In which I try to wear at least two items of Old Navy clothing per day.
New York seems like an especially crappy place to be disabled. Someone in my school is disabled and as we rode in a campus elevator today I commented that last week the Fifth Avenue subway station elevator was full of fresh pee and he said, “That’s nothing. In the Paris Metro they shit in the elevators.” I started to think about what it would be like if Sarah Jessica Parker had no legs and in the sequel to her hit movie she had to navigate all the ritzy cocktail bars in Manhattan from a wheelchair and how that would bring a lot of attention to the issue of disabled people and the city and how people need to stop obsessing about sex so much and start focusing on proper toilet technique.
It is a delicate dance. The glowing crosswalk man says, “It is okay to proceed across the street, my child,” and suddenly your brain is calculating faster than your feet can shimmy across the pavement. Because, ahoy, the young mother must push the stroller down the sidewalk ramp opposite you with a child on a Power Wheels on one side and a child with a rolling backpack on the other, and lo, the tourists ahead of you are trying to make the street signs conform to their outdated map while carefully walking backwards like athletes preserving their knee joints, and jeebus, the drug hustler who thinks you’re pretty is illegally crossing the street perpendicular to this one so you have to dodge two opposing lanes of pedestrian traffic, and damnitall some hipster is flagrantly smoking a cigarette (it’s totally not you) while you’re trying to edge by him and you’re wearing an expensive shirt that you just bought in SoHo and in a second you have to make a choice whether to sacrifice your new clothes to the fire or the innocent child peddling precociously in order to cross the street before the blinking red man starts chastising him from the opposite corner. You weave, you skip, you feel like Magic Johnson. You’re suddenly on the other side of the sidewalk corner melee and you haven’t stepped on anyone’s foot or burned an infant or cursed a single mother or wished that you were all alone in the city because you know better, having seen that Will Smith movie. Lots of people are better than none, even when you’re blowing past them like an Olympian, proud of your majestic street corner maneuverings, the envy of all your drug dealing and prostitute friends.