Six Things That Suck About Living In The City


Let me start off by saying that I understand some people get bent out of shape when anyone refers to New York as “the city” because it seems to imply that New York is the only city and somewhere like Sacramento might as well have tumble weeds and OK Coral style gun fights in the streets. That’s not what I’m doing here. I wanted to call this post Six Things That Kind Of Suck About Living In The City because I felt like people from lots of cities could relate to what’s listed below but since I only know about the New York one, that’s specifically what I’ll be referencing. However, this doesn’t mean I think we’re better than Cleveland or anything, in fact, sometimes living in this city in particular can be a real drag and here’s why:

# 1. Shopping

I hate shopping to begin with. I’m no good at it. Clothes shopping especially. There’s too much pressure to define who you are when buying clothes and I always find myself in the midst of an existential crisis when trying decide if I’m the type of person who wears leggings or not. Yet it has to be done, so about once a year I go out and buy myself new stuff and it SUCKS.

Seeing as it doesn’t really make sense to keep a car in the city (and even if you did, you would never actually take it shopping¬†because trying to find a parking space at every store you wanted to visit would be similar to charting a circumnavigation of the Earth in the early 1500s) buying almost anything can be a harrowing experience as you are always forced to carry it with you from that point on. Just the other day I had to get some new sheets, a comforter, a couple of pillow cases and a bath mat. Sans a car to drop stuff off in, that was the end of my shopping excursion, regardless of the fact that I needed quite a few more things. I just couldn’t carry them all. Not to mention that simply hauling the few items I did get from the train to my apartment was enough to make me think I might need new arms afterwards and a solid reminder to order anything I may ever need in my life again, online.

#2. Laundry


Most people who live in the city don’t own a washer and dryer. We use the laundromat, meaning there are times we have to “save” outfits for when we really need them because there’s no such thing as throwing a t-shirt in the wash to wear later tonight. About ten years ago, I graduated to the somewhat bougie practice of paying an extra four dollars to drop my laundry off. However, if you’re someone who’s still set on sitting in the Suds N’ Duds doing your own, you could easily end up in a spin-cycle smack-down like my friend Nicole did recently when she took some lunatic’s stuff out of the dryer so she could put hers in. How is she supposed to live on the same block as this nut job now? If you’re not careful, what was once a simple chore, can morph into a Mad Max style Thunderdome faster than you can fold.

#3. Dogs

dog peeing

You know what happens when a human being pisses right in the middle of the sidewalk? They get arrested! You know what happens when a dog does it? They get rewarded with a side of beef or whatever treat you give a dog for going to the bathroom. Then I walk through it ten seconds later, now tracking another animal’s urine through my apartment. This is disgusting! And the alternative is even worse. I’m constantly avoiding stepping in dog shit from owners who refuse to pick up after their pets but at least there’s a law that says they should. It’s perfectly acceptable however, for a dog to take a leak right on your front stoop like one did to mine yesterday, and nobody bats an eye. Think about how gross that is! So as much as I’ve always loved dogs, living in an environment where I’m forced to constantly wade through their excrement, has kind of caused me to curb my enthusiasm.

#4. Random Shrieking

At least two times a week I’m convinced that someone on my block is being murdered. Blood curdling screams erupt from places I can’t quite identify. They’re not exactly coming from upstairs, they kind of sound like they’re in the back courtyard. Loud enough to make me turn down my TV and strain my ears out the window to hear better but never so impending that I consider calling the cops since I figure someone closer to the actual source will have done so. The ruckus tends to last for half an hour or more and then there’s silence, which is even creepier. This, combined with the constant stream of boisterous drunks that are forever stumbling down my street, make sleeping with a window open, generally out of the question. Which sucks because of:

#5. The Radiator


Unless you have lots and lots of money, you’re probably living in a building that was built shortly after the Mayflower arrived. Which means that you are completely at the mercy of this sadistic bitch: the radiator. Mine wakes me up in the morning with a series of bellowing clanks and then hisses at me all day while spewing steam and liquid that is indistinguishable from molten lava. There is absolutely no controlling it. It’s so hot, that on any given day you can see me hanging off the fire escape just to get some breathable air for ten seconds before inevitably scurrying back in due to what sounds like people being stabbed continuously in the neck outside. Seeing as keeping my windows open for any length of time will ultimately lead to nightmares, I often have my air conditioner on even in the midst of something called a polar vortex.

