Saturday, October 21, 2006

The New York of the Best and Worst

In honor of The Village Voice's BEST OF NYC feature, I present the NYC OF BEST. What's that? Well, why don't you read this, and find out. This is the cover of this issue of "my blog." (blog is short for web log, p.s.)

New York is the best place to be hungover.
Your stomach is mashed potatoes, your gut is all gut, no meat, your eyes are slivers of their former selves, your body feels as if it's spent the night fucking (it has) and then consequently being pummeled with something large, heavy, and soft. Like a gorilla (it hasn't).

Never mind all that, soldier! Get it together! New York won't let you waste your day on these sentiments. Get on your shoes, go to the subway, yes, go underground, yes, mash with the people, mash into the people, flip your book so you can hold it with one hand now is your iPod in your pocket, hover wait for the lurch, there it is, hold back, now, go go go, get off go up, go to work work work work hold one phone two phones email rush out into the afternoon for lunch and tell them what you want, three ingredients, spinach iceberg romaine, coffee coffee pay attention that woman is looking at your drink she didn't ask for soy milk you asked for whip cream extra shot, be on it, be on top of it, rush upstairs, run run work, out, meet friends, back on the train, catch cab, run to gym, there, go, now go go go.You can't hide in your car, fall asleep at the wheel, you can't drift off in your cubicle while the humdrum music lulls you into suburban sluggishness: skin tone matching shirts, ties matching carpet. Alert, soldier, many drug addicts and alcoholics have made great names for themselves in this city, and it's mornings like this one that powered them through.

New York is the worst place to sleep in.
First, there is a gathering of the ghosts of the men who sang the Macarena in the apartment below yours. Above, next to. Across the street, someone is building the Tower of Babel out of cement blocks and Lincoln logs. You are two hours late for work. Somewhere during your commute, the train just stops, but time keeps going. And going.

New York is the best place to be heartbroken and aggressive and reckless about it.
If he took your heart, you don't need it. What is a heart, anyhow, it's just a word for suckers. You need bars and drinks so serious you laugh out loud. You need corners. You need the company of drunk strangers. You need to look back at him, that stranger, when he eyes you, across the way there, you need to look right back at him, you need to maybe even talk to him, maybe even take him home, maybe even get up afterwards and say well, thanks, that was nice, and then just never call him again, just let him dissapear like he never existed, like how you felt about him before you met him, because this is New York and you can. Go online. Someone, anyone, is near. Someone will pay you for what you planned to do already.

New York is the worst place to be heartbroken and sad about it.
You can't cry like that, out in public, with people looking, I mean: looking away. You can cry in major transportation hubs, just a little, you can cry in Grand Central if you want, or at Penn Station maybe but you can't just cry like that on the street. You are making the street uncomfortable. Napkins don't grow on trees. The waitress is in the back kitchen telling everyone everything you are saying. She's writing it in her blog. There's no where to hide. There's no crying in baseball. Stop it, get sunglasses, go home, even if home is the last stop on the Q. Try not to cry all the way there. If you take a cab, the cabbie will ask and he'll tell you a beautiful girl like you has no reason to cry. If you cry on the train, you will attract lunatics. You will let them hug you.

New York is the worst place for inclement weather.
There is no slipping into attached garage and into your sleek metal SUV, its skin shiny as windows, driving it into the world, your own space station, then pulling up to work, snatching the umbrella from the back seat, walking five steps before you're inside the hub.

In New York if it is raining or snowing you fucking DEAL with it. You layer. Forget your nice shoes, your nice outfit, you can't get a cab, you will trek. You will trek like a completely insane person, the bottom of your pants will be wet, dirty, stained with salt, your hair is a mess, it's hopeless, if it's raining, just don't bother. Forgot your umbrella? Ten men glare at you, taunt you, you know that look, it's the look of drug dealers of crackheads that your parents warned you about in this city, telling you they can solve your problems with their umbrella. Just five dollars. Pieces of crap. Don't buy it. You can make it. You'll look like hell, but you're in hell, so what' s the difference?

New York is the best place for beautiful weather.
You can walk for miles and miles, all day, through 15 continents. You'll see 5 people you know, 5 million you don't. You get home: your roommate has beer. You take the bottle to your lips, it all tastes like firecrackers.

New York is the worst place for the morning after.
You can't hide. If you went out unprepared--no sunglasses, no hat, no makeup, no change of clothing--you could be heading out into the world at 7am in a mini-skirt, wedges that blistered your feet into oblivion the night before, a shirt you'd never wear in the daylight, hair a mess, lips chapped and oh G-d, just thinking about it makes me want to never sleep anywhere but my own home. You're gonna be on the train without a book. Maybe without your ipod. You'll be looking at them, they'll be looking at you, we all know what's up. Try for the early train, with the underpriveleged restaurant underlings of the world. They might compliment you on your skirt, but they mean well, in five hours you'll be eating on plates they're about to wash. Which, after all, is why I don't do sleepovers.

New York is the best place for the morning after something wonderful,
if you remembered to bring a toothbrush. You are smug in last night's underwear, crispy in your crotch. You have a secret. No one else on the C-train is as happy as you are.

