Guest Post: Operation Get the Fuck Out of New York

So, I need to start this rant by giving credit where credit it due. Evil Molly is my inspiration for “Operation Get the Fuck Out of New York.” She’s already done it and was kind enough to share her “teachings” on everything from picking a moving company to keeping my eyes on the prize.

I’m originally from North Carolina. Everyone who meets me will learn this fact within about 20 seconds, half that on a bad day. I am definitely one of those transplants who has talked about getting out of New York after my first year here. That was five years ago. That’s right; I’ve been in the depths of hell since January 2006.

When I got here, I moved into a “room” in a railroad apartment in Greenpoint. I took this place off Craigslist without visiting and trustingly mailed a check for three months rent to the two guys. I am an idiot. Here’s what I discovered within about 10 minutes of my arrival:

  • They lied. About everything. For example, it wasn’t a room—it was a hallway that was closed off. There was no heat (don’t forget it’s January). It was “furnished”—with a futon mattress on the floor that smelled like unwashed hipsters and beer.

 

  • These people were not normal. There were rules about which sponges I was allowed to use. Sponge rules.

 

  • These two dudes were old, underemployed and completely neurotic (Ed note: This pretty much sums up everyone in NYC posting on CL). One of them sold vacuum tubes on E-bay AS HIS ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME.

Real old dudes not as cute.

  • The G train, the only one in Greenpoint, is NOT a direct line to Manhattan nor is it in any way shape or form a convenient mode of transportation. And it never comes, so you’re always late.

  • Being an intern and making $20 per hour is like being a slave given NYC prices.

 

You may be forced to this to buy your ramen.

But somehow, I feel like I had to tough it out to prove that I could conquer New York. So, I stayed. And have I suffered for it. Between harsh winters, blazing summers, rats INSIDE MY APARTMENT, cockroaches, being homeless thanks to a dip-shit roommate, bad bosses and little pay, sometimes I question my sanity. I often look back and think, “Where did the damage to my brain occur that makes me stay here.” If you knew me in college and the few years after, I’m sure you have some theories or helped incur this damage, but I digress. As the song goes, New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.

Now, as I pack up my beautiful, reasonably priced, rent-stabilized apartment across from Prospect Park and quit my well-paid corporate gig, I can reflect on the person I’ve become. New York didn’t just make me into a bitter, undersexed 30-something (although that last part is painfully true). This place has also taught me a lot about the person I want to be and what I value most in life. Here are a few examples in no particular order:

  • Relationships. I have incredible friends here who help me laugh at the absurdity of NYC, brought me to Brooklyn, took me to Fire Island (the best part about living in the city), and have counseled me through all of the laughs and tears. They make living here such an incredible experience and leaving so hard.
  • Nature. I miss the smell of fresh-cut grass, walking across a dewy lawn, hiking in the trees, swimming in dirty lakes, getting my feet muddy (dog shit doesn’t count) and having a garden.
  • Dogs. I’m getting a dog from the pound, maybe within minutes of my arrival.
  • Being outside. There is nothing better than a rooftop party in the summer, unless it’s drinking in your front yard every day.
  • Actually seeing live music. Despite the fact that every band ever performs here, you still won’t get to see them because there are millions of other “fans” gobbling up the tickets. (Ed note: Then talking and using their camera phones throughout the show…)
  • Food. I will miss the food in Brooklyn, especially Thai and Indian done properly.
  • Real men. I need a boyfriend, one who can use power tools, drive a stick shift and doesn’t wear black skinny jeans. He should preferably not be from Philly and adore college basketball. I’m in the market. I’m also not afraid to say this since I’m leaving behind NYC, and the she-men who can’t do any of these things or are all from Philly.
  • Fuck commuting. I never again want to go to work in a high-rise building full of bankers, sit in a cubicle, or take the 4/5 train during rush hour. I’m sorry, environment, I’m getting a car. My compromise will be to bike as often as possible, something I’m too scared to do in New York.

