Among its many charms, NYC offers a versatile, comprehensive, and ever-evolving package of total inconvenience and frustration that is unparalleled anywhere else. City of dreams!
Two days ago, at the tail end of my excruciatingly crowded and obnoxious underground commute, I ran into my friend Dan coming out of the subway station in Times Square. Like me, Dan works an office job in the five block X one block space in the 40s on Broadway that manages to realistically replicate hell, down to the Planet Hollywood and the guys standing in the sidewalk asking you if you want to go to a comedy show. Hell is made out of neon and groups of camera-toting Asian tourists rolling 200 deep on buses, right? That’s hell to everyone not just me, correct?
The above is a daily part of my life when I leave the safety of my building to go get lunch or go to the bank, and is also the answer to the Jeopardy question “This is what your life would be like if you crossed Twin Peaks with Groundhog Day”
In the pouring rain, with no umbrella, a hood pulled haphazardly over most of his head, a soaking wet cigarette hanging from his lips, Dan looked completely defeated and resigned for 9 am, but oddly at home, as if to say “Yeah, this is about right. Yeah, splash me, cars. What do I care? I want to get splashed. I love it.”
“You look like you live here,” I commented.
I then casually related the tale of how the City of New York had towed my car, again, for parking tickets, and how, again, this made me feel like an irresponsible person. It’s kind of funny how my daily Sisyphus-inspired game of “where can I stick this car in a place with no room to stick anything” resulted in the daily loss of $100 delivered from the puppet master in an orange envelope on my windsheild, and how that made ME feel bad about MYSELF.
“Sucks,” he said. “Maybe it will get stolen and you won’t have to worry about it anymore. That happened to my friend.”
“When I noticed it was missing I was praying for stolen, but alas,” I replied.
Alas. My car has not been stolen. And with my rotten luck, it probably never will be.
Some people have ALL THE LUCK!
Just a moment ago, at my desk, I quickly worked out the most basic expenses of my NYC life per year and compared them to the basic expenses of living in the other city I considered moving to (Richmond, VA). Here is what I found out:
Price of living in New York:
Rent per year for shoebox-sized room in 4th fl walk-up: $7, 500
Parking tickets per year: $2,500
City tax I paid this year: $530
Metro Card per year: $972
Getting approached by a psychic in the bank yesterday who claimed that I have a “startling aura,” getting frozen solid year round by midtown wind tunnels, never hearing silence (ever), allowing at least 1 hour travel time for traveling 2 miles: PRICELESS.
Total: $11, 502
Price of living in Richmond in a pretty, huge apartment or house with a driveway: $4,500
Parking tickets: driveway
City Tax: hahahahhahahahahahhahahaha
Gas per year: $300
Living near my friends in a temperate, convenient, and normal-paced city where you can always get a tasty milkshake: for pussies
Here’s the thing though, the 6K and change I would save per annum having a fun and relaxed life in a place where I wouldn’t be competing with about three million other people for one job or one apartment, and where I could, say, go to the store without waiting in an hour long line, or maybe not run the risk of getting peed on by a homeless person or crushed by a construction crane while I shower or whatever is nothing compared to how smug I can be living in NYC.
You drive to work? Fuck you, I was just trapped in a little tin box in a tunnel under a river for 45 minutes because someone in the train ahead of me threw up!
You pay how much for beer? $3? I’ll show you! I pay $7 for that same beer AND I have to wait at the counter for 20 minutes! Hang with THAT. Also there are many movies and TV shows (many of them violent crime oriented) based on my place of residence that you can enjoy on NBC and FOX. So suck off. I will always have a more impressive-sounding, struggle-laden, dada/absurdist-friendly life than people in America, and said America-dwellers are too scared of the crime they think happens here to come bother me. So really, I come out on top.
Take that, people with money left over to save for the future!
Because New York might make me poor and angry and covered in a gritty film, but as I am a separatist elitist, I am perfectly at home with the street-poop and smog that protects me like a blanket from “people” on the mainland, which include people I went to high school with, and my parents.
It’s a small price to pay.