Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Naked

I signed up for a blogspot account sometime during the summer of 2006. I never posted.

This past August, I revisited and retitled my blogless blog...and never posted.

So here I am again. This time is a little different, though. Rather than hiding behind anonymity, which proved particularly effective -- doubly so, in fact, since on top of that I never posted -- I now stand before you naked. Literally, that wouldn't be a pretty sight these days (but one hell of an appetite supressor), but since I mean it figuratively, we both can manage to live with that image. What I mean is, I am actually posting under my own, actual name. And for me, that's naked enough.

Like most people, I don't know where to begin. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, first in what is now a "gentrified" neighborhood (Prospect Heights, across from The Brooklyn Museum), but that only lasted until I was six years old. While the so-called "white flight" of the 1960s took most upwardly-mobile people to the suburbs of Long Island and Westchester, my family ended up in southern Brooklyn, far from the New York City skyline we had been able to glimpse from the corner of Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue. The reason for this was plain: We were anything but upwardly mobile, at least not in the sense that most people associate with the term. My parents bought a house -- with subway tracks behind it and a bus route in front of it -- a practical move in more than one way. We didn't have a car, and would never have a car. Neither one of my parents even knew how to drive. My father was an immigrant who worked cutting sheet metal in a factory in Greenpoint. He took trains into Manhattan, and another one back into Brooklyn, since Greenpoint was on another line, easily accessible by car, but a long and arduous journey by subway. But he never complained. My mother, on the other hand, was the daughter of a New York City cabbie, cigar in his mouth, tweed cap on his head, driving gloves on his hands, who sat behind the wheel of the most immaculately beautiful Checker cab imaginable. For years I figured that her reluctance to drive was because she was accustomed to being squired around by her father, but only recently -- in the past three or so years -- have I realized that this was yet one more thing she never bothered trying to accomplish, because one little mishap would have possibly uncovered her all-too-human potential for fallibility. But that is another story. And not an unimportant one.

Still, this marked my descent into the mouth of madness, as southern Brooklyn isn't at all like the Brooklyn glorified by hipsters, yuppies, realtors and bloggers. There are different Brooklyns, and the one I eventually ended up in wasn't one of bookstores and coffeehouses and chic boutiques; it was, and still is, an open-air mental institution. People don't age gracefully there; they ferment. They mutter to themselves, dragging or pushing well-worn shopping carts -- not of the grocery store variety, but the kind most Americans have never even seen -- living out their life sentences, rotting from the outside in. It's an existence that corrodes you, and I couldn't wait to escape.

While I dreamed of my eventual escape, a sign was revealed before me, and it gave me hope. It read, "Coming Soon: 7-11" and with that, I almost felt like a real American.

8 comments:

Will McKinley said...

I am your first comment, just like you were the first woman I ever slept with back in 1985.

Good piece. I like "ferment." I also like titles, so why no title?

Also, about your profile. You say you like music of the 00's, 10's, 20's, 30's, 40's, 60's and 70s. That is a pretty wide swath you've cut there.

And why you hatin' on the '50s? What an amazingly eclectic decade!

Cheryl Podolsky said...

The blog itself does have a title -- non compos mentis -- which I would have taken over cherylpodolsky as a domain as well as blogspot url -- but alas, it appears I'm far from original.

Or do you mean why doesn't my first post itself have a title? If that's the case, it never even crossed my mind. It was hard enough just getting started.

The music I like begins roughly at the turn of the century -- the 20th century, anyway -- largely because my nickelodeon rolls (I have a Wurlitzer Style I) reflect that time period. The 30s and 40s were, without a doubt, amazing decades in music. The 50s, although marking what most of us think of as the beginnings of rock and roll, had too much of a novelty song-like edge for me to seriously (and most of all, honestly) list it, even though there are many songs and artists I admire from that era. Otherwise, I would have listed my preferences as the 1900s-1970s, which would have been a whole lot less clunky.

On another note, yes -- it seems we've come full circle, from first woman slept with to first comment posted. Ain't life something?

Will McKinley said...

Yes I was talking about a title for your post. You gotta have titles! Even if it's just "Post #1."

As for music, if I had to choose a favorite decade it would be the '40s, but I love 1900s-1930s as well.

All day long at work I listen to the 1920s Radio Network, which is almost all from the first three decades of the 20th century, with a lot of super old stuff. Google it, or look for it in the radio section of iTunes under "Ecletic."

They probably run some of the songs you have on the rolls!

Cheryl Podolsky said...

Done.

Thanks for telling me about the 1920s Radio Network. I'll look for it later today.

Believe it or not, while I'm alone all day I actually prefer silence. I never turn on the TV, nor do I listen to music (with the occasional exception of my nickelodeon).

Anonymous said...

As always, I love to read whatever you write. You always made me laugh...and still do.
Guess who.

Cheryl Podolsky said...

I've been alive for nearly half a century, so it's kind of hard to narrow the field.

So who are ye? Reveal yourself! (I would guess Terry, but I could be wrong.)

Anonymous said...

do you feel at home, living so close to harbor homes?

is will mckinley well hung?

does your brother liked being bossed around by his yenta wife?

Cheryl Podolsky said...

1.) Yes.

2.) I have no idea if Will is well-hung, as our sleeping together consisted of sharing the same bed on a group trip to Newport. It's a longstanding joke between us.

3.) My brother doesn't have a wife, yenta or otherwise.

Now for my own question: Who are you and where do YOU live? Posting anonymously is so very brave.