July 4, 2012
If you’re wondering what New York City is like, it’s kind of like Washington, D.C. only instead of people taking themselves too serious all the time, they party. Also this place has an actual personality and it’s big and beautiful like a volumptuous woman who might be considered overly thick by society’s standards but who “owns it,” like Christina Hendricks or Queen Latifah. New York can also be dangerous like excess body fat (more on this later!!!! New York danger, not body fat, not really) but mostly there is just more of it to love.
Of course the last time I partied was also the last time I wrote on you, Diary, it was the night of the studio crawl at artist camp where I had just dropkicked the crap out of everyone’s expectations as far as my screenplay was concerned. By the time I’d finished that gross celebratory drink Laurel had given me I felt so good I had pretty much decided to be one of those famous literary boozehounds like my great aunt Edna or Ernest Herringbone or Allan Edgar Winter, drinking my way from city to city, carrying out sexy booze-fueled affairs with beautiful ladies, and pulling all sorts of weird inspiration and words from the bottle, a real live tortured artist.
But then I woke up the next day and felt SOOOOOOOO AWFUL, like Rey Mysterio, Jr. had given me 619 619s straight to the noggin, plus every time I moved the room tilted up and to the left a little which seemed cruel and unnecessary since my stomach was in shambles, it was like a dangover but from hooch and a million times worse. I spent all day trying to throw up but not being able to, I mean give me a break, alcohol. If this is how people feel after one drink I don’t know how they have two in one night or god forbid three, I mean at that point aren’t you just a complete shortsighted moron, what do you expect to happen, for some magical hooch fairy to drop by while you’re half-sleeping all fitful and suck the poison out of your body and replace it with H2O, electrolytes, and twenty essential vitamins and minerals? That’s not realistic, Diary, and I care too much about my writing to lose any more days to that junk. Besides I have enough vices already, I will stick to fantasy sports and the occasional pizza-and-ice cream binge and hope neither one proves my downfall. You know what they say: live by the cheese, die by the cheese.
Really those last couple days at artist camp were nothing to write home/you about, everyone had pretty much checked out at that point work-wise because most of us had finished what we were doing before the crawl, but the one awesome thing that happened was on the very last day and that awesome thing is that I saw a flipping FOX, Diary, darting through the field right by the main building. I pointed it out to Heather and she said between that and the Fox Lady card I had drawn during the tarot reading it was pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain that the fox is my spirit animal. So I guess it’s official: I am one crafty fella and my hair is kinda auburn and I am most active at night and if I’m not careful I could get run over by a car. Most of this stuff we already knew but at least now if I get a tattoo with my sister I will know to get a sweet-looking fox or maybe the Fox Lady on my right bicep (the right one is a fifteen-inch python while the left one is just an adolescent fourteen-inch python) for all the babes to ogle and ask, “Oh, is that your spirit animal? You must be quite crafty, would you like to split a Sunkist?” Two straws + one can = third base!!!!!!!!!
What I realized when I got home from artist camp, though, was that no babes were gonna want to share a Sunkist with me as long as I was living with my parents and adjusting the thermostat every ten seconds like some kinda oversensitive obsessive-compulsive wackjob, I mean my parents’ freezing basement isn’t exactly a turn-on and neither is the upstairs where they hang out all the time (gross) and where it’s hotter than Christina Hendricks and Queen Latifah doing hot yoga together in one of those tiny yoga saunas with Jennifer Hudson and Delta Burke. So after complaining to Laurel via email and text message a bunch she finally said hey, you’re twenty-seven and a half, why don’t you strike out on your own instead of blaming your parents all the time? And after the excuse mill that is my mouth finally shut down I caved and said you’re right, not only am I moving out but I am moving to The City That Never Sucks because that is the artist capital of the world and if I can’t make it there I can’t make it anywhere. I just got here a week ago but I feel like I am maybe potentially making it here or at least not falling flat on my optimistic face (knock on wood!!!!!).
