Miss(ed) Manners

July 15, 2005

Miss(ed) Manners: A Few of My Favorite Things

Filed under: Column — missedmanners @ 4:18 pm

I’m generally not a huge fan of either rain drops on roses or whiskers on kittens. Seven years of city life have made me mildly allergic to both pollen and pet dander. However, last night during an early evening group rendition of a Will Farrell rendition of a Robert Goulet rendition of the song, I started to wonder about my favorite things. I came to the conclusion that I’m a huge fan of the small stuff, just not cream colored ponies.

My most recent favorite little things all happen to revolve around the neighborhood where I work, the Meatpacking district, or as I like to call it, Miami. It was only a scant few years ago that the almost visible haze of rotting meat stench would have made the idea of a sidewalk cafe a knee-slapping good joke. Now they’re everywhere, packed to the gills with all those people who look so good, but look so vapid at the same time.

I knew the whole area was in for a big change when they pulled the slippery plastic coating off that pastel kidney stone they call the Hotel Gansevoort. I’m not saying that it was in particular a bad thing, I’m sure the neighborhood’s a lot safer now, it’s certainly more economically healthy. But every now and then I miss some of the darker aspects of what used to make this neighborhood exactly that, a neighborhood. Being around the new, shiny version every day only made it better when, this past week, I got to see some throwbacks.

Favorite Thing #1: Meat
Nothing says, “Good Morning Tuesday!” like a wad of beef. You know, you’d think that in a part of town named after the stuff you’d see it constantly. Loading itself on and off trucks, singing to a lonely princess, ala Walt Disney. “You’re going to find a nice butcher, Belle, we know it!” At this point there are between zero and two actual meat-houses, or whatever you call them, in the actual Meatpacking District. Most of them have been bull-dozed over to become Baby Scoops (which is a slightly less wretched version of Baby Gap).

Imagine both my suprise and joy when I came upon a four pound hunk of butt-steak lying next to my office door. It was covered in blood, flies and nostalgia. I wondered for a while where it came from, was there a meat-fight that got out of hand during a Hook Handler’s Appreciation Day party? I dunno.

Though meat is usually not in the habit of talking, to me, this hunk of raw and rancid flesh was saying, “Sure the hood’s changed, but I’m still here, at least for now.” It had a Cuban accent.

Favorite Thing #2: Tranny Hooker
*Cue Preview Guy Voice*
There was a time when men in spandex hot shorts ruled the streets…

Not too long ago you could be out drinking all night, kicking it to girls who you had no right kicking it to and be getting shut down all night. Around 3am you’d grab your jacket, because it’s always cold in the past, and head home. Your fantasy world of being a square jawed hunk would be collapsing around you and then you’d hear, “Hey hot stuff, wanna party?”

You probably didn’t want to party, but it definitely made you feel better about things. You may not be a six foot two mega stud, but at least you could have sex with a man dressed as a woman if you wanted to pay for it, and when you’re single and lonely, it’s the little things that count.

So fast forward a couple of years and I’m in my deli, picking up breakfast and in walks a four year old sunset. She couldn’t have been older than 19, but she was wearing the same outfit from 2001. Blue shorts, blue tank top, blue feather boa and a ridiculous weave. It was 9am.

She called everyone sugar and even catwalked to the cookie section. She was gone in forty seconds, in a cloud of Designer Imposter perfume. The cashier and I just stared at each other before we fell down laughing.

We both had the same things to say, “Man it’s been a while since I’ve seen that!” “Wow, I think I remember seeing her on the corner all the time,” or “Were those man boobs real?” Sometimes seeing the past walk right by you just to say, “It’s still the present for me, Stud,” makes you begrudge change a little less.

Favorite Thing #3: A Bum Squat
There are times when you wish you had a camera so bad you’d chew your arm off if you thought there might be some silver coated reactive film in your elbow. Those times are usually followed by a swift smack to the head when you realize that you have a camera phone and totally could have taken that picture if only your mind would catch up to your pelvis, which is busy doing the bop in the 21st century.

I had one of these moments yesterday. My roommate and I were walking down the street towards the blurry form of a man sitting down. As we got closer, we realized that his pants were around his ankles, and that he was not, contrary to what was thought, sitting above an unwrapped Clark bar. For the weak of mind, he was taking a shit, right on the street. It wasn’t even a side street, it was right off 9th Avenue. It wasn’t even dark out, it was 7pm. The other bums near him didn’t seem to notice or care, he was wearing knee pads.

Would that I could have caught the whole grizzly affair on film. He had this great, “fuck you, world,” look on his face. He didn’t care that his usual sleeping nook was now a designer’s flagship store, he’d still shit on it. He didn’t care that people were crossing the street when they saw him, myself included. He was on this street when the rest of us were too scared to come to this part of town, myself included.

No, I didn’t get the picture, there will be no nutty scat-tastical cover picture today. No, instead, I got a back shot of two pink shirt wearing clones checking out DWR. Sure, it’s not as good, but hey, in a couple of years I’ll be wondering where all the pink shirted yuppies went and I’ll get all excited when I see one order a kettle and tonic at one of the next fad bars.


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