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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

Ashley is good at a lot of things; she is creative and free, sweet and instantly likeable.  But a food service industry worker she is not.  Three hours after leaving her at the subway stop at 5:30AM, she called me in near tears with the “worst news ever.”  She was coming home early.  

Apparently, the business model I talked about yesterday only floats in its idealism if people are masters behind the counter. However they may justify it, the decision was a shattering blow to our fragile state.  With three hours until I began my day 2 at Starbucks, and Ashley a messed up wad of rejection, we did some quick thinking.  I don’t mind to tell you that the starting pay for all baristas in New York City is $8.75.  That won’t buy a metrocard and groceries, let alone pay rent.  Since Ashley was going to be making twice that, and I knew they now had an opening, I hopped on the subway for Union Square to try and pick up  a second job.  I had forty five minutes to figure if I should I mention Ashley or leave it alone.  

I arrived to find that they only hire female baristas.  

I couldn’t save the day.  For the rest of the morning I walked around the East Village saying fuck New York City.      

I tried to get my head around a solution.  I went in a few places to give resumes for Ashley and attempted to psyche myself up about Starbucks being a means to an end, albeit a futile one.  I walked into a drug store to buy a lint roller for the black outfit wadded up in my backpack and almost teared up when they were out of them.  Cold bitch of a city.

Then, as I walked amidst the uber trendy, bankrolled, overly image conscious, conceited people and dogs who think they’re better bred than the rest of us, I was ready to hit somebody.  

Next followed depression. Poor me; I gave up a good job but lost my renters, broke my hand, and was a fool for thinking I should ever come in the first place. 

I had to put more money on my metrocard to get uptown for work and couldn’t remember my Knoxville zip code to pay by credit card.  I turned to walk back above ground to call and ask Ashley when I realized, “its only been two weeks!!”  

Everybody shoulders what they can, and I’m trying to carry mine.  We went for broke and got it, believing that someone could and should break away to dare for themselves.  We believed it should be done by one’s own means.  We just hoped to get on our feet first for a fair fight. 

At this moment I feel like the world has no forgiveness or grace to reward courage.  There is privilege, poverty, and way too many people.  Thick skin is what it takes, and thick skin is a quality that is not learned, it is suffered.  

Ashley is making things to sell and I have the weekend booked with auditions for my rock star debut.  We will know very shortly if there is room for us here or not.  It won’t be a decision, there will either be a road around the corner or there won’t be.


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