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The thing about these blogs is that if you don't write frequently it gets kind of pointless. Too much like writing letters home. Coming home has been a mixed bag. I missed New York, but it's changed and I've changed. Despite my gray hairs, by the way, I got thrown out (THROWN OUT) of Mars Bar once this summer because I wasn't carrying ID. I mean, c'mon, I'm even past the age where I feel complimented.

Anyway, my entourage and I live in Bushwick now. The neighborhood is at the stage where it is mostly Latin working poor mixed with a big (and growing) handful of young artists/hipsters. Speaking Spanish is a definite advantage. It is full of thrift stores and 99cent stores, and cheap food, but the trashpicking isn't nearly as good as it is in, say, Park Slope. Then again, with the bedbugs in mind, who trashpicks furniture anymore. We've limited ourselves to metal pieces and milk crates.

We're about a 10 minute walk from the building with the art gallery and the cafe/dvd rental place and the natural foods store and the lofts upstairs. During the first couple of weeks, everytime I went, I felt like an immigrant drawn to the stores in my tiny ghetto where I could find the typical ethnic foods of my homeland like soymilk and hummus and milk without rgbh. Then I could go next door and commune with my landsmen engaged in our quaint customs like working on laptops and drinking our traditional beverages like "espresso" and "tea". There is even a branch of the Life! Cafe. I guess it is supposed to be the Alphabet City East, but it just ain't the same. There are still a lot of factories, warehouses and workshops. I sometimes feel drawn toward going back into cabinetmaking but it didn't work out so well for me the last time either.

There is a distinct lack of green space, and we've taken to running the dog late at night in a ballfield across from some kind of police vehicle storage area. It's a very small, quiet dogging scene... much younger and more nervous than, say, Riverside or Prospect Parks. In some ways it's good to be back, but it doesn't really feel like home anymore, at least not the way it used to be. Work is hard to find, expenses are high, and I am wondering if I shouldn't have gone back to Mexico. Still, I've been missing Autumn something fierce.

And another thing. Gringos are cheapskates. I tried playing in the subways a couple of times, and it just pissed me off. People will smile, tap their feet, mouth along with the words and then, when their train comes, either get on it, or leave you a quarter. If they throw in a dollar it's a big deal. (Not that I haven't done the same in my time, being another gringa cheapskate). I sing until my throat starts to hurt but never make more or less than six dollars. I mean, in Mexico City, where $600 a month was considered a pretty good salary, people would give me 5 or 10 pesos all the time - 20 or 50 (or even 200) if they liked me. Pinches codos.

I did have one nice musical moment a few weeks ago,though, coming home from the upper west side much too late one night. We had been drinking with some strange girls, and had commandeered a microphone in the back room of a bar for a little while, but I left feeling empty and cheapened. I know, it makes no sense, but singing for a pretend audience is somehow degrading. Andyway, I had the guitar with me and when we got on the subway I felt like taking it out to play. The L train was mostly empty except for one older homeless guy, with gray stubble and a grungy sweatshirt smelling of humidity, with a kind of grim expression. MPS said to me "you are going to play Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out now." And so I did, and this guy's face just took on this happy grin. When I stopped he said "just keep going baby," and lay down on the seat with his eyes closed, still grinning, and so I ran through about 10 more songs. The other homeless looking guy further down started tapping his feet, and as people got on they would either tap their feet, or smile and just watch, and thank me as they got off. And the old guy never stopped smiling.

Right now I'm at my mother's post thanksgiving, revelling in the free internet.


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July 2010

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