On September

Posted on September 2, 2010

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I’ve always considered September the Fall, as dictated by the scholastic calendar which has informed most of my life, if not by the almanac itself (please see, September Equinox). And, indeed, in most places it is so considered but the strange and capricious inclinations of weather on the Isle of Manhattan have taught me different. In the last weeks of August, Mother Nature offers us a brief respite from the (usually horrendous) summer preceding, teasing us into thinking that autumn is just around the corner. Which, for all intents and purposes, it is but as of recent years September has come back heinous and hotwinded and the true Fall does not begin until well into the tricky weeks of October. For most people this is quite all right but I have always thought of autumn as my season. As the leaves start to change, I take to the streets and meander endlessly before Winter intrudes. Taking advantage of our annual seasonal striptease, I recently perused the cobblestones of our great city and was reminded of some troubling patterns of behavior affected by our brethren and sistren. These I shall relate to you. Because you care.

What struck me most  in my strolling was the sight of all the wonderful children running around, galloping through their last bits of freedom before the school year swallowed them back up. What annoyed me most were the habits of their parents.

Parents, can we stop putting leashes on our children? I realize this is a huge city, full of any-second-there-might-be-a-disaster moments. I realize that your iPhone is endlessly fascinating and you’d rather be checking your twitter instead of watching your child. I realize that the internet and Dateline NBC exposés have opened up all new avenues of pedophilia-fright. (I’m not sure what this last has to do with leashes exactly, but, hey, just warning you. You start kitting up your kiddie early, don’t be surprised if he’s surfing fetish sites by sixth grade.) All of these things can cause a parent to simply go apoplectic with worry. But do let’s try to maintain the safety factor sans the dog collars. If we start treating our children like pets, then it’s no wonder they act like animals as they age. All members of the animal kingdom buck against their constraints, even human ones. And the fact that you take your terrier, Spritzy, to the Central Park Dog Run and let him run free while sweet little Jermaine is leashed to a tree impatiently waiting for his Gerber gummies thoroughly perplexes me. Something is not right with this painting, Picasso.

Next, public fountains. Why, why, why do you let your kids play in the fountains?? I simply do not understand. This is not your backyard; you were not handed a free Slip N’ Slide; this is not Six Flags. This is a fountain. In public. In one of the biggest cities in the world. Have you any idea the amount of natural pollutants, person-created litter, and discharged bodily fluids which end up in those shimmering bodies of man-made circumfluous beauty? Yes, they’re pretty and intoxicating. This is why people sit by them and read by them and picnic by them and occasionally, if they’re sans abode and the shelters are closed, bathe in them. But they are not meant for mini-humans to galumph around in. We have places for that. They’re called swimming pools. And the city’s Parks and Rec system provides a large number of very inviting and well-maintained facilities, abundant with cholera-fighting chlorine. I know you think it’s cute, but it’s not. The sight of little tykes splashing around in the fountains does not make me warm and fuzzy inside. It reminds me rather of water-borne pathogens, rusty hypodermics on uncared-for shores, and poor parenting skills. Maybe I’m just bitter and unromantic; maybe you’re just nasty; maybe we’ll split the difference. But when little Susie goes to school and comes back with scarlet fever, you’re gonna have to contribute to the communal Kleenex fee, not me.

The last point of child wrangling that I would like to touch on comes from a very personal place. To all the affluent women, particularly in the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan, who push strollers: THE CITY DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU. I’m aware that you think because you sacrificed your vaginal elasticity to procreate that the world owes you something. Newsflash, dearheart, it doesn’t. And maybe you’re angry because your West Indian nanny is taking her half-day off on the very afternoon that you had a marvelous excursion to Williams-Sonoma planned and now you’re forced to actually tend to your own progeny. That must be a frustrating experience, but it doesn’t give you free reign over the entire fucking sidewalk. Millions of women all over the world with far less means give birth to and care for their children every day. You’re not special. I’m sorry you had to put your home catering business on hold for a while because your child INSISTED on being an infant-slash-toddler but it doesn’t give you the right to skin people’s ankles, run over their toes or barrel down old ladies who haven’t enough sense or sight to get the hell out of your way. So chill the fuck out. Give your children a less entitled, less violent role model to look up to. As Whitney Houston once sang, the children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way. (Sure, she ended up a crackhead and her own daughter had syphilis at the age of ten – but the sentiment was there, okay?)

Lastly, a note on the autumnal sartorial. Fall, like Spring, is a transitional season, it’s true. Not quite as hot/cold as it was, not quite as hot/cold as it shortly will become. There’s some wiggle room, a little maneuvering to be done, I know. And, believe me, anyone will tell you I’m no haute couture expert or fashionisto but I think a couple of things should be addressed. Sandals, with socks. No. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If it’s cool enough to wear socks, you shouldn’t be wearing sandals. If it’s warm enough to wear sandals, you don’t need socks. Maybe you want to switch it up between day-wear and evening? Fine. Stash something in a bag. Don’t have a bag? Then just fucking deal. NYC is not a commune, we don’t make our own raw butter so socks and sandals don’t mix. Also, shorts and winter jackets. What’s that about? Take the above-mentioned rule of thumb and substitute these two items. A bubble down and a pair of bermudas just make you look slightly schizophrenic at best, and like a straight up dumbass at worst. But, hey, I am not one to judge (cough) and am fully supportive of whatever personal choices of expression you choose to make. These are just some things running through my mind as I wander the streets resisting the urge to dash into Filene’s Basements and grab you a pair of Juicy sweats.

And one final note on September. It is the month of the Virgoan, an astrological sign which on paper I should have very little in common with – in fact, I should not get along at all with most of them – but, in truth, I know very many Virgos and some of them are my closest and dearest friends. So a September shoutout to the celestial Virgins out there! You anal motherfuckers probably already found half a dozen typos and/or spelling errors before this paragraph. Do me a favor, don’t tell me bout them. Go clean something instead (you were going to anyway). Love ya!

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Posted in: moody ramblings