Friday, October 5, 2007

I Can’t Believe I Live In Brooklyn

So far Brooklyn has been everything I had expected it to be. Other than your run-of-the-mill being stressed the fuck out about unpacking all the shit that only a few days ago you were stressed the fuck out about packing up, the neighborhood is charming. There are children everywhere, which doesn’t really bother me. As long as they aren’t mine, and I can shut the door and leave them on the other side of it, then they can do whatever they want. Except it was a bit annoying when I stayed home from work on Tuesday to wait for the cable guy and from about 11:00 to 3:00, all you could hear in the back yard was kids yelling. Apparently, on the other side of the fence in our back yard is the Berkeley Carroll School, otherwise known as The School Where Kids Learn to Scream. It was like the kids were taking a class on how to fight off a child molester. But on the bright side, the entirety of the time they spend at school doing harmful damage to their young vocal chords, I spend at work doing harmful damage to my soul. So that by the time I get home from work and have to drink in the backyard to heal my soul, the kids are long gone, back to their houses where their screams are heard only by their parents, who have to love them no matter what. It all works out for the best.

Also, I have spoken to my neighbors more in the first five days at this apartment than I have collectively for the first nine years I lived in New York. The couple living upstairs from us actually brought us FLOWERS in a VASE with a NOTE that said “WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME.” At first I thought it was a home invasion tactic. Like the vase contained a harmful acid they would throw in my face, and while I writhed on the floor in pain they would steal my laptop. But no, the flowers were as real as the sentiment behind them. I can’t say with confidence that I will wholly adapt to this new neighborly relationship. I am like a pit bull bred for dog fighting. You can’t just start loving me and expect me to curl up on your lap and eat kibble from your hand.

Speaking of, Puppy is enjoying the new home just as much as we are. Because both Brooke and I previously lived in studio apartments, he is a little confused by all the rooms. While we have been running from one end of the apartment to the other carrying boxes, putting things away and setting up furniture, Puppy always seems ten steps behind and constantly surprised to find us in one of the other rooms. He will peek his head in the doorway with a look on his face that says, “How did you get in here?” It’s cute, but also a little worrisome. Let’s just say it’s never good when mommy starts saying things like, “We’re in here, Dumb-dumb!”

Once he is outside, though, he is content as can be. The first day we took him out for a walk he casually walked to the curb and peed on the first tree he saw. Then, as though he hadn’t realized it until just now, he perked up as if to say, “Hold on a second, this is different . . .” What followed was a twenty-minute peeing spree. Trying desperately to mark every inch of his new territory, Puppy walked up and down the block stopping every few feet to go again. The look on his face was one of quiet determination, as though peeing on things was both his burden and his passion, as if to say like some heroic cowboy, “Well someone has to do it so it may as well be me.”

And, in a testament to exactly how friendly and neighborhoody Brooklyn really is, I witnessed this in the subway station earlier this week:

A homeless guy was sitting on a bench in the middle of the platform. He was surrounded by his possessions, including a shopping cart full of bags and a milk-crate on which he casually rested his leg. He wasn’t repulsive – in fact, if cleaned up properly he could pass for a mature Jackie Chan.












So he is sitting there and as people are walking past him, they wave to him. This is, apparently, The Local Homeless Asian. And everybody knows him. He waves back gently as though he were welcoming them into his Chinese restaurant. I sit down at the other end of the bench and watch the parade of commuters walk past like a receiving line. Finally, one middle aged white guy walks up to The Local Homeless Asian and hands him a dollar. This seems to be a routine, because The Local Homeless Asian is unfazed as he accepts it with a sagacious nod. Then the middle aged white guy starts chatting with him. About all sorts of things like the weather (“unseasonably warm!”), his health (“Do you need that leg brace or did you find it somewhere?”) and the items in his cart (“What have you got there, some boxes?”) This goes on for a few minutes to the point where The Local Homeless Asian actually seems bored. He is politely and tersely answering the guy’s questions, then glancing around like he was at a cocktail party looking for someone to save him. In other words, the people are so polite and neighborly here that even the homeless people, who have no one to talk to but their themselves, are tired of the niceties. It’s truly amazing. I love it here, even if the homeless people don’t.

39 Comments:

Blogger Scottsdale Girl said...

