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.
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.
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.
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.