Newsletters from Manhattan — 9–5
Moses or “Mo” is the new 9–5er. He gets here after I’ve already gotten up with Eliot and waited while he takes his shit into the bucket that I then empty into the toilet. But the bowel routine starts at 7:30 now and afterwards I have to wait for Mo to ring so I can buzz him up because Eliot usually has me put him back in his bed for the morning. I prop the door open so I don’t have to wait for him to get upstairs too. Every single day I will have just fallen back to sleep when I hear the ring. I hate it. I hate mornings.
Mo is from Puerto Rico and speaks with a thick Bronx accent. He’s smooth and laid back and good with Eliot. He’s easy to be around. Some days I roll out of my room with bed head and stumble sleepily to the refrigerator. He’s cleaning the bathroom and rapping with Eliot about things. I’ll open the door and then shut it again and go lay on the couch to wake up a little bit more. He doesn’t seem to mind and has the good sense not to talk to me for a bit. Eliot told me after Mo’s first day that he seemed like a really, really good person. He said that he was pretty into Jesus though. I asked if I should try saying Fuck less often and Eliot kind of shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t know.”
“Yeah fuck it.” I said.
Yesterday, sometime between 9 and 5, I walked past an old guy on 5th avenue sitting on the sidewalk leaning against a storefront, he says, “How you doing honey? Come give me a kiss.” I halfway turned back to see if he was really serious. Sometimes I’ll be passing the laundromat next door and some guys will be throwing jive my way. I usually don’t realize it’s meant for me at first and when I finally do I’m already a few steps past and I just ignore them. Most often it’s pretty lude stuff that I can totally handle but I’m too depressed and I just don’t feel like throwing it back. Maybe later. The most worn out pickup line on the streets of Harlem is “Hey baby, you married, I can cook?” This one guy, I see him yelling about his girl’s smelly vagina and across the block she’s swearing back at him. When I pass he slows his roll and steps in stride with me. He’s got a full grill. “You married? I love redheads, can I cook for you? Maybe a nice salad and some wine?” I laughed, shaking my head. The next day from across sidewalks he remembered my name and shouted hello with a smile full of gold.
There is music everywhere here. Modern day boom boxes attached to bicycles, mopeds, backpacks, cars parked with doors open blaring beats I’ve never heard before and can’t be sick of yet. It’s very lively and loud and it fits right in with the constant block party feel. One of these days I’m gonna pull out a lawn chair and post up on the sidewalk too. Maybe I’ll take my keyboard down and blast some Mozart.