Summer was Dinah’s favorite time to be in New York. Even this summer, the summer of every body’s discontent, people seemed indifferent to the widening recession, stagflation.
Dinah had been young during the first stagflation. It hadn’t affected her personally but she remembered how deeply the subways had cut back. How depressing the stations and trains were. It would take over an hour to get someplace that had taken 20 minutes previously.
People would complain about the trains, about the entire infrastructure in the city, but really did any of that matter? She had friends who lived in Clinton, the former Hell’s Kitchen.
One night her best friend Lainey had spent the night in a car with her boyfriend as she had visitors who had taken over her apartment and made Lainey feel distinctly unwelcome in her own lair.
When Dinah came over the next day she saw a used condom under the car. The hood was known for its ho’s. In the days before people knew about AIDS few people used them. Dinah thought ho’s did sometimes for disease purposes.
Looking at the used condom made Dinah scared but she couldn’t stop staring at it. It was under William’s car but it couldn’t be Lainey’s and Williams. They weren’t that uncouth. She stared and stared until it was about to pour.
She walked up to the sixth floor walk up, meeting an 80 year old woman, a transvestite, and two Gay men on the way up. The heat had the old lady fanning herself and throwing ice down her body. The transvestite was wearing a robe that exposed her body including genitals. Not that Dinah was judgmental or felt sick or anything.
The Hispanic Gay men were chattering a mile a minute. Dinah wasn’t in the mood. She probably never should leave her beautiful West Village hood. At least not when it was 99 degrees and a tenement building smelled of Lysol, cats, pee, and cabbage. Always cabbage even in the hottest weather.
By the time she reached Lainey’s apartment Dinah had lost all reason. Lainey’s guests were away, and Dinah couldn’t help the words that came out of her mouth:
So how was the night of the condom?