My dogs still don't know that there is NOT a portal by which I can escape the bathroom OTHER than the door I came in and therefore feel it necessary to BE IN THERE with me at all times...

Glad you are HAPPY dude.

October 5, 2007 at 8:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Scottsdale Girl said...

HOLY SHIT I am first? FIRST!

Why does this satisfy me so?

October 5, 2007 at 8:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger angus said...

One day I really want to travel to America, and in particular New York, to get an idea of what 'real' city living is like.
I hope you don't mind me linking to you on my blog.
cheerio,
angus

October 6, 2007 at 9:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger gruntsht11b said...

Being one with sometimes mind numbing down time I found your blog through blogs of note. I like it.I don't usually go skimming through blogs but your take on things is funny, tho to lazy really to go through the whole thing what is it that you do in real life if you don't mind me askin. I do have some questions also about writing if you wouldn't mind hittin me back. tristan.ruark@us.army.mil
I'll be back..

October 6, 2007 at 10:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lady said...

Welcome to the neighborhood Dan! You use the same subway station as I do, and yes, the gentleman you described is indeed our Local Homeless Asian, who smiles and winks at all the pretty girls (myself included, ahem) each morning as we flip flop our way onto the train. He appeared a few months ago and now I can barely remember a time when he didn't populate the furthest seat of the easternmost bench on the platform.

Also, look out for the jazz guitarist who plays downstairs between the staircases every couple of weeks - he's so talented and a really nice guy.

Lastly, you should join the co-op, and avoid the Tea Lounge on Union St at all costs. The coffee is shite and the breastfeeding is out of hand.

The best coffee in the hood is at Gorilla on 5th Ave and I think St Johns.

I've lived in the slope for about 8 years now and love it. If you have any neighborhood-related questions feel free to drop a line!

October 6, 2007 at 11:27:00 AM EDT  
Blogger sonika said...

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October 6, 2007 at 3:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lorêny Portugal said...

Lindo... você é lindo, garoto!!!

Beautifuuuulll, you are beautiful, guy...

I'm from Brazil...beijos!

October 6, 2007 at 3:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lego kid said...

Congrats on being on Google Blogs of Note ( http://blogsofnote.blogspot.com/ ) for Oct. 3rd. That's awesome!

October 6, 2007 at 6:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Blockheadtv said...

Interesting Story.
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October 6, 2007 at 10:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cowgirl Betty said...

First-time reader, and I'm already hooked.

I don't quite agree about the country-charm of the locals waving salutations to the quirky Homeless Asian Guy.

Just drive an hour Upstate, and the folks sitting in high-traffic areas aren't as much quirky as inbred.

October 6, 2007 at 11:29:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 7, 2007 at 2:34:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Rampantheart said...

Very interesting post!Someday when i reach New York,I will blog about it and tell you what and how i feel:)
Many congratulations for making it to the blogs of note

October 7, 2007 at 2:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Apsu said...

Very interesting post!Someday when i reach New York,I will blog about it and tell you what and how i feel:)

October 7, 2007 at 5:01:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marcy said...

Omg. Over here, people tell you not to look at bums in the eye. Treat them like the pigeons and never touch them or feed them. They'll eat the garbage anyway.

I know it's mean, but they look happy to be broke.

Marcy

October 7, 2007 at 6:46:00 AM EDT  
Blogger kismetic said...

Sure, the homeless can harass you, but then they get all uppity if you take an interest.

October 7, 2007 at 10:37:00 AM EDT  
Blogger S.m.S said...

hey i love your blog.
check out mine =]

October 7, 2007 at 12:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger sleeptalker said...

So, I guess earning "Blogs of Note" recognition equals unsolicited advertising in your comments section. I read your post yesterday and came back to read the always witty feedback from your regulars. How disappointing. Booooo Blogs of Note. (I mean, congrats and all, but it's pretty annoying, no?)

October 7, 2007 at 2:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger BeeWhoUR said...

Found your blog through Blogs of Note... I like it! I'm a former New Yorker, now live on a ranch in Texas- talk about culture shock! (don't ask how it happened, but it did)...

Brooklyn sounds blissful, and the Homeless Asian charming, and what about your neighbors? It could be worse! Everyone could be pit bulls like you!!! I think you'll love it. Congrats and good luck!

