Aerelon: No one that was born poor wants to stay poor

Mona Lisa on a NYC Building

1983
Me: Why do I have to know what a salad fork looks like?
Him: (exasperated) Because, one day you’ll sit down with people that have a fork for salads and you’ll need to know which one to use. Now’s what’s that?
Me: Soup spoon.
Him: (beaming) Yes, soup spoon. That’s right. Good.

Thanks for taking the time to write a comment or email. Found it all really interesting the very different views people had. It’s funny but minorities & native-New Yorkers saw one thing (the second exchange) while non-minorities & non-New Yorkers pretty uniformly saw another (the first exchange).

As I wrote, that was the entire conversation; she never even bothered to respond. And rather than deal with any of the points I made, she sniffed, “Ugh, Logan, ugh! Privileged sentiments bore me.”

Like Nietzxche said, “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” She’s so smugly certain she’s right, she has no need to respond to new information.

Switching gears, you can always tells someone that used to be fat. They lumber. They walk as if they still carry the weight.

When I did lose the weight, onea of first things I did was ask my mom to buy me a nice sweater. She brought me to Alexander’s and I picked out a grey sweater from a bin. Got it big just in case I got fat again.

Wore that sweater proudly cause I got it at a department store. At the time, we didn’t usually get our clothes from a department store. When I told Grace in school about it, she laughed and said that only poor people shopped at Alexander’s and that I probably got it from the bargain bin. So I put the sweater away and only wore it at home.

It took me years to unlearn how to walk like fat person. Just like it took me years so that people didn’t immediately say, “You sound like you’re from Queens.” And years to know that what other people think of me is nonea my business.

Still, gotta admit that “privileged sentiments” made me pause. But not for reasons y’might think.

That I don’t sound like someone born to penniless immigrant parents outside an industrial park in Queens, New York, I take as a particular compliment. No one that was born poor idealizes it, only rich folk that have no clue.

Take it as a testimony to those parents who made sure, even though we grew up with halfa nuthin, we still got a proper upbringing – jia1jiao4. They taught me manners, how to love reading, and how to figure out which one was the salad fork.

“Privileged sentiments” – gotta tell my mom. She’ll take that as a particular compliment too.

And now, geekiness:

Location: hopefully Croxley later
Mood: lethargic
Music: You got the talking down, just not the listening
YASYCTAI: Seriously, stop idealizing things you know nuthin about. NYC in 1993 is hardly NYC when it was gritty. Try five years earlier on for size. (2 mins/1 pt)
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NYC isn’t what it used to be. Thankfully.

Times Square, NYC on a summer night

Her: You know, when you go out, you don’t need to eat everything they give you.
Me: (staring blankly)
Her: (sighing) Nevermind…

It’s holiday party time. Got client events at fancy hotels, steakhouses, ballrooms, and hidden bars on tap this time around. This week, heading to Le Parker Meridien.

Not sure if it beats all-you-can-eat wings and pitcher beer but I’ll find out. Should probably hit the gym. Later.

———-

People who aren’t from here often comment about how they miss the “grit” and “coolness” of NYC in the 80s and 90s.

Cannot tell you how much that annoys me.

For anyone that grew up here during that time, no one misses it. It’s one thing if you come to city as if you’re a tourist at the zoo and get to go home to a nice colonial in the suburbs. It’s another if you have to walk by hookers and over bums to get home off Times Square.

People talk about NYC my home when it was a hell-hole back in the 70s-90s as if it was a movie and y’can just turn it off when you’re done. Lemme tell you that being a fat, awkward, minority nerd during that time was unpleasant.

Very unpleasant.

If you wanna see an idealized NYC where you’re safe walking down the street but can still oogle the seediness without smelling the urine or taking knee to the gut off 14th street, rent a film.

You don’t see me driving to your lawn in Connecticut saying, “This is so sterile and safe – but bears and wolves, now that’d be cool. Oooh, imagine if there was one chasing someone right now! Not us, of course. Or anyone we love. Someone else. Maybe a fat Chinese guy with glasses reading Sherlock Holmes.”

Location: Looking out a rainy window
Mood: irritated
Music: Good times never seem so good – so good, so good, so good
YASYCTAI: Stop idealizing things and be grateful for what you got. (2 mins/1 pt)
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Eat what you kill

Gated Apartment downtown NYC

Been all sortsa busy these days.

My biggest client that went away just came back with a staggering amount of work for me to do. The only issue’s that everything’s due in three weeks. But when your life is eat what you kill, y’gotta hustle when y’can.

It’s funny but the last time I wrote about taking every gig that comes in was almost exactly a year ago.  October-December’s usually my busiest time of year so the hustle begins again.

So early last Friday, was down in the West Village at places where handbags cost more than my mortgage. Came back that night and needed to unwind so I cooked up some Greek Kotopoulo Skorthato. It reminds me of my childhood cause I grew up with a lotta Greeks.

Usually my year begins in September but this year, Fall came late. Feels like the year – and everything else – is starting again.

Speakinga which, just found out that my 20 year high school reunion just happened. 20 years.

