This week I’ll be pushing my sophomore literary effort, But I Love You, into the world with a plug-it-until-it-makes-people-puke enthusiasm. Then, when the dust settles, the pride built over a two-year crafting of words into story will do its best to withstand the free-flying stink of negativity that might eventually accompany it on its humble sale pages scattered across the internet. They’ll be good reviews (written by moms, friends, and even strangers), and they’ll be stuff that makes me question wether writing is my thing. That’s just part of the game. And like the first time, I’ll abstain from writing any particular individual to tell them just how wrong they are about it. I’ll remain chipper in the face of phrases like, “Do yourself a favor and skip this one. You’ll be glad you did,” and “Such promise to fall so flat.” There’s a bevy of other choice barbs and stinging insults, some written by folks who were kind enough to only read the first chapter before “awarding” My Dead Friend Sarah one or two stars. You take the punches and move on. Hell, if you are me, you secretly hope that your book turns the insides of someone so intensely that they decide to come after you. You wonder how hard it is to get a restraining order. You fantasize about a blurb on some celebrity dot-com rag that mentions how you went to court to testify against the stalker. You aim for the kind of crazy that drove you to write the book in the first place. I didn’t set out to create a polarizing tale the first time. And though I’d toyed with the idea of doing so for the second story, the notion lost steam as I realized that action in and of itself would betray me. In the end, like the first time, I’d like to think that I’ve managed to merge some very real-world observations on the way we live with a story that moves quickly and keeps people entertained and wanting more. There’s more to the story, but I’ll need that material to bug you later in the week as I try and coax you our of a few bucks and some of your time.
I wish I could say yesterday was the first time an object fell from the heavens only to crash land within feet of my person. A quick mental countdown of all the items that have either accidentally made that trip, or were intentionally thrust from the city’s rooftops and windows, has the total tally at about eight or nine. Once on the Lower East Side it was a butcher knife. That is probably tops on the list if ranked in order of most deadly, beating out the plastic cups, glass, pennies, toys, water bottles, small building bits, water (possibly pee), and food items, which brings me to yesterday’s chicken wing–full sized chicken wing too, not some baby Buffalo Wing.
For good measure, let’s call it ten incidents total, not including the water (possibly pee)–because that happens too frequently to include, over the span of sixteen years of urban living. That’s less than one a year, and so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my daily list of possible life-ending outcomes doesn’t include a stunted stay in this world due to some drunken ex-frat-daddy’s decision to hurl bar-b-que’d pork ribs off the deck of his cookie-cutter condo. It is all too possible that yesterday’s chicken wing wasn’t discarded by anyone of the sort. This is Williamsburg, Brooklyn after all, and I suppose hipsters can and will be just as ignorant. In my experience, all types of people can be ignorant–I’m not sure why my brain constructed an image of a backwards ball cap wearing beefy-sloth as the culprit. Obviously, I have issues.
The difference between yesterday’s incident and all those prior, was I finally had a relatively decent idea of the item’s origin. There is basically only one large building on that particular block, and its vast rooftop decking is primetime party-time during the warmer months of New York City living. With this certain knowledge, I finally was able to do something about it, something that had not been possible, and maybe even less wise, when that butcher knife nearly took me out back in ’07. I decided to tattle.
I told my wife to wait just a moment, and then I beelined to the doorman’s desk in the lobby of the behemoth and said sternly, “I just thought you should know that someone is tossing chicken wings off the rooftop.”
He took a long look at me, scanned the little security camera TV screens in front of him, and remarked. “People are idiots.”
I was pleased he agreed. His remark validated a line of thinking I’d carried silently for far too long. Inside I was beaming–I finally had an ally in my cause to rid the world of degenerate revelers. But, that’s where the conversation ended. For one, I wasn’t really sure what I was demanding be done at that point, and two, I don’t think he really had any intention of getting up to go investigate unless he witnessed it first hand. The triumph ended awkwardly, and I shuffled back out onto the sidewalk to rejoin my wife and head home.
In the remaining hours of that day, I hadn’t given much thought to falling items being capable of hurting or killing me, but I spent quite a few minutes going over all the probable outcomes of me being a sneaky little snitch. For all I know, the doorman was a good buddy of the chicken-chucker and I started to think it was possible that he’d have me on the lobby camera’s feed now. With that he’d not have to work very hard to describe me to his friend from that roof-top, who most likely lives in that building just one short half-block east of our own. The individual who tossed it was probably already enraged with the near-miss, and upon hearing the news of my squealing would make it his mission to see me done in. Or at the very least, bloodied, bruised, and humiliated. All in the name of stopping people like me from attempts at curbing his favorite pastime of launching half-eaten meats off of rooftops.
Will I take an alternate route to the train on my way to work this week? Not likely. Will I dye my hair and sport a different pair of large shades? Perhaps, but only because my band is doing a radio show tomorrow morning. Will I spend too much time scanning faces on that block, in an attempt to see him coming before he sees me, and then get mugged from behind for my iPod by another unrelated idiot because I’m too focused on trying to stay one step ahead of my newest enemy? In my mind, that seems most likely.