New York is the best place to be anorexic.
Here: lift your arms, those exquisite twigs, to your sides. See: I promise you that within ten blocks, extending into the city from each of your pointy fingertips at their respective angles, you can find a low-calorie ice-cream substitute, you can find a variety of Snacks-4-Life products, you can find a trainer and a gym and a smoothie and a pill and a drug and before you know it you are floating. Yes, you are floating through the sea of suits and click-clacky shoes, click-clack like your bones click-clack. It is like dreaming, only it's like a dream where you can taste things. You can taste life. You don't need food, you eat air, you eat heat stretching away from the street, you eat exhaust, you eat the energy of the people who pass by you, pass through you, surround you and keep you moving even when your body has stopped moving, has stopped breathing, is somewhere in midtown slumped in a heap, devastatingly beautiful, like a fashion model playing dead with lipstick.
Keep walking. Keep walking, like floating, like dancing, keep starving. Keep going. You can do this forever, there are people awake somewhere, there is other stimuli, there are people to fuck you or fuck you over, there are people to hit you and hurt you and remind you of your flesh, that you bruise, and there are people to assure you that you exist by running into you, there are people watching you. You see their eyes, you assume their eyes will see your legs and how well you fit into your skinny jeans. There are people watching you and drooling.

They are hungry, but you are free, you are floating above them, watching, laughing, cracking your knuckles like bones breaking, flying.

New York is the worst place to take up space.

I'm not talking about fat. I'm talking about that small seat, the way you rest your feet three meters from the base of your chair, the spread of your legs, the cock of your elbows. I'm talking about how you call at me in heels, tell me how I look (goooood) and make me feel so dirty I get goosebumps. I'm talking about all the eyes on your tits. I'm talking about all the eyes on the man with shoulders that make shoulder pads jealous. I'm talking about commanding space. Your suitcase with the wheels in the aisle at Duane Reade. I'm talking about owning it.

I'm talking about saying: I deserve.


Anonymous said...

I loved that whole thing, it was like a prose poem blog entry. PS, New york is the worst place to be heartbroken & sad about it, is a reference to Frankenstein's Tears, yes?

*sighs* now I KNOW I have to go to NY after I graduate.

riese said...

obviously you have to go to NY after you graduate. people who don't are: 1. boring, 2. "logical," 3. in another country. I include California in that catergory of another country.

part of the reason I loved that essay was because it was something I had thought about so much myself--I made the choice not to read it again before pounding this out beause I was afraid of pretty much copying it...and hoped that if I did say any of the same things, it was un-intentional...or something?

hmmm...I'm glad you liked it--thank you!

Anonymous said...

It wasn't that you said the same things but referenced them, sort of... it was different, but it reminded me of it...

haha, California IS another country. This girl who is Californian says to me: "You want to go to New York?! WHY!? It's so horrible," and then she starts rattling off things about how there's too many people and pollution and nobody notices you. But she's one of those people who wants to be looked at, by people she doesn't know. I don't want to be looked at by people I don't know. I miss disappearing in a crowd. A lot. And she just IS, and I'm sure she loves California and fits in there and good for her but I personally HATE it. Anyway.

riese said...

Yup yup, I know that's what you meant. I was just thinking out loud. BUt on paper. Or like, on screen.

I'm not a fan of CA either, but I don't mistrust people who chose to live in San Fran the same way I mistrust people who live in every other city in this country besides New York.



Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. Truly. Obvs I have more to say about it in person. And obvs I am telling everyone I know to read it.

riese said...

dearest haviland, my pr guru and all around swellest person,



Lauren said...

I love this Marie!

riese said...

Thank you, Lolita...:-)

Anonymous said...

MLB, you constantly amaze are just so talented. ahhhh!
s.dunn and m.gaitskill would be lucky to read your work.

Anonymous said...

anonymous above=nar

New York Punk said...

you forgot, newyork is the best place to blog.

Z. Madison said...

loved it. every word of it.

thanks, i needed this today as still reeling from finding myself living half of the post's scenarios this past weekend.

at least i still have ny. :)

Audrey. said...

An absolute delight - I must go out and read the original article now - though I'm sure I'll be disappointed compared after reading what you wrote.

riese said...

thanks guys!

you're right, ny is the best place to blog!

Clinton said...

Just stumbled into this blog and it's mighty fine, if you don't mind me saying.

NYC is the best place to be hungover, indeed. No one looks at you funny if you're deathly ill and reeking of whiskey on the subway at 11am on a Wednesday and you're always a minimum of a block away from a bodega with fresh OJ. And when you're sober enough to start drinking again, there's an average of 3 bars between every avenue, no matter what street you're on.

It's like Club Med for alcoholics and I love it. My liver's less than thrilled, but whatever.

Keep writing the awesome!

Chris said...

Most awesome post ever. I heart you.

Anonymous said...

Nice post!

"New York is the greatest city in the world," says the talking cow at Gristedes.

I thought something about New York being a great place to eat great (and gasp! calorie-laden) food, 24 hours a day, would follow the part about being anorexic. Then again, I guess anorexia is more about vanity and psychological pathology than disliking the taste of food.

Anonymous said...

Anorexia is also about the FEAR of food. A complicated issue...but this writers use of satire to drive home a disgusting (and true) point about the disorder is brilliant. Does she write for a magazine? She should be writing for every magazine out there...

There is a future for this one. Fine work!

riese said...

Yeah, I thought about writing about NYC being the best place to eat but then iw as like "eating out at fun restaurants is so not the opposite of anorexic, it's about appetite..desire...control..what we "deserve"...oMIGOD i'm like Reviving Ophelia right now. so yeah. everything is right.

Anyhow, thanks dudes!

keepin' up the awesome, one day at a time,

Unknown said...

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