I put in a page, from The New York Times, about how New York has the third amount of road rage of any city after Miami and Phoenix. As I know Miami well I would have been surprised if it hadn’t topped the list. However, I exempt all members of my family and some former best friends from that list. Maybe I should stick to the first category.
Clyde Haberman, the author, suggests that it’s time that pedestrians get angry. I have been angry since I moved back to Manhattan over eight years ago and realized that the Island that I had so loved to walk in wasn’t truly walkable anymore.
Every person who lives in and/or works in Manhattan has seen cars go through red lights on purpose. Sometimes the driver and/or passengers gives the finger to whoever is trying to cross the street. People make illegal “U”s on West End Avenue, a strictly residential street all the time. How can we show our anger at people who could easily kill us?
The best thing about the Giuliani years was the police car permanently assigned to the corner. But times are tough and that’s a waste of a police person and car.
“Red on red.” Not allowed in New York City, but try telling that to a driver from Jersey. They use the time honored: “I didn’t know, I’m from Jersey” excuse. I first noticed the Jersey driver syndrome when I lived on East 63rd Street and would walk down Park Avenue on Sunday mornings. It would be deserted except for cars from Jersey which sped along obeying no known laws. People would laugh at me, but Haberman mentioned Jersey drivers three times.
Now he will get the credit for this astonishing discovery and I will still be laughed at. That’s okay. I’m a blogger. Found a great quote by Arianna Huffington in The Times “chatter” business section, print version not the online edition unfortunately.
I’m an obsessive, and the Internet rewards obsession
And it rewards lots and lots of money being put into a blog that strung quotes together by George Clooney and said that he wrote the article. Where I come from, New York, actually that might be rewarded by many people. I call it unethical, and have just spent the past ten minutes pacing around my two and a half rooms debating whether or not to keep that sentence in.
Who am I to call Huffington unethical? Maybe behavior like hers should be rewarded. I’m the one person in history to pass a drug test, cleanly, and to fail the lie detector test three weeks before they became illegal for pre-employment hiring because I admitted to something that I had never done.
It sounded like something I might have done so I said that I took a hit of a joint at the workplace when in actuality I had smoked in Fort Greene Park during lunch. That had been about eight years before this test, I never did anything like that again. The two friends that I had smoked with went onto become well-known in their industries and forgot about it until I failed the test. When they and everybody I knew including my parents couldn’t stop laughing.
I have never believed that I truly failed the lie detector test but something bigger. I failed the I-can-forget-when-necessary-test. Or in my case,I passed the I-can-make-something-up-to-make-me-me-me-seem-guilty-test. While I might not believe in heaven or hell, and don’t think that ethical behavior is always or usually rewarded, it’s just easier and about the only thing I can truly pride myself on being.
So sad I know. There’s nothing like calling your mother and hoping that she will comfort you while you’re also waiting for her to yell at you because of the dreaded: “You did what? You smoked pot?….” And instead she began to choke with laughter: “M–a-x, pick-pick up the phone, quickly. You’ll–you’ll never believe what Pia did.”
Then both my parents comforted me.
That day I came to terms with one sad and inimitable fact about me. There is a good side to every defense but shame. Guilt, and the want to do the right thing, keeps me ethical. I hope that I want to do the right thing and am not just the most guilt-ridden person in America, well, I know one other blogger….Truly great thing about obsessive blogging; you get to know many other bloggers well and in ways that you might never get to know people in real-life.
Yes, Arianna, the Internet does reward obsessives. Just maybe in ways that you’re not used to. The intrinsic satisfaction received from real and honest communication. That said I’m a writer and would love to make a lot of money. I am using my blog as a vehicle toward that goal but I do believe and have written extensively on how blogging is a meritocracy that is in its infancy, evolving, and political blogging especially should be about searching for truth, and I’m not sure that it’s right to profit off blogs yet.
My own argument is weakening each second. I spend more time on blogging than most people do at their jobs. I’m a founder of BIO, and have proven that a quirky pink, personal blog with a pin-up written solely by an ACLU member will be read and talked about. I’m torn between considering this an accomplishment, a joke, or an accident of timing. It’s probably a bit of all. Thing most things are.
And I live in New York so I need as much money as I can make. I made a page with an article from The Times, of course, about the cost of living in New York. Remember that this article is talking about the entire city. Since 2003 which is the last year this article talks about prices have risen and risen and risen.
Most New Yorkers live in smaller apartments and have less disposable income than people in the rest of the country. And if you live in a small apartment, and walk the streets of Manhattan, man, do you need to get out of here for the sake of your sanity. My downstairs neighbors apartment is twice as large as mine. When the building went coop, they remained renters and bought a large country house.
Really the only way to remain sane in Manhattan, and not be run over by cars that are running red lights for fun, is to own a second home, but contrary to myth most Manhattanites aren’t in a position to do that. Any decent Memorial Day to Labor Day rental costs about the same as a down payment on a nice home, or the cost of my dental implants.
That last will be happening in two to four weeks. This has been an amazing experience because I did cry into my blog about it. Between the people in my real-life and my blogging communities an experience that should have been shameful to me was enriching, though not in the monetary sense.
Maybe I don’t think in terms of money as much as I should because I have always had. When I was 20 and my dad almost lost everything including the house, I dropped out of school. Something that I really wanted to do anything, and actually asked for permission as I knew that my dad wouldn’t let me take a loan out and find someway to pay for it.
I will never forget how relieved my parents looked when I asked. I was just 20, as somebody I know won’t be saying much longer, but I already knew that if somebody could make, lose, make and lose several small fortunes he could do it again. It was never about money to me. My mom said that I was the only person he could talk to then. His 20 year old renegade hippie daughter.
Because I knew my dad I could always see the different sides to an argument. When we talked about the stock market and business we also talked about politics, social issues, the war in Viet Nam. He forced me to understand that many sides of an argument have credence.
We had a complex-compound relationship and fought constantly. Yet I feel my father in the streets of New York. It’s a stumbling block in my quest to leave New York. It feels almost as if I was betraying him. I know he would want me to be truly happy, and…..
My father’s best friend’s law offices were on the 86th floor of The Empire State Building. My dad used it as his office and for awhile had an office of his own there. It’s the building that I most associate with my father, and I have always loved it.
Happy 75th birthday to the Eighth Wonder of the World. May you always be there.
I was going to go to Montauk tomorrow which is technically in the town of East Hampton, but a world away. Think it’s too cold for me. It’s always something weather-related to me.
Do think my dad would understand that I’m leaving not because I hate New York but because it’s more expensive, stressful, I saw an underbelly after 9/11 most people didn’t, and maybe most of all, the magical energy, that enchanted my dad for a lifetime, has lessened so much