Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Xavier in the park

Took the dog to Tompkins Square Park this afternoon. I ran into Xavier and he was talking about how he remembers too much. Like when this woman hit him when he was a child. "She was one of those black people who think they can discipline everyone else's child," he said.

Anyway, the thing about the park during a workday in the middle of the summer is that you really see what the East Village is about. Not what real estate ads say it's about, or what disgruntled Brooklyn people say it's about ("it's all baby carriages and high rises now"); it's still really fucking trashy. Take a tour with me:

Enter at 7th & B, and the Chinese people are doing Tai Chi in the entry walk to one of the children's playgrounds. Why in this park, I don't know, but there's a reliable stream of Chinese doing their unusual poses, then hopping the M9 at 8th & B to go back to Chinatown afterwards. It's sort of odd. Maybe Tompkins has some desirable properties.

Saunter over to "The Hill", that grassy area in the center of the park. Here we encounter East Village layabouts like myself with a heavy dose of gay cruisey-ness (hint: the shirtless men are usually looking).

Wander around to the walkway just to the west of the makeshift dog run (the real one is being renovated - for the last year now, we don't really know why), and we encounter the summer punks. In the afternoon they are very docile: taking healthy afternoon naps, staring into space, generally relaxing A LOT. They have dogs on leashes, cats on leashes, dogs off leashes and any number of disposable possessions.

The summer punks really make you question your layabout lifestyle: on the one hand you totally hate working, but their lifestyle seems like more work than your yuppie job you had at your office. Like, sure you are chained to your cubicle or counter or whatevs but you can run off to the drugstore or pub (ahem) or somewhere and people don't generally notice. These summer punks scrounge for every penny every second of the day. Sure they don't have to be anywhere, but they can't really be anywhere either. Unless of course they have smack. Then they can just be wherever they are.

True layabouts, but in a bad way.

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