the mall and listen to the new Smashing Pumpkins record in someone’s father’s car. Our parents will shoot us looks of disgust when we come home for dinner, smelling faintly of cigarettes and fast food. We’ll sleep like angels to the sound of leaves blowing down crimefree suburban streets. There’s nothing that can touch us; we live our lives like an old Disney Channel movie. Not even Columbine could happen here. We’ll make out in public parks, steal some candy bars, and run like someone actually cares. We’ll skate past the girls tanning on the beach. Our hair styled perfectly by saltwater and sun. Blonde and brown bangs in our eyes. Bodies chiseled from marble, a result of paddling out into head-high waves and pushing steel around after school. Sun children with sun skin from sun worship, skin dear from the same. It’s like this forever because those visions replay forever. It’s like this for as long as we want this. Forever.
Well graduate high school, go to university, and marry super pretty girls. We’ll try drugs, and experience those Lifetime movie hardships. Some of us won’t stop trying drugs and die in gas stations like pathetic deadbeats. Those people simply dissolve from the vision. The rest of us die of old age, some with grandchildren who ask us about what the 1990s were like. Some with grandchildren that know we’re excited to tell them.
There was a time when me and all my friends lived in something like this. It wasn’t too close, but just close enough to where our minds could fill any blanks. That romanticized surrogate world would leak dreamily into the real. The result was wholesome, something I think back on whenever reminded. I feel bad for people who didn’t walk away with the same feeling, the same kind of memories, the same sense of nothing left undone. Especially since it’s not particularly hard to have achieved.
Someone I must have met before walks into the cafe I’m daydreaming in. I say this because she keeps glancing at me with what I perceive as hopeful eyes. She’s made a gesture towards me that I haven’t yet accepted, and so she floats in that sea of uncomfortable doubt. Everyone around her watches. I put my glasses on, realizing now that I do actually know her. I wave back to signal her over.
Her name is Dolores and I’ve always wondered why she didn’t use Dorothy, a much prettier name, instead. She sits across from me and I push down the screen of my computer to see her better. She smiles, asks me why I’m in the city with a gentle, interested tone. She has a voice that doesn’t belong to New York City because when she speaks, you aren’t suddenly coated in poison acid. You don’t flinch and dodge reptilian projectiles throughout your conversation.
“Just work. Couldn’t do it from home, sadly.”
She tells me about an internship she started; about how stressful city life is, about how much she drinks. About how the drinking is no longer confined to the weekends but now includes weeknights too; sometimes even mornings to alleviate the aforementioned. She tells me about her roommate who she just can’t get along with. I nod. She talks about student loans and the political climate. I nod again. She talks. I nod.
I’m not disinterested by her, I’m just recovering from a rich daydream of another life. The more she goes on, the deeper I fall into my own liquid images, more so than usual. This fantasy is fermented; it digests slowly and without any strain on the system. You look forward to it throughout not just days, but an entire lifetime. It’s a dessert, dense in both texture and nutrition. A lot of my recent daydreams have felt like this. Anything can make you feel full, but few things can fill you without regret.
I pull the conversation to a close. I shut my computer, signaling departure, and she understands the reason why. I don’t want to make it seem as if I’m in a rush, because I’m not. I just prefer not to be here, specifically here, any longer. I walk down 48th and Madison and stop inside a hotel lobby to check flight reservations. I’m leaving the city because it’s disgusting. Did I mention I’m now crawling with alien germs. I am fucking sick of this place and again left wondering why I bother coming at all. No amount of money is worth the visit.
There’s something sinister about New York City that I’ve never felt in any other place on Earth. It goes beyond the resting heart rate of panic, and beyond the general disgust. New York City reeks of more than just hot homeless garbage piss — it reeks of guilt and fear and so much else. It’s a city that dove too deeply, too quickly into the world of technology and the idea of a melting pot, then realized how empty that future felt. Occasionally, they’ll try to claw their way back to former days, but can only poorly mimic them. Burger shacks that rely solely on iPads as cash registers, that cook their food using intentionally-dated stoves and tools. Manic NYU students in ugly H&M sweatpants, staring into their twenty-dollar minimalist salads, sitting uncomfortably at rustic wood tables (artificially banged up by crafty Chinatown merchants). Every new dent is another twenty-five dollars onto the asking price. Not a single smoothie shop CEO bothers to argue. They love the look and even write pridefully about it in their Moleskine day journals. What fucking faggots. A city of queers buying anything that looks like it came from a tree because they haven’t actually seen one in a lifetime. Did you know the trees in Central Park are made of ultradense recycled plastics? That’s why they don’t break, even when some sand creature sets off explosives on passing joggers.
Everyone in New York will rave for hours about how much they love it. Their favorite clubs, their favorite musicals, their favorite streets to avoid because a friend got stabbed and raped there last March. If you listen long enough, they start to whittle down into a much truer form, a kind of terror hidden under giddiness. New York City’s native population and veteran residents are a bunch of neurotic slimy rodents, one giant gang of life’s rejects. Sick and twisted faggots with nothing but venom in their bodies. The entire city, in every single aspect, is a grift. Everything is obtained through immoral means — and not even the cool kind. Jews having ten kids
to avoid property tax, Chinamen selling knockoff designer handbags, mystery meat CEO creeps atop skyscrapers, thinking about which forest to next destroy. At least in Los Angeles they don’t try and cover up the vapidity. They own it. New York City and the rats that nest inside its many holes try so hard to believe they’re in touch with reality. They pride themselves on being citypeople, on not being a flyover state redneck. The next fifty bombings won’t wake them up and the next couple fifteen-dollar packs of Parliaments won’t either. The people of New York are like fragile soap carvings and I’m an unexpected torrential downpour. Watch for streets full of bubbles, and then streets full of nothing, except remnants of trash. There’s only one thing to separate the Big Apple from any third-world favela and it’s perception, also known as lying to yourself.
The Soho Grand is the latest hot location for the worst the city has to offer. Shifty faggots, drug addict club promoters, lecherous “daddy’s money’ cunts. The main room is easily accessible because the building itself functions primarily as a hotel. It’d be a shame if someone went in, undetected, before clubbing hours, and coated the dance room in I GRRE Better yet, coat the whole street, or city. Cover the entire city in i and watch humanity rejoice. Some people would act upset at first, but after a while, they’d come to see why it was needed. It’s not exactly like putting 01′ Yeller down, but close enough.
Did I mention everyone in New York City has at least one STD? I’m leaving.
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