Everybody knows that you’re taking our vote for granted. Though we’re going to come out in record numbers, our vote doesn’t count anyway. “Record numbers” means only that a few more people than usual will vote. Here in the Upper West Side of Manhattan we have always taken voting seriously. We vote even though we know our votes means nothing more than a fuck you to Bush; maybe that’s why we are planning on spending hours at the polls on Tuesday.
We’re the people that suffered the most on 9/11, but who the hell cares? There are kids at every street corner asking us for money for you, and we give it as we volunteer to call with our own phones and go to swing states. Have you thanked us?
We pretend that life is good and that we haven’t been affected by 9/11 but the truth is something changed during that time; something intangible, something that had made life more enjoyable. But why should we enjoy life anyway? We do provide the fodder for Woody Allen’s films.
I don’t believe Bin Laden (if that was him) when he said that Bush’s indecision gave them more time. I can believe that Bush thought “it’s New York, how great, we can get rid of all those liberals and I can look like a hero all in one shot.” What is a liberal anyway? I think if Bush knew that the pentagon was going to be hit he might have been a bit more decisive.
I understand that you have to allocate your resources wisely. That shouldn’t have stopped you from coming to New York more often. It’s not just that we’re a city of egocentric people; we’re a city of people who are still hurting.
My brother-in-law was one of two people in his department not to get laid off last week. It didn’t make him feel great. He’s going to have to transfer to Long Island City to a building that the federal government officially declared a target last summer. Also he was friends with the six people in his department who were laid off.
Excuse me, they chose to be laid off as they could have transferred to Texas where the salaries are much lower, the weather is a bitch, it’s not home, the schools stress football and cheer leading, W was governor, and they’ll probably be laid off within a year or two anyway. Another friend of mine, another last man standing, saw most of his coworkers transfer to Charlotte where that company then closed the office as soon as everybody had just completed selling their New York metro area houses and bought a new one in North Carolina.
We’re people with grad degrees, who despite our baby boomer status, have done everything right. We save our money–or try to. I bought a two room coop in 1997. It cost $180,000 and people thought that I was nuts as it doesn’t have room for a dishwasher, let alone a proper kitchen or a washer dryer. I’d like to have basic amenities people in the rest of the country take for granted. My friends realized that I wasn’t nuts a month or so after I went into contract and prices boomeranged. My two rooms are now worth a cool half a mil. I’m not bragging. I realize that if certain things happen it could be worthless tomorrow.
The horrible thing is that I moved to the exact location that I had always pined for and I don’t even enjoy it. I no longer like living in New York; my theme song is the new REM song “Leaving New York.” Like the song says it’s not easy leaving. My parents were both born in Manhattan. This is my home town. The only place that I really know.
Two weeks after 9/11 my mom called me and asked if I thought it had been retribution. I was in full patriot mode then and couldn’t believe she was asking me that. I thought that she was on the fast track to dementia. Fortunately I was able to answer “some people think so, but I don’t know.” I say fortunately because two weeks after that call, my mom fell and died fifteen minutes later. She was conscious for most of that time and talked to a stranger courtesy of her companion button. She cried because she didn’t want to die as she didn’t believe in an afterlife or anything like that. People didn’t want to hear about my mother’s death. it was so unimportant when so many people died in the Towers. She was my mother and her death and the reaction of people that I had considered to be close friends made me bitter. I consider my mom to be another victim of 9/11. It took away her zest for life. She had even shrunk in the month between 9/11 and her sudden death.
Usually when a person dies you’re surrounded with empathy and people who want to help you. Not then. You know how sick this experience made me? Every time somebody I know dies, I get a little jealous of their survivors for the empathy and support that they get.
I’m not supposed to write this story. It’s depressing and nobody wants to hear it. My writing teacher said that it took away from my unique voice that’s usually filled with wry humor. This is my blog and I’ll write what I want to.
I’m rambling and ranting. I grabbed a cab about eight in the morning and went to the Long Island Railroad. After we made the funeral arrangements, I came back to the city and didn’t know what to do with myself. I went into a grocery store. I must have jostled a woman who began screaming at me. On and on she went about how retarded I was for accidentally touching her. It was gross. The store clerks didn’t know what to do.
She was crazy and I should have ignored her, but as I began going up the escalator to the street, I screamed “you bitch, my mother hasn’t been dead thirteen hours.” The store clerks all stood with their mouths open; she screamed even more. I felt no satisfaction. It was then I began to realize that I no longer belonged in a city where only the strong survive because I was no longer one of the strong ones.
As I mourned my mother, I mourned my city and the passing of my youth. It all seemed so tied together and I wanted each passing to be separate. They never will be. When I finally got it together and came out of mourning I realized that I had been right. The city that I loved fiercely was no longer the city I had grown up in, and spent my 20’s, and 30’s thinking that I owned. I could deal with no longer being the prettiest girl in the room; I couldn’t deal with the way bank clerks and managers treated me. But I understood that they were in fear for their jobs and took it out on me.