#6. Brunch


Sometimes I just want to go out with my friends and eat ridiculously over priced eggs and drink super weak mimosas, but guess what? So do eight million other people on a Sunday, making brunch one hell of a battle royale. If you don’t show up at 4:30 in the morning, chances are you’ll be throwing elbows with a crowd more fired up than the juveniles at a Justin Beiber concert. People bring their A game to brunch and given that I’m typically hung over when I’m attending, I don’t often have what it takes to get a table. I’ve said multiple times that the city should be on a brunch schedule. You don’t get to go every week. People whose last names start with A-M get to eat the first and third weeks of the month and people from N-Z go the second and forth. That way we can all feel like idiots after paying sixteen dollars for pancakes.

So all of this considered, why live in a city? Let me tell you a quick story. About ten years ago, my friend Lisa and I, who were both struggling night to night in the bar business at the time, met a guy from the suburbs of Las Vegas. He was only about twenty-three and was telling us about a new house he had just bought with a big back yard and an in ground pool and three whole bedrooms. The works. Given that we were paying what most people spend on their first car every month to live in spaces the size of his bathroom closet, we had to know, what did he do to be able to afford all of this luxury? He looked us dead in the face and said “I’m a bell hop.” We smiled politely and congratulated him but after he left, Lisa and I had the exact same opinion. “That’s too easy.” she said. To which I responded “What would we do without all of the stress?”

Which is why even though the city sucks sometimes, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Well, except for the dog crap. That I could do without.

  • Jenn from much to my delight

    A brunch schedule? That is BRILLIANT! Like the elementary school cafeteria. I think you just found your new calling as a city planner. Great post! As a fellow city dweller, I can attest to all of these frustrations but also can’t imagine calling any other place home. Damn it.

    • RheelDaze

      Yeah but on second thought you could only go to brunch with friends in the same name block as you so maybe it could be lottery based and you have to put in the names of the people you want to go with ahead of time. Complicated? Yes. Better than standing outside in the cold for two hours waiting for a table? I think so. We got lucky at Sugar Freak.

  • Kari @ The Kari Diaries

    My apartment building has a few washers and dryers in the basement, which of course means that there’s a hell of a lot of drama in that basement. So, I try to only do my laundry at night to avoid awkward situations. I once saw a note that said “Don’t touch my shit. Wait until I’m done” from a person who removed someone’s wet clothes from the dryer, to which that person responded by tossing the other’s clothing in the trashcan. Now, I set a timer on my phone so I’m down to remove my things way before anyone can touch them.
    And the shrieking! I live on the 1st floor by the elevator so my apartment become inundated with the most insane things frequently ranging from drunken conversations, to arguments with cheating scumbag boyfriends to what sounds like murder.
    Speaking of murder, that’s what my radiator sounds like it’s doing like all the time. Clanks followed by clink clink is like my anthem and it still scares the hell out of me.

    • RheelDaze

      I wouldn’t mind in the least of someone took my clothes out. What’s the big deal? Then again, I was always extremely aware of how long they were supposed to be in there specifically so I wouldn’t get in anyone else’s way.

  • Awesomely Over-Zealous

    I’ve just been focusing on that brunch image – it looks mad good. That’s why I love living in Northern Virginia – I’m not IN DC but If I need a city adventure – I can get there in 20 minutes. Otherwise, I don’t have to worry about any of those things – except the dog poop because those surprises are everywhere O_o Best of luck with the creepy sounds and loud ass radiator! -Iva

    • RheelDaze

      It does look good, doesn’t it?! And I can’t get at it half the time because it’s a holy brunch battlefield out there!

      • Awesomely Over-Zealous

        Lol well that’s what you get for living in one of the most awesome cities – I couldn’t do it. I visit and i become disoriented.

  • Damien Galeone

    I don’t have any idea what could suck about that brunch. It just gave me that final push I needed to become a hermit and open an obese camp for one. I live in Prague, which means that I have a washer in my flat (everyone does) and it further means that shrieking is from the local pub and that shopping is a joke (pants here are obviously meant to accentuate a man’s trouser burrito).

    It also means dog shit. Everywhere. For some reason the Czechs do not buy into the idea of actually picking up the shit that your dog leaves on, oh say a sidewalk or the front steps of an apartment complex. I have had some colorful conversations in my second language after nearly stepping in a pile of crap.

    Also, and this is weird, it means Czechs being in your way. A LOT. Czechs don’t know how to walk. It’s the only place on Earth one 70 year old woman can take up a 7 foot wide sidewalk. People just careen into you for no good reason, others walk out of a shop without looking in any direction, take out their mobiles and stand in the middle of the sidewalk. Teenagers choose doorways and steps for their conferences. A simple on/off elevator interaction is a nin minute affair. It’s unspeakably aggravating.