Didn’t know anyone there really, and I had all of that work, so never bothered going. Being a nobody in high school’s fine, I think. Being a nobody 20 years later’d be a lot worse.

There was this girl named Grace that made my life a living hell when I was a kid. Found out later, her family life was pretty bad. When I heard Plato’s saying, Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle, I thought of her.

Wonder if she ever found any peace or just continued to be hard and mean.

As for me, well, I got my pad. I got my people. I got my poison. Got everything I wanted.

Also got deadlines so catch you Wednesday?

Gated Apartment downtown NYC

Location: Brooklyn
Mood: busy
Music: You got your time to find your voice
YASYCTAI: Get it while the getting’s good. (time/1 pt)
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Anniversary II

I thought she was too tough to ever go away

Clock on 73rd and Broadway

This conversation happened around 1982.

Me: Is it dead?
Her: (taking cigarette out) Nah. (exhaling smoke and looking up) I think it just fell outta it’s nest.
Me: We have to help it, we have to get it back!
Her: Fine, fine. Hold on. (leaning over to pick up the robin in one hand and with her cigarette in the other, climbs up tree, deposits bird, climbs back down) There – y’happy?
Me: (beaming) Yes, grandma.
Her: (smiling then putting cigarette back in mouth) Good. Cm’on kid, your mom’s waiting.

We all thought y’were too tough to ever go away.

It’s raining here, which sounds about right

Location: my hot room
Mood: only ok
Music: And rain will make the flowers grow

Pity Party

Gary Coleman passed away last week. The odd thing for me was that I thought about him the day before he died cause of something my brother said to me about ten years ago.

Me: Feel bad for the guy. It must be hard to have it all and lose it all.
Him: Well, which would you rather be? A guy who once had it all only to lose it or just a dude that never had anything?

Thought about that conversation cause I saw four old friends last week.

The first is a President over at this $54 billion company; not a vice-president, the president of his entire division. Hadn’t seen him in four years cause…well, embarrassment’s the only word for it.

See he’n everyone else thought I was gonna be someone. Instead, had a few rough years.

But he came to open the door for me to his floor personally anyway and gave me a huge hug in front of all his employees.

Was very touched.

The second was a buddy from law school. The third, PB. The fourth, another old friend.

Onea them asked me a question that hit me hard.

Him: What happened to you, man?
Me: (long pause) Dunno. (thinking) Life, I suppose…dunno…

Threw myself a little pity party on Friday, donated about four suits that didn’t fit me anymore.

Then I had this conversation on Memorial Day.

Her: (motioning over to the television) There should be more stories like this, about the people that survive and have to live like this.
Me: You’re right.

A woman once said something like, the job of the soldier’s to protect us; and the our job’s to remember them.

Sounds like I got the better of the bargain and for that I’m grateful.

A one day pity party’s plenty, especially for a lucky guy like myself.

Keep getting these chances I don’t deserve.

Location: Madison Avenue
Mood: hot
Music: feeling lonely I had a life to give many dreams to live
YASYCTAI: Throw the party if y’gotta but keep it short. (60 mins/1 pts)

Thought of kindly

Location: in fronta three screens all damn day
Mood: drained
Music: not sleeping, cold wind blowing in the middle of the night

Green arrow traffic signal in NYC

Spent the last four days cranking on a project. Just submitted it to the client a sec ago. So here I am with you, like old times.

Spoke to another old friend used to see every day. Lost touch, as things go. She had some static that I heard about so dropped her a line.

Her: Y’know, you gave me advice about things that I tell people to this day.
Me: Like what?
Her: (thinking) Well, a long time ago, I used to have to walk through this sketch alley to get home so I carried a knife with me. You told me to carry a small metal pen instead and showed me how to use it. I’ve been telling people that for years.
Me: (laughing) No kidding!
Her: (laughing) Yep. Plus I tell all my girlfriends so there’s a group of women here in San Fran that carry metal pens, all because of you.

Recalled another girl that dropped me a note a while ago thanking me for something I wrote once. Suppose it’s like that Donne poem, y’know – islands and all of that.

Funny how the things we say and do live on beyond our memory of them. It’s good t’be thought of kindly.

YASYCTAI: Call up an old friend for no real reason. (45 mins/1 pt)

Technically…

Location: a law firm off Grand Central
Mood: excited
Music: Don’t you know that the years will come and go?

Bar at the Soho Grand in NYC

Brother
: Remember when he says, Now everybody’s talking about this new decade – that was 20 years ago.
Me: Yeah I remember. Was a freshman in college.
Him: (laughing) Well, now it the start of a new decade again.
Me: Technically next year’s the start of a new decade.

Nuthin exciting to tell you about the past week. The lady and I went out for a fine dinner and were in bed by the time the ball dropped.

What’d you do for 1999? Don’t recall it at all myself. Hafta add that to my lista fuzzy memories.

This time however, woke up early the next day to see the rents – they showed the lady picturesa me when I was a fatty-fat-fat. Hadta drop off the car; too expensive to keep a car in the city these days so that was onea the things that had to go for 2010.

Wrestled with a kid that was born the year I went to college. Demolished me, course. Spent the resta the weekend popping ibuprofen. Did manage to have a drink at the Soho Grand.

The “00s” are ending and the “10s” re beginning. It’s a sobering thought but I’ll never see the “00s” again.

Him: Technically, every year’s the start of a new decade. S’like that Mitch Hedberg joke when a guy says to him, Lemme show you a picture of me when I was younger. And he goes, Technically, every picture of you’s a picture of you when you was younger.

Today, start working at an office for more scratch. Still eat-what-you-kill but with a better view.

Lotsa changes for this new decade.

I’m still around, though. See you Thursday.

YASYCTAI: Write down whatcha did for 2009. Cause you’re gonna forget (10 minutes/1 pt)

You will

Location: my usual black chair
Mood: groggy
Music: a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee


Me
: You mean you watch the whole thing? Y’don’t just fast forward to the action?
Him: No, I want to hear the plot.
Me: Plot?! There’s no plot; it’s always something like: guy shows up to deliver pizza, girl steps outta the shower, and oh, she has no money to pay him. What to do? What to do? Oh my! I’ve appeared to drop my towel…
Him: (laughing) I still like to see what happens.
Me: Y’know what happens – nuthin that ever happens in real life, that’s what happens. Grand thespians, they’re assuredly not.
———-
Been looking at a bunch of ebook readers lately for myself.

In NYC, the average rent is $30-35 per square foot per year. A bookshelf takes up about a three square feet of space. I would need three for all of the books I got. That’s a nine square foot footprint, or $270-$315 a year for rent just to keep my books.

Ergo, ebook reader.

The issue is that all of the screens’re too small. Don’t wanna have to get surgery on my eyes to repair them to save $270-$315; that makes no sense. The Kindle DX has a huge screen but no way to zoom; the iRex reader has a huge screen and zoom but’s crazy expensive and dim.

So, looks like I gotta wait.

Hate waiting for the future to come. According to television, we were supposta all get jet cars by now.

And television never lies.

———-

Then again – was 20 when those ads in the vid above first came out.

Funny thing is that every single onea those things the guy said turned true.

In fact, I’ve done all but threea those things he said.

Listen to the voice, know who he is?

YASYCTAI: Be hopeful. You’ll live longer. And happier. (525,600 minutes /3 pts)
www.loganlo.com

Lovely Tupperware

Location: 23:00 yest, with a large knife in my small bathroom
Mood: ill
Music: Too late for the young gun This is the year of the knife

(c) bernard chatreau

Old NYC graffti subway car by bernard chatreau

Me: That’s not how it looks.
Her: How does it look?
Me: At dusk, the 7 train would be packed with Asian teenagers. That’s totally fake.

Just saw the remake of Pelham 123 – the last scene shows someone riding the 7 train pretty much by his lonesome. The 7 train, in the early evening, is never that empty. Moreover, even when it is slightly empty, there’s always a dozen or so Asian teenagers on board at any given time.

I should know, I was onea them growing up.

1 hour 14 minutes into the film, there was a single shot of an Asian for a second.

Not onea those Asian activists – in fact this may be my only post in three years that even discusses what I am and not who I am – but it does bug me when we’re completely figuratively whitewashed outta of a movie.

Then again, it doesn’t really matter to me. Cause film’s all fantasy anywho. Reality is, we’re all up in this joint.

Funny thing is, who’s fantasy is it where you see onea us for only a second?

Have you met us? We’re lovely.

And when you order food from us, we give you tupperware.

———-

Me: Got a small abscess in my leg like last time and just spent the last 20 minutes digging it out with a knife and toothpicks. Question, do I have to keep hacking at my leg until I see blood?
Him: You may be the dumbest smart person I know.

Word of advice: If you find yourself low on rum, with a painful wound, a large hunting knife, several toothpicks, some gauze and alcohol, it’s never rarely a good idea to do self-surgery. A conference with the Professor indicates that perhaps the wrong course of action was chosen.

I’m my own worst enemy, a danger to myself. In other news, I’ll be visiting the pharmacy tomorrow. Purpose: Painkillers and antibiotics.

Said we’re lovely, never said we’re particularly bright. I mean, we’ll stomp all over that curve but still…

YASYCTAI: If you had to, would you know how to take care of a wound? If not, pick up a book. (120 mins/1 pt)

Affected

My year still begins in September

An alfresco restaurant in downtown NYC.

My phone’s been ringing again. Nuthin steady, nuthin huge, a trickle, really. But it’s something. And after months of nuthin, something’s good.

It’s a bit odd, to be busy again with things for pure monetary exchange. The humdrum of work again.

But it’s a good thing; the cadence of waking up, making coffee – for two oftentimes – PB&J; or oatmeal, Good Morning America, and then…work?

Well, it’s hardly work yet. But it’s something.

Always said that my year begins in September. The rhythm of regularity. Am looking forward to it now more than in years.

It’s weird, to be excited for the coming monotony.

———-

September 11th again
. Has it been eight years already?

Someone told me that I dwell too much on it considering I wasn’t “affected.”

Didn’t know what to say, so I changed the subject. How can one explain what it’s like?

Location: same black chair; different room
Mood: busy
Music: Got me affected, spun me 1-80 degrees