Normally I would be worried about paying rent in a town like this on account of my resume which is coated in job repellent, but when I told my sister I was moving here she said she had a pal with a moving company who could help me out. The name of the company is Schmuck With a Truck and I am proud to say I am now an apprentice schmuck with an apprentice truck (it’s just my regular truck). The work isn’t easy, Diary, if I had thicker forearms and stronger spatial reasoning skills I’d be a professional Tetris player, not a writer. But even with all the sweat and splinters and toe stubs and clients calling me retarded under their breath I can’t complain too hard because I should be able to pay the bills with this gig, and my pythons should grow to sixteen and seventeen inches, and what more can a writer or person really ask for? Besides not being called retarded all the time, I could really do without that part of the job, I mean I got enough of that in grad school.
I could also do without little kids mugging me which is exactly what happened my second day here. I was standing on the corner of Flatbush Avenue texting Laurel about maybe visiting her and my sister in San Francisco next month when a little ten-year-old in a Spider-Man backpack swiped my cell phone right out of my hand and took off running. I was totally dumbfounded and by the time I said HEY! and chased after him he had a pretty good head-start and was a fast little jerk who wound up ducking under a chain link fence I couldn’t fit under and escaping, can you believe that? I feel like I live in an episode of The Wire. The other day a teenager girl bucked at me for no reason and when I flinched she and her friends started laughing, so I guess maybe it wasn’t for no reason, but come on, I’m new.
Another thing I don’t like about New York is that there’s dog crap all over the sidewalks because every dog you see is pooping, seriously every single dog, and when the dog finishes its owner just shrugs their shoulders like, Welp, this city’s already a craphole, why bother! and strolls along without cleaning it up, practically whistling. It’s kinda like all the cars honking—honking is the most universal and obnoxious language in New York and even though it’s a finable offense now everyone still does it because everyone else still does it WHICH IS THE SORT OF LOGIC THAT MAKES MY HEAD HURT NOT UNLIKE THE CONSTANT HONKING.
There’s a lot to like here too though, Diary, there are readings and concerts and comedy shows every night and it seems like every writer on Earth lives here and there are a gazillion theaters and production companies that might want to produce my scripts and my tiny apartment isn’t as frigid as my parents’ basement (it IS as hot as their upstairs) and my parents aren’t here so I feel like I can invite a nice young lady over without feeling embarrassed, unless of course she’s not into Batbeds but if that’s the case she’s probably not coming over anyway. I dunno if they’re nice yet, Diary, but there is no shortage of young ladies in this town and I’m pretty much the only tall straight guy not wearing a stupid hat or ridiculous mustache so I like my odds. Also my confidence is blooming on account of all the compliments I get from New York’s wall-to-wall gay population, those guys sure are friendly and they are EVERYWHERE. I’m not gonna brush legs with them or anything but if they want to buy me a Sunkist, squeeze my python, and ask if I’ve been working out, hey I’m not gonna be rude.
(I have been working out, Diary, not just moving furniture but at Planet Fitness—the judgment-free zone!!!! Ten bucks a month, buckets of Tootsie rolls by the door, and pizza parties every Monday night: are you flipping kidding me?!?! I feel like someone Inceptioned me and used my dreams as the blueprint for that place. They probably owe me royalties for cripes’ sakes.)
So that’s where I’m at, Diary, writing and moving furniture and fending off nice young fellas and chasing nice young ladies. I’m gonna try and start writing on you every other night like I did at camp because I feel like that was good for my brain and heart and writing, but part of me thinks there are two kindsa people in this world, those who keep diaries and those who don’t, and I think maybe I’m the second kinda person. But even if I don’t write on you for a while or even ever again, it’s just nice to know you’re here with me in this big weird sometimes scary place.
There are fireworks popping off all over Brooklyn, so I’m gonna head up to the roof with a folding chair and some Sunkists (one straw for now) and try not to get locked out like last time.
Thanks for listening, welcome to New York, Diary.
Evan Allgood's work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Millions, LA Review of Books, The Toast, and The Billfold. He lives in Brooklyn and contributes regularly to Paste. Follow and maybe later unfollow him on Twitter @evoooooooooooo.