Monday, April 27, 2009

Coffee and cigarettes

I live in midtown Manhattan, in a tiny hole of an apartment with just two windows and very little ventilation. I'm also a smoker and while I have traditionally smoked inside my previous dwellings, it didn't take much for me to see the merit in my roommate's argument against doing so.

In any event, this forces me to go downstairs to smoke my cigarettes. Our building has no vestibule. Once you step out, you're bang in the middle of the street, in the middle of the constantly moving human stream. Its a great spot for celebrity sightings but it can be disorienting. A middle aged man attempted to pick me up the other night, hastily backing away when he realized I was skulking in the doorway of the building because I lived there, not because I was looking for customers.

Next door is a homeless shelter for mentally ill women, which is visited by the police and the paramedics about twelve times a day. Its fairly common to see these women strolling around, with a cup of coffee in hand, having intense conversations with themselves. Occasionally, as an afterthought, they interrupt their (not so inner) dialog to ask you for money, or cigarettes.

On the other side are a hotel and a bar where a different variety of mentally ill people congregate. The bar is an Irish one, like hundreds in New York City - only kilts make a regular appearance here, as do bagpipes. I guess the owner/manager is having an identity crisis of sorts. New York can do that to you.

My accent, for instance, is more ethnic than its been in the ten years I have lived in the United States and my music, even, has started to betray eastern leanings. My solos in particular have begun to deviate from their carefully cultivated "alternative" rock stylings.

It makes sense, I suppose. I have felt for some time now that I've been regressing. Given how little progress I've made over the past ten years, its hardly the worst thing that could happen. Maybe a little backtracking is in order.

I'm going to make myself a cup of coffee and head on downstairs to smoke a cigarette. Welcome to Sedition.

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