On the Town   

 

Redemption does not follow from a lack of resources. Not having the means to sate your temptations might prevent you from falling to them. That's "temporary" redemption, and there's no such thing. Redemption happens when you want it to happen, not because you can't afford the actions from which you seek redemption.

Can redemption arise in the wee hours at single-digit dollars an hour? In a monk-brown gold-trimmed jacket and pants? As a doorman in a religious residence gone secular - "the Abbott?" Condos and rentals. Some rentals, rent-controlled. Will spending clear-eyed time now in contemplation make up for years where contemplation was as scarce as realization? Or will, needs met, temptations again become actions, and actions failings?

 

 

"Madness at Midnight"

Graveyard shift redemption at "the Abbott"

by A Tortured Redemptionist

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - Midnight

New York at night, New York at day. New York in the morning, at noon, in the evening. Darkness a' Midnight, Brightness o' Day. It's New York, specifically Manhattan Island, crammed with people high and low, loaded with winners yep and losers no. You don't walk around Manhattan and consider it just another place you happen to be. It's not. "The city never sleeps," is the way some describe it. Oh yes it does, except like everything else Manhattan, not like hardly anywhere else. A lot of people don't sleep. They do; but they don't when everyone else is perhaps snoozing and snoring in unconscious languor. Right now after midnight on a wee early Wednesday, cabs and cars zoom up Third Avenue and it's their "rush hour." Just that it's in the middle of the night. Manhattan is a 24-hour rush hour, graveyard doorman word is bond: take it! 

I don't sleep anymore, and it's sad. I go into quasi-slumberotic states of fake rest. But things change and I should be getting more real sleep real soon. Or else I'll just pass from wakefulness, which thankfully is impossible. I hope. In the back of my grinding, never-resting (even in sleep) mind I know that excessive wakefulness does no favors for the unslept. Be it bender wakefulness in the sins of excess. Or just twisted notions of twisted schedule redemption. There's a price to be paid beyond any faltering soul-saving effort.

It always comes back to that "unconscious languor" when you're not enjoying it. You're hither and yon: note the "dateline" on this entry: Wednesday. Wednesday? Aren't you a weekend graveyard guy? Yup, but life interferes. It interferes for me, and thee. It interferes for weekday graveyard guys and you're a hardcore redemption guy, and redemption requires being awake to take your redemption medicine. Being awake means being able to work. Boxer "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler observed that "it's hard to get up and do roadwork when you're sleeping on satin sheets." In those comfy confines of languorosity, swaddled in Morpheus's pricey raiment, paired perhaps with your ideal sleeping companion, no, you do not want to arise and go battle. You're in satin sheets, you've "made" it. Sleep tight, baby, let the other bedbugs fight. Stay swaddled and above Manhattan's 24-hour world-war bedbug fights. The darn city not only doesn't sleep, it's in constant low-intensity human struggle in all moments. The graveyard doorman is a tiny foot patrol soldier in these countless unseen grapples. 

Manhattan at Midnight: if you're working, only the redeeming work midnights. It's a fine time to redeem: people just think you're working. A yawning forced-open-eyes moke with funny hours. The insufficiently rewarding "dignity of labor" disguises the grim dark struggle. It's not foolproof. Some redeemers recognize each other; and observant others in their fun frolics notice our weary soul-saving toil. You don't notice the redeemers amidst the colorful revelers on the Saturday evening, Manhattan-bound PATH? You're not looking; I am. I'm there, they're there. 

And you cannot redeem while sleeping. Sleeping is a necessity like food ingestion and evacuation. In the neutrality of unconscious slumber, your dreams are good and/or evil or neither or both. You do not decide. You're not deciding, you're not redeeming. Only in your waking consciousness are you mind-grinding the hard choices of "good this; bad that." Mostly, it's to be admitted, "bad that." So what? You're miles ahead in redemption admitting and grappling with that reality. You're sitting in a 150-year-old pulpit in the middle of the night: what else you got on your mind, sucka?

Well, the mind considers Manhattan's abundant beautiful people. Specifically beautiful, flitting women who in their marching fun will sleep at some point but not right but then again, yes they're sleeping now. And when they "sleep" it is often "with somebody" using the word "sleep" but admitting something else. On the weekends some flit like wildebeest: prey babes who know they're "made-up meat." Dolled and doilyed in their fashion finery they leave scented wakes of dreamy fantasy in their passing. Doorman on-duty love pedestrians "going away," beyond our assigned building front. Your average pedestrian fellow would rather women pause, then stay. To chat, perchance to laugh, to make acquaintance, embrace in dance. To complete a natural cycle as it is. Yet they pass more than pause, knowing they're watched by every hunter in the jungle. Like good prey, not succumbing, not making it easy. They resist, coyly and maddeningly inviting in their distance. Flitting prey babes enjoy the rare prey privilege of selecting their heart-seizing hunter. Not you, not you foot slow with feeble bow. But carry a vicarious thrills into Mitty-esqe unreality and it can be thrilling. For those who can grasp them, there's no thrills like Manhattan thrills; those inclined can voyeur vicarious into indefinite flights of fancy. 