October 7, 2007 at 4:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jenna! said...

hi there.
i really like how you write.you have a good sence of humor.i just started blogger today.. i'm still kind of skeptical about it all.and i dont know how to upload my picture.haha.
uhhh, so basically what i'm saying is, i like reading what you post.it makes me giggle.
:]]

October 7, 2007 at 6:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Chang-a-lang said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 7, 2007 at 7:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Anna said...

You make Brooklyn sound like a Frank Capra movie.

Have you ever been to Berkeley, CA? 'Cause there are some great homeless people there. When they ask for change and you don't have any to give them, the politely reply, "Oh, thanks, anyway."

October 7, 2007 at 7:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger David said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 8, 2007 at 12:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Princess Sara said...

Just found your blog, and have decided that you are funny funny man, Mr Dan. Love your Australian fan...
Ouch, that rhyming hurts

October 8, 2007 at 2:27:00 AM EDT  
Blogger [brady] said...

I want to meet this homeless man! Bring him to Australia!

October 8, 2007 at 9:57:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Fantasy Writer Guy said...

So if you want to molest some kids it should be done between 11 and 3 when their screams will be ignored. Thanks for the useful advice. Nice post. I like your style.

Beware the djnejgyl

October 8, 2007 at 12:21:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will you write about Puppy again?

October 8, 2007 at 4:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger hirotalksalot said...

I have to argue with Lady -- the Local Homeless Asian did not appear a few months ago. I lived in Park Slope(there, I admitted it!) 2 years ago, and that guy was there every single morning when I got on the subway. Maybe he took a sabbatical or a vacation or something during the interim. He used to slip off his shoes and prop his leathery, block-like feet up on his shopping cart, just chillaxin'. I was jealous that he didn't have to commute to work.

I'm also glad to know that he's still alive.

October 8, 2007 at 6:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger EmmaK said...

Wow, that homeless guy is seriously cool. I'm am so jealous of you for living in Brooklyn. Isn't Heath Ledger one of your neighbours? Let us know when you bump into your first celeb.

October 8, 2007 at 7:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

That guy with the smoke in his mouth seems nice. Brooklyn's not all bad . . .

October 8, 2007 at 11:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger PsyGuy said...

congrats on the move.

really entertaining blog. especially the last tid bit "In other words, the people are so polite and neighborly here that even the homeless people, who have no one to talk to but their themselves, are tired of the niceties."

i can't wait to see into more of your seemingly entertaining life.

-a hooked reader

October 9, 2007 at 3:01:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Jackie Chan isn't the only Asian on the planet, you know. Just sayin'.

October 9, 2007 at 3:33:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Jackie Chan isn't the only Asian on the planet, you know. Just sayin'.

October 9, 2007 at 3:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger saja26 said...

You're hilarious. Saving you to my 'Favorites' for future at-work-time-wasting endeavors. =)

October 9, 2007 at 1:40:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lara said...

My dog has the same determination as Puppy of marking every tree and fence on our block...only he makes it his goal every single time we go out. He further impresses me with his intelligence when he lets it all go on the first tree he sees. The rest of the walk he is left with nothing and I end up tugging on his leash as he stops every few feet to lift his leg to air pee.

October 9, 2007 at 4:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger foreskin112 said...

I just want to let you know that the local asian homeless man pictured in your blog doesn't get me aroused. I just wanted to let you know that.

October 11, 2007 at 4:11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Joy, shared said...

That photo is of Brooklyn ... ? I thought that trees growing there were only the stuff of urban legend and book titles.

October 11, 2007 at 12:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pete said...

You should be so lucky.

Our neighbourhood here in the UK is full of these types which on the whole make up the character of the area.

The problem comes when you have 'Squatters' living next door. Totally protected by our insane laws, and who keep setting fire to the place.

How stupid is OUR government??

Pete.

October 12, 2007 at 12:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger MonkeyPants said...

That homeless dude was totally on my train yesterday from Manhattan to Park Slope.

He took his shoes and socks off and put his feet up on the seat next to him, totally lounging.

I do love getting a nice view of a homeless guy's little piggies...

October 15, 2007 at 1:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Patti10 said...

The photo seems a familiar place on the movies I've seen.
I would love to go to Brooklyn someday and live to this kind of home. Thanks for posting and sharing this one.
__
Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. - Aesop
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January 14, 2011 at 1:24:00 AM EST  

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