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.
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
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
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
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.