Friday, September 29, 2006

The Summit

So, this is a lovely thing. Scads of people came out from under rocks on Thursday, got themselves all cleaned up, and sat down over at John Jay to have a very meaningful conference about straightening out the "nightlife industry" here in New York. Politicos, cop brass and club owners, all yammering away together at the same table, getting nothing accomplished because they're the three groups in the city who aren't around when shit happens on the sidewalk at the end of the night.

A question for scumbags: How do you get the scum off your skin before you appear on camera? Can you whittle it off with a pocketknife?

You want a solution? I'll give you a solution, but you won't like the solution I have to offer because you won't want to hear that kind of truth. You can get your facts about a situation from spreadsheets and flowcharts, or you can get your facts from someone who's standing at its heart. Sometimes, you know, the pilot of the helicopter flying over the rainforest on a beautiful day doesn't want to hear, from the pygmy who lives in a tree, what it's like when the anaconda gets hungry. But here it is anyway:


New York City is not a nice place. Despite what many choose to believe, sunshine and rainbows and puppies are decidedly not in evidence on every corner. That quick-witted bouncer with the heart of gold might take you to South Jamaica and rape you and cut you to pieces -- if, and that's a great big if, he doesn't decide to simply put a bullet in you in front of the club. New York City will murder you.

New York City is not a place where eighteen-year-old girls can walk around with impunity, at four-in-the-morning, wearing halter tops and miniskirts. My sister was aware of this fact and many others from a very young age, because we had parents with enough common sense to inform us that the world wasn't quite as enamored of us as we were with ourselves.

Most people will leave you alone to go about your business. Others want something out of you. That something they want is your money, and they'll do whatever they can to separate you from it. They'll beat you and kick you and stab you and shoot you and leave you dead in a dumpster without a second thought about your piano lessons or the fact that you learned French at Cornell. My father explained this to me. He told me that we're essentially alone in the world, and that aside from our limited little spheres of influence, nobody gives a fuck if we ever take another breath or not. And, for the most part, he was right.

He told my sister than men would want to throw her in the backs of cars and do unpleasant things to her. He explained that this was the sort of thing that happened in New York late at night, and he taught her how to keep her guard up. To not put herself in situations where she was subject to the whims of the living dead who troll the streets of this city looking for a comfortable -- willing or no -- place to insert their penises.

My father taught me how not to be the problem, so I've never been the problem. I work in a nightclub, and I'm still not the problem. I don't stab people, nor do I shoot them. I don't start riots. I don't break beer bottles over peoples' heads because of nightclub issues. I don't punch people when they step on my shoe and I don't cut the line for the bathroom, because I was taught that doing such things would come with consequences. I was taught that a life sans decency is fraught with consequences, none of them good.

Customers create problems. They're disgusting. They're animals. They haven't the faintest notion as to how to behave in public. I've been punched, kicked, stabbed, slashed and bashed with blunt instruments by people whose nights began in their bathroom showers, the same way mine did. These things happened because the people who made them happen were pieces of shit with no regard for any human life other than their own.

Why are people like this nowadays? Who the fuck knows? I have no answers. None are forthcoming from this "nightlife summit" either, but that, I suspect, is because a discussion about the disgustingness of the human race wasn't on the agenda for today's conference. We're too far gone for all that, and the object of the game now is to contain it. And you can't come out in the open and tell the truth, because that's simply not done. I'd love to hear about it on the news, though, wouldn't you?

"The New York City Nightlife Summit today declared the root cause of the nightlife problem in New York to be the fact that approximately seventy-five percent of nightclub customers in West Chelsea and the Meatpacking District are complete and total pieces of hot motherfucking garbage who, in a perfect world, would be incarcerated forthwith."