This week’s reports from the city’s reality
Wow… it’s Shark Week already. The month that lies between Shark Week and Labor Day, for me, is a time of both reflection and action. Here I usually look back upon what happened thus far and factor in all of the things I’ve not done yet. Then, it’s simply a matter of doing it all. It is a time to kick out any and all remaining jams the season has to offer, a time to live out the summer that took an entire winter to dream up, a time to catch one’s own proverbial wave and ride it out, out, out. So, dance to the nearest Beach Boys record, praise Mr. Softee and get in the water if you haven’t already been traumatized by tales of danger and dismemberment in the deep blue sea. Happy Shark Week.
-Jarrod J. Annis
Everyone in New York is pregnant! I feel as if most people are with child everywhere I go in the city. (I guess I missed some rockin’ New Years’ Eve parties this year.) In a few months we’ll see a surplus of infants on trains and in restaurants, making both experiences less bearable. After recently spending seven hours on a bus with a baby coughing at me, I’m not looking forward to childpocalypse.
Today somebody in my network room at the Back to Work program was caught using one of the computers to look up porn. Keep in mind this is the same room where two potential job sources are sitting, and 20 or so other people use the computers. It was not a high-stealth move. Even so, I can’t say I was surprised, even when there were no repercussions beyond being publicly caught perusing. This is the same room where a heated discussion between a half dozen people occurred over the comparative merits of banana versus cherry-flavored condoms. This is also the same room where someone tried to pass a do-rag off as “religious headgear.” This same windowless room, perhaps not coincidentally, is not air-conditioned and smells like urine. Of course we are required to wear business attire — no shorts allowed — because to do otherwise would hurt one’s chances of employment. If anybody wants it, I’ve got a hot line on a job cooking for Five Guys Burgers.
Even though I encounter families at work every day, I forget that they actually live in my neighborhood. With no immediate relatives within city limits to remind me of my age, New York has always felt very adult. The streets are crowded, the prices high and the potential for expensive distraction even higher — how could someone raise children here? Somehow they’ve done it for years. I was reminded of this firsthand when I visited with an old intern friend from Rolling Stone at his family’s house in the neighborhood. Less than 20 minutes away, he lived in a large brownstone with two floors and a backyard. With the house to himself for the day, we were free to chat over beers on the patio, but when his dad came home it was time to mow the lawn. Since their yard is narrow — one of at least 15 others on the block — his only tool was a hand-mower. Back in high school, I’d mowed for years, but the yards were bigger and the machine much louder. After watering the plants, my friend was on to plotting his night out. It would seem that getting your kid to maintain a yard in the city might be less stressful, but the possibilities of what they could get up to are infinitely worse.