This week’s reports from the city’s reality
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Einstein discovered relativity and George Washington Carver invented peanut butter. Great. But who invented air-conditioning? Why aren’t they celebrated like the rest of these brilliant minds? In my book, whoever first proposed the idea of air-conditioning just went right up the ranks into sainthood. Why there is no annual holiday sometime in late July or August celebrating the life and work for this person is beyond me. At the very least, while the heat of summer’s home stretch begins to unfurl, take a moment some day and wish those close to you a Happy Air-Conditioner Appreciation Day!
Don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s such a thing as free money. As soon as I signed up for food stamps I was catapulted into a world of daily bureaucracy and busy work. I’ve spent my week shuttling myself around from job office to food stamp office to welfare office trying to file and receive a blizzard of forms — all so I can get money to tide me over while I find a job. While it’s nice to know a support system is there to make sure I don’t end up on the streets, it would be nicer to be able to spend my days actually looking for a job rather than waiting for hours just to get “swiped in” to attendance. Some of the people I’ve balanced a desk with have been awful — real bureaucratic ogres, unsmilingly wading through an ocean of paperwork — while some of the people I’ve met have been more helpful than I could ever have imagined. Here’s to all the cogs in the machine that took the time out of their cockroach-infested, flickering-fluorescent-light workdays to look me in the eye and smile.
The extreme heat has limited my roof time, but I’ve been doing my best to stay positive. Sadly, going into the city today with Katie derailed that endeavor. I should know by now to brace myself whenever entering Union Square, but somehow it surprises me every time. No sooner did I go to cross the street — with the signal in my favor, mind you — than a cab brashly charged the crosswalk. I continued walking, right until the last possible moment. After years of playing pedestrian chicken I was well aware that he’d run the crosswalk, but the sheer rudeness of it still angered me. Exercising a bad habit I’ve developed since moving here, I thwacked my hand across the back of his car just hard enough to make a sound. He probably didn’t hear it, but Katie sure did and she wasn’t pleased. I can’t say I blame her. Just because this city throws indignity in your face on a daily basis doesn’t mean that you have to return the favor, but sometimes it just feels good to. If not the rear end of a cab, these feelings might be projected at an irritating customer or even a boss. No matter whom it is they don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of my irrationality. Where exactly to put it, though, remains to be seen. Perhaps I should look to the root of it all, which at the moment is my existence in the city itself.