At work early. Daily debate with myself, made more urgent on paydays: Why am I doing this? I want no career. The stifling, monotonous schedule would make the most growed-ass man cry from boredom.
There is a certain joy, I guess, in the randomness. The chaos. One moment it’s an upper east side mansioneer complaining about weird-tasting water. The next it’s a homeless woman with two young children calling to complain about a mean shelter employee.
But enough of that already. I am here. Be the best you can be, right?
I slipped a radio card into a LinkNYC machine at Maiden and Water. Mere minutes later it was on the ground, plucked from its perch by a dude who appears to go from one piece of street furniture to the next, fiddling and twiddling with it. He had the tablet screen on something I could not define. As I passed he seemed engaged, perhaps even doing something useful with his time at the machine.
But I passed again about a minute later and he was gone. He had dropped my card onto the ground. I replaced it on the kiosk, carefully avoiding his possible glance. He was already up the block, fiddling with a parking meter. Looking busy.
He was well-dressed.
It should not amaze me so but the coexistence of ultra-wealthy and derelict, breathing the same air and sharing the same municipal resources, feels sometimes like the stuff of Dickens. Did he write about that?
I think of it at Grand Central Terminal sometimes, especially in the bathrooms, where the act of shitting brings us all to the same level, the same posture.
I imagine the wealthy or petite poor regard shitting into the same column of air as the derelict to be a debasement of their dignity. I would never treat my shit so badly, I imagine a certain class of human to think, however invisibly even to their own conscience.
It is not a matter of taking the residue of the poor’s feces with them but the belief that their feces is a better stock, a finer grade, of such quality that the brief breath of air it experiences traveling from the anus to the water should not be choked by the filmy, viscous air left behind by the feces of the poor.
These types never shit among the rest of us but they are prepared. A dainty roll of Charmin Ultra tucked away in their New Yorker tote bag spares their delicate, bidet-cleansed ass from the abrasions of public shitter toilet paper, frequently stolen anyway and rumored to be used for sharpening knives.