Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Friggin' New York

"Freakin", and its two siblings, "friggin", and "frickin", are alive and well in NYC. Being from the South, it's the little linguistic differences and colloquialisms that will remind you that although you may be in a Target that looks just like the one in Denver, or OKC, a ten year old girl parading through the isles in a coat she's trying on saying, "Look at me, mom. I'm a friggin' fashionista!" will be the hallmark of your return to planet earth. You thought the USA was just so homogenized that you could fit in anywhere...a Target is a Target, right? Unless it's in New York.

Admittedly, something about that is comforting and unsettling all at the same time. I will just begin to get comfortable, and I will hear a six-year old say to his mother pointedly, "Mom, can we get outta here and get some friggin' McDonald's?" To me, substitute curses may be more polite in mixed company, but when spoken with the same fervor as its more dastardly relative is usually delivered, it really isn't any different. The intent of the "friggin" is there, with or without the "uck". The accent here is so forceful anyway, that everything sounds like a "fuck you." Part of it is funny, and part of it is just so different from how I was raised. My mom would have smacked me for saying such a word at such a tender age. Mind you, my mother does not bother with substitute curses, (she uses only brand names), but there was no way in heck that she was going to allow her children to come near those words.

Of course, if you New Yorkers had children that said "y'all" and "sumbitch", you might smack them too. For sounding like hicks. We're not better or worse, we're just different.

As an FYI, I would have never been allowed to say "sumbitch," or worse, "ain't". "Y'all," however, is a neccesary evil when you have as many siblings and cousins as I do. There was no way anyone in my family was going to go through the trouble of singling out children; by the time they did that, someone may have died. Instead of running through the list of names, we received the all-encompassing "y'all," which meant that "we all" got in trouble even when the admonishment was meant for Alan. And yes, it was usually meant for Alan.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

She was a super lady

My mom's friend and mentor, Audrey, died last night in her sleep. Audrey was her boss when my mom used to work at labor and delivery. When I was born, Audrey gave my mom extra time off so that she would really be ready to come back to work. Audrey showed a lot of people kindness, including me. One time, I was out with Audrey at Hobby Lobby (I was probably 5 or so), and we passed by the dolls. At this point in my life, we didn't have a lot. I usually just looked at dolls, and went home. She picked out a doll for me that was way fancy (and probably too delicate) and bought it on the fly, which totally blew me away. She also built me a dollhouse (which one of my cousins later destroyed), but it was really incredible, with wallpaper and everything. She was a skinny lady from New York, and she exuded class. She was welcoming, chatty, and bright. Her recent passing was not a surprise, but premature just the same. I will miss her, not just for me, but the impact she had on other people.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Ah, that wonderful aroma

New York has a smell to it. This smell is enhanced when one resides close to the ocean. A certain brand of dog shit, sea gull shit, and human shit combine to form a super-shit smell, that, well, makes me want to rip my nose off and feed it to the aforementioned sea gulls. Today is also Wednesday, which means that the street sweepers have come this morning to wet down the shit and blow trash back into stairwells. Genius.

Today is the beginning of my Rosh Hashana holiday. I am staying at home and studying today, with the added impediment of a persistent ear infection. I am a treasure to be around right now.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Losin' My Religion

So, in a couple of hours, I will go to church for the first time in a long while. I don't know why it's been so long, but I am kind of excited to go. One of the interesting things about living in New York is that all of the ethnic and religious groups are represented in close proximity to one another. While I may live in a primarily Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, I have managed to find an Irish-Catholic church. I actually found several, but this one is close by.

It's interesting to me how you can put several ethnicities in one hot bowl, and they will never melt. This is not a melting pot, it is (I think sociologists call it) a salad bowl. Also, I can move to New York, live with a Reform Jewish girl, live above a Lebanese, and live near Asians, Pakistanis, Russians, and Italians, but on Sundays, when I have every opportunity to spend my sacred time with a group that could challenge me, I have chosen to hang with the Irish Catholics. I think this says something about me, and I don't like what that is.

However, to be fair, the only Irish Catholics I know are my mom and dad, and my friend Erin. I have never been to an Irish Catholic church. I was hoping when I chose a church that I would find one with liberal politics, which is why I searched for names like "St. Patrick" and "St. Brigid". I have only had a couple of negative experiences going to church where the homilies were something I could not support, like restrictive reproductive rights. I don't really want to spend my time in a place like that. However, I keep hearing about Irish Catholics on the East Coast, and how different it is to Midwestern Catholics, so I am prepared for that too.

If it sucks terribly, I can always go to mass in Polish, so if the priest says something offensive, I won't know what it is anyway.