The city is quiet for the most part. A few sirens go off. Making all aware that they are still in Manhattan. Bars have emptied out. Young Jerseyites and suburban revelers will be going home now. Back to the safety of their mothers arms. They wait in Grand Central, clutching tickets in one hand and a sixteen ounce beer in the other. Kids talking of clubs and bars, brunettes and blondes, rap music piercing through air, bouncing off walls, and each one looks the same. The blacks look white and the whites look black. Indian girls speaking in choppy speech patterns. New York dialects are starting to be lost. East coast dialects are starting to wane. I noticed this in Chicago and D.C. as well. Our speaking is becoming homogenized. Soon we will all sound the same. Brooklyn will no longer be Brooklyn and the Bronx will no longer sound like the old Bronx. It’ll be one sound. The sound of hip hop language. People will go back to writing in symbols. Emojis will take over.

I’m old. I’m fat. I’m confused. When did this change take place? Some say with the creation of the cell phone. Others say with the emergence in rap. We’ve become a mimicking society. A country of imitators. Maybe we always were.

I go to the gym for my daily shower. I rejoice in the clean underwear I have and laundered shirt. Been sleeping on benches and parking lots. Down by the Hudson. It’s not a lot of sleep. Soon I will have to move into a shelter. I’ve heard horror stories. The fights, the theft, pecking orders, guys out of Rikers. These are men who don’t care anymore. They’d just as soon slit your throat and call it a day.

Soon I’ll have to start working again. Looking for day labor jobs. Should be able to find something. My head is tired and my body is weak. The mania has become a full on depression. I stand here in the shower and let the hot water hit me. Dirt forms at my feet. I make a vow. Never ever go a day without a shower. No matter how bad it gets. Always clean yourself. And never beg for money. This is my new religion; clean body, clean mind. It makes me feel a little better. For now.

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