I like having good health insurance. Since I’m self employed I have to pay all of it myself. My insurance has gone up $1200 a year since 9/11. Within the next few years I probably won’t be able to afford it. I used to be a federal government employee and I did like the health insurance. Sometimes I think the biggest mistake I made in life was leaving the government’s employment. I know people who haven’t worked a day in 20 years, they just sort of show up, and get paid well for doing nothing. Plus they get great benefits.
Yet in Social Security, where I worked, the employees who did do a days work had to do the work of three people since Reagan had tried to dismantle the program. I was in the first external SSI training class in eight years. You want to hear something funny, John? W’s father in his best move was the person who tried fixing Social Security. Are you going to overhaul the federal government employee programs? I don’t mean by giving lower salaries and less benefits to people who work more than the old timers who get the great benefits, but by giving incentives to make good employees want to stay? Winning best dressed white woman in my office three years in a row was hardly an incentive. Especially since I had quit after my second year and had to come to the office picnic (in the center of the Bronx in a parking lot) to pick up my token award. Actually I went to that last picnic because they begged me to. I was good for morale. I make people laugh without trying. Especially when I’m not trying; I’m kind of an idiot savant of wit.
Enough about my misguided attempt to be a civil service employee. I want to know why I’m voting for you
. I like your wife. She’s cool, and real. I think that you’re a man of principle, but I don’t know that for certain. I think that you might be a great president, or because the country’s so screwed up, you might fail miserably. I don’t want that. I still don’t know enough about you to really make an informed decision. It’s not like you’ve been in New York often.
I have no choice, do I? I can’t vote for a man who answers to a father more powerful than his own. My religion is and always has been The First Amendment. My great-uncle cut off his finger so that he didn’t have to serve in an army that was devoted to killing Jews–which we are though non-practicing. Even my father who ended up believing in the war in Viet Nam would have helped my cousins leave the US had they been drafted. Nobody in my family was ever sure if my father really believed in the war in Viet Nam or just wanted to be a counter-point to the rest of us screaming argumentative people who loved nothing more than a good political fight.
Somebody asked me to describe my dad the other day and I couldn’t. It would take a book to explain him and I’m writing it though my sister threatens me with…I’m not sure what. She doesn’t want it known that my dad was a gambler, but she’s the first to mention it at extended family gatherings.
You see John I’m complicated and sometimes convoluted, like my city. I just want to know what you will do for us once you become president. I want to know that we won’t be forgotten or not given our share of funding. We never have–I don’t know why I expect you to change that. I want to know that you will give us more protection and take threats against us seriously and not in your heart of hearts think that those dirty immigrants (and their descendants) deserve to be taken down.
Also, if you’re elected can you cut those alerts? All they do is scare people. I want to know when there is a real threat and what I can do or not do to survive. New Yorkers don’t follow the alerts. We leave that to the rest of the country.
I want to know that if anything happens to my city and it will be my city no matter where I end up living, you will come, comfort us and really help rebuild–unlike the first appointed by the Supreme Court president who used it as another photo-op session. 9/11 was the best thing that ever happened to him. It took the onus off the fake election. It was also the best thing that happened to Rudy.
Rudy was a city joke with no power left. We can take presidents’ and other politicians’ affairs. It almost comes with the job. We can’t take politicians announcing their divorce in a press conference before telling his current wife. Rudy got to save himself, and look like a hero. Maybe he was.
Okay like almost every woman I know I’m in love with Bill Clinton. I believe that our country lost its moral compass when he was impeached. See I don’t believe that fidelity or things like that make a great leader. I don’t believe that a person should be judged for his sexual life. I do believe that intelligence, compassion and strong principles make a great leader. “Strong principles,” meaning a love for country, people, democracy and ethics. “Ethics” in this case meaning doing what a person says he will do, and doing what is in the best interest of the country.
Give me a flip flopper any day. All it means to me is that a person is taking in new information, assessing it and using that information to make an informed decision. I don’t want a president who keeps his hand on the red button and will use it to start war or a bomb or something because he hasn’t bothered to read or listen to the latest information.
I’m Pmdd and I have a weapon called a computer and I can write until the cows come home. It’s not going to change anything but why else have a blog almost nobody knows about or reads?
So John I just want you to win on Tuesday–hopefully this won’t be dragged out. Hopefully it will work out. Please remember a city called New York where one fine Tuesday in September everything changed forever.
While over a thousand service people have been killed so far, remember how many people were killed here. Remember that most of us didn’t support the war in Iraq, though we certainly support the service people. Remember that even the people in New York who weren’t directly hurt have holes in our hearts that will never heal completely.