    • RheelDaze

      They don’t really have dryers in Europe though do they? I lived overseas for a while and had to dry my clothes on a line which was so weird to me at first. Nothing ever shrank back to size. And people standing in doorways is one of my biggest pet peeves! You might enjoy this video’s “get out of the way” stance.
      Speaking of comments though (last post) look at how offended some of the people in that section got over this ridiculous puppet making a silly video.

      • Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife

        In Sweden we have regular tumble dryers and drying racks which are like closets that heat up and are awesome. It gets really fucking cold here though we need all the help we can get!

  • Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife

    Sometimes I think some creature from X-Files is living in my radiators, yes because in Sweden you need 5 in your apartment, and that one day it is going to slither out and kill me.
    Also with the shopping we do not live in a big city but we have no car and the mall with all the stores you actually need shit from are a 40 min bus ride away. We have bought bookcases and desks and brought them back on the bus and people gave us some really dirty looks but what was I going to do walk home with that shit?

    • RheelDaze

      How do you get around to the grocery with no car? It gets so cold there! I have to go to Ikea to buy a new couch next week actually and I’ll either have to rent a van or take it on some form of public transport. I suppose I could always pay the seventy dollar delivery fee but ouch! Well, then again renting a van will cost half that. What can you do?!

      • Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife

        We walk to the store and no joke the walk home is uphill and right now there is so much snow and so it means I get to eat tons of cookies without feeling bad because it is a serious workout.

  • Jaxyrose

    Ugh, the radiator is my arch enemy. We also have those pipes that run from floor to ceiling that fill with steam heat. We leave the radiators completely turned down and we are still sweating like a whore in church and breathing like Darth Vader at night. Can’t open the windows due to the constant car alarms, screaming fools and wailing cats in the alley… not to mention the guys who have taken a liking to smoking weed outside our bedroom window…

    • RheelDaze

      I can’t adjust my radiator. No joke, I usually have the AC on. And I have a willing cat IN my apartment.

  • Mary Christine

    I live in Chicago, and I can also attest to all of the above. #1 I got used to quickly; #2 has always been a delicate dance; #3 was a hellacious situation esp at my most recent apt; #4 was more of a problem at my very first apartment in a busier part of town; #5 was never a problem for me, but was a huge problem for some of my friends; #6 WE ALL NEED A BRUNCH SCHEDULE. Nobody has the time to stand around for two hours and then pay fifty bucks for unsatisfying omelets and slow service. Your whole day is gone!
    But still, I love living in the city — I moved here specifically so I wouldn’t be trapped in a car-only lifestyle. Win.

    • RheelDaze

      Ah, yes, Chicago! I would think that’s a city which would be very similar to NY in these respects. Waiting for brunch might be even more excruciating in sub zero temps though. But we all need a bendict from time to time!

  • Food Booze & Baggage

    Hilarious! I would so rather live in the city though than the burbs. I hate shopping as well…I hate the mall particularly…love, love, love online shopping. Though I’m fairly sure our mailman thinks I’m one of those crazy hoarding shoppers (I even buy papertowels and tp, though the mail). We get a lot of boxes.

    • RheelDaze

      Toilet paper through the mail?! That’s pretty funny. I try to limit my deliveries actually cause I don’t have a doorman and if the super can’t sign for them I often end up walking the half a mile to the post office. Better than battling the hordes at the mall I suppose.

  • http://thefearlessscribe.blogs

    The Vegas thing is true. Also, it’s not just a city thing because I live in the burbs part of Las Vegas and people also don’t pick up their dog’s shit. Disgusting a-holes.

    • RheelDaze

      That’s gross. I assume that most people in the suburbs have yards for their dogs to go in so why would they walk them on the street? Ew. Do you have a pool? i’m looking out at a slushy snow storm right now thinking maybe that wouldn’t be so bad after all. What was I thinking?

  • Liz Imler


  • Erika

    I feel like I get to live the “city life” through your posts. I love it.

  • newestmember

    . wait a sec, so somebody leaving a note about how they feel means they’re a nutjob? How’s she gonna live next to him? wow, that’s waaaaay over paranoid, speaking of nutjob

    • RheelDaze

      What’s it like to have absolutely zero sense of humor?

  • M G

    We need a public discourse on the noise. Sirens are seriously overpowered if they can wake up a person living inside a *new* building 16 floors up. Whats the point of that? Is that person supposed to get out of the way too? Not to mention these vehicles are rushing, essentially, to go help someone else’s health, meanwhile the blasts are causing linked issues (mortality) and deafening those on the street. No point doing harm in the quest to do good.