New York Guy

8 million people, infinity roaches.

I have to get up at 6:50 every morning so I can be on the road to work by 7:30 – more like 7:40 if I make the mistake of logging onto Reddit before leaving the apartment. When my phone alarm goes off each morning, I drag myself out of bed feeling like shit, because the night before I stayed up way later than I should have – a problem as old as time itself (or, at the very least, as old as the Internet.)

Each morning as I stumble into the shower I bitterly resolve to turn things around. When I get home tonight, I’ll have a little dinner, watch a couple episodes of Frasier on Netflix, and then hit the hay at around 8:30 so I can catch up on all the sleep I’ve been missing.

And then, every night, I get home, eat, watch several episodes of Frasier, and next thing I know it’s 12:30 and I’m balls deep in a Wikipedia article about the Confederate Postal Service (which was apparently a pretty well run organization when you leave out the slavery parts).

The reason that I was overtired this morning, though, was because I made the mistake of looking up New York City on Wikipedia last night, which led me on an extensive quest through a few dozen articles about the city, its history, and its residents, followed by another half hour of browsing apartment listings in Manhattan and trying to figure out how anybody there is able to pay their rent and eat in the same month.

New York City has been sort of a point of fascination for me recently, particularly since I moved to Los Angeles. You see, I was worried before I came here that life in the big city would be too much for me – which is a legitimate concern, given that killing spiders, talking to strangers, simple arithmetic, drinking milk, and watching Ultimate Fighting Championship matches have all proven to be too much for me in the past.

Since moving here, though, I’ve found living in LA to be considerably easier than I expected. For the most part, it’s just like living in any other city with most of the shitty stuff – traffic, hobos, pollution, absence of an NFL team – dialed up to 11, with the helpful addition of nice weather and an entertainment industry. Sure, the gas prices are insane ($4.49 a gallon yesterday) and sometimes you have to drive to Orange County, but it’s far from the soul crushing grind that I’d feared it would be.

New York, though, is a horse of a different color, and now that I know I can tolerate LA I’ve started to wonder if I could successfully live in the Big Apple.

The short answer, I’m almost positive, is, No. The slightly longer answer is, No, you goddamn moron. Why would you even consider something like that? God, I just want to slap you sometimes, you’re so fucking dumb. (I’m very hard on myself.)

Something I’ve noticed in a lot of TV shows and movies set in New York City is the stock ‘LA Douchebag’ character who shows up from time to time – an ingenuine, coked out sleazebag who’s obsessed with new age wisdom and is constantly at odds with New York’s streetwise, working class culture. Notable examples include Devon Banks on 30 Rock and that fast talking assistant director guy in Scrooged.

If I moved to New York, I’m pretty certain I’d be the epitome of the LA Douchebag. Admittedly, I take a pretty dim view of new age-y trends and have postponed my raging cocaine addiction until at least my late 30s, but in most other respects I’m pretty sure I fulfill the stereotype to a T.

Try to picture me finding an apartment in Manhattan – something that, due to the insanity of the real estate market there, pretty much requires you to talk to a real estate broker:

”Okay, so I’m looking for either a studio or a one bedroom, preferably for under $900 a month – with parking, of course. I’ve got this station wagon I love, I call it The Mystery Wagon… Well, you can read about it on my blog where I write lengthy articles all about myself twice a week. Anyway, I’m definitely looking to live alone, because I’m kind of anal about sharing space with other people. Oh, and no roaches under any circumstances. I totally hate roaches. If I see even one roach, I swear to God, I will probably jump out a window and burn the building to the ground. Okay, that was a bit extreme – I’m still kind of rattled because this crazy person tried to talk to me on the subway. Total nightmare. I’m sorry, I haven’t had a Diet Coke in like two hours; is there a Ralphs around here?”

I’m pretty sure there’s a city funded program to buy Greyhound tickets back west for people like me.

I’ve been to New York two times and I loved it on both occasions, but at the end of both trips I was always very ready to go home. I am West Coast guy, through and through: I’m used to cities that don’t smell like garbage, temperatures well above freezing, no humidity, and a distinct absence of homeless people shitting in public, all of which seem to be core elements of living in New York. I’m high strung enough as it is; the last thing I need is a stressful East Coast lifestyle to push me into my cocaine addiction earlier than anticipated.

All that being said, if I were offered a job in New York City I’d move there immediately, no questions asked.*

*FALSE. I would ask several hundred questions regarding salary, benefits, relocation packages, and the size of New York cockroaches.

Although I’m all but certain that it’d be a stressful and terrifying experience, it’s the sort of stressful and terrifying experience I’d actually be willing to subject myself to. Unlike math, drinking milk, or killing spiders, living in New York would be the experience of a lifetime, albeit a crowded, stinky, humid experience with a greater-than-average risk of catching a hobo masturbating outside my apartment.

Truman Capps would jump at the chance to try and recreate Seinfeld.