This weekend, I had to make a trip to America. If you are new to this blog, what I mean by America is
- America [ah·mer’·i·ka] (p.n.) Anywhere not located within the five boroughs of New York City, although Long Island and Boston are not really part of America. Most of New Jersey is.
Some quick observations about America:
- It is hot out. In the region of America known as the “Washington, D.C.”, and a nearby country whose name is I believe “Virginny,” it is approximately 9000 degrees out. When I left the apartment, the lady who isn’t my landlady admonished me for not wearing a jacket. The moment I entered the region that the natives call Delaware, I had to turn on the air conditioning. Inside my automobile.
- In America, only tourists ride the subway. They can be spotted by their sunburns, camerae, and colorful shirts.
- I asked, at the entrance, how to get to a particular section of a cemetery and was advised to drive there. I wasn’t even in a car.
- In America, all the streets are romantically named after parts of America, for example “Pennsylvania Avenue QW 200 Block No Left Turn 3 AM – 7 PM.”
- There seems to be an awful lot of crime.
After 8 hours in the car (12 American Standard Eagle-Flag Hours), I returned to New York City, and everyone promptly started driving 200 MPH on the highway, which no longer features such decadent trifles as lane markings or pavement that isn’t just unfinished steel girders painted to look like pavement, and I felt much more comfortable and at home immediately. You could see the pollution in the Gowanus Canal even though it was dark out, and that gives you a warm feeling in your gut which is almost certainly cancerous. It is wonderful. But I realized, contemplating how different my life was from a normal life ourside the city walls, that I will soon have something in common with most Americans: I will have to show up for work at a job that isn’t sitting in a basement listening to Pavement all day. (My current job is to rank every song Pavement ever recorded, for a large non-profit with nothing better to do. I’m on a grant from the Ford Foundation to study the relative awesomeness of various musics. But I have to leave.)
This is because I, dear reader, am graduating from college. Holy balls. College is how I ended up in this bizarre city to begin with, and the portion of my life that happened before I got here is now quite blurry, when judged in New York terms. I have no idea which train I took to work in Boston. I’m pretty sure it didn’t even have a letter or number. I don’t think there was even an express. I lived in an apartment with slanty floors and waited tables. During the day, my furniture slid around, so I could find it in an exciting new position every day when I got home. My neighbors celebrated my arrival every evening by firing their shotgun in the air, then chasing their furious Rottweiler around the yard for seven or eight hours until the exertion, combined with the homemade moonshine, caused them to fall asleep on the lawn, waking up only at 2 PM to begin another difficult day cooking meth in the attic, while elsewhere people were complaining that I hadn’t put enough whipped cream on their pancakes.
So you know, then I moved here and started taking classes, and became a properly enlightened animal, not unlike that poor dog, which I assume eventually devoured my next-door neighbor, ponytail and all, before taking a job as an insurance adjuster. The dog, I mean. Anyway, we can’t all be as lucky as that Rottweiler, he’s got a 401(k). In New York, people squint at me when I talk about things like meth and trolleys and electing a Mormon governor. They prefer cocaine over meth, swearing over trolleys, and electing a governor who likes the prostitutes. New Yorkers do not really understand this traditional sort of lifestyle, and I’m not confident that anyone in New York actually has a job, given the number of people that are out in the street, standing in front of me with giant Bloomingdale’s bags, at any given moment. My point is that in five years, when I’ve got some career and drudgery behind me, I’m definitely meeting that dog for a dry martini someplace.