THE LIFE, WORK AND CHRONICLES OF JEFF KOYEN: REFORMED ITINERANT, OCCASIONAL WRITER AND FRIEND TO ALMOST ALL DOGS

Best Reason to Avoid 3rd/4th Stop:
The Old People
"Keep walking with that dawg!" she screamed, leaning out of her first-floor window, honest-to-god waving her fist in the air. She'd repeated herself several times by the time we realized that, yes, she was actually yelling at us. A man and his dog out for the morning walk, 9 a.m., some mid-week morning out past the third stop in East Williamsburg.
It came again: "Keep walking with that dawg!"
"Excuse me?" we asked, all sweetness and glowing with a knowing courtesy borne of countless exchanges with the similar old ladies of our former digs in Little Italy.
Once more: "Keep walking with that dawg!"
Smile. Pause. Wait.
"I had to clean up after that dawg last week!"
Huh? Sorry. Must be a mistake. We pick up after him. Every time. Never leave his waste on the sidewalk. We're good neighbors on the block. Pride. Cleanliness. The whole Boy Scout business, on and on.
"Keep walking..."
She was stuck in place, so we turned away and continued the walk. The next morning, after our dog had lifted his leg on a hydrant fifteen feet from the decrepit dog-hater's door, we watched her emerge -- nightgown, swollen ankles, varicose veins, a bucket of soapy water -- and wash down the hydrant.
Traditionally, in exchange for cheap rents and large spaces, pre-gentrification homesteaders generally deal with unsafe, unclean streets, and long walks to the nearest bodega. I'm not saying that us 25-plus demi-hipsters out here on the third and fourth stops of the L train are homesteading. Far from it, judging from the sky-high rents and granola at Phoebe's. We do have our threatening hoodlums, and plenty of rats. But we also have old people. Whole fucking blocks of them. They've been here forever, and they just won't die.
Like the self-righteous cocksucker who -- much as his neighbor across the street -- went red with rage after watching us putting the dog's shit-filled newspaper in the recycling can. "You can't put that in there! It's got shiiit in it!"
Sweetness, courtesy: "Sorry, but I thought it would still qualify for the recycling can."
"But it's got shiiit in it!"
Okay. Okay. Sorry. Our mistake, but an honest one.
Old fucking asshole. Old fucking cunt. We try, you know? Try our best. We're out here looking for a neighborhood to settle into. We're not loud. Not discourteous. Not to anyone, especially not older people. We've had grandparents. Four of 'em, as a matter of fact, and quite enjoyed their elder knowledge and occasionally redundant anecdotes. In fact, at least one of them taught us the relationship between giving and getting respect.
But the old folk out here are pissed off. They seem to hate the influx of Manhattan ex-pats and our willingness to pay such ridiculous rents. Most of them probably don't own their apartments, presumably because they were too busy beating their children to save up for the down payment. Too busy bitching about the Mexicans who moved in and ruined the place. Too busy fretting the blacks who creep across the park and pass through to Bushwick. They know that soon enough, with all their friends dead and the Cranky Old Fucker Block Association a shadow of its former powerful self, us youngsters with our dirty dogs are going to kick down their doors, drag them into the streets and send them down to hell just a little before their time.
My dog will piss wherever the fuck he wants. Hopefully on your grave one day.