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The Living Room General Summer in the city
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Summer in the city
man, does anyone remember the winter? shit sucked. I'm talking at this girl right now who says winter is her favorite time of the year. I don't get that. My dad says it too. But both of them were born in the winter, maybe there's something in their genetic history that equates the coldness, the grayness, the darkness, and snow to the womb. me though, I was born in a heatwave.

back when it was cold everyday and I was doubling up on heavy coats and long underwear I kept telling myself how much better life would be 5 months from now. like, as soon as I can get into some shorts and a tank life will seem unbiasedly better. I was right.

everyone who lives in new york city has their own idea about when it's the best. but anyone who doesn't agree with me is wrong. New York City is prime in the summer. I'll specify even further. Summer mornings and summer nights. Some of these melting tar afternoons I can do without. But mornings and nights are where it's at.

Imagine if you will a roof party brimming with music, beer, sexed-up youth, grill food, dancing, and a descending sun. Later that night your memory is sparse but you're pretty goddamn certain you're throwing bottle caps at Taxis with some girl you just met by telling her she dances like a hip praying mantis.

In the morning you're either hungover or still drunk but either way on your way to work while men in workboots set up scaffolding. Man, new york city bustle at 8:30 am is strangely calm. Probably everyone else drank too much just like you.

It's so easy to fall in love in the spring in new york. Catch a movie on a lawn. The sunset from a sparse roof. Some invisible saxophone playing from god knows where. When it's hottest we'll pretend we're buying a bed just so we can cop some free air conditioning. Showers you take at night now b/c it's just too goddamn hot to fall asleep otherwise.

In brooklyn kids and grownups alike congregate around the icy man. police sirens blare and ice cream trucks whistle. You bike the bridge at 3 am and it's not rare you catch the sun coming up. Responsibilities are shelfed, you quit the competition and find your steady pace. You don't eat as much b/c again it's just too goddamn hot you don't wanna be weighed down by nothing.

in the summer we scheme and we say to everything. We invite people to everything. We scream 'tag! you're it!' and run away. in central park we drink wine from water bottles and make funny faces at the tourists. In prospect park we climb trees and take our shirts off and pretend it's really possible to get lost in the woods in the middle of a city that houses 9 million sweating bodies. In riverside park we sit solemnly and think about places beyond the island, times beyond our youth, life without crossroads.

at the west indies parade the streets smell like marijuana and people pass blunts unabashedly. the food is soulful and the costumes are colors out a museum. there's dancing, both in the parade route and out. it feels like you're stuck for months in the crowds that move at times like feet on fire and other times like slugs on cement. 

you sleep better in the summer if only for the fact that you sleep way less. what would it be like if this were perpetual? it hardly feels sustainable.

but there's drama too. people get heated. and people cry and they also leave. and you wonder why? ain't this what they've been waiting for? isn't this why we put up with the winter? to get here and feel strong and invincible and filled with utopic energy and enthusiasm? Why would you leave me now? when we have all this? and for practically nothing.

we fluorish in the summer because there's just so much space to be filled. it's probably for the best that it doesn't last forever...

the street kids flock in the summer. they're gross and loud. they smell and ask you for change and in this particular case you're positive it's going to go to alcohol, a 3 dollar forty of malt liquor probably. you say no because they're you're age and already so fucked up that there's no room for another forty.

they wear green and deep earthy colors, and their skin is sort of the same. they use bandanas for belts and have face tattoos. they're mostly always white and some of them have dogs and some of them have bigger habbits than malt liquor. you wonder if they have the dogs to entice more money from people who wear Lands End or for genuine companionship. you wonder who has more fleas.

sometimes they're coupled up. holding hands, fingernails caked in city grime. their bookbags are patched with duct tape and pins. they sleep on stoops and pick up cigarettes from the ground. they're hardly ever older than 25. your sympathy wanes as they get older. there's this one dude who's always causing a scene, pissing, yelling, he's probably 45, sometimes he has a cast on or his face is bloodied up, but he's always around why bother picking him up for that public drinking ticket.

once I saw one of them with a pet rat perched on her shoulder. she was buying a bag of cheetoes in the east village. there was this woman in the store who saw it. she was my age maybe, pretty, dressed to go out, heels. she turned toward me and on her face was that 'i'm about to vomit' look.

where do they come from? once i saw a girl probably 18, sexually satisfying herself with a public pay phone. lucky no one uses those anymore.

where do they go when the summer ends? reminds me of Holden's question about them central park ducks. are they all rounded up or do they fly off on their own accord?

are they runaways or are they romantics? I call them traveling kids but I don't really get the sense they're in it for the travel. mostly, it seems like they're in it for the commradery. they sit in circles and play guitar, some of them knit, and others heckle passersby. Me for instance. What did I do to you? I expect they resent me for being too much like them only clean, but more likely it's that they sense my resentment towards them, how i instincitively treat them differently than I would a homeless older black man.

once i saw a gruop of them sitting in a circle with a pair of innocent looking girls from the upper east side, or maybe the west. the two transplants were wearing hot topic gothesque clothes and had obviously showered in the last 36 hours. they were doing 'punk' on their parent's dime. punk for the consumer age, pre-made patches and fresh bought all black converse to match pink make up and nail polish. slumming it alright, I wonder what they thought about the smell of their counterparts and the plastic bottle of whiskey making its rounds around the circle. if they take a swig are they initiated? they're parents are expecting them home real soon.

i imagine the traveling kids imagine themselves punks living in a capitalist international regime. making it in the faces of we who have been vaccinated by consumerism. but still, they sleep outside at night and are occassionally bloody. they lie in their own piss and if you cleaned them up and unknotted their hair they'd look almost exactly like me. what is summer to them?
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Latest Post: June 5, 2011 at 10:55 PM
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