The prey babes are standing in a vestibule, like a breathtakingly beautiful African prey babe, leaning on a white fella and engaging in liplsuh and smiling close-face banter. It's the building next door, it has a "party-space" on the top -- 6th floor. On the weekends, not this weekend evening, any kind of mish-mash crowd will be arriving and departing in celebratory glee. Their presence so near my stoop and sidewalk, often innocently ignorant of encroaching on the private Abbott stoop and building, modestly tests my doorman presence. So far, apart for tossing ciggie butts and generally being a little loudy-rowdy, no issues with the Next-Door Party Space transients. It sure would solve a lot of my potential problems if the next-door building had a doorman to keep some order: wouldn't it be great it was a redeeming doorwoman? How neat would that set-up be? You can imagine vicariously that one.

So often in your Manhattan meanders or just plain doing door duty, you voyeur romantic interactions. Such as this couple in their pre-sleeping-with, pre-bed embrace. He was casually dressed and she had put more thought into her prey-dom attire. She wore a tight-fitting, mid-thigh-length jacket, red - the color of love. It flattered her fit figure as she pressed against her kissing partner. Her collar was up but did not conceal her features, made up to accent her defined cheeks and chin. Her red lipstick, flashing from her kissing duties, matching nicely the upturned collar which partially -- though not completely -- offered her some facial privacy in her longing liplock. Eventually they came out into the mild evening, lightly embracing and then leaning on the building in full embrace. I overhear him mention her name. It's a small revelation yet odd, you don't forget names you hear in the middle of the night. It's likely you'll never see these persons again. Passing by my door, never know no more. For her beauty, passion, style, and the modest recollection of her name, "Melinda" she offers more midnight life to ponder, more humanity to wonder.

Monday, May 7, 2007 - Midnight

The usual running around in search of elusive redemption. It's a crazy triangle, Lower Manhattan, Midtown & Heights-town JC, and the murky zone between Manhattan's Lower East Side and Lower Midtown. Technically it's "Gramercy Park," I think Union Square East is more accurate, or even a fictional "Stuyvesant Square." The Abbott is closer to Union Square, I think, than Gramery Park, and directly up the block from Stuyvesant Square Park, which unlike Gramery Park, does not also describe a neighborhood. It does for me. Where the hell was/am I, will be - a constantly updating question? I sure ride the PATH a lot.

The weather moderates, but stays decidedly cool. You want to bust out the shorts and tees, not just yet. Cool temps, great sleeping weather. Did someone mention that other elusive pastime, a softly ensconced quiet dreamy interlude? One of the other Abbott gold-embroidery sleevers decided Friday off was in order, so what the heck, you can fill in Friday 12 a.m. - 8 a.m. And start that trying triangle: from Midnight Friday to 6 p.m. Monday, that's what, 66 hours? So what's wrong with being employed for 46 of those short hours, spreading 20 free hours over 3 days, including commuting time in those 20? Piece of cake, a highly recommended redemptive recourse.

It's been mercifully uneventful going back to last weekend. The usual gaggles of gorgeous gals swarming the late-nite byways, either commuting to the fun via the PATH, or cramming the Manhattan sidewalks. Some in the company of a swain, others in search of same. New York is a big party and "let's get it on," town - huge. What's the point of living in NYC, or PATH-ing over unless to meet that elusive connection, maybe the connection, more likely "a" connection? 

Now that I'm a little closer to Journal Square, I still leave at 10:30 p.m. and this offers me a favored pastime of getting off at the "wrong" PATH stop. Convention dictates a 14th Street exit; when I have time I can get off at 9th, or these past few weekends, 23rd Street. If I have to be in Manhattan anyway, I don't mind self-flagellating by passing trendy hotspots with eager attendees gathered out front, to vicariously imagine their fun might be my fun? Some packs are seeking admission to the sleek inviting scenes behind "velvet ropes" and stylish selectors. Others, previously admitted, nonchalantly blow a smoke out front. It is not a pre-work imposition to watch the timeless preening and "where's the party?" pursuits, primarily a young man's and woman's game. It's a reminder that for each season, there is a time. 

And then as the wee morning hours seep on, there is a quietude time, never quiet but a welcome few hours when a doorman need not be on red alert for roving drunks near the building. Maybe a yellowish alert. Some guy last evening leaned on the Abbott front ramp and was chatting on his cell. He was shoo-ed away, but felt the need to briefly explain his need to lean: he was fighting with his fiancÚ and needed to some space away but nearby. I think he lives across Third. Still, he had to go, no point in establishing precedent that people can use their Abbott stoop or ramp for contemplative.

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