December 31st, 2006


Whiteboys' Burden

There are moments in life when one is reminded exactly what one's background and status is. I had one such moment tonight.

It was around midnight and I was leaving my mother's house. I had my iPod nano in one hand and my metrocard in the other. On the way out I saw the son of one of her upstairs neighbors coming in. I thought nothing of it, thinking he was just home from college and staying with his folks. As I opened the front door something dropped to the ground. It was a matchbook. As I stepped through it a scuzzy looking guy kept the door from closing with one hand and with the other picked up the matchbook and placed it in between the jamb and the lock, keeping it from latching.

I looked at him. He looked at me. I noticed three other guys in their early 20s standing behind him and walked past, making sure not to make eye contact.

As soon as I was out of sight I tried to figure out what I had just seen. None of these guys lived in the building, and none of them looked like they belonged in the neighborhood. The neighbor's son I had seen had a history of selling drugs and other illegal activities. They were likely with him. This would not have bothered me (maybe he was going to ask his folks for cash before hitting a club) but the matchbook in the doorjamb did. If they were just his friends waiting for him to come down, why would they need to keep the door from locking?

On the other hand if they were planning on robbing someone in the building, or if he owed them money and was going to try and get it from his parents under threat of violence, well, then the matchbook made more sense.

On the one hand I could call the cops and report what I'd seen, knowing that they'd probably send someone by to check the guys out. On the other if they were indeed just friends waiting for him to come down so they could all go do something, well, I didn't want to get them hassled. Just because four sketchy looking young minority males are hanging around outside your building doesn't mean they are up to no good. Isn't that like a basic liberal credo?

In the end I compromised. I found one of the Columbia security guards in the area (My mom lives in University housing) and told him what I'd seen. He told me he'd radio it in. I went back to the building and looked from across the street. A rent-a-cop car rolled up and parked outside, with the guard inside watching the guys outside the building. I called my mom and told her to throw the deadbolt.

I then went to the subway, where I waited for a train about 15 minutes until they closed the platform I was on and told me to go to the uptown platform and transfer to downtown up at 137th street, in Harlem. I still remember the early 90's where being a white boy in Harlem after midnight was a bad idea. As it was I didn't have anything resembling a problem.

But it was interesting to be reminded that even though I'm a New York Native I grew up in one specific New York subculture. Upper Middle Class Academics. And I'm just as capable of getting rattled by some of the more...urban...elements as any tourist.


Yes, I've been grappling with severe depression for the last few days, and yes I'm working hard to change my life and make it better, which involves giving up a bunch of coping mechanisms and breaking many bad habits and fighting my worst instincts, but is any of that an excuse for listening to Rod Stewart?


No it's not.
  • Current Music
    Some Guys Have All The Luck - Rod Stewart

A new year

I'm not doing anything for New Years. I had a few nibbles of things I might have done, but ultimately none appealed to me. The fact is that 2006 sucked for me. It sucked long. It sucked hard. It sucked like a black hole who is also a Motley Crue groupie. It sucked like a gaping chest wound. It sucked like an Uwe Boll movie.

There was only really one week in October that was any good in 2006, and I was sick as a dog during that week.

I don't want to have a party to celebrate 2006. I want to have a wake. I want to spit on its corpse and defecate on its grave. I want to bend its girlfriend over its coffin and ass-fuck her.

But that's impossible, since years don't have girlfriends and even if they did they'd be incorporeal and thus completely immune to any attempts at ass fucking.

Instead I'm going to sit here for the next two hours saying goodbye to 2006 me. Because I'm not going to be the same person in 2007. I can't afford to be.

The fact is that while I've had some tough knocks in my life I've also done a lot to make sure that I would have a suckass year. Primarily I've lacked aggression. It's not like I've been nothing but a loser in my life. I kicked ass at my Ivy League college, to the point where women would come up to me and say "I'm in one of your classes and I just wanted you to know that you kick ass." I kicked ass in my writing group a couple years ago. I blew the fucking doors off it on a regular basis. I kicked ass in my screenwriting class this year, blowing the teacher away right from the outset.

My problem is that I don't put myself in position to kick ass often enough. I sit back. I play video games. I'm shy. I'm dismissive. I'm aloof.

Well fuck that. 2007 will be the year of my putting myself out there and taking shots. And if I fail? I'll try again.

So my first few years out of college haven't been perfect. So fucking what? The first semester in college I almost failed all my classes before I dropped out. I went back and I got Phi Beta Kappa while competing against people who actually cared about such things. Spectacular failure doesn't rule out success.

So I'm going to wait out the next couple of years relaxing and just letting shit slide, then I'm going to hit 2007 as hard as I can and see what happens. Hopefully next New Years will be significantly different than this one. Regret and depression don't really lead anywhere. I'm gonna hitch my wagon to hope and see where that leads.
  • Current Music
    StarFuckers Inc. - Nine Inch Nails