I gave up my apartment in “East” Williamsburg at the end of July and fled town for a month. With the wind in my hair and my hands on the wheel, I spun my way westward, across the United States, in a flurry of friends, family, and wasabi peas.
I slept on a loveseat on the outskirts of Nashville TN. I sunbathed poolside at the Virgin River Motel and Casino in Mesquite Nevada. I wound my way up the California coast and spent a week in the bay, going to nude beaches, getting free passes to JCC yoga classes and hanging out at the Anarchist bookshop.
Now where do I find myself?
Deep in Crown Heights, where I feel the weight of my identity all too keenly. I, my friends, am an YWFAG:
Young White Female Agent of Gentrification
Last Wednesday evening, in typical YWFAG fashion I decided that I needed to get out of the house, go to a coffee shop, write, drink some herbal tea and glance at plaid shirted, twenty-something boys with scruff.
So I did a google search for “coffee shops in crown heights, open late.”
The first hit was the Yelp listing posted by another YWFAG.
“Sarah Jo “SJ” M. says:
Looking for OPEN LATE coffee shops in Prospect / Crown Heights, or a goup of people to put pressure on the non-late-night shops already in existence! Anyone interested??”
Here is a sampling of the responses “Sarah Jo” received:
Mike “Sexy Beast” S. says:
Sarah look at the crime statistics for those areas. That will explain why they close so early.
Peter “I was being facetious” D. says:
Crown heights and late night = stupid
But fazed, I was not. The last comment from the thoughtful Young Yelper self titled “John “stone crazy” Q” was –
“It looks like Outpost on Fulton St is open late too, that’s a bit closer to you.”
An outpost was exactly what I was looking for.
1. A small military camp or position at some distance from the main force, used esp. as a guard against surprise attack.
2. A remote part of a country or empire.
So I decided to go.
The only problem was, it was a twenty-minute walk away. By the time I got there, my nerves were so jangled I had to order not one, but two glasses of wine.
As I drank and hacked away at my keyboard, I surveyed the selection of eligible gentlemen at the cafe. I was exceptionally uninspired. The most entertaining café sitter of the evening was an elderly hassidic gentleman who kept ordering orange juice and ogling female patrons.
At 10 o’clock I decided I better get home before I was groped/licked etc. by a passerby. I walked to the nearest bus stop. But the arrival sign had been smashed and from what I could make out from the schedule, I’d have to wait on the corner of Bergen and Washington for twenty minutes in the dark. Walking seemed like the preferable option.
After just five minutes of walking, a man started following me, addressing me in all too endearing terms. He was trailing me for about two yards before I turned around and hissed at him with intensity,
“What do you want?”
That showed him! He shuffled away in a hurry.
I crossed the street and trundled on, at a faster pace. To my dismay, less than two minutes later, I found myself approaching the silhouette of a figure hunched under a subway bridge who appeared to be – GASP –
Taking a shit on the sidewalk.
He looked up and saw me swerving across the street.
“Sorry Miss! I couldn’t hold it in any longer!”
“Oh that’s fine! No problem!” I called. “Really!”
When I slipped the key into the lock and closed the door to the apartment, I couldn’t believe it. I was alive?
MeKnow How Now
1. Get some brass knuckles
Epilogue: 3 Fatally Shot in Brooklyn; 2 Officers Are Wounded
Rosie (the Cat)