September Surrender: Day 11
What I’m Letting Go: Keep Your Head Up
I don’t use my phone as I walk around here. I’m different in that respect. Everyone around the city just seems to be far more plugged in than I can even conceive at this point. They’ve all got their airbuds in, heads craned down, focusing on all the people who aren’t currently here. Mostly I’m just confused as to how many people actually have someone they want to talk to. Still, it’s bothersome seeing just how many people aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.
Years ago, when I used to drive into the city for work, I was leaving to go home after a long shift. I was tired and cranky and absolutely dying for a cigarette, even though I was trying to quit at the time. It was around 8:00PM, so traffic out wasn’t going to be too bad, it was getting across town to the tunnel that was the problem. On one side street, I had just gotten the green light when a girl walked into the crosswalk, confidently, just texting on her phone. She had walked right into traffic not even realizing she didn’t have the light because she was so engrossed in whatever was on that screen. Ridiculously, she stopped in the middle of the crosswalk to text. I sat there for a moment, baffled by the scene before I gave one quick honk, to which she looked at me, screamed, and ran across the street. I was livid at what had just happened, but said nothing as I passed by and calmly made my way home.
What if I wasn’t a cautious driver? What if I had been an asshole and attempted to zoom forward? This girl, no older than me, could have gotten herself killed and it would’ve been too late to even figure out why. She wasn’t in my reality, and I was not in hers. I have to let go of thinking that everyone is on the same page as I am, especially as it feels I’m in the minority around here. I may think I’m in the right, but everyone sees things differently. I can almost see the appeal of texting and walking, because I sure feel like I’m shutting out what’s actually out there the more I look down. But I do a disservice to what’s really going on the more I pretend it’s not. Catch me listening to some music with my wired headphones. Nothing more.
What I’ve Discovered: It’s Where I Live, Though
New York City isn’t necessarily a happy place to be right now. It’s like it keeps trying to be something it’s not: a healthy, functioning, financially sound city. Right now, it’s the opposite. Which is why I don’t go out there that much. A girlfriend of mine called the other day who lives in Chicago. While I have fond memories of that place, she’s in many ways worse off than I am, considering the gun violence and the idiot they installed as Lightfoot’s successor. Or I could be in San Francisco where the streets are full of needles and literal human shit. All these big cities are run by Democrats, by the way. Nice social experiments you guys are running.
Anyway, things here are just not right, no matter how much the Mayor’s office keeps trying to tell everyone we’re back. A Raising Cane’s chicken place recently opened up in Times Square, which is a fast food joint I had never tried before, but have watched plenty of mukbang YouTubers eat on camera. The chicken and the “Cane’s sauce” always looked tasty, so when it officially opened, I wanted to give it a whirl. I never like eating out so much anymore, so I had planned on going home to eat, when I had the bright idea of just eating outside. There’s all these little spots to just sit in Times Square, so I was going to go over to 43rd and Broadway and sit. When I got to the spot, there were two guys sleeping in broad daylight not too far away. I felt like it wasn’t morally right to sit here and enjoy my food while people were suffering, so I grabbed an Uber and left. It’d be like this anywhere I go in the city pretty much. I tried reading my book one time in Columbus Circle and saw three homeless men sleeping around the monument. Even some tourists took pictures of them in front of it, carefully cropping out what lay beneath.
It was then I realized that not all realities we occupy are pleasant ones. I can pretend this is still a great place to be despite the mayor’s delusions, but perhaps I’m in one myself. Every big city has their problems, but they haven’t been this bad in a very long time. And I resent all those people who said I should stop complaining about 2023 NYC because “it was worse in the 80’s.” Well, did the 80’s have an influx of illegal migrants who are given everything courtesy of the taxpayer? I think not. Each problem needs to be viewed through the lens we’re currently looking through. And I think some people need more than a peek from afar.
What I Hope to Find: The Best Care Out There
I’ve been calling places all day to get information about where we can put my mother. Everything sounds good, all these facilities seem competent enough to provide all the care that she needs. What we’re really worried about is money. New Jersey nursing homes aren’t cheap, and my income isn’t enough to supplement the monthly cost. Granted, because my dad is a veteran, we can get discounts, but care is expensive, and I’m not a billionaire.
“We’re fucked,” my dad said when I told him the number. I told him we’re not, and that it’s okay to feel hopeless in the moment. Somehow we’re going to figure this out. I don’t know. I can’t know right now. But it’s all for my mom and the reality we’re all currently living in.
No one wants this to happen to their loved one. And no one really expects it either. All I can really hope for is the timeline we’re currently in to have the good ending instead of the bad one. Considering it’s me involved, of course things are going to work out for the best. All of it is a process, done one step at a time. In real-time, it goes slow. But still it goes. I’ll just be here, accepting the truth and always hoping for the best.