Wednesday, June 29, 2005

scrubbin' bubbles!

did you know they power wash the subways while we sleep?

my old roommates moved up to the upper east side this spring, in search of cheaper rents. they now consider themselves, laughingly, to be at the head of the trend, and giggle at how behind i am, still lurking on the boundaries of the LES like that kid sitting in the second circle around the lunch table in middle school, lunchbox balanced on her lap.

they and i know that they are not actually part of a trend, which we have determined was actually just the result of a Post writer noticing a black guy on the UES and deciding that the floodgates had oppened. they are instead just broke-ass girls scraping by on the meager livings of an assistant and a cocktail waitress, in a back of building railroad-style fifth floor walk up a good half mile from the nearest subway. in fact, the map in the back of cabs actually says they live in spanish harlem, which is how they refer to it in the company of everyone but their parents, who, for the peace of mind of all concerned, believe they live over a police precinct and next to a nunnery.

because i don't have a television or internet access down in chinoistown, thanks to outdated building standards and the ghastly lack of civilization of my neighbors (who could bear to live without E! or Fox News at home- really!) i occasionally find myself craving some mass market entertainment. this has started recently, since i powered through those copies of Cyberotica and Lolita my subletter left behind. I know what judgements you are forming, but people, please, it's Nabokov. It's literature.

when the urge to go get my fill of brangelina and on demand music videos hit, i usually head on up to the Upsaida and spend an evening on the couch in the company of their AC and the only small dog i've ever not wanted to kick across the room. last night was one of those nights, replete with mac & cheese and a will smith vehicle that made the meatpacking district look like new yorkers sometimes go out there.

while my old roommates and i live almost precisely aligned with one and other as the crow flies, the distinct lack of a second avenue subway means that the five miles between our respective closets actually blossems to seven, as we walk up and over and over and down and all that. last night was one of those nights, where i left their place at midnight and plodded southwest to the subway. it was a steamy night, and i was carrying groceries i'd bought spontaneously out of the sheer excitement of being in an proper grocery store. the ice cream melted before i got on the train and fed the gaping mouth of a trash can instead.

i waited for 20 minutes for the 4/6, which changes from express to local at grand central on late nights as it moves out of the wasteland that is midtown. i then waited another 25 minutes on the oppressive BDFV track waiting for my grand street shuttle, avoiding the crazy bum who kept lighting up a blunt and putting it out on the bench. when i finally got home, an hour and a half after i left, i ran into workers powerwashing the subway. the water was an inch deep and smelled of fish guts. it was beyond a delight in my flipflops and dragging jean hems. it did however reassure me to know that the filth that greeted me this morning was fresh filth, none of this used or stale nonsense.

in reading up on subway powerwashing- resources being scarcer than you'd expect, shockingly- i've discovered it isn't that frequent an occurance. would it be wrong of me to wonder if my subway stop is just flat out nastier than other locations? is this the one thing chinatown gets special treatment for? cause we're dirty?


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