Goodbye(ish) To All That

It originally concerned me that out of 70 units in my building, I appeared to live next door to the only walking, talking child (newborns began arriving a few months later) in the entire complex. What I hadn't anticipated were the grown children. I now live in an expensive dorm. Or maybe it’s not expensive. I am completely out of touch with the cost of an NYC education. It’s entirely possible that it’s more cost effective for parents to dole out the $3,650-$4,000 a month for their children’s share in a highly coveted neighborhood that’s fun and safe for young people (and increasingly wealthy Europeans).

Twice I’ve encountered a group of young men in the small basement gym (blasting music aloud from an iPod and speaker, which is as rude to me as texting during a movie, and probably equally polarizing, generationally) who could not possibly be over 19 and that’s not just me being out of touch. I go out plenty. I know what 25 year olds look like.

I see the parents, similar in age to my parent, being chauffeured by the kids they clearly had closer to 40, as educated people with money are wont to do, through the halls with the fake graffiti, in the elevators, passing through the lobby beneath the faux taxidermy, talking up all the great things the neighborhood has to offer, er, like the diner near the subway that seems more like a relic each day.

I’m not a nostalgist (ok, I am). The death of, well, everything (King’s Pharmacy, Beacon’s Closet, La Villita,  etc.) and the rise of Dunkin’ Donuts and Vice Media doesn’t bother me as much as it should, though.

Montclair cigarettes
Photo: No Ray Gun No Cry

On a friend’s block, more in the belly of the beast than my side of the neighborhood, a young woman passed by. She barely registered, but her parents were like TV caricatures of rich people; the father with silver hair, a navy blazer with gold buttons, loafers (pretty sure no ascot was present, which was disappointing) and the mom bony, topped by a blonde, hard-coiffed bob (a Lucille Bluth type; sometimes it's more the breezy, intellectual Eileen Fisher-wearing type). Caricatures, but not quite straying into camp territory that’s always epitomized in my mind by Montclair cigarettes, the 1990-ish cheapy brand I used to buy.

I waited a year for the retail space on the ground floor of my building to be filled and now it's home to a nothing. I mean, it's a something to a lot of earnest people. Who is this for, I wonder each day when I walk past? These people, I guess.

Er, a co-working space? Are there not enough cafes filled with laptops as it is? Are people unable to stake out work spots in the apartments they don’t even pay for? Unless you are homeless, I don’t understand the point of working in public. Arguments that this is social will not work on me because staring at a laptop at a communal table with earphones in is not that. The only reasonable example I can even think of is a different friend who recently lost her job and lives in a studio apartment with her boyfriend who also doesn’t work. I couldn’t concentrate with another human so nearby all day in 400 square feet.

I have a friend, not one of the two previously mentioned friends (See? I have three friends), who doesn’t like going out in the neighborhood during the day because she can’t bear to look into the eyes of the brunch couples (I’m really into the label "basic" despite those who bristle at the use of bitch). I laugh, but I get it. If I wanted to avoid them I would have to become a genuine shut-in, not just someone who scurries from my apartment to the gym to the mailbox to the grocery store a block away and back to my couch. It’s ok because they don’t make eye contact anyway. When someone says hi in the elevator I assume they are talking to someone else.

I would consider these monsters to be soul-stealers if they weren’t so self-absorbed. This is their world. And you just happen to be in their way.

I mean that literally. A few weekends ago, a young woman with a dog on a leash was jogging backwards because apparently jogging backwards down the most congested thoroughfare in the entire neighborhood on a Friday night makes perfect sense, just smacked straight into my friend (one of the abovementioned) who was standing on the corner with me. She seemed shocked that someone was in her path. Or maybe the shock was that we didn’t move.

I’ll be moving soon enough.


One thought on “Goodbye(ish) To All That

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