I wouldn’t trade anything about the last six-plus years, and I’m glad I’m getting out with my sanity reasonably intact. But damn, I never want to hear someone screaming about Jesus at the top of her lungs at 7:45 a.m. on my way to work. Ever. Again. Fuck the subway. I’m going to go where life is good and drinking whiskey on the front porch is the norm.

Clint Eastwood may or may not be included.

Ed note: Godspeed and much, much happier days to come.

 

You’re Stupid! Advice from Evil Molly…

Dilemmas! We all got ’em. Now you can write me at “You’re Stupid” for my lowdown, evil good advice.

Dear You’re Stupid:

How do you control the urge to punch people on the subway especially those who step all over you and shove you around?

And:

I’m sick and tired of people taking phone calls and texting during dinner or when you’re hanging out one-on-one?

Or:

How do you break up with a friend?

Signed,

Escape from NY

Dear Escape from NY:

Easy, you leave NY.

Ok, well, life usually isn’t that easy. Plus, these are also outside NY problems. I’ll address in order as how my Most Perfectly Righteous Self would address them. Then the real-world answer.

Subway: You gotta be careful with this one. Before beginning any subway confrontation you have to factor into the equation what their Crazy-Ass Response will be—and whether you can handle it. I had a roommate who got punched in the face because she told a guy to quit oogling and touching her. Should she have told him off? Absolutely. Are you ready to take a punch to the face in return? Mmm… debatable.

Size them up and see who else is around. A typical, “Excuse me, would you mind scooting over?” or “Please don’t shove me” is quite handy. I definitely bitched at people to move it along into the cars and make some space, and while I got a few dirty looks, they did it. Sometimes some killer eye contact will suffice–in a packed car once, getting the leg rubdown from some little Napoleon, I eyeballed him into not only stopping, but extreme embarrassment and shame. Oh, the shame!

Most people are dumb lambs being led to the slaughter who will avoid confrontation at all costs. Use this to your advantage. Carve out your space—especially if it’s from some pigdog investment banker.

Phone/Texting: Ask them to stop. Really. If they won’t, tell them it’s rude. If they still won’t stop, don’t go to dinner/drinks with them anymore. Really. They’re not there anyway. They can sit there with their drink and their Droid and go to town playing Angry Birds or other stupid App and contemplate why more people don’t ask them to do things.

Checking e-mail and texting egregiously during social gatherings in the aughts is what call waiting was to the ’90s…if I’m not important enough to not click over on, then I have no need to talk to you anyway.

Friends: I recently read a brilliant essay (book “We Learn Nothing” by Tim Kreider, out June 12.) on why breaking up with a friend is unlike anything else—it’s not like a relationship where you definitely have The Talk. And as such, most people just let it go gently into that good night.

In an ideal world, you tell the mofos exactly what is up and why you will no longer be eating tostadas and gossiping about NYC Man Babies with them. However, this may backfire. For any friendship breakup, I advise you weight the Pain vs. Reward factor of the transaction. Is breaking up going to be more of a pain in your ass over the long run? Or will it be quick and nearly painless, like ripping off a Band-Aid?

If it’s going to cause you more grief, I suggest going the spineless route, a la ignoring texts, calls and the occasional e-mail until they fade into complete and total obscurity. Because, really, what is the good of having all this avoidance technology that we overpay for from Verizon if you can’t fucking use it to your advantage? It’s like having a bitchy secretary who is really excellent at screening calls for you, your own little Joan Harris (sexiness not included)! And that is worth the monthly-unlimited wireless plan’s weight in gold.

Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?

Got a question for You’re Stupid? Please write me at evilmolly@gmail.com or post it below in comments.

Living in NYC has turned me into a racist, elitist asshole

Oh, where do I start with this one…As I rode the filthy, filthy train home last night, and was happily pondering all the fun things I got to do on a random Monday night (badmouth the Strokes; reject not-so-cute boys in crappy Midtown bars; sarcastically sing “Empire State of Mind” while exiting the actual Empire State Building—“New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of / There’s nothin’ you can’t do…” ), I also got a quick reminder about everything I despise about this town.

