New York State of Mind This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 21, 2010

I am in line. As I wait for my order to be taken, I check my Blackberry. A man behind me talks on his Bluetooth. I step up to the counter and order: one venti mocha cappuccino, skim milk, no fat, no sugar, with soy. In no time at all the steaming drink is shoved over the counter and into my waiting hand. I push my way through the crowd inside and out of the door just as another woman pushes her way in. We don’t nod, we don’t smile, and we don’t hold the door for one another. I am out the door and on my way.


I walk down the sidewalk, an unrecognizable addition to the crowd. At every corner a beggar waits, sometimes getting pity from passing tourists, but never from me. I ignore them and walk on. I turn onto Seventh Street and walk into the subway. The crowds would be overwhelming, that is, if they weren’t an everyday occurrence. Pushing my way into the first subway car I can find, I move several people out of my way to do so. Nevertheless, I am on the train and that is all that matters.


I am at work. I am making one hundred dollars an hour. I stay at my desk, and I talk to no one. No one talks to me, either. An intern asks what I would like for lunch from the fast food place down the road. I scoff and tell her that she should not be so stupid as to assume I would want anything more than a salad with low-fat dressing. I make conference calls and write papers. At the end of the day, several of my co-workers are getting ready to go out to dinner together. I go home alone.


I decide to walk back to my penthouse apartment. On the way, I stop at my favorite boutique. I use my credit card to buy an incredibly necessary fur coat. As I place it at the register, I realize that I have one nearly identical to this in my closet back at the apartment. I tell myself that one can never have too many clothes, and I buy it anyway. The clerk at the register asks if I would like to donate seventy-two cents, the round-off from my purchase, to help those suffering in Haiti. I say no. They should find their own help: from somewhere other than my wallet. The clerk bags my new jacket and I head for home.


At home, I eat grilled salmon and lightly salted asparagus with a fruit smoothie - no sugar added - the exact meal that my personal trainer had recommended earlier in the week. I undress and take a shower, then dry my hair and go to bed. I lay in bed. I do not turn on the TV. I do not call my parents, even just to say hello. I do not get dressed for a night out on the town with my friends. I do not nod at strangers in the streets. I do not pity beggars. The only one I pity is myself. And as a tear streams from my eye, I realize that I am the least deserving of pity. I am wealthy. I am comfortable, and I am well educated. I am mean, selfish, and hurtful. I get no pity from others, but it is that which I crave. I look through the darkness and see my new coat hanging on the back of the door. I resent it. And I begin to resent myself. And, as I lay here in bed, I resolve that tomorrow, I will wear my new coat. I will wear my resentment. I will nod and hold the door for the woman at the Starbucks. I will give money to the beggar at the corner. I will buy my own lunch, and a burger at that. I will return my coat to the store, and request that the purchase money be given to Haiti. And then, I will go home, and smile. I will no longer resent myself. I will tell myself that I am a good person. At least until the next day, when I do not nod, and the cycle begins again.

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

LastChapter said...
Dec. 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm
i loved this! omg, so many good stories in a row, is this the apocalypse? but yeah, this had just something about it that was infuriating (as a new yorker, it is hard to see us sweet little civilians given such a bad name *scoff* yeah right) sad, and depressing. because, how do you help someone who won't help herself? anyways, great job. well written and organized thoughts and all that. my only question is the numbers. are they chapters or just you separating the parts of the story from what art... (more »)
thebanditrocks replied...
Dec. 16, 2010 at 8:54 pm
thanks for your comment on my article! the numbers do come from the piece of art that i got inspiration from. the painting portrayed a city in a rainstorm, and for some reason (not clear to me) the numbers 1-5 were painted along the left side, decending. i thought it was a neat way to tie the two together. thanks again, and i'll deffinately take a look at your work!
Site Feedback