June Renew: Day 6
I was taking it slow as I walked home from work today. Not because it was hot (it was) but because I was just observing the city around me. It’s really not the best time to be a New Yorker. The city has ongoing problems its leaders don’t seem to have any intention on fixing. Crime is spiking, we’re force-masking toddlers, keeping failed private-sector mandates in place, and there’s a general malaise seeping into its people who don’t seem to want to change a dang ol’ thing. My personal vendetta is against the neverending Covid testing tents on every corner, taking up space and making the sidewalks look like a damn circus. Because that’s what it is. An unamusing park.
I’m not proud to be a New Yorker right now. But I had hope for the city for the first time in a long time today.
I’ve spoken before about the rallying cry from the Twitter superiority-complex: Get out of cities. Wouldn’t it be nice if I had the means to just pack up and go right now. But where would I go? Who would help me gather my things? Who will cover the closing costs of my apartment? Well, that’s no one’s business but my own. And right now, that pressing need to run and flee doesn’t seem to be present. In my personal life, I often say “there’s nothing here for me.” I’m not sure what came over me today, but that feeling seemed far, far away. It made me reassess who I’m actually mad at: The people in charge, or the city itself. And I think my anger is quite misplaced.
Don’t get me wrong. This place is currently a shithole. “New York Tough” has become “New York Soft” as people here have no problem opening their mouths and allowing whatever The State spoonfeeds in to slide right down their throats. But I like the lifestyle the city provides to me. No one bothers me. I can be the crazy lady on the street, antagonizing all the Covid testing people (sorry, God), or singing on the street, lounging on my roofdeck, running to the grocery store a block away with no bra on, cozying up in my beautiful little apartment, taking long walks by myself, just sitting, observing, people watching, writing about it all. I realized today it’s not the city’s fault things are bad. It’s the bad people running it. Well, they don’t run me. And you can call me crazy, but I have such hope for this place right now. As long as I create a good lifestyle for myself while I’m still here.
The fight is on within it, no matter how much the Mayor or the City Council think they’re running the show. I have a good feeling that real tried and true New Yorkers will reclaim what we once felt that made this city so special. I literally have no idea how we even go about that, but maybe the feeling right now is enough. I’m starting by reclaiming the phrase “New York Tough.” They’ve bastardized it through the pandemic’s fear campaign, and I’m just not going to let them do it anymore. They don’t get to dictate my lifestyle and I don’t have to justify it to anyone. This is where I’m at. This my city. My country. My life. It will be just as I wish for it. The first step is admitting I’m ready to change the script. I’m here, I’m not just going to abandon it in its time of need.
Will it all fall? Not while I have something to do with it. Give me time. I’ll think of something. I’m New York Tough after all.