“Oh, God, I’m not looking forward to the next 40 to 45 minutes,” I said before I got on the Q Train, which is supposed to be Express but moves at the glacial pace of a 95-year-old shuffling to the bathroom in the morning.

Nowhere else are you reminded of what an elitist you’ve become than on the subway. And why must the subway always smell like someone just shit their pants?

Anyway, I digress. Because I know that someone has probably shit their pants. And they’re right next to me.

These are things I need not know any longer.

I know, I know. When I was a wee lass growing up in white trash Iowa I dreamt of living in a community where diversity and different races and economic levels could live and love and thrive, all in one shining beacon of civilization.”

Utopia...known as "Planet Unicorn, heyyyyy..."

Now, after several years in marginal neighborhoods in large American metropolises, I know that this dream is bullshit. I’ll tell you why.

Let’s use the Fightin’ Akhtars as an example. See, the Akhtars are my downstairs neighbors. And they are assholes. Also, I think they’re Pakistani, but that’s beside the point.

When we looked at this apartment—and I saw the two little kids in the window, I had my reservations. Not because I dislike Pakistanis. Because I dislike kids—loudmouth, irritating, early-rising kids. I did not want to live above kids. But since the place seemed great big and awesome, I did what everyone does in NYC does when negotiating what they can and can’t live with when confronted with a living situation—and trust me, no one, unless you’re P. Diddy or Madonna, gets everything they want out of a NYC living situation—I thought, “How bad could it be?”

Fuck me. If you have to ask this question, move on. Move on as fast as your boots can carry you. Because, like cockroaches, if you see two little idiot kids hanging out in the window, there are probably more.

Yes, Apu is Indian, but I just love using pictures of Apu.

The Akhtars have become the “Fightin’ Akhtars” because they are loud. And mean to one another. And just general all-around shits. Oh, and did I mention that there’s at least seven or eight of them camping out in an apartment that’s basically built for four people? The father is the worst—he yells at his family constantly. Oh, and I love the hypocrisy of it all when I hear him doing his daily prayers, as if being some sort of Holy Man makes up for the fact that you are a sexist, domineering asshole who treats your wife and kids like shit.

Additionally, they are constantly cooking disgusting smelling shit—Roommate Jim has dubbed it “curry farts”—that bombards our apartment, no matter how many windows I open or fucking fancy candles I’m burning. Also, they control the thermostat for my place, which is freezing all the time, so that’s another reason they suck.

Also, Patriarch Akhtar? Not a fan of women. I am the heathen, demon white woman who lives upstairs making her own money, whose fornicating, free-wheelin’ ways are burning sins in the eyes of Allah.

Here’s an example of the first time I went downstairs to tell them to pipe down after he’d been yelling at his family for about an hour straight round midnight.

Me, pounding on door: Pound, pound, pound.

Them: Fighting, then nothing. I hear them talk like they think someone is pounding at the door. Then they ignore me and he goes back to screaming at everyone.

Me: POUND. POUND. POUND.

Them: Man tells woman to open door since he won’t come talk to me himself. She opens door.

Me: “You guys have got to keep it down. He’s been yelling nonstop for an hour.”

She, looking confused, tries to dismiss me.

Me: “No. You. Have. Got. To. Keep. It. Down.”

That was it. Next round, I called the landlord, who’s been real cool with dealing with them. And apparently, he’s not re-signing their lease, so they’re gone. In June. But it’s been almost a year with these fuckers. And man, do I despise them.

See, NYC does this shit to you. You think you’re all liberal and enlightened. And then you keep passing junkies on the street, and people pissing themselves, and general all-around scumbag behavior. And you think, “That is it! I know this shit goes on. It does not mean I have to be around it any more!”

I realize this column is about as Republican as I’m ever gonna sound, but seriously, folks, I’m not going to do anything horrible, like move to Park Slope and become some Food Co-Op-shopping motherfucker. Now that would be just downright intolerable.