"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." -Juan Ramon Jiminez

Friday, July 02, 2004

New York - James Joyce on your ass

My aunt and uncle from California arrived today. He's never seen New York. It's only 20 minutes away. I decide to go. We take the Sienna that we just leased today. New car smell. Olfactory - of or relating to one's sense of smell. We park in a lot. Tickets are cheap. Money can't buy love. We pass an apartment building. I live here. Dreams of cockroaches and going to heaven; sharing a bunkbed with my brother. I'm wearing flip flops. Jay-Z tells me when I'm in the mood I rock the S-Dot Tennis Shoes, at the interlude I rock the Gucci Flip Flops... It should be okay. We walk for a long while, and ride the bus for a long while. TARGET NASDAQ BMW. I close my eyes on the bus.

We get off in Greenwich Village. I am the most poorly dressed man in New York. No dad is. I need a haircut. It doesn't look good long. It's too straight. This shirt is crappy. At least my flip flops look okay. We enter Chinatown. Nothing on the street is real. The underground economy is not included in the Gross Domestic Product. Drug deals and sales of used goods don't help our economy, at least on paper. It's a lot cleaner in Munich. No Chinatown in Munich. Too many people smoke there. New York is filthy. Cobblestone streets are a bitch to walk on. We go down steps into Hop Kee. This is the best Chinese restaurant I've ever eaten at.

I can barely walk. We go to the South Street Seaport. My uncle takes pictures. Smile. Cobblestone streets are a bitch to walk on. Water is so strange. Liminality, the space between. Water fills the gaps. We walk to Ground Zero. A scar is often worn proudly, a sign that you were hurt but survived. I got my first scar here when I was a kid, in a train station. New York has character. Terrorists would never attack Munich. The sun sets on a ruin. The scanner at the train station won't take our card. I got my first scar after my foot got caught under one of those rotating doors. A good Samaritan stops and helps a dying man on the side of the road. My mother thanks the man, probably a doctor.

I sit next to a black man blind in his left eye. My family sits further up so I get up to join them. His left eye is dull. How long did it take to grow his hair that long? Mr. Adams assigns us a homework assignment. The results of my implicit association test: You display a strong preference for white over black. The man sees me staring. He waves to me when he gets off the train. I'm going to write about you later. Times Square. ABC NBC BROADWAY. An invisible man passes gas on an unsuspecting crowd. No one will ever know him; no one will ever see him again. It's me. Quiet bus ride back to the parking lot. We play Zeppelin as we drive away. Hudson river to the left, a twinkling city and eventually riverside park to the right. My dad jogs in the past. Sparkling George Washington Bridge. Adopt a highway. Upper Level. Goodbye.


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