120 Hours in New York
I usually get off the tube one stop early. For the sake of the supermarket. I then walk roughly ten minutes to get home. And sometimes I encounter as many as four beggers. That’s one person in need for every two and half minutes I walk.
Oh, wait. I haven’t told you where we are! Or I almost did. It is London, hence I take the tube and not the subway, the underground or the metro. It is central, very central. Actually, you do not encounter so many beggers everywhere. They are more around the very big stations, like the one close to my home. You know, all those people around Paddington asking for my spare change whenever I pass by have faces that have become familiar to me. And you know, it affects me. Sometimes I get home depressed. How can I walk home with two bags full of groceries leaving behind people starving? How can I..?
9 Avenue 34th Street
I fucking made it dude! Yeah, I know… I mean… I don’t! No, I don’t know why it took me 32 years and 8 months to cross the Atlantic. I guess this is how much it takes sometimes… But I made it! I fucking made it to New York dude! You know… The towers, and the billboards, and the lights… Wow dude! The city that never sleeps!
But hey, dude… There is this one thing I cannot quite understand… Dude, you know, here they are everywhere… It is not one every two and a half minutes of walking. It is not dude. It’s one every two and half steps… You know… I don’t have so much spare change, dude. I don’t. And you know, dude, sometimes their skin is so dirty that takes that colour… Kind of black. I don’t know how to put it in words to help you visualise it, dude. You know, I was trying to think of possible reasons that the human skin can take that colour. But I couldn’t think of any, dude. I couldn’t imagine of any. I hadn’t seen human skin in that state before, dude…
And you know, some of them wander around barefoot. But their nails, dude, their nails are kind of… I don’t know how to put it in words to help you visualise it, dude. You know, they are somehow deformed. They don’t look very human, dude. You know, I hadn’t seen human nails in that state before, dude…
And you know, the way they stare… Some stare to the void forever. Others scream. Others cannot really stare. Nor can they scream, dude. And they are everywhere, dude… Hey, dude! What has happened to that dream, dude? What have we done, dude..?
Brooks travels every six weeks. This is how long she can stand NYC straight. Because “everyone here is crazy”. I arrived on a hot and humid evening. As every evening in NYC at this time of the year, mid-July. We had this little chat next morning. I didn’t expect to hear that but it wasn’t that surprising either. My 2-hour walk the night before had prepared me. Well enough.
Wendy never talks. She barely even barks.
I am writing these words from the Lobby at the Ace Hotel. I will be heading to the airport in a couple of hours. 5 days in New York. It is the 4th time I made it to the Lobby. It is nice here. You have to come visit it next time you’ll be in NYC. It became my little oasis. The only place I can really loosen out. The only place I can really relax. No, I wasn’t stressed. Depressed. That’s what I was. Depression was hitting me in waves. Not so much the depression that comes from sadness. No, not that one. The one that comes from a sense of responsibility. Guilt. That might be a more appropriate word I guess…
New York